Monday, July 18, 2011

Beth'tilac, The Red Widow

Sorry for the unannounced hiatus everyone, went camping out in eastern Oregon for a few days, but now I'm back! And now that I'm back, let's talk about Beth'tilac, the second boss that we've managed to kill in firelands thus far. As always I'll gloss over much of the fight and concentrate mostly on healer issues, but I'll try to pay tribute to some of the more important mechanics.

Red Spider On Red Web With Red Fire Abilities!

The pull isn't especially bad, however there is a fair amount of predictable raid damage, the first time the boss is hit she will retreat above to her web and lava will begin to spill down from the ceiling. This sucks, so you need to get your above team to get up on her web with her. It's important that the small "Cinderweb Spinners" that spawn above on her web be taunted down by anyone with a taunt mechanic immediately, this not only produces the web strands that your above team will use to climb up and stop Beth'tilac from vomiting fire down onto the raid, but the spinners themselves have a fairly nasty fire damage ability that seems to be random target, so we had a raid member assigned to bringing them down from the webs whenever they spawned throughout the encounter so they could be killed quickly, as that random fireball nuke they have hits a little too hard to be allowed to stay on the field for any real amount of time.

I use Power Word: Barrier on the pull as the only other time during the encounter that I will need it will be near the end when we're cycling raid cooldowns, but I'll talk about that later. Once we've pulled and gotten our above team onto their silk strands, we continue killing the smaller spiders that spawn on the web until another type of spider spawns.  The smaller "Cinderweb Spiderlings" are dealt with solely by our Hunter, while the rest of our DPS on the ground is free to concentrate on keeping the number of living Spinners low, and DPS'ing the final type of add, the "Cinderweb Drone"  the drone should be picked up and tanked by your  Below Teams tank, dps should be on it for a considerable portion of the fight, as if they don't die within a set amount of time they will climb the web to Beth'tilac and cause her to Transition phases more quickly, giving your above team less time to damage her before the final phase.

During most of the fight you're just keeping your below tank up from the constant damage he will be taking from the drone, I took this job simply because I was able to smite heal the drone for a considerable portion of the encounter while whoever was helping me heal the bottom took care of the random damage people were taking from the Cinderweb Spinnners lava bolts. The extra dps also helps ensure that the drone dies before his allotted time and is not given the chance to engage the final phase prematurely.

I had the chance to heal the above team for several tries, and there really isn't much to say honestly, make sure your above tank takes the first silk strand, as whoever ends up there first is going to be the melee target for Beth'tilac, and she hits like a raid boss should. Once you're up however it's simply a matter of dodging slow moving meteors that constantly bombard the upper web, burning holes in it wherever they hit (these are actual holes, you WILL fall through to the lower chamber if you walk over one and you will likely die to fall damage if you do so). I found the healing up there slightly too high for just smite healing though, but easily manageable through traditional healing methods (boooooring), so to maximize efficiency we let our Holy Paladin deal with the above section now.

The above team is only able to stay up on the web for a certain amount of time, this is denoted by an energy bar on Beth'tilac herself, which slowly depletes, when it reaches zero she will cast a Fire AOE spell that will kill anyone left on the above platform, so the 3 or 4 people you have up there fighting her  will need to hop down through the large hole in the middle of her web, doing so will prevent fall damage, though if you're a Mage or some other class with a slowfall feel free to use a closer hole burned by a meteor if you want. Once she casts the AOE it's right back up to the web for the above team to continue damaging her, this AOE occurs 3 times before Beth'tilac will decide that she has had enough and will descend to the ground floor. We found that if no drones were allowed to climb up the web and siphon her energy (that's how they cause her to cast her AOE more quickly), we would always have one final group of Cinderweb Spiderlings spawn, these have to be killed IMMEDIATELY, as they heal any of the bigger spiders that they come within range of, and when Beth comes down from her upper web, she will land right next to this final group of Spiderlings. Assuming you manage to kill all of them, and  your above team did a fair amount of damage to Beth, the fight becomes fairly simple. Everyone but your tanks just stacks on her rear and she will begin to pulse an initially weak fire AOE that will gain damage as time goes on. As the damage becomes less manageable, the raid leader should begin to call out and coordinate raid cool-downs as your healers need them. The tanks also have to swap as she will de-buff one, however the mechanic seemed fairly simple. Just keep the AOE heals up during the final burn phase and pray your dps is hot enough to kill her before your healers either run out of mana or the fire AOE kills your raid completely.

