Dragon Slaying 101: Healing Sindragosa 10

Dragon Slaying 101: Healing Sindragosa 10

A few days ago I posted all the tips and tricks I’d heard for killing Sindy on 10 man and some of you then recommended other things I’d not thought of. Thanks for sharing! Some good tips there – feel free to keep adding on the comments – post is here – if you think of anything more.

So we know how to kill the dragon. But how to heal through her onslaught?

She’s got a bit of a grudge against people like you, wandering in and slaughtering her brood. She’s just landed and wants to turn your band of adventurers into a band of red goo on the floor. You’re meant to be healing them through it. What to do? Read on, though I’m going to assume you’ve read the general guide from last week so I’m not going to spell things out: this is purely about healing.

Let’s start at the beginning. Phase 1, where the healing is easy. Why? Quite simply – you won’t be doing much healing.

This might make you wonder whether three healers is too many. I’d recommend having three until your group is really comfortable with the fight. You healers might not have much to do in phase 1 but later on it’s chaotic and there’ll usually be at least one healer unable to heal for a few seconds. Having three healers available makes the chaos a bit more comfortable.

Ground phase critical info:

  • Unavoidable damage: There’s not much. Your main tank will take some damage from Sindy’s physical attacks and Frost Breath. Your raid will constantly take damage from Sindy’s raid-wide Frost Aura. Heal them through it. If you’ve met Lana’thel then compare and be reassured: the damage in Sindy’s encounter will feel a lot less threatening.
    • Class specific tips: most healing classes can make it even less threatening. Shaman, you’ve got frost resistance totem. Paladins, you’ve got Frost Resistance Aura. And Druids – make sure Gift of the Wild is up to give the general boost to resistances.
  • Avoidable damage: There are several colourful ways in which your raiders can get themselves turned into red goo, or at least badly hurt. These things probably won’t happen too often but be ready to heal mistakes.
    • If a player lets their stacking debuffs get too high, they’ll take a chunk of damage. It’s usually heal-able but if it occurs at the same time as another chunk of damage or even a tick of Frost Aura it might be enough to kill them. If you’re a raid leader you could raid warn them to move using a mouse-over-macro (or Vent of course)
    • If people don’t run out of Blistering Cold quick enough they’ll likely be one-shotted or on low health – watch Grid/Healbot as you run from it and be ready to heal anyone who’s a bit slow
    • If DPS don’t watch their aggro as the tank’s threat can be slightly lower here, they’ll die. They’ll also spin the dragon of fortune, possibly killing other people in the process
      • Class specific tip: Discy priests – If a DPS is aggro happy don’t hesitate to pop Pain Suppression on them to give your main tank some breathing space. Likewise – Paladins – if someone’s really going aggro crazy, slap a Hand of Salvation on them.
  • When to heal: If Sindy casts Unchained Magic on you immediately stop casting until the debuff goes away. Your other healers need to cover healing without you until then. You need to do the same for them if they get Unchained Magic. DBM does tell you and place markers on the people who get Unchained Magic but I also recommend letting the other healers know yourself. My healers and I just typed “UM” in party chat if we get the debuff. Then train your dagger or mace skill – the debuff feels like it takes an age to drop.
  • Nothing to do. In the ground phase you may find that no-one needs healing quite often. If that’s the case – and you don’t have Unchained Magic – then perhaps you could DPS a little. I don’t advocate healers DPSing that often but in this case it’s helpful – ideally your group needs to get Sindy to 35% health/phase 2 before a fourth air phases. So throw in a bit of DPS to help get her there, but only if you’re safe to do so.

Air phase healing:

There shouldn’t be any healing in an air phase except at the very beginning and end but people will take damage if they don’t line of sight the ice swirls behind icetombs. Likewise, multiple people may take damage if tombs are broken before all four ice swirls are done. It’s generally easily heal-able. It’s even easier for Paladins who are specced for either Divine Guardian or Aura Mastery.

Be ready to heal people up as they come out of icetombs. The longer they’ve been entombed the more healing they’ll need. Be aware of who’s entombed, too – if it’s the other healers then healing’s solely your task until they’re freed. This makes it doubly important to remain aware of the ice swirls and not get too wrapped up in healing.

Tip: Make sure that players about to be entombed are fully healed: heal them up as they are about to be iced. Shamans’ riptide, Druids’ HoTs and Priests’ Renew should top off their health and keep it there for the first few seconds of air phase.

Phase 2 critical info:

When Sindy hits 35% health she’ll start stacking Mystic Buffet on everyone, which increases their magical damage taken by 20% per stack. Ideally everyone in the raid will reset their stacks by line of sighting Sindy behind an ice tomb – including heparty chat trimmedalers and tank.

First thing’s first. Set up a stack-reset rotation amongst you and the other healers. That is, every time there’s an icetomb two of you should reset Mystic Buffet stacks and heal the raid, and the third healer should stay out to heal the tank, as they will be taking a lot more damage and line of sighting Sindy behind an icetomb also means line of sighting your tank. See the diagram for how my healers organise the rotation.

This rotation can be messed up by a healer being icetombed. If that happens just skip their step and fill in appropriately: for example, if Bob is meant to be healing the tank this turn and Carla next turn, but Bob gets icetombed, Carla stays out this turn to cover tank healing in Bob’s stead.

Your group needs to have only one icetomb up at any point. Be aware where icetomb people are standing before they’re entombed. If they’re standing within 10 yards of you you will also be icetombed. Stop what you’re doing and move away. If you’ve time, yell a warning that they’re standing close to raid members.

Class specific tips:

  • Paladins, you can make this phase easier for your whole healing team. Beacon of Light isn’t affected by line of sight. (Paladins, this is not applicable. Thanks for the correction here folks!)
  • Shaman – this may seem counter-intuitive when the healing’s heavy but if the fight’s got messy and Sindy’s on low health, remember to drop Flame Elemental totem. It’ll help on DPS and you can focus on healing. Likewise, Bloodlust/Heroism should always be in phase 2. The later the better: find the fine line between the fight not being chaotic enough and half the raid being dead.
  • Druids – keep HoTs up on the tanks. Also, practice getting precise on range to icetombs. Ideally be no more than 10 yards away from people about to be entombed, to reduce running time
  • Priests – bubble as many people as you can. Priesties of the holy variety – throw guardian spirit up on the tank. If things are really going down the drain then you might buy some extra time by dying, healing for free and without ouchies as Spirit of Redemption, then popping back up with a soulstone or combat res. Discies – consider throwing Pain Suppression up on the tank if there are no threat issues.

 

That’s it, doc. This is one of those odd fights in which there seems little to do, then suddenly a flurry of mad button pressing. I hope some of these tips have given you a heads up or helped you go the extra seven leagues. I don’t play all of the healing classes inside ICC so feel free to share your expertise in the comments; let’s make these two guides all that dragon slayers could ever need inside Ieccrown Citadel!

What do you think? Have you any tips to add? Do you enjoy healing this fight or do you find it boring? Do you think it’s highly luck based or only skill and awareness based? Do you get annoyed if your teammates turn themselves into red goo and you know you stood no chance of healing it?

This is an article by Mimetir, an owl (and resto shaman) of a raid leader on The Venture Co. (EU) You can find my twtitter feed here.

Dragon Slaying 101: How To Sindragosa 10

Dragon Slaying 101: How To Sindragosa 10

Sindragosa. Even the bravest amongst us shiver or spit when they say her name. There’s a lot of hatred for her but not much in the way of a definitive How You Deal With Sindy. So today I’m doing just that for raiders needing advice on Sindragosa 10. I’ll follow up in a few days with tips specific to healing here.

