Burnout Achieved

I mainly blame the dungeon finder.  Yes, it is an amazing feature of the game and I could not get enough of it when it first came out.  Unfortunately, I overindulged, and now I cannot stomach those same old heroics anymore. “Daily random anyone?” a guildmate says, and I get an overwhelmingly weary feeling.  I can’t even be arsed to collect my 2 frost emblems per day any more.

I am not enjoying raiding anymore either.  There are a lot of reasons behind this one and I won’t bother to go into details here.  This is easily the most depressing development in my WoW career and I’ve been tempted to unsub and disappear because of the circumstances surrounding it.  I always loved raiding  — it was my favorite part of the game.  Now, I’m always hoping my husband will want to do something else on raid nights, so we’ll have an excuse not to go.  The team I’m currently raiding with is pretty fun, so I do enjoy myself when I go, but I have a suspicion I wouldn’t miss it if I quit.

I’m still working on achievements, but somewhat half-heartedly.  I’ve had the top achievement totals in the guild for a while now (thanks to one of our achievement hounds taking a long hiatus and someone with an uncatchable score quitting the guild, hehe), but there are a couple of people nipping at my heels now.  I confess I look forward to them overtaking me so that I don’t have to worry about staying on top any more.  I’ve always made it a point not to be too competitive about achievements, but I expect a lot of smack talk when I fall to the #2 position.

The Cure

I don’t know that there is one.  I do still care a lot about many of the people in the guild.  I’m proud of the community that we have.  I want to stick around, so I’m going to try.

One thing that’s helped is getting back into pvp a bit.  The random battleground finder might be a great thing if the guild were to reinstitute “drunken pvp night,” too.  I’d love to see that happen.

I have also rolled a sekrit shaman for when I do not feel like dealing with specific people in the guild.  It’s totally felt like a vacation and not just for the lack of interpersonal garbage.  There’s no pressure to gear up, run heroics, nothing like that… it’s just me running around with a big stick and smacking peons.  I miss that carefree phase of the game.

And Then There Was Balance

This is all part of the natural order of things, I realize. All these symptoms point firmly to burnout, down to every detail on Nick Yee’s chart.  I’m finally there.

I suppose one could say that a bit of the depression I’m feeling is remorse for time ill-spent, slack-jawed at my computer screen while my husband and cats try to get my attention.  I’m sure that’s part of it, though I’m sure if I hadn’t been playing WoW, I’d have been sitting slack-jawed elsewhere, not using my time any more wisely.  I’m not, by nature, an extraordinarily productive person. 🙂

Unless Cataclysm hits by beginning of summer (fat chance), I can’t see how I’ll last much longer than that unless something miraculous happens or I make some major changes in how I play.  There is just not that much left to do and if it’s not fun, why do it?

The good part of burnout is that I do feel like some balance has been restored in my life.  I don’t feel the compulsion to log into WoW every spare moment.  I have still play several hours per week, but I have gone back to playing other games on the side.  (I had a long Civ IV session yesterday — it was so awesome!)  My husband and I have started watching movies again, plus a couple of tv series on DVD.  I have finally gotten around to cleaning out our office closet and have some other similar projects on the horizon.  So, it’s not all bad.  This is more similar to what “normal” people, even normal MMO players do, I suspect.

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Random Dungeon Slot Machine

I finally had a chance to play around with the new Random Dungeon feature in WoW…

The Good

As a healer, I get into random groups immediately.  Like, within seconds.  I first tried the new system out on Wednesday night.  I was planning to do some old world quests while waiting (tinkering with achievement stuff) and didn’t even make it to the Orgrimmar portal in Dalaran before being summoned for my first healing assignment.  Wow.

A moment later, my group and I were assembled inside the instance, which was … Not Oculus!  Yay!  😉  It was Nexus.  Easy peasy.  We blew through the place.  We greeded and disenchanted our way through most of the greens and blues, and the shaman got the healing mace for his offspec from Keristraza at the end.

