ICC25 update

Wednesday night is raiding night since some shuffling happened a few months ago, it’s been working out better than Sunday raids.  Last night was particularly good.

Marrowgar, one shot
Deathwhisper, two shot
Boat, one shot (still the best encounter by far on the ‘fun’ scale)
Deathbringer, four attempts I think.

With enough time left to get in the weekly raid (Razorscale) and still finish early enough to get in a guild daily random run done (Hall of Stone..) with one of the guild who’s only recently started playing regularly again.

I promised some thoughts on healing the Deathbringer on normal.  It’s not a trivial fight but now we have a strat it’s coming together.  We’re using the “let people die” approach, the logic behind this is that the more marks which are up the greater the rate of gaining blood on the boss resulting in a shorter time between new marks.  At 30% he hits a frenzy which increases the damage rate.  Typically trying to keep all marked players up resulted in having 6-8 marks during frenzy, which is brutal to heal through and trying to get a decent triage failed.  Normally seeing two go down together (10% health back on the boss), and from there it’s all downhill.

Now the first two marks are left to die, unless it’s someone we cannot afford to lose (the current swapped tank for example).  Providing dps are on the ball nuking the blood beasts this results in 1-2 marks on hitting frenzy and I think 4-5 marks by the time we can get the kill.  On the kill I think we actually lost two after the frenzy but managed to pull it back.

One problem which caused the first few wipes was our healing make up (tree heavy), which resulted in the first two marks taking a long time to go down due to the size of the ticks the HoTs were delivering.  So the toon marked for death must clear all healing buffs and the healers need to be on the ball and ideally avoid AoE heals (Wild Growth for example) until the mark is dead.

Towards the end of the fight the healing (from a tree perspective) turns into “make sure there’s a hot up and nourish the hell out of the marks” with the occasional WG for the rest of the raid as necessary.

I suppose this means I should post some decent content…

Thanks to Leafshine for the blogroll link, I guess this means the blog becomes a little more of an obviously public place rather than a place for really random witterings.

Anyway some ponderings based on something I was reading earlier, is ICC too much of a leap from TotC, is it “just too hard”.  I’m not convinced.  Ok I started raiding recently, the alliance I joined (Even Odds) was busy working Ulduar 25 and had recently managed to beat up Vezax if I recall correctly and was spending serious pain time kicking a god in one of his many sets of spare teeth.   From the point of view of a tree who hadn’t done masses of healing in a raid setting (though I had pugged up OS & Naxx on the tank) it was hard work but nothing the team wasn’t handling.  Wipes were on the bosses which we all learnt were trickier (Thorim, Crazy Cat Lady and Mimi).

The hard modes tended to be much harder and there are still some which haven’t been properly nailed down (I need to get back in there for the drake).  Either due to much higher situational awareness requirements or simple healing or dps checks in blowing the boss down before the enrage.

TotC25, or as I shall refer to it from now on “The 10th circle of hell – The Boring One”, we mostly blew through the normal mode bosses.  Champs gave and continue to give some problems simply because the mechanics of the fight are so different from the more traditional PvE fare.   I think on balance it was a useful change to keep raiders slightly off balance.

The hardmode version of TotC25 was just that, brutal.  The dps check to get through the beasts had us smashing our faces into the various phases for weeks.  However once the beasts fell (after the enrage timer had tripped on the first kill) we rolled through the Gnome and his Demon friend and the champs went down surprisingly quickly.

So… ICC25

Firstly, Trash!, we’ve missed you.  Yes I like trash, they’re what we need to reset our poor raiding brains before and between bosses, warm up time, time for the comedy wipe because the mage decides to pull both packs in Deathwhisper’s room and so on.  The best bit, they’re not trivial faceroll material.

Marrowgar, he’s a dps and healing check.  The dps need to keep on their toes, keep moving and kill those spikes dammit!

