Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Taking The Wheel

I found myself in what's becoming a familiar haunt to Honorshammer, Dun Niffelem. While there I saw my buddy LeeJenkins asking for an Offtank for 10 man Naxx. Because my schedule doesn't mesh well with the schedule of the 10 man Naxx groups in the guild I jumped at the chance.

I had managed to grab a couple more upgrades since I last Raid tanked. The Titanium Earthguard Ring from Jewelcrafting and Bolstered Legplates from Heroic Violet Hold had been added to my kit. This pushed me into the 26k unbuffed HP range.

So get my Flask of Stoneblood, and my Dragonfin Filet and start flying out to Dragonblight. I started looking around the raid group, and I got really excited. It was a bunch of folks that I ran a ton with back in Burning Crusade, but hadn't been able to run as much with as of yet in Wrath.

We had 2 Protection Paladins (myself and one other) as tanks. Healers were a Holy Paladin, and Holy Priest. We had a Feral Druid, and Titans Grip Warrior as our melee. Ranged was a Hunter (not sure of spec, but I can't imagine Araxe NOT being Beast Master), a Mage (Arcane), a Warlock (no clue), and a Shaman (Elemental).

This was the kind of run I love. 10 online friends were going to hang out for a couple of hours on vent and kill some Internet villains.

I got a bit of a surprised when I zoned in. Lee told me I was going to be Main Tank. Okay, no problem. I had never marked the pulls, or led a group in Naxx, but now was a good as time as any to start.

We decided to being with the Spider Wing.

Okay, who gave the trash spiders Death Grip? That's the Death Knight spell where they yank you halfway across the BG. That was annoying as all get out, and it made getting the pull under control a bit hairy.

Our first boss was Anub. Mal Katai had never done him without a Warrior tanking. The Warrior would intervene a Hunter standing on the other side. I was tanking Anub and would have to walk around the edge.

Just in case you were wondering, falling into the slime is not a good idea.

We pulled again, and this time I managed to run all the way to the other side. When I got there, Anub proceeded to kill me. The fight was new for the healers as well and they were working out where they could stand to be able to reach me with heals but not be affected by Anub's silence.

It took a couple of tries but eventually we got him.

Something really odd was going on with threat, because I kept losing threat to LeeJenkins even though his attention was directed on the adds. I know I'm not perfect on 969 rotation just yet. Too often it becomes 9669 which is not as good. I did noticed that Lee would drop Consecrate where I would not, but that can not explain why I was losing threat.

Now I was judging Wisdom, and Lee was doing Light, but Blizzard was supposed to have removed the threat component to JoL. I wonder if that didn't get worked out completely the way it should have.

Next up was Grand Widow. We had to figure out some minor details like how close the boss needed to be to the Worshipers so she wouldn't enrage. I learned that I can not survive an enraged Faerlina for very long, and very long in this context equates to about 4 seconds.

Once we figured out the range thing we were able to stop her enrage and kill her.

I messed up some of the trash pulls and ended up overpulling at one point (I think we had 3 groups on us at once, or was it 4) which led to a trash wipe. You ever see those Southwest commercials that end "Wanna get away?". Yeah, that was me.

We pressed on and a trash epic dropped, a Medallion of the Disgraced . We don't DKP in a 10 man, just basically need/greed roll. I rolled off with the other Protection Paladin, and won. This replaced my Pendant of the Nathrezim.

When all was said and done and we buffed up for Maexxna, I was sitting at over 34k buffed HP. My defense was climbing well past 540. I felt like I could take on anything in there.

Maexxna would teach me otherwise. I couldn't see everything from my vantage point tanking her, but I usually died during an Enraged Web Spray. We eventually got her down though. She dropped the epic tanking cloak, The Cloak of Armed Strife. Both myself and my co-Tankadin were wearing 'blue' capes.

I opted to not roll against my co-Tank. I had just won the epic neck from the trash drop, and I have enough Emblems of Valor to purchase the Plantium Mesh Cloak. So I felt he would get more use out it than I would.

There was some discussion about where to head next. A couple of people mentioned Construct Quarter. Our TG Warrior put in a vote for Plague because he coveted a trinket off the final boss there.

After our struggles in Spider, we decided Plague was a good choice to try next. We easily had the DPS to handle the Gargoyles. Well, we would have if I hadn't pulled a Ghoul/Slime pack along with the Gargoyle. Yeah, not a banner night for Hammer.

We regrouped and started pulling our way to Noth. Noth would turn out to be our one and only one shot of the night, and everyone was happy for it.

Then came the Heigan. I've watched him be tanked 3 or 4 times now, but this time I was sitting in the pilot's chair. We had two people who were seeing Heigan for the first time, and one of those represented 50% of our healing. My co-Tank graciously offered to help offheal. He had some fun with it. "You got a heal coming, just taking a while".

After a couple of attempts I felt like I started to get the 'dance' down. I was right that it was something I was just going to have to do to learn. What I hadn't picked up on from watching the other tanks, or in any of the videos I had watched, was that there is a 'too close' / 'too far' dichotomy that you have to managed with Heigan. He can't be too close to the casters, but you can't be too far away or you will move them out of range.

I was beginning to have doubts we would kill him, when we managed to survive the first 'dance' phase. I picked him back up and started moving him around again. Somehow I lost my bearings, and had to ask the TG Warrior to help me figure out where to move next.

It was close and we really had to burn him down those last few percent, but we won! He dropped the Amulet of Autopsy. I was sitting with an epic neck and my co-Tank still had a quest blue, so I passed. I think the badge bought Chained Military Gorget is pretty much equal to the Amulet. That will let my co-Tank pick up his Badge belt sooner (which I already have).

We ran through the little grub gauntlet and soon we were facing down Loatheb. This fight is pretty simple from a tank perspective. I have to sit there and tank him and hope the healers keep me up during the small window they get to heal in. We used at least 2 Lay on Hands cooldowns, but we managed to get him down.

No trinket for the Titan's Grip Warrior, but Lee got a new pair of T7 shoulders. At that point it was getting late, so we decided to call it after two wings.

It was something of a rough run, and I knew it was going to be a learning experience. Hopefully it goes better next time.
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