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Yesterday, on 10/10/10, my guild Daughters of the Horde killed Lich King-10 for the very first time. We first pulled him on August 1, and yesterday marked our 10th raid day working on him. As we only raid 1-2 days a week, it simply took us that long to get there. 2 months of hard work on him.
The first couple weeks were marked by the brickwall of Phase 2. At first, we simply could not coordinate getting the valkyrs down fast enough. Practically every pickup meant the person would be dropped. We lacked the coordination to deal with valks and Defile close together. We simply could not keep people alive. It took us until late September to first see phase 3, which promptly meant we wiped right at the start of it.
On Oct 3 we finally had the raid where we got into P3 just about every other try. We still transitioned with 3 Raging Spirits up, but we did not wipe when the first Vile Spirits were summoned. We were getting there.
Yesterday, it happened. We made it. It was a messy kill. I tanked the Raging Spirits in both transitions. Thanks to input from Naithin (psst, start reading his blog right now!), I tweaked my spec to sacrifice Damage Shield and Focused Rage in favor of Deep Wounds and Safeguard. My fellow tank Lashe had the Lich King in P3 while Spirits were up, and Safeguard allowed me to Intervene on her whenever Soul Reaper was cast, to give her a 30% damage reduction. The healers said it really helped them with dealing with the Soul Reaper damaged and allowed us to not taunt off each other in that part of the fight, until Raging Spirits were down.
Once the Spirits were down, I picked up Lich King and Lashe started soaking Vile Spirits instead. But I was sloppy, I did not always use my cooldowns at the right time, and so at around 25% I went down. I got a battle rez from one of our two druids. At 18% I went down again, hit by Soul Reaper. There was no more battle rez available. At first I was shocked, we were so close, should that be it? Our ret pally Kaylexanna who always helps me with leading the raids (and keeping me sane) asked if Pain Suppression was up for the surviving tank, which marked the point where I managed to shake out of staring at my screen in blank horror. From that point on I did countdown, asked the healers to use cooldowns and to keep Lashe up at any cost. Down his health went. At about 16% one of the tree druids died when she was harvested. Two healers left. We kept the raid moving away from the Vile Spirits. Down and down his health went. I was sitting there, shaking, frantically, seeing his health bar slowly going down. Finally he was at 11%, then he used The Fury of Frostmourne and our Vent exploded.
I have no words to describe how happy this kill makes me. I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to down the Lich King before 4.0, just like we hadn’t been able to down Zul’jin in the week before 3.0. We have come a long way since then as raid.
I think Ulduar taught us the most raid-wise. I think without the experience of wiping on a complex encounter that we got in our weeks on Yogg-Saron, we wouldn’t have been able to deal with the repeated weeks of defeat on the Lich King. Not when you’re from such a small guild with such a small pool of raiders. Both fights are complex, long, and require perfect execution. In general, I really enjoy execution-based fights, because eventually you get to the point where it clicks, and that’s awesome.
I will say that repeated wipes in Phase 2 of LK are an excruciating way to die over and over again. You have already spent like 5 minutes in the fight, to the point of utter boredom as Phase 1 is very easy, and then you run into a wall. Still, all in all a satisfying experience and worthy of being the final boss of the expansion. I am not really counting Halion, though we will now take the time to peek in on him.
Throughout Wrath of the Lich King, our roster changed a lot, from Naxxramas to Ulduar to Trial of the Crusader to Icecrown Citadel. We had a lot of fluctuation tank- and healer-wise. For quite some time I stopped tanking and healed instead, especially in the early days of Icecrown Citadel, when my tanking burnout was the worst it has ever been. But I rediscovered my love for tanking raids, Kadomi’s still my girl, and I am so happy that I got the Kingslayer title on her.
My big thanks go to everyone in my raid group who suffer through me as their raid leader and tank. I am neither the world’s best leader nor the best tank, and not always easy to deal with, so kudos to everyone for dealing with me. I am particularly grateful to those who stuck around with DotH. I think all of our current raid members are excited to be a part of our guild, and that makes me very happy. Guild perks are awaiting us in Cataclysm, I am really looking forward to them. We will level more slowly than other guilds, but we’ll get there.
I can now take a deep breath and start looking forward to Cataclysm instead of suffering from WoW ennui. That feels good.
-This weekend, my guild had its first ever Icecrown Citadel raid. We’ve never been at the cutting edge of progression and this is like the closest we’ve ever been timeline-wise to starting progression fights. It’s pretty cool. It’s one of the things that I love about WotLK. It truly has made raiding accessible to everyone. We have been able to visit all raid content in the game so far, this would have been inconceivable in previous incarnations of WoW. Kudos!
