My new guild is starting Siege of Orgimmar Heroics this week. We killed Garrosh twice on normal mode now, and feel that all normal mode fights are sufficiently on farm. We’ve already spent one night working on Immerseus and I can truly say these Heroics are no joke.
Hamlet over at It’s Dangerous to Go Alone wrote and outstanding post on raid awareness, and I do mean outstanding. I highly encourage you to give it a look. I’m not going to rehash it here, but I did wanted to reiterate something that I’ve believed for a long time. Being a good raider is as much about having the right mindset as it is the right skill set.
Heroics are 100% optional these days. There are enough raid difficulties that no one should feel obligated to do heroics. The current meta achievement for Siege of Orgrimmar can be done in flex and does not require a single heroic kill. The Kor’kron War Wolf mount only requires a normal mode Garrosh kill.
Heroics are now the purview of those willing to put in long hours, study and optimize their class, customize their UI, show up regularly, continually strive to improve, and as Hamlet stresses, know how to survive an encounter.
The mechanics of heroics are much less forgiving, have a small margin for error, require more personal accountability, and demand that you delve deep into your class toolkit. They also require that use voice chat as a tool for coordination and not a medium for stand up comedy.
It also requires that you approach it with an open mind. The fights are similar, but the differences are significant enough that positioning and movement can be different than what you’ve done before. As Yoda taught Luke, “you must unlearn what you have learned.”
So how do I approach heroics? I watch video guides, although I believe there’s more value in doing than watching. I don’t think I’ve ever mastered a fight just by watching someone else’s strategy.
I evaluate my UI looking for ways to streamline it. I like to take random screenshots during and encounter so I can get glimpses of what’s happening on my screen. Are there messages and alerts going off that I didn’t notice during the action? Is placement of things in the UI sufficient that I’m getting value out it?
I’m also quick to evaluate myself after each attempt. Why did I die? What could I have done to prevent it? Is anything I could do better? Did the group die because something didn’t get interrupted? Maybe it wasn’t my primary responsibility, but that doesn’t mean I can’t watch for it and toss in a Counter Shot if need be.
I also pay greater attention to the utility abilities. Deterrence and Disengage are always at the ready, but I also keep Distracting Shot and Master’s Call handy for those one-off scenarios. I keep abilities like Binding Shot, and Ice Trap close at hand if there are adds that need to be slowed or stunned. I use my Dwarf racial to clear poisons and bleeds, helping the healers out. I have healing potions in addition to DPS potions. Obviously my preference is to always use the DPS ones, but when you’re learning sometimes that extra little bit of healing makes a difference.
Hunter’s have a lot of utility, but often it seems that other classes have more efficient was of offering the same utility, and more often than not were relegated to our main role of DPS. Not a bad thing, but as Hunters we know better, and we can slow and stun, and pull an add off a squishy as good as anyone. I often look for ways to extend my primary role beyond just DPS.
I haven’t done heroics since Dragonsoul, and I’ve forgotten how much extra effort is required. I’m looking forward to it as I enjoy this type of challenge, but it’s not for everyone.