I just finished watching the latest episode of Big Crits. They’re so happy that they’re now 8/12 Heroic ICC.
Ha. Ha ha ha ha.
Well the first eight or nine Heroic modes in (25 man) Icecrown Citadel go down pretty easy. I’m sure the Big Crits guild will get Lady Deathwhisper next without too much trouble. But then they’re probably going to hit their heads against the wall also known as: Heroic Professor Putricide.
Having suffered about 2-3 months of wiping on Heroic Putricide we earned our first Heroic kill just this week. Compare that to the time it took us to get the nine heroic modes before that: less than 1 month. The ICC buff was at 15% when we killed Lady Deathwhisper and it was 25% on our first Heroic Professor Putricide kill.
I’m not sure that I’m qualified to offer tips and tricks for other Shadow Priests out there attempting this fight. But surely I’ve devoted such a large amount of game time to dying on this fight and I can share some hard-earned wisdom.
Stuff for Shadow Priests
Dispersion and Unbound Plague
Unlike the regular version of the Professor Putricide encounter, in which you should use the Tear Gas mass stun as a chance to Disperse and regain your mana during the phase transition, in Heroic mode you should save Dispersion for:
(a) an opportunity when you can’t really DPS anyway but need mana. This includes when you are the target of the red Gas Cloud (when you are the target of Gaseous Bloat) and will be running/kiting the cloud around the room, or, if you get hit and smacked with the Malleable Goo debuff.
But ideally you should use Dispersion for:
(b) extending the time you can hold Unbound Plague. Everyone in your raid should download and run the mod called Plagued. It does a simple little announce countdown that helps you monitor when the ticks of Unbound Plague are going to get too painful and you need to pass it off. Most guides/guilds recommend that you hold it for 10 seconds, 10 ticks. The Plagued mod counts down from 10 to 1 to notify the players around you. When the timer reaches 2 or 1 seconds to go, use Dispersion. Dispersion will numb the pain for the next 6 seconds. Just make sure you pass it off to someone else before Dispersion wears off because that 16th tick really, really hurts.
Your Shadowfiend and the Green Ooze
Talented, your Shadowfiend will be down on a 3 minute cooldown. And you should summon him twice – during the Phase 1->2 transition and the Phase 2->3 transition. Get him to attack the Green Ooze and he will help absorb the knockback damage. I like to wait until the first knockback before summoning my fiend, it’s usually players running to the second or third knockback point that having an extra friendly around to spread the damage really makes a difference.
Just be careful of this one little thing: if you’re currently using a macro (it’s often tied to Mind Flay) to get your fiend to use its Shadowcrawl ability, and you have the Gas Variable (thus, are attacking the Gas Cloud and not the Green Ooze) you need to make sure you don’t accidentally command your fiend to switch and appear right on the Gas Variable. Might be worth ditching the macro for this fight – after all, it’s not so much about the damage your pet deals, it’s about the damage it can absorb.
Professor Putricide: he’s right behind you!
Just because there’s a Gas Cloud or Green Ooze hanging around it doesn’t mean that you should let Vampiric Touch and Shadow Word: Pain drop off Professor Putricide. On a good attempt I can keep my DoT uptime fairly high, but on an unlucky attempt Professor Putricide will often be out of my range, or my Variable target will need all the DPS we can get (when you have a bunch of healers and tanks all with the Gas Variable you’re going to really need to focus fire if you’re one of the few DPS with the Gas Variable).
In Heroic mode Professor Putricide tends to spend a lot of his time hanging around his table – and he always heads there while you’re busy with the transition phases. Now, it could be different depending on what positioning strategy you’re using, but for me Professor Putricide was inevitably behind me when it was time to refresh my DoTs. This is quite annoying because I tend to rely on enemy nameplates to keep my targets in view/range and tab targetting to select them. And there are many occasions during the fight in which I can’t see the Professor’s nameplate.
Vampiric Touch, Shadow Word: Pain and Devouring Plague can all be cast with your back to Professor Putricide. Rely on a Focus frame or your DoT monitoring addon of choice instead of nameplates. And you can go a step further and create a macro for targetting Professor Putricide when he’s behind you:
/tar Professor Putricide
Simple! Actually because I’m so hesitant to spin my view around between my Variable target and the Professor I tend to let Shadow Word: Pain expire and just reapply it when it suits me (usually when I’m flying through the air from a knockback!) instead of trying to face the Professor to refresh SW:P with Mind Flay. This isn’t great for mana conservation, or for extending a boosted Shadow Word: Pain indefinitely, but it’s better than nothing.
2/2 Improved Vampiric Embrace and Divine Hymn
I love Vampiric Embrace so I always talent into 2/2 Improved Vampiric Embrace. The first time we got the Professor into the final phase I was the last to die – a steady stream of damage will keep you alive long after the damage aura has killed your teammates.
As we started refining our Phase 3 approach I got put on a Divine Hymn rotation (the other Shadow Priest in the guild would chant her hymn around the 12-15% mark and then I would follow her, and then our healing Priests would follow me). I really disliked this approach – reciting my Divine Hymn was usually the closest I came to death. In our kill neither of us Shadow Priests used Divine Hymn, although I think maybe one of our Holy Priests may have used hers.
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be the last DPS standing, too!
Improving your DPS
Absolutely the most effective way I was able to improve my DPS during this encounter was to keep all my DoTs running on both the Professor and whatever Gas Cloud/Green Ooze was up (or my Variable target during transition).
From there it’s a case of minimizing your movement. You need to be very careful not to get caught out by Malleable Goo and I would recommend being overly cautious while you’re wiping/practicing – move even when you’re fairly sure that you’re in the clear. You cannot afford to be hit. However, once you’re fairly confident that you aren’t being hit, try not to move unless you actually need to.
Unfortunately the stuff that will mess up your damage are all pretty important:
- being a good, thoughtful, Unbound Plague carrier
- intentionally stacking to absorb Green Ooze damage
- kiting the Gas Cloud if you are targetted
- moving away from the Gas Cloud before it retargets
- moving away from path of Malleable Goo
I would also argue that, as ranged DPS, getting the Gas Cloud variable is a pretty big DPS loss. In our strategy we had our ranged DPS continue to stack and absorb the Green Ooze damage even when they couldn’t DPS the Green Ooze themselves because they were debuffed with the Gas Variable. This mean that, if the Gas Cloud was kited out of our range, we couldn’t really DPS the Gas Cloud. As a Shadow Priest, you can still contribute by keeping your DoTs on the Professor.
By the way, a more experienced player told me that you should be aiming for 9k DPS from each of your raiders. On a lucky attempt (Green Ooze Variable, not targetted personally by the Gas Cloud, only carried the Plague once or twice) I could reach over 10k DPS. I saw a bit of a DPS drop once we hit Phase 3. On your average attempt I was still hovering around 9k DPS. If I got hit by Malleable Goo? 8k.
And every single attempt I had my ass kicked by our Hunters.
General Stuff for Ranged DPS and Healers
I think a lot of players, especially us ranged DPS, like to zoom their camera out to maximum distance so that we can see everything. In Professor Putricide having your camera a maximum distance can make it harder, not easier.
Ideally, you want your camera zoomed in close enough so that you can read the character names of the players standing nearby, but far enough away that you can judge which three directions Professor Putricide has thrown his three Malleable Goo.
I can’t stress how important it is to be able to see who’s standing nearby. We have 3 – yes, three! – Moonkin in our raids at the moment and 2 Hunters with that trinket that turns them into an ugly looking Gnoll. Our 2 Mages are fairly easy to identify because one is a Human and one is a Gnome. I’m also not the only Shadow Priest in the group.
We used vent to coordinate the spread of Unbound Plague. And the responsibility lay with the person currently handing Plague: when they were ready, they would run to pass it to the next carrier. But within the first few seconds of catching the Plague they had to call out on Vent who they intended to pass it to. And if your name was called, you would do your best to make catching the Plague safe – moving away from the rest of the raid (if you were a bit close to others) and then staying completely still while you identified who was trying to pass it to you.
Communication: Be Clear
When I would hear:”I’m passing the Plague to Cass”, my thought process immediately switched from juggling cast bars, DoTs and targets to:
Who said that? then Where are they standing?
Where am I standing? Do I still have an infected debuff from the last time I took the Plague? If so, can I afford to take it again? Are there people standing too close to me? Am I in the green ooze knockback area? Am I close to the Gas Cloud spawn point?
Professor Putricide casts Malleable Goo!
Oh crap. Is there a goo coming towards me? Of course there is. How can I avoid it and still be close to the plague carrier? Should I take the plague early?
It’s pretty easy to see how dealing with the Plague can take your mind off dealing damage. Now imagine that the person called out “I’m passing the plague to Cass” and I get half way through that distracting thought process only to realise that they’re actually standing 20 yards away and the other Shadow Priest in the guild is right next to them… they just got the name/person wrong.
Or, when you get the Plague and are unable to easily see if the Moonkin standing next to you is actually Player A, B or C. If you call out “I’m passing the Plague to… er that Moonkin nearby… wait! don’t move away” you distract three of your damage dealers all at the same time.
Pivoting for Malleable Goo
One of our newer healers was really struggling to avoid Malleable Goo and he was very upfront about it. It wasn’t that he didn’t see the timers or wasn’t trying to look and move out of the direction of the goo. He was. He was just having problems accurately determining the path of the goo flying through the air.
After a couple hours he pinpointed the problem: his camera was zoomed out so far that the ceilings and walls of the laboratory kept interfering, forcing him to pivot his camera view (when Malleable Goo was cast) to strange angles to see the room.
Try it – zoom in for Professor Putricide!