Sunday, 11 September 2011

Firelands Update: Baleroc

Right, let me start off for apologising for two weeks of radio silence. RL got in the way for a bit, then my raid leader lost the plot and decided to spend a week raiding about 16 hours, as opposed to our usual 4 (fun, but left me with no free time), then more RL. But I’m back, and today we’re going to take a look at Baleroc, one of the first 5 bosses in the Firelands. This is the third boss our guild took down, we’ve had him on farm for weeks now, and yet he still obstinately refuses to drop my shoulders. Much like Atramedes. I got 15 odd kills on the damn blind dragon and yet he still refuses to drop shoulders. It’s absurd. I still do him every week out of principal, and will till he drops them. Then I’m going to put them in my bank, as a souvenir. But I ramble on. From a DPS perspective, this fight is a walk in the park on normal mode. It’s the Chimaeron of this tier, designed to put the healers through their paces, and for us mages, it’s as close as you’re going to get to a patchwork fight in Firelands. Let’s get straight into the post shall we?

If you’re looking for a detailed fight explanation for this one, I’m afraid you’ll have to go elsewhere; because here tactics and abilities are near enough irrelevant to mages. The fight can be one or two tanked, and two or 3 healed (although 2 healers is a stretch to put it lightly). On 10man there are going to be 2 shards (on 25man there are more, but the tactic doesn’t differ wildly, so I’ll give the gist of the idea for 10man and leave the specifics up to whoever is leading your raid). Basically you are going to have 2-3 people manning a shard. The shard channels a stacking dot onto the target. The healers heal the target, when the stacks get too high, you swap out, and get a debuff increasing shadow damage taken and reducing healing done for 40 seconds. Thus, only DPS are going to be handling the shards (tanks can’t really because the boss also does shadow damage), and you can take a shard once your debuff is off. When we do it, we have 2 people per shard, because the more stacks of the shard you take, the better it is for the healers (it increases their healing on the tank when they heal you, basically). Thus we have a rotating set of 4 people (for us 2 hunters, a boomkin and a dk, but your setup may vary), which means that we have 2 dps who just stand there and nuke the boss (love this fight on arcane, generally manage a decent 25-27k, unless I have to step in to take a shard. Damage reducing cooldowns do work, so Iceblock will allow you to soak the damage, and the healers will still get buffed for healing you, but unless the shard disappears before the block wears off, or you pop it at 6 or 7 stacks (essentially a waste) you’ll die when it drops off because your health will drop like a brick when you have 15-17 stacks. Who the shards spawn on seems to be random; if there is a pattern we’re missing it. There will be a DBM warning, and then a purple ring will appear on the ground, from which you need to run unless it’s your turn to soak. The shard will stack on the nearest person, so stay away from them unless you’re supposed to be taking over. If no one is nearby they will pulse a lot of AOE and wipe your raid within a few seconds, which is bad. For mages that’s pretty much all there is to it.

Like I said, It’s a good fight for arcane if you’re not soaking the shards, because you can pretty much stand still and turret the boss. Even if you are soaking, run in, blink out, movement is very minimal, although you will have to focus when it’s time to swap around, and the stacks mount very fast, so watch out for that. You should be using mage ward and mana shield at higher stacks of the debuff, so incanter’s absorption might be a good talent here. Frost is nice for soaking as well, although you should swap to mage armour for the resistance buff, and pop ice barrier and mana shield as it stacks up. Cold snap will also be able to refresh ice block, and you can ice block and soak the shard even if you have the debuff if there is no other choice, but you will die soon afterwards if you are not relieved before ice block breaks, and the debuff will be refreshed. Fire has no real advantage, but on a movement light fight like this, where arcane is so powerful, you’re unlikely to be in fire unless you’re doing it on principle (/cry). There is no burn phase; hero will likely be popped near the start so you can pop all your cooldowns then. The enrage on 10man is quite lenient, although you might hit it on your first few attempts. Be prepared to spend some time wiping on this fight while the healers figure out what to do. Quick tip, if you’re 10manning it, it may seem counterintuitive, but it’s easier to heal with only one healer on the tank at a time, so if you’re having problems be sure to mention it.

Tactics out of the way, let’s have a look at some loot! Baleroc drops a few magey pieces, some better than others.

Molten Scream: Offhand DPS piece. From my experience, most mages seem to be lugging staffs around this Tier, likely because they are so readily available (there’s one off trash, one off Beth, and ofc the legendary stage one) so likely you won’t be needing this. If you are carrying around a volcanospike (good on you, that model is my favourite sword model, I don’t think I’m ever going to have a different looking mainhand after 4.3 drops) this thing has crit and hit. Decent for most specs, for arcane you’re going to be reforging to mastery, frost and fire will likely leave it as is. It’s an offhand, so meh, I really can’t make myself care about these ever, I get more excited over my ranged slot. Throw on the 50int enchant and never think about it again.

Necromantic Focus: Right, DPS trinket with 383 intellect. So far so good. But the effect is where everything kicks off. It gives you a stacking mastery buff up to +390 mastery (lasts 10 seconds), but there’s a rub, it stacks off periodic damage. So, for starters, the effect is useless for arcane. Frost and fire on the other hand should be drooling over this one. For fire, it’s a flat 320 mastery, since it’s always going to be up (if it’s not, you’re doing it wrong), so it’s a marginal (just under 5%) increase on dot damage, which is always nice. For frost, you SHOULD have this up most, if not all the time, from FFB’s glyphed DOT. This should be very easy to keep up with the 30% BF chance you get with 4p T12, and for frost it’s mastery, which we love (big hug extra frost damage). So yeah, nice for frost and fire, for arcane you’re going to have to check whether the intellect is worth it for whatever trinket you’re dropping, and no, I calculated it, it’s not worth it to interrupt your rotation to put dots on the target to keep the mastery buff up, not to mention annoying and prone to failure. If you have this as fire, wait with combustion till you have your 10 stacks of the buff up.

Mantle of Closed Doors: Cloth DPS offset shoulders, with a yellow intellect socket, Crit and mastery. Chuck in a red gem, the Therazane enchant, and reforge crit to hit/haste if arcane, mastery to hit if frost, and mastery to haste/hit if fire. Done. Now all I need is the drop. Sigh *shakes fist*.

That’s it for Baleroc. Fairly simple fight for caster DPS, but get ready for a night of wiping while you wait on the healers.

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