Thursday, February 25, 2010

The largely unnecessary strategy guide for the Rotting Frost Giant!

I was jealous of Kae's amazing illustrated strategy guides and wanted to post something of my own, but I forgot that:
  1. I have no artistic talent and
  2. All raiding content that I have seen has been covered to death by other, better blogs and strategy forums

With those 2 limitations in mind, I present to you my entirely unnecessary strategy guide for the optional weekly boss in ICC, the Rotting Frost Giant!


There are 4 randomly generated weekly raids for Icecrown Citadel. Somewhere in the instance, you will find one of these questgivers. In my opinion, the easiest one is the quest "Securing the Ramparts", which asks you to slay an optional boss in the area before the Gunship battle.

Fight Mechanics and positioning

The Rotting Frost Giant has 3 abilities you need to know about.

The first is a Stomp ability that hits everyone for about 12k damage, and throws you up in the air. This will interrupt casting and generally just sucks. Not anything you can do to avoid this damage so keep everyone topped off.

The second is a randomly targeted Arctic Breath ability which will stun and damage all targets in a cone, exactly like Icehowl from TOC. To avoid this, the raid should be grouped in a circle around the boss. This will do about 15k dmg over 5 seconds. This is why it's important to keep everyone topped off, as a combination stomp, breath will nearly kill clothies. It is also important to distribute healers so that no more than one healer gets stunned at a time.

Here is what our positioning looked like for a 10 man raid.

The last, and most complicated ability, is the Death Plague. This will affect a randomly targeted raid member. It lasts for 15 seconds and does a minimal amount of damage and cannot be dispelled. After 15 seconds, it will explode, doing 8k damage to you and all other raid members within 8 yards. All members hit will become infected with new copies of the Death Plague, and the person who just had it receives a debuff called "Recently Infected" which prevents them from receiving the Death Plague for another 30 seconds.

To combat this mechanic, we used a "Hot Potato" strategy. First, dps the boss as normal until someone becomes infected:

The infected person would find someone next to them that does not have the recently infected debuff and hug them until the disease expires. Make sure you are only infecting one other person (this is why you spread out 8 yards apart initially).

After passing the disease, go back to your original positioning, and keep passing the disease every 15 seconds to new people.

That disease is then passed onto a third person, with the original infectee's immunity about to wear off:

Keep passing it around the circle among your range and healers in this fashion. Eventually there will be 2 copies of the disease going around, and this should be managed in the same fashion. It may be a little tricky distributing the buffs accordingly, but you eventually want the passing circle to look like this:

You should not need to manage more than 2 copies of the disease in 10 man mode.


The Rotting Frost Giant drops no loot, but he does reward 250 rep with the Ashen Verdict, and turning in the weekly quest will get you a Sack of Frosty Treasures which has 5 Emblems of Frost, some gold, and a chance at a 264 BOE epic.

Alternate Strategies

After I made these slides, I read online that there is a simpler, although probably unintended strategy. You can pair up, and when someone gets infected, they will pass it to their partner after 15 seconds, and then if you stay up, supposedly the partner will pass it back to the original infectee, and the debuff will simply go away (the aoe damage will still occur). I have not tried this strategy, but if it is true, it is much simpler, and trivializes this encounter. Maybe I'll try it next week...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

First night with T10-4

I spent my first night with T10's 4 piece set bonus last night, and I think it was a little bit of a disappointment. The hot accounted for about 3% of my effective healing for the night, which is way less than in some of the parses I'd seen. I think that it's possible that the fights I happened to be healing for last night were generally not chain heal friendly, and I was also mostly tank healing as the other healer was a druid.

I will be more excited to see my stats from tomorrow, when we will be doing Blood Queen, the fight that was built expressly for Chain Heal spam.

Still, I think I probably will be building 2 sets, one for Chain Heal centric fights, and one for Tank healing fights. I have generally resisted building multiple healing sets in the past, due to bag space, and general laziness, but I think the set bonuses and relic effects have become so specific these days that it may still be necessary.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Back to the Chain of Healing Bloggers

Jessabelle is revisiting the meme that riveted the healing blog world, and asking past participants to revisit their answers with a few questions, to see how our opinions of our class have changed, both with experience, and with the content that has been released since then.

My original answers are here, for reference.

1. Reread your original answers to the questions. With the benefit of hindsight, score your own work in terms of its cringeworthiness.

Hmm, I think when I look back on past-Zigi, I think "geez, you and Chain Heal should get a room already". Sure it's a great spell still, and probably still class-defining, but it was also made nearly unusable in many of the fights of the first wing of ICC. Spreading out on fights like Saurfang meant that your CH would often hit only one target, making it useless. In general, you're going to be spread out on other fights like Blood Princes, Failboat, and Marrowgar too. It's useless on Valithria of course, who isn't in your raid so won't get hit by it. It's still amazing on fights like Festergut and Blood Queen, but it certainly has struck out on a lot of ICC fights for me. This is especially painful as my totem and glyph are just wasted on these fights by association, but I'm too cheap to replace them for just those fights.

2. Has your class's healing improved in the area you identified as its weakest?
I identified mana usage as the biggest weakness, and when we were just beginning TOC I was living on my mana tide and potions. My gear has gotten a lot better since then, and there is a lot more raid damage (HELLOOO Blood Queen) giving me nearly limitless mana from my water shield.

