Archive for April 2008

Karazhan: The Opera Event, Trash

April 29, 2008

This is another in a series of posts covering a full Karazhan clear – mostly from a Main Tank’s Point of View. This post starts a mini-series on the Opera.

The Opera event is rather unique, and is an important step in clearing Karazhan. It provides access to the Back Door, and requires that you have killed Moroes. Since the Opera is actually a random selection of one of three different boss fights, I’m going to cover the basics here – and then each actual event separately.

For the trash, I’m going to presume that you have cleared the ballroom trash far enough to the get to the Maiden‘s Hallway. If not, that trash is covered here.

Leaving the Maiden’s Hallway, you want to continue right across the ballroom. Here you will see a pair of Skeletal Ushers guarding the archway. There is another pair behind them, and a 5th that patrols though the Opera Hall. The patrol does pass by the archway, so mark him when he goes by – otherwise he can sneak up on you later.

The Ushers can be shackled, and that is very important. I’m going to assume you have a Priest to keep one locked down. You will want to have both tanks on the non-CC’d Usher, as they will ice-block their primary target. This can be spell-reflected by a warrior, or picked up by a grounding totem, but it is safest to simply keep your off-tank as #2 on the threat list. These mobs hit very hard, and it is not uncommon for them to break off the tank and 2-shot your dps.

With the first pull down, grab the second double pull – making sure that the PAT is clear. Finally, grab the patrol as he walks by.

With the Ushers out of the way, you can head into the Opera Hall. Take a right, and follow the hall around. Do not go into the seating area – the guests have nothing nice to say.

How down a flight of stairs, see who can land on the top of the doorframe, run through the orchestra pit, up a ramp, and then park the group against the wall on the left. The backstage room now ahead of you has a pair of 2-pulls of Performers, and a pair of patrolling solo-pull Stage-Hands.

I prefer to pull the patrols first, but this can be tricky. One of the patrols gets close to where your group is standing -if you are fighting anything else, he will join in – so I like to deal with him first. The problem is, that if you pull him to early *or* too late, the first double-pull will join in as well. I tend to body pull him at the closest point in his patrol. If you stand 3 floor-planks on your side of the door, then you can take a step when he pauses, and pull him.

An instant ranged attack would also grab him, but he only pauses very briefly, so this is tricky. I suggest marking a mob in the double-pull for the off-tank to pick up, just in case.

There are no good CC options for any mobs in this section, so things can get out of hand quickly if a pull goes bad.

The Stagehands can both be pulled first, leaving the double Performer pulls. Each will be tanked separately, and will occasionally put up a spotlight. Make sure to drag them out of that light, as it gives a sizable damage buff. They also explode on death, but it is not so much damage that healing through it should be a problem.

With the room clear, there is another double-Performer pull just in the next room, along with a stagehand the Patrols through the area. Take care of both pulls, and then move into the room and to the right.

There is a friendly NPC, Barnes, standing by a door. Do not talk to him until you are ready to start the Opera event. Buff up, talk strategies, and then head in. Some groups will sacrifice a scout to check which event you have that week, but I prefer to simply prepare as if it were Oz or R&J, since BBW gives you setup time before you start the fight. Barnes’ announcement gives you a few seconds to get ready before the curtain goes up, so that is usually enough time to make last second adjustments.

The Opera event is random each raid week. Unlike Moroes’ adds, it cannot be reset in any way.

Once you have completed the Opera fight, there is a bit more associated trash left. The upper levels of the Opera hall have another section of trash tied to the Opera. You can skip this by doing a soft-reset, or just leaving the zone and running into the backdoor (unlocked by the Opera event). I almost never do this, as the mobs in this clear drop a lot of gold. Each pack drops 10 to 25 gold, so this trash can cover a large percentage of the night’s potential repair bill.

The pulls themselves are pretty easy. Heading up the ramp from the Opera stage, though the now opened door, you will reach a large curving hallway. Wait at the top for a patrol consisting of one Elite Philanthropist and two non-elite Patrons. A single tank can handle these basic groups. Simply kill the Philanthropist first, then burn down the patrons.

Next along the hallway is a double pull of these groups (two Philantropists, 4 Patrons). Off-tank one of the elites, focus-fire them down first, and then AOE the Patrons. Repeat on the the next pull.

