Archive for the ‘Hard Modes’ Category
It’s been awhile since I’ve sat down and done a guide, and truth be told, I almost didn’t do this one. Partly because this was our fifth Warmaster kill and I wasn’t sure if people would find it helpful or if it would be outdated already (I missed Frapsing our first two kills, and our second two kills were a mess!). However, Kurn nudged me a bit, and so I decided to go ahead and sit down to get this done. In listening to the replay of the encounter, there isn’t really a ton of druid-centric advice, but I think that’s because the encounter is fairly straight forward from a healing perspective. That being said, if you have a question please don’t hesitate to ask! I will list a few additional tips below!
As always, this video is viewed best at one of it’s larger resolutions.
Tips and Tricks!
- You mentioned that you have the raid take Onslaught 2 and 4, but what about the rest of them? For Onslaught 1,3,5 we utilized fire mages and shadow priests. As long as you have a minimum of 3 people in the the onslaught and don’t let too many barrages hit, your boat should be OK. Fire mages can take every onslaught with cauterize, however your shadow priests can only do 1/5 or 3 as dispersion, even glyphed, will not be up for 1/3 or 3/5.
- Druid Tip: Pre-hot your mages taking the onslaughts to ensure that they receive adequate cauterize healing.
- Can you go over those barrage groupings again? Sure thing! We use 4 groups, 1 for each quadrant of the boat. Each group will have 3-4 people in it, and will be comprised of ranged DPS and healers – with the healers split up between the groups. Each group is given a “group leader” and the group follows that person to know what barrage to soak. It is exceedingly important for the raid to keep their group alive by moving as a unit. Too many deaths early on will be a wipe. During onslaughts 1, 3 and 5 those groups that have mages and shadow priests will refrain from soaking to prevent deaths – and if you are grouped with a shadow priests or mage don’t let their tricky mirror images and apparitions fool you!
- ToL and Tranquility. We used two druids for this encounter, so we split our tranqs to maximize them. She tranqed on the second onslaught, I tranqed on the fourth. I utilized my ToL for the second onslaught to split the cooldowns. This allowed me to have both cooldowns available again for phase 2 when there is a fair amount of raid damage. If you are the only druid on your raid team, feel free to swap the order of when you ToL and Tranq to better fit within the other cooldowns being used, just be sure that you utilize both abilities early enough in the encounter to have them back up during phase 2.
- Any Special Times for Nature’s Grace? You can try to time is so that you have it up going into onslaughts, but there is usually enough damage going out during the fight that a nature’s grace proc isn’t wasted. During the second phase, try to time it as you are hotting up the raid for a shout to maximize your rejuvs and WGs!
- Do You Do Anything Special in Phase 2? I do not! Just run through your basic raid healing routine to keep the raid up. Make smart use of nature’s grace, don’t forget to utilize your trinkets, WG as needed for damage and SM as needed for damage. If you find yourself going OOM in the second half of the encounter, try using a little less rejuv – but lean on rejuv as much as your mana will allow and pre-hot in preparation for for shouts as you are able.
- How Do You Decide Who to Swiftmend in Phase 1? Since we ask the teams to stick to their team leader, I’ll often times try to SM that person. However, I’ll also use it on the tanks or melee as well. Since everyone is supposed to stay relatively grouped up, it shouldn’t matter who you SM, as it should hit the maximum number of people in that group.
- Why Does My Raid Suck At Barrages and What Can I Do to Fix it? If only I had a good answer to that question! The truth is that phase one is really the meat of this encounter. Once your raid learns to prioritize the barrages and sticking together, it gets easier. Outside of making sure that there is enough damage on the adds, there is nothing that is more important than working as a team to soak those barrages. I recommend zooming our camera out as far as you can, and looking down on the screen, so that you can see the entirety of your quadrant without ever having to move the camera. This is really one of those fights where everything just “clicks”. In fact, that’s how I missed FRAPSing our first kill. I was like “eh, half the raid ate solo barrages, we’ve still got some work” – and the next pull somehow he was dead!
