Raid Report – Ulduar (9/15/2009)

First!

Yep, it was my first raid ever. Okay, I had been walked through some raids in Outlands before but that was clearly people running me through an instance (albeit a big one) to help me gear up. This was the first time I’d really been in a raid where my toon made a difference… and I got to Tank!

First fight – Razorscale. This was the morale booster of the evening. Dragon went down like a punk. We helped out little dwarf buddies fix up their harpoons and then brought him her down. It only took two drops before she was permanently landed and then the fight was a burn fest. The only thing I really had to do was taunt the hoser when she had de-buffed our MT too much. My first taunt missed by the second one got him her and I took over long enough for the MT’s de-buffs to wear off, take him her back and then we polished Razorscale off. In the fray before she dropped I tried to grab agro from some adds and was somewhat successful, though at that point I was still pretty bewildered about how tanking worked so I probably could have done much better. Either way, we toasted his her ass.   Edit: And now I feel like a horrible person for doing so (see comments).

Last fight – Mimiron. I knew this guy was going to be tough. Tough as hell. And I was right. We never took him down but we did learn a lot about how we are eventually going to kick his ass. He has four phases and we got to phase four at least two times (maybe three, I’m not sure). Just like other bosses that I’ve heard of he’s got some tricks you have to watch out for (shockblast to the face anyone). Now we know them pretty well and I’m sure we’ll tear him down soon.

My discussion of what rocked and what could have been improved is a random mish mash of my impressions. Some of this was about how we did and some of this was about my personal experience. So, take what you will from it.

What rocked

First and foremost all of the support I got from the guild (and friends of the guild). Essentially the moment I hit 80 people were gearing me up in epic level items. There was a concern that my defense wouldn’t get high enough to tank (as you basically can’t survive a critical hit from monsters), but everyone contributed so much gear, gems, enchants and other upgrades that I hit the Defense Rating cap I needed was ready to off tank.

Good will. More importantly than the gearing up, I really appreciated everyone’s willingness to have me in the group and treat me like one of them. They all knew my experience raiding (big fat zip, zilch, nada) but everyone took me in and encouraged me to do my best. No back seat tanking, no sighs of disappointment when I didn’t grab the mobs or when I croaked, just lots of positive encouragement. And not only for me, our raid leader was awesome in congratulating everyone for their efforts and keeping us in high spirits all night long.

My guild kicks ass and takes names. No doubt about it, I roll with some killer homies.

The fights were really tough, which was fun for me. I felt like every time I died I learned a little more about what I should do next time, or how the rest of the raid was looking. I was especially happy at one point when I saw an assault bot was going to appear right on top of a Zeisiet (a healer) and I was able to warn him over vent a moment before so he didn’t get mob’d. Trying several times also got me a feel for which stances worked for different phases. I expected to be defensive stance the entire time but realized that when I was on strict DPS (phases 1 and 2) switching to battle or berserker was the way to go.

Deadly Boss Mod – MUST HAVE.

What could have been improved

There was so much that as new to me I was pretty overwhelmed. Here are some things I noticed

Add Ons – Some of the news ones I got were more of a hindrance than a help because I didn’t understand them. I really need to master the add-ons I’ve got, or find others that work better for me. The one add on I really want is something that tells me which mobs are agro’d on people that aren’t the other tanks. I kept finding myself seeing a big bunch of mobs that I ran over to grab agro from and only realized that they were on the main tank. So, I want some big sign over their head alerting me if they are targeting anyone but me or the other tank.

Keybiding and UI – There were a LOT of changes to my UI. Most notably was new key binding that really took me a while to get used to. I also realized that some of the binding I did was stupid. Effing Hamstring does not need to be in my #5 slot. That is prime real estate! I’ll keep playing with that.

Information overload. I kept finding myself panicking and button mashing and doing stupid stuff out of fear that I would lose agro or just that I wasn’t in the right place. I found the more we fought Mimiron the more relaxed I became and I stopped rushing so much. My big fear was looking like and idiot standing in a corner tanking one lone junk bot while the rest of the group was doing their job.

Spec – I realized at the end of the night that I never finished my spec. What a tool. In the words of Baro “Any spec is better than no spec.” It was only 10 points or so that I didn’t assign, but those could have meant more rage from charges, and a better cleave. Ah, well, definitely fixable.

Fellow raiders, I really want to learn to be tank so any advice you’ve got please share with me. Either here in the comments, on the WoW Cave group, over direct email, or whatever ways works best for you.

Thanks again everyone for taking me on the raid. I look forward to next week.