So I told you Wednesday that I was main spec bear and off spec tree, but that I had never done Onyxia as a tank until last week. Allow me to explain, briefly.
There was a time, back before Blizzard released dual spec, that I was only a feral spec. It's what I leveled in, it's what I wanted to do when I got to raiding, it was just generally the only thing I did. I had no intention of bowing to the will of anybody else for what I played in the game. Then I got to the point where I could be invited to raids and learned a hard lesson.
My guild and especially our raiding crew had, and still has, an overabundance of tanks and a ridiculous shortage of healers. In addition, I was a little slower than a few of our folks at getting to a gear level capable of raiding. As such, the best way to ensure I got invited to raids was to be willing to spend the money before raid time to respec to tree, and spend the money again afterward to spec back. One of our paladins (who prefers to go retribution and DPS) was already doing the same thing. It's a lot easier to cover a little gear shortage on a healer than it is on a tank when doing progression, at least the way our guild runs, and so I started raiding primarily as a tree.
Some of you out there probably already know where this leads. A lot of our guild think of me as a healer only, or a healer first. I'm a tank that happens to heal because if I didn't I wouldn't get to go, dangit. I have found that I enjoy healing given that I get opportunities to bear up sometimes, and I've read a couple of good posts lately on why people heal. I do it because it expands my usefulness and thus the likelyhood I'll be invited to do things. To keep my sanity, sometimes I have to refuse simply because I much prefer to tank, but that's neither really here nore there.
Whilst I would prefer to focus on the bear's view of being a druid, I'll spend a fair bit of time talking about the leafy side of life as well. To whit:
I healed on my guild's weekly run into the 25 man versions of Onyxia and Trial of the Crusader Wednesday night. We've had Onyxia on farm mode since essentially the first night we went in, and last night was no exception. We haven't made any of the achievements yet, but we haven't wiped since that first night.
ToC, on the other hand, tends to give us a few issues.
We've been going at it for awhile now, and have pretty much locked down on the Northrend Beasts as well as Lord Jaraxxus, and last night was no exception as we one-shotted each. The Faction Champions have for quite some time seemed to be our kryptonite.
I've had several friends that play on other servers tell me this is one of the easiest fights. When I say we've had trouble with the tree putting out too much healing, I get told, "The tree doesn't put out enough healing to worry about! If he is, just Banish, Banish, Fear, Fear, Cyclone, Cyclone, Cyclone, and then he dies...." My guild, for the most part, does not PVP, and high-end raid content (with the exception of mind control in the Instructor fight in Naxx) has not required coordinated use of CC in quite some time, especially not on the scale that is needed to make this fight doable.
I know, some of you are saying my guild just needs to "l2p, nubs." Go away.
Before tonight, as a guild, we'd managed to kill 1 or 2 of the Champions a couple of times. Last night, after 3 or 4 wipes, we finally managed to get half of them down. Unfortunately we had lost too many people by that point to be able to keep it up, and wiped again. Then, on our last attempt of the night, we broke through.
Their priest went down, we lost a mage. Their shaman went down, we lost a warlock. We've got CC flying everywhere, 5 druids on the night means cyclones and HoTs going crazy, our raid leader is keeping the warrior busy, our hunters are keeping a broad patch of white in the middle for folks to drag melee across to slow them down, cleanses, purges, dispels, hexes, fears, sheeps, roots, freezes, and just general chaos. The warlock gets a battle rez and suddenly we've got the distinct advantage. The druid falls and it's all downhill from there.
By the end of the fight (it lasted around 15 mins in total) I've dropped tree form and started adding to the dps.
I can't go tonight but my guild is going back in to take our first shots at the Twins.
I can't decide if I'm truly happy or not that Blizzard decided to put a PvP fight in a PvE raid. I'm happy in that it forces each of us to use our class to its full potential, but I'm not in that it is so radically different in the style of play that it has taken a group of relatively seasoned (if somewhat casual) raiders literally over a month to figure out how to get through it. I know this is a little late to be commenting on this as this raid boss has been out for quite awhile, but seeing as I just started this (possibly ill-advised) little experiment in social networking yesterday I'm still interested in getting people's opinions.
On the definite plus side, I picked up a trophy from Icehowl, and will be able to complete my T9 tanking set (three pieces "of Conquest," two "of Triumph") once I gather up the 75 badges to buy the headpiece. Just a ring and trinket or two after that and I can turn my triumph badges to my healing set.
Coming soon: Kae's primer on bear tanking, or working with one, and should you assign healing roles based solely on class or worry about the gear and spec too?
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