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I have not done a guide post in ages so hold on to your socks. Here goes.

Tanking Siege of Wyrmrest Temple for Dummies

It is easy! It is simple! Most of the tanks suck!

Wait what? Yeah. We have to kick them for extreme suckatude all the time. How is that possible? Easy! Most people don’t tank raids. By now all the hard core raiders are done with LRF and most of their alts are already geared up too. So you are left with people that don’t tank much. Have you been kicked from one? Do you die randomly or get whispers from irate healers? THIS IS THE POST FOR YOU!

 

Alright, that is enough capslock and exclamation points. Let’s get down to business.

Intro

Don’t que as a tank just to get a fast que. In raid finder this is both dumb and pointless. Do to the way statistics work tanks don’t have faster ques. If you want an instant que then click heals… And don’t tell anyone I told you that. I mean really. If you get kicked for extremely bad heals don’t you dare tell anyone I recommended you click heals. You know what? Don’t click heals. Just don’t.

Still reading? Then you must want to tank. You probably want to get that role bonus on real tank gear. Good. Lets do this.

 

Boss 1: More-standinbad-chok

Preboss trash:

Pull them, try to keep them all on you. Or let the other tank have one or two. Whatever. Nothing special about tanking these except doing threat to them. If you can’t do that then go play HelloKitty.

Boss:

He is big and he is easy. Pull him, stand there, hit him. If your health gets low or DBM whines at you then pop a cooldown. You do know what a cooldown is right? Oh for crying out loud… Any move that makes you die less is a ‘tanking cooldown’. Click = live = win. If you are not sure which of your moves make you dodge more, heal yourself, or take less damage then try a strategy I like to call: “read the damn tooltip”.

Where was I? Oh right, the boss. When he summons rocks and stuns you for a few seconds go and run behind one. Keep him targeted. When his cast is about done, go out and tank him some more. That is all. If you mess this one up please please please just que as DPS and stand around sucking your thumb like most of them do. We will all be happier that way. You can’t possibly do worse DPS than that hunter pulling 8 k last night.

 

Boss 2: Tentacleguy

What? That is not his name? Do you think I can be bothered to look them up and spell them right? His The trash around him is tentacles. You can’t miss him. He is on the left side when you go into Wyrmrest.

Preboss trash: Tentacles. Get on the biggest one and tank it. If it knocks you back move back to it again. Repeat for all packs.

Boss:

Pull boss. Stand in the center. Tank him. It is a one tank fight. Pop cooldowns if you get low on health. When the floor turns black move to stand in whatever AOE heals are near you. This boss (on LFR) might be the easiest boss to tank ever.

 

Boss 3: Slime dude

Yeah he has slimes. On the right when you go into wyrmrest.

Preboss trash:

Kill the slime packs. DON’T pull two packs. Mark a target. A purple one or blue one or whatever. Someone will tell you that you picked wrong no matter which you chose. Just pull one and watch their health bars. Whichever people are hitting more, do more threat to that one. Repeat for all packs.

Boss:

Did I say the last boss was the easiest ever? I lied. This one is. Stand in the center and tank him. That is all. Every now and then the DPS will run off and kill something. Ignore them. Some loudmouth is sure to point them at the right slime so don’t worry about any of that. Oh, if lots of adds spawn, do some AOE and help kill them faster. If a mana void spawns use some cooldowns until it dies. Space them out though. Those morons are not likely to kill it very fast. Until it dies your healers have no mana so use those cooldowns and stay alive.

 

Boss 4: Ice Wall dude… er chick?

Yeah ‘she’ is up top through the portal.

Pre boss trash:

Let people CC if they want. Don’t stress about it. Stuff comes from all around so keep your eyes open and your taunts handy. When the last big dude comes out pull him to the edge of the platform. That way when the boss spawns it kills the dumbest DPSer who forgot to move. This is LOADS of laughs so don’t taunt and spoil the fun.

Boss:

Pick the boss up as soon as that person dies. Now back up FAST. Are you dead? Yeah you should have finished reading this before pulling. This boss does something called ‘ferocious assault’. Or maybe ‘Frenzied Attack’? or was it ‘mana rage’? Whatever it is you will notice when it 2 shots you. Then someone will berez you and you can try again. Watch for the other tank to get killed by it too. He did not read this post. Now check your DBM timers. Every time the Frenzied Assault is about to go off… BACK UP! When it starts going off, keep backing up and pop a cooldown if you have one. If you do this you will live every time. If you don’t you are putting your life in the hands of the healers who are all checking facebook after that boring trash. Don’t do it! Back up 3 steps and amaze everyone with your incredible tanking skills. Other than that… follow everyone else. If they run out to the edge and you see a big add, tank it. If you see some crystal, kill that. As you are killing it watch for ice spike walls. Do NOT move until you see them. Once they spawn move clockwise and DON’T touch the wall. Also don’t look now but another wall is behind you. Yeah if you slow down you die. Don’t worry about the walls killing half the raid. That always happens. Enough will survive to win the fight… maybe.

