• Bares mostly like the taste of fase!

Raiding

6.0 Patch Survival Guide

October 14, 2014

Introduction

Hello Guardians and welcome to the survival guide for the meaningless 4 weeks prior to Warlords! I may sound like I’m joking, but only partially. This won’t be a full “Warlords Guide” because Warlords isn’t done yet. The best I can do at this point is tell you what has changed thus-far, and maybe make some educated guesses as to what might happen once you hit level 100. If you’ve been paying attention to my twitter feed you probably know a lot of this already. Additionally if you have any experience on the PTR or Beta, you will already know all of this information. That means there’s no reason for you to read further.

For everyone else though, read on!
 

Resolve

The first and largest change to tanking in this patch (and next expansion), is the elimination of Vengeance. It has been replaced with a new ability called “Resolve” which functionally does the job – at least defensively – that Vengeance used to do. The difference is that it provides a multiplier on all self healing and absorption affects. Providing a technical description of how it works is going to be meaningless to most (but if you want one check out these three posts). All you really need to know is:

  • Just like Vengeance, you gain more Resolve the more damage you take in a 10s window.
  • Resolve no longer has diminishing returns in AoE situations, but it does diminish at higher and higher levels of damage.
  • Resolve does not affect percentage based abilities such as Ysera’s Gift.
  • Resolve is much more responsive to changes in damage intake than previously.

 

Stat Changes

As with any other expansion patch, there are a number of changes to both primary and secondary stats that you will probably want to be aware of. Before we get into that though you should be aware that all of the numbers you’re going to see in patch 6.0 will be a lot smaller than what you’ve been used to these past few expansions. It otherwise doesn’t mean much, but the “stat squish” may take a little getting used to for some people.

  • Agility now only grants 1 Attack Power per point, no longer grants increased Melee Critical Strike, and grants 80% of the Dodge Chance that it did in Mists.
  • Stamina now grants 60 health per point. “Base Health” has been removed, there is now only base Stamina.
  • Dodge, Parry, Hit, and Expertise ratings have all been removed. As a result of this change bosses will no longer Parry or Dodge attacks from the front.
  • Multistrike rating has been added. Multistrike is a chance to trigger an additional hit for 30% damage.
  • Versatility rating has been added. It provides a small boost to damage and healing, while providing an even smaller amount of damage reduction.
  • Bonus Armor has been re-added. It now also additionally provides one Attack Power per point.
  • Mastery now grants additional Attack Power.
  • Weapon DPS now increases at a rate of 1 for every 3.5AP.

There are some additional Guardian specific stat changes that I will cover a little bit later on.
 

Damage Patterns

One of the largest changes to tanks in this patch and the next expansion comes not to tanks themselves, but rather the things that will be hitting them. Throughout the past several expansions tanks have only really been threatened by “bursts”, or when a combination of melee hits and special abilities dealt a lot of damage to tanks in a short period of time. Common examples include a melee/impale combo from Heroic Beasts (ToC), and a Horridon “wombo-combo” of Melee+Triple Puncture+Dire Call. Blizzard has decided that they don’t enjoy the arms race of trying to kill tanks as quickly as possible, and then having to give tanks ways to prevent that from happening. Since Guardians lived through an entire patch cycle – really 1.5 patches since these problems existed in T14 too – I’m not too broken up about this. Further Guardians have always been one of the best tanks at reducing total DTPS, so this change can only be a good thing for us.
 

Movement Speed

A quick note on one of the under-represented changes in the next patch – movement speed. Previously in WoW all movement speed increases were multiplicative with each other (except those which were exclusive). In Mists a lot of speed boosts were made exclusive to each other to prevent people from reaching light speed. It made sense – sort of – but was really complicated and a lot of people didn’t understand what was exclusive with what.

In Warlords, movement speed has been streamlined (much like the rest of the game). All movement speed increases are now additive. This means that a boot enchant plus Feline Swiftness will give you a total of 18% increased movement speed (above whatever form you are in). Any further modifiers like Stampeding Roar are just added on top of that.
 

