Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Patch Day Madness

I was glad the patch dropped when it did - I think I was really bored with Firelands despite the fact that we were on Heroics. With how late we started work on that instance and how the tuning was all over the place with it, I always felt disconnected from the place. There was a lot of confusion about the raid where Blizzard seemed to mid-step change directions and nerf stuff across the board.

One of the things I'm loving lately is how stable the patch days have been. No instance server issues, no authentication server issues, really, no issues at all and you can log in and play. Even most of my add-ons were behaving fine except for a couple of LUA errors from DBM whenever I zoned into an instance. After the nightmarish patches of yesteryear, this is a sweet, sweet dream.

Remember 3.3 when you couldn't log in for two days? Or 3.4 when half the authentication servers were down? Hell, even 4.1 when Omnitron was broken and you couldn't get past him, if you could even get into the crashing instance server gateways? We used to move raid night to non-patch days because we knew we couldn't raid on Tuesday and juts hoped everything was stable by Wednesday night. Kids these days.

Anyway.

I logged in about 10 minutes before raid in typical fashion, ran around with my head cut-off for five minutes and only managed to 'mog my hideous shield and sword away for something better before clicking Accept on the Have Group Will Travel summons into Dragon Soul for the first time.

Where we proceeded to demolish the place. There is a serious tuning issue for 4.3 at least on 10-man normal modes. For better or worse, this is the easiest tier since the first wing of ICC. Even Saurfang and Deathwhisper had slightly more compelling mechanics on 10-man.

With no one having seen the bosses, no one having run the LFR, just based on the dungeon-journal, we one-shot Morchok and two-shot Yor'sahj, and  I was DC'd for about a minute on that fight so my co-tank had huge stacks of Void Bolts but apparently our healers had no problem with it.

Zon'ozz took a little longer, but he died as well once we figured out a very easy way to handle the bouncing mechanic by lining up and turning it into a fool-proof ping-pong game while I jumped back and forth pointing him this way and that. He was the first boss that felt like a real raid boss with scary damage and positioning and an enrage timer that was somewhat of an issue (30 seconds left on enrage when he died, so not really but still).

We made one pull of Hagara before raid time to give our Rogue a chance to pickpocket her and got to work on her ice phase a bit, so we'll go back in and kill her tonight, hopefully and then the one fight that actually seems scary outside of Deathwing - Ultraxion. I'd love to get through both of those tonight as loot-ship looks as easy as the ICC loot-ship and that just leaves Deathwing to kill (twice.)

It could be that the first four are easy and the next four are really hard, or scale up slightly in difficulty as you went further in. Morchok was lolwut, Yor'sahj was an AoE heal, minor DPS check and a are-you-really-here check in terms of picking which add to kill each time, and Zon'ozz was a mild DPS check (he has a tight enrage timer at 5.5 minute/68 million health) and awareness check with more AoE healing. Did I mention there's a lot of raid damage? There's a lot of raid damage. And a bit of bursty tank damage too.

The one nice thing about these fights is that while the tanking isn't particularly difficult so far (I did enjoy solo-tanking Zon'ozz and looks like solo-tanking Hagara will actually require a bit of focus as well), there is a lot of ancillary stuff tanks can do to make the raid run easier. Tanking crystals with two DPS when you're not on Morchok for instance, or helping put out damage on the oozes, raid-walling with efficiency to chain cool-downs with the healers.... there is more stuff to do than just standing there and being a meat-shield.

I was lucky enough to pick up the off-set shoulders and tier legs last night, which was awesome. The weird thing is, despite loosing Mastery on both those items, without even reforging, and going for the set bonus, I was still at block-cap with Mastery food (though I am using two Mastery trinkets.)

Callooh!Callay!

I know in a month I'll be moaning about how boring normal modes are, but right now, man it was satisfying to smash through the instance and kill bosses so quickly and efficiently. Maybe we'll even be in Heroics this time next month. This was something I had known for some time - once we have a regular team of geared people who've been working together and gelled, we have zero problems in terms of progression. We can get this done. And we did.

A rather amusing side-affect of raiding so early in the week after patch is the following image:


It is, of course, an anomaly and a lie, but it is kind of nice to be listed as server first and word top 200, even if only for a day or two. We have a US top-100 guild on our server that killed Heroic Ragnaros back in early October, I think, so we're nowhere near the top, and I'm sure we'll get down-ranked very rapidly as other guilds get ranked (as is appropriate) but still.

