Transitioning to 25 Man: Your Tips?

Nikalia on Plus Heal posted a question:

Do any of you have any tips/hints/tricks/advice on some things one might expect when transitioning into 25 man hard mode healing after being used to 10 man for so long?

As I’ve primarily been a 25 man healer for the longest time, it’s difficult for me to do a compare/contrast between 10 man hard mode healing and 25 man hard mode healing.

Healing Assignments

One of the replies made to the thread by Oleander is the importance of healing assignments. Vik and I (both priests) will usually tag a pair or groups in 25 man. For example, on Ultraxion, I’ll tell him I’ll target groups 4 and 5 and he generally takes 1 – 3. That doesn’t mean I won’t heal the other groups if needed, but even though I’m casting Holy Word: Sanctuary on the ground, I’ll be dropping Prayer of Healing bombs on the 4th and 5th groups meaning he can effectively “blank out” players in those groups from his target selection.

Egos

I don’t know how often one would encounter this in 10s, but there is a high chance that you may be working with player egos in 25.

Be prepared for it.

Don’t let other players get under your skin and don’t take it personally when you have the occasional bad day. Some players like to playfully use meters as a way to proclaim their own sense of superiority (namely Druids, because I find that they’re compensating for something ^^). That being said, feel free to go along with the banter a bit. But when push comes to shove, make sure you shove that ego aside and troubleshoot any healing problems you come across collectively.

Damage

The sheer amount of incoming damage can be staggering. Instead of 10 players, you’re responsible for 25. Know which players to prioritize (As in, oh that guy’s a Mage, he can Cauterize himself and is going to die in 8 seconds but that guy’s a Rogue, he’s probably going to die in 2 seconds so I better heal him). Your decision making needs to both get better and faster. But the bright side is more players means more cooldowns you can use to for raid saving purposes.

What other piece of advice would you offer a player making that change from 10 to 25 man?

Matticast Episode 12 – Officers, Healing Assignments, and Multiple Guild Raid Groups

Welcome to Episode 12 of The Matticast. This week Borsk, Matt, Kat, and Brian, discuss:

- Officer Options and Hierarchy

- Healing Assignments

- Running both a 25 and 10 man raid within the same guild.

Don’t forget you can send us your questions or topics or tweet us with the hashtag #matticast

Subscribe to the show: iTunes | RSS

Play

Question: When do you Call a Wipe?

Keeping the post really short today. Whether it’s in a 5 man, a 10 man, or a 25 man, I’m curious as to under what circumstances your raid leaders call a wipe.

Does it ever frustrate you when your raid leaders do?

Does it annoy you when they should and don’t?

For the raid leaders, does farm versus progression content impact the times you call wipes?

I’ve called snap wipes when we lose 2-3 people in the opening minute of a fight. I’ve called for a continual push even when we were down a half raid.

What’s your take?

Podcast Topic – 10s vs. 25s

Each week on Matticast we will be featuring a topic driven by our audience. You can submit your comments on this post, or e-mail us with your thoughts. You can even send us an audio clip (mp3 format please). This is your chance to have your say on what we discuss on World of Matticus. Also don’t forget, if you have general questions you’d like answered on the show, you can send them our way. Remember we record on Sunday nights, so get your thoughts in before then!

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the unique challenges each size raid has. What are your opinions? What pro/cons does each have when it comes to raiding, recruiting, organizing, loot, attendance, etc? Also, are they really of equal difficulty in Cataclysm, or does Blizzard still have a ways to go to balance them? Is there a bigger discrepancy in heroics? We are leaving this one pretty open. We want to see how many different things the choice between the two is effecting for everyone and organize the discussion around those. So whether it is just letting us know your preference or some deep spreadsheet-laden analysis let us know what you think!

Podcast Topic: What Dungeon/Raid Bosses Are Causing You Trouble?

Each week on Matticast we will be featuring a topic driven by our audience. You can submit your comments on this post, or e-mail us with your thoughts. You can even send us an audio clip (mp3 format please). This is your chance to have your say on what we discuss on World of Matticus. Also don’t forget, if you have general questions you’d like answered on the show, you can send them our way. Remember we record on Sunday nights, so get your thoughts in before then!

