Windlord Slaying For Dummies

21 February, 2011

“There are two kinds of spurs in this world, my friend; ‘those who come by the door: and those who come by the window”–Tuco, The Ugly

Al’akir, being end of instance boss (even if that instance is very short), is a step up in difficulty from the other fight in the instance. Usually this increase in difficulty is rewarded by a windfall in epics. Cho’gall and Nefarian drop 8 items! Al’akir? He drops a measly 5 epics of random-enchanted gear. Bleh!

Why spend the time to kill this boss? A boss with a learning curve and one with little payoff. You can spend that time on heroic bosses in the other two raid zones just as easily.

I disagree with this line of thinking. While the payoff for killing Al’akir isn’t in the loot department, you can find it in other, intangible places:

Defender of a Shattered World: It is both a title and a mount (with Guild rep at exalted). Neither has anything to do with more DPS or more healing, but it is a great morale boost. That may seem insignificant, but showing that you are a guild that takes on challenges, even if the epic reward is low, is a message to those looking for a guild and those already in the guild.

Second, his loot isn’t great, but he does give 90 valor points and the epics can be turned into Maelstrom Crystals. On Zul’jin those materials go for over 2000g each. With enchants costing as much as 6 per, you don’t want to waste that opportunity.

Lastly, I think clearing an entire tier is very important from a raid-measurement point of view. Al’akir is hard, but it isn’t nearly as hard as ANY heroic boss. Putting your raiders in as many situations as possible helps refine their skills. Al’akir is a big time personal responsibility fight. That’s the trait you want to reinforce the most.

There’s my pitch for actually doing the fight. Now I’m going to attempt to give you some tips on making this fight more manageable.

I’m going to refer to this diagram a lot, so take a look at the symbols and their arrangement.

The platform in BossBlueprint‘s map is arranged to have a “spade” at the bottom. Our raid sets up on the circles between the spades. We found the tornado spawn points to be more forgiving this way. This strategy also assumes a 6 healer arrangement, you can add a 7th to the tank’s spot easily.

Hot Spots

The tornadoes (Squall Line) spawn at fix locations on the platform (near the Orange Circles).  Tornadoes on the west go counter-clockwise, tornadoes on the east clockwise. Combine this with the Wind Blast cooldown and you create areas on the platform that are more difficult to stand than others.

The hardest sectors are the ones marked with Diamonds. Put your best/fastest learners there. This shouldn’t excuse poor play, but some people are just better at these kinds of fights. Timing a Wind Blast to get knocked off or not, timing with the tornadoes, all that takes time. Those positions will never be easy.

On the other hand, the positions marked with Circles are very easy. The Wind Blast and tornadoes are perfectly offset and you’ll never have to deal with both. Very straightforward, not a lot of decision-making.

The spot that I marked with crossed swords is where I put all of my rogues/other melee. In 25 man, obviously one sector will need 4 people. Load up that spot with melee that can mitigate damage/self-heal.

Note: When Wind Blast is casting, Al’akir cannot cast his lightning AOE. Use that to your advantage to get through a Squall Line quickly, but don’t linger! You’ll kill some raiders!

Healing Tips

Heal quickly. Use your quick, inefficient heals to top people up as soon as possible!

1. You’re going to be running around (and flying) a lot, you might not get a chance to heal them if you wait.

2. That group’s healer might not be able to heal so cross-heal and overheal if necessary

3. You get tons of regen time in this phase because of (1), don’t worry about your mana, the goal of the phase is to survive.

Phase 2, Stormlings, Feedback

Ranged DPS on the adds, melee DPS on Al’akir full time.

DPS the first Stormling to 50%, hold it until there are 3 Stormlings active, and then start killing them one at a time (we have our tank mark the kill target). This will allow you to keep the Feedback stack rolling and climbing. It will become more difficult to keep the stack as the adds will spawn as the debuff gets closer to finishing.

If you are quick, and wait at the proper times (kill the adds just before Feedback goes away), you can get crazy dps numbers. Our highest stack was 12!

Hit Herolust Warp at 7 or 8 stacks. If you can get the stack above 10 I recommend all dps switching to Al’akir and burning until Feedback goes away, then restart the stacking (you’ll be out of Phase 2 at this point).

Phase 3…go down…go down…go down…go down…

Start at the top. When you enter Phase 3 immediately fly as high as you can go. Stare the boss in the face and give him the finger.

