In my guild, I am the pilot for Lord Rhyolith, taking responsibility for steering him away from lava and over active volcanoes. Since my guild is now relatively successful at this fight, I thought I’d put together a quick guide to how I approach that part of the job. This post assumes you know the basics of the fight; time permitting, I will be writing a post covering the fight from a rogue perspective.
Steering: The Basics
So you’ve been nominated to steer Rhyolith – congratulations! This can be a stressful task, as all eyes (and hopefully ears) will be on you as you wipe the raid a few times (or are luckier than most!), but if you succeed it’ll be in no small part because of your work. So what does “steering” Rhyolith entail? Let’s get to it.
Rhyolith starts out walking down the middle of his island. By doing damage to his feet, you can steer him. The higher the relative damage is on one foot, the tighter he turns in that direction. His feet are individually targetable and cleverly named “Right Foot” and “Left Foot.” Make sure you are quite clear in your instructions that right means Right Foot as labelled, not as looking at him. Once you pull Rhyolith, a meter will appear, allowing you to tell the tightness of his turn radius. You will want to keep your eye on this throughout the fight.
Because you will need to stomp out active volcanoes, you need to know that every time he stomps, he creates two volcanoes and shortly thereafter lights one (it doesn’t have to be one of the ones he just created). Rhyolith is supposed to favor lighting one ahead of him (and therefore more likely to be in his path) than ones behind him, but he is a fickle and mysterious boss.
Normal Mode Tactics:
DPS assignments: For normal, our guild uses six melee DPS on feet. We assign three DPS to each foot by default, attempting to balance DPS output across those feet. Keep in mind while balacing DPS that you may need to move off the boss to scout out active volcanoes, angles, etc., so your output is likely to be lower than it would otherwise. We also designate two backups for emergency calls (more on that in a second); try to pick ranged DPS who can ramp up quickly. If, after a few attempts, DPS seems to be out of balance, don’t be afraid to shift assignments around, as long you’re very clear about who is where. Something you may want to do between attempts where steering is off is go look at your logs and see if people’s ratios of damage to feet makes sense for their assignment. If you have someone assigned to the right foot and most of the calls were to the right, then it would be odd to see 90% of the damage to the left foot.
Basic Calls: As with all calls, keep your directions clear and decisive. “Right!” is more likely to be successful than “lef… er, right?” Don’t yell, but don’t be meek either. Try to avoid qualifiers. Your DPS will be confused if you give directions such as “a little right.” What we do is use a system where calls are defined ahead of time.
||DPS the assigned foot
||DPS the right foot
||DPS the right foot and pop cooldowns
||DPS, including backups, unload on the right foot with everything they’ve got
Those calls (and their analogs on the left side) are all you really need to say to get through the encounter.
Emergency Calls: Obviously, you want to use emergency calls sparingly, but there are two instances where you’ll want to call emergency. First, when you’re going to go in lava otherwise. That’s to be avoided at all costs, so calling for help is warranted. Second, if you miss an active volcano, or one spawns behind you, and it makes more sense to do a 180 than go around again, then call for an emergency turn. Again, not ideal, but how often are boss fights ideal? Make sure after emergency calls to tell your emergency folks to go back to what they were doing after the danger is over.
Walking Him Forward: The ideal approach is to avoid all tight turns. Steer him in a gentle curve (probably to the right, since if you get lucky, you’ll get an achievement), sweeping over active volcanoes. Don’t go out of your way to avoid dormant volcanoes, despite the fact that the he gets a damage buff as a result. The time you’ll lose and the risk that he’ll get steered off course isn’t worth it. You *will* want to prioritize volcanoes that have been up longer, so if you have to choose, aim for the oldest volcano (you are keeping track of them as they come out, aren’t you?).
Oversteering: Keep your eye on the meter at all times, especially as you’re making turns. One of the easiest mistakes to make as a pilot is to oversteer. Remember that for your DPS to react to a call, switch feet, and ramp up will take some time, while Rhyolith himself has some inertia working against you. Don’t be shy in calling straight early, or even calling the opposite foot to get things back to straight more quickly. Learning when to call left and then straight to come out of a right turn at the angle you need is key to the fight. Get that part down, and you’ll be well on your way to a kill!
Heroic Mode Tactics:
Steering doesn’t change a ton for heroic, but there are enough small differences that they’re worth addressing here.
DPS assignments: For heroic, we assign eight DPS to legs. When we don’t have eight melee in, we usually fill with hunters and elemental shamans. We keep the two additional emergency DPS ready for a call, as in normal. On early attempts on heroic, we found that oversteering was a big problem, with the extra DPS. In order to combat this, we assign two DPS (one right, one left) to stay on their legs fulltime except during emergency calls. This helps keep turns smoother, and because we also ask them to pop cooldowns when we need to straighten out from a hard turn in the opposite direction, it brings us back into line more quickly. Finally, because the soft enrage is brutal, we have all DPS assigned a default leg to switch to when no adds are up. This will affect steering, so be mindful of this.
Liquid Obsidian Adds: Things to note here are: Rhyolith walks faster if he’s going straight, so try to keep him going that way as much as possible. It’ll put some distance between you and the liquid obsidian adds that spawn, and more will die from cleaves and the like as a result. Since you’ll have the clearest idea in your head of the path you’re going to take, you’ll be in a great position to make out blowback calls. The most effective use for the blowbacks are on tight turns, since you won’t be covering as much ground, and near the end of the fight, when you’re looking to push Rhyolith into phase 2.
Phase 2 Preparation: So you’re getting close to phase 2 – what kind of calls are there to make near the very end? Well, apart from the blowback call mentioned above, there are potentially some strategy-related calls you can make here. Our strategy goes something like this: at 4:20 into the fight, we pop hero. Once the following adds are down, we have all ranged DPS switch to the feet on my call. Why do we not just have them switch immediately? We learned the hard way that having ranged on the feet dramatically changes steering, and it becomes extremely hard to control. So when our guild leader tells me the ranged DPS are ready, I will wait on that call if we are going to get another volcano down in the next few seconds. Any longer than that, and it’s probably not worth holding DPS, but one extra volcano near the end of the phase can pay dividends in your ability to burn him. So get a volcano if one’s nearby, call for ranged DPS to jump on the legs, and get ready for phase 2! Don’t forget to dodge those lasers….
Your turn! Are you a pro Rhyolith pilot? Did I leave anything out? How do you call directions out in your raiding team?
Thanks to @Morynne at Marks-365 for the use of her image of the Rhyolith steering meter above!