Healing Ulduar: Kologarn

Healing Ulduar: Kologarn

kologarn

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

Kologarn is the sentinel that stands in the way between your raid group and the rest of Ulduear. He is a challenging boss guilds that are new to raiding. Like Deconstructor, victory lies in the ultimate ability of individual players.

Abilities

Eyebeams: Two ways to handle this. Run out the door or run circles on the right side of the platform. More on this later.

Stone grip: He’s going to pluck three players in to the palm of his hand and attempt to squeeze them to death until they get broken out. The only way to break players out is by DPSing the arm. Once it takes 380000 damage, the players are released.

Execution

DPS priority is going to approach the boss in this order: Right arm, Elementals, torso. When any arm is destroyed, the torso loses the same amount of health.

It’s best to call out right arm health at 5% intervals starting from 20 so your tanks know when to switch. After the right arm falls, elementals will spawn.

Two tanks are needed to hold Kologarn’s attention. He’s got a Gluth-like debuff that requires two tanks to taunt off each other. Otherwise, the debuff becomes flat out unbearable.

kolo-beams

Dodging eye beams

When you get focused by twin green beams, you have around 2 seconds to start hustling before you get rocked. There’s two ways to handle avoiding them:

Out the door

Make a beeline for the door and down the stairs. The upside is that it presents minimal risk to the players in your raid group. The down side is if the player is too slow, they might die due to line of sight issues. As healers, we don’t have to worry about this.

Laps on the right side

Have beam focused players run circles along the right side of the room. The pros and cons are the exact inverse of the bailing-out-the-door method. Focused players are well within range of healers. But poor kiting can lead to multiple casualties.

Whatever solution you choose, drill it in the heads of the rest of the raid to immediately get out of the green. The beams are extremely hard to miss. Keep your head up.

The Elemental Tank

It’s happened before. I’ve seen the off tank gain aggo of all ads and get focused by beams at the exact same time. As a tank, he’ll live for a few extra seconds but not anymore after that. Use whatever saves you can on him to help lessen the blow. Pain Suppression, Guardian Spirit and Blessing of Sacrifice work admirably.

Healing strategy

Around 6-7 healers is a good number to start with. Expect an enormous amount of raid damage being doled out. His left arm sweeps the entire raid for around 15000+. Pick two of your strongest tank healers and assign them to the main tank (this will vary as they’re taunting off each other). Be sure to have Kologarn’s target up so you can see which tank he’s presently on.

If you have access to two Resto Shamans, they can anchor the Stone Grips quite easily.

Healer items

Ironmender – OH (Priests, Druids)

Gloves of the Pythonic Guardian – Gloves (Paladin)

Robes of the Umbral Brute – Chest (Priests)

Unfaltering Armguards – Wrists (Paladin)

Restoration Shaman – Ulduar 10 Gear

Restoration Shaman – Ulduar 10 Gear

It was requested that I do a post highlighting the gear for the 10 man raiders, so here it is!

It’s often easily looked over when your focus is on 25 man raiding, but 10 mans are there and are a wonderful thing. They allow smaller guilds to still be able to see endgame content and to be honest some of the best loot comes from 10 man raids. Lets take a look at the toys a shaman has available to him running around in 10 man Ulduar!

Head - Couple good pieces for your head come from 10 man Uld First up is [Helm of Veiled Energies] (XT-002) Haste, Crit and good spellpower, can’t really go wrong there. Second choice is your tier piece [Valorous Worldbreaker Headpiece] (Mimron). Your tier pieces are always a good pick up

Neck[Pendant of Endless Despair] (General Vezax) is a good pickup Crit and MP5 will help keep those mana stores filled and it has decent spell power to boot. Another choice is [Pendant of the Shallow Grave] (Thorim) Haste, Crit and Spellpower as well as a yellow socket. Not bad at all.

Shoulders - Not much for us unless you have some odd obsession with spirit (let’s hope you don’t) so I would say just snag your [Valorous Worldbreaker Spaulders] (Thorim) and say thank you =D

Back -  Here we have three choices, two of which are zone wide drops from trash. First up is [Cloak of the Dormant Blaze] crit and MP5 make this an attractive pickup if you’re lucky enough to see it drop. [Drape of the Spellweaver] this one has Haste and Crit. It’s a bit more of a dps cloak but it’s still good for us. If you don’t want to wait for trash to drop it, you can take a gander at [Shawl of the Caretaker] (Ignis). Good stats, if you see it drop I suggest trying to snag it.

Chest – Obvious choice would be the tier 8 chest piece [Valorous Worldbreaker Tunic] (Yogg). If you’re find yourself with time before you get to yogg you can always opt for [Firestrider Chestguard] (Flame Leviathan). Haste and Crit, its a good pickup.

