Tag Archives: tortos

Throne of Thunder Retrospective

Yesterday I read Beru’s Tier 15 Resto-spective, and I thought I may as well break my blogging silence and write my own. I’m not going to talk so much about specific bosses or healing, but more about mechanics I enjoyed (or hated) like I did last tier.

The Raid Instance

I’m not a story person, but I did enjoy how the raid instance this tier had a lot of content tied in with it. Isle of Thunder gave backstory around Throne of Thunder and made it seem much more a part of the rest of the game than the raids from the previous tier.

However, I wasn’t too crazy about the 4 section design (a decision which seemed to cater to LFR more than anything else). I found the 1st and 4th sections cohesive, while the middle 2 sort of came out of nowhere and seemed to have nothing to do with Lei Shen or the rest of the raid.

Some parts of the raid were visually interesting and a lot of the bosses were enjoyable. I’d rate Tier 15 about the same as Tier 11. Not nearly as enjoyable for me as Tier 6 (the ultimate in raid content), but better than a lot of tiers.

Healing

Healing as a resto Druid this tier was touch and go. There were fights that made me feel completely ineffective as anything but a dispel-bot (Heroic Horridon), and fights that made me feel like a superhero (Heroic Tortos). To be honest, I enjoyed healing in this tier more before we got buffed. I liked being able to ignore Mushrooms in 90% of situations because they were awful. The 25-man changes to Hymn/Tranq/Revival/HTT made raid bosses even more of a cooldown-stacking game. Healing was a lot more challenging (and therefore fun) before everyone got buffed and we were allowed to upgrade our gear again.

Mechanics

Good things

  • Having other things to do. Example: Horridon’s pink dinos, Twins’ constellation drawing. I think I’m in the minority when I say I liked the dino mechanic. Mostly I just enjoy having something extra to do during some encounters. Managing healing, dispelling and knocking that dino back felt like a juggling act, which I found interesting.
  • Pick your poison bosses. Example: Megaera, Council, Lei Shen. I like council-type fights that let each raid group choose how they’d like to tackle the fight. On Megaera, you could never kill the Poison head so you wouldn’t have to deal with the AoE damage, but have to deal with increased damage from the other heads. Or you could cycle through killing each head so damage was more uniform. Giving players some control over how the fight works makes things more engaging.
  • Novelty. Example: Tortos’ crystal shells. The addition of this one mechanic made Heroic Tortos completely different than normal, especially from a healing perspective (and made it the only fight where my HoTs weren’t 50%+ overheal). It’s a mechanic I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. Keep the new things coming.
  • Meaningful dispels. Example: Megaera’s Cinders. These dispels required thought and awareness about the position of the person with the debuff. You didn’t want to dispel someone and have a flame patch drop in melee or on a group of people, but you also didn’t want to leave the debuff up so long that it would kill the person it was on. I also liked that this debuff required action on both the part of the dispeller and dispellee.
  • Awareness checks. Example: Durumu. I really like Durumu’s maze. Sometimes it was a pain to see, but it really did test people’s ability to not stand in the bad. I also really liked the Light Spectrum phase. Having the beams targeting random people and the fog positioning showing up briefly really showed who was paying attention.
  • Group challenges. Example: Ji-Kun nests, Lei Shen transition quadrants. I like when the raid gets separated into smaller task forces. It’s fun to learn to work with a sub-set of your raid to accomplish something in a fight.

Things that need to go away

  • Awful trash. Example: Horridon’s bridge trash, Ji’Kun’s trash. Really, why put people through this? I think it took my raid longer to get through Horridon’s bridge trash than it did to kill Horridon for the first time. This is not the way things should work. Since trash very infrequently has rewards, it should not be so much of a pain in the ass.
  • Mechanics where 1 person can blow up your entire raid. Example: Jin’Rokh’s Ionization. Seriously. This isn’t fun. Not for the person who accidentally kills everyone or anyone else. These mechanics are not conducive to happy raids.
  • Mindless, mass debuffs. Example: Horridon. Dispelling can be an interesting job that requires thought and planning (see above). Or, like on Horridon, it can be an annoyance. Having magics, poisons, diseases and curses going out on large amounts of people at quick intervals is not fun. Dispelling like this just seems like busy work.
  • Fights that require spreadsheets to plan a strategy for. Example: Heroic Ji-Kun, Heroic Dark Animus. Seriously, fights like these make me feel bad for 25-man raid leaders everywhere. Complexity can make fights interesting, but when it involves knowing at exactly what second of the fight every nest activates and which of 10 possible places a guardian will spawn, or assigning all 25 raiders a specific place to stand in a room, it gets to be too much.
  • Fussy positioning. Example: Dark Animus. One person stands a step too far to the right or left on the pull and it’s a wipe. Most wipes on this fight happen right at the beginning, almost always due to positioning or an add running away and it’s more frustrating than challenging.
  • Stay x yards apart. Example: Ji’Kun, Primordius, Iron Qon, Twin Consorts, Lei Shen. This isn’t a bad mechanic, it’s just an overused way to challenge the ranged and healers. And it sucks a lot more for 25s than 10s.

