Archive for the ‘Healing’ Category

Healing Heroic Zon’ozz (video guide)   2 comments

I’ve gotten quite a few questions on this bugger of a fight, and I know that I’m a little slow getting this out, but I hope it’s still timely enough to be helpful! I only have kill footage of this encounter – which went beautifully until the very end where we squeaked by on the skin of our teeth,  so please forgive the “oops” at the end.  I will tell you what was supposed to happen as the fight came to a close and point out where that went awry. I dealt very specifically with druid healing in this video, but will add a few more comments/tips below.

Please note that this video will be best viewed at one of the higher resolutions.

A Few Tips!

  • How many healers did you use? We heal this with seven healers. Our first kill was 2 druids, 1 paladin, 3 priests and 1 shaman. Our other druid healed one of the tentacle tanks during the black phase. We’ve used any number of combinations since then and been successful.
  • Oh God, my mana! This is an extremely heal intensive encounter, and mana will be very tight. I opted to run with 2 T12 and 2 T13 while learning it so that I had extra regen for the encounter. Additionally, I found that, for myself, if I didn’t innervate before the first black phase things were so hectic and every GCD in the black phase was so precious, that I often forgot to innervate until we came out of the phase and I was often sub 50% mana. As such,I try to make a point to innervate before entering that first black phase to maximize my innervates through the fight. Additionally, don’t forget to maximize your trinkets if you have additional  regen focused trinkets so that you can utilize them  the maximum number of times in the fight.
  • Love Nature’s Grace. I can’t stress this enough! Whether you are solo healing a group or healing with a partner, make smart use of Nature’s grace so that you have it available during heavy damage phases to help boost the healing you can do during those times.
  • Tree of Life. As I stated in the video, I preferred to use ToL while the debuffs were active so that I could do more effective healing for less mana and it ensured that I could maximize ToL twice in the encounter. I, personally, found it somewhat lackluster for dealing with the black phase damage and found that I often reverted to rejuv/regrowth even if I was in ToL so it made the most sense for me to use it as more of a conservation tool to help support the aggressive healing needed in the black phases. This worked very well for me, but you will need to play around with it to find the best time for you and your raid team – you may well find that you like it better at a different time in the encounter.
  • Tranquility. Also as stated in the video, I favored using Tranquility during the first and third black phases. This meant that I had it available for two of the phases where the healers are spread out and have to focus on keeping their group alive. I found this imperative for solo healing a group, and extremely helpful when working with another healer. While it meant that I did not have it available for the final push – we had many mitigation cooldowns available to get us through those final seconds of the fight during that fourth black phase where you ignore everything and just burn through the boss.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. When your raid is first learning this fight, navigating the black phase as a druid is brutal. Our tool kit lacks any burst AE healing, which means that you need to do a lot of prep for the black phase and smartly utilize your cooldowns and toolbox to navigate through it. If you also 7 heal, one of your groups will have 2 healers in it – and if you are struggling with the black phase do not hesitate to ask to be placed in the “team up” group. We found that priests of both specs were especially adept at solo healing a group, and that paring up our shaman and myself made life a lot less miserable for the both of us. Asking for help doesn’t mean you are a bad healer, it just means that the black phase sucks and our toolkit isn’t the most adept at navigating the damage. By our third kill, with some gear upgrades and the raid more familiar with the fight, I had no issues solo healing a group – but during progression trying to solo heal it was one of the worst healing experiences I’ve ever had.
  • Mitigating Damage. Something to keep in mind is that the gaze from the eyestalks can be brutal when all 8 of them are active (especially in those 5-10 seconds the flails are alive), however, those buggers can be interrupted! You probably don’t want to make it a priority to interrupt each and every one, DPS can (and should) interrupt the ones they are DPSing to help the black phase damage be more manageable. While they do not have a cast bar, you can easily tell when they are casting because they “squat”. Additionally, everyone in the raid with damage mitigating abilities should be sure that they use them during black phases.
  • Raid Cooldowns. You absolutely want to have a raid cooldown rotation for the final black phase “push”. (This would be the part in the video were we made a mistake and blew up). We set up PW:B rotations, as well as Aura Mastery and 4 piece tank cooldown rotations. Once you hit that phase it’s pure survival mode. Cycle your cooldowns and keep as many people alive as you can. I might also recommend prayer.  Additionally, we used Aura Mastery and 4 piece tank cooldowns during the black phases, and PW:B throughout the fight while the debuffs were active. We found that having a PW:B as the debuff comes out immediately after your first black phases to really help keep the raid stabilized - as that set of debuffs occurs almost immediately upon entering the light phase and many people are still low life from the black phase.

