Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My first raid tanking Heigan

Last night was my first attempt at main tanking Heigan in a Naxx-10 alt and PuG run. In case you're new here, I've got next to zero tanking experience, with only a handful of normal-mode northrend dungeons and a single heroic under my Eternal Belt Buckle.

I can't even describe the state of mind as we're standing there in Heigan's room getting ready to pull.

I mean, I know the basic idea. The tank is supposed to keep him moving through the safe zones, trying to keep him as centrally located as possible to allow Melee to stand behind-ish and not get fried.

Yes, I've seen it done dozens of times while I was standing on the platform pew-pew'ing and cursing the tanks for threat-capping the Mages.

But now you want ME to do it? Yeah, right.

I was mentally prepared for a wipe-fest here.

I was wrong, and we one shot it, just barely, through the miraculous efforts of our one surviving healer and the few DPS players who knew how to dance. Some hilights:

1) Walk Backwards - I considered strafing to allow for more movement speed. I decided against it and wanted to just work on the basics. Slow and steady motion from safe spot to safe spot.

2) Spatial Awareness - This was nearly as disorienting as Malygos P3 for me. At one point I lost all track of where I was in the room. Is there one more safe zone towards the door? Or is it time to reverse direction and move back that way? So I flipped a coin in my head, chose to reverse and head back in towards the middle. You chose wisely.

3) Two healers enter, One healer leaves - Our PuG holy priest ate it on the first dance phase, leaving our Holy Paladin the full load to carry, with perhaps some help from the Elemental Shammy. Outstanding work keeping us alive.

4) Battle Rez, FTW - Our PuG Boomkin died on the second dance phase, dead center in the middle of the room. I'll only get a single chance to brez him, as we cruise on by during a dance phase, for the very brief moment we'll be standing stationary in the mid safe zone. Wait for it.....wait for it....first safe zone...wait for it...mid safe zone....NOW...transform out of cat form (yes, I was dancing in cat form for added speed)....find where the hell your brez spell is located (my first raid ever as a druid. say it with me....n.o.o.b.)....begin casting.....holy sht its time to move....finish casting....sccoot your ass out of the fire and keep dancing. What? If f'ing worked? And I'm still f'ing alive? And the owl listened to the Raid Leader and didn't accept the rez until appropriate time so he'd survive and in turn, brez another failed dancer? Elune be praised!

5) Mobile Threat - Generating threat while moving. Backwards. Fun. Not. The hardest part was that I use my keyboard S button to move backwards. Sure, I use mouse movement for forwards and snap turns, but not for backwards. Tied my fingers in a knot trying to keep hitting Lacerate (2), Mangle (3), Maul (4), with the occasional Swipe (5), while also hitting S. I think I was using my middle finger on the S and my index and ring fingers hitting the numbers. Its hard to recall, the whole event is a bit of a blur. Will probably need to map backwards to something else. My mind jumps to mapping the scroll wheel to reverse as a pretty intuitive control, but I'm hesitant to do that because I've been using it for camera zoom out since level 1 nearly two years ago.

6) Feedback on the fly - One of the nice things about working with other alts of mains that I raid with is that we have an established pattern of giving eachother feedback during combat. While focusing on navigating through the safe zones and simultaneously generating threat, I lost track of how close I was to the platform. Too close and he silences your casters, which is pretty much a bad thing what with the silenced heals and whatnot. So one of the guild Officers, using a calm tone with no hint of alarm or judgement, told me I was getting too close. The feedback was soon enough to allow me to correct the problem before it caused a wipe, which was nice, to say the least.

You'd be hard pressed to find this calm, clear, constructive, timely feedback in a PuG. In most one-time-only groups, you'll get either pure silence leading to failure and threats of being kicked out of the group -or- one or two grumbly folks who just tell people they suck and need to L2P. Best results come from healthy communication, and this was perfect.

7) A good scare - I can only imagine the slack-jawed look of astonishment on the faces of my team when I keyed my mic and told them I was lost during #2 above. Lets just say, I'm happy I chose wisely.

So, after 10 minutes, which is what? 4 dance phases? 5? Whatever, it was an eternity. Not too many of us were standing at the end, but a few of us were up, and the boss was down which is victory in my book.

I was trembling. Such a strange mix of adrenaline rush and disbelief that we actually did it.

Sure, we continued on through those stupid mind-flaying eye-stalks and maggots, and beat up loatheb afterwards, but it just sort of blurred together and paled in comparison to that Dance of Dances.

Heigan found a new place in my heart last night, as did the tanks of our guild who make it look effortless week after week.

For those about to dance.....We! Salute!. You!


Sydera said...

I was the holy paladin on this run...and I can testify that Amava's alt Moody is already a good tank and is going to be a great one. That Heigan fight was classic. DPS was a various collection of failures, and the fight was held together by Conquest alts. It went 10+ minutes, so Moody really got a double- or triple-dose of plagued goodness.

Val said...


That's a huge step up your play has taken :)

My Tank is level 50 and I keep chickening out at even tanking a Maraudon or something.

One of these times I'll just dive in, I know it's going to be no problem when I do :)

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