So I’ve been to Karazhan… umm… a bunch. A buncha bunch. However, that was:
a) On Grezzk. (Ranged damage)
b) With a different guild.
Now I’m going with my *new* guy, Syncerus, with an entirely different group of people, and it’s kind of all new to me — totally different set of challenges, because I’m (one of) the healer(s), rather than a tank or damage-dealer.
So I’m back to sort of analyzing performance and such, and it’s interesting to me, so you poor bastards get to read about it, too.
It’s a 10-person ‘raid’ dungeon. (For the CoH-centric, think taskforce, but all in one very large instanced mission with static (and very atmospheric) entrance location.) There are… 10 bosses (and one boss-like ‘event’) in the instance, and a LOT of ‘trash mob’ pulls to do between them. The whole thing takes about 4 hours to clear if you have what it takes to clear it, but that time can expand a lot or even decrease quite a bit, depending on the group.
It is, easily, my favorite group activity to do in the game. I love the atmosphere, the story, the instance itself, and the boss fights. Haunted castles are just goddamn cool.
Y’all know how I was ALWAYS down to do that one timed event out in Eden? What the hell was that called? The thing with the big Crystal Giant thing? The Eden Trial? GOD I loved that thing. (Crying shame I never got to do that on Pummelcite.)
Karazhan is my WoW “Eden Trial.”
So… how’d the second run go?
Really well. I didn’t get pimped out like I did last time, but I contributed a lot more.
Were the groups the same as last time?
Not at all.
Last time, we had one tank, four healers (as the most undergeared guy, I alternately healed or did damage, as the situation warranted), and five ranged damage dealers. No melee guys at all, besides the tank. VERY strange group.
(A typical group is 2 tanks (from 3 possible tanking classes), 2-3 healers (from four possible healing classes), and a mix of ranged and melee DPS (of which there are way too many options to count).)
This time, we had a somewhat more normal group: 2 tanks (though both were the same class, which is fairly unusual and not always desirable), 2 healers (usually, you see three unless both of the two are over-geared; we weren’t), and six DPS ranging from totally overgeared to secondary- or tertiary alts of main characters. I was one of the two healers, and my gear was roughly comparable to the other healers. My class excels at covering damage on the tanks, while his is fantastic at dealing with group-wide damage from AoEs and such — a pretty complimentary pairing, all in all.
We didn’t have a way to keep the tanks from getting feared, however, and we would MISS that ability in the long run.
How did you do, overall?
Once in a while, someone will compare healing a big group to playing whack-a-mole — you see damage hit someone, and you smack it with your healing spell. Maybe that’s accurate for your first few raids – before you figure out much, you might have no idea who was going to take damage next. This is probably why you see so many newbie healing reports showing an abundance of emergency healing (high mana cost for fast, big spells); the healers just aren’t experienced enough to not play a reactive game. But good healers know their fights and know their raid-mates well enough to start a cast before damage happens.
I went into the run with that in mind, trying to school myself to see beyond what was happening and start looking ahead to see what was going to happen. I’m not particularly good at this, because most of my ‘healing practice’ to this point has been in PvP battlegrounds, where most of the damage IS largely unpredictable… but I really feel like I was getting the hang of this during the run.
So how about Boss by Boss
((I was going to lay this out in a table, but I realized that I don’t really remember how to do that in anything but a Wiki anymore. Ahh well.))
Attumen the Huntsman, guardian of the gatehouse
What happened last time: I was melee dps, and I didn’t do very well at all.
What happened this time: This was the first boss and only about the fourth fight with this group, so things were a little bumpy, but we beat him handily. The hunter in the group (who plays a healing priest as her main) got a nice crossbow that I never saw once, playing Grezzk.
Moroes, senechal of the keep and master of the haunted banquet hall.
What happened last time: I was melee dps, and I didn’t do very well. Moroes garrotted me in the middle of the fight, and I died from the ‘ticking’ bleed damage before the fight ended.
What happened this time: I think I died once while we were clearing out the trash mobs before the main fight — it rather stunned the tanks — but the fight went well. Moroes vanishes periodically throughout the fight, reappears beside a random member of the group, garrotes them, then runs back over to the tank. The ‘garrote’ is a constant bleeding effect that will kill the character quickly if not seen too, so on top of healing the two tanks (he keeps blinding one of them, so you need two), you have to keep heals going on an ever-growing number of garroted team mates (often, you’re one of them).
Oh, and he has four friends you have to either kill or crowd control while you’re beating on him, so group-wide damage is happening a lot.
No one died (except me, from bleeding, seconds from the end of the fight). I was happy. Also, he dropped a really nice item for tanking, and no one else wanted it, so it took it for my ‘tank set’ of gear, for times when I need to respec. My tanking set is now reasonably strong.
The Maiden of Virtue, titan of a long lost age
What happened last time: I was melee for this fight, and actually did pretty well.
