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We have what it takes June 23, 2009

Filed under: Raid Stats,Raiding — Pookies @ 9:25

Last night I had one goal for our raid: Steelbreaker. We had General Vag, Yoggsies, and AOI left up, so we had some hustling to do.

We did some attempts on Vag’s hard mode and identified some of our weaknesses. Everything goes relatively well until we get to the Animus. Then healing on the tank gets a little hairy. Using our healing-in-shifts strategy, only two healers have mana at this point in the game, and only one of them should be using it. We didn’t get the Animus down even once last night, although we got very close on one attempt before killing Vag on normal mode to move on.

We had to teach one of our melee DPS the Yogg-Saron fight, but by his third time in the portals he was a tentacle pro and we got Yogg down.

Steelbreaker actually only took us a couple of tries. A paladin tanking Steelbreaker meant he could Cleanse all of his own Fusion Punch debuffs. Our priest insisted that he could Dispel and heal without a problem, but since our paladin’s threat was not an issue it made sense to give our priest the GCDs.

Our kill order was Molgeim -> Brundir -> Steelbreaker.

During Molgeim we had our enhancement shaman (our only reliable interrupt) watching Brundir full time to interrupt as much Chain Lightning as possible and call out Overcharge (which our DBMs were not catching for some reason).

Brundir was a straight burn with an emphasis on interrupts by our enhancement shaman and DK tank. Overcharge was still an issue for melee, but by this point ranged had no reason to step into range and did not have to move.

By the time we got to Steelbreaker we asked everyone to stack up as tight as possible (for AOE heals) and DPS the shit out of Steelbreaker. Heroism was popped right away (I believe I summoned my trees in time …). We did not have a heal block, but this was not an issue in the least. DPS was more than enough to bring Steelbreaker under 35% before the first tank kicked the bucket, and from that point it was a matter of managing the second tank’s health until Steelbreaker died.

We worked less on Steelbreaker than we did on Molgeim. Our experience here pretty much confirms that Molgeim is more dependent on raid coordination and composition (EoTS did it without a mage FYI), whereas Steelbreaker is a DPS race that seems to be tuned so that even guilds who are rockin’ the 213/219 can complete it.

Full parse here. Steelbreaker only here.


  • prot paladin (Steelbreaker)
  • blood DK (Molgeim + Brundir)
  • holy priest (Steelbreaker tank), resto shaman (Molgeim/Brundir tank)
  • survival hunter, ret paladin, enhancement shaman
  • balance druid, shadow priest, destro lock

Have you got what it takes to break Steelbreaker before he breaks you? June 22, 2009

Filed under: Raiding — Pookies @ 8:43

They say that Steelbreaker is a mad DPS race. But just how mad is it? I tried to find numbers for normal mode online, but nothing came up. So while I’m sure that someone has considered this already, here’s my rendition of the calculations.

Tank damage and Overwhelming Power

First, let’s talk about how we’re going to factor tank damage into the equation. Estimates for tank damage in a fight usually range from 0.4 to 0.5 of a DPS. That’s all well and good, but how do we factor Overwhelming Power into the equation?

Well, let’s look at the tooltip for Overwhelming Power first to see what it even does.

Overwhelming Power
60 yd range
The target becomes overwhelmed with power increasing damage done by 200% and causes a meltdown after 1 minute

You have to look closely at the wording here to determine that whoever is under the effect of Overwhelming Power is dealing three times normal damage. (That’s right. The target has his damage increased by 200% as opposed to dealing 200% damage.)

The math here is important. We’ll use some simple calculations involving fractions to determine just exactly how many effective tanks we have (in terms of tank damage dealt) for P3 in two different scenarios.

The first scenario is a two minute P3. In this scenario, your first tank picks up Steelbreaker and tanks him for one minute with Overwhelming Power before running off and exploding. Near the end of the first minute, the second tank taunts Steelbreaker to give the first tank time to get away and gains the debuff, tanking Steelbreaker for the second minute. For my calculations, I am assuming that we had a Soulstone or battle rez available for the first tank and that the first tank comes back to DPS immediately.

So for the first scenario, we have:

1) tank 1 dealing triple damage for the first half of the phase and then dealing normal damage for the second half, and
2) tank 2 dealing normal damage for the first half of the phase and then dealing triple damage for the second half.

If we take the damage of a tank to be T, then:

1) (3* T * 1/2 + T * 1/2) for tank 1, and
2) (T * 1/2 + 3 * T * 1/2) for tank 2.

Combining these two equations yields a total of 4T damage from our tanks in the scenario of a two minute P3. Note that if you do not have any kind of combat rez available in your raid, then you will have to make do with less 1/2T (total of 3.5T tank damage). Now, this calculation is very intuitive. Of course if you have a tank doing triple damage for each half of the fight while the other does normal damage, your total tank damage will be four times base tank damage. However, hear me out.

There is a second scenario that requires the use of a combat rez. The first tank gets up immediately, rejoins the fight, and then tanks Steelbreaker again after the second tank dies. In this case, we don’t assume the presence of a second combat rez to bring up the second tank after he dies. Also, the fight now lasts up to three minutes instead of two.

