Pimped. Out. (And, at the end, a story that made me really happy.)

I know I just did a photo spread on Syncerus, but his gear situation changed for him rather abruptly last night, so… updates.
See, the guild got done with the 25-man raid-du-jour early, and folks wanted to do something else. A couple of the higher-end guys, (myself, one of the lead tanks and the Guild Leader included), have some fairly fresh-minted 70s we’d like to get geared up a bit, and basically that means “let’s go run Karazhan”, which is the first of the end-game 10-man dungeons.
The nice thing about Kara is that folks are really pretty familiar with it by now, and very little has to be explained before any big fight. Also, unlike the non-hardcore-mode five-man dungeons, there’s still a really good reason for even the most HEAVILY-geared guys in the guild to want to come to Kara*, so it’s actually REALLY easy for use to get enough people to do the run, and if you’re just getting up to the point where you can do Kara, having a few heavy hitters with you is kinda nice.
(* – Each boss in Kara gives you a couple ‘badges of justice’ that can be used to acquire really good loot, even if you’re heavily geared. There are 11 bosses in Kara, which means 22 badges in a few hours of play, which is easily just about the best effort-to-payoff ratio in the game.)
So, we’d started the Kara run the night before, and everyone wanted to finish; people started to assemble, and we had the craziest group: usually, we have two tanks, 3 healers (two if they’re both heavily geared), and a mix of ranged and melee damage-dealers.
What did we get?
1 tank (the guild leader), four healers (one of which was me, and the other three HEAVILY over-geared), and five ranged DPS. No melee guys at all, other than the tank. So weird.
Since the healers in the group totally had healing covered, I just sat back and blasted away with my offensive spells (nature’s wrath, insect swarm, moonfire, starfire, et cetera) and emergency healed when needed. My performance dps-wise was much better than when I came in the night before as a cat — I’m USED to doing this as a ranged damage dealer — melee was just a pain for me.
So. 11 bosses. Each one potentially dropping some gear I can use.
How much gear did I get?
14 pieces. No one else in the group really needed anything at all — they were just there for the badges — and the other two guys who actually needed gear were playing a paladin (platemail, please) and a warlock (cloth-only), so none of the stuff I wanted was anything they could use.
Four.teen. I got seven pieces that directly and instantly improved both my healing and spell damage by about 50%, and the other seven helped fill out (dare I say ‘complete’) almost all of my tankingbear- and cat-form sets.
And they look badass.
Armored Clown Suit
Here we have, as a review, Syn as he appeared when he was doing anything but healing/casting. Decent gear, but it looks bloody awful. The only consolation here is that, since this was the gear I used for either tanking as a bear or soloing my quests as a cat, I was always in either Dire bear or Cat form, and never saw it.
That was then, this is now.
Gone is the clown-like, mismatched armor. I’m sporting Heavy Clefthide chestpiece, leggings, and ‘boots’, plus some nice new gloves and shoulders (that for some reason aren’t displayed in this shot).
With the exception of that crazy (but good) “I’m Batman” staff, he looks just like how I think a Tank should look: very little adornment – just heavy armor and a ‘lets get to work’ attitude. I really like it, and for all that I’m currently focusing on playing as a Healer/spellcaster, I do hope that I get a chance to do some tanking as well.
The catform set of equipment has significantly different stats than the tanking gear: forget about extra health, extra dodge, extra armor – focus on “I want to kill you in the face…” (or the back, I’m not choosy).
Obviously, the *attitude* of the gear is totally different also. Straps all over, lots of sharp points — the damned EYES GLOW RED in the headgear — the whole thing just screams “dangerous”.
I love it — almost makes me want to respec back to Feral damage-dealing to REALLY try it out, but as it stands, it’ll be gathering a little dust in the vault while I work on healing — it’s too expensive right now to respec back and forth between the two. Doing the Cat & Bear thing is *fantastic* for soloing and doing daily quests, but I’ll be honest and say that I’m not really good at playing melee dps in a raid. Tanking, yes, but melee damage? No. I don’t know how the rogues do it.
I won’t show the healer-gear set again, because although I got like 7 new pieces, it’s all stuff that’s concealed under the robe, so nothing looks different, until you look at new totals in my healing and mana regen and stuff like that… where there were HUGE boosts. Huge. At one point, I mentioned what my numbers had gotten up to, and the general consensus was that they weren’t just “good numbers for a new guy”, but just plain “good numbers.”

Finally, the story.
We’re getting close to the end of the night, and we’ve made it up to Netherspite, a sort of ethereal dragon.
Netherspite is an interesting fight that goes back and forth between two Phases.
In phase 1, one guy in the raid stands in a specific place, and whoever is standing there WILL BE the guy that the dragon attacks. Period. (There’s also a spot one person can stand in to do massive healing, and another where you can do massive damage.)
In phase two, which is fairly short, Netherspite sort of just attacks anyone – totally random. As long as he doesn’t go after you twice (which is just bad luck), you can surive that — then you’re back to phase 1.
But there’s a catch. Whoever stood in those three magic spots in the LAST phase 1 cannot stand in the same spot in the NEXT phase 1. (And someone HAS to stand there and soak them up, or they buff the dragon and he kills you really dead.)
So you have to have two guys for each spot, and they take turns during each “Phase 1” being the guy who has to stand in the Spot.
So… there’s this Tanking Spot, right? We need two guys for the tanking spot.
We have one tank.
The conversation went something like this:
“So… we need another tank.”
“Syn, did you bring your tanking gear?”
“Umm… no. It’s not up to par for Kara, so I left it in the bank. All I have is my healing gear. For tanking, it’s… not… good.”
“Okay. Right. Doomas, You’re going to be the second tank.”
“What? I’m healing specced.”
“Yeah, but you’re a paladin. You have platemail. You have a shield. You can tank him.”
“It’s a bonus-to-healing shield! It’s probably just paper mache with some LEDs in it to make it glow!”
“*sigh* alright, but I don’t know how to do the tanking here.”
“I’ll explain.”
And he did, and we started.
But… on that stand-in tank’s second turn, he died. Right. I dunno what happened — my job was to take my turn in the Super Healing Spot and, when not there, blast the hell out of the dragon, and when he went down, I was blasting away and trying not to die.
The next Phase 1 came around, and the Real Tank says:
“Okay guys, burn him down! We don’t have another tank for the next Phase one!”
And we tried. We really really tried, but he just wasn’t quite ready to drop.
So we go into the crazy-running-around-don’t-die Phase Two, and the Real Tank says:
“We need another tank for this phase! I can’t do it twice in a row. Someone step up!”
So I turn round, shift into bear form (which (at least) significantly bumps up my health and the protection bonus I get from my OH SO NOT A TANK healing gear, hit my Feral charge to get to the Tanking Spot and start hammering away with (few, oh so few) default Tanking Abilities that I have when I’m not specced for it.
I. Am tanking. Netherspite. I did NOT get the briefing on the little ‘step in, step out’ thing you have to do on the Tanking Spot to keep from getting squashed (though I’d seen it done many times on Grezzk), and I was NOT mentally prepared for that duty.
And I’m in healer gear.
But dammit, we needed a tank, and if there’s something Druids do well, it’s fill lots of different roles…
This is where everyone was really glad that we ended up bringing three overgeared healers. I liiiiiiiiiiived!
(And then I ran like a little pussy (cat) for the back wall during Phase 2 and healed myself like crazy.)
Netherspite died on the next Phase 1. There was much cheering.
All the gear upgrades were nice, yes. But that fight?
That is what I’m going to remember about Syn’s first run in the haunted keep of Karazhan.