Friday, January 20, 2012

World of Warcraft: LFR Tips and Tricks (Cataclysm)

The Looking For Raid feature, introduced a little over a month ago in Patch 4.3, allows players from all walks in the game World of Warcraft to, if they meet the gear requirement, queue for the latest raid, the Dragon Soul, and experience an easier version of the actual raid that also drops appropriately weaker equipment. Although there are likely arguments to the contrary, I believe the LFR was one of the best features implemented by Blizzard so far. It allows virtually any player to experience the content without having to water down the actual raid with constant nerfing, which is of benefit to the exclusive circle of more hardcore players.

With that said, this article will offer some tips and tricks to make your run through the Raid Finder Dragon Soul as smooth as possible. It will also clear up any strange “misconceptions” that arise as a result of significant differentiation between Raid Finder and Normal/Heroic Dragon Soul boss mechanics.

Boss One: Morchok
There’s nothing much to say about Morchok besides the following:
  • As a ranged DPS or healer, when your screen begins to turn a different color and fade out as a result of a debuff from a nearby crystal, move towards the crystal to minimize damage suffered.
  • Periodically, the boss will pull the entire raid towards him then channel a very deadly area of effect. You have to run and hide behind rocks the boss will scatter everywhere (anywhere where the ground is clear of the shadowy clouds is good).
  • During this time, ranged DPS can position themselves well and put themselves in line of sight of the boss and continue to attack – just don’t walk into the Black Blood of the Earth to do it. One very easy way to achieve this is to find two or more rocks cluttered close together and attack through the gap between them.

Warlord Zon’ozz is also rather easy. Here is what you need to know:
  • As a healer, you should be dispelling the Disrupting Shadows, as it has no negative effect on LFR from doing so.
  • The entire group should be pretty well stacked up to make it easier to heal through Black Blood of Gorath
  • The tank should face the boss away due to Psychic Drain. Facing the boss towards the group until Void of the Unmaking is cast is a viable option as it ensures the Void of the Unmaking will reach an optimal amount of stacks (but face the boss away immediately afterwards).
  • Void of the Unmaking should be touched in order to stack Void Diffusion. This will ultimately result in a significant damage debuff on the boss that can stack from multiple Voids of the Unmaking striking the boss! Try to keep the Void of the Unmaking away from the boss as well to avoid prematurely triggering Black Blood of Gorath.
  • To follow up on this mechanic, as a DPS time long cooldowns close to the end of the fight, when the boss will suffer more damage. Use your judgment on cooldowns otherwise, but keep in mind the boss will gradually suffer more damage with each phase transition.
  • One misconception that has arisen as of late is that no one should touch the Void of the Unmaking at all. While this strategy is perfectly viable and a little less healing intensive (though not by much, as the Void of the Unmaking doesn’t hit hard on Raid Finder mode), it will also result in a long, drawn-out encounter with Zon’ozz. Just bounce the Void of the Unmaking around. It’s not hard to heal through, to be honest.
Yor’sahj the Unsleeping is a fight that requires slightly more execution than the previous two fights. The key things to mention are the following:
  • The boss will stack a debuff through Void Bolt on the tank. Taunting off every three stacks will help prevent any one tank from suffering too much damage (Note to Death Knights – AMS will not stop the debuff from stacking)
  • Stack on the boss. Hunters can stack on the boss as well due to the fact Yor’sahj seems to have no effect on their deadzone. This is with exception to the mechanic detailed below.
  • The primary mechanic of this boss is that he will summon three colored slimes at a time. The general priority for LFR should be:
Purple > Yellow > Blue > Red > Green >= Black

