OS25+3 is the goal.
We will make it happen.
We're so close to the turning point at which the battle moves from total chaos into a much more controllable situation.
There's so many moving parts that we're just needing to have all 25 players firing on all 8 cylinders during the same attempt, and this baby is down.
We've got it so down, that when we end up doing one last attempt with only 2 drakes before the servers reboot and start a new raid week, 2 Drakes is an f'ing joke. We bat OS25+2 aside like its nothing, as the complexity difference between +2 and +3 is exponential.
3 Drakes must die!
Cut to the Chase
If you don't want to read a littany of the obstacles in the way, clicky click for personal reflections or Survival performance.
Well, you've got your flame tsunami (1) with its random direction and random safe-spot location.
Then you've got your ground fissures/void zones (2) and their random location and complete and total ability to visually blend in with Death and Decay. Oh, and also a penchant for one-shotting you if you don't move.
And you've got your whole area surrounded by lava. Evil lava (3).
These three are the basics. No matter what else is going on, each and every raider must survive these on his own. Evil lava can be healed through for short stints, so sometimes the melee and healers make a deal on that one.
But the tsunami and fissure, no negotiating.
You've also got the big stinking dragon, Sartharion (4). He/she needs to be positioned away from the raid so only a tank is in front of him/her.
You've also got meteors (5) flying down from the sky, blasting whoever they land on. People say you can predict where they land and avoid them, but I've yet to figure that one out.
Then you've got your first dragon, Tenebron (6) and the melee hits he brings hopefully only to the tank on him. Watch out for his breath in a frontal cone (7).
And the eggs that Tenebron hatches into whelps periodically (I'll call this 8, but there's a bunch of whelps, but I suppose we won't itemize, will we?). To be successful, thou shalt kill Tenebron before the second wave of whelps hatch. Burn Heroism and all cooldowns immediately on this guy.
And make sure somebody is picking up those whelps and some AoE folks are killing them (9), because healers tanking whelps is a bad thing.
Oh, did I mention that there's also Fire Elementals (10) that come out? And they enrage when the flame tsunami hits them? Enrage must be dispelled (11), maybe a rogue with some poison or a hunter with a tranq shot.
Oops, and one more thing. From time to time, Sartharion (or is it one of the drakes?) has an I-Kill-You-Now move (12), that requires very special handling. Priests and Paladins seem to be two classes capable of that "special handling" but with all these moving parts, my understanding doesn't quite make it this deep into the other specialities. I do know that the cooldowns on these I-Save-You-Now abilities is long, requiring a finely coordinated rotation amongst the saviors.
If your DPS is on schedule, somewhere near the death of Tenebron, the second drake, Shadron, will appear. Must tank him (13), and watch his breath also (14).
What is with these drakes and their breath? What profession can craft a toothbrush? Engineer? Wouldn't that be something? Alchemist to craft toothpaste out of fluoride mined from special nodes around the perimeter of Obsidian Sanctum?
Tenebron must be killed before anything else (16). Ignore portals up to this point.
Now that tenebron is down, and Shadron is being tanked in a good position (bad breath pointing away from people), melee and a healer need to scoot into the portal and kill off the acolyte (16), while the ranged folks continue to AoE and dis-enrage the fire elementals AND pour the DPS on Shadron (17).
I've no idea what that Acolyte does if left unchecked, but I'll assume its evil.
While Shadron is being destroyed, Vesperon will arrive. Sensing a pattern here? Tank him (18) and watch the breath (19).
We're getting near the end here folks, can you feel it?
I'm unsure of what you do with the portals once Shadron is down? Is Vesperon's acolyte evil also? I'll vote yes, just for the sake of padding the numbers (20).
Shadron goes down, all DPS that's not portal hopping move to Vesperon and burn him down (21).
Vesperon's dead, so lets get to the meat and potatos, Sartharion himself (22).
Oh yeah, and I totally forgot the best one. Twilight Torment (23). Randomly members of the raid will get debuffed with TT, I think after Vesperon lands, wherein you take damage as you DPS. If a DPS player gets this, he's either got to stop doing anything, and simply avoid the tsunami and fissures until the debuff wears off, or you need healers with balls of steel who can heal through the massive damage TT will inflict.
0) To whoever hacked our main tank's account and put him out of service for the last week and a half as well as the forseeable future.....kiss my ass.
1) On a lighter note, this fight really is so cool. The margin for error is non-existant at this point in our gear progression and amount of experience working the fight. The challenge is great.
2) The level of intensity and concentration throughout the night is incredible.
3) The annoyance factor when there's a tiny delay before a fissure appears on your screen (lag? video settings? L2P?) and you're dead before you even see the fissure on your screen is extreme.
4) The team stayed very positive through the whole night, which makes the difference between three hours of agony and three hours of invigorating action.
5) Some people need to L2STFU and let the Officers do the talking, but I suppose that's not my call. As long as they're remaining calm-ish and positive, I won't complain (more than I just did right here).
6) When the Officers call for "no dps on sarth while waiting for tenebron to land", why is it that half the casters are nuking sarth and causing the DPS Leader to call out an aggro warning? Discipline! But again, I suppose I won't complain. A Warrior taking a few swings to build up rage to allow for easier interception of Tenebron? Pure Win. A caster elevating the blood pressure of the sarth tank, the DPS officer and any raid healers? Unnecessary risk, even if justified with the excuse of "trying to get a trinket to proc" or whatever. Discipline!
How's SV Doin?
One of the many beautiful things of raiding along with a Hunter with a brass pair, an insane ability to deliver damage, and a non-gloating attitude when he comes out on top is that I have an excellent litmus test for my own performance.
As we both L2SV (amava, stop with the L2 crap), it is enlightening to see attempts where we have very similar raw damage output. Gives you a sense that we're both extracting a high amount of the potential damage available to us given the similar spec, similar gear, similar raid circumstances, and similar raid job assignments.
The fight remains very Hunter unfriendly from a DPS perspective since your pet is continuously on the move to avoid flame wall. Spec the pet in both boars speed and dash.
The longer the fight goes, the better the Hunter performance seems to be, relative to the other classes, which is interesting to see.
This difference is likely due to two things:
1) Early wave(s) of whelps give AoE classes massive raw damage
2) SV lacks any trinket-like period of excess, like BW. Heroism gets triggered very early in the fight, and SV has no special ability that can be triggered at that time. You can only hope for the various crit-enhancing abilities to proc during that 40 seconds for maximum bang.
DPS output seems to be in the mid- to high-3000's, pushing into the higher 3k's for the longer fights, which is nice for such a high mobility fight focused on personal survival (not spec survival).
The long range of Hawk Eye also helps as you can keep drakes in range while maneuvering through the Flame Wall opening that randomly gets located in the middle of the battlefield.
Sorry if this one came out boring, because it doesn't do the night justice.
Lots of excitement, lots of adrenaline. You can feel the team slowly but surely clicking, each attempt getting a little bit more survivable and a bit more under control. With so many factors in the fight, its a matter of repetition, and small tweaks to get through each micro-phase of the fight.
Sarth+3 will die!