Welcome back to another installment of Way of The Totem. Today I'd like to talk a bit more about heroics. Last time we talked about The Culling of Stratholme and the timed run. Today I'd like to talk about two instances that everyone seems to dread as a shaman healer. Heroic Halls of Stone and Halls of Lightning. We'll start with halls of stone.
Halls of stone is dreaded Mainly for the Brann Bronzebeard event. I can see why after my first shot at it, I hated it with a loathing that bordered on obscene. But then I started breaking down the event and looking at my spells, and it's not as daunting as everyone seems to think it is. I'll get to that shortly though. I'd like to talk about the first two bosses.
First on the plate is Krystallus. He's a fairly straight forward fight. For those of you who were around in Burning Crusade, he's a miniature Gruul the Dragonkiller. He's a tank and spank up to when he throws the group in every which direction and gives you a slow debuff. Make sure your group moves away from each other because after about 5 seconds he'll cause you to stop and then he will shatter you. If no one is around you, you will take no damage, if someone is close, well... you'll take increased damage between you the closer you are. Other then that just dps, heal and call it a day. You will be utilizing LHW and Riptide a lot on this one as people will be spread out. This boss does drop a decent Helm for us resto's here (which contrary to wowhead it DOES drop on heroic). Nice intellect and good spell power and MP5. It's a good upgrade for almost everyone so, here's hoping it drops for you.
Next up is Maiden of Grief. Boy does blizzard love big stone chicks. Now she does have a few abilities that need mentioning, very similar to her kara cousin in the fact that she repentan... I mean Shock of Sorrow. Just keep your tank topped off, roll a Riptide on them and make sure you refresh Earth Shield. The next ability is Pillar of Woe. It's a void zone, people just have to move. Only reason I bring it up is because well.. lets face it, dps is sorta... single minded we'll say. They might not move right away. Just be aware you might have to dump some fast heals in them. The last ability I need to mention here is Parting Sorrow (damn this chicks emo) It's a mana burn with a damage component. Not a big deal really just watch your mana. She does it fairly frequently so just be ready with Mana Tide. Now for the good stuff. She has something you'll be interested in possibly Lightning-Charged Gloves again great stat allocation for restoration (dear lord everything has mp5 can we say longevity fights?).
After her comes the greatest event ever created!Ever! Trufax! If you need a bucket for the sarcasm I'll wait... =D. In all seriousness though it's not that bad. You talk to Brann Bronzebeard and he starts trying to access a super computer of cosmic proportions. Your job is to keep him safe from wave after wave of mobs while he tries to Hack the Gibson. Now the waves themselves aren't bad, it's when the computer gets involved that things get dicey. First phase there is a bunch of little laser beams that hit you for about 300 a pop, easy to heal through no biggie. Second phase the computer breaks out void reaver-esque balls of doom. Giant purple orbs that will target someone's location and head towards them. They just have to move out of the way. You're job will be to yell for the tank to move if needed because the tank should have his back to you while grabbing mobs from the only entrance into the room. The key here is to keep moving. Don't you stop for more then a second and don't let your group stop moving unless it's the tank. Roll Riptide and LHW and just keep moving. Third phase is the one people hate the most, and well... I can understand why. Not only do you have the little laser beams and the Grenades of doom, you get a giant super mega laser cannon beam that will melt you in your armor. You need to keep moving again as does the raid, stick and move like Muhammed Ali and call out if the big beam gets anywhere near the tank / melee. Keep rolling Riptide and LHW. The biggest mistake I see here is that people stop and try to chain heal. You need to use every quick heal you have and Tidal Force will be your best friend. The main thing is to stay calm and keep moving. As long as you do that the event honestly is nothing. The chest yields some decent Boots and Shoulders. So if you are like me, and you love you some haste (and let me tell you 2.0 second chain heals are sexy in naxx) you should give the event a try.
After him you move on to the last boss. Sjonnir The Ironshaper. He's not hard really, just have to keep the group spread out and the tank at the bottom of the path grabbing adds, just heal your ass off and keep the tank alive (there will be damage spikes) Brann again will try to hack the system to summon help but as we've seen with the tribunal.... Don't rely on his hacking skills. After you slay the shaper you're going to want to pray for Spark of Life. I've had this trinket for about a week now give or take and let me tell you. It's godly. The proc is so damn nice. You can check my post Here for more on it. Now that you have halls of stone done, it's time to Ride the Lightning.
Halls of lightning is a very interesting place. The first boss patrols around the ring you see when you first enter. If you look over the sides you'll see tons and tons of stone Skaldi slumbering ala Golden Army style. Cool touch for both here and Halls of stone. I'm not going to comment heavily on the first three bosses because, well, they are straight forward. Heal, keep healing and keep doing it till they are dead.
Your three main bosses are General Bjarngrim (who I keep wanting to call Ben Grimm) Volkhan and Ionar.
General Grim is a tank and spank with an AoE component. Keep healing stream totem down and roll chain heals with LHW for dealing with spikes. That's pretty much it. He drops some good Crit Pants and if you are fiending for haste, some Decent Gloves.
Mr Volkhan is also a tank and spank, but leading up to him is a gauntlet-like room. Move into the room and pick either right or left. There is an alcove there. Head into the alcove, stop, dps everything down, move to the middle of the stairs and up, dps, and then proceed as normal. Clear the whole room at the top and then pull him. Just heal through the big damage spikes and that's it. Doesn't really drop any loot for shamans, so kick his corpse and move on.
Next is Ionar, Avoid the balls, and when he emotes Run far far away straight back from him till the little lightning spiders have de-spawned and he's back. Make sure your tank keeps him up on the platform after he's done with the spiders. He drops a Trinket that's not half bad. Good mp5 and a good on use effect.
After him comes the big man himself. This guy is feared by everyone as he has caused the most wipes and player deaths of all the npc's. Loken is a son-of-a-bitch. I'm going to give you a couple tips to help deal with him. As your tank is running in, drop a healing stream totem. The hell with mana totem, keep the health flowing. Keep everyone grouped up around the tank and chain heal. When loken emotes, run like hell as a group, drop another healing stream totem right away, and wait for loken to come to the tank. Another useful tip for shamans here, his ability Arc Lightning can be swallowed by Grounding Totem. This may be a bug, but for the time being use it. It will save you soooooo much healing and will help keep squishies alive so drop that after you move and are waiting for him to run to the tank. Make everyone run together. We had a rogue that just kept running off on his own and so he was always out of dps range and the fight took forever. Burn Cooldowns here too. Heroism / Bloodlust and Fire Elemental help make the fight faster, which is good. The longer the fight goes on, the more likely you are to die. You will die, yes. I've done this fight probably twenty times (including wipes) in the last two weeks. It happens even when you have the fight down pat. But restos, this Reward is sooo sooo nice. Slap a belt buckle on that and toss in a gem and this belt is going to last you a long long time.
The bottom line is, while this boss and the Brann even do suck and are hard... that's part of the game. Challenge yourself and get into these. These are great training events to get your ready for Naxx and beyond, and honestly the rewards are just stunning in terms of learning, training and yes even some loot. Don't be afraid of them, go in there and knock one out of the park!