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Method Jdotb Q&A #2
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Jdotb plays a Resto Druid and will be participating on the Method NA team in the Mythic Dungeon Invitational. He has achieved multiple World Firsts and currently holds many of the top times in the NA Region. He frequently streams his Resto Druid gameplay. Find him here:
Given the nature of M+ and the need for people to collect various gear sets and pieces of equipment, what would you say are the generic “must-have” trinkets of the tier (and previous tiers) that make healing and being healed in M+ a breeze?
There are only three trinkets from M+ that are ever potentially worth using: Flask of the Solemn Night, Chrono Shard and Fluctuating Energy. The first two are ok throughput trinkets, but unless you get a wild titanforge on one of them they’re easily replaceable in Antorus. Fluctuating Energy is actually a really good mana trinket, but it’s also incredibly annoying to use and can usually be safely swapped out for the much friendlier Carafe of Searing Light from Varimathras.
You can ignore all the healing trinkets that drop from Emerald Nightmare, Trial of Valor and Nighthold almost regardless of their ilvl. There is a tank trinket from Nighthold — the Royal Dagger Haft — that has seen some situational use in M+ because it gives you a cheat death effect every 6 minutes. But unless you’ve gotten one that forged, the damage cap on it is likely too low to be useful these days.
Assuming relevant ilvl, here are the trinkets you’ll find useful in M+ now:
- Velen’s Future Sight: The default trinket for a lot of M+ content. Velen’s gives you a relatively short throughput cooldown that can either be used to increase all healing or to funnel healing into one or two players (like if the tank is about to get pounded). The stats on it are great as well. If you have some high ilvl raid trinkets you might think about dropping Velen’s, but it’s a strong contender for most classes.
- Unstable Arcanocrystal: An oldie but a goodie. Arcanocrystal has been a monster since Day 1 of Legion, and it’s good for most classes in the game. There isn’t anything fancy about it; it’s just a really big stat stick. If you can get one of these off the Relinquished vendor at 910 ilvl or higher, it’ll likely be competitive with everything up to mythic Antorus trinkets.
- Highfather’s Machination: Highfather’s is strong for a couple reasons: its effect heals quite a bit, and its effect heals quite a bit when you need it. There are a lot of fights in M+ where you will sit at full health for stretches of time and then suddenly need a lot of healing in a short window, and Highfather’s does a great job of catching you up quickly.
- Garothi Feedback Conduit: There isn’t anything particularly special about the Conduit] — it’s mostly just a haste stat stick with a little RNG thrown in. Haste stat sticks are still nice though, and the Conduit has some added value because it’s also useful for DPS on fights where the healing is light.
- Ishkar’s Felshield Emitter: Emitter is a niche trinket but very good in specific circumstances. It won’t do much throughput on a fight, but if someone in your party is at risk of dying to a mechanic before you can heal them, Emitter is literally a lifesaver. On fights like Xavius or Hyrja where mechanics are liable to one-shot people at any moment, Emitter is the equivalent of a one minute external cooldown. DPS and tanks can also use Emitter though it will halve the effectiveness of the shield — even then it can still be worth using for them.
- Eonar’s Compassion: Eonar’s isn’t a good fit for M+ in terms of what it does, but if you’ve got one at 1000 ilvl it might be your best option simply because of scaling. Once you get heroic or better versions of the trinkets above, you can probably drop Eonar’s.
- The Deceiver’s Grand Design: DGD is an interesting trinket for M+. The HoT you place on a teammate is often irrelevant for healing purposes, and you’re literally only using it for the shield that procs when the target drops below 35%. It’s very useful for quick chunk damage like Xavius‘ Feed on the Weak or Corstilax‘s Suppression Protocol, but totally worthless if your teammate gets killed from above 35% health — the shield will just never proc in that scenario.
- Sea Star of the Depthmother: Sea Star’s effectiveness varies depending on how often you’re casting Wild Growth. On fights where you’re casting Wild Growth frequently, Sea Star does solid throughput. Otherwise it’s pedestrian.
