|Kieryn||» #6224 Thursday November 3, 2005 at 15:18|
Venezuelan Beaver Cheese
The following will provide an introduction to the Blackwing Lair instance, detailing what the Leftovers communally know about it.
There are two entrances to Blackwing Lair, but due to the way instance player caps work, when raiding with the Leftovers you will always be entering Blackwing Lair from one and not the other. The first entrance you will encounter is located within the (Upper) Blackrock Spire instance, just beyond the Stadium where you fight Warlord Rend Blackhand and first meet Victor Nefarius. As you leave the Stadium and turn right on your way to the Spire Throne where General Drakkisath can be found, the green raid instance portal will be visible to your left.
The second entrance, and the one you will be using while raiding with the Leftovers, is special. It is only available once you have completed the appropriate quest, and only while you are already in a raid group. This entrance is located within Blackrock Mountain, near the balcony entrance to Blackrock Spire but opposite it down the curving corridor leading to the Scarshield Quartermaster. In the small room where the Quartermaster may be found at the southern end of this corridor, you will find an orb on a pedastal. If you have completed the necessary quest, and are currently in a raid group, then you may place your hand on (use) this orb to portal directly into Blackwing Lair. If you ever zone out of Blackwing Lair, you will reappear on the balcony in front of the entrance to Blackrock Spire, at the northern end of this corridor.
Because a maximum of 15 people from a single raid group can zone into the Blackrock Spire instance at any one time, the first entrance to Blackwing Lair will not be a reasonable way to enter when you are raiding with the Leftovers. Not to mention the additional time and effort wasted by clearing the intervening portions of Blackrock Spire to get to the portal. Instead, the alternate, "attuned" portal will be used exclusively.
How to Gain Entry
To be able to raid with the Leftovers in Blackwing Lair, you need to have finished the quest Blackhand's Command, which when completed will allow you to use the alternate "attuned" portal mentioned above.
What You'll Find There
Orcs, and Dragonkin, and Wipes, Oh My!
You'll be encountering a number of trash and "encounter" mobs, most of them orcs or dragonkin, along with a grand total of 8 boss mobs (not all of which we have yet seen in person).
Because of the linear nature of the progression from encounter to encounter in Blackwing Lair, and the way in which trash mobs are tied to specific areas or encounters in the zone, each variety of trash mob will be described together with the associated boss mob/encounter/area, rather than separately from the bosses themselves.
Special thanks should go out to Thalin, our resident graphics guru, who put together the excellent accompanying images for the Broodlord Lashlayer writeup!
"Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment." - Anonymous
|Kieryn||» #6225 Thursday November 3, 2005 at 16:08|
Venezuelan Beaver Cheese
The Razorgore the Untamed Encounter
The Razorgore encounter is fairly complicated, and requires every member of every class to fulfill a specific role, with a minimum of mistakes, if we are to succeed and emerge victorius. It is more chaotic than any previous endgame encounter up until this point, and presents a set of challenges completely unlike anything you will have seen elsewhere in the World of Warcraft up to this point.
Unfortunately, this complexity means that the full writeup on this encounter, which follows, is long! Apologies in advance, but you'll have to blame Blizzard for this one.
The Razorgore encounter takes place in the first room of Blackwing Lair. There are no trash mobs to clear before you may begin the encounter; instead, you may immediately start the encounter as soon as the raid group has zoned in and prepared. The room itself is a large rectangle. For simplicity, we refer to the direction you are facing when you first zone into Blackwing Lair as "north". Thus, the left-hand side of Razorgore's room as you enter it is referred to as "west", and the right-hand side is referred to as "east".
Raised platforms are located in the middle of both the east and west ends of the chamber. Razorgore the Untamed starts on the eastern platform, and the Orb of Command is located on the western platform. The Orb of Command is protected by 3 non-boss orcs: Grethok the Controller, and 2 Blackwing Guardsmen.
Spaced along the northern and southern walls are eight semi-enclosed "cubby holes" (2 adjacent to each corner of the chamber), which you may walk through freely if you choose. All of the mobs which spawn during the Razorgore encounter do so in one of these "cubbies".
