The holiday season always gets interesting for raid teams in WoW. Usually starting right around Thanksgiving and through New Years, raid teams have an ebb and flow which can really screw up progression. The fact that Dragon Soul dropped right after Thanksgiving (holidays and college exams and parties galore) made assembling a regular team challenging. Throw in new game releases and general burnout and you have a recipe for possible disaster.
I moved to a new realm and new raid team not long before 4.3 hit. I swapped my main spec from tanking to healing and up’d my raid size from 10s to 25s. I got to score some Heroic kills in Firelands before stepping foot into Dragon Soul. I spent a couple weeks healing the fights, fine tuning my play style and figuring out how to be most beneficial to our raid team.
On the side, I stepped into LFR to get my tanking fix and grabbed a good amount of loot along the way (at this time, 6 pieces of my gear is from LFR). When I was tasked with tanking for the impending Christmas holiday, I was ecstatic (remember, deep down I will always be Prot). Our bigger challenge: a reduced heal team and lack of DPS attendance. So we downsized to 10s. Well, a 10. Our first week was rocky–we didn’t have a great comp and Gunship proved to be our demise the first night. Since we couldn’t improve on the comp on the second night, I hauled the team into LFR for a quick clear and called it a week.
Going into this week, my adorable cotank and I decided to set a raid based on the goal of progressing. We explicitly agreed that we wanted Deathwing down this week and we would stop at nothing to make it happen. Some things happened that disrupted our original plans, but we formed up and stepped into Dragon Soul on Tuesday night. And we killed. And we cleared. And suddenly, our wall in 25s was dead. Spine was down and it was only Tuesday night, and our raid time wasn’t even over! We stepped into the Maelstrom and gave Madness a couple attempts, discovering flaws in our plans (watching me get 1-shot until we paused and figured that one out) and deciding that we would return the following night and clean up the raid once and for all.
Wednesday night was plagued with issues. One of our healers got called into work. Another was stuck in traffic due to a car fire on the Interstate. Our rogue couldn’t beat the loading screen boss to get to the Maelstrom. And so we sat. For an hour. Watching as our rogue logged in from various PCs, reforming the raid and zoning in and out, trying get him into the zone. Texting our priest to see his progress down the road. In the end, we swapped our rogue for a Boomkin, pulled in Mal on his Holy Paladin, and rotated out a Resto Druid for our Disc Priest (who did make it home eventually).
And then we pulled. And made it to the 3rd platform. We were consistently hitting the 3rd platform, working out CD usage and positioning. We made it to the 4th platform and all hell broke loose. I hit up Twitter, trying to get a better read on surviving the damage. Tweeps chimed in with pointers, which I took back to the raid team and we coordinated what was going to get blown when on platforms 3 and 4.
And then we were in Phase 2. And we were plowing right along. 5 million, 4 million, 3 million, and then we lost the tanks. And then the remaining add was eating through the remaining team. And then we wiped with Deathwing at 2.9M health.
We zoned back in, knowing that the kill was in our grasp and we all agreed to do it better, simply because we knew we could.
And we engaged. We jumped platforms like champs, used CDs like we were pros, and suddenly, we’re at Phase 2 again, and we’re all alive. Our healers are full on mana. And we lit that fucker up. We chained CDs, we perfected our Bloodlust, and suddenly, there was an achievement flashing across my screen and there were yells and screams in Mumble. And then there was elation. And I closed my eyes, and I took a deep breath and realized that we had done it. We lost not a single player on our kill. We performed flawlessly. We were now the Destroyer’s End.
Congrats to Enveloping Shadows on the defeat of Deathwing. I couldn’t have asked to run with a better and more actively participating team as I did this week. Every member of that raid earned that title. Our cheerleaders in Mumble gave us the support we needed to push to be our best. Without them and their words of encouragement, the kill probably wouldn’t have felt as sweet as it did.
- Souldrinker – Raziel
- Ti’tahk, the Steps of Time – Ursal (given to Svenya with 1 minute remaining on the trade window!)
World of Logs report here.
I was standing in Org, looking at what mats I needed to give my hunter to make Prismatic Elixirs for tonight’s raid and I shit you not, I have the following conversation:
I give Dirt credit, he’s CTC capped with absolutely nothing. But sorry, I’m going to have Mark and a DK buff 99% of the time, and I use my standard concoction Prismatic and Mastery elixirs, so I’m not going to overdo it on the Mastery just so I can stand in town and tell other Paladins that “OMG YOU AREN’T CAPPED.”
