Monday, April 23, 2012

Respeccing for Progression

Something I highly encourage in our guild is gearing, speccing and glyphing specifically for a progression encounter.

We recently killed Heroic Spine after a lot of wipes and over the course of the progression changed my reforging/gemming a few times.  I tried going haste/crit for extra Atonement healing (which FYI is great on this fight) but eventually I just went back to good old mastery stacking.

Mastery seemed to be the best, at least for me because as the disc priest in the group it was my responsibility primarily to shield people with the healing Searing Plasma to prevent them from dying. This seemed to be much more important than the extra damage/healing from atonement.

I also alternated between the glyphs for PW:B and PW:S and Prayer of Healing.  I was using my barriers during the rolls, which are a high-damage phase but the extra healing for 10s during the roll didn't seem as vital as the extra healing from the PoH glyph and PW:S glyphs.  It's worth noting that I very rarely take out the PoH glyph but I did try out this fight without it at one point because I was mostly focusing on shielding and smiting but in the end that turned out to be a terrible idea.

I'm not suggesting that there is one "correct" set of glyphs for a particular fight, but what I am saying is that in a progression fight any little extra edge you can squeeze out of your character matters.  For healers the optimal set probably depends a bit on your healing comp, the fight, and your playstyle.  The important thing is to TRY changing your glyphs, specs and playstyle in order to improve yourself and ultimately help your group be successful.

I'm in a lucky position that I'm very close with the other healers in my group and often have discussions with both about healing strat, assigning responsibilities and making suggestions to each other without taking it personally and we often jab at each other for positioning and spell choice.

TL;DR:  Don't be afraid to change your spec/gems/glyphs reforged for one particular progression fight.  Embrace it and you have a better chance of being successful.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Heroic Morchok: A Guide for Disc Priests

This is the first and easiest heroic fight in the Dragon Soul instance.

We split the raid into 2 groups and we three heal this enounter.  To those of you familiar with the encounter you may think this odd so I'll explain.  I am assuming you have watched or attempted the encounter and are familiar with the mechanics.  If you aren't, I strongly suggest reading it up on Icy Veins.

Composition of groups in this fight is essential.  We found that the best members of our group to take the double-stomp with the tank were our holy paladin and our feral druid.  Our frost DK simply was getting wrecked even when using cooldowns and made it much more difficult to heal.

One important note for this mechanic is that the extra damage goes to the person closest to the tank.  Not the next closest to the boss.  This caused us some very serious frustration wondering why seemingly random people would sometimes eat the damage while the soaker was standing inside the boss.

Moving on, we put our druid and blood DK tank in the same group as the single healer.  The reason for this is that the druid can provide a tranquility in a pinch, and he took the least amount of damage out of the non-tanks.  The combination of the druid taking less damage, the tranq and the self healing from the DK makes one healing that side much more feasible.

I typically heal the side with two healers but the premise is more or less the same for both sides.

Most of this fight I spend my time shielding and casting prayer of healing.  This fight at times is extremely healing intensive and when you have three crystals on your side in a row it can be pretty intense.  If you are solo healing your side you will probably want to use power infusion for this third one but because I have the luxury of a paladin healer on my side I typically throw it to a casting DPS instead.

The most important thing to do as a disc priest on this fight is to absorb.  The stomps and crystals both do HUGE damage and it's essential to get your timing down.  It is also very important to remember that when the crystal damage goes off it will throw you, interrupting any spell casting going on so try to be casting your instants during this time.  I usually make my last two casts a shield on the tank and a PoM on the tank.

The damage on this fight is very predictable but we do a fair bit of running around to crystals.  Whenever I am moving I reapply shields to anybody without weakened soul and make sure there is at least one prayer of mending bouncing around.  If I can afford to stand still for a cast I use prayer of healing.  Even if everybody is full HP.  Just spam it like crazy to build up divine aegis.  If everybody except for myself and another are doing well I'll binding but the beauty of the disc priest is that we can heal the damage before it even shows up and this really is key for a disc priest to be successful in this fight.  Needless to say if you're working on this fight it would help to go in very mastery heavy.

If you have a party member who is low on HP and the stomp or crystal is about to explode (ESPECIALLY if your double-damage soaker is low) throw a pain suppression on them.  For the third crystal throw your barrier around the crystal.  Don't wait for everybody to be low because the trick of this fight is not to heal people back up to full, but to try and absorb all the damage you can.  One side will have 3 crystals in a row, then after that black phase the other side will.  Morchok will have it three times in a row and Kohcrom twice, then after the black phase they swap.

The black blood phases are our only respite.  I typically throw renews on people as they run away and DoT up the boss.  Don't bother to shield people up as they run away because chances are they will not take damage until this phase is over; Once you're in a safe spot I recommend using your mana CDs (divine hymn, Potion of Concentration) to help push through.  I'm a big fan of using those CDs at specific points in the fight and not when they are needed.  Chances are if you have 1% mana and it is late in the fight you might be screwed.  Having 70% instead of 50% at the halfway point of the fight means if you have to you can throw out a couple of flash heals and not worry about running OOM.  If you feel a mana CD will not be useful at the time try to pump a little DPS into the boss.  You likely won't be able to reach with Smite/Holy fire, but the shadow spells have a 40 yard range so you can probably get in a Mind Blast or two with your DoTs.

That's really about it.  I don't find I have a lot of time to smite on this fight.  Sometimes I will try to sneak in a couple of smites in order to pop Archangel for an intense moment but I haven't found that it makes the difference between a kill and a wipe, and most of the time that time seems better spent on a PoH.

This fight does not get more difficult with time and if you can last through three crystals in a row you esentially have the fight down.  The trickiest part for our group at least was shuffling around the groups so that we had a tank, soaker and sufficient utility on each side to be self sufficient (bloodlust will only reach one side for example if you are spread out as far as we spread).

I hope this post is helpful and if you'd like to see our first kill you can view it here.  It's my viewpoint but bear in mind this was written considerably after this kill so my technique has improved considerably! Keep in mind that the video is over 100% speed for most of it.

Best of luck on Heroic Progression.  I'll do my best to add other guides and perhaps clean up my writing style to be a bit more orginized for future posts.

First post

A couple members of my guild already run wow related blogs and although I don't have any delusions of grandeur I do believe that I have some insights which may help others with their progression.

I play a disc priest and have for quite some time and I like to think I'm pretty good at it.  On some of the heroic fights I've been playing a shadow priest but I am not geared, nor am I experienced enough to be considered "good" by any stretch of the imagination.  I am steadily improving though and I'm optimistic about the future of being able to one day pass one of our full-time dps on the charts.

I'm going to use this blog to just jot down my thoughts on life, the game in general as well as tips that I consider useful to being successful in the game.

Recently our Blood DK began posting tips specific to each heroic mode we've completed (4/8 as of today) as a helpful guide to others and I thought to myself that it seemed like a very noble undertaking and so I'm essentially stealing his idea.  Take that Schriko!

My raid team has three healers.  There's myself, our holy/disc priest, and our holy paladin and we work very well together I think.