Spread throughout the chamber, on the ground level as well as on top of the raised platforms, are a total of 30 large eggs.
At the northern end of the chamber is a gate which starts off closed, and opens only once Razorgore has been killed. At the southern end of the chamber is a gate which starts off open, and closes when the Razorgore encounter is initiated. It remains closed for the duration of the encounter, opening either when Razorgore has been killed or when the encounter has reset following a wipe.
The Phases - Overview
The encounter breaks down into two phases. During Phase 1, we must mind control Razorgore the Untamed via use of the Orb of Command, and force him to destroy all 30 of the eggs in the chamber, while surviving a continuous onslaught of Blackwing Mages, Blackwing Legionnaires, and Dragonkin that spawn in at regular intervals. Once this has been accomplished, Phase 2 begins with Razorgore healing back to full health and all of the other remaining mobs vanishing, at which point we must kill Razorgore himself.
Furthermore, Phase 1 is broken down into 3 sub-phases, as follows:
Phase 1a - Details
The raid gathers and buffs just inside (north) of the southern gate. Once buffs are applied, the entire raid group except for the designated orb controller moves into the area between the two southwestern cubbies. This places them directly south of Grethok and the Orb platform. The designated orb controller moves into the center of the chamber, as close as possible to the Orb platform without aggroing Grethok. Nobody should be anywhere near Razorgore or his platform.
When the raid is ready, Grethok is range pulled down off the platform. His Guardsmen adds are sheeped when the pull occurs. The orb controller rushes directly into position on the ground floor, snug up against the orb platform, and takes control of Razorgore; it is possible to manipulate the orb while standing on the ground floor, not only from on top of the platform.
Grethok the Controller has an AoE slow ability, along with a single-target mind control. He is DPSed down rapidly, followed by the two Guardsmen. Each Guardsman should be broken out of sheep by a warrior when the previous target has been reduced to 50% health or below. Avoid AoE and multi-target attacks that might disrupt the sheep effect prematurely.
Once these three orcs are killed, the raid will split up into four control groups (see below), and each group will immediately head to its assigned corner.
The first wave of Mages, Legionnaires, and Dragonkin spawns 30 seconds after the encounter begins. If the initial three orcs can be killed quickly enough, everybody will drop out of combat before the first wave arrives, so that individuals may top off their health and mana reserves by eating or drinking in the intervening seconds. Similarly, if any unlucky individuals are killed by Grethok or a Guardsman, they may be rezzed by priests or paladins during this respite.
Phase 1b - Details
The typical raid composition for the Razgorgore encounter is as follows: 4 Druids, 5 Hunters, 6 Mages, 6 Rogues, 5 Paladins, 5 Priests, 4 Warlocks, and 5 Warriors. This raid is further split up into 4 corner control groups, as follows:
Once mobs begin spawning in the chamber, they will arrive at a rate of 1-2 per corner every 15 seconds, until the overall mob population cap (approx. 40) has been reached. Generally speaking, once a mob spawns in it will head directly towards and up onto one of the two raised platforms, after which it will stop, turn and acquire a target to attack via direct LoS. Occasionally a mob that spawns will head for and attack Razorgore, but this occurs infrequently. The Dragonkin population is capped at approx. 12 mobs, but the population of Legionnaires and Mages is limited only by the overall cap.
The goal of this sub-phase is to kill all Orc Mages that spawn, kite all Dragonkin, and CC or kite as many Legionnaires as possible. Legionnaires should be tanked and/or killed during this phase *ONLY AS NEEDED*.
Orc Mages are physically weak and boast the least amount of armor and HP of the 3 types of spawns. They have a ranged Fireball attack that hits for ~1-2k of damage, and an instant Arcane Explosion that hits for ~600-800. They are susceptible to all forms of CC, snares, and slowing effects that affect humanoids.
Orc Legionnaires are melee mobs, with decent armor and HP. They have single-target and cleave melee attacks, and a special melee attack that does large amounts of damage to Dragonkin. As such, it is important to keep Legionnaires from attacking Razorgore excessively during Phase 1c. They are susceptible to all forms of CC, snares, and slowing effects that affect humanoids.
