Posts Tagged ‘Tanking



05
Mar
10

Gear for Tanking Hard Modes

Gear is not everything…

Since I am so obsessed with gear, and its designed applications for different encounters and situations, I may go a bit overboard with the use of gear sets. I talk a great deal about how you should tailor the gear that you wear to the encounter which you are about to tank. This is a great philosophy for progression encounters, because it shows not only that you understand what is about to happen, but you are trying to maximize your survival. This is important when pushing the envelope of your progression, because a tank death is very very hard to recover from, but what you may not see is the healing stress that you cause from wearing the wrong gear, which adversely effects the rest of the raid healing.

All that sounds perfect, and will more than likely be the case for the top guilds in the world, but what about the rest of the guilds? Tengen over at Firstandtengen wrote a very nice post about the recent buff that Blizzard added to ICC. In his Price of Pride post, he outlines the internal conflict over this 5% buff and whether or not the people who are still killing bosses should feel like they should turn off the buff. I threw a comment up on his blog to relay my thoughts on the buff, and I will share them with you as well.

The thing to remember about the buff is that, while it is there and it is enflating your dps, there is really no reason that you should not use it if you still have bosses to kill.

The difference between the first few 100 guilds and the rest is quite substantial. You have to remember that top 100-200 guilds clear content in the previous tier of gear. The buff is the same as being a few weeks behind. The relative gain in raid dps/healing/ tank survival increases every week with the introduction of gear.

Think of the buff as that perfect week of gear dropping for you.

Now this comes from the perspective of a tank on the very precipice of that cliff between raiding in previous tier gear and current tier gear. When we killed Lich King, I had one more piece of 264 gear than the MT of Vodka did when they got their LK kill, however we did it two weeks later so our raid as a whole was more geared.

It is easy to say Gear isn’t everything if you have all the gear

I wanted to share a story with you today to show you that if you are a guild who is behind on progression in comparison to the best in the world, and you think that your roadblock is gear, you may be mistaken.

Aside: While I am aware of Gevlon’s experiments, and although they are intriguing, his perspective does not align with mine when it comes to people and this game.

A few nights ago, our 10 man group stepped into ICC 10 with the goal of knocking out every hard mode and any leftover achievements we could do on hard modes for our drakes. Our main competition from the alliance side, Crisis got theirs very early on and we feel that its time to push some hard modes so they are not the only ones with shiny new toys. Now I do not want to denounce what Crisis did, they are a great guild who out of no where snagged a top 20 world wide ranking in 10 mans and a US second Drake, if any of you happen to stop by, a congratulations is well deserved.

When we walked into the upper spire of the instance, I always swap back to my AoE spec and threat gear. This is just because of the amount of trash that is there and the fact that it is an AoE fest. Nothing says tanking is fun like 12k dps on trash. Soon enough, we found ourselves face to face with Festergut, and the Instance was set to Hard Mode. I will agree with some of the elite out there that once you understand the new mechanics of the fight, Festergut is quite easy to kill. However, that does not discount the fact that he hits like a truck.

The ready check came back, and I pulled the boss. About 10 seconds into the fight, I noticed that he was hitting a lot harder than usual, and my health was dipping quite a bit lower. It took a few more seconds to kick in that it should of because of the beer I had been drinking, but I was still in my threat set. That means I was about 5000 armor and 6000 health down. That is a very, very big difference when it comes to tank survival during the third inhale. The hidden bonus for me was my numbers were larger than life when i hit 9 stacks, dropped Righteous Fury, Salved myself, and went to town on the boss. I am happy to report that no one said a thing about my ease of healing, and the boss was one shot.

Reflection on gear and encounters

While I would never recommend to a tank who is new to this encounter to nerf themselves by that much (almost 10k effective health), it doesn’t mean that you need to be very geared to do this fight. A lot of people, myself included, thought that the 10 man version of ICC was a bit overturned for players in strict 10 man guilds. However, after that experience, I would say that this is a misconception. While I understand that my healers and dps were still geared to the teeth, it is important to note that I never got into AD range, and was able to manage the damage with properly timed cool downs.

I hope that people who are in the position of progression, struggling on a fight in ICC, understand that gear is not everything, and in fact it is a very small part of the contribution to your overall success. The more gear you have, the easier the encounters get, however they are doable in what ever you are wearing currently, you just have to play effectively.

