Archives For firelands

Strategy: Heroic Lord Rhyolith

Morynne —  November 7, 2011 — 3 Comments

Stompy, now with more adds! And lasers.

  • Name: Lord Rhyolith
  • Raid: Firelands
  • Tanks Needed: 2
  • Phases: 2
  • Catch: Steering is hard! Add management. Lasers.
  • This strategy is for the heroic encounter. Normal strategy found here.

I want to be very up front with this encounter: from a range DPS perspective, there is absolutely no difference in strategy, but there needs to be an increased focus on self-positioning awareness than on the regular mode.

Rhyolith is still steered by putting damage on his legs where he’ll run over volcanoes, knocking off some of his armor.  The difference? There’s little molten armor oozeling adds that, if they reach him, will attach and put back some of his armor — but that’s not really what needs to be paid attention to.  If you’re AOE spamming the Fragments of Rhyolith, the oozeling adds will die, and very few of them will reach the boss.

The Fragments of Rhyolith have a new twist.  They deal damage equal to their amount of health to the raid if they don’t die within 30 seconds, so they MUST take DPS priority when they’re up.

Ultimately you’ll get to a point where you just want to push the boss to 25% health and force him into phase 2.  For the raids I’ve been in, this should happen after the 3rd Spark has spawned and died.  When Rhyolith phases to the final burn phase, the remaining adds should despawn.

In Phase 2, eye lasers are added.  Your group should be loosely gathered in the AOE healing spells, and if someone is chased by the eye laser, they need to lead it AWAY from the remainder of the raid.  During this phase, since his armor is gone, he should drop pretty quickly, and you win.

What does a Hunter need to know?

Phase 1: Know what tank is handling which type of adds. Misdirect appropriately.  The sparks will be tanked further off into the distance, where the fragments will likely be closer range.  There is a lot of damage going out on this phase, so any mitigation will be helpful. If you’re having difficulty staying alive, it might be worth glyphing Raptor Strike since you’re likely to have a bunch of small adds close to use it on. Stay out of the lines, and staying vocal about when they’re spawning will help your raid immensely. Do not get separated from the AOE healing group.  The amount of raid wide damage going out is extremely high, and if you can’t stick together, you’ll end up wiping the raid.

Phase 2: Misdirect to the tank, since he no longer ignores his aggro table.  Light up the boss.  Blow cooldowns, use potions. Lead eye lasers AWAY from the raid.

Hunter Loot from Heroic Lord Rhyolith

Still having trouble? Check out Learn to Raid’s video.

Good luck!

Strategy: Heroic Alysrazor

Morynne —  October 16, 2011 — 1 Comment

Shooting balls and playing LOS games.  The heroic mechanics on this fight are surprisingly easy to overcome, you just need to know what they do.

The overall concept of this fight doesn’t drastically change from the normal encounter, so I’m just going to cover the bits that are different.

Phase 1

Alysrazor still spawns small adds during phase 1 which need to be burned down, but on top of that, a Herald of the Burning Lord will cast Cataclysm, summoning a Molten Meteor that will roll around the room.  If the Meteor touches a side wall of the encounter area, it will break apart and start killing people in your raid.  There are two meteors that are summoned before she casts Firestorm.

The biggest key here is to DPS down that meteor so it ends up stopping as centrally as possible in the encounter area.  Why? Instead of doing a run through the middle of the encounter to drop more feathers, Alysrazor will do something called Firestorm, which must be LOS’d to avoid damage coming from her.  The further the meteor stops from the center, the more difficult it becomes for the opposite side to get to the meteor and hide behind it.

This cycle repeats itself 3 times, and the third set of meteors (after the second Firestorm) can be ignored, because instead of casting Firestorm again, she will transition to the tornado phase.

 Tornado Phase

Shockingly, this is identical to the normal mode version.  Just stay out of tornados.

Burnout

Alysrazor will burn out again after Tornados and drop to the ground.  Just like in normal mode, you’ll stack up again and blow your DPS cool downs.  Exactly like normal mode.

After the burnout phase is complete, Alysrazor will return to phase 1 again, and the cycle will repeat itself.  In my experience, she will die soon after the second burnout phase begins.

What does a Hunter need to know?

Instead of focusing on killing a bird (the tanks can pretty much handle them on their own in heroic), your mobile DPS is going to be crucial to ensuring the caster adds drop as fast as possible, and that you burst down the meteors as soon as they land.  It’s worth noting that the meteors are slowed using a frost trap, and if your raid runs with multiple hunters, try to cover as long a distance as possible so your raid can stop them as close to the center as possible.  The slow effect of the traps just buys your raid a little more time.

Other than that, a hunter’s job on this fight remains the same.

Hunter Loot from Heroic Alysrazor

Still having trouble? Check out Learn to Raid’s video.

Good luck!

Strategy: Heroic Shannox

Morynne —  October 4, 2011 — 2 Comments

ShannoxHeroic Shannox is a bit of a pushover.

