When Raids Work

1 09 2009

Saturday and Sunday were great days for raiding, as I managed to step back into ToC 10 with my guild and set up a naxx25 PuG for a cleanup run.

Saturday saw me putting together a Naxx run for myself and a few guildies, picking up a prior run with the Arachnid and Construct quarters down. I’ve seen and led my share of PuGs, and decided to gear check everybody going in. Although I got some flak in trade chat, I ignored it and was glad I did; our only wipe came on KT, when a hunter afk’d and skeletons blew up the raid. Other than that, the run was painless as we blew through every boss without any problems and only four healers. Even when a DPS or two died it didn’t affect any bosses, because the rest of the raid was competent enough that a DPS decrease wasn’t a big deal. The best part: we didn’t even have a vent. The caster ring I was looking for from KT did drop, only I rolled a 43 against our eight other casters, and somebody else rolled a 100. I can’t say I was too surprised, and man, I was just happy to see that the raid went as well as it did. Maybe it was because we didn’t have to fight Thaddius, but I’ve seen way too many Naxx pugs crash and burn before getting anywhere close to complete.

Sunday night meant picking up where we left off in ToC with the extremely annoying, chaotic, and fun PvP phase. Our strategy basically equated to a full-on burn of the priest with all trinkets and Bloodlust popped; assuming we got him down, we switched to a DPS and tried to stay alive.  It took several wipes before we finally got it down, as we figured out our CCs and interrupts. I was under constant fire during the fight, staying alive thanks to some timely earthbind totems, thunderstorms, and even a war stomp alongside constant heals. After checking the meters, I took over 20% of all the damage for the fight, the most in the raid… yikes. Its fights like that where I’m glad to have mail and a shield; getting through that fight wearing cloth would be a lot trickier. The dagger I was hoping for didn’t drop, which wasn’t a big deal. The Eye of the Broodmother-esque trinket was there, though, which I passed on simply because I have the Eye. A warlock that needed it more got it instead, replacing a 200 level blue. Moving on, we faced the Twin Valkyrs for the first time in what was actually a really simple, but fun fight. It isn’t so much a healing or dps race as it is a “don’t be dumb and mess up” fight. On our first try, about a third of the dps didn’t understand what they were doing, leading to us getting within 20% of killing both Valkyrs, only to have them heal up and put us out of reach. When we weren’t failing on interrupting that heal, other raid members didn’t understand the essence-based raid damage, which killed one of our DPS. And finally, it seemed that picking up orbs wasn’t a cool thing to do, putting a periodic strain on our healers when the Valkyrs got the buff instead.  We eventually hit the enrage timer, and wiped. On our second try, it was a completely different story. Everyone essences when they were supposed to, interrupted every healing cast, and grabbed orbs like there was no tomorrow. The fight was reminiscent of Ikaruga (a sweet Galaga-style game for the Gamecube) in the essence mechanics, and it was cool overall. Fighting Anub’arak next week should be awesome as well. After that, we stepped back into Ulduar, and one-shotted Hodir, Freya, and, incredibly enough, Thorim hard mode, our first non-FL hard mode. It had been relatively spontaneous, too; we realized we had a good group, and that everybody was on their A-game, and two wipes and a few flasks later, Sif was dead and we were enjoying some nice loot.

Basically, these two days were something close to how an ideal PuG should go, as well as ideal progression. In Naxx, everybody knew the fights, was geared, and played their class well; a good example of the quality of the group was that only a single person died on Heigan (the dance). For the most part, everybody was cool and on the same page, and even though I didn’t get any loot, I did get some emblems and a painless run. Progression night saw us coordinating as a guild, communicating well, and coming to play, and we managed to progress to the next boss, before going into Ulduar and tackling our first real hard mode with relative ease. I almost always leave our guild raid nights happy, and this one was no different; every week, we seem to get just a little bit better, and a little bit closer to the end-game. We only seem to be moving on up.

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