Returning to Raiding

Our first N Gul'dan kill!

Our first Normal Gul’dan kill!

Last Wednesday, I ended an almost 2 month long hiatus and entered my first raid.  While it certainly wasn’t the triumphant return I had hoped for, I am glad that I chose to jump back in.

Nearing the end of November and beginning of December, I made the difficult decision to stop raiding.  Anyone who’s read this blog or knows me in Azeroth has probably figured out that raiding is my favorite WoW activity.  I like dungeons and I like transmog, but I really love raiding.  But back two months ago, my most favorite activity was rapidly become my least favorite and so I decided it was best to (potentially permanently) step away.

The first reason for this came down to something as simple as timing.  I was just so gosh darn busy that I could only make it to a handful of raids.  In some situations, this might not have been the end of the world but in this case, I found that I was actively gimping the team.  We were progressing through Heroic, maybe looking into venturing into Mythic, and I was one of the core healers.  Me being gone or late every other night was severely impacting progression.  So as much as I might have loved raiding with the team, the reality was, I was bad for the team.

The second reason was a lot more personal.  I’m not going to go into the details for the sake of those involved, but I did not feel welcome at raid.  Beginning even before my attendance started dropping off (so the issue wasn’t created by it), I truly felt as if some members of the team, mainly one person, just did not want me around.  I made a few attempts to talk to the person but it wasn’t getting anywhere.  Slowly but surely, the sense of vague animosity changed raiding from something I loved into something I dreaded.  So once my attendance got spotty, it was a lot simpler to say goodbye to raiding because the experience was already soured.

So there I was.  Maining a holy paladin and yet, not healing a thing.  As my hiatus dragged on, I found myself playing less and less Warcraft.  Not because of lack of time, but rather due to lack of interest.  And what’s worse, the friends I had made on my former raid team began to drift away.  I was still in the guild and still relatively active but because I wasn’t raiding anymore, I was no longer people’s first choice to talk to.  To be clear, I was never ignored or shunted.  I doubt anyone did it purposefully; it’s just when you don’t hang out with someone on a bi-weekly occasion anymore, they can slip out of sight, out of mind.  I don’t blame anyone one bit, but I was feeling incredibly lonely.

This dragged on and on.  It got to the point where I was logging in maybe twice a week, and only for a few hours at most.  Eventually, I sat back and took a good long look at the way things were.  Evaluated the problem and evaluated my part in it.  My schedule had pretty much cleared out at this point, so the only thing keeping me from re-engaging with my guild was my own reservations.  And instead of tackling the issue head on, I had decided to run away from it.

I decided then and there that enough was enough.  I loved raiding, it was my thing! And taking a break from it, while it had been necessary at the time, was not something I needed to do permanently.

And there was never a better time than right now to jump back in.  I started logging in again, gearing back up.  There was most undoubtedly a few bumps in the road but eventually I mustered the courage to approach the raid leader about the issue head on.  And then, I was back on the team, just in time for Nighthold.

The animosity from before was still there, but the guilt about bringing my team down was gone.  I had checked my schedule and found it surprisingly clear for months to come, meaning that attendance would not be an issue.  What’s more, my healing was better than it had ever been.  And, the majority of the team was super friendly in welcoming me back.

Still, I needed to talk to the person.  I delayed it for a few nights, thinking that maybe I was just being irrational and I should let it go.  But as one of my friends astutely pointed out, if it bothers me, it’s a legitimate problem.  And if it’s a legitimate problem, it’s going to need to be addressed.

Finally, I sat down and had the talk that had been months in the coming. I’m not sure how it impacted them (I hope positively as well) but I know it really, really helped me.  By no means is everything solved but I’ve taken a step in the right direction.  After nearly three months, I’m finally back home.

I had no idea how much of an impact raiding had on my life.  It’s kind of a silly thing to admit, “yeah, playing World of Warcraft every Wednesday and Saturday really helps me get through the week, y’know?”.  But it is honestly, so very true.  Raiding is my zen place.  Never do I feel more relaxed, more engaged, and more focused than when I am raiding. I truly do look forward to that two hour block at the end of the night.  And what’s more, I absolutely love my raid team.  I’ve come to realize that they are my family.  We may not always agree but at the end of the day, we’re all in it for each other.

