Monday, June 7, 2010

Expectations : Champs

One of the most frequent questions I get from people looking to raid is: what is expected of me?

No matter what your class, always so up on time and prepared. Have morale, power, and WPDF pots as well as 30 minute tokens. It is also appropiate to have 10 minute food for boss fights and battle/warding scrolls.

Champions generally fill two roles in a raid: DPS or off-tank. The raid leader will let you know which role you will be filling so you can be prepared.

Primary Roles

DPS is the the easier of the two primary roles for a champ. The champion is expected to follow the raid assist in burning down a target. Champs are expected to control single target and AoE damage based on the situation and dynamicaly adjust if it changes. Champs should never break crowd control!

As with any DPS role, the champion is expected to manage DPS with aggro and power usage. Champions are also expected to manage their morale as best possible. If the mob is putting out AoE damage, champions should get out of range if their morale is dropping until they are healed up.

Champs may also be called upon to be a raid or melée assist. In this case the champ should know mob types and kill orders and work from low morale to high. Also they should click target rather than tab target!

Off Tank is a primary role that adds another dimension to the DPS role. An OT champ will be expected to switch from DPS to OT when called for. It is expected of an OT that they can hold the aggro of a mob while limiting the amount of damage being taken. This is often combined with effective secondry role function as well.

Secondary Roles

In a raid, in addition to the primary role as DPS or OT, champs are expected to fill a secondary role as well. I would call this role Mob Control. This is very distinct from Crowd Control! Champions will be called upon to remove corruptions and interrupt the inducions of mobs. It is important to know how to effectively clobber a target by watching for the induction ring as well as keeping enough fervor up to execute. Champions are also the last line of defense for the healers: if a mob or mobs come off of a tank, the champion should be ready to pick up the mob(s) and bring the back to the tank. The final part of mob control is contributing to keeping the mobs on the tank through the effective use of Ire.

Location:Expectations : Champs

Thursday, April 29, 2010

DN : Blind One Hard Mode

OTG took it's first run at fighting the Blind One in hard mode. We used previously aqquired locks for the Trolls and pushed "quickly and recklessly" through the trash mobs to the BO chambers in under 30 minutes.

For people that have not done or read about this fight, it is akin to doing the BO with the Troll mushrooms, Istum's crawlers, Flagit's shield, and the Mistress' spores.

We set up for the fight as we initially would, using two tanks in the center and the rest of the raid spread out 12m apart. I put a champs at two of the three portals and the LM at the thrid to help control the spores when they spawned. The first mushroom spawn went ok as thebraid shifted away from the mushrooms. The second spawn put a mushroom on the tank group. The tanks moved the BO out to the edge and the raid squished over to one side. A red eye went onto the raid and before people could scatter four or five were down. A wipe insued shortly after.

The second attempt was nearly the same: manageble until the tank group had to move for a mushroom.

With no tangable reward for completion, it will be some time before we head back to his fight. It would take quite a bit of time to work out a new strat for each phase. This is nearly a completely new fight with the added dynamics. I am very impressed that PM was able to do this fight at level 60!

-- Post From My iPhone.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

DPS LM : Viable Raid Option?

Over the past few weeks I have been experimenting with my DPS spec LM in a ranged DPS raid slot. The results aren't quite straightforward: LMs can maintain quite good dps only as long as they can use AoE attacks. If a fight requires CC in tight quarters, the LM becomes a gimped DPSer compared to RK, HNT, and even a CHMP.

A DPS LM works great in DN for the most part. The excpetions are DMM trash pulls, the BO fight, and to some extent, the middle portion of the trolls. The major problem is the BO encounter: inductions make LMs ineffective Darkling killers, the acid aura keeps them out of melee range, and they can't use AoE in the final phase when the DPS race kicks in.

There are some DN fights that a LM excels in, including the Mistress. LMs can put out a substantial amount of AoE damage in a type of damage most mobs can be debuffed heavily to.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

RK : 1st Age or 3rd Age

After spending a week working on RK LIs and doing a week of testing, here are some thoughts.

