I’ve been meaning to write a few posts since the weekend – and I realize it’s only Tuesday and this isn’t terribly old news or anything like that – but I haven’t been able to separate the two topics from each other in my head. So rather than delay writing until I figured out how I wanted to try to split the things up, you all get a longish post that will be half real life and half HURRAH! I RAIDED!
We’ll start with real life because it happened first and because it affected the raiding bit.
Photo credit for this one to my brother-in-law
I’ve been planning since, uh, last year to go camping at Capitol Reef National Park. I know I’ve mentioned the place a few times here and there, largely in my I’m-stuck-in-the-Midwest-and-I-hate-my-life-here-and-I-just-want-to-go-home posts. Anyone who has been around for a while knows that I’ve been back in Utah for nearly two years now.
But it wasn’t until last Thursday when I arrived in the glorious red rock country of southern Utah that I really felt whole again.
This one, too. Or maybe my sister. The rest are mine, okay.
Growing up in a large family as I did (7 kids total), our family vacations tended to be camping trips. We went to a lot of great places, but the only place we went every year was to Capitol Reef. Some of my earliest memories are of frolics through the apple orchards and of hiking the desert trails. As I got older, I came to appreciate the juxtaposition of those two things. And my last memories of that place before this weekend were of sharing my own slice of heaven on earth with At. That happened before we were even engaged so the last time I was there was a bit over a decade ago.
I was blindingly happy to be there. I can’t help but believe that words would completely fail me in trying to describe that sense of wholeness and homecoming, so I won’t even try. Suffice to say that it’s the most important trip I’ve made in a long time.
The beauty of the place took my breath away all over again. Although there had been a small part of me that hadn’t wanted to go because RAAAAIIIIIDS, it took only one look at those sheer red cliffs and achingly blue skies for me to know that even if I missed a month’s worth of raids for a few minutes of looking at the scenery that defined my childhood, it would all be worth it.
WoW was both the furthest thing from my mind and the closest as we hiked along the Cohab trail (so named for the early Mormon settlers who would occasionally flee from Fruita [now a ghost town] to the canyon to avoid the federal officers who pursued them for their polygamist beliefs. A lot of people fled to and through these canyons, actually, including Butch Cassidy [and his gang] for whom Cassidy Arch is named.). It was close because I’ve always seen echos of red rock country in certain zones in WoW but I couldn’t regret being amongst the sere beauty of the real thing rather than working towards raid readiness in the artificial setting.
Dead tree with Pectol's Pyramid in background
But that brings me to a point about raiding and raid readiness. Namely, that when Sunday rolled around and I was back home and able to be online for the first scheduled raid, I wasn’t at all ready. Half in greens with a spattering of heroic blues, I had made an honest effort to do everything I could in the little amount of time I had since hitting 90 to get geared and ready. But I was a far cry from being even close to prepared.
They took me anyway, largely because it was supposed that I would be less annoying than a pug. Here’s hoping that was true.
I was certainly in a state of panic as the raid group formed and assembled, and tweeted nervously that I was pretty sure I was going to throw up. What, I have no idea, as I was too on edge to even eat. The last time I had “raided” with this guild, they had carried me through heroic Firelands and so I had a pretty good idea of how skilled they are. But this time there would be a greater expectation for me to at least pull my own weight.
Once we got started, I was able to settle down a bit. There was an air of excitement among the rest of the raid group, but restrained. They were there to learn and master the fights as much as I was. Although I was lagging behind on most fights on the meters, I at least felt that I was finally on a more equal footing.
We got through trash with ease and then took a few minutes to talk about the Stone Guards in Mogu’shan Vaults. I was beyond relieved to not have to be the one trying to call that mess… or tank it. Or heal it. Look, my job as dps was relatively simple, okay. Don’t stand in bad things and if you get chained to a buddy, stick near them, especially if they are melee dps or a healer and have better things to worry about than sticking near to a more flexible ranged dps.
There were several wipes, including one where we hit the enrage timer, but ultimately we were able to get through the fight and move on to the next boss. We were less successful there, but made good progress into the second phase before ending for the night.
For me, my takeaway was fairly personal and possibly overly optimistic. But I didn’t feel terribly out of my depth with this raid team in terms of being able to pick up on mechanics and start to utilize my magey bag of tricks in response to recurring issues. It remains to be seen whether I can keep up in terms of dps output once my gear is actually up to par (and believe me, I am hitting those Golden Lotus dailies as hard as I can and striving to reach the weekly VP cap), but at least I wasn’t in there dying to stupid shit and failing to grasp how each mechanic affected me. There’s lot of room for improvement, of course, and I still need to take a detailed look at the log, but overall I’m excited to be raiding again and really looking forward to getting in there with better gear and a little knowledge of the fights.
Which brings me to one last observation and then I’ll just wander away from this mess of a post. I’ve read a few posts/tweets here and there about how little people like the dailies grind. Welp, I can understand the sentiment, but I have to say that I love it. I get that this is specific to my situation, but dailies are something I can actually do while at work in between my little bursts of actually working. I like that I can tackle them at my own pace and get interrupted to make some asshole a special pot of coffee and not have the interruption get me kicked out of a group or any further from meeting my daily goals.
And with that being said, I need to go make some coffee and then wrap up my Golden Lotus dailies.
If you’ve raided, how was your first experience?