Dragonkin are melee mobs, with good armor and a large amount of HP. They have vicious melee attacks. They are susceptible only to sleep (via druid hibernation or Razorgore's "Calm Dragonkin" ability), fear, and a hunter's Scatter Shot, but cannot be otherwise slowed or snared.
Each class and role has a set of specific tasks to undertake during this phase:
Also, the AddOn AggroAlert can be very useful during Phase 1b portion of this encounter, because it provides a visible indicator of who your current target is attacking. This can allow players to better judge when a Dragonkin is actually "loose" and/or is aggro'd onto someone aside from a designated kiter.
Phase 1c - Details
If the controller begins his 4th control period "on pace" with 4-6 eggs remaining, having suffered negligible disruptions to that point, then his first action at the beginning of this phase will be to use Razorgore's Fireball Volley. This should break all CC (sheep, sleep, fear, etc.) on every mob in the chamber, and aggro them all onto Razorgore, whereupon they will all make a direct beeline towards Razorgore. After using the Fireball Volley ability, the Controller must continue to move to and destroy eggs as before.
Once this chaotic sub-phase begins, it becomes the duty of every class member to keep Razorgore alive, to survive themselves, and to disrupt the enemy mobs in any way possible. Note that these tasks overlap in many ways.
To keep Razorgore alive, enemy mobs should be prevented from attacking him as much as possible. This can be accomplished via the use of AoE fear effects, snares, slowing effects, and so on.
Warriors should be organized into a specific rotation for the use of Intimidating Shout. Each warrior, in turn, should run towards Razorgore and use his Shout, sending all of the mobs near Razorgore running scared in all directions. Combined with Piercing Howl, each use of this ability can provide a significant amount of time where the enemy mobs cannot attack Razorgore at all.
Priests and Warlocks should use their AoE fear abilities in a a similar, though more limited, fashion.
Hunters should (if possible) Feign Death and set a Frost Trap at this point, and use Scatter Shot as possible to disrupt enemy Dragonkin.
Rogues should stun and otherwise disrupt mobs' mobility.
Mages should make liberal use of Blink, Frost Nova, Cone of Cold, and Blizzard to slow enemy Orcs.
Paladins should be ready to use Blessing of Protecion on Razorgore as necessary to keep him alive, as the last eggs in the chamber are destroyed.
Once the final egg is destroyed, Razorgore heals immediately to full health, all of the remaining Orcs and Dragonkin in the chamber will quickly vanish, and Razorgore will make a beeline for the Controller who broke the last egg, starting Phase 2.
Phase 2 - Details
During this Phase, Razorgore himself must be killed. This is a fairly straightforward task involving tanking, healing stamina, and (only) ranged DPS.
As soon as this Phase begins, the Controller will move immediately to the SW corner of the chamber, to wait for Razorgore. *EVERY* other player *MUST* get out of the SW corner when this occurs, and should stay well clear of Razorgore as he moves to attack the Controller.
Once Razorgore has engaged the Controller, the fight begins in earnest. Razorgore has the following attacks and abilities:
It is vital that the MTs stay on opposite sides of Razorgore so that they cannot both be hit by Conflagration simultaneously, and so that when one is conflagg'd, his AoE does not affect the other.
Because Razorgore is untauntable and has aggro-reducing abilities, sufficient time must be allowed at the beginning of P2 for the MTs to build up aggro, before the rest of the raid attacks. Soulstones and combat rezzes should be used at this point, and healers or bandages should be used to top off players' health. Everybody except the MTs should stay at maximum effective range for their abilities, to avoid being affected by Conflagration.
Once sufficient time as been allowed for the MTs to build aggro on Razorgore, the raid will burn him down using ranged attacks *ONLY*. The only characters that should ever be within melee range of Razorgore should be the MTs and possibly paladins assigned to apply Judgements; it is too dangerous for rogues or other melee classes to stay in melee range, due to the unpredictability and AoE damage effects of anybody who is conflagg'd, especially combined with the knockdown effect of Razorgore's Warstomp.
The Razorgore the Untamed encounter is far and away the most complicated and difficult encounter you will experience to date in World of Warcraft. Every participant has a job to do, and must play at the top of their game with a minimum of mistakes.
