4 Strategies Later, HM Zon’ozz Down

4 Strategies Later, HM Zon’ozz Down

Progression stonewaller Zon’ozz has been taken down at least. Feels like the Sindragosa of this tier.

We tried using individual soakers with no luck.

Having one large group standing on Zon’ozz’s butt didn’t work.

We tried splitting into a ranged and melee group and actively removed debuffs. Nope, no dice.

Then we just rolled down our sleeves and brute force healed phase 1 without worrying about running out or dispelling. Amazingly, that did the trick.

Conquest’s next efforts will be focused on heroic Blackthorn on the gunship. We’ll be taking shots on it tonight and raid boss Logan has the strategies all laid out. Fun part’s going to be ensuring all the players have gone through it.

Any individual tips or pointers are appreciated (if you have any). We do have a few approaches in mind but we’ll be making our first shots today.

Phase 2 healing

When the raid splits into four different groups to handle the tentacles, there tends to be one healer assigned to each group to keep them all alive. DPS players have to do their part in shutting down and interrupting tentacles as best as they can. Your job as a healer is to keep them alive long enough to do it.

As a Holy Priest, I switched from Chakra: Sanctuary to Chakra: Serenity. I valued the instant, single target healing over the raid healing benefits. It felt as if some players were taking more damage than others. With everyone in the raid taking constant damage, I lit off Binding Heals targeting two different players and activating Serendipity for a hasted Prayer of Healing on the group. If one players got too low, I leaned heavily on Serenity to give me the buffer I needed to propel their health back up to manageable levels.

Ran out of steam

After we got Zon’ozz down, I felt this incredible burden just lift off my shoulders. I’m sure everyone in the raid felt the same thing. At this stage, I had to tag out and attend to some personal business. I felt the next few bosses were on farm and that there shouldnt’ve been much difficulty in getting by.

Nope, I was wrong. The crew had a hard time getting by Hagara.

Looked like the raid that night hit it’s peak against Zon’ozz and most of the players just ran out of energy.

I remember reading a study once where the idea of patience and willpower is finite. There were two groups of participants in a room that had chocolate cookies and other type of desserts. Some participants were allowed to snag some cookies. The people who were in the willpower test group were asked to eat radishes instead. After that, both groups were given a skill testing puzzle.

The catch? The puzzle couldn’t be solved. Those in the radish group gave up much quicker and easier than those in the chocolate cookies group.

I wonder if there’s a relationship.

More Like This: Vodka vs Method Speedrun

More Like This: Vodka vs Method Speedrun

Forget arenas.

Forget rated BGs.

Give me competitive PvE raiding!

Vodka and Method, 2 of the world’s best guilds, going heads up in the Dragon Soul challenge hosted by Athene for charity. Last time we saw something like this was back during BlizzCon 2011 when Vodka and Blood Legion went at it live with some of their members on a stage in front of thousands of people.  When I watched those two guilds go at it during BlizzCon, the announcers and the overall event was really exciting to watch. Blizzard had some cool camera tools at their disposal and the plays were called by Ghostcrawler and Daelo. Blood Legion took that one after Vodka succumbed to heroic Ragnaros at the end.

If one wanted to devise story lines, there are a few things. The question on everyone’s minds is can Vodka avenge their loss and come back in the latest raid tier? A more subtle angle is the battle between regions: One of North America’s finest guilds vs Europe’s best. No faction questions here since both raid teams are Alliance (although I did find it interesting that Method was planning the switch to Horde).

Vodka

Between Method and Vodka, my money was on Vodka for winning out this one. They have the experience in an environment like this coming out of BlizzCon when they took on Blood Legion. Their strategies for time trials involve a high risk/high reward approach. They deliberately underheal (bring in less healers) in favour of additional DPS. In long run, this strategy pays off with faster kills as long as their raid doesn’t get overwhelmed.

Method

I honestly had no idea what to expect from Method. They’re one of the top guilds in Europe, but without much of an idea of their raid comps or seeing how they plan, I’m not sure what impressions to had. I figured they’d had their own set system and would stick to playing their style of raiding that’s gotten them this far. Nothing super complicated or anything.

Thoughts

Spoilers below. But if you don’t care, go ahead and read on:

  • Nice approach on Mor’chuk with the tanking positions. Most guilds usually tackle the two bosses side by side but with the advent of the timer, both guilds changed the position so that one boss was at the top of the ramp and the other was on the bottom.
  • The wipe on Zon’ozz slowed Vodka down significantly. I cringed but they’ll go on to recover quite well.
  • Both guilds kicking the lore aspects of the instance since it slows them both down (Vodka, especially).
  • Madness of Deathwing: Ouch to Vodka for losing a healer in a weird fashion with the platform jumps. That darn bug.
  • Athene and Kina: Would have loved more commentary throughout the stream on more aspects of the raid encounters as well as additional insight in what’s going on in the different mentalities of the guild as they go from boss to boss.