Sometimes it's nice to lie to oneself for a minute and take a screenshot! :-)

Tonight: more raiding, hopefully knocking out the two dungeons I haven't done yet, and then mogging up my set, moving stuff into void-bank... so much to do! And so much more to write about!

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Over Nine Thousand!

This weekend between bouts of Turkey and Stuffing floating in an ocean of butter, I took the time to grind out a bunch of low-hanging achievements and a profession that has been hounding me since Cataclysm launched and crossed the Nine Thousand achievement points line.

At first I just went for the easy stuff - getting Pilgrim got me well within striking range. After that, the cooking/eating/drinking achievements easily finished with purchases from the Auction House, a bit of cooking, and a little help from a guildy who cooked up all the cookies for You'll Feel Right As Rain.

After that, I grabbed an easy rep grind over a couple of hour or so to get two achievements and a pet, and then win-traded my way to another achievement over at the Argent Colosseum. Jumped off a cliff and bandaged myself for another.

After that, being so close to the end, I just began to grind out Archaeology as I had never finished it, stalling in the 300-range somewhere, and began to rack up the achievements until the finale when with five points left to go, I racked up three in a row, all adding up to the big one.

All done. Now I'm kind of looking at that number and wishing for a 5-digit number, especially with how many achievements I haven't ground out (a few meta 25-man stuff from Wrath, a few more Holiday things yet, several PvP ones, etc.), it shouldn't be difficult at all to hit 10k points. But I can take it in a more leisurely fashion. With the buff Archaeology is receiving in 4.3, I might even go back to get some achievements from there - I rather enjoy a few of the rare items you can get from there.

It was surprisingly relaxing to spend a few hours doing a low-stress activity like this. I do hope we see some kind of account-wide achievement tracking ability in 5.0 as I do hate being on an alt and not being able to prove that I know what I'm talking about when I'm trying to PuG something. Plus, a few of the really hard PvP achievements are very difficult to duplicate multiple times and if I have it on any one character who's not my Paladin, it's really aggravating to try and duplicate that.

Anyway. If 4.3 hits tomorrow, the relaxing down-time will be over and it's nose to the grind stone time. I'll need to cap Justice and Honor next week on at least two characters for PvP gear and start getting Valor and Conquest capped again.

Home again, home again, jiggety jig.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving

With a holiday week and truncated Warcraft time, with 4.2 on its last legs, the last week of the PvP season, the missing guildies away to visit family, I'm left feeling nostalgic, so rather than my usual ranting, I'll take this opportunity to give my thanks to a few people in game that I don't say thanks to often enough.

Since my son was born nearly 14 months ago, time has become a precious commodity for me. With Warcraft taking up as much time as it does to play, I often think about what makes me commit my time to this game instead of something else that would be, frankly, a great deal less stressful as a relaxing hobby after very full days of work and handling the baby.

The main reason for that, of course, are my friends in game. I came close to leaving the game once, and then I met some people who're still keeping me here, and grounded, and when I log in to see them, I know I'm with friends and as long as they're here, I'll keep logging into Azeroth because it's a second home for me, not because of my loot or raids or achievements, but because that's where some of my dearest friends reside.

So, this is thanks to them.

Thisle, Issacc, Riley, Elrahd, Nettle - I've been raiding with you guys for over two years, through three guilds, across two factions, through rage-quits, through rants and raves, through fallen guilds, missing raid leads, weeks of no progression, no shows, all in pursuit of the euphoric highs of many, many, many kills.

Lava and Vesti - without you guys, the Turtles would never have been successful and we're lucky to have met you in our early days. Maara and Verm - you guys are like the missing chunk of our guild that we didn't know was missing till you joined us this year. I can't imagine the Turtles without your presence anymore.

Thanks also, to all the friends who moved on after raiding with us for so long - Rasc, Brusin, Hal, Ryan, Jiri, Suly, Bhambi, Raiku, Siandris... too many names and too many voices that have fallen silent but I'm happy to have known you while you were here.

