Life in Group 5 – A Resto Shaman Blog
A resto shaman perspective on raiding


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January 25, 2012

T13: Thoughts that Pour from a Weary Mind

Vixsin_at_the_Maelstrom_sm

Amid a torrent of cheers and sighs of relief, Cataclysm raiding came to a close last night for Vigil’s raid team. HM Deathwing finally succumbed to the Aspects and to our determination, and although no epic legs or cow-themed secret phase were presented as a reward for our efforts, I know it was a particularly sweet victory for a raid team that has weathered too many winter storms. And as I sit here thinking of what I wanted to say about Cataclysm in general, and about Tier 13, I find that I wish I had more time. The drives to and from work, during which I wrote and rewrote this post at least 20 times over in my head, proved to be insufficient to prepare me for the moment when I would sit slouched in my ergonomic chair, Mumble chatter providing the background to a mind that was turning one thought over and over like a Rubik’s Cube … “was it worth it?”

It’s been almost 50 days since our first hard mode kill in Dragon Soul, and a little bit longer since I left my somewhat comfortable position with Pie Chart on Firetree to join a raid team that I’ve been dreaming of being a part of since the beginning of Wrath. I never really went into the reasons for my departure with anyone other than PC’s guild leader; no forum posts heralded my exit and no goodbyes punctuated chat before I pulled each of my toons from guild. The only comments came from those who had won some gold betting on when I would finally tap out, something that still makes me sad to recall. I left as I had come in, quietly and without fanfare. Former guildies, friends, and even some potential PC recruits filled in the blanks about my choice as they saw fit, giving way to a guild meme of “… that’s why Vixsin left the guild”. Had I a little less reserve and a little more gumption, I might have offered some very pointed clarification on why I left, I might have written a blog post about it, but the fact of the matter is, it doesn’t really matter.

… was it worth it?

I started 4.3 on fragile ground, unsure about whether or not I could love my resto shaman again, about whether I would actually be needed in the final battle against Deathwing, or if I’d be once again sitting the bench. PTR testing had done nothing to abate the trepidation over whether or not I’d have a raid spot; I didn’t think that the “buffs” that Restos received were enough to garner us positions in those final kills. Hell, I didn’t even know if we’d be looking at a final kill with 6, 5, 4 or even 3 healers. And upon looking at the meters in the first week of clears, I felt my heart sink just a little bit more. I wondered if maybe the problem wasn’t Resto Shaman, maybe the problem was that I was one of those theorycrafters who couldn’t live up to the hype. But I had learned something through those HM Rag attempts and that was that I sure as shit wasn’t going to roll over and die just because of a little adversity. And so I quickly shook off my funk, started reviewing logs, making notes, and practicing in multiple LFR runs, to make sure that my new team had no cause for complaint, about anything.

… was it worth it?

Somewhere in that anxiety, borne partially of the uncertainty of being a trial in a guild that I desperately wanted to call home and that has so many talented players, came the realization that in those raids I was happier than I had been in a long while. And even as Vigil was rocked by one disappointment after the next—not having a bear tank in T13 4pc in time for for HM Yor’sahj, not having enough legendaries to make DPS checks, having players quit mid-tier, having trials simply disappear—and even having the outlook seem even more grim with every kill, I was surprised to find that I was chomping at the bit each and every raid night. Content aged, and the guild’s progress slipped lower from the #4 US spot that they had held in Firelands, but even then I felt ever more a part of a team that seemed steadfast in its determination to finish things out, if only to hurl one final insult at Blizzard as Vigil, Saviors of Azeroth.

… was it worth it?

In the end, as fate would have it, and through the pure grit of our team, we pushed through it. We farmed LFR to get what we needed (not one ban was incurred), we pushed past an Ultraxion that had our healers struggling to contribute as much dps as possible, past a Gunship where fire RNG simply would not do us any favors (and where I tended to be suicidal), through a Spine encounter who’s DPS requirement was insane for a team lacking oranges, and finally last night, past Madness. With every hurdle we moved past, I don’t doubt that our raid team was cognizant of how much easier it would have been if we would have had a little more orange gear. We watched guilds pass us in ranking, sporting alt stacking or entire ranged dps teams equipped with legendaries, things that we simply didn’t have available. To some, it was a cause for bitterness; for others, it was a call to arms.

But through it all, for each and every kill, I was there on my resto shaman, sometimes for my performance and sometimes for my buffs, dealing with the same problems and frustrations that have plagued our class for an entire expansion, ones that a perfunctory +HP buff did nothing to fix. And when my time came, on Spine and on Madness, I made the most that I could out of the class that I have championed, despite where Raidbots said my performance should be.

… was it worth it?

Ultimately, we finished Tier 13 with a whopping 3 legendaries in raid, one of which had been obtained only moments before we started the evening’s attempts, and one of which was wielded by our bear tank (who would have tanked the encounter if not for the last-minute recruitment of a prot pally). Our comp was anything but ideal—no mages, one enhance shaman, one elemental shaman, 2 hunters, and two alts. But we made it work, this team that I am extremely proud to be a part of. This team that gets so incredibly excited before every kill that they fill vent with a cacophony of calls and miscellaneous information that belies the careful and precise performance of their characters.

