Tuesday, March 21, 2017

It goes to 11 (or 10)


This weeks' combination of Sanguine and Overflowing was about as easy a combination as we could ask for. The frustration came from our keys continuing to upgrade to the same dungeon, Vault of the Wardens. You could say I've spent some quality time with Cordona last week. 

The highest our group has done is plus 9, and we decided to make our push for plus 10. Since we had gotten so much practice on Vault, that was key we chose. Our other option was Halls of Valor which I've only done on Mythic0. 

The run didn't start out well. My mic cut out right before we started. I managed to get it fixed, but it cut out again after the first boss. I could still hear, but my team could no longer hear me. Towards the end of the night, it died completely. I've only had the thing about 3 months. It was a Logictech, and I've always had great luck with their products. I guess I finally got a dud.

We knew were pushing the limits our group. Plus 10 gives the bosses a metric ton of health to burn through. The first boss did a mechanic where a beam formed between his glaives. I've never noticed it before. I'm not sure if we killed him too quickly on our earlier runs or he uses different tactics each time. I didn't handle it well and ended up wiping us. The second go at, I understood the mechanic and he went down. Whatever small margin of error we had going on evaporated.

We one shot the rest of the bosses and hustled our way to Cordona. We pulled her with under 3 minutes on the timer. My team gave it everything we had, but in the end, we wound up about 20 seconds short. If we hadn't had that wipe in the beginning, we would have had it. We can try again next week, but the affixes will be tougher (Teeming, and Skittish). Maybe we'll finally see some Maw keys.


Voracity is clearing the early the bosses in Nighthold with little problem. Even our old nemesis, Spellblade, has been one shot the past two weeks. Our gallant band of heroes has hit something a small roadblock in Tichondrius. We tried my friend's suggestion of killing the adds during the 'run and hide' phase, but we found our tank damage was too high, and the healers didn't want to continue with that strategy.

We've got the mechanics down cold, and we are hitting the enrage time on every pull. Either we aren't getting any of the bat phase buffs, or DPS is spending too much time on adds, or something.

The Developers announced a hotfix for Tichondruis on the 17th.

Health reduced by 10% on Normal difficulty.
Enrage timer increased by 60 seconds on Normal difficulty.

With those changes in place, I feel confident we will get Tichondruis down next raid. Our team still has time to finish Nighthold before Tomb of Sargeras drops.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Necrotic and the Paladin Tank

My crew took on Black Rook Hold+9 with the prefixes of Necrotic and Teeming. Necrotic meant that every mob put a stacking Damage over Time debuff on me that reduced the effectiveness of healing. It stacked quickly, especially on the larger pulls, and pretty soon my Light of the Protector was healing for single digits. The way Necrotic is generally handled is with coordinated group stuns and kiting.

I'm Stunned -- actualy I'm not

One of the problems I ran into is that Paladins lack an AoE stun. Sure, we have Blinding Light, but it's a disorient, and it breaks on any non-Holy damage. It's great when you are soloing, but unless you run with all Paladin group, the disorient is going to break in about a millisecond. Other tanks have true AoE stuns that do not break on damage. They can assist with the stun rotation. I can't. Consecrated Ground / Divine Steed helped a little bit with kiting, but I still was wishing for a true stun like other tanks have.

Phenomenal Cosmic Power, Itty Bitty Health Pool

The other problem I had is that Paladins are balanced around our ability to self-heal which leads to us having the smallest health pool of any tanking class. Necrotic takes all that self-healing away. I died on many pulls. The spider and bat gauntlets were painful. At one point, I wasn't sure we were going to be able to clear those bats. Druids have a giant health pool, Warriors have the incredible mitigation of Ignore Pain. Monks have the 100% avoidance built into Exploding Keg.

First time in a long time I felt like being a Paladin tank was a significant hindrance to my team. 

Even though we slogged through and finished the dungeon, we failed the timer. It felt like Necrotic had exacerbated every one of my weaknesses and while I knew it wasn't true, I felt responsible for the our lack of success.

Digging Deeper

I was frustrated and angry when I logged off and banged out a rant of a blog post that thankfully stayed safely in the 'Draft' folder. The next day, I could look at it with a bit more clarity. At about 875 item level, +9/10 is about the limit of our group right now and Black Rook isn't the easiest dungeon on Mythic +anything. I also hit up Twitter and Discord and discovered that there were elements of my kit like Blessing of Spell Warding or Final Stand that I had not considered. I face-palmed pretty hard.

I love playing my Paladin tank and I enjoy the way our healer roots are incorporated into our tank kit. In a strange way, I'm looking forward to Necrotic coming up again in the rotation to see how much better I can do with what I've learned.