Is dead. Yay!
I was invited to help heal a Bastion of Twilight run going for Cho’Gall, and I do have to say I like the fight. The boss has a long list of mechanics and abilities that can be seen in the fight but once you have seen and died to them, they are easy to deal with.
I do plan on coming out with a proper guide for how to heal Cho’Gall later, you know once I get talents and healing strategies up… and start working on guides for healing raid bosses and five man heroics… I’ve got some writing to do. So this is mainly a reflection on the fight where we won, something that I liked and somethings that irritated me.
Overall I like this fight. It’s interesting and the challenge rating of the fight can either increase or decrease based on the skills of the raiders. What do I mean by that? Well periodically Cho’Gall will force two members of your 10-man to kneel and worship which is a 9 second channel. Every 3 seconds they worship, Cho’Gall will gain a stacking buff (10% more damage per stack). So if everyone is on the ball about interrupting the channel your MC’d players cast, he won’t get a damage increase at all. If they are not, he could potentially be dealing up to 60% additional damage.
This is dangerous for two reasons, Flame’s Order and Shadow’s Order. During the fight he uses these two moves which give him extra damage applied to either the tank or the raid. Flame’s Order causes Cho’Gall to automatically deal 20k fire damage to your tank per hit, where as Shadow’s Order pulses and deals 20k shadow damage to everyone in your raid (it pulses about three times).
So when Cho’Gall hits a tank normally for between 30 and 50k, and has an additional 20k fire damage per hit… with 60% extra damage he will hit the tank for about 48k-80k with just the melee hit as well as deal an extra 32k fire damage. That’s a lot of tank damage. If he was using Shadow’s Order, that’s about 96k damage per raid member, that’s a lot of raid damage.
So if your interrupts are on the ball then you can easily 2-heal this boss, but if they aren’t you will need three healers to keep the group alive. Not only that, but all of the damage this boss can deal to the raid (except the damage from Shadow’s Call) can be avoided. In short, this boss is only as difficult as you make him.
I like that design, it fits Cataclysm well. It’s difficult, it makes people pay attention, and it’s as challenging as the players make it.
However something I don’t like is the phase design of this boss. More specifically the phase design of any boss like this. I’m all for bosses getting harder and having different mechanics at different times, but something that is not prefered are fights with burn phases. If a boss fight works a certain way till 20-25% of the bosses health, then the difficulty suddenly jumps up a few notches… that isn’t interesting game design or good game mechanics… that’s just another way of placing an artificial barrier onto a fight.
Blizzard has shown us how they can design bosses that get easier over time (reverse intensity fights), ones that get harder over time (intensity fights), ones that have a static difficulty, and then those with Burn Phases. While I understand the reason for variety among fights the notion that burn phases can be exciting ways to test the abilities of raiders under pressure… I would have prefer less periods of, kill them within XX time because damage ramps up to become impossible to heal.
Does this mean I didn’t like phase 2 of Cho’Gall? No I actually liked it on one level. That being the uncontrollable damage was influenced by how well your raiders actually performed. If you entered into Phase 2 with no corruption, then it’s very manageable. So again, the fight (regardless of the burn phase) boiled down to simply: How difficult did we make this for ourselves.
Anyways, the raid group I got invited to heal did well and I’m proud of them all. Healing was nuts at times (we even let someone die oops) but after a night of hard work he went down.
I tended to prefer Healing Rain for the periods of Shadow AoE and practically used it every 10 seconds near the end of the fight. Also once more, go go Healing Stream Totem. A full explanation of why healing is this way will come with the guide for Healing Cho’Gall later, there was definitely some strategy involved with the spells I picked.
All things considered, I liked that fight and it was a good night :)