Remember your first kiss? First date? First car? People love to celebrate firsts. Firsts are significant moments in our lives, and when they are long in the past we still like to look back and remember them, and hash them over with others.
In WoW firsts are also memorable and significant, particularly in the world of raiding. The first kill of a boss is often met with whoops over vent, gratses from guild chat, and commemorative screenshots showing the raid posed with the dead boss at their feet. It’s even more meaningful when it has taken you many attempts spread out over weeks or even months to kill that boss. The thrill of the kill is often accompanied by an overwhelming sense of relief: Relief that the hard work finally paid off.
Yet as important as that first kill is I believe the the most important kill is actually the Second Kill. Unfortunately, the second kill is rarely memorable: I remember our first Nalorakk kill not only because it was the first, but because both tanks dropped dead with the troll-bear under 10% health. We took him down because a quick-thinking Rogue managed to jump in for a spectacular bit of ‘Evasion Tanking’ while everyone left standing threw everything they had at him (including yours truly – ‘Hammer of Wrath’, FTW!). The second one? Sorry, that’s just not in my memory banks at the moment. I do however remember our second Kologarn kill. The only reason I actually remember it is because, after several weeks of being stymied by the VERY LARGE fella, we finally defeated him. Just prior to encountering him the following week, one of our guildies commented that he thought ‘it was a fluke’ that we even beat him the first time. We one-shotted him for our second kill, and proved to ourselves that it was no fluke.
More recently, we took down Deathbringer Saurfang for the first time on Monday. It was our 23rd attempt over multiple weeks when we finally beat him. We cheered, we took screenshots, the works. Privately I worried: it felt to me like we had gotten lucky in that he cast his one Mark of the Fallen Champion on one of our tanks. How easy it was to heal through that. I wondered if we would be so fortunate next time, and if we would be able to handle it. Two days later it seemed as if our first kill was indeed a fluke. We got a Mark on a non-tank much earlier than expected, and it ultimately lead to yet another loss to the ‘Lone Orc’. However, we regrouped and proceeded to execute a perfect kill the next attempt, without Saurfang casting a Mark at all. It seemed my concerns were unfounded after all.
And herein lies the importance of the Second Kill: The Second Kill validates the First Kill, proving that it was no fluke or result of good fortune, that you have the abilities to do it again. Anyone can get lucky once, but the Second Kill shows that you’ve mastered the boss, not the other way around. So next time you find yourself sitting around the fire with a tankard of ale and an audience, show a little love for the Second Kill. Besides, you’ve probably told the tale of the First Kill a hundred times already.