Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Halfus Wyrmbreaker 10 man

My guild and I managed to down Halfus Wyrmbreaker the other day, and it gave me an idea about how raid healing might look for holy priest healing at least. I chose to play as a holy priest because crazily enough that turned out to be way more mana effective than disc healing. Being able to refresh the duration on my renews with heal and Lightwell turned out to be the tipping factors and I will discuss these and the fight overall from a healer perspective here. Wyrmbreaker is basically a gear check kind of fight, and as such there are few mechanics to look out for, they instead deal alot of damage. To manage this boss your healers must heal alot, dpsers must dps alot and your tanks must be able to take a pounding. Less emphasis is put on movement and avoiding nasty stuff.

Our raid comp that finally made it was as such;
  • Protection Paladin
  • Blood Dk
  • Holy Priest
  • Resto Shaman
  • Holy Paladin
  • Shadow Priest
  • Feral Cat
  • Unholy Dk
  • Frost Mage
  • Affliction Warlock

Our average gear score was about 343 (I had 339).

First of all it's important to note that the fight changes from week to week. You get a random choice of three out of five dragons each week, which will change the way you have to handle the fight pretty much (although I noticed that Malevica over at "Type H for Heals" had gotten the same setup, I don't know if he plays on the same server as me, otherwise this indicates that everyone gets the same setups). We got a pretty devilish setup in the Nether Scion, which increases boss attackspeed by 100%, Time Warden, which shoots fireballs at everyone in the raid all the time and the Storm Dragon which will occasionally knock everyone back (every 10 seconds?). Every tactic we had read on the matter, which were still pretty scarce, told us that the Nether Scion would be the most annoying dragon since he'd make tank healing really difficult. But those people can't have done the fight with the Storm Dragon because I can tell you right now, that guy is without a doubt the most horrid dragon in the game. He is horrible because he makes the skills of the other dragons even more difficult to work with, since you'll be constantly interrupted. This is the main reason that we had to use three healers. Two healers just couldn't keep up with the healing in the first "phase" with all the interrupts. Having two resto druids might change this however. After having tried a couple of setups I still think this was among the worst. If you want to read about what the other dragons do I suggest you check here.

EDIT: The reason I haven't mentioned stuff like positioning is because they don't matter. People can basically stand anywhere they like as long as it facilitates healing and allows for avoiding Fire Balls/Meteors. 

We didn't have a good healing setup for dealing with the Storm Dragon.
With a resto shaman, holydin and me, we only had me for good instants, which made the constant knockbacks a real issue. The storm dragon made us wipe insanely much even before we had gotten down the first dragon because the aoe damage from the Time Warden became totally unhealable when we all where constantly interrupted, and keeping the tanks up was equally much of a problem with the interrupts. We tried many different tactics, but the one that finally worked was this.

The first thing you have to do is decide how many dragons you want to get rid off, and in which order. We didn't have dps enough to kill more than two dragons before the enrage timer hit, so we had to leave the least annoying one. You want to pick the dragon that is using up the most mana for the healers, not necessarily the one with the toughest skill, but the one that combined with the other dragons skills is the toughest to deal with.

Step 1 - Killing the first dragon
We chose to kill the Time Warden first, because we just couldn't handle the aoe damage with all the interruption. So the aoe wasn't a big problem, but combined with the interruption it was. These are the kinds of things you will have to take into consideration when choosing your first dragon. As soon as we got rid of the aoe, the interrupts became less of a problem. After the first step everything eased up. All the healers were completely oom, but we had time to use mana skills to get back to some 20-30% mana which we kept for the remainder of the fight. That is how crucial the first dragon was. Activating the Time Warden meant to be able to see where the fireballs would land, which reduced raid damage in that everyone could move from them. It did make healing even tougher though since not only were we interrupted, we had to stay constantly on the move from the fireballs. Once the dps managed to nuke the dragon down before us healers had let someone die, we managed to get the fight, so getting this right was imperative.

Step 2 - Killing the next dragon
Totally depending on your dragon setup, this will either be easier or tougher than the first step. Preferrably easier, since you want to get rid of the toughest dragon as soon as possible. We chose to kill the Storm Dragon, because as soon as we got rid of the interrupts, healing became fairly easy. You still have to keep an eye out for the Meteor, but that's about it. You could also go directly for the boss on this step, or even the first step of course. It all depends.

Step 3 - Killing the third dragon, or the boss
Here you have to decide whether you'll have enough dps to kill the third dragon before the boss enrages. We didn't. Fortunately, the 100% attackspeed didn't actually turn out to be much of a problem. There is another factor to take into account during this step however, and not dealing with it properly made us wipe once. The boss will when below a certain percent (50%?) start to do a raid wide stun, four times and then a nova. Apparently you can have someone interrupt the nova if they can manage to break free from the stun. We had a mage blink just between the third and fourth stun so he could counterspell the cast. Unfortunately I don't know of any other good way to deal with this, but perhaps Cloak of Shadows? This also meant you had to keep everyone topped off, because the stun did damage and you still had to keep an eye out for meteors. So if you were low on hp and got a meteor on your while stunned, there wasn't much you could do about it. This killed me once.

Having the Storm Dragon meant having to time your heals very precisely. You had to get a cast off inbetween the stuns, because the instants usually wouldn't cut it. This of course gimped most of the casters dps significantly, which made burning down the first dragon even more difficult. As you will have noticed from heroics by now, you will want to have all and any dpsers who can to contribute with healing when needed. This means Tranquility and Hymn of Hope, and it wasn't until our dpsers used this properly that we finally managed. When the entire raid is down low, a tranquility will allow for the healers to waste less mana with expensive fast heals to save people. Also make it absolutely clear to everyone that they have to handle their own hp bar. Healing nowadays means prioritizing like never before. If I've got a lightwell up and I see a dps at ~50%, I will expect him to use the lightwell, and not to wait for me to heal him. Most of the time I will have to conserve my mana, or use my gcd somewhere else. This also means using cooldowns to reduce damage taken. Once you've started raiding, hopefully all your dpsers will have realized that dpsing is very little about simply dealing raw damage anylonger. If people don't move from shit on the floor, heal themselves through lightwells or step into pretty circles on the floor and use any cooldown they can to help the raid, you will have a very tough time downing raid bosses right now.

