My guild has finally completed our relatively relaxed transition from a 10 man guild to a 25 man guild in preparation for Warlords of Draenor’s 20 man Mythic raiding. Which means we now have a roster of slightly more than 25 people and I have now done all fights on 10 and 25 man on heroic as a guardian, and actually re-progressed some of the later fights in the instance as 25 man. Thus I thought this would be a good time to discuss some of the changes that I faced as a tank and as a guardian as a result of moving between raid sizes. Even if you aren’t going to be going to 25 man any time soon, or even if you are waiting for warlords then going to 20 man, I hope you find some of this useful.
Are there any gearing differences?
Well, yes and no. If you are changing to 25 man at this point in SoO, you are probably largely overgeared for most of the encounters, even on 25 man, so you shouldn’t need to worry too much about gearing differently than you would in a 10 man. If you are worried however and feel like you aren’t so UBER geared, I would suggest putting on a stamina trinket like the Malkorok trinket until you feel more comfortable.
I personally just ran with the tanking cloak for the whole of the first raid along with the tanking metagem, which was partly because I was also having to deal with organizing 25 people instead of 10 and several of them hadn’t seen the fights before, not to mention I had to adjust the strategy slightly for 25 man. So for my own peace of mind, I went with an RPS build with tanking legionaries, I don’t actually have heroic Malk trinket, else I may have used that also. I will say here also that, although a lot of people think that the tank cloak is relatively garbage, when you don’t know how hard stuff will hit, and you are doing something you haven’t done before, it can be really useful. It allows you to push right to the edge and die, meaning you find your limits much quicker and you don’t cause a wipe to the raid in the process. I will discuss this more in some future blog posts about ranking and dps.
All in all for gearing, the damage difference from 10 to 25 isn’t so amazingly great and with the gear should you have at this point you probably won’t see much trouble, but do feel free to play a little safer whilst you see it for yourself.
Are there any major differences to the bosses that a tank should be aware of?
Probably the best way to do this is boss by boss, so here goes:
Not really, this fight actually feels significantly easier on 25 man, the only thing to really think about is that because there are 50 stacks on the boss and 25 people (so the same stacks as there are on 10 man) the adds will basically all spawn at once. This means that you’ll be tanking them all at the same time, instead of bit by bit in 10 man. They will hit like a truck if you have all of them on your face at the same time, but realistically this shouldn’t cause you problems. If this boss was tuned harder in general, there may be some things you’d want to optimize, but you should find this so simple as a tank.
Fight is essentially identical to its 10 man version, bosses just have more health, so just go with what you usually do, if you normally get your tank to soak the mark or arrogance however, I’d probably suggest against it here, at least initially. Besides, you have so many people in your raid, you should have some classes that can soak it with ease.
The main thing here is that there are a lot of people in your raid to send down, we did 5 groups of 2 for the dps. Where the tanks just do their thing and healers go whenever as long as the healing is fine. As a tank, the challenge phase isn’t really any different, there could be a little more damage on you, but if there was, it wasn’t hugely noticeable for me. The real thing is that there are going to be more orbs more often because you will be sending more dps in, so the tanks job is to get through your trial asap and get out to soak whilst the other tank goes in. I guess you could 3 tank if you really had issues, just to have more orb soakability (ye that’s totally not a word). I’d be a bit careful taking too many stacks from the boss, but I managed about 10 this week without to much issue (stacking it up on purpose).
Sha of Boring
So as a tank, you swap the same, move the same, do the same prison in the same way, and the boss still hits like a wet noodle. If you were to say there was any change it is that adds are probably more problematic to get aggro on, as they’ll be all over the place. Additionally, there are 2 large adds instead of 1, but we usually never tanked them, if you did however, you probably aren’t going to be able to. Don’t forget to soak rifts!!
