Sunday, 7 March 2010

A Retadin in ICC Part 3 - The Crimson Halls

The second of the main wings to open, this wing contains two bosses for you to complete and is probably on a par in difficulty with the previous wing. Again these are technical fights which require you to be doing the right thing at the right time.

Yes, I'm going to talk about trash again because there's some annoying mobs again which are likely to need control. Repentance is incredibly useful given it's 1 minute duration so dust off that focus macro and keep your marked mob locked down, remembering to run back into range to reapply should that be required.

There's a rogue type mob that loves to shadowstep and sap your tank so keep an eye on what's attacking you and pop defensive cooldowns if necessary.

Blood Council
Yes, you've seen and defeated these guys before, whether it's in quests or dungeons but this time they've been eating their Weetabix and you get to fight them all at once.

Most of the time you'll just be smacking the guy with the health bar (empowered), but depending on who it is you'll be required to do another couple of things.

When Valanar is empowered he'll occasionally cast Empowered Shock Vortex which will require you to spread out to avoid the damage and knock back effects. The rest of the time he'll just be casting a normal shock vortex which creates a swirly effect on the ground which knock you back if you run into them, so watch out when you're running around.

When Taldaram is empowered he'll be creating giant balls of fire which will target a random player and make a bee line for them. However as it gets close to other people it will shoot off random balls of fire which reduce the final damage done when it hits it's intended victim. This means that after 80 levels you need to chase the fire until it flies out of range. Putting up Fire Res Aura can also help reduce the damage done. The rest of the time you can pretty much ignore the guy, apart from Cleansing any magic debuffs he puts on you.

Finally when Keleseth is empowered it's time to go to town as he'll be chain casting and so unable to dodge your attacks. Just be careful not to pull aggro if your raid is using a ranged tank as if you get targeted for his empowered Shadow Lance you're going to be taking a dirt nap unless a local druid is feeling generous. Keep Hand of Salvation ready just in case you start showing a bit high on Omen.

Other than that the fight is fairly straight forward (apart from all the target switching) and you just keep rinsing and repeating until they all fall down dead. Again.

Blood Queen Lanathel
You'll have seen this vampire chick from the RP before the first fight. This time you actually get to attack her so make sure you're prepared.

This fight has a very tight enrage timer but fortunately there's a cunning mechanic which means you can do the crazy dps required. About 30 seconds into the fight she'll run off an bit whoever is third on the threat meter. At this point they start doing the crazy dps, healing themselves for part of the damage they do and generating no threat whatsoever. The down side is that 75 seconds after this they'll need to bite someone else within 15 seconds to avoid being mind controlled. These two then get another 75 seconds before needing to bite someone and so it repeats until you run out of people to bite, she falls over dead or your raid hits a few problems.

While damaging her she may link you with another player with 'Pact of the Darkfallen', at this point you'll both need to run to a mutually convenient place (generally the centre of the room) to remove it before running back to smack her a few times.

Every two minutes she'll fly up into the air, cast a fear, and then throw blood bolts at everyone. At this point you'll need to be spread out, and is a perfect time to pop Divine Shield and Divine Sacrifice if you've spec'd into it.

While all this sounds complicated it can be summed up quite simply:
1) Know who to bite and when
2) Run to the middle if you're linked to someone
3) Spread out when she's up in the air

Depending on when you get bitten will dictate when you use your cool downs, but if you can use them once before you're bitten and once after make sure you do because you'll need every drop of damage you can eke out.

Overall I find this wing slightly easier than the abomination wing but that doesn't mean you can roll your way through it easily.

Stay tuned as we fight our way into the Frost wing and finally onto the big bad of this expansion, the Lich King himself.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

You know you overgear heroics when...

... your healer disconnects and you still manage to kill the boss.

This has happened a couple of times to me when tanking the random heroic and while it's raised my heart rate a few notches and required the use of a some extra cooldowns it's not wiped the group.

This is not a time to get complacent though, just because heroics aren't the latest raid instances doesn't mean you can always rely on them being straightforward especially when grouping with random people.

