Archive for the “Recap” Category
Just a heads up. Total Bearwall incoming. Rambling, lengthy post. There is WoW stuff in there, though, I swear! But I’m proud to say that I manage to ramble on for over 4000 words… just for fun. Classic Bearwall action. I know it’s been a while!
I’ve never been that person before.
You know who I mean. People that tell you that they enjoy going to a high traffic area, getting comfortable, settling in, and spending time watching the diversity of folks go by.
The “local color”.
“OMG, did you see that woman with the purple snakeskin capri pants and pink flip flops with the plastic flowers? Wow, who leaves the house looking like that? There’s a trailer park in need of a tornado somewhere.”
Well, I’ve finally found my own version of this. And you are my enablers.
I think I’m starting to play WoW less for the fun of the game, and more for the people watching.
Don’t mistake me, I still love the game.
But everytime I queue up in LFD, I feel it.
The fascination, the burning desire, the ever-present curiosity…
What incredible jaw-dropping shit is going to happen next?
It’s people watching – but I swear, it’s even better, because normally you see people in a crowd, and they’ve got their “People are watching me” masks on. They put on some makeup, did their hair, brushed their mullet, and put on their very bestest spandex stretch pants before going to the mall food court.
In WoW LFD, you get the “John Gabriel” factor at play, where everyone is free to be themself. Totally anonymous, especially if they are in a PUG with 4 strangers, all of whom are from different servers than your own, and you’ve got no guildies with you.
Tell me that idea doesn’t make your skin tingle with the desire to plot out social experiments.
People being themselves, without even the most minimal concern for internet consequences.
All hell can, and sometimes does, break loose.
Disclaimer, and the positive thought for the day;
The amazing thing ain’t that people act like asshats when cloaked in anonymity. The amazing thing is how few people you may run into, out of the vast playerbase, who actually DO act like asshats.
The majority of players you are likely to meet are kind, decent, or at the very least quiet, friendly players. They just want to play the game, have some fun, get some loot, and get on with their lives with the minimum drama and fuss.
Let’s all try and remember that. I may tell stories about amazing stuff that happens, but really, the whole reason it’s entertaining to read those stories is that those are the exceptions, not the normal state of affairs.
The reason I mostly tell these stories isn’t to demonize people, as much as it is to follow in a grand sea service tradition that does extend to the Marines…
“This is a real no shitter.”
I love sharing these stories. It’s fun.
There is always something amazing waiting, just around the bend. Good, bad or just freaking weird, you never know what’s lying in wait right around the next corner.
Last night I ran two Normal Pit of Saron runs, back to back, in the hopes of getting the mail Spellpower helm off the first boss. I’d really like that hat. Mine is horribad.
These two runs damn near blew my mind. I queued up for a third just on the off chance I could score the hat trick, because this stuff is pure popcorn entertainment. Or as Kiri said in guild chat last night, “I don’t even know what to say to that”.
The first run as a Shaman Healer I’ve got a Death Knight tank, Cassie is with me on her Retribution Paladin, there is a second Ret Paladin on the run, and we’ve got a Mage.
This is Normal Pit of Saron. My expectations are fairly reasonable. A group of people trying, gearing, and learning. Maybe altastic runs, maybe brand new fresh dings.
What I find is, I’ve got an entire crew that’s good… except the tank.
The Death Knight pays absolutely no attention to anyone else in the group, where they are, what they’re doing or, and this is really the point… what mobs may be on them.
He just doesn’t look behind or pay any attention to anyone else but himself and what’s directly in front of him.
He never pops Death and Decay until about the last three seconds of whatever fight he’s on, treating it kind of as an additional DPS technique rather than an AoE threat generating tool.
He was in Frost Presence. I checked. Early on. Trust me, I had to know.
Right from the very start, on the first pull, it began.
The Death Knight avoided the large stationary group at the base leading to the right, jumping down near the water and running up to the single giant Skeleton to engage.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you are even remotely familiar with Pit of Saron, what can you expect?
That the second large group of Summoner and Skeletons, that pats right along there, will roll on up behind you and engage from the rear if you take too long on the Giant Skeleton, or if people hang back too far if the tank grabs the Giant Skeleton and pulls him down and away from the pat area, etc.
So the tank engages the Giant Skeleton right where he is, doesn’t go further. I run forward so I’m at least past the tank and his mob, so I can look back and watch for the pat as I heal. I don’t like being taken from the rear. Read into that whatever you’d like.
The Mage moves a little forward, but not as far as me.
I see the large pat rolling on up. I announce in party chat, “Large pat incoming from the rear”.
The Giant Skeleton drops, the pat takes the Mage from behind, we’re all getting engaged on the group… and the tank takes no notice and runs on ahead, hopping down and grabbing the next two Giant Skeletons.
This, my friends, is when you perk up, pay attention, and find out if you really have practised your “Oh shit” buttons.
Cassie and the other Ret Pally basically tank the group while the Mage AoEs and I spam heal everyone through it. No real problem after all, group dies, we move forward, and finish off the mobs the Death Knight was on.
Now, you might think that the Death Knight, getting no heals from me while he’s beating on something, might say something. Acknowledge a bit of a scurry there. Whine about health. “Whoops”. Anything.
That typified the rest of the run. Death Knight tank that paid absolutely no attention to what anyone else might be doing. And the group tried to adapt.
I wasn’t angry, worked up, or sputtering as the run unfolded. It was Normal Pit of Saron, and I never really felt overtaxed on Healing the rest of the group. It was just, well, amazing. And fascinating. Just how oblivious might this person really be? Is this for real?
See, the thing is, the tank is acting like every other tank you see these days. Full steam ahead, chain pull, fast clear, go go go. The difference is that other tanks that do this at least bother tagging the mobs to establish aggro, and grab the ones that slip on by from over eager DPS. They Taunt. They are aware that there is something that NEEDS to be Taunted.
They at least, bottom of the barrel, wonder why the Healer’s health is dropping… dropping… dropping….
Heheh, on every non-single mob pull, I waited until the tank pulled and whacked for a while, and then when I finally did drop a heal, I still got a faceful of mobs that never got a single tag.
Ya know, Death and Decay, Blood Boil and all those plague and chill thingies… boy, I thought those spread stuff around. Silly me.
I spent a lot of time with mobs in my face… and on my butt, since the tank never paused once the ones he was fighting were dead, so he’d take off while there were still one or two on me, dazing me, and Cassie and the other Paladin would kinda brush them off me and step on ‘em. Then we’d catch back up to wherever the tank had gotten to. Tank? No clue we’re still fighting back there. No clue I’m getting eaten.
My first actual “cluestick” smackdown rebuttal happened after Krick and Ick died.
The tank lined up on the ramp with the Flame AoE dudes, and I just knew… KNEW what was coming.
And so did everyone else. You could see them kinda… huddle up. I had my own defensive linemen, I swear.