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02
Mar
10

Tanking the Lich King

The Little Things…

While I am aware that there are a few “Crib Sheets” out there on the intricacies of the Lich King fight, I wanted to dedicate a post to some of the more subtle things when it comes to tanking Arathas. Right off the bat, you will notice that he is one of the most painful bosses to tank from the perspective of keeping him in one place so that your melee can continually attack from behind. Since the advent of 3.3, mob patting has been very erratic and less than friendly to tanks. This definitely transfers over to the Lich King encounter. The reasoning behind this is because of the ghouls that he summons. Depending on your guild’s strat for killing the boss, you may just have to deal with this issue, but know that the smaller number of adds on the MT, the less time the boss will spend doing the truffle shuffle.

Positioning the Shambling Horror

While you may think I am referencing the off tank and their role in phase one, you would be mistaken. As the main tank there are a few things which you can do to ensure that you have clean Shambling horror pick ups by your off tank. No matter what your strategy is, you should have your off tank more than 8 yards away from the main tank, with the add facing away from the raid. On our first night of attempts we had some issues with picking up these adds, mainly because of missed taunts and times when the MT’s splash damage would pull off the OT right after the spawn. For our guild specifically we had these issues because between my HotR and SoComm splash, if the horror was on the other end of the room from the MT, and it had to walk through my path, I usually had enough aggro to pull off my OT.

To solve this issue, as the MT you can change your positioning to allow for simple and reliable pickups with out the need for a misdirect. The shambling horror spawns 10 yards in front of the lich king every single time. This means that when the cool down for shambling horror is up, you should put your back to your OT, and ensure that the LK is facing said OT. Sometimes you have issues with this because of the fact that the MT may have some drudge ghouls on him or her. This causes the truffle shuffle that I spoke of earlier. In addition, I have found that the LK usually summons three more ghouls about the time he wants to summon a shambling horror. You can combat the truffle shuffle by using your Holy Wrath just prior to summons, which will stun the ghouls outside of melee range and ensure stable boss positioning.

Positioning of the boss relative to the environment is something else that you can have a great influence on the raid. If your raid is having issues with phase 1 to transition phase (read Remorseless Winter)  it can help to tank him on the edge of the inner platform. This positioning ensures that the healers and ranged do not have to move too much to avoid remorseless winter.

The Transition Phase

While this phase is quite straight forward, it presents some unique challenges to a paladin in the form of a silencing frontal cone from the raging spirits. This debuf should be cleansed off you as soon as humanly possible. Beyond that, there are some positioning tips for you raid so that they make your job as easy as possible. The raging spirits are very hard to move, and periodically cast a frontal cone spell which silences everything in its path. We have found that the person who is afflicted with the raging spirit debuf should be about 6 yards away from the MT. The problem with this is that if the person with the debuf stands right on top of the tank, the spirit is spawned behind the tank and it immediately silences the raid with soul shriek.

We find that the first spirit is always picked up by the MT because the OT is still wrestling with the shambling horrors from P1. As soon as the horrors are dead, the OT taunts off the MT and picks up the rest of the spirits, giving the MT the freedom to pick up Arathas in the transition to P2 (valks phase) and position him for the first defile and summon Valk.

Managing Defile as a tank

From our guilds perspective, defile is the most difficult part of this encounter. It requires every person to be on their toes and environmentally conscious. Defile is a spell that is cast on a random member of the raid. Once the cast is complete it leaves a big black puddle of evil on the ground. If no one takes damage from it, and everyone avoids it, you will kill the lich king. If someone takes damage from it, the puddle grows in size and does more damage. One thing that you can do as a tank is control the general position of where the defile is going to occur. This is because of the other aspect of phase two, the summoning of Val’kyrs. When the valks or defile spells are on cooldown, every one in your raid should be stacked up directly behind the boss. Because of this, the positioning of the Lich King is very important.

You want to place your character directly in the center of the room, with the lich king slightly off center facing in specific direction of your chosing. This will ensure that defile will be behind him, and this will also ensure (when defile is not being cast) that the val’kyrs direction is predictable. On 10 man you have one valk, so there is not as much to worry about, however on 25 man, you will have three, and having them all go in different directions is very very bad. With this being said, you want to divide the circular room up into quarters. After you do this, you want to tank the LK with his back to the quarter of the room where you want the first defile to be dropped. Right before defile is cast, everyone in your raid should spread out with in that quarter of the room.

