Archive for the ‘Hard Modes’ Category
Happy Monday, Everyone! Why is Beru so happy on a Monday? Well, mostly because after some very long travel I am finally back home. It feels good to come back home after living in a hotel for 10 days and raiding at the mercy of hotel internet for that period of time. And believe it or not, it feels good to actually cook a meal. Eating out really does start to lose its luster after about day four (and the five pounds you add in the time you are gone). Anyhow, I have some musings to dump out of my head after so much time. Forgive me if they ramble a bit, but I really need this brain dump.
Raiding has been very good to us as late. Last week we knocked out Heroic Staghelm. This week we saw Heroic Baleroc tumble after just two nights of work on him. Not only that, but the raid team surprised me with a one shot on heroic Staghelm and over 30 seconds left on the enrage timer. Truth be told, I think everyone was expecting a second Staghelm kill to take a few pulls to shore up and most people were as pleased as I was when we walked in, high on our Baleroc kill, and knocked him out fairly easily. We had a few deaths at the end of the second set of orbs (I let my co-soaker die :( ) but we pulled it out beautifully.
Healing Staghelm is a bit odd. There really isn’t much healing to be done on the fight outside of the orb phases – which are pretty healing heavy. Other than that it’s mostly just keeping the tank alive and topping up people who took damage from seeds or a leap. In fact, we have one priest who goes smite spec and DPSes everything but the orb phases. It hard to tell if I have a good grasp of the best way to heal the fight, as I help to soak an orb, which means I have lower legendary concentration up time. So it’s hard to tell if I should be doing certain things differently, or if I am doing things properly but see lower healing output than I’d like (comparatively) as a result of lower concentration. Read the rest of this entry »
The next Tier 12 boss that we tackled was Heroic Alysrazor. In all honesty, this has been one of my favorite fights so far this tier. I don’t know if it’s the running around rampantly while casting, or just all the different aspects of the encounter. I just really had a lot of fun learning the fight. The video that you see below was our second kill. I made a few large mistakes that I wasn’t happy with in our first kill, so I captured our repeat performance for the video (which I also make mistakes in!). Because the fight is so long, I was actually able to cover most everything in the video, but I do have a few things to add below.
Please note that this video is best viewed at one of the higher resolutions.
A few notes!
- Mana – It’s pretty much a non-issue on this encounter. This is largely because you get a full mana reset every full rotation. You will likely have to innervate in phase 1 the second time around (and perhaps the third, if you have a third) because you do go through a fair chunk of mana during the AE, but I was never really pinched on mana to the point that I felt I needed to hold back or be particularly “smart” about what and when I was casting. Don’t hesitate to bomb your tanks as needed, you will have the opportunity to refuel :)
- Haste Cooldowns - Outside of the big damage phases at the start and in phase 4, there really isn’t a huge need for saving your haste cooldowns. Use them freely to help heal the tank during heavy damage phases, such as tantrums.
- Tank/Healer Communication - I did touch on this in the video some, but I wanted to reiterate it here. Communication between your tanks and your healers is important. You tanks should communicate when they are going to make fast transitions to a worm (such as heroic leap or feral charge), and they should also communicate when they are going to take a tantrum without a cooldown, or for an extended period of time. Additionally, tanks should communicate meteor navigation so that they don’t end up out of LoS of their healers while moving around meteors that spawn in their worm areas.
- Dodging the Bad - It can get kind of hairy, and can be tricky to navigate everything going on during the fight. You will get into a grove after some practice, and it will become almost second nature to dodge fire worms and the brush fires. However, it is important while you are learning the fight that you make a concerted effort to stay clear of things that will do damage to you. The extra GCDs that it takes to fix those mistakes at the wrong time could potentially be the death of a tank. Once you get the hang of running around while casting, it gets hard to remember that you cannot run and cast on every fight!