 

Next time… Deathwing!

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Shannox:

Boss tank: Tank the boss. Move when the traps spawn under you. Watch for the spear throw. When it happens pay attention to how far the dog will go to get the spear back to the boss and if it is trapped. If kitting will buy you enough time to drop your stacks, kite. If not, stay there and prepare to use a cooldown. Don’t stand in traps. Position the boss so there is room for the melee to hit it.

Dog tank: Keep the dog off traps. Find a crystal trap. Park the dog near it but not on it. As soon as the red appears for the spear throw run around the trap in a tight half circle. The dog should be trapped. Don’t trap it before the spear throw. When the dog is taking the spear back check your stacks and run away if you need more time. If you run too far, come back when the stacks drop. Don’t get the dog too far from the boss. Don’t stand in the bad.

Beth:

Boss tank. Taunt down two Spinners. Take the web up to the top ONLY when more than one web is down. Pop a cooldown as you arrive up there. Don’t stand in bad. Jump down when she flickers. In the final phase don’t stand on the raid and don’t stand near the other tank and pop plenty of cooldowns when it is your turn. Taunt when the other tank gets kissed.

Offtank: Taunt down spinners when you can reach them. Pick up Drones. Taunt them in a safe spot on the left, far from the small add spawn points. Taunt spinners when you can but always be ready to pick up a drone. In the final phase don’t stand on the raid and don’t stand near the other tank and pop plenty of cooldowns when it is your turn. Taunt when the other tank gets kissed.

Ryolyth:

AOE the add packs. Pick up the Sparks whenever they are up and drag them away from other people. Don’t stand in bad. In the final phase taunt the boss and blow all your cooldowns.

Balroc:

1 tank strat: Pick up the boss. Tank it. Do max DPS by blowing dps cooldowns as needed. When a devastate comes pop ONLY cooldowns that increase dodge or increase healing taken (damage absorb of block cooldowns don’t work on that move). When the last swing is done, pop a cooldown that lowers damage taken.

2 tank strat: same as above but taunt swap between swings of devastation. Be sure the 2nd tank has tanked the boss before the first devastation to get his Stam up (I have never done this with 2 tanks so I might be wrong about something here).

Alystrazor:

Stay out of the center line of the ‘room’. Assign 1 tank to each side. (marking it helps) Grab 1 feather. Be near the egg when it hatches.  Dodge fire. Pop cooldowns when tantrum goes off and get near a worm fast. Don’t leave works up when your add is about to die (eat them all). Dodge tornados. When the boss is stunned, find the add that spawns on our side and keep it stunned and interrupted.

Pick up the boss when it wakes up. Pop cooldowns then. Taunt swap when one tank just can’t take the damage

Staghelm.

Don’t move on the stack up phases. Pop only light duty cooldowns then. Save the big ones for cat. Pup big cooldowns later in the cat phases. Don’t move the boss unless it is for planned amounts on the cat phase. This movement will depend on your teams strat. Don’t move the boss when it is time to stack up.

Rag:

No idea. I have only pulled him a few times so far.

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How To CC DESPITE the tank

So you have a tank that is trying the ‘gogogo’ thing or just plain has not asked for CC. There are more than a few ways you can use CC despite him, or try to. Here are a few. There are probably plenty of others. These tips are also useful of you have a tank that wants to CC but the DPS keeps breaking it.

Distracting Shot + Frost Trap

Distracting shot is a 6 second forced attack that hunters can use. If you tag a CC’able melee target with it and then drop a trap at your feet, you can pull that target off the tank and trap it.

Banish

Banish is a ‘lock ability that puts an elemental or demon target in a state where they can’t do anything and they can’t be hit. This is great because you can Banish targets that are in the melee and it will not break accidentally.

Deathgrip plus a friend

Deathgrip pulls a target right out of the melee pack. Then you can have a friend trap, repent, sheep, etc. Be careful though, if the target has a DOT on it then it will not stay CC’ed. And Deathgrip is also a taunt – so if the cc doesn’t go off, you will have a very angry mob up close and personal.

Mind Control

With Mind Control a priest can take over a target and use its abilities. The controlled target becomes an ‘ally’ for a short time so the CC will not be broken since the target can’t be hit.

Knockback plus something else

You can use Typhoon or Thunderstorm to knock targets way from the tank and then CC them. This is risky and disruptive but it can work.

Hex

Hex is very durable. It resists a lot of damage. It can take a few aoe hits and not break. So you could keep something, even in the melee, CCed for at least a short time.

Almost anything during ranged pulls

Many forms of CC work when the tank is pulling the group back with a ranged move. Traps, Hex, Sheep, Repent… just about everything except sap. And even sap works if you get in there fast before the pull starts and hit a target the tank is unlikely to hit with the ranged move. This is effective against DKs tanks that tend to use deathgrip for pulling (some do, but not all).

