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Mythic+ Dungeon Boss Breakdown - The Difficulty of Hakkar in De Other Side
28.03.2021 um 17:51
It should be no surprise that certain affixes completely change the behavior of certain bosses in Mythic+. Similarily, certain encounters also force you to either change your strategy or route in order to capitalize on a Prideful buff. Today, we'll be diving into what makes Hakkar the Soulflayer such a difficult challenge on higher keys, along with some useful observations and tips to try to help you slay this pesky loa.
Hakkar has four main mechanics. The first three are your average boss encounter-type moves:
adds a nominal amount of party damage along with a positional requirement on anybody affected; this can very quickly spiral out of control, as the damage it deals is quite significant. Two targets are affected per cast, and it prioritizes non-tanks. It is also worth noting that it is
damage, which means that certain self-healing abilities such as
do not count this damage in their healing calculation. That said, you should not be passing it to your tank to start with! This acts as one of two reasons to prefer a ranged-heavy composition for this dungeon, as it massively limits the available space near Hakkar.
Tanks get to deal with a two-part tankbuster in the form of
(and its shadow counterpart
). These effects do the same amount of raw damage, within variance, and occur within 0.5s of each other. This is recast every 15 seconds.
Sohn von Hakkar
spawns for each 20% health that Hakkar loses. These fixate on random players, meleeing them in the process, and attempt to cast
, dealing heavy party-wide damage and granting them a stacking buff that increases the damage dealt by subsequent
. You will often see high key players stun these to reset these stacks. When they die, they turn into a pool of
, and come back to life 20 seconds later. This puddle is
, and once again, inhibits melees from targeting Hakkar if the add is killed even remotely close to him. It also does copious amounts of damage if you stand in it
The fourth, however, is a lot more complex and difficult to take apart. When Hakkar reaches 100 energy, he casts
, dealing a nominal amount of damage to everything alive in the room, and shielding himself. While shielded, he channels
, and the adds continue reviving/casting
as normal, and continues to regain energy while the shield is up. Getting hit by a projectile from
reduces your damage dealt by 10% for 9 seconds, which is a significant penalty on a time-sensitive fight such as this one.
People climbing higher on key levels will often notice that, if they fail to kill Hakkar before the second barrier is cast, their kill times go from ~35-40 seconds to 2-3 minutes on this boss, without a direct explanation. Barriers take forever to break, adds take forever to die and, typically, they end up getting overwhelmed when Hakkar gets to below 20% and the fourth add spawns.
When going through and doing a key or two, it very quickly feels like the first barrier propped up by Hakkar is much,
smaller than every subsequent barrier, to the point that most groups will quite literally unload every cooldown they have (including Prideful and Bloodlust) to make sure Hakkar dies before the second barrier cast. Heuristics and player testing have also pointed at the impact of immunities (such as
) in reducing the size of the shield Hakkar gains.
We've gone through and attempted to piece back the exact parameters that cause the
to grow much larger in size by going over logs, a tedious and somewhat manual process. Some of the barriers are shown below:
Adds alive/Adds total
Player damage (absorbed)
Add damage (overkill)
2 / 2
1 / 1
0 / 1
2 / 2
2 / 4
3 / 4
3 / 4
2 / 2
1 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 2
4 / 4
3 / 4
3 / 4
3 / 3
Some of the takeaways from this are somewhat obvious:
potent when it comes to reducing the size of the barrier - the players on the +25 used three immunities (
Mantel der Schatten
) to render three of their players immune to the cast. As a result, the barrier was almost
between the second and third casts, despite having double the add damage from the cast.
Add damage also matters, but to a lesser extent: contrasting the first barrier on two +18 runs where one of them managed to have zero adds alive netted them a
in barrier size
There seems to be a different formula used for each barrier, or a multiplier based on the count of barriers. Sadly, we did not have a De Other Side key we could throw at the problem to figure out this link - but if we get one, we'll try it.
There is a base value of ~17.5k to the barrier, which is independent of key level. This is sometimes visible as a "first spike" in barrier absorb in raw logs, but not always
Personal damage reduction appears to be extremely important if immunities are not available. However, absorbs do not seem to do anything, indicating that this barrier may be calculated similar to how
is - after damage reduction, but before absorbs. This means that specs with personal cooldowns should be using them.
Key level appears to play a part and double-dip in the barrier calculation. Player damage is much lower than add damage, but has a measurably larger impact in the final value of the barrier, and this factor seems to increase with key level. We've attempted to model this with a naive key damage multiplier (the value shown on the UI for each key level upon key start), and it seems to hold up to basic scrutiny, although more data needs to be acquired.
