My First Classic Raid

I didn't join Classic with the intent to raid. When I ended up as a social member of a casual raiding guild at launch, I figured that I might possibly get to tag along to MC at some point, but surely that would be it. In the end, even that never actually ended up happening (I don't count the one UBRS run to which I came along because well, it's UBRS), and I was eventually kicked for inactivity when I started to spend more time playing my Alliance alts on Hydraxian Waterlords. I figured that now I definitely wasn't going to raid, ever.

Cue me playing on my paladin again on Tuesday evening and watching the LFG channel. There's a certain warlock that's chattering away in there all the time - I swear they were even the first person to talk when I joined the channel for the very first time when my nelf hunter was still questing in Westfall. So it wasn't unusual that they were at it again, building a pug for Zul'Gurub this time. I'd noticed that they'd been doing that a lot recently.

I kept questing while occasionally paying attention to their LFM pitch. They're not the sort of person who just spams the same boring message over and over but rather change it up every time in an attempt to slowly soften you up. I noticed with some amusement that they were specifically asking for moonkins, ret pallies and shadow priests - the "meme specs" of Classic that aren't really considered raid viable. To me as a casual player, that sounded simultaneously extremely confident (we can take anyone and still succeed) and like they weren't taking the whole thing too seriously. They were really desperate for more dps! ZG doesn't have an attunement, right? And I didn't have any other commitments that evening, hmm...

So I logged over to my hunter and whispered them to ask if there were any gear requirements for coming along. "My policy is don't ask, don't tell", they replied. I had a brief chuckle at that and asked for an invite, hoping that surely most of the group was going to be much better geared than my hunter and could probably carry little old me.

I made my way to Stranglethorn Vale and waited at the instance entrance. Everyone else I saw, both in my group and other people that were just standing around, were indeed a lot better geared than me. However, I noted with some relief that there didn't seem to be an overabundance of buffs - some characters had the dragonslayer buff after just having come from Stormwind, but that was pretty much it. For how easy raiding in Classic is supposed to be, I know that some people are pretty hardcore about collecting world buffs to prepare for raids in a way that I find somewhat intimidating.

Nonetheless, I was becoming acutely aware of just how little of a clue I had about what I was getting myself into. I remembered ZG's overall layout well enough from doing the 5-man version quite a few times in Cata, and I had also run the original version a couple of times in small groups when we were already over-levelled for it, but my memory was very fuzzy. At this point I should probably point out that I currently also don't have a single add-on installed, not even something like damage meters or a boss mod.

I was kind of impressed that the updated default UI allowed for people to be designated as tanks, which automatically highlighted them in the UI and showed their target-of-target for easy focus fire. While the raid leader was sorting out final questions, I opened a guide on my second monitor and gave myself a refresher of what I needed to do on each boss. It sounded more complicated than I remembered to be honest.

We hadn't even reached the first boss yet when I suffered my first death, and the first death of the raid. I had hung back a bit to skin a dead animal when someone who was even more behind ran past me and aggroed a group of trash that we had skipped. I figured it was a good idea to catch up with the rest of the group since we were in combat now, when it turned out that one of the aggroed mobs was one of those spinning axe-throwers... and I found myself stun-locked until dead.

I felt quite embarrassed by that, but fortunately for me the trash leading up to the bat boss would soon claim some other victims, so I didn't have to feel like a complete noob for dying on trash. High Priestess Jeklik herself died really quickly (or at least it felt that way to me) and I don't think I even saw half of the mechanics that had been described in the guide. I also watched one of the casters in the raid just stand still in a firebomb that had been dropped on their head until they died, which made me feel a bit better about my own performance in a petty sort of way.

On Venoxis it was my turn to die again, when I got one-shot by an ability that I didn't even remember reading about in the guide. On the plus side, it took out about five other people as well, so again, it wasn't just me who was messing up.

The next four bosses were all pretty uneventful. I got yelled at on Mandokir because my pet was attacking the wrong target (again, they were doing it differently from what I had read in the guide!), at which point I apologised to the raid leader in whispers and admitted to how green I was. Interestingly, they started giving brief explanations for each boss after that - before then, not a single word had been said and it was just assumed that everyone knew what to do. I also got no less than four pieces of loot: a blue axe and a blue pair of boots that nobody else wanted, a purple ring which I won with a lucky roll, and one of those bracer tokens, again because nobody else wanted it - I can't even use that one yet because you need to be at least friendly with the Zandalari to be able to hand it in I think.

We had one full wipe, which was on the trash leading up to Jin'do. It was kind of funny because one of the tanks said that he needed to be AFK for a minute, but we pulled a group anyway... and apparently accidentally managed to aggro a patrol at the same time, so it was mobs everywhere and eventually we died. People in raid chat went "death" when the first characters started dropping and then "mega death" when it became clear that it was a wipe. When the tank came back while we were corpse-running he commented: "I was only away for two minutes!"

On Hakkar things went awry once as well, but it wasn't a full wipe as those of us still alive just jumped off and reset the fight. The next try we killed him just fine. In general I noted that all the bosses seemed to die extremely quickly compared to my expectations - I guess everyone just does that much more dps these days.

I finished the run by winning the roll for the Heart of Hakkar, which gives you a nice trinket when you hand it in, but it also triggers a world buff so I felt compelled to seek out the co-ordination Discord for my server so I could let people know when to be in STV if they wanted the buff as well. I picked a time in the evening since that's when all the raiders are usually looking for buffs and didn't expect much when I logged in at the designated time two days later, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the island absolutely packed. For all I know it could have just been a coincidence, but it sure made me feel important.

I also wrote a brief message to the raid leader at the end to thank them for letting me come along - I just felt that grateful. Now I kind of want to go again some time - how else am I going to reach friendly reputation to be able to hand in those bracers?

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! I'm so happy for you, Shin!

    I suspect that because so many people are overgeared for Z'G these days that you don't get as much of a chance to see boss mechanics as you would have about 3-4 months ago. Timely placed interrupts help with the bat boss and the tiger boss as well.

    And don't worry about dying to trash, especially the way you did. No dishonor in being the one they focused on after the other player aggroed the pack.

    I'd suggest a few runs in Z'G to help build up your gear set, especially if you don't have many T0 pieces, and then start looking for MC or Ony pugs. Personally I prefer MC because it's far more organized than Ony typically is. Oh, and in a tip of the hat to your discovery on the guides, every group does Z'G or MC differently, so I'd not worry about that.

    Oh, one piece of advice I discovered last night: if you go to UBRS with a group looking to down the summoned boss for the T0.5 gear quest, be warned that boss is far more like a true raid boss than anything else in UBRS. You have to have at least 3 healers in your group to have a shot, as when we were working with 2 they kept running out of mana in Phase 3.