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Queries on EC HM Mechanics / Tactics

TripleMe's Avatar


TripleMe
02.04.2013 , 08:32 AM | #1
Our super casual guild cleared EC HM for the first time this week after a looooong series of wipes on Kephess. We had the Kephess encounter till Gift of the Masters cast down pat within the first hour, but the last 60% of Kephess's health proved quite challenging . I had a few queries on the mechanics/tactics involved:

1> Is there a way to find out which boss attacks are melee / ranged or which are AOE ? Torhead turns up nothing. My guess is Tothís smash / Kephessís Gift of the Master are AOE, but Zornís baradium toss is not (though everyone within 25m of Zorn takes damage). Basically, should we spec for AOE damage reduction talents or not?

2> Similarly, is the railshot from the 2 giant Kephess droids ranged or tech? I used pacify on them, not sure if it helps or not .

3> We used the strategy of gunslingers popping entrench and shield at 61% of Kephessís health and the healers hiding. Kephess pulled us in at exactly 59% health. I used transcendence at 60%, our tanks and melee dps popped resilience / force speed and force camo and ran out. The problem was that the tank tanking Kephess almost dies in the 5 Ė 6 seconds between 61% to 59%, since he is getting no heals. He survives, but with barely 5% - 10% of his health left. For the groups that use this strategy, and I have read strategies that recommend hiding at 62%, how do you manage this cleanly?

4> I am not clear on the difference between Kephess's knockback and this Breath cast. Knockback applies the Touch, causing the tank to turn black and start dropping circles, so why cast the Breath ? Seems redundant .

5> And finally, does damage reduction stack? So if I take the sentinel talent defensive roll, plus pop both camo and rebuke during Gift of the Masters, I should take 0.7 * 0.5 * 0.8 = 0.28 of the damage from the Gift AOE.

A couple of things we observed: If we failed to kill the 2nd bomber in time in time and he explodes, we donít get another bomber in that phase. The 2 giant droids spawn and itís an almost certain wipe. Not sure if this is a bug or not. Also, a couple of times while killing the 3rd bomber, Kephess decided to put up his red circle on top of the bomber, which again wiped the raid since we werenít able to move the bomber away fast enough, leading to him exploding and putting too much strain on our already stretched healers. We noticed a significant delay between Kephessís jump and the red circle showing up. If the red circle appeared immediately, we would have more time move the bomber away. Not complaining about it too much since this was a rare occurrence, but this introduces an unnecessary RNG element into an already long and tough fight.

Thanks for your help.

Kitru's Avatar


Kitru
02.04.2013 , 09:37 AM | #2
Quote: Originally Posted by TripleMe View Post
1> Is there a way to find out which boss attacks are melee / ranged or which are AOE ?
You're confusing the type of the attack (melee/ranged v. Force/Tech) with the number of targets (AoE v. ST). An AoE attack is any attack that can hit more than one target. An ST attack can only hit a single target. The type of attack is an arbitrary distinction that simply determines what mitigation mechanisms can be applied to it (M/R attacks can use defense chance and can be shielded; F/T attacks use resistance chance and cannot be shielded).

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Basically, should we spec for AOE damage reduction talents or not?
Yes, you should. It's important to mention that 30% DR is factored into your mitigation, but I'll get to that later.

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2> Similarly, is the railshot from the 2 giant Kephess droids ranged or tech? I used pacify on them, not sure if it helps or not .
Rail Shot is a ranged attack, but, on SM and HM, it shouldn't be an issue. If everyone in the group is stacking inside of the pulsar droids like they *should* be (re: their listed ranged is 0.0m), the boss won't rail shot anyone on HM. If a single person is outside of this range, however, the boss will target a random person with rail shot; as such, a single person screwing up by not standing in close enough can end up killing an entirely different person (and often does).

Pacify should't work because it doesn't work on Operations bosses, which I believe the Pulsar Droids count as (else it would make it really easy to cheese the fight by using Pacify/Diversion).

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4> I am not clear on the difference between Kephess's knockback and this Breath cast. Knockback applies the Touch, causing the tank to turn black and start dropping circles, so why cast the Breath ? Seems redundant .
You're getting it wrong. The KB applies Touch of the Masters, which means that, until that debuff falls off, any time the tank takes damage, the tank dies. Breath of the Masters applies the debuff that turns you black and causes you to drop patches of bad. The separation of the two abilities forces the tank to actually keep the hell away from Kephess until the Breath begins casting, which gives the other tank a easily visible taunt window (since it's easier to see a boss casting than it is to see a debuff on your buddy tank).