There is a lot going on in this encounter, so I may well have forgotten to address something.  Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have questions!

Posted January 13, 2012 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, Healing, Video

Healing Heroic Morchok (video guide)   8 comments

Ah, a new tier, a new set of nerfs and relearning how to kick ass at your class.  Sounds like fun! I’m going to start Tier 13 with Hard Mode guides, as I get through them with my guild.  However, if anyone has a specific request for a guide on any of the normal mode encounters please don’t hesitate to ask me if I can put one together.  I do have footage of most of the normal mode encounters, and would be happy to toss something together if people feel that there is a need for the information.

As for Heroic Morchok, he’s quite a bit of fun, but can also be a little stressful from a healing standpoint – especially as a druid with our notable lack of burst AE healing.  There is high raid damage that needs to be dealt with fairly quickly so that your raid is prepared to take subsequent incoming damage.  It can be tricky, but it’s definitely possible for you to perform well on the encounter.  Let’s take a look at how I navigated the encounter!

As always, please note that this video is best viewed in one of the higher resolutions.

A Few Tips!

  • How many healers did you take? We used 6, three for each side. The enrage timer on the boss is fairly strict, so unless you have some seriously standout DPS you will probably not be able to take more than 6 healers at this stage in the content.  We used a priest/paladin/druid combination on the left side and a priest/shaman/druid combination on the right side.
  • Tank Cooldowns.  Something that I neglected to mention in the video is that the tanks receive a debuff after each stomp that causes them to take increased damage.  It will be important that the have a personal or external cooldown for each stop, and that the tanks and the healers work out a cooldown rotation in advance.  We even had our ret paladins assisting with a bubble/sac to ensure that we had enough cooldowns for every stop.
  • Raid Cooldowns.  As I indicated in the video, the tricky part of the fight isn’t having the raid survive the stomp, it’s having the raid survive the crystal after the stomp.  This becomes more challenging as Morchok’s life decreases and his damage ramps up significantly.  As such, we found it far more beneficial to utilize raid cooldowns to mitigate the crystal damage as opposed to trying to mitigate the stomp damage.  This opens up a world of possibilities, as the crystal damage is shadow based, making thinks like Aura Mastery and Anti-magic Zone excellent options for mitigating some of the damage.  Similarly to the tank cooldowns, work out your raid cooldowns in advance, and be sure that you have a cooldown for every crystal in the 25-0% portion of his life when he gets really angry.  Once you’ve done that, navigate the cooldowns earlier in the encounter to they are back up again for that last part, to assist with easing the burden on the healing.  We used our raid cooldowns in the 75-50% portion of the encounter, and again at the 25-0% portion of the encounter.
  • Oh god, my mana.  Because of the damage patterns of the encounter, and our noted lack of burst healing, you will find that you rely very heavily on rejuv to manage the healing on the raid.  Be sure that you innervate early and often, and conserve mana when and where you can. Try to line your first innervate up with a power torrent proc for the extra mana – you will have a need for it by the end of the fight. The “ooze” phase is a perfect time to utilize a concentration potion, so be sure to sneak one in during that down time.  (I actually think I missed doing this in the video, and ended up using a normal mana potion as a result – and my mana at the end of the fight kicked me for that mistake!). Additionally, don’t be afraid to set up Hymning with your priest during the encounter either.  The “ooze” phase is another perfect time to take advantage in the lack of healing needed.

Good Luck, have fun, and please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions!

Posted December 13, 2011 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, Hard Modes, Healing, Video

Initial Thoughts on the 4.3 Resto Changes   58 comments

In a word: I’m frustrated.

I was trying to express this in vent last night, but I’m afraid I wasn’t very articulate about it.  Borsk was pretty much like QQ more druid – which I suppose is fair, since the frustration that I felt last night is likely similar to what shaman have been feeling for the past two raiding tiers.  So I’ll let him have it.  But that does not change the fact that I was so frustrated and disheartened last night that by the halfway point in the raid, I didn’t even feel like being there.  It is not fun to feel like you are giving it everything you’ve got and yet everything remains so insufficient.