From here on out, there will just be the basic groups of three. Next send a puller to the top of the ramp, and wait there for the patrol to come by. Pull it down the ramp to the group and take them out.

Up the ramp, along the balconies you will find a pull every other balcony. Kill them all as they drop a lot of gold.

Opposite the ramp, you will see a doorway that leads to the Broken Stair, the back door and Nightbane. Starting here, the trash belongs to the Curator – so we will deal with it in an upcoming post.

Gruul’s Lair, cleared again

April 28, 2008

This past Saturday night was a planned evening with Gruul (and pals).  Last week on this run we were several folks short, HKM too a few attempts to get down – and we didn’t even attempt Gruul.  This week, I worked a bit harder to try to setup a full raid – hoping to not have that problem again.

The expected last minute “call-off”, and a pair of no-shows, left us a bit short at the start – but we went in to see the High King with 23.  We had the required tanks and 7 healers (up from the normal 6), along with most of our highest dps toons – so I was confident that we could get at least HKM down. The first attempt was going great, we had lost a healer early, but were still ok – except that we then lost our Mage Tank just 10 seconds before the DPS was ready to burn Firehand down..  alas, he ran over and took out a trio of healers with a blast wave, and that fast we were running for the gate.

The 2nd try failed quickly, as Olm was never properly picked up.  This was simply a problem of having a different group every week.  This week, we one of the Olm tanks was new to the fight, and we didn’t have enough hunters to misdirect for them.  Like most bad pulls here, this one was over quickly.  I’m afraid that this type of problem is going to keep coming up.  Many of our raiders can’t go every week, and we are usually filling a few slots with guests, so we always have 1 or 2 new people filling key roles.  Until we manage to pull in a few more people, this is part of the deal.

The third try everything clicked, and we got the loots.  Once again, we didn’t get and Hunter/Mage/Lock shoulders – continuing our streak of never having seen them.

Before heading in to Gruul, we picked up another – a healer as it turned out.  That put us at eight healers, 24 players total.  With the empty spot, and the extra healers, I knew our DPS output was going to be low.  Having heard that 16 growths generally means quick tank death, I was concerned that we might need to bring in some more dps.  Two of the healers have viable dps alternatives, but generally like to let people raid (and get upgrades) on their mains – so we gave it a try.

One big thing I noticed was that the previous kill, and the pair of learning nights, made a big difference on the Shatters.  Far fewer people were taking big spikes of damage, so we had far more people up for most of the fight.  My off-tank went down at around 14 growth, but the 3rd tank simply slid up into his spot.  At 16 growths, I started to get nervous.  Half way through 17, I hit Shield Wall.  Shortly before Gruul hit Growth 18, he went down.

Honestly, that is not my preferred way to do that fight.  Compared to out first kill, which ended at 14 growths, this required much more luck.  Higher DPS would have simply ended things earlier, and allowing it to go that long meant a possible hit/parry/crush combo that could have easily taken me down before the healers could possibly catch up.  However, it is nice to know that we can do this with a different kind of group makeup.

Now, I can say I tanked Gruul at 17-growths.

I’d just prefer to let my DPS say they took him down at 10.

Karazhan: Maiden of Virtue

April 25, 2008

This is another in a series of posts covering a full Karazhan clear – mostly from a Main Tank’s Point of View. This entry covers the Maiden, and her trash.

Moroes is down, and it is time to move on to the next boss. Here, you face a choice. You can go straight to the Opera, or you can do a few extra pulls and visit the Maiden of Virtue. At “starting Karazhan” gear levels, this fight can certainly be challenging, but is worth doing – several very nice pieces drop from her, and she controls the trash that you need for a quest.

From Moroes’ room, head out and across the top of the stairs. There is an AoE pull that can be brought to the columns at the top of the stairs, and burnt down. This (and the rest of the AoE pulls in this section) are just like the first two you did in this ballroom.

With that pull down, hop onto the ledge and run to the corner of the ballroom. There will be two or three guests sitting in chairs randomly scattered through this part of the room, so pull and kill them when you come to them. With your party in the corner (with the bust on a podium) there is one more AoE pull in the room to deal with. You don’t have any way to conveniently line-of-sight pull them, so just get them as close as possible. If you are careful, you shouldn’t accidentally pull any other groups. You finish off the room by pulling the Valet by the door.