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5> And finally, does damage reduction stack? So if I take the sentinel talent defensive roll, plus pop both camo and rebuke during Gift of the Masters, I should take 0.7 * 0.5 * 0.8 = 0.28 of the damage from the Gift AOE.
Yes, damage reduction stacks, but not in the way you think it does.

First off, you need to remember that Force Camo only lasts 4 seconds and ends immediately if you make an attack; if you're using before Gift of the Masters in preparation for it, chances are, it's either falling off thanks to duration or getting negating by you making an attack before them. Rebuke isn't much better since it falls off if you haven't been attacked in 6 seconds. In all likelihood, you don't have one or more of those buffs.

Secondly, it's important to note that while all damage reduction is percentage based, not all damage reduction effects are separate. Rebuke directly adds to your listed DR: as a Sentinel, you should have roughly 25% K/E DR and 10% I/E DR passively; with Rebuke active, it'll bring you up to 45% K/E DR and 30% I/E DR (GotM is kinetic damage). The AoE dam redux talents and most of the other situational damage reduction talents (30% less damage taken while CCd, etc.; afaik, Warding Call and Saber Ward's F/T DR effect are the only CD based effects that use the same mechanism) that reduce the total incoming damage by a flat percentage rather than adding to an existing damage reduction mechanism.

GotM does something like 6000 base damage per tick so, with 25% baseline K/E DR, with no other sources of damage reduction (no Rebuke, no AoE dam redux, etc.), you would take 4500 damage per tick. Throw in Rebuke, it goes down to 3300 per tick. Add in the AoE dam redux, and it should go down to 2310. If Force Camo is actually active, it would go down to 1155. Keep in mind, it ticks every second so the damage ramps up *very* quickly, especially since Force Cloak isn't likely to last.

Rather than trying to survive the damage, your best bet is to simply try to get everyone out of there asap. If you've got a sent, all anyone should need is the Transcendence buff, which should be more than enough to get everyone out before they die even if they're not using any CDs.
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ckoneful
02.04.2013 , 10:30 AM | #3
The way my guild did HM Kephess 61->59% area was we put a slinger out with entrench, and smuggler healer out. When he pulls, a sage immediately pulls the healer out of the circle. Tank either runs or leaps out if only 1 sage.
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TripleMe's Avatar


TripleMe
02.05.2013 , 02:46 AM | #4
Thanks for your detailed reply.

Quote: Originally Posted by Kitru View Post
You're confusing the type of the attack (melee/ranged v. Force/Tech) with the number of targets (AoE v. ST). An AoE attack is any attack that can hit more than one target. An ST attack can only hit a single target. The type of attack is an arbitrary distinction that simply determines what mitigation mechanisms can be applied to it (M/R attacks can use defense chance and can be shielded; F/T attacks use resistance chance and cannot be shielded).
I should have been clearer. It's actually 2 separate questions Ė a) Is the attack AOE? and b) Is the attack M/R/F/T ? The logs only list the damage type of the attack, not the attack type. Itís important to know so that we can spec for certain DR talents accordingly. Sometimes its obvious Ė Tothís smash and Kephessís Gift is obviously AOE. But for things like Zornís Baradium toss, itís not clear.

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Rail Shot is a ranged attack, but, on SM and HM, it shouldn't be an issue. If everyone in the group is stacking inside of the pulsar droids like they *should* be (re: their listed ranged is 0.0m), the boss won't rail shot anyone on HM. If a single person is outside of this range, however, the boss will target a random person with rail shot; as such, a single person screwing up by not standing in close enough can end up killing an entirely different person (and often does).
We did this phase by all DPS and healers stacking inside the droids, and the 2 tanks standing outside. The tanks got hit by railshots, but DPS didnít. The problem was that sometimes the RDPS or healers got hit while we were switching droids, and we wanted to avoid that and go into Kephess fight with healersí energy bars full, so for the last transition, I would leap to the droid and pacify it.

What you are saying is that if the tanks also stand inside the droids, nobody will get hit with railshot. We will try it out next time .