  • Name: Shannox, Rageface, and Riplimb
  • Raid: Firelands
  • Tanks Needed: 2
  • Phases: Technically 2, really 1
  • Catch: Trap ALL THE DOGS!
  • This guide is for the heroic encounter. Normal strategy can be found here.

What I’m going to cover in this strategy are the specific differences between the normal and the heroic versions of the fight.

Heroic notes for the fight:

  • In Heroic Difficulty Riplimb cannot be permanently slain while his master lives. When his health reaches zero, he will collapse for 30 seconds, and then reanimate at full health to resume fighting.
  • HeroicFeeding Frenzy – Riplimb’s successful melee attacks increase his physical damage dealt by 5% for 20 sec. This effect stacks.
  • Rageface – Rageface cannot be controlled, and darts about from enemy to enemy, changing targets periodically.
    • HeroicFeeding Frenzy – Rageface’s successful melee attacks increase his physical damage dealt by 5% for 20 sec. This effect stacks.

So what does this mean?

Ultimately you’ll just DPS Shannox, and deal with the dogs as you’re able.  Crystal traps should be used to trap both dogs periodically through the fight.  So if you’re getting Face Raged, step near a Crystal prison trap, and trap the dog.

Now, knowing that this is a longer fight just from health on the boss, it’s worth talking about the ground being littered with Immolation traps.  There are many different ways a raid can get rid of them, mostly by using mitigation abilities and stepping on the traps.

What does a Hunter need to know?

Ultimately your job will be to burn the boss.  The dogs only matter so far as to need to get them trapped to drop the stacks of Feeding Frenzy off.  In order to help break Immolation Traps, pop deterrence and step into the trap — you wont’ be able to DPS for a few seconds, but you will help clean up the kiting zone a bit and make it less like a war zone.

Hunter Loot from Heroic Shannox

Still having trouble? Check out Learn to Raid’s video.

Good luck!

Strategy: Ragnaros

Morynne —  September 30, 2011 — 7 Comments

Ragnaros in FirelandsYet another boss that needs help out of the tub.  Please note that this is written post-nerf.  You can expect some hard-mode strategies coming very soon.

  • Name: Ragnaros
  • Raid: Firelands
  • Tanks Needed: 2
  • Phases: 3, with 2 transition phases
  • Catch: Fire is bad, right?
  • This strategy is for the normal encounter.

This fight is reasonably chaotic, and positioning is important.  If you’re standing in the wrong place, you can and will wipe the raid.

Phase 1: Hammer Smash and Lava Waves

Your raid should be spread out around the room about 6 yards apart.  The left side will have mostly melee, as they too will have to spread out 6 yards apart. The right side will have some of your range — this is where your Hunters should hang out.  Misdirects aren’t possible from the left side of the platform.

Here’s what Rag does in phase 1:
  • Sulfuras Smash – Ragnaros faces the location of a random player and prepares to smash Sulfuras on the platform. The impact of Sulfuras inflicts 536250 to 563750 Fire damage to any player within 5 yards of the impact, and creates several Lava Waves which move out from the point of impact.
    • Lava Wave – If a player touches a moving Lava Wave, the lava inflicts 97500 to 102500 Fire damage, 29250 to 30750 Fire damage every 1 sec. for 5 sec., and knocks the player back.
  • Wrath of Ragnaros – Ragnaros blasts the location of a random player, inflicting 58500 to 61500 Fire damage to all players within 6 yards and knocking them back. In 25 player raids, Ragnaros blasts three locations.
  • Hand of Ragnaros – Ragnaros inflicts 29250 to 30750 Fire damage to all enemies within 55 yards, knocking them back.
  • Magma Trap Ragnaros launches a Magma Trap at a random player’s location. When the Magma Trap reaches the platform, it inflicts 58500 to 61500 Fire damage and knocks back players within 8 yards. The active Magma Trap persists for the duration of the encounter and triggers when stepped on, causing a Magma Trap Eruption.
    • Magma Trap Eruption – A triggered Magma Trap erupts for 78000 to 82000 Fire damage to all players, and violently knocks the triggering player into the air.The Magma Trap causes the triggering player to take 50% more damage from other Magma Traps. This effect lasts for 45 sec and stacks.
  • Magma Blast – Ragnaros blasts magma at his current target if he cannot reach and melee them, inflicting 73125 to 76875 Fire damage and increasing Fire damage taken by 50% for 6 sec.

Here’s what has to happen… your raid needs to pew pew the fire lord and be very spatially aware.  Magma traps will need to be popped when the raid is over 90%.  Typically there’s a designated person for this.  When the hammer smash comes down, make sure you’re standing off to an angle of the hammer because the waves go out in 3 directions: left, right, and away from Ragnaros.  They’re reasonably slow moving, and should be easily avoidable.  This phase lasts until 70%.

Transition 1: RNG Hates Your Raid

At 70%, Ragnaros will cast Splitting Blow, which sends fire adds around the platform. Ragnaros submerges for 45 seconds, or until all the adds are dead, whichever is first.

