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Craxim
09.14.2012 , 02:08 PM | #1
Want to preface this by announcing that this is a spoiler post, if you want to learn the fight 100% on your own, don't continue reading.

Join us as we figure out the fights on 16 man HM! We stream Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Monday from 8pm to 12am EST! We drunk raid on Fridays and might raid on Sunday too!

Healers POV: http://twitch.tv/thrillsckn

DPS POV: http://twitch.tv/scorpiux

Table of Contents:
I. The Writhing Horror
II. The Dread Guard
III. Operator IX
IV. Kephess the Undying
V. Terror from Beyond


I'm going to separate the fight into mechanics section, role section, and then re-explain it as a whole with a strategy section. The fight is generally like most SWTOR Operation fights seem to be, a rinse and repeat of the same mechanics with focus on execution. This guide is for 16 man, and the numbers/explanations are for such. If something is different for 8 man, I personally am not aware. I don't know the official names of all mechanics, they will be described in detail either way.

First off, this is The Writhing Horror, for anyone who doesn't know. Second off, even though this boss will impregnate the tank at some point, we do believe it is somewhat female, as the "Jealous Male" comes out to defend his "Mate". This was only actually realized when I was almost done writing the post, which is why sometimes I say her/she and sometimes I say him/he. Maybe the boss is both, who knows, my apologies in advance to any lore picky person out there who catches that.

General Info (The early TL;DR): 5:45 second hard enrage, soft enrage mechanic at 10% health, spawns adds, moves around room on it's own, applies a raid DoT. Kill video here.

Mechanics:

Angry Spittle: The boss has separation anxiety. Or she gets lonely. Not sure, all we do know is that if the target she has aggro on is not in melee range, she will spit AoE damage on the raid. This damage is called Angry Spittle in the combat logs. The animation for this looks like multiple spitballs, grayish in color, being spat in a cone. Even though this looks to be a cone, it does hit the entire raid.

Burrowing: The boss cannot be moved (by you). The only way the boss moves is on his own, by burrowing into the ground and popping up somewhere else. There are 5 set spots he will ever be, and the pattern is the exact same. Watching it closely once or twice will allow you to know exactly where the boss will go next, the pattern never changes. The first burrow happens 20 seconds into the fight, and then on a regular 45 second interval between burrows the rest of the fight.

Corrosive Slime: This is a debuff that the boss puts on random member of the raid. The animation for this mechanic is the same as the Angry Spittle mechanic, except it is only one spitball instead of multiple, and is larger. He turns quickly to spit at one person, yet her Target of Target never switches off the tank. It ticks for 7-8k every 2 seconds or so, lasts 60 seconds, and can be dispelled. If dispelled, a green pool/circle of what looks to be poison or vomit is left behind where the person was standing. This AoE also ticks for 7-8k if stood in and disappears after roughly 45 seconds. We noticed that many of our members were having a hard time seeing the circles as they are in green in color and dropped on a green terrain. Many of the circles plain weren't showing up completely based on what our members were saying, and we were able to verify this through streams/screenshots.

Incubation/Calming Pheromones/Jealous Male/Foul Offspring:

This is a 4 part mechanic that is the main mechanic of the fight. I will explain it in the same order that the names are in.
I fused them all into one because they all interact with each other and happen roughly around the same time.


PART 1) Incubation: The boss stacks a debuff on the tank he has aggro on called Incubation. The tool-tip describes it as "You have been implanted with young larva!", I describe it as a lack of understanding personal boundaries. This is an interesting mechanic, as other than playing a role in the next mechanic, doesn't seem to have too much importance. The reason I say this is because whatever attack it is that puts the debuff on the tank can be avoided by defense chance, which means the number this stacks too each time will vary. You will get some amount of stacks however, unless you get insanely lucky. The stack amount was as low as 3 at one point, as high as 7 or 8 before it takes effect. If the Jealous Male (explained below) attacks the tank with this debuff, or if this debuff falls off (through time or through death), adds are spawned named Foul Offspring (explained below) and the debuff goes away.

