Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Naxx, Naxx, Naxx

3 wings down. 1 to go. We got to Gluth for the first time as a guild, and rolled through everything else for the most part.

Iceravens took to tanking like a lab to water. He was as worried as a certian hunter was her first trip into Karazhan.

We found a pugging DK and dragged him into the run, and then into the guild, and he helped out with strategies, ideas, suggestions on the bosses we hadn't done yet. The toughest was the four horsemen, which was more of a "lets get used to this mechanic" much more than a "Gosh we suck and can't do this".

I'm so happy to run with my guildies, its always refreshing, fun on vent, and relaxing (well, aside from the finger cramp I got while kiting Globulous backwards for 10 minutes).

Basic suggestions for the fights that I found helpful:

-Four Horsemen-
- if you're running with a paladin tank, have him /focus the other tank, and have a macro /cast [target = focus] Righteous defense

Only _after_ that goes off, the other tank will need to taunt his mob on the switches.

If you are the kiting tank, turn 'run' off, and walk backwards constantly around the room. Its a good pace for kiting him at, and it allows your melee dps to get a few hits in on him and avoid the poision clouds as well

Melee dps should concentrate on the slimes, period. Ranged stays focused on Glob.

I got the uber tanking sword, Iceravens got the Shield, Neshura looted all of Four Horsemen... and other people got other loots too!

So, Grats me, and Grats KoU on 11/15 in Naxx!

Oh, and... how come the mobs can ride horses but we can't? HMMMM? DOUBLE YOU TEE EFF?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Heigan, Hunters, Hit Capping

Kvasira's post made me wonder about hit-capping again. I mean, I know it's important, and I'm told I should stack it above everything else, but ... how much am I really missing by missing? I wanted to do the math myself.

Looking at the web stats, I can calculate the following --

Even with a draenei in the raid, I missed 1.6% of my auto shots. 0.1% was mitigated, but let's just ignore that, because it's too small of a percentage to work with. This means, since I landed 317 shots, 5 of them missed. Average damage was 859 on non crits, and 1682 on crits (14%). This means I missed on average 3694 non-crit damage plus 1177 crit dmg.

For my steady shots, I missed 0.5%, with 0% mitigated. This means out of 201 shots, 1 (JUST ONE) of them missed. Average damage was 1167 on non crits, and 2571 on crits (18%). This gives a probable damage for this shot of 1173.

So we have...

  • Auto Shot: 308,597 done, and 4871 that I could have gotten if I were hit-capped.
  • Steady Shot: 284,060 done, and 1173 that I could have gotten if I were hit-capped.

Now, what my Cheeky's (now Shandara's) spreadsheet tells me by modeling my gear and buffs from the exact raid setup I had then, is that Poached Northern Sculpin will buff my pet DPS by 5 and my hunter DPS by 12, as opposed to using no food at all. My pet was useless in the Heigan fight, so let's ignore the 5.

My time in the fight dps'ing was 706 seconds. My DPS was 928. Adding 12 dps to that and multiplying by my time in the fight gets me 8,472 that I could have gotten by eating AP food. Getting to the hit cap gives me 6,044, or 8.5 dps that I could have added.

  • Eating cheap BC Hit cap food: 8.5 dps increase, or
  • Eating mammoth 60AP food: 9 dps increase, or
  • Eating expensive 80AP food: 12 dps increase

So missing only 1 steady shot and 5 auto shots in a 14 minute fight is roughly equivalent to 60AP lost!

Once again, the clear conclusion is... get ye to your hit cap, hunters. A little bit of hit is worth a lot of DPS.

(The postscript is, hug your local draenei.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Naxx, Initial excursion

In case you couldn't tell by Neshura's awesome posts, I finally made it into Naxx with my guildies. Had an absolute blast. Rolled over the first two bosses in the Spider wing and then came to the "HAY POS HOW GOOD IS UR GEAR?" boss.

We wiped 5 or 6 times, and then finally got the evil Spider down with just a Ret paladin and a Hunter still alive.

Our biggest problem was, of course, the web wraps when she was enraged. 6 second stun when the mob is hitting me for 8k a swing is a tough thing to live through. I can manage once, by blowing cooldowns, but when the second one comes, I'm all but dead.

If anyone has suggestions, please, post them. We ended up needing 3 web wraps to down her, one I cooldowned, one I got Hands Layed on me by a ret pally, and the 3rd one I died.

I realize our raid dps may be a tad low overall, but, its amazing how smoothly everything else ran, except for this one thing. What it came down to, wasn't our raid, wasn't who we had in there, wasn't our dps, wasn't our healers.

It was my gear. As the main tank I need better gear. So, plvl my gear, please.

I was sitting at almost 33k hp raid buffed, and it shocked me how quickly I went down.

