Welcome back to the weekly raid roundup! For the new folks joining us, every week I take a look at what we did right and wrong on each boss we faced. Sometimes the roundups can be lengthy, while others are blissfully short. I include notes about what we need to watch for and what we should remember from the Raid Leads, so keep an eye out! There’s also a link to the Warcraft Logs for each session, so you can refresh your memory or follow along.
MoD took a vacation at the end of Legion, but came back at the start of BFA to hit the ground running so we could push hard and fast this tier. Our first level 120 popped early on the 14th (congrats, Corignis!), and the rest of us hustled to catch up and spam heroics, mythics, and eventually M+ when they became available. Between old hats coordinating at the start of the expansion and several strong new recruits, we’ve made an outstanding start to the raid tier, culminating on an 8/8 normal clear on week 1 – an unprecedented feat for the Ministry of Defense.
Thursday: Wing 1 (ish)
We downed Taloc in a few pulls (3, I believe? I do not have the non-kill logs due to some mistakes on my end). There are issues of people backpedalling (pressing s) or keyboard-turning (pressing a or d) to run out of the middle with blood pools. Please – turn your camera with your mouse and run! We stacked blood on the left and when we were most successful, had a very tight, large pool on the edge. Remember that you drop more than one pool at your feet as well! Dropping one and running back to the group will cause issues. Early on we failed to coordinate gathering up on Purple / Diamond marked player during the elevator phase, causing a lot of deaths from the volatile droplets. If you can see yourself, you’re too far apart! Admittedly, we were very messy on phase 3. We lost coordination on stacking bloods together, and pulled the kill by the skin of our teeth. For next week, our goal is to pack bloods more tightly in phase 3.
Oh boy. MOTHER is certainly something else. We quickly realized that stacking all ranged DPS in 1 location would make it easiest to dodge damage, but don’t dodge early! We’ll also be including markers on the ground in future runs to keep tanks oriented as well. Problematically, we often waited too long for groups to run through, so we hit her “room enrage” a few times. Prioritize talents that give you high mobility and faster cast times, and move only as much as you need to (side-step rather than run waaay far out). Good job on interrupts for the most part – very few casts got off over the course of the attempts. Good job on avoiding the lasers as well (only had a lot of deaths the first time the mechanic popped up). We’ll have one of the Raid Leads (probably Quetz if she keeps going first) call when the next group should go in based on the health of the adds within the room. Too much down time killed us a few times.
What a vacation! We tanked him in a corner and gave ranged classes plenty of space to both dodge his spit and go for the adds. Melee seemed to have few troubles as well. We got a little lucky with add placement, but for the most part, I foresee Fetid being a welcome relief after facing MOTHER.
Similarly, Vectis was a straightforward fight with few issues as well. He looked scary in vids, but was actually pretty simple. We have a wide variety of defensives and immunities available, which helps a lot for soaking his blood. Remember to save your defensives for soaking – and no more than 1 person should soak at a time! Call for a swap if you’re getting low or painful. We had very few people (fewer than half) utilizing their warlock cookies and personal heals. It’s imperative that we make this fight as painless for the healers as we can. I may do a “warlock cookie” usage chart (much like I did with Potions of Prolonged Power) in the future. There’s no reason not to use them! We may change the strategy of the bounce groups as well. Please pay attention to your Lingering Infection stacks (consider making a weakaura!) and step away from the group if your stacks get too high.
We got a pull in on Zek before calling it a night. Zek had poor add management to start. Our ranged DPS was too spread out, and we did a poor job interrupting ranged adds. As a result we simply didn’t have the coordination to get him down on the first pull. We did learn a lot for the next night, however!
Night 1 thoughts:
Overall, we’re ecstatic with the progress the guild made. 4 bosses in a night for a group that hasn’t worked together in full before is nothing to sneeze at!