At this point its out of your hands, however you should already be planning on moving the boss to his new position, in the adjacent section of the circle. This gives you maximum distance between defiles. Rinse and repeat, and if everyone is good at defile, this phase can be executed with repeatability. Now keep in mind that in addition to defile, you have to manage two different things during this phase, the control of the Val’kyrs, and the ample usage of cool downs when Soul Reaper happens.

Controling the Val’kyrs

As a paladin tank we have a few indispensable tools in our arsenal when it comes to the val’kyrs. The specific tools are improved hammer of justice and glyphed holy wrath. I spec and glyph specifically for this fight, so that I can ensure maximum control on the valk’s in phase two. With one point in improved HoJ and glyphed Holy Wrath, you will have both abilities up for every Val’kyr summons. It is imperative that you use the Hammer of Justice ability first. This will ensure maximum stun time. If you use your HW first, you get 3 seconds of HW plus 3 seconds of DR HoJ, where as if you use your HoJ first you get 6 seconds of HoJ and 1.5 Seconds of HW, netting you a 1.5 second increase in stun time.

Soul Reaper hurts

Soul Reaper is an ability which the Lich King uses every 30 seconds, and it Inflicts 50,000 Shadow damage and increases the Lich King’s physical damage by 100% after 5 seconds. Used on the current tank. This means that you get hit hard and then 5 seconds later you get hit really hard. You will NEED to use cool downs on this in 25 man to survive. Not because the damage from the soul reaper is too much, but because of the fact that a melee swing lining up with the SR will one shot you. Since this ability is used ever 30 seconds, you will have to tank swap for this phase 2 and Phase 3.

The cool down rotation which I use is as follows – First Soul Reaper I use Divine Protection, as it will last the entire time. The second cool down I use is a very precisely timed DS/DG cancelaura macro. If the Raging Spirits are not down yet, and the OT can not taunt, then you need a HoSac and I blow both trinkets (skele key and Heroic Juggies, netting me a heath pool of 69k).

Vile Spirit control

The mechanics in Phase 2 and 3 are the same, and they are separated the same way as P1 and P2 are, with a Remorseless Winter transition phase. You have to deal with Soul Reaper, and you have to deal with defile. As an off tank there is a new responsibility which you should do to help with the phase mechanics. The vile spirits are a threat to raid survival, and as such should be taunted off of people and kited till they die. A tank can eat one or two on 25 man as long as they a long enough distance away from the raid, and on 10 man they can eat quite a few. Any help is good, so make sure you taunt a few off your squishy raiders and take the hit for the team.

Good luck to you all, and enjoy the 5% buff they implemented today!!!

19
Feb
10

Heroic: Storming the Citadel

10 mans are serious business

While I have some great ideas for guild management posts regarding some of the things our guild has gone through in the past few weeks, I wanted to talk about hard modes while it was still fresh in my mind. There has been a lot of chatter going around the internet about blizzard and their lack of ability to create difficult content, and that the hard modes they have created are a joke. While I understand the elite complaining about the lack of a “challenge” because they still have Sunwell in their minds, my opinion is that blizzard did a good job of balancing difficult with obtainable and “working as intended.” The concept of wiping for weeks on a boss before getting it down is outdated and unnecessary.

My 10 man stepped into ICC last night, down one person from our Kingslayer run, so that we could run two groups this week. In the end, we are a 25 man guild, and the purpose of 10 mans is to learn the encounters and get gear to defeat 25 man encounters. With this goal in mind, 20 people in an instance is better than 10. I had read a lot of information on MainTankadin and other websites about the challenges of hard mode content, how this boss was a one shot, and that boss was kind of hard. Well I have to say that after last night, Crypt Friends or almost any other guild in the world, is not Exodus, Vodka, Blood Legion, or Paragon. We are a very talented bunch of players who is still sitting in the top tier of guilds around the world, however things dont seem to come as easy to us. These encounters are very, very challenging and should not be taken lightly.

For all of the fights I am about to talk about, in case you were wondering I was wearing a Full Effective Health set, buffed to 56k with 38k armor in a 10 man.

Hard Mode Lord Marrowgar

Facing our first hard mode of the new instance was exciting. Fortunately we are a week or two behind the best, so we knew a great deal about the fights and how we need to execute them. On the first pull, it was quite evident to me that I still out gear at least Lord Marrowgar Hard Mode. I was not getting hit that bad and saber lash tickled between me and the other tank. Furthermore, the flame patch damage was nothing that scared me or my counter part. The same cannot be said for our health challenged healers and dpsers.

