Scheduling Headaches

May 15, 2009

NAcalendarI consider myself hardcore.  I run my Disc Priest with guild and an alt with another guild (about 30+ hrs of raiding per week).  I make WoW a higher priority then it probably should be, but its my main hobby and I like doing it.  Not everyone else is the same though.

I’ve been trying to add a 3rd raid day for Ulduar25.  We tried the Sunday before Mother’s Day and got 2/3rds of the A team, which is bad since it is a progression day.  It kinna suck’d.

The week after that I thought about trying the other end of the spectrum.  I put the raid up for a Thursday, only 3hrs, to get the farmed stuff out of the way.  This would leave our A team to progression on Friday and Saturday.  Seemed like a great idea!

It wasn’t.

Again, I found myself with about 2/3rds of my A team.  Since some of the A team couldn’t be there they were also missing out on much needed upgrades that we would need deeper in.  We did clear through Auriaya but I think doing it this way would turn out to be more harmful in the end and lead to faster Ulduar burnout.

Trying that Thursday worked out great since Mother’s Day was that Sunday.  This week (the one we’re in now) I put Sunday back up, figured I’d give it one last go.  Currently sitting at 18 of 25 peeps needed.

I’m pretty sure that a 3rd day is just out of the question as much as it kills me.

We did a tier 7 clearing last night, helping to get random peeps geared up and give peeps a chance to take alts.  Naxx25, Malygos25, OS25 +1… down in 4hrs 10mins.  Not our best time (3hrs 45mins) but certainly close to it.  If we aren’t putting Sunday as Ulduar25 then I’m doing t7 clearing.  I hate doing it during the week when I can run my shaman.

Have I mentioned my shaman?  Resto of course.  LOVE the chain heal spams.  Everyone tells me I’m geared wrong or my priorities are wrong but meh, I do a fuckton of healing so I’m happy.

Anyway, good luck to everyone this weekend (for those who raid on the weekend like us).  Pwn and get some loots!

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Addon (no not the ingame kind, more like an addition to the original post… but not):  I was checking my normal blogs and one of the funniest posts I’ve seen in ALONG time so I just had to make sure that everyone else checks this out.  It’s over at Shadow Weaving.  She must have gotten to interview the lead designers for the Mimiron encounter.  Its quite interesting, I HIGHLY suggest reading it.


Thorim still at large!

May 11, 2009

We have now spent a stupid amount of hours on Thorim.  Three to four hours spent this past raid cycle as well as almost eight the weeks prior.  None of the Ulduar bosses have given us even close to this difficulty.

I blaim it on the melee.

Going to slot less of them this coming week for sure and see how it goes.  We spent two hours on him Saturday morning and called it quits on him when his trash respawned.  Our Ulduar-10 found Freya to be pretty easy so we hopped over to her.

We quickly cleared Freya’s trash and moved on to the garden lady herself.  It took three attempts for everyone to learn the different adds that she spawned.  After that she quickly fell to our Relentless might =)

Freya DED RTW

Our Ulduar-10 has also been testing the waters with the different hard modes.  We want Rusted Protodrakes this time around so its a main goal to make sure that happens.  Flame Leviathan +2 quickly died to us.  We left up Frost and Lightning.  We’ve tried leaving fire up on 25man and it was a definite suck.  We left Freya’s up (Green) last week and did that one as a +1.  The adds seem to be very troublesome.  Frost is tough, but easily worked around in my opinion.  It applied a flat 20% speed reduction which simply required Siege Engines to get off of Mr. FL at about 5-7seconds before he chose his new target.  There are also these columns of blue’ish white light (not to be confused w/the lightning columns from the lightning tower) that if you stay in for to long will drop a freeze bomb on you, freezing you in place.  You then have to be hit by someones fire attack to bust you out.  As long as you keep moving though its no problem.

Last week the 10man also got Ignis down in around 5 mins and this week we decided to push for Stokin’ the Fire, the achievement that requires you to kill him in under 4 minutes.  I went into my trusty shadow spec while Kraylessa and Conifer duo healed the fight.  They did very well I must say, I was quite proud of them.

