From the title of the post, you might get the idea that my Kara Group had a breakthrough last night.
Yeah, you could say that.
Time for a little raiding progression and recap post, my friends. What have I been doing the last two nights?
Tuesday morning was Karazhan server reset time, so of course as usual all the good little boys and girls came scurrying out in the evening to begin the Karazhan grind once more. And yeah, I do mean grind, because when your Group is unfocused or is constantly changing players, the early fights are a serious challenge, and it can get very, very frustrating trying and trying and never getting past Maiden of Virtue (Boss #3).
It’s the same with every raid, or even hard instance, no matter what your level. If you attempt a run and you either have poor communication, a mix of players that are not used to each other, or a group of players who may not be geared well enough or experienced enough in their current class specialization, then it’s gonna be a steep learning curve no matter what level you’re playing at. I’ve seen folks try and fail repeatedly at Dire Maul wings and full clears of Blackrock Depths just as much as at Karazhan, so it’s not anything new.
Anyone remember timed Undead Stratholme runs? Anyone? When there WERE no levle 70s to bail you out, and you’d run over and over and over, trying to advance in your Dungeon .5 set questlines? [shudder]
As I’ve posted before, my guild has two groups that raid Karazhan. We just barely have enough people to fill two groups.
Group 1, of which I am not a part, was already mostly formed when I joined the guild. They have added other players since then, very good players that can play consistently every raid night without fail
I was approached about possibly joining Group 1 early on, but frankly there is no way that I can meet the time commitments every single week, every raid night to run in Group 1. But I can admire their hard work and determination, and I can cheer on their success. They have cleared all the way up to and including Prince a few times now, and every week they get it down even better.
In contrast, Group 2 generally makes due with players like myself, whose play schedules are a bit uncertain because of family/relationship commitments, work and school. Some folks can only play weekends, others like me simply can NOT play every single night. So every evening it is always a bit of a crap shoot to see if we will get enough attuned players online on time (or close enough to it) to go in.
Last week, there weren’t enough players online most nights to even try. We’d spend two hours hoping more people would log in. Talk about a waste of a good evening.
Last night our guild Raid Leader decided that Group 1 was getting things down well enough that it was time to start spreading the knowledge around. Two members of Group 1, a very experienced Hunter and a solid Paladin, both transferred over to Group 2 to help us coordinate and learn. In exchange, two Group 2 members went to Group 1 to learn by immersion.
Tueday evening start time is 6:30 PM server. As usual, I was on time to the second with consumables on hand. And just as usual, it was past 7:30 before most of the stragglers had shown up. We got charged up, went into Karazhan, I main tanked with a protection warrior as off tank, and we marched our Big Bear Butt down the stables, and took down Attumen and Midnight like a late night snack.
Of course, Group 1 was doing the same thing at the same time… and we each downed Attumen at around the same time. And Group 1 announced that both the [Gloves of Dexterous Manipulation], AND my [Stabilised Eternium scope] recipe dropped! While our loot was caster oriented! Grrr!
We decided to push on to Moroes the front way up the stairs next, so off we went.
Again, as main tank, I was responsible for pulling duty on the stairs, and I performed my function by pulling with Moonfire, running down the stairs out of Line of Sight, and then hitting Barkskin and using Hurricane on the charging mob of non-elites. using Hurricane seems to REALLY get their attention, possibly because I don’t have ANY threat reducing abilities at all. By the time Hurricane has run it’s course and I’ve shifted to bear, it only takes a few Swipes and the group is down at my feet, usually without having gone after anyone else. The only times it’s gotten chaotic is when a second group may get aggro’ed, and my Hurricane isn’t off cooldown yet.
Going in and clearing the room with Moroes, we quickly wipe out the trash and set up for the fight. We have done this part so much that all of us knows very well what to do. Mostly.
We set up, get lined up on Moroes, targeting marks get distributed, kill order is determined, shackles and ice trap rotations are organized, and we’re off.
Again, I’m main tank, and the Prot Warrior is off tank. Moroes is yet another in a long LONG line of bosses and mobs in Karazhan that are utterly unaffected by taunt. You have to establish your threat purely through damage, and if you are letting someone else maintain threat without another tank as backup, then if tank number 1 drops or gets stunned or blinded (as happens frequently on Moroes), global threat producers (can you say the Healers?) get a boss in the face for insta-wipe.
