24 July 2009

A bridge too far

I haven't spent an awful lot of time in Ulduar yet. Partly, I don't like feeling inadequate when I see my dps hovering around mid-table or worse, and partly I feel guilty when I'm asked to heal. I'm not a good healer at the best of times; ask me to heal raid in disc and you may as well go stand in the fire.

But I've spent the last couple of nights storming the place on heroic. My guild has made most of its progress in 10-man, so this was essentially a progression run. We took Ignis out for the first time on Wednesday, and Assembly of Iron bit the dust last night. Second on damage btw, so I'm not completely useless :) Then we came to Kologarn.

You probably know the fight better than I do — very heal intensive but with no enrage. So I was asked to help with the healing. I knew the fight in theory, I'd even healed it a couple of times in normal mode. But I was totally unprepared for it on heroic.

I think we made eight attempts overall, including a heartbreaking wipe at two per cent. That attempt proved to be the exception, though, as we tended to wipe about half way in.

We had two big problems:
1. Bad timing. On several occasions, everything seemed to hit us at once — the arm dies just as it releases three battered healers and adds spawn right at the moment he yells oblivion etc. You know what I mean. Invariably, we'd loose a tank while trying to patch up the raid, or a couple of healers. The more you loose, the harder it gets.
2. We probably could have weathered the first problem if people hadn't kept dragging the eye beams through groups. We'd start in a pretty standard formation but it would break down rapidly as the fight progressed. And when they weren't running through the crowd with a big blue lazer on their arse, they were stood directly in it, completely oblivious.

This was the first time I've seriously contemplated respeccing holy. Spamming prayer of healing burnt through my mana like a dose of clap, while the time locked down on the prayer's long cast times meant I was often too slow to respond to damage elsewhere. I didn't spend nearly long enough popping bubbles. I can't help but wonder if holy's tools are better suited to this fight.

I'm sure with time we'll get Kologarn beat in the end, but last night he proved too much for us — the big dumb lump of rock.

Anyone recognise these problems? What did you do to get over them?


Anonymous said...

As disc, I shield low people, cast one hasted PoH, and rely on druids/holy priests/shaman to bring up the health of people I've shielded. Disc saves people close to death with shields, penance, and a few flash heals, Let healers with CoH, Wild Growth, etc, top people off. Also some well timed pre-shielding can help. Our guild has also just brute-forced this with 8 healers to cover people not knowing how to properly avoid the beams. That is what kills people.

Paolo said...

Agreed. It took me several weeks to learn to renounce spamming PoH. It's just not my job, and it's a sure-fire way to find yourself OOM halfway through the fight. Now I'll use it once or twice, but only if my mana is pretty high. Otherwise, I'll leave it to our excellent holy priests & trees to bring people back up.

Signu said...

I'm not going to claim I know how to heal this fight on 25-man or as a disc priest. I have healed it 10-man as a resto shaman and I have a 71 disc priest.

When healing with my shaman, I felt that my lack of instant-cast spells killed me (and the group).

My experience with my priest tells me that a disc priests best spells are the instant ones. Shield everyone you can; all the time. The more people that have shields up when raid-wide damage comes, the more mana you'll be getting back. As anon suggests, use PoH with the haste buff. It's not suited for Disc priests to sit there and spam it. You can also alternate between shield and PoH so you can chain the hasted ones together.

Even though Binding Heal is horrifically mana-inefficient, you can save a couple GCDs by casting it on the lowest health targets to make sure you stay alive too.

Take all that with a grain of salt, because I could just be wrong.

B-Rab said...

Just leave the middle of the platform between the ranged and the melee open, then when you get eye beamed you just run around in the middle, people do have to make some effort to move out of eye beams when they first come down and aren't focused on their target yet.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering why you're not on tankheal-duty on that fight.

Unless you're the second Disc in your raid ofc.
If you are, shield, shield, penance and shield some more.

People getting grabbed? Shield em first, follow up with ProM>penance>flash as necessary.

Right Arm on 2%? Preshield/ProM the add tank!

Overall raidhealth is terribly low? Shield yourself an hit divine hymn!

Let other healers do the usual raidhealing, and shield and/or penance high-risk targets, so they can hold out until the dedicated raidhealers do their job.

Pulling the Beams through the raid however is an absolute no-go.

What we did against that was the following:

Form 2 straight lines from the entrance of the room up to the boss, 1 tile spacing between the lines, 1/2 a tile between individuals in lines, 16 people fit there without having to stand in the bosses spell interrupt zone
Write down who has to stand where and tell them repeatedly. The orange dots on the ground are great orientation help

As the beams appear about 1/2 tile distance to the left and right of the person they are on to, it is easy to make out who has to run away.

People in the left line run to the left, people in the right line run to the right.

Players might object to being treated like kindergarden kids, but those who complain the loudest usually really need to be treated that way. :D

Shy said...

As a disc priest the best thing you can do here is PWS. I generally stick myself on raid healing as a disc priest, and all I do is shield.

Make it so grid (or whatever you use) shows you who is shielded, and who has weakened soul, and just shield your mana bar empty.

I promise you will see big improvement. After all...disc is not meant for healing, we prevent ;)

Leigh said...

You can safely ignore any comments that suggest you go and shield the entire raid or other such nonsense. If your specced Disc your on the MT, simple as. It's not your concern to heal others, throwing the occasional shield at someone who is low is of course a life saver but the nonsense of spamming PoH and shielding people constantly is a nice way to run OOM and do nothing for the raid. If for some reason you are the 2nd disc priest your still gimping the raid, your shields are going to prevent damage and provide a buffer for another healer to pick up the slack. Flash heal and penance spam in between shielding people would be your only option, the mana cost of PoH over a fight like that is too much.