Had druid and priest hots rolling on me at all times. I suppose I could have her bubbling me as well.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The 10 Dancing Princesses, aka Downing Heigan in Naxx-10

I almost ran my boots off last night learning the Heigan fight in Naxx-10. We probably wiped the fight eight times over two hours before I got the hang of it. Nobody bothered much with buffs or consumables. Only two or three people in the group had ever seen this fight before, and not all of them stayed alive either. 

The gist of the fight is that there are cracks in the floor that dribble out a poison field; at any given time, roughly 75% of the room is poisoned, and there is a small safe area with no poison. Every three seconds, this "safe" spot moves, and you have to move with it, because the poison kills you. It's very tough to explain, which is why you should read the strategy guide and watch the excellent tankspot tutorial video series on Naxx

Now, I play video games just like someone who didn't grow up playing any video games -- I mean, unless you've seen me shoot teammates in the face repeatedly during console gaming, you might not believe that I am a truly bad player. My reflexes are slow, I'm pretty clumsy and non-athletic, and I usually feel like I'm all thumbs whenever I'm playing a game. 

That said... guess who was still alive when we downed Heigan? If you said, "Everyone but you, nesh?"... INCORRECT. Also, you're a jerk. (Partial credit though. Iirc, I got a rez partway through. The healer was ignoring Rule #1 below.) If a crappy player like me can get through the Heigan fight, you can too.

Here are some Do's and Don'ts for downing Heigan (hunter-biased but applicable to everyone):

Practice running back and forth between safe spots before you start the fight. Drop smoke flares, repair bots, or whatever works, to mark the safe spots. Run between them. Recognize them. Know them intimately. Try that about 50 times.
Practice running back and forth between safe spots after you start the fight. Don't think about healing, or dps. If you are the tank, some minimal amount of threat generation is good. Just expect that if you haven't done the fight, you've got some practice wipes ahead of you.
Turn on Deadly Boss Mods or Bigwigs. If the timers are too distracting, fine, but you want to make sure you are fully prepared to change phases, and you don't want a teleport to catch you by surprise. Do not expect anyone to let you know when the teleport is about to happen. See Rule #1 below.
Run in a straight line. Every movement of the mouse, every button press, every single wasted movement is a chance to screw it up
Practice the flip. It's an endurance event with laps, you're Michael Phelps, and when you flip to run the other way, it needs to be flawless. When you've done the flip 150 times in a row, muscle memory will kick in during the real thing.
Bring MM hunters to the fight. Wolfinme, you're the new definition of awesome. And not just MM hunters... elemental shamans. Or ret pallies. Every class can contribute to this fight, but there are some fights that are just made for the massive single target dmg builds.
If most of your heals are instant cast, run with the tank and melee for all phases. You need the practice. If your heals take time to cast, you'll need to stand on the platform. 
Have a plan for how you are personally going to manage the transitions. Here's how my 1-to-2 plan went: "At the 20 second timer, refresh Serpent Sting regardless. Make the most of 18 seconds spamming Steady Shot, blow any cooldowns that are left, in case I die in the upcoming running phase. As Serpent Sting goes off, stop Steady Shot'ing, just a few seconds to the Teleport now. Watch the boss, re-position the camera so that I'm looking at home plate. Mana is low, pop Viper. A few autoshots while I'm running in Phase 2 will help me out. BAM! Teleport. Run to home plate. Reposition the camera again so I'm looking straight along the path that I'll be running. I'm far enough from the boss, I can see the second safe spot, wait for the green wall o' poison to pop. Now RUN!" Your plan will have nothing to do with anyone else's plan. Pretend the other people are just non-aggro adds. See Rule #1 below.
Tank the boss a little under halfway from the platform to the wall. You want to be within range of the ranged DPS, but you don't want the ranged healers and DPS to be stuck in the Spell Disruption aura. That means there is an invisible band running across the room about 15 yards wide that you need to keep him inside for Phase 1. 

Use Aspect of the Cheetah or any other running buff. The fight is synchronized to normal run speed, and when you are doing it right, your whole team is running in sync, independently (if that makes any sense). Plus, if you throw Cheetah on too early, Heigan's AOE dmg will daze you and you'll be slow to get to home plate. If switching to kitty form is second nature for you druids, fine, go ahead. You'll be doing a lot more stopping and starting though.
Try to run around the edge of the platform to minimize the distance you have to travel. Heigan's AOE extends further out than you think. Yes, math is great. No, dying isn't. 
Bring a pet to the fight and expect it to stay alive. BM Hunters (like me), you're outta luck. Suck it up. I got one Bestial Wrath out of my passive dino before Phase 2, where the poison dropped the pet while she was on auto-follow. Maybe you can get a second Bestial Wrath off, if you can debug Heart of the Phoenix, but don't waste time on a pet rez, and don't waste time futzing around with pet controls. Maybe there's a technique I didn't think of. Mention it in the comments.
Stack up on the tank and try to follow him or her. For one thing, you can't see your toon in the crowd if you're a shorty, and you will inevitably say, "Where's my toon?", stop running, and bam... poisoned. For another, there's video and network lag between you and the tank. See Rule #1 below.
Expect to learn the dance the first time. When you die, say to yourself out loud, "My mistake there was: [ ] running too fast, [ ] running too slow, [ ] trying to heal, [ ] trying to cast, [ ] trying to pot or bandage, [ ] answering the phone", etc.
Heal anyone except the tank in Phase 1. Everyone else needs to learn Rule #1.
Heal the tank in Phase 2. You need to learn Rule #1.

