(Alternate title: The Lich King is Defiling my wallet!)
Yesterday marked our second night/week of serious Lich King attempts! Fortunately, we had enough guildies and didn't need to PuG anyone, for the first time in weeks! Unfortunately, this also meant we had three new people (one of them a tank, one a healer) so the first half-dozen tries involved a step back progression-wise as we taught them the fight mechanics. No one minded though, as we were all just really happy to be taking on Arthas as an actual guild team.
In terms of personal performance, I made some tough decisions before we started. The first was to finally cave and get the ilvl 264 Draconic Bonesplinter Legguards crafted to replace my trusty ilvl 245 Windrunner's Legguards of Triumph that I'd worn for months. I'd been resisting making them because of their outrageous cost (8 Primordial Saronites...ugh! plus 8 Arctic Furs, of which I had...zero) and because they're on par with the Leggings of Northern Lights which drop off Lady Deathwhisper-25. I figured that eventually I'd win them and avoid shelling out the 184 frost emblems those Primordials would cost.
Well, I ran into a problem. I can't win the pants if I never *DO* ICC25. I used to be a pugging machine, doing both ICC 10 & 25 on both hunter & druid each week, but I just haven't been able to bring myself to leap back into the Pugging Pond lately. Partially because of the idiots that you often end up with - I remember one ICC25 that stalled because the RL was doing the I'M A GIRL IRL LOL CHECK OUT MY MYSPACE FOR DIRTY PICTURES (srsly) - but also partially because my regular weekly guild runs are so much FUN. I used to PuG raids for the loot but ever since joining my guild, it's now not about the loot at all and all about the social atmosphere. I am the anti-Gevlon.
I finally admitted to myself that I would never get those Deathwhisper pants, so I shelled out the emblems/cash and got the crafted ones made. As I was heading to the bank to get some gems, I tabbed back over to Female Dwarf (Hunter DPS calculator website) where I'd been seeing how much of an increase the pants would be. On a whim I tentatively switched all my gems for Armor Penetration gems to see if doing so would also be a DPS increase...and it WAS.
Me, inwardly: Oh, DAMN. DAMMIT. WHY DID I DO THAT. WHYYYYYYY
Now I had a real dilemma. Switching my gems to ArPen would be expensive (10 Cardinal Rubies, 3 Dragon's Eyes, a few Ametrines where socket bonuses were still better, and a Nightmare Tear) and the DPS gain wasn't earth-shattering. Plus, it would turn my rotation into something that would make Arcane Mages yawn - apply Serpent Sting, and then spam Steady Shot. And...repeat, re-applying Serpent Sting when it falls off. This may sound familiar to BC-era hunters...
On the other hand, while the DPS increase wasn't going to single-handedly win the day or anything, it wasn't insignificant either...and we ARE on the final boss of the expansion. If ever there was a time to go all out, regardless of expenses...it would be now. And why have I been saving money the entire game if not for this moment? Regarding the rotation simplicity...honestly, I could endure the tragically boring rotation if it meant squeezing out a little more damage, for one fight. So I bit the bullet and did it. (It also cost me JC tokens because I had to buy the ArPen Dragon's Eye pattern.)
Seeing our OT's corpse SPLATTERED ON THE WALL after a wipe is...disheartening.
The night's attempts went well, and our newcomers got used to the fight really quickly. On our 2nd or 3rd attempt we had him down to 32% before succumbing to Vile Spirits/Defile, and though we didn't manage to get farther than that the rest of the night, we finally had the "Valks + Defile seconds apart" mechanic down to a science, which bodes well! We got absolutely ABUSED by RNG though, with our MT being the recipient of Defile FIVE TIMES IN A ROW. /grumble
So how did the new gear/gems/rotation work out? Very nicely, actually. I had to frequently stop myself from NOT firing my available shots, which is going to be a hard habit to break, but my DPS was rocking. Of course, I had to go and ruin this nice feeling by making two of my biggest blunders ever in my raiding career. Which I will write about later.