Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The 10 Dancing Princesses, aka Downing Heigan in Naxx-10

I almost ran my boots off last night learning the Heigan fight in Naxx-10. We probably wiped the fight eight times over two hours before I got the hang of it. Nobody bothered much with buffs or consumables. Only two or three people in the group had ever seen this fight before, and not all of them stayed alive either. 

The gist of the fight is that there are cracks in the floor that dribble out a poison field; at any given time, roughly 75% of the room is poisoned, and there is a small safe area with no poison. Every three seconds, this "safe" spot moves, and you have to move with it, because the poison kills you. It's very tough to explain, which is why you should read the strategy guide and watch the excellent tankspot tutorial video series on Naxx

Now, I play video games just like someone who didn't grow up playing any video games -- I mean, unless you've seen me shoot teammates in the face repeatedly during console gaming, you might not believe that I am a truly bad player. My reflexes are slow, I'm pretty clumsy and non-athletic, and I usually feel like I'm all thumbs whenever I'm playing a game. 

That said... guess who was still alive when we downed Heigan? If you said, "Everyone but you, nesh?"... INCORRECT. Also, you're a jerk. (Partial credit though. Iirc, I got a rez partway through. The healer was ignoring Rule #1 below.) If a crappy player like me can get through the Heigan fight, you can too.

Here are some Do's and Don'ts for downing Heigan (hunter-biased but applicable to everyone):

Practice running back and forth between safe spots before you start the fight. Drop smoke flares, repair bots, or whatever works, to mark the safe spots. Run between them. Recognize them. Know them intimately. Try that about 50 times.
Practice running back and forth between safe spots after you start the fight. Don't think about healing, or dps. If you are the tank, some minimal amount of threat generation is good. Just expect that if you haven't done the fight, you've got some practice wipes ahead of you.
Turn on Deadly Boss Mods or Bigwigs. If the timers are too distracting, fine, but you want to make sure you are fully prepared to change phases, and you don't want a teleport to catch you by surprise. Do not expect anyone to let you know when the teleport is about to happen. See Rule #1 below.
Run in a straight line. Every movement of the mouse, every button press, every single wasted movement is a chance to screw it up
Practice the flip. It's an endurance event with laps, you're Michael Phelps, and when you flip to run the other way, it needs to be flawless. When you've done the flip 150 times in a row, muscle memory will kick in during the real thing.
Bring MM hunters to the fight. Wolfinme, you're the new definition of awesome. And not just MM hunters... elemental shamans. Or ret pallies. Every class can contribute to this fight, but there are some fights that are just made for the massive single target dmg builds.
If most of your heals are instant cast, run with the tank and melee for all phases. You need the practice. If your heals take time to cast, you'll need to stand on the platform. 
Have a plan for how you are personally going to manage the transitions. Here's how my 1-to-2 plan went: "At the 20 second timer, refresh Serpent Sting regardless. Make the most of 18 seconds spamming Steady Shot, blow any cooldowns that are left, in case I die in the upcoming running phase. As Serpent Sting goes off, stop Steady Shot'ing, just a few seconds to the Teleport now. Watch the boss, re-position the camera so that I'm looking at home plate. Mana is low, pop Viper. A few autoshots while I'm running in Phase 2 will help me out. BAM! Teleport. Run to home plate. Reposition the camera again so I'm looking straight along the path that I'll be running. I'm far enough from the boss, I can see the second safe spot, wait for the green wall o' poison to pop. Now RUN!" Your plan will have nothing to do with anyone else's plan. Pretend the other people are just non-aggro adds. See Rule #1 below.
Tank the boss a little under halfway from the platform to the wall. You want to be within range of the ranged DPS, but you don't want the ranged healers and DPS to be stuck in the Spell Disruption aura. That means there is an invisible band running across the room about 15 yards wide that you need to keep him inside for Phase 1. 

Use Aspect of the Cheetah or any other running buff. The fight is synchronized to normal run speed, and when you are doing it right, your whole team is running in sync, independently (if that makes any sense). Plus, if you throw Cheetah on too early, Heigan's AOE dmg will daze you and you'll be slow to get to home plate. If switching to kitty form is second nature for you druids, fine, go ahead. You'll be doing a lot more stopping and starting though.
Try to run around the edge of the platform to minimize the distance you have to travel. Heigan's AOE extends further out than you think. Yes, math is great. No, dying isn't. 
Bring a pet to the fight and expect it to stay alive. BM Hunters (like me), you're outta luck. Suck it up. I got one Bestial Wrath out of my passive dino before Phase 2, where the poison dropped the pet while she was on auto-follow. Maybe you can get a second Bestial Wrath off, if you can debug Heart of the Phoenix, but don't waste time on a pet rez, and don't waste time futzing around with pet controls. Maybe there's a technique I didn't think of. Mention it in the comments.
Stack up on the tank and try to follow him or her. For one thing, you can't see your toon in the crowd if you're a shorty, and you will inevitably say, "Where's my toon?", stop running, and bam... poisoned. For another, there's video and network lag between you and the tank. See Rule #1 below.
Expect to learn the dance the first time. When you die, say to yourself out loud, "My mistake there was: [ ] running too fast, [ ] running too slow, [ ] trying to heal, [ ] trying to cast, [ ] trying to pot or bandage, [ ] answering the phone", etc.
Heal anyone except the tank in Phase 1. Everyone else needs to learn Rule #1.
Heal the tank in Phase 2. You need to learn Rule #1.

The only rule that matters in the Heigan fight is Rule #1: You are on your own. 

On your own, by yourself, no one should be paying attention to you, no one will heal you, don't heal anyone else besides the tank. If you get a little bit of aoe dmg in the teleport switch, don't worry about it. It won't kill you as long as you keep moving. Use a health pot if you are nervous. If you get distracted by something stupid like bandaging, you'll die. Your teammates won't die if they are doing the dance correctly, and they will die if they aren't. You can't do much about that as a healer, because you need to stay alive to keep the tank alive in Phase 1. That is the only exception to Rule #1. 

Yes, if you're a hunter, you can leave autoshot on during Phase 2. It won't hurt, it will help if you have to pop Viper, and turning it off would be one more thing to worry about while you are trying to move. If you find it distracting, turn it off during your phase switch prep.

If you are a healer, you're going to ignore all my rules, and maybe one or two people extra will survive the fight because you are a totally awesome healybot, and that gives them a little more practice on the dance floor... but you healing them is a crutch, I tell you! A CRUTCH! They'll start to think someone cares, that some sweet pure angelic healer loves them and cares if they die, and what they really need is a green slimy poisonous smack in the face. Healers, look inside for your inner lock, and practice your evil cackle.

I survived the Heigan fight when I stopped doing the Don'ts and I started doing the Do's. When we got him to 30% and I realized that I had "gotten it", I popped a flask and started getting serious about DPS in Phase 1. It was fantastic fun and I can't wait to do that fight again. 

The Heigan fight now replaces Blackheart the Inciter as my all-time favorite boss ever in WoW.

1 comment:

K said...

For Ret Pallies - He's undead. Exorcism works as DPS during phase 2.

When he's under Hammer of Wrath range, you can use that as well as you're dancing.