Archive for the Undermanning Category

Heroic Dragon Soul: a bit of math on doing it the hard way

Posted in Raiding, Undermanning with tags , , on August 9, 2012 by Aeliel

Recently, my guild’s been doing sell runs to gather some gold in preparation for Mists of Pandaria. In other words, people pay us a decent chunk of gold and we run them through heroic Dragon Soul, giving them all the loot they want that we don’t need (which by now is most of it – if the RNG plays nice, it’s quite possible for them to walk out with almost a full kit of BiS gear) and, if they pay extra gold, also giving them the Life-Binder’s Handmaiden mount at the end. (We also sell the Pureblood Fire Hawk mount from Ragnaros, since we run Firelands pretty much every week anyway for Dragonwrath bits, but that’s not what this post is about.)

Today, we had a sell run scheduled. However, some of our members couldn’t attend due to RL issues – add to that some people off on holidays and we had 7 people who could raid, 8 counting a social who doesn’t do terrific DPS. What’s a guild to do? Canceling the sell run would make us look bad… ah, what the hell, let’s just go like we are, 9 of us counting the social and the buyer.

We already knew everything up to and including Blackhorn wasn’t going to be an issue (since we’d 8-manned it with the aforementioned social in the raid a few weeks ago), but we were unsure what would happen on the last two bosses, especially Spine.

Turns out we shouldn’t have worried quite so much.

Here’s the damage done on Burning Tendons (the only damage metric that matters on Spine) for our kill today:

1 and 2 are proper DPS. 3 is me – I was tanking the blood, but I was using a hybrid cat/bear spec and I went cat for both passes on the first two tendons (our amalgamation tank taunted the handful of blood we had alive off of me so I could do that). 4 is the buyer, 5 is our social – added together, they work out to one single decent DPS. 6 is a smite-spec disc priest healer, 7 is our amalgamation tank, 8 is our druid healer and 9 is our paladin healer. This adds up to roughly 22.7 million damage.

On our first Spine kill, we had two mages doing 6.22 million damage each, a ret paladin doing 5.41 million, an enhancement shaman doing 4.37 million damage, a hunter doing 4.48 million, me doing 3.32 million, a smite-spec disc priest doing 1.18 million, our other tank (who was taking blood) doing 319k and our shaman healer doing 292k. This adds up to roughly 31.8 million damage.

That is roughly 9.1 million damage worth of difference – the 30% health the nerf takes off the health of the Burning Tendons. Give 2.3 million damage or so to both the buyer and the social, to turn them into the two good DPS doing 4.6 million or so that we would’ve taken if we were doing a 0% run, and give the other 4.55 million or so to the DPS spot we had left empty.

In other words, if a 10-man group can kill Spine with the nerf switched off, you can subtract two DPS from the raid and switch the 30% nerf on – and they’ll still be able to clear the encounter. If anything, it’ll be easier when compared to a 10-man no-nerf run, because everybody in the raid will be taking 30% less damage.

Similarly, here’s the damage meter from our Madness kill today (you can tell who is who – our priest went shadow and we two-healed it):

On our first, no-nerf kill, our DPS (counting me, since I was playing hybrid tank/DPS and spent most of the time in cat form killing stuff) did 54.07, 53.45, 52.62, 52.14, 48.15, 45.16 and 42.76 million damage. Our second tank and our two healers added, respectively, 28.27, 4.61 and 1.25 million damage. That’s a total of 382.48 million damage.

The damage we did today, discounting the negligible damage the buyer did (since we told him to just hit something once then jump off and die), adds up to roughly 273.29 million damage – 109.19 million, roughly the 30% the nerf takes off, less than what we had to do on our first kill.

Give 10 million to the social to bring him up to the level of a good DPS we would’ve brought to a no-nerf kill, split the remainder to get a pair of ~50 million damage players rather than the buyer and the empty spot, and you have the same thing – a 10-man group that can kill Madness HM with the nerf switched off can switch the nerf on and bring two less DPS and still clear the encounter.

