Tag Archives: yor’sahj

Dragon Soul Retrospective

We’ve been raiding in Dragon Soul for almost 8 months now. I thought I’d take a look at how enjoyable (or not) the instance was as a healer.

Bosses

My guild cleared the raid on normal within 3 weeks of the instance being released, so I’m mostly going to focus on the hard modes. To give a sense of perspective, I’m including the nerf level the instance was at when we defeated each one.

Morchok

Heroic mode killed pre-nerfs

Morchok was disappointing. The first boss should be the easiest, but not *that* easy. Walking into DS for the first time and one-shotting him was not expected.

In heroic, Morchok wasn’t a whole lot harder, and was certainly easier than a number of the later normal mode bosses. The healing wasn’t particularly difficult, and the Black Blood of the Earth phase was more of an annoyance than a challenge.

Enjoyment factor: 3

Hagara

Heroic mode killed pre-nerfs

Normal Hagara wasn’t tuned to be very difficult, but I did enjoy the components of this fight. I liked that every phase was distinct and that there was a lot of movement (hey, I’m a Druid I like to run around in circles). My biggest problem, which is a complaint I have about most normal modes, was that there wasn’t enough damage to heal.

Heroic Hagara was interesting, but many of the mechanics could be brute-forced. Focused Assault should have made this a 2-tank fight but with enough cooldowns (and a DK) it could be single tanked. Frost phase should have required everyone to run around and dodge Ice Waves but it was easier for all the healers and ranged to stand in the middle and heal through the Watery Entrenchment. The one part of the fight I did find challenging was lightning phase. The damage got pretty intense if the lightning wasn’t quickly chained, and this was definitely a challenge to heal through while learning the fight.

Enjoyment factor: 5

Yor’sahj

Heroic mode killed at 5% nerf

Normal Yor’sahj was a complete bore. It was another fight that we one-shot our first night in Dragon Soul, and to me, it was even easier to heal than Morchok. It’s been a while since I’ve done the fight on normal but I remember there being very little healing to do. I was hard-pressed to even find a time to use ToL and Tranquility because there was so little damage going out through the fight.

The difference between normal and heroic Yor’sahj is night and day. Heroic Yor’sahj is my favorite fight in Dragon Soul. It’s amazing the difference an extra ooze (and a whole lot of extra health and damage) can make. Heroic Yor’sahj is a dynamic fight and required a lot of coordination. It was  really fun and challenging when we started learning it. I remember trying to work out cooldowns for the fight and having 2 groups of CDs to use, based on whether or not purple was up, and calling them out when needed. RNG could make the fight extra challenging as having a red-black-yellow phase followed by a red-black-blue could easily use up all the cooldowns and leave you with none for the next set. I also really loved how each combination required you to heal in a different way. One combo required you to put out as much HPS as possible, while the next required planning and control. The purple ooze was a really nice challenge. Though I never found using ‘tricks’ (like Swiftmending pets) necessary on the fight, I liked how it made me heal differently than normal. Not using Wild Growth is harder than it sounds.

The one downside to Heroic Yor’sahj is that the increasing nerfs really killed everything interesting about this fight.

Enjoyment factor – 9

Zon’Ozz

Heroic mode killed at 5% nerf

I don’t have a strong opinion on the normal version of this fight. It was a step up in difficulty from Morchok and Yor’sahj, but it was rather simple. The biggest difficulties usually came from bugs with the void ball. I did like that the fight involved some dispels, which had been absent through most of tier 12.

Heroic, on the other hand, was a lot more fun. The first phase isn’t too challenging, as long as you had enough people capable of bouncing the void ball without dying. Black blood phase is where things got interesting. There were many adds to deal with and a ton of raid damage going out. What made this part enjoyable for me was that people were spread out all over the room. Where much of the healing in Dragon Soul amounts to “group up in one place and use all your AoE and ground heals,” phase 2 of Zon’Ozz made you do something different. Healers were each responsible for their own group. Since my group consisted of 2 melee, 2 ranged and myself, I got a chance to flex my single-target healing muscles.

