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Nerfed to Hell: ROFLstomping the Firelands

September 22, 2011
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Yesterday, our first raid night of the week, my raid group cleared Firelands in 2.5 hours.  (On normal mode, of course.)  We got our guild-first kill of Ragnaros in three attempts, though we had almost got him down the week before.  Firelands has been nerfed, and nerfed hard.  We found every boss but Ragnaros to be completely trivial.  As promised, here’s a boss-by-boss account of the nerfed Firelands experience:

Shannox — Nerfed by 15%

Shannox has always been the easiest boss in the Firelands, and now he’s a total pushover.  As long as your raid is smart enough to avoid stepping on traps and your tanks manage to drop their stacks once in a while this fight should pose no problem.  There was very little incoming damage to be healed through.  Even the AoE damage from the spear in the final phase barely tickled.  Both dogs died extremely quickly, as did Shannox.

Conclusion: I really feel like the only way you could fail this now is by being stupid about the traps.

Bethtilac — Nerfed by 15%

We used to only send one DPS up to the top of the web, but lately we’ve been sending up both our melee.  Since all the adds have much lower health this should be feasible for more groups now, as you won’t need as much DPS on the ground in order to kill everything.  The spiderlings took a bit longer to die than I thought they would, but they still melted away faster than they used to.  Smouldering Devastation damage has been greatly reduced and was easy to heal through.  Drones didn’t seem to hit very hard, but Bethtilac herself still occasionally dealt a spike of damage to people on top of the web.  I think she was at about 70% health when she descended from her web in the final phase, and she died very quickly once on the ground.  The stacking AoE damage in the final phase barely put a dent in our health pools until Bethtilac was almost dead (at which point I just popped Tranquility and eliminated the need for anyone else to do any healing, muahahaha!)

Conclusion: Bethtilac is a lot easier than she used to be, but I can still see how groups might have difficulty with her.  Everyone  will still have to understand their assignments and deal with the adds and mechanics properly in order to succeed.  However, you will not need to bring as much DPS power with you, and your healers won’t have to work as hard.

Lord Rhyolith — Nerfed by 15%

Rhyolith was already nerfed a while back.  Those original nerfs were justified, in my opinion, because he was a pain in the ass before them.  Originally he was very difficult to steer, was more likely to choose to activate volcanoes behind him, and the stacking volcano damage debuff was just one combined stack, making it very difficult to get it to drop off.  The original nerfs were less nerfs and more quality-of-life encounter tweaking that made Rhyolith less frustrating.

The most recent nerfs were just straight up nerfs.  Lava lines deal far less damage than they used to, but they’ll still take out a chunk of health if someone stands on one.  The adds have fewer hit points, so they die very quickly.  (I feel like I’m going to say that about every boss with adds…)  Rhyolith himself also died far more quickly.  By the time his armor was gone he was almost at the transition to Phase 2.  The second phase has always been very short, and now it’s even shorter, since there’s not much health to burn through at the end.  His AoE damage in the final phase is, again, far easier to heal through; however, you should probably still stack up so the healers can use their AoE heals more effectively.

Conclusion:  Once a group knows how to steer Rhyolith this fight will be pretty easy.  (I assume that letting Rhyolith reach the lava moat will still wipe the raid, though we didn’t test this.  And stomping out the volcanoes is still essential.)  The tank will still need to be able to pick up adds quickly, and everyone will still have to be careful to avoid Lava lines and stay away from the large adds with the AoE damage aura.  If your group can handle those mechanics, you can kill this boss.

Alysrazor — Nerfed by 25%

Alysrazor used to be one of the toughest bosses in Firelands, and the only boss that I thought could really use a nerf.  I think we’ve wiped on her more times than any other boss in Cataclysm, and even after downing her six times she didn’t feel securely “on farm”.  Even just last week we wiped on her twice.

I think I can safely say that our days of wiping on Alysrazor are over.  This fight has been dramatically nerfed into the ground.  It’s actually rather pathetic.  I mean, come on, she needed to be nerfed a little bit, but this is ridiculous.

First of all, her druid adds.  You can pretty much breathe on them and they’ll keel over dead.  They used to have an extremely dangerous ability called Fieroblast that they cast every 10 seconds, and it absolutely had to be interrupted.  Now?  Not so much.  I mean, I’m sure they still have Fieroblast, but they cast 3 brushfires before even one Fieroblast, so it’s possible to kill them before they even attempt to cast it.  Having enough interrupts to deal with Fieroblast will no longer be of utmost importance.  At most you might have to interrupt it once or twice per add.

