Wednesday, October 28, 2009

RAWR!... and the bigger they are...

Thus I begin my foray into the blogging world.

Since I don't expect anybody to know who I am, a (very) little about myself before I venture into the real content of my first post.  I'm a Systems Engineer at a communications company, I got married earlier this year, and I've been playing WoW since before TBC came out.  I didn't get to 70, however, until a month or so before Wrath was released, so most of my end-game experience is colored by that fact.  My main is an alliance druid, main specced into bear tanking and offspecced into tree.  Enough about me, on to the show!

I had a number of ideas on how to start around here, but on the path of positive thinking, I decided to start with a high note from my past week in the World.

Everybody that's ever pugged in WoW has had at least one experience with a bad group.  The leader can't get the right people, the dps keeps going afk, the healer lets the tank die and then says "sorry I was afk/eating/bio/etc."  In raids it can often be worse, if pugs come in and don't know the fights, or can't play their class.  If you pug, you know how this goes, and just hope that you don't get saved to something before you can escape.

I got an invite to tank a 10-man Onyxia last week from someone I had never met.  Apologies to those involved, I can't even remember their names at this point.  I happily accept and start looking at the raid composition to see if I might be able to get any of my other guildies that are on invited.  That, you see, is where my worry started.

There seemed to be some confusion as to how many healers were there already, and how many we still needed, as well as DPS.  By the time I was able to sort it out we've managed to get a full raid invited in - but from what some folks had said, we had only 2 heals.  This seems 1 light to me, but I'll let the raid leader do his job - then somebody drops.  Another join, and another drop.

By this point I'm groaning on the inside.  The raid channel is full of chatter, half of which makes me think I'm the only one around that actually knows anything.  I tell myself that it'll be ok, it'll be a rough run but we'll get through it.

I should mention, at some point, that I was being told I'll be the main tank, and while I was confident that I could do it, I had never, at that point, even gone in to Onyxia 10-man, and the 25 man version I had only healed.  (Yeah, I know, I said I was main spec tank, I'll address that some other time).

By the time we start in, we've had 3 changes in the last raid spot.

On the first trash pull the raid leader died because somebody wouldn't wait until we could do just one at a time.  At this point I'm quite certain we're going to wipe, hardcore.

You know the feeling.  It's the same one you get watching horror flicks, when you know something bad is going to happen.  You don't always know when, you don't always know how, but you know it's coming, and you can't stop it.  It gets even worse as folks try to run past the Warder that's off on the side and ignore it.  A couple of folks insist that we do need to kill it, and when a DPS gets a little too close and pulls it I growl at it and hope I have a healer close by.  Insert universal expression of exasperation here.

Finally, we get down to Onyxia herself.  In what surprises me as a remarkable show of organization, we do set out roles and responsibilities for each phase - I'm taking her in phase 1, in phase 2 the OT (a paladin) will take the whelps and I'll take the larger adds, and when she lands, if I don't have an add I'll take her, if one is still up the OT will take her.  The raid leader assigns some DPS roles for phase 2, and off we go.

It was perfect.

Phase 1, I get my furry butt backed up against the far wall.  I think the DPS starts going a little early, but it doesn't cause me any issues.  What seems like an amazingly few seconds later, she turns and heads south to take off.  The whelps spawn and are gathered up by the pally.  The AOE starts to burn them down as Ony flies around, and one of the larger adds spawns and comes down the ramp.  I pick it up and turn it around.

I really don't realize, at this point, how fast we are going, and I start to get a little worried about how "slow" the dps is going after the add I'm tanking, and the whelps that are still dying around the pally.  As my big dude starts to get a little low on life, I'm looking around for where Ony is in case I need to move for a deep breath, as I'm sure it's past time for one, whatever DBM says.

Then Onyxia lands, without ever taking a deep breath.  In shock I look for the pally to see if he's moving to pick her up, but can't find him.  A couple seconds later my add drops, and I run down the big dragon, berserking through the first fear.  I pick her up and get her turned back where she should be, and the DPS goes nuclear.  In what seems to me like a remarkably short time from when I first went snout-to-snout with the big girl, she comes crashing down.

My screen spams yellow boxes - More Dots!, She Deep Breaths More, and the achievement for Ony herself, all at once.

To say the least, I was pleasantly surprised.

While I've gotten better, I have occasionally had problems outpacing threat for people with extremely high DPS output.  I had no issues, and we had a 5.9k and 5.2k DPS, plus a couple more at 4k+.  Hats off to all the folks that were on that raid, despite my misgivings on the lead up, everybody performed to perfection and made a bear happy.

If you've somehow managed to find your way here, I hope you enjoyed my little story.  I hope in upcoming posts to do some thoughts on bear tanking, tree healing, life in general, and anything else that happens to strike my fancy.  Welcome, and thanks for reading!

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