Every expansion around this time, the inevitable happens! No matter what primary focus you have within the game, things start to get a bit stale after nothing new being introduced for weeks, and Mists of Pandaria is not looking to be any different.
With the recent announcement of ANOTHER pvp season, one can only surmise that we have another 3-4 months remaining in this final tier and patch. There is some gray area however, especially now with the 5.4.7 ptr patch notes public and containing information about the 550 ilvl upcoming season’s gear, as well as some other changes.
Regardless of time, it’s only healthy to feel your interest slip, and even for someone like myself – a 25 man heroic guild leader – I find myself looking for something else to occupy my time. While this is perfectly natural, it’s not without a solution… and today we will discuss what I have found to be the best option towards this!
The whole idea started when Syiler, Meoni, and I were talking about plans for WoD. We were wondering just how many new achievements and secondary -interest type things would be added to the game such as pet battle or brawler’s guild. It was at this point that the idea dawned on me! I would use this vast time to add to my achievement points!
Now at first, I didn’t really understand what this meant. I knew there were a lot of people in my guild with 20k Achievement Points, but I suppose I took it for granted when thinking about just what needed to be done. You have to understand, to reach this level; you need to explore every option in the video game. This means PVP, Pet Battles, PVE and Raiding, Leveling, Questing, World Events, professions and many more!
When I realized this, I felt even more enthusiastic about the idea. As a person who has known to put his head down and focus only on 25 man heroic progression, I have never really put much thought into things like questing or archeology. Once I started, I found myself unable to stop; constantly searching through the vast list for another achievement I could do that wouldn’t take insane efforts.
Looks for Areas that you have the least in and start there! Like Pet Battles!
Soon after a full day of pet battling and cooking, the notion was solidified in my mind: “Everyone should try this, it’s the way the game was meant to be played!” Let’s discuss why as well as how doing this can overcome some common misunderstandings about the game.
The first major thing I realized about this is how much this makes you explore the World of Warcraft. I personally have been playing since day 1 back in 2004, and given the expansions have changed the game complete, saw soooo many things I had no idea about. The more you explore the zones and dig around, the more you realize just what high detail has really gone into this game. Even some zones you may have hated years ago, now truly shine. This is very important for players of the game to realize, as there is a sweeping generalization about that WoW’s golden years are behind them. After you just have a fly around the world discovering everything, you may think different!
The second huge revelation that I arrived at was just how many different types of content there is in the game, and especially how little there used to be. You see, Achievements were introduced in 3.0, the patch that ended BC and began Wrath. This seemed trivial at the time for me, but now I realize that the things I found myself doing in the game were exclusively possible because of achievements. This race to 20k does more than just make you put your head down and grind out points; it allows you to experience content you would have never considered interesting before. For example, I have never really been interested in PVP since Classic, and even less now with all the new additions to MoP. However, it will be impossible to get to 20k with doing most of the BG achieves.
Along the way, I get to explore content I have never really tried, and develop intelligent approaches to getting the achievements. Another great example would be archeology or fishing. Most people seem to have a predisposed hatred to these professions, and I can say I was among them until recently. I found fishing to be incredibly peaceful, as it demands you play with ambient sounds on to hear the bobber. I also found archeology to be enriching, and helpful to learn a bit more about the lore and the zones. All of these things are extremely important for a player to understand and experience for themselves, because a lot of people further a misconception that the game is boring or dead. This was never something I subscribed to, but now can refute it even easier knowing what I know. If you are bored by the game, the race to 20k will change this for you! It will get you out in the world doing things you never thought of before, and hopefully reinvigorate your interest in the world.
Doubling Up will be your best ally! Try to do Achievements that lead to bigger ones.
The final and arguably most important thing I discovered on the starting leg of this marathon was just how much I can do with my characters. Some achievements may be easier to do on a Paladin, while some may be easier to do on a Shaman DPS. Obviously, a lot of them will be best done on your most equipped character, but I was really excited to not only have to do things I wouldn’t normally consider fun, but do them on characters I wouldn’t have used for that purpose otherwise. This goes hand in hand with another fundament revealed here, that I am pushed to develop strategies for not only getting one achievement done, but getting them all done in a timely fashion! When you play the game for as long as I have, you start to grow bored of optimization and facilitation, but now that I have a goal every day, it all feels new and interesting again!
Now, I know a lot of you may be thinking 20k is absurdly far away from your current number, so let’s put it in perspective. I had just fewer than 13000 when I started two weeks ago, and now have 14750. Obviously I will run out of the easy achievements soon and be left with ones that will consume a lot of time, but that is the point after all. It’s best to not look at 20k as the end, but a suggestion. If I only get to 18k when the expansion hits, but had fun along the way, that I still win.
