As I’ve said in a previous post, one of the goals of the guild I’m in is to experience some 25 person content.

We set ourselves the goal of getting into SSC and clearing the trash in there, both to work on getting a 25 person team organized and coordinated, and as a way of upgrading the guilds’ gear a bit.

All in all, it was great fun on a Saturday night!

More after the break, of course.



When talking about progression, the focus is usually on which bosses were killed where. But the fact is, a lot of great profession recipes and epics can drop off of the trash in Serpentshrine Cavern (SSC). And, while it may seem strange, it’s true; if your guild is like mine, you may be kicking Karazhans’ butt, but you have yet to take down High King or Gruul in Gruuls’ lair, Magtheridon, or the Lurker Below or Hydross the Unstable in SSC.

In my opinion, the core concern about attempting to take on more difficult content is not gear quality, but coordination, individual skill and teamwork.

Yes, it’s true that if you don’t have decent gear, you’re not going to go far. But frankly, if you’ve got Karazhan on farm status and the majority of your team are tricked out on the best gear you can get from crafted recipes, Karazhan and reputation/Heroic runs, then you should have no problems in Gruuls or early SSC… at least, no trouble in terms of gear.

So I started wondering how to get the guild together as a 25 person team, and start working on our coordination together. And not just in a fight, but in scheduling and showing up on time, etc. The basic logistics of getting a run together.

And to me, the answer is, get the team together for fights that require 25 players, but will not be daunting wipe-fests that would depress and disillusion the more casual players. Have us take on a bite-sized challenge, before throwing ‘em into the deep end saying “Go carve off some steaks from that shark. White meat, it’s whats for dinner!”

So all week long, our guild leader Whirlish, hammered on getting signed up for the run on the guild website. We were going straight into SSC, not to kill bosses, but to clear the trash around the Lurker Below.

Why show up? Well, besides the chance at epic drops off trash, and the excitement of personally seeing more of the higher level content, there are also tons of recipes that can drop off the trash there; recipes and the Nether Vortexes they require, that could help gear up more of the guild.

How about these for teasers?

I know the drop rate on these are way way low, but what the hell, that is a long list of possible loot, right? And no one ever guaranteed you loot, only the possibility of loot. We could get lucky!

We started forming the raid for SSC at 7 PM sharp.

We actually had enough people to go at 8:30 PM.

Then, when two of them stayed AFK forever, we decided, “screw them” and went in anyway with 23.

We had a GREAT time! We kicked the holy heck out of the trash, we saw a lot of the architecture, we moved around and cleared around The Lurker Below, and much fun was had by all.

Thanks to our late start, by the time we started making noises about taking on the Lurker, a lot of folks had to go.

For our troubles, we herbed some giants, and got a Mark of Illidari for the bank.

We also got a healthy shot of confidence that we can do this thing. Hopefully that will spur more people into getting enthusiastic and being on time to make it happen.

The biggest lesson I think we learned? Aside from general organization and teamwork, I think we learned that some folks are NOT meant to walk on ramps in this game.

Honestly, I lost count of the folks that fell off the ramps and got eaten by the fish.

Seriously people, wtf? Stay out of the freaking water!

Oh yeah… I think we need a new rank for the guild…

“Fish Food”

EDIT: The very first comment got me to thinking there was something that could be added here.

HolyWarrior said;

The trash in SSC is hard. The first few times I went in there we could easily wipe on trash.
Still can do.
If you can get to Lurker then I see no reason why you can’t take him, err, it out.
Good Luck!

Frankly, this makes me wonder about something. We’ve gotten into the mindset that “We can’t do that until we have x”, whatever X may be. A specific balance of classes, a particular set or piece of gear, whatever.

In HolyWarriors’ opinion, the trash in SSC is hard and needs to be taken seriously. It can still result in the occasional wipe.

For us, we as a guild had built up all that is SSC so much that we went in there gearing up for war, expecting hell… and I have to say, we steamrolled the fights. We crushed them… and died on silly shit, like, oh, I dunno… dropping into the damn water.

There was one battle that we wiped on. Wetook on one of the Underbog Colossus, and we wiped when he kept using his Acid Geyser ability on the clustered casters. For those that, like us, hadn’t seen him before, he can be tanked, but he periodically picks someone at random and turns on them to spew a cone of Acid at them… and they stand still, turning in place to track the target with the cone effect, with insane range. We wiped because of the cone nailing the entire caster group.