Patrol Alert! There is a roaming mob that comes out that door from time to time. You can either wait for him there, or go through the door and catch him on the stairs up to the next level. There are no other mobs there, so I tend to do it that way. Either way, through the door, and to the top of the stairs for the next set of pulls.

There are a number of roaming mobs on this floor, but only two will get close enough to worry about. You will only be able to pull them once the first AoE pull is done, so go ahead and grab that – the AoE pulls in this room can both be grouped up behind the column on the corner. Make sure to ask your dps/healers to hold up until they are all together. With the 1st group done, grab the two Patrols, then pull back the Valet on the right. Pull that mob all the way back to the group waiting at the top of the stairs. Now, there are two groups on the carpet. The closer one – also standing a bit farther left) will be left alone. The tank need to head out to the right, pull the other group, and carefully bring them back to the party (waiting patiently for the mobs to get grouped up behind the column.)

Now, you can head up to the door on the right. This leads to the Maidens hallway. Before heading in (and carefully watching the un-pulled group in the carpet) wait for a patrol of two Spectral Sentries to pass by. They are vulnerable to traps and shackle, and die reasonably quickly – pull them and quickly dispatch.

Now, move into the hallway and take a sharp left. There is a doorway and a set of stairs here – that is a good place to group up while waiting for the next pull. [Bonus: Those stairs lead down to the Bat section of the basement. Still not worth going down there.] There is a demon/undead PAT that moves down the hall and into all three rooms – make sure they are clear before doing the next pull.

Facing back down the hallway, you will see a double Guardsman pull. The Guardsmen are simple, though they can summon a pet dog that needs to be picked up. I like to ensure that they are shackled away from the group, so that a quick Thunderclap/Cleave will pick up and hold the summoned hound – otherwise it heads for the healers. With the Guardsmen out of the way, pull the PAT. The undead can the shackled, the demon banished.

Next, there is another double Guardsman pull on the left – pull that back to the group.

There is a four pull on the right. Random mix on demons and undead. All can be trapped, banished/shackled, or off-tanked.

Finally, there is a last double guardsman pull at the end of the hallway.

Those rooms of the left? Leave them alone. There is a quest item in the middle one – but just come back later and get it. Once the Maiden is dead, all that trash will despawn on a soft-reset (leave the zone for 30 minutes) – unless the entire group needs the item, it just isn’t worth the trouble.

Now, for the Maiden. She has several tricks, a few of which can cause major problems depending on group makeup.

Holy Ground: Small ticking AoE that covers her platform – so long as you tank here right in the middle. Breaks any stuns, but doesn’t do too much damage. Melee dps may need to run out to bandage.
Holy Wrath: A Holy damage chained lightning style spell. This will be countered with group placement.
Holy Fire: An off-target Holy nuke with a high damage DoT. This must be dispelled immediately. I prefer to have one healer just dealing with this – a quick dispel, and the healing the target back up. Having your healers run Decursive makes this much easier.
Repentance: A stun cast several times though the fight. All melee is quickly woken up by the Holy Ground, but the ranged and healers will not be. Healing the tank through this is the trick to this fight.

Group placement
All melee dps should spread to the edges of the hit box (3 melee? form a triangle. 4? a square.)
The ranged dps will also be spread out. To start, send each ranged dps to a separate wall – ensuring that they run right up against the wall to get there. The room is an octagon, so there will likely be a wall for everyone. Once the tanks has her, all the ranged move up and stand on the first step of her platform. This puts them out of the Holy Ground, put close enough to get heals.

Options for dealing with Repentance:

  1. Bring a Pally healer – they can cast (and recast every 30 seconds) Blessing of Sacrifice on the tank. They will take a small amount of damage from each Holy Ground, and thus get out of Repentance. So long as the tank to topped off prior to the stun, a single healer will probably be able to keep him up for the duration.
  2. Stack HoTs – if you have lots of Heal over Time spells, these may suffice to deal with the Repentance. Just make sure they are all up before the stun lands.
  3. Drag the Maiden around: The tank can pull to Maiden over closer to the healers, getting them in range of the Holy Ground. This wakes them up, so they can start healing. Not my favorite method, but it does work.
  4. Healers step into Holy Ground: Repentance is (mostly) on a timer, so the healers can possibly step onto the platform just before it hits, take a few ticks of Holy Ground, and then step back out.

