Archive

Archive for February, 2010

Zap! Updated to Account for PTR Changes

February 28, 2010 Leave a comment

As most readers probably know, the current PTR (testing patch 3.3.3) brings with it yet more Elemental Shaman changes. As a recap for people, the current changes stand as follows:-

  • Elemental Oath: This ability is now always on as a passive aura.
  • Flame Shock: The damage over time component of this ability can now produce critical strikes and is affected by spell haste.
  • Glyph of Flame Shock: Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Flame Shock periodic damage by 60%

Sadly, still not changes to Totem of Wrath, though it was touched upon by Ghostcrawler after members of the community pressed the issue of a Warlock’s Demonic Pact still being so very superior to our totem at higher gear levels. Ghostcrawler did indeed confirm that the most obvious solution would be to alter Totem of Wrath to a similar mechanic as Demonic Pact (presumably therefore scaling with our gear and offering a % of the Elemental Shaman’s spell power to the raid). You can read the source of that here

Finally, Charles over at Planet of the Hats has released a new version of the Zap! spreadsheet to incorporate the current 3.3.3 Elemental changes. For anyone who is unaware of the amazing work Charles does for the community, his spreadsheet is amazing for raiding Elemental Shaman’s and without doubt, the best way to optimise your DPS. Go and download it!

Categories: Patch 3.3.3

Elemental Glyphs – Minors

February 27, 2010 2 comments

Where major glyphs tend to boost an aspect of our actual DPS spells, minor glyphs remove reagents and act as more convenience glyphs. As such, you will probably have more flexibility in what you use.

Glyph of Thunderstorm

The tooltip says:-

  • Increases the mana you receive from your Thunderstorm spell by 2%, but it no longer knocks enemies back.

This glyph is rather self explanatory. Our Thunderstorm ability will return 10% mana as opposed to it’s default 8% and the knock back portion of the spell is removed. The value of this glyph depends somewhat on your style of play. If, like me, you tend to use Thunderstorm as an AoE ability then your tanks are likely to insist that you glyph it. During AoE pulls, I will go into melee range to place down a Magma Totem, as I move back out of melee range, I’ll use Thunderstorm and then Fire Nova before commencing with single target DPS and Chain Lightnings.

An un-glyphed Thunderstorm would send the mobs scattering not only annoying your tanks but also running the risk of pulling more mobs and voiding the position on you Magma Totem.

Other Elemental Shaman’s will use this primarily as a mana gain and specifically for it’s knock back ability in some situations. Indeed, there is one particular encounter in Icecrown Citadel, Saurfang, where the knock back component of this spell is extremely useful.

In PvP, the value of this spell lays in it’s ability to knock back your enemies and it increases your survivability enormously.

It’s worth considering your style of PvE play before deciding whether or not to glyph this ability. I raid with it glyphed for all fights with the exception of Saurfang. If you choose not to glyph it, it maybe worth carrying a few copies of this glyph with you.

Recommendation Level – Recommended

Glyph of Water Shield

The tooltip states:-

  • Increases the number of charges on your Water Shield by one.

As the tooltip states, this glyph adds another charge to our Water Shield, increasing it to four charges. On fights with a lot of raid wide damage, you’ll find you have to refresh your Water Shield more than on fights with little. Due to this, you can refresh your Water Shield less frequently, thus freeing up those global cool downs for a DPS cast. While this DPS increase is very minimal, it’s still better than nothing.

This glyph loses it’s value on fights with a lot of movement since the chances are you have little you can do here other than cast the odd Frost Shock, perhaps refresh Flame Shock, reposition totems and reset your Water Shield charges.

Recommendation Level – Recommended

Glyph of Ghost Wolf

The tooltip states:-

  • Your ghost wolf form regenerates an additional 1% of your maximum health every 5 seconds.

As the tooltip states, this glyph provides you with extra health regeneration while in Ghost Wolf form. While it’s a fairly cute concept, Shaman’s are highly restricted on where we can use this in terms of a raid situation. If we could use Ghost Wolf inside, then the value of this would be quite large. Sadly, we can not.

As a PvP glyph and in combination with the Improved Ghost Wolf talent, this is very valuable. It removes the cast time from your Ghost Wolf form, allowing you an escape route, in addition to regenerating your health as you flee.

In addition to PvP, it can also be useful as a levelling glyph.

Recommendation Level – Useful, but not for raiding.

Glyph of Renewed Life

The tooltip states:-

  • Your reincarnation spell no longer requires a reagent.

A very standard format for a minor glyph. This removes the need to carry Ankh reagents around with you. The benefit of this glyph depends on a couple of things. Firstly, how good you are at preparing for a raid (or rather, the probability that you may forget to stock up on reagents) and secondly, whether you can justify the bag space in carrying them around with you. Personally, I always use this glyph. While I am generally good at remembering to stock up on reagents, forgetting to buy Ankhs and feeling the wrath of my guild master when I can’t reincarnate mid fight concerns me. A few of our glyphs remove the requirement for reagents, but reincarnate is the only one I use in a raid environment.

For people new to the Shaman class or who perhaps play their Shaman as an alt and are more likely to forget to buy reagents, I’d highly recommend this glyph.

Recommendation Level – Recommended.

Glyph of Astral Recall

The tooltip states:-

    The cooldown of your Astral Recall spell is reduced by 7.5 minutes.

There’s no hidden value in this glyph, it simply reduces the cool down on Astral Recall. While it’s a nifty idea, with all the alternative modes of transport these days, I don’t feel it’s justify. Hearth stone cool down’s are now 30 minutes. There are Kirin’Tor rings allowing you an additional HS effect. The Argent Tournament allows you to purchase a tabard to travel directly there. Scribes and engineers both have additional means of transport also.

I carry a few of these glyphs around during world events when using Dalaran as a portal hub is valuable and time saving. Aside from that, I feel there are more valuable minor glyphs.

Recommendation Level – Down to personal preference

Glyph of Water Walking

The tooltip states:-

  • Your water walking spell no longer requires a reagent

Another convenience glyph designed to remove the need to carry around reagents. While not depending on remember to buy reagents to be able to cast a spell is always handy, this glyph obviously has no benefit to a raid environment at all. It may be of some use to those levelling in that they can travel across water faster without the worry of remembering reagents but even then, there are arguably better glyphs for levelling.

Recommendation Level –Low

Glyph of Water Breathing

The tooltip states:-

  • Your Water Breathing spell no longer requires a reagent.