Hit one in the back while the tank is moving in

As the tank moves in for the pull, the targets aggro and move to meet him. The fight usually takes place about 2 steps in FRONT of where the first target of the pack is standing at the start of the pull. If you preselect a target that is far from where the tank will meet the first opponent, there is a very high chance you can CC it out of range of melee aoe. You can do this even as the pull is happening if you are fast. This can work with a ‘charge’ tank like a bear or warrior, and is very effective with a Pally tank. You may have to do it after a shield throw if you’re worried about the shield breaking your CC.

Hit the caster

If you have run the instance a few times you should know which targets are casters and will not move toward the tank. Many tanks that are not experienced enough to ask for CC also tend to leave a hanging caster out shooting at the party. If you know which those targets are likely to be you can CC them before they get a cast off. This is very effective with a bear tank because they lack a real ranged silence. You tank will be very thankful even if they did not mark targets properly.

Party Chat

Just offer to do it. Some tanks don’t ask for CC, not because they dislike it but just because they are being lazy or forgetful or they don’t like being demanding. Or they may be so new they don’t know what classes can do what kind of CC against which types of targets. If you offer to use CC they will often be glad to let you do it. You might have to pick and announce which targets you are CCing if the tank doesn’t. Many tanks, if you announce what you are going to CC, are happy to let you do it and try to avoid breaking it.

Keep trying

It takes time for tanks to get really good at dealing with CC pulls and just CC in general. It takes time for them to learn not to break it. It takes many tries for them to get the hang of the proper sequence of a CC pull. Keep trying. Help your tank learn. If they break it, don’t cuss them out. Remind them what target you are CCing and tell them how they can avoid breaking it. Tanks did not have to learn this stuff in the last expansion. Don’t be shocked if your tank has no idea how to work with your kind of CC. Offer to use it and help them learn how to work with it.

Or they might just be so gung-ho that they or lazy they don’t want to CC. If you keep trying they may give in and let you do it. It helps the healer and often keeps you all alive so don’t be afraid to push the issue with a reluctant tank.

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We have some folks tanking our raid this week that don’t normally tank. So I decided to post the short short version of how to tank 9 of 12 cata raid bosses. This is VERY simplified and aimed at poeple that already know the fights as a DPS or healer and just need to know the tanky bits. Enjoy!

Magmaw

  • Get in range fast. Don’t ranged pull and then run in slow.
  • Try to not use big cooldowns when you get omnomnomed (mangle) but if you have to, use them.
  • When he comes up off the spike be sure you are in your tanking position and that you do some serious threat as fast as you can.
  • Use something to stay alive for the first 30 seconds after he comes up off the spike. That is the worst time for heals.

That is all. He is easy.

Omnomnomistron Defense

  • Pick up bosses fast on that first cycle. This is CRITICAL. Keep your camera on the next boss near wakeup time and have your taunt ready.
  • Don’t stand near bosses that are about to wake up unless you plan to pick them up fast
  • Know which boss is your turn and which is your partner’s
  • Tank your boss a 1/3 or ½ way across the room from your partner. If you are too close adds or fire beams can kill you or the other tank.
  • Be ready to click off your auto attack and stop hitting the bosses for 10 seconds when their shield is up. The shield last 10 seconds. When it goes down,  start up your rotation again.

-Fire guy

  • Keep him slightly to one side of the room. Think about where people are going to run from the laser thingy.

-Poison guy

  • Move out of the poison cloud FAST. Leave the boss in the cloud if you can.
  • Put him against a wall, or in a good spot and KEEP HIM there. Don’t move around. The kiters need a consistent spawn point for the adds.
  • Stun one add yourself if you can.

-Lightening guy.

  • Don’t move around a lot. People need to stay spread so just pick a spot and let them move around you.

-Arcane guy

  • Move him out of puddles fast.
  • Interrupt as much as you can.
  • Dont forget to still interrupt while he shield is up.

Maloriak

-Boss tank

  • Know who is doing what interrupts. If you are doing some do them right. If you are having trouble with them try to swap the plan around so you can do the storms. Infact, unless you really have a handle on the add thing, just do the storms.
  • Make sure you don’t accidently hit an add pack instead of a storm.
  • Hold the boss right where he starts. Use the first few seconds of the fight to line him up. Remember he runs back to the pot when he throws a vial. Don’t follow, just wait in your lined up spot.
  • If you get the first mark on your head don’t move, but pop some big cooldown to stay alive.
  • When you go to the back for the green phase, remember the boss will hit hard and there will be an arcane storm to interrupt. Move back to the proper boss spot as soon as you can while still interrupting all arcane storms. Missing one now will wipe the raid.

