Karazhan 3.0.2 – With PuG Goodness!

22 10 2008

  Delved into Karazhan on Saturday night with Manchego in a partial PuG. Main Tank and Off Tank were both Warriors from MiM, and I was healing along with a Paladin from the guild as well. DPS? Heh, that was another story. We had 2 Rogues, a Shadow Priest, a Ret Paladin, an Enhancement Shaman and a Hunter. As we didn’t know these guys from Adam, and the important roles were being filled by MiM personnel who knew the fights, and each others playstyles fairly well – we opted not to expose the guild vent info for the run. This one was running under radio silence. As is turns out, this was probably a very good idea as the quality of text in /raid was a bit sub-par… more on than later. Suffice to say, at least 3 and possibly 4 had never been to Kara before, and if they had – Moroes was probably as far as they made it.

  This was the first time that I’d run the place after the nerf. Right away, you could tell that there would be no problem chain-pulling trash. Everything leading up to Attumen was trivial; it honestly felt like about the same danger level as running a 5-man. Attumen himself was nothing to fear either, down without any issues. I will say, I was very happy to try out my new Shammy decurse. Nice to see that a healing class other than Druids can decurse now; telling your average Mage to do something besides sling fireballs or frostbolts is always a risky proposition!

  Trash pulls to Moroes started to really expose how weakened Karazhan has become. on the first guest pull, the hunter backs up enough that he pulls another group. Predictably, he dies before we even know what happened, but the guests are immediately picked up by the tanks – and go down without an issue. Look at that group makeup, no AOE outside of consecrate (and I don’t think that got used much). Still, the pulls were nothing. The elite Retainer group? Child’s play… and so on, and so on into Moroes’ room.

  Given the quality of support personnel and their speculative skill levels, we decided to just tank em all and kill the adds. Tank marked a first and second burn (the Shadow Priest add, and I think the Holy).. and let ‘er rip. I’d like to say, at no time did I (or, likely anyone else) even feel like this fight was tenuous. I just kept dumping Chain Heals into the melee group, and dinner guests fell like dominoes. Not one fatality, even the garrotes were tame. I’m of the opinion that, with any tank who was geared enough to MT the place before (and has even a modicum of skill), crowd control for Moroes is now obsolete. Unless you want to practice up with your cc and toy with him, there’s really no need to divide and conquer anymore. Just gather them up, either via consecrate or thunderclap or swipe, and AOE ’em til they fold.

  Maiden trash was more or less speed pulled too, frequently adding the next group as the first was finished. Due to a quick pull, we lost the OT early on one.. and the MT was still able to gather up and hold about 4 mobs comfortably until we could drop ’em and rez the OT. Maiden on the other hand – I think that this fight still has wipe potential, if nobody is paying attention to Holy Fires. As we were melee-heavy, and just 2 healers, we asked the Ret Pally to do nothing buy cleanse Holy Fires. From a logical standpoint, this is a smart move. 2 Healers, only one of which can cleanse, may be overburdened to try and get the Cleanse in before Holy Fire eats a significant chunk of health. Additionally (counting the Ret Pally), we had 6 Melee classes in the raid. Chain Heal gets 3 at a time… you can see where the math gets tenuous. This guy, though – he was one of the DPSers who had been through Kara before, and as such was quite forward with telling everyone how he wanted to do it. So, while he’s busy telling us that he’ll do nothing but cleanse Holy Fires, a different mechanic emerged once the fight began. It must be something in the Ret Paladin psyche that prohibits them from doing anything less than perceived machismo. End result – we wind up with some kind of terrible cleansing going on as the other healer tried his best to stay on top of it. Fittingly, the Pally died in the fight, and so did a few others, including myself (at the very end). Lucky for us, Maiden was also among the dead. Loot and move on to the next order of business, Opera.

  On the way up to Opera, the OT – who is a very good player – makes a note in raid chat, “nobody talk to Barnes”, as we’ll need to type out a wall of text to say what happens depending on the event. I thought it was important enough to merit a Raid Warning, so I put it up in all caps – “NOBODY TALK TO BARNES”. Trash gets cleared, and I’m barely around the corner to look at him when – someone talks to Barnes. Lovely. I think I just did the new /facepalm emote; the OT simply said “That was Barnes”. So, on to the stage, and I’m praying it isn’t Oz. Nope, “A tale of forbidden love…”. Ok, R & J, I can handle. We have 2 tanks, and good heals, we can stay up for a while on this one and kill em both. So now, the experienced among us start typing (including raid warnings that you CAN’T POSSIBLY MISS) – “They must die within 10 seconds of each other. If one gets below 15%, switch DPS. Stay on her interrupts”. Simple enough, you’d think.

