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4.03 Raid Mechanics and testing


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#1 TrlstanC

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 04:51 PM

A thread to test and document boss mechanics, that are either not well described elsewhere or not completely understood, from the first four raids in Cataclysm.

Please focus on tested mechanics as opposed to theories of how they may work, and note any areas that aren't fully understood. From my experience so far it seems that some boss mechanics are more complicated than have been described, and some strats may be working for un-intended (or at least, poorly understood/described) reasons. For example, Magmaw’s Magma Spit ability (10-man):

  • Hits for approximately 36k damage
  • Cast at 3 targets each time
  • Prioritizes targets out of melee range, but will target melee if there’s no one at range. (we found that either having 1 player at range, or lots of players at range works best, having only 2 or 3 was difficult on our healers).
  • Cast anywhere from every 5 seconds to every 20 seconds (ignoring impale phases). This appears to be a random time between casts, and can be a problem before the first impale if you get some bad luck as this can easily be the #1 source of damage for the raid if it's cast as often as possible. Subsequent impales come much more often, and so the DTPS from all abilities, including this, drops significantly in the 2nd half of the encounter.


#2 Iluminati

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 10:44 PM

Magmaw (Normal, 10 + 25):

If only 1 person is at range and everyone else is tight in melee range, Pillar of Flame will always target the single ranged person. We found this extremely helpful because the graphic on the floor indicating it's arrival is incredibly hard to see with 15 people stacked up + totems + healing circles + etc.

#3 Exemplar

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 02:11 PM

We found Magma Spit regularly targeted Melee in 25 (I'm positive, I died to it at least once). Not sure if Spit reacted otherwise in 10. Perusing our log shows no overt preference to melee or ranged targets. I would suspect not, or Iluminati's everyone-in-melee technique would have left their sacrificial lamb eatting every Magma Spit.

In 25man we had a Pillar of Flame dropped on a Melee target in Melee range (only this melee and one pet took Pillar of Flame damage). This only occurred once during our pulls and kill. A preference for ranged makes most sense and Iluminati's experience obviously worked for at least one pull and it would be statistically unlikely the sacrificial victim was randomly chosen each time if the rest were valid targets.
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#4 Lanthon

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 02:41 PM

With regard to Magma Spit (in the 10 man version), I wonder if the ability is a conal AoE. I noticed on a messed up Pillar placement, when the ranged shifted to behind the melee, the healing went up substantially. I did not notice a preference for ranged for this ability.

#5 TrlstanC

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 04:08 PM

On our last Magmaw attempts we ended up with 3 ranged killing the parasite (2 hunters and a mage). The hunters would stand at range to DPS and everyone else was stacked in melee range. When one of the hunters was targeted with pillar of flame they would move, and the mage would move out to range to help slow/kite/dps down the parasite. Sometimes a healer would have to move out of melee range to be able to heal these three. The damage taken from Magma Spit was usually hunters>mage>ranged healer>everyone else, with the hunters getting hit 10-20 times, and most melee only getting hit 1 or 2 times. And there appeared to always be 3 Magma Spits as long as there were targets left (even totems, pets, etc.)

The apparent preference for ranged made our strategy (having 3 people at range) basically the worst choice possible as we ended up with 3 players taking huge amounts of damage, which was pretty much the worst case for healing. Either having 1 person at range, or lots of people at range would appear to have been better ways to deal with this mechanic.

Even taking that in to account, there is a lot of variability in how often Magma Spit gets cast. I've seen logs where it's almost every 5 seconds, and logs where it's averages about every 10 seconds, which is approximately the difference between needing to 4 heal (with 346ish gear) and being able 3 heal with some room to spare. Figuring out if this is just random, or if there's some logic to it would have a bearing on group make up, at least until we outgear it.

#6 Stangg

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 10:25 PM

The Pillar of Flame ability will not target the one person at ranged if they are moving and will instead target someone in melee range. We were able to consistently reproduce this effect during two different pulls.

