Wednesday, June 16, 2010

And There Will be, Sorrow...

Time for Deep Thoughts... though I'm no Jack Handey

Last night's raid was a first for me: I just felt nearly incapable of doing what was asked.

Was it avoiding the defile on on Lich King? Nope.
Was it dropping the buffet on Sindragosa? Nope.

I simply could not keep myself alive.

On the Four Horseman.

To be fair, I've never been deep into Naxxramus before. I had never seen the Four Horseman, didn't know the strat. When the RL asked:

"Bal, do you have a Tank of Healer off-spec?"

"Yeah, I have a tank off-spec, though I'm not great."

"How is your healing in your tank spec?"

"Um... not great"

In case you are in the same boat as I was early yesterday evening, I'll explain this fight in VERY basic terms.

1 - There are 4 bosses in this fight that each need to be fully engaged, or any single one of them will AoE and wipe the raid.

2 - The "first/front" two bosses will be dealt with by DPS, "real" tanks and the healers.

3 - The back two bosses need to be engaged, and the two people engaging them need to be able to survive. On their own.

4 - Once the front 2 bosses are down,the rest of the group will come back and take care of the second 2 bosses.

5 - Oh, and there are these stacks you have to watch out for, so each pair of tanks has to switch off so that the debuff can wear off.


So we went in, with me and a Blood DK on the back bosses. I was supposed to heal both of us.

In case you aren't aware, Pally gear (Ret & Prot) has zero intellect on it, so our mana pool is rather small. While my Ret spec has a fair amount of haste (about 375 or so) I don't think my Prot gear has ANY.

Can you say looong cast time? (even without stalls/interrupts?)

Anyhow, I have Seal of light on, and swapped my binding so that I was judging light (both replenish health) I'm healing the other guy, trying to heal myself, I pop Lay on Hands-



Not even close. (Also, I wasn't paying attention, and I think we both ended up with 4 stacks of the debuff) I also think that the front group was having some issues themselves.

Oh, did I mention the group?

2 Tanks, 2 healers, with 2 ranged DPS.

It was entirely a guild run, but I think only 1 or 2 of them had ever seen this fight before. The tanks were both 1st time raid tanks, (though they did quite well) and it was mentioned that we were trying to 2-heal a fight that really needs to have 3 healers. Lastly, most of the toons there had a GS below 4,500. YES, I realize that folks beat this without so much as a full T-7 set, but gear is usually needed to help folks that lack experience, which we did.

We tried it once more, and one thing crystallized for me in my tanky-healy duty. The DK & I are both melee classes, and I actually need to be hitting the bad guy to regain health. Similar to the DK. The only problem is that if we are both in melee range of our target, I was out of range to heal the other guy.

Hell, ignoring the other guy, I was having a tough time healing myself!

And So...

Well, one of the other Pallies had to leave (it was a bit late) and we got a 3rd healer in. It took another 3 tries, but we finally got past it. In addition to my inability to survive (let alone heal another) I did one dummy move that irritated a couple of the folks.

In previous wipes, the RL said to stay put, they would rez us. The last wipe, nothing was said, so I figured we didn't have anyone with a self rez available. So after a few minutes of nothing being said on vent, and no visible movement, I released. Well, everyone else DID get rezzed, and I now had a whole passel of mobs to go through that had respawned.

"Where are you, Balthazario?"

We had a 'lock, so they ported me in, but it was with some consternation.


I've never felt like I couldn't handle any responsibility I've been given before. (granted, most of the time its just "KILL IT!!!" but still...) I logged off last night feeling pretty crappy about my performance. Doubt about my actual performance and *my* perception that I was being looked at askance, left me feeling pretty discouraged about WoW overall, and me in particular.

Between this, and a couple of implied/perceived failures of mine during our recent failed attempts at Rotface, I think the group has me pegged as "one of those pallies". While I do NOT think I was any type of failure during Rot, I clearly didn't perform all that well in Naxx (that last encounter in particular)

Perhaps I have been getting too used to the ICC buff, and my 8,000+ DPS numbers, but my overall DPS for the night (barring my "tanking" interlude) was only 4,400. That pretty much sucks, by ANY measure, if you consider my "skill" and gear. I'm not sure how I could have bumped it much to be honest. That almost makes it worse.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the group of folks in this guild. They seem to be good people and I like running with them. But, I have this gut feeling that the sentiment is not reciprocated by the guild leadership.

