Stumbling in to The Nexus

22nd January 2009 – 10.31 am

I haven't really done much in the way of instances in Northrend yet. This is because my small guild has been a little fragmented over the holidays, my taking time to level a death knight through Outlands and somehow perservering with her mining and blacksmithing skills, even before the recent changes to mining, and also because I am wary of pick-up groups. Being occupied with a death knight also means I probably missed the first wave of adventurers going in to the dungeons, as whenever I dared fire up the looking-for-group interface I wasn't able to get in to either The Nexus or Utgarde Keep.

I miss running instances, though. The scenery and mobs found in instances are often different enough to feel like a new zone and being in a group to take on bigger challenges than can be achieved individually appeals to me, despite my general shy nature towards people. I am curious enough about the potential of the new instances that when I fall down a hole in Dragonsblight and see that I am at the entrance to what turns to be the Azjol-Nerub instances I wander inside. I only go in to have a quick look, hoping that I won't get ambushed, and I am not disappointed. It looks like there are wondrous places hidden away from the already lush regions of Northrend, waiting to be revealed and conquered.

It would therefore have been rather witless of me, as I step out to continue my solo path, to ignore the whisper that asks if I would like to tank in The Nexus. The timing is perfect, where my yearning to run an instance is stronger than my aversion to strangers, and so I agree. I am still a little nervous about my ability to tank in front of strangers, but I am summoned to the instance and we all run in to start. The group comprises a shaman, unholy death knight, shadow priest and healing paladin, with myself as the tanking warrior.

There doesn't seem to be any hesitance on the part of any of my companions so I make the pulls fast and fluidly, checking between fights that the healer is okay for mana. There is no marking of the mobs, which makes it a little more awkward to know where to focus my threat generation, but as the biggest source of secondary threat is the plate-wearing death knight, who produces some impressive damage-dealing, the short periods of lost aggro pose few problems for our healer. For the most part, I am able to keep my aggro on all mobs high enough that they are attacking me, causing me on more than one occasion to reflect on how much I enjoy tanking. Even with many mobs, and a couple of patrol adds, it seems so easy and fun for me to tank that I have to wonder why I am ever worried about taking the role in a new group.

Each boss in The Nexus does something slightly different and I am given a quick one- or two-line instruction. This one throws us around and splits in to three, get the rifts when they open as the boss becomes immune, avoid the ice spikes, and keep jumping on the spot when attacking to avoid the debuff. Everything goes smoothly with no wipes, no deaths even, before the final boss, who kills me and two others moments before he falls himself. Our healer survives so we are all pulled back to life and celebrate our quick and enjoyable run through the instance. I should do this more often.

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