Friday, September 4, 2009

Your Guide to Healing Ulduar: General Vezax

I was reading around about the hard mode for Vezax this week and I stumbled across a couple of hidden posts that reccomended Holy Paladins to heal this fight in their Holy gear but spec’d prot. I did some casual Theorycrafting and realized that for this fight only 4 of my Holy tree talents really helped me heal this fight more effectively and there were about 7 Prot tree talents that improved healing for this fight. I tried this tactic last night, and for the first time at the end of this fight I actually had mana left over (even with a brand new healer).

Lets look at the specific talents that make the Prot tree worth using.

#1 – Touched by the Light . first and foremost this is the talent you are spec’ing for. You don’t really need anything beyond. Since I spend about 95% of the fight casting FoL on the MT I was amazed at how much this improved healing. I went from criting for about 6k even to hitting him for 7.5k a crit. And with Sacred Shield up my crit rating was around 85% for FoL. The additional spell power also makes it nice as several other talents in the prot tree increase stamina.

#2 – Divine Guardian – 1 minute Sacred Shields are amazing. So much so that if I felt FoL was worth using in any other fight I would totally spec into this for raid. Not just longer shields though it also will stay up a bit longer since it absorb’s a bit more damage. The combo of these two talents alone changes the dynamic of this fight. Instead of consistently needing green pools to keep my mana up I was much less dependent on them. To the point that I used them twice and only did the 6th stack method and I still had about 6k mana left when Vezax died.

The rest of the talents in my opinion don’t matter. In the prot tree just pick anything that increases healing/crit/stamina and your golden. Then you can either spec into the Holy tree (remember Illumination doesn’t work so don’t waste the talents) to increase your amount healed or you can go into the Ret tree to get some more crit. I found that my crit rating was exactly the same in prot as it is in holy.

Tried and true it made healing this fight about 60% easier. Not EZ-mode, but considerably easier. Factor this into the strategies listed below.

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Another very difficult fight to heal through. Where Mimiron was all about avoiding damage and moving cleanly, Vezax is about healer communication. We read all the strats on this one and we only found one that really works well.

Abilities that effect healing -

1. Aura of Despair – No mana regen whatsover… No Divine Plea, no Blessing of Wisdom procs, no Illumination crits, mana pots, innervate etc…. for a paladin you truly will not be gaining any mana back on your own at all. Sucks to be a healer on this fight.

2. Shadow Crash – There are 3 examples of this in the trash pulls right before Vezax (the big faceless ones). A huge arcing shadow bolt starts from the boss and targets one raid member and arcs to the place where they are standing. If you don’t move it hits for around 7k and knocks you out of range. Since this fight is all about maximizing heals for mana, then you or other raid members being hit by this is not good. Just strafe left or right, or run towards the boss. Because of the nature of the arc, understand that the closer you are the faster it will get to you. DO NOT STAND IN THE BLACK MARKS LEFT BY THIS.

3. Mark of the Faceless – A life leech debuff that leaches 5k hit points from raid members within 15-20 yards. It does not do damage to the person who has it. Also, for every tick that it hits for 5k, Vezax is healed for 100k health. So 10 ticks of this debuff will heal for 1 Million health. This ability is maddenly frustrating because you will watch your least experieinced raid members heal the boss for a ton in seconds…

4. Surge of Darkness – This is where our strat differed from everything else we read. We did not have the tank kite the boss until towards the end of the fight to help us conserve mana. We had a DK stand there and rotate cooldowns and never move the boss unless to get in range of a downed saraonite vapor. When he surge’s he will be taking extra damage and will require close concentration by healers.

5. Saronite Vapors – your mana regen method. When one of these green gasses dies, it leaves a large pool on the ground that you gain 1 stack of a debuff for every second you stay in it. It is shadow damage, BUT DO NOT USE SHADOW AURA. (I will explain*) As you take damage from the debuff you will gain mana. You can take 6 stacks (wait for the stack to actually say “6″) without much in healing. But the key is to get to that 7th stack without dieing (you will need a heal at the 5th and 6th stack). Taking 7 stacks will give you plenty of mana back. There are only 8 of these so using them in a timely and orderly fashion is key. This takes a higher level of healer communication than most guilds are used to.

