Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Blessed Relief

Monday's raid was bittersweet.

I was going to have to tell the rest of the raid lead team that I wasn't going to be able to perform progression raiding for at least a couple of months*, but what made it uncomfortable was that I was going to tell them after the raid.

Why so uncomfortable?

Because I've been the subject of some talks about why my DPS isn't measuring up. 


I've been among the bottom five DPS for months. Some of it is gear --for example, I finally got the T4 shoulders on Briganaa last weekend from the High King**-- some of it is that I needed to tweak my talents --again, I fixed that right before raid-- and some of it is my rotation.

Here is what an Enhancement Shaman's rotation has to involve:

  • Keep totems up
  • Totem Twist for Windfury/Grace of Air
  • Totem Twist for Fire Totems
  • Shock Twist (Alternating Fire Shock/Frost Shock and Earth Shock unless you're supposed to interrupt)
  • Cast Stormstrike on CD
  • Get your weapon swing timing aligned (involves casting something periodically to reset your swing timing).

That's a lot of irons in the fire, and a lot more complicated than most other rotations I've experienced in Classic.

For me, it's also been a question of which ability to utilize if multiple abilities come off CD at once (or close enough that they fall within the GCD). I've taken the approach that the Windfury/Grace of Air Totem Twist is the highest priority since it impacts the entire group, but after having several conversations it sounds like Stormstrike is higher priority, so I said so.

Oh no, I was told. The idea is to do all of it while keeping all the twisting up.

It was then that I realized that maybe --just maybe-- I'm hitting a wall with my age and that I'm simply unable to button press as much as I should be able to as a progression raider.

When you couple that with the "you need to get a belt crafted, a cloak crafted, a ring from Lower City reputation grinding, a totem from Heroic Mana Tombs, a ring from Prince Malchezzar, etc. etc." and I found myself realizing that none of this was that fun anymore.

And here comes my job, basically demanding I give up raiding during the work week, at the same time as the likelihood that someone might look at a gear drop and say "Hey Brig, you should get that for your gear set." Or to put me even more on the spot, "Why didn't you roll for that piece of gear? You need that badly!"*** I didn't want to have to tell people right then and there that I was leaving and it would have been incredibly selfish of me to bid on something when I was going to leave in a couple of weeks.

Thankfully, however, the nightmare scenario didn't happen.


Still, I had to tell the Lead Team afterward, and I hated doing that.

"I don't like to lose," Admiral James T. Kirk once said, and this amounts to throwing in the towel and admitting that Rocky couldn't beat Apollo Creed.

Especially after Monday when we were cruising against Kael'Thas and it looked like we were gonna kill him at long last, and... The trash packs in his room began to respawn underneath us.

I shit you not.

So there was that frustration to deal with, coupled with the knowledge that might have been our single best shot I might see against Kael. 

I also knew how hard it was to get a consistent raid together, because just when we thought we had a stable lineup somebody else would vanish, or gquit and ghost us, or have real life intrude and have to drop from the raid. Or, in other cases, would decide that progression raiding one night a week wasn't enough and would move to the other raid team that raids on Tuesday/Thursday.****

And here I was, going to blow up the raid again. Especially with the knowledge that Enhance Shamans are pretty much unicorns at this point in the expac. You're better off trying to recruit a Boomkin in terms of rarity.


I got the announcement out of the way first.

There were the usual condolences, and my admission that the reason why I could raid until 3 AM local time was because I'd been at my job for so long I could be a zombie for several hours in the morning and still get my job done, something I simply can't do in a new position working for a new customer.

I hung in there until the meeting was concluded, and that ended around 4:30 AM local time. Even I was dying for the first several hours of work on Tuesday, and I knew right then that I made the right decision and that I couldn't do this at a new position.

But around Noon on Tuesday, it hit me that outside of any Friday or Saturday runs, I wasn't going to have to worry about raiding at all. 

Or gearing.

Or (not) DPS-ing well enough.

