Healing Valithria Dreamwalker as a Resto Druid   15 comments

(aka yes, you can be competitive with your paladins!)

Last night we knocked out Valithria in our 25 man.  We had an inordinately large amount of trouble with this encounter, for reasons I’m not sure I quite understand yet, but in the end we found a method that worked for us and got the job done :)  I will try to get at least some form of a parse up for you all to view, I had wanted to do so with this post, but the problem I have is that because I went down into the portals, every time I took a portal and came back it records as a fresh parse in WoL, which means that for the night it will look like we wiped 200 times!  (does anyone know how to fix this?).

However, I did want to get out a few tips that I found were very helpful for me last night in hopes that those working on the encounter will find them useful!  I also want to say that you should not let your raid tell you that you are not a good healer for the dragon on this fight, because that is just bollocks!  I was extremely competitive with every healer that went down into the portals, and I almost always topped their healing.

 

Preparing for the Encounter

  • The number one most important piece of advice I can offer here is to get a HoT timer.  You can use many different tools for this, including making your buffs on your target frame stand out from everyone elses (I know pitbull and shadowed can do this).  I used Quartz to track my HoTs on her, but I know others resurrected HoTCandy or configured DoT Timers.  Regardless of how you do it, to be your most effective you must be able to track your HoTs on her!
  • Consider re-specing for the encounter.  While I seriously debating dropping my moonkin spec for a “Valithira” spec, I ultimately decided not to; however I think my healing would have been even higher if I had picked up a spec that included empowered touch for the encounter.  I may drop my moonkin spec to pick up this spec in the future.
  • Re-glyph.  In my opinion, if you are healing the dragon rapid rejuv and nourish are a must.  Last night I ran swiftmend, rapid rejuv and nourish for the fight.  Rapid Rejuv lets your rejuv do it’s full amount of healing every 11 seconds instead of every 18!  This means that you can get more healing into Valithria in a shorter period of time.  However, it also means that you have to watch your HoT timers like a hawk!
  • Consider wearing throughput gear over set bonuses.  If you are sitting on some pieces with higher spellpower in the bank because you are trying to keep a set bonus, consider dusting them off if your set bonus isn’t going to help your pump out big heals into Valithria!  Likewise, take a look at old set bonuses (i.e. 2 piece T9) to see if the stat loss might be worth swapping into a favorable set bonus.
  • Get GRID (or whatever raid frames you use) out of your way.  Tuck it away somewhere that you will not be tempted to see it, and if you still struggle with ignoring it just flat out turn it off for the fight.  If you are assigned to heal the dragon, that must  be your focus.  Period.  If you keep GRID in your face, it is so easy to think “OMG the raid needs heals, I MUST HEAL THEM”.  I know, because I struggled with turning that voice off in my head.  Eventually, after trying to focus on too many things and missing portals/failing to get clouds, etc.,  I just moved GRID to a very remote corner of my screen where it wouldn’t be in my view.  My life was so much better once I did that.

edit: For even more in-depth information on gear and spec suggestions check out what Keeva has to say!

Healing the Encounter

  • Use mobile spells while you are on the move.  As an example, as I was running in, I would hit her with RJ, LB(1) and SM.  As soon as I was in position I would get my regrowth up on her.
  • Slow Roll your Lifebloom.  Wha?  What I mean is this: Put lifebloom(1) up, wait for it to just about expire and then put lifebloom(2) up, wait for that to just about expire and put lifebloom(3) up.  Once you are at a three stack let it “bloom” and then repeat the process.
  • Do not “clip” your HoTs.  This is why that HoT timer is so important!  If you refresh your HoTs too early, you aren’t getting the maximum healing from them!  Watch that HoT timer like a hawk so that you can refresh them as soon as they have expired, but not too early.
  • Keep full HoTs on her always.  You want to make sure that she always has your full army of mobile healing going on her at all times.
  • Love Nourish. (Yes, this is me actually telling you to love nourish :p)  Once your HoTs are up and you are in between refreshes on them, spam nourish.
  • Keep swiftmend on cooldown, but time it to maximize it’s effectiveness.  Also use it smartly, such as when you have to run to portals so that you can still contribute on the run when you do not have to refresh your HoTs.
  • Refresh HoTs that are almost “dead” just before the portal pops.  I know that this is somewhat counter-intuitive to my advice earlier about not “clipping”, but you will be in the emerald dream for 15 seconds.  If you have a regrowth or rejuv that only has a few seconds left on it and the portals are about to spawn, go ahead and refresh them so that they can work for you while you aren’t present!
  • Don’t forget about the good ol’ NS/HT combo while you are on the move.  If used while your stacks are high, it can be highly effective as a quick on the run heal!

