The Last Days of Pandaria – Top 5 Best Countdown!

best

Hello my friends and welcome to Metro’s final look back at Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft’s fourth expansion set! With the new calendar year of Warcraft approaching rapidly, its time to wrap up our affairs and say our final farewells to Chen and Li Li and wish Taran Zhu a speedy recovery.

By all accounts, the expansion has had its ups and downs, and despite my own exuberant love for some of the features, there is much dread to recall alongside.

This article is part two of a two part series where I go through the top 5 best and worst features. We start with the worst in order to frame the best, as I frankly feel despite there being 5 of each, the 5 best far outweigh the 5 worst.

If you would like to see my top 5 best/worst of cataclysm, you can do so here.

Part one has already been release on wowstratics, and the link can be found here.

Let’s get right into the list! Drumroll please!

Best #5 – Timeless Isle Concept!

bestAfter placing Dailies as my number 5 Worst feature, I’d be foolish to not mention their fix in the Best list. Without question, the timeless isle is the preferable method for me, especially in terms of gear and catch up mechanics. I’d much prefer 5 mans for the pure catch up situations, but the fact that this promotes group play out in the world is a very healthy thing for the game.

The concept borrows ideas from Diablo, Dark Souls, Guild Wars 2, and the best of WoW’s previous attempts and bakes them into one area where everyone congregates. The atmosphere is electric and hostile, but there is truly something for everyone here, from gear to pvp to achievements to battle pets.

In WoD, they are furthering this idea even more by having rotating areas that you cycle through. Couldn’t be more excited!

Best #4 – Legendary Questline!

If you aren’t aware of this or haven’t seen it through start to finish, you likely missed your chance to do so in game, but its not too late to experience it. I strongly urge you to check out this playlist. Within, is every step’s story and completion, as well as full ambiance.

The story and scenes were truly exceptional, and it was actually quite a challenge start to finish. The collection was a bit dull, but this was just half of the whole, and the solo scenarios and dialogues really made you feel like you were a part of Pandaria. Its magnificence will likely go underrated, but I will always look back at the expansion and remember it fondly for this quest line.

Best #3 – Tanking, Active Mitigation, and Situations that Enforce It!

bestI have always been partial to tanking, as you can surmise after reading my latest article on the topic, but this expansion really smashed it out of the park. To be clear, I do not play a tank in Progression Raiding, but my passion with the role lies in 5 man and smaller situations outside of raid bosses.

The number 1 situation where tanking shined this expansion was Challenge Mode dungeons, but it was mostly because of Vengeance scaling. However, this was the ideal situation to implement into Active Mitigation, as it allowed exceptionally skilled players to make their mark on the dungeon and show how far they can push their character.

A runner up in terms of reinforcement would be a boss liek Ra-den. Not a boss a lot of people saw, and the mechanic was used again in paragons of the Klaxxi, but regardless of its state, it helped make tanks feel relevant again. During Cataclysm, the tank role was very much gear related and strategy sufficient. Now in MoP, a tank can make your runs through anything from 5 mans to heroic raiding 10x easier or harder, depending on how they do.

Best #2 – Scenery and Theme!

The theme and especially scenery of this expansion was second to none. I usually enjoy the high fantasy style of a major city in European fashion, but there was something about the ancient Chinese theme that captivated me, especially out in the world.

Jade Forest is easily the most attractive zone I’ve ever seen in a video game, and architecture including bridges and small towns you wouldn’t visit normally really make you feel like you are in a living and breathing world.

If you are reading this and don’t know what I mean, I urge you to take a stroll through the zone ON THE GROUND. By flying over the zone, all you’ll see is trees and some monuments. The true splendor comes in the delicate craftsmanship that it took to create such a place.

This is present in every zone of the expansion, and when you open your mind, you begin to realize just how great this expansion really was.

Honestly, this is the reason I can not wait to be on the ground in WoD. There are so many hidden treasures to be seen, and when you fly everywhere, it really cheapens things.

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Best #1 – Challenge Modes!!!

By far the best content ever added to the game, in my honest opinion. This is something that should have been fostered from the get-go, and wouldn’t mind seeing the concept introduced for Raiding as well, provided it didn’t interfere with progression.

Something about the fact that everyone’s gear is regulated makes it an equatable challenge unlike anything in the game thus far. Even more fun is the eventual mindset you find yourself in when thinking on the clock.

Before you say anything, I will tell you that I have always had a phobia of timed events, but after doing these you begin to realize that there is nothing to be scared of or nervous in. Its turns into a friendly competition, first between you and the content, and eventually between you and others doing the content.

This, coupled with #3 (active mitigation) has easily given me enough enjoyment even in the year long patch 5.4.

As of now, you have less then three weeks to complete these if you want your set, but beyond that try to enjoy yourself. Don’t ever considering buying them, especially now. Any class or spec can compete in there if you skilled, and 70 percent of the challenge is knowing the strategy.

This is what the game has needed for a long time, and I’m looking even more forward to seeing the second generation in an environment without ridiculous gem scaling and vengeance cheesing. Can’t wait!

 

Honorable Mention goes to Proving Grounds and Brawler’s Guild.

These miss the cut for me because I have no toon with adequate gear to consider Brawler’s Guild passable, and Proving Grounds has far too many mechanics that aren’t realistic in the world of dungeons and raids.

Regardless, they are exceptional content, and a great fill for a great expansion. Its been such a great ride, and there has been so much good to come of MoP. I truly can not wait to do it all again in WoD!

Don’t forget to check out the top 5 Worst!

If you prefer to listen to more detailed rants on these topics, you can find a full video here below:
(when its finished).

The Last Days of Pandaria – Top 5 Worst Countdown!

worst

Hello my friends and welcome to Metro’s final look back at Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft’s fourth expansion set! With the new calendar year of Warcraft approaching rapidly, its time to wrap up our affairs and say our final farewells to Chen and Li Li and wish Taran Zhu a speedy recovery.

By all accounts, the expansion has had its ups and downs, and despite my own exuberant love for some of the features, there is much dread to recall alongside.

This article is part 1 of a two part series where I go through the top 5 best and worst features. We start with the worst in order to frame the best, as I frankly feel despite there being 5 of each, the 5 best far outweigh the 5 worst.

If you would like to see my top 5 best/worst of cataclysm, you can do so here.

Part two will be released on WoWstratics shortly, and the link can be found here.

Let’s get right into the list! Drumroll please!

Worst #5 – Daily Quests!

worstLet there be no mistake. If you have any love for daily quests, you ruined this expansion for me. Apparently, there are people out there who demanded Blizzard take away rep tabbards, forcing us to grind rep through dailies. If this wasn’t bad enough, they made the rep award Raid Equivalent gear for a raid that wasn’t to be released for over a month!

The start of Cataclysm was an abomination for me for this one reason alone. As a Guild Leader, how can I attempt to force people to get pre-raid BIS and be prepared when even I couldn’t stomach the grind. The big issue for me however, was my spec choices. I love healing raids and I love tanking 5 mans, so there are little options on my Paladin. I was not about to respec every day as some of our players were doing, and it eventually just became hatred out of spite at how difficult it was to get anything done as a Protection paladin early on. To this day, I look at this as one of the worst decisions Blizzard has ever made. Thank god its gone for good.

Worst #4 – Absurd Boss Mechanics!

Blade_Lord_Ta'yakAnother personal vendetta, but its my list after all! There are two bosses that absolutely infuriate me in this expansion and it comes down to one single mechanic in each of them.

First of the expansion is Blade Lord Ta’yak. Aside from the asinine name (should have been wind lord and vice versa) this boss features the single mode retarded mechanic I have ever done in this video game. There certainly have been a few, but this boss takes the cake as the worst boss in the video game.

The mechanic is known as Unseen Strike, and can be explained easily as a frontal slash that must be split evenly with enough people so the damage is survivable. However, it just simply did not work this way. On Heroic, the damage was intense, and the phase dictated spread with movement, so it was often times a scramble to get enough people in it. Furthermore, for some reason unbeknownst to me, there was no definitive directional component to show which way the cone would hit. This caused CONSTANT (IE every single time) deaths of people because we simply didn’t know where to stack or stand. Even times when it hit the group correctly, one person would die from full health as if it didn’t split properly. The fight was entirely trivialized when I switched to my shaman healer in blues and lfr gear to come in and drop Spirit Link every other. It was that easy. Boss died first night after that. Worst fight ine game imo.

