Life in Group 5 – A Resto Shaman Blog
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January 10, 2010

The Plagueworks: Not meant to tickle

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Written by: Vixsin
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Professor Putricide: Post Futurama

Professor Putricide: Post Futurama

I had a friend who played sports with me in college who, when things ramped up in difficulty and my muscles started to burn, would always say “… well, it wasn’t meant to tickle.” Although this always resulted in a swiftly-thrown punch, I had to agree in the appropriateness of the sentiment–challenges aren’t challenges when they’re easy or simplistic. Back then, muscle burn indicated that I was being challenged to either step up my game, or go home. And believe you me, friends, our excursion into the Plagueworks this week got my muscles burning. And that is a very good thing.

The bosses that make up the Plagueworks–Festergut, Rotface, and Professor Putricide–are a great follow-up to the first wing of ICC, in which players have been amusing and challenging themselves for the past month. Combined with some very serious trash, these bosses build on mechanics we’ve seen before, but add a slightly new twist on things. The greatest thing about them, however, is that their difficulty isn’t correlated to excessive raid damage or heavy-hitting effects (though I’m sure we’ll see plenty of that in the hard modes). Rather their difficulty is tied to raid coordination and execution.

To help you on your way in the coming weeks, as you try to conquer the Plague wing, I’ve assembled some (hopefully) helpful strategy tips and healing information. For more detailed discussion of boss abilities and mechanics, I’ve no better place to point you than to StratFu, which consistently has some of the best full-blown boss write-ups I’ve read. Also, as just a side note, shaman should pretty consistently keep a nature resist totem down in this wing of ICC, as a number of the effects are nature damage.

The Trash

When Ulduar first was released, the trash to Mimiron probably deserved a mini-boss title, because the likelihood of a wipe or death of the majority of your players was almost a certainty. While trash in the hallways of the Plagueworks isn’t excessive, you definitely get the same feeling you did on the road to the Ulduar tram. Of particular note are “the Puppies of Doom”–Precious and Stinky. (Contrary to PTR testing, you do not need to pull one puppy before the other. They no longer “call” to the other when engaged.)

Stinky

After several tries at this hallway mini-boss, we found the easiest way to assured success was to use the doorway’s LOS mechanics. While Stinky’s frequent Plague Stench can be healed through under normal conditions, the tick or two after the decimate can spell death. So, during the decimate, we had our dps duck around the corner to avoid being taken down by the following pulse. After they were healed up, they returned to dps-ing as normal. A healer stayed out during the decimate to keep the tanks up and was healed themselves by a player standing around the corner of the doorway, who was consistently LOS-ing the pulse. Shaman are great for this role, because CH will bounce to targets which aren’t in your LOS. Stinky also places a Mortal Wound effect on his current target, so tank-swapping will be a must.

Precious

Thankfully, for this other homage to Gluth, things get a tad bit easier as you don’t have to deal with a consistent AOE pulse. Like Stinky, Precious places a Mortal Wound on her current target, reducing the effectiveness of healing received. Instead of the pulse, Precious summons plagued zombies, which I don’t believe have an aggro table (though they will all turn and attack anything in range if they are nova’d in place.) You can deal with the adds several ways, though we found it easiest to simply AOE them along with the puppy. They don’t heal Precious like the Gluth zombies do, but if they are still wandering around when decimate hits, they can kill some of your raid members.

Festergut

The Gist: This is essentially a rinse-and-repeat fight, with healing ramping up from moderate to dangerous as Festergut gains stacks of Inhale Blight (which will increase his attack speed and damage by 30/60/90%). At upper levels of this debuff, the tanks will be getting hit for massive damage, but the raid, conversely, will be getting hit for less. The cycles in the fight are determined by Festergut’s inhalation and expulsion of Gaseous Blight (the bright orange gas which might make you think your monitor’s color-balancing is broken). Every so often, Festergut will apply spores to 3 select people in the raid, which when they explode, will provide you with increased shadow resistance, crucial to your partially resisting the damage of Gaseous Blight. In addition, he places Gastric Bloat on the tanks, which will require a tank-swap every 8-9 stacks.

