Raid Finder and other adventures

On friday evening I shook down out my machine with a run through a raid finder instance. It was fairly interesting. The character that I chose was Infaris, ret paladin. This would be my first 25-man raid apart from the occasional 25-man run through BH.

RF is… pretty easy. We got all four bosses down, and most of the time mechanics weren’t much of a concern. The exception was Yor’sahj the Unsleeping, whose oozes require a little more co-ordination than pugs can seemingly muster.

Overall it feels very much like a 5-man dungeon, except with people constantly leaving and new ones coming in. So actually, a lot like a ZA run. Thing is, though, there are a lot fewer recriminations anad tempers flaring. Yes, a lot of people managed to accidentally pull one of the faceless bosses – repeatedly – his aggro radius is absolutely ENORMOUS – but even then the guys who weren’t impressed just dropped group and the ones left mostly laughed about it.

Infaris won some legplates, we had some fun, and it was all over in about the length of time that it took to run ZG HC on release. Normal difficulty, however, was… different.

I can’t comment on the first boss, as I was only a standby for the regular raid. I was called in to replace a healer with lat issues just after they downed the first. We went for Zon’ozz first and, well… firstly, the trash. We charged merrily in… and were receiving 80-110k hits randomly spread around the raid, with floor slime adding ticks for what appeared to be around 40k.

That doesn’t happen in raid finder, if you’re wondering.

We toasted the eye before the claw on the first couple of pulls, and it took us until the last pack to take the claw first. That works much better. I highly recommend it. Having wiped three or four times on the trash, we figured the boss would be the easy part.

Yeah, amazing what you’ll tell yourself, huh?

We didn’t have a very good understanding of the ball mechanic, so at first we ended up with the entire raid taking hits from the boss’ frontal attack. On our next try when the tank turned him, the ball merrily floated straight into a wall and caused Very Bad Things™ to happen to us. Tentacles were involved. I can only hope the masses of ominous dark fluid were some sort of eldritch lube. Fortunately it was all over very quickly. Unfortunately the tank had experienced a critical existence failure in the meantime, and the rest of the raid followed merrily after.

Did I mention the fly-in bug? Because one of our tanks had some sort of bug where every time he tried to fly in, we’d have a 5-10 minute downtime while he dc’d, reconnected and then fell on top of the boss instead of floating in, resulting in someone having to brave the aggro range in order to rez him. Good times.

Anyway, back at the fort, we finally got the ball bouncing. Took 4 healers pulling an average of 18k hps to keep up with the damage, but we got the hang of it. At which point we discovered something else… Zon’ozz can build those fury stacks mighty fast indeed. By the time we had 8 bounces, we were looking at 70k melee hits every second or so. Badly timed bounce at that point ends everything. Worse yet, on the second and subsequent phases, the boss would sometimes build up around 4 stacks of fury before even starting the ball rolling. Not sure if that’s a bug or a feature, but either way the semi-random nature* meant that we basically called the number of bounces by ear, more to get the buff off the boss than anything else.

After downing Zon’ozz in the end, we took a look at Yor’sahj. His trash was much less loopy, and as expected he was much easier with a guild group. We wiped once to a yellow/green/red combo – almost made it but then ran out of healing cds – and then got that same combo as our first of the retry, staggered cds properly and got him down. That puts us at 3/8 guild and me at 2/8 personal. Little Bitter is lagging behind as usual.

All in all a couple of interesting fights, and I think that the group we had would have gone much further but for the delays we had – yeah, the octo-bros held us up, but that’s small time. This stands to be a pretty fun tier.

My impression of Raid Finder is that it’s about as far from Normal as release 5-mans are from Ragnaros. Its use for training purposes is more than a little dubious. Yes, RF allowed some of us to see the encounters beforehand… but it also mostly turned those same encounters into tank ‘n spanks, and didn’t really allow us to develop any of the co-ordination that comes from a solid guild run.

We were using KSK for the first time as well. I didn’t manage to get anything – the only item I wanted was bid by a priest higher than me – but it’s kind of comforting that I don’t have to rely on my awful, awful rolls as in Firelands. I basically got geared by default after everyone else was already sorted.

 

* Things to look into… was this caused by avoidance? Oh gods, do we need a bear to tank this?

 

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