Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Achievement Game

My Raid Team has cleared all the 'normal' content, and can do it quite easily. So now we set our sites on Hard Modes and Achievements.

We have our sites set on 3 Achievements at the moment: You Don't Have An Eternity (6 minute Malygos kill), Twilight Zone (Sartharian with 3 Drakes), and Undying (no deaths on any boss fight in Naxx).

We decided to start with Malygos.

I was tanking Malygos and not moving him at all to allow for maximum DPS. Our resident Death Knight would Death Grip the Sparks into position. This was the first time since I dinged 80 that I've felt pressure on threat. Our DPS was really cranking. When we got to Phase 2, I would tank the guys on the ground while Ranged DPS took out the guys in the air, and then they burnt down the ground Adds.

We were actually looking good going into Phase 3. We tried having just one Dragon heal the raid, but it was just too much and dragons started dropping from the sky. We jumped off the mounts and reset it.

We made 2 more attempts, and finally just said that no matter what we'd go for the kill. Our best time was 6 minutes and 50 seconds, meaning we need to shave about a minute off our time to get the Achievement.

Next up, we were going for our first attempts at 3 Drake Sartharian. We had a Feral Druid on Sarth, a Death Knight on Drakes, and myself taking the Whelps and Elementals. I kept hearing the voice of the raid leader from that Onyxia video "Many Whelps, right side!"

I can't remember where I read it, but some had posted that when Sartharian calls Tenebron and yells "Tenebron! The Eggs are yours to protect as well!" what he should really say is "Tenebron, get your fat dragon butt over here and help me!"

Whelp tanking is probably the hardest thing I've tried to since I was a Flame Tank on Illidan. Basically, you have to pickup about 6 to 8 Whelps while dodging Fire Walls and Void Zones or whatever those blue circles of death are called. You don't know exactly when or where they are going to spawn and if you miss them, they will gib a healer before they are even fully rendered on your screen.

I know at least 1 or 2 of our wipes was due to Whelps. We also had our Death Knight die to a double breath from the Drakes, and we had multiple people die when one of the Drakes decided to breath all over the raid. There is definitely an element of randomness to the fight.

I feel like we made progress even if we didn't defeat it. The best part of the night to me was that despite the wipes and struggles, the general feeling of vent was light, and we were even able to crack some jokes and have some laughs.

We are really trying to push these 3 Achievements as they seem to be the hardest ones between us and Glory of the Raider. I know our team is pushing because the mounts will be removed once 3.1 goes live. Even if we don't get the mounts, it would be good to still down Sarth3D.

Hard Modes and Achievements are really a stroke of genius by Blizzard, and it is just amazing to me to watch a fight scale from faceroll easy to feeling just as impossible as that first pull of Maulgar.

If any of my readers have done Whelp tanking on Sarth 3D, I'd love to hear any tips or suggestions you might have. You can either leave them in the comments or email them to the link on the right had side of the page.


Kalon said...

While the void zones and lava waves are random, it is absolutely clear exactly where a portal will spawn. You can put a consecrate on the portal when it spawns (there's an emote for it) and it should tick at least once before the whelps leave it and give you aggro. Once that happens you'll be okay for a while.

Our paladin sits on top of the portal waiting, and only moves when a wave happens - which is pretty common. Even though he has to move though, he can get them with the consecrate.

A second trick is to use a holy pally as a healer and have them have RF. Adds just fly directly to them, and you can do a macro to always taunt off of that healer every few seconds.

Darraxus said...

I just did Sarth plus 1 after failing at Sarth plus two, and it is probably the most fun fight I have done in this expansion.

Hana said...

My guild switches the whelp and drake tanks from what your guild seems to be doing. We have the paladin tank the drakes and the death knight tank the whelps. We used to try it the other way around (pally on whelps and DK on drakes), but we changed it for the following reason: Death and Decay is a targeted AoE. While we paladins have to drop Consecrate wherever we're standing, D&D can be tossed anywhere.

