[WoD] Talent Choices for Mythic Tectus and Mythic Butcher

I’ve spent more time this raid tier testing out fights in different talent combinations than I think I ever have in the seven years I’ve been raiding World of Warcraft as a Restoration Druid.  Mythic Tectus and Mythic Butcher in particular have required me to choose talents from the level 90 tier that I have basically ignored and have made me re-think the value of Tree of Life.

For reference, this is my typical spec: Displacer Beast, Ysera’s Gift, Typhoon, Soul of the Forest, Mighty Bash or Ursol’s Vortex, Nature’s Vigil, and Germination.

Mythic Tectus

The first problem I had with this fight was the Earthen Pillars.  The spike out of the ground shortly after the tan swirl appears, so you have to move fast…very fast…to avoid being hit.  I probably could have done well enough without it, but I decided to spec into Feline Swiftness, giving me an extra 15% boost to my movement speed.  I still had to react quickly, but I felt as though I had much fewer close calls.  Additionally, our Mages and Moonkin discovered that using Blink/Displacer Beast to kite the Crystalline Barrage away also caused it to travel over the tanks.  They were quickly banned from using it, so I certainly felt no need to keep the talent.

The positioning for our raid team during this encounter felt a bit precarious to me, with the tanks often dancing in and out of healing range, especially during the very beginning when we were standing as far away as possible.  I could occasionally reach one of the melee with Wild Growth that would splash onto the out of range players, but it just wasn’t enough.  So I decided to try Dream of Cenarius, a talent which I have ignored since it was introduced.  Surprisingly, I found it to be very effective!  When the ranged group moved backwards, and I could no longer reach the tanks, I swapped my target to Tectus and started spamming Wrath.  I could see DoC healing the melee and, more importantly, the tanks, even though they were out of range of my normal healing spells.   There wasn’t much opportunity for me to use DoC during the rest of the encounter, but just being able to contribute to tank and melee healing when they were out of range was very helpful for my peace of mind.

I also swapped back and forth between Tree of Life and Soul of the Forest a few times.  At first, it seemed like Tree of Life was useful during the first Upheaval.  However, as our raid learned the encounter, the DPS during the first phase grew stronger and the duration of the first Upheaval became much shorter.  So I specced back into my old favorite, Soul of the Forest.  As we got better at the early parts of the encounter, we started working on the final phase, when we had eight Motes of Tectus up at once.  They would cast Crystalline Barrage all at once, forcing the entire ranged group to run along the wall of mountains to the other side of the room.  Healing at this point was definitely stressful for the raid, even with our Hunters chaining Aspect of the Fox.  Luckily, Druids excel at healing on the run, especially when using Tree of Life!  Once I swapped back into this talent, the damage during the last phase smoothed out as I could now spam Regrowth and keep the raid afloat until the other two healers had a moment to stand still.

Final Talent Choices: Feline Swiftness, Ysera’s Gift, Typhoon (not used during encounter), Tree of Life, Ursol’s Vortex (not used), Dream of Cenarius, and Germination.

Mythic Butcher

With strict DPS timers, it was immediately obvious that I would need to use Heart of the Wild, a talent which (despite having named this blog for) I almost never choose.  Heart of the Wild is a really strong DPS talent for Resto Druids, especially for Butcher.  The raid and tank damage during the first part of the encounter is relatively light, so the other three healers on my team were able to handle it without issue.  I just dropped Wild Mushroom on the ground, and spammed Wrath for the first 45 seconds.  With Heroism, I was typically able to burst around 26-28k DPS for the first 45 seconds of the encounter, doing over 1.5% of the total damage dealt to Butcher.  This may not seem like a lot, but when you finish an encounter seconds after the enrage timer, any scrap of damage can make or break your raid’s success.

After a few attempts,  the healer team could clearly see that we needed some sort of additional healer cooldowns around the 4th Bounding Cleave, so I swapped out Soul of the Forest and picked up Tree of Life.  This time, it was the cheaper Rejuvenations that were most valuable, since mana was tight for all four of the healers and damage continued to be spread through the two groups in melee as Butcher cleaved.

Final Talent Choices: Displacer Beast (not used), Ysera’s Gift, Typhoon (not used), Tree of Life, Ursol’s Vortex (not used), Heart of the Wild,  and Germination.

[4.2] Firelands 10s – Resto Druid Tips for Heroic Beth’tilac

My guild took out Heroic Beth’tilac on Tuesday night!  Certainly an exciting moment, especially since it was only our second night on the boss and we had assumed we would still be wiping on her well into Thursday.  I had the privilege of playing a special role for the boss fight; the Broodling soaker (which was a ton of fun!!).

A couple of months ago I wrote a start guide/summary for normal mode Beth’tilac, which you can find here.  For the most part the Heroic version of the encounter is very similar (damage dealt and health pools are bumped up as would be expected) but there are two main encounter changes.