Early on, this fight may require you to combine several of these options, but as your gear improves, this fight get very easy. The longer it goes, the more times you get Repentance, and the more Holy Fires. Eventually she will Holy Fire someone who is already a bit low on health, and your healers will not have time to react.

This is a fairly quick fight – early kills took us nearly 4 minutes. The longest kill was 5’31” – that required several people to die early, and put a lot of pressure on the healers to last through the fight. We recently took her down in 1’13” – several of her trash pulls take longer than that.

Karazhan: Starting Group Setup and Gear

April 24, 2008

This is one in a series of posts covering a full Karazhan clear – mostly from a Main Tank’s Point of View. This entry steps back, and covers what group makeup you need before going in.

So you want to visit Karazhan for the first time, what do you need?

You have 10 spots, and the truth is that you can clear Karazhan with a wide variety of groups. However, some things are required, and there are others that will make it easier for your early attempts at the instance.

A warrior makes the perfect Main Tank, but a Tankadin or Feral Druid can fill the roll quite well. The MT needs to be crit immune, and to have a solid tanking set. The better geared the main tank, the easier the run goes. I started tanking Karazhan in mostly level 70 blues, with a few BOE epics. A few PvP pieces are ok – as they have lots of stamina, and resilience can cover for low defense – but you want to be in mostly PvE gear.

Several boss fights require an off-tank, so bring one. This spot can be basically a backup Main Tank, or a DPS toon with a good tanking set. My preference is for a feral druid, as they can tank when needed and otherwise provide solid damage. Another good option is a tankadin with a good healing set – the solo-tank fights are where you will likely need the most healing help, so this works out well.

Main Healers
Bring two or three, depending on what you have. I prefer three, since it give a bit more margin for error, but two works as well. The extra healer shaves a bit off of your dps, but can really help get some of the early kills. A priest or two really helps, as they can also provide CC with their Shackle Undead.

That leaves five or six (depending on healers) dedicated damage slots. Having CC capable classes makes things much easier, so Shadow Priests and Hunters get bonus points. I generally like to have at least one priest (holy or shadow) and one hunter. I prefer to not run with more than 2 melee-dps (in addition to the tanks), since several fights punish them, and only the Shade benefits from a heavy melee group.

A class capable of spamming fire damage (mage, ‘lock, shammy) is very helpful in one of the Opera events, and I still don’t bother going after Illhoof without a ‘lock.

If you are low on healing, having a player who can throw a few heals in an emergency is a bonus.

Hunter and Priests cover most of your CC needs. Having two or three really helps.

What gear level is required?

I’m not going to list stats for every class/spec. A group can progress quickly though the first part of Karazhan in mostly blues. By blues, I mean PvE blues from the level 70 instances. If someone is still half-green, or wearing a lot of mid-60s blues, then they may not be ready. You can certainly run with under-geared toons, but it requires that much more from everyone else – when everyone is just starting, your margin may not be very large.

Enchant and gem everything, and plan on using consumables. These upgrades may seem small and expensive, but they really make a difference.

The 2.3 and 2.4 badge gear really help out, and even picking up just a few pieces can really help every class.

DPS Tips

For many classes, PvP gear also works as starting raiding gear. It often isn’t itemized correctly for PvE, but the health and raw damage makes up for a lot.

All dps should work on getting hit rating, dps casters especially. Seriously. Every starting Karazhan group I’ve ever seen has been hurting here, and (for almost every class/spec) point for point Hit Rating increases damage more than an other stat. This is a serious dps killer – and a major adjustment from leveling and basic 5-mans.

Tank Tips

If you are having problems with Sudden Tank Death, then try to stack stamina. Several fights can have quite a lot of burst damage, and even an extra thousand health can give the healers time to catch up. Grab a ‘lock for Blood Pack and Healthstone, and a Pally for Devotion Aura and Kings.

Tankadins should try to get crush immune. This often leaves them very low in the threat department, so your dps will need to be patient until they gear up some. This becomes much less of an issue near the end of Tier-4 gearing.

Warriors should be crush immune by keeping “Shield Block” active on all boss fights.

A full PvP set is not a tanking set. Resilience is great for reducing Crits, but it has no avoidance.

