Posted tagged ‘Cataclysm heroics’

ZG, ZA and Wouldn’t it be Cool if there were 5 Mans that Felt like Raids

April 30, 2011

WoW is buzzing with folk talking about the two revamped instances, Zul’Garub and Zul’Aman.

“Too recycled!”
“Too long!”
“Too hard!”

And, of course, the occasional show off: “Too easy!”

Lissanna did a good post on the topic, rounding up some thoughts and getting some substantial discussion going.

I’ve done ZG. I haven’t gotten around to ZA yet.

I loved ZG. It was awesome. I know the recycled material offends purists who are too good for “lazy content”, but not me. I really enjoy the theme of Cataclysm, where I can go back to all those places near and dear to (or strongly despised by) my heart and see what they look like a couple of years after my services.

ZG was no exception. I didn’t have time to read up on the story, but I was very interested to know that more evil trolls invoking spirits have moved in since I cleared the place in hopes of achievements and tiger mounts.

I’m told ZA is a copy-paste of the original, which is a little disappointing (dudes…dudes! I killed you people years ago! What are you doing back here?), but at the same time, ZA was a brilliant instance. I loved the complexity and creativity of the fights. Especially the fire egg boss that took me so long to figure out and that made me so proud when I finally understood. I’m sort of glad I’ll get to re-experience those fights.

Now let’s look at the complaints surrounding the instances:

Too Long

It took my group a little over 2 hours to complete ZG, and we had a patient, kick-ass tank in heroics gear talking us through. We had a group simultaneously do ZA, without an experienced guide, and it took them barely a few minutes more than us.

Contrarily to what Lissanna says, ZG has very little trash. Much less than the other Cataclysm 5 mans. I also don’t recall doing much in terms of CC. The instance has a feel of a modern raid, with just enough trash to avoid falling back into the Trial of the Crusader trap.

What took up our 2 hours, were the wipes as we struggled to grasp the novel mechanics of the fights. Without wiping, I think we could have easily gotten through the instance in 45 minutes, which is pretty much the same time as the other Cataclysm heroics.

I can’t speak for ZA.

How do these line up with the other heroics from Cataclysm? Well. I remember pugging them during the week of their release. Once the hardcore, now-Sinestra killers were finished with them (I loved those runs!), Cataclysm heroics took well over 3 hours to pug with an average group. As the instances became better known, the players got better geared and the fights themselves were nerfed, the average pug run was shortened to about 45 minutes, with Deadmines still taking the better part of an hour.

Too Hard

I recall a tweet saying: “Don’t bring your alt to the new 5 mans!”.

I’d like to make a correction: “Don’t bring your alt to the new 5 mans yet!”

The fights are actually perfect for gearing alts…once you know them on your main. These fights aren’t gear checks. They’re all mechanics. Do the right thing at the right time and they’re a breeze. Trust me. Our DK soloed the better part of the first ZG fight.

But prepare to die a lot learning the fights. The mechanics are more complex (and interesting) than “pick up adds and don’t stand in the fire”. Think Stonecore, but less shitty.

Once you’ve mastered being at the right place at the right time, though? This is the perfect place to gear your alt.

5 mans should be accessible to anyone!

While I don’t necessarily agree with this statement (I think regulars should be accessible to anyone, heroics should involve a minimal effort), I’d like to point out that my guild had two teams complete the instances Thursday night. And we are your casual, chilling, social raiding guild. At 6/12, with anywhere from 0 to 2 raids a week, we’re not Sinestra killers.

And we did ZG and ZA. We wiped, we ran back, we adjusted our tactics, but at no point did we feel like we were banging our heads against a wall.

Which is actually better than Stonecore and Grim Batol the week those instances were released.

Could an average Pug do the instance? Probably not. Not yet. The instances take too much communication and, as social bloggers everywhere constantly moan, communication is difficult in PuGs. But once people run the instances with their guilds a few time and learn the fights, I think ZG and ZA will totally be puggable, and will be comparable to the other Cataclysm heroics in length.

Conclusion: I’d sort of like a raid-style 5 man

I like fights that make me think. I like having a really small team to think with. So I like hard 5 mans.

I thoroughly enjoyed running ZG with the fantastic people in my Thursday group (I was even very tempted to ask our DK out on a date. He was HAWT.). It felt like a raid, except there were only 5 of us and the fights took slightly less wipes than a raid to learn.