Dealing with those Pesky Portals and Catching Clouds

This part of the fight is actually hugely important, and a lot more difficult than it seems.  Additionally, if you struggle with spatial awareness, gathering the clouds becomes almost impossible for you.  If you have trouble on encounters like malygos, or in the Oculus, where you have to be aware of a 360% atmosphere and both X and Y axis positioning, you may not be the best person for the portals.  Both of our paladins last night *really* struggled getting cloud stacks, and we tried everything including just having them be close to a cloud “popper”, but they just couldn’t get that first cloud when you portal in that keeps your previous stack from dropping.  I largely suspect this is because they just don’t do well in this kind of environment, which isn’t even necessarily their fault.  Lot’s of people have trouble in this kind of setting, and if you are one of them, it is important to let your raid/healing lead know so they can potentially assign someone else to the portals.

  • First and foremost, it is important that you take a portal every single time that they are available.  This is non-negotiable! 
    • When you pop a cloud, you get the buff “Emerald Vigor” for 35 seconds.  Each time you pop a cloud, you will gain another stack of the buff and it refreshes.  I have no idea how many times this buff stacks, but I was up to 42 stacks at one point last night, and had 39 stacks for our kill.  If you miss a portal, you will miss refreshing your buff and will cause it to drop off.
    • When the portals spawn, you will have between 5-8ish seconds left on your buff.  It is imperative that you enter the portal immediately upon it spawning and pop a cloud right away to refresh your buff.  Failing to do this causes your stacks to reset, which is bad!
    • If there is something going on up top that might distract you (i.e. bloodlusting), ask a raid member to holler out when the portals spawn, so that you don’t miss them.  I was frequently botching getting to my portal last night right after bloodlust, because the sound from bloodlust overrode Valithria’s emote for spawning portals, and I would just miss it.  Having someone remind me about portals during the bloodlust was very helpful to me.
  • Have your raid leader mark your portal healers.  This let’s healers more easily track each other when they are choosing portals, and in the emerald dream.
    • If you find yourself at the same portal as another healer you should be the flexible party and move!  You are a mobile healer and still have tricks that you can use!  I told both of our priests last night “if we end up at the same portal, you stay and I’ll move”.  You will help maximize your raid’s overall healing this way!
  • Try to coordinate using similarly located portals.  Last night we all went to her tail when we popped back up, and all tried to take portals by her tail when possible.  Your spawn point in the emerald dream will mirror where your portal spawned.  If you are already close in proximity to each other coming into the emerald dream it will be much easier for you to group up with the other healers in the dream and will allow you to share more could bursts.
  • Do not let your buff stack drop!  It is more important to maintain a stack than maximize a stack.  That is to say, it is more important that you don’t let a stack drop ever, than to let your stack drop because you were trying to get too many clouds.  This is a lot harder than it seems!
  • Here are some tips for “catching” the clouds, and getting your buff stacked, that I found helped me:
    • Take a few portals to really work out getting a feeling for what causes the clouds to pop, even if it means you get fewer stacks.  You will learn to maximize your stacks, but until you actually understand how to pop the clouds you will get frustrated!
      • Make sure that your camera is zoomed out, and positioned well for you to see a large portion for the room.  You can use the command “/console CameraDistanceMaxFactor 4″ to provide you with more flexibility on zooming your camera angle out. 
    • As you click the portal immediately hit your space bar and hold it down.  This means that as soon as you phase into the emerald dream you are already swimming upwards.  It seems simple enough, but saves a ton of time because if you enter already floating up, you only need to worry about finding a cloud in her plane.  Every second counts upon entry!
      • Valithria is flying in the emerald dream, and most of the clouds are in the same plane as her body, which is in the air, much higher than where you will enter the realm, on the floor.
    • Your number one priority on entering the portal is to “hit” a cloud and refresh your stack.  Do not wait for anyone else to do this.  You can group up with your team mates easily enough after you ensured that your stack is not going to fall off.
      • If you are able to enter the realm relatively close together so you are close in the dream realm, it becomes much easier to make sure everyone’s buff refreshes right away.  If everyone immediately heads up, the chances are good that people will be close enough together that one or two bursts from a team mate will refresh multiple player’s stacks.  I definitely know that I had success holding my stack a few times because one of my team mates saved my bacon by popping a cloud I was fumbling with.
    • Popping the clouds is a little bit tricky.  You “pop” them by moving through them.  Ultimately I found the best way to do this was to swim to where they were and then stop for a brief second to let it pop.  This did two things:  It let my team mates catch up to me, so we could share more clouds, and it ensured that the cloud actually popped before I moved on.  If your cloud doesn’t pop after a brief pause, but you are sure you are on it, try moving up or down slightly to make sure you are on the same plane.
      • You should make an effort to group up with your other healers, because you will most effectively use the clouds if all of you in the portal are benefitting from every burst, but do not ignore clouds on your way to meet up with your group.
      • There were several times when we would all enter the portal very spread out, but within a few seconds we had all refreshed our stacks, and gotten back together.  Do not fail to refresh your stack because you are waiting for other people to get close to you!!!
    • Be sure to pop a cloud at the end of the emerald dream phase!  This will refresh your timer on the buff, and buy you more time the next time into the portal to refresh your buff.  If it had been awhile since your last cloud when you are ported out, it will severely limit your room for error in refreshing your buff entering your next portal!
      • Again, it is more important to make sure you don’t drop your stacks than to get as many stacks as possible.  Smartly utilize the clouds!  The rest will come as you get more comfortable in the emerald dream.
    • Turn on your range finder and set it to 10 yards.  The clouds will buff anyone that is within 10 yards of them when they pop.  If you struggle actually popping the clouds, you can (and should!) soak up other player’s cloud pops merely by being in range of them while they are popping clouds.  Because of the way the emerald dream is set up, spacing can be somewhat disconcerting and you may think that you are close to someone, but really be very far away.  Having your range finder handy is just a way to confirm that you actually are close to the others!
      • If you are having trouble popping the clouds, I suggest latching onto someone who is not, and after you have refreshed your buff (which is your priority!) just chasing around the other person, making sure you are in range to get the extra buff from the cloud.
    • Try not to be a cloud hog.  It really benefits everyone in the emerald dream to share as many of the clouds as possible, so do try to group up once you have refreshed your buff.  That being said, do not ignore clouds either.  If you use the “pause” method for popping the clouds, it is very easy for everyone in the portals to gather up with each other after a short period of time.

And Now for the Big Numbers!

