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Raiding and Working with Healers


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#1 Ashen

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 05:41 PM

The Setting
So last night, my guild took our first official step into AQ40. With a dedicated night for progress, we were able to kill Skeram and the Bug Trio for the first time. When we got to Sartura, what I feared came true. We were stuck. As the Raid Leader for my guild, I took several steps in preparation, but no matter how many guides or movies are out there, what I have learned, is that in practice, things go a LOT differently. It's easy to say "Put three warriors on Sartura and some healers on the rogues" but once you get in the room, things are a LOT harder.

Between other problems with Sartura, we just couldn't keep good control. We tried hunters helping with royal guard, warlocks DoT ping-ponging Sartura (which never worked, because it would go from Warlock 1 --> Healer 1 --> Warlock 2, by which time, a decent amount of the DPSers on the Royal Guard would get hit by the damage.)

Now I know, our problems seem to be based on several different things. Most likely, our tanks weren't pushing their all, our players weren't paying enough attention to move out of the way and avoid taking damage, but I was also worried about our healers.


The Issue at Hand
The problems I've been seeing are two fold.

On my part, I'm still trying to learn the best scenarios for each of the three healing classes I deal with: Druids, Shaman and Priests.

As a Shaman, I know that we have a certain variety in terms of what we can do. We can single target heal, and we can spot heal. We have those capabilites.

My concern is how I setup our healers when we go in to work on a fight. On Sartura, the one thing that became glaringly obvious, was that there was just a LOT of damage coming in on the entire raid, and the 15 healers I had (5 shaman, 3 druids, and 7 priests) were just too spread out it seemed. I'm really just not sure.

Basically, I'm just trying to realize the potential of each healing class, and place them in a job that makes them most successful. Druids: Good single target or can they also spot heal well? In a scenario where the entire raid is taking damage, which healers should be paired up on healing together? Which healers can spot heal more successfully?

And then, I think the second part of this problem, comes down to player skill. Class, and gear and mechanics only do so much when the player himself can't handle the fight. This is my other concern.

I think a lot of my healers do not want to move. It's a learning experience, but also a frustrating one. I hope that if and when we make it to C'thun, they'll have learned how to "move".

I cannot tell whether or not they're always performing to their max. And how do you judge healing and hone in on people? What do you tell them to improve? How do you teach them "to heal"? You can say, don't spam flash heal you nub priest, use different ranks of your other heals, but what about actually healing? Making the right independent choices?


It seems that these are some of the issues I've encountered with our crew, and since BWL was more stationary, they were able to manage. Already, Skeram and Bug Trio were annoying enough, since the healers did not want to fully move around. If Skeram was up on the stairs... would the healers move back to compensate for the AE? Nope. At the Bug Trio, when Yauj was acting crazy and running around a bit, how much were the healers moving? Half of them were, but there was a good chunk that most likely just didn't get it.

It's difficult, and I'm very confused as to how to handle these situations. I was hoping some of you could shed more light on this. As a shaman, I would like to beileve I can heal well in most situations. So far, there isn't one fight where I haven't been able to adapt. Being the Raid Leader for my guild has taught me a lot about these scenarios as well, but what's important now, is that everyone else can push it up to par.

Thank you in advance.

Hey guys, I heard that Blizzard puts out these things called "patches" that contain "content"

Yeah but it hasn't happened since Ulduar.


#2 Malan

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 05:51 PM

I had been fed up with my guild's healing methodology for a long time. It consisted of "hey keep the tanks up" and that was about it. It was crazy, it was a waste of mana, all the DPS would die, and the powers-that-were at the time refused to do anything about it.

The solution is to be as specific as possible. Get a mod like HealingGroupsSucks from curse-gaming.com, and use it to setup your healers for every encounter. You'll be amazed at how all of a sudden the encounter that toook 10 healers to keep a tank up, now suddenly only needs 2 or 3. When you assign very specific responsibility to healers they respond much better and pay attention. (Because if they fuck it up you can nail their balls to the wall for it)

For your specific questions - to help with sartura I recommend adopting the motto of "Move Bitch, Get out da way" and play that song before you start. Gets people into the right mindset of not standing still. Shaman are now the ultimate trash/AoE mob healers - put your shaman on chain heal duty on rogues/mages/locks/hunters. 2 shaman chain heal spamming can keep up all your rogues on Sartura (put ones you trust on that duty though)

I generally begin all healing assignments by spreading 1 druid and priest per tank and then working with whatever I have left after that, unless there is a very specific reason that certain classes need to do a different job (for instance, on Razuvious we place all shaman on the warriors and druids/priests heal the Understudies).