Other one that makes the list is Tortos, but no explanation needed. If you ever did the fight you know why a healer would hate it. Here is to actual predictable mechanics coming back in WoD and these getting buried next to daily quests!

Worst #3 – Length of Raid Tiers!

HURRY TOT IS OUT OK SOO IS OUT KK SEE YOU IN A YEAR.

All you need to know.

By the time ToES and HoF were even available, ToT was in the works. We were able to finish 6 heroic bosses in the first tier (mostly because we were bad) before ToT came out, meanwhile on the other end of the spectrum we have been farming 14 heroic bosses in SoO for months now. How is it possible to have a 4-5 month tier and a 13 month tier in the same expansion? A true blunder, and no matter how amazing the raids were, this can not be overlooked.

Worst #2 – Limited Time Legendary Buffs!

Keyword is Limited Time here. What on God’s green earth possessed them to do this? Jay Wilson said it worked with Diablo guys lets try it for WoW!

If your goal is to nerf the legendary quest, then just do so. There’s no tangible benefit to alternating them weekly and making the valor one only happen on the weekend after all raiding is over. Its just stupid and really cheap if you ask me. It sounds like something a company with low standards for their game would do and really makes me worry about the direction Blizzard as a company is headed if these ass-backwards ideas is their idea of prevent sub loss. How bout you put the 6 purchases everyone has to make into one video game geniuses?

If anyone has insight into why this is this way, please let me know. As of right now, this is IMO as cheesy as it gets.

Worst #1 – Community and Stigma!

worstThe fix was in from the start. Literally the first official interview about this game started with these words:
“This is NOT a joke!”

When you have to say that, you’ve made a horrible mistake. Me personally? I loved the asian theme and the art. It was breathtaking. But you will NEVER convince the halfwits who dominate this game that it makes sense or can be done in a non-childish way. Even to this day, there are still people who talk bad about the expansion purely on the out-of-context theme Pandaria featured, and it absolutely ruined the expansion for me. If I have to read one more time about how pandas ruined WoW, I’ll cut my eyes out. Thank god this is over. It turned the best expansion into a running trade chat joke.

Honorable mention goes to 5 man heroics!

Here’s to you! I soloed you at 480 item level. Hopefully we can have some actual challenging ones in WoD.

Don’t forget to check out the top 5 best!

If you prefer to listen to more detailed rants on these topics, you can find a full video here below:
(when its finished).

The Complete Tank Transformation – Classic to WoD Walkthrough!

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Welcome everyone, I’m making this article specifically for two reasons. The first of the two is because a lot of people I speak with make comments such as “Man I can’t believe how much tanking has changed” and its inevitably returned with “Has it really changed that much?” The second person is who this article is for, as after that conversation progresses even further, its obvious a LOT of people don’t have clarity on this topic.

The second of the two reasons, is because I’m frankly getting sick of people complain about tanking changes on the WoD beta. You guys simply don’t understand the change, which is fine, and I’m sure this one article won’t change that, but at least its off my mind. So let’s begin.

Classic -

First thing to recognize about classic is that there were three specs that could even tank for any reason whatsoever. Protection Warrior, Protection Paladin, and Feral Druid. The issue however, is that only Protection Warrior had a taunt, so as a Paladin you could only ever tank something that would never need to be taunted (ie nothing.) Feral had a different issue, that being a lack of agility gear that was relevant. Pretty much all leather gear had weapon specialization on it, or things of that nature (the stat that eventually became expertise.)

Model: tank
In general, the model can be summed up by one word – Threat.

You can tell that Blizzard wanted there to be more to it then that already, by giving them an ability like Shield Block, but it was simply too infrequent and not enough in a pseudo triage healing model. Shield Wall was also a 1 hour CD originally, but became 30 minutes at some point through out classic!

For five mans, your job was to lead the group, mark for CC, and threat what you could. You CC mobs mostly because its impossible to keep threat on them, but in classic it was also very dangerous to tank many, because dodge, block, and parry (combat table coverage) are not what they are today. It was very very common to take unmitigated swings.

Burning Crusade -

In TBC, they gave Paladins and druids real taunts, and real gear options to tank from level 70 normals all the way through sunwell. Each tank had its ups and downs, but many people still considered a warrior to be the only option for a raid tank, because the others still lacked definite cds and debuffs.
Its at this point that people first start recognizing the important of Thunderclap, Demo Shout, Disarm, and Shield Block.

Model: Even more surely a threat based model, especially outside of raids. tank

In classic, there was very little to worry about in the way of 4-6 mob packs that weren’t just AOE trash, but TBC introduced this type of pull in a lot of its 5 mans. Historically, people remember these as a true challenge, but it lied at the heart of the tanking model, not the mechanical design. The tank simply could NOT get threat on them all unless they were a paladin with high spell power.

Towards the end of TBC we start seeing the new model surface, likely by accident.

Wrath of the Lich King -

Wrath saw the introduction (finally) of rotational defensive CDs. Divine Protection was the biggest one; the spell changed from a weaker hard bubble to a 2 minute 20 percent damage reduction and we never looked back.

Shield Block, shield wall, and last stand all became useable in rotation, and the birth of Combat Table Coverage caps (CTC) was born. With defensive stats readily selectable from gear options, the game had come a LONG way, maybe not even intentionally.

Model: 50 percent threat, 50 percent survival. tank

Honestly, I struggle to believe they wanted this to go this direction this quickly, but once people saw how easy Wrath five mans were, there was no turning back. But once again, you need to understand WHY this was the case. We went from 5-7 mob packs in TBC that simply COULD not be pulled without some dedicated CC. It literally was not possible to threat them all. In wrath, these 5-7 mob packs were just more heavy damage then a 3-4 mob pack. Every tank had a viable AOE, and with the introduction of DKs, we see the first real overpowered AoE to join a tank arsenal since Paladins got sorted out in Howling Blast. Frost DK tanks simply had no concerns with threat, and thus the model was shattered.

A warrior still had to battle, but Thunderclap’s threat was dramatically increased, so if you just charged in, tclapped, and then tabbed and cleaved, you would have no concerns either. The dawn of the new age has begun!

Cataclysm -

I consider this the dim hours for Tanking. They were crossed up between what happened with the abandoned threat model, and what was emerging as an overpowered reduction model, giving way to the submodel of DPS. Cataclysm five mans were considered among the toughest, but entirely because of the incoming damage being overwhelming. CC was used to prevent a tank death, but as they settled into this model tanks started to realize that if they simply just went ham AOE, they could do more dps then the actual players…

Model: 10 percent threat, 70 percent Survival, 20 percent DPS. tank

Long story short, the availability of stats like Critical strike on Plate gear since the advent of the specialization perks make warrior tanks (and others) really consider ditching conventional tanking ideas and become another DPS. If they used their rotational CDs properly, the stats on their gear became nearly irrelevant, however a full ctc capped paladin would essentially need no healing, so it was up to the raid on which direction they wanted to go. Regardless, this solidified the death of threat tanking, and would usher in the brilliance that we see in Pandaria.

Mists of Pandaria –

This is how tanking should have always been. Threat was a fun mechanic, but felt clunky. You are the tank! Keeping yourself alive should be what its all about.

tankModel: Active Mitigation Survival and Vengeance DPS.

With the advent of Challenge Modes, we see this model in its purest form. Every tank has an AOE stun, and between 3-5 rotational CDs with Active Mitigation tied in. A tank who can keep his active mitigation up simply can not be killed, and this allows the spec and class to be pushed to its most extreme limits. When you pull the entire room of Scholomance and see 1.5 million DPS as a protection paladin with 960k vengeance and 300k ticking hots from your own spell, you know you have broken the video game.

