After Ness and I got home from the island a little bit too late to join in Sunday’s Mount Hyjal fun, I languished around in town for a little bit on my Shaman in the vain hope that I might be able to get a raid spot, and a crack at the Golden Links of Restoration. After around an hour of this time – really, purely wasted in every sense – I tired of standing around, and decided that I’d look for a Kara PuG that I could hop into with Eusko to offtank. It didn’t take long to find one, and I was soon on my way to Kara with my most recently minted 70.
Now, a quick word about Eusko – his gear really wasn’t that good at the time. I had crafted the Cloak of Eternity for him, and sought out craftsmen for the 3-piece Felsteel set. I’d actually dropped some coin to get the Belt of the Guardian crafted as well, since this piece was something that I knew I wouldn’t be replacing anytime soon and I could simply buy the mats for it. I Think that my armor was running somewhere around 11k, about 10.3k health with 445 defense with a combined avoidance of around 70% (with Holy shield) to start the run. Not exactly the stuff of legend. I had tried to gem and enchant responsibly at least, and my gear choices were in line with my spec, so that helped.
I’ll say this about Kara PuGs lately as well – though the instance has been nerfed, the overall quality of most PuGs seems to be a lot higher. Perhaps this is a reflection of the lowered difficulty allowing more people in, and thus improving the overall gearing on the server. I think that the more accurate rationale relates to the fact that Kara can be cleared in 2-3 hours with ease by a skilled group now, though, so badge farming is ridiculously easy and many people are doing just that to gear up for the expansion. While I was definitely the weak link this time around, I did have a good knowledge of the place and the pulls. That helps tons.
I’d more or less resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t be tanking bosses. Fine again, but I did have a valuable role to contribute. On trash like the Moroes guest pulls, I could help ensure that they stayed in one place, for instance. On a fight like Nightbane, I could help concentrate the Skellies on a hard target instead of a healer. Not completely without merit!
Our main tank was a well-geared Warrior, some ZA and Badge loot mixed in with Kara gear, for reference. I’ll save the summary of it all, but the long and short of it is, this was a fast and successful run. I didn’t die a single time, and wound up with a lot of good gear. Moroes and Chess yielded some healing gear, the Boots of Valiance and Legplates of the Innocent, respectively. They’re both residing in my bank “just in case”. I was able to get some fine tanking loots from other fights though. The Barbed Choker of Discipline, Wrynn Dynasty Greaves, Thoriumweave Cloak and Shield of Impenetrable Darkness all dropped for me on this one run. After, on the advice of a guild Pallytank, I purchased the Libram of Repentance from G’eras and rounded up materials to make some Bracers of the Green Fortress. After all of this – essentially, one Kara run and some gold pieces later – I’m up over 11.5k health, 15k armor, 475 defense and greater than 80% combined avoidance. One more run and I’m ready to OT some Zul’Aman and get the real loots!
Anyhow, the moral of the story is this: Karazhan is so simple now, even a lesser geared offtank can thrive. If you know the fights, and have alts that can use the gear, get them in there now! Use your raid ID every week until WotLK if you can – it will benefit you in the long run. I proved on Sunday that a reasonable effort at gearing can make a fresh 70 successful. Now, I’m hoping that I can get him geared enough to OT 2-3 Zul’aman runs and try to collect the Chest, Shield, Boots, Helm, Shoulders and Rings that are offered there. Whether I can be successful remains to be seen as it hinges largely on drops – but I have a lot of hope that Eusko can be placed in an excellent position to be an effective tank come WotLK.