Our ragtag group is on regular Zon'ozz. We've done him via LFR, but our goal (as has been since mid-Wrath) is to progress through ten man content at our own rate. That is to say, LFR doesn't "count" as far as we're concerned. It's like running BH on off nights. Good for gear and to keep the fingers limber (with a side bonus of introducing us to the bosses).
What I had conveniently forgotten about Raid Leading was that I can't help but get irate at shoddy visual cues and tricky mechanics. When I'm not RL, I'm a little more laid back. I don't feel personally responsible when someone dies. After all, it's not my crappy strat. (To be fair, I try to whisper the RL with any and all suggestions, but it's a little easier to weather when the buck isn't stopping with me.)
Well, now it is, and we're dying. For anyone who hasn't done this boss (and a quick sanity check for myself), here's the quick run down of boss abilities:
- There is Purple Ping Pong Ball of Doom that spawns. Look for the lightning from his nose. It will bounce of players and do distributed damage.
- There is a frontal conic called Psychic Drain. It hits like a truck, but will only occur when the ball is active.
- There is a stacking buff for the boss that makes him hit harder. It stacks up until the boss is hit with the ball and then resets.
- When the boss is hit with the ball, you enter what I call the Back in Black phase. Characterized by creepy tentacle monsters, a dark room, mosh pitting on the boss's butt, and, yes, me singing like Brian Johnson over vent.
So what we were doing was the basic half the group on the boss, half the group out at max range. When the ball spawns, our tank flips the boss so the lightning goes through his crotchal region. The ball goes out first, then in (being ponged by the group). After it hits the melee group on bounce (2), we call for them to get out of the way. It pongs off the ranged group, heads back in, and then strikes the boss, starting Back in Black mode.
There are two major issues. First, the flipping ball has a giant hit box that is in no way indicated by its visual representation. After a while, it sort of felt like playing ping pong with ball that has a giant, beach ball sized force field around it. The graphic does not help really at all. Even when it hits a group, the explosion lags behind DBM's reporting and the actual direction change.
Second, a direct corollary of the first, the ball does seem to want to rebound directly at the boss. For the life of me, I can't figure out how it decides it's path. I tried hitting it flush with my ranged group paddle. I tried "adding spin" by moving into it. Yes, I even tried to curve the bullet. Myth Busted. Again. Seriously, if anyone knows how to get the ball to behave, you leave me a comment. Just when I think it's going right... it goes left.
So yeah, "catching" the ball with the boss is a big issue for us, especially when compounded by the fact that the actual radius of the thing is way larger than it appears to be. (So you inevitably get that one person that thinks they're far enough out, but really isn't and sends it ponging back unintentionally. Also, I've heard it sometimes ricochets off of pets. Anyone see that in action?)
When got used to catching, we found that we started getting the tank squished around the third pong match. That is, we were using a 3,3,3,splat... strat. Apparently, and this didn't occur to my bright ass until later, you can and should change the number of pongs. By leading off with a 3 pong, I was likely condemning us to a splat later. Supposedly it has to do with how the stacking lines up, because it takes longer the other times for the ball to spawn (and thus he builds up more stacks before you can get rid of them).
Instead, I should go with at least a 5,3,3,3 strat. We should be close to killing him by that last set of three, hopefully avoiding the splat. Leading off with 5 makes the next couple 3's not so bad, as the ball spawns sooner after you exit Back in Black mode. I guess there's a definite cooldown between spawnings, so by making it bounce more, you're shifting the phase back a bit in time, evening out how long you are forced to take it to the face. I'm not sure I completely grasp all the nuances, but suffice it to say, I need to try a front loaded pong strat.
Yes, this is a healer heavy fight. Our healers are, while not over geared, decently geared. We probably have room for improvement in that area, but it is what it is. We're casual, so we don't focus a lot on gearing, trying to make up for the "grind time" with being smarter in our strats. Thus, more research was needed, and while I don't think I can improve the ball catching, the new pong pattern should help. I can mess with it a bit to see what we can handle.
Anyway, any advice from y'all? Did I miss something? Is it just a matter of getting better geared so our healers can "heal through it?" (Five hits is rough with the AoE, but I think we can do it the first time through.) Otherwise, I'm just going to be pissed about the terrible purple ball graphic. Seriously, if you're going to make a pong mechanic, Blizz, at least make the ball part look logical. I'm not fond of giant invisible force fields on my balls... just sayin'.