Additionally, the timing of the encounter – by which I mean when and how fast things die – will work in much the same way. This wasn’t really noticeable on Spine, but it very much was on Madness. We skipped the second Impale on the first platform but took all the rest; on the last platform, the Mutated Corruption was on ~15% when the blood spawned – at which point we AoEd the blood on it and killed it, then finished off the blood, then the last Parasite spawned and was taken care of; in phase 2, we killed the 5% blood and finished off Deathwing with around 15 seconds to go to berserk. Our first kill lasted 14 minutes 36 seconds; today’s kill, 14 minutes 43 seconds – a bit slower, due to the social not being stellar on damage.

We’ve been asked, sometimes, why we switched off the nerf for all our first kills. And well – this is why. So we have the skill and knowledge to pull off something like this. So we can rise to the challenge whenever it’s necessary. So when Mists of Pandaria lands, and we are racing against all other guilds in the world to clear the content, we’re not at a disadvantage.

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Well what do you know…

Posted in Miscellanea, Mounts and pets, Undermanning with tags , , on July 26, 2011 by Aeliel

Yes, Malygos did indeed cough up one of his mounts on our weekly visit this time around. Hooray! But I lost the roll with a 9 to Alieth’s 19. Awww.

(I’m trying not to begrudge the mount to him too much. Maybe just a tiny bit is okay, since blue is my favorite color and Skadi still hasn’t coughed up the Blue Proto-Drake and my paladin got three Blue Drakes from bloody Oculus and and and grrrrrrrr.)

Ahh well, we will be back. For those keeping track, results from our undermanning activities so far:

Sunwell: 1/1 Thori’dal.
Black Temple: 0/1 blindfolds (I swear to God this thing should be legendary for how rare it is), 0/2 glaives (not that we have any characters that can even wield them… need to move my death knight over).
Tempest Keep: 0/2 Ashes of A’lar.
Vault of Archavon: 0/2 mammoths.
Onyxia: 0/2 drakes.
Malygos: 1/2 Azure Drake, 0/2 Blue Drakes.
Molten Core: 2/2 Sulfuras (and never ever going back unless I get the itch to get a Sulfuras for my paladin, hooray).
Blackwing Lair: still hasn’t coughed up the last Tier2 bits for either of us. (Not that we go very often, but still.)

All that weekly effort and not much to show for it, yeah? Eh, they’ll all drop eventually.

Two-manning: Vault of Archavon 10man

Posted in Strategy, Undermanning with tags , on June 27, 2011 by Aeliel

We did this a few days ago, but I only just now got around to posting it. There really isn’t much special about VoA (and if you wonder why bother to do it, the answer is “Grand Black War Mammoth“), although some bosses can be a huge pain to kill due to their mechanics.

Archavon is pretty much a pushover. I started tanking him with my pet and Alieth was DPSing as enhancement. He does pick up pets, so we ended up taunting him with my main.

Koralon is also pretty much a pushover. He does hit hard, and Alieth was spending Maelstrom Weapon procs on healing my pet, but otherwise he’s easy. My main died sometime midfight because well, she wasn’t doing anything so why bother keep her alive?

Emalon wiped us a few times before we settled on a winning strategy. Said winning strategy boiled down to “ignore the adds”. I tanked Emalon with my hunter’s pet, while Alieth was restoration keeping himself and my pet alive; adds would inevitably go on him, and overcharged adds would explode. He healed through the damage, I burned Emalon down.

Toravon was the hardest. The DoT he applies stacks… well, pretty much to infinity and beyond. What we ended up doing was keeping Alieth as restoration, tanking Toravon with my pet, and once my pet had 20+ stacks of the DoT my main taunted Toravon and started taking DoT stacks. Alieth healed my main as much as he could, but eventually my main died (because the pet version of Taunt, for some reason, does not seem to work on the VoA bosses), and at that point the DoT on my pet had fallen off and my pet could pick Toravon back up. Alieth also took care of Frost Orbs (since he’s specced into Telluric Currents, it helped regen his mana).