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Pacify should't work because it doesn't work on Operations bosses, which I believe the Pulsar Droids count as (else it would make it really easy to cheese the fight by using Pacify/Diversion).
If a boss is marked ops boss, the pacify button is disabled and you get a red flytext error message if you try to use it. In my experience, pacify can be used freely on any adds, just not on the boss itself. Common places where it is useful is turrets at start of EV (not strictly a boss), Jealous Male / critters in TFB and Imperial siege droids / Trandoshian warriors in Kephess. I also use it on Baradium bombers, but very likely pacify has no effect on their attacks and is wasted.

IIRC, pacify can be even used on the 4th boss in EV, but sadly not on the Regulators / Rectifier in Operator IX fight. Since regulators / rectifiers are strictly adds, not sure whether this is intentional or not, but it is definitely inconsistent.

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You're getting it wrong. The KB applies Touch of the Masters, which means that, until that debuff falls off, any time the tank takes damage, the tank dies. Breath of the Masters applies the debuff that turns you black and causes you to drop patches of bad. The separation of the two abilities forces the tank to actually keep the hell away from Kephess until the Breath begins casting, which gives the other tank a easily visible taunt window (since it's easier to see a boss casting than it is to see a debuff on your buddy tank).
Thanks for clearing this up.

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Yes, damage reduction stacks, but not in the way you think it does.

<snip>

GotM does something like 6000 base damage per tick so, with 25% baseline K/E DR, with no other sources of damage reduction (no Rebuke, no AoE dam redux, etc.), you would take 4500 damage per tick. Throw in Rebuke, it goes down to 3300 per tick. Add in the AoE dam redux, and it should go down to 2310. If Force Camo is actually active, it would go down to 1155. Keep in mind, it ticks every second so the damage ramps up *very* quickly, especially since Force Cloak isn't likely to last.
Thanks for your explanation. Of course I donít attack after popping camo. The way it happens is as follows:
61% - Healers hide, GS pops entrench and shield
60% - Transdence activated
59% - Kephess pulls, Camo / Resilience activated, run for your life

Will try to pop rebuke as well now.

Quote: Originally Posted by ckoneful View Post
The way my guild did HM Kephess 61->59% area was we put a slinger out with entrench, and smuggler healer out. When he pulls, a sage immediately pulls the healer out of the circle. Tank either runs or leaps out if only 1 sage.
Thanks for the tip. Will try this the next time and see if it works out better for us or not.

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Kitru
02.05.2013 , 03:33 AM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by TripleMe View Post
It's actually 2 separate questions Ė a) Is the attack AOE? and b) Is the attack M/R/F/T ? The logs only list the damage type of the attack, not the attack type. Itís important to know so that we can spec for certain DR talents accordingly. Sometimes its obvious Ė Tothís smash and Kephessís Gift is obviously AOE. But for things like Zornís Baradium toss, itís not clear.
Most mitigation calculations are done by tanks from a tanking perspective so not much has been done to determine the AoE-ness of various boss abilities (only DPS specs are going to have the "30% less damage taken from AoEs" talents), but you can generally assume that, if an attack is *capable* of dealing damage to multiple targets per use, it is probably an AoE (this would include pretty much everything the Terror From Beyond does in p2 and p3 since it hits the entire pillar, as well as a number of attacks that other bosses do that end up cleaving).

Whether an attack is Force/Tech or Melee/Ranged is pretty well documented. If you're looking over a parse, the easiest way is to look at the tank that was in the group and consulting their combat log: if an attack doesn't have any appreciable variation in damage dealt while there are no major CDs in play (you'll have some variation based upon healer armor buffs, Sage bubbles, etc.), it's a Force/Tech attack; if you *do* see major variation, specifically variation that places damage taken by the tank from the attack into 2 separate and distinct "levels" of damage ("high" for a normal hit and "low" for a shielded hit), it's a melee/ranged attack.

If don't want to dredge through combat logs for information, but you've got a Shadow, Guardian, or Scoundrel in your group, it's really easy if a bit risky. If you think an attack is Force/Tech, just have a Shadow get hit with it while using Resilience: if they take no damage, it's probably an F/T attack. If you think an attack is M/R, have a Guardian or Scoundrel get targeted by it using Saber Ward or Dodge (Saber Ward for a Guardian applies 2-3 seconds of 100% Defense chance; Dodge applies 3 seconds of 100% Defense chance): if they take no damage from it, it's probably a melee/ranged attack. You probably want to test it out at least a couple times just to be sure (you might've gotten lucky with a successful resist or dodge), but, in general, it's a reasonably easy way to verify experimentally.