And I’ll be all in it for them.

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Why I Do Not Use (many) Addons

(Pretend LootCouncil_Lite isn't there, that seems to be a graphical error because it is well and truly uninstalled)

The lonely few addons I use!  (pretend LootCouncil_Lite isn’t there; that seems to be a graphical error because it is fully and truly uninstalled)

This has come up again and again and I’ve finally decided to sit down and address it once and for all in it’s own blog post.  The topic at hand? Why I, Fussypants, do not use (many) addons in World of Warcraft.

First things first, what do I mean when I say that I don’t use many addons?  Depending on who you talk to, that could range from a hundred addons to zero.  In my case, I have a grand total of five addons installed.  Skada, DBM, oRA3, Iskar Assist, and XRP.  Of those five, I currently have just one of them enabled, which is Skada.  All of the rest I have used at some point in Warlords of Draenor but as they became less useful to me, I slowly began to disable them.  Right now, DBM, oRA3, Iskar Assist, and XRP exist in the disabled void.  So when I say I don’t use many addons, I really mean it.

Alright I think we’ve pretty clearly illustrated my lack of addon usage so here’s going to come the ringer.  A lot of times when I tell folks how few addons I use, they assume I don’t have many because I must harbor some deep seated loathing of any and all addon.  I won’t download Master Plan or Vudho or Altoholic because I despise them with all of my soul.  And that’s simply not true.

I do not hate addons.

I just don’t find them very useful in my particular situation.

Again, I’m going to pause right here and reiterate, all of this applies only to me.  These are my feelings and thoughts about my gameplay and I, in no way, assume they apply to anyone else.  If they do, great, we have something in common! But let it be known, I am writing this completely and solely about myself (what a narcissist!).

Ok, back to the subject at hand.

I only use an addon if it does something that I absolutely need in order to play.  I have Skada so I can gauge my performance and see if I am where I need to be.  I had oRA3 to keep track of several pieces of information that I needed for raid leading, chief among them battle resurrection timers and flask and food buff checks.  I had Iskar Assist for the Iskar encounter in Hellfire Citadel (but in reality, I rarely thought to use the addon and instead clicked the new action button almost every time).  I had XRP to facilitate roleplaying, the one time a friend and I rolled characters on an RP server.  And I had DBM to inform me ahead of time when certain encounter abilities and phases were incoming.  Each of my addons fills a specific roles that I need and otherwise would not have.

If I find I need to be able to do something and the default in game UI is not clear enough or I can’t keep track of it on my own, that’s when I start looking into an addon to fill that gap.  That’s how I ended up getting Skada; I needed a way to quantitatively test my specs and see how I was performing.  When I encounter something in game and I can’t play happily the way it is, I start searching Curse for a tool to do the job.

This also means that once I no longer need the addon, I’ll get rid of it.  With Hellfire Citadel soon becoming obsolete, I will be uninstalling the Iskar Assist addon.  I am not currently raid leading so I will probably dump oRA3.  And I know all of the boss fights in HFC well enough that, for the time being, I’ve disabled that too.  Addons are only useful if they are doing things I can’t do by myself.

I am well aware that with certain addons, I could most likely be just a tiny faster, better, more successful, whatever you have it.  But that has never been my goal in game.  I don’t play to be the best, I play to have fun.  Sure, a lot of times being good at what I do is fun enough on it’s own but I’ve never felt the urge to eke out that very last percentage of uberness.  Call me lazy, call me casual, both are probably correct and neither really bother me.

So why fix something that isn’t broken? Why would I install an addon to be just a little bit more productive if I’m already perfectly content where I am?

My healing set up

My healing set up

Let’s use an example.  My most favorite thing to do in game is fill the healing role in raids.  I have one of every single healer and I spend 85% of my times in raids healing.  However, I do not, and will not get the addon Vudho (or any of the alternatives).  People have asked me, and even told me to get a healing addon but at the current, I don’t see any reason to.

