Friday, February 12, 2010

Healing Valithria Dreamwalker

When I first heard about this fight before ICC came out, I was super excited. OMG, a fight where you have to heal the boss to full instead?! Cool!!!

I felt like this is something that is really fun and new for healers. Now that VDW is out and available for those that clear Lower Spire, I have to say it is an interesting experience.

I had a lot of fun doing it the first time around but after a while, it actually got a little un-fun (yes, I know that is not a real word).

Why?

I know that there are always healers that care a little too much about where they are on the charts but this is actually the one fight where healers need to care about their numbers. Plus, you have limited resources (aka clouds) that healers can jostle over in order to make their green numbers bigger. This is a completely different mind set than I am used to for healing.

When I raid, I am not concerned about my pretty green numbers to the point where I have all my healing combat text turned off. That is because I have a really good idea of how much my FoL, HS and HL will heal for in general.

I also tend to only worry about CDs in the context of mana management.

That is all completely changed in the VDW fight.

Despite how they tried to disguise it, VDW is still at heart a DPS race. Instead of DPS though, it is HPS we have to worry about and there is no real enrage timer though the raid may get overwhelmed by adds over time.

For healers that are to heal VDW and go in to the portal, their main concern is to grab clouds that will stack the Emerald Vigor buff. The problem is that it is very possible to "steal" clouds from other healers if they happen to be going for the same cloud and they were a little slower.

Even worse is that it could potentially have screwed over their stack timing and thus lowered their HPS. Unless of course you are going to have all the healers get stacks together but you are still jockeying for portal spawns, which are subject to RNG that can be frustrating.

In short, it is hard for team work to take place when everyone is fighting over limited resources.

Even so, I have some tips for healing this fight as a holy paladin that may make HPS output a bit easier. Hope it helps! (I still don't have Portal Jockey! I don't get it, I've been trying to make sure I go into every portal!! WTH!)


Timing

If you time it properly, you can get stacks to overlap so that it carries over into the next portal phase. Just need to make sure that you get a cloud pop right before you are about to leave the phase at around the 2-1 second mark. This way you refresh your stack for the full duration. It is good to have at least 32 seconds left when you phase out.

If you can't guarantee you can find another cloud after the current cloud you are on, then wait before you pop the cloud in front of you. Better to play it safe than sorry.

Heal like mad when you phase out aka HL spam (make sure to keep up JotP!) and then when portals spawn, immediately get a cloud. Just click the portal and press spacebar to rush upwards, don't even wait for it to graphically register that you entered the portal (This can backfire if someone stole your portal).

Always watch your debuff timers for Emerald Vigor along with the portal timer. Keep in mind you only have 15 seconds once you phase in and if you have the timing down, portals should be opening around the 8-9 second mark on your Emerald Vigor stacks.

Also if you're like me, you raid with everything on low setting. This is one fight where you want to raid on higher view distance so you can scope out clouds easier. Make sure to swivel your camera around if you feel like you're not getting clouds to pop because you may not be inside them. Depth perception can be tricky here. You need to be inside the cloud and wait for your attack animation to go off before you know you popped it, which can take a little bit to register.

Aim to get 3-5 clouds on each portal phase. Don't beat yourself up if you get only a few clouds, the aim is to make sure the stacks carry over and keep carrying over.


Placement

Portal spawns are never consistent and it can be difficult to find one right away. So run to the portal spawn before it opens, that way you don't mess up your timing on the stacks. Yes, you may lose some healing time from running to portal spawns but you will run the risk of losing stacks if you run to a far away portal after it opens.

Much better to camp a portal than to worry about lost healing time. Make sure you freedom/cleanse yourself before you go in portal in case you get slowed by frostbolt volley from adds. You have to be mobile so you can rapidly find your next cloud to refresh the stack.


Cooldowns

You can pop short CDs in the beginning as long as you have CDs increasing throughput available for when you have a high number of stacks and/or BL/Heroism is going off.

