Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lord Rhyolith

Lord Heavyfeet is simple in design, exasperating in execution. 

The idea is that, by attacking his feet, you steer Lord Rhyolith away from the lava at the edges and into active volcanoes. Upon crushing the volcanoes 10% of his armor falls off, eventually removing all his protection and leaving his fiery core exposed. 

The actuality is that we all run around the map in chaotic fashion, praying he'll turn the way we want him to, while struggling to remember that all-important lesson from Kindergarten: Left vs. Right.

The melee should be split evenly between the two feet. If you're attempting this in 10m you probably don't have four melee. Even if you do, it may not be enough dps to turn him quickly. Ranged will have to switch to force hard turns. In 25man this is a little easier and we usually only had to have one ranged switch just to be safe.

Once assigned to your foot, you are always to attack that foot. UNLESS your steer-person calls out for a turn. To turn him right, you attack the right foot. To turn him left, you attack the left. So if "Right Turn" gets called, ALL melee switch to the right foot. When "Straight" is called out, the melee assigned to the left foot return to attacking it. 

The most frustrating part of this whole fight is having "TURN HIM RIGHT" screaming across vent, you pounding away on the right foot (even popping your wolves in desperation), and still seeing the boss rumble right into the lava. This is when Recount became my best friend. By looking at time spent attacking stats you can figure out who did or did not switch correctly. Oftentimes it's ranged forgetting to pull their pets off, but sometimes it's that darned ret pally who just sits on his assigned foot no matter what. 

FYI: Searing totem doesn't like to switch feet either so I just re-drop the totem when I switch.

Have one person, and ONLY one person, designated to call out the turns. We usually have our raid leader, a hunter, do it. Being ranged he has the added benefit of being able to see the entire floor. While he may not always be on the feet himself, it's still easier for him to determine where the boss should be steered rather than one of the melee, since all we can see are giant feet.
Do not pick an indecisive steer-person. I guarantee by the time they've said "get on right! er...left foot, no no - right foot!" Lord Rhyolith is already in the lava and drinking from it, happily wiping the raid.

Supposedly there are other things happening at this time. There are small and large adds coming out, but they will never be your priority. I admit I get so tunnel visioned during this fight that the first few attempts I didn't even realize there were adds. At all. You do, however, have to watch for the jet streams from squished volcanoes. I find the frantic screaming of my healer "MELEE MOVE JET STREAMS RWLGALH!" to be most helpful in pointing them out. If your healers are less outspoken, or perhaps don't enjoy constant heart attacks (why would they choose to be healers then?), its best to watch your feet and just side step the lines as they approach.

The boss also tries to crush you under foot, as signified by him lifting his foot menacingly into the air.  There are rumors going around that if you jump at the right time, or in the right place, or in the right zebra-print dress while singing your ABC's, you might be able to avoid this attack. Ignore them. You can fully resist the attack, but that's up the RNG, not you.

As for when to use our cooldowns it's really up to you. I tend to pop shammy rage when it's up just to mitigate stomp damage. I find there isn't really time for stoneclaw, especially when trying to turn the boss, so  I don't drop it unless I'm getting low on health and am out of lock cookies. Wolves can be used to get extra damage on the foot to ensure faster turns, just make sure they're up for the burn phase. Hint: Hero is for burn phase too.

After stomping on eight volcanoes Lord Rhyolith's armor finally begins to crack. He isn't fully vulnerable until 25% health, so there will be a bit of a lull when you still need to steer him but his armor is down. 

Phase 2 is just a stack and burn. It's mercifully quick and he'll be a molten pile of goo before you know it. We enhance shamans are rewarded with the beautiful Dreadfire Drape. See all that hit and mastery? Scrumptious.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ragnaros and No Shamans

Paragon downed Heroic Ragnaros without any shamans and whether or not it really matters, it got people talking. As all of the hubaloo seemed to be about why they didn't take a *resto* shaman, I don't really feel I have anything constructive to add. I think Jadiera of Totem Forest covered it very well. got me thinking. My guild is working on regular Ragnaros right now. At first I kind of thought, "well no wonder there aren't any shamans, we can't add much to this fight." We don't have any fall mitigation to take magma traps with. We only have slows, not stuns, which don't work on the transition adds. Our AOE is dismal and won't work well on the phase 2 adds. All we do is normal damage.

