Tag Archives: WoW raid

Icecrown Citadel, The Frostwing Halls: Sindragosa

Long overdue, I know. As those of you who follow me on Twitter know, a few months ago I informed everyone that my blogging was being cut back by real life stuff. That hasn’t changed, but I still want to finish the strats for ICC and I can’t abandon my blog, it’s like a buddy! Onward to Sindragosa!


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Icecrown Citadel, Crimson Halls: The Blood Princes

TLBC Strats: ICC

On the excite-o meter, this one doesn’t top very high, but it IS very easy once your raid group gets the hang of it. Besides, get past these guys and you’ll be doing Blood Queen Lana’thel, and that’s an encounter with some fun mechanics.

The Blood Princes

There are 3 bosses sharing health on this fight, and you will be jumping from boss to boss as one or another gains power. Throughout the encounter, one boss at a time will become Empowered. While the other two bosses will drop their health to 1% (no, you can’t kill them while they’re not empowered, sorry), the Empowered prince will have a health bar and strengthened abilities.

Allow me to introduce you to the mouthy little princes you’ll be dealing with:

Haven't we heard this somewhere before..

Prince “Merely a Setback” Valanar

This guy is into some shocking behavior (/rimshot). We usually tank Valanar in the front of the room, bottom middle of the steps (there are good reasons to run away from him, so we leave room all around him). Careful, though; too far up the steps and you’ll be out of LoS for the healers.

Shock Vortex. Valanar casts this when he is NOT empowered, so you need to be careful of this. He will choose a random target and create the Vortex around them. It’s a big swirling circle of light and easily avoidable. Don’t stand in it, as it does a considerable amount of damage and a knockback to anyone near it.

Empowered Shock Vortex. When empowered, Valanar casts this on all raid members within 30 yards. Not only will those players take damage, but anyone near them will also take damage and be knocked back. Ranged need to be spread out around the room, and when Valanar is casting Empowered Shock Vortex, everyone needs to run away from everyone else. Chances are, you’re probably going to get hit by at least one other person at some point, and that’s pretty easily recoverable. Getting hit by 3 is inexcusable, so /distance 12 on this fight, please.

Kinetic Bombs are balls of light Valanar casts around the room that float down (anyone else notice the ball theme in this expansion?). When they hit a solid surface, they explode (this can be floor or ceiling). Each time damage is done to them, they float up, but be cautious, as too much damage will cause them to blow up on the ceiling and rain down pain.

My best advice for dealing with these is to use hunters. It’s what we do and it generally works perfectly, as their pets can be assigned to certain balls and do just enough damage to keep them up in the air. Hunters can also babysit the ones that don’t have a pet on them and easily send a shot in their direction. One of our hunters is really good about calling out where the balls are spawning so they can keep an eye on them.

Fellow Moonkin, I’m sorry to say that you will probably be asked not to Starfall on this fight for fear that you will over-damage kinetic bombs or pull aggro on Keleseth’s pets, which I’ll get into in a minute. It stinks, I know.

"You're just jealous 'cause I glitter," said the Prince.

Prince “Glittery” Taladaram

Sparkly boy here is the fire boss, and we tank almost directly where he spawns as well, just pulling him to the bottom of the steps.

Conjure Flame is Taladram’s casted, non-empowered spell. He will target a player and then form a ball of fire that will chase that person. It does splash damage when it hits, so go ahead and run to the back of the room to minimize damage.

Empowered Conjure Flame requires a bit more effort. It works as before, but this time it will shoot off flames at anyone in its path, and this is a good thing. The more times it shoots other people, the lower its final damage will be. The person targeted should run, and other raiders should try to run in range of the ball while it’s traveling.

However, and this is a big however, the ball does not split damage upon impact! It will hit everyone in range of the targeted person for the exact same amount, so for the sake of your healers, don’t stand next to the targeted person, and for heaven’s sake don’t stack on them.

Glittering Sparks is my favorite spell in the whole encounter. It’s a well-deserved poke at Twilight, and it also does pretty icky damage. He will target a random player and do a cone of sparks. It hurts and it slows movement speed, and it’s just another reason for healers to cringe.

Can your warlock catch the purple balls...? o.O

Prince “Balls” Keleseth

Keleseth can be a pretty big jerk (typical warlock), and while he can theoretically be tanked by a melee tank (choose your favorite DK if you go this route), we’ve had much more success with a warlock tank.

If everyone understands the encounter and you have a good warlock tank, this boss is the easiest one in the room. If either of those things is not the case, your warlock tank will die a miserable death and he will go around shooting 80k shadow lances at people until you’re all wallowing in self-pity.

Shadow Lance hits for around 17k and he casts it when he’s not empowered. He only casts it on his aggro target, so keep your warlock topped off.

Empowered Shadow Lance hits for a whopping 85-90k (yes, really). But if your lock tank (and everyone else) does what they’re supposed to, most of this can be mitigated, using…

Shadow Resonance. Through the encounter, Keleseth will be using this ability to instantly create Dark Nuclei (more balls, yay!). These Nuclei attach themselves to people, and you want them all attached to your lock tank, as they increase shadow resistance (makes sense now, yeah?). This is why we prefer the lock; he can grab aggro on them quickly and carry them around, as long as no one else attacks the Nuclei. They cannot be misdirected. If you get one attached to you somehow, find the guy running around with all the purple balls floating above his head and let him take it off of you. NO ONE ELSE SHOULD ATTACK THE NUCLEI, kk? If your lock tank is able to pick up most or all of the balls (and keep them alive, which is why AoE is a bad choice), then Keleseth’s Empowered Shadow Lance won’t one shot him (take a look in the comments below for tips for your warlock tank!).

