Healing Ulduar: Freya

Healing Ulduar: Freya

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For other bosses in Ulduar, check the Ulduar Healing Strategy Page

Freya offers everything a healing druid could ever want: pretty flowers, sparkly green trees, gnarled ents, angry seed bombs, and even friendly mushrooms of safety. This boss fight is a colorful, chaotic miscellany that asks healers to use all of their skills without overtaxing them in any one area. When you take on Freya, be prepared to react to whatever her tree-friends throw at you next. Keep reading for a healing-oriented rundown of her abilities.

The Pull

Conquest wiped this weekend in our 10 man because Yogi Ragadast, our bear tank, decided to eat a pickinick right in the middle of Freya’s patrol path. Beware that this guardian of the forest ranges far. Ideally, you want your tank to charge in and keep Freya occupied by the creek while the raid stands toward the center of the room awaiting adds. Note that attacking Freya before taking care of her trash waves does exactly nothing.

Phase 1:The Trash Roulette

In Phase 1, you cannot damage the boss and must instead deal with waves of adds. Freya will summon three separate trash events to keep raiders’ nasty paws out of her vegetable garden. Waves will spawn once per minute, and it’s possible to have more than one wave active at a time if your DPS is slow. They can appear in any order, and some will repeat during your encounter. I will explain in brief how to deal with each.

Type 1: Snaplashers, Ancient Water Spirits, and Storm Lashers
This wave is the most dangerous. Each mob type has a different amount of health, and all three must die at the same time or they will be rezzed. The Snaplashers have a stacking buff that makes them hit harder when they receive damage, so your dps will have to periodically switch away from them. In 25-man raids, two tanks may be used to deal with this phase. If that is the case, healers must keep an eye (or two) on the Snaplasher tank. In 10-man raids, one tank will take care of all these adds.

Type 2: Detonating Lasher
These little flowers may look sweet, but don’t be fooled. They’re rotten little skunkflowers at the core. These guys can attach themselves a healer very easily, and they’ll blow up when killed. If I attract too many four-petaled friends, I use Shadowmeld or Barkskin until they make like a tree and leaf. The Detonating Lashers are not particularly dangerous, though raid healers may have to clean up the mess that results if someone’s too close when one of these little suckers blows up.

Type 3: Ancient Conservator
This is essentially a tank and spank add. However, he spawns fun happy mushrooms that you absolutely must stand under in order to avoid his silence. Remember, mushrooms are a good thing.

Miscellaneous Phase 1 abilities:
During phase 1, Freya will also summon a glowing green tree, the Lifebinder. When it appears, the raid must kill it immediately in order to avoid its healing effect.

Healers must also be aware of the debuff Sunbeam. Freya will target a player and cast this ability, which does a weak AoE. It’s not disastrous in regular mode, but I expect that with hard mode it’s a different story.

Phase 2: Goddess on the Move

Phase 1 serves to wear down Freya’s HoTs and allow her to take damage. In Phase 2, your tank will need to kite her in a circle around the room. Why? You’ve heard of the druid spell Living Seed. Freya, the druid goddess, casts seeds of evil. These are small glowing seed pods that appear on the ground and then detonate after a few seconds. The raid will need to stay ahead of the chlorophyllic explosions. Aside from the Bad Seeds, the spawns of the Lifebinder tree, and the Sunbeam effect, Phase 2 is a tank and spank.

Healing Assignments

Much of the healing in this boss encounter is reactive, and it can either feel like catch-as-catch can chaos or like a perfectly orchestrated minuet. It all depends on the skill of your individual raid members at their jobs. A knowledge of movement and the basic raid mechanics like target-switching on demand will lead to a win. Everything might be messy, but it’s not difficult. Healing assignments can be fairly loose here, but we assign one specific healer to the main tank and one to each of two offtanks. Beyond that, healers work their magic on the move and cover players in their area. I’d say this is one of the least demanding fights healing-wise in Ulduar. Even though the adds phase can be hectic, it’s nothing like Thorim’s arena. I’d also say this boss is slightly more difficult on 10-man because there’s less redundancy in raid roles. In 25-man, you can still eke out a kill if, say, your players execute the different movements with something less than precision.
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Healers: Simplify Your Healing Tank Targets

New hotness

Nowadays, our raids frequently carry as little as 3 tanks to as many as 5. Keeping track of who’s heaing who can be a bit of a doozy. Even the tiniest confusion or overlap can be wipe a raid. Here’s a quick tip make assigning heals easier.