The run was very business-like, too.  I was afraid that the random dungeons would be to pugs what battlegrounds are to Wintergrasp.  With no reputation to worry about, people were going to be the worst kinds of jerkfaces to one another.  Not so in any of the runs I’ve been on so far.  We had one tank tantrum (which I’ll talk about in the next section), but other than that people have been … professional?  Sounds weird, but I think that’s the right word.  Quite a surprise.

And as soon as one random dungeon run ends, I’ve noticed it’s very difficult to not queue for another immediately.  This new feature has eliminated much of what makes pugging so maddening:  the waiting.  You have to wait to get the appropriate roles filled, then you have to wait for people to finish doing whatever they were doing, then you have to wait for them to go back and repair because they forgot, or wait because their friend who needs help with Chillmaw just logged in, etc, etc.  Now, if you want to run a dungeon, there’s more immediate gratification.  That plus the unknown of what dungeon you might get gives it a sort of slot machine quality.  If I know I’m going to be online for at least 30 minutes, it’s hard for me not to queue up.

The Bad

I’ve noticed a trend with the tanks in these random dungeons.  They are ALL chainpulling.  While this can make it fun and interesting in many cases, it can also get the group into trouble.  The first random pug I ran with had an excellent bear tank.  He always stopped before bosses and if he ever noticed me at half mana, he asked if I wanted to stop and drink.  Most of the time the answer was “no,” but there were a few times were I was pretty low before a boss pull, so I’d mana up at least halfway.

In the next pug, however, the tank was not paying attention to the rest of the group at all and it did cause issues. We were in heroic Drak’tharon run and we had just finished killing King Drek.  People were milling around the body, looting, etc.  I stayed with the group and sat down to regen my mana.  Then I noticed the tank on my grid bar, out of range, with his health dropping rapidly. He had run up the stairs and started killing things by himself.

“Maybe you should have waited for us,” said the rogue, as the tank’s health dropped to zero.  The mobs started running down the stairs after us.  The rest of us were far enough ahead that we could likely get to the entrance, so we ran.  The tank asked why we hadn’t followed, and we said that we were waiting for the looting to finish, folks were getting mana back, etc.  “All of you?” he said.

“Everyone else was down here except you,” said the hunter.

We ran to the entrance.  I was the first one out the front door and as I stepped through, I honestly wasn’t sure where I’d end up.  Turns out I appeared in Dalaran on my home server … Oops.  I told the group where I was.  “It’s okay,” said the rogue.  “Just click on the eye to port back.”  I looked around for an eye.  Thanks to my addon which hides most of the buttons on my minimap, I didn’t see it right away.  In the moments before I found it, the tank quit the group.

After a brief discussion of the tank’s departure (turns out he was a member of the notorious Goon Squad, by the way), we decided to pick up another tank for the remainder of the instance.  Two folks turned it down (since it was a partial dungeon run at this point), but the third person offered the spot took it and helped finish it off.

Anyway, I have a feeling he won’t be the last tank to do something like that and get himself (or all of us) killed.  Another of the random dungeons I got was Utgarde Keep (if this is a slot machine, I think that might be the jackpot of easiness) and the tank decided to pull the entire group of protodrakes at once.  I’m a well-geared healer, but  I don’t think he was geared as well as he thought he was.  He was unable to hold aggro on all of the mobs so there was tons of party damage.  I managed to keep everyone alive except the boomkin. After being rezzed, the boomkin said, “lol fun,” so I guess he wasn’t too bothered.  I’m just not looking forward to the day I get blamed for crap like that.  I know it will happen.

Overall, I think this is a great addition to the game and could be quite good for our guild.  I worry a little about it being too easy to find a random group (it’s now faster to put together a random group than a guild one), but in the long run, it probably won’t change our guild culture much.  Folks do like running things together, and we do still have a subset of non-puggers who will always prefer the guild.