We found early on what others have conveyed about this fight. The hardest part of the fight is surviving the Bone Whirl phase, including breaking out bone spikes as marrowgar flies at you like a Barbarian in Diablo II. For us, it took a few different attempts at positioning to figure out what we wanted to do. In the end we settled on a tactic for P2 and began to execute. We had a few sub 10% wipes which were frustrating, before finally killing him and collecting our first set of heroic epics.

As we were taking with two paladins, we had a distinct advantage with respect to cool downs. One of the things as a tank that you can do to help mitigate the damage during phase 2 is to save your DS/DG for when one of your healers gets spiked, and marrogar decides to whirl over that spike. When we started to mitigate that damage, as well as using every other trick in the book including BoP and Sac, we saw progress and proper execution. The key from a positioning stand point is to ensure that everyone is in range of everyone else, so that spikes can be dpsed down, and people can be healed by all your healers.

Hard Mode Lady Deathwhisper

One hard mode was down, and we had our game faces on. Lady Deathwhisper was a step up on normal from Marrowgar and we did not expect anything less from heroic. We were right. While it took us more time to do Marrowgar than it did to do deathwhisper, it was still a difficult fight and I think our raid was more prepared for some of the tweaks. We started off trying to do the Juggernaut strat (the video which was on MMO-champion), however we found that it was really unnecessary and not plausible to tank the adds on the boss with out death grips. Two pally tanks and long cooldown interrupts means casters stay put.

We settled on doing phase 1 exactly the same way we did it in normal. The next two surprises came with the mind controls and adds abilities. On our first attempt our ret paladin got mind controlled in the middle of the room and proceeded to one shot three people with a Wings / Divine Storm. CC on MCs was fixed real quick after that one. The second thing that we noticed was different was that when the adds transformed, some of them exploded for tons (read 35k) damage. We lost a few melee to this.

Once we got the adds under control and we transitioned to phase 2, we realized two things. First we now know why Juggernaut tanked her on the stairs. An add spawns periodically on the stairs and has to be tanked or it will run around killing people. Secondly the boss is taunt immune! Our strategy, which will more than likely not work for 99% of guilds was for me to start off on the boss and the first add. At three stacks our off tank started building threat. When I got five stacks, I bubbled them off and tanked for another minute or so. At which point the other tank overcame my threat and tanked the same manner, 5 stacks, bubble, 5 more stacks.

At this point we had such a threat lead that it was no longer an issue. All we had to do now was kill the boss and avoid the ghosts, which are on steroids compared to the normal mode. When the touch a player the explode for 15k AoE damage. We collected our shiny purples and proceeded to the “HARDEST” fight in the instance (dripping with sarcasm).

Is there such a thing as Hard Mode Gunship?

Honestly, I dont even think it warrants any discussion beyond this. Hard Mode gunship is a loot pinata, and is no more difficult than the normal one. The boss hits harder, and you should retreat after every mage is killed, however it is still a joke.

Hard Mode Deathbringer Saurfang

This was by far the most difficult fight so far in the instance, not because the mechanics were different or there were new and exciting elements to the fight, but simply because of the amazing amount of RNG that is thrown out on this fight. Ragingsoul said it best on the 10 man Deathbringer thread:

…we tried him too, and yes, it’s quite hard and inconsistent from try to try. some tries he had a mark really late, sometimes, even with everybody spread out, he gains 30 BP instantly. quite annoying.

The problem with this fight is that you can go into the soft enrage with one or two marks. In our experience, two marks is bad, one is good. We had attempts where our first mark was out at about 65%, and we had attempts where our first mark was out at 40%. Either way, the burn from 30% to 0% is a very tight dps and healing check. If you get someone with Blood Boil and Mark, they are going to drop fast and hard. We countered that with BoPs on anyone who got a Blood Boil in Phase 2. Other than that, it was a lot of RNG, and we had a lot of wipes due to a death in the sub 5% range where healing just gets too intense.

I don’t want to spoil this fight for too many of you, because I think it is something you should learn on your own, how to use your cooldowns and deal with the mechanics. Each raid will have different utilities which will benefit them, and they should use them to the best of their abilities. To all of you who are attempting hard modes this week, good luck and remember to have fun, because sometimes we forget its just a game.

16
Feb
10

The Long Vacation…

After three weeks of absolutely no contact in the blogging world, I feel it is time to jump back on that proverbial horse. My blogging all fell off with the push for hard modes, and the fact that my time and attention was needed elsewhere. Between my piles of electronic paper at work and the amount of effort I needed to put into our guild at home, I had no time for my blog. Well, as the storm has subsided, I have plenty of things on my mind which I want to talk about, and still not enough time to write it all down.

