Today I’m following on from my previous post on healing Zon’ozz 10-Normal with two healers to talk about Ultraxion, the next fight in Dragon Soul which is a real challenge for healers. One of the important things about Ultraxion as a fight is that it has an extremely strict enrage timer, and swapping out a healer for a DPS can give a guild the edge that’s needed on a fight like this. For certain, though, it will make the healer’s lives tougher. On one hand, underhealing Ultraxion is definitely possible thanks to the insane buffs that are given to the healers during the fight. On the other hand, Ultraxion can be terribly unforgiving if you’re doing it wrong!
Firstly I’m going to repeat the general points I mentioned in my first post, since they apply equally well to Ultraxion as they do to any other fight you’re under-healing. Following that, I’m going to be putting in as many tips as I can under different headings for different people; healers, tanks and DPS, crystal assignment strategies, and Resto Shaman specific tips.
Important Points in general
1) Don’t rely on the extra DPS making the fight easier for you. It will, but if you’re relying on it you probably can’t take the hit to your healing team in the first place
2) Organize your Healing team so that you know who will be dropping cooldowns and approximately when – make sure everyone is able to communicate via [your favourite VoIP service] and routinely does so. Communication is key to success in low-healer setups and you are extremely likely to fail if you all drop your CDs at the same time.
2.5) Discussing before the pull if and when each of you will be easing up to regen mana is also important. It lets the other person know when they should be watching out for extra health dips. We didn’t find this so useful on Zon’ozz but on Ultraxion this is a must.
3) Make sure your healers know that you will be 2-healing it, and that your DPS are aware that should they do something stupid [like not standing in the nice swirlies] they will die and be laughed at forever.
4) Don’t ever panic. Panics lead to wipes.
5) Designate a person to stack on so that everyone knows where they should be. It’s best to make this someone who doesn’t usually stand in fire.
6) Sometimes your raid will be using tactics which make it more difficult for you as healers to do the encounter. Talk to your raid leader about your problems and see if you can work out a strategy which works better for you. Good example; ooze kill orders on Yor’sahj the Unsleeping.
Strategies for Ultraxion
OK so the first major thing from a healer’s perspective is that the damage happening during the fight will increase over time, once per minute. That has the nice effect of splitting the fight into five separate phases for the healers, each of which can be handled differently. Another way of looking at these (which is equally valid) is the crystal phases; none, red, green, blue. I prefer to think in terms of the crystals, but you might find it easier otherwise.
Since the damage is extremely predictable in this fight, you can very easily moderate your healing in the initial few stages to compensate for the increased burst you’ll need later. I found that just sitting there with Healing Rain on 100% uptime was enough to keep everyone topped in the first minute of the fight, and it will be similar for everyone else. As the damage increases over time, respond accordingly: you shouldn’t have to hit any “oh snap” buttons until right at the end of the fight. On the other hand, you can also organize with your partner to swap around – one taking the chance to put out some higher healing and the other taking a regen period at the same time. This can work well in conjunction with the crystals and your healer setup.
In this fight in particular, it pays dividends to think carefully about when each healer can take slack on behalf of another – For example, healer 1 might make a larger effort before the Red Crystal drops in order for healer 2 to take over straight after they gain the red buff. This way, you don’t lose any healing but the balance of effort lines up nicely with other mechanics in the fight.
Once you get to the four minute mark, the incoming damage will start becoming severe – that means it’s time to start thinking about maximised rotations. Get as much HPS out now as you can! Finally, once Ultraxion gets to ~20% health, you will want to start blowing cooldowns, raidwalls, whatever. Organize this well; decide upon a set order and have one person announce each. My advice would be to start with non-healer cooldowns, then move on to healer cooldowns – barrier, link, etc.
To give an example of this, I’ll explain how it worked for us. Myself and our Holy Paladin eventually settled on me taking Red, and him going for Blue. I took it upon myself to provide fairly consistent healing throughout the fight as a stabilizing measure, letting my team-mate do the spiky bits. We started out equally sharing the burden until the Red dropped; I popped Tide and took up the slack while my buddy took the opportunity to relax a little before the Green. Once Green dropped, my buddy suddenly picked up (burning mana in the process) and I popped small offensive cooldowns for some regen. As we neared the end of the fight, I came back into the healing in time for my partner to pop wings (I think) before the real damage happened. Once Blue dropped, we both took up our maximum healing rotations and started popping cooldowns to get through the end of the fight. The net result was 35k HPS on my side and 45k on his side, mine smooth and his very spiky, just as planned.
Tanks and DPS
Short one, this! Everyone has some form of survivability cooldown. If it’s 2-minutes or under, pop it about a minute into the fight and then again on cooldown. Your healers will thank you for that! If it’s over a minute, save it until the non-healer cooldowns happen near the 20% mark.
Tanks; use those mitigation cooldowns liberally – not doing so makes Thrall’s unborn babies cry.
Crystal Assignments and Strategies
I’m going to regret saying this, but if you are healing with a Holy Paladin – they get the Blue. Buffed Holy Radiance is insane OP. Just do it, don’t complain. Trust me. From my experience as a Shaman, I found that Blue was best because buffed Chain Heal and Healing Rain are WIN, but Red also gives nice consistent HPS. Of course, Red is a very good choice for any healing class and I’m led to believe that Priests like it a lot. If in doubt, an excellent idea is to put your most consistent HPS healer on the Red and your more bursty on the other two.
Green sucks because it only procs from direct heals. It’s excellent if you’re doing that, but spamming Chain Heal to the exclusion of all else is not only boring but an extreme mana drain. Since you’re two-healing, help yourself to the Blue afterwards.
An important trap to avoid is giving one healer Red and Blue. They may rock because they got the two best buffs, but unless your other healer is insane at maximizing the output from Gift of Life, you’ll have an overall loss since you can’t have more than one of the crystals on each healer.
Tips for Shaman
So in my experience, it’s most important to keep your output very smooth in the first section and simultaneously conserve as much mana as possible for the end of the fight. Keeping Healing Rain on 100% uptime and maximizing Riptide spreading helps a lot, and there’s no shame in waiting for your HoTs to take effect (they usually do most of your overhealing, so work those HoTs!) Weaving in some Telluric Currents regen while your abilities are on cooldown also helps stabilize your mana early on. If you get the Red, sit back and relax until the three minute mark. Your uber buffed heals will carry you for the first half; a Chain Heal here and there helps, but don’t spam (yet).
Speaking of regen, you will want to pop your T13 4-piece buff (and a SP trinket if you use it) early on and spam for some regen from Telluric Currents while benefiting from haste-buffed Healing Rain to compensate for your lack of attention. Again, this will give you a huge amount of mana to play with in the latter half of the fight. You should not do this later than the 3 minute mark – You should have your cooldowns ready to pop again during the last part of the fight. You will really, really be glad of them.
Soon as you get into the second half, use all of that lovely mana you conserved to put your high-HPS rotation into practice. Don’t forget to route your Chain Heal through Riptide targets when appropriate. There’s not much more I can say, really, apart from pop your Link in plenty of time to get the maximum effect – you want the damage reduction to prevent a lot of hard hits so popping it when Ultraxion is ~10% seemed to work for me!
Wow! Well that was a doozie of a post wasn’t it? My next post will be something shorter, and (hopefully) much shorter! Now if only I could channel this kind of energy into writing a report for me degree……