  Once we got to the phase where they’re both up? Less simple. All told, I think that we wound up killing them each 3 or 4 times. Lucky for one of the Rogues, Romulo’s Poison Vial dropped. This was maybe the second time I’d ever seen it, so a bit of an event. Offtank switched out for his Hunter as that character actually had the Urn to summon Nightbane. I was a bit nervous about this fight, what with all the noobery. Given the evidence to date in 3.0.2 Kara, though, it really wasn’t too much to expect that, even if they all died, the four of us (tank, Pally healer, Shammy healer, BM Hunter) couldn’t do it anyhow. Surprisingly, Nightbane went well. One noob stood in the fire and met with an untimely end, but for the most part I was able to keep the melee ones up via Chain Heal long enough that they could realize that the ground under them was flaming and move.

  Curator was another worry, after the R & J episode. We took great pains to emphasize that the flares *had* to die before anyone even thought about ol’ ugly. Once again, they displayed surprising functionality and listened, one-shot boss #6 of the evening.

  Unfortunately, we ran into a roadblock at this point. Our second healer had to log off and go to sleep, as it was somewhere around 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning for him. Times like this, I’m glad that I’m Pacific Time Zone! It took some time to locate a second healer, and the prospect of just whom we may drudge up was daunting to say the least. Fortunately, we were able to get a well geared (and well-played) Priest from a guild that frequently raids with us, <Way of the Wicked>. In truth, he was an even better healer than the Pally, though either one was certainly sufficient. The time it took to find him was brutal, though. It was only about 10 minutes, but it seemed like an eternity because the noobs’ ADHD started to kick in when they had nothing to do. They started cursing repeatedly in raid chat, and saying the raunchiest things without end. Ha ha, good fun on the playground… but MiM is a largely adult guild (seriously, I think we have a half-dozen players out of 100+ under 21, if that). When the MT whispered me to say that she was annoyed by the banter and it was pushing her patience, I put out a /RW message for the kiddies to cut it out… and they amazed me yet again by listening. Possibly buoyed by the realization that they were skating through Kara and getting lots of shiny Epic loots, admittedly, but they stopped.

  Anyhow – trash pulls to Shade were once again trivial. The Mana Wraith lookin’ guys still pack a wallop if you let them explode instead of stunning them, but that was the only serious threat. They *are* tougher to stun than they used to be, only because their health drops so fast and it’s harder to time. The ghosties at the top of the ramp, though? Yet another trash pull that had potential to be harmful in the old days had been rendered a non-factor. As previously demonstrated in Nerf Kara, a single well-geared tank can easily pick the four of them up and hold them comfortably. Illhoof, we had to skip due to group composition. With neither a Warlock or a Mage to handle the imps, it wasn’t a good proposition.

  (on a side note, I got a chance to do Illhoof with a second PuG the next day; he’s such a pushover now that he only got off a pair of Demon Chains before he got punked.)

  Shade was another of those fights where you worry when you have noobs. The OT (he’d switched back to the Warrior from his Hunter immediately after Nightbane) detailed the base mechanics carefully to the DPS. Arcane Explosion – run out. Blizzard – don’t stand in it. Flame Wreath – don’t effing move. We reiterated this for good measure as well. Personally, I’ve always had a sort of love-hate thing with Shade. Part of me really enjoys the fight. One of the best times I had in Kara was a time when we were down to me healing, and 3 DPS classes, trying to burn the last 10-15% off him. I was so nearly depleted on mana that I had to wait for it to regenerate at times before I could heal, and even then, I was just barely keeping people above baseline (until, mercifully, my potion cooldown passed with him at about 4%). We downed him that time, and I felt *awesome* about it. He’s another of the bosses that is still quite dangerous, despite the nerf. When he focuses the Arcane Missile volley on a target, it eats a pretty significant amount of health – and there’s always the worry about Flame Wreath. The elementals are less of a factor, if only because they don’t hit so hard, and die quicker, but there’s a lot of wipe potential here. The positive now is that you can more or less ignore the interrupts that used to be such a prominent part of the fight and just go for the burn. In fact, it might even be argued that you now want to interrupt the Arcane Missiles, if anything. Before, you’d let those go as he spends the mana to cast them up-front and an interrupt would mean that he casts something else that much quicker. Anyhow, we one-shotted him too, and incurred maybe two deaths in the process. Lucky for me, the Pendant of the Violet Eye dropped, and I happily claimed it. I love that trinket; while I’m still between using it or the Ribbon of Sacrifice for my second trink full-time, I like having it around for longevity in endurance fights. Ribby uses it full-time in his healing set, I’ve never even considered rotating it out since he got it.

