The team that could
Completing something and earning a reward always carries a strong sense of satisfaction. But when you complete something, and it was hard, and it took time, and it took effort, that satisfaction is greatly increased. There’s this pride that just doesn’t come when you are simply handed a reward. A fist pumping, ‘yeah I did this even though it was hard!’ pride that makes the whole experience seem so much more worth it. It might have been difficult, but it doesn’t matter in the end. You did it.
I have been lucky to experience this a few times in my video gaming career. One huge time was when I finally, after months of trying, got my Ahead of the Curve Garrosh Hellscream kill. I’d spent so much time and effort working towards it, that once I finally got that achievement, I felt on top of the world. And just last weekend, I had another such experience.
It all started with a little wish for the Herald of the Titans title. In the early days of ‘Of The Queue’, several people (including myself) had expressed a desire to work for that title. Being an events coordinating officer, I did some research and set up a group. That group quickly expanded to three groups, and we began cheerfully leveling and gearing up.
For about a month and a half, we made preparations for the real runs. We ran leveling dungeons, and then once we were at level, we ran gearing raids. Morals were high and we expected to gear up and get Algalon down easily. After all, all of the resources we had found has stressed how easy the encounter had become. Heck, two prot pallies had duoed the encounter at the end of Mists.
Unfortunately, the encounter was not as easy as we had been lead to believe. Not in the slightest. We got to the first of the runs and commenced our first pulls on Algalon.
And that cursed messenger absolutely wiped the floor with our faces.
Our tanks couldn’t last more than twenty seconds even with our healers popping all their cooldowns. I think the lowest we were able to get him that first night of attempts was 45% down, by bursting as much as we could in the first minute before we’d be crushed. We simply couldn’t handle the amount of damage he was putting out. After a good 2 and a half hours, we called it quits for the night.
As I have previously written about, this was the point where I took up Brewmaster tanking. The next night I very rapidly learned how to tank and we started our first pulls.
We were better. We were definitely better. We could hold together for longer, had a coordinated plan, and were able to better execute the mechanics. The percentages on wipes slowly creeped down. 45%. Then 35%. Then 25%. We worked just as hard if we had been raiding current cutting edge raids, doing the dance of dps, healing, and tanking.
But it just wasn’t enough. Wipes got down to 19% but we just hit a wall. Algalon was hitting like a cement truck and there was no way around it. I would pop Guard, an ability that puts a pretty sizable shield on me, and Algalon would tear through it in one normal melee. Every special ability hit required some sort of cooldown and any tank mistake would end up in death. If the heals missed even a single cast, someone would go down. The margin for error was tiny and as we got more tired, we just couldn’t tighten enough to get him down.
Again we called it for the night. However, instead of picking up a new spec I went and did some extensive research. At first I had been worried that our failure had been some fault of our own, but what I found out disproved that completely.
It seems that Algalon had become much harder post squish. In fact, he was as hard if not harder than he was when the fight was current. Apparently Algalon’s damage has not been properly reduced, so moderate melees became crushing blows. As one poster reported, Algalon is capable of putting out 44k damage in a matter of seconds. To give you some perspective, my fellow tank and I have about 50k health maximum. A few moments of healing lapse and the tanks would go smush.
I also learned the vital importance of flasks and potions (we had figured this out in our owns raids, but further reading cemented the fact). Every toon in the raid has to been maxed out to the nines, or we wouldn’t be able to overcome the encounter. Armed with new knowledge, we attempted for a third time.
We got all ready to run but one member of our group had to drop because the encounter wasn’t letting her zone in. We attempted to find a 10th member. In desperation, I put up a group in the Group Finder. We got a bunch of 100s, and then a whisper from one dude. One awesome dude. Duskraven-Lothar just happened to be skimming when he found our group. He got on his semi-geared shadow priest and we were all ready to roll.
Right away, there was a difference. The fight was just as hard as ever and many wipes were still had. But we were executing mechanics better than ever before. A solution was found for a difficult mechanic that had been the causer of many wipes. Duskraven-Lothar dependably cast Dispersion and soaked the mechanic for us (seriously, this guy was awesome). We started at higher percentage wipes but slowly but surely got down to less than 20% ones.
We were almost there, wiping a few percentages away from kill in the second phase. But we had stalled, we just needed that final push. One of our members announced that she would have to leave in ten minutes, and that was the motivation that did it. Several more wipes and were were just about there.
And then the star aligned. It was the last attempt for the day. After weeks of practicing, we executed the fight perfectly. Adds were going down properly, damage was being avoided if it could be. We got all the way into the second and final phase with no one dead. For a few tense moments, we gave it our all. Heals, dps, tanking, all frantically done in an intense silence.
Then, Algalon despawned. We stood, shocked, for a moment or two.
Across everyone’s screens flashed an achievement months in the making. Herald of the Titans. We had done it. We had done it!
The cheering that broke out in Mumble was matched by none in it’s enthusiasm. For a solid ten minutes, we cheered and took screenshots with our brand new titles. Months of hard work had paid off and we had what we came for. We were Heralds of the Titans
I want to thank my team for their continued efforts at this. Every time we ran, our members brought some new tips, tricks, or experiences to the table. For a team that had never raided before together, we tightened remarkably well. You guys were the reason we were able to get this, and I couldn’t have asked for a better group. Congrats and thank you!
This was probably one of the proudest moments of my WoW career. Just thinking of it brings a smile to my face. My team and I completed something insanely hard together despite the odds being stacked against us. It was a powerful learning experience with a worthwhile reward and I’m so glad that we decided to embark on this quest.
And I’m never going to take that title off now.