Enjoyment factor : 7

Ultraxion

Killed at 10% nerf

This was the epitome of a tank and spank fight and it was pretty dull. The only complication was having to use Heroic Will, and healers got the simplest job of anyone as we didn’t even have to deal with Fading Light.

Heroic Ultraxion, from my healer perspective, wasn’t much different from normal. I don’t have any damage mitigation cooldowns (besides Barkskin, which isn’t really good enough) to allow be to be a soaker, so my job didn’t change. The huge problem with Ultraxion was how inconsistent it was in terms of outgoing damage. The first 3-4 minutes could be easily 2-healed. But once you get to Timeloop, you need 5. The transition from dull to nerve-wracking was jarring.

This fight was interesting for me in one way though. When we were working on this fight at the 5% nerf, it was still a very tough dps check for my raid. This pushed me to put out as much damage as I possible could during the first minutes of the fight when little healing was needed. It was fun to tweak my spec and glyphs in order to do as much damage as possible, while making sure I could still put out as much healing as possible at the end of the fight. A few million damage from a healer could be the difference between a 0.2% wipe and a kill.

Enjoyment factor: 4

Blackhorn

Killed at 15% nerf

I really can’t even remember normal Blackhorn. I have so much time and so many attempts on heroic Blackhorn, I think it has erased all my memories of normal mode. DBM shows I’ve only wiped to this on normal once, so it couldn’t have been too difficult.

Heroic Blackhorn was one of the most frustrating fights in DS for me. First because of how buggy it was. We got to see (or rather not see) invisible monsters one-shoting people on the pull. We had to distinguish between real deck fire and fake deck fire. And I can’t even count the number of times deck fire continued to spawn all over the boat during phase 2, making Shockwaves all but impossible to see and leaving us nowhere to safely stand.

Second, soaking barrages really showed my raid’s flaws in terms of movement. We had so many sub-30 second wipes called after a handful of people died to barrages almost immediately. Blackhorn made it really easy to play the blame game when you ended up dying because you solo-soaked a barrage. Not fun.

The other thing that made Blackhorn less enjoyable was that by the time we got through our kinks in phase 1, phase 2 was a complete pushover. When we killed this at the 15% nerf we really didn’t even need to use our cooldowns properly in order to survive any Roars.

Enjoyment factor: 4

Spine of Deathwing

Killed at 20% nerf

Spine is the first normal fight that provided a healing challenge. The Searing Plasma debuff was something new to worry about and it was fun learning how to deal with.  But once you got beyond that, this fight was very long and repetitive.

Heroic Spine was the most difficult fight in the instance. The healing, even when the fight had been nerfed quite a bit, was very challenging. Combining the debuff, bloods bursting, grips, heavy damage on up to 3 tanks, and the Superheated damage meant the healers not only had to put out enormous healing, but also had to correctly prioritize who they were healing. I actually really enjoy healing this fight, and don’t dislike it as much as a lot of people do. It has it’s downsides – it is too long, and too repetitive, and the difficulty scales up incredibly on the 3rd plate, but I like to be challenged, and this fight challenged me.

The one major thing I would change about this fight is the tendon burn phase. As a healer it’s not something that really effects me, but I sympathize with the dps having to respec and reforge for maximum burst for one tiny portion of the fight. It really disrupted raid continuity.

Enjoyment factor: 7

Madness of Deathwing

Killed at 20% nerf

Like Spine, Madness is very long and very repetitive. The mechanics on normal aren’t terribly interesting. The 4 platforms felt almost exactly the same and that got boring fast.

On heroic, Madness was a letdown. My raid had to work long and hard to get Blackhorn and Spine down, and Madness took about a quarter of the time that Spine did to defeat. Very anti-climactic for the last boss of the expansion. The Impale mechanic was a bit of an annoyance. It seemed like a test of how many damage mitigation cooldowns you could throw at it and as a healer without any, made me feel a bit powerless.

