Friday, 4 March 2011

Tips and Tricks for the First Tier of Cata Raiding

There are a lot of useful little tips and tricks for the different bosses and encounters in the first set of Cataclysm raids, not all of which are too obvious, so I thought I'd share those that have helped me and my guildies out so far this tier! 
I'll start with some general tips before moving on to specific encounters.
Mirror of Broken Images - This trinket (attained from Tol Barad vendors for 125 TB Commendations at Exalted) is an amazingly helpful trinket for any fight this tier, normal or heroic mode (though especially heroic). Although Mastery isn't always useful for every class and spec, it can be Reforged into a more useful stat. While you may not use the trinket for every fight, it's great to have at the ready for when you need it, especially when working on a new and difficult encounter.
The biggest gain of this trinket is its /use - Increases Arcane, Fire, Frost, Nature, and Shadow resistances by 400 for 10 seconds, on a 1 minute cooldown. I highly recommend every raider pick one of these trinkets up to have ready in your bag, especially if you're looking to do heroic modes. The trinket can save your life in a fight and, for druids in particular, can be nice to alternate with Barkskin on fights with repeated large damage that occurs more frequently than every minute (e.g. Nefarian's Electrocute every 10%).
Drums of Forgotten Kings - Note: It appears this may have been hotfixed to no longer work (24 March HotfixesThis is an interesting one. Using the Drums instead of Mark of the Wild or Blessing of Kings essentially gives you a trade-off of 1% less stats (4% rather than 5%) but will get you to a solid 247 Resists across the board - Arcane, Frost, Fire, Nature, and Shadow (including other relevant raid buffs ie Shadow Protection, Nature Resist, etc) as opposed to a normal 195 resist. 
ETA: Several have asked about this, I grabbed a couple of screenshots in our last raid to show this... click: Mark/Kings with 195 Resist ; Drums of Kings with 247 Resist. Both SSs also have Resist Aura (Pally), Shadow Protection (Priest), and Nature Resist (Shaman).
Range Checker - Most Boss Mods will have a Range checker window which are immensely helpful for fights that require you to spread out or get away from other raid members.
Power Auras Classic - This is a great Addon (one I use in my normal UI setup, visible here) which allows you to put in custom Debuff alerts. This is great for setting up additional alerts for debuffs in boss fights to help warn you - they are completely customizable and can be made with various icons, colours, and even animations and sounds. I will list debuffs which are helpful to make Power Auras alerts for each boss.
Atramedes - This is an addon which measures and displays in simple percentages the amount of Sound (Atramedes) or Corrupted Blood (Cho’gall) of everyone in your raid.

Bastion of Twilight
Quick Drake Guide
Time Warden: Grants the Proto-Behemoth the Fireball Barrage ability. Releasing slows the fireballs from the Proto-Behemoth.
Stormrider: Gives Halfus the ability to cast Shadow Nova. Releasing slows Halfus’ Shadow Nova cast time.
Nether Scion: Applies a +100% Attack Speed buff to Halfus. Releasing slows Halfus’ attack speed and reduces his damage done.
Slate Dragon: Gives Halfus Malevolent Strikes, a stacking healing debuff. Releasing occasionally paralyzes for 12 seconds. 
Whelps: Gives the Proto-Behemoth the Scorching Breath ability. Releasing reduces the Proto-Behemoth’s damage done.
As each drake dies, it causes Halfus to take 100% increased damage from all sources. Stacks.
It is generally easier to never release the Slate Dragon, as the paralysis affects everyone and the healing debuff can be handled through simple tank taunt swaps.
Furious Roar (cast by Halfus when he is sub-50% HP) is Physical damage, so Blessing of Protection will protect the target from the damage and knockdown. Useful on a healer such as a druid or priest for Tranquility / Divine Hymn in this phase.
Valiona and Theralion
Twilight Blast - If you focus Theralion, you can easily see if he’s targeting you for a Twilight Blast while he is in the air, giving you more time to move out of the way. Spread out some while he’s in the air so the Blasts don’t hit multiple people.