Yet another glyph to remove reagent requirements. Again, this has no real value to a raiding Elemental Shaman but maybe of some use to people while levelling up (although in all honesty, most quests that require you to travel under water now provide you with items to breath anyway)

Recommendation Level –Low

Categories: Minor Glyphs

Elemental Glyphs – Majors

February 26, 2010 6 comments

Today, we’re back on topic with a look at the major glyph choices for a raiding elemental shaman. To avoid a mammoth style wall of text crit, this section will focus purely on our major glyph choices.

With a wide variety of glyphs out there, how do you know which to choose? The awesome value of glyphs is that switching them is now simple enough to allow you to carry multiple glyphs and change them to suit the encounter. What follows is a look at the various glyphs and their value to raiding elemental shaman.

Since patch 3.3, the choice between our major glyphs has become more of a grey area. While there are two outstanding winners (Glyph of Lightning Bolt and Glyph of Totem of Wrath), the third slot is up for contention. There are two contenders and both offer a very close DPS increase. Due to this, the choice becomes more circumstantial and based upon your own gear, your raid setup and even the encounter at hand. I’ll review the glyphs below and then detail how to make the choice at the end of this article.

I’m going to start with the essential major glyphs.

Major Glyphs

Glyph of Lightning Bolt

The Glyph of Lightning Bolt tooltip states:-

  • Increases the damage dealt by lightning bolt by 4%.

This is the strongest of our glyphs by far and definitely not one you would switch around. The 4% multiplier is applied to the final damage of our Lightning Bolt. As our filler spell, this is huge upgrade to our primary source of damage. The value of this glyph increases on any fights where you can stand and DPS. It decreases on any fights with a lot of movement (not only due to the fewer number of Lightning Bolts we would cast in comparison to a tank and spank but also due to the elemental rotation being based more on priority than a strict cycle and Lightning Bolt is the lowest priority cast we have.)

According to the Zap! spreadsheet, this glyph is worth around 260 DPS which is far ahead of it’s nearest contenders

Glyph of Totem of Wrath

The Glyph of Totem of Wrath tooltip states:-

  • When you cast Totem of Wrath, you gain 30% of the totem’s bonus spell power for 5 minutes.

Our rank four Totem of Wrath provides a 280 spell power increase to ourselves and all members of the raid. This results in the glyph offering an additional 84 spell power boost to ourselves. As this glyph provides a clear cut increase to our spell power, it effects all our spells and it’s value is easy to see.

According to the Zap! spreadsheet, this glyph is worth around 170 DPS.

Note:- You have to place the totem to gain this additional spell power. For shaman using fire DPS totems, you need to cast Totem of Wrath first and then lay your DPS totems. The buff will then last for five minutes. Ensure if you’re using your Fire Elemental Totem, that you have enough time left on the glyph buff to see you through the duration of the totem.

Recommendation Level – Essential

Glyph of Lava

The Glyph of Lava tooltip states:-

  • Your Lava Burst spell gains an additional 10% of your spellpower.

Lava Burst is our hardest hitting and highest priority nuke (excluding the Flame Shock we cast first prior to give the guaranteed critical strikes).

According to the Zap! spreadsheet, this is worth around 120 DPS (roughly the same value as Glyph of Flametongue).

Recommendation Level – Highly Recommended / Essential

Glyph of Flametongue Weapon

The Glyph of Flametongue Weapon tooltip states:-

  • Increases spell critical strike chance by 2% while Flametongue Weapon is active

Flametongue Weapon is the default elemental weapon imbue so the use of this glyph will give a static 2% critical strike increase. The problem with critical strike rating for elemental shaman is that it doesn’t affect our hardest hitting nuke, Lava Burst. (You can read more about stat priorities here

However, as of patch 3.3 when our Glyph of Flame Shock was altered, this became an equal DPS increase to the above mentioned Glyph of Lava. They’re both worth around 120 DPS according to the Zap! spreadsheet. There is an evaluation of the comparison between these two glyphs at the end of this article.

Recommendation Level – Highly Recommended / Essential

Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem

The Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem tooltip states:-

  • Reduces the cool down of your Fire Elemental Totem by 5 minutes.

Quite recently, the cool down on our Fire Elemental Totem was reduced to ten minutes. Using this glyph therefore, reduces it to a five minute cool down. The duration of our fiery friend is two minutes (assuming he doesn’t die early or accidentally gets recalled *ahem*). Over the course of this two minutes, he will contribute around 1.5k DPS on a single target. Due to his AoEs, which you can read more about here his output increases on multiple targets.

In most cases, the default cool down is already short enough that you can pop your Fire Elemental Totem once per boss fight. On the other hand, fights are generally too short for you to gain benefit of popping the totem twice and that basically costs you the DPS loss of another major glyph. In addition to this, if the elemental dies prematurely, the DPS increase is cut dramatically.

The value of this glyph therefore, comes in longer fights where you can both use the Fire Elemental Totem twice and almost always guarantee it’s survival and contribution for the full duration. An example of this would be the Lich King fight. A totem popped at the start of phase one will expire just before a transition switch (depending upon your DPS). It can then be dropped again once off cool down which should occur around the start of phase three when the boss positioning is relatively static.

It can be worth carrying a few copies of this glyph in your bags and using it for the Lich King encounter (if you’re free to use fire DPS totems naturally), just remember to carry replacement glyphs for the shorter fights or you are pretty much sacrificing a major glyph slot.

Recommendation Level – Circumstantial

Glyph of Flame Shock

The Glyph of Flame Shock tooltip states:-

  • Use: Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Flame Shock damage by 60%.

This patch was changed in patch 3.3.3 when flame shock was revamped to be able to crit by default. It went from being one of our strongest glyphs to one of our weakest. While it may look good on paper, it simply doesn’t produce competitive DPS compared to the other major glyph contenders. According to the Zap! spreadsheet, it’s offering an increase of just 80 DPS.

Recommendation Level – Not Recommended

Glyph of Elemental Mastery

The Glyph of Elemental Mastery tooltip states:-

  • Reduces the cooldown of your Elemental Mastery ability by 30 seconds.

While our Elemental Mastery ability is a fair PvE cool down, it’s simply not strong enough to make this glyph valuable.

Recommendation Level – Not Recommended

Glyph of Fire Nova

The Glyph of Fire Nova tooltip states:-

  • Reduces the cooldown of your Fire Nova spell by three seconds.

When combined with the Improved Fire Nova talent, the cool down on your Fire Nova can be reduced to three seconds. Fire Nova is primarily used in conjunction with our Magma Totem and can cause devastating AoE damage. In a pure AoE scenario, the reduced cool down offered by this glyph can result in a DPS increase around the 500 mark. However, on single targets, this glyph is worthless and the smaller the AoE pulls, the less value the glyph has.

In addition, the typical annoyance of using the Magma Totem and Fire Nova combination is that you need the mobs to be tanked statically. As soon as you have to start running around and repositioning totems, the value of this decreases.