Old and Busted

In older raids, we’d have only 1 main tank and maybe a handful of off tanks. Jobs back then were pretty static. A set number of healers would overheal the main tank while the rest of the healer benchwarmers and waterboys would keep tabs on the off tanks. It worked fine then because the encounters weren’t that complicated to deal with. But oh how times have changed.

New Hotness

I’m introducing a new concept of mine that I came up with a few months ago. It started when my Guild began working on Hydross. As you know, Hydross requires 2 different tanks to jump and hold aggro on him. It doesn’t make sense to say heal the main tank. There’s only one real main tank. Even then, that main tank might be rotated off to different roles or different mobs depending on things like resistance fights and such. For some fights, it’s impossible and even inconvenient to declare a single main tank. A great example is a fight such as Al’ar where you end up using as many as 4 tanks simultaneously. When you’re fighting Leotheras, half the time you’re healing a warlock who by most definitions would not be considered your Guild’s main tank.

Chances are your Guild’s already doing it. I’m simply putting a name to it.

The Active Tank

I defined the active tank as the player that’s currently holding aggro on the main boss right now. It could be any player or any class on the the boss at any time. It’s usually determined by the target of target window.

An example of healing assignments for Al’ar on Phase 2:

  • Pete the Paladin is healing Tim who is grabbing all the birds
  • Reginald and Riley, the 2 Resto Shamans, will be healing the raid
  • Penelope, Price, and Dominic (2 Priests and a Druid) will be healing the active tank which could either be Tyler, Thomas, or Tootoo

If you’re the healing leader, you’re going to recognize what a pain in the ass it is to tell your healers:

“Heal Tyler, Tootoo or Thomas, whoever happens to have aggro on Al’ar at the moment.”

It’s easier to tell your Priests to cover the active tank. By saying that, your healers should recognize that their job is to heal whoever has aggro on the boss.

I’m always on the lookout for different labels and methods to make healing assignments easier on a raid. Are there other ways that you use or that your Guild uses to simply healing assignments more?

Healing Tips for 25-Man Raiding: WoW Insidered, Matt Reviewed

I woke up this morning and decided to check my grades to see how I did this semester. Turns out I got an F in Cognitive Science. Now I’m really depressed about it, but I’m working on a plan to address it next year.

Anyway, aside from that I was catching up on a little bit of light reading on WoW Insider. One of the columns featured is that on 25-man raid healing by Marcie Knox. The article essentially summarizes the tips and tricks that healers can pull off in order to succeed in end game content. Let’s see if WoW Insider experts and I agree:

You need at least one of each healing class. Yes, even a holy priest and the rare resto druid. No matter what you’ve heard, running with all paladins really won’t get you very far, nor make the journey pleasant.

Disagreed. Ideally it would be nice to have all four healing classes, but sometimes it simply isn’t possible. Can you do some 25-man content with all Paladins? Yes. Is it recommended? No. But you do not NEED a Resto Druid, Shaman, Holy Priest and Paladin. If you set it as your goal to recruit one of each healer before trying your hand at raiding, you’ll be stuck for a long time. Carnage is incredibly stacked on Paladins and Priests. We have one Resto Shaman and no Druids (WE COULD USE ONE THOUGH SERIOUSLY). We went from Karazhan to Kael since we started back in June.

You have 6-8 raid slots for healers to work with. Start with 7 and make adjustments as you go.

