Tomb of Sargeras: A Peep into Wailing Halls

tomb-desolate-host-wing-2

Naturally what I did yesterday was a testing run in the new wing by Micromantica, doubled today by yet another caster – Faerella the Warlock.

The next wing consists of 3 bosses: Demonic inquisition, Sisters of the Moon and The Desolate Host.

In this wing I start to understand the whining about logistics – it really is tricky. But not so much on your second run.

Demonic Inquisition is a pair of fellow dudes who argue about whether flesh or soul is a subject of torment. I liked these bosses very much. Their looks design is awesome, and torture mechanics are totally comprehensible: just stop hitting them during a specific spell, is all. Neither of my tries brought me to the second room. Well, Faerella got this debuff by the very end, but bosses were supposed to die in 10 seconds (which they did), so I didn’t see any reason to try and see the other room.

After that we fight the same infernals in Goroth room – I hate when we have to kill the same trash in different wings – and then we descend to Elven rooms. Few packs of trash – really not annoying, well done, Blizzard, and we reach Sisters of the Moon boss.

I didn’t even notice how we killed them. First of all, I liked the wrestling-type boss change: when you deal with one and the same health bar, and they just give each other high five and change one by one as you do so. Really cool (and Elisande-type replenishing health bar, thrice – is not). The moon mechanics is probably the easiest movement requirement during a boss fight. You may go to the other floor color if you feel so, or you may do nothing and still be good, because the needed color will reach you anyways. So it’s just stepping out of a rare bad and nuking an add owl. Piece of cake.

Then comes The Desolate Host fight. Micromantica spent the whole encounter dead. She knew someone should go to the spirit realm, so she did. Something killed her immediately far away from any boss, and she never learnt what. Apparently not many guys, like myself, knew the encounter, because there was only one healer among very few people in spirit realm, and she had some tough times. Anyways, the boss went down. On my next try Faerella stayed in corporeal realm, but the group was better, so it split in two without any discussions. The boss just died, no troubles at all.

Is it because people already got some loot in previous weeks, but the wing seems very simple compared to the first one. The encounters are fun enough, and I won’t feel tedious when re-running them for loot. Second wing’s cool.

Tomb of Sargeras: A Peep into The Gates of Hell

Tomb-of-Sargeras-The-Gates-of-Hell-Sasszine

Although finishing EN/TN raid tiers is still my raiding priority these days, I’m also starting to explore the new raid.

I’ve completed three runs by now. Aurinko the Priest got a healer’s trinket, Backston the Hunter got her tier wrists, and Paitsu the Monk who went as a healer got gauntlets and legguards from her tier – and without extra coin rolls.

I liked the lore very much. Probably my most favorite theme in every game, cartoon or movie is assembling something big out of parts. I’m a fan of Elements or other concepts alike. So no wonder that the whole thing of Pillars of Creation is my thing 100%.

In every wing we will be putting the Pillars in their slots – and before we assembled them. By the way, it must be checked if they are removed from storage in Dalaran after you get the raid achievement :) Would be awesome.

The first wing is water-themed, and naga are bound here perfectly.

  • First, the Tidestone is the element of water.
  • Second, the naga have nothing to do with Legion, but they continue their story arc from Azsuna and the following dungeon. Their arrival is quite logical, as they wait us here – a perfect deduction from their side to get a Tidestone. Of course they can’t retrieve it from Dalaran! It also explains the naga arrival near the Tomb in Broken Shore, although those on surface are a corrupted kind. I don’t think that Azshara would greet her soldiers back demon-corrupted – she has bonds with the Old Gods, who are the ultimate nemesis of the Legion and vice versa. Maybe those ones in the surface were left as a supporting base camp, and the main forces went into the Tomb? So the bored soldiers got corrupted :) If Sassz’ine retrieved the Tidestone successfully, I guess she wiould beat all the shit out of the renegades then.
  • Third, it’s a direct link to the flooded, naga-filled tube we were passing through in the original Tomb of Sargeras in Frozen Throne expansion for Warcraft 3. Remember?

Tomb-of-Sargeras-Warcraft-3-Frozen-Throne

I conclude that the room in Warcraft 3, where we learned about that naga were elves once, is the same room where we fight the naga lady Sassz’ine. On my next trip there I’ll run around after the raid ends – for exploring and matching both maps in my mind.

The raid design is beautiful – I don’t even mind the darkness. Since Warcraft 3, the levels above water were cleared of seaweed and everything.