Secondly, the hatchlings.  They no longer hit very hard and they die very quickly.  One of our healers healed through a Gushing Wound and Tantrum combo without even realizing that he had done so.  True, the damage is not entirely negligible, but it’s like standard tank healing now, rather than the kind of healing where a split second’s reaction time means the difference between life and death.  And did I mention that the hatchlings die very quickly?  It used to be a real race to get the hatchlings dead before the tornado phase, but last night we managed to kill them a good 45 seconds before tornadoes.  We actually had to stop DPS in order to give the hatchlings a chance to eat the last two lava worms.  When the hatchlings were dead we just stood around waiting for the transition.  (For the second set of hatchlings the tanks just had the hatchlings eat the worms as soon as the worms appeared, since there was no need to save worms for tantrums.  That’s right, the nerfs negated one of the mechanics of the fight.)

Thirdly, the lava worms.  If you stand in their fire breath, you will still take a lot of damage, but it will kill you much more slowly.  I found this out from personal experience, when I, uh, accidentally stood next to one.  >.>  I didn’t die, and I moved out of it fairly quickly.  However, what’s really sad about this story is that the healer on my side pumped heals into me and ignored the tank… during a Tantrum.  And the tank was never at risk of dying.  So. Sad.

Fourthly, the tornadoes.  These move a lot more slowly than they used to.  And I do mean a lot more slowly.  If you are used to the fast moving tornadoes this might actually throw you off, but don’t worry — if you get hit by one it won’t hurt you very much.  A couple of our raiders had two of the speed enhancing feathers, and they actually managed to catch up to the tornado they were following.

Finally, Alysrazor herself.  When she collapsed the “first” time we used bloodlust.  By the time she was fully recharged and back in the air she was at less than 20% health.  We knew we wouldn’t need a second grounded phase, and we knew that the adds on the ground would die easily, so we sent a second person into the air to finish her off.  She died maybe 20-30 seconds later.  Also, in the second part of her grounded phase she did far less AoE damage than she used to.  Her knockback when she took to the air again was also pretty negligible.

Conclusion: I think the nerfs for this fight were too extreme.  Sure, she needed to be nerfed, but not this badly.  I want to say that the fight is now cake, because it is for us — but then we spent countless hours learning to get her down when she was difficult.  I doubt a new group will be walking in and one-shotting her the first time they see the fight.

Everyone will still need to learn how to avoid damage, deal with their assignment, and dodge tornadoes.  Tanks will still need to handle the hatchling mechanics, though it will be much easier for them to do so.  Healers should have no major problems as long as they are generally competent.  Someone will still have to learn how to handle the mechanics of flying so they can do good DPS and not die to fall damage.

If you have beaten this fight pre-nerfs you will have no trouble with it now.  If you have worked on this fight pre-nerf you should be able to get it down without problem.  If it’s your first time seeing the fight you will probably need a few attempts to get the hang of things, but you probably won’t need the 90+ wipes it took us to figure it out.  (For which you can thank your lucky stars, let me tell you!)

Baleroc – Nerfed by 25%

Baleroc has never been a particularly difficult fight.  The major issue with Baleroc has always been establishing a DPS rotation to soak the Torment debuff, and a healer rotation to build up Vital Spark stacks.  This means the primary difficulty is actually logistical — people need to understand what they are supposed to do and keep track of both their buffs/debuffs and where they are in the rotation.  Blizzard did not nerf the logistics of the fight.  If raid members get confused about what they’re doing, it can probably still lead to a wipe.

However, Baleroc also used to be a DPS check with a tight enrage timer.  This is probably no longer the case.  With 25% less health a raid should be able to get him down without hitting the enrage.

Because Torment no longer deals as much damage, DPS players will be able to soak more stacks of it.  Obviously this means the Torment targets are not as likely to die, but it also means that healers will be able to pick up stacks of Vital Spark more quickly.  (Healers get 1 stack of Vital Spark per 3 stacks of Torment when they heal a Torment target.)  This makes healing the tank(s) easier, as you can get a healer with the Vital Flame buff onto the tanks earlier, before they start taking much damage.  Not to mention the fact that the tanks take less damage now in general anyway.  Decimation Blade will still drop a tank to 10% of his health, but there is a lot more time between Decimation Blade swings.

Conclusion: The challenge to this fight will be coordinating the DPS and healer rotations.  This will still take some planning and practice.  However, once the logistics have been learned, the boss should go down easy.

Majordomo Staghelm – Nerfed by 25%

Our raid group has never had much difficulty with Staghelm.  In essence, Staghelm is a “dance” fight — it’s important to be able to stack and spread out quickly and efficiently.  Other than the dance, it’s just rotating healer cooldowns and DPSing the boss down quickly, both of which are much easier post-nerf.