Though the encounter can seem easier than others in ICC Sindy will turn you and yours into foiled adventurer sandwiches. I believe some encounters can be harder on 10 man than 25: this is one of them.

You’ve just redecorated Sindy’s ledge with the trash and your group is pausing to do crucial things like buff up and get coffee. Then a giant ribcage full of blue gas lands on your tank and you’re all in combat. What to do?

Sindragosa: quick facts

- Don’t Panic! Tactically If you know any combination of Garfrost, Sapphiron and Any Other Dragon at all, you already have a good idea of the tactics for Sindragosa. The encounter’s also nicely paced – it starts off gently.
- She’s a dragon. That means standing behind her will get you tail swept and standing in front of her will get you cleaved. This particular dragon also has a Frost Breath which hits anything in front of her.
- Sindy uses a lot of auras and debuffs. Most of them affect every member of the raid. Here’s what you need to know:

  • PERMEATING CHILL will stack on all meleers as they attack. They should stop attacking Sindy when it gets to 5-6 stacks, until it falls off.
  • INSTABILITY will stack on any caster who Sindy casts UNCHAINED MAGIC on. To prevent stacks of Instability simply stop casting until UNCHAINED MAGIC falls off. Really, stop casting, it’s possible to kill yourself with these stacks.
  • MYSTIC BUFFET will stack on everyone in phase 2. It increases magical damage taken per stack. More on that later.
  • FROST AURA will deal 4.5k damage to everyone every 3 seconds any time Sindy is grounded  That means healers need to be constantly healing.

In phase 1 Sindragosa has ground and air phases. The first air phase occurs at 85% health, and then every 90 seconds thereafter until 35%.

Ground phase critical info: Positioning

Threat: Sindy tests your DPSers’ ability to watch their aggro. As usual the tank will have to position an unwieldy dragon – oggle over my arty  diagram for positioning. More importantly though, the tank will also get PERMEATING CHILL and will sometimes have to stop hitting for a few seconds to let the stacks drop.
Frostie: You might want to consider some or all of your raid wearing one piece of frost resist kit to mitigate some of the frost damage which is going to get worse as the fight progresses. At the very least I’d recommend your main tank picks up a piece of frost resistance.
Hokie-kokie: Sindy will pull the group in to her. Then she casts a 25-yard AoE called BLISTERING COLD. It has a 5 second cast time. Run away in a straight line as soon as she grips you in. Anyone caught in the AoE will either be dead on the floor or near-dead on their feet.
– Your tank should be aware that Sindy seems to move forward onto the tank after Blistering Cold, whether or not the tank moved.
Tip: DBM counts the BLISTERING COLD ability cooldown. Be ready to run as it ticks down. I also find it useful to turn on the spot to face the direction I want to run as the cooldown ticks. I also remind anyone with high debuff stacks to let them drop, in case they get caught in the AoE and their debuff might finish them off. Death Knights can use Anti-Magic Shell to null the effects of Blistering Cold.

Air phase how to:

The air phase is the first that requires co-ordination. It’s like Sapphiron’s air phase: you hide behind icetombs to line of sight (that is, put something between you and it so you can’t see it) an AoE.

Unlike Sapphiron, the AoE doesn’t come from Sindy herself but ice swirls she places on the ground. Those swirls are what you need to line of sight. air phase2

1. Two raid members will get target marks. They should run to pre-arranged ‘ice tomb positions as in the picture. These positions should be the same for every air phase. Everyone else should stay away from those two people until they’re entombed in ice. 
2. As soon as they’re tombed up everyone else should gather round the tombs. You have a few seconds from the ice swirl appearing to the AoE occuring. Look for the ice swirls and line of sight them. There will be four swirls in total and they could be anywhere on the platform – including behind you.
3. As you avoid the AoE you also need to break the ice blocks to let your comrades out. Do this by slowly DPSing the iceblocks so they break just after the fourth swirl/AoE: try to avoid letting icetombs break. I’d recommend not getting below 25% health before the fourth blast.
Tip: remember I said this was a forgiving fight? We found it’s possible to live through breaking one or both icetombs early on air phases, but I recommend breaking them slowly for safety. If necessary assign your top two DPS a block each to solo and have everyone else focus on avoiding the AoE. DoTs such as DK diseases should not be used on the icetombs as they break too easily.

Phase 2 critical info:

Sindy is permanently grounded. She will still use Ice Grip and Blistering Cold and casts Ice Tomb on one player at a time. Meanwhile, MYSTIC BUFFET is a killer. It’s important not to let Buffet stack too high: hide behind an ice tomb until it drops off. Some thoughts on dealing with buffet:
- Sindy casts icetomb frequently in this phase and you really don’t want multiple tombs up at once. When someone is marked to be tombed they should run to a pre-defined space. Next to Sindy’s head is a central spot for this as everyone – including tanks – can get to it quickly.
- Have a second tank. Even if it’s a kitty druid. They just need to tank for a few seconds when your tank’s stacks reach 4-5 and need to be dropped
- Healers should remove stacks on a rotation basis so that at least one is not behind the ice block, so they can heal the tank. My healers and I set up some simple macros to tell each other what was going on – e.g. /p staying out – Pitil next
- DPS should be split into two groups. On the first iceblock group A removes their stacks, group B nukes Sindy. Visa versa on the second iceblock.
- Tip: You do need to break the icetombs. You could have all DPS do this, although it causes chaos and the potential for multiple tombs is high. I’d recommend assigning one, or even two, high DPSer to do nothing else but nuke icetombs for this phase.

That lot should be all the info you need to get through the fight – hopefully some of these tips will help it go smoothly for you. Remember she does have an enrage timer so unload the DPS as quickly as possible in phase 1. Skimp on healers or off tank if you want but be certain you can deal with phase 2 if you do. When you do take her down break out the screenshot buttons: you’ve just downed the Queen of the Frostbrood.

 

Now it’s your turn. What do you think? Have you got any tips to add here to All That Sindykillers Could Ever Need? Have any of these tips clinched the kill for you?  How hard do you think this fight is – or looks if you’re not there yet – and most importantly, how fun? I’d like to hear if you think this is a hard or even an easy fight – but remember everyone is of a different skill level, so please no suggesting that a team of grannies could do this over afternoon tea!

Casual 101: Knowing Is Half The Battle

Casual 101: Knowing Is Half The Battle

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the “Hardcore Casual” mentality.  In my 3 years of playing World of Warcraft, I’ve cut my teeth against some of the best in the game (well, my server or battlegroup).  I’ve seen some of the strongest players, and I’ve seen some of the weakest players.  The first thing I’ve noticed is a fundemental difference between the two extremes.  The strongest possess it.  The weakest lack it.  By “IT”, I’m talking about knowledge.  Yes, there are casuals that are some of the strongest players I know.  What separates them from a smattering of hardcores is their level of knowledge.

The Usual Scenario

A small guild consists of a tight-knit circle of friends.  All of them have made the necessary adjustments or rolled toons to fill all the roles that a 10man raid needs.  2-3 tanks, 2-3 Healers, and a slew of DPS, both ranged and melee.  When this guild gets together, there’s rarely a duplicate class, let alone spec.  Each player wants to benefit the raid as much as possible.  However, scheduling is always the issue.