Ability Pruning

One of the biggest wholesale changes to this expansion is the number of abilities that have either been completely cut, or in some cases restricted to only certain specializations. I’ve included a quick list below of what has changed. It’s not in any particular order but I’ve separated them into New, Removed, and Changed. I’ve also left out abilities that have extremely niche use – such as Moonfire – which you may or may not end up binding.

New:

  • Critical Strikes (Passive) – Adds 10% Critical Strike chance. This is to at least partially make up for the loss of Critical Strike chance from Agility.
  • Mana Attunement (Passive) – Doubles mana regeneration. Added to make up for the mana regeneration loss from Leader of the Pack‘s removal.
  • Shred – Added because Mangle was made Bear-only.
  • Bladed Armor – Every point of Bonus Armor also grants 1 Attack Power. Added to give Bonus Armor an offensive function, and to keep it firmly as the #1 stat.
  • Resolve.
  • Survival of the Fittest (Passive) – Gain 5% more Mastery Rating from all sources. This is our “attunement” – meant to indicate what our primary stat should be, and it’s correct.
  • Ursa Major (Passive) – Auto Attack, Mangle, and Lacerate tick Multistrikes grant 2% temporary HP for 25 seconds. Recalculated every time a new event triggers (like Resolve).

Removed:

  • Rake – Made Cat-only.
  • Vengeance.
  • Bear Hug – Some will likely be sad about this – looking at you Lyfa, Ahanss, and Buraan – but the reality is it was too niche of an ability to be used all that often.
  • Rip – Restricted to Feral only.
  • Swipe – Combined into Thrash.
  • Pounce.
  • Track Humanoids – I *think* this was made baseline with Cat Form, but don’t quote me on that.
  • Hurricane – Restricted to Balance only.
  • Leader of the Pack – Restricted to Feral only.
  • Nature’s Grasp.
  • Innervate.
  • Ravage.
  • Hibernate.
  • Might of Ursoc – We were handily winning the “tank cooldown competition”, so something had to be removed.
  • Tranquility – Restricted to Restoration only.
  • Enrage – Never really did much, so removing it makes sense.
  • Maim – Restricted to Feral only.
  • Symbiosis – I’ve already commented that this is a good thing, but yay!

Changed:

  • Rejuvenation – Now heals for 228% of spell power. Only pertinent to questing or Heart of the Wild usage.
  • Bear Form – No longer increases Haste and Crit rating from items. Armor bonus reduced to 250%. Stamina bonus reduced to 20%. Haste now reduces the GCD and the cooldowns of Mangle and Maul.
  • Mangle – Now generates 10 Rage when used. Hits for 300% Weapon Damage. Cooldown reduced by Haste.
  • Maul – Now hits for 120% Weapon Damage. Cooldown reduced by Haste.
  • Savage Defense – Now has a 12s recharge. 2 charges.
  • Thick Hide – Now reduces magic damage by 10%. Reduces the chance to be parried by 3%.
  • Revive – Mana cost reduced to 4% of base mana.
  • Travel Form – Flight, Aquatic, and Travel forms have been combined into a single ability that automatically switches depending on what you are doing (jumping, swimming, etc.).
  • Thrash – Now deals 117% AP on hit, and 40% AP per tick. Generates 1 Rage every time it deals damage. No cooldown.
  • Faerie Fire – Now deals 32.5% AP.
  • Primal Fury (Passive) – Melee Critical Strikes now only generate 8 Rage.
  • Tooth and Claw (Passive) – You can now store up to 2 charges. Reduces the damage of the next auto attack by 240% AP.
  • Lacerate – Now deals 115% AP on hit, and 29.22% AP per tick per stack. Generates 2 Rage on impact. No cooldown.
  • Infected Wounds (Passive) – Now only triggers from Mangle.
  • Survival Instincts – Now lasts for 6 seconds. 2 Charges. 2 minute cooldown.
  • Mark of the Wild – Now also grants 3% Versatility.
  • Frenzied Regeneration – Now heals for 600% AP at 60 Rage.
  • Mastery: Primal Tenacity (Passive) – Our Mastery now generates a shield whenever we take physical damage equal to 1.5*Mastery percent. Some sources of damage (bleed, sonic) will not generate a shield. The value of this shield is not reduced by other absorption affects. If a shield is already active, receiving physical damage will not generate a new shield unless the current shield size is <= 20% of the size of the shield that would have been generated. Also increases Attack Power by 1*Mastery percent.