The worst part of the fight for me was that the first 3 platforms were simple, the 4th platform was more challenging to heal, but barring large screw-ups, not too bad. Then the final phase was exponentially more difficult. When learning the fight we were seeing wipes happen around the 12 minute mark. It was very frustrating to have to go through 12 minutes of the fight just to get a little bit more practice on the last phase, which required the most coordination and effort. That said, I do enjoy the last phase of the fight. It’s very stressful to heal – I’m a little in awe of those raids who did this fight at the 5% nerf. After 12 minutes of fighting Deathwing, you’re running low on mana, you’re getting a little tired, and both the tanks and the rest of the raid start taking crazy damage. I felt like the last phase of the fight really pushed me to put out at much healing as I possibly could, pushed the rest of the raid to mitigate as much damage as possible (“use your goddamn Dream!”), and I still breathe a sigh of relief every time we finish the fight.

Enjoyment factor: 5

Atmosphere

I’ve heard many people complain about the recycled environments in Dragon Soul, but I really didn’t have a problem with it. I liked having Wyrmrest Temple as a backdrop for Morchok and Ultraxion, it gave it an epic feeling. Not all the boss areas were as impressive however. Zon’ozz and Yor’sahj were in rather boring areas. I think the two Deathwing fights could have been done much better but at least the environments were unique.

The biggest issue I had with the Deathwing fights was a problem of scale. Fighting on a dragon’s back should have been amazing but the actual fight area and camera angles made it very difficult to tell what was going on. Similarly, Madness was disappointing because you couldn’t really see Deathwing. It didn’t feel like you were fighting an awesome, fear-inducing, world-destroying, dragon because you could only see parts of him at a time – a wing here, a tentacle there. I think it was a huge misstep that we never got to encounter Deathwing in his human form – it’s an amazing model, and we never got to see it. Rades wrote an excellent post about lore disappointments in Cataclysm and how the way Deathwing was presented was one of the most disappointing things. Had Deathwing been better presented (both in character and in the form he takes), fighting him at the end of Dragon Soul would have felt much more exciting. The area where you fight Madness, surrounded by the dragon aspects, is kind of cool when you have the time to look around, but during the course of the fight you really don’t.

Overall

Overall, I’d say that Dragon Soul was okay. There were some disappointing bosses, but there were also quite a few that I found really fun to heal. I like that the environment varied – it was a nice change after Firelands where everything was red (and on fire). The worst thing about Dragon Soul was the nerfs. While I’m grateful for some nerfs (my guild never would have killed a fight like Spine without them), they come too fast and go too far. There were a number of fights – Yor’sahj, Ultraxion, Spine – that I felt we could have killed with just a little more time and effort, then the next level of nerfs came in and they were a cakewalk and much less satisfying to conquer. At 25% we’re pretty much stomping over everything, and next week the nerf is going to 30%. It’s gotten to the point where the mechanics don’t even really matter. One positive thing I can say about Dragon Soul is that I’m not nearly as sick and tired of it as I was of Icecrown Citadel at the end of Wrath. Of course, if you ask me again in another 2 months, that may change.

Heroic Yor’sahj (25)

Heroic Yor’sahj is my favourite encounter to heal in Dragon Soul so far. It has some random elements, so you need to be on your toes. It has periods where everyone takes damage and you need to spam heal your bark off, and it has periods where you need to heal smartly, lest you blow up the raid.

Yor'sahj the Unsleeping

Heroic Yor’sahj was also the first fight I had to help coordinate as the new healing lead for Apotheosis. At first keeping track of everyone’s cooldowns and doing callouts while trying to figure out how to heal the fight myself made my head explode a little, but after a night or two or attempts we had a pretty good grasp on the healing. Here’s how we handled healing assignments and cooldowns, along with some specific tips for healing this fight as a resto Druid.

The Oozes

In heroic mode, you will always have 3 oozes up at a time. Here’s what they do:

Purple – Gives everyone (except pets) Deep Corruption. Every time someone is healed, they get a stack. If they reach 5 stacks they explode, doing massive damage to the raid.

Red – Yor’sahj will cast Searing Blood on 8 random raid members, doing more damage the further away they are.

Green – Yor’sahj will cast Digestive Acid, which does moderate damage to random targets which will splash to everyone within 4 yards of them.

