The First Apotheosis Cataclysm Raid (10)

I am a firm believer in 25-man raids. I love the group makeup, I love the smaller teams-within-the-team and I just outright adore healing in a 25-man with 5-6 other healers.

However, I was definitely starting to get twitchy and so I threw up a post on our guild forums basically saying that I was going to lead a 10-man exploratory, unofficial raid to Baradin Hold (if we had it) and then move on to Blackwing Descent and probably play with Magmaw.

I had a bunch of pre-requisites:

1) People had to have an average item level of 340, which would indicate mostly heroic dungeon gear and a few 333 items. (I am moderately confused as to why I’m sitting at 338 AFTER picking up an epic breastplate, but I was at 340 before the raid started, according to the armory and my in-game character sheet.)

2) People had to have their appropriate helm and shoulder rep enchants. Period. If you didn’t have those (and I’m talking Honored for Therazane, I wasn’t even requiring exalted!), you couldn’t come.

3) People had to be enchanted and gemmed. I wasn’t asking for blue-quality gems, just the greens and no Wrath-era gems. I wasn’t asking for people to enchant anything below 333, but 333+ had to be enchanted. The only Wrath-era enchant that was acceptable was Tuskarr’s. I also didn’t require a belt buckle.

4) Speaking of Tuskarr’s, I required a speed boost enchant or talent. If you didn’t have that, you couldn’t come. (Priests who used Inner Will were exempt.)

5) Had to be as close to hit-capped for special attacks as possible. Melee had it easy, but casters were a little more difficult, so as long as they made a significant, visible effort to get hit-capped, we were cool.

6) Had to be familiar with the fights. I did up a couple of posts combining a bunch of information and linked some videos, so hopefully that was helpful.

I locked the thread on Monday evening after I got home from a Christmas party and edited/adjusted the signups based on people’s new availability.

And then I set about armorying everyone who had signed up.

I think there were a total of two people who had no issues with enchants or gear or whatever. Two. I had both my tanks logged out in ret gear, a healer with a fishing pole equipped (although yay for fishing us towards the Seafood feast!) and then a laundry list of people without enchants, gems and the like.

So I wrote to them all and was like “here’s what’s wrong. Here’s what this means you need to do” and I let them know if I was going to probably have them on standby due to those issues.

In the end, I had 11 people who were raid-ready, who had said they’d be there and they were.

But then I had four others who whispered me or otherwise let me know that they were available. Two of them hadn’t posted on the forums, one of them had plans change after the forum thread was locked and another won’t be raiding with us in January, so I couldn’t prioritize them at all. Not to mention the fact that I hadn’t examined three of them on the armory *at all*…

15 people. 10 raid spots.

I basically discounted bringing any of the four unless I had someone drop, thanking them for letting me know of their availability and that I would call upon them if needed. As it was, I was going to have to play swap-around with the healers, which I didn’t particularly want to do.

So I invited 9 people to the raid and left out a fourth healer, a paladin, with the intention of swapping him in midway through the raid or so. The question was, which healer would I swap out? The disc priest or the resto shaman? Well, there’d be time for that later.

Off we went to Tol Barad! And spent a good 10 minutes looking for the instance entrance. PRO TIP: It’s on the WEST side of Baradin Hold on the southern island! There’s a meeting stone and everything.

Our group at the time was two prot pallies, one holy paladin (myself), one disc priest, one resto shaman, one fire mage, one shadow priest, one frost death knight, one kitty druid and one assassination rogue.

I was quite pleased to see that, according to the RaidComp tool at MMO-Champion, we were only missing one major raid buff; a +% damage buff, since we had no BM hunter, no arcane mage and no ret paladin.

So we went in and I described the fight and made mention of the 5m hard enrage. And then we gave it a shot.

One-shot, yay! And he dropped two pieces of PVP loot.

On to Blackwing Descent!

There was very little trash. Three mobs, two pulls. We still managed to wipe on the double pull, though, but fixed up our strat and then we were staring at this great, giant worm.

