Tuesday, 1 March 2011

A night of firsts

A bit of a strange sort of night last night, I'm not normally online on Monday evenings as I play badminton but due to a damaged wrist I couldn't play so decided to run a few instances. I logged in and found I had almost 1.5k in gold waiting for me from auctions, a nice way to start the day off, and proof I wasn't talking complete arse in my post yesterday. Anyways, after I cleaned out my mailbox and decided to have a little spring clean of the banks, a couple of guildies were asking for a heroic, I said I was up for it and was instantly thrown an invite, I explained that my DK (which was the character I was on) wasn't quite ready and I'd get the priest, by which time the party was full, and I realised I was only 1 ilvl away from being able to go on the DK. I'd been eying up a tanking relic on the AH that would easily up my level and there were no other tanks available in guild so I gave them the choice; I'd happily come along if they wanted me, but was happy to drop out if it clearly wasn't going anywhere so they could get a proper tank. They all agreed, so 2k later (so much for making a profit on the AH!), we were queued for a random heroic. Halls of Origination! no crowd control. Bugger.

The first pull went as expected, it was a complete disaster and we wiped, not wanting to waste peoples time I offered to drop and let them re-queue for a PUG tank, they persuade me to have one more go and amazingly we were off, we only did the compulsorily bosses as it was closing in on the guilds raid time, we only wiped twice (or was it three times?) none of which on the bosses, quite pleasing. I came away with 2 new shiny bits of plate and will be eternally grateful to the 4 guildies who took the risk.

A successful start to the night, but that wasn't the end of it, I mentioned we skipped the optional bosses because it was approaching the raid, well the invites went out so as I was planning on being around all evening I whispered the GM and said if I was needed I'd be about, and popped off to make some supper. On my return I was amazed to see a reply asking me to join, so I quickly picked a few pots up from the bank, which amounted to my total preparation, and headed in. This wasn't like my previous 25 man raiding experience in Cata, previously it was the Conclave of Four Winds, an encounter which the guild has had licked for some time, this was the Twilight Ascendant Council, an encounter that the guild has not yet managed on 25 man. As always, wow wiki and a host of other sites were up on the laptop next to the PC, I had a quick read as we were dispatching trash and the GM took me through the strategy on Vent, it seems this was quite useful to some of the regular raiders as they asked a couple of questions (ahem slackers). As with any progression raid, the learning curve was steep, as with my first experience of heroics in one of my earliest (and still most popular) posts about Stonecore. Raids however, in my experience, generally have an extra twist or two; firstly, they generally last loner, having multiple different phases to learn; generally the punishment for slacking is not only do you die, but several of your group do as a direct result of your stupidity too. The Council was no different, three phases, loads going on, and most importantly debufs which kill others. This worried me, I'm happy for me to die if I'm stupid, but I don't like killing other people, my main objective therefore was not to kill others, my secondary objective to last out the fight, and finally, assuming the two former, melt something….

Very Basically, the Ascended Council has three phases, in one and two there are two mobs, the trick is to keep their health as close to each other's as possible, the bigger the difference in health when they de-spawn, the more health the boss has. As you'd expect, in accordance with my heroic instance rules, there's lots of crap on the floor to (not) stand in, there's lots of crap on the flor (and swirling around) that you most definitely must stand in not to die, and just to confuse matters, sometimes the crap on the floor that you mustn't stand in, is exactly the same crap you must stand in depending on what debufs you have. Added to that, and this is the killer (literally) there's a lightning rod debuf which gives you, and two others, about 5 seconds to get out of the middle of the room and away from the raid, or you kill people. The first pull came and to my amazement, I lasted till just before the wipe, more importantly I didn't kill anyone, and whilst I wasn't always too sure which debuff I needed to get from standing in particular shades of crap I seemed to manage it, and I even managed to do reasonable DPS; not great DPS, but reasonable, and not the worst!.

The second pull came, and I forgot about the gravity well thingymabobs, and died early (first or second) so we won't speak about that again, ever. Third up and I lasted the whole fight, stepping in the correct debuffs at the correct times, dealing with a particularly vindictive spate of lightning rod debuffs without killing anyone, and what's more, improving on my DPS by a good 2k from the first run. Unfortunately at this point we had a couple of disconnects and (probably because of this) we got locked out of the chamber so the decision was made to call it. I kind of wish we'd gone on longer, we got to the third phase, and were getting the hang of DPSing the mobs at the correct rate (and listening to calls to swap on Vent – amazing how many people ignore these), but I'm really pleased to have been asked to help out, and (hopefully) didn't let anyone down. All in all I had a cracking night, and I think I might have been bitten by the raiding bug…. I'm almost hoping the wrist hasn't healed in time for next Monday.

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