Sunday night, Apotheosis had what was likely our final Firelands raid instance as a group. I’m sure a few folks will go back in on alt runs or to finish up legendary staves, but our 25-man raiding group is done with the instance unless Blizzard pushes back a week. With that wrapping up, I’ve been thinking about 4.2, and everything that happened during our time in there.
From a kill perspective, we were fairly successful. There were certain bosses where our group weaknesses were magnified (HM Baleroc, I’m looking at you), but I think we kept a reasonable pace up through the patch, going 1/7 HM pre-nerf, and based on our progress on Rhyolith (to phase 2, with reasonable regularity), I think we would have been 2/7 the next week regardless. Post-nerf, we downed each new progression boss in one to two weeks, hitting 6/7 HM in early November. We took a look at Heroic Ragnaros, but based on horror stories out there and the time left before 4.3, we decided to push instead for Glory of the Firelands Raider. We had time to make two mount runs, securing Corrupted Fire Hawks for the majority of our raiding team. I think we could have gone through content a little more quickly, but I leave 4.2 feeling satisfied with what we completed.
From a personal perspective, this was a bit of a coming of age patch. Near the end of 4.1, I felt comfortable enough with the group to be more vocal during raid. That prepared me well for 4.2, and it was a good thing, because by the end, I was calling a number of things out for the raid. On Rhyolith, since our melee officer wasn’t able to attend our first progression attempt, our GM, Kurn, asked me to steer, calling the DPS targets. I was both excited and nervous. Excited because I like responsibility. I like to know the raid depends on me to do well, and I’m not being carried. Nervous, because of the flip side of that – my faults would be glaringly obvious, and my efforts would be subject to continuous critique. While we eventually worked out a good strategy for doing this, it was not a smooth road there. A number of wipes were directly my fault as I learned to compensate for the dynamic nature of the fight. I oversteered us, understeered us, didn’t make calls clearly enough… but I learned. One thing I tried to do from the beginning was listen. Our melee channel is usually vocal, but after a great number of attempts, I’d ask directly how the steering felt, how the calls were, and so on to get an idea of how I could improve my approach. The feedback there and on the forums was key to getting that kill.
Around the same time, Kurn approached me about the possibility of taking an officer position in the guild, and she asked what role I felt I could play if that did happen. Again, excitement and nervousness. I was absolutely excited about the thought. First, even being considered meant a great deal to me. Second, I liked the idea of having more of a voice in guild decisions (and getting to read the officer forums – I hate knowing there’s information I’m not privy to, even if it’s just pages of Kurn and Majik berating each other). The third reason ties in with my nervousness. I wanted to give back to the guild, but I had no clue how. I didn’t feel qualified to perform most of the typical jobs. Me write a performance review for non-rogue melee DPS? Oof. Two empty bag slots don’t make for a good lootmaster. So how could I help most? I pondered for a while, and then I remembered a Matticast episode where Kat explained her role as a morale officer in her guild. As I thought more, I realized that other guildies likely felt the same way I did – that sometimes their voice wasn’t heard. So I proposed the idea of a guild liaison, where I would be responsible for representing the opinions of the raiding non-officers in officer discussions. Kurn liked the idea, and after some discussions with the other officers, I was promoted.
Shortly after that, another of our officers privately announced his intentions to step down at the end of normal modes. It was disappointing to see him go (he’s a hell of a tank), and his absence left a noticeable void in the raid. But it was also an opportunity for me. Over the next few weeks, I started making more calls, and by the time we got to Heroic Baleroc where communication is even more important than usual, I was taking point on shard spawn calls and melee positioning. Looking back, I grew a lot as a player during this time.
One other major impact on my raiding experience this tier came from the social connections I made. Blizzcon happened during Firelands, and I met a bunch of wonderful people. It was great to meet other guildies and hang with them for the weekend. As a result, I started tweeting more often and blogging, and made friendships (or at least acquaintances) with many people around the globe.
Unfortunately, though, some of my better in-game relationships also came to an end. In addition to the tank officer I mentioned earlier, we lost a few other raiders whom I consider friends and good players. One of our officers, who has been tireless in helping the guild with thankless jobs, is stepping down as 4.2 comes to a close, and my 2′s arena partner has taken his main to greener raiding pastures. So it’s not all happy, but such is the nature of this game.
Overall, this tier was good to me, and I’ll look back on it fondly. I leave it feeling positive about things to come. For now, Darkmoon Faire, legendary daggers, and a faceoff against Deathwing loom. See you tomorrow, 4.3.
Your turn: What happened in-game or out-of-game that made a difference during 4.2? Did you enjoy your time in Firelands, or are you happy to be done with the place? I’d love to hear your take!