LFR Tales: Mogu'shan Vaults 1 & 2

Early in the morning on Tuesday, December 24th, 2013, I took advantage of a seven-day free trial for World of Warcraft that was in my Referrals and Rewards section of my Battle.Net account. My unofficial goal for myself was to gear myself up and go check out the raid content (LFR versions at any rate). I wanted to see each boss once, with a specific focus on wanting to see Garrosh defeated, because I’ve hated that dude since the Faction Champions fight back in Trial of the (Grand) Crusader.

By Tuesday afternoon, I’d gotten a couple of pieces of gear from the Timeless Isle. Those pieces brought my ilvl up from ~458 past ~463, so I was then able to queue for Mogu’shan Vaults.

I will preface this by saying that I did absolutely no research for MSV LFRs. None whatsoever. I knew bits and pieces about the fights (I knew about Elegon’s platform, for example) but I went in pretty blind, which is not typical of me. I like to be 100% prepared and ready to go. I just couldn’t make myself go through raid strats for entry-level raids, though. At worst, I figured I could read a quick guide if there were issues during the instance.

To be clear, I don’t recommend going in blind. It added a certain degree of panic to which I am not accustomed…

Anyhow, we walk into MSV and clear trash and then, all of a sudden, we kill a boss.

What?

Yeah, that’s right. I didn’t realize The Stone Guard was actually a boss fight. I thought it was slightly more difficult trash. No ready-check, no pause, nothing from the raid group to indicate it was a boss fight. I didn’t use a single cooldown.

So that was my experience with LFR Stone Guard. The fight lasted 2:36.

On to Feng the Accursed.

To be honest, even reading a description of this boss, I don’t have much recollection as to which boss this actually is! I do remember getting Wildfire Spark once and running away from people because, hey, if you’re stacked up and you get a debuff on you, you PROBABLY want to move away. So I did. Other than that, I just gotta say that Deadly Boss Mods is wicked for someone who doesn’t know what in the hell they’re doing. Great warnings. It’s not as though I never used DBM before or anything, but I certainly gained a new appreciation for it.

I basically treated the fight as a tank and spank with some crap on the ground. I took the third-least amount of damage from Epicenter, and when I noticed it was nature damage, I instinctively looked for Aspect of the Wild and then remembered they tossed that out (along with the pally auras). Oh, and despite not taking much fire or epicenter damage, I took a crapton of damage from Arcane Velocity. Whoopsiedoodle.

All-told, not a particularly memorable encounter.

Then it was Gara’jal the Spiritbinder.

For various reasons, I was vaguely aware that there was a secondary realm in this fight. However, I never visited it. I wasn’t banished there or anything, so… I didn’t click on a totem to go to the other realm. I also never got the Voodoo Doll thing. So I just sat back and shot at the boss. I have to admit that I quite enjoyed being the noob, for once, and neglecting to do anything of importance in a raid environment. Over the years that I raided, I did some of the tough jobs, I always knew what was going on and it was really nice to just sit back and fire arrows at a boss without too much concern for anything else.

On the other hand, my pride is somewhat damaged now because I feel silly talking about how I was “that scrub”, but hey, wait ’till you read up on my encounters in Siege. Lordy…

I logged my adventures in MSV 1 and looked at the WoL parses (although I plan to upload all my logs to Warcraft Logs to play around, soon!) and sighed heavily because I’d ranked on Feng and Gara’jal. Me. Ranking. After not playing for a year. Obviously, Gara’jal is because I didn’t actually enter the spirit world, but there’s no earthly reason that I should have ranked on Feng.

I looked at the other hunter in the raid and, to prevent public shaming I won’t link to their armory, but:

470 item level (439 equipped — no cloak! WTF?! And not just “no legendary cloak”, I’m saying NO CLOAK AT ALL.)
2 empty glyph slots (both major)
6 unenchanted items
7 empty sockets in 4 items
missing Living Steel Belt Buckle
No items have been reforged
This character doesn’t use any gems.
Hit: +4.66%
Expertise: 2.28%

There are two small positives to this guy:

a) At least he’s wearing all mail.
b) At least all the gear is agility stuff and not, say, intellect mail.

Oh. And he was Beast Mastery. Know how many times he cast Kill Command throughout the whole instance? Five times. And they all missed because he’s nowhere near hit or expertise capped. And yes. He was in for all three bosses.

On the bright side, even after a year of not playing, I was not as bad as that guy. (It’s a personal point of pride for me to be hit-capped and now, I guess, expertise-capped, even though I hate expertise and I’m sort of glad those two stats are vanishing in Warlords of Draenor.)