I wanted so desperately to be able to explain, at that moment last night when they were celebrating, how good they actually are, how different they are from the cutthroat guilds that mass recruit for progression pushes, how their environment is so much better than the groups that thrive on aggression and condescension, and how every ranking this tier is stained a shade of orange. They deserved better than Blizzard gave them. I wanted to drive it home that they should be bursting with pride and anxious for more, instead of contemplating signing off their beloved characters for good. But the best I could manage was a weak congratulations, and my silent, most heartfelt thanks for giving me an answer to my question …

… was it worth it?

It is with absolute clarity that I can respond … yes. Yes, it was.






13 Comments


  1. I’m so glad that your raid move was successful for you (and that you continued to get restoration shamans into the top tier!)

    <3 and Congratulations!
    Windsoar´s last post ..DPS Farming


  2. maeklund86

    Reading this actually gave me the shivers. :) I really respect your courage for opening up for us readers like you do. Something of your determination has passed over to me, in that I will not give up on my shaman. I’ve tried all 4 healers, and none of them are as enjoyable as the shaman is to me. I agree that the fix they implemented was not a solution to shaman’s problems. My biggest issue is that even if the situation is hectic, my healing strategy and “rotation” does not differ much from fight to fight. I hate being so output constrained. But here’s for a better rush in Mists. This whole expansion was a very wrong time to be rerolling from a prot/retri pally to a resto shaman. Now I can’t switch toons anymore. :) Partly because of you, your blog, your insight. Thank you!

    And sorry for the early morning ramble (EU). <3


  3. Right on Vix , there’s really something to be said for that moment just after you do it … and it’s even better when you do it “ Your way “

    I dropped out of moderate progression guilds because I had found myself in a really solid group of friends, and with our evolving lives we wanted to stay together, raid together and do it “our” way.
    So doing things in unconventional ways to get our guild to kill heroic’s modes means deviating from prescribed best practice.

    We raid 10 man , 3 nights a week , we start later than other guilds so we can get home in time from work , which does push our members a little bit ( Some Fins have a problem with 4 hours sleep on work nights)

    So far we have 3 tanked , heroic Morchok ;-)

    Were ranged heavy with only one legendary in a world where melee has become king
    Decided on a completely different kill order for our heroic progress because were trying to play to our strengths

    ast night I solo healed heroic Ultraxion as we “don’t have the prescribed paladin and discipline priest” or classes that can avoid all the damage from staying to take the hour we were stuck running out of healing oomph at 10% when trying to use two healers.

    So here’s to basking in doing stuff your own way.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GN2kpBoFs4&noredirect=1


  4. See, now I just want to see if I can join your guild!!
    Bronte´s last post ..“How I Use My Keyboard in MMOs” or “Too Many Keys, Not Enough Fingers”


  5. Rill

    Great read, excellent use of the word “gumption.”

    I look forward to juking you in MoP, hehe. :P

    Your fellow blue friend,
    Rill


  6. Vixsin,

    I’m totally agree with you on it. I had a guild change after some rather dramatic moments myself around the same time, and found my way back to the Alliance. The new guild is such a dramatic change in leadership style both with the overall guild and the raid leaders. And it’s so refreshing.

    Sometimes it’s a long road we travel to find the perfect group of folks!
    Somnar´s last post ..20 Days of WoW Blogging Challenge – Day 8 – 10 Things We Didn’t Know About You.


  7. Thrå

    I’ve been following your posts all Cata, and I must say, I do not regret a thing. I check this blog every day for an update even. I respect the fact that your guild has done what few other guilds have done, but with worse gear, a bad comp, and Alts.

    If I may suggest a topic for your next blog, do you think you could give us some pointers and tips for killing H Mode bosses as a Resto shaman? As well as tell us what stat prio you use on the fights, and why?


  8. Dak

    I hope your new guildmates have read this! Haters will be haters. Kudos to you for finding a home worthy of you. No more of those stupid rsham jokes, I hope!


  9. Zack

    Like everything in this blog you will forget after about 5mins of reading it way to lose to pie chart in progression


  10. Behomet

    I am an all out healer in wow. I have played every type in raid settings and seen success with all of them, but if I had to choose one I enjoyed most, it would be the resto shaman. Unfortunately, higher output has forced me into different roles. In Wrath, my guild had need of a pally. In T11, I started Disc, but switched to a resto druid because of our guilds need of aoe heals. In Firelands, I had a brief stint as pally again, before being asked to go back to druid. Then, in Dragon Soul, because my druid was so well geared, I was asked to stick with it despite the weaknesses that became more and more apparent with each boss kill.

    Through all of this, silently, in the backgrounds, the question to my raid leader was, “We need a good resto shaman (25 man guild), and I enjoy it, what if I played that?” And always the answer, “Your too valuable in your current spec.” I wish Blizz would make the shaman a class that one could play without having raid leaders doubt if the change is worth it.

    With that said, I was inspired by your post, and I am grateful you shared it. Maybe MOP will be different and I can finally play the healing class I love most, because it is a class that is needed as much as the others. You give me hope that even when not ideal, a resto shaman can shine.



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