65 3rd Age Stone - Finding the perfect stone was a long trek for me, as I was demanding it be lightning damage and have four legacies: storm damage, storm critical, penetrate, and battle power cost. After taking 14 LIs to level 31 I finally found a keeper. This stone added around 16% damage in testing over my 1st Age level 60. Part was due to the tactical base rating plus the additional T9 relics and T3 crafter relics.

65 3rd Age Bag - I was content with my 59 1st Age because of the added points and becuase it doesn't have a tactical base stat. Based on the additional damage from the stone I decided to find a bag and get some T9 and crafted relics in it. I found a bag with CA power, SS damage, and SM return. I leveled it up, got a scroll on it, slotted relics. The results were suprising: nearly 8% more damage. That increase is pretty significant!

My RK now has a tactical damage output of 10,040 which is just above the on-level base cap, and gets up to 11k with will food and scrolls.

Work up a few LIs and get your relics up to T9 for tactical gems and you'll see almost 25% more damage!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, March 18, 2010

RK : Calming Verse

Calming verse is one of a RKs most potent spells, however, a fair few RK use it correctly. This skill really should remain double traited and RKs should keep it up at all times.

There are two major things a RK needs to consider in a raid environment: damage/power ratio and aggro generation. Normally these are directly related: as dmg goes up so does aggro and power usage. To maxamize our usable damage, we need to increase our dmg/power ratio and/or limit our aggro generation.

CV is so helpful because it works on both these at once. Traited CV increases our dmg/power ratio by 10% while dropping our aggro generation by 20%. It addresses both of our limiting factors, and it does it with a instacast (cast on the run) spell.

RK should double trait this spell an get used to reapplying it evey time it comes off. It will me your raid, and your epeen, very happy.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How To : Duo the Sword Halls Part 3

Challenge Three : Troll

This challenge takes a bit longer but is the easiest of the three.

The first wave is a signature with two normals. Burn the normals first starting with the defiler. The signature has a channel heal and a self heal that can be interrupted.

The second wave is two digs and a normal. Burn the normal then the sigs, nothing new here.

The troll is fairly easy though it can be tough on power. Bring the troll to a safe spot where his earthquake skill won't hit you. Avoid his fronal aoe if not tanking. Remove his corruption to help limit damage if need be. Simple tank and spank, just make sure to stay positioned in your safe spot.

Congrats on duoing a three man!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

How To : Duo Sword Halls Part 2

Challenge Two : Morrovals

The morroval trash mobs are the hardest part of duoing SH due to the stuns and heals. Always kill the normal level mobs first.

First pull is two normal morrovals that can stun and one signature that can stun, heal, and channel bats.

Second pull is two signature and one normal. This is the frustrating one. Take the normal one first. You may need to ignore the boss for a minute while you finish up the adds.

The boss herself isn't too hard. She has two special attacks, which both can be interrupted. The first is a channel skill for bats and the second is a self heal. Keep those two down and the fight is fairly easy. Remove corruption if you need power.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

How To : Duo Sword Halls Part 1

By popular request, my tips on how to duo the Sword Halls 3-man.

Challenge 1 : Fire Guy

The first wave is one signature and two normal mobs. This should be fairly easy. The sig has a heal that can be interrupted while the fire trail can not be.

The second wave is two signature and one normal mob. Try and interrupt the heal induction to burn them faster.

The fire boss can be a pain, but if you understand his specials you will be fine. The main special is only interruptable by a conjunction and he bends down to the ground. This is the fire snake, and he needs to be kited to avoid fire wound that will stack. The other special is interruptable and he reaches into the air. Following this special you can stand and attack him until he does the fire snake special.

Take your time and avoid the fire. Remove his corruption for a heal if needed.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sword Halls Buglar Trio

Three burglars can complete the challenge mode in the Sword Halls in under six minutes without breaking much of a sweat. All it takes is a little bit of planning ahead of the fight. Here's how we do it.

We assign a conjunction order ahead of time : two burgs will be responsible for popping healing conjunctions while the third will save conjunctions for the fire boss to interrupt his fire snake special.