We line up similar to the last anon poster said except when the beams come along the person they are targeting runs back down the steps to make sure they don't strafe and bring it across the lines. If you are concerned about contributing to the raid healing have your party standing close to you and a Holy Nova provides a nice instant cast heal that will help out.

I couldn't really tell your tactics from reading your post, are you only nuking the arm when someone gets scooped up? Or are you nuking the arm off the bat? We nuke the arm from the get go which minimizes the amount of times he scoops people up. Less stressful on the healers and less randomness to the fight.

Merlot said...

You see, this is why I think I need to respec holy. Here's the logic...

When I'm called on to heal, it's either because a main healer hasn't shown or it's for a fight where we think we need a little more healing support than the standard healing team provides on its own. Either way, as I'm an offspec, my gear's low and I'm just not going to be as *good* as the main healers. We have many excellent tank healers in our guild (another disc priest and plenty of paladins) so naturally they're gonna stick me on raid.

There are some fights where raid healing as disc works (XT is a lot of fun), but more often than not I end up spamming PoH or flash heal. Shields are still useful, but penance is under-used. It's such a glorious spell, I hate not using it every cooldown.

Raid damage is so massive in Ulduar that I could, as has been suggested here, burn my mana on shield spam. But is that really the best use of a healer, even if I am only filling a gap at a pinch?

I worry that it's not. But if I respec to holy I may struggle just as much from lack of spirit.

So now you know my dilemma, what's your advice?

Leigh said...

Stick with Disc. You say your gear level is low as a healer, if anything it's higher as disc then as holy. A lot of your crit and haste gear can translate over to Disc seamlessly. I have no mana problems and i have very very low mp5. I do however have over 40% crit raid buffed (close to 50% during the raid with elemental oath and weakened soul) and about 22k mana. If you go holy you will need a 2nd set of gear heavily based around spirit and mp5.

The ideal solution would be to get your main Disc priest to go holy. That's what our guild has....our holy priest has disc as his offspec which guarantees one disc priest per fight.

With you struggling on the fight the best thing you can do is adapt. Cast PW:S on targets that are low to benefit from the haste buff and have 1s flash heals. If the target is going to be low on health FH gets a crit bonus as well. Penance everytime it is off of CD.
PoM is godly on a fight with lots of damage. It will account for a good deal of healing at a very low mana cost. And don't underestimate the power of Holy Nova, it's instant cast and can hit for 2k.
Between penance and flash heal you should be saving any DPS that is getting low. PWS is your last ditch saver until someone else can get a heal in.

candy said...

I think it helps to give folks a place they are expected to run to if they get the eyebeams on them so they don't run around like a chicken with their head cut off. For my 10 and 25 we ask folks to run straight back towards the stairs. It's been weeks since eyebeams nom'd anyone since we set that in place.

In Uld in general, if things are getting out of control I will toss out a shield on dps or a non-priest healer. It can often give peeps a chance to eek out a heal.

Can I ask what your Ulduar dps is looking like? ALthough I have had some off nights I have found that I am holding my own as a SP in there. However, I know purely by the numbers SPs are at 85% of overall dps for Ulduar.

Merlot said...

It's very variable, Candy. I've only been up to the cat lady so far, but I have good fights on razor and iron council (top 5 if the razor tanks group up), rather average on ignis and xt, and miserable on kologarn. That's in pretty average gear.

I expect some variation in performance by encoutner design, but I don't think it should be anywhere near as much as I'm experiencing. I'm sure it will improve as I learn the encounters, but I think the jury's still out on whether shadow will hold its own in the next tier of content, and much better priests than me are worried it won't. What do you think?

Leigh said...

Ulda doesn't possess a Patchwerk style fight to solidly test your DPS. Of the fights you mentioned i can give you some of my figures from a recent WWS:

In Razorscale your looking at top 5 minimum. I have came close to topping meters in this with only a ret pally beating me, 4.6K DPS was my last attempt.

XT is very variable. The DPS on the heart can shoot some classes up where as we struggle because of the time required to get DOT's up. If we are on add duty it can actually bring down our DPS due to you missing hearts. Last go i was not on add duty and i managed 6.2K DPS and came 7th overall. The same fight our 2nd spriest got add duty and managed 4.6K DPS....a big swing you would agree?

Ignis can be a bitch if you get slag potted a number of times. If you don't it's effectively a full nuke with very little movement if your tanks are clever. Last time i done that fight i averaged about 4.4K DPS which got me 11th overall on the meters just to give you an indication (other spriest was on 4.3K and 12th with neither of us slagged).

I have never DPS'd on Kolo in 25 man so can't give you a personal number. The other spriest averages around 9th with 4.4K DPS. The problem there is cleave classes and any classes with an AOE built into their rotation will dominate us.

How do your numbers compare to that? I checked out your armory and there is a difference in gear level, probably about 600DPS would be my estimation. And yes the jury is 100% still out on the next tier of content. I can't see us scaling to the extent that is required to match (or at least gain significant ground) the current DPS whores, let alone match them when they scale themselves with the next tier of gear.

And what Candy said about the eye beams is the only safe way of doing them. Like that i cannot recall anybody dying from eye beams in a long long time.

Anonymous said...

There is an interesting mechanic at work in this fight. If DPS is top-notch, healing stone-grip victims isn't very taxing at all.

I'd speculate once you solve the eye beam problem you'll be sailing in clear waters as DPS.

Going Holy won't work well for you until you have the second gear set.