Mark one player and go down after each cloud appears. After Wind Blast be sure to fly under the clouds if a new one has spawned. If you go below the marked person or bad things will happen. Don’t wait for a call! If you wait for the call on vent, you’re already too late. Look at your character from the side so you can see the clouds (they are faint if viewed from above).

Lightning rods: strafe to side to avoid killing everyone. You learned this lesson on Ascendant Council, just don’t go out of healing range.

Fin

This is by no means a full fledged strategy as I’ve left several mechanics out, but this should clarify some of the more difficult parts of this encounter. Use one or use them all, but don’t skip this boss. Get it out of the way. Collect Maelstrom Crystals, get people confident in the fight. You’re going to have to kill it eventually, might as well do it now.

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A Little Heroic Taste

3 February, 2011

YOU PAY FOR THE WHOLE SEAT, BUT YOU ONLY NEED…THE EDGE!

Two posts inside of a week? MADNESS.

Quick thoughts on heroic modes after we dipped our toe into the cold, frigid water of Hard Mode progression:

* The increase in difficulty is very high. Even on Halfus, the clear-cut easiest heroic boss, you can see how tight the encounters are tuned. We’ve had a lot of time to gear up with 4 piece tier bonuses and lots of epics scattered around and it was edge-of-your-seat tension during the fight. Damage on tanks is back at pre-Cataclysm levels with large spikes with constant healing (with strict assignments) being required.

* That being said, it was a nice change of pace back to what we’re used to doing. The normal mode fights almost feel silly by comparison. That statement is a little on the elitist side, but I say it to emphasize that Blizzard has created a distinction between the modes. Halfus Heroic is as hard as Nefarian Normal. Taking into account the raid composition requirements, it’s more difficult. More gear, more practice, and better execution will make the heroic mode fights easier.

* After dropping Halfus, we went on to one-shot the remaining bosses in the instance. We scored record kill times on all of them, even with an extra healer. It was a good bounce-back night after we suffered the wrath of the internet on Tuesday night and only killed a couple bosses with a lot of silly wipes. Doing harder fights makes all of the previous content feel easier. That is my favorite thing about raiding. Seeing how your raid group is progressing not just in kill count, but in performance is very rewarding as a raid leader. Success breeds success.

* Heroic loot. For killing a heroic boss in 25 man you receive: 125g/raider, 90 Valor Points, 9 Epics. That’s a ton of loot. If you have the Cash Flow perk you’ll receive 150/300g (5%/10%) for your guild bank. The reward is worth the effort put into organizing the larger raid size.

* Back to the raid strategy. I’m not a fan of cooldown stacking. Finishing Steelbreaker Last in Ulduar was an exercise in frustration. Organizing all the bubbles, guardian spirits, etc got on my nerves. Add that Shaman (and Druids) have no external, damage-reducing cooldowns, and you have a recipe for disaster if the right people aren’t online. Earth to blizzard: You gave all the tanks a Shield Wall, give all the healers an external cooldown of some sort (Mana Tide doesn’t count).

Halfus isn’t too extreme as far as cooldowns go. We had a lot of priests so we took advantage of it, but if we didn’t then I think we could manage to get through 4 Furious Roars and win the fight. Bringing no priests would be considered poor composition, but the fights are tuned assuming you have every class.

* I will likely never do this fight on 10 man, but it has a Sartharion 3D feel to it. That doesn’t bode well for 10 mans. The scuttlebutt is that the 10 man heroic modes are over-tuned.  If they are, I can’t say I’m surprised.

Our raid comp:

3 Tanks

2 Warriors, 1 Paladin

9 Healers

3 Discipline Priests (1 respec’d from Holy, 2 respec’d from Shadow)

2 Shaman, 2 Paladins, 2 Druids

13 DPS

2 DK’s, 2 Rogues, 2 Shaman (1 Ele, 1 Enh), 1 Druid (Balance), 3 Mages, 2 Warlocks, 1 Hunter

Best thing about Heroic Halfus? You don’t have to worry about drake combos!

Two posts inside of a week? MADNESS.

Quick thoughts on heroic modes after we dipped our toe into the cold, frigid water of Hard Mode progression:

* The increase in difficulty is very high. Even on Halfus, the clear-cut easiest heroic boss, you can see how tight the encounters are tuned. We’ve had a lot of time to gear up with 4 piece tier bonuses and lots of epics scattered around and it was edge-of-your-seat tension during the fight. Damage on tanks is back at pre-Cataclysm levels with large spikes with constant healing (with strict assignments) being required.

