Help with our raid progression: What to do next?
So, my guild got our first "kill" on Al'ar yesterday, and while it was satisfying, it was just about as much luck as anything else.
This brings me to the first question I have; What could we be doing differently?
During phase 1, all melee kills embers and the tanks rotate, yawn boring snooze ect. Phase 2 however, is where things get dicey. We have everyone move to the southern half of the room, but still spread out a good bit in an attempt to dodge meteor damage. When we were using the entire room, Al'ar would invariably spawn in a spot where neither of our two tanks could pick him up quickly, and flame buffets + flame pits would kill people, not to mention him just 1-rounding anyone that happened to be close by.
We have two tanks on the adds, a warrior holding onto them, and a druid peeling off our next DPS target. All melee stays on Al'ar and tries to dodge flame pits while ranged takes down the adds. Needless to say, the longer the fight goes on, the more hectic it gets. We have 2 hunters alternating misdirects on meteor rotations, making the add pickups easier, and for the most part the adds die smoothly, but it seems like even with 8 healers the tanks occasionally die from a stupid burst while people are either dying or moving away from a flame pit. Our raid went an hour over the scheduled time, so our group makeup wasn't as strong as it could have been. On our kill yesterday, at the end, the only one alive was the MT, and everyone else was dead.
Our raid makeup was as follows:
3 Protection warriors
1 feral druid
1 healing druid
3 frost mages
2 healing shaman
1 enh shaman
3 holy priests
1 shadow priest
What is the best way for dealing with the adds? Should we kill them to a certain point and then simply DPS Al'ar, or should be we trying to kill them the entire time?
Is there a better positioning strat than "everyone stay on the southern hemisphere"? I'm sure there is, but I'm having difficulty coming up with something better, and I was hoping for some tips from people with more experience than I.
Now, my second question.
Al'ar and voidreaver are dead, and we're going to tear into SSC tonight. We can usually kill 3-4 bosses in one night, and this will leave us with 2 solid progression nights. Should we focus on getting Vashj down, or getting Astromancer?
Vashj seems daunting to me, and given our level of coordination on Al'ar I'm worried that Killing Vashj may be a bit heavy for us until our level of play improves a bit. I realize the crux of the fight is in stage 2, however no part of it looks particularly easy.
We've already engaged astromancer once, post patch, and we were simply unprepared. The strats we had read no longer worked, and now she's an entirely new monster. We have 2 tanks with sufficient AR gear to simplify the WoTA debuff, and we have a better idea of what needs to be done, so I don't know we'll be "wasting" as much time on her now.
I'm really torn between the two, and could use some advice. Thanks in advance for your help.
Al'ar meteor strat
The meteor strat that appeals to me the most is what Forte did in their Al'ar kill video. They had the entire raid run into a pile directly beneath him each time. The adds are always in that one central location for the tanks to easily grab.
Since you've made the AR soak gear, Solarian should probably be your next target (and she shouldn't be too much of a problem).
As for Al'ar, hopefully I can add some insight to your strategy on the adds.
For positioning, what has worked for us is to move the whole raid slightly with each meteor. We start in the southern hemisphere of the room, then move according to where the flame pits are. Takes a bit of coordination, but once people get the hang of it, you should get a solid 1/3 of the room per meteor round that is completely clear of flame pits from previous rounds. The thing that hurt us the most in early learning attempts was people getting "stuck" behind a wall of flame pits or just pushed so close to one they have to be super-careful to not take a hit from it. By moving the raid for each meteor, you get plenty of room to play around with. Hope this helps.
Edit - another trick we discovered on our second kill was if you hold an add over from phase 1, you still get that 3% damage hit to Al'ar in phase 2. It may even be worth saving a few of the adds from phase 1 at low health to get a jump-start in phase 2, since they are easy to tank for extended periods of time.
What, exactly, is causing members of your raid to die?
With 8 healers there should be ample healing load to keep the MTs and the rest of the raid topped. With the entire raid topped, most members should be able to survive up to two ticks of the fire pit. You said tanks are dying? Is it the healers' faults, or is it the tanks? Are they taunting off of each other quickly enough when the Melt Armor is applied? Are they communicating taunt resists so that healers can pick up the healing load and the debuffed tank can pop cooldowns?
If you're having difficulty with the flame pits, I strongly reccomend taking Al'ar OFF of the glass. The glass in the middle of the room makes seeing the flame pits more difficult, and combined with his tiny hit box, can create problems for the melee if they're not on their A-game. That being said, melee should not be dying to the flame pits. Emphasize survival over DPS - Al'ar's enrage timer is generous.
My guild kills the adds throughout phase 2, although another guild on our server offtanks the adds and just burns Al'ar in phase 2. Both strategies can work, although I think it's safer to kill the adds throughout. It should be simple enough for you to pick them up with 2 hunters in the raid as well - my guild has one hunter in the guild, so we have one or zero on our raids.
As far as room positioning - use the entire room, but the raid should mostly spread in concentrated areas. By this I mean, make sure the ranged and the add tanks know where to take the adds before each meteor, but rotate around the room so there are as few flame pits up in each area at a time. Try to let the MT / melee healers have an area where the ranged and addtank healers will not be, so that they don't have to deal with flame pits. Emphasize that healers should stay off the glass so that they can see the flame pits more easily.
Survival on Al'ar is much more important than maximizing DPS. If you are still having problems keeping people up, suggest people switch into gear with more stamina.
As long as you are able to kill all of the ranged adds after every meteor, Al'ar should die before the enrage, as long as your melee don't kill themselves in flame pits.
What we do is have everyone spread out around the edge of the circle right before the meteor, and then collapse to a central position after it hits to allow the adds and Al'ar to be picked up more easily.
As for Solarian vs Vashj... The Solarian strat with the WOTA soakers works well as long as you've got good ae (which you probably do if you can do Morogrim). But then again, Vashj has much better loot for killing her, and is a much more enjoyable fight.
The retard comment extents towards the intelligent individuals, who for whatever reason, don't seem to be able to move after a meteor, allowing Al'ar to rebirth on top of them.
Granted, this was extremely late (about 2 AM) and I wasn't expecting top notch performance, but it would have been nice to see a little more hustle.
The single tank is probably a good idea, as is holding the adds passed phase 1. That will help jump start the DPS in phase 2.
For our "slow" DPS members who seem to have trouble moving out of fire pits, should wearing a bit of FR help with survivability? Its not hard to figure out how much damage they're doing face down on the ground, but I was told FR isn't needed for this fight in particular.
Thanks for all the replies, it is much appreciated.
Edit: As for the tanks dying, it only happened to one, and it was unfortunate. I believe he got melt armor and the other tank had a resisted taunt. Al'ar can front-load alot of damage. Combine this with healers moving either into range (Al'ar was on a far side for once) or moving out a flame pit, and I'll chalk it up to a fluke.
As far as I know, zero people in our raid wear FR for Al'ar. The fight is really just a test of awareness. Hey look, flame quill - jump. Hey look, add dying - move away. Hey look, flame patch - get out of it. We have 2 tanks on Al'ar and two on the adds, and the raid in a semi-circle on the side of the room with the entrance, spread out whenever Al'ar rebirths - meteor hits for set damage on every target now, so clumping is just wrong. Also, Al'ar has a ridiculously small hitbox in phase 2, so your tanks need to make sure they get right up on top of him to avoid flame buffet.
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