Pop Quiz: It’s Time For Some World of Warcraft Trivia!

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Come on guys, you knew this was coming at some point.  I may not be much of a WoW player anymore, but you had to know that one day I’d let my endless fanboy-ness shine through and hit you with some WoW trivia!  Come one, come all, ye olde adventurers of Azeroth.  See if your trivia skills can top this quiz.

The Top Five Most Technically Impressive Games Ever.

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By: Steve Zachmann, contributor

Whether you’re a game developer, a developer of another type, or have never written a line of code in your life, if you play video games then there are undoubtedly moments when you’ve thought to yourself, ‘how in the world did they do that?’  As I’ve started developing games, this thought has started popping into my head more and more often, and with more specificity than ever.  The more code I write, and the more problems I have to solve for my tiny little game, the more I’m in awe of the games that have come before, and have innovated in ways that I could only dream of.  So here are my picks for the top 5 most awe inspiring feats of technical prowess ever in gaming.

  1. Tennis for Two

You’ve probably never heard of Tennis for Two.  Even if you’re a gaming historian, most consider Spacewar, created in 1962, to be the first proper video game.  For my money though, Tennis for Two is truly the first video game.  Created on a friggin oscilloscope in 1958, Tennis for Two is an incredible feat of both technical prowess and imagination, and it paved the way for Spacewar and everything that came after it.  What’s more, William Higginbotham, the game’s creator, developed it because ‘he was bored’.  Thank god for boring jobs, I guess.

  1. League of Legends / Dota 2

If there is one thing that scares me more than anything about game development, it’s balance.  It’s easy to think up a bunch of cool abilities for a character, but to then ensure that those cool abilities aren’t cooler than another character’s cool abilities; that’s tough.  Take that problem and raise it to the power of 110+.  Then throw in some other facts; characters have more than one ability, characters can use items to enhance their builds in a multitude of ways, and teams consist of more than one player so there are combinations of characters/moves.  All of that stuff basically stacks multiplicatively to create an amount of variation that is mathematically staggering.  Oh, and if you screw up one tiny detail, someone in the community will notice and either exploit the imbalance or pitch a fit on your forums.  Plus, both of these games hold tournaments where millions of dollars are at stake, so balance is even more important.  It’s absolutely mind boggling to me how a group of people of any size could possibly manage this task, and even though I’m sure hardcore players of either game would be quick to point out certain flaws in the system, the fact that it works at all is incredible.

  1. Ultima Online / EverQuest / World of Warcraft

I know, this is the second time in this list that I’ve chosen multiple games.  I realize that it’s kind of a cop out, but in this case, they all did kind of the same thing in different and important ways.  MMOs in general fascinate me from a programming and design perspective.  First is the problem of big data; which I think WoW takes the crown for.  Somewhere there is a database managing upwards of 10 million players, many of whom have multiple characters which all have their own inventories, stats, etc…  That fact in and of itself is awe-inspiring.  Factor in that this data is constantly updated by player actions, broadcast to other players, kept secure from both client and server side hacks, and that all of this has to happen with very little impedance to the player.  Oh, and both Ultima Online and EverQuest accomplished that over dial-up.  MMOs are complex from a networking perspective in a way that I simply cannot fathom, and they stand as a testament to how much we really like to smash bad guys with our friends.

  1. Grand Theft Auto III

I’ve played tons of games in my lifetime, but none created a sense of awe like Grand Theft Auto III.  Rockstar has done a lot to improve the formula since then, but that first iteration of GTA as a living 3D world is still the most incredible from a technical perspective.  I had never played a game that felt so alive, so large, and so free.  When you consider that GTAIII came out on the PS2 originally, it’s even more impressive.  That’s not to say that the PS2 was a bad platform at all, but that hardware is old at this point.  Rockstar managed to accomplish all they did in GTAIII with 32mb of RAM and 4mb of video RAM.  If you’re not a hardware guy, here’s some mathematical perspective; the PS4 has 8gb of shared RAM which is a 22 THOUSAND PERCENT increase over the PS2.  On top of that, GTAIII was fun.  It had style, story, and humor.  It’s innovation went beyond simply it’s size and scope; the freedom it presented made it extra-special.  Stealing a car and driving from one end of Liberty City to the other is, to this day, one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had in gaming.