But thanks for telling me how to play my class…
EDIT: I added him to my friends list to finish the convo when he decided to sign back on. Here’s what I said: “FWIW, I hit cap through Mark/Horn and Elixir of the Master. I’m actually at 102.43% raid buffed. I don’t bother to aim for cap outside of a raid like you’ve managed to.” I didn’t get a response back (no surprise there).
Hiya WoW Insider readers (again!)…if you didn’t think I was a conceited asshole (based on some of the comments I’ve gotten I seem to think some people missed the “yes, I’m an asshole” line in the post), let me reaffirm my stance with tonight’s LFR screenshot…
Tonight’s LFR fun can be found within this pic:
And yes, I browse my LFR tank’s Armories if I’m laying dead on the ground for whatever reason. I’m not green when it comes to tanking on a Paladin…don’t attempt to bullshit me when I can look at your stats and *know* you aren’t as qualified as you say you are…
“Fucking twat shit talking” did make my night though. I cackled maniacally in Mumble when I read that.
So patch 4.3 dropped about 4 weeks ago and I’ve been mucking around with my guild in the raid two nights a week. On off-nights some of us get together and step into LFR, hoping that our unity and skill can power us through what is admittedly the most painful experience I’ve had since Ret Paladins got buffed in the Pre-Wrath patch and farmed us in BGs.
I’ve stepped into LFR in every role (tanking on Raz, healing on Gabby,and DPSing on Azzy) and each time a little part of me dies inside. I’ve encountered good players, bad players, and everything in between. I’ve referred to LFR as “Looking for Retards” and “Looking for Regrets,” and sadly, they are both still spot on. Let’s discuss why:
You can lead a horse to water…
…but you can’t force them to drink. Welcome to LFR:
- 1/3 of your raid will have a clue
- 1/3 of your raid can’t bother to read mechanics and then dies on everything
- 1/3 of your raid thinks they know what’s going on but in reality they are as lost as the previous 1/3
You have a 50/50 chance of your tanks:
- Actually knowing how to tank
- Having a health pool that isn’t comparable to a plate healer
- Actually knowing the fight
Your goal is to find a tank who has at least 1 of the above skills and has the ability to learn. If you can find a tank with all 3 qualities, sacrifice something to the gods for giving you a lucky day.
You hope that your healers:
- Actually have healing spells bound to keys
- Actually heal the raid and not themselves full time
- Do more than 4000 HPS overall
- Are comprised of at least 3 who will do 80% of the healing, hopefully doing it well enough to carry the rest of the heal team
Your only prayers regarding your DPS team:
- Please out-DPS the tanks
- Please do more than 7K DPS based on the ilvl required to get into the raid
- Can understand simple directions
Sadly, I have experienced each and every one of the things listed above in LFR. I have carried players who can’t out DPS a tank to watch them win tier tokens, or the people who can’t avoid standing in something or attack the right target walk away with loot from Deathwing.
LFR does a great job of allowing people to experience the content, but it rewards mediocrity and asshole behavior.
My Raiding Hang Up
I’m old-school. I won’t lie. I may not have raided in Vanilla, but I kept up a 6-day a week raid schedule through BC only to watch 25s also be opened to 10s teams and more casual play.
I watched people get emo if a boss didn’t die in the first night of attempts. I watched people rage quit if a boss didn’t die in a week of attempts. Yea, I will get frustrated if something won’t die, but I spent a month (if not more) of working on Vashj 3 nights a week before she died. A week is a farking joke to me. Kills usually are delayed because people are perpetuating stupid mistakes, lacking raid awareness or communication skills, or are just downright bad. I benched people for this in BC. I was ruthless in my pursuit of kills, but people were always aware as to why their slot was negated–my team isn’t here to carry you–devote the time to improve your gear, your attitude, and your abilities, and then come talk to me again.
Raiding is business to me, plain and simple. If I see you fuck up repeatedly, I will call you out. I’m aggressive. I’m an asshole. I won’t deny this in the least. I raid to win and to succeed. Outside of raiding, WoW is fun. But in a raid? I’m going to be sometimes coldly professional. The shorter my responses are? The more pissed I am. I’m here for 3 or more hours, don’t waste my time and I won’t waste yours.
There were nights in BC that I would have benched myself because I fucked up. The challenge was that we only ran 2 hunters, and we both needed to be there with Misdirects. In Wrath I would have benched myself when I was tired, but I wasn’t RL and my GM wouldn’t have any of it. In Cata, well, sometimes it’s hard to bench one of the tanks when you only have 2. I’d like to say that I’m a thousand times better as a tank than a healer (usually), so there are nights (looking at you Heroic Alys) where I would have preferred to have been benched when I was performing badly in the healing department.