PvE power rankings

Guild Region Record
Blood Legion NA 1-0*
Method EU 1-0
Vodka NA 0-2

* I ranked Blood Legion as higher on the tie break since they defeated Vodka at BlizzCon live in front of thousands of screaming people.

Here we have the first ever PvE power rankings.

I personally believe that Vodka’s the better guild in the last engagement. The calculated risks they have taken have a potentially higher payoff and there were times where they came really close to clutching out and winning. But all those tiny mistakes and the assorted wipe does add up thwarting Vodka from getting their first win.

Another way to spice it up is adding an Iron man challenge of sorts. Finishing out an instance with the least amount of overall deaths. Wouldn’t just be enough to race the other team, but have to add that extra element of perfection.

To add a little diversity to future events, I wonder how feasible it is to revive some of the “older” raids. On a special server, adjust and inflate the stats of the older raid bosses so that they can remain challenging for the maximum player level.

The concept of a PvE raiding league has some merit. If it were up to me to start it, I’d set up an invitational 16 guild league (8 NA and 8 EU). it would take place over 8 weeks and then lead to playoffs. Each week would have it’s own instance/bosses of the week. Maybe week 1 would be tier 11. Week 2 would then be Firelands. Week 3 would be back to Black Temple. Week 4 could be Ulduar. Great way to recycle the older instances if it their stats could be made. Or the alternative is to lower the stats of the raiders so that they’re at level with the content.

But overall, I’m really impressed. Props to Athene, Kina, Vodka, Method and everyone else involved for an excellent event.

The Day Ultraxion Fell (Heroic)

The Day Ultraxion Fell (Heroic)

Took us about two weeks and around 7 hours of attempts. Managed to crush Ultraxion last night just before the expected nerf that kicks in today. Some of the pointers I can offer you:

  • We used 4 healers
  • Use your 3 minute cooldowns at some point between the first and second hour. You’ll want it up again around the 5 minute mark.
  • Tank 4 piece bonuses are a godsend. Finish those as quick as you can.
  • Respec and glyph specifically for the encounter. Cut out talents you don’t need (like movement speed bonuses).
  • Get in position for the coloured crystals early so you can run back earlier.
  • Use Mana potions instead of Concentration potions if you find you don’t have the 8 seconds to spare.
  • If a healer is using a Hymn of Hope, have another priest counter with Divine Hymn to offset their 8 seconds of inactivity.
  • Put the team on your back and carry them like you’ve never carried before. :)
  • Sadly, no VODs of this encounter yet. Largely because I didn’t want to compromise my computer’s performance during the raid. Will try to get one this week though.

    Crappy part of killing a new boss? Having to update every single recruiting thread and forum across all the different sites you have ads up on.

    Oh, and if you’re reading this in an email or an RSS reader, I changed the look of the blog. Keeps many of the same colours but I’m aiming for a simpler approach.

    I also changed my permalink structure. So if you’ve linked to any of the posts on the blog, chances are it’s not going to work. Just modify the URL so that it removes the date from the slug (For example, worldofmatticus.com/03/26/12/post-name is now worldofmatticus.com/post-name).

    Forgot how exhausting this process can be. But, time to raid!

Introducing Mattivision: Heroic Hagara



Heroic Hagara 25 man, Holy Priest PoV

Past kill videos I’ve recorded for the guild involved epic music. Since I upgraded my internet connection with faster upstream, I now have the ability to stream and record. I’ll be streaming my guild’s progressing through heroic Dragon Soul on a raid nightly basis. Something I’ve always want to do was offer more insight on healing from a microscopic perspective. Sites like Learn2Raid and WoWhead offer great information on what your raid needs to do. What I want to do here is focus more on the player and how one could handle the different challenges that occur against bosses. So as a test run, I recorded a VOD of our raid group against heroic Hagara. I tried to commentate and narrate what was going on and what my train of thought was at the time.

Anyway, take a look and let me know what you think.

You can tune in Monday, Tuesdays, and Thursday nights just before 6 PM PST to my Own3d page. Will be streaming it later tonight. Heroic Morchok goodness! Also if you want to join in, there’s a little chat button when the stream is live in the middle there. I’ll try to respond to any questions, but no promises.

And yeah, I need to make some adjustments to the sound. I lowered game sound to 20% and dropped Mumble chatter to about 25%. Nothing I can do about the keyboard pounding though. Love my Black Widow. Wish I could get a muffler for it or something.

Heroic Morchok Down: Where Next?

Heroic Morchok Down: Where Next?

Managed to score Heroic Morchok on Tuesday. Ended up using 6 healers. Another classic 22% wipe, then a 16% wipe, then a 13% followed by an 8% then a kill. Actually, the numbers aren’t precise. But that’s what it seemed like anyway.

