Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Awesome return to ICC-10 this week

After a week or two (for me) of not getting enough people on at raid times for Icecrown Citadel, we made a heroic return this week and managed to clear up through the Deathbringer in 2 hours.  That may not sound incredibly impressive to the guilds that are already banging away at Arthas, but it's quite an achievement for us and it was a lot of fun.  Smooth pulls through the trash to Marrowgar, followed by a one-shot.  A near wipe on the final trash before Deathwhisper, followed by a one shot.

Though I had an embarrassing moment and died by standing in fire death and decay.

One wipe at 1% in the gunship battle, then a quick victory the second time around.  That battle is a lot of fun...if and only if you one-shot it.  Otherwise it gets old pretty quickly.  There are so many moving pieces that need to function independently, and many of them are quite sensitive to lag.  Which would be fine...if that wasn't our traditional bete noir.  Ah well.  Falling off sky ships is fun.  Anyone who knows anything about steampunk knows that much.

The Deathbringer took us three tries, and we only got him by playing extremely well.  Extremely well.  The best I've ever seen us, actually.  Everyone was doing off the charts dps, no one was targeting the rooted blood beast, the tanks were switching on a dime, and the healers were doing an intricate dance to keep all the Marked players up.  It was tense.  We got him down to 2%, and then our Marked rogue finally died and he jumped back up to 7%.  Everyone blew cooldowns and popped speed potions and he a neutrally buoyant helium balloon.  But we did get him.  Barely. 

There was something off about him tonight.  He was gaining blood power significantly faster than before.  Last time I saw us down him, he Marked one person when he was a bit below 50% health, and we killed him before the second Mark.  This time, he Marked the first person at 70%, the next around 45%, and a third before he died.  Our priest was discipline, and throwing shields left and right like usual.  I assume that they either bugged him with the 3.2.2 patch, or purposefully changed it so that he now gains blood power through shields.  Though they never stated that they considered that an exploit.  Many, many others have reported his increased blood power tonight as well, so we'll see what happens...

In the meantime, he's dead (again) for now, and I'm looking forward to getting a whole night on Plagueworks come Thursday!

EDIT:  The Deathbringer has been hot-fixed, server-side.  It sounds like the design team had made at least one change and purposefully adjusted the mechanics so that he did not gain blood power from damage dealt by the Mark.  The intent of this was to do away with the (otherwise optimal) strategy of allowing the first Marked player to die in order to delay the casting of the second Mark.  Essentially, especially in 25-man raids, you could cut the exponential growth curve of blood power gains off at its knees by allowing the first Marked player to die after they had blown any useful damage cooldowns.  This prevented the curve from ever reaching truly dangerous heights.  Blizzard didn't like this tactic and adjusted the mechanics so that blood power gained no longer increased exponentially.

Frankly, I'm guessing that they increased the blood power gained through his other abilities in order to balance this out.  They were hoping for a constant rate of blood power gain, instead of an exponential one, but wanted that constant rate to be higher than the base rate was in the exponential scenario, in order to keep the encounter difficult. 

I think they actually hit it right on, it just came as a shock since it was not listed in the patch notes.  We were still able to do it, it was just harder.  Given that they set it back to prior levels, it may have been harder than they were planning.  I'm unclear on whether they also rolled back the change to the Mark or not.  We'll have to wait until next week to find out. 

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