 

Talents and Glyphs

Very little has changed in the area of Talents and/or Glyphs. Other than the obvious – removing Glyphs for which abilities no longer exist – so this section will probably be a lot shorter than the others.

Talent Changes

  • Ysera’s Gift – Now heals for 2% HP every 5 seconds.
  • Renewal – Now heals for 22% HP when used.
  • Cenarion Ward – Now heals for 879.9% of spellpower over 6 seconds.
  • Typhoon – Range reduced to 15 yards.
  • Soul of the ForestMangle now generates 5 additional Rage.
  • Nature’s Vigil – Now heals a nearby friendly target for 40% of the damage done. Excludes Thrash, and obeys the new smart healing rules. That means there’s no guarantee it will heal you if you’re the most injured person.

Your obvious question is going to be “What talents should I take?” Well not much has really changed. What you’ve been taking for the past year (or more) is still decent. I’ll still make my recommendations though, which are in the short list below:

  • Level 15: Whatever you want. No changes to this tier, so continue to use whatever talent you prefer.
  • Level 30: Cenarion Ward has the highest throughput on this tier, but comes with the 30 second cooldown and the fact that it’s a HoT which means it might get sniped by your actual healers. Renewal is still pretty bad so you can safely ignore it unless you need an instant heal off the GCD.
  • Level 45: Nothing changes here. You basically just lock in Typhoon, even after the range nerf.
  • Level 60: Soul of the Forest. Force of Nature‘s previous “issues” still remain, which makes it an incredibly difficult talent to use. Incarnation is still a good burst talent, but for throughput over time it is very much inferior to Soul of the Forest as you’re no longer replacing 0-Rage GCDs with Mangles.
  • Level 75: Nothing changes here. You pick the same talent that you would have picked before.
  • Level 90: A sort-of minor change here. Nature’s Vigil is now horrible, and since Heart of the Wild has a very narrow niche (Do you need DPS/Healing when you’re not tanking?) your default talent here is now Dream of Cenarius. There is currently a bug where it is not scaling with Attack Power, but it still beats the pants off of Nature’s Vigil.

Glyphs

None of our glyphs have actually changed. However they have swapped around a little bit in terms of which glyphs you will want to have, and which ones have become niche. Since everyone should have the Glyph of Grace anyway, I’ve only listed the possible major glyph options below:

  • Survival Instincts – Now a niche glyph. A 3 second duration isn’t long enough to buy your healer any time to recover, but it is still most definitely enough time to handle many boss mechanics. Consider this an optional glyph.
  • Stampeding Roar – Mandatory. There’s no reason not to have this glyph. Not only is there nothing worth replacing it for, but the increased range is pretty mandatory in a raid scenario.
  • Maul – Might as well pick this up when you’re going to be hitting more than one target. Again, nothing better to have in this slot.
  • Fae Silence – This is the most interesting one. Now that Faerie Fire is out of our rotation – thanks to the removal of the cooldown on Lacerate – this glyph becomes very appetizing. Not only does it function as another interrupt, but gives you a way to move casters without having to rely on others to interrupt.

 

Rotation and Rage Generation

As you’ve probably noticed from the Ability Changes section, a lot of our Rage generation has shifted to being active – i.e. you have to press buttons – rather than the form it existed in Mists. I like this change as it gives you a greater degree of control over how you generate Rage and when. The best part is the actual rotation hasn’t changed at all. It’s still exactly the same as it was in Mists:

  1. Keep Mangle on cooldown.
  2. Keep Thrash up.
  3. Fill with Lacerate.

Easy as that. Of course the L30 and L90 talents can add some additional spice (Cenarion Ward and Dream of Cenarius respectively), but the real complexity doesn’t start until level 100 and you get access to Pulverize. For now though, you’ll just have to live with those three abilities. With the removal of Lacerate‘s cooldown Faerie Fire no longer has a place in the single-target rotation. It’s used for pulling (or possibly interrupting) only.

