Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Spoiler Alert: Spoils of Pandaria is a Complete Pain

Finding blogging subjects is a tricky business sometimes. My muse often cooperates, and it’s great to bounce ideas off other blogger posts, but after our raid tonight I have only topic on my poor, tired brain: Spoils.

I don't really want the loot in here anymore, can't I skip this boss?
We spent 3 hours (21 pulls) trying to get through the 10N Spoils of Pandaria fight tonight, and I’m pretty sure that fight was not designed with 10 mans in mind. For folks who are unaware of what this fight entails, your raid gets split into two groups, with 1 tank, 1 healer, and 3 DPS on each side. Then you start kicking open crates and killing the adds inside. You have 4 and a half minutes to kill 50 points worth of monsters and then you have to hit a lever or the raid blows up (because Goblins). Since you’re split up, you’re also missing a lot of the utility you normally have--we were missing heroism on one side, and we had to be careful to keep the battle rezzers on different sides, not to mention with only one healer, there’s no margin for error. If you as a healer screw up, the raid is toast. You don’t have one or two other healers to cover for you.

Crates. They're full of monsters. Why are we opening these again?

We started with the typical strategy of killing the buff adds first, then killing a mini-boss, then just opening all the medium and small boxes. That worked okay for the Mogu side, the first time we completed it, we managed to get it done 6 seconds before enrage, but the Mantid side was behind by about 7 points (which is basically two medium creatures and a small).

Deciding that we couldn’t eke out more DPS on the Mantid side with having to dodge all the things, we tried having both the Mogu and Mantid sides pull two mini-bosses back-to-back (while opening the occasional crate to get cleave DPS). That worked pretty well. The Mogu side finished even faster, with a full 45 seconds to enrage. The Mantid side, however, just could not survive, even when we swapped groups. Between bombs and having to put out 150k HPS for a full minute and a half for two mini-bosses, the healers both kept dying. It didn’t help that with the group I was in, we had two melee because while I normally heal as a Holy Paladin, we needed a healer to go DPS and I’m the only one with a decent offset, so with only one healer and one ranged, the healer was chosen for bombs all the time.

It’s a little bit funny that in Flex and LFR, the Mogu side is definitely the harder side. It seemed to have more stringent DPS requirements and a lot more going on mechanics-wise. But there’s not nearly as much damage going out, and killing the adds was relatively simple. Whereas the Mantid side, between the bombs, the wind bombs, the tornados, the constant AoE, and pools of pheromones, there’s just so many ways for a melee player to end up on the floor if the healer falls even slightly behind on Normal, but it’s all pretty much ignorable on LFR/Flex. My Lay on Hands was used pretty much every single pull, not to mention my defensive abilities were constantly on cooldown. We decided that while killing two mini-bosses on the Mogu side was the more efficient route, it’s far too mana/GCD intensive to ask the healers to do the same for the Mantid side. But still, trying to survive that Mantid mini-boss is definitely our sticking point.

WoW is the only game where you can be max level and still look like a hobo clown. Where's the flood?
Now, I’m not great at Ret (I really prefer my Enhancement Shaman, and Ret is just a poor man’s version of that class, but my Shaman is for our Sunday raid), but my foray into LFR to build up my offspec paid off between the practice and the new sword, so my DPS didn’t hurt the raid too badly, I think. But I would love to try and heal the fight. It looks frantic as heck. I just need to convince our druid or priest healer to try and DPS... it would be great to have another ranged DPS rather than a melee, even if the cleave is nice.

I'm not just better at healing than DPS, I'm so much prettier as Holy, too!
We never did get a kill down, though, I don’t think either group of 5 ever managed to successfully complete the Mantid side of the fight. Either we couldn’t survive the Mantid mini-boss, or folks couldn’t chew through mobs fast enough to hit enrage. We’re going to release the raid lock and go back to the beginning next week, but I was not expecting Spoils to be the blocking fight here. Malkorok only took a total of 7 pulls to down, and General Nazgrim only 3. Hell, even Dark Shaman only took us 8 attempts. And yet Spoils eludes us.

