[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This is one of two slightly out of date posts that have been sitting in my draft folder for about a month or so.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!!!

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[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.

[4.2] Firelands 10s – Shannox: Alternative Strategy

When we killed Shannox 10s once again this week, we were forced to used to a slightly different strategy.  Our heavy hitting Arcane Mage was unable to attend the raid, and though we tried our previous strategy a couple of times, we just couldn’t reliably break off Rageface’s Face Rage in time.

Our new strategy involved burning down Rageface as quickly as possible and simply healing the Shannox tank through the 30% buff.

Everything involving Riplimb and Shannox remained the same as I described before.  The tanks kept them a fair distance apart, we trapped Riplimb as often as possible, the raid took Shannox to about 40ish% before killing off Riplimb, then we burned Shannox down.

If you do not have a consistent heavy hitter, but have some strong healers, this might turn out to be a more viable strategy for your raid group.

For us, this turned out to be a much better than last week’s strategy.  We had one death to Rageface early on, but after that by having all DPS focus on the hound, we were almost guaranteed to break the rest of the Face Rages.  The additional 30% buff on Shannox was not too strenuous for the healers to deal with.  In fact, I even got myself killed on accident during a Spear Hurl and the remaining two healers were able to keep both tanks and the raid alive with only a little difficulty for the last half of the fight.

Considering how it simplified the entire encounter over all by removing Rageface as a threat, we’re probably going to be using this strategy for the rest of our time in Firelands.

[4.2] Firelands 10s – Shannox

Once we had the right start worked out Shannox was much easier to kill on Thursday than our attempts on Tuesday led us to believe.  The key to the entire encounter was keeping Shannox and Riplimb a good distance apart from each other.

Raid Group

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

Shannox & Riplimb

  • We had one tank on Shannox and one on Riplimb for the entire fight; they stood about 80 or so yards apart.
  • We had two healers on the Shannox tank with one of them helping on the melee, and one healer on the Riplimb tank & ranged.
  • Both Shannox and Riplimb apply a stacking DoT to their tanks called Jagged Tear.

To give some idea of the distance, I was healing the Riplimb tank and though I could move more towards the center and usually be in range of both tanks, that wasn’t always the case.

To make the encounter more complicated, if Shannox is taken too far away from either of his hounds, he gains a buff that increases the damage he does (I believe it was called “Separation Anxiety”).  If the Shannox tank notices this buff, he must move Shannox back in towards the group (closer to the hounds) and it will fall off again.

Shannox also throws two different types of traps at raid members.  They become armed 2 seconds after landing, and if you are still standing on it at that time, or walk over them later on, it will spring.

  • The Immolation Trap applies a fire DoT to its victim.
  • The Crystal Poison Trap will encase it’s victim in a block of crystal.
  • Both traps can affect the hounds!

Raid members should all do their very best to avoid both types of traps!  Those trapped in crystal can be DPS’d out, but the blocks have a decent amount of hit points, so it will take some time to free them.  Be sure to communicate if you are trapped, because DPS should not waste time accidentally freeing trapped hounds.  Hounds trapped in crystal will break themselves out after several seconds.

Note: Raiders trapped in crystal CAN take damage from Rageface, Hurl Spear AoE, Immolation Trap, etc, but they CANNOT be healed.  The crystal block also acts as a line of sight blocker.

Next, Shannox will occasionally use Hurl Spear to throw his spear in the direction of Riplimb.  When it strikes the ground, it deals a good amount of AoE damage, with those closer to the spear taking a larger hit.  Then, Riplimb will fetch the spear and run it back to his master.  This mechanic is the reason we had the tanks stay about 80 yards apart.

  • When Shannox does NOT have his spear (after he Hurls it at Riplimb), he does not apply Jagged Tear.
  • When Riplimb is FETCHING the spear, he does not apply Jagged Tear.

The Jagged Tear debuff should have enough time to fall off both tanks during the time that Riplimb is returning the spear to his master.  If the Shannox tank’s debuff doesn’t appear to be falling off in time, the Shannox tank can kite Shannox away, making it take longer for Riplimb to return the spear to him.  If the Shannox tank does this, they must then bring Shannox back, closer to the raid, as Riplimb runs to his tank, otherwise Shannox will be too far away from Riplimb, and  he will get the Separation debuff.

The Riplimb tank should try to kite Riplimb into nearby Crystal Poison Traps whenever possible.  This will freeze Riplimb in place and again give the tank some time to loose the Jagged Tear debuff.  Given the position of the raid, you can expect Riplimb to run into both kinds of traps on his own as he runs back and forth.

Finally,

  • If either of the hounds die, Shannox Frenzies and gains a 30% damage and attack speed buff.  When both dogs die, it increases to a 60% buff.
  • If Shannox gets to 30% health or lower, both hounds will gain 400% damage increase, 200% attack speed increase, and 100% movement speed increase.