That’s everything. The power will jump from one to the other throughout the fight, so just keep on the one with the active health bar and avoid the bad stuff, then get your fangs ready for Blood Queen Lana’thel.


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Icecrown Citadel, The Plagueworks: Rotface

TLBC Strats: ICC

Maybe you’ve already killed Festergut, or maybe you’ve decided to try Rotface first.  This fight is all about awareness and coordination, so if you’re ready, let’s get to it!

There’s a lot of things that happen in this fight, so I’m going to try to explain everything in the order in which it generally happens:

The Pull We’ve found the best positioning to be three groups forming a semi-circle around the boss.  The tank runs in and grabs aggro, swinging Rotface around.  Melee and healers stand directly behind the boss, while the ranged are split into two groups, one of them 90 degrees to the left of the boss, and one of them 90 degrees to the right.  One sucker–I mean, offtank–stands at the edge of the room.  You’ll see why this poor guy is pretty darn important soon enough.

slime spraySlime Spray We have found that Rotface doesn’t target a player for this, but he does turn in the direction of a group of players, which is why we’ve split into three groups.  He will choose one of the groups, turn, and cast Slime Spray.  Once he turns, he won’t move, so if the boss is facing your group, you need to run to the side or behind him.  He will do Slime Spray in a cone in front of him which does just enough damage to kill a person if they stand there without a heal (or even with, depending on the cirumstances).  Don’t stand there, kk?  This will continue, happening every few seconds, throughout the entire fight.

Mutated Infection Sometime right around the first Slime Spray, someone will get Mutated Infection.  This is a disease that hurts  A LOT.  Please, healers, for the love of all things holy (or resto, or discipline), heal the person with Mutated Infection.  The person with Mutated Infection must immediately run to the poor offtank on the outside of the room (really, this is the suckiest job ever).  They must be cleansed (you need ONE PERSON assigned to do the cleansing, at least until 20%.  You may find you need a second cleanser at that point).  When they are cleansed, a small ooze will spawn at their feet (if a person dies with Mutated Infection, they will spawn TWO oozes.  So don’t die!).  It cannot be taunted, but it can be CC’d to some extent, if necessary. This will happen continuously and with increasing frequency throughout the fight.

The first person to get this ooze is going to have to stay with the offtank, as the offtank will be unable to taunt him.  The second person to get the Mutated Infection will run to the offtank and the first ooze.  At this point, the two oozes will merge, and the affected players can go about their business.  The offtank will taunt the big ooze and kite it around the room as it does a ton of AoE damage.

For the rest of the fight, everyone who gets Mutated Infection will need to run IN FRONT of the big ooze, get cleansed, make sure their small ooze has merged with the big ooze, and then return to their original position.

Professor FarnsworthThe Poison Slime Pipes Your offtank will be kiting the add around the room and simultaneously dealing with big puddles of slime on the outside edge of the room.  Professor Putricide will announce that the poison is coming.  At that point, one of the spouts positioned around the outside of the room will begin to sputter slime.  A few seconds later, a huge slime pool will fill the edge of the room on that side.  While the offtank can probably run through this pretty safely as long as he’s got healers, keep in mind that the slime hurts and slows you, so those with Mutated Infection should NOT run into the slime.  Wait for the offtank and meet him on the other side.

Unstable Ooze Explosion When 5 small oozes have merged into the big ooze, it will stop where it is and begin casting Unstable Ooze Explosion.   When it explodes, it will send slime flying through the air, landing where randomly-chosen players were standing when it was casting.  As soon as it starts to cast, our entire raid clumps in the middle of the room, on the boss.  When it finishes its cast and starts to spray, everyone runs for the outside edge of the room.  This way, the explosion lands in the middle of the room, where (hopefully) no one is standing.  Once the big ooze has finished exploding, you start again merging the oozes.

The Soft Enrage Rotface doesn’t have an enrage timer; however, like Saurfang’s marks, eventually so many people will be getting Mutated Infection that there will be slimes everywhere and your raid will be overrun.

CCT v Rotface

That’s it, that’s the entire fight.  It sounds pretty easy, but there are so many ways to wipe the raid, you’ll probably work on this one for at least a little while.

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Icecrown Citadel, The Plagueworks: Festergut

TLBC Strats: ICC

If this is your first trip into the Plagueworks, you should check out Plagueworks: Getting There for tips on handling the trash.

Lower Spire: history.  Precious’s Ribbon: equipped.  What’s next?

At this point, your raid can choose one of two bosses:  Festergut or Rotface.  Rotface is a situational awareness check (it reminds me of Illidari Council in that regard).  Festergut seems to be more of a healing check.  Our healers are rock solid, but sometimes our situational awareness is not, so we found Festergut to be the easier of the two.  For that reason, we’re going to start with him.