If you have an area of trash incorporating multiple large AoE pulls, then this glyph could be fun to switch in for additional DPS. The trash towards Sindragosa could be a good scenario for this glyph, with a gauntlet style room followed by large whelpling pulls before you reach the dragon herself. Perhaps the trash moving towards the Prince Council and then the Blood Queen also.

Remember that this glyph is next to worthless on single target encounters (and thus, most boss encounters) so if you are going to switch in this glyph for AoE pack fun, carry spare copies of your primary DPS glyphs to avoid a wasted major glyph spot.

Recommendation Level – Highly Circumstantial / Not Recommended.

Glyph of Chain Lightning

The Glyph of Chain Lightning tooltip states:-

  • Your chain lightning strikes an additional target

Our Chain Lightning suffers from a 30% damage reduction with each “jump” it makes and by default effects three total targets. Whilst this glyph will enable the chain to make an extra jump, the final target will also suffer an additional 30% reduction making this final hit relatively weak.

The damage reduction component of the ability itself makes this glyph pretty worthless. If you want to glyph for AoE packs, use the Glyph of Fire Nova in addition to a Magma Totem and the DPS increase will be much greater than with this glyph (although this doesn’t suffer with the problems associated with constant mob movement and positioning)

Recommendation Level – Not Recommended.

Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem

The Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem tooltip states:-

  • Your stoneclaw totem also places a damage absorb shield on you, equal to four times the strength of your shield it places on your totems

Our Stoneclaw Totem is quite a useful totem, though doesn’t have a much of a role in a PvE raiding environment and thus, is often overlooked. As well as taunting any mob in it’s vicinity, the stoneclaw totem will place a shield around all your totems, protecting them from damage. This glyph extends this shield to the elemental shaman along with increasing it’s strength, allowing it to absorb 4340 damage over 15 seconds.

While this glyph doesn’t have much place in a raid environment, it is useful in PvP and while levelling as a shaman, thus it deserves a mention. I’m also aware of some elemental shaman’s that use this glyph and the corresponding totem during the faction champions encounter in the Trial of the (Grand) Crusader raid. Personally, I lean towards using either a Tremor Totem or an Earthbind totem but if the shield provided can be the difference between life or death, then there’s certainly a value to be considered.

Recommendation Level -More for PvP / levelling than for PvE raiding.

Glyph of Thunder

The Glyph of Thunder tooltip states:-

  • Reduces the cooldown on Thunderstorm by 10 seconds.

Again, this glyph has it’s place but not particularly in a PvE environment. Most elemental shaman don’t find themselves having such mana problems that a 10 second reduction on Thunderstorm’s cool down is essential. While it is arguably nice, it would mean sacrificing a glyph that actually increases our damage output. If you wanted a pure AoE build, this combined with the Glyph of Fire Nova could be an interesting combination.

On the other hand, in PvP, Thunderstorm is an excellent (and fun) ability in it’s unglyphed state and reducing it’s cool down can be great for survivability.

Recommendation Level – Circumstantial / More of a PvP glyph

Glyph of Water Mastery

The Glyph of Water Mastery tooltip states:-

  • Increases the passive mana regeneration of your Water Shield spell by 30%

Again, mana problems in PvE are not something elemental shaman generally suffer with (and most who do are more likely to find that they are forgetting to refresh their Water Shield charges in highly DPS focussed encounters).

Recommendation Level – Not Recommended

Glyph of Shocking

The Glyph of Shocking tooltip states:-

  • Reduces the global cooldown triggered by your shock spells to one second.

In a PvE situation, our most commonly used shock is Flame Shock. At minimum we refresh this once every 18 seconds (less if you’re using two part tier 9 or four part tier 10). There are occasions where you will find yourself using Frost Shock also in PvE, either because you’re moving or because a target needs slowing (Valkyr’s in the Lich King encounter if no one else is slowing or things are desperate spring to mind.) If you’re moving the reduced cool down is quite void anyway since the chances are you have global cool downs to spare and are using Frost Shock for instant damage without stopping. Therefore, in PvE, it’s quite useless.

In a PvP environment, Frost Shock becomes more valuable but personally, I find Glyph of Thunder and Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem more useful.

Recommendation Level – Not Recommended

Glyph of Hex

The Glyph of Hex tooltip states:-

  • Increases the damage your Hex target can take before the Hex effect is removed by 20%

In a PvE raid situation, there are few places you will find yourself Hexing. The faction champions encounter in Trial of the (Grand) Crusader maybe one, Kel’thuzad in Naxxramas could be another. Either way, if you’re using any form of crowd control, people should not be hitting the target. If they are, the answer is more likely to lay in addressing this problem than in glyphing your Hex skill.

This glyph could have more value in a PvP scenario, but again, it’s my opinion that there are more valuable PvP glyphs out there than this.

Recommendation Level – Not Recommended.

Glyph of Flametongue of Glyph of Lava?

If you’re looking for a definitive answer, you’re going to be hard pressed to find one. The actual values of these glyphs vary from player to player depending upon their gear.

As you start to reach best in slot levels of gear, (boasting very high levels of haste and spell power), crit becomes more valuable to us. Glyph of Flametongue provides a 2% critical strike chance increase across all our spells. This does not affect Lava Burst because when used correctly (that is to say, cast when Flame Shock is already present on the target), it produces a guaranteed critical strike. At the exact opposite of this we have Glyph of Lava which boosts our Lava Burst but doesn’t influence our other spells.

Taking the above into account, the value of each glyph varies depending upon the encounter mechanics, your gear and to some extent, your raid setup. Let’s look at these now.

Encounter Influences

In a fight with multiple targets where you’re utilising Chain Lightning, a higher percentage of your damage will be coming from your chains. In this case, a 2% critical strike increase will benefit you more than an increase to your Lava Burst.

In a fight with a great deal of movement where you struggle to maintain a high DPS uptime, then you’ll cast fewer and fewer filler spells. Your priority spell will still be your Lava Burst so the chances are that a greater percentage of your damage will come from this source. In this case, it would be better to use Glyph of Lava Burst and increase the damage on these hits.

If an encounter requires a period of sudden, high burst damage, Glyph of Lava will deliver this. Critical strike chance still has an element of randomness. Where as a solid boost to your hardest hitting nuke is more reliable and a static DPS increase.

Your Raid Setup

Does your raid have a demonology warlock? If so, his Demonic Pact will offer more spell power to your raid than your Totem of Wrath. In this situation, you should switch and use fire DPS totems. Both your Searing Totem and your Magma Totem utilise your critical strike rating at the time you drop them. In this situation, having a higher level of crit for yourself (via Glyph of Flametongue Weapon) will produce a higher level of crit on your totems.