The calculation is a straight-forward extension of the one already done for the two minute P3 scenario. The result is 11T/3 (7T/3 from the first tank and 4T/3 from the second). This means that we have T/3 less contribution to damage on the boss, but because of the extra minute of fight time the DPS requirement from the rest of the raid is far more lax.

Steelbreaker’s health

Steelbreaker begins the phase healed up to full health. In normal mode, this is 3 000 000 hit points.

One thing that we can not ignore is that every time someone dies—which includes deaths by Overwhelming Power’s Meltdown—Steelbreaker will be healed by 15% of his maximum health. Ouch. The heal-blocking effects of Mortal Strike, Wound Poison, and Aimed Shot work here, meaning that the healing on Steelbreaker can be reduced to 7.5% per death.

The calculation here is simple. Take Steelbreaker’s base hit points, count up the number of tanks you expect to die (1 or 2), and then add 15% or 7.5% to Steelbreaker’s base hit points for each death depending on whether or not you’ll have Mortal Strike, Wound Poison, or Aimed Shot in your raid.

For reference (this is also a very straight-forward calculation), the value of heal-blocking in this phase is 1875 DPS for a 2 minute fight and 2500 DPS for a 3 minute fight. These numbers will vary slightly (increase) as you shave seconds off your kill time from the minute milestones.

Finally, some answers

From total health comes total required raid DPS, and with our tank-DPS equivalents we are ready to see some DPS numbers.

In order to determine how much DPS each DPSer in the raid must put out, we simply divide Steelbreaker’s total health by the fight time (in seconds!) and then further divide that result by the number of effective DPS we have available.

For my raid, I expect that we will run 2 healers (6 DPS) and have the DPS to finish Steelbreaker off in two minutes. I will assume that we do have some kind of heal-block in the raid. I am also going to assume that each tank can do 40% of the DPS of a DPS raid member. First, we calculate the DPS contribution from the tanks:

DPS(tanks) = 4T = 4 * 0.4 = 1.6.

Now, we can figure out how much DPS we need for one DPS raid member to put out:

DPS(each) = Steelbreaker’s total hit points (as damage) / fight time (in seconds) / no. of DPS available;
DPS(each) = 3 225 000 damage / 120 s / (6 + 1.6) DPS;
DPS(each) = 3 635 DPS per DPS.

So the DPS required for this hard mode actually isn’t that high and should be easily achievable by all classes even in T7 quality gear. Remember the assumption I made about tanks. Each tank is expected to help out with 40% of the DPS of a DPS raid member. This works out to 1 454 DPS in this scenario (before the effect of Overwhelming Power is applied), which is a pretty conservative number when you consider what most tanks in this content are capable of putting out.

Refer to the chart below for an extension of this calculation to the different possible scenarios.


Remember that we have made some oversimplifications, particularly in the seconds that we lose or gain here and there from tank swapping and the delay before the first Overwhelming Power is cast after the second Assembly member dies. Who knows, this may all balance out. Or maybe the errors are being compounded. Does it matter? Who wants to do the sensitivity test on the variable T? Not me.

Also, these calculations do not take into account the proficiency of your healer-tank team in keeping the tanks alive through Fusion Punch and the raid alive through the now relatively potent Steelbreaker AOE (2 250 damage every 3 seconds to each member of the raid). Cooldown coordination will probably be required by the time your second tank is tanking.


Here we go again with the fires June 21, 2009

Filed under: World Events — Pookies @ 10:24

Some of you longer-time readers may remember Phaelia’s slightly distressed post last year decrying some of us resto druids for participating in the Midsummer Fire Festival. She may be happy to know that, due to an oversight, we are unable to honour or desecrate any fires we honoured or desecrated last year. At least, for the time being. Expect this to be fixed so that people who honoured and desecrated fires last year and didn’t spend their blossoms on the Midsummer Garb are actually able get the Burning Hot Pole Dance achievement. Refer to this thread for updates.

If the Blizzard gods decide to let us re-honour and re-desecrate the fires from last year (or if you just haven’t done it yet), check out this guide for visiting all of the Azeroth fires (for Alliance only–sorry folks). Meanwhile, locations for Northrend fires are now available on WoWWiki and should give us something to do.


Sarth “3D” June 19, 2009

Filed under: Raiding — Pookies @ 8:19

Last night we decided to take a short break from our regularly scheduled Ulduar romp and went to try and cheese Sarth 3D. Now, this strategy typically relies on heavy raid stacking in order to burn Sarth down before Shadron lands. Most strats say, “Use all melee.” We did not. Our build:

  • pally main tank
  • shaman healer
  • physical DPS: shaman, paladin, rogue, hunter
  • caster DPS: 2x lock, priest, druid

Not ideal at all. We did a bit of experimentation with when we used Heroism and asking our shadow priest to go discipline for Power Infusion and Pain Suppression.

We found that Heroism used immediately following the first wave gave us the most bang for our buck because burning through the lower part of Sarth’s health was more important than burning through his health when he was almost at full health. After the first wave we would typically be under 70% health.

