Raid Balance

The second boss in Icecrown Citadel (ICC) is Lady Deathwhisper, a Lich (I’m tempted to say “Lich Bitch” but that just seems mean). For phase one she puts on a mana shield and summons adds (3 adds per side in 10-man). Your raid team has to kill the adds and dps down her mana bubble to get into phase 2 (no more adds, only kill the boss). The adds are “evenly” split between “Adherents” that can only be hit by physical attacks.. and “Fanatics” that can only be hit by magical attacks. Occasionally after you kill an add she resurrects it as a bigger badder add. When she chooses an add to resurrect it gets a “buff” and explodes for some considerable AOE damage (nasty to the melee).

When they are initially formed the Adherents have a shield that has to be DPSd down. It reflects magical attacks. After the shield is down you -can- hit the Adherent with magical attacks. If the Adherents are resurrected they have a buff that reflects all magical attacks.

The first few times we tried this fight I shot the snot out of myself by trying to attack the Adherents. At this point my stance is that if it’s named “Adherent” I don’t even target it. My job is to kill any Fanatics that are up and then to go back to beating on the boss’s mana shield. Magical using classes dps the Fantatics. Physical damage classes dps the Adherents.

Magical dmg only: Warlock, Mage, Priest, Balance Druid, Elemental Shaman (?)
Physical dmg only: Rogue, Warrior, Feral Druid, Enhancement Shaman(?)
Mixed dmg: Deathknight, Paladin, Hunter
(?) I’m not sure about the Shamans..

The problem we keep running into is that we only have one regular pure “physical damage” dpser. One solitary Rogue.. and he keeps getting eaten by the nasty AOE explosions. Through the fight the “Fanatics” get smashed and are gone.. but the “Adherents” seem to linger. There’s less DPS on the Adherents and the DPS that -is- on them is getting smashed by the ‘splodie AOE thingie the adds do when they transform. Range/magical DPSers are out of range of the AOE and the melee/physical DPSer keeps eating the blasts. We’ve fixed this somewhat by having the “Dark Summoning” stolen/purged/dispelled.. but it’s still very hard on us.

I’m still very puzzled about what to do with the folks who fall into the “mixed dmg” category. If I put them on the Adherents then their DPS drops off significantly. Sure, they’re helping to kill the add.. but just very very slowly. If I put them on the boss full time then they get to go bug-nuts and do their full DPS without worrying about killing themselves.. but then there’s possibly not enough dps on the Adherents.

Blizz, through game design, had nudged us towards building diverse raid groups. By taking most of the “must have” buffs and spreading them across many classes they’ve diversified the raiding group. With ICC they’ve gone a step further and essentially required you to have an evenly balanced raid group. This fight requires you to balance between physical DPSer and magical DPSers. The Saurfang fight requires you to balance between ranged and melee DPSers.

That’s all well-and-good in theory.. but what if you’re in a raid group like mine? We have a tiny roster and a very limited choice in who we bring to the raid. I didn’t choose to bring a single physical DPSer because I thought it would be spiff.. I brought only one because we only had one.

Our solution at the moment is to have one of our healers go feral kitty and help with the melee dps and to stick the “mixed dmg” DPSers on the boss fulltime. It’s an imperfect solution. Since kitty druid is “really” a main spec healer, his off-spec isn’t nearly as strong as his main spec. Add to that, if the kitty druid and/or the Rogue get smashed by the AOE explosions, no one else can pick up and help to kill those mobs. It’s frustrating to have to call for a wipe when only one person has died.

8 thoughts on “Raid Balance

  1. Elemental shamans are pure magic damage, enhancement unfortunately, are 50/50. Hunters I would put more in the physical damage… survival maybe might get a damage reduction but have the hunters go MM and it shouldn’t be an issue.

    Also I don’t believe there is any kind of reduction for paladins since most of their abilities are considered melee.

    But yeah this fight is just a pita… even more so on 25. I have a hard time knowing who to attack on my enhancement shaman because of the spell reflection.
    .-= Whats my main again?´s last blog ..Turning over an old leaf =-.

  2. I’ve gotten LOL as my captcha twice. Are you trying to tell me something? 😛

    Anyway. The death knights are definitely a mixed bag – their diseases won’t do damage to the Adherents, since they’re Shadow and Frost damage, and due to the immunities they can only apply one disease to the other type of enemy. What a pain. Blood would probably fare best on the physical adds, since their damage is almost entirely physical (only Icy Touch and Death Coil are not – Plague Strike, Heart Strike, Death Strike). I’m not sure that’s enough to justify taking them off the boss.

