Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Trash Matters

I defiantly get excited when I see Tankingtips shoot to the top of my blogroll, because I know that Vene has composed some idea that I'm going to enjoy engaging on some level. Even when I agree (as I do with today's post), I always look for some facet that I can challenge or expand on.

His post today talked about raids, and the focus of raids being bosses (not trash). I won't rehash it too much - but I will offer a rule of thumb of my own:

Yakra's Rule of Trash
In trash-y raids, you shouldn't underestimate the importance of learning and mastering the execution of trash groups.

I'm going to use SSC as my example. (I swear sometimes that everything I know I learned in T5...)

In SSC, there were six bosses. Five had to get done before the final boss (Vashj). When LOKI was completed SSC, it took us ~3.5 hours to clear the trash & first five bosses (all one shots, mind you) . When we were learning the content, it may have taken us the same amount of time to do 2-3 bosses. Think about that ratio of time spend on bosses, to trash.

Most all the trash came in groups. As many as 6-7 targets, many with lethal abilities or high damage, that required CC (Sheeps, Banishes) and tanking assignments. Our first time through, we had more then a few wipes learning about how to best pull and deal with some mob types "Ok, Tidecaller - have we seen those before?". Even after we killed Vashj, things never turned into a zerg/AoE fest.

As anti-humble as this may be, I'd like to give some small amount of credit for the speed we progressed through SSC, to my obsessive trash learning, planning, and execution. I spent more time then I'll admit making macros for tanking assignments for each different area, mapping out best routes, analyzing the best order for pulling packs, tanking skull targets then dashing off to mark the next group & pull as soon as the raid finished dashing over, ect. In return for all these things, the raid as a whole got more time on bosses.

Uludar trash, according to developers, will take CC. That means the mobs will (theoretically) be too dangerous to be left alone (either to the raid, or to a tank in numbers), and will (theoretically) wipe raids if they aren't controlled.

From the maps I've seen, Uludar also looks *big*. Looking at the early video runthroughts, my mind populated the empty tunnels with mobs, hiding in the nooks, massing in the empty hallways. As odd as this may sound, I'm hoping that there is trash in earnest.

Why do I want trash?

I think that, when done correctly, it can be alot of fun.
Some mobs are like mini-boss encounters, where you get to see and react to far more abilities then the ones used by bosses (or even give you a preview of boss abilities). And when managed well, trash can keep the raid engaged in the game and warmed up between bosses. One of the biggest difficulties to High King Maulgar in Gruul's Lair, in my opinion, was the lack of a warmup for the raid.

Besides trash being fun, and I think LOKI does trash better then most. When we were doing BT, we went in at the same time as one of the then-top guilds. Despite having a boss wipe here or there, we still moved through faster then they did. And that left more time for the important (progression) content. Come T8, I'm going to be very interested in seeing where we fall in terms of Uludar progression, and I think that ability to move through trash is an important part of that.

So if you don't think trash is fun, start moving out of that mindset now if you value how your time is spent in Uludar. Make trash into a game or a race, and constantly test your limits.


Darraxus said...

I agree. In T5 and T6 with usually rocked 4 tanks in any given instance. Usually, each tank had a target (2 at most) and the rest was CCed. Now you can two tank pretty much all of Naxx 25 any not have to worry about it. Ironically, some of the most dangerous mobs in Wrath are the Casters in Heroic Old Kingdom. If you leave them alone, they can kill you in one shot if your health isnt at full....or you can spell reflect and one shot them :)

Talldar said...

Fully agreed. I find myself thinking of Zul'Gurub over and over again. This instance was so well-balanced, it was art. Every trash group required CC and planned tanking: Progression started on trash, and hard trash is something that tells you: "This is serious business we do."

I honestly miss challenging trash pulls ever since Vanilla, the Naxxramas "how-many-groups-can-we-AoE-at-once" thingy becomes dull even on the first run.

One thing: It's Ulduar, not Uludar.

Tarsus said...

Main main problem with trash has always been the repetitiveness of it. Going with SSC as an example, how many times do you need to kill the same group of 5 Naga before Lurker? If memory serves (I think it has been almost a year since I've even thought about SSC - marking trash was very definitively my job) I think it's something in the range of 6 or 7.

Zul'Aman seemed to me to be the right balance of Trash difficulty with sparsity. Even a well geared group had to still pay attention and get focused to do most of the trash (Lynx's area might be an exception). Especially true if you were going for a Warbear.

Anonymous said...

"the Naxxramas "how-many-groups-can-we-AoE-at-once" thingy becomes dull even on the first run""

Nope. Marking and CCing becomes dull very fast.. Pulling moar trash is always great fun for the tanks. Getting to 4 Horsemen in only 2 pulls for example is more challenging for the tanks then the rest of puny naxx.

Chad S. said...

Talldar - I'm terrible with misspelling / misspeaking words. I'll try to get it right, but I'll probably get it wrong far more ; )

Tarsus/Anon - I don't think your views are conflicting. Repetitive trash is boring, and AoE sprinting through is more fun (to some degree). I think Anon may have found something that works for his raid (game of clearing in least number of pulls)

Zul'Aman was a pretty good ratio of trash to bosses, though, now that I think of it.