I explained that we had to kill the Lava Parasite adds left by Pillar of Flame. And also, not to get hit by Pillar of Flame.

We had a hell of a time controlling the adds with our group makeup and we had some trouble seeing the Pillar of Flame animation.

Our frost DK respecced a bit to help out with the adds and our mage went frost to help control them. Later, he even redid his frost spec to gain better control of the adds.

Meanwhile, it was about 10:30 and we’d had 8 attempts plus the Argaloth fight, so I called for a break and I swapped in the fourth healer (paladin) for the disc priest. I really wanted to make sure that all 11 people who had confirmed before signups closed and who were raid-ready were able to swap in. I had a fifth healer available, but I was a little reluctant to swap out the resto shammy for the holy priest. Apart from anything else, the resto shammy’s mana regen in the burn phase was HUGE, thanks to Telluric Currents, and the shammy also brought Mana Tide Totem.

Truth be told, though, I was on the verge of bringing in the priest when, out of nowhere, we hit the enrage on Magmaw (which happens at about 10m30s, FYI) on attempt 11. So I decided to keep the group intact. Attempt 12 went south after about five minutes, but attempt 13 was our lucky one. No deaths, only one person hit by Pillar of Flame and Magmaw was down after 9m08s.

Guild first (obviously), realm fourth, for an overall Realm 5th ranking. (Granted, that’s currently out of five, but still.)

Our resto shaman got offspec mail pants due to being the only mail-wearer and the other pally and I rolled for the sweet plate breastplate, which I won.

So then we played for about 20 minutes (3 attempts) with Omnotron Defense System. Got that council-style fight down to about 50%, which made me question my initial decision to go after Magmaw first, to be honest, but I’m glad we got a fight that seems more difficult out of the way, first. And that we did it with a group without an ele shammy or a moonkin or a hunter means that we’ll just have a much easier time of it when we do have any of those classes included.

So it was a really good night. Three hours gave us plenty of time to kill Argaloth, work on and kill Magmaw and play with another encounter. We’ve dipped our toes into Cataclysm raiding and had a really good experience.

Here’s to doing some more fun, unofficial stuff next week before the real raids start on January 4th!

(PS: No Blessing of Frost this week due to the holidays and such. We’ll return on December 28th or January 4th!)

(PPS: Yes, I know I have something like 50 outstanding comments to respond to. Soon!)

15 comments

  1. Riv says:

    A frost mage to help the adds, interesting. Being Arcane/Frost build I am really stoked about raiding.

    How is the trash in these places? Challenging, or cake-walk?

  2. Oestrus says:

    From the resources I have seen, people were doing the Defense System first, because of how trivial the fight can be compared to Magmaw. The fact that you got Magmaw down first is huge and that should mean that the Defense System will be a breeze, then. Congrats!

    Personally, I’m excited about Bastion of Twilight, because that’s the instance I saw most of in the Beta. I think it makes a great starter zone for raiding (although all 3 are pretty good beginning points) and I’m excited to get in there and see Halfus and old some old favorites again.

    It sounds like you guys had a great group and I’m happy that even though you had your 10, you still thought of the others who were on the waiting list and eager to be there. I’ve been in some guilds where they decide on 10, only take the 10 and if you’re not one of the 10 you don’t exist for the duration of the raid. It was nice to see you being aware of us and thinking of us on the adventure. That felt great!

    Nice job all around, boss!

  3. Tikari says:

    Quick note: your iLvl went down because they set your shirt to 1. Not sure if they did that to all shirts across the board, but they did to yours and mine at least.

  4. Joe Ego says:

    Had a guildie’s ilvl drop when he d/e’d a few items in his bag. Definitely something to pay attention to when gathering off-spec items.

  5. slice213 says:

    Woot! grats on the kills. Sounds like a lot of fun! :)

  6. Serrath says:

    Great post, Kern! Thanks for the write up.