Then I realized two things. 1) I needed to stop whining. 2) We have plenty of abilities to help.

Sure I can't stun the adds during the transitions, but  I can drop magma totem near his hammer. It's saved my butt a couple times damaging the adds just enough to slow them while I was over dpsing another. During phase 2, ghost wolf is amazing. I can switch sides faster than almost anyone and drop my totems, signaling to others where to stack.

This isn't supposed to be a guide on "how-to" Ragnaros (I'll save that for when I actually down him), but it reminds me to keep things in perspective. Just because one group decided shamans won't work for them doesn't mean you should dismiss what your class can do. Sure it may not be the most optimal - where optimal means most streamlined - but it can work, and work well. Especially if the player behind the shaman thinks outside the box and finds those slightly wonky but just as useful solutions.

On an almost entirely unrelated note, one of my friends mentioned this the other night and now I cannot forget it. Ragnaros, I will never look at you the same again.
The longer you stare...the more it makes sense...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Raiding in Firelands: Shannox and Beth'tilac

 Our setup: Melee starts on Shannox and ranged starts split evenly on the two dogs (usually with more hunters on Rageface to get the crits necessary to break Facerage). When Shannox is near 40% melee switches off and to Riplimb. We get Riplimb very, very low (like 5% or below), kill Rageface, and switch back to boss. It's then an all out burn on Shannox while Riplimb's tank get's him trapped as much as he can. When it becomes too hard, ranged kills Riplimb and it's all on boss again. 

This is not the only way to do it - just our way. Starting on the dogs and killing them in some other combination also works, it's just whatever your guild feels is easiest. 

The biggest thing about this fight for melee is not standing in crystal traps. Shannox will turn towards the person he is throwing a trap at. Deadly Boss Mods now announces who the trap is on, but the first week it didn't and I still find Shannox turning a good indicator. If he turns towards me I look more carefully, if not, I keep hitting. 

Things to watch out for:
  • When Shannox hurls his spear little fire erupts in a spiraling circle. Usually we're on the boss and far enough away that this isn't a problem for the melee. However, if you're on the dogs or closer than normal, watch out for the little balls of fire and move before they 'splode on you.
  • The boss's cleave. It's big. And it hurts. Stand on his butt at all times.
  • Immolation traps - you can eat one with shamanistic rage on if you really need to. However this isn't a strategy to manage traps, just a tip if you find yourself having to. 
Shannox drops the Fireland's ugliest helmet but it's easier to get than our tier helm. Once your hunters are done squabbling over it, try to get it. This mace also drops, and is an upgrade, but Gatecrasher is sexier.

Giant spiders! I love giant spiders! They're fuzzy and kind of cute, and all of their icky-ness goes away because they're big. Which doesn't make any sense but all I know is that I'd take tarantulas over little spiders any day.

Upstairs: Luckily for me, I get spend quality time with Beth'tilac. At the beginning of the fight I put rockbiter on my weapon, taunt down a spinner, reapply windfury, and ride its webbing up. You can also have rockbiter on a weapon in your bag and just weapon switch. Avoiding the lava pools (signaled by a meteor hurling towards you) and jumping down at the right time are all that's required up here.  Beth does do a large AOE so I throw a couple stoneclaw totems and a shammy rage while upstairs. Make sure you jump down through the MIDDLE of her web. And by jump, I just mean run through. If you literally jump as you go down you can glitch it and not get the handy slow-fall webbing. If you fall through anywhere but the middle you will also take fall damage. Middle good. Everywhere else, bad.

