Sartharion 3D Healing Assignments

Sartharion 3D Healing Assignments

sarth-dead

I realize that Matticus has done a nice job of keeping readers posted on Conquest’s progress through this fight, but I thought it might be nice for the community if I posted our specific, final draft healing assignments along with a narrative of how we got there. I know that when I was a new healing coordinator for Collateral Damage back in Tier 5 that I used to scour WoW blogs for their specific healing assignments on Vashj, Kael, and beyond. With that experience behind me, I don’t expect that readers will be able to use my precise assignments, but perhaps once I explain the process a bit, healing leaders will be able to identify techniques that will help their particular groups.

Before the First Attempt

The Sunday night before our first attempt at Sarth 3D, Mallet and I, along with Kimboslicé, our raid leader, and Archdrood and Brio, our main tanks, Crazymexican, our puller, and a few various and sundry raid members, went into our cleared Obsidian Sanctum instance to block out positioning. More than anything else, this step may have led to our early success. In the calm of a cleared instance, we were able to identify marks for each person to stand on. Mallet, who would be solo-healing Archdrood, was able to learn exactly where the head and feet of the dragon would be ahead of time, in a calm environment. I paced out where our drake tank healers, whelp tank healers, and add tank healers would stand. We imagined where the firewalls would come and planned what direction different players would run to avoid them. We strategized how to position the drakes to best protect both tank and raid.

The positioning I’m sharing with you now is our “final draft,” but if you block out your own positioning in a cleared OS, our work might give you something to start with.
sarth-diagram

In my diagram, bubbles represent eeeevil nasssty dragonses, and squares represent players. You’ll notice that I’ve used class colors to show which specific players we used for different tasks. If you need a recap, orange is for druid, brown for warrior, fuchsia for death knight, pink for paladin, white for priest, dark blue for shaman. This class distribution is by no means obligatory and will vary based on the players available in your guild.

The diagram might just tell you everything to know, but in my typically verbose fashion, I’m going to give you some notes anyway.

Main Tank Healing

This is the most difficult job available in this fight, so make sure you assign someone who excels both at throughput and at situational awareness. One of the biggest parts of the learning curve in this fight has to do with this healer’s positioning. He or she has to learn how to avoid the firewalls without going out of range of the main tank. Every bit of this player’s healing goes on the main tank, and he or she has to be able to keep him up entirely alone. Based on the changes to Twilight Torment (the main tank can no longer remove it himself), your main tank healer is going to be the first in a line of “saves” on the MT. In order to survive one of Shadron’s breaths, a non-DK tank must have outside help. These breaths can occur in rapid succession, and you must set up a rotation of “saves” so that your tank can survive multiple rounds. On our druid tank, we used a rotation of 1)Pain Suppression 2)Guardian Spirit 3)Barkskin + Survival Instincts and 4) Hand of Sacrifice + Priest Bubble. On our successful attempt, four abilities were enough. I suggest assigning a player who can perform save #1, which can be any of these techniques, to main tank heal. In practice, this player will probably end up being either a discipline or holy priest.

Drake Tank Healing

We used a team of two healers to take care of the two tanks assigned to Tenebron, Shadron, and Vesperon. We staggered our tanking such that each tank only had one drake at a time. I am H2, and I healed Briolante for Tenebron and Vesperon, helping out on Shadron’s tank in the few moments where Briolante’s first target was down and second had not yet landed. Both H2 and H4, the drake tank healers, will have to move around quite a bit to stay with their targets. H4 in my scheme is a pally healer, and his target, the Shadron tank, will be helping out with whelps and elemental adds for much of the fight. It is important for H4 to keep a watch on this person, as he absolutely has to live to tank his drake. It’s also worth noting that H2 and H4 will be completely out of range of the main tank for most of the fight–any extra healing they can spare goes on the raid.

Whelp Tank Healing

I assigned my strongest paladin to heal the death knight whelp tank. Krinan, the paladin, turns on righteous fury and draws some of the whelps to her through healing aggro. Note: she is specced in a particular way to let her survive this. Perhaps she’ll tell you all about it in a guest post. Krinan and Lloth, our death knight tank, work together to gather up the whelps and the elemental adds while others AoE them down. Usually H3, the whelps/adds healer, will need some help. The whelps and elementals are the most annoying part of the fight, and they can just eat dps and healers for breakfast. Whenever I can, I HoT up Lloth or the AoE’ers. Raid healers, and even drake tank healers when possible, should try to stay close to the adds tank so that any strays can be peeled off.