As it is, I heal just fine.  I might not be the best, I might not be the worst (at least I hope not!) but I genuinely enjoy the act of healing.  Of clicking in the raid frames and then hitting or clicking a button to heal.  To me, it’s fun! It’s how I relax.  It’s how I challenge myself.  It’s how I game.

If I someday got to the point where I couldn’t respond fast enough, perhaps then I would download a healing addon to help with that.  I won’t rule out that possibility.  But right now, I seem to be doing pretty good.  I don’t really need it and so I don’t plan to download it.

This is not to say I begrudge the folks who have hundreds of addons.  Play the game how you’d like, I’m not going to judge you!  If you use Vudho or Healbot or Grid or Clique to heal, power to you!  If you’ve modded your UI into a completely different form, go for it!  If you have a tracker and timer for every spell effect, go hog wild!

But also, to those folks who play with the basic UI, have a blast! To those folks who use the basic raid frames and in game timer, you do you!  The way you play is not in any way worse. As much as we’d like to joke about it, there’s really no wrong way to play World of Warcraft.  Make your own fun your own way.

And stop telling me to download Vudho! 😛

Farewell to my Heralds

The final group!

The final group!

Citizens of Dalaran! Raise your eyes to the skies and observe!  For the very last time in Warlords of Draenor, our world’s destruction has been averted in defiance of our very makers!

Algalon the Observer, herald of the titans, has been defeated by our brave comrades in the depths of the titan city of Ulduar for the eighth and final time.

Cold logic deemed eight runs too many. Cold logic, however, does not account for the power of guild dedication!. It’s up to each of us to prove this is a Feat of Strength worth obtaining! That our titles… our titles are worth earning.

Man, I couldn’t say goodbye to my Herald of the Titans runs without quoting dear ol’ Rhonin.  Don’t worry though, unlike Rhonin, I can keep the speech down to once through.  With the final group defeating Algalon on Wednesday, <oTQ> has officially ended our Herald of the Titans runs for this season.  And because of the upcoming changes to set bonuses in older expansions, the Wednesday run may have been our last run… forever.

Herald of the Titans has been my pet project for almost two years now.  I’ve leveled up three different characters, cleared Naxxramus for gear more times than I care to count, and helped get over 50 people their Herald of the Titans title.  It’s been a long, sometimes frustrating, but overall, incredibly rewarding journey. And I have to admit, a part of me will always love the Algalon encounter.  Except the Cosmic Smash.  Screw the Cosmic Smash.  But every other part has a special place in my heart.

Herald of the Titans was really my first experience organizing and executing a large scale group activity.  At first it was just guildies but in time, it grew to include other friends, acquaintances, and eventually random people who’d heard of the runs.  I quickly found the best ways to get key details out to people (bold, change the color, and jack up that font size) as well as the importance of keeping my master posts up to date.

I also learned how to deal with failure.  Our first couple of runs actually ended in wipes for 3 hours, something that I had definitely not expected or planned for going in.  There are ways to keep morale up and ways to encourage improvement and those first couple of runs were an awesome teaching experience.

And finally, I got to meet and interact with all sorts of people.  Good friends who I got closer to. Guildies who I didn’t know as well before the runs and became friends with after.  People who joined our guild because of Heralds.  Twitter folks who I’d never gotten to play in game with before. And all the random folks who stumbled across the page after googling ‘Herald of the Titans runs’ (we were one of the top hits!).

It’s been a fantastic two years.  However, like all things, this chapter is coming to a close.  To all of those helped supply the runs, to those who kept coming on the runs to help me fill the occasional open space, and to those who got their titles through the runs, thank you.  Thank you for coming along for the ride, for gearing up your characters, for maxing out those gems and enchants, and for watching out for the Cosmic Smashes.  And congratulations, Herald of the Titans!

 

(Editors note: Because Yotaan and Fussypants are going on vacation, there will be no blog post next week.  We will be back at it the following week however, just in time for the alleged prepatch drop!)

Save the Date: LEGION

Legion DropWith little fanfare or hype building, Blizzard announced the release date for the highly anticipated Warcraft expansion Legion.  The 6th expansion is set to come out August 30th, 2016, giving players a few more months to wait.  Here’s what Fussypants and Yotaan thought about the announcement!

Fussypants: I will admit, I was really surprised by the lack of build up.  Just last expansion, Blizzard had a huge announcement at a fancy venue (which Yotaan and I had the infinite luck to be able to attend). The hype levels were off the chart! And then we get this drop announcement which feels almost like an after thought.  It’s just this strange disconnect.

As for the actual drop date, I’m a bit bummed but not entirely surprised by how late into the year it is.  Legion drops right around the beginning of school for me which means I’m going to be spending all summer languishing in WoD.  Bleh.
But this also means I have 4 months to plan and get ready! Here’s what I want to accomplish in that break.

  • Finish upgrading Fussypants’ legendary ring.  I’m 3 weeks away from ilvl 795 so I doubt this will take very long
  • Finish the ring quest on both my mage and my priest.  Both characters are at the tomes and shipyard part and I’ve been getting those tomes to drop like crazy.  However, due to my intense aversion to it, the shipyard part always takes me significantly longer.
  • Get my druid to level 100.  There will likely be a slight delay in this as I plan on stopping her at 80 for a bit to do some Herald of the Titans runs but my end goal is to have her at max, ready to venture into Legion for those spiffy druid artifacts.

All in all, I don’t have a ton of things I want to accomplish in those 4 months which worries me a little bit.  Hopefully I’ll find more things to do or else I might be spending a lot less time in game come summertime.

Yotaan:  I was expecting release date closer to the film premiere, so I suppose I was hoping for a July date.  For my schedule is somewhat the opposite of Fussypants’ so the August 30th is actually quite convenient for me. I did really enjoy our fortuitous cinematic premiere for the last release and its too bad there is no similar event this time around.

As for future plans, I have played WoW sporadically at best.  I’m not quite the raider the Pants is. But I have been steadily leveling a few toons.  I have a death knight at 81 and a shadow priest at 67 – my goal is to get them both at 100.  I might even transfer some 90’s toons from other servers to our current home server.

Additionally, I’ll be maxing out blacksmithing for the first time.  As it happens, this is the one profession we have never maxed out on any toon ever.  I’m probably doing it wrong as I’m leveling it while I level the death knight.

My only other goal is get more mounts.  Yotaan traveled back to his old farm back at Halfhill and bought up a bunch of goats.  He then went way back to the Argent Tournament and used up some ole’ Champion Seals.  Since Yotaan was Yotin the troll back in Wrath he never got the Alliance mounts.  We are edging closer and closer to 200 mounts and it would be great to hit that by Legion!

My biggest challenge may very well be to play Wow as Hearthstone has grabbed my attention.  Standard play comes out in 2 days!  New cards!

Apparently, I’m a Raid Leader

ArchiHello my name is Fussypants and apparently I’ve been a raid leader for several months now.

Well ok, I wasn’t completely in the dark about this.  Actually, I knew exactly what was going on when I stepped up and offered to lead one of my guild’s raid teams.  But it just boggles my mind that I’ve been doing it for several months now.  Like whaaaaa?  Are we sure this isn’t just a hallucination?

Ok ok, let me explain how this all happened.

So as many of my readers know, I am one of the core officers in a rather large guild.  Well, I guess rather large guilds because we actually have two of them now.  Long story short, we’ve grown explosively over the course of the expansion and are now sitting at somewhere around 1200 characters? Hence the two guilds.

I also have talked a lot about raiding and as you can probably guess, I do that through my guild.  With a guild of over 1000+ folks, we kind of ended up with a rather large raid team.  It started off innocently enough, about 20 or so people who logged on twice a week every week.  But as the expansion wore on and the doldrums began, the opposite of what was expected happened.  Instead of our raid team shrinking, it actually grew.  We went from 20 of us to 25 of us to 30 of us until finally there were more people wanting to raid than there were spots in a raid group.

We had to do something fast.  The absolute worst thing in the world (at least in my opinion) is to have to sit folks, so we needed to find another solution.  And after much, much deliberating, it was decided that two raid teams was the way to go.

