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Priests and Valithria Dreamwalker

DPS love their meters. Who’s epeen is bigger than everyone elses? Look to the meter! Healing is a bit different, meters don’t tell the whole story- even if you analyze World of Logs or WWS reports, you still can’t really understand healing by meters. There is just too much unquantifiable information that exists.

Enter the Valithria Dreamwalker encounter. Blizzard finally implemented a fight where you have to ‘heal a boss to death’… erm life? Healers rejoice!! Finally a fight where we can flex our epeens, show off our HPS numbers, and have the proverbial pissing contest with all the other healers.

*screeching breaks*

Sorry priests! You simply don’t have the throughput that is needed to pump out the HPS to that of a Shaman, Druid or a Paladin. Our single target heals, even if we spent the talent points to maximize, do not hit hard or fast enough to outdo these 3 classes. As I stated during RaidWarning’s Power Word: Fail, I think a lot of priest healers are having a hard time with this encounter soley based upon their egos. We finally get a fight that is all about big heals… and priests, because of our throughput design, simply can’t shine when it comes to big numbers on this fight.

This brings up a very difficult conversation and I’ve seen a number of threads about this on the WOW Forums over at PlusHeal and comments on other blogs. Who do you send into your portals? Generally speaking you want to send in your highest HPS classes and get them as many stacks of the buff as possible. Priests tend not to be the high single target HPS class… our highest HPS spells are our multi target spells. (Binding Heal, Prayer of Healing, COH). That is where Holy Shines. And with Discipline, it’s all about damage mitigation from Divine Aegis and PW: Shield, not pure HPS.

That being said, Priest’s have a very important job on this fight: keeping the raid alive while the other healers are inside the portals getting buffed and when they are healing Valithria. If you only have one priest, you likely will want them as Holy so they can provide a Glyphed Guardian Spirit buff on Dreamwalker every 60 seconds. If you have more than one, having your Discipline healing the tanks and tossing out PW:S on the DPS will often really be handy for abilities. (ie. Lay Waste)

Here is the make-up my guild uses for our 10 and 25 man Heroic Valithria Kills:
Heroic ICC10: We typically run 2 or 3 healers for Heroic 10, so we have our Boomkin swap to Alt-Spec Resto and go into the portals with our Holy Pally. I stay in Holy spec and heal outside.
Heroic ICC25: We run 8 healers total: 6 going in, putting a Holy and Disc Priest outside.
(While this is out make up for Heroic, the same logic applies to Normal mode)

By no means am I saying that a priest cannot go into the portals, that certainly isn’t the case. Hell, on my 10 man’s first Heroic kill… I was going in. The key, when you are going into portals, is to be coordinated. Get your first cloud, reset your buffs (ideally with someone else), then group up quickly and fly around getting your stacks. (Remember to pop the last cloud moments before you get sent back out of the dream world). It is more important to have coordination in the dream world, than anything else. So that means, if you have a Druid who can’t keep their stacks up and a Holy Priest who can… you likely will net better having the priest be buffed, and the Druid to heal outside.

Your DPS needs to be very clear in understanding that they need to do all they can to avoid extraneous damage, as the healers need to be putting full attention on healing the Dragon. Healers that are outside of the portals, can assist healing the dragon as they can– however should conserve their mana for healing the damage that is going on outside. (As holy, I typically will burn Surge of Light procs and the occasional Renew on Valithria)

We typically save Heroism for the portal that ends around the 5 minute mark. Be sure to time your Guardian Spirit cooldown to sync with the portal ending at that time. We’ve found that our DPS begin to get overwhelmed at the 6 minute mark, so the Heroism not only helps the healers dump big amounts of heals, it also provides the DPS a chance to catch up on adds.

The key to this fight is to remember that it is not a DPS race, if you are lasting over 6 minutes and she isn’t healed to 100% you likely can cut back on DPS and add more healing to the fight. Your first few portal rotations will take some learning, and figuring out the best way to “pop” the clouds certainly can be difficult. (I SWEAR I fly straight through them, and they don’t pop!!) Stick to it, and your raid will get it. And priests, remember— its not about meters, its about working with your raid and getting the job done. Besides, who else brings Guardian Spirit?

Written By: on March 10, 2010
  1. Hmm…

    This post had a comment, but I dont see it here anymore. Either way, the poster was suggesting to not take the portals since the portals are for mana. I think you are missing the biggest point of the portals is the stacking Healing buff it provides. It is essential for the fight… even moreso on Heroic. If you can complete it on normal without it… great, however I believe it is not the intended mechanic of the fight.