- When do you Bloodlust? One of the most important things in this encounter is to make sure that you have one set of adds down before the next set arrives. When we were learning this fight, in order to facilitate that, we would use personal CDs for the first set of adds, Bloodlust the second set of adds, and use Potions on the third set. However,when the 10% nerf came we had a devil of a time in phase 2 because our boat was covered in fire all of the sudden. The reason ended up being because we were now killing our adds too fast and it changed the timing of the encounter for us such that we were getting fresh fire at the end of the add phase instead of during the third wave of adds. To remedy this we stopped bloodlusting the second wave of adds so that we’d take longer to kill them, and now bloodlust when Goriona lands. However, if you are struggling with killing the adds timely, do not hesitate to lust one of your add waves – if you can get through the adds, you can kill Blackhorn so don’t worry about not having lust up for him!
As always, please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions! Good Luck and Have Fun!
Ah, a new tier, a new set of nerfs and relearning how to kick ass at your class. Sounds like fun! I’m going to start Tier 13 with Hard Mode guides, as I get through them with my guild. However, if anyone has a specific request for a guide on any of the normal mode encounters please don’t hesitate to ask me if I can put one together. I do have footage of most of the normal mode encounters, and would be happy to toss something together if people feel that there is a need for the information.
As for Heroic Morchok, he’s quite a bit of fun, but can also be a little stressful from a healing standpoint – especially as a druid with our notable lack of burst AE healing. There is high raid damage that needs to be dealt with fairly quickly so that your raid is prepared to take subsequent incoming damage. It can be tricky, but it’s definitely possible for you to perform well on the encounter. Let’s take a look at how I navigated the encounter!
As always, please note that this video is best viewed in one of the higher resolutions.
A Few Tips!
- How many healers did you take? We used 6, three for each side. The enrage timer on the boss is fairly strict, so unless you have some seriously standout DPS you will probably not be able to take more than 6 healers at this stage in the content. We used a priest/paladin/druid combination on the left side and a priest/shaman/druid combination on the right side.
- Tank Cooldowns. Something that I neglected to mention in the video is that the tanks receive a debuff after each stomp that causes them to take increased damage. It will be important that the have a personal or external cooldown for each stop, and that the tanks and the healers work out a cooldown rotation in advance. We even had our ret paladins assisting with a bubble/sac to ensure that we had enough cooldowns for every stop.
- Raid Cooldowns. As I indicated in the video, the tricky part of the fight isn’t having the raid survive the stomp, it’s having the raid survive the crystal after the stomp. This becomes more challenging as Morchok’s life decreases and his damage ramps up significantly. As such, we found it far more beneficial to utilize raid cooldowns to mitigate the crystal damage as opposed to trying to mitigate the stomp damage. This opens up a world of possibilities, as the crystal damage is shadow based, making thinks like Aura Mastery and Anti-magic Zone excellent options for mitigating some of the damage. Similarly to the tank cooldowns, work out your raid cooldowns in advance, and be sure that you have a cooldown for every crystal in the 25-0% portion of his life when he gets really angry. Once you’ve done that, navigate the cooldowns earlier in the encounter to they are back up again for that last part, to assist with easing the burden on the healing. We used our raid cooldowns in the 75-50% portion of the encounter, and again at the 25-0% portion of the encounter.
- Oh god, my mana. Because of the damage patterns of the encounter, and our noted lack of burst healing, you will find that you rely very heavily on rejuv to manage the healing on the raid. Be sure that you innervate early and often, and conserve mana when and where you can. Try to line your first innervate up with a power torrent proc for the extra mana – you will have a need for it by the end of the fight. The “ooze” phase is a perfect time to utilize a concentration potion, so be sure to sneak one in during that down time. (I actually think I missed doing this in the video, and ended up using a normal mana potion as a result – and my mana at the end of the fight kicked me for that mistake!). Additionally, don’t be afraid to set up Hymning with your priest during the encounter either. The “ooze” phase is another perfect time to take advantage in the lack of healing needed.
Good Luck, have fun, and please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions!
388 pulls. That was the final number. It included every pull that someone face pulled Rag. It included every pull someone was in the wrong gear. That included every pull that we took before the Great Firelands Nerf (roughly half of them). Most of the kill was a blur to me, partly from the cold I had been fighting all weekend, but partly from the shock of realizing that it was finally over. I had to pinch myself this morning just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming again.