For AoE, just spam Thrash and keep Mangle on cooldown. Now what do you do once you’ve generated Rage? Well, the priority of your Active Mitigation abilities has changed a tiny bit.

  • For encounters with primarily avoidable damage – which is most of them – use Savage Defense as often as possible.
  • For encounters which feature auto-attack damage – again, most of them – use Tooth and Claw whenever you will not need to refresh Savage Defense shortly.
  • If you’re going to Rage cap and can heal, or are about to die, use Frenzied Regeneration.
  • It is no longer important to dump as much Rage as you can into DPS. Make sure you’re pooling Rage prior to executing a tank swap.
  • Use cooldowns as appropriate for the encounter. Using Barkskin on the pull is encouraged, as it gives you a bit of a buffer before you can generate enough Rage to start using AM abilities.
  • Berserk (and Incarnation I guess) should no longer be saved as DPS cooldowns. Use them as survival cooldowns instead.
  • Since Resolve only affects heals you do to yourself, try and avoid using Cenarion Ward or Healing Touch on others. Exceptions can obviously be made.

In other words you should be spending time attempting to train your brain to not be a damage bot anymore, but rather acting like an actual tank. Use your abilities to improve your own survival as much as possible. DPS is something that will be done purely as a by-product of being a good tank.
 

Stats and Gear

My general response to questions about gearing for a pre-expansion patch is “It’s only 4 weeks who gives a shit anyway.” That being said if you are the type of person that likes to min-max for meaningless content there’s a few things you will probably want to be aware of.

Remember that a full Warlords guide will be coming at launch. Hope this helps for now!

Hello Guardians!

It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these. Primarily the only changes we’ve had thus far have been Alpha and/or Beta changes. Since they’ve been heavily subject to iteration and change, I didn’t feel that commenting on them would be particularly helpful. Now that we’re ~6 weeks away from the 6.0 pre-patch launch, it’s time to get a little more serious. You can definitely expect these posts to be regular from now on.

Build 18816

Bear Form Stamina bonus reduced to 20%.
Empowered Bear form reduced to an additional 10% Stamina.
Ursa Major now only lasts 25 seconds.

All three of these changes are a direct result of general tank tuning. Celestalon has made the comment last week on twitter.

All tanks. Current plans: Tweak the design of Resolve. Lower tank health. Lower tank mitigation. Lower boss damage.

It’s pretty clear that only the first objective made it into this build (that we know of). So we’ll have to wait and see for the hidden stuff (Resolve, Boss tuning), and the additional changes to tank mitigation.

CeleryTweet1

Basically the changes are fine and you shouldn’t worry about them. As long as bosses are tuned appropriately, it doesn’t matter what our HP is. I’ve included an updated EH graph below, which shows that the relative EH for different stats hasn’t really changed. Item Level is still going to be the primary driving factor – between Stamina and Armor – followed by Multistrike.

EH_Graph

Tooth and Claw now only reduces the damage of the primary victim.

This is just a tooltip correction. In previous incarnations it never included context for Glyph of Maul. So now the tooltip tells you what we already knew it did from day 1.

2t17 now reduces the cost of Maul by 10 Rage while Tooth and Claw is active.

Great change. Instead of offering a refund which could result in wasting Rage accidentally if you Mangle while using Maul and one and/or both Crit, it now just reduces the cost. The net change is 0, but I know it will feel much better to play with.

And that’s it for this build. I think it was done in the middle of the most recent round of tank tuning, so we have some changes out of context. Hopefully the next build will provide us with more information. I know that there are still a lot of “trap talent” problems (mostly thanks to Pulverize), and while there is definitely still time to address them I think we’re running out of runway.
 

How to Make Crit Cool

I put up a thread on the forums recently intending to prompt discussion on how to make Crit a cool and effective stat in Warlords. Currently it’s at the absolute bottom of the pile – similar to how Ferals feel about Haste – and that isn’t great for the spec. So I’d love to hear everyone’s ideas on how to make it an interesting and effective stat!