I’ve had two druid experiences so far: a completely PuG LFR with Elentari and my Progression raid with Beru.  In my PuG Elentari dominated – but I suspect that has more to do with me being a competent and skilled healer in a PuG setting than anything else.  I also dominated on Mynn in the LFR I did with her, and she’s the healer I’m least comfortable with and least geared.  So take that for what you will.

However, when I got into my progression setting with five other competent and very skilled healers I felt like I was busting my ass – and felt like that no matter how hard I tried I wasn’t going to catch up.  Now, in looking over my logs this morning, I was far from perfect.  My LB uptime was much too low on several fights and my harmony uptime needs to be picked up (but wasn’t terrible).  So there is definitely room for improvement – but I have to think that everyone on my raid team was in the same boat as we looked at these fights for the first time.  Let me see if I can articulate the problem without it simply sounding like a bunch of whining. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted December 1, 2011 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, Healing, Raiding

Consistency, Please.   60 comments

Today I’d like to address a problem that has been plaguing us since the conversion to 25 man raids from 40 man raids back at the start of The Burning Crusade.  Something that has been frustrating not only as a healer, but as a raid leader as well.  The problem: consistent healing requirements (or lack thereof) through content.

When I walked uphill both ways to Molten Core, setting up your healing roster was simple: 5 Priests, 5 Druids, 5 Shaman.  15 slots of your 40 were dedicated to your healing team.  Or, put mathematically, 37.5% of your raid roster was allocated to healers.  As guild’s made the transition from 40 people to 25, somewhere that percentage got jumbled.

When The Burning Crusade started, I think it was fairly common to run an 8 healer roster for most encounters.  Broken down, you just took two of each class – at least until you got to Sunwell, and half of your healers had to reroll Shaman.  Most encounters could be done plus or minus a healer, and most raids were run with 7-9 depending on the encounter.  In fact, I think the only encounter that really favored 9 was Illidan, and even then, only while learning the fight.  I have memories of our Feral druids having to respec Resto on nights when we were short healers.

However, I think the average was probably 7-8 healers for most raid teams.  Or, put mathematically, ~32% of your raid.  A slight decline, but nothing that was too out of whack.

The introduction of Wrath of the Lich King – and more specifically, the content patch that introduced Ulduar, is where I think things started to go amiss, especially with hard modes coming forth in earnest.  You were required to have a deep healing roster, because you had fights like Heroic Freya where you took eight healers to meet the damage requirements.  But then you had fights like Heroic Hodir, where we three healed our first kill.  The rest of the zone was somewhere in between – with no level of consistency.  5 healers for Yogg, 8 healers for Thorim, 6 for XT.  As you cleared through the zone, no two fights had the same requirement, and your healing team was constantly adjusting to the requirements of the encounter.

In simpler terms you ranged from needing between 12% and 32% of your raid being allocated to healers.

As we entered Cataclysm, I had hoped that this would be somewhat alleviated.  And for most of T11, I felt it was – at least a bit.  We ran most of our T11 content with 7 healers.  We dropped to 6 for Heroic Cho’gall, Nef and Sinestra.  And we ran 8 for pre-nerf Magmaw and Chimearon.  But we pretty stubbornly kept 7 of our raid slots allocated to healers throughout the content, at least as much as we could.

And then came Firelands.  We cleared Normal out in a week, using 7 healers for everything.  However, as we approached heroic content, we found that we were once again yo-yoing healers.  We 7 healed Heroic Shannox, because we could.  But we had to drop down to 6 for Alysrazor and Rhyolith.  Back up to 7 for Beth’tilac.  Down to 5 for Baleroc and Staghelm.  And we are now finding ourselves at 4 healers for Heroic Ragnaros.  We are again jockeying between 14% and 28% of our raid team for healers.

And it sucks.

The Problem with “Off Spec” DPS

I am sure that some of the people who read this post are going to say “well, that’s what Dual Specs are for”.   Only, it’s not really the elegant solution that certain people think that it is.  Let me see if I can explain why.  For starters, people who join a raid to heal, generally want to heal.  It’s where they feel they are strongest.  It’s their comfort zone.  And most importantly, it’s what they find fun.  Which is, consequently, why they are doing it.