What did you think of Tier 15? What were your most and least favourite things about it?

 

Utility

Just a mini-post of some thoughts I had about Druids while doing heroic Tortos for the first time last night…

People have been pretty down on resto Druids lately, and for good reason. Our output potential is pretty lousy compared to most other healing classes (though it’s amazing how much better we can look on a fight like H. Tortos when overhealing isn’t really an issue). I’ve also seen people complain about our perceived lack of utility. After planning for the fight last night I have to say – we have a ton of utility on the right fight. I had so many ideas about how I could be helpful to the raid.

  • I can put out a ton of healing – Rejuvs on my group will charge the Crystal Shields quickly and efficiently, while still supporting the MT.
  • I can take Faerie Swarm and help to slow Whirl Turtles.
  • I can take Ursol’s Vortex and use them on the bats before the Quake Stomp so they can’t get to the kiter.
  • I can move around quickly using things like Displacer Beast, so I can kick turtle shells.
  • I have a lot of options for Symbiosis. I can use Spiritwalker’s Grace so that I can channel Tranq without having to worry about interrupting it to move out of rockfalls or away from turtles. I could take Iceblock for an immunity. I could take Leap of Faith for if the bat kiter needs grips.
  • I can use my superpower (massive aggro generation) to help make sure the new bats that spawn all go to one place.

Whether it’s reasonable to expect to be able to do all these things along with keep everyone alive I’m not so sure about yet, but this fight really highlights how much utility Druids have.

Another thing that struck me about the Tortos fight was that it’s much less about healing than I thought. I actually think this fight should be easier to heal than normal if everyone is using the shield mechanic correctly. So if you’re planning to tackle this fight soon, make sure you understand it!

Healing Throne of Thunder – Forgotten Depths

Here are some tips for healing the second section of Throne of Thunder as a Resto Druid, including the best time to use cooldowns and which talents and symbiosis targets are optimal for each fight.

First, a few general tips:

  • Feline Swiftness is the level 15 talent that I recommend on most fights.
  • Nature’s Swiftness is the level 30 talent I recommend for any fight. Remember the cooldown is only 1 minute. It makes your next heal instant, 50% bigger and mana-free, so use it often.
  • The major glyphs I usually recommend are: Glyph of Wild Growth, Glyph of Lifebloom and Glyph of Regrowth.
  • For the good of the raid, using Symb on a tank is a good bet in most cases (a Paladin or Warrior would be my last choice since, really, who wants Cleanse or Intimidating Roar on a boss fight?) If you use this on a DK or a Monk, be sure to use IBF or Fortifying Brew during the encounter.
  • Carry lots of Tome of the Clear Mind. Which talents are strongest can change from fight to fight. It you want to maximize your healing potential, you will be changing talents often.

Tortos

Mechanics-wise, Tortos is one of the least complicated fights in ToT, but it does require very good execution and a lot of awareness. The fight involves extremely heavy, spiky tank damage as well as high raid damage at frequent intervals throughout the fight. Throughout the fight your raid will need to deal with Tortos himself along with smaller Whirl Turtles which will spawn and spin around the room and Vampiric Cave Bats.