Now, this first ICC-10 raid was a really different raid for me. It was the first raid I wasn’t going in as progression raid leader and main tank. I recently stepped down as guild officer, after 3.5 years. There were many contributing factors. First, I have no tact. I don’t know if this is a German trait or just me, so I fail at anything that in any form requires tact. When I think someone sucks, I will not sugarcoat it. I won’t be insulting, but I won’t pat on the head either. I will offer advice, but I won’t coddle. As I have posted many times, my guild is all girls. We have little to no drama, but we have a repeating pattern. Girls who have been in the guild for months will leave with absolutely no warning to officers. I don’t know if this is common in other guilds, but it really just happened time and again. Bam, leaving, and mentioning in their apps to other guilds that they did not like something or another about us. The lack of constructive criticism towards the most approachable group of people I have ever met anywhere is baffling. I drew my own conclusion from this: people fear the bad cop, people dislike talking to the blunt, most vocal officer. One of my (many) character flaws is that when I feel pressured and pushed, I will push back and block. But you know what? I was one of 7-8 active officers we had at the time. Even with personal beef against me, there were other nicer, kinder, more gentle people available to talk to, even if it was to complain about me. Never happened. So I bowed out, because I love my guild, and I don’t want to be that officer.
Not being an officer felt like a weight is off my shoulders. I still schedule raids and lead them in off-weeks, but more for my personal pleasure and not with a look at the big picture anymore. On my personal raid to-do list I want to do a Sartharion zerg, because Kadomi of the Nightfall sounds sexy, and possibly Ulduar hardmodes, which should likely be ezmode, but I still want to do them. For fun. After all, WoW is for fun! I am also raid assist for our current raid leader, trying to help her out in any form. We’re a good team, so I think we’ll do fantastically well.
I also did not go in as MT, as I mentioned. In fact, our first night in, I was healing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know most of you come here to read about tanking. But in all honesty I currently do not feel good about the state of the protection warrior in WotLK. I have tried to avoid making whine posts, but I think most protection warrior bloggers like Tarsus, Linedan and even Veneretio will probably agree with me that currently, we get the shaft. Icecrown Citadel, or maybe progression content in its current form is not made for warrior tanking. Our utility and toolkit is supposed to be the buffer for our traditionally low DPS output compared to all other tanks, but that’s not enough for me anymore. Speaking of the toolkit, how awesome will Warbringer be for us when it no longer breaks snares? Thanks, PvP, I love that nerf. Same with Shield Slam damage. Now, there is a sustained damage buff in the air, and it’s likely going to be Devastate getting another buff. This means we go back to Devastate spamming. Big toolkit. Yay.
Yesterday, I was offtank on our second day in Icecrown Citadel. Never have I felt more useless as a tank than in the Plagueworks. Our current MT is a Death Knight. She’s excellent, I adore her, and she does a great job. She could have solo-tanked most of the trash, I suppose. All those AoE pulls where I hopeless spammed Thunderclap and Cleave til I was out of rage and basically only my current target was on me, everything else on the DK. Or on Precious, with all her zombies, where the same situation occurred that she was doing all the AoE tanking and all I could do was taunt Precious off at the right time. And let’s not speak of Festergut. Dead, dead, dead. Here I was, feeling helpless in battle stance, keeping sunders up, keeping Rend up, keeping debuffs up, pretending I was able to make any DPS contribution. I am not able to say that warriors do not have issues. We do. Please fix us, Blizzard. I’ll be on my ‘main alt’ in the meantime, my shaman.
Enough with the whining. Let’s hear some good stuff!
First off, our raid group is awesome. I can’t say that often enough. They bring it. On Saturday, our first ever visit, we went in and one-shot Lord Marrowgar, Lady Deathwhisper and Gunship Battle. I had a blast healing, and got rewarded for my efforts, with the very sweet Midnight Sun.
I really did enjoy what I have seen so far, despite my personal disappointment with my own tanking capabilities there. Trash mobs! Traps on the ground to watch for! Rep for killing mobs! You have no idea how excited people were when they got to buy their rings, just like in the good ol’ days of Karazhan raids. Unfortunately I am sitting at 50% rep towards friendly on both my characters now. Next time! The encounters in Lower Spire were all good fun, and especially Gunship Battle made people happy. The Plagueworks immediately set the bar with a lot higher difficulty, starting with the Vrykul trash pulls. It will feel amazing to clear it.
As an aside, I should note that my 24″ monitor I got for Christmas still makes me so freaking happy, and I am in love with my raid UI. Witness my screenshot of the Saurfang kill. Now only try to ignore the stupid quest tracker on the right. Really need to find a way to disable it in raids. I need to write another addon spotlight, to sing the praises for DXE. Deus Vox Encounters is fantastic, I love it, I fully endorse it. Must post about it soon.