HoTs and DoTs: A Restoration Druid and Shadow Priest

Shadow Lessons from the Professor

ICC Professor Putricide Laboratory - Cassandri back in 2009

See those skeletons all over the ground? Yeah.

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

Zoom In

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!

14 Responses to “Shadow Lessons from the Professor”

  1. ZahraahNo Gravatar says

    Good read:) I sometimes run into mallable glue but putting my chat bubbles back up helped me work out where it was gonna hit – and that camera thing – max zoom is bad on that one

  2. JenNo Gravatar says

    Congratulations on the kill!

    Some curiosiry: You’re talking about 25-man, right? Putricide on 10-man was… big “lol, that’s it?!” for us. We’d read the guides, got thoroughly scared, and got him to 10% on the first try (then continued to wipe painfully on Valithria, whom everyone kills, but oh well). I think it’s one of those fights that’s very imbalanced between 10- and 25-man…
    Jen’s last post: My take on the RealID Blizzard fail

    • CassandriNo Gravatar says

      Yes, I’m talking about 25 man raiding (Big Crits is a 25 man guild, as is the guild I raid in). I’ve added that into the text – sry!

      I’m not really sure what the difficulty is like H Putricide on 10 vs 25 mans because I don’t have much experience with 10 man ICC, let alone the heroic modes. I do know that many, many 25 man raiding guilds get stuck at 9/12 ICC (PP, Sindy and LK incomplete) for a long time because the difficulty doesn’t really ramp up significantly until you hit that point.

      Actually I would argue that the first 9 heroic modes are easier than Lich King on normal mode and take less time to learn and master.

  3. RedbeardNo Gravatar says

    But then they’re probably going to hit their heads against the wall also known as: Heroic Professor Putricide.

    Of course, you do realize that because you said this they’ll breeze right through the Professor, right? Murphy is still listening….
    Redbeard’s last post: Curse Acquires MMO Champion

    • CassandriNo Gravatar says

      They probably will make H PP look like a breeze! And then I’ll feel even more fail for wiping on him for so long…

  4. NatarumahNo Gravatar says

    Great guide!
    We are currently focusing on Sindragosa (9/12 HM, so only 2 real options left before LK) but I will be sure to keep this in mind once we get our practice runs on Professor on the way.
    Natarumah’s last post: The Burning Red Line

    • CassandriNo Gravatar says

      We’re just about to start Sindragosa Heroic this week so any tips would be apprieciated :D

  5. CitadelNo Gravatar says

    “Ha. Ha ha ha ha.”

    Cass, your unhinged laughter made me giggle. Which then escalated into more unhinged laughter…I think my mind was, indeed, broken by this fight.

    Great tips for the fight. From a melee perspective, I’d add a few brief hints:
    – Watch the timers for choking gas bombs, and move out of danger (even face on to the boss if you have to) just before they spawn. Getting hit by them is roughly a 2k dps loss on a fight where ever single point counts.
    - Watch timers for when a new unbound plague is about to spawn, and then spread out.
    - don’t run straight back into melee after the new plague spawns. wait a moment to be sure you don’t have the plague, or its not ripping though the stack.
    - DO NOT run the plague into the melee stack…it causes utter chaos.
    - Learn how to get knocked back in the correct direction by the green ooze’s explosion. Learn it quickly

    • CassandriNo Gravatar says

      “unhinged laughter”

      You got that right :( I’m going to miss you so much Citadel!

      • CitadelNo Gravatar says

        Awwww Cass, <3 you too. You guys make it sad to go casual

        I'll miss you too. All of you :(

  6. NatarumahNo Gravatar says

    Will make a guide for Shadowpriests and Sindragosa tomorrow then ^_^
    Natarumah’s last post: The Burning Red Line

  7. NatarumahNo Gravatar says

    Guide is up! Hope you find something useful in it…

    Unlike Professor, which is a coordinated raid-dance, Sindragosa is more of a lesson in holding yourself back and spatial awareness…

    http://twistedfaith.wordpress.com/2010/07/23/dating-sindy-shadowpriest-advice/
    Natarumah’s last post: The Burning Red Line

  8. LaraNo Gravatar says

    Thank you for a really great, informative post! I’ve only ever done ICC 10, so it’s really fascinating to get a picture of what the 25-player version is like. As Jen said above—I didn’t think it was so bad on 10-player heroic, but it sounds like a much bigger deal on 25! (Then again, by the time we faced Heroic Prof, the zone-wide buff was already up to 20%, so I suppose that makes up for a lot of learning…)

    You’re making me want to spec to Shadow and try it out. :)
    Lara’s last post: Kicking it Old School

    • CassandriNo Gravatar says

      Yep Heroic PP was a nightmare on 25m Heroic. Heroic Sindragosa is looking much more manageable (although we’ve only spent about 4 hours on her so far).

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  1. Virtuosos says

    [...] a guild we hit a point where we snagged on Heroic Professor Putricide for months and months. This meant that the earlier bosses were well and truly farmed and [...]

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