    Our guild has just started to run a 10 man raid. We found Baradin’s Hold to be very simple as well but when we moved on we had a bit of an issue.

    If you don’t mind … I was curious about how you doled out your healers? Were you taking care of the tanks, primarily, or did you assign that role to your discipline priest?

    Also, about where was your DPS for your damage dealers? I’ve noticed that the better damage dealers in our group are around 11-15k but a few others (mages in particular) seem to be really behind at only 6,7k. I’m just curious where you were finding your group at.

    Thanks!

  7. Antigen says:

    Grats! I’ve heard Omnitron is the easier of the two as well, so you should have no problem cleaning that up later on.

    I have to say, it’s refreshing to see how well your raiders responded to your gear requirements (well, AFTER you talked to them about what they needed to work on). It definitely allows you to see whether they really want to see those bosses dead if they’re willing to meet those standards.

    Also, hooray for another blog to add to my reader!

  8. slice213 says:

    Like Serrath I am curious as well to what DPS would need to be to take him down comfortably?

  9. Anafielle says:

    Hey!! Thanks for this post- you laying out Your Rules for Raid Ready Gear was so helpful for me! I reposted them to the forums so people could discuss and get an idea how far along the heroics gear chain they were. Everyone focuses on getting the higher ilvl items, but sometimes the gems and enchants make just as big a difference.

    I am SO IMPRESSED that you got Magmaw 10. We got Omnitron to around 45%, and then saw Magmaw. I had a raid with only 2 ranged DPS – mages- and they were practically in tears from frustration. We switched to 3, and barely got the worms to 30% before the next wave. That fight is no easy task, none at all. You guys are freaking badasses.

    I am impressed and wowed by your personal level of coordination for getting your raid together. You really made sure in a careful, and caring way, that everyone was as prepared for raid as they should be.

    I’m taking notes, Kurn. I’m taking notes.

    I can’t read blogs as much as I used to during the day. I really need to set yours up to email me or something. I enjoy all your posts. :)

  10. Kurn says:

    Riv – We probably wouldn’t have needed him to swap to frost if we’d had a hunter with a frost trap or a moonkin or ele shammy to blast things back, but we found that Blizzard was godly with its slow.

    Trash in Baradin Hold was just like the boss fight. Once the mob applies a debuff to one tank, the other taunts.

    Trash in BWD was a little more challenging, especially the double mob pull right before Magmaw. We wiped because we killed one before the other. They need to die very close to the other lest they enrage, I think. Also, tank them at opposite side of the wall. They switch aggro on the furthest people back and so the whole ranged/healing group stands just off-center (don’t want to get run down by them) and you just keep DPS split throughout it, always swapping targets when the mobs run to the other tank.

    So a bit on the challenging side and a bit on the cakewalk side.

    Oestrus – In our history, it’s the easy fights that wreck us. ;) Lurker took us what seems like FOREVER, haha. Hopefully ODS will go down better.

    Looking forward to any info you have on Bastion, btw!

    We had a great group to be sure, but the others were definitely on my mind. I’m not someone who necessarily LIKES to swap people around, but I know we’ll be doing a lot of it so I might as well get used to it! Being aware of who’s around is a really key thing for any raid leader.

    Glad to hear you appreciated that!

    Tikari – Aha! Thanks for the heads up, buddy!

    Joe Ego – Something to be aware of indeed!

    slice – Thanks man! Read your blog and saw you’ve given up the bubbles. What the eff?! ;D Glad you’re enjoying Chakra, though! :)

    Serrath/slice – My pleasure, glad you enjoyed the post. :)

    I’ll freely admit I didn’t do a lot of healing assignment stuff in the first few Magmaw attempts. I said I’d focus primarily on the tank and the others should try to work on the raid together.

    It wasn’t until I brought in the other paladin and swapped out the disc that I really had a bit more of a feel for the fight and had to start thinking about how to effectively use another paladin.

