This past weekend I got my first look at the 10-man hardmodes in ICC. We usually have a US-timezone run and a AUS-timezone run for 10s, but on Saturday we didn’t have enough people for a 25-man (big surprise there), so we were able to mix up the two groups to make one 10-man with a really strong raid comp.
Overall, the hardmodes were kinda easy and rather uninspiring. We went 7/12 in about three hours. Now, since we are a 25-man raiding guild, the group was in mostly ilvl 264 gear, any dps race components of the fights were rather trivial. The 10% buff doesn’t hurt either. Besides that though, there really wasn’t much difference between the normal and hard modes.
Funnily enough, I found Marrowgar to be one of the more difficult hard modes I saw and the only one that required any major change in the way I did the fight. On hard mode he continues to cast Bone Spike while he’s whirlwinding, and he also does a lot more damage. In normal mode, I’m able to just pop Barkskin, stand in one place and heal. It took me a couple deaths to realize that is not an adequate strategy for hard mode. Since the Bone Spikes are still being cast, everyone must stay fairly close to each other during Bone Storm. Bone Storm does a lot of damage and fire covers most of the area you have to stand in, so you have to move around a lot to avoid as much damage as you can. Phase 1 of the fight is pretty much identical to normal mode.
I’ve heard that Deathwhisper is one of the tougher hard modes, but I didn’t notice any increase in difficulty. She mind controls in phase 1, she’s got more health, so phase 2 lasts longer and she continues to spawn adds through phase 2. She is also immune to taunt. It sounded like it would be difficult, but it really wasn’t (for me anyways, her extra abilities seem to put more pressure on tanks than on healers). Our CC’ers were on the ball with the MCs and we had a feral druid tanking the adds that spawned in phase 2. It went very smoothly.
Gunship…still a joke. If there is a difference between normal and hard mode, I couldn’t tell you what it is.
Saurfang took us a couple tries. I could see how this fight would be difficult for 10-man strict guilds due to the high dps requirement. I specced boomkin for this so I could help control the adds. The biggest difference I noticed was his rate of energy gain. We always saw two Marks during the fight, and our wipes were due to those people dying. When someone with Mark dies, Saurfang heals for 20% of his health, which means a wipe. Because of my ability to Typhoon the adds then root one, plus having a DK use Chains of Ice on the other, the blood beasts were not an issue. The extra ability they have in hard mode is that they hit harder and reduce the movement speed of everyone around them by 80%. This didn’t come into play at all, as no one had to move. However, I can see the Blood Beasts being tricky for groups who are light on ranged DPS.
We went to the Crimson Hals next to face Blood Princes. The new mechanic in hard mode is Shadow Prison. This is a stacking debuff that is applied to you whenever you move. Sounds kinda cool, but unless you let your debuffs stack to a ridiculously high number, the damage is very minimal. The Kinetic Bombs in hard mode drop very fast. We had all of our ranged dps looking out for them. The biggest problem we had was the Empowered Ball of Flames. Everyone was very spread out because of the Kinetic Bombs and we had only one melee dps so we didn’t have a lot of opportunity to soak the fire damage to lessen its power. We took a “slow but steady” approach to the fight and were able to complete it within a few tries.
Blood Queen…apparently in heroic she has more health and does more damage. I noticed no increase in difficultly over normal mode, my raid group agreed that she was the easiest of all the bosses we had done.
The last boss we did was Rotface. In heroic mode, Putricide uses Vile Gas on the ranged throughout the fight. This just means that you need at least 3 people spread out at ranged so he doesn’t target the melee and wipe the raid. The Vile Gas debuff seemed very weak compared to the one on Festergut as far as damage goes. The Mutated Infection also reduces healing done by 75% instead of 50%. I didn’t find this any harder to heal than the normal mode.
So far the hard modes are disappointing. Gunship, Saurfang and Blood Queen all just require slightly more dps and healing, without really adding anything new. Deathwhisper, Blood Princes and Rotface get a new mechanic or two, but they’re really weak. Marrowgar is the only fight that didn’t allow me to play the same way I do in normal mode.
I hear heroic Putricide is a real bitch, I’m looking forward to trying him.
In other news, I continue to /boggle at all the people who like tree form.