This week we are looking for the Dungeon/Raid encounters that are troubling your guild. Having healing issues on Vanessa Van Cleef, DPS troubles on Magmaw, need help with phase transition on Nef? let us know what bosses are troubling your guild at this point and we will do our best to help ya out.

[VIDEO] Omnitron Defense System

Here’s a video of the kill I was a part of when we took down the Omnitron Defense System during Sunday. Special thanks to Blacksen and his guild for allowing me to participate. I wasn’t actually healing at all on this fight. I’m the elemental shaman that’s throwing lightning bolts. It’s a hectic encounter and there is so much stuff going on. Three healers were used for 10 man. It’s a good indication of what to expect.

Read my writeup on WoW Insider (It should be up sometime around 6:00 AM PST, Tuesday morning)

POLL: Will you raid 10 man or 25 man in Cataclysm?

POLL: Will you raid 10 man or 25 man in Cataclysm?

One of the best — or worst things depending on your view — to happen to raiding in a long time was the inclusion of smaller group sized content. I talked a little bit about this over on BDTU with my pieces on the Evolution of WoW part 1 and part 2.

The trend started with the addition of Zul’Gurub, a troll instance of now infamous reputation, when it broke from the 40-man raid standard and offered 20-man content. It hailed back to the days of Blackrock Spire being a multiple group raid, and people loved it.

Karazhan further stoked the fires of the smaller group raid desire, and did so while offering epic and story filled content. Players loved it so much that the forums were filled countless replies asking for more smaller group . With Wrath came the revelation that all raid content would be be available in 25-man flavor as set forth by Burning Crusade, but also  in new raid 10-man flavor (all of the raid, less than half the calories). Different levels of gear purchasable by badges came out (as well as loot tables that varied between 10 and 25 man), and both 10 and 25 man raids dropped the same badges. The trick, and the problem, was that people felt compelled to run both 10 and 25 man versions to maximize badges. Some people felt that you absolutely had to run both to “beat the game”.

This is also a result of how loot was distributed. Badges gave you the entry level gear for the items at the end of this expansion cycle. Badges gave you the “entry level” piece for the tier set, this was considered the 10 man version of the tier. Tokens in 25 man raids would drop that allowed you to upgrade the 10 man piece to the next level up. Heroic 25 man dropped yet another token that allowed you to upgrade it to it’s maximum potential. You can see how it would be assumed the more badges you had the better gear you had and the quicker you could climb the gear ladder right?

Well, the devs didn’t like that, nor did less hardcore players (or those of us who don’t have the time to devote to constantly running raids all week long) and a new system was proposed for Cataclysm. The system says that the same content will be provided for 10 and 25 man versions, and the reward levels will be the same. That is to say that the Ilvl of gear will be on par between versions, and they will share the same loot tables. The major difference will be that 25 man will have more damage and more health to worry about in boss fights and such, and you will get MORE loot drops than the 10 man content does. Also, a raid regardless of being 10 or 25 man, all share the same raid ID and lockout. Do a  25 man version and kill a boss? Cool. Split into two 10 mans of the same thing and that boss is still dead for both groups. You can’t up-convert from 10 to 25, but you can down-size if attendance becomes an issue or some such.

So this brings up an interesting question for a lot of guilds and raid groups right now. Is it worth it to run 25 man content if the rewards for 10 are the same? Is the extra loot enough of a benefit to keep you raiding in 25 man content or do you give up and just say screw it? I know a lot of guilds are going through this debate right now. I know some of them personally. This happened in a smaller capacity when Wrath was announced to have 10 man content. Some guilds decided the smaller size was for them and paired down into tight-knit, more tactical 10 man groups. So now that the gear is equal level between 10 and 25, aside from quantity, I know many guilds that have weighed the pros and cons of both formats and decided to go for the smaller size.

My guild Unpossible recently had this discussion. We pulled all of the officers into a private vent chat and hashed it out. it was about even split on the case of 10 vs 25, and there were a lot of good points made. After a good half hour discussion, we decided that we would stay a 25 man raiding guild. Our structure was already in place and had been since the release of Burning Crusade, and it has been stable and working since. We have a dedicated group of raiders who love the group we are in and the dynamic we have going. We also decided that we just felt more comfortable in the 25 man environment.