Let me say right now… since acquiring Earthwarden, the Threat Per Second I put out has gone up outrageously. If I am given just 2 or 3 seconds to establish threat on my target, there is just no catching up no matter what the group does. I was consistently maintaining 700+ TPS while in ‘infinite rage’ boss fights or multiple mob pulls. It’s just amazing. I luv that hammer.
Okay, so myself and off tank take on Moroes… battle commences… and a short time later, the bastard is dead. First attempt, and victory! This is cause for celebration!
We do a loot check, and a piece of DPS leather gear drops. There is myself, and a new Rogue in the Karazhan group. The way our DKP system works, the loot order goes in tiers of how much DKP you have in the hundreds. If I have 300 DKP, and another competitor for loot in the run has 250 DKP, 300 gets to decide if they want it first. If he passes, the 250 can decide, and so on into the hundreds, and then the 10s. If you take loot, minimum DKP cost is 50. If two players that want loot are in the same tier, say both in their 300’s, then it’s a bid. I didn’t invent it, it’s just how it is.
Well, so I had 200+ DKP at this time, and the new Rogue had just passed the 50 mark. It was solely my decision. The two problems were that I had never seen the Rogue in any Guild run before, ever. I didn’t know if he would turn out to be a consistent player, or if this was his one visit, or anything. If it was ANY other Rogue, that had been active in the Guild at all, it would be a no brainer. Why was I hesitant? Why didn’t I just say “Heck with it, good for you!” like I have with the [Gloves of Dexterous Manipulation] many times? Because it was [Edgewalker Longboots] that dropped… one of, if not THE absolute best Feral Cat Druid boots in the game… and I do a lot of Karazhan catform work when I’m not the Main Tank. This would not only be an awesome galactic level upgrade to my existing gear, but I would be actively using them in Karazhan with the guild. But they’re also Rogue loot, damnit!
In the end, I asked the Rogue in a whisper if it would be okay if I took them. I was totally prepared to pass if he seemed super excited, but he was nice and really seemed not to care at all, just happy to have been present for a boss kill… this time, anyway :).
So I got the boots, quite shocked at my incredible good fortune. And then we buckled down and moved on to Maiden of Virtue. Who proceeded to kick our butts twice, before we decided to try again the next day.
So by the end of Tuesday night, we had so far matched Group 2’s best historical progression ever. Two bosses in one night. As a Group, Group 2 has NEVER downed Maiden of Virtue. Ever. Despite what some members vaguely claim to remember. Trust me. I’d remember.
Which finally brings me to last night. We started up at 6:30 as usual. And also as usual, it was well after 7:30 before everyone was present and actually ready to go. This time the trash was gone all the way before the corridor leading to Maiden, so it was a fast run up to getting started. Also, unlike the night before, we had Clana the Magnificent to heal us through 🙂
We marched down the hall quickly and set up for Maiden. The Protection Warrior from the night before was standing outside Karazhan on standby, and we had another ranged DPS in our group in his place. Again, I was Main Tank. Now, in this fight, Maiden will periodically pump out a group stun. She also has an area of effect blast with limited range that can knock you OUT of the stun. When she stuns the group, she continues to beat on the poor tank, who is no longer getting heals. This time, our strategy was simple, but awesome; when the group got stunned, I had one Paladin as my designated healer for the stun, stnading at teh first step of the platform in my field of view in front of me. As soon as everyone was stunned, I would pull Maiden just close enough to bump him OUT of stun with her own AOE… and then I’d drag her back to the center of her platform.
Boom boom boom…. Maiden down, first attempt of the evening! I won’t pretend it was a certain victory… my health was getting real low, and everyone was running super low on health and mana, and there was no way I could Innervate anyone. But we did it, and now we know we CAN do it, and we’ll just get more comfortable with it over time.
So we checked loot, and she dropped Protection warrior plate, and Paladin Bracers… neither of which anyone could use. And we had no Enchanter. So we took two epics as vendor loot. CRAP!
Still, rejoicing was done. We had downed Maiden first attempt, and were ecstatic. We had some player substitutions as some floks had to log off, but we managed to keep a group of 10. We decided to at least go and find out which of the Opera events we were going to have for the week, so we’d be ready for Wednesday.
