Plodding along

23 August 2010 § Leave a comment

Another big gap between posts, though this one is slightly more expected (and I just neglected to put up some kind of notice). I was actually on holiday for about 3 weeks, with a week of travelling to my hometown before that, which meant about 4 weeks of sketchy internet connection and full days.

I am happy to report however that the raid is still plodding along: my absence has pushed the raid to suspend the Heroic LK attempts, but we’re back in business now, and starting to see more of P2. Our best attempt got LK to 52%, and it seems we’re now consistently getting into P2, which is nice. The 30% buff of course helps, and I hope to be able to post soon that we earned our Bane of the Lich King title.

On the actual fight, I have little to say. It is an extremely fun, madly challenging fight. We’re lucky enough to have a Disc Priest and a Holy Paladin in our line-up, which makes for a slightly easier time – though slightly easier still is infinitely more challenging than anything else in this expansion. I am relegated to shield-botting and throwing the occasional Penance when I can spare the time, watching like a hawk all my cooldowns (Shadowfiend, Hymn of Hope, Power Infusion, Pain Suppression) to make sure they are used correctly and as often as possible. To be honest I don’t mind the shield-botting part: I would not want to be doing that throughout the whole instance, but on one fight it is ok, and actually provides me with a different healing dynamic than what I’m used to.

Our raid composition has changed slightly again: Ezma, our DK tank, had to take a leave of absence because of RL issues, and Ghych, our Shadow Priest, similarly ran into scheduling issues. We’re lucky enough to have Tandrakh join us as our second tank: finding a 277-geared tank played by a guy we have known since Tempest Keep available to jump into our raid was a real stroke of luck (due to his own raid collapsing about a month before). We are not really replacing Ghych, mostly because Naieve is back into sub status more stably, and we prefer not to have to train and gear anyone else for the time being. That, however, does mean we’re doing Heroic LK with no replenishment – which also explains why Shadowfiend and Hymn of Hope cooldowns become so crucial now.

For the time being, we completely ignored Halion Heroic – in terms of epicness, LK is much more fun, so we may have a look at our very flamboyant dragon only once LK goes down (seriously, Blizzard, the color scheme on Halion makes me cringe every time…)

The sad note in all this? Still no beta invite for me. I was hoping my previous stint in the Wrath beta (and the fact I did receive a Starcraft invite) would make it more likely I would get an invitation to the Cataclysm one – apparently, I was wrong. I am following the changes to Disc, but so far, it doesn’t seem like things will change TOO much – especially not for 10-man players, who are already using their full arsenal of spells rather than just PW:S.

That’s all for now – I’m hoping this new school year will get me back into posting more often. We are approaching the one year anniversary of the blog, so I’ll need to think up something 🙂

Ruby Sanctum impressions

1 July 2010 § Leave a comment

Yesterday we went into Ruby Sanctum, so I guess it’s time to share my impressions – and to rant a bit…

Impressions

The instance looks really nice, and it has some quests to give some back story to the raid (a welcome improvement over its Obsidian relative). It also has a LOT of trash for our current standards. Interrupt the invokers, and cc the commanders as much as you can: they have a buff which increases their damage and the damage of any friendly mob in range, by an amount proportionate to the number of mobs in range. In other words, if you pull the commander and 4 more mobs together, the buff will make everyone hit for 100% more. Clearly, Blizzard was trying hard to avoid people just running around getting all the mobs and letting loose with the AoE.

The mini-bosses, we basically powered through. Baltharus has a whirlwind, which means melee needs to watch out and/or move out of it. He also has a buff to his damage, so the person who gets Enervating Brand needs to move (quickly) away from everyone else. Finally, at 50% he splits up: the second tank needs to pick up the copy, and move it AWAY from everyone else, as double whirlwind is bad. Focus dps on the original, the copy will despawn. Saviana is a ground phase/air phase fight: have a rogue/hunter de-enrage her, and when she flies up, have everyone spread out, so that Conflagrate only hits one target. If the tank gets conflagged, have the OT (or a dps plate using cooldowns) pick her up. General Zarithrian is a total joke: just keep dpsing him, when the adds come just move away from them, as they will just sit somewhere and spam Blast Nova.

So then we get to the main course of the evening. Halion is not a hard fight, but not a walk in the park either. I would expect PUGs to have trouble on him for a while, while regular groups will probably get him after a few tries. This is a link to a good strategy for Halion, so I’ll just add a few bits and pieces.

1. P1 is very easy: positioning the dragon on one side of the circle, and not in the middle, will make things easier, but it doesn’t really matter. The key thing is the dispelling of the Fiery Consumption debuff – if you have experience with Necrotic Plague on LK, it’s a similar problem.

2. In P2, the aura damage is actually relatively high. If you’re running with 3 healers (we switched to 3 after a couple of attempts), you want to have one healing the raid and one healing the tank. Halion’s damage is not a lot, but the aura combined with the dragon does add up. This is kind of the tricky phase: once you get the laser beam of death right, you’re set.

3. P3, keep 2 healers inside and one healer outside – we went with melee inside and ranged outside, but because of a slight imbalance in numbers, one of our ranged had to come inside. Just be mindful about it, and it shouldn’t be hard.

So, as I said, the tuning is not too bad: this is no Gunship battle, but it’s certainly no Lich King, which is overall quite appropriate. The lack of Garrosh’s buff of pity of course makes it seem harder than it really is – but it really isn’t, and enrage is not an issue, so as long as people stay alive, you will get it.

The rant

We all have experienced the big gaping holes in Blizzard itemisation. So, an additional instance, especially a bridging one like this, was the perfect opportunity to fill said gaps. Personally, I would have liked to see an offhand (with no mp5 or hit rating) or a pair of bracers (again, with a spellpower/haste/crit combo), as either pieces is missing from any ICC-level loot table. Of course, a caster shield would have been nice, given that the one on Sindragosa is not exactly in easy reach of most casual players (and the same goes for the 25-man Marrowgar one). So what do we get? All stuff with hit rating or mp5! *sigh*

This of course means that I will personally run the place once on normal, once on Heroic, and then be done with it. Not exactly sure what Blizz was thinking, in terms of staying power for Ruby Sanctum, but I’m pretty sure 2 weeks was not it. Now, of course, if some of my co-raiders realises that there’s some great pieces for their class/spec on Halion, we may run it more. But yeah, personally, I am a bit disappointed…

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