- Tornadoes - Remember, you are only responsible for you in tornado phases. You cannot save stupid here, and you will likely kill yourself trying. If you are comfortable enough to toss out a heal or two, go for it. But do not risk your life because someone else got careless. You are number one in this phase of the fight and everyone else needs to be responsible for themselves. I will swap my LB to myself for this phase and Barkskin right as the tornadoes are spawning as an extra precaution.
Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have questions. Good Luck and Have Fun!
So, this weekend I saw Cowboys vs. Aliens. I will come out and say right now that the only redeeming thing about the movie was getting to see Daniel Craig in chaps for two hours. In fact I’d even go far enough to say that I got more enjoyment out of wiping to Alysrazor all night on Sunday than I did watching that movie. I mean, to be fair, I really didn’t have high expectations for the movie from the start. I mean, the concept just seemed…off to me. Be that as it may, even Brade rated it as “wait for video”!
We have been working on Heroic Alysrazor. Contrary to what my raid may believe, I find it a really fun fight, but that might just be because I get to run around and cast ALL my heals while doing so. Feathers own. Anyhow, we’ve been working on the encounter and have pretty much narrowed a kill down to “everyone surviving”. If people live, we will win.
We had a 7% wipe last night, after just a night and a half working on the fight.
People have died to any number of things during the fight. Worms, brushfire, tornadoes, meteors. You name it, someone in our raid has probably died to it. Unfortunately, a kill on the encounter will boil down to individual play and survival. If our raid can live, we will have a kill. If our raid cannot live, we will wipe.
We are sub 50% after the first burn phase. We are usually low 30′s for the second burn phase.
As a leader, I feel somewhat impotent on this encounter. It’s mildly frustrating to have nothing to offer your raid outside of “just please, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY, stay out of the bad”. It’s not something that can be fixed on the macro level of the raid, but rather needs attention at the micro level of each player. Of course, after a few hours of the fight when I see someone die my inner monologue goes something like this: COME ON! I can bloodly well heal the tank, heal your brushfire eating ass, heal your tornado hitting ass AND still dodge the bad. WHY IS IT THAT YOU CANNOT DO YOUR JOB AND DO THE SAME?!?!? RAWR!!!
Of course, it’s just a few minutes after having such thoughts that I usually do something stupid and am forced to eat the words of my inner monologue. I guess that’s karma for you.
I think we will probably spend an hour or so with the fight tonight to see if we can net a kill out of her. We have a working strategy. We aren’t failing at the DPS check. So ultimately, it’s going to be up to each individual to determine our success. We will either get it done tonight, or we won’t. I’d like to think that we will – but I watched too many hours of people standing in the bad for it to be a sure thing ;)
Read the rest of this entry »
The third Firelands heroic that we tackled was Beth’tilac. It was a fairly fun fight to heal, and I definitely felt growth in how I approached healing it during our attempts leading up to the kill. For the encounter I am assigned to heal one of the spiderling/broodling DPS at their assigned cave. Of the three heroics we’ve done so far, I feel that this one has the biggest healing push as well as DPS push to get through it. It has challenging moments during phase 1, and takes literally everything you got by the end of phase 2. I had a lot of fun with the encounter, and I hope that you do as well!
Please note that this video will be best viewed at one of the higher resolutions.
A Few Notes!
- Barkskin - Even if it’s something that you regularly forget to use, you should be using it here. If for no other reason that to try and conserve some healer mana. Barkskin every time that Beth rains on the raid in phase 1, and then on cooldown in phase 2.
- Timing Haste Cooldowns - I touched on it very briefly in the video, but wanted to address it in more detail here. You should make every effort to time your haste cooldowns, when possible, for when you need more burst healing in the encounter. During the rain in phase 1, and anytime during phase 2. I like to start the fight with my SoW for my first WG and Rejuv on my soaker and myself going into my opening tranq and then coming out of the tranq activating NG to help stabilize the raid, even if it’s just a couple of GCDs worth of WG. Maximizing when you use that haste will be extremely helpful for this encounter.