The active mitigation is amazing, and so is the defensive benefit of Vengeance, but the dps aspect is simply cheesy, and was far too abused in raid encounters where a tank would be the top dps by a mile. Lesson learned, let’s move on. RIP vengeance

Warlords of Draenor -

With 6.0 comes Resolve, the child of the deceased Vengeance. It is essentially the same thing, but it only effects your self preservation, and doesn’t last nearly as long. Its very akin to the DK blood shield concept, but now for all tanks.

Model: Active Mitigation 100 percent.

tank

At least that’s how its shaping up. It has yet to be claimed how it will transpire, but the way I see it, its all about you now. There is no super hero complex where a tank with 1.5m attack power can trump 5 dps, and there is no need for silly gear choices. All secondary stats, even critical strike, give some offensive and defensive benefit, while Bonus Armor and the tertiary stats seem to be your main difference between sets.

The point of complaint is the reduction of Shield Wall type CDs from 12 seconds to 8 and a general nerf to active mitigation, but this seems neccessary to me. 12 seconds is a long time, despite it being a 3 minute CD, and hopefully wont hinder the model too much in the long run.

Metro’s Summary and Favorites -

In brief, it has come full circle. From a pure threat model to a pure survival model. It took 10 years, but I feel both have their merits. What did NOT strike me as fun was the in between years. Especially in Cataclysm, tanking just made no sense. It was basically frowned on to do something other then try to be the top DPS, and even in the one “challenging” 5 man heroics, a fury warrior was a more capable tank then a protection warrior.

My preference is the two extremes without question. Tanking MoP Challenge Modes is the most fun I’ve had in the game, and tanking Classic five mans (and TBC five mans to some degree) is just one notch lower. The threat model was simpler but still engaging. The MoP model is far more complex, but far more rewarding when you can negate the panic.

Even with the ability pruning in WoD, there is very little lost in the way of tanking. Looking forward to a new season of CMs and the culmination of 10 years of tanking work. Can’t wait!

Rose Tinted Dreams & Fantastic Memories.

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When you recall the best memories you’ve ever had in World of Warcraft, what do you think about? Personally I remember The Burning Crusade expansion like it was yesterday, logging in each and every day to do heroic 5 man dungeons to get my badges of justice, saving up for the next piece of vendor gear. Each week preparing for the Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday raids and generally managing the guild I led for Karazhan and Zul’Aman raiding. My experience in raiding with my own guild was one of absolute enjoyment and a fundamentally less serious atmosphere than what I would look for in a guild in current day WoW. Our Hunter; a dear friend of mine who has since quit the game would always be the butt of jokes in our raids. Much of the time for accidentally pulling trash or bosses, the fact he would literally walk into a pack of trash mobs or accidently put his pet on aggressive and yet NOT mean it, clarified by the expression “Oh Shiit” on our Ventrilo Server, was the funniest thing I can remember. As much as many people would be aggressive in this situation, at the time we found it particularly entertaining and to be honest he wasn’t the only one to do something that would be considered griefing today. The differences between then and now are basically my own, where I feel that the game has been out for so long that I literally forget that there could even be new people playing for the first time.

Picture8-1 (1)Our guild; ‘Heavens Will’ on Frostwhisper EU was filled with the friendliest group of people you could ever meet. We all had our problems, and personally I had only just started to play the game that same year and found everything as funny as the others. Our progression was average for a guild in our situation, but it was enough for me. It was always cool to achieve downing a new boss for the first time, but we never saw that as the main objective in raiding. Raids where a time when our guild would centralise in one group and enjoy themselves 3 times a week together. Granted we achieved quite a deal for what we were, clearing Karazhan and Zul’Aman, but not much further was possible with the general skill level of our team. That was fine however, as some of us were known throughout the community with the other guilds. This is the side of the game I miss the most; doing dungeons with your own realm and not through a cross realm looking for group tool certainly had its advantages.

I gained the respect of many guilds on my server, one of which; Elysium; a wonderfully skilled group of people who progressed on Black Temple and then Sunwell when it came available. Many of the times they would need to occasional DPS or a Healer to fill their groups as they would for some reason miss 1 or two people each week. I saw this as an opportunity to see more of the game, and my own guild didn’t mind since we still did our own raids together and they knew that they had neither the time in week nor the commitment to do other raids.

DDI levelled my Holy Paladin to level 70 shortly after I knew this would be a regular event, where members of that and other guilds on the server would group together to ‘PuG’ older raids such as Tempest Keep or Serpent Shrine Cavern. It wasn’t long before my paladin became much more geared than my Warlock; simply more opportunities arose for my healer than would ever for my DPS. I really started to enjoy healing, the rewards were great, the feeling of being a needed part of the raid group excelled much further than it ever did as a dps. My Warlock still remained my ‘Main’ as that’s what I raided with in my own guild, but when the time arose and a healer missed our own raid one evening I would log onto the Paladin and heal away. This flexibility helped actually progress our raid much further, and it was at this point I realised how integral it would be to keep both characters geared.

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Wrath of the Lich King came out the following year, filling my guild with both new recruits and new interest to get more acquainted with progression, and much less about the ‘fun’ aspects of casual raiding. As much as this was perhaps the most progressed I have ever been in my own Guild, clearing content as it came out and competing with others on the server, it certainly wasn’t my favourite. The border between causal raiding and progression is a fine one honestly, as much as the two have different interests they are basically the same, only more serious during attempts and still enjoyable between bosses. The changes we put onto the guild with progression as our focus actually crumbled the foundations of who would be able to both raid with us and who would stick around for a more serious atmosphere on the tougher fights.

WoWScrnShot_071810_211548-1I like to see this point of my experience in the game where I essentially ‘grew up’ and decided that the goals I needed to achieve were greater than they used to be. Sacrifices were made, but for the better of everyone’s gameplay and enjoyment of the new content that we could now for once get to see, as appose to raiding content years old whilst new raids were other guilds progression targets. I remember The Burning Crusade so fondly because of both the people I raided and met on my server, but also the start I had in this game, without which I would of never had enjoyed the progression to who I am today, both in game and in real life. I have to say that my interest in YouTube and to some extent where I am now writing on Stratics is down to the ability to learn that both sides of progression in any game rely on an open mind. It saddens me to go onto the WoW Forums and see people talking about how good the ‘Good ol’ Days’ were in World of Warcraft or hating on other MMO RPG’s out there based purely on fear for competition. The truth of the matter is that your experiences in any game are your own, and if you feel that a certain period was much better than any other, much of the enjoyment you found at time you spent during those glory days would very likely be down to WHO you raided or played with, rather than the actual content you did or the part of the game you played most.

The World of Warcraft we know and play today is NOT the same game we all played 1, 2, or even 9 years ago, and we should be happy about that. Without evolution of a product, what interest can there possibly be. It’s currently hard enough to enjoy the lull in activity between content releases as it is, with many of us that are waiting for Warlords of Draenor playing other games such as Diablo 3. I’ve had this game since its release, yet it’s only now that I’m playing it to the point of the same time I would usually spend on WoW. The new content is just around the corner and I have to say that progression feeling is coming back to me, and I think a lot of people will get the same reinvigorating feeling the closer we get to WoD Beta testing.

WoWScrnShot_031214_174319Mists of Pandaria was by far the most constructive and developed product so far in WoW; much of the content in the game now offers opportunities that simply were not physically possible 8 or 9 years ago. Phasing and individual scenario instancing has allowed for compelling solo player gameplay, new character models and designs are altering the visual aesthetics of the game to be more appealing to the eye. New PvP systems are being tested and used to enhance the accessibility to general PvP and push the bar at the top of skilled players even father up with new leaderboard technology. There isn’t a single piece of the game that has been put into MoP that isn’t an addition or a positive / necessary change to the basic principles of the games enjoyment. I challenge anybody to say the game is worse for any game breaking reason today than it ever used to be, because it simply isn’t true. The experiences we all had when we started playing the game are ours and we should keep those close, but not use them as excuses to enforce illogical points onto why the current game is bad. Opinions are great things, but if they are enforced with nothing but rose tinted dreams then whats the point in expressing them.

