Friday, January 21, 2011

Applying for the Throne

Ah. Another Thursday, an evening with brothers. In WoW.

The usual question opens up our discussion: "What shall we do tonight?"
As usual answer comes from all three at the same instance: "Conquer the World Well, I don't know. How about the Throne of Tides?"

Ok. Settled. The exceptional success of Blackrock Caverns was pushed aside and no-one had any interest in trekking back there so we started towards the Throne. Forgetting completely the greatly successful fiasco  entrance we had last time we started moving towards the whirling maelstrom leading to the entrance of the flashy instance.

Needless to say, we were all a bit nervous about the place: as the instances in Northrend had taught us to use our main skills to the max and forget about all the other skills completely, this seemed to be a new paradigm shift for all of us, for some more than for the others. Thankfully I had been keeping my fingers alert over the three manning of IC5 mans by using all skills in my bars more or less every now and then, making the tanking maybe a bit more hectic than typically, but still helping the healer to keep up with it all.

The trash mobs were a bit lackluster encounters, as be blew through them in a breeze. The only one causing us any thought were the Naz'jar Sentinels with their pools of goo, demanding us to move and kite the mob.

Finally it was there. Lady Naz'jar. Förgelös, our resident blabbermouth rogue pointed out that this was easier than last time because we hadn't died on the trash at all. How wrong that sentence was proven pretty soon after we took on Lady Naz'jar.

And again.

And again.

After a while we started to get frustrated because after each wipe we could see that we were progressing nicely. At the same time Förgelös and Bishopgeorge were discovering new skills to use, which actually helped to make the progress even further. It took about 7 wipes for our gear to dissipate and we had to take a break and visit a vendor. It was time to reconcile what we had learned.

You see, the problem wasn't the Geysir Lady Naz'jar puts in. Nor to cancel the Shock Blast, which the tank did routinely (/flex). Nor even the adds which spawned, because we pretty soon came up with a way to deal with them.

It was the cursed Plague Seed infection Lady Naz'jar placed on a random member. Cursed damage over time which put too much strain on healer.

(To be honest, I'm fooling myself: they were all pains to begin with, but we learned to cope with them. The infection was something we couldn't do a thing about. Or at least we didn't find a way to avoid it.)

From the tank point of view, the fight is simple and nicely multi-faceted in threesome. First it's Lady Naz'jar, solo tanking duty with moving the boss away from the Geysir swirls on the floor and interrupting the Shock Blasts every now and then. In this part there are no cooldowns needed: it's a simple tank, interrupt, move encounter. But at 60% she summons two Naz'jar Spellsingers and one Sentinel to deal with the intruders - us - and that's when things get tricky. Not for the tank in a full group, naturally, but in this threesome. You see, we do not have the luxury of crowd control at this point: the rogue doesn't get in fast enough to sap any of them. We had to come up with another strategy...

My first idea was to have Förgelös kill first Spellsinger, Bishopgeorge to fear the Sentinel and Laiskajaakko take the second Spellsinger. It was discarded at first as being too messy and too slow to activate. At one point it occured to Bishopgeorge (who had been practising the skill on the trash already) that he could Mind Control the Sentinel. It was tricky, as the Mind Control cast time aggroed Sentinel on him.

The funny part of it was that it worked. It worked well in fact, but it required inventive use of cooldowns on the tanks side to aid the healing during the time of the Mind Control - which had the additional bonus of replenishing Bishopgeorge's mana!

As we returned from the repairs, everyone had done some shopping, too: we were lacking buff foods, every one of us, so the added boost of food in the cycle made things even more even. With all the buffs I found out that my tank's health rose above 80k!

And off we went and wiped time an again, every time getting closer and closer. I even commented to the guild chat that Lady Naz'jar was our new Scourgelord Tyrannus: a fight we just didn't get through.

In the end the fight turned out to be a fascinating one. Sans the Lady Naz'jar spank and tank, the adds formed to the following pattern:
- Adds spawn, tank picks up one Spellsinger, dps another.
- After initializing the aggro on the first Spellsinger, tank takes aggro of the other Spellsinger too (Heroic Throw ftw.) and taunts the Sentinel = All three mobs on tank.
- Tank hits a required cooldown (Shield Wall if in near 'full' health, Last Stand and Enraged Regeneration added if below)
- Healer puts a HoT on tank and
- Mind Controls the Sentinel
- Proceed to pounce the Spellsinger still up to pulp
- If time, beat the Sentinel down.

And at that point Lady Naz'jar would come out. Over the fight you can damage Lady Naz'jar with throwing a Heroic Throw on her (also shooting and thrown weapons work, casts... I'm not sure, we didn't have time).

If we were lucky, as we most certainly usually are not, Sentinel was down. If not, I had to tank them both till healed and Bishop would take the Sentinel again: the increased dps was a boon in the mix, really.

Before the last fight I decided to make some adjustments to my gear, though: off with the Cataclysm greens in some spots and in with the tanking purples from WotLK with more dodge and avoidance. Exchanging 5000 hp and some 50 armour with decent chunk of avoidance in general might have an impact.

It did. The amount of incoming damage reduced dramatically and the fight was on.

In the end she went down. It was one of those silent moments, only Förgelös stating from somewhere there "Did we really get her down? What happened? Wait, did I miss something?" and cheers.

It took us about three and half an hours from zero to hero, to come up with a strategy and execution to reach this.

The rest of the instance seemed bland: the middle boss after Naz'jar was a weak exercise, and didn't even require cooldowns (popped them twice in Lady and available even more). The headhugger... Sufficient to say that Förgelös' daggers had gotten a bit beaten on Lady Naz'jar, so one of the broke before the headhugger and another in the fight. (He's always trying to give the bosses an upper hand for some reason). Still we one shot it.

As we entered Neptulon's chambers, our gear was pretty wasted. Förgelös had his old item lv200 daggers on him, almost broken, Laiskajaakko was more or less yellow on the damage screen and all. Still we had over-exceeded our expectations manyfold: It was our first time in the instance and we made it to the final boss!

The last fight was epic, too, as we fought well, hard and till the last drop of muck.

What a night. What a bunch.

Next time we will claim the throne!!