Some fights feel more personal than others, and heroic Staghelm is one of them for me. We began our attempts with a 3-healing scorpion strategy. It was actually a lot of fun once we figured out exactly when to place those big ol’ cooldowns to watch the stacks go higher and higher and just know that you were going to save your team from certain death.
However, we hit the enrage. We didn’t even know the guy had an enrage and here we are fighting a plate-rending version of the big red kitty. It hurt. Enrage timers are something we rarely take into consideration when devising our team’s strategy for a raid encounter, so we were a bit stymied. We knew 2-heals would not, no way no how cut it on our current scorpion doom strategy, so we switched to the heavier leaning kitty strat and I gave up my HoTs for DoTs.
Talk about an eye-opener.
I’ve gone pew pew lazors before. I leveled my way to 85 in chicken feathers. I’d also done a few Tier 11 encounters as balance, and managed to keep above the tanks through judicious application of boom shrooms. I also recently snagged my 2-piece balance set bonus, and if my raid team hears “OMG. GUYZ, GUYZ, MY FLAMING TREE IS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO CUTE!!!!” one more time I’m sure they’ll mute me on vent. Permanently.
But to say that I’m a balance aficionado would be, well, not true. My gear’s all forged and set, and beautified for my restoration spec. When those developer people promised us easier dual-spec gearing for healers going dps and back they lied. Instead of 40 pieces of gear, I now have 20 which must be scrubbed and polished in a very special place before it’s actually really good for my other specialization. Not to say I can’t bootstrap into it and make it work, it’s just not… ideal.
And, let’s not lie to ourselves, as much as we’d like to be awesome at everything we do, it’s really, really hard to actually be above-average on two specs, much less really freaking awesome. *News Flash to Windsoar* I’m not really awesome as restoration, I’m just pretty darn good, so I tend to be surprised, disappointed and a bit miffed when I’m not even pretty good when I switch over to Balance.
But all that aside, this is really about the battle of the druids, right? Right. Instead of the raid team spending a wonderfully long amount of time standing still in a comfortable huddle with their fellow players during scorpion phases, doing the cat method requires the raid to suffer a lot of running around as kitties leap in long arcs and leave puddles of fiery doom on the floor. I’ve got things to cast when I move: insects ‘a swarming and little moon lazors, and when we all group up even lovely stars to fall from the sky.
The problem isn’t so much that I have to move, it’s that as the phase drags on there’s more movement required. I must say, I love being in solar eclipse where I can pop a wrath in before I’m required to move again. It’s much more difficult to get a size-able lazor of doom (Starfire y’know) off in time. When I’m in lunar eclipse, it’s just plain fat impossible to do my rotation “correctly” and to be honest, it took me an entire night to really wrap my head around that one.
I kept falling back into my old movement routine. Rotation type casts, moonfire (and sometimes insect swarm) on the run, then stop and fall back into the rotation. But as you get down to those last few jumps, that’s just plain wrong. It makes absolutely zero sense to stop and attempt to cast a spell that has no hope of going off. And unlike on normal mode where you can wait for the cat to leap at you, on heroic mode, and especially with two healers, it’s a giant mistake! Whether you’re going to be the leap target is irrelevant, you have to be moving before he even thinks about jumping at you.
Honestly, I understand the move before the leap quite well. I had no problems with it as a healer, because I’m just that much more versatile on the run with my healer. I couldn’t understand why the dps would allow themselves to get trapped in puddles of molten lava when they darn well knew a leap was coming. But now I know. It’s honestly very hard to not do everything you can to find a quiet spot that you can sit and lazor things as long as possible without moving again. Every pew-pew instinct is screaming at you to stop wasting time running and stand still for 2 seconds for your cast to finish!
In the end, the 2-healing kitty strategy worked for us, and we managed to get our 3rd heroic mode done.
However, it really brought home to me how easy it is to know what’s right, and to actually do what’s right during an encounter.