Friday, April 29, 2011

Thoughts on 4.1

There is an ocean of QQ about 4.1 and the difficulty of Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman all over the place, Trade chat is flooded with Blizzard hate and even a few guildies who tried to PuG the new dungeons were utterly disappointed. It reminded me a lot of the way people were flipping out when they hit 85 and tried to run heroics and got their faces carved up and yes, I tried to PuG it on Tuesday night and also got my face carved up a bit when the healers could not keep up with the damage. I shrugged, dropped group and determined to go back with a guild group.

I logged in last night to see Thistle having gone through trying to heal four tanks over an hour in Z'A and unable to get past the first trash pull. So, we had two other folks who wanted to run and we grouped up and hit the random queue, picked up a warrior who seemed pretty stable and started pulling. It was slow and careful going, we were all on vent and were communicating actively as we pulled and not really knowing much about the bosses other than a quick glance at WoWHead for abilities and man, it was a blast.

It took about an hour but it was fun to improvise and react to abilities as they were happening. The warrior we PuG'd was also really patient and worked with us as we chewed through the pulls and bosses without any problem. As we got to Dragonhawk boss, we wiped a couple of times on the trash but after that we quickly got through the next three bosses and were facing down the last boss. One more wipe to get a handle for the way he was pulling the totems and then he went down easily enough, so of the three total wipes in there, two were due to accidental roaming patrol pulls we missed.

Having cleared through Zul'Aman in about an hour and change, we hit up Zul'Gurub for another hour which was all the time I had left, and other than the Snake boss, I thought the rest of the instance was significantly easier than Zul'Aman though we did wipe on the Panther boss until I figured out the rate of puling adds. We wrapped up all but Jin'do when it got to be about 1 AM and we called it a day.

I'm not saying all this to brag, I'm suggesting that the first couple of times you go through the new dungeons - take it slow, pull carefully, use CC on pulls and treat the dungeon with just a bit of respect and I promise it will be a really, really rewarding experience.

Almost every pull can be CC'd and we used it liberally to ease the rate of incoming damage. Stuns and interrupts are your friends. Even with the amount of time talking and CCing we took, we still wound up killing Eagle and Bear within the sacrifice timer - I imagine we'll be doing bear runs in a week or two.

So, yeah, if you PuG and the people aren't ready for this content, you will have pain. But you can take the lead, ask for CC, make sure the healers and tanks are communicating actively to survive and manage the incoming damage (this is a good amount of incoming tank damage and my cooldowns were always ticking) - and this is doable.

This might sound like elitist talk, but honestly, do it now before it gets nerfed.

The experience is fantastic. I promise.


  1. We tried ZA on Tuesday night with a full guild group. We wiped more on trash than on bosses due to not knowing the pathing routes, and those scouts on the way to the dragon hawk boss were annoying.

    We spent probably 2-3 hours in there and only got the first 4 bosses down. I don't think we one shot any of them, but we also didn't wipe more than once or twice on each.

    I had fun. It was a challenge, and we had to adjust as we went because it wasn't just like it used to be in ZA-10. I'm pretty confident now having seen it that we can beat the first 4 bosses without much trouble.

  2. Yep! The abilities are changed up just enough from the raid to make the fights different. It is challenging though, and getting four bosses down is great!

    The last two bosses aren't much more difficult, and the 5th boss is super easy as long as you can CC one add and burn down the other - really, I think the first 3 bosses are the hardest in there, the second half of the dungeon is significantly easier both in terms of trash and bosses.

    I hope these two are an indication of the content to come - Firelands raid and the new Kraken dungeon. Don't wimp out on me now, Blizzard!

  3. So with a few tries in each dungeon now, I really like ZA, and we can successfully clear it in about two hours (with a few wipes on trash and the evil dragonhawk/lynx set on the last boss). I probably like it more b/c it is also nostalgic for me (and it makes me think of Gor-bear too hehe).

    ZG, in my opinion, is another animal altogether. We easily spend 2.5-3 hours just getting through to the last boss (and then another 1+ hrs there). And we've only beat him once, by the skin of our teeth (the dps' teeth I suppose, as I had let myself and our bear die before they got the last chain down). There seem to be more unforgiving mechanics in there - SO much green goo on the snake boss (a little easier now that I have the floor pattern memorized), purple fire on the zombie boss that I can't see if the air turns green. Not to mention the boss that kills people (or at least me) multiple times only to rez us sans buffs (a pain for shadowform, vampiric embrace, fort, at and least inner will/fire). Eesh. When I'm healing, I feel like I can't guarantee our success. I'm sure we'll get better with practice (if only I could say that about my now-ancient macbook), but in the meantime I'm almost too scared to queue for the random Zul in case we get ZG, and that makes the valors come a little slowly, heh.

    I am happy to have this content, though, and enjoying the challenge. It's just that they really feel like raids right now (ZG especially) and that can be a little daunting. :)

  4. I know, first time through the new Z'A made me nostalgic for the old days of TBC raiding and old friends too! And the dragonhawk/lynx combo is a bit tough - a couple of things I learned the painful way to help mitigate that was:

    1. For the Lynx - adds need to be burned down super fast - whether with AoE or targetting one then the other - and the Tank needs to rotate cooldowns to survive the rips. This is the only heavy-tank damage part of the fight so feel free to use the big CDs here. Also, DPS needs to be careful with threat as the tank will be using all his taunt CDs for the boss when he swaps target.

    2. On Dragonhawk - when he casts his AoE, everyone including the tank should run away a distance and separate - makes it much easier to dodge his flame breath.

    That's a tough comp, though.

    I really hate having to rebuff during the raptor boss. It's fine for that mechanic to be in the fight, they just needed to leave buffs up as on my 'lock I have to rebuff 3 things, Drain Life, then life tap up to full mana, and then reapply all DoTs and debuffs before I'm useful. At least on my paladin I can just put up a seal and go and hit Might during a spare GCD.

    Z'G - only now do I have a hang on the first boss - and I think they are working on making the maze less messy. I could seriously not see it with all my setting on High the other night. I have just staked out a couple of safe spots that I know I won't get gibbed in.

    I'm still trying to figure out the last boss, but one thing that helped me was to tank only one berserker, have DPS ignore him completely and kill the ghosts while stacking near a chain. As soon as he targets someone everyone should get to the chain and let him break it then immediately move to the next chain and keep killing ghosts - don't worry about the chains.

    If you can use the first 3 charges to break all 3 chains, you can just kill the berserker and the tank can gather up ghosts and handle them with AoE while the DPS kills the chains.

    Significantly reduces tank damage and speeds up phase 2 a lot.

    Anyway - if you see me sitting around doing nothing, poke me if you need a spare tank or DPS. :)