Once the initial pull has been made, all of the mobs that spawn in a continuous stream must be killed, kited, or CC'd to keep the raid safe for as long as possible. All the while, Razorgore the Untamed will be mind controlled and forced to destroy the eggs littered throughout this chamber of Blackwing Lair.
Once all of the eggs are destroyed, Razorgore himself must then be killed.
And if everybody keeps their focus and accomplishes their tasks, the end result: PROFIT!
"Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment." - Anonymous
|Kieryn||» #6226 Thursday November 10, 2005 at 10:41|
Venezuelan Beaver Cheese
The Vaelastrasz the Corrupt Encounter
The Vaelastrasz encounter is, in many ways, quite simple in concept. But the devil is in the details! This encounter requires extremely careful execution and complete focus, since its elements of extreme unpredictability mean that any one mistake can trigger a complete raid wipe - in mere seconds.
The Vaelastrasz encounter takes place in the second room of Blackwing Lair, directly "north" of Razorgore's room. Once the previous encounter has been defeated, the gate separating these two rooms will open. Keep in mind that we refer to the direction you are facing when you first zone into BWL as "north" even if it does not exactly match up with north on a compass or your minimap.
The room itself is a medium sized rectangle, longer on the east-west axis than the north-south axis. In the middle of the east end of the chamber, a small ramp leads up to an enclosed area with two seats. In the southeastern and northeastern corners of the chamber, ramps lead up to a U-shaped balcony which runs the length of the northern, western, and southern walls of the chamber. There is an exit from this chamber in the middle of the western wall, at the balcony level, which remains shut until Vaelastrasz has been defeated.
Each time you zone into Blackwing Lair with a reset instance, whether it has a saved raidID or not, the dragon Vaelastrasz will be lying down on the ground in the center of the chamber, facing the "throne" area. He will initially be marked friendly (green). Whenever Vaelastrasz is non-agressive (green), a member of the raid must speak to him in order to trigger the encounter.
The first time you enter this room after defeating Razorgore in a given instance, 7 other mobs will be present in addition to the languishing dragon. Victor Nefarius (in humanoid form) will be seated on the raised "throne" area. He is untargetable and immediately begins a scripted storyline event when the raid enters the chamber, after which he will vanish. In addition, 3 Blackwing Technicians (goblins) will be located just to the north and south of Vaelastrasz, or 6 Technicians in total. At the same time Nefarius begins his scripted event, these Technicians will flee to the SE and NE, ascend to the balcony, and run to the western gate to escape the chamber.
The Blackwing Technicians
The 6 goblin Technicians which are present in Vaelastrasz's chamber the first time you enter it in each instance are examples of a mob type that will recur later on in the instance. They do not offer an appreciable threat to the raid, but it is in our interests to kill as many of them as possible in each instance, since these mobs can drop the elusive Elementium Ore that is ultimately necessary in the creation quest for Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker. The individual chance for Elementium Ore to drop from each Technician is low (~3-4%), and thus every one of these mobs we can kill counts, given our desire to collect the Ore necessary for our members to attain Thunderfury.
To accomplish this task is fairly straightforward. The raid will prepare and organize itself at the northern end of Razorgore's chamber. Once the raid is prepared, *EVERYONE* should rush into Vaelastrasz' area together. Those in odd groups should head to the NE corner of the chamber, to cut off escape for the 3 Technicians that head north. Those in even groups should head to the SE corner, to cut off escape for the 3 Techniciant that head south. Players should use Aspect of the Pack, Charge, Sprint, Blink, and other such abilities to quickly close the distance to and tag all 6 Technicians. Once the Technicians have been engaged, they should be quickly but safely dispatched.
Technicians have one primary mode of attack: once aggro'd and engaged in combat, they will tend to stand in place and frequently throw short-range explosive grenades at targets near them. In these numbers (3 per group), those grenades are not a significant threat unless players get careless. Later on in Blackwing Lair, Technicians will become more of a nuisance. Once as many Technicians as possible have been killed, the raid may buff up, get to their positions, and engage Vaelastrasz.