A raid leader for each team was decided upon but before we could even pull the first boss in our respective teams, one of the raid leaders decided that he didn’t want to commit to that level of responsibility.  And suddenly, we were left with a team without a leader.

Like I’ve mentioned before, my absolute worst fear was that we would have to sit some of our raiders.  And now with one raid leader gone before the ink was even dry on the page, there was a legitimate risk of this happening to one of the teams.  I couldn’t stand by and watch that happen to a group of people I knew had worked so hard to be where they were at.  So I volunteered.

Now, I had raid lead some pug raids before, explained a couple of mechanics, organized some healer rotations, the like, but never had I done anything quite to this level.  As I was about to find out, there was a whole lot more to raid leading than just telling the DPS to get out of the fire.

Xhul
THE FIRST LESSON OF RAID LEADING: ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING
I’ve always tried to maintain a positive and friendly attitude while online.  It just seems like the right thing to do- so many people use the internet as their escape from real life drudgery so who am I to bring negativity into their happy place?  But I will admit, this even tested me.

Wipe or kill, I found that I needed to remain positive and cheery the entire raid night.  If something was going well, fantastic!  Congratulate the group and particularly anyone who went above and beyond.  If stuff isn’t going quite so well, don’t get discouraged.  We all know something is going wrong, no need to harp on it.  A simple “what did we do wrong that time and how can we fix it?” goes so much farther than a “why are we so bad?”.

But with attitude, I found I also needed to accept that I wasn’t going to be able to cheer everyone up every raid.  Sometimes a night of wiping is going to get people down and there’s nothing you can do.  But this shouldn’t stop the raid leader from being positive, encouraging, and above all, focused on improvement.

THE SECOND LESSON OF RAID LEADING: YOU GOTTA KNOW YOUR STUFF OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO DOES
I thought that I knew mechanics when I stepped up and offered to raid lead that first time.  Boy, was I wrong.  You see, it’s not good enough to just know one aspect of the fight. I can’t just know how to heal Kilrogg, I need to know every single part of the fight.  The Heartseeker mechanic.  The interrupts.  The adds.  The visions groups.

I’ve probably spent the better part of 20 hours just reading up and practicing mechanics so I could better lead my group.  I watched videos, read strats, combed logs, you name it I did it.  And in the end, it all paid off.  I can lead a Heroic Hellfire Citadel Raid in my sleep, I know the mechanics so well (not saying I would do this though).

There are some mechanics however that I do not know all the intricacies of.  For example, I know that the tanks need to taunt off for Zakuun when one tank gets Soul Sliced but as to what happens inside that spirit world, I haven’t a clue.  I can’t possibly know every minute detail.  As a raid leader, I learned all the mechanics but I leave it up to my raiders to find the tips and tricks of their class best suited for handling the mechanics.

When there is someone in the raid who has a better strat or understanding of a specific mechanic, I let them take point on it.  Heroic raiders have to use every advantage they get; I would be silly to turn away helpful advice.  Raid leaders lead, not micromanage.  I have a responsibility to know the fight as a whole but if someone knows a specific part in better detail, then I am going to let them take charge of that specific item.

Mammoth
THE THIRD LESSON OF RAID LEADING: YOU NEED A SECOND IN COMMAND
There’s a reason ships have First Mates- the Captain doesn’t always catch everything.  This is the same for raid leading, I don’t always remember to call every mechanics or to change the loot before raid.  And sometimes, I can’t even make it to raid on time or at all.

I am so very lucky to have a responsible and observant second in my fellow blogger Bodhirana.  If I miss something or can’t do something, I know I can count on him to catch what I miss.  I trust him completely to lead raids when I cannot attend.  And I can bounce ideas off of him when changes need to be made.

Fast forward a few months and a few raid team shuffles and here I am, still raid leading, still in one piece. It’s been an incredible journey- from Heroic Assault all the way to Heroic Archimonde but I wouldn’t change it for the world.  I’ve learned so much about raiding, about leadership, about the people on my raid team that I don’t think I could have ever learned otherwise.  I’ve been trialed and tested, but in the end, every single one of us got our mooses and every single one of us can call ourselves ‘Heroic Raiders’.

