Matticast Episode 12 – Officers, Healing Assignments, and Multiple Guild Raid Groups

Welcome to Episode 12 of The Matticast. This week Borsk, Matt, Kat, and Brian, discuss:

– Officer Options and Hierarchy

– Healing Assignments

– Running both a 25 and 10 man raid within the same guild.

Don’t forget you can send us your questions or topics or tweet us with the hashtag #matticast

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Healing Ulduar: Thorim

Healing Ulduar: Thorim

thorim_31_phixr

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

“Interlopers! You mortals who dare to interfere with my sport will pay… Wait–you… I remember you… In the mountains… But you… what is this? Where am–“

Thorim is the lord of storms, and brother to Loken. He is one of the Keepers of Ulduar.

The fight  is broken down into 3 phases, with phase 2 having two parts. First, lets see what Thorim can do.

Abilities

Sheath of Lightning – When the encounter begins, Thorim will coat himself in an almost impregnable sheet of lightning.

Charged Orb – Charges an orb in the arena with the power of storms. The tower will discharge Lightning Shock which can chain to multiple people in close range to eachother.

Lightning Shock / charged Orb Example:

lightning_phixr2

Storm Hammer – Thorim throws his hammer into the arena causing Deafening Thunder. It can interrupt your casting and places a debuff that increased casting times by 75% for 8 seconds

Summon Lightning Orb – Sends a ball of lightning down the corridor towards the players, laying waste to everything in it’s path.

Chain Lightning – Thorim casts a lightning bolt into the party that increases in damage the further it jumps.

Lightning Charge - Thorim absorbs the power of a nearby lightning orb and then discharges it in a cone back towards the orb he siphoned the power from. After the charge Thorim will hit faster and harder. This is a stacking buff, and acts as a passive enrage in phase 3

Lightning Charge example:

lightning-charge_phixr

Unbalancing Strike – Reduces the tanks defense by 200.

Enrage – When you start phase 2 you have 5 minutes to reach him before he enrages and clears the raid out.

Adds

Thorim has a lot of friends who want to play with you.

Runic Colossus

Ancient Rune Giant

Those two are like mini bosses. They don’t hit too hard.

Dark Rune Warbringer

Dark Rune Evoker

Dark Rune Champion

Dark Rune Commoner

Waves of trash will consist of these mobs.

Execution

The fight itself has 3 phased, with phase 2 having two parts.

Phase 1:

You enter the arena to see a giant Jormungur facing off against opponents of the opposite faction.

thorim_phixr

They are easily dispatched and don’t really hit hard on tanks. Clean them up and get ready for phase 2.

Phase 2:

Phase 2 is split into two sections, a Ramp/Gauntlet group and an Arena / pit group. We’ll talk about the ramp group first.

The Ramp group will normally consist of one tank, seven DPS and two healers. Speed is the biggest factor here. The faster you get to the end of the hallway, the sooner you can start phase 3. For healers you want someone who can snap big heals, or heals on the move. We found that druids and holy paladins work incredibly well for the ramp group. Large effective heals and lots of mobility.

There will be three groups of Warbringers along your way and a giant golem at the end of the hall that sends death down one side at a time. We assigned someone to call out which side to move to. As a healer, don’t worry about keeping someone who stands in the line of fire from the golem alive, they’re going to die. It’s pretty easy to heal the Gauntlet, just keep the tank alive and burn through as fast as possible.

The Arena group has a it’s own tree of woe to deal with. The aforementioned adds will be flooding into the arena to get a piece of us would-be adventurers for ruining their entertainment. Easiest way to do it is have tanks set up an AoE pit in the center of the arena. We use three tanks (bear , paladin and warrior just for reference). The druid and the paladin tank the vast majority of the mobs while the warrior pulls the champions off to the side slightly (see triangle on the diagram) to keep them from whirlwinding the dps.

arena

Healers (blue circles) should spread out around the AoE pit to minimize the impact of the Storm Hammers. Priests should be ready to mass disspell the Runic Shield from the evokers. Group healing helps a lot in this part of the fight.  CoH, Chain heal, glyphed Holy Light and even Wildgrowth will help keep the dps in the AoE pit up. Just keep an eye on aggro happy AoE damage dealers though, sometimes warlocks like to explode without warning here. Healers that are spread out should watch for Lightning Orbs and be ready to move quickly, least they chain the damage to other players. If you get snap aggro from adds through healing, you should run through the AoE pit to give your tanks a chance to snag them with a taunt or even just Consecrate / Death and Decay to grab them. Continue to burn down the pit, picking off Evokers and Champions as you can until your ramp group reaches Thorim and starts phase 3. Name of the game is survival. Heal your rear off! keep everyone up, especially tanks and you’ll be good to go.

Phase 3:

Once you reach Thorim’s platform he jumps down into the arena. A tank has to pick him up right away while everyone else works on adds. Thorim hits reasonably hard when he connects so it is suggested to have a few healers on the tanks. Normally We put 3 healers on the two Thorim tanks, Druid, Paladin and a Disc priest have been wonderful for evening out damage and making Unbalanced Strike transitions easier.  As the fight goes on, Thorim hits harder and harder, much in the way of Gruul the Dragonslayer, but three healers should be enough to keep the tanks alive. The rest of the raid and healers need to be spread out around the room, more then 10 yard away from someone if you can. When Thorim Chain Lightnings, it can have disastrous results.

While you’re healing keep your eyes peeled for a white pulsing line going between him and one of the pillars. At this point, you want to run away from that line as quickly as possible. After the line is done energizing him, he will cast an arch of lightning in a 60 degree cone  towards wherever he pulled the power from. If you’re caught in it it will hurt. Stop your casting and move fast and then resume healing. The tanks will keep rotating so make sure they are topped off while your raid healers keep track of everyone else. Tank healers have to be careful to make sure they switch to the new tank quickly otherwise you run the risk of the new tank eating two large strikes back to back later in the fight.

In my opinion the hardest part of this encounter is phase 2 for arena healers. There is just a lot going on. There’s a ton of movement, a ton of raid damage and a ton of situational awareness needed to make it through. Heads up Healing comes in very handy in the arena as it lets you move before you’re splatted. It also helps you when you can see the mobs turn to go take out that AoEing warlock before they actually hit her (looking at you Jahadura!) and splatter their remains all over the arena floor. Once you get this part down, the rest of the encounter is no harder then anything else you’ve faced so far. Now for the good stuff.

Healer Items:

Once you free Thorim and he’ll leave behind the Cache of Storms, here’s some goodies he has

T8 Helm token

Scale of Fates – Trinket (Haste/Spellpower)

Pauldrons of the Combatant -Shoulders (Shamans)

Wisdom’s Hold – Shield (Paladins, Shamans)

Leggings of Lost Love – Legs (Priest, Druid)

Also a little poll here. My guild leader things Thorim sounds like Patrick Stewart, I think my guild leader is very mistaken. What do you guys think? Does Thorim sound like Patrick Stewart?

Until next time, Happy Healing

sig3

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.