Vaelastrasz the Corrupt, Scion of the Red Dragonflight
As noted previously, Vaelastrasz is a dragon, and shares many features and basic attacks in common with other dragons such as Onyxia and Azuregos. Vaelastrasz's non-physical attacks are all fire-based, similar to Onyxia's. He has the following abilities:
Essence of the Red
This debuff is applied to every member of the raid, immediately, when Vaelastrasz is aggro'd. It lasts for 3 minutes, and restores 500 mana, 50 energy, or 20 rage (as applicable) to every affected player each second.
This debuff is one of the key elements of the Vaelastrasz encounter, enabling the entire raid group to sustain incredible amounts of DPS and healing for the full duration of its effects. Because of the incredible rate at which those affected generate mana, energy, or rage, it means that each individual can, in general terms, use his most effective and powerful abilities, almost continuously (or as often as cooldowns allow) for the duration of the encounter, without needing to worry about depleting their mana/energy/rage whatsoever.
The only ways currently known to remove Essence of the Red before it fades naturally are to die or for a paladin to use a Divine Shield. Both of these must be avoided at all costs, due to the integral nature of this debuff to the raid group's success.
The only raid members that are assigned Soul Stones during the Vaelastrasz encounter, as a result, are Rogues. This is done because rogues are the only class which can realistically operate at close to optimal capacity for an extended amount of time during this encounter, even if they are missing the Essence debuff; any other class will quickly run out of mana or rage and be rendered minimally useful otherwise.
This debuff is applied to one or more members of the raid, approximately every 15 seconds starting when the encounter begins. The overall pattern of who will receive this debuff, and when, is predictable and operates as follows:
The effects of Burning Adrenaline (BA) are as follows:
Members of DPS classes that receive the debuff must maximize its +damage and casting speed effects to increase the raid's overall DPS before they, inevitably, die.
Members of healing classes that receive the debuff must maximize its instant-cast effect to increast the amount of healing they can perform before they, inevitably, die.
All classes must move, upon receiving the debuff, in such a way that they will not kill any other raid members if they survive until the debuff expires and explode.
All classes must make the proper adjustments to cover for and fill in as members of the raid, one by one, receive the debuff and die. This requires that the remaining healers adjust to take over MT healing duties when an MT healer receives the debuff, for example. It is also the key reason why our warriors must implement an ordered set of aggro transitions, from one MT to the next, as each one in the sequence receives BA at 45-second intervals.
The Warrior Aggro Transitions
The single most difficult task of this encounter, the "meat and potatoes" of a successful attempt, lies in the ordered transition of aggro from one MT to the next, as each one in turn receives BA. If the current MT dies before he is "scheduled" to receive BA, if the current MT dies before the next MT in sequence has gained aggro in a smooth transition, or if any DPSer or healer steals aggro from the current MT at *ANY* point during the encounter, it is exceedingly likely that Vaelastrasz will turn...and some combination of his cleave and flame breath attacks will likely wipe the raid group within mere seconds.
As long as these transitions occur properly, the current MT is always kept alive until he receives BA and dies a "natural" death, DPS is maintained without any pulling aggro from the current MT, and the healers are able to ensure that no raid member dies unless it is unavoidable (such as upon receiving BA), then Vaelastrasz can be defeated.
The most important elements are as follows:
Positioning and Grouping
The raid is divided into party groups as follows:
The raid is positioned during the encounter as follows:
Those on top of the balcony can move directly east or west along the balcony to safety, or (what is often simpler and faster) move obliquely off the balcony's edge, falling onto the ground level in a spot that is clear of other raid members. If needed, someone who drops off the edge can then back up towards the southern wall as well.
Healing and Fire Resist
Healers must maintain dual focuses during this encounter: keeping the MT alive, and keeping the raid alive to inflict damage on Vaelastrasz. Both of these tasks are aided by the inclusion of FR, especially on our MTs. All MTs should have 315 buffed FR for this encounter, or as close to 315 as possible, to minimize the effect of both the flame breath and Fire Nova.
The rest of the raid should aim for a buffed FR of at least 200, and more if it is possible without sacrificing too many key stats, to help alleviate some of the damage they will be taking from the Fire Nova. Keep in mind that the FR buff given by Scarshield Spellbinders in BRS will NOT be used in general, due to the time contraints necessary in doing so.
