I began writing this guide to healing Karazhan as a resto druid last fall. I have finally had time to go through it and I think I’m finally happy with the final product.
Druids bring a lot of healing to raids and seem to pull their weight against healers who far outgear them (healing meter mechanics are not in the scope of his article). A capable resto druid can significantly ease healing loads for tanks, and, depending on their gear, they may even be able to solo heal tanks through most boss encounters while still supporting the raid.This guide is an assumed-to-be-fool proof guide for healing the raid instance Karazhan that makes a couple of assumptions:
1) Your gear is not gimped. You should not be entering Karazhan with uncommon armour. Most groups require about 1000 healing/100 mp5 for entrance to Karazhan for druids. By around 1500 healing (and your mp5 would be expected to scale accordingly), doing your own part in Karazhan becomes a joke and you are even able to cover for other healers’ mistakes.
2) You have read about the mobs and the boss strategies.
Put simply, the resto druid’s responsibility is to heal multiple targets at the same time. This is surprisingly easy to achieve by rolling HoTs on the tanks while casting heals on the rest of the raid between refreshes. Depending on how much HoTage you require to keep the tanks up, you will have a certain number of GCDs every cycle to use as you please.
For example, in Karazhan you will typically have two tanks. In encounters where both of them are tanking, if you only require a Lifebloom stack to keep them up then you have two available GCD per cycle. If one tank requires Rejuvenation as well as a Lifebloom stack, then you will have five available GCD every three cycles. And so on. Use your available GCD to cast a heal on a tank or on the raid, use another skill, eat a consumable, or do nothing.
How do you decide how many HoTs to stack? Obviously, this depends on both your gear and the tanks’ gear. Try just straight-up Lifeblooms at first. If you find that Lifeblooms aren’t enough, then add Rejuvenation or Regrowth. If you find that the healing is still not enough, add a third HoT.
A good practice in raids is to always keep a Rejuvenation or a Regrowth on the active tank at all times in case your other healers don’t pick up the heals after spikes so you can Swiftmend it off. (Always reapply Swiftmended HoT with your next available GCD.) As you progress through Karazhan and your raid gears up, you will find that your tanks require much less healing and this tactic becomes overkill for most bosses. Still, consider doing it for the more intense fights encountered later in the instance such as Prince and Nightbane where wipes are still possible when the shit hits the fan.
While all of this healing is going on, always keep an eye on your mana. Trash pulls generally last less than a minute and you will probably end them with the bulk of your mana still in the pool. On bosses, however, mana management becomes a concern. Things to keep in mind regarding mana:
1) Itemization. This goes without saying: find a balance between your bonus healing and mp5. If you have to favour one, favour mp5. A healer with no mana is a USELESS healer. Too many priests and druids gimp their mp5 in order to favour their bonus healing. Don’t be one of them. A druid that goes OOM under normal circumstances is just embarrassing in my opinion.
2) Trinkets. Use them. All the time. In Pookies’ case, both of his healing trinkets (Bangle of Endless Blessings and Lower City Prayerbook) help him conserve or regenerate mana. I use Lower City Prayerbook at the beginning of a fight and every time it is cooled down. I use Bangle of Endless Blessings the first time when I have enough mana gone that I won’t waste any of the extra mp5, and then every time it is cooled down. If I am going to Innervate myself, I try to have it coincide with a Use on my Bangle of Endless Blessings (there are a couple of easily searchable articles online that discuss the mechanics of the Innervate + Bangle combination).
3) Innervate. Pookies has to Innervate himself very infrequently. Get a feel for your raid and know when to use your Innervate on yourself and when to agree to pass it along to another healer during a boss fight.
4) Buffs. Always have Superior/Brilliant Mana Oil on. If regeneration is really a concern for your druid, then eat Blackened Sporefish for the mp5 buff (otherwise, eat Golden Fish Sticks for a whopping 44 bonus healing—50 bonus healing to a raid member in your group—and a smaller mp5 buff from the spirit). If you are discovering new content, Flask of Mighty Restoration is your friend. Otherwise, pop elixirs (Major Mageblood and Healing Power work well). Obviously, make sure that you have all class buffs. Make sure the paladin gives you BoK or BoW and not BoM.
5) Overhealing. Some addons (such as Grid) can be configured to show you when a heal is already being cast on a player or if a HoT is ticking on a player. Make sure you are using one such addon, and encourage the other healers in your raid to do the same.
6) Potions. Bring a stack for those “OH SHIT” moments, but unless your whole raid is just beginning to run Karazhan you shouldn’t need them.
Proper mana management will go a long way in bigger raids where the fights are longer and even more healing intensive. Being able to pass out your Innervate and still have more than enough mana for yourself in a raid may be the difference between progression and epic fail. Get a good grasp on good mana management now!
Lastly, a note on catching aggro: It shouldn’t happen under normal circumstances with any decent group. But, hey, shit happens. Don’t forget about the tools that you have at your disposal to survive a couple of hits from trash mobs: Barkskin (a very important skill to have hotkeyed), Cyclone (this will depend on how hard you’re getting hit and whether or not you’ll live to the end of the cast), and Bear Form in addition to your resto CDs. And if you catch aggro from a boss … fire your tank.
Strategy – Attumen the Huntsman
Initially, roll HoTs on the MT and then the OT when Attumen spawns.
After mounting, roll HoTs on the active tank only. Watch Attumen’s target to make sure you are healing the right raid member. Remove Curse the tank if there are no mages in your raid, otherwise your raid leader should ask the mage decurse so you can stay in ToL form.
The raid DPS should not be taking any damage during this fight. If they are, get them to read up on Attumen strategies.
