Best Raid Ever

The raid Saturday was a bit of a grind. We tried and tried and tried, but we just kept coming up short. We managed to get past Northrend Beasts, but couldn’t quite knock off the last 1% on Jaraxxus. So, naturally, I was a bit apprehensive about Sunday. The day got off to an awkward start, as raid time came, and went, with only 4 of us showing up. Eventually, we managed to pull together a group (with a little help from our friends lists) as some stragglers came in, most of them having been held up by RL issues. Sadly, one of the guys that had raided with us on Saturday was left out. I hope he didn’t feel too slighted, but he wasn’t online when the invites went out and by the time he logged on and whispered we were already on the way into the instance. I hate when that happens. Hopefully, he’ll understand.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: that’s an odd way to start a blog titled “Best Raid Ever” but just wait for it, it’s coming.

I finally managed to get my sister into a raid with me (I’ve been running with the Suicide Tigers, who are some of the nicest people you’d ever care to meet). I’d been trying to get her to run with us for weeks, but between one thing or another, it just hadn’t happened. I couldn’t have picked a better day for her to come if I’d tried. The raid was so awesome.

We went over the basic explanation of Jaraxxus and… we one-shotted him. We had a few deaths (or rather, I was on raid heals so I had a few deaths), but we got through just fine. So, with the weekly raid quest out of the way, I’m thinking we’ll move on to another, easier raid for badges, but the raid leader says we’re pushing forward and I die a little inside.

The infamous PVP-style Faction Champions fight is next up on the list. I’m not ready for this, I haven’t watched any videos for anything past Jaraxxus. We go out, we do our best and we fail, miserably. Wipefest. Of course, we’re all far too stubborn (or optimistic or whatever) to give up after one wipe, so we’re giving it another go. At this point my sister is being kind of quiet, so I ask her what’s wrong. Apparently, she’s in awe over how the tigers treat a wipe. We get everyone alive again, then assess what went wrong, adjust our strategy accordingly, and try again. There’s no yelling, no finger-pointing, no cursing over Vent, no bragging or complaining about numbers or meters. It’s disgusting to me that this should be a new experience for her. Anyway, we try our new strategy and they go down. Hard. Again, there are some deaths, but we take out the champs with a surprisingly healthy raid. Even though I managed to get myself killed twice, it was still a good feeling, and a good fight.

We’re moving on. Gah! Twins! I’ve heard horror stories about this fight. This is supposed to be a beast to heal. I’m quaking in my cheap dragon-faction boots. We get going and the dps did such a great job with the switching colors and avoiding orbs that I could scarcely believe it. We one-shotted it. Those guys were awesome. (Well,to be fair,  I guess everybody actually did a good job with the switches, but as raid heals, the dps were the ones who I was watching closest.) Not only did we down the twins in one attempt, but we didn’t lose anybody. For the most part, nobody even got close to death. As a bonus, I get some nice dps-gloves on a greed roll. It’s always nice to get gear.

Finally, the last stage. Anub’Arak. Mr. “the first 2 times you killed me were merely a setback” himself. The infamous “keep ’em alive, but low” fight. Again, I’ve heard war stories about the difficulty of healing this. I’ve been dreading this fight since ToC first came out. Every bone in my healer body cries out against letting a health bar sit at orange or red for longer than it takes to cast a spell and I’m supposed to do it for an entire phase of the fight. So we’re running along and again, everyone handles the fight beautifully. The players chased by the spikes make it to permafrost. During phase one and phase two, I feel like a useless lump. Nobody is taking damage except for the tanks, and with a shaman and a paladin on tank healing I’m about as needed as a pair of thermal underpants in Tahiti. There were stretches of 30-45 seconds that I didn’t cast a heal, because my prayer of mending wouldn’t have done anything except bounce between the tanks and snipe the heals of the guys actually doing something. I actually committed the greatest of all healer sins and started throwing DoTs on the boss out of sheer boredom. But soon enough, we hit Phase 3 and the leeching swarm hits the fan. Everyone’s life bars are emptying like a leaky sieve and finally, finally I have my moment to shine. And it’s glorious. I use Circle of Healing and Power Word: Shield on CD. I’m rolling Renew like I’m a cloth-covered tree. I’m throwing out free, instant flash heals like candy in a parade and my Prayer of Mending is zinging around like a beautiful holy Frisbee of healing goodness. I even got to use my Prayer of Healing a few times. I’m sure the other healers were helping, but it was nice to see so many of my spells getting used in one fight. It was honestly one of the greatest, and most entertaining fights I’ve healed since I’ve been healing (which is admittedly not that long). I can certainly see how the fight would be a nightmare with players that weren’t quite as on the ball, or were undergeared, or even with a healing unit with less aoe-healing options. Replacing the shaman with another Holy pally may well have made things much more difficult. I’ve healed a fair few fights, and this was the first time that, at the end of the raid, I thought “This is what my class was made for.” It was pretty exhilarating.