  1. The Drones will Fixate on a raid member.  That raid member essentially “tanks” the Drone, although it will do 75% less damage than normal so it hits like a wet noodle.
  2. Four Broodlings spawn with each wave of Spiderlings.  Upon contact with a raid member, the Broodling will explode and leave behind a pool of orange goo which will both do damage over time and slow anyone standing in them. A “soaker” must get to them before they get to the raid to keep the goo explosions away from the group as much as possible.

For the most part these two changes are independent of each other, but if your Broodling soaker is also fixated by a Drone, they must move away to avoid letting the Drones eat Spiderlings.  During this time, someone else needs to temporarily take over Broodling soaking.

There are plenty of general guides and strats for this encounter, but what I really wanted to touch on are some Resto Druid Tips & Tricks for taking on the “soaker” role that I discovered while learning this encounter.

Why Choose a Resto Druid as the Broodling Soaker?

I believe some groups opt to put a strong AoE DPSer in charge of the Broodling, but we found that our DPSer had trouble focusing on both their AoE damage rotation and making certain they were positioned properly to intercept the Broodling.  Additionally, healing on this DPSer was fairly intense because of the Volatile Bursts and general damage from the encounter.

Instead, we decided to switch things around, and have a healer act as the soaker, since they could just heal themselves up.  It was a risk to try, but it paid off for my group.  We found that Resto Druids are a great choice for the Broodling Soaker because of our mobility.  We can shift into Travel Form for a quick run across the room to the next Spiderling/Broodling spawn point (and don’t forget about Dash if you are desperate!), and our instant-cast HoT heals are fantastic for healing on the move.

Get your PvP-like Spec on!

After a couple of shots at being the soaker in my normal PvE spec, I decided to go with this specialized talent spec set up in order to pick up some extra survivability:

I’m sure once we have Beth’tilac on farm, I’ll be fine preforming as the Broodling Soaker in my normal healing spec, but the specific tweaking I did for my Heroic Beth’tilac spec seemed to help me out a lot.  The only thing I would change for next time is taking the point out of Nature’s Cure (no magic debuffs in the encounter) and putting it into Genesis for stronger HoTs and Swiftmends.

I choose talents that would reduce damage taken and increase my overall survivability.  Here are some of the highlights regarding my choices.

Perseverance
This was a fairly obvious choice as the Broodling Volatile Bursts and the orange goo they leave behind both cause magical damage.  Anything I could do to reduce the damage I took was really important when deciding on my new spec for this encounter.

Nature’s Ward
Since a single Broodling explosion had the potential to take me down to under 50% health (explosion coupled with being accidentally stuck in the goo), having a free Rejuvenation for the HoT and to use as Swiftmend fodder was incredibly valuable.

Empowered Touch
This is a somewhat controversial choice for me, but I believe the right one.  After a couple of attempts with Empowered Touch still in my spec, I found that I was somewhat limited in my ability to heal myself with direct heals.  I was often stuck needing around two direct casts to prop myself up enough for the next Spiderling attack, but time enough to only cast one spell.  Whenever I cast a quick Nourish or Regrowth on myself, it would delay Lifebloom’s bloom when in reality I would have benefited more from a bloom as soon as possible.  So, I removed this talent from my spec in order to force my Lifeblooms into blooming.  Allowing Lifebloom to bloom helped give me the extra burst healing I needed to stay topped off, and I never had to worry about delaying a large self cast in order to get the bloom.   The only downside is that I had to recast or refresh the three-stack on myself fairly often, but this was quite manageable during all of the running around.

Moonglow & Genesis
In order to pick up all those survivability and self-healing talents, I had to sacrifice points elsewhere so Moonglow and Genesis ended up on the chopping block.  On the upside, mana regeneration was not an issue for me at all throughout the entirety of phase one.  I started the second phase hovering around 90% mana with a still unused Innervate.  The extra healing from Genesis, while nice, didn’t seem that critical.  However, as already mentioned, I plan to move one point into that talent in subsequent attempts.

Graphic Settings

My group assigned a Hunter to kill the Spiderlings, and in order to kill them fast enough he had to put Frost Traps in their path to slow them down.  Unfortunately, despite high graphics settings, the Frost Traps would sometimes hide the locations of the orange puddles.  When I’m trying to skirt the goo as much as possible to keep the puddles placed closely together, this was a huge problem.

Through some trial and error we discovered that, in fact, my graphics were tuned too high, and that I needed to turn Projected Textures off in order to see the orange goo puddles properly while Frost Traps were in effect.  In fact, once I disabled Projected Textures, I couldn’t see the locations of the Frost Traps at all.  This also has the side effect of turned off the pretty green runic design of Efflorescence, so it took me a few seconds to get used to seeing my healing circle as just a circle of flowers.  I don’t think I could have successfully handled the Broodlings while Frost Traps were visible on the ground and covering the orange goo puddles.