This was our first time past Maiden. We kicked butt through the minor trash, and and reached the Stage Manager. Our experienced Group 1 Hunter told everyone to stand off in a room down the hall out of aggro range, so he could go and activate the event. He’d die, but we would know what we’d face the next day. Then we’d go home.
So we’re milling around chatting in Teamspeak when the Hunter begins yelling, “Everyone run onto stage NOW! Go! Go! Go!
We confusedly run out to the stage, scrambling around, as the hunter is telling us that we have the Oz event and it’s starting any second, and off tank (the Prot Warrior) will be kiting Tinhead around, and I as main tank will be tanking Roar and Toto , and keeping them occupied, and then he went on to spread other info while the event itself activated…and I saw Roar for the first time, but no little damn doggie!
I grabbed Roar and began pounding him down and dragging him off to side, while frantically scanning the stage for a dog. “Where the heck is Toto? Who’s he on?” I call. The Hunter tells me he’ll spawn soon… and not to worry about facing two mobs, he’ll Scare Beast on Roar when Toto comes.
Again with the concern that I will die within seconds of tanking two mobs! I’ll never understand that. Don’t reassure ME you’ll scare away Roar, reassure the healers who are responsible for having enough Mana to keep me healed. I can live for a while with two mobs on me, it just destroys healer mana long term.
Anyway, I don’t get to see a lot of the battle with my Big Bear Butt in the way, but I pound on Roar good, and when Toto spawns I’m all over the poor little wolfie. I snatch him up, and keep them both locked up tight. Soon enough, Dorothee, Straw Man, Roar, Toto, and Tinhead are dead, and then the Crone and the Cyclone appear. I spend a good amount of the rest of the fight in the air, sucked into the cyclone.
Well, okay, so I guess we just went ahead and did the Oz Opera event. And completed it on the first attempt, again. So, are we going to quit now? Heck no! We’re excited now!
“Let’s go get Curator!” We shout, and run off towards the back entrance.
Now, I’m gonna cut this short(er). we cleared through the trash from the back entrance to the start of Curator. We set up for Curator with me as main tank. The off tank had to go offline, as did Clana who started sounding REALLY sick on Teamspeak.. like, botulism bad. But we found two replacements, somehow, and went on in. I had never even researched this fight, cause I certainly didn’t expect to be doing it so soon, so I asked the experienced folks what I should do. All they could tell me was to pin hm down and keep him focused on me. Everyone else had complicated roles concerning the Astral Flares and Evocation, but I didn’t even know what those were. I focused reassuringly on the idea that all I had to do was tank. It seemed wrong, because Maiden sure needed more effort, but the 5th boss is simple? I somehow doubted it.
I pulled Curator and drug him into my designated location. We began and I focused on pumping out as much unlimited threat on him as was bearingly possible. Pretty soon, I had him so far into the threat meter compared to everyone else that I could probably kite him all the way to Stormwind. A few Evocations came and went, and I tried to observe and analyse what little information I could see around my Big Bear Butt. It seemed to me that I was NOT getting hit during the times he went into Evocation. I didn’t know WHAT he was doing, but he wasn’t hitting me… I thought.
All of our casters were going super low on mana, so on the next Evocation I decided to test my theory. As soon as he went into Evocation, I shifted to caster, popped Innervate on our Priest, and shifted back. I didn’t know the precise timing of his Evocation, but I was confident I could shift back to Bear in time. Yes, I could, well in time. Enough that I probably could have popped at least three Lifeblooms or Rejuves off on people before shifting.
The Innervate certainly helped, but in the end we still had all casters go OOM, just as Curator hit 19%. I didn’t get heals, I died, and it was all over after that. If we had stopped his last round of Astral Flares before he hit 20%, we could have had him, but the Flares were still spawning when I went down. Lesson learned… on the first Evocation, I need to pop out and Innervate someone, and pop back in so my 6 minute cooldown has time to expire and I can use it again towards the end of the fight.
We did not take a second try at him, even though we had cleared to him, because some folks had to go. It had just hit 10 PM, we had only been in there 2.5 hours, but it seemed like forever. This week remains the most incredibly successful time our Group 2 has ever had. We progressed in two days all the way up to Curator. I think that is something we can be damn rpoud of.
Some times, all you can do is /cheer.