For me personally, I voted in favor of keeping the 25 man raid group. I love the logistical challenge of tracking so many players — and yes I know it’s not the 40 man content or raids from vanilla but I served my time in those — and the dynamic we have set up between all the various parts of the raiding group works well together, and I’d hate to break that up. I also didn’t like the idea of balancing multiple 10 man groups. Something I’ve seen over the last few years, people have an easier time being benched for a raid than they do taking part in a raid that is behind another group. I didn’t want to breed an environment of Group A vs Group B and cause any unnecessary drama.

So with Cataclysm on the horizon, has your guild discussed this at all? Has your raid group decided whether it will raid 10 man or 25 man content? Were you already raiding as a 10 or 25 man group? What do you think the benefits of both are? What about the drawbacks? I’d love to hear your opinions on this and see how the community as a whole has decided.

Will your guild raid 10 man or 25 man content in Cataclysm?

  • 10 Man / 10 Man Hard Mode (69%, 346 Votes)
  • 25 Man / 25 Man Hard Mode (21%, 103 Votes)
  • Banana (12%, 61 Votes)

Total Voters: 498

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Until next time, happy healing!

Dragon Slaying 101: How To Sindragosa 10

Dragon Slaying 101: How To Sindragosa 10

Sindragosa. Even the bravest amongst us shiver or spit when they say her name. There’s a lot of hatred for her but not much in the way of a definitive How You Deal With Sindy. So today I’m doing just that for raiders needing advice on Sindragosa 10. I’ll follow up in a few days with tips specific to healing here.

Though the encounter can seem easier than others in ICC Sindy will turn you and yours into foiled adventurer sandwiches. I believe some encounters can be harder on 10 man than 25: this is one of them.

You’ve just redecorated Sindy’s ledge with the trash and your group is pausing to do crucial things like buff up and get coffee. Then a giant ribcage full of blue gas lands on your tank and you’re all in combat. What to do?

Sindragosa: quick facts

- Don’t Panic! Tactically If you know any combination of Garfrost, Sapphiron and Any Other Dragon at all, you already have a good idea of the tactics for Sindragosa. The encounter’s also nicely paced – it starts off gently.
- She’s a dragon. That means standing behind her will get you tail swept and standing in front of her will get you cleaved. This particular dragon also has a Frost Breath which hits anything in front of her.
- Sindy uses a lot of auras and debuffs. Most of them affect every member of the raid. Here’s what you need to know:

  • PERMEATING CHILL will stack on all meleers as they attack. They should stop attacking Sindy when it gets to 5-6 stacks, until it falls off.
  • INSTABILITY will stack on any caster who Sindy casts UNCHAINED MAGIC on. To prevent stacks of Instability simply stop casting until UNCHAINED MAGIC falls off. Really, stop casting, it’s possible to kill yourself with these stacks.
  • MYSTIC BUFFET will stack on everyone in phase 2. It increases magical damage taken per stack. More on that later.
  • FROST AURA will deal 4.5k damage to everyone every 3 seconds any time Sindy is grounded  That means healers need to be constantly healing.

In phase 1 Sindragosa has ground and air phases. The first air phase occurs at 85% health, and then every 90 seconds thereafter until 35%.

Ground phase critical info: Positioning

Threat: Sindy tests your DPSers’ ability to watch their aggro. As usual the tank will have to position an unwieldy dragon – oggle over my arty  diagram for positioning. More importantly though, the tank will also get PERMEATING CHILL and will sometimes have to stop hitting for a few seconds to let the stacks drop.
Frostie: You might want to consider some or all of your raid wearing one piece of frost resist kit to mitigate some of the frost damage which is going to get worse as the fight progresses. At the very least I’d recommend your main tank picks up a piece of frost resistance.
Hokie-kokie: Sindy will pull the group in to her. Then she casts a 25-yard AoE called BLISTERING COLD. It has a 5 second cast time. Run away in a straight line as soon as she grips you in. Anyone caught in the AoE will either be dead on the floor or near-dead on their feet.
– Your tank should be aware that Sindy seems to move forward onto the tank after Blistering Cold, whether or not the tank moved.
Tip: DBM counts the BLISTERING COLD ability cooldown. Be ready to run as it ticks down. I also find it useful to turn on the spot to face the direction I want to run as the cooldown ticks. I also remind anyone with high debuff stacks to let them drop, in case they get caught in the AoE and their debuff might finish them off. Death Knights can use Anti-Magic Shell to null the effects of Blistering Cold.