If you enjoyed my article discussion here, please feel free to go over to our forums to talk about your favourite time in WoW and your opinions on where WoW is going. For everything World of Warcraft, look to Stratics. HERE

Mopping up MoP

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News today comes in the shape and form of preparation to send Mists of Pandaria into the archives and make way for Warlords of Draenor. Confirmed to be around the date of 10th March, less than one week from now, Mists of Pandaria’s Digital Deluxe edition will be retired into the Blizzard Archive.

This means that you will no longer be able to purchase the Digital Deluxe edition, and thus begins the first step towards being able to pre-order the next expansion Warlords of Draenor at some undisclosed date afterwards.

pets

Mists of Pandaria’s Digital deluxe edition contains both an in-game mount and in-game pet, so if you are still undecided to get those articles of the game or not, this will likely help you make that decision much easier. Blizzard go on to mention that the Digital Deluxe version of Pandaria, whilst being retired now, may at some point in the future rear it’s head again, but they are not confirming anything. For now it’s best to presume that you won’t see them again for a while, if at all.

So what does this mean in terms of WoD?

Well if we look at this from another perspective, a date on anything at this point is a huge giveaway as to the planning process for the pre-order process and somewhat indicative towards any possible beta plans, which would come shortly after. If the 10th of March is the end of MoP DD pre-order, it could mean that we would see the pre-order for the next WoW expansion days, maybe even 1-2 weeks maximum after this point. You have to remember that the store page would need a new promotion, it’s fairly unlikely they would leave it blank for too long. Anything could happen though, but the speculation is much easier if you look at this from a business stand point. Literally mopping up MoP is the final stage needed on the store front before a new promotion could be introduced, and there is nothing more anticipated than WoD pre-order and the subsequent level 90 boost features, one of which you would get free with WoD pre-order. Thinking back to Blizzcon, they mentioned that the free 90 would be something that they would introduce with the pre-order a good deal of time prior to the games release, giving people time to get accustomed to their character and it’s abilities at 90. From that alone it makes me think they mean months and months prior, rather than a week before release.

Keeping people interested in the lull between content is something they wanted to cut out of the process

The past couple of weeks have been wonderful for a sudden burst in WoD news, weather it be class changes, PvP changes, etc. Now with this date for the end of MoP D.D, it’s all drawing to a close in preparation for the next chapter in World of Warcraft! Be sure to stay around here at Stratics, for Daily/ Weekly news, lore, discussions and more!

 

 

Rhonin : Lore, Warcraft & You!

rhonin

Welcome to another Lore, Warcraft, & You! The series of articles where we look at prominent figures in Warcraft lore, and where they affect you in-game in World of Warcraft, how they play an integral role in the storyline and where you can find them.
Today we look into famous red-haired super-mage; Rhonin.

Rhonin_Ulduar_Trailer

Rhonin was a human mage, formerly entrusted with the leadership of the Kirin Tor during the time of the Wrath of The Lech King expansion. (The Kirin Tor being the ancient Magus Senate of Dalaran)
He did not gain this position easily as many of his exploits in his youth even made his place as a mage of Dalaran even questionable. Rhonin has been a key figure in various world-ending scenarios where he has either single handily taken on danger instead of assessing a situation or teamed alongside some of Azeroth’s more powerful heroes.
Curiously no surname has ever been given to Rhonin, yet he has had several nicknames and is sometimes referred to as Rhonin Redhair for his flame-like hair, and the accompanying hot-headed temperament in battle.
The book Night of The Dragon also refers to Rhonin as ‘Rhonin Draig’cyfail’ or in the human tongue; ‘Dragonheart’. Call him what you will, Rhonin is an extremely powerful, yet reserved, intelligent mage. Well skilled in the use of a blade due to his actions in the Scourge invasion add to the diversity and flexibility of his combat style. It’s this ability to work in dire situations and intuition lead decisions that has allowed him to be successful and resourceful in so many situations and stories over the course of Warcraft history.

Reply Code Alpha

Reply Code Alpha

Fundamentally Rhonin is best known in-game for his involvement as a quest npc in Dalaran, awarding the player with a piece of loot once they return from the depths of the Ulduar raid with the Titan Reply Code object from defeating Algalon the Observer. The reply code once the player explains to Rhonin the events that took place in Ulduar is then noted to be a pre-defined message of a possible two that Algalon should of sent back to the Titans in the discovery of either a positive or negative assessment of live on Azeroth. The curse of flesh, which ultimately resulted in humanoid life on the planet, is a deviation from the Titans original plan for the world upon their involvement in essentially conquering azeroth millions of years ago.
The Titans captured thousands of worlds like Azeroth, with the intent to govern life the way they saw fit on each world, seeing order in the universe the ultimate goal.
The Alpha reply code was to be sent back to the titans by Algalon if Azeroth was still a vision of this order and perfection, otherwise if any malignant alterations had taken place, another reply code would be given, initialising the order for planetary re-origination, which presumably would involve the complete terraforming of Azeroth and the death of all life on the planet to reset it to a point where they could start over.

Rhonin Is a key character in this expansion, yet doesn’t take an active role outside of a cutscene introducing the Ulduar raid and the quests after its defeat, however he is incredibly popular as the main protagonist of many books such as Day of The Dragon, by Richard A Knaak.

These books are canon to the story and tell a story of Rhonin that isn’t as noticeable in the mmo.
During the events of the Second war, Rhonin was seen as a dangerous, unpredictable mage, due to an event where he used his powers recklessly in battle, ending the lives of all his comrades.
This disgrace and the remorse he felt ultimately resulted in his involvement in the events of the Second war with the Orcs. Krasus, a mage and secretly a consort of the red dragonflight convinced Rhonin to reclaim his honour by selflessly volunteering for a dangerous mission to Khaz Modan, where he helped break the power of the orcs and freed Alexstrasa the life binder, whom at the time was captured by Nekros Skullcrusher.
Alongside Rhonin, a young elven ranger named Vareesa Windrunner, Krasus the dragon mage, and Falstad Wildhammer. Vereesa was weary of Rhonin and had heard of his disastrous failings in the line of duty that had caused the death of all his kin, but ultimately throughout the journey she became to respect him and in good time fell in love with the mage.
Rhonin was successful in destroying the demon soul which was used by Deathwing to capture Alexstrasa and gained the respect of his fellow comrades in the selfless and painful pursuit. The book is a masterpiece honestly, I would definitely recommend picking up Day of the Dragon if you only ever read one of the books.

Vereesa Windrunner

Vereesa Windrunner

The aforementioned love between Vereesa and Rhonin blossomed after the events of Day of the Dragon and they got married, Vareesa even became pregnant with his to be Twin- offspring.
During Vereesa’s pregnancy Rhonin was once again called into duty despite wanting to spend time with his wife and be at her side during this time.
The events to follow involved Krasus asking him for help in sealing a rift in time that had appeared, leading to an event in the past, 10,000 years ago.
They entered the rift as well as the inquisitive Orc, Broxigar who also found the rift.
This was covered in the book trilogy, The War of The Ancients.

During his time in the past, Rhonin got involved directly into the events of this time period after trying not to get involved in things that could change history forever. Unfortunately he met and became friends with many of Azeroth’s strongest lore figures, such as; Malorne, Cenarius, Aviana, Shadowsong, Tyrande Whisperwind, and of course Illidan Stormrage, whom he became direct mentor of in an attempt to harness the wild magic’s and power dwelling within him.
Unfortunately he was unsuccessful in changing anything with Illidan, and ended up changing and trying to fix mistakes Illidan had made along the way prior to Illidan’s destined defection.
It would be less useful to explain the events that took place in their entirety here in this article, so I will likely make a separate post about the War of The Ancients due to the events size and complexity.
As a reward for all he had done in the past, Nozdormu thanked Rhonin for sealing the rift and being as careful as he could to not directly impact the timeline and allowed him to teleport to Vereesa to the point of her labour so he would not miss the birth of his own twin sons; Giramar and Galadin. Along with this gift, Nozdormu also gave the twins the respect of the Bronze dragonflight if they would even need their own help with matters in the future.