In a normal raid set, this made sense. You were a good player and thus you got to reap the rewards of your effort. Your dedication to developing yourself to be a dependable raider was highlighted by the shiny epics you earned. The raid finder just gives you the opportunity to go into Dragon Soul, be as good or as bad as you want, and still have an equal chance to roll against everyone else in the raid, no matter if they were better or worse than you were. We’re at the point where we’re now rewarding mediocrity (and in the process leaving out/screwing over the people who DO play their class well but don’t have the time for a dedicated raid team) with shiny, abeit lower ilvl (but who the hell really cares honestly), epics.
Why I LFR
In all honesty, I LFR for the same reason that a guild like Paragon did it. I want to grab pieces that will allow me to perform better for my raid team. Whether or not they are tiny upgrades, there are tier set bonuses and more gem sockets in play, things that I want so that I can push more heals or take more hits. I’m sure there are many raiders who do the same. In fact, until last night, my first pieces of tier on Raz came from LFR. My priest, who I will never raid on as a main, has 2 pieces, and amazingly, my DK picked up 3 on Monday before server resets. I’d like to say that I play each of those classes well in the role I play them in, so I am thrilled to be able to pick up pieces for my effort.
For some, LFR is the only chance they will have at seeing the content, and honestly, I can’t fault them for that. They pay just as much as I do to play this game, and they should have the chance to see all the content that is made.
But that doesn’t mean…
I like grouping with them. The good players, the players who can’t devote the time but stay current on their class and know how to use their abilities, sign me right up. I’m more than willing to explain a fight, to help someone if they want to be helped. This has always been my theory in LFD. I’m not expecting you to out-DPS me in normal heroics. I know that I out-gear you, and I honestly don’t mind carrying you and getting you some loot. This is why I never have an issue tanking for guildies’ alts. It’s something I can do for them and I hope that I get the same back in return.
I had the world’s worst shadow priest in one of my entry level heroics a couple weeks ago. Instead of demeaning him or kicking him from the group, I kept him for the next 3 runs I did. Why? Why not? I needed nothing through there, he wasn’t standing in fire or being an asshole in /p. So he stayed. The jackasses? Don’t worry, I have a /votekick lined up and waiting for you.
But the bad players? There’s a reason I’m in a guild and I run stuff in guild groups. It’s to avoid these players. You know, the ones who stand in fire, the ones who talk back, the ones who wait for a rez while everyone runs back. The players who are only there to grief the rest of the group.
Unfortunately, LFR dumps those good players who want to see the content in with the bad players who have no other plans but to make 24 other people’s lives miserable.
Improving LFR to Improve the Player
Why reward mediocrity? We see it today in the rearing of children–everyone has to be a winner. Everyone needs a participation ribbon. In my mind, it devalues the achievements of others who put forth the effort to be the best at what they do.
I know that Blizzard has admitted that there are some fallacies with the current configuration of LFR and I know that they are trying to improve it. So far they’ve set restrictions on some of the items (though if I recall correctly there were some BiS type items that now some classes can’t get out of LFR because it wasn’t locked to their class–I think it was a weapons and warriors thing), and have stated that they want it to be even more specific, as in, a Ret Paladin can’t roll and win a 1H sword off Deathwing (seen it happen).
The first step is admitting that you have a problem, and Blizzard has done that–and I applaud them for their honesty in saying that the design of LFR is a work-in-progress. But what are other ways we can improve it?
Setting a Performance Check
Right now, in order to get into LFR, you need to have an ilvl of at least 372. We don’t care if it’s equipped, we don’t care if it’s even your armor type, we don’t care if it’s PvP gear. If you have an overall ilvl of 372, you can go play in LFR. So we have this nebulous “gear check.” There’s so many ways to game the system, that people forget why it’s in place.
Only once have I had an LFR where every single DPS was above me as a tank. Half the DPS were guild mates, and the other have were quality PuGgers that we picked up in the LFR system. I’ve seen DPS as low as 7K, and I’ve seen them win loot over someone who did 30K. Does this frustrate me? Hell yes it does. There’s 2 sides to the coin though; with the loot win, could the 7K DPS improve themselves to be a valuable contributor to the raid? Or do you reward the person who has a solid grasp of their class and is basically carrying other members of the raid? I can see both sides of it. On Raz, I feel like I’m carrying because I know the correct way to handle the boss mechanics; I go in and deliver a smooth run. On my priest, I feel like I deserve the tokens and loot because it will make me a better player (Gabby’s gear was never great until this Tier, and it still needs work, but I do usually try to top the absorbs meter in LFR)–I’m not a bad healer, I just don’t have the output because I don’t have the gear to push the numbers to be as respectable as I’d like.