  1. Quake

As I thought about the games I’d choose for this post I knew it would be impossible to not have some Carmack representation on here, and even though an argument could be made that Doom or Wolfenstein might be more notable, I think that once you realize all of what Quake managed to accomplish in a single package, you’ll agree that it’s not only Carmack’s most important contribution to gaming, but it might be the single most important contribution to gaming, period.

First off, Quake is arguably the most important game ever in the 3D revolution.  GLQuake, which took advantage of early 3D hardware, helped make graphics tech a staple of PC and console gaming.  Without Quake, 3D tech may very well be pretty far behind it’s current state.  Second, Quake is by far the most popular early adopter of TCP/IP client-server multiplayer, without which multiplayer gaming as we know it today simply would not exist.  This technology is often lost in the shuffle because it’s not visible, but client-server is what makes virtually every modern-day multiplayer game work.  In addition, Quake’s mod support was leaps and bounds ahead of the industry at the time.  The moddability of Quake gave rise to a community that ended up building careers from their contributions to the game.  Games like Counter-Strike and Team Fortress 2, which started as Half-Life mods, owe much of their success to the Quake modding community that opened those doors.

All of this innovation came from one game, and to a large degree, one man.  Bits of code from the Quake engine can still be found in games today, which is a testament to the excellence of John Carmack’s work.  All of the games on this list are important and innovative, but where most of them were created by large teams of people, Quake was basically a product of John Carmack (and Michael Abrash).  From a technical innovation perspective, no single person has been more influential than John Carmack, and Quake very well may be his magnum-opus.  Quake isn’t the best game ever made, but it’s tech is so staggeringly impressive that I had to give it my top spot.

This was another hard list to make.  Some games that barely missed the cut were Minecraft, Super Mari 64, Metal Gear Solid, and The Legend of Zelda.  It’s almost impossible to pick on the 5 best of anything, so I figured I’d mention some of these others.  Do you agree with my list?  Disagree?  Think I’m a complete idiot?  Let me know!

Weekly Warcraft Wednesday:  Remembering one of WoW’s Worst Moments.

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Note:  I’ve chosen not to link the video discussed in this post.  If you want to, feel free to look it up on your own, but I’m not going to promote it here.

World of Warcraft has produced some funny moments, and some interesting moments.  It’s also produced many truly awful moments as well.  Today marks the ninth anniversary of the most notable – at least in my opinion – event in WoW’s history.  The details go something like this:  An avid WoW player suffered a fatal stroke, so her in-game friends decided to have a makeshift funeral for her inside Azeroth.  They posted notices on WoW’s forums, inviting players from both the Alliance and Horde to come pay their respects.  The rules were pretty straightforward.  Do not attack one-another.  Be respectful.

As you can imagine, things did not go to plan.  What began as a beautiful moment quickly degraded into a slaughter.  As members of both the factions lined up single file to pay their respects to a fallen friend (or foe), a group of players from the Alliance guild, Serenity Now came barreling in and killed everyone they could.  Part of what made this awful moment so noteworthy is that the perpetrators created a montage of the massacre, complete with soundtrack, and posted it to YouTube.

When first I saw the video I’ll admit that I chuckled a bit out of sheer amazement that people would go so far out of their way just to be mean to others.  The actions of the players in question were clearly in bad taste, but it was funny in the same way an off-color joke is.   I also couldn’t help but wonder what the organizers of the funeral expected.  In real life people are generally pretty decent, but in a game where the mask of an avatar and the safety of anonymity are so prevalent it’s really not that surprising that people can act awful.

