This week, I'll be finishing up my notes on the bosses of the Firelands. Pretty good timing, since some of patch 4.3's content was just announced, don't you think? Yeah, yeah, yeah -- I know you're too busy trying to figure out your transmogrified outfit, right? Well, don't forget there is plenty of good-looking gear in the Firelands, too! I know that I'd definitely rank looking like a giant oven mitt in my top five.
First, I wrote about the first four bosses (Shannox, Lord Rhyolith, Alysrazor, and Beth'tilac) last week. This week, we're wrapping up the final three. All my boss guides assume you know the basic mechanics of the fights already.
Baleroc the Gatekeeper
Baleroc in particular has a convoluted list of abilities that healers need to understand. To keep up your Vital Spark buff, I recommend swapping with your relief healer every two crystals. If you don't know what that means, you must not have checked out WoW Insider's guide to Baleroc yet!
Holy vs. discipline The unfortunate truth of this fight is that if you go holy, you're hurting your raid. Sure, you can heal the fight just fine as a holy priest (particularly on normal mode), but that doesn't mean you should. What a discipline priest brings to this fight is invaluable and should be taken advantage of.
So what does disc do so well? The (ridiculously convoluted) mechanics of the fight make it so that tank damage, tank health, and tank healing constantly scale throughout the fight. Included in that scaling is Power Word: Shield. Now, while any healer is able to benefit from the increased tank healing, adding in shields to the mix is a great way to get maximum healing coverage on your tank. The reason to go disc in particular is to tap into Strength of Soul. Whenever you're healing tanks, you'll be maintaining a strict and simple rotation of one Power Word: Shield, two Greater Heals, and repeat. This will decrease the duration of Weakened Soul on your tank, in turn increasing the amount of shield coverage you can give.
When to use your abilities
- Pain Suppression or Guardian Spirit Use tank cooldowns whenever it seems appropriate to save someone, be it a DPSer taking on the Shards of Torment or an actual tank. Keep in mind that because Pain Suppression's duration has no chance of being consumed before the full time has elapsed, it works best on the Tormented DPS.
- Power Word: Barrier or Holy Word: Sanctuary Drop Power Word: Barrier on top of your tanks or the DPS who are taking hits from the Shards of Torment. You can skip Holy Word: Sanctuary, however, for just normal healing.
- Power Infusion You'll probably want to save Power Infusion for yourself. Use the ability to stay comfortable keeping alive players who are getting hit with crystals. You can also use Power Infusion to heal through Decimation Blade, since you can't mitigate the damage from it with tank cooldowns.
- Hymn of Hope and Shadowfiend You'll have trouble finding a place to channel Hymn of Hope because you'll be busy healing every second. Keep healing a priority and try to find other ways to make your mana work. Since you'll probably be disc, don't forget Inner Focus.
- Divine Hymn The situation you have with Hymn of Hope is pretty much the same thing you have with Divine Hymn. It's usually better to just stick with single-target healing than to stop and use this ability.
The WoW Insider guide to Majordomo Staghelm is available in three flavors: mild, hot, and ... fire? Make sure to give it a lookover if you're not familiar with the fight.
Holy vs. discipline Either spec will have fun with this relatively simple fight. There is a nice balance of raid and single-target damage, which keeps it interesting for healers. Holy Word: Serenity is really useful for picking up the heals on kitty Fandral's victims. Disc priests can keep up with Power Word: Shield, Penance, and Flash Heal but will probably have the most fun healing the tank damage, depending what phase it is.
When to use your abilities
- Pain Suppression or Guardian Spirit When Fandral is in cat form, single-target damage will be at its highest. Toward the end of the cat phase is probably when you'll want to use your tank cooldowns.
- Power Word: Barrier or Holy Word: Sanctuary You can use these two abilities to withstand Fandral's Flame Scythe in his scorpion phase. The damage can get pretty high the longer he remains in scorpion form, so you'll want to chain damage-reducing abilities and keep your AOE healing strong.
- Power Infusion You'll likely want to use this toward the end of a scorpion phase. The damage will be high and coming quickly, as I mentioned before, so Power Infusion plus Prayer of Healing is a winning combination.
- Hymn of Hope and Shadowfiend Just as Fandral shifts into cat form, there will be a small window of time when damage isn't too hard to handle. Try to fit your Hymn of Hope channel in then. You can use Shadowfiend as it's convenient for you.
- Divine Hymn Save Divine Hymn for the Burning Orb phase. You could potentially use it for Flame Scythe, but it's better to save it.
It's good timing that the WoW Insider guide to Ragnaros was published just a few days ago. This means you should have no trouble getting up-to-date on boss fights from all the angles you need.
Holy vs. discipline For the last boss of The Firelands, holy is probably going to be your best choice for a healing spec. This just happens to be one fight where Power Word: Barrier doesn't feel so mandatory, so the high HPS that holy priests can bring is very helpful. That said, normal mode is a little softer around the edges, so disc priests are welcome.
When to use your abilities
- Pain Suppression or Guardian Spirit There isn't a particular time you'll need to use either of these abilities. Keep to standard practice and volunteer them to your tank. If he calls for them or if you see a moment when you think you can save him or someone else, use it.
- Power Word: Barrier or Holy Word: Sanctuary You'll probably use these abilities during phase 2 before Molten Inferno, since you'll be stacked up.
- Power Infusion Again, you'll want to save Power Infusion for yourself to make it through the various transition phases in the fight. The healing is quite variable and can be very demanding if things don't work out.
- Hymn of Hope and Shadowfiend There is a lot of time in phase 2 and 3 where you'll be able to stop and channel. Don't stress it.
- Divine Hymn If a Son of Flame hits Ragnaros' hammer, all hell will break loose (aka Supernova), and players will be too spread out for affective AOE healing. This is the perfect instance to use a Divine Hymn.
- Leap of Faith During the second transition phase when the Blazing Heat debuff is out, a priest can assist with Leap of Faith by standing outside the raid and gripping players with this debuff out of the raid.
Spiritual Guidance has the inside line on pre-raid, valor point and raid gear for patch 4.2. Newcomer to the priest class? Look into leveling a healing priest, plus our guides to Discipline Priest 101 and Holy Priest 101.