ZELCANDOR: “Engulfing Flames inc – oh lol, Raggy’s already dead. Wait, how did our Shadow Priest die?”
MAGE: “She got hit by that bugged meteor.”
PALADIN: “Ah well, she was gonna life grip us into its path anyway, good thing we got her before she got us!”
And with that, Tier 12 progression raiding came to an end for us.
We’d spent the night wiping on Heroic Ragnaros yet again but the mood was good. As much as we’d read all the horror stories about Heroic Ragnaros being a guildkiller, we’ve always thoroughly enjoyed learning the fight and making progress on it. A huge part of this is because we’ve never had the lineup available to really go for the fight – on our first night, both our Shadow Priest and Hunter had to drop out a the last minute due to real life. We decided to give it a go anyway, to see if our tactics were viable. It was pretty fun to 8 man Heroic Ragnaros and learn as much of the fight as we could. It was even more fun when our 8 manning actually yielded some results, with our best attempt bringing Ragnaros to 50% HP.
Since then, the story’s been the same – we clear all content and then have 2 nights on Heroic Ragnaros but always without our ‘perfect’ raid comp. Lots of wiping ensues but hell, we all have fun, we all learn and last night was so sweet. On our last attempt, we executed the fight perfectly, we got Ragnaros to 42% and wiped on the 3rd wave of Molten Seeds. Our aim was to bring Ragnaros to the second transition before that third wave of seeds. Unfortunately, our Warlock wasn’t available and our 10th DPS had just joined the guild, never having set foot in Heroic Firelands and thus was a little undergeared compared to the rest of us.
But fun was had by all and we ended the night with a rather messy but funny Normal Mode kill. And so, that’s that. No more Firelands for a while. Patch 4.3 is here and it may be that we can’t raid as often as we’d like to due to our members going off on vacations or visiting friends and family. I think most people will have become thoroughly sick of Firelands by now but personally, I feel a bit of regret at not having more time with Heroic Ragnaros. I know, I know, we haven’t even seen Phase 3 or 4 yet and it could have given us a lot of grief but we’ll never know. What we do know is we’ve wiped on Heroic Ragnaros a lot and thoroughly enjoyed it!
I guess it’s strange to start with a review of Firelands raiding at the end but there you have it.
Our first couple of months of Firelands raiding were pretty rocky. We’d just come off the back of an unsuccessful guild merger and were hemorrhaging players. We’d decided that we could no longer do 25 mans, it was just too much work and we didn’t have the playerbase for it anymore, especially with the lofty standards of play we wanted to reach. We tried running 2 groups of 10 mans but that was causing a lot of unhappiness. I had to take an extended break due to real life, a break that resulted in my stepping down as GM and as one of the guild RLs.
And then, a bigger blow, the only other experienced RL had to step down due to real life. Serendipitously, this co-incided with my return to the game and I was back in the RL hot seat. A role I’d traditionally run away from due to the simple fact that I just never thought I was all that good at it.
Returning to Raid Leading was rocky. My real life was kind of a mess at the time and I wasn’t sleeping properly or even emotionally up to the task of resuming raid leading. But I sucked it up and did it, anyway.
And you know what? I hated Firelands.
It was shit.
I wasn’t familiar with any of the trash and patrol routes. I thought it was retarded as hell to have to clear half the trash just to summon the first boss. Half the time I mispulled and wiped the raid because I was so impatient.
I grudgingly had to admit that tanking Riplimb was pretty fun in the Shannox fight. But still, I hated it.
Beth’tilac was okay, simple tank and spank fight from my perspective. But still, I hated it.
Rhyolith gave me a headache. I couldn’t see shit, I was constantly running into magma lines, adds were a pain to tank and no-one seemed to understand how to steer the sonnofabitch. I hated it.
Alysrazor was an exercise in frustration. On the surface it had looked to be fun, with tanks doing 1000% more damage. In practice, it was another fight where I couldn’t see shit and was constantly dying due to running out of range of the healers. And let’s not even start with those goddamn tornadoes. I hat – actually, you probably get the idea by now. 😛
Baleroc and Staghelm were fun in their own way but then came Ragnaros. I hated it most of all. It was a long fight and I just didn’t ever engage with the tactics the raid had come up with in my absence. They just didn’t make sense to me and for those first few weeks, I just handed over raid leading to our mage and stumbled through the fight, hoping for the best.
But why the hate? It’s not really that bad, is it? I mean, some of the fights suck but it’s no Icecrown Citadel (don’t get me started on that shithole. Or well, maybe that’ll be an interesting future post).
Well, in retrospect, I realise that what I hated was that I wasn’t really in charge.
I’d come back from a break and in my absence my fellow raiders had cleared all of Firelands on Normal Mode. I was the Raid Leader and while I’d read up on every fight 10 ways to Sunday, I had no idea about our specific tactics for Firelands. And because of that, I hated it and just couldn’t engage with the fights as well as I should have. I hated posting tactics and assignments only to find out that they weren’t how we’d been doing the fight so far, that our tactics were different. I hated explaining some things only for my raiders to correct my assumptions about the fight. I hated having to figure out if I should stick with what everyone knew or change things to tactics I was happy with.
In the end, it was half and half. Some fights I changed things here and there to make them work for me. Others I left alone.
But as time passed, things changed. Real life began to settle down and I stopped being quite so moody and unstable. We started Heroic Modes and suddenly I felt that fire and excitement at having to come up with tactics and progress with my guildies again.
Now don’t get me wrong, our Heroic Mode tactics are in no way all down to my strategic genius or anything like that. The moment we dropped down to 1 x 10 man team, our raiding changed. It became a lot more collaborative and all my tactics are is a blueprint, a starting point. We go in, see how we do with what I planned and then we fine tune and adjust to make the fight work.
I also enjoyed that we started to work on our Glory of the Firelands Raider achievements, whittling away at it until we got it done (goddamn Alysrazor and her bloody tornadoes).
In the end, I’ll miss Heroic Shannox and the intricacies of the dance that myself and my fellow tank do to lose our stacks.
I’ll miss the tense vent chat of Heroic Beth’tilac as we communicate and do our best to keep things controlled in Phase 1. I’ll really miss our Hunter calling out in annoyance and frustration that Spiderlings are coming from the same side yet again, while he valiantly tries to make sure he gets every Broodling. 😀
I’ll miss the fun of picking up all the adds on Heroic Rhyolith and dancing between Magma Lines and AoE slowing the slimes. Actually, no, scratch that, I’ll always hate this goddamn fight.
I’ll miss topping the meters on Heroic Alysrazor while in full DPS gear and my healers shouting at me to stop being a nub and put on my proper tanking gear! 😀
It’s such a pity I only started to appreciate and enjoy Firelands at the end.
Ah well, we’ll be back soon enough – we still have 2 Dragonwraths to complete!