The most basic (and easiest) method is to rip-off Riposte. But that’s boring and uninteresting. Do you have any neat ideas? Tell us!
 

Sneak Peek

I wanted to let you in on posts for a couple of topics that I’ve been thinking about. The first is Mythic: A Conversion Journey (don’t worry I know I suck at titles). Our guild is going through the steps to convert to a Mythic guild from a 10m right now, and having a decent amount of success. I think it would be valuable to share that information with everyone else, since I’m sure there are others that are either going through the same thing, or are about to.

The second topic that I wanted to talk about – and have wanted for a while now – is Guardians: Outstanding Issues. The problem with a post like that is it requires some data in order to be able to do. If I know that data is going to change soon – like we know right now – then continuing to work on it with the current set of conditions is pointless. I definitely need to wait for the Resolve changes to be public before I can start on it, but hopefully at that point we’ll have another tuning pass done. Then I can really start gathering a lot of useful sim data.

That’s all for now!

Lazy Bear is Lazy

I’ll be honest, I’ve been kind of – OK I’ll be honest, really – slacking on writing. There are a number of things I want to talk about, but just don’t have enough information to do any sort of detailed analysis yet. Specifically?

  • What happens when Mastery scales through raid tiers?
  • Will we armor cap again (maybe)?
  • Will TDR get to a point where EH becomes worthless?
  • What happens to Rage generation?
  • How do the L100 talents compare?

The problem is, I need more itemization (specifically about item levels) before I can attempt any of these. This means that in typical Arielle fashion I’ve been ignoring things I could talk about in favour of things I can’t. However watching my good friends Hamlet, Dayani, Sunnier, and Theck put up posts this week has made me feel guilty. So I’ve decided to come back to the topic I left with. Rotations and Rage generation.
 

Push Buttons, Victory?

Over the past month or so feedback has been rolling in from Beta to a number of different sources. There are Guardian specific threads on the Official Forums, MMOC, and of course right here at TIB. One of the items that I see mention repeatedly in all of these places is how simple the rotation is now that the cooldown has been lifted from both Lacerate and Thrash. If we’re looking at a standard rotation this is completely accurate. We lost Faerie Fire since it (a) no longer resets Mangle, and deals less damage than Lacerate. On the surface this is fine, and cements Faerie Fire‘s place as a pulling tool, rather than a rarely-used rotational ability.

However that means we also lost 25% of our rotational buttons.

I’ll be the first to admit that this is – probably – at least partially my fault. I campaigned long and hard to remove the cooldown from both Lacerate and Thrash. My intention was to move our rotation closer to what it was in Cataclysm, except without the stupidity of Demoralizing Roar and needing to maintain 3 stacks of Faerie Fire. Unfortunately with Thrash having such a long duration the “rotation” just devolves into Lacerate spam with a Mangle every 4th GCD. Yes, the button presses get “faster” thanks to us gaining Sanctity of Battle – and as an aside this is a good thing, since it allows you to customize how fast your GCD is with Haste – but it’s still effectively only two buttons. So how do we make it more fun to play, especially since the most common complaint is that Guardians are boring – even on live?
 

Enter Pulverize

I’ll be the first to admit that I thought the (re)-addition of Pulverize was a good thing. We had that 4th button we so desperately needed to keep our rotation interesting. Unfortunately the more I played with it on Beta, the more I came to agree with those that disliked it – like Ahanss (sorry buddy) – it’s really braindead. It turns out that all Pulverize really does is replace Thrash in your rotation, which doesn’t even remotely solve the problem. Actually, the problem gets worse:

  • Pulverize doesn’t synergize with Incarnation at all.
  • 10 seconds is way too short a duration to fit in anything other than what is required to maintain it.
  • It’s really just another version of Thrash, except with a bigger downside to not maintaining it, and a higher upkeep cost.