How to Soak the Volatile Bursts

Four Broodlings will spawn, one at a time, from the same location as the Spiderlings.  Having never really paid attention to the Spiderling spawns before as a healer, I asked our Raid Lead to put up markers near the spawn locations so I knew where to look (later on, we also found these helpful for calling out where to run to next).  As it turns out, a small dust cloud forms where the Spiderlings are about to spawn as a warning.

The Broodlings are the bright orange colored spiders, pretty easy to pick out once you know what to look for (the regular Spiderlings are red colored).   They appear one at time, choose raid member to fixate on, and run straight for their target.  Your job as a soaker is to run through the Broodling and cause it to explore before it gets to its target (and the raid).

Generally, I started as close to the spawn location as I could, hitting the first one and strafing out of the orange goo.  Then I would move before that patch and get ready to intercept the next one.  If the raid is doing their job of staying fairly grouped up in the center, the Broodlings should all follow about the same path. The Broodlings move pretty fast… but you can keep up with them and even over take them a little by shifting into Travel Form –that is assuming you didn’t accidentally get too close to an orange puddle.

The key to exploding the Broodlings as safely as possible to be running -through- the spiders when you explode them.  Position yourself and strafe through them as they come by, then keep moving to avoid the puddles.  If you do it right, you wont be slowed by the goo at all.  Even if your a little slow, being already on the move will help prevent you from taking more than one or two ticks.  Of course, it takes some practice to get this right.  Sometimes I ended up strafing right in front of, or behind, the Broodling, missing the explosion completely (and typically wiping the raid…oops!).

As soon as the fourth Broodling explodes I started turning my camera around to scan the next two locations, and panning back to the near spawn point as well.  Sometimes we would have up to four waves of Broodlings spawn from the same location.  Generally, the first puddle of goo would dissipate just before the first Broodling appeared, allowing me to use essentially the same explosion locations.

If the next Broodling spawn point was at the far opposite location, I used Travel Form to get there as quickly as possible, usually getting the first Broodling more towards the center of the room, and then moving up to get the second Broodling as close to the spawn point as I could. Lastly, if the Broodling fixated on me, I usually tried to kite it away to the side a bit, rather than lining it up with the rest, just to get a bit more breathing space.

Essentially, I had to be on my toes for each wave of Broodlings, casting Regrowth or Nourish on myself if I got into intercept position early enough and keeping Lifebloom and Rejuvenation on me when I was on the move, especially when I was running between spawn locations.

The DPS assigned to kill the Spiderlings will also need a bit of healer attention, as he was often running out of the range of the healer in the center.  I found that a Rejuvenation, Wild Growth, and occasional direct cast was usually enough to help him stay alive, and I’m certain the ground level healer was also tossing him heals whenever we ran through the center between Spiderling spawns.

The last, and most important, point I want to make is regarding the Drones.  As mentioned briefly above, the Drones can and probably will Fixate on you at some point in the encounter.  As the soaker your job is to be near the Spiderlings…which is exactly where you don’t want the Drone to go.  As soon as I noticed that I was Fixated, I called out for back up soaking and ran away, towards the center of the room. The back up would declare his or her intention to move in, and start catching Broodlings as best as possible.  Once the Drone died or picked another target, I went back to the soaking job, making sure to heal up whomever had taken the hit in my place.

And…I think that’s about it!  Thanks for reading my ramble on Heroic Beth’tilac, and if your working as a Broodling soaker for your group, I hope these tips have been helpful!

[Cataclysm] Battle Rezzes and You: What Every Druid, Warlock, Death Knight, and RAIDER Should Know — Part 2

Every raider should know the slight differences between the three types of Battle Rez spells and understand how they impact the decision to resurrect a player during combat.

Warlock Soulstone

Warlocks have the unique ability to choose someone ahead of time for their Soulstone spell. Before an encounter begins, they can create a Soulstone and place it on another player. That player will receive the Soulstone buff for 15 minutes. If the receiving player dies while this buff is active they will have the choice to resurrect upon death. The main benefit to this is that as long as the Warlock has a Soulstone active on another player, the Warlock herself does not still have to be alive to bring that player back to life. There aren’t many situations in current content where this is useful, but I am reminded of the Assembly of Iron encounter in Ulduar. The tank with Overwhelming Power was going to die without question, using a Soulstone on them ahead of time would ensure they would be able to come back and finish the fight even if the Warlock ended up dead from other encounter mechanics.

Alternatively, the Warlock can use their Soulstone similarly to a Battle Rez, waiting until a character has died before using their Soulstone on them. The Warlock should ensure they have a Soulstone ready to go in their bags at the start of an encounter to eliminate cast times.

The spell Create Soulstone takes 3 seconds to cast, has no cooldown, and creates a conjured Soulstone. Soulstones are “unique,” meaning a Warlock can only carry one at a time. Using the conjured item is an instant action, but doing so will initiate a 15 minute cooldown on the Warlock preventing the use of a second Soulstone.