Suffice it to say, you want to avoid pushing Shannox below 30% while the dogs are alive all costs.  Additionally, you want to hold off on killing the dogs until Shannox is fairly low to decrees the duration of his Frenzy.

Rageface

Between Spear Hurl’s I watched for ranged raid members getting Face Raged by Rageface [Really, Blizzard? These are the names you went with?], and generally spot healed as needed.  As mentioned already, the support tank healer also spot healed the melee with special attention on melee being Face Raged.

  • In 10s, Rageface will continue to Face Rage a target until he receives a single attack of at least 30,000 damage.
  •  At that point, he breaks off the Face Rage and looks for another target to attack normally.
  • After a bit, he’ll start to Face Rage at someone again, and must receive another 30,000 damage hit to be stopped.
  • Rageface cannot tanked, so just expect him to run around at everyone.

Healers should assist the target of Face Rage by sending them quick big, heals (Regrowth) until the hound has moved on.  You cannot heal someone through a Face Rage entirely, but you can buy your dpsers extra time to get a 30k hit on Rageface.

You cannot use most abilities (including heals and attacks) when you are being Face Raged, however:

  • Mages can Ice Block out of Face Rage.
  • Druids can use Barkskin during a Face Rage.
  • Paladins can bubble out of Face Rage.
  • Other similar abilities may be usable.

Overview

To start the encounter, our melee group focused their attacks on Shannox and our ranged focused on Rageface.  Shannox was brought down to about 40%, and then all melee dps switched over to Riplimb.  The ranged brought Rageface to about 30% and then also switched to Riplimb.

Ranged remained ready at all times to switch to Rage Face and quickly deal a 30k hit.  We left Rageface’s health at 30% before switching to allow enough wiggle room for these big hits without fear of killing him early.  Depending on your group, you may need to play with the optimal Rageface health (perhaps burn him down to 20% asap if you have to rely upon execution abilities, such as Hammer of Wrath, to make a 30k hit).

Once Riplimb was at around 20-15%, we had both hounds brought down evenly and then killed at about the same time.  All DPS then switched to Shannox for the “burn phase” and finished off the encounter.

Over all, raid damage (outside of the Face Rages) was pretty minimal.  I kept Wild Growth up on the ranged group, used Regrowth on the Face Rage target, and used Nourish to spot heal those being hit by Rageface’s normal attacks.

Despite Riplimb’s Jagged Tear ability, the damage on his tank was also generally minimal; a three stack of Lifebloom and some spot heals were all I needed to keep him stable.  The only exception to this would be when Shannox used his Hurl Spear ability, throwing the weapon towards Riplimb and causing a burst of AoE damage.  With the ranged positioned slightly nearer to Shannox, usually only the Riplimb tank and myself took much damage from Hurl Spear, and a couple of Nourishes was all it took to heal us back up.

The Shannox tank, on the other hand, took substantially more damage, requiring a full time healer and a support healer.

As we killed both hounds, I switched my lifebloom stack and healing focus to the Shannox tank, who was taking more damage because of Shannox’s Frenzy.

Mana Issues

During our first several attempts, I was sucking on fumes, but as we got used to the fight, solidified our strat, and figured out where healing was most needed, I found mana to be not as much of an issue.  The biggest contributor to this was, I’m sure, DPS learning how to move out of Immolation Traps.  However, I did make liberal use of Innervate and I popped a Concentration Potion between Hurl Spears at some point.

“…with the cataclysm raining down…”

I know World of Warcraft 4.0 launched seven months ago, but the Cataclysm just recently hit me and I’ve been going through a lot of recent changes to the way that I play WoW.

First and foremost, about two weeks ago I left my guild.  It was a really tough decision. I’ve been playing under that tag for over two years now, and it’s the only guild I’ve ever felt was “home.”  Lately, though, I came to realize that the goals of the guild and my goals really didn’t coincide anymore.  That’s totally fine, but it’s time for me to move on.  I wish my former guild all the happiness in the world as they march on through WoW 4.0 and beyond.  Still, I really miss the guild and I miss seeing those people online, in my guild, always ready to hang out in guild chat.

The second biggest change for me is that my husband, who left with me, has decided he wants to try his hand at running a strict 10s guild.  Since my departure from my former guild was somewhat abrupt, I figure I may as well help him out, see it through 4.2, and figure out where things stand after that.  I’m not sure how it will go, running a guild is extremely time consuming and draining, but we already have a solid core of raiders.  I’m super excited about the future possibilities of this group, and it’s great to see how much energy everyone has.

