We were prepared. I had done my best to organized the most skilled raid I could, making plans to use various raid buffs with pinpoint precision. I dropped one of our tanks in favor of more DPS. I checked for stims, gave advice about rotations, and only brought FOUR Jedi Guardians.
It was our first night attempting hard mode operations, this was serious business. The other raid group in my guild had failed to beat the enrage timer on XXR-3, the first boss in Eternity Vault. With their failure hanging over my head, I had severe doubts about our own ability to conquer the unknown timer that could seal our fate.
The ride down to Belsavis felt like the scene from every space marine movie where the men nervously joke around on the dropship. We talked about the size of each other’s genitals, the quality of intercourse our various mothers provided, anything to keep ourselves from thinking about the task at hand. I fiddled with the controls on my headset as we got into position and looked out towards the lone structure jutting up from the snowy wastes. Somewhere a Tauntaun wailed.
Then we began.
Reflex kicked in and I began barking orders, reminding people of their tasks or drawing their attention to the various pulsing red circles of doom that were flashing across the battlefield. We expanded and contracted around environmental signals like a manic jellyfish, engulfing the hostile mechanical menace that was our target. The time ticked by. Occasionally I would tab over to the boss, checking to see if that telltale angry red icon had appeared that would herald our imminent demise.
It hadn’t. Not yet at least. The red bar kept ticking down as our attacks wore away at the boss. At the 10% mark he hunkered down, joints hissing now with whatever fear a machine created only to destroy can feel. Missiles streaked through the air, pounding our raid in a merciless barrage intended to stop whatever momentum we had built up. My cursor leapt across the raid frames, desperately healing whoever I could and watching people die. One of the dead counted down as he watched “4 percent…3 percent…2 percent…”
And then it was over.
At the end of it all, only two of us stood: a Jedi Sentinel and myself. I began the process of reviving the dead, each immediately running over to the purple shaft of light ascending from the shattered metal husk so they could see what trinkets he had left behind for us.
We doled out the loot, patted ourselves on the back, and took a screenshot. The night was still young and before us lay many more challenges, but for the first time in the few weeks since we had all started playing together, we had become something special, something that would be tested and beaten in the next few months.
We had become a raid group.
It was time to raid.