* That being said, it was a nice change of pace back to what we’re used to doing. The normal mode fights almost feel silly by comparison. That statement is a little on the elitist side, but I say it to emphasize that Blizzard has created a distinction between the modes. Halfus Heroic is as hard as Nefarian Normal. Taking into account the raid composition requirements, it’s more difficult. More gear, more practice, and better execution will make the heroic mode fights easier.

* After dropping Halfus, we went on to one-shot the remaining bosses in the instance. We scored record kill times on all of them, even with an extra healer. It was a good bounce-back night after we suffered the wrath of the internet on Tuesday night and only killed a couple bosses with a lot of silly wipes.

* Heroic loot. For killing a heroic boss in 25 man you receive: 125g/raider, 90 Valor Points, 9 Epics. That’s a ton of loot. If you have the Cash Flow perk you’ll receive 150/300g (5%/10%) for your guild bank. The reward is worth the effort put into organizing the larger raid size.

* Back to the raid strategy. I’m not a fan of cooldown stacking. Finishing Steelbreaker Last in Ulduar was an exercise in frustration organizing all the bubbles, guardian spirits, etc was a pain. Add on that Shamans (and druids) have no external, damage-reducing cooldowns, and you have a recipe for disaster if the right people aren’t online. Earth to blizzard: You gave all the tanks a Shield Wall, give all the healers an external cooldown of some sort (Mana Tide doesn’t count).

Halfus isn’t too extreme as far as cooldowns go. We had a lot of priests so we took advantage of it, but if we didn’t then I think we could manage to get through 4 Furious Roars and win the fight. Bringing no priests would be considered poor composition, but the fights are tuned assuming you have every class.

* I will likely never do this fight on 10 man, but it has a Sartharion 3D feel to it. That doesn’t bode well for 10 mans. The scuttlebutt is that the 10 man heroic modes are over-tuned.  If they are, I can’t say I’m suprised.

* Doing increasingly harder fights, makes all of the previous content feel easier. That is my favorite thing about raiding. Seeing how your raid group is progressing not just in kill count, but in performance is very rewarding as a raid leader. Success breeds success.


Cataclysm’s Fantastic Four

1 February, 2011

Don’t think. FEEL. It’s like a finger-pointing at the moon. Do not concentrate on the finger or you will miss all of the heavenly glory! — Bruce Lee

With a day off to literally do nothing in-game, I had a little bit of time to reflect on normal mode Tier 11. We still have plenty of farming time on it to go as we progress through heroic mode Tier 11, but we’re done with it.

There have been a lot of Negative Neds and Nancys out there hating on Wow 4.0, but I want to put a different spin on it.

In these past four weeks, there has been a lot of time to explore the newness of Cataclysm and settle into the 4th era of WarCraft. With so much content, some might find it hard to pick out the best parts of the expansion just one month in, but I’m selfish and 99% right, 100% of the time, so let’s have at it!

Let’s see how random we can mark these points

1. Guild Leveling/Perks/Reputation/Achievements

I’m doing this one first because I want to state up front how wrong I was about this feature  (I said 99% right, don’t judge me). Before Cataclysm, guilds were simply an angle-bracketed Ominous Latin Name or Abstract Noun. The only significant source of togetherness was a cropped screenshot after a boss-kill with that same guild name on it.

Now with guild leveling and reputation, all the players in the guild (from officer to friends & family) can contribute to the progression of the guild. Raiders in the guild contribute inside of the instance, but the quests, dungeons, and battlegrounds that the more casual members complete also contribute to the guild experience pool.

Giving a tangible goal to everyone in a guild grants ownership of that goal to every member. The guild rewards are insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Most of them are just another pet or mount, but there are others that everyone can benefit from. Gold from looting put into the bank which can then be used for repairs (we have guild repairs turned on for everyone, all the time).

Remote access to the guild bank, experience and reputation boosts, and honor bonuses. If you contribute something, anything, you will reap the rewards.It encourages folks to stick with a guild and build it into something meaningful. The bonuses to reputation/experience given to guild instance groups help build camaraderie through cooperation.

As a friends and family member or retired raider, the fact that guild status was previously only tied to raid progression had you feeling like a passenger. Now you can give something as well, and that can only mean good things.

