Half Way Home

Last night my guild downed the Lich King on 25man, last week, we downed him on 10man. I’ll be stepping into 10man hard modes later this week, and 25man hard modes beginning next week. We have, essentially “beaten the game” until the next raid comes out. Now begins the new game, and to some, the “real game,” the hard modes. Lich King was the only fight in ICC that I found challenging, and I don’t say that to sound elitist or smug, it’s just that ultimately the sole responsibilities I had to hold up were “taunt when other tank gets a debuff” or “stand next to tank and get hit with cleave.” Sure, it was actually a little more complicated than that makes it sound, but every fight felt “safe” and handled with a comfortable ease. Only on the first few attempts of Putricide p3 did I ever feel any kind of tension, now that we have him on farm, phase 3 is just another phase 3. Looking ahead to the first 10 of the 12 hard modes, I find myself still taking for granted a certain ease of these encounters.
They are, of course, by no means “easy,” it is hard mode after all. But I don’t find myself worrying. Deathwhisper will probably make me work a little harder than I have been, Putricide will get more challenging, but other than that, as a tank, I don’t feel like there are opportunities for personal failure. All these fights will take tolls on healers and DPS, but I’m just going to be standing there, doing the same things, ultimately. As a Paladin, sure I’ve got raid-benefiting CDs and utility, but those are far more in the realm of “if you don’t use them, no one is going to notice in most cases.” The best will always be the best, but you don’t need to be the best to complete these encounters. I’m not trying to absolve myself of any kind of responsibility beyond being a meat shield, I just wish there was a little more variety in the encounters. A lot of people whine about lootship gunship, but at least it’s something different. I hated faction champs back in the day when it was still hard, but at least it was something different. I know, looking back to older raids of this expansion, it’s not like they had a larger quantity of unique-mechanic fights, but somehow it feels like they did. Maybe this is the boredom that all the top guilds have been feeling for ages and I’m just now being able to see for myself.
It took us 10 attempts to kill he Lich King in 10man (I wasn’t in the group for their first day of attempts so I don’t know how long they spent) and 35 attempts for us on 25man, when only a few of us there had seen the fight yet on 10man and we had some considerable raider rotation. I only bring these numbers up because it was a point of pride to our GM that we spent less attempts to kill LK25 than any other guild on our server, even though we are the 5th guild to kill him on 25man, and the 3rd which has killed him with the +5% buff. The guild feels that the 5% buff was irrelevant for us because we still had several minutes on the enrage timer when we pushed him to 10%, but personally I don’t know how much weight I can give that since I feel like the end of the fight is where you notice it the least. Where you notice it is how quickly you can kill the Val’kyr and the Raging Spirits. We killed a few Valks really really close to the edge on our successful kill and on several of our attempts. Maybe 5% didn’t mean the difference in actuality between life and death on those attempts, but if it was going to be noticed anywhere, I think that’d be the place. The two most frustrating parts of the fight for me are the adds with the frontal cone AoE because saying that they are a pain in the ass to position, especially during transitions, is a laughable understatement, and the silence. I hate to play the “it’s unfair” card as a Paladin because every other tank has been crying about Ardent Defender since before it was even live, but silence has GOT TO GO. No other tanking class suffers from silence as much as paladins. We basically become mages, completely locked out of all ability to generate threat or use abilities. We have one ability we can use, and it’s a wonderfully useful and powerful ability, but compared to warriors and druids who lose almost no functionality, this is a crippling debuff and I’d trade a 500stm trinket for an immunity to silence trinket in a heartbeat. And when you have more than 1 raging spirit on you, the fun begins since they can use their silences back to back and you’re locked out for 12s. Hope you have a good threat lead on the kill target once the p3 transition ends cause melee is going to be stomping those spirits and you’re going to need all the threat you can get.
Lich King is, on paper, not a difficult fight to explain to someone or to understand, but for some reason, it has been the hardest for me to execute effectively. I have dropped the ball on this regular mode encounter more than I have on probably every hard mode I’ve ever done to date combined, and I have no idea why. It’s driving me insane honestly. When we killed him last night, vent was raucous with cheers and everyone was happy to have him dead. Me, I was just happy it was over with so I wouldn’t have to do the fight again for another few days. There was no happiness in success for me, only relief that I would not have to endure more opportunities to screw up with a consistency that feels unprecedented for me. It is ironic I guess that the only fight that I seem to be functionally incompetent on a routine basis is the only one that actually matters. Maybe the fact that we have killed him once will help me calm my nerves and play a little smarter and more focused. It’s not like I’m having to do things I haven’t done 1000 times before in other encounters. It’s baffling, infuriating, embarrassing and shameful and it has made these past 3 days of attempts on him a downright unpleasant nightmare for me. I’m so glad we killed him; not so I can link an achievement or because we completed a challenge or that we beat all but 900-something other guilds to the kill, but because I get a few days off of being responsible for wiping my raid. That’s not the way I’m supposed to be feeling after something like this…

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