This is an achievement shot with a story behind it, it may not be a very exciting story but it’s mine!
The Gang’s All Here!
I’m going to go back a bit in time for some background … a month or two ago, I was busy getting lost in Dalaran when I was whispered by the alt of a friend I hadn’t seen around in a long while. She and her husband are good friends of mine in real life. The sort of friends you sometimes don’t run into for a few years. But when you do you’re always happy to see them and hang out. She sounded very down. And she wanted to know if my guild was still as laid back and chilled out as they used to be.
You can probably guess the rest of this. They had been playing on a different server, they had run their own guild, and it had just split up very painfully due to raiding drama. She just wanted somewhere friendly and supportive and non-drama prone to hang out that was far far away from them all. So we said, ‘Come join us! We love you guys!’ and a couple of weeks later both she and her husband decided that they liked it enough to transfer their level 80 characters over. And they turned out to be a feral druid and a resto shaman (ie. tank and healer) who were well geared, good players, and liked friendly raids.
At the same time, my husband was chatting to one of his mates at work who played WoW and persuaded him to transfer his character over to Argent Dawn so we could all hang out. And he turned out to be a well geared, good player, who liked friendly raids, and had a holy priest with some shadow gear also. (ie. another healer, who could also be ranged dps).
And it did not take long to occur to us that together with my protection warrior and my hubbie’s affliction warlock, we had a very solid nucleus for a 10-man raid group. This was pure luck.
The hardest job of all
So having discussed with the guys and checked that they all were free on Saturday night, I started talking to other guildies to see if I could put a 10 man group together. It was a delicate job because I didn’t want to promise more spaces than I had, but also I didn’t want to guarantee a spot to anyone unless they were sure that they could make it.
I also decided not to just announce the run openly on the guild forums. This was for selfish reasons, and although they were good reasons, I’m not proud. If you announce a raid openly, you can guarantee that half the people who sign up will be undergeared, underlevelled, or just want to come to play tourist. And much as I’d love to bring everyone who was interested, I also selfishly wanted to take the best group I could.
I also hate telling people that they can’t come. I don’t get paid enough in this gig to have to give people bad news. So that meant personal invites to the top dps, who also conveniently are nice guys we’d been running a lot of heroics with. Some I whispered, some I sent private messages to on guild forums, and by Saturday I was fairly sure we’d be good to go.
However, there was another raid being put together via an open forum post by someone from one of our allied guilds (this was happening simultaneously with me trying to get in touch with people privately). And I knew fine well that some of the people who had signed up to his list had also agreed to come to my raid. And I also knew that because I was able to say, “Want to come on a guild-only run? We have the tanks and healers sorted out already,” that every single one of them would choose mine.
I’m not beating myself up over this. Raid leading is a bitch and putting the group together is by FAR the hardest part. And also, players can decide for themselves what they want to do of an evening. But raid leading is a bitch. The only thing that can make it worthwhile is for the raid to be so successful that people forget about the rest.
Plateramas does not disappoint
The rest was more fun! We rolled up on Saturday evening (just for the record, the group was: protection warrior, feral druid, resto shaman, holy paladin, shadow priest, affliction warlock, moonkin, fury warrior, retribution paladin, (blood?) death knight) and headed into the floating pyramid.
Four hours later, 12 bosses were dead. Vast amounts of shiny purple loot (much of it plate) had been distributed. We knew we had a good group going in, but I certainly wasn’t expecting to make such a clean sweep of it. And at least one of the guys hadn’t seen most of the fights before.
People were commenting, “You know, maybe this is a bit too easy?” I was thinking, “Yes!! I put the raid together and am attempting to lead it and it has not been a total flop!!!”
And it was 11pm which is our usual raid end time so I called it before we made any attempts on the four horsemen. I figured people were getting tired (ie. I was getting tired) and I’d rather end on a high note.
Second day, same as the first
That was going to be it for this week’s 10 man raiding. But our raid group, which only runs 25 man raids, had a Sartharion kill scheduled for Sunday evening. And it just so happened that almost every member of the previous night’s 10 man group was there. The shadow priest couldn’t make it so we swapped in a second death knight instead.
So after the Onyx Guardian died, we went back to finish the job. This was by far the harder and more fun raid. These were bosses which we hadn’t yet killed in the 25 man version. We had some learning wipes but it was fun, and we had to think a bit more about our strategies and what would work for our group.
My husband in particular was thrilled because he got to tank one of the four horsemen in the successful attempt and he loves doing that sort of stuff with his warlock. I say successful attempt — it was the second attempt.
By the fifth wipe on the big undead frost dragon Sapphiron (the novelty here is that you have to get out of the icy chill, not out of the fire), I was thinking that I would really rather have had a night off from raiding. He died on the sixth attempt.
And then we ran down a corridor and were staring at the end boss of Naxxramas. We decided to take a 5 minute break to get tea — did I mention that we’re mostly English? (The dutch guys have largely acclimatised to us by now :) )
Our first attempt failed due to a combination of me failing to correctly estimate the size of a void zone when getting out of it and too many melee clustered around the boss. It is a fight where they need to stay as far apart as possible. So for the first time in known guild history, people observed our retribution paladin actually casting heals. He nobly volunteered to stand back and help heal so that the other melee would have more space.
Our second attempt was one of those heart rending 1% wipes that seemed to be so much more common back in the day. This one was due to an unlucky ice blast on our bear just as the adds turned up in the last phase, and before she had a chance to grab them. We wiped when Kelthuzad had 1% health left… but it was 11pm.
So as is traditional, I called a vote on whether we wanted to stay for one more try. And the rest is history.