Read the rest of this entry »


MS Paint Friday: Random Raid Strategy

21 January, 2011

First up is the Theralion ground phase of the Double Dragons encounter in Bastion of Twilight:

TANK, MELEE, RAID, DRAGON, FABULOUS FLAMES

I’ve seen a lot twitter chatter and forum posts about issues in this phase of the fight and I was having a hard time understanding why. The enrage timer for this fight is very generous and the incoming raid damage is 95% avoidable.

What I figured out was most folks are using the common (and seemingly most logical) strategy for Theralion-Ground: One melee group, one ranged group, run out with engulfing magic, eat the meteors, get out of fabulous flames (big purple circle), etc.

This strategy has a few flaws and it was something I recognized our second time on this boss:

1) The Twilight Meteorite has a very small soak radius. You have to stand right on top of someone to soak the damage. For a 10 man with maybe only 5 ranged players, it could be hard to soak this damage with the movement required due to fabulous flames.

2) Fabulous Flames not being predictable. The Flame radius is huge and lands very quickly, which means every raider takes a lot of damage and has to move at the same time.

3) Engulfing Magic is a single-point failure. If one person screws up their Engulfing Magic and doesn’t run out, you’re screwed.

How I decided to combat this (and I’m sure I’m no pioneer) was to do the exact opposite: spread out around Theralion, tanked in the center. The only mechanic that requires stacking is meteorite. Because this particular meteor marks it’s target and has a cast-time/time-to-death, you know exactly who the meteor is going to hit.

When Valiona marks someone for Twilight Meteorite, that player runs to the melee group. They are tightly grouped at Theralion’s tail and never have to move. Since the rest of the ranged DPS/healers position themselves evenly around the dragon, the number of players affected by Engulfing Magic (other than the target) is 1 or 2 on 25 man and 0 on 10 man.

Try it out to make your farming attempts as smooth as butter.

Now let’s take a look at Magmaw Trash:

TANK(S), MELEE

This is a quick one.

1) The two Drakonids get tanked on opposite sides of the room.

2) The Raid is tightly packed in one group between the two trash mobs.

3) The melee is tightly packed behind the Dragon on the left at max melee range. These dragons cleave and the cleave will chain through the raid. Don’t get cleaved.

Occasionally the dragons will charge the target furthest from him (keep this in mind if you die and try to graveyard zerg the trash). With this positioning it means they will simply switch places. All DPS should continue to attack the mob on the left hand side and keep the two NPCs at the same HP so they die together. On death, the remaining Drakonid will enrage and do insane damage to the tank. If you don’t kill it soon after, it will get pretty dicey for your raid.

Healers: Keep the raid topped off from thunder-clap ( focused on the melee if ranged DPS stay out of the Keep Out area. The tanks will be taking a lot of damage (especially after a charge) so don’t slack.

DPS: Don’t be the Dead Hunter.

Trash Healing

A quick rant on trash healing. The trash in Cataclysm is not that big of a deal and (other than the beginning of Bastion of Twilight) isn’t that heavy. What’s different about this expansion is that healers have to try as hard as DPS for the first time since Tier 5.

You can’t zone out and just go through the motions on trash. Treat it like a boss fight and stay engaged. If you take some packs off, you will lose a lot of players and waste a lot of time inside of the instance.

These has no relevance to the current content, but they’re some of my favorite MS Paints (apologies to the color-blind. I use a lot of red and green):

 

 


Coachability: Handling Criticism/Raising Your Game

18 January, 2011

The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual. – Vince Lombardi

Last month I wrote about how it is important in Cataclysm to properly handle mechanics, take advantage of crowd control, and generally, just play the game. The underestimation of damage and the tendency to treat trash as if it’s no harder than navigating the queue at Disney world, will lead to pain.

So much pain.

Today we’re going to bring that discussion down one more level: to you and those you raid with. During this week’s Matticast, I briefly touched on how important it is for a player to be “coachable.” In other words, the ability for someone to look at your play, evaluate it, and then give you feedback on how to improve.

Coachability is valued on my list of intangibles just as highly as talent. Obviously a person who is always in the right place but is losing to the tank in damage is too far to one extreme. The sweet spot is finding a player with above average ability that will take in a strat and perform it on every play.

Starting at the beginning

There are two elements to coaching when it comes to raiding:

1) Ability to take direction, follow the strategy, make reads in an encounter: “I am Jack’s unwavering situational awareness.”