So there you have it! How I accidentally on purpose became a raid leader!  I guess I can add this to my growing list of ‘Stuff I Never Thought I’d Do But I Ended Up Doing Anyway’.

Until next time, stay out of the fire!

Gaining Closure

HammerDeath is… difficult. It’s the waiting and the news and the disbelief. It’s the silence oh the silence the silence that no one can break. It’s that hole where someone used to be and the ones left behind. The ones, not quite whole, left behind. It’s confusion and anger but with no one to blame but maybe yourself because you should have done more but what could you do? The world has stopped and gone too fast.

We got the news last Sunday night. A guildie of mine, by the name of Hammerstein, had passed away. He had been fighting Stage Four small cell lung cancer for months and the whole guild had been rooting for him. But then he has dropped communication for a couple weeks and then the fateful text on Sunday.

Hammer was one of those people who quietly made the world a better place. He wasn’t flashy or dramatic but he brightened the world just a little bit for everyone he talked to. Hammer helped anyone with anything- he aided another guildie set up her entire gaming rig over the phone. He was there, supportive, cheery, and optimistic.

Hammerstein was a good guild member, but he was so much more than just that.  He was a human being, thinking, feeling, suffering.  Hammer was a part of us, the human part of us.  The part that found joy in all aspects of life.  We supported Hammer with his medical expenses and difficulties and he supported us against our every day toils and troubles, a listener to confide in.  Hammer was real.

And in pain. The little bit that Hammer described to us seemed almost unbearable. He couldn’t stand, couldn’t move, and was undergoing intense chemotherapy. And yet he still found the time to log in and chat with us.

We set up a Go Fund Me account to help with transportation (since he could not drive) and sent him all the support we could.  And I hope that what we did helped, if even a little.

And then that fateful Sunday.

 

There seems to be this misconception that the immediate response to the news of a friend’s death is big and dramatic.  The waterworks come out and the world seems to end.  In reality, it’s… it’s not like that.

It’s emptiness.  This feeling of vast, wide, and unmovable emptiness.  Like all you do is futile. It’s quiet and private but it hurts more than anything else in the entire world.

And then you see the messages from the other people in your guild. And that’s when the tears come.  But they aren’t satisfying.  It’s like the emptiness manifested.  Streams of nothingness down your cheeks.

It’s a problem but there’s nothing you can do to fix it.  You can’t talk it out, reach a compromise, nothing. The worst part, you can’t talk to the friend.  And in my case, I never got to say good bye.

I’ve been blessed in that I’ve never experienced death first hand.  It’s always been people I knew of or people I knew distantly.  But this one was close.  This one was someone who I used to talk to every single day.  And now, this horrible feeling of nothingness and lack of closure.

The following week was rough. I was dealing with my personal feelings but on top of that, I also had to break the news multiple times to multiple people.  How can you tell people something like that? What could you possibly say? I was also very worried about another one of my friends.  She was closer to Hammer than anyone else.  They had called each other almost daily.  When her and I were talking about it, it was the only time I’d ever heard her cry.

More bad news, we learned that Hammer didn’t have very many family members.  They were trying to track down his step brother, who he had never met, to help put together some sort of burial service.  It was beginning to look like we were the only ones who could give Hammer some sort of memorial.

Back when, as a guild, we had first started offering moose carries, one of the first people we wanted to get their moose had been Hammerstein.  We knew about his condition so we wanted to do something nice for him, something to cheer him up and show him how we were rooting for him.  Unfortunately, we never got a chance.  Hammer never logged in and his spot remained reserved.  We ticketed a few GMs about this but there was nothing that they could do.

Then suddenly one night, my friend who used to talk to Hammer all the time gets a call.  It was from Hammer’s cell phone.  Just a bit apprehensive, she answered and found out that it was the step brother.  He had been tracked down and had found the texts from her.  The two talked for a long time and a plan was decided upon.  We were going to get that moose for Hammer.  His step-brother would log on and we would carry him through a Heroic Archimonde kill.

