Archive for the 'Tanking' Category

10
Aug
10

Tanking the Twilight Realm

You spin me right round baby right round, Like a record baby right round round round

Phase two of the Halion hard mode encounter has provided tanks with a nice twist to the Wrath of the Lich King’s typical tank and spank mechanics. While most of the fights that we have come across over the past few instances have been as dry as a day in the sahara, this provides a little more interesting movement mechanics. The phase starts as soon as Hailon reaches 75% and will continue until 50%. To engage the boss you have to be the first one in the portal, and the first one to be with in melee to whack the boss and establish aggro, as there is a complete aggro drop as you enter the twilight realm.

What I have done to ensure that both of the above qualifications are met is that I will position myself in such a way that I have to look through halion to see the middle of the room. If you all positioned the boss the same way it would be much simpler to describe, but since there are many different positioning strategies, the most important thing to remember is that as you click the portal to the twilight realm, you want to appear with Halion in front of you. This will allow you to run straight to him and hit him with some snap threat. I personally start off with a hammer, judge, then shield to ensure that I have a good deal of threat. As soon as I have a 5 stack of vengeance, then I blow Avenging Wrath. This will ensure that your cool downs will be up by the time you enter your first spin. It is important to understand that cooldown usage will be different for hard modes, this is only a suggestion for normal mode.

I like to rotate the boss 90 degrees so that as the rest of the raid exits, they are in the perfect position to start dpsing. By rotating him 90 degrees, the side of the dragon will be at the portal’s exit point. It is essential that you create as much of a threat buffer as possible between you and your dps, because unless you have gotten comfortable with spinning and dpsing at the same time, it will be more important for you to focus on directing the raid and spinning the boss. After a few attempts you should get into a groove where you are used to the spin mechanics and you can continue to perform your 969 with out any hiccups. The first spin comes approximately 30 seconds after you have entered the twilight realm and it is important that you have your bearings set so that you can do your job perfectly.

The role of the Main Tank in this phase is essential to the survival of the raid, as you will be the conductor to this symphony of side stepping. What I found was most effective was to set my camera at max distance by using the macro:

/console CameraDistanceMaxFactor 9

This macro allows you to see the playing field, the boss, your raid and the two Shadow Pulsars or purple orbs which rotate around the room. While you have plenty of time to get everything in order before the first spinning cutter, it is important that you acclimate yourself with the room to ensure that you can see everything from a comfortable vantage point.

You can dance if you want to, you can leave your friends behind…

Do the Safety Dance! After you have established sufficent threat, and the beams are about to appear it is important that you line them up appropriately in order to ensure that the beams are no where near you. The idea is that you as the tank will be riding the left beam while you spin the boss on a dime, this allows your melee to be dpsing from his hind leg and eliminates any chance of them being in the 180 degree parry haste arc. You line yourself up so that you can see two orbs (on hard mode) or one orb (on normal mode) and the boss. For all intensive purposes, I am going to describe hard mode because it makes it easier to understand the positioning and movement. The orbs will be 90 degrees appart from each other on the circle which surrounds the room. it is important to see where they are when you have about 6 seconds left on the cutter cooldown.

When the cool down has come up and your boss mods tell you that the beams are coming, you want to line the orbs up in a specific manner. As you are looking down the back of the boss, the tail would be noon on a clock, you want to place the orbs at the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions. This will ensure that you are directly in the middle of the void between two cutters. You want to start moving when you see this positioning, and not stop  even if the beams do not appear when the mod predicted. It is also helpful if you call out in vent that you are moving. This should give your healers adequate time to prepare for healing on the run.

It is important to remember that it is your responsibility to direct the raid in the twilight realm, and as such if you feel that you need to move early, by all means do so. The rest of the raid will be depending on you to direct them, most of the raid will just try to position themselves on the side of the boss.

Once you have this dance down, the rest is academic. A few more things to think about when it comes to tanking this phase and what you need to do. If you have a sufficient threat ceiling when the first beams appear, and you are not comfortable using your abilities and rotating, just rotate until you get comfortable. The number one thing to focus on is rotating the boss on his current position. This is very important because the Shadow Pulsars do not move relative to the boss, they move relative to the room, so if you move the boss from the center of the room you will be faced with rotating into a beam and dying. The rotation of the boss is very important to the success of phase 2 and phase 3.