The tank charges in. So does everyone else. I dart forward with them and drop Totem. I wait. AoE kicks in and people start dropping. I cast my first Chain Heal, and here most of them come. Right in my face. The big lady in the middle that does those tasty (I mean ouchie) Shadowbolts?
Yep, all of them cast on me. Boom boom boom.
Yep, I’ve got aggro. From most of ‘em.
Everyone else is working at killing the mobs in that first group, the ones that stay there. One of the teleporting flame AoE dudes is on me like stink on a skunk, teleported right on top of me and going whoomp, whoomp, whoomp.
As I’m chain healing, casting like a fiend, flipping the mobs the bird ’cause we got this and everyone else is coming down to finish them off… I see the tank, all alone, run up to grab the next group.
Yep, no pause, no break, no indication there was a thought in his mind that we might be trying to finish this last guy down here pounding the healer to hell before going up top to grab the next group.
Love that AoE flame, thanks!
He just runs on ahead, far out of range of my heals BTW, and grabs the next group.
We stay where we are, finish off our flame dude, and run on up the hill.
His health is going down, he’s at half before I get there.
I’ve got plenty of time to respond.
I let his ass die. Cold and hard.
I watch as his health continues to drop and then poof! Dead.
I didn’t lift a finger to help him.
Cassie, the other Ret Paladin and the Mage meanwhile are engaging the group.
I heal them through it, without a single problem.
We kill that second group, from start to finish, with two Ret Paladins, a Mage and me, no actual tank at all. And it was EZ mode.
I’ve made the tank see, lying there dead in the dirt, that if he really wants to play games, well, we can move on. It’s okay. We don’t actually have to follow him to certain death. He does not automatically get to pull us all down into death with him.
After the group is dead, I rez him. Nobody says a word. At least, not until the tank says, “Wow, sorry guys.”
Do I think he might have learned to pay a little bit more attention?
Did I at least enjoy seeing him eat a repair bill?
Yes, I did. And I was curious to see if he’d realise what had happened, and if so, if he’d get pissy and leave the run.
Nope, no clue.
But it should get better now, right?
The tunnel. The ice. The mobs.
What are the rules?
You know the rules of Tunnel Club.
- Nobody attacks but the tank.
- Nobody heals anybody unless the tank absolutely no shit needs it. If someone dies, we come back later when the tunnel shuts down and rez them.
- Nobody talks about Tunnel Club. Oh, wait.
So, first time up the tunnel, tank makes a mad dash for the center metal circle.
Yeah, the first time. That’s an artistic writing technique called foreshadowing. See what I did there?
He’s below half health by the time we get there, but I’ve held off, and nobody else did DPS. At the metal circle, the DPS begins to burn them down, and I cast some heals.
The last mobs aren’t even dead yet, the Mage has aggro on a couple the DK hasn’t grabbed, more adds are streaming down the tunnel towards us aggroed on ME ignoring the tank… and the Death Knight takes off for the second half of the run, hell bent for leather.
He doesn’t grab anything as he runs past.
Edit addition: I realise, on re-reading this massive bearwall, that I was unclear here about what was going on during this first run in the tunnel. The DK took off from the metal circle while there were still mobs, many of them on me… and like in all normal groups, even though I had aggro from stuff hitting me, we all as a group took off after him and tried to keep up. The DK enver paused or slowed down to see how the rest of us were doing. Not once. He just ran straight to the end and waited, and the rest of us tried like hell to keep up.
Meanwhile, I’m getting hit. I’m having to cast heals on myself to stay alive. This is adding to healer aggro, making me even more tasty to every new mob the tank is running past, who are all ignoring him to come get me. And the Mage is trying like hell to get them off of me, so he’s getting pounded right beside me as we run, we’re both dazed and falling behind, and next thing you know I’m chain healing the Mage and myself, we get overwhelmed, and die, just as we reach the end of the tunnel.
The rest of the group, without heals, and swarmed by all the mobs that had been on me, go down shortly thereafter.
Ever notice you don’t have time to slow down and do it right, but there’s always time to run back in and do it over?
Now, there are no recriminations. No harsh words. But also no encouragement. Just a grim determination to keep going.
But not from everyone.
We lose the Mage. He drops group, and we get a new Mage.
We square off at the tunnel, and I say to Cassie on vent, “Let’s just do our thing, and I’ll keep us alive”.
We take off exactly the same as before.
Everything happens exactly the same as it did last time.
With one major difference.
As the Death Knight takes off for the second half of the tunnel run, I stand my ground on the metal circle. I’ve got my totems out, the mobs that the DK ignored are still on me, the ones running down the tunnel towards us past the DK come on down to us, and Cassie stands her ground beside me.
And so does the other Paladin, and even the new Mage.
Death Knight? Runs on up and out of range. Bye? Bye!
We stand our ground, and I heal the group as everyone else kills the adds.
And kills the adds.
Eventually, we run out of adds to kill. They just stop coming.
Eventually, the DK comes down and rejoins us. Bringing the two adds from the tunnel mouth. And a few spawned mini-skellies.
The last two mobs of the tunnel and a few scrubs. Those were the only things he kept aggro on himself.
We killed the few mobs he brought down with him to the metal circle… and the avalanche and spawned adds instantly stopped.
We actually completed the tunnel run, and cleared it, and shut down the snowstorm blue circle of knockback add generation idiocy AT THE METAL CIRCLE.
I didn’t even know you could do that.
We calmly walked up the rest of the way, and as you can imagine, healing the group through the last boss wasn’t even an issue.
That… that kind of run is so amazing to be a part of, it’s hard to describe. You know in your hearth that, if it were on Heroic, it would be a run of frustration, of anger, of pain, of guilt when people died, of abandoned group and just a terrible experience.
But, on Normal… it was kinda fun. Horrifying in it’s implications for any poor group that gets him for a tank in the future, but fun at that time, in that place.
And I’ll be honest. Letting him die, all alone, and THEN stepping in and killing that group on the ramp? That felt epic even as we were doing it.
Homeric, even. :)
You’d think that would be enough for a post, wouldn’t you? Isn’t that enough of an evening to retell?
Oh, hell no. There’s more.
But I’ll be quick about it. I swear.
The second run was smooth sailing. A rare pleasure to heal. Excitement at times, fun challenges, but a solid team working with you.
A Paladin tank, a feral kitty Druid, a DPS Death Knight dual wielding one-handers and a Combat Rogue.
Everyone else on the run, aside from the Death Knight, was in pretty new gear. Tank, Rogue, Druid, mostly blues.
That sets it as a challenging run.
The difference? Skill. They did a good job.
I’d like to be clear about this; I have rarely, if ever, seen a better job of tanking in Pit of Saron. That Paladin tank locked down every single mob, positioned himself perfectly for each pull, manuevered where appropriate, stood still where not for the melee DPS.
So, what’s the problem? What made this run unusual?
Well, here’s the deal.
So Forgemaster Garfrost drops Garfrost’s Two-Ton Hammer. I am at work on my lunch and can’t link to WoWhead, I’ll do it when I get home, but the hammer is a two handed mace with tons of Strength, Stamina, Crit, and a red socket.