Does your raid boast a boomkin? If so, then the haste aura provided should be taken into account when looking at your own levels of haste. As mentioned earlier, the higher your own haste, the more valuable crit becomes. In addition to this, you should consider your own cooldowns. Are you an engineer? Do you have the haste effect on gloves and do you remember to always use it when it comes off cooldown? Are you a troll? If so you have your racial to consider also. If you’re managing high levels of haste throughout an encounter, then the value of Glyph of Flametongue will become higher. Why? quite simply because haste effects your Lightning Bolts and now your Flame Shocks too. It has very little effect on your Lava Burst. As such, a higher percentage of your damage will be coming from Flame Shock and Lightning Bolts.

Technical Factors

High latency or low FPS both affect your DPS enormously. Due to the fact Lava Burst is our highest priority spell, it’s likely that your filler spells suffer more from these problems. As such, Glyph of Lava is probably a better choice.

On the note of lag, if you haven’t yet read Charles’ amazing in depth look at how lag can impact your DPS, go and read this as you may find it very eye opening! You can find it here.

Conclusion

In closing, we have two major glyphs that are considered essential:-

  • Glyph of Lightning Bolt
  • Glyph of Totem of Wrath

The third spot is more debatable and you should consider all the above factors before making your choice. Glyphs can be substituted easily during a raid now. As such, my personal advice is to carry a stack of both Glyph of Flametongue Weapon and Glyph of Lava. Assess each encounter individually and make your choice based on that. In addition, I carry a stack of Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem and I use this on two main fights; Lady Deathwhisper Heroic (where I pop my Fire Elemental Totem at the very start and then again in phase two) and the Lich King encounter.

Remember also that utilising the Zap! spreadsheet is an invaluable source of determining an individual glyph’s value to you.

Categories: Major Glyphs

Pets Pets Pets!

February 25, 2010 2 comments

This one isn’t an elemental topic, it’s not even a raiding related topic but for me, it’s news worthy!

Late last year saw the launch of the new Blizzard Pet Store. It was met with an understandably mixed welcome as players were offered the chance to purchase digital codes for redemption of two in game pets.

I’ll admit that I groaned. Okay, I groaned and then squealed with delight while I made my purchase (mid raid btw..) and tabbed back in game to pop a mail box and claim my new toys. Yes, I refused to continue the raid until I had them. In my defence, it was only Onyxia. I got a warm fuzzy feeling about it though since half the proceeds from the Pandaren Monk went to the amazing Make A Wish Foundation.

A few weeks ago came the next announcement, plush pets soon to appear at the Blizzard store with “bonus” in game pet codes. This was sneaky. Blizzard know there is a section of their player base that will pay for in game pets. They knew this before they started dabbling in it themselves through the sale of TCG loot cards on Ebay. This time they charge more and you get a toy, a hands on version of the pet you want in game.

I groaned again. I also sat refreshing the Blizzard store on the day of release 😦 Up until yesterday I was cursing rather a lot as the order status said processed but not shipped (and yes, I’d hit express shipping :() Imagine my delight then when I was woken up this morning by a knock at the door. Okay, so initially it wasn’t delight, I hate being woken up, but once I saw where the package was from, it turned to delight.

So, without further delay, here they are.

Sooo, I was initially more interested in locating the game code cards while unwrapping the box. However, I will admit, they’re seriously cute teddies. They came in individual bags with their respective names on and now they’re living by my PC. Will they make me perform better in raids? I doubt it. Are they still making me coo over their cuteness? Absolutely!

Onto the in game codes.

The Gryphon Hatchling

The Wind Rider Cub

So there we have it, Zing has more pet, I have new teddies and all is well.

Note:- For the purposes of these screen shots, the pets were fed Papa Hummel’s Old Fashioned Pet Biscuits. As such, they’re larger than normal

Categories: Pets

Exceptional Raiders – Situational Awareness, Research and Preparation

February 24, 2010 7 comments

As a preface to the following article…. it wasn’t intended to be quite so long, rather a “brief” look at raid awareness and the steps we can all take to improve our own. As happens sometimes, the ball starts rolling and these things write themselves and hours later you look back and think “hmm, that’s quite lengthy”. This is one such article 😉

I’m always amused by the argument spewed forth by so many people; “World of Warcraft PvE is easy.” I won’t argue that there are probably “harder” (though this is often easily confused with “more time demanding”) games out there. I won’t argue that there have been chages in WoW to allow raid content to be more accessible. However, if the high end PvE scene is so very easy, why then is finding good raiders so difficult? Furthermore, how many of the people avidly claiming that anyone can succeed in PvE have all the achievements and hardmodes available in current content?

Through my time in this game, I’ve been everything from a guild leader to a general, raiding member. One role that seems to haunt me is that of recruitment officer. I’ve somehow ended up with this charge multiple times so I like to think I have good insight into this sector of the game. One illusion I’d like to shatter is that recruiting becomes easier the more successful your guild is. This isn’t exactly true. The number of applications you receive undoubtedly correlates to the current success or “fame” of your guild. However, the more successful you are, the more skilled players you need. For the guild’s competing for world firsts, their potential recruitment pool is often reduced even further by requiring insanely high play times during new content progression. Some of these guilds begin raiding early in the afternoon thus requiring that not only do their players need skill and dedication but they need a flexible enough “real life” that they can commit a lot of time to the game when it’s needed.

I have pondered many a time what makes a really good raider and undoubtedly it’s an acquired skill. While the ideal recruit will boast a good amount of PvE experience relevant to the level of the guild, this isn’t always possible. There are times when you need players and holding out for that one gem is unrealistic. So, what makes a really good PvE raider?

  • Dedication and commitment
  • A reasonable amount of “free time” in relation to the guild’s schedule
  • Situational Awareness
  • Preparation
  • A genuine enjoyment for the game (and your class)
  • Practice

The above list is in no way definitive but for me it covers some of the core aspects that go into creating a really good raider.

Dedication and Commitment

Raiding in WoW (or indeed in any game), can be a time consuming process. It’s not uncommon for players to dedicate upwards of four evenings a week to their hobby. While there are rewards in the form of pixelated items, if you’re doing this for loot alone, you won’t last. You need to derive a genuine enjoyment out of spending those hours with your in game friends attempting to forge and execute strategies to help you kill new challenges. Many people argue that in the case of WoW, there are boss strategies all over the internet and any element of surprise or learning is removed. While in a sense this is true, if it was as simple as watching a movie and replicating, guilds wouldn’t vary in degrees of success. Everyone would be guaranteed boss kills and there would be no excitement over racing to get a world / EU or server first. Movies and guides help without a doubt but another fact worth remembering is this:-

  • What works for one guild will not work for all

If you look through a number of boss guides or watch multiple movies, you’ll soon realise that in most cases, people have different strategies. Sure, there are some bosses where there is very little variation, but on the most part, you will find differences. Particularly in the case of ten man guilds, their class setups can vary enormously and frequently, they don’t have the luxury of switching around class and spec compositions just for a specific encounter.