Or grinding gold for stuff.*****

Or (avoiding) Dailies.

Or reputations.

Or attunements.

And I breathed a sigh of relief.

The long road of the TBC Classic Meta has ended, at long last. I didn't burn out completely, and it wasn't the reason why I had to give up raiding, but I don't think I could have held out much longer. The Meta had worn me down to the point where I was resenting even people I liked a lot because they were more invested than me in raiding, and they were still doing all the things to keep themselves at peak performance.

I think I kept going not for me, but for people who were depending on me to be there, like my questing buddy (who has long since run laps around my questing/gearing/dailies/etc) or those others who needed someone to be a friend to them when they were having a rough time.

Something I can now do a bit more of:
just lounging around and chatting.

Now, with my job (and my health) taking more of a center stage, I suppose it's time to take care of myself for a change. And maybe rekindle a bit of love for Classic.

*I'd say May or June at the earliest.

**I also won the Dragonspine Trophy a month and a half ago in Gruul/Mags, and I feel guilty about leaving when I'm one of only a couple of people on either raiding team who has one.

***As Loot Master, I frequently put something up for auction and then realize too late that I should have bid on something. I've gotten better at it, but I know there's a ton of people with DKP to spare who simply don't spend it very much, or bid on gear, and I think "they need it more than me".

****Most of the sweatiest people are on that raid team, and since they raid twice a week they've (at least) twice as much gear as our raid team has. That makes SSC and The Eye pretty much a walk in the park at this point. 

*****No, I still don't have a fast mount. And I don't want one very much either. I'm practically the only person left in guild who doesn't have a fast mount on at least their main, and right now it's a badge of honor. And besides, paying for the rest of the mats for Mongoose enchants on both of my weapons hit my reserves hard.

EtA: Misspellings....


  1. Holy Crap Red;

    Just reading through your rotation gave rise to my anxiety. Lord man, if that's what it takes to raid on an enhancement shaman... screw that. Gear's one thing, that's a common to all classes. But to have to be hyper-vigilant to not only the environment and your target, but also to that type of 'thinking' rotation, no way. Uh-uh. Nope.

    I've dropped off the raiding scope entirely, much as I had back in the original BC. Kara was my highlight then, and it's been my highlight this time. Thanks for reaffirming my decision.

    Good luck on the new customer man, hope it works out well for you.


    1. And the kicker was that I wasn't very good at that rotation, either. I was decent enough, but when the main criticism is that I'm not pushing enough buttons, I realized that maybe it wasn't the rotation but me. After all, I heard the "you're not hitting enough buttons" criticism on Card every once in a while, but my crit percentage was so high that more than made up for it. With Brig, however, there was no such reprieve. I simply didn't have the gear and/or enchants + gems to compensate.

      I guess 50+ is when you start to hit a wall about high achievement in button pushing. I'm not a professional League of Legends player, so I have a longer shelf life than they do, but physical skill does begin to drop off once you hit a certain age. And I apparently found that age.

    2. I remember when Larisa of The Pink Pigtail Inn wrote of the day when her raid lead sat her down and gave her "The Talk". She was in her 40s, I think, and she was simply not keeping up with the rest of the raid in terms of achievement, so they benched her. I guess I avoided "The Talk" courtesy of my job.

    3. Quite possibly, I passed the 50 mark a few years ago. I haven't noticed a decline in my playing ability, but I'm pretty sure that it was because I was never that good at hitting high numbers anyway. I did get a great compliment a couple months ago from our raid leader. He said you're never at the top, but you do enough dps... but it's the fact that if there's something I need that's outside of straight dps, you're the guy I can count on to do it. Either having enough shards on my warlock or misdirects or whatever, the utility part of the encounter you're my go-to guy.

      That's what I've always striven for that outside the box stuff. Ready with whatever's needed. It's a point of pride when you're in a raid with 2 other warlocks, and you have shards to summon/healthstone/whatever, and they don't.

      It's how you play the game I guess. Numbers are great, and while needed, there's also another side that rarely gets the spotlight but is equally as important.


