Thursday, June 21, 2007

Rating Karazhan, Part I

I think it's a good time to take a look back at Karazhan and evaluate it. I've done almost all of the fights inside (haven't been in on a Netherspite kill yet). I'm not going to describe the fights here, but you can take a look at the WoWWiki Karazhan page for full descriptions if you want.

First, let's look at the trash. I'm not a fan of the trash in Karazhan. I think respawns are silly, and there's too much trash in general. In particular, the trash from Curator to Shade of Aran really needs to be thinned out. For the most part, the trash is at a reasonable difficulty level. The major exceptions are the spell shade packs. Maybe my raid hasn't discovered the secret to dealing with them, but we get absolutely wrecked by them every week.

Final Grade - Trash: D

Attumen the Huntsman is a solid introductory fight. It's a relatively simple tank-and-spank fight that has a couple of phases and is a good length. It's a very good first raid fight that serves as a check to see if your guild is ready for rading.

Final Grade - Attumen the Huntsman: B

Moroes is one of my favorite fights. It is the first complex fight, and is a solid test of your guild's coordination. About the only negatives is that it can be hard if you don't have a priest, hunter or paladin to crowd control, and it gets a lot easier with 2 priests. But it's still doable with stunlocking, kiting, or even just tanking everything.

It's a fight where a lot of different strategies can work, but in the end just comes down to the skill of your raid. As for difficulty, I think it is well placed, especially with the vanishes to give your raid a breather, and allow healers to catch up.

Downing Moroes for the first time feels like a significant accomplishment arising from skillful execution, which is what the best raid fights do.

Final Grade - Moroes: A+

Maiden of Virtue is a decent fight. The layout of the fight with the pillars is well done, and the fight is very different. It seems to be much easier if you have a paladin in the group, and does require you to be quick with cleanses. However, I'm a fan of Blessing of Sacrifice, and I always enjoy fights where I get to use it.

The big knock against this fight is that--like several fights in Karazhan--it is biased against melee-heavy raids. It's still doable, but realistically if you have more than 3 melee, it's painful.

As well, I think that Maiden does slightly too much damage. For some reason, I die an awful lot on this fight, which is odd for its placement in the zone. Like tonight I took a Holy Fire, cleansed it, then got hit by Repentance and died before I had a chance to heal. Maybe we aren't using Dampen Magic enough. I do think that the Holy Fire damage could be toned down slightly.

Final Grade - Maiden of Virtue: C

The opera events are really well done. All the fights are reasonably interesting and amusing. After the difficulty of Romulo and Julianne was brought in line with the other two fights, all three fights are roughly the same quality.

Running around as Little Red Riding Hood, and being chased by the Big Bad Wolf is hilarious. I'm not really too sure what else to say. The fights are tuned well, and I look forward to Opera when we do Karazhan. At the same time, there's nothing amazing about any of the fights either. Solid raiding fare.

Final Grade - Opera Events: B

The Curator is another very good fight. It's the first real test of your DPS, and one of the best places to make them step and be accountable. To be quite honest, in a lot of pre-TBC content, tanks and healers carried the DPS. I'm very happy to see TBC making the DPS visibly responsible for wipes.

As with Maiden, this fight punishes melee-heavy groups. It's still doable, but puts extra stress on your healers. That's really about the only negative for this fight.

I love the voice acting for Curator, as well. It's very different from your typical raid fight, and is a nice change of pace.

Final Grade - The Curator: B+

I'll cover the remaining bosses next post. One thing about Karazhan I've noticed is that it really likes a balanced raid. One of each class plus a DPS off-tank is pretty much the ideal setup for going through Kara from start to end. In fact, the more your raid deviates from this setup, the harder many fights in Kara become.


  1. I'm pretty partial to ANY fight where I can use a Paladin related ability to save the day and make a difference, so Maiden, Moroes, and Big Bad Wolf are a bit of a favorite for me.

  2. Maiden used to be a LOT worse to melee. They've lightened her up majorly. And if the melee are smart, they can zoom in and out to bandage. It's somewhat of a welcome change to smarten up your melee, instead of them pushing a couple of buttons and staying in one spot all the time.

    Moroes is a decent fight… once you get it down. I think it's difficulty is a bit too much for this early in Kara. The adds, in particular are a bit too annoying. CC isn't perfect, and if one gets loose, they can really wreck the raid. I'd probably tune the adds down a bit.

    I'd also fix the annoying bug of an add being feared out of a room and resetting the fight. That means a paladin is an iffy form of CC, leaving just priests and hunters (which can hurt your healing or dps). The solution is simple. Just give the adds a physical boundary they can't go past. Or no boundary at all, and let them be feared all over karazhan if needed (just means you need to make sure there is plenty of space cleared).

