For personal reasons, I stepped away from raiding this summer. I also stepped away from my hunter at the same time. I focused on my Feral Druid and helped OrdoSerp get into Heroics & 10-mans without having to pug dps or beg someone to jump on their tanking alt. It's been great. I missed the excitement of raiding but not the stress. Soon though, I started to wonder how I would do tanking in a real raid. Could I handle it? Would I enjoy it? Would it be less stressful than dps'ing?
Last night as I sat down to watch a DvD, Cainam called me up and begged me to bring Rhus to Tempest Keep with QSS. Cainam has been trying to get his mage, Sofea, in on a Kael'thas kill in TK for months. With only a few days to go before the expansion, this was, perhaps, his last legitimate chance.
The problem with "best friends" is that sometimes you have to get up off the couch with your freshly popped popcorn & just-queued DvD and actually do something for them.
And so, there I was in TK on Vent with people I haven't spoken to for months off-tanking mobs in my Bear's first 25-man raid.
I had several things working for me. First, the entire raid consisted of seasoned raiders who knew the instance. Second, most of them were on their mains with T5 & T6 equivalent gear. Third, I was the 2nd off-tank with very low pressure. Fourth, I know TK from my time on Beroth. And finally, the place has been majorly nerfed.
So, how'd I do?
I discovered early on, with the help of Flyv (on his alt-hunter) quietly whispering advice to me, that my Glyph of Maul needed to be destroyed. I inadvertently broke a sheep when I fired off some Mauls on my tank target. Oops! No harm, no foul. Or should I say Fowl. It was Sofea's penguin "sheep" I broke.
I was not standing close enough to the edge of my first platform assignment for Al'ar and only lived thanks to a ton of health and a smart healer who called out in Vent for me to reposition myself. But, I did well tanking Al'ar during the ground phase and even held threat against the T6-geared Pally off-tank.
We then went and killed Void Reaver. I learned there that there was no way that I could keep up in a threat race with two T6-geared veteran raiding tanks for threat and could have just cat-dps'ed for the fight.
As we downed VR, it suddenly hit me that I had only the vaguest clue about my job on Kael'thas would be. Hell, when I stopped raiding, Beroth had only seen 3 phases of the fight. What do I do? What do I do???
Whisper-spam Flyv, "WHAT DO I DO?!?"
Thankfully, Flyv is an amazingly standup guy and I had nothing to worry about. I did my job almost flawlessly. (I'm as shocked as you are.) It took 3 pulls to get him due to some dps errors. That was fine for me, because with each pull I learned more stuff about the role of a feral druid in raiding. I shifted form throughout the phases, tossing battle res's, doing cat dps & dealing with my tanking assignments.
After we downed Kael we went on to put a smackdown on Solarian. I got no gear (I was out-rolled on the VR shoulders by 3 points) and I didn't care. A friend, also on an alt, lamented that they didn't get any gear. All I could think was "OMG, I can raid-tank! OMG, I finally got to kill Kael'thas!"
It was a very good night.