This was the (raiding) week that was

It’s been quite an interesting week for me in WoW, aside from having rose petals thrown at Spinks all weekend (fortunately only one day left on that holiday). I was involved in minor drama in the 25 man raid, and by contrast my 10 man raid just continues to stomp all over stuff. Every time I set a goal for us, we waltz all over it on the next week’s raid.

In any case, my best raid news is that we have now killed Malygos on 10 man. We also polished off the achievements for the 4 Horsemen (kill them all within 15s) and Kel’Thuzad (kill 18 abominations during the fight). I’ll note down some tactics at the end.

One thing that is really glaring to me is how quickly an encounter moves from being on progression (ie. we haven’t beaten it yet) to being on farm (ie. can beat it reliably every week) in the current content. I can’t with my hand on my heart find this to be a bad thing, it does make the raids more casual and alt friendly. But we also get bored more quickly.

25 man raids really are more annoying

This week we spent all of Wednesday night wiping on Malygos. Our best attempt had him down to about 16%. I didn’t at any point feel that we were one more try away from getting him.

So my gut feeling is that although more practice is needed, our main problem is fast enough dps through phases 1 and 2. The fight is a bit misleading in that respect because normally in a several stage fight, if you can reliably get to the final stage then you know you have it beat.

With Malygos, the timer is tight enough that even if you get to phase 3 every time, you still might not be in a position to be able to kill him. Especially because dps in phase 3 isn’t something you can kick up with buffs, trinkets or consumables (for anyone who doesn’t know the fight: in phase 3 everyone is riding around on drakes and can only use the drake’s innate abilities). So we really do need to sort out stacking sparks better in phase 1, you’d think with two deathknights in the group it wouldn’t be an issue …

I was in a bad mood anyway because I was on off-tanking duty. Phase 2 is the only phase which needs an off-tank, and not for very long. So I was stuck in my tanking gear/spec for the whole fight just so that I could grab a couple of mobs for 30s or so. I was finding this very frustrating, especially because we actually had two feral druids in the raid who could have done it. I’m not saying that my poor protection dps stopped us getting the kill, but it can’t have helped.

I was told off afterwards for being passive-aggressive (I didn’t think I was being very passive, to be honest, and the bitching was all in the tank channel anyway), and one of the raid leaders told me that it wasn’t the first time. I also got the talk about how we had to work as a team and that meant not arguing with raid leaders on forums. Since I don’t recall having any actual arguments, I interpret this as meaning they prefer me not to disagree with them. Note: I don’t make a habit of arguing about tactics in the middle of a raid.

Whatever. I apologised profusely, as you do, and resolved to just let them do things their way in future.

I feel more uncomfortable in the raid now than I had in the past. I had assumed that this whole being a team thing meant that it was generally a good idea for me to chip in with my opinions. It’s just another thing that makes me want to flee to the 10 mans where  if people disagree with my tactics or have better suggestions, I weigh up their arguments and  then decide.

I suspect everyone was just a bit grumpy on Wednesday  night.

10 mans continue to rock

Saturday evening rolled around, and I ran a Valentine’s Day Naxxramas raid. What could be more romantic than slimes, spiders, maggots and zombies?

This was the first time I had to really weigh up raid composition because we had 3 tanks sign up. So what this meant was that one of us would need to switch to dps or healing. Since we also had 2 healers who had signed, it left the choices down to whether I would switch to dps or whether the paladin would since I prefer to have the feral tanking. He had always made it clear that healing was his offspec, which left it down to me.

So if I feel a bit down about tanking this week, it’s because not only was I forced to OT Malygos-25, but I also didn’t even get to tank my own 10 man.

I decided in the end to bring my warlock, which was the first time we’d had an alt in the 10 man. Because of it being Valentine’s my husband nobly let me use Curse of Agony to inflate the numbers a bit and in the event I was hitting about 2k dps which is fine, really. We even picked up Arachnoph0bia  although I explictly said ‘We’re not trying for Arachnophobia, we’ll loot after each boss’. I also made out on gear like a bandit.

This turned out to be a good decision because the raid stomped all over Naxxramas and then went on to kill Malygos (where having an extra warlock was a bonus).  We had spent a couple of hours wiping on him a few weeks back, this time we went in and got him on the third try.

But I was most proud of the raid for the four horseman achievement. I knew that we were good at speed runs, which is why I wanted to challenge them with a more control/finesse type of achievement.

As of next week, we’ll definitely open the sign ups to alts. And assuming we make good time in Naxx, we’ll definitely go on to Malygos afterwards.

Tactic thoughts: And they all would all go down together (10 man)

You will need three healers for this fight. We used two fully specced healers and one shadow priest in healing gear.

The trick here is that it is a control fight. So you need to be able to dps down all four of the bosses in a controlled way, and then burst down the last few percent very quickly at the end simultaneously.

At the front, we used one tank, one melee, and one healer on each boss. After every three marks, the front tanks run towards each other and taunt each other’s boss, and then bring it back to their original corner. Because of Thane’s meteor, we waited for the first meteor to drop after the third mark went up and then did the tank switch. The healers and melee can stay in their corner. The idea with having the melee there is to help soak meteor damage.

At the back, we had two ranged to ‘tank’ the bosses and a healer to heal both of them.

That makes 9. The last dps was a ‘floating’ ranged dps who helped keep the two back mobs on an even footing and also helped whoever had the worst burst damage to get their mob down at the end.

So when the fight started, I told people to dps the mobs down to 50% initially. By that time, we knew we had the tank switching sorted so then we took it down to 10%, then 5%. At 3% we had the last tank switch at the front, and then it was into KILL IT KILL IT KILL IT time.

There is a moment right at the end where you can see them on all really low health and your heart skips a beat and you wonder, did we …. and then the achievement comes up. Hurrah.

I like this achievement in general because although it isn’t hard, it does test everyone in the raid. As a raid leader, my main concern was whether the shadow priest would be able to heal through the meteor for the whole duration. As it turned out, this wasn’t an issue.

Tactic Thoughts: Just can’t get enough (10 man)

This one is a simple numbers game. You need to kill 18 abominations during phase 1. Some will wander into the raid anyway. When you pull the abominations from an alcove, you’ll get 3-4 of them and the rest of the alcove generally stays put.

So we had our druid keep an eye out for the regular abominations, casters stay focussed on the skeletons and banshees, and our paladin pull abominations from 4 different alcoves during phase 1. They do have a mortal strike so the tank needs to wait for that to fall off before pulling the next set.

And then once you are into phase 2, just kill him as usual.

Tactic thoughts: Malygos (10 man)

You can get the general tactics from somewhere like tankspot. The tactics are the same for 10 man as for 25 man, although there are fewer adds in the 10 man encounter and Malygos doesn’t hit as hard.

We did find that this encounter favours casters because they can keep casting as he starts his vortex. Warlocks in particular are laughing because if you stick your teleport circle in the middle of the platform, you can port out of the vortex, take no falling damage, and keep nuking. Casters can also keep standing in the sparks and nuking at the transition between phases 1 and 2.

Having a death knight or dps-style druid around helps with spark management because they can either be grabbed or rooted (we had a moonkin with us this week). The idea is that you’d like to stack them some place where melee can stand in the sparks but the boss doesn’t. Fortunately he has a big hitbox.

The tactic which worked best for us in phase three was for everyone to spread out around him and keep a stack or two of HoTs on themselves. Then the general rotation is 1-1-1-2 which should leave everyone with enough energy to use their shield when focussed. We had previously been having everyone on top of each other with one assigned healer but we found that this ‘every man for himself’ was less prone to everyone being wiped out by a static field.