Healing your first heroics – just don’t.

At the early beginning of this blog when I was delusional about how easy it is to blog, I posted a series of articles trying to breakdown the basics for healing heroic instances, one by one. And I would say I did quite okay job for that time being scared bloggy chikkinsheet and all. Since last week I really, really wanted to post a guide to the new ICC heroics – better late then never, eh? But while trying to find any possible spare time to write them, I happened to run Pit of Saron myself with a PUG. And yeah, as you can guess, it was just brain numbing experience. And I can’t imagine any newbie average geared shammy being able to get through. My back was seriously aching.

The setting: Pit of Saron

The characters are your average PoS pug people. There is some shadow priest, some deathknight a pally tank, restoration shaman and a mage. The tank is just under i232 on average, with corresponding stats – we are talking 36K buffed with okayish avoidance (by okayish I mean manageable with reasonable pulls). The healer was, of course, awesome. I mean, hasted and pimped out Restoration shaman sporting 4T10, sweet thing, I’m telling you. The bit of a problem were the dps. The mage led the charts with impressive 4K average, then long time nothing, then little nothing, then there was the Deathknight just above tank damage done with 2.1 dps and the priest was just terrible. I believe my Searing totem would be more useful dps tool. But hey, whatever. The tank was pulling a bit over his comfort zone but I had the mana to keep him alive. Though pulling two Shovelers was just a tad too much. They really love slinging the dirt on me. But hey. Now the story about how Rahana was striked out.

Hiccup 1:  Forgemaster Garfrost

You know, the boss that buffs himself at 66% and 33% of his health by stunning people and then runs off to a runeforge to get the buff. That’s not all he does, of course. He does stackable frost damage aura – much like Hodir or in Nexus, but unlike these two it cannot be removed by movement. No. Way to remove this stuff is to actually break LoS to the boss by hiding behind one of the many boulders he’ll toss at you. Long story short, with all the awesome dps we had, there were only 2 people out of 5. Me and the mage. Not only healing 12+ stacks is pretty much global cooldown locked, especially in half melee half ranged group, it really becomes quite lethal. And well, if 3 people decide to chase the boss around when you try to hide behind the boulder and clean yourself (breaking LoS to those three puppets too) someone is bound to die. Most likely the 17K healthpool priest. And who’s to blame? The healer. Sure. I mean, I did almost frikkin 4K effective healing, used Mana Tide, Mana trinket and was really considering a pot. But it was my fault people died when they decided to ignore fight mechanics. Rahana just got her first strike.

Hiccup 2: Krick and Ick and stuff around

Pulling more abominations before Krick and Ick is fun and speeds up. Pulling up to three at a time while having group composed of people clearly unable to move out of green goo is stressing. Not fun. Cleansing totem is a godsend there.  I must say no one got pounded by Icks (Kricks?) one-shot AoE. Moving out of the exploding bombs was totally different matter. I absolutely adore people who are able to suppress any common sense in order to produce just this more dps, the needed few bits of dps that can make wipe-kill difference. Yeah, right. I somehow healed through. But if you asked me, I have no idea how. It was all reflexive, pushing key combos on auto-pilot, trying to preserve the last bits of my sanity hanging on to the task I do in this game. Keeping every sorry butt around me alive. I managed. Surprisingly, pulling out such a stunt is obviously casual stuff, not deserving even a low five. Rahana’s second strike came on the ramp leading up. Pulling the first two groups at once is something I find challenging even on guild runs (challenging means not allowing a single death). It’s just impossible to keep everyone alive if they decide to go all out, I have all 3 spread casters on me due to healing threat and everyone is about to die. I kept alive me, myself and mage. Like it or not, that’s how I roll – tank -> healer -> useful dps -> others. Anyways, obviously not amused corpses awarded me with strike two. Way to go Rahana.

Hiccup 3: Scourgelord Tyrannus

I will admit it, after suffering through the tunnel and already feeling the “LOLNOOB healer” attitude in the party, I really lost interest in group progress. Which pretty much lead to strike three. In few words, Unholy Power and Overlord’s brand on me. They somehow overlapped, and although usually I’d be more than fine to bomb the tank through it even at the cost of longer fight, I slacked. Willingly or not, I let the tank die and the group wipe. I know this was pretty dickhead thing to do, but after being constantly bullied since first boss, I couldn’t care less. Well, guess that got me strike three and out, as I was kicked while flying back to the place.

Moral of the story? Again?