    Essentially the adds, from what I’ve read, are where your “pure” DPS classes get a chance to shine. However, with a small roster, I guess you have to make do.
    .-= Stop´s last blog ..Behold! A guest post from the inimitable Leafshine =-.

  3. We had similar problems with Deathwhisper on 25, though we’ve never really struggled on our 10man “fun runs”. Some of our top dps are rogues (30% to 40% nature damage from poisons, depending on spec), enhancement shaman (50/50), DKs (varies by spec), and ret pallies (70% holy). My ret pally kills fanatics when he’s needed to help with them (mostly on 25), and otherwise focuses on Deathwhisper. A ret pally on an adherent is a bad thing, especially when spec’ed for Demoralizing Crits, like I am. I end up nailing myself with holy damage and debuffing my own attack power.

    Rogues and DKs are pretty good on adherents, despite the mix of physical and magic damage, because of the spell interrupts. Blood DKs also do a lot of their damage as physical, hence the relatively high value of ArPen compared to other DK specs. A lot of our wipes in the past were caused by loose adherents nuking casters, which is mostly an add tank problem, but it’s nice to have the interrupts so that nobody is getting hit by them, including the tanks. The pure physical damage and interrupts of warriors and kitties would probably be better, though.

    It’s a great fight to have more pure types (dps warriors, dps ferals, warlocks, mages, elementals) than we have, but we finally got things balanced out well enough to get one pre-nerf kill of her on 25. Last night’s post-nerf kill was disappointingly easy after all the work we’d put into finally getting it right.

  4. I run two guild ten man groups and two GDKP syndicate (pug) groups on my server that have been downing DW for 3 weeks now.
    I consider Ret Pallies, Death Kniggets, and Hunters to all be physical DPS for my purposes of group splitting.
    From looking at ret pally and hunter parses, over 75% of their damage is physical, so they are more than good enough to kill the adds. I’m guessing the same would go for Death Kniggets.
    Honestly I’ve never really had a problem with these mixed damage types, they all seem to do fairly well. When I’m assigning groups in 25 man I generally give 2 spell 5 phsyical to west side, and 5 spell 2 physical to east side. I assign one tank to each side for the fanatics, tell the melee to kite the adherents to the top of the platfor, and assign the third tank to grab the add in hte middle and take it to one side, and help out where he’s needed.
    As those assignments only accounted for 14 of the dps, I take the leftovers and stick them on the boss full time.

    You can read my 25 man strat here: http://bruskisyndicate.blogspot.com/2009/12/lady-deathwhisper-strategy.html
    (and I think i will borrow that “Lich Bitch” name when I update it later)

  5. I do agree that it is bad game design when you create an encounter with such a huge drawback for mixed damage type classes. That should never ever happen.

    > That’s all well-and-good in theory.. but what if
    > you’re in a raid group like mine? We have a tiny
    > roster and a very limited choice in who we bring
    > to the raid. I didn’t choose to bring a single
    > physical DPSer because I thought it would be
    > spiff.. I brought only one because we only had one.

    I don’t agree with that. What if you only have one tank? Then the first boss is bad. What if you only have one healer?

    The goal was never to just allow you to pick 10 players.

    If you don’t have a shadow nor a retri nor a survival nor a destro, you don’t have replenishment and you will have problems.

    If you don’t have a prot warri, palladin, dk or bear, you don’t have a tank and you will have problems.

    If you don’t have a rogue, arms/fury, kitty, hunter, you don’t have a melee and you have problems.

    We had the same problem with only a rogue and enhancement shamy as melee. We solved it by having all casters target the shielded add and wait until the shield dropps and then burn it down. We lost damage on the boss but a second shield on an add was normally enough to wipe the raid because we got overwhelmed.

  6. As I think a few have already pointed out hunters are basically pure physical damage. The exception are a couple of stings and wyvern but autoshot, explosive etc are physical damage.

    So there are 2 pure dps physical classes (Hunter/Rogue) and 2 pure dps magical classes (Lock/Mage).

    From experience Pallies and DKs are fine on the Adherents as well. Only Unholy DKs are using a lot of magic, if you are worried about it have the DK spec Blood (mostly physical damage)

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