PART 2) Calming Pheromones: This is a red pool (not reticle, it looks like liquid) that spawns on the ground, in one of 3 different locations randomly. The pool spawns out of a flower/group of flowers on the ground. The pool spawns just seconds before the Jealous Male spawns.The purpose of this is to attract the Foul Offspring when they spawn. When a person stands in this, they get a buff called Calming Pheromones. The act of standing in the pheromones is announced to the raid in bold red text and gives a buff that attracts all Foul Offspring to attack the person who stood in the Pheromones, the person who has this buff. The mechanic is called calming for a reason, the adds to very little damage to the person who gains this buff, allowing any member of the raid to perform this act. When you leave the pool, you gain a debuff called Stale Pheromones that lasts the rest of the encounter. Simply put it states that you can't gain the previous buff again for the rest of the fight, and standing in a pool from there on out will damage you instead of giving you the buff. This stays on and is harmless (unless you stand in the pool again) until the boss dies. Leaving the pool removes the buff, and since you are unable to enter again, allows the Foul Offspring to run rampant. Only one person may gain the buff that attracts the Foul Offspring per Calming Pheromones pool.

PART 3) Jealous Male: The is a medium size add that looks like a worm/insect, sort of like a mini version of the boss itself. This add knocks back occasionally, and spawns on a set timer. It's spawn is announced to the raid in bold red text. The knock back is a cleave, and if anyone else is in front of it other than its target, that person or those people get knocked back as well. The first one spawns 45 seconds into the fight, the other 3 (the bosses hard enrage is very close after the 4th Jealous Male) spawn every 1 minute and 30 seconds after the one before it. If this add attacks a target with the Incubation debuff, it will spawn Foul Offspring, one for ever stack, right near the tank. Other than having health, doing moderate but not heavy damage, knocking back occasionally, and spawning Foul Offspring when attacking a target with Incubation, this add is tank and spank.

PART 4) Foul Offspring: This is the small add that spawns from the Incubation debuff. There is nothing special about it except that it dies relatively fast due to its low health pool, does quite a bit of damage (when multiple are hitting the same target, the target was extremely hard to heal, unless the target had the Calming Pheromones buff) and can be tanked from the Calming Pheromones buff as mentioned above.

(HARD MODE ONLY) Twisted Spawn: This is another medium size add that starts spawning when the boss reaches 10% health. The Writhing Horror will spawn these adds continuously until either you or it dies. It was hard to be sure, but we believe they spawned every 3 seconds. These adds have 3 buffs. The first buff is called Stalwart, which makes it immune to CCs and movement impairing effects. The second buff is called Mindless which states that it changes targets frequently. The third and last buff is called Mutated which states that the Twisted Spawn can mutate nearby larvae on death. The Twisted Spawn does a cast called Spit, which gives the target 1 stack of Acidic Corrosion. This is (we believe) a DoT effect that can stack. This add also gives 1 stack of a buff to The Writhing Horror. We believe this to be some sort of soft enrage mechanic, we weren't able to get pictures of the tool-tip to read what it did while writing this guide. We are fairly certain however that when the buff reaches 20, The Writhing Horror goes into some form of soft-enrage. We do know that letting it reach 20 is bad. It's one of those things where we don't exactly know what it does and we don't want to stick around to find out, we'd rather kill it. As soon as I am sure of what exactly it is, I will come back and update the guide.

Roles:

Tanks:

We 3 tanked this fight. This was due to the fact that we were not copied over and were simply using characters from the 1.3 copy. This put a limitation on what we could do with composition. The fight seems designed for 2 tanks, and I would certainly recommend using 2 if you are having DPS issues for the enrage, but having 3 didn't pull us down at all really. The tanks have arguably the most important job in the fight. Whoever pulls the boss is the first tank that will receive Incubation stacks. There are always 2 burrows in between the add spawns, except for the first one, which will happen after the first burrow, when the boss is in position 2. When the red text announces that the Jealous Male has spawned, the second tank should taunt The Writhing Horror. The first tank that has the Incubation stacks should then immediately target and and taunt the Jealous Male. It will cleave you when it gets to you, so make sure you're ready for this, and not near anybody else so that no one else gets cleaved. I separated the add phase into 2 different methods below.

3 Tank Method
There are a two ways the next part can be performed. If you do have a 3rd tank, you can have the 3rd tank taunt the Jealous Male as soon as the Foul Offspring spawn and the first tank can then run into the Calming Pheromones circle or you can have the 3rd tank run into the Calming Pheromones circle as soon as the Foul Offspring spawn and the first tank can proceed to continue tanking the Jealous Male. The idea here is that you don't want one person/tank to be tanking the Jealous Male AND be standing in the Calming Pheromones at the same time. If this happens, the Jealous Male will perform its knock back before the Foul Offspring have been killed, the person in the Calming Pheromones will lose their buff to tank the Offspring, and the Offspring will run rampant around the raid, most likely causing a wipe. Since there are only 3 tanks and 4 Jealous Males phases to deal with, we had a healer deal with the very first one, when there wasn't much going on and she would still be able to heal and do the mechanic comfortably. When you have your 4th person stand in the Pheromones and who it is is up to your raid, but we advise using a healer first to make it easy and to not lose any DPS time.

