Rolling Diseases: How to Effectively Spread the Plague

18 10 2009

Note: this post is primarily about Blood DPS (though it is also applicable to Frost, which often uses Glyph of Disease).

Rolling diseases is the term used for casting diseases while you have temporary buffs (such as Greatness, Fallen Crusader, Unholy Might, Unholy Force, etc.) that increase your Str/AP and then refreshing those buffed diseases with Glyph of Disease/Pestilence. The way Pestilence works with GoD is in the wording: “Your Pestilence ability now refreshes disease durations on your primary target back to their maximum duration.” Compare this to Glyph of Howling Blast: “Your Howling Blast ability now infects your targets with Frost Fever.” The HB glyph causes HB to apply Frost Fever while GoD allows Pestilence to refresh the diseases already applied to your current target.

Keep in mind that the decision to use Glyph of Disease (over Glyph of Dark Death) depends on how many on use/chance on hit AP/Str procs you have. The major ones you can get are: Darkmoon Card: Greatness, 2p t9, Sigil of Virulence, that sort of thing. The more you have, the better Glyph of Disease will work for you.

GoD

But Shop, how can I get all my procs to align?

The short answer is that you can’t. The long answer is that there are a few tricks that can help you set up your procs to align.

1) At the start of your fight, use HS-HS-DS (with the option of BT to get a 3rd HS if Unholy Might doesn’t proc) to get as many procs going as possible, then apply diseases.

2) Download and configure Procodile, an addon that can monitor internal cooldowns (ICD) of buffs (as well as the buffs themselves, but I use other addons to cover that). When you have it set up to track all the ICDs of your buffs, if you don’t get all your buffs up at the start of a fight, you can see in advance if and when multiple proc cooldowns will line up again. Considering how important this can be for your DPS, Procodile is a worthwhile investment.

How does Pestilence fit into your rotation?

If you are spell hit capped, you can wait until the last possible second to refresh your diseases. If you’re not, it’s best to leave yourself at least one GCD before your diseases fall off when you refresh. This way if your Pestilence misses you don’t lose your buffed diseases. Aside from this, fit Pestilence in wherever necessary, and where possible refresh disease right before you use DRW so you don’t waste a GCD on a Pestilence while DRW is up.

The ideal rotation for Blood with GoD is to use the traditional 20 second rotation (IT-PS-DS-HS-HS-DC // DS-HS-HS-HS-HS-DC-DC) and simply cast Pestilence before the 21-second diseases run out. This is, however, in an ideal situation and you should be thinking ahead about what might happen to cause you to be away from the boss. One example is Icehowl: you want buffed diseases to stay up as long as possible but are frequently knocked away from the boss.

Some final tips:

  • First priority in your rotation is keeping buffed diseases going; if they fall off it’s not always easy to get them going again
  • Know when you will be away from the boss so you can refresh in advance
  • Cast Pestilence as little as you can while still keeping diseases up (i.e. don’t refresh halfway through disease timers without a good reason to)




Argent Coliseum Strategy: Heroic Edition

5 09 2009

So last night my guild wandered into the Trial of the Grand Crusader (hard mode Crusaders’ Coliseum, for the uninformed). We managed to down Beasts, Jaraxxus, and Faction Champions in 10-man. While most of the changes were straightforward, such as boss damage being raised, some upgrades came as a surprise.

Northrend Beasts

Gormok the Impaler

Instead of having a second tank (3 are used in 25-man, I’ve heard) taunt at 3 stacks of Impale, we had our OT taunt at 2. At 3 it becomes simply too dangerous. In addition to more boss damage, you have to kill Gormok in a certain amount of time (I forget the exact amount, but DBM has a timer) or else the worms come out regardless of whether he’s dead or not.

We also had anyone who got Snobolded run out of melee range or, if they were ranged or a healer, run to just outside stomp range until the Snobold was killed.

Acidmaw and Dreadscale

My guild’s strategy on normal mode was to burn down Acidmaw first and just heal through the enrage. On hard mode, the enrage is significantly more dangerous so another option is to burn down both worms at once. We chose to focus our DPS on the mobile worm due to the knockback that the rooted worm does on those in melee range. While this means that you will end up having to switch to Dreadscale while he is in the ground to avoid killing Acidmaw early, this strategy worked well. Aside from a more potent enrage, the worms are the same as on normal.

However, if you’re overgeared for the worms (say, you run 25s in addition to 10s) you can also choose to just burn down Acidmaw right away and blow tank/healer cooldowns to survive the enrage. If you’re using this strategy, the worm-burn phase is a good time to Heroism too.

