[Balance] Encounter Mechanics (T14)
Other classes have had threads detailing optimal DPS strategies on a fight-by-fight basis in the past, and I've found them very useful without even playing those classes. I checked with Melthu and he was happy for us to have a similar thread here. I'll keep this updated regularly. Please contribute, as I'll only be able to update each fight as I get to them and I'm sure some of you have extensive beta raid testing experience!
Now, obviously we don't have such heavily abusable abilities as some other classes like Cloak of Shadows, Mirror Images or Anti-Magic Shell. Oh, hold on, yes we do! For all of the poor reception of Symbiosis in some quarters, it certainly opens up a large amount of opportunities & utility to us. Beyond that, our new talent options really give us a lot of customisation options.
Apologies to the other specs, but I don't really play anything but Balance enough to curate a sensible list for you, so this will be limited to Balance only tips & tricks. This is bare bones for now, and will live or die by your participation. Please post your findings (and keep the conversation civil if you disagree with someone's opinion)! I've left the world bosses off this list for now as they are very simple encounters.
(B) - basic tip, quick and easy ways to optimise DPS that might not be obvious on the first pull.
(I) - strategies to take once you are more comfortable with a fight and familiar with the abilities.
(E) - expert level tips, either very difficult to achieve or requiring a high degree of setup.
Basic Tips and Tricks
(B) Evaluate your Symbiosis target for every encounter, and familiarise yourself with who gets what from it.
(B) Using Symbiosis on a Deathknight is the only appreciable direct raid DPS increase, as it allows them to save on runes.
(I) Stampeding Roar should be glyphed wherever possible, and used any time there is a large amount of raid movement required. Coordinate this with other druids/warriors with Symbiosis.
The Stone Guard
(B) Don't DoT/DPS guardians that are on their own. They get a 90% damage reduction whenever they are alone.
(I) Don't move when you don't need to. For example, if you have Cobalt Petrification, running away from mines doesn't make sense as you'll take near zero damage from it.
Stampeding Roar & shapeshifting both clear the slow effect from being petrified, aiding with doing tiles.
Feng the Accursed
(B) Ensure you have refreshed DoTs prior to taking an Epicenter where the shield cooldown is not available. The hit debuff prevents you from doing much in the way of DPS while it is in effect. When you do get debuffed, do something useful like plant mushrooms, throw around a few heals or move your Eclipse bar with Astral Communion.
(I) Giving your Symbiosis to a DK/Rogue will allow you to use Anti-Magic Shell/Cloak of Shadows to avoid the Epicentre debuff.
Gara'jal the Spiritbinder
(B) Staying upstairs 100% of the time is probably more DPS.
(I) NS, HotW and Tranquility allow Moonkin to very effectively cover/contribute to the healing downstairs.
(I) If using NV, time your second use for the Execute phase to assist with healing.
(I) Using a Rejuv or Cenarion Ward prior to going to down may help with getting stacks. *needs testing to determine exact mechanic*
(I) While downstairs, using Starfall where available and multidot otherwise is probably optimal. Don't DoT targets about to die if you can avoid it. Healing where appropriate is sensible too.
The Spirit Kings
(B) At least on normal, just ensure you don't have to move more than is strictly necessary.
(I) Using Symbiosis on a Priest will allow you to mass dispel the shield from Qiang on Heroic/debuffs later in the fight. Using on a Warrior will allow for additional mobility (swapping to Wild Charge in the T1 talents may be wise for the same reason).
(I) There is a large amount of movement on Heroic, ensure you are planning your abilities with your boss mod timers. For example: you can move just prior to Annihilation being announced as no further raid cleaves will happen prior to it being cast, etc, allowing you to plan instant casts to use while on the move better.
(E) During Flanking Orders, you only take damage while the red swing animation is displayed. This means you can run through the line if you time it well. Obviously, you are depending on luck/lag a little to do this, so it's a last option type of thing.
(B) Refreshing DoTs while stepping outside is tempting as you are moving, but is naturally a DPS loss.
(B) A defensive Symbiosis target (Death Knight/Warlock) will give you a CD for every Annihilation.
(I) Positioning yourself between the conductors in P3 will help you reach them all without having to kill any too early, making things easier on your healers. You can also DoT them prior to the floor falling away for a damage boost.
(I) Nature's Vigil is very useful here, both for increased burst damage/interaction with the +50% damage buff as well as providing some supplementary healing to those in melee range.