Agreed. Typically, I would start with 7 and work my way up or down depending on the following:

  • The encounter
  • The gear of healers
  • The skill of healers

You’ll only need to do this the first few times when you’re working on a boss. After a while, when bosses can be done with no effort, you can remove healers as necessary to speed up the fight.

All healers must have the following information instantly available at all times:
a) Raid Health Monitor
b) Range Indicator

Kinda. I do keep the raid health monitor window open but I never make use of it. I’m not sure if Knox refers to the health of the entire raid as a percentage or the health of each individual raid member. Regardless,everyone’s health bar should be on the screen. Don’t just have your party window open in a raid.

As for the Range Indicator, it’s a good idea to have one. I’ve grown accustomed to my Priest that I can visually tell whether or not I’m in range of my tank. If I’m able to, I do a quick range check before a boss by lighting up a Prayer of Mending to ensure line of sight is not an issue. It’s a good tip for Alar when you’re not sure if the ledge the tank is standing on is going to interfere with your LOS heals. If your tank isn’t, a quick bark over vent should move them an inch or so over.

Have at least 2 people willing and able to handle the healing assignments.

Agreed. When I run my pickup Magtheridon, I make a deal with my partner. He runs the strats and I take care of the healing. He tells me whose tanking what, and then I pick out the healers who’re going to cover each tank.

In Carnage, our healers take it one step further. The raid leader puts up icons and calls out which tank is on which trash mob. Our healers take a more active approach and type in our healer channel which tank we’ll cover. Here’s an example for Hydross:

  • Resto Shaman: Raid
  • Holy Paladin 1: Water Tombs
  • Holy Paladin 2: Active Tank
  • Me: Active Tank
  • Holy Priest 2: Melee DPS
  • Holy Paladin 3: Elemental Tanks
  • Holy Paladin 4: Elemental Tanks

Active tanks refers to the one who is currently tanking the boss. Remember Hydross needs to be alternated between two tanks. This way, our healers are much more alert and everyone is accounted for. We have clearly defined our roles to ourselves and to each other.

You’ll need a way to do healing assignments. Here’s some common methods:
Macros – Easy, in-game, and nothing to download; this is what I use
Text File – WoW crash-proof, alt+tab then copy/paste into chat; Notepad, etc. (Watch for the multi-line limit)
Text Addons – Like a text file but in-game, good if you have 1k macros already; Notes (Is it still around? Can’t find it.), etc.
Assignment Addons – Fill out a form

Agreed. Typing it by hand sucks. Typing it again because someone was AFK sucks more. Personally, I use macros. Example:

/rw HEALING ASSIGNMENTS:
/rw —
/rw Tank 1: Healer A, Healer B
/rw Tank 2: Healer C
/rw Tank 3: Healer D
/rw Tank 4: Healer E
/rw Raid: Healer F and G

I mainly use this one for my own pickup raids on Mag and it spits out nice lines and alerts everyone.

Set up a healing channel to broadcast the assignments or use the Guild Info window if you’re an officer

Agreed. A typical channel name is GuildHeal or something. Just type /join GuildHeal and type / followed by the channel number. Usually it’s something like /5.

I like to change the color of all the text in the healer channel to something bright so that it stands out. To do this, right click on the tab above your chat window (General). Mouse over to Channels, then there should be a red square next to the name GuildHeal. Click the square and a color wheel should pop up. Drag the circle to any color you like.

Get set up to record your combat log and parse it via WWS.

Agreed. Post raid analysis is always important when you can’t seem to do a boss properly. You need to troubleshoot and diagnose the problems in order to fix it. For in game, I suggest an addon called Recount. I’m going to post an indepth guide to it later on in the week when I start accumulating some screenshots.

Well for the most part, it looks like we do agree and emphasize the same things (except for the first point). Knox’s healer is in Mount Hyjal. My Guild’s working on Kael. Who knows? Maybe I’ll radically change my views once I get into Hyjal.