Well that was a little long winded, lets just pretend it makes up for the few days I was gone :] til next time folks

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Shannox 10 Man, In which we watch our damn step.

 Headed back into Firelands this Wednesday evening with much better results than last week I am happy to report!

Shannox, along with his two dogs Riplimb and Rageface went down fairly quickly this week. The trick ended up being that we needed to murder one of the dogs immediately, as opposed to killing everything slowly and at the same rate.
Kill this jerk right away

Once you've burned Rageface down, get some sort of CD on whichever tank has Shannox, he'll do a little enrage at that point, something like 30%, easy enough to deal with but it CAN be surprising if you're not prepared to it, and that's a silly thing to wipe to.

Once that dog is down there should be no random raid damage, aside from people stepping on the ever increasing immolation traps, Riplimb should be encased in ice as often as possible, while dps  splits between Shannox and his remaining dog, pray you have Shannox down to 35% or so when the dog dies as he'll do another small enrage, at which point you'll probably want some sort of cooldown running on his tank at all times.

We had so many traps on the ground by the time Riplimb died that we chose to move Shannox completely away from where we had originally been fighting him so as to not have anyone step on a trap inadvertently. Once Rageface died I found quite a few opportunities to smite heal for extended periods of time as well. All together the fight isn't actually very difficult if you can manage to keep your raiders out of  his traps.

We're going up against Beth'tilac this Friday and I am hopeful, so stay tuned folks.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A lizard man and his dogs.

Well we spent a few hours in the new raid instance tonight and I have to tell you, if nothing else, that place is POPULATED. We spent nearly 40 minutes before we even had a chance to fight our first boss, the place is thick with trash mobs, patrolling, stationary, you name it this raid seems to have it, in terms of trash.

And when you finally clear enough trash in the first large open area, this guy starts yelling at you and slowly enters the area with his dogs, he'll patrol in large long circles around the area, through areas that you likely haven't cleared of trash yet, so if you miss an opportunity to pull him you're stuck waiting a few minutes before you can try again.
We didn't manage to down him tonight, largely because most of us went into the fight blind, not something I recommend but hey it happens. What I can say is that it is imperative that none of your raiders inadvertently step on an ice trap, as it not only stops whoever you have dragging his tankable dog around from freezing the dog and receiving a breather, but it also freezes that raider in an ice block with a pretty ridiculous amount of HP for a silly ice-block.

All said though, if someone is going to die in this fight it's likely going to be all at once because someone screwed up a mechanic, either a dog will kill someone inside of 3 seconds with an ability, or someone will stand on the erupting fire spiral that the boss summons from time to time, the tank damage isn't anything spectacular, though I imagine it becomes much worse when you kill his dogs and enrage him, but I'll write about that when we get there. That's all for tonight!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

3 Tough Bastards

Considering that 4.2 dropped this morning, I'm going to post my last pre-4.2 set of raid guides, herein I'll be looking at the final boss from each of Cataclysms original 3 raids. Nefarian of Blackwing Descent, Al'akir of The Throne Of The Four Winds, and Chogall of the Bastion Of Twilight.

This is the fight that our group had the most difficulty with, bar none. We spent several weeks on this jerk. Healers and tanks all need to be spot on with their timely use of healing and tanking cd's, and dps need to communicate with the healers so a crackle (big nasty raid wide aoe that hits for about 80%+ of everyone in the raids HP) doesn't go off when they're not ready for one.   The fight isnt especially difficult to heal once you get used to a few things.  First, make a point of pre-shielding any raid members who have either low max HP or are prone to taking extra damage right after a crackle somehow. Additionally it is important that the tanks have some sort of damage reduction for every Crackle, as it is common for a fire breath to come right before or after a crackle, which in conjunction with the crackle damage would be enough to easily kill a tank. at the very least, make sure you shield both tanks for every crackle.

Phase 2 is actually fairly easy if you're a Discipline priest, I tend to shield myself and my pillar members as we become submerged in lava, but once we've made it onto the pillar all of the healing can be done via smite/holyfire healing, though I usually have a prayer of mending bouncing around as well simply because it is such an efficient heal. 

Phase 3 consists of keeping both tanks alive as best you can, I primarily heal the Nefarian tank, so I'm free to smite heal for most of the fight, dodging the spreading fire is key in this phase, I tend to shield as many raiders as I can before each crackle so long as I have the mana for it, the key in this phase though is control, dont push a crackle unless you're ready, preferably just after a fire breath, so you know that another breath won't happen for a while, giving you time to heal your tank after the crackle.