Here’s what the transition abilities look like:
  • Splitting Blow – Ragnaros buries Sulfuras within the platform, inflicting 68250 to 71750 Fire damage every 1 second to players within 6 yards and creating eight Sons of Flame that attempt to reach the mighty hammer.
  • Son of Flame – Sons of Flame cross the platform and attempt to reform with Sulfuras. A Son of Flame that reaches Sulfuras causes a Supernova.
    • Burning Speed – For every 5% of their remaining health above 50%, Sons of Flame move 75% faster. When players reduce a Son of Flame to below 50% remaining health, the Son of Flame loses the Burning Speed effect.
    • Supernova – When a Son of Flame reaches Sulfuras it explodes in a Supernova, inflicting 121875 to 128125 Fire damage to all players.
  • Lava Bolt – While Ragnaros lies submerged underneath the lava, bolts of hot magma fall on four random players every 4 seconds. A Lava Bolt inflicts 43875 to 46125 Fire Damage.In 25 player raids, bolts of hot magma fall on ten players.

The reason RNG hates your raid in this transition is that the splitting blow can be put in one of 3 places.  The Sons of Flame are rarely evenly distributed across the platform, creating a bit of a logistical nightmare for who DPSes what add.  It is absolutely critical that your more bursty DPSers work on the Sons closest to the hammer, if they do reach the hammer, it will likely wipe your raid.  It’s worth noting that the Sons can be stunned, and frankly should be in order to prevent them from getting to the hammer.  Once their health reaches 50%, your DPS should move to the closest Son, and kill it until they are all dead.

We split up the raid evenly between the two sides, assigning certain players to the closest two Sons on either side of the Hammer — regardless of where the split fell.  We also assigned “zones” to the remaining DPS on either side.  Let’s say that the split was favoring the left (having fewer on the right) the middle “zone” players on the right would move to help out on the left, leaving the “far” zone players on the right to handle the Sons that remained there.  This is something that is very raid composition dependent, and your strategy will likely be different.

Once the Sons are dead, Ragnaros comes back, and you move into Phase 2.

Phase 2: Second Verse, Same as the First (Not Really)

Ragnaros is back to his old tricks smashing the hammer around.  This time, your raid positioning is a little bit more important.  My advice: keep your entire raid off of the lighter part of the platform (the center).

Phase 2 Abilities
  • Sulfuras Smash – Ragnaros faces the location of a random player and prepares to smash Sulfuras on the platform. The impact of Sulfuras inflicts 536250 to 563750 Fire damage to any player within 5 yards of the impact, and creates several Lava Waves which move out from the point of impact.
    • Lava Wave – If a player touches a moving Lava Wave, the lava inflicts 97500 to 102500 Fire damage, 29250 to 30750 Fire damage every 1 sec. for 5 sec., and knocks the player back.
  • Engulfing Flame – Ragnaros periodically engulfs a random third of the platform in flames, immediately inflicting 68250 to 71750 Fire damage to players caught in the conflagration then again inflicting 68250 to 71750 Fire damage one second later.
  • Molten Seed – Ragnaros creates Molten Seed at the location of 10 random players from the nearby lava, inflicting 53625 to 56375 Fire damage to all players within 6 yards of a seed. After 10 sec the Molten Seed bursts into a Molten Inferno.In 25 player raids, Ragnaros targets 20 players.
    • Molten Inferno – When Molten Seeds burst they create a Molten Inferno, inflicting 135000 Fire damage to all players and creating a Molten Elemental. The damage inflicted decreases the farther away the player stands from the seed.
    • Molten Elemental – A Molten Inferno creates a Molten Elemental, which attacks and fixates on a random player.
  • Magma Blast – Ragnaros blasts magma at his current target if he cannot reach and melee them, inflicting 73125 to 76875 Fire damage and increasing Fire damage taken by 50% for 6 sec.

So what’s different? Periodically, Ragnaros will create Molten seeds at the location of players, and the further away you are from these seeds when they burst, the less damage you end up taking.  This is a very healing intensive phase.  During the seed phase, your raid will need to stack up in the center of the platform and utilize as much AOE healing as possible.  Elementals will spawn and try to kill your raid, so AOE them down.  Clearly here, healers AOE heal, DPS AOE pew pews.  Once the elementals are dead, spread back out, stay out of the center of the platform.

Ragnaros will engulf a third of the platform in flames, which can be problematic especially for the second seed collapse. (best seen in video, see the link at the bottom of this article)  Make sure you don’t get too far out, otherwise, inevitably, the third that will be engulfed will separate you from where you’ll need to stack.  It’s also worth noting that the second collapse will likely time with a smash, which means you MUST change your positioning.  Instead of being back a little bit from the boss, you’ll want to position yourselves on the yellow band just in front of Ragnaros — it allows your raid to entirely avoid the waves. This phase continues until 40%.

Transition 2: Moar Adds!

This phase is largely like the first transition, just this time you have 2 additional big adds, which are off-tanked until the transition is over.