Rhonin has no living family members, due to the events involving the Scourge plague taking many of his own loved ones and his own father, who was killed during the fall of Andorhil. Rhonin made the decision to make his own family, and as a part of that, when he was approached by the council of Dalaran for help, responsibility overweighed his personal life, and so accepted the leadership position of Archmage of the Kirin Tor. To defend his family and his people in uncertain times, was effectively the same goal, and his loyalty for his past mistakes still dwelled heavily on his decisions.

Theramore After Mana BombSadly in present day, Rhonin is no longer with us, and many people didn’t expect the popular main character of so many of Blizzard’s stories to die anytime soon.
Rhonin was killed trying to dampen the mana bomb that destroyed Theramore in the Tides of War book and in-game scenario events, he managed to save Vereesa, General Shandris Feathermoon and Jaina Proudmore, whom he named as his successor as leader of the Kirin Tor.
His sacrifice in the end was not for the hatred of the Horde, but for the loyalty to his people. He never saw the Horde as an evil force as many of the other Alliance members did, and did his best to remain neutral, even in dire times.
This cannot be said for Jaina Proudmore, whom hates the Horde for what has happened and swore vengeance for Theramore.

And so ends another chapter on a lore figure who changed the World of Warcraft we know and love. If you have enjoyed my article, please leave me some feedback below. Thank you kindly for reading, I’ll see you all next time!

 

25H Kor’kron Dark Shaman – Metro’s Healing Guide!

f2vz

Welcome to Metro’s 25 man Heroic Healing guides for the Siege of Orgrimmar! It is important to understand that these guides are first aimed at helping healers understand their role, and then helping them maximize their play. Each will feature a general overview of the mechanics that matter to the healers, and conclude with a class-specific discussion. Let’s begin!

200px-Kor'kron_Dark_Shaman

Understanding the encounter –

The Kor’kron Dark Shaman encounter features a variety of mechanics that, on paper, seem quite potent. When looking at this fight coming from normal difficulty, most would imagine a very hectic, hard to control encounter. Unfortunately, for both us and Blizzard, it seems that NOTHING about this encounter played out how they expected!

This is what we are looking to avoid!

This is what we are looking to avoid!

I’m sure if you are considering this encounter on 25 man Heroic you will be implementing the split strategy, but if you aren’t its likely time to either quit that guild, or stage a coup d’état and get someone in there who cares about the healers. The fight will be completely random and near unhealable at times if you keep the bosses together, but if you separate them, it turns into a very planned and predictable encounter. Obviously, this guide will be describing healing mechanics for the former.

Understanding the Healer’s Role –

The healing role itself is not very complicated, compared to other fights in the raid, but distributing healers accordingly, as well as tanks, may present issues. Let’s make that the first thing we discuss!

In order to properly split your raid, you will have all melee DPS on Haromm on the Ramp side, and all ranged DPS on the Flat side. With this in mind, the next concern is tank and healer distribution. The best option to solo Kardris is a DK tank or Monk Tank, but regardless it’s important to understand that whoever is tanking on the Flat will be taking a massive amount of damage regularly, while the two on Ramp will be taking no damage comparatively. Because of this, the most logical designation for separation of sides would be:
Strong Single-target Healers on Flat, Strong AOE healers on Ramp.
However, while it seems logical to split up three and three, we find it much more realistic to have four on Ramp, and 2 on Flat. This is nearly only because of Toxic Mist, a mechanic which Haromm does to deal massive magic damage to “several” players, which usually translates to 75 percent of the group on Ramp. Another complication that essentially requires four on Ramp, is that if there aren’t three people out of melee range from Haromm, the Iron Tomb will cover melee, making the strategy require a tremendous amount of movement. We do not want this for any reason ever so on the off-chance that one healer does die we will have enough to make sure it does not.

Our Split is as follows, for reference.

Flat – Holy Paladin, Disp Priest
Ramp – Holy Paladin, Holy Priest, Resto Druid, Resto Shaman

Provided we agree on this, the next topic is explaining the start of the fight, as well as the actions taken to ensure to split.

The Pull –

It’s very likely that all four targets latch on to one tank for a few seconds, so keep an eye on this. Regardless, the bleed from the dogs hurts quite badly, so while they are alive, the tanks should be the priority. The rest of the group will be spread out, and should not need healing until the first round of mechanics go out – happening at 95 percent health. This case should be the only time both sets of mechanics are present from the Iron Totem on the entire group, so be sure to be aware of who receives the Iron Prison debuff if you are assigned to the Ramp team.

From this point, load up any targets with hots or shields that have the prison and will be split from you, and prepare to use a speed boost to get to your location ASAP. Once split, the roles will be entirely different, so I will explain them as such.

"Ramp side," Where Haromm will be tanked.

“Ramp side,” Where Haromm will be tanked.

Ramp and Haromm Healing –

The first challenge to overcome is getting everyone with the Toxic Mist and the Tombs where they need to be as you all arrive at the location chosen. This can be exceptionally dangerous if both are on the same person, as even if they survive the prison comfortably, the tick from the mist will kill them without preparation. It’s your job to monitor this and make sure it’s not a factor, preferably with an external CD if applicable.

Around the time this clears, the real mechanics will begin, so make sure you have all your healers stacked up in a good location for the tomb and AOE like crazy on whichever pile needs it most. It’s easy to forget about yourself in this case, so be conscious of when 3-4 healers get the Mist as you’ll likely not be receiving much healing by default.

Unfortunately, as alluded to at the start of the guide, the Foul Stream mechanic functions pitifully and will pretty much be an issue every time it’s out, even if handled correctly. It’s possible it’s due to being on the ramp and the ground wasn’t tested for the mechanic, but whatever the cause just be aware of it as an issue and don’t be surprised if a few melee get smashed when they shouldn’t have even been hit. Because of this issue, on top of the Toxic Mist, it’s extremely common to use all three Battle Rezes on Melee, and still have some dead for the end of the fight.

Given our DPS pace, once three sets of Tombs go out the first Ashen Wall will be deployed and force the entire group to move. Once again, be prepared for the movement, and move to the pre-designated location. Be sure this location is still far enough away from the hitbox of Haromm, otherwise the tombs will cover melee.

Around 10 seconds after the first wall and movement, you will encounter the first Falling Ash. This is the part of the encounter where healing begins to really ramp up, and it would be optimal to discuss CD usage. You will see upwards of six or seven Falling Ash mechanics, so unfortunately they can’t all be covered, but either way one solid CD is a huge benefit. You do not want to layer CDs, as it is too short a window, so talk amongst your healers present on Ramp side and decide what best route there is for dealing with it.

From this point on, it’s quite repetitive. You’ll still have the Mist, Foul Stream,  and tank damage, but also the Ash, so provided you can keep the tanks alive and none of the healers die because of the Foul Stream or Tombs, it should be smooth sailing!

"Flat Side," where Kardris will be Tanked.

“Flat Side,” where Kardris will be Tanked.

Flat and Kardris Healing –

Regrettably, I have not completed this sub-role on a kill attempt, so take my offerings with a grain of salt. As always, if you have something to contribute, leave a comment and it will be my pleasure to amend the article with you accredited!

As the flat team, you will have more room to navigate, but less room for error, as the mechanics will move slightly and otherwise take up a lot of space. In terms of healing, it will be mostly single target, as the tank will be constantly pelted with Froststorm Bolt (getting much worse during the Bloodlust) and the few DPS who receive the Prison mechanic.

The Iron Prison itself will likely be the truest form of death for most people, as with 100 percent of the group being ranged DPS, most will be cloth and mitigate nothing of the initial physical damage. Because of this, it’s incredibly important to monitor who gets the debuff each time it goes out, and to have each of the players with it fully healed and prepared with a CD if needed. Many times, a tornado or other source of damage will complicate this, so give your best single target heals to players who need it.

I find the Foul Slimes to be more of a nuisance than a real source of damage if handled correctly, and provided you have a DK or Monk, they should always be exactly where they need to be. However, its pertinent to expect some stragglers, so if you see them creeping towards the stack, expect to heal through the damage.

