Saturday, December 1, 2007

Played Lately: World of Warcraft

  • Remember in my last post where I mentioned the lows and the highs? Last night was definitely one of the highs. I have made a habit of sitting in the Looking For Group queue for Karazhan on the off chance that some group just happens to need a mage to fill out a group. Nothing ever comes of it. Often I forget that I'm even in the queue and just watch the LFG chat channel for anything else that I might be interested in. Last night was different.

  • I was wandering around Shattrath City, getting ready to do my daily quests, when I got a whisper from someone asking if I still wanted to go to Kara. Like I might have decided I had better things to do! I told him that of course I wanted to go. I put my inventory in order, made sure I had the right gear, and made my way to Deadwind Pass. Honestly, I figured that I would be joining some pick up group, we'd beat our heads on a boss, maybe two, and I'd call it a night. At least I'd finally realize my goal of seeing the inside of Karazhan.

  • My excitement was tempered, however, because of recent events. My current guild has been rebuilding after all the raiders took off, so I thought Kara had become a distant dream. I had been tentatively invited to fill in for a guild raid, but it never came off and I had spent Tuesday and Wednesday evenings quite disappointed that things never worked out. So I went into this with a healthy dose of skepticism.

  • Lo and behold, the group I was joining was primarily filled with members of the guild Represent, which is the number two Horde guild on my server according to WoWjutsu. I was panicked. These are people who take this game seriously enough to raid regularly and have advanced quite a way through the raid progression. What was I doing here? Would they see right through my never-raided-before facade? Would I embarrass myself in front of these seasoned players and be asked to leave?

  • Thankfully they welcomed me in with very little comment, essentially assuming that I knew what I was doing there. Though I had never been inside, I had recently printed and read over all the boss strategies from WoWwiki. I at least knew what to expect from the dungeon and what was expected of me.

  • Initially, I was surprised that the entrance hall of Karazhan was empty of baddies. I'm so used to the five-man instances dropping you in the laps of the enemy. Here the entrance became a staging area, and a much needed one considering the amount of spells and potions used to get ready. Once the group was buffed up, we made our way to the stables. The first boss is Attumen the Huntsman and his horse, Midnight. He's the check for any guild that comes to Kara to determine if they really belong here. The group quickly went about clearing the ghosts and moved on to attacking the spirit mount. There isn't much about the fight. The tanks have to control the bosses as they arrive, the healers keep the tanks alive, and everyone else kills the targets as fast as possible without drawing their attention from the tanks. So of course I pulled aggro on Midnight and got killed for my trouble. The nice thing about this boss is that you can run from the graveyard and be back in the fight before it's over. So I ran back and got back to the spell casting. With little more drama, Attumen went down and I had defeated my first raid boss. I excitedly announced my progress to my loving wife who was so nice to put up with my game playing.

  • From here we went on to the main hall and, after clearing a number of ghosts, took on Moroes, the tower's steward. Even smoother than last time, I followed the assigned targets and soon Moroes joined Attumen in the ranks of the defeated. It all seemed so surreal that I was doing this, yet it seemed so ordinary too. There wasn't anything different about raiding that I could see, it was just on a larger scale. But here I was and I was enjoying myself.

  • From Moroes we moved onto the Maiden of Virtue, another straightforward battle, and then the famous Opera event. This night the event was Romulo and Julianne. In this fight, you have to defeat each boss separately, and then together within ten seconds of one another. Again I was killed, this time by Julianne, but there was no way to run from the graveyard and get back into the fight. So I watched until I could be resurrected. Finally they were brought down and I won the roll for my first raid epic gear, the Trial-Fire Trousers.

  • Already four bosses in, I was ready for the group to decide to call it a night. But the guild kept pressing on and I fought to keep up. From the Opera, we moved on the Master's Terrace and its boss, Nightbane. Here we faced our first raid wipe. It took three tries to finish the boss. By the time we made that third attempt, I finally had a hang of what I was supposed to do and it went much easier.

  • Ever on, we continued. Next was The Curator, followed by Terestian Illhoof, Shade of Aran, and Netherspite. By this time I was well beyond remembering the boss strategies I had studied. I still vaguely knew what was going on, but had to keep an eye on what the others were doing and follow their lead.

  • Finally we came to the Chess event and the final boss, Prince Malchezaar. The prince took three tries to defeat as well, but eventually he was killed. And like that, I had cleared the entire Karazhan raid.

  • In retrospect, I knew that I was being carried by superiorly geared raiders. But when I asked for an evaluation of my performance, they told me that I had not stuck out as completely useless. That was the best compliment that I could hope for. It took over four hours, but it was a great time. And by clearing the instance on my first time, I had achieved far more than I ever dreamed.

  • The only problem with all this was that I had planned on cooking dinner last night, but got so sucked in that I had to make a Del Taco run after midnight. Thank goodness for 24 hour drive-thrus!

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