The tanking is still interesting, and the short queues are a god send, but most of all it's giving me practice for when I help out guild runs as a tank.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Love is in the Air (redux)

As I mentioned in my recap of the 'Long Strange Trip' achievement last years Love is in the Air meta achievement nearly broke me due to the random nature of getting the items you required, and the fact you only had a chance once an hour to get them.

This year the holiday has been revamped to be more like Noblegarden and the other holidays with daily quests, a token system for getting what you need and a holiday boss.

Overall this makes the holiday much easier to manage everything that's required by the holiday within your playtime schedule, also there's now two weeks to do everything again reducing the pressure on getting things done.

Having effectively switched my main character to Acidlake I'm now running through the holiday achievements again to get my second Violet Proto-Drake. It's going to take some time, and won't be complete until Hallows End but it still helps pass the time between grinding through random heroics and fighting through ICC.

A quick note for pug healers

Bad: Gogogogogo

Good: Feel free to chain pull etc.

Sorry awesome healer in my UP run as I didn't catch your name but that simple message in party chat cheered me no end as I charged through the place.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

A Retadin in ICC Part 2 - The Plagueworks

So the first of the new wings to be open is based around the Death Knight unholy tree. Here you'll find some horrendous abominations, a mad professor and a couple of unusual pets.

While not a true boss this is a named mob which you'll have to fight before you can get to the real bosses. If you cleared Naxx in either of it's incarnations you'll recognise the concept of a big patchwork dog with a Devastate effect. You'll again get waves of zombies but you don't have to worry about them healing Precious, but you will want to nuke them down before wander off and eat a healer. Holy Wrath is useful here as you should be able to stun them in any AoE your raid is producing. Any Art of War procs after Devastate should probably heal yourself to help out, and to keep you alive.

The other named mob with a Devastate. This time there's no waves of zombies but there is an AoE nature damage pulse which means you'll definitely want to heal yourself where possible but otherwise this is the easier of the two doggies to nuke down.

A giant abomination which acts as a DPS check so bring your A game. The major mechanic that stops this being Patchwerk II is the blight that floods the room soon after the fight starts. Initially this will do massive raid damage so helping out the healers with a few instant Flash of Lights on yourself will almost certainly be a benefit. Periodically the boss will inhale some of the blight, buffing himself and reducing the damage you take. Once he's inhaled it all and beaten up the tanks a bit, he'll let it all out doing a stupid amount of damage. Now you could Divine Protection out if it, but that's only going to help you once in the fight, and he's going to do it twice before going berserk.

Fortunately before this happens he'll release spores on two raid members at a time, which give you a debuff when they expire, providing you're stood close enough, which in turn inoculates you against a portion of the damage. This happens 3 times before the exhale, and the inoculation stacks 3 times giving you a 75% damage reduction. If you get the spores you'll either need to run and hug the tanks (best option as you can keep hitting the boss) or run out to hug the ranged (bad as you'll have to hope for an instant exorcism to carry on doing damage). Don't try and hold out though, if you need to run, run as losing a ranged dps and healers halfway through will guarantee the wipe.

Some extra utility you can provide will be to help the tanks, over time they'll get a debuff which increases their damage, once one tank has nine stacks he'll hand over to the other while suddenly having the ability to do extra damage. A timely hand of salvation will hopefully stop them pulling threat back and causing a wipe.

Pop wings after the 3rd inhale each time, and hopefully the second time will in time to start weaving in Hammer of Wrath for some extra damage as you aim to beat the timer.

The second abomination you're forced to fight doesn't do as much raid wide damage but has a much more involved mechanic you'll need to get used to.

Most of the time you'll be stood on the boss hitting him for all your worth, and shifting when he turns to do a spray attack. At an increasing rate he'll infect members of the raid which will do damage and reduce healing done to the infected person. When the infection expires a small ooze will spawn which will instantly aggro the infected person. A single small ooze will need to be dealt with by the person who spawned it, however subsequent ones will need to be merged with an ooze that is already up to form a big ooze, or to increase the size of it.

