Wednesday night, Dominion went after Lady Vashj once more.
I logged in long enough to get sub credit and decided to go play on my Warrior. I kept listening in on Vent. My plan was to log into Honorshammer as soon as they got her down, so I could celebrate with them. After my misstep after our first night on Vashj, I was trying to be as good a soldier as I possibly could be. As much as possible I want to show my guild that my outburst was a learning experience from which I hoped to rebound with grace.
As start time approached, Vlad determined she only had 6 healers in the Raid, and was debating between asking me to come, or asking a Resto Druid to come. She decided she wanted a 3rd Paladin Blessing and a 3rd Blessing of Freedom in case she lost one of the other two Paladins in Phase 1 or Phase 2. Their best attempt Tuesday had been at least in part foiled when the Paladins went down and they didn't have a Blessing of Freedom for Phase 3.
She offered to pay for my respec to Holy, so I logged into Honorshammer, changed him to Holy and got an invite. I owe a debt of thanks to Tyaus who helped me with my spec. The first time I had gone Holy, my spec was something of mess.
My responsibility in Phase 2 was changed from the last time I had been to Vashj. I was to go with a Warlock and a Hunter to the East side and keep them alive while they prevented Elementals from reaching Lady Vashj and making her stronger. Every Elemental that gets through to Vashj makes her stronger. It's something a combination of Grandmaster Vorpil in Shadow Labs, and Gruul.
The challenge in this particular assignment was the Warlock and the Hunter didn't stay close together. They sort of patrolled, so I would have to run back and forth to make sure each stayed healed. There are also a ton of line of sight issues with those stairs.
I was also responsible for the Hunter's pet. I am very inexperienced as a healer. The pet doesn't show up in Healbot (I love that mod), so I lost the Pet on the first attempt.
I pulled the Hunter and the Pet out of my raid frames so I could keep an eye on them.
As a "Stair Healer" it would my job to pass the Tainted Core up to the top platform where the generators were. I would get the core from either the Hunter or the Warlock, and then I was to pass it to either a specific Priest or a Shaman up top.
The one time we got the Core on our side, I tried to pass it to the Priest. The macro you use to pass the core doesn't give you any indication if the person you are targeting is in range or let you know if the pass failed. So, I hit the macro, thinking the core is passed. But the Priest was out of range.
"Honors, you've still got the Core!"
I looked around as quickly as I could and saw a Warlock between me and the Healer.
I hit my Push To Talk key. "Coming to you, Thunder!" I passed the Core to Thunderbolt and got back to to healing.
We got all 4 Generators down, but just as the last Generator went down a Strider spawned. The tanks picked up Vashj, and the DPS split between the Strider and the Boss.
I had thought Phase 2 was chaotic (and it is), Phase 3 kicks it up a notch.
In theory, Phase 3 is the same as Phase 1, just with some bats dropping poison all over the ground. It sounds fairly mundane. The experience is anything but mundane. One thing no video can convey to you is how hectic the Phase really is.
The entire area of the fight slowly becomes covered with poison which ticks hard. At one point, someone yelled out on Vent that I was standing in the poison. I wasn't. I was in between two patches, but I decided to not argue the point over vent. I am concerned it makes me look like not a very good player, but I decided that it wasn't the time to argue the point.
We began to slowly lose the raid, and people started dropping to the poison. My mana reserves were becoming absolutely strained. I popped a mana pot, but I was almost out again before the cooldown was up. Luckily I had some Dark Runes on me that I use when I am tanking for mana. I used one of those as well. I had to bubble to move over a patch of poison as the tanks moved Vashj around as best they could.
We had her at 1%, but people were dropping left and right. My mana was about spent, and the entire area was covered in poison. There was no where to run to, no where to hide, (no where to run to, ba-by).
And then, after what seemed like an eternity, she fell.
We had done it. We had downed Lady Vashj.
Did I make the 'right' choice to go Holy for this raid? Did I somehow betray the Protection Paladin community by making this choice. I don't think so. I know at points, that other Protection Paladins that I've looked up to as examples like Lore, Psiven and others have gone Holy for a night or two.
Can a Prot Paladin tank Vashj. You bet your Dwarvish Beard they can. Had I stayed in Mal Katai, I have no doubt I would have tanked her when and if we got to her.
I am a firm believer that life is a series of choices. Sometimes, one choice you make will make other choices for you, but ultimately they are choices.
You never HAVE to do anything. Not to be morbid, but the only thing you HAVE to do is die, everything else is a choice, and even in that moment you will come to grips with the most important choice you made in your entire life.
I could have stood my ground and not respeced to Holy. There was no threat nor coercion, simply a choice. Spec Holy and raid Vashj, or stay Prot and not raid Vashj. The tanks for the night were Kee (who had killed Vashj with another guild) and Vlad (who was leading the raid).
It's sort of hard to argue her choices, and if I had been in her shoes, I may very well have made the same decisions myself. I'm still very new to the guild, to take me over a more established tank would have caused no end of drama.
At the heart of it, I'm a raider. I love to raid. As long as Dominion doesn't ask me to go Holy full time, I don't see any problem with going Holy for the occasional Boss. Ultimately, it's about contributing to the team, right?