Both the Death Knight and the feral Druid roll Need.
The Death Knight gets a 9, the Druid gets a 92 and wins.
The DK immediately throws an epic level hissycow.
First, he’s rude and pissed the Druid rolled at all. When the Druid replies, polite as all heck, saying that’s it’s a big upgrade for him, the DK starts telling the Druid that Druids don’t want Str, it’s useless to a Druid, Druids should only ever roll on Agi items.
I inspected the Druid. He had a blue quality mace, not bad, but a long, long, LONG way away from Garfrost’s Two-Ton Hammer in terms of kitty DPS. Not to mention, dump a +20 red Agi gem in it, it’s not bad for Bear tanking. Not optimal of course, but it’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. It’s got lots of Stamina on it, and a socket for added Stam or avoidance. What more do you really want when you’re alternative is a blue mace with no sockets, huh?
The DK won’t let it go. He bitches, pisses, moans, whines, tells everyone and anyone in the run how the Druid should never have taken it, it’s no good for him at all, Druids should never take Str, it’s worthless, and on and on and on.
I pipe up, just to say “I’m sorry, but that’s not correct. Feral Druids get Attack Power in both Bear and Cat from Strength. It’s far from useless.”
The DK wheels on me. He apparently feels the need to spank this upstart down and put him in his place so he can keep working on the Druid.
“My main is a Druid” he informs us.
I answer that my main is a Druid too.
He tells us “My main is a tank. You can check with Elitist Jerks that I’m right.”
Then he adds, in a second line, “If you’re a Druid, I bet you’re resto.”
Yes. Yes, he did.
Oh, hell yes he did.
Cherish that mental image with me for a few moments. I’m sitting there, with a lot of folks that happen to play Feral Druids that come visit me regularly on a website, and yeah, I don’t raid, but I have been known to occasionally research a few things here or there. Granted I haven’t visited the EJ website in months, but that’s okay. I do my own research, and when I’m wrong, you guys catch me. I’ve just been told that if I do play a Druid, it must be as Resto. The implication, of course, being that I’m completely ignorant about Bear tanking or feral Druiding. I know things can change, but last I heard Str still coughs up some AP in bear and cat both. Cataclysm ain’t live yet, is it?
As Emilio Estevez said in Young Guns, “Hey! I’ll make you famous!”
And for much the same reason.
But no, this is a fun post, not a name and shame post.
Still, how delicious!
Now, having put me in my place, he continues haranging the Druid.
The Druid finally says, “Ug, here.”
I stop dead. Remember, we’re still playing. This entire conversation is happening while we are playing, killing the mobs after Garfrost. We’re at this point killing the last couple parts is parts draggy mobs before killing Krick and Ick.
I say, “Please tell me you did NOT just give the DK the staff.”
The DK says, “It’s not a staff, it’s a mace, bro.”
To which, all I can possibly reply is, “What possible different does that make, “bro”.”
He did. The Druid actually gave in to pressure, and traded the damn mace to the whining DK.
The Druid asked him to equip it. The DK answers, “I happen to be dual wield specced at the moment.”
The Druid turned over a massive, huge honking upgrade he could have used immediately to someone who isn’t even ready to use it until he juggles a bunch of other stuff. And to someone who lost the damn roll fair and square!
I was appalled. What a complete asshat. Making someone else feel like shit for daring to want an upgrade that was actually perfectly viable for him and try to guilt him into trading it back.
Nevermind that he succeeded, just to do that to another player in the first place.
As I said, the run itself went smooth as can be. Great tanking, good DPS, easy healing. No worries. Just fun challenges.
In Ick and Krick, the Druid and the Rogue each were Pursued; each were one shot. New players to the fight maybe, nobody thought to mention mechanics. They’d done so well up until then.
Both of them went down very early on, when the boss was still at about 75% health. Between the tank, the Death Knight and myself, we had zero problems completing the boss smooth as silk. It wasn’t a panic… it was a fun challenge. Everyone ended at full health, no issues, and I still had good mana from potions and Totem juggling and Mana Tide and stuff.
But at the end, I made a point of saying that I really enjoyed the run, had a great time with everyone, and would love to run with them again, great tanking, solid playing… except the DK. I told him he was now on my ignore list, and I hoped to never see him again.
He can take that and think what he wants about it. His behavior just blew my mind.
I did whisper the Druid and mention a link to my website, if he’s ever interested in some starter info on getting ready for Bear tanking. He’d mentioned in chat that he wanted to get geared up to do some, and what the heck, some of the stuff I have on the sidebar might be helpful. You never know.
Hopefully, he’ll not only look forward to Bear tanking, but also learn more about the mechanics of the Druid, to feel a little more confident in asserting his right to roll on gear that is perfectly appropriate to his chosen specs and stated goals.
Maybe next time, he’ll be prepared to tell a player unhappy with a roll that he’s sorry the player isn’t happy, but yes, it is a very viable weapon, and he’s grateful to have won the roll, and fully intends to use it.
Seriously. These runs, seeing this side of people, the often good, the rarely bad, and the frequently damn strange… it’s addictive. It really is. You never know what’s going to happen next.
Keeps me on my toes. :)
44 Comments »
Name where I got that (slightly changed) quote from that I used as a title, and get a Big Bear shout out… because if you recognise where it came from after I tweaked it a little, you’re definitely my kind of movie fan.
Yes, that’s a hint. The original line is from a movie. Here’s a second hint; it’s one of my favorite films of all time.
Now, on to the show!
A few nights ago I finally achieved my mini-goal of hitting 375 Enchanting on my Shaman, and so I no longer had any excuse not to play her.
I queued up once again as a Healer Shaman, and away I went into LFD.
All I wanted was a quick romp in the Heroic sack with some random PUG I picked up in a bar, but, as Ford Fairlane might have said, “I got the bonus plan.”
I got Drak’theron Keep, and in looking at the group composition (as I always do for Totem adjustment) I saw that three of the others in the group were all from the same guild. A Paladin, a Shaman, and a Shadow Priest.
Now, the first thing I did was laugh, and I mean really laugh at the name of this guild.
Get this; Prophet of Cthulhu.
Why did that get me chuckling? For the answer to that, may I refer you to this ancient post of mine, from May of 2008, wherin I plug John Ringo books, throw down the hate on Transformers, laugh about things that lots of people probably take very seriously, get insanely cranky… and way down at the bottom relate a true story concerning myself, some very serious true believers, and the great old ones of Lovecraftian lore.
Okay, so I’m laughing with the guild name of these three, and off we go.
First thing I do, as I said, is see that one of the three, Lardzilla, is a Enhancement Shaman, and I’m examining what Totems he’s dropping in the first coupe fights so I can set mine not to overlap. I also check to see what the Paladin did for buffs, all the things a Shaman has to do to make sure you drop the right Totems. And of course, I get my Tremor Totem set for later, when the fear, she be a flowing.