Transition 2 Abilities
  • Splitting Blow – Ragnaros buries Sulfuras within the platform, inflicting 68250 to 71750 Fire damage every 1 second to players within 6 yards and creating eight Sons of Flame that attempt to reach the mighty hammer.
  • Son of Flame – Sons of Flame cross the platform and attempt to reform with Sulfuras. A Son of Flame that reaches Sulfuras causes a Supernova.

    • Burning Speed – For every 5% of their remaining health above 50%, Sons of Flame move 75% faster. When players reduce a Son of Flame to below 50% remaining health, the Son of Flame loses the Burning Speed effect.
    • Supernova – When a Son of Flame reaches Sulfuras it explodes in a Supernova, inflicting 121875 to 128125 Fire damage to all players.
  • Lava Scion – One Lava Scion forms on each side of the platform.

    • Blazing Heat – A Lava Scion inflicts a random player with Blazing Heat, causing the player to create a trail of Blazing Heat in their wake. Blazing Heat inflicts 48750 to 51250 Fire damage every 1 sec on players standing within the trail, and heals Sons of Flame and Lava Scions within the trail for 10% every 1 sec.

When all is said and done, if you made it through the first transition unscathed, you can make it through the second.  Phase 3 is where it really gets tricky, and you have to work on handling the Scions at the same time.

Phase 3: Too Soon, Executus!

Sorry, I couldn’t resist bringing the old MC RP time speech in here.

Phase 3 is all about survival.  Survive the Scions, and DPS the boss.  There’s some rolling balls that chase people around the platform, survive those, and you win.

  • Sulfuras Smash – Ragnaros faces the location of a random player and prepares to smash Sulfuras on the platform. The impact of Sulfuras inflicts 536250 to 563750 Fire damage to any player within 5 yards of the impact, and creates several Lava Waves which move out from the point of impact.
    • Lava Wave – If a player touches a moving Lava Wave, the lava inflicts 97500 to 102500 Fire damage, 29250 to 30750 Fire damage every 1 sec. for 5 sec., and knocks the player back.
  • Engulfing Flame – Ragnaros periodically engulfs a random third of the platform in flames, immediately inflicting 68250 to 71750 Fire damage to players caught in the conflagration then again inflicting 68250 to 71750 Fire damage one second later.
  • Summon Living Meteor – Ragnaros calls down an increasing number of Living Meteors. The Living Meteor’s impact inflicts 63375 to 66625 Fire damage to players within 5 yards of the location.
    • Living Meteor – The Living Meteor fixates on a random player and chases them.
      • Meteor Impact – Any player within 4 yards of a Living Meteor triggers a Meteor Impact, inflicting 487500 to 512500 Fire damage to players within 8 yards.
      • Combustible – Attacking a Living Meteor causes Combustion, knocking it back several yards from the attacking player. Triggering Combustion removes the Combustible effect for 5 seconds.
        • Combustion – Attacking a Living Meteor causes Combustion, knocking it back several yards from the attacking player.
      • Lavalogged – If a Living Meteor touches a Lava Wave, the meteor gains the Lavalogged effect for 1 min.
  • Magma Blast – Ragnaros blasts magma at his current target if he cannot reach and melee them, inflicting 73125 to 76875 Fire damage and increasing Fire damage taken by 50% for 6 sec.

Ragnaros is still doing his smashy thing, so avoid those lava waves.  The tough part to this is being able to bring down the remaining Scions among the chaos.  The cool thing about the rocks that roll around the platform is when they’re hit, they get knocked back and pick a new target to follow.  They can also be knocked back off the platform, which is the ideal situation.

Ragnaros is still doing the fiery bands across the platform as well, so make sure you’re watching your feet, and planning out where you’re running if you’re being chased by a meteor.  Ragnaros falls over at 10%, and you win.

 What does a Hunter need to know?

First of all, this is a perfect fight to pre-pot. Blow your cooldowns early, because this fight is easiest when it’s kept as short as possible.

During phase 1, hunters should be on the right side of the platform for MD’s to the tank.  Blow your rapid fires, and pew pew the boss.  This is an “avoid damge” phase of the fight.  Stay out of the lava waves, and don’t pop traps unless you’re assigned to do that.

During the first transition, at least in my raids, the hunters are assigned all over the place.  Some to the ones in distance, some close range, others in the middle for the adds.  The key here is to make sure you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing.  Coordination is key to succeed on this part of the fight.  You can use a Wasp pet to help stun some of these adds.

In the second phase, it’s worth noting that you can Deterrence to avoid some of the damage for the seed explosions.  Do it.  Your healers will thank you.  To DPS the adds that spawn, once they’re grouped up, Feign Death, and back out of the group if you can to Multi-Shot.  If it’s not possible, drop traps and do the best you can.  Positioning is especially important for the second seed phase, make sure you’re with the group.

During transition 2, do the same thing you did in the first one.   Once the little adds are down, get your damage on the Scions.