At least 3 primary Healers (Druids/Priests) should be healing the current MT at all times, with the help of our Paladins.
The remaining primary Healers and Paladins should aim to keep every member of the raid alive until and unless they die unavoidably as a result of receiving Burning Adrenaline. Generally speaking, this means a significant amount of spot healing, as well as party-based healing via Prayer of Healing, will be needed to counteract the continuous damage output of Vaelastrasz's Fire Nova.
As healers themselves are killed as a result of receiving BA, other healers must actively adjust to make up for the difference, re-prioritizing to ensure that the dwindling numbers of the raid continue to survive to the end of the encounter.
Healers that receive BA should, once they have moved to a safe spot, make the best use of BA possible before they die, sending out max-rank heals that have been converted into instant casts.
All DPS classes, both ranged and melee, will wait for 10 seconds after the encounter begins before attacking Vaelastrasz. Once they begin attacking, however, they should not hold back unless it is absolutely necessary. Any classes with aggro-reducing abilities, including Feint and Feign Death, should be used as often as their cooldowns allow. Rogues should also Vanish as soon as MT2 receives the BA debuff.
DPS classes that receive BA should, once they have moved to a safe spot, make the best use of BA possible before they die, using their most effective combat abilities and sending out max-rank spells that have been converted into instant casts.
The Vaelastrasz the Corrupt encounter is one of the most unpredictable and fast-paced encounters in World of Warcraft that we have experienced thus far. It requires focus, skill, and an absolute minimum of mistakes.
Success is dependent upon superlative tanking, amazing healing, excellent aggro control, and shockingly high DPS. All of these things must come together for the encounter to work.
But it certainly is fun!
"Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment." - Anonymous
|Kieryn||» #6227 Thursday December 1, 2005 at 00:13|
Venezuelan Beaver Cheese
Clearing to Broodlord Lashlayer
After defeating Vaelastrasz the Corrupt, the gate leading out of his chamber will open. Through that gate, you will be greeted for the first time in this instance by the sight of bona fide, honest-to-goodness trash mobs barring the path to the next boss, Broodlord Lashlayer. Trash mobs populate 3 rooms, along with connecting passageways, that you must clear in order to reach the Broodlord.
The first room contains two groups of dragonkin, which we call Death Talon Packs. Once the Death Talon Packs have been cleared, your path leads up some stairs and to a pair of interconnected Suppression Rooms. The Suppression Rooms are populated by a fast-respawning mix of elite dragonkin and orcs, non-elite whelps, and a network of traps called "Suppression Devices" which can severely limit the speed and combat effectiveness of the raid as it clears through these rooms if not dealt with appropriately. Broodlord Lashlayer himself guards the gate at the end of the 2nd Suppression Room.
Death Talon Packs
Beyond Vaelastrasz's chamber to the west lies a medium-sized room, with some monster-sized kegs of "Evildragonlordbrau" (Victor sure knows how to party!) and two Death Talon Packs. Each Pack consists of a semi-random assortment of 4 varieties of dragonkin. If any member of a Pack survives a bad pull, the entire Pack will respawn; they cannot be split or pulled and killed incrementally.
The four mob types that comprise these Packs are as follows:
The Suppression Rooms
The second and third room you clear through to reach the Broodlord, along with an L-shaped hallway that connects them, collectively form the "Suppression Rooms". These rooms, represent a "gauntlet" filled with various fast-respawning mobs and traps that must be dealt with as the raid progresses through these rooms. Progress must be made quickly and efficiently, with only brief stops possible. The raid must stay in near-constant motion, and cannot allow itself to dawdle or become too spread out lest it fall prey to the rapid respawns.
All of the trash mobs located within the Suppression Rooms continue to respawn for as long as Broodlord Lashlayer remains alive. Generally speaking, any wipe on the Broodlord will require the raid to re-clear through a complete circuit of the Suppression Rooms in order to make their next attempt at the boss. Once Broodlord Lashlayer is dead, all of these mobs will stop respawning and the traps spread throughout will deactivate. When zoning into a saved (but reset) instance where the Broodlord is already dead, the traps will not appear at all.
