Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Off the comfort zone

Everyone is prone to living in the comfort zone. It's human, and in a way it's also a good explanation on the route of least resistance. Like going to the easiest way to gain proper loot for the next tier raiding.

My steps outside of my comfort zone have included such incredible things as starting a toon on a pvp server, getting my main into the battlegrounds (more pvp) and the last one -yesterday- pugging just for the sake of pugging.

Like I have stated earlier, I have been on the LFG tool as an automation ever since I've thought my gear is good enough to tackle the heroics, but without success. This has excluded, however, the daily heroic, which I have reserved for guild runs for simplicity's sake. And for the fact that there is no name calling in guild runs, but constructive and helpful commentary. If at all.

Now I changed this a bit. I put the daily hc into the lfg and pugged it. As you might expect, the daily hc was an instance I had never visited before, Azjol-Nerub. There is still one instance in the roll I haven't visited (barring Icecrown which launches today), and that's the Anh'kahet.

Needles to say, the run was a disaster and without the extremely over geared group it would have been worse. However, the impact was lower due to the fact I informed them right away I had never been in the instance. Normal pulls: no problem. My threat generation: no problem. Keeping the threat and taking adds: no problem.

The problem was not knowing the encounters, aggro areas and add spawns. Hadronox was my total blunder, as I ventured too far and initiated the boss encounter before we had cleared the web from trash. My wipe.

But then came the relieve: the mage of the group, who formed the party, whispered me how (s)he has done it before, helping me to understand what should have been done. No problemo after that.

And Anub'arak... Pushover in it's own instance. Got three Achievements from it, including Gotta Go, which is way too easy with the current item level being the norm.

Out of there and out of whim I put the Anh'kahet and Obsidian Sanctum 10 to the LFG.

This is the part in which I can say that I met with a group full of the attention span problem players. First of all, the group I was invited to was going for OS10. Namely the party leader stated Sarth+1 to begin with. I informed right away that it's my first time to really tank the instance, second time in there even. But the achievement with 9 players obviously convinced him to go this route, as he checked everyone's gear at one point for the possibility to do the Sarth+3... and I passed the check. Not bad, me thinks.

But the forming of the group took about a half an hour. During which at least three toons were replaced. In the instance the gear and dps checks were quite uneventfull: I had no problem in keeping the aggro of the trash and of the two drakes we took down for the actual event were total pushovers. Granted, I got dc'd before we hit the first one, so I cannot say about my part in that, but the second I was tanking in full and the aggro threshold wasn't even warning in my Omen: I was fully on top of the threat list on the drake without even panicking... something I was expecting from this.

But then it started. Checking, strat and off. First of all, I didn't pull Sarth far enough to help the group dps it: my bad, I was playing the encounter with different strat than the rest of them. My positioning was according to what the raid leader had told, which was different I had learned from strats I have read. No problem, though, I could keep Sarth on me easily and avoid the walls and all. Most of the group did that, too, until the drake came into the picture. And fire elementals.

And that's when the wipe started. Blew my panic button, pot, the lot. Lost two members from the group right at this point, one being the main dps.

"Do you tanks know at all what you are doing?", asked the raid leader. The honest me responed: "Obviously not if you have to ask that question".

New strat, back to the basics of facing Sarth to the side of the area, back to the lava. Now this was starting to sound like something familiar, I thought and went along.

However, there were three new toons in the group, including a DK who seemed to be pretty a)triggerhappy and b)knowing it all better than anyone.

Needles to say it went all down the drain from the pull onwards. Taunt, Heroic Throw, Charge and pull back to the tanking spot. Except that right after the throw the DK took aggro and despite of furious Taunt-spam with Thunderclaps, Shouts and all I couldn't get the aggro back.

Result: one of the fastest wipes I've witnessed.
Result2: one of the fastest group dissipations I've seen.

The party leader and former left right away, followed by half of the group. Thank you, goodbye and so long.

The party leader had the stamina to form the group, have the objective and the second wipe -after introducing new members to the group- caused him to quit on trying. Proves my point: fast and easy gains instead of having to work for it. This guy will do the same again but with extremely over geared group and feels great about it.

What I learned about yesterday's ordeal was:
- My gear stands the comparison in the end game before Icecrown. Of course I wouldn't stand the snowball's chance in Hell in heroic Ulduar or ToC10/25, but I would make it in normals any day.
- In the Sarth group I was the third warrior, and I had almost 5k more hp than the other tank with buffs. That's better than I expected and I'm still lacking some sweet gear, especially my lousy blue shoulders have to be changed.
- Practise makes perfect, but what can you learn from PUG? To endure selfish conduct, some automation on your keybinds and the instances you haven't visited yet.

To be honest, neither run was fun. The Daily because it was so darn serious and the second because it was even more so. The only thing I enjoyed in both of them was the fact that I wasn't the behind the rest of the groups in gear, only in information and instance experience.

Maybe I just have to PUG more. From what I've seen earlier, yesterday was one of the 'good PUG days'...

But it surely was far off from my comfort zone.