What I would identify as our biggest weakness now is our lack of mobile healing. We have one spell to cast while moving (and don't get me wrong, I want to have Riptide's babies\), so when Riptide is on cooldown and you need to run off a nasty debuff, then you're kinda not doing anything for 6 seconds, eh?

3. Have you changed your "least favoured class to heal with"?
I selfishly said holy priests, because they don't offer any buffs for me personally that a disc priest doesn't provide. I like holy priests a lot more since a lot of them now take the Glyph of Guardian Spirit, which is an amazing talent. I have set foot in a few more 25 man raids, and I do realize now that it is a headache to have more than one disc priest, as they're constantly weakened-soul-blocking each other, without careful coordination.

4. Did you read the entries from others in the webring, especially your class?
I thought they were really informative. I didn't know a lot about druid healers, to be honest, and the thoughtfulness and complexitiy of their decision making processes for raid healing go into way more depth than resto shamans do.

As for my class, Resto Shammies had the lowest participation out of all the healing classes :(, which is unsurprising as resto shammies are the lowest represented healing class on the armory. I like the perspective of the other resto shammies, although most of them are 25 man healers, for which I'm not there. My favorite was probably Chayah, who if you're a shammy you're probably already familiar with from their amazing ZAP! spreadsheet.

5. If Yes to #4, did you learn anything that made you a better healer?
Like I mentioned, Chayah has an interesting perspective. Maybe it's cause of his dps background, but I liked his idea that mana at the end of a fight is useless. I don't really switch up my gear from fight to fight, but recently I have considered building different sets for different fights.

6. What tools/resources or information do you think you would need to improve as a healer and how could that help the community at large?
I'm going to echo Miss, and mention the lack of resto shammy healing blogs. I'd like to give a shout out to Rul, who I've recently added to my blogroll, who not only has great shaman healing ideas, but ALSO is in a 10-man strict guild, adding a little extra flavor.

7. What did you identify as your worst habit as a healer? Have you improved in this area?
I complained that I probably refreshed Riptide too early, but now with my Tier 10 2-piece set bonus, that's a FEATURE, not a BUG!

8. What did you list as your favorite healing spell and your least used healing spell for your class? Are these answers still true? If they have changed, what caused the change (i.e. patch fix, different healing environment, etc)?
Hmm, I did say Chain Heal back then, but like I said earlier, that has become much more situational in ICC. I gotta say with the new nummy set bonus, it's Riptide hands down. I've never been a fan of 6 second cooldowns; in fact I think I really stopped playing my Holy Priest over one, but with Riptide, it makes sense to me, somehow. Just a juicy spell with all sorts of awesome things that happen after you cast it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

To 4-piece or not to 4-piece?

It's decision time again, peoples. Back when I made my initial pull list, We were working on Saurfang, and I was considering the first 4 ICC bosses and thinking how underused Chain Heal was. At the time, I couldn't see the value in saving up 160 emblems on top of my 2 piece set bonus to complete the 4 piece set bonus, when I didn't feel like I was even casting Chain Heal that much.

Times have changed. 2 Wings later, we've seen fights like Festergut, Putricide, Blood Princes, and Blood Queen, which featured massive raid damage and pushed aoe healing demands to the limit. Also, early reports for HEP values for the 4 piece set bonus are showing up, and they are quite positive. One report puts it as high as 800 HEP!

I also finally had a full night just healing, so I had a log I felt comfortable passing through my shaman_hep for updated calculations. The summary is here, but the main takeaway is that I have HEP estimations for my trinkets now. My Ephemeral Snowflake clocked in at around 143 HEP for the night and the Sliver of Pure Ice clocked in at around 211 HEP. Their theoretical maximum HEP values are around 276 and 242, respectively, which may mean that I'm just not using the "Use:" effect on the Snowflake very wisely, and I'm using the Sliver's Use effect fairly well.

In either case I've decided to weigh the 4 piece set bonus at something like 400 HEP, until I hear some more concrete numbers. This still offsets the stat bonus of the non-set emblem purchases, so it definitely shifts up my pull list a lot. I won't actually be purchasing anything until I have enough emblems for both the chest and gloves, so I can go directly from tier 9.2 to tier 10.4, so if I find out soon that the numbers are not quite as good, I can change my plan accordingly. Here goes:

Updated Emblem of Frost Pull List
Best Upgrade HEP Cost HEP Upgrade per Badge Current HEP
Frost Witch's Handguards 541.4 60 3.332 Thrall's Handguards of Triumph 341.4
Frost Witch's Tunic 785.7 95 2.98 Thrall's Tunic of Conquest 502
Waistband of Despair 491.8 60 2.89 Darkspear Ritual Binding 318
Earthsoul Boots 512.1 115 1.818 Sabatons of Tortured Space 302.9
Drape of the Violet Tower 289.7 50 1.791 Shawl of the Caretaker 200.2
Purified Lunar Dust 215.2 60 1.95 Ephemeral Snowflake 143.5
Lightning-Infused Leggings 679.3 184 .0922 Leggings of Concealed Hatred 509.5
Totem of Surging Seas 255 30 .7 Totem of Calming Tides 234

The bolded item costs means that I am factoring in part of a set bonus upgrade. The italicized item cost mean that they are primordial saronite costs, and can be bought with alts or money.

Happy hunting, Shaman.