Over the last nine years the incident has stuck with me.  I’d say that I’ve probably gone back and watched the video at least five times over that period.  Each time I’ve watched it, it’s bothered me a little bit more because since then I’ve become more and more invested in my digital persona.  Whether it’s World of Warcraft, Twitter, YouTube, or another online community we, as a society have slowly placed more and more stock into what people think of us online.

These days there is a decent chance that you’re Facebook friends with at least some of the people you game with regularly.  Those people know all kinds of details about your life.  If you tried to pull a stunt like the funeral raid today, and one of your Facebook gamer friends took offense, it wouldn’t take much for them to get a lot of your personal information out there for the world to see.  Make no mistake, this is a good thing.  Less anonymity means less of the activity you’d only engage in anonymously.  Still, the death-threat-via-tweet that was so prevelant during the height of Gamergate is proof that either we’re still too anonymous, or some people just don’t care about consequences.

Nine years later, what I think remains most relevant about the funeral raid is how much attention it received.  Amongst the WoW community the video spread like wild-fire, and in turn, it promoted the type of bad behavior that has seemed to permanently soak into online gaming as a whole.  Things like Facebook and Twitter help to humanize those on the other side of the screen, but clearly it’s not enough yet.  Most of us still operate with enough anonymity that day-to-day rudeness is hard to police.  It might be harder to pull of something like the funeral raid with complete anonymity, but you can still scream slurs at your average Call of Duty opponent without much consequence.

I’m of two minds about the meshing of our digital and physical personas.  On one hand, it would be nice to be able to see the Facebook profile of every person you gamed with.  If they were rude to you, you could much more easily call them out, and if they were nice, it would be easier to connect with them.  On the other hand, you’ve probably thought of about a hundred reasons why that’s a terrible idea just in the span or reading that this sentence.  After all, if it turned out to be your neighbor that cursed at you online you might be more apt to confront them physically.

The thing is, you wouldn’t join a softball team and then spout off curse words and racial epithets to everyone on the other team, would you?  You wouldn’t yell at your teammates for striking out, would you?  Of course you wouldn’t.  And you most certainly wouldn’t go kick over the casket at the funeral of someone on an opposing bowling team.  Who you are on the internet is not who you are in real life.  Unfortunately, as the funeral raid incident proves, that’s not necessarily a good thing.  As we experience the growing pains of moving to a more connected society, I’m sure that we’ll see more incidents of digital activities having real world consequences.  That’s kind of scary, but then again, maybe it’s not a bad thing for digital bullies to be a bit scared.

Weekly Warcraft Wednesday: 5 Things I Learned From WoW.

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I know, I know, it’s not Friday, but I’m still going to give you a top 5 list.  World of Warcraft has been a tremendous influence on my gaming habits over the years.  Some of it’s influence has been good, some not so good.  Either way, I cannot deny that WoW has affected how I play games nowadays, so I thought I’d share some of the more influential parts of the my WoW experience.

  1. It made me more patient.

World of Warcraft all about patience and diligence.  This was a very jarring reality for me when I first started playing.  I was used to games I could play at my pace.  I could play for 8 hours or 15 minutes, and I could accomplish things.  The most obvious example of how WoW differs from other games is raiding.  You simply cannot raid by yourself, so it’s necessary to find a group that raids, and then raid with them at some scheduled time.  If there is some item that you want to get from the raid but your group doesn’t meet for another 4 days, tough.  You have to wait.  And when your group does meet and the item you want doesn’t appear, tough.  You have to wait to try again next week.  Before WoW I would have never had the type of patience to be a part of that.  After WoW, every other game feels easier.  Spending 40+ hours on a Final Fantasy game feels like a simple task now, where it used to feel like a monumental accomplishment.

  1. It made me obsessed with numbers.

    How to play WoW.