Secondly, healing is a very different beast to DPSing.  Many of the base mechanics of what you do as a healer have little or nothing to do with what you do as a DPS.  People who aren’t comfortable at DPS, of find DPSing natural to them, are going to flail a bit when it comes to having to DPS.  They aren’t necessarily going to be the same caliber player in a spec and role that they aren’t comfortable performing.  It’s frustrating.  Being strong DPS takes dedication and practice.  Just because you are an amazing Bicyclist, doesn’t mean that you can hop on a Unicycle and not fall off.  It’s a completely different game, and not everyone will excel at it.  Which in turn means that if you are having to sit healers to bolster DPS, you are likely better bringing in a full member of your DPS team than asking a healer uncomfortable in their DPS spec to swap specs.

The worst part of this is that the only way to get better is by doing.  Which means that they have to do something that they don’t particularly enjoy just so that they aren’t a liability when asked to fill that role.  Which means that they have to spend even less time doing what they truly want to do (healing), just so they can get better at something they don’t really want to be doing (DPSing).  It’s a very nasty catch 22.

Thirdly, there is always going to be a gear discrepancy.  I always keep a full balance set.  But it’s always behind our full time DPS.  For starters, I don’t get my set bonuses until I have all of my resto gear, and I just got my four piece moonkin bonus last night.  And of those four pieces, only one is heroic quality.  The rest of my gear is a mish-mash of resto gear, and gear that I can throw together outside of raids through rep rewards of valor point purchases.  Occasionally I may get a DPS upgrade in a raid, but they are rare because healers aren’t going to be awarded DPS gear over a main spec DPS.  Which, in turn, means that my DPS gear isn’t always the best optimized, and it’s generally at least half a tier behind.  This means that even if I can do awesome DPS – I’m likely still not going to be able to pull the same numbers of an equally skilled person in their better, main spec gear.  Again, meaning that it would be more beneficial to the raid to bring in that player over me in a DPS spot.

Lastly, it can be a very demoralizing experience that can eventually break people.  People in competitive raid teams want to be competitive.  They want to do their best.  They want to be performers.  And if they are constantly at the bottom, in their off spec role, it will eventually get to them.  As can comments that are meant to be a joke, or even comments meant to be helpful, about their performance in their off spec.  The other night I bit the bullet and DPS’d for Heroic Staghelm.  It was my first time for that fight in that role.  I was mildly competitive with some of our lower DPS – but when push came to shove, at the end I beat the tank.  I’m one of our top performers as a healer – and what I got to say about my undergeared, and uncomfortable performance as DPS was “Hey!  I beat the tank…at least”.  Frankly, I was embarrassed.

We have a resto druid that’s been playing moonkin for 3/4ths of our raid time for the past month as we push heroic Rag, who I am positive has been in tears on the other side of her computer on more than one occasion in that time.  She is trying her ass off, I don’t have a doubt in my mind about that.  But when push comes to shove, she’s not comfortable with the spec, and as a guild we are asking her to do something she’s not comfortable with for the success of the raid for an extended period of time.  And she’s a champ and doing it – but I don’t doubt that she feels miserable many of our raid nights.  In fact, I know that she feels like she’s a detriment, because she’s told me she feels that way and has openly offered to sit out for someone who will do more DPS.

And you know what?  It makes me feel like shit to know that she’s uncomfortable and borderline miserable for 3 of our 4 raid nights.  And yet here I am asking her to keep her chin up and keep trucking along…because I can only bring four fucking healers into the fight and I value her too much as a player and asset to our raid team for her to miss the kill.

The inconsistency is unfair to players.

In the end, it’s the players that suffer when there are such huge swings of inconsistency in what a raid requires to succeed.  It’s the raid leaders who have to determine which healers to bench fight after fight.  It’s the healers who have to attempt to learn to be comfortable and viable as a DPS, something that very few raiders have asked of them.  It’s the raids that have to build a deeper DPS bench so that they can accommodate fights that need a fraction of the healers as others, and conversely have to be benched when a fight needs more healers to succeed.