It’s now possible to take many more stacks of Adrenaline than it was before.  We decided to try to aim for 14 Flamescythes in the first Scorpion phase, but accidentally pushed 15 because we lost track.  It wasn’t a problem though, because the damage was easily healable.  (We did have to spread out quickly though, because Staghelm is basically spamming Flamescythe at that point.)  Healing cooldowns really weren’t necessary until after 7-8 of the scythes.  To put the number of Flamescythes in context, on our guild-first kill of Staghelm we only allowed 7 of them, and a couple weeks ago we thought we were really pushing it to allow 9.

For Cat phase we still only allowed 7 jumps.  It’s not feasible to allow too many jumps because after a while the entire floor would be covered with fire.  The fire still deals a respectable amount of damage too, so you still need to GTFO of it.

Staghelm died very quickly.  I can’t remember which phase he died in… I think he died in the second Cat phase, but it might have been really early in the third Scorpion phase.  I know he died long before Cat-Phase-With-Orbs, which didn’t surprise us at all.  Pre-nerf we were killing him about 5 seconds into the orb phase, so we knew we wouldn’t get to orbs post-nerf.

Conclusion:  This fight is not difficult.  It might take some practice to learn to rotate healing cooldowns and stack up/spread out.  If your DPS is low you might end up having to deal with the Flame Orbs.  The orbs were always the most difficult thing to handle pre-nerf, but they probably do much less damage now.

Ragnaros – Nerfed by 25%

Ragnaros is the only fight in the Firelands that still has some teeth.  Raid groups will still need to assign people to adds in the transition phases, but the adds have less health so it’s much easier to prevent them from reaching the hammer.  Everyone will need to have good raid awareness to dodge Lava Waves and avoid sections of the room that are on fire.  Engulfing Flame can still one-shot a player; however, Lave Waves and Magma Traps deal much less damage and being hit by them isn’t nearly as dangerous as it used to be.  Molten Seeds still deal a significant amount of damage during Phase 2, so it is still important to drop the seeds as far away from the stack point as possible.  Phase 3 still feels chaotic as you run around dodging all the normal mechanics plus the Living Meteors (or bowling balls, as I affectionately call them).

One important thing to note is that while Wrath of Ragnaros now knocks you up in the air instead of back, Hand of Ragnaros still knocks back anyone within 55 yards of the boss.  This means that you can still be knocked back into Magma Traps and Lava Waves, so it’s important not to stand in front of them.

Conclusion: The nerfs have made Ragnaros easier because he deals less damage and has less health to burn through, but it doesn’t feel like the fight has been trivialized like every other Firelands fight.  There are still a lot of mechanics that need to be handled properly in order to get a kill.  Raid groups will have to practice this fight before they’ll down him (unless it gets nerfed again in future).

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. September 22, 2011 1:56 pm

    Yep, pretty much the same conclusions we reached in our group as well. Alysrazor, to those of us that know the fight, is now a complete joke. Staghelm’s Flame Scythes as well. At least we still will be butting our heads against Rag for a little bit while we finish learning the rest of the mechanics.

    • September 22, 2011 1:57 pm

      Yeah, at least you guys still have a fight to work on this week. We were all like, “So… now what?” LOL

  2. September 22, 2011 3:48 pm

    I feel that if we had been able to raid last night we too would have our Rag kill. He should go down next week though.

    Like you I am worried about what we will do on our 2nd night of raiding.

  3. akeldema permalink
    September 22, 2011 6:50 pm

    We found the adds on alysrazor could also be stunned, totally preventing them from casting a brushfire in their short lives. I think on heroic 10 we might have had one brushfire get cast.

    Funnily enough Rhyolith gave my guild more trouble this week than last, purely because he was turning faster than we were used to. he also seemed to not spew lava when he walked into the edge of the platform!

    • September 22, 2011 8:04 pm

      Rhyolith doesn’t spew lava if he walks off the edge of the platform?! Are you kidding me? I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

      • akeldema permalink
        September 22, 2011 8:05 pm

        I cant say for sure, but when we failed at steering and he went into the lava, his whole right leg was in it and he just continued walking. maybe they changed it to be more forgiving on the edge detection

  4. September 23, 2011 8:15 pm

    Rhyo will still wipe the raid if he hits the moat. We got cocky there last night and found out the hard way.

    • September 23, 2011 11:31 pm

      Good to know. They might have just made it a little more forgiving if people get close to the edge then.

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