The Sweet and the Bitter
The sweet: Friday night, The Anvil, on the sixth try of the night, dropped Yogg-Saron to complete our run through normal 25-man Ulduar. We had to extend our lockout two weeks to do it, so we’d have enough time on Friday to get some good attempts in on the Old God, and finally, everything came together.
The bitter: While the rest of The Anvil was beating the Yoggy out of, uh, Yoggy…my lovely wife, my charming daughter Nublet, and I were in a motel room in Perry, Georgia, asleep. We would be getting up the next day to sell my wife’s handmade shinies at a very cold but very fun craft festival. (Aside: 54 degrees, 15 mph north wind, wind chill in the low 40s. 30 miles south of Macon. In fucking October. Global warming, my big fat hairy ass.)
Finding out on Saturday evening that the raid killed Yoggy gave me some mixed emotions. Of course, I’m happy that “we” finally got the chance, by extending the raid lockout another week and creatively scheduling, to get enough attempts in to work through the chaos of the fight and bring it to a successful conclusion. Even though I missed part of the week before as well due to catching a cold or hamthrax or plague or cooties or something that I’m still not quite over yet, I was still a part of clearing at least the front of Ulduar in that lockout, and had been there for our earlier attempts on Yogg as well. We’re a pretty tight group, and like most good raids (cutting-edge progression or not), we live or die as a team, and team accomplishments are more important than individual glory.
But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a tiny pang of “well, shit.”
I wasn’t there. I wasn’t there for our first Yoggy kill. I had a legitimate reason for not being there, of course…we do this craft show every year on the third weekend in October, it’s basically a (hard-)working vacation for us because my wife grew up going to it–her mom sold her handmade cornhusk dolls at every show for twenty-seven straight years until she got too sick to go. In fact, we even now have her mom’s old booth spot…booth A1, right by the entrance gate. It’s vastly more important that we be there–to make some money, to see old friends, to watch Nublet have the time of her life charming people and playing in dirt and riding hayrides and petting cows–than to attend our raid. My raid friends understand that. It was all planned out ahead of time, and honestly, my attendance has been so good in the past, even missing two weeks (one sick, one traveling) isn’t an issue.
But I wasn’t there for the first kill. I wasn’t there to see my chat window vomit forth 25 peoples’ achievement spam. I wasn’t there for the obligatory celebratory screenshot. We’ll kill Yoggy again, I have no doubt, but when we do, it won’t be the first time. It’ll be smoother and less painful, but it won’t be the first time. (Draw your own analogies. They’re glaringly obvious.)
And then there’s The Voice In The Back Of My Head. I hate that bastard. He’s the one that says things like, “see, they killed Yogg-Saron without you and we’re running a four-tank rotation as it is, they don’t need you.“ I don’t listen to him as much as I used to when he’d make me doubt myself and have me half-convinced every week that the raid was about to dump me for poor performance, but he’s still there, and there’s still a little part of the ol’ brain that buys into his bullshit. Yes, I have a bit of a gear gap to the other three tanks because they’re all in 10-mans in addition to our 25, and none of the 10-mans I know have any tank slots available. Yes, I am still the Minister of Silly Mistakes. Yes, when I’m assigned DPS, my DPS is laughably bad, and when tanking my DPS is below our warrior tank and far below our paladin and DK. But I’ve also successfully MT’d everything in Ulduar 25 up through Vezax and everything but Anub in ToC 25. I’m not uber, but dammit, I don’t suck.
So here’s today’s topic for discussion. How have you felt when you haven’t been there for a big important raid first–a first kill, a first clear, a first achievement or hardmode? I think it’s natural to have a little undertone of bitter along with the sweet when knowing that your team pulled it off, but they did it without you. Deep down, I think we all want to feel a little indispensable. But the most important thing is that the team, the raid, pulled it off. And even if you weren’t there for the actual kill, you did your part to help them get there.