It Never Goes According to Plan

I’ve found myself caught unawares, christened into the murky world of proc abilities and face-rolling madness: I have a raiding ret-noob. The project started when the raid leader announced that he was interested in starting an alt run. Anyone in the guild could join provided their gear was up to snuff. The thread rapidly joined the two-page mark as players chimed in with their interested character, and a tentative date was set.

I didn’t think I’d be able to field a character for the run. Currently, I’ve got Terrielle who runs the main runs, and an enhancement shaman I’ve been picking up now and again who has just entered the fifties. While I had plenty of 80’s on my old server, I still want to keep some activity in my old guild. I also didn’t want to spend another raid night focused on healing which left me with my Death Knight or my Paladin, both primary tanks.

In the end, I decided moving Lyre was the best move (I even got her original name back in the process!) She’s probably the character that I’m most attached to, and I have missed tanking horribly since I gave it all up during Wrath. However, there were problems with moving her. She’s a blacksmith/jewelcrafter, and she wouldn’t have a support network to keep her in materials if I moved her. I also noticed that we had a couple of tanks already agreeing to go for the run, so I could potentially move her, gear her, and end up as a third wheel. Either way, I figured I enjoyed the character enough to make it worthwhile and the move was made.

I leveled her as protection (but no in the LFD system–yuck!) and she hit 85 a few days before the run was scheduled. A tentative raid roster was posted and I was listed as DPS. Well, shit.

No problem, says I, how hard can it be? Being an optimist (and not so hot at this dual-spec gear sets while leveling) I had been happily vendoring everything DPS related as I leveled. I was sitting at 85 in my measly tank gear which wasn’t even hot enough to get me into a heroic. Guildmates started pestering me, offering services, mats, money (no cabana boys and booze though) to get my gear set up and running. I finally bit the bullet and made a deal with a guildmate for a crapton of mats, invested heavily in AH trolling, and set myself back 15,000 gold power leveling my blacksmithing and jewelcrafting.

My DPS set managed to outstrip my tank set, and I was ready for heroics. Of course, things never, ever go as planned, do they?

Saturday I’m planning to spend the evening learning my ret noob rotation on a bunch of strangers as I slog through heroics. The long queue time for DPS is actually a bonus as I can continue working on quests (and rep) while I wait. A couple of guildmates offer to join me for the first run of the evening. I’m questing, we queue, the dungeon pops, and I… leave party.

Uhmm. Oops! I was on a vehicle quest and instead of hitting my “leave vehicle now!” button I managed to find “Leave Party” on my unit frames. I don’t know how I managed that feat of incompetence either. A guildmate invites me back to the group, but the tank has already left. And I now have a deserter debuff. 3 DPS, a healer, and no tank. I sigh, apologize, and leave party again so they rest of the group can requeue. I get invited back… again. Apparently, I’m going to be the tank… with less than 120k health buffed.

We invited another DPS from guild, explained the situation to the very nice random DPS guy, and away we go! Although there was some thoughtful throttling of big numbers on the part of the DPS, for the most part, things weren’t that bad. I even got a /tell after the run telling me my threat was just fine and to stop freaking out. I also found myself with a piece of DPS loot at the end! We decide to run a couple more dungeons, and at the end of the night, I found myself sporting a good collection of 333/346 pieces (not a single piece of tank gear in case you’re wondering), and am gear-ready for raiding.

Hot diggity damn.

I still haven’t played as a ret pally. Sunday I get all enchanted and reforged pre-raid time and spend a bit of time on the target dummy. I’m looking at around 6k DPS and despairing. Obviously, I don’t have it, whatever it’s supposed to be. Still, I decide to go on with it, and if it turns out horrid, they can always PUG my spot.

The thing is, even though I’d never played retribution (ever, I was always dual-specced holy before) it turned out ok. Apparently 6k on a dummy translates into 10-12k with raid buffs and a long drawn out affair that’s called a boss fight. I remembered to use Salvation when Omen screamed at me, got some BoPs out, managed to do some interrupting, and basically, found myself doing those 101 things that I do anytime I’m taking a new character into a different setting: random talking, spluttering, and panic.

Some random things I found useful throughout the night:

  • Find out when the hell they’re going to be casting combat boost buff. Wings+Guardian+Hero/BL/TW is awesome.
  • Dragons have the biggest hit boxes in creation… still.
  • If the tank dies, I’m next. It says it’s plate, but the mages live longer than I do.
  • Increased run speed when judging is the most awesome thing ever!
  • Just because it’s flashing NAO! doesn’t mean you don’t have time to make sure you have a buff you need. Seriously, keep Inquisition rolling Wind!

So, first time as a retribution paladin was on the whole a win. Our rather mish-mash raid of alts and puggers managed to do 3/12 (BWD) and we took a peek at Atramedes and Chimaeron too. I even got to tank on Chimmy (I know, it’s not much of an accomplishment, but I really do love it!) I even got a nice note from the raid leader in my private forums this morning with a “nice job.”


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