Important debuffs for healer’s raid frames: Blackout.
Ascendant Council
In Phase 1, the person with the Heart of Ice debuff should be near the group attacking Ignacious and the Burning Blood debuff near the group attacking Feludius for a buff to damage done before the debuffs are dispelled.
In Phase 2, the AE ability order is always Quake, Thundershock, Quake, Thundershock, so you know to alternate the tornado’s Swirling Winds buff and the Grounded buff. You can survive Thundershock without being grounded if you have a cooldown available (Barkskin, an external like Guardian Spirit, etc) but you will not survive Quake without the Swirling Winds buff.
Power Auras Debuffs: Lightning Rod. Heroic mode: Frost Beacon, Static Overload.
Important debuffs for healer’s raid frames: Gravity Crush in phase 3.
Simple notes for healers: When Cho’gall summons the Fire Elemental, there will be damage focussed on the tanks. When Cho’gall summons the Shadow Lord, there will be more damage on the raid.
The Blood of the Old God (the small, oozey adds) can be stunned, slowed, and knocked back.
Good interrupts of the Worshipping channel is key in this fight. AE abilities like a Priest’s Psychic Scream, a Prot Warrior’s Shockwave, Destro Lock’s Shadowfury, etc can be extremely useful for quick interrupts while the raid is grouped up. 
Some guildies provided an excellent macro for reliable individual stuns players can use to interrupt the Worshipping channel. This macro will clear your current target (eg Cho’gall), target the nearest enemy player (a Mind Controlled raid member), cast the interrupt, then return you to your previous target (eg Cho’gall).
/cast (Name of Interrupt)
For a cat, you could put in /cast Skull Bash(Cat Form) into the /cast line of that macro.
Displaying enemy nameplates can also help you immediately identify when players are mind controlled.
Blackwing Descent
Omnotron Defense System
Magmatron’s ability Acquiring Target can be removed by a Paladin’s Divine Shield, Rogue’s Cloak of Shadows, and a Mage’s Iceblock.
Do not do anything to drop threat on Toxitron’s adds if you are Fixated - it will cause them to find a new target and could lead to them blowing up someone in melee range. The adds can be slowed.
Position the bosses so that they pass through Toxitron’s green Chemical Cloud - the cloud causes everything to take additional damage, including the boss. Toxitron’s adds will also take additional damage if you are able to kite them through the cloud.
Stand in the Power Generator pools left by Arcanotron - they will boost your damage and mana regen!
Important debuffs for healer’s raid frames: Acquiring Target, Lightning Conductor.
Disable Projected Textures! Disabling Projected Textures removes the appearance of the bright green and white circles from the Druid and Priest AE healing spells, but it does not diminish the graphics for Pillar of Flame and Meteor (Heroic). This makes it immensely easier to see the fire and Pillar of Flame target spots, especially while in melee.
To disable, go to Options > Video > Projected Textures > Disabled.
I recommend turning it back on afterwards, as other fights have effects which need to be shown!
Resto Druids: Plant your Wild Mushrooms by the spike - when Magmaw is impaled, Detonate them for some nice damage!
Assigning or claiming spots before the start of the fight helps ensure everyone remains spread out when they need to be and that no one crashes into each other when spreading back out after Feud.
For Boomkins: When afflicted by the Caustic Slime hit-reducing debuff, use Wild Mushrooms - they won’t miss.