*Shadow aura seems to give you a greater chance of FULLY RESISTING the tick of the debuff. If you FULLY RESIST it, you will not get the mana from it. You want to make sure you get the mana.

Primary Objectives

If you have a good group of people that can avoid shadow crashes and can manage to not hit people with Mark of the Faceless, then congrats! Your job is way easier, you ONLY HAVE TO HEAL THE TANK (and maybe yourself depending on how you do the green stuff)

1. Heal the tank – if you don’t kite him, he will need extra heals during surge. If you do kite him, then pay attention to distance. We stopped kiting cause the tank would always get hit on the run and then we’d be running to catch up and heal and by the time we would start casting something BAM, he’s dead.

2. Use Sacred Shield and Flash of Light – with this combo i was criting almost 75% of the time on FoL, which fully raid buffed was hitting for almost 6.5k a heal. This along with other heals was plenty to keep him alive. I used Holy Light about 20 times in the fight during Surge’s and when I had my Divine Illumination on. I got in the habit of popping Divine Illumination, then casting my wings (Avenging Wrath) and then hitting the tank with Sacred Shield. That way the costs of those abilities were lower. I think in a 9 minute fight if I used it during the first surge I could use it 3 times.

3. Regen Mana on a Healer Rotation – with three healers we would have two healers on tank at start of fight with the third healer doing nothing. Not healing ANYBODY. When one of the two healers would get close to 60% mana, we would call out “Need green goo soon”. A dps would find an appropriately placed vapor and then tell us he was downing it. The lower mana healer would then go and refill. The off healer that was sitting doing nothing, now steps in and main heals the tank. Once a healer got full mana, then a dps would down another green goo. We frowned heavily upon casters using up our mana*, and tried to have only the minimum of 4 ranged during the fight (which is only 1 dps beyond the healers)

*The reason we don’t want more than one person in a green thing is two-fold. If a close by raid member gets Mark’d or Crash’d then the healer would have to adjust, run away or who know what totally negating their ability to regen mana. Its better to just any caster dps fend for themselves and keep your big dps in the melee.

4. Decide on 6 or 7 stacks – hotly debated by our guildies, but getting 7 stacks is the best way to regen mana. It is also though the riskiest. At the 6th stack you take 6,400 damage which at that point will be a total of 12,600 damage up to that point. Totally easy, and it won’t kill you (unless you get crash’d or someone ticks your health with a mark). Now here is where it gets tricky… the 7th stack will do 12,800 damage, so without a heal you will probably die. That will be a cumulative total of 25,400 damage if you don’t get a single heal. If you heal on the 5th, 6th and 7th stack, you will be fine. The way I started doing this with ease, was to jump into the goo and beacon the tank and then just spam FoL myself after the 5th stack. It might seem like a waste, but that 7th stack will give you 6,400 mana. It is SO worth the time saved of jumping out after 6 stacks and then repeating, but IT IS VERY RISKY.

5. Don’t save cooldowns – no really, be liberal with them here, use Aura mastery whenever its up, pop your auto-crit every time its up, pop trinkets every time they are up, bubble yourself and put hand of sacrifice on the tank during surge. Anything that potentially saves you mana, is worth using. I also got used to “queuing” heals. If you don’t have a ton of haste, it is easy to start casting a heal, and then staring at the tank to see if he gets hit, if he doesn’t, then move real quick and recast. By doing this you won’t overheal as much, but if your haste is too high, you will have a hard time stopping before the heal gets off.

6. Don’t use Judgements or Holy Shock (unless in emergency) - While I love holy shock and constantly scream at fellow pally healers when I see them spamming 75 FoL’s in ignis, during this fight it is best to not use. It is horribly mana efficent, and my FoL crits were very close in total amount healed, and you save 350 mana. I had to literally take this off my bar so I would stop twitch casting it. And the extra haste from Judgements if you read #5 and try to do that will actually hurt you more than help.

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