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This guide is intended to provide a comprehensive description of the encounter with Baleroc in Firelands. It is mostly targeted to DPS who desire to have a short but detailed overview of what is expected of them during that fight.
This guide applies to patch 4.3 of World of Warcraft.
Baleroc, the Gatekeeper, is one the first five bosses of the Firelands raid instance.
It is a relatively easy fight for DPS players as it only requires to attack the boss and deal with only one, simple mechanics.
1. Overview of the Fight↑top
Baleroc is a single phase fight, where you will not have to deal with any types of adds.
The boss will constantly increase the health of his main aggro target, while also increasing his own damage dealt, to a point where a 5M health pool on your tank will not be uncommon. There are some interesting mechanics which enable your healers to have the required output to heal the tank, and the DPS will have to perform some tasks to enable the healers to do this.
Baleroc has two categories of abilities. One category of abilities causes Baleroc to do massive amounts of damage and provides the tank with sufficient health to survive, while the other provides healers with the necessary tools to heal the tank. Here, we only present the mechanics relevant to the DPS.
Shards of Torment are created by Baleroc roughly every 35 seconds. One Shard is created in 10-man difficulty, and two Shards in 25-man difficulty. Existing Shards despawn about 5 seconds before new Shards are cast. Shards of Torment are stationary and unattackable. They cast Torment on the player nearest to them within 15 yards, which inflicts 3000 Shadow damage per second to them, and stacks each second. The Torment debuff is undispellable and lasts 2 seconds.
Tormented is a debuff applied to a player whose stacks of Torment wore off. It increases Shadow damage taken by 250% and reduces healing done by 50%, for 40 seconds in 10-man difficulty and 60 seconds in 25-man difficulty.
Wave of Torment is a raid-wide Shadow damage ability caused if no player is within 15 yards of a Shard of Torment. It will essentially wipe your raid.
Whenever a healer heals a DPS player affected by Torment, they increase the healing they can subsequently do on the tank.
As a DPS, you will always be attacking Baleroc. You also need to handle the Shards, and while doing so, make sure of the three following things:
All DPS players in both 10-man and 25-man difficulty will need to help on the Shards. Remember, that the duration of Tormented is extended to 1 minute in 25-man difficulty (as opposed to 40 seconds in 10-man) and that there are 2 shards in 25-man (as opposed to only 1 in 10-man).
An easy way to handle the shards is simply to have a player, with raid frames properly configured to show the Tormented debuff on raid members, tell who is next to soak a given shard.
When you step in for handling a Shard, you will be damaged by Torment. The debuff it gives will stack at a rate of 1 stack per second. This will increase your damage taken, to the point where it will become unhealable. Before this happens, you should move away from the shard while another player moves in, effectively replacing you.
The idea is to set up a rotation, where the affected player always gets replaced by someone without stacks of Torment, or the Tormented debuff, all the while ensuring that someone is within 15 yards of a Shard of Torment, so that the raid does not wipe from Wave of Torment.
Before your turn comes, you should already be in place, close enough to the Shard (within 15 yards) and ready to move in when needed.
You should aim to reach 9 stacks of Torment before moving away from a Shard. If low on health, you should move away sooner. Similarly, you can remain under the effects of Torment for longer (up to 12 stacks) if you have a lot of health or can use a damage reducing cooldown like Anti-Magic Shell or Barkskin. The more stacks of Torment that you have, the more stacks of Vital Sparks the healers will gain from healing you.
In any case, the amount of stacks you have when you move away from a Shard should always be a multiple of 3. Indeed, the healers will get the same increase in healing whether you have 3, 4, or 5 stacks, for example.
4. Heroic Mode↑top
The heroic mode of Baleroc concerns DPS greatly. It is a brutal gear check for you, and having the right amount of DPS is the determining factor in success.
4.1. Differences from Normal Mode
There are two main differences from normal mode which cause this encounter to have slightly altered strategy and positioning, but in essence, the fight does not change drastically.
In addition to these changes, there are a few less impactful differences:
4.2. Strategy Changes
DPSing Baleroc and soaking the Shards of Torment remains the same as during normal mode. The key difference comes from dealing with Countdown, and also from not spreading the Tormented debuff to other players.
The specific positional requirements mentioned below apply mostly to 25-man raids, as 10-man provides a lot more freedom in movement on this encounter.
Your raid leader will have designated a location where players linked by Countdown should run to come within 4 yards of each other. If you are affected by this ability, simply make sure you come within 4 yards of your partner within the alotted time (8 seconds), while not running into another other players who are affected by Tormented (or any players at all if you are the one affected by the debuff).
As a ranged player, when you have been affected by Tormented (after having soaked a Shard, but also after mistakingly coming into melee contact with another player with Tormented), take your place in a location designated by your raid leader for players who are Tormented (this will likely be at the back of the raid). While there, make sure you stay spread out from other players, and when your Tormented has run out, run back to your assigned location.
Melee DPS players should simply spread out around the boss.
As a DPS player, you may be asked to soak all 25 stacks of a Shard by yourself. If this is the case, make sure you have set up a rotation between your personal cooldowns and external healer cooldowns to allow you to survive.
The boss will most likely become enraged before you have killed him. This is, however, not the end of the encounter. You should continue to DPS him as he runs from player to player, one shotting them. Hunters are of particular use in kiting and "tanking" the boss through use of Deterrence (possibly even coupled with Readiness in the case of Marksmanship Hunters).