Wednesday, 21 May 2008

It's about the big numbers

I've not been playing much recently, or posting at all. Real life (mainly my 5-month old daughter) has overtaken my WoW life, but I'll post a backlog of entries soon to make this diary a bit more complete. Sparse though it is a quick read back through the last few entries give me a great reminder of where I've been, and a bit of an insight into where I'm going.

Last night's Maggy + Gruul raid was frustrating to start, with 45 minutes needed to fill the raid due to lack of signups, and a few guildies arm-twisted into coming when they hadn't planned to, or to bring certain classes (warlocks mainly) that we'd have struggled without.

Maggy was straight forward - one wipe after some dodgy tanking / healing assignments, then a mostly clean kill on the second attempt.

High King Maulgar was the fun bit. I think we got the pull right on the third attempt, but the mage tank died while Olm was still being finished off, and with Krosh on about 20% it seem like a wipe was imminent. We cranked up the dps on Krosh with him 2-shotting various raid members (including myself), but an ankh had me back up and adding my lightning bolts to the effort. By the time we got onto the High King we had a couple of bear tanks left, a fair few healers and not much by way of dps. This gave me an excuse to stick to dps for the boss, and although elemental shaman damage dealing is about as dull as it gets (lightning bolt, repeat...) it's actually rather fun.

My theory is this - firstly there is more satisfaction to seeing damage numbers than healing numbers, you could argue that the whole levelling game teaches you that big white and yellow numbers are good. But also with dps you have a progress bar - your enemy's health bar. This goes down at a nice steady pace, with the occasional jump as several hits register simultaneously. By contrast with healing you're either playing whack a mole (raid healing) or watching a wildly fluctuating health bar on some tank until the fight stops. The excitement there comes from wondering, when your target's health gets worryingly low, if your or another healers heal will land before the nameplate goes red. Stress vs fun - what would you chose?

To round the evening off we killed Gruul, for a first kill for me. It took a few attempts - I think 4 - before we got him. The wipes seemed to be down to deaths by Shatter, which would diminish the raid to the point of failure. Although there's a degree of skill involved in avoiding this, it's also down to a fair bit of luck as to where people land after the knockback.

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