I think we can safely say that it has been an interesting week. We have received a lot of news about what is to come in the near future, and man was it a lot! I know I talked about them a lot, but the changes are really almost everything we could possibly ask for. OK, I'll stop gushing about them for now.
Last week we talked about addons and macros and I'm happy to say there was a lot of good feedback in the comments. Thank you to everyone who responded and contributed. Today I'd like to focus on the current content again and begin talking about making your way through ICC as a restoration shaman. This will not be an all-out strategy guide, as there are many of those already around. Instead this is going to be specific tips and tricks for the encounters you will face and each unique challenge ahead of you and your raid. This will not just focus on 25 man content, but will be things you can use for both 10 and 25 man content. Heroic will be it's own animal for another time.
So you've gathered your gear, plowed through heroics and early raids to get your feet wet. You've set up your user interface and your addons and macros to exactly as you like them, and you are ready to begin your ascent towards the frozen throne at the crown of Azeroth.
As you step forth on a mission to cleanse the world of one of the greatest evils it has ever known, you have to start somewhere, right?
Your stop is The Lower Spire. The vanguard of the Lich King's forces stands ready to repel you from the inner workings of their master's lair. They stand to offer challenge to those who wish to trespass! You are not without abilities of your own to push past this group of villains.
The first among your challenges, Lord Marrowgar is not an overly tough fight, but one that can be made even easier.
Positioning Marrowgar has two phases. During the first, he will stand still and send Coldflame out in four directions and will randomly impale several raiders with Bone Spike Graveyard. In the second, he will spin around like crazy, bolting towards one raid member and hitting everyone in his path with some damage from his Bone Storm. Each time he stops, he will again send fire out in four directions.
For phase 1, you should stand inside the big lug's hit box and behind him. This will keep you outside the range of his fires and allow you to heal the targets not only of the bone spikes but pretty much the entire raid. This will also allow you to maximize the effect of your Chain Heal spell, giving it the greatest amount of targets to heal.
For phase 2 when he decides to spin up, your raid will be spreading out. Every time he stops, it is very likely you will have to move again. As restoration shaman tend to be sit-in-place-and-cast-spells healers, moving is detrimental to your healing output. The biggest mistake I see here is people tend to keep running well after they can stop. This phase, when you have to move out of the fire, you should side step just outside the effect of the fire. It is pretty spot-on as far as the visual in relation to the range of the spell. Once you're outside of the range of the fire, stop and switch to Riptide and Lesser Healing Wave (or Healing Wave if you're haste-capped). As everyone is spread out, there is no guarantee that Chain Heal will hit enough targets to be effective, but rolling Riptide and one of the Healing Waves will do the trick. After that, it's just rinse and repeat until the boss is dead.
When to Bloodlust/Heroism
This is actually a very common question. When is it right to use your shotgun ability? Each fight is a little different. For Marrowgar, you want to pop it at the beginning of the encounter after the tank has aggro. This ensure maximum DPS and healing output.
Next in your way is a boss who honestly just doesn't know when to shut up. If you're still awake after she's done with her speech (WTB fast forward button, please), you are ready to engage the head of the Cult of the Damned.
Positioning This fight is equal parts survival and control, and like Marrowgar, it has two phases. This fight requires sudden movements but for the most part, you are able to sit in one place and heal. In phase one, the raid will be split between the adds that spawn and damage back on her. The trick for phase one is to burn through her mana shield. To this effect, you can help out as well. When she is engaged, you can run up with the tanks and drop your totems. The important one here in particular is your fire totem. Any fire totem in range of her will allow you to cast Fire Nova whenever you're able to do so. This might seem like very little DPS, but the extra damage can be helpful. This also helps when she spawns adds, as any brought near it can be affected by the damage from the totem.
Once the shield is fully destroyed, she moves into phase two. As a restoration shaman, you will likely want to stand in the middle, between the left and right sides behind her. This gives you the maximum amount of targets and the most area to quickly move and resume healing.
