Tomb of Sargeras Recap

It’s Antorus Eve guys! Come tomorrow’s reset (for US realms, at least), the next raid tier will be upon us, bringing us new baddies, mechanics, and, of course, loot! However, before we entirely dive into the next raid, I want to take a moment to reflect upon the retiring giant, Tomb of Sargeras.

While the Tomb of Sargeras did perhaps have one too many soak mechanic and five too many RNG raid-wiper, I have to say, it was a pretty entertaining raid. The instance pretty adeptly avoided the issue of being ‘all demon’ like it threatened to be when announced. Each boss fight was different enough from each other so as to be memorable and independent. There were some spots that were perhaps tuned too tightly and a few mechanics that were incredibly unforgiving, but all in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my time closing the portal to Azeroth.

However, no raid review is complete without a blow by blow analysis of each raid boss, right?

Goroth

Difficulties Downed: Normal, Heroic, Mythic
Best Known For: Nothing. This boss was a literal cakewalk
Attributes: +5 to Bowling
            +3 to Hide and Seek 
            +2 to Nap Time

I’ll be honest, Goroth was the boss I have the least number of kills on. Not because he’s super hard or anything – actually, quite the reverse is true. My raid team would often kill him before I was even able to get online to raid, that’s just how simple the mechanics were. While I did enjoy bowling for spikes the few times I did fight this boss, overall, he was pretty forgettable. But, as the first boss in an instance, that is just the perfect warm up.

Demonic Inquisition

Difficulties Downed: Normal, Heroic
Best Known For: Annoying Target Switching (even I, as a healer, knew this)
Attributes: +4 to Dispel Mechanic 
            +2 to Belly Realm 
            +3 to Torment

After the faceroll that was Goroth, Inquisition was definitely a rude awakening. There was some sort of interrupt thing (look, I heal this stuff, ok?) and an annoying target swap along with the classic balancing act of accruing Torment vs DPSing, a lot to juggle while also getting your Calcified Quills out of the raid group so you don’t spike your friends up into the air. There wasn’t anything particularly unique or compelling about the bosses’ models or dialogues, which all in all, made the whole encounter rather bland. Definitely not one of my favorites.

Harjatan

Difficulties Downed: Normal, Heroic
Best Known For: HUG THE TANK
Attributes: +7 to Murlocs 
            +4 to Water Puddles 
            +3 to Stacking

While he wasn’t the most original of bosses, I quite liked the Harjatan fight (except for the fact that the druid and shaman healers on my team always whooped my butt on the meters with all the stacking). I liked the fact that everyone took one of the boss’s massive blows to the face, don’t ask me why, I just liked it. The panicked spreading during the frosty bit too, was awesome fun from a healer perspective to drop some massive numbers, before we all got back together to hug the tanks. It was a simple fight, for sures, but gratifying!

Mistress Sassz’ine

Nickname: Mistress Splashyfrass
Difficulties Downed: Normal, Heroic
Best Known For: Get in the Green Beams! and The Best Healing Trinket of the Tier ™
Attributes: +13 to Save Your Friends 
            +5 to WHALE 
            +2 to Run around and Panic

I will be honest: the first couple times I did this fight, I absolutely hated it. The mechanics were completely unforgiving in comparison to what had come before. The Hydra Shot damage was immense and very, very spikey. And there was just so. much. going. on! But, as time went on and I got better at the fight, I found myself falling in love with Mistress Splashyfrass. As a holy paladin, I discovered an awesome rhythm to the fight which resulted in that being one of my best bosses performance-wise. The chaos in the last phase was insane, but manageable, and the only person I could kill was myself. And did I mention, there were whales??

However, one piece of loot that the Mistress drops deserves a paragraph all to itself. Sea Star of the Depthmother. For every single healer on our team, and perhaps in the universe, this was the trinket to have. The proc rate was insane, and often off of frequently used spells. It was god-mode. And, unfortunately, I had terrible luck rolling for it. I spent months farming for this trinket. Months. I saved a coin every raid reset, and would consistently pug it when our raid was progressing elsewhere in the instance.

And then finally, one fateful evening, I got it to drop.

(Actually, I didn’t at all, a friend who was with me on the run did and he passed it to me.)