WoW is a game about numbers.  If that’s not your thing, that’s fine, but if you’re going to play WoW you’re eventually going to have to confront the fact that a very large part of what makes up the game’s core is maxing out some number.  Whether you’re a damage dealer, healer, or tank, there is some number you’re trying to make go higher.  Add-ons like recount have taken the math game to an entirely new level, giving players a real time bar graph comparing their output to everyone else’s on a second-to-second basis.  Seeing my damage made me a better player, but possibly for the wrong reasons.  I become so obsessed and competitive that if my damage wasn’t the highest on that graph, I was mad.  I went so far as to create my own spreadsheets trying to simulate my damage output so that I could improve it.  That’s a little nuts.  That said, in some weird way WoW has given me a deep understanding and appreciation of mathematics in general.  That’s a good thing, but probably not for a good reason.

  1. It made me more social.

Believe it or not, WoW made me more social.  A lot of people believe that MMO type games turn people into trolls, living off Cheetos in their basements.  That’s not entirely incorrect, but we do communicate with the other basement trolls.  Joining a guild, typing in guild chat, and eventually using my mic to actually speak to other people helped me to feel more open when speaking to others in real life.  After meeting strangers in WoW, meeting strangers at a party felt less threatening.  I was never one to have serious social anxiety, but I would still get nervous going to parties where I didn’t know anyone.  WoW helped me to feel at least a little less threatened by that prospect.

  1. It made me an elitist.

There were a couple of times when I realized, while playing WoW, that I was becoming a terrible person.  There were moments when I was genuinely upset because other players weren’t adhering to the insanely high standard I was setting for myself (see number 4).  At the height of my raiding career I would get angry with other members of my raid group for not doing as much damage as me.  I liked these people from a social standpoint, but I became resentful that I had done so much extra work to be really good, and they hadn’t.  To them, WoW was a fun game, but to me it was an outlet for my obsessive personality.  Where they were able to enjoy WoW in moderation, I became an addict.  The end result of this was me being a big jerk, and feeling like I was better than others.  Among this odd social circle I developed I had crowned myself king because I could do more damage than anyone else.  Writing about it now, it seems really stupid, and it’s a bit embarrassing.  I never wanted to be “that guy”, but looking back, I totally was.  To a large degree I’ve let go of that mentality, but I can still feel it creep back in every once in a while with other games, or even real life scenarios, and it’s something I constantly have to keep in check.

  1. It made me stop cheating.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I grew up during the Game Genie generation.  As a kid I loved cheat codes.  Anything I could do to make a game easier to beat I would.  This might be a natural maturation process too, but I know that WoW helped to change that mentality.  There’s really no cheating in WoW.  There are no cheat codes, and if you’re caught using a hack to improve your performance your account is immediately banned.  This makes getting cool stuff in WoW that much more rewarding.  I remember seeing players standing around in Stormwind with their cool gear and their awesome looking mounts.  I wanted to know where and how they got that stuff, and I was impressed when I realized how much effort it had taken them.  I developed a new respect for doing things the hard way, and have come to really dislike cheating.  The gear you earn in WoW is really just a manifestation of the effort you put in, and cheating steals that sense of pride.  I now enjoy taking on the hardest challenges that a game has to offer, in hopes that I can feel that sense of pride that comes with overcoming them.

Weekly Wacraft Wednesday:  6.1 Stuff You Might Have Missed.

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If you’re an avid WoW player (and you probably are if you’re here) you know that 6.1 is coming out next week.  Like most of us, there’s a good chance that you’ve been paying more attention to the fact that there is a brand-spanking-new raid out.  Obviously Blackrock Foundry arrival has overshadowed the new patch a bit, but there are plenty of things you should be aware of.  Lucky for you, I’ve compiled a nice little list of things you can expect next Tuesday.

Lots of heirloom changes.

Remember that new heirloom interface that they promised back at Blizzcon?  Well that’s finally a thing.  As of now you no longer have to keep heirlooms in your bag.  Instead they’ll have their own interface, similar to the toy box where you can easily use them without worrying about misplacing them on some random character.  What’s more, there is now an achievement for collecting 35 of these heirlooms and it rewards a special heirloom mount that can be used at level 1!  In addition, the heirloom vendors have returned, and their gear now sells for gold, so no more having to farm justice points.

Blood Elf makeover.

Dude’s got some serious duck face going on.