In phase 3, finish off the Scions, and then turn to Ragnaros and dps your heart out.  The longer this phase goes on, the more difficult it becomes just because of the balls rolling around.  If you see a ball getting close to someone it’s chasing, shoot it real fast and get back on Rag.  If you happen to get lucky enough to be targeted by a ball, Feign death when it gets close and it will pick a new target. Blow your DPS cooldowns on this phase, and profit.

Hunter Loot from Ragnaros

Need a visual, or need additional help? Check out Learn2Raid’s video.

Good luck!

September 20th: Firelands Nerfday

Morynne —  September 21, 2011 — 12 Comments

Having gone through 6/7 in 25-man last night, and making some significant progress on Ragnaros, I can honestly say that Firelands is less fun (because of the lack of challenge) on normal modes now.

We blew through all the bosses in about an hour and a half — spending the last hour or so working on Ragnaros.

This felt like Naxx (v2.0) all over again.  It really felt like you can easily rush in with a PUG, go pew pew for a few hours and collect some purples.

Here’s what I found to be the biggest changes:

  • Shannox
    • Riplimb and Rageface drop like rocks, so does Shannox.  You’ll have to watch your timing on how fast your DPS is going.  We had to move DPS off of Shannox when we were burning the other dog just to prevent the enrage from happening early.
  • Beth’tilac
    • If the little adds were easy before, they’re stupid easy now.  These are easily done with one person hanging out at each spawn point to AOE.  The drones also drop extremely fast.  We ended up sending extra people up to the web to do additional damage on Beth’tilac.
  • Rhyolith
    • This is the one encounter I found relatively unchanged.  The damage output is decreased, but the “stay out of crazy amounts of fire” part of the fight is still there.
  • Alysrazor
    • We started this fight doing the same things we’d been doing since the onset of 4.2, and boy were we surprised.  The casters cast less frequently, the hatchlings can almost be solo’d by the tanks — and they nearly have to spam eat the worms to prevent them from being up during the tornado phase.  We had about 30 seconds before the tornados started after the hatchlings died.
    • The tornados are slow, almost to the point of being bad.  If you’re used to running behind a tornado and keeping up with it, well — get ready to change your strategy.  You’ll be running too fast, and have the chance of running into the back end of the tornado.
    • For the second air phase, we sent up additional DPS to stay on Alysrazor.  By the time she burnt out for the second ground phase, she was dead.
  • Baleroc
    • The damage output by tanking the crystals was significantly less, and much more survivable.  There was never the panic moment of “oh man, too many stacks.”
  • Majordomo Staghelm
    • He was dead by the third scorpion phase, nearly negating the need to even strategize for the orbs.  If you’ve done this fight on 10-man, 25 felt very much the same way.

The way things are going, I think it’s reasonably safe to say I’ll have a Ragnaros strategy to write by next week.

How was your first night in the Nerf-tastic Firelands?

Firelands Nerf So Soon?

Morynne —  September 13, 2011 — 8 Comments

Color me a little surprised.

Blizzard dropped this bomb yesterday…

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

With the final showdown against Deathwing approaching, we’ve been keeping a close eye on players’ progress through the current Firelands raid content. Before patch 4.3 is released, we want groups who are working on Heroic-difficulty content to be able to get as close to Ragnaros as possible, and we want players who are tackling normal progression to be able to experience as many of the encounters as they can. To achieve these goals, we’ll be toning down the difficulty of both normal and Heroic raids through hotfixes in the coming weeks. In general, we plan to reduce health and damage of all raid bosses in both normal and Heroic Firelands by around the same percentage we brought difficulty down for the original Cataclysm raids when Rage of the Firelands (patch 4.2) was released.

We’re looking forward to seeing more groups of players face off against the Fire Lord in the weeks ahead. However, before we make these changes, we want to give everyone a final shot at the bosses at their current difficulty level — so this is a heads up that we’re planning to apply the difficulty hotfixes beginning the week of September 19.

Stay tuned to the Patch 4.2 Hotfixes blog for these and other live updates to the game as they happen.

Wow. It feels like we just got into Firelands, and this is coming so quickly thereafter!  Now in fairness, Rag was cleared week 1, and heroics were started the week following.  I’ve truly enjoyed Firelands, and I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve changed guilds and environment, or because I genuinely like the encounters.  I almost don’t want to see this normal mode nerf so soon.  I want to get Rag down pre-nerf!

I’m not sure of the time table for 4.3, but given the fact that it’s not even on the PTR yet, we’re probably looking at 3-4 months at the bare minimum — which puts it very close to the December and New Years holidays — pretty much 1 year after we had our worlds torn apart by Deathwing in the first place.

Here’s what I’m fearful of: I don’t want to be killing Deathwing every week for a year like we did with Arthas.

The long lag time between ICC and Cataclysm created a lot of burn out and destroyed a number of guilds, particularly those that raid.  I’m not sure it’s the best choice for that kind of lag time.

Knowing that 4.3 will indeed be the Deathwing patch, I do think we’ll get the name, and a brief preview of the next expansion at Blizzcon.  Rainbows in pandaland anyone?