Deathwhisper, watch out for the solo trash on the sides of the room, the AoE damage from them can be pretty nasty if you’re not prepared.  She’s an interesting fight, again lots of target switching needed by the DPS and they need to be on top of their game here to make sure the dangerous targets are nuked quickly before they cause major problems for the tank or the raid.  Then it’s a tank, spank and heal like hell through the AoE from the boss in phase 2.

The ship.  Flying bear butt!!!  Blizzard get your fingers out of whatever you’ve got them in and let me fly as a tree, please, pretty please.  This is just the fun loot fight, nothing special for the healer.

The Deathbringer…  It’s all about nuking the adds and keeping the number of marks under control, the healing is heavy at 30% and gets worse.  More on him in a later post.

So coming back to the difference between TotC and ICC, the jump between TotC25 normal and ICC normal is going to be heavy but let’s be honest it’s progression, it’s meant to be hard.  The relative jump is higher than from U25 to TotC25 but this is it, we’re going up against the BigBad of this expansion, Arthas, that dude we’ve been taunted by all the way through since November 2008.  We want him to be hard.

So in summary, it’s not going to be an easy raid to pug, there is a requirement for co-ordination which isn’t normally found without a group used to working together, happy to accept the direction of team and class leaders and who can keep quiet on vent when it matters and finally, who turn up regularly and on time to work through the wipes, the many wipes without any QQ.

Is that such a bad thing?

So… Icecrown…

Second week of mashing has started, last night’s raid saw us get the first two bosses down with the minimum of fuss, though a few wipes.  Mostly due to some of the dps who missed last week working out the target switching needed for Deathwhisper.

The ship went down as a one shot, this is going to be the “geif lootz” fight of the instance, it’s fun, it’s easy, and it breaks the stress ready for the Deathbringer.

He’s harder, we tried out some new strats on him none of which quite fitted, though there’s progress happening and we know it’s all about minimising the number of marks.  One possibility which will be tried out on Friday will be to let the first two Marks die thus controlling what we hit the 30% level with.  Healing the marks is rather brutal.

So roll on the weekend for our first kill of old orc face.

Plate tales, respec time

Wolf has been mucking about with a ret spec recently but it’s not where his heart is, if he’s whacking something in his mind he should be front and center, have the full attention of eveything in sight (particularly his favourite healer) and be kicking the boss in the wossanames while the dps cut it down to size.  This running around trying to keep within range of the mobs as they run around just isn’t his thing.

So… tanking remains the first love and healing comes back into the picture as the backup spec.  Based on the gear sites he’s actually naxx ready, not that I believe this for a second as I know what’s wrong with the kit (enchant and gemming for starters).

However the is another ulterior motive, guaranteed LFG runs.

Time to be selected when joining as tank or healer… seconds

Time to be selected when joining as dps… 5-10 minutes

Stress level balance Tank > Heal > DPS

So for grinding instances healing is the high throughput minimum effective stress option.

Go go emblem farmer!

3.3 Pugging

Well the new interface works, it just works, nicely. As a team we pugged twice last night and Namtar took a random dungeon from the queue as well.

Forge of Souls (FoS)

The boomkin we were lined up with was a silent type, but seemed to be pretty effective, though possibly a little pewpew happy while I’m trying to get aggro on the mobs (which hit hard….), we lived apart from a double pull of the Wardens.  By the gods those buggers need to be taken one at a time.  Got slightly snarky at one of the need rolls but what the hell it was an upgrade for the party which meant better healing for the final boss (he’s a sod).

Pit of Saron (PoS)

Damm fine DK, knew his stuff and was relaxed enough about the wipes on the bosses.  Unfortunately we couldn’t get the end boss down, I think we have some gearing work to do on the dps and heal side, pushing up my avoidance is going to help as well.  Remember kiddies, these bosses are bigger and badder than anything else seen in the 5-man world so far.

DTK (on Namtar)

15 minutes, hooked into a guild run, and we just nuked through….

So on balance, bring it on, more pugs please