Everyone’s got their own lives.  Everyone’s constantly juggling families, kids, jobs, school, friends, and of course, this game.  Each person constantly tries to get a raid together when they see that 8th or 9th person on.  Phone calls fly, text messages flow, and everyone is scouring their friends list to fill the final spots.  On the lucky nights, they can get together ten of their own.  A certain sense of pride swells.  “We got a guild run going,” they all contently utter.

The time is ticking.  One of the healers works the overnight shift on the weekends.  He/she has to be out the door in just over two hours.  The raid gets together surprisingly fast.  Even though ICC is the hot topic, they decide to do ToC since one of the paladins is saved to ICC.  It doesn’t matter, because they derive more joy from the simple act that those ten raiders share the same guild tag.

Buffs ensue, and right before the pull, the off-tank druid confesses his ignorance.  He doesn’t know the fight.  During Acidscale and Dreadmaw, the rogue gets the Burning Bile and runs away, but doesn’t come back to free the tanks with Paralytic Toxin.  This counts for two wipes.  On Lord Jaraxxus, the hunter gets inflicted with Incinerate Flesh and runs to kite it, as though it was Legion Flame.  He runs out of range of the healers, it ticks to zero, and wipes the raid.

We took the time to explain the fights.  The differences in the Wyrms and Jaraxxus’s two flames.  It seemed as though it was in one ear and out the other.  Although they’re all friends, tension is rising, and time is running out.  The healer with the upcoming overnight shift starts to get impatient.  Before they all realize what has happened, he has to leave.  They’ve barely downed Jaraxxus, and he/she is out the door to go to work. 

A reasonably short raid has turned into a long, frustrating endeavour. 

Things to learn as a casual player:

Take a little time to research – Even with my busy schedule, I have the time to watch a video, read a strat, or email a friend that knows.  I download a text-only strategy, copy it into an email, then read it on my phone on the train to work.  Before taking my lunch break, I take 10 minutes to watch a Tankspot video.  I’ve even, yes, downloaded a video to my iPod and watch it while I’m on the can.  (That’s right, I went there).

Listen to what’s being explained – Too often do I see people goofing off in guild chat, making random comments in /say, or participating in /general banter.  I never mind if it’s someone that I’ve done the fight with before, but if a casual player is consistently not listening because they’re engaged in other activities, I have no problem calling them out on it.

My main issue with all of this is the “talk, no walk” scenario.  All of these people will constantly ask, “Hey Thes, do you think we’re raiding tonight?” My constant response is: “I certainly hope so.  Start reading up on the fights.”  They never do.  Oh, they want to raid.  They salivate when the letters ‘I-C-C’ are called out.  Yet, when it comes down to doing a little bit of legwork, they falter.  I dont’ mind explaining the fights, but if after the explanation I hear “I’m sorry, so what am I supposed to do?” from our warlock, I wanna /logout.

Sidenote: Since drafting this blog, we’ve downed new bosses in ICC for us, so I *am* proud of my friends.  I just get agitated sometimes the lack of initiative. 

ANYWAYS….

If you want to make yourself valuable as as casual raider, just take an extra step or two to be prepared.  If not, you’re wasting your own time.  The less a raid has to “nuture” you, the more appealing you’ll be to bring along.  Personally, I love that our guild, though small, is comprised mostly of people that can fill in for any guild’s raid that may need us.  Kind of like hired mercenaries.  Need a healer?  See if Thespean or Discotheque are on.  Need a tank?  See if Dralo or Naryamas are around.  How about a good DPS?  Ask Arcas or Wolfin.  That means, however, that we do our little bit of homework to make that possible.  You don’t have to be hardcore, but if you know your stuff, you are just as skilled (if not more), than someone who devotes most of their time to raiding.

Are you a player that can’t be on as much as they’d like?  How do you make yourself appealing to be pulled into a raid?

Email: Elder.Thespius@gmail.com | Twitter: @Thespius

Are Easier Heroics Better in the Long Run?

Are Easier Heroics Better in the Long Run?

Image Courtesy of Geico Insurance

The patch 3.3.2 includes a few amendments to Heroic Dungeons and how they’re played.  Entire packs of mobs are being deleted.  Bosses abilities are being shortened or being made less frequent.  Fight mechanics are being made easier.  In essence, Blizzard is giving us more opportunities to blow through these dungeons with little to no effort.

I’m an educator at heart.  Seeing as though my life “endgame” is to be at the front of a classroom, it’s important to me that people learn the skills necessary to go through life.  How to write a proper business letter, how to analyze a novel or article, or how to put your thoughts in order and present them in a proper argument.

How does this translate into WoW?  Teaching players how to follow a kill order, how to manage small and large cooldowns, or how to CC a mob.  Remember some of the cardinal rules of this game that we’ve all learned?

  • If the ground changes, get out of it. Pretty standard stuff, except for rare circumstances
  • If the boss starts spinning with his huge weapon, move away from it.
  • If a really annoying mob is causing havoc, CC it. If possible, avoid DoT’ing it.

We learn these the hard way.  And, we have to utilize and execute what we’ve learned in the current content.  Ground changes?  Sounds like Rotface’s ooze pools on the ground.  Spinning mobs?  Marrowgar.  The need to CC a mob?  The mind controls in Lady Deathwhisper.

“You are not prepared!”

With the level of difficulty amongst the endgame content, more and more groups are getting frustrated with the lack of skill within the community of 80s.  I equate this to meeting people in the real world that don’t demonstrate even a sliver of mastery of their native language (slang and colloquialisms are fun choices but shouldn’t be your foundation).  How do you get through school without being able to speak or write properly?  How do you get to start raiding without having a knowledge of the fundementals?

Take Ahn’kahet (AKA “Old Kingdom”) for example.  Jedoga Shadowseeker is the boss that floats in the air, summoning an add to sacrifice.  If she succeeds, she hits a temporary enrage.  I remember wiping to that when people first started doing heroics.  The tank had to manage a cooldown; the healer was spamming big heals. This fight demonstrated the need for DPS to turn up the heat to down the add.  Even I as a healer would Smite/Lightning Bolt the add.

Now, it seems that Madame Shadowseeker only does this once.  Does this just mean everyone blows all their cooldowns (Shield Wall, Survival Instincts, Frenzied Regeneration, etc) to endure her short enrage and then they’re done?  The key to earning respect as a player with me is demonstrate a finesse of your skills, not be all RAWR OMG WTFBBQ DPSPWNAGE!!  You can be great player and still utilize all of your classes abilities efficiently.

“Time is of the essence!”

As these Heroics are being made easier and easier, that means people will be blowing through them faster and faster.  Making the value of the gear that people are getting lower and lower.  Follow this math:

Average of 4 badges (+ 2 from random) = 6 badges per run.

Clearing an instance in 15 minutes means 24 emblems an hour.

A whole set of T9 costs 210 emblems.

210 emblems / 24 emblems per hour = 8.75 hours.

Even if you play 3 hours/day, you could have full tier 9 in 3 days.

Given that, do I think it’s possible to really have a grasp of how to exist in a raid setting, possibly having an aspect of the fight rest on your shoulders?  I won’t say a flat-out “no”, but I’m hesitant.  I learned how to play my class through dungeons and heroics.  A fight like Rotface or Blood Princes is going to confuse players that haven’t had the ability to build an understanding of their class.

Consider it a slightly less horrifying version of a person who just bought their character on eBay that day.  Regardless if you’re a completely new player, or just levelling an alt, I fear that we’re starting to lose the building blocks to being a good raider to the ease of too much convenience.  (Sidenote: Notice I said “too much”.  I’m all for crafting the game so everyone has a shot, but there is a point when it goes too far.  I don’t want to go back to the days of needing to run alts through Karazhan to begin the gearing process for Black Temple.)

