First, let their be rejoicing. Unexpectedly, I received an invite for the 10-man group of which I was a part, oh, a couple of months ago before my desire to throw myself down a step and break my ankle into many small pieces. Of course I happily accepted, especially after my whining and moaning during the week about the loss of the one great shining beacon of hope for my raiding days, and behold… it was awesome.
I love my 10-man group. I feel like I fit in, both in my laid-back expectation that people will, you know, perform, and the fact that I don’t have this gnawing desire to chew people out over their inconsiderate /afk’s every five minutes. Currently, our 25-man groups has downed everything but BQ, the Prof., Sindy and the King himself, while the last time I was with the 10-man group we made our first shot at Sindy, had never even peeked at the Prof., and when I joined on Saturday, they were working on week 4 or 5 of Lich King attempts.
Having never seen the fight, and not wishing to be the proverbial stone around my group’s neck, I did something I generally refuse to do: I read the notes on the bosses’ abilities and phases before stepping into his chambers. As a segue, I do not read others strategies before I’ve seen the encounter, because I think it limits your ideas and ability to work with your own raid team when you are basing your entire perspective on another raid group, which may have a radically different composition or players of differing skills. All raid teams compensate and adjust based on their own members strengths and weaknesses, and in my experience, no two groups are the same in terms of what works for them. We downed him within 6 attempts: 3 on Saturday (after a full clear) and 3 on Sunday.
I’m thrilled to say that we were able to down the Lich King. I’m happy I got to see the cinematic, and complete the largest piece of lore of the WotLK expansion. I’m proud of my team for struggling through all the dungeon pieces to get the King down. Yet, I’m disappointed too.
Part of it is, I have heard for weeks how great the fight was, in balance, in challenge, and in its epic proportions. Having come in at the end of the fire, I missed all the struggle of learning with my team, and merely did my job, stayed out of the ick on the floor, and saw another boss go down. The fight didn’t feel epic to me–in all honesty, I agonized and dreaded the twins for weeks, and felt like that was the greater accomplishment.
Part of it is that I saw three new bosses go down in the course of two days: Professor Putricide, Sindragosa, and the Lich King. None of these have been cleared in our 25-man group, and while I was there for our first pot-shot at Sindy, it was the end of a raid afternoon, and it was half-hearted “We’ll be back next week to take her down!” I had never seen Putricide before, and yet, he was a one-shot over the weekend.
I’ll also go out on a limb here and say, while gear does matter when doing 10-mans vs. 25-mans, strategies are the ultimate boss-killers. While I have a couple of pieces from 25-man ICC, most of my gear is from ICC-10, and a couple of my pieces are from Ulduar, notably my shield, which is a huge stat setback. I do not have full 4-piece T10, so I don’t think I’m at some grand gear advantage over a well-geared strict 10-man raider in terms of raw output.
I can’t say the same for my whole team: most of them are some of our best-geared 25-man raiders, not to mention the massive ICC buff that is currently in effect. Perhaps if I’d been there for the weeks of the learning phases, I wouldn’t feel that this victory is somewhat hollow, and that it wasn’t up to what I was expecting for a very finely tuned final boss. Challenging, yes, but not as difficult to learn as some of the earlier bosses in the Citadel.
I almost wish I had declined that invite on Saturday. If you’ve been involved in your guild’s first kill on something as exciting and challenging as the last boss of a tier, you know the massive high that effects your team members. While I was excited for my team, I didn’t feel like I was part of my team, because I was missing that rush, that fist-pumping adrenaline surge of victory that should accompany such a great moment for our guild. Our casual, fun-loving guild downed a major lore boss for the very first time and the chick in the back, who basically just showed up for the kill is thinking “That’s it?” And that sucked.
For some reason, we had two spellpower daggers drop and three of us rolled for them. I actually won one of them, but I passed it on to another raid member because I just couldn’t feel like I earned that dagger. Wearing those pixels would have haunted me: not because I haven’t taken plenty of gear, but because of the importance of the first kill. I know I played my part, and perhaps a very important one, that may have helped tilt the balance in favor of our win that weekend instead of another week of almost and could-haves. However, it’s hard to judge the importance of a single raid member even in a smaller group of 10, and I’d like to think that my team would have downed him this week with any member of the guild they’d have chosen to take.
On a better note, we start hard-modes this weekend, and I’m really looking forward to the challenge. In some ways, I’ve missed a ton of this expansion, first through starting over a fresh character mid-expansion, and second, through my injury, so this will really be my first time seriously doing hard-modes as a normal progression path as opposed to a “it’ll be fun to go back and try that.” Maybe that next Lich King kill will be the thrill I was seeking.
Edit: Forgot the screenshot! Oops… 🙂