Tag Archives: heroic

To the Ground – Aftermath

I, like many people, was very opinionated on the topic of the Firelands nerfs when they were first announced. I didn’t know the exact extent of the nerfs, or how they would affect me but I was mad, dammit! Now that I’ve actually seen the nerfs first-hand, my opinions have changed slightly.

Let’s start with normals.

Normal Shannox, Beth’tilac and Rhyolith got 15% reductions to health and damage done while Alysrazor, Baleroc, Majordomo and Ragnaros were nerfed by a rather massive 25%. There were also a number of small mechanic tweaks, such as Alysrazor’s tornadoes being slowed down.

My first experience with the normal-mode nerfs was Alysrazor. I must say, I was rather shocked. We went in with our normal comp of 6 healers and there was very little to do. There were no Fieroblasts going out (because they are cast so infrequently now). The Initiates would die well before the next set spawned. On our first phase we ended up with 2 Lava Worms alive at the end because the Hatchlings had died so fast*. The tornados now moved so slowly that running into the back of the one you were chasing became the only real danger. We probably could have killed her shortly after the first ground phase, except someone was doing part of their legendary quest and we needed to draw out the fight for 2 full phases. There was very little for me to do. I had no choice but to amuse myself by healing Kurn’s tank whenever he had Gushing Wound so it never fell off, causing her to yell at all the healers.

*This is the problem with blanket nerfs like this. A 25% reduction to health can break a fight. People shouldn’t have to throttle their dps on the Hatchlings so they’re not killed too fast. Melee dps shouldn’t be left twiddling their thumbs when an Initiate dies and the next one doesn’t spawn for 20 seconds. This has happened on other fights too. Majordomo’s Flame Orbs are no longer a concern – he dies before they have a chance to spawn. The health nerf has effectively removed an entire mechanic from that fight.*

Since that night, I’ve seen all the bosses on normal mode with the exception of Shannox. They all follow the same pattern. For a group who has done the fights before they are ridiculously easy and even if people screw up, you can just brute-force your way to a kill. That said, I don’t really care that much. I can see where people are coming from when they say the kills now feel cheap and hollow, but to me they’re just repeat kills. I know that my raid teams and I worked hard to get those first kills (before nerfs) and I’m proud of them. Not having to work so hard for the 3rd, 6th or 12th kill doesn’t upset me. The normal mode nerfs have had no impact on my personal enjoyment of the game.

As for the heroics, all bosses got a 15% nerf to their health and damage done.

I had killed Shannox a few times before on heroic. It wasn’t a terribly challenging fight for either of my raid groups to begin with, so the nerfs just made it a little bit easier. There is now more margin for error. In my druid’s first post-nerf kill Jagged Tear never dropped on the Shannox tank and it didn’t cause too much of an issue (where I’m sure it would have killed him and resulted in a wipe before). However, the fight wasn’t a complete joke. On my priest’s first experience with post-nerf Shannox it actually took us a few tries to get him down. People getting caught in crystal prison traps or not breaking Face Rage can still lead to wipes. Likewise, I learned on my Druid last night that Shannox gaining Separation Anxiety can still lead to much death and destruction.

The second boss I had experience with was Rhyolith. Apotheosis had put in 40 attempts on him with our best try getting him to 16%. After the nerf it took us another 7 attempts to get the kill. I thought the nerfs made the fight, especially the adds, much more manageable and a little less punishing for bad Volcano spawns. 15% was probably a bit too much though. I think an even 10% nerf would have helped a number of raid groups to get their first kills while still retaining a bit more of the challenge.

The rest of the heroics I never saw before they were nerfed. I’m actually thinking this is a good thing. It means I won’t have a sense of disappointment when I see how the fights have changed. They’re all new to me, nerf or no.

Apotheosis killed Beth’tilac for the first time last night. Even with the nerfs we put in 37 attempts before we killed her. As much as I might feel badly for not killing her before the nerfs, I also shudder to think of how many attempts that would have taken – 75? 100? Perhaps I’m getting soft, but I can’t say I really want to spend 100 attempts on a boss. I’d be okay with that on an end-of-tier boss, but not one of the underlings. Though I’m sure heroic Beth’tilac is now a pushover for those who have killed her before or those who were close to a kill pre-nerf, for my guild who had no experience with her before, she was still reasonably challenging. My priest buudy Kal also wrote about what she thinks of the nerfs now that she’s experienced them.

Arm of Hades has attempted a number of heroic bosses since the nerfs, but has not spent significant time on any of them. My team spent 7 or 8 attempts on Beth’tilac, which still seemed quite challenging. Figuring out how to deal with all the adds is something that’s going to take practise and trial & error. We also spent some time on Baleroc. Our best attempt got us to about 12%, but we hit the enrage timer. One of our other 10-man teams attempted Alysrazor and managed to get her down in only a dozen or so attempts. That seems a little fast to me.