We make sure at least one member has traited disable, one dust, and one counter defense.

At the start of the fight one burg will use exploit opening on the fire boss as soon as he goes active, then switches to
Morroval. New burg picks up fire boss and other picks up troll. All burgs remove corruptions and put traited tricks up.

Pull boss to safe spot. Pop next conjunction. All burgs should have RW up and be beating on the fire boss. The conjunction burgs pop conjunctions as soon as one member is half health. Every 20 seconds a FM should be kicked off.

Once fire boss is down, the fight is much easier, now just work on Morroval then troll.

You can check out the YouTube videos to see it in action.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Want to come back?

I recieved a few emails from people asking about Mirkwood and wondering how bad it would to come back to the game and grind to the end game. I decided to do a little test.

My old PvMP toon was my level 50 Burglar. Until last week I had not even logged him in since pre-Moria. I decided I would level him to end game raid ready condition and track how long it took. My goal was to level 50 to 65, get kindred reputation with both Elf factions, level all crafts from GM to SM, and get 80 or more radiance.

Thirty eight hours of /played time later I hit my goal. I leveled in Eregion from 50 to 52, then Moria from 52-56, Lothlorien from 56-59, and Mirkwood from 59 to 65. I went back to Loth to run daily quests for rep, and I did my crafting a little each day. I started Sword Hall runs at 62 and ran about three per day as I went from 62 to 65.

Overall I actually enjoyed the grind. I was nervous that with six toons at 65 I might be bored, but It went fairly quick. I will post the /played time for five level increments in a follow up.

Bottom line, if you are thinking about coming back $30 gets you both Moria and Mirkwood plus 30 days free play time, and 40 hours will get you raid ready in the end game.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Raiding : Barad Guldur Lock 1 Tour

Due to problems with the patch yesterday we were unable to do much lock two work in the BG raid last night, however, I took the opportunity to shoot a quick video tour of the path to Durchest, the first boss of the instance. This path is also know as "the gauntlet" as you ascend the tower of Barad Guldur up to Durchest's chamber. 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Raiding : Barad Guldur, Part II

An OTG test group ran BG again last night with the goal of figuring out exactly how Durchest's debuff mechanic works. The gauntlet run was very smooth (outside of loosing two people right at the start) and took us under 15 minutes to reach Durchest's chamber. The gauntlet has become much easier now that we have a better idea of how it works and when to move up, we are handling the Uruks without much problem using the two guardian system.

We had some new ideas regarding the agrro debuff mechanic going into the fight from looking at previous videos. We went in with a new strat that involved the champ shouting Durchest off of the tank during a set part of his script. This didn't work like we though it would, but we were able to recover and continue the fight with the tanks watching their debuffs and trying to figure out exactly what was going on. In what turned out to be a bit of a palm-sweating fight, we were able to get a general idea of how to control the aggro debuffs.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tip : Tricks to SG

With a 1 in 10 or 15 drop rate on 2nd Age symbols, running quick and effective SG runs is important. These few tips will help you get these runs down to 45 minutes if you push through.

1.) The first pull can be done without the two waves of guards. Have your hunter or minstrel tag the Brute on the balcony and pull them down to the door. This saves you eight guards.

2.) Use a warden to stop the Brutes absorb buff from going up. A warden uses Ambush and right before it goes off the champ or guard shouts him.

3.) Don't pop any bone piles until the fourth boss. Bone piles slow you down. Every trash pull has a safe place to fight.

4.) Summoners are only interrupted by stuns. Start any trash pulls with Summoners with a champ crafted horn.

5.) While fighting the third boss make sure to pile up on the grate running left to right. By remaining on the grate you will not be feared to the back of the room and have to run back. Plus you can AoE the adds off the healer.

A group with a warden, two champs, captain, RK, and minstrel can full clear in 45 minutes. Enjoy.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Legacies : Captain

There are some extremely important legacies for raiding captains. Most captains carry at least a main weapon and a buffing weapon, as well as a main emblem and a buffing emblem.