I’d love to see a DPS/HPS check. Blizzard has all the data from our combat logs. They know what the expected output of a class is, and if it needs to be buffed or nerfed. What if they set a range with a high and a low and an average expectation? In order to roll on loot, you need to fall between the two points. This would require players to better themselves in order to benefit from LFR–improving themselves helps to improve the overall raid experience, making them a better team player and more willing to not AFK and be carried.
Same for healing, though I know that some people will do meter padding just to up their chances for loot. Healing will always be a sort of gray area, so I’m not quite sure how I’d handle it–I’d love to hear suggestions though!
Performance Based Loot Weights
When bonuses roll around in my company, we are weighed and measured against everyone else in our role. Our performance weights for the year versus our coworkers is what sets our bonus ranking. The process is called “Weighting and Ranking.” The better you do, the higher chance you are to get rewarded. The best contributors walk away with a 1.5 modifier on the company bonus amount, which nets them some additional cash for their effort. What it the same thing was in play in LFR? If you fall within the DPS/HPS scale, you get a better chance at loot? If you hit the median expected for your class, your role maintains the +100 modifier. But if you are close to top, you get a +150 modifier or something. And this is an adjusting scale–you don’t want to pass a lot of loot to someone in all Heroic Firelands gear, or maybe even in some Heroic Dragon Soul gear! Percentile based roll modifiers could be an interesting mechanic, though probably more of a headache to code than it’s worth.
My first weeks in LFR were plagued with people winning multiple tokens in one run. And let me say, I was really annoyed when 2 healing trinkets dropped off one boss and went to the same damn player. And then last week, I got lucky. I took my DK in for the first 4 bosses and picked up 3 Tier tokens and a BiS waist for him. Someone commented after we finished up Hagara, “Wait, did Azrael get 3 Tier tokens this run?!?” And honestly? I was rejoicing. I said in Mumble to guildies, “Well, I earned these.” And in some ways, I did. I maintained #4 on the Damage Done list for the entire raid. But then I thought back to the argument that I had made on Twitter early in 4.3: Once you win a token, your roll should be halved for any other class token that drops for you that run. If that was the case, I probably wouldn’t have made out like a bandit like I did on Azzy. Do I think it’s fair? Yes and no. I look at my performance (this was the run with the 7K DPS shadow priest) and say “I kicked ass and I’ve earned these tokens,” but how many other good performers lost out to me? RNG is a finicky mistress indeed.
Part of me thinks that this could be addressed with the performance modifiers I noted above, but I’m still unsure. One person shouldn’t walk away from LFR with 4 pieces of loot in 4 bosses, but there’s got to be a way to spread the wealth.
There needs to be a way to allow people who want to see the content on their own time, without a raid team, if they so choose. There needs to be a better way to police the ever growing list of griefers who are entering the LFR system specifically to mess with players. There needs to be a way to reward those who put forth effort. The old saying of “It’s my $15, I can play how I want!” can be easily refuted (in my mind) with the response of “Well, it’s the raid’s $360 so STFU and L2Play.” For progression, I have a raid team to run with. For my alts, I have LFR. I try to be a contributor not a hindrance.
I think LFR is a good concept, but it definitely needs work. I implore the WoW community to come up with creative ideas and share them with Blizzard so together, we can provide feedback from all different play styles to make the tool something we don’t think twice about using!
UPDATE: By the time I got around to publishing this, I’ve picked up 5 pieces of Tier on Raz in LFR: 2 pieces for Holy, and 3 pieces for Prot. I now run a 4pc Prot set and a 2pc Holy set for raids.
Really, what a long, strange trip it’s been! I never thought I’d last until the 20K mark on Twitter, much less be able to meet some of the most fun and loving people within the WoW community via Twitter!
So here we are, the infamous 20K. I pondered how I would celebrate this. I started watching my tweet count last weekend, knowing that I was getting closer and I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss it!
Since Twitter enabled me to share my blogging with the WoW community and expand beyond just Twitter, I figured a post here would allow me to share my thoughts with more than 140 characters!
The Guilds and Their Members
I can’t even begin to list all the people who have crossed my path since I started this roller coaster ride, but I’ve met 4 great guilds and had a blast with their members! A shout out to AF Guild, Waypoint, TTGF, and ES, 4 guilds that I’ve been able sprinkle characters in and have an absolute blast with their members! They allowed me to have fun in Warcraft again–which was a challenge since Cata started out as a very rocky road without a real home to settle in. Each of these guilds opened their doors to me, giving me a place to call home and to grow my abilities as a player and as a person. For this, I am forever grateful.
