Monday, May 5, 2008

To press under pressure

In theory everyone in a raid is equally important. There's no room for slackers, if you mess up and just don't do your job the raid will fail. To raid is to be under a certain pressure, that's a part of the deal, what makes it so fun if you're that kind of person. It's the tension and the adrenaline rush that gives us the kick.

In practice though, the pressure varies. There are always those roles in a fight that are more exposed. It's those tasks that have the effect that if one single player fails in doing his job the whole raid will wipe. There's no pardon. For instance there's the mage tanking task in Gruuls lair. You have to manage to do a good pull and just cant mess around with the spellsteal hot key. People will notice. Trust me.

I've got mixed feelings for those tasks, being aware of the limits of my skill as a player. Am I really reliable? I ask myself. And once you start asking yourself those questions there's an increasing risk that the answer will be "no". On the other hand you can't just chicken out of it. Everyone has got to do what the raid leader tells us to. If not - what are you there for? Pushing your limits, acting under pressure, that's what's raiding is all about. And above all - if you actually perform those highlighted assignments you feel pretty good about yourself afterwards.

Yesterday I suddenly found myself in that situation, without planning for it at all. We were in Magtheridon for the third or fourth time or so. In this fight, for you that haven't done it, there's a thing about some cubes that need to be clicked at a certain point in order to prevent huge damage. They must be clicked at the same time - not to early, not to late - by five players. If you fail - the raid dies. So just to be sure the normal procedure is to assign not only clickers, but standby-clickers, that can step forward if the first one dies. It sounds pretty easy and I guess it would be if it wasn't for the fact that there's something in the fight that makes you bounce around every now and then, which makes at least me pretty disoriented. It can be a bit tricky to actually know you're position in the cave and move over to your spot in time to click. So until now I hadn't volunteered as cube clicker, I was pretty happy that others did.

But the raid leader yesterday wasn't asking for volunteers. He just assigned us. And suddenly I found myself being second clicker on one of the cubes, in case the first one would die. OK I thought, I had to try this out at some point in my raiding career and being number second seemed a good way to start. But I asked another guildie to be third back up clicker, in case I would fail. Just to be sure.

The encounter started and everything went on as planned. The dps was good, channelers went down fast and soon enough the raid leader called out that we should move over to the cubes. So I did - and found that there was no one there except for me. Were the heck was the first clicker? Had he died? No - everyone was up and healthy. Had he gone invisible? Probably not, being a warrior. What would happen if he was somewhere around and I just didn't see him - if we doubleclicked it, two players at one time? Would it work? I had no idea, but I knew someone just had to click the cube, so when the raid leader called it out I pressed it. "Well done", the raid leader called out. Apparently it had worked. The five-man clicking team had done their job. And I was a part of it! The fight continued and we did the same procedure again a couple of times. Towards the end things went a bit more difficult, the roof falling down when Magtheridon's down at 30 percent. But I iceblocked it and then made it to the cube again. Still no first clicker in sight. As a matter of a fact I clicked that cube for the whole encounter, since I managed to survive, despite falling stones and other obstacles. Actually most of us did, we just had a few dead players and we nailed the boss in the first try.

Oh, happiness! I found myself way down on the dmg list, which sucks, but being a clicker I spent a little too much time out of range of nuking him. But what did that matter, really? I had been under pressure and I had pressed the button exactly in the right moment for the whole fight. The raid leader had trusted me and I hadn't failed.

I know that for some of you that are reading this blog, this fight is so easy that it's boring, no challenge at all. But at my level it is, believe me. Most of all I was happy that I actually had noticed the absence of the first clicker and that I had taken action. Sometimes I get just to busy watching bars of different addons or listening to the raid leader that I actually miss to see what's really going on on the screen. This time I hadn't and I had thought for myself, made my own decision to jump in. This really boosted my self confidence. (It turned out afterwards that there had been some misunderstanding about who really was the number one clicker. Two guys were thinking the other one was.)

It only felt appropriate that I also got my first title ever in this game the very same evening: Larísa nowadays is a Champion of the Naaru, since downing Magtheridon was the last step in a huge quest chain that I've spent the last week doing.

Then we went to The Eye and got Void Reaver to 15 percent, which wasn't bad since it was our first time there - next time I'm sure we'll get him. And as a dessert of this lovely evening we had a quick trip to Kara, taking down Prince and Netherspite, which gave me the last few badges I needed to buy my 150 badges dagger that I instantly got enchanted and equipped before calling it night. This was a wonderful ending of a wonderful night that I'll try to keep now as a treasure in my collection of raiding night memories.

There will be times in the future when I'll be put under pressure and fail it. Those things happen when you raid. But then I can always recall this night when I did my job, faultlessly. If I did it now I can do it again. Larísa is growing up. Who knows, one day I'll even have the guts to volonteer?

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