Downstairs: Word of warning, I have never been downstairs. What I can tell you is based on helpful hints from a melee friends that have. Usually melee (espeically aoe poor ones like enhance shamans) will be focusing on the drones. Drop magma totem and earthbind totem if spiderlings are getting too close. (Edit: I fell through the web like a pro the other night, so I spent some time downstairs. Spiderlings die super quick so magma + singletarget + chain lighting with maelstorm proc will finish them off quick if your ranged let some through. Just keep your eyes peeled).

Burn Phase:  You know the drill - stack behind the boss, faceroll, collect loot. (Also, pop damage cooldowns, eat your lock cookies, stay alive).

Shatterskull Bonecrusher also drops off Beth as does this ring. The haste on the ring is gross but it's a base stat upgrade. It has less mastery than the Signet of the Elder Council though, so don't roll on it unless no one else needs it. And I imagine someone else needs it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Plea (for Pants)

I hate robes.

I mean really, really hate them. My favorite tier set for Shamans is tier 5. Why? It has pants. Glorious, glorious pants. I didn't even play WoW until Wrath and I still like tier 5 the best. My entire playable shaman existence has revolved around robes. Bah.

Shaman Tiers 1 - 12 (Note the distinct lack of PANTS)

I realize this is a contentious issue. My elemental and restoration brethren might feel that pants are beneath them.  They are world-class casters and healers, they deserve to wear the robes of their station. I get that.

I, however, am down in the trenches. With the paladins, rouges and the warriors and the bears and the kitties (who might be wearing robes, but you'd never know).We're moving about, running around, whacking big things with our bodies or sharp things attached to our bodies. How - I ask you - how can I effectively maneuver around Shannox's traps or dexterity shamble over Beth'tilac's web, if I am wearing a DRESS?!

Is that why my expertise rating has to be so high? It's not to learn how to hold an axe, it's to learn how to move around without tripping on the hem of my skirt.

I'd say ret paladins understand me, but it would be a lie. You guys got pants all the way until Tier 10. Tier 12 also gives you a robe, but that's 2 out of 12. My sympathy is slight.

Is it a coincidence that the best-in-slot legs for enhance shamans in 4.1 were pants? I think not! I once volunteered to sit out on a heroic Mamgaw run. "Sure, let some others in so they can get experience, we've got him on farm status," I said. Biggest. Mistake. Ever. The pants dropped. My beautiful beautiful pants. I could see them but I could not equip them, as my guildies reminded me over and over gleefully linking them in chat. They have never dropped again since.

Please Blizz, alleviate my pain (caused somewhat by constantly tripping over my robes and flat onto my face) and give enhancement shamans pants. 

Looking more closely I realize Tiers 1, 6, 8, and 12 also have pants. The only problem? They're hidden by robes. So it's as if there are no pants.

Friday, July 15, 2011

On UIs

I decided a few nights ago to tackle my UI. I had the required addons (DBM, recount. omen) but it was a pretty messy set up. Sure nothing was floating in the middle of the screen - but it wasn't sleek and streamlined like the super-glossy, super-organized UIs I've seen.

So I spent a few hours downloading more addons, making everything aligned to the bottom, color-coordinate, and all. After I was finished I stared at my new UI and then realized, I had no idea where anything was. The next day I ran a dungeon and I swear my dps was a couple thousand lower just because I didn't have visual confirmation I was pressing the right buttons.

Shadowed Unit Frames was gorgeous, but  I'm so used to seeing the interrupt bar on the Blizzard UI that I kept missing it on SUF (and yes, I remembered to turn it on). I've been playing with my messy set up for so long I think I'm doomed to use it forever. On newer alts I've taken to making my UI pretty first thing,  so I'm used to where everything is. But on Kaezhol, well, at least it's got an uh...eclectic charm? Maybe? 