So, I thought it would be fun to share some of the big numbers that I saw last night as I got more comfortable with the fight!  After really taking the time to figure out how the clouds popped (which was the biggest help to me), I was able to amass fairly massive stacks!  I think the highest I made it to was 42 :)  So…what kind of healing can you do with that kind of buffage?!  (If I can get my parse straightened out, I will also tell you where my HPS was).  edit!:  WoL has fixed the issues with parsing this fight for those taking the portals, so I was able to upload our parse from the nights worth of attempts and our eventual kill (please note however, that it is really only accurate as to the 3 people taking the portals with me, as I am not certain that it recorded everyone else accurately while I was in the portals!).  Regardless, the parse shows that for our kill I was able to run 14,214 HPS for the fight.  I think I can do better than that next week though! :)

  • I had my Abbacus proc an Echoes of Light on one of our rogues for over 30k
  • I had a Swiftmend hit for 55k
  • My rejuvs were ticking for upwards of 15-17k a tick (I think some of these might have gone higher, but I will have to double check tonight!)
  • I had a 66k NS/HT crit
  • I had a 36k regrowth crit
  • My largest nourish was in the neighborhood of 54k!

It was a lot of fun!  I wish everyone luck as they work on this encounter, and don’t be held down!  Druids are VERY volatile healers on the dragon.  Do not let anyone else tell you differently!  While we are frequently pigeonholed into our standard role of raid healing, we still can produce highly competitive numbers on this fight. 

Posted February 4, 2010 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, Ice Crown Citadel

15 responses to “Healing Valithria Dreamwalker as a Resto Druid

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  1. I know most people already have it right now because of the current popularity of the 18/0/53 but NG seems pretty godly on this fight as well.

    • Nature’s grace is not of any use as long as you’re haste soft capped. All it will do is take nourish below a 1 second cast which will not increase healing throughput. I run with a 11/0/60 spec with the over the 856 soft cap, and with empowered touch it is definitely the best spec for this encounter.

      On another note, how many healers did you guys have going in the portals each attempt? And thanks for the great info on the fight!

      -Doomy@Windrunner

      • We originally started with sending 5 healers into the portals (2 paladins, 2 holy priests, 1 resto druid). However our two paladins really struggled with the cloud aspect of the fight, and no matter what we tried, their stacks dropped and they ended up actually losing healing by taking the portals.

        On our kill, we left our two paladins up top (which actually increased their healing due to aforementioned issues with the clouds) and sent down only 3 people, the two priests and myself.

        I am going to toy with it some more, letting our shaman go down one week to see how he does, maybe sending both druids one week instead of two priests, since I pretty consistently out healed the preists (although they did get me a few pulls). And once we are more comfortable with the fight, I want to try to get our paladins worked out, because they really do have the best throughput for this encounter.

        As our DPS/Tanks get more comfortable up top, I will probably increase the number of healers that we send into the portals again as well, because we really were pushing our limits time wise.

        Honestly, I feel pretty strongly that just about anyone (sans Disc Priests) going into the portals will do really well as long as they can manage their buffs. So the biggest piece of advice I can give people is to send down those healers that do really well with their spatial awareness, because that will be the biggest boost to your healing in the long run.

  2. Also, is there a reason to suggest slow rolling 3 stacks of lifebloom? Unbuffed my lifebloom x3 is blooming for 9-9.5k non crit, while nourish glyphed with empowered touch is hitting for ~7.5k non crit. By letting lifeblooms drop off you’re essentially losing 2 gcds (3 to reapply, instead of just 1 to refresh) which would be 2 more nourishes, which also have a much higher crit rate, not to mention that ramp up time of the lifebloom ticks getting back to 3 stacks.

    -Doomy@Windrunner

  3. Hey Beru, I absolutely loved this fight as well. My guild was fortunate enough to down it on both 10 and 25man and we definitely had a long night when we encountered her on 25man.

    Here are a few things I noticed about the fight.
    1) Druids really are good portal goers. I found that the druid mobility was extremely helpful for keeping a large amount of healing on the dragon. Once we’re teleported out of the dream world I’ll use that time to refresh RG, spot my next portal, then use my instants as I walk my way over to the next portal spot.

    2) Our resto shammy was our highest healer on 25man. It took a little coaching since he’s used to raid healing but once he got the hang of his Riptide->HW spam->Riptide rotation his HPS soared. The only thing I noticed about him though was he had a bit of a problem hogging the dream world clouds which did stop some peeps from getting their last cloud pop right before exiting dream world >.<

    3) We kept 2 healers outside at all times. We kept a Holy Pally and a Holy Priest and they were able to keep the raid up with little trouble until the end when the add spawn rate got a bit intense.

