Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Faction Champions and You: PvE "PvP"

Faction Champions are a wild swing in another direction for most raids, and given their similarities to an arena match, it can be confusing as to what the raid needs to do to get them down.

-- Common MYTHS: --
  • "Wear Resilience!" Resilience does not protect you against the faction champion enemies.
  • "Kill healers first!" While this strat may work for some guilds or combinations, other raids (such as my ten-mans) will find it easier to CC, interrupt, or otherwise ignore enemy healers in favor of taking out the high-damage dps enemies first. This can vary due to your raid makeup (such as banishes on the tree druid) and the number of players in a 10-man available to CC targets in comparison to the 25-man raid. Don't take this statement as law!
  • "AoE to damage them all and split their heals!" AoE, including cleaves and glyphed mauls, will break your valuable CC. A lot of guilds may not remember the importance of CC ("Crowd Control") from back in vanilla and TBC, but suffice to say that CC is very important and due to diminishing returns that will make them immune to the CC, breaking said CC is a Very Bad Thing.
  • "You, keep that one sheeped the whole time, all by yourself!" etc. There are diminishing returns (DR) on CC against the faction champions, where the 4th cast will have no effect on the target. AOE that breaks the CC will still count against your DR: each time you cast a CC against a target, it will have less affect on the target than previous casts. As such, a single CCer can't chain-CC a target by themselves.
  • "DR resets 15 seconds after last cast!" In regards to a CC spell, the DR will reset 15 seconds after the last CC effect of that category wore off of the target... not 15 seconds from the time it was cast upon them.
  • "Tank them!" Your tanks in this fight should either swap to a non-tanking offspec, or they are going to be purely CC/utility during your faction champions fight. Taunts *will* work to briefly fixate their target away from a squishy dps or healer, but as with other CC, taunts are subject to DR and don't last long.

-- The enemies: --

You will face 6 enemy champions in the 10-man, and 10 in the 25-man.

These can and will focus heals on your dps targets. CC, interrupt, and stun-lock as available.
  • Tree (Toughest of the healers; banishable, purge/dispel the HoTs)
  • Holy Pally (uses hand of freedom, bubbles around 25%, dispel)
  • Resto Shaman (dispel the earth shields, cleanse hexes off of raid members)
  • Holy Priest (dispel the renew and PW:Shield)

Ranged DPS

These tend to be squishier, but also less dangerous than the melee dps from a burst-damage-omg-wipe perspective. The greatest danger from these is the silence and spell-interrupts they will use on your own casters.
  • Moonkin
  • Mage (will counterspell, blink, and ice block; CC this one as available)
  • Shadow Priest
  • Warlock + Pet (pet will silence, and will stay up after lock is killed; has a habit of hellfiring.)
  • Hunter + Pet

Melee DPS

These are your heavy hitters, but can be controlled through use of slowing effects, roots, and snares. Use mortal strike/wound poison to cut through armor and heals.
  • Ret Pally
  • Rogue
  • Shaman (destroy the totems!)
  • Warrior
  • Deathknight

-- Survival --

The enemy dps can and will focus-fire on one or another of your raid members, and their target selection is NOT dependent upon threat! While resilience gear will not help, extra stamina and a PvP trinket for popping out of a long stun (hand of justice, etc) will be very useful. Whenever you have a melee dps on you, you need to use all available tactics to escape.

As a resto druid, it is helpful to remember these abilities:

Options when Melee is hitting you:
  • PvP trinket to break long stuns
  • Barkskin
  • Nature's Grasp
  • Cat + Sprint (especially during a whirlwind-chase from the warrior)
  • Warstomp/Shadowmeld
  • NS + HT
  • Swiftmend
  • Health Potion/Healthstone
  • If all else fails, bearform: bash, frenzied regen
Options when a Melee is further away and you have cast-time available:
  • Entangling Roots
  • Cyclone
  • Hibernate the hunter's pet
  • Keep moving
Options against ranged DPS:
  • Cyclone
  • Warstomp to interrupt casts

-- Resto Druids and the Faction Champions Fight --

Around survival (which is priority one!), a resto druid's other duties can include:
  • keeping rejuvs and wild growth up on the raid as much as possible,
  • using swiftmend and NS+HT to quickly save the life of another player,
  • cleansing hexes and poisons, and
  • using cyclone and entangling roots as often as possible on any loose targets.
  • using moonfire to destroy enemy totems
  • hibernating the hunter's pet

As such, you probably won't spend much time in tree form. However, don't forget that you can shift into tree, cat, or bear to break out of a sheep!

Do not cast cyclone on the current dps target unless you really absolutely have no choice--which should only happen if you are completely out of CC options and are about to die because you can't get away from it, and the rest of your raid didn't help CC the mob off of you with their own slows and roots and taunts. Cyclone will prevent any attacks against the target, wasting valuable cooldowns and time the dps needs when focus-firing its targets.

Use your cyclone against any loose targets that are causing trouble. Your cyclone will be primarily useful against enemy casters, including healers and the mage. The warlock pet can also be cycloned to prevent it from silencing you and other casters. The melee dps can be rooted to control their damage, which means your cyclone is best put to use on the casters who will keep on casting in spite of your roots.

~~Have some further suggestions for the faction champions fight? I would love to hear about them!~~


Anonymous said...

The first time I did this fight on 25s I thought "that was kind of fun"!

And then I did some 10s with a sub-optimal group. Not having an offensive dispeller (which is completely possible in a 10) makes the fight extremely difficult...and overly frustrating. And I decided I didn't like it so much =)

I think what frustrates me so much about the fight is that the weaknesses that are apparent for certain classes in PvP, Holy Priests for example, are sitll quite apparent here in this PvE PvP encounter. Some classes have much less survivability in their best DPS spec than in a "PvP" spec.

I think most of our mages have taken to going to a frost spec for the fight, and our Holy priests go Disc. I can't say I'm a huge proponent of an encounter that requires these kinds of measures for PvE. I'm also no fan of any PvE encounter where you will do better with a PvP trinket equiped(hello Archimonde!). We made it a requirement for Archimonde for everyone to have the 2 minute trinket, so a lot of people have one at least...

Bleh, I babble and I rant! My apologies =) Great write up for druids though!!!

Kae said...

10s have been interesting, and have required us to constantly re-evaluate our kill order. Raid makeup can make this fight easier or harder depending on your luck of the draw on the spawns you get for the week!

Our holy priest is shadow off-spec, so we've been letting her dps for the fight while having myself and a holy pally take care of heals.

I actually quipped my tanking trinket Essence of the Gossamer along with my PvP trinket ;) I like to liiiiiive!

Jederus said...

Great summary. Thanks for posting it. Will include in our weekend "loot council" round up this week.

Anonymous said...

Moonfire Rank 1 costs more mana than your max rank. So for destroying totems, just use moonfire.


Kae said...

Y'know, I had completely forgotten that they changed the mana cost of the spell ranks. Just goes to show how long it's been since I downranked :D Thanks for pointing it out, will fix that.