Once Falling Ash comes out, things really get complicated. Players will continue to get the Prisons, and the tank will continue to be hit hard by the Bolt, so if a few things line up wrong, the two healers down here will have their hands tied. Hopefully, when you assumed the healing role, you realized that sometimes you simply can’t save everyone, and this will be a case of such. If it’s between the tank and a mage… well let’s hope you choose the tank otherwise you had better be prepared to taunt!

With only two healers, the falling ash will be much harder to CD through, so this is one distinct drawback to the method. Hopefully, between the two, you have 2 good reduction CDs, otherwise just keep trucking away. I can’t say it enough – if the tank dies the fight ends; if a caster DPS dies the fight continues. If you play by this rule, you should have success on Kardris.

Class Specific Tips –

Fight them in here for added challenge!

Fight them in here for added challenge!

Holy Paladin: Great for either role! Make sure you have at least 1 Holy Paladin on Flat, as Devo is mandatory for small healing group. Hand of Sac will save Prison target 100 percent – immunities will not.

Resto Shaman: Decent for Flat, amazing for Ramp. Healing rain on melee especially as Foul Stream comes out. Spiritwalker’s Grace to heal during Tomb Movement. 2 CDs make them great for Falling Ash no matter position.

Resto Druid: Ramp only, unless really needed. Hots are great counter to Toxic Mist. Mushroom explosion to counter one Ash, Tranq for another! OP Ironbark can and will save a person with Iron Prison and Mist.

Holy / Disp Priest: Disp 100 percent must be Flat, Holy must be ramp. Disp bubbles mandatory for tank survivability in Bloodlust with Ash falling. Holy Hots are hard counter to Mist. Lifegrip someone if they are caught in a bad spot – especially behind the ashen wall!

Misty Monk: (Do not currently have a monk healer in our progression.) Not exceptional for either role. How does Fistweaving effect this? Can’t fistweave on ramp, as negating the 4 man stack for the Tombs, especially if one is already dead. Can’t fistweave on Flat, as risk spawning tornadoes on the tank, and would be covered in the Slimes. Does anyone have experience as a monk on this fight? Would honestly love to hear what is best.

TLDR Recap

Disp Priest, Holy Paladin for Flat. Resto Druid/sham, Holy Priest, for Ramp. Others can flex. Be prepared for Iron Prison, especially if on ramp side, as it can kill you with Toxic Mist easily. Foul Stream is buggy, don’t get frustrated. Tank above all else, especially when bloodlust on Flat. ZZZ pot tough to use on either side, shouldn’t run oom though. CD every opportunity for Falling Ash – call it out in voice coms.

As always, this guide is from the perspective of a Holy Paladin in 25 man heroic raid leadership perspective. Experience is limited when it comes to priest and monk healers, so if you have input feel free to join the conversation! Otherwise, if you have any questions feel free to ask! Enjoy SoO!

 

Season 15 Announced But What Does That Mean For Warlords of Draenor?

wod

The WoW community received some interesting news yesterday, although not the Warlords of Draenor info they had hoped and prayed for but close enough. Holinka the PvP Designer for World of Warcraft announced that there would be another PvP season (Season 15) before Warlords of Draenor is launched.

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This is great news for the PvP players of WoW as waiting for the prolonged season at the end of an Expansion can feel painful and cause interest to fall. This now means that the players will have something to keep them occupied while the Expansion comes to an end, well not all the players…  The announcement sparks a lot of questions and speculation, does this mean WoD won’t be as soon as we had hoped? Will it turn out similar to Dragon Soul, where casual and PvE players had little to do during the next expansion wait? Or do the devs also have something planned even though they previously stated in the Warlords of Draenor Developer Panel at Blizzcon

“Another MoP patch would delay WoD, so Patch 5.5 isn’t going to happen. The entire team is working on WoD right now, so any more MoP content would slow down development.”

The majority of the WoW community expected WoD to drop in Q2 of 2014 meaning we would have played patch 5.4 for around 8 months. This seemed to be a comfortable wait, a little longer than most would like but acceptable without seeing a patch 5.5. But now with the next season announced things aren’t looking too promising for WoD within Q2 so that leaves two options, will we see a 5.5 patch with new PvE content although that would mean they are taking people from WoD development to do another MoP patch or do they plan on having 5.4 for 9+ months and just hope that the players will stick around or return for WoD.

WoW_Warlords-of-Draenor_06-buffed

Now after playing Blizzard games and following its potential rivals over the years, I’ve come to learn they don’t like to give their competition a chance if they have the opportunity to. The reason I bring this up is this year will see two new MMOs that have gained a decent amount of interest and for Blizzard to delay WoD without giving its player base an alternative wouldn’t seem like something they would do especially as they tend to learn well from their mistakes and wouldn’t give us another Dragon Soul repeat if it can be helped.

Personally I feel they have something planned in terms of WoD beta, instead of releasing a new patch for the current expansion why not make the next expansion be the thing that keeps people entertained? By this I think they will make WoD beta a lot more open than it has been before, doing large amounts of invites around the times the new MMO’s will launch. This seems the more tactical plan as it will build next Expansion hype, keep the current player based interested in the game and less likely to switch over to the competition without causing them to have to create content for an expansion that is due to end.

How would you feel about getting WoD beta access over a new patch, do you want a new patch instead and do you like the idea of an extra PvP season before the expansion ends? Let us know your thoughts on it all in the comments below!

25H Iron Juggernaut – Metro’s Healing Guide!

juggernaut

Welcome to Metro’s 25 man Heroic Healing guides for the Siege of Orgrimmar! It is important to understand that these guides are first aimed at helping healers understand their role, and then helping them maximize their play. Each will feature a general overview of the mechanics that matter to the healers, and conclude with a class-specific discussion. Let’s begin!

Understanding the encounter –

It’s not often you fight a giant tank, but in the 6th encounter of Siege of Orgrimmar, we do just that. It’s important to understand this when people die, as they died to a tank so it’s less bad. Did I mention the tank is a tank?

Anyway, on a more serious note, it’s important to understand the possible strategy differences for this encounter on Heroic from Normal. Any group without a death wish should be employing a strategy that knocks you back all the way to the other side of the room to avoid the Heroic-only Mortar Barrage. The mechanic itself is just absolutely absurd, and to even try and navigate it with the rest of the damage going out is suicide and not worth any damage you could potentially gain.

If your group is foolish enough to be attempting this, I can’t help you, but assuming you are following the same strategy as I am, let’s move on to the healing portion.

Understanding the Healer’s Role –

This fight is absolutely the most healing intense in the raid thus far, and will questionably remain so until Malkorok. In order to complete this encounter your healers will need high levels of coordination of CDs that need to be used at the exact times when needed. I will preface this by saying, multiple weeks after our first kill, we still wipe every once in a while because people forgot to use a CD when it’s their turn.

The fight will be broken down into two very distinct phases, so let’s approach it that way.

Assault Mode:

In this phase, your job is to quickly patch the group up. There will be a variety of mechanics happening at once, none of which need to be understood by name, but all of which can kill people. It sounds logical to say “avoid this” or “move out of that” but if at any point one of these mechanics is failed outright, another will finish them off immediately.

RIP bads, omg spread plz...

RIP bads, omg spread plz…

The best advice I can give you for this is to spam single target heals with your head on a swivel. For once in your life, this phase will benefit those who can react, not prevent, as none of the mechanics are predictable in terms of who they will hit and when. To complicate this, you will need to be dodging them yourself, otherwise expect equal death-treatment!

If the damage happening to the raid randomly wasn’t enough, your tanks will constantly be taking 70+ percent of their health in damage. This is because of both the melee and mechanics from the boss itself, but also because of the bombs. So once again, keep your eyes open and your mind alert. DO NOT simply afk AOE heal like you did on Galakras. This fight is all about the right Flash of Light on the right player at the right time, and if you land it successfully, you will save their life. Everyone will be too spread out to effectively AOE heal, and it will literally be 1-2 people taking damage at a time so just listen to me for once in your lives, alright? If you do nothing else in this phase but cast your quick single target heal, then you’ve still done a great job.