The whole time I was thinking, what if there was an epic 5 man designed like a raid? One instance you don’t do often, that you save for an afternoon where you have 5 hours to yourself. A huge instances with twists and turns, Original Stratholme or Blackrock Depths style. A fight were you really need to think before engaging the bosses.

And really, sure, I think 5 man heroics should be accessible to anyone. Anyone with a brain, instead of only a face for rolling.

Cataclysm Heroics Sanity Preservation Guide for Healers

December 28, 2010

You’re pugging heroics? What are you? A sadist?
- Guildie upon discovering that I PuG my heroics more often than not.

I think he meant masochist (my guildies a tough time keeping their fetishes straight)… unless he knows me better than I thought.

Once I got over my initial feeling of being left out (dissolved when other healers got tired of running heroics causing me to receive 3 whispers asking for heroic heals every time I log in), I fell in love with pugging. I’ve also learned to handle myself in PuGs, which has turned me into quite the slave driver, and yes, has really helped developed my sadistic side.

Introduction: What to expect

There are beliefs of varying levels of truth to the rumours going around about PuGs. Let me attempt to clarify them by drawing from my own experience.

Belief #1 – Heroics are too long for casual players.
Answer: Apparently the official forums are overrun with players accusing Blizzard of ruining casual play. Unfortunately, if you’re going to PuG heroics, you need to be prepared to spend at least 2 hours in there. At least. Most people are getting pretty good with the fights now, but during the first week of Cataclysm, I could easily spend 4 hours with a group in a heroic.

Belief #2
- People are jerks in heroics.
Answer: You always run the chance of being paired with the scum of humanity. Stories like this one tell of things you have to be prepared to face. But fortunately, they’re pretty rare. Most of the time, the people you’ll be paired with are just like you: looking to get their valor points and leave.

Belief #3 – Heroics are too hard to PuG.
Answer: They’re not. I pug a lot. And I mean, a lot. It’s only happened to me twice that I didn’t make it to the end: first group tried Corborus in Stonecore a few times then fell apart, second group wiped on Corla in Blackrock Caverns a few times, until I had to leave to run something with my guild. With every other PuG I’ve done, even my very first ones, where I cheated to get a 329ilvl, the final boss went down. Now maybe I’m on the ultimate battlegroup of excellence, but maybe a strategic approach paired with a lot of patience goes a long way.

So how does a healer cope with, as a guildie of mine puts it, “playing Russian Roulette with 5 bullets“? Let me tell you.
(more…)

A Crowd Control Compendium

December 12, 2010

Last updated Dec 18, 2010 – Added some more suggestions, many thanks to you all for filling in the gaps. Changed the one mob per CC explanation and edited the Fear description.

As I was writing about heroics, I found myself listing off the various forms of crowd control (affectionately called CC). Because, to the greatest pleasure of those who complained about the lack of CC during Wrath, Crowd Control is back with a vengeance!

At least it is for now as we’re doing our best to run heroics in our soft and squishy greens and blues.

I’m sure someone has written a similar compendium at some point of another, but I’m not aware of any I could just link to so I made my own, for your enjoyment. Convincing your PuG to actually use CC is a topic for another day, but because knowledge is power and we all love power, here’s a list of all the forms of CC that I’m aware of.

And as usual, if you find anything missing, let me know and it’ll be added with credits given where they’re due.
* * *

Most of the time, nothing listened here will work on bosses (there have been exceptions over the years) but most trash mobs and mobs summoned during boss fights can be controlled using these abilities.

Complete CC

Complete CC keeps the poor creature from doing anything as long as the CC holds. This is your first resort for CC, and the most effective.

Frost Death Knights: Can do an AoE freeze that locks up all mobs within 10 yards for 10 seconds.
Druids: Can Hibernate beasts and dragonkin.
Hunters: Can Freezing Trap most creatures.
Survival Hunters: In addition to freezing creatures, that can also put them to sleep via Wyvern Sting.
Mages: Can Polymorph beasts and humanoids. Can also place a Ring of Frost on the ground, sealing all enemies that enter the area in ice for 10 seconds.
Retribution Paladins: Can Repentance demons, dragonkin, giants, humanoids and undead.
Priests: Can Shackle Undead.
Shadow priests: Can Mind Control.
Rogues: Can Sap humanoids, beasts, demons and dragonkin (must be done before the pull, when out of combat).
Shaman: Can Hex humanoids and beasts and Bind elementals.
Warlocks: Can Banish demons and elementals.Seduce humanoids and Enslave demons.