Anyway, moving on, that was on Tuesday afternoon. I didn’t play much, if at all, on Christmas Day, but spent some time playing on Boxing Day (Thursday, the 26th). Among my adventures, I did the back-half of Mogu’shan Vaults.

I should note, at this point, that there were no wipes in my first-half. It was remarkably smooth. Not exactly the case with the back-half… But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The Spirit Kings

I think Spirit Kings went pretty well. I avoided damage from Flanking Orders, Massive Attacks and Annihilate. Only took two hits of Volley. (I miss Volley…) While Flanking Orders was kind of fun to run around (Disengage is amazing), there wasn’t a lot to this fight. Sure, more abilities retained means more chaos, but none of it was really chaotic to begin with. Again, I know that this is LFR we’re talking about, so I shouldn’t be so cocky, but honestly, this was kind of a yawner. A six-minute yawner.

Elegon

Thus commenced the wipes. And, by the way, Ellegon is the name of a dragon in the Guardians of the Flame series by Joel Rosenberg. I loved the hell out of those books and it’s hard to imagine that Elegon is not an homage to Ellegon.

Anyhow, the wipes started here. Not surprisingly, we wiped the first time because a bunch of people fell in the hole. I have to say that I’m really pleased to see that there’s an actual spell that kills you (Obliteration) as opposed to “fall damage”. Good job, Blizz! Makes diagnosing wipes a lot easing.

The second time, only two people (instead of like, 10) died to falling, so we were able to get through the fight pretty easily. Kill adds/pylon things. Don’t drop to your death. I’m probably missing something (although I got the whole buff/no buff thing), but this seemed pretty simple even for an LFR fight.

Ranked pretty high for this, compared to the other fights in the last LFR, but that just makes me sad. I’m assuming that half the reason I ranked is because I didn’t plummet to my death. Sigh.

Will of the Emperor

Well, I screwed up which adds to kill first. I focused on Rage, then Strength, then Courage, just because I was flying blind. I reasoned that Rage sounded worse! Lordy. Too funny. That said, I only took two Devastating Arcs. Others took 20+. I feel okay about myself now. I’m assuming that it’s okay I focused on just one of Jan-xi and Qin-xi, since they share a health pool. It just took us one attempt to down this fight.

All told, not a particularly exciting fight from the perspective of a hunter in LFR. And I ranked again. Terrible. Undergeared, rusty hunters like myself should not rank, especially when they don’t know the fights at all.

In Conclusion

The LFR version of MSV bored me. I liked seeing the Elegon fight due to my affinity for Ellegon and that series of books, but most of the fights were boring to me. Again, I know, it’s LFR. LFR does not represent Flex, Normal or Heroic. I get it. I’m sure the fights were ten times more interesting on actual difficulty levels.

That said, none of them really left much of an impression on me. I struggled to remember which fight was which as I wrote this, so I looked them all up and went “oh, right, THAT one”. Throne of Thunder and Siege of Orgrimmar fare better in my memory, I think, but much of T14 seemed meh.

Further, this summary was probably not terribly entertaining, but there are more summaries coming. In the meantime, tell me about your impressions of MSV, on any difficulty! Did you like the instance overall? What about your LFR experiences there? Anyone as bad as my fellow hunter? Share your tales of woe!

8 comments

  1. Talarian says:

    Elegon on normal is a super fun, but difficult at the time, fight. In LFR you just stay on the platform. In normal, the longer you stay on the platform, you get a stacking debuff that increases damage taken. It then becomes a balance of how long can your raid stay on the platform and your healers still keep you alive.

    Will of the Emperor was another fight I loved, if only because of the dance. Something you likely didn’t notice, but if you dodge all the Devastating Arcs in a single set (but are close enough to get hit), you get an Extra Action Button called “Opportunistic Strike” which does about a million damage in a single shot. It was awesome for melee, but even better in my healer to end up doing a whack of DPS because I was good at it.

    Gara’jal was another one of those exhausting raid leader needs to do a bunch of work on Normal, except it was worse because I couldn’t plan ahead. It always had to be on the fly to see who to send into the Spirit Realm. Annoying.

    Spirit Kings were honestly a pretty forgettable fight, and Feng was boring excepting the fact that I found a use for Hand of Purity with all that tank DoT damage.