This causes me to lag a little behind, but I do my best to keep the heals flowing.
Then we get to some lizards, and I’ve got max skinning and seem to be the only skinner, so again, I’m lagging behind a little trying to get some skinning in.
All in all, I’m doing my best, but I’m certainly not feeling like I’m giving off the impression to the others of being bright-eyed, bushy tailed, and poised to let the heals flow.
We blow through the instance, everything is pretty nice, a few times the Paladin scoops up groups that are a bit larger than I’d certainly like, but some frantic healing and Nature’s Swiftness keep everything just fine.
We hit the end boss, finish him off, and I win the epic Mail healing bracers. Score!
I also ding the 25 Emblem achievement. :)
I thank the group for the run, and make the comment in passing that it does get hard gearing up a new alt all over again.
The Paladin, of all people, comments that he knows the feeling from his Druid.
I mention that at least I’ve got an idea about healing and some good toolslike Vuh’do thanks to my other healer, a Tree Druid, and the Paladin says he hates Vuh’do on his Tree Druid, he prefers Lifebloomer instead, an addon I’m not even sure I’ve heard of before.
Next thing I know, the Paladin says, “Hey, when did you ding?”
I tell him I just turned 80 on Saturday, and it’s been a lot of fun.
Next thing I see, he’s queued the four of us up for heroic Forge of Souls, and says, “Here, let’s get you some gear.”
Well… okay, this is an unprecedented level of niceness from three folks that I haven’t seen before. My healing sure as heck didn’t warrant this behavior.
What does that leave?
It couldn’t possibly be… nice people?
The Paladin queues us up, and it won’t let him. Why? Because despite my efforts, I still don’t have the gear necessary to let me in.
So the Paladin laughs and queues us up for regular Forge of Souls, and away we go!
We did Forge of Souls, and Pit of Saron, back to back, and they were willing and ready to go do Halls of Reflection, if I hadn’t had to go get Alex ready for bed.
And a nicer bunch of people I haven’t seen in a PUG in a long, long time.
Knowing the fights, the enemy tactics, and the boss encounters from both a Paladin tank and Healer point of view helped immensely in making sure I was proactive in my healing rather than reacting in a panic.
And being familiar with Vuh’do and having studied my spells also helped a ton.
But mostly, I had a very well geared tank and a very powerful group of DPS that killed things before they had a chance to hurt anyone too much. :)
Earlier I mentioned an exploit. Mostly, I brought it up just to be able to use that movie quote in the title. :)
We did use an exploit I had never heard of before, in Pit of Saron, but it didn’t actually make my ass drag. OR make my butt slump.
What happened was, as soon as Ick and Krick were dead, the Paladin said, “Everyone mount up, we’re going to do the exploit.”
I had no idea what he meant, but I know what a mount is. I’m kinda crafty that way. I can haz hoofs!
Loot was taken, but even before the dialogue was over and Krick was dead, we were mounted up… and heading up the ramp.
We reached the top of the ramp just as the two shadowcasters appeared to head down, and they ignored us as we kept on going to the other side and stopped on that first landing halfway towards the tunnel, where it takes a dogleg 90° to the right. The two groups on the ramp spawned after those two reached their positions… and ignored us, safe at the top landing.
We only had the two groups of icicle guys and their minions to deal with before the tunnel.
I don’t mind the ramp, but I’ll admit, I wasn’t crying a river of alligator tears about avoiding that particular fight when I don’t know everyone I was with, and my healing power is a might on the low side just yet.
Anyway, we blasted through the whole thing, I was very careful of my healing during Overlord Brands, and I got the nice Mail healing chest piece, and of course emblems and stuff.
More than that, we chatted a bit during the run, and I really was amazed at how you can sometimes just bump into the nicest people.
Things like this really serve to highlight one lack which I wish Blizzard could remedy.
We already have an ignore list that works cross-server, and if you put somebody from another server on it, it prevents you from being queued with that person in a random again in the future.
That’s all well and good.
What I wish is that there was a cross-server friends list, where if you find yourself grouped with some really nice folks, you could exchange friends lists.
You put them on your list, they put you on theirs, and if the random generator sees two people who BOTH are on each other’s friends list, it matches them up together by preference, if possible.
Just a thought. It’s nice that we can prevent future occurances of playing with the same asshats, but I’d love it if we could increase the chance that we would play with great folks we’ve had fun with again.
So, to Khaotix, Karalov, and Lardzilla of Prophet of Cthulhu, thank you very much for being really nice people, and great players, and for being kind to a complete stranger in a pug.
Bravo. You all rock.
24 Comments »
Normally, I present info from the uni-directional point of view of da tank, and tank alone.
I certainly try and keep an open mind and look at things from different angles, but until I’ve been there, it’s hard to have specifics.
This time, I’ve got a few things that playing a new healer in heroics has brought to my attention that I thought would be fun to discuss.
First, I’m not really new to healing. I dual-specced my Druid quite a while back, got setup with Tree healing, and I love it. It is the absolute perfect accompaniment to the Bear tanking mindset; highly mobile, pre-emptive, heal them before they even know they needed it kind of healing.
As a Bear tank, one of our strengths is the mobile AoE. We like to run and gun. :)
As a Tree healer, our greatest strength (in my opinion) is the predominance of instant cast HoTs. We can also run and gun. We’re all about running and.. well, and leafing along. Why look… synergy.
As a Tank in instances, if I see I have a Tree healer, I know that I can remain mobile and healing can continue as normal. I’m not irritating the healer by always being on the move. I watch mana levels on the party as I pull, but I know that I won’t be leaving a swearing healer in my wake.
I’ve got a Priest that I had healed with a few times back in Burning Crusade before I went Shadow, so I know about that a little bit. And Cassie has a max level Paladin that she plays Ret and Holy in groups, and who has raid healed a few times, so I know a bit about that healing style from watching her and hearing her side of things. I know that being a healer whose main healing spells have relatively long cast times can be annoying, and even stressful if the tank doesn’t take that into account on things like Culling of Stratholme.
Now, I’ve just completed a slew of heroics as a new Shaman healer to give me a fresh perspective.
Here is the one suggestion I’d like to make when you go in to tank with an unknown healer; remember that not every healer uses instant cast spells.
Yes, every healer can follow along and keep up when tanks hustle through instances. Tree healers have an easier time of it than the others, but just taking the Shaman as an example, Lesser Healing Wave is pretty darn powerful, and with appropriate levels of haste on your gear, it’s relatively speedy. Riptide is a nice instant cast, and Nature’s Swiftness plus Chain Heal or Healing Wave gives you another big instant hit if things are moving fast and you just CAN’T take 2.5 seconds minus haste to get a normal Chain Heal off.
But the thing is, while all healing classes can heal on the run and do it very well, remember that there is a timing sequence here, and as has been pointed out by so many people, tanks set the pace of the run.