    And I'd change the respawn timer to something like 5 hours for trash. This gives enough time for a standard raid, and a way for Bliz to say, "Hey, you've been at this long enough, take a break" when respawns happen.

  3. The spellshade packs are some of the few pieces of trash that we wipe on in Kara when we get careless. It always seems to be the two pulls after Aran on the way to Netherspite/Chess (probably because we're all doing the 'Hard part is over lets go get free chess loot' routine). When it goes well we cc as many as possible of the smal ones and off tank the rest (spell reflecting and pummeling as necessary), and the Spellshade gets burnt down first. I think you can range or los the big aoe volleys, but I'm not entirely sure (being ranged I just stand back and pew pew it until it dies).

    You're probably already doing this, but a shaman dropping grounding makes cleanses much easier, it's usually up enough to catch ~80% of the holy fires on people in range.

    Melee on the astral sparks (or whatever they're called) can be a bit rough, but I've found chain heals are fairly uber for that purpose.

    Why yes, I do play a shaman, why do you ask?

  4. We have found having the MT face the Spellshade away from the raid and well timed interrupts can make or break the pull.

    The first pack after Aran is particularly interesting. If only the Healers and Tanks are in LoS you're going to lose the squishy life givers and wipe. MT must LoS them too the raid then turn the Spellshade from the raid once everyone has LoS - I find this more equally shares the splash damage around keeping key personal alive.

    The trash respawn while annoying to new comers is a very viable and well paced mechanism. Often you get 3-5 attempts on a boss and after the first kill that’s typically all you should need.

    Until last night I had also never downed Netherspite but the encounter is much more inline with the rest of Kara now. I'd urge you to clear him on the way to Chest (Free loots) as while its still a fun fight is very manageable if you can already down Shade of Aran.

  5. Curator is a dps check but if you have the dps he is a easy fight. Since the very first day we killed him we have had only 1 wipe to lack of dps. In comparison for moroes I have to think how can I kill him with the group I have, indeed I often have to think about it when forming the raid and because of the technical nature of the fight we continued to have the occasional wipe for a long time after the first kill.

    Anonymous For moroes just make sure your paladins fear from the steps, I havent feared out of the room in 2 months and I am allways on the 3rd add,ret pally or holy priest.

  6. This is a fantastic idea, although I don't quite agree with your ratings, per se.

    Being a paladin myself (guild's only raiding one), its great to see my abilities actually making a significant difference on some of the fights such as Moroes and Maiden. I've done it without pallies (I used to be a rogue before I rerolled) but it's a great feeling to be making it that much easier for everyone.

  7. I forgot to mention, for the shade packs, I tank 2-3 depending on need. I'm a prot paladin. For the sorcerous shades, I tank those. Avenger's shield, excorcism, and judge righteousness on the pull, and DPS opens up all the way. They won't pull it off me, or if they do, it's almost dead anyway.

  8. Shades packs can be shackled and pally feared and hunter traped. Do any of that and they are not bad at all. Moroes is a great check on if you should be karazhan. I like the fight as well. It contains a good mix of random and fix elements and it is nicely balanced.

  9. curator's fine with melee. we do it like this, and one shot every time:

    group 1: pally tank, shadow priest (on curator whole fight), 3 healers.
    group 2 (aka the perfect storm): enh shaman, feral druid, ms warrior, rogue, (whatever).

  10. I am probably late on posting, but oh well!

    Those mana pack guys are easy if you have a lock to banish one, warrior tanks the big guy till he is dead (first to die), then the little ones one by one keeping one banished. Rogues, warrior, paladin's can take turn stunning them as they start to grow (at about 5-15%). They will not explode.

    Or you can have your priest/lock/warrior fear them as they start to grow. If one does explode, have the healers get everyone topped up on health before the next one gets DPS'd down. (incase it explodes too, cause that will wipe everyone).

    Also, we only pull the packs and spellshades directly around the right of the room, clearing a path to run around the outside ring of the circle room, instead of fighting everything. Saves time!

    As for the Terestian Illhoof fight, the healing is majorly simple for keeping up people being sacrificed. I am a holy paladin, We have usually 2 priest, 1 pally healing. the priests are keeping up renews on the lock who is tossin seeds of corruption on the adds, have your melee call out when illhoof is casting sacrifice.

    You will only have a few moments, but its enough time to click off your target so you have no target selected, and select one of your holy light spells (i downrank and use rank 9 since my +heal is overkill), prime up your spell (when the hand cursor is blue) and wait to see who is being sacrificed. As soon as whom ever is being sacrifices says "im being sacrificed", you can put the heal up right away with zero hesitation. This works very very well for healing the outrageous dmg the chains do.

    Sorry if this is all old news to you, but thought i would post anyhow.