I’m sure there are those of you who are thinking “thank fucking christ, she will finally start talking about something else”. And you are right, I likely will. But before I get there, I do want to take a minute to reflect on things from the other side of the fence.
But, before we get into that I want to offer out some deep felt thank yous. First, to my guild. Has it really been seven years? Regardless of our struggles and our shortcomings, you guys are part of what makes kills like this worth fighting for, and victory taste so sweet. The experience wouldn’t be the same without you. Next I’d like to give a huge thank you to Vixsin and Derwent. You both offered strength and advice when I needed it most, and there aren’t words to express my gratitude or to thank you enough. And lastly to everyone here who stayed along for the ride and offered kind words and encouragement. Every bit of it helped, even if I didn’t tell you at the time.
Let’s move onto those reflections, before I have to grab a tissue. Read the rest of this entry »
Caveat: This post is somewhat unorthodox in that it is actually a repost of something that I posted for my guild today on our forums. We have had, arguably, two of our best nights working on heroic Rag – yet everyone’s morale (including mine) seems to be tanked. Because of that, I spent a lot of time last night thinking. And, ultimately, this is what came out of those thoughts. The reason that I’ve reposted it here, is because I am somewhat fascinated with the fact that of everything else – this is where my brain made a connection. And I think the topic and similarities in and of themselves are extremely interesting. As such, I thought it was something that a lot of my readers would enjoy and would spark a fair bit of conversation, which in turn I think would be equally as fascinating. I am very much looking forward to everyone’s thoughts. However, since standing alone it may read a little strangely, I thought that adding context was important.
I am not an overly religious person, but at some point in my education I was tasked with reading a play called J.B.. It is exceptionally good, if you are interested in it, and I believe it even won a Pulitzer prize. Anyhow, the play is essentially a modern day version of The Book of Job, which consequently I was also tasked with reading.
Right about now, you are probably wondering why the fuck I am bringing this up, and exactly what does it have to do with raiding. Well, I’ll get there. Eventually.
The Book of Job
As I said above, I’m not really a very religious person, but the story of Job really resonated with me and is something that has provoked many of my thoughts and outlooks. The Beru’s notes (I’m trademarking that shit as soon as I’m done typing this…) version of the story goes something like this (please forgive me any missteps that I may have in my retelling of the story, and note that I’m not going to go into much of the theological debate surrounding the story, as I’m hardly qualified to do so):
Job is an incredibly pious man. Satan comes to God and theorizes that the only reason that Job is as devout as he is, is because God has afforded him many luxuries in life and Job has never really known hardship. Satan and God have a debate about it, and eventually Satan asks God if he can prove his point by testing Job. God agrees to permit it. Over time Satan, with God’s blessing, takes away everything that Job had and cared about – his family, his livelihood, his home. Job’s wife pleaded with Job to forsake a God who could be so cruel, and yet Job was unmoving in his beliefs and devotion. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s been awhile since I’ve done an update, but that’s partly because I don’t know how much there is to update. In the game not a ton has changed. I mean, some things have, but mostly things are the same. However, there are a few things that I’d like to say, and I figure this is as good a place as any to say them.
I Love My Guild
As I often tell the guild, this is something I don’t think I say enough. So I’m going to just say it. I have the privilege to raid with a group of people that for the most part I genuinely enjoy spending time with. Maybe some of them stand in the fire more than I’d like, but as a whole there is no one in my guild that I just can’t stand. And I believe that is a pretty rare thing.
Why am I telling you this?
Well, it’s kind of two fold. Firstly, anytime I use my blog as a brain dump/stress relief/dear diary therapy I invariably get that one comment about how maybe I need a break, or need to find a different community for my raid time. I’m just going to put it out here: I don’t. One of the reasons I started this blog was to get thing out of my head. To put my stress in a medium that isn’t me screaming at my raid.
And you know what? It’s worked. I’m a significantly calmer raid leader because I have a venue where I can dump my thoughts and stresses, and where I can get feedback (or commiserate) on the struggles that I may be facing. I’m pretty open about everything that happens, and I like that. So, I wanted to let people know that I really do love where I am and the people I am with.