Further to this, knowing the strategy for a boss is not the same as executing it. Many fights depend on very good execution of a tactic. They require the players to practice until they know the encounter inside out, thus lessening the chance of small mistakes which can often wipe a whole raid. First hand experience is invaluable.

So what makes people attend raids night after night? It’s not always fun. Wiping on a boss over and over again can be frustrating. Every guild out there will have evenings where, for whatever reason, things just don’t come together and they will wipe on content that should be on farm status. A few players are maybe distracted or have issues outside of the game making it difficult to focus, a few mistakes are made here and there and before long what should be an enjoyable evening can turn into a wipe fest. People will become angry and short tempered, cross words will begin to fly and the atmosphere will turn sour. What keeps me raiding every night? Aside from the fact I do genuinely enjoy the game (and specifically, the raiding game) is that I have a degree of dedication to the other people in my guild. I may argue or disagree with them, but I’m still a part of something larger and greater than myself. For small guilds, one person missing can mean a cancelled raid and another nine people feeling disappointed.

In conclusion, always make sure you consider the need and wants of the guild as a whole.

Free Time

This is a somewhat relative term depending on the amount your own guild raid. In most cases, the guild’s competing for those world first kills dedicate a huge amount of time to raiding. Many will start early in the day and raid until late at night during progression. This isn’t always the case and I can close to guarantee that there are guilds out there to suit nearly all play schedules. Naturally for the most part, the less time you dedicate as a guild, the slower your progression will be.

It’s vital to be realistic about your play time however. This is a multi faceted issue for me so I will try and explain from my perspective as a recruitment officer. My own guild raid four evenings a week, in addition to this, we have one (optional) pug on a Friday evening and occasionally we’ll add an extra core raid night if we’re progressing on something important. The last time this happened for us was Sindragosa and it’s looking likely to happen again on the Lich King.

There was a time when raiding required a lot of time spent preparing in game. Consumable farming could be a timely affair. Gold farming to ensure you could adequately cover all repair costs during times of progression would also require a reasonable investment of time. These days, the demands aren’t as high. Changes were made in Wrath of the Lich King limiting the number of potions you could use during combat. When my old guild were progressing on a pre-nerf M’uru in tBC, I could get through fifty to sixty potions an evening due to chain potting. Even with these greatly reduced consumable costs, I’ve still had recruits in the past show to raids without flasks or potions. Their excuse? They don’t have the time or money to invest. Needless to say, these people don’t last long.

Earning gold now is easier than it has ever been. While daily quests appeared towards the end of tBC, Wrath grabbed hold of the concept and ran with it. The Argent Crusade is a small goldmine of daily quests. They’re not exciting but they don’t take long. Lacking gold for repairs should never happen.

Daily heroic dungeon quests allow an additional source of Emblems of Frost. Even at the time of writing this, most people will still be needing tier ten, miscellaneous items or even Primordial Saronite for their created items. Spending just thirty minutes a day can net you two additional emblems and in combination with the weekly raid quest, the Icecrown Citadel weekly quest and the boss kills themselves, emblems should accumulate fast.

When joining a guild, ensure you really can meet their schedule while also allowing for these factors. Most guilds will want to see a dedication to making your character the best it can be. For me, it’s a matter of pride. I want to ensure I can always perform to the best of my ability and gear and consumables falls into this category.

Situational Awarness

This is one of the most vital attributes to a good PvE player in my opinion. You can know your class inside out but if you fail to notice environmental events you are close to useless to a guild. There are a lot of factors that go into creating high situational awareness:-

  • Technical considerations
  • Personal attentiveness
  • User Interface

Technical Considerations

A good computer will help you a great deal when it comes to this. While strictly speaking when I mention raid awareness, I refer to an individual’s personal ability to respond to an environmental event, it’s worth noting that your PC specs do indeed influence this. If you experience low FPS or random graphical freezes, you won’t see things in time to react. Turning off all effects isn’t always the answer. As an example, turning off projected textures in WoW will remove the spell details of some AoE effects entirely. Quite hard to move out of that fire if you don’t even see it.

Aside from your actual PC specs and ensuring the machine can handle the demands of raiding, a good monitor will help enormously. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to afford a wide screen monitor but they increase your peripheral view greatly.

Personal Attentiveness

The person focusing on the raid rather than semi watching a movie on the TV tucked off to the side will be the better player. It’s quite easy after doing content week in and week out for months on end, to simply switch off or find yourself on auto pilot. While learning encounters, it’s vital you can actually concentrate on what’s going on around you and often, to the feedback, orders and tactical discussions occurring on Ventrillo.

While you can increase your active attentiveness by ensuring you don’t have endless distractions happening around you while you raid, physical issues should be factored in here also. If you’re tired, you will struggle to focus. If you’re hungry or thirsty, you’ll be predominantly distracted by those feelings. Combating these is quite easy with good planning, both on the part of the individual and of the raid leader.

For yourself:-

  • Make sure you eat before the raid! If you can’t or know a raid will be lengthy, ensure you have computer friendly snacks on hand (by this I mean foods that don’t require effort to eat nor result in ridiculously sticky fingers hindering your keyboard or mouse usage).
  • If you’re tired, you’re of no use to anyone. Don’t show up to raids having not slept.
  • Try to ensure you have good posture while you play and consider the ergonomics of your mouse and keyboard to try and combat muscle problems

For your raid leader:-

  • Try to schedule a ten minute raid break during the course of an evening. Firstly, if everyone knows there will be a break, you will reduce the number of random bio and drink breaks that occur over the night. Secondly, while most people learn through repetition, there is nothing to be gained from having people sat staring at a screen for hours on end with no break.

User Interface

Anyone who frequents this blog will be aware of the important I place on a good user interface. Here are a few factors to consider:-

  • Can you easily see your own unit frames?
  • Can you easily see your raid frames?
  • Can you easily see your raid warnings?
  • Can you easily see your debuffs?
  • Can you easily see environmental effects and events happening around you?
  • Can you easily see boss mod timers? That is to say, do you know how long is left until the Lich King casts that Defile?
  • Can you easily see what the boss is casting? How about whom it is targeting?

These are all important factors that will effect your situational awareness and ultimately, your ability to perform well in a raid situation.

Your Unit Frames

There are a lot of unit frame addons out there. Some people prefer to use HuDs in addition to their unit frame. Personally, I have my unit frame about a third up the screen just below my main field of view.

