Light & Leafy

Divine Illumination – Healing Your Way Through The Plague Quarter

Posted on: August 26, 2009


Every installment of Divine Illumination is jam packed with kittens, rainbows and cupcakes! Or maybe it’s just a healer’s guide of sorting through Wrath of the Lich King’s raid bosses. I think I like the first better… Last time, I covered the Arachnid Quarter of Naxx. Time to move onto what’s regarded as the second easiest section : The Plague Quarter.

Just beyond the nondescript doorway, a foul disease is being developed and continually improved upon. Multi-hued oozes and festering ghouls meet your group of adventurers as soon as you step foot over the threshold. Plague ridden gargoyles and maggots infest the corridors, but they pale in comparison to the three harbingers of destruction housed in this quarter.

Noth The Plaguebringer
Once a noted Dalaran mage and alchemist, Noth was corrupted by the Lich King and has been working to refine the technique of turning living beings into the undead. At one point repentant for his actions, Noth had his heart frozen in his chest by the lich Kel’Thuzad to prevent the adept plaguemaster from abandoning his research.

Abilities
Curse of the Plaguebringer – A curse placed on random raid members (10 in 25 and 3 in 10) which if not dispelled within 10 seconds will cause Wrath of the Plaguebringer

Wrath of the Plaguebringer – Caused when Noth’s curses are not dispelled. Every player within 30 yards of the cursed victim will take a sizeable chunk of immediate damage, and additional damage every second for 10 seconds after the explosion.

Blink – Noth blinks periodically throughout the fight, moving only a small distance but having a complete aggro wipe

Summon Plagued Warriors – Noth will summon these cleaving warriors through out the fight

Teleport – Noth will teleport every 110 seconds to his balcony. From there, he will summon waves of skeleton adds for the next minute. The champions are typical melee mobs will mortal strike and an aoe shadow move, and after the first add phase, guardians will also appear and will cast arcane explosion.

Enrage – After three teleported phases, or 9 minutes, Noth will enrage, increasing damage done by 1000% and effectively wiping the raid.

Breakdown
The usual breakdown of healers is 1-2 on the main tank, 1 on the offtank and the rest of the group raid healing. The more important aspect of this fight is the decursing, and using all the decurses you have is pivotal, especially in groups where the decursing may be slow. Using mages and DPS druids to supplement any trees and resto shamans is always acceptable; given Noth’s long enrage timer, the small sacrifice on dps can easily save your raid from wiping due to the excessive damage the curse creates.

While people can be fairly spread out, the room is thankfully quite small; everyone should be in range of the healers at all times, with the exception of tanks running to the far corners to pick up adds. Noth’s melee damage is quite easy to heal through, and the only worries the healers should have during this phase is possibly gaining the attention of newly spawned adds or someone not being dispelled quickly. The real brunt of the weight will be put on the teams’ decursers. Setting up decursing assignments before the pull might make this a little easier, ensuring the team is cleared of curses within the 10 second detonation timer. If the raid has even one person with the curse still applied to them, the healers will have quite the time bringing everyone back up quickly and safely (i.e. without garnering the attention of the skeleton adds). If more than 3 people are still cursed, it’s safe to assume there will be casualties. During his teleport phase, adds will be coming up fairly quickly, though making sure everyone is within 40 yards of each other will help clear the adds quickly with aoe as well as making healing easier through the guardian’s arcane explosion and the champion’s minor shadow shock. After the first teleport, the encounter becomes and easy rinse and repeat and you’ll be skipping through the easiest trash in the instance toward’s Heigan’s room.

Tricks
Keeping Noth in a corner will allow tanks to see the spawning mobs easily and assess their trajectory. Also, if there is any doubt that curses may be left on targets, there is always the backup plan of marking an area for cursed members to run to if they fear they won’t be dispelled quickly. Moving away from the main raid group prevents all the aoe damage from badly hurting the raid, even though the individual member will need to be healed. We also found that saving heroism/bloodlust for after his first teleport works best to get the most out of the buff.

Heigan the Unclean
A necromancer in the Lich King’s Service, Heigan is responsible for the plague cauldrons scattered around Azeroth. Heigan is also a lover of dancing and booby traps.

Abilities
Spell Disruption (Phase 1) – An aura with a 20 yard radius increasing casting speed by 300%


Decrepit Fever (Phase 1) – A dispellable disease that damages the target every 2 seconds as well as reduces the health of those around the target by 50%

Plague Cloud (Phase 2) – A large amount of damage done every second to players remaining on Heigan’s platform.

Eruption (Both Phases) – Three quarters of the floor in front of the platform will erupt in green flames, dealing considerable damage each second. Players standing on the edge of the flame will likely survive, while players in the middle of the flame will perish. During phase one, the time between the eruptions is much slower to allow for kiting between the quarters of the room. During phase 2, the eruptions come much more quickly, forcing players to essentially run wind sprints up and down the room.