What are your thoughts on the nerf and the potential release schedule?

Marksmanship: The Homecoming

Morynne —  August 12, 2011 — 10 Comments

Returning to Marksmanship after an 8 month stint as Survival felt like coming home.

Since Cataclysm came out 9 months ago, I’d been raiding as Survival.  Why? Well for the majority of that time, the guild I was in needed it.  In that 10-man environment, I was topping meters — as SV hunters tended to do through tier 11 content.

Then the last straw had been dropped, and I needed a change.  Guild changed, server changed, raid format changed, and Firelands dropped — all within a 1-week period.  The first raid night with the new guild was our first night in Firelands too — so the encounters were all new to everyone.  I was terrified.  I had no idea what to expect from the raid, the new guild, and I was suffering from a huge bout of performance anxiety.  Muscle memory dictated that I stay Survival, despite the 2-3k deficit in DPS between MM and SV (all gear being considered equal).

That was about 6 weeks ago.  Since then I’ve seen considerable gear upgrades, gotten far more familiar with the Firelands bosses, and read a ton of information about the Cataclysm Marksmanship rotation/priorities/gear choices, etc.  Did I feel comfortable after my once through? Heck no.

So what did I do to get myself back up to speed? Honestly, I spent no less than probably 5 hours over the course of three weeks on a target dummy, running combat logs, and nit-picking my shot choices and figuring out how I could better optimize what I was doing.

Was I still unsure? Absolutely. I tried running a few troll heroics to get a better handle on what I was doing, but that seemed like a moot point.  Things died far too quickly to be able to gauge if what I was doing was the right thing.

Last night I bit the bullet. I switched to Marksmanship after one attempt on Alysrazor.  If you haven’t seen that fight yet, just know it is pretty chaotic, and probably not where you want to test a new spec.  I, on the other hand, decided that the only way I was going to get back into the Marksmanship saddle, was to bite the bullet, and pick probably one of the most chaotic fights and just do it.  Admittedly, my rotation and method to running MM for now are probably a little off, but that’s okay.  I was keeping up with another Marksman hunter that always tops meters. Embarrassingly enough, when I looked at Recount after just my first attempt as Marksmanship and saw what I was doing, I nearly cried.

I proved to myself I could do it.

Going back and glancing at logs from last night, it’s pretty clear where I messed up my rotation last night.  From a cursory glance though, it seems like it was only a couple times – which is even more encouraging to me.  Needless to say I’ll be optimizing my gear back to Marksman primarily, and save Survival for fights that need stupid amounts of AOE (Beth’tilac, Rhyolith, and trash).

The moral of this rambling tale is this: Don’t give up.  Just because you’re not so hot at one of the specs out there, it doesn’t mean you’ll always be that way.  Spend the time, do the research, practice, practice, practice.  Then challenge yourself outside your comfort zone.  Your hard work might just pay off.

With the Molten Front dailies, there’s a set of achievements that can be great big jerks as a hunter if you’re not sure how their mechanics work.  Ready for Raiding’s quest, Strike at the Heart is only available after you complete the Ancients portion of the dailies on the Molten Front.

Here’s the criteria of the achievement:

Slay the following Lieutenants of Flame in Ragnaros’ Reach without getting hit by their special attacks.

  • Ancient Charscale
  • Ancient Smoldering Behemoth
  • Ancient Firelord
  • Cinderweb Queen
  • Devout Harbinger

Ancient Charscale

This guy throws spears and creates fire lines.  If you’ve done Firelands and seen Rhyolith, the fire is like the Magma flows on that fight.  He casts this stuff in rapid succession, so it’s important to stay light on your feet.    Staying at max range seems to help, as does any movement speed increases you use.  Remember that Aspect of the Cheetah has a downside, as does Disengage, but used sparingly will get you out of a bind. Darkflight is very helpful, but it has a cooldown.  If you’re lucky enough to group with a feral druid, their Stampeding Roar will be very helpful as well.

Ancient Smoldering Behemoth

This guy is pretty similar to the giants out on Sethira’s Roost, just with a little more “umph.”  He does Rain of Fire, chucks bolders, and does a Flame Leviathan style flame vents (groundfire).  Ultimately, keep moving, and if you happen to see Rain of Fire, stay out of it.  As a Hunter, your best bet is to stay at range for him, and likely stay in Aspect of the Fox, so you don’t have to worry about stopping your DPS rotation.

Ancient Firelord

The Firelord is a pretty typical elemental, but this particular one is like a sprinkler.  He will periodically spray in a cone in front of him while rotating in a clockwise direction.  The trick is to stay out of his fire breath while he’s doing it.  If he’s not doing that, you’ll see orange circles on the ground — that’s his other special ability.  Stay away from those.  The trick here is treating his fire breath like the Twilight Cutters in Ruby Sanctum.  Stay behind it, and you’ll be good to go.

