[WoD] Dream of Cenarius, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Wrath Spam

Since I started raiding in Warlords of Draenor, mana management has been a huge struggle for me.  I seemed to eat through my mana so fast, getting down to 10-20% mana while the other healers on my team were sitting at 60% mana or even more!  Worse, I was at the bottom of the healing meters, almost constantly.

I tried to throttle back my healing, to hold back on casting Regrowths, Rejuvenations, and Wild Growths.  But it was painful, and just made my overall healing even worse than before, even if I had mana available when it was truly needed.

Once we started working on Mythic Black Rock Foundry, I knew something had to change.  I ended up raiding in a Heroic pug one night with another Resto Druid who was doing an insane amount of healing.  Afterwards, I checked his spec and the logs.  Dream of Cenarius accounted for about 8% of his total healing per encounter on average.

Dream of Cenarius causes every Wrath cast, at any time during the encounter, to also send a heal to someone in need.  Heals that are completely mana free since Wrath has no cost.  Of course, these heals are (not-so-)”smart” heals, targeting an injured party member, but perhaps not the player most in need.

Nature’s Vigil, by comparison, only accounted for about 5% of my total healing, and required that I be casting mana-intense spells throughout its duration to receive any benefit.  I know I could be spamming Wrath during Nature’s Vigil, but timing a 30-second Wrath spam session every 1.5 minutes is not an easy task.  In most cases, I was simply using NV on cooldown and casting whatever I normally would (usually expensive heals).

When I had previously experimented with DoC I struggled with needing to change targets constantly.  I do much better in WoW when my targets are located in neat rows and columns, whose locations are fixed and known.  Trying to click on targets moving around me on the screen has never been my forte.  And it was even more challenging because I always had to keep an eye on my raid frame in case someone needed a real heal.  I have accidentally let dps and tanks die because I was too focused on spamming Wrath at a particular target when I should have been watching raid frames.  To put it short, using DoC felt incredibly stressful.

Recently, however, I realized that the damage caused by Wrath was miniscule, practically non-existent, when compared to the damage put out by actual raid DPS.  It didn’t matter which target I was attacking…. the damage I did was pretty much nothing.  While this might disappointing other players, it was a very freeing revelation for me.  I no longer felt as though I needed to burn down the add with the rest of the dps.  I could just stay on the boss, focus on healing and Wrath spam, and my damage wouldn’t really affect the course of the encounter.  Even better, since it didn’t matter who I was hitting, I could use a macro to DPS my target’s current target.  This made spamming Wrath during downtimes easier than ever, while still allowing me to focus on health bars and be ready for incoming damage.

#showtooltip
/cast [target=targettarget,mod:alt][mod:alt]Wrath; [target=mouseover, help][help][target=targettarget, help][target=player] Regrowth

Suddenly, instead of spamming Rejuvenations on the off chance that they might get a tick or two of healing through, I was spamming Wrath and sending free 20k+ direct heals to injured targets!  Since switching to DoC I usually spend the first half or so of an encounter around 80-90% mana, and use Wrath spam during down times later on in an encounter in order to regenerate mana while still maintaining a healing presence.

doc

My healing breakdown from Union’s first Mythic Beastlord Darmac kill.

Dream of Cenarius usually makes up about 7-9% of my total healing done which is a huge chunk of healing completely free of mana costs.  This made such a huge impact on my mana usage that I even swapped out my weapon enchant from Mark of Shadowmoon (spirit) to Mark of Warsong (haste).

It’s still a challenge, sometimes, to spam Wrath when my fingers itch for more targeted healing, but I’m a convert.  I’m not sure how I ever healed without Dream of Cenarius, and I can’t imagine going back to Nature’s Vigil any time soon.

[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.

Belkin n52te/Razer Nostromo Gaming Keypad

Back in May of 2009 I was inspired by Phaelia’s post in her (now retired) blog Resto4Life about the Belkin n52 to purchase my own gaming keypad.  Now, over four years later I still use the Belkin n52te keypad and I love it to pieces.  It revolutionized the way I played World of Warcraft, and was definitely one of the best decisions I have made in my gaming career.