Waist - [Belt of the Iron Servant] (Iron Council) is a great belt from the 10 man. Great smattering of stats, good regen. Well worth the pickup. Another option if you have the cash to burn, you can pick up [Blue Belt of Chaos]. Crit and MP5 as well as two sockets make for a good belt. Toss a belt buckle on there and it’s even better.

Wrist[Armbraces of the Vibrant Flame] (Ignis) are BoE so you can probably snag them on the AH if you don’t see them drop. Another option is after you snag 60 Emblems of Valor to pick up [Pigmented Clan Bindings], they should last you a long while.

Legs[Ironscale Leggins] (Razorscale) has good MP5, a nice smattering of haste and some good spell power. Worth the pickup while you wait for [Valorous Worldbreaker Kilt] (Hodir)

Feet - [Greaves of the Earthbinder] (Thorim) are a good pickup. Crit and MP5 as well as a blue socket make these very nice.

Main Hand – First up is [Pulse Baton] (Mimron) A solid main hand weapon and well worth picking up. Less conventional options are [Stormtip] (IC) and [Plasma Foil] (XT-002) they pack good spell power with either Haste or Crit respectively. The only problem with them is that they pack spirit, which is wasted on a shaman. If these are going to be sharded or offer a significant boost in spell power and either crit or haste they are worth grabbing as a transition piece. But its something I would avoid if possible.

Offhand[Ice Layered Barrier] (Hodir hardmode) is a best in slot item for even heroic level. It’s a rock solid shield with great stats. If you can get this get it! Another very solid option is [Pulsing Spellshield] (XT-002) Crit and Haste help it be a very nice shaman shield.

Rings -  [Fire Orchid Signet] (Freya) is a great pick up. The ring has all the right stats and a socket to boot. Another good option is to get [Renewal of Life] (25 Emblem of Valor) with your badges. It’s a solid ring and will last you a while.

Trinkets – There are three trinkets from 10 man ulduar that are worth looking at. [Energy Siphon] (FL) has great MP5 and the on use effect is nothing to scoff at.  [Eye of the Broodmother] (Razor) 87 crit (almost 2%) combined with essentially a 125 sp boost makes this an amazing trinket to grab if you can. Last up is [Sif’s Rememberance] (Thorim) Good spell power and it gives you a chance to proc more MP5. If it drops there is no good reason not to take it.

Well thats it for today. Those are the items you can look forward to from Ulduar 10. They are really nice, and in serveral cases comparable to gear from Heroic Ulduar.

Until next time, Happy Healing.

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Hybrid it up on General Vezax

Hybrid it up on General Vezax

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This is a guest post by Paladin blogger Honorshammer of Honor’s Code.

General Vezax is the the last boss you must down before you cross swords with Yogg-Saron himself.

The General is one of most challenging fights in all of Ulduar due to his Aura of Despair. What is it that this lovely gift from the Developers does?

From WoWWiki (http://www.wowwiki.com/General_Vezax) we find:

Aura of Despair – Prevents mana regeneration throughout the fight by all means, except for Judgments of the Wise, Spiritual Attunement, Aspect of the Viper, Thrill of the Hunt, and Shamanistic Rage. Note that unlike the Play Test Realm version of this encounter Mana Potions and active abilities such as Evocation and Life Tap will not function.

My guild recently downed General Vezax. I was Retribution for the fight, but when one of our healers went down; I jumped in and started throwing some heals on the tank. That’s when I discovered the power of Judgments of the Wise for this fight. By Judging and stopcasting I was able to take over the 3rd healer role and concentrate on helping to keep our Main Tank alive, and do it on a Ret Paladin’s mana pool.

What exactly does Judgement of the Wise do?

Judgements of the Wise Rank 3 – Your Judgement spells have a 100% chance to grant the Replenishment effect to up to 10 party or raid members mana regeneration equal to 0.25% of their maximum mana per second for 15 sec, and to immediately grant you 25% of your base mana. (Source)

The replenishment aspect is useless. After reviewing the WoW Web Stats, I can see that I never gained Replenishment. However I did gain over 100,000 mana from Judgments of the wise! Because it works off base mana, it would restore the same amount regardless of the current mana pool of the Paladin.

We know that for a Level 80 Paladin, Holy Light cost 1,274 mana. So with a little napkin math, we can conclude that I regenerated enough mana from Judgments of the Wise to cast over 70 Holy Lights. That’s without the use of any Saronite Vapors at all.