(E) Once you are more comfortable with the encounter & it's damage profile, removing your debuff less frequently can aid DPS. Equally, removing your debuff when there is no opportunity cost to doing so (i.e. while innervating a healer, etc) brings DPS benefits.
(E) Standing just on the border of the inner circle will allow you to jump to clear your debuff while casting an instant. Marked as expert as finding this spot during normal play (other than the opener) may be tricky. It's generally one small step backwards from when you get the debuff.
Will of the Emperor
(B) High DoT uptime is king here. A high crit rating will help with transitioning between Eclipses because of the number of targets that are up.
(B) Look up! The mobs that spawn are often overhead, seeing them early will help you plan ahead.
(I) Stampeding Roar and the associated glyphs are benefitial for raid movement, especially when moving to DPS Courages.
(I) You can DoT the Courage before it puts it's shield up while still in front of it.
(I) Maintain DoTs on both bosses while handling the bigger adds (Strength/Courage), preferably refreshing them just prior to them landing.
(I) Typhoon/Vortex/Roots can useful in terms of keeping mobs together for better cleave & AOE damage.
(E) For Heroic, if you can't use CoS, Displacer Beast/Wild Charge can also work due to the delay in the orbs exploding.
Heart of Fear
Imperial Vizier Zor'lok
(B) AMS/CoS can be used to avoid the silence while in the cloud in the centre of the room while changing platform.
(I) HotW can be very useful in that it may allow you to do more DPS during Attenuation than Moonfire spam normally would allow.
Blade Lord Ta'yak
(B) Stampeding Roar (glyphed) is very useful here. Also consider giving it to a warrior via Symbiosis. Giving a hunter dash is also useful if that's not an option.
(I) HotW during the Tornado phase can be used to assist the healers while you have nothing in range.
(E) Popping a sprint just as the wind changes direction and moving early can allow you to get most of the way to the opposite platform before your movement speed gets slowed. Use the slipstreams at the side just prior to the direction changing too!
(E) Wild Charge can be used to great effect here if you place yourself well, both for getting back out of melee range quickly and for avoiding Tornado damage. It will also allow you to skip the final portion of the P2 "gauntlet".
(I) Having single target DPS moving to the legs will actually reduce raid DPS, as classes with effective cleaves can bounce off the legs and do more damage to the boss. Unless you are falling behind and going to "lose" a Mending, stay on the boss/multidot/handle legs melee can't reach.
Wind Lord Mel'jarak
(B) Starfall no longer breaks this CC, however it is reported to waste charges.
(B) AOE tactics with early Heroism/Bloodlust/etc are naturally higher DPS than single target burning individual mob types. With 6 adds + the boss available, Hurricane is going to be very strong for AOE tactics, for precisely how many DoTs should be used consult your friendly neighbourhood theorycrafting tool as it will depend on your gear. The viability of this on Heroic remains to be seen, due to the constant stream of adds. The size of raid you are in (10/25) is also very important here.
(B) CoS will remove the two "move out" debuffs.
(I) If your raid is lacking offensive dispels, getting a Mass Dispel will help keep Quickening under control.
(I) While AOEing, careful use of CA will allow you to maintain your mana supply much longer than you would normally. Ensure that you'll be moving to Solar eclipse after using it.
(B) If it moves, DoT it. Specifically, watch for Amber as it forms from the Scalpel ability and DoT it immediately. Saving cooldowns for when this is possible will maximise your DPS, but don't neglect the necessary single target DPS for transformed players/etc.
(I) Cloak of Shadows can be very useful for avoiding Scalpel damage/damage loss from movement.
Grand Empress Shek'zeer
(B) Ensure you keep the poison buff up as much as possible. Using Wild Charge can help with this.
(I) Taking a strong defensive cooldown (i.e. Warlock) will allow you to stay in the fields for much longer.
(I) A well-timed AMS will avoid the fear from the debuff.
Terrace of Endless Spring
Protectors of the Endless
(B) CoS/AMS will remove Lightning Prison if used pre-stun.
(I) Faerie Swarm can be used as a substitute for CoEx if you don't have enough warlocks.
(I) HotW naturally is very powerful when used with the fight mechanics to provide extra HPS.
(I) Mushrooms & Starfall can be used during her hidden phase to help find her more quickly. Typhoon also works visually (obviously doing no damage, however).