It’s like the economy (I know, a touchy subject).  If you start pumping more gear into the game faster, it devalues what’s already out there.  I guess the good thing is that people will be less freaked out by GearScore.  If everyone has a high gear score, more emphasis will need to be placed on player skill.  What good is a high GearScore if everyone has it?

“Lazy Sunday!”

“…WAKE UP IN THE LATE AFTERNOON!”  Sorry, a little sidetracked.  I love that skit.

Anyways, with Blizzard making things easier and easier, I fear they’re going too far.  ICC trash is already becoming AOE-able.  People are complaining about there being too much trash (yet, people complained about Trial of the Crusader not having ANY trash and being too boring).  Oculus is getting even bigger rewards.

I don’t want this game to become “just go in and blow stuff up”.  I like the challenge.  I like the dedication.  I like the workout.  I like the strategy.  Do I know how to create a balance with this?  Of course not.  If I did, I would be working for Blizzard.  I just don’t want the laziest crowd in the game to win over the hearts and minds of the game designers.

Now, I enjoy the mechanic of earlier ICC wings getting easier over time, allowing less progressed guilds to see the endgame content, but the latest epidemic of clueless raiders is troublesome to me.  How do you make the game more appealing to everyone, while still teaching those fundemental rules that we’ve all learned over the years?

What do you think?  Do you feel heroics are being made too easy?  How do you promote an understanding of class and basic fight mechanics amongst your raiders?

ICC Plagueworks: How Not To Die A Poisonous Death

ICC Plagueworks: How Not To Die A Poisonous Death

So you’re standing in the heart of the citadel. You’ve just walked through fire to get here – quite literally. Before that you ran the gauntlet of the lower spire and left the Lich King’s doormen smattered over the walls. That place feels like home to you now.

But now you’re on the upper levels you’re choking on the Citadel’s hostility, which is no surprise given the fat ochre clouds seeping out of the Plagueworks nearby. You must conquer it – but how?

I’ve been there too, alongside nine others. Here are my tips for your group regarding the trash guarding the entrance, a strategy for Precious, and some healing advice for the Rotface encounter.

 

Getting your foot in the door – trash tips:

1. Bitesize the trash pull as it’s more dangerous the more you pull here. It’s very easy to get mobbed by everything lurking in the entrance to the Plagueworks. It’s also very easy not to do so.

From our experiments we believe that everything will pull if you set foot on the platform in front of the door to the Plagueworks, upon which the Blighted Abominations are standing. Have your group gather a bit back – at the blue brazier on the left-side platform perhaps – and have your tanks pull the abominations back to the group.

2. Healers! Be on the ball. When you engage the large trash group just inside the door in combat, be aware that it will be a hectic fight. Plague Scientists will be turning random group members into slimes, and those players will take the opportunity to bounce around playfully. Because it’s fun. Meanwhile (shackle-able) geists will be jumping on people and eating them alive. Not to mention the fact that the rest of the mobs will be inflicting various nature-based attacks on chunks of your group.

3. Be on your toes. That applies to everyone. The abominations will emit plague clouds. Yuck. Move whatever’s standing in it out, be that you as a healer or the mob needing a tank to kite him out.

Also, the Pustulating Horrors will start the 5 second cast of Blight Bomb when they’re nearly dead: a kamikaze move. Everyone should watch out and move away before it’s cast; it does a lot of AoE damage and DPS or healers may explode alongside the Pustulating Horror.

Precious tactic: Making the Dog Play Dead. Er.

When my group first met Precious we wiped. We’d stand and nuke him; sometimes we AoE’ed the zombies, sometimes we didn’t because our 10 man didn’t have many AoE options. Either way we died horrible deaths. So, we did a bit of research and brainstorming. This is the tactic we have adopted since.

1. Have your healers and ranged DPS stand halfway down the circular staircase. Pull Precious to the stairs. Kite him round past them (decide clockwise or anti clockwise beforehand). Have healers and ranged run ahead of you so they don’t become zombie chow later.

2. When Precious summons zombies, speed up the kiting a bit to get ahead of them. If you have any shamans or hunters – or both – then earthbind and frost trap really help to put some distance between you and the braaaaaain munchers. I’m sure other slowing effects work. Be creative. Don’t speed up so much that you lap the zombies.

3. Rinse repeat with kiting and earthbind/traps until the dog is dead. Turn round and deal with the zombies. AoEs you can run in, drop, then out – like consecrate – work well. Pre-positionable AoEs like shamans putting up earthbinds and fire totem/fire nova repeatedly while still running away also work. While we were perfecting this my guild had an attempt whereby the group’s several shamans finished off the zombies while everyone else ran in – er, I mean, recovered from temporary inability to help.

 

Rotface tricks for healers:

1. Surround him. Rather than clumping together in one huge mass, have your group stand in smaller clumps round Rotface’s…. well, I guess they’re feet. At least one healer to each clump. This has two benefits for healers. Firstly it reduces the number of people who may get hit by slime spray. Secondly it means that at least one healer should always be in range of the tank who is kiting the big ooze, wherever they are in the room, in case of problems.

2. GO team Heal! If another healer gets mutated infection and so has to run, heal him until it’s gone and he’s safe. This may sound silly but sometimes when the elephant hits the jet fan, healers assume that other healers can look after themselves. Yep, usually. But you should always remember you’re a team and work like one. Particularly here, where the infection ticks for a fair chunk and a lot of healers can’t heal and keep running at the same time.

3. Assume the worst. We all make mistakes: we’re human. But this is an encounter in which one person making a mistake can make things three times more hectic and it’s us healers who have to try to get the group through it. The retri paladin thinks he’s delivered his ooze to the big ooze but has actually dragged it into the melee and is standing there? Someone’s got two infections in a row and not realised?

Watch as much as you can. Watch for people making mistakes so you can go into overdrive. Watch your and other healers’ mana and pop things like mana tide or hymn of hope either early or at (an early) crunch time. Importantly, watch *your* positioning. You might think that concentrating on your own situational awareness might make it a bit harder to focus on healing when there’s a lot of damage. Instead, consider how doing so will make your job easier rather than if you get caught up in healing and, say, forget to move during an Unstable Ooze Explosion.

 

The Plagueworks is not a friendly place and only the bold set foot on its flagstones. Although, looking at Rotface I think Professor Putricide has other ideas about what feet should do. I hope your bravery is rewarded by victory, and that something here has helped if you were bouncing off those flagstones!

What about you? Have you got any tips, either general or class/healer specific, to add for any of these three encounters? Are you having trouble on any of them, or have been and are slowly getting better at dealing with them? Do you actively like or dislike these fights, given that they go in a different direction to the fights in the first wing?

Healer 101: How To Storm Citadels More Smoothly

Healer 101: How To Storm Citadels More Smoothly

ICCHealing1

Say you’re storming the Citadel on a fairly regular basis, massacring the Lich King’s advance nasties from Lord Marrowgar right up – literally – to Deathbringer Saurfang. You might be progressing through it at your own pace, or you might have it on farm and are running through weekly as a warm-up to pick up gear. Well, either way. Here are some general and some shaman-specific tips from my own experience on how to healing can help your group steamroller the nasties.

