Strange Happenings Strategy Guide
Strange Happenings is a 12-man level 60 raid in the Waterworks. It resets Thursday morning, 6AM EST. This raid has been classified as a "primer" raid - that is, it sets you up for "real" raids later on in the game. As such, you would think it would be very simple, but it is not. This guide will assist you in preparing for Strange Happenings for whatever your group makeup happens to be, and whatever strategy you choose to use.
Strange Happenings (the Turtle raid, as it is also known) has been called a "DPS race." What this means is, it is essentially a "timed" encounter. If you do not defeat the Turtle within a certain amount of time (around 8-9 minutes), the group will wipe. Like the Trolls in the Treasury, there is an AOE debuff (in the form of an Acid damage-over-time) in the entire room that builds as time goes on. I believe goes up 80 points every minute or so. For the first 2 or 3 minutes, this is not a problem, but when the entire group starts taking 720 damage per tick (9 minutes in), it is nearly impossible to keep up with healing.
In addition to the incrementing AOE DOT, there is a single-target DOT that also builds on every direct attack from the turtle. This DOT starts at 250 damage per tick, and goes up 250 on every attack. It lasts 50 seconds. Typically that means a Guardian will grab aggro, and when that DOT builds to 750 or 1,000, another Guardian or Champion pulls aggro off him for 50 seconds to let the DOT expire. At that point the Guardian can pull aggro back, and the off-tank can allow his DOT to expire as well. Rinse and repeat.
The challenge of this encounter is to best know how your skills effect the DPS of your group, and yourself. Most people know how they can maximize thier OWN DPS, but less people know how they can maximize their fellowships DPS. This encounter is an exercise in efficiency. It is not simply a "DPS race." If it were, the best group you could have in there would be 12 RK's or 12 Hunters - both of which I believe would fail within 2 minutes (albeit, they would do a huge amount of damage before they wiped).
For those "number crunchers" out there, here are links to a timestamper and parser. I am NOT encouraging min-maxing or Munchkinism. But since this encounter directly relates to efficiency, I'm happy to provide some tools to help. Sometimes it's not plainly obvious what skills do (Engage comes to mind), sometimes it's hard to tell what order to use our skills in is ideal, or what trait combination really does provide the most benefit.
You need two utilities. One that will time-stamp your log files (so it can calculate DPS and such), and one that will parse the logs for you. LogWatch (Time-stamper): http://lotro-logwatch.googlecode.com/files/logwatch.zip Parser: http://www.greatpcs.net/CombatParserRegex.exe
Just start LogWatch before you start LOTRO and then to start combat logging you right-click on your combat log tab in the chat window and say "start logging". After the file has been created, you can open it in the Parsing utility, and it will show you all kinds of information on it!
Part 1: Preparation
All of these things should be done to the best of your ability before you join this Raid: EVERYONE should have 3/6 Radiance and 3/6 purple armour for the double Acid mitigation. This makes a HUGE difference for Heavy Armour classes, and a very noticable difference for Medium/Light Armour classes. If you don't have 3/6 and 3/6, you are welcome to come, but please make it a top priority for the following weeks run.
EVERYONE should have the best Power and Morale pots money can buy and use them whenever possible!
EVERYONE should have the best food you can find, both buff wise and Power / Morale restoration wise. Note that +Resist food does not help in here.
EVERYONE should have +50 Radiance tokens. If we wipe, we'll need them.
EVERYONE should have Improved Battle Lore and Improved Warding Lore scrolls.
ALL DPS CLASSES (excepting RK) should have a legendary weapon with the DPS maxed out. Hunters and Champions should max out the DPS on their legendary weapons ASAP. Burglars, Captains and Guardians are also urged to max DPS. Base DPS trumps virtually all bonuses from Legacies. At the very least, you should have your DPS to the second-to-last rank, and then dump the remaining points into Legacies (since the last rank of DPS is very expensive).
Part 1.5: Consumables specific classes should bring
Hunters Fire-Oil Greater Breach Finder Bow Chants
Minstrels Lute Strings
Guardians Shield Spikes
Part 2: Know Your Role - Class Specific Strategies for Strange Happenings
"Spam conviction throughout the fight, when the dots tick to around 400, you'll need to time your conviction spams so that they activate just after the previous ones tick for an extra heal in between. Bring anything with power regen, morale regen, and tactical crit. Save most of your power, do nothing else but auto-attack/wages of fear and spam conviction. A single warden with no other healers in the group can keep up a group to the 400 tick mark, if I had equipped more tact crit/fate stuff, I would have healed even better.
12% conviction legacy plus 5 shield traits and capstone. My ticks heal for around 140-150, my crits 250-270."
