The night before it had seemed like a brilliant idea to have another shot at this achievement. We had been so close (until I died from a bubble) and now that we had practiced we thought we could make it next time.
“Let’s do this again tomorrow! Wait, it’s raid night… And I’ve got people coming over in the afternoon… But we could do it in the morning. 11, that will be fine!” It sounded just great when I suggested it. What I didn’t remember was that Europe was switching to summer time during the night, which meant that one hour of our weekend would be lost. 11 am was in fact 10 am. Not according to my watch, but according to my body. And that hour made a huge difference.
To me WoW playing is a late night activity. Outside of my two raiding nights a week, I normally don’t play much before 10 pm, in order to keep my family from suffering too much from me being absent. It happens that I’m online for a stray hour daytime in the weekend, if I can find a hole in the shopping-cooking-cleaning-driving kids to activities-schedule, but I usually won’t do anything more advanced than a little bit of peaceful questing or crafting, so I easily can go log off whenever needed.
And apart from that, playing during the day makes me feel somewhat guilty. For some reason, gaming is a thing I normally do covered by natural darkness, without having to pull down the blinds to be able to see what’s on the screen. When I enter Azeroth, I feel a bit like a vampire or ware wolf, setting out for the hunt. Larísa is a creature of the night.
This was probably the first time ever I ran an instance before noon. And without being able to present any logical reason,, it felt utterly wrong. It was as if I had suddenly replaced breakfast with pizza and beer. Something inside me revolted against it.
At the same time I was a little bit curious. How would this affect the outcome of our mission, would we perform better or worse, playing early in the day? I couldn’t help feeling sort of stiff, in my fingers and in my consciousness; it was as if I was asked to suddenly start playing soccer without having a proper warm up. On the other hand, maybe you could expect the opposite. From a working perspective this was prime time – I should be able to focus much better than in my half-asleep playing sessions passed midnight.
A race against the timer
Not many words were needed. We knew exactly what to do, now it was just about execution. The rest of the party had done this several times before, without success. It was the last achievement they needed for their Glory of the hero mount. I still had two more tasks to go, but was as motivated as the others to get this one done.
The first few trash pulls turned out to be the warm-up I needed. Once the race against the timer started (you have 20 minutes from the killing of the first boss to complete the instance) I was fully awake, present and completely focused on what I was doing, oblivious of the daylight calling me to go out and do some gardening or other grown-up stuff.
Our performance wasn’t perfect, but it was damned good. We had a few deaths on Varos Cloudstrider, but no wipe and we recovered and continued on our mission, as if nothing happened. This fight wasn't lost yet. And before I knew it we were facing the final big dragon.
I honestly can’t say that I excel in mounted flights in three dimensions, especially not when it requires you to be mobile. But I pushed away any tendency to negative thinking “Larísa, you’ll die on the bubbles and let down those guys and deprive them of their mount”. This was NOT the right time to doubt my own ability. I kept focus on what I was doing, emptying my mind from every thought except that we were going to make it. And lo and behold! We downed him with 1.5 minutes to go.
I’m not used to get adrenaline kicks at 10.30 in the morning. It still felt weird, but I enjoyed it as much as I would enjoy any first kill of a raid boss. The same evening we did a complete Naxx clear on 23 man in a little more than 3 hours. It was smooth, efficient and successful, but it couldn’t compare in any way to the joy I had felt in Occulus.
Before we entered Occulus I had jokingly suggested that we should look at it as a test run. If we succeeded it was a sign that we should consider moving our Sartharion+3d tries to daytime, when people are fully awake. Now I don’t think that will happen – normally most people have real life commitments daytime, so scheduling raids to the mornings would leave us with very few signups. But judging from performance maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea.