I bought up the best BoE epics and blues at level 80 and started to work the PuG Heroic circuit. Almost 3 weeks later I think I have most of the good epic drops from heroics and several badge items. I’m nearing the point where I’m over geared for heroics now.
Mostly from my recent experiences as Xata (Restoration Shaman) here is how I rank the Wrath of the Lich King heroic dungeons from easiest (#1) to hardest (#11). I have also factored in how easy/hard other healers seem to cope in these heroics from what I’ve seen when I’m not healing.
Please note that The Oculus is not on the list because I haven’t yet found a group willing to do this in the last few weeks. Based on remembered experiences playing my priest, I’d put The Oculus around 9 after Gundrak and before Utgarde Pinnacle.
Lath, how would you rank them?
1. Utgarde Keep
Easiest heroic by quite a long shot. The last boss is even easier if you play with Deadly Boss Mods which tells you when to stop casting. If you do it wrong, you could get silenced for a hell of a long time, but that’s easy to avoid, and your group will probably survive even if you get silenced.
2. Draktharon Keep
I actually have to think quite hard about this instance to remember the bosses because not one has given me grief – ever. The giant dinosaur boss (3rd) could be difficult if you don’t have Tremor Totem or Fear Ward and your tank gets smacked in the back while you’re on the other side of the courtyard, but I doubt it.
3. Culling of Stratholme
A little more tricky if you want to make the timer (but personally I think that’s more to do with the DPS) but still a fairly easy heroic. Keep up with your tank and take lots of water with you to drink whenever you can. Some of the early bosses like to silence/chain you as a healer so make sure you are using some kind of HoT to ease through that or alternatively be ready to spam some fast heals when you are free. Never really sure where to stand for the last boss Mal’Ganis (which has gotten me killed a few times) so if you’re unsure do like me and right before the pull ask your tank “where do you want me to stand?”.
4. Violet Hold
I know most consider Violet Hold much easier than I but hear me out. Firstly, the huge shadow void boss simply cannot be healed through if your DPS don’t do their job when they are phased (and no DPS seems able or willing to do this). And secondly, if you do wipe you have to start from scratch. And good luck finding a replacement with one or more bosses down if you lose a group member.
5. Old Kingdom
This heroic requires some level of healer competence all the way through. There is no part or boss that you can sit back and do nothing. The last few bosses in here are cool and each do something a bit unusual (*evil laugh* begins to cast Insanity). Hardest part to heal is the trash pulls just after the second boss – each pull is made up of casters and elementals. Worshipers, Acolytes you name it. Don’t try and conserve mana here. And don’t be afraid to ask for CC.
6. Halls of Lightning
I consider Halls of Lightning quite straightforward to heal, although you might not agree.
The last boss Loken can be killed using two strategies. The first is easier for everyone else and hard on the healer and I simply call it “Staying In”. My chain heal still isn’t strong enough to heal up Loken’s huge AOE hit before the next cast. This method can work if you have a hybrid DPS in the party willing to help you out (a Prayer of Healing from a shadow priest or Tranquility from a druid can make all the difference). The second strategy requires your party to be quick on their toes, spinning around and running away from Loken the moment he starts to cast his Lightning Nova. I call this “Running Out”. Done correctly, Running Out means the party takes almost no damage. Even when 1 person doesn’t run far enough in time, and takes a hit, this is still my preferred strategy for this fight.
7. The Nexus
One reason: Grand Magus Telestra.
It doesn’t matter how geared your tank is, it doesn’t matter how high your party’s DPS, there’s something about this fight with its steady stream of stuns, polymorphs, interrupts and blizzard AOE that have me screaming obscenities at my computer. There is, quite simply, almost no time to cast. And when there is time I’m busy running out of her blizzard. Use whatever instants you can – Lifeblood and Gift of the Naaru if you have them.
I hate this fight. I hate this fight with a passion. I’ve got the War Mace of Unrequited Love and I’m never going back.
8. Halls of Stone
The bosses in Halls of Stone can catch an unprepared group off guard. The difficult part of Halls of Stone is the timed event most groups usually leave second last – The Tribunal of Ages. Your success (or failure) in this event has very little to do with your healing, and much more to do with the abilities of your tank. To help you succeed, watch out for the laser beam that kicks in towards the end, it’s a bright yellow fire. It will kill you if you don’t move away immediately. Pause your healing as new mobs rush into the room until you see your tank has caught them.
I’m ranking Gundrak as very hard to heal because I believe (like Utgarde Pinnacle) even the trash mobs require healer concentration and a lot of healing. Everything just seems to hit hard, and often. A cleansing totem can help here. My general advice would be to heal fast, and heal often and you should make it through Gundrak.
10. Utgarde Pinnacle
Like Gundrak everything in Utgarde Pinnacle just seems to hit hard – really hard. Don’t be afraid to ask for CC on any trash pulls with more than three mobs.
The hardest boss in here is the third boss Skadi the Ruthless. My three tips to succeed at this fight are: stay off the ice-y floor, don’t stand between your tank and the mob spawn point and when Skadi starts to whirlwind – don’t heal, run!
You also need to be a bit careful when pugging Utgarde Pinnacle because a lovely epic tanking sword drops from the last boss. I consider Utgarde Pinnacle to be the Mechanar of Wrath of the Lich King in that you’ll never find it difficult to get a tank. However, I’ve attempted UP with some tanks who, while eager, just aren’t ready for UP and get smacked down pretty fast. If you are unsure, it might be a good idea to check that your tank is defence-capped and has some decent mitigation.
11. Azjol Nerub
And here it is, the hardest heroic in Wrath of the Lich King to heal. Azjol Nerub is short – only 3 bosses and very little trash. And pretty much everything in here likes to do poison volleys and, as if that wasn’t difficult enough to heal, curses too! Don’t bother coming in here as a holy or discipline priest unless someone else can cleanse poisons. I feel this is particularly mean as the last boss drops both an epic cloth belt and a lovely epic wand. Haven’t tried this with a pally healer – how do you guys find it?