Buffing items max out at the same numbers regardless of their level, so it makes much more sense to use level 60 or under emblems and weapons for your buffers: they are much easier to obtain (tablets) and level (use otherwise useless runes from DN and bounties).

Buffing Weapon: Look for the trifecta for buffing which is Morale from MS, Tactics: Renlentless Attack, and Tactics: On Guard. It took a bit of searching, but I did get all three on a weapon. Level those legacies up to max.

Buffing Emblem: You are looking for Tactics: Focus. This has become a more and more important raid buff as fights get longer and hunters and RKs approach capped crit rating without the RA buff.

Main Weapon: The most important legacy for raiding is the Telling Mark legacy. This is a must have for end game raids. After that To Arms duration is important for raiding capts. Ideally I like to have one or both crit legacies (devastating blow and pressing attack). Most capts will switch from 59/60 frist ages to 65 3rd ages or 2nd ages, though it's not as crutial raidwise as a dps class.

Main Emblem: The emblem makes or breaks a raid capt. The emblem needs to have rallying cry cooldown! Our kin requires it for BO/Misstress/BG becuase it makes such a huge healing difference. In addition to that, ideally, you want healing from rallying cry, vocal skills healing, valiant strike healing, strength of will healing. In addition to those primo legacies having escape from darkness and time of need cooldowns. While a perfect 65 3rd or 2nd age may be the absolute best, it will take a lot of work to tier up the legacies to max them all. For that reason a level 59 first age offers a close to perfect heal rating while providing far more useable points!

With the right legacies, stats, and gear a 9k morale raiding captian can heal the entire fellow for 750+ every 8.3 seconds with rallying cry while boosting the raids damage by 10%, plus all the killer buffs!

See you capts in raids!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Class : Rune Keeper : DPS

Every raid leader out there has one class that they are tougher on than other based on their own playstyle, and for me that class is the rune keeper. If you have raided with me as one, sorry ;).

The RK is an easy class to play (especially solo) but a difficult class to play well (especially in a raid). RKs tend to have two major problems in raids, both of which can be partially corrected through class traits: aggro management and power consumption. In addition to slotting class traits, adjustments to your skill rotations can increase your dps and lower your power consumption significantly.

The easiest change for most people will be slotting two class traits: Linnod of Subtlelty and Overflowing Confidence. Slotting these two traits and using them will not only control your aggro generation and power consumption but it will also increase your damage output.

Every fight should start with Calming Verse running. Keeping Calming Verse up everytime it's up will increase dps and drop aggro generation. Using Cleansing Fires will also help with threat reduction.

Traited Self Motivation is an extremely important RK skill in prolonged combat. In the first half of a fight a RK can use Self Motivation to keep their power topped. In the latter half of a fight Self Motivation is a perfect complement to using Epic Conclusion, as it counteracts the penalty on power consumption.

The next step to managing power is to examine skill rotations. This can be done by parsing your skill damage with Cstats and adding skill power cost to the spreadsheet to get a handle on not only what skills net the highest damage but what each point of damage cost you. I was able to increase dps by 15% and drop power use by 20% by changing my rotation.

The last, and most crutial, step is to make sure you are watching your buff bar. Here are some tips:

1.) Never use Epic Conclusion without Harsh Debate and Thunderous Words active. Having the dps increase from these buffs is the only way it makes the damage/power ratio worth it. Also make sure Calming Verse is running!

2.) Always build argument using Ceaseless Argument. This skill is the best damage/power skill and it gets your attunement and Harsh Debate up. Once attunement is up you get a much better damage/power ratio for Scribe's Spark and Shocking Words and you limit aggro generation while the tank builds it.

3.) Use Self Motivation following Epic Conclusion.

4.) Use Cleansing Fires at all times and use Distracting Winds preventively if you are worried about aggro following crits.

Hope that helps your RK!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Raiding : Barad Guldur

Last night twelve brave OTGers assembled for our third exploratory run at the new Mirkwood raid. Our previous attempts had taught us a bit about the initial pull as well as the gauntlet run.

We handled the initial pull of the shadow and fire twins (100k Nemesis mobs) without a problem. We spilt them using LOS and burned Shadow then Fire.

