Tanking

 Posted by at 12:00  No Responses »
Sep 192010
 

Somewhere in the last week or so, my tanking confidence increased considerably. Some of that comes from suddenly going from 4-4.4k GS to breaking 5k. Some of it comes from a few small UI tweaks. Some of it comes from experience. Some of it comes from just manning up and doing it more. But there was a fundamental change at one point where I went from being self-conscious for the duration of a dungeon run, to being completely unconcerned about grouping with douchebag players. At some point, I decided that if anyone was being bothersome, they’d just go on /ignore and that’d be it. If they dropped group, oh well, DPS are a dime a dozen1. If the healer dropped, meh, we’ll get another. Armed with my newfound lack of regard for jerk-ass players, tanking became way more comfortable.

Then Steve suggested I be the main tank for the weekly raid boss, Sartharion. Eek. I had tanked dungeon bosses, sure, but I knew most of those fights through-and-through from having run the dungeons so many times with Deowyn. Even then, there were surprises in store for me as a tank that I never bothered to worry about when DPSing. And now, I was being asked to group with not 4 others but 9 others and successfully lead them through much tougher content that I was far less familiar with.

I did it, though. And what’s more, we didn’t suffer a single death. And what’s more than that, our off-tank was originally DPS and switched to tanking when we couldn’t find another one. I don’t think he was even adequately geared for tanking2. So, y’know, yay for successfully tanking my first raid.

Then on Thursday, just after Wintegrasp, Steve and Cody again urge me to try tanking a raid. This time, it wouldn’t be some chintzy Tier-7 raid boss. No, this time it’d be a full Tier-10 boss: Toravon. I would again be one of two tanks, this time taking the role of off-tank while a better-geared Paladin main-tanked. Once again, we breezed through with no deaths. Granted, the 10-man VoA is much easier than the 25-man version, but all the same. Two raids, two successful runs.

Confidence: boosted.

  1. Though good DPS, mind you, are decidedly not, and I’m always grateful when good DPS are around! []
  2. Which is to say, I suspect he was not raid defense capped []
Sep 182010
 

Part of my prolonged absence from the blog here (other than the obvious excuse of being lazy), is that one of the most momentous days in my life transpired recently. Cody and I got married!

Though things were frantic as hell from Thursday 8/5 through Saturday 8/7 (the day of the wedding), the ceremony went off without a hitch and was absolutely perfect. Cody’s bridesmaids and my groomsmen processed to the opening title of Star Trek: First Contact, while Cody and her father processed to Hyperspace (which features the Binary Sunset/Force theme) from The Empire Strikes Back.

Our parents each read one of our four readings, with my mom starting with the Declaration of Principles (of the Interstellar Alliance) from Babylon 5, my dad following with a slightly edited-down version of Scalzi’s 15 Years post, Cody’s dad with Taylor Mali’s Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog, and Cody’s mom finishing with Us Two by A.A. Milne.

I wrote my vows fairly early on, which highlighted two major things: that I could never adequately express in any volume of words the depth of my love for Cody, and that the duties of a husband were not unlike those of a starship. Cody’s vows were finalized the day of, and I had no idea what they would be like until she spoke them during the ceremony. They were heartbreakingly beautiful, while still containing a wonderful amount of humor (promising to heal me when I wasn’t feeling confident in my tanking, to smile and laugh even when I repeat my latest catch phrase for the 100th time, and similar). I definitely got choked up.

We recessed to “Wander My Friends” from Battlestar Galactica and kicked off the biggest party of our lives. The food was amazing, the place was amazing, our photographer was amazing, our wedding party (and our extended wedding party — I’m looking at you, Sarah, Lisa, and Sally!), our family and friends — all amazing. Evidently, Cody and I managed to make it through our first dance without me making us look like total fools. Becky gave an adorable speech, despite laryngitis, and Nick and Jeff followed with possibly the greatest best man speech in the history of best man speeches. No, I’m not kidding. It was epic.

The party lasted until we had to shut down around 11pm or so, and then we simply relocated to the hotel to continue the festivities. Eventually, that party wound down too. The next day, many of us reconvened at Cody’s family’s cabin on Lake Monomanoc. On the way home, Cody, Kt, Ron, and I developed the epic mythos of GRO-TON while passing through Groton, and its neighboring towns of Littleton and Acton (pronounced “Action”). We also had Fras and Jess over to play Rock Band the next day. All in all, a splendid time.

And then Cody and I went on our first cruise. How to describe a cruise to someone who’s never been on one before? It’s more than just being “on a boat” and going somewhere tropical (Bermuda, in our case). To me, as a sci-fi fan, it was a fantasy-indulging taste of what it might be like to be aboard a futuristic spaceship (one featuring artificial gravity, for instance…). It was also a taste of peace. When we weren’t sleeping or eating, Cody and I spent most of our time just sitting on our balcony, overlooking infinite blue, reading. We had no other concerns. Just be with each other, read a book, and look out on the water. Incredible.

We’ve already been stirring the waters (har har) amongst our friends and family to do an epic group cruise at some point. We’ve also talked about making cruising an annual thing. It was that good.

So, all in all, the wedding was a phenomenal success and without a doubt counts as the happiest day of my life1.

  1. Subject to revision on the birth of children, whenever we get around to it! []
Apr 222010
 

It seems that the heavy breathing that accompanied playing frisbee1 on Tuesday over-exposed me to allergens to a sufficient degree that I had a sinusitis flare-up. Normally, once my allergies have come and gone, they stay gone. With all of the wonky weather, and the resultant effects on pollen distribution, I guess it’s not all that surprising. Fortunately, Claritin and Sudafed2 appear to be working their biochemical wonders adequately enough to keep me largely human.

Had a very smooth Sartharion run last night for the weekly raid. Five guildies and five pugs. No one died, and our resident tank and the pugged tank both rolled 100 on one of the items that dropped3. I’m getting close to happy with Deowyn’s UI, but I still feel like I have a long way to go before I have an adequate tanking UI for Jakosta. It doesn’t help that Jakosta doesn’t really do any tanking yet, and so I’m not just creating a UI that makes sense for leveling, but also one that makes sense for tanking in the future. This might be foolhardy, but the last thing I want to do is try to learn to tank while also learning my way around a retooled UI. So far, this is the best tank UI I’ve seen. It’s too cluttered for my taste, but it has a lot of elements that I do like. It’s also widescreen, which means even a direct adaptation would take some juggling.

I’ve spent more time fiddling with Jakosta’s UI lately than I have actually playing her. Maybe I’ll get a chance tonight.

  1. There’s a large contingent of 38 employees that utilize their lunch breaks for playing Ultimate Frisbee. I have been an infrequent participant thus far due to my damn allergies hitting more or less right when I joined the company and the weather got nice. []
  2. Real Sudafed, not that placebo Sudafed PE crap. If it doesn’t have Pseudoephedrine HCl in it, don’t buy it; it doesn’t work. []
  3. Our tank then won the roll-off by 2, so yay for her! []