Some operation teams are quick to blame bugs for their wipes, but the case may not always be as simple as that. While this game that we play may certainly be buggy on occasion they cannot always be blamed for wipes. Taking a step back to objectively look at what happened that caused the wipe will ensure that these ‘bugs’ aren’t necessarily mechanics that are built into the encounter that you may not fully understand.
When the question of “What killed you?” is raised, that doesn’t mean you should look at the last attack that was made that brought your hit points down to zero. When someone asks that question it means “What events transpired that led to the death which led to the wipe.” Were you standing in the wrong spot? Did you miss a taunt? Was your heal rotation thrown off? Knowing what happened is important so that you don’t make the same mistake over and over.
There are several things you should watch for when learning a new encounter that can help you understand its mechanics better. The first, and probably most important, is to look at buffs and debuffs on yourself as well as the boss. They usually have a detailed description when you hover over it that will tell you exactly what it does. Of course, that doesn’t always tell you how to handle the mechanic, but it does give you a starting point from which to formulate your strategy. The tricky debuffs to watch out for are the ones that are applied under certain conditions and trying to figure those out. A prime example that I can recall is the ‘Fearful’ debuff for Hard/Nightmare Toth and Zorn. If you never read about the encounter before then learning about how the debuff is applied would be a matter of trial and error. It would take someone who is observant enough to notice that it was only applied within 25 meters of Zorn’s stomp.
I know that I had written dismissively about the combat log and the last attack that killed you, but you can certainly gain some knowledge about mechanics by that report. If the attack hits for greater than your health pool then it is time to look more closely at the mechanics of the encounter and see what you are missing. Maybe you need to stand in a certain place to mitigate damage. Perhaps a tank swap is in order? Or maybe it is something as simple as hitting the enrage timer.
The point is that understanding why you wiped is an important step in order to progress through operations. If you cannot correct what went wrong then you have little hope in defeating the boss you are working on. That being said, there are definitely bugs in the game that make a challenging encounter even more difficult. I can recall in the early days of Eternity Vault HM when the Ball Lightning in the Soa encounter was doing double the damage it was supposed to. Back when having 18k hit points was considered high, getting hit by an 11k attack in addition to the 2-3k AoE damage could be devastating. We worked our way through this bug and eventually got the kill, but it took quite a lot of wipes in order to do it. More recently, we ran into a bug in the Nightmare Kephess fight where, in the last phase, the tanks would get pulled to Kephess, but they could not move for a few seconds. This caused them to drop purple circles right under the boss which caused several wipes. You just need to persevere and hope that the next attempt the bugs don’t resurface.
The next time you go into an operation start making a habit of looking at your buff/debuff bar as well as the ones on the boss(es). You probably won’t discover any new mechanics in current content, but it is good practice for any future operations to come. Speaking of which, Makeb will bring us a new operation to tackle once the new expansion arrives. In the meantime, there are still plenty of challenges to keep us busy. Let’s hope we don’t get too sick of them before we see the next operation.
Ready check done? Pulling in 3… 2… 1…