Raid Healing

This fight can get a little crazy, so I assign three very strong players to raid healing. The challenge increases when raid healers, like our holy priest for example, have to position themselves such that they can take a spot in the save rotation on the main tank during Twilight Torment. I’ve put Kaldora (H5) on the side closest to the main tank to show how a raid healer in the save rotation has to edge toward Sarth at the appropriate moment. Note that raid healing gets completely, entirely insane when Twilight Torment is up on the raid. In order to dampen the effects, we call out for paladins to bubble and help soak some of the damage that way. In order for the raid healing to work in this fight, the dps/healers/add team need to stay close together.

Into the Portal

When Shadron goes down, we send players into the portal to take care of the Guardian. Epiks, our resto shaman, follows dps into the portal and works his healing magic. If you have players taking portals, DON’T forget to assign a healer to go with them. Believe me, the result is not good.

Last Words

This fight recalls Vashj, Kael, and Illidan in the amount of teamwork that it demands. As a healer, you simply cannot ignore assignments and snipe heals. You cannot save other people’s targets. Yes, a drake tank healer might assist the raid healers with a Wild Growth or two, but everyone will always keep a watch on his or her primary target. You are not a hero. You are a small piece of the puzzle. As a healer, you perform the tiny set of tasks assigned to you and nothing more. There may be moments where you feel less effective, but you need to stay in your spot and watch your assignments. You must watch around you–there is no excuse for a healer to be trapped by firewall or void zone. Even though healing is very difficult in this fight, if you set it up like I did, it is also very regimented. Each of the individual tasks is manageable. Just pace your tiny portion of the stage and do not worry about what others are doing. Let them make their own mistakes as you learn. And then, when all is said and done, the healing meter will not tell the whole story on this fight–in this case, the encounter is hard enough at the current available gear level so that if you win, every healer in the team deserves the gold medal.

Blank Sartharion Map: This is a few screenshots of the cleared island that Sartharion is on which Matt stitched together. Feel free to use this for planning. You can overlay Syd’s diagram on top of this and you can get a better idea.

Heroic Sartharion 3D Conquered

Heroic Sartharion 3D Conquered

matts-drake

It is done. Approximately 24 hours since the experience and epiphany I had last night, it all paid off.

Sarth and his 3 drakes are down.

Twilight Drake

A big thank you goes to everyone in the guild. Without their efforts of them, the assistance of the Plus Heal Community, and the various bloggers who’ve written about their experiences, this post would not be here right now.

The handling of the Drake was flattering. The officers and an overwhelming majority of the guild felt that I should have gotten the first one.

Needless to say, I double checked to make sure.

The last thing I want on my hands is a riot because the GM gets awarded the first Drake. I’m not one for mounts. Even though I made a Flying Carpet, I still ride on my purple Gryphon. But I guess the Gryphon will get rested for a while.

Subsequent mount drops will be handled with interested members rolling instead of the loot master doing a raid roll. This gives players a measure of control and it allows players who don’t care about the mount to opt out of rolling for the ones that do.

My hands were shaking once we got that Shadron down. It was the first time we hit that plateau and after that, it just felt like smooth sailing from there.

Total time spent: ~8 hours on just 3 Drakes alone
Time of death: 7:04 PM PST, January 28

  • Worked on the pull
  • Worked on the Drake positioning
  • Worked on Whelp and Elemental tanking (We used a Death Knight)
  • Worked on healing the ad tanks and the Drake tanks
  • Worked on surviving Fissures and Firewalls
  • Worked on timing Main Tank “saves” (Pain Suppression, Barksin + Survival Instincts combo, and Guardian Spirit)

Extra things

These points may be minor, but they might help you. We increased the healing from 6 to 7. This gave us 2 Paladins. The fight took slightly longer, but it paid off.

Now what these Paladins did was they spent 17 points into Protection to pick up Divine Guardian.

The moment I used my Pain Suppression on the first breath, I’d pick one Paladin and tell them to bubble. Since a majority of the raid members are standing together, this helps mitigate raid damage during that period. On the second save, the Druid tank on Sarth popped his Barksin and Survival Instincts to outlive that breath hit. At this point, if it goes off, I alert the Holy Priest to get into position because his Guardian Spirit is up next.