Although we had more longevity when our shadow priest respecced to discipline because of the extra heals and Pain Suppression, we found that we didn’t have the DPS we needed even with Power Infusion. Shadron would join the fight, and Sartharion would go immune to all damage.

In the end we found that with our mixed group and the DPS we were pulling, a kill would hinge completely on a bit of RNG love in the form of ranged not having to move for lava (especially our healer for the second lava wave).

We got the kill. Congratulations to Monedra on winning the Reins of the Black Drake. Here is a parse from the fight. Our ret paladin’s DPS is so low because he was using a HoS+DS combo towards the end of the fight.


Keeping the Keepers subdued June 18, 2009

Filed under: Raid Stats,Raiding — Pookies @ 11:30

Last night we went into Ulduar with the goal of hitting up Thorim hard mode for a second time, and then working on Hodir’s hard mode until we got the achievement. The plan was to move on to Freya+2 if time remained. We knew we had our work cut out for us as we were running two DPS who had never seen the fights before.

Thorim went relatively smoothly. What we did this week was scale back to two healers. Now, I crunched the numbers after our first kill and figured out that if each of our DPS could pull 4k (in phase 3), adding a sixth DPS over bringing a third healer would decrease phase 3’s length by over 25 seconds. Looking at the phase 3 parses for last week and this week, that didn’t exactly happen due to deaths and some sub-optimal DPS. The fight did end up being shorter by about 17 seconds (this depends on how I “cut” the chart so it isn’t exact) and our healers did comment that the fight was a lot easier to heal.

We moved on to Hodir and emphasized a couple of things:

  • At the beginning, ranged break out the mage and shaman (I used /tar Elem and /tar Missy to mark them) and the melee break out the druid on their way to Hodir. From that point onward, the mage and then the shaman would be broken out after Flash Freezes (and the mage would unfreeze the other two).
  • We followed the TankSpot hard mode strategy (I would link the video but I can’t go to YouTube at work, heh). This strategy involves initially pulling Thorim to a back corner of his chamber in an attempt to make the NPCs move closer together. This centralization makes it easier for Missy Flamecuffs to free the other NPCs, as well as increases the chances of the NPCs being on the snow drifts for Flash Freeze since the entire fight is more concentrated in one area.
  • We explained the importance of spreading Storm Power as the highest priority buff in the encounter for DPS. We also covered Singed.
  • Everyone had until the first Flash Freeze to establish their rotations and stack Singed on the boss. Heroism came immediately after the first Flash Freeze and was coordinated with pet summons (trees, wolves), Hysteria donation, and a plethora of other cooldowns (potions, for instance).

In the end we were able to pull almost 42 000 raid DPS on our sixth try. This is just enough to make the 3 minute timer. WOL says that the fight actually took us 3:05, but we got the achievement. Our paladin, Sareph, is very happy with his new iLvl 232 tanking mace, Shiver.

Freya+2 was next (we killed Stonebark). Again, we typically did this fight with three healers, but this week we did it with two. The increase in raid DPS helped us take the adds down on a slightly looser time schedule than with five DPS. We actually spent far less time working on Freya+2 than we did with Freya+1 (probably owing to the extra DPS) and got her down in just three tries. Our execution was almost perfect. I think our only death was our poor shadow priest Getnmahbelly, who got gibbed by an unfortunate Strengthened Iron Roots + Unbalanced Sunbeam combo. Our thoughts, prayers, and battle rez went to him.

We still have two raid nights this week, but I highly doubt that Mimiron hard mode is really in the books. We may plow ahead to Yogg-Saron and then work on Steelbreaker this week, which I think is a far more realistic goal. In the mean time, Vezax hard warrants some research as I believe he is next after Freya+3.


Cranking up the hard June 17, 2009

Filed under: Raiding — Pookies @ 9:39

Well, it’s been a while (again). Those of you loyal readers who are reading this: I love you to bits. I have been checking up on you guys as well when work slows down.

EoTS has been sticking to 10-mans. I think that 10-man is where it’s at for us. Although there are many of us who do wish to do 25-man raids again, progression-wise it would set us back severely. At the moment we are working on hard modes. Our hard mode progression has looked something like this:

FL+1 -> FL+2 -> XT -> Freya+1 -> Thorim -> AOI Molgeim -> FL+3 (post nerf)

For the Ulduar meta we’ve also done Disarmed and we were 10 seconds shy of the 4 minute Ignis kill last night. 4 minutes Ignis was very much within reach last night as we actually had a DPS death and I spent a good ten seconds looking for the corpse to battle res, but the raid was ending so we just killed him for this week to focus our efforts on other Keeper-related endeavors.

The challenge is convincing people that it is worth it to focus on hard modes instead of blazing through to Yogg-Saron every week. Now that our resto shaman has the Algalon discs, it will be important to get Thorim down again for him as well as work more diligently on Hodir, Freya+2, and Freya+3 before finally trying to tackle Mimiron.

Killing Yogg-Saron+4 every week is simply not progression and should not be our goal. If we forgo Yogg-Saron in order to make a leap in progress in another part of the instance, I say that it is worth it. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees.