Thursday, March 20, 2008

Working on Al'ar

Over the past few weeks, we've been venturing into Tempest Keep: The Eye, and taking on a few bosses there. We've been killing Void Reaver every week; he's really not an issue for us. We generally burn him down on the first attempt, and well below the enrage timer. But the next boss we've been working on is Al'ar, the Phoenix God.

The point where we're at in the "progression" of this boss is that we can pretty easily burn him down in the first phase, but the second phase gives us some problems. Last night, for example, we killed him once, he rebirthed, and then we got him down to 40%... on two attempts.

Let me explain our strategy, so we're all on the same page here, and maybe somebody can learn from this post. :) First off, you should probably go read about the fight over at wowwiki and/or BossKillers, so you can get the abilities and the general idea of the fight. We use 5 tanks for phase 1. 1 tank stands at each of the 4 platforms where Al'ar can be tanked, and then one stands below to pick up all the Embers starting when Al'ar is somewhere around 50% health. Killing the Embers in the first phase only reduces the damage that they do; it doesn't do anything to Al'ar like it does in the second phase. Ranged DPS mostly focus on Al'ar, and also on about the second 1/2 of the Embers. Melee DPS focus on Al'ar and the first 1/2 of the Embers' life.

In the second phase, we have 2 tanks on Al'ar, 2 tanks rounding up the Embers, and then 1 tank holding on to the Embers while the ranged DPS take them down. Melee stay on Al'ar full time, while ranged stay on the Embers full time.

Here's some of the things we need to work on (all in phase 2). We need to make sure that people get out of the Flame Patches asap. It's a very mobile fight, and if you're standing in it... two ticks, and you're probably dead. I think I need to make better assignments on the healers. We keep losing a tank or two at times where we probably shouldn't. It doesn't seem like the ranged are maximizing their DPS on the Embers. We can't kill the Embers while Al'ar is in the air, because it won't damage him, but we can still continue to dps the other embers. Tuesday night, we probably had one of our best teams of 25 in The Eye, but we ran out of time on Al'ar after downing Void Reaver.

I keep telling people though... all we have to do is not die, and we'll kill Al'ar. :) Hmm... maybe I need to be more specific.


Trollin' said...

If you can manage it, 4 tanks is really enough for Al'ar. One on the ground and three rotating on the platforms. Like:

1,2,3 -> 2,3,4 -> 3,4,1 -> 4,1,2 -> 1,2,3

When he spines, make sure tanks get back up to 1 and 4 in time to catch him and then have the third tank go run to position 2 and if Al'ar went to 1, the tank at 4 can move to 3.

It's kinda complex for the tanks, but it means you can bring another healer or dps to help you through.

(1 through 4 corresponding to the platforms from left to right as you come in. 1 and 4 are the platforms at the tops of the ramps and 2 and 3 are the platforms in the middle.

Matticus said...

Looks like you've got phase 1 on lockdown. For phase 2, I strongly advise tasking 3 tanks onto Alar. I've seen first hand tank taunts getting resisted.

Leiandra said...

@trollin': Yeah, I actually read that one of the sites I linked. I liked it, but phase 1 wasn't our problem. We wish it was just one big problem that we could fix. It's not a healing problem, per se, we have some awesome healers. In fact, we had 9 of them last night. lol. I think, like I said, we just need to coordinate them better.

It's not really a dps problem either, but it's just a general problem. I'm not sure if that makes sense or not, but... yah.

@Matticus: Our druid tank (Bearyasian lol), does a great job at playing both sides. She'll grab the adds and bring them to a pally tank, but if a taunt gets resisted, she's usually right on top of Al'ar taunting.

Any other thoughts? I might pass our stam food to all the people that die first. lol.

Logan said...

One thing that has really helped our raiders to progress is making sure that everyone knows what it means to "stay alive" and "just not die." MANY of the fights in Hyjal and BT absolutely require the members of the raid to pay attention to their own health bars in order to ensure the raid's success. Here's what staying alive means (to me, as ranged DPS):

1. Pay attention to your health bar. If it's not in a position on your screen that is easily noticeable, change up your UI. Some people even move their player health bar to right beside their character on-screen. For me, having health represented as both a bar and a percent also helps.

2. Pay attention to where you are. Stay out of flame patches, void zones, rains of fire, basically anything that hurts you. Know where your healer is. It's your job to be in range of them, not the other way around. Know where lightwells are, if your raid uses them.

3. (This is the one that takes a lot of people some time to digest): HEAL YOURSELF! Healers usually have other healing priorities that keeping the DPS alive. They need to worry about the tanks and themselves before anyone else. Players should always be ready to use healthstones, pots, and bandages whenever they are low on health. If a raider shows up to a raid without potions and bandages (and 375 first aid skill), then that player is not ready to raid, no matter how many pots/elixirs he came with. I have hotkeys set up for healthstones, potions, and bandages, and having an "oh shit" button that gives me a couple thousand extra health has saved my tail on more than one occasion.

4. For fights like Al'ar where the raid will inevitably take a lot of damage, some classes with lower health (priests and mages, especially) would do well to try to increase their stamina. This can mean anything from eating stam food to putting on PvP gear. Yes, it might come at the expense of spell damage or attack power, but staying alive is more important than being able to put out a few extra DPS.

A lot of people think that "staying alive" just means "don't take damage," and that when they do take damage their healers will be there to save them. The quicker this myth is dispelled, the faster you'll down the harder bosses in the game, Al'ar included.

Logan said...

Oh and I agree that the fewer tanks you can swing on this fight the better. 4 tanks is the optimal setup if your DPS is slacking, since the enrage timer on this fight is pretty strict when you're learning it. It does, however, require flawless tank coordination, as well as a good method of getting the adds to the add tank (hunter misdirects FTW!)

Leiandra said...

Excellent points, Logan.