Healing Tidbits: This fight has it all–increasing tank damage, consistent AOE damage, and targeted spike damage. So, be prepared to heal your arse off. Make sure that you have the following debuffs displaying in your raid frames–Gas Spore and Vile Gas. The former will tell you who to run to for the inoculation, and the latter will tell you who needs extra spot healing. The best thing you can do for this fight, as a resto shaman or pally, is to convince your raid leader that you should be allowed to stand in melee range, since you will likely have more than enough ranged to serve as targets for Vile Gas. (In 10man this will likely not be the case–having everyone stand in melee range will ensure a quick demise.) CH through tank was my approach here, as it will help aid tank healing and provide a solution to the consistent damage when the Blight fills the room. And be sure to keep RT available for targets affected by Vile Gas–they’ll definitely benefit from the initial burst heal and the hot.

Rotface

The Gist: There aren’t really any phases to this fight, just a consistent rotation of effects to deal with. Your two tanks will likely be split, one handling ooze kiting while the other tanks Rotface for the duration. For ooze kiting we went with a feral druid, though a prot paladin might work equally as well–it is essential that this tank be able to generate threat at a distance, as the oozes operate on a global threat table (as I so wonderfully discovered through my mad tps!) In addition to the ooze kiting, you will be dealing with a Slime Spray and Ooze Explosions. So there will some moderate movement required. Every so often, a player will become affected by Mutated Infection–resist the urge to cleanse them immediately! They will need to run to the outside edge of the room, to drop the ooze in between the Big Ooze that the offtank is kiting, and the offtank himself. This placement of oozes along a kite path will ensure that your raid does not suffer from little oozes running amuck.

Healing Tidbits: For the most part, be prepared to spend your time dodging slime sprays while tossing out intermittent healing on tanks and raid members. Rotface, unlike Festergut, doesn’t hit like a truck–execution is key in this fight. Be prepared to use NS or an RT/LHW combo on the ooze tank, however, because if a Big Ooze catches up to him, he will take fairly high amounts of damage. In all, resto shaman will use all of their healing tools in this fight–CH-ing through slime spray, healing the tanks, and tossing out spot healing as needed–though your raid’s ability to drop slimes correctly and stay alive will ultimately translate to a kill.

Professor Putricide

The Gist: The wing-boss in Plagueworks, Prof is a 3-part fight, switching into the next phases at 80% and 30% hp. In phases 1 and 2, a lucky raid member will pilot an abom, and help your raid deal with the two types of oozes that you will encounter–Volatile Ooze (green) and Gas Cloud (orange). To deal with the former, your raid will be clumping on the opposite side of the room prior to spawn and then attempting to dps the ooze down before it reaches the targeted player. To deal with the latter, the targeted raid member will need to kite the ooze while the rest of the raid takes it down. During phase 2, Prof will also be throwing out Choking Gas Bombs (orange vials, thrown in pairs), which you will need to avoid at all costs, and Malleable Goo, which you will also need to avoid at all costs. (Sense a theme here?) Phase 3 is absent the oozes, goo and bombs, and will entail your tank kiting Prof around the room while avoiding the expanding slime puddles which will eventually blanket everything (and thus wipe your raid).

Healing Tidbits: Even when coordinated properly, this fight requires a good amount of movement on everyone’s parts. Healers will have their hands full dodging slime puddles, gas bombs, thrown goo, and dealing with tank and raid damage. Thus, the key to successfully healing this fight is environmental awareness and developing an understanding when different types of damage will occur. Be prepared to toss out significant raid healing if a Volatile Ooze catches its target (the raid should collapse on the target if it is estimated that this will happen–the damage the ooze explosion deals is shared among nearby players.) The Gas Cloud will damage its selected target, though the initial hit will be the hardest and subsequent damage ticks will diminish over time. In phase 1 and 2, Prof will be hitting your tanks at a moderate level, but in phase 3 they will be getting pummeled. Don’t lose an attempt by underestimating the damage that Prof will do right off the bat. And raid damage will always occur on clumps of players who are targeted for Slime Puddles and Malleable Goo.