Some more things to think about when it comes to tanking in the shadow realm is understanding physical markers which you can use to help manage the Shadow Pulsars, the beams, and the boss. What I do to ensure that my rotation does not move the boss off of his spot, and as a result have him pivot on the spot, is stand on the very outside of his hit box. When  you target mobs, there is a red circle on the ground that appears (simple i know, but just to make sure we are all on the same page) which you want to walk along. You just walk the line of the hit box and you will be rotating him on a dime. All you have to do to execute this is hit the strafe left button then the forward button, strafe left, move forward, rinse and repeat. You should use your mouse at the same time to ensure that you are always looking right down the back of Halion with the two orbs at 10 and 2. The coordination of using your mouse to change your camera angle to ensure that you are always on track with your movement, and using the keyboard to rotate independently is all that it takes to get the rotation on a dime movement.

Aside: I am working on fixing some bugs in my video recording software associated with wow so that I can take a movie of this to post, but im getting errors, so it may take some time. However, when I fix it, I will put up an informational video to see how I do it!

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07
Aug
10

Discussions on Halion Tanking

WoW Versus my Job

My job has been getting in the way of my ability to main tank all of our progression runs for the past few months. My transition to a new (old) role in my company has hindered my attendance and my concentration when it comes to raiding, preparing for raids, blogging about raids, and everything else that had to do with my obsession with WoW. I have gotten to the point where I get my WoW fix only three days a week, the rest of the time, baring a huge guild scandal (which has been known to happen and require me to log on early in the morning to talk to our other Co-GM) I am away from the game and away from my ability to talk and think about it.

As a result, we have had some new tanks working on halion hard mode, and more specifically being the shadow realm tank. From my understanding, as I have never tanked outside in phase 3, it is a fairly trivial tank and spank job for one of the tanks, and add duty for the other. As for the inside, and the shadow realm, there are all sorts of fun things that you have to deal with. Over the few weeks our guild spent on Monday nights wiping in 10 man learning the fight, I got a good look at the fight from all aspects, and learned what gear to wear, how to use it, and when to use your cool downs.

It was interesting to hear that quite a few of our tanks, dps posing as tanks, and everyone in the raid in general had a hard time with the cutters. The laser beams of death are a simple mechanic which is only muddied by two factors: your tanks ability to rotate on a dime, and your raids ability to react quickly when they get the mark. From my perspective, the only difficult time a tank should face is when one of your tank healers gets the mark and has to run when trying to heal you. This is intuitively the best time to use cool downs, health stones, trinkets, etc.

Back to our tanks trouble though. I have been hearing that most of our stand in’s have been having issues with confidence when it comes to rotating the boss. I guess I have to explain all of the different tanks we field and when we use them to understand how this is such a broad based problem. I have been the main tank of the guild for quite some time, and have been part of the tanking rotation for the entire expansion. As tanks have come and gone, I have done my best to replace them. We currently have a talented tanking roster of two protection paladins and a protection warrior. This is bolstered by a trial druid tank, and three dps capable of tanking (DK, Warrior, and Druid).

Each of these players has been asked to step up at one time or another on this fight, and each of them have had an issue with either wanting to tank or being an effective tank. We have had issues with single target threat, being able to execute the rotation in the shadow realm, lack of gear to handle hard mode 25 man hits, in ability to pick up the adds, and general sub par play by some. In the end our other main spec tanks are doing their job well, and a few of our very talented players can sub in from a skill stand point but their gear is not up to snuff. This brings me to the topic at hand that I wanted to discuss. If you thought that was a long winded intro, I have apparently been away too long!

Gearing for Hard Mode Halion

A discussion has broken out on our class forums between myself and one of our best players (a shadowmourne wielding death knight who used to MT back when his guild was a top 100 progression guild in the TOTGC days). The discussion centered around his concern that he was getting gibbed by halion on phase 2 inside the portal. He saw that there was some parry hasting leading to his demise, but overall he was not geared enough to take back to back hits.