A DPS can technically tank the Break attacks while the Bile-o-Tron is online; as long as they're above 10k health they won't die. The Double-Attack tank (and Feud tanks on Heroic) must be proper Tanks. (See Chimaeron Raid Guide).
Heroic: In Phase 2, Nefarian begans casting Mocking Shadows, dealing 2,000 shadow damage every second to all enemies. It is important to ensure the raid is fully topped off before Phase 2 begins in Heroic in order to help keep everyone alive to DPS the last 20%. Abilities like Power Word: Shield, Power Word: Barrier, and Aura Mastery can be helpful in mitigating or absorbing much of this damage.
Important debuffs for healer’s raid frames: Low Health, Break.
The Flash Freeze ability in the blue phases causes initial damage and also damages the frozen player when the freeze is broken. Be careful not to DPS the tombs too quickly before the target is healed. Druids can pop Barkskin if hit by Flash Freeze for extra protection.
Abilities like Hunter traps, Frost DK’s Howling Blast (with Chilblains), and Mage’s Ring of Frost can be helpful in slowing and stopping the adds managed by the kite tank.
Prime Subjects in the final phase fixate on a target and are immune to taunt. Blessing of Protection and other abilities are helpful on raid members targeted (especially healers or squishy DPS).
Power Auras Debuffs: Consuming Flames, Biting Chill, Dark Sludge (Heroic).
Important debuffs for healer’s raid frames: Flash Freeze, Engulfing Darkness (Heroic).
Melee - Atramedes has a huge hitbox, stand as far out from him as you can to give yourself more time to avoid the Sonar Pulse discs.
In air phases, the second target Atramedes chases will be whomever hits a shield/gong in the air phase. Assigning a class or player with some sort of sprint-like ability to hit the shields can be helpful as they’ll have the speed boost to kite Atramedes.
Disable ‘Water Collision’ effects - this effect is what causes your camera to dip below and above the surface of water/lava in the game. Turning it off will allow you to just see your character from above the surface of the lava, making it much easier to see where your pillar is and get on.
To turn it off go to Options > Interface > Camera > Un-tick ‘Water Collision’.
Do not try to lifegrip (Leap of Faith) players onto the platforms - it doesn’t work and may get them caught on the lip of the pillars.
Do not jump in and out of the lava when sitting in it (especially on Heroic mode when you need to go into it for Explosive Cinders) - it will stack the Magma debuff faster. If you need to leave the platform, simply strafe off and strafe back, saving the only jump used for getting back onto the platform.
Note: As of the 16 March Hotfixes, toggling run/walk no longer works to slow down your movement speed when Mind Controlled (Dominion). To slow players in order to give them more time to stack up the power buff, try dropping slowing abilities such as Frost Traps and Earthbind Totems. For heroic mode in Phase 1 and Phase 3, have your Toggle Walk/Run keybound and toggle the walk on for the Mind Controls (Dominion). If you are mind controlled, this slows your movement towards the portals, giving you more time to stack up the power buff before you need to release yourself from the mind control. 
If you are Mind Controlled, you will get a new bar - press 1 to release yourself from the MC, press 2 to build stacks of the Siphon Power buff.
The adds in Phase 2 which need to be interrupted are called Chromatic Prototype. These adds do not melee and do not require a tank, they just need to be interrupted while killed. On Heroic, these adds need to die at about the same time, as Nef will begin to land as soon as the first one dies.
Important debuffs for healer’s raid frames: Magma (lava), Heroic Mode: Explosive Cinders, Dominion.
Power Auras Debuffs: Explosive Cinders.
Throne of the Four Winds
Conclave of Wind
If you ever have to go to the East Platform with Rohash, I highly suggest setting him as your focus in order to see if and when he is casting Wind Blast (cutters). 
Also for East Platform, in preparation for cutters it is best to hover carefully in melee range (avoiding tornadoes) before each Wind Blast. This will position you best for moving aside from the Wind Blast. If you are too far at range, you may be unable to move out of the way in time. Zooming your camera out is also helpful as it will give you a full view of Rohash and help you see which way he is facing. If you are still having trouble seeing where he is facing (especially if you are in melee range), watch people’s pets - pets will always position themselves behind their target. 
Wind Blast always rotates in the same direction (clockwise). 
If you are on the North Platform (Nezir/frost), try to avoid standing in the centre of the platform. The raid needs to stack up there to soak the damage during the Specials, and you don’t want a Frost Patch laid down in the centre just before a Special occurs.
The Squall Lines (tornadoes) have a graphic when they begin to spawn, they start as gold and white swirls which pulse a couple of times before the actual tornadoes form. This allows you to see where they’re spawning and can also help you spot where the gap will be.
People can be lifegripped (Leap of Faith) out of the Squall Lines.
Be sure to have your Sit ability keybound - Phase 3 has everyone ‘swimming’ in the air and you will need to move up and down - using the ‘Sit’ / down binding makes it very easy to move straight down.
Power Auras Debuffs: Lightning Rod.

