Baleroc is Slain!
Apologies and Stuff
I’m sorry! I’ve been a terrible blogging slacker lately! Part of it is that I’ve had things to do in real life, so when I have extra time I want to spend it playing the game instead of writing about the game. However, the other part of the problem is that I actually have half-completed posts sitting in my drafts because I’m not happy with the quality of the writing. Gah! I need to finish them!
Anyway, we finally got another boss down! Hooray, 4/7! Unfortunately, we took a couple of weeks to work on Alysrazor, and for some reason that was like beating our heads on a brick wall. We just couldn’t find the DPS necessary to kill the hatchlings fast enough. We were two healing it, with all our DPS on the ground, and the damn things still weren’t dying. It was very disheartening. After killing Baleroc this week we made much better progress on Alysrazor, getting her to 17% on our best attempt. She’s going down soon.
Dealing with the Damn Crystals on Baleroc
So this week we decided to give Baleroc a try. It took a bit of practice to figure out how to get the crystals to spawn where we want them. Basically, this fight is a tank n’ spank, so there isn’t any need to move the boss. We ended up dropping two raid markers, one a few yards in front of his left foot and one a few yards in front of his right foot. Then we all stacked up on the right marker until the warning about the first crystal spawning. As soon as we got the message everyone but the DPS assigned to the crystal ran to the opposite raid marker. Then the DPS rotated normally until the crystal despawned, at which point the person currently standing next to the crystal would quickly rejoin the stack. (This was to prevent the crystal from spawning under them in the wrong place, since the crystals seem to spawn on random people.) As soon as the warning for the next crystal appeared everyone but the next DPS in the rotation would run to the other stack point again. This process was just repeated over and over again. Simple!
For DPS this fight is pretty simple – stand in one spot and pew pew the boss, moving occasionally from one spot to another. However, it’s important that each DPS player is aware of where they are in the crystal rotation and watches their Torment stacks carefully. Proper use of survivability cooldowns can enable a DPS player to take a greater number of stacks, but we found that sometimes it’s better to leave at a reasonable number of stacks than it is to push the envelope and die. The other important thing to watch is the timer on the Tormented debuff. If a DPS player stands next to the crystal while they still have the Tormented debuff they will die.
It’s best if the next DPS player in the rotation goes and stands beside the current Torment target, ready to take over. This really speeds up the transitions and can prevent deaths.
Our Healing Strategy for Baleroc (or HoT-less Druid Healing)
For healing purposes we used a “2 healers on the tank, 1 healer on the torment target” strategy. Our Pally healer started off healing the Torment target and building his Vital Spark stacks. Once he had 50 stacks, our Pally would switch to tank healing and our Priest would begin healing the Torment target. When our Priest had 50 stacks he’d switch to tank healing and I would switch to the Torment target. Rinse, repeat every 50 stacks or so.
Unfortunately, HoTs do NOT build up stacks of the Vital Spark healing buff. This posed a problem for me as a Resto Druid, and I found it difficult to gain stacks as quickly as the other healers. However, I did discover that both Swiftmend and the initial tick of Regrowth count as direct heals for this mechanic (as they do for our mastery). So when I was assigned to Torment targets, I would first throw a Regrowth on them, then Swiftmend, then Nourish once or twice, then Healing Touch if their health was starting to drop. By that point the DPS had usually switched on the crystal so I could just start the same spell rotation again on the new target. When it was my turn to heal the tanks I again started off with a quick Regrowth to activate the Vital Flame buff, then went about healing as normal, HoTs and all.
Quite honestly, I didn’t even bother with Lifebloom until it was my turn to heal the tanks, because it felt like Lifebloom was useless for gaining stacks and without the Vital Flame buff it didn’t do enough healing to matter. Taking a GCD to refresh the Lifebloom stack was simply taking time away from gaining Vital Spark stacks. This probably nerfed my mana regen a bit, but I just hit Innervate on cooldown and didn’t notice any mana problems at all. (And that’s despite using a lot more Regrowth than normal, which is pretty mana intensive.)
Two-Tank, or Not Two-Tank?
It’s possible to one-tank Baleroc, but we heard that it’s easier on the healers to two-tank him. We decided to start off two-tanking and see if we felt like we could heal through it with only one tank. As it turned out, we never tried the one-tank strategy.
For a two-tank strategy the first tank is solely for surviving the Decimation Blade. The Decimation Blade tank should start tanking first so he can build up enough Blaze of Glory stacks to get his health above 250 k (the minimum amount that Decimation Blade hits for). As soon as the first tank has enough health, the second tank should taunt and take over as main tank. The off tank then taunts off the main tank just before each Decimation Blade.
We found that there were two scenarios in which tanks would die.
- If the Decimation Blade tank does not get healed up to full before the next Decimation Blade swing. Remember that Decimation Blade hits for 90% of the tank’s health, with a minimum hit of 250 k. This means that if the tank’s health is higher than about 300 k – and his health will go up as the fight goes on because the tank continues to gain stacks of Blaze of Glory when hit by Decimation Blade – he will get hit for 90% of his hit points instead of the 250 k minimum. The important thing is to heal the tank up past 90% of his health between hits, not up to just past 250 k.
- When the group has to move from one stack point to another. If the tanks are taking big hits while the tank healers are moving the tanks might die. And the healers will have to move periodically, because if they don’t they might accidentally stand next to the spawning crystal and take the Tormented healing debuff. Getting the debuff is much worse than having to move. Try to save big instant cast heals and cooldowns for these situations.
If you are two-tanking this fight you also have a little bit of a buffer in case of accidental tank death. It’s totally possible to switch from a two-tank to a one-tank strategy on the fly if necessary. Battle rezzing a tank is also more likely to be successful if there’s a second tank able to grab the boss and prevent him from rampaging through the DPS until the first tank is back up. (Tanks keep their Blaze of Glory stacks when battle rezzed, thank God.)
However, Baleroc has a really tight Enrage timer. We managed to get our first kill a mere 5 seconds before the Enrage. If you find that you’re hitting the Enrage it might be better to try a one-tank strategy and bring another DPS player along.