As the raid ran back to the instance, we talked about what to do… and decided to try pulling him back to a round platform instead of taking him on a narrow bridge, and have the casters all spread out around him so his cone can’t get everyone at once. When he picks a target, the tank (me) calls out the new target so everyone can get away from the sucker, and the target knows to stand still. (Why have the tank call out his name? Because a tank has the target of target showing… healers won’t see that to know exactly when he switches targets.) And it worked like a charm.

All of that aside, my point is, we went in expecting hell, and were pleasantly surprised to kick ass. Others may go in expecting a cakewalk, and be shocked at how ‘tough’ it is. Perception, my friends.

It makes me remember quite clearly how, not so long ago, I was writing blog posts about how depressing it was to be on Karazhan team 2 and wiping on Moroes and Maiden all the time. It has been a long time since that happened… because everyone in the guild that raids has experienced the fights, understands what they are supposed to do, knows their class well enough to perform their role, and can mix and match well enough to take care of business in there.

Before Karazhan? Well, we played in 5 man instances, and worked to try and understand what we were supposed to do as one of 5 people in the run, and worried about taking on the challenge of Heroics.

The lesson here? I think that no matter where you are in the game, no matter what challenges you are currently facing, the ones you have learned how to handle become ‘easy stuff’ that anyone could do, and the ones you have yet to master can seem like steep cliffs full of fear and trepidation.

But if you take each one seriously, prepare as best you can, work together and give it your best shot, you CAN overcome them, put them on farm, and move on to the next cliff to climb.

But you can’t do it without friends.

16 Responses to “Big Bear blunders into SSC!”
  1. HolyWarrior says:

    Grats BBBB.

    The trash in SSC is hard. The first few times I went in there we could easily wipe on trash.

    Still can do.

    If you can get to Lurker then I see no reason why you can’t take him, err, it out.

    Good Luck!

  2. Michael says:

    /agree with Holywarrior

    I always push our raid-groups to take a ‘learning wipe’ on a new boss, even if you don’t have a full raid/group and/or have no chance of downing it. Seeing a new boss in action is well worth the repair-bill, I find boss-strats to be much more understandable if I’ve actually seen the effects firsthand.

  3. Logan says:

    I also /agree with Holywarrior.

    Now that you know you guys can clear the trash, make sure everyone reads the boss strat for Lurker. He’s easy as long as people pay attention to the gigantic warning about his spout ability, and it’s one of the first non-dps races that really requires every member of the raid to do his/her job to ensure success. Once you guys get the coordination down you can start enjoying your easy weekly loot!

  4. Anna says:

    Lurker is a “gimmick” fight – you have to pay attention, and you have to know what’s going on – and the entire raid needs to stay in that paying-attention-zone for the duration of the fight. He’s a coordination check, really. Michael also makes a good point – there’s something to be said for all ending up parboiled/fishfood to know how that fight is going to work. (and yes, the fishies *will* respawn in the middle of a Lurker attempt)

    That said, my raid is staring down bad-hair-day Vashj herself, and we still wipe on trash in SSC on occasion. Clearing through that stuff is a great way to get the coordination that bosses and later trash are going to take, and it sounds like you’re off to a good start.

  5. Noob says:

    I haven’t gotten to that point in the game yet, but I totally agree with your final comment “But you can’t do it without friends.” This is the main reason that I play Wow… my best friends move from AZ to St. Louis and this is the way that we stay in touch… We love it and we don’t care when we wipe trying to do a 5 man with only 3 people and a buffed out pet! We have a blast learning to play better together and experiencing things for the first time!

  6. Jon says:

    We just started Kara last night. My first time in there and it was a blast.

  7. Melnayo says:

    If you’re all fully kara-geared, plus some badge purchases, you definitely have the gear to take on Lurker. Hydross requires resist gear for the tanks, but while mixed resist gear is also often recommended for the offtanks, we’ve found we don’t actually need it. A handy stun on one elemental and a trinket pop keeps me quite alive, and of course our healers are probably pushing their buttons magnificently. We even handled Karathress with only a minimum of SSC-won gear, including the Wildfury Greatstaves for myself and the other bear.