So, in sum, the Plagueworks seems intended to challenge your raid’s execution, test your ability as a healer to handle multiple types of damage, and set you up for more encounters to come. And although I’m starting to feel the slight burn of more challenges to come, I’m glad that this second wing of ICC wasn’t meant to tickle.






7 Comments


  1. WTF

    Great write up. My guild spent 3 hours wiping on Festergut learning the positioning and execution before we finially downed him. You were spot on about healing your arse off though. We ran with 5 healers and all of us ended each attempt with 5k hps lol.

    Pretty intense to say the least, can’t wait to get back in there this week.

    Good read!


  2. keyez

    Festergut is actually the easier of the 2 picasso bosses imo. we went in there with 6(possibly 7) healers, and 3 shot him. Once the healers got their assignments down it was simple. I ended up going oom about a minute 30 secs before he went down. but luckily, the raid damage diminishes the longer the fight goes on.
    Rotface on the other hand is a different story. Multiple healers having the disease at the same time can lead to extremely intense healing. Thx for the post :)


  3. I’d love the oppotunity to give my muscles some burn on un-bugged content please! :)

    We saved our 25 man Putricide attempts for last night, foolishly thinking that anything Blizzard was going to fix would be done at that point. Yea, wrong :( They apparently deployed a hotfix mid raid (quite literally) that caused the aboms to remained stunned twice as long as the rest of the raid. One pull, everything was fine, the next our abom controler is going WTF (*waves goodbye to our attmempts as we try to figure out if it’s something we’ve bugged*). That will teach us for trying to plan smartly, I suppose!

    All that said, I do think the content is a nice change and our raiders seem to enjoy the challenges. Even after our buggy Putricide last night many of our raiders commented that it was a fun fight and they hope it doesn’t get hit with the nerfbat before we get the chance to get another swing at it.
    .-= Beruthiel´s last blog ..Milestones =-.


  4. Just a quick note on Festergut. It’s not the stacking “debuff” (http://www.wowhead.com/?spell=72219) on the tank that increases Fester’s damage. It’s the stacking buff Fester gets when he inhales the gas. Each inhale gives him 30% increased damage and attack speed (http://www.wowhead.com/?spell=71912), so at max inhales he’s attacking 90% harder and 90% faster.

    I use the term “debuff” on the tank loosely…it does have a DD portion to it, but it actually increases the damage the tank DOES by 10% per application…you just can’t let it get to 10 or it causes them to explode and pretty much kill everyone.

    My guild has started to have the first tank go to 7 or 8 stacks, then have the second tank taunt and go to 9 (and then back to the first who takes it up to 9 as well). This prevents a tank switch during the time Fester has 3 Inhales. Healing one tank through the whole thing is easier than having to switch tanks.


  5. Right you are, Crofe! Definitely a good clarification on the debuff versus Festergut’s increased damage. I’ll fix this in the main post to avoid further confusion. Thanks for the catch.


  6. maccae

    i agree with you that a challenge is more than welcome. finally something different than staring at a big round room wondering which door is the exit from this hell. since the plagueworks were made available i heard alot of people saying it’s good that we finally have a challenge, it’s good that putricide is hard etc..

    i hate it. it’s not about the challenge, i just hate it. i find that fight to be of the utmost annoyance. ( i’ve killed him on 10 man- on my alt for crying out loud! didn’t get it on my shaman main!) it doesn’t matter that down the road with more experience, better gear, etc.. we will steamroll that fight, i know deep inside i will always hate that fight. If i wanted to learn square dance, i would troll the local country bar, not run left-right-up-down-kiteaway-amgtankisoutofrangeagain – in game. but that’s just me.


  7. ROFL. Well, strong feelings about a fight are a good thing, right? At least it means that the fight is eventful enough to merit your sentiment, instead of being boring enough to only merit a yawn. Our first Putricide kill was very stressful–I loathe ph3 with its constant movement–but my second kill this weekend actually turned out to be easier and more fun than I expected. Although it still involved a great deal of cussing on my part, because if it wasn’t one bloody thing I had to move out of/away from it was another, I know that once I learn the rhythm it will probably end up being one of my favorites.



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