Tag Archives: will of the emperor

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Last night, Apotheosis killed Will of the Emperor on 25-man Heroic mode. It was, without a doubt, the most difficult fight we had encountered this tier. Hell, it was probably the most difficult fight we had ever encountered as a guild. I know it may just seem that way since it’s fresh in my memory, but I’m pretty sure it was tougher to execute than Heroic Spine or Blackhorn by the time we got to them, and nothing from T11 or 12 that we tackled (we didn’t really work on H. Ragnaros) sticks out as being this hard.

It took us more than 100 attempts over 7 raid nights to get this boss down. We changed strats often. Kill Rages 8 at a time, kill every pack, now back to 8. The strategy that finally worked for us was to kill packs of 4 or 8 during the first round then CC and kill all 12 at a time in between each add break period.

Heroic Will is a complex fight that requires a ton of organization. We need a CC order any time we’re controlling Rages. We need 4 tanks (2 on bosses and 2 on Strengths). We need slows assigned to Courages. Every dps needs a primary target (Rages? Courages? Strengths? Bosses?), then they need a secondary target when theirs isn’t up or is being CC’d. We need assigned Spark soakers. Hunters can soak every pack of Rage Sparks, the Strength tanks can soak their Sparks, a Rogue and Moonkin can soak the Courage Sparks – oh but wait, the Moonkin’s won’t be up for the middle one, he’ll need externals or a backup soaker. Then we need extra backups to Soak in case anything gets missed. The only part of this fight that did not require an inordinate amount of organization was the healing, for which I am grateful.

On top of the organization, execution needs to be pretty close to perfect. Lose focus for one second and stand too close to a Spark – you’re dead. Dance with the boss and mistime the swings – you’re dead. Stand next to a pack of Rages who are rooted – you’re dead. Pop your cooldown a second too late or early while soaking Sparks – you’re dead. Strength gets away from its tank and does a smash – a few people are likely dead. A second late on your Ring of Frost or Gorefiend’s Grasp on the Rages – they go everywhere and soon everyone is dead.

The thing about this fight I didn’t like was that it really required some degree of class stacking. When I asked people for tips when we were going into this fight, having a couple DKs for Gorefiend’s Grasp to control the Rages was always mentioned. Problem – we have one DK on our roster. I’m really not a fan of bringing alts into raids. I don’t think we should have to, and I don’t think it’s fair to anyone. However, after nights of failed attempts, I finally gave in and we had one of our Monk healers switch to his DK (whom he had raided on throughout Cata). We still had a ways to go after this, but controlling Rages got much better. Killing the Rages and soaking the Sparks is 100x easier when each pack can be gripped into one spot – which is something that couldn’t be done with only one DK. The fight also requires a lot of Spark soakers. Hunters are optimal since they have a 100% deflection every minute. Shadow Priests are good too, though their cooldown is longer. Rogues can soak well. Feral Druids and Monks are good for soaking single Sparks. Through Symbiosis, Resto and Balance Druids can soak as well. Apoth has 2 Hunters, 1 Shadow Priest, 1 Rogue, 1 Feral, 1 Resto Druid, 1 Balance Druid. One night, both of our Hunters were unable to raid. Result? We were unable to even attempt to do Will. We probably could have worked out a complex rotation of Rage Spark soakers but it would have left us no backups and no room for error. I really wasn’t a fan of the roster restrictions this fight put on us.

This fight really wore on people. Spending whole raid nights where our attempts didn’t progress past the 4-minute mark because of a couple mistakes got frustrating quickly. The fight was exhausting and tired people make more mistakes. There was one point when I even considered whether to not we were capable of succeeding on this fight as a guild. Had we met our skill cap? When Bashiok said 5.2 was going to be released on February 26th I thought about how absolutely soul-crushing it would be for guild morale if we spent all this time on this fight and didn’t get a kill.

Thankfully, we had not reached our skill cap, and it felt pretty damn amazing to finally see those bastards go down and see the Cutting-Edge raid achievement pop up on my screen. I’m really proud of my guild for their persistence – fighting through a non-optimal roster, adapting to strategy changes until we found one that worked for us, not losing focus after a heartbreaking 800k wipe.

For me personally, Heroic Will was full of ups and downs. At first I was excited about the amount of utility I could offer the raid. Aside from knockbacks, and options for CC, HotW could let me help on dps during breaks, I could Symbiosis a hunter and Deterrence would let me help soak Sparks. But there was a problem. I was bad at soaking Sparks. No, I wasn’t just bad – I was fucking terrible. I’d use Deterrence too early and it would wear off before I hit the last Spark. Over our first two raid nights this happened a lot. Way too much. In my eagerness to help, I was only succeeding in killing myself half the time. I felt awful and like a complete and total failure. Hearing our raid leader sigh and say “Please rez Jasyla” so many times was terrible. Thankfully, I got better. Actually, that’s probably not the truth of it. The thing that made the biggest difference was that our controlled killing of Rages got much better. They died closer together, Sparks spawned closer together, Hunters were able to get them all without the need for backups. By our latter attempts I only occasionally had to soak 1 stray Spark on its own, and that I could handle.

