Friday, September 2, 2011

Ragnaros: Night 1

Phew. Ragnaros reminds me a lot of Lich King - very tightly tuned mechanics, very high individual raid performance requirements and a very fun fight.

The first Lava dude puts slabs of lava cutting off travel over the platform  every so often - we just kind of hopped around and it wasn't too onerous, but I saw that on the first cast, we were stacked and it forced him to put one right under his own feet and since he has a cast, if we backed up or moved up, we should be okay. Not bad at all.

Killing two Magmaws so easily is a bit sad. They put fire under your feet, dodge it. When they submerge and re-emerge, make sure tanks are in place to pick them up. Focus one down then the other. Doesn't matter which one you do first. Or it didn't for us.

Phase 1:
We actually cleared all the way through the first phase into the first transition on our very first pull! Of course, I'm pretty sure that was exclusively on the shoulders of the healers who got us through a ton of mistakes. But we quickly spent the next hour cleaning up Phase 1 so it has become a non-issue at this point - it's a very simple phase as long as a few things happen exactly the same every time:
  • Everyone has to be the right distance from each other and they need to make sure they're not getting knocked into lava from the knock back
  • The person who's triggering the traps (our awesome mage took every trap) needs to give the healers a heads-up and watch the timers to make sure two AoE's don't go off at once
  • Everyone needs to dodge the lava waves from the hammer (especialyl if there's a knock-back coming right afterward - tanks and melee need to be smart about how they're dodging the lava here)
  • The melee WAIT for the tanks to be in melee range before getting into melee - especially on the pull and after the knockback. Our feral kitty and rogue were dashing in over and over and getting hit for 150k until we figured out they were just getting to the boss faster than the tanks after knock-backs. Just have them wait 2 secs
That sounds like a lot but it's really not. It's very rhythmic and organic once you get into it.

Phase 2 and 3:
We didn't get too much time in this, but with so many abilities gone from this phase, it should be significantly easier (no knock-back, no traps). The Seed seem to be like the Defile/Valkyr mechanic - run out/group up/run out - but I think we should be okay, as long as we can dodge the flames on the ground. It feels kind of like a Heigan dance. While being chased by living bombs. And getting 30% of Rag's health down. But I'm not too worried about it. Yet.

Phase 3 replaces the seeds with Meteor tanking - which I don't know how complicated it is. We should be able to push him over before we get more than 3 hopefully as the more meteors we get the lower our DPS will be on Ragnaros. Our DPS has been pretty high lately, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed - our basic strat on LK was that if we got to phase 3 and all the adds from transition were dead, we could basically just kind of bum-rush him the rest of the way. Blunt, but it worked. I'm hoping the same sort of thing (or something similar) works here.

Transition Phase:
This is the hard part of this fight.

The first transition and second transition are the same except for the second transition having 2 extra adds that complicate things significantly. 8 adds spawn around the platform and rush towards a randomly placed Sulfuras and if they hit the hammer, it's a wipe. You need the 5 DPS and 2 tanks to split up and handle the adds, stun, slow and kill them before that happens. But the nature of the thing is that it's very random and the placement of the Hammer gives you about 5 seconds to figure out where everyone is going and what to do, communicate that, and get into position at the same time. So it took us probably ten attempts in the transition phase to put something together that looking like it was starting to work.

We had to be very explicit about where the melee were going and where the ranged were going with relation to the hammer - the melee and tanks would always take the 4 closest with specific people assigned left to right and the ranged would be on the rest. It worked a couple of times, but we were still having the odd add slipping through. I really want to nail this to the floor and put a rug on it before we get to the second transition phase because we need this phase to be like clockwork before we handle the two extra adds in that phase.

I was talking to Thistle afterward  and she said she wished we could just replay the fight to get an idea of what's going wrong in the transition and I so wish you could do something like that. Starcraft lets you watch a whole match but there it's just a series of action that have to be duplicated, the amount of data in a 4 minute long raid encounter can be significant. Maybe I should try FRAPsing a raid...

It was a fun night learning this fight and I wish we had one more night to go back to him with, but we'll get there again next week, and we'll have another handful of items upgraded which should help numbers across the board. Every week we come back it will get easier, so we'll see how it goes.

I'm not ready to push lock-outs yet - maybe in a couple of weeks, but not yet. The way I do lock-outs is that I will push a lock-out on the first night, and if we can't kill him, we just go back the second night, drop the lock and do the other bosses - this lets us have the best of both worlds. If we kill him - yay! If not, we can still get our gear without risking getting stuck on an old boss for whatever reason and not getting to him on the second night.

Anyway. It's fun to have a really tough boss to sit on for a couple of nights. I'm already hungry for next week. Rawr.

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