Goroth is a fun encounter. He is relying on AoE attacks, and following the mechanics is easy and comprehensible.

Harjatan. I’m not a fan of the fight, it’s basically his thick skin to address and some adds to be switched to.

Sassz’ine is cool. There’s lots of stuff to do, the field is tight enough to make avoiding multiple void zones an interesting problem. The only thing that I don’t understand is ink clouds. I know how to get this debuff by stepping in violet pools, but I’m completely unaware of where to carry it and at which moments.

In general the raid encounters design somewhat elusively reminds me of old arcade games, like it was the case with Blackrock Foundry. It’s like the best things were borrowed from them, but not a single annoying one. If the other bosses and wings will be as interesting, it’s gonna be my favorite raid in Legion.

Everything’s good with The Gates of Hell. Well, maybe except a wing name :) Tomb is not exactly hell, and naga wing is about Tidestone and water, not about Legion troops guarding the entrance.

Plans and Tomb of Sargeras Schedule

So, the Tomb of Sargeras raid schedule is up!

Tomb-of-Sargers-bosses

  • June 20 – Normal and Heroic
  • June 27 – Mythic and LFR Wing 1: Gates of Hell (Goroth, Demonic Inquisition, Harjartan)
  • July 11 – LFR Wing 2: Wailing Halls (Mistress Sass’zine, Sisters of the Moon, Desolate Host)
  • July 25 – LFR Wing 3: Chamber of the Avatar (Maiden of Vigilance, Avatar of Sargeras)
  • August 8 – LFR Wing 4: Deceiver’s Fall (Kil’Jaeden)

My personal thoughts:

  • Of course I am interested in Raid Finder only.
  • This means that I will see Kil’Jaeden in August. But I’m somehow not anticipating it with eager – like Archimonde or Gul’dan. I know all his story of course, but he somehow doesn’t feel like a guy we want to kill (although we need to). You really need to grow a big bad before you set him as a raid boss. Kil’Jaeden now feels… like a technical foe, like the Legion mobs in Broken Shore. He sits in the farthest corner in Tomb of Sargeras and does nothing. He’s not present as a nemesis in Broken Shore – well, at least he could comment something during invasions and questing. He’s not seen as a threat now.
  • This also means that I have almost a full month to clear up the Legionfall campaign for all toons, and get my class mounts
  • In a week every reputation for every toon will be Exalted, and I will enter a relaxed mode of four emissaries per day to earn the faction mounts (which is not tiresome at all and very fun)
  • Relaxed mode means that I will have time for Chromie scenarios and maybe earning invasion mogs
  • Other raid mogs as well, current and old

In other words, Summer is rolling out to be a major lull time despite the new raid. I would clear all the loose ends.

The next step of Legionfall campaign is completing 3 missions for Broken Shore in your Order Hall. It seems bugged, because I’ve completed an ordinary and and elite mission, and I’m still at 0/3. My best guess is that only elite missions count, and the ones you start AFTER taking the quest. As long as elite missions take 3 days for the followers to complete, it needs to be checked yet.

I see the light in the end of the tunnel :)

The Nighthold: A Peep into Royal Athenaeum

star-augur-etraeus-royal-ahenaeum

This weekend I’ve obviously queued for a Royal Athenaeum quarter – and ran it with few toons.

My first run on a Horde toon was awful: rage quits, wipes, insults and all the pleasures of an LFR run which is not on farm yet, and people expect the bosses to pop like balloons while they still lack some tactics knowledge and better gear for this to happen.

The second run on an Alliance toon went smooth, and people went joking they would like to form a proper raid group out of this LFR one – that’s how good we were.

The further runs (I guess I did a pair more during weekend) were somewhere in the middle: occasional wipes, but all in all we beat the wing.

What I’m saying is that I saw all the range of group skills during the weekend, so I can be more or less objective.

I’m not fond of Royal Athenaeum.

First, it’s the trash mobs. They are extremely dangerous, and the other time you don’t even know what hit you. When we fought some trash on our way to Tel’arn’s site, there happened some spell which went BOOM – and ALL the raid group was dead in an  instant. Worse, the shal’dorei guards are small, wear camouflage, and you never know how many mobs are there left and whom to kill. I don’t even start with the thing that trash mobs are wandering, and also the raid design suggests that you don’t kill every of them. An unexperienced player would easily bring a pair of extra trash packs into skirmish from behind, and neither tanks nor healers would pull it off.