You’re probably aware that Blood Elves are the only race to have not yet received their new character models.  Not to worry, the new models are in-game as of 6.1 so if you’re looking for an even higher res version of a malnourished looking bag of bones, you’re in luck.

Twitter integration.

Why?

Have you ever thought, ‘It’s such a shame that I can’t tweet to the whole world that I just got this brand new mount’?  Neither have I.  Regardless, WoW now has Twitter integration because why not.  So link your twitter account and spam the world with your WoW accomplishments…or don’t.  Please don’t.

Lots of garrison updates.

The most meaningful additions to the game (beyond that awesome Twitter integration!) are the multitude of additions to the garrison.  Let’s get a little more in depth on what we’re actually getting.

Followers

  • Follower’s maximum item level has been raised from 655 to 670.
  • New missions will reward gear from Blackrock Foundry (you’ll need followers with a 660+ item level for these).
  • Followers who are working at buildings now earn XP for every work order that’s complete while they’re working.
  • There is a new legendary follower that can be attained through the legendary ring questline.
  • Harrison Jones can now be recruited as a follower.
  • Fen Tao, a new Pandaren follower, can be recruited outside your garrison.
  • New NPCs have been added to your garrison that sell contracts for followers you may have missed due to outpost choices.
  • There is now a daily quest available from the Dwarven Bunker / War Mill to exchange Iron Horde Scraps for a follower item.

Buildings

  • Profession buildings now offer quests that convert normal crafting materials into your choice of 15 Primal Spirits or 4 of your professions daily cooldown item. (e.g. For leatherworking you’ll convert 50 Raw Beast Hides to do this).
  • Profession buildings that are level 3 now offer profession missions that reward Rush Orders. Followers with the appropriate profession trait increase the success rate of those missions.
  • Salvage from the salvage yard now always drops one follower upgrade item.

Work Orders

  • There are now items that can create “Rush Orders” for profession buildings. A rush order immediately finishes 5 work orders and rewards the appropriate items.
  • You can now queue multiple work orders at once instead of having to push the button over and over.

Invasions

  • Invasions now offer have a platinum Completing an invasion with a platinum rating rewards a 660 item.

Resources

  • Daily dungeon quests offered at the inn now include quests that reward extra garrison resources.
  • Rush Orders can be purchased with garrison resources.
  • Follower items can be purchased with garrison resources.

That’s a lot of changes to weed through, and that’s not even a complete list (I only included the most important bits).  With all of that, managing your followers and resources becomes a bit of a game of Tetris so I may do a guide in the coming weeks on how to squeeze the absolute max out of your garrison.

So yeah, 6.1 looks pretty cool.  I’m always a fan of patches that give players new things to do outside of raids and dungeons.  Sure, that stuff is obviously awesome, but get really pumped for stuff I can figure out on my own time.  A raid, even if you’re really hardcore, typically only takes up a few nights a week.  If you’re playing a lot of WoW, that still leaves plenty of time to be bored if there isn’t anything new to do.

Weekly Warcraft Wednesday: Healing Tips Part 2, And Let’s Talk Gathering

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I continued my adventures in Blackrock Foundry this week and managed to kill both Hans’gar and Franzok, and Beastlord Darmac.  Since I already discussed Hans and Franz last week, let’s talk about the Beastlord.

Healing Beastlord Darmac.

Like many of the boss fights in Warlords of Draenor this is a test of healer efficiency.  It’s another one of these, “conserve, conserve, conserve…ok heal as fast as you can” type of encounters.  You’re probably already aware of how Beastlord works, but in case you’re not here’s a quick rundown.   As you fight him he periodically jumps on different animals around his room.  When he’s on an animal he’s not attackable, the animal must be killed instead.  He then jumps down, fights a bit, and then goes to another animal.  Once all four animals are dead he’s on his own.  Here’s the trick; every animal he gets on grants him a new ability, so at the beginning of the fight healing is really easy, but by then he’s become really dangerous with four new menacing abilities.  So again, you conserve as long as you can, and then once all the animals are dead you heal like there’s no tomorrow.  Some other pro-tips:

  • Don’t get pinned down. It seems like common sense but when you’re trying to manage everyone’s health it can be difficult to notice that he’s throwing a spear at you.  Getting pinned down is literally the worst thing that can happen to you in this fight.  You can’t heal, you take damage, and the DPS has to get off the boss and attack the spear to save you.  The less people get pinned down, the easier the fight.  It’s really that simple.
  • The dragon is the most dangerous of the animals that he can mount and should be dealt with last. His fire breath is very dangerous to anyone in front of him so be wary of your positioning.  That said, the breath can be dispelled so prioritize your tanks and then start dispelling others.
  • Use a channeled mana-pot, and try do so as he transitions off of an animal. Once you see an animal at 5% or less, this is a good time to take your mana-nap.  You want to have as close to full mana as possible when the four animals are done.

Gathering professions are dead, long live gathering professions!

It occurred to me the other day that mining, skinning, and herbalism are largely irrelevant in WoD.  With the mine and the herb garden you end up with a lot of herbs and ore regardless of whether or not you have those professions.  Sure, you won’t ever have stacks and stacks of materials, but here’s the thing…you don’t need them anymore.  Everything that’s worth anything in WoD is based completely (or at least heavily) on your crafting profession’s daily cooldown item.  As an example, a blacksmith can make the Truesteel Breastplate; it requires 100 Truesteel Ingot (the blacksmith daily cooldown item) and a whopping 10 Raw Beast Hide (easily gathered or purchased).  There is no need for any of the ore you would typically go out and mine.  That’s not to say the ore is completely useless, it’s used to produce your daily item, and can be used for work orders to create extra daily cooldown items.  Still, the amount of ore you gather from your mine should be more than enough to cover that.  If you have even one alt, you should be rolling in the stuff.  Even if you don’t, the ore is ridiculously cheap on the auction house (because no one needs it).

“Gathering” professions are irrelevant now, but that’s not to say that there’s nothing to gather.  The new form of gathering professions now come in the form of garrison buildings.  If you have the lumber mill or the barn, you’re probably constantly looking for a few minutes here and there to go cut down some trees or capture a few beasts.  I hate to say it, but this design is truly ridiculous.  Blizzard has trivialized one part of the game only to lean heavily into another (identically designed) part.  Why not just let herbalists gather logs too, and skinners also gather the animals themselves?  I understand the design choice of not wanting to force players to spending time gathering too many different things, but the system was fine the way it was before WoD, now those of us with gathering professions basically have a completely wasted profession slot.

Weekly Warcraft Wednesday: Blackrock Foundry Healing Tips (Part 1)

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As of yesterday Blackrock Foundry was live, with all its new bosses, new achievements, and of course new loot.  My guild got in there last night and we managed to kill Gruul.  It was fun being a part of a progression raiding guild for once; I’ve raided a bunch in the past but I never seemed to be in a group that was doing brand new content.  I always ended up in groups that were either lagging behind new content, or I had joined them after they had already conquered the new stuff, so I found it particularly satisfying to be able to say that I killed Gruul on the very first day he was out.  Our group elected not to go to Oregorger next (as most groups seem to be doing) and instead went to Hans’gar and Franzok.  I figured that this week I’d give some healing tips based on my personal experience with the content.  Hopefully it will help some of you fellow healers get a better feel for some of the encounters.

Trash mobs.

That’s right, I’m dedicating a whole section to the trash mobs in Blackrock Foundry.  As usual with new content, the trash is significantly harder than expected.  There are too many different types of trash to go over all of them but I do have some general healing tips.