This lead to an evaluation of his gear, and a personal reflection on what I would wear to the party when I get a chance to walk in there and tank. For me, armor has always been an attractive stat, and should not be discounted, however with the impending breaths that the boss pumps out, you want to consider stamina a great option as well. The gear set that I am leaning towards will put armor in the forefront of my mind, however at a certain point, the DR will become too steep and I will rather use stamina to bolster my survival and effective health.

If you look to combine the priority of stamina and armor, and in addition try to increase your expertise to respectable levels so that you have the threat to not threat cap your dps and prevent a good percentage of parry hasting, you can create a fairly well rounded gear set. Most of the gear that we will wear for the encounter will be best in slot gear from an effective health perspective. The areas where we can manipulate gear to achieve an elegant solution to threat, expertise, and survival, are few and far between, however important to understand. Legs, trinkets, weapon, cloak, and rings are slots which will give us the opportunity to modify gear to achieve a desired outcome.

What I was looking for when it came to assembling a set was to trade up some of the armor pieces for large chunks in stamina. With the issues that our guild has been seeing, trickle down deaths are not as prevalent, it is the burst damage you need to sustain when a healer is preoccupied with saving themselves. While armor is still very powerful, there is a balance which needs to be considered before going for all of one or all of the other. If I can manage it, I will work on putting together some testing on Halion hard mode, where I will wear full armor for a few fights and break down the damage, and threat out put, and then swap over to a more balanced set with more stamina, hit and expertise to see how that shapes up.

More to come!

07
Jul
10

Halion Hard Mode

The ruby sanctum has come!

I wanted to talk about our strategy for the Ruby Sanctum. This past weekend, we took a 10 man into ruby sanctum to kill Halion. We started off on hard mode and gave it quite a few shots for learning. After about four hours, we concceded and killed him on normal, but I have a feel for the fight, and am confident that there is nothing more I need to do to set our guild up for success. The fight is fairly simple in concept, but quite difficult to execute in practice. For those of you who have not seen the hard mode, enjoy my first thoughts on the fight. After I take our guild back in for the kill on hard mode, I will come back with a full breakdown, pictures, and maybe even some videos.

The most difficult part of this fight is that everyone has to have exceptional situational and environmental awareness. We unfortuantely did not have that and the same people kept dying to the same things every attempt.

Phase 1, yawn…

The first phase of the encounter starts when you pull the boss. we pull the boss and put him tangental to the outside of the circle. If you can get the boss up against the flame ring, your doing it right. We basically start the encounter pulling him to the outer ring and then twisting his body and walking him along the ring. The entire raid stands at the back hind leg closer to the middle of the circle. Periodically someone will get a debuf called Firey Combustion, which needs to be dispelled as soon as possible. The trick is that once it is dispelled it drops it unleashes a patch of fire proportional in size to the number of charges present at the time. This means that they need to be placed somewhere other than the raid.

A bug or an issue: When positioning him, it is possible for you to walk outside of the circle on the ground and lock yourself out of the room when the encounter gets going. I did this, and our other tank did this. Do not panic, as the off tank be ready to pick up the boss if this happens and dont panic. You only need one tank for Phase 1, and in Phase 2 the person who is outside will get ported in…

Now that you have him situated, and no one is locked out, you can begin the encounter in earnest. Since the raid is standing on his hind leg, the person with firey combustion should run parallel to his tail and drop the patch of fire at the very edge of the playable area. This fire ring will persist for two more firey combustion casts. This means that you should only have two circles on the ground at once if executed properly. The other mechanic in phase 1 is a meteor which is very easy to avoid. About 5 seconds before the meteor collides with the ground it will have an aura pulsing on the ground which looks like a flame strike or a paladin consecrate. If you do not avoid this, you will die from the impact.

Phase 1 lasts from 100% to 75%, at which time halion will phase and a portal will appear in his place. As the tank you must spam click this and get into the shadow realm first. Once in the realm, you will see Halion standing in the middle of the room, just as he did before you pulled for the start of the encounter. He does not aggro instantly, however it would be prudent for you to run and hit him with a SoR as soon as possible. I usually flip him 180 degrees and have his tail facing the entrance to the instance. This allows for your raid to run directly from where they zone in to his side where they will start dpsing.

