Dragon Slaying from a Healer’s Perspective: Onyxia

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Every week I watch different players doing things in Onyxia encounters that could make healers spit flame. Not only that, I find myself reacting to and making the same mistakes every week. So what are these recurring things, and how can everyone make sure that healers don’t turn into fire breathing dragons?

Traditionally us healers don’t do much slaying of anything, especially dragons. We do something much more important. We’re the brave souls who sally forth calmly into the face of death to keep others in one piece, or at least standing vaguely upright. You know those others – the heroes who charge in bandying about a cacophony of curses. The ones who would get flamed into foil-packed toasted sandwiches or seared to a fowl-shaped frieze on the wall, or reduced to roasted bear.

But other heroes like to keep us healers on our toes. Hell, we like to keep ourselves on our toes. A dragon slaying party can make a lot of mistakes, and you’d be surprised how few heroes seem to know the Basics of Dragon Slaying. Many bands of adventurers charge into the dragon’s den without checking that everyone knows those basics, which I think is mistake #1.

So what are the most common and basic mistakes a do-gooder can commit while trying to saw Onyxia’s head off? And what can us healers, whatever class, do so we don’t feel like taking a deep breath and belching fire at people? Well, a long career of healing dragon slayers has taught me a lot.

Here are my top ten observations for both us healers and your actual slayer of dragons to remember while venturing into Onyxia’s den, especially if braving the fight with a motley crew of unknown quantities.

I always see tanks or DPS…

1. Getting cleaved. Obviously this is a hazard of the job for tanks. But every time I go to Onyxia there are some foolhardy melee DPSers who like to stand face to face with their foe. I always find myself politely telling them that if they stand behind the trash they will do more DPS and won’t die from cleave, which is something most monsters in the den do. This is always after at least two DPSers die once or one of them dies twice

2. Going out of Line of Sight. There is a hill on the path to Onyxia’s den. And just over that hill is – well, is your tank. And he’s found himself facing an angry dragonkin whom he can’t move for fear of cleaving the party apart. Positioned just right so that if you stay safely at range you’re over the hill and far away for healing purposes, but if you go in close you’re in danger of getting cleaved (see above)

3. Killing people by big-add AoE proxy. I’ve seen tanks pick up big adds on phase 2 and move to tank them next to healers and ranged folk. I sometimes don’t see this until the add’s AoE has fried me because I am looking at healing addons and frantically trying to keep everyone standing upright rather than watching the pretty pictures on the screen. Likewise, melee folks should run away from this AoE, but don’t always do so.

4. Panic-position Onyxia. This happens when she lands in phase 3. Things are hectic and every tank has a different idea where’s best to position a large angry dragon.

  • The tank might place her at the back of the cave: if he does then players are likely to get feared into a tail swipe and bring out many whelps. Handle it.
  • The tank might instead place her at the side of the cave: if he does that then players will get feared and tail swiped but probably not into the whelp eggs.

5. NOT dealing with whelps. Whelps are hungry when they wake up and there are a lot of them. If they’re not controlled and killed then they will quickly attach to a healer and start munching, or gobble up the mage they noticed AoEing at them. Hell, I’ve often seen tanks bashing away at a clutch of whelps all on their lonesome on phase 1, with no DPS bothering to go to them – unless you count those flying past into the whelp eggs and skulking back out again, leaving the tank to deal with more.

Tips for healers …

1. Watch where you stand. Particularly during phase 2. Make sure you’re not too close to the southern area where the big adds spawn, especially if the tank on big adds is a bit sleepy. Said big add may appear, set eyes on you and think you’re the tastiest target. It’s also easy to get out of range of people, especially ranged folk who are doggedly following Onyxia up and down the cave. Avoid all this by trying to strafe across the middle of the cave in p2.

2. Be on your toes during deep breath. Get out of the way of it, of course. Start heading back into the middle of the room as soon as it’s passed in order to beat fires out on anyone who didn’t manage to get out the way in time.

3. Never assume the tank is in safe hands. Healers get themselves tail swiped and cleaved too – I’ve seen it. Heck, even phase 2 is dangerous – deep breaths may mean that the tank and healers are separated. Last week I was in a run in which all the healers dove to one side of the room during deep breath and the tank went the other way – we all assumed one of the other healers would stay near him. Panic mode ensued. Try to stay in range of the tanks at all times but not too close. That way fried healers lie.