Here are the major things you need to be aware of:

Gaseous Blight.  I’m going to tell you right now, “Festergut” is absolutely accurate.  This guy needs some serious Gas-X.  Gaseous Blight is an orange cloud on the ground.  It starts at full strength, hitting everyone in the raid for 4-5k AoE.  Festergut inhales this crap at regular intervals, and each time he inhales, the cloud gets thinner and does less damage.  However, each inhale gives him more strength with which to hit the tank.  By the time he gets to 4 inhales, Festergut has swallowed all the gas in the room, but he’s hitting the tank for massive amounts of damage, so healers need to plan on this and balance their healing around it.

fat cat

Festergut is this bloated but not nearly this cute.

Pungent Blight.  So now he’s swallowed a whole room full of gas…I’ll bet you can guess what happens next.  At this point, after 4 inhales, he’ll belch out all the gas.  This hits really, REALLY hard on the whole raid, which is why there is a mechanic in place to handle this…

Gas Spores.  Between inhales, Festergut will throw spores on people (3 in 25-man, 2 in 10 man).  You can’t miss them, they look like big, orange, spiky balls hanging over people’s heads.  After 12 seconds, the spore will explode and place a minimal-damage DoT on anyone nearby.  When the DoT ticks off, that person is inoculated.   This keeps Pungent Blight from hitting quite so hard, so everyone should be inoculated with 3 stacks before he gets to 4 inhales.  I’ll explain the best way to do this below.

Gastric Bloat.  Once again, tanks have to switch off.  Throughout the fight, the tanks will be getting Gastric Bloat stacks, taking increasingly more damage.  At 10 stacks they will explode and it’s insta-death.  You can’t switch off at 3 stacks; it lasts too long.  I think 8 or 9 stacks is the switching point for us.

Vile GasVile Gas.  There’s one more thing, but this is just a minor snag.  Throughout the fight, Festergut will occasionally target players and cause them to start vomiting (yes, it even does the graphic; ew).  They will be disoriented (kind of like being blinded by a rogue) while they have Vile Gas, and they will do AoE damage to anyone nearby.  A simple /distance 10 fixes the problem.

As you can imagine, if everyone is left to their own devices on this fight, it quickly dissolves into chaos (just like every other boss fight in the history of the World…of Warcraft, right?).  Here’s our plan that works quite well:

Three Groups.  We split three groups around the room:  North, South, and Melee.  Half the ranged and a healer on North.  Half the ranged and a healer on South.  Melee has the rest of the healers (mostly) and obviously a big mess of dps warriors and rogues and other people who like to hit things.  All the ranged should absolutely be /distance 10 from each other.  The room is circular, so just spread out in a small curve on your side.

Run to the Tree! While we have Resto druids filling this role, anyone can do it.  We use the trees because they’re ridiculously easy to spot.  We have one tree druid on the North side, between the ranged and the boss, and one on the South side in the same position.  They never move.  When Gas Spores come, everyone on either side collapses on their tree so that everyone is in range of the inoculation (note: if you have someone else fill this roll, make sure you mark them!).  The melee group collapses on the tank.

Tree Durid is 4 healz (& hugz).

When the Gas Spores spawn and everyone gets to their spots, it’s really easy to see who has spores and who doesn’t.  If any of the groups has two spores, we call on vent for one of them to run to the group without a spore.  To make this a little more simple, here’s a scenario:

Gas Spores spawn.  A DPS warrior, a rogue, and a South-side Shadow Priest are hit with the spores.  Everyone immediately collapses on their respective target, and someone calls out, “Rogue, go North!”  The rogue then runs to the North side tree (or marked target) and stands there until his spore explodes.  Now everyone has been inoculated–the DPS warrior’s spore hit the melee, the Shadow Priest’s spore hit the South group, and the rogue’s spore hit the North group.

That’s it.  /distance 10, collapse for spores, and make sure everyone gets inoculated.  He has a 5 minute enrage, so make sure you’re doing everything you can to maximize your DPS in the middle of all of this.

Loot the big ugly guy and get ready for his equally big (and equally ugly) brother.


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The ToGC Playbook — Faction Champs

So, you’ve survived the Beasts and Jaraxxus.  No doubt you got a bit of a sick feeling in your stomach when you realized the next boss was heroic Champs.  On regular, these guys are a pain.  On heroic…well, they’re an even bigger pain.

scared lolcat

I can’t tell you what order to kill things in.  There are a handful of people in our raid who understand it very well and mark targets for us.  I know we always have the best luck killing the shaman first, and the holy paladin can usually wait for a while as long as someone is locking her down.  You’re going to have to look at the group you’re given, look at your raid’s strengths and weaknesses, and work to that.

There’s no definite strat for this fight because it’s terribly unpredictable.  Instead, let me give you some tips.

1.  @walmillard over on Twitter suggested this to me, and it’s worth passing along:  Get them to pop their PvP trinkets early in the fight to make lockdowns more successful.  We do this by having the hunters lay down frost traps once we’ve pulled.

2.  We don’t even bother with organized CC.  Some guilds may have found great ways to use it, but diminishing returns makes it completely pointless in my opinion.  Except for melee keeping casters locked down, we save our CC for when we’re being attacked.  I don’t cyclone anything unless it’s babysitting me or I see it wailing on a healer.


Hey, rogues...