The location of the slime spawns by color (see above).
Why is it like this?
A red slime.
    • Purple is easily the deadliest of the slimes. With it, just a few heals could trigger a horrifying chain reaction as the raid is destroyed by multiple detonations as healers struggle to keep players alive.
    • Yellow can not only cause area of effect damage, but it also increases the attack speed of the boss and causes (some) abilities to be used more frequently. In short, the boss will inflict a large amount of damage to the entire raid.
    • Blue isn’t necessarily deadly, but it spawns a Mana Void that drains the mana of the entire raid and must be killed as soon as possible to give casters back their mana. It has roughly the same health as the slime too, so you’re essentially saving yourself a lot of work by killing the blue slime (assuming other higher priority slimes don’t spawn).
    • Red can cause a sizeable amount of damage to players based on their distance from the boss, especially if players aren’t stacking on the boss. It’s easily manageable in comparison to the three aforementioned slimes.
    • Although Green is stated to only damage a random player, it actually deals damage to several players. The damage done, however, is very minimal and does not splash onto nearby raid members unlike in more difficult modes. As a result of this, the group has a tendency to prioritize Green higher due to its lethality in Normal and Heroic mode.
    • Black is the easiest of the slime mechanics to deal with. Many adds will spawn that can be easily killed with AOE. Also, padding meters is something most players will get behind so it’s highly unlikely Black will cause a wipe ever.

    • Given the above, you may want to kill the slime the raid calls out. It’s better to kill one of the slime adds than fail to and deal with a boss that has three different abilities instead of two.

    Although this boss is seemingly easy (maybe because of her small health pool), players seem to die on her a lot. Here’s what you should know to survive and make life easier for the raid:
    • You only need to have one tank for the fight. Tanks should communicate between each other beforehand so one can respec before the encounter and make it end even faster.
    • As the tank, when the boss begins to use Focused Assault, just strafe out of the attack, as it can be outranged and otherwise deals quite a bit of damage. As a result, this ability is the source of tanks dying.
    • There are two definitive second phases to this encounter.
    • The first is the Storm phase. During this phase an add will spawn at the northern point of the area and must be defeated. Afterwards, just run with the raid from the northern conductor (looks like a totem) to each other conductor, making sure the lightning coming from it reaches the others. Healers should probably consider using a couple raid healing cooldowns and DPS should help out if possible.
    • The second is the Water phase. This phase is easy to notice because the entire central area of the arena will be encased in a water bubble you should get out of. The objective is to kill each of the four crystals on the borders of the arena to end the phase. Do not touch the ice spikes that rotate clockwise around the arena but run between them – don’t take stupid risks either, as this mechanic is the source of a majority of the deaths on this encounter.
    • After either of these phases ends, DPS should use their cooldowns, as the boss becomes stunned and takes additional damage for 15 seconds!

    Boss Five: Ultraxion

    Ultraxion is honestly not that difficult as a boss. In fact, I would almost put him as a “loot piƱata” boss like Morchok. However, there are a few mechanics players have a tendency to trip on – here they are:
    • Stack with the raid. It makes it much easier for healers to keep players alive especially with the enormous amount of incoming raid damage over time.
    • Hour of Twilight might not kill players outright on the Raid Finder difficulty, but it still does a sizeable amount of damage. When the fight begins a giant purple button will show up on your user interface. Save your healers some work. If you are confident about your timing and want to optimize your DPS, then wait until the cast is nearly finished before hitting your purple button.
    • The Heroic Will ability (the aforementioned purple button) must be used by Tanks in order to avoid dying to the Fading Light effect. When, as a tank, you see the other tank with Fading Light, taunt the boss so he can use Heroic Will without resulting in players getting one-shot by Ultraxion.
    • To follow up on that – it may just be a good idea to sit in Hour of Twilight in order to have some time to rebuild threat as a tank. Tanks can also use defensive cooldowns liberally to reduce incoming damage as the cooldown is reduced by half and the durations doubled. Have fun!
    • Do not try to use abilities that cause you to go behind the boss. Subtlety Rogues, I’m looking at you.
    • To aid healers in the fight, three different types of special items spawn. Any player in the Healer role can right click one to gain the buff but it consumes the item. Do not try to take more than one as they do not stack!
    • The Red buff will increase all healing done by the healer who grabs it. Druids, Holy Priests, and Shamans probably benefit most.
    • The Green buff will split all healing done from direct heals to the entire raid. This does include some group healing abilities such as Healing Rain and so on. Most healers can benefit, with exception to Druids.
    • The Blue buff reduces mana cost of spells and increases spell haste. Any healer who doesn’t already have some sort of buff should probably grab this. Discipline Priests can benefit greatly as they can spam Power Word: Shield relentlessly.