- Managing Your Mana - I have yet to have any other encounter this tier that has taxed my mana they way this one has. I work very hard to try to manage my mana going into phase 2 so that I enter into it at at least 75%. I innervate after the first spew phase as soon as power torrent procs, and then on cooldown afterwards. I make a conscious effort not to heal more than needs to be done during the first phase. I use nourish as a filler on my soaker when I can get away with it, and even though it’s not the most effective use (hps wise) of efflorescence, I still rely on swiftmend to help get my soaker topped up because it’s cost effective and if he stays in the efflorescence, it’s cheap healing. I’m careful about how much rejuv I toss out in the first phase. I always pot. I usually use a mana potion, but I think I could probably sneak in a concentration potion early into phase 2. However, we have a number of healers who are hurting significantly more for mana than I am, so I usually yield that time for them to pot. By the end of the fight, all of your healers will be feeling the pinch.
- Tree of Life - I’m not 100% sure that I like my second ToL timing, and I’m still debating if it would be better to use that latter in the fight when you are more pinched on mana and Beth is hitting much harder. It’s a tough call because you want to conserve as much mana as possible early in phase 2, but there is still a fair bit of healing to be done. Which, ultimately, is why I opt for ToL at that juncture. I’m going to play around with moving where I use this cooldown in phase 2, and would encourage you to find a time in the phase that you think it fits your healing, and the needs of your healing team, best.
- The Healing - We use seven healers for this encounter. We’ve used any combination of our healing team while learning the fight. We send only two healers up to the web (a Holy paladin and a Resto Druid or Holy Priest), have one healer assigned to each of the three caves/soakers, and have two healers assigned to the drone tank/raid. When Beth spews on the raid in phase 1, everyone does what they can to help keep the raid alive. In phase 2, we have two healers on the tanks and the other five dealing with the raid damage.
- Communication - I cannot stress enough how important communication is for this encounter! Your broodling teams need to communicate with each other, as well as their back ups when they miss one, are focused by the drone, etc. If a broodling makes it to the raid during the spew, it’s likely that you are going to lose members of your raid. The best thing you can do is communicate. It’s equally important that your web team have strong communication as well. Your web tank should call out when he’s up, the web healers should communicate when they are up, and the DPS should only go up after those two things happen.
Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have questions! Good Luck and Have Fun!
I finally got some video that I’m comfortable sharing with you for our heroic Shannox kills. It’s not our cleanest kill, to be perfectly honest, but I decided if I waited much longer trying to get a “perfect” shot, the guide would be obsolete. In all honesty, some of the trouble I have had with getting good footage is because in our first two kills I got myself trapped. I really struggled with that mechanic of the fight while leading the raid – and ultimately had to take a step back in the “leading” part to fix my performance. That’s not to say that I trapped myself every time we pull this fight – in fact, 95% of the time I am fine. But those first couple of kills I managed to plant right into one like a champ. In fact, our third kill, the guild was convinced we wouldn’t win unless I trapped myself and tried to convince me to do just that (I refused!).
Needless to say, you can’t get a very good feel for healing the fight from inside of a giant block of amber ;)
In this particular pull, there are still a few mistakes we make as a raid. We have a little bit of trouble resetting Rageface’s stacks early on and lose a couple of people as a result. We also lose our riplimb tank at 8% – from rewatching the video it looks like his heroic leap didn’t update his positioning in time and the game registered him still in Shannox’s spear throw. Regardless, I do feel that it’s a good representation of the encounter.
Please note that this will be best viewed in one of the higher resolutions.
A Few Notes!
- The Healing - We use 7 healers for this encounter, but in all honesty we do not need that many. In fact, we’ve been discussing cutting it down two 6. However, since our DPS is comfortable enough with the fight and we don’t have issues getting him down timely it’s not problematic to bring in 7 and gives everyone some face time and a chance at loot. We put 3 on the Shannox tank, who move with him when he kites. We put 2 on the Riblimb tank who move with him as he moves the dog around the room. And we put two on the rageface targets/raid.