Read the rest of this entry »
(image by Dan Scott can be found at Dan Scott Art)
On September 1 we took our first three pulls on Heroic Rag, to “see what he was all about”. On September 6, we started working the fight in earnest. We are now some odd 345ish pulls into the fight, and each additional night that we work on the fight a small part of my soul dies. I no longer have the energy to get angry when people make mistakes. Many times the first two phases of the fight feel mostly like just going through the motions. It’s like a dance that I’ve done 100 (well, more like 300) times.
For about the first 250 pulls I was energetic. Enthusiastic. Excited. But somewhere between then and now I just feel…tired. At one point, if I was asked if the fight was “fun” I would have said that yes, I was enjoying the progression. But that point has long past. Now it’s mostly just frustrating. I have little patience for my own mistakes, and less patience for others. Spending 7 minutes just to have a son hit the hammer because someone made a bad decision makes me want to put my fist through my monitor. Spending 9 minutes to get into our new “progression” phase, only to get 60 or 90 seconds of “progression” and then having to start over makes me want to kick a kitten.
Which brings me to the question: Are 400 pull fights good design? Read the rest of this entry »
I had a dream last night that we killed Heroic Ragnaros.
In a swimming pool.
Well, more on the deck of the swimming pool. There were only five people alive: myself, our moonkin, our two tanks and another healer (but I can’t for the life of me remember who it was). The tanks kited Rag around the deck of the pool. And myself and the moonkin were on a white mat on the deck. And I screamed at ANYONE who got close to our mat, much like Joe Pa might when it is clear the Ref cashed the other team’s check before the game. DON’T YOU STEP ON THAT MAT AND BLOW US UP! I SWEAR TO CHRIST I WILL KICK YOUR ASS ALL THE WAY TO CANADA IF YOU DO! The tanks ran round and round. The moonkin dps’d. And I…screamed. A lot.
When he died, everyone jumped into the pool in celebration with our moonkin doing a cannonball to put all other cannonballs in history to shame. And then I woke up and remembered that no, he wasn’t dead. Yes, we are some 300 odd pulls into the fight and still haven’t killed him. I wanted to curl back up and find sleep again, in that dream where it was all over. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been admittedly dragging my feet putting this video together, and it took me awhile to figure out why. But as I was lying in bed this morning, going “Beru, get your Staghelm video done today!” I realized that the reason I’ve been slow with it is simply because there just isn’t much to heal in this encounter! There is less about healing in this particular guide than in my others, but there are still a few druids related tips that I offered.
(please note that this video will be best viewed in one of its higher resolutions)
A few notes!
- The Healers – We use 5 healers, because our healers help to soak orbs because of our melee heavy roster. A lot of guilds will use only 4 healers (one in each quadrant), and have their healers keep legendary concentration through the orb phase to assist with the healing. Ultimately, you will have to decide what works best for your raid team and build your strategy.
- The Tank – This is a one tank encounter. Not much changes for the tank between heroic and normal, so they should be able to easily translate things like cooldown usage easily into heroic.
- Tranquility – I actually break one of my rules here, and don’t maximize my tranquility. Really, outside of the orb phases there isn’t much use for it. I do try to use it in both orb phases, however in this particular pull where I have the clumped up orb, I just don’t have the time to stop to cast with the constant rotation. When there is just one orb up, it’s very easy to communicate to my soaker partner that he needs to move because I’m tranqing. When push comes to shove, use it when you feel it’s best and will give the best benefit to the raid.
- Barkskin, Baby! – There are a lot of optimal times in this encounter for Barkskin. Orb soaking, searing seeds, cat leaps. Don’t hesitate to utilize it when you are going to be taking damage! It’s a very short cooldown, and can help save your life, or at least make it easier.
- Telegraphing Cat Leaps - I mentioned in the video that as the fight goes on, those cat leaps become more potent. To the point that if you aren’t already moving when he lands, you are likely going to die. The best way to do this is pay close attention to his energy, when he hits 100 already be on the move if he’s coming your direction. Don’t wait for him to land before you take action or you will likely end up dead.
