Archive for the ‘Hard Modes’ Category
Halfus Wyrmbreaker is the next in my series of narrated Resto Druid guides. Halfus is probably the easiest of the thirteen hard modes in this tier of content, and is likely the first one that you will encounter. I’m actually tank healing for this fight, so it will have a slightly different perspective than the other videos that I’ve done to date. As always, I’ve added some additional notes below the video
A friendly reminder that this video will be viewed best at one of the higher resolutions, and either on YouTube or in full screen.
A few notes!
- Atonement – In before half the internet corrects me, atonement is FIFTEEN yards. I mistakenly indicated that it had a sixteen yard range in the video, so have everyone take one step closer.
- Hand of Protection – You heard me state that I received our “first Hand of Protection”. I forgot to mention that we HoP a healer for each roar – and if we are out of HoPs our paladins will bubble the roar.
- Power Word: Barrier – While this isn’t as vital as it was before they changed the mechanics of the encounter, it is still helpful to drop a PW:B under your tanks during the roars. (The tank tanking Halfus at the time of the roar should also utilize a cooldown as well).
- Four Dragons? – We only free four of the five dragons (we never free the one that stuns Halfus). We found that our damage was sufficient with just the 400% buff, and not having to worry about healing two tanks through the roars made them much simpler to deal with. However, there are benefits to having that last drake active, as the stuns to Halfus to mitigate a fair bit of damage. (Most people that I know that free him, don’t kill him, just free him after all of the other drakes are dead for the benefit of the stuns). You will have to decide which strategy works best for your raid team
I hope that you found the video helpful! Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have questions or feedback!
Continuing on with the narrated guides for this tier of content, I asked several places what people would like to see next – and almost universally everyone responded with Maloriak. So I tackled Maloriak next, and you’ll find the video below. I actually think that I remembered most everything this time, but did realize that I forgot to give a note about healing assignments so I’ve again added a few additional notes below.
Another friendly reminder that this video will be viewed best at one of the higher resolutions, and either on YouTube or in full screen.
Just a few things to mention:
- Breaking Down the Healing Assignments - we assign two full time healers to the Maloriak tank, the same resto druid/holy paladin combo that you saw heal for Magmaw. We assign one healer responsible for keeping up the swill tank – who will also heal him while he’s tanking the aberrations (Usually a resto druid or shaman). And one healer to heal the second aberration tank (usually our disc priest). Both of the aberration healers also assist with healing the raid. We have three healer assigned full time to the raid, who will also assist with the Maloriak tank during Engulfing Darkness (usually a holy priest, resto druid and resto shaman). All of the healers help cross heal during key parts of the encounter as needed.
- Barkskin - this is another encounter where there are lots of optimal barkskin moments. Scorching Blast, Consuming Flames, Ice Blocks, anytime in phase 2.
I hope that you found the video helpful! Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have feedback or questions!
I received a lot of positive feedback from my first attempt at a narrated guide (thank you, everyone!), so I’ve been working through some of the other encounters that I’ve taken footage for and have started adding commentary to them as well. The next encounter that I decided to tackle was Heroic Magmaw, and you’ll find the video below. As I did with the Chimaeron guide, I realized after I’d finished recording that I forgot to mention a few things in the commentary so I’ve added a few notes additional notes below.
Just a friendly reminder that this video will be viewed best at one of the higher resolution, and probably a tad larger. Because of the way wordpress auto embeds, I’ve yet to find a way to embed the videos in a larger viewing size.
A few notes that I forgot to mention in the video (one of these times I’ll say everything I mean to say!)
- Tree of Life – I mentioned that I use ToL fairly early in the encounter, but then don’t talk about when I utilize it after that. The answer is pretty much every time it comes off of cooldown, as long as we aren’t in a head phase. There is constant damage in the fight, so you will generally always be able to maximize using it.
- Barkskin – Something that I forgot to mention is that using barkskin for as many of the lava spews as you can will really help mitigate a lot of damage.
- Power Word: Barrier – While not druid related, I meant to mention that while our disc priests bubble the ranged and healers, we do drop barriers on the melee for lava spew as often as we can. This is a little less important since the hotfixes went in, as the melee are no longer in a constant state of being barbequed, but the mitigation is still extremely helpful!