Get some Expertise. Expertise (at least the first 20-some points) is twice as valuable as +Hit to having swings land, and it helps to avoid Boss Parries. When a Boss Parries one of your swings, his next swing comes faster. Giving the boss free shots at you is rarely a good thing. When you suddenly see you health drop from near-full to zero, check the log – fair chance there was a parry in there.

Healer Tips

If you are running out of mana, then try to stack mana regen – enchants, gems and elixirs can help out here.

If you are loosing your tank before you run out of mana, then go the other way – get more +healing.

Karazhan, step by step

In this series of posts, I’m covering all the bosses, and several long thrash clears, in separate posts.  Good Luck!

Karazhan: Moroes

April 21, 2008

This is #2 in a series of posts covering a full Karazhan clear – mostly from a Main Tank’s Point of View. This entry covers Moroes, and his trash.

So, Attumen and Midnight are down. Head back out to the entrance, and to the flight of stairs. You will want to park most of your group on the landing, halfway up the stairs, with one person heading up the stairs to mark the pulls.

Up in the ballroom you will see several large groups of mobs, along with several PATs. There are four mobs moving through the ballroom – give each of these a mark, so that you don’t loose track of them while pulling. There is a Valet on the left that will be pulled, so feel free to mark him, and a waiter that will occastionally roam out past him should be marked too, if you see him (long patrol time though).

With all of the single pulls of interest marked, it is time to look at the groups. For now, just two of the groups need be dealt with. At the top of the stairs, just ahead on the left and right are pulls or 7 or 8 mobs. You will pull these, and then run down the stairs to your group – hide behind a column to get them all grouped up, and simply AoE them down. If there is a Pally tank available, you are golden. If you have 3 healers, and one is a Pally with some tanking gear, use them here. Otherwise, think happy thoughts for your cloth-wearing dps. This is a dangerous pull for anyone pouring out the AoE damage.

With the two AoE pulls done, start pulling the other marked mobs. The four mobs roaming in the ballroom are 70/71 elites, and don’t hit very hard. The Valet on the left is a 72, and does require slightly more attention. If the tank is mostly is blues, he will need a lot of healing.

With that taken care of, the group can move to the top of the stairs. Here, we implement a no carpet rule. There is a carpet covering most of the ballroom. No one should be on it. Ever.

The tank can carefully walk into the next room on the left. If you walk up through the two columns in the doorway, there is room to get in there and start marking. There are four waiters roaming around (or perhaps back in the kitchen) – get them marked. Be careful, since two of them PAT close to the door. There are double Steward pulls on the right and left walls. Additionally there are four AoE pulls of diners – Each side of the main table, and the two smaller tables.

To start, you will pull the main table, and the waiters that PAT around each side of it. The AoE groups can be pulled out of the room, just around the corner, letting your AoE team burn them down. The waiters should be pulled out of the room as well. They have a nasty debuff that will occasionally turn the player into a Skeleton, loosing all armor. If the tank gets this, you may as well take a 2 minute break. It can be spell-reflected, and the waiters are vulnerable to stuns – so I simply ask everyone to keep the mob stunned as much as possible, reducing the risk of getting hit with it.

After the main table is cleared, I pull the two stewards on the right side. Have an off-tank pick up one, since these can hit hard. They have a nasty skull crack, which will seriously increase the incoming damage, so watch for that and call it out. It shows up in chat as the normal “getting drunk” messages, and lasts just a couple of seconds. However, if your healers are slow on picking it up, you can easily loose a tank. No taunts here either.

With them down, the rest of the room is simple. Finish up the AoE pulls, and the waiters, then move into the room and take out the other double Steward pull – leaving only Moroes, and his guests. The Moroes fight involved not just Moroes himself, but four adds. They are chosen at random from a pool of six, and can be changed by a soft-reset.

**Neat Trick** Before starting the run, form up a raid and have a Priest run in and use Mind Vision to check out the adds. If you don’t like what you have, then simply leave and reform the raid with a different leader. So long as you haven’t killed any bosses yet, you can get a new grouping each time. If you are already saved to the instance, then having everyone leave for 30 minutes will reset them as well (along with the trash). No priest? No problem – get an engineer to make you a steam tonk. They can drive right in and check it out.

So, who are the adds?