Edit - oddly enough I didn't read your last paragraph. You actually summed it up for yourself. BWL is all static encounters, they didn't need to move; AQ40 and Naxx are totally different. They MUST become aware of whats around them or they WILL die on trash and bosses - constantly.

#3 Trepidati0n

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 06:05 PM

The type of healer really doesn't matter for satura...you just need to have them in a specific function and make them responsible for that function. We typically do a 5/2/2/2 split for them or satura/guard/guard/guard for the healers. The 2/2/2 groups are typically a warrior/hunter/warlock/shaman/(priest or druid). The 5 group is typically 3 tanks + 5 healers.

I'm gonna post some of our strat.....just to give you an idea of how we run the fight. Also...Satura is gonna be one of those fights you will wipe often until it just "clicks". Once it clicks, it is pretty easy.

------------

Satura is really the first fight in the game which bascially throws the rule book out. You have a room much larger han the bug family room with mobs that will meat grind anybody in their path and the mobs dump agro often.

For phase 1

We have a warrior/warlock/hunter combo for each of satura's friends. We raid mark them and bascially try to pull them into seperate areas as not to cluster up. The warlock is always cancel/starting a searing pain so that when the mob dumps agro on the tank the searing pain should land before hte mob is out of range. The hunter is also sitting primed with his instants. You need to keep a healer or two dedicated to these people because they will take HUGE burst damage..especialy the lock.

The DPS bascially moves from ADD to ADD dropping them one by one. The rogues are critical here for stunlocking them so ranged DPS can chew'm up. Hint...keep rogues alive. Putting a raid symbol on the guard tanks and the MA help. Bascially follow the pink diamond and now kill orange circle. So much simplier...

For satura we have 3 tanks usually. We try and pull satura very far back. Once a tank establishes agro, the other two tanks start moving back towards the middle of the room for when she dumps agro so they can grap her. It is bascially a dance between the three warriors trading agro. We usually have 4-5 healers on them since they are all over the place.

For phase 2

Once her adds are the dance changes. What you do is have two tanks try to keep her in one spot while EVERYONE else stays away. Once she becomes stunnable (big wigs will do this for you, and its every 10 seconds or so) the warriors CHARGE in to give her a small stun to allow the rogues to get in to build combo points to stun. If you have 5-6 warriors this should be good enough. Basically 2 warrior charges per stun period give the ROGUES enough time to get in and get their stuns off. Keepig Satura planted and not moving is the key. When she starts spinning agai,n everyone RUNS out and away. Basically it is stunnable period --> warriors charge in a sequence --> rogue get in and build combos to stun --> When spin run away --> warriors tank till next stun period.

When satura is moving AROUND, everyone must be moving. The whole goal is to keep satura 30-40 yards from you. This means if you are doing anything and she is coming to you, YOU STOP and RUN. She will kill you before you can blink. This is what kills most guilds (a shaman stand there trying to finish a heal and then gets gibbed...wow, that was smart), they are so used to small rooms where you bascially plant the boss and kill it. Another thing is tell people not to strafe into other people. Just do a 180 and run (they may actually have to learn to use their mouse to 180)

Big thing people must do is get used to being SPREAD OUT. It will be good practice for C'thun when you get there.

This is also a first fight where significant individual efforts of super proportion are needed. Everyone must pull their weight. Before it was the tank and the healers keeping the fight going...now it is the warriors charging, warlocks/hunters keep the mob in check when it runs, healers keep clothies alive that are gonna get hit, rogues stunning, etc.

#4 Sebudai

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 06:07 PM

I think positioning is more important than movement on Sartura. If you're having trouble healing all of the damage your raid is taking on this encounter most likely it is because you're positioned badly. The room is gigantic for a reason. Position groups at various points around the edges of the room and try to keep Sartura directly in the middle.
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#5 Cmpnd

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 06:16 PM

PvP with your healers a bit.

PvP forces them to make dynamic decisions on their own to help them survive. For example, if a rogue attacking you is frost nova'd, you should move out of melee range (assuming not stunned) as soon as possible. It also teaches them to try to heal out of dangers way, so people don't see them and don't realize a healer's around until you've actually healed. If you watch closely in PvP, you will be able to distinguish good healers from bad ones, and then be able to work with the bad ones so that eventually they will be able to make their own decisions.

