Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Night of Ups and Downs

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.


Gravity said...

That's a big question, eh, and likewise I want to kill Asshat. I love tanking and the responsibility too, and because I don't raid many nights a week, it doesn't wear on me.

Dharmabhum said...

Everyone has ups and downs in life, and we wouldn't be human if we successfully separated the downs from affecting all of the other parts of our lives. But we do our best, and we know we can lean on friends when needed when these trials of fortitude come calling on us. It's always sounded as though you have a pretty awesome group, so while you place all that responsibility on your own shoulders as a main tank and as a leader and as a friend, always know that there are others that can and want to help you along the way. Don't be afraid to catch yourself and force a slow, deep breath to put it all in perspective.

You don't have to post this. Just wanted to maybe help point out that the gravity you feel can be turned around on top of itself if you Will it as such. Good luck in your job search, and remembering and realising constantly of our friends and our enjoyments in life.

A. Dharmabhum

Brian Inman said...

I feel your pain writing a resume. I would rather join a pug, and wipe twenty times than create a resume.

Anonymous said...

Gratz on Blood Queen, I hope that we down her this week, too.

The Burrowers in TotgC are a mayor PITA :)
I have had my share of trouble managing those - especially when they spawn at opposite sides & that HUUUUUUUUGE target-box of Anub is in the way o.O
Quite a few time I taunted Anub unstead of a Burrower...

What makes the targeting a bit easier I find is using Tidy Plates with the Threath Plates Theme.

Also I was lucky to have a holy Paladin in our group - he would put up Righteous Fury, so if there was a Burrower on the loose I at least knew for sure who it would be chewing on, and I used a Righteous Defence macro with our Pally as target.
You could try that too with your Shaman.
(admitted, it IS easier with a Pally, also because he can take quite a bit more chewing wearing plate or even use his bubble)

Our first kill then included the MT dying, a rogue evasion-tanking for 15sec and battlerez on MT.
In the end Anub was kited to death by our hunter with allmost everybody else down.

After the confidence of that first kill our trys left went up from 38, 44, 45, 48 to finally 50.

Once that confidence starts settling in, you'll also notice that the fight gets a bit less stressfull - at least I'm not shaking from adrenaline rush anymore after a fight :P

Keep trying - get that BUGger down!


Nuff said...

For dreamwalker, have 2 healers take every portal and keep their stacks going. Once both are over 30 stacks pop EVERYTHING and heal the boss. Guardian spirit, bloodlust, lay on hands, everything. You'll go from 80% to full in under 30 seconds.

*vlad* said...

Picking up the 2 Burrowers is difficult, no question. Do you have a Hunter in the raid? Maybe he can misdirect one to you as you taunt the other?

Don't take the weight of the whole raid on your shoulders, it's a joint effort. If you are struggling on interrupts maybe one of your dps can do that instead.

Anonymous said...

I was the add tank for my 10 mans togc runs, and I have to say that and algalon were the 2 hardest fights I have done so far this expansion. So it's not just you, you can only wipe so much on that fight and being "hyper-aware" for an extended period of time wears you out. Anyway, when I would grab adds i would pull the one not near people with hand of reck and the one spawning near people with avengers shield.

Wankster of Magtheridon