No, and yes. A tale of two raid weekends

The weekend before Christmas was pretty terrible for our raid team.

We killed a grand total of three bosses in almost six hours of raiding on the nights of December 22 and 23. I am trying to decide if I even want to talk about it in detail. It was frustrating, having to substitute some less-than-optimal players for those who either were AWOL or, in the case of one of our friends, had a really sick dog. The substitution game resulted in some pretty unspectacular results when combined with the fact that we really only have the first four bosses in Mogu’shan on farm at this point.

All in all, it was a mostly forgettable experience. And that, my friends, is all I’ll say about the first weekend. On to the second (better) part of my tale.

Last Saturday

So this past weekend (December 29 and 30) was a different story, for the most part. While we made no real progress in Heart of Fear (1/6), we had a breakthrough in Mogu’shan Vaults. A breakthrough, a success – but there’s a catch. More on that later.

On Saturday, we were missing a damage dealer (our monk, who may have quit the game for all we know). With no real options for DPS substitutes that night, we invited Daggan, a friend of ours who tanks for / leads my girlfriend’s main raid team, which is one of the better teams on the server (but wasn’t running that week due to the holidays). We had two tanks already, so we had our DK tank switch to Frost, and proceeded to have little trouble killing our Mogu’shan farm bosses, clearing to Elegon, and having a few goes at him.

Since their guild is already well into heroic modes, Daggan was able to explain the Elegon encounter in a way that helped some of our raiders who probably weren’t as comfortable with certain mechanics, including killing sparks and pillars, clearing stacks, and so on. After a few tries, during which Daggan was encouraging and instructive, we ironed out some things before calling it a night.

Sunday

Sunday night, one of our warriors was a scheduled absence, and his scheduled replacement never logged in (the story of our lives, at this point), so we scrambled for a bit before picking up a warlock named Des, also from my girlfriend’s raid team. This excited me to no end, because these guys are very good, and have great gear. I got some comments about having someone to compete with on the charts, but – and I don’t know if some people think I am happy to be doing 10%-50% more damage than everyone else on our team, but I’m not – I was very interested in seeing how we could do with a powerhouse DPS in the raid.

We started with Elegon, and, on our third attempt…

Elegon, December 30, 2012

Elegon, December 30, 2012 **

—we got him!

/queue cheering!

It was awesome. With Des there providing experience and firepower, and by working together as a team, we executed the strategy almost to the letter on the kill. We did have a couple of casualties toward the end, but it was a very satisfying kill, all things considered.

We then proceeded to one-shot Will of the Emperor. Not much to say about that – Mogu’shan Vaults 6/6.

We spent the rest of the evening in a series of epic battles against Imperial Vizier Zor’lok, ending the night with a kill where he died, and then the last living raiders died. Yes, it was one of those… but it was nice to at least end with a kill rather than getting so heartbreakingly close and failing, as we seem to be doing so often on that fight.

A personal achievement

Something happened on Saturday night which I never imagined would happen.

A little back story: we started logging our raid nights at World of Logs several weeks ago after Squido asked me to do so, in order to have a better idea of where we go wrong in certain areas of our individual and collective play. At the time, Squido told me that his biggest problem with WoL was forgetting to start recording the combat log, and that has come to be the biggest problem for me as well. As such, if you were to check out our guild at WoL, you’d see that some nights are not logged, and others are missing the first boss, or the first two bosses. /sigh. But overall, it has been interesting to be able to look at my own performances and use the information to tweak and improve my play.

Anyway, after Saturday’s run, I uploaded the log, and soon noticedHoly crap, I ranked on Feng!

As I said a few sentences up, I never imagined that I would ever rank on a fight. I didn’t rank “high” – but apparently I did well enough to show up on the Survival hunter list. Whatever it means to whomever, it was exciting for me. I don’t try to “rank” when I play, but I do my best to execute both strategy and damage to serve the needs of the team from fight to fight, and so this was a nice result to have within that context.

“The catch”

All in all, it was a good weekend. It was nice to break the wall down and finally finish up Mogu’shan for reals.

However, the catch is that we have to replace one of our regular DPS with another, and we won’t have Daggan or Des with us again, since they were back to business as usual with their own team last night. Even going back to our normal roster would mean that we’d have a great deal less damage and a much less experienced tank, so I wonder if we’ll be able to replicate the feats of last weekend any time soon. We shall see.

It was really nice to run with someone who could smash the charts on Sunday. I was happy to be able to relax, play my game, and know that there was someone killing it DPS-wise – and I think I played better because of that.

As I’ve said before, doing a bulk of the damage on boss fights has become something of a heavy burden for me. Of course, that’s easier to swallow when we succeed. But progression has been slow this tier, and while the ups make me feel somewhat heroic, the downs make me feel like I’m not doing enough. It’s not necessarily logical to feel that way, but in the absence of change, “it is what it is” means that I need to keep pushing myself.

Hopefully we’ll continue to have some success before this tier of raiding becomes irrelevant. Patch 5.2 is probably close enough that we won’t clear T14 by the time Throne of Thunder opens up. And I’m all kinds of excited about Throne of Thunder – which is purportedly “the new Ulduar” – but that excitement is tempered by the heavy doses of reality we suffer from week to week.

I’ll say it right here: I want to defeat every boss in Throne of Thunder. Normal mode, not Raid Finder. We’ll see what happens in the near future.

** My UI looks a mess in that screenshot, I know. But a third of that stuff is hidden in combat, so it’s not really as bad as it looks. ^-^

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Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!



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