Monday, August 4, 2008

Progressing on Illidan

We've been working on Illidan for about 3 weeks, and the fight still feels shiny and new to me. Part of this is because our raid schedule only gives us 1 full night a week to work on him. This week, we only got an hour at the end of tonight's raid, but we still made some satisfying progress. We only got 3 attempts on him, but we got out of phase 2 for the first time, and managed to hit phase 4 twice.

I'm absolutely loving this fight, because I'm main-tanking Illypants himself. As a paladin tank, I so rarely get to main-tank "epic" battles like this one, so every time we go up to his rooftop, I feel a little giddy. I stand at his feet and look up at him in awe.

I've started recording video of our Illidan attempts, too, but when I watched what I got tonight, I realized that my UI really clutters things up when everything is shrunk down to a manageable size. I hope I can work out something nicer-looking before we actually kill him.

On our last attempt of the night, I got killed shortly after the transition from phase 4 back to phase 3 because I panicked, flubbed up my Holy Shield rotation, and got Sheared. That's probably my biggest fault as a raider: when something unexpected happens (in this case, the flame patches from the first phase 3 hadn't gone away yet, and I couldn't figure out where I was supposed to move him), I freeze up more often than not. I definitely need to work on keeping calm under pressure.

Illidan presents a special challenge for a paladin tank, because getting hit by a Shear is an almost certain wipe. As long as Holy Shield is up, you can't be Sheared, but because the spell has a 10 second duration and a 10 second cooldown, it will always drop for a fraction of a second due to server lag. It's literally impossible to have 100% uptime on Holy Shield. Murphy's Law dictates that if your Holy Shield drops for 0.13 seconds, Shear will always magically land during those 0.13 seconds, and not during the 10 full seconds when you're safe.

This can be dealt with by watching cooldowns very carefully. Shear has a 10 second cooldown as well, and Illidan will always use it within a couple seconds of the cooldown finishing--so approximately every 11 to 14 seconds. This means that if Shear lands when you have 2 seconds left on your Holy Shield cooldown, and you reapply Holy Shield immediately, you're now in danger of being Sheared on the next cast. Staying safe is pretty simple: if you have 4 seconds or more left on your Holy Shield cooldown when Shear lands, reapply Holy Shield immediately. If you have less than 4 seconds left, wait 3 to 5 seconds before you reapply it.

Now if I can just remember to do that while giddily trying to pick the boss back up after a transition and move him away from the flame patches (but not too far away), I'll be golden.


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