And of course, no mount dropped. For all the clearing of old content we do, the only thing we’ve had luck with is Thori’dal in Sunwell. No mount from VoA, Malygos or Tempest Keep, and Illidan the bastard still hasn’t coughed up my blindfold. Here’s to better luck in the future.

Further adventures in two-manning Sunwell

Posted in Achievements, Hunter, Miscellanea, Strategy, Undermanning with tags , , , , , on June 23, 2011 by Aeliel

Guess what we did! (Epic Kil'jaeden screenshot courtesy of Alieth.)

(Two-manning? Well, sort of. Some bosses took three characters. There’s still only the two of us, though.)

Last we’d done anything in Sunwell was back in February, when we killed Kalecgos. Then we’d taken a few shots at Brutallus, got stomped into the ground and went back home with our tail between our legs.

Earlier today, we were discussing what else we could go kill when it was occurred to us that we hadn’t tried Sunwell for a while. Having seen the Hunter solos Brutallus YouTube video, we figured that although it was very doubtful that my hunter could pull 30k+ DPS by herself – well, her pet could tank, and Alieth could help DPS as enhancement, so we might be able to kill him.

So I respecced my secondary spec (which is used as “whatever spec we need to kill whatever it is we’re killing”) from Beast Mastery to Marksmanship (largely because of the healing from Chimera Shot; the spec I used was 7/31/3 – I just picked what I hoped would help me and my pet stay alive while outputting decent DPS), and off we went on our merry way.

Kalecgos was uneventful; we knew we could kill him, we killed him fine, nothing to comment on there. He really can be done with any 3 people, as long as all three can stay alive while having their face beaten in by bosses.

Brutallus was… uneventful as well all considered.  We stuck my druid in a corner to just stand there and look pretty (had our hands full controlling one character each and doing decent DPS), got my valiant pet turtle in front of Brutallus with Camouflage and pulled. We had one wipe very early on in the fight, because I’d forgotten to take the turtle’s cooldowns off autocast and I didn’t have an easy indicator of when Brutallus would Stomp the poor thing… so splat went the turtle, and splat went the rest of us.

And then we pulled him again, and the turtle stayed alive, and with our combined 28k+ DPS we were well ahead of the berserk timer, even with Alieth spending Maelstrom Weapon procs to help heal the turtle. No flasks or consumables needed.

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More undermanning: Sartharion 10 with 3 drakes

Posted in Mounts and pets, Strategy, Undermanning with tags , , on June 17, 2011 by Aeliel

This all started because I didn’t have a Black Drake. I’d killed Sartharion 10 with 3 drakes up several times, but never really gotten lucky on the mount. So I went to Alieth and the conversation went more or less like this:

Me: “You know what I was thinking? We could try to two-man Sartharion 10 3 drakes, we haven’t done that and I still need the mount.”
Him: “I know you still need the mount, but I don’t know if it would be possible…”
Me: *puppy eyes*
Him: “Fine, let’s go.”

As usual: I’m a feral druid tank, 355 average ilvl in my tank gear (I have more 359s than 353s at this point, but the two blue 346 trinkets drag my average down). Alieth is a restoration shaman healer for the purposes of this particular fight, wearing mostly 372 gear with a couple of 359 exceptions.

Basic strategy rundown:

