Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Old Habits Die Hard

Monday night, Mal Katai got its 25 man raid team together to finish up with Naxx. All we had left was Plague and then Sapphiron and Kel'Thuzad.

I got a little help from our resident Ret Paladin and Guild Leader as to where the adds on the fight would spawn. That aided me greatly in picking them up and I feel like I did a much better job, though one or two still seemed to get loose.

As you walk into Noth's room, look to your right and you'll see some small piles of bones. When Noth starts blathering on about "Rise my soldiers, Rise and fight once more", look over at the piles of bone and you can actually see the adds start to come out of the bone pile.

I actually stayed alive the whole way on Heigan. I tried to a watch our Main Tank to see where he put him, but very quickly I was having to concentrate more on keeping myself alive rather than trying to pick up something from watching him.

Loatheb went pretty well. I actually picked up a Spore or two, and DPS'ed without using Righteous Fury. Mana was never an issue, and while my DPS wasn't going to win any awards every little bit helps.

Loateb dropped the Greaves of Turbulence. Under Mal Katai's loot system, you whisper the Master Looter if you are interested by saying "Main Set", "Small Upgrade", or "Offset"

Main set is your 'main' set and you can only call main set on one type of gear. If you want main set tanking gear, you have to go offset on DPS gear. Small upgrade is something for your main set, but represents only a small upgrade over what you currently have equipped.

The way it works is that whoever has the most MKP (think DKP) and wants it for a main set upgrade gets the piece. If no one wants it for a main set upgrade then it comes down to who has the most DKP out of the offset and small upgrade. At least, I think that's how it works.

I was fortunate enough to win the piece. These were an immediate upgrade over the Bolstered Legplates I had gotten in Heroic Violet Hold. My Legs were one of the weaker parts of my kit and getting these helped to sure that up. With the leg patch attached, I'm now up to 28.5k hit points and I haven't even started using Dragon's Eyes in my gear yet.

This time I got to watch Sapphiron put himself together, after missing it last time. The first attempt we lost our Main Tank, so I decided I would help out with heals. I stayed in full tanking gear, but the aura meant I pretty much had a constant flow of mana coming back to me. We don't do WWS reports for our raids so I don't know exactly how much I contributed, but I felt like I was able to provide a buffer and help out the real healers.

I still can't stand healing, but healing on one fight was certainly better than wiping again. Gatekeeper (tanking ring) dropped but I lost it to another Paladin. He was Holy last night but wants to be a Tank (and was a Tank in Burning Crusade), so he's made Tanking his main set.

Then we get to Kel'Thuzad. My mission, should I choose to accept it, was to pick up the 4 Crypt Lords that spawn around 40%, or maybe it's 45%. There are 4 possible locations for each to spawn at, about 5 seconds apart. I had at my disposal, Hand of Reckoning, Hand Mounted Pyro Rocket and Avenger's Shield.

Hand of Reckoning and the Pyro Rocket do so little threat that if I didn't get a Shield of Righteousness on the Crypt Lord immediately I'd lose it to healing aggro, and each one I picked up made seeing and picking up the next that much harder.

At one point, I used Righteous Defense to taunt one of the Crypt Lords. A moment before I hit the button,the Crypt Lord wandered into melee range and got nailed by the Main Tank's Thunderclap, so when I used Righteous Defense, the Crypt Lord was targeting our Main Tank.

Rod, tell him what he's won! Well, for using Righteous Defense when the Crypt Lord was targeting the main tank, you've won Kel'Thuzad's aggro!! Kel will now float towards our lucky offtank and ruin positioning for just about everyone in the raid. Congratulations!

I had no end of trouble getting all 4 under control before at least one would kill a healer or DPS, and even when I had all 4, I would eventually get burst down as the fight wore on.

After a couple of unsuccessful attempts, we brought in one of our Feral Druids to help out. He would pick up two and I would pick up two. We still ended up losing both myself and the Feral, but we were able to finish off Kel just in the nick of time.

Wall of Terror dropped but I lost it to what I thought was as DPS Warrior. I would later find out in a private discussion with the Loot Master that the Warrior was a Tank, but he had been asked to go DPS for the night because they had the tank spots filled.

I said nothing in the raid and waited until after the raid was over. In a private channel, I told the Master Looter that I didn't think it should have been awarded to the DPS Warrior. That's when I was informed he was a Tank.

I promised myself I wouldn't get all weird about gear in this Expansion. I made that mistake in Burning Crusade and regretted it. Yet, here I was doing it again. Old habits die hard I guess. I think part of the issue was the fact it was a shield. There's something weird about the relationship between a tank and his shield. It's that one piece of gear that defines you as a 'Tank'. I guess for melee it's the weapon, but a for tank, it's your shield.

To be completely honest, I actually like the itemization on Hero's Surrender better than Wall of Terror despite the item level difference.

The Master Looter ultimately did the right thing by applying the rules of our loot system fairly.

I do question if we have too many people trying to gear up to be tanks. It will dilute the tank gear that flows to the tanks. I wonder if we shouldn't designate certain people as 'Main Tanks' and only allow those people to call Main Spec on tank gear.

But I can see that approach having all kinds of issues.

If one of those 'Main Tanks' isn't able to show for whatever reason, you don't have well geared people able to sub in if you've filtered all your tank gear to a small number of people. Our guild needs to have plenty of good subs because we don't really enforce any kind of 'Thou Shalt Be Online On Raid Nights!' rule. It's one of the things I like about Mal Katai. If something comes up, you don't log on and no body gives you static about it.

Besides the need for solid subs, I have to put myself in the shoes of those people who would be told they aren't part of the 'Main Tanks' group. These are people who want to be tanks, and enjoy the Tank role. Basically, people like me. If the Guild Leader came and said I couldn't call Main Set on Tank gear because he and officers had decided I wasn't one of the The Main Tanks, I'd be upset, disappointed and probably a little angry. I've got to imagine those guys would feel the same way.

I also have to consider that I can and have been able to handle anything thrown at me thus far. A shield or a ring, as nice and as welcome as those upgrades would be, isn't keeping me from being able to do the job. In fact, I'm getting the most valuable thing out of the raid right now, the actual raid tanking spot. Granted, it's an offtank spot, but the Main Tank has better gear and has been tanking for them for a lot longer than I have. He's earned his spot.

The fear would be that one of these other guys goes to the Raid Leader and says he should get the tank spot because he now outgears me, but I don't think that's going to happen. I don't think they'd demote the current Main Tank just because I got a piece of gear that put me a little ahead of him in gear.

To take it a step further, I should probably offer to rotate out with the other guys that want to Tank. Maybe next week, I'll respec DPS and the DPS Warrior gets to tank. As for the Holy Paladin, well, to be honest, I'd rather sit than go Holy.
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