    About the Lurker: It’s also important to keep the DPS members out of his whirls. Make sure they back out a second or two before a whirl is scheduled to happen, after every time he stops spouting, and after every time he emerges from the water. 3500+ damage to everybody in melee range up to four times per phase can quickly add up if they don’t know when to run out.

    We handle the adds during the Lurker fight a little oddly. We CC the archers on the platforms and kill the Guardians first, just because the casting time of Polymorph means the Guardians have a good chance to hitting some poor priest standing in the wrong place, and the archers are far less dangerous if they get loose for a few seconds. We use 3 tanks and the melee/ranged DPS focus on their nearest Guardians. Once each dies, most of the melee (except the MT and OT) head out to the islands to help with the archers. This requires that the fishes be dead, of course, so the whole trip makes them take no more than 2000-3000 damage, which -once- per phase isn’t bad.

    Thanks for your recommendation about encircling those giants. We hates them, we do.

    Lately we’ve been working on Leotheras. Karathress is far from being on farm (though we understand the fight, mostly), but Leo is easier to get to, so we’re working on both at once.

    He’s horrible. We can’t seem to keep everybody out of the whirlwinds, and we have such a hard time doing any damage while he’s in elf form. Melee has to keep running very far away, leaving only 6-8 seconds of time for dps. I don’t know what the ranged people are doing, but they get hit by whirlwinds too frequently despite trying to get away, which also reduces their dps during whirlwinds.

    That all is not a severe problem, as we can HANDLE it, until phase 3. At 15%, he splits into elf and demon forms, and while the warlock keeps ahold of the demon form just fine, we’re supposed to kill the elf, and that’s just maddedning. The fight just became a DPS race (to kill him before the debuff stacks too high on the warlock), but we barely have any time to damage him because he keeps whirlwinding, sending us melee scattering and the ranged cowering. ARGH!

  8. Melnayo says:

    (then, a few people still have trouble handling their inner demons, but fortunately most of us have the hang of that now)

  9. Arlynn says:

    First off, I’ll like to congratulate you on your first venture into SSC. I agree, if you can clear your way to Lurker, there is no reason why you can’t take him down.

    Another way of doing the Underbog Colossus that we found works out very well is to have everyone on one side on the circular platforms and the person who gets tragetted runs through the melee to the other side so the only people getting hit are that person and the tank.

    Now, for some recommendation for Leo. The first thing you need to know is that the range on whirlwind is approximatly 20 yards. If you are outside of this, Leo will not come towards you. Now knowing that, the way we set this fight up is that the melee went up to the platform where Leo started off when the timer for the cooldown was over. the range classes go to the right and left walls when the whirlwind starts. Have a shaman put a searing totem down at the feet of the tank, so that when the whirl is over Leo will come back to him (He attacks the very first thing that hits him after the whirl).

    For the split, keep the demon form on the lower platform and the elf form on the top. The strat here is the same. Melee gets out at the timer cooldown and the rest when the whirl starts. Here everyone runs to one of the 3 walls.

  10. Lypi says:

    Hey, good luck in there :) I’ve seen the wildfury greatstaff drop a bunch of times, I’m sure it won’t be long before you get yours!

    I regard the Lurker fight as a dance. With the right footwork, he’s easy. It’s actually one of my favourite fights – makes me feel a bit Zen :)

    With the acid geyser on the big bog lord dudes… in our raid we tried to get the person targetted to run to the tank. However, some people are just clueless, and I found that (while DPSing) as soon as the acid geyser ability started, if *I* ran to the tank, I was guaranteed not to get hit (facepalm!). That guild fell apart, took down Lurker/VR, but never got past – and no surprise why.

    I don’t see any reason why you guys aren’t doing Gruul’s yet. Just make sure all your DPS are doing over 500 DPS, preferably 600 or more, and you’re sweet. Considering I have DPS alts that hit that easy without even touching Kara, I don’t see any reason your DPS can’t since they’ve farmed Kara and have equivalent or nicer crafted gear.

  11. Ratshag says:

    But you can’t do it without friends” – damn straight, that.

    You & yer friends go show them fishies what’s what, BBBBBBBBB!