When I first began using the Belkin n52te* Phaelia’s post really influences my choice of spell locations and macros.  Overtime, I’ve moved a lot of things around.  I’ve had to make room for our new spells and abilities, re-write macros to accommodate my shapeshifting preferences, and reorganize the movement keybinds.

Lately, I’ve thought it was about time that someone to put together an updated guide for (as it is now called) the Razer Nostromo Gaming Keypad*.  So here is my attempt at it.  Keep in mind the keybinds for the n52te/Nostromo* are highly customizable and I would recommend taking the time to see how a few different configurations work for you, especially regarding the movement keys and “alt” key locations.

*Note: For simplicities sake I’m just going to refer to the gaming pad as “n52te” from here on out.  From all appearances, my three year old n52te and the new Razer Nostromo are the same device.

Contents: n52te/Nostromo Guide

Configuring Your n52te

Character Movement Keybinds

Action Bar Layouts in WoW

Key Binding with Bartender4

Macro Planning and Considerations

My Macros


Configuring Your n52te

The n52te has 14 regular buttons, a scroll wheel button, a round thumb button, a D-Pad, and a large thumb pad.  This is how I have my n52te configured:

n52 setup

My setup for the n52te.

The very first button is the accent/tilde key, which is just to the left of the 1 on my keyboard.  It was sort of arbitrary when I chose that to be the first key.  Keep in mind that you can configure your keybinds however you like, I would just recommend avoiding keys that are bound to interface functions you use a lot (such as B for your backpack, P for spell book, or J for the guild roster).

I use the smaller round thumb button above the D-Pad as my L-ALT key (for use in macros).  The larger pad below the D-Pad is bound to my R-CTRL key (Push-to-Talk button).  Final item of note, I don’t use the scroll wheel on the n52te as a button, instead it controls my speaker volume.


Character Movement Keybinds
First, a confession:  I don’t know how to use WASD.  I never learned it.  I tried it once or twice, but pretty much failed miserably.   As a result, when I play using a standard keyboard, I cannot strafe or back up.  I could move using only the mouse.  Luckily, in the early days of WoW playing as a healer meant I was usually removed from the action and never needed to actually face my intended targets, so I never really found this to be a problem.

Once I had my n52te up and running, I began using the D-Pad to strafe and walk backwards.  I thought that was pretty neat, and I liked the flexibility of being able to move with my right OR left hand, but it was only after I began learning how to tank that I truly realized just how critical strafing and moving backwards was to World of Warcraft.

I have my n52te D-Pad keybind like this:

  • Analog Down: S (back up)
  • Analog Up: W (move forward)
  • Analog Left: Q (strafe left)
  • Analog Right: E (strafe right)

Sometimes, I end up hitting a corner of the D-Pad, instead of exactly up, down, left, or right, so I keybound all the diagonals to the corresponding strafe key.

  • Analog Down-Left: Q
  • Analog Up-left: Q
  • Analog Down-Right: E
  • Analog Up-Right: E

My center mouse scroll wheel on the right hand serves as my jump button. I can also move forward by holding down both the right and left mouse button and directing movement with the mouse.  In a raiding situation I can only actually turn my character to face one way or another using the mouse, though I can strafe easily with the n52te.  Lastly, I left both the keyboard Left Arrow and Right Arrow keys bound to turning so that I can “keyboard turn” in non-critical situations (such as flying while eating a sandwich).

I’ve found that having movement options on both my right hand mouse and left hand keypad to be very useful in many raiding situations.


Action Bar Layouts in WoW
As Phaelia suggested, my recommended action bar layout is a 3×5 grid of buttons, which mimics the physical layout of the n52te.

The last button on the bottom row, labeled “B5” is button 5 on my mouse. You could instead use this as the scroll wheel button of your n52te, personally I just found that to odd to hit in the middle of combat to be useful for me.

I use Bartender to manage my action bars, but since it has a limit of 12 buttons per bar, I had to use two separate bars to create the 3×5 grid.  The first bar has 10 buttons in two rows, and the second bar has 5 buttons in one row.  Other action bar addons may not have similar limitations, but I would recommend ending up with a 3×5 grid of buttons.

I prefer to put my main abilities in the center row, where my fingers rest.  Lesser used but important abilities find their home in the top bar.  I found the bottom four buttons to be the most difficult to hit, so I use that bar for abilities that should be key bound to the n52te but that are used much less often in a raid.