3.  I can’t say enough for interrupts.  I know we don’t have one, but everyone in your raid who has an interrupt should be using it on the kill target.  Mages, CS that Lesser Healing Wave.  Rogues, kick that Regrowth.  If you see your target casting a heal, don’t let it, period.  Hellfire is a pain; mages can very successfully use the same macro they use for focused-sheeping to focus-CS the warlock for Hellfires.

4.  This is minor but worth mentioning: the healers on the Champs teams focus a little too much on their Grid, and they have pets pulled out.  Basically, they’ll look for anyone on their team taking damage and heal them.  By putting constant damage on an insignificant target (the hunter or warlock pets, for instance), you can divert some of the healing away from more significant targets.  We usually put one of our hunter’s pets on one of their pets to achieve this.

5.  Just like an arena team, the Champs are going to look for a weak link to attack.  Often, this person will be targeted by most of the Champs.  If someone notices this, it needs to be called out on vent so that person a) can be healed, and b) doesn’t stand there and get owned.  You can help mitigate this with things that increase your health or armor; in our case, Barkskin.  (Priests: Inner Fire, Mages: Ice Armor, etc.)

6.  RUN AWAY, LITTLE GIRL!  There’s a reason this has become such a popular phrase in raiding: there are a lot of things from which you need to run far and fast.  Karazhan may have turned you into Little Red Riding Hood, but the Champs will turn you into minced moonkin.  If you get aggro–and you should know when you get aggro: Omen and the WoW UI both make it very clear–you should immediately get away from the Champs as fast as you can.  While proximity isn’t their only aggro cue, it does have a significant impact.  If you get out of their range, they’ll eventually get tired of chasing you and move on to someone closer.

For druids, this should be instinct.  It’s like when you’re in AB and heading for the mine and suddenly 7 members of the opposing faction are there and they all see you.  What do you do?  You cat form and dash the heck away!  Do the same thing here.  Turn on Nature’s Grasp for extra insurance.  If you seem to be taking a lot of damage, throw up Barkskin in case you’re the focus target.  I always try to run near healers; it’s like a friendly reminder.  Dear Healers, I’m bleeding.  Thank you for that Flash of Light.  Love, Ambermist.

(Added a day late and a boss kill short).  I’ve got one word for your priests: dispel.

Other than that, burn burn burn down the targets.  Burn raid CDs pretty quickly.  Focus fire.  Keep DoTs up (they’ll get cleansed a lot at first, but be persistent).  This will take a few tries, and it’s not necessarily going to be straight-to-one-shot-farming status.  Different combinations will trip up your raid, and you may wipe 2 or 7 times even after you’ve successfully completed it.  Eventually, though, you’ll all get used to it and you’ll be downing them without a second thought.

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The ToGC Playbook — Jaraxxus

Grats on getting those pesky beasts down!  Did you kill Icehowl after enrage thanks to a lucky Massive Crash?  We’ve had some kills like that, and talk about down-to-the-wire!

Next is Jaraxxus.  In relation to regular ToC, NRB is a fight with simple principles and tricky execution.  The mechanics of both regular and heroic are basically the same, just amped.  This fight, on the other hand, has slightly more complicated principles than its regular counterpart, but once you learn them, the execution isn’t too hard.  It all comes down to a seemingly inconsequential change: nether portals and infernal volcanoes become targettable.


Burn, baby, burn.  This is where this fight earns its heroic status.  In regular ToC, a Nether Portal comes up, a Mistress pops out, and melee kills it.  Then an Infernal Volcano appears, a few Felflame Infernals pop out, and you kill them.  Easy peasy.

Now, both Nether Portals and Volcanoes will stick around and just keep spitting out adds.  For a raid just getting to this boss, if you let two Mistresses through the portal, you’re probably going to wipe.  That is why everyone has to switch to Nether Portals and Infernal Volcanoes as soon as they spawn.  Burn them down as fast as you possibly can to limit the number of adds that escape into your raid.

The best way to do this is with a targetting macro designed to prioritize targets.  This is the one I use; I found it in a comment at Downfall:

/target Nether
/stopmacro [nodead, harm]
/target Infernal
/stopmacro [nodead, harm]
/target Mistress
/stopmacro [nodead, harm]
/target Lord Jaraxxus
/stopmacro [nodead, harm]

Assign this to a hotkey, and as soon as you know a Nether Portal is coming (turn your game sounds up and listen for “Come forth, sister!”), hit your macro and kill, kill, kill.  Do the same with Volcanoes (“INFERNO!” is your cue).

Free-for-all Deathmatch.  If you’re familiar with CoD or other FPS multiplayers, you know what FFA is.  It means everyone is the enemy, and so it is here (except your guildies.  Okay, maybe it’s more like team deathmatch…).

No longer do melee focus on Mistresses and ranged on Infernals.  Everyone must kill everything.  So get ready to bring that super tall, female demon-looking thing to its knees, because that’s your job now too.  Kill portals, volcanoes, mistresses, and infernals.  And don’t forget to throw some things at the boss.

Positrons!  Placement is key for the success of this fight.  Here are the things you need to be aware of:

1.  Stick to one quarter of the room.  We choose the quarter just to the right of the instance entrance, and it spans from the bottom of the star (if you’re standing at the front door) to the right hand side of the star.  No one goes beyond these two points, for some very good reasons.  First of all, Incinerate Flesh is going to require everyone to be in range of most (if not all) of your healers.  Secondly, Volcanoes and Portals spawn directionally based on players’ locations.  If you want them to spawn in range, you all need to be in one place.