    I put the resto shammy on the melee. With healing rain and chain heal (we had 4 in melee, with one tank at a time tanking), it seemed like the wisest choice. I had me and the other paladin focused on the tank and ranged. So if we were taking a bunch of damage at range, we should pop things like Holy Radiance and Light of Dawn and also keep an eye on the tank.

    It worked out really nicely, actually. There were several times I could literally ignore the tank to help top off the group without the tank nearly dying.

    DPS, let me look…

    On our Magmaw kill, effective DPS only:

    Kitty – 14661.8
    Frost DK – 13720.0
    Shadow Priest – 13293.1
    Frost Mage – 11331.8
    Rogue – 8386.9

    Both tanks were around 4.5k DPS on average.

    Our overall effective DPS was 73065.9.

    Bear in mind three things:

    1) Magmaw takes huge increased damage when he’s chained.

    2) The rogue was definitely asked to help out on the parasites with Fan of Knives and such. His numbers would have been much better if he had been allowed to stay on the boss like the kitty druid.

    3) The numbers are very different during a burn phase. With hero:

    Rogue – 18900.4
    Kitty – 18278.9
    Frost Mage – 17974.6
    Shadow Priest – 17789.4
    Frost DK – 17273.8

    Without, but at the very end:

    Frost Mage – 25791.9
    Kitty – 24535.8
    Shadow Priest – 23268.0
    Rogue – 19784.6
    Frost DK – 14466.9
    Tank 1 – 8883.0
    Tank 2 – 7517.2
    Resto Shammy – 4331.1
    Holy Pally – 1734.7
    Me – 1323.2

    Total: 133,103.7 effective DPS

    Hope that’s helpful!

    Antigen – Thank you! I’m also hoping Omnotron is easier, although it really just seems to be an overall awareness check.

    I’m pretty pleased most of the people who had signed up put a lot of work into making sure their gear was okay for this. To be honest, I had no idea what would be required. We killed Argaloth at 4m58s, so literally, 2 seconds before enrage. I guess I made a pretty good estimate in guessing what gear level and gems/enchants would be appropriate to require!

    I really did love the effort so many people put into getting themselves ready to raid. It was so awesome to see people SO motivated to raid. And that attitude really made all the difference, I think.

    Hope you enjoy reading!

    Anafielle – Wow, thank you so much for such a lovely comment!

    I’m glad you like my rules and have used them for your group as well. I think the gear is literally just half the piece — enchants and gems make up the rest. If you add up all the extra stuff you get from your enchants, I’m sure you get a half or a third of a raider. So if everyone’s on the same page, your group is at its maximum ability. Seems kind of silly to me to go in without a group that’s dedicated enough to enchant their gear for a raid.

    I’m super impressed with how we got Magmaw 10 down, too. We didn’t have the best composition for it, but we had people who were ready and willing to do what it was necessary to in order to get the encounter.

    The first wave of worms is the worst thing. The first time we pulled, we were basically overrun with the damn things. Having just two ranged ourselves (one fire mage and one shadow priest) did not make things easier. But as soon as you just turn every single thing you can on them, they go down a lot easier. A lot of people didn’t have nameplates on so I recommended that as well and it seemed to help. The big issue is making sure no one is spawning MORE Lava Parasites. So before I let anyone respec or anything, I made sure everyone knew what Pillar of Flame looked like and told them to GTFO and quick so that they wouldn’t end up spawning more of the damn things.

    But I’ll definitely take the “you guys are freaking badasses” compliment! :D

    I wouldn’t normally feel the need to go through everyone on the armory the way I did. I’d leave it to the role leads. Trouble is, the DPS leads weren’t available and I kind of figured it would set the tone for 25-mans if I actually did take the time to give some feedback. I don’t want the raiders to feel as though they’re being judged by some nebulous standard. I went through their stuff and I was like “your gear is too low-level, this is ungemmed, this is poorly enchanted” and the like — only nicer — and then told them what I expected.