  I won’t go into detail on the trash pulls leading up to Chess (we skipped Netherspite as usual, too – though I’m told that he scarcely needs a beam rotation now), but they were more of the same. Chess was another laugh riot for the noobies, though I had my own moment there that I have to take responsibility for. See, I almost always take a Pawn. I hate having any real responsibility on Chess, though I’m not above a Rook if I can get it. Anyhow, my piece got killed, and I experienced something that I had never experienced before. Maybe it was because I’d never actually been in control of a piece when it died, but I was stuck on the terrace above the chest when the game ended. I found out after the fact, there’s an icon in the top right that you have to click – kind of like Divine Intervention. Because I’m an idiot, though, I used a feature that I knew existed, but had never used in two years: Auto-Unstuck. If you’ve used it before, then go ahead and laugh because you know what’s next. For those that never used it, here’s the protip – it hearths you.

  Yeah, remember how we don’t have a Warlock? Someone had to run all the way down to the stone and resummon my idiot self. Once again, though, there was an ADHD moment. Leave shiny things within reach of noobs, and they’ll play with them.

  They started another chess game. Sigh.

  OK, so if I hadn’t gone, then maybe it wouldn’t have taken place. As it was, we had to get through that before we could move on. Tick, tick, tick. More minutes of my life that I’m never getting back. Moving on, Prince trash was just that, and then up to that prancing idiot for the capstone fight. Once again, the OT (man, he’s patient) explained it all in detail. Enfeeble – run out. Infernals – bad. Ranged – stand on the guy marked with the Star (me!). If he moves, follow him. Standard fare. Time to start the fight? Ok, readycheck is good, tank is in position, let’s go.

  What followed here is debatable as the penultimate moment of the run. Now, to me, the Barnes Incident really encapsulated the whole thing. Later discussion in guild chat, however seemed to have the tanks favoring this one. I guess I’m outvoted. I think it’s made all the funnier, though, by the fact that it’s the Hunter who is responsible. I know that there are a lot of very well-played Hunters out there, but face it, guys – your class has a certain stigma. This guy is why.

  The tank takes up her customary spot on the wall to the left of the door. Now, step ‘B’ is always the same: Misdirection on tank, shoot Prince. He borked step ‘B’, and it was great to watch. The first part went ok, MD up on tank. Then, the guy runs out there to within weapons range (and, coincidentally, aggro range) of Prince – and just stands there. The whole time, you’re thinking “just shoot him, kick him, fart on him, anything – he’ll go to the tank!”. Nothing. The OT would later describe it as him just walking up and going “booga-booga-booga!” to Malchezaar, which really did capture the essence of the thing. Suffice to say, Prince folds him like a tent, and then runs amok with his whole uppity “I am a prince of the Eredar!” routine and wipes the raid. We’re all standing around trying to figure out what just happened that went so wrong, and the guy answers it for us.

  “Sorry, I forgot to target Prince”

  L – O – L. Times like this are why Blizz gave us /facepalm. Anyways, he sure as hell *did* pull the MD off correctly on the second try, and Prince went down in a hurry. If memory serves, we saw 4 Infernals land before he dropped. Additionally, because I’m an idiot and was paying too much attention to where they might land and looking over my shoulder the whole time, I spent about 1/3 of the fight with my healing focus on the Enhancement Shammy instead of the tank. I’m sure that she caught some Chain Heal love, but the Shaman was probably wondering what he was doing with an Earthshield! Nothing dropped here that was particularly useful to me, and that was that for this run. Bye bye noobs, you’re welcome for the ride.

  Overall, Kara is really tame now. I think that the overall difficulty of it is about on par with a heroic dungeon, the difference being that you’re running it with 10 people instead of 5. Poorly geared characters can easily get through it all if they know the fights. Medium to well geared characters who don’t know the place can likely push through it with only minimal knowledge of everything. If you happen to know the place well, and you’re well-geared? Sweeping the place in 2-2 1/2 hours’ of work is a very easily attainable goal. I remember, about the time that I started into Kara, hearing of 2 hour speed runs for badges, and thinking “wow, I have no idea how anyone could do that!”.  Now, I think that a focused and precise group with no rest breaks could do it in about 1:15 if they were more or less chain pulling.

  Conclusion: if you haven’t been to Kara much, or at all – now is the time. Run it once a week if you can to try and gear up for WotLK. Yes, the gear is going to be obsolete in a few levels – but it’s going to last longer than you think, and will aid your transition. Learning some minor-league boss mechanics will benefit you too. If you have been – bring some alts through and gear them up, or bring more important toons and slam through it for badges. It’s so easy in there that any determined PuG should clear Prince, and the only thing that will stop them from doing Nightbane on most runs is the lack of an urn. Get in some groups now, get some gear, get some badges, and make life easier on yourself in Northrend.




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