However you choose to hand your unit frames, ensure you can see all necessary and pertinent information for both yourself, your target and your focus target. I prefer to keep my unit frames simple, I’m not a fan of 3d portraits and the like. For anyone wonder the small number below my target’s unit frame is Time To Die – an addon that predicts the time left before the boss dies (assuming current levels of DPS). It’s particularly useful for enrage timers and achievements that require speed kills.

Raid Frames

This is probably one of the areas of an interface that most players lose too much screen space to.

While my main spec these days is elemental, I’ve done my fair share as a restoration shaman in my guild. I use grid for my raid frames. I always have and despite having tried a number of other addons to handle raid frames, I firmly believe that this is the best option. My grid configuration and positioning changes depending on whether I’m healing or DPSing.

It can be configured to show anything you could need to see and it’s amazingly space efficient. If half of your screen is covered by raid frames, you won’t notice the fire underneath them.

(Note: I’ll be doing a guide to Grid configuration soon!)

Raid Warnings and Boss Timers

There was a time (and other games) where boss warning addons didn’t exist. My early days of raiding were indeed in another game where members of our guild had to sit with stop watches and in game macros (voice comms. weren’t common place), timing and announcing AoE and boss abilities for the rest of the raid. These days we have the likes of BigWigs and Deadly Boss Mods to alert us to incoming nasty spells.

Given these are meant to aid us, take the time to set them up so they can fulfil that role. If you tuck your warnings off to some remote, dusty corner of your screen, don’t be surprised that you fail to notice that incoming AoE.

Debuffs

I’ve touched on this before (and in more detail) on another section of my blog which can be found here. Being able to see your own debuffs is crucial. You shouldn’t always depend on a huge skull being placed over your head as the indication that something bad is about to happen. Always research an encounter and know exactly what debuffs will occur that effect you or that you have to respond to. Configure your UI correctly so that you can’t miss any of these debuffs occurring on you.

Cast Bars, Focus Targets and Enemy Nameplates.

Seeing what a boss is casting and on who is vital during a raid (and it can be equally vital in regards to adds too). In most fights, I enable enemy nameplates (the default key binding for this is “V” by the way). There are various addons out there that allow you to skin and configure these name plates. They will alert you to what a mob is casting and also, for example, whether or not it can be interrupted) without having it as your main target.

(Note: I’ll be adding a section to the blog about enemy name plate addons and configuration in the future)

I make extensive use of focus targets in nearly all raid encounters. On the Lich King encounter while I’m dpsing and slowing a Valkyr, I want to see exactly who the boss is targeting for that imminent defile. While most boss mods are updated promptly for new encounters, the Lich King is an excellent example of DBM initially not announcing who a defile was cast upon (for reference, this is fixed now however). If I have to interrupt a specific mob while still DPSing another, then I’ll add it to my focus target so I can see exactly what it is casting.

My actual cast bars is AzCastBar but most mods, such as Quartz, can easily be configured to ensure you can see what all your targets are casting. Many of the more popular unit frame addons also come with cast bars that can be turned on for the same effect.

Screen Space

The size of your monitor and the resolution in which you play dictates how much screen space you have. However much that is, be protective of it! Poorly designed user interface setups are one of the biggest culprits for players failing to notice environmental effects. It really doesn’t matter how much DPS you can potentially do if you’re one of those people frequently dead because they fail to move away from a nasty spell.

Here are some additional tips on maximising your screen space

  • Cut the excess scrolling combat text spam!
  • Key bind as much as you can and remove any action bars you don’t need
  • Zoom your camera distance out
  • Don’t let fancy textures eat away at a quarter of your screen space
  • Keep addons tidy and minimalistic

Scrolling Combat Text

If you use these, consider carefully what you really need to see on them. Many players will download them and use the default settings. These can be horrifically distracting and what’s more, pretty useless by all accounts.

That text is serving to “shield” a segment of screen space, in the first case, right in the centre of the primary viewing area where you’re most likely to need to move out of an effect that can kill you. I don’t use scrolling combat texts at all. I find them extremely distracting and that they add very little to my own play. For those who do, configure the addon to only show what is important for you to see, in addition, don’t let it appear in huge yellow writing across your screen.

While I don’t use scrolling combat text of any kind, I do use Eavesdrop which can be seen below.

This is an excellent addon that I’ve used for years now that shows everything a scrolling combat text addon would, yet in a more log type visual.

(Note: This addon is sorely out of date as the creator has quit. It is, however, still fully functional for anyone wishing to try it)

Key Binds and Action Bars

There is little excuse to “click” your skills. Clickers are considerably slower in comparison with players using keybinds (consider the amount of time you lose as you scroll between skills and then “click”). If you find yourself struggling with enough key to bind skills to, check out my hardware guides covering gaming mice and keyboards.

Key bind as much as you can, learn your binds and then remove as many of your action bars as you can stand to. It’s quite easy to keep adding more and more skills to your action bars to suddenly realise they’re cutting into your screen space drastically.

I frequently spot UI screenshots where you’ll see people having consumables or tradeskills showing on their main action bars. Presumably as they aren’t key bound and it saves opening bags or respective menus to hunt them out. Firstly, remember that most action bar addons will allow you to fade out bars so they only become visible upon mouse over. (Note: This is also a good idea for people learning new binds or switching from clicking to hot keys). Secondly, there are a couple of addons out there that allow you to bind an otherwise invisible action bar to one key. Pressing they key will make the bar appear wherever your mouse cursor is at the time.

The above picture shows one such addon by the name of Opie. I first started using this addon a couple of years ago on my Warlock. There I had it set up to handle lesser used spells and demons without the need to have them visible on screen (or attempt to remember a key binding to summon a voidwalker that I only saw once a year). On my shaman I use Opie primarily for consumables (the ones not used during an encounter obviously, I have haste potions bound) and for tradeskills.

Whatever addon you use to handle your action bars, keep things compact and be realistic about what you really need to see on your screen.

Camera Distance

This is another obvious tip but the more “zoomed in” you are to your character, the less you see of what is around you. Scroll out as far as you can to maximise your view of your environment.

Addon Configuration, Style and Textures

Nearly all addons will come with the ability to scale and resize. Try to keep things reasonably small and tidy (obviously not so small that they are of now use anyway) to maximise your screen space.

There are many UI packages out there that will feature texture artwork on the bottom segment of the screen. While it’s obvious that sometimes a great deal of work goes into this art, consider how much of your screen it blocks off that you would otherwise be able to see.