So I guess you could say I’ve calmed down a little since last week. I still think there are better ways to make bosses more killable (changes to specific challenging mechanics, not blanket nerfs) but I’ve come to terms with the nerfs and will do my best to make the most of them and beat all the hard modes.

I’ll also keep my fingers crossed that the upcoming Looking for Raid “easy” difficulty will solve the raid accessibility problem so nerfs like this will never happen again.

How to heal: Halfus Wyrmbreaker (25H)

Halfus is the first fight that most guilds tackle on heroic. He’s arguably the easiest hard mode, though it can be a challenge for healers, especially at the start. Here are some tips for healing the fight as a resto druid.

Halfus Wymbreaker

The difference between hard mode and normal mode:

When I heal this fight I generally focus on one tank and heal the raid as well. This is one of the fights that makes me love playing a druid. With all our HoTs and some clever cooldown use we can put out healing on the entire raid and help support all the tanks during the harrowing first minute of the fight.

Phase 1:

The damage on this fight is front-loaded. At the beginning you’ll have multiple tanks taking heavy damage along with substantial raid damage. As drakes are killed, the incoming damage is reduced and the fight gets easier. Remember to Innervate yourself early and often – you’ll likely need your first  one 30-40 seconds into the fight.

  • Stack Lifebloom and cast a Rejuvenation on your assigned tank before the pull.
  • When the pull happens, Halfus’s first Shadow Nova is likely to get off and damage the whole raid. Be ready to cast Wild Growth as soon as it happens, along with a Swiftmend on your assigned tank. You can also use Barkskin right off the bat to help reduce the damage on yourself.
  • Once all the tanks have picked up their targets use Tree of Life. Cast Lifebloom and Rejuv on all the tanks and use WG on cooldown to counter raid damage. Use OoC procs on instant Regrowths for your assigned tank (or someone else if your tank is stable).
  • Heal your assigned tank with Swiftmend, Regrowth and Healing Touch as needed.
  • Try to keep the Lifebloom stacks up on all the tanks for as long as ToL lasts, but don’t let your target die in order to do so.
  • After ToL has faded keep Lifebloom on your assigned tank along with direct heals when needed, Rejuv on all tanks and support the raid with Wild Growth.
  • Use Swiftmend on whichever tank is on the current kill target to keep an Efflorescence under the melee.
  • When raid damage gets heavy, usually during a Scorching Breath, cast Wild Growth followed immediately by Tranquility. Try to do this fairly early on in the fight so it will be available to use again in phase 2.
  • Keep up a healing pattern of LB, Rejuv, direct heals on your tank target, RJ on other tanks and WG/Efflo on the raid until phase 2.
  • Don’t forget to Barkskin before Scorching Breaths and use Innervate once it comes off cooldown.

Phase 2:

All the drakes should be dead before Halfus reaches 50% and enters phase 2. There should only be one tank to heal at a time, but the tanks will be switching due to having to let the Malevolent Strikes debuff wear off. Halfus will cast Furious Roar 3 consecutive times every 30 seconds which will stun and damage everyone. As long as the raid moves out of Fireball Barrage and Shadow Nova gets interrupted, phase 2 is a piece of cake compared to phase 1.

  • Keep Lifebloom stacks and Rejuv on the current tank.
  • Heal the raid with Wild Growth, Rejuvenation, Regrowth and Swiftmend to keep an Efflorescence under the melee as much as possible.
  • Be prepared for the Furious Roar. When you see it will happen soon:
    • Refresh the tank’s Lifebloom and Rejuvenation so they will last throughout the Roar;
    • Make sure everyone in the raid has enough health to survive the Roar – try to ensure everyone is above 75% health;
    • If possible, cast a Wild Growth on the raid and a Swiftmend on the tank just before the Roar happens.
    • Use Barkskin.
  • Tranquility should be available for use again in phase 2. Use it either 10-15 seconds before a Furious Roar, if multiple people are low on health, or after the Roar in order to get people topped up quickly.

Happy healing!

Heroic Chimaeron – Still about the timing

People seemed to find my last post on Chimaeron useful, so I thought I’d expand it a bit to cover heroic Chimaeron. The basic timeline for the fight is almost the same as normal (go read about the normal timeline if you aren’t familiar with it).

There is one major change: Nefarian will dispel the Feud and Chimaeron will continue to melee the tanks while the bile-o-tron is offline. Because of this, heroic Chimaeron requires 3 tanks:

Tank 1 – Main tank and Break-soaker while the bile-o-tron is active (this can be a dps like a ret pally, dk or warrior)
Tank 2 – Double attack tank
Tank 3 – Tank for the regular attacks while the bile-o-tron is offline.

Alternatively, Tank 2 and 3 can alternate tanking the whole Feud phase, including the Double Attacks.