We noticed a few basic mechanic issues that need to be addressed. Consider if you find yourself keyboard turning, back pedaling, or simply reacting too slow (or not at all) to the various warnings the game is giving you about mechanics. If you need practice turning and running, ask another guildie to duel you. It will be very hard to win a duel if you walk backwards or turn with your keyboard. This will set you up for good raiding habits. Also, consider if you either have information overload, or simply don’t know where to look for information on your screen. There’s no excuse for missing mechanics that DBM calls “3..2..1” on, whether it’s a “say” over your head or a timer on your screen. Hell – I run without DBM and I can vouch that the base game beeps at you when you receive debuffs that you need to take care of. Practice in LFR this week, as well as in mythics, getting used to how DBM or BigWigs alerts you. There are also lots of YouTube videos available on the subject.
Truthfully, we could have downed Zek as well if we had another few pulls in, but there just wasn’t time. Or rather, there would have been time, but the Warlords noticed far too much inane chatter at the start of (and after) boss pulls. It’s one thing to ask about a strategy you are unsure about – but there’s no need to outline every mechanic, repeat yourself, or share needless information just to hear yourself speak. Downing 5 bosses in one night would have saved everyone a lot of time in the long run – allowing us to get a pull on G’huun on night 2, potentially saving us the trouble of taking on G’huun over 2 nights. We’ll never know – but we do know that we want you to consider carefully how relevant what you’re going to say is to the group as a whole when it comes to bosses! (We could give a crap what you gossip about on trash, though.)
Negatives aside, we want to congratulate everyone on an amazing job well done.
Friday: Wing 2 (ish) and Mythrax
On account of excitement and general buzz, we decided to take a peek at Heroic Taloc. TLDR: Move your cameras to see lasers incoming. If your camera is glued sideways, you’ll never see them. RIP raid.
Rather than discussing failures here, let’s discuss success. 2 death knights pulled in 2 caster adds. 1 boomkin typhooned an add, which was quickly followed up by a monk ring of peace, which was quickly followed by a well-oiled machine of interrupts to CC, manipulate, and cleave the casters down. Once we got a rotation set, those adds became absolutely trivial. The melee bug adds were also handled much better. Stacking on the boss’s butt, a’la Argus, made healing easy and cleave a cinch. Surging Darkness (damage donuts) were never an issue for us. Rolling Deceit never spawned an add. We did have a few failures with Eye Beam, but hammered them out for a kill.
I’ll be honest: after our experience last raid tier, I (and a few others) expected us to be stuck on Zul for a while. Instead, we killed him in 4 pulls! Elves did a perfect job of purging the Minions of Zul – I, a troll caster, never caught sight of one during any of the fights. A problem we ran into was balancing boss DPS with add DPS. Eventually we settled into a small handful of single-target specs staying on the boss while the rest of us interrupted hexers and cleaved down the crawgs. As a reminder to melee classes: don’t chase the Crushers when the tank runs Thrumming Pulse out of the group. Take this time to swap to any hexers, or the boss, within the area. During phase 2, we’ll have to be much better about standing behind zul / away form the tank. Tanks need to be faster about grabbing and positioning him. Fortunately, we didn’t lose any players to running off the edge.
Considering that this guy laser’d the fuck out of the Greal Seal, I expected him to be less of a pushover. He lets his minions do all the work, really. Annihilation / Fragment orbs need to be handled better. In general, people are getting hit with too many abilities. Then, people are too afraid of their annihilation stacks, and use the orbs that should be left for the tank. You can comfortably sit around 15-20 stacks. The hardest part of Mythrax is standing 5 yards apart and focusing on who should be attacking their own allies within the spheres. If 2 dps on opposite sides are trying to help, you won’t be helping at all! Also be careful of mass AoE – a well-intentioned Typhoon almost caused a wipe when 4 people evacuated the sphere at once, causing massive raid-wide damage. Obliteration Blast is an easily-dodged ability, much like Ruiner but without the secondary movement. Still, some people are dying to it, and that’s easily avoided damage. We did an overall great job at interrupting the major Destroyer adds, though we had far too many minor adds left as the boss returned to phase one. Overall, Mythrax wasn’t difficult, but we were very sloppy.