The DK can be off tanking the fire elementals away from where the whelps actually spawn and still be able to get aggro on them. A paladin has to drag any existing adds over to where the whelps spawn to drop his/her Consecrate. (You didn't mention who takes the elementals in your fight, but we combine that with the whelp tank.)

I normally do this fight on my moonkin, and I have a Starfall AoE that hits everything in 30 yards around me and unsurprisingly tends to get me the attention of any loose adds. The whelp tank actually likes this because he knows where to get all the adds (and being moonkin I'm a little durable). It's similar to what Kalon says about a holy pally with RF up.

If your guild is doing it right, you should only have one wave of whelps to deal with so once you have all of them, you shouldn't have to catch a second wave.

Honors Code said...

I get the Whelps and the Elementals.

Mouradin said...

It really just takes a bit of practice on picking them all up. As Kalon said you can also have a pally healer with RF on to grab agro which means you don't have to move near as much (which makes it alot easier to do without people dying)

Argent said...

I've tanked 10 and 25-man +3 kills as the "adds" tank -- it's definitely one of the harder fights in the game. You really need to use all your tricks: zoom in and out as needed for visibility; I use "v" to toggle enemy name plates to spot the red elementals on the red floor, and use most of your abilities.

On our first kill, I did the following:
- Misdirects for our warrior drake tank (Judge+ShoR=>his taunt to give him threat)
- Hand of Protection (twice)
- Hand of Salvation
- Hand of Sacrifice (drake tank at 15% after double-breaths)
- Blessing of Sanctuary (once the adds stopped hitting so hard, I ran OOM)
- Blessing of Kings (on a battle-rezzed healer)
- Hand of Reckoning
- Righteous Defense
- Lay on Hands
- Divine Protection
- Divine Shield (to clear the flame wall debuff)
- Judgement of Wisdom on dps target
- Judgement of Light on dps target

It was really awesome to see him go down for the first time. The 2 weeks leading up to the kill were really tough, and I ended up learning a bunch of stuff. For example, I changed my "taunt" key from Righteous Defense (with the glyph) to:

/cast [harm] Hand of Reckoning
/cast [target=mouseover,help], [help] Righteous Defense

after I taunted Sarth the second time due our DK getting healing aggro on an elemental. (I taunt elemental, get elemental + up to two others == Sarth breathes on raid.)

The stuff that causes us the most problems now is still the randomness of the fight:
- which direction the flame wall comes from when the whelps spawn
- elementals spawning during a flame wave/being kited through a flame wave.
- DPS on the first and second drakes.

You want to have Tenebron very close to down when the whelps spawn, and Shadron down around 50% or below when Vesperon lands; your dps then needs to slow down as soon as twilight torment is up.

Since we've been running a caster group, I've been dropping Judgement of Wisdom on the drake until Vesperon lands, then switching to Judgement of Light. Just drop it every 20 seconds or so while you're moving and kiting adds, it helps with the damage from twilight torment plus my spec has Heart of the Crusader, so I'm giving another 3% crit to the casters. If you're a melee group with a ret pally, you probably don't need to worry about this.

Another trick is to get fairly taunt-happy to keep the adds under control, and to solo-kill the non-enraged elementals once you've got 4 or so on you. Often, when the whelps come out, I end up losing a few onto healers (I hit the others with HotR!), so I'll target the healer with aggro and cast my taunt macro to pull the three back.

You can also reduce a lot of damage from elementals by kiting them -- if you have runspeed or PoJ (I have PoJ), you can outrun them when you're chasing the next add. Just remember to strafe away from them so you're not putting your back to them, I think you can block the elementals attacks. Fire Resist aura is also great here, of course.

For addons, I'm using Grid with threat indicators, plus staying fairly zoomed out so I can spot elementals wherever they spawn. We do it with 3 tanks and 2 healers, although I've heard it's possible to do 2 tanks and 3 healers or some such.

Ironhorn said...

I play a warrior and tanking the whelps and fire adds is definately the most fun thing I have done in the x-pac. Theres something really satisfying about seeing that many numbers pop up on your screen when you hit thunderclap.