What happened this time: This fight was annoying. One of the two paladin tanks was on ‘heal the healers’ duty for this fight, cuz Maiden likes to smack the hell out of the healers, and… well, I don’t know what they were doing, but it wasn’t healing me. I died quickly and watched most of the fight from the floor. She dropped a very nice healing item, though, which I got, so it was hard to complain.
The Opera: Little Red Riding Hood
What happened last time: I chased the big bad wolf around and clawed at his backside.
What happened this time: I healed the tank and whoever the wolf was chasing. (Every 30 seconds, he turns someone into a little gnome girl with a red cloak and chases ‘her’ around the room. Healing them is a bit of a challenge, as they’re running around and behind stage sets and breaking my line of sight. One guy died, but in my defense, he always dies. One of the tanks died, but I rezzed him mid fight (a druid-only ability).
I got Little Red Riding Hood’s cloak, which is quite a decent healing cloak for healer/spellcaster, and actually toughens me up a bit into the bargain.
Nightbane, the undead dragon wreathed in fire (Attempt One)
What happened last time: We died repeatedly, even with four healers on the tank, and finally decided to give up and come back and kick his ass later. He’s probably the toughest fight in the whole run.
What happened this time: We died repeatedly, even with two tanks, mostly because he fear-bombs the groups and we didn’t have any way to keep our tanks from running all over like chicken little and getting dragon-chomped in their unprotected back. We decided to come back later and try again.
The Curator, arcane construct and keep of the Master’s Library
What happened last time: After a really frustrating nightbane fight, I respecced out of melee and into a Healing & Ranged Spellcaster build. During this fight I did both.
What happened this time: This is a damage- and healing-race. We had lots of DPS, and two healers. No one died, and the curator dropped in record time.
The Curator marks the end of the ‘first half’ of Karazhan. It is generally accepted wisdom that everything after Curator is a serious upshift in difficulty from what has come before. (With the exception of Nightbane, whom you can fight earlier, but really aren’t *meant* to until later.)
Terestian Illhoof, demon hiding in the library stacks
What happened last time: I was healing for this fight, but my health was so low that when Illhoof summoned me into the “sacrifice circle”, my teammates couldn’t heal/free me before I died.
What happened this time: Obviously, I was healing, and I was really nervous about being sacrificed, because last time there were THREE other healers and they couldn’t keep me up until the damage-dealers could free me… this time, there was only one healer besides me. What I didn’t count on was the simple fact that I’m tougher now than last time, and the dps was more on the ball. No deaths. We annihilated him.
The Shade of Aran, master of the Library
What happened last time: Aran has no aggro table, so he can’t be tanked: he does AoEs and randomly targets people and hammers them with spells. The first time he did that to me, I died. I just didn’t have the health to take the punishment, even with four healers.
What happened this time: He targeted me for a personal beat-down not once, but twice. Thanks to my own increased toughness and come anticipatory healing on my part, neither one killed me. I also combat-rezzed our biggest damage dealer when he dropped in the middle of the fight.
Netherspite, the astral dragon, in the Observatory
What happened last time: I was an off-healer and, when called upon, switched into bear form and TANKED Netherspite.
What happened this time: We wiped very quickly on this one due to an inexpert pull by the lead tank — I just couldn’t stand where I was in range of everyone for heals. On the second try, we took him down with only Mister Big Damage But Dies A Lot going down, two seconds from the end of the fight.
The Chess Event
What happened last time: We won.
What happened this time: We won. The Chess event isn’t exactly… hard.
Prince Malchezar, demonic lord of the Burning Legion
What happened last time: I think we had to beat on him at least once before we won.
What happened this time: Took him out in one shot. I didn’t think about it at the time, but that may be the very first time I’ve EVER been involved in a one-shot of Prince… there are a lot of random elements in that fight that usually screw you at least once before it all goes your way. Not this time.
Nightbane, the burning undead dragon blah blah blah (Second Attempt)
What happened last time: We got a priest into the group, so they could fearward the tank.
What happened this time: We got the player of the hunter to log on their main character — a priest — so they could fearward the tank (stupid gimmicky fight). We took him out in one easy attempt. Of course, with that player on the wrong character, Nightbane dropped nothing but hunter gear. 😛
All in All
I had been looking forward to this run all week, because I knew I was going to be one of the main healers for the first time EVER in a proper raid, and I really wanted to see if I could do it. I think my performance was strong; I got two very much needed gear upgrades, kudos from the other healer, and a lot of surprise and disbelief when I told the group after we were done that I’d only done Kara once before on Syncerus and had NEVER been a main healer for it. My guild leader was on the run and commented that he would never have guessed I was a total healing-noob. “Really great job for your first run. Well done.”
I need to replace my pauldrons for sure (one more Kara run and I can) and possibly my gauntlets (entirely up to chance), but as soon as I do I’m going to tell the guild leader I’d like to bring Syncerus to the next big-boy, 25-man raid instead of Grezzk. I believe he now knows I’m up to it.