Dee, AKA Kirian
Most of all, I need to make a call out to my favorite sassy mage. Kirian’s keeper, Dee, has been a shoulder to cry on, comedic relief when I’m depressed, a source of calm when I panic, and the first person I talk to as I sit down at my PC with a cup of coffee. She has been my partner in crime in both PvE and PvP, a supplier of beautiful places with screenshot worthy views, and she knows when I just need to get away after a frustrating night of raiding. She is a truly beautiful person who I am blessed to know and each day I am thankful for that! One of my BlizzCon highlights was being able to sit down with her and talk lore and characters and everything else. She allows me to have fun and enjoy being cocky as hell with Raz before he gets smacked back down to reality by Kirian. It’s been hilarious to play the two characters off of each other and it’s made WoW that much more enjoyable for me Ironically, I think to a degree that in real life, we’re a lot like the characters we play, as I swear I saw her shaking her head at some of my antics at BlizzCon >.>
So thank you my Tweeps for sticking along for the ride, allowing me to meet some of the most fun members of the WoW community in one spot, having the ability to get together with you all at BlizzCon and to have an overwhelming desire to keep going back for more! Here’s to another 20K and even more friendships, fun, and excitement!
This was on my “To Do” list weeks ago, but I’m behind schedule (as usual), so I’m trying to play catch-up today (that, and I just don’t really feel like working the rest of the week)… – Miri
So on Dee’s blog, Raz was granted his own tag because he shows up every once in a while in her blog posts. I told her that Raz’s sassy Mage needed his own tag here on my blog, and that I’d do a blog post when I did it. So the tag has been created, and here’s the accompanying and promised blog post >.>
And in Raz’s typical fashion, the tag is designed to tease Kirian
Thanks to Morniel for coming up with a more “politically correct” version of LFR!
I’ll just let this speak for itself as a lead-in to my LFR discussion post that will come later this week…
I’d like to point out that I hadn’t pulled a boss yet, and had just zoned in to Ultraxion. Gotta love LFR where you’ll be told how to play your class. Really?!? I don’t think you need to tell me how to play a Prot Paladin…I think I’ve got that covered =P And if I have questions, I have Rhidach that I can harass in guild!
Since the fall of the Bastion of Twilight, Yor’sahj the Unsleeping has eagerly assisted Deathwing, providing the Destroyer with the means to release more faceless ones from their prisons deep beneath the earth. Their numbers are endless and their power is beyond reckoning, and Yor’sahj intends to reap a grim reward for his faithful service. ~Dungeon Journal
Yor’sahj, while a simplistic fight in regards to mechanics, is all about quick thinking and solid executing by the involved parties.
Let’s discuss what Yor’sahj will do before we look at the oozes do.
The boss itself is not complex for a tank team to deal with. Yor’sahj only has one ability, Void Bolt. Simplistic enough on the ability count list, the Void Bolt does a significant amount of damage and is cast at an irregular rate while applying a shadow damage DoT to the tank currently at the top of his threat list. The DoT ticks for roughly 30K damage (5K in 10s) every 2 seconds, so the tanks need to swap roughly every 4 stacks (10s don’t need to perform a tank swap).
Yor’sahj also has a melee ability that he uses every 2.5 seconds on the tank which deals some damage as well.
Every 75 seconds, Yor’sahj will summon three oozes into play. Since Yor’sahj is not attacking a tank during the summons, a tank can logistically drop their stacks of the Void Bolt DoT and continue to tank him once the summon is finished. Yor’sahj can still continue to be attacked while he is summoning, so make sure that your ranged are making good use of the time getting to the oozes by doing additional DPS.
The goal of the DPS is to burn the ooze identified by the Raid Leader, which will cancel out Yor’sahj receiving that buff. The remaining oozes become immune and will be absorbed by Yor’sahj and distributed back out onto the raid.
Oozes – Taste the Rainbow!
- Shadowed Globule (Purple) – The Shadowed Globule applies Deep Corruption, which causes a large amount of Shadow Damage on the raid (55K) for each fifth heal or absorb that a player receives. Should you not choose to kill the Shadowed Globule, you’ll want to put a healer with large heals on the tank currently tanking Yor’sahj in order to reduce the amount of healing spells that are output. Other healers should be assigned to heal the raid if the other color combinations are green (Acidic) or red (Crimson), but your goal is to do as little healing as possible with the Shadowed Globule out.