Unfortunately, all this upheaval in our WoW lives happened so late in the current tier of content that my dreams of taking out Sinestra have been thoroughly dashed!  I’ll never be further than 3/13 Heroic, at least not while the content is “current.”  I believe we intend to continue working on BWD/BoT/T4W Heroics even as we make our way through the Firelands.  That will be a lot of fun, but not the same as if we had managed it before 4.2.

So, Firelands and 4.2 brings me to my next big change in Warcrafting; I am going to offspec as a feral kitty.  I know, I can hardly believe it myself.  With my feral druid alt kicking around, I never really thought it made sense to collect feral gear on my resto-specced main as well.  Why have two feral kitty off specs and gear sets when I can use two druids to play with all four specs?!

On top of that, my resto gear can double as balance gear, right?  Well, as I looked into my bags recently, I realized I had nearly a full set of Moonkin gear that was totally distinct from my Tree gear.  My hope to cut down on items that just took up inventory space by doubling up on gear and keeping related specs for each druid has not manifested into reality.  Apparently, it doesn’t really appear to matter which off spec I choose, I’ll never have enough bag space!

Lastly,  I’ve found that I simply enjoy mauling faces as a cat more than harnessing the power of the sun and moon as some sort of owl/bear/elk creature.  There’s something about being melee, all up in the action, that I really enjoy.  Perhaps because it’s so different than what I’m used to as a healer.

The tipping point for my choice came when the feral druid in my new guild recently decided he wanted to go mainspec Balance in 4.2, which means no one will be around to collect that delicious Fire Kitty staff.

Ok, that’s not exactly true; our new Moonkin is going to be maintaining a feral off set of gear in order to sub in as a tank if we need.  Given that we’ll more likely need him to sub in as a tank then me (a healer) to sub in as a melee dps, the first staff that drops is all his.  Also, I hear hunters may like it too?  But whatever.  I’ll (hopefully!!) get it eventually and I’m giddy over the prospect of actually having a somewhat legitimate claim.  I mean, seriously, you don’t get much more awesome than this:

I'll burn you with FIRE while mauling your face off!

I just hope that it doesn’t turn into another Terestian’s Stranglestaff. >.>  I wanted that weapon so much, and, despite running Karazhan week after week after week…after week…I never got it.  Whenever it dropped, there was always someone who really needed it, a hunter, a real feral druid, whatever.  I don’t begrudge them for taking the staff, it was only going to be a show piece for me after all…but, boy, did I want it!

Well, that’s it for now!  WoW 4.2 and the Firelands are just around the corner!

[4.2] Key Removal

EDIT June 29, 2011:  4.2 hit the live servers yesterday, and it appears that Blizzard heard my pleas!  Despite the fact that neither of my favorite keys were listed as ones being kept, I still have both the Essence-Infused Moonstone and the Celestial Planetarium Key in my inventory!  I also had a variety of other quest related keys (including a key used to rescue poor Corki from his prison in Nagrad), which I promptly deleted. ^^*  I’m just happy to hold onto those two as tangible representations of my favorite accomplishments.

Like many others who have written on this subject, I have mixed feelings regarding the removal of keys… I can understand removing barriers to content, especially older content where the grind to access it is now excessive.  Overall, however, I only feel a sense of loss.

I remembered getting keyed for Burning Crusade heroics.  I worked so hard for those and was so proud to finally make it in!  I would run heroic dungeon pugs, and eventually found myself invited to a raiding guild.  When epic Flight Form was introduced, getting keyed for Anzu in Heroic Sethekk Halls was an awesome achievement (before “Achievements” were introduced!).  Now, even though anyone can summon the Raven Lord, I still hold tightly onto my keystone, onto the memories of how happy and excited I was to earn that same keystone and to defeat the Raven Lord.

When patch 4.2 hits I will be so sad to no longer find the Essence-Infused Moonstone sitting happily in my bags.

And then there was Algalon, in Ulduar… My guild didn’t get to Algalon until after we were well into ToC material…but when we managed a 25s heroic kill of the Iron Council and that Archivum Data Disc dropped… I bid the maximum number of DKP points that I could.   The abundance of silly astronomy references in the Algalon fight made that encounter a special treat for me, and I wanted to make certain that I would always be able to go back.  To this day I think I’m still the only person in my guild who has the 25s key for Algalon.

For those who haven’t seen Algalon before, I can appreciate that it might be difficult to find someone with a key who is also willing to go with you.  I can understand why Blizzard might want to remove attunements, and let people experience the older content if they want without being hindered… but that key means something to me.  Sure, let everyone who wants to see Algalon experience the encounter without attunement… but don’t take away my Celestial Planetarium Key.

Blizzard, even if they are no longer of value, no longer needed, please don’t forcible remove things that have personal significance to those who play your game.