There’s nothing revolutionary in noticing the correlation between success and motivation in a raid group. Feeling as if you’re repeatedly slamming your head off a brick wall is no fun for anyone, and yet that’s exactly what my regular 10 man group had been doing for the last 2 months.
To give you a better sense of just how long our dry-spell was, we first killed Al’Akir on February 27. A guild group had killed Cho’gall a few days before that, but the kill just couldn’t seem to be duplicated. After that, we went until May 4 without seeing any new bosses defeated in 10 man raids. May 4 saw the death of Nefarian on what was to be our final attempt. Less than 24 hours later, we killed Cho’gall on only our second attempt of the night.
Now, as much as I’d like to believe it, I know that we didn’t get two new end boss kills in a row just because I finally realized that Miniwing is the luckiest non-combat pet that I own. (Like a superstitious athlete, I cycle through non-combat pets and try to see which yields the most kills. Silly, I know.) And while the changes to both the encounters and to some classes’ abilities played a part, I’m not willing to say that those were the most important changes that happened last week.
The most important difference between last week’s attempts on Cho’gall and this week’s attempts was that we had just killed Nefarian. Maybe it sounds as if I’m overstating the importance of having that achievement behind us, but I promise you – I’m not. There are few things that can inspire tired raiders more than knowing that they’ve already accomplished more than they expected for themselves. Knowing that we could kill Nefarian made killing Cho’gall sound like a picnic at the park.
Nefarian was, for me, easily the most challenging encounter I’ve ever had to learn to heal. I’ve seen many bosses in the past who I thought were difficult, but the hard part was usually learning where not to stand or what to do when a certain ability was used; I’ve never seen a fight that really changed the way I heal. The first month or so of attempts on Nefarian forced me to think about how I healed in a completely different way. I was constantly running OoM, losing my tank due to an insane amount of incoming damage, or having troubles keeping up everyone on my pillar during the second phase. It was the first time in WoW that I felt like I actually didn’t have the tools to heal the way that was needed to keep everyone standing. I’m looking forward to writing a Healing Tips guide for Nefarian specifically because of all this. It took many, many nights of attempts for me to pinpoint what I was doing wrong, and even more to correct all those problems. What I realized, finally, was that my spellbook actually did have everything I needed to get the job done – I just had to think about a lot of my abilities in a new way. While I’m still not sure that realization was worth two excruciating months of wiping dozens of times a week to this guy, I’ll admit that I came out of the encounter with a better understanding of my class and spec.
Now, the 10 man group is looking forward to starting work on heroic bosses in the next raid lockout. I’m hoping that our recent successes will give us the momentum we’ll need to carry us into the upcoming wipefests, but mostly I’m just thrilled to finally be working on something that is new again. And I’ll bet you can all guess who’ll be with me when we start work on heroic Halfus next week …