Friday, January 23, 2009

When the patch notes, aren't

So, we went into Malygos last night. We had been getting him down fairly solidly and thought that we had a shot at starting to work towards the 5 (now 6) minute achievement on this boss.

Boy, were we wrong.

We got in there, did our usual strat (bunch up at the edge of the hitbox, pull sparks toward us, and so forth) and found that our Prot Warr was struggling with threat. Not only that, but the raid was taking very large swathes of very nasty damage. Much more than previously. All the healers were up in arms in the healer channel, not knowing what on earth was going on. Yes, we knew that the encounter would be HARDER with a cooldown on CoH/WG, but this is above and beyond what we were expecting. When the entire raid takes a 17khit just before a vortex, that's a wipe. And why were DPS calling out for hand of salv? What was going on with threat?

What the hell was going on?

Problem 1

Given how hard it was for us to find information on changes, no one believed that there were changes. The healers, however, were screaming in the healer channel that something was very wrong. As a healer myself, you get a feel for the amount of damage going around, and you have an idea of what to expect. It becomes very obvious to you when things are going awry (but I will write more on a healers gut feeling is good in another blog) even if everyone else has no idea, because as a healer you are covering it all off.

A fundamental mechanic of the fight had been changed in 3.0.8 but we didnt know what it was. After a fight with the Raid leaders (basically me saying "You are wrong, something is changed, this is not normal" and the Raid leader being totally awesome and researching the issue even if he didn't believe it) our RL found the blog mymagesucks who had blogged on exactly this topic and outlined the issue.

The short version is this: We were getting totally owned by a debuff from arcane breath called Arcane Blast. This is placed on any person who is "breathed" on by Malygos. The radius of the blast had been increased in 3.0.8 by a factor of 4 and this had not been mentioned in the patch notes but had been hinted at on MMO-Champion by way of the achievement text.

The implications are that previously, when a melee copped the breath they were healed through it and maybe they hit one other person. NOW, given the warp factor 4, melee have to actively move away from the tank and stop meleeing when the debuff is there and any melee that was previously badly positioned (and didnt know because we healed through it) now EXPLODED THE ENTIRE RAID.

This was particularly evident just before the vortex when our tank (before we realised) ran back into the group too early and caused the situation I described above.

Problem 2
DPS were calling for hand of salv. DPS grabbed aggro and WIPE! Our prot warrior was getting very frustrated with it all. I asked him to go through his combat log to figure it out. We were blaming positioning, his gear, his spec his STYLE everything. There was something very wrong with his tanking - but we had no idea what it was.

Our furry tank stepped up and we got to phase 3. What the hell? 2 attempts later (we were at this stage still struggling to identify problem 1) the warrior pipes up and says "I know what it is, Warrior threat is still broken when we die. I need to do a stance dance each death to reset it". Now, I need to talk to our MT about what exactly this bug is, but it is SERIOUS and it really screws threat (I am sure tankspot would have the details or Elitist Jerks). So, the prot warrior says that he is ready to try again, and BLAM no more threat issues.

A couple more goes to get the hang of the new strat and malygos goes down (Unfortunately I was a complete nub and died on my drake very early, so I was yelling at the raid to stack a lot. I think it helped)

So what does this mean?
It means that we had a horrible night of yelling and screaming at each other trying to figure out what was going on. But it also showed what we can do together as a group, that we CAN yell at each other and still work toward a common goal and achieve that goal.

It means that you should trust your instincts. If you feel something is not right, or something has fundamtenally changed, it probably has. Especially if you feel this right after a patch. Trust your healers as well - they have a very good idea of the actual mechanics of damage dealing (as they have to predict it in order to compensate for it in fights) and if they say that the damage distribution has changed somehow, listen to them.

It means... never trust the patch notes. 95% of the changes are never listed.