Saturday night arrived and Hammer’s brother logged into his toon.  The majority of the guild was informed that this was not Hammer, this was his step-brother and we were going to finally get Hammer’s character the moose.  Led over phone by a woman he had just met, playing a video game for the first time in his life, carried in a raid by a team of 20 people, cheered on by a guild of over 1000 people, Hammer’s step brother defeated Heroic Archimonde and earned the Grove Warden.  Hammerstein the Dwarf Hunter mounted up onto his majestic moose and leapt into the sky, never to come back down.

Hammerstein

This was the most beautiful thing I have ever been a part of.  It didn’t magically solve all the problems, didn’t revive Hammer from the beyond.  But it provided closure.  It was the final salute to a brave man who fought so valiantly and touched the lives of so many.  It was our final good bye.

Our lives are like sound. We come into contact with each other and resonate uniquely and then eventually fade away. We create beautiful chords and melodies and songs with thousands of emotions but in the end we end like we begin. Loved.

In memory of Hammerstein <oTQ>

There will be a memorial service held at 8pm CST (server time) tomorrow on the realm Nesingwary/Nazgrel/Vek’nilash in remembrance of Hammerstein.  If you would like to say a few words, please contact me or any of the other officers before the service.  The service will be held both in in-game chat and in the guild’s mumble.

A Mythic Experience

Not actually the Mythic raid because, as always, Pants forgot to take a screenshot

Not actually the Mythic raid because, as always, Pants forgot to take a screenshot.  But still, this was the area I was fighting in (sans cool sky and portal)!

There are very few things in game that I tell myself I will never do. I love challenges and trying new things so I’ve done everything from Herald of the Titans level locked raiding to pet battling to unrated PvP. But I’ve always told myself that I wasn’t going to raid at Mythic difficulty.  It was just too hardcore, too time intensive, too unreachable for me.  I have the utmost respect for mythic raiders, I just knew that it would never be me.  And I was wrong.

STORY TIME!

There I was, logged onto my holy paladin with two and a half hours to kill. I still needed my Archimonde kill for the week to upgrade my ring and I decided I would pug it.  Since I have the AotC for Heroic Archimonde (side note: woot!) and a rather bloated ilvl of 722, I figured I’d give pugging Heroic Archimonde a shot.  I signed up for a couple of groups, linking the AotC, legendary ring, and added *jazz hands* at the end of the message.

One of the raid leaders whispered me back ‘lol’ and shortly later I was invited to the group. I zoned on in and right away I noticed that it was primarily a guild group.  So either I’d happened into their progression group and this was going to take a number of wipes or I’d lucked into a quick clean up group and this was going to be one shot.  I had two hours to kill so I was prepared for either.

What came next was beyond what I could have expected.  One of the members posted their guild’s vent information.  I was about to ask if vent was required when the raid leader explained that the puggies (i.e. non guildies) only had to join the vent if they planned on continuing on for mythic HFC.  Mythic HFC? This group was bound to be good!

As we were setting up to pull, one of the other healers, another holy paladin, whispered me.  They told me that they didn’t need any loot and would give any pally loot they got to me.  I thanked them and we chatted for a bit about drop rates and whatnot.

Then after a short rundown of the fight and a timer, we pulled. Other than the fact that I was playing my very best to try to impress these mythic raiders, the fight was very run of the mill.  We downed first phase, stacked up on the boss, and killed adds, ping ponging all the while.  Chains were broken and banish groups went down and came back up again. We got all the way to the last couple percentage points when an ill timed chain break right before the rain of infernals took out several members of the raid, including the tank who was tanking Archimonde.  But since the Demon Lord was so low in health anyways, we were able to kite tanking him the last couple of percentage points.  A one shot.

While loot was being handed out (I sadly did not get any) I glanced up at the healing meters.  I had top healed that fight! Probably because this fight was cake for the other healers and they didn’t need to put 100% effort in, but still! Maybe I was on par with this mythic heals?

Loot was finished and everyone was ordered out.  My holy paladin friend from earlier whispered me, asking if I was going to stay for mythic. Excited and just a touch nervous, I told them I would. I then alt tabbed out and fired up vent. It took a while like it always does but I finally joined in and entered the channel.