Icehowl

The only difference my guild noted (aside from more damage on basically everything, including the freezing breath, which makes spreading your raid out very important) was that after the 3rd charge-into-the-wall thing, Icehowl will enrage whether he ran into anyone or not. This simply adds a “burn or die” component to the fight, similar to Gormok, where he has to be taken down before the worms come out.

You also get no speed buff to get away from his charging into the wall, so you have to be more careful.

Lord Jaraxxus

The major difference between normal and hard mode in this encounter is that the Infernal Volcanoes and the Netherworld Portals must be destroyed or they will continue to spawn Mistresses/Infernals. With good timing it’s possible to avoid getting a 2nd Mistress/more than 2 Infernals. Aside from that, everything else simply had its damage upped.

My guild made one strategy adjustment, and that was to have the ranged/healers stand in staggered pairs in a semicircle. Doing so makes sure that Fel Lightning only chains to one extra target. If your raid simply clumps up, you can get dangerous chains of Fel Lightning.

Faction Champions

The only real difference is that all the mobs do more damage, have more HP, and heal for more. It’s harder and takes a bit more focus/communication than 10-man on normal, but it’s not a huge adjustment by any means. They are also untauntable/have PvP trinkets on short cooldowns (courtesy of commenter Gil).

Valkyr Twins

Similar to Faction Champions, everything just got a boost numbers-wise.  It’s important to position the twins close to their same-essence portals (for example, the Dark Twin should be next to a Dark portal). The reason for this is that for most special abilities cast by the twins, it’s necessary to be able to quickly swap essences.

One other strategy adjustment that I had to make was saving DPS cooldowns for the Twins’ Pact shield, which was difficult to get down. To aid DPS (especially melee) the Twins should be tanked close together, and with their backs facing the middle. This way melee DPS have very little distance to travel.

Anub’arak

There are a few significant changes in heroic mode, aside from the expected buff in damage and HP (30% to both on Anub’arak). First, the Burrowers now cast a spell called Shadow Strike (8s cast, halved by the haste buff they cast on themselves). This ability does a base damage of 40000 (likely to one-shot anyone who’s not a tank) and is interruptable. These adds are still stunnable as well. The Burrowers also continue to spawn in phase 3 (the Leeching Swarm phase) unlike on normal.

Another of the changes is that you have a limited amount of Frost Spheres to work with (6). So when players are pursued by Impale in phase 2, they must take care to kite as far as they can. This accomplishes two things: first, it allows other players to move far away from the pursued player so that the next target will already be far away. Secondly, kiting for longer before running onto Permafrost allows you to break fewer Permafrost areas during phase 2.

Here are a few notes and tricks for phase 2.

  • Hand of Protection grants immunity to impale damage but will not make Anub’arak choose a different target to pursue
  • Immunity effects (such as Ice Block and Divine Shield) will cause Anub’arak to pursue another player
  • If an unfortunate raid member with no escape mechanisms/blinks is targeted, it’s probably better to use Hand of Protection on them rather than on classes such as Warlocks and those who can force a different pursue target via immunity effects
  • You may not necessarily want to drop all 3 Frost Spheres for the first phase so that you don’t accidentally have none left for phase 3 (where you need at least one patch of Permafrost to prevent adds from burrowing)
  • No matter how much Ghostcrawler says “bring the player, not the class” doing Anub on heroic without a 50% healing debuff (Wound Poison, Aimed Shot, Mortal Strike) it will be significantly more difficult

Phase 3 works much the same way as on normal, except that Anub’arak heals for more and does more damage. It’s important to keep only the targets of Penetrating Cold and the tanks at full health – everyone else’s HP should kept be as low as possible to reduce the effects of Leeching Swarm. Your best bet is to only kill as many adds as necessary to allow your tank to survive the stacking debuff. You should also be allowing adds that are not being killed to burrow when new adds spawn to reduce their uptime over the encounter.

Having a Paladin tank on add duty for phase 3 is also very valuable due to their Holy Wrath ability to stun everything around them. Warriors can also shockwave to accomplish this. Interrupts have a high priority since they will one-shot anyone they hit.





Raiding Spotlight: Argent Coliseum Strategy

4 08 2009

Every once in a while, I’ll try to take a detailed look at a specific element of the raiding game. Today in the spotlight: Argent Coliseum Strategy.

I rarely do strategy posts (and by rarely I mean this is the first one ever) but since the instance is so new and information on the coliseum bosses is scattered everywhere, I thought I’d do a quick run through of what I gleaned from watching Youtube videos of the encounters. I’ll be skipping the Northrend Beasts encounter because Matticus covered it better than I ever could here. Keep in mind some of this might be incorrect since it’s largely guesswork, but it’s all I’ve got at the moment and I’ll update later.