Back to chaos it was. I scrapped half the addons I had added and decided my UI was ugly and proud of it. At least I know where stuff is again, that's what matters right? I did keep Omni CC and set up some PowerAura timers though - it really helps me to know when I can fit an earth shock in there and squeeze out just an extra bit of dps.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Up, up, and oh this is so a glitch

While wiping (one of the many times) on Alysrazor the other night, I decided that I wanted to see what it was like to fly. So as the tanks died around me I grabbed three feathers and shot up into the sky. Then I had an even better idea. Could I make it across the gorge and to Ragnaros' side?
The answer is YES - just remember you only have 20 seconds. You can fly from Alysrazor's domain straight across and land on the other side with a few seconds to spare. Staghelm is not there though and Ragnaros is blocked via a very angry fire elemental and a very fire-filled bridge. also, Alysrazor won't reset till you die, so you'll leave your guild wondering very loudly and angrily why the @!#%$ boss is still !#$@)$ alive. Totally worth it though. I'm sure it'll get fixed eventually as it would be possible to get three people to fly over, lock summon the rest of the raid, and possibly unlock Ragnaros. Not sure if the fire barrier remains after that big add goes down if Staghelm is still up - I wasn't exactly in a position to solo it.

Also, while we're on the topic of Alysrazor, does anyone else find the fire vortex portion of the fight zen-like? It's just follow vortex, left 180, follow vortex, left, follow, left, follow, left...bam! You can now see the matrix!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Surviving with Stoneclaw

As they say, "a dead dps does no dps." With Firelands out it's back to progression and learning new fights, so I thought I'd provide some tips on how to track our "lesser" damage cooldown. Your healers will thank you.

I use glyphed stoneclaw as my second damage reduction spell after Shamanistic Rage (sometimes in conjunction with). I use it for attacks like Beth'tilac's Ember Flare, Staghelm's Flame Scythe, or if I need to take a few more stacks of Torment during the Baleroc encounter.

It absorbs roughly 14% of my unbuffed health. Casting it will replace SoE totem and so it is a dps loss. At the cost of 2 GCD's you can drop Stoneclaw, get the shield buff, then reapply SoE.

Macro to cast Stoneclaw then reapply SOE:
Originally by gojant in the For your Health! thread on EJ.

/castsequence reset=15 Stoneclaw Totem, Strength of Earth Totem

Cast once to put down Stoneclaw and again to reapply SoE. Stoneclaw's shield buff will remain on you, even if the totem has been recalled, for 15 seconds or until used up.

Because I like to visually see how long the absorb lasts, I have Power Auras set up. I've also provided the Need to Know equivalent (though without the cooldown timer). 

Power Auras to show Stoneclaw shield up
Version:4.21; b:0.1137; g:0.9765; icon:Ability_Warrior_DefensiveStance; buffname:Stoneclaw Totem; r:0; texture:21; alpha:1; mine:true
Text indicator to show when stoneclaw totem is usable again (with timer)
Version:4.21; b:0.2078; icon:Spell_Nature_StoneClawTotem; buffname:Stoneclaw Totem; r:0; x:260; bufftype:15; texture:148; aurastext:Stoneclaw!; textaura:true; size:1.87; y:84; timer.enabled:true; timer.y:105; timer.x:242

Version:4.21; b:0.2078; icon:Spell_Nature_StoneClawTotem; buffname:Stoneclaw Totem; r:0; x:260; bufftype:15; texture:148; aurastext:Stoneclaw!; textaura:true; size:1.87; y:84

Need to Know:
Buff = Stoneclaw Totem
Bar type = Buff
Buff settings = Only show if cast by self
Time Format = Fractional Seconds

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Can you hear me now?

I first want to say: please make a Atramedes plushie Blizzard. I would buy one, maybe two, and love it oh-so-much. Pretty please?

This expansion's most adorable dragon has very few changes in heroic mode. You have less gongs to hit (essentially a soft enrage timer and less wiggle room to screw up) and things tend to hurt more and there are more bad things to stand in spawning during air phase.