Build for DPS, but you’ll be tanking, so you need to stay in Block stance, and do your normal threat gen thing. At the very beginning of the encounter, you can run in OP and 2H. Be mindful of the damage you are taking, and be ready to swap back to sword and board in Block stance at the drop of a hat. Drop as many bleeds as you can muster, it's important you DPS while you manage your threat gen. Be aware that you may be asked to swap agro back and forth with someone else, so save your Engage and force taunts for when you need to pull back. Late in the fight you may die and should be immediately rezzed by the Minstrel. The off-tank will handle agro while you are rezzing. When you get back up, do not pull agro right away. Allow the off-tank to die before you Engage and taunt or Force taunt. The second Minstrel should rez the off-tank at that point.
A champ should trait for single target DPS (obviously) by going down the Berserker line [and maxing out DPS on their legendary weapon, as previously stated]. If you have a guard in the group with a lot of morale/power you may consider tanking in CBR whilst being shield walled the entire way through the fight so that you essentially take no damage at all but do insane DPS. Fight On!, an underused legendary can be used for this fight, especially for the last 100k. AoE skills are essentially useless here, however, traiting improved rend and keeping it spammed on the turtle will increase the DPS output of all members of the raid so it is a good idea for at least one champ to have it slotted. Improved Rend does not stack, so one Champion will be assigned the role of "Rend Champ."
Having all Champions slot Deep Strikes for this fight is highly recommended since Deep Strikes DOES stack, and it also stacks with the Improved Rend.
Controlled burn with ardent flurry is also very important, a minstrel playing song of aid at the beginning of the fight can ensure you get it up (and if you miss it, get them to give you call of greatness).
You may be asked to tank, so save your Ire skills and your Challenge when you need to pull the turtle off the Guardian (or push aggro to the Guardian if you're pulling too much).
If the Guardian dies late into the fight (150,000 or less), you must force-taunt the turtle while the Minstrel rezzes the Guardian. It is likely (if there are 2 Minstrels) that you will be allowed to die while the Guardian is rezzing and the Minstrels are topping him off. When you die the Guardian will force-taunt the Turtle back and you will be rezzed by the second Minstrel.
Note: As of 4/30/09 Champions get Ardent Flurry in CB without using the trait! This is broken, and will likely be fixed shortly.
As previously stated, Hunter MUST have a Legendary bow with maxed DPS, bring Fire-oil and Greater Breach-Finder bow chants.
It is recommended you use a 1/2/4 setup, the 1 is deadly precision for focus gen, 2 in trap for the 60 ICPR, and 4 in huntsman for - bow inductions, but mostly cause the traits you need are from there. 1st, the trait that gives you reduced cooldown on intent concentration and needful haste, and the +power for intent concentration. I can't remember the other 2 off hand (the endurance stance trait... im pretty sure that one is ToF not Hunt though).
With that, the reduced intent concentration power heal and in endurance stance... especially if you have both -power legacies (though they aren’t required) you have pretty much unlimited power.
By the time you get low, intent concentration will be back up, you pop it, and just keep going, in my experience you will have it back by the time you run out of power each time. Going full Huntsmen to get your Press Onward out will help too.
The hunter’s role is consistent DPS without ever having to stop and wait for a LM to feed power. Additional commentary: "Using PS on bowmaster does lots of damage!!! for power consumption BOR is nice to have and use in addition to the Charm Bracelet of which i have 2 of, w/ a power regen of 97.2 each, they do very very nicely, i also try to time my pot usage so that i can use them regularly to supplement my power.
And it goes without saying, make sure you are at full power at 100k on the turtle before popping burn hot."
I know nothing about RK's, so I didn't feel qualified to sift through this for what is obvious and what is actually useful information: (For traits, I'm assuming) -battle atuned skill power cost and -heaing atuned power cost are very useful. +Wrath of Flame damage, +Wrath of Flame damage over time, +Writ of Fire damage, and +Essence of Flame damage are all useful while dpsing. +Words of Grace healing, +healing over time, +Glorious Foreshadowing duration, +Mending Verse healing, and +Writ of Health healing are the best while healing.
Recommended traits: writ of blazing fire, tale of the storm, scathing retort, linnod of subtely, frost burn, conflagration of runes, tale of rage, fall to wrath and martial training, and mystifying flame as a legendary.
Recommended skill progression: distracting flame, writ of fire, fiery ridicule, writ of fire, fiery ridicule, writ of fire, essence of flame, smoldering wrath, fiery ridicule, writ of cold, fiery ridicule, start over. obviously you'll want to throw in some fall to X, fall to our wrath, calming verse (mmm linod of subtlety), self motivation at appropriate times so you dont kill your attunement.
