The whirlwind tour of Burning Crusade end-game raid instances continues.
Short Version: Two Prot Paladins, Focus Fire, Situational Awareness, and team-wide buff called Balls of Steel, all contribute to our first T6-level progression kill.
Medium Version: Mastering the trash came relatively easy for the team, with slight tweaks to positioning, NPC engagement, and improvements to communication and coordination between the Main Assist and the tanks. Additionally, with repeated exposure to the Rage Winterchill part of the encounter, most raid members learned how to effectively overcome the Ice Tomb and also avoid excessive Death and Decay damage. And lastly, Jaina Proudmoore is a badass. Engage her in the fight, and engage her early. She just stands there during a Death and Decay, and takes maybe 1% damage. She, too, has the Balls of Steel buff going on (and yes, despite what you think, that buff is gender neutral).
Long Version: I can haz a bad night.
Amava was just plain off on wednesday night. I'll personally blame it on the beginnings of a sinus cold that's developing, along with impending sadness at the thought of missing the uber gf while she journeys around the Mediterranean Sea on a vacation with some friends for the next two weeks.
The end result of the combined reduced physical/mental state was multi-fold:
1) I serve as the Main Assist. In a fight as chaotic as those waves of trash, having an effective MA is vital. I was just plain old sloppy. Picking targets too far away, resulting in the whole team needing to reposition. Choosing targets that nobody was tanking, perhaps just caught in a consecration. Picking a target that a tank was kiting around to engage the NPC's, resulting in us killing the mob before the target NPC's were active. Bad. Bad, Main Assist. No soup for you.
It is a testament to the team how well we did despite this sloppiness. I apologized for the sloppiness, and everybody was very patient with me, which was a huge relief. To help fix it, I did take some time before the last attempt. I talked with the tanks briefly to share with them how I use my tank frame to choose targets, and ways they can help me choose better targets. I gave each tank Raid Assistant privileges and designated an icon for each tank. When they grab a target they intend to tank for a bit (as opposed to jumping around to tank multiple mobs), they should put their individual icon on the mob. Also, I designated one of the warriors as the "starting tank" which means he was to pay special attention to picking up a mob at the onset of each wave, and specifically NOT change target, as the whole raid would be focusing on his dude. This allowed the other tanks to be multi-mobbers.
These changes worked well and the Main Assist targeting, and team-wide focus firing was golden during that attempt. Kudos go out to the tanks and the whole DPS corps for reacting very well to the slop and helping/being patient with corrections to the slop.
2) I also serve as one of the Guild's Single-Target DPS Specialists. In this role, Amava and Condoleezza bring massive noise onto our chosen target, generally resulting in a mob crying for mercy and a massive bar-chart induced ego boost.
While there are many ingredients to delivering MQoSRDPS, there is one key ingredient that is shared across all DPS classes. One inescapable basic truth to all delivery of pain:
Dead Toons Do No Damage
It was simply embarrassing.
We made it to Rage Winterchill three times.
First attempt: Very first Ice Tomb he fires is aimed at Amava. I get tombed, Death and Decay appears below me. I react slow and sloppy, basically hit the wrong key and even if it was the right key, the reaction was too slow to make a difference anyway. Dead hunter. Maybe 15 or 20 seconds into the fight. I was rather pleased with this turn of events. NOT.
Second attempt: Ok, ok. Amava, don't be stupid this time. Keymap your PvP trinket to the key you normally map it to for arenas and BG's, since that's your natural reaction. Pew pew pew, kill trash waves. Pew pew pew, get Ice Tombed. Quick like a bunny, trigger the trinket. YOU STUPID IDIOT, YOU CANT USE A TRINKET THAT'S NOT EQUIPPED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This time, at least I lasted maybe 40 seconds into the fight, lol. Then I watched for another 10 minutes while the team brought him down into his 20%'s
Third attempt: Now we're down to just plain old bad luck. Before the start of the event, I assigned one of the other officers to announce loud and clear during the 7th trash wave for everybody to equip their trinkets. Good. Now heading into the Rage part of the fight I've got a nice easy instinctual key mapping of a trinket that is actually equipped this time. All signs point to "yes". Ice Tomb comes in, Ice Tomb successfully gets removed. Pew Pew Pew, avoid DnD, Pew Pew Pew. I'm watching my PvP trinket timer, and each second that the little hand sweeps around like the hands of a clock, I sweat just a little bit more.
And then, the pure and utter agony, with 6 seconds. SIX MUTHA-F'ING SECONDS. with 6 seconds remaining in the cooldown, I get nailed with Ice Tomb and die. SIX SECONDS!!!!
And watch for another 7 minutes or so while the team does a simply amazing job frying him into the ground.
A giant shout out to the team on this one. Their trusty leader and DPS Queen might as well have not even showed up, and they went in and 24-manned it. Probably would have been cleaner that way.
But that's why there's no i in team, so I can bask in the glow of a team effort where everybody works to overcome the absolutely abysmal performance of somebody on the team having a bad night.
And in the end, we did kill off our first T6-level boss. w00t !!!