Cross Fingers and Pull…

Last week, I was side-lined for Kara. We have a couple of extra players for our main Kara team, to cover for absences, but if everybody shows up, there just isn’t room. I offered our second team my services (they’re struggling through earlier bosses), but DPS was their main problem, not healing.

So I was looking for some raid action for the week anyway, and out of the blue, some guy I healed a run for weeks (or maybe even months) ago whispers me, asking if I’m still resto. It turns out their guild team is still working on downing Attumen, and they were chasing some extra heals. I was a bit worried about getting saved to another guild’s run in case FFJ needed me later in the week, but I went along anyway.

I accept the invite, and Grid shows up 11 people. Okay, that’s fine, I figure someone is sitting out for a bit, or something. No biggie, we do that sometimes too. I run into Karazhan, and moments later someone says in /ra: “It won’t let me in.” I look at grid: 10 people in range. 10 people in the instance, one trying to get in. I patiently explained in /ra that Kara only allows 10 people in, and offered to bail if they wanted all 10 except me. I was instantly kicked from the raid, no thanks or anything, and about 30 seconds later got a whisper saying something like “Sorry, we’d like to let you run with us but have to prioritise guild members.”

Whatever. I don’t care, I was asked to come help out, I was only there as a favor anyway. Fine.

About ten minutes later, I get a whisper asking if I’ll come back, because the guy who was trying to get in still can’t. Against all wisdom, I agree, take the summon, and once again find myself inside Kara with a strange guild. I look around to see our CC. One hunter. Hmmm. I ask in /ra about our CC. “Oh, we have 3 rogues, a hunter, and a mage.” No priests. No paladins. One CC, an inexperienced, under-geared group. So I look for an off-tank. Rogues, mages, … rogues… Two classes who can tank. One guy, naturally, is their MT, the other is a fury warrior. So we have 1 CC and one mediocre OT.

Most of the trash went down okay, right up until we got to the 5-pull just before Attumen. They mark up one DPS target and the trap target, and pull. Three unassigned mobs, and as expected, about 3 seconds in they all come straight for me. Main healer down, backup healer down, wipe. I piped up once again, asking what they were doing with the unassigned mobs, and if maybe we could set up some off-tanking or something.

And suddenly I see “You are now the raid leader.”

They promoted me to leader. Not even assistant. A second later, the old leader says in /ra “You seem to have more experience than me, can you lead the raid?”

So I’ve gone from “Sorry, we have to prioritise guildies on the run” to raid leader in about 15 minutes.

Anyway, we never did make it to Attumen, so all my anxiety over getting myself saved to another guild’s instance was for nothing. What I DID do, is manage to get completely off-topic for this post, and I promise you, I’ve finally landed where I meant to. Unassigned mobs, and the “Cross Fingers and Pull” mentality.

Now, I should have suspected any guild who is just starting to try Attumen right after 2.4 of being a bunch of fresh 70s who aren’t keyed and can suddenly get into a raid instance. I didn’t, but in hindsight that’s exactly what they were. A guild who’d managed to get 10 level 70s together, were probably still trying to down Vorpil to get their first key frags, and suddenly found out they didn’t need to get keyed. A group full of not only under-geared toons, but inexperienced players. People who’ve possibly never suffered through shadow labs (at least not successfully). People who, for all I can tell, have never even stepped inside a level 70 instance. People who needed ME to explain to their KARA RAID GROUP what a threat meter was.

Off-topic again. Damn. Okay, let’s re-group. As a healer, I get this nasty AoE-style threat whenever I heal. Us players in the know refer to it as “healing threat”. When I cast a heal, the threat gets spread out among every single mob I’m in combat with. What this means is that if there are loose mobs running about with nobody generating other threat against them, I will quickly become their main aggro target. This is why “Cross fingers and pull” doesn’t work. When you just CFaP (as I’m calling it, because I’m sick of typing it out), this is exactly what will happen. Your healers get a heal off, your loose mobs run up and gank them, and you wipe.

So what’s the right way to do it? Basically, you have to assign somebody to EVERY MOB in the pull. Every mob must be either tanked, CCed, or kited. End of story. If you fail to deal with even one mob, your healer will get ganked, and you WILL wipe.

So, back to my crappy Kara group. Given 1 CC, 1 MT, and one OT, how do you manage a pull of 5 elites? Honestly, in this case, I’m not sure. The group only had one more shot in them, and they weren’t listening too carefully anyway. I assigned our MT (a warrior) to grab two mobs and switch between them. Our OT was to grab one, with careful healer attention, and that was the main burn target. Our trusty hunter was to trap one, and kite one back towards the entrance. Tricky, and demanding, but the only way I could see it working. Kill two was the kite, and hopefully the hunter could then re-trap in time to let us down the two MT targets next, leaving the trap until last. What actually happened was the hunter didn’t run fast enough and got ganked, a mage pulled aggro straight off our OT a few seconds in, and the second mob the MT was meant to be hitting on came for me about five seconds in. Wipe, bail, end of run. Which suited me just fine, because about five minutes after one of our officers asked if I could jump into Kara, because one of our healers never showed.

We downed everything but Shade, Prince, and Nightbane within about four hours, and came back the next night to 2-shot Shade and 1-shot Prince and Nightbane. We dubbed that group the “Dream Team”, and I thanked GOD that my first ever attempt at leading a raid hadn’t resulted in a single boss down.

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