Thanks to the people who got me here in the first place - Shinorah and Ehr, who were the leaders of my first guild, who trusted a plucky little bear to run his own little Kara group, to Elionene and Lal and Zeo and Marilee, who took over when I moved on and then formed their own guild. To Rish and Lailie, who were the core of my first 5-man heroics group and the first guildies I traveled to meet, late at night, in a diner in Baltimore.

Thanks from the bottom of my heart, with nothing but love, to Loch and Atvia, to Tel and Lafaera, to Nes, and Sheri - and all those people know exactly why, I hope.

To the guildies I've met in GenCon to play table-top games with, to the guildies I've met and walked the streets of Philadelphia with, to the guildies I went to a Renaissance Faire with, to the guildies I drank beer in a pub with, to the guildies I drove across Scotland with.

And to the friends I have yet to make and meet, and to the adventures we have yet to undertake.

Thanks.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Paladin Transmog Sets - Part 1

In case you weren't sure, I'm really, really, really excited for Transmogrify. I'm a stickler for the way gear looks, I want my character to look powerful, regal and heroic. I want her to be dressed as a sword-wielding shield-bashing name-taking blood-spilling holy warrior of the Light would dress. That is to say, not wearing plate bikinis and exposing a flat mid-riff in the hopes of distracting her enemies.

So I'm going to make a catalog of various sets I'm planning to use - I'm sure I'll swap between these as the mood and whim strikes. I'll start with my hands-down absolutely favorite, best remembered set from the last two years that I actually gained and used actively while playing that I haven't worn in close to a year - the Sanctified Lightsworn Plate. This is the set in it's unadulterated glory:


It certainly isn't bad on it's own,and it might be fine for healing, or even DPS but I think tanking sets just look better without a skirt. I adore paladin sets with with plate skirts, but I think functionally they work as ceremonial or for healing at best. And besides, can you imagine her being able to kite mobs in that skirt? I don't think so. The set itself is dramatic and striking, the visor is unique, the glow and effects and the details of the ribbon are lovely and I like the way it works even when you color shift it for some glamour shots.



So, taking the head and shoulders as a base, and relying exclusively on Icecrown gear, I build into this.

Paladin Transmogrify Set: Modified Sanctified Lightsworn Plate
(link to full set)


The set uses a lot of stuff you can easily purchase from Vendors or get crafted:
The only thing you might actually have to go hunting for is this:
  • Weapon: The Facelifter. Drops from Professor Putricide in 10s - alternately, you can use the Soul Blade, a BoE sword from Bastion of Twilight that's fairly easily found and looks quite good.
Of course, I would have much rather used the purchased off-set Tanking chest piece, but it suffers from bare-midriff-itis. You can mitigate it with a black undershirt somewhat, but the colors and patterns don't quite match up. The caster belt helps transition between the warrior tier legs and the Paladin tier chest piece quite nicely. I don't use a cloak with it because it just looks much better without it.

UPDATE POST PATCH 4.3!!
It's one thing to plan an outfit and another to wear it. I found the shield and sword to just not be up to my standards in game, in terms of look and feel, and while it might work for you, the shield in particular was just too big and disguised my character's face far too much. I wound up using the Soul Blade and a vintage shield called Brutal Gladiator's Barrier that you can buy from the retro PvP vendor in Stormwind/Orgrimmar the same as the PvP shield I linked above for a small amount of Honor. Here's how I look in game right now:


Pretty snazzy, if I may say so myself!

Next time, I'll look at modifying Tier 13 to be even more bad-ass than it already is, by eliminating the bare-mid-riff and tweaking the look slightly with different weapons and cloaks.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I'm Shy!

Online at least.

I really don't think I am in person, I'm fairly aggressive when it comes to socializing, and I don't really have any fear of speaking in public, meeting a new group of people, or whatever, but for some reason, when I'm taken out of my comfort circle in Warcraft, I do find myself acting in a very reserved and shy manner.

Specifically, I have an alt in a Horde guild on another server, and it's a large guild with a lot of people on and a lot of activities and I'm sure everyone is very friendly, but I seldom if ever pipe up to say anything or contribute much to the guild as a whole, nor do I get involved with it. As silly as it sounds for a man of my age to say, I feel shy and don't want to engage and make myself seem a fool! I'd rather sit in /trade looking to do stuff rather than ask in Guild.

Which is just insanely silly.


