Last night, I got a whisper from my old buddy Ferth of Heroes Inc who wanted to see if I was saved to the Sartharion raid. Sartharion is a single boss "Onyxia" type encounter.
I didn't want to get caught committed to Heroes group, and then have Mal Katai need me so I checked with Raistilan, who gave me the go ahead to run with Heroes.
Heroes group was a little heavy on tanks, so Ferth asked if I could go as Retribution. I thought that was actually a pretty good idea. It would be good to see the fight from any angle so I have a better understanding of it when I need to tank it.
Also, when dual specs come out I intend to run as a Prot / Ret Paladin and getting a little practice as Ret would be a good thing. Basically I can go Prot or Ret, just don't ask me to go Holy.
I was about to say don't ask me to heal, but I made a macro for Art of War. Art of War makes your Flash of Light instant, so it only costs you a global cooldown.
My macro targets the tank, casts Flash of Light and returned my target to Sartharion. Since I was having zero problems with mana, whenever I got an Art of War proc, I smash the macro and between that and Divine Storm I'd contribute a little healing.
What I didn't contribute was much in the way of actual DPS. I'll post my actual DPS at the end of this post.
I think Blizzard did a poor job in introducing you to Sartharion and the WHY behind you need to kill this Dragon. I realize some people need little more motivation than "He's got da phat epicz fo'shizzle", but I'd like a little more (and a little lore as well).
So I did a little digging. Turns out Sartharion works for none other than Deathwing The Destroyer. Deathwing is trying to create a new Dragonflight called the Twilight Dragons. The purpose of the Twilight Dragons is to destroy the other Dragonflights and basically rule the worlds. Sartharion is guarding a cache of Twilight Dragon eggs, and his 3 drakes are the first born of this new Dragon Flight.
I would have preferred a quest, given by Alexstrasa that explained that to the players, so we know why Sartharion is such a threat and why he must be stopped.
Now as to the actual encounter, it was quite fun. You start out fighting some basic trash. A four pack of dragonkin, and a 2 pack of large Dragonkin. The four pack spawns these balls of fiery death that you have to run away from or get cooked. The 2 pack are basically tank and spank. They hit pretty hard but really don't do anything weird.
We opted to kill the three drakes before we engaged Sartharion. The Drakes reminded me a little bit of Kalegos. After fighting the Drake, he opens a portal. Everyone except for a healer and a tank go inside and fight a Disciple (another Dragonkin) in there. Inside the portal, everyone takes shadow damage to the tune of about 1000 per second. You don't have long to kill the Disciple before the shadow damage will kill you. Once the Disciple is down, you are sent back to the 'real world' where you fight the Drake.
Then we get to Sartharion himself. First of all, he is a dragon, so you have to watch for the tail swipe. I had seen enough melee DPSers fighting Nightbane that at least I knew where to stand to avoid that.
Then from time to time, Sartharion creates a giant wall of fire. The wall has a small break in it. Stand there and you are safe, otherwise you get nailed. Our tank positioned Sartharion in such a way that the melee DPS didn't need to move if the wave came from one side, and only had to move a little bit if it came from the other.
Then Sartharion summons little fire elemental adds which where picked up and tanked by Ferth aka Ferthadin. When Sartharion gets low, he summons a whole mess of Fire Elementals. As a bonus, if the Fire Elementals get washed over by the giant wall of fire, they get big and red and start doing more damage. As a general rule, when a mob or Hordie gets Big and Red, it's normally a 'Bad Thing'.
Our main trouble seemed to be sudden tank death, but sense I was happily chopping away at Sartharion's flank, I can't comment much. It took a couple of attempts, but eventually we got Sartharion down. He dropped a DPS plate helm and a token for gloves that wasn't a Conqueror (Paladin, Priest, Warlock). In fact, only one person in the raid could use the token (a mage) but he already had them. DPS is my offspec, so I didn't roll against a couple of 'main' DPSers who were interested in the helm. I was happy enough just to have received an invite to the raid.
I'm a little hesitant to post this next screenshot, but I will anyway. It's a picture of my Recount DPS Meter after the successful attempt. I'm thinking it's just a gear thing at this point. I'm not sure if it's a gear thing, or skill/practice thing. I know my spec was ok because I copied it from Eye for Eye's guide. I'm still using about half of my Black Temple/Mount Hyjal gear.