Use your own personal judgment for when your stacks are high enough. Don't wait forever and lose a large stack or have the fight be over with no CDs popped at all.

Pop trinkets, Divine Illumination if you have 2 piece t10, Avenging Wrath, potion, the works especially if BL/Heroism is up!

Also, if you are really that worried about mana regen, keep in mind you can pop Divine Plea with impunity inside the portal because you are definitely not going to be doing any healing in there! DP and portal phase both last 15 seconds!

Never pop DP while you are spamming because you are going to waste throughput CDs to offset the MS effect or just eat it.


Preparation


This is the one fight you might think about pre-potting. Though your HPS is probably not great especially in the beginning, every little bit may help. I don't do this though I should but a SP flask would be great for this fight.


Here is a case of where int trinkets aren't that great for this fight. You want SP trinkets or trinkets that can proc SP or other throughput stats. You should not have to worry about mana regen in this fight so go all out! This libram should be useful for this fight too (added to the checklist for me).

If you're not using Seal of Light glyph, definitely get it! I just use this glyph for this fight and switch back to Seal of Wisdom glyph when we heal VDW up. Other classes should have little tweaks for glyphs they can use to up their HPS as well (Sorry I only know paladins).

A holy/ret spec that is normally for FoL would be great in this fight! I don't have that available as my offspec but imagine the possibilities! Yummy crits!



I'm glad for the sake of holy paladins that Blizzard has been trying hard to make fights that give us a big advantage in the raid because I remember that was one fear many holy paladins had after our three pronged mana regen nerf.

However, I just don't think that Blizzard should design encounters purely so that holy paladins won't be marginalized. It creates a feeling of pandering to a particular class, which is unfair to the other healer classes especially with the advent of "Bring the Player, Not the Class" philosophy Blizzard is supposed to be implementing.

Come on, we're the only healers still stuck in a niche - tank healing. Give us real raid healing capability. Address our lack of mobility!

Anyway, I've said my piece and I hope my own experience with VDW helps out any healers struggling to grasp the fight.

Till next time!

Have a great weekend! Happy V-Day!

P.S. I realized after writing this post that WoW Insider has their own post on this fight. =X Well, I hope you enjoy my take on it.

5 comments:

  1. I've read that you get the achievement when all portals are taken by somebody, not when you take a portal each time they are up, despite the confusing wording.

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  2. Hey, I've yet to test this but recent information states that the seeds are AOE .. not individual so if you stack w/ the other healers you will ALL be getting it. Its not a race for one person to get it before you .. you should be doing group movement for all of you to get as many as possible... hope that helps.

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  3. As far as glyphs go, druids can use the Nourish glyph: "Your Nourish heals an additional 6% for each of your heal over time effects present on the target." Shamans can pick up the Healing Wave glyph if they aren't using it already to help ease the stress on the raid healers: "Your Healing Wave also heals you for 20% of the healing effect when you heal someone else."

    Pandora's Plea is another option for trinkets that have decent SP procs.

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  4. Nice blog on the holy pally's take on this fight. Two things if you have a shammy in portal phase they can BL in portal without get the rest of the raid stated. Leaving the outside with a BL for "oh crap" overrun purposes. Also coming out of the portal you should beacon Ms. Sexy dragon and tank/raid heal. It works the same as if you were beaconing the tank. Good luck all.

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  5. @Anonymous: TY for the clarification, that makes more sense to me now

    @Anonymous: Yeah that is definitely necessary in heroic mode but when there are still those selfish healers out there that will try to take an extra cloud or 2 for themselves only.

    @Monkey: Nice, ty!

    @Holyhoney: Yeah, you should def always keep BoL on VDW, there's no reason to do anything else. As for the BL inside portal thing - there's no point because if the healers are ready for the heal burst, being overrun isn't a big issue if it hadn't been one already at that point. Being overrun on the outside is more likely to happen than needing BL on the inside. Since you don't want to get the portal healers sated before they are ready, BL-ing outside needs to be timed correctly.

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