I hope that you found the video helpful! Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any feedback or questions!
Last night I had my first date with Heroic Nef – and much to my disappointment, after 3 hours he rarely let me get past first base and made me buy dinner! Of course, after that date I am riddled with questions on what I (we) did wrong! Because I have so many questions that I’m trying to work through, and we barely had the chance to tickle phase 2 last night, this musings post is largely going to be a brain dump of my thoughts and questions. I’d love any feedback or insights that you may have and/or want to offer!
- One Crackle or Two in Phase 1? I’ve watched videos ad nauseam and the truth is – you see both pretty equally. Last night we had some pulls we pushed successfully with two crackles, but it was always very close. Conversely we had some pulls where Ony exploded. Something to consider is that we run 3 tanks (although our feral does some pretty beefy damage if he gets MC’d after he’s rounded up all the adds) and 7 healers (with our healing make up, I do not feel it’s reasonable for us to do it with 6 healers – and I believe our DPS is strong enough to support 7).
- Related to question 1 – if we take only one crackle will that negatively affect us in phase 3? I’m really concerned about pushing 81-83% of Nef’s health in phase 3. More specifically, I’m worried about keeping our kiter standing for that much of Nef’s health. Maybe I’m just being a nervous nelly about it – as DPS will only continue to increase as everyone grows more comfortable with managing the MC mechanic.
- Nef DPS vs. Ony DPS? How much do you allocate to each? I’m not entirely sure that we had it “right” last night – which means I’m not entirely sure that we can make an adequate assessment of our ability to push two crackles. I feel that we are missing something fundamental in when, how, and how much DPS to allocate to both Ony and Nef to facilitate the crackles. On our most successful two crackle pulls I moved 3 people to Nef as soon as he landed (2 hunters and a warrior), kept everyone else on Ony until she reached 50%, then had 6 DPS stay on Ony and everyone else switch to Nef.
- WTF is with Ony’s Threat? Seriously. I don’t know if anyone else has experienced this, or if it’s something that we are doing that makes her go all weird – but we’ve had the following happen with any number of tanks that have tanked Ony: Tank jumps down, pulls Ony and starts to move her to position. Hunters/Rogues MD Ony into tank. Omen clearly shows that tank has threat on Ony. Ony doesn’t care that the tank has threat and bounces around as if threat is on several people. In fact, one time last night I had Ony threat – and she thought I was very tasty indeed. At the point I had threat, I’d done almost no healing outside of a LB stack and a rejuv on the tank. Do other people have this problem? Is it an issue with how she reads threat? Is it an issue with how she reads MD threat? WTF is going on with it?
- Are you spamming “2″ fast enough? I think we had some people far more successful with managing the MC buff than others. Those that were most successful mapped “2″ to their mousewheel down and just spammed that in addition to mashing their “2″ button. As we spent more time in phase 1, I definitely think people got better at handling this, which means their DPS increased, but I think some people still struggled. I have absolutely zero insight on this, as I break my MC as soon as it comes up. Anyone have tips on how to “mash 2 harder”? (And yes, we had traps/earthbind totems for everyone).
- To trinket or not to trinket? We’ve not made a definitive decision on this yet, but we have asked everyone to get their ass out to Tol’Barad and start working the dailys for tokens until we do decide. Last night, I’m not sure that we lost anyone to a crackle. We had a barrier and a raid wall to mitigate the damage – and even if we missed our barrier as long as people were topped up they survived. While I think that it would help mitigate damage, I’m not entirely sold on it being “necessary”. Things to consider: We will likely always have two disc priests and a raid wall – at worst we will have two of the three.
- Phase 2 healing? Even though we didn’t get a lot of phase 2 time last night, and the times we did get there we either blew people up or missed interrupts, the times we did get there had me question how to heal the phase. I’m wondering if it would be best to have a healer that focuses on the cinder people, and another that focuses on the non-cinder folks – cross healing as necessary. Does it need to be that dictated? Am I over complicating it?
