Sometimes the only way to get riding again is climb on the bike and go. And sometimes blogging is just the same. I've had lots of long posts in my mind for, well, months now. But I never seem to find the time to sit down and write them. So, just to break my duck, to ease my bloggers' block and set the waters of ramble flowing again, here's what I did last night…
Last night I had one of the best night's raiding I've ever had. Why? I didn't get any loot. We didn't get any new bosses down. We weren't in a new raid. No, we were facing this:
And it's a great fight, isn't it? Three distinct phases, with very different approaches needed to each. A great "climax" set, with a moving floor, lava, pillars and a general feeling of Epicness. The fight itself felt worth the battle to get there, and I can't remember the last time a raid really felt that way to me. Arthas had too much of a dependance on "dodge the poop". The Nether-based end to Kara was one that felt worth it, I think, even if the randomness of the Infernal drops made it all rather infuriating. So, it's a good fight. And one where we all felt pushed to our limits. Each scrap of progress made was down to a group within the raid figuring somthing out. The tanks got the positioning down pat. Then the mages got the hang of crown-controlling the adds. And then, finally, it became the healers' challenge.
And we struggled. My task for most of our attempts was to keep our Bear tank up - he was keeping Nefarion busy. And at least two wipes were down to that tank dropping. The fight really forced me to look at my rotations, my use of cooldowns around critical damage events and take a strategic view to my healing that I've just never had to do before. And I felt that I came out of it a better healer than I went in. That feels like progress.
I'm still being out-healed by our guild shammy, who's only been 85 on that toon for about five minutes, which is just soooo typical of him. :-) But no-one's beating me for peak heals, which is encouraging. I'm not well-geared right now - iLevel 349 in my healing set - and that's because I've not had a single damn drop from that place in a couple of months of raiding, which is utterly frustrating (and which might be contributing to my general malaise with WoW right now - but that's a topic for a different post). But it feels like I'm doing good with what I've got.
I have a lot of problems with the Cataclysm endgame. A lot. And I'll try to find the time to write about them later in the week. But this feels like something that Blizz has got just about right. The first teir of raiding is full of varied bosses and truly epic end fights. They feel like the reward skill and learning, and that time committed largely rewards you with progress.
We got Nef down to 29% on our second last attempt. That feels pretty good for an über casual guild's first night on him. I'm looking forward to facing him again.