  • Crispin – A protection warrior. Doesn’t hit hard. I don’t do a run without him.
  • Millstipe – Shadow Priest, has an obnoxious mana burn
  • Catriona – Holy Priest
  • Berrybuck – Holy Pally, can dispel CC
  • Drueger – Ret Pally, has a nasty stun and serious damage
  • Daris – MS Warrior. Has a nasty Whirlwind, and can take down healers in a few short seconds

So, which adds do you want? Crispin is a must in my opinion. Otherwise, I prefer not having both Drueger and Daris, as they tend to bother the healers, and I prefer to leave just one mob chain-shackled.

This fight is mainly about control.

Drueger and Daris are incredibly dangerous to healers, and take a long time to kill. Either chain trap, or better yet, chain Shackle them. Shackles break early and often, so remind your non-shadow priests that every 3rd or 4th cast should be a shackle. Once they are freed up, hunters can lay traps near priests to buy them time, and mages should be ready to frost nova a free mob.

Millstipe, Cariona and Berrybuck can all be tanked by a dps warrior or hunter pets. If you have enough CC, then keep them locked down till you are ready to kill them – starting with Millstipe, then Catriona, and finally Berrybuck.

Crispin is picked up by the Moroes tanks (yes, tanks) – one of them will grab him on the pull and hold him during the fight. Druids and Warriors can use him to generate rage as the off-tank. Having him there actually helps the off-tank, so I never do this fight without him. Simply taunt-swap him a few times to make sure both have plenty of threat on him for when Moroes causes trouble.

Two tanks of Moroes? Yes. While the raid is working on killing at least 1 or 2 of the adds, the tanks are working on Moroes (and Crispin.) Moroes will use both Blind and Gouge on the tanks, so if they are not the top two on threat, Moroes will go running around. Pallies can dispell the Blind, and should be careful to do so quickly – if one tank gets Gouged while the other is Blinded… well, it isn’t pretty.

Moroes’ other trick is that he will ocasionlly vanish and Garrote a random person. This puts a ticking DoT on them that lasts, basically, the entire fight. Ticking for several hundred damage, as they add up your healers will feel the strain. Mages can Iceblock out of this, and Pallies can Divine Shield themselves, or BoP another member. Dwarves have a free-out as well. Don’t bother removing it from tanks, as they are getting heals anyway. Try to save BoPs for healers or other low health members. When Moroes vanishes, you will have 2 to 10 seconds to work on Crispin – in all likelihood he will be down before Moroes.

If your off-tank is a Pally, consider having them main tank Moroes, unless they have a lot of +spell damage. Building threat from the #2 spot is very hard for Tankadins, and Crispin doesn’t help them. Otherwise, misdirects are a must.

Once Moroes is down, you can either clean up any mobs that have been CC’d, or simply drag them out of the room. With Moroes down, they will simply despawn at the point. Also, dragging an of the mobs out of the room will reset the fight, so it is an easy escape if this go bad.

Moroes was the first stumbling block in Karazhan for my guild. It took us several weeks to get him the first time, mainly due to the fight last so too long, allowing garrotes to stack up too high. Or healers getting taken out by broken CC. If you get stuck, try mixing things up. Different combinations of CC can be very effective. Having a voidwalker tormet an add will buy your CC a few extra moments. Pallies can fear the adds. A frost mage can kite one around. The tanks can even pick the whole group up, though this probably requires over-gearing the instance by a wide margin.

With low dps, this fight can take nearly ten minutes (9’51” was the longest we ever took). With higher dps we can shorten the fight down to just over 3 minutes (3’12” is our recent record)

Karazhan: Attumen the Huntsman and Midnight

April 18, 2008

On this weeks trip into Karazhan, for the first time in a long while, we had someone along who had never been very far in. This meant that I needed to explain each boss encounter – something that I used to do every week. However, being so used to everyone knowing the fights, I stumbled over a few pieces and left out a couple of (occasionally important) details. So, I’m going to start writing up a description of each fight (and associated clear), mainly so that I can make sure I’ve gone over everything in my mind.

Heading in to Karazhan? The obvious place to start, is Attumen/Midnight. Well, perhaps the basement would be the best place to start.. but in my experience everyone starts with Attumen, and the goes to the basement when they get stuck on him or Moroes. However, it has been many months since I ventured down there, so I’m going to skip it. You probably should too (unless you are a hunter looking to tame a bat or spider.)

So, what type of group do you need?