Yes, the raid environment design. It’s as the least logical as possible.

You don’t feel like you secure passages here. Yes, the raid lore is that we are too small of a group to conduct a proper assault, so the united elven army and us are just a desperate group to reach Elisande and Gul’dan with the least effort possible. Aqueducts worked this way, because it’s our secret passage, and elves secure the grounds after we beat the bosses. Athenaeum – no. Yes, the first boss is a guard commander we need to kill and leave many guards to live if they are not in our way, but why the fel should we get bothered with Tel’arn and Etraeus which are perfectly fine in their playgrounds? They are not even bothering about what’s happening outside of their rooms!

Now, bosses.

Spellblade Aluriel wanders like a common trash mob, and your actual encounter happens in a corridor. Thus, it doesn’t feel any special at all, but neither it feels like a very fat trash mob due to multiple mechanics to follow. So, it’s not a boss, it’s an annoyance.

Star Augur Etraeus is sitting in a tower. It’s perfectly okay, but you will never guess which passage to him you would have to choose. And when you leave the encounter site, you could easily run into another tower just following the corridor, and that’s where the unnecessary mobs attack you, bringing extra pain to the raid group.  The encounter itself is possibly the only one in this wing that I like in full: very beautiful and also interesting. Bad thing is: you should never be in front of his face as a melee dps which is hard to follow due to the boss model design. If a tank turns him to melee camp, and you don’t react in a second, you’re dead. In my opinion, it’s not the kind of challenge we need – especially when ranged fighters don’t even bother. Also I feel kinda claustrophobic in this room – I would prefer some bigger space of course.

High Botanist Tel’arn is pretty cool, I like the inventive mechanics which require much movement and positioning, and the encounter is also your cleave test which was an exciting game for my warlock. The drawback of the encounter is that it is TOO LONG. Seriously, I get severely bored by the last 30%, and 10-20% feel like a torture. Could be better when people dress up a bit, but it’s quite a tiresome marathon now.

I’m not sure if drop rates were fixed a bit, but I get one or two items for each wing. Too bad my toons only got rings, trinkets or necks – in other words, no tier items yet.

Royal Athenaeum will not be my favorite quarter, and definitely not the one I would remember with any good feelings when we’re a pair of expansions away from Legion.

World Quest Aftermath & Gear

This World Quest week has really boosted my toons. Now when I caught some breath, the aftermath is huge.

  • Almost all have 5 followers at 850, ready to cope with all the threats.
  • It means that I also find them often on hold, waiting for Artifact Power missions to pop- which doesn’t happen every day.
  • My toons’ Artifact Knowledge range is between 11 and 18. Well, you can’t actually do anything about it, just fuel the research and wait. It will take at least month to make it from 18 to the final 25 – it’s 5 day research at the current stage.
  • All of my toons have at least 19 artifact weapon traits, the highest score being 29.

Finally, almost every toon is now ready for running LFRs. I think I’m gonna be back on Pandaria/Draenor-style tracks: LFR becoming a focus of gameplay. Take the toon you feel like playing tonight, go queue with it, simple. What’s awesome, is that you have world quests and Suramar to do while waiting for raids.

As I told previously, with all the rewards I just don’t see raids as a gear-up source. Chests from emissaries and world quests themselves are much more rewarding for less effort – even if we talk about LFR! But I want to fill my mogging collection, so I run raids, and ilvl would come as a bonus.

Trials of Valor system is exactly what I’ve been talking about previously. You need to run few cooldowns of the raid, and you get a full set of mogging gear – it’s guaranteed. That’s an excellent system, and I wish it would be developed. You work to get your mogging, and it’s not a random drop, but you could get your gear somewhere else if you don’t feel like raiding.

Speaking of gear: I’ve performed world boss kills for every toon and for three weeks in a row. Gear drop rate by my stats is exactly 25%: I got 3 items for 12 toons every week.

Routines, finally routines :)

bons-valarjar

Bons is ready to tank Trials of Valor

Dead DPS Don’t Bite: Three Tips To Be The Best

Wipes at Xhul'Horac
Ilmari the Retribution Paladin – wiping at Xhul’Horac

Considering raids, especially LFR ones – which are by all means lacking coordination between players – there are few major problems with DPS guys. Even if you’re overgeared and/or perfect with your rotation, showing best DPS numbers, you are a total ruin and shit as a DPS if you have serious problems with other important aspects. Please read and check if you’re one of them.