Casual Raiding

This isn't a guild that uses World of Logs (a subscription service that records your raids in intimate detail) or that pays much attention to the "back pages" of Recount. (you know, damage taken - which implies damage avoided, # of interrupts, stuns, etc - the "other" stuff you can do, both good and bad) Heck, as long as DPS is cranking along, they don't seem to pay much attention, other than "is the group doing enough?" (we are). I *agree* that not putting too much value in Recount can be a good thing, especially just the "front page" (damage/DPS numbers)

However, the bummer is that your value to the group, be it raid or guild, then becomes a very subjective thing. Did the RL see you taunt that add of the healer 3 times? (doubtful, since he's not the healer) Or the other clothies other times? (I don't think so) Did he realize it was me that cast the ghetto priest buff multiple times after wipes? (nope) Did he see you and another established guild member having troubles combining oozes? (I think so - though it isn't clear "who's fault" it was, but again, one of us is an established guildie, the other isn't) Did he see you die stupidly that one time? (yep, he did)

My only "response" to this type of stuff is that some of it did happen, but that overall I am a VERY productive member of the group. Some of my assistance could be borne out by looking deeper into Recount. If they only look at the front of Recount, they will likely see me as top Damage and first or second in DPS, which could be a bad thing (see, he only cares about DPS)

So, I have this feeling that I will not become a full member of the guild any time soon.

By the way, Naxx seems like it must have been an awesome place to raid in, "back in the day". I can believe that some of the fights must have been monster pains to get past, but the look of the place, the neat and different fights, all seem like it could have been a blast as well.

OH! In case you don't read Kattastrophe's blog, they got past Sindy the other night, and have started work on Arthas. It was neat to watch them... I saw at least one Sindy fight where they had her down to 70,000 health, but still wiped. Seeing the final kill was great! Good job folks!


  1. The 4 Horseman is an AWESOME fight but, um, it's quite difficult to do with less than 10 people. Interestingly, it's *not* included in The Dedicated Few Achi, and you can do it but it takes some serious over-gearing and co-ordination.

    It's always depressing when you fail to perform to the standard you set for yourself, or the standard you perceive others have set for you. But also it's just one of those things that happens sometimes - everybody, at some point, wipes a raid, and it reflects nothing on your skill as a player. Our best mage lol!pulled Fester the other day. I got hit slap bang in the face by some malleable goo when we entered Phase 3 of the Prof, couldn't heal, and so we wiped.

    And every now and again you'll try something crazy, or something you've never done before, and it wont' work. For the longest time I couldn't heal Sarth 3D despite being massively over-geared for it. I felt like the worst healer in the world - but I made the adjustment and now I can do it, no sweat. But equally attempting off-spec heal a non-crit capped blood DK through a raid boss - God, it's not surprising you didn't quite manage it. A dedicated healer might have struggled.

    Also I think you're interpreting your own performance unduly bleakly in the light of the 4 Horseman Attempt. And you read far too much into every little mistake you make - we *all* die stupidly occasionally, nobody should be counting. Also if the RL is only noting things that go wrong, and can't see all the things you do well (tbh, even with the buff, some of our raiders don't reach 8k DPS) and all the thought and effort and passion you put into playing your class well ... then he honestly doesn't deserve you.

    I wish you were in Europe. We'd snap you up in a second.

  2. I wrote the is when I was rather glum (obviously) but didn't publish it until I was a *bit* better, so I'm not standing toes-over-the-edge or anything... but having to deal with your own imprefections is never a fun thing.

    Even in WoW.

    I think I have a topic for today, though!

  3. Seriously... seriously... behind on my feedreader :P not that I comment enough for you to know that!

    Anyway, even a hard-core balls to the walls raid group isn't likely to, you know, throw you out for a single screw up. EVERYONE screws up, and it's usually the middling we WANT to be hard-core guilds that are the worst offenders when it comes to 1) not having enough data to make a decision, and 2) making it anyway.

    Anytime you're learning a new encounter you are bound to make "mistakes." That's part of learning, and now you know a bit more about your capabilities in an unconventional role, as well as a trying circumstance. I think my best learning experiences have been when I have had to do something my role "doesn't do"--pushing your toon makes you a better player overall.

    It is oh so hard to stifle that inner perfectionist at times, though, isn't it.