My current guild runs 25-man content, but I’m kind of a raiding hound and I like to try to fit the 10-man content in during the week. Generally this means going the pug route. I generally try to get in on guild raids (needing that extra one more) as the synergy between guildmates just cannot be overstated. A guild knows how to make allowances for the huntard in the back, or the flaky healer, and keeps on trucking. A pug will take those same poor souls, put them in a meat grinder, and stomp on the remains. Not pretty.
So last night, I’m larking around town, trying out my new helm (what is with the bell on a chain here folks) and get a whisper from a paladin I’ve grouped with before for Ony-10. I join up, raid is formed and we all head to the instance.
– Has everyone been here before?
– I rock Ony.
Ok, no long-winded explanations needed. We have three heals, 2 tanks, and all ranged dps except for a poor warrior who’s trying not to look too platy among all the swishing robes. Trash is cleaned up easily, although I notice on the first couple of pulls the MT doesn’t seem to be generating a ton of aggro. The warlocks are soul shattering on every available C/D and the OT seems to be pulling off mobs without any fancy moves. Maybe he’s just one of those lazy trash tanks… ya, that’s it, right?
We’re standing in front of Ony — buffs go out. Ready check and ahoy. I had prepped the tank with an earth shield and riptide so he’d have some nice hot love as he went in to engage the boss — to no avail. Onyxia engages and *squish* he’s down 53% — a little nervous, I pop another riptide and keep running, stutter stop, cast a big mucking heal, and thank God — he survives to the wall.
Phase one is no big deal — just Onyxia, the tank, and plenty of dps. Except the warrior — apparently he learned about dragon fights on Sarth where you can stand on the hind leg angled into the body — and he keeps getting tail swiped into the rafters. After numerous *move, move, MOVE* raid chat instructions he finally gets his head screwed on straight and comes to hug the big momma on her midsection. Lift off is achieved, the middle gathering takes place, and the tanks begin the whelp roundup.
And fail. Whelps are everywhere — the warlocks, the hunter, the elemental shaman — all have their share of whelp love. Apparently, the ele shaman is feeling insignificant in the dps meters and decides an unglyphed Thundershock is just the thing to liven things up resulting in whelps everywhere. Le sigh… le sigh indeed.
Big add appears, and guess what — the MT decides tanking those is his job. So the MT and single melee dps are on big adds. The OT makes his presence known in there, and the first whelps appear — scattered all over the raid, they begin strategically taking down healers. No problem — because the boss is coming down — just as the second big add is appearing and the first is still standing — and oh, btw, MT stands looking at the dragon descending and doing his version of the pissified head shake going “I’m not picking her up again, no way, see, I’ve got adds — adds of protection yes indeed.” Ony rips through the locks, the ele shaman, and the healers before the OT picks her up and begins moving. But by then it’s all over, a wipe.
I lark off to the spirit healer, and strap on my mail undies a bit tighter. One wipe — it’s not so bad, let’s get some raid instructions and we’ll be fine. Raid instructions go out — MT is assigned to whelps, couple of ranged dps are assigned to big adds while they’re up and we’re ready. This time I am prepared for squish tank! Off he goes, phase one breezy, phase two seems to be going smoother. Oh noes! The whelps boss, the whelps! Swift as lightning my fellow healers are dead. However, so is the big add and the big mother is coming down. I sigh, pop a shield on the tank and hope for the best. And he goes squish — hardcore. Ony turns, I give a heroic “Eek!” and the OT picks her up and turns her around.
And then begins the longest 3 minutes of my life. The OT isn’t taking ferocious amounts of damage and the dps is getting hosed in terms of healing love. Of course, I’m in group with the MT, so my tremor totem is useless for the OT who’s actually tanking the boss, but it’s working. She’s going down — faster than my mana bar at least. Somewhere, I managed to drop a mana tide and a mana pot. We are still at 3% and I’m announcing it — the healer is officially OOM. And then it happens, the pally tank pops Divine Shield making himself completely invulnerable to damage and Onyxia turns to the raid with a gleam in her eye at 2%. Within seconds myself and the remaining dps are gone. The pally clicks of his bubble, taunts, and is hammered into the ground. 1% to go. I…. am…. ripshit.
I run back, I’m looking at Onyxia lounging within her lair and I’m thinking “Is it so hard. Can we pick up whelps? Can we pick up Ony without going squish? Can we use the correct ability that’s been on our hotbar since level 6! Can we?!” And I breathe, and I send the paladin, who invited me — a guy I’ve run with before, “Whatcha think?” He’s embarrassed, he’s frustrated, we’re ready to kill things. My husband is behind me having a great conversation with the other warlock in the raid,
– So, maybe I should just cast incinerate.
– What if you get a crit? You’ll doom us all!!!
– *Manly chuckling*
And a niggling voice in the back of my head reminds me — this is why I pug raids. Yes, there are people with issues, yes, there are some definite coordination problems going on here — but when do you get to stand all by your lonesome in phase 3 and keep the raid up in a guild run? I never have to push my character like that in a standard run. When I was dps, I hated pugs — being a great dps in a bad pug often equals a dead dps because your threat is too high for the underlings you deigned to raid with. But being a good healer in a pug — you get to be epic, you get to push yourself, and often, you find out “wow, I really did kick ass.”
Btw, Onyxia went down on our third go around — and somehow, miracle of miracles, the MT actually managed to pick her up without going *squish* Huzzah!