4. Run diagonally. Sounds weird, but look at the shape of the cave – very long, and the monsters tend to spawn or be tanked at diamond points. The tank’s making the pull? If you run in a strange line – and next to the tank – you’ll get cleaved or tail swiped right away. I saw a priest do just that last week. Run diagonally in and you’ll always be in range to top off the tank as he’s moving Onyxia and you’ll end up standing in a safe place. Likewise throughout the fight, diagonal lines will often get you near other players and away from fire and adds the quickest.

5. Be aware of your space. You will be moving around a lot – move your class specific tricks with you. As a shaman I move my totems to where the rest of the group moves for each phase, so people retain the buffs. As a druid I’ve run around like a rootless sapling trying to keep the tank alive in the north end of the cave and combat resurrect the top DPSer from the south of the cave. Assume in a reactionary fight like this that people will make mistakes: use your class to the full to make it easier on the whole group.

So those are the basics as I see them. They might sound simple – they are. But how many times have you seen some of the above happen? They’re intended to give dragon slayers and healers food for thought rather than offer strategies on how to heal; this isn’t a fight with challenging tactics, just one that needs everyone to stay aware of the situation. One last tip for free: if you want to get the bounty without repair bills, don’t assume everyone knows the tactics. They might not. Everyone has to start being a dragon slayer – maybe in a foreign tongue – sometime in their life.

I’ll be following up by talking about my observations and practical tips on healing Sarth3d in part 2 in the near future. Meanwhile – is there anything I’ve missed for Onyxia – any warnings about the dangers of dragon slaying? Or have you often committed one of these mistakes and just can’t help it? Are there any tips you can give to other healers in danger of frying out there? Any thoughts on how critical group make-up is in this situation?

Raider Nostalgia: Patch 3.2.2

Raider Nostalgia: Patch 3.2.2

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As most of you have heard today patch 3.2.2 is going live. With it marks the triumphant return of the Brood Mother and her many whelps. So what’s in store for us?

The Brood Mother Returns
After years of lurking in her lair battling the many brave adventurers who travelled from afar to challenge her, Onyxia returns stronger than before to commemorate World of Warcraft’s five-year anniversary.

  • Onyxia has been scaled to offer new challenges to level 80 players and is now available in 10- and 25-player modes.
  • Adjusted for modern raiding, but with the fundamental experience of fighting the Brood Mother still in effect, including the horrors of her Deep Breaths!
  • Onyxia will now drop level 80 item versions of some classic loot items from the level 60 encounter.
  • Brood of Onyxia, a very rare 310%-speed mount modeled after Onyxia herself will be available for the luckiest of challengers

This has gotten me very excited. For many of us, Ony was our first real raid experience. I know it was for me. I had done some molten core, but my first real raid with my guild (same one I’m still with today) was Onyxia. Of course my first ony raid tale is a little bit different then most. I happened to have participated in this raid from a bar. My then girlfriend worked at a bar that happened to have really good wireless Internet. I hoped on my laptop while waiting for her to get out of work and wound up getting invited to an Ony raid. We killed the Brood Mother, I got a shiny new helm and I did this while having a frosty cold pint. When we heard that they were updating her for the anniversary at Blizzcon, I definitely joined in screaming at the top of my lungs in excitement. Along with this announcement also came the news that in Cataclysm Rangnaros, Nefarian and a few others will be back again! This announcement even got me to dust off my hunter and level her to 80.  This type of boss is something that many of us remember fondly and I think it was a good call on their part to update her to level 80 and bring us back some favorite loot updated for level 80 as well.

Let’s not forget this is a patch though, so some things are changing for classes and abilities. Healers this patch are largely untouched. Shamans however get a nerf of sorts, not as bad as it could be but bad enough.

Shaman

Cleansing Totem: No longer purges instantly when dropped

Like I said could be much worse, this change will require Shaman to change tactics slightly. On fights like the Faction Champions in ToC, dropping a cleansing totem was a great way to get 5 people cleaned from poisons and diseases very quickly. Now we have to use this totem more proactively rather then reactively as once you drop it you have a good 3 seconds to wait before it starts doing it’s thing. Complete Patch notes can be seen HERE

More Patch Notes

Dungeons & Raids

  • Shadowfang Keep
    • Wailing Guardsman: Screams of the Past will no longer have multiple applications on a target. Recast time has been increased.
  • Ulduar
    • Increased the cooldown on Immortal Guardians’ Drain Life ability in the Yogg-Saron encounter.