The only thing I found here really was that it is a little harder to make sure you have aggro on all of the down adds when they are active with so many people dpsing different things, and you only have so many taunts. However, you probably have a hunter or two and maybe some rogues, so ToT and MD if you struggle. Nothing really scary in this fight, you can still stand in for the skullcrack thing that the 2nd “boss” mob does and survive…your melee may thank you for moving out though so they can keep dpsing. You will also have a billion stuns/grips/knocks for the adds so if you had issues with those on 10, you won’t (read: shouldn’t).
There is a bit more damage going out, feel free to ask for the many available external cds, sacs/vigilances etc if you need them. You can still basically spam click 3 mines and not die. This fight is more about managing more people so there will be some stricter positioning for your ranged, which could mean that you may need help on a mine from time to time. This is because you would probably have 2 people standing out at range to get the sawblades, so if they get a mine on them, they’ll be quite far away. Normally though they’d be classes that could soak the mine if it spawned on them anyway, so just make sure to communicate if you can’t get to it and I’m sure they’ll take it for you.
Here, we went with 2 tanks up the side and 1 in the middle part, the nice thing here is that you can have all of your melee dps join the 2 tanks up the side, which means that you will have no melee around you causing problems when the blobs spawn, so that aspect of the fight is easier. The only thing to watch is around the explosion of the meteor if there are blobs spawning, just pop a minor cd to survive. With regards to the tanking up the side, it is really not complicated or hard, I haven’t done that part on 10, but in 25 it was so simple I couldn’t really imagine you would have any issues if you have done it before. You could go with the strategy of having ONLY 2 tanks take haoramm, but just be aware that you will have a lot of melees near the other boss when the blobs are spawning, so make sure to move away so that you don’t kill them.
We 2 tanked this on 10 man, but went with 3 for our first few kills on 25 man, and to be perfectly honest, I almost fell asleep. If you 3 tank, have 2 on the boss near the door to malkorok, and the 3rd tank just stands near the add spawn and tanks all the adds. If you choose to 2 tank it, it is still doable, you just may need to help tank some of the adds, and keep an eye on the execute timer, but in reality you can still take one to the face as a bear and live if you are at full hp.
There’s not much to this one either, main thing is the adds, there are now 3 which means you can’t just taunt them all (except for when you have incarnation up). Melees can help you taunt adds in, dks especially with grip. I tend to try to hit 1 or 2 with thrash or swipe and taunt the extra, which works most of the time. The other thing about this fight is the blood rage phase, which if you are planning on soaking, you’ll need a LOT of cooldowns on you, if we were at a disadvantage compared to other tank classes for this mechanic on 10 man, 25 man is a whole other ballgame. It is still doable, but you aren’t ideal for it. Just make good use of your plethora of external cds.
Spoils of Pandaria
Basically no change for you. GL HF oh and if you thought the brewmaster buff hit hard on 10 man…..ye, I’ll let you figure that out yourself.
Here we went for a simpler kiting pattern on 25 man (so just up and down instead of in a circle and THEN up and down) it just made things easier for new people to learn. We still solo tanked it (even though I played tank still) and I just took the bats when they spawned, so that they can be in range of the melee dps, and also provide a backup tank if something went wrong. You can basically do any thock strat here, so you could actually 1 tank properly, or 2 tank or whatever really. …and you can still sometimes be the only people left alive when the boss dies (yep we 2 manned the last ~20 million or something)
This is where things get a little more interesting, that little bit harder that the boss hits can gib you when he gains the haste when the belt is finished. The shredders have a little more hp, so you need to put slightly more effort into killing them. We stayed with the same strategy we had for our 10 man kill, with the exception of 1 of the belts, picking mines instead of missiles. This is something that you will have to figure out for yourself, whatever works for your guild is best, you can probably get away with the same strategy as your 10 man kill, but it could be advisable to avoid the missiles on 25 man. Particularly as you should have a lot of add control for the mines. For the stacks we don’t go for any crazy stacks, (the most I take is 5) I am however working on a strategy where I basically never drop stacks and dps every single add….more on that some other time however. In short this is a fight where you have to manage your dps cds well to kill the shredders, and manage your defensive cds, both personal and external. If you have killed this on 10 man though, you won’t have too much of a hard time, just have patience whilst the rest of your raid learns the fight (yeah, I know).