In the end, it would be amazing if the development team could pick a set number of healers that they think should be viable for every encounter.  I don’t care if that number is 5, 6, 7 or 8.  I’d just like to stop having to constantly adjust to meet the demands of an encounter.  I’d like to be able to build a healing roster and know that I’m not going to have to bench half of them (or offspec them) for several of the encounters in a content tier.  I’d just like a little consistency.  And I don’t think that it’s too much to ask.

Posted October 11, 2011 by Beruthiel in /rant, Healing, Raiding

Wednesday, er, Wonderings? Marvelous Mynn Edition!   8 comments

It’s not Monday, and I’m a bit behind on everything, so here is my weekly brain dump on, er, Wednesday.  But with good reason!  Which I will tell you about later.  Maybe.

On Raiding

Things are pretty static on this front, without much to report!  Which isn’t necessarily bad.  We snagged a second Baleroc kill (not without some effort, but it wasn’t too painful) and ended up with a good amount of time to flirt with Heroic Ragnaros for the first time.  Except it was a holiday weekend.  And no matter how many times you ask people to give you a heads up on their holiday intentions, it’s always a scramble at the last-minute when raid time comes.

That means we only got one of two nights to focus on him – but were able to go in an 24 man Heroic Cho’gall and Sinestra on Sunday with a few friends and family members tossed in to help.  Alas, she was stingy with her Shard of Woe, which made us all a little sad.  But Monday, with the healers showing that they don’t believe in vacations and free beer, we were able to go in and play around a bit with the big fire kahuna.  And it was a lot of fun.

I’m quite sure that after week 3 the novelty of finding new and interesting ways to wipe on Heroic Rag will wear off, but for now it’s still fresh enough that people seem to be enjoying the progress.  We have approached the fight with the mentality that this will take months to master, and each night we look at the next small step we need to accomplish to get to the end goal - a kill.  Breaking the massive encounter up into smaller pieces of progression markers makes the encounter a little less intimidating for me, and I’d like to think others as well.  While the end result is still a kill, we are trying to make sure that we don’t burn out our guild trying to get there.  Each small achievement is one more step down that path.  And eventually enough small successes will combine themselves into a large success.

We’ll get a kill on our time, and my only goal is to see that happen before the next content patch.  Personally, I’m looking forward to the challenge. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted September 7, 2011 by Beruthiel in Blizzcon, Brain Dump, Deep Thoughts, Hard Modes, Healing, Mynn, Raiding

Healing Baleroc 10 Man (video guide)   14 comments

One of the most common questions that I’ve been asked is how to handle Baleroc 10 man normal as a druid.  It’s something that a lot of druids struggle with, so if you are struggling a bit, it’s ok!  You are not alone!  As such I decided that it might be worthwhile to do a guide of this encounter from a 10 man normal perspective from my alt druid, Elentari.  Now, I’ve offered a strategy for the fight that works for us.  However, there are many ways to skin a cat, so please keep in mind that just because this works for us, doesn’t mean that it will necessarily work well for your team!  However, it was my hope and goal with this video that I could answer some of the more common questions that I get regarding this fight in it’s 10 man iteration.  Additionally, if you run a 10 man regularly, and have additional advice or tips and tricks that you use, please comment on them below!  I am confident that others would be thrilled for the feedback.

Before we get to the video, there are a few things that I’d like to note.  Elentari is in gear that is a mish mash of what she had available to her.  She doesn’t have any set bonuses (well, so does now, but didn’t at the time I made the video) and she doesn’t have any neat haste trinkets or racials.  This is the reason that I wanted to capture her healing it and not Beru.  Because she is likely geared similarly to a lot of other druids out there looking at Baleroc for their first time.  She doesn’t have full BiS gear from any tier and she’s just doing her best to make magic happen!  In the actual video, I make an enormous number of mistakes and it is far from my best performance.  However, the video is meant to be more of a “this is how we tackle this in a 10 man setting” and I wanted to get it out timely, rather than wait to see if I can get a “perfect” capture of the fight were I make fewer errors. So you have me not playing my best with all my warts out for everyone to see, but with what I’m hoping is insightful commentary.  :)  I’m not setting any records here, but that’s ok!  My goal isn’t to dominate the fight, it’s to try and help druids at all gear and skill levels who are struggling on the 10 man version of this encounter.   As such, I hope you will forgive me my flaws.  Lastly, and this is very important, please do not be like me and keep your LB active!

