Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hunting the Council of Elders

This Council fight took 40+ wipes to develop a strategy that our iLevel could handle.  It's a very fun and active fight, but sad when it just feels a little over-tuned.

We had been dealing with Frostbite with different groups of three, but simplified it greatly by having two tanks and having them stack on each other.  That lessens the charges and sandtraps that affect three people at once.   The only catch is that the tank of Mar'li really doesn't have too much threat on her, being across the room from her.  That tweak bought us a lot of extra DPS time and a lot less spike healing needed.

The second major part of this is that Sul puts out huge amounts of damage.  After he dies the raid damage goes down to something two healers could deal with.  The second issue with him is that when he empowers there is additional huge amounts of raid damage.  The adds we can deal with but our healing is a little behind.  So we approach this fight as an anti-Sul fight.  We nuke him at the start and into the first empower Malakk.  Then we keep both tanks on him interrupting him and DPS'ng him.  We also keep as much as possible an extra DPS on him.

The third part of our strategy involves controlling which council member empowers.  They empower within waves.  The next highest health council member will empower next if they haven't already empowered within that wave.  We want Mar'li to empower third and Sul to empower last in the first wave.  So we toss some DoT damage on Mar'li as well.  We burn through the empowers of Malakk, Kazra'Jin, and then interrupt pull Mar'li into the cleave group when she empowers.  Then we finish off Sul and then finish Mar'li.

Since I knew that we were trying not to have Sul empower, I ran this as BM.  BM allows you to burn Kazra'Jin during his reflect-damage empower much easier than SV.  The Kill Command damage doesn't come from the hunter.  So if you are affected by Biting Cold and it's Kazra'Jin's empower phase you can still squeak a bit of damage on him without dying.  (Though I came close!)

The video shows it like it's easy.  The bubbles smooth over what is really an immense amount of damage.  This was our second week killing Council with only one different raider.  And I should mention that we wiped 3x as many times this week on Jin'rokh as on Council. (lol!)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

PvP Dailies

I took the PvP option last week after I capped valor early.  It was pretty interesting.  There were quite a few horde, but I suspect they were all PvE players because I could take two at a time.  When I went over to their base I was pretty sneaky.

Overall it was a lot of fun doing PvP outside of a BG context -- but with some goals to push you and your opponents together without a the cat-calls and clock ticking.  It reminded me of the older 4 hour marathon AV runs where being crafty is fun.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Photos in a Theme

Kheldul in his orange mail set with new pets.

Kheldul in his shaman dungeon two costume with his new pet, "FITE".   Oh and thank you GC and Taeliana for making it possible.

Reminiscing through photos of the not so long past. 

Ghost Kheldul.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Hunter Notes on the Council of Elders

We just started learning the Council of Elders.  Unfortunately we were light on heals and tried to do it with one uber healer and one new healer.  Combine that with a raid taking more damage than they should and it wasn't pretty.  About half of us learned to dance with frostbite [victims] during Malakk's empowerment.  It's a skill all hunters will need to develop.  Our overall strat was almost good, but we were two tanking and lacking some DPS.  And like Horridon, we were lacking some interrupts.  We can improve our strats.

Along the way I learned two hunter-spec things in this fight.

First, it's great if you're BM.  You do lots of nice single target damage to burn through the empowerments.  I was doing about 5M damage per empowerment.  It's also really really nice to be BM during Kazra'jin's empowerment because you can burn him.  Most of your damage comes from your pet so you don't need to dial it back -- whereas others need to not kill themselves doing it due to his damage reflection.

Second, it's great if you're SV.  You do respectable single target damage. When Loa Spirits come out you can stop them in their tracks with traps.  You don't have to worry much about pet travel time.  And when Sul makes the sand stand up and fight, you can AoE quite well.  The only drawback is that warlocks can do everything you can -- just differently.

I don't know how it will settle out, but I'll probably be flipping around depending on which council abilities are the most problematic.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Hunters and Horridon

Here are my hunter tips for Horridon 10man.  Below my recommendations are the deeper issues of the fight that go into why I'm recommending them.


  • Keep your pet on the mobs.  Killing the adds is priority number one and two.
  • BM has pet control issues on this fight.  If you have to go BM, Blink Strike will increase your DPS.  But you will still see range and control issues.  Macro'ng /petattack type commands into everything can help.
  • Go Survival and mow down the adds.  Entrapment is decent as well.  You will be happier and you'll do much better damage.
  • As SV, take Lynx Rush.  Damage on the boss doesn't matter much before the doors go down.  Hold on to Lynx Rush until you have mobs to use it on.  Yes, it's delaying DPS but it's an important delay.
  • Do not blow CDs off the boss pull.  Never blow DPS cooldowns on the boss until you're done with the doors.  Blow them on the door mobs once each second wave comes out.
  • If you have two good DPS with short interrupt CDs then they should handle interrupts and you should take binding shot and use it often -- but most especially on the third door.  Otherwise, you need to take silencing shot.
  • The fight is 11+ mins long.  Blow Stampede on the second door when wave two and three jump out at once.  Destroy the priests.
  • Use Rapid Fire and Readiness often.  Sadly, you probably don't need it on the first door.
  • Finish off mobs that are 25% health or less before moving on to a different priority.
  • If all your buffs are taken care of and you're starting to look at debuffs, then either take an extra interrupt with a Gorilla, or a casting speed debuff with a Sporebat.  I did not have raid experience with hitting the interrupts via a pet, I took the auto-casting sporebat.
  • AoE generally isn't worth it.  Glaive tosses always are good.  Explosive traps are worse than a black arrow for SV because of all the mob movement, but okay to do in downtime with MM or BM.  SV multishots to apply stings are good, but you want to remove mobs one at a time not have them all up until they are all down.
  • Drop frost traps in the foci of the doorway.  They'll proc your LnL but also control the mobs.