In the case of the latter, I appreciate they are somewhat a matter of taste but I personally prefer to keep everything transparent to be fully aware of everything around me. Another common “feature” in many UIs are grossly oversize chat windows with solid black backgrounds resulting in the bottom quarter of the screen being a large black box. Again, consider what this may cost you in viewing area.

Preparation

Good raid preparation can save you quite a few pointlessly stupid wipes where raid members fail to move away from basic boss abilities. I’ve mentioned before on this blog (and it was partly my inspiration for creating my own boss guides from an elemental perspective), that I struggle with reading tactics. I have the time to do so and I’m fanatical about preparing for raids but I have a really difficult time visualising what I’m reading about. Luckily, I tend to pick up encounters very fast.

If you’re starting on a new boss, try to take the time out to read his basic abilities and focus in on those that affect you. As a ranged caster, you don’t initially need to know about a debuff that the melee need to deal with. Naturally, I’d encourage you to understand the fight from all perspectives eventually, but when learning, I find it better to break it down into manageable chunks that directly affect you. Look for movies, preferably from the perspective of a player sharing your role. When you eventually get to the boss, try to make yourself familiar with the whole room. If you’re using an already documented strategy, look for “land marks” to help you on positioning. Making mental notes like this will help you to navigate the room faster and be where you’re meant to be.

Preparing goes further than simply knowing the boss. Make sure you have all the consumables you can possibly need. If you occasionally need to raid on your offspec, try to take all that gear with you.

If you switch glyphs depending on the fight, then make sure you have spares of all the glyphs you can use over the course of an evening.

If you’re getting a guaranteed upgrade over the course of an evening (such as you need a few more emblems to buy a certain piece from the vendor), then take the enchants and the gems with you so that you can equip it immediately.

If you need reagents for certain spells, then make sure you stock up on those before the raid. If they’re vendor bought consumables, there are even addons that will do this automatically for you (and refresh your amounts whenever you drop below a certain threshold).

Try to run scans on your addons and download any available updates for them. This is particularly important in regards to boss mods.

Enjoying the Game and Your Class

As I mentioned at the start of this article (which, incidentally, feels many hours ago now), if you’re purely loot motivated, you’ll probably burn out from raiding fast. It’s a lot of time to dedicate to one thing if you don’t really enjoy it.

Onto another misconception… the best players aren’t always those topping the meters. Despite the best efforts of the WoW developers (I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt here), classes are not always balanced. There is often that one class spec combination that dominates on most fights. The best players are the ones that can adapt to any situation and know their class inside out. They’re the ones that sacrifice personal DPS at times to perform another role in the raid. The chances are that role won’t win you any fame, but without it being fulfilled the boss just may not die. A mage that can top the meters but can’t dispell or has poor situational awareness isn’t an amazing player. The shaman that happily sits there casting lightning bolts while a spell that needs interrupting is murdering the healers, isn’t really fulfilling his or her class potential.

A will to perform and go that little bit further comes, most often, from an enthusiasm for the game and from the class that you play. Try to keep on top of changes to your class and consider how these might affect you when they eventually go live. If possible, spend time on the PTRs adjusting to these so that you don’t have a period of adjusting during your live raids. (As an alternative, if your actual DPS rotation is likely to change, I highly recommend mashing it out on target dummies until it becomes as innate as possible).

Practice

Finally, nothing makes up for actual hands on, raid experience. You can read all the guides in the world and have the best in slot gear, but there will always be “things” you learn directly from participating in each encounter. When you first learn a boss, most things will be very precise. You’ll probably run the maximum distance possible from an AoE spell. Your priority will be survival rather than pushing DPS.

The more comfortable you become with an encounter, the more you begin to test just what you can get away with and where you can gain that extra bit of DPS.

In the case of new key binds or learning to play with a new UI, I highly recommend target dummy practice and PvP in battlegrounds. When learning a new rotation entirely, I will literally sit in front of a dummy repeating the sequence until it’s ingrained into me. Playing your class in that sense should become instinctual allowing for your focus to go on the changeable factors of raiding; that is to say, the boss!

Categories: UI and Addons

Patch 3.3.3 – More Elemental Buffs

February 20, 2010 1 comment

It’s been an interesting week on the WoW front. The heroic modes were released signalling the commencement of the real PvE progression race. It was mentioned some time ago that Icecrown Citadel wouldn’t be the final content release of the Wrath of the Lich Kind Expansion, but during this week broke the news of the incoming Ruby Sanctum raid instance.

Not a whole lot is known about this yet as it will not be part of patch 3.3.3 which has just hit the PTRs. The location is confirmed as underneath Wyrmrest Temple and the encounter is said to be similar to the original Obsidian Sanctum instance (one boss and a couple of “guardians”), however it will not include a “+1, +2, +3” type mechanism as Sartharian did. Some of the loot will be on a par with the Lich King drops. There are also some tasty looking trinkets which also bring back a slight feeling of déjà vu. Lastly and perhaps most excitingly, is the suggestion that the Ruby Sanctum lore will begin the ball rolling towards the story that will ultimately lead us to Cataclysm. You can read the full source here

(Image courtesy of MMO-Champion)

Moving swiftly on, while the Ruby Sanctum isn’t part of patch 3.3.3, the PTR is now up and the initial patch notes! revealed. There’s a lot of interesting stuff in this patch but of primary interest is undoubtedly the latest elemental changes. These read as follows:-

Flame Shock

  • The damage-over-time component of this ability can now produce critical strikes and is affected by spell haste.

Elemental Oath

  • This ability is now always on as a passive aura

Firstly, I’d like to point out that I haven’t had a chance to test these changes yet and with the PTR only just going up, the information out there is still scarce so what follows are my initial thoughts on these changes. Flame shock’s DoT component being able to critically strike a target makes one of the “must have” elemental glyphs redundant. This does mean, potentially, elemental shamans are free to use both the Glyph of Lava and the Glyph of Totem of Wrath as opposed to choosing between the two. However, I have also read that Ghostcrawler responded to a question regarding the newly redundant glyph with the following reply:-

“The current (for us) Glyph of Flame Shock does something like let Flame Shock crit at 230% damage. We’ll try to get a new patch note up soon. Whatever it ends up as will probably be some relatively simple damage buff to replace the old crit buff. ”

(Click here for the source)

Flame shock being affected by haste is not a change I necessarily predicted. The four set bonus extends the duration of our flame shock however we now have faster ticks which could result in the need to refresh more often (unless Flame Shock’s duration remains the same and it purely ticks faster (and more times) in which case the DPS increase appears sizeable.)

As soon as more testing results begin to appear (or I can get onto the PTR myself to take a look at these), I’ll be updating with further thoughts. While buffs are always good and this will undoubtedly be a buff, the extent is difficult to say at the moment.

