Last expansion I did all the challenge modes on my hunter and I helped other people by either tanking or healing for them on other classes, even if I never completed all of them on either a tank or a healer. This expansion my hunter was my only character I had any challenge mode experience on. Until last night.
In a spur of the moment sort of thing someone in guild wanted to know if anyone was up for challenge modes. Of course I was. I am always up for things like that. So when all the people that wanted to go raised their proverbial hands we had one tank and four damage dealers.
Of the four damage dealers I was the only one that had any real healing experience so even if I wanted to go on my hunter I offered to heal. I did warn them I had not healed a single challenge mode this expansion and I am very out of practice when it comes to healing having healed so rarely this expansion at all. But I would be willing to give it a try.
So we headed to the dungeon of choice, iron docks, as the leader of the group, the only one there with any real challenge mode experience, said that would be the easiest one being we had two complete rookies on DPS and me as a rookie healer.
The group make up was a tank and healer, of course, with one melee and two ranged. Quite honestly I hate healing melee in a "challenge" type setting because they take more damage no matter how good they are or how hard they try. It is just the nature of the beast. But I was ready to give it the old college try, so to speak.
We finished the dungeon missing gold by 4 minutes and 19 seconds. Boo. But we could have done gold, really we could have. We had one wipe on trash where just a little too much was pulled. It was early on, we should have reset, but at that point I did not know if I would be capable of healing this so we were still in the "testing" phase. We had to lose about 3 minutes, if I were to guess, due to that wipe.
So if you wanted to look at it that way we missed gold by one minute and 19 seconds and missing gold became 100% my fault. While the over pull could have been avoided, I could have healed better and kept us from wiping. But the real issue was I did not bring enough food. Toward the end of the dungeon we waited a few seconds here and there for me to naturally regenerate some mana. Easily we lost close to 2 minutes to that happening. Not to mention the two players that died during the run which I needed to spend time reviving and they spent time eating and rebuffing.
So yes, we really honestly could have done gold. In hindsight I did not need as much mana as I waited for. I never was less than 50%, I was just worried as I did not know how I would handle things so I wanted to be at 100% whenever I had the chance to get back up. I had absolutely zero confidence in my skills. Even if it seemed as if the group was confident in me.
I would not be surprised if we had come close to realm best time if we had not wiped and I had bought mana food and I did not lose two people I had to revive along the way. My realm does not have great realm first times mind you. I think the next time we are there we could easily cut 10 minutes off the time we did it on. Or at least 5 without that wipe and those 2 deaths along with my waiting on mana, that is for certain. We can do an 18 minute run, no doubt.
I really loved the idea that my gear did not matter at all. It was scaled down. So the fact I did not have my tier set meant nothing. The fact that I had a couple of 670 pieces on meant nothing. It was all about spell selection and the skill of movement, reaction and planning. I like that it pressed me to do better than I thought I could do being out of practice on a healer. I am extremely happy with silver on my first attempt. I think that is probably the best anyone could wish for when you were in the group I was in with two people that had never stepped into a challenge mode, one person that had not healed one, and the other two that had only done as high as silver before.
The melee would go from full to 10% it seemed every few pulls, if not every single one of them. But he never died, and he also worked on protecting himself. When he got low like that he stepped off for a second and let me get the heals he needed on him instead of pushing it and possibly dying. I say it was very smart play on his part. He could have stayed in the fight and lasted another 3 or 4 seconds an died, or he could have stepped back, let me heal him and lose those 3 or 4 second but be alive for the next 20 seconds it took to finish the mobs. He made the right choice, lose 4 seconds of DPS up time to gain 20 seconds and not was 10 seconds afterward to revive them. That was the right choice.
One of the range was a nightmare and I think replacing him and adding another, more raid aware, damage dealer would have really helped. I was forced to heal him as if he were a tank. He was always standing in something. He was always getting hit by every avoidable mechanic, he was wildly pulling more packs and I think he was even the one that was responsible for the over pull early in the run.
Removing him and getting a better damage dealer in that slot would have done wonders. I would have probably never lost the two people I lost during the run because one person was just taking so much damage demanding my attention to be split nearly 100% of the time. I would have not needed to spend as much mana on the expensive fast heals because I would be able to keep up with the less expensive ones if I was not forced to spam people with heals to keep them alive in situations when they really should not have been taking any damage to begin with. Speaking of mana, I would not have needed to worry about mana if I were not having so much more to heal. All that avoidable damage wastes mana that should never need to be spent. I honestly believe if that one ranged was as good at avoiding stuff as the other was, meaning they only needed minimal upkeep, I could have kept both the tank and the melee up just fine without ever needing mana the entire run. I am sure of that.
Over all I was proud of how well I did. Of how well the whole group did, yes even the one standing in junk, because we still made silver with tons of time to spare. When it was over I did not think "cool I helped the guild out", even if I did think that as well, but I thought "I had fun healing this, maybe I should make a challenge mode set, this was fun".
I actually want to heal some more challenge modes now. I was to spam some dungeons and try to collect best in slot challenge mode gear. I want to see how far I can push it. I want to see if I can be a challenge mode gold healer. Unlike last expansion when you could actually over gear challenge modes with gems and such (and I did like that in all honesty) this time around there is none of that. You are really testing your ability and your ability only. Well, yours and the ability of your group too of course.
I am sure in a poor group I would have not had fun. I am sure if there was a wipe fest I would have not had fun. I am sure that having a tank that knew his class and could help himself which allowed me to help others made it a fun run. So I am not sure I would do these in random groups. But I would gladly heal again for guild and not just to help the guild out, but because I kind of liked it. As long as I have a solid tank to heal behind at least.