Searing Seeds Power Aura
Here is the aura that I use for the searing seeds. I have it set to go off at 7 seconds so I have ample time to get clear of everyone else, you may wish to adjust the timer to suit your play.
Version:4.21; InvertAuraBelow:10; buffname:Searing Seed; bufftype:2; texture:10; alpha:1; sound:25; y:171; timer.h:3.42; timer.enabled:true; timer.cents:false; timer.y:104
It’s not Monday, and I’m a bit behind on everything, so here is my weekly brain dump on, er, Wednesday. But with good reason! Which I will tell you about later. Maybe.
Things are pretty static on this front, without much to report! Which isn’t necessarily bad. We snagged a second Baleroc kill (not without some effort, but it wasn’t too painful) and ended up with a good amount of time to flirt with Heroic Ragnaros for the first time. Except it was a holiday weekend. And no matter how many times you ask people to give you a heads up on their holiday intentions, it’s always a scramble at the last-minute when raid time comes.
That means we only got one of two nights to focus on him – but were able to go in an 24 man Heroic Cho’gall and Sinestra on Sunday with a few friends and family members tossed in to help. Alas, she was stingy with her Shard of Woe, which made us all a little sad. But Monday, with the healers showing that they don’t believe in vacations and free beer, we were able to go in and play around a bit with the big fire kahuna. And it was a lot of fun.
I’m quite sure that after week 3 the novelty of finding new and interesting ways to wipe on Heroic Rag will wear off, but for now it’s still fresh enough that people seem to be enjoying the progress. We have approached the fight with the mentality that this will take months to master, and each night we look at the next small step we need to accomplish to get to the end goal - a kill. Breaking the massive encounter up into smaller pieces of progression markers makes the encounter a little less intimidating for me, and I’d like to think others as well. While the end result is still a kill, we are trying to make sure that we don’t burn out our guild trying to get there. Each small achievement is one more step down that path. And eventually enough small successes will combine themselves into a large success.
We’ll get a kill on our time, and my only goal is to see that happen before the next content patch. Personally, I’m looking forward to the challenge. Read the rest of this entry »
Heroic Baleroc. The “healers” fight for this expansion. I think I’m going to rename it to “the fight where your disc priests and paladins completely kick your ass!”. I jest! In all honesty, when push comes to shove, this fight is more about the raids situational awareness and ability to meet the enrage timer than it is about the healing. I’d say that it’s probably 60% situational awareness, 20% DPS, 10% healing and 10% OH GOD TANK USE ANOTHER COOLDOWN! There are a lot of moving factors with the encounter, but once you get it down, it’s a lot of fun. Oh, and don’t sit idle if you are told that you can’t heal this fight. We used a 1 paladin, 2 disc priest and 2 resto druid healing combination to learn the encounter and repeat our kill. We are absolutely viable on this encounter ;)
With such a quick encounter, it doesn’t leave a whole lot of time in the videos for much information outside of just walking through how I heal, so there are quite a few tips that I couldn’t get into the video below!
As always, please note that this video is best viewed in one of the higher resolutions.
A few tips!
- Save your glory for another fight. You will not be able to keep up with your Holy Paladins and Disc Priests on this encounter. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try! Just don’t be discouraged if they more than double your healing done. To give you an example, on our second kill I think I ranked like 68th in the world on WoL at ~23k HPS while our disc priest ranked at only 123 with just under 42k HPS. Also, don’t fight your disc priests and your paladins for the chance to supercharge their spark stacks. They have the best tools to keep your tanks alive on this fight, and they really are going to be your strongest healers for that job. It’s ok! You are still viable, but they truly should get the juicy roles this time!
- Don’t Believe Everything You See. While both Skada and Recount do a fair job in attempting to track absorbs, they aren’t 100% accurate, especially on this encounter. I don’t know why, but they seem to struggle in allocating which absorbs are being used. You can see in the video the pink bar just dominates across the top of my healing/absorb meter. However, when you upload the parse into WoL it tells you a vastly different story. The reason that I’m sharing this is so that if you have struggles while learning the fight, you know not to rely solely on recount/skada to review what may be healing issues.