2) Ability to trust others will do their part, allowing you to give 100% focus to yours: “I am Jack’s third eye.”

I will explain these two components using a typical play in hockey (this is hockey for those not already familiar), the two-on-one break, and how it is typically defended. A defender and the goalie are facing two attacking forwards. This obviously poses a problem. Who takes who? How do we keep them from getting a goal?

The defender takes away the pass between the two attackers, the goalie always takes the player carrying the puck. The defender trusts he can leave the shooter, and the goalie trusts the defender will lay down and block the pass. They don’t have to worry about what each other is doing. If they do, the puck is in the back of the net.

If you let them pass to each other, will they always score? No. If the goalie cheats and doesn’t challenge the shooter, will he always score? No. Sometimes you get lucky. Players on both sides can make mistakes (or get a bad bounce), but the result is always not the best indicator of complete success.

You often hear of guilds who struggle to repeat a kill on a boss. Most of the time it is lack of a tight strategy or just the simple fact that all players aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing. You got lucky, the RNG’s dice fell just the right way. Our first Kalecgos kill came after only a few nights of work. Almost 5 resets later, we got our second kill. It was after that when I started to really look for weaknesses in strategy or at players who keep doing things wrong.

“Hey, we’re winning, there’s no need to call out players for doing things wrong!”

Conversely, that is the BEST time to tell people they weren’t properly handling a mechanic. Everything doesn’t hit everyone on every attempt. Where the problem occurs is correcting people that don’t always like to be corrected.

Let me talk to those people for a brief moment.

My guess is that WoW is your first, if not only, experience in a team-gaming setting. You’re probably used to picking up the latest platformer and just running into things at your own pace. Maybe you dabbled in a little Halo or some Goldeneye with your friends, but none of them never really told you that you could kill someone with 3 shots from the pistol and the shotgun wasn’t great for long-range kills.

If they did the likely response was “I like the shotgun.” And then no one cared as they proceeded to paste your insides to the walls of Hang ’em High.

That was a little mean-spirited. Everyone that didn’t play a team sport or a team game in the past isn’t a completely obnoxious bad. My point is that most video game players spend their time by themselves just figuring out their own way to get to the finish line.

Now you’re in a raid and some skinny white dude from Pittsburgh is telling you to keep out of the void zones or get the hell out of the raid! It’s a different experience, but one that is essential for raiding progress.

Give and Take, Getting Better as a Team

It’s frustrating when you don’t pick up something right away or can clearly see you’re a step or two behind your peers. Having one of your contemporaries look at your armory, look at your log parses, or watch a fraps video of you playing, to give you tips is how you step up to the next level.

And as hard as it is to listen to someone breakdown your rotation, it’s just as hard to send out that criticism without coming off as a complete ass. How forward you are is generally a function of how “off” the person is. If they’re literally thousands of DPS or HPS behind you on a similar encounter, you might want to have a talk with them immediately.

“Did you know it’s better to stack this stat rather than this one?”

“I do well here because I move to this spot right before AOEing, it saves me time.”

Don’t keep tips to yourself. You aren’t competing with your fellow raiders, you making someone else better raises the level of play of the whole raid. If someone sends you a tell or a PM with some tips, don’t blow it off. Maybe they see something that can help make you better.

The wrong way to do it is to bitch about how bad someone is without finding out. “He doesn’t know you need to stack haste to 1000? What a noob. I’ll continue to beat him on the meter while our raid continues to wipe. I’ll show him!” Withholding that information in order to gain an advantage for raid invites is equally deplorable, if not more-so.

“I was looking around at the people with Lightning Rod, and forgot to get the right debuff!”

Don’t let this happen to you. It is the raid leader’s job to worry about the other 9/24 players. If all 25 were watching the other 25, you wouldn’t kill anything. That responsibility is focused on one player so that you can do your job at 110% capacity.

“It’s a copycat league”

Cookie cutter specs and strategies exist for a reason: they work. You might not be able to perform exactly on par with some of the best in the world, but you can closely re-create what they do and put yourself on the front side of the bell curve; above the pack of “average” players.