-Add tank

  • Pick up adds fast. Get plenty of threat and debuffs on them as soon as they come out. By the time you are at 3 packs you are going to be getting pounded. If the fire is coming when you have 3 packs, don’t stand in it.
  • Get the adds to the bottom of the steps FAST when it is green vial time.
  • If you get 3 packs in the second cycle they hit harder than the first time. Big time ouchy.
  • Get max threat on BOTH huge adds as FAST as you can when they come.

Chimeron

                -boss tank

  • Find your spot before the fight starts and STAY THERE (until the last phase).
  • Watch for the ‘double attack’ DBM announcement. When you see it don’t do anything, but start watching CLOSE for a big green/yellow vertical arc the boss does toward the other tank (or watch for the other tank’s health to dip). When you see it, taunt. If you don’t see it, but the boss is instead casting massacre, taunt anyway. The other tank usually picks the boss off you before the massacre starts and the boss should be back on you after it goes off.
  • When it is stack up time you don’t have to be doing much threat or being in tank mode at all. You can throw heals or whatever you want to keep people alive.
  • Be sure to be back in tank mode doing good threat as the stack-up phase (feud) ends.
  • In the final phase live as long as you can while dragging the boss to the back left corner.

-Off tank

  • Watch for the double attack announcement. When it goes off, taunt right away and then do your best threat for a few seconds.
  • After a double attack, remember to let the other tank have the boss back. Slow your threat if you have to.
  • Don’t forget to stack up!
  • If the double attack is really a massacre (DBM announces a nonexistent double attack before massacre) let the main tank have the boss back.
  • As you go into the final phase, run to the far right hand end of the room and try to live as long as you can.

Bind dragon (1 tank)

  • Tank the boss in the center of the room or wherever the raid leader says.
  • Tank him at max melee
  • Dodge the rings as good as you possibly can but try not to back up. Just move side to side
  • If the flame breath targets you or is headed your way, move! It might LOOK like it is going to go behind you but it still gives you sound.
  • Stay moving in the air phase but be ready to pick up the dragon when he lands.
  • In the later phases, just position the boss as best you can WITHOUT moving through any walls of fire. If people whine that he is in a bad spot mostly ignore them. Just do your best with the room you have to maneuver.

Throne of the 4 winds

                Go read my old post on this one. Tips for the conclave of the wind

Halfus

-Boss tank

  • Range pull then get on the boss.
  • Interrupt if you have that dragon.
  • Watch your stacks and clear them if you have that dragon. The stacks go to 20. Don’t let them get over 14 before you clear them. Don’t let them get over 9 without using some cooldowns.
  • Try to pay attention to where the other tank is if you are going to have to tank swap.
  • If you have the interrupts dragon be sure to spam your interrupts as you come out of the 3rd stun when he does the triple stuns.

-Off tank

  • Pick up the dragon as fast as you can.
  • Kill it while doing maximum threat.
  • They hit hard so use cooldowns if you need them
  • Be ready to pick up the second dragon fast when the first dies.

Twin dragons

  • Keep the purple one in a stable spot without plenty of space all around it for people to spread out.
  • Dodge the fire spray on the purple dragon.
  • When the dazzling swirls appear on the ground dodge them while running toward the center of the room. Run fast. Turn your back on the dragon. Use cooldowns.
  • Pick up the blue in the center of the room and do good threat even before he feet hit the ground.
  • Keep him in the center and faced away from the ranged group.
  • Don’t move around much and if you do, tell the melee in vent that you are moving.
  • When the fire strips come, remember you can move away from them without moving the dragon. If it comes in the middle just face him to one side or the other and you will be save. If it goes down on a side then just face him toward the stairs on either side.
  • If a void zone appears just shift to the side.
  • This fight is ALL about using the ‘Q’ and ‘E’ keys to side step and rotate the dragon.
  • After the 3 flame strip be ready for the purple dragon to land
  • Tank her in the center.

Elemental council of jerks

                You know… I don’t feel like explaining this one right now. Let’s just leave this at 8 of 12. :P

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Tips for the Conclave of the Wind

We went after the first encounter in the Throne of the 4 Winds on Friday after we dropped Magmaw and again on Saturday and got them down. Videos on this fight helped but I noticed there were several tidbits of information that we did not get from videos. These small ideas were key to getting them down so I figured I should post about it. Go watch a video and then read this. It will make more sense that way.

This fight has 3 bosses that all need to die within 1 minute of each other. You need 2 ranged, 2 tanks, 3 heals and 3 of any other sort of DPS.

When setting this fight up I like to put raid makes on the floor of the entrance platform and have everyone stand on them and move back and forth to practice the phases of the fight. The left boss is green because he does plants and healing, the center/top boss is blue for his ice and the right boss is any color (what color is wind?). We will call the right platform yellow

Setup

Right/Yellow
One heal (preferably one that can reduce fall damage), Two ranged DPS.

Center/Blue
One healer, one tank

Left/Green
One healer, one tank, 3 DPS melee or anything.

