After doing a few pulls on the Dreamwalker encounter last night, I was intrigued enough by the encounter to write up some tips…and yes, my “tips” always turn into walls o’ text. (Don’t tell my RL, but I did some feral healing and snuck into a portal on a pull last night to check out the dreamworld.)
10M: 2 portal/Val healers, 1/2 tank/raid healers, 1/2 tanks, rest DPS. (10M is very flexible, composition wise.)
25M: 4 portal/Val healers, 3 raid healers, 2 tanks, rest DPS. Assign one ranged DPS per side as zombie kiters. Assign one melee per side as archmage interrupter. Rest follow DPS order (below).
Portal healers should be people who are comfortable moving in 3D space. Remember Malygos/Oculus? If you HATED the flying parts there, you may not be the best choice for portal healing. Otherwise, the priority is roughly shaman>druid>paladin>hpriest>dpriest. (Shammies can probably pump out the most HPS (or close to it) due to AA and don’t raid heal overly well here. Druids’ HPS is lower than shaman or paladin, but their extra mobility is quite helpful to get to portals. Paladins work well either in-portal or out, and are probably the best overall healer to have for this fight, due to Beacon (they can dump quite a good bit of healing on Val even unbuffed). Holy Priests are at a HPS disadvantage, though they have a key role in this fight with glyphed Guardian Spirit. Disc priests are advised to switch to Holy for this one. )
Dreamwalker starts at 50% health and must be healed to full. (12M health in 10M, 36M in 25M, of which you’re healing half.) The healers assigned to this will be alternately healing her and going through portals she spawns to collect a stacking buff which increases their healing done and mana regen. The remainder of the raid will be defending her against a flow of adds that gradually increases in speed, with two tank/dps teams on either side.
Strategy, by role
Tank(s): Tank the Abominations facing away from the raid as much as possible to reduce Gut Spray damage on other raid members. Watch for Abom’s to die and be prepared to pick up the Be prepared to pick up and get threat on Archmages quickly, as they’ll be a kill priority for melee.
Melee DPS: Priority is Blazing Skeletons/Suppressors/Archmages/Abominations. One melee DPS per side should be assigned to keep Archmages as highest priority to interrupt their Frostbolt Volley (make sure you let the tanks pick up threat first though). Watch Abomination facing to keep out of Gut Spray, and watch for the Archmage’s frost columns. You can help DPS zombies if the kiter has a comfortable threat lead (I frequently dropped a Rake on one while heading to something else), just stay away from them if they’re at low HP; they go boom. Kitties: Don’t use a normal DPS rotation, except for the Aboms, as most stuff is going to die too fast for Rip to be viable. Rake/SR/Mangle/Shred to 5 CP’s/Bite.
Ranged DPS: Priority is Blazing Skeletons (on either side)/Suppressors/Zombies/Abominations/Archmages. Position yourself near the middle and feel free to help on targets on the other side. One ranged kiter per side (generally a Hunter) should kite the Zombies; try not to drag them through the tanks/melee, especially at low HP. (They go boom.) On 10M, it’s a good strategy to have one DPS enter portals to get the stacking buff, preferably an Arcane mage (good burst dps) or Elemental shammy (can do some off-healing)
Raid Healers: Same as normal, though you’ll be healing the tank more than you’re used to. You’ll probably have some mana issues, so ask for Innervates/Mana Tides early; the Valithria healers won’t need them. Almost all of the (non-tank) damage is avoidable until the late phases, so if people are dying early, that’s their fault. If you have spare GCD’s, heal Valithria.
Valithria Healers: Ah, the key to this fight. Here’s how it works. Starting 30s in and every 45s thereafter, Valithria will spawn 6 portals (3 in 10M). These portals will drop you into the “Emerald Dream” for 20s, where lots of green balls will be floating around. Every green ball that’s touched by a player will pop, giving everyone within 10yards a 10% buff to healing and damage done and some MP5. This buff lasts 35s, and stacks (to 100, though you won’t get that far). After leaving the Dream, you’ll have 25s to heal Val before the portals reopen and you start over. Here’s the breakdown (I find timelines helpful):
0:30- First portals spawn.
0:50- Out of dream world. (no, you can’t click off the buff to leave early). Hopefully, you’ll have popped a ball right before you exit. Run to where the portals spawn and start healing Val. An orb will appear a few seconds before the portal opens, so go stand on one to mark it as yours.
1:15- Next portals spawn. If you popped a ball right before you left, you’ll have 10s to quickly find another ball to refresh your stacks (though it’ll probably be closer to 5s).
1:35- Out of dream world.
2:00- Next portals spawn.
~7:00- Adds come too quickly; raidwipe.
There’s two strategies for grabbing balls that have been used successfully. The first and most common assigns each healer an area. This is a less risky strategy, but requires that each healer possess good 3D movement and awareness. The second has the healers group (after they grab one ball individually to refresh their stack) and all follow one person, sharing in the 10y splash. Each strategy is viable, so pick whichever best fits your raid. The most important thing, however, is not getting greedy; watch your debuff timer carefully and make sure you grab a ball right before your debuff wears off, to give yourself maximum time during the next portal phase.
Once you exit the realm, you’ll be dropped back into the raid. Immediately run back to your portal spot while popping any instants you have, then push max HPS into Valithria. Hopefully, one of your holy priests has glyphed Guardian Spirit (10s of +40% healing every minute is AWESOME) and will have that up on the pull and every other portal phase. (Sadly, she has a hidden debuff that prevents chaining GS with multiple priests. One per minute is all you get.) Paladins should beacon Val and HL bomb someone in the raid, probably a tank. Shamans will RT and HW spam on Val; Druids will slow-stack LB, roll RG/RJ, pop SM on CD, and spam Nourish. DON”T WORRY ABOUT THE RAID (though a couple instants as you’re moving into position is fine). Your priority is getting into portals quickly to refresh your buff, proper timing in the portal to give yourself max time in the next, and healing Val as much as you can. In that order. You’ll get about 9-10 portals before the enrage; after the 7th portal phase or so (6m in), pop Hero, pop Guardian Spirit, pop all healer cooldowns, have all hybrids heal as well, and get her the rest of the way. Prot pally LoH is great.
Random Tips (that I haven’t confirmed)
- Fire and Frost Res auras are great, but I’m not sure if raiders retain the benefit if the providing paladin is in the Dream.
- Totems despawn when a shammy enters the Dream (so drop that Mana Tide when you come OUT).
- Supposedly you’re both “mounted” and “swimming” in the dream realm, so swim speed or mount speed buffs might help.
- Amplify Magic on Val is probably a good idea.
- Mark the portal healers so they don’t try to take the same portals.