How practical would it be it for a Holy Paladin to get Judgement of the Wise? Let’s look at a talents build that allows a Holy Paladin to get Judgement of the Wise, and the tradeoffs it makes to get there.

The most popular Holy Paladin build according to TalentChic is 51/5/15. Let’s look at what is needed to turn that into our hybrid build.

First off, the 5 points in Divinity have to go. Divinity is a really strong Tier 1 talent, but we simply won’t have room for it in our build. It doesn’t matter how hard the heal hits if you don’t have the mana to cast it.

Those 5 points move into Sanctity of Battle and Pursuit of Justice. Sanctity gives you even more crit for your Holy spells which should offset some of the loss of Divinity. There is a ton of movement on General Vezax so Pursuit of Justice is really nice as you move away from a Shadow Crash or into a Saronite Vapor.

Then we take the points out of Beacon of Light. This is one tank fight. Let the other healers handle the Raid; you can stay on the Tank so Beacon is a minor loss. You are going to lose the Haste from Judgments of the Pure and Infusion of Light. You will also have to heal from melee range because you won’t have the range increase from Enlightened Judgments. We had our Resto Druid healing from near melee range, so we could just have just as easily had a Holy Paladin there.

You won’t have the mana reduction from Divine Illumination. Based on General Vexax’s enrage timer, you would only be able to fire Divine Illumination more than 3 times during the fight. Are those 45 seconds of reduced cost worth the mana you can get back from Judgments of the Wise?

Assuming a little haste from gear, we’ll call Holy Light a 2 second cast. In those 45 seconds, we can get off 22.5 Holy Lights. To give every advantage to Divine Illumination, we’ll call it 23.

Holy Light costs 1271 so half it’s cost is 635. So we’ve saved 635 mana times 23 casts or about 15,000 mana. It’s about 10% of what Judgments of the Wise gives you. So Divine Illumination is gone as well. Bu-bye!

Our final move is to take 2 points out of Holy Guildance which will result in about a 4% loss of spell power from Intellect. The rest of the Holy Paladin build is pretty much intact.

With these points freed up, we continue to ascend the Ret Tree. The next point taken in Ret is Sanctified Retribution. This will increase all damage done by everyone near us, even if we are running Concentration Aura.

We want to pick up Improved Judgments so we can judge as often as possible, and trigger Judgments of the Wise as often as possible. Now we need two ‘filler’ points to move into the next Tier. There aren’t any great places to put them. I chose to put them in Crusade to increase the damage of Judgment by 3%. This build relies on judging often, so you might as well have them hit a little harder.

On the next tier, we grab Divine Purpose. The 4% spell miss will act as increased resistance to Shadow Crash and Searing Flames should one get through your interrupters.

Here again we find ourselves two points short of the next tier and not really any good place to spend them. I opted for Vengeance. Maybe you could get a stack going and hit those Judgments a little harder. It’s a filler choice so anywhere you want to throw two points will probably work.

Finally, we open Judgments of the Wise.

Here’s the final 38/0/33 build in the WoWhead tool.

General Vezax is a challenging fight. Specing for a specific fight is something that used to be fairly common in late Tier 6 and Sunwell. We didn’t need it for Tier 7 raids, but as we near the end of Tier 8, it may be something to consider again.

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Healing Ulduar: Hodir

Healing Ulduar: Hodir

creature_hodir

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

Hodir is a fight that requires a lot of movement. This boss is a big cuddly snowman who likes to spread the love, and the iceblocks. This fight will keep you on your toes. 

Notes about the fight:

  • Lots of movement
  • Raid wide damage

Abilities

Biting Cold – This is an aura like affect that pulses through the entire raid. This is much like the ability from Keristrasza in the nexus, you need to keep moving to keep it from stacking up on you. Each stack increases the periodic damage it deals. 

Freeze – This deals about 5k frost damage to all players within 10 yards of the target, it also roots the targets in place.

Flash Freeze – This encases the entire raid in blocks of ice. This is prevented by standing on snowdrifts. 

Icicle – Occasionally giant blocks of ice will fall from the ceiling. These deal 12,000 damage to anyone hit and have a knock back component. You can see which areas will be hit by a small circular glyph on the ground. If you are having trouble seeing the glyphs, go into your video settings and turn on Projected Textures. Before a flash freeze, a larger glyph will show on the ground before the ice falls and will leave behind Snowdrifts which must be used to avoid flash freeze. 

Frozen Blows – Reduces Hodir’s physical damage but adds a frost damage component to his attacks. This also has a raid wide frost damage effect. 