2.  Leave yourself a path.  Legion Flame uses the exact same mechanic as in the regular version, but hurts a lot more.  We choose to handle Legion Flame by running it in a straight line to the wall.  I know some guilds have a designated run spot.  Either way, if you use one of these strats, you really need to make sure no one’s getting run over with Legion Flame.  Always do a quick spin before the pull to make sure no one is standing between you and your holy-crap-I’m-on-fire spot.  Adjust accordingly.

3.  Melee, move! Ah, the cry comes out on vent:  “Portal incoming, move, melee!”  Because Portals and Volcanoes spawn related to player location, melee standing behind the boss can inadvertently cause them to spawn on the other side of the raid.  For this reason, when the timer for Portal or Volcano spawn gets under 10 seconds or so, melee move so they’re on our side.

We Didn’t Start the Flame War.  Don’t you wish that every once in a while we could just stand still and dps and never worry about getting attacked?  HA HA HA, you’re playing the wrong game.  Yay, another list!  Things that will maim or kill you:

1.  Legion Flame.  Duh.  However your raid usually handles it, you’re going to have to do it even better.  We haven’t healed through Legion Flame since our first few attempts on regular, so I don’t even know how the damage scales from regular to heroic.  If you find yourself needing to run, set up a plan and let everyone in on it.  As I said previously, we run straight back to the wall and along the edge of it.  Whatever you do, don’t run around with it.  Don’t run over to melee and don’t run sideways into other ranged.

2.  Incinerate Flesh.  Unfortunately for healers, this is the big make-or-break moment.  The only time an Incinerate Flesh death is a dpser’s fault is if they’re out of healing range, so don’t be dumb and let that happen.  Healers have to heal a certain amount or the person with Incinerate Flesh will blow up.  On heroic, this hits for around 8000 damage across the raid.  For us, this often means a wipe.

3.  Mistress’ Kiss.  This is more of an annoyance for us dpsers, but a downright problem for healers.  Just like a Succubus’s kiss, this will lock you out of a school of magic for several seconds.  For Moonkin, that means if you’re paying attention and can switch between Wrath/Starfire at the right time (Wrath being nature, Starfire being arcane), you can successfully avoid it.  I admit that I fail at this often, but it’s easy enough to switch to whatever’s not locked for a few seconds.

4.  Body slam.  This is a nuisance that you can’t prevent.  Just deal with it and hope your healers are on the ball.  Mistresses like to target a player, charge them, pick them up in the air, and throw them onto the ground.  It’s actually pretty cool as long as you don’t die from it.

5.  Felflame Infernals.  These guys plant themselves and start some kind of Hellfire cast, in addition to rolling into a ball and flying over to a player.  Basically, if this thing gets near you, get away from it.  Don’t stop to find out what it’s doing, just move.  You can move back to your spot once it’s dead or moved on to someone else.

In between all this madness, keep dps on the boss.  This fight is NOT a dps race, so don’t think that you’re going to win accolades by staying on the boss.  Chances are, your mages will kick your butt anyway, because mages should be spellstealing Nether Power every time Jaraxxus acquires it (purges work if a mage is not available).  This fight is all about control, so stay calm and soon you’ll be moving on to the Champs.

(Sorry I don’t have an epic kill shot for you.  Our guild leadership has apparently decided these kills don’t mean anything except another night they have to force themselves to spend time with us to get loot.  lol).

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The Twit Storm

I honestly did not realize that many of you keep up with my Twitter.  I have such a hard time following everybody that I usually just skim, so you guys have my kudos.  You are much more patient people than I am.

I’ve had quite a few messages and responses asking me about my recent tweets (it is tweets and not twits, right?!) concerning my guild and what exactly happened.

I’m not going to go into extensive detail.  It’s unnecessary, and it’s guild business.  I will give you enough of the scenario to understand what happened, and we’ll call it a day.

It was brought to my attention in an extremely undiplomatic way that my dps is horrible and that my purpose for being invited to raids was to provide the crit-hungry casters my buff.

The fact is, I was already aware that my dps was low.  I’ve been checking into different things at EJ and Graymatter and other sources, trying some new specs (like the idea that Typhoon might be better for moving fights than speccing into Brambles, since it’s an available instant cast that won’t interefere with our DoT time), and swapping gear in and out to try to find the best fit.  It’s been a frustrating few weeks on the damage meter, that’s for sure.

I switched between 2pcT8/2pcT9.25 and 2pcT9/2pcT9.25 a few times, and found no real difference.  The 4pcT9 seemed to do better at the target dummy, if only slightly (I took an average of damage done for three 3-minute, no-cooldown rotations and used that to find an average dps), but in a raid scenario, it was hard to tell the difference between the two.

I double checked my enchants and my gems.  I made sure my rotation was still accurate.  I played around with things to minimize latency and movement.  I swapped trinkets and rings, and then swapped them again, and then swapped them again.

I still haven’t quite nailed down why I’m pulling 4.5k on 25-heroic Northrend Beasts compared to most other dps being between 5 and 7k.  But I’m doing everything I can to find out.

Finding out that people think you suck is pretty bad.  It’s worse when they downplay the work you’ve put into trying to make it right.  And that’s what it all came down to, and that, combined with some other recent developments, lead to my /gquit.

