It’s been an interesting couple of raid weeks for me.
On Wednesday night, “farm” night, we suffered through one of the worse raids I’ve ever been in since joining the guild over a year ago. We wiped on Marrowgar’s trash three time. We nearly wiped on Marrowgar too. I was healing (extra stressful) and I just couldn’t keep people alive. I couldn’t keep myself alive either – I was dead on a bone spike with 30% still left on the boss. I think everyone was relieved that we didnt technically wipe: a tank and healer survived at the very end. But that set the scene for the night.
I expected Deathwhisper to be a struggle. The last two weeks we’ve regressed and had to drop her back down to Normal mode. I blame the ghosts in Sunken Temple and Naxxramas’s Military Wing for establishing a dangerous precedent for dealing with ghosts. It seems, even with someone (usually me) screaming “ghosts!” every few seconds people still believe that the ghosts might just disappear if they ignore them. On Wednesday we got Deathwhisper Heroic after a few warm-up attempts. Things were looking up.
Saurfang gave us a few more difficulties but eventually we executed our Blood Beast DPS and healing assignments perfectly, with some help from a Rogue, and killed Saurfang.
We went on to spend the rest of the night wiping on Heroic Blood Prince Council.
For several weeks now attendance has been abysmal. I think lots of people are just giving up til Cataclysm. Lathere went casual some time ago and hasn’t logged into the game since (sorry, I know she intended to post that herself). Some of our new recruits have just stopped logging in altogether. Other raiders have gone casual, had their account hacked, gone on holidays etc. It’s incredibly rare for us to fill the 25 raid slots.
Not our Priests, I should add. The five of us are still going strong! Clearly we’re the backbone of the Vitare raids. /wink
The last two weeks have been extra interesting because our Raid Leader has been away on holidays. And at the moment we really only have one other Officer and he hasn’t been able to make each raid night. When the cat’s away… the mice will play.
Even though it felt surprisingly liberating (and quiet, I should add) to play without an established leader, it still surprised me how little we, as a group, knew about some stuff. How many healers do we do this with? Um we need Blood Beast assignments? Can’t everyone just remember whatever their assignment was from last week?
Our successes have been huge. Last week, with only 20 players on Thursday we almost got Rotface’s achievement and we did manage to kill Blood Prince Council on Heroic. Yes, with just 20 players. On the same night one of our players finished his Shadowmourne quest. This was a surprisingly special moment for the entire group.
Our failures have also been disturbingly huge. Festergut and Marrowgar, two of the easiest hard modes, have proved to be extremely difficult for us. Why? I have no idea.
We’re trialling two new main spec tanks (Druid and Death Knight), 1 Restoration Druid, 1 Holy Paladin (yet another one disappeared mysteriously during their trial), 1 Rogue, 1 Hunter and 1 Elemental Shaman. As soon as we can find a Warlock, Mage and main spec Restoration Shaman we’ll be trialling some new caster DPS and a new healer too.
Back to Wednesday night. Hours of wiping on Heroic Blood Prince Council. With 25 people in the raid. Suddenly there are flaws in our strategy – problems that we’ve never had to worry about before. We had three healer deaths when they took an Empowered Flame Orb to the face. And if they moved to run away their healing target (usually one of the tanks) would die. We missed Kinetic Bombs. We had Hunter pets moving away from the Bombs just as they came down to ground level.
I remember looking at the people (well characters) around me. It was pretty much the exact same group that had managed to kill the Council with 20 players the week before. These were our regulars, our core raiders. How had everything gone so wrong?
I logged off for the night completely miserable. Resigned to struggle through each raid night until the end of the expansion.
Then last night, Thursday, the day of the week that we’re most likely to have to cancel our raid everything just clicked into place. We had a full raid. We even had three or four people on standby. Unheard of! We blitzed through Blood Prince Council, doing the exact same thing we’ve always done, it just seemed to work again. We lost our first bite in Blood Queen but came back and killed her the very next attempt. Rotface and Festergut keeled over as intended. Dreamwalker was easy, even Sindragosa (only on normal mode, I should add) was easy peasy.
Then, oh my, we even had an hour or so left over to work on a progression fight!
I logged off on a high. And not just because bosses were falling over – it certainly wasn’t a night where no mistakes were made – we made heaps. We still needed one wipe or so before we could kill a boss. But I was so happy because all those new recruits: the DK tank, Feral tank, Ele Shaman, Hunter and Rogue were amazing. If anyone was making mistakes, it wasn’t the new guys, oh no.
This week the new Hunter and Rogue paired up to handle a Blood Beast on their own for Saurfang. And did an excellent job. That same Hunter got the very first Blood Queen bite and smoothly ran around finding and biting people.
Our new DK tank was awesome – his threat on the Shadow-y dude in Blood Prince Council was easily as good as any tank we currently have in the guild. And it’s this boss that I’m most likely to be threat-capped on.
The new Elemental Shaman is my Blood Fiend killing partner and saved me from death with a very nicely timed Thunderstorm.
So we go into the second half of this raid week, Monday night, with time to work on Heroic Professor Putricide, a bunch of promising new raiders, and some extra orange pixels. I know that raiding has its cycles, but I feel like we’ve just been on a roller coaster.