Snapshot of a Heroic Guild

I started this post by calling it something more technical, more in line with my normal blogging tendencies: Applying to a Heroic Guild. Then I thought, by Elune, how bloody pretentious. I’m not a GM of a heroic guild. I didn’t exactly go through a traditional guild process when applying to my guild. And I’ve already given advice about how to apply to a guild and what to expect. That doesn’t change just because you’re shooting for heroics.

When I really thought about why I felt a post was warranted in the first place, it’s because I wanted to address some of the things that bother me in our applications. Those things that make me think “You’re in the wrong place buddy.” Heroic raiding, like raiding itself isn’t for everyone, but if you’re considering, thinking, contemplating joining a raiding guild, there’s some things you need to consider before filling out that application, because all heroic mode guilds are not the same.

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10-Man Healing Team | Heroic Yor’sahj

This is not intended as a comprehensive example of all viable healing solutions for this encounter. These strategies were utilized by the Production Company healing team, and hopefully, will provide a starting point for starting a discussion about your healing model for the encounter! 

Yor’sahj the Unsleeping is an early healing/DPS check for your team. While we’re not as concerned with kill priority in terms of making sure we’re running in the right direction, knowing what combinations you get will help you plan your healing strategy appropriately. For this encounter, we utilized 1 tank and 2 healers, although this may vary based on your raid composition.

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Minipost: Taking Advantage of Your Roster

We’re still working on Heroic Rag, don’t worry! Although we’ve been hitting Phase 4 with some regularity, our time their has been so minimal that great changes are not in the works yet. However, we’ve been doing our best to make the other phases as clean as possible. One of our biggest “concerns” was reducing our meteor down to one: who wants more things to run with than you have to, right? Many times it’s been close, but there’s still that oomph missing.

So last night, we let the tree push the transition. The last 3-4 attempts we’ve been down to 2 of our 3 person healing roster, so I’ve been dropping the feathers and back in full HoT season. Although I’ve been speeding up my companions on 1/2 of the seeds drops since the beginning, the rest has been fairly routine healing type things. Last night, we tried an experiment: how much damage can Terrielle pump out in Tree form? I usually pop tree form immediately prior to the first trap pop, and in the 2nd seed drop of phase 2. Last night, I popped tree immediately on entry and at the start of phase 3.

According to my sources, I was doing around 16k in damage during those times. Not too shabby. And we did push into phase 4 with just one meteor. I won’t be doing the phase 1 tree dps, but will continue to do the big push in phase 3. While I need to do some reforging since spamming wrath takes up a bit more mana than I’m used to (omg, spirit plx) I think we’ve found a successful way to short circuit a dps check!

Am I Ready for Heroics?

If you’re asking this question it’s because you don’t trust that nifty little average iLvL in your character pane, and I can’t say that I blame you!

However, I got tired of gearing different combinations of classes and specs in Rawr to find out exactly what each class needed, so the following is a rough approximation for those who aren’t sure if they’re close enough or not.

Check Your Gear

Assuming that you have managed to understand the basic stat priorities for your class then the easiest thing you can do is hover over each little piece in your inventory pane and check its iLvL. You should have no more than three pieces that are less than 333. Why three? Ok, so maybe it is a bit random, but I’m assuming that you will have problems getting either rings or trinkets, and this gives you some wiggle room.

If you have more than three pieces under iLvL 333, do you have any pieces greater than 333? As long as your under 333 pieces aren’t lower than 316, you should be ok if you have some stronger 346 pieces to balance them out.

And before you ask — yes, you can kit entirely in 333 level gear without stepping foot into a heroic or buying anything with Justice Points. It’s called Quests, Regular Dungeons, and Reputation. The fastest way to upgrade gear if you’re sitting at 85 and waiting to do heroics is to run normal dungeons. You get Justice Points, and Reputation which have some of the better (346 level) gear available before heroics/raids.

Is your gear gemmed with at least +30 gems? If not, do this.

Do you have at least half of your gear enchanted? If not, do this. If you can’t stand (or afford) to enchant your entire kit which you are hoping to replace in the next couple of days, make sure that you enchant your weapon, offhand, and pick up the reputation enchants (head/shoulder). Those should give you the best stat bonuses regardless of class/role.

Check Your Stats

Health is honestly the best eyeball indicator on whether or not you are ready to step into a Heroic — if you don’t have enough, you’re either fibbing about your gear level or wearing the wrong type for your class. Healers and DPS should have about 80,000 health when they begin heroics, and tanks should be sporting at least 115,000. Mana users should be running between 55,000 and 60,000 mana.

I will warn those reading this, even this early in the cycle, you may get flak for sporting these numbers; however, they should be solid in terms of ability to complete the dungeon IF you are properly following the mechanics of the fight, and your group is utilizing CC and abilities for things like damage reduction, etc. If you have a group that is “too good” for basic good play, then you might find yourself unable to keep up.

Yes, Yes, but What’s the DPS Requirement?

Finally, as much as I hate throwing out a minimum DPS number, since fight mechanics and actually doing something other than DPS may negatively impact numbers, in general, a minimum of 5,000 DPS should be sustainable. If you’re playing with a dummy, and the best you can eek out is 5,000, then it likely means you need more practice and/or gear before entering a heroic dungeon since almost every encounter, from trash to boss, requires players to be involved in non-DPS maneuvers (running out of the fire) or assisting (CC, emergency healing, etc.)