Here are the major damaging abilities to be aware of:

Tortos

  • Furious Stone Breath is what Tortos uses when he reaches 100 fury. This must be interrupted by kicking a turtle shell at him. If this is channeled on the raid for more than a tick, it’ll be a wipe.
  • Quake Stomp is cast about every 40 seconds and deals raid wide damage along with stunning everyone.
  • Rockfall is something that happens throughout the fight, and more so right after a Quake Stomp. These will appear as blue circles on the ground. These will kill anyone standing in the blue circle, and do moderate damage to anyone within 20 yards.
  • Snapping Bite is the main attack on the tank. It hits for a ton, so it’s best if the tank has a cooldown up for each one. It is also a good idea to have a Pally or Priest as the tank healer so some of the damage can be absorbed.

 Whirl Turtles use only one damaging ability: Spinning Shell, which will constantly spin around the room and knock people around. Getting slows up on the whirl turtles as they spawn makes avoiding the damage much easier.

Vampiric Cave Bats also have one major ability (other than strong melee attacks) to worry about: Drain the Weak. If the Bats’ target is not near full health the attacks will heal the bats. The bat tank needs to be topped up as much as possible. Cooldowns are useful, and stuns on the bats are great.

There’s a lot going on in this fight and a lot of damage to heal. At the start of the fight I like to keep LB rolling on the Tortos tank to help smooth out damage. Make sure the raid is topped up before any Quake Stomp and be prepared to deal with the damage afterwards. This includes having mushroom set up where people are grouped up and getting Swiftmend down under a group of players just before the Stomp hits. Use WG and ample Rejuvs to deal with the continuing damage from Rockfall. As bats are spawning I like to move my LB stack over to that tank.

Talents

Level 45 – I like Faerie Swarm here. If your group is short on slows or one of the turtle gets missed, you can use FS to help out.

Level 60 – Either SotF or Incarnation are useful here, though I prefer Incarnation. The instant RGs are very nice while you’re running around dodging Rockfalls.

Level 75 – Ursol’s Vortex can be placed under or just in front of Tortos as Whirl Turtles spawn to slow the turtles moving though. The pullback aspect of this spell doesn’t work though. If you don’t want to use this (I actually find it of limited value) you can use Disorienting Roar on the bats frequently to give the tank a brief respite.

Level 90 – Either Heart of the Wild or Nature’s Vigil can be used here. There won’t be much of a chance to use the HotW cooldown to help with damage, but the passive Intellect is always good. Nature’s Vigil will allow you to help put out a little damage while also giving you a weak healing boost that can be used pretty much on cooldown.

Symbiosis

I use Symbiosis on a Shaman so I can use Spiritwalker’s Grace before I cast Tranq.

Cooldowns

Wild Mushroom – I set up Mushrooms under the melee and bloom them after Quake Stomps. Spread then out a bit, as melee will also be spreading out due to Rockfalls.

Tranquility – Use after a Quake Stomp. If you have it, use Spiritwalker’s Grace first so you can dodge Rockfalls without having to interrupt the spell.

Incarnation – Use while damage is heaviest – Rockfalls are happening frequently, the bats are out. Keep LBs on both tanks and get out as much group healing as possible.

Ironbark – I save this for the bat tank.

HotW – If you take this, the only time you may be able to use it to dps a little is at the start of the fight.

Megaera

Megaera is a healing intensive fight against a hydra. The goal is to kill 8 of her respawning heads. The fight isn’t too complex but does involve heavy damage to two tanks at once along with very heavy raid wide damage every time a head is killed. There’s also some dispelling to do.

Here are the major damaging abilities to be aware of:

  • Rampage happens whenever a head is killed. This is the biggest source of raid damage in the fight and cooldowns will be needed.
  • Cinders gets applied to a random player and deals heavy damage to them. This must be dispelled, but the target must get out of the raid first, as it leaves behind a fire patch when dispelled.
  • Torrent of Ice targets a random player and chases them with a frost beam that does damage to anyone it touches and leaves damaging frost on the ground. These ground two effects will cancel each other out if placed on top of each other.
  • Acid Rain will target a random player and launch an acid globule at them, doing very heavy damage at the point of impact and less damage as players are further away. Players need to be moving away from this.
  • Tanks also get debuffs from the head they are tanking, necessitating swaps.
  • Each head also does a cone breath attack, but no one but the tanks should be hit by this.

Keep LBs on the tank taking the most damage – fire and poison heads tend to cause more damage than ice. If you are a dispeller, make sure the target has run out of the raid before getting rid on Cinders and put at least a Rejuv on that person as soon as the debuff is applied. Outside of the Rampage, the biggest source of raid damage during this fight is the Acid Rain. Keeping Swiftmend under the melee stack is a good idea and be liberal with your Wild Growth and Rejuvs. 