- Power Building Spark Stacks. You probably heard me mention “Power building” a few times. Let me explain what that is! For our first two ranged shards we have a shadow priest that “solos” the shard. This allows the healers that are on that shard to build stacks very, very quickly. The way that this works is that at 11 stacks the shadow priest gets a Pain Suppression. At 19 stacks the shadow priest disperses. By the end of the shard, they will have ~25 stacks of torment and healers that are focused on them can really juice up their vital spark stacks. The two healers who will be the main healers focused on the tank should be assigned to these two shards so that they can build >100 spark stacks in that time and focus solely on the tanks after that. (You will notice that in the video I mention I try to sneak a few quick heals in to boost my stacks as well).
- The Numbers. We use 2 tanks, 5 healers and 18 dps for this encounter. This really requires your DPS to push themselves hard to meet the enrage timer (you saw we came just short of it in the video). Some people utilize a one tank strategy for the encounter, but that puts a lot of extra burden on your healers during decimation blade. A two tank strategy is the more stable strategy if you have the DPS to navigate the encounter. As a side note, our first kill also came just shy of the DPS timer, but our OT that night (a feral druid aka Brade) saw it coming and lined up some hefty magic (aka hax druid cooldowns) and was able to tank out the last few seconds of the fight after the Inferno Blade tank died.
- The Healing. We set up the fight in the following fashion. Shard 1: Disc/Paladin ranged shard (shadow priest), Resto Druid melee shard, Disc/Resto Druid Baleroc Tank. Shard 2: The same as Shard 1, only the paladin swaps over to the Baleroc tank when his shadow priest is at ~19-20 stacks of torment to help smooth the transition. Shard 3: Disc/Paladin/Druid on Baleroc Tank, Disc on ranged shard, Druid on melee shard. Shard 4: Disc/Druid on Baleroc Tank, Paladin builds stacks, Disc/Druid same as shard 3. Shard 5: Disc/Paladin on Baleroc tank, Druid on tank/building sparks as able, Disc/Druid same as Shard 3. All remaining shards are the same as Shard 5. Now, there are a few times that the healers change. If one of the two torment healers receives the tormented debuff, they are paired off with another healer and they swap assignments while tormented is active. So the tormented healer heals the tanks, while the non-tormented healer heals the shards. Our disc priests are paired up and our resto druids are paired up. Now, if BOTH end up having tormented, other healers need to step in and help with the torment targets. This healing strategy may not work for everyone, but works well for us.
- Tormented. This is really the bane of this encounter! It is essential to have a game plan for how to deal with back ups when one of your shard soakers has tormented. It’s also pretty important for you melee to have a “game plan” for how to move, so that they don’t infect each other. We work out back ups in advance, and often have to have a ranged back up step in to help the melee. The biggest piece of advice that I can give anyone about dealing with the tormented debuff is to have good communication. Once you work that out, the debuff becomes a lot easier to manage. The second piece of advice that I can give regarding it is to set designated “clean” areas that people should stand in if they aren’t afflicted with torment and “dirty” areas where they should be if they are. This should help prevent unintentional spread of the debuff around the raid.
- MORE DODGE! I can’t say that I know a lot about tanking this fight, and I’m not going to pretend that I can give you much advice on that front. However, I will say that your decimation blade tank will be your healer’s best friend if s/he can dodge as many of those decimation blades as possible. Decimation blade tanks should work to build avoidance sets specifically for this fight. How they go about doing that is beyond my knowledge, but I’m sure you can find the information with a few clicks and a google search!
I almost forgot! Power Auras! I added two new auras for this encounter. One to let you know when you have the tormented debuff and one to let you know that you have countdown and how much time is left on the debuff.
Version:4.21; buffname:Tormented; x:-307; bufftype:2; alpha:1; owntex:true; y:142; texmode:2
Version:4.21; buffname:Countdown; x:200; bufftype:2; alpha:1; owntex:true; y:92; texmode:2; timer.h:4.05; timer.enabled:true; timer.cents:false; timer.y:48; timer.x:240
Once your healers get into a groove, this fight really becomes less about the healing and more about the raid focusing weaving through the torment mechanics. Between the video and what I posted above, I think I covered most everything, but if you have any questions (or I missed something!) please don’t hesitate to let me know! Good Luck and Have Fun!