Enrage – Hodir has a 9 minute Enrage Timer 

Ability Examples:

ice      

 Icicle

 snowdrift

 Snowdrift

 freeze

 Freeze

NPCs

Hodir also comes with a selections of NPC’s that must be broken out of their icy prisons. There will be four on normal and 8 on heroic. The npc’s consists of the following. 

2x Druids: The druids are hard to miss, they’re in boomkin form. When you break them out they DPS Hodir but also cast Starlight which increases the attack speed of anyone standing in it by 100%

2x Shaman: The shamans DPS Hodir elemental style and will occasionally cast Storm Cloud on a raid member. This ability lets you buff several raid members with Storm Power which increases their critical strike damage by 135%

2x Mages: The mages will help try to break fellow NPCs out of ice blocks and will cast a Toasty Fire. The fire is literally a camp fire on the ground, but it fights off the effects of biting cold. Falling ice and Flash Freeze will wipe out the fire. 

2x Priests: The priests will smite and occasionally throw out a heal, but most importantly they will cast Dispel Magic to free players from the effects of Freeze

Execution

Your raid will head in following the Main Tank. The tank will take Hodir back towards the rear of the room. DPS will begin by breaking out the NPCs. After all the NPCs have been broken out, DPS can start in on Hodir. When DPS first engages Hodir it is a good time to blow Heroism / Bloodlust. Healers should move into position to be near the Main Tank while everyone else needs to move into position around the raid. DPS continues on Hodir until he is about to cast Flash Freeze. Everyone needs to move to the Snowdrifts to avoid being frozen. After the Flash Freeze any raiders who were frozen should be broken free ASAP. DPS will then begin on the NPCs again until all are free, and then will resume DPS on Hodir. Rinse and repeat until the big guy is done. 

Healing Hodir

Healing Hodir has two major components, 

Main Tank – Three healers should be assigned to the main tank. They should be in close proximity at all times and moving with the tank as needed. Grace from a Disc Priest helps even out the damage from Hodir. 

Raid – The rest of the healers should be spread out along the outside of the raid to cover as many raiders as possible. 

All healers will be moving quite a bit during this fight, dodging falling ice and shaking off the effect of bitting cold until the NPC’s are broken loose. Shamans will be using a lot of Riptide and Lesser Healing Wave, Druids will be right at home rolling HoTs, Paladins will be using quick Flash Heals, as well as priests utilizing renews and quick heals. It is possible to toss out a longer cast heal such as Greater Heal or Chain Heal and move before biting cold stacks, as long as you can find yourself a rhythm for move and cast. Your main goal as healers should be to find a Toasty Fire close enough to the raid to sit on. If you have the Toasty Fire buff, you can spam heals without worry of stacking Biting Cold. Since the rest of the raid will be moving around though, be prepared to move to keep people in range. Once you learn to balance the movement and the heals the fight is pretty straight forward.

Until next time, Happy Healing. 

Healing Ulduar: Freya

Healing Ulduar: Freya

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

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

The Pull

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

Phase 1:The Trash Roulette

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phase 2: Goddess on the Move

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

Healing Assignments

Much of the healing in this boss encounter is reactive, and it can either feel like catch-as-catch can chaos or like a perfectly orchestrated minuet. It all depends on the skill of your individual raid members at their jobs. A knowledge of movement and the basic raid mechanics like target-switching on demand will lead to a win. Everything might be messy, but it’s not difficult. Healing assignments can be fairly loose here, but we assign one specific healer to the main tank and one to each of two offtanks. Beyond that, healers work their magic on the move and cover players in their area. I’d say this is one of the least demanding fights healing-wise in Ulduar. Even though the adds phase can be hectic, it’s nothing like Thorim’s arena. I’d also say this boss is slightly more difficult on 10-man because there’s less redundancy in raid roles. In 25-man, you can still eke out a kill if, say, your players execute the different movements with something less than precision.
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Revisiting Shaman Tier 8 Gear

Revisiting Shaman Tier 8 Gear

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I took a look at the bonuses for Restoration Shaman’s tier 8 sets in this post HERE before the patch. Now that Ulduar is out and we’ve begun trudging through, we are beginning to see these items drop and get ready for use. To recap here are the set bonuses

Personally I like the 4 piece bonus but with the addition of the Riptide Glyph I’m very meh about the 2 piece. The 4 piece bonus is equatable to the 4 piece bonus of the Tier 7.5 set. Lets take a look at the set bonuses for 7.5

As far as those are concerned I still think that 7.5 got the better allotment for set bonuses, at the very least on the 2 piece. The 4 piece bonus comparison boils down to either a 5% boost in your healing, or what essentially  turns out to be 8% haste. Seems pretty even to me. Now that you know the set bonuses, lets take a look at the stats on the gear.