  2. Ah yes, here is the comment… for some reason it is still gone and was purged from the system.

    “Well a few things about this post. Not all guilds actually need to use the portal to heal up the dragon. We don’t use the portals specifically to heal the dragon, we use the portal to get mana. Which means if i wanted to i could take just about every portal. There are a few times I would have to stay out but other than that im free to do whatever i want.

    We find it most beneficial to hero at the start. Also you can GS on cooldown and time it with pally buffs for the best effect.”

    That being said… yes, you missed the point of the dream buff. For normal, perhaps…. heroic, no way. And you typically want Heroism/Bloodlust after your healer team has stacked the buff high enough to provide maxmium hasted and buffed healing.

  3. As Derevka said – the biggest buff is SP buff from the portal clouds. You can slack on it in normal mode, but it’s probably game over for some if you drop those stacks in heroic.

    Take a good look at the buff from the portal – Emerald Vigor

    http://www.wowhead.com/?spell=70873

    Emerald Vigor
    Regenerating 200 Mana every 3 sec.
    Increases Damage done by 10%.
    Increases Healing done by 10%.

    It’s not just mana – it increases healing by %10 and it stacks. Since the key is to heal the dragon, more healing is always a good thing.

    Another thing to mention is What to do with your PIs – the adds dont take much to kill, the DPS’s job here is simply crowd control. Feed this to your holy pally.

    And you know there’s always going to be some knitwit dps out there who wants to take the portals for his ‘leet’ dps – Squash that idea right there. DPS should have no issues taking down the adds. They die fast, even in Heroic Mode.. DPS is crowd control here, if the adds are not dying fast enough you need to make sure they are focusing the same targets & re-evaluate what they are doing. Under no circumstances should they take the portals.

  4. no, you missed my point. you dont need the buff to complete the fight. You absolutely dont need to stack the buff is what i was trying to say. In either heroic and non heroic 10 and 25.

  5. and yes we do hero at the start with out stacks for both heroic 10 and heroic 25.

  6. Am I missing something there, or can I say ‘Troll’?

    I know this is probably quite controversial, but in my guild, I heal the boss as Disc. I do admit that my disc spec is purely focused on maximizing my single target hps, so I am pushing the limits of the priest in this way, but it does work rather nicely. I’ll try and get some logs to show.

    And I actually don’t agree at all with ‘sending the class’. It’s OK for top guilds who can rely on anyone, but I suggest for any other guild, send your most competent raiders, even if they are priests (disc or holy). A priest (even disc) keeping up his stacks to maximum will easily beat a holy paladin who misses a portal and lets his buffs drop off.

    I do agree that the fight is more difficult for a priest, due to low single target hps as you mentioned. The difference is actually marginal from what I’ve seen from logs. So I honestly don’t think any priests out there should be discouraged from ‘boss healing’. Go for it!

  7. no troll, we have like 1-2 guys who goes down gets the buff with any frequency. The rest go down only to get mana.

    http://worldoflogs.com/reports/01bnhwhoufspuk0j/sum/healingDone/?s=989&e=1270

  8. @Blackdawn I think you missed my point when I said that priests certainly CAN get the buff— just that our throughput doesn’t make us the best choice. If you have a player who can’t stack go in and a priest who can stay out.. it probably isn’t the best choice. (see my 3rd to last paragraph)

    At the end of the day, priest throughput isn’t where it should be to truly outshine the other classes. (with all other things being equal).

  9. @ Entrop Looking at the buff portion and your logs, you seem to have done it that way. Seems to me the Shaman go in every portal, and your 2 pallies go in opposite eachother/every other… If it works for you guys, great. Not the strat I think I would have used, but either way: Nice.

    That being said, the point I really am trying to make here is that it seems so many guilds do the strat I alluded to in this post— yet try to fit the priest peg into the pally hole (giggity). Priests, when using that strat, often need to put their egos aside… and realize they are filling a great roll… keeping their raid alive.

  10. I prefer to stay outside, where the real action is. :D
    True, it’s discouraging to see how low my output is compared to other properly played healy classes, but the mechanic itself was boring to me the few times I had to go into the Dream.
    In my opinion priests are still the best healy class and there probably isn’t a raid that couldn’t be healed by purely priest healing complement. :D

  11. @madwand

    Me too :) While I’ve done the “heal the dargon”, I’ve found I like the action being the raid/tank healer.

    Keep in mind this is not a set strat – it’s an explanation. While it’s not necessary to send all healers in the all portals, you’ll figure out who and when as you go.