Even though our date last night was a little lackluster, Nef did kindly ask me out again tonight. I’m hoping to spend more time in phase 2 tonight, which will, I’m sure, only create more questions! But to get there, I think I need to answer the first set of questions with regards to phase 1. I’m completely open to (and welcome!) any feedback and/or experiences that anyone may want to share
This is my first attempt at doing a narrated video guide. If people find it helpful, and would like to have more along this vein, I will probably put together additional videos. This was my first time utilizing the voice record software, and I’m not particularly familiar with it, so hopefully for the next one I’ll have a little more knowledge on how it works and will feel brave enough to edit some of the narration.
Note that the video will be best viewed in one of the two HD settings – and larger. Wordpress auto embeds YouTube videos, and try as I might, I can’t convince it that I want it to embed at a larger size!
I realized that there are a few things that I didn’t address in the video – so I wanted to just briefly touch base on them now.
- Topping off the tanks after the feud. Because the tanks keep getting attacked during the feuds on heroic, you must top your feud tank up to full health very quickly. We utilize a combination of Lay on Hands rotations and priest cooldowns on them right as feud hits so that the tank healers can get them topped up quickly enough to survive the hits. The two tank healers have to really heal hard to get them stabilized while the raid healers get the raid ready for caustic slime. Additionally, the tank tanking the feud will use large cooldowns (Shield Wall, for example) for the double attack during the feud so that he can survive the hit.
- What do I do if Swiftmend is on CD and there is no OoC proc? You have a few options – if your target is someone that self heals as well (priest/paladin) a rejuv will get them up to 10k life as long as you get it out quickly. Outside of that, you will have to take the mana hit and regrowth them without the OoC proc. I tend to rejuv into a regrowth – just in case my regrowth isn’t big enough to hit the 10k mark – that ensures that my target will be topped up sufficiently.
- Oh God, my Mana! One thing I neglected to mention, and should have, is that this is an incredibly mana intensive encounter for druids. Our toolkit isn’t ideal for the mechanics of the fight, and you will find that you will likely blow through a ton of mana every feud phase just trying to keep the raid stabilized. You will see in the video that going into that last feud phase my mana is quite low, and in our early kills I was completely OOM at the end of that phase, with not a drop of mana left to DPS during phase 2. To help combat this as best as you can, make sure that you are innervating early, and on cooldown after that. It is also really important to make sure you are healing just as much as you need to be, and not more. You are able to sneak in a concentration potion between the feud and the massacres, as long as you communicate that you will be out for a spit so that another healer knows to cover your target. I tend to just utilize a mana potion.
- Battle Rezzes – If you don’t have to battle rez your tanks *ahem* or a DPS midfight, be sure to use your battle rez on DPS that die early into phase 2. They will return to life at full health and will be able to continue contributing to the raid!
- Hand of Salvation – Have your paladins pump Hands of Salvation into your DPS that lack threat drops/survivability (Moonkins, DPS Warriors, DKs) throughout the fight to keep them low on threat so that they have a greater chance of survivability in phase 2. You ideally want your rogues, hunters and mages at the top of the threat list after your tanks as they have shenanigans that will let them live longer in phase 2, buying the raid additional time with more people alive to push through the phase.
I hope that you found the video helpful. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have feedback or questions!
Having spent the past two full raid nights with Heroic Omnitron Defense System, I’ve had a few things on my mind. Including, but not limited to, if it’s ever appropriate to give a motivational speech to the raid that includes: “would you be willin’ to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!”. Since I’m fairly certain that I can work it in somehow, I’ve been brushing up on my Scottish accent.
However, setting aside my closeted desire to emulate William Wallace, I’ve been mulling over the use of interrupts as an “interesting” boss mechanic. We all know that Blizzard works hard to make encounters that are unique and “fun” – but from time to time I find myself facing certain mechanics in encounters that really just don’t seem very “fun”, and seem to be there just to make someone’s life miserable for the 5-10 minutes that the encounter is active.
