Cookies and milk with Chromie (or, keep your DK handy for those emergency situations)

Recently, I was so lucky to have two of the main guildies along with me for my random dungeon.

Even though it was a step down for them (both 80’s), they grouped up with me, and we got insta-whooshed (me being a healer) to The Culling of Stratholme.  I had my usual nervous reaction to a brand-new instance, pulse elevated, adrenalin racing, even though I had excellent guides and backup with me.

First off, I love this instance, and can hardly wait to get back, hopefully with the guildies, and spend some time wandering around after it’s cleared, to see the environment.  I also look forward to reading about it.  I love young Arthas, they made him so handsome, but also appropriately snooty; it totally makes sense that he will succumb to evil forces later on.

So, we ate our fish feast, and I did mention to our tank and the mage, who were the only ones not from our guild, that it was my first time in the instance, so if they had any suggestions, it would be appreciated.  Everyone was pretty quiet, overall.  The guildies and I were in vent, so we were chatting through things there, instead of typing much.

We made it through the first boss without too much difficulty, but on the second boss, things started to go south after a bit, and we wiped. Okay, I figured, I’ve had a few days off, it’s totally my fault, I’m rusty and a little sluggish with the heals, so we all run back and get ready for round two.  We start again, with me a little bit too far behind the tank, I was attacked by several of the walking ghouls, and in my effort to move a bit closer to the group, the tank dies, almost instantly.  I commented to my guildies that I think that if I were not being attacked by the zombies, then I might have a better chance of getting the heals out faster, and so we agree on vent that the next time, I will definitely stand with the tank.  We come back again, no one says much at all, which is really surprising (after the first wipe, I’d said “sorrrrry!” presuming it was all my fault), and we proceeded to wipe again, nearly instantly.

At this point, I was feeling like I would like to hide under the table.  I have suspected all along that I am one of the worst healers out there, and it’s just been luck getting me through the NR content as well as I have.  Well, now that we’re at the near-80 stuff, Blizzard must want to show me that I will not survive unless I really bump up my game.  I certainly have more spells I can use, such as Hand of Sacrifice.  I’ve even been able to do most regular healing without casting Avenging Wrath all of the time, so perhaps I’ve gotten lazy, and I need to be pulling out all the stops, heal-wise.  Not to mention, my timing, good grief, and why the heck haven’t I moved Divine Plea over to the right-side action bar, where everything else is for healing?

These and other self-condemning thoughts are going through my head, and I am beginning to note undertones of doubt and concern in my guildies voices…..

The tank is slow running back, and indicates that his/her kids are needing attention, so we wait and prepare to try yet again.  I am, frankly, surprised that no one has voted to kick me from the group, even my own guildies….

When the tank arrivds back, it was then and only then, after THREE FULL WIPES, that my guildie and I had the same idea of inspecting the tank.  Turns out he/she was equipped in mostly non-tank armor AND has less health than me, somewhere in the mid-12k range (I was running in the 14k range, buffed).

New strategy time.  While the designated tank is out getting repairs, it dawned on my that my DK guildie could perhaps serve as tank.  I asked, and he said sure, he could switch over into frost presence and give it a go.  While we never really cleared it in party chat with the rest of the group, we went ahead with that approach the next time through on the boss, and the instance, for the most part, was smooth after that.  I put beacon on my DK guildie, and then healed the “official” tank directly, which worked out pretty well, although that little 12k tank still was on the brink now and then.

This experience taught me so much on many levels.  First, it taught me to be aware of our tank’s armor/hp situation, prior to going into an instance.  Not to judge, but simply to be aware, and know that there might, on some occasions, need to be an alternate strategy in place for getting through the dungeon.  I especially have been helped immensely through so many, I would never want to be one of those “kick them if they’re not properly geared” types, so I would want to work with whomever it was, presuming they were reasonably articulate and friendly.  I think that it is also the beginning of my starting to need to be aware of the other classes and their capabilities, moreso than ever before.  Sure, I know, at a surface level, some of the skills, but really getting to know them will be so useful for the future, particularly as our guild potentially begins to do more difficult content together.

Second, it made me realize that I am so lucky to have a small, but really cooperative group of guildies, who are willing to step back from a situation and re-think things.  If there is any chance that we are going to see end-content, I am sure that this is a must-have sort of quality.  No one threw a fit, swore at anyone or anything. Knowing that this is how they reacted, I feel very excited to take on more challenging content with them, hopefully without anyone blowing a gasket due to stress.

Third, it really made me think hard about what spells I should be using that I wasn’t.  I have almost never used Hand of Sacrifice, and I am sure it will now become a staple of my spells.  Timing will be something I’ll need to work on, as I found that I was hitting it probably too early during the fights, but easily solved with practice.  I also have tools for mitigating threat and protecting targets which I need to work with better.  I had loaded my new set of addons earlier in the day, but hadn’t had enough time to set them up, so I will definitely be working on that, getting things keybound as much as possible, and starting to get used to that.

Last but not least, I got to sit and take this cute screenshot with Chromie after we were all done.  My guildie joined in after, and we had a fun time telling her jokes and flirting with her, enjoying the peace of the now-completed dungeon.  Getting down to her level, it felt like cookies and milk time, or storytime in preschool, and I certainly was ready for a nap, or at least a little rest, after this one.

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