So over the weekend, my guild and I got our first real taste of Cataclysm raiding. We headed into BWD to challenge Magmaw to a 1-on-1 25 battle.
We had to compromise to make it happen. Prior to raiding we (the officers) said we would be checking gems/enchants/etc and determining eligibility from that. This was a huge step away from our Wrath-era stance of "the first X tanks/healers/dps available get the spots." What we ended up doing was taking the 25 most prepared, even if we believed they weren't really prepared enough.
From there, the ends to which our raiding weekend (Fri/Sat nights) was successful depends on your measuring stick of success.
By the end of the second night, we had made leaps-and-bounds improvements over our first few attempts. But our best single attempt of the whole weekend was 45%, 2 minutes away from the enrage timer.
While there were a lot of small areas we could improve on, the biggest single contributing factor was that we just weren't handling the parasites well.
I don't consider the weekend a failure by any means, though. While it's true we weren't really close to defeating Magmaw, people were happy to be raiding again. Through the whole weekend there was relatively little grumbling and several people thanked me for the opportunity to participate.
We finally have a solid idea (beyond reading about other peoples' experiences) what it's going to take to begin progressing through raids. And while we're not quite there yet, we're close. Close enough that we're not going to stop trying and revert back to spending our raid nights running Heroics.
On Sunday night I rounded up a group of 10 of our better and more prepared raiders and went back in. We still wiped several times and the eventual kill attempt was anything but clean. Had Magmaw's head come off the spike before we killed him, we would have been flying back from the graveyard instead of passing out loot.
But, at the very least, I have a much better concept of the fight from a raid leader's perspective than I did either of the previous two nights. I can watch as many videos as I want and read all the strats that are out there...but until I've iterated over the fight several times, I never really understand it.
We're going to go back at him this weekend with a group of 25...hopefully one a little more prepared than the last. I think we can make even more progress, and potentially bag him. If not, we'll probably switch it over to Omn(omnom)itron. It's not any easier, really...but at least it'll be different. (After our Magmaw 10 kill, we threw ourselves at its mercy for a while to try to learn it better.)
What our kill shot taught me is that there is absolutely no carrying anyone. At least not right now. Everyone has to pull their weight. If a group of 10 of our better/more prepared players eke out a win, a group of 25 is going to struggle. That's going to be the name of the game for a while. As a raid leader, I'm going to have to find ways to keep morale up. But I can also use it as a carrot to dangle in front of people to get them to improve. I didn't really have that in Wrath.
Gonna be interesting.
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