"get the - distracting flame cd legacy. I can get -23 sec for Mystifying flame, so its on a 7 sec cd, so I have 4-5 of them up. Pretty much I'm the last person on the aggro list."
Don't forget Fall to our Wrath / Fall to Storm/Fire/Winter(?). If you trait for -cooldown on Prophecies, you can pop both every 24s. That's an easy 1.2k damage right there.
Trying to keep Do Not Fall to Poison up every 24s can help with the dots on the entire group too (although there is some question on whether this works with the acid DOT). You may be asked to DNFTD on the Lore-master or Captain. If you die late in the fight (past the 150,000 mark), you may be rezzed by the Captain. When you revive, concentrate on healing for the remainder of the fight.
Lore-masters had multiple opinions about this, which was strange as most other Classes had essentially unanimous opinions on how to best utilize their class for this encounter. Below are the suggestions I have found: Having a lore-master specced ancient master to get the legendary Force of Will so that Ancient Craft(1.6k armour debuff) can be kept up all the time.
I find that if there are two LM, you can both trait MoNF and still keep the debuffs on the turtle. And you get to keep Shatter Arms up if you're both using your bear. Alternately, if there are two LMs, one could go MoNF for extra DPS, and the other stay AM. You’ll need to help keep the Minstrels power up. DPS classes should not run out of power if they are spec’d properly. You can spot heal the rest of the group while the Minstrels are busy with the tanks.
Depending on the group makeup, you may choose to use the Bear for the +10% damage, or using the Raven gives a –Fire Mitigation debuff (as you know). If the group is RK or Hunter heavy, it may be ideal to use the raven. If not, everyone can benefit from the Bear & Shatter Arms. Sticky Tar does not seem to work for the time being.
You can trait for either Watcher or Protector, both are good healing builds. Watcher is a little bit more conservative on the power side, but Protecter has more benefits for mitigations and protections / buffs. Early in the fight, use Song of Aid so Guardians can get Block responses, Captains can get on-defeat responses and Champions can get CB / Ardent Flurry. Ideally, during the Oathbreakers phase. Keep Ballad of War up the entire time, and make sure you are in a melee heavy group. Keep Echoes of Battle on the Turtle for the Guardian Cry -resist. Use Call to Greatness on the Hunter when the captain drops Oathbreakers. For perhaps the first 30-60 seconds, you can begin in War-Speech to get some front-loaded burst damage. When the Tank starts to need continuous healing, drop WS. Song of Vigour and Song of Balance will help with mitigations and evades.
Keep SoS on the Tank at all times. It's low power HOT will help maintain him. If you have a legacy with +pulses, keep SoS on both Tanks at all times.
If using the dual-tank method: when you flop tanks (at around 750 bleed), continue to heal the 1st Tank until it expires, and watch the new tank. Continue keeping Ballad of War, Song of Vigour and Song of Balance up. When the bleed expires on the first Tank, flop aggro back and allow it to expire on the 2nd tank.
When the bleed gets to 750 again on the first tank, tier up to AotFP and drop SoS on the tank. Flop aggro to 2nd tank and you should be able to keep the 1st tank and 2nd tank up without a large problem.
Later in the fight, you'll need to start chaining Inspire Fellows in between BC cooldowns, and suck power potions every time you have one available. Keep AotFP up as often as possible to maintain the group, and remember to reapply SoS on the tank and off-tank constantly. By the time the turtle has about 150,000-100,000 you can drop FH to help with the healing.
Having 1 Minstrel pop FH and backup heal group 2, then when that expires, having Minstrel 2 pop FH and backup heal group 1 buys about 60 seconds of total cruise control. When the second FH expires, the turtle should be almost dead. Whether using the SW or Tank-flop method, you may need to rez the tank and off-tank to reset the DOT. Coordinate which Minstrel will rez which tank before you begin.
Counter Defense lowers the parry and evade of your target and gives 6% chance for your raid to crit in melee. I run traited RW + CD, traited 4 deep into the QK line. MG when its up, Clever Retort when its up, and blue and green pots. Its a pretty straight forward fight. Also, you can trait quite a snag for the +5% damage every time it's up.
Some groups use the "Enrage" strategy. Enrage gives a +5% Ranged damage bonus, and the turtle will keep flopping targets. It's typically a nightmare for the Minstrel to use this strategy, and most will avoid it. If your group is very Hunter heavy (5 or more) you may choose Enrage simply for the Ranged bonus, and deal with the bleed on random people. Fellowship Maneuvers do not seem to work in this fight.