However, I was poked, prodded, talked to, and convinced, and after discussing my concerns with some of the officers, I agreed to come back.

I love my guild; I really do.  And it’s good to be home.

So now, I keep going.  Keep experimenting; keep learning;  keep trying to improve.  I’m not going to agonize over my consistent 13th spot, but I am going to do everything in my power to push past it.

I am more than a buff.  I am a moonkin.


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Heroic Ulduar: Yogg-Saron

It’s long overdue, but I just can’t walk away from my Ulduar guides without covering Yogg, so as quickly as I can, the Yogg-Saron encounter:

Trash – Rejoice!  There is none.


Even if you’re doing this fight for the first time, you’ve probably seen the room.  Loudmouth Sara is in the center, floating above a pool of what appears to be liquid saronite.  Clouds rotate around her randomly, and all looks fairly peaceful.

When you walk in the door, you activate the encounter.  Hopefully you’ve activated all the keepers (you do this by talking to them; they’ll appear in Yogg’s room as they’re activated) and will therefore have their buffs, most of which work on their own with or without your cooperation (like getting frozen by Hodir when you’re actually trying to wipe), but Freya’s gift you need to take note of and use, probably frequently.

At the beginning of the encounter, you are given a debuff called Sanity.  It starts out at 100, but over time things during the encounter will drain that Sanity.  It is very important to watch your sanity and someone might need to call out occasional “check your sanity” reminders throughout the raid.  Let’s say that one more time for emphasis:  IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO WATCH YOUR SANITY.  If your sanity gets low you need to stand in one of Freya’s green light wells positioned around the outside walls of the room.  You can’t dps while standing in them; they decrease your damage.  You walk in, get your sanity up, and then get out.  If you reach 0 Sanity you will go Insane and be MC’d by Yogg and he will use you to start killing your friends. You will have to be killed, and you cannot be rezzed.  If you’ve gone insane, a rez will bring you back still insane.  This wastes time and especially when you’re still learning the fight will most likely cause a wipe.

Phase 1 : Focus Your Anger and Hatred on His Minions

During this phase, Sara spawns Guardians from the green clouds around the room.  You need to kill them next to her to kill the avatar and move to Phase 2.  Most of the time Guardian spawns are random; however, if anyone in the raid touches a cloud, an extra guardian will spawn.  More than two and you can all clump up at the door and die, as you’ll be too far behind to catch up.  The solution is easy: don’t touch the green clouds.

No, not that kind.

No, not that kind.

We handle this phase by doing what I like to call the “Guardian Shuffle.”  Most of the raid clumps up at the door, with the exception of the tanks and one or two healers.  We have 4 tanks for this fight (some do this in dps gear).  Our MT stands next to Sara in the middle; here he is safe from accidental cloud spawning and he is in the right place to damage Sara by killing Guardians.  The other three tanks take turns grabbing spawns and carefully avoiding clouds as they drag them up to the raid where we FOCUS FIRE (split dps is bad bad bad).  In order to better control our dps so we don’t kill them before they reach Sara, we have the majority of the raid stop dps when the Guardian is around 40%.  The tank starts dragging them down at this point, and our mages and hunters get them from 40-10% and then kill them once our MT taunts it and gets it close to Sara.

This is both easier and harder than it sounds on paper.  It’s not nearly as complicated as it sounds once you’ve done it, but execution is a bigger issue.  We spent a week just getting to Phase 2 because we had people dancing in clouds and killing Guardians early.  This is not about the damage meter; this phase is all about control.

Easy achievement alert:  the Heroic: Kiss and Make Up achievement is great for when you’re learning this fight, because the first few times you manage to make it to Phase 2, you’re going to wipe HARD.  Take advantage of this, and make a macro that says

/tar Sara

And spam it as you enter phase 2.  That’s it, achievement earned.

Phase 2:  The Time to Strike at the Head of the Beast

During this phase, Yogg spawns tentacles of various shapes, sizes, and abilities.  They stay in place, and you have to move to them.  We have a caster who runs around with a purple diamond on his head so we all know where to go next.  Splitting dps is still bad bad bad.

Credit Note: This is not my screenshot, because I keep forgetting to take one. >.>

Crusher Tentacles

These are the main priorities for ranged dps.  Melee can’t get close to them because they get a stacking buff that increases the damage they do.  We have one warrior who runs in and out stabbing it occasionally to get the stacks to fall, but other than that, these are all up to ranged.  They have a lot of health and each one lowers damage dealt by 20%.  If you let more than 2 get up at a time, you’re done.  At one point, the room will freeze, and the tentacles will cease to do damage.  When that happens, use your treants if they’re up to help catch the raid up so you have time to kill a few corruptors while you’re at it.  Also, healers can dps during this time as no one will be taking any damage.

Constrictor Tentacles

We generally have 3 or 4 ranged assigned to killing Constrictors as they appear.  This is another reason it’s important for the majority of the raid to stick together: Constrictors randomly target a person in the raid, pick them up, and squeeze.  The constricted person needs to be healed while the assigned Constrictor killers get it down.  The good news is that you can still cast while your constricted, so worse case scenario, at least as druids we can heal ourselves if necessary.  For you mages out there, Ice Block immediately releases you (and you suck).