#6 DeeNogger

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 06:22 PM

one thing with sartura is that your dps has to keep themselves alive. unless you assign a healer "watch this one rogue, and keep him alive" (which would be an epic waste of resorces) then they can get killed so quickly that healers cant get in there to help. 360 degrees of 2500 damage on cloth wearers (and probably close to that for rogues) will over load your healers fast. warlocks and mages especially have to learn to stop their casts and run. When my guild was first learning sartura all we would hear is "its impossible to stay out of their way" yet now that we have to fight down better, they seem to do it just fine (ie, it just takes practice dodgeing those bitches).

Sartura is a dps fight. you zerg down those adds as quick as possible so that you have the healers and tanks able to focus control on sartura. then you just stay the fuck out of her way, and keep her stunned for as long as possible. But if your dps isnt smart enough to not cast a shadow bolt from 5 yards away from the mobs, there is nothing the healers can do.

#7 Manson

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 06:29 PM

PvP with your healers a bit.

PvP forces them to make dynamic decisions on their own to help them survive. For example, if a rogue attacking you is frost nova'd, you should move out of melee range (assuming not stunned) as soon as possible. It also teaches them to try to heal out of dangers way, so people don't see them and don't realize a healer's around until you've actually healed. If you watch closely in PvP, you will be able to distinguish good healers from bad ones, and then be able to work with the bad ones so that eventually they will be able to make their own decisions.

This could be an incredibly frustrating project, more likely than improve they'd take to the message boards in a crusade to buff (insert healing class here) because they suck so bad.

#8 Flubber

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 06:38 PM

I've always adopted the approach of nothing but spot healing on Sartura. Its one of the first fights where you need everyone alive and topped off in order to win and the fight is too erratic to have healers playing chase. My experience is that assigning usually means the person a healer was assigned to lives, while the person right beside him dies. When questioned, most people respond with "I'm not supposed to raid heal, blame those guys."

We put 4 or 5 low-armor healers on the 2 main tanks in the far corner from the Fankriss tunnel. Then everyone else spot heals. A smart shaman knows to slap a chain heal on rogues and watch it arc to who needs it most regardless of class. If the add moves to a healer or a ranged dps, as long as the rogues are on the ball, the chains will bounce to whoever she hurts along the way.

#9 Orbnauticus

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 07:32 PM

Sartura is the fight that determines who amongst your healers simply sits there watching the emergency monitor eating Cheetos and watching Friends, and who is aware of their surroundings and can react accordingly. The Benny Hill Willy-Nilly strat doesn't really work too well for this fight, especially early on, because at any given time most people are going to be out of range of most healers, and the healers that are in range of them are probably running out of the way of an add.

A strat that worked like a charm for us was dividing your raid into 3 camps plus a Sartura control group, and DPS those adds which venture into your camp. It works extremely well for healing purposes, though the Sartura healers need to be most aware as they are much more in the thick of things ("things" meaning "3k+ damage per hit whirlwind") and thus much more likely to end up shredded if a big heal goes off.


This fight takes a bit of adjusting, especially from the BWL-induced "nobody really ever needs to move" mindset.

#10 Arko

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 07:40 PM

-Between other problems with Sartura, we just couldn't keep good control.
-On Sartura, the one thing that became glaringly obvious, was that there was just a LOT of damage coming in on the entire raid

That's your problem.

My sugestion is that you should worry less about organizing your healers. Try to keep Sartura stationary. When Sartura is in whirlwind mode, she will more or less ignore your tanks unless they taunt her. In that case she stays focused on the tank until the taunt debuff fades. If you assign three tanks to alternately taunt her, she will remain where the tanks are, and you just need to worry about healing the whirlwind damage on them. You do not need to have a perfect taunt rotation to make it worthwile, she usually slips away a few times. In that case, run like hell.

By the way, imho Sartura is a lot easier than the Bug Trio.

#11 Judia

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 08:32 PM

Sarturas room is too big to just spot heal randomly, same as C'thun in P2. You need to have some structure to your raid.
Focus on Getting sartura under control using 3 warriors, and a couple of warlocks dotting/dpsing the living crap out of her. Put 5 healers in there and you are good to go. Until you can keep sartura out of your raid, healing assignments wont matter.

When you can do that, give each of 6 tanks 2 healers, a feral tank works great on adds with feral charge. 3 tanks on sartura, 1 on each add. When an add dies, its tank should go help on sartura. A good rule is that healers should always stay on their tank, everyone else should look after themselves. Trying to geuss which of 15 people are in range for a heal is a good way to make sure people die, so dont rely on spot healing. You will have 3 healers spare if you take a "standard" raid of 5 of each class, they can keep HoT's up on people to healp but most people should try and look after themselves.