Talents

Level 15 – Displacer Beast can be very useful on this fight to quickly move out of the group if you get targeted by a frost or fire beam. Alternatively you can use it to get back to the group faster on the way back.

Level 60 – I prefer Incarnation since I find this fight very hard on mana. 

Level 90 – Either Heart of the Wild or Nature’s Vigil can be used here. There won’t be much of a chance to use the HotW cooldown to help with damage, but the passive Intellect is always good. Nature’s Vigil will allow you to help put out a little damage while also giving you a weak healing boost that can be used pretty much on cooldown.

Symbiosis

I use Symbiosis on a tank (preferably a Monk or DK so I get a damage reduction cooldown).

Cooldowns

Wild Mushroom – Set up Mushrooms in the spot the raid will be grouping for each Rampage and bloom during it.

Tranquility – Use during Rampage.

Incarnation – I use this outside of Rampage, so I can keep LB stacks on both tanks and do more reactive healing to poison bolts.

Ironbark – Use on tanks who are taking high damage.

Ji-Kun

Ji-Kun is a really fun fight that involves jumping and flying to platforms to deal with adds, periods of heavy raid damage and a lot of movement and spreading out. You fight Ji-Kun in the center platform, where everyone must be spread out to avoid AoE damage abilities.  Throughout the fight nests around the room, both above and below the main platform, activate and eggs on them need to be killed. My raid assigns one group of 3-4 dps and a healer to handle certain nests each time – one lower and one upper.

Damaging abilities to be aware of:

  • The tank will be taking damage from Infected Talons, a stacking DoT and Talon Rake, which needs tank swaps.
  • Caw sends out sound waves at random players that will do heavy damage to anyone within 5 yards. People need to be spread out for this.
  • Quills is the big raid damaging ability. This happens every minute. It’s best for everyone on the main platform to group up for this, then  spread back out again immediately after it ends.
  • Feed Young, if not intercepted, will leave a slime puddle on the ground which will deal damage over time to anyone who stands in it. However, standing in these for 3 seconds also removes the puddle, so it may be necessary for people to stand in these – preferably tanks or people with immunities/good damage mitigation cooldowns.

You may also have to deal with damage on the nests. If eggs hatch into Hatchlings, they will do light melee damage. If Hatchlings grow into Fledglings they will bombard random raid members with heavy damage.

Druids are a great choice for healing nests on this fight, so a lot of your healing is going to be focused on your group. Keep LB on the active tank while you’re on the platform, but feel free to move it to someone in your group while you’re on a nest. WG and Swiftmend are both great for keeping your nest group healed up since the platform area is so small.

Make sure you have a good handle on when you can use your Feathers to fly. You’ll likely have extra charges and will be able to use one during Down Drafts so you can ignore that whole mechanic. You do not need to use a feather when jumping down from a high nest (there’s no fall damage), so don’t waste charges on that.

Glyphs

You may want to consider replacing Glyph of Regrowth with Glyph of Stampeding Roar for this fight. Using Roar on the raid during Down Draft can be very helpful.

Talents

Level 60 – I prefer Incarnation for this fight. It’s a good cooldown if your group is on a nest during Quills.

Level 75 – Disorienting Roar can be somewhat useful if you’re dealing with Hatchlings in a nest.

Level 90 – Either Heart of the Wild or Nature’s Vigil can be used here. 

Symbiosis

I use Symbiosis on a tank (preferably a Monk or DK so I get a damage reduction cooldown).

Cooldowns

Wild Mushroom – Pre-pull I will jump down to my nest and place Mushrooms so I can bloom them while my group is down there. After that, I’ll try to put them in the center to have them ready to use for Quills. However, if they are in the center and you fly off to a nest, they’re going to despawn because of range.

Tranquility – Use during Quills.

Incarnation – Use so you can keep LBs on your whole group if Quills happens while you’re on a nest.

Ironbark – Use on tanks who are taking high damage.

Stampeding Roar – Use just before Down Draft to help out the raid.

Heart of the Wild – If you take this you can use it while on a nest and help kill eggs/hatchlings.

Happy healing!