- Dealing with Rageface at high stacks - It will happen that you don’t get rageface’s stacks reset and they grow unwieldy. When they become too high face rage will become almost impossible to heal, and raid cooldowns should be utilized to help keep the target alive. A hand of protection will clear it completely, while a pain suppression, guardian spirit or hand of sacrifice will likely save someone’s life. Ultimately, the best option is to get him into a trap ASAP and for everyone to get away from him and kite him upon being freed from the trap until his stacks reset.
- Communication! - This is one of the encounters where communication is key. The Shannox tank needs to be clear about when he’s going to have to kite, so that healers can be in position to heal him as he moves. The riplimb tank needs to be clear about communicating when slows should go out. The rageface DPS needs to communicate about if kiting is needed when rageface comes out of a trap, and when rageface has high stacks and his targets will need extra healing. And, lastly, the raid as a whole needs to communicate the location of crystal prison traps, and to call out if immolation traps need to be disarmed.
- Rageface - We use an arcane mage and a moonkin on rageface to help break face rage. I honestly have no idea what magic they use to make it happen, but they work very well together and it’s rare for a face rage to last longer than two seconds. If anyone is interested in how they achieve that, let me know and I can ask them!
Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have questions! Good Luck!
What? You aren’t up on your Harry Potter?! That’s ok, let me educate you a bit so that my title makes a bit more sense. You see in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban the students are given an assignment that forces them to face their worst fears. Ron Weasley’s turns out to be spiders. Of course, later in the book Ron is met with (you guessed it) giant spiders! How does this play into my musings? Well, see if you can guess how I spent most of my time yesterday! ;)
We are currently working on our third Hard Mode encounter of this tier – Beth’tilac. Last night was our second night of work on the giant widow, and our first full night of attempts. After a few strategy changes from Thursday night, we managed to work her down to 22%, and are very close to a kill.
Of the hard modes that we’ve done so far, this is the one that I’ve found the healing to be the most intensive. I am assigned to heal one of the cave/broodling/spiderling DPS and it can definitely be a bit tricky, especially when Beth is spewing all over the raid. In addition to that, the raid damage in phase 3 is brutal. I find that my mana bar is plummeting and I am still working out how to manage it a bit more so that I have the resources to push through until the very end of phase 3. I have a few ideas, but won’t get to exercise them until we get back in there for some more attempts. Read the rest of this entry »
So I had intended to tackle Heroic Shannox as my first heroic guide but, uh, I seem to be having a problem catching good footage for the video (learn more here!). We will not talk about this problem. Well, at least not right now. I promise to tell you of my Shannox struggles when I get to the video. I PROMISE! Until then, let’s move onto Heroic Rhyolith shall we? The footage that you see below is from our first kill of the encounter, so you will see some mistakes (still trying to master keeping harmony up!) and there are certainly areas for me to improve. However after a few nights with the fight I felt that I had enough of a handle on healing the encounter to offer my feedback and advice for healing it from a druid perspective. As always, I missed things that I think are helpful and important in the video and will be addressing them in some comments below the video! Additionally, please keep in mind that no one strategy will suit every guild, so take what bits you find useful and help them to create something that will work for you!
As always, please note that this video will be best viewed at one of the higher resolutions.
A Few Notes!
Healing Assignments - As I stated in the video, we used 3 priests, 2 paladins and a druid for our kill. This wasn’t intentional – it was just who was online for the raid the night we got the kill. We worked the fight with two druids and a shaman thrown into that healing mix as well, so when I say “I believe any composition will work”, I truly mean that. It’s rare that we actually have a “two paladin, three priest” combination. For the fight, two of our priests were holy and one was disc. As far as healing assignments themselves went, during the first phase the spark tank takes significant amounts of damage at times, so we had both of our paladins and our disc priest assigned to heal him. That left the two holy priests and myself to manage the raid and the fragment tank during phase 1. However, when we transferred into phase 2 we moved the disc priest to assist with raid healing and had just the two paladins pumping heals into the Rhyolith Tank. I will be 100% frank, and state that the first few times we pushed phase two we lost half the raid to the first two stomps. So it is important to have a Phase 2 plan in place for your healers!