A Soulstone will resurrect a player with 30% health and 30% mana. This can be modified with the Major Glyph of Soulstone, which increases the amount health restored by 40%. In other words players brought back to life with a glyphed Soulstone return with total of 70% health and 30% mana.

Death Knight Raise Ally

The Death Knight battle resurrection is an instant cast spell. The downside to Raise Ally is that it costs 50 Runic Power, which often requires several long seconds of power ramp up time where the Death Knight must be very careful about avoiding abilities that require Runic Power. Using Raise Ally triggers a 10 minute cooldown on the ability. Death Knights are the only tank class that can cast a Battle Rez spell without needing to wait for taunt; using Raise Ally will not expose them to higher incoming damage as Rebirth would for a Feral Bear tank.

Raise Ally brings players back to life with 30% health, 30% mana, and a cosmetic 10 minute debuff called Void-Touched which gives the player a ghostly appearance. There are no glyphs that modify a Death Knight’s Battle Rez spell to grant its recipients more health or mana.

Druid Rebirth

This is the original battle resurrection spell. Unlike the other two types of Battle Rezzes, the unmodified spell requires the druid to carry a Maple Seed reagent which is consumed upon spell cast. Using the Minor Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth will remove the reagent requirement. Rebirth has a 2 second cast time and triggers a 10 minute cooldown on the ability.

Standard Rebirth will bring a player back to life with 20% health and 20% mana (10% less than either Soulstone or Raise Ally). However, the Major Glyph of Rebirth makes the Druid Battle Rez truly shine in all situations. Using Rebirth while modified by that glyph will cause the Battle Rez spell to bring a player back to life with 100% health and 20% mana. Yup, full health. Though a Battle Rez recipient should always be watching timers to make certain a big AoE damaging spells isn’t about to go off (see part 1!), coming back to life at 100% health certainly helps out in uncertain situations.

Though all Druids can use Rebirth, Druid tanks must be particularly careful about when they use their spell as it will force them out of Bear Form. In most circumstances, Bears should be the last ones called upon to use their battle resurrection. However, with common sense and consideration of encounter mechanics, a Bear can pull this off –just don’t expect an immediate Battle Rez.

Plan for the most effective use of each different battle resurrection spells. If a tank just died, a Druid with a glyphed Rebirth is likely the best choice to quickly get them back on their feet with enough health to immediately taunt the boss back. If the raid lost a healer and they need to be back in action immediately, a Warlock Soulstone might be the most appropriate spell as the recipient will return with more mana than if they were brought back by a Death Knight or Druid. Calling upon a Death Knight to use Raise Ally might be the best option when a DPS dies and the raid has a few moments to spare before they must be brought back. Admittedly, this sort of planning might make more sense in a 25s raid setting, but it is worth knowing what to expect from a Battle Rez in any situation.

As with most raiding strategies, communication is key. The caster should announce when they are using their Battle Rez spell, who they are casting it on, and if it has suddenly become unsafe to accept the resurrection. If you are the usual Battle Rezzer for your raid and someone dies while you are still on cooldown, make sure you communicate this to your group so that alternatives can be quickly put into action.

A Battle Rez cannot always save the day… but having a plan and understanding the spells can increase the chance that it will!

[Cataclysm] Battle Rezzes and You: What Every Druid, Warlock, Death Knight, and RAIDER Should Know — Part 1

This is the first of two slightly out of date posts that have been sitting in my draft folder for about a month or so.  They were intended to be helpful posts and may still be useful so I’ve decided to finish them up and post them.   It was getting a little long though, so now it’s split into two posts! Hopefully someone out there with questions about then whens, whys, and hows of Battle Resurrection spells will come across these posts. =D

With 4.1 came a big change: Warlocks and Death Knights now have the ability to resurrect fellow raiders during a battle.  This change follows closely along the heals of other changes Blizzard has recently implemented to the game; making certain that all critical raid buffs are spread out among at least three unique classes.  For another example you can look at Heroism/Bloodlust, which is now provided by Shamans, Mages, and (Beast Master) Hunters.

In addition to the recently added Battle Rezzes, Cataclysm changed how raid leaders and raiders should fundamentally approach the spell by enforcing a hard per encounter limit; three Battle Rezzes in 25s, one in 10s.

Historically, some guilds allowed resurrection to be used whenever the Druid thought it was appropriate, and some guilds restricted the spell, requiring the raid leader to call out for someone’s resurrection.   From my experience, many guilds and raid leads allowed for an amalgamation of the two methods.  Often times, the more Druids in your raid, the freer they were to use their Battle Rez at will.

However, in Cataclysm (even in a 25s setting) the increased number of people who can Battle Rez coupled with the decreased number of allowed Battle Rezzes and the method in which Battle Rezzes are counted forces us to be more careful about when we use the spell, on whom we cast it, and if we should accept a combat resurrection sent our way.

It’s that last bit I want to focus on:

Should you always accept a combat resurrection sent your way?