  12. I’ve played healers, different types, for over 5 years. It’s not that I am bad at playing DPSers, I have been a very skilled Moonkin / Enhancement shaman at specific moments through my raiding career, but I dislike the whole competition idea where, in order to perform, you have to somewhat ride the meters. Now, dont get me wrong, dealing competitive DPS is not all there is to a DPS class, but in the end of the day, if you do 5k DPS without standing in fire, and if another DPSer does 10k DPS without standing in fire, you kind of suck.

    I rolled a healer to put the competition aside and, instead, challenge my reaction time (which I believe is my strong point).

    I’m perfectly fine with the fact that priests may not be the ideal solution to Big Dargon healing. I’m loving my raid members spiking up and down, eating the floor, face tanking mobs. That’s what catches my interest.

  13. We’re running 3 in portals & 3 out. 2 or 3 of the outs are often priests. We do our GS before the 1st portal and then on exit of portals 2 and 4 and 6 (yes, we get 6 portals). Heroism is on portal 4, though we have coordination issues with optimizing overlap.

    Entrop’s setup is working because they have 8 healers and 7 of them are doing 80%+ of their healing to Valithria. The output from the 2 shaman (taking every portal), however, is still the key to their success. They can’t average 20k HPS for the whole fight without the +healing buff.

    Compare to my log (25normal) where the 3 outside healers are only doing around half of their output to the dragon. Obviously there are other factors: our dps probably take a lot more damage, our overall gearing is lower, etc. We’re also not flying as a group in the portals which makes it a little too crowded with 4 people, so we can improve there.

    One problem with my log is I lose a LOT of data when I’m in portals. I need to get a partner outside to log & combine with mine.
    http://www.worldoflogs.com/reports/475id32uh1a1rvpr/sum/healingDone/?s=8707&e=9082

    And, for the fun of it, the vid from the same kill: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnGLGMlbmDg

  14. I’m not a pro at reading logs. I’m assuming the dips in the pic are when the healers go into the portals? And the 2 lines fluctuating at the bottom are 2 healers who are staying outside?

  15. @Derevka

    Yeah my comment was in no means to dis anyone or how most people do the strat, i prolly should have clarified it, but it just gives more options to find out what is best for each guild. We dont log our 10 mans but it would be very similar, 1 person may go down and take every portal. Something that does work though, the DK VB then beacon to the boss as well as feral druids with the talent to get healed for more works then beacon to the boss.

    And in both 10/25 try to chain as much GS as possible. Also GS + Divine Hymn Also stacks. But yes i do agree at the fact that priests are the weakest to go and grab the buff.

    The one thing about our strat though is that we pump a of mana back into our pallies. I.E. Innervate, Hymn of Hope + Plea, Mana Tides

  16. I recently joined a new guild and the healing lead insists that you can only GS Valithria once during the entire encounter!

    Is this something that was recently changed, in the guild I came from we and one priest GS on CD since there is a one GS per minute mechanic built into the fight.

    Can someone confirm or deny that we can now only GS once?

  17. Once per min. She gets a Weakened Spirit debuff when it’s cast on her for 60 secs. So a Glyphed Holy Priest can buff her every CD. I did last night.

    Your new guild is wrong in their logic and can buff her more often.

    1. Thanks so much for the quick reply. :)

  18. I am still wondering if putting me as a holy priest in the portals was a mistake.
    Our shaman is so much better than me at raid heals and no matter how fast I push the buttons, i just can’t get there, and all the time i feel so much safer when she’s around. But I know i do my job well, considering all

    God, how much I wanted the dragon, but I so much more just wanted for us to succeed….

    So when I tried raid healing, I totally totally failed..just couldn’t stay alive, or ran out of mana in no time.
    Then when I was sent into the portals, we got it down after a few tries, but again, I am scared this just means i”m only a fail raid healer, and by no means a better healer on this boss.

    I still can’t see where i was making my mistakes on raid heals, this is so disappointing…

    1. Raid healing out of the portals can be more draining as holy than as disc. If your DPS is doing their jobs, raid damage should be minimal. If the adds are not being focused, with priorities on the right ones, anyone will run dry.

      That’s not saying you CAN’T do it as holy. Its nice to have a holy simply for the GS application. Watch the mana voids, use Aboms for fiend with HoH (channel it with others if you can), bug a feral/boomy for innervates, or get the shaman to use mana tide.

      More than likely, the ‘how to do it’ just clicked for the raid after a few attempts, and has no bearing on your ability to heal. :)

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