  • Two tanks, or at least a tank and an off-tank with a solid tanking set – tankadins and druids make a great 2nd tank, and they can heal (tankadin) or dps (druid) on the sinlge tank encounters. Both do need to be uncrittable, and for warriors/tankadins uncrushable.
  • Two or three healers. Three is my preference, though having two main healers, and a off-healer should work.
  • That leaves 5 or 6 dps. Having two CC makes things much easier – priest and hunters are the only real options there. Otherwise, bring high dps. You don’t want to be too heavy on melee (for later bosses), but you can make pretty much any setup work.

When you first zone into Karazhan, you will have three paths available. One the immediate right, there is the door to the basement. Further up on the right are the stairs up to the ballroom – essentially the path to everything post-Attumen. Finally, there is a doorway on the left that leads to the Stables, as well as Midnight.

The series of pulls leading to Attumen is not bad, but does require you to move at a reasonable pace. The 25 minute respawn on trash may test groups early on. If respawns pop, they will join when Midnight is engaged – so at that point, simply regroup at the entrance and take a 10 minute break. Trying to save a few minutes by playing catch-up on the respawns will only lead to heart-ache.

If someone dies, tell them to run back in. It is a short jog, just keep moving, and rebuff when they make it in.

The pulls are a combination of horses (Chargers and Stallions) and humans (Apprentices and Stable hands), all undead. The Stable hands can heal either type of horse, and seem resistant to frost traps, though Shackle does work. Both horses can be trapped or Shackled. The Spectral Chargers have a charge/aoe fear combination that can be a bit annoying. It can be dealt with by grouping everyone up on the horse, or by simply making sure you pull them back enough that you don’t pull another group if/when you eat a fear.

Before doing to first pull, look into the stables and watch for the PAT – a double pull horse/human – and mark them.

Then, when they are clear, you can start the pulls. I like to do the first few pulls out into the entryway. I tank in the corner near the front-door, with all the ranged dps up on the platform by the stairs – this ensures that should we get feared, no one goes anywhere dangerous.

The first pull is a single horse. Pull back to the corner and kill

The 2nd pull is a double pull. You can shackle, trap, off-tank, or simply have the tank pick up both. A word about shackle – it is my favorite CC for Karazhan, but unless you have a hit-capped Shadow Priest, it will break early. For a holy priest, Heal->Heal->Shackle is a good rotation to get used to. Or have a hunter get used to dropping a trap next to the priest. Or both. Otherwise, this pull is simple, just make sure to pull them into the entryway before CC is applied, or else you may pull to PAT as well.

The PAT is next. Pull them back as well. Doesn’t really matter which you take first.

Now, you can move everyone into the stable hallway. Position the group back where the first pull was, and check out the next pull. Two horses, with a roaming stable hand. Grab the horses when he PATs away, and pull them all the way back to the group. Through the next archway, there is a 2 pull on the immediate left – grab them and pull back to the group. Then there will be two more double pulls, with stable hand PATing between them. Pull the pair on the right, then the stable hand, then the pair on the left. Always pull these back to the group, and make sure you have room to get feared. It will happen, so just plan for it. There is plenty of room, use it.

Now, there are two pulls to go. A four pull (2 horse, 2 humans), and a five pull (an extra human). Use traps, shackles and OTs. The chargers will dash around and steal traps. Until you gear up a bit, these pulls will be a bit hectic.

Finally, you are at Midnight. He won’t engage till you hit him. I prefer to have my off-tank tank him in place. He is very basic tank-n-spank, with no real tricks. At 95% health Attumen will appear. You need to have a tank pick him up, and drag him away – if you don’t grab him fast, he will go eat a healer, so be ready. If your Midnight tank is a Pally, have them hold off on Consecration around 95% or you may have trouble grabbing Attumen.

I pull Attumen back to the left of the group, into the corner. If you have a warrior on him, you can reflect back a curse and disarm him. Keep all dps on midnight, and when he hits 25%, he will run over to Attumen, and they mount up. This is an aggro-reset, so the tank needs to grab him fast, and dps and healers need to hold off – I’d even avoid having HOTs up, as having your first attack miss could lead to a dead healer.

At this point he starts charging. Have everyone else group up tight on the horses bum, and they aren’t an issue. The safe-zone is large enough that Hunters can keep shooting, so there is no reason to take any charges. With that out of the way, it is a simple tank-n-spank again.