How to Land 3 Healing Spells in Under 2 Seconds

It seems impossible, doesn’t it?

Note that I didn’t quite say I would cast 3 spells only that I would land them. You have to be precise when it comes to timing and you need to be ready to pounce on the next spell the moment the other one is finished.

We were working on heroic Morchok for a total of 6 – 8 hours (over 4 weeks, with raid hours lost due to a healer shortage). Our longest attempt was just under 6 minutes. Most of the wipes occurred between 2 – 3 minutes. The trickiest part for me was maintaining tank health right after a stomp. A common occurrence I noticed is that after Kohcrom stomped, he would attack the tank around 2 seconds later. If I timed it right, I could land a Flash Heal and a quick Holy Word: Serenity. But sometimes that wasn’t enough. I needed another way because those two spells just weren’t consistent enough. Sometimes the tank lived, sometimes he died. I wanted a better (and consistent) way in keeping that tank alive.

It all revolved around the Stomp.

After a few wipes, I realized the consistency of his melee swing following the stomp. I didn’t want to focus exclusively on the tank to the detriment of the group. But at the same time, if the tank dropped it was game over.

Timers from DBM gave me a 5 second count down on approximately when the stomp would land.

I ended up watching the animation of the stomp. The moment the foot start rising up, I’d target the tank and hit Prayer of Healing ensuring it would land just after Stomp connected with the group. This gave me time for a quick Flash Heal (Or Binding Heal) followed up with Serenity (or a Circle of Healing if the tank was sufficiently high enough.

Credits to

Lodur for gemming all strength reforging to Mastery giving him the ability to really stabilize players and allowing me to spike them back  up.

The DPS warriors on my side who picked up on the fact that when I frantically called their name, it meant I wanted a Rallying Cry (and giving us that buffer after a fumbled heal).

Logan of the LeetSauced podcast (and soon-to-be host of the Matticast) for remaining calm, collected and patient after enduring hours of frustrating incidents beyond his control.

Tanks with 4 piece bonuses. Seriously. More bonuses like this in the future.

Old Spice. I smelled awesome that raid.

Now what?

What’s the next hard mode boss that you went to after Morchok (25 man as I understand 10 man has different priorities)?

Hagara?

Ping pong guy?

Ooze boss?

Seems like we’re going to take a hard look at Hagara. Pointers?

Dragon Soul Thoughts

I like the new raid. The pace is overall easier compared to Firelands. I know the Raid Finder makes it extremely easy to barrel through but I liked the way it’s turned out.

The Advantage of the Raid Finder

When I tried it out on the PTR, I was disappointed at the amount of time it actually took to get going. I endured 10 minutes of players dropping queue and requeuing on the PTR. But with a much larger population on live servers, it doesn’t take that long to get going actually. The raid finder came in handy during day one. It’s nice to see all the new writeups, strategies and so forth but it is another thing entirely to be in the instance itself. Granted, the raid finder difficulty is extremely forgiving. But to visually expose yourself to the effects, the abilities, and the terrain adds another dimension entirely.

I know that when Tuesday came around, a a number of players on the team just happened to get sick on the same day. At the very least, they were feeling just well enough to duck into the raid finder for a few hours to try out the tool and check out the place. We stomped through the place in around 90 minutes. Realistically, expect to spend between an hour to 2 hours inside there depending on overall raid skill. I’ve been really lucky with my groups as I’ve only experienced around 5 or so wipes through the entire night on my alts and such.

On epic gems

One thing I am not satisfied with is the way epic gems are handled. When you take down a raid boss, you get a Mote of Darkness which you can use to cash into a vendor. Depending on which way the dice rolls, you could end up with green quality gems or epic gems. And the prices for these things are outrageous. Red epic gems have skyrocketed to as high as 25000 gold already. Yeesh! During Burning Crusade, you could either mine them (Mount Hyjal) or loot them off bosses (Black Temple). In Wrath of the Lich King, I believe they were prospected and then purchasable via points or emblems. They’re trying something new this time around and I don’t know if I like the way it’s being done. In previous guilds, epic gems were handled from a collective standpoint. That is, we would bank every gem we get and then hand them out (master looted or a specific miner would get them). This time around, epic gems are now solely in the hands of the players and their own luck. I have difficulty asking players to give up any epic quality gems that they get to the guild. Perhaps the best way to reconcile it then would be to place the responsibility of epic gems back in the hands of the player.

Normal difficulty

The standard raiding difficulty should not be underestimated. Don’t think you can 2 heal this stuff yet on 10 man, for example (unless you’re rocking full Firelands heroic gear). For unprepared raids, it can still present a challenge. I’ve been a part of organized groups who just can’t seem to ping pong their way to victory on the Warlord.

