Not Ready for Prime Time
I attended my first “normal” mode raid this past weekend, and it was rough, no doubt in part due to my and my wife’s lack of practice in normal raids. My NWN buddy who runs the guild in which I do my weekly flexes talks a lot about how LFR isn’t really raiding but that flex is, and I can report that while I agree with his core premise, flex is pretty distant from normal mode, too.
It started with a timing SNAFU that’s partially my fault, as when I was told the time for the raid I almost asked “Server time?” But I didn’t, not wanting to seem unsure about this first raid, and it turned out it wasn’t server time, it was an hour ahead. As a result, both my wife and I were an hour late to the raid. The guildies we were going with didn’t know us well enough to have alternate means of communicating with us (or to know that I, being a teacher, am a punctuality freak and that no-showing to a raid was a very abnormal behavior), so our guildies had filled our spots and gotten started.
I felt bad for being late and was willing to just skip it, but they very graciously made space for my wife and me. Then the real pain began.
To be clear, labeling it “pain” had nothing to do with the raid, really. My wife and I are just very out of practice in normal modes, and as a result we’ve become soft and slow to respond to things. Iron Juggernaut, in particular, was a MASSIVE wake-up call, as things that aren’t a big deal in flex are murder in normal mode, and we wiped there, repeatedly, on a boss that I had mentally cataloged as “stupidly easy.” I have since re-cataloged it as “challenging.”
What made it worse was that I cockily brought in my druid for Juggernaut after a few wipes because they needed a third healer and my dps wasn’t going to be missed. However, I’m so out of practice healing raids at all, let alone a normal raid, that I died over and over on the next few pulls until it got to the point that I clearly wasn’t up to the challenge. I relogged onto my shaman, shame-faced, and returned to producing mediocre dps.
Indeed, my dps and my wife’s healing weren’t anything to write home about, and we’re mostly decked out in flex gear, so I can’t blame crappy gear as an excuse. I’m not well enough read on shaman dps to know whether I should attempt multi-dotting or just use a more normal multi-target rotation, and on bosses like Dark Shaman, that showed. Even the trash was a problem in some places, as the “mind spikes” from the orc mage trash in Orgrimmar were hitting people like a truck.
So overall it was a pretty tough raid, and a somewhat nasty wake-up call about my own play.
The funny thing is that I didn’t use to mind glass chewing (meaning wiping repeatedly on a boss), but it was getting to me this time. I suspect that’s partly due, again, to my being out of practice in normal raids, but I also suspect it was vastly exacerbated by the fact that I was clearly part of the problem rather than being helpful and carrying others like my guildies were.
There were other problems, too. We had a few dps who frequently weren’t doing what they were supposed to, and one melee dps who seemed to die about halfway through every boss pull throughout the entire raid. Still, these were the people that our guild buddies were forced to pick up, partially because my wife and I were late in the first place.
So I’m very grateful to our guildies for running the raid, but it was also a rough experience, reminiscent of my early days raiding when I didn’t know what to do, which, of course, is pretty accurate here, too.
I guess I’ll just need more practice, which I look forward to getting again this weekend. Plus, I’ll have some coins this time, which I habitually spent in flex last week without thinking that I’d have opportunities in a normal run later.
Stubborn (and a bit disappointed in my own performance)