Where I have been

In the past three weeks, I have been swamped at work, Killed the Lich King, taught two new tanks some gearing philosophy which I hope sticks, and dealt with multiple different types of guild drama. To top that off, I also bought a new home, making my free time drop considerably. I feel that a few of these things deserve their own posts, so I will start with the topic for which I am the most known for throughout the community, gear.

Walk a mile in your shoes

Over the past few months I have been working with a new tanking corps, and they all came in with different levels of understanding, skill, and overall competency. It took me a month or so to understand exactly where each of our new tanks were coming from, and what they knew when it came to their roll in the guild. Only after I sat down with another prot paladin tank in our guild did I have a clearer understanding of how I needed to approach each of them, what they already knew, and what lessons I had to impart on them. My main off tank, who now happens to be a paladin, conveyed what one of the other officers said to him and it finally struck home.

As an off tank in our guild, I do not envy you, you have the hardest role of any person here. You have to fill Wrathy’s shoes, and those are very very big shoes to fill…

Now while I am very aware that I have many areas and skills sets for which I can improve upon, what did not occur to me is that I am a respected member of the theorycrafting community, an expert on gear, and a very, very knowledgeable player who always comes prepared. Only one of my three fellow tanks in the guild realized this, as he is a paladin and visits the same websites which I contribute to. Once I understood that the other two tanks which I recruited to help us in the final push of the expansion had no clue what type of resource I was, I was in a better position to help them.

Gearing questions and advice

One night in ICC, our other paladin tank asked me about a threat spec, and why my offspec was always prot but always different than the cookie cutter specs we are used to. I explained that over the past six months my offspec has always been there for one specific fight, Heroic Anub’arak. As we dropped ToTGC from our raiding calendar and began to solely run ICC, I changed my offspec one more time. This time, it looks like a spitting image of the SoComm cookie cutter, however I glyphed specifically for Lich King, increasing my AoE damage for P1, and decreasing my holy wrath cool down for P3.

After this short discussion, he asked about gear, threat sets, and what I was aiming for. This brings me to my main topic for discussion today. The threat set for ICC. While most of us will be pushing progression for some time to come, and wearing our effective health set all time time, it is still nice to have that threat set for farmed content, trash packs, and dps races. I went on to wowhead and created a profile for my ideal threat set, only to find out that after 30 minutes of tweaking, I never signed in. As a result, you will be left with stats and screenshots, but this is my ideal threat set for hard hitting bosses, where you still need the stamina to survive.

This is the simple list of what I will be wearing for my threat set. There are a few things that can easily be swapped out based on the situation, such as the libram (trash and SoComm vs. Boss and Vengeance), however it balances the stats which you want for increased threat quite nicely. As I screwed up a bit, there are a few ilevel 277 pieces in here, but you can easily use the 264 pieces for those slots. This gear set is something that I complied out of bosses which I can currently (or with in the next week) kill. Below are the statistics and outcome of this set with the cookie cutter 0/53/18 spec, and no buffs….

As you can see, you are sacrificing a bit of health, sitting a hair below 40k, however you are looking at hit cap (a few points over), 50 expertise, 4k plus attack power and 20% crit unbuffed. This set will crank out quite a bit of tps.

When to use this set

This is a set that I would consider using only on farmed content. The definition of farmed content will vary from guild to guild, so it is up to your best judgement when to use this. For my guild, we are working on the Lich King in 25 man currently, so I will wear this for all bosses except the end wing bosses of the upper spire. On 10 man, I  used this on every fight up to Sindragosa.

For those of you who have stuck around for my short absence, here are a few things that I have on the back burner for topics in the upcoming week. I have been developing a good post on educating tanks, the role of a mentor, and your job as the leader of a tanking corps, a post on guild drama which will be more of a rant than anything (but a good read none the less), and a post on the Lich King, and how we got our kill.

It is good to be back on the old blog, good luck this week in your raiding endeavors!