We tested the hard modes on a couple more bosses.

  • Deconstructor in hard mode (without the use of Heroism) =  ouch.  His damage increase is quite substantial after he is pushed into hard mode.  It doesn’t say that his armor or damage mitigation is increased but it felt like he was taking a lot less damage after he was hard mode’ified.  We made a couple of attempts then decided to just pwn him and move on.
  • Assembly of Iron is quite difficult, I don’t completely understand how Steelbreaker’s Overwhelming Power ability works.  He cast it on our main tank as soon as the second guy died.  After our MT died then our OT taunted and got the debuff on them.  Steelbreaker hits to hard for most DPS to get this buff, short of having a retadin or fury warrior taunt long enough to get it and then the MT taunting back.  Gonna take some practice to get this right.
  • Kologarn we had a boo boo and failed to kill his arms at the same time sadly.
  • Auriaya… omg her achievement is just insane.  Crazy Cat Lady requires you to keep her Sanctum Sentries alive throughout the whole fight.  Sure, that doesn’t sound to difficult but then you remember there is swarm guardians you have to AE down.  Not to mention the Feral Defender that spawns and pounces around (the sentries do to btw).  Maybe you’ll have to offtank them farther away from here… /shrug.
  • Thorim is another whose hard mode is a definite jump over regular difficulty.  He has more HP and at a much lower stack of lightning charges (5-6) the lightning volley can start one shotting people.

Monday night we’re gonna do Freya +1.  Going to leave up the one that increases her physical damage by 50% and see just how vicious it is.

A nice thing to note though is that doing anything in a Hard mode seems to give out Emblems of Conquest (instead of valor).  Killing Mr. FL +2 net’d us 2 Conquest which was pretty darn’d nice.


Too many melee?

May 9, 2009

For along time melee has been great at DPS, bad at staying alive.

My raid group has been running very melee heavy since 3.1.  We had several people who went on a hiatus during late 3.0  (mostly melee) that have returned to the game.  The difficult part is they are all good players with good deeps numbers, which makes it hard to determine who is and who isn’t going to get slotted.

Until this current boss our overabundance of melee hasn’t been to much of an issue.  We have been running (brace yourself) 7 melee deeps and 3 tanks for a total of basically 10 melee.  Which is probably 2-4 more than we need.  Like I said though we’ve managed with this number and done fine on most fights.  They are decent players so they move quickly and there isn’t much of a problem.

Last night we started working on Thorim in Ulduar25.  He’s an absolute cake-walk on 10man.  We thought we’d trounce in and pound his face, collect loot and move onto Freya.  Not so.

After getting the right group makeup in the Arena and working out the kinks in the Tunnel group we started making it to Thorim himself.  My 10 melee go in, start pwning, and a chain lightning rips through them.

Melee dead.

I thought, well, we have 4 tanks so I’ll just have two of the tanks stay out of melee to help stop the chain.  The 6 remaining melee deeps can stand in two groups of 3 which should prevent it from chaining to much.  This kind of works but not always.  Even if the melee live a little longer they can’t really move so the charged lightning volley that Thorim does ends up killing them later on in the fight.

This fight has been a nightmare for us.  We’ve spent more time on this boss than any of the others.  We have the DPS to kill Thorim, if I can figure out how to keep the melee alive long enough to do actual do that though…..

Anyway, our raid is about to start so wish me luck all!  And if you have any advice on how you keep your melee alive on Thorim just lemme know.


Razorscale Strategy

May 6, 2009

Updated: 5.8.09

After killing Flame Leviathan you come to a cross-intersection.  To the left is Ignis, straight ahead is XT-002 Deconstructor and to the right is Razorscale. Razorscale is an optional boss however he is a relatively easy fight with some substantial pieces of loot in both 10 and 25man.

Raid Requirements:

2-3 Tanks
7 Healers
15-16 assorted DPS

Razorscale

Health:

10 –  3,900,000
25 – 12,550,000

Abilities: Two phases (air / ground) that she rotates between, triggered via the raid.