Reader Rivendael brought up a great comment that I wanted to reiterate:

Hi Matt, I’m surprised that you have to watch the animations at all :)

It’s very responsible of you, considering that most healers need to/are very used to watching mainly health bars, but in the end, I’d say that the job of watching for breath cooldowns should in fact fall on the tank.

As my guild’s druid tank on Sarth (we’ve downed 3D), even before the fight, I establish player orders for the cooldowns we’re using. When Vesp lands, I call for the first cd-user to “prep” (usually all my healing pallies and priests). When I see the breath animation, I call for the prepped player to use his cd. Then I call for the next player to prepare. And so forth.

My healers just need to macro their cd to me and be in range, that’s all, and I take the burden off them so they can -visually- focus on their heals, while dodging lava walls and void zones. As the one player facing Sarth’s bigass head all the time, it’s the least I can do. Since your Sarth tank obviously has a mic, why not suggest that he do the same?

The answer to that is we both do it. The Sarth tank and I are able to watch for his head. As a healer, I like to use IceHUD so that I can see the health bar of my target, the health bar of myself, and the action that’s going around. This goes hand in hand with my heads up technique of healing.

The “double affirmative” from the Sarth tank and myself strengthens our judgment. It’s better to have two pairs of eyes on it if possible. It helps confirm that it is the right time to use a save when two players are saying the same thing. While there’s nothing wrong with allowing Sarth’s tank to call out when to use the save, I prefer keeping my head up instead of relying on reflexes to hit the tank.

Either we’re both right or we’re both wrong.

I do have a video from a DPS perspective. Just need to find a suitable host. Any ideas of a Youtube or Filefront alternatives?

Also: Ner’Zhul is ridiculously PvE competitive. We’re in the top 20 of guilds that have successfully killed Sarth 3D.

10 Seconds with Sartharion 3 Drakes

I’m the type of player that likes to relentlessly playback previous events (or wipes) in my head. I try to see if there’s anything I can do better from my perspective or anything I should have done differently. Here’s a 10 second mentally recalled highlight reel moment of a time that happened all too often.

We run a 6 healer setup and I’m the only one on the Sarth tank.

0:00

Vent call: Firewall, move!

*Casts Shield, Renew, and dives narrowly avoiding a wall*

0:02

Vent call: Vesperon landing!

*Casts Penance*

0:04

Sarth tank: I have the debuff!

*Casts Flash Heal*

0:06

*Casts another Flash Heal*

0:08

His attack animation stopped and he’s raising his head.

WAIT! HIS HEAD IS RAIS-!

0:10

Sarth tank: I’m down!

Reflections

Thankfully, that was just earlier on in the night. After I settled in more and got into the groove, I was able to get my timing down perfectly. The problem with me was that I ended up being off in my timing.

The timing was off enough to get our tank 1 shot.

But I managed to fix it. I figured that I was zoomed in too close on my character that I had to adjust my camera more to keep my sights on Sarth. That took up precious time and added increased risk.

I managed to solve it by maxing out my camera distance so that no matter where I ran, I’d still be able to keep an eye on his head.

FYI

I use his head as an indicator for when he’s about to breathe. When he tilts back, that’s the time to use the Pain Suppression.

What’s killing us

We lose 1 or 2 people to void zones in the beginning or to a Firewall. There is a bit of inconsistency. Some attempts, the raid group is able to blast through the first drake with no problem. In other cases, people are just getting sloppy or we have bad lag luck (like a player dying to a void even though they’re 15 yards away from it).

The second problem occurs when the third drake lands. Players are killing themselves. Going to see if that can be fixed by having Paladins “tactically bubble” at certain times to lessen the overall raid damage with that Shield talent thingy.

As for me, the 10 attempts where the raid lived long enough for Vesperon to touch down, I was able to squeeze off Pain Suppression fast enough for 7 of them.

That’s a 70% save percentage.

Not good enough Matt. Not good enough.

Obsidian Sanctum with Drakes Up

Tonight Conquest is going to take a shot at Heroic Sartharion with one drake up. For those that have done it, I have a few questions to ask:

  • Which drake did you leave up and why?
  • Did Death Knights D&D (due to the visual similarity between that and void zones)?
  • How did you set up portal groups?
  • How many healers were sent down low into the portal?
  • Did Firewalls affect those in the portal?
  • Any other last minute tips or insight that you can offer?