Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman: Are they too hard?
EDIT: having just read back through this, it does get a little ranty. Sorry for that, but also I believe I do warn people somewhere on this blog that things like that may happen from time, in this case its just that complaints of “nerf XXXX its too hard!!” really bug me 🙂
As of 4.1 we got to play about in two new dungeons – Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman. Just in case anyone reading this doesn’t know, they were originally raid instances that were removed and then reinstated as level 85 5-man heroics. They are a new tier of heroic, and require an average iLevel of 346 to enter and the drops are iLevel 353 epics. They are have been changed slightly from the originals, with some new bosses and some new mechanics.
Ok, brief synopsis completed, so onto the meat of the post as it were – are they too hard? After the exceptionally easy ride we had towards the end of Wrath (not that it was uber tough to begin with, but it was certainly easy at the end). Some of you may recall one of my first posts back in January regarding starting the new heroics at approx the level required to enter them (the group was average of 333 iirc), if you wish a recap the post is here.
Since then my little druid has crawled her way up and got some better gear, a helluva lot more experience healing cata style and has started some light raiding (before anyone comments I will say it – I know she is only 2/12 normal atm, thats why I said light raiding 😛 )
Since these troll dungeons have come out, I have completed each one a couple of times in guild and with pugs killed a lot more bosses but not actually finished either of them.
Picking from the fights across the two instances, we have fights based on add control/nuking, fights based on positioning, movement, situational awareness and using various items and a host of various other mechanics. At first some of these seem exceptionally easy (I have had no issues with Akil’Zon for example, though I have seen others complain mightily that he is impossible) and others pretty hard – Venoxis is a bugger at times with toxic link and Daakara can be awkward if you get the Lynx/Dragonhawk combo.
I would have to say that so long as you focus and get your positioning correct and such depending on the fight, none of them are particularly difficult or hard, anymore than any other heroic fight atm. The problem is that they are unforgiving if mistakes are made not quickly rectified.
The main offender from Zul’Aman…..
Take Daakara and his nasty Lynx/Dragonhawk combo. The main problem with this is the Claw Rage attack that seems to do somewhere in the region of 12,456,456,234 hp damage in two seconds flat. The reason for this problem is that the attack applies a stacking debuff that increases quite rapidly and the two small adds give a -100% armour debuff. Combine these two factors together and it doesn’t matter if you are a clothy or a plate wearer – you are screwed. However this is easily avoidable and very manageable. Firstly, the tank must taunt Daakara during claw rage and then the healer must spam heal him through it, it also helps if the target and then the tank pop defensive CD’s, it doesn’t have to be a shieldwall or anything, just barkskin or similar stuff. This should be fine, but it relies on the tank and the healer both anticipating it and being focused. Secondly, this can be minimised by burning through the two adds first so there is less change of the debuff. Personally, we have ignored the adds, blow hero + ToL and just burn him to 40% ASAP to avoid it, but lower dps groups may handle it better if they kill adds first.
After you get through the lynx phase, dragonhawk is almost laughable easy – heal through AoE fire whirl, avoid line of fire and don’t stand under the columns of fire (ergo if it spawns over your head then MOVE!!!! )
Zul’Gurub also seems to have its own nemesis of PuGs – Venoxis. This chappy really isn’t too bad either, but again requires focus and concentration for a few minutes. You cannot just stand and nuke (at least not all the time), however Blizzard have decided to make it a bit easier by giving him exhaustion after casting bloodvenom which stuns him for 10 secs, during which he also takes +100% damage, for this period of time you can just stand and nuke 😛
The bit in here that seems to break pugs is the poison maze. During the fight he will conjure up a maze that slowly draws itself across the floor of his little courtyard. The trick to avoiding damage is simple – DO NOT TOUCH THE MAZE! Thats it, nothing more. You cannot jump over the poison, run across it or anything else. So at any time the maze is active and you have to move (toxic link, bloodvenom etc) navigate the maze correctly and don’t touch the sides. This is so basic, it is about nothing more than keyboard/mouse skills, it has nothing to do with dps, health, avoidance or anything.
Pretty much the rest of the fight is interrupt the boss whenever possible and don’t stand in anything. Again, this is all basic stuff that everyone should have learnt by now in normals and the “basic” heroics. If everyone maintains their concentration, doesn’t panic and moves when they need to, this fight is actually very simple; no adds to deal with, no mid fight CC etc. The key thing is movement – if something green touches you, or spawns under you or breaths on you, you move NOW!: not when you have finished your long cast, not when your GCD is up but NOW! 😀
And the rest of them…
The rest of the bosses in the two instances have their own troublesome little abilities and such as well, but ultimately none are super difficult to understand. As I said about Venoxis movement, it is all about timing, do whatever you need to do when you need to do it, not in 5 secs when you are dead. If everyone keeps their cool and concentrates on what they should do then really none of the bosses should present too much trouble.
But you outgear the instances!
I can already hear the cries of those readers who have checked Kat and see she has a 358 iLevel. Yes, she maybe does outgear them, but she is not the only healer I have tried them with. I also tried to tackle Zul’Aman on my holy priest, Yberian. He is only 348 and therefore just scrapes into the queues.
I got a decent pug group, about 9-10k average dps and a 160k tank, the group was friendly and willing to take it slightly slower on account of my lower gear. We cleared to and killed both Akil’zon and Nalorakk and then unfortunately we all got dc’ed and logged back in to find that the group was just me and one of the dps. The pair of us queued up and got replacements.
This time though they had attitude, the tank refused to use CC and then starting shouting about “F**King n00b healers” when I couldn’t heal the group through a trash pack + 8 reinforcements (he hadn’t cc’ed the flame caster or killed the scout so we had craploads of AoE and about 11 mobs running after everyone, including one that one-shotted me ) after that I thought “bugger this” and went to do something with less offensive people. However, the first run shows that with a group who focus, use cc correctly and so on it is possible to do without hassle and without massively outgearing the content.
So the verdict?
If you haven’t already figured it out, I would say that the new instances are not “too hard”, they may be near impossible with a Wrath mentality or if you try and force you way through without taking care over tactics and so on, but everything is like that. Try ODS without killing the adds (or avoiding them), without interrupting Arcanotron (or kiting him from his uber pool) and such. See how many current raid bosses you can kill while ignoring all their tactics, even if you outgear and have them on farm.
However, concentrate, use tactics and think about what you are doing and the new instances are nothing more than a slight challenge. Just because we can’t faceroll them yet doesn’t mean they are too tough. So shame on all those people I saw posting on various forums on patch day crying for nerfs already!