Cataclysm Heroics

Because I am one of my guild’s main tanks, I am fortunate enough to have been isolated from the madness I am hearing about in the current LFD system. Other than the occasional wipe or two, I have had a really pleasant and enjoyable experience so far in the 5mans.  We finished up the guild achievement for all heroics completed with a guild group a couple of days ago and I had some thoughts that I might be helpful for others out there.

First up is the reason for running heroics.  I know that I will end up sounding like a broken record on this subject, but all I’ve been reading for the last few days is people whining that they think it is “unfair” or “mean” or whatever other excuse they generate that they are being forced to run these terrible 5man dungeons in order to get enough gear to start raiding.

I have a blanket response to the overwhelming majority of these people. If you are having trouble with the 5man heroics then you have larger problems to worry about than gear.  The reason for running heroics should be to enjoy the new content while it is still “fresh.” If the 5man heroics are still a little to rough for your taste, then start out in the normal versions until the LFD masses get past the initial learning curves.  ilvl 333 dungeon blues should be more than enough to start raiding with.

The primary reason you should be running 5mans, especially if you are having difficulty with them, is because they are little “mini training seminars” on what we will likely be seeing in raids for the rest of the expansion.  Learning to get better in 5mans (while they can still be classified as “interesting”) will make you a better player.  One of my favorite things to do as a healer at the beginning of WoTLK (within the first week or two) was taking a newly dinged level 80 in crap gear and healing him through a dungeon successfully.Times have changed a little and bars have been raised, but if your approach to running 5mans is some sort of DMZ-like shopping trip with a group of people you dislike to get yourself some phat new lewtz, then of course you’re going to have a miserable time.  If instead you enjoy five mans for what they are supposed to be, which is a fun new experience with some of the most creative and challenging 5man content Blizzard has ever produced, possible with a group of new, potential friends, and stop focusing on the darn loot then some of you might start enjoying the challenge of improving your game.

The dungeons have by no means been “faceroll” easy, but they haven’t been nearly worth /wrist emo ragequitting either.  I think we have been averaging somewhere just under an hour for most of the heroics for our first time through, and that time seems to slowly be dropping.  I would anticipate regular heroic runs to bottom out somewhere around ~40minutes during this tier, possibly as short as ~30min for a couple of the ones with less trash.

This is my list of things to keep in mind:

1) Be patient.

2) Practice your basic PVE skills as often as possible.  Interrupt, dispel, toss in an off heal to help the healer, CC or kite a troublesome mob the tank is having trouble picking up, just work on your awareness of what is going on in the fight not directly related to whacking your “rotation” into your keys while gleefully appreciating all of the giant numbers flowed across your screen.

3) Accept the challenge of leading your assigned group through the content successfully. Just like putting a raid team together you get to make decisions like whether or not an individual is worth helping develop, whether they should be voted off the island for a replacement, or whether its time to cut your losses and jump ship.  Leading your group does also not necessarily mean taking charge of your group.  If someone else is clearly trying to develop their own leadership skills you can always just do your best to help steer and reinforce their efforts to a successful conclusion as well.

4) Have fun. Raiding dungeons is supposed to be why we are paying to play this game.  It is what the entire “end game” concept is based around. If you don’t like the people you are with, either figure out how to get in a group with people you like or figure out how to like the people you are with.  If no one likes you or you don’t like anyone else, your problems are probably not wow specific and are outside the scope of this blog, sorry. Progression content means new mechanics which means new and hilarious ways for people to screw up.  If you don’t have fun watching your hunter buddy disengage/fall of the 5th ledge/cliff/platform of the evening then you always have the option of either switching to normal or leveling archeology for a couple weeks until everyone starts complaining how easy heroics are again

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3 Responses to Cataclysm Heroics

  1. Ophelie says:

    I agree with you, I’ve been really enjoying the heroics. They feel like raids, except with 5 people instead of 25. HEAVEN FORBID WE ACTUALLY HAVE TO EARN OUR GEAR OMG!

    Pugging has gone downhill now that the curve has caught up, but I love pugging in the first few days since pretty much every teammate I got was a serious raider who loved talking strat.

    Under an hour for a first time through a heroic is unlikely though. It sounds like your guild is exceptionally fast at understanding boss strats. Our first guild-only attempts were more like in the 2-3 hour range. Even now, a perfect run with no wipes takes almost an hour.

  2. Gaia says:

    Thanks for the comment.

    Most of our first run-throughs were right around an hour for the most part. I don’t think my guild is exceptionally quick at learning new bosses necessarily. We *were* however probably overly cautious our first time or two through each one. For anyone else that might stumble across this, some basic principles we always try and follow:

    We went out of our way to crowd control as many things as possible for each trash pull.

    Everyone in the group prioritizes survivability and “control” of the fight over everything else.

    5man bosses rarely have any sort of enrage mechanic so the only limiting factor to how long you have to kill them is your healers mana, dps can take a back seat to keeping your group alive.

    We have everyone do their best to purge/dispel/interrupt/kite/CC/Spellsteal/root/runaway from any event that happens during a new fight using a “better safe than sorry” approach. For most of the heroics I ran we also had an elemental shaman in the group who was pretty liberal with dropping healing rain circles during most pulls.

    Remember that everyone in a 5man can mark targets. People can “claim” their own CC target[s] by marking them with “their” mark. the tank picks up whatever doesn’t get CC’d and puts a skull on the focus target once he is ready for the dps to lay into it.

    As long as everyone is focusing on keeping themselves alive and maintaining as much control of the encounter as possible, we didn’t have any really trouble with any of the bosses. Once everyone has seen everything a couple of times you can start looking for areas to cut down on the time required. We never really had to make any kind of major revision to our approach for any of the bosses in the 5mans. the only times we really wiped was when I (the tank) screwed up and got myself killed. First couple of times through and it probably wasn’t terribly uncommon to lose at least 1 DPS to some kind of mechanic that they weren’t ready for. Once in a great while I would lose my healer to something, but being a druid, I usually have the option of popping a bunch of cooldowns and Battle rezzing the healer to save the attempt.

  3. Rigor says:

    DPS is as faceroll easy as ever. But hop on a healing alt and run some 5mans with pugs and things can get a lot more interesting. The biggest change with this expansion is healers are not able to make up for the fail of the rest of the group nearly as much as we used to. You simply don’t have the mana to keep up your idiot dps and the tank and sometimes have to let people die. That is the hardest part to deal with for me. I’ve always prided myself on surviving even the most horrendous pulls with the worth players imaginable, but current mana contraints make some situations unhealable.

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