This is the configuration at the start of the fight. The fight has two alternating phase. The bosses all have an energy bar. This bar fills from 0 to 90. Ninety is full, not 100%. Don’t mix up ‘percent’ and the energy number or your timing will be wrong. At 70+ energy people need to shift to be near the bridge they are going to use. At 80 energy people move. At 90 energy the wind bridges vanish and you have to already be moved.

Movement

At 80, all the DPS on the right/yellow platform move to center/blue. Everyone on the green platform goes to blue and everyone on blue (tank and healer) goes to green. It is important to note as you are moving there might be a boss there taking a swing at someone. Also on the blue platform there might be an ice patch you land on. Get off it fast. The healer on the right/yellow platform does not move. That person stays there until that boss dies.

Special attack phase.

At 90 the bosses do a big attack. Lasts only a short time. During that time the DPS should be burning the blue boss. As soon as the boss energy bars drop down everyone needs to be moving back. EXCEPT, the tank and the heals on the blue and green platforms. They only move once per cycle. The ice boss applies a debuff so you can’t go back there right away. There will be plenty of aoe damage on the ice platform and everyone also needs to stay off the fickin ice patches and out of the spray of ice.

Now for the real tips…

Right platform, wind, yellow

This platform does not need a tank because the boss just stands there and shoots stuff at you. The big risk here is getting blown off. If the whole squad gets blown off the boss silences the raid and everyone dies. It is possible to recover from a blow off, if you did not die. So try to get back on the platform fast. There will be tornados. Don’t let them hit you. The big thing is that periodically the boss will start channeling a knockback and slowly turn clockwise, sweeping the blast of wind around the platform.

-When he is doing the sweeping move he holds one hand out in the direction he is doing it

-If you are far back it is easier to see the boss’s move but takes more running to get away from it

-keep your camera at max zoomed way out to see better.

-If you get blow off toward the inside of the ring of platforms, you live and get carried back to the platform. If you get blow off AWAY from the ring you die.

-Don’t stack with everyone else. If one of you gets blown off it is not a wipe. If you all get blown off it is probably a wipe.

Center platform, ice, blue

-Don’t stand on the ice

-Don’t point the boss at your healer or anyone else on the platform

-Always be ready for you or the healer to get ice under them. Have your next movement after that planned out.

-Don’t move to the bridge too early or it will get blocked up with ice.

-Don’t move to the bridge too late or it will be too late. If you don’t jump in time the debuff will drop you.

-If you are jumping to the other platform and you left an ice patch near the bridge, tell people in vent so they will be ready to move fast.

Right platform, life, green

The boss drops healing rings and you have to move him out of them fast.

-The INSTANT you see him casting ‘soothing winds’ turn and run away. He will move as soon as he is done and he will not heal up. You HAVE to keep him out of these rings.

CRITICAL: The area of healing is larger than what it looks like. WATCH the bosses health bar. If it is taking ‘up’ ticks move him farther away.

-Don’t stand in the green yourself.

-When he casts ‘nurture’ adds will spawn from the flowers.

-Don’t let adds stand in the green.

CRITICAL: When 3 or more adds stand together they do bursts of AOE. Tell every DPS to spread out, find some adds and tank/kill them themselves.

-Do NOT gather the adds up.

-The tank should kill the adds too, just don’t turn your back on the boss.

-The adds MUST be down before the end of the cycle.

- NO DPS should be back on the boss until ALL adds are down. Communicate and let people know if there is still one up.

-The healer should stand near someone that can get adds off them. Don’t run away from your people or they can’t get that thing off you.

-DPS needs to spot any packs that are larger than 2 (3 or more) and pick one, hit it hard, and move it away.

-Single target DPS the adds. Don’t AOE them. AOE is garbage now and you can’t afford to have too many up in a pack. IF there is a pack of 3, single targeting one down fast will REALLY help the healing situation out.

-keep all adds and the boss well away from the center of the platform while killing adds. This is critical. He will drop another circle of green either on himself or an add. Be ready to move him off it. If this circle is any where even remotely near the center of the platform then the boss will take big heals during the end of cycle phase. If he is standing on a circle he will heal to full in that phase. See the picture for the areas where the boss should NOT be at the end of the cycle.

-It is ok to leave him standing in green when you jump on the bridge at 80 energy. He will teleport to the center of the pad a moment later. In fact it is GOOD to have him drop that last green patch there because you know he will not heal in the ‘big move’ phase.

-Killing adds fast is a critical key to this fight.

CRITICAL: Keeping that last green circle from dropping in the center is also key to winning. Don’t take it lightly. When we messed it up a little we lost. When we did it right we creamed the fight. Make sure the boss is well clear of the center when energy is 50 and higher.

-At the start of the next round the green boss will be enraged. This makes him bigger so he is actually closer to any healing circle. This also makes him CREAM the next tank.

