There’s some people who can look at a log and recreate a team’s raiding strategy from the ground up. Let’s just say I’m not one of those people. Strategies, for me, are malleable creations that must be forged in the fires of death. However, I’m darned lucky to be raiding with people who love examining parses from other guilds. To compare their logs and our logs, and to see if their strategies will work for our raid team. Not every team releases raid videos, and even those that do can’t really tell you whether that team had X DPS or Y healing output.
So on Monday as we’re standing in front of Ragnaros with 9 players and one of our core healers out, we get the nudge to two-heal.
No, I’m not desperate. I’m saying this is how the fight is meant to be healed.
Since our lovely shaman and I are always up for any suicidal mission, we readily agreed to give it a try. And I’d like to report, that it was awesome. If Ragnaros isn’t a 2-healing fight absolutely perfect for Cataclysm, I haven’t seen one yet.*
(1) Restoration Shaman
(1) Restoration Druid
How It Worked
I’ll be talking primarily about druid healing style during this section as that’s what I play.
Phase One: Traps
For clarity, we assigned the shaman to the tanks and the druid to the raid. Tank healing needed to be highly consistent as even the “off-tank” takes regular damage once the tank swap has been made. Raid healer will be assisting with tank healing as well as stabilizing raid.
The raid assignment, barring injury while lava surfing, is fairly predictable. Random players will get a burst of damage, but otherwise, all damage should come from trap activation. The key here is to not panic and allow players to gradually recover.
For this phase, I kept Lifebloom and Rejuvenation/Swiftmend stacked on the tanks, while raid members received Wild Growth and Rejuvenation/Nourish to keep healing costs low. I did try Tree of Life form in this phase, but found it mostly a ton of overhealing with questionable up-time availability for Phase Two. Lifebloom is really key here as you’ll want plenty of cheap Regrowths. Although using Innervate early (80%) early is always a boon, you really want to make sure you do it here in order to use it again early in Phase Two.
Depending on your last trap placement in phase one, you’ll either be patching up players or twiddling your thumbs. I much prefer the twiddling of thumbs strategy! Players will take heavier damage throughout the phase.
For some reason, our hunter was the one with the highest damage during this phase so he received my Lifebloom. Swiftmend placement was hard to predict, so I just used it as I saw fit. To end the phase, I made sure every damaged raid member had Rejuvenation, and swapped my Lifebloom back over to a tank.
Phase Two: Burning Seeds
The beginning of this phase was the best time for our shaman to drop her Mana Tide Totem. This way, she didn’t sacrifice our protection from fire in a raid-wide damage scenario. This is also a low-damage section of the fight as only the tanks are taking damage. Once the seeds drop, however, all bets are off. Expect heavy raid damage, and plan accordingly! We were getting 2-3 seed drops, but I imagine that it will consistently be 2 on a “normal” night. Drop 1 we used Spirit Link Totem, Drop 2, Tranquility, and Drop 3, Tree of Life.
This beginning of this phase was the best time for me to quietly regenerate mana. Like phase 1, I kept Lifebloom, Rejuvenation and Swiftmend rolling on the tanks, but other healing was not needed until the seeds dropped. For seed collapses, Wild Growth, Rejuvenation/Swiftmend, and Regrowth were my best choices.
Transition: Hammer-Time, Take 2
Tanks will need more consistent healing during this Hammer phase as they are tanking. This increases overall damage for this transition phase, so don’t plan on being able to stand around regenerating mana.
Since we had tanks tanking the Lifebloom went back to a tank. Again, Swiftmend was catch as catch can. Following this phase, the raid does not split, so I tried not to panic and overheal everyone with Rejuvs if they didn’t really need them.
Phase Three: Boulders
Healing during this phase spikes and ebbs. That being said, I always regenned more mana than I used, and so was able to liberally apply healing when it was needed. I found that there was no reason to panic if the shaman or I received a boulder and had to temporarily run out of range of the tanks.
Having now done the fight with two healers (over and over and over again!) I really think this is how it was designed. The hardest portion of the fight was Phase Two, which was generally wildly affected by how well the team did during Phase One. However, by the time you reach Phase Three, for us healers anyway, the fight is over in terms of stress. There are plenty of peaks and valleys throughout the fight that allow one to breath, but without leaving you feeling like you have absolutely nothing to do.
*In the practice of full disclosure, I’d just point out that we had an absolutely horrid night on Monday and didn’t actually kill Ragnaros despite getting him down to 15%. Sometimes you just have a crap night unfortunately, and this one was ours for this tier. However, I didn’t really think that took away from the actual effectiveness of the 2-healing strategy working, so I’m gonna talk about it despite its (for us) “proven” success.