21
Jan
10

10 man is serious business

I’m not kidding, the crimson hall is very challenging…

The Crimson Hall

Last night we decided that we needed to see the Blood Queen in 10 man before we pushed any more of our attempt counter. So, with that in mind, we split our raid up into three 10 mans and went into ICC 10 for a shot at the title. The first seven bosses died in quick succession, and we even picked up a few achievements on the way. I personally felt pretty good about our group, we had some solid players who really knew what they were doing. Each dps was averaging upwards of 7k minimum on most fights, our healers were some of our best, and I was tanking with our fury warrior in offspec tank gear that puts our new recruit main tanks’ loot to shame. Then the crimson hall hit us like a brick wall.

The Blood Princes

Yesterday, I did not have much to say about this trio of blood elves, as our 25 man made quick work of them. During the 25 man, I was concentrating so hard on avoiding stuff, cleansing off the spirit finger sparkles, and using all the utility I could muster between my hands spells and raid wall (DS/DG). Last night was another story. I had some quality time to analyze the fight and see it from every aspect as we wiped over and over again. All three of our 10 mans were having major issues with the princes, and were all stuck there for a very long time after plowing through the first seven bosses.

Our particular 10 man group was having problems with a few key issues of the fight. Namely, the empowered flames, the initial pull before our lock could get enough of the nuclei on him, and the nock backs from the shock vortex’s sacking on the raid. We tried a lot of things. And each time we tried something, a new issue creeped up and bit us.

We initially tried to two tank it with me on Valanar and Taldaram with our lock on Keleseth. With a priest and shaman as our healers, and the requirements of spreading out constantly, we found that there was way too much damage on the tanks. I was doing fine, but would every now and then drop to about 30% because I would take back to back hits from both princes. We decided that it would be easier on healers if we went to three tanks, so our fury warrior went back to tanking and we had one person per boss. At this point, we were running into issues with shock vortex.

While the issues with shock vortex’s knock back were short lived as people were good about spreading out, the shock vortex itself was a bit more problematic a few more times before we got our kill. There were plenty of times where our lock tank just dropped from the damage, and there were quite a few times when the empowered conjured flame was the source of our wipe. We were also victim to some unlucky combos of shock vortex and empowered flames. Finally we conceded that we needed three healers. So, our dk logged over to his disc priest, and we one shot it.

Apparently we should have thought about that earlier….

The Blood Queen Lana’thel

With a fresh set of attempts, and this time 15 and not the 10 we got in 25 man, we started in on the queen. Once again AoE damage was really plaguing us and our ability to sustain. We were watching people die to the first bite damage, Delirious slashes, and pact of the darkfallen. This fight seems pretty straight forward if you can heal through the raid damage. I was main tanking with our warrior OTing the mirror. The biggest hit I took was in the 11k range, and that is easily healed through when i have around 56k hp in 10 mans.

The encounter got me to thinking about the gear that you should wear for this fight to minimize the damage done to both the main tank and the off tank. I am conflicted in my opinions. Part of me wants to say that I should be stacking pure armor to mitigate the damage as much as possible. This will enable me to take less damage and as a result will double dip with the off tank taking less damage too. The other side of me is wondering if an avoidance set would be powerful. There were strings of 10 seconds where the MT/OT were taking 0 damage because I was avoiding all of the hits. While this is not a sound plan for surviving burst damage, that is not the concern of this fight.

We may have found our first fight where avoidance as a MT is truly rewarding. She does not hit that hard, and her swing timer is fairly slow, leading me to believe that avoidance is the best solution to damage prevention. I know that we have squashed the theory that avoidance is as good as stamina in ICC, however this may be one of those exceptions to the rule, and a fight where it may truly shine. Stacking stamina in this fight does nothing to prevent the incoming damage. We say that stamina is beneficial because it allows you to take more burst damage, of which there is none on this fight, as well as extending the range of Ardent Defender. Extending AD would be great if I got below 35% but I did not once drop below 50%, making more stamina worthless.

In the end, we called the raid with 9 attempts remaining because it was late and we all had work in the morning. I think I am going to give the avoidance set a shot when we get back in there for the last 9 attempts, and see what happens.

10 man difficulty

I know that there are quite a few people on the MainTankadin forums that are claiming that 10 man ICC is srs bsns and its a joke in terms of difficulty level, but they must be in a different instance than I am. I took a group of 10 people in 258 gear into the instance and spent three hours on the Crimson Hall. One of our three groups cleared the hall, but they did it with a Resto Shaman, Holy Priest, and Holy Paladin. In my opinion if you cant heal through any type of damage with those three, you should consider getting rid of your healers.