I remember back when I first really went looking for a new guild and joined a hardcore 25 man raiding group, I was the quiet guy who never said anything in Vent and used "Please", "Thank you" and smiley faces in nearly everything I ever said in Raid or Guild chat. When I got promoted to solo-tanking the really scary stuff in Ulduar, I was still really terrified to say anything, because there were 24 other people who were counting on me to keep pulls together.

It wasn't until months later when I got pulled into the selective 10-man group that was clearing a lot more content regularly that I began to feel like a part of the group and began to loosen up and some of those friendships are what led to my current guild, where I do feel very confident, and I work hard to assimilate new people in, though we are a much smaller guild by comparison.


All of this is well and good, but then I realized that it extends to a much bigger level when I think about my blog.

There is a large and vibrant and active blogging community - and I have never really participated in it. I don't really know how to, and I'm kind of scared to try to even start a dialogue. I don't know why I can be so much more confident and overcome any social anxiety in the real world where it can be a lot more overwhelming and when it comes to engaging in online communities, I get shy.

Anyway. There's not really a point to this other than that I logged into my Horde character, sat around for a few minutes staring glumly at /trade where nothing was going on, then I logged off and went to read a book.

So, um, sorry to be so inconclusive. As a bonus, here's a set I'm considering for my tanking transmog set!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Decency and Vote Kicks in PUGs

"What the hell is wrong with you," said the healer to the Hunter, "Why did you run towards me? You got me killed."

Typical PUG grandstanding and raging over a wipe in a 5-man, nothing too new or unexpected. Except, this was on the PTR, on the last boss of a new dungeon that most of us were doing for the first time. I looked at the words on the screen and paused for a minute before beginning to type. I politely explained that this was probably the first time for most people here, and now that we know what not to do, we shouldn't have a problem.

"I just wanted to let him know he was being stupid for killing me."

Again, I began to type, and explained that since we didn't cover the fight before pulling, we couldn't know what to expect from a new mechanic.

"Doesn't change the fact that he's stupid."

I was expecting a vote-kick window to pop up in front of my face to get rid of the hunter, who hadn't said a word this whole time. I'm sure he was feeling bad enough without this guy ripping into him for no reason.

"I think you could have pointed out that he misunderstood the mechanic without being rude," I said, expecting that I would be kicked as well at this point for talking instead of pulling.

Except, that one of the other members chimed in, talking about the need for civility, politeness, and understanding when we're doing new content, and the hunter thanked us for not kicking him. The healer didn't find anything else to say at that point, so we pulled, killed the boss, said our thank-yous and went our way.

I don't know if that healer would have initiated a vote-kick if I hadn't jumped in right away, I don't know if the other two people would've just mindlessly clicked "Yes" when the window popped up, maybe they would have declined and one of them would have said something.

But I felt like I was taking a risk just for speaking up in the hunter's defense.

As a tank, my queue times are irrelevant so I wasn't really bothered about being kicked, the risk for me was minimal, but I can completely understand why the other two DPS stayed quiet.

They don't get an instant queue if they get kicked. They have to wait another 20 minutes, a half hour and maybe re-do the dungeon all over again. I know because I think the same thing when I'm PUGing on my Warlock - I don't want to do anything to give cause for vote-kicks. I don't want to draw any attention to myself. It's practically Orwellian how much power the group, in particular the tanks and healers have over a PUG.

I don't know how to fix it, but I think, based on what I saw yesterday, most people are going to side with polite behavior, and empathize, especially when the anger is as unjustified as it was in this case, so long as someone takes that first step - someone needs to speak up on behalf of the victimized member, even if a mistake was made.

No one deserves the kind of treatment DPS get, when they make a single mistake. It makes me want to PUG more just to add to the list of people who will vote "No" when frivolous vote-kicks fly.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Why am I logging in again?

I've been having a "blah" few weeks in WoW that are leading up to severe boredom.

Our progression has stalled to a point where it's just log in on autopilot wipe on heroics for a while, then switch to normal and sleepwalk through kills. I don't mind it so much, it's just not very much of an incentive to log in and be excited to raid. It kind of doesn't matter how well I play, or how well 90% of the raid plays, if one or two people aren't pulling their weight, the raid fails.

I could use one more upgrade from normal modes, but otherwise, I could more or less walk into Dragon Soul with what I have on now and probably clear through most of that content without feeling undergeared.