    Stone Guard, though, ugh. On LFR even at first you could largely ignore most of the mechanics. On Normal it was actually a rather tough fight to be the very first fight of the expansion. It was reminiscent of Halfus Wyrmbreaker. On 10 man you’d get 3 of the 4 dogs, and which ones you got were different each week, and what you got vastly changed the difficulty of the fight. And the tanks. People got complacent last expansion, and this fight was a bit of a wake up call for tanks. The fight is effectively a tank square dance, where you had 2 dogs on tank A and 1 dog on tank B, and whichever dog was active would get swapped from tank to tank. It was fun, but honestly a tad complex for the very first fight of the expansion.

    Overall, I enjoyed MSV, but unlike SoO, the difficulty was all over the place. The middle bosses were relatively easy, book-ended by some tougher fights. I’m glad Blizzard is finally figuring out pacing.

  2. RohanV says:

    I think you are reading too much into ranking. You are ranking because very few people upload logs for LFR.

    It’s kind of like how people from medium guilds could rank on normal-mode fights, because all the edge players had moved onto heroic-modes as soon as they could.

  3. Nina says:

    Stone Guard was a guild killer on our server. If you had good tanks or godly healers it wasn’t too bad, but after coasting through a billion months of overgearing Dragon Soul a lot of people were flabby and out of shape and it showed.

  4. R says:

    One thing to keep in mind about LFR rankings is that most of us don’t log and upload LFR logs… I did it once to try and diagnose an issue I was having in ToT normal by trying something in LFR and I think I ranked top 5 in all fights in that wing.

    So, /backpat on ranking but I’m not sure it’s actually saying much. :)

    And as RohanV points out, even normal mode rankings after the first month or two can be suspect, I ranked on 4 of the first 6 ToT bosses for a few weeks and I’m certainly not actually at that performance level on the world stage.

    I generally enjoyed MSV on normal, I thought Stone Guard was too random for a first boss of the expansion, especially with the different weekly bosses for 10-man (not sure how it worked for 25) but the rest of the instance was pretty good. Elegon was too tightly tuned for my raid when we got there so we had to detour to HoF when we got to him for a few weeks before having the gear to get Elegon down. Will was a step down in difficulty but by the time we got to him on normal we’d all pretty much mastered the LFR version of the fight so that probably saved us quite a few pulls.

    MSV has been one of my favourite LFR instances for a quick 90 VP (prior to heroic scenarios, anyway), it didn’t take too long for most players in a group to have mastered the instance, once you stop losing 10 players to the hole on Elegon (I’m really surprised you lost that many, not sure I’ve seen more than 4 die since ToT came out a long time ago) those fights are relatively auto-pilot.

  5. Kadomi says:

    MSV is probably my favorite raid of the expansion, followed by ToT and Siege. I enjoyed the atmosphere, the presentation of lore, and fights on normal were quite interesting. In LFR none of the mechanics really matter, but on normal, Elegon was a very difficult fight in his tier. The stacking debuff, the positioning, the need to blow CDs for Annihilation of the add, the need to kill the P2 adds quickly enough which was a DPS check. All that is missing in LFR where all you have to worry about is paying attention to the end of P2 so you won’t fall to your death. To me Elegon was the final boss of MSV because Will was so easy comparatively. The Will Devastating Arc dance is awesome as melee and tank though, once you have mastered it.

    It’s actually quite sad to read the fight descriptions, because it just shows how very watered down LFR is.

  6. Kurn says:

    Talarian – I’d read up on that Elegon buff thing last year and was disappointed the buff thing didn’t actually show up in LFR. (Although I understand why.)

    Interesting, re: Opportunistic Strike! I definitely didn’t see that. :)

    re: Gara’jal: On the fly stuff can really suck sometimes. I usually left that kind of stuff for another officer (Majik, Tikari, Daey) while I did the pre-planning junk. My brain just doesn’t really work quite that fast, I guess.

    I’d heard that Stone Guard normal gave people trouble! That’s why I was so astonished we’d killed them without my even noticing they were a boss! I guess the tanks actually knew what they were doing?

    I agree that people got complacent after months of nerfed Dragon Soul content. It was the same after nerfed ICC.

    People have been commenting that they really liked MSV and I’m kind of sad I didn’t get to see the real versions of the fights! But it does sound like a strange pacing.