The short answer would be no.

A Battle Rez only counts against your encounter limit when it has been accepted by the recipient.  If someone sent a Battle Rez your way and you decline (or even if you simply sit on the “Accept or Decline” window), the combat resurrection does not count towards the encounter limit and another Battle Rez can still be cast.

This places an equal burned on the person accepting a Battle Rez as the person casting the Battle Rez.  The caster has triggered (and potentially wasted) their personal 10/15 minute cooldown, but the recipient has the final say on whether or not the resurrection counts against the encounter limit.

In this new world of limited Battle Rezzes, you should consider a quick checklist before accepting any combat resurrection sent your way:

  • Did someone more valuable die while the spell was being cast? (Be honest with yourself about what you can contribute to the raid)
  • If so, is there another Druid/DK/Warlock available to combat resurrect the other person? (Some addons, such as ORA3, will help track Battle Rez cooldowns)
  • Was the caster in a safe location when they cast the Battle Rez? (You’ll return to life at the exact location the caster was standing when they used their ability; listen/watch for communications from your rescuer, a good combat resurrecter will let you know if it is not safe to accept)

Ideally, you should be running through this list and paying attention to the locations of your potential rescuers from the moment you die until combat ends or you receive a Battle Rez.  The tides of battle can turn swiftly if you are able to act quick enough and get back into the fray with minimal downtime.

Part 2 of this post will cover the details of all three combat resurrection spells, including a discussion of their differences and suggestions on their best uses.

[4.2] Timed Zul’Aman, Cataclysm Edition

This is one of two slightly out of date posts that have been sitting in my draft folder for about a month or so.  They were intended to be helpful posts and may still be useful so I’ve decided to finish them up and post them.  Here is the first, and I’ll have the second ready to go before the holiday.  Perhaps this will find someone still striving for their ZA timed run bear mount. =D

Healing Tip 1: Use Mana Regen Abilities on Cooldown
This should go without saying.  No matter where I was in the dungeon, whether we were pulling trash or coming up on a boss if I saw Innervate available I used it.  I might say to check your mana levels, but I never found myself with full mana while Innervate was available.  Your tank should be pulling something constantly, and you should constantly be healing your tank and DPS at all times.

Healing Tip 2: Bring Lots of Mana Potions (and Water)
When my mana dipped to around 50% and Innervate was on cooldown, I hit a mana potion.  Even if you are just pulling trash, use those mana pots often and early.  In a timed run you will not have the luxury of starting any major encounter with a full mana bar so prop up your reserves as much as possible during the trash.  Likewise, drink mana regen water as often as you can without slowing the group, even if you can only get one or two ticks off.  It will help.  The free pineapple drinks dropped from Heroic Deadmines trash are great for this.

Healing Tip 3: Don’t Let Them DIAF
Zul’Aman has some nasty ground effects, especially those Earthquake abilities near the Dragonhawk boss.  While your tanks and DPS should move out of those effects, don’t be afraid to throw them a barrage of liberal heals to help them survive…and pop a mana potion right after so you are good to go for the next pull.  Dead DPS waste time being resurrected and increase the likelihood of a group wipe.

Strategy Tip 1: Order of Bosses
I would recommend going for the Eagle boss first, than across the room to Bear.  After him head over to Dragonhawk, and again across the room to Lynx.  In this order, the Eagle and Bear bosses will both increase your timers, but the Dragonhawk and Lynx bosses will not.  Akil’zon (Eagle) –> Nalorakk (Bear) –> Jan’alai (Dragonhawk) –> Halazzi (Lynx).

Strategy Tip 2: Ignore the Prisoners (and Skip the Loot)
This seems counter intuitive, but upon killing any of the bosses do not waste time freeing their prisoners!  They (and their special loot) will still be there at the end of the run, whether or not you manage to down all four bosses within the timer.  Skip all loot!  Trash and Boss alike.  Every second you waste clicking on a shiny mob is a second lost on the timer.   Boss loot will also be there for you to collect at the end of the run, trash loot will despawn but it’s a small price to pay for beating the timer.

Strategy Tip 3: Run Straight to the Eagle Boss Gauntlet
Once you’ve helped Vol’jin sound the gong, have your entire team mount up and start auto running into the door.  As soon as it opens, make a B-line to the gauntlet before Akil’zon (the Eagle Boss).  Drag all those mobs that jump you when the door opens with you to the gauntlet and pull that first pair.  Keep a sharp eye out as you run down the stairs however… pulling the two mobs that pat on accident will negate any time you may have saved by the headlong rush towards the gauntlet.  If you can, stay mounted and ignore the little mobs while waiting for the Troll patrol to move away. As soon as it is safe, rush the gauntlet. AoE the mobs, burn them down, as you kill one or both of the paired mobs, move up the ramp and pull the next set.