Lord Marrowgar:

1. Bone Spike Graveyard: Pain. In. The. There are two things you can do to mitigate its effect on your healing. Firstly, make sure you remind your healing  Marrowgar diagram 3teammates to watch out for bonespike on each other. For example, if your tank healer is spiked then you need to pick up the slack for him and heal the tanks. Just til he gets back on his feet. Secondly, standing behind Marrowgar as shown in the diagram will help your DPS get you un-spiked as quickly and safely as  possible.

2. Coldflame is not cool. Really. Move out of the fire before it gets to you. Yep, I know it’s a pain and it seems to as soon as a healer has moved there’s more coldflame racing towards you. Standing at range will give you time to see it and move.

3. One shaman to another: people stand in fire. Us healers know it like we know the sky is (sometimes) blue. Bone Storm and Bone Spike Graveyard do damage. There’s a lot of it going round. So consider dropping mana tide early to have it ready again later if needed and using bloodlust after the first Bone Storm so that DPS get time to use it when Marrowgar’s not doing the tango.

 

Lady Deathwhisper:

1. Spread out. At least a bit. Deathwhisper’s room is just big enough that if you stand too far to either side you won’t be able to reach the people on the other side. Spread your healer team out so that tank healer A is covering the tank on the left, tank healer B on the right and raid healer in the middle. If you’re running two healers then they’ll need to be a bit closer to the middle for raid coverage. There’s also less chance you’ll all get caught in death and decay if you spread out.

2. Healer, cleanse… everything. This fight has some status changes which give Deathwhisper and her crew an edge. If Curse of Torpor is running amok on your raid then cleanse it, first on you then on other targets. If a Cult Fanatic casts Vampiric Might (magic effect) on itself then cleanse it in order to down it quicker. Or tell your mages to spellsteal it: they’ll love you.

3. Shamanic wisdoms: think about your totem placement; you might want to manually place them rather than drop all four in one place. Personally I drop stoneskin and healing stream well to the left with the tank I watch over. I then separately drop Flametongue and Wrath of Air nearer the middle/mid-back, depending on whether it’s 10 or 25 man. I re-place totems at Deathwhisper when phase 2 hits.

 

Gunship battle:

1. Welcome returning soldiers back. With a lot of healing. When the boarding party returns Muradin might well still be trying to kill at least one of them, probably with rending throw. In my opinion it’s best to play it safe: overheal them all as they come back over rather than waiting for them to take an unexpected damage spike they might not survive. If at all possible have one member of the boarding party announce when they’re returning.

2. You’re a field medic, not a pirate. I think healers should stay on their ship rather than boarding. Healing on the Edge ™ of the ship works just fine. Yes, you have to move out of the cannon fire patches but at least there is ample time to do that. Things can and do go wrong for the boarding party and the chance of that goes up exponentially according to how many people jet over. You don’t need to.

3. Shaman talk: Consider earthshielding a different target, particularly a DPS on the boarding party. My 10 man run usually has an enhancement shammy swinging over to swash some buckles, and full of health they’re not. If Muradin/Saurfang decides he doesn’t like her she’s the most likely to go splat quickly and she is aware of it. I put earthshield on her for this fight: not only might it help in a pinch but it also makes her feel a tad bit safer when jetting off to hostile territory. She hasn’t died here since I made that change.

 

Deathbringer Saurfang:

1. Healers need time to breathe. Mark of the Fallen Champion can make things hectic if everyone’s trying to deal with everything on this fight. Arrange for one person to deal solely with victims of the mark when it starts hitting. Personally I have our disc priest doing that while our shamans chain heal around the rest of the group. It just gives everyone enough slack to not turn into headless chickens.

2. Be prepared. You’d be forgiven for thinking this was a healing-easy fight based on the first couple of minutes of it. Remember that the longer it goes on the more healing-intensive it gets, and its length is dependent on your group’s general level of kit and knowledge of the fight. Don’t let boredom tempt you into overhealing early on. Manage mana well and be ready for it to be challenged.

3. If you’re a shaman: Earth bind is your friend. Place it near-ish the platform to catch blood beasts as they spawn. It’ll just give the ranged DPS some breathing time, which should give you breathing time with less potential for blood beasts tearing up your warlock. Keep it refreshed. If you have more than one shaman co-ordinate to have your earthbinds cover a greater area.

 

World of Matticus: helping healers storm their local citadels since 2010. As with many fights at present the thing to remember above all else is to be mobile and flexible if the situation requires. I’ll also briefly be extolling the virtues and citing an example of shamans retreating to advance, later in the week.

How about you – are you a healer with any tips to add for the first wing? Any widely held tactics you’d particularly like to discredit? Any questions been troubling you about the healing on wing the first, whether or not you’re a healer? Comments are very welcome!

Rot-Face the Music, People!

Rot-Face the Music, People!

The second wing of Icecrown Citadel has been open for just two lockout periods.  There have been the outcries from all sides:

“It’s too soon!”

“Thank God, it’s finally here!”

“Why can’t we just fight Arthas already?”

But my new personal favorite, has GOT to be:

“Rotface is too hard!”

First, let me go on the record that I’m thankful for fights like these.  I’ve mentioned here before, and also when I’ve guest-hosted on Raid Warning (shameless plug), that I loved bosses back in the BC days.  Fights like Leotheras or Al’ar took coordination, teamwork, and dedication.  I remember the guild I was in never took down Al’ar.  Primarily, we lacked perseverance.  We would spend 3-4 attempts on that bird, and then people would gripe about how hard it was and we’d move onto Loot Reaver, I mean Void Reaver.

My point is that in Wrath, we’ve essentially seen easier bosses in raids.  Yogg was hard, Faction Champions held up a lot of guilds, true.  Aside from examples like those, we haven’t seen any fights in ICC thus far that have resembled the challenging nature of a true raid boss.

Rotface as a challenge?  I welcome it.  I think we, as raiders, get tunnel vision too easily.  Most of the fights have been the following:

  • Switching targets to an add or group of adds
  • Stay out of the stuff on the ground
  • Heal through this bout of incoming damage

Hence, Rotface is a breath of fresh air, even if it’s the leading cause of my healer-rage on any given raid night.  Healers, because of the instances of raid damage, have to step it up.  Any combination of the following mechanics will make for a bad experience:

Mutated infection – [UNAVOIDABLE] The primary mechanic for the fight.  Your choice to cleanse it early, though I wouldn’t recommend it unless your raid is totally on their A-Game.  You have to get on top of this as fast as possible because of the Mortal Strike-styled healing debuff.  When I’m assigned to the mutated peeps, I throw PW:Shield, Prayer of Mending, and a quick Penance to pile on Grace.  It’s better to keep them topped off than just keep them alive.

Slime Spray -  [AVOIDABLE] This is a pain in the butt to deal with if people don’t move out of the way.  At roughly 5k each second, multiple victims make healing rough, especially in the later stages of the fight.  It’s a short cast but on a regular timer, so it’s easy to anticipate.  If you keep your raid clumped behind the boss, a simple run-through to the other side is all that’s needed.  Don’t always assume it’s going to the majority of the raid.  Rotface may target the slime tank/kiter.  I’ve seen attempts almost wipe because people ran right into the spray without thinking.

Ooze Flood – [AVOIDABLE] The standard WoW rule of “Don’t stand in the crap on the ground!”  A lot of raiders claim to be taken by surprise, but I don’t buy it.  Not only do you get an audible warning from Petricide, but you see ooze spouting from the pipes before the flood appears.  At crucial moments of kiting or fleeing the ooze explosion, it’s not impossible to miss these entirely.