- Acidic Globule (Green) – The Acidic Globule applies Digestive Acid, which causes damage (60K in both 10 and 25) to a random member of the raid and all players within 4 yards of them. This ooze is the only one which will cause the raid to spread instead of stack.
- Glowing Globule (Yellow) – The Glowing Globule applies the Glowing Blood of Shu’ma, which allows Yor’sahj to attach your tank 50% faster and casts Void Bolt twice as often. The Glowing Globule also results in the Void Bolt having an AoE effect that hits everyone the raid while the DoT is still applied to the tank. The raid is expected to stack and soak the AoE healing that the healers will put out. Tanks will need to be aware that stacks are applied at a quickly increasing rate and should be ready to use CDs and taunt on a much quicker basis.
- Dark Globule (Black) – The Dark Globule spawns a large number of Forgotten Ones which fixate on random raid members and cast Psychic Slice for 35K damage. The raid should quickly stack in preparation for large amounts of AoE to kill the adds and heal the raid.
- Crimson Globule (Red) – The Crimson Globule applies Searing Blood, which looks a lot like a fiery chain heal (our shaman all want this ability). The spell jumps between 8 players in 25s (3 in 10s) and the damage increases the further out from the boss that the raid member is standing. The raid is expected to stack on the boss and continue to DPS until Yor’sahj loses the buff.
- Cobalt Globule (Blue) – The bane of the casters, the Cobalt Globule spawns a Mana Void which drains the mana pool of all your casters/healers. Once all mana pools are drained, casters can resume regenerating their mana slowly and resume casting. When the Mana Void dies, the mana is distributed evenly to all casters within 30 yards of it’s death location. When the Mana Void spawns, all DPS want to switch to it so that the healers can resume healing the tanks and the casters can resume DPS on the boss.
The TLDR stack vs. spread of the globules can be found here:
- Stack – Shadowed, Glowing, Dark, Crimson, Cobalt
- Spread – Acidic
ES ooze kill order:
- Purple > Green > Yellow
This fight simply repeats until the boss dies!
- Divine Light is good if you are dealing with the Shadowed Globule. Big heals can reduce the amount of healing you do on the tank, thus resulting in less damage taken.
- Aura Mastery during Glowing Globule or Dark Globule phases (I’d probably lean more towards Glowing).
- Prot Paladins can remember to use their CDs–I ran with my Glyph of Divine Protection to help out.
The most powerful elemental still under Deathwing’s sway, Morchok–once a passive guardian–is now convinced that his only respite will come with Azeroth’s demise. Morchok rages against the foundation of Wyrmrest Temple, Azeroth’s last beacon of hope in the Hour of Twilight. ~Dungeon Journal
Morchok is the easiest fight you’ll encounter in Dragon Soul. The fight requires awareness, but is pretty forgiving in regards to execution. The fight is basically 2 phases and as long as you can survive those, you’ve discovered your BC “Lootreaver” replacement.
Phase 1 – Crystals
There are 3 abilities in play during Phase 1:
Crush Armor is a stacking debuff that your tanks will need to be aware of to coordinate the timing of taunts on. It stacks up to 10 times and each time it is applied it reduces the armor of Morchok’s target by 10%.
Stomp (think Rhyolith here) is an AoE attack that deals 2.5M damage (750K in 10-man) to all players in a 25-yard radius. The damage is shared between all players, BUT, the 2 players closest to Morchok (this should be your tanks) take double damage. Morchok will stomp every 10-15 seconds, so it is wise to be stacked in a general location within the 25-yard radius so your healers can pump out some AoE healing before the next Stomp lands.
The Resonating Crystal is an awareness check. If you get linked (you’ll see a wavy yellow line between yourself and the crystal), your responsibility is to move to the crystal until your link turns green and then to eat the crystal explosion, which happens 12 seconds after being linked. The closer you are to the crystal, the less damage you take from the explosion. Seven players will be targeted in 25s (3 in 10-man) and no one is immune to being selected–it can be healers, melee, or ranged.
In general, Phase 1 is very simple and shouldn’t be an issue for any raid. I would recommend marking the map with a stack point for AoE healing during Stomps, but otherwise, be aware!
Phase 2 – Black Blood
After the third Resonating Crystal explosion, Morchok is pushed into Phase 2, the Black Blood phase. Once again, he has 3 abilities that the raid needs to have awareness of:
You’ll know you’ve entered the Black Blood phase of the fight when you’re sucked up under Morchok’s gigantic feet and start taking a good amount of of damage (5% of your health every second for 5 seconds, so 25% of your health). As soon as you become unstunned, the raid needs to run and hide behind the Falling Fragments. Morchok will channel the spell for 5 seconds, which he begins channeling as soon as he’s done pulling the raid to him. The fragments do deal damage if you are standing next to the fragment spawn location (15K), but it’s minimal and easily healed through when you are in position behind the pillars.