That compliments things nicely, as for a lot of you, 20k may literally not be reachable. You may be playing the game at a casual level, and not even have max professions, let alone enough gear to drudge through old raid achievements. For those of you in this situation, feel free to set a more realistic goal. The purpose is to have fun and keep you interested in WoW, and I promise you that if you truly enjoy the game for what it is, this will keep your interest. I was skeptical at first and previously had no interest in achievement gathering, but now I realize I was missing a HUGE part of the game!
Hello and welcome to the second Stratics Level 1 Treasure Hunt! The event will take place on EU servers, using the realm Ghostlands as the basis. In order to participate in the contest, you will be creating a level 1 Undead of any class, equipped with nothing but the starter gear. The goal is to follow a laundry list “Treasure Hunt” style, working out clues and hints to six specific locations. From the Undead starting area, you will travel the world uncovering its mysteries as well as taking in the scenic views of the video game we all love. At each location will be a “Quest Giver” who will reward you with the information or item you will need to move on to the next trial. Differing from last time, there will not be an initiation gate, so if you aren’t on time expect to be at a significant disadvantage!
To be declared successful, you will have completed all 6 trials and possess all 5 of the previous items when you reach the 6th Quest Giver. At this point, you will trade in what you have earned thus far, and will be rewarded with a legendary item to signify your success! The top three place for some fabulous prizes!
The first-place winner will be awarded 20 GBP Stratics Credit on the Blizzard Store! With this, you can choose any combination of items that equate, such as:
1x Mount, 2x Game Time, 1x Game Time + 1x Pet, etc.
The second and third place will be awarded their choice of either 1 pet or gametime!
The contest will begin on Saturday at 3:00 PM GMT+0 (10am EST) and will be streamed on www.twitch.tv/straticswow. Expect around 2 hours for the full event.
The First Trial:
On the Dock we rarely sleep,
This lake, now filled with all disease.
Though here we find Gunther’s Retreat
And start the race to win some things!
The Answer is: Brightwater Lake Dock!
The Second Trial:
Plants and death, here you will find
homage to some other kind
of game, perhaps a wicked call
Past Dalaran before the fall.
The Answer is: Brazie Farmstead, outside the Dalaran Crater!
The Third Trial:
The once great empire of Arathor now sits quiet.
Past the Syndicate, watching the Insane,
a group of pirates still claim this cave.
Rumor of a path around the walls echo
in the ears of those eager to win!
The Answer is: Faldir’s Cove!
The Fourth Trial:
Under the restless mountains, once impassable with time,
our journey finds a path, such past the Aerie within rhyme.
Once a restless Nightmare, some seldom travel shows,
that the victor claims their spoils, from Dragons long ago.
The Answer is: Seradane!
The Fifth Trial:
A gap we see in the peak!
The path brings pain and bliss,
a brief respite on top the school
Where Barov used to sit.
The Answer is: On top of Scholomance!
The Sixth and FINAL Trial:
Once Silver Hands reached towards the sky
though by frosted blade he fell.
The Light we find, honors his mind
and all he sought to quell.
Welcome to Metro’s 25 man Heroic Healing guides for the Siege of Orgrimmar! It is important to understand that these guides are first aimed at helping healers understand their role, and then helping them maximize their play. Each will feature a general overview of the mechanics that matter to the healers, and conclude with a class-specific discussion. Let’s begin!
Understanding the encounter –
As alluded to in the Malorok guide, you now stand before the third of the true healing challenges in Siege of Orgrimmar. This fight is purely the most exhilarating, and quite a contrast from the others, as you will see 25 people face death every second for about 45 seconds multiple times throughout the encounter.
In order to understand the strategy, you need to understand that everything this fight is, was, or ever will be, can be weighed against your level of strategy and preparation. Some guilds favor this and some despise it, but unfortunately without proper coordination and pre-determined rotation of abilities, you will not complete this encounter.
You also will need to set up world markers to show you exactly where is safe from the yeti’s charge, and hopefully your raiders do the rest there. It’s also important the run the dinosaur flawlessly, and if there is any hiccup along the way it will result in the dinosaur in sub-optimal position, which can dramatically effect healing and the dps requirement as well.
The last phase is purely a scramble, so if you can’t beat the soft enrage of him speeding up, you’ll need to implement more stacks in other phases.
Understanding the Healer’s Role –
The healing role on this encounter is very much the role of a foot soldier in a grand campaign. Your job is to perform your abilities at PRECISELY the correct time, and use them well. There is nothing else to this fight as a healer, and if you all do your jobs perfectly, things will go flawlessly. If you do not, you have no hope of completing the encounter.