If I can put aside my Spark shame for a moment, I’m pretty happy with how I did on our actual kill. (However, if you’re watching our kill video, ignore the part where I need a rez). I felt really useful. My healing was good. I never stopped moving as I bounced between our two Strength tanks, healing them up when they soaked a Spark. I was able to do a couple million damage with HotW during one of the break periods (in between running between the Strength tanks). I picked up Mass Entanglement and helped to control the first set of Rages after each break, affording our Mages some more dps time on the boss before they had to start CC’ing. I used Ursol’s Vortex to help CC later on. I even soaked a stray Spark (on purpose, without it killing me).

It was certainly a rough ride, but I’m so happy we managed to complete this really challenging fight. I feel more confident and more excited about entering T15 with Heroic Will under our belts. 

Healing Tips for Mogu’shan Vaults (Part 2)

Here some tips on how to heal the last 3 encounters in MSV, including the best time to use cooldowns and which talents, glyphs and symbiosis targets are optimal for each fight. Tips for healing the first 3 bosses, along with some general advice can be found in my last post.

Spirit Kings

The Spirit Kings fight is mainly about your raid avoiding damage. The damage on this fight is low – if people are getting caught my the bosses abilities they will likely die immediately, they can’t be healed through things like Annihilate, Flanking Orders or the most damaging Volley. This fight also only requires one tank.

While Qiang the Merciless is active, healing requirements are low. The whole raid will take a bit of damage from Massive Attacks, but it doesn’t happen that often and doesn’t hit that hard. The other damaging attacks during this phase (Annihilate and Flanking Orders) will kill anyone caught in them immediately.

When Subetai the Swift is active, you’ll be doing more spot healing. People caught in the first round or two of Volley will need some quick heals (though if they get caught in the 3rd round they’ll die) and those hit with Pinning Arrow will also need some heals until they are freed.

When Zian of the Endless Shadow is up, damage is low of people are properly spread out. If not, some group healing will be needed.

The healing requirements go up slightly when Meng the Demented is active – Maddening Shout can bring your whole raid fairly low on health and dps seem to like to hurt themselves with Cowardice. 

Talents

Level 60 – SotF or Incarnation

I think both of these talents have their strengths on this fight. Soul of the Forest is nice while Qiang or Meng is up to heal people up more quickly with WG. However this is  a movement heavy fight, so the utility of Incarnation is good too.

Level 90 – Heart of the Wild

The healing requirements on this fight are fairly low but the dps requirements are higher. This is also a long fight, so I love HotW for this. You can use this twice during the fight and put out some respectable damage on the boss.

Symbiosis

There are a few decent choices for this. You could use it on a Shaman so you can cast Spiritwalker’s Grace before you use Tranquility. If you have people who like to stand in Flanking Orders or Volleys, you could use it on a Priest for Leap of Faith. If you have a habit of standing in the bad you could use it on a Mage for Ice Block (or just stop standing in bad).

Cooldowns

Tranquility -This is a long fight so you should be able to use Tranq 3 times. I will generally use it near the start of the fight, after Massive Attacks. When Meng is up it is great after a Maddening Shout, when your raid is low on health.If Ziang or Subetai are up, the damage will really depend on how good your raid is avoiding it, so just use it when a number of people get low.

Heart of the Wild – I like to use this at the beginning of the fight while Qiang is up, then do kitty dps. Use it again when it comes off cooldown, though if Meng is up, you may want to wait.

Ironbark – There’s not really anything in this fight that makes the tank take more damage, so there’s no real best time to use this. I try to use it on the tank when people are going to be moving (Flanking Orders are about to come through the raid, Pillage is about to happen, etc.)

Elegon

Elegon is a really fun, and often challenging fight to heal. First, a tip for any healer or ranged – if you stand just on the outer lip of the Energy Vortex you just have to jump to clear your Overcharged stack. Once you get the positioning down, you can clear your stacks often without any downtime.