Achievements

  • The Achievement “Iron, Dwarf Medium Rare (25 player)” now requires 25 kills, down from 50.
  • The Frostwolf Howler and Stormpike Battle Charger Achievements will now be awarded when a player learns the respective mount spells.

Professions

  • The blacksmiths of Orgrimmar grew tired of running to the rear of the city to craft items and have installed a new anvil & forge at the General Store in the Valley of Strength.
  • Engineering
    • The Mind Amplification Dish no longer changes the appearance of your helmet.
  • Inscription
    • Added a recipe for Runescroll of Fortitude. This item grants a stamina buff equal to the highest rank of Power Word: Fortitude (untalented) to all players in the raid. The effect of this runescroll is exclusive with other stamina scrolls and Power Word: Fortitude.
  • Leatherworking
    • Added a recipe for Drums of Forgotten Kings. These drums increase all stats by 8% for all players in a raid. The effect of these drums is exclusive with Blessing of Kings.
    • Added a recipe for Drums of the Wild. These drums grant a buff equal to the highest rank of Mark of the Wild (untalented) to all players in a raid. The effect of these drums is exclusive with Mark of the Wild.

Items

  • The Black Heart: This item’s animation has been changed and no longer resembles Hand of Protection.
  • Death Knight Tier-9 Tanking 4-Piece Set Bonus: Now decreases the cooldown on Vampiric Blood, Unbreakable Armor, and Bone Shield by 10 seconds instead of 20.
  • Druid Tier-8 Healer 4-Piece Set Bonus: The amount of healing this set bonus grants on the initial cast of Rejuvenation has been reduced by 50%. In addition, this set bonus no longer has strange interactions with Harold’s Rejuvenating Broach.
  • Glyphs
    • Glyph of Bone Shield: This glyph now grants 1 additional charge instead of 2.
    • Glyph of Flame Shock: Redesigned. This glyph now makes Flame Shock periodic damage able to be critical strikes.
    • Glyph of Mind Flay: This glyph no longer reduces the magnitude of the movement reduction on the Mind Flay victim.
    • Glyph of Scourge Strike: Redesigned. This glyph now causes Scourge Strike to extend the duration of Frost Fever and Blood Plague by 3 seconds each time Scourge Strike is used on a target, up to a maximum of 9 seconds.
    • Glyph of Typhoon: This glyph now increases the range on Typhoon by 10 yards in addition to its current effects.
    • Glyph of Unbreakable Armor: Now increases the armor gained from Unbreakable Armor by 20%.
    • Glyph of Vampiric Blood: The glyph now increases the duration of Vampiric Blood by 5 seconds instead of 10.
  • Libram of Obstruction: The buff to block value from this relic is now exclusive with the buff to block value from Libram of the Sacred Shield; it is impossible to have both buffs at once.
  • Libram of the Sacred Shield: The block value buff from this relic has been increased to match its item level.
  • Relics: All buffs provided by relics (idols, librams, totems and sigils) now share an exclusive category such that gaining a buff from one of these items will remove all other buffs gained from items in this category.
  • Totem of Quaking Earth: Attack power value increased to 400.

User Interface

  • Battleground Queuing
    • Players may now only queue for no more than two Battlegrounds at a time.
    • The dialog box for entering a Battleground match has been changed to reflect the following options: “Enter Battle,” “Leave Queue,” and “Minimize.”
    • The time a player has to enter a battle when selected has been reduced to 40 seconds when not already in a Battleground and 20 seconds when in a Battleground.
    • Players already in a Battleground can now choose “Enter Battle” for a new Battleground under any circumstance (i.e. while dead, in combat, falling, etc.).
    • A new Battleground will not launch until the maximum number of players on each side are in the queue (i.e. 40 players per side for Alterac Valley).
  • The size of the Focus Frame can now be adjusted via the Interface Options menu.
  • Mail System Auto-Complete Feature
    • The inline auto-complete feature for the mail system has been added back into the game. The mail system will now have both the pre- and post-3.2.0 auto-complete features available.
    • Added a label to notify players that the Tab key will allow players to navigate through the character names listed via the auto-complete feature.
  • For additional notes on Lua and XML changes please visit the UI & Macros forum.