For me, I’m finding that some of the interrupt requirements that we are seeing in this tier of raid content are more of a nusiance than an interesting mechanic of the encounter. Now please don’t get me wrong – I don’t think that all of the encounters that have an interrupt requirement are poorly designed, and I do think that some are engaging for the raid, but there are a few that I really don’t find “fun” for either the player saddled with the job or the raid as a whole. In fact, I’m pretty sure we have an elemental shaman that weeps the tears of his ancestors every time we get to Maloriak in our raid week.
To better analyze the use of interrupts as an “interesting” mechanic, let’s break down the encounters of this tier of content that have a requirement, and rate them. Read the rest of this entry »
Last week I had the luxury of being a complete and total bum. That is to say that I took vacation time with the sole purpose of pretty much doing, well, nothing. Ok, that’s not entirely true. I had wanted to get old update posts hosted on a different web host transferred over to the new host before the paid time expired on the old host. However, my laziness won out and that task totally did not happen.
Sometimes you just need a week of lazy. But lazy or not, the world (of warcraft) still turns. And things must go on. So in order to get back into the swing of things, I thought I should go ahead and let everything that has been gathering in my brain for the past week air out, so that I can perhaps get some fresh thoughts in the old belfry.
We have started work on our 6th hard mode: Conclave of Wind. We spent about 3.5 hours with it last night, trying to work through the kinks and really with a few tweaks I think we should net a kill fairly soon. We had the basic issues that everyone has with Rohash’s platform – but as people got more comfortable with it the mistakes slowed down. We didn’t really have issues with surviving the ultimates – and generally had both Rohash and Anshal down to ~30% before entering the second ultimate.
Really, the only bad thing about the encounter, in my opinion, is that it is very reminiscent of Vaelstraz in the wipe/run back repeat approach. When first learning the fight, you tend to wipe very early into it…repeatedly. With there being no trash to clear, and the wipes coming very close together, this means that you have wipes in very quick succession while trying to work through all of the mechanics/kinks. That in and of itself is one of the challenges in the encounter to my mind. It’s hard to keep people fresh and on their toes for wipe after wipe, with little or no reprieve in-between.
It’s my hope that we can shore up this encounter and net a kill tonight so we can start a new hard mode next week – but it may take us another night or two to work through everything.
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I have been following the Mastery vs. Haste debate over at EJ for the past couple of weeks. I’m going to be honest here and tell you that it mostly just made my head explode. However, one of the things that I saw keep popping up with some regularity was how many people felt reaching the 2005 Wild Growth break point was invaluable, even if if meant dropping down to a few 246 pieces to get there. This, of course, got me thinking about haste – and more specifically my haste. Read the rest of this entry »
Last night after our 25 man raid, our 10 man group got back together for some more HM LK pulls. We had roughly 90 minutes of time before our Disc Priest had to go to work. This is the first time ever that we’ve gotten back to back pulls on this encounter without having at least a week in between pulls. Every week we’ve had progression, but last night we had something new: consistency. The morale of our raid, including mine, from Sunday night to last night got a huge (much needed) boost.
We took a total of 7 pulls, and 5 of those 7 made it into the final phase. This isn’t the first time we’ve made it into this phase, quite the contrary we’ve been here sporadically over the past 3 or 4 weeks, but this is the first time we’ve pushed into the phase consistently. We had 5 pulls in a row where we made it into that final phase. And of those 5 pulls, only one of them fell apart because someone (or three someone’s, to be exact!) died during harvest soul. Hell, we are making it through several Harvest Souls even!
So, what is killing us? Vile Spirits.
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When we scheduled our Hard Mode kill order for our 25 man progression team, we placed Sindragosa last…right before Lich King. To be perfectly honest, we were simply dreading the encounter. After struggling for weeks with Hard Mode Putricide we were a little anxious going into Sindragosa, and worried about how we would handle the intricacies of the encounter. However, I am sometimes surprised at our adeptness for certain things. As it turns out, when using a K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) strategy for the fight, it isn’t quite as bad as you’d think!
Now, I know that the fight has been around for quite some time. I know that the first kill was months ago. However, there just aren’t a lot of strategy discussions out there for people looking for tips on dealing with the encounter in Hard Mode, which is still a bit of a challenge even with the ICC buff. As such, I thought I’d share our relatively simple approach to the encounter.
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