Here’s what the Feud phase now looks like along with tank rotations:

Tank 1 is tanking
1:00  Feud
1:00  Massacre
1:02  Bile-o-tron is deactivated
Tank 3 taunts
1:05  Feud is dispelled
1:05  Melee attack
1:10  Melee attack
1:10  Break applied to current tank
1:10  Chimaeron gains double attack buff
Tank 2 taunts
1:15  Double attack occurs
1:15  Caustic Slime cast on raid
Tank 3 taunts
1:20  Melee attack
1:20  Caustic Slime cast on raid
1:25  Melee attack
1:25  Break applied to current tank
1:25  Chimaeron gains double attack buff (this attack never happens as he casts Massacre instead)
1:25  Caustic Slime cast on raid
1:26  Bile-o-tron back online
1:30  Massacre
Tank 1 taunts
1:35  Melee attack

If you wanted to do it the other way, Tank 2 would tank the Double Attacks before the Feud, then the entire Feud phase. Once the Bile-o-tron is back online, Tank 3 would tank the next Double Attack and entire Feud phase. Tanks 2 and 3 would switch roles after every Feud phase.

Just like in normal:
1. The first tank (the Break-soaker) will only be tanking while the Bile-o-tron is active. He only needs to be at 10k health while he is tanking.
2. The double-attack tank needs to be topped up before a double-attack.

So where does the difficulty lie?

First trouble spot, right after the Feud starts:
1:00  Massacre
1:02  Bile-o-tron is deactivated
Tank 3 taunts
1:05  Melee attack

The Massacre takes the whole raid down to 1 health and the bile-o-tron goes offline. You have 5 seconds to get Tank 3 up to an acceptable level of health before he takes a melee swing.

How do you keep the tank from dying?
1. The tank should use a cooldown
2. Healers should be ready. There are lots of ways to get the tanks health up fast if you plan ahead:

  • Druids can cast a Rejuvenation on Tank 3 right before the Massacre and Swiftmend immediately after.
  • Priests can cast PoM on Tank 3 right before the Massacre and a PW:S immediately after.
  • Shaman can cast an Earth Shield on Tank 3 right before the Massacre.
  • Paladins can have full holy power and use a Word of Glory on Tank 3 immediately after the Massacre, or Beacon tank 3 and cast Light of Dawn on the raid.
  • The Massacre has a cast bar – any healer can time a big heal that will land right after the Massacre.

Within 1 GCD of the Massacre the tank can be back up to a decent amount of health and the healers will have another 4 seconds to get them up even higher.

Second trouble spot: the double attack while the bile-o-tron is offline.

The tank  will be taking a double attack and a hit from Caustic Slime right around the same time. They will need a damage reduction cooldown, there’s no way around that. They will also need to be close to full health beforehand.

There is a ton of damage going around during the Feud phase, but if you’re ready for it, you can heal it.

The second change to heroic Chimaeron is that the whole raid will be taking damage during phase 2 from Mocking Shadows. This means everyone needs to be topped up as much as possible before he hits 21%.

The best time to push him into phase 2 is at the end of a Feud phase, after the Massacre has happened and the Bile-o-tron has come back online. Though he will continue to melee the tanks, you’ll have 15 seconds before he starts using Caustic Slime again. Use all your big healing cooldowns to get the raid as topped up as possible before pushing him over.

Good luck!

Raid Locks – Update

The Blues have clarified. Come 4.0.1, 10 and 25man raids will share a lockout for ICC and RS.

Q u o t e:
So basically yes, the Cata raiding model is going to be applied to ICC and 10 and 25 man will be sharing the same lockout come 4.0.1?

Yes. As quoted from the original post:

Q u o t e:
With the release of the 4.0.1 patch, the new Flexible Raid Lock system will debut in Icecrown Citadel and The Ruby Sanctum.

That’s a shitty decision.

Raid Locks

We all knew this was coming in Cata, but I didn’t realise the new Flexible Raid Lock System would be implemented for ICC and Ruby Sanctum in patch 4.0, before the xpac comes out. This pretty much kills any hope I had of working on Heroic Lich King in 10-man. Edit: Or maybe not. The latest post seems to state only the “flex” part is being implemented but the 10 and 25 raids will still be separate. Maybe. I’m finding the explanation of the changes lacking. Update here.

One piece of clarification on questions being asked so far, although we’re still compiling feedback and will work to answer some of the questions and clear up any confusion we can.

The loot system in Icecrown and Ruby Sanctum is not changing. This implementation of the new flex raid lock is only that, a new implementation of the raid lockout system we’ll be using in Cataclysm. This does not change the separation of 10 and 25 in ICC, and does not change the item drops or achievements.

LockI know people have mixed feelings on 10s and 25s sharing lockouts. I’m still undecided on the issue, but reading through the most recent description makes it sound really complicated, especially when heroics are thrown into the mix. I don’t know how useful the ‘flexible’ part of the raid locks will be. Going from a 10 to a 25 (or a 25 to a 10) to continue a raid for the week could be quite difficult from a scheduling and raid comp point of view. Or if you complete 7/12 bosses in ICC with one group (and for some reason can’t continue with them), who says you’ll be able to find another group with only the other 5 up?

What do you think?