What follows, Dear Reader, is a cautionary tale about staying on top of your game, proof that, yes, even Kingslayers can come off looking like that doofball from your Halls of Stone random PUG last week. I don’t tell it just to be funny, though it is (in retrospect). I tell it to make a point, which I’ll get to further on.
So. Last week was The Anvil’s first post-Kingslaying raid sequence. Thursday night was a run back into ICC, in which we did our first heroic modes (just Lootship and Rotface, but, hey, you have to start somewhere, right?). On Friday night, real life dickpunched us again and left us with only about 20 people. So our officers did what we’ve done so often on Friday nights this summer…stalled by doing the weekly in the hopes that competent raiders would hear our pleas, magically drop from the sky, let us fill our slots, and head on to ICC. (They didn’t.)
The weekly was Razorscale. Ho hum, right? Lawl T8 content and all that. So we ended up with a lot of people switching over to alts, and a raid that was about half mains (including Linedan as one of the two tanks) in mostly ilevel 264 items, and half alts of various gear levels, still mostly part-Triumph-geared at worst. Not a group that you would expect to have trouble on Razorscale, considering the last time we had her on the weekly, she dropped like the housing market.
So we cruised through Flame Lootviathan, formed up on Razorscale’s platform, started the encounter…
…and it all went horribly wrong.
There were iron dwarves running loose everywhere. The big Sentinel was whirlwinding its way through the raid slaughtering alts. Gorebash, our longtime warrior MT, was doing fine, but for some reason, I couldn’t hold agro on anything to save my, or anyone else’s, life. I had no clue what was going on until just before I finally died…and that’s when I saw my bar was totally wrong.
I was in Berserker Stance. So I hit F6 and swapped myself over to Defensive Stance…and my bar was still wrong. And then I died.
And that’s when I figured out what had happened. I’d run a random on Linedan earlier in the evening.
And I’d never changed back to Prot spec from his Fury spec.
I’d switched to his Prot gear. But I hadn’t gone in and switched his spec. So he was running around, in his full T10 kit, trying to tank things while generating no threat and no rage, in the wrong stance.
I’ve done some dumb shit in my time in WoW. I mean, really dumb shit. Dumber than you’ve probably done, or at least will admit to like this. But that right there–getting a raid half-full of Kingslayers to wipe on Razorscale, for God’s sake? That’s top 5 all-time, kids.
Well, I fessed up immediately. And actually, everyone was so shocked, we all (well, almost all) had a good laugh about it. And of course we went right back in there and killed us a dargon, with no more fatalities, so we could get our badges and 26 gold and pretend that the whole embarassment never happened.
The whole mess got me thinking, though. Earlier, on Flame Leviathan, I’d been confused. I had my Prot gear on, but Lin’s health wasn’t adding up. He normally has, in the gear he has as I write this, 45,687 health. But while we were waiting to start FL, I noticed he had only a bit over 42,000 health. I checked his ItemRack, because it bugs out sometimes, but nope, he had his Prot gear on. Before I could check any further, we started FL, and off we went. The health difference, obviously, was because he wasn’t in Prot spec and didn’t have his Vitality talent.
This is where another one of my geeky hobbies enters the picture…aviation.
I’m not a real pilot, but I’ve always wanted to be one. I love airplanes and aviation. There’s a reason my Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 and Flight Simulator X installs, combined, are pushing 100 GB…way too many add-ons, planes, terrain, etc. I’ve used MSFS to learn just a little bit about how commercial aviation works.
Everything in a commercial airliner is done “by the book.” Pilots, in addition to all the pilot training they go through, have to learn a lot of aircraft-specific (and airline-specific) procedures. And most all of it is codified in those wonderful things called “checklists.” The checklists are there so all the flight crew on the same type of airplane at the same airline do things the same way (since pilots and copilots aren’t assigned as a unit). There are checklists in an airliner for damn near everything. There are checklists for first accepting the plane at the start of a day, before engine start, engine start, after engine start, taxi, takeoff, climb, descent, approach, landing, after landing…and that’s just the normal ones. Then there’s an emergency checklist for almost any possible situation you can imagine. Strange indication on one of the engine instruments? Checklist. Engine failure? Checklist. Flight instruments go wonky? Checklist. Fire in the bathroom? Checklist. Pressurization goes kablooey? Checklist. Flight crew eats the fish? Checklist. You get the idea…there are literally hundreds of the damn things, in big books stored in the cockpit.
When the time for a checklist comes around, or something hits the fan, the copilot grabs the Big Book of Checklists (or on the newest planes, pulls them up on screens), finds the right one, and starts reading it off. Each item on a checklist is read, and the checklist says who is supposed to respond and what the result should be–and they don’t go on to the next one until the current one is done and checked. So if the first item on the checklist says “disgronification switch – ON,” the copilot says “disgronification switch,” the pilot reaches up, turns it on, and says, “on.” Then the copilot checks it. Then they go to the next line. And the next. And so on. There is no variation, and there is no exception. By the book, step 1, step 2, through to step N. Boring? Well, maybe. But if checklist items get skipped, and something important gets missed, people can and will die. It’s serious business.
WoW, of course, is not that serious (for most people). But thinking about it…what’s wrong with the idea of a little mental checklist before you start your raid or instance run or PvP? No, you don’t need to put on a white shirt and tie and epaulettes and get your significant other to read the Pre-Raid Checklist to you after she does the safety briefing. (“In the event of Serpentshrine Cavern, the Draenei female members of your raid can be used as a flotation device.”) But what’s wrong with training yourself to make sure that everything’s squared away before first pull?
Let’s go back to Linedan and my unfortunate derp before Razorscale. What might Lin’s little pre-pull checklist look like? Here’s my quick stab at one:
- Spec – verify that it’s correct for the role he’s assigned tonight (Prot for tank, Fury for DPS). If not, change it.
- Gear – verify that it’s correct for the same role. If not, go into Itemrack and change it.
- Stance – verify correct, Defensive for tank, Berserker for DPS. Hit F6/F7 to change appropriately.
- Flask – use as needed (before boss pulls).
- Repair – 100% repair at the start of an instance. At the least, nothing should be showing yellow.
- Buffs – all necessary buffs on, including Feasts if we’ve got them. If not, start bothering slacker paladins.
- Encounter – understand what his role is in the encounter, strategy, what color poo not to stand in.
That whole sequence can be done in, what, maybe twenty to thirty seconds max? Had I done that, I would’ve caught the problem in the very first second when I saw I was still in Fury spec, I would’ve swapped spec, we wouldn’t have wiped on Razorscale, and I wouldn’t have a blog post topic for today.
So basically, I do stupid shit for you, people. All for you.