October 22, 2009

WoW Patch 3.3 PTR: Festergut impressions

I cleared out the tail end of my afternoon in the hopes of getting a glimpse at the latest raid boss to be tested in the patch 3.3 PTR. Festergut was open for testing on North American servers while the European servers had Rotface. There were some issues with Rotface earlier in the day (namely that the 25 man version of Rotface had health that was meant for the 10 man). Anyway, I managed to get in a few attempts on Festergut here while playing on my priest.

First, let's talk trash.
Gallery: Icecrown Citadel http://www.wow.com/gallery/icecrown-citadel/

Zoning in, you'll see the Ashen Verdict (which I assume is the new faction pairing the Ebon Blade and Argent Crusade forces together) with a forward command post on the bottom floor of Icecrown. Tirion and his boys are standing by holding down the fort here while your forces are slowly infiltrating Icecrown.

There's a teleporter right at the entrance. Festergut is located in the Plagueworks section of the citadel. After you step off the teleporter and step forward a bit, you'll be greeted by an extremely vast chasm. The whole place feels very Black Temple-esque in size and scope. I couldn't help but take a few seconds to really appreciate just how massive this one area was. There was nothing but fog when I looked down over the bridge.

Anyway, our group didn't move more than a few steps before engaging one of the pesky Val'kyrs. She went down without too much of a fight.

Of course, what's an undead dungeon without a couple of abominations guarding the wings? I think these guys did a knock back. Regardless, the abominations presented no problems for our (mostly) pre-made group of players.

We rounded the bend and stopped short. There were not only one but two Gluth-like dogs patrolling the hallway. What the heck, let's pull one and see what happens, eh? The tank pulls one of these oversized dogs and the raid starts opening up on him. Piece of cake, we think to ourselves.


A few seconds later he takes a big chomp out of the raid. Everyone's health drops down to 10% and zombies start streaming in.

Yeah, I'm not kidding.

It's the first wipe of the night to Gluth version 2.0.

We were two healing the trash and I found it tough. You'd think a disc priest and a resto shaman would have that stuff covered. The second time around, I zeroed in on the tanks after he took a bite again (Binding Heal is your friend, priests). We were prepared for the zombies this time.

For future reference though, please don't drop an Earthbind Totem or Frost Nova the zombies when they're next to the healers. We don't like getting beat on when we're near death. Once we shut down the oversized mutt, we snuck by the other dog and took a left towards Festergut.

This guy looks hideous.

Attempt 1

We had no idea what to expect. We were also shorthanded one player resulting in us 9 manning the first try. We didn't know much about the boss and we figured we'd use the time to explore his abilities.

Didn't last very long. The area was permeated with and orange gas. We were caught off-guard and I know I panicked. I was running around the room looking for an off switch of some sorts. Everyone in the raid continued to take damage and the shaman and myself were hard-pressed to keep everyone alive.

My party members fell one by one. I couldn't keep them alive fast enough or Festergut got to them before I could. I felt like I was 2 seconds behind his every move. Eventually, we wiped.

But we did learn several things.

The gimmick

That orange gas in the room is called Gaseous Blight. It deals constant damage to the players within the room. Festergut will periodically inhale this. Gas Spores are going to infect a couple of players (2 on 10 man). After it wears off, it explodes and deals shadow damage to the players around you and increases their resistance to the Blight effect (assuming they get hit by Blighted Spores). It's called Inoculation. Shadow damage taken is decreased by 25%. So the goal is to run into a crowd of players when a player has a gas spore (or have the players run to you if you have it, do whatever works).

Once he finishes inhaling the blight a few times, as you can guess, all the gas has to be released somehow. And ugh, he passes enough wind to effectively wipe the raid if they're not inoculated to that stuff. It's no longer gaseous blight. It's become Pungent Blight.

We found that out on the second try.

Oh, and for you smart guys who are thinking "Why don't we just stack the raid and heal through the Gas Spore damage so that everyone around them gets Inoculated," there's one ability called Vile Gas. If a player gets hit, they start vomiting. This isn't ordinary vomit either. It deals damage to nearby players.

On the last try, I raised the white flag in surrender. We couldn't two heal it just yet. We weren't able to recognize the abilities quick enough nor were the players able to identify when to run in and when to stay out. We needed an extra healer to function as a cushion for us. Our druid tank switched to tree form since it didn't seem like we needed a second tank for this boss. Players stayed alive longer and we were slowly getting the hang of the encounter.

Unfortunately, it was over. Boss testing time was finished and I wasn't able to claim my first PTR boss kill.

All in all, from a healing standpoint, Festergut presents a tough challenge. There's no way a raid group's going to be able to 2 heal Icecrown initially. Most of us were using pre-made characters so we had some pretty sweet hardware. The trash at this level of the instance seemed difficult enough. Sure they recycled a boss mechanics as a trash mob, but it's an interesting spin nonetheless which kept the healers working. Just experiencing this one wing leads me to believe that Icecrown may very well be Blizzard's crowning raid dungeon. All the bosses we've fought in Northrend and the instances we've healed through?

I suspect it's nothing compared to what awaits inside the citadel.

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