Corruptor Tentacles

Ah, fellow moonkin, pull out your Decursive mod or get your mouseover macro ready:  you will probably be at least assisting in decursing through phase 2 and 3.  In order to maximize our dps and not distract our healers, I am the only decurser (and during last night’s kill, I broke my decursing record with a whopping 97 dispells).  Corruptor Tentacles throw curses, diseases, and poisons around the room, all of which REALLY REALLY need to be cleansed.  I decurse and we usually have a pally who takes off poisons and diseases, although I try to help out with the poisons if I notice it’s becoming a problem.  Crushers are certainly the priority, but go into Phase 3 with too many Corruptors up, and you’ll be too bogged down with curses and poisons to do any good.  For this reason, whenever we kill a Crusher we move right to a Corruptor until another Crusher spawns, and if we have extra melee, they focus on Corruptors specifically.

Brain Link

This is the other important ability you need to be aware of.  Occasionally, Yogg will Brain Link two players and a colored line will appear between them.  These two players need to stay close together until Brain Link fades.  If the line is green, you’re doing it right.  If it’s red, you’re too far away and you will lose 2 Sanity for every second the line is red.  That’s bad.  Don’t let the line stay red for long.  If a ranged or healer is linked with a melee headed into the brain room, that’s okay: run with them to the portal because the Brain Link will sever when they enter.

Melee & the Brain Room

Really, I don’t know much about what goes on in there.  Good thing this is a moonkin blog!  Portals will open up around Yogg, and we have 10 melee dps assigned to enter the portals.  They kill their way through the room that spawns and then into the Brain Room.  The really important things that happen in there is that a) they need to keep their backs to the floating skulls in order to keep their Sanity, and b) they need to get out of the Brain Room before Madness ends, or they will go Insane when they come out.  We have someone who calls this for the melee, so it’s rarely a problem anymore.  It’s important that melee do enough dps to get the Brain down in 3 portals, otherwise the raid gets easily overrun with tentacles.

Phase 3: Muwahahaha

This phase is tricky, but not overly complicated once everyone understands how it works.  Immortal Guardians will begin to spawn, and they live up to their name.  You can only kill them to 1%; at that point, Thorim will strike them down.  They hit very VERY hard at first, and do less and less damage as their health decreases.  For this reason, we all stand close enough to our MT so that a convenient Thunderclap or an in-range taunt keeps Guardians from killing the raid.  We let melee handle the Guardians (no aoe and no splitting dps, kk?!) while the ranged focus on Yogg.

The best advice I can give you for this is to turn up your speakers and pay attention.  If you’re decursing like I am, this is where your dps will start to really show the strain (and that’s okay if it’s your job to decurse), because the Corruptor tentacles that are still up will not die until Yogg dies.  However, you can still dps, but you need to be careful.

Frequently throughout Phase 3, Yogg will cast “Lunatic Gaze.”  You can’t possibly in a million years miss it: it looks like a bunch of pink streamers coming from Yogg to the raid.  When he does this, turn your back to him.  For every second you’re facing him during his Gaze you lose 4 Sanity.  This adds up quickly if you’re not paying attention.  Here is the super top secret to knowing when to turn back around, are you ready?  Okay: he laughs.  I know, it sounds dumb, but I know Lunatic Gaze is really over because he laughs throughout the Gaze with an added laugh at the end.  After that last laugh, it’s over and you can safely turn back around.  You’ll also get a feel for how often he casts it and might even be able to pretty easily predict it once you’ve done it for a while.

Dps the boss when Gaze is not up, turn your back on him when it is, and keep an eye on your Sanity, running back to wells when you get under 30.

Survive all of that crap and the enrage timer, and you win.

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A Short Tale About an Old God

Once upon a time, a terrible fiend burst through his watery prison and corrupted the stalwart protectors of the land of Azeroth.  It became clear that something had changed within the walls of the Titan palace known as Ulduar, and a band of twenty-five strong, dedicated adventurers (under the banner of Chi Cerca Trova and the united Alliance forces of Azeroth) dared to find out.

After fighting through the corruption and facing several outright monsters, the adventurers approached Sara, a woman who appeared to need assistance.  In truth, the great monster only used the form to masquerade himself.  He was great and terrible; a deceiver and murderer who could devour the minds of any who came upon him unprepared for his trickery.

He sent waves of Guardians against the adventurers, but they stood firmly against them, turning their destructive might against the avatar of the beast.  His illusion shattered, the monster appeared from the depths of his prison and thrust his many tentacles at the adventurers.  Those with swords and daggers hacked at the twisting, poisonous limbs, while the spellcasters in the group held off their vicious curses and unleashed their magic upon the biggest and most lethal arms of the beast.  Some of the adventurers were lured into visions, but bravely fought their way out, keeping their wits about them as they attacked the very head of the monster.

The Old God roared in pain and unleashed terrible minions upon the group, trying to overwhelm them to the point of insanity, and some were lost.  Those who remained steeled themselves against the forces of the evil one, and though each expected a fatal blow at any second, they fought as though they expected to live forever.

And suddenly, victory fell within their grasp, and each of them fought twice as hard.  They rained blows upon the monster and his minions, until the last of his awful resources had been extinguished.  The remaining adventurers focused on their intended goal, and held their collective breaths as the final spells whizzed towards the beast’s head and the last dagger slashed into his grotesque flesh.

