Tooth & Arrows: Heroic Leap

Friday, August 5, 2011

Trying to fix 85 levels of bad habits when gaming on Destylae lately is my big focus, along with my usual reputation grinds and the new Molten Front dailies (I want that Hippogryph!). I spent all of the game focusing on armor when I should’ve been stacking stats, and now at the end game level, I’m paying for it. Grinding for justice points to purchase gear I should’ve already had the equivalent of through normal leveling – but I picked up whatever gave me more armor, no matter what stat it effected… and recently I was so bad in dungeons I was doing less than 4k DPS.

But you’ve all heard me complain about that before. The point being that I’ve now gotten my iLevel up high enough that I can get into L85 Heroics, though PlayerScore says that the difficulty for me is “light,” I have other things to say. Heroics aren’t called heroics because they’re easy – they’re called heroics because it’s more than just item level or gear – it’s skill and teamwork that gets you through them. And now, having been along on the completion of Stonecore, Vortex Pinnacle, and now The Lost City of the Tol’vir, I have to say – I’m not entirely certain I have the skill level to be running Heroics yet.

The thing is, though – sometimes I’m damn good. It’s performing consistently that I have an issue with. If I eat my agility boost food, and use an agility scroll, I can pull DPS as high or higher than Nyx. But if I screw up, for even a few seconds – if I pull too much agro and have to run to the tank to avoid getting my little Draenai tail handed to me on a plate, or if I do what I did last night and accidentally pull a mob because my hand just happened to hit my “Target-FIRE” macro button while we were talking about the fight (thankfully that didn’t happen in a heroic, and it wasn’t a boss, but my point still stands) – then my DPS drops by more than half and I wind up doing so low that I spent the rest of the dungeon trying desperately to catch up to Nyx in overall DPS. Then I have the problem that my eyes are so much on the DPS meters that I forget the mechanics of the fights.

Now, last night, I actually don’t think it was specifically me that screwed up at any given time other than the ones I already mentioned – agro pulling and the one shot botch I somehow managed to do – but it still stands that… Well… The Lost City of the Tol’vir, on regular, takes a good group about 20 minutes to burn through. On Heroic, the average time to rip through a dungeon is doubled or tripled, because you can’t skip individual mobs in most places and so spend longer killing the trash on the way to the bosses. But last night – we were in Lost City for nearly 3 hours.

Given the normal ratio, it shouldn’t have taken us more than an hour at most to complete that dungeon – and that’s on the long side. We had a good group, all five of us knew what we were doing… and yet it still took 3 hours and a lot of character-shuffling on the part of our 3rd DPS as we tried to find a good fit for us. His Warrior pulled too much agro off the tank, his healing Pally was instance locked and couldn’t come help us, he wasn’t practiced healing heroics on his Priest… eventually he wound up pulling in a pinch hitter for us on the last boss, and he sat the fight out while she healed. She and I were the only two to die in that final battle, and we finally got our pattern down. But it doesn’t change the fact that it took us 3 hours to get through what should’ve been a  1 hour dungeon, and part of me wonders if it’s my skill level that’s contributing to the problem. I wasn’t really on my game last night, I admit. Not like other nights.

Last weekend, we spent the day doing random regulars. And I was on the BALL that day. My DPS was high, my focus was good, every time we ran through Halls of Origination, I easily pulled off the “jump-pull lever-run from snakes-reenter fight” sequence on the first boss – something I usually get confused by and wind up running around down in the snake pit looking for the stairs – every single time without fail. I CC’d when my Frost Trap was needed, and I didn’t miss. I kept control over Hatari (who has now been joined by Nzuri, a white Hyena who I’ll probably talk about in a later blog), and I made sure I knew where he was at all times. I timed my shots and my Kill Commands perfectly. I was a damn good Hunter that day, and my low agility didn’t even seem to matter.

But last night, I was out of it. And it translated into the real world, even, when I managed to burn the pad of my right thumb badly when picking up a hot dish, after we’d finally finished the Heroic. I was struggling to stay where I should be on the DPS charts, I ran out of agility scrolls and had to fight that much harder – I lost nearly 400 DPS when I ran out of scrolls. And now I need to make more agility food, which means I have to go fishing in Uldum along the coast for Fathom Eels. I haven’t gotten around to that, yet.

To sum up, while I’ve taken the “Heroic Leap” (an actual Warrior ability, but I thought it was an appropriate title anyway), I worry that I may have jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire. But only continuing to do it will I learn. Especially since, when I cap my engineering skill, I’m going to want those Chaos Orbs so I can make myself a better gun.

So, with more in front of me, I’m just going to keep trying. In the wise words of the Eleventh Doctor – GERONIMO!