Stats Valorous Earth Shatter Regalia Conqueror’s Worldbreaker Regalia
iLevel 213 226
Required Level 80 80
Intellect 338 386
Stamina 369 381
Mana Regeneration 93 79
Armor 5224 5337
Critical Strike Rating 95 228
Haste Rating 176 173
Spell power 449 525
Sockets 1Meta 5red 1yellow 1blue 1Meta 2red 2yellow 3blue

This is assuming you’re using all 5 pieces for each which isn’t always the case but will be good for highlighting the differences between the sets. Lets look at what you gain moving from 7.5 up to 8.5

  • Int: +48
  • Stam: +12
  • MP5:  -14
  • Crit: +133 (~4%)
  • Haste: -3
  • Spell Power: +76

I am confused a bit at the lack of regeneration, I mean we actually lose 14MP5. While that might not seem like a lot, it’s a good chunk. I imagine that the idea is to use Improved Water Shield more often to compensate. My guess at this is based on the large amount of crit the set gains. It just seems odd after bringing MP5 amounts down in patch 3.1. All the other stat gains seem normal enough, a slight loss in haste (3 rating really is a drop in the bucket) and it does have a healthy increase in spell power. The choice in colors for the sockets also seems odd to me. Moving away from 5 red slots and spreading the love. Perhaps to make room for +in/+crit gems ? Haven’t quite figured that out yet, but that’s my best guess.

When Should You Switch to Tier 8?

To be honest, I think you should continue to use your Tier 7 until you have a 4 piece bonus from the Tier 8. The Tier 7 bonus being a straight +5% more healing on CH and HW is just plain good until you can don a 4 piece Tier 8. It should be noted that on a pure Heal Per Second value, Tier 8.5 pulls ahead. It does however consume a lot of mana. Even if you switch to 8.5 it might be worth keeping your 7 and 7.5 around for longevity fights. As I gather more numbers I’ll be able to provide a move definitive answer as to when one set is better then another.

The good news is not much has changed. Aside from a slight increase in our crit raiting, and the removal of a little MP5 (still scratching my head at that one) the rest of the set seems on par for upgrading. It feels very much like the increase from Tier 4 to Tier 5 back in Burning Crusade.

On a final but purely aesthetic note, I do love the way the new set looks. =D

Next post we’ll take a look at what I think our current best in slot gear is now that Ulduar is up and active.

What do you think about the Tier 8 set?

Until next time, happy healing,

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Paladin Healing in 10 man Ulduar

This is a guest post by Adgamorix, who’s launched his own blog: Divine Plea.

So last week I wrote a post talking about Paladin healing in Heroic Ulduar, and voicing my opinion that I thought Paladin healing was spot on. I was open about my lack of 10 man Ulduar experience, and was told to come back when I’d experienced that pain – with the expectation that my opinion would change.

Taking that to heart, the next day I rounded up nine of my fellow guild mates and began my assault. This week has been an absolute blood-bath of raiding, seeing me log six days of straight raiding (no less than three hours a day) when I normally log two or three. Why did I throw my schedule to the side and perform this atrocious attack on my sanity you ask? Simple. I thought maybe I was missing something.

So 9 hours of 10 man raiding later and we’re staring at General Vezax and laughing at how the trash was essentially mini-bosses. We’re now one boss away from Yarg himself, and of course a whole slew of bosses on hard mode to go. I believe that I’ve tasted the cool-aid, and I have a response for those who still say Paladin healing is broken.

What’s the fuss?

Yeah, it’s not a real adult reaction, but it fits in my opinion. Our raid makeup was fairly balanced, with a Resto shaman, and the Holy/Disc priest from my 25 man group. We used a Druid/DK tanking combo, two rogues (our hunter is suffering from severe wife agro), ret paladin, a shadow priest, and a balance druid. Yes, we could have had a better raid makeup for buff purposes, but this group is a solid core of players and we did our 10 man Naxx together.

We had our share of wipes and pain (Mimiron alone took 2 or 3 hours), but the overall experience was enjoyable. We learned new bosses, we got to hear the “I thought the button started the encounter!” cry from a curious rogue, and we learned some things to help with our 25 man raid. I learned that more than ever, I have to trust my fellow healers, and trust my raid mates to know when to use cool-downs and consumables. I felt the agony of no mana return with Illumination on Vezax, and I may have actually shed a tear the first time I tried casting a Holy Light while under the effects of Thorim’s Defaning Thunder (75% increased cast time). Overall though I felt like the raid was tuned beautifully, and it was a lot of fun actually being challenged.

So what’s different between me and those that think we’re broken?