As a healer, you can also handle the bombs, but without armor you will get oneshot, so this is more up to your raid than you. Just realize that as a Shaman or Paladin it is absolutely on the table every time it happens. You just need to be prepared.

Siege Mode:

Welp, here we are. Time for the insano-retard-mode phase…

In order to complete this phase properly, understand that there will be multiple sources of damage throughout, all which can and will kill you easily if not CDed through. I will break the sources of damage up so it is easy to understand.

1-      Seismic Activity: This ability happens essentially whenever he is not doing Shock Pulse. The entire phase will be made up of this mechanic, which does 84k Nature Damage every 1 second to every player in the raid regardless of positioning. It’s best to treat this mechanic as “incidental” damage, and not use CDs specifically for it, with one very distinct exception. The mechanic will begin to happen immediately as you enter the phase, so there is a very high chance that people are still low from the Assault Phase mechanics. For this reason, I strongly recommend 1 healing throughput CD (like tranq) to get you topped off and end right before the shock pulse. Healing Tide is also great, as you can set and forget. Just make sure its last tick is up before you get knocked away from it.

2-      Shock Pulse: This is the mechanic that will decimate the raid, as not only does it do an absurd amount of damage, but it will knock everyone back. It’s important to know exactly where you want to be knocked back to, and to make sure you are actually being knocked to that location, otherwise expect death. This mechanic MUST be CDed through, and immediately after, to avoid death to the next Seismic round.

3-      Demolisher Cannons: This mechanic complicates the whole strategy of all being knocked back to one location, as it will splash 225k fire damage to anyone it hits, and then to anyone within 6 yards. You MUST spread from this, but stay close enough to remain in healing range, otherwise certain death is upon you. This is best looked at as “incidental” damage, and unless handled wrong, is only a complication, not a cause for concern.

Even the blind recognize this as an easy mechanic comparatively.

Even the blind recognize this as an easy mechanic comparatively.

4-      Explosive Tar: The least dangerous mechanic unless you have people who use Seeing Eye dogs to raid. The tar itself will plop down on random places, and unless you are standing it, will do nothing. It will slow movement speed though, so if it lands on you gtfo.

5-      Cutter Laser: This mechanic should seem obvious, but can still cause problems. The damage from the laser is dealt to anyone it comes in contact with, so since you are constantly moving and spread, it’s quite possible that 2-3 people can get in its way. It will do 300k every second to anyone standing near it, so it’s up to your raid how you want to handle it, but either way make sure the 24 people who do not have it following them aren’t running near it. We have the player with it run towards the boss, and as long as they aren’t RPwalking, they shouldn’t have damage done to them. Obviously if this is run through the puddle you lose. You will take massive damage, and won’t be able to recover so stay away from the tar at all costs in this phase.

6-      Crawler Mines: Same thing as previous phase, but can be difficult to notice if they are stuck in the oil. Keep an eye on the tanks as they handle these, as they can be silent killers when your focus is diverted to the mage iceblocked in the oil with the laser chasing him.

7-      Mortar Barrage (lol): If you thought the other combination of mechanics were bad, try dealing with this one as well. No chance in hell, literally impossible IMO. Not sure how any group could heal with this in the mix as well, unless maybe they were all 6 druids. If you aren’t avoiding this mechanic by being knocked 100+ yards from the boss, then may the lord Jesus Christ bless your soul. Even he may not be able to deliver you.

Cooldown Usage:

So with all this in mind, hopefully you understand how important healing is in this phase. If 1-2 healers die early, you can’t complete it. If 1-2 healers miss their CD queue, you can’t complete it. If 1-2 healers are significantly behind in gear, this may not be possible, unless the other 4 are monsters. I’ll explain our rotation in-depth for your benefit, and you can make your own based on what classes you have available.

–          Initial Seismic Activity: DPS shaman use Ancestral Guidance (only opportunity, make sure it’s happening.), Resto Druid Tranquility.

–          First Shock Pulse: Devo Aura (only reduction option, as people are still spread), Divine Hymn when we land, DPS shaman Healing Tide after that.

–          Second Shock Pulse: 2nd Devo Aura, PW Barrier, Priest 90 Talents, Healing Tide from Resto Shaman.

–          Final Shock Pulse: 3rd Devo Aura, Spirit Link, anything else. Once this hits, the phase is essentially over, so no need for major CDs to prepare for another.

Also worth noting that Smoke bombs and AMZ should be used regularly if available. Not mentioned here, as we have 2 strong reduction cds already.

Once the third one happens, everyone will be a bit trigger happy and start running towards the boss again, but be careful, as the damage is still happening. It’s important that everyone moves together at this point, so heals can still go out, even though it’s not major.

Only other thing that may present a problem is the tanks getting in their position before you are in yours. This is pretty logical as a lot of tanks will roll / charge/ sprint, etc to get there asap and start building resources. Just be aware of their health and use a speed boost to avoid them being out of LoS for too long.

In terms of potion options, this is probably a good fight to consider using a regular mana potion. No matter what phase of the fight you are in, standing still for zzz pots can be a very bad thing. In assault, you may end up dead due to the sawblade or the red circle. In the Siege phase not healing for 10 seconds in between shock pulses can result in deaths, let alone if oil and the lazer target you.
Only time when you can’t get yourself killed is after the third shock while everyone is running – but this means you will be lagging behind on position to continue healing. Tough call, choose wisely!

Class Specific Tips –

Holy Paladin: Great fight for Paladin utility. Double BoP and 20% physical DP for soaking mines to avoid damage elsewhere. Beacon is OP, put it on the tank taking the most damage and it will do 40 percent of your healing in phase 1. Flash of light spam until oom in Assault phases – can regen during knockback and running around. Use Divine Shield as he does Shock Pulse to avoid getting knocked back!! Speed of Light to get back to the fight asap. Hand of sac on tank constantly.

Resto Shaman: Extremely tough fight for shaman, healing rain near useless in Assault and chain heal may miss bounces with spread. Consider single target spam, and drop Mana Tide early. Use Spirit link for damage reduction, not health equalizer. Spiritwalker’s Grace OP for the knockbacks. Earthshield on squishiest tank, + 2 set will do crazy numbers.

Resto Druid: Time to shine, hots are king on this fight. Spiritwalker’s Grace from Symbiosis allows Tranq to be used directly as the Shock Pulse happens. Ironbark to save tanks or allow you to eat a bomb with Barkskin. If timed well, mushrooms can be exploded directly as shock pulse hits. Place them about 5 yards behind the group and hit it as the knock back happens – healing everyone passing over them for a crazy amount.

Disp / Holy Priest: Level 90 talent is so OP for siege phase. Life grip can be used to help someone being knocked back in the wrong direction. Be sure to add a PW Shield to anyone soaking a bomb, regardless of your spec or theirs.

Misty Monk: (Do not currently have a monk healer in our progression.) Revival is amazing for use immediately after knockback. Land with near full health! Can place orbs down where people land for some burst healing. Use Roll as they knock back to negate. Life Cocoon plus CD to eat a bomb.

TLDR Recap

Nazgrim, Upset we Killed his Tank.

Nazgrim, currently upset we killed his tank.

Without question, most difficult healing fight in the first 8 bosses, maybe 10. Be ready for anything in Assault Phase, don’t blindly AOE heal. React to large damage and hit them with your fastest heal, regardless of mana. Tanks will be obliterated, keep their health on focus, especially since it’s easy to get lost keeping cloth DPS alive. Need intense coordination of CDs for Siege Phase – Don’t fall asleep! Know your limits for taking a bomb, but do so when possible. Careful with zzz pots, they can cause a wipe in Siege phase, or get you killed in either phases.

As always, this guide is from the perspective of a Holy Paladin in 25 man heroic raid leadership perspective. Experience is limited when it comes to priest and monk healers, so if you have input feel free to join the conversation! Otherwise, if you have any questions feel free to ask! Enjoy SoO!

 

25H Galakras – Metro’s Healing Guide!

drake

Welcome to Metro’s 25 man Heroic Healing guides for the Siege of Orgrimmar! It is important to understand that these guides are first aimed at helping healers understand their role, and then helping them maximize their play. Each will feature a general overview of the mechanics that matter to the healers, and conclude with a class-specific discussion. Let’s begin!