Phew!  I honestly think I’m more nervous about posting this video than I have any of my others!  Well, now that is out of the way, here is the guide.

(please note that it will be best viewed in one of the larger resolutions)

A few additional comments!

  • I know that in my video we commented that we have a paladin solo heal his shard/tank.  We always have a paladin for this task, because if the paladin from the video isn’t available, I heal it on my paladin.  That being said, if you do not run with a paladin do not despair! I think that a disc priest could probably do the job equally as effectively.  Not only that, but I think that probably any strong healer that was comfortable with it can probably do the solo part, but paladins and priests do really well at this fight and their bubble mitigation is amazing.  Ultimately, try having your strongest healer run solo and pair up the other two and you will probably be fine!
  • 2 tanks and 3 healers means that your DPS does have to carry through a bit.  Our first kills on this in our alt run shaved very closely to the enrage timer.  However as long as you have solid DPS you should be fine.  I am a pretty firm believer that a two tank strategy is more stable and far easier on your healers.  It does put the burden on your DPS, but if they can pull through you will have a much easier time of it!
  • I just wanted to reiterate that there are many ways to skin the cat!  Just because this strategy works well for us does not mean it will translate well to your raid team.  Don’t hesitate to mix it up a bit and take the pieces of it that you like, and discard the pieces that you don’t like!
  • In the video, I make a comment regarding mana gain from two piece T11.  I really mean 2 piece T12!
  • You can also find some additional information on the fight (including my power auras) in my 25 man version of the guide.
I hope that this is helpful!  Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions, and I heartily encourage other 10 man druids to leave commentary on their experiences and what worked well for them!

Posted September 2, 2011 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, Healing, Video

Healing Heroic Baleroc (video guide)   3 comments

Heroic Baleroc.  The “healers” fight for this expansion.  I think I’m going to rename it to “the fight where your disc priests and paladins completely kick your ass!”.  I jest!  In all honesty, when push comes to shove, this fight is more about the raids situational awareness and ability to meet the enrage timer than it is about the healing. I’d say that it’s probably 60% situational awareness, 20% DPS, 10% healing and 10% OH GOD TANK USE ANOTHER COOLDOWN!  There are a lot of moving factors with the encounter, but once you get it down, it’s a lot of fun.  Oh, and don’t sit idle if you are told that you can’t heal this fight.  We used a 1 paladin, 2 disc priest and 2 resto druid healing combination to learn the encounter and repeat our kill.  We are absolutely viable on this encounter ;)

With such a quick encounter, it doesn’t leave a whole lot of time in the videos for much information outside of just walking through how I heal, so there are quite a few tips that I couldn’t get into the video below!

As always, please note that this video is best viewed in one of the higher resolutions.

A few tips!

