(I apologize for the lack of screenshots. For some reason Blogger isn't cooperating today. If I can get it fixed, I'll add them to the post later.)
Our group made its first foray into the new wing last night. We cleared the first four bosses with little trouble. I picked up a Ghoul Commander's Cuirass off Deathwhisper and Bracers of Pale Illumination from Gunship for my Holy set. The other casters in the raid are getting a little annoyed with the drops. We are getting a ton of spell power plate, which I take as the only person who can use it, but very little cloth or leather spell power. I feel sort of bad taking all these drops. All I can say is, guys, it's not my fault. Part of the reason I changed my offspec from Ret to Holy was to keep these drops from being sharded. We have plenty of physical DPS so those drops are always needed.
We zoned into the new wing and we were greeted by the Steam Vents which looks like it will Ice Crown's version of Frogger. I looked around for the mythical lever that supposedly turns them off but I couldn't find it. Maybe it’s only in the 25 man. Of course once you move through the Steam Vents successfully, a teleporter opens up that allows you to port through them.
Before the raid, I had had a heated discussion with one of the DPS Warriors from Perp's Group, our second raid team. That team’s Raid Leader is a Death Knight named Perplexity, ergo, Perp's Group. We're not the most imaginative lot when it comes to names.
This Warrior was trying to be helpful and advising me that our Team's DPS Warrior should bring some tanking gear because, and I'll quote, "you have to use a Warrior to Tank the Val'kyr trash." Now this guy was trying to be an asset to his raid and bring along his Tanking gear to help them clear a difficult trash mob. That's commendable. But there are few phrases that are guaranteed to get my blood to boil and "you have to use a Warrior Tank" happens to be one of them. I raised the BS flag.
I couldn't conceive that Blizzard had made a trash mob that would require a single class of Tank to be able to defeat it. It goes against the entire design philosophy of Wrath. But they aren't infallible, as we would learn later on that evening in an unrelated issue, so I decided to investigate.
When I did, he said it was something he had read (didn't say where) about the Val'kyr trash. He said if they hit you, they made a copy of you. If you didn't want to get overwhelmed the Val'kyr needed to be kited instead of Tanked and Warriors were really good at slowing and stunning it. Warriors are great tanks and have an amazing array of abilities to slow, and stun mobs like Piercing Howl, Hamstring, Concussion Blow, Shockwave, and others. But many of those abilities require the Warrior to be in melee range and therefore in range to be hit. It wasn't adding up to me. Then I told how a Protection Paladin could slow and stun mobs, especially an Undead mob, with our abilities like Avenger's Shield, Hammer of Justice and Holy Wrath. Granted it's nowhere near the depth and power of the Warrior toolkit, but we also had my co-Tank, Boston, a Blood Deathknight who had all of his slows and stuns as well.
When we actually got to the Val'kyr trash it wasn't nearly as bad as we had been led to believe. Boston (Blood DK) tanked the Val'kyr and I picked up the copies made. It didn't make copies of Boston; it made them of other players in our raid. It was rather simple to clear this trash without a Warrior tank. Maybe it’s different on 25 man.
The next surprise waiting for us was to discover that the Upper Spire is trapped just like the first floor. Thank you to Stark (Resto Shaman) for discovering the traps and being the sacrificial lamb destroyed by the group of Giests that spawned when you hit the trap.
There are two Giants near the opening of the Plagueworks. They are exactly like the Giants right before Thaddius in Naxx, complete with the annoying knockback. We miss pulled and got the entire room behind them. It was our first wipe to trash since Ulduar.
One of the trash pulls is two Scientists and two Undead. The Scientists buff the Undead's damage and will turn one of your raid mates into a blob. It's basically a polymorph spell and cleansable. Paladin tanks don’t forget your Cleanse spell still works.
Next up we faced the two mini-bosses, Stinky and Precious. Both have mechanics very similar to Gluth from Naxxrammas, complete with Precious calling Zombie Chow. Stinky has a nice AoE instead of calling for Chow. Both puppies use a stacking mortal strike that requires the tanks to switch from time to time. It builds much faster than Gluth's ever did. I think that it might be a pre-Chill effect that could have dodged, but now it stacks very quickly. You fight them one at a time, but they have a huge aggro radius and you can accidently pull both if you aren't careful.
With the trash out of the way, it was time to face our first new Boss, Festergut. I was assigned to go in first and build all the threat I could. Festergut puts a debuff on you that increases you damage, but if it gets to 10 you blow up and wipe the raid. Fun times. Once Boston taunted Festergut, I ran behind him, clicked off Righteous Fury and went to town. I dropped Holy Shield from the rotation and substituted Avenger's Shield, Exorcism, or Holy Wrath, whichever one wasn't on cooldown. Once my debuff timer got to 10 seconds, I put Righteous Fury back up, and once the debuff fell off, I taunted him back. We switched at 7 stacks initially, but Boston (Blood DK) had 8 stacks up before mine wore off and I could take him back. We announced in vent when we were changing into or out of our 'Threat stance'. The thought being if one of us didn't hear the other turning on or off the appropriate stance the other person could remind him.
Our healers really enjoyed Festergut as it gives you a nice oscillation between heavy raid damage and heavy tank damage. They got to use their whole arsenal of spells and did a fantastic job. I don't talk nearly enough about the outstanding job our Healing team does.
DPS and Healers were managing the Spores and after an initial learning wipe, we defeated him. I announced we had killed Rotface in error on my Twitter feed, but it was actually Festergut.
After killing Festergut, we cleared trash over to Rotface. For Rotface, I was assigned to tank the Boss and Boston would be the kiter. It took 3 or 4 attempts for our raid to learn the kiting, and bringing small oozes to Big Oozes, but we were starting to get the rhythm of the fight. It seemed like every attempt; right around 20% we'd lose control. Multiple people who get hit with Mutated Infection and we'd have two big Oozes up at one time. The Big Oozes actually hit far harder than Rotface himself, meleeing for about 20k on a 5000 GS tank. (I abhor Gear Score as much as anyone, its use here is just to give an idea of the level of gearing of our Tanks.)
We would later learn that Rotface is bugged, and was putting out Mutated Infection at the 25 man rate once you got a certain ways into the fight.
The Devs know about it and have already hotfixed him.
The changes made to Rotface were an effort to fix a bug that fell through the cracks in development and testing. The previous iteration of Rotface in 10 player difficulty used (and still uses) the same timer as the 25 player difficulty version when dispersing its Mutated Infection ability.
What this means, plainly, is that a disproportionate number of people were being put out of the fight near the 30% mark in 10 player (by a large percentage) versus 25 player, making the entire fight much more difficult than intended. http://blue.mmo-champion.com/12/22418863610-rotface-nerfed.html
We fought him AFTER this change was made, and it's not sufficient. They need to just fix it. Basically, right now he's got a hidden enrage timer. If he's not dead by then, you are probably going to get overwhelmed. I hope that the Developers will see that this solution didn't work and come up with a better one. We really felt like we could have defeated him had he not been bugged.
We left with one new Boss down and another with solid progress. Hopefully, the Devs will have a proper fix in my Monday and we can kill this ugly sucker.