This means it's vital that subsequent cleanses happen to spawn the little ooze almost on top of the existing one so they merge almost instantly. This means you'll need to keep your mitts off of Decursive unless someone calls out for a dispel. The big ooze will be kited by one of the tanks so when you're infected run to just in front of it, hit cleanse and then get the hell out of dodge back to the big bad. Once 5 little oozes have been absorbed then the big ooze will explode, meaning you have to move away from where everyone was standing to avoid the fallout.

Finally when running around, certain corners of the room will fill with green slime which unsurprisingly you'll want to keep out of.

This is more a coordination fight rather than a dps race, so stay alive and do what you need to do keep the oozes away from the bulk of the raid.

Professor Putricide
If you thought the Rotface fight was involved then prepare for another step up in what you need to do. Your off-tank is likely to be running around as an abomination so don't worry about seeing one running around. To start you be attacking the Professor while staying out of the green slime he'll throw on the ground. The main tank will also be kiting him from one side of the room to the other so gain space away from the adds that spawn.

Yes, this is another target switching, add killing fight so be prepared to find what needs to be killed and make it dead.

The first type of add that spawns is a green slime from the north part of the room. Once it's spawned you'll want to stay away until it's fixated on a player and moves towards them. At this point start to burn it down, and stick close as when it reaches the target player it will explode for damage shared between everyone close by and knock them back. Try and get knocked back into space so if it then fixated on you there's time to get healed up before it explodes again.

The second type is an orange slime which spawns from the south side. Again it will pick a player and chase after them. This time you'll have to kite it while a stacking debuff drops off. If you're attacking it then you'll need to run away just before it switches target because if it reaches the target with the debuff it will cause raid wide damage.

Once the Professor hits 80% he'll stun the whole raid and run off to drink a potion. If you know this is just about to happen make sure you're a long way away from any adds that are up as they choose a new target as soon as the stun wears off and this could easily kill you or the whole raid.

All the stuff you've been facing for the first 20% is still present, and now you'll have orange stuff on the ground to stay out of as well. This new way of fighting will continue until you get him to 35% at which point he'll stun the raid again and go drink another potion. Personally I call haxx as I can only drink one potion in combat, but anyway..

At this point you're in a straight dps race, the abomination is no longer around to drink slime pools so you need to kill him before you run out of places to stand.

Once he's dead sit back and congratulate yourself on being 33% of the way to facing the Lich King.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

AoE tanking or tanking for AoE

There's been a recent thread where it's been suggested that paladin AoE tanking it too good which leads to the other tanking classes feeling unloved and clamouring for buffs.

While it's true that the tools available to a paladin tank are well suited for generating threat on a number of bad guys all at once, especially if they're undead. In this expansion all tanks were given a method of generating threat on a number of mobs all at once helping to the removal of crowd control from all but the toughest heroic instances.

I do have to wonder now though if the reason for the current upset about what can be done is the resurgence of running heroics for the daily brace of frost badges. Given that the base level of gear available is now well in excess of what was required when level 80 characters first started running those instances and every dps character has some kind of AoE spell. Is it more a case that all tanks can't necessarily stop a stray mob from running off to smack the aggro monkey when they do all out massive AoE damage when all they need to do it stop the bad guys running after the healer.

However if the DPS went point and shoot on individual mobs using an assist macro the tanks shouldn't have as many issues, and threat indicators such as Omen or Threat Plates will mean you've got a better idea of what to do.

Now is this the fault of the class designers, not really, it's more a 'creative use of game mechanics' for something that we generally now massively out-gear and see as more of a chore rather than the challenge of say the new raid zone.

Rather than trying to homogenise the tanks and the type of threat output they produce it would be nice to see the dps (of which I am at times) adjusting what they do to make it easier for the tank to do what they do.

Friday, 22 January 2010

DPS Positioning Flowchart

Following in the footsteps of some other bloggers I've decided to create a flow chart to aid the new melee dps fellows who are stepping into heroics to help gear up and gain experience. So without further ado my flow chart on where you should stand in boss fights.

So now you know, and if you end up in a heroic pug with me tanking, I don't expect to see you standing next to me ;)