Reading posts about guilds bashing their heads stubbornly against an seemingly insurmountable foe is inspiring and terrifying. Gravity tweeted about an 22 wipe night with his 10 man strict group (followed by a 16 wipe victory!), and Feist’s 25 man hard mode frustration speaks for itself.

On the complete opposite end of the progression spectrum, our guild hit a similar barrier last night in Halls of Reflection. Normal mode. On the trash waves between Falric and Marwyn. So not quite the level of epic our erstwhile twitterers have reached :-) But it was nevertheless a fun if insanely expensive and blood curdlingly annoying experience. We’d tried it a few weeks ago and failed to even get to Falric, whereas this time we downed him for the first time thanks to better tactics and clutch healing. Which led to much clenched fist “c’mons” before at all started again.

But we just couldn’t quite get past the next 5 waves. We did get to Marwyn twice, though each time with two DPS toasted so no way of finishing him off. I’d curse Blizz for not allowing our downed compatriots to bampf back in mid encounter, but I guess that would make the fight a doddle. Zomg it’s a tricky event. I’ve pugged it several times on my Rogue and zerged through thanks to OP groups, but with a slightly-undergeared slightly-undertrained strict 5 man guild like us, it’s a real challenge.

It’s enclosed, chaotic, you have to take down the mobs in order (Priest - Rogue - Casters - Melee) so I was trying to mark on the run, and PLEASE STOP HITTING THE HEALER LOOK-AT-ME LOOK-AT-ME! I struggled mightily with picking up the adds as they came in, always seeming to lose one, who inevitably one-shot our healer. The Shadow Mercenary in particular was trouble. B@stard rogues! And yet inch by inch we were progressing. We’d get one wave further each time, only for me to lose my agro seeking focus at the critical moment, or the healer getting frozen just as I got clobbered by something. It really felt like if we could just keep our healer up  - i.e. my main job beside getting wailed on - then we’d make it. Aargh!

I started to feel like a failtank even though I really thought we could do it, so we swapped in our fresh 80 Tankadin for my Warrior, hoping the improved AoE threat would help. To no avail - staying alive and doing enough DPS and holding agro and healing through it all seem to be mutually exclusive on this fight. So it was nuts. We wiped and wiped and repaired and repaired. But we kept coming back, and everyone kept wanting one last try.

We nailed Falric (who dropped nothing of any use, naturally). And though we didn’t get past Marwyn (maybe just as well given the LK phase to come!), it did give us a truckload of experience of working together to try and nut a tactic out and progress. And I got to understand better what the high end raiders are talking about when they say that endless wipes doesn’t always mean epic fail.

Addendum This is to scold myself into improving - using the Warrior toolkit and paying attention. To wit:

  • Watch my health bars - too often guilty of letting the healer do all the work, without saving myself (and their mana) when the situation gets desperate
  • Watch the healer! Dang blast it, he died a lot of times when I just wasn’t paying attention to the fact he was being fireballed or backstabbed to smithereens. If the healer dies it’s my fault, and he died a lot
  • Get my spell interrupting keys better mapped - I’m always too tardy in using them
  • Use Heroic Strike! It’s bound to my mouse button, but i still forget. Grrr.
  • While we’re at it: keep shouts up! Use Intervene/Intercept! KEEP THE HEALER ALIVE!!