And it hit me.  I was entering a Mythic Raid.  Mythic.  This was no Heroic, with it’s somewhat forgivable mechanics.  This was a whole new level of difficult.  And that brings up another point, mechanics.  What were the mythic mechanics? What were the strats? Oh no, what had I gotten myself into!?

During the first trash pulls, I frantically whispered several mythic raiders on my battle tag list while google searching the strats for Mythic Assault.  With the help of Ambermist, my guildies Syandle and Zanima, and Icy Veins, I put together a pretty solid idea of the fight. Trash was cleared and the raid leader then did a brief but thorough run down of the fight.  I was as ready as I would ever be.

Also not the mythic raid.  I didn't even fight this boss this night!

Also not the mythic raid. I didn’t even fight this boss this night!

The main difference between Mythic Assault and Normal/Heroic Assault seems to be the split. At specific timed intervals during the fight, identical siege weapons would roll down on both sides of the room (as opposed to Heroic and Normal, where there was only one vehicle) and the raid would split to take down these dual menaces. I was assigned left side with another healer and let me tell you, I followed that shaman to the ends of the earth.

The first couple of pulls ended with wipes. I can’t tell you definitively because I was concentrating so hard on healing myself and executing mechanics properly, but it seemed to be that the adds that needed to go down weren’t going down fast enough. All I knew was that I hadn’t messed up a mechanics too badly.  Yet.

The raid leader reorganized the split again and we pulled a few more times.  One thing that was very different from my other raiding experiences was that as soon as we lost more than 3 people and we were out of battle rezzes, we would purposefully wipe it.  Thus we wiped a lot of times but turn around was very fast.  We wiped, we popped back up, we buffed and ate and within 3 minutes we had pulled again.  It was beautifully efficient.

After about forty five minutes, we finally had our breakthrough pull.  Previously, the lowest we had wiped at had been 35%.  But this time, we hit 35% and the percentages kept dwindling down. 30%, 25%, 20%, 15%, 10% we were almost there.
Then one of the tanks blew up.  Frantically, the healers popped all of our cooldowns.  But the delicate balance had been shattered.  The left side collapsed and the adds began streaming right.  The raid leader bellowed for the last couple ammunitions to be fed to the cannon.  As members of the raid dropped one by one, overwhelmed by the sheer number of adds, the percentage of the boss dropped as well.

8%, 6%, we had just a couple mages and shaman up. 4%, 2% it was down to one mage.  And right as that mage’s iceblock broke and the adds overwhelmed them, the boss ticked down to 0%.  Achievements and loot rolls flashed up.  We had done it!

I quickly used my bonus roll and rezzed.  A shiny new shield, proudly bearing the word Mythic, plopped into my bag.  I glanced at the meters and again found that I had top healed.  And then I was barraged by the grats from my guild.

Sitting back for the first time in 50 minutes, I took a deep breath and tried to stop shaking.  We had done it.  And I had helped.  The threshold had been crossed, I was now a mythic raider.  Holey moley!

Loot was distributed and we took a quick break.  I used this time to again frantically whisper my Mythic raider friends and find a new guide. Reaver it seemed was not very different for healers on Mythic which was reassuring for me.  Everything just hit like a truck.

We again began our pulls, but it was not to be.  Barrage is an instant kill on Mythic difficulty and unfortunately too many people were getting hit by it.  Myself included, I was hit an embarrassing 2 times over the course of 11 pulls.  In addition, several members of the raid began to experience terrible latency.  We got the boss to the first air phase a few times before the raid leader ultimately called it a night.

After  the raid, I whispered the raid leader for a bit, thanking him for the invite.  We shared btags and I offered my services should he ever need a healer for anything.  I’m not hold out to be re-invited for Mythic HFC again but hey, the door is still open.

Even though we did not get Reaver down, I still consider the night to be a huge success.  That raid was the first time I had felt nervous in a raid in a very long time.  I had kinda missed that feeling.  It was a completely new and satisfyingly challenging experience and I’m so glad I got the chance to partake.  And I got a mythic kill and a shield to boot! Woot!

Huge thanks to La Familia on Sargeras for bringing me along! And big thanks to all the people I whispered for fight advice!