I confess, I don’t take my A game to heroics, at least not very often. But still, my gear and experience allow me to make miracles and godly saves when needed and I always have few tricks  up my sleeves to pull off. I really can’t imagine a fresh healer going through what I got there. And that is not supposed to mean that I am uberleet player, that simply means we are all still learning and we are still making mistakes and learning from those. And it absolutely outrages me if I see someone not pulling their weight themselves bashing other people for their mistakes, or even worse, putting the blame where it doesn’t belong. What do you think? Have fresh players any chance to like the end of the game? The point where they are going to try and master their class?

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About Rahana

Long time player, former hardcore now casual raider. Talks into everything, does not pay attention to exact theorycraft numbers. View all posts by Rahana

15 responses to “Healing your first heroics – just don’t.

  • Psynister

    A fairly fresh 80 healer who has done a few heroics for upgrades can heal through PoS/FoS just fine so long as the other people know what to do during the boss fights. See a boulder? Hide behind it. See green crap on the ground? Don’t stand in it? See that blue circle that looks like D&D? Don’t run through that! Got DBM? Do what it tells you to!

    HoR on the other hand? Not gonna happen.

    • Rahana

      I didn’t meant to imply at all that it’s not possible to heal it. What I was referring to is how people behave in PuGs and although the fresh healers might heal their asses off in such places, they will still be trashed for others mistakes.

  • Xerxeras

    Rule #1 of WoW: If there’s glowing stuff on the ground, don’t stand in it.

    I’ve healed my way through PoS quite often, almost always in a PUG, and I’ve encountered many similar situations. On Garfrost people, especially casters, love to stand around grouped together and get tossed around by boulders. I now make sure people with a lowish gearscore know about LOS to remove the debuff. I’ve not had anybody stand in puddles of goo on Ick, but I have let a couple mages die who refused to move out of the mines (it would hurt their dps if they move).

    The ramp pull, I don’t know how many times I have joined the group at that spot. With a well-geared tank and a good healer both groups ‘can’ be pulled at the same time successfully, but someone is going to die in a fire. Cleansing totem is your friend there.

    I’ve never ran into a problem with Tyrannus, bloodlust helps make this a quick fight, though it helps to make sure everybody knows about when not to heal/dps. I’ve healed through some long fights here when 2 or 3 people didn’t know what not to do.

    PoS is definitely doable for a fresh 80 healer in blues, but that requires alot of help from everybody involved. (If you find yourself getting bored healing random heroics in your shiny t10 gear put together a set of blues to do it. It makes things fun again.)

  • Designer

    Great post Rahana!

    But I think you have failed to appreciate (and consequently failed to beat) the very core encounter that Blizzard provided the player base with in WotLK: the Heroic Leeches encounter!

    Heroic Leeches make for a dynamic encounter! The setting varies and provides a great variety of experience (and variety is the spice of life)! Heroic Leeches may spawn randomly as a single mob or indeed as a group of mobs, and their stats, abilities, and speech/emotes are also generated randomly.

    A Heroic Leech is a very tricky mob to deal with as it takes a form of a player character. It then continues to “control” the given character and attempt to hinder whatever the group it finds itself is doing by a clever use the game mechanics as well as general emotes / comments/ etc. Depending on their level, Heroic Leeches they can prove formidable foes to any party, and the strategy should be adjusted to deal with them. A Heroic Leech upon being beaten does not despawn or drop any loot but in fact continues to hinder the group by attempting to deprive them of any loots other mobs may drop via fixed rolling procedure.

    On top of their direct debilitating impact when they spawn in any group, they further debuff the players out of combat by means of showing off leet lootz they “stole” from real players and all sorts of spams in general and trade channels.

    In general Heroic Leeches are considered to be the hardest mobs to deal with in the game at this point (largely due to their very fast spawn rate and random mechanics) and the greatest success story of WotLK to date. They are expected to become even more prominent in the Cataclysm expansion!

    So to sum up, its working as intended!

    • Fionualla

      Thanks for a great laugh!

      I had the joy of healing PoS last night with a fine example of a heroic leech… druid tank in greens and blues who didn’t warn anyone he was going to pull on the hill already littered with the unclaimed corpses of healers past who had wisely dropped group or been kicked the last two times he pulled that crap…

      Naturally we wiped since I was in mid-chat typing (you know… hello, here I am random-ing into your half-completed PUG, what’s up?). Apparently he had needed a dagger earlier and *was using it* since it was an “up”… Somehow the wipe was my fault?

