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Shifting Perspectives: Druid healing strats for Icecrown Citadel

Allison Robert

Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, we look at Grid and realize that the dumb buggers are dropping like flies again.

Before I write anything else, I want to send a shout-out to Kalon, who is ending the influential feral theorycraft blog ThinkTank. Like many of you, I've been reading ThinkTank for a while and fell in love with both Kalon's analysis and the theorycrafting that he made understandable even to Luddites like myself. To this day I've been experimenting with an idea he suggested concerning Bear DPS (no, really) that I've been planning to devote a column towards for a while, and I now regret not doing it earlier.

So, to my druidic colleague -- /hug and /salute. Kalon, you will be greatly missed.

For strategy articles, I've gotten into the habit of trying to describe all four roles, and have arrived at the conclusion that it's more efficient to take matters one spec at a time. With all of the Icecrown raid content clocking in at a little more than a month old under the best of circumstances, I'm better off describing the roles I've done personally therein (tanking and healing). Because we've already covered Lord Marrowgar, we're going to take the rest of the bosses necessary for the Storming the Citadel achievement, and cover them from a restoration point of view.

Lady Deathwhisper

General strategy: Wowwiki has a pretty decent one, as does TankSpot. Numerous comments both there and elsewhere have noted the fight's resemblance to M'uru, which promises to be a jolly old time on heroic.

Apart from that:

Step one: Bind all keys to Remove Curse.
Step two: Roll face from left to right across the keyboard at a speed not exceeding 5 mm per second.
Step three: Mark your calendar for the 6th week in a row that she has failed to drop Ring of Maddening Whispers.
Step four: Wait while a squabble over some football team breaks out during loot distribution, with the raid leader ransoming gear until someone is forced to apologize for an insult made regarding the parentage of the quarterback.
Step five: Get on the elevator and ride up.
Step six: Get back on the elevator and ride down and resurrect whatever DPS fell off.

This accounts for most of the truly important features of the Deathwhisper encounter, but as always, there are some compelling minutiae:

Placement: You should stand in the middle of the room, or at least somewhere within decurse range of everyone in the raid (tanks are the most likely to duck in and out of range while grabbing adds).

Curses: Kidding aside, decursing really will be the most important job you do here. Deathwhisper's caster adds have a nasty little ability called Curse of Torpor that will apply a 15-second cooldown to any attack or ability you use while cursed. In other words, if you cast Regrowth with Curse of Torpor on you, Regrowth now has a 15-second cooldown. This is bad for tanks and DPS, but it's especially bad for your healers. On 10-man, this will be applied to one player at a time and you can handle it on your own; on 25-man, you can generally expect to see two or three people cursed simultaneously, and you will need another decurser to get to them all quickly. If you are one of the people affected, decurse yourself before you do anyone else, as you will -- ironically -- lock yourself out of the ability to decurse for 15 seconds otherwise.

Giant burning green circles of almost certain doom
: Don't stand in them.

Dominate Mind
: You won't have to worry about this on 10-man, but getting mind-controlled players out of the fight is a key feature on 25-man. As with Kel'thuzad-25, the mind-controlled player will grow in size and gain both a damage and healing buff (but unlike KT, there will only be one mind-controlled player at a time). They can also be crowd-controlled (good) or killed (bad) by their fellow raiders. With the +haste you're likely to be packing, an ultra-fast Cyclone on a mind-controlled target will account for half the duration of the mind-control and allow your DPS time to get CC on them as soon as it ends. On heroic, Deathwhisper will apparently mind-control 3 players at a time, so get your raid trained into handling this as fast as possible.

Is this a good fight for trees?
: Eh. Raid damage in phase 1 is unpredictable, and you're going to be spending an awful lot of global cooldowns decursing rather than healing. In phase 2, Deathwhisper has an AoE Frostbolt attack and untargetable, undamageable adds (Vengeful Shades) that randomly aggro and then follow a person at a time. Blanketing the raid with Rejuvenation will help somewhat for the former, but to be frank, the overwhelming majority of it will just serve to inflate your +overheal, with more direct healers sniping in the interim. The most pressing need for fast healing in phase 2 is going to come from anyone targeted by a mind-controlled player, or caught unawares by a Vengeful Shade right before an AoE Frostbolt.

If your guild's planning on doing the hard-mode version later, start harassing your raid now about avoiding damage from the Shades. It's widely believed that their damage is going to one-shot most players on heroic.

Faction Gunship

General strategy: The gunship battle is pretty forgiving (and a complete blast) even if you're new, but Wowwiki has a good page on it here.

I love this fight so very, very much, and after completing it for the first time wanted to wipe the raid and do it again. Unfortunately, Blizzard does not allow you this option after encounters are actually over, probably because exasperated raid leaders everywhere would use it as a disciplinary tool.

Placement: Wherever the hell you want. The most fun is typically to be found at the apex of a rocket jump between the two ships. Proper deployment of the jet pack will also involve macroing "WHEEEEEEE!" to its use.

Boss abilities
: There's no real boss as such on this encounter. There are, however, a number of entertaining explosions you will need to either create or avoid. If you're on the team that stays on your own gunship, you're likely to be healing the add tank and/or any raid members who aren't prompt about moving out of rockets (plus mopping up a bit of unavoidable damage from ranged enemies). Due to one of the Skybreaker Sergenat/Kor'kron Sergeant's Bladestorm attack, raids generally put their ranged DPS on the adds here and send their melee to the enemy ship. If you're one of the lucky souls who gets to jump with them, you'll be healing the Saurfang/Bronzebeard tank and should be careful not to jump until this player does.

Is this a good fight for trees?
: Hell, it's a good fight for everybody, but to be perfectly frank, the healing requirements are not high. You can two- or three-heal it even on 25-man, but trees are pretty good in that as you can toss HoTs around without being concerned about incoming rockets.

Also -- Rocket Bear Bare.

All done? Set aside 5 seconds to rue the day you gave the Corpse Tongue Coin to the guild's backup feral player because he needed it more than you did and it hasn't dropped again since and did I mention he decided to take a break from the game like two days later and the stupid trinket hasn't dropped again since.

Seriously, what the hell.

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