Phase 2, and the LASERBEAMS OF DEATH

One of our officers said it best, this phase is completely controlled by the tank. This is because during the shadow realm phase, you will be tanking him while laser beams circle the room. In hard mode, there are four purple orbs that rotate around the outside of the circle. they are 90 degrees appart from each other and will periodically, on a timer, activate and create laser beams which form a cross and continue to rotate. If any member of the raid is hit by one of these they are dead.

In order to get out of this phase unscathed, the tank needs to execute properly. What this means is that you must watch your cooldown timers as well as the orbs in the room. When the beams activate, you want the purple balls to be at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock, and the dragon’s tail should be at noon. If this is the case, all you have to do is rotate slowly with circular strafing motions to stay in between the beams.  If you have executed this perfectly, no one is dead, and the boss was spun on a dime, still standing in the exact middle of the room.

PRO TIP: at the end of the clockwise rotation, when the beams dissipate, take one or two steps back from the direction you came (counter-clockwise). This will align the orbs perfectly for the next beam and you wont have to move until the beams appear.

The other mechanic which is employed during this fight is one similar to Firey Combustion. It also needs to be dispelled ASAP and will drop a shadow patch on the ground. These need to be dropped as close to the outside of the circle as possible, with time being an important consideration. If you can successfully complete this, you should be into phase 3 at 50%.

Phase 3, fire and shadow!

The physical and the magical realm, the fire and the shadow, are in existance in this phase, and there is a catch. You have to balance your dps inside the shadow realm  and outside in the physical realm. If one of the realms gets too far ahead the dragon will take 0 damage, and the other one will hit like a mack truck. The key is to ensure that you are with in a few percent of each other. Sounds easy doesnt it?

Well thats because it is, the hard part is that the fire patches which are present in phase 1 and the shadow patches which are present in phase 2 are in both realms. So if you drop a shadow patch in the shadow realm, it also shows up in the same place in the fire realm. Managing these patches, and controlling dps is the key to successfully completing this encounter. All of the mechanics of phase 1 and phase two are still in effect, the only difference is that there are more patches to avoid and to drop, and you have half the healers in each realm so your tanks will be harder to heal, as they are taking more damage and you have less healers.

You should save your cooldowns for when your healer gets the Firey Combustion, or Similar shadow debuf, as they will be running out and dispellign themselves, leaving a gap in their ability to heal you. I will come back in a few days and give you the run down on the fight with screen shots, more pro tips, and possibly a video!

Good luck everyone!

25
Jun
10

Tanking Caps and You

Gearing Philosophy and Necessities…

I received a tweet this morning regarding hit and expertise caps and what one should focus on first, and I thought that the 140 character limit of twitter was just not going to cut it for a proper response, so here is a more detailed and informational (hopefully) response to the question:

AndrewAnderson5 Wrote: @AvengingWrathy I got a question in regards to pally tanking. is it better to be hit capped, exp capped or both?

Well the short and simple answer is Neither. It depends on your gearing philosophy and goal of the gear set. Hit capping will help with your threat, and ensuring that your taunts land every time (if glyphed and melee hit capped). Expertise is a threat stat first, and on bosses where parry haste is enabled, a defensive stat as well.

Hit rating

With a hard melee cap of 263 hit rating or 8% hit, you will never miss a hit which you attempt. In addition, if you are glyphed for Righteous Defense, then you will never miss a taunt either, as your taunts are spells and the glyph will give you an extra 8% hit to get to the spell hit cap. With the advent of 3.3, we have new threat stats which sit at the top of the charts, and your question has some merit for the changes we have seen. First and foremost, it is important to understand that if you cap hit, you will remove the chance to miss from the attack table. What this means is that your swing is left with three options, land (hit or crit), dodge, or parry. In order to eliminate dodge from the attack table, you have to get to the soft cap of expertise, or 26 rating. This will leave only parry on the attack table. Parry is quite a bit more expensive to remove from the attack table because of its added threat of parry hasting.

While we have proven that all but two of the bosses in ICC have parry haste turned off, and the two that do are for the most part more threatening with their frost spells, it is still worthy of note to understand that there is a defensive characteristic to the stat. Theck has proven that Expertise is 83% as good as Dodge when it comes to pure avoidance. This only is applicable for bosses which parry haste. However there is always the added bonus of removing dodge and parry from the attack table. Once you have reached 56 expertise, you will land every hit you attempt on a boss.

