Plagueworks – done; Crimson Halls – work in progress

26 January 2010 § Leave a comment


After a 2 week absence, I finally managed to go back to raiding today. We had a pretty awesome raid, getting Putricide down, finally, and as a bonus killing the Blood Prince Council and pulling the Blood Queen twice. So, let me record some thoughts about healing these encounters.

Putricide

No need to cover strategy: Dreambound does a fantastic job of detailing a 10-man strategy, complete with pretty pictures. Our only change is that we pulled Putricide from the right-hand side, i.e. from underneath the green goo-spawner. We would then wait until the first slime puddles appeared, then move over to the left-hand, orange side. Doing that, we achieved two things: 1) we didn’t stand on the left-hand side for multiple slime puddles round, thus we had more space to move once that became important; 2) the abomination had puddles and ooze close by, which greatly simplified its job. The main drawback is less dps, but since the dps race only starts in phase 3, we decided it wasn’t much of a problem.

My raid has practiced on this guy for the last two weeks, while I was otherwise occupied – so really, I just came along and rode on their coattails. Apparently, the big question was whether to 2-heal or 3-heal this. The raid had kinda waffled on that last week, mostly because of some serious healer fail. We decided to 2-heal this (I pushed for this solution), and I honestly think it’s the only way to go. We ended up killing Putricide with one tank with 3 stacks of Mutated Plague, and another having 4 – basically, in another few seconds we would have hit the unhealable wall. From my perspective, here are the key issues in the fight.

Abomination: This was the cause of our earlier failures. Simply put, the abomination player (usually, one of the tanks) needs to familiarise himself with the abilities and mechanics of it. I’m kinda happy it doesn’t go to me

Movement: The fight combines the usual void zones mechanic, with some almost Heigan-like group-dance moves. The main issue is the need to burst-heal random people in the raid, while at the same time moving from one side to the other of the room to maximise the distance between ooze spawn and target, and avoiding the pools. We had a fair amount of wipes which happened when someone got out of range (either a healer falling behind, or a tank running ahead, or a dps being slightly too much to the side, etc).

– DPS target switching: Hopefully, like void zones, this should not be a problem anymore if you got this far – it never was for us, except for the very first tries when we were still figuring things out.

– Healing: Healing is not too bad (unlike some other fights in ICC). Tank healing is relatively light – except it may “spike” a bit occasionally. After a quick conversation with my tanks, I realised that it is not healing or boss damage that spikes – this is simply an artefact of high avoidance. Putricide hits hard, but of course once your tank gets avoidance streaks, it feels like he’s getting next to no damage. Then you’d get 2-3 hits in a row landing on the tank, and you’d suddenly find your tank at 10%. Of course, that’s when you’d have to move as well, because Murphy’s Law still applies. So, the hardest thing in many ways was to stick to my assignment and trust the other healer (a resto druid) to take care of the raid. I could still systematically throw a shield and a renew on the ooze target, and help in case I saw someone get particularly low. I tried to get close to the green ooze target, but that’s a dangerous proposition: not so much because of the damage you take, but if you’re unlucky, and get punted in the opposite direction to the tank, it may take you a little bit to get back in range, and that may well be bad. Phase 3 is a bit frantic in terms of healing, and we basically blew every cooldown possible, including Divine Hymn from our local shadow priest and some serious offhealing from the elemental shaman. We still downed him with only one death (sorry Homni!), well, 2 really given that our elemental shaman had earlier died and popped.

There’s lots of room for improvement, and I think we were slightly overcautious at the end: although the Divine Hymn and shaman offhealing were needed, if they had not switched we would have had more dps on the boss, and thus a faster kill. I’m pretty sure next time things will run more smoothly, now that we know we can.

Naxxanar was merely a setback!

The Blood Prince Council

Mad props to Blizzard for their capacity to make fun of themselves…

This fight didn’t really challenge us that much: we got the hang of it in less than a dozen tries. It is reminiscent, for people that have raided a while, of the Illlidari Council fight. Like the IC fight, it is LONG – our kill lasted 6:33, which is fairly long (a little bit shorter than Putricide, but you have the two phase changes in Putricide that inflate the time a bit). Like the Council fight, you basically split into semi-independent teams each handling one of the bosses. And like the IC fight, it is not very difficult conceptually, everyone just needs to be on the ball and keep executing correctly until the end.

Two key issues we had to solve:

– Kinetic bombs: Three of them had to be juggled, so you need your ranged dps to keep communication up so they can coordinate who is watching what bomb, and make sure none of them hits the ground. This is much more important than you think: the damage they do is high but not fundamental. However, their knockback can separate tanks from healers, or bring people close to vortices about to explode, etc – in other words, given this fight is all about execution, a major disruption like Kinetic Bomb can really start a snowball down the slope and quickly turn into an avalanche.

– The ranged tank: Both Dreambound and Rejuvo used a feral tank. We went traditional and used a warlock. The key here is that the ranged tank will spike, quite a lot. I was basically spamming our warlock, and of course shielding on cooldown etc. Most of my healing went into overhealing, and our warlock ended up first in damage taken. Also, if you want to go with a clothie ranged tank, you probably want to have a Disc priest healing him – shields really do make it essential to soften up the blows, and make it possible for the warlock to take some of the huge spikes (especially at the beginning). EDIT: We now use a melee tank here too – we found that a “real” tank has a much better ability to absorb damage spikes.

Healing-wise, as I said, I was spamming most of the time. We 3-healed this (with a tree and a resto shaman): the resto shaman was almost out of mana too, by the end of the fight, while the druid was doing very well on the mana front (which meant I could get the innervate, which was quite useful). Pain Suppression was used every time Keleseth got empowered, and it helped quite a bit.

All in all, this was a fair bit of fun, and a nice change of pace from Putricide. And yeah, we got the achievement as well Next week: Blood Queen, so we all get to be vampires…. I wonder if we can go to Elwynn forest after the raid!

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