I've been trying to play alts more, and getting to DPS on my warlock or playing my DK is quite entertaining, and I kind of want to focus on one of them a bit more, but I can't, really. I need to be on my Paladin for Raids since we're pretty low/short on tanks. And my DK is horde side on another server anyway.

Honestly, the only really fun stuff I'm enjoying in game right now are the PvP nights on my Warlock. I'm slowly, slowly, slowly getting better, I think. Our 3's team hit 1400 ranking after only two weeks of play. But we only do the 8 or 9 wins we need to cap out Conquest so it's not even like it's a long-term thing. It's just about two hours of fun and then it's done till the next week. Our Warlock/Priest/Rogue combo is pretty great... when we remember to save the healer from melee cleaves but otherwise we do pretty well for a team that's still finding its feet. I think with how geared we're getting we'll do very well in the next season as we zone in the first week in full Ruthless gear.

And I kind-of have fun on my Horde DK lately, as I've geared her up through at least T11, when I can find some PuGs for her but her server seems to be a bit slow in terms of PuGing content and I can't always find stuff to do so I just wind up running dungeons and being bored there too. I would actually love to DPS on her but searching for slots for DK DPS is pretty goddamned fruitless - still, Blood tanking is different enough from Paladin tanking to be entertaining.

But anyway. Again. What's the point? Working on my 'lock or DK would involve raiding with another group and I just don't have the time for it. I want the commitment I have to my raid group to pay off.

So it all leads up to, what's it all for? I don't know. When progression on my main stalls for me, everything goes out the window - all motivation to log in and raid just evaporates and I just roll my eyes when we swap to normal mode and kind of tune out, more or less. We've been killing normal modes for months now. It's literally like running a heroic at this point, down to one-shotting Rag last week with a death in phase two.

There are different reasons people play this game, and when I hear about how many other groups can't do Firelands or whatever, it doesn't matter - I'm never comparing myself to those behind me or ahead of me, I'm just comparing myself to the expectations I have set for myself.

I think that any decent raid group should get through more than 50% of the content provided to it. Normal modes are the first 50% of content in any tier, that's more or less how Blizzard has setup the raiding game. If you can't get through a majority of hard modes pre-patch, then that's content you're missing out on.

That's what I want to do. I don't want to go back and get kills after I've geared up in Dragon Soul, I want to kill these fuckers now when it's still relevant. When I'm not working towards that, I'm tapping my feet wondering why I'm logging in instead of working on another project.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

HOW TO: Ragnaros 10-man

Since the first six bosses in Firelands are rather silly and easy post nerf, I figured I might write up how we do Ragnaros as guilds might still be stuck on him. The way we do the Intermissions in particular are a bit different than most guides so maybe it'll be helpful for someone.

Also, it took me a while to do this because I wanted to experiment with making animated GIFs and see how that goes, so this is an experiment! :-) I don't know. Hopefully it's helpful! If you think I'm doing something wrong, please let me know.

There are also some Paladin Tank specific tips at the bottom.

RAGNAROS (10) NORMAL 


2 tanks, 2 healers, 6 DPS
Unless your DPS is very high (which is to say, if you can push phase 2 with 5 DPS taking only 2 seeds and if you can handle Intermissions with 5 DPS), you want to do this with 2 healers.

6 DPS will also trivialize Phase 3 as you can get through it well before a 3rd meteor forms. If you have more than 3 melee DPS, you might have a bit of trouble but it should be okay with a bit of practice.

You want to set up your groups so you have 1 tank, 1 healer and 3 DPS in each group for ease of positioning in phase 3.

Phase 1
Main things to handle: Smash, Knock-back and Traps

This is a very simple phase - positioning almost doesn't matter. Melee should be tight up against the boss on the lip of his hot-tub to his side to mitigate Parry and they will never have to worry about Smash. The ranged and healers can position themselves at a angle to the Smash as it falls. The only way you might take damage here is if Ragnaros lines up a knock-back and a Smash so that you get knocked into a wave - just strafe towards or away from the Smash to mitigate this as necessary. Also, if a trap lands behind you, move away so you don't get knocked into it.

Dedicate a Mage to handle the traps - they will have no trouble with every single one, but failing that you can rotate paladins (bubble), Shadow Priests, Rogues, Hunters, Warlocks.... this shouldn't be much of an issue, just make sure you have the person call out before detonating it and making sure the raid health is high enough to sustain the damage. Doing it after a knock-back once the raid is topped off is probably best.