CRITICAL: The next tank needs to attack him during the ‘big move’ phase and apply all tanking debuffs that he has available before the boss comes out of the big move. Tanking cooldowns should be saved for this time. If the enraged hits are too hard you should apply the debuffs and then run away before he comes out of the move. This will buy you a few seconds of not getting hit. The enrage wears off fast so those few seconds are precious.

Here are my super professional pictures of the tanking on the green platform. Here the boss is green and we are about to pull. The blue arrow is the bridge to the blue platform.

Next the boss is casting his healing circle and the tank is turning to run.

Here is the new boss location well clear of the circle. Remember, the healing area is a lot bigger than the graphic of the circle.

As you are fighting the adds each time here is the area that you want to avoid.

But! If you run to the bridge at the end the boss might drop a circle as it is chasing you. So you can’t drag him across that area. Also you don’t want to be too far from the bridge. So THIS is the real area to avoid.

Do recap, let him drop the first circle in the center and then keep him in the upper left area for the later circles. There may be two, so leave yourself room to drop two in that white area. Boss positioning is very key on the fight but it is not totally obvious how key it is. Move fast and position the boss well.

And also… no that is pretty much it…

Oh wait… if you get on a wind bridge at the very edge of it you can get blow to kingdom come and never land on the other side. Get on bridges ONLY in the center area. Try this out before the fight. It does not kill you. See how sensitive they are so you don’t screw it up in the real fight.

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Raid Expectations

It was the best of raids, it was the worst of raids; it was the strat of wisdom, it was the strat of foolishness; it was the pull of belief, it was the pull of incredulity; it was the heal-y zones of Light, it was the void zones of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way

Ok, so, apologies for the Dickens parody quote and from the wrong book at that (but honestly, Great Expectations was a terrible book). It just seemed appropriate for me. The weekend’s raiding was an emotional roller-coaster for me. Hopefully less so for my raid partners.

First off, we are not Serious Raiders. We are not a “raid guild”, nor is our run an official “guild run”. There are no apps and requirements but conversely Reversion and I have a free hand to manage things. Last week was our first raid at all, so it’s not like we have a bunch of super players who were ready the week after Cataclysm. I’m well aware that we’re weeks behind the world first but darn it, I am proud of my raiders because they try hard, they know their stuff, and they’re really pretty darn good. Gear will come; skill is, I think, there already.

So last week we raided only Friday and while we made a few token boss pulls in Bastion of Twilight, we were mostly there for the trash. Our dps was too low, our tanks’ gear was weak, the healers’ gear was lacking…. but we made the couple pulls and started to learn the basics of the fight. This Friday, we headed in with the determination to do some serious attempts.

First, though, I had to deal with my attendance issues. We’d had one raider tell me he just wasn’t feeling it, and wasn’t going to be raiding. One raider wasn’t levelled yet. One had horrible gear issues. One of my healers had to work until two hours past pull. And the other healer…. declined my invite.

Not a problem. I brought in another druid, Elia who has raided with us on her shaman or druid on occasion. I knew she was a solid player who’d have my back and heck, I’m always looking to expand my “healer bench”. Falahla, one of our two pro mages, got her hunter husband Ado to come along. He is a Serious Raider like we aren’t, but he was taking the week off so nothing kept him from trying boss pulls with us.  We pulled in Grom’s paladin, and a warlock who is in the other guild raid (to be specific, the player is in that raid but usually on a different character) and went.

We two-healed the trash without incident. Well, there was the time we accidentally pulled the second patrolling group while we were working on the first. “Everyone out!” Reversion ordered, and we made it…. except for poor Whodowhat the warlock, who had just zoned in and got eaten. Ooops. Elia and I coordinated our Lifeblooms, we used crowd control like the pros we are (if there’s one thing I want to boast about in our raid, it’s our crowd control. Reversion is expert at setting the pulls, our raiders are great at carrying it out and keeping things sheeped/frozen/repented, and as a healer I love that)

So we started making attempts on the boss. We had dragons 1,2, and 5 active, going around from the left; that’s the one that gives the boss an attack speed buff, the one that makes the boss stack a healing debuff on the tanks, and the one that makes the proto-dragon have a Flame Barrage ability. (I think; Reversion will have to correct me if I’m wrong [Rev: I edited it] ) The obvious first one to be released was the one with the attack speed buff. Healers couldn’t handle the tank damage otherwise.  Then we’d do the flame barrage one, so that we could see the incoming fire attacks and get out of it.

Well, long story short, the healing was brutal. Just brutal. We could keep either the tanks or the raid up, but not both. Around 9, our missing shammy healer came on and we asked the lowest performing dps to step out. He, being a good guy and knowing that his gear was terrible, graciously agreed and we brought in Chalandrae. That helped a lot.

Then one attempt, we get the second drake down and the healing gets so much easier. Everyone burns the boss. I throw some Wraths, Chalandrae fires off Lightning Bolts – and at 15%, he hits the enrage timer.

