Friday, 13 March 2009

DPS don't be afraid of pugging Archavon!

I was quite nervous when I joined my first PUG to the Vault of Archavon (VoA). What if I died, or messed up in some horribly embarrassing way? PUGs never do tactics, so what if I forgot something vital?

Having done VoA in 25 and 10 man settings, I can say don't worry. It's quick and fairly easy. It's totally the same on 25 and 10 man. Let's take a look.

There are like 4 trash mobs, all single pulls. They are all Archavon Warders. As melee you just need to watch out for their Whirl ability. This has a 2 second(ish) cast and does around 10k damage to Kam, so I imagine rogues would go splat. You just need to back out of melee range as soon as you see the cast bar, or alternatively be too slow and loose a lot of your health, but don't worry because the healers will most likely top you up again.

The trash takes all of about 5 minutes to clear, then it's onto the main event...

Archavon the Stone Watcher
Standing in a chamber alone, Archavon watches... a stone, for what purpose I don't know. This fight is pretty much a tank and spank, with some things melee need to watch out for.

Every so often, Archavon will target a random player and throw Rock shards at them, which harms the player and those in close proximity. These shards look like... little gray shards which stick up from the ground. In the groups I've been in, if you are close to the player, move away. If you are the player, stay still, they don't hurt that much and you can't avoid them, but if you run off into the healers... the raid might not like you too much.

Secondly, Archavon will occasionally jump over to a random player, hit them and leave a choking cloud on the ground. The cloud does 2k nature damage per second, so you want to avoid standing in them. Unfortunately, void circles they are not, more like indistinct gray clouds which are tricky to spot. Because the tanks tend to follow Archavon when he jumps on someone, I end up running all over the place and need to avoid getting in any clouds. You could run a Nature Resistance totem if you wanted to, although the healers on the runs seemed able to cope with it.

Finally at various times Archavon will stun the raid, grab the main tank and the off tank will have to taunt him. You will see the emote Archavon the Stone Watcher lunges for MrTank when this happens. We are usually advised to watch our threat during this transition from MT to OT, because someone other than the OT may be second in threat and the OT may fumble their taunt, or something. If of course you do borderline average DPS like Kam, you don't really need to bother - the OT will have more threat than you anyway.

After 5 minutes he enrages but he's probably dead long before that, WoWWiki suggests each dps raid needs to do 1100 DPS on normal, 1700 DPS on heroic. So if you can hit these figures, you are good to go.

Lore justification
Who knows? Archavon is watching a stone, is this the "attuned Titan relic" which lets the controlling side see the elementals? As usual, there are no quests to go kill Archavon beyond the endless quest for gear.

Loot justification
Ah this is more like it. Archavon drops 2 Emblems of Heroism on normal and 2 Emblems of Valor on heroic. You can trade Emblems of Valor for Emblems of Heroism in Dalaran. He also drops raid token loot and PvP arena loot, so if your guild only does 10 man stuff, pugging VoA 25 man might get you some pretty nice loot, like these. Ok so I didn't actually win them, but I got to drool over the stats. If you are really lucky you can get the Reins of the Grand Black War Mammoth from 25 man VoA.

There are also achievements to be had inside VoA. Archavon the Stone Watcher and Heroic: Archavon the Stone Watcher are for killing Archavon. If you've never done a 25 man raid, you will get Emblem of Valor from VoA 25 man, and 25 Emblems of Valor in time. If you are lucky enough to get a War Mammoth in 25 man VoA then Grand Black War Mammoth is yours.

Getting into a PUG
I've gotten into VoA pugs in two ways. Firstly, by hanging around in Dalaran watching the general channel, people often advertise for members. Be sure to whisper your DPS and relevant stat, for example attack power in my case (so long as it's nice and big of course). Your faction needs to control Wintergrasp to be able to run VoA.

Secondly, I've gotten into the raid attacking Wintergrasp and won the game, at which point the raid leader indicated those up for VoA should stay in the raid. After some waiting we hit VoA. You can look out for LFM calls on Wintergrasp general just after a victory too.

In both cases, the 25 man VoA was done and then the raid formed a 10 man to continue, so in theory you can hit both VoAs, get 4 Emblems and a chance at some raid and arena loot.

Actually getting into a PUG, or winning Wintergrasp, takes longer than doing VoA, and there is some good loot and achievements to be had inside. VoA is definitely the simplest raid I've done, so I would recommend everyone to have a go.


Psynister said...

I'll certainly back you up on all of that. I run Vault with my mage every week, typically hitting both 10/25 one right after the other.

The most time consuming process in the whole lot is getting enough people, and that really only happens if you try in the middle of the raid week as most people rush to do it every Tuesday when it resets, or every Monday right before it resets.

I've had a WG group fully populated in 5 minutes, WG taken down in 35, and then both Vaults done in another 15.

If WG just ended or you're in the middle of the reset and you want to run Vault, it's always a good idea to find a warlock as soon as possible and get them over there to summon. When you don't have the WG Portal at hand I've noticed a lot of players just bailing out of the group for not wanting to wait.

Anonymous said...

Something else to note, the choking cloud not only does the nature damage but while standing in it your hit chance % is decreased as well. Moving out of the cloud immediately resolves both issues.

Ben said...

I think the stone that Archavon is watching is the Ice Stone. And it's melting.


Zach said...

I was in a pug and we were told "Don't stand on the stairs". After promptly moving off the stairs, I wondered why ... any ideas?

Crashandburn said...

Rogues can survive the whirl, or at least I do. Hits for about 12k but raid buffed I hit 20k so it's not a problem and keeps the healers on their toes.

Of course there's always those golden moments when you dodge it, evasion can help with this but only the once given how quickly the instance is run.

Lin said...

@Zach -- If he goes up the stairs, he'll reset but his enrage timer won't reset -- yeah, he does have a five minute or so enrage timer. He's free epics, but you've still have to have acceptable DPS.

Flynnjr said...

This is the only raid content I've ever run, actually. It's a great into to getting used to the actual size of the crowd in 25- and 10-man content if you've never been in it.

Now that I know that I can hang with a group that size I feel okay about getting to some Naxx PuGs.

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