I’ll bookend this post with another powerful quote from coach Lombardi:

Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence. – Vince Lombardi


Cataclysm Raiding: Do It Right, The First Time

13 December, 2010

You know, as I lie here, I can’t help but notice… the reason I am out of nine millimeter rounds is that I was not properly briefed. And the reason for that is that this mission was not properly researched. If certain people had bothered to gather intelligence on the creatures before bumbling into the situation…-Burt Gummer, Tremors II

By now you’ve likely experienced the rush of leveling. The grind out of the gate when you hit the floor in Hyjal and were knee-deep in dead NPCs. Dozens of random cut-scenes, hundreds of quests (and maybe a dungeon or 2 later), you are 85 and ready to enter heroics.

The most likely outcome? Your group crashed and burned by the second trash pack while your healer sat gasping for mana. This was the case for me, and it was one of those “we’re doing something HORRIBLY wrong” situations. What you’re doing wrong is ignoring the individual abilities of the trash mobs (or bosses). Not standing in cleaves, avoiding aoe damage, interrupting, and over-CC’ing willl make your heroic dungeon experience infinitely easier. Do you need to CC 3/4 mobs in pack? Probably not, but better safe than sorry on your first trip.

It’s no mystery that the first foray for our a group through a particular dungeon was painful. Figuring out the nuance in each trash pack and what makes a certain boss simple as opposed to a healing nightmare is a refreshing change. You need to learn what is going on and actually deal with it correctly.

Saying Hello With a Punch to the Face

This leads me directly into a discussion on Cataclysm Raiding. I decided to schedule a quick impromptu 10-man raid on Sunday (12/12/10). The usual process followed for brand new content: look and see which starting boss was killed the most and go for that one. That boss was Omnotron Defense System. A pseudo-council boss sitting in the right-hand wing upon entering Blackwing Descent. For those who haven’t traveled there, BWD opens with two bosses (think Ignis and Razorscale). Each boss has has 1 (Omnotron) and 2 (Magmaw) trash pulls respectively.

I immediately say to myself: “SELF! Only one trash pull, this will save tons of time.” A crazy zerg shit-storm later and we have it down…the trash pull.

Yikes.

Trash mobs with 6.5M hit-points using abilities that will two shot anyone and put tanks in constant danger? Where are the AoE flowers and robots that I can ride? Maybe they are found deeper in the dungeon but they certainly are not present in the front of the instance. Assigned healing, something that floated out of existence for an entire expansion, has returned. The two sentinels standing guard in front of Omnotron were merely an introduction; a sample of what was to come.

Mr. Obvious Gives You Advice

A one sentence overview of Omnotron Defense System: It will punish you severely when you do it wrong, and will become simple to execute when done correctly.

“I know, Mr. Obvious, of course if you do the fight correctly it will be simple.”

This has not always been the case. Having only one in-combat rez and a disadvantage in the gear department compounds the above statement. Omnotron has abilities that directly (and serverely) punish the raid if they are not properly handled. Travel to wowwiki and read up on the fight if you aren’t intricately familiar, but here is the basic idea. A robot activates and fights you. After a certain amount of time he will put up a shield which turns on a new robot. When a robot runs out of mana he shuts down (post-shield). This rotates around until their shared 32.5 million hp bar is depleted and you can collect your epics. By their names you can guess what they do (kind of).

Arcanotron. Magmatron. Toxitron. Electron. Not always in that order.

1) Don’t DPS the Shield

With a few attempts under our belts we decided to adopt a “Don’t DPS the shield” strategy. Nothing good can come of damaging the shield. The difference in raid damage is immediately noticeable. This made it easy for us to debug problems in the strategy in regards to positioning and how folks are handling the other RSTS abilities. We placed all of the trust in our tanks to pick up the newly activated robots on time and told the DPS to start immediately.

2) Identify When to Group Up

The only robot that is sensitive to raid positioning is Electron (chain lighting). While all of the others are active, be closely grouped to make it easier on your healers. My default command was to call group on Arcanotron” when he was active. The pool he drops will be on the raid immediately and it will allow your healers to sustain this ~9 minute fight. The team of Arcanotron and Magmatron plays very nicely with this strategy.

The hardest combination to heal is Magmatron and Electron since they have conflicting abilities (chain lighting, raid wide fire area of effect). Healing Stream Totem glyph is handy.

3) Tank Cooldowns When New Robots Activate

There will be a small window of time when all 3 robots will be active. As a tank is changing from his shielded robot to the newly activated one, have them pop a cooldown to buffer the damage. Magmatron, in particular, hits hard and getting behind can cost you some vital mana reserves right as an ability is about to be used. If the tank is out of cooldowns, throw on an external one. Since our healing crew was druid-shaman-shaman, we didn’t have that option but did ok nonetheless.

