Sunday, February 6, 2011

Healing Perspectives: Magmaw (10)

Recently, I have stepped into the world of cataclysm raiding. Healing in a place where trash has attitude and boss fights are of epic proportions makes it very rewarding indeed. Rather than being a test of my reflexes at the whack-a-mole game, most of my experiences caused me to come up with a loose healing strategy outside of  the general boss strategy. With that in mind, I've written out these posts purely from a perspective of what a healer needs to know and be aware of during a fight. Hopefully, this will serve as a good prep for the fight as well a concise checklist of reminders before taking on the boss. For the entirety of a bosses' abilities and strats (right from tank taunts to interrupts) I highly recommend sources such as tankspot and WoWpedia. Let us begin with the giant worm from Blackwing Descent -- Magmaw!

This is a heal intensive fight regardless of your heal assignment. As a druid I was assigned to helping out the tanks when needed and keeping the raid alive. The key to this fight is well-timed cooldowns and pre-emptive movement away from bad things. There are two phases in this fight: phase 1 is heal intensive while in phase 2, two melee go worm-riding and us healers have a moment to regen and catch our breath.

Abilities:
  • Lava Spew: This is where the raid damage comes from. He spews the raid with fiery stuffs that hit for about 25k. It cannot be avoided and should be healed through.
  • Magma Spit: As though the spew wasn't enough, he targets a player randomly and casts the Spit which deals about 30k damage. Also must be healed through.
  • Pillar of Flame: This is an explosive pillar of magma that will hurl anyone caught in it up into the air and deal significant damage as well as fall damage. Before it bursts, it looks like a an orange-red puddle on the ground. After bursting, this pillaw spawns parasites that the ranged will kite and kill mercilessly. 
  • Mangle: An ability that occurs right before the transition to phase 2. In short, he chomps on a tank and hurts him a lot. Big heals on this one. 
Healing Strategy:

There are a lot of abilities going on and this fight can seem even a bit chaotic at times. Keeping your heal priorities can help keep things under control and save you from hitting the panic button. Many groups choose to have the ranged and healers grouped up, and alternate moving between two designated spots between the parasite spawns. Always keep range in mind while moving to make sure your tanks aren't suddenly and inconveniently out of range of your heals.
  • Avoid the Pillar of Flame. Keep your eyes open for signs of it on the ground and pre-emptively move away from it. Sometimes, things such as frost trap aura can make it a little harder but not impossible to spot it. Be sure to keep on top of it.
  • Stay away from the lava parasites.This is important because if any of the parasite get to you, they will infect you and after some time cause you to spew gross vomit and more parasites. When this happens, be sure to stay AWAY from the rest of the raid.
  • Placing Efflorescence. In a fight like this, you want all the raid heals you can get. With the ranged conveniently grouped up, take advantage of placing efflorescence where most of the members can benefit from its healing effects.
  • Space out your cooldowns. To maintain throughput as well as lasting the entire phase, I alternated between cooldowns like Tree of Life and Innervate. Use them early and when the raid needs heavy heals to survive - but also be sure to space out the two since you don't want to be caught in a tight situation with no cooldowns to pop. 
  • Coordinate your cooldowns with other healers. For example mana tide from a shaman or Hymn of Hope from a priest - the last thing you want to do is innervate yourself only to watch the shaman bring out mana tide totem the next second. Let no mana go to waste here. If you're using Glyph of Innervate, it might be worth planning ahead to innervate another healer as well.
  • Make sure other cooldowns are bound and ready. Apart from the two big cooldowns, be sure to cycle through other bonuses you might have such as the on use trinket or Lifeblood from herbalism. Every bit of mana, spellpower and haste add up in this fight. 
  • Barkskin during the Spew if you can. Barkskin's damage reduction is great for giving you some breathing room, and the uninterrupted casting is often key in a heal making it in the nick of time. 
  • Mangle. Watch out. The last and final one...be alert for when Mangle is called out and prepare to hit the tank with your big heals.What I would give for a castable barkskin...
Once you have a strategy and know what to look for, healing this fight becomes much easier - like most other fights would I suppose. Thanks for reading and happy raiding! =)

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