This is a pretty rough fight, it isn't any more difficult than the other two end bosses, but if you ARE going to die to him, you're likely going to do it within the first 45 seconds of the encounter. Be prepared to fly back up to his lair quite a few times in quick succession :] 
   Anyway, the first phase is just about keeping your raid pretty spread out, as that stupid forked lightning he casts does more damage the more people it hits. Heal everyone between each lightning burst and try your best not to get caught in the cyclones that make circles around the platform. I run holy for this fight, as I can leave my lightwell near the tank so that even if I do get blown off of the platform, some healing can be done.
     If you manage to survive the first phase (until he is reduced to 80% health) then you will have a nice lull in healing. Phase 2 has a constant raid damage component, but it starts out fairly benign, simply put out controlled AOE heals as necessary and continue to dodge tornadoes and you'll be golden. 
  Phase 3 is a clusterf*ck, the best we could manage was to mark the 3 healers so that the rest of the raid knew where to fly if they needed to be healed. Holy is again very helpful in this phase as circle of healing can be fired on the fly and does tremendous amounts of overall healing. At this point its up to your DPS to kill the boss quickly enough for the entire arena not to be filled up with lightning clouds.


In my opinion, this big guy is the easiest of the raid end bosses. Success depends on a few factors, your raids ability to stack up when necessary so as to facilitate the interruption of the Worship ability that he causes random raiders to channel, and your ranged DPS' ability to deal with all of the adds present in this fight. This is a fight I recommend Discipline for, it allows you help the ranged DPS bring down the adds faster while keeping your add tank healed via atonement (those awesome heals you get from smiting enemies). There are a few places in which Power Word: Barrier is especially useful during the fight, you can either be safe and save it for the final phase, or use it on the first set of shadow AOE damage pulses that Cho'gall will regularly perform and then hope it is cooled down by the final phase.
    The ability to smite heal is also fairly helpful during the final phase as well, as the tentacles that come out of the ground that must be killed actually have fairly low Health, so even a little priest spamming holy damage spells on it will speed up the tentacle killing process considerably. Spam casting power word shield during the final phase is also a viable tactic, it will give your other healer(s) time to top off anyone who was a little too injured.

Anyway folks, new bosses tomorrow! Our raid group is scheduled to go and try out some of the Firelands bosses this Wednesday evening, so I'll have a post up about the experience sometime tomorrow night, that's all for now!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Moving Right Along

Well 4.2 is just a few days away, lets see if I can't squeeze out a few more strategies before it hits and I have no choice but to talk about our attempts against the new shiny bosses.

Blind flying fire breathing bastard
Lets start with Atramedes! This fight is a no brainer for the tank, and honestly for the healers too! There are really only two difficult mechanics in this fight, and they boil down to this. Running away from fire, and hitting gongs at t the appropriate times. Our raid elects certain people to be in charge of hitting the gongs to interrupt the bosses raid wide AOE ability and to interrupt him when he is chasing another raid member with his flame breath during the air phase. I actually usually run holy during this fight as the combination of spread out raid damage and the need to run like a little girl from fire breathe are both things holy can address well using their ridiculous amounts of AOE heals and sprint bubbles. Make sure the people you assign to hit the gongs do not die as it is fairly likely that having to yell at some other random raid member at the last second to hit the gong will result in one or more people coming out of the experience extra crispy. Finally, keep an eye on your allies sound levels, if they're about 60 or so, keep a shield on them. There are several unavoidable abilities that will do significantly more damage to someone with a sound level that high.