Bug Fixes

  • Death Knight
    • Rune of Razorice: The frost vulnerability granted by this enchantment will now increase the damage done by Frost Fever as intended.
  • Druid
    • Balance of Power: Misleading tooltip reworded. The tooltip previously reported an incorrect value for the increased chance to hit with spells. The actual benefit of the talent is unchanged.
  • Hunter
    • Master’s Call: This ability now correctly removes the snaring component of Infected Wounds, Frostfire Bolt, and Slow.
    • Trap Mastery’s (Survival) tooltip now states the correct amount of snakes summoned.
  • Mage
    • Arcane Missiles: Ranks 12 and 13 will now properly cause players to enter combat.
  • Paladin
    • Hand of Freedom: This ability now correctly removes the snaring component of Infected Wounds and Frostfire Bolt.
  • Priest
    • Divine Aegis: Ranks 1 and 2 will now work with Holy Nova.
    • Glyph of Power Word: Shield now correctly uses the Priest’s spell critical chance instead of the target’s.
  • Rogue
    • Vanish: This ability now correctly removes the snaring component of Frostfire Bolt.
    • Honor Among Thieves: This talent will now work properly again if two rogues with different ranks of the talent are in the same party.
  • Shaman
    • Grounding Totem will now properly protect against the Death Grip spell.
    • Lava Burst can no longer deal critical damage to targets who are immune to critical strikes (due to, e.g. Roar of Sacrifice, Blessed Resilience).
    • Lightning Shield: This spell will no longer set off some trinkets when it is cast.
    • Stoneclaw Totem’s pulses will no longer break stealth on nearby hostile units.
    • Thunderstorm and Shamanistic Rage can no longer be used while Frozen, Cycloned, Sapped, or Incapacitated.
  • Warlock
    • Demonic Circle: This ability now correctly removes the snaring component of Frostfire Bolt.
    • Fel Armor: This spell was unable to set off trinkets and other effects. That has been corrected.
    • When using Shadowbolt or Incinerate while having Backlash and Backdraft active, only Backlash will now be properly consumed.
  • Coliseum Trinkets: Some spells that should have triggered these trinkets will now trigger them (such as Holy Nova and Fel Armor).
  • Death Knight Tier-9 DPS 4-Piece Set Bonus: Now grants the correct chance for disease damage ticks to be critical strikes.
  • Hunter Tier-9 2-Piece Set Bonus: Critical damage from Serpent Sting will now work properly with the Mortal Shots and Expose Weakness talents.
  • Lightweave Embroidery: This tailoring item enhancement will no longer trigger from the periodic healing granted by the warlock spell Fel Armor.
  • Mote of Flame: Corrected a typo in the tooltip.
  • Paladin Tier-9 DPS 2-Piece Set Bonus: Now grants the correct chance for Righteous Vengeance ticks to be critical strikes.
  • Shard of Flame: Corrected a typo in the tooltip.
  • Val’anyr, Hammer of The Ancient Kings: Healing from Prayer of Mending now triggers the shield from this item. In addition, a bug was corrected which would cause the shield points to be overwritten rather than stack up as intended.

So, how do you feel about the patch? Excited or angry that it seems like it came too soon? Does it make you think back on your time in early raiding? What was your first raid? Any other bosses you want to see ramped up to 80?

Until next time, Happy Healing!

Sig

Image from pewpewlazers.wordpress.com

BREAKING: Onyxia Missing from Stormwind

BREAKING: Onyxia Missing from Stormwind

We interrupt this ongoing SYTYCB series to report that Onyxia is no longer in the Stormwind capital city.

As you can tell by the images below, the throne room, currently the seat of power for Stormwind’s Royal Elite, has been upgraded.

Lady Katrana Prestor is no longer present. It is believed the ASS (Alliance Secret Services) are out in pursuit of this criminal. She has been executed before many times in the past and had her head hung on one of the overhead beams leading into Stormwind providing its citizens with increased strength and firepower.

Her snarky attitude and pompousness will no longer torment players. Instead, she has been replaced by an Argent official known simply as “Argent Healer”. One could only assume that she is there to look after Highlord Bolvar as his arm is currently entrenched into the side of the Stormwind throne.

The question remains. Where in the world is Katrana Prestor? If you have any tips on where she might be found, you’re encouraged to alert the authorities by leaving comments on this here blog post.

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