My first couple of runs through Tol'vir were uneventful. I'd prepared ahead of time in much the same fashion as people study raid videos, but of course that didn't stop me from making a few boo-boos. Once I settled in, I got the feel of how the instance flowed, and got to watch group dynamics in action. There was the tank who thought that the party could bypass the Croc boss, but that wasn't anything major. On the whole, people were efficient and courteous, pointing out what to do where without so much whining. I was starting to wonder if all the nuts had migrated to Cata heroics when I entered Tol'vir as Tomakan, proceeded to buff folks, and watched as the first pull turned into an adventure when the tank dropped.
Two of us were L85, so even if we weren't geared for Heroics we were able to put the trash down without anyone biting it. "That was annoying," I said.
"Very," the healer replied. "If he didn't like the instance, he could have dropped before we started."
So we waited.
Five minutes later, a new tank zoned in and decided she wanted to go in the opposite direction. So we reversed course and took out a few more groups of trash.
"I've gotta be honest," one of the DPS piped up. "I'm only here for the rep. Once I ding Exalted, I'm outta here."
"That sucks," the tank replied, and dropped.
Another DPS dropped as well.
"Thanks a lot, asshat," the healer griped to the DPS.
I had really nowhere to go, so I waited. Tol'vir is quick enough of an instance --think SM:Library, Blood Furnace, or Utgarde Keep-- so I figured that it'd take even longer to requeue than go grab some coffee and wait for two replacements.
About 8-10 minutes later, a DPS and a third tank zoned in and we continued our run. This time, the tank was a touch overeager on trash, attempting to pull multiple packs until the healer chastised him. "If I don't have mana, you don't get healed," she said.
Things went well until the last boss. On one of the DPS' request, the healer sketched out the strategy: kill the ads, then in the second phase go after the boss. So what did the DPS do when the fight started? Went straight for the boss and managed to get himself killed via the deflections. Luckily, the lack of DPS didn't mean a wipe, but it did mean that dropping that last boss took a lot longer.
That Tol'vir run wasn't the only one where being L85 came in handy.
I tried branching out on instances and queued for Vortex Pinnacle, but the 35 minute queue time was more like what I expected with Cata instances.
Quintalan zoned in --remember him? Blood Knight, about so tall, red hair, last seen taking a vacation on a park bench in Dalaran-- and listened in to the basics about the instance given by the Mage. "...and you have to get in under that triangle before he starts his attack," he was saying, "otherwise it's instant death."
"And don't try to release and run back during the fight," I added. "His attack is instance-wide. Don't ask how I know that."
That earned a round of chuckles.
The first couple of pulls went okay, although there was a tendency to keep attacking the air elementals that were added for "flavor". That's about all I can say about the elementals that see you and vanish without invoking my extensive vocabulary of profanity. The first boss fight went well, but one of the DPS dropped off the platform instead of clicking on the whirlwind to move to the next section of the instance. Oh well.
Then things began to get tricky. Right before the first drake, the healer expressly said to the L82 warrior tank to "pull [the drake] out of the heal zone." Well, the tank pulled, and then stopped with the drake half in and half out.
"Pull him!" the healer cried.
The tank kept the drake stationary, and then bit it.
I cursed, slapped on Righteous Fury, and started tanking. The drake dropped, and the healer rezzed the tank. Properly chastened, the tank proceeded to dutifully pull the next drake out of the heal zone without a problem.
Then we got to the section with the Neferset lackeys.
The first pull there, the tank ran in without marking or requesting that the Neferset healers be sheeped. After realizing that the tank wasn't concentrating on the healer at all, I pulled off of the tank and started dropping as many interrupts as I could on the Neferset healer.
"Let me sheep him!" the Mage cried.
"Okay...." I peeled away and stepped back. "I'm off. Go for it." I remembered to breathe when I saw Mr. Lion Man become a friendly little lamb on the ground. As is typical, once the healer went down, the rest of the mob followed suit.
The Mage then rounded on the tank. "Next time, let me sheep the Healer first; they have to be CCed or this takes forever."
Well, the tank didn't quite get it, because on the last of those packs he bit it again. Because he didn't wait for the Healers to be sheeped, I got to play tank again. All I can say is thank goodness for Lay on Hands.
I did not have a good feeling heading into the final boss, but I comforted myself in the knowledge that we'd covered all this beforehand.
On the first Supremacy of the Storm cast, the tank stayed outside the grounding field, and...
I knew the drill by then. Slap on Righteous Fury and start spamming stuff to keep my threat up. When there's a Mage in your party with more health than you, you know that there's a good chance that you'll lose threat, especially with the way Ret is specced these days. You simply don't have the tools (or mana) to swing tanking for long stretches. However, I don't think I lost threat more than twice in that fight, and each time Hand of Reckoning dragged the boss back my way. I don't know exactly what that healer did, but whatever it was worked: he kept myself, the Mage, and himself upright throughout the rest of the fight.
The Mage was thoroughly disgusted with the way things went that he quickly passed on the two items and dropped group. I can't say I blame him.