The last time I did any serious tanking was the Heroic Spine kill, which was about a month ago.
Since then, I've primarily been playing Retribution, so much so that I've grown quite used to the speed of it. The procs of Divine Purpose and the Art of War, the quick movement thanks to Long Reach, and the near constant stream of buttons to hit has really spoiled me and lacking the need for any gear at this point really, I found myself not even bothering with the occasional LFR or LFG tanking bout.
Last night, a few folks in the guild wanted to go in and kill Heroic Madness, and I went in, as I wanted a shot at the mount, at Heroic Gurthalak, and damnit, I wanted to do something fun and challenging in the midst of this malaise. Plus, quick guild rep. And you know, I wanted to see what raiding with this group of people was going to be like, even if it was just in 10s.
The group decided to go with a 2/2/6 makeup to keep things easy and I volunteered to off-tank. I hadn't tanked this fight even on normal in a very long time, and even then I was solo-tanking on every kill, so I was actually kind of new to the fight in this role, but still. Man, was I sloppy. Somehow, I managed to get myself killed twice, and the other tank once.
Death the first: Pulled aggro, took an unintended impale with no CDs and immediately began to cosplay as one of Vlad's victims.
Death the second: Didn't ask for external cooldowns on the 2nd impale of the 4th platform and exploded into a fine red mist. Bastards hits hard.
Murder the first: Bubbled through the shard landing on the 4th platform causing the other tank to eat a hit from the Corruption because I was slow with the bubble/taunt/dispel, like a dick. Like! A! Dick!
I think he died on the 4th go when I didn't make any stupid mistakes but that meant I had to be very careful with what I was doing, and that, on top of how Protection seems to crawl when compared to Retribution, with dry periods and few procs to respond to and just the lack of movement buffs, the whole thing left me feeling like I was moving in slow-motion at times.
Protection will remain my off-spec in Mists, but the addition of more Holy Power generators and movement buffs in 5.0 will do much to improve the play-style of the spec. Not to mention it reduced my damage to a pathetic little, wet, limp noodle number.
Anyway. Despite all my excuses, it was an embarrassing muck-up and I was ashamed of my performance. The failboat had landed. But as things are wont to work out, in spite of my boorish behavior, I had a blast.
The group was well coordinated, it didn't feel like some of us were raiding together for the first time. There was open communication, people pitched in, and it was a fairly democratic run. Admittedly, it was a 10-person casual night, and I imagine 25s are more rigorously controlled, but I liked the people I was raiding with, and the environment I was raiding in. I hope they let me stick around.
If you're curious, this was kill number 20 on this character alone without ever seeing Souldrinker, on either difficulty. Not that I even really want it anymore, other than as some sick proof that it exists and there isn't some code in the background causing the sword to actively avoid me! Did I make you Blizzard? I'm sorry, I'm a lover, not a hater!
Afterward, I putzed about in Stormwind for a bit, considered doing a quick MC or Kara run, but then I just logged out, actually feeling kind-of good and hopeful about my future in Warcraft.