Cinderweb Queen

The Cinderweb Queen is a typical spider.  She has webs she flings out and tiny spiderlings that hatch.  The key to this fight is to kite the spiderlings (it’s a piece of cake with traps and multi-shot), and stay out of the fiery webs that get shot out on the ground.  She will also occasionally flame spit, so keep an eye out if it is shot in your general direction.

Devout Harbinger

Truly this is the only one I’ve had issues with.  The Harbinger lights the ground on fire in 2 different ways.  She’ll make you trail fire around, and will fling boulders at you that will give you a debuff.  The intended way to accomplish this is the following:

  • Watch for her to cast Creeping Inferno.
  • When the cast ends, a blast effect will appear at your feet.
  • A second or two after that, a big, slow-moving, fiery boulder will hit you.
  • Just before the boulder gets to you, JUMP. If you’re not in the air when the rock hits you, you will get the debuff.
  • After that, just make sure to run away from the flame trail.

The easy way of doing this is tag the Harbinger to start the fight, run like hell about 60 yards out, and just watch her health.  When she’s at approximately 50k hp, run back in, kill the mob.  You can also feign death, but be careful of people kiting their fire lines over you… it may drag you back into combat and make you susceptible to the debuff again.

Good luck!

Strategy: Majordomo Staghelm

Morynne —  July 28, 2011 — 3 Comments

I liked this fight quite a bit — the mechanic of raid driven shifting is unique and interesting to learn to work with.  I really wish druid tier 11 was that color.  Scorpions and kitties, oh my!

  • Name: Majordomo Staghelm <Archdruid of the Flame>
  • Raid: Firelands
  • Tanks Needed: 1
  • Phases: 2, with twists
  • Catch: Raid driven phase shifting
  • This strategy is for the normal encounter.

Fandral transforms into a Cat when the raid is not clustered together or into a Scorpion when 7 or more of the raid (in 25-man) are clustered together. On every third transform, Fandral briefly pauses in human form.

So first, let’s talk phases and what they mean to your raid, then I’ll go into how/when you’ll want to do the shifts.

Cat Form

Fandral transforms into a Cat when his enemies are not clustered together.

  • Leaping Flames – Fandral leaps at an enemy, leaving behind a Spirit of the Flame. He lands in a blaze of glory, igniting the ground at his destination and causing it to burn enemy enemy units for 23562 to 26437 Fire damage every 0.5 sec. for 1 min. This attack costs 100 energy.
  • Spirit of the Flame – These images of Fandral attack enemies until defeated.
  • Adrenaline – Fandral gains a stack of Adrenaline each time he performs Leaping Flames. Adrenaline increases his energy regeneration rate by 20% per application. Fandral loses all stacks of Adrenaline when he switches forms.
  • Fury – Fandral gains a stack of Fury each time he transforms into a Cat or Scorpion, increasing the damage of Leaping Flames and Flame Scythe by 8% per application. This effect stacks.

Scorpion Form

Fandral transforms into a Scorpion when 7 or more of his enemies are clustered together.,3In 25 player raids, Fandral transforms when 18 or more of his enemies are clustered together.

  • Flame Scythe – Fandral inflicts 750000 Fire damage to enemies in front of him. Damage is split equally among targets hit. This attack costs 100 energy.
  • Adrenaline – Fandral gains a stack of Adrenaline each time he performs Flame Scythe. Adrenaline increases his energy regeneration rate by 20% per application. Fandral loses all stacks of Adrenaline when he switches forms.
  • Fury – Fandral gains a stack of Fury each time he transforms into a Cat or Scorpion, increasing the damage of Leaping Flames and Flame Scythe by 8% per application. This effect stacks.

Human Form

When Fandral enters Human form, he briefly envelops his enemies in a Fiery Cyclone and casts an additional spell.When switching from Cat form to Scorpion form, Fandral unleashes Searing Seeds.When switching switching from Scorpion form to Cat form, Fandral unleashes Burning Orbs.

  • Fiery Cyclone – Fiery Cyclone tosses all enemy targets into the air, preventing all action but making them invulnerable for 3 sec.
  • Searing Seeds – Searing Seeds implants fiery seeds in Fandral’s enemies. Each seed grows at a different rate. When fully grown, the seeds explode, inflicting 60000 Fire damage to players within 12 yards.
  • Burning Orbs – Fandral summons several orbs around the room. Each orb attacks the nearest player, burning them for 5000 Fire damage every 2 sec. This effect stacks.

Phase 1: Getting Started (Scorpion)

In every single strategy I’ve read and/or watched, it says starting out in scorpion form is the easiest way to go about this, so your pull has to be very planned.   For the pull, you’ll see Fandral standing at the top of the stairs at the far side of the room.  Your raid will want to be grouped up where the circle in the middle meets the area leading up to the stairs.  Everyone needs to be stacked together! Even the tanks, with the boss facing the raid.  The green triangle in the diagram can be a stealthed hunter to more easily MD to the tank.  It’s critical to get as much threat using Misdirects and Tricks of the Trade (from Rogues) because once the tank loses threat, it’s gone.

