As I mentioned before, our guild has decided to start taking a team to Zul’Aman each week. Last night was the first run, and my hunter was fortunate enough to be selected for the team! Woo! The guild has hit the first boss several times before, but this was the first time we’ve ventured further inside. It was incredibly exciting to be part of this. 🙂
The gear requirements for the run were posted quite some time ago, and I’ve been steadily improving my gear to reach those numbers since then. I filled in an empty spot at the last minute on Friday’s Kara run, and although the missed the roll on the tier 4 gloves, I picked up Legacy from the Opera event, which was a huge upgrade from Terokk’s Quill, which I’d been toting around for ages. We ran the heroic daily afterward, plutting me at a grand total of 102 badges. I bounced right over the badge vendor and spent 100 of them on a shiny new chest piece. I also replaced my Pauldrons of Desolation with the Merciless Gladiator’s Chain Spaulders. Turns out they gave me a boost in DPS (plus I already had all the honor and AB marks I needed to buy them), though I lost hit to put me below the cap. I had to make this up with some creative re-gemming, sacrificing some agility and stamina. I think I could better optimize my gems, but given my limited time before the run, I did the best I could, and still came away with capped hit and pretty darn good crit. I may need to do some gem shuffling this week, however. It would also help if I could get my hands on a few more living rubies. Need to get my jewelcrafter out there to do some farming for these, because they’ve been scarce in the AH.
At any rate, I joined the ZA run fully gemmed and enchanted, with bags filled with extra food, water, and agility elixirs. With growl turned off, cower turned on, and my riding crop stowed, I entered the raid instance with my guild. Hee hee hee! So exciting.
We speedily made our way through the first trash mobs, and then one-shotted Nalorakk under the timer. To my great surprise, I came in second for Damage Done during that fight, although I think I was third for average DPS and pretty well below the number two DPSer. The number one and two DPSers are good buddies and have a friendly rivalry, so when I came in second, there was a lot of teasing in vent. Hehe… I was proud of myself because normally I’m high on the DPS list, but a little lower on total damage done because I wait too long to start fighting. Maybe it’s from all the crappy pugs. I always want to give the tank a good lead, but I’m slowly learning to get that DPS going sooner. So, this showing on the meters was a small triumph for me personally.
After this, we ran the Akil’zon gauntlet, and after much chatting about strategy and so forth, we just decided to go for it. We ran with one tank in the front of the group, one in the back, and the DPS stayed in between, burning down the targets as they were marked. We were resigned to a wipe on the first try, but amazingly, we got through it in one shot!
Akil’zon took us two tries. I think we needed the first just to experience the fight and see what he did. We’d all read about it, but actually being there and doing what you’re supposed to do is a different thing. This guy is a one-shotter from here on out, I’d guess, just as long as everyone is paying attention and running to the center when they’re supposed to.
And then, there was the path to Jan’alai. There are scouts patrolling (or with the groups you’re pulling) that call in reinforcements, and although they’re very easy to kill, if you don’t kill the fast enough you can be overrun quickly with adds. It took a wipe to get our strategy down on this one, part of the problem being keeping in range of the scouts as they ran to bang the drum for reinforcements. Some of the group pulls were pretty big at this point, too, and some of them felt a bit chaotic. We did finally make it to Jan’alai, however…
Our first attempt at Jan’alai was over pretty quickly. Dragonhawks were swooping around and the bird thing was breathing fire in my face. Although I tried to avoid the fire bombs, I ended up eating gravel and missing most of the fight. They got him down to 50% or so before we wiped. The second attempt seemed to go better, overall, though we still didn’t down him, and by the third wipe, I think it was clear we just needed to study this fight a bit more. None of us really thought we’d make it this far in, and so I’m not sure we were all ready for it (myself included). We noted we were taking longer breaks between wipes to read about strategy, and finally just decided to call it a night. Some of the old guard likened it to the guild’s first attempts at Shade in Karazhan. He’s a bit of a bastard, though we’re usually able to get him within a couple attempts now, depending on what DPS we have with us. Once we learn this fight, I imagine it will be similar. We just need to learn the dance.
All in all, amazingly good fun. I loved the composition of the raid team and look forward to heading back into ZA or Kara with them soon. I may not get chosen for the next ZA run, since we do have more DPS available than spots for DPSers, but it looks like they’re going to get a consistent rotation established as more people get geared, so I know I’ll get in there again. In the meantime, I shall start collecting badges for my next badge item upgrades.