The TL;DR Issues Section

First off: your pet will attack Horridon.  Fine.  But it will always go back to attacking Horridon after you kill a door mob.  Even with another mob right there that you've already started attacking.  The boss will often be positioned away from these mobs by a decent amount.  So much so that BM's Kill Command, Lynx Rush and the like are out of range.  You can counter that with a lot of control-1 commands or macro'ng every shot.  You can also use blink strike.  But it still is a problem.  You can counter it by diminishing the importance of the pet by going with SV instead.

My guild runs a 10man.  Horridon 10man was tuned incredibly tight last week.  This week they nerfed the health of the add waves to make it more accessible to the non heroic-raiding guild.  The issue with the difficulty of the fight isn't actually about DPS and mob health.  But that DPS can help muscle your way through and beat down what you can't deal with otherwise.  My 10man generally has 1-2 warlocks, 1-2 hunters, a mage, a DK, a monk tank, a warrior tank, and a resto druid.  Rotating in are a new holy pally, a holy priest, and a resto shaman.

I'm not going into all the fight descriptions, but suffice it to say, you need to have good interrupts, good slows, and good dispel and cleansing.  Each door is a different type of thing that needs to be removed if it lands on a person.  If your raid makeup only has one class that can cure disease, then you're probably going to hit a wall.  Same goes for poison (though it's much more common).

So with a 24 sec CD on silencing shot, we're not too great on the interrupt front.  But if you run with a mage and two warlocks then you need to take it because their interrupts are just as bad.  On pet selection front, if the buffs are all taken care of and you're mainly looking at target debuffs then I recommend the sporebat.  Yes, he can give spell haste as a buff.  But he also freely gives the casting speed debuff.  And one multi-dot poison can make or break the fight.

We are decent at slowing mobs, and that's the main deal on the third door.  Slow traps, binding shot (if you didn't need to take silencing shot), concussion shot, and I think scatter shot also works.

But disease debuffs will go out and we need to rely on the raid to deal with them.  On our kill, I had 6 stacks of disease and was swallowing over 100k damage ticks crying for a cleanse.  Here's who can do what type of dispelling:

Druid:  Curses,           Magic (if healer), Poisons
Mage:   Curses
Monk:           Diseases, Magic (if healer), Poisons
Pally:          Diseases, Magic (if healer), Poisons
Priest:         Diseases, Magic,             Poisons (if healer)
Sham:   Curses,           Magic (if healer)

Other than that, a 'lock's imp can singe magic, but it doesn't look like an auto-cast.  Good dwarves can remove poison from themselves for the second door.  And a resto druid can Symbiosis a pally and get cure disease.

If your raid is weak on interrupts, you need to be strong in cleanses.  Or vice versa.  If you are in heroic raid gear you can just muscle through 10man with overwhelming DPS.

If you're doing it in 25man, there aren't extra mobs!  So interrupts should be covered a few times over!  That  means there will be far less to cleanse/dispel.  It also means you can focus more on control and nuking down individual important mobs.  25mans can also bring three tanks.  From what I can tell from the dozens of threads on this, in the first week heroic and normal 25mans and heroic 10man raiding guilds got him down.  A tiny number of 10man normal guilds got him down with a perfect mix of interrupt classes and healers with the right cleansing/dispelling.  My guild didn't have a problem with DPS.  But we hit a wall from interrupt & cleansing/dispels.  And it was all just class balance.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

When Loot Crushes Your 5.2 Plans

Last night -- the night before 5.2 lands -- Lei Shi gave me a new rifle via a soon-to-be-worthless coin.  I had been using an upgraded LFR version.  Well.  I was at about 720/1,000 valor for the week, but not earning any because I was already at the 3,000 total valor cap.  So plans demolished.

We were bringing a new raider in who I just guilded, so I went out and dropped the bag of gold for a new legendary gem and gem slot and yes, I upgraded that sucker twice for 1,500 valor.

I'm not sure if this puts me behind or ahead.  But I do know that I wont be picking up two epics from valor vendors in the first few days.  And it makes me more likely to get a ranged weapon upgrade as a raid drop. ;-)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Focus vs Awareness

Friday, March 1, 2013

Eager Cleaver

I saw a fair number of requests for it in the official feedback thread.  I made my case here and requested it somewhere in the 100+ pages in the thread.  I think it's been pretty universally requested.  And GC is making something happen:
Beast Cleave - damage increased from 30% to 50% of original damage.

The Beast Cleave change was because we felt Survival's multi-target damage was too far ahead. We don't mind good AE as a spec niche, but it shouldn't be so high that you feel like an absolute idiot for not swapping to that spec.
I'm not sure I'm happy with the number -- as it seems a bit low -- but I am happy with the sentiment.  We've certainly seen very rough numbers thrown around before.  MM and SV buffs were stated at nice high round numbers and then got cleaved down ... to lower very round numbers.  The "50% of original damage" value sounds incredibly round and subject to change.  We'll have to see which way it goes.  If it goes up then we will not be compelled to have an SV spec.  If it goes down or isn't a noticeable change to our AoE capability, then we may feel that is a requirement.  Beast cleave is one source of our AoE damage, but hardly all.  So a +20% to it may not be meaningful.

FWIW, I either have my alternate talent as either a pet-tank setup or a PvP setup.  I haven't done too much with either since MoP, but I am starting to line up a pet-tank suit.  On many somewhat challenging boss fights I'm swapping talents or glyphs -- but never specs.