Thursday, September 3, 2009

For The First Time: The New VoA and ToGC

Last night I got the chance to do two things I hadn't done before. First, I got called in to help out with a VoA run. This was a guild run for a friendly guild, and they'd been about three people short of the full ten. The plan was to start off on the new boss. Many of the raiders had not seen this boss before, myself included.

We had hoped the run would be a quick, three boss foray into the vault. However, as with most learning experiences, the run turned painful pretty quick. We wiped for about a half hour before calling it because several of us had another raid to attend. It really wasn't all that bad, there were just too many of us trying to learn the encounter. People stayed positive and it wasn't a big deal when we all had to leave. A key to this is probably starting on the new boss, so that if you don't succeed, no one is saved, and thus you can just break it up with not a whole lot of hard feelings or "when the hell are we going to be able to schedule this again."

The fight itself is not that difficult, but it does take a moderate level of coordination. The tank must kite the boss around the circular room in order to avoid standing in fire. As with most boss fights we're used to, standing in the fire is bad. The fire spots for this boss are somewhat smaller than most of the circles of death that we're used to seeing, but they definitely will kill you if you're not quick to get out of them. He randomly puts these on raid members, so everyone has to stay alert.

He also does a crazy whirlwind of fire that will hit similar to XT's temper tantrums. That is to say, it'll hit everyone and take everyone pretty low on health. If you've been recently bathing in fire, you'll probably die. I don't care how much you think it exfoliates... bad fire is bad. He'll also cleave you if you're in front of him, so the more clothie folks will want to stay behind the tanks kite path. The attack is called meteor fists and conically spread out over the people standing in front of him at the time. It's not so bad if you're a tank, but if you're squishy to begin with, I suggest finding the butt.

So, in short, stay out of the fire, try to stay behind the kite path, and DPS your little heart out. Standing outside of the inconveniently red-colored inner circle of the room can help you see the fires. Also, say thank you to your healers if you survive, because the onus really is on them for this one. There's just a lot of damage to heal through.

The second new experience I had was running 10-man Trial of the Grand Crusader, aka the newish raid instance that takes place in the coliseum. I'd like to say I learned a lot, and I did... from watching. You see, a snobold jumped on me right away, banging away at my head and stunning me directly in the middle of a little fire. If we've learned one thing from the previous boss of the night, it's that bad fire is bad. So yeah, crispy warlock is dead. Which sucks because there are two more bosses immediately following this first guy that I now have to just lay there and watch. At least it got that damned snobold off my head.

I'd like to offer a summary of tips and tricks for these guys, but I'll reserve that for a later, more alive posting time. I'd like to, you know, experience the fight first. And not from the floor.

So after I got rezzed for the second phase, I was all focused and ready not to die again. I was moderately successful. We kept wiping when he'd summon those infernals. In retrospect, I think there were just enough DPS that were confused about how to handle these that they stayed up too long and caused too much damage. What really needs to happen is that people need to mostly stay put, DPS the adds when they're in range and switch to the boss if they go out of range, all while avoiding the various AoEs and fires that spring up. What was happening was half of us running around trying to "DPS the adds!" and then getting out of range of a healer and succumbing to AoE when an infernal balls up and Sonic-the-hedgehog's our ass.

After getting night-at-the-roxbury'ed (yeah, descriptive verbs today, right?) by two infernals, I bit it again, but watched as we finished off the boss. I'm happy to say that in our previous unsuccessful attempts, I had be one of the last ones alive, but of course when we actually kill the bugger, I'm one of the early ones to die. Thus, I again watched a lot of a fight from the floor. It was just one of those nights.