Raid Cooldowns – We assigned two raid cooldowns/stomp in phase 2 to help ensure our survivability in that phase (yes, it really does hit that hard!). We used some of the smaller/positional ones earlier in the phase when the damage is a bit less and some of our larger, more powerful ones later into the phase. We also assigned tranqs for all of our druids – including ferals and moonkin. For our first one we used a barrier on the melee and a druid tranq (feral). For the second one we use a warrior wall/druid tranq (moonkin). For the third one we used an Aura Mastery/Druid Tranq (resto). For the Fourth one we used Raid Wall/Aura Mastery. For any that we were unfortunate enough to see after that we used our remaining warrior wall and prayers :)
Tank Cooldowns – The tanks get hit fairly hard in the second phase. Your fragment tank should pick up Rhyolith as he should have most, if not all, of his personal cooldowns available (your spark tank has likely cycled through all of his by this point). Your tank should chain his cooldowns as the damage increases to help his healers keep him stable. Additionally, any cooldowns available from the raid should be used here as well (PS, Sac, etc).
Blood Lust – You will see that we actually lusted before we hit Phase 2 of the fight. The reason that we do this is to make sure that we push Rhyolith into phase 2 before the 5 minute marker. We will lust at 4:15 into the fight, or as close to that point as possible once fragments are dead (if they are up). Alternatively, we lust with the stomp that comes in the vicinity of the 4:15 mark knowing that if they are fragments we have exactly 30 seconds to push him into phase 2. Once we lust, we ignore all fragments and sparks and just burn on him.
Liquid Obsidian – We mostly ignore this. No really. Ok, sort of ignore. We use snares on them (frost DKs are fantastic at this) and knock backs when we have to make a sharp turn so that he doesn’t eat them. Outside of that, we count on any incidental AE damage from the fragments and cleaves from the melee on the feet to keep them under control. Do note, however, that the more of these he ingests the less likely you are to push into phase 2 in a timely fashion. Should he consume more than 10, it’s almost impossible to meet the timer before he starts becoming superheated.
Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have questions! I hope you found the guide helpful and good luck!
As the title hints, today’s musings are going to be somewhat picture oriented. Partly because I’m in a picture sort of mood, but mostly because I had all these screenshots lying about for a post, and instead of making a million posts, I figured I could wrap them all up into one :)
Many things have happened since we spoke last week! First and foremost being that we had extra time in our raid week this week to finish up the last of the achievements that most folks needed for the Glory of the Cataclysm Raider meta. We still have a few more to trudge through for folks, but the majority of our raid team walked out Wednesday Night looking a bit like this:
Glory of the Cataclysm Raider
We also found the time this week, after several sub-10% wipes, to knock out heroic Rhyolith. In fact, we went in last night and nailed it so quickly that I regretted our “warm up” on Beth’tilac, as it meant that we didn’t get the opportunity to start Hard Mode work with her. So it goes! Gives us a full raid night to circle back for some of the last few achievements folks need for the T11 meta – and I’m OK with that! Oh, and here’s the video of our kill. I may or may not have used Walk This Way as the music for it. Don’t judge! I found it hilarious.
I have spent enough time with the encounter in learning it that I feel comfortable enough to go ahead and work on a video guide for the fight, so you should see that here in the near-ish future.
Heroic Rhyolith Video (guide incoming soon!)
Oh, and before I forget. Guess who got the fire kitty staff from Fandral last night? That’s right! THIS TREE!
I’m still trudging through my dailys each day. I can’t say that I’m overly thrilled by them, but I will tell you that the other night when I opened up the Druid of the Talon dailys Brade and I had a good bit of fun doing the achievements together. The kicker of this whole daily mess is that I don’t need anything from them. But being the pet collector and odd, fun thing fanatic that I am, I find myself obligated to trudge through them to get my toys. Although I have yet to expand past doing them on anyone but Beru.