The only rule that matters in the Heigan fight is Rule #1: You are on your own. 

On your own, by yourself, no one should be paying attention to you, no one will heal you, don't heal anyone else besides the tank. If you get a little bit of aoe dmg in the teleport switch, don't worry about it. It won't kill you as long as you keep moving. Use a health pot if you are nervous. If you get distracted by something stupid like bandaging, you'll die. Your teammates won't die if they are doing the dance correctly, and they will die if they aren't. You can't do much about that as a healer, because you need to stay alive to keep the tank alive in Phase 1. That is the only exception to Rule #1. 

Yes, if you're a hunter, you can leave autoshot on during Phase 2. It won't hurt, it will help if you have to pop Viper, and turning it off would be one more thing to worry about while you are trying to move. If you find it distracting, turn it off during your phase switch prep.

If you are a healer, you're going to ignore all my rules, and maybe one or two people extra will survive the fight because you are a totally awesome healybot, and that gives them a little more practice on the dance floor... but you healing them is a crutch, I tell you! A CRUTCH! They'll start to think someone cares, that some sweet pure angelic healer loves them and cares if they die, and what they really need is a green slimy poisonous smack in the face. Healers, look inside for your inner lock, and practice your evil cackle.

I survived the Heigan fight when I stopped doing the Don'ts and I started doing the Do's. When we got him to 30% and I realized that I had "gotten it", I popped a flask and started getting serious about DPS in Phase 1. It was fantastic fun and I can't wait to do that fight again. 

The Heigan fight now replaces Blackheart the Inciter as my all-time favorite boss ever in WoW.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Hello! And Heroic Halls of Stone

Posolutely invited me to guest blog here, and while I don't have much to write about in WoW, occasionally I do feel the need to vent or chatter about specific events in the game.

First off... this is me --

Neshura. Dwarf, hunter, beastmaster, always and forever. I have a gorilla named Daffodil and a dino named Petunia. My pets are always named after either flowers or horrifying diseases. With that out of the way....

Tonight, we ran another heroic, new to me: Halls of Stone. Now I've only been to Halls of Stone on regular once before. This seemed just a touch more difficult. For one thing, the tank hadn't been there. Not Posolutely, but our guild's other tank, Balendin. I pounced on Balendin the moment he logged in and berated him til he agreed to come along. "But I haven't done heroic Halls of Stone!" Haha... "Neither have I! Neither has the healer! It'll be fun!"

I wouldn't say that I lied, as I was fully expecting that it would be fun.


We wiped at least 15 times if not more. We one-shotted the big rock boss, the Gruul's lookalike who does the shatter. The other bosses though.... ouch. 

Maiden put us all to sleep and then killed us, over and over. We finally got her down with just a few people still standing. Balendin worked the hokey-pokey trick of jumping into the black circles to get the dot that would cancel the sleep spell, and after he got the hang of it, it was just enough to get us through that boss.

At the Tribunal, I stood on the stairs and dropped frost traps to pull mobs into consecrates, but we still died. Wave after wave of angry short dudes pummeled me and Petunia -- we died a good bit, even though Bale was tanking and Iceravens was offtanking. Around the fifth or sixth try, we all died--again--right at the end of the last wave. The mobs went straight for Brann Bronzebeard, but he somehow managed to pull off his "computer hacking" and they despawned before they ever touched him. So, we finished that boss AND got the achievement -- even though everyone was dead. 

Our pug warlock had to leave at that point, so we headed out to summon a guildie mage. Aaaand... died in the respawns. Complete wipe.

We cleared the mobs, and headed for the last boss. Spell-stealing the lightning shield made a HUGE difference. The adds weren't easy, they had about 26k+ health each, but with a mage and a hunter both on add duty, we one-shotted the final boss.

It took about two hours, and it felt like it was twice as long. But we all learned the fights pretty well from doing them over and over. I do prefer the shorter instances offered by wrath -- a slog in Burning Crusade was a 3 or 4 hour affair. I can survive a 2 hour slog, but after that point, my eyes start to go crossed from too much time at the computer.

I was starting to feel like I was doing pretty well on getting starter-geared for raiding, until heroic Halls of Stone. Now, I feel like a n00b all over again. No loot for me tonight, but some loot for guildies, so yay.

Now, it's time to go do my evening meditation on "Why Do I Always Forget To Put Petunia Back on Passive".