But I got it.

And from that day, everything changed.

Just like the beloved Cake! from last tier, I suspect I’ll be hanging onto my Sea Star for many moons to come.

Sisters of the Moon

Difficulties Downed: Normal, Heroic
Best Known For: Being a Single Target Fight, Despite Looking like a Multi-Target Fight
Attributes: +3 to Moons! 
            +4 to Absorption Shields 
            +18 to Kill Your Framerates

The room of this boss was gorgeous. Hands down, I think this was one of the prettiest rooms of the instance. The floor… the floor was a moon that changed throughout the fight! Unfortunately though, this beautiful room very quickly would kill my poor ol’ computer, which meant I frequently did this boss with 15 frames per second or less. Not exactly the best experience! On a mechanics level, the Sisters had a healthy balance of fun mechanics and finicky ones. Clearing your stacks of Moon or Shadow debuffs on the floor was fun in theory but bothersome in practice. The pink beam of “Split this with your friends!” was very rarely split with friends because of when it came up in the fight. On the flip side though, I really enjoyed the absorption shield that needed to be healed off (really, any healer specific mechanics are a lot of fun!). Any excuse for big burst numbers is a win in my book!

The Desolate Host

Difficulties Downed: Normal, Heroic
Best Known For: Split Realms
Attributes: +2 to Adds 
            +1 to Ancient Night Elven Burial Ground 
            +6 to The Hokey Pokey

While this boss was a total maze to get to (and a pain to leave from), I quite liked the Desolate Host. The change in mechanics from Normal to Heroic completely changed the way our raid team did the fight, making it much more interesting from a progression point of view. And I really dug the split realms since it put a lot more personal responsibility on each member of the raid. The fight did seem a bit long, but, on the bright side, once you got to the actual boss, you were pretty much golden. Oh, and Spirit Side is the Best Side!

Maiden of Vigilance

Difficulties Downed: Normal, Heroic
Best Known For: COLORS. MOTHER OF PEARL, COLORS.
Attributes: +8 to Identifying Colors 
            +3 to Catching Balls 
            +5 to JUMP IN THE HOLE

Maiden was a boss that was either awesome… or awful. Who woulda thought that identifying colors would have turned out to be one of the most difficult mechanics Blizzard added in this tier? (For those of you who are colorblind, I have nothing but respect because I have no idea how you folks could do this fight.) At first, I really loved the idea of purposefully jumping into the hole at the center of the room, but the novelty of that quickly wore off after a few bugged explosions that resulted in a very, very long fall. Maiden, when it was going well, felt like a well oiled machine of stacking and spreading, running on the rails and collecting the same colors. When she was going poorly, it was a hot mess where one accident led to another, led to another, led to an explosion, and ended in a wipe. The best part: not even when we had her on farm were we safe!

Fallen Avatar

Nickname: Grunty (the Maiden) and Smashy (the Avatar)
Difficulties Downed: Normal, Heroic
Best Known For: Terrible Mechanics Overlaps
Attributes: +5 to Grunting 
            +5 to Smashing 
            +9 to RNG

Avatar… was not a fun boss. I’ll go ahead and say it. The fight was tuned rather tightly and the mechanics often overlapped in the most unfortunate ways. You have to run across the room to converge onto one point to burst through the Maiden’s shiel- but oh wait! It’s Unbound Chaos so instead you need to run away from all your allies or they will kill you! The bottom phase was just as aggravating with its Dark Marks throwing people every which way and the tornadoes which always seem to be headed straight for you and just- ugh! Not a ton of fun! There was just too much going on: far too many instant death, and, worse still, raid wipe mechanics. Adding to this, the Maiden’s grunts were just so danged loud! C’mon woman, I know you’re fighting and all that, but could you keep it down?

Kil’jaeden

Gotta get that boss kill shot in for this guy!

Nickname: The Guild Breaker
Difficulties Downed: Normal, Heroic
Best Known For: Being Absolutely and Completely Awful
Attributes: +9999 to Soaking Swirlies 
            +9999 to Burning Adds 
            +9999 to Knockbacks 
            +9999 to Darkness 
            +9999 to Weeping

I completely accept that the final boss of a raid tier needs to be difficult. I absolutely understand that the final boss must include challenging mechanics. I 100% buy that the final boss will require a lot of wipes before it is downed.

