Friday, 27 August 2010

Tanking Saurfang 10 heroic

Some random hints and tips for warriors at tanking this fight. People have been facerolling Saurfang on normal for a very long time and it's easy to forget the nuances of the fight. Actually there is quite a lot for tanks to do here - you don't need to move much, but everything you do has to be perfect, or you wipe.

We run with two healers for this fight, which means that you need to have killed the boss before he casts mark of blood for the third time. This means doing everything possible to minimise the amount of blood power gained by the boss.

- Let the other guy start tanking the boss at the start of the fight. The reason for this is that Saurfang's abilities are on very strict timers and therefore you can predict when he debuffs the tank - as you know you need to swap tanks when he debuffs his current target. There are two debuff points - after he casts boiling blood, and just after he summons the blood beasts. The tank who starts the fight will be debuffed just after boiling blood, and the OT will be debuffed just after the blood beasts arrive. You will need to be free to do other things once the blood beasts are up (see below) so you want the other tank to take the boss at that stage. That means that you want to be the OT.

- When the blood beasts arrive, immediately shockwave one of the beasts ("B1"). It's important that your shockwave does not hit the second beast ("B2"), since you want B2 to aggro on a ranged kiter. If you stun B2 next to your melee dps it might get hit by cleaves etc and aggro the melee, leading to a massive blood power boost and a probable wipe.

- Have all your dps apart from the B2 kiter nuke B1. You should help (since by now your tanking partner will be tanking the boss). When shockwave is about to wear off, use concussive blow. This will mean that B1 should be dead before your concussive blow wears off (8 seconds of stun should be enough to kill it). All your dps should then head off to kill B2. If it looks like B2 is going to get into melee range of your kiter you should taunt B2, allowing a few seconds more for your dps to kill it.

- Diminishing returns on taunts appears to be turned on for this boss. What this means is that if you accidentally gain aggro when you shouldn't it's a possible wipe, since when the tank taunts back the next tank swap will be in the diminishing returns window and will have a high chance of missing. It also means that if you are a warrior you should not use mocking blow as part of your rotation, as I did (/shame), since this is likely to stuff things up for your tanking partner.

- If you have paladins in the raid they can cast Hand of Protection on people who get boiling blood to cut down on the amount of blood power gained by the boss. Clearly they shouldn't cast it on tanks or on your assigned blood beast kiter.

- When you are tanking Saurfang you shouldn't use shockwave or concussive blow, or they won't be available for when the adds appear, leading to a wipe.

When tanking Saurfang during frenzy you should ensure that you have a cooldown up (or at least available). Good luck!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Nausea, Heartburn, Indigestion...

Since killing LK a couple of weeks back, I've been working my way through the heroic modes in ICC10. Currently I've beaten the first six bosses, and I must say it really adds a great deal of excitement to the encounters. In fact, some of the encounters feel like the heroic mode is the "proper" version of the fight - particularly Rotface and Festergut where the heroic modes have some extra voice acting, and new features which are implemented in an amusing way.

I think that LK heroic might be beyond us given the extreme difficulty of the fight (I think only one guild on my server has beaten it so far), but we will certainly try to get the Glory of the Icecrown Raider achievement, which has a special dragon mount as a reward.

The major roadblocks are likely to be Sindragosa heroic and the Sindragosa achievement, both of which look like an absolute swine, but we managed to get one of the harder achievements last night - Nausea, Heartburn, Indigestion.

This requires you to complete the encounter without using the abomination's slow ability on the various oozes and clouds which spawn during the fight. What this means is that you are going to get hit by the adds. A lot.

Positioning is vital. When the green oozes spawn then you need to remember that the AoE damage when it reaches its target is split between all players in range. We split the raid into two groups for the oozes - the melee dps and tank in one position, and the ranged dps and healers in another (we used two healers). We normally killed the green ooze before it exploded for the second time, meaning that raid damage was manageable. The orange oozes are tougher, and you need to remember that damage from these mobs is not split between nearby players - thus you need to be spread out when these spawn. You also need to be aware of the DoT effect on the person that the orange ooze is targeting - that person will need quite a lot of healing while the ooze chases them. We used heroism in phase 2 to get the oozes out of the way as quickly as possible, and once you get into phase 3 it's the same as normal (except you won't have heroism available, so your execution needs to be better).

It's really quite fun, and makes the old, familiar fight a lot more interesting.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

It is done

Months and months too late, after guild splits, cancelled raids, teams breaking up and people being absent due to holidays/boredom/starcraft2...

Friday, 6 August 2010

Damage done vs DPS

The Pugnacious Priest is working out some guild issues in her blog.

Basically, she's getting criticised because her dps is too low (although I think 11k is pretty damn nice), and she responds to this criticism by pointing out that her total damage done is not too shabby - in fact total damage done comes in at 7th or 8th in a 25 man raid.

While this is valid to an extent, and certainly appears to have convinced some of her blog commentors, I'm not sure I agree that damage done > dps all the time. For this to be true it implies that if you die it must be your own fault - you have sacrificed some dps and instead gained some extra life time during which you have inflicted extra damage. This analysis neglects two points -

1) It's not always your fault if you die!

Sometime's it's the tanks' fault for not picking up a mob fast enough, sometimes you had the right to expect a heal from your raid healer but for whatever reason you didn't get one, sometimes a dispel is missed, sometimes you are the target of a nasty blood boil-type ability which requires massive healing to survive and you don't receive said healing. In any of those cases your total damage done might not be great, but dps is a better measure of your abilities at such times.

2) Burst is valuable

Many endgame encounters these days involve a requirement for burst dps. Halion is an honourable exception, but think of the val'kyr in the Arthas fight, the iceblocks in Sindragosa, the oozes in Professor Putricide, etc. In these encounters the ability to pull out all the stops for a short period of very high dps is crucial. In these encounters a high dps player will be more valuable, because they will shine in those short periods.

I agree that a dpser who can't be taught to stay out of the fire is useless, but that alone does not make damage done superior to dps as a metric for analysing raid performance.

In the case of the Pugnacious Priest however, she's screenshotted a log which covers 12 attempts. This should even out unlucky deaths (you wouldn't expect to die unluckily every fight), which means that there is more likely to be something wrong if a high dps player is consistently poor when total damage is considered. In such cases there's the possibility that there is some issue with their survival skills - perhaps they are neglecting them in favour of dps, which doesn't seem to be helping their progress.