Beyond that, those hungry to run dungeons all the time will be able to find groups to do so, while the folks in the guild that aren’t in the mood to farm badges can do whatever they want and not feel guilty.  Folks may feel more inclined to gear up their alts, knowing they won’t always be depended upon in a particular role.  There are a few achievements and a pet that I’m looking forward to picking up from running the dungeons, as well…

And speaking of… it’s just after 5.  I wonder how many random dungeons I can get in before the raid tonight… 😉

Do you hate Oculus?

I do. I absolutely loathe the place.  I’ll run any other heroic any time, but Oculus is the one that you have to twist my arm for.  “It’s not hard,” my guildmate who doesn’t mind the place keeps telling me. Yes, I know it’s not hard.  I know how to do the encounters and am capable of executing them.  I just don’t enjoy them.  Like,  not at all.

This hatred was born in pick-up groups back in the months after Wrath was released.  It seemed everyone’s cluelessness was amplified to unbearable degrees in Oculus.  It was mainly in the “fly around and stay together” part.  There was always someone who got lost or fell behind and then pulled additional mobs and wiped the group.  Wipe recovery meant navigating back to our previous spot through three dimensions (evidently rather confounding for some).  Worse, sometimes people would lose their drake-summoning thing and have to go back to get another one, meaning they’d have to navigate through all the skipped mobs yet again (sometimes just to die again immediately).

Once, we got so tired of a person losing their drake repeatedly that we instead had the warlock in the group summon them whenever we landed on a platform.  So, you know the boss that ports himself from platform to platform?  Yeah, we summoned this player in between the fight on each platform.  I’m sure you’re wondering how we even got the final boss down.  It ended up being a non-issue, as we didn’t get Mr. Portalpants down before two people had to leave for dinner.

I have run Oculus with my guild and we don’t have such problems, obviously.  We’re usually in vent, too, while we run heroics, so that makes it even easier to communicate and stay together.  Even so, I have had such rotten experiences there in the past, I do not have fun in there even when going in with my very competent guildies.

So, I hate to say it, but Blizz’s “fix” in the 3.3 patch, which nerfs Oculus in and attempt to make it more appealing, isn’t going to make the place any less painful for me.  It really was not the difficulty level, it was the design.  Plus, my hatred of the place has now grown to such unreasonable proportions, I think the only way to repair it would be to blow the place up and fully redesign it. (I know that’s not really an option.)

I know I’m not the only one that hates the place.  I don’t know anyone that loves it, but those that feel neutral about it seem to have some other place in WoW that they can’t stand.  Uldaman, Magister’s Terrace, Gnomeregan, and Wailling Caverns come up a lot in these discussions.  All the complaining about Oculus seems to have caught Blizz’s attention, however. I suppose their changes to it might reduce the incidence of folks running against the wall and alt-F4’ing out of their LFG groups. (Might.)

sapping my way to seventy

My rogue hit level 60, putting her at the bottom of the battleground bracket food chain once again.  I suspected she would be relatively useless in a one-on-one situation against, say, a level 68 rogue, so I decided to stick with Alterac Valley until I gained a few levels.

So, this past Sunday (after deciding to put off working on my novel), I cleared my bags, queued for Alterac Valley, and went mining.  (In between BG’s, I am mining and leveling engineering.  I want rocket boots!). I noticed that I was about 7000 xp points into level 60, for which I need 290K xp total.  Within a few minutes, the battleground popped and off I went.