  • Use all your mana.   Trash pulls in BRF tend to be short, but damage heavy encounters, after which you’re welcome to drink up, so don’t be afraid to use the mana you have available to you.  It takes the raid less time to wait for you to drink than it does to run back because you were trying to conserve mana.
  • Most trash encounters are very heavy on burst damage and can be made simpler by CC’ing and killing specific mobs. The flame binders (I believe that’s what their called) in specific will pulse a very nasty AoE damage effect on your raid if not dealt with quickly.  There are a lot of mechanics like this, so be ready.
  • Be careful where you stand. The trash in BRF tends to be relatively spread out, but it’s still close enough that you can body pull and extra group pretty easily.  This is made trickier by the mechanics of certain groups (I.e. you need to move out of ground effects but might not have anywhere safe to move to).

Gruul

Watching the FatBoss guide to Gruul made the fight seem much more complicated than it actually is.  FatBoss guides are great because they explain every mechanic the boss has, but most of the time only some of them will apply to your given role.  As healers our job is relatively easy, and it’s made easier by using a few simple tricks.

  • Have your raid leader place people in groups such that each group(s) will be taking one of the alternating Inferno Slices. So, in a 10 man raid, group 1 stands together, and group 2 stands together.  This way, when looking at your raid frames you can easily determine which group you should be focusing on before Gruul even casts Inferno Slice.
  • Be proactive about healing the appropriate Inferno Slice group. As a druid, I apply a rejuvenation to every member of the group before the get hit by Inferno Slice and immediately use genesis once they take the damage.  Regardless of your class, have your big AoE heal ready for the Inferno Slice and time it to heal as soon as they take damage.
  • Prioritize the tanks, especially the off-tank. Because of how Gruul’s mechanics work, it’s extremely difficult to kill the boss with one tank (unless he’s very close to dying).  Losing a DPS player is far easier to overcome than losing a tank.  Furthermore, the off-tank specifically will be taking large chunks of damage from Inferno Slice twice as often as either of the other groups, so make sure that they’re topped up within 15 seconds of taking that hit.
  • There is some movement in the fight, but not as much as it seems. Be prepared to move away from others when Gruul casts petrify, and strafe out of the overhead smash.  Neither of these abilities will happen to you all that often, and doing them correctly will effectively save you the need to heal anyway.  The only damage that cannot be avoided are the Inferno Slices and the petrify, which by themselves, are easy to deal with.

Hans’gar and Franzok

We were unable to kill these guys last night, but we were able to get them to about 3% of their health, so I feel confident that they’ll go down on our next raid.  In addition, we got to try them several times and learn their mechanics well.  This fight is a lot of fun, and actually quite easy when the mechanics are properly dealt with.  Also,  you gotta love the homage to Hans & Franz from Saturday Night Live.

  • There is only one truly deadly (and unavoidable) mechanic in the fight and it’s called Crippling Suplex. During this ability one of the bosses will pick up one of the two tanks and smash him into the other tank doing massive damage to the tank getting smashed into.  This happens often enough that it’s not possible for a tank to use a defensive cooldown for every single one.  It then follows that healers must rotate their own defensive cooldowns to prevent the tanks from dying.  As a healer you should be saving your Hand of Sacrifice, Pain Suppression, Iron Bark, etc… for these crippling suplexes.
  • The rest of the damage on this fight is minimal, but the fight requires a lot of movement. You will find that during the periods when either the plates are coming down the conveyor belts, or the stampers are hammering down, you have to be moving a lot.  The stampers are far more difficult to deal with than the plates, although both are fairly simple if you’re on your game.  Any movement enhancing ability you have is useful here.  As a druid I found Displacer Beast to be particularly useful for avoiding a stamper at the last second.  If your raid has good awareness, healing should be minimal during these phases, but if players make mistakes and get hit by stampers or plates they’re not going to last long.
  • The last 15% of the fight is pretty tough. We noticed that below 15% the bosses engaged both the plates and the stampers simultaneously, making movement even more difficult.  In addition, both bosses were out so there was more damage on the raid as a whole.  We opted to use Bloodlust / Heroism at the beginning of the fight, but it might be wise to save it for this last bit in order to get through the tough part as quickly as possible.

I hope these tips were helpful. I’ll be reporting in next week with more tips as our group works it’s way through this new raid.