    Rohan – Mentioning my ranking is key for the other parts of my story. ;) I still maintain that I shouldn’t have ranked, half in blues, not having played for a year and not having a clue how to do the fights… but I completely understand your point. My guild would rank ridiculously often on something like normal Spine while we struggled to finish H Blackhorn, so I know the theory behind it. I knew we were “falling behind”, so to speak, when we kept getting DPSers ranking in the top 25 parses of a normal fight. “Oh, too many ranks, gotta get to heroic soon!” ;)

    Nina – excellent way of putting it! Flabby and out of shape! Brilliant. I think back to Magmaw and ODS and remember how my own raid teams had a lot of trouble adjusting. DBM hadn’t been updated yet and we were reliant on watching things like, you know, THE ENVIRONMENT, and seeing people get hit with adds or the floor overheating just made me sad! (Well, I’m sure I got hit with adds too, but still.)

    R – Oh gosh, I’m not trying to pat myself on the back saying I ranked. I’m trying to say that if someone as out of practice and rusty and unknowledgeable about the fights can rank, even on LFR, something ain’t right. ;) The idea that I did more DPS than about 75-100 other hunters, EVER, is pretty silly, even taking into consideration the fact that not many people log LFRs. I mean, clearly some people DO, because there are 250(?) ranks for those fights for survival hunters, so the thought that I could come in lower than 100 is pretty silly. Anyway, it integrates into the rest of my story! :)

    As to Stone Guard, it worked like Halfus did on normal, then?

    So glad you enjoyed the instance, despite your troubles with Elegon at first. :)

    Kadomi – Now I feel sad that I missed out on the Devastating Arc dance. The feeling of mastering a “dance”, like Heigen’s, was awesome, even though I didn’t love it as a fight mechanic. Interesting that they did something a bit similar with Devastating Arc. :)

    And so sad to hear how watered down Elegon was. It seemed like a really neat fight and I wondered how different it was on LFR from normal or heroic. Sad that it’s even more watered down than I’d assumed it had been!

  7. Beezlebubba says:

    LFR Stone Guards is nonsensical. You don’t even need a second tank. You can tank them all together, ignore all the mechanics, and burn them down. You could do this when the content was current. As a first fight in a tier, it was probably a bit much on normal. Some dog combinations were horrific when you were just starting out. Eventually, of course, you overcame it. But I think it was a bit tough to start a tier.

  8. R says:

    No, that was me patting you on the back, was trying to soften the follow-up point a bit first. :)

    Yeah, Halfus is another fight of that type… I really don’t like those types of fights in general but at least with Halfus that was only the first boss of THAT instance, you could ignore that instance entirely if you wanted and still have content to run. MSV was IT for the first while until HoF came out and even then you needed some MSV gear to do HoF so Stone Guards wasn’t optional in the same way. In LFR as Beez points out the tanks (or tank) just stack the doggies up and you AoE burn them down. On Normal, if memory serves (and I never tanked it), the tanks had to split the dogs due to a debuff if all 3 were in proximity (20yds, maybe, or 30yds, it was a decent range), one tank would handle 2 dogs, the other would tank 1 off to the side and when necessary would taunt a specific 1 of the 2 being tanked over to him, at which point the other tank taunted the one that had been solo tanked. The dog being tanked off to the side had a major damage resist on it (90 or 99%) so while you could cleave the 2 that were with one tank, you couldn’t do much with the 3rd. Plus, the mechanics actually mattered, and they HURT. Stack, spread, move… dogs have to be spread far enough away but close enough that healers can get both tanks… puddles all over the place influencing where you can move the dogs to… huge blasts hitting everyone for 90% of their health bar that healers have to heal up while worrying about other things… players getting linked and maybe breaking the link or not under certain circumstances… plus other mechanics I’m probably forgetting. Oh, some puddles had to be soaked by someone, I think? Gah. It was a messy fight.

    Plus the randomness of having 3 of the 4 every week. Also as Beez mentioned, some combinations were a lot harder than others, also as it was with Halfus but probably worse. It was hardest on the tanks, I think, at least from the perspective that 90% of the wipes were caused by tanking issues (not taunting, taunting too soon, dogs too close, spread too far for healing, etc). It was entirely possible for a player to die to various mechanics, too, without anyone being able to save them.

    Considering we’d “just” come from the relatively easy DS raid, it was a pretty damned significant splash of cold water. I’m sure some raids went in there and facerolled but my raid, the same one that killed Deathwing before the first nerf (far from world first but not a bad accomplishment), took 3 weeks to get that fight for the first time and actually failed on it the week after due to a harder comp of the 3 up that week… ugh.

    On the other hand, that’s a fight that they did RIGHT in LFR, the mechanics are there but you probably won’t wipe to them… all fights should be like that in there and it sounds like in WoD they might be, finally.

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