*** To all RSS readers: sorry about the double post. Ignore the other one. ***
So we had another weekend of raiding and again no bosses down. But there was progress on some fronts.
Friday we went back to Halfus and tried him again. We were very hopeful because we got him down to 7% last week and into the teens several times before the enrage. We had more DPS this week so we were pumped to ‘geterdone’. Sadly it was not to be. We had nearly the same dragon combination but the difference was critical. We had the Slate dragon which gives the stacking debuff. No sweat. You just have to tank swap. Not worth it to wake him up. We also had the Time Warden same as last week. That is the one that gives the aoe fire rain. Ok, so we kill that one. Last was the Storm Rider. He was in place of last week’s Nether Scion. So in place of the tanks taking a little more damage we had raid wide aoe and knockback that that has to be interrupted PERFECTLY. Ouch. This combination was probably the worst possible. The raid damage is quite bad and the knockback is killer on the heals. We pretty much got creamed. We did change things up and bring in a enhancement shammy to help with the interrupts but it was just nasty. In retrospect we could have kept trying and gotten lucky, the DPS was there but the healing was having a lot of trouble. But we didn’t.
For the second half Friday’s run we popped over to Throne of the Four Winds and tried to learn that fight. Pretty interesting stuff. Big learning curve with all the jumping around. We wiped several times to people not getting to the bridge fast enough. And we were having an issue with the warrior tank being too soft. That closed out Friday. In retrospect we were making ok progress at learning it and should have gone back there Saturday… We didn’t.
Instead decided to go for Magmaw. I blame my eagerness to get something down. I was so hopeful about Halfus all week that I was willing to reset the learning curve and try a boss that was supposed to be ‘easier’. That was a mistake. Magmaw I chalk up to raid balance. We were short on hard hitting AOE at first. We had two mages, both went frost for the slowing effect, one boomkin and a lock. We started off having a big problem with the adds, naturally. We knew the theory and tried the basic strategy of moving all the ranged in a tight pack.
DPS was marginal, healing was marginal and our movement and kiting was marginal. By ‘marginal’ I mean it might have worked but it was so close to ‘barely’ enough that every little mistake was mercilessly unforgiving. So we wiped. We eventually swapped to the strategy where everyone is in melee except one sacrifice for the flame to target that Jaded Alt laid out on her blog.The “at ranged” was the lock. He also went to Affliction spec and that really upped his aoe DPS. That strategy started working by the end of the night and we made some progress. We managed to get Magmaw fully chained twice in a row several times, and got him to around 70%. Not nearly enough but good progress. I am convinced that if we had one of the mages go fire spec for more AOE dps (neither had a fire spec at the time. Karius of course went right out after the raid and swapped Arcane for Fire) or had brought in a good hunter that might have worked. Alternately having a DK aoe kite in place of the lock might have helped too. It is hard to say. I think we were starting to get it with a marginal raid makeup. With a slightly different make up it would have been easier. The boomkin knockbacks were very effective as were the mushroom’s slowing and the frost. But I don’t think the two blizzards and the shrooms all stacked… So there is some optimization we could have done. It looked like we were going to have real mana issues all around had we been able to get farther but it was hard to be sure.
Our DPS was looking better than ever this week except on Magmaw where the two frost specs really lowered the average of normally hard hitting mages.
We are still having issues with the warrior tank being soft. This week on the second trash pull before Magmaw we were able to compare apples to apples of damage and see he was taking almost 20% more damage than the bear. Prior to the last few raids I would not have though having a few slots of ‘DPS’ plate verus ‘tank’ plate would have made that large a difference. But apparently it does. Ouch.
Healing continues to be a challenge as is expected in this expansion. Having our healers hit a bit harder will be great as gear gets better, but so will the whole raid getting better about dodging things. On both counts I blame myself a lot for changing what bosses we went after. Next week we are going to pick just one and really cream it. If the drake combination is even slightly better that one will be Halfus. We have done him the most and know him best. If we had last week’s combination again he would have been down.
I was very happy with how well we went into fights raw and hit the ground running, trying things and learning new mechanics. I need to get better with the ‘directing’ side of things as far as calling out abilities or transitions. I kinda wish there was an ‘observer’ role where I could raid direct without having to actually, you know, raid. Heh. Or at least not have to remember my rotation and cooldowns and what not. The Throne of the Four Winds is pretty annoying for leading because you can’t see what is going on at all. It is just “Ow. Ah…. I am down” and health bars twitching all over. I should go find videos on each of the platforms… Well maybe later. I want to go after Halfus first next week.
Analogue notes: I am really happy with my healing team. I have three other ladies who run healers as needed for us – usually some combination of two druids and a shaman or two shaman and a druid. I also have Karius as my backup… she’s got a Holy paladin and is gearing up her Holy priest, but it’s hard to turn down her awesome mage-ness! We are getting to learn these fights and I think picking up really well on what we need to do. I’ve started to do combat logging and if I can just figure out how to use information out of World of Raids, we’ll be set. I think our heals Saturday especially were a little light; one of my two shaman are a bit undergeared, but she’s working on it. That dragon combo was kind of killer and it was with that input that Reversion made the call to switch. We just couldn’t keep tanks up, or the raid dropped.