Why Does It Matter?
scaling off a number of factors is problematic for a number of reasons beyond just "having to DPS more shield". The biggest problem with this is that, while the barrier is up,
Hakkar keeps gaining energy
. This means that every second during which the shield is up is a second wasted when it comes to DPS time on boss, despite still having to deal with all the add-related mechanics. In the absolute worst case scenario, it is possible to go from one barrier instantly into the next on high keys if no DPS cooldowns are available. On high keys, it is pretty common to have barriers lasting 10 to 15 seconds, or even longer when nothing is up.
Due to the
frequent recast of this ability (Hakkar gains 100 energy in 30 seconds), there is a very fair chance that your group will not have cooldowns to just throw at the barrier, barrier after barrier; as a result, you have to get into an uneasy compromise and difficult decisions on when to use DPS cooldowns. After all, it is better to spend damage effectively DPSing Hakkar than spending cooldowns to burn a barrier.
As a result, most groups opt to burn
on the first barrier, and then burn immunities to reduce the third barrier to as low as possible, and then burn
DPS cooldown on this again. Less coordinated groups will often struggle if their encounter lasts long enough to have two or more barriers, as typically, the second (or third!) will have a lot of adds to control and manage on top of just the sheer size of the barriers to break.
(There is also a bug where Hakkar can "forget" that he can cast
if he comes out at 100 energy from the previous
. However, this is not guaranteed, and it means sitting on your hands for 30 seconds - or not having enough DPS to break through, leading to much bigger issues later on)
To add to this extreme cadence of burns, adds also pose a significant threat to pugs and groups getting into high keys alike: since you are typically conditioned to not really notice
on low keys, players tend to have a brutal awakening on the first wipe to this mechanic because one add stayed unchecked for too long. Due to the increased health they get based on key level, along with
doing more damage as well, this can often turn into a severe problem later on in the fight.
This also adds a dilemma when dealing with the barrier. We know from the data that the damage Hakkar deals to his Sons through
matters when it comes to the size of the barrier, it makes sense to blow the adds up so they die just before the barrier is cast (and therefore take no damage). However, this is typically prime time for boss damage, as the previous barrier is typically not up at that point, leading to a difficult choice:
Do you time your add kills so that the adds die late enough to not be active NPCs when Hakkar casts
, but early enough to not have to rush all the damage on them just before barrier, in the hope for the next barrier to be reduced in size slightly?
Do you instead ignore the adds and let Hakkar kill them, thus incurring a potentially bigger barrier, but gaining boss DPS in the process?
This is one of the most infuriating catch 22 situations present in Mythic+ this expansion, and exists purely due to the sheer size of the barrier and the energy regen during it. If Hakkar paused his energy during it, controlling the adds instead of having to kill them in a < 10s window would be a rewarding instead of a punishing endeavor. Similarly, it would lessen the penalty for not bringing immunities to this dungeon, particularly on higher keys. This trend is already in play on current keys, where the
for this dungeon shifts more and more towards mage/rogue/paladin than other dungeons as the key level gets increased.
Conclusion - Overall Fight Challenges
Due to all this, the fight poses two major problems for most groups:
You are forced to micro-manage offensive cooldowns and immunities as much as possible on this fight, and favor bringing specs with immunities for the third barrier. This is because Hakkar will not "pause" while the barrier is up
You are also punished for not reducing the size of the barrier to an absolute minimum. An add reviving a couple of seconds before the barrier gets put up is a 15-20% increase to the barrier. This makes timing kills up to 10 seconds ahead of time
, in a way no other boss tests, in keys as low as +15.
These issues get amplified further by Tyrannical, which naturally causes you to have more barriers more often, and more windows where you need to quickly (but not too quickly!) dispose of the adds.
The safest course of action currently on live, assuming you have DPS cooldowns that recover their CDs ~1min30 into the fight, is the following:
(30s in): Pride is active, lust is active, and the barrier is smaller (for reasons unknown) - DPS hard
(1min in): Big barrier, handle adds properly
(1min30 in): Immunities to reduce the barrier to a minimum, followed by all DPS cooldowns
(2min in, if necessary): Personal damage reduction CDs. Hardest part of the fight as you have four adds to worry about, if you get there.
Evidently, this would not be as much of an issue is Hakkar's energy regeneration was paused during
, as it would no longer be a double-whammy punishment to not have immunities to throw at a spell cast every 30 seconds. It would also allow for more, clever optimization for top end groups: you could arbitrarily delay forcing Hakkar out of his bubble by not breaking it immediately, in order to better line up the next 30 second burn window.
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