There is a known bug on the 10 man Blood Princes encounter which made me feel a bit better, and allowed me to congratulate our group after wiping for so long. The bosses hit as hard in 10 man as they do in 25 man. The damage was not scaled down, and as such your healers will be stressed to the max. For all of you who have cleared it, your healers are excellent players and deserve a pat on the back, I know ours do.

20
Jan
10

Blood Prince Council and The Queen

Blizzard is just out to get us

So while I am a huge supporter of the attempt counter, blizzard had promised me that we would get 5 more attempts last night with the new wing opening up. THEY LIED! We had our usual Tuesday attendance of a crap load of people, we probably could have cleared AQ40 at level 60 with the raid we had, but we got our 25 and got the raid going. After plowing through the usual lag fest of the first four bosses, we went right to the Crimson Hall and had some fun times with the trash. I was having flash backs of Tempest Keep with all those evil blood elves.

I will come back to our Blood Pricnce Council fight, the mechanics, lessons learned, and a bit of story telling but I wanted to jump forward to the big bad girl at the end of the hall. We went up to the Queen’s room and immediately noticed something was fishy. We had an attempt counter, but it said 10 of 10. Now WTF, I thought we were going to get 5 more attempts with the new wing. We were a bit taken back by this, and we are all hoping that Blizzard fixes this ASAP so we can get some quality attempts in on the old hag. I have not seen any blue posts, and I have not heard from anyone else first hand on our sever that they are experincing the same issues, but I have asked around to a few guild leaders on our server about it. While I patiently await their responses, It is time for the Blood Princes break down.

Three Dudes and tons of balls

Hmm, that didn’t sound right. Oh well. We cleared the trash in the BP room and proceeded to talk about each of the princes abilities. The fight itself seemed straight forward and other than it being akin to the Council fight in Black Temple, we went in blind as usual. I took Valanar and tanked him in the middle Our other tank took Taldaram and tanked him on the right side of the room facing away from the raid, while Keleseth was tanked by our resident Lock tank. The first pull was as expected, messy and full of “oh crap what was that!” lines in vent. We figured out a few things about the vortexes, balls of fire, nuclei, and spirit finger sparkles!

Honestly I don’t have much to say about this fight currently because the kill happened so fast. We had a few wipes to figure out that you had to run away from Valanar when he cast his abilities, and then on the Third pull, everything just clicked, I was tanking and dispelling like crazy, and then all of a sudden I had loot bubbles on my target. I will have to say that even though our kill was probably a bit sloppy, it was too quick to even evaluate any real difficult parts of the encounter.

I have heard from multiple sources that if you put an imp or another pet on the Kinetic orbs, you can bounce them into the Queens room and burn an attempt. We had our hunters on the orbs at all times.

The Queen and My impressions

We gave the queen a few attempts, even though our counter was bugged out, just to see if she was a pushover. Now while she was not a pushover, the fight seems fairly straight forward. The key to the fight is managing your bites and ensuring that your whole raid has stellar environmental and debuff awareness. This is not good news for the likes of CF. While we are a great guild and we power through encounters, it takes us a little while to get used to these specific mechanics. Now normally there is no reason to be of concern, however with 5 less attempts than we were expecting, it concerns us.

In the end we gave it two attempts, plus one lagged out aggro pull, and called it there. We are going back in tomorrow to kill her after getting some experience and hoping for less lag from our server. From a tanking perspective, these two fights are lackluster. They dont seem to be tank checks in any way, shape, or form. I was never below 50% health the entire night on these two bosses, and both encounters are basic tank and spanks with a small amount of movement.

Goodies for Wrathy

I have been pretty stagnant on my gear acquisition over the past 7 weeks, only picking up a few pieces over the course of our progression in ICC. There are two reasons for this. First, we are gearing up some new tanks and I have passed two sets of shoulders, a belt, chest, helm, bracers, and ring to our other tanks. Secondly and more importantly, my 258 loot is more than sufficient for the tank checks in the instance so far. I have not really come in danger of wiping the raid by dying more than a few times since the instance came out. However last night, the tank loot fell from the heavens and I was a greedy little pally. I scooped up 4 pieces for my gear sets, and I can’t wait to see where they fit in. I picked up the hit helm, the avoidance belt and gloves, and the effective health neck. While I am happy that I have the options for avoidance and threat, the neck is by far the sweetest upgrade so far.

