HARD MODE, that is…
After a long break which consisted of a almost two weeks in Europe and a week and a half of moving into my new house, I have finally settled back into the swing of things, both with respect to raiding, and hopefully blogging. I had been falling off the horse in April, while we were pushing hard modes and I was spending my free time dealing with an escrow account and lots of WoW in game time. Upon my return a few things had changed and I feel that this is the perfect opportunity to revisit some things that our guild tackled months ago but are seeing again. Namely some of the hard mode encounters, our strats, and some helpful tips from the tanking perspective.
While I am probably limiting my audience by starting with the hardest fight first (save Heroic LK), but it is the one that is freshest in my mind, as we wiped on it for about an hour Tuesday night. I want to break down the fight, the mechanics, and some helpful tips which helped our guild get our first kill. As I just got done with a whirl wind trip in Europe where I ate my way through three great countries, here is our menu for tonight: Professor Putricide, with a side of choking gas…
First Course, Whats different?
The first thing that you have to get used to is the new mechanics which are employed as part of the encounter. This is a big part of why this fight will be hard with the buff, and was excruciatingly hard with out it. If you knew nothing of the fight, the first change woudl happen at the 80% mark when we would expect him to throw some tear gas and go to his bench to contemplate grandeur. Instead of freezing you in place, he places a debuf on everyone in the raid. This debuf nullifies your damage to one of the two ooze colors that he is about to summon. Simply, if you have the green debuf you can only do your full damage to the green ooze, and if you have the orange debuff, you can only hurt the orange one. This presents your first challange, enormous amounts of raid damage in the form of the nockback from the green slime. The good doctor is released from his bench on a timer, and will chase after your main tank with or with out the oozes dead, so this is also a dps race to ensure that you maintain control over the fight.
As soon as you kill your first two oozes and you transition into phase two, you are faced with a new mechanic, a plague which increases in damage done exponentially and has to be pased by proximity contact. when you pass the plague, you get a debuf which increases the damage taken by said debuf by 250%. This will be the most difficult part of the fight for most of your raid, the management of the debuf is the make or break of the fight until the second phase transition. At 35%, you get both green and orange slimes again and you have less time before professor is transformed further and you begin phase three.
Phase three is a straight dps race, and you should be shooting to have the oozes dead when he runs across the room to your MT (who should be standing at the entrance to the room so that you maxmimze the time between his release and the application of the first debuf on the tank).
Positioning in Phase 1
I think this is where we have kind of diverted from the status quo and come up with something that is a little less conventional than the videos you see out there now a days, and it has worked wonders for us, from a stand point of passing the disease, and time on target for all phases and transitions. We tank the boss at the lab bench with the Main tank’s back to the bench. A select few melee who have ramp up or raid beneficial debufs will go in and spread themselves out to ensure that if one of them gets the plague that they can back away and transfer it to a ranged. The ranged create a chorus line across the room from wall to wall, so that we can easily spread the disease in a predictible fashion.
In phase 1, the boss is a tank and spank and you do not even need to move him at all, as he does not do anything to special. You should concentrate on building as much threat as possible because you will be kiting him in phase 2 and at least my dps ride my threat pretty well now. While phase 1 is going on, he will still cast unstable experiment, and oozes will appear, for us, there are two collapse points which our raid will have to huddle on when a color comes out. We collapse at NNW or NNE points of the compass on the ground (if you are looking at it from the entrance). This allows for a predictable pathing for all oozes and maximum time on target. These collapse positions will hold true for phase one, phase two, and the transition phases. With the 20% buff, you should only see one ooze before you get the boss below 80%, but if it is getting close, my rule of thumb is call dps off at 83% as the dots will tick him down quite a bit.
During transition, everyone of with the same debuf huddles at their designated points, and the melee waits to go in until a target is selected, while the ranged open up right away. I usually use an Exo, AS, Judge during this delay. While you can try and stay to do as much damage as possible to the ooze that you are assigned to, it is much more important that you are controling the fight from the stand point of being in position for the release of putricide. I usually get enough attacks off to get my 5 stack of vengeance/corruption up, and then get back to the boss to get my debufs up on him.
Positioning in Phase 2
At the start of phase two, according to how we set up the encounter, the tank should be back at the lab bench, ready to tank professor in the same position as phase 1. The new twist for the tanks in this phase is that you will have the Flasks of choking gas to manage, as well as the occasional malleable goo. The goo is something that will have to be dealt with on the fly, but the choking gas is predictable and can be managed in a way that everyone in the raid will know where it will be at all times. When the first choking gas cast is about 8 seconds away, you move the professor away from the bench to one of the points in the wall close to the orange or green orbs. When he drops his gas, you move him back to the bench.
This kiting back and forth provides maximum dps time for melee (because they can just turn around and walk less than three steps), and keeps him in range of all of the ranged dps. For the most part, as a tank this is the rinse and repeat of phase two. You create a triangle on the floor, and strafe to the right point, and then back to the middle; strafe to the left point, and then back to the middle. While this is going on, you also have the Unbound Plague and Plague Sickness to deal with. By spreading your ranged dps out in a zig zag line across the room, you have a linear transition for the unbound plauge, and people only have to move to their right or left (depending on the origination of the plague) to pass the disease.
While disease management is difficult, and the person with the disease has to be quick on their feet, it is probably not the most challenging part of the fight for most people. The oozes continue to spawn as professor putricide casts unstable experiment, and as the fight drags on, dps on the oozes will probably drop a bit due to the hectic nature of the fight. It is very important that the oozes are the number one dps priority throughout the fight because they are the difference between a very controlled fight, and one that is getting out of control.
Transitioning and Phase 3
The final transition, from phase two to phase three, is the most important part of the fight for your raid, because you want the oozes dead as putricide chases after your MT. During the transition phase, the tank will go to their assigned color and side, and dps the ooze for a while, once again getting a five stack of corruption/vengeance up and debuffing it. However, as soon as that is complete, you need to make sure that you run to the entrance of the room, and put your back to the gate. This is because professor putricide will place a debuf on you shortly after engaging in combat with you (aka hitting you). The longer you can prolong this, the more time you can give your raid to kill the boss.
In the hard mode version, the stacking debuf is a soft enrage timer, meaning that when you get to a fourth stack, your raid will be dead from the MASSIVE amount of aoe damage that is flying around. In order to take him from 35% to 0% in this short amount of time, four tanks are used to spread the debuff out. The main tank takes him back at the entrance of the room and holds him until he gets the first debuff, at which time the second tank will taunt off him and take it for one debuf as well. The third and fourth tanks will take him for two debuffs, ensuring that the diminishing returns on taunt are cleared, only to come back and have the third tank take it for one, the second tank take it for one, and then the third and fourth take it for one as well. So it goes, 1,1,1,2,2,2,3,3,3,4, 4. If he isn’t dead at this point, your raid will be.
Phase three is a straight dps race. The only things that require any coordination is the movement of the boss when he dropps choking gass, avoiding malleable goo, and placement of the raid so that you ensure that the ooze puddles are managed well. To do this, you want to keep the ranged spread out behind the tank on the compass on the ground, while you kite the boss around the very outside of the room (where the melee will be dropping their oozes. You only move the boss for choking gas, and ensure that the raid moves as one. After that, its just having everyone up to dps and enough mana to heal the raid, and you should have a kill. Although it is easier said that done when learning the encounter.
Good luck everyone!