After a victory for the Horde, it was back to mining and chatting with my guildmates.  One of them asked how the battleground leveling experiment was going and I said, “great!” and glanced up at my xp bar.  It was at 96,866 xp.  😮

Really? 90K for one battleground?  Wait… had I run a partial BG in there, too?  Or did I see that starting number wrong?  (I listen to podcasts while I run BG’s, too, so sometimes I’m only half paying attention.)  I jotted down the number and queued again.  Here’s how the afternoon broke down once I started keeping track:

Starting:  96,866 xp

After AV#2: 123,384 (26,518 gained)

After AV#3: 190,360 (66,976 gained)

After AV#4: 256,862 (66,502 gained)

After AV#5: 289, 757 (32,895 gained)

Of these, AV#2 and #5 were partial battlegrounds where I was probably replacing folks that had been afk or dropped part of the way through.  The Horde won all of them (woo!).  That’s pretty good xp for 15-25 minutes worth of play.

I wondered if there might be diminishing returns as I level more, but according to wowwiki, it should continue to be rewarding, because boss kills and tower cap rewards are based on a percentage of the xp required to level.  My numbers don’t quite mesh with theirs, given that I clearly got more than 20% of a level for a single AV win (twice!).  In any case, it looks like running battlegrounds (particularly AV) is a viable way to level.

And, it’s fun.  One of my guildmates teased me a bit about how I was spending my time (like, how could running BG”s over and over possibly be interesting), but I am loving it right now.  Each battle presents a new challenge against new opponents that may or may not do what we expect.  Sure, my teammates are sometimes obnoxious, whiny, and insufferable, but I either tune them out, zing right back, or take my frustrations out on the opponent.  If it gets too annoying, I just take a break and work on crafting for a while.  I much prefer all this to doing the Hellfire Peninsula quests again.

I don’t get mad, I get stabby.

When we put together a static group with my sister and her husband, I decided to try my hand at playing a rogue.   I confess — for a long time I didn’t enjoy playing her.  She wasn’t remotely competitive with the mage and shaman on the dps meters, since she was limited to single targets, and often mobs were dead before I got close enough to hit them, so I spent a lot of time frustrated.  As she got into her 40’s and 50’s, it started to get much better.  Her spec matured and I figured out how to deal with her limitations (and mine, as a new melee player).  I even started topping the meters on some of the single target fights.  (Not that I have to be at the top; I just want to be competitive.)

We recently hit level 57, having slogged through BRD and the first wing of Dire Maul.  My husband, who has been tanking for us, tossed out the idea of folks swapping in different characters before we moved on to Outland.  It would be perfect timing, for example, if someone wanted to bring in a death knight.  They’d hardly need to level — just do the DK starting area and go.  It does sort of fly in the face of the “let’s start at level 10 and push to 80 together” idea that we started with, but he wanted a break from tanking.  Since I wasn’t completely in love with my rogue, I decided to give death knight tanking a try.  (I’ll save those omgnoobtank stories for another day though. 😉 )

Since my rogue was now free to play on her own, I decided I might try my hand at some pvp and level her in the battlegrounds.  I spent some time at shadowpanther.net looking at gear and specs and then sent my priest to the heirloom vendors to pick up some goodies for her.  Six heirloom purchases later (shoulders, chest, two melee weapons, a gun, and a trinket), my rogue was ready to hit the battlegrounds for the very first time.

I queued for Warsong Gulch first since it was the daily.  It popped almost immediately and I zoned into the base for a fresh match.  Scanning the list of horde players, it didn’t seem we had many healers, which worried me.  (This is why I like healing BG’s, generally.  Few people seem to be willing to do it and it can make a huge difference.) I surveyed my cast bar a final time to make sure I knew where vanish and sprint were.  The gates opened and off we went.

I won’t do a play by play of the whole match, but there were some great moments for me. I loved sneaking around, incapacitating the enemy’s healers, and sapping people when they thought they were alone and safe.  Once, I came upon a scene midfield where there was an Alliance DK and his druid healer descending upon on one of our guys (can’t remember what class).  I dismounted and stealthed up behind the DK and sapped him before he entered combat.  I then helped my teammate dispose of the druid and then we destroyed the DK together.  Ahh… it was lovely.