It is difficult for me to take so much loot, but the other officers reminded me that my two off tanks have been in the guild for a few weeks at most and will get their gear in due time. The biggest problem our guild has right now is the guilt that the officers have for sitting 12 people last night for the main raid, including two tanks. We have a great roster filled with some quality players, and we want to be able to provide the experience of the main raid for everyone, however its just not in the cards when you have that many people. Luckily we have our alt raid to take the last 12 people to, where they can pick up all the gear they want.

Thoughts on my gear and Emblems of Frost

With the completion of most of the 25 man last night, I am sitting pretty in the mid 240’s with Emblems of Frost I am once again feeling the temptation to buy some gear. While I am very partial to Tier sets and the free bonuses that come along with them, more and more people are leaning towards the offset gear. There are a few pieces that I can not pass up, namely the Chest. I am working my way to transmuting 12 titansteel bars so that I can make my Pillars of Might, and I am getting less and less confident that there will be a huge brick wall of magic damage coming before the end of the instance, which is leading closer and closer to buying the bonus armor pieces.

For my progression set, I know I will wear the T10 helm, and possibly the shoulders. I know that the shoulders off the Gunship battle have more stamina, but I am a sucker for more damage. After hopping over to Chardev, I took a look at what I could do but the simulation was missing way too many peices of gear including the expertise gloves, the expertise boots, the weapons and the shields. More on that later I guess.

For all of you who are still waiting on your Queen attempts, good luck and hopefully I will have some kill shots for you tomorrow!

15
Jan
10

Bosses Who Parry Haste

I wanted to create an individual blog post about this, so that I can reference it later on. Below are the links to a few MainTankadin thread where we are discussing parry haste, and providing parse information as to whether or not a specific boss parry hastes. This is very important because, as I mentioned yesterday, expertise has moved way ahead on my priority list of stats to gear for inside ICC with the caveat that the boss must still have parry haste activated. There are a few bosses where it has been confirmed that blizzard has turned parry haste off, but for the rest of them, the majority of the tanking community seems to feel that it is still active and kicking.

From Theck’s post on Calculating the Avoidnace value of Expertise, which happened to be the source of inspiration for my blog post from yesterday, he mentions the following:

“Most bosses” is a bit of an exaggeration. Last I checked, it was only a few isolated hard-hitting slow-swinging bosses. So far on the compiled list, only Gormok, Jaraxxus (still no idea why they chose to do this on him), Ignis, Kologarn, and Patchwerk have it disabled. If anything, “most bosses” have parry-haste enabled, not disabled.

We’ll have to do some testing on ICC bosses to see for sure, but it’s unlikely they’d turn it off for the newer breed of weaker-hitting faster-swinging bosses. I could maybe see the Gunship captain and Festergut being ones that might have it turned off, since they can both hit pretty hard under the right conditions. Maybe marrowgar too, if his sabre lash is a special ability rather than a regular melee swing.

Now while the list is fairly incomplete, as it is a work in progress, we already see that some of the bosses in Trial of the (Grand) Crusade have parry haste turned on, and have been empirically proven to be able to parry haste. As we go through Icecrown Citadel and acquire more data from parses, we can start to understand which bosses parry haste in that instance. Once this is known, an Effective health set with expertise will be very valuable at preventing spike damage. For discussions sake, here is the list of bosses in ToTGC which we know about:

The List

Halion – Parry Haste Enabled – Confirmed here

ICC
Lord Marrowgar – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed here, here
Lady Deathwhisper – Parry Haste Enabled – Confirmed
here, here
Gunship (Saurfang/Bronzebeard) – –
Deathbringer Saurfang – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed
here
Festergut – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed
here
Rotface – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed
here
Professor Putricide – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed
here, here
Prince Taldaram – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed
here
Prince Valanar – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed
here
Blood-Queen Lana’thel – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed
here
Sindragosa – Parry Haste Enabled – Confirmed
here
The Lich King – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed
here

Onyxia’s Lair
Onyxia – Parry Haste Enabled – Confirmed here, here?

Crusader’s Coliseum
Gormok the Impaler – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed Here
Acidmaw – Parry Haste Enabled – Confirmed Here
Dreadscale – Parry Haste Enabled – Confirmed Here, here
Icehowl – Parry Haste Enabled – Confirmed Here, here
Lord Jaraxxus – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed Here, here
Faction Champions – Not looking for these as they’re not a tanking encounter
Fjola Lightbane – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed here
Eydis Darkbane – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed here
Anub’Arak – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed here, here

Since I am getting all of my values from the thread linked earlier on in this post, please reference that thread for all links to evidence.




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