Hits like a garbage truck

Moving right along, let's talk about Chimaeron for a little while, At first I was only able to heal this fight reliably as Holy, simply by merit of their sheer heal output capabilities, but once I had a few purples discipline became just as viable.    Tanks need to be on top of taunts for this fight, and dps just need to make sure they dont stand too close to anyway. This is a healer fight,  take three, its just easier. I've heard stories of it being two healed but I wouldn't recommend it. We divide healing responsibilities, one healer is responsible for keeping both tanks healthy, and the remaining two healers are in charge of their respective groups (we are a 10 man guild so we just throw one in each 5man party).  Damage only really comes in 3 forms, Melee damage on one of the tanks, acid spit, which in 10man only affects 2 players at once, and massacre damage, which reduces the entire raid to 1 hp. Holy priests have ridiculously good tools to deal with all of this. As you only ever need to heal a non tank up to 10,000 HP, a single circle of healing from a decently geared raider will bring both players hit by poison spit back up to safe HP levels. Additionally if the priest is one of the people spit on they can simply binding heal. When the Bile O Tron goes offline and you have to stack up, drop your aoe healing zone, make a Lightwell and yell at people to click on it, and then alternate circle of healing with prayer of healing until the raid is topped off. This fight seems a lot more difficult than it honestly is, its just a matter of keeping a level head and not panicking when you see all those empty health bars. A trick I've found useful is to wait for Chimaeron to begin casting massacre, and just before he is finished, I begin casting Prayer of healing, so just as he reduces everyone to 1hp, I am able to heal an entire group up about halfway to that 10k threshold, and you can follow that with a circle of healing immediately on the 5 player remaining at 1hp, having dealt out about half the necessary raid healing to bring everyone back into the safe zone within a quarter of a second of the damage even being dealt.  If you decide to go disc on this fight. Penance if you feel fancy, otherwise spam Holy Fire and Smite like crazy, it will always heal someone at 1hp and you can put two of them out between each poison spit, contributing to the groups DPS and taking care of a good amount of raid healing at the same time, shield spamming and power word barrier are both powerful tools for the stacking phase as well.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Scientist And His Pets

Dr. Maloriak

I've got a little spare time today so let's go ahead and talk about one of the easier fights in Blackwing Descent. The Add tank is the only person with a hard job, otherwise it's just  a series of stacking up and spreading out. Just barrier as many of his fire cone AOE's as you can during this fight, it's without a doubt the best place to drop Power Word: Barrier. The entire encounter can be healed via smite, unless your 2nd healer isn't doing much, in which case you MIGHT need to use a few aoe shields after the fire aoe's. But honestly there is so much time in between them that you can just continue to Smite/Holyfire and have everyone basically topped by the time its roasting time again.

By the time you get around to a green phase your add tank will be taking a fair amount of damage, may as well drop pain suppression here.

Additionally, during the ice phase, if you have jumpy dps, they may try to break the person who was encased in ice out of their ice block immediately. This does a lot of damage, and if the person doesn't receive a substantial heal before it is broken they will likely die. We have a tool for this, Power Word: Shield! just pop a bubble over them and their health will hardly move when that ice block shatters!

When Maloriak goes into his final phase, just pop fade, this way you have no chance of pulling healing aggro on the Prime Subjects that enter the room.  I make a point of moving every few seconds to avoid those sneaky blue orbs that will spawn beneath you at random. There's also a fairly unimpressive raid wide aoe that he'll cast every now and then. Prayer of healing if you feel the need, if not, keep smiting. The add tank shouldn't be taking substantial damage from his two adds but keep an eye on him anyway and be sure that he doesn't out range your heals.

That may be a little bit long winded, but believe me, he's easy. Just put your most competent tank on add duty, and your best interrupter on Arcane storm, and everyone else can essentially coast by if those two people do their jobs properly.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

4 Hated Robots

Another night, another post. Omnotron defence council system group requires a good deal more concentration on the part of each individual raid member than Magmaw, though the distribution of responsibility is more equal than with our Magmaw strategy (where the hunter isn't allowed to mess up ever.. EVER).  

That said, there are several abilities that place within the hands of your random raiders the ability to screw up in a spectacular manner and likely take down several other raiders with them.  Let's talk about these abilities individually, and from a Discipline Priests perspective.

Annoying Raid Damage! Lasers Ahoy

Incineration Security Measure - While this is certainly a dangerous ability, it is predictable, just make sure nobody is near death, and hell, even if they ARE? shield them, bam, you're awesome. If  you're in a phase during which stacking up is encouraged, power word barrier is recommended.

Acquiring Target - Here is one of those dangerous abilities, big red laser points at a random raid member, a few seconds later it is followed by a flamethrower effect. God willing, the affected person moves to a zone where there are no other members. If they need help, Lifegrip makes for a good temporary substitution for that raiders IQ.

Free Mana! Low Damage!

Arcane Annihalator - This should be getting interrupted all the time anyway, if it doesn't then it still shouldn't be a huge issue assuming it doesn't hit someone who is near death already. However, if Arcanotron pops one of these off while he is standing in his puddle, it will hurt substantially more, and if the person at whom it is fired happens to be standing in Toxitrons chemicle cloud, they'll likely die and you'll be left wondering what the hell just happened. 