      • Rahana

        Wait, you really think the wipe wasn’t your fault? Oh come on. Stop the denial…

        Seriously, what’s up with people. I get these hero tanks often too. Run in and pull all because my IC25 geared tank guildy does that, what up?

    • Rahana

      Excellent post there, Designer :) Thank you :D

  • Shatterhoof

    I ran the three Frozen Halls dungeons obsessively for a few months, always in PuGs, and always as the healer. Some days were more stressful than others, but my experience was actually far different from yours.

    By and large, these were a snooze fest about three weeks after the patch hit, and everyone was more familiar with the mechanics.

    My tanks were frequently over-geared, my DPS (except for one notable DK in HoR who clocked an amazing 500 DPS, gogo auto-attack!) was generally on-target, and this humble healer passed the time as DPS #3.5.

    Oh sure, we all have our horror stories, like getting 3 4K dpsers and a fresh 80 tank, or having the tank with ‘the Insane’ after his name who insisted on pulling AT LEAST four groups at once, but if a run took longer than 25 min, or required more than one gryphon ride back, those were the exception rather than the rule.

    HoR had the steepest curve imo. Very unforgiving if your DPS won’t or can’t CC, and that first boss’s horror effect is royally annoying.

    • Rahana

      I experienced what you did with ICC 5-men and the same thing happened with ToC-5 back then. I don’t know if there is a name for it, but it’s the usual cycle:

      New hard stuff comes out, people run it for like a week with guildies, then dip the PUG waters. Now starts the dedicated daily farming of the instances by driven and often good or solid players. Second stage is alts and casuals – people who took their time to try the instances, but their gaming style is responsible and they very much know what they are doing and often any lack of “skill” is well compensated by their social skills and willingnes to work as group. Second to last stage is when such content gets old and every numnut PUGs it with their gear-does-not-matter-I-am-a-pro alts, disrespecting even the basics fight mechanics because “we outgear it enough to bruteforce”. Last and final stage is when the bad players catch up. Those are usualy the ones badmouthing others etc. And that is the end.

  • Zuki

    It’s not just 80’s that pull that … I was in Sethek Halls and I was told I sucked and shouldn’t be spec’d DPS. Which really surprised me seeing as I don’t have a single point in Shadow! I’ve just found that people like to talk smack.

    On my 80 Shammy, I find I’d rather heal HoR much more than PoS. That place drives me nuts. DPS ALWAYS on the other side of the bolder. The tank that will tank 60 million miles from the boulders, so if me or the DPS get behind it to remove debuff, then we have to run for 10 seconds to get the tank back in range to heal / or DPS.

    • Rahana

      I find healing HoR on shaman as excellent. Cleansing totem helps on the trash and usually CH gets overused and saves the day. That being said, the instance provided me some nasty and repeated wipes, but with somehow okayish group it’s quite fun to heal.

  • Alexis

    As you’re saying, the main obstacle to successfully healing a PuG through PoS… is usually the PuG. Awesome things like starfall pulling the second group on the hill to an undergeared tank… the tank demanding innervate at the start of an instance from me, a resto shaman, with no druids in sight, and the proceeding to facepull about 3 shovellers and fall off that first hill into a drake, letting the drake rider rip my poor face off (and it’s only my reincarnation that saved us from a terrible, terrible wipe. Instead only I got repair bills. Being a shaman is so fun). Feral druids (what is it with the druids) in ICC 25 gear who go balls to the wall on the hillside trash, pull aggro of the t9 tank and die rapidly and then post dps meters to brag about dying. (Yes, you did 9k damage per second… FOR THREE SECONDS. Everyone else beat you on ‘damage done’ because they’re not retarded and didn’t try to pull aggro to prove they’re super 1337)

  • Windsoar

    I frankly don’t know how new healers make it through some of the newer 5-mans without serious self-image issues. I was in a heroic nexus group (not exactly the toughest heroic in the bunch) where I out-dpsed the hunter while keeping everyone nice and happy… until the same said hunter decided he didn’t need to move at all throughout the stacking debuff. I didn’t see why I should waste my mana healing him when I could be just as happily dpsing for him :P Needless to say, he thought I was awful.

  • Chris

    That was my first heroic as a healer, I didn’t feel like I was geared enough to be queued in. Luckily we had a pretty solid group, the sad thing was I died 3 times, but no one else did. We made it through the last fight fine luckily.

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