    Boss Six: Warmaster Blackhorn (and the Drake Riders)
    Warmaster Blackhorn can get rather messy. With these tips you can stay alive and score a clean kill.
    • While the destruction of the ship is impossible (or almost impossible), players will still have a tendency to stack in Twilight Onslaught, which is a giant purple swirl that shows up time to time. This attack deals heavy damage that is split over every raid member standing in the attack. The reason players stand in this attack is because it would otherwise heavily damage the ship, which can cause problems on more difficult versions of the encounter. Despite the fact it is more healing, you’re better off stacking with them (and using some defensive abilities) to avert raid member deaths due to a lack of players.
    • On the other hand, if it’s very obvious there are not enough players in Twilight Onslaught, don’t jump in yourself and get killed.
    • When the boss finally lands, melee should attack the boss and ranged should attack the drake.
    • Shockwave is avoidable, even by the targeted player. Do the healers and yourself a favor by escaping it if possible.

    Boss Seven: Spine of Deathwing

    On Spine of Deathwing the actions of a few players can mess up the encounter quickly. Use these tips to not end up like one of them:
    • Do not kill more than one Corruption at a time. Killing more will increase the spawn rate of adds and also spawn a Hideous Amalgamation, which have a lot of health and hit rather hard.
    • Do not kill the Hideous Amalgamation before you’re supposed to. When the mob is low, wait until the number next to it is a “9” then DPS it to your heart’s content.
    • Do not stand next to the Hideous Amalgamation when it’s about to die. It does a Nuclear Blast, which honestly speaks for itself.
    • Save cooldowns for the Burning Tendon that is exposed when the Hideous Amalgamation blows up. It is important to kill it as quickly as possible.
    • A talented tank can keep the Hideous Amalgamation away from dead Corrupted Blood until the former is nearly dead then drag the add over the Corrupted Blood corpses to quickly build “stacks.” This reduces the damage the tank will take overall. Remember to make sure the Hideous Amalgamation dies close enough to the spine armor plates, however.
    • Finally, stand on the center of Deathwing's back at all times. You can hit just about everything from there. Just trust me on this.

    This is it. The big time. The final encounter Cataclysm has to offer. Just follow these tips and use your own common sense and you could be holding some incredible weapons with awesome equip effects!

    • Raid finder groups will leap from platform to platform dealing with limb tentacles on the Green (starting platform), Bronze (to the left), Red (left again), then Blue (all the way to the right) platforms. Stay with the group!
    • As a DPS, kill mobs using the following priority: Elementium Bolt, Mutated Corruption, Regenerative Bloods (with AOE), Blistering Tentacles (only when Red platform is completed and must be single targeted), limb tentacle (Wing/Leg Tentacle).
    • The boss will periodically cast Cataclysm. During this time the limb tentacle your group is currently attacking will suffer double damage. Use your cooldowns when this happens.
    • When jumping from one platform to another, don’t jump towards the Maelstrom and refrain from using certain abilities that cause you to travel through the air like Rocket Jump. You may just plummet to your death (and unfortunately, you may fall and die anyways due to a bug).
    • When all four limb tentacles are dead, the final phase begins. Make sure to help handle the first wave of adds (Elementium Fragment and Elementium Terror), then focus on finishing off the boss. By the time the second wave of Elementium Terrors spawns, the boss should be defeated or close to it.
    • The Elementium Fragment will fire Shrapnel. Use Dream (giant green button on the UI) when you are targeted to reduce the damage you suffer from it.
    • Use major cooldowns liberally. The fight is very long – long enough to fit two Time Warps in easily.

    And that’s that. I hope these tips and tricks help you get some phat loots in the Raid Finder!


    1. LFR Sucks. It isn't a challenge anymore, its for noobs that are kicked out of their guild because they fail! Its a trick from blizzard to keep the noobs playing and give them the feeling they can wear epics without knowing tacts... omg, I've seen them die @ the first set of flames....

    2. LFR isnt meant to provide a challenging raid environment. It's meant to provide gear to people so they can progress through harder content more quickly. If you're concerned about how easy LFR is, it's time to suck it up and find a regular / hardmode guild.

      1. Thanks. You just saved me from writing a long, drawn-out response.

    3. besides, if you're going to bitch about anything with LFR, bitch about the people who need on gear they have or have better versions of. They're the problem. Not the 7k dps rogue in all 384 gear. =)