Air phase how to:

The air phase is the first that requires co-ordination. It’s like Sapphiron’s air phase: you hide behind icetombs to line of sight (that is, put something between you and it so you can’t see it) an AoE.

Unlike Sapphiron, the AoE doesn’t come from Sindy herself but ice swirls she places on the ground. Those swirls are what you need to line of sight. air phase2

1. Two raid members will get target marks. They should run to pre-arranged ‘ice tomb positions as in the picture. These positions should be the same for every air phase. Everyone else should stay away from those two people until they’re entombed in ice. 
2. As soon as they’re tombed up everyone else should gather round the tombs. You have a few seconds from the ice swirl appearing to the AoE occuring. Look for the ice swirls and line of sight them. There will be four swirls in total and they could be anywhere on the platform – including behind you.
3. As you avoid the AoE you also need to break the ice blocks to let your comrades out. Do this by slowly DPSing the iceblocks so they break just after the fourth swirl/AoE: try to avoid letting icetombs break. I’d recommend not getting below 25% health before the fourth blast.
Tip: remember I said this was a forgiving fight? We found it’s possible to live through breaking one or both icetombs early on air phases, but I recommend breaking them slowly for safety. If necessary assign your top two DPS a block each to solo and have everyone else focus on avoiding the AoE. DoTs such as DK diseases should not be used on the icetombs as they break too easily.

Phase 2 critical info:

Sindy is permanently grounded. She will still use Ice Grip and Blistering Cold and casts Ice Tomb on one player at a time. Meanwhile, MYSTIC BUFFET is a killer. It’s important not to let Buffet stack too high: hide behind an ice tomb until it drops off. Some thoughts on dealing with buffet:
- Sindy casts icetomb frequently in this phase and you really don’t want multiple tombs up at once. When someone is marked to be tombed they should run to a pre-defined space. Next to Sindy’s head is a central spot for this as everyone – including tanks – can get to it quickly.
- Have a second tank. Even if it’s a kitty druid. They just need to tank for a few seconds when your tank’s stacks reach 4-5 and need to be dropped
- Healers should remove stacks on a rotation basis so that at least one is not behind the ice block, so they can heal the tank. My healers and I set up some simple macros to tell each other what was going on – e.g. /p staying out – Pitil next
- DPS should be split into two groups. On the first iceblock group A removes their stacks, group B nukes Sindy. Visa versa on the second iceblock.
- Tip: You do need to break the icetombs. You could have all DPS do this, although it causes chaos and the potential for multiple tombs is high. I’d recommend assigning one, or even two, high DPSer to do nothing else but nuke icetombs for this phase.

That lot should be all the info you need to get through the fight – hopefully some of these tips will help it go smoothly for you. Remember she does have an enrage timer so unload the DPS as quickly as possible in phase 1. Skimp on healers or off tank if you want but be certain you can deal with phase 2 if you do. When you do take her down break out the screenshot buttons: you’ve just downed the Queen of the Frostbrood.

 

Now it’s your turn. What do you think? Have you got any tips to add here to All That Sindykillers Could Ever Need? Have any of these tips clinched the kill for you?  How hard do you think this fight is – or looks if you’re not there yet – and most importantly, how fun? I’d like to hear if you think this is a hard or even an easy fight – but remember everyone is of a different skill level, so please no suggesting that a team of grannies could do this over afternoon tea!

The Hard Mode Thrill

The post you’re about to read is from the past. I wrote this post on Saturday hours after we had taken down Deconstructor on hard mode. It’s the 10 player version.

Going in there, I figured that this was a boss well within the crosshairs of what our guild was capable of doing.

The adrenaline rush and feeling the entire raid got was immense. It’s been a long time since I had a feeling like that wash over me. I could tell it was the same thing for the others in the group. The challenge, the wipes, and all the little things added up and resulted in a big giant virtual fist pump when we took him down.

Some of these hard modes really transform the fight into a whole new level. The complexity, the demands and requirements transcend everything. Sometimes I think to myself what would have happened if I was in an organization that was way more involved then what Conquest is now. I’d imagine one of the requirements would be doing everything on hard mode first before dialing back. Could you imagine? I tried Thorim on hard mode a few times. It made me appreciate just how much simpler and stress free the easy mode was.