Categories: Patch 3.3.3

Rotface – Elemental Boss Guide

February 19, 2010 1 comment

Rotface is one of three bosses residing in the Plagueworks wing of Icecrown Citadel.

The defeat of this boss depends on decent raid awareness and good kiting of the adds. Once again, thanks go to Oshift for his help with the screenshots used in this guide.

Positioning

The above diagram shows the initial positioning of Rotface. The pull itself is, again, simple, with the tank simply charging into the room. Rotface will be tanked close to where he is stood, in the very centre of the room.

As you can see from the above screenshot, Blizzard have been kind enough, one again, to provide some useful ground markings as an indication of where to stand (or rather, a useful reminder). The circle in the centre of the room is where the boss should be tanked. The whole raid, minus your add kiter, will be stood in melee range. This positioning allows you to avoid the Ooze Flood, be out of the kiting path of the ooze adds and also to strafe easily to avoid the Slime Spray.

Rotface Abilities

There are three initial abilities that you need to be watching for at the start of this fight:-

Ooze Flood

As you enter the room, you may notice large tanks affixed to the walls around the room.

These will release the Ooze Flood mechanism. This will flood a sector of the room with a vivid green ooze. This ooze will inflict around 6k damage per tick and slow movement speed. When correctly positioned in melee range around the boss (assuming he is in the centre of the room, as explained), this ability will not hit the raid. It does, however, effect the kiting path of the adds. This will be explained later.

The Ooze Flood will affect one sector of the room at a time. Once it has flooded one of these sectors, it will not return to that part before flooding the other three sectors of the room.

Taking the diagram above, if the first flood occurs in sector one (marked S1, on the diagram), the next flood can occur in sector two, sector three or sector four. Should it then hop to sector four, the remaining options for the third flood are sectors two and three.

Slime Spray

The next ability to concern yourself with as a ranged caster is the Slime Spray. This will occur approximately every 20 seconds and is a channelled nature based spell that will be cast in a cone shaped “spray” in front of the boss. It causes around 6k damage per tick so should you stand in it for the full duration of the channel, it’s significant damage. This is easy to avoid due to the position of the raid. Rotface will turn and face the direction he is about to spray to. If you’re in melee range as the positioning suggests, you can simply strafe around to ensure you remain behind the boss.

Mutated Infection

Lastly is the Mutated Infection. This is cast every 15 seconds initially and infects a raid member with an infection inflicting around 4k damage per tick. This can be cleansed but much like Grobbulus in Naxxramas, there is a cost to doing so. As opposed to leaving behind a green cloud on the floor (like Grobbulus), upon cleansing this, a Small Ooze will spawn. This will have agro upon the person originally infected with the Mutated Infection and it can not be taunted off them. As such, these oozes have to be kited around the raid. Should you be targeted for the Mutated Infection, run immediately out of the raid and begin circling the raid group, the infection will be cleansed from you and a Small Ooze will begin chase.

The full mechanic for kiting the oozes is explained below

Small Oozes, Big Oozes and Ooze Kiting

Firstly, while you can use a ranged DPS to kite the oozes, I wouldn’t recommend it. We use two tanks on this fight, one to tank the boss and one to kite the oozes. For the purpose of this guide, I am going to assume you will use the same setup

As mentioned above, every 15 seconds a raid member will be infected with a Mutated Infection (boss mods all announced this very clearly). The person with the infection needs to run out of raid. When the infection is cleansed, the player will spawn a Small Ooze which will have agro on them. This ooze needs to be kited around the room.

Agreeing on one direction to kite the oozes in helps a lot when it comes to merging the ooze (I’ll come to this in a second). We always kite the oozes in a clockwise direction around the room.

While the kiting is simple enough, you also have to remember the Ooze Flood from phase 1. Walking through this will not only cause you to take damage but will snare you and the Small Ooze will melee you.

The next person to be targeted by the Mutated Infection should move out of the raid in the same way. This person should aim to kite counter clockwise. Once cleansed, the two kiters should run together. Their two Small Oozes will morph creating a Big Ooze. This Big Ooze can be taunted and is the reason for having a dedicated add kiter.

Note:- Why kite the oozes round the edge I may hear you ask? Once merged, the Big Ooze gains abilities of his own, one being Sticky Ooze. This will leave a green puddle on the floor and anyone standing inside it will take around 3k nature damage per tick.

Merging More Oozes

Once you have one Big Ooze, your add tank will take over the kiting. Raid members will still get targeted for Mutated Infection and the newly spawned Small Ooze has to be merged into the existing Big Ooze. Your add tank should always kite the Big Ooze in one direction – ours kites clockwise. Try to always be aware of roughly where in the room your add tank is (scrolling out the camera distance really helps here for those who don’t already). Should you be targeted with the infection you need to run out of the raid and ahead of your add tank’s kiting path. Run towards him (so anti clockwise in our case) with your newly spawned Small Ooze. As you reach the add tank, your Small Ooze will merge with the Big Ooze and you’re free to return to the camp. Be 100% sure that your ooze has merged before returning. Always make sure you run your add towards the add tank. Don’t expect him to miraculously chase you around the room and somehow merge the ooze for you.

When An Ooze Gets Too Big…

It makes sense that as you continue to merge these ooze adds, at some point, the ooze will get too large. Every time a small ooze is added to the large, it gains a charge of Unstable Ooze. This increases the damage dealt by the ooze by 20% per charge and stacks upto five times. Once the Big Ooze reaches five stacks it will freeze in place and begin to cast Unstable Ooze Explosion.

Unstable Ooze Explosion

The ooze will, quite literally, explode, destroying itself in the process. Multiple oozes will be fired around the room inflicting around 10k damage to anyone hit by them. This is easily avoided as they will fire at the place people were standing at the time of the cast. All raiders moving to the edge of the room will ensure they’re not hit by the explosion.

As the explosion will destroy the Big Ooze, the cycle of add kiting starts again. The first person with the Mutated Infection needs to kite their own add around the room until a second player gets the debuff. Both plays will run their adds together, they will merge and your add tank can pick them up.

This is continued until the end of the fight. Note that towards the end, the speed at which people get the Mutated Infection speeds up so good handling and kiting of the adds is essential.

Totems

Due to the static nature of the boss in this encounter, it is perfectly designed for fire DPS totems (if you can use them without sacrificing raid buffs naturally). Don’t use cleansing totem, removing the infection before the player is out of the raid isn’t desirable. Aside from that, use your standard totem setup. People should be avoiding the damage anyway making a nature resistance totem somewhat a waste.

Summary

This boss isn’t hard but the kiting can take some getting used to (think Grobbulus in Naxxramas). I grabbed the following screenshot in our last kill, hope it helps!

Categories: Normal Mode