I will concede that our group is the x factor in this equation. Are the healing problems coming from Paladins in unbalanced groups? Are they trying to two heal, or heal content beyond their gear/experience level? Maybe it’s the synergy between the healers, in that we know the role we play, and can accurately predict the actions of our fellow healers. For example, I know that on Mimiron while I’m healing the MT through the Plasma Blast, if someone gets Napalm Shelled I can toss them a quick Holy Shock to absorb the base damage while the tree HoTs them up and the Disc priest keeps the MT alive. We don’t have to talk about it, it just happens. Would it be awesome if I could still throw a Sacred Shield on them to help with the damage absorption? Of course it would, but we seem to be making it through ok as it is.

Canceling out the X factor

So after healing a lot of 10 man (and more 25 man), I decided to take the x factor out of the equation. I couldn’t down rank my gear (short of taking a piece off) to simulate healing in blues , but I could put myself in the LFG channel and heal any PUG that came along. I tossed aside any gear/instance standards I had, and went willy-nilly into the groups. After getting through Gun’Drak, VH, UK, and UP – I decided Paladin healing still isn’t broken. Yes it’s slightly tougher, the lack of multiple SS and Glyph crits huts some, but it’s still doable (and fun).

I’m going to stick by original statement that Holy Paladins are in great shape right now, and while we could use another tool in our kit, or maybe some kind of decent raid heal, we’re still really strong.

Two Ways to Approach Ulduar’s Hard Modes

Two Ways to Approach Ulduar’s Hard Modes

While patrolling the Plus Heal forums earlier, I ran into this thread. In it, the original poster laments the reduced healer requirement in order to achieve Ulduar’s hard modes. And why not? Let’s take a quick look at some of Ulduar’s heroic hard modes.

  • Hodir – 32.5 million health, 2 minutes. 270834 DPS required
  • Thorim – Running the gauntlet in 3 minutes after the snake and the ads are eliminated
  • Deconstructor – Bringing the heart from full health to zero in 20 seconds

The DPS requirements for the average raid is simply inconceivable. Honestly, there’s just no way to whip out DPS of that magnitude. The only way to even come close to doing that is to sit healers and tanks and go with the bare bones minimum.

Now let’s stop and think about this for a second. Take a deep breath. More importantly, let’s take a step back.

Hard mode is hard

When Ulduar came out, Blizzard released it with the intention of offering multiple variations of different encounters. The strategy here is to cater towards as many players as possible. The more dedicated raiders could feel good about themselves going after hard modes and earning the higher level of loot. Players that wanted to take it a little easier could take on the bosses in their base form.

Everyone wins.

Hard mode is designed to separate guilds and spread them even further in what I like to call the progression gap. The higher you are on the curve, the better stuff you get and you can scale your guild’s difficulty accordingly. Not every guild is capable of doing hard mode for whatever reason. It’s not meant to be easy. It’s not meant for every guild.

When making the decision to jump to hard mode, there are two possible methods to go at it.

Method 1: High octane DPS right now

seinfeldCurrent DPS output for everyone has a limit: Your guild’s gear. In order to increase DPS, you either switch out tanks or healers and replace them with DPS. Every player added is another 4000-7000 DPS depending on the class.

You saw Hodir’s requirements above.

A little over 270000 DPS.

Obviously the risk here is that you lose raid stability. As in, the lower the amount of healers the higher the risk of not being able to stabilize and recover.

The tradeoff is that you have a chance at accomplishing hard mode right now.

Method 2: High octane DPS later

You continue to work on Ulduar and upgrade your raid’s gear as much as possible.

Even on the test realms when Hard Modes were enabled, Ursula McWeaksauce had to dispense the Shirt of Uber. It’s an increase in the overall raid’s stats by 8% and ratings by 130 assuming we’re decked in full Naxx gear.

For example, the raid DPS output of 4 healers, 20 DPS, and 1 tank right now could be the same as 6 healers, 18 DPS, and 1 tank 8 weeks later.

You don’t have to stack raids with with DPS unless you fully intend to do hard modes right now. You can farm easy mode Ulduar for a few weeks and gear out the players accordingly to raise the overall gear contribution gradually from your players.

To finalize

Jerry Seinfeld ran into a similar problem. In his words:

I was in the drug store the other day trying to get a cold medication…

Not easy. There’s an entire wall of products you need. You stand there going, Well, this one is quick acting but this is long lasting… Which is more important, the present or the future?

How fitting.

In order to meet the requirements for hard mode, you can either raise the quantity of DPS or raise the quality of DPS. Either way, your raid group will reach that minimal floor that hard mode demands. All this does now is determine when your guild can do hard modes.