On one of the flag runs, I was the lone player guarding our flag carrier. He and I ran to the top of our base and I stealthed around, waiting for attackers.  I killed a rather persistent warlock a few times, but the best kill was the paladin.  As he approached our flag carrier, I sneaked up behind him, cheap-shotted him and then bludgeoned him with hemorrhage and eviscerate so speedily that he didn’t have time to heal, bubble, or anything.  The flag carrier said, “wow good rogue.”  Bwahaha…we won that BG 3-0.

This really whetted my appetite for pvp, though of course all the BG matches haven’t gone this smoothly.  There was a WSG where an Alliance DK had something like 8000 hit points and was basically untouchable.  Some on our team even suggested that he was twinked.  “How much do you have to suck to twink a DK?” they said.  I saw plenty of heirloom shoulders in the base when we were buffing before the match — not like we had room to talk.  “I think he has purples,” someone else said. I looked him up and, no, he has no purples.  He has mostly starting DK gear, a couple quest items, and some engineering stuff.  Nothing too crazy.  I suppose it goes to show how powerful DK’s are out of the starting gate.  I was unfortunate enough to go toe-to-toe with him at one point and he killed me in two shots.  Ow!

I have also run few Arathi Basins and quite a few Alterac Valleys, which have been fun.  As a priest in AV, I always stayed in the thick of things.  Even if everyone abandoned before capping, I had to go, too, because I could never defend anything alone.  As a rogue, I have a few more tricks at my disposal.  I still find myself missing psychic scream, but I suppose I can’t have everything.  🙂

Anyway, she’s now 59 and feeling strong, but will soon find herself at the bottom of the bracket again.  I’m looking forward to the climb to 80.  It’s been a while since I’ve felt this way about leveling!  Probably all the extra adrenaline.

/stabby

Wowclsp: Combat Log Separation Made Easy

When I was mainly DPSing, I was great about remembering to upload our raid stats each week. I’d parse them immediately after the raid (sometimes while still in ventrilo) to see how I did.  As a healer, I often wait a day or two.  Since I look at the numbers less closely, too, I sometimes forget to click through every process in the World of Logs uploader client, so the old combatlog doesn’t get deleted.  When I record the new combat log for the next raid, it doesn’t overwrite anything — it appends the new numbers to the old file.  This means that .txt file gets very large and unwieldly.

Up until now, I’ve been manually separating, deleting, and re-saving parts of the combatlog when this happens.   I do all this text shuffling in Notepad, which you’d think would be a quick process, but it’s really not.  That program doesn’t handle files of a few  hundred megabytes very easily.  Selecting, cutting, and deleting text is a bit of an ordeal and sometimes it gives me errors.  Other times, I have to walk away from my computer for a minute to let it do its thing, because it pretty much locks everything up. (This makes me want to deal with the stats even less, causing me to put it off.)

Nibuca posted yesterday about the addon CLSaver, which automatically turns on combat log recording each time you enter dungeon when you’re part of a raid group.  Very nice, since I often miss the data from the first pull (or first wipe, hehe) when I forget to turn it on.  She also posted a link to some advice from The Stoppable Force about how to automatically archive (and split) the combat log file.  I was intrigued;  this is exactly what I need.  I skimmed over his instructions and … well, it looks helpful if you’re confident with running scripts, but it looked a bit daunting to me.  Then, a comment from AeroWow solved everything for me:   Wow Combatlog Splitter.

I tried this application this morning on a bloated combatlog file that had 4-5 raids in it and it magically split and labeled them in a matter of seconds. I then uploaded each of them to World of Logs and my work was done.  Wooow.   I think I might be in love.

So, for all you stats collectors, CLSaver + Wowclsp is a magical combination.  Try it!

The Cost of Being a Goon

A while back I heard about a video of a Wintergrasp battle in WoW that had been won within 62 seconds thanks to a clever bunch of folks that piled around the relic door and used grenades and bombs from the engineering profession to blast it down.  I looked up the video and found that it was the notorious Goon Squad that had pulled it off.  A friend in my guild mentioned that the Goons had also once kited Jaina all the way to Orgrimmar, through the city, and into Thrall’s chambers where they had a showdown.  What a fun idea!  I decided to check out their website to see what else they’d been up to.