Sha of Fear
Gara'jal - if you can go downstairs for all phases, I think this would be a DPS increase over staying upstairs for single-target. I ranked on Gara'jal doing every downstairs, though we had a warlock going downstairs too that had better dot-cleave than me, so I'd think you could only do better downstairs. Heart of the Wild is a saver here if you accidentally send 2 dps down without a healer - boomkin heals with HotW are insane. Couple that with a Nature's Swiftness and it's 50% more.
Spirit Kings - no real strategy besides stay still as long as you can. Don't refresh dots on king about to "die," dots wont tick.
Updated! Thanks for the input.
I don't know if it's worth mentioning but I've seen some Moonkins going for NV on the Elegon encounter (I took HotW personally but I run with it all the time anyway). I haven't tested it myself but it would make sense since high burst on the boss is needed in order to not hit the strict enrage timer. Also the damage is quite high in the last phase so NV could save your healers a lot of mana what with the healing it does to melee DPS.
World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis
Nature's vigil is amazing on Elegon. I use it across the board, but on elegon in particular the ramped up damage on the boss is crazy, and the extra healing in final burnphase is pretty clutch. The other big thing that NV has over hotw for Elegon is you have 3 different strong cd's you can pop as you're pushing 3rd, 4th, and 5th sets of orbs in 25 that can be pretty tight dps checks. You won't look like the meter hero you would popping them on pull and on cd with a 2 target fight, but you can help carry a raid that's a touch under that dps check through an important mechanic.
On Garajal NS:HT is also great when you go down, and tranq can provide the clutch keeping people up if the healer gets voodoo'ed last second.
Spirit kings: Throw your symbiosis on a shadow priest or warrior. Spriest lets you help Mass Dispell the debuff from mad king, and warrior gives you intervene in addition to wild charge for getting in and out of tight spots on volley and on flanking orders. Also on flanking orders, a higher level tip, the damage only comes out during the red slash animation, if you pay attention to the animation when you're caught out of place you can run through the line between swings and take no damage.
Also on Feng. IF you don't have a dk or rogue, consider putting symbiosis on a hunter. Our raid is down to 1 and threat is getting to be an issue on pull with full buffs and the inc/nv/ca opener. Some extra threat may keep you getting one shot and spinning the boss at an inopportune moment.
NV + incarnation build seems to be really strong on Elegon, since you have it up opening, then again when you get back to dps the boss after the transitions. And obviously for the finish with max debuffs on the boss and heroism
For Stone Guard, it may be worth applying an eclipsed dot to a dog that is about to be brought into range of damage. Shapeshifting and Stampeding Roar clear the petrification debuff, increasing mobility but most importantly allowing you to run tiles more effectively. It may also be worth using spirit over expertise or hit, but staying below hit cap, depending on how your guild chooses to use tiles.
For Elegon, this applies to all ranged DPS and healers, but if you stand just on the inside edge of the bubble you can simply jump to clear your stacks. While casting a DoT may harm your DPS from outside, casting an instant and jumping immediately after, or jumping while casting Starfall or Incarnation, should not.
question about NV on Elegon, does anyone know if the healing double dips? IE: You have 50% dmg mod from touch of the titans + whatever extra damage elegon is taking from stacked debuff, and anyone inside the bubble is also getting the 50% healing taken from touch of the titans too.
Updated to here, thanks for the ideas guys. Regarding NV: I'll check on Sunday, but I'm fairly sure it will be double dipping in the final Elegon phase.
In relation to Garajal: it's definitely more DPS to stay upstairs as much as possible. I did that tonight and just missed out on the top legit parse by ~100 DPS.
A couple of things to note about the Elegon encounter. While jumping at the edge works, it's incredibly easy to leave the inner floor and come back in within the space of a gcd. I tend to clear at least every time an add comes out, plus when the add dies, all with no downtime in my rotation and no unbuffed spells. Also to note is that you can and should maintain the 50% buff from the inner floor once the pylons come up during p3. You can easily get a set of buffed dots on every pylon and move in before the floor falls, assuming you are pre-positioned for the phase(which you should be)
Will of the Emperor-
I roll a very high crit rating for this fight. With as many adds as are always up it only makes sense. Rolling dots on everything makes for a huge amount of SS procs and extremely quick transitions from one eclipse to another. Generally placing myself in the middle of the room gives me good range on everything available. Priority kill order is Strength/Courage then smaller adds while trying to maintain 100% dots on both main bosses and their shared health pool. Stampeding roar has proven exceptional for helping the raid to get behind courage as quickly as possible. Typhoon, vortex and entangling roots are also great for helping to slow small adds while they are cleaved down.
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