    4. you have shards to summon/healthstone/whatever, and they don't.

      That boggles my mind. The three Warlocks in our raid (sometimes four, it depends) would never be caught dead without shards or pots or anything else like that. I've helped my questing buddy farm shards before raid time without question, so it just makes absolutely no sense that people would not come prepared.

    5. Oh, they'll start with shards, but collect none during the raid, as it 'slows down their dps'.



  2. Oh Red... I saw your post on Monday but didn't initially know how to respond because I felt bad to see that news coincide with my own happy raiding adventure. But reading this, maybe it's for the better.

    It's quite sad to see how many activities you listed as things you had to "worry about" just because of raiding, instead of them being activities that you can simply enjoy working on. I mean, I was in that place in late summer, so I totally get it, but it's still a bad place to me! Here's to hoping that this enforced break will give you a chance to just enjoy the game on your own terms and find some joy again.

    1. The reason why I had to worry about those activities was because of the overt requirements for progression raiding. Like the killjoy reference in the previous post, it's a constant drumbeat of "you have to do X, Y, and Z if you want to be an effective raider". There was also the "You have to be looking at these videos for Phase 3; you have to be already getting gear for the Shadow Resist fight; oh, and there's a raid to examine Hyjal and Black Temple in the PTR that another guild is putting together, so it's highly recommended to get in and take a peek."

      The plotting out of everything down to minutae just wears you down after a while, and it doesn't shock me that there's a constant churn of raiders in both raid teams that we did not see in Classic.

      And you didn't hear it from me, but I believe that the rest of the progression leadership is secretly glad I'm walking away, because the single biggest perk of being on a raid lead team is that you've got a guaranteed spot in one of the progression raids. Well, if my performance is still in the bottom five DPS, that would start to lead some people to question whether I'm really just using my role to avoid working hard. Or that they'd have to kick someone out of the raid lead role to bench me for poor DPS. My leaving saves them from that decision.

      As for me, I can still run Friday night's Kara, and try once more for a Classic raid (I'm not optimistic there, as people are feeling the burnout). I can also spend as much time on Neve or on the Season of Mastery server without feeling guilty. From my perspective, there's not that much to do on Brig right now, because the burnout has affected people wanting to run instances (a server wide thing) and I have no real desire to go do Skyguard or Ogri'la quests just to end up doing dailies (same with Netherwing); I did all that back in Cataclysm and early Mists just to see what the rewards (and the Netherwing mount) looked like, and I'm not exactly thrilled about more grinding just because.

  3. I'm glad you're feeling relieved. Aaarrgghhh! That rotation! My Shaman is sitting in Borealis wanting to see action. I think it might be a loooong time coming!

    I pretty much entertain myself now searching for mounts and pets and that's fine. Yes, take care of yourself!

    1. Here's the thing: unless you're trying to squeeze every last DPS out of an Enhancement Shaman and you're in a melee group that benefits from twisting Windfury/Grace of Air, you don't have to do it. A Paladin tank will tell you they'd prefer Wrath of Air because they get their threat from their mana abilities; a Bear tank or a Kitty will prefer Grace of Air because they're not attacking using weapons, so Windfury does absolutely nothing for them. Therefore, to take advantage of that form of totem twisting, you have to have people who can use it, such as Warriors, Rogues, and (to a lesser extent) Hunters. Trash fights in a post nerfed world, especially in SSC, are so quick that by the time you put down your totems and get your rotation going everybody is dead, so there's not much use in throwing down your entire complement of totems if all that'll happen is "throw them down then pick them right up again".

      So... I'd say to not worry about this rotation unless you want to do progression. And Elemental Shamans have it much easier than Enhancement.

    2. I was doing heroics with a guildie's new enhancement shaman alt last night and he was giggling in delight about how (in his opinion) OP and easy it was. "All I do is hit Stormstrike and Earth Shock and my dps is great!" I had to think of this post... ^^'