World of Warcraft (WoW)

Coilfang Heroics on the Beta from a Healer Perspective – A Brief Writeup

My dungeon group was able to clear Heroic Slave Pens, Underbog, and Steamvaults yesterday. I wanted to provide a brief overview of the experience for the sake of comparing what you may expect come TBC launch.

A brief aside – my group has been farming all of the Lvl 70 dungeons for the past few days. We have 7-8 of us in the Beta at lvl 68. For all three of the dungeons we ran yesterday, we had a Marksman Hunter, Demo Warlock, Combat Swords Rogue, Feral Druid, and Holy Priest. All five of us are in near P6 BIS and are very geared. Also worth noting that the Beta gives us access to infinite consumables, so we were able to very liberally use consumes that you may not use on launch (infinite mana potions, flasks, haste potions, etc.)

Underbog was the first heroic we ran. It was also the dungeon that we had done the least while leveling, and so we weren't as comfortable with a lot of the pulls. For the most part, we CCed all but one or two mobs at any given time. Between traps, fears, blinds, saps, and banishes, we were regularly able to control the amount of mobs hitting us at any given time. For most mobs in all three dungeons, as long as our tank wasn't getting hit by more than two mobs, we were okay. Each dungeon had certain mobs that hit significantly harder, and we had to improvise on how to deal with them. In Underbog, before the first boss, there's a double Bog Giant pull. Bog Giants hit our tank like trucks. They also put up a stacking damage buff on themselves. We ended up using our hunter to kite one while we blew up the other, and then by the time the second Bog Giant had returned to us, he had buffed himself 4x times, increasing his damage by 60%. Our tank died and we killed the giant by kiting him.

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One useful comparison – when farming most of the level 70 dungeons, our group didn't use any form of CC at all – we tanked everything, and I was able to keep our tank alive using efficient ranks of Greater Heal. On many of the pulls in all three heroics, I was forced to use max rank Flash Heal in order to keep our tank alive. I had to drink after every single pull.

The second boss of Underbog our tank got one shot and we were able to kite back to near the entrance and kill him by running him around in circles. It felt lame, but hilarious.

The third and fourth boss of Underbog was not difficult, however the Underbog Lord (x2, different pulls) before the final boss was harder than any of the actual bosses in the dungeon. I had to pray to keep up Inspiration (+25% armor buff) and hope our bear didn't get double crushed or he would die immediately.

Slave Pens was overall easier than Underbog, mainly because so many of the mobs were humanoid which allowed us to sap (Underbog was primarily beasts and elementals). None of the trash was particularly significant except for the 2x Coilfang Defender pulls which were immune to CC and we had our hunter kite one. The first boss had a fire nova totem that did ~75% damage instantly to our melee and one shot the pets, but was definitely healable.

The second boss of Slave Pens may have been the hardest boss that we fought. He puts a bleed on the tank that does ~1100 damage per tick and doesn't expire until the tank is completely topped off at 100% hp. As a priest in full T3, spamming max rank Flash Heal, with full consumes, I was unable to ever top off the MT to remove the debuff. The entirety of the fight, I didn't stop moving and didn't stop casting, and the tank eventually died when the boss was at 10% hp and we barely killed it. I started the fight with innervate on pull to give me ~15s of infinite mana and used a demonic rune, a super mana pot, and my shadow fiend and ran OOM by the end of the fight. The rest of Slave Pens was ultimately uneventful compared to the second boss.

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Steamvaults was arguably the easiest of the three. We had run regular Steamvaults so many times that we were very familiar with the encounters. Our group wiped once because of a fear bomb on the melee that I was unable to dispel before pets ran into another pack (no Mass Dispel until Lvl 70, and no tremor totem). The first boss does a Storm Cloud which one shot the pets and almost killed everyone else, but was healable. The second boss summons gnomes that heal the boss. On regular, we zerged the boss and feared the adds, but on heroic, we had to swap and focus the adds as they spawned. The final boss was slightly beefier, but ultimately the same.

Some takeaways: Our group was exceptionally geared and consumed out. Even at Lvl 70, most of our gear wont be replaced until Karazhan. I think it's fair to say that heroics are difficult, and will not be a joke for the average group in Lvl 70 Pre-BIS. I think that by the time people are in T5 equivalent gear, most heroics will be rather trivial, which is fine. They provide a significant jump in difficulty from regular dungeons, and I think they are tuned appropriately for what they are intended to be.

Throughout all of the dungeons, having a hunter pet and a warlock pet eat sweeping strikes stacks allowed our rogue to live more than he may have otherwise been able to. As a healer, I was largely focused entirely on healing the tank. Often I had to choose between healing the tank and saving the rogue or a pet, and chose to heal the tank. When I could get away with using Prayer of Healing or Circle of Healing I did, but there was always the risk that using one of those spells would put me too far behind on tank healing.

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Our rogue did better damage in Heroics than he did in normal Lvl 70 dungeons because he had more time for cooldowns between pulls (because the pulls were slower and because we had to drink and often resummon pets between pulls). Hunter and warlock did very similar damage.

I think even at Lvl 70 in PreBIS, and maybe even in T4 equivalent gear, you won't be able to cleave down most of the heroic mobs. I think they are ultimately tuned to be strong enough that you need to actually utilize CC and proper mechancis to down them with that level of gear.

Hope this was helpful or insightful.

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