Monday, March 31, 2008

Magister’s Terrace Revisited

Tobold wrote an article about his impressions of Magister’s Terrace. I wrote mine a few days ago and came to a similar conclusion that crowd control is a top priority. BUT – I have since had a chance to digest it several more times on both Normal and Heroic difficulty and I have decided that it is quite a bit less important than I first thought. As with anything, I think it’s more difficult when you first try it and don’t know what to expect. Crowd control is a bit of a crutch in that it simplifies the situation. If you have 5 mobs to pull and you take three of them out of the picture – then it’s really just a 2 pull and is dramatically easier. Of course, your group could likely handle 4 mobs pretty handedly under the right situation with a decent understanding of which mobs do what and a good strategy for handling the situation. Under those circumstances, I believe you can easily beat this instance with only 1 or two crowd controlling classes. In other words, a leader who marks well can more than make up for any lack of “proper” crowd control.

Speaking from personal experience, my smoothest Heroic run yet was with a Druid tank, a Paladin Healer, an enhancement Shaman, a Warlock, and myself – a Rogue. Noticeably absent from that group is a mage. I’ve noticed that, in the LFG channel, mages seem to be in as high a demand for this instance as Healers – perhaps more so, actually. Tanks of course, are the hardest to find – but my oh my mages are in demand. My problem with that is simple: Quality Control. With such a high demand for Mages, your odds of getting a crappy player are much higher than with that of another class that has a bigger pool of available players. Ironically, I find that Warlocks (in particular) are a FAR superior choice for crowd control in this instance than a Mage and I see far more Warlocks having trouble finding a group.

Don’t get me wrong. Mages are excellent at what they do. That’s why there is such a high demand. But I’d rather take the well-geared Shaman who is the better player over the lousy mage. Oh sure, your sheep is helpful – but if you suck – why should I take you over someone who doesn’t suck? In the end, you are just going to cause me more problems. Shamans in particular, are interesting to me in that they often seem like the odd duck out in the “group” equation. The funny thing is that every time I actually DO group with a Shaman – it’s an easier run. There is something intangible about the group benefit the Shaman provides that outweighs the more obvious shortcomings. The opposite is true with a lot of Mages. It seems like the run should be easier, but it ends up being more difficult than you expected.

One thing I noticed about Heroic Magister’s Terrace is that it’s not that much more difficult than normal mode. The six pull I dreaded on Heroic turned out to be only a five pull. It’s really no different than the trash around the 5v5 event. With the exception of the extra Pure Energy spawns and Kael’s Pyroblast, the only differences I notice in the bosses is about a 75% increase in HP and a 30% increase in damage. Although Selin does do a Mana Drain now (big whoop!).

A couple of groups I have done seem to like to enter a debate about kill order for the trash. I think there are few ways to handle it that vary with your group composition, but generally speaking:

You need to deal with the Blood Knights right away due to the heals. They hit like pansies, have a large amount of armor and a very quick-to-cast (but not instant, so it can be interrupted) Heal. I have found that crowd control works best on these guys.

Warlocks and Magister’s hit the hardest, but Warlocks appear to be the quicker kill. My groups have typically skulled the Warlock and crowd controlled the Magister. The Imps have little HP, so just designate one person in your party to pick them off quick.

The Succubi can crowd control one of you, so this is where having a Warlock of your own to Banish helps. Otherwise, I have found that taking the Succubi down after the Warlock is smart.

The Physicians have an instant cast heal, so these need to be dealt with right away. These are worth skulling over the Warlocks and I like to keep them stun-locked until they are down.

The Mage Guards drop the magic dampening domes and have annoying cleave-like ability that has a stun called Glaive throw. As annoying as it is, they are a lower priority and can be tanked.

Likewise, the Smuggler’s can blink and cast an AOE Arcane Explosion. It is incredibly annoying and your first reaction may be to scream for crowd control. However, they can also be tanked and are not likely to do enough damage to wipe you.

The Naga Witches are the lowest priority and are typically killed in the middle while other things are crowd controlled.

There is this movement out there to call Magister’s Terrace by the abbreviation MrT instead of something that makes sense like MgT. The whole premise is that “it’s tough, like MrT, Fool!” Umm. Well, it’s not that tough, so I have started my own movement that goes like this: If you think it is tough, then go ahead and call it MrT. If not, call it MgT. Personally, I wouldn’t want people thinking I thought it tough – so I’ll stick to calling in MgT.

Update on my Merchant profession: Primal Nethers dropped briefly to 30g this weekend and then rose up to 38-40g. Hard to say what is going to happen, but I expect the market to stabilize in a couple of weeks. Best guess is that market will be around 40g. Void Crystals and Large Shard have both DROPPED like a rock. Of course, it’s been less than a week since the patch and I still think this will average out around 30-35g per Void. So far, I’m getting proved wrong – but haven’t lost any gold on the deal.

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