Do it now with a stacked configuration.

Do it later with the same configuration.

The choice is yours.

Val’anyr’s Vilification?

Val’anyr’s Vilification?

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As I’m sure you’ve seen yesterday, MMO-Champion put up the stats for Val’anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings. As of the time of this writing the link is gone. Here’s the link go ahead and click it.

Val’anyr Armory

Poof! Searching for the item on armory as well has yielded no results. This comes at a time where every healer has been foaming at the mouth for stats and a chance to claim the legendary mace that had been promised to us. I’m certain when people saw that the stats were released, like me, their hearts beat a little faster with anticipation and hope.

Here’s a link over to MMO-Champion’s Val’anyr photo but I’ll go ahead and post the stats here for you guys to take a look at.

+52 Stamina

+54 Intellect

Equip: Improves critical strike rating by 47

Eguip: Improves haste rating by 46

Equip: Improves spell power by 587

Equip: Your healing spells have a chance to cause Blessing of Ancient Kings for 15 seconds allowing your heals to shield the target absorbing damage equal to 15% of the amount healed

To be honest when I saw that slathering of stats my heart sank a little bit. I was expecting something with a bit more oomf. It’s an item level 239 which is a step up from items like Guiding Star who clocks in at an item level of 232. The stat increase is about 6-8 points higher (average) then iLevel 232 gear, spell power is a bit higher, by 30 to 40 points, and the item budget seems in line for the haste and crit as well. It follows the same jump from say Torch of Holy Fire (iLevel 226) to Guiding Star.

Don’t get me wrong the shield proc alone makes this thing worth it’s weight in gold, but I was expecting something a little more awe inspiring. Something that said “yes that is an amazing weapon and worth every second of the time I put into assembling it!” Lets take a look at the games past legendary weapons.

Vanilla WoW Legendaries

Back in the days when Molten Core was endgame, two legendary items were introduced. Sulfuras, Hand of Ragnaros and Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker. These items were are amazing. Hand of Ragnaros on an enhancement shaman was the most fearsome thing in a battle ground, if he hit you, you were going to die. Thunderfury on a tank was like a cozy fire on a snowy night, you knew you were safe and warm no matter what happened. They were awe inspiring, you knew those who had it knew what they were doing, went to great lengths to get them and they stacked up heads and shoulders above the other items in the game at the time. To be honest well into burning crusade Thunderfurry was still being used as a premier tanking weapon, it was just that good.

Later on in vanilla WoW, Naxxramas came to town. It brought with it two more legendary items to the game.The Corrupted Ashbringer / Ashbringer and Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian. I include the Corrupted Ashbringer and The Ashbringer because it was amazingly well done, and little things like walking into Scarlet Monestary and having all the NPC’s bow down to you was truly epic. The corrupted Ashbringer also talked to you in whispers(click HERE to listen on youtube). The item alone spawned so much speculation it became a legend in it’s own right. People guessing when they would allow the quest to cleanse it or if they would bother at all. The item has fan sites !

Atiesh  had four different flavors for healers and casters here they are for you to look over. Atiesh 1 , Atiesh 2 , Atiesh 3 , Atiesh 4 .  It’s stats were amazing in any iteration and the time to build it as well as the lore behind it was truly powerful and awe inspiring. Compared to other staves at the time like Spire of Twilight from old Naxxramas, Thadius. It also felt truly epic if you walked around with one of those.

Burning Crusade Legendaries

Burning crusade continued our story into outlands and eventually brought with it two legendary items. The Twin Blades of Azzinoth and Thori’dal the Stars’ Fury. The twin blades have been iconic since we were first introduced to illidan back in warcraft. They had a great set of stats, and the set bonus for them were really good. Star’s fury from Kil’jaden is a jaw dropping item. It may not have a ton of quest or lore behind it, but it’s rarity and the unique ability of the bow to not have to use arrows is amazing. It is still the best bow in the game,  and hunters still crave it. Most servers you will still find groups trying to go do sunwell and among those groups you’ll likely see many hunters chomping at the bit to get in for a chance at the bow.

Compare those legendary items to Val’anyr. Each of the legendary items prior to the mace has been leaps and bounds ahead of the weapons of its time in the sun. Each item truly felt epic and getting one was something to be proud of, perhaps even an apex for that particular content. With the leaked stats on Val’anyr it seems more meh. It’s proc is very very nice and depending on if it has a cool down on the proc or any other restrictions will determine whether it’s good, or really epic good.