Phase 1: Air Phase

  • Devouring Flame – Inflicts 8,788 to 10,212 Fire damage to a player, and additional 8,788 to 10,212 Fire damage every 1 second to anyone within 6 yards of the initial impact, for 25 seconds.
  • Fireball - Inflicts 12,025 to 13,975 Fire damage.
  • Dark Rune Adds – Adds will come in waves from mole machines. One mole can spawn a Dark Rune Watcher with 1-2 Guardians, or a lone Sentinel. Up to 4 mole machines can spawn adds at any given time.

- Dark Rune Watchers – Cast Chain Lightning and Lightning Bolt, hitting for ~10,000 and ~5,000 Nature damage respectively.
Dark Rune Guardians – Cast Stormstrike, which increases the Nature damage done to the target.
Dark Rune Sentinels - Vrykul model.  Cast Whirlwind, hitting for ~9,000 Physical damage on plate.

Phase 2: Ground Phase

  • Flame Buffet – Increases the Fire damage an enemy takes by 1,500 for 1 minute, stacking up to 99 times.
  • Wing Buffet – Knocks back enemies in 35 yards radius around the caster.
  • Fuse Armor – Reduces armor, attack and movement speed by 20% for 20 seconds, stacking up to 5 times. 5 stacks will render the tank unable to act.
  • Flame Breath – Inflicts 17,500 to 22,500 Fire damage to enemies in a cone in front of the caster. Affected by Flame Buffet.
  • Devouring Flame - Inflicts 8,788 to 10,212 Fire damage to a player, and additional 8,788 to 10,212 Fire damage every 1 second to anyone within 6 yards of the initial impact, for 25 seconds.
razorscale-strat

Setup Map

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Run Through:

Razorscale starts in an air phase.

Before the event is triggered the raid needs to move into position.  A hunter preferably (but anyone w/high HP) needs to stand around where the number 1 is on the setup map.

Razorscale’s Devouring Flame ability targets the person closest to her.  The closest spot to her will be directly under her. This ability works kind of weird.  When you start the fight you have a PLAYER standing on/around the 1.  They will get all of the Devouring Flames.  After she goes back up into the air the second time she is in a new spot (2).  At this point she will target pets for her Devouring Flame ability and you can leave a hunter pet or felhound on her.  It takes very little to keep the pet healed.

A healer should be standing between the Harpoon Turrets and where the pet / player is absorbing the Devouring Flames.  The healer heals themselves as well as keeping the pet alive.  The healer is also responsible for notifying the raid to move in for grounding Razorscale.

Note: I use a priest here as Power Word: Shield and Prayer of Mending greatly increase the healers ability to live since they will be responsible for themselves (read: OOR to everyone else).

During the air phase Dark Rune adds will be spawning.  If dwarves spawn (Watchers / Guardians) then the Watchers should be killed first as they do a chain lightning ability.  If a Sentinel spawns (they are the only Dark Rune add with a Vrykul model) one of the tanks should pull it away from the raid and the ranged needs to burn it down as the whirlwind will eat melee in 25man (not quite as vicious in 10man).

When the healer calls that the harpoons are ready the raid needs to begin moving into the center while he activates them.  After activation Razorscale will become grounded and take extra damage.  All cooldowns need to be blown as you need to burst Razorscale to below 70% (heroism / bloodlust should be used at this time).

Grounded and above 50% – After 30 seconds if Razorscale is still above 50% then she will fly back up into the air.  The pet needs to be repositioned where the number 2 is and the healer can stand in the raid.  Rinse and repeat the air phase.  It is highly unlikely you will burn Razorscale to 50% on her first grounding (60-70% is what you should shoot for).  No adds spawn during this 30 seconds so whatever is still up should just be off tanked while the raid burns the shit out of Razorscale.  Healers should be nuking / dot’ing as well.

Note: If you fail to get Razorscale to 50% on the second grounding it is highly likely you will run into her hard enrage timer (10 minute enrage timer).  You will also need to reposition the Devouring Flames pet closer to the raid, roughly between where 2 and the raid are on the setup map.