Radiating Ooze – [SEMI-AVOIDABLE] The only time anyone should be taking damage from this is the person merging an ooze with the big ooze and possibly the player kiting the ooze.  They’ll take damage from their own smaller ooze, which is less, and then momentarily from the big ooze.  I see too many people run INTO the ooze to try to get it to merge.  In actuality, you just need to get the ooze into the 10 yard radius of the big ooze for it to merge.  Even at that, it’s best to wait until your disease is gone to step into that area.  A near-full ooze will tick for a lot of damage, and a half-heal debuff is horrible to try to work through, let alone the tick from the disease itself.  It’s easy to die to this, even with a lot of healers on you.

Unstable Ooze Explosion – [AVOIDABLE] It’s simple.  It’s like the orbs in Void Reaver, except smaller.  Once the ooze explodes, and not before, you should start running away.  From personal experience, try not to be by the tank when it explodes.  If the tank is caught in about 4-5 of those projectile oozes, he or she is a goner.  Don’t run into ooze puddles, and don’t run near other oozes that are still growing.

—–

I highly recommend that you read and know each of the mechanics that I’ve explained above.  These debuffs and mechanics aren’t just for the healers to heal through but for every raider to avoid.  One or two of them together is manageable, but when you’re consistently not paying attention to the different intricacies of the fight, it just makes my soul hurt.

I know there’s a tendency to just want muscle through some of the fights, but on some of these Icecrown fights, it’s imperative to actually know what you’re being afflicted with.  Your little extra focus can get you through that last 30% that most guilds may be struggling with.

 

Healing Icecrown from a Druid’s Perspective – Part 2

Healing Icecrown from a Druid’s Perspective – Part 2

This is a guest post by Epiphanize, a Resto Druid, and co-host of Raid Warning.

Now that we got all that out of the way, it is time to get down to business. You didn’t really show up just to listen to me go on about glyphs, did you? No, you came to heal your branches off! One quick thing: Be sure to check out the comments in my previous article; there were some good suggestions for alternative point distribution.

Lord Marrowgar

So here we are, Lord Marrowgar, a very interesting challenge for healers. However, it does give Druids a chance to show off their ability to heal on the run. This can be a relatively hectic fight, so regardless of whether you are tank or raid healing, you will need to be tossing HoTs at some points during the fight.

Tank Healing

This is the easier of two roles against Marrowgar.  During his initial phase and all the ones where he is not spinning all over the place, it is essentially a one tank fight. Since the nerf, Marrowgar does quit a bit less melee damage. So the damage your meat shield will be taking will be fairly minimal. This is pretty manageable for Trees, as we can keep the tank pretty well topped off with our HoTs.

One ability you need to be prepared for though is Saber Lash.  Saber Lash is an ability similar to Koralon’s Meteor Fists, in which two tanks will need to stack in order to distribute the damage. Your healing priority will be the Main Tank followed by the Off-Tank after a Saber Lash. As a tree, you have the added benefit of hitting both with Wild Growth before topping off the Main Tank. Other than dodging the occasional slow-motion blue flames, there is not much to deal with during this phase.

Raid Healing

As stated above, this fight can be quite hectic for a raid healer. During the first phase you will have quite a bit to manage. In 10-player, one random player will be Bone Spiked. DPS will be turning to focus on getting the player down as quickly as possible. This presents two things for you as a raid healer. You obviously will need to be focusing on healing the spiked player. I’ve managed to safely keep them up with Rejuvenation and Swiftmend, though this can also be accomplished with a few Nourishes as well. The other thing is people taking Coldflame damage, as they will often be ignoring the flames to get the person off the spike. Again this is usually handled by tossing some Rejuvenations and Wild Growth, saving Swiftmend for anyone who stands in the fire just a bit too long.

The last thing you will be concerned with during the pre-Bone Storm phases is the aforementioned Coldflame. As the raid healer, you will be responsible for topping off anyone who doesn’t get out of the way of the flames quick enough. The damage it does is not too horrible as long as no one just stands there. Its actually more of a nuisance avoiding it yourself, as you will often need to decide between standing their long enough to finish casting a heal, or cutting it short to avoid taking too much damage yourself.

Bone Storm

This phase is pretty similar for Druids regardless of your role. Marrowgar will become untauntable and spin around the room doing relatively minor AOE damage. It is still good to avoid him if possible, as it makes life a bit easier on all the healers. The big thing you will be dealing with is blue flames (of ice?) again. Only this time he drops 4 at a time. This phase is all about survival. Since you will be on the move during this, Druids will be arguably the best healer for this phase. This is where glyphs like Rapid Rejuvenation and Wild Growth start to shine in ICC. Just keep HoTs on everyone and toss Wild Growth on cooldown and you should be fine. Make sure to keep Swiftmend and your NS-HT macro at the ready in case anyone gets into trouble.

One last thing that the Tank Healer needs to consider is the position of the tanks during all chaos. The tanks will be sticking close to Marrowgar during Bone Storm in order to pick him up at the end of the phase. Not only will the tanks be taking a bit extra damage, but you will want to be nearby to keep the Main Tank healed up while everyone gets back to some semblance of order.

Lady Deathwhisper

The next boss in The Citadel is quite a bit easier on the healers than Marrowgar. If your group is good about staying out of Death and Decay and interrupting Frost Bolts, you won’t have to mash the keyboard nearly as much. For Druids, this fight is all about situational awareness and keeping in range of the players taking damage.

Phase 1

The key to Lady Deathwhisper is getting through her first phase. During this phase she will be behind a mana shield that DPS will need to burn through in between dealing with adds that spawn from either side of the room. After that, the fight is pretty much tank and spank. In my experience, this is the fight where you are most likely to only use 2 healers.

The mechanics of the adds are pretty complicated at times, so it is good to familiarize yourself with them. There will be times the tank and raid will be taking increased damage based on these mechanics. There is a lot of movement involved, so there will often be times you will have to drag your stump across the room to toss a heal or two.

There are a few other considerations during this phase. First,  Adherents will place Curse of Torpor on random raid members that increases the cooldown of their abilities, so you will want to make sure you are decursing as often as possible. There will be a bit of randomness from the Death and Decay and Shadow Bolts, so be on the look out. Again, there is going to be some bouncing back and forth because of adds, so communicate with the other healer(s) to make sure you have all your bases covered.

Phase 2

Congratulations, you have made it through the hard part. After her shield is down she becomes tauntable, only has 3 million hit points, and the adds stop spawning. Since this is often 2-healed, you will more than likely be both on raid duty and tank duty. While this phase is pretty much tank and spank, there are some things going on that affect the healers.

The tanks will be swapping as Deathwhisper places a stacking debuff on the tank that reduces their threat. So you will want to keep an ear out for who is tanking her and focus your healing accordingly. She will still be dropping Death and Decay, as well as random frost bolts that should be interrupted. Finally, she will summon on non-targetable Vengeful Shade that will follow a player around and explode if it catches them. You will need to do your best to avoid them if they follow you, and be prepared to heal someone if they get caught (if they don’t get one-shotted).  It’s a pretty quick phase though, and you will be on your way up the elevator in no time.

Gunship Battle

This is a gimmick fight through and through and is a lot of fun. There aren’t really a lot of important mechanics here for healers. Your gunship has two guns that you use to attack the enemy’s gunship.  Occasionally, the opposing ship will summon a mage/sorcerer that will freeze your guns. You will then need to send some raid members over to kill it in order free up your cannons. Back on your own ship, mobs will appear through a portal that will need to be killed, while avoiding incoming rockets and axe-throwers.

