Sometimes, A little bit of yelling is really all it takes. Knowing that someone else on the team is committed to making a particular attempt work can really encourage other raid members to give everything they can. The accomplishments of this past week came through in large part, I believe, because of effective yelling.
Yelling to show dedication is nothing new. Nearly every martial art emphasizes the use of a "Ki'ai," a short shout, with the execution of a strike. Yelling does a lot: it tenses many muscles in the chest and core, giving extra strength to the strike; it can offset opponents, given the loud and sudden nature of yelling; it connects a physical motion with the brain in a second manner, giving new commitment to the action. If you aren't willing to shout about an attack you're making, then you probably aren't committed enough to the attack.
Now, I wasn't calling for Ki'ais or anything during any of our attempts this week. But the method of keeping people committed through vocal communication really helps - I'm sure that's one of the main reasons Ventrilo is so universal in raiding guilds. Keeping people on pace with Thorim, Mimiron, and Vezax all hinged greatly on quick communication; typing out messages just wouldn't keep people informed fast enough (not to mention cutting into the already-limited attention to not-standing-in-fire issues).
Mimiron10 went down on Saturday. The fight was actually surprisingly easy once saves in Phase 1 were handled. Not having a priest cost us a sizeable chunk of my health pool, but the healers managed to spam hard enough with saves running to never lose me. Phase 2 on 10s is remarkably easy when you realize there's no benefit to stacking (no damage split). Everyone can just fan out around the boss and keep only one person in LoS of the guns at a time - easy to heal. Run forward to avoid rockets, then back up and repeat. Phase 3 was cake: spell reflect Tanking was easy, and I taunted bombs as well; my OT went Bear-Form and played with assault bots. Phase 4 was pretty epic and somewhat disorganized, but not terribly difficult to heal through.
On our first attempt that reached past Phase 1, we kind of lost our heads in Phase 4. We got him the second time around. Even with a single DPS up to help me, we were able to break off the head and then Cleave+Shockwave down the other two components in a few seconds. All in all, six attempts brought us to 11/14 in Ulduar10. We threw some attempts on Vezax10, but we were a combination of unfocused and tired by the time we understood the mechanics of his fight. I think some of us were also still distracted by all of the pretty windows in the hallway. I may just go meander down that corridor for hours someday.
Thorim25 is a nightmare with insufficient Melee DPS. Last week, we threw 16 people in the arena, 7 caster DPS and 2 melee DPS among them, and got destroyed every time. This week, we finally had 5 melee DPS and 2 hunters in the Arena: I didn't even have to try hard while tanking that. The ludicrous amount of latent AoE that melee DPS throw out demolished the Commoners in a way that seven AoEing casters combined could not manage - too much of a penalty from the slowing debuff. Thorim himself was fairly simple once people started paying attention to spreading out and not-standing-in-lightning-fields. I managed to get killed three times during our kill, twice by CLightning (Nerf CLightning on melee plzkthxbai), and once by a bad Unbalancing Strike combination. A third battle rez may have hit me in there, but I didn't dare take it until Thorim finally shouted "I Yield." Sif's Promise was more than an ample reward for the agony that he put me through - one of the greatest Threat-Tank pieces I've yet seen, and no melee DPS wanted it.
Vezax10 was revisited on Monday and went down quickly. We had a couple of new people we needed to train, one of whom didn't quite grasp the threat sacrifices I had to make to help out our easily-OOM healers as much as I could (100% uptime on Demo Shout kinda kills me sometimes...). Once he learned that I cannot taunt Vezax (the hard way), we had an easy time with him. That fight is one of the most stressful fights inside Ulduar, though not because it's particularly hard. The simple necessity to keep up on interrupts every 11 seconds, to have a cooldown or kite path ready every minute, to stay in range of healers at all times, to spread for MotF and collapse into Shadow Crash pools, and to manage mitigation effects and full threat on Vezax the entire fight was draining on all of us. After a few attempts, our rogue was ready to trade jobs with anyone in the room; I'm grateful we dropped Vezax before we gave him CTS from tensing over the Kick button for so long.
We gave Yogg10 herself a few visits, but breaking off her initial bubble without spawning hordes of creatures will take some more practice. The landslide quality of Phase 1 is nerve wracking, but I'm excited to get more attempts in on her. And, perhaps, we'll be making visits to her on 25's soon too.
I won't be getting chances to visit any of these people for a while, though. I'm presently on vacation on the West Coast, and I'll be here for the next two raid weeks. I'm sad to miss out on the work, and I already know that pieces I've been dreaming of have gone to other tanks on our roster, but I'll live. I was able to tank through all of the content so far without them, after all; I should be able to keep going until they happen to drop again. I just hope that there's still some fun left for me to have when I get back home. After all, I'm not done playing in Ulduar yet - I still have a whole lot of yelling to do at Sara's face.