I put together some really great runs towards the endless healing waves last night. My original high score was 846 before I shifted around the talents and glyphs. That pushed me to 1548 and then 1646 before I plateaued again. And then… well, last night I was kind of “in the zone.” My high jumped to 2546, which gave me the Endless Healer (Wave 20) achievement. So huzzah to that.
I am now getting above wave 20 pretty regularly. I got to 25 twice, but unfortunately both attempts were derailed by lag spikes (as were several attempts that hadn’t gotten that high). I eventually just gave up when the occasional lag spikes faded into yellow or red latency, but all in all it was a productive night, despite all that. I had another attempt that fizzled at 24 because I OOMed when the party didn’t kill the mobs in time for me to drink between 20 and 21 (pretty sad when even the 15-second grace period doesn’t give you enough time to drop combat before the next wave spawns in).
Blizz really needs to do something about the group’s dps or else tweak the mobs’ health on the last wave. It’s endlessly frustrating when (even with the healer dpsing) the group can’t down a 1:00 wave in less than 1:10. Even having the drink key on the action bar and spamming the key as the final mob dies, you’ll get pretty close to missing the window. What I’ve taken to doing is positioning my mushroom/puddle on the spot where Wave 1 spawns in just before the final mob dies and then drinking through most of Wave 1. As long as you get started in the 2-3 second space between dropping combat and the new wave spawning you should be able to keep drinking (as long as you aren’t interrupted by moving or being attacked or something like that). My efflorescence puddle is usually enough to keep everyone healthy enough that I can recover my full mana bar and then top everyone off with basic heals towards the end of the round.
At any rate, I don’t mean to come off so negative about what was essentially a very good night. I got some nice attempts in and I feel like I’ve turned a corner. Just a little more polish ought to get me past that last hump. I’m cautiously optimistic that I’ll crack the last few rounds and get my title soon. After that, I wish to attempt the same thing on my shaman. Yes, I know the title is account wide, but I want to try to “achieve” it on all of the healers. Now that the shaman has his legendary cloak and some Siege gear, he’s actually looking at some extraordinarily good gear for the challenge (huge numbers of sockets and the legendary has extra stats even though the proc is inactive in PG). In fact, I’m tempted to grab a few pieces of Siege gear for my druid, since he still has lots of weak slots. A few extra gems wouldn’t hurt and replacing all of my single-stat Timeless Isle gear with complete gear would also add a little oomph.
I’ll end with a few tips I’ve learned. Hopefully they will be of use to somebody else. Even if not, writing it out helps me organize my thoughts. So, here goes:
- Casting and maintaining a DoT on each mob adds up over the long term. It is often more effective (both in terms of mana and damage) than trying to dps with hard-cast spells. Just be mindful to do it early and refresh as needed.
- Waves 5 and 9 are the toughest waves by far.If you have limited raid CDs, those are the waves you want to use them on.
- Because of the CD on Tranquility, I can usually use it early on Wave 2, late in Wave 5, and then as needed on Wave 9. Any 3-minute healing CD (Healing Tide Totem/Divine Hymn/etc.) should time out the same way.
- Waves 1, 7, and 10 are easy waves that let you recover mana.
- Waves 2, 5, and 9 are tougher waves that will make your burn through mana.
- Waves 3, 4, 6, and 8 are medium-difficulty waves, so you can maintain or maybe even recover mana as long as you stay on top of things.
- Handling Chomp and Aqua Bomb quickly and efficiently is the key to make or break those waves and by consequence your whole run.
- In the wave with two Aqua Bombs, your priority is generally as follows: Oto, Ki, Kavan, Sooli, You. Oto and Ki will always hit the melee group. Kavan will often hit the melee group (because she runs to melee range to spam Arcane Explosion). Sooli is almost always alone at range. You can run away from the group. Additionally, you can use a damage reduction CD to minimize damage and then stand in your healing puddle to recover the damage done.
- The key to handling Chomp is two-fold: 1) keep everyone as close to topped off as possible *before* Chomp is applied, and 2) use a bursty heal to push them above the 90% threshold as quickly as possible. If you don’t have any better tools available, even your basic fast/expensive heal (Flash Heal/Healing Surge/etc.) works out to be cheaper than letting Chomp continue to tick.
- Damage Reduction CDs will help you catch up if you get behind on a Chomp, assuming you have one available. This is particularly useful on Oto, since his constant stream of tank damage can make it difficult to get him above 90% long enough for Chomp to clear (it can take a second or two for the game to recognize your health and remove the debuff).
- If Chomp goes on you, your Soulstone is amazing for taking it off (instantly heals 20% of your health). Unless you have an absolute emergency, save it for this purpose.
- DON’T PANIC!!! Keep your head and stick to your game plan. The party’s health bars are going to dip. Quite often, they will be below 100% health. Don’t freak out and start spamming your fast heal for every little fireball.
- You’ll get a ton of mileage out of your ground effects (if you have one). If yours is cheaply/easily movable (like a druid’s) then keep up with the group and move it when they do. If it’s a little more expensive and/or has a lengthier CD (like a shaman’s), try to wait a second or two and make sure he group is settled in before placing your puddle. Either way, place the puddle carefully, covering as much of the group as possible. The mage often moves to melee so try to include her if you can and don’t forget to stand in it yourself.
- The group may still move out of your puddle despite these precautions. Try not to murder your computer’s monitor in your frustration about this.
- Proving Grounds Endless Healer mode tests not only your reflexes, but also your decisions. This is the hardest part of the challenge. Learn the difference between a true emergency and just a low health bar. Train yourself to recognize damage patterns: it usually comes in spikes and lulls. There’s no need to rush to two or three fast heals when only one (or none at all) are needed. If there will be no more damage for 5-6 seconds, a couple efficient heals will work just fine. Likewise, know when you need to use a fast heal or a CD to get a health bar back up quickly because more damage is incoming shortly.