To me the answer seems obvious (admittedly after thinking about it for several hours). Why not make Pulverize almost a direct clone of Revenge, except maybe with some sort of bleed hook? Maybe it could do more damage against bleeding targets, or generate a bit more Rage against bleeding targets or something. This solves:

  • Getting us back to 4 rotational buttons.
  • Lets Pulverize interact positively with Incarnation.
  • Removes what could be considered a boring, maintenance-heavy buff.
  • Forces Blizzard to revamp our L100 talents.

I’m not really seeing a downside here.

What do you think? How do you find the rotation in Beta? Do you pine for the Cataclysm days like I do?

Part Deux

Hello Guardians!

I probably should have put this up last weekend, but I got distracted by Heroes of the Storm. In any case in my last post I talked about what kind of RPS levels we could expect in Warlords. As we found out it appears that our base Rage generation is going to be substantially higher than it was in Mists.

But what happens if a Guardian chooses to talent into Pulverize? Is there any kind of change to Rage generation? Let’s find out.
 

Assumptions of Play

As with the basic rotation, in order to come up with an estimate of the Rage generation for a Pulverize rotation you have to come up with a set of assumptions. Obviously being able to simulate the rotation will give the most accurate result, but we can’t do that yet.

  1. 1 Pulverize every 10 seconds.
  2. Given the previous assumption, at least 3 Lacerates every 10 seconds.
  3. The number of Mangles won’t be appreciably affected by when a Pulverize is used.
  4. Any remaining GCDs are filled with Lacerate.

The obvious question that follows these assumptions, is can they be proven? Well, not very easily it turns out. The first two are pretty obvious, in order to maintain the buff from Pulverize you need at least three Lacerates. Simple. For the second assumption however, it is not very likely that you will end up using Pulverize in the “free” (and by “free” I mean that it can’t reset Mangle) GCD. That means it’s pretty likely that it will negatively impact the number of times you can press Mangle within a 10 second window.

That being said, it’s really hard to quantify what that effect is within a spreadsheet. I know that the RPS of Mangle as it is represented in this version of the SS is actually a bit higher than it should be. But there isn’t enough of a possible discrepancy that it changes the results.

You’ll notice here that I didn’t mention Thrash anywhere. There’s a couple reasons for this. The first is that in order for Thrash to be Rage positive in a normal rotation – or at least enough of a difference that it’s worth using – it needs to be used during the “free” GCD mentioned earlier. The second is that in a Pulverize rotation, a Lacerate has extra benefit in that it pushes the next Pulverize forward. This also increases Rage generation beyond the original chance to reset Mangle.

At higher Haste levels we will have more of these “free” GCDs within a given 10s window. However this number won’t increase significantly enough to allow the use of Thrash in any amount that significantly affects Rage generation outside of an AoE scenario.
 

Results

These results will look familiar to anyone that read my previous post. The essential conclusion to be drawn from these results – just like the previous ones – is that if you choose Pulverize you will still be swimming in Rage. At best you will actually have more Rage than a regular rotation, and at worst you’ll have an about equal amount. Anyway time for pictures!

nekkid_2

You can clearly see that Haste is far and away beating Crit already, and we haven’t even put any gear on.

500stats_2

At something similar to dungeon levels of gear Haste is still far-and-away killing Crit.

1000stats_2

I feel like I’m just repeating myself here, but this is what it looks like at 1000 Haste and Crit rating.

2000haste_2

And here we can see the GCD cap causing Haste to level off. However it’s unlikely that we’ll approach that amount of Haste at all during the expansion, given the push for other secondary stats as well.
 

Conclusions

The conclusions here are identical to what we saw previously. Namely that Haste far, far, far outperforms Crit and we’re probably currently generating too much Rage. I expect we’ll see changes that address both of these issues in a future pass on the Guardian rotation.

Hello Guardians!

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:

Immerseus

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.

Fallen Protectors

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.

Norushen

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!!

Galakras

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).

Iron Juggernat

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.

Dark Shaman

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.

General Nazgrim

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.

Malkorok

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.

Thock

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)

Siegecrafter Blackfuse

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).

Garrosh Hellscream

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.

Finally

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:

Buraan