Its also a fight where cooldowns work in reverse. Your best bet is to blow all your cooldowns and trinkets on the first add, because the fight becomes exponentially easier with each add that dies.
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#12 Jaizha

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 08:49 PM

Once we get the adds down, I'm fine. We form a ring around Sartura for phase two and she rarely ever gets close enough to whirlwhind me. Phase one is the bitch, I can survive (evade) one add if it's not solidly aggrod on me, but if two adds come at me from different angles I'm pretty much screwed.

I'm not sure exactly what control we use for phase one, but in general it involves keeping Sartura as far south/away from the DPSers as possible. Adds are dealt with at the top end of the room. I've always found phase two fairly easy if we get the adds down with as few raid deaths as possible.

#13 Bury

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 09:12 PM

The solution is to be as specific as possible. Get a mod like HealingGroupsSucks from curse-gaming.com, and use it to setup your healers for every encounter. You'll be amazed at how all of a sudden the encounter that toook 10 healers to keep a tank up, now suddenly only needs 2 or 3. When you assign very specific responsibility to healers they respond much better and pay attention. (Because if they fuck it up you can nail their balls to the wall for it)

Back to Working With Healers:

I see what you're saying, and I wish my guild would assign healing. Right now our strat just "heal the tanks lol", with very few exceptions.

Sadly, the raid leader (a hunter or a warrior) sees healing assignments as being unnecessary complication. In addition, I can feel strong institutional resistance from most healing players, probably because they're pretty cynical about being blamed for wipes.

I tried pushing for a raid healing officer, but still no support.

Meh. Are we doomed to mediocre healing?

#14 Parappa

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 09:34 PM

The solution is to be as specific as possible. Get a mod like HealingGroupsSucks from curse-gaming.com, and use it to setup your healers for every encounter. You'll be amazed at how all of a sudden the encounter that toook 10 healers to keep a tank up, now suddenly only needs 2 or 3. When you assign very specific responsibility to healers they respond much better and pay attention. (Because if they fuck it up you can nail their balls to the wall for it)

Back to Working With Healers:

I see what you're saying, and I wish my guild would assign healing. Right now our strat just "heal the tanks lol", with very few exceptions.

Sadly, the raid leader (a hunter or a warrior) sees healing assignments as being unnecessary complication. In addition, I can feel strong institutional resistance from most healing players, probably because they're pretty cynical about being blamed for wipes.

I tried pushing for a raid healing officer, but still no support.

Meh. Are we doomed to mediocre healing?

cant really see how you can do without assigned healing. just have one person (probably you) who has a feeling for all the healers in the raid step up and do the assignment. for us, our warrior GM does the dps group setup and usually a priest will assign the healers, and pair off people based on their gear/ strength and playstyles. for example priests who love to pvp are usually better suited on tasks that require quick reflexes, like shielding and saving squishies, whereas people who are more into theorycrafting usually have a better idea of how to maximize their manapools for a constant stream of heals.
assigning healers should really not take a long time, since you usually have a rather good idea of the people in your guild and how to pair em up, and you will only benefit in the long run by eliminating overhealing.

as far as sartura goes, couple of quick tips that helped us.
- pull is very important. if you dont spread out all the adds FAST it can be a rather quick wipe. get them while they are flying back and take them apart asap.
- tell all your ranged to stay at max range and stand at the sides. you never want to get caught in the middle
- we usually put 2 healers and 2 tanks in one party in charge of one add. minimap is very helpful on this encounter to figure out where the hell the people are that you are supposed to heal
- most importantly, hammer it into peoples head "you DO NOT WAIT to finish your cast. if something is running towards you, you interrupt whatever you are doing and run the opposite direction". some people need to be reminded of this before every atttempt.
- focus on the melee. after the first adds are down tell healers that were assigned to those add groups to keep the rogues up. ranged is lower priority.
- if you have trouble with spot healing, you can always enable show friendly nameplates. can also work wonders on cthun, too bad the range is rather short.

#15 IcemanNorth

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 09:47 PM

Sartura is an easy fight once you understand that the most important part of it is the pull. The initial aggro time is important because it allows you to get enough spacing of your raid. We used to do it that a mage would ride in on a bug mount and then iceblock while hunters pull the adds to the right places in the room, but with the changes to Iceblock, we just have the Main Tank of the guild now ride in and Shield Wall.