Strategy Tip 4: Skip the Trash
This one speaks for itself; whenever possible avoid mobs.  As mentioned above, the pair that pats by the stairs in the beginning are a good set to avoid constantly.  Likewise the pair that pat between the Dragonhawk and Lynx boss is a good one to skip.  If you have a Death Knight, Priest, or Shaman in your group you can Path of Frost, Levitate, or Waterwalk your way over the lake and past the pair of crocodiles that pat along the bank. On the way to Nalorakk (the Bear boss) a Rogue can sap the closest Bear as the group moves around the corner, avoid that pack.  Stun the Bear Riders around 50-45% health and you can probably avoid having them split into two mobs.  At the first set of stairs up to the Dragonhawk boss, make sure you stay to the left (and pull up onto the left side of the platform) to avoid accidentally aggoring the group waiting on the wings to the right of the stairs.

Strategy Tip 5: Pull as Much Trash as (Safety) Possible
Only pull necessary trash, but when you do, pull as much as you can to get through the dungeon quickly.  This mostly relates to two specific sections of Zul’Aman: the Eagle gauntlet and the stealthed Lynx packs.  You want to keep moving up the Eagle gauntlet as you kill off mobs, the trash spawns behind you will not stop until you pull the guy at the top of the stairs.  As for the stealthed Lynx packs, if your DPS can hold back enough not to pull aggro, your tank should be able to pull two groups right away and then the third once some are dead.

Strategy Tip 6: Handle the Scouts Carefully
Assign someone to be specifically in charge of watching for and CCing the Scouts on the way to Jan’alai (Dragonhawk), and a high burst DPSer to taking them out quickly.  If a Scout reaches a war drum they will sound an alarm, spawning a couple of very tough mobs.  At best you will have simply wasted some time, at worst these unexpected mobs can wipe your group.  Keep a sharp out for the Scouts!  Some will be stationary and some will walk around.  Occasionally, one will appear behind you; if you aren’t always on alert for that one it can easily ruin your timed run.

Strategy Tip 7: Discuss Your Plan of Attack
Before you ring the gong and get going, have a quick discussion with your group.  Will you be trying for the timed run? What’s the order for Surge on Nalorakk? (Bear)  Which hatcher will you kill for Jan’alai (Dragonhawk)?  Ask your CC classes to take the lead on CCing mobs in big trash packs.  As the healer, tell the tank what mana threshold you are comfortable with (i.e. “If I have 40% or more mana, just keep pushing for the timers.”).  Make sure the tank knows that they can pull Halazzi (Lynx) as soon as his trash is dead, even if you have close to 0 mana; the Water Totems will quickly get you back to 100%.  Remind the DPS not to stand in the bad (but heal them if they do).

Your best bet is to get a consistent team together and practice, practice, practice!  After some attempts where you have a chance to get a feel for your mana usage, the incoming damage, and how to handle the trash packs, you should be able to pull this off.  Good luck!!!

[4.2] Resto Druid Tips for Ragnaros

We’ve been wiping on Ragnaros for a couple of weeks now.  Last week we decided to carry our lockout over and try for a kill on Tuesday.  Unfortunately, Ragnaros survived the evening but the time we spent on him was not in vain.  By the end of the night we were consistently getting into phase 3.  We saw one extremely painful 11% wipe (the boss is “dead” at 10%), and three or four more attempts under 15%.  Everyone was so pumped for a kill, but despite staying an hour over raid time, we just couldn’t take Ragnaros down.  Over the week since then, we’ve had some raid team set backs, including the loss of one of our main tanks.  Things are getting back on track though, and we’re still itching for a Ragnaros kill.

With all of our attempts on Ragnaros, I’ve learned a great deal about how to heal this fight, so I wanted to share some tips and tricks, specifically for Resto Druids.  This won’t be a detailed description of the encounter, just things I’ve found helpful to keep in mind for healing.

Hand of Ragnaros – This ability randomly knocks back anyone in “melee range” of Ragnaros.  Really, this seems to encompass the first 10 or so yards of the platform in front of Ragnaros.  More importantly, this ability will interrupt your spell casting and lock you out of that school for six seconds.  Obviously, this is intended to strongly discourage healers from standing in melee (where they are a bit safer from Sulfuras Smash).  Despite the changes in Cataclysm which have us focusing more on Regrowth and Nourish, and the even more recent change to our Mastery which requires a direct (often casted) heal every 10 seconds, Druid’s still have a slight advantage over other healers in having four instant cast heals.  If you find yourself needing to run into melee range for a few moments to avoid a trap or a lava wave, stick to those instant cast heals until you can retreat to ranged.

Bear Bash Stuns – During the Intermission phases, Bear Bashing a Son of Flame can mean the difference between making it to the next phase and an instant wipe.  Though your raid should be able to assign DPS to the Sons in a way that healers are not needed, I would recommend that you always keep eye out for Sons that are getting a little too close to the hammer.   Which leads directly into the next point…

Furor vs. Moonglow? – Although Jasyla proved that in terms of mana regeneration Moonglow provides “more of a benefit than Furor on any fight longer than 3 minutes,” Furor has a potential benefit for the Ragnaros fight; 10 instant rage.  Coincidentally, Bash costs exactly 10 rage.  Now, of course Bear’s have the Enrage ability, which also instantly generates enough rage for Bash, but it has a one minute cooldown.