Not much use to you I know but I found vigilence on our bear main tank to be extremely useful since it means my taunt is nearly always up. From what I've been hearing pallys can have a tough time if adds spawn in between consecrate ticks, maybe thats whats happening when they get loose.

If you have a lunatic of an elemental shaman that keeps thunderstorming (think thats what the 20 yard knockback is) because hes low on mana then things get even more chaotic.

One thing I have found really helps is having the ranged and healers stack up so the adds all head more or less to the same place when they spawn. Have hunters misdirect and rogues tricks of the trade any that you miss.

Erik said...

50 minus DKP!!

Anonymous said...

We use 4 tanks, Blood Spec DK on Sarth, Warrior tank on drakes, Warrior and Prot Pally on whelps/elementals.

Makes life alot easier.

Don't pop heroism until the 2nd drake lands btw.

Sithy said...

As someone else mentioned we generally have whelps tanked by a DK instead of a paladin (myself).
I've done adds but DK/Warrior are better suited for grabbing the whelps quickly before they eat a healer.
Either way Paladin threat is pretty OP on drakes when DPS is going nuts.

The big things to watch as you get near your first kill.
1 whelp spawn. If you get two your DPS is a little low (sometimes tenebron casts fast, which is annoying)
Shadron dead. Once shadron is down the fight is essentially over so long as your raid us up and a group of people is dealing with the acoyltes downstairs.

We have tried the fight with 2 tanks / 3 healers, its doable but there is still a good chance the whelps will rape your healers.

Sarth3D is the hardest fight in game, even for a guild that does 25 man content, good luck its a fun one.

Also tips on 6 min Maly. These both apply to 10 man and 25 man.
- You're only allowed 1 Vortex period. The 30 seconds you lose during that vortex is pretty much good game when you get to phase 3.
- Ranged on flying adds or melee adds it doesn't really matter.
- Phase 3 roll with 2/5 drake healers. 2 for 10, 5 for 25.
- Dropped stacks can't happen, therefore you need to heal through the nuke damage.
- It's a good tip to tell everyone to use their shield in the first or second focus'd magic, after that the healers are warmed up and good to go.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - some people are talking about 10, and some are talking about 25. You seem to be talking about 25, but I think all the people you are responding to (including Honors) are talking 10.

In the world of WotLK, it is essential for people to label which version that they are doing - but a lot of people don't.


The Renaissance Man said...

We're getting ready to tackle the twighlight zone too. I thought up a technique that might help on picking up adds. Have a holy paladin healing one of the off tanks. He takes up position right behind the drakes. He turns on righteous fury. His threat outstrips all the other healers and all the adds go right to him. You sit right next to him, and spam every multi mob technique you've got to pull them off him, and the DPS just AOEs the adds and the drakes down at the same time.

We haven't tried it yet, but it seems like a good plan.

Thorned said...

Imho its not the best idea to set the consecrate exactly on the portal because the whelps will start to fly to healers right of the bat. Better let your raid mostly position on the northern part of the island which should be no problem because they will start with killing tennebron. There will be a lava wave some time after the portal and after that lava wave the whelps will hatch.
Before that wave set a consecrate between the portal and your range dps & healers. Position yourself where your healers are and prepare to set the next consecrate exactly at that spot as well as doing every aggro skill in the book.

Normaly with this tactic its fairly easy.. whats way harder imho is to the randomness of the blazes.. and because the raid is often spread over the island they spawn everywhere. Sometimes mages frost a whole pack of them right before a lava wave which can be a lot of fun (not). Especially while you are tanking the whelps you are somewhat limited and can't pick up the blazes as without whelps.

As has been mentioned before you shouldn't have more than one whelp phase. If you have problems with the damage on the first drake you can use Heroism right there. Less people die because of blazes, you don't have tennebron and shadron there at the same time which also helps a lot and you still have enough time till vesperon at that moment.

It really was a fun fight :)