I ventured back into the waters of OpenRaid this week and found a different group running Highmaul. I again signed up as a Tank with a DPS offspec. The event description said that invites would go out a half hour before the raid start so I got concerned when 15 minutes before the stated start time, I still hadn’t heard anything. I jumped over to the server of the raid leader and made a level 1 alt. I whispered him and soon after I had an invite to my RealID friends list. I hopped back on my main and got the raid invite a few minutes later. I asked him if he needed me to come as Prot or Ret and got really excited when he told me that they wanted me to tank.
The guild that hosted the raid came from a PVP server and as soon as I joined the group and left my garrison I was flagged. It felt very strange to be running around flagged again. I grew up on PVP servers of Dark Iron and Altar of Storms so I know what it’s like to live on a PVP server, but it’s been a while. Unlike the pile of skeletons that usually littered the ground in front of Molten Core or Karazhan, there were relatively few skeletons at Highmaul. All around me were dozens and dozens of other Horde. Apparently this server is very one sided.
We waited around for a little while because the group was short on healers. This is a familiar refrain in my raiding days. Eventually, we got healers from Group Finder but the raid leader was concerned. Our healing team was Shaman, Shaman, Druid which apparently is great for raid healing but leaves a bit to be desired as tank healers. Without any better options we moved into the instance.
I had gotten some practice on Kargath the week before so I had a pretty good idea of what to do. The other tank, a Brewmaster, was part of the guild that was hosting the raid and took the main tank duties (I would learn later that he was the GM of the guild). We switched off on the Impales and it seemed like I was the one free for the stands group each time.
Based upon my previous experience with OpenRaid, I didn’t have high expectations, but this group seemed to be doing a bit better. I came down from the stands and nobody was dead. After two more transitions, things did start to get chaotic and I could feel the raid starting to buckle, but we managed to kill Kargath before we lost control. A mixture of relief and excitement flowed through me. I had beaten the first boss of Highmaul.
I didn’t have any idea how far we would get, and this is currently the highest level content opened to me. I didn't get a drop, but I burned a bonus roll immediately.
Next up was Butcher. I had heard this was a roadblock for many groups and given the dynamics of the fight I could sort of understand it. Butcher is a coordination fight where the team has to work together to handle his deadliest moves. I have to give a shout out to the raid leader who did a great job explaining the fight and set up floating raid markers for the different groups to stand in. He guided us through with macros and commands over voice chat.
Butcher was one shot. My optimism for the group was growing. We were doing Personal loot and again there was nothing on the boss for me. I burned another bonus roll.
We decided to try Brackenspore next. For the first time of the night we ran into some issues. There’s an element of randomness to it with the placement of the mushrooms that reminded me a little of the Prince Malcheezar encounter. Sometimes we got ‘good’ mushroom placement and it spawned right next to us and sometimes the Living Mushroom we needed spawned clear on the other side of the room. The DPS needed a couple of attempts to learn how to use the flame throwers without letting them overheat and a couple of our wipes were due to Brack getting too much healing from the moss.
The Necrotic Breath did a number on me, and we also had trouble with the Rot debuff. It was more the combination of high stacks of Rot plus no healing during Breath plus his melee. We tried switching at 3 stacks but sometimes I would still have active stacks when it was time to switch and sometimes we would need to switch as Necrotic Breath happened. We eventually settled on 4 stacks but we still have issues with the flamethrower guys not getting the healing moss out quick enough.
We got him down to consecutive single digit wipes, but it was getting really late. The scheduled end time was already pretty late for me and we were looking at going past that, but we were so close and I wanted to see a kill. One of the healers bailed and we went into Group Finder. A few minutes later, a Discipline Priest joined the raid. The guy was way over geared for normal (670 item level). I have no idea what he was doing, but I was sure glad to have him healing.
The next attempt went much better. My health was more stable and the Necrotic Breaths were less threatening. It was a close call again, but this time we prevailed.
There wasn't anything for me on the corpse. I took a deep breath and fired off my final bonus roll.
Belt! I won the belt and it had a Prismatic Socket. Double score!
We called the raid for the night at that point, but decided we would try again later in the week. The raid leader complimented me on my tanking and hoped I would come back. It felt great to have some success tanking and to get compliments from the raid leader who was also one of the healers.