Tanks should swap off after 3 stacks of Burning Wound, and we found that taunts were actually messy if the debuffed tank kept DPSing due to very high Vengeance stacks. We found it better to just pull off for a few seconds to ensure safe swaps to avoid gaining a 4th stack of Burning Wound. With tight taunting, you can make sure neither tank ever has more than a 3-stack.

This phase should go very quickly and you will get used to the mechanics after a couple of pulls.

Intermission 1
We have a very strict positioning, that we use for both transitions. I'll illustrate using our composition:

Balance Druid - Rogue - Feral - Mage - Priest - Arcane Mage

At the very least, the 2 people at either ends should be ranged, but if you can get four ranged and have 2 each on either side, it would be even better.

This is not a strict formation - the DPS will have to adjust left or right and decide who takes 2 based on the position of the hammer. There will be 2 DPS assigned 4 adds and 4 DPS with one each. No matter where the hammer falls the DPS with single adds need to clean up their add first before shifting over to help with the spares. This is an animated image that will show all 3 positions of hammer.


We trained on the first set of adds with no help from the Tanks until we got it right. That way our DPS was used to handling it on their own and the tanks could cleanly pickup the extra adds in the 2nd intermission without having to worry about splitting attention between the sets of adds.

Now that we have it down, the tanks do help with the adds, but we've drilled it into the DPS that it's their jobs to get the adds down and the positioning is super-simple, as people just need to remember who they're standing next to and they will know where to go. The shifts aren't that complicated either. Just make sure your DPS at either end is careful of the last add on their side as it will go through the lava to get to the Hammer if it's on the left or right, and you do not want melee running into that. Healers can regen mana here for the most part. Also, don't run into the hammer. Hammer.

Phase 2
Main things to handle: Smash, Engulfing Flames and Seeds


Here is all of Phase 2. I spelled it out in detail below, but I think this illustrates it in an easy way.




Pick a side, doesn't matter which one, but you need to gather up while staying 6-yards apart. Staying within Melee is preferable unless Engulfing Flames is on the inner ring. Dodge the first Smash as it comes, wait for Seeds to land, watch out for Engulfing Flames and then as soon as Seeds land on YOU (the timers are slightly off for this, so you need to watch your own feet and move when you see the spinny thing under your feet)! Now, book it to the opposite side using any (safe) speed boost you have, and gather up on the other end as fast as you can.

The positioning is tricky here but every time you move you need to gather up on the boundary between the two nearest Engulfing Flames zones. That way as soon as it hits you can move in or back and not take damage from that. You can drop a raid marker on both sides to identify where you want to gather up.

Shortly thereafter, Seeds will explode and rush you - group up, use ONE raid cool-down here (Aura Mastery, Barrier, Divine Sacrifice, etc.) and AoE the adds down. Now, quickly, either step into Melee or spread out a bit because you're going to get another Smash shortly afterward. This is a not as tight a moment, as soon as the adds die, your raid needs to position itself for the Smash. You have a short amount of time to call it out and adjust. But it's very easy to get focused on one thing and miss the Smash here, especially as you'll have a lot of ground effects going on - know what's going to happen and be prepared.

Right after Smash is the ideal time for DPS cool-downs as you'll have a few long seconds of burn here with only Engulfing Flames to worry about.

60 seconds later, the second set of seeds land - same as before. Run to the opposite side on the boundary of the two Flames zones.

Now, this is the tricky part. 3 things will come at the same time right after the Seeds explode - the adds are rushing you, the Smash is about to come down, and Engulfing Flames is about to go off. This is the make it or break it moment. You WANT Flames to be in the middle or far back so your entire raid just moves onto the lip and avoids everything. That's ideal. But it won't happen like that every time. Chances are you will have Flames in melee range and you will have to do a lot of dodging to avoid the Smash in addition to moving back out of range.

The most tricky thing in both these situations is making sure you tank stays in melee range or Ragnaros will swing and murder anyone else who is in range - usually a rogue (sorry Vesti).