Priest Specifics
Above is the healing for the kill. As you can see, Heal is lower on healing done than it probably would have been, hadn't it been for all the interrupts (I have about 16% haste raid buffed). Renew will always be high on healing done as it really is the core spell of Holy healing. But I want you to especially note Lightwell. Recount actually tracks how much your lightwell heals, no matter who uses it, so this is a great way to check it's effectiviness and also who are using it and who aren't. Third on healing done with 17% of my total shows something of the potential of this skill. That is from two casts, or 12000 mana! I've also noticed that mastery is great for holy priests and I would stack this over crit right now. Holy Word: Serenity is the instant heal you get from being in the Chakra: Serenity stance, and I strongly recommend it since it is insanely handy. It is instant, fairly big and very mana efficient. The only drawback is the cooldown, which isn't too long. Any priest who healed alot in Wrath will note how little I used Prayer of Mending, which used to top my meters as holy. The reason I chose not to use it as much as I usually do is because I can't control the way it heals. Raid healing right now is alot about knowing exactly where your mana will land, so to speak. If you know people will get hit so that PoM will jump it will be good to use, but on this fight you never knew who of the dpsers were going to take damage next, and each PoM could be potentially wasted if it doesn't jump at least twice. Also note how even us healers are in healing done. I can only hope that this is a hint at Blizzard actually succeeding in balancing healers, or maybe this fight specifically was equally punishing to us all.
The dk tank did insane amounts of self healing, as you can see. This wasn't due to some fight mechanic, but just something dk tanks do nowadays through Death Strikes and Death Coils. This helps with healing tremendously of course, and I can only speculate in that this was a major reason that we had so little trouble with the attackspeed buff. Tank healing wasn't a big problem.

Disc healing Halfus, this was a 25man though
Update 4/1: I did this as a disc priest the other day and I must say it worked great. Halfus will take increased damage for each dragon add that you kill, and that makes your Atonement heal for insane amounts if you start smiting him, making you the best tank/melee healer for the last nuking (the extra damage from you is a bonus of course). I had smites that hit for 20-30k damage, and critted for even more. Considering Smite has a fast cast, this quickly turn out to really high hps on anyone close enough. Eventhough disc is slightly less efficient at dealing with the aoe damage in the first phases (where you kill dragons), as long as that damage isn't murderous I recommend going disc for this fight if you can.


  1. "Apparently you can have someone interrupt the nova if they can manage to break free from the stun."

    Wouldn't the pvp trinket do the trick? I remember back in the day when you had to have pvp trinket on some bossfight in MH I think it was.

  2. Ensidia's kill video also has the same set of Drakes, if I'm remembering correctly, and they're on a different server to both of us.

  3. @R
    Indeed that definitely sounds like it could work. I'll have to suggest it if we don't have a mage next time :)

    It does make sense for them to want everyone across the WoW world to have the exact same chance at the encounter each week. Would suck to be stuck on a server that constantly get horrible setups.

  4. I can see with mana being tight how you would not necessarily like to use PoM as you cant control it, but its also a smart heal now. Since it jumps to the person in need of healing the most wouldnt it actually be bteer for the mass AoE? It can crit, roll EoL, and helps with raid damage in general even if you are focusing on another player. Chance of inspiration also.

    I know it heals for less now than it did in the past, but I hope they have not hammered it down to no longer being useful.

    Chakra Sanc is the one which really drives me insane. Yes I liek how its a lay it down and everyone soaks it up, but due to movement and spacing, I find at times that unless you have a heavy melee group, its not optimal for the 6k price tag. Thats at 84th, so I can only imagaine how expensicve it is at 85th.

    Solaril - Bloodhoof

  5. @Solaril
    Yes you are right about PoM, when I saw my numbers I thought I could've used it more than I did. I just imagine I didn't because I simply had other things on my mind, but bad excuse. Yeah it's always been a smart heal, and I really really loved it in wrath. It's alot smaller now than back in Wrath, but on the other hand that does seem to be the case with all our heals. In most fights where you can expect aoe dmg this is worth using, imo.

    I totally agree with you on Sanc, when I spend so much mana on it I want every drop to go to use, and that's rarely the case. Especially not in a raid setting where people run around everywhere. Sure you can drop it when you -know- people will huddle, but since you have to plan for it by being in the right stance, -and- sacrifice the other stance for 30 sec... it's not a choice I make often. I plan to discuss serenity vs sanctuary more in an upcoming post about heroic instance healing.

  6. Good deal, I will like to see the serenity vs sanc information. Will you also be looking at Inner Will vs Inner Fire?

    I had initially used Inner Fire regardless for the SP boost, but after follign with it, it seems that the Inner will not only makes a noticable difference in mana consumption, but at this point the loss in SP from nto using Inner Fire is negligable.

    If you look at how many instant cast spells we have: PoM, CoH, Renew, Dispel Magic, Cure Disease, (Chakra cost SP...brain lapse on that for some reason), you are talking a huge amount of mana saved with both Inner Will and Mental Agility. And Inner Will gives you a 10% movement buff which is icing to the mana cake.

    Solaril - Bloodhoof

  7. @Solaril
    Yes, I'll look at those two as well! No they removed the mana cost from Chakra, thankfully enough.