Key Binding with Bartender4
You may have noticed in the above screenshot that the top left button is NOT keybound to 1.  Instead I use `, which on my keyboard is the key just to the left of the 1.  It’s the accent key, or tilde key.  If I start there and then go across the keyboard, I have 13 buttons (“accent key” through “equal sign”) and then I have my fourteenth key bound to the forward slash.  This configuration made sense to me at the time, but keep in mind that you can bind the n52te to ANY set of keys that you want, and in any order.  It doesn’t really matter, you just want to make sure your keyboard layout matches your n52te profile set up.

A Note on Vehicle Fights

Vehicle fights may cause slight confusion if you use my current configuration.  For example, for me the first ability in a vehicle fight takes the place of the first button on my action bar, the ` accent key, the second ability is the 1 key, the third ability is the 2 key, and so on.  In fights such as Malygos, where I may normally be told to “spam my 1 key” I have to mentally translate that to spamming the top left button, or ` key, because of my unique keybinds set up.

If I had to do it all over again, I would probably start with the 1 key and put the ` key on the bottom row with the \ key, just to alleviate this slight incongruity.  By now, though, I’ve gotten so used to it, that it doesn’t really bother me.  But it’s something I would keep in mind when setting up your own keybindings.


Macro Planning and Considerations
As mentioned above, I use the smaller round thumb button above the D-Pad as my L-ALT key.  This enables me to set up an alternative action for each button on the n52te through the use of macros.  These macros let me use one ability when I hit a key, sch as 5 , and another ability when I hold down the round thumb button (or the alt key) and hit that same 5 key.  In their most basic form, the standard format of my macros look like this:

#showtooltip
/cast [mod:alt] AltAbility; RegularAbility

Since I use my thumb for both the alt key AND D-Pad movement, I prefer to put instant cast abilities in the “RegularAbility” slot and casted abilities in the “AltAbility” slot.  This assumes that my thumb wont be needed to move my character while I’m forced to stand still casting a spell, and that I can use my thumb to move around the room while hitting the instant cast buttons.

With the addition of Symbiosis (with which I usually grab Spiritwalker’s Grace from a Shaman) and some niche encounters (such as Earthrager Ptah in the Cataclysm dungeon Halls of Origination) the inability to use my thumb for both moving and casting has become a little inconvenient.  However, I’ve found that keeping Regrowth (the go to casted heal for Resto Druids) on the 7 key has helped keep my thumb free for quick strafing while still being able to cast strong heals.

In general, I tend to group my healing abilities on each button.

Key       Regular Ability Alt Ability
`    Tree of Life (location relevant shape shift)
1    Nature’s Cure Stampeding Roar
2    Nature Swiftness + Healing Touch    (nothing)
3    Barkskin (myself)
Ironbark (target)
4    Innervate (myself) Innervate (target)
5 Lifebloom Bash
6 Rejuvenation Genesis
7 Regrowth Nourish
8 Wild Growth Entangling Roots
9 Swiftmend Wild Mushroom: Bloom
0 (tab target) (nothing)
Moonfire Wrath
= Symbiosis Nature’s Vigil
\ Tranquility (nothing)
B5 Hurricane Wild Mushroom

Some additional notes regarding the above listing…

Since B5 is one of the side buttons on my mouse, I tend to like using it for abilities that require placement via the targeting circle, such as Hurricane and (glyphed) Wild Mushroom.  Moving the mouse towards the target location immediatly while tapping a button on it to activate an ability targeting circle feels like a smoother action then using a key on my n52te.

I’ve found the 0 key, located on the bottom left corner of my n52te to be very inconvenient to hit with my pinky. Perhaps this is just a case of having small hands.

As for the 2 key and the \ key, I’ve always been hesitant to bundle Tranquility and NS+HT together with other abilities in a macro.  I have this nagging fear that I would hit them accidentally and waste powerful healing cooldowns.

However, as the number of abilities in the Resto Druid toolkit has expanded, and the cooldowns for both Nature’s Swiftness and Traquility have been majorly reduced, I’ve begun to feel the need to explore better uses for these four essentially empty button slots.


My Macros
Please check out the links below for the specific macro configurations for Leiyan.

Restoration and Balance Spec Macros

[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.