The two Suppression Rooms themselves are approximately rectangular, laid out with their long axes running N/S. They are adjacent to one another and tiered, with the lower room to the west and the upper room to the east. The western side of the upper room is not bounded by a wall, but instead by a ledge that is also the eastern wall of the lower room. The outer (right-hand) wall of each room has a series of shallow "cubbies" that the raid may take temporary refuge in, on their way to the Broodlord. The image below shows the general layout of these rooms, and the passageway between them.
While in the Suppression Rooms, the raid must deal with the following:
The contents of the Suppression Rooms are displayed in abstract form by the following image. Note the approximate positioning of the Suppression Devices, as well as a simplified representation of the paths taken by Hatchers as they patrol the area. Taskmasters patrol in a more general vicinity, randomly enough that it is not explicitly marked. Whelps are spread throughout the room; generally, one group per Suppression Device. The raid will move along the outer, right-hand wall of each long room, making incremental progress from one cubby to the next as indicated on the diagram.
Broodlord Lashlayer is located at the end of the 2nd (upper) Suppression Room, guarding a closed gate in the center of its northern wall. When the raid reaches the second to last cubby before the Broodlord, it is vitally important that they stay close to the eastern wall, to avoid accidentally pulling the Broodlord due to his large aggro radius (indicated above as a brightened circle). Once in this second-to-last cubby, the raid will buff up. When ready, they will move to engage him in combat.
Broodlord Lashlayer, a New Breed of Bad Guy
Broodlord Lashlayer is the first draconid that you will encounter in Blackwing Lair, a fiendish hybrid of dragonkin and humanoid (orcish?) stock. He is big, and bad, and wields a very mean blade indeed. Though some of his abilities are familiar, others are not, and he poses a unique test of the raid's capabilities. Broodlord Lashlayer has the following attacks and abilities:
Once the healers are in position and ready to cast, they will signal MT1 to begin attacking. The other MTs will engage a moment later. Generally speaking, a single group of Corrupted Whelps must be killed by the raid group as they move into their positions in the nearest cubby to the Broodlord.
Broodlord Lashlayer should be tanked such that he faces the closed gate, with his back to the rest of the raid group. Rogues will move into position once MT1 has aggro control, and begin attacking the Broodlord from behind. At the same time, ranged DPS will open fire. As the encounter progresses, Broodlord Lashlayer will frequently switch targets from one MT to the next, in a near-random progression as each MT in turn loses aggro control due to the Broodlord's single-target knockback. The following image displays the approximate positioning used by the members of the raid during the encounter.
The challenge this encounter presents is to preserve all of the MTs for as long as possible, while inflicting consistent high DPS, managing aggro, and avoiding the "aggro ceiling" effect (discussed in greater detail later). Specifically, each class must accomplish definite goals:
The "Aggro Ceiling"
This is a fairly new concept, in the sense that it has not yet played a significant part in the design of the WoW endgame until this point. Broodlord Lashlayer is the first boss you will encounter where it is a featured aspect of the encounter. The essential ideas are as follows:
Because the primary de-aggro ability used by the Broodlord affects only a single target, the more MTs are alive and building aggro at any given time, the more that de-aggro effect will be "spread" across multiple MTs and the higher overall threat the aggro leader will be able to reach as the encounter progresses. Every time an MT is lost during the encounter, the maximum effective height of the aggro "ceiling" is significantly reduced.
It is important to note the following:
All in all, clearing your way to Broodlord Lashlayer is a test in and of itself. The unique environment presented by the Suppression Rooms, and the nonstop gauntlet that must be run through them, represent a true departure from previous incarnations of endgame trash mob content. Each time the raid has finished clearing to the Broodlord himself, they must also prove they are up to a delicate challenge: balancing the needs of a fast-paced and demanding tanking and healing encounter with the entirely new difficulty of managing threat, so as to avoid the "aggro ceiling".
Once again, if you find yourself up to the task, the final rewards of success include both satisfaction and enjoyment.
Oh yeah...and booties!
"Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment." - Anonymous