But Kil’jaeden? That was just mean.

The Deceiver rightfully earned his reputation as the Guild Breaker. The mechanics were unyielding. The timers could so easily go wrong. And even one Armageddon swirl missed pretty much meant a wipe, if not right away, then some point later due to healer mana loss. Kil’jaeden was tuned way too tightly, to the point of being painful rather than challenging. Progressing on him often felt like throwing oneself against a brick wall over and over while praying for change.

I still don’t understand why Illidan made us go find him in that darkness (what a jerk!). I still don’t understand which way the obelisks would do their zap. I still don’t understand why Fel Claws needed to hit like a dump truck going down a steep hill.

Luckily, after tomorrow, I won’t have to.

Despite a very brutal ending, I still have to say, Tomb of Sargeras was a decent raid. The bosses each felt different from the preceding, and with a variety of themes and designs, there was far less ‘demon burn-out’ than I feared. While not my favorite raid of all times, I definitely think that Tomb of Sargeras will be ranked pretty solidly up there due to a number of strong features. Just please, no more Kil’jaedens any time soon!

Onwards, to Argus!

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A Mythic Experience

Not actually the Mythic raid because, as always, Pants forgot to take a screenshot

Not actually the Mythic raid because, as always, Pants forgot to take a screenshot.  But still, this was the area I was fighting in (sans cool sky and portal)!

There are very few things in game that I tell myself I will never do. I love challenges and trying new things so I’ve done everything from Herald of the Titans level locked raiding to pet battling to unrated PvP. But I’ve always told myself that I wasn’t going to raid at Mythic difficulty.  It was just too hardcore, too time intensive, too unreachable for me.  I have the utmost respect for mythic raiders, I just knew that it would never be me.  And I was wrong.

STORY TIME!

There I was, logged onto my holy paladin with two and a half hours to kill. I still needed my Archimonde kill for the week to upgrade my ring and I decided I would pug it.  Since I have the AotC for Heroic Archimonde (side note: woot!) and a rather bloated ilvl of 722, I figured I’d give pugging Heroic Archimonde a shot.  I signed up for a couple of groups, linking the AotC, legendary ring, and added *jazz hands* at the end of the message.

One of the raid leaders whispered me back ‘lol’ and shortly later I was invited to the group. I zoned on in and right away I noticed that it was primarily a guild group.  So either I’d happened into their progression group and this was going to take a number of wipes or I’d lucked into a quick clean up group and this was going to be one shot.  I had two hours to kill so I was prepared for either.

What came next was beyond what I could have expected.  One of the members posted their guild’s vent information.  I was about to ask if vent was required when the raid leader explained that the puggies (i.e. non guildies) only had to join the vent if they planned on continuing on for mythic HFC.  Mythic HFC? This group was bound to be good!

As we were setting up to pull, one of the other healers, another holy paladin, whispered me.  They told me that they didn’t need any loot and would give any pally loot they got to me.  I thanked them and we chatted for a bit about drop rates and whatnot.

Then after a short rundown of the fight and a timer, we pulled. Other than the fact that I was playing my very best to try to impress these mythic raiders, the fight was very run of the mill.  We downed first phase, stacked up on the boss, and killed adds, ping ponging all the while.  Chains were broken and banish groups went down and came back up again. We got all the way to the last couple percentage points when an ill timed chain break right before the rain of infernals took out several members of the raid, including the tank who was tanking Archimonde.  But since the Demon Lord was so low in health anyways, we were able to kite tanking him the last couple of percentage points.  A one shot.

While loot was being handed out (I sadly did not get any) I glanced up at the healing meters.  I had top healed that fight! Probably because this fight was cake for the other healers and they didn’t need to put 100% effort in, but still! Maybe I was on par with this mythic heals?

Loot was finished and everyone was ordered out.  My holy paladin friend from earlier whispered me, asking if I was going to stay for mythic. Excited and just a touch nervous, I told them I would. I then alt tabbed out and fired up vent. It took a while like it always does but I finally joined in and entered the channel.

