That's what I'm afraid I've developed on my paladin. I didn't really have any issues with the Blood Prince Council while learning the fight as a healer - it was a pretty confusing encounter at first, and keeping the tanks alive was a considerable challenge initially, but there wasn't anything that I absolutely hated about it.
Then, one day, I went up against them with my pally's pretty casual ten-man group. Until then, I had never seen Prince Keleseth, aka "the caster boss", get tanked by anything other than a caster, usually a warlock. However, that night we had a warlock who really didn't want to be burdened with the job and insisted that I should be doing it instead. Supposedly the protection paladin in his main's raid group always did it and made it look really easy, so I should have no problem with it either. Rrright. Suffice to say that I failed pretty hard, and people's vague pieces of advice didn't really help either. "Just taunt the orbs!" I was told for example, but whenever I taunted them I just got an immune message and they ignored me. So much for that. I felt kind of crappy about my failure, especially as the warlock kept emphasising how easy it was supposed to be, but I wasn't the only one messing things up so it wasn't too bad. We never got the princes down that night though.
Fast forward a few months and I've joined a more progression-focused ten-man group. My little paladin gets to see a lot of new bosses for the first time, but I know the fights well enough from a healer's point of view so it's not too difficult to figure out what I have to do as a tank. Except when we get to the Blood Princes and I'm once again expected to tank Keleseth. I warn them that I had a really hard time the last time I tried, but they push me into doing it anyway. One rogue in particular keeps whispering me saying that it's a piece of cake, he does it on his druid all the time and so on and so forth. Once again I fail. The rogue's whispers become harassing enough that I eventually put him on ignore. In the end we swap roles and the warrior tank does a really amazing job at juggling the orbs while I just tank the other two dudes. Still, I feel bad for letting people down.
This week we went back in there again and I immediately started to sweat as we got to the blood wing. We only had one caster that night, a mage, and were going to try heroic mode to boot. Guess who was asked to tank Keleseth again, despite of the repeated failures? Yeah. In fairness, I think I actually did a lot better than on my previous attempts, but I still died to massive empowered shadow lances every time as I couldn't keep myself surrounded by a stable number of shadow balloons. Eventually we switched tanking assignments back around again and just did it on normal mode. Nobody ragged on me this time and the raid leader even made a point of saying that acknowledging that I wasn't good at this wasn't the same as saying "I suck", but I still felt bad about it anyway.
Tam did some musing not long ago about how sometimes when you fail very badly at a boss fight you become more and more panicked with every new attempt and eventually the sheer terror of messing up again becomes worse than any actual lack of skill. I think I'm in that place now. Part of me almost wishes myself back to the other group - they weren't as good, but that also meant that failing myself didn't make me feel nearly as terrible. When you're in a ten-man group with a bunch of twenty-five-man raiders on their mains who are tapping their feet because they want to get past the farm boss, being the noob who wipes the raid over and over because she hasn't got the hang of her role in that fight yet is particularly painful, so I don't blame them for quickly looking for alternative solutions. On the other hand I have no way of actually getting better that way, and the more often I kill the Blood Princes the more embarrassing it becomes to come back to them and have to admit that I can't handle the task people expect me to fulfil.
The thing is, after tonight's attempts tanking Keleseth as a protection paladin actually felt more doable to me than ever before, but I think I'd still need a couple more tries to actually get it right. (I remember when we were first learning the fight, the ranged orb tanks needed some time to get into the groove as well, but I'm too late to the party to be given the benefit of patience at this point.) I wish this was something you could practise outside of an actual raid!
For the record, these are the observations I have made on tanking Keleseth as a protection paladin so far:
-While he's not empowered, it's fairly easy to generate aggro at range by using Hammer of Wrath on cooldown. Once his health goes up things become more difficult however, as just standing still to whack him isn't really an option and I can only throw the occasional judgement on him. Not sure what else I could do.
-Hand of Reckoning does work on the orbs, but in a somewhat finicky manner. If an orb doesn't currently have a target and you hit it with this taunt, it will do its holy damage and get the orb's attention. If it already does have a target however, say because it was attracted to someone else's healing aggro, then it looks like it won't even do damage, and since it's immune to taunting the only thing you can do to get its attention is to actually hit it with a proper attack. Le suck.
-Just gathering up enough orbs is the part where I failed and I'm not even sure why. I'd get four or five by the time Keleseth got empowered, but as I looked around for more they'd suddenly be gone all at once and I'd die to a massive empowered shadow lance. I can't help but wonder if some of them weren't killed by accident or even pulled off me by someone else - I was repeatedly told that this never happens but I have seen it happen in the past. That said, once I had a couple of orbs on me I also found it hard to spot the newly spawned ones in the big mass of identical-looking balloons, as I couldn't really tell at a glance which ones I already had aggro on and on which I didn't, so maybe I was just too slow there.
If anyone's got any tips for this particular task (and no, "this is so easy", "how can you fail at that", "l2p noob" and the like don't count), your advice is welcome.
#Blaugust 2: Bloggers, check your comments
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