And suddenly the monster Yogg-Saron fell to their might, and lay very still among them.  Those who had fallen in battle were resurrected, and there was great rejoicing among the twenty-five and among the citizens of Azeroth.

Now they have uncovered a new challenge — the waking of the Titan creation Algalon, who exists to cleanse Azeroth of the imbalance in its Keepers.  Can they save Azeroth from a certain end?  Only time will tell.

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Heroic Ulduar: General Vezax

Despite having a bumpy night the night we killed him, I really do like this fight.  I think the dynamic is pretty clever, and who doesn’t like killing big, angry monsters?

The Trash is complicated.  CC everything you can.  We usually have 1-3 sheeps, a hex, a banish, a hunter trap or two, and a couple of tanks.  All I can tell you is to mark them, control them, and kill them while keeping most of the raid alive.  There will be three faceless monsters you’ll fight before facing Vezax; one on the way in and two in his room.  (Note: the two in his room begin patting as you kill packs of trash, so kill a pack -> kill the ugly thing).  The faceless monsters spawn a voidwalker during the fight, and while the voidwalker is up, they are immune to all damage, so kill the voidwalker and get back on the uglies.

The Fight

Each role has a different set of rules for this fight, but it’s important that everyone be aware of everything else that could be going on at the same time because you never know where you could find yourself.

The things that everyone really needs to know about is 1) mana regen doesn’t work on this fight. Potions don’t work (some say they’ve seen it; we guess it’s a 50/50, so plan for them not to work and then you’ll be extra pleased if it does), Innervate doesn’t work, talents don’t work, Wisdom doesn’t work…you get the idea.  This applies to everyone in the raid throughout the encounter, but there are ways to deal with it and they differ from role to role.  2) Mark of the Faceless is a debuff that doesn’t hurt the person carrying it but causes the boss to basically drain life (or “life leech,” as DBM calls it) from anyone around you, so if you get this debuff, run into a corner all by your lonesome until you see it tick off.

There are two kinds of aides throughout the fight.  One of them is the Shadow Crash, which increases haste and damage but decreases healing done (so healers should certainly avoid it).  The other is Saronite Vapors, which replace mana at the cost of life.  I’ve explained them in greater detail below.

Remember the Oomkin!

You'll feel like an oomkin again.

The Ranged

Let’s face it, we’re pretty mana dependent, and for that reason we have Shadow Crashes.  First of all, turn your chat bubbles on, as DBM causes people with incoming Crashes to call it out and chat bubbles help tremendously.  Shadow Crashes are painful damage / knockback shadow “bombs” that Vezax throws at anyone outside of melee range.  For this reason, if someone has an incoming Crash, move away from them.

However, once the Crash lands it leaves a big, black puddle on the floor that increases your damage and haste by…a lot.  The only time you should cast is when you are standing in one of these Shadow Crashes; anything else is a waste of mana.

We usually have one or two groups of ranged standing together to get the most benefit from the Shadow Crashes, but this means that each individual is much more responsible for getting away from other people when they get Mark of the Faceless.  So pay attention and make love to your corner when you get it.

The other responsibility ranged has is to kill Saronite Vapors for healers.  These spawn and float around the room.  They are not hostile, but they are a limited resource.  You only get so many during the fight (I think it’s 7 or 8), so don’t be in a rush to kill them.  We have 1 ranged (generally a hunter) assigned to this task.  When a healer calls for a vapor, he kills it and calls the location on vent in relation to the boss.  This allows healers to quickly get to vapors and get their mana back.

The Healers

I can’t give you an in depth understanding of the healers because…well, I’m not one anymore.  I can tell you that they all stack under Vezax’s butt and melee him.  This is a) so they don’t get Shadow Crashes (which decrease healing), b) so they get mana back from a pally’s Judgement of Wisdom, which apparently works, and c) because it gives them a thrill.  Our healers are on a rotation, although you’d have to pester our buddy Kuzgar to understand it.  Basically, only 2 healers are actually healing at a time.  The rest are either meleeing Vezax or getting into Saronite Vapors.  We have one healer who is both a backup healer and a heal-the-healers-in-the-vapors healer.  They rotate in and out of healing and vapors as needed.  While dps can occasionally stand in vapors to regen mana, I do not recommend it.  If a dps is standing in the vapors, it should be because you’re absolutely at the bottom of your mana well and your dps is desperately needed.  DPS standing in vapors lose health, but more importantly, risk dropping a crash on a vapor, and that’s just not good strategery.  Leave it for the healers, please.

The Tank & Melee

I know, I’m just giving everyone special love today.  The only thing I want to mention here (since I am not a tank, and don’t plan on speccing bear or kitty) is that Vezax does an ability called Searing Flames.  It’s channeled and it’s very obvious, as he has big glowing orbs spinning around him while he’s doing it.  Not interrupting it will usually cause a wipe, and this mainly falls to melee since casters are desperate to conserve mana.  The other ability to worry about is Surge of Darkness, which causes him to hit harder and faster.  Some strats call for the tank to kite during Surge, but we let ours stand where he is (isn’t he lucky?) and we blow cooldowns to keep him alive.  Between him, the pallies, and the discipline priest, this is usually not a problem.

As surprising as this may sound if you’ve never encountered him before, this is actually a pretty easy fight once everyone understands what they’re doing.  Explaining it, on the other hand, is a challenge of its own.

Good luck!

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