Without Furor I found myself sometimes “stuck” as a Bear — I had used Enrage thinking I would need to stun a Son, but ended up not Bashing any target.  At this point I could either stay in Bear form until I stunned a Son or they were all dead, OR shift back into caster form to heal but forfeit any chance at Bashing another Son during that intermission.  Though healer stuns should not be a necessity…there were times when my Bash prevented a wipe and allowed us to get to the next phase.

By speccing into Furor I no longer felt “stuck” in Bear form; I could shift in to anticipate a stun, but if my stun wasn’t needed I was free to shift back out for quick heals.  I didn’t have to worry about not having enough rage to Bash a Son later on if it was needed, because if I went back into Bear form I would automatically have 10 rage again.

Innervates & Concentration Potion – This is a long encounter, and it can be difficult on your mana reserves.  Our good attempts were around 10 minutes long, which means you can get at least three Innervates in.  Use Innervate early and often!!

As for Concentration Potions, I found the best time to use one was during the second phase.   You start phase two spread out, then the seeds drop, and everyone groups up at the center.  After the adds are down, you spread back out.  A hammer with lava waves will drop shortly, and I used a Concentration Potion as soon as I knew I was safe from the lava wave.

Tranquility – The best time that I found for using Tranquility was when the raid grouped up for the second set of seeds.  This can be a difficult part of the fight as you may have to group up just behind the fire on the ground, and then once it dissipates, run immediately forward to be out of the way of the hammer.  With all of the movement, healing gets a little behind, but as soon as I was in position at the front of the room (safe from the hammer), I hit Tranquility to help bring the raid back up to full.

Tree of Life – If the first set of seeds looks a little dicey, I’ll hit it then, otherwise I save it for the third set.  I like to have Tree of Life available during the later part of the third phase as well.  Healing in the final phase is not very intensive, but just in case someone can’t move out of the fire fast enough or is hit by a lava wave while kiting, it’s good to have a emergency healing cooldown …or, in that last 1%, an emergency DPS cooldown. ^^*

[4.2] Firelands 10s – Beth’tilac

Like Shannox once we figured out the little details and worked out our communication, Beth’tilac was a straightforward kill.

Raid Group

  • 2 Tanks (Bear, Prot Paladin)
  • 3 Healers (Resto Shaman, Holy Paldain, Tree)
  • 3 Melee (Rogue, DK, Enhance Shaman)
  • 2 Ranged (Warlock, Shadow Priest)

For the first part of the fight the group is split unevenly into two teams; the Ground Team and the Web Team.

The Web Team consisted of a tank (Prot Paladin), a healer (Holy Paladin), and a melee dps (Enhance Shaman).  The Ground Team was everyone else.  We found it most helpful to have the strong single target healing Paladin with Beacon of Light up top, with the Shaman and myself (the Druid) on the ground.  At first we sent the Rogue up top, but later found that his slowing poison was very useful for the Ground Team.

Encounter Overview

The fight is split into two phases; the web/ground cycles and then the final phase.  The web/ground cycles will happen three times in a row and the remainder of the encounter is a DPS burn phase with a healer related “soft enrage.”  The goal in the web/ground cycle is to hurt Beth’tilac as much as possible, which will reduce the duration of the burn phase.  However, damage on Beth’tilac will be slow going during the web/ground cycles, and getting Beth’tilac only to about 70-75% before the final burn phase is fine.

In addition to Beth’tilac, there are three different types of spider adds that appear throughout the first phase of the encounter; Spinners, Drones, and Spiderlings.

Spinners hang from the ceiling and continually cast fireballs at random raid members.  While hanging they cannot be tanked, but they should be taunted.  Once taunted, they come down to the ground and then can be tanked.  More importantly, they leave a web pile on the ground that connects to the ceiling.  When you hover your mouse over the pile, you’ll see the green “mounting” arrow, and if you click on it, you’ll be pulled up onto the upper web.

The Drones must simply be tanked.  They always appear from the southwest corner of the room and should be tanked where they spawn.  These adds should be killed quickly because after they run out of energy, they will make their way to the upper web and join Beth’tilac.  We generally had our dps Death Knight focus on the Drone and the two ranged threw DoTs his way as they could.  If the Drone joins Beth’tilac, she will siphon power from any spiders on her web, healing herself.  Additionally, the Drone appears unexpectedly and has a good chance of killing your Web Team healer before the tank can get it under control (this happened to us whenever we couldn’t kill a Drone fast enough).

