Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Firebird

Tuesday night, we returned to the fortress of Kael'thalas to do battle with his pet, the Phoenix Lord, Al'ar. This was going to be a much more serious attempt on Al'ar. Sunday, we were just kind of messing around with him since no one had really studied up on the fight.
This time, we were studied and prepared.
My job in the Al'ar fight is the tank the Embers of Al'ar that spawn throughout the fight. What we decided to do this time was have a Fury Warrior (Cyrak) up on the platform where Al'ar was being tanked. He would grab the ember and bring it down to me where we would kill it with the help of an Enhancement Shaman (Bonus).
Then he would go get the next one. Sometimes, I would have 2 on me at a time but it didn't seem to be a big problem.
One of our Phase 1 wipes was contributed to by your humble author getting himself killed by Quill, while on the ground. My understanding was that Quill only hits the upper deck, yet there I was on the floor, and clearly saw in my combat log that a Quill killed me.
It took a couple of attempts, but I think we got Phase 1 down. Phase 2 was another story. Picking up the first two Embers went okay, but that's when things got crazy.
I'm there trying to hold aggro on these two embers while the Fury Warrior and Enhancement shaman rip into them, when two more spawn. I can't go running all over the place to try to grab them, but they headed for our Shadow Priest or Resto Shaman. Flame patches were all over the ground and Meteors were falling. Our best attempt ended when I died due to one of the healers going to Battle Rez a fallen player. She blamed herself but it wasn't really her fault. We had lost too many healers at that point and it was too much to ask her to run across the room, battle rez and then get back to me. Even at that she said she only missed healing me by abut 1 second.
The fight is intense, complicated, and chaotic. It was a lot of fun and definitely the most challenging fight I've tried to tank thus far. It really stresses on one of my weaker points, situational awareness. I need to keep my threat rotation going while watching for new adds, and keeping an eye on the health of the current add.
We recleared Al'ar's trash but decided to go to Void Reaver instead. We had some new people in the raid who had not been there previously and our mages were still spec'ed frost from the Al'ar attempts.
We wiped a couple of times as people got used to the Orbs. Then in our final attempt before trash respawned, we had him down to 1% when we got a huge lag spike. Everyone in the raid reported their screens kind of froze up. When the game caught  back up the tanks were dead and Void Reaver was happily wiping us.
It was a rough night, and somewhat frustrating.
After a night like this I expected to feel very upset and question a hundred things our guild is doing, but I didn't. We made some very solid progress on Al'ar and we are integrating the Alterac Mountains people into our core. As crazy as this sounds, ever since I got ALD, I haven't felt really frustrated to the degree I had been feeling before. I really think some of my frustration with the game and raiding was coming from losing out on that loot. Now that I've got it, I've calmed down some.
A week ago, I was ready to throw in the towel on my guild and start shopping. Man, how things have turned around. The raid was formed up and ready to go as soon as I logged in and people seem generally excited about progression. That, probably more so than getting ALD, has contributed to my renewed enjoyment despite the wipes on VR.
As I look at the people who have left our guild, I would say most have regretted their decision. I am glad I was patient enough to see it through.
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