That's Polish for "Badass Mount," I think.

That’s Polish for “Badass Mount,” I think.

Understanding the encounter -

The fifth encounter in Siege of Orgrimmar does little to differ from the normal encounter for the healers. To understand the normal mechanics are to understand the heroic, but it bears repeating that this encounter suffers the same damage increase as the previous, and thus needs to be taken as serious as any other.

Also like Sha of Pride, we find ourselves in a position to help the DPS do their jobs easier, with the amount of downtime we have, and should consider this as much a part of the job as actually casting spells.

For those participating in the tower groups, familiarize yourself with the new mechanic there and lend what you can to its completion. This doesn’t affect healing so it will not be discussed in this guide, but it’s important to know exactly when you are going towards the tower, and then going up.

Understanding the Healer’s Role –

It's acceptable to queue your mic to laugh at noobs who get knocked off by this.

It’s acceptable to queue your mic to laugh at noobs who get knocked off by this.

The healer’s role on this fight, as touched on earlier, is more support than actual throughput for the first phase of the encounter. We immediately find ourselves in another position like on Sha of Pride, where opportunities for AOE damage and AOE healing are hand in hand, and should be treated as such.

For this reason, Monks, Priests and Paladins can do a lot to impact the fight, as it can be a very strenuous dps back-and-forth type encounter. Specifics will be discussed in the class section, but in general, any AOE dps you can lend that also supplies some healing is extremely useful.

The first specific change you should make to your intentions here is handling any of the banners or totems that are placed. The Dragonmaw Flagbearer will drop a Banner that increases damage exponentially of all mobs, and since they are literally one-shotable, you should make it your priority to handle them, as they can’t be killed by AOE damage and having DPS specifically switch off to hit something that has negligible health is a massive dps loss. The Dragonmaw Tidal Shaman will drop a Healing Tide Totem,  that will heal percentage based health (20 percent flat) every 2.5 seconds. Once again, this should be your priority for the same reason.

To understand why I feel like this is the Healer’s job over the DPS is because the nature of the encounter and the nature of the objects. The banner itself, if left alive, will do considerably more damage than any one heal could do in a global, and that’s all it takes to kill it. A DPS could handle it surely, but losing DPS on this fight is not something I would foster. The healing totem is the same issue. Its percentage based health being healed, so if it’s not reacted to immediately, it can and will heal the bonecrushers up a huge portion of their health. As a healer, one global towards the totem’s death means less time on the bonecrushers, less stuns needed, and less we need to worry about the NPC’s survival.

In order to properly handle this task, you should make a macro to quickly target and destroy them. There is an option to make two macros separately, but I would simply recommend this:

/tar Healing Tide Totem
/tar Dragonmaw Banner

“/cast SPELL NAME”  can be included as well.

This will tab through the targets, so if there is a totem and a banner up, it will target the totem first, which is far more volatile.

Attack the Hostile version only! ;)

Attack the Hostile version only! ;)

From here, the next task you can take on is interrupts and stuns. This will be exclusive to Paladin, Monk, and Shaman healers, with varying degrees of success and will be discussed further in the class specific section. The long and short of it is as follows:

Bonecrusher – Stun when Fracture is channeled.
Tidal Shaman – Interrupt Chain Heal cast, Stun on CD to keep Tidal Wave casts from happening.

The tidal wave will do solid damage to anyone it hits, so once again a global to lock them down is better than healing 15 + people afterwards. It’s extremely likely that the tidal shaman will be the kill target though, so interrupts should be going out from DPS already attacking it.

Past this, the fight is exactly the same as it was on normal. If you are a part of the tower team, recognize the fact that the tank is going to get man-handled up there, so be prepared for huge heals and external cds.

Kogra’s damage should be considered lethal, and if not killed quick enough, be ready to use CDs. I’d recommend Tranqs or Hymns, as they won’t be needed again until the very end.

The reason I reserve Devo Aura, is because of the Drakefire mechanic which is absolutely the biggest silent killer I’ve seen on any fight ever. You have no indication its happening until it does, and it can’t be helped other than to heal through it. If your tower team falters at all, this can reach near 600k hits, so I would recommend using a Devo when you see people starting to get obliterated. Chances are one 6-second window will enough for the tower team to finish its job and the disaster will end.

In terms of potion opportunities, make sure you are getting one in before grounded, as there won’t be time to waste. You realistically may never need a zzz potion here, but if you do, make sure it’s not used during Thranok’s appearance, as his hook can break it, or his crush will break you! When the Demolisher is out is my preferred time if needed.

Grounded –

Once the beast is grounded, the fight turns into a numbers check and there are a few things you should be prepared for as healers. It’s essentially your typical burn phase mechanic, so to sit here and discuss exact times you should use CDs and when would be trivial, as you will need healing steadily through the phase, increasing as it gets longer.

The exception is the Pulsing Flames mechanic. DBM will inform you of when you need to be prepared for this, but this is absolutely the most volatile part of the phase, as it scales with the fire damage she does and makes everything else more complicated. Amongst your healing team, you will want to discuss options here, whether it is Devo Aura or Tranq, you will need something. I would spend more time on the topic, but its jut not that complicated, so as long as you and the rest of the healers are awake, the 2 minutes you are in this phase will fly by. Rule of thumb: if you see pulsing flames, use a CD – just don’t overlap!

Class Specific Tips –

Holy Paladin: Holy Shock to one shot any totem or banner. Rebuke / Fist of Justice to handle interrupts and stuns discussed. Make sure beacon is on the tank staying down if you are as well, and on the one going up if you are as well. Cycle Favor and Wings with Light’s Hammer = amazing aoe dps and hps/mastery spread. BoP people if you see them fall from tower like noobsrofl. Use Devo to survive Drake fire if it’s getting dangerous. Guarding and Light’s hammer at the end will be insane hps – make sure you have it coupled for a Pulsing Flame.

Perfect time for Double-dipping AOE!

Perfect time for Double-dipping AOE!

Resto Shaman: Amazing fight for Healing Raid + Chain heal. Keep it down in the flamestrike. Earth Shield the tank on the way up the tower, even if you aren’t following him. Spirit Link will split health percentages with the NPCs = Lay on Hands for the group towards the end. Use it wisely! Make sure to wind shear as much as possible, and drop cap totem in anticipation of the Fracture.

Resto Druid: Knockback the bonecrusher when channeling Fracture to break it – careful not to knock back the adds from the flamestrike. Eff+mush perfect to keep down in the flamestrike and consume when the aoe pulses happen or a tidal wave gets off. Tranq will be the reason you don’t wipe if she is Pulsing Flame and throwing fireballs.

Holy / Disp Priest: Divine Star is just insanity on this encounter. Will do a ton of damage and healing if timed right. Barrier can be used with Drakeflame intensify to save lives. Lightwell is great for this fight as well. Life grip a player who is about to fall from the tower if they roflnoobomg. Throw feathers up the tower ramp to help the tank get there first.

Misty Monk: (Do not currently have a monk healer in our progression.) Amazing AOE double-dip fight. Fist weave for the win! Life Cocoon can save the tank’s life on the way up, as he will often reach the top while you are still out of LoS. Leg Sweep is OP, can be used to break two fractures at once, or in conjunction with interrupts on Tidal Shaman.

TLDR Recap

Make macros to /tar banner or totem and handle that for the DPS. Double dip any damage and healing you can as much as possible – the more the group gets ahead the easier it is to heal. Stuns and Interupts on Fracture and Tidal Shamans is more important than healing up the mistakes.  Know which tank is going where and be prepared for him taking massive damage if you are in tower group. Be prepared for Pulsing Flame and use CDs appropriately. Pray heroic warforged staff drops so you can get the mace from Shamans ;)

As always, this guide is from the perspective of a Holy Paladin in 25 man heroic raid leadership perspective. Experience is limited when it comes to priest and monk healers, so if you have input feel free to join the conversation! Otherwise, if you have any questions feel free to ask! Enjoy SoO!