The Faction Champions (video link)

Remember the third boss of Magister’s Terrace? This looks similar, except instead of facing NPCs with crazy abilities, you’re matched up against NPCs of the classes you know and love, but of the opposing faction. They’re CC-able (but with diminishing returns, as in PvP). You have the option of CC-ing healers first and killing DPS or doing it vice-versa if you find yourself getting owned by the DPS.

Notes:

  • They can CC you, so be ready with dispels. In 10-man, make sure you have dispels available for every kind of debuff.
  • You won’t always get the same champions (list of them here), I think, so as soon as they are visible in the coliseum figure out what classes you’re up against and set up a kill order.
  • Some more information can be found here and here.
  • Healers can all be interrupted and should have an interruptor assigned to them if they aren’t being CC’d.
  • My guild got best results from burning down the 3 healers right away and then moving on killing the most dangerous and least CC/able mobs.
  • Treat it like a 5v5 arena – CC liberally, pay attention to DRs and stay away from as much incidental damage as possible (there’s a fair amount of AoE that happens, such as Hellfire from the Warlock and Bladestorm from the Warrior).

Lord Jaraxxus (video link)

A big fire-centric Eredar guy. There’s a list of his abilities here, which you should read first since I’ll be referencing them by name. Should be tanked in the centre of the arena.

Notes:

  • Summons Mistresses of Pain through creating Nether Portals. You’ll need an off-tank ready to pick them up. There’s an achievement linked to having two of these up when you kill the boss. They have their own skillset, the important ones of which are that they can leap towards raid members and cast Mistress’ Kiss on raid members which interrupts for 8 seconds if the affected raid member casts something with a cast time.
  • Casts Fel Lightning (basically Chain Lightning, like Thorim’s) so ranged should spread out to avoid chaining it. If it hits melee there’s not much you can do.
  • Casts Incinerate Flesh, which needs to be healed through (you have to do a certain amount of healing to the affected target to remove the debuff). If it’s not removed in time an infernal spawns.
  • Has a bunch of random damage and AoE damage spells, so melee will need a lot of healing. Ranged should stay at least 15 yards away to avoid taking this damage.
  • Can cast Legion Flame, which damages the target and causes that person to leave a trail of fire behind, similar to the fire in hard-mode Mimiron. Move while you have it and try to place it so it doesn’t interfere with tanks or melee DPS.
  • Can summon an Infernal Volcano, which shoots up Infernals that need to be off-tanked.

Valkyr Twins (video link) (list of abilities)

Two mobs (linked HP, I believe), 4 portals that allow you to switch between Light and Dark Essences. The Dark boss is tanked at a Dark zone while the Light boss is tanked at a Light zone.

Notes:

  • Raid members with Light Essence deal more damage to the Dark boss and vice versa (but are vulnerable to damage of the opposite Essence). So you want raid members with Light Essence DPSing the dark boss and vice versa.
  • There are little dark and light orbs floating around the arena. You want to absorb those of your current Essence (just touch them) and avoid the other ones (they damage you). When you’ve absorbed 100 stacks of one type of energy, you gain Empowered (Dark/Light) and deal uber damage. This is the key to the fight (and the achievement, which is to kill them in 3 minutes or under).
  • Each sister can cast a Vortex (Light and Dark, respectively). When you get a warning that the one you’re DPSing is about to cast her vortex, quickly walk up to the portal-looking things to switch Essences so that you can absorb the damage. Switch back once the Vortex is over. As far as I saw, the Vortices were not cast simultaneously.
  • Each twin can cast Twin’s Pact, which heals them for 20%. From what I saw, everyone has to switch to DPSing the twin casting the pact (again, not cast simultaneously) because they can put up a shield that prevents spell interruption while active and needs to be broken before the heal can be interrupted.

Anub’arak (video link) (list of abilities)

He’s back! Yay… Like his predecessor, he can burrow, summon adds and swarms of bugs.

Notes:

  • Permafrost on the ground means that bugs can’t burrow while on it (but it also slows movement speed by 80%). Anub’arak can’t burrow either. It looks like he’s tanked on top of it when possible.
  • While burrowed, Anub’arak’s spikes will pursue a raid member, who should run away and not through people (like Kologarn’s eye beams).
  • Summons adds even when not burowed, which should be tanked near the boss to maximize incidental AoE damage. From what I saw it looked like DPS just continued hitting Anub’arak and allowed cleave/AoE to hit the adds.
  • At some point (I’m guessing when his health reaches a certain point) he will cast Leeching Swarm, which is an AoE dot on the whole raid. 20% of health every 1 second with a minimum of 250 health per tick. At this point you simply need to burn the boss down.

Seems like there should be more for the final boss of an instance, right…? IDK.








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