  • Keep your camera zoomed out as far as you can, with 3 drakes plus Sartharion plus whelps and fire elementals there’ll be a lot of ground clutter.
  • Move out of lava waves and void zones. (Duh, but I ended up eating the occasional void zone and one lava wave simply because there was so much stuff on the floor that I had nowhere to move.)
  • The tank will be the primary source of damage, but the healer needs to have some way to kill stuff semi-efficiently.
  • The healer needs to have very good mana regen, since there will be periods of very heavy damage on the tank.
  • DPS Sartharion until Tenebron lands, then switch to DPSing Tenebron as soon as she becomes active.
  • Ignore the portal; the tank needs to pick up fire elementals and whelps off the healer without getting the healer hit by flame breaths.
  • Tank picks up Shadron and Vesperon when they land. Ignore the portal for the time being. Once Shadron spawns his acolyte in the portals, Sartharion will go immune to all damage.
  • Once Tenebron is dead, kill Shadron, then kill Vesperon.
  • After Vesperon is dead, the tank should burn survival cooldowns and the healer should go inside the portal and kill Shadron’s acolyte to remove the damage immunity from Sartharion, then get back out and top the tank up.
  • DPS Sartharion. Once it’s safe to do so (but as soon as possible) the healer should go back inside the portal and kill Vesperon’s acolyte. This can be done in multiple passes, if necessary, as the acolyte’s health won’t reset if nobody is inside the twilight realm. The death of this last acolyte will remove Twilight Torment from you, reducing the damage you take; if you feel your healer can deal with the additional damage, you can ignore the acolyte instead and just burn Sartharion down, but we went the safe way.
  • At this point the fight is pretty much won – keep avoiding flame waves, and of course the tank should still pick up all the fire elementals off the healer.

Interestingly, I’m not sure if this can be soloed by anybody. Unless you can burn him down within 75 seconds (which is when Shadron lands), Shadron’s acolyte will need to be killed to remove the immunity shield from Sartharion, and if you’re alone and go into the portal the encounter will most likely reset. The damage you’ll take is also pretty massive. Maybe a hunter with a turtle or beetle and 2T5, if the turtle does not despawn when the hunter goes into the portal. I don’t know, I haven’t tested it.

Soloing Kael’thas Sunstrider as a hunter

Posted in Hunter, Strategy, Undermanning with tags , , , , on June 17, 2011 by Aeliel

Obviously, this is the Kael’thas Sunstrider in the Eye, the one that drops Ashes of A’lar. I’m aware there are videos all over YouTube showing strategies for the fight, but unlike in those videos, the hunter used here is not wearing ilvl372+ gear, although she is pretty close to having the best gear obtainable without raiding as of patch 4.1 (minus some valor point items, because I started grinding VP on her very late and I’ve been lazy with it).

The fight is quite hard and takes a lot of practice to master. Also – I wasn’t the one who killed Kael’thas: well, it was my character, but Alieth, my boyfriend, was controlling her. (Note that while he’s an excellent World of Warcraft player in general, he had never played a hunter before.)

Backstory time! A bit ago, Alieth respecced his shaman’s offspec to enhancement, and since then we’ve been two-manning Kael’thas with me healing on my discipline priest alt and him DPSing / “tanking” as enhancement. Recently, we got to talking about how we could get a weekly Kael’thas kill for my main too and guarantee me Ashes of A’lar should they drop. A while back, I had mentioned to him that I’d seen videos of hunters gearead in heroic T11 soloing Kael’thas, so he suggested we two-man him using my hunter along with my druid main, or even have the hunter solo him with the druid on autofollow (I have two World of Warcraft accounts). I expressed doubts on whether the hunter was geared enough to solo Kael’thas. Alieth decided he wanted to try, so I logged the hunter in and told him to have fun.

All information about the fight – gear, consumables, addons and a thorough strategy – can be found in the extended entry.

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Further two-manning adventures: Malygos 10

Posted in Undermanning with tags on February 15, 2011 by Aeliel

Took us two wipes to figure out a workable strategy – the third pull was a kill.

Alieth was elemental and our primary source of DPS in the first two phases, tossing heals on me when necessary (Malygos still puts out a fairly respectable amount of damage). He also did his best to get sparks down and overlap them as much as possible – on our winning attempt, we killed all sparks before they reached Malygos and, as a result, we went into phase 3 with 5 minutes left on the berserk timer.

In phase 3, I focused on DPSing Malygos and keeping the stacks of Engulf in Flames going (I had 26 stacks by the end of it), and Alieth focused on keeping both of us healed. We had about 30 seconds to spare on the berserk timer when we killed him.