    My philosophy is to give people specific, attainable goals to reach and they’ll try to reach them. And the more transparent we are with the goals, the better everyone in the guild understands them.

    For example, I said, point-blank, that if you didn’t have your revered-with-some-faction head enchant, you couldn’t come. Someone was friendly? Just into honored? Something like that. So I pointed that out to him and he’s like “but everything else will be fixed by raid time” and I’m just like “even so, there are other people who have taken the time to get revered with their proper faction”. It was clearly stated in the original post, so I can’t be like “sure, come on in” and it let him see that he needs to make sure he reads the forums more frequently. Hopefully.

    I’m so pleased that you enjoy the blog. High praise indeed. :)

  11. Jen says:

    That “raid readiness” list is super useful, thanks! We were discussing this in gchat yesterday and I wasn’t sure what we should require for our first raid. It will be next year, so people will have time to do better by then, but this is a perfect list for numbers they can aim for (including myself!).

  12. Rahmiel says:

    Just a note on the ilvl, not sure if people already brought this up, but you don’t need to equip gear to reach the required ilvl.

    You could be in all greens of average ilvl 318 or 312 but still get into heroics. Keep any greed rolls of any blues you win. As long as they sit in your bags your ilvl will increase. If you d/e or vendor any of those items, your ilvl will go down.

    I found this out while leveling. My ret gear I was replacing as I leveled but I couldn’t do away with some of my holy gear. I had a lot of 264 or 271 epics still but I got in due to my ret gear being in my bags.

    So any blue, cloth, leather, mail, plate, tanking guns, hunter ranged weapons.. they’re all good now!

  13. Rahmiel says:

    Actually.. if I could edit my above post I would.. only equippable items in your bags contribute to your overall ilvl. So given that we’re plate, cloth, leather, mail, and plate items all contribute. A mage on the other hand, would only get credit from cloth items.

    So.. no tanking guns, ranged weapons, daggers, or staves.. but just about everything else!

  14. Darista says:

    That was definitely a very fun night! I will mention though that I didn’t even touch Chain Heal. Sadly, it just doesn’t heal worth a damn anymore and is more a waste of mana than anything else. In extreme situations, I will use it, but even then …. it’s usually better to cast up a Riptide and speed through a couple casts than use CH.

    Healing Rain does a significant amount of healing, which is good considering its mana consumption, and with a 10 second CD, it’s pretty awesome. Until they fix something, ANYthing, CH will probably sit on the back burner for a while. I will agree, though, that Telluric Currents was amazing!! 100% mana bar, up from less than 10%, in 30 seconds = win.

    As for the ilvl … I have no idea why it would go down. Maybe it is the shirt after all :P But to those suggesting they keep items in their bags to boost their rating so they can get into heroics, I would strongly recommend AGAINST this.

    There is an ilvl requirement for a reason, because heroics are not terribly easy at this stage of the game. Once people are better geared with ilvl 359 from rep factions and raids, it won’t be as big a deal. However, one person is all it takes right now to drag a group down if you can’t carry your own weight and it’s not very fair to the others who are more prepared to take on a heroic instance.

    I think of it much how Kurn is describing being ready to raid; if you can’t get a bare minimum, you probably aren’t meant to be doing it yet. Carrying people is much less of an option in this expansion than it was in Wrath, which was a horribly enabling expansion.

  15. Amy says:

    Fantastic post! I’m literally taking notes lol. I’m just starting to put together my raid group for Cata, since I won’t be available during days my old group met. You didn’t have any problems with 2 pally tanks? That’s last think I’m a little nervous about. We had issues on LK with our 2 pally tanks and ended up switching 1 for a dk which helped. Are there going to be situations where we’re at a greater disadvantage due to tanking inflexibility? I’m our MT, and Im dual specced for tanking, one that focuses more AOE and one more single target. Just curious if you had any thoughts…. :) Def added you to my favorits!

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