Yellow – Gives Yor’sahj Glowing Blood of Shu’ma which makes him attack 50% faster and use his abilities twice as often.

Blue – Creates a mana void. This will drain everyone’s entire mana pool. When it is killed it will explode and return the mana to everyone within 30 yards.

Black – Spawns small adds which will focus on random targets and use Psychic Slice.

Which Oozes do you kill?

There are only 6 possible combinations of oozes that will spawn.

1. BlackBlueGreenPurple
Kill Black

2. BlackBlueGreenRed
Kill Green

3. BlackBluePurpleYellow
Kill Yellow

4. BlackGreenRed Yellow
Kill Green

5. BlackPurpleRedYellow
Kill Yellow

6. Blue – GreenPurpleYellow
Kill Yellow if no adds are up. If adds are up kill Green.

Healing assignments

The groups were set up like so:

Group 1 – 2 tanks, 3 healers
Group 2 – 5 melee
Group 3 – 1 healer, 4 ranged/melee dps
Group 4 – 1 healer, 4 ranged dps
Group 5 – 1 healer, 4 ranged dps

We had a holy pally and disc priest (in group 1) on the tanks. A second holy pally healed groups 1 and 2. Then we had the other 3 healers (some combination of 2 resto druids/1 holy priest/1 resto shaman) responsible for the group they were in. These healing assignments were very strict for any phase with the purple ooze active. When there was no purple ooze, there was a lot of cross-healing.

COoldowns

There are 6 possible combinations of active oozes you will have to deal with. From most hurty to least hurty, they are:

BlackRedYellow
BlackBlueRed
BlackPurpleRed
BlackBluePurple
Blue – GreenPurple
Blue – PurpleYellow

I set up two separate cooldowns orders based on how much damage was going out and whether or not the purple ooze was active. To make things easier for everyone else, I would track the cooldowns and call for them as they were needed over Mumble.

Black – RedYellow
Black – BlueRed

These are the most hurty combos. Throughput cooldowns are great here, but mitigation helps as well. Good cooldowns for these combos.

  • Aura Mastery
  • Divine Hymn
  • Tranquility
  • Frenzied Regeneration (with 4-set bonus)
  • Vampiric Blood (with 4-set bonus)

For BlackRedYellow the cooldowns had to be chained. For BlackBlueRed the damage is not so intense so they can be spread out more.

BlackPurpleRed
BlackBluePurple

These combos don’t hurt quite so much, but they are difficult because the purple ooze means that AoE healing can’t be used. Here mitigation cooldowns that don’t cause stacks are the way to go:

  • Divine Guardian
  • Shield Wall (with 4-set bonus)
  • Power Word: Barrier
  • Spirit Link Totem

For BlackPurpleRed the cooldowns are chained. For BlackBluePurple you generally will only need 1 or two for the whole phase.

BlueGreenPurple
BluePurpleYellow

No cooldowns are needed.

How to Deal with each Ooze Combo

BlackRedYellow

With this combo you’ve got adds beating on random raid members, and a huge amount of damage coming from the Searing Blood, which is hitting twice as often as normal due to the presence of the yellow ooze. On the bright side, everyone can stack up in the boss’s hit box and you can make the most of group/ground heals.

Cooldowns will be needed with this combination. The cooldowns we use here are:

  • Aura Mastery (we usually have 2 in a row)
  • Tranquility
  • Divine Hymn

We’d use four cooldowns, back-to-back.

Tree tips: Heal all the things! Keep up your maximum throughput rotation: use Swiftmend and Wild Growth on cooldown, keep a LB rolling and fill in the gaps with Rejuv and Regrowth. Use Barkskin.

BlackBlueRed

This combo has damage from adds, searing blood and the raid’s mana gets drained. The damage during this is significant, but not nearly as bad as Black – Red – Yellow above. We use the same types of cooldowns (AM, Tranq, Hymn), but spread them out more. Generally we can get through this phase using only one or two of the cooldowns.