Paragons of the Klaxxi
These bosses hit hard….like proper hard, they did on 10 man but holy crap man. Just ensure that towards the end of the fight you have some defensive cds available. The main thing here is using the scorpion buff to the best of your ability to help your raid. Here is the dps meter from our most recent kill, I messed up a little at the end, but you get the idea:
The fight is a bit of a cluserf**k on 25 man as there are people everywhere, additionally, you have to be more particular about who dpses what and when. As a tank however, just make sure you stay alive, don’t position the bosses badly, and zerg the crap out of the boss in the scorpion (make sure you get externals whilst you are in it).
To be perfectly honest, this guy is quite fun on 25 man, he does do a little more damage to you, so be prepared for that, but if you play properly, you can pretty much 1 tank this boss. The adjustments we made for 25 man were basically positioning related, and also vengeance sharing when you have 3 tanks (if you go for a monk kiting strategy for the adds). Be careful with thrash around when the mind controls come up. Other than overarching strategy changes for this boss however, there’s not much different for tanks. The only thing I can t hink of at the moment is that in p1 the adds which will fixate on people will do a little more damage, so they can be quite dangerous if you leave them beating on the raid. This just means it is important to control them well, but you should have been doing this on 10 man also. Lastly…you’re still the best person to kite the iron star…. /cry
General 25 man things
So apart from gearing and strategy things, there are several aspects to raiding 25 man that felt different to me.
The first of these is that OMG the cooldowns, wow. There are so many cooldowns available for you to use if you need them, so figure out how to communicate with your raid to let them know when you need them. Make sure you track them, and definitely don’t be afraid to ask for them.
The second thing I felt was that although even in 10 man, the tank is relatively prominent person in the raid, and it is important that you play perfectly, on 25 man it feels almost doubly important, as there are many more people who rely on you being consistant. Many more melee to yell if you spin the boss in an odd way, or people to get annoyed when you die. Just be ready for a little more pressure and take extra care of your surroundings, maybe even modify your UI a little if it helps you. I will probably be redoing my own in the coming weeks and I will post about it when I do.
The third thing was the lag, larger raid means more people, more spells, and a much busier combat log. We actually have a guy who is having to buy a new graphics card to try to handle 25 man raids. So be sure to check your graphics settings, and don’t be afraid to turn them down a little.
The last thing is for 25 man, you need a little more patience. You now have 25 people who can mess up, who can dc or lag out, go afk randomly. 25 people to mess up at mechanics on a boss. Obviously you want as tight a raid as possible, but whilst your guild gets itself together for the next expansion, you are going to have to deal with sub-par players, or pcs that can’t handle the larger raid until your roster is fully set for WoD. If you are the officer in your guild, this is your responsibility to make sure that people pull their socks up, and sort their stuff out. If you’re not, you are just going to have to be patient, and ensure that you aren’t one of the people causing the problems. Make sure you have looked over the fights on the new raid size, if you want you can watch some of the VoDs from my stream: twitch.tv/buraan, or even hop on live and feel free to ask questions.
Ok, one last last last thing, voice comms on 25 man can be a lot busier than your 10man, so make sure you communicate in the most efficient way possible when asking for cooldowns or coordinating with your co-tank, so that the raid leader can get the most clear air time possible.
This transition has been quite long and arduous for us. Right when you would normally be able to chill and relax after progression we had to keep right at it, even when guild members move on to their new homes for Warlords of Draenor and we have to replace them. To be perfectly honest, we considered going 25 man back in Throne of Thunder because of warforged loot, but the task seemed way too daunting to really be feasible. Having been forced into transitioning was quite tough at first, but I think in all, it hasn’t been maybe as bad as it could have been. I’m sure there are guilds either better or worse off than us. So to those of you still going through the transition, and those of you who haven’t even started yet, best of luck in your raiding and preparation for Warlords of Draenor and I hope you find a great home for the next expansion, so we can all enjoy face mauling together.
Until the next time: