Wednesday, December 18, 2013

It Was the Best of Fights, It Was the Worst of Fights

There are many types of fights we run into in raids.  Fun fights, boring fights, hard fights, easy fights, fights that are interesting, fights that are repetitive, fights we love and fights we hate.  We remember them all for whatever reason we latch on to them.

Some fights tend to stand out in our memory for a reason and I can go on and on right now about fights I remember and why I remember them but it is rare a fight stands out in my mind for no reason other than the fact it should not stand out.

The LFR version of the Sha of Pride fight is that fight.  It is the best of fights, it is the worst of fights.  It can be considered fun, in my opinion at least, because it can test you no matter what role you play and it can be boring because it really is a simple fight.  As odd as this might sound I consider it a patchwork type of fight.

I am sure you just said, What?  Yes, I consider Sha of Pride a patchwork fight in the three difficulties I have done it on, LFR, flex and normal and in the sizes I have done it, from 10 to 25.  Sure 25 involves more prisons and more big adds but it is still a really simple fight that you can have some fun with from all roles, again, in my opinion.

The LFR version which is a watered down version of 25 with 10 man mechanics which basically means it is about as easy as easy can get.

Unless you have done it in the LFR of course.

I think I have suffered more wipes on Sha of Pride in the LFR than I have on any other fight in the LFR, and yes that includes Garrosh in LFR.  That is in part because I have done it more than Garrosh in LFR, so do not read too much into the fact I wiped on sha more than garrosh in LFR.

In case you do not know the fight, and even if you do, let me give you a brief over view of the fight from the perspective of the LFR.

The dance is everyone stacks, when self reflection begins to cast, side step so crap does not pop up under your feet, then stack back up and AoE down adds.  After that two people will be imprisoned.  Each prison needs two people to step on a brightly lit trigger to get them out.  On the tank side the active tank gets the close brightly lit one and the other tank gets the other brightly lit far one, on the stack side a melee gets the close brightly lit one and a ranged gets the far brightly lit one. 

Then people go to stack again, but only for a few seconds.  An add spawns in the back of the room, the ranged switch to it while spreading out and the melee stay on boss while spreading out around it so everyone should be spread out at this point.  No one should be at the stack point when swelling pride hits but after it does everyone should run to the stack point again while not running through the crap that dropped at peoples feet for AoE heals. Rinse and repeat and you have a very easy dance thats basically as complex as you make it but really not at all.  Healers dispel when they have gift, tanks switch at one and pick up the self reflection adds.

But once more, if you think it is that easy you have never done it in the LFR.

-=Insert top 5 Sha failures in LFR=-

The top 5 failures on Sha of Pride in LFR

5) Low DPS (It IS a patchwork fight after all)
4) Getting hit by self reflection adds.
3) Not breaking people from prison.
2) Range not switching to add in back.
1) Not spreading on swelling pride.
1a) People standing in swelling pride puddles.
1b) People stacked and standing in swelling pride puddles.
1c) People dying in mass because of swelling pride and its puddles.

-=Back to post=-

This fight is The Line.

It has a fair deal of mechanics, so much so that it can be quite overwhelming to a new player or a non raider but the movements are not random, not complex and are extremely choreographed, as I mentioned.  As simple as stack, spread for reflection, AoE, free prisoners, switch to add, spread out, stack back up, don't stand in crap.

There is no random target gets this and need to run out, or random target gets that and needs to be stacked on.  There is nothing that could or would ever take you by surprise on this fight.  Save the cheerleader, save the world.  Oh wait, I meant, do the dance, beat the boss.

In the end, for a brand spanking new player that is a hell of a lot to throw on their plate.  To vet raiders, even someone that is just a vet from this expansion only, it should be old hat already.

So that makes, in my opinion, the Sha of Pride the ultimate test to see if you should be a raider.

It throws a bunch on your plate, but gives you a simple and easy detailed way to deal with everything.  Nothing can take you by surprise, nothing can be messed up.

That is why I call it a patchwork fight.  There really is nothing that you need to think about on this fight.  Do the dance and pew pew, isn't that as close to the definition of patchwork as we can get?

I've suffered countless wipes, seen 10 counts of determination, seen people doing 7K DPS with 6 stacks, seen healers that would not know where their dispel was even if the button on their keyboard lit up and was flashing with a giant arrow bouncing up and down over it in rotating flashing lights screaming press this button, tanks that can't grasp a taunt immediately concept and others that switching to adds or stepping on a brightly lit platform are apparently to hard for them to figure out on their own, or even after someone has explained it to them 15 times.

There is nothing complex about this fight, there is nothing random about this fight, there is a do this do that approach to everything, and even if it does seem like a lot to someone new, it is very easy to follow because nothing random can happen where you would ever need to fend for yourself.

As I said, this fight is The Line.

People on one side of the line are not raiders, people on the other side are raiders (at least on some level).

This fight acts on the most basic level of raiding with simple mechanics, but steps it up a little bit by adding a lot of those simple mechanics together all at once.  Enough so there is always something going on which makes it a more active patchwork.

So we will all remember fights for whatever reason we might, but I think I will always remember the Sha of Pride fight as the fight that taught people the basics of raiding if they wanted to learn them.  If you got a group with people that did not want to learn, it would be a nightmare.

The Sha of Pride is the best of fights, the Sha or Pride is the worst of fights.


  1. In other words it's boring as hell.

    Though to be honest once you have the hang of any fight it becomes "just going through the motions". Take Garrosh for instance, a lot of rng in that fight but I have the first two phases down to a science. I know exactly when my cds are going to be up. I've gone past just getting it done, and gone into "how do I get the most dps" or "if I do this then healers can ignore me, or dps can ignore this" etc.

    I've never killed him. I have wiped about 150x though and most of those have been at the end of phase two. If we don't have the dps to push through before the third whirling corruption then he's not dying. I've spent raid after raid, three hours each time, wiping at that point. Sometimes we live past it and then because we've got adds phase 3 has been too messy, or a few people die on the whirling and then we get pulled up for another intermission.

    So the first half of the Garrosh fight is a complete snooze. It's just going through the motions. It's the last bit that screws us over and mostly it's not that we don't know what to do, it's that we don't have the dps. Garrosh went down once and all our top dps were there, he got two shot that night. Since then we've had 4/5 top dps if we're lucky and we've just not made it to the tipping point. Like I said I've wiped an awful lot. I think I could probably do phase 1 and the first bit of phase 2 in my sleep. Well not quite but you get the point.

    When you do any fight enough, or you get comfortable with the mechanics. Dark Shaman for instance, rng hell but even if we have a few screw ups it goes down now without any fuss. It's just going through the motions. Once it's learned it's learned.

    When we are having trouble on a fight I always say "in a few weeks we're going to look back and wonder why we ever thought this was hard". That's true, once something goes on farm you do wonder how you ever struggled as it's just do the dance and boom dead. Although I can't muster that optimism for Garrosh. If I wasn't the raid leader I'd stop signing on Garrosh nights, I'm that sick of wiping on him. It must be worse for the people that have already killed him, I at least have my FoS, title, mount etc. still waiting for me.

    Anyway I get your point. Till I did a flex run with some friends on another server I didn't realise you could actually wipe on sha of pride. I missed progression though I think it was a three shot and we have almost always one shot it since. Have had a couple of wipes in recent times taking too many of the, well you know the people that you have to take sometimes but they are pretty terrible, so you only take them on farm and try and match them with good people to mitigate the damage. Yeah took too many of them and it wasn't good. Had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to get a group last night as had a couple of no shows and signups weren't great, lots of those kind of people. We wiped for 90 mins on siegecrafter which is unheard of, we didn't wipe that much the first kill. In the end I had to something I barely ever do and replace one of the healers, actually brought in a non-guild friend and we then one shot siegecrafter and paragons. This friend had never killed those bosses before except on flex but they have raid awareness and the person they replaced didn't.

    1. When I read the first line I was about to say "once you know how to do it all fights are boring" but you seem to have come to that conclusion yourself.

      Garrosh (at least on normal) is the easiest end boss of any raid that any expansion has ever seen in my opinion. Sure it can have a pretty brutal DPS requirement if you plan on 3 healing like we do, but it can still be done. The only "oh shit" moment there is the MC one if the wrong people get hit but other than that, even doing it the first time I ever saw it, it was boring.

      "in a few weeks we're going to look back and wonder why we ever thought this was hard"

      That is so true. I remember wiping on bosses over and over for 3 and 4 weeks and once we did it, we never wiped to it again. I refer to it as the "get it" moment. People finally get it and it is easy from that point on.

      Raid awareness on seigecrafter is key. I tanked it on normal for the first time last week. Not really a fun tank fight, so to speak, but I did like the "tank the add in the bad" approach, had fun with that.

  2. I understand how boring sha can be.

    But one thing in what you say bugs me.

    Why the hell would you want to be spread for swelling pride? Oo

    you should stack, pop a CD to absord the (huge in HC, and quite high in normal) damage from swelling pride, THEN spread to get out of puddles (since they'll be no more damage on raid if no one screw up).

    Spreading for swelling pride is IMO the best way to have someone die from not being topped before it goes off.

    1. So you don't all drop the puddles in the same place and kill everyone.

      What do you think causes the wipes in LFR? Everyone drops their swelling pride pools in the same place, people stand it in, people die. Spread out, leave your pools elsewhere, stack up for healing.

      I am talking LFR here, not normal or heroic. You spread in LFR. You have less chance of losing someone if they spread then leaving it up to people to get out of the bad that is left behind if they stack.

      They are a different breed of player so you need to do things slightly different. Speading for LFR is the only way you will ever down that fight.

  3. I also agree with everything said above, though one thing I'd like to bring up is the case of healers not dispelling. I've had it happen a few times that I've gone the whole fight as a healer without once getting the gift of the titans buff, which means I don't dispel. OK sure if someone ends up with multiple stacks and is in danger of dying I might dispel them anyway, but otherwise I won't bother without gift. So, unless the marks are causing wipes, don't call out healers for not dispelling :)

    1. I had that happen to me on my priest once or twice in the LFR. Someone tried to call me out on it saying I only had 2 dispels. I said I never had gift, so I only dispelled at the end when gift wasn't coming any more anyway. At least they understood what I meant.

      And wiping or not, a healer with gift can get 2 dispels and they should. There is no such thing as "if we are not wiping we do not have to". At least I never play that way. If there is something I can dispel that does damage it is easier (and more GCD and mana friendly) to dispel it than to heal through it.

      I am not a supporter of the "its only the LFR" attitude. Sure the strategy might be different, but mechanics still need to be followed or it is a wipe, like the probably 100s of wipes I've experienced on sha because people do not follow mechanics.

    2. Oh I completely agree. I main as a tank (and before that, melee dps) so my only experience as healer is through LFR and so I always try my best there and dispel anything I can. Actually I dispel anything I can even when not a healer - having poison removal as a monk dps/tank only costing a bit of energy is a great help!

      Had a group wipe on Norushen the other week because nobody ever moved out of the beam of death. They blamed "garbage healing". You can't just ignore mechanics like that!

    3. I had a norushen yesterday on my monk that I went into the test realm 3 times and would have a 4th if it didn't end because no one but me was picking up the orbs.

      If I did not pick them up it would have been a wipe. People need to understand even if it is "only the LFR" they still need to follow mechanics.

      I try to do the best I can on characters I never actually raid with, so if and when I do get to raid with them, I know how to be better at them.

      Great to see you help on your monk. I remember the week cata came out getting into shadowfang and we get to the last boss and ask the mage if he can dispel the curse when it happens and he said, no, I don't want to waste my time with that I am a DPS. I said, wiping 20 times because it will kill people if not dispelled will waste our time. Our time > your DPS.

      Most damage dealers can't be bothered with helping the group.

  4. Out of all the fights in SoO, this is the most uninspired fight. There's absolutely nothing I like about it.

    1. It is rather boring, but it is also a great training fight for a new raider. It has a lot of the simple stuff we take for granted, but that is quite overwhelming for a new player.

      I do agree, it is kind of boring, but every raid needs its patchwork, or something close to it.

    2. It's not that it's boring. Norushen is boring. This fight is ugly. If I was a new raider and this was my first raid encounter, I would say yeah, ok, whatever. There is nothing fun or exciting about it.

    3. I get what you mean. I thought you were talking about the simplicity of the fight, not the surroundings. I don't think it is bad, not worse than any of the others. I can't really remember offhand the last time I went "wow cool" when looking at any boss room. I think the last time I did that in any raid was taking the tram to mimron. That wasn't even part of the boss fight. I think to this day that is the only design I really awe at.

  5. I like Sha of Pride as a fight... for me it hits a decent mix of stand and fight with mechanics and quirks. I even like it on LFR but then, I've never been in a group that had much trouble with it... maybe a wipe or two at worst. I ran it last night for the first time in ages (I've been boycotting LFR but was actually in the mood so I gave in) on my semi-geared rogue and despite being top 5 dps at 108K or so (I was either #3 or #4) we got it down in a one-shot just fine. We also had at least 6 dps under 50K so I'm not sure how bad the group dps would have to be to fail on that fight in LFR...

    On a semi-related note we had a dps monk who did 30K and, far as I could tell from the Recount data, was doing a PROPER ROTATION. I honestly have no clue how that's even possible, I'd expect a windwalker monk running i496+ gear (even HEALING gear) and a green weapon to be able to do more than 30K dps.

    Fights I hate are fights like Immerseus (that fight was boring and pointless and repetitive the first time I did it and as designed it never gets better, you always get 3 more phases than you should considering how quick they last) as well as the 2nd boss (and to a lesser degree, 3rd and 4th bosses) in Siege 5-man.

    There are other fights that I dislike but generally they improve over time as people get experience and gear... but fights like those never really get better, they just get more annoying since there isn't anything you can do about it.

    1. You are lucky, I think I only had a one shot on it once and that was the week it came out and there were a fair deal of "good" players in there.

      My average there is 4 stacks I would say if I had to guess.

      I notice that too sometimes looking at recount of players that look like they are doing poorly. Sometimes they are doing the right things, or it looks like it, they are just doing bad. I wish I could explain it, maybe they are just not hitting their buttons as often as they should even if they are hitting the right ones when they do hit them.

      I hate the first boss too, can never get my rhythm going because nothing last long enough. At least as a hunter I can shine there with all the massive control we have. But only IF some blobs spawn near me. I hate when I have to run half way across the room to get one shot in and then run back. Nothing says annoying like wasting time for me and that is just wasted time.

    2. Ironically, that "run to the other side to get a single shot in" thing will HURT your Recount dps in most cases, it'll only help with Skada... Recount will take you out of combat at times if you aren't actively attacking which will temporarily lock your dps but Skada is a simple damage/time calculation that'll reflect your actual effort (that run and hit will increase your Skada dps).

      So, run Skada and it won't be wasted (or negative) effort. :)

      I think I'm going to call that "proper rotation, strangely poor results" the Fishing Rod Effect (FRE)... either using the wrong weapon or having broken gear or somesuch. Notice it, shrug, chalk it up to FRE and move on.

    3. I have both skada and recount but most people refer to things in terms of recount, so that is what I use as reference.

      It goes back a long time, even just in recount. Used to love mages back in ICC posting recount showing they were top DPS. I would then post damage done and show they were 18 out of 18.