I was immediately met with a warning that I was not a paying member, but that if I clicked “ok” I could see the payment options for the guild.  Uh, payment options?   I clicked ok and was met with a summary of what it requires to be a Goon.

If you want the privilege of running with the Goons in WoW, it will cost you an additional monthly fee payable through Paypal, credit card, or direct bank account transfer.  They have four different membership plans, each allowing you access to different levels of raiding and guild activities.  The above Jaina/Thrall event, for example, was a “Platinum Only” event.  All those people involved pay an extra $50 a month on top of their regular WoW subscription fee to participate in this kind of thing, or just $40 if the economy-inspired price break had already occurred.

Beyond the membership fees, they invite people to buy gear, too.  If you’re low on DKP but really want to bid on a raid drop, no problem — you can buy more DKP for a dollar a point.  Seems they may allow some non-members to raid with them, in which case the person must pay $5-25 (depending on gear item level) for drops, payable before the raid.  They add “We do not accept gold as a USD substitute.”  How is this not against the Terms of Use, which says “you may not sell in-game items or currency for “real” money, or exchange those items or currency for value outside of the Game”?

For all this, the Goons must bring in an impressive amount of money, too.  They say these fees go toward paying full time guild employees, including the GM, raid leaders, and a sys admin to keep the forums and vent servers going.  They boast 1800 accounts, so even if these were all just $10/month accounts with no frills, that’s $18,000 per month that they pull in.  That’s the minimum.  You saw how many $40-50 accounts were running around in those videos, so it has to be quite a bit more. I’m sure some folks also buy DKP and gear, so I can’t help but wonder what they rake in.  And do they report it and pay taxes on it?

There are guilds of similar (or larger) size out there that seem to function perfectly fine with a GM, officers, and raid leaders, none of whom get paid by the membership.  I don’t know how many accounts Alea Iacta Est has, but with almost 5000 toons associated with the guild, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had a comparable number of accounts to the Goons.  I suppose some would argue that the in-game experience the Goons offer is rare, however. It is an exclusive club and membership can potentially change the game completely for you.  But is it worth an extra $40 per month on top of your WoW subscription?

If it were a one-time fee to help defray the cost of the website and vent servers, I could see doing that.  Even a small yearly donation would not be unreasonable.  But, supporting the GM and officers so that they can basically live off of running the guild?  Sorry, I don’t think so.  The payment of real money for gear is absolutely ridiculous, too.  Pushing the boundaries is sort of their thing though, so maybe I shouldn’t be too surprised.  Still, I’m surprised they get away with it.

==

Edit: Evidently this is just another one of the Goons’ clever games and I fell for it.  They’re pretty good, aren’t they?

<–pwned

*crickets*

Anyone still reading out there?  Heh… I know I’ve been quiet.  I’ve been playing plenty of WoW lately, raiding a couple times a week with my guild, running heroics, doing officer-y things, and have even dusted off some alts, but somehow, none of it has seemed post-worthy.

I’m having a great time, it just seems that my experiences have become rather predictable and not that much fun to write about.  I could tell you that we’ve downed Hodir, Thorim, and have taken our first crack at Mimiron.  I could mention that my husband and I have dusted off our achievement duo in hopes that we’ll get Loremaster done before the old world explodes.  All this might be interesting for me to read about in the future, maybe, as I look back on my time in the game, but it’s really not interesting to me now.  I doubt it’s interesting to any readers either.  It feels like a half-assed update.  A diary entry with no reflection.  “Today at school we had pizza for lunch and played kickball in gym.”  Bleah.