So we go back in, set up again, the tanks die. And again. We do some discussing and the healers all agree that the tanks felt squishier the last few attempts.  We check their gear. Reversion looks ok – well, now;  back at the start of the night, after doing all the trash and our first wipe on the boss, Ado asks in vent why exactly Reversion is wearing his fishing pole. Ooops. Logarithm’s gear has some pieces that are more dps-y than tank-y, and he definitely took more damage than Reversion. We decide that the good attempt, they just somehow used all their cooldowns perfectly and that’s so hard to replicate with our skill level (Rev: We do pretty well with cooldowns all the time but that first phase, if you have just one dragon out, is a real healing race with what the tanks take and what the raid is getting from the fire balls. That one try it just happned that what was falling from the sky, what the healers were casting, and what the tanks were poping, all dovetailed perfectly.) But it’s quitting time anyway, so off we go.

Now, during the raid I determined that I had made a serious error. I had forgotten to put Saturday’s raid on the calendar, and some of my raiders thought we were only going Friday. I had to talk to a few and assure them that we were indeed going Saturday and please not to go with a different group that was rumored to be going.  But all day Saturday I was nervous. We were already having attendance issues and now….

Saturday afternoon I whispered with the healer who had declined our invite, asking him what was up, since I’d seen him online when we were. He said he didn’t think we were geared enough to down bosses; I said that we knew we had some weak slots, and one guy whose gear wasn’t that great and we asked to step out when we had a viable replacement and an obvious need for a stronger raider. He clarified that he meant tanks and healers needed “all 346 and one or two purples”.

Ok, I got mad. If you Wow-Heroes’d me (apparently a favorite of some guildies) you’d see I have a 316 trinket, because I haven’t got the heroic version of it yet and I prefer it’s spirit proc to any of the higher ilvl trinkets that I have. And 333 bracers because, darn it, there’s two pairs of heroic leather bracers out there and I can’t get either to drop. But I had just the night before gotten an epic staff from Bastion trash (it’s so cool; it looks like a Twilight Hammer symbol!) , we were gemmed, enchanted, and darn it we’d hit the enrage timer at 15% to go the night before. Which I pointed out.

Well, we got back after church and the other raid had started – but my core raiders were waiting for us in vent. I got us; seven of us. I added whodowhat, and then…. we needed another healer and a dps. Elia hadn’t come online, but Chalandrae had so I had a shammy healer, but after last night I knew we needed three.

Karius started asking around, and found us some people from her old guild; Squishi the feral druid, and Jhudara the shammy. So we were set. Two shammy healers and a tree sounded good to me!

We went and started making attempts, refining our strategy all night. Finally we settled on three tanking it – Squishi turned out to be a great bear as well as a cat – and releasing two drakes at once, burning them down, then killing the boss. It started being obvious that we could survive into the boss-burn stage with this. Once the healers OOMed and we wiped; I asked the shammies to drop their mana tide totems in a defined order and to call out when they were doing it, and that helped.

By the end of the night we were reliably into the final phase and hitting the enrage timer with 12% or less to go. Our best try was 9%. We discussed trying to two heal, or find a way to get more dps, but we came up against the end of the raid.

Now, this is why I titled my post “raid expectations”. That just seemed the theme of the whole weekend. That raider who didn’t think we were geared enough? The raid he went to didn’t do as well on the same boss; by 10 pm Saturday he’d rsvp’d for next week’s raid. Elia, who heals for the other guild raid, mentioned how much she enjoyed our expert crowd control usage. We’ve been having a discussion with some guildies who just don’t see CC as that important. It’s really funny but those guildies are invariably NOT healers.

Jhudora, the pugged in shaman, kept whispering me about how much she liked our raid for keeping Vent fairly business like and not having vulgarity and mean-ness in our raid chat. I admit, I was sort of taken aback, but then I remembered that that’s one reasonwhy I decided we should run our own raid; because that crude “humor” annoys me so much. I find a lot of women who run with us really enjoy the non-sexist, non-crude, affirming atmosphere. We often has 5 or 6 female players in our raid.

Well, I invited Jhudora to come with us next week too and hopefully she will – she’s exactly the sort of healer I want.

I did decide that the guildie who said we weren’t geared enough has a point (Rev: A small one. An average of one upgraded item per person and we likely would have had the boss down. The raid that person bailed on us to go to wiped hard and broke up early), and this week I WILL get exalted with Wildhammer for a couple epics there, we WILL upgrade some of Reversion’s gear, and we WILL work with our raiders to see a few upgrades, make sure they are enchanted, grind mats for flasks and feasts (we ran out halfway through Saturday night) and hit things really hard this weekend. I want Halfus to come down; then we’ll decide whether to push on or to visit Magmaw or Omnitron.

This already is a wall of text so  I’ll save my discussion of what I want in and from my healing team for later this week. Until then, I’ll just note that this week I have 13 invites out on my raid invites – and 8 confirmed,  4 tentatives.