And it hit me.  I was entering a Mythic Raid.  Mythic.  This was no Heroic, with it’s somewhat forgivable mechanics.  This was a whole new level of difficult.  And that brings up another point, mechanics.  What were the mythic mechanics? What were the strats? Oh no, what had I gotten myself into!?

During the first trash pulls, I frantically whispered several mythic raiders on my battle tag list while google searching the strats for Mythic Assault.  With the help of Ambermist, my guildies Syandle and Zanima, and Icy Veins, I put together a pretty solid idea of the fight. Trash was cleared and the raid leader then did a brief but thorough run down of the fight.  I was as ready as I would ever be.

Also not the mythic raid.  I didn't even fight this boss this night!

Also not the mythic raid. I didn’t even fight this boss this night!

The main difference between Mythic Assault and Normal/Heroic Assault seems to be the split. At specific timed intervals during the fight, identical siege weapons would roll down on both sides of the room (as opposed to Heroic and Normal, where there was only one vehicle) and the raid would split to take down these dual menaces. I was assigned left side with another healer and let me tell you, I followed that shaman to the ends of the earth.

The first couple of pulls ended with wipes. I can’t tell you definitively because I was concentrating so hard on healing myself and executing mechanics properly, but it seemed to be that the adds that needed to go down weren’t going down fast enough. All I knew was that I hadn’t messed up a mechanics too badly.  Yet.

The raid leader reorganized the split again and we pulled a few more times.  One thing that was very different from my other raiding experiences was that as soon as we lost more than 3 people and we were out of battle rezzes, we would purposefully wipe it.  Thus we wiped a lot of times but turn around was very fast.  We wiped, we popped back up, we buffed and ate and within 3 minutes we had pulled again.  It was beautifully efficient.

After about forty five minutes, we finally had our breakthrough pull.  Previously, the lowest we had wiped at had been 35%.  But this time, we hit 35% and the percentages kept dwindling down. 30%, 25%, 20%, 15%, 10% we were almost there.
Then one of the tanks blew up.  Frantically, the healers popped all of our cooldowns.  But the delicate balance had been shattered.  The left side collapsed and the adds began streaming right.  The raid leader bellowed for the last couple ammunitions to be fed to the cannon.  As members of the raid dropped one by one, overwhelmed by the sheer number of adds, the percentage of the boss dropped as well.

8%, 6%, we had just a couple mages and shaman up. 4%, 2% it was down to one mage.  And right as that mage’s iceblock broke and the adds overwhelmed them, the boss ticked down to 0%.  Achievements and loot rolls flashed up.  We had done it!

I quickly used my bonus roll and rezzed.  A shiny new shield, proudly bearing the word Mythic, plopped into my bag.  I glanced at the meters and again found that I had top healed.  And then I was barraged by the grats from my guild.

Sitting back for the first time in 50 minutes, I took a deep breath and tried to stop shaking.  We had done it.  And I had helped.  The threshold had been crossed, I was now a mythic raider.  Holey moley!

Loot was distributed and we took a quick break.  I used this time to again frantically whisper my Mythic raider friends and find a new guide. Reaver it seemed was not very different for healers on Mythic which was reassuring for me.  Everything just hit like a truck.

We again began our pulls, but it was not to be.  Barrage is an instant kill on Mythic difficulty and unfortunately too many people were getting hit by it.  Myself included, I was hit an embarrassing 2 times over the course of 11 pulls.  In addition, several members of the raid began to experience terrible latency.  We got the boss to the first air phase a few times before the raid leader ultimately called it a night.

After  the raid, I whispered the raid leader for a bit, thanking him for the invite.  We shared btags and I offered my services should he ever need a healer for anything.  I’m not hold out to be re-invited for Mythic HFC again but hey, the door is still open.

Even though we did not get Reaver down, I still consider the night to be a huge success.  That raid was the first time I had felt nervous in a raid in a very long time.  I had kinda missed that feeling.  It was a completely new and satisfyingly challenging experience and I’m so glad I got the chance to partake.  And I got a mythic kill and a shield to boot! Woot!

Huge thanks to La Familia on Sargeras for bringing me along! And big thanks to all the people I whispered for fight advice!