Real quick, I'm going to segway (on a segway, ha!) and say: WTF is up with this Jaraxxus character getting green fire before the rest of us warlocks. I mean, he sort of a frackin' minion right? Granted he kills that idiot gnome (Grand Warlock fails at summoning a doomguard? Srsly, that's elementary for 'locks) that summoned him and stylizes himself as a "Lord", but minions so totally DO NOT get green fire before the masters. It's just not right and offended my tender warlock sensibilities. So screw you and your green fire Mr. Lord Jerk Person. You and your creepy hands-pulling portal thingy can go back to the fiery pits that spawned you. And no Fizzlewhatever is gonna bring you back, you crafty opportunist you. Now leave before I taunt you a second time.

And since I'm on a rant, lets go right into the final portion of the night: the so-called "PvP' portion of the encounter. I dunno who keeps saying "it's like PvP", but you can go fly a damn kite. Maybe I just horribly suck at PvP, but this was not like any PvP I've ever done. You see, PvP normally consists of pitting yourself against another player with similar reflex times (lag variable of course) and a similar number of cooldowns and abilities. Sure, gear may alter how much you hit or get hit for, but generally speaking you're in the same ball park. One of you is NOT a boss.

Maybe this is similar to PvP'ing in a bracket where you're the low level and everyone else is like three to five levels above you. Oh, and they don't have cooldowns, have infinite trinkets to get out of any CC you throw down, hit like a truck, heal like a pally on meth, have the twitchiest reflexes of the most experienced FPS player, and on top of all that, they just nabbed themselves a tenacity bonus since it's 10 vs. 6. Then, on top of all that, they're completely stupid and run around randomly targeting people and not really using any special abilities other than three whacking your shoddy clothie ass with white noise attacks.

What you should take from the above rant is not that the opposite faction champions are "good players" you're PvP'ing against, they're just six minibosses with no aggro table that run around wreaking havok on your raid. There is no strategy here, burn healers fast and try to survive. CC doesn't stick. The only thing that seems to work is stunning, but you only get like, one of those per fight for most classes. Plus, you're getting harassed by that damn hunter's cat so you can't cast shit anyways. ZOMG /headdesk.

The fight just makes me angry. Perhaps 25-man is better. Perhaps we're just undergeared for the encounter as a group. Perhaps we all suck terribly at PvP (though experience would tell me otherwise. I'm not an arena junkie, but I'm not a noob either). Perhaps we just don't really know how to go about this yet and our strategy of burning healers was fundamentally flawed. However, it didn't seem like we could DPS through their ridiculous healing. The druid/paladin healer combo was fuggin' ridonkulous.

Anyways, that's enough rantiness for one post. I hope maybe you learned something. Hopefully the learning wasn't from the floor like mine. If it was from the floor, you probably need to lay off the sauce. I mean, it's early.

Then again... it's five o'clock somewhere. *Cheers*


  1. Quick warlock tips:

    Lord Jaxx:
    On the infernal, all DPS on the first one. Banish the second one when it emerges. First one should be dead just after the third one pops out of the volcano. Kill third one, rebanish second if necessary. If your offtank is capable it isn't bad.

    Faction champions: Ignore the healers for the first phase. Pop heroism (if you have a shaman) and burn down the warrior. Get the DK next. Fear works really well to keep the cat off you.

    I run a cookiecutter destro spec except I pulled one one point from replenishment and put it in soul link, which really reduces the "squishy" factor.

    The twins are much harder now. We beat 'em (finally) but it required four or five wipes!

    My gear is OK (not great). You can see it on the armory.

    Abednego, Ysera

  2. Oooh, banish is a great idea. Good call!

    I think one of our problems was failing to focus on that first one out of the shoot, even though we were told to. After reiterating the command, it seemed more focused and went a lot better.

    For the champions, you suggest the melee first then? Never tried it that way, but obviously would be worth a go for us.

    I liked running my demo spec here for the reduced squishiness as well. Soul Link is good stuff.

  3. Faction Champs was the last encounter available the last time I was able to raid and that's as far as we got. They smoked us for a good 2 hours before we called it. Nothing was working, people were getting pissed, etc.

    I'm not a big fan of the encounter at all.

    I've heard the twins and anubarak are free loot on 10 though.