Saturday, October 2, 2010

Top 5 Most Fun Boss Fights (to heal)

Inspired by a really great series of posts by Honor's Code on his top 10 favorite bosses to tank, I thought I'd make a top 5 post on my favorite bosses to heal. My list isn't as long as his because I never raid healed in Vanilla, effectively removing some third of our current total raiding content that I just never fully experienced back then when it was still challenging. Also it is difficult to pick out fights that were interesting to heal because they did something new and inventive with the whole thing about being a healer, and not fights that were interesting to heal simply because they are fun fights. I've tried to pick out fights that were a little bit of both - fun because of the overall challenge they offered to me as a healer, both in terms of difficulty and in terms of altered healing mechanics. Follow my list and you'll see what I mean!

5. Valithria
There aren't many fights designed with healers specifically in mind, but Valithria is one of them. When I first read about this fight I was really intrigued! This could turn out to be awesomely interesting I thought. Finally a fight were healers are in focus, and the fight isn't about dpsing something down as fast as possible but heal something up as fast as possible. The vast majority of fights consist of healers making sure the dps can do their job. This time the tables were turned. Now the dps were there to make sure the healers could do their job. It didn't actually turn out as awesome as I had hoped, mostly because some healing classes outperform others solely based on their healing style (aka priest healers are the least useful class to put into portals = me sad priest). Fortunately I have a shaman who gets to do the portals from time to time, and trying to maximizing stacks is lots of fun! I really hope we see more fights like this one and Loatheb (see further down) in Cataclysm.

4. Freya
Freya was one of my favorite fights in Ulduar. She was challenging, and the way you could alter much of the fight by bringing in her adds, that added extra game mechanics, is a hardmode I think Blizzard should have stayed with instead of the switching to heroics they implemented for ToC and ICC. Instead of just increasing the damage of the boss, and maybe throwing in another mechanic to the fight, they threw in many new mechanics to the fight. I prefered that. But anyway, what I loved about healing Freya was how I really got to use every damn tool in my healing arsenal to make it work. Damn even Lightwell was used properly! When we finally downed her I really felt it was due to my minute healing, in a way I've never felt before, and rarely after.

3. Malacrass
When someone asks me "which was the toughest boss you ever fought" I immediately say "Malacrass!". Not because he actually is anymore, by now I'd probably have to say LK hc. But Malacrass is probably one of the most interesting boss fights Blizzard has designed. He was the first boss where we really had to struggle and conditions had to be perfect. You never fully knew what you were going to meet and your own raid setup changed the way the boss worked. The boss took on the aspect of one of the classes in the raid, giving him a special setup of skills. The hunter placed traps, the priest feared and the warlock used rain of fire for example. Paladins were worst because it made him use retribution aura and Avenging Wrath which increased his damage by alot and had to be dispelled asap (if I remember correctly).This had the drawback of making some raid setups considerably more difficult than others, making some guilds actually avoiding to bring certain classes (most notably paladins). Malacrass started out with four different adds, different each time. Each add had to be ccd while the other ones where killed one by one. The ghost had to be shackled by a priest (often me), bringing extra challenge and fun to this fight.

2. Loatheb
Yet another fight designed specifically for healers. Reducing healers abilities to heal to increase the difficulty of a fight has been done before (Lucifron, Gehennas and Shazzrah all do this in various ways for example), but it was with Loatheb I really got to experience it in a fun way. The way you had to really time your proper heals to coincide with that small window of opportunity yet again made me feel like I was far from mindless spamming of heals. You had about 4-5 seconds to heal every 15th seconds, so you really had to figure out a way to maximize your healing output during those 4-5 seconds to get as much healing done as possible. I usually timed a Prayer of Healing and a Circle of Healing and some Flash Heals for those that were particularly low on health.

1. Hodir
My number one favorite boss to heal used to be Hodir. This was the chance for me, playing a holy priest then, to really shine. Not only has Hodir alot of damage going around, when he did his Frozen Blows aoe attack, doing 4.000 damage every 2 seconds to everyone in the raid over 20 seconds (back then healers didn't have more than 15-20k hp and a tank 35k ish), you practically had to have a Prayer of Healing/Prayer of Mending/Circle of Healing/Divine Hymn spamming holy priest with you. No other healing class could dish out as much aoe hps as holy priests could back then (I remember dk tanks still were overpowered back then, with their greater magical damage absorbtion skills you didn't want any other tank). That meant that I really got the feeling that if I didn't pull this one off correctly, the entire raid would fail. Everyones succes was in my hands. Which of course made it all the sweeter when we made it. You could argue this is the same as the shield spamming I do on LK hc, but I don't feel that way because there really isn't anything difficult about spamming shields. On Hodir on the other hand I constantly had to make split second decisions on which heal to use, and on whom to use it.

These are some of my favorite bosses to heal! Which are yours?


  1. Working back through your archive, and I wanted to comment to thank you for reminding me about Hex Lord Malacrass.

    I loved needing to use Shackle for the first time since Karazhan, and the way the fight changed dynamically as he gained in power and took on aspects of different players was really engaging.

    It sometimes sucked when you had a particularly bad composition, but it was a great challenge for the whole team.

  2. More shackle to the people! Nowadays I sometimes shackle things completely unecessarily (like on the spider event before Sindragosa) just to dust it off :S I haven't had to use shackle seriously since Malacrass methinks, not even in Naxxramas.