Now on to the pretty pictures, because that is really what helps me understand things. Hit rating is something that will obviously help us with our threat, however it has no effect on our ability to mitigate damage. Hit is something that you want to start stacking if you are having problems with threat capping your dps . Hit has a great relationship with threat, and is the second best threat stat out there, and  is illustrated by this lovely graph I ninjaed from Theck over in the 3.3 Stat Threat Analysis thread at MainTankadin. If you observe the graph you will find the following:

No surprises here. Hit drops off when you reach the melee and spell hit caps. Everything else is pretty much the same, with slight scaling of damage-increasing stats until you reach the appropriate caps.

The interesting thing to note is that after about 50 hit rating, STR increases enough to equalize the two stats. Note that this is with 0 expertise rating from gear; at the expertise soft cap this number will go up. What this means is that if you’re really optimizing for threat on a limited budget, you’d want to balance hit, expertise, and STR. On the other hand, it’s hard to come up with a rule of thumb for this, since it will depend on your current STR, hit, and expertise values. In practice it will be more common to just gem STR if you want sustained TPS, and hit if you want snap threat. The difference in sustained will be small enough (~2-3 TPS per 10 points of rating or stat) that hit is probably the better choice. – Theck

Expertise Rating

As you can see, This graph is a great example of how hit is one of your best threat stats out there, and even better, a great seg-way into how great expertise is for threat! Expertise has long been established as a threat stat, and all of your melee have been soft capping since day one of Wrath of the Lich King. Why haven’t we really concerned ourselves with it as much though, is because until 3.3 ShoR was not able to be missed, parried, or dodged. And as it is one of our best snap threat generators, it was something we didn’t have to worry about. Now that it can be dodged, parried, and missed, expertise has shot up into the best threat stat out there. As you can see below, expertise is by far the best threat per second stat that we have out there.

…Expertise has risen to top dog status with the change to ShoR. As always, expertise loses effectiveness when you hit the soft and hard caps (82 and 328 rating or 26 and 56 skill after talents, respectively), and damage-increasing stats scale differently above and below those caps (see the different slopes on the STR and BV lines in the three regions).

Past the soft cap, expertise drops back down to be roughly equivalent to AP for threat purposes. That would put it at a “don’t gem” level as far as threat is concerned, though there are also avoidance benefits to consider. – Theck

So as you can see, both of these stats are valuable but the question still remains, which one first?

Hit or Expertise First?

This question has to only be answered after you have asked yourself another question, what am I trying to achieve? What I mean by this is that you have to ask yourself if you want to just increase your threat generation, do you want to ensure that your taunts never miss because you are tanking adds on LK or doing DBS, or is it that you are concerned about the stats from a survival stand point. Because the two stats bring two different benefits to your character, and remove specific things from the attack table, they have a situational purpose, and they are both powerful when employed properly. Hit capping your tank will ensure that you never miss a taunt. This would be something that is essential when taunt swapping is very, very important (such as Deathbring Saurfang), or if you need to pull adds off your main tank (as you would in the OT role of the first phase of the Lich King encounter).

If you are strictly trying to produce more threat because you are threat capping your dps, then it has been proven above by Theck that Expertise is now the number one threat stat for paladins until they reach the soft cap of 26 expertise rating. After that you would want to focus on Hit Rating to the 263 mark. If you take a look at the graph below, you will see that each of these is increasingly important as your strength gets higher.

The amazing news here is that STR has finally been un-seated from the top spot [with respect to TPS increase]. Above 1942 unbuffed character sheet STR, both Expertise (up to the soft-cap at 26) and Hit (up to the a few %, see hit graph) give better TPS per point of rating.
We had already expected this would occur for hit, but the real news is expertise. The ShoR change has drastically changed our reliance on expertise. Soft-capping expertise at 26 becomes highly recommended.- Theck

So, Theck has taught us that Expertise is now the most valuable threat stat up to the 26 rating soft cap. But it is also important to note that the more strength you have the more valuable your hit and expertise are. From a gearing stand point, you should probably try to get to the expertise and hit caps via gear itemization, and gem pure stamina if you want a kick butt threat set.

