Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tales from the Mechanar

(I posted this a few days ago on, but wanted to also have it here.)

So here I am, progressing nicely and generally just trying to see as much as I can see before Outland becomes a deadzone with WotLK. I've been trying to get a PUG for Reg Mech for the last week or so. Before last night, I'd stepped through the instance portal four times, but never once gotten to the first boss as something always happened to the group before then.

(Now that I've done the chart, I see why -- there's just no reason to go to Reg Mech any more. The loot is okay, but not great, and the quests are now irrelevant.)

But last night I finally got into a group and made it all the way through. It was easily the hardest dungeon I've yet run, and yet that difficulty had nothing to do with the dungeon itself.

We started the run like normal, and on the first pull I noticed that I got aggro surprisingly fast. No big deal, though, right? It always takes everyone a minute to get into their routine. On the next pull I waited until I saw two Sunder Armors hit before I started doing anything. Got aggro again. Mmmkay. Pull three, I waited for three SA, and still got aggro. Pull four, I took VE out of my rotation and managed to not get aggro, but Omen screamed at me for the last half of the pull.

It turns out that the MT was an Arms-specced Warrior. I admit that I'm pretty ignorant about tank specs, beyond knowing that a Resto Pallie is a healer and not a tank, and that my Warrior guildie holds aggro like duct tape now that he's respecced to Prot. Apparently, Arms spec means that the Warrior doesn't have much threat-generating capacity?

Crap. I may be a n00b, but even I know that a SPriest is a threat-generating machine. I've spent the last two post-70 weeks getting myself used to going all-out on my DPS. I watch my DoT timers -- I apply my priority queue -- I get it done.

The next couple of pulls were Tinkerers, which had low enough HP that aggro wasn't a problem. Then there's the first boss.

Unfortunately, I am dumb. I knew I needed to leave VE out of the rotation, but the opening spell combo is apparently too firmly ingrained at this point. VE was up before I realized what I had done. Okay, no problem. I left out SWP to try to offset my mistake. I waited for four SA before starting, not with an MB, but with a MF. Things are going well.

Until the boss turns red.

Now, I had read the strategies. I knew that green meant Spell Reflect. Spell Reflect is bad. I knew, in the back of my mind, that red meant Melee Reflect. But, can you see where I'm going with this? I didn't.

A half-second later Omen is screaming at me and my screen is going bright and angry red. I stop casting, actually interrupting my MF. Another half-second goes by before the boss starts to move. I stand there, looking at my DoT timers, wondering if I should just refresh CoW now, since it'll be a few seconds before the tank can catch up to the threat again. Always Be Casting.

But the tank's threat bar stays below mine. The boss is making a beeline for me. I back up, instinctively trying to stay out of melee range so that the boss will reaquire the tank. No joy. A second later, the mobs that we didn't clear behind me have entered the picture and I get ground into a very purple paste.

It's only as we are flying back to the instance do I figure out wtf happened: I wasn't thinking fourth-dimensionally. Yeah, I may be able to cast while he's red, but the tank can't generate any threat while he's red. Duh. I apologize to the group for making such a dumb and n00b mistake. Everyone is surprisingly cool, especially for a PUG. The tank, nicely, reiterates that he is Arms specced, and can't do much to generate threat beyond SA. The healer (a T6 Priest) whispers me, again nicely, to take it as easy as I can.

We get through the rest of the instance with only one more wipe, and that one was Hunter-related and not my fault.

But, that next hour took more concentration and skill than anything I've had to do up to this point. With a Prot tank, I'd have been able to sleep through it. But as it was, I had to ride Omen like a bucking bronco, throwing the priority queue out the window and doing my best to keep high enough DPS to get the mobs down but without ever pulling aggro.

I never thought it would be more difficult to do less damage.

I learned something last night.

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