1. You don’t know the boss tactics. Even on your 10th run you don’t know what this debuff you got does. Shall it kill you? Shall it be shared with others or dragged out of the raid as far as possible? Shall it be dispelled? Where should I run and what to nuke? How come I’m suddenly in the middle of the half-field of “bad” with nowhere to go? How come all the raid received heaviest damage with 15% left and dying? Bloodlust on pull?

Problem: This obviously results in all possible troubles you could get your raid into. Some of the mechanics are surely not deadly which you can solve even with your own defensive or healing abilities. But some of the mechanics effectively wipe out the whole raid if you fail to do what you have to do.

The major problem here is: you don’t know which case is which.

Solution: 

  • Learn. Go read some resources. Wowhead provides the best short DPS guides for all the bosses, for melee and for ranged – and by my experience tactics for most of the bosses are easily and effectively explained in 5 sentences in a raid chat.
  • Learn. Don’t ask the raid “What shall DPS do in this encounter?” You’ll get all hells upon your head and they will be right. Ask specific questions after each wipe: “I didn’t understand what to do with this bomb”. “I ran with this debuff there – is that correct?”. Try not only follow the quick tips provided by dungeon journal, wowhead, and plausible “kill adds” explanation by group members. Try to learn each and every boss and add ability so you know how to cope with it if it hits you.

2. You don’t follow the boss tactics deliberately. It’s deeper, and not that noticed by raid members, but it’s even worse scourge of raids and LFR raids. The reason here is: you presume that all the other guys know the tactics, so they will behave accordingly. So you decide: I will do something I shouldn’t but what is more comfortable with me. I will nuke the boss instead of adds, because well all other guys know they must nuke the adds and they do. I will not stand into this void pool where I must stand because well someone else will do. I will not interrupt spells because someone else will interrupt. I will run through this streak of fire because it’s a shortcut to the boss and this was healed at my latest run.

Problem: It’s the worst problem of DPS which leads to wipes even more often than the previous one. The thing is: you rely on other people to do your job and want to have a good time instead. You may follow one or two major mechanics but be lazy to learn or follow the rest.

Didn’t you think that there could be a critical mass of DPS in your raid who could behave the same?

Didn’t you think that there could be a big lot of newcomers who see this boss for the first time and don’t know what to do?

Didn’t you think that a healer who has to heal off a fire DoT which you put on yourself has to abandon your tank for a while? So this tank can panic and use his defensive cooldowns to survive now, left with nothing when boss will hit REAL hard. It will be YOU who killed the tank and wiped the raid, with your teeny-weeny small DoT on you.

Didn’t you think that a healer would possibly NOT heal off your DoT because it’s not critical – yet? And he has some important stuff to do, healing a tank or a newcomer which suffers heavy damage. But in the next moment you fail to step out of a sudden “bad”, someone will fail to interrupt an add, and BAM! the next critical ability of a boss makes you dead. You are to blame because you know how to avoid it and you failed to do so.

The thing is: small laziness and small fails lead to big, big problems. 

Solution: Brace Yourself. Boss fights rarely last for more than 7-10 minutes. If in a raid, pay your full attention to the fight, be aware and do your best at the encounter. It’s not a constant tension that you can’t bear. You will have a rest at killing trash or when getting your loot.

Victory is inevitable when every soldier does his job. Be the one who always does. Be a reliable war machine. Be 100% sure you did what you had to do and never failed.

Mannoroth killed at Hellfire Citadel
Go Gnomes! Bons the Fury Warrior with the corpse of Mannoroth.

3. You blame others for the wipe. Yes, there are obvious situations when someone leads a critical bomb into the raid or tank leads the boss so that all the battlefiled is one big, big “bad” pool.

Didn’t you think that when an unexperienced tank leads the boss in the “bad”, melees shouldn’t follow but rather step out and wait, even if you DON’T DPS at the time? Tank could be battle resurrected, but not all the melees + tanks. But you’d rather follow a tank and die.

Ask yourself: did I do everything right? If you have an addon, check who got least damage during the encounter. It must be you who got only inevitable damage from boss or adds attacks. Not the one who ran through the fire because you could or thought it could be healed. Not the one who decided to beat the boss instead of adds just because you’re too lazy to run there or were afraid to loose your DPS numbers?

Remember: Dead DPS Don’t Bite. 

And it must be you who did all the possible interrupts. And had best DPS at adds. And you were in all the void zones you could to close them.