The path from the I initial pull to Durchest (first boss of BG) is called the guantlet. This is a 15 to 20 minute fight as you push your way up the tower as enemy reinforcements steadily join the fight. The tricky part of this run in the Uruks who do massive AoE damage. We used two guardians on this run with one taking front and one rear guard, handling the Uruks as they came. The ranged DPS group burned the Uruks as the melle group dealt with wargs and goblins. We moved square to square and handled the run with little problem (even with having to wait for my LD in the middle). There was one rough period with three Uruks but we were able to recover. At the top of the stairs we handled the shadow gate keepers with the guards splitting and ranged DPS burning.

Durchest was up next and with our previous wipe on him, we were extra careful. The gauntlet does not turn off until he is cleared so stakes are high. Durchest has some tricks up his sleeve! Until 160k he summons adds which are 49k fire or shadow axe men. He puts out a fear which must be cleared. He has a scripted distributed damage attack. And just to make things fun he stacks an aggro debuff on the tank. Oh yeah, should anyone die in the last phase, he heals a bit (by a bit I mean 200k). With a few deaths we were able to power though for our first clear of lock 1 in BG.

Everyone got two medallions. We got 6 copper settings and 4 40k ixp runes. The SK loot was the BG Boots and a caster necklace.

We spent the next hour working on trash between boss one and two. There are some crazy new things going on.

Stayed tuned for a BG update next week!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, January 4, 2010

Flake Dropper : Mirkwood

This flake dropper paths all the way along the northern edge of the Dourstocks. The easy to solo 62E Morroval i sfound between the bat cave (shown) and the Morroval camp.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Flake Dropper : Mirkwood

Drunkah is a 62E wood troll the paths a large circle around the Drownholt swamps. He hits fairly hard but can be cc'd, so the biggest tip is getting him alone and not pulling swamp cats or bog lurkers in with him. Also try to avoid the water that will give you the nasty debuffs.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Flake Dropper : Mirkwood

Durkam is an easy flake dropper to cross paths with as he is right in the Gathburz daily quest area. He is a 21k Elite mob with a T3 corruption but he is readily soloable if you come across him!

Video : DN : Blind One

Blind One Fight, HD FRAPS

After a few requests, I finally got a video posted of the Blind One fight in DN. This fight tends to lag me out bad, so I have never dared to run FRAPS in it before, but with the settings backed down I was able to get one done last week during OTG's DN 5-6 run.

The first phase of the fight is sped up by 3x because it's boring for anyone other than the MT and OT. Everyone spreads out 12m apart while the MT/OT handle the Blind One in the middle of the room. Hunters spam S:E QS and everyone else heals or stands around.

Phase two is sped up by 2x because it's rather bland too. Melee classes begin working on the Blind One while the Hunters burn down Darklings. We use this pahse to make sure everyone is topped off and ready to go.

Phase three is the fun phase. Corruption removal and interrupts become paramount. The RK throws up a Writ of Cold, champs spam clobber and feral strikes, and a burst removal rotation begins with RK, Burg, LM, and Hunters. The LM starts CCing dopplegangers full time. The LM calls out for Call to Greatness so he can handle the last few seconds of the fight while the group finishes off the BO.

Tip : Warden : DPS Rotation

With all the masteries completed, there are some impressive skill rotations out there for wardens. I have been doing a lot of learning from a fellow guild member, Dev, about effectively playing a warden.

For solo play, there is a quick four gambit rotation that will finish most mobs normal-con off by it's completion. You need all of the skill masteries (fist, shield, and spear) to make it quick and effective.

Here is what I am currently using:
1.) Warden's Triumph - Spear-Fist, Shield-Spear, Fist
2.) Mighty Blow - Spear-Shield, Fist-Spear
3.) Power Attack - Spear, Shield-Fist
4.) Onslaught - Spear, Shield, Spear

By the end of that rotation you are ready to start with WT again should you need to. This melts mobs very quickly. For signature mobs I have been throwing in Desolation instead of Onslaught and it seems to work well.

Thanks Dev, and enjoy all.