A Bit of a Surprise
So I had a bit of a surprise this past weekend. It wasn’t necessarily a bad surprise, but more of a surprise that requires rapid readjustment of how one acts or thinks.
The surprise was this: I was doing a heroic raid.
As you’ve read, I’ve been doing normals for the past few Saturdays (minus the one on which I did a real life heroic – building a deck – which nearly caused me to wipe – no healers were in range). I’d grown adjusted to most of those fights, which are essentially just the flex fights with harder hits and bigger health pools. I felt like I was adjusting well, too, and really contributing to the group in a meaningful way. It was a satisfying experience, even though we hadn’t quite downed normal Garrosh just yet, though we had downed all the previous bosses.
Then a decision was made at the executive level of the normal raid, apparently the weekend I was away, to do heroic raids. Some very strong raiders had come back from unavailability and contributed to the run, and as a result they’d been able to do the first five bosses on heroic when I was gone. I was quite happy to hear that news; if the group was strong enough to be blowing up heroic SoO when some of regular raiders were absent, then we should have no trouble finishing normal when I got back.
What I didn’t consider – stupidly, in hindsight – was that we weren’t going back to normals, that we’d be doing heroics again the following week. So when my wife and I logged in and joined up with the group, we hadn’t prepared at all – no videos watched, no mechanics studied. Both of us were a little off-kilter as a result, though I can only blame myself; how many times have I told students it was their responsibility to find out what they’d missed if they were absent. Fortune favors irony.
Now, the good news is that we did get the first four bosses on heroic. Immerseus only took a little adjustment, as at first the healers were too far from the rotating tanks, and then they were too close and got hit with the nasty cleave attack. We downed him rather quickly, overall, and on top of that, a Bindings of Immerseus dropped; that’s been by far my weakest piece of gear for while, as I only had the LFR version, never having gotten it in all the flexes or normals I’d since run. I lost the roll, though, but then the winner coined them, so, being second highest roll, they were given to me. Excellent!
Things continued strong as we one-shotted Protectors. I was quite pleased with that fight, as I not only got to contribute some to dps, but to interrupting some effect from one of Rook’s adds – something I don’t have to do in flex or normal. Still, I noticed that my dps as a whole was lacking; I was below most of the other dps and even below one of the tanks from time to time. It didn’t so badly on Immerseus, since I got to chain lightning all the little adds, but the deficit was much clearer for the rest of the raid.
Then we got to Norushen; I’ve said before that I hate that fight. It has seemed like a fight that put the brakes on a lot of the groups I was in early on in this tier and even represented a sizable roadblock that had to be overcome in the early normals with this group. I was quite worried about the heroic version.
I don’t remember how it went, honestly. I can’t even remember if we one-shotted it or not (but I don’t think we did), but overall it wasn’t too much of a struggle, that I remember. That was good news, because I’ve always considered Sha of Pride a joke of a fight compared to Norushen.
Not so on heroic. Not so by a long shot. There are several extra mechanics in heroic that add to the corruption tally, and as a result, there were more corruption effects, as well. In the flex run – and in the normal, if I’m remembering properly – no one’s even gotten to 25 corruption before. We had people hitting 100 in this heroic run.
To top that off, the real problem was dps; we weren’t generating enough of it to get the boss to 30% before people were getting 100 corruption, nor to down him after 30%. My wife got asked to switch to dps, which she is always willing to do with a coy look at me, a knowing look that her dps is garbage since she never plays dps.
This time, it mattered, though, because we did eventually get the boss down, and right at the metaphorical buzzer – meaning that without my wife’s dps, we’d have wiped again. Still, regardless of that fact, my wife feels like she’s not contributing enough healing to be valued as a healer and not asked to switch nor enough dps to be valuable as a dps when she is asked to switch.
We didn’t get past Galakras. After multiple wipes to being overwhelmed, dps getting aggro too quickly (which was mostly me), and dps not doing enough aoe (which I was holding back on so as not to get aggro too quickly), we finally got Galakras on the ground. We were pounding him (her?), too, and the Flames rotation we’d set up was working. Then, for no apparent reason, one of the pugs we had got flames and ran it to a place where it didn’t pass through anyone, and we wiped instantly. We never got Galakras on the ground again.
And that really sums up what I hate about 10 man raiding, particularly heroics. I’ve made jokes about it before, mostly related to healers – that when you’re in a such a zero-margin-for-error environment, every mistake is magnified in a way that it’s not on 25 man. As a result, each mistake someone makes breeds the tiniest amount of resentment in others that, after months of doing these fights, grows into something unhealthy. I felt it in H ICC 10 when that goddamn tank backed off the H LK platform again, when the dps didn’t CC the mind controls on LDW immediately, and so forth.
I don’t know how long-term healers do it, really. The druid in our guild is a very positive, upbeat person. She apparently feels none of the ill-will like I did; I don’t know how she does it. The other healer is a much more blunt person who’ll call people out for their mistakes. She’s not wrong about it, mind you; just blunt. Perhaps that’s how you prevent letting the hostility grow; you just tell it like it is.
Regardless, I know that my “normal mode” dps was part of the problem, and since I personally made several mistakes during a lot of the encounters, the hostility that was bred was often at myself. I said before I didn’t think I had heroic raiding in me any more, and this is some small confirmation of it. Even with all the good that was done – we did down 4 bosses, one as a one-shot, and I got a major upgrade – I just don’t know if it’s worth it. It was clear that there were 8 heroic raiders in there plus my wife and I. Some of the pugs were less than kind, as well, though all our guildies were positive and encouraging.
Both my wife and I left the raid feeling disappointed in our performance. She’s never even really done heroic raids before, mind you; I was the one in LK tier hard modes and heroics. She may have been carried a time or two – who remembers – but this was the first time she needed to perform, and I don’t think she feels like she did.
All of that said, I want the people in my guild to know I appreciate their attendance, patience, and management of the raid. I’m not in any way upset about having been included, nor do I think it was in any way mishandled. I just don’t know if H raiding is for me any more. Keep in mind I decided eventually not to app to the H raiding portion of my guild, and I think it was the right decision. But perhaps some time is needed to fully contextualize what happened. I don’t know. I’ll see how I feel next Saturday.
Stubborn (and a bit bored)