Hope some of these tips are helpful! Be sure to leave a comment with any additional tips, tricks, or ideas you've found helpful in this tier.


dfv said...

I have 120 tokens and was going to buy the Mandala trinket. After your comment about the Mirror trinket, I am not so sure. I am not keen on doing a whole ton of TB dailies again. What to do....

Feral Tree said...

Hhm, I had forgotten about the change to Mandala (Int proc rather than the old Mastery proc). I'm not sure how it rates with that change for druids (assuming your looking for it for druid healing), but generally the straight int trinkets with procs (ie DMC: Tsunami, Fall of Mortality, etc) tend to be a bit better for us, as the Int feeds into our Innervate size to help with mana management, even if the Spirit feeds directly into regen. Suppose for you it may come down to which you'll use more and in what context, the Mirror trinket is really best used on progression and heroic fights, I definitely don't use it all the time. It was a huge help on Heroic Nef though.

TB Dailies are pretty brutal - I find it helps to pair up with a friend to blast through them :D

dfv said...

Thanks for the generous response. I came across a reader comment on Treebarkjacket that the enormous INT proc of Mandala now means that timed with an Innervate, we can get / give away a very serious mana return.

One more question about Halfus and those annoying stuns. Do I have to click off the BOP to Tranquility, and also, I never seem to know when the stun is coming. Is it a dbm timer? What do you normally do in the secs before it goes off?

Feral Tree said...

Hm that is true, if you timed the two together it would be a great increase on the innervate. I definitely do the same currently with my Power Torrent procs. It seems like it could be a good regen trinket (both for the Spirit and potentially for well-timed Innervates), plus the Spirit can always be reforged if desired.
If you're intrigued by both I'd probably suggest gritting your teeth and grinding out the dailies >.< Depending on what your current trinkets are, though, you may find more use overall from the Mandala until you get other trinkets to play with.

Nope, keep the BOP on! The BOP will protect you from the knockdown during the Furious Roar cast, so it leaves you free to stand there and channel the Tranquility while everyone else is stunned. For our first Halfus kills we had our pallies do a BOP rotation on the druids/priests for each stun to ensure the raid would get topped off.

Hm I believe it's every 30 seconds, the first one being when Halfus hits 50% HP. I think BigWigs may have a timer for it, I use DBM and haven't noticed a timer for it on there. He does also do a cast for it, so if you focus him you can always watch for the cast to go off.

Before it actually goes off, I'm normally just positioning myself clear of any fireball barrages should that be going, and covering the tanks with HoTs since they'll be getting stunned as well. Before the Halfus hotfix (which now requires the drakes to die to get the +damage modifiers on Halfus, when before all they needed was to be activated), we used to rotate external cooldowns on the tanks (Pain Supp etc) since they'd be tanking all the drakes while stunned too, but since the change there's a lot less damage generally during those stuns now with the drakes dead.

Anonymous said...

Acquiring target can be dropped by hunters too with FD (or absorbed with deterrence but why risk someone else being hit?)

Feralclaw said...

I just wanted to thank you for this very well put post, it sums up pretty well a few tips and tricks most might no be aware.

Just wanted to make a remark regarding the Drums of Forgotten Kings option, if you do you Mark of the Wild you will get double the Magical Resistances at level 85 than with using Drums. With a druid in a party it's rather pointless to use Drums.

Feral Tree said...

Thanks, good to know, will have to get our hunters to test that out! Deterrence for it would be decent too though especially if FD is on CD.

Drum of Kings actually gets you greater resists in a raid (even though it seems like it shouldn't) - it gives you 247 resist across the board with other raid resist buffs (195 is what you normally hit with mark/kings). Test it out in a raid, it works (at least it does atm, assuming it's not changed in future).