    4) I actually zoomed my camera way in. As in almost first person shooter style. Especially with the 3D spacial aspect of the dream world I found it much easier to get on the same vertical level as the clouds if my camera was much closer to my toon.

    5) I also had a problem with my combatlog parse for the night where it said we did around 30 attempts when we actually only did 10ish

    Great writeup, lots of good info in there.

  4. Pingback: Tree Bark Jacket » Blog Archive » Healing Dreamwalker: Channeling your inner warlock

  5. I tried arguing the same point, a good healer who does not let their buffs drop off is more important than one class who’s supposedly “OP” for this fight. It doesn’t matter the class (well other than disc, preventing healing isn’t so hot on this fight compared to straight out HPS) Otherwise a raid without holy paladins would be irrevocably burdened by this fight. My favorite part is that paladins on this fight get at least 40% overheals as their primary target heal is usually 90% overhealed, nobody not even a tank will need a 90K heal. But I know some paladins that run in the 70-80% overheals department on some fights usually so this comes out low for them.

  6. Thank you Beru! I’ll be sharing with my guild. I’m looking forward to doing this fight, though now I’m worried over the spatial issues. I do have problems on Maly… but the trick mentioned by Sunkist in comments about zooming in instead of out may be the fix I need. I’ll give it a shot, and maybe dig out my old fps games to give it a whirl.

  7. Hi druid friends!

    While we were trying Valithria in 10-man today I had a few problems. I have been assigned to heal the dragon while the other two healers were healing the raid.

    I am normally keeping track of my HoTs durations on raid members via Grid, but it’s needless to say that Valithria won’t show up there. So I configured my focus frame to show the HoT timers. Everytime you enter the Emerald Dream your focus is lost and I noticed that it takes some time to set it again. Also I sometimes couldn’t manage to pop out of the dream near the camp. This meant that I had to walk to get back in the range of the other healers.

    What helped a lot for this fight was a macro that I set up:
    /tar Valithria
    /focus
    /castsequence [target=focus] Rejuvenation, Lifebloom, Lifebloom, Lifebloom, Swiftmend

    So right after popping out of the dream all you need to do is to spam the key that you bound this macro to while walking back to the raid. After reaching your position you can start casting Regrowth and Nourish until the portals are open again.

    Also don’t forget to use Nature’s Swiftness in combination with Healing Touch everytime it is available. Create a macro for this, too. (but most druids will already use this)

    Hope this helps some lazy people like myself. :)

  8. Do you have any advice for the heroic version? [btw - I love the amount of detail you put into your strategies!]

  9. Ive seen slightly higher numbers with Healing Touch spam than Nourish spam.

    Drop your raid healing spec pic up all haste talents plus 5/5 Naturalist. With Wrath of Air and Boomkin/Ret this put my HTs around 1.5-1.6 range. Im working on a different trinket/gear scheme to try to drop that closer to 1 second without glyphing.

    The results of 1.6ish HTs are to the tune of 85k Healing Touches and 25.5k HPS throughput

    http://www.worldoflogs.com/reports/c58xzne9bgrquxog/sum/healingDone/?s=2297&e=2644

    • From what I’ve been reading, nourish with full HoTs offers more throughput than HT everywhere except during bloodlust.

      A couple of weeks ago I broke 26k HPS with my current build, utilizing 4 T9, and fully HoT’d nourishes.

      That isn’t to say that the math I’m seeing is wrong, however, you can still be highly effective with a few gear and glyph changes and without the hassle of running a highly specialized spec just for this encounter. :)

  10. Good thing to remind – when in portal remember to keep your stacking trinkets/librams at top stack, I often forget about to do so, this can boost your heals a bit also.

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