4) Handle the Abilities

If you don’t put Magmatron’s laser away from the raid, kite Toxitrons slimes, or interrupt (most of) Arcanotron’s bolts, you will pay. It’s not a “woops get the next one” situation at this gear level. Each player needs to know how to react when things target them or the robots do certain things. It is not the most complicated fight I’ve ever done, but it will test your abilities and give you a quick introductory course on what to expect this expansion. The closest fight it resembles from WotLK is a slightly easier Mimiron.

Everyone but the tanks were working under completely new rules when it comes to playing their characters in a raid. We all had our toons geared through heroics, but amping it up and doing full (correct) dps rotations or properly healing to sustain a fight of this length is a test. If you can do this fight, you’re ready to go. All of the elements to a raid encounter are present.

  • Don’t stand in the Bad
  • Identify the Good, stand in it
  • Listen for vent calls on positioning
  • Switch targets on time
  • Keep your DPS/Healing up while moving/handling abilities

Moral of the story? Don’t be afraid to take a step back and see why you keep wiping. Have your tank look at his death log. It might be something as simple as an interrupt or mob-facing. Be sure that you are accounting for each ability (heroic, raid, or otherwise) and over-compensate for them. One thing is certain: you will waste far more time wiping to blissful ignorancethan searching wowhead for the abilities and some tips to help out.

So far, so good. On to Magmaw.

I’m not comfortable giving a complete breakdown of our strategy (and my healing strategy) yet; not for “secrecy’s” sake, but for correctness. I think there’s a few things I can do better to improve my output and make the most out of my mana bar.


11th Hour Speed Leveling Tips: Dispeling Myths

6 December, 2010

Speed Kills – Al Davis

Before we start, that is probably the first and last time I’ll ever quote Al Davis, but it’s apt to the discussion. The hot topic swirling around twitter and the blogosphere is on leveling to 85. Do I go with no sleep? Do I go without food? What zones do I level in? How do I get a realm first?

Speed leveling, or to bring it down a notch, leveling quickly, is not the same as Realm First! leveling. I was able to achieve a double realm first on a relatively high population realm doing nothing crazy. To be fair, my competition wasn’t nearly as steep as it will be tomorrow.

A lot of folks are spitting rumors and talking crazy so I’m going to dispel a few myths about getting back to the leveling cap efficiently to get back to raiding as soon as possible. Your guild leader wants you to get back to cap in a week. What do you do? It seems like a tall order unless you go without sleep and chain chug Red Bull! Again, this isn’t about getting a realm first, just getting the grind done.

  1. It’s too crowded! The first goal of new expansion leveling is getting a level or two and getting out of those starting zones (make sure you finish them, I hope you collecting dailies to turn in). If you can climb out of a starting area early, you’ll run into less and less players. If you’ve taken time off work or don’t have class, take the time and move away from the pack.
  2. A Daily Boost. Collect quests and fill your quest log. You might have already missed out on this, so I hope you’ve already done it. Twenty-five quests is a nice little boost for about 2 minutes of work turning them in.
  3. I need to chain Red Bull to stay awake! The most common whisper I got when I dinged 80 in WotLK was: “Now you can sleep!” What they didn’t know was, over the two and half days it took me to get to the level cap, I slept ~9 hours (which is just slightly below average for me, I’m a 6 hour a night person on a good day).
  4. Can’t shower. How long does it take you to shower? Three hours? Hop in and rinse the morning stink off. It’s a nice wake up call.
  5. Can’t make real food. Trail mix or bust!If you’re worried about something good to eat, make a pot of soup or cook a nice pot roast. You don’t know how to cook? Not my problem. This is one of those times when being able to make some good high volume comfort food comes in handy.
  6. I want to enjoy the leveling experience. If you’re concerned about getting to the cap and want to save time, read the quest text on an alt. Enjoy the scenery and dungeons after you get your main up and ready to go.
  7. What about professions? Unless you have gathering professions (wait I thought you were a raider :P), start them when you’re done leveling. You’ll save travel time and all the time you’ll spend making things and getting materials.

Focusing on questing and only questing will get you to your goal in plenty of time and ahead of most folks. The time you save will pay off and you can start collecting gear from heroics!

Best of luck to everyone on their grind. I’ll see you at 3 + Augh-Server-Down-Time a.m.