In phase two, she will spawn ghost adds that will float toward you. If they reach you, they will explode, causing a fair bit of damage. If you stand near the far sides or front of her platform, you will have almost everyone in range of heals and will be able to see very clearly when the adds are heading towards you.
She has a couple abilities you have to be mindful of. First is Death and Decay. When you see the green mark hit the floor, move right away. Don't finish casting, don't wait -- just move out of its way. Once you've cleared the effect, start healing again immediately. Another ability to be mindful of in 25-man is her Mind Control. She will randomly target a raid member and dominate his mind. It is important that he gets CCed quickly. Here you can help out, as well. Hex comes in handy here, as it doesn't break with damage right away, so if he walks through random AoE damage, he will still be CCed. Also handy for when they barrel towards you.
When to Bloodlust/Heroism
This one is tricky. If you're having issues pushing into phase two, using it at the beginning of the encounter before adds spawn will help maximize DPS and will work towards effectively bringing her shield down. If you're not having issues getting her shield down and handling adds, you can save it for phase two. If you bank it, use the ability as soon as everyone is in position, towards the start of phase two.
After you defeat the lady, you head up to the air in a battle against an airship of the opposite faction. This is actually a pretty straightforward; it only has two options.
Healing on your faction's boat, you will have to deal with a torrent of damage from the enemy ship's ranged NPCs as well as rockets fired in your direction. There is no set position. Just step outside of the rings as you see them form around you. Again, you don't have to keep running -- just far enough to get out of the ring. You can then stop and heal as you see fit. As people will constantly be moving around, your Chain Heal may prove less effective than rolling Riptide and one of the healing waves. Fire Nova can help here as well to assist with thinning out the adds that spawn.
Healing on the opposing faction ship, you will be focusing mainly on the tank. Most strategies will have the melee heading over, so using Chain Heal often will be highly effective here. Just move to stay in range of the group and keep them topped off, and this encounter will be over before you know it.
When to Bloodlust/Heroism
Honestly, this is not required this fight; simply bank it for the next one.
The last obstacle between you and the inner working of the Lich King's domain, Saurfang is the Lich King's most powerful death knight. This is mainly a DPS race, but there are a few things to worry about.
Positioning Try to find yourself a position near the melee, preferably near the middle. This will give you a good position to roll Chain Heal on the melee group and both tanks. Every time he deals damage, whether it is to a tank or through Boiling Blood on the raid, he generates blood power. It is important that you stay about 12 yards away from anyone else. The more people damaged from Boiling Blood and Blood Nova, the more blood power he receives. Once you have a safe position, you really don't have to move unless a flesh beast charges you.
Once Saufang has 100 blood power, he will cast Mark of the Fallen Champion, which will cause considerable damage to the target. If the target dies, Saurfang gains 5% of his health back. As a shaman, you can help out by rolling Riptide onto the target to help whatever healer is assigned to him. If you are assigned to the person targeted, break out the Healing Wave and keep him up. That middle position will help here as well, as it will let you roll the heals off to any marked targets.
When to Bloodlust/Heroism
An ideal time to pop it is when Saurfang frenzies at 30%. He will swing a lot faster and the increased healing will be nice. Also it will help shotgun down his health by spiking raid damage.
As a general rule, before you hit Lust or Heroism in any fight, take a look at the boss. If everyone is in range and full debuffs are up on the boss, it's safe to hit it; if they aren't in range or he's not fully debuffed, you might want to hold off for a few seconds while everyone gets in range.
That's it for this week. The first wing of the Citadel is pretty easy; just place your totems wisely and keep the heals flowing. Also, if there are any topics you want me to cover, feel free to email me through the site or post them in a comment.
Show your totemic mastery by reading Totem Talk. Whether it's Mike Sacco's elemental edition, Joe Perez's coverage of restoration or Rich Maloy's enhancement edition, we have you covered.