What to Wear: A Shadow Priest's Guide to 10-man Icecrown Citadel Gear
What to Wear: Frost Emblem Gear for Shadow Priests

ICC by the Skin of Our Teeth


Last night, after weeks of banging our heads against 25-man Lady RepairBill, as Moober affectionately nicknamed her, my guild finally took her down, and did a gunship 1-shot victory lap to celebrate. To say that we were pleased is an understatement. I think shocked was a little more like it.

In the first 45 minutes of our raid, we had wiped fully or partially on the trash 3 or 4 times before getting to Marrowgar. We had ass-pulling of mobs, face pulling of giants, AOE pulling of every mob in the room. Oh yes, we had fun times. And Marrowgar wasn't a cakewalk either. Although we'd previously 1-shot him on 25-man, it took us 4 goes, losing our MT multiple times, bone spikes staying up too long, switching around our tanks and adding in an off-spec healer so we could get him down on our fourth attempt.

Despite all that noobing it up, this week's raid was able to finally take down Lady Deathwhisper where previous raids with better execution could not. Why? Logs point to the fact that we went up 15k in overall DPS from our previous best attempt. A good deal of that seems to be from having had a raid that was stacked with melee, who completely kicked butt on the meters overall for the night. I don't think the difference was in gear, despite the fact that we clear three ICC 10s every week, because we've had 30+ raiders in ICC ready gear for over a month now.

The gear component is one that comes up a lot though, with lots of wishful thinking hoping that if only we do another legacy raid of 25-man ToC and get a last little pinch of gear, that will make a difference. But our guild at least has shown that isn't our block. We do have some folks in our raids doing well under 4k DPS. We're casual and inclusive, so this happens. But it is important to note that those folks are not at the bottom due to having poor gear. Their gear scores put them neck and neck with folks outperforming them. And our weekly raid quests, which usually end up being two 25s and a few 10s worth of mains and alts before the week is through, have shown many undergeared alts performing as well as - or even better than -- their well-geared counterparts.

It's hard to determine why one DPS pulls 2500 while another of their class pulls 4k+ when their gear is not disparate. Could be lag or low FPS on their computer. Could be they don't watch their threat meters and spend their time hugging the floor. Could be that they have Skype or IM open on their computer and are distracted. Or they could be like that former guildie of mine who was always watching a movie or television during our raids, interjecting Vent chat with commentary to that effect. Perhaps they're not doing the optimal DPS rotation, or their spec needs some work.

It's impossible to troubleshoot what's going on from the outside. But the fact remains that at this point, we're not able to carry folks through the content and succeed. The past three weeks of wiping on Lady Deathwhisper showed that pretty clearly. Folks need to bring their A game. Being casual doesn't mean it's OK to not be flasking up, or coming to a raid wearing gear that is unenchanted or poorly gemmed. Casual is not a bandaid to cover up not trying. Yes, casual is putting having a good time first. And it is about having a life outside of the game. We don't have minimum attendance, or spec requirements, or any of the standard rules a raiding guild has. But the fact that we are casual that way shouldn't absolve anyone who raids from having personal accountability for doing their best.

Next week, a new wing of ICC opens up. I know our 10-mans will be up for the challenge. As for our 25-man? We'll see. I am optimistic that last night's victory will push folks to give Saurfang their all on Monday. But putting your best foot forward in raids isn't a one-time event. It's something you need to do every time you head in the door to a raid instance. Here's hoping we continue to be up for the challenge.