Finally, the Spiderlings.  These can be the trickiest adds to deal with.  They’ll spawn in a random corner (NE, SE, or NW) and scurry quickly towards the Drone.  If they reach the Drone, it will eat the Spiderlings, gain a buff and be healed, making it much more likely for the Drone to end up in the upper webbing and killing your Web Team.  DPS need to chase these Spiderlings down as quickly as possible.

Starting the Fight

To start off we all ran in as a group, staying together within Healing Rain & Efflorescence for mindless AoE heals.  The only mobs visible in this starting time are Spinners, which hang from the ceiling.  Tanks should taunt at least three of them down quickly and tank them, while DPS burn down the Spinners.  Occasionally, we had our dps DK taunt/Death Grip* a Spinner to pull them down for the Web Team.  The Web Team should take the web piles to the upper web, communicating in the following manner:

  • The Healer should wait by the first web pile and announce they are ready.
  • The Tank should move to the second web pile (which is hopefully near the first web pile).
  • After hearing that the Healer is ready, the Tank announces that they are going up and the Healer should follow immediately.
  •  The Web Team DPSer should take a third web pile shortly after the Healer and Tank have moved up.

We found this order of communication to be critical to successfully downing Beth’tilac.  Once all three members of the Web Team are up on the web, the three web/ground cycles start.

Web/Ground Cycles

During this phase, the Web Team is up on the web dealing with Beth’tilac.  The Tank should tank her, and the DPSer should focus on doing as much damage to her as possible.  The Healer needs to keep them both alive.  To complicate things for this team, Beth’tilac will call meteorites down on, burning holes through the web.  Raiders up top need to dodge these meteorites as best as possible while avoiding falling down through the holes they create.  After some time, Beth’tilac will cast an AoE called Devastation.  When this is about to happen, the Web Team need to jump down the center hole in the web and join the Ground Team.  It’s important to use the center hole since the webs here will break your fall.  If you jump through a meteorite hole you’ll take fall damage and likely die.

For the entire first phase of the fight, adds will spawn from different corners in the room that the Ground Team must deal with.  As mentioned above, the tank should grab the Drone and keep him in the southwest corner.  We had a dps DK stick with the Drone to burn him down.  The two ranged DPS split their time between the Spiderlings and the Spinners (which continue to appear from the ceiling).  While hanging, the Spinners throw fireballs at raid members, so they do have to be killed.  Our rogue stuck with the Spiderlings, using his slowing poisons to buy more time for DPS to burn them down.  A Hunter’s slowing trap or talented Moonkin mushrooms would likely work just as well, depending on your group composition.

One ground healer remained within healing range of the tank and DK, while the other ran after the DPS, chasing the Spiderlings.  Generally, the tank healer was also in range of the dps group and would help out there as needed.  As much as possible, the dps group tried to group up on the ground heals, though this was not always feasible since they had to focus on the Spiderlings.

Once the Web Team jumped back down to the Ground, the Devastation that Beth’tilac casts rains fire down on the raid, and we all grouped up as much as possible for AoE heals.  The tanks and DK taunted Spinners down from their webs, and once Devastation ended, the Web Team went back to the upper web in the same manner as before (tank and healer at the same time, dps following shortly after).

This cycle repeats itself, until the Web Team has gone up to the webbing for a third time.  After they return to the ground for a third time, the encounter enters phase two.  If there are any adds still living, they need to be killed asap.  Beth’tilac will come down from the upper web and siphon power from any remaining spiders to heal herself.

The Burn Phase

Beth’tilac needs to be tanked, it doesn’t really matter where, and then dps’d down as fast as possible.  She has a constant AoE damage pulse that gets stronger as time goes on.  Eventually, Beth’tilac will simply do more AoE damage then can be healed through and the raid will wipe. Coordinate and save your big AoE heal cooldowns (Tranquility, Divine Hymn, Power Word: Barrier, Rallying Cry, etc) for some point under the 30-40% mark to get yourself through the last portion of the fight.

All DPS should be grouped up behind her to make use of Healing Rain, Efflorescence, and Sanctuary effects.

The tanks will get a debuff called Widow’s Kiss that stacks itself up to 10 times before dissipating.  This debuff will damage anyone within 10 yards of the victim, so tanks should swap out and the affected tank should move a safe distance away.

Beth’tilac’s melee physical damage against the tank will also increase over time, but we found the raid damage from the AoE to be more problematic.

Final Thoughts

Other then the last half of the burn phase, healing this encounter was not too stressful.  You want to make sure you are watching your mana so that you can be liberal with it during the burn phase.  Also, there were sometimes an issue of healer aggro with the Spinners that we needed to watch out for.  The ground tank, or anyone with a taunt, should grab the Spinners away from the healers, and they can be tanked with the Drones if needed.  However, DPS should really be taking them out quickly enough that its not really an issue.

*Death Grip will not pull the Spinner off his line and towards the DK, but it will act as a taunt, bringing the Spinner to the ground and forcing him to drop the web pile.