#7 snifit7

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 07:07 PM

10-man Magmaw
I can corroborate Illuminati's experience of the Pillar of Flame picking a ranged target, even when there is only one player at range. We used this tactic about a half-dozen times, with only one pillar in 'melee' range the entire time. I think the anomaly was due to one player not stacking in quite close enough.
I'd be surprised if what Stangg suggested, wrt the Pillar only targeting the ranged player if she's not moving, is true. It just seems too dissimilar from the fight mechanics I've come to expect across 3 years of raiding.

On a related note, how about Magmaw's melee attacks? Although we had some good attempts with a controlled Pillar of Flame using only one player at range, we ended up moving all our ranged DPS and healers out of melee range anyway for our kill. We were experiencing uncontrolled deaths when Magmaw was transitioning; both when the chains have been applied and Magmaw is entering the vulnerable phase, and at the end of the vulnerable phase when Magmaw breaks free. Combat logs show it was a regular melee attack being thrown out, and we're certain it wasn't an aggro pull. On our kill, our rogue was one-shot coming out of the vulnerable phase, but we were able to continue on regardless with our ranged DPS and healers a safe distance away. I don't think it's a regular aggro pull, anyway; certainly there is an aggro reset at the end of the vulnerable phase, but we've had the odd one-shot at the start of the vulnerable phase as well. In one case, our holy priest was one-shot entering the vulnerable phase. It seems there's a brief period where Magmaw is untargetable and will throw out melee attacks on some unknown basis. Perhaps proximity?
Anyone know how to control this a bit better?

#8 Iluminati

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 04:39 AM

On a related note, how about Magmaw's melee attacks? Although we had some good attempts with a controlled Pillar of Flame using only one player at range, we ended up moving all our ranged DPS and healers out of melee range anyway for our kill. We were experiencing uncontrolled deaths when Magmaw was transitioning; both when the chains have been applied and Magmaw is entering the vulnerable phase, and at the end of the vulnerable phase when Magmaw breaks free. Combat logs show it was a regular melee attack being thrown out, and we're certain it wasn't an aggro pull. On our kill, our rogue was one-shot coming out of the vulnerable phase, but we were able to continue on regardless with our ranged DPS and healers a safe distance away. I don't think it's a regular aggro pull, anyway; certainly there is an aggro reset at the end of the vulnerable phase, but we've had the odd one-shot at the start of the vulnerable phase as well. In one case, our holy priest was one-shot entering the vulnerable phase. It seems there's a brief period where Magmaw is untargetable and will throw out melee attacks on some unknown basis. Perhaps proximity?
Anyone know how to control this a bit better?


We experienced similar problems and this is how we dealt with it:

While Tank#1 is mangled, Tank#2 is taunting/dpsing/threating as hard as he can.

When "Vulnerable" phase is about to be over (but before it is actually over!) everyone except tank #2 gets at max melee range (or slightly further). Tank#2 is as close as possible without falling off. The tank should be the first one hit and everyone else should immediately get back "all the way" into melee range. If you don't move back into melee range fast enough, it's very easy to be surprised by a flame pillar in the middle of your group.

#9 Exemplar

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 01:39 PM

When Magmaw picks up the (primary) tank for the Mangle ability, that tank's threat disappears from the threat list. This leaves your top DPS at the top of the threat list. Whether tank's threat returns to the list unaltered after Mangle is somewhat moot, since in current gear DPS uniformly surpasses the last-known threat of a tank during transition and impale.

Unfortunately, Magmaw continues to melee for 1 to 3 attacks after he begins the Mangle. In 25 a plate DPS can usually survive one hit, sometimes two if heals were already luckily incoming, in 10man a plate DPS can generally survive without issue. Mail or leather wearers would have little survival chance (a Rogue in #2 threat could try an anticipatory Evasion or Vanish). When impale completes it's possible again for DPS to be primary threat, since the tank could not taunt (or taunted pointlessly) during this phase (from what I've seen the exposed head is not the same as Magmaw for threat purposes).

The best solution around this in 25man is to use two tanks. The second tank taunts when the first is Mangled. This week I'm planning to experiment with the 2nd tank taunting outside of melee range a few seconds before Mangle (melee continues on MT as OT is out of range), MT taunting "back", then 2nd tank stepping into melee range. Ideally this would place the 2nd tank ahead of all other DPS, so when the primary tank is Mangled the second immediately becomes a true tank.