Running behind the fragments enables you to protect yourself from the Black Blood of the Earth. Morchok channels the spell for 24 seconds and the blood applies a debuff to anyone standing in it (1 stack per second that does 5K nature damage per stack). As soon as you step out of the blood, the debuff falls off. Healers will be tossing out heals to heal the raid up from the Earthen Vortex during this time, so make friends with a healer and grab some AoE heals.
It is worth noting that ranged DPS can continue to attack Morchok while they are hiding from Black Blood!
Once 24 seconds have passed, the boss reverts to Phase 1 and you repeat the phases until he dies.
The Soft Enrage
At 20%, Morchok will soft enrage, gaining the buff Furious, which enables him to attack 30% faster and 20% harder. This is a wise time to use Bloodlust as long as the raid is in the Phase 1 setup. If you hit the soft enrage during Phase 2, save Bloodlust until you are back in Phase 1 positioning and blow him up.
- Prot Paladins have their various CDs should they need to take more stacks of Crush Armor–love your CDs if your healers seem overwhelmed (though they shouldn’t be).
- Aura Mastery can be used to reduce the damage on a Resonating Crystal explosion.
- If you’re running low on mana, Divine Plea during Phase 2 since healing is light as long as no one is standing in blood.
So 4.3 dropped last week and I’ve been running around like a crazy person trying to see as much of it as I can! My summary of my experience so far with the 4.3 content is below!
On the Paladin Healing Changes…
With the launch of 4.3, I decided to once again change up my healing style. Mastery based healing is fun and a very solid healing style for 25s, but I felt very uncomfortable with the low amount of haste that I was carrying, and the realization that I wouldn’t be able to push fast heals in 5s and 10s should I ever end up healing in smaller groups. I was very intrigued with the changes to Holy Radiance, so I wanted to play with a more raid-healing specialized build and step away from tank-focused healing. Part of my willingness to make the change so quickly was due to the fact that we were running 3 tank-focused healers in our 6-man healing team. We have a mastery built Holy Paladin already, along with a Disc Priest. Part of me felt like I wasn’t making any ground with the healing style in Firelands; my output sucked and honestly I was at the point where I was going to throw in the towel on healing in general. I don’t like feeling like I’m failing at something–especially something that I did full time in raids in Wrath. It was like all my skills with healing went out the window–lots of restless nights trying to figure out how the hell I could improve, a lot of angry moments where I’d just storm off in frustration. Deep down, I realize I’m not a healer–my passion is with tanking, but I do enjoy the healing team I run with, so I was willing to make it work, somehow; and for the time being, I’ll make it work because it’s how I’ll get to progress through Dragon Soul.
Respecc’ing and regemming quickly after realms came up, I dumped myself into the new heroics with guildies and it felt better, in fact, it felt like I actually could output some healing! Healing the new heroics is still a bit of a challenge as a Holy Paladin (I’ve also healed them on a healer I didn’t feel confident healing ZA/ZG on and decided that Paladin healing in the heroics is probably the most difficult out of all of the healing classes), but definitely doable. I went into raid that night, knowing that Dragon Soul has a large quotient of raid damage, and even more interested to try out Holy Radiance. Let me say that healing with Holy Radiance and Light of Dawn is rather fun! I felt like I could push out solid AoE healing and be competitive with it! I’m very interested to see what I can do when I’m not splitting my time between a tank and the raid (which I was doing in raid last week due to us only having 1 tank healer, our Disc priest, available). We’re in the same situation this week (our other holy Paladin is sunning himself on the beaches of Costa Rica still *frown*), so I probably won’t get to really get into a raid healing mindset until the following week.
Anyway, I’m enjoying the hell out of raid healing again–even though it seems very wrong as a Paladin.
To the Ground…Or Not?!?
For once Prot Paladins were untouched! We got some buffs via the Retribution changes this patch, but our Mastery drug habit was left untouched. I’m going to step into LFR as a tank today–we’ll see how that goes (I will either perform as well as I expect to, or I’ll have derptastic healers and this will be a cluster)… LFR and the 5s are really my only chance to tank this patch, so I better get it in when I can!