We will use our set of cooldowns as a guideline for explaining how you should organize yours, and I will explain each decision specifically.
Click to Enlarge.
The image seen here is the set-up we use for our first stack. The black numbers indicate each screech, and the red indicate the ones we are pressing through to end. We 7 heal this currently, but have tried 8 healing, and would suggest the same if you are struggling, especially if the 8th addition is a Shaman, Druid, or Priest. Also, if you don’t already have at least 2 paladins, this fight will be incredibly difficult. The more paladins the better, so if you have someone on the bench who isn’t necessarily in the raid, you will likely need them for this one, as Devotion aura will carry. It will make the enrage a non-factor, and will make the healing requirement much easier. If you could have 7-8 devo auras, you probably wouldn’t even need a CD rotation.
Let’s start by explaining each major CD usage, and why it’s being used there. We take 5 hits without any real CDs past healthstones and personals – something that any group should be able to replicate with 7/8 healers. From here, our first CD is Devo. The goal for the three paladins is to chain them back to back to create a 15 second window where all DPS can continue to go nuts. You notice 15 seconds, because it’s important to pop the subsequent when the previous is as 1 second, not 0. If for any reason you lag out or miss time it, people will get interrupted and it has the potential of clipping a major CD or disrupting DPS in a way that they never get comfortable again.
During the Devo’s we make use of 1 major CD and a few minor. Pork is a Restoration Druid, and we have his tranq used first to stabilize, but if you are short of on-demand throughput, you can probably get away without a major CD and just spam your best AOE heal through the Devo blanket. After the tranq ends, we have our Elemental Shaman use Ancestral Guidance (AG), as it’s based on damage he deals, so otherwise useless later.
The next combination is my Devo as Elto’s ends, coupled with a Glyphed Vampiric Embrace from our Shadow Priest, and Tranquility + Heart of the Wild from our Tank Druid. Our final Devo comes up as mine goes down, and with it, we use Syiler’s AG and blow our final big AOE heals.
From here, things get heavy, so we stack two Tranqs on top of each other. This is where Hand of Protection (BoP) comes in and is the reason you want to bring at least 3 paladins, otherwise you won’t have enough for when you need it. Sniffle, a Restoration Druid, gets the first and uses his Tranquility 1 screech after the Devo ends. Phoonkin, a Bombkin, gets also uses his tranq+<3, but does not need a BoP, as he is using Symbiosis on our Warlock, granting Unending Resolve.
Once the Tranqs are over we try to buffer 3 or 4 screeches with 1m personals, Healing Tide Totems from Syiler and Terta (DPS shaman), and Drekrar’s Demo Banner. Soon after, the second BoP goes to our Holy Priest Vicario and he uses Divine Hymn.
Coming down the home stretch, we see a Rallying Cry from Drek, and Healing Tide from Hash, a Restoration Shaman. This is where things get tricky, and can be the reason you hit the enrage or not.
Around the 24th hit, we drop Spirit Link in the middle of both groups, and collapse at the 25th. Faldor, a Discipline priest, uses his Bubble on top of the totem, as well as another round of personals if available. The goal here is to not heal, but sit in these reduction CDs and ride out the last 4 screeches. Every time we have attempted this, it works so that we are stacked for the 26th, and the CDs don’t break until the 29th. On the 30th, we take the massive damage needed to enter bloodrage, and not a moment too soon, as if you reach a 31st hit the fight ends.
Meta-Strategy For the Remainder -
At this point, you simply run to where you are supposed to be with the Jailer, and regen mana. Heal when needed, but as long as the run is handled properly, this is AFK phase until you go back into the Screeches and stacks.
Now that you understand our strategy and rotation, you can employ your own where needed. I will use the rest of this article to discuss where the fight takes us from here and how you should handle it as healers.
The next time you see screeches, you will quickly realize your CDs are not back up for when you would need them. It is because of this, we have elected to end this phase early. We take 4 hits, then stack for the 5th and use 1 min cds + Personals. This rides us through the 5th hit, and the 6th will push the blood rage. Run the dino around, and then get ready for another main sequence.
The third time you see the screeches will be the most volatile, as it should be the time you get the bats. These bats present an interesting complication, as not only do they do damage, but they need to be killed ASAP. It is for this reason that we push all our CDs forward to blanket Devo over the window we need to take down the bats. If we did not do this, ranged DPS on them would be extremely weak and they would heal for more than was incoming.