Breakdown
During phase 1, the ranged dps and healers will stand on the platform at the top center of the room. The melee dps will follow Heigan as his tanks kites him up and down the length of the room, stand in the designated safe fourth of the room to prevent being engulfed by the eruption. The most important parts of this first phase are a. making sure to stay far enough away from Heigan to avoid the spell casting debuff, and b. making sure diseases are dispelled as soon as possible. The diseases will easily kill melee dps if not cleansed, and reducing health on a tank is never a good thing. There may be a few careless deaths due to the eruptions, but there’s not too much a healer can do to save those who cannot dance. Remember, the platform is fairly big, and if you notice that you have the 300% increased casting speed, you can always back up farther on the platform.
At the beginning of phase 2, Noth will port to his platform and render it unusable for the next 45 seconds. To avoid damage from his plague cloud, I recommend prompting all the healers and dps on the platform to jump into the first zone (near the room’s entrance and on the right side when you’re on the platform) immediately after the last eruption but before Heigan ports. This prevents a lot of unnecessary damage. The next 45 seconds are crucial. You’re going to want to save your uncoordinated friends — don’t. The fight can be done with 4 people (I’ve lived it) and chances are if you stop to seriously heal (i.e. cast anything more than an instant heal), you’ll die as well. And it’s really not worth the repair bill. At the end of this phase, Heigan will hop down off the platform and effect most, if not all, of the raid group with decrepit fever. Quick dispells are essential here. The fight will flip flop between these two phases until Heigan is dead. As there is no enrage timer, the fight will go on as long as there are people alive.

Tricks
Pop Heroism/Bloodlust as soon as you start the fight. This is the only time you are guaranteed to have the entire raid alive. Also, make sure that Ret/Prot pallies dispel some of their own diseases. This saves healer’s mana and can save the pallies their lives if the group is especially melee heavy. And above all, DO NOT RELEASE UNTIL EVERYONE IS DEAD! Common sense says that a raid boss at 40% health and with only 5 team members alive is a wipe. Heigan doesn’t do common sense. One raid I had had 4 people left standing, and it took us literally 8 minutes to get him down the last 30 percent. But we did it. Also, if you release and they kill the boss, you can’t get any phat lewtz. And that’s the making of one sad, plague covered panda.

Loatheb
Killing the two human inhabitants of the plague quarter has led you to the giant fungal monstrosity known as Loatheb. A fungal giant infused with the hideous plague, Loatheb can control the powers of healing itself. As a fun note, Loatheb is an anagram for “Healbot,” which is probably the devs’ cruel idea of a joke seeing as healing is limited to three second intervals throughout the fight.

Abilites
Necrotic Aura – Every 20 seconds during the fight, Loatheb will refresh this aura using a 3 second cast. During those 3 seconds is the ONLY time during the fight that healing of any kind (including stones, potions, and deathstrike) can be done.

Deathbloom – Every 30 seconds, Loatheb will cast this on the raid. It acts like a reverse Lifebloom, doing small amounts of damage every second then blooming for a larger amount of damage

Inevitable Doom – After 2 minutes of combat, Loatheb will start casting this on the entire raid, doing a large amount of shadow damage after a 10 second incubation. As the fight wears on, the inevitable dooms come closer together, giving Loatheb a practical “enrage” timer of 5 minutes (or when the inevitable dooms have only a 5 second cool down), even though he doesn’t technically enrage

Spores – Spores will spawn during the fight. When they are killed, they grant the 5 closest players with the benefitial debuff Fungal Creep. Fungal Creep increases chance to crit by 50% and also prevents all abilities and attacks from causing threat, allowing dps to wail on the boss without the worry of pulling aggro. It also allows healers the chance to land larger critical heals during the crucial 3 second spans of healing.

Breakdown
For this fight, I usually assign 2 healers to the main tank, as well as 1 healer to each group. This gives the healers a bit of focus towards the end when most of the raid is taking damage and there are only 3 second intervals to heal it.

While a relatively simple fight for the rest of the group (provided the tank does not get Fungal Creep), healing can be quite challenging at first, especially for players new to healing or new to their healing class (I can easily say it was INCREDIBLY different healing this fight as a holy priest or a disc priest or a shaman or a druid). Using a strategic placement of lightwell, if it exists, can be quite helpful to allow players the chance to heal themselves during the 3 second opening. The gimmick of this fight is all about timing. Around 4 seconds before the aura is off, everyone will get the message “Necrotic Aura Begins to Wane” on their screen as a boss emote. It’s at this time that players can start casting their longer, larger spells (Prayer of healing, holy light, greater heal, healing touch, healing wave, chain heal) so they hit JUST as the aura wanes, allowing for at least one more cast before healing is blacked out again. Using a Boss Addon with timers (such as Deadly Boss Mods or Big Wigs) can help a healer’s timing significantly as well. In pinches, spells that modify cast times can also be lifesavers. Also, don’t underestimate the power of the bubble. Power Word Shield can be quite useful to save people from damage during the Inevitable Dooms and the Deathbloom’s bloom.
What to do during the 17 second blackout? Well, you can always dps. If you happen to have hots, I suggest preemptively hotting people in the group up, that way at least one tick will heal everyone during the 3 second interval to help control the over all damage. But, if you don’t have reliable hots or feel like they aren’t worth the effort (though they are), turn your attention to Loatheb for the next 13-14 seconds to help down him quicker. Just be sure to be back in time to make sure your big heal lands just as the aura fades away.

Tricks
As a general trick, my team typically has melee dps run out and kill the spores near the ranged dps to prevent the tanks from accidentally acquiring the Fungal Creep (No good it the tank can’t put out threat either!). Bubbles will save lives. Don’t underestimate the power of a Discipline priest in this fight. The fact that Discipline priests can cast one bubble every global cooldown (other priests can only cast it once every 4 seconds on friendly targets) makes it easy to keep large portions of the raid shielded from damage. The most important thing to do is just to keep an eye on the timers to start casting heals so they land just as the Necrotic Aura fades.



You’ve survived the plague quarter! But, uh….could you please go wash off? Maybe use some Old Spices? Seriously dude, you spent way too much time near Heigan.

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