The 5 Mans
The new 5 mans are fun dungeons, but I’m getting slightly frustrated about some of the loot drops (looking at you tanking helm in Well and tanking AND healing waists out of End Time). As a tank you need to be proactive about using CDs–some of the trash hits pretty damn hard (especially the trash right before the final boss in End Time). I think the boss fights are unique and interesting–the RP gets old and I’m REALLY tired of the Mannoroth fight after the…9th time? We got to the point where we just started doing achievements to make the fights more interesting.
Enveloping Shadows managed to 1-shot two of the three bosses on our first raid night in Dragon Soul. Morchok was a joke and Skittles was a 2 minute explanation and a successful pull. Zon’ozz was a bit of a bitch honestly in 25. The damage seems a bit high and we were having issues with the orb hitting pets, T12 set bonuses that spawn bonus things that DPS, and totems, just to name a few. We also apparently had some scenarios where the orb went through the boss and bounced off our tank, Rhidach, one-shotting him, much to his frustration. Two hours later, Zon’ozz fell and we cleaned up Skittles quickly before wrapping for the night. Hargara was another fun fight–it took us just a couple attempts to master the fight and figure out frost tomb placement. We moved quickly onto Ultraxion and we’ll have that fight in the bag this week–the downside of the Ultraxion fight is the ease at which you can tunnel vision on the fight (and the ease at which Recount can push your PC to 1FPS due to the massive amount of healing being recorded), and how quickly you can discover how hard it is for people to click a button. Our best attempt had Ultraxion with 2.4M health left, 1%! If I hadn’t tunnel visioned and if another could learn how to click, we would have had the fight on Wednesday.
Either way, 4/8 in the first week of raiding is impressive! We have a great raid team and I know we’ll be kicking Deathwing‘s ass here soon!
So LFD is Looking For Derp in my mind. LFR is quite frankly Looking for Retards. I haven’t had a good experience in there yet (we’ve cleared all the bosses without much issue, but the griefing and the general stupidity is annoying as hell). Sadness is when your tanks, fully raid buffed, are scraping by with 20K more health than you do in your healing gear, don’t know the fight mechanics, and eat (and die to) avoidable damage, and then have the balls to bitch about lack of healing. Yes, I am that asshole in LFR who is going to point out that I’ve yelled in /ra 5 times to NOT EAT FOCUSED ASSAULT.
In some ways, I really do miss the fact that raiding was reserved for the players who were willing to put in the time and effort to learn the fights, get the gear, etc. Blizzard’s current mindset is to make the content available to all players, but let’s be honest, not everyone is qualified. That’s like saying “well, just because you ask if you want fries with that, you should still be able to be a lawyer just so you can experience it.” Yea no. I could go down a huge rat hole here, but I’m going to save that for another post.
So far, it’s fun–I got the party late (I just started ticket collecting last night), but I’ve been able to score some easy achievement points and have fun with guildies! I also managed to get the bulls eye achievement on my 2nd attempt (and I wasn’t even trying for it)! DMF is going to be more pets and…I don’t know what else? I haven’t really paid much attention to what all I can get from it–I’m more interested in capping my guild rep each week >.>
This will be my money sink I suspect. I finally got my last piece of Dark Sunwell. Now I just need to get the boots and cloak crafted and I should be set for …well, something. I’m currently using Tier 6 for both Prot and Holy (I’m still missing 1 piece of Light Sunwell), but I’ll be transmogging over to Light Sunwell for healing as soon as I get the chest piece!
I decided to transmog my PvP gear into my Tier 12 healing gear for grins. My original goal was to use it to mind fuck people into thinking I’m an easy kill target–I transmogged everything that was visible, minus my PvP weapon because I don’t have a PvE mace from Firelands to use. My health pool in my PvP gear is actually slightly smaller than my health in my healing gear, but it’s not overtly noticeable. Tier 12 was my choice for a couple reasons: 1/ Raz looks good in a dress, and 2/ it’s still recent enough content that people would see it in a BG and possibly suspect that I was truly in PvE gear in a battleground. Apparently some people DID buy that and tried to whittle away at me, only to discover that I do have over 3300 Resil, so I’m not going to die as easily as they planned! Once I get my hands on Season 11 gear though, I’ll be wearing that–I’m in a weird mix of Season 10 Honor and Conquest gear, so I’m not coordinating t0o well.
I’m having a ton of fun so far this patch and getting to spend a lot of time getting to know my new guildies, perfect my healing skills and be able to find comfort in tanking. At some point I may do boss walk-throughs of Dragon Soul, but 25-man raiding is such a small community that I’m not sure if anyone beyond our guild would find use with it =\ If you’re a 25-man raider and want me to publish strat guides, please let me know! Otherwise I’ll probably just stick with little posts about boss kills.