Defenders

This is the easier of the two healing roles. Usually one tank and some ranged DPS will stay behind to deal with the enemy boarding party.  The portal will spawn a Sergeant and some Marines. The Sergeant is the only one that really poses any threat, as he has pretty nasty Bladestorm and Wounding Strike abilities. Most of your healing will be focused on the tank, especially if you only have ranged DPS defending. Just be prepared to work a bit extra to overcome the -25% healing debuff.

Two other items of note: First, stay out of shinnies! Rockets will be coming over to your side and the big shiny circle on the ground is an indicator your in the path of said rocket. Be prepared to heal anyone who has yet to learn this golden rule of Warcraft. Second, keep an eye on your boarding party tank. They will be taking damage as they fly back over to your ship, and not every healer is as equipped to heal in the air as us Trees. I have seen quite a few tanks bite it on their way back over as they still have the aggro from the ranged mobs on the enemy ship. A well timed heal from you can be the thing that saves them.

Boarding Party

As the boarding party healer you got the short end of the branch (no, the bad tree jokes will not stop). You will be heading over to the enemy ship with most of the DPS and a Tank to take down the mage/sorcerer while fending off the general and adds. On your way over it will be a good idea to HoT up the tank, as things will be a bit chaotic when you first get over there.

The tank will be keeping the enemy commander busy why DPS take down the mage/sorcerer. Keep an eye out because the longer you are over there the stronger the enemy gets. This will cause everyone to take quite a bit of damage. As mentioned earlier, you will need to keep some heals on the tank as he will take some damage on his way back over. Probably a good idea to leave a Rejuvenation in case you need to toss an emergency Swiftmend on the return flight. Again, a fairly straightforward fight for healers.

Deathbringer Saurfang

Phew, here we are, the final encounter of the entrance to the Citadel. This is probably the most interesting fight so far. A lot of what you need to do as a healer will be determined by your groups strategy, but Druids have a few things to keep in mind both as a tank or raid healer, regardless of how you handle Mark of the Fallen Champion.

Raid Healing

First, you do not have any way to stop the damage people will be taking like priests do. So your main role will be to heal up the damage that does get through. There are three mechanics that will be causing you trouble: Boiling Blood, Blood Nova and Mark of the Fallen Champion.

The first ability, Boiling Blood, will be case on a random raid target. If you have a Priest, they will mitigate a lot of the damage to avoid Saurfang building Blood Power. Its still a good idea, whether you have a Priest or not, to toss Rejuvenation on the Boiling Blood target to keep them topped off. The damage isn’t too bad, and one HoT should be enough to keep them safe.

Blood Nova can be more troublesome depending on how much melee you have. If this gets cast on one, a good amount of people will be taking damage. The player that get Blood Nova should run out of the raid to minimize damage and blood power gain. However, if they don’t get out in time, be prepared to throw out Wild Growth and a couple single target heals.

Finally, there is Mark of the Fallen Champion. How you handle this (if at all) is going to depend on your raid strategy. A lot of guilds, mine included, will just let that player die. This minimizes the buildup of blood power and puts a lot less stress on the healers. If you do decide to keep that person alive you will want to give them full HoTs. Yes, you may have to dust off Lifebloom for this one. I usually put up Rejuvenation and Regrowth, with a Swiftmend if needed.

Tank Healing

There is not nearly as much to deal with as a tank healer. The tanks will be switching when they gain the Rune of Blood debuff, so as per most two tank fights you will need to be paying attention. You will also need to be concerned if a player gets Blood Nova near the tank, which could cause a nasty damage spike. Your final obstacle is at 30%, where Saurfang will Frenzy. This means you need to get your stump in gear and heal faster! Other than that, he is business as usual for a tank healer.

—–

And that’s it! You’ve Stormed the Citadel. Just in time for the Plague Works to open. Thus is the life of a WoW player. In the next installment we will be covering healing Rotface, Festergut, and Putricide, all while avoiding getting any goo on your leaves.

Healing Icecrown From a Druid’s Perspective – Part 1

Healing Icecrown From a Druid’s Perspective – Part 1

 

This is a guest post by Epiphanize, a Resto Druid, and co-host of Raid Warning.

So you’ve just shaken the frost off of your branches and are staring down the entrance to Icecrown Citadel, the final raid of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion.  You and nine of your closest guildies (or 9 random pugs if your unlucky) are ready to face the challenges that await you in your quest to take down Arthas. The first of these will be the bosses of the entrance to the Citadel. Before we get into strategies, let’s discuss a few things you should think about before trotting into The Frozen Throne. There have been some major changes to how Druids approach healing that are worth taking a look at.

Most trees are in the process of making the swap from crit-laden gear to stacking haste (or at least you should be – Bad tree, bad). This, along with the introduction of Glyph of Rapid Rejuvenation, has given us some new and interesting options. The goal of this article is to help you understand the changes to Druid healing and how it affects you prepare to confront the Lich King.

In addition to these changes, 10-mans can leave a lot of uncertainty, and raid composition will often force Druids to fill rolls they may not be best suited for. Your choice of glyphs and spec will depend a lot on role, personal preference, and playstyle. However, there is some general advice you can follow when making these decisions. I’ve done my best to try to gives options for popular playstyles and specs.

I’m Still a Crit Machine

If you are still very early in the process of swapping gear from crit to haste, you are probably using either Nourish or Regrowth as your main spell. Nourish is a slightly better spell in most realistic situations where you aren’t sure you will keep Regrowth’s hot up on at all times (Thats a discussion for another article). However, at this level of raiding, either spell should serve you well regardless of role. So use whatever your little wooden heart desires, just make sure to bring the appropriate glyph.

Next, I would recommend Glyph of Swiftmend. This is especially helpful in situations where you are spot healing the raid or attempting to 2 heal. It allows you to quickly save a DPS that may be taking sudden burst damage, or catch up on a tank you may have neglected for a moment. It is also a nice way to save on some mana. Plus a global cooldown wasted refreshing a HoT can often be the difference between life and temporary, virtual death. If mana is not a concern and you are comfortable relying on some of your other emergency options, you can go with both of the choices for your third glyph.

Your third glyph is really up to personal choice and should be based on your role as well as the encounter. Glyph of Wild Growth is always a safe bet, especially if you are helping raid heal. There are lots of scenarios where the whole raid is taking damage in ICC, and that extra target is a welcome buff. Glyph of Rejuvenation is also good but slightly weaker option, as there won’t be large chunks of time where the tank is under 50%. Thought this can shine in some encounters, especially with the 4 piece tier 9 set bonus. One thing to keep in mind is that the small amount Glyph of Rejuvenation can play in helping catch up, can easily be replaced by a Swiftmend, Nature’s Swiftness/Healing Touch, or even a Regrowth.

When it comes to talent choices with a Crit build, not much has changed since 3.2. Living Seed is a must in my book if you are going to be tank healing, and is also handy when dealing with Saurfang’s Mark of the Fallen Champion. This especially holds true due to Nature’s Bounty increasing the amount of Living Seed procs.

Another option that is good for tank healers, but is especially strong for raid healing, is Revitalize. While not a complete replacement for Replenishment, it is better than the complete lack of a regeneration buff. You should end up with something similar to 11/0/60 (full build here) with either 3 points in Living Seed or Revitalize depending on what tickles your fancy.