Oh, and does anyone know a good addon for doing calendar invites and stuff? I want to be able to do Fri and Saturday’s invites at the same time without the hassle…

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Loving the expansion. The dungeons are hard. Nicely hard. So far the only person I have heard saying how easy they were is a cocksure tank whose boast were not quite loud enough to drowned out the whimpering that was his healer, over in the corner, rocking back and forth moaning ‘oom… oom’.

FYI to all tanks, if you think you are doing great but your healer is a nervous wreck then you are not as good a tank as you think you are.

But this one is not about tanks… or rather it is not ONLY about tanks.  I just read another blog that had a nice description of some of the trials of these new runs. It mentioned that they wiped a lot due to OOM but that she thought they had actually covered for some lesser experienced players. No offense to the other blogger but those statements are a contradiction.

The healer’s mana is everyone responsibility

There is a lot of damage in these runs. LOTS of it… however, a huge proportion of it is avoidable. It is up to every single person in the run to do their part in avoiding it. Anything less and you get OOM heals and a graveyard run. These new runs will require everyone to learn all the little tricks of their class that they never had to learn before. Everyone should recite this mantra, ‘there is ALWAYS something more that I PERSONALLY can do to make the run better’.

Breaking the habit

I have now done every run on non-heroic and many of them several times. I have done all my runs with good players. They were mostly long time players with alts and varied experience. But even running with high class players I STILL see things they are not doing or not doing well enough. For example there are lots of things mobs do to us that are interruptible casts but very few people are interrupting them. The attitude of ‘just DPS as hard as you can’ is very very hard to shake. I know we did not really need CC in the last expansion, but it is much more than that. We needed almost none of the extra tricks DPSers could do and hence no one remembers they have them.

Learning the true meaning of Christmas helping the party

I always found discussions ironic and funny about ‘tanks versus dps’ or when people were whining about DPS not getting respect. I lost count of how many times some mage would say something like, ‘I do more than just dps, when at add comes after the healer I frost nova it and blink away.’ I just wanted to pound my head on the table and shout ‘That is not helping!’ I didn’t usually because it took too long to explain the reasons why that was a bad idea.

There are things DPS can do to help. Lots of things. Very few dps seem to know what they are or when to use them or how. This is not surprising. We have not really needed those tricks. How many druids here know where your hibernate button is and that it works on dragonkin? Just yesterday a VERY solid kingslayer boomkin had to go find it in her spell book because she had never used it. How many hunters here know that distracting shot is a ‘forced attack’ and works VERY well with frost trap to CC stuff by pulling it out of the melee? A couple runs back I taught that trick to an outstanding hunter that had played one since vanilla beta. This is not to toot my horn. I only know a few tricks, mostly from classes I have played a lot. There are lots out there.

I find myself in runs where over half the classes have spell interrupts or silences but I seem to be the only one using them. I probably missed seeing some of them, but that is not my point. My point is that even very good players need to be racking their brains and burning up the internet for more tricks and tips on what THEY can do to make the fights better. Learn more CC tricks. Dig through your spellbooks for long forgotten abilities and see what they can do. And…

DON’T STAND IN THE FIRE!

As I said above most of the damage is avoidable. Some of it is only BARELY avoidable so you have to move fast. We need to hit ourselves in the head every time we find ourselves doing our rotation while standing in the bad.

Speak up

I have said in the past that more people need to be willing to point out the mistakes of others. I really believe that you don’t learn to play better until something pushes you or someone gives you a tip. I have learned plenty that way and I like to think I have offered a lot of helpful advice that way. And now is truly the time for it. There are so very many things in these instances that need to be pointed out to people. If you see someone doing something wrong please tell them. It is not being a jerk, it is being helpful (if you say it nicely). If someone can’t handle being told not to stand in that stuff then you should not be running with them anyway. And don’t assume because someone is a good player that they don’t have room for improvement.

Listen

This goes for all of us. There are always more tricks to learn and more skills to get. There are always new ways to use the skills we already have. If you think you can do more, ask. If someone makes a suggestion, listen.

Earn it

Some DPS whine that tanks and heals don’t give them enough respect… Time to go earn it. I don’t care what your meter looks like. If you are standing in the flaming whirlwind while not using your interrupts, mitigation moves, stuns, et cetera then trust me, it is not the healer’s fault she has no mana.

Do you die a lot? Maybe swap in a tanking trinket for a mitigation cooldown. Or grind some first aid. If the healer is leaving your health low he might have decided you are too expensive and expendable to heal up. So pop a bandage and a potion and help him out. Above all you should be focusing on getting your skill at avoiding damage up. In fact you should be focusing on that concept more than you focus on getting better gear.

Now tanks and dps say it with me all together, “The healer’s mana is my responsibility.” Put it on a post-it note and stick it to your screen. Tattoo it on the back of your mouse hand. Learn it, know it, love it.

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