The only way, thus far, to determine, without any need for analysis or experimentation, whether an attack is M/R or F/T is to look at the damage type. As it stands, though it is theoretically possible, there are absolute no M/R attacks that deal internal or elemental damage. If the attack deals I/E damage (the attack itself, not a debuff or secondary effect caused by it), it's a Force/Tech attack. If it's K/E damage, it's a wildcard. Also, on a random note, the damage from DoTs is considered to be from a Force/Tech attack (which is great fun since you can just ignore said damage for a few seconds, even if the debuff can't be cleansed, by using Resilience).

While you aren't likely to find a truly comprehensive list of boss attacks and their attack types, most end game progression tanks have a pretty firm grasp on which attacks are which attack type. You can generally ask what the attack types of a specific boss's attacks are and get accurate answers from such stalwart defenders of squishy healers and DPS without waiting too long.
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TripleMe's Avatar


TripleMe
02.05.2013 , 09:41 AM | #6
Thanks again for your detailed reply . I will get our tanks to upload their logs and comb them to see what I can come up with.

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KeyboardNinja
02.05.2013 , 04:01 PM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by Kitru View Post
Rail Shot is a ranged attack, but, on SM and HM, it shouldn't be an issue. If everyone in the group is stacking inside of the pulsar droids like they *should* be (re: their listed ranged is 0.0m), the boss won't rail shot anyone on HM. If a single person is outside of this range, however, the boss will target a random person with rail shot; as such, a single person screwing up by not standing in close enough can end up killing an entirely different person (and often does).
Not quite. Rail Shot is a random attack, yes, but it it has a minimum range of 5m. The reason people sometimes seem to get randomly ganked is due to the 2 second delay between Rail Shot "locking on" and the actual activation of the ability. If the group is a little slow while running in to the droid, a few people may still be outside the 5m radius when the first Rail Shot locks on. They will reach the safe haven of the droid's hitbox, but will be (apparently) randomly rail shotted a moment later. Once you get used to the timing on this ability, you can actually predict with scary accuracy who will get ganked (I try to call this out when it happens so the healers have a GCD to prepare).

On Nightmare Mode, there is a mechanic which results in massive AoE raid damage when all players are within 6.5m of the droid. Thus, the only viable strategy is to have one of the tanks stand out and take it like a man. This results in the droid targeting that tank with every rail shot, not a random distribution of targets.

Quote: Originally Posted by Kitru View Post
Pacify should't work because it doesn't work on Operations bosses, which I believe the Pulsar Droids count as (else it would make it really easy to cheese the fight by using Pacify/Diversion).
Curiously, it does work on a lot of the adds in this fight. I haven't tried it on the Pulsar Droids, but it would definitely be a really nice thing to have if it worked.

Quote: Originally Posted by Kitru View Post
Rather than trying to survive the damage, your best bet is to simply try to get everyone out of there asap. If you've got a sent, all anyone should need is the Transcendence buff, which should be more than enough to get everyone out before they die even if they're not using any CDs.
With that said, Force Camo *is* a speed boost, which is usually how I use the ability. I'm pressing so many buttons just as GotM goes off (Valorous Call, Transcendence, Saber Ward, Rebuke) that, with trying to actually navigate my character out of the AoE and toward the healers, I usually just forget to pop Camo at this part.

We have a sentinel in our main group, but not a gunslinger. Even when we ran with a slinger, our strategy was pretty much the same: at 65%, everyone stacks directly behind the boss. When the pull happens, the sentinel hits Transcendence and we all run out (sage and non-first tank use their sprint). The reason to group up is to minimize the time spent taking damage while being pulled. The AoE ticks while you're flying through the air, and being closer to the boss minimizes this unavoidable damage. As for the "non-first" tank bitÖ On Nightmare Mode, Kephess pulls the tank dropping the circles immediately after the second one. If that tank sprints out of the AoE, they won't have it up when they get pulled and circles will be placed in unfortunate locations.
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