Speaking of dailys. Guess who I found in my Setheria’s roost quest group the other day? None other than EJ’s Gurgthock himself. When I noticed I hollered “OMG I HAVE GURGTHOCK” to Brade - and then we both took a few minutes to explore his extremely creative attire while having a good laugh over the whole thing.
I wonder who his tailor is.
On My Hands
They are still bothering me quite a bit, sadly. I’ve been back to the doctor about it again, and they ran blood work for Rheumatoid Arthritis. I haven’t received the results from those tests yet (someone remind me to call the damn doctor and find out what is taking so long), but I remain on the quest to improve the pain on my own. You all may recall that I purchased a new chair awhile back – and it’s wonderful. I absolutely love it. And while it did solve some of my posture and back pain from extended time spent in the chair, it did not, unfortunately, alleviate all of my hand pain.
And so I continue to make improvements to my home office to try and help. This past weekend I altered to top of my desk so that I could attach a keyboard tray. While I know that it’s better ergonomically for me, the jury will remain out on if it makes it less painful for my hands. I am truly at the point that I’ll try almost anything if I think it will help.
On Non-WoW Activities
I am going to tell you all something that may make you think less of me. Brace yourselves.
I am completely, 100%, addicted to The Glee Project on Oxygen. I’ve always been a Glee fan, but I am seriously loving this show, I can’t even tell you. I have my favorites and my least favorites. And every week I cross my fingers that my favorites don’t get selected to be removed. It’s silly, I know, but it’s a lot of fun and a good way to wind down after a long night of Sunday raiding!
Non-Glee related, I am still working through the first Song of Fire and Ice book. I think I’m about half way through and I’m enjoying it quite a bit. Even though I watched the HBO series and know what’s going to happen, I still find that the author’s writing is page turning and at times I have a bit of a hard time putting the book down.
And because I can, have a cute picture of my dog.
How was your week?
Monday. You know, I often ponder why everyone hates Monday so much. Sure, it’s the start of a new week. Sure, it means that the long haul to the weekend is just beginning. But I think I’d love it if someone had a much more positive outlook regarding Mondays. How about a TGIM button? No? Alright, fine. I suppose instead I’ll offer my (somewhat) weekly brain dump here. RIGHT AFTER I GO TO KINKO’S FOR TGIM BUTTONS FOR YOU ALL!
On Raiding and Mistakes
We did well this week, and I’m quite pleased with how we performed. Mostly. We snagged a heroic Shannox kill in roughly 10 pulls on Wednesday night and then started to put some work on Heroic Rhyolith Thursday evening. It did not go as well as we’d have liked it to go, and it was clear that we needed to shore some things up in our strategy. So there was lots of conversation about what to fix, how to fix it, etc. And we decided that we’d take two hours of time on Sunday to continue working Rhyolith. Read the rest of this entry »
The other day on Twitter I was part of a debate surrounding 10 man Heroic Al’Akir. More specifically - killing 10 man Heroic Al’Akir if you were a 25 man guild. Now, needless to say, it got me pretty fired up. To the point I felt myself getting ready to say some very nasty, un-Beru like things that I would not have been at all proud of later. (It really is amazing how little, yet how much, can be said in 140 characters). So even though I had so much more to say on the topic, I stepped out of it before I said something that I would later deeply regret.
Well, I publically stepped out of it anyhow.
At home I ranted, raved and lectured about it to anyone who would listen – with “anyone” being Brade and the dog. I stomped around the house as I made dinner jabbing my finger into the air everytime I wanted to hammer a point home. Because, dammit, I had points to make. Finally Brade, hoping to curve my ranting, looked at me and said “Why are you so worked up about an argument you had with idiots on the internet?”. He probably also threw around that saying about how you aren’t suppposed to argue with idiots on the internet because they’ll just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience…or something like that. He tends to make blunt points that are hard to defend that way.
I shut up. Or at least ceased stomping and ranting and reverted to mumbling under my breath to the dog – at least she would give me her undivided attention…as long as I was with food in the kitchen anyhow. The truth is, I didn’t really have an answer to Brade’s question. Why was I so worked up about what these people thought? Read the rest of this entry »