Tree tips: This is a good combo to use Tree of Life on. You can get out a lot of Lifeblooms and Regrowths on OoC procs while your mana is low, and the 15% extra healing helps too. I generally do not use my Innervate on the first blue phase. I will save it for an emergency (like not being close enough to mana void when it dies).

BlackPurpleRed

This combo has pretty heavy damage from the red and black, plus the healers have to be careful because of the purple. Everyone must only heal their assigned groups.

On this combo we use cooldowns which prevent damage and don’t cause stacks:

  • Divine Guardian
  • Power Word: Barrier
  • Spirit Link Totem

We’d generally need to use all 3 cooldowns during this phase. I found Spirit Link to be especially awesome. It was so nice seeing people close to death being brought up to safe levels of health without getting extra Deep Corruption stacks.

Tree tips: When you first encounter the purple ooze it can be a little freaky. You don’t want to be the one who heals too much and blows up the raid. But I have to say: Don’t be afraid to heal (as long as you stick to your assignment). The Deep Corruption debuff only lasts 25 seconds, meaning it will reset midway through the phase. With this combo I will cast a Wild Growth and get an Efflorescence on the ground just before the oozes reach the boss. Once the oozes hit then you need to start being careful. I will generally cast a Rejuv on those in my group who are being targeted by an add and use Regrowth as a spot heal. I will also use Swiftmend when it’s available as Efflorescence causes no stacks. If you want to be really cautious you can cast Rejuv/SM on a pet so you get the benefit on the Efflo without causing stacks on anyone, but I never found this was necessary. Do not use Wild Growth here.

BlackBluePurple

This combo has damage from adds, a mana drain and Deep Corruption. The damage isn’t too bad, but using one or two mitigation cooldowns can be useful. Everyone stays grouped up and healers must stick to their assignments.

Tree tips: This is a fairly easy combo to heal. The tips from Black – Purple – Red above apply here as well.

BlueGreenPurple

This combo is the only one the raid needs to be spread out for. I find the hardest part about this combo is making sure you’re in range of the mana void when it dies while still being 4 yards apart from everyone to avoid splash damage. Other than that, this phase isn’t too tough. Healers must stick to their assignments.

Tree tips: This is a fairly easy combo to heal. I will generally cast a Rejuv on anyone taking damage in my group and use Regrowth if anyone’s health gets too low. Swiftmend is also useful, though usually only one person will benefit from the Efflorescence.

BluePurpleYellow

This isn’t a combo we saw often. It only happened when Blue – Green – Purple – Yellow spawned and there were still adds up from a previous phase. We would kill Green rather than Yellow so that we could stack up to finish off the adds. This isn’t a healing-intensive combo.

Tree tips: This is a fairly easy combo to heal. The tips from Black – Purple – Red above apply here as well.

The Tough Parts

How do you handle mana voids?

When we get a mana void for the first time in the fight, we use all the group mana returns (Hymn of Hope, Mana Tide Totem) after it drains our mana. Then we have 2 hunters work on bringing it down, but don’t kill it until the next time a mana void spawns and drains our mana. This way we get our mana back almost immediately for the second and subsequent blue oozes. Be sure you are in range of the mana void (30 yards) when it is killed, or you get nothing.

Who heals the non-active tank?

We have both our tank healers on the active tank. However, the non-active tank is still taking significant damage from the Void Bolt DoT and any other raid damage going on during the phase. We found the best way to deal with this was to have our raid-healing paladin look after this tank. They have a lot of tricks to use (Beacon, Word of Glory) that don’t cause any stacks.

What happens when the next wave of oozes spawn and there are still adds up?

Run after the dps as they head towards the ooze. Continue to heal the people in your group who are being attacked or they’re going to die.

What happens when you’re out of cooldowns?

This sometimes happens. I have certain cooldowns assigned to more than one ooze combo each. We have, for example, seen a BlackRedYellow, used all of our output cooldowns, then had a BlackBlueRed immediately afterwards. When this happens, you need to improvise. I’d start calling for the damage mitigation cooldowns in this case, then mentally plan ahead for what we’d need and what would be off cooldown for the next hurty phase. A cooldown monitor (like the one in ORA3) is extremely helpful.