Crit Is So Last Month

If you are at or approaching the soft haste cap (856 without Celestial Focus, 735 with) Rejuvenation is now your baby. Blizzard has really made this our new bread and butter spell. With two strong glyphs, 4 piece tier 9, and the last two idols granting you spell power based on rejuvenation ticks, it is clear you should be using Rejuvenation liberally. This being said, Glyph of Rapid Rejuvenation is a must in my opinion. This is obviously slanted towards raid healing, though I’ve seen instances where it has come in handy as a tank healer. It also comes in useful for mechanics like Mark of the Fallen Champion where a glyphed Rejuvenation with 4 piece Tier 9 can often alone keep up the marked target with minimal management. ICC encounters seems to have been tuned to encourage the use of Glyphed Rejuvenation, as there are lots of dots and healing on the move.

If you plan on focusing more on your HoTs, the original Glyph of Rejuvenation is a good companion for the new Rapid Rejuvenation. It will take time for you to get used to how quickly you can heal up someone with this combo. Once your haste gets up there and you get down the timing, this combo is a very powerful option.

Glyph of Nourish is your other option for your second glyph. Some would even argue that Nourish is the main reason to stack haste, not Rapid Rejuvenation, as you will have a 1s cast time on Nourish. This, combined with a reduced global cooldown, should allow you to direct heal your stump off. This is also a perfectly viable options, especially at the 10-man level. I think its safe to leave this decision up to personal preference. 

Of course you could always just use the above three glyphs and have the best of both worlds, which is what I have ultimately done. But if you are indecisive, Swiftmend will save some mana when you need a big direct heal. In the same vein, Wild Growth will give some HoT power to go along with those quick Nourishes. There really is a lot of flexibility here.

There is however, not so much when it comes to spec. For most people, you will be stuck going deep enough into the Balance tree to get Celestial Focus, that you will not have much of a choice but to go 18/0/53. Now as you progress through Icecrown you will be able to move those points out of Balance and back into the more useful Resto talents. Revitalize being a priority in my book due to the amount of Rejuvenation’s you will be tossing around. Where you go from there will depend on how often you decide to use you direct heals. Your build should look more like the crit 11/0/60 build..

 Phew…Who knew when you signed up to heal as a sapling, you’d be in for so much homework? However, as long as Blizzard keeps being bipolar in regards to Druid healing mechanics, you better get used to it. Who knows, maybe if we cut back on the QQ they will give us new Tree Form models before the end of Cataclysm. Well, we can dream can’t we? In the next part of this article we will cover specific strategies for healing the first 4 bosses of Icecrown as a Tree.

Little Things of Joy

Little Things of Joy

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Those that have followed my posts here since I started writing know that I’m a two-faced WoW player.  =)  I don’t mean two-faced in that way.  I mean it in another sense.

I belong to two guilds.  Unpossible, and Team Sport.  Both guilds are fantastic, and I’m so proud to be in both of them.  I always consider myself a multi-faceted player.  I like progression, and I also like casual.  Each guild provides me with a different part of that.

We’re all in the mood to pound our heads against the new content.  Whether you’re struggling or conquering, it’s always exciting to battle new bosses and collect your new rewards.  It’s something we’ve all come to love about raiding or just gaming in general.  What about some of the little things that bring you joy?

Unpossible

Lodur and I have definitely bonded since we started talking.  I had been looking for a new place to send my priest, since my last guild wasn’t working out.  I wanted a place that was progression-oriented but had the same “family” feel that Team Sport does.  When we started talking about Unpossible, my eyes lit up.  It seemed (on the surface) like everything I was looking for.  It wasn’t brow-beating its members into submission.  Family and real life always came first, but they were all there to conquer the endgame content.

The application process was complex but well worth it.  I was being asked to join raids, main nights as well as off-nights.  This is one of the oldest surviving guilds on the server.  Most of this team had cleared Vanilla WoW content together.  Needless to say, I felt like an outsider.

There were two moments that absolutely solidified my feeling of being a member of Unpossible.

The first, was our first walk into Icecrown.  No one had seen the..

Instance not found.

Our palms were sweaty with anticipat…

Instance not found.

Okay, let’s at least try to get a warlock inside so we…

Instance not found.

Sweet, we’re all in!  We manage to get the first couple of mobs down until the huge Skele on the wall spawns.  Almost reminiscent of the terror that the Statue of Liberty spreads in Ghostbusters II, we lose a couple healers and a couple DPS.  It’s okay, let’s have them rez and run back.  Everyone rebuff…

Instance not found.

You get the point.  All joking aside, stepping into Icecrown and figuring things out from scratch made me feel like I was truly an Unpossible member, even if we only got one attempt in on Marrowgar.

The second solidifying moment came a week later.  Now that the initial instance server issues had been somewhat resolved, it was easy to actually get our whole team in there.  We cleared Marrowgar with little difficulty, and it was time for Deathwhisper.  With our raid leader hollering out orders, demanding we step it up and get the hell out of Death and Decay, Deathwhisper’s health dwindled.  People died to the invincible ghosts.  Healers started to drop.  We were seconds away from the enrage timer.  Then, she enraged.  Tanks were one-shotted.  Healers were brushed into non-existence.  Two people remained, and the DoTs were ticking away.  1%.  0.7%.  100k Health. 47k Health.  6k Health.  The final raid member at 4,000 health.  “You have defeated Lady Deathwhisper.”  Screams echoed through Ventrilo.  It was the first time I had been there for a guild first.  So satisfying.  I’m truly a member of Unpossible now.  Killing a tough boss is one thing, but bleeding and sweating for that first kill with a new guild is amazing.

Team Sport

I’ve been gaming with most of these guys since early BC, when my warlock was 40 and had just gotten my first mount.  We’re a rag-tag group of knockarounds, but we love the game, and we love trying to do our best at it.  There may be people that disagree, but people generally really enjoy adding us to their raid.  We’ve got about 18 members with varying schedules, so it’s tough to get our own raid together.  We don’t mind.  We all knew this signing up.  Anyone that applies to Team Sport (yes, we even had someone server transfer to play with us) knows this as well.  This doesn’t mean we’re lackluster about raiding.  When we can get enough people on, we jump all over it.

Is each and every member totally top notch?  No.  No team is totally perfect.  Even I’m not completely on my game (I’ve had a few too many “Diet Cokes”).  Personally, I was a little worried about some of the coordination needed for some of the ToC fights.  After initial struggles with tanking Northrend Beasts, we made it through Icehowl, and one-shotted Jaraxxus. 

Here’s where it got interesting. 

A lot of guilds have CC rotations and full-on strategies for Faction Champions.  Druids, Warlocks and Mages alternating their crowd control.  Rogues and Warriors locking up healers.  I initially tried to craft a CC plan.  We tried it, and we failed.  So we did it the Team Sport way.

Team Sport is known for our love of PvP.  We have various Arena Teams, and we do Battlegrounds galore.  Our pally tank, Dralo, is one achievement away from his Battlemaster title.

“Everyone go into your PvP spec, and let’s just kill Horde”.

And we did.  In one shot, and it was easier than any Faction Champs fight I’ve ever done.

This, was my moment of pride with Team Sport.  We’re still struggling on Twins, but we annihilated the Faction Champions with ease.  Yes, I know this was after the nerf.  Yes, I know that overall it’s easier.  Still, we got such a kick out of doing that fight, because we did it the Team Sport way.  We trusted all 10 of us to know what to do, and we came through.  THAT is some group synergy right there.

How about you?  Is there a little thing about the game or your guild that makes you happy or brings you pride?

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“Big” image courtesy of 20th Century Fox