If you’re looking for a pre-nerf Hyjal, Black Temple, or Sunwell type of experience, give hard mode a shot. They do drop Badges of Conquest after all.

That feeling can be replicated on 10 mans. I found it similar to hitting the Zul’Aman bear timer.

Expect a post sometime later this week with a tactical break down of how Syd, myself, and the rest of the raid handled the walking bunch of bolts.

An early teaser

Quick notes though for those of you wanting to get some attempts on him.

  • 1 tank
  • Doable with 2 healers
  • Position at the front of the stairs not to the sides
  • No bots to worry about at all
  • Priority on life sparks that spawn
  • Designate positions for players to run to with gravity well (they spawn void zones)
Healing Naxxramas – Sapphiron (10 man)

Healing Naxxramas – Sapphiron (10 man)

sapphiron-banner

You’re almost there. Get through Sapphiron, and Kel’Thuzad is next. I’ll walk you through what’s relevant and what’s not.

The position

As you run in for the first time, make a mental note to keep your camera trained on the animation sequence. There isn’t quite another boss in the game which has a similar or haunting experience.

Your tank should immediately run straight through Sapphiron and set up shop on the side opposite the entrance that you came in from.

I personally position my raid on one side. Pick Sapphiron’s left or right. For the purposes of this explanation, we’ll set up on the right (or north).

Phase one

Frost Aura – Everyone in the room takes ~1200 Frost damage per second.

Life Drain – A curse that will drain players for ~2400 health (Shadow damage). Sapphiron then gains about 5000 health every 3 seconds. 2 random players will get affected by it every so often.

Chill – Looks like a big Blizzard. A really powerful one. If you’re caught, you’ll take some big damage and your movement speed will be slowed.

Phase two

As you enter this phase, Sapphiron will start flying up into the air. Several things will happen:

Ice Bolt – He’ll fire off two Ice Bolts at two different players. Those players will turn into blocks of ice and become immobile. Any players within 5 yards of the Ice block will take significant damage.

Frost Breath – After the Ice Bolts are fired off, he’s going to drop a nuke that will deal lots and lots of damage.

sapphiron-iceblock

Wait until both bolts are fired before you move and start hiding behind them. Remember the Ice Bolt deals AoE damage upon impact. You don’t want to start grouping up together only to have the second bolt impale you and your cohorts, right?

Position yourself in such a way that the frozen player is between you and Sapphiron. Hide behind the block to avoid the insta gib that you’re about to take.

WoWScrnShot_092908_233810

Sapphiron will then land, and it’s back to phase one.

Rinse and repeat!

Execution

During phase one, your best friend is Prayer of Mending. Ensure that you’re firing these off as soon as you can. This is where the 2-piece Faith set really comes in handy due to the bonus (Your Prayer of Mending bounces an additional time). This will help against the whole Frost Aura crap that your raiders have to endure.

Against the Life Drains, task any player that can Decurse. This includes your Mages, Druids, and Resto Shamans. That curse has to fall off or else it will slow the kill down. This fight is a matter of endurance.

Keep an eye on the Chills that float around the room. Be liberal with your Power Word: Shield.

As you enter phase two, Sapphiron starts flapping his wings and flying. This is when you want to start falling back and spreading out. Top off as many players as you can. Wait for both bolts to land, then pick the one closest to you and hide behind it. Don’t stick around and wait. Use your instant spells to try and catch as many players as you can.

For the Holy Priests, slam your Circle of Healing. For the Discipline ones, Penance and Flash as much as possible.

Once the blocks shatter, resume phase one. Keep up what you’re doing, and you’ll end up in the clear.

Extra tips

Remember to Shadow Protect your raid.

Consider crafting around 2 Frost Resist sets if your healers are undergeared (or underperforming) to buy more time.

Potential exploit: I don’t know if this is intended or not and I’m not sure if it’s been fixed. But I’m saying it here so that I can raise awareness. During phase 2, players can run toward the back of the room onto the grated area. By standing there, you can avoid the Frost Breath that lands. Don’t even have to worry about using the blocks to line of sight.

sapphiron-grate