Saturday, December 18, 2010

In full compliance with Cataclysm blogging regulations

I have a number of things I want to write posts about right now. I would like to update the pre-raid gear list with more information about haste, mastery, crit, and reforging and possibly change the items again. I would also like to write a post about survival's damaging and crowd control abilities and how to use them. I need to write some recruitment posts for my guild and then spam them all over the internet. But first, it would seem I have been slack in the attention I've paid to the very clear Cataclysm blogging guidelines and regulations.
It states quite explicitly in Section 1, Paragraph 17, Section 12, Sub-section b32:
All bloggers are hereby required to write, implement, render in comic format, or in machinima music video format, at least one (1) post bewailing their experience in one of the new heroics and questioning aloud their basic worth and dignity as a human being due to their failures in said heroic.
So yes, as you can see, quite straightforward and I suspect I've waited rather too long to make the post. The licensing board is probably already looking askance at me.
Anyway. The boyfriend was wondering last night if I might like to go on a heroic with his holy paladin. I of course said yes and we queued up for Blackrock Caverns, whose final boss drops a bow I would like very much. The trash went relatively swimmingly, although the first boss did kill me, so a quick tip is in order for him: on heroic difficulty, do not disengage out of skullcracker. Just run out. This was true of defile on the Lich King as well: it seems like a good idea, but for the purposes of certain abilities, the game does not update your position from a disengage until after you've landed. So I fell over dead well outside the range of his AoE, hooray.
Still, stuff like that doesn't dent my self esteem too much. I just note it for the future and move on. We kept clearing and I kept up an illusion of being relatively competent. Which, by the way, is one of the things Lyria and I say to one another when we're pugging the rest of the group through the RDF: "well at least we'll have a good healer and one competent DPS." I also like to tell stories about the hunter that rolled on the strength cloak against my little warrior. I am, for the most part, really confident about my abilities and skill at this game in opposition to the frothing hordes who are often quite bad.
In fact, allow me to back up in time for a bit. My favorite example of individual ability in this game is the BC raid encounter Archimonde. He was the last boss in the Battle for Mount Hyjal, and (like Yogg), he destroyed guilds. The mechanics of the fight were such that if any one person died - and it was pretty easy to die - the raid almost certainly wiped. It was also true that all of the things that killed you were avoidable. You just had to plan ahead for the fears, kite the doomfires correctly, and use the slowfall item when he threw you up in the air.
I have no idea how many times my guild at the time wiped on that guy, but I caused maybe one of them. Myself and Lyria were one of maybe five or six people out of twenty-five that essentially never screwed up. Had the entire raid been composed of usses, we'd've killed the bastard after like 3 wipes and gone "hm, I don't see what the big fuss is."
Back to heroic Blackrock Caverns. The second boss in the instance is Corla, and her mechanic is very very simple and very very easy. She has, on heroic, three little guys on the platform with her, and they get zapped with beams. The beams stack a buff. If the buff reaches 100, they turn into large, very hard-hitting mobs with big health pools. So a player has to stand in front of the beam and block it, but if the player lets the buff stack to 100, she or he gets turned into such an add.
Stand in the beam to about 85, step out, let the buff fall off. Step back in. Kill boss, collect loots. That's it.
First attempt I let the buff stack to 100 and wiped the party. Second attempt I stood out too long and wiped the party. My boyfriend avoided death somehow and rezzed me, but the enhancement shaman dropped the group in disgust. Someone put us back in the queue for a replacement DPS. I accepted the resurrection and stood up with my camera exactly facing the boss platform with the role check dialogue up. I clicked accept, then went to right-click the screen to change my facing, clicked on one of the cultists on the platform, and shot it with an arrow. My boyfriend and the (quite good!) DK he'd already rezzed were killed.
There are times when I think my choice of hobby is strange, because at the time I felt literally nauseous and even writing about it summons some of that back. You know, how would one relate that as a story to friends or aquaintances? "Oh what was I doing last night? Just chilling at home, doing this thing that my boyfriend and I do together for fun. Did I have fun? Good heavens no! It made me feel like shit!"
I've been reading a lot of posts about how healing the new heroics has made people cry, so you'd think it would help that least I'm not alone in getting a touch of miserable from one. But most of those posts have been written by healers, who actually are facing a much more challenging game right now. Their heals are smaller, more expensive, and are being thrown at much larger health pools. I think a lot of the emotional stress they're facing in the new game is from sort of a sense of futility and diminished power: it does not feel powerful and cool to spend 2.5 seconds casting The Big Heal to nudge the target's healthbar .01mm upwards.
In contrast, I failed at a very easy, very simple mechanic. One I've done just fine on normal and one I've certainly done just fine with on Netherspite in Karazhan. The very simplicity of it denies one very much ability to try to make yourself feel better, even. I ended up just staring at the screen and hoping I'd suffered a stroke fifteen minutes ago and would soon collapse: at least then I'd have an excuse!
No such luck.
I still don't have one, but I do think I have the second cousin of one. I think that I pretty much just panicked. I remember watching how fast the debuff stacked up and starting to freak out. Then I looked at Corla's health bar and how slowly it was going down and freaked out more ("how long will I have to do this!?"). Then standing out of the beam and waiting for it to fall off, knowing that every second the wipe looms closer, well: I'm pretty sure my veinous system was just packed with spiky crystalline nodules of adrenaline.
This would all be well and good if I had to run away from a lion, but what I needed instead was the sort of collected calm that I experienced during Archimonde attempts. I needed my eyes to be making circuits of the screen, checking the debuff then checking watcher then checking omen then back to the debuff. I needed fingers that weren't shaking, and most of all I needed to not have the sense of impending doom and attendant panic.
I still need the bow from the last guy in there - and Corla herself drops an alright trinket - so I'm going to be going back tonight and, god dammit, I will be calm.

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