Phase 1 has spiky damage on random players throughout (from Arcing Energy), large amounts of damage that hit the whole raid (from Stability Flux and Total Annihilation) and the tank damage can also get dicey as the tanks’ Overcharged stacks build up. There is also a magic effect applied to players that reduces healing taken that should be dispelled. I try to be conservative with my mana during the times when Protectors are not out and doing a ton of raid damage. When the Protectors reach 25% health, then you’re going to want to start casting a lot of raid heals – get Swiftmend down under the ranged or melee group, cast WG on cooldown, spot heal with Rejuvs and Regrowths. You want to make sure that people are at safe levels of health before Total Annihilation goes off. Mushrooms can be set up pre-pull along with during downtimes and Bloomed when the Protectors die.

In phase 2, the raid damage is very predicatable. When Energy Charges die, they blow up and damage the whole raid. This is the only damage going out during this phase. Just make sure people get topped up after each Charge explosion so they can handle the next one. There isn’t a whole lot of healing needed here, so I generally try to throw out a few Moonfires and Wraths in order to help get the later round of Energy Charges down.

The beginning of phase 3 has no raid damage. When the Pillars appear I will switch into cat form and help dps one of the pillars (I use cat instead of casting spells so I don’t spend any mana). The raid will not start taking damage until a pillar is killed. Once that happens, you’ll need to start healing the people on your side, and will need to heal the tank who is picking up Sparks.

The last phase of the fight is basically a dps race, with the entire raid taking increasing amounts of damage. This is when you need to do as much raid healing as possible and chained cooldowns come in handy.

Talents

Level 60 – Soul of the Forest

Initially I used Incarnation for this fight, but I now find that the damage patterns suit Soul of the Forest really well. Whenever a Protector is dying, you’ll want to follow up a Swiftmend with a WG to get people healed up as quickly as possible. If the Protector is not out when your SM is off cooldown, follow it up with a Rejuv or a Lifebloom application on the tank to maximize the healing there. In Phase 2, try to time a SM > WG for after the round of Energy Charges die.

Level 90 – Nature’s Vigil

While the damage from Heart of the Wild can be extremely handy during phase 2, the timing of the fight means that you’ll likely only get to use this once. So I prefer Nature’s Vigil. There are many times when the extra healing is useful and you can likely use this 3 times during the fight.

Symbiosis

I like to use Symbiosis on a Monk or DK for this fight so I have more damage mitigation abilities.

Cooldowns

Tranquility – You should be able to use this 3 times during the fight. You can use it while a Protector is dying during phase 1 (both before 85% and for the next phase 1), and then again during the last phase.

Nature’s Vigil – Like Tranq, you should be able to use this 3 times during the fight. You can follow the same strategy for this spell as for Tranq.

Ironbark – Use this on a tank when they are tanking the boss and their Overcharged stacks are getting high.

Will of the Emperor

This is a long fight. For the most part, the raid doesn’t take too much damage, but the tanks take a major beating so most of the healing should be focused on them. Keep a full stack of Lifebloom and a Rejuv on your tank along with a steady stream of direct heals. Unless the raid’s doing something really wrong, I find I don’t have to do a lot of raid healing aside from tossing out WGs once in a while. I also try to keep a Rejuv up on the other tank and the people on the Strengths. The only exception to this is when Titan Gas is happening. Then the raid will need a lot of healing and the tanks will be taking extra damage as well.

Talents

One thing I really like about being a Druid on this fight is that I feel our talents  let us help out a lot with controlling the Rages.

Level 45 – Typhoon

Typhoon is very handy for knocking back Rages when they get too close to the ranged group. I used this ability 30 times over the course of the fight on my first kill.

Level 60 – Incarnation

Since this fight is so long, I find the utility and mana benefits that come from Incarnation outweigh the benefits of the other talents. Use ToL often (you should be able to get in 4 uses if you use it early).

Level 75 – Ursol’s Vortex

This is also very handy for dealing with Rages. You should be able to use this spell every second time they spawn. Place it between the Rages and the ranged group.

Level 90 – Nature’s Vigil

The extra healing output from this is very helpful for tank healing, and you should be able to use it 4 times over the course of the fight.

Symbiosis

On this fight I’ll generally go with a Monk so I can use Fortifying Brew during the Titan Gas.

Cooldowns

Tranquility – This is best used during Titan Gas. You’ll only be able to use it on every 2nd one.

Incarnation – Not much goes on at the start of the fight, so use this the first time when the bosses come out. Get LB stacks rolling on both tanks and get as many free Regrowths as possible. The 15% increased healing helps too. Use ToL whenever it’s available after that.

Nature’s Vigil – I recommend using this right after Incarnation each time.

Ironbark – The tanks take a beating, so make sure you’re using this as much as possible. I like to put Ironbark on my tank before I start channeling Tranquility during Titan Gas. Outside of that, just time it so you can use it often. The only bad time to use it is when the boss is doing Devastating Combo, as the tank should not be taking damage then.

Happy healing!