Whirlpool -Stand in this, if you're awesome and use atonement you'll not only receive bonus mana regeneration, but enjoy increased throughput due to the puddles DPS increase.

Power Conversion - If for some reason this gets stacked up, yell at your Mage to spellsteal it, no mage? Dispel it yourself.  
Unpredictable but low raid damage

Chain Lightning - Spread out, if Arcanotron is out and you REALLY want to stack up in the puddle then barrier is an option just for the sake of getting the most out of it.

Lightning Conductor - If you need to Lifegrip someone who is oblivious that they have this buff, shield yourself first to avoid getting fried by the jerk

Don't let the slimes touch you or you'll look stupid!

Chemical Cloud - Don't stand in this. ESPECIALLY don't stand in this if you think you might take damage in the next few seconds. If you're a tank, stand the boss in this, please.

Poison Protocol - If you have any melee who tend to be slow, pre-shield them, they MIGHT survive contact with one of the exploding adds. If you're put into a situation where someone cannot avoid being hit by one (DC?) then a shield and pain suppression will let them survive it pretty easily actually. Of course you could just lifegrip them and have nobody take damage!

All said this fight provides a plethora of opportunities to use your spec specific cooldowns, so make use of them whenever you can. If you're the type of disc priest who loves to maximize damage, save Power infusion for yourself until you're standing in one of Arcanotron'ss puddles, pop it and any other Spellpower/Intellect cool-downs and go to town. Or give it to a mage who has stolen stacks of power conversion from Arcanotron, he'll thank you.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Normal Magmaw

Alright, considering he was the first raid boss we downed after cataclysm dropped I'll go ahead and start with a post on this guy.


Unfortunately I imagine that our raids strategy for this boss is likely atypical, as it involves with a single hunter being responsible for Magmaws adds. Additionally I'm going to assume that anyone taking the time to read this is at least somewhat informed concerning the fight mechanics, as such the advice I give from here on out will consist of small observations on my part and things that I have found particularly useful in this encounter.

As I said, our hunter is responsible for all of the lava parasites, as such, he is the only player NOT in direct melee contact with Magmaw.  This solves a few problems and creates a few new ones. In terms of pros, now only one person is required to move when the lava pool spawns beneath them, however, it is now imperative that the other 9 players  get the hell into melee range as even a few steps too far out can cause the parasite pool to spawn nearly directly upon the 9 man melee pile. If for some reason the Hunter has trouble kiting all of the adds, first we yell at him, failing that, our Fire Mage will supply an aoe slow or if for some reason HE is dead a warrior  will go and piercing howl the adds.

My favorite time to use Power Word: Barrier during this fight is right after one of the head down phases, just before he breaks out of the chains. Reason being, people are easily confused! They need to stack back up in melee IMMEDIATELY not only to avoid putting the parasites somewhere the Hunter doesn't want them, but because when Magmaw breaks free he immediately Lava Spews, so you'll get a lot of mileage out of PW:B there anyway, so why not help direct your raids attention to the right stacking location at the same time?

Once you've hammered it into your raiders head that they need to maintain melee range to Magmaw, the fight becomes a breeze. There are only really 3 sources of damage. Melee damage to the tank, damage from his 2 target at a time lava bolts, and the raid wide AOE that all healers hate, Lava Spew. Personally I keep a shield on the hunter and tank as they are our MVP's for this boss and just smite/holyfire the ever loving hell out of Magmaw. Having the entire raid stacked helps with positioning with Power Word: Barrier and leaves us all standing in any aoe healing zones our comp may have that week. Help bring the raid back up post lava spew with Prayer of Healing and its back to Smiting/Holy Firing.  Pain Suppression can see some use during this fight as well while Magmaw is devouring the tank. Popping your Shadowfiend during a head down phase is preferable, as you'll get the most damage out of him, doing so right before Heroism will sweeten the deal just that much more.   

That's it for my Magmaw overview, certainly not a comprehensive guide but maybe someone will take something away from it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Of things to come...

Herein shall I deposit all of my accumulated knowledge concerning the most effective healing methods for a Discipline priest operating in a 10 man guild. While I am certainly not even remotely the most skilled discipline priest in existence, I will certainly try to convey they strategies that have worked for me in a clear and concise manner. I will attempt to post my strategies for the first 12 normal mode bosses before patch 4.2 hits so wish me luck!