The basicly strategy is simple you have your dps part of the raid to the left side of the room (when looking from the entrance to the room, basicly the northside), spread out all along the wall. The tanks are spaced evenly around the room with sartura in the furthest right, if you can get her into the little cubbyhole that is in the southeast of the room then do it. 2 Tanks on Sartura and 1 on each add. Hunter pulls each target to their tank. Mark the targets. Have a concrete order of which target is going where. If you bring more then 5 warriors then have 1 stand in the center of the room as emergency tank to grab Sartura if she gets out of control. Bring each add to the north to the dps and kill it. Then have the raid move south. And attack Sartura. Spread out, have the 2 main tanks on Sartura as primaries and the other tanks as backups infront of the dps. La Vendetta Boss Mods helps on Sartura to announce exact timing of when she is stunable. It is very handy.


The basic idea is that you dont mix tanking with killing. The room is large enough that hunters can help control anything well if one or two tanks get out of position. Plus the faster you kill adds the less damage is taken overall. The healers on the tanks though must be mobile and spread out. They WILL get hit.

Ultimately though it is just practice practice practice.


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#16 missiletoad

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 09:57 PM

Healing assignments are definitely something you want to work out beforehand. Once your warrior/warlock/hunter/whatever groups figure out how to keep the adds and Sartura generally managed, assigned localized healing works great. Sticking a couple with each add group, 3-4 on the Sartura group, and the rest roaming works nice for us. After the adds are down, having all melee except MTs pull out at the whirlwind warning will save you a lot of rogue and dps warrior lives.

Something I haven't seen others really mention is the usefulness of hunters for whirlwind aggro management. Distracting/Feign after aggro resets to reposition Sartura or her adds work wonders. We found it to be more reliable than warlock spam.

#17 Jeht

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 10:21 PM

You need to yell louder and more often. Also mix up your profanities.

#18 Arketh

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 10:24 PM

I keep seeing this thing that goes ......

OMG our healers suck. Therefore: make them PVP and they will be better.

And exactly *how* will this happen?

Healers being awake and aware has *nothing* to do with PVP prowess in a PVE raid.

Sartura is a very specific fight that requires people to move around. In case you had not noticed, other classes that are used to standing in one place and dps-ing also die here - rogues, mages, hunters, etc.

PVP is not a requisite to `have a clue`. Personally, I find PVP to be rather uninteresting. Thus, the PVE (aka normal) server.

In summary: healing and surviving in PVP is not the same as in PVE. Deal with it and get over the superiority complex, please.
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#19 Malan

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 10:26 PM

I see what you're saying, and I wish my guild would assign healing. Right now our strat just "heal the tanks lol", with very few exceptions.

Sadly, the raid leader (a hunter or a warrior) sees healing assignments as being unnecessary complication. In addition, I can feel strong institutional resistance from most healing players, probably because they're pretty cynical about being blamed for wipes.

I tried pushing for a raid healing officer, but still no support.

Meh. Are we doomed to mediocre healing?

Yes. Thats exactly what was going on in our guild. Lazy people refused to do anything about it. A priest class leader would assign all the priests to a tank. The druid and shaman class leaders would do the same. 10 seconds later all the mages were dead, and everyone is accusing each of with "well why the hell weren't you healing them, its an AoE pull!"

Take it upon yourself to fix it. A hunter/warrior is telling you that healing assignments are complications? Tell him to piss off and do it yourself. The mod I mentioned above lets you create roles (fill it in with a tank's name, or just "rogues" etc) for people to fill, and then drag their name (or just the name of their class for generalized healing) to fill that role. Push a button and you broadcast it to the raid, in any channel you want. Your raid leader says he won't do it? Shows his ignorance. Start doing it yourself and watch how the problem solves itself.

Edit - many of the posters above are focusing very strictly on the execution of the Sartura fight. The OP is asking much more generalized questions about working with healers in a raid however. He's just using Sartura as an example. I would suggest broadening your responses to fit that.

#20 Kalman

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 10:30 PM

PvP isn't requisite, but PvP *does* teach situational awareness. Healers that don't keep an eye out very quickly get nuked to zero by rogues and mages coming from their blind spot. They tend to learn to get out of the pack, heal while moving, and gain awareness of how chaotic/dynamic situations develop and how to operate within them, all of which are skills which fights have come to require more of (get out the way: Sartura, healing while moving: Ossirian, chaotic/dynamic situations: C'thun).

Don't knock the usefulness of PvP as a training ground for most classes - not for good PvE technique, necessarily - in PvP, I Slice and Dice never, and in PvE I Eviscerate never - but for awareness and movement.
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