In 10man the best solution may be for everyone to evacuate melee range as impale ends. The MT should be dropped and as the only valid target in melee range be the default target for melee attacks. MT taunts, everyone steps back in.
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#10 TrlstanC

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 02:35 PM

In 10man the best solution may be for everyone to evacuate melee range as impale ends. The MT should be dropped and as the only valid target in melee range be the default target for melee attacks. MT taunts, everyone steps back in.


Agreed, we found this to be the preferred method in 10-mans, although everyone has to be on their toes to move out right as impale ends to not get 1-shotted, and then move back in so they don't end up with a pillar of flame on top of the raid.

Another ability that I've heard conflicting/incorrect info on is the chains. Magmaw has a chance to break 1 chain if he hasn't been impaled yet, and the chain ability is on a fairly long CD (not spammable as some strats suggest), so it's much more efficient to have all your players on his head wait and throw their chains at the same time. This should impale him on the first try, kind of obvious once you see it work.

#11 Iluminati

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 12:06 AM

In 10man the best solution may be for everyone to evacuate melee range as impale ends. The MT should be dropped and as the only valid target in melee range be the default target for melee attacks. MT taunts, everyone steps back in.


It sounds like you use 1 tank in 10 man. How do you handle the massive armor debuff on your tank? Chain cooldowns for 2 minutes straight? We thought this might be doable, but instead opted to use cooldowns on the mangle and just tank swap afterwards. This gives us a greater number of cooldowns overall for our raid and tanks, and significantly less tank damage.

#12 Balkoth

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 02:17 AM

You can also simply have an offtank taunt like 5 seconds before mangle and have the offtank eat all of the mangles while having your MT always tanking the boss. This also means the MT should be highest on threat when the OT is mangled.
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#13 TrlstanC

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 02:35 AM

It sounds like you use 1 tank in 10 man. How do you handle the massive armor debuff on your tank? Chain cooldowns for 2 minutes straight? We thought this might be doable, but instead opted to use cooldowns on the mangle and just tank swap afterwards. This gives us a greater number of cooldowns overall for our raid and tanks, and significantly less tank damage.


We had a pally tank and a dedicated pally healer, plus the tank is getting a fair amount of group heals as well. CDs were used for mangle, but the extra damage from the armor debuff was just healed through. Granted this is a fairly high HPS to maintain single target healing, but it's certainly do able (looking back through the logs again, it doesn't seem very efficient though). This freed up our 2nd tank, a DK to help out if (when) parasites got out of control, which was much more likely to cause us to wipe.

Also, making sure that Magmaw gets impaled on the first try every time (good communication when people hop on his head) definitely cuts down on tank damage.

Edit: We 3 healed it, I would assume this is the default strategy since I think 2 healers would get overwhelmed fairly quickly. The DTPS before the first impale can easily be above 35k, which is out of reach of most 2 healing teams in current gear, even taking CDs and good luck in to account. If you're having problems with healing, you could always try 4 healing it, especially if the 4th could kick in some DPS during the impales. I believe he has a 10minute enrage which leaves some leeway, and should be doable with an average of about 12.5k per dpser.

Here's the log from our kill: World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis

#14 Merovengian

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 03:02 AM

The Pillar of Flame ability will not target the one person at ranged if they are moving and will instead target someone in melee range. We were able to consistently reproduce this effect during two different pulls.


During a trial phase of a kiting method for the worm spawns, i was able to reproduce an effect whereby I (ret pally) would run out of melee range 3 seconds before pillar was cast, and out of 9 attempts had a 100% success rate at forceing the pillar to spawn on me, and during every attempt i was constantly running. Thus, reinforcing the preference for a ranged target and disproving the nontargeting of mobile ranged.

EDIT: 9 boss attempts, not 9 pillar spawns.
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#15 savernon

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 03:31 AM

It sounds like you use 1 tank in 10 man. How do you handle the massive armor debuff on your tank? Chain cooldowns for 2 minutes straight? We thought this might be doable, but instead opted to use cooldowns on the mangle and just tank swap afterwards. This gives us a greater number of cooldowns overall for our raid and tanks, and significantly less tank damage.


1 tank 3 heals is definitely a workable strategy, we have been using that successfully, regardless of having a DK cheese tank the adds, or ranged + heals swap back and forth.