  12. SolidState says:

    Gz BBB on entering SSC :)

    Let me add to all who commented about Lurker that the fight is easy provided all remember the one important mantra – “jump in the water!” Just keep singing it on Vent/TS in your best “Show me the money” impersonation and people will get the idea ;)

    The other thing is that the marks of the illidari are nice but don’t count on having a flask for every raid member, at least not initially when clearing only up to Lurker. Have people bring their own flasks for that extra ummph :)

    About friends, yeah it’s amazing what a fun combination a friend and past content are :) Last night I took my level 70 hunter and a friend who is also a 70 hunter into LBRS – wanted the gem from the first boss for the UBRS key, already had the other 2 gems.

    Just us 2 hunters, I wasn’t sure we could do it but we cleared every pack of mobs rather easily and the boss too went down without a problem. Fun times :)

  13. Cdin says:

    I’ve scanned thru some of the comments and realize some of this has been said before, but I want to comment anyway.

    Kara is where you gear your self for high end raiding. As you get to higher end stuff you will start to replace some of that gear but probably not all of it. Go and look at some of the guys in the BT guilds, and you will still see a few pieces of Kara gear here and there. Some of it is that good for specific classes. Also look at what instances come before SSC. Other than Kara it is Gruul’s, Mag and possibly ZA. Due to the shear number of people in raid and the number of boss drops, your not going to get a whole lot of loot from Gruul’s or Mag. You would have to run both of them for months to gear your entire raid. I wouldn’t suggest that you skip them completely but I would say don’t wait until they are on farm to try some SSC and TK bosses.

    Here is a little over view of some of the bosses you should try.

    HKM – The hardest part about this fight is the pull. As long and you have a mage with a good stam set and a get the mobs in good spots of the pull it is fairly easy. You will probably wipe a few times but I have known several guilds that have killed him on the first night of attempts.

    Gruuls – This can be a difficult fight and requires a lot of heads up play by your entire raid. The main issue here is dealing with the groundslam and shatters. I perfere the free flowing way of avoiding your fellow players to the assigned spots method but its up to you.

    Mag – This is a hard fight. Harder than some of the fights in SSC and TK in my opinion. It requires high dps and cordination. The biggest problem in my opinion is getting the first five adds down quickly. If you don’t, you have infernals running all over the place and Mag to deal with. If you can get the first 3 or 4 down before Mag is release you shouldn’t many problems. It will probably just take a few times to learn how to click the cubes.

    VR – Easy fight. Just requires heads up play by your ranged DPS, and it gives you T5 Shoulders.

    Lurker – This fight is a caster DPS dream. No threat. It requires a lot of coordination and can be mana intensive in the beginning due to its length, but there is no reason why a Kara geared guild can’t do it.

    Anyway, good luck on all of this. I am right back there with you after my guild recently fell apart. We are back to gruuls and mag and such.

  14. Logan says:

    @Mel-

    For Leo you’re really gimping yourself with every melee DPS you take. They simply aren’t able to do enough DPS to him in his elf form to make a huge difference, which greatly hinders your ability to take him down after 15% before your warlock tank dies. When still getting used to the fight it’s a good idea to only bring a (small) handful of melee and a ton of ranged DPS. Then, avoiding whirlwinds is a breeze!

  15. Shmoopy of Thunderhorn says:

    Sounds like you are at about where my guild is. Gruul is pretty much farm and we have taken Void Reaver down twice now. We are now looking at SSC as our regular 25 man. Our first attempt at Lurker failed, but our first attempt always does. Patience prevails and, as always, expect to take Lurker down on our 2nd or 3rd foray into SSC.

  16. Melnayo says:

    Among our regular raiding group are two prot warriors, two feral druids, two rogues, a fury warrior, and an enhancement shaman. Assuming around 7 healers, that means we must have 10 ranged DPS.

    We’ll consider your advice about that.

    What’s more interesting to me is the concept of a 20-yard targetting range on his whirlwind. Is this something anyone else has observed or can disprove? I could see this fight becoming reasonably easy if that’s true, aside from the melee issues. However, other strategies just seem to recommend trying to keep at least 25 yards away from him, but don’t say why. I’d assume it’s because he won’t reach you before changing targets.

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