It’s not the thing to boast with. It doesn’t enlarge your virtual penis. It only means you did your job right.

Have a nice day!

Archimonde killed at Hellfire Citadel
Gottenbar the Gladiator Warrior with the corpse of Archimonde.

Legendary Quest Items And How To Collect Them

I’m gonna talk about Legendary progress and odds tonight.

From raid to raid, Warlords of Draenor has experimented with systems of collecting stuff for your legendary items. Approach was slightly different each time. The consumed time remains the same – for each step you need like 3 to 6 weeks.

Highmaul – 125 Stones, ranging from 1 to 6 per boss kill. You got at least one for each encounter. To get 5 runes at once, you got this melted stones item to crack – which was very fun, an extra option with a guaranteed prize. Like a Christmas present. So:

  • Quantity: above average (125 sounds pretty intimidating).
  • Drop rate: always
  • Chance for getting extra: yes, with an additional cadeau game.
  • Bonus Stones: yes, from Garrison Orders, Follower Missions and Extra Stones for alts if you completed at least 1 quest for one of your toons.

Blackrock Foundry – 900 Runes. It was scary. I wonder how many guys dropped this quest just because of seeing this number. When you started working on it, it became not that scary. Near 150 runes per run, which brings us back to 3-6 weeks.

  • Quantity: awful and scary
  • Drop rate: always
  • Chance for getting extra: yes, you could get 27 instead of 9 per kill.
  • Bonus Runes: yes, from Garrison Orders, Follower Missions and Extra Runes for alts if you completed at least 1 quest for one of your toons.

Hellfire Citadel – 33 Tomes. It seems like a relief. But it also means a lowered drop rate, otherwise you collect them too soon. If you had 15 items to collect, the drop would be even less.

  • Quantity: good.
  • Drop rate: 1-3 per 3 kills. You can’t do a wing without at least some progress.
  • Chance for getting extra: no chance.
  • Bonus Tomes: no, there are no options, including Shipyard Missions.

So, what do you think is the best drop system? I suppose that I would like the mix of them three.

  • 33 is a good quantity. Make it 25 or 50, but never over 100. It just scares people away, making them think they must grind it forever.
  • There must be a good drop rate. You should complete the quest in 3-4 weeks with no bonuses if you run all the quarters on CD.
  • The items must drop from most or all bosses. It will exclude whining and despair: NO ITEMS DROP EVER!
  • There must be a chance to get extra items. It adds to the excitement when a boss drops more items than usual.
  • There must be a chance to get them outside raids. Make it rare and few, but it adds up to your involvement. Say, if you have a small chance to loot an item from doing a daily, or buy it, or loot from someone. If you want to make it nice – choose your expansion’s feature (like Garrison or Shipyard or Halfhill Farm) and make these items drop from there. Say, you did 10 missions with class champions in Legion and got some loot from this achievement or quest.
Tomes
Microfury’s boss kills

The latter system of Hellfire almost fits. I have the feeling of significant progress if I do all wings. Drop rate is good and the amount of needed items feels reasonable. Although I would prefer extra drops or possibilities to ease the quest a bit.
I’m working on Hellfire Tome quest for all 11 toons, the progress now ranges from 4 to 24. It seems more reasonable now to be focusing on 3 or 4 alts to see the progress ticking fast, and then drag the others. Of course can’t do all cooldowns for all toons in a week now, although I managed to do that at Highmaul and Blackrock Foundry.

There’s a great discovery which I’m using only now, at the 3rd raid in WoD. Not to get tired of repeatable raids, do Epic Legendary Quest and collecting loot simultaneously! It helps with your involvement: t.ex., you didn’t get loot from a boss, but you got some quest items. Also you won’t have to do EXTRA runs just for the quest items. It was my biggest mistake. I grinded Highmaul for gear, and when BRF was out, I had to return to Highmaul, overgeared, only to collect the Stones. Which meant 4 weeks of Highmaul MORE. Now I’m good, collecting LFR Hellfire sets and doing my Epic Ring quests there for all the toons :) I learn upon my mistakes.

For Microfury, who’s the leader now, it required 31 boss kills for 24 Tomes. It means that 70% kills in Hellfire Citadel are fruitful. Blackrock Foundry and Highmaul are easy to get now through good drop rates and assistance from Garrison and Shipyard missions. So don’t be shy: you can pick up your epic ring quest even now and get your ring faster than Blizzcon 2015.

The overall drop system gets better, but it needs to combine all the best features.