A couple of posts back I wrote about a triumphant tanking experience in Zul’Farrak. All was looking good for Bravetank. Then she dyed her hair & bought a ram and got lost in Redridge & I started to have some niggling little fears. Had she been poisoned by the hair dye? But it had gone well in Zul’Farrak so I was relatively optimistic going in for a second time. I refuse to go in the two other dungeons available to me right now – one of the Blackrock Depths and one of the Stratholmes – had bad enough experiences in them as DPS – the thought of tanking them makes me get the vapors (plus I did try & tank one of the early Stratholmes once – the experience is captured in one of my earlier blog posts – it was so bad I can’t even bring myself to link).
So until Anadin my husband healer gets to the point where he can accompany me into Sunken Temple I am going to keep doing Zul’Farrak. Or at least that was the plan until I went in again, heady with my first time success (beginner’s luck I now think it’s called).
We went in – always a good start. Said the usual hellos. I think had one response so it was looking good. Actually I should say now this isn’t a bad group story. This is a bad tank story- a very bad Bravetank story. Sometimes you just have to put your hands up and come clean.
Anyway I patiently waited for everyone to collect their quests – including husband who for some reason had missed two the first time round. Don’t know how – they were standing right there. He was probably trying to get in the healing zone or something – which basically involves limbering up his fingers so he can mash as many keys at once as possible.
We started. I pulled the first group of mobs on the left (don’t worry- this blog post will not go through this run pull for pull- but it’s just important for that little thread of self-esteem I still have that you know that early on – for about 5 minutes – I was almost quite good really). We took them out and it was fine. The group was letting me pull, husband was keeping me alive (actually in fact since my recent glyph spending spree – funded by the very very generous guildee Jacqlyn – I kill the mobs so quickly he says I’m a doddle to heal). So it was going swimmingly. Until I got cocky.
We came to the first boss Theka the Martyr. Took him out no problem. He wants to be a martyr so be it. I really do love Tidy Plates by the way & it was definitely helping me attack the right thing at this point (ie the enemy not a nearby tree). I looked at the map & for some reason thought that Theka was the first proper boss on the map but of course he wasn’t – the proper one is the one in the cave. So I started going left – missing the cave – and someone in the group gently said – “There’s a boss up here.” For once I was confident and certain I was right (always a bad move on my part) and I kept going left. The rest kept going right. My husband stood somewhere in the middle saying to me somewhat anxiously, “They’re all going the other way.” “But I’m right,” I insisted (wrongly). But in fairness I’m not that bad a person – I could hear they were in trouble (distant clangs in game and very near obscenities from husband) so I started to run back, but I got caught up in a fight myself- just one mob, no trouble for a multiskilling pally like me (as long as one of those skills isn’t map reading of course). Anyway as I was fighting so I was looking at their names on the left – all their health bars were quickly diminishing. One by one they died – including husband. I felt dreadful as I was totally responsible. I’d deserted my team. I finished up my fight & ran back and did my penance by dutifully ressing them. One by one. One of the dps immediately left- couldn’t blame him/her. The others were great though. No criticism or rebuke. Even my husband did not say a word of blame – the look of disappointment he gave me over his shoulder was quite enough. “There’s a boss up here,” said one of the dps, again. This time, like a meek little lamb, I said nothing and just rode in that direction. I saw the cave and remembered it all (like Guy Pearce in Memento) and immediately started internally berating myself (and scrawling on myself reminders such as “Remember the cave” and “Turn the map the other way round.”) This caused me to mistime two pulls and barely survive the boss. “Pull yourself together Shell,” I said to myself, “We all make mistakes.” But my confidence was badly knocked indeed.
On we went down to the bit with the graves you mustn’t click on. That bit was ok & I was beginning to calm down again. But we had a new dps by then. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence he was a hunter who kept on pulling. I mean nothing against the hunter class by pointing this out- but there you have it- that was the situation – a hunter that kept on pulling. There are good reasons why these become sterotypes. I started getting stroppy behind the keyboard but then remembered where my last moment of arrogance had led so typed instead a pleasant little request to everyone, “Please would you let me pull. It’s easier on the healer.” (See – put the blame on the healer always – number 7 in my Tanking Road to Success book.) Anyway the group was again lovely & agreed and it was all sweetness and roses as we approached the pyramid steps.
Oh how I used to dread them. Then when I first tanked I did it easy (or the healer did it easy -not sure which of us should take credit for this, and the dps might also have something to say), so I was confident. Again big mistake. I must never ever be confident in a dungeon again. I perform better when I’m a gibbering wreck.
The mobs started running up the stairs & crazily I ran down nearly all the way to meet them. I know it had gone well the last time but this enthusiasm to see them again was completely overboard. I then did some wild AoEs (just hitting anything on my action bar really) and next thing you know my health has nearly gone, husband is in a right tizzy trying to keep me alive, my ability to focus and hit have gone in the panic & so basically Bravetank is just madly running around in circles like a tank having a total breakdown. I think I saved myself with Blessing of Protection (I know I know – bad bad tank but self preservation kicked in – it’s in all our DNA – even WoW DNA), and alot of self healing. By now one dps was dead- yes another death on my conscience. But the rest of us got through it. The last mob was still on his dying breath and I was already typing my apologies, “I am so so sorry That was totally my fault.” It was the only way I thought. I played a shocker there. But amazingly the hunter replied, “No it was my fault I thought you’d pulled.” So we were all sweetly taking responsibility (I’m Spartacus, no I’m Spartacus etc.) and it was very heart warming (even though I knew it was all really my fault).
We did the rest of the mobs at the bottom quite quickly – although I was still having difficulty focusing even when there was only one mob in front of me! Basically I’d changed my F key to attack I think and not focus & it was really throwing me. It was all now feeling very shambolic & messy – the very thing I hate.
We then rode off to get those other 2 mobs (I know- my detail about this dungeon is impressive – I should write a contribution for WoW wiki) and then finally we were at the one with the tiara and Gahzrilla. I tried to do this right- clean up the area a bit first before hitting the gong, but in my attempt to be cool and hit and run and pull a big group together I mistimed everything & left about 4 different fights behind me so had to run back round & mop everyone up. By now I was feeling like the messiest tank ever. We did Gahzrilla fine (I have no problems on the bosses where I basically just have to stand and fight – it’s anything that requires any movement skill (or skill of any type) that seems to have me totally flummoxed! Anyway dungeon over I thanked everyone profusely, told them they were a lovely group & apologised for the messiness of some (some!!!) of the pulls. One of the dps responded to say it was a good run so a little spark of hope flickered in my heart. Then I looked more closely at my screen – 2 of the other dps and the healer (who as you’re aware I vaguely know…) were in some random part of the last area fighting – still. I have no idea how that happened. Testosterone gone mad? I ran up to them & again had trouble focussing – maybe Bravetank was concussed? It’s the only explanation. Unless her long red hair was in her eyes. Eventually we killed the trash but my goodness what a shambolic end to a very shambolic run. Totally depressed by now & having run out of words apologetic enough I just said goodbye and left.
So basically the one dungeon I thought I could keep doing until we were ready for Sunken Temple I made a mess of. I know the answer is to just get in there and do it again today but when I close my eyes all I see are those bloody steps & those mobs swarming up towards me & me unable to focus on even one of them to start fighting (amazing I know- one hundred in front of me & I keep missing- absolutely incredible). So not sure what to do. Maybe she can be an incredible tank just questing? If I fight more than one mob at the same time that counts right?