I asked for reactions from my friends on Twitter . I asked if they thought it felt like a legendary item. general consensus was “IT NEEDS MORE SHINY!” to quote one of my Moo Cow Healy friends Kiki. It’s good, but it seems like it would be more on par with its item level and as a result could potentially be replaced when Ice Crown drops as a raid.

I think they took the link down on purpose, perhaps to tweak things before people start getting enough shards to build it.

What are your thoughts on Val’anyr? Do you feel it is legendary quality?

Till next time

lodsig11

Feel free to follow me on Twitter

Image of Mjolnir courtesy of www.Marvel.com

Healing Ulduar: Ignis the Furnace Master

Healing Ulduar: Ignis the Furnace Master

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For other bosses in Ulduar, check the Ulduar Healing strategy page.

Here’s a rather unconventional approach to killing Ignis which utilizes the side of the instance. Using this method does appear to be rather cheesy, but it takes a lot of pressure off many players. Credit this to Kimbo for figuring this out. Ignis is one of the early optional bosses you’ll encounter first in Ulduar. I recommend working on Razorscale first before doubling back to the Furnace Master.

Quick notes

  • Standard tank and spank
  • Periodic Constructs will activate

Abilities

Scorch – All enemies in front of Ignis will take quick dot damage for 3 seconds (ticks every half-a-second). Constructs within the area will start to heat up and become Molten.

Flame Jets – Geysers of flame shoot up from the ground and throw raid members up into the air. If the Flame Jets connect while a player is casting, they’ll be interrupted for 8 seconds. Targets take fire damage over 8 seconds.

Slag Pot – Ignis will charge a player and grab them tossing them into his Slag Pot (the pot hanging around his waist).

Activate Construct – Activates a Construct with 3.8 million health.

Strength of the Creator – When a Construct is active, damage done by Ignis is increased by 15%. It’s a stacking buff. When a Construct is taken out, the stack is removed.

Ability examples

ignis-flame-patch

Scorch on the ground

ignis-constructs

Construct

flame-jet 

Here’s a shot of some of the melee players in the air after a Flame Jet.

Setup

Here’s our non-conventional setup. If you look to your left and right, you’ll see two pools of water that are surrounded by a ledge. Start heading for the one on the left (facing Ignis) that’s nearest the entrance ramp. All ranged DPS and healers should stand on the ledge.

The reason you want to set up in this position is to think back to the days of Starcraft where players set up choke points for enemies to go through. Constructs that spawn, if their aggro is gained by a ranged player, will have to run all the way into the pool and then up the ramp in order to take out a player (green path). The extra distance the Construct has to run should be more than enough time for your off tank to attract the Construct’s attention.

healer-pos-choke

Main tank

ignis-kite-path

Your tank’s going to be running laps along the red path. The ranged group should not be affected by Scorches. Your healers are going to have to strafe along the blue arrow to maintain range with the tank. The upper line is a little under 40 yards.

Execution

Once Ignis is engaged, your main tank will pick him up and start keeping him moving in a roundabout fashion pictured above. After a period of time has passed, Ignis will begin to activate Constructs. Off tanks need to snatch them up and bring them into Scorched areas and hold them in there until they turn Molten. When it hits 20 stacks, it becomes Brittle.

What do you get when you combine something incredibly hot with something incredibly cold? The object becomes extremely brittle. Same thing applies here. The chance to crit the Construct increases. Damage done over 5000 will effectively kill it. Be sure to target Brittle’d Constructs with your ranged players as they explode dealing damage to players in close proximity.

Have players keep an eye on Flame Jets. If spellcasters are caught casting when Flame Jet connects, they’re locked out of casting for 8 seconds. Not good if you’re a healer.

Healing

There are four healing areas to cover in this fight:

Main tank – One healer should be enough but other healers will need to keep HoTs as active as possible especially with numerous Constructs.

Off tank – If there are Constructs up, your off tank is going to need heals as well.

Slag Pot – Ignis is going to charge and pick up a player and toss them into his sack. While in his sack, they will take 5000 damage every second for 10 seconds. Keep a dedicated raid healer on Slag Pot duty. If there’s no one in there, that healer then returns back to healing the raid.

Healers won’t be able to cast too many spells in there. But healers with instant spells should be able to cast them as much as they can. Priests, for example, can Holy Nova while inside the pot.

Raid – Flame Jet and Scorched melee players are going to involve the bulk of the healing here. Chain Healing Shamans will be at their finest especially since ranged players will be strafing along the ledge. After getting hit by a Flame Jet, I will personally light up a few Holy Novas while I’m in the air.

Healing loot

Flamewrought Cinch – Leather

Lifeforge Breastplate – Plate

Pyrelight Circle – Ring

Scepter of Creation – Wand