Strategy – Moroes
Roll HoTs on the active tank. Abolish Poison immediately if one of the tanks gets Blind on them. To heal through Garottes, I typically keep Rejuvenation up on the target for the rest of the fight and throw a Lifebloom on if I don’t think another healer is going to pick up the slack.
During this fight, keep a careful eye on your fellow healers, especially if they are expected to Shackle or Turn Undead and may catch some add hate.
Strategy – Maiden
Roll HoTs on the active tank. Be sure to have Rejuvenation on the tank before a Repentance. Regrowth Holy Fire targets.
Strategy – Nightbane
During ground phase, roll HoTs on the active tank while staying as at max distance from the tank and melee DPS and avoiding Charred Earth. Regrowth and/or Lifebloom raid members who have eaten Charred Earth ticks.
During air phase, start passing out Lifeblooms after the bones start falling and while running to a safe distance. From that point, continue to heal raid members who are taking hits from the adds. I typically use Lifeblooms for this, throwing in a Regrowth where necessary. Depending on your raid’s strategy, you may take some heat during the add phase. If this happens, do what you need to survive but only use Cyclone as a last resort here as timely downing of the adds is absolutely imperative in this fight.
Before ground phase, time your HoTs carefully. If you are not running an add-on that tells you when Nightbane is going to take off and land … GET ONE. I time my Rejuvenation so it ticks one or two seconds after Nightbane lands, and I begin stacking Lifeblooms again just as Nightbane lands. A hunter MD here will help with the aggro if your tank is having trouble with your healing aggro (which he shouldn’t be). You can not afford to hold back during the transition. If all of the healers in your raid are slow to start healing after air phase, then your tank will get gibbed.
Strategy – The Curator
Roll HoTs on the active tank. You may consider rolling Lifeblooms on the Hateful Bolt target as well IFF Curator is not targeting a different person every time. Pass Lifeblooms around to the raid members who are taking Astral Flare damage—the melee DPS in particular. During Evocation top everyone up and then stand around and enjoy being outside the 5SR for a couple of seconds. Or, if you know you’re going to have too extra mana for the fight, throw a damaging spell up on Curator to see what kind of numbers you get!
Strategy – Terestian Illhoof
Roll HoTs on the tank. When a target is Sacrificed, use the tools at your disposal to keep him up. Start with a Rejuvenation and then cast a Regrowth. Swiftmend after the first Regrowth if there isn’t enough time to cast a second Regrowth. Use NS on Sacrificed targets if you absolutely need to (i.e., Swiftmend is on CD, or you don’t have time to cast a Regrowth), keeping in mind how many more sacrifices you expect to see during the remainder of the fight. Don’t neglect to keep your Lifebloom rolling on the tank even while healing Sacrifice targets.
When running with the SoC strategy, your lock will be taking a good amount of damage even with a fire resistance aura or totem. Hopefully your lock will not require maintained Lifebloom stacks, but be sure to give the lock attention as needed.Before the fight, be sure that DPS is aware that they have to pick up straggler imps that you and your other healers may catch due to healing aggro.
Strategy – Shade of Aran
There is no tank for this fight.If a raid member eats a Fireball or a Frostbolt, I will throw a Lifebloom on them.If Shade targets a raid member and begins to cast Arcane Missiles, I will Regrowth the target and throw a Lifebloom on afterwards if the other healers haven’t helped out with the heal target.
When Shade pulls the raid in for Arcane Explosion, shapeshift to get out of the snare and then continue to run to the edge of the room while topping off any raid members who are missing hit points.
When Shade casts Blizzard, move around the outside of the room to stay out of the Blizzard while continuing to raid heal. You move fast enough, even in ToL form, to stay ahead of the Blizzard. Resist the urge to climb into the middle of the room with melee (unless you’re getting pelted with Blizzard) as you will be silenced.
When Shade casts Flame Wreath … just don’t move.
Feel free to Cyclone an elemental if it’s giving you trouble. Hopefully another raid member can deal with the elemental if you call for help because this is already a pretty busy fight for you.
As Shade gets closer and closer to drinking, look at your current hit points and decide whether or not to get Polymorphed. If you are full health, then stay in ToL form and top up anyone who is in danger of not reaching full health while Polymorphed. If you are low with no chance of surviving the Pyroblast, then get out of ToL, throw a heal on yourself, and get Polymorphed with everyone else. Either way, be sure to Barkskin and Tranquility right after the Pyroblast (you should have prepped your other healer(s) to focus on the other group immediately following Pyroblast).
The trick for this fight is to keep an eye on Shade’s target and make sure that it gets a heal (if needed) while dealing with Blizzard, Arcane Explosion, Flame Wreath, elementals, and AoE Pyroblast. After you’ve done the fight a couple of times (and your raid starts killing Shade before he drinks), it becomes easy mode.
Strategy – Netherspite
If your raid has the co-ordination for Netherspite, then this fight will be boring for you as not much healing is required.The red beam tank should not require much healing when tanking properly. Mind the red beam tank’s unit frame and throw a heal on if necessary.
Pass out Lifebloom to raid members who are down to 90 – 95% from Netherspite’s AoE shadow aura. Spot a Regrowth to raid members who have stood in a Void Zone for a tick or two.
Keep an extra careful eye on the blue beam tank’s health. As portal phases progresses, the blue beam tank is the one who will require more and more healing.
Strategy – Prince Malchezaar
Roll HoTs on the active tank while staying at max range. Save your CDs for phase two if possible. During phase three, HoT the raid members taking axe and Shadow Nova damage.
Yup. After your healers combined have enough healing power to cover the damage done, success in this fight usually hinges on how lucky your group is with its Infernals.
And that’s it–enjoy your 22 badges!