In the end, whether or not you are ready for heroics depends almost entirely on you. Do you have the best gear you can lay your grubby little hands on? Have you taken the best care that you can with your gear, and made it sparkle with gems and enchants? If the dungeon finder tool is queuing you for heroics and you haven’t horribly messed up your stat allocation, then you can do it! But, it can definitely be painful!

Good luck with your heroic journeys, and if you take my sage advice (haha!) and find that I’m in error, come back and let me know so I can correct things for the next band of hardy adventurers.

 

Your First Cataclysm Heroic

You’ve run every dungeon on normal, and just gotten your iLvL up sufficiently to run a heroic–Congratulations and Good Luck! Cataclysm heroics are a class above what you have become used to in Lich King heroic encounters, with the tank grabbing everything, the dps AoE’ing the mobs into the ground, and the healer in the back casting a few hots to keep everyone up. In order to make your first Heroic a mite easier, make sure you’re prepared, and ready to take on the challenge!

Preparation

  • Bring food.
  • Bring bandages.
  • Wear your best possible gear.
  • If you have sockets, gem them. The cheapest option is the +30 cuts, which have been running about 30g on my server. This is a great investment for stats for gear you’re hoping to replace soon.
  • If you have enchanting mats lying around, enchant the pieces that you suspect you’ll be keeping the longest.
  • Reforge. It’s fairly cheap and easy to stack up your stats more to your liking.
  • Check out a gear list for your class so you can continue to upgrade pieces from quests and crafters. Just because it’s heroic, doesn’t mean it’s the best!

In the Dungeon

General Notes

  • If your healer is drinking, and you’re low on health, you should be too.
  • If your healer is low on mana during an encounter use a bandage.
  • If you have stat food or pots, now’s the time to use them, especially if you’re low on a cap, such as hit or expertise.
  • If you have a warlock, get a healthstone and soulstone.
  • Make sure you have all available buffs applied. See the buffs/debuff listto make sure everyone is contributing.
  • If you have a mage, make sure a table is put down. Don’t forget that moving while summoning puts the table on cooldown, so don’t be a goof.
  • Pets are awesome. Uncontrolled pets cause havoc. Better to have your pet on passive than to pull an extra add pack.
  • Do not chain pull.

On Trash

  • Mark targets. From a boomkin/resto druid perspective, tank threat feels solid, but not rock solid. You can lose threat juggling between dps on multiple adds. You’re also more likely to die the longer the fight goes on. Save everyone some work, and mark the kill order.
  • AoE is a situational ability. Plan to single-target dps most groups into fine dust.
  • Use crowd control. Seriously. If you’re not sure what your CC abilities are, or how to mark for the classes in your group, check out the Bossy Pally’s Compendiumon the subject. If you choose to ignore crowd control, in a win-win situation your healer will be OOM every trash pull. In most situations, you wipe.
  • Be prepared to move, even on trash. There’s a lot of fire and ick on the floor, even with trash, so everyone–healer, tank and dps–should be prepared to move out of damage attacks. If you’re not the tank, and you’re taking damage, you’re probablyin something bad and should move.
  • Healers cannot keep you at 100% all the time. Those massive mana pools = health for the tank. You see how big the tank’s health pool is? That means there is little room for error, and extraneous damage on ANY fight from trash to boss = death.

On Bosses

  • Know the boss abilities. If you’re like me, you go into things blind. Expect to wipe. If you don’t want to wipe, and don’t know the strategy, download Deadly Boss Mods–it’s got a 5-man feature that works great. If someone knows a strategy and wants to explain — let them. Sheesh.
  • Kill adds. You are not going to zerg the bosses down. When adds appear, they need to be killed 99.9% of the time. ALL dps will need to stop hitting the boss, trust me, no one cares about the meters when they’re dead.
  • Read the boss’ buffs and your debuffs. Boss encounters are often finangled to give the boss a short or long-term buff, or a party member a short or long-term debuff that can drastically change the scope of the encounter. I’ve found this is especially true for tanks — boss buffs and player debuffs are being used to create “kiting” phases.
  • Healer mana = soft enrage. Your healer can be out of mana for three reasons:
    1. They’re panicking and overhealing
    2. Someone stood in the bad, and was saved
    3. The fight went on too long.

    Generally, the second and third are the case. #2 can easily lead to #3, so it’s very important that all party members avoid “bad” mechanics as much as possible, including the healer!

  • Be prepared to move. Blizzard loves to make us run, and boy are we ever. The days of the stationary boss fight are pretty much over.
    • Tanks: If you don’t use your mouse, at a minimum, know how to strafe. You should never, ever turn your back on the boss.
    • DPS: Know which abilities you can use on the move to keep the DPS rolling as you re-position.
    • Healers: Know which spells you can cast on the move so you don’t lose someone on a rapid retreat. Prioritizing heals is paramount.
    • All: Don’t forget that you can run THROUGH the boss — he’s not solid after all!
  • Use your cooldowns! If you are not using every single cooldown on your bar every boss fight, ask yourself why not?! Some are pretty specific, and you just don’t need them, but anything that reduces damage (and you took it), increases dps (and you dps), or increases healing output (and you heal) should be used. What are you saving ‘em for? The apocalypse?

Done correctly, a heroic will run less than an hour, done poorly, and you can be spending the better part of your evening banging your head against the wall, not to mention spending a small fortune repairing gear. While some death is to be expected as people learn new encounters, preparation and common sense can save your group a ton of headaches!