Maybe tonight was just an off night. We’re not terrible raiders--we only raid 3 hours a week, a total of 30 hours since the patch dropped and this was only the second time we’ve locked the raid from week to week, so we’re in a pretty damn good place given how little time we spend on this. I just don’t know what we can do to beat this offhand other than telling people to stop dying and the healers to heal more, which isn’t precisely constructive. Perhaps a little more gear and practice, and we’ll have it.

But hey, folks still did pretty well, and everyone was contributing ideas, and fessing up when it was their fault we wiped, including myself. But don’t try to be helpful as melee and chase down sparks: they will kill you dead. I have experience here!


  1. 1. release only the two Pandaren monks to get the buffs.

    2, release JUST one of the big boxes and kill it.

    3, release a combination of big and little boxes to get to 36 energy energy.

    4, once nothing is alive, release JUST the second big box and kill it.

    5. if you really find yourself struggling on the side without Lust, use Drums of Rage. Though I suspect that if you have serious berserk issues that it's due to wasting time between boxes, not because your actual DPS is too low.

    1. Note that you should have 3 minute cooldowns up for the first, second, and fourth big box, so likely use Lust on the third (first box of second half).

    2. That's not far off from what we're doing, with the exception of the second big box later, which makes sense from a cooldown perspective. I'll definitely bring that back.

      One of our raiders is getting drums of rage, so we'll have that next time.

      At the moment though the biggest issue is surviving the Mantid boss, though being able to focus it will help, but one of the healers just can't get enough healing out when he also needs to deal with the bombs. He dies pretty well every time.

    3. The bombs should be pretty much irrelevant. He takes 2-3 seconds every 30 seconds or whatever to dump them. Keep in mind you can also use cooldowns from other people during the Mantid Commanders -- Vampiric Embrace, Demoralizing Banner, Devotion Aura, etc.

      The damage on the Mantid Commander -- assuming you ONLY have the Mantid Commander up -- shouldn't be very bad at all. Hell, shouldn't even really need cooldowns on normal, it's literally DOUBLE the damage on heroic (for reference, normally normal -> heroic is 30-50% more damage).

    4. The bombs occur more often than every 30 seconds, when they get dropped, they last for 30 seconds, and you end up with 2 - 3 piles of bombs on the ground at any given moment. Add to that the fact that there's only 1 ranged and 1 healer on that side because of an excess of melee, and the healer ends up potentially spending upwards of 2 - 3 seconds every 10 to dump them.

      But I agree on the fact that the damage shouldn't be too bad with throughput cooldowns, though you are talking about spiking to 150k HPS for the time period that the boss is up. I'm not sure our priest has the throughput required for that currently, but that goes back to my point about just telling the healers to "heal more". Granted, he didn't get much practice dealing with the bombs (we only switched groups for the last like 3 pulls), so it also might be a matter of more practice.

      This fight is certainly one that tests your healers. Other fights you can rely on help from the other two healers. This fight? You're literally on your own, and if one of your healers is just a little weak, well, practice makes perfect, perhaps.

    5. "the healer ends up potentially spending upwards of 2 - 3 seconds every 10 to dump them."

      I believe they go out every 15 seconds. Maybe they prefer ranged over melee, literally never even been a concern of any kind on normal or heroic.

      Not to mention that he can be casting Penance, Prayer of Mending, and Power Word: Shield while moving to drop the bombs, so it's not like his healing stops.

      "though you are talking about spiking to 150k HPS for the time period that the boss is up."

      No, because most people have mitigation abilities they can be using. Not to mention that he can literally just spam Prayer of Healing and put out the HPS. My 547 alt priest heals a single target with Prayer of Healing for 51k without any buffs. That winds up being 111k HPS without counting crits or flasks/food or raid buffs just by spamming Prayer of Healing. No cooldowns either like Inner Focus/Power Infusion or abilities like Cascade/Divine Star or even something like Twist of Fate.

      "This fight is certainly one that tests your healers."

      Except it really doesn't. Yes, the healer is alone, but the actual requirement is still extremely low. Immerseus bubbles, Norushen trials, and the tower team on Galakras all require more and are also solo, at a minimum.

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