You will see that everything is just moved up, but the marker for starting is when the bats are in the prime location. I try to urge the Devo to start around the 4th screech instead of the 3rd, to push out a few extra seconds of DPS time, but this is not always possible.
At this point, we are using the Devo to help the DPS, not the healers, and once the bats are dead things can resume as normal.
The other issue that needs to be made apparent is the poison debuffs happening throughout the entirety of the green door. It is simply not possible to dispel them all normally, and I really don’t know why they thought that mechanic was a good idea, as is mandates priests in the raid. Regardless, the only option is Mass Dispel, and luckily we have three, will go out during the Devo.
Around the 20th we collapse under the Spirit Link and Barrier as described earlier and ride out as many as possible, usually breaking around the 25th or 26th.
From here, another run phase and the final screech phase will take place with fire crowding the dance floor. With fire, we choose to stay spread for two stacks, then collapse under whatever we have left and heal through it as long as we can. There is no set order or strategy, and are officially forsaking order for the will of entropy, allowing the dino to phase on final time.
The Scramble –
The truest descriptor I can conjure for this phase, we call it the Scramble because we let the dino push and chase people until it dies. This is not what most groups would recommend, but I find it much simpler and provided you have the DPS, it negates the actual enrage. If he DOES hit the enrage here, you can continue to run around, while if he enrages in the screech phase, they will just one-shot the whole raid.
At this point, it’s the healers job to do as much DPS as possible, and patch everyone up who needs it. Use whatever you have available to make this happen, and as big CDs come back up, pop them. Devos and the early Tranqs used should go out ASAP. Prioritize ranged DPS over melee, as most melee will barely be able to get a global in while dodging the fire and chasing the dino.
Either way, if you make it this far, you will know the fight is over. Take a moment to bask in the true irony this fight presents. It starts off being a meticulously detailed formula, planned down to the very second. It completes with 25 people running around like loons, a yeti smashing into half of them, and a dinosaur chasing 1 man at the speed of light.
Enjoy it my friends, as it is the true pinnacle of 25 man Heroic Healing, and may be the last time we ever see 7-8 healing CD coordination on this level with Mythic around the corner. It is without question my favorite encounter to heal in this video game, and gets me emotional just thinking about it as so, knowing what the expansion holds.
Class Specific Tips –
Holy Paladin: You are the king of utility here. Clemency BoP, and Devo Aura make the fight possible. Ret and Prot can do the same, with equal efficacy. Throughput probably the weakest, unfortunately. Be sure to use CDs chained with Light’s hammer, and in the Devo blanket. Also, use Bubble aggressively as another smalling healing surge. Cautious of the tank, and there is little casting happening towards the end, beacon will not be enough at times. Time Light’s Hammer with the bats to double triple dip damage on Thok, Bats, and healing on the raid.
Resto Shaman: Best throughput without question. Healing Rain and Chain heal reign supreme, as well as 2p Earth Shield on the tank. Healing Tide as good, if not better than Tranq and Hymn, and Spirit Link is hilariously OP on this fight, as it will ensure your health never goes below 50 while it’s active. Use this as a buffer at the end.
Resto Druid: Tranquility is carry-mode. Efflorescent mushrooms and hots will do work as well. Time Wild Growth after a screech to see crazy numbers.
Holy / Disp priest: Divine Hymn will carry early, and Bubble will carry if stacked. Bubble hard to use, as its too small to reach both stack points. Spirit Shell can negate a large portion of a screech, time with Devo. Mass Dispel is mandatory unfortunately. Divine Star can double and triple dip with bats and generally is ridiculous healing.
Misty Monk: (Do not currently have a monk healer in our progression.) Revival OVERPOWERED for poision phase. Use it towards the end when no Mass Dispels are available, clearing upwards of 15-20 debuffs!! Fistweaving and passive AOE likely make Monk an ideal candidate as well. Can Zen Med to block some damage on one, or use during Devo to cover multiple.
Staring contest with Thok is not the best plan!
TLDR Recap –
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to prepare for this encounter, or a short version of the strategy. The strategy, especially as healers, requires outside-the-raid preparation, and I would recommend your leadership create a live-form spreadsheet as we did. You can edit it as you progress and everyone will see any changes you make as you make them.
Otherwise, the best advice I can give you is use your CDs at exactly the same time every single attempt. The more you do it, the more muscle memory that part will become, and it will allow you to focus on min/maxing other areas, or even DPS.
As always, this guide is from the perspective of a Holy Paladin in 25 man heroic raid leadership perspective. Experience is limited when it comes to priest and monk healers, so if you have input feel free to join the conversation! Otherwise, if you have any questions feel free to ask! Enjoy SoO!