By now, Ragnaros should be sub-50% and you should make a call depending on your DPS and the time remaining before the next cast of Seeds if you want to push him or take a 3rd set of seeds. With 6 DPS this is not a problem, and you can easily push it with 2, as a 3rd will strain your mana and you might not have a 3rd raid-wide cool-down to deal with a 3rd set of adds.

The less time you spend in this phase, the better.

Intermission 2
Just handle it exactly as you did Phase 1 - the only difference is that you want to keep at least one Son alive for a little while and kill it as close to the end of the phase as possible. Tanks should pick up one Scion each and bring them to the center, mark one for focus and DPS can swap to it as their adds are cleaned up. Ideally you want to get at least one add down before transition into Phase 3 but it isn't too terrible if you don't. Your raid will have to watch out for Blazing Heat and not give a fire boost to the Sons but it is generally not an issue with a bit of awareness.

If you can handle the Sons in phase 1, you can handle the Sons here. The only trick is to get one of the adds below 50% to slow it, use knock-backs, stuns, Death Grip, etc. to delay its journey as much as possible and really burst on one of the Scions. Cleaves and such will get the other one low - they each have 1.5 million health, so you'll need to hit a few short-cool-down DPS boosts to get one down before transition.

Phase 3
Main things to handle: Smash, Engulfing Flames and Meteor


Group up loosely in the middle, dodge any Smashes or Flames that come your way, get any remainingScions down quickly, hit Heroism and all your really big damage cool-downs, trinkets, take that potion and go nuts. You have a good, long period to really burst him here with very little, very predictable movement, and you can get him through as much as half his remaining health very quickly if you transition with no Scions.

About 60 seconds into the phase, the first Meteor will spawn. Ragnaros should have 30% - 25% health left. Immediately, your raid should split - remember how you split your raid into 2 5-man parties? Group 1 goes left, Group 2 goes right, and whoever is being chased by the meteor knocked it back into the center once they've kited it to their side. The raid just keeps on DPSing and dodging Smash and Flames.

Here it becomes a game of kickball - every time it's knocked back, the meteor will pick a different target and move towards them. It's also immune for a few seconds after each knock-back, so you want it as far into the middle as possible. Make sure there is one person on each side who's responsible for jugging it so everyone isn't just focused on Ragnaros assuming someone else will handle it.



Ideally, you want the meteor picking people on the opposite side so it has to travel to them before getting knocked into the center again and so forth. Chances are it will target people in the same group repeatedly and if it's very close, have the person run out and kite it to the opposite group. But if RNG isn't being really terrible, you should still be able to burn the boss with only one meteor up. More meteors will spawn every 30 seconds (or so it seems) after the first one, but I think the pace might increase after 3 meteors. On our training runs, we saw as many as 5 at a time. That was kind of. Crazy.

At this point, if you're able to deal with the meteor okay, you should be able to kill him. Knock back or kite, either way, you're very close, and all you need is one clean pull at this point. If Rag is at 15% or so, and the meteors are getting too close for comfort - maybe try and have a tank with high stacks or DPS run out with one all the way towards the back while the rest of the raid pushes Rag over.

I do believe that if executed correctly, you can easily get this phase down. The only trouble is that most people will not get a lot of time to practice this as the focus you need to get through Phase 2 and the second transition has drained you (and the healers) and you just kind of tunnel-vision into getting him down to 10% and meteors hit people and you wipe.

The other strategy is to simply have the person who's targetted kite it away from the raid and have the raid move away from the meteor but it requires a great deal of personal responsibility and if a healer gets targetted you need to hit it right away to get it switch targets. We were able to kill him with both strategies but splitting up and playing kickball made it seem more organized for us.

Also, with this other strategy phase 3 can wind up looking like this.



Please note that while I did make the other GIFs, I didn't make this (very awesome) one, I found it while doing random searches for information. Whoever made it is, obviously, awesome.


Paladin Tank specific stuff:

- Use WoG to heal your co-tank after swaps
- If you go into Phase Transition with a Trap up, you should take it, use a bubble after reaching the apex of your parabolic journey, and you should land okay.
- Use Divine Sanctuary for one of the two Seeds (co-ordinate with other raid-wide cool-downs so you don't use them all at once)
- Holy Radiance after Seeds while you still can (still grumbling about the added cast time to that spell in 4.3)
- You can take 1 meteor hit if you're Bubbled, or LoH someone who just got hit by Meteor to save their life


Good luck!