Last night I was a little late getting online as I was furiously working on my resume. You may remember about six months ago, we lost our big account at work. At the time, the management group said 'we don't want anyone going out and looking for a job, but we understand if you do.' Monday that changed to 'January numbers are in. January numbers are bad. You should really be looking if you aren't.’ So looking I am.
It was a great relief to escape into WoW for a couple of hours. Our intrepid little band was headed up to the Crimson Halls. We had killed the Princes earlier in the week so we were ready to fight the Queen once more. Our Lock had not seen her before and at the end of the Thursday's raid he sent his little Eye thing up to her room. He let it get too close and pulled her. We weren't sure it that had burned an attempt since we were all heading out, but sure enough it had. We gave him a good natured ribbing; at least I hope he took it that way. I really like the culture that Boston has cultivated in our raid team. We don’t jump all over people about mistakes. We’ll rib you about it, sure. But it’s done in a good natured, ‘lets all just have a laugh about this’ kind of way.
Our first pull on the Queen was a gong show. I got passed in threat and got bitten. Getting bitten means you are generating zero threat. That did not end well. I checked all the usual suspects, Righteous Fury up, Seal of Vengeance (yes I know it’s technically Corruption, but I still think of it as Vengeance, there’s still a lot of Dwarf in this Blood Elf).
Everything looked to be in order. Boston, Raid Leader extraordinaire, asked melee to give me a little more time to establish threat. They are all fighting for that 'get bitten first' position.
The next attempt went well until the second air phase. People needed to bite someone while she was in the air doing her AoE. Getting people close together in this phase is a Bad Thing™ because the damage they take is intense. The vampires were in a no win situation. Either they have to get close to bite someone and cause massive raid damage, or they don’t bite, get mind controlled, and go around one shotting healers. To try to throw off the timing a bit, we had the first person bitten by the Queen delay when they bit the first time. That seemed to help.
Every air phase I would put up Divine Sacrifice aka Raid Wall to help with the damage, and then start spamming heals on myself. We were running three healers, Black (Disc Priest), Lakini (Resto Druid) and Stark (Resto Shaman). By healing myself, I took some pressure off of them and allowed them to concentrate on other members of our team.
Delaying the bite seemed to help and our next two attempts went well, but we lost Lakini. We had Pink (our Feral Druid) battlerez him. We got the Queen into the single digits when she enraged and one shot the raid.
We felt like we were really close. Someone asked if we could DPS her in the air, and we determined we could. Plus we instructed the healers to DPS once the healing got managable towards the end. Boston (Blood co-Tank) switched some gear to be more DPS oriented. Healing him would be a little harder but Black felt it was managable.
We pulled again and had two really solid air phases. We hit Bloodlust and went to town. The race was on to see if we could DPS her down before she enrage. We threw everything we had at her: Moonfires, Holy Novas, Lightning Bolts. I think Blueshield tossed a kitchen sink in there somewhere. With seconds to go on the enrage timer, Blood Queen Lanathel fell. Double Moonfires for the win! The first kill of a Wing End Boss was ours!
She dropped a gun that became a stat stick for either Ofn (Combat/Mutilate Rogue) or Blueshield (Arms/Fury Warrior). She also dropped some tanking gloves which I passed to Boston. I'm planning on buying the Gauntlets of the Kraken and he's had terrible luck with drops in ICC. Plus, my gloves and shoulders are keeping my two piece T9 bonus up and I don’t want to break that until I can replace it with two piece Tier 10 which will likely be Helm/Shoulders.
Our next target was Valithria Dreamwalker. We ran the unorthodox matrix of 1 Tank, 5 DPS and 4 healers. So I switched from Prot to Holy and got ready.The healers alternated going into the portals, two stayed out, and two went in. That worked out okay, but we ended up getting over run by Adds. So we switched it up. Stark (Resto Shaman) and I took the portals while Black and Lakini stayed out. That worked better, but we were still only getting her up to 80% or so before the raid just got overwhelmed. There had to be some mechanic we were missing. Stark actually figured it out. The buff the healers get stacks way past 6 which is what most of our healers were getting, but you have to be quick to get back into the portal and up to a cloud before your stack wears off.
It was interesting switching to healing for that fight. I put a Beacon of Light on Dreamwalker and healed Boston or whoever was taking damage. Everything I healed the raid for also healed Dreamwalker through Beacon, even my Overheal. It was very cool.
I think once our Healers get used to stacking up the buff we'll get that fight.
We called it a little early to go take care of some unfinished in ToGC. We had a saved raid that was cleared up to Twins in 45 attempts. We went in and one shot Twins though the fight was something of a gong show. Our mage died twice and we missed an interrupt. But we still got them.
Next we faced up with Anub'arak. Boston reminded us of the mechanics and we pulled. Boston was on Anub'arak and I was tanking Adds in my Block Value set. Phase 1 was cake. Phase 2 we had problems with people kiting, and problems with Adds putting up too many debuffs on people. We got those mostly ironed out. We had some really strong attempts including a heart breaking wipe with Anub at 5k health when he despawned. Our healers were having trouble juggling Boston, Penetrating Cold, and the Raid damage.
Then my problems started.
The Adds would spawn from opposite sides of the room. I'd run over to Avenger's Shield and by the time I got back over to the other one, he'd be chewing on a healer, normally our Resto Shaman. Wipe.
It seemed like just as we went to Phase 3, I'd get low and have to burn a cooldown like my Trinkets or Divine Protection. Then I would be stuck in a Global Cooldown when I needed to interrupt Shadow Strike. Wipe.
The whole Phase 3 was dependant on my hitting my Holy Wrath button at the exact right moment and hoping it didn't get resisted or miss. Otherwise, we wipe.
I was getting really frustrated and I'm sure it showed to the team. What bothered me the most was that I was letting these guys down. Each attempt I was determined to not mess up, and each attempt I did anyway. There is so much going on Phase 3 between picking up Adds, watching for Shadow Strike, managing cooldowns. Somewhere along the way I screwed something up.
We ended up having to call the Raid because it was getting late. We still have 32 attempts left, so we agreed to extend the raid ID once more. I know I wasn't the cause of every wipe, but I was the cause of more than my fair share.
I've started to feel something during nights like last night, something I've never felt tanking before, fatigue. I started my Tanking career in the weeks before Burning Crusade came out, and I've strived as hard as I could to be the best Paladin Tank I can be. Mistakes are generally of a different magnitude for Tanks. If I don't hit my buttons at the exact right moment, its a wipe. I don't move with my co-Tank on Lord Marrowgar, we wipe. I don't taunt Saurfang when my co-Tank gets Blood Run, we wipe. I don't hit Divine Protection for Plasma Blast or move out of Shockblast doing Firefighter, we wipe. The responsibility and pressure of being the Tank is starting to wear on me a bit. I don't know if you want to call it burnout, or just a bad night, or maybe my real life issues, but for the first time, I'm questioning if I really want to continue to have the whole raid put on my shoulders.
I know this much. I want to finish what I started. I'm want to tank Arthas.