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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!