Grounded and below 50% – Once Razorscale hits 50% she becomes permanently grounded.  She needs to immediately be picked up by a tank (read: taunted).  All healers need to switch to the main tank at this time. The easiest option is for the tank to continually walk backwards around the circle on the ground.  It’s the easiest way to make sure you moving in a uniform manner.  The ranged stay within the middle of the circle and the melee attack from the inside as well, making it easier for them to avoid the Devouring Flame patches.

She will also be doing an ability called Fuse Armor on the Main Tank (MT) which stacks to 5, each stack decreasing the movement speed by 20%.  At 5 stacks the tank will become immobile and lose aggro.  I suggest around 2 or 3 that an off-tank (OT) taunts off the MT and they simply keep switching as to prevent either of them from completely losing aggro.

After grounded Razorscale will be applying stacks of Flame Buffet.  This is mostly irrelevant to the raid itself but does not bode well for the MT.  At higher stacks the MT can easily be one shotted by Flame Breath and will take large chunks of damage from the Devouring Flame patches she spawns.

Note: As she’s being slowly moved, melee need to pay attention not to stand in flame patches.

Healer’s Note:  I wasn’t quite ready for the burst damage that is hitting random players.  The Fireballs come fast and furious and be ready with quick heals to keep people alive.  Priests, when she becomes grounded the second time is a great period to use your shadowfiend as it will do increased damage (thus returning more mana).


Thur-Sun Recap

April 19, 2009

Wow, this week has been intense for me.  I go to work during the day and rush home to login for some Ulduar raid.  I have a bit of time before clearing Tier 7 content this morning (ugh!) so gonna do a quick recap.

Thursday we ventured back into Ulduar 10 for more pwnage… I don’t remember the Molten Colossus doing an earthquake ability on Tuesday that did 5-8k dmg and stunning everyone but Thursday night they were.  The ability is line-of-sightable though so just have the tank stand at the corner with the mobs blocked from your healers.  It’s been ALONG TIME since we’ve needed corners for anything.  The fire elementals though are still proving very troublesome.  We found slowly kiting them to be slightly helpful but not significant enough.  There is a VERY fast cast time on the ability and we tried to curse of tongues & interrupt it but my interruptors failed at it so I’m not sure if it interruptable or not.  After several deaths to these guys we flipped the bird and moved on.

Once in the Antechamber you have a very easy pack to kill and then two Iron Constructs (I forget their names).  They do a frontal fire cone attack that is pretty nasty so make sure the tanks have them pointed away from the raid (and one tank on each).  They also throw a Fire Rune at someone.  They throw these Fire Runes at where a player is standing, similar to Void Reavers lightning balls.  While melee don’t really have a chance ranged can move and avoid getting the rune debuff.  If they do get the debuff they need to move OFF of the big red rune on the ground.  You will still explode and pop up but if you are on the rune you take extra damage.

After the two constructs you have another easy 3 pack and two guardians.  Everyone needs to get into melee range ASAP.  He’ll do a charge like ability to anyone far enough away and when he turns back to go to the tank he usually does his frontal Shockwave that’s pretty nasty.  He also spawns a lightning orb that does insignificant damage.  There are two of these guardians, one on the left andone on the right.

Once this bit of trash is down you can go left to the Iron Council, straight up the stairs to Kologarn, and right to the locked door.  We’ve made some attempts on Iron Council but it is a difficult fight.  Lots of little things going on.  We moved to Kologarn where the fun began!

I absolutely love this fight.  Killing parts of a boss is AWESOME!  It took a bit to nail the strategy down and we tried a few different things but settled on killing the right arm and then focusing on boss.  When he chose his eyebeam targets it seemed he always choosing someone that was ranged and then that person can run it wherever.  I wanted to test the theory, put everyone in melee but a hunter and see if he always chooses a ranged target but didn’t get the chance to.  Will try that next week.