Revealing Mark returns 15% of damage back to the group as a heal, which helps with the group healing. Telling Mark is a 5% damage increase (up to 10% with the legacy bonus). Ideally, two captains will be available so both Marks can be on the Turtle at the same time. Shield brother the Tank. At the beginning of the encounter, the Minstrel will Song of Aid, opening your on-defeat skills. You should probably use the Combat Speed Increase, as healing will not be needed this early, and the AOE is useless.
About 20 seconds into the fight, call out that you will be using Oathbreakers and then wait 5 seconds before you hit it so the rest of the raid can prep for burst DPS. During the battle, spot heal the rest of the group if you can. You should trait your rezzes so you can pull 2 people at once, and then also have your single-target rez. Wait as long as you can before you rez, since as soon as someone rezzes it begins the DOT again. Using rezzes at 300,000 health is not a good idea. Wait until at least 150,000 before rezzing anybody. It is possible you will be asked to hit 2 DPS classes with your AOE rez, and then the Minstrel with your single-target.
Part 3: Execution
There are multiple ways to do this encounter. Some people use 1 tank, let him die, rez him and finish up. Some people like to Enrage the turtle, so he doesn't have a consistent target. Some people swap aggro back and forth between two tanks. In no way do I propose there is a "correct" way to do this encounter. If you kill him, you did it correctly, whatever method you use. I'm going to include some pointers that should be helpful regardless of the overall strategy your leader chooses. This method does require 2 Minstrels, and I will highly, highly recommend having 2 Captains as well.
A quick note on positioning: 1. Fight him at the door so if you wipe a Minstrel can reach you with rezzes. 2. Everyone bunch up around him so your Minstrel can reach you with Inspire Fellows and BC. There is no reason to be at a range in this encounter. There are no AOE attacks.
I. Debuff & Buff (about 15 seconds)
LM's should use Ancient Craft, Beast Warding Circle, etc. Burglars should use Reveal Weakness & Counter Defense Captain should use Noble Mark (and second Captain should use Telling Mark) Champion should Improved Rend and Deep Strikes Minstrels should put up Ballad of War (and it helps if they are in a melee heavy group)
II. Double Oathbreakers! (It is HIGHLY recommended you do this encounter with 2 Captains.
They bring more to this fight than any other class (arguably). 3 in-combat rezzes, group healing, debuffing & buffing, and Oathbreakers.) After Stage I, the Captain should call Oathbreakers. At this point the buff/debuff classes should put on the shorter duration debuffs (Shatter Arms, ???), and the DPS classes prep for all the burst damage you are capable of, and let it out when you see the spirits. Specifically HS should be timed to hit when Oathbreakers are up. Minstrels can play Song of Aid to unlock gated skills, and hit your Hunters or Champs with Call to Greatness as soon as Oathbreakers appear. Keep the damage going strong as long as you can, but watch power. When Oathbreakers expires, the second Captain should call his, and hit it. Again, the group should provide whatever damage possible as quickly as possible.
III. Steady on!
There will be about a 5 minute period where everyone will just be doing as much damage as possible, always keeping debuffs up. During this point you'll do what the leader suggests for the tank strategy (whether you are SW, rezzing, Enraging, etc). Here it is on the backs of the Minstrels to keep the group up. Age of the Free People negates a good chunk of the group AOE, so that should be put up when people start ticking around 300 or so. Usually when the Turtle has about 250,000-200,000 health. There will be a point (around 150,000) where you will be BCing the tank, and hitting Inspire Fellows between every BC. This will drain your power quickly, so use potions, and the Lore Master should be topping you off whenever possible. At around 150,000, the first Minstrel will call Fellowships Heart. At that point, Minstrel 1 can backup heal group 2 for 30 seconds. When FH is expiring, the second Minstrel should announce it, pop it, and backup heal group 1. It is recommended you save Triumphant Shout for an emergency group-heal, late into the fight.
IV. Death, Either Yours or His.
Likely, late into the fight (100,000 or so), Oathbreakers will be available again. Do another double-round of Oathbreakers while the Minstrels are white-knuckling the last few seconds of this encounter, and that should be all she wrote (assuming your group lived long enough to do the second round of Oathbreakers). At 150,000-100,000 Hunters can flop to Strength Stance and Burn Hot, assuming they are traited and equipped for decent power management. As far as rezzes go, it is helpful to allow the tank to die and rez him, as it resets the DOT. We sometimes allow both the tank and off-tank to die & rez them both. Both Minstrels may also need to die and be rezzed, and some DPS. Having 2 Minstrels and 2 Captains means you have 8 in-combat rezzes. Use them as needed. Good luck to all!!!