The stacked raid serves an important purpose — splitting the damage that is going out from the Flame Scythe.  Now, it’s important to know that your tank/raids will be able to stand varying numbers of Adrenaline stacks, so it will take some work to  figure out exactly what your raid can withstand.  I believe we were tolerating 6-8 stacks of Adrenaline before forcing the phase shift.

To initiate the phase shift, everyone in the raid must move out around the room at the same time.  Speed boosts (like darkflight, other sprints, disengage) are all useful here.

*The second time you see the Scorpion phase, you’ll add in Searing Seeds to deal with.

During the second iteration of the scorpion phase, your raid will be affected with Searing Seeds.  Each raid member needs to watch their debuff timer, and move out of the raid to avoid blowing up everyone else.  It’s important to time this correctly because if too many people move out of the raid at the same time, a phase shift will be forced.  It seems like if everyone waits to 5-6 seconds remaining on their timer before leaving the group, no one is in danger of forcing the phase shift.

Phase 2: The Fire Kitty

When the phase is shifted, you’ll want to arrange your raid to something similar to the diagram in this section — where the icons are, not where the arrows are pointing.  During this phase, Fandral will jump around periodically at your ranged players and drop pools of fire. Stay out of those.  On every jump, an add will spawn, which should be the immediate dps target, and then get back on Fandral.  Like in the scorpion phase, he will gain stacks of Adrenaline, which again, is dependent on how much your tank/raid can tolerate before forcing another phase shift.

The arrows on the diagram show the first step in forcing the phase change back to scorpion.  For our raid, we would move the range in to the ring on stack number 5, and collapse on the tank for stack 6 to force the return into the scorpion phase.

*When your raid returns to the kitty phase, you’ll see the orb mechanic.

On one of the subsequent returns to the kitty phase, you’ll have a new mechanic to contend with.  There will be orbs scattered around the room, and they do damage to the person closest to them.  They do a stacking fire debuff on the player, and can easily be handled by 2 raid members.  The role can either be assigned like on Baleroc, or it can just be the 2 closest people.  Whatever works for your raid.  It’s recommended to only take 5-10 seconds of the debuff, so be prepared to switch often.

Overall

Your raid will have to tinker with how many stacks of Adrenaline to take per phase, and will likely decrease the number because Fury will continue to stack, making each phase a little bit more difficult to withstand.  You should be seeing approximately 3 of each phase type before the boss goes down, so keep that in mind when analyzing your raid’s performance.  The first time we killed this boss, it was admittedly, a bit sloppy, but we were on the 7th overall phase.

What does a Hunter need to know?

Scorpion: DPS the boss, save your cooldowns for this shift.  The majority of your damage will be dealt to the boss in this phase, and needs to be capitalized on.  It’s worth noting that glyphing for Raptor Strike was helpful to mitigate some of the damage from the slash, and can be timed pretty easily.  If you’re responsible for misdirecting Fandral at the beginning, make sure you stack back up with the tanks and the remainder of the raid as quickly as possible.  During the shift out from Scorpion, you can disengage out, or if you’re a worgen (like me!) darkflight proved itself infinitely helpful.  For the seeds, just make sure you watch your debuffs and move out of the raid when the time comes.

Kitty: Make sure you’re spread out in your assigned area, and don’t creep to the center ring with the melee.  Fandral has to have jump targets, and that’s what you are.  His fire puddles need to be organized away from the center so it’s easy to force him back into scorpion when required.  When the jumps happen, make sure you’re swapping targets and dpsing the adds as your priority. For the orbs, be prepared to continue to watch stacks and swap out with another player.  If that’s not your job, just make sure you’re paying attention to the cues of your raid.

Hunter Loot from Majordomo Staghelm

Still having trouble? Check out Learn to Raid’s video.

Good luck!

Taming Kirix

Morynne —  July 25, 2011 — 4 Comments

Kirix is one of the 10 challenge tames from the 4.2 patch.  Once tamed, there’s nothing special to him other than the coloration — but it’s a challenge to make him yours.

Kirix lives in the Molten Front on Fireplume Ridge.  If you haven’t unlocked the “Into the Fire” quest, you might have a difficult time getting to his area.

This is a reasonably easy tame, you just have to know where to pull him from.  Along the ridge, you’ll see small platforms scattered all over leading up to the firehawk area.  You’ll want to use these to your advantage.  It’s worth noting that he’s immune to Ice Traps, so don’t bother.

As you go around the edge of the ledge (past the NPCs for dailies) you’ll see a couple platforms off in the distance — not the singular one, but there’s a group of two (one that crumbles periodically).  You’ll want to be on the stationary one.  Kirix will pat back and forth in front of you.

Here’s how it should go:

  1. Shoot Kirix
  2. Wait for him to use his special poison ability, pop Deterrence
  3. If he’s evading, wait to pop Tame Beast
  4. Profit!

It really doesn’t take much more than that.  If I happen to come across more challenge tames and have some success, I’ll be sure to share them!

I snagged him this morning after a few tries, and he’s certainly more exciting than your average spider. Good luck!