#16 TrlstanC

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 04:06 PM

Wondering if anyone has a good strategy to deal with Magmaw whacking a random melee range player when he comes out of the impale. As far as we can tell there's a threat wipe during the impale and he whacks a random player in range when he gets up before there's time to taunt, which does about 90-95% damage to any non-tank. The only idea we had for dealing with it is:

Have everyone back out of melee range right before the end of impale, and then run back in. This isn't ideal because it introduces a chance of a lava pillar on the raid, which is pretty much the worst case scenario.

So, instead we just kept everyone where they were, let one person get whacked and healed them up quick, not a great solution, but at least less chance of everyone puking up parasites 10 seconds later.

For Omnitron, the tuning on Arcane Anhilator seems a little funky. It's cast every 4 seconds, a fast cast, and does a lot of damage (but not a 1-shot). So, we should be interupting every cast, but it's not 100% necessary to get every one, and we were having problems coming up with a reliable rotation. Has anyone found a reliable way to lock this down, or is it just something that you're supposed to heal through the 25% of hits that get off?

#17 Silverwind

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 04:54 PM

Has someone figured out the mechanic when Cimaeron does an "early" feud, e.g. 30 seconds after the last one instead of 60 seconds? At first it seems random, but some people think it's percentage threshold based (like if the boss drops below 80/60/40% he feuds at the next massacre). At least for 25m Heroic, I *think* it could be 85/70/55/40% but I'm not 100% certain.

#18 Exemplar

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 05:20 PM

Wondering if anyone has a good strategy to deal with Magmaw whacking a random melee range player when he comes out of the impale.
For Omnitron, the tuning on Arcane Anhilator seems a little funky. It's cast every 4 seconds, a fast cast, and does a lot of damage (but not a 1-shot). So, we should be interupting every cast, but it's not 100% necessary to get every one, and we were having problems coming up with a reliable rotation. Has anyone found a reliable way to lock this down, or is it just something that you're supposed to heal through the 25% of hits that get off?


When your MT is picked up for Mangle they disappear from threat list.

10man: eat it and survive seems to be better than 2 tanks (for us, 2 tanks may work for others with 25man tactic below). MT taunts once available and threat can be iffy for a bit.

25man: Tested the following last night - 2 tanks. Approx 10 seconds prior to Mangle (well between pillar timers), 2nd tank walks out of melee range and taunts. 2nd tank is top of list, but Magmaw continues to hit MT (as highest threat in melee range). MT taunts back (after taunt debuff drops). 2nd tank moves into melee range. Mangle picks up MT, and 2nd tank takes any incidental melee attacks both before and after Impale.

You may want to warn your healers if you do this - the 2nd tank will get aggro from the taunt and raid frames would show them with aggro, even though 1st tank is still taking the beating. They need to know not to swap during the taunt "false aggro" window or your MT can die.

Omnotron - interrupts depend on raid composition. Two shaman can alternate Wind Shears for every AA. 2 melee and one shaman can rotate (melee1, shaman, melee2, shaman, repeat). 3 melee could rotate. 25man more likely to have composition allowing 100% interrupts. 10man do the best you can and make sure that any sneak through do not occur while he's in a Power Generator (40k is bad enough, 80k is awful).
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#19 PsiVen

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 10:51 PM

Wondering if anyone has a good strategy to deal with Magmaw whacking a random melee range player when he comes out of the impale.


The answer is pretty simple: don't have anyone stand in melee range when he comes out of the impale. They shouldn't be anyway, unless they're deliberately running in right away. This is when the natural tank transition occurs, with melee standing away from the boss while the new tank steps in and taunts.

#20 Anduryondon

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 04:26 AM

Has someone figured out the mechanic when Cimaeron does an "early" feud, e.g. 30 seconds after the last one instead of 60 seconds? At first it seems random, but some people think it's percentage threshold based (like if the boss drops below 80/60/40% he feuds at the next massacre). At least for 25m Heroic, I *think* it could be 85/70/55/40% but I'm not 100% certain.

I think too that it's treshhold based, however, I examined some videos and I can definitely say that Chimaeron can go Feud while at 86% HP.




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