Note that a Warlock’s Seduction and Enslave Demon and a Shadow Priest’s Mind Control are more inconvenient to the player than other forms of complete CC, so don’t suggest them if other forms are available, unless you know the fight specifically calls for them. Though sometimes you’ll find a Shadow Priest who’s really into Mind Controlling and will jump at any occasion to use it.

Also note that with the exception of Frost Death Knights, each spell can only CC one mob at a time. For example, one shaman can Hex one mob and Bind one elemental, but one shaman cannot Hex two mobs.

Most of these forms of CC will break if the target gets damaged in any way, so be sure that CCed creatures are kept out of the way of AoEs and DPSers who struggle with targeting.

The typical order for casting CC before a pull is:
Rogue Sap -> Hunter Sets Trap -> Mage Polymorphs -> Mobs come running

Partial CC

Partial CC still gives the creature some freedom to cause mischief, but it can keep casters from casting long enough for them to move into melee range (called “silencing”), or roots melee into place. When a melee is stuck somewhere, you can move away from it, so it can’t reach you.

Rooting
Druids: Can Root melee.
Mages: Can Frost Nova to root targets in an area for up to (but usually much less) 8 seconds.

Silencing
Death Knights: Can silence for short bouts via Strangulate and Mind Freeze.
Boomkin Druids: Can cause a Solar Beam, which silences any creature standing within it.
Feral Druids: Can interrupt and spell lockout for 5 seconds with Skull Bash (both Kitties and Bears have their individual Skull Bashes)
Marksman Hunters: Can Silencing Shot for 3 seconds.
Mages: Can also silence for 4 seconds if they’ve specced into Improved Counterspell and time their interrupt well.
Protection Paladins: Can silence one target (and 2 other random targets if not glyphed for single target) for 3 seconds with Avenger’s Shield (and it has a bonus slowing effect when glyphed for it)
Shadow Priests: Can spec into Silence.
Rogues: Can silence for 3 seconds via Garrote, or can lock a creature out of a school of magic for 5 seconds if they time their Kick well.
Shaman: Can do an interrupt/ 2 second lockout via Wind Shear.
Warriors: Pummel causes a short 4 second silence and Arms Warriors can interrupt and completely stun for 5 seconds with Throwdown.
Protection Warriors: A well timed Shield Bash can lock a creature out of a school of magic for 8 seconds.

Fears

When a mob is feared, they can’t do anything. Most fears are pretty short in duration, serving more as a damage reduction technique than anything else, but a 20 second Warlock fear can serve as complete CC, as long as the target is second or third on the kill order or the fear is constantly refreshed.

Historically, feared creatures ran and grabbed the attention of more mobs. Nowadays, Priests , Warlocks and Warriors have glyphs available that remove the running effect of the fear. Not everyone grabs these glyphs though, so it’s worth asking your friendly priesty, warlocky or warriory teammate if they’re glyphed for fearing.

Paladins: Can Turn Evil one undead or demon target for 20 seconds
Priests: Can Psychic Scream 5 random targets for 8 seconds.
Warriors: Can Intimidating Shout 5 random targets for 8 seconds.
Warlock: Can Fear one target for 20 seconds and Howl of Terror 5 random targets for 8 seconds.

Slows and Stuns

Most classes have one or several abilities that will slow down a target (also referred to as snaring), practical for repositioning or kiting (running while being chased by a mob) and a short term stun that will completely take out a target for a few seconds. Since just about every class has these abilities or can have one of these abilities if they spec into it, glyph for it, stand on their head and recite the alphabet backwards 3 times, listing them all would be more confusing than anything else. However should you feel the need to ask for slows/stuns:

Hunters ,Frost (or specced into Slow Arcane) Mages and Death Knights (via Chains of Ice) are the go-to people for slows, with Rogues and Paladins being the experts of stuns.

Note that the Paladin stun, Hammer of Justice, has a fairly long cooldown, so it usually can’t be used more than once or twice a fight.

Many players have shared their class’ stuns and slows in the comments, so if you want to know more (or see what your or your alt’s class can do) have a read through the comments.

Now go forth and take less damage!

Note: Huge thanks to Blinky, Grimmtooth , Shopshopshop ,Windsoar, Poneria, Matt, Kirenaaz, Lady Erinia, Kaboomski, Niliin, Gaia , Velidra, Pewter, Talexei, Gilomor, Berry, Shealle, Tarinae , Deyndor , Skip , Khahan and everyone else who pointed out an omission for their help!


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