With a “mostly in blues, just starting Karazhan” group, this fight may take upwards of 5 minutes (our record length was 5’57” for a successful kill, though that required us to manage less than 1900 dps as a raid.) Get everyone in epics, and you can easily finish in less than 3 minutes (2’39” is our record, though I know many groups take him down in well under 2 minutes).

For a first fight in an instance, and probably the first 10-man boss battle that many will see, this is a fun fight. At lower gear levels, the 25-minute trash timer will require you to keep moving, but Attumen/Midnight is a very doable encounter. If you are having problems with tank death, then check your healer/tank gear level. If DPS is pulling aggro, then you need to have them hold off. If the transitions are causing you problems, then you may just need to work on having the tanks be a bit quicker, and perhaps have the healers hold off for a heartbeat.

There is another trash pull guarding the blacksmith. A 5 pull, with some fire damage, but nothing to worry about if you get to that point. I generally skip this pull, but while learning having to ability to repair is very important. Should you skip it, the pull will despawn on a soft-reset (everyone leaving the instance for 30 minutes) once Attumen is dead. Behind them is another pull and a stairwell. You can leave them be. There is very little reason to ever take that path up – though, once you have cleared the first 2 bosses, you can let the instance soft-reset (or just come back later in the week) and run around and explore a bit.

Gruul Downed

April 16, 2008

This past weekend, just a few hours after returning from vacation, we had a scheduled Gruul’s Lair run.  Turns out that we were a few folks short on the signups, but we were able to pull together a nearly full raid by bringing in 4 folks from friends lists.  Getting started nearly 30 minutes late, and already a bit worn out – I was hoping for an easy start to the evening.

The first High King Maulgar attempt wiped when one of our Shammy tanking hunters got beat down jsut after the pull.  Our second attempt had a our mage-tank get a resisted spell-steal – he died quickly, and I called a run out.  At this point we were joined by two other guildies – one who had been running late, and another that usually doesn’t raid, giving us a full group.  The third attempt went beautifully, with all 25-members standing at the end.

The hunters did make one change in dealing with Kiggler.  They had been having problems with loosing LOS on him, and then getting beaten down once he closed to melee range.   Clearly positioning was the issue here, but other attempts had seen him moved to close to the rest of the group, where is AOE caused problems.  In the end, simply waiting a beat on the pull made the difference.  We start the pull with my tossing my decapitator at Maulgar – with MDs hitting the Priest and Warlock moments later, and the mage-tank opening up Firehand.   By letting Kiggler turn to me, and toss a single lightning-bolt my direction, his hunter-tanks were able to position themselves up against the wall, and never had trouble with him moving again.  Worked like a charm.

So, loot was handed out, and we moved on to Gruul.  Again.

This week, I had already planned to exert a bit more control over positioning.  I set up the groups to each have at least one healer, at least one melee (were *very* melee heavy this week) , and several casters.  Each group was given 20% of the room to spread out in, with the healers being in the 20-25 yard range, and the range-dps casters being further back.  Previous attempts on Gruul had seen several people dead before we got Gruul to 50%, primarily due to Cave-Ins and Shatters, so the goal here was to start spread out enough that we might have more luck.

The first two attempts ended with my going down before Gruul hit 30%.  However, the 2nd attempt most of the raid was still up at that point, so that was a huge improvement over previous weeks.  The 3rd attempt saw Gruul at 16% before I dropped.  The issue on all three attempts turned out to be that I wasn’t getting post-shatter heals quickly enough.  As per our norm, the steady-state parts of fights are fine.. it is those little transitions where everyone has to choose where to focus there efforts that we had issues.

It was starting to get late, and we were at risk of loosing a few people due to the time — but everyone agreed to go one more time before calling it.  We refocused the healing a bit, and I reminded everyone that after 8 growths, nearly all the heals would be on my off-tank, or myself.  Even with loosing a warlock right at the pull, we got Gruul down.  It was a bit iffy at the end, I (screwed up and) took a crushing blow at 5% – leading to 2 hits in 2 seconds that did more than 22k damage, with another 8k blow following 4 seconds later – however, the healers covered for me, and we got the kill.

I’m hoping that this weekend we can repeat that success.  We should have much closer to an all-guild run, which will make me happy, and I’ve noticed that the 2nd kills tend to go much easier.