The new mechanic is that little obnoxious adds spawn, monkey-themselves onto someone's back, and cast a spell appropriately called Obnoxious. Set DBM to announce when they spawn AND when they are actually targetable, as they'll be out for a few seconds before you can damage them. Once you can target them (having an addon like Tidy Plates is useful to see them) switch to them immediately and interrupt their casting as much as you can. They don't have much health so they'll die pretty quickly.

Of general importance: (1) pop shammy rage/stoneclaw totem on Searing Flame (2) ghost wolf during air phase, *especially* if you're targeted by his beam.
We tanked him in the back of the room and stacked in a straight line. This way Sonar Pulse always spawned and headed in a straight line and we could just strafe left or right. Similarly, a player targeted with Sonic Breath would always run left or right and we would know to run opposite. When the adds spawned we were also always close enough to kill them in seconds. Being this far back did mean our kitty druid or hunter would have to sacrifice some dps to run out to a gong from time to time (we used them up back to front), but it was worth it for the ease of dealing with the other mechanics.

This is the last of the heroic strats as 4.2 came out and we've been focused on downing the new stuff.

Mad Scientist, Take Two

Anyone who raided in ICC knows that any kind of alchemy/do-it-your-self-kitchen in the back of the room spells trouble for your raid. At some point the boss is going to throw something together and it's going to hurt. Maloriak is no exception.

As in normal mode you will rotate through red/blue and a green vial phase. The same strategy applies to them in heroic as it did in normal. Stack up during the red phase (unless you have have Consuming Flames on you) and  pop your damage cooldowns. Spread out in blue phase (just in melee ranged, don't make the mistake of running away). If you are the designated interrupted for either Arcane Storm or Release Aberrations, or the designated purger for Remedy, be on your game. Especially if you're on Release Aberrations, make sure you tell your tanks what order you're letting them out in, or ask them what they prefer. We usually kicked the first cast and let the next three go.

What heroic mode brings to the table is black phase. Maloriak will always start with a black phase and then cycle through the others. Thus black -> red/blue -> green -> black -> so on.
 In the black phase Maloriak will summon Vile Swill and the add tank will pick them up and kite them around the back of the room (usually along the walls from left to right). These adds must be AOE'd down. "Oh crap," you say, "not AOE damage. It takes forever to get flame shock rolling on 3 of them." Well, just be thankful, my young shamans, that you are doing this after the patch. At least now fire nova will refresh the shocks a bit. Get your flameshocks up - you'll need to be tabbing a lot anyway to avoid pulling threat off since it will be low from tank kiting - and drop magma totem constantly as you move.Use maelstrom stacks to throw a chain lightning off. The chaos that is our AOE dps only gets worse when you consider you have to be constantly dodging Dark Sludge pools which are sprayed by the blobs. This fight, more than any other, really makes me which we had some sort of cleave or fan of knives type attack. A whirlwind perhaps? We do need more wind based spells...

And no, you cannot just single target dps any of the swills because you *will* pull off the tank and die a horrible death. 

After black phase is over take a moment to wonder why you've just pressed 8 bajillion buttons and your aoe dps does not seem to reflect all that effort, then move on with the normal phases.

There is the option of switching to a spellpower (flametongue enchant) main-hand and just standing with the ranged while keeping up a fire nova/chain lightning rotation. I happen to refuse to do this because if I wanted to use spellpower weapons I'd roll elemental. However, for this fight especially, your dps would benefit some and so if you feel so inclined, go for it. Remember to switch back after black phase is over. .

A note on managing adds during the normal phases: our dps got to the point where it was high enough that we had times where we had to stop on Maloriak or risk pushing him into phase 2 early, so we would let the first 3 casts go and kick the last, giving the ranged time to focus the adds for a bit of pre-green phase nuking.

Remember to dodge the falling ice in Phase 2 and you'll be all set. Happy Raiding!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wormzilla vs. the Robot Gang

Hey all - figured I'd plunk out Heroic Magmaw and Heroic Omnitron before I get too far into Firelands and forget all the 'old' stuff.

Heroic Magmaw
There are two major changes for heroic mode: (1) There are blazing skeleton adds that spawn one at a time. They must be tanked and it is usually the melee's job to kill them. You have to have a fair amount of dps on them otherwise at 20% they start casting an uninterruptable Armageddon and will deal massive raid damage if they don't die. (2) At 30% the adds will stop spawning and Nefarian will start throwing shadow damage at the raid. It hits random sections of the room so everyone spreads out to lessen the chance of getting hit. I usually sit in the middle, pop shamanistic rage, drop a glyphed Stoneclaw totem, and wail on him. 

If this is 10m it's most likely that it will only be you and another melee on the adds (along with a tank). I've been paired with a warrior, a rouge, even a shadow priest, and we've never had any trouble getting the add down. The add crashes down as he spawns, but it should be in ranged. He spawns fire with him, but it shouldn't wander into melee, just keep an eye out if it does. However, it is also melee's job to jump up on the head and chain Magmaw to the spike. This is priority number one! Drop everything and jump on that head the second the vehicle command becomes available. Be sure someone calls it out too because ranged will have to switch to killing the skeleton add because Armageddon almost always occurs 2 seconds after you can jump.

I'm assuming that if you're on H.Magmaw you've been on chain duty for normal mode. It's the same deal. Hope up. Press 1, aim green circle on spike, click, chain, profit. If for some reason you're not on chain duty, for the love of loot, do not try to jump up. You can glitch it and throw the designated jumper off. This makes for a very, very unhappy raid. 

Basically the only time you're dps-ing Magmaw is when his head is down. The goal is to have Magmaw down to 35% after so many mangles (around 3 maybe?) so that when he is spiked that next time you can pop hero and get as much damage on him as possible so that the Shadowflame Barrage phase is short. When you're on that last dps-race you can ignore the skeletons and just focus on the boss until he's down. 

Other than the above, it's the standard fight. Save your wolves for the spiked phases, use damage cooldowns when appropriate (sometimes not needed but your healers will thank you).

Heroic Omnitron Defense System
If you thought normal mode had a lot going on, it only gets worse. Welcome to the cluster---- that is Heroic Omni.There are still two robots up at any time, they still do all their normal skills. However, because Neferian's only entertainment seems to be making raiders lives harder (really, can't the guy read a book or something?), now all of the skills have a chance to do something extra. 

Arcanotron: Power Generator now has a chance to swell and blow up. If the circle is growing, GTFO! (And laugh at the mage who dies because he "thought he could blink out in time")
Toxitron: Neferain can choose to drag the entire raid into Chemical Cloud. Run out, but make sure not to hit any adds on the way.
Magmatron: When he "acquires a target" and hits them with Flamethrower, there is a chance that the person will be rooted in place. If your raid is used to the targeted person removing themselves from the group, now is the time to learn to remove yourselves from his presence instead. Just pop one of your damage cooldowns and pray your healers focus on you.
Electron: Lightning Conductor will sometimes turn into Shadow Conductor. With lightning conductor you want to be spread out, but it's the opposite for shadow. Once it turns, everyone should stack in on the affected person to mitigate the raid damage. 

Neferain only tampers with every other attack. So if Magmatron and Arcanatron are both up, and Magmatron's spell was just buffed, Arcanatron's pool should be normal. The key to this fight is just learning how to deal with all the buffed spells.

As in normal it will be your job to interrupt Arcane Annihilator whenever Arcanotron is up. If you have a mage in your group - one that you trust - you can play the very dicey "let Converted Power stack a couple times then have the mage spellsteal it." We do that and it makes my mage very, very happy. It gave me heart-attacks the first few times because I wasn't sure I could get all the interrupts. If you and the mage work well together, go for it. If not, I wouldn't risk it. On 10man I can get every interrupt, on 25 the tank and I swap them. 

That's all for now - I'll probably update with some doodles later. Everyone's favorite mad scientist (no, not Professor Putricide, the dragon-looking one) up next.