Everything flows from the tank. The tank runs fowards, the rest follow along. We’ll not linger overlong on DPS that run forward to attack before the tank does to hustle things along, okay? There is a special place in hell reserved just for them.
The tank runs forward, as I said, followed by the DPS who engage the mobs, followed by the healer, who catches up, stands still and remains poised to heal. Or immediately launches into healing and healing and healing.
If the healer has long cast time heals they want to use, they may begin pre-emptive casting, and then move at the last moment to interrupt their own heal so as not to waste mana.
Mana on a long cast is spent when the spell goes off, and not at the start of casting. As I’m sure everyone knows, you can begin casting your 2.5 second long heal while everyone is still at full at the start of the pull, and if the target just happens to take damage, you can let it go off looking like a healing genius… and if the target’s still at full, you can hop in place and break your own cast to save mana. No harm done, right?
I’m only bringing this up because if you, the tank, run up and grab mobs, then the DPS runs up and opens up on them, then the healer runs up and stops and begins casting… if the mobs are dead 2 seconds later and the tank takes off again, that 2.5 second cast time heal ain’t going off before your butt is out of range. At the very least, if everyone runs off the millisecond that the mobs are dead, and the mobs die like they have been from the uber-DPS people have these days, then sometimes not everyone is healed back up from party damage. Ya’all take off while the healer was still casting his second spell.
Now the healer has to start running again to catch up, not everyone is at full, and start falling back on super fast casts and instant casts only to try to get folks topped up before the next pause, or start out at a negative on the next group.
Does it matter? 90% of the time, no. But it can be stressful, and why should you stress the healer for nothing?
When it does matter is when the tank grabs tons of mobs because, oooh look, I’m a rock star, the DPS gleefully blows them up, and then the tank, at 50% health, Feral Charges himself directly at the next big pack, or packs, or even better rounds a corner and charges the boss when you were still trying to get your long cast off.
Healers just love it when you start a boss fight when everyone is still at around 50% health or less, and the healer has been chain casting to catch up.
Again, it’s not a big deal, no reason to whine, most healers will be bored if you slow down too much.
There is a lot of satisfaction to be felt in running at top speed as a healer, keeping everyone alive and near full all the time without needing a pity break. It’s something the healers I know take pride in, in not needing everyone to be waiting around on the healer.
But it’s something to be aware of if you’re the tank, and the only thought in your mind is “Gotta get the aggro. The aggro. Gotta get the aggro.”*
You may be having a great time running around grabbing lots of stuff, and holding aggro, and having a fast run. The DPS may be loving the pace.
But the healer may just be feeling a little stressed having to chain cast long cast time spells non-stop, and not getting a moment to catch their breath because if they ain’t casting, they’re drinking for two seconds before getting up and running along after you again.
Really, all it takes is saying, ”Hey, if my pace is too fast, just let me know, okay? I can hold off for a second for mana or heals. No problem.”
I bet if you say that, then again, you’ll almost never hear anyone say anything. But at least the healer knows you give a shit.
And it can also help you identify asshat DPS that throw a hissyfit at the very idea you might pause for anything, anything at all. I like to know who they are for my ignore list. :)
For the record, I’m not going to post my Shaman’s name or a link just now, because while it’s not any big secret (or all that hard to figure out), my gear right now ain’t anything anyone needs to see.
I ran a bunch of heroics, but I took most of yesterday off to do something else; level Enchanting on my Shaman from 0 to 315, on my way to 350.
I got stopped by the need for a gazillion Arcane Dust, but since none of my gear had been enchanted yet after just dinging 80, I just cast them on myself over and over.
I really don’t need somebody following a character link, and then being an asshat because I’ve got a +1 Stam enchant on my bracers, or a Mana Prime on my chest piece, ya know? I’ve been buying the big ticket end game enchants on gear that’s going to last, like my Zom’s shield, but that’s about it.
Once my enchanting is done, yes I’m sure I’ll replace those enchants. If I was in all epics, then I might leave them just to freak people out, but when my gear is all starter stuff, I don’t have any room to have stupid enchants as a goof.
Anyway, I did have a lot of fun healing on my Shaman, and aside from my very first run, they were all smooth as could be. Well, aside from a Drak’theron Keep run, bt that was mostly due to some mid-run sillyness and joking. :)
It was pretty amazing, how much of a difference there is in a tank’s pace. A little pause between pulling big groups of just a second or two, no more, makes a huge difference on a healer with long cast times in staying on top of everything without feeling too rushed.
Halls of Lightning, Oculus a couple times, Utgardt Keep, Utgardt Pinnacle, Gundrak a few times, Drak’theron Keep… I saw a nice range of places, and they were all fun. None of them were any problem at all, but tank pace and placement counts for so much in making the difference between a fun run and a stressful one.
More updates will follow… after my Enchanting gets better. :)
*For those that remember those old Dunkin Donuts commercials with the old guy that walked around in a daze waking up to go and make the donuts… “Gotta make the donuts, the donuts, zzzz”
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Ah, the rush of joy from the first few weeks of the new LFG!
How quickly it turns sour in the face of reality… or in this case, asshats.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love it, but I know my experiences are starting to mirror those Das Panzercow shared yesterday.
I’ve mostly been grouping with Windshadow the Druid, and that had given me a skewed perspective.
The very first couple days of 3.3, sure I did some LFG on my Paladin as DPS, but everyone and their little brother was online trying it out then.
Now, things have matured, Emblems have been won, and the self-centered attitudes of so many people are starting to come out, like stink rising off of… well, you know.
My Druid is dual-specced as Tank and Healer.
As a Tank and Healer both, I had long experience in running all Heroics that had been out successfully, frequently with guild members that had new alts. With the new LFG channel, all that happened was that in the pugs, most often there would be at least one raider that had better gear than I was used to seeing, so the runs, if anything, got faster.
Queueing up for LFG, as a Healer, I generally saw an instance pop in under two minutes, if that long. As a tank, it takes about 1 millisecond.
The longer queues would come when Cassie and I wanted to play together, and we’d group and join as Healer/DPS combo. Sometimes, it would take as long as five minutes.
Awww. Yep, I said I had a skewed perspective, right?
Switch to my Hunter. I was looking, and saw that my Hunter had 29 Conquest Emblems, and nothing at all worth buying from Conquest or Valor. Nada.
BUT… with just a few random Heroics, I could get enough Triumph to downgrade everything into an Heirloom Trinket. Still don’t have two of both Heirloom Trinkets, so hey! Cool! I could get there with just three or four random Heroics!
Yeah… welcome to the world of solo DPS queued for LFG. 15 minute to 25 minute wait times.
Damn, was I spoiled on my Druid.
So, now I can see first hand that, yes, it’s all much, much better than before, but it’s certainly not responsive equally to all roles. And really, how could it be?
If you’ll recall, my prediction prior to 3.3 was that solo DPS would be able to get a group far faster, but I never imagined that 20 minutes would seem long. I stated that I’d just be delighted if I could get a group without being online for two hours in the channel, and hell yes, that wish has been fulfilled.