The third, and for the most part irrelevant (because parry hasting is turned off in most of ICC) option: if you are looking to increase your survival via one of these two stats, then you want to focus on hard capping your Expertise. This is possible in current gear levels, and is quite easy as a matter of fact. However, you will be sacrificing overall mitigation and effective health to reach the plateau of 56 expertise rating. I have two different options of gear sets when it comes to hard capping, however both of them sacrifice a lot of armor and health to get there. If you are looking for plain survival, I would stick to the effective health gearing philosophy of stamina and armor stacking.

Hope this helped!

12
Jun
10

Someone has Hard Mode Gas

Baby Steps

After tweeting to see what I should post about today, I remembered that Rhidach and Anafielle are tackling their first week of hard modes this Tuesday, and I thought it would be a good time for me to see if my memory can scrape together some tips and tricks of tanking some of the hard modes in ICC25 which I have not already covered. My earlier rant on the fact that Hard modes are Hard, and our first night of failure with Lord Marrowgar has that fight basically covered, so I thought I would delve into the plague wing and talk about some helpful things to make rotface and festergut a bit easier.

For the most part, these are two of the easier encounters in the instance, and aside from lootship, they have the smallest learning curve of any of the encounters. With that being said, lets not waste any more time!

Festergut

From a tanking perspective, festergut is the same exact fight (at least for paladins). He employs some new tactics, but because of the fact that our threat is almost entirely based off of instant cast holy spells, one of his new abilities is negated. When hard mode is engaged, Professor Putricide shows up at the balcony to your right and begins to have some fun. He periodically throws malleable goo out which slows your casting and melee speed by 75%. As a paladin tank, this basically is a non issue, and I will never move out of it. Why can we get away with it? Well first things first, Festergut applies the same debuf to the tank as he does in normal mode, so your damage will be through the roof. I average around 8.5-9.5k dps for the duration of the fight, while I know tanks that break 10k.

So since threat is a non issue, what makes this hard? The raid damage from the gas cloud in the room is signficantly more potent, and the tank damage is nothing to laugh at when you get to the third enhale. For the most part this is a coordination fight and a healing check. Before there was a zone wide buff, it was also a dps check, as there is a tight enrage timer. With the 20% buff, the most important things to remember is that your dps and healers should avoid goo at all costs, and you have to work out a system to place the spores so that EVERYONE has three stacks when he exhales.

As a tank, you can afford to miss a spore or two, but that is because you have close to 70k HP. A dps with 20-25k will get one shot even with a hand of sacrafice. In order to do this, we used two warlock teleport portals and placed them at two key positions in the room, creating a triangle between the boss and the two portals. Once these markers are created, you place your dps and healers in a circle around the portals, preferablly with your holy paladins on the portal itself so that they do not have to move when a spore is called. This will give a predictable and visual collapse point for all spores. Spreading out around these circles and learning to collapse will be one of your first big hurdles.

The other thing that we do is have our melee constantly moving from hind leg to hind leg of the boss. Every time Putricide throws goo, it is called and the melee switch sides, left, right, left, right. This ensures that they are never standing in a green goo and get the debuf, which will decrease their dps througput considerablly. This bit of coordination seems very simple, but to get 7-10 people to move together is surprisingly hard.

Finally from a tank point of view, it is a fairly simple fight. You can skirt the edge of the room and I suggest that you do so before your pull so that you can position him correctly. I like to skirt to the right until you hit the first runeforge looking thing on the wall. This should put you in between the two balconies that are above you. When you pull run in about 4 steps to the grouping of three skulls on the ground and stop. This is where we position the boss, so that the melee has time to react to the goo being thrown at them, and the ranged has enough space to spread completely out. From here on out, it is a tank and spank, and the encounter is the same for us tanks as it is in normal mode. Just a quick side note, on normal mode, our guild tanked the boss in the middle of the room and had the dps spread out. For hard mode, that was not enough space for our portal strat, and as such we adopted the positioning that I described above.