Night 2 thoughts:
“Pick up your visual scanning!” Much like Night 1, Night 2 faced problems of people simply not paying attention to their screens. How you could miss a giant purple eyeball over your head in Zek’voz, I’ll never know, but it still happened. We’re starting to see people learn from previous mistakes, though. Zul’s first few fights and add phases had melee constantly running after (and then away!) from Crushers. Eventually, I took over reminding “Don’t follow the crusher!”, though I started noticing fewer and fewer people chasing it down over time.
Let’s talk talents a bit. It’s tempting to pick what you think are the best talents and sit with them throughout the entire raid because it’s comfortable for you to do so. But in doing so, you’re seriously hurting your potential – and the raid’s potential – for easier kills. Talents that are great in dungeons or world quests are often shit for raids (and vice versa) depending on your class and spec, because of how different those environments are. High movement, no downtime, more or less trash, cyclical phases – they all contribute to changing talents.
If you’re curious to check the most often taken (usually best) talents on a per-boss basis, start with this link. Select the boss name from one dropdown and your class and spec from another. Now, some talents may not affect your damage at all, and are more about personal taste. Others vary depending on your role within the fight – are we expecting you to interrupt more often? Spec AoE or Single Target? etc. Think about what the top talents are telling you about the role of the people in the fight before choosing. Since we have a warlock (usually several), there’s no reason not to make a quick port back to town to change your talents between bosses if you need to. Eventually we will have codexes and tomes to cover the change.
Saturday & Sunday: G’huun, G’huun!
Given that we had a lockout for the final boss, we wanted to continue a trend from Antorus and see if we could squeeze in a kill.
Here is one big takeaway:
You. Need. To. Interrupt. Adds.
To throw some shade: I’m a Balance druid. I have a single interrupt that is on a 60 second cooldown. I interrupted twice on our kill. There are several classes with 15-30 second interrupts who did not interrupt one time. There are no excuses for this, and we will be paying attention in the future. You are making healing significantly harder by ignoring one of the simplest mechanics of the fight. (Obviously this doesn’t apply as much for orb runners.)
Priests did a great job of dropping feathers to speed up orb carrying – great idea.
Good news is that normal allows us to stack tightly to make life easy for healers. We’ll be stacking in the middle from hereon out, but that makes running the debuff out much more important than before.
There are continual issues of people not running out as soon as they receive the debuff that drops a puddle, and they wind up dropping it in the middle of the raid. You need to move immediately, and you need to do so without backpedaling or keyboard turning. Also, don’t drop them on the ramps! It slows things down for our runners, which drags the fight out artificially and causes wipes.
If we’re stacked, the orbs take too long, and people aren’t running debuffs out, the raid will wipe when the ceiling starts to collapse.
The strategy that seemed to work best was tanks & orb runners clearing their stacks first, and then everyone else clearing stacks on the second add. The laser then decimates the second, stronger add, while we can focus down the boss. Ideally we only get 2 adds, but once we wound up with 3 adds (where everyone again cleared all stacks). This is dependent on the speed of the orb runners and communication on our part – we want to drop the last orb in after everyone has cleared their stacks on the final add. Whether this is 2 adds or 3 is based on their speed.
We did a good job dodging collapsing ceiling the second time, so I don’t predict this being an issue in our future.
This is our burn phase. There shouldn’t be an add left, but burn it fast if there is one. After that, focus on G’huun. Stack tight for healing, run out the debuff, and do as much damage as you can.
It made us all really proud to see the progress this week and to see people adjusting to the new group and their class changes. There are some mechanic problems that we’ve noticed, and we’re going to be keeping a closer eye on repeat offenders, and offering to work with them to improve.
There’s a lot of chatter, but we noticed significant cuts on Night 2 after Night 1. We hope to keep chatter relevant and smooth until trash pulls.
We’d also like to reiterate our basic rules for raiding:
- Be on time
- Don’t stand in fire
- Use the Discord
- Be kind
Especially be kind. If someone isn’t up to your standards, don’t take it out on them or badmouth them. Offer something constructive, or offer nothing at all.
Remember to check your talents for each boss fight. Here is a handy guide.
We’re all incredibly proud of the work you guys have put in and think that this was an excellent start to the expansion. Congratulations, everyone! Lok’tar Ogar!