I’m seeing more than just differing wait times, though. I’m seeing, as I said above, a rapid increase in asshattery. Or maybe laziness.
We could debate the RNG factor affecting what instances we get, and our suspicions that Blizzard has, ahem, weighted some to crop up more than others. But I’m sure it’s not the case. Ahem.
I’ll just throw my paranoia into the ring by saying I’ve had Utgardt Pinnacle, Halls of Lightning, Halls of Stone and OMG Oculus a LOT more often than anything else. And I still haven’t seen Culling of Strat, one of my favorites.
That’s not actually a complaint, since I like Lightning, Pinnacle and Stone. It’s just an observation, when Cassie and I see the loading screen, I believe her direct quote these days can be counted as being, “What, are you kidding me, Halls of Stone AGAIN?!?”
I tried to do my Hunter in LFG a couple days ago… I had Oculus for my first of the day, and as soon as the Tank zoned in to see where we were, he left party. Within 5 minutes of waiting for another tank, the party fell apart.
So I went and did other things.
Later that day, I went into LFG again. After my 20 minute wait, I got… Oculus again.
The new tank left the group again.
Got Azjol-Nerub after that. Two DPS both declined the group without even seeing what the instance was going to be, and when they got replaced, one of those DPS and the Tank left as soon as we zoned in.
Yes, in Azjol Nerub.
A Death Knight switched to tank spec, we re-joined LFG, got another DPS… and THAT DPS left group as soon as entering the instance. After that a Ret Pally came in and, OMG, stayed and we could run the place.
As we ran, the Tank and the Healer (a Shaman) took turns sniping bitchily at each other. The Healer kicked things off by being snarky at the tank’s gear, the tank got defensive in reply by playing the “I quit WoW for a year and only just got back so that’s why my gear sucks” card, then the Healer responded with questions concerning noobness about the tanks’s skill after so long away, then the tank would comment that at least he could tank and chew gum at the same time, etc etc ad nauseaum.
The whole run, two different people from two different servers entirely, bitching at each other. For No. Apparent. Reason.
The run lasted about 12 minutes from first pull to dead Anub. Okay, maybe it was longer, but that was a seriously fast speed run, everyone had over 3k DPS, including the tank… we even accidentally pulled Hadronox before he web wrapped the stairs because the tank didn’t know any better, and we still pulled it off.
Yeah, what the hell are these two crackheads bitching about? I have no idea.
But come on.
This trend, of tanks in particular leaving the party and taking the deserter debuff if the Instance is not to their liking, is happening with an ever accelerating pace.
Welcome to the world of primadonna rockstar tanks that think that the world really does revolve around them.
Nothing in the game is serving to disabuse them of that notion, anymore. Want a run as a tank? You can get one whenever the whim strikes. Don’t like what you get? Why not leave, there’s always another one whenever the fancy takes you.
A solo DPS trying to get a group in good faith, willing to stick out a run, will wait from 10 to 20 minutes after he joins LFG.
A tank looking for a quick and easy run can get an instance immediately, see what it is, get pissy, “Aw, AN again?” and leave group, and by the time their deserter debuff times out, that DPS is just getting his first group.
I was playing with PetEmote in Dalaran yesterday, PetEmote has been updated for Patch 3.2 and I configured mine for Voytek the Spirit Bear, and while testing my emotes, I saw this said in Trade Chat:
“Enjoy the runs in LFG while you can, noobs, as soon as all the Tanks get the last of the Triumph and Frost they want, and the new bosses are unlocked in Icecrown, you’re never gonna see another tank again. They’ll be raiding with their guilds and getting Frost and you’ll be shit out of luck.”
Well, I guess all tanks raid then, right?
Because guilds need SO MANY tanks, that everyone that wants to tank gets to.
Oh, wait… raiding guilds only need two, MAYBE three tanks in a 25 person raid.
Well, I’m sure that out of 25 people, only two or three ever really want to raid anything. I’m sure.
What happens when there is a scarcity of a commodity, and there are tangible benefits to be derived from providing that commodity?
Someone identifies it and fills the need.
In this case, my simple prediction is that as tanks continue to be scarce, more people seeing long wait times as DPS will dual spec if possible, and start gearing up a tank spec. Then they will expoit the fact that tanks get instant groups, and run to their heart’s content.
Please keep in mind, I never said they’d be GOOD tanks. :)
As was pointed out by Panzercow, the new world order as far as most groups go, is zerg the content, ignore Crowd Control, and blame the Healer if someone dies.
I did a random last night with Cassie, I was healing, and we got Heroic ToC.
The tank was a Bear tank, and we had the Hunter, Rogue and Mage.
The Bear tank stood in the poison puddle. Never moved.
I’m healing my butt off, since I feel it is my job NOT to just keep everyone alive, but instead to keep everyone at 100%. If a single Health bar dips, I get pissed. Lose health on ME, will you! We’ll just see about that.
On a related note, I hate Warlocks. There you are, keeping everyone alive fighting the trash after Ick in Heroic Pit of Saron, the Flamewraiths are AoEing everyone and porting and the tank isn’t on them, they’re not getting interrupted, and why the hell is it that one bastards’ health keeps plummeting like a stone?
Why, the Warlock is Life Tapping to get mana back as he struggles to be leet DPS, of course. While standing in the AoE fire. That prick.
Anyway, so Heroic ToC, Bear tank is standing unmoving in the puddle of poison, just standing there. Cassie is melee DPS and she’s not able to both get on the mobs AND avoid standing in the puddle. Cassie is bitching to me about the noob tank that is too stupid to get out of the green bloody-be-damned fire, and I’m agreeing “yes dear” as I’m actually reduced to spamming Nourish on the tank to keep him alive.
The fight is over, nobody died, loot box appears.
The Bear tank asks how he’s doing tanking.
I do a /inspect, out of curiosity. His gear is a pretty solid mix of iLevel 200 epics and a few Triumph items right off my list. A Darkmoon Card: Berserking trinket seems an odd choice, but really, not bad. Certainly more than adequate for Heroic ToC.
Out of politeness, I accentuate the positive, and mention that he held aggro very well.
I am having a hard time thinking of how to politely phrase the concept, “Next time you might want to get your furry butt out of the green puddles so DPS can get it stuck in” when he says, and I kid you not…
“Oh good. And great heals! I knew you were a great healer when I saw I’d been standing in the poison and I didn’t have to move because my health wasn’t going down.”
Way to encourage them, Bear. Nicely done. Dumbass.
If I’d let him die, or even let his health hover towards the low end, maybe he would have been inspired to work more on his mobility next time, or pop his cooldowns.
But no, I kept him alive, and reinforced the idea that you can brute force things, and it’s okay. Zerg, zerg, zerg.
Please, if you have never tanked before and want to step forward and join the ranks of the new tanks, please.
Do so. Do so without regret, and without fear.
But here are some tips. Serious tips, not snarky ones.