With respect to cooldown usage, I saved my Wings for when I drop RF off, salv myself and see BIG NUMBERS! I also like to chain cooldowns for all of the third enhale portion of the fight. this means that I use bubble wall, get a HoSac from my other tank/healer, ensure my armor pot is still active or pop a new one at this time, and I also save my trinket use for this time. The one thing I will not use during the third enhale is DS/DG. I save that specifically for when he lets his nasty gas loose.  This will ensure that you take some of the raid damage away for the healers. Tomorrow I’ll see what I can do about those pretty pictures to help, and go over rotface as well….

Good luck everyone!

11
Jun
10

A breakdown of Professor Putricide

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!

29
Apr
10

The demise of the not so good doctor

Finally!

Tuesday night was less than eventful for our guild, walking into ICC with the new 15% ICC buff and plowing through 9/12 hard modes in about 3 hours. We had ended the raid early after clearing most of the instance with the intent of leaving Putricide and Sindragosa for Wednesday. Last night when I logged on, we had our full main raid online, and we were ready to rock. After about 7 wipes last week, we had made some major modifications to our positioning and strategy when it came to Putricide. for the first few nights of attempts, we were following the strat of most of the top end guilds in the world, however after a handful of wipes, it was evident that their strategy was not what we needed to beat the encounter.

We ended up modifying the entire fight from a strategy and positioning stand point and it immediately paid off. Our first pull of Wednesday night was a 50% wipe. That was very good for us, considering that we had seen phase 3 a few times and were normally wiping on phase 2. A few attempts later, after tweaking a few more things regarding disease management, we were looking at consistent phase three. Everything seemed to be working out and people were learning the final things they needed to to beat the encounter. We were working on a tight timeline, as two of our healers had to leave early yesterday, and we did not want to lose the progress which we made to another week of attendance issues.

With about 40 minutes to go, we pulled the boss, and were seeing phase three in the type of time which you would expect with the 15% buff, a full 4 minutes to spare on the enrage timer we were getting into Phase 3. We transitioned and I was at the door. Putricide ran all the way across the room and phase three had begun. We were three tanking it, and the stacks were piling up fast and furious. The boss was sub 10% but all our tanks were at 3 stacks already. The disease had won, and we wiped with 4% left. At this point in the night we knew we had a kill on our hands. The dps and healers had their jobs down, and it was time to add the fourth tank so that we could extend the duration of Phase 3. To clarify, it had been the officers intentions since the start to use four tanks, but we wanted to keep it to three until Phase 1 and 2 were smooth and efficient, as the increased dps during learning the encounter would help with mistakes.

We had our fury warrior go prot, and were ready to rock. After a few stupid mistakes, we were in the middle of a great attempt, down to 35% with three minutes to spare, the enrage timer was not going to be an issue. The real issue was going to be the raid dps, raid heals, and tank transitions. Off I went to the other side of the room, and slowly but surely our tanks worked through their rotation, moving the boss only for goo’s and flasks on the ground. With about 8% left, the raid damage was getting unmanageable. With about 4% left, we had lost about half our raid. and at 2% it was healers, tanks, and lingering dots ticking away.

I had run across the room with my finger over my Lay on Hands button, targeting our fourth tank and getting ready to taunt if it got too close when it happened, Heroic Plagueworks done! With the heroic plagueworks achievement and a few others out of the way, we are that much closer to our drakes!

Thoughts on the fight

When all was said and done, I really enjoyed this fight and found that there were a few things I did incorrectly at the beginning of our learning attempts, which when rectified, made a big difference. As the main tank on this encounter, you choose where the flasks go and as a result you can control where the explosion of these flasks go as well. For clarification what I meant by flasks is the choking gas:

Choking Gas – Inflicts 6,825 to 7,175 Shadow damage to players around the bombs, and reduces their chance to hit by 100% for 20 seconds.

Choking Gas Explosion – Inflicts 29,250 to 30,750 Shadow damage to players within 10 yards of the bombs, and reduces their chance to hit by 100%. Used by the Gas Bombs 20 seconds after they are thrown.

Once I created predictable places in which these flasks were going to be dropped, as well as a pattern to when and how I was going to move the boss, the damage on the melee dropped considerably, due to the fact that movement and areas to avoid were always the same. At the same time, melee was getting hit by goo a lot. Because of the fact that it was known that when I move the boss, there was a reason, when I saw a goo coming into the melee, I just prematurely moved him to a flask spot so that the melee would follow, resulting in much less overall raid damage taken.




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