2 Tank Method
The 2 tank method is simpler for the tanks really, the first tank would get the Incubation stacks, the second tank would taunt the boss, the first tank would then taunt the Jealous Male and tank it. When the Foul Offspring spawned, a healer or dps (preferably ranged) would stand in the Pheromones until the adds are dead. You'd have a set 4 people prepared to stand in the Pheromones, and you'd rinse and repeat during this mechanic.

That's the whole fight for tanks, rinse and repeat it. Make sure someones always tanking the boss and is in melee range, make sure someone is tanking the Jealous Male and not letting it cleave the raid, and make sure someone (tank or otherwise) is standing in the Pheromones until the Foul Offspring are dead. A side note, it seems almost unavoidable to prevent the boss from performing 1 of his Angry Spittle after he burrows. Try as we might, our tanks were only able to prevent it once or twice, even when the tank had been there as the boss was still coming out of the ground.

Healers:

We 4 healed this fight. Healing is pretty straight forward, but watch the tank that's tanking the boss closely, especially if you're in not BiS gear. Our tanks were getting thoroughly hit and needed constant attention in full Campaign without augments. It shouldn't be a problem as long as the raid does its job and doesn't purposely take 7-8k damage a second from standing in circles they shouldn't be. People shouldn't take much raid damage aside from the 1 unavoidable Angry Spittle or their own lack of raid awareness from standing or walking through green circles on the ground. The main damage is the constant tank damage, and any damage the Corrosive Slime does. This DoT ticks hard, and you want to dispel it fast. The trick is to make sure you're not dropping green circles on the raid though, how we did this is explained in more detail below. Only 1 person ever gets the debuff at a time, and it should become blatantly obvious the second a random person is at half health instantly. Healing will get stressed in the last 10%, which is a burn phase where everyone ignores all the adds out (there will be plenty of them) and burns the boss. Everyone will have aggro on all the various adds, this phase doesn't last long but will be a test to see if your healing can last just long enough for the dps to do their job and get the kill.

DPS:

We had 9 DPS for this fight, 2 melee and 7 ranged. Melee (as always) have the obvious disadvantage of having to move between targets, in doing so they have to pay attention more to where green circles are on the ground to make sure they don't run through them. Melee (or anybody really) should pay close attention to where the flowers that spawn the Calming Pheromones are, and not to be standing on top of them at any time. Doing so risks giving yourself the Pheromone buff unwillingly, and could put a large damper in your strategy, especially if said person freaks out and tries to run out, throwing away the one buff you get to easily tank the Foul Offspring for that phase. Wasting the buff is pretty much a wipe, so pay attention to where you are standing. Your DPS priority depends on where you are in the fight, but a general rule of thumb is Foul Offspring > Jealous Male > The Writhing Horror. Kill the adds when they come out, kill the bigger add next, and then get back on the boss. Easy stuff. Don't stand in green circles, and be nowhere near the raid when you get dispelled. More on that below. When the boss gets to 10%, you ignore everything else except where you are standing (don't kill yourself when you need to burn!) and you BURN! This is your time to shine, beat the monster back into the ground before it does the same to you. We were running semi-close to the enrage timer (not an issue after we were organized). The enrage is only an issue is you aren't ready to focus at 10%. If you are, you should be fine.

Kill Strategy:

The video, located here, is a good way to see the strategy in action to help understand what I'm talking about. Unfortunately it is from a melee perspective, not from a ranged, if you want to see a healers perspective, you can see it here. The kill starts at 2:29:34. The trick to downing this boss is 2 things. First off, coordination of your tanks to correctly deal with the add spawns in a timely matter, and the coordination of your raid to place green circles in a place that is of the least harm to your raid. The way we went about doing the latter of the two is the important part of this section, the tanks can read the tank section to better understand their role. The way we did this was we put a mark on top of one of our healers, and told all other healers and ranged DPS to stack on her. We assigned a specific healer to dispels, and made it her job to watch for the Corrosive Slime and to call it. When a person's name was called, the person would run out of the stack, preferably to the area the boss was last at (as this would be the area that the boss would be the furthest from reaching again) and be dispelled, making sure the circle had been dropped (sometimes it lagged a second or so) before returning to the stack. It is important to not drop the circles in a place where the melee/tank has to be around the boss, not in a place the melee or the tank is going to be very soon (i.e. if you are tanking at position 2, don't drop a circle in position 3 where the boss is going to burrow to in 10 seconds) and not on top of any of the flowers that will spawn the Calming Pheromones. It took some pulls to really nail down everyone's understanding of exactly what's going on when and how to react, but once we did, we pulled it together for a (almost) clean kill. When the boss reaches 10%, the way we handled this was as follows. We still had our 4th assigned person stand in the Pheromones to attract the Offspring, we still had the second tank pick up and point away from the raid the Jealous Male, but we ignored them. The Offspring won't do much damage, the Twisted Spawns are untankable due to the changing targets, they spawn too fast to kill, killing them mutates the nearby Offspring anyways, and with every Twisted Spawn that arrives you get 1 stack closer to the Soft Enrage. This is the place to put it all on the line, just burn it for the kill. A well focused, fully Campaign raid that has 10 dps (if you are 2 tanking it like it was designed to be) should have no problems as long as you focus. There isn't much else about the strategy. There is really only 2 mechanics, manage the DoT, and manage the adds, rinse and repeat until kill. Just like FB&SC of HM EC, it's all about execution. How many times can you do the same thing before you mess up. That's the fight.

Personal Thoughts:

These are my personal thoughts about the fight, I don't want to misrepresent anyone from my guild, these are my opinions alone and are not necessarily shared or not shared by anyone else in the raid. I feel that for a first fight, the difficulty is pretty close to spot on. The mechanics aren't too overly complicated, they were fun to figure out, and I like that even though it isn't Einstein complicated, overall the mechanics are pretty unforgiving for a raid in progression or sub-progression gear. Miss a Pheromone pool, pretty much a wipe, lose a member or two that you can't get back up (this might be different for 10 DPS or fully augmented DPS) you pretty much need to wipe. One of our first attempts we thought everything was going smoothly, and we hit hard enrage at 17%. After not seeing an enrage timer after 5 months, it was fun to feel that kind of temporary failure again for a change, to feel that need to push ourselves. Would I mind if they made it a little harder? Not really, no. Would I mind if they left it as is? Not really, no. I think for a first fight, it's intuitive for BWs past standards, it runs pretty smoothly overall, and is a great introduction to the raid as a whole.

Encountered Bugs

1. Not being able to see green circles at all.
2. Being able to see the green texture of the circle, but not the green shine that was supposed to make it obvious. Green circles on a green ground while everyone is dropping green Imp logo's on the ground while raining Force Lightning kind of made it hard to see the darn circles.
3. Certain members had issues with not being able to see their debuff at first for the Corrosive Slime DoT, as in, the square debuff would be on their player frame but would be see through, nothing in the square, no tool-tip or icon.
4. Being able to parry stacks of the Incubation debuff (not sure if intended).
5. Standing in a Pheromone pool while tanking the Jealous Male but before having the stacks drop and the adds spawn was preventing the tank from getting the Pheromone buff at all (not sure if intended). To clarify, Jealous Male spawns, tank with Incubation taunts it and runs into the Pheromone pool, Jealous Male hits and spawns the Foul Offspring, yet nothing happens and the buff is unconsumed, even after running out and back in, the buff remains unable to be consumed for the tank that walked in with Incubation.

Message to the devs: Hopefully you see this and take this and all my future guides into account the next time you choose "special guilds" to get copied over for testing purposes. Some of us try really hard to help you and the community as a whole and were frankly offended when it pretty much looked like we were being told it wasn't enough.

A special thanks to Thrills and Scorps for the streams/picture help.

That's all folks, hope this helps anyone now or at live (will be saving the post) and I hope you liked it. Please let me know if I got anything typo'd or messed up or wrong, and I will edit, if you have any questions, feel free to ask, comment, good or bad anything you want to yell at me, and keep an eye out for my guide of The Dread Guard when we get that down on 16 man Hard (crossing fingers for tomorrow night). Anyone interested in our guild or watching our raids, you can find all relative info at www.calikillednox.com.
Aoroc Jugg Tank -||- Maul Tankasin