First, if you CAN gear up from going as a different spec on LFG in Heroic, by all means do so. There is no shame in running as DPS or Heals, and rolling on tanking offset gear and using Triumph Emblems to buy tanking goodies.
Dechion, I’m talking to you. :)
Whatever you choose to do, when you first set out to tank, use LFG to select normal early instances, such as Nexus, Utgardt Keep, Drak’theron Keep, Gundrak and Azjol-Nerub .
Take the time to go to, say, Wowhead and look at their zone descriptions for the instances. Create little cheat sheets, one page instructions breaking down what each boss does, or tips to watch for from the trash.
As an example, have a sheet for Azjol-Nerub that details Skirmisher abilities on the first boss, so you are prepared for when it ignores you and heads for the most distant player to destroy. Or mentions on Hadronox that if you stand in his green poison cloud, your lost health is healing the boss.
When you zone into a specific chosen instance, let the rest of the group know that, regardless of your gear or the level range of the normal instance, you are there to practise your tanking skills, and ask if everyone is okay with taking it a little slower than they may be used to, to help give you a chance to learn how to do it right. Depending on the group, you may even get some folks willing to offer helpful, non-dickwad suggestions.
And above all else… practise. Be serious about getting better.
Identify the normal situations… what to do when a ranged caster doesn’t come to you, what to do when you’ve got a large group on you and you lose aggro on one mob, learn how to mark, etc.
Take the time, if you don’t already know it, to familiarize yourself with the different options of crowd control that other classes may have.
As a Bear tank, you can’t silence distant caster mobs to force them to come to you. But you can always ask other players to use their CC, so long as you and others don’t break it.
You can also do what I do, use an addon like CaelNameplates to see aggro on all mobs, at once without tabbing, and be ready to toss Growl/Feral Faerie Fire on ranged mobs that you see you lost aggro on. Or Feral Charge them when your current target dies. Or whatever.
My point is, if you want to learn to tank, remember you don’t HAVE to LFG a random Heroic in your new full set of Triumph gear, get a Heroic Halls of Reflection, and be left wondering what the heck to do next.
Here’s hoping that things ease out soon, we get more people inspired to tank, and happy tanking!
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Following in the tradition of the recent posts by Honor’s Code and Pike, I’d just like to add… yay, we killed her too!
The guild went in last week for the first time, and unfortunately, while Cassie and I were signed up, we had the internet die in our house for the entire evening. So, while the guild went in and had a lot of fun… we weren’t there.
This week, the internet providers decided they liked money, so they chose not to dump our feed a second week in a row.
I did provide the heals with Shadewynn and Jardal, and a good time was had by all.
Our attempt answered a question I had going in… with Onyxia tuned for level 80 ten person teams, can a guild decked out in Naxxramas 10 loot and what you get from Heroics and Emblems of Conquest take her down? I mean, like, take her down decisively?
Hells yes, you can!
Granted, the gear you can get from Heroics includes Heroic Trial of the Champions, and the Emblems loot is pretty tasty these days too, but I think the folks in the guild are about half in Naxx 10 and half in the newer stuff. Certainly, we’re not all sporting Ulduar and Naxx 25 and ToC10/25 stuff.
The group composition was 2 tanks, Oliver the Warrior and Graimerin the Paladin, 3 Healers, Shadewynn the Priest and 2 Druids, Jardal and myself, and 5 DPS, Kaelynn the Rogue and Flamehase the Death Knight for melee, and 2 Hunters Wetfoot and Ruuaar, and Essahn the Shaman for ranged.
A pretty good composition for the group. Plenty of classes to hopefully increase the chance of a class-specific Helm being useful to someone, as well!
Oliver and Graimerin were our tanks and co-raid leaders, and they did a fine job. They switched off who got the fun of tanking Ony first after wipes, and both did great.
Oh, sure! I think all told we wiped for about two hours before she went down. It was a blast! It brought back so many memories from vanilla WoW…
The sticking point for us was learning a very solid way of dealing with the warders/dragonkin adds in phase 2.
Here, I’ll back up.
The fight, for those who haven’t done it yet, is a little changed from the original.
The setup, just for a fast recap, is a large oval chamber with a high, vaulted ceiling. You enter the chamber from the south. Onyxia is sleeping on the floor at the north end, the stretched end of the oval. At the lower west and lower east ‘corners’ of the oval are passages leading to the whelp egg caves… caves that are, indeed, filled with eggs.
The fight is a 3 stage fight. First thing to remember when running in, is that if you get into close proximity to a whelp egg in a cave… a few seconds later it hatches a whelp. So, you do not ever want to actually enter a whelp cave unless you are trying for one of the new achievements.
Onyxia herself, when fought, is a standard dragon fight with perks. Standard means that she is dangerous from the front and rear to anyone within melee range there, so for melee other than the tank, the flanks between front and hind legs are the safest place to be.
Perks means that to the person in front (the tank), she Cleaves… and she deals knockback. So, the tank wants to run through Onyxia and get his/her back up against the wall, to minimize the effects of knockback movement on the team. Also, you don’t want anyone up there getting Cleaved, it sucks. You don’t want anyone behind, because Onyxias’ tail swipe actually deals knockback… and if this happens when Onyxia is still in the middle of the room, you can end up getting knocked back into a whelp cave. Many whelps, deal with it!
Now, for those with pets, the pets will head for the butt of Onyxia. Onyxia WILL knock them back. From what I saw, if the tank has run through Onyxia and gotten his back up against the far north wall and centered, then the pet knockback won’t actually send them far enough to reach a cave and bring whelps.
However, if folks are running straight in behind the tank, then on the run in they CAN get hit by the tail, and easily be launched into a cave. So, my advice to you is to have the tank head straight for and through Ony, but have the rest of the party head right or left, and enter the chamber on a slant, aiming to be nice and far up one side or the other, centered on a dragon flank and close to the wall. This also has the benefit that, when everyone keeps getting feared in phase 3, if you’re that far up the wall, you’re far enough away from the caves you won’t quite reach them before fear wears off. So, no added whelps in phase 3. Just the fear scurry and the flames.
Okay, so, back to the fight. Phase 1 was a walk in the park. Straightforward fight, tank aggros Onyxia, runs through her, gets back against the center of north wall and builds threat. Taunting DOES work now, so there is absolutely zero reason for the old “wands and white damage only” routine from vanilla WoW.
A moment more of reminiscing, we did a lot of it Friday night. For the benefit of the newer crowd, original Onyxia was untauntable, AND in vanilla WoW tanks generated very, very, very little damage based threat. Also, Warriors were the premiere tank class. The most common method used to start phase one was for all DPS to sit and watch, doing nothing, while the Warrior tank would pop Sunder on Onyxia. Everyone would wait, and watch, until 5 Sunders were on Onyxia, and then everyone would be allowed to start “wands and white damage only”, white damage meaning auto-attacks. If you watch your combat log, special abilities like Sinister Strike are reported in the combat log in yellow colors, auto-attacks are reported in white. Or gray. Hence, ‘white’ damage.