Don’t get me started on the lightning phase of Hagara. As the wise Mel tells me:

Truism of WoW: When you have to avoid chain lightning, you can’t. When you want to chain, everyone is [perfectly] spread to avoid it.

So while coordination efforts are trivialized in the raid finder, expect it to be a little more punishing in the harder difficulties. Speaking of which, let’s not forget that this patch is supposed to last us until Mists of Pandaria. Either they’re getting close to a testing period or hard mode Dragon Soul is going to be really hard. Firelands went from the end of June until now (end of November). That was around 5 months.

Anyway, day one was capped off with a respectable 4/8 finish. I’m expecting Deathwing to provide much more of a challenge. I’d be thrilled if we can score a full clear during week one. I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment. Just going to take it boss by boss and concentrate on the present.

How has your experience with the raid finder been? Are you satisfied or bored with Dragon Soul? Hell, do you even find it appealing at all with the stuff you’ve seen?

Bored? Try Lore!

We’ve still got a pain-stakingly long two weeks (roughly) until Cataclysm drops. 4.0.3a will bring a wealth of opportunities to see the new zones and play with the race/combo changes, but how else is your time being spent?  Here’s what I’ve seen a lot of in Trade Chat:

Player1: What’s going on in SW?

Player2: Pre-Cata Event

Player1: What do you do for it?

Player3: It’s 5 quests and that’s it.

Player1: What do you get for it?

Player4: Nothing.

Player1: Lame.

Now that the new Elemental Invasion is underway, I saw a lot of this:

Player1: What’s going on in IF?

Player2: Elemental Invasion for Pre-Cata

Player1: Grr… I can’t do anything here right now.

Player3: You have to kill the elementals and rescue civilians.

Player1: What do I get for it?

Player4: ilevel 251 epics from some dungeons.

Player1: Awesome!

I gotta say, this makes me sad. I’m well aware of the addictive nature of seeing a shiny new purple epic show up in your inventory, but the complete shunning of anything potentially entertaining in the game baffles me. Of course, not everyone is going to like every little nuance in the game. Blizzard has tried to do a thorough job of making the game diverse enough for everyone. In the 4 years I’ve been playing WoW, I think they’ve done a bang-up job, too.

Give your eyes some exercise!

I’ll be the first to admit that throughout most of my WoW career I read only the objectives, then looked to QuestHelper (or the new WoW version) to guide me on my way. I paid no attention to the text or lore of the quests.

Wrath of the Lich King changed that for me. In Burning Crusade, I didn’t have any passion to see Illidan dead. Yeah, I knew he was the last boss, but I didn’t harbour a pure hatred for him. Arthas was a different story. The way we saw Arthas throughout this latest expansion instilled a desire to annihilate him when Icecrown Citadel was opened. We got to play as him, we were taunted by him, and we were at times aligned with him. In short, we became invested in the story and its outcome.

When Cataclysm was announced, I immediately started to thirst for knowledge. Who was Deathwing? How did he get to be so horrible? Why is he so mad? What other forces might we fight against? My first homework was to check out WoWpedia for an overview. It gave me a decent amount, but not enough. I then decided to go to the books. Christie Golden’s The Shattering is a quick and easy read. I tore through it in a day. There are other books that give you more history on Deathwing and the Dragon/Demon Soul, and it’s on my nightstand as I write this.

Also, I took the time to read the quests in the pre-Cataclysm event. Following the Doomsayers, visiting the Twilight Hammer’s camp, seeing the image of Cho’gall, all driving me further towards my passion of seeing Deathwing dead. Not for “epic lewtz”, but just to see the antagonist dead.

What can I do to get involved?

  • Take time to read the quests. They’re 2 paragraphs at most, and take no more than 30 seconds to read.
  • Check out WoWpedia. Search for Deathwing and get “click-happy”. I found myself on so many different wikis learning about the characters we’re spending the next ~2 years with. (The combination of Thrall and Magni Bronzebeard made me decide to race change my Shaman to Dwarf)
  • Read some of the novels! Across the board, people have recommended Lord of the Clans as a great place to start. From there, if you’re gearing up for Cataclysm, read The Shattering right after. Both are quick reads and really enjoyable (though I have issues with some of Golden’s writing choices).

Think of it this way: Why do people get so involved in movies and TV shows? It’s because we get invested in them. We learn to love the protagonists and hate that antagonists. Maybe it’s the other way around! Either way, you become attached to the characters in the story. The same exists with video games. Some of the best video games out there have compelling storylines with deep characters. WoW, in my opinion, is no different. I look at my playtime as “living through a story.”

I know that in Cataclysm, I’ll be trying to get my main up as fast as possible, while using an alt to actually read the quests along the way. I want Deathwing’s head on a platter, including his metal chinny-CHIN-CHIN!!