  • Save your glory for another fight.  You will not be able to keep up with your Holy Paladins and Disc Priests on this encounter.  I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try!  Just don’t be discouraged if they more than double your healing done.  To give you an example, on our second kill I think I ranked like 68th in the world on WoL at ~23k HPS while our disc priest ranked at only 123 with just under 42k HPS.  Also, don’t fight your disc priests and your paladins for the chance to supercharge their spark stacks.  They have the best tools to keep your tanks alive on this fight, and they really are going to be your strongest healers for that job.  It’s ok!  You are still viable, but they truly should get the juicy roles this time!
  • Don’t Believe Everything You See.  While both Skada and Recount do a fair job in attempting to track absorbs, they aren’t 100% accurate, especially on this encounter.  I don’t know why, but they seem to struggle in allocating which absorbs are being used.  You can see in the video the pink bar just dominates across the top of my healing/absorb meter.  However, when you upload the parse into WoL it tells you a vastly different story.  The reason that I’m sharing this is so that if you have struggles while learning the fight, you know not to rely solely on recount/skada to review what may be healing issues.
  • Power Building Spark Stacks.  You probably heard me mention “Power building” a few times.  Let me explain what that is!  For our first two ranged shards we have a shadow priest that “solos” the shard.  This allows the healers that are on that shard to build stacks very, very quickly.  The way that this works is that at 11 stacks the shadow priest gets a Pain Suppression.  At 19 stacks the shadow priest disperses.  By the end of the shard, they will have ~25 stacks of torment and healers that are focused on them can really juice up their vital spark stacks.  The two healers who will be the main healers focused on the tank should be assigned to these two shards so that they can build >100 spark stacks in that time and focus solely on the tanks after that.  (You will notice that in the video I mention I try to sneak a few quick heals in to boost my stacks as well).
  • The Numbers.  We use 2 tanks, 5 healers and 18 dps for this encounter.  This really requires your DPS to push themselves hard to meet the enrage timer (you saw we came just short of it in the video).  Some people utilize a one tank strategy for the encounter, but that puts a lot of extra burden on your healers during decimation blade.  A two tank strategy is the more stable strategy if you have the DPS to navigate the encounter.  As a side note, our first kill also came just shy of the DPS timer, but our OT that night (a feral druid aka Brade) saw it coming and lined up some hefty magic (aka hax druid cooldowns) and was able to tank out the last few seconds of the fight after the Inferno Blade tank died.
  • The Healing.  We set up the fight in the following fashion.  Shard 1: Disc/Paladin ranged shard (shadow priest), Resto Druid melee shard, Disc/Resto Druid Baleroc Tank.  Shard 2: The same as Shard 1, only the paladin swaps over to the Baleroc tank when his shadow priest is at ~19-20 stacks of torment to help smooth the transition.  Shard 3: Disc/Paladin/Druid on Baleroc Tank, Disc on ranged shard, Druid on melee shard.  Shard 4: Disc/Druid on Baleroc Tank, Paladin builds stacks, Disc/Druid same as shard 3.  Shard 5: Disc/Paladin on Baleroc tank, Druid on tank/building sparks as able, Disc/Druid same as Shard 3.  All remaining shards are the same as Shard 5.  Now, there are a few times that the healers change.  If one of the two torment healers receives the tormented debuff, they are paired off with another healer and they swap assignments while tormented is active.  So the tormented healer heals the tanks, while the non-tormented healer heals the shards.  Our disc priests are paired up and our resto druids are paired up.  Now, if BOTH end up having tormented, other healers need to step in and help with the torment targets.  This healing strategy may not work for everyone, but works well for us.
  • Tormented.  This is really the bane of this encounter!  It is essential to have a game plan for how to deal with back ups when one of your shard soakers has tormented.  It’s also pretty important for you melee to have a “game plan” for how to move, so that they don’t infect each other.  We work out back ups in advance, and often have to have a ranged back up step in to help the melee.  The biggest piece of advice that I can give anyone about dealing with the tormented debuff is to have good communication.  Once you work that out, the debuff becomes a lot easier to manage.  The second piece of advice that I can give regarding it is to set designated “clean” areas that people should stand in if they aren’t afflicted with torment and “dirty” areas where they should be if they are.  This should help prevent unintentional spread of the debuff around the raid.
  • MORE DODGE!  I can’t say that I know a lot about tanking this fight, and I’m not going to pretend that I can give you much advice on that front.  However, I will say that your decimation blade tank will be your healer’s best friend if s/he can dodge as many of those decimation blades as possible.  Decimation blade tanks should work to build avoidance sets specifically for this fight.  How they go about doing that is beyond my knowledge, but I’m sure you can find the information with a few clicks and a google search!
I almost forgot!  Power Auras!  I added two new auras for this encounter.  One to let you know when you have the tormented debuff and one to let you know that you have countdown and how much time is left on the debuff.
  • Tormented
Version:4.21; buffname:Tormented; x:-307; bufftype:2; alpha:1; owntex:true; y:142; texmode:2
  • Countdown
Version:4.21; buffname:Countdown; x:200; bufftype:2; alpha:1; owntex:true; y:92; texmode:2; timer.h:4.05; timer.enabled:true; timer.cents:false; timer.y:48; timer.x:240

Once your healers get into a groove, this fight really becomes less about the healing and more about the raid focusing weaving through the torment mechanics.  Between the video and what I posted above, I think I covered most everything, but if you have any questions (or I missed something!) please don’t hesitate to let me know!  Good Luck and Have Fun!

Posted September 2, 2011 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, Hard Modes, Healing, Video

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