So, phase 1 is now very easy for the group. The tank does tank stuff and can taunt if needed, the DPS opens up as soon as everyone is in position, and healers are cranking from the get go. Phase 1 lasts until Onyxia is at 65% health.
With our tanks, and with 3 healers, I found that I was able to balance my heals with the other two healers, with zero party damage to handle, for all of phase 1, and keep my mana at FULL with the 5 second rule. I could actually pop all HoTs on the tank, and then let the 5 second rule pass and have my mana return to full, then do it again, so when phase 2 started I was at full mana and with all cooldowns available. That’s pretty reassuring. Of course, Shadewynn the Priest might not have felt so fortunate. :)
At phase 2, of course, Onyxia at 65% walks to the south end of the chamber and then takes to the air. Moments later, a pack of whelps will fly out of the west cave, and a few seconds after that a pack of whelps comes from the east cave.
Graimerin the Paladin was picking up the whelps, first the west group and then the east group, and then we all burnt them down. No big deal, as long as we were careful to let Grai run back and forth and scoop them up. Grai had the hard job, and did a great job. Many whelps, he DID handle it!
Oliver and the two melee DPS headed towards the south entrance, and waited for the dragonkin adds to start spawning.
The ranged DPS concentrated on shooting Onyxia out of the sky. Phase 2 lasts until Onyxia reaches 40% health, so the more DPS knocking her down while airborn, the sooner she lands that big purple butt of hers.
Now, Onyxia picks targets and fireballs them, and the fireballs do splash damage in a small area around the target, so folks kept a little distance, but truthfully, they don’t do that much damage, even against cloth wearers. Do not fear being close when a fireball hits.
Periodically, Onyxia Deep Breaths (apparently at random), and when she does she faces in one particular direction, and then lays the breath down, a single blast that stretches from where she is in the air, straight across the length of the cave. If you are caught in it, you’ve got a good chance of just being dead. Okay, tanks are pretty tough, but the rest of us ain’t. Fortunately, she doesn’t target someone and track them. If you see the emote that Onyxia takes a Deep Breath, check her orientation, and then move out of the path she is facing. If you’re on her flank, you’re not going to get hit. Just don’t be in front of her or you’re toast.
If you’re a Tauren, then you’re a whole loaf of toast. :) Sorry, gratuitous Spaced Invaders humor there.
Really, once you get the hang of checking Onyxia positioning and getting the hell away from where ever she is directly facing to avoid Deep Breath, Onyxia can be ignored in phase 2, except by the folks shooting her.
The dragonkin, however, are a stone bitch.
They do an AoE that hurts REALLY bad, so you don’t want anyone near them like healers. They spawn every 40 to 45 seconds, so you’ve got to kill one as fast as possible before the next one spawns. And the big damage dealing thing they do is tied to a weapon, they charge up a weapon to do massive flame damage. So, if you keep them disarmed, they can’t do it. If you DON’T keep them disarmed, then BOOM!
What we found, and what kept resulting in wipes, was that Deep Breath would cause melee DPS to have to move, that would prevent disarms from going off and also reduce the active DPS on the dragonkin, a second dragonkin would pop before the first died, with two dragonkin the weapon disarm just wasn’t gonna happen for both, a melee DPS would die in the AoE, and shortly thereafter, so would the dragonkin tank, and then it was all over.
Really, all of our issues stemmed from learning the mechanics of proper dragonkin add management.
We asked Essahn, to switch his focus from just pew pew on Onyxia, to pew pew on Onyxia unless dragonkin was up, and to blowing up dragonkin along with the two melee DPS when needed to speed up the takedown.
We figured that a longer Deep Breath cycle was preferable if we could more easily manage dragonkin annoyances.
As far as Deep Breath confusion was concerned, we went with saying that if Onyxia was facing south or anywhere in that vicinity, run to the west side (but not in the cave). If Onyxia was facing anywhere else, head south to be nearer the dragonkin spanking team. That seemed to work well.
We went with that plan, blew past phase 1 as usual (except for this one time, in band camp, with Graimerin and a flute named Righteous Fury, but that’s a story for the podcast), took on phase 2, and went right past phase 2 intact and straight into phase 3, and we were so excited we damn near blew it in our frantic “oh wait, what do we do now” excitement.
Graimerin picked up Onyxia great and headed for the back wall, everyone open headed for the northwest corner of the room to get back to the same arrangements as phase 1… but the dragonkin team was still working on the last dragonkin at the south entrance. We had some serious struggles making sure both Grai at the far north and Oliver at the far south got healed up while the dragonkin went down. All this, of course, while being feared and flame going off.
This attempt was successful, so we didn’t have the opportunity to steamline this process of phase 2 to phase 3, but I think to do it over again, I’d have two healers assigned to Graimerin to follow him with Onyxia to the north wall, while one healer stayed with the dragonkin team, and as soon as Onyxia landed have EVERY DPS concentrate on blowing up the last dragonkin so everyone could head north together.
A little secret. If you regain position in phase 3 just like in phase 1, then the fear doesn’t send you that far towards the cave. Also don’t ph3ar the ph-lame, the flame from the floor doesn’t hit that hard, so once you’re in phase 3 it’s once again tank and spank, just really exciting.
I loved the fight. It was lots of fun. Blizzard succeeded, at least for me, in resurrecting an old favorite raid, and making it just hard enough that it brought back all of the memories of those classic 40 man raids, and left us all reminiscing.
As we’d run back from the graveyard that is RIGHT NEXT to Onyxias’ cave entrance… “Hey, remember when a 40 man raid would wipe, the nearest graveyard was outside the gates to Thermore Keep, and you’d have 40 ghosts running across the damn ocean to get back to Onyxia’s Lair? Oh yeah, and people would get lost trying to find the path over the mountains from the water, and others would have gone on /follow and gotten hung up and left behind? Oh yeah, and others would be afk for fifteen minutes? Shit, now we just appear 15′ from the cave when we die and run right back in. Man, that kicks ass.”
Ah yes, good times. Good times. Bringing back the memories was a lot of fun. Figuring out the challenge in taking on something so familiar, and yet new at the same time was truly enjoyable. What a great job they did in revamping it.
We had a great crew, and it was loads of fun. I will say that without having Oliver’s Warrior and Kaelynn’s Rogue disarming the dragonkin, it might have been far more irritating. But as it was… it was very cool. Totally workable, and left us with the feeling that nothing was stopping us from doing it but learning to coordinate effectively and playing well.
My favorite kind of raid. :)
Grats to Oliver on his sharkfin hat, grats to Flamehase on his new Death Knigget horny hat, grats to Grai on his tanky ring, and grats to Shadewynn for turning in Onyxias’ head to those ungrateful Warlocks in Stormwind. Yes, they gave you a ring… but the bastards didn’t proc that old 2 hour buff we loved so much!
Ah, grats again everyone. What wonderful fun.
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