A girl or a b.. orc?!
If Hellfire Citadel was an unborn baby, it would be close to due by now. It has been 8 months and 2 days since Hellfire Citadel opened. On June 24th 2015 the gates were unlocked for the normal and heroic raiding public. But here’s the thing: it is here to stay a bit longer. To be exact, until somewhere in between May 25th and September 21st. May 25th because it was said to follow the release date of the Warcraft movie. September 21st because that is the absolute latest date on which Legion will launch. Regardless, (new) resto shamans flock in to check on our mythic guides, BiS list and trinket posts on a daily basis. But that information was written 5 months ago. So the big question is: ‘Are the recommendations we made in September, still relevant today?’.
3 Degrees of progression
I finished progress with Malorum months ago. Today, I relive the progression experience with my friends at Macho Men. They got Iskar to 12% last night – incoming kill hype woo! This makes me rather suitable to assess how much has changed. I was there for the cutting edge, and I’m here progressing today. If I divide progression in different types, here’s what I come up with:
- Gear-limited progression
- Ring progression
- Upgrade progression
The first legendary ring was probably obtained somewhere around the 22nd of July 2015. This was 4 weeks after the instance was released. At this point two guilds had defeated mythic Archimonde: Method and Paragon. This means that most of the progression of the top raiding teams was without the legendary ring. The guild I was in at the time, had defeated the first two bosses on mythic if I remember correctly. The ring was part of mythic progression, but it would take a few weeks before our whole team had one. The point is, it took a while until it became part of the boss strategies.
This lasted a while, until patch 6.2.3. Three months ago we could start upgrading our gear. This was an hard nerf to the instance. All of a sudden, phases and abilities could be skipped and pushed. In cutting edge progression guilds, you started hearing ‘STOP DPS’ regularly. This also had an impact on cooldowns. Were you previously able to use a Healing Tide in phase 1, 2 and 3. Now you can only fit in 2 tides.
Now you may ask, why is all of this relevant? Well, most guides were made around this time. The point where either half the team had a ring, or no one, or everyone. Some mechanics you just don’t have to deal with. My Macho Men are half-way into the instance, but have the same item level as teams that killed mythic Archimonde at the start. We’re overgearing – and it is changing the game.
Looking back at our guides, most of the information still applies today. We mention how we dealt with specific abilities and when what cooldowns helped us out. To make it work today you just have to reshuffle the cooldowns. And this is how you do that:
- Check on your teams (prognosed) kill time. If it will take you 5 minutes to kill a boss, you can squeeze in most cooldowns twice. If we our initial kill times were 7+ minutes, chances are we wrote how to work with your cooldowns three times.
- Check what abilities your team is dealing with. If you have high dps and a bunch of dps rings, you won’t be dealing with the shackles on Iskar. You won’t need a cooldown for it either. Create an overview of what boss abilities you have to counter at your killing speed.
- Reshuffle your cooldowns according to availability. If you know you will have your healing tide available two times, than that will probably go for the other healers as well. Try to come up with a cd rotation that fits your kill times perfectly.
- Assess the number of healers needed. Do you really need 4? Usually, during progress it is more than fine to bring 4 healers. Some come to our site hoping to find ways to improve output when bosses are on farm. Often the magic happens when you drop a healer. Having higher overall dps can even help skipping more boss abilities – which usually also reshuffles the cooldown rotation again. The top of the raiding scene is currently clearing with 0/0,5/1/2 healers. Add another (unavoidable) nerf in the future, and 0 healers will be occurring more often.
To leech or not to leech
That is the question. A few things, however, have remained crystal clear:
- You do not want to use the 715 craftable trinket.
- You do not want to use the class trinket
- And you should always get the Demonic Phylactery.
But what about the other trinket slot? There are three options: Felspark, leech, and crit trinket. As Dunderz and myself are clearing most out of everyone in our team, we had a chat. Both of us are currently using the leech trinket in the second trinket slot. Which is remarkable given the fact that we recommended the felspark and crit over the leech trinket before. So what changed? Both of us didn’t get the leech trinket until far after progression was done. The arguments remain: monks and druids benefit more from it (and thus should get priority in receiving the trinket). And the leech trinket does not help you rank – nor shows up on the basic skada add-on. But the fact is, it is really solid. When solo or two-healing fights, people drop low. Your mastery can work and leech can do wonders. This makes for a very stable raid carry trinket. And a major reason for both myself and Dunderz to use it.
Dunderz never really has been much of the ranking type. It doesn’t matter much. Pwnanza clears mythic HFC twice a week, which takes them 1,5 hours per run. It has gotten to the point where dealing with trash properly, has the most impact on time. He does not have to proof his worth in rankings. His team knows he can push when needed – in progression. So now it is all about clearing as fast as possible, without wiping. The leech trinket fits into this picture perfectly. So do we still stand behind our trinket priority? Yes we do. Just know that you can safely pick up the leech trinket – just let your monk and druid go first.
Exotic talent builds
We’ve arrived at the point where we can get a little ballsy. With 30 second kill times on some bosses, how much does regen really matter? DPS trinkets, Primal Elementalist, Elemental Mastery: all tools to crank up some rankings. Do you need to bother with all of these strategies when you’re still progressing? No. Do you need to bother with it when you’re farming? Only if you want to really. Personally, I start losing interest when the no.1 ranking is all about not picking up the eye at iskar for 30 seconds while you blow all your cooldowns. Or having half the raid standing in the pool at Mannoroth with one healer healing. Or healing a team of warlocks with Burning Rush. For those who do enjoy this, I applaud your creativity. On our team, its mostly Keehn and Halu that engage in this type of farm behavior. Unfortunately, both are enjoying their end-of-expac break. Although perhaps, sporadically, they will surprise us again with their insights on ranking in Hellfire Citadel.