I’m starting to bore myself.  I’m lacking inspiration.  I used to find it by going out into Azeroth and pugging or questing in the noob areas.  Now, I pretty much only hang out with my guildies and in the interest of anonymity, I won’t say many specific things about them here.

I’ve also found myself skipping over a lot of WoW blogs lately in favor of more general MMO oriented blogs.  Whenever I get around to cleaning up my blogroll (mainly removing the listings of bloggers that have quit over the last six months), I have a feeling that the WoW:General ratio is going to be much closer to 1:1.  It may even be more skewed toward the general.  It’s moments like this where I wonder whether I should have chosen a less WoW-oriented title for my blog.  Heh… it’s dated even more because I wasn’t thinking ahead beyond the Burning Crusade expansion.  Oh well, it’s still me, right?

I don’t have any specific plans yet, but I’m hoping to rekindle my interest (and yours?) in the blog with more thoughtful posts that have less to do with my in-game activities and more about my thoughts on the state of WoW and possibly other games that I’ve tried recently.  Either that or you won’t hear from me for another month.  😉

Vroom!

I’ve been productive!

I’ve leveled my hunter to 80!  Once I got out of Dragonblight, it was smooth sailing. I really dislike that zone.  Despite how cool the Wrathgate cinematic is, I still hate Venomspite (and New Hearthglen) enough to make me never want to do the zone again.  Anyway, after Dragonblight, I took her to Sholazar until I felt she was high enough level for Storm Peaks, where she then did the quest line to unlock the Hodir dailies.  From there, she went to Icecrown to quest enough to pick up tabards for the Ebon Blade and Argent Crusade.  Shortly after this, she dinged 80.

I’m finally having fun with her again.  I like the wolf she’s been hunting with much better than I ever liked the raptor (who has since been released into the wild).  While I still miss the old shot rotations, I’m used to dealing with shot priorities now.  It’s not unlike being a shadow priest, in many ways.  I decided to level as survival to get a good grasp on the spec.  Yes, I pull aggro off my pet pretty often, but that gives me an excuse to use traps (something else I’ve missed).

I’m planning to gear her up for raiding so I’ll have a second raid ID to play with.  I don’t think she’ll ever be my main again — I love my priest too much.  Still, it’ll be nice to have another option, particularly as our guild grows and potentially runs a second 10-man team.

We’ve made some good progress in our raiding, too!  One of our new raid leaders decided it was finally time to take another stab at Malygos.  Honestly, we were only in there a few times before the raid leaders at the time decided it wasn’t worth our time.  We always got to phase three with no problem, but once we were on the drakes, it was nothing but lightning explosions and chaos, punctuated by repair bills.

The new person leading our Friday raids now he decided we needed to buck up, get back in there, and learn phase three.  I gotta give him credit on this — one of the reasons we didn’t progress before is that we did not persist.  While the raiders in our guild are friendly and competent, some of them very much hate to fail enough that they’ll pull us out of an encounter before we’ve really worked up a sweat trying to get past it.  “I don’t think we have the gear for this, so let’s just call it and go back to Naxx.”  Nooooo!!!

So, this time, the new raid leader was determined to not let us quit.  (He’s been frustrated, as well.)  After several wipes, our Sunday raid leader (who was not leading this particular raid) suggested that we just call it and move on to Naxx.  The evening’s raid leader said, “I think we should keep going.  We have plenty of time to work on this — this was the plan for the night.”  Yay!  We persisted.  After we got *everyone* in the raid to properly use the /follow macro after we dropped off the platform, we were led to victory.  Huzzah.  It was very exciting.

To follow with our persistence theme, we finally downed Ignis.  Again, we’d only seem him twice and had taken no more than three or four attempts either time before the raid leader pulled us out.  Thrilled by this victory, we decided to proceed to Auriaya.  We’d wiped on her trash once the week before, but this time came prepared.  We downed the trash and then downed her and her cats after we got the pull figured out.  Now, we’re working on Hodir.  It’s exciting to see us moving along at such a steady clip.