My Chars

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Heroic ICC 10 Impressions

I wanted to put down on paper, err virtual in this case, my thoughts and impressions of ICC-10 man heroic boss fights. This won't be a strategy guide as the information on the normal websites (wowwiki, wowhead, tankspot) is already pretty good, but I will highlight some things I think are important, especially from my point of view as a healer.

For all(?) bosses one of the main differences compared to normal mode is an increase in health, leading of course to an increase in required raid DPS before the enrage timer which almost all bosses have. Since a larger health pool is a given, I won't mention it below per boss, but you can assume this is the case.

Lord Marrowgar - There are 2 main differences in this fight between heroic and normal mode. The first is the blue flames emitted move more slowly and cause more damage. Our normal tactic on L.M. is for all the raid except hunters to stand right on the boss hit box (behind of course), forcing him to spew those out to his only targets, the tanks (or the occasional hunter who has to stay at range). On heroic this makes it slightly more difficult for the tanks as they need to "dance" more to stay out of the fires. I don't really think this is a huge deal but it did mean more raid damage (tanks moving -> boss moving -> people suddenly find themselves outside hit box and targeted by flames...), so this is something to be expecting as a healer.
However while not a huge deal in the first phase, Bone Storm now becomes a hell of long-lasting, slow moving blue fires covering nearly the entire floor. Add to this the 2nd change which is bone spikes which continue to occur during Bone Storm and you've gone from a 10-man fight you can yawn your way through to one where you probably will be losing people. Pre-HoT before Bone Storm as much as possible and keep yourself alive - a dead healer heals no one. We managed to get Marrowgar down after a few wipes but it was certainly not easy.
I think in terms of tuning the fight for heroic mode, the devs got this one right. Now so easy that the "heroic" tag is a joke, not so hard as to make it impossible.

Lady Deathwhisper - During the first phase, the occasional MC (which does not happen in normal 10 man) can make life difficult for a 10 man team, as it takes DPS away from the adds/shield. We tried 2 tactics, in the first we stood in the platform behind L.D., relatively bunched up. The adds were then killed with AoE used to take down the shield at the same time. While this worked to get us to phase 2, bunching up meant a lot less room for mistakes, leading to wipes due to loose adds or MC'd people killing healers or other DPS before they could be CC'd.
Standing in the normal place in front of the boss, between the add spawn areas, meant more control but much less DPS on the shield so that we had trouble reaching phase 2. That's actually funny as in normal mode we can get her to phase 2 before the second add wave...
Reaching phase 2 just makes the fight harder as adds now continue to spawn, meaning the tanks now have an extra headache to deal with while the healers have to heal raid wide damage due to both boss, adds and ghosts.
I think based on our attempts that actually a solution of standing behind her in phase 1 and spreading out in phase 2 might work but we'll have to see. For now L.D 10-hc remains undefeated by us.

Gunship Battle - Heroic? What heroic? We got the I'm on a Boat achievement for the people who still didn't have it while 1-shotting this so-called Heroic battle. Oh well I guess free 264 loot ain't bad, although it would have been nice to be less bored.

Deathbringer Saurfang - I'm actually not quite sure what differences exist here from normal. The main one is the beasts spawn and cast a raid-wide slowing debuff on the raid (80% I think) which means when they get agro on people, they usually hit (unlike normal where you can usually run away). However D.S. was getting tons of Blood Power even faster than the beasts hitting people would explain, so I am probably missing something (need to read the heroic tactics myself I guess).
Regardless, this fight went from "kill D.S. on normal before a single mark" to "get a mark at 70% and wipe at 50%".
Our best attempt was after we settled on rooting one beast (say the left) while all ranged focus-killed (and slowed down) the right. Only once it was dead was the focus shifted to the right one. I suspect that a combination of better handling of the beasts (sometimes they were rooted close to melee) together with faster taunting of the boss by the 2nd tank when the 1st tank has the debuff would reduce the boss incoming blood power enough to let us win the fight.
Needless to say, the healing load when 2-man healing this fight is very intense and a paladin healer capable of keeping up 2 Mark targets using Beacon is worth his/her weight in gold in this fight.

Festergut - Interesting fight compared to normal, which alas I spent mostly face down on the floor (on the takedown attempt), proving without a doubt that the heroic version too can be 2-man healed, which of course was my intent all along ;p
Unlike the mostly static normal version, the heroic fight is made more dynamic by Putricide standing on a balcony on the right side of the room and occasionally throwing one of his yucky Malleable Goo things in the direction of a raid member. These come in (bounce in) rather quickly, so the approach we took was to stand in the left side of the room so as to give ourselves more time to react. In addition we stood in loose groups (still spread 6 yards of course) of ranged and melee, and a DPSer called out "ranged" or "melee" whenever a Goo was incoming.
As long as you can keep mobile while still paying attention to the regular fight mechanics (spores, etc.) you should be okay. We got him down in the 3rd attempt.

Rotface - I'm used to thinking of Rotface as a much more difficult fight compared to Festergut but the heroic version was surprisingly easy and we 1-shotted him. Like Festergut, Putricide "helps out" by adding an element to the fight, only in this case it was the much more manageable Vile Gas mechanic. I guess an unlucky Vile Gas + spew from Rotface + Infection would have killed someone especially with the increase to the healing reduction effect from M.I. but either we got lucky or 3 healers using 25-man gear are more than enough for this fight :)

Professor Putricide - We only tried a short wipe on heroic mode, so the only thing I know from first hand is that the new disease thing which you need to pass around killed our druid healer so fast it left our heads spinning. I have a feeling we'll be wiping on him for a while ;p

Blood Prince Council - It's hard to know what went wrong for us here. We tried slightly different tactics here on different wipes and perhaps that was a mistake, or maybe we were getting tired or impatient. Regardless, the increase in number and speed of Kinetic Orbs left us struggling to handle them while still keeping up good DPS on the bosses, while the movement-causes-dmg-and-slowing-debuff mechanic was truly a pain in the royal behind, especially if as a healer you were knocked back due to a vortex outside of healing range of the main tank. We lost the tank several times due to this. It's especially bad when you have to run from/to the empowered Fire Orb, but that tactic should still be used, regardless.
Pro tip (I only found out later alas) for all you Priests and Warlocks out there - wanding works very well from what I've read on those pesky Beach Balls. So having an arsenal mostly of DoTs and channeled spells shouldn't keep you from helping out with those orbs. Keep a macro handy maybe? Anyway using a wand as more than a stat stick, who would have thunk it? :)
Hmm come to think of it, rogues and warriors might be able to help out as well with their ranged weapons (guns/throwing-knives)? Nah, they will probably complain of the DPS loss ;)

Blood-Queen Lana'thel - Although we failed rather miserably on her council, B.K.L. herself proved to me more susceptible to our gentle persuasion and succumbed to us after about 5 attempts.
Key to the heroic fight is intense healing. With a 3 healer team our best healer, a resto druid, topped 10k HPS on the fight and I switched from Disc to Holy as I was unhappy with my healing output (I think I topped 7k on the takedown fight). Of course going from 2-man healing on normal to 3 healers on heroic means more pressure on our DPS but once they sorted out things like not biting people on time, we were all good ;p
As usual the Air Phase is where you have the most chance for people to die - If you are a priest like me, cast FW on the pull and it will be ready again for the second Air Phase. I used it on our druid (as he was our best healer) while using my Human Racial to break out of a fear in one Air Phase.

That's it for now, I hope when we take down additional heroic bosses I have more to update. In summary I think the heroic versions of the fights are well done and the fights are appropriately hard, except for the Gunship Battle.

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