When the dust finally settled, we had cleared out ToCr, one-shotting 3 of the 4 bosses we faced on the day, and neither the Twins, nor Anub managed to claim a life. Not too shabby, especially considering that this was the first time in the instance for many of us (my sister and I included).

Thinking that the day couldn’t possibly get any better, we headed off toward Onyxia. My sister was a bit worried, because the last time she was in there (with her guild) they wiped about half a dozen times. The last time the two of us ran together, we wiped 9 times. They weren’t exactly kind about wipes either time. I did my best to reassure her, though, telling her that it usually doesn’t take us more than 2 or 3 attempts (not wipes) before we get it done. I was a bit apprehensive that synergy train would be derailed, but once again, we would not be denied. Not today, anyway. We one-shotted Ony, too, with only a few deaths (and these were quickly battle-rezzed). I rolled on the bag without thinking, but I felt bad about taking a second piece of loot after nabbing the gloves earlier, so even though I had won the roll, I passed and the raid leader was nice enough to pass, too (she also had won something from ToCr), so we ended up just re-rolling. My sister won the roll, so it ended up being a good day for both of us: we each got a drop, we both got some badges, and most importantly, we both had a blast.

Ok, so maybe it was “just” ToCr 10 normal and Onyxia 10 normal. I know that’s not exactly cutting edge progression these days. But still, I feel pretty proud about it. It was my first time in ToCr, and despite my newfound alliance with the Tigers, I’m still not exactly an experienced raider. I’ve only ever been in a full clear of Naxx one time (as a ret paladin), and I’ve never even seen anything past the first three non-optional bosses in Ulduar. The only raid I’ve done to the point of being familiar with it is OS 10 (no drakes). Doing a full clear of ToCr was a good experience in and of itself. I said in a previous post that “Finding 10 players that are both competent and reasonably kind is something like discovering a unicorn.” Well, if that’s true, then this day of raiding was like finding a whole herd of unicorns, and then riding them off to go slay a dragon, and when you’re rummaging through the dragon’s hoard you find the Holy Grail, the Fountain of Youth, and Jimmy Hoffa.

So, yeah, even though it was last Sunday, and it’s now Tuesday, I still have a warm fuzzy feeling about it. We spent all day Sunday talking about how good it felt. I think she might have finally believed me when I told her that it wasn’t that she doesn’t like raids, so much as she doesn’t like the way the people she’s been raiding with have been treating her. I hope that she’ll be able to come with us again, whether she can do so regularly or not. At any rate, I’m glad she could see, at least for one day, why I enjoy running with the Tigers, and why filling in when her guild needs an extra raider always puts me in a sour mood. Raiding is supposed to be fun. Raiding is supposed to feel like this, I told her. Nobody is supposed to ignore you when you say hello, and then yell at you and say you suck when there’s a wipe. Nobody is supposed to ask you for a favor and then treat you like dirt. Should any of you Tigers be reading this, I’d just like to say thank you. Thank you for the good time and the great run. Thank you for having my sister along with us, and mostly, just thank you for being decent human beings. Sometimes you just don’t realize how big a deal being nice can be.

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