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Friday night my guild went into Ulduar 25.  We were going to attempt Flame Leviathan with 2 tower ups but we failed to realize you had to ‘activate’ those towers.  You clear everything you need to then you go back to the front and talk to the guardian guy thats standing at the base of the stairs.  Because of this we one shotted Flame Leviathan (which I’m not complaining , but everyone whose zoned in knows this guy is super easy).  I was hoping to take him with two towers for some nice bonus loot.

Razorscale was pretty easy on 10man once we got the strat down and I was hoping it wouldn’t take to long for the raid to translate that over to 25… and it didn’t.  We 3 shot’d him which I was really proud of.  I also found out that Razorscale will do the fires on whoever is closest to him.  You can put a decent HP tank in the center that just kind of runs around with a healer helping to watch him.  That tank also needs to pickup the big Vrykul guy that likes to whirlwind.  Just have your ranged focus fire to burn him down when he pops out cuz he can tear stuff up quick!

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Oh Saturday, poor poor Saturday, it was tragic.  We went in with the plan of killing Deconstructor, Kologarn, and then moving deeper skipping Iron Council.  Instead we wiped on Deconstructor for 4 hrs.  Our 10man strategy did NOT translate well to 25man.  In 10man we had 2 tanks, 2 melee, 3 ranged, 3 healers.  We split a ranged on each side to watch adds and the 3rd just roamed to help out. The healers had no problem and the melee stayed on the boss.  Everything worked out GREAT.  We did this on 25man and it fell apart pretty horrendously.  The spreading out just enough to not be able to light bomb the people around you turned out to be to rough on the healing as someone would invariable be OOR to that groups heals.  A misplaced Gravity Bomb would yank a bunch of healers or random people while they were trying to heal causing a loss of people.  All in all it went horrendously.  We shook it up, tried different things for 4hrs and it was a no go.  It was a sad day of afternoon of raiding.

A short break after that raid ended and a pitcher of margarita’s found me gettin’ the group back together for Ulduar 10.  After the trouble with the Iron Council we decided to just go deeper and skip them.  A few attempts found us pwning Auriaya.  She felt more like a miniboss than anything else.  The initial pull is probably the hardest part.  Once you have that down it goes pretty easy.  Just LOS her on the pull (we used a hunter pet to aggro her so she would run around a corner) and have everyone standing on the main tank.

Then we went and 3 shot’d Thorim.  I’m sad at how easy this fight was.  We made some attempts on Freya and found her trash was as usual, a bitch to kill.  We cleared it all, engaged her and got in some good attempts before we figured out her mechanics and then trash respawned.  We moved on.  The Champions of Hodir are quiet difficult.  They randomly target someone and do a freezing breath attack that does huge amounts of damage.  Some worms and elementals also in the tunnel but not difficult at all.  Hodir is a pretty kewl fight.  He has the same you debuff as Keristraza from Heroic Nexus, where you have to keep moving.  It was 3am by this time so we called it.

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As promised, my Discipline Spec.  I went back to Holy a bit before 3.1 so I could readjust to the healing style.  I found I was having to do a lot of Flashing since Renew’s were being sniped or almost useless.  Greater Heal is nice, no doubt about that, but after having Penance & Flash Heal all the time I’ve become very spoiled.  Suffice to say my playstyle has adjusted well to Discipline, and I’m not willing to go back to Holy habits.  I was reading over at Holy Dueg a very nice post about Serendipity.  Basically you are into a Discipline rotation where you are spamming Flash Heals until you build up the buff to cast hasted Greater Heals, ie. spamming Flash until Penance is off CD.  I figured if I’m going to be doing that I might as well do it more efficiently.  The loss of COH doesn’t feel that significant (although it really is amazing).  The targetable POH combined with the large amount of haste Discipline Priests (and Borrowed Time) make it pretty nice.  The Renew talents are awesome as well but as a whole Renew just feels… slow.  Damage feels like it comes out to often to allow for Renew to do its ticks to heal things.

soo… I’ve spammed y’all enough today.  I need to make sure and not lapse on updates or figure out how to paraphrase better.  I wonder how many peeps actually make it to this sentence lol!


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