- Smoldering Titanguard: Not a healing trinket per se but a fantastic option as a sort of quasi-immunity. Titanguard will let you survive at least 10 million more damage from an ability making it very valuable on fights like Amalgam of Souls or Lord Kur’Talos.
- Coagulated Nightwell Residue: A handy tank trinket from Arcway. It can be hard to get one of these since you’ll need to have a tank spec to even put it on the loot table. Residue has a very short cooldown making it ideal for surviving things that would only slightly overkill you.
With the rising interest in mythic+, and how the world first raiding race is really only 1-2 guilds, do you ever see mythic+ overtaking the vast majority of players’ focus within the game, even on new tier releases?
For starters, raiding is often the cornerstone of a guild, and guilds are the cornerstone of WoW. How many people still play WoW for no reason other than wanting to see their friends a few nights a week while they progress on bosses? It can be incredibly frustrating trying to manage a roster of 20+ players, but raids are unique in their ability to really feel like a family. You won’t be close to everyone in your raid, but the camaraderie you build by spending 10-15 hours a week with the same group is tough to replicate in any other activity.
Raids also have historically been the drivers of lore in WoW. Dungeons will often have their own little stories to tell and might even tie back in to a larger narrative arc in the game, but usually the expansion moves forward at the pace of raids. For casual players that are as much interested in the world of Azeroth as they are about grinding out content for hours at a time, raids are where the magic happens. Unless Blizzard switches up its approach to storytelling, raids will be must-see content for all players.
Which is all to say that raids aren’t going anywhere but not necessarily that raids will continue to be the premiere PvE content going forward. M+ is a great format for a number of reasons: it’s shorter, it requires less people, it gives loot every time, and you can make it exactly as challenging as you want it. Raiding, especially mythic raiding, is as close to a job as you can get in video games these days. You have to commit to a weekly schedule, you have to constantly recruit to fill vacancies, and you have to organize a loot system to fairly distribute rewards. No M+ group has ever had officers because you don’t need officers to manage a 5 person group. You can grab four friends and be done with a M+ run in 30 minutes where even a normal raid can take two or three hours. And there are no lockouts on M+ so you always have a potential upgrade waiting at the end of the dungeon.
If you started WoW from scratch today and had to pick whether M+ or raiding looked like the better and more sustainable PvE format, I think M+ is hands down the winner. I’d be surprised if BfA doesn’t lean heavily on M+. But hoping that raiding takes a back seat to M+ any time soon is a pipedream.
Is it always better to let the tank ask for your external, or should you ever just use it because you feel it’s a good time?
Are you pugging with a tank you’ve never seen before? It’s a pretty solid bet they won’t even respond to a “hello” in party chat let alone tell you they’ll be needing Ironbark for Ymiron’s next Dark Slash.
If it’s the tank you’ve been running 80% of your dungeons with for the last four months, you should always wait for them to call for the external unless you’ve repeatedly asked them to call for externals and they just refuse to do so. Good tanks will always plan a cooldown rotation in their head to survive a big trash pull or a boss, and using an external on them without saying something first is probably just going to lead to an unnecessary overlap in mitigation.
There is certainly the possibility that your tank needs your external to live through something and just never calls for it. That’s either because the tank didn’t realize they were going to die (bad) or because your tank think it’s less of a hassle to die than it is to talk in Discord (worse). If you find yourself in this situation frequently with a tank, you should probably focus more on finding a new tank than on how you can fix it. I know tanks can be hard to come by, but there are certain minimum requirements that come with the job.
Making other people ask for your external is obviously a chore but it’s the only way to use externals effectively.
What are the qualities that a good tank can have to make the healers job easier?
The first is communication. This is true of all party members but especially for the tank. Tanks will be the ones to choose what trash packs to pull in what order, and letting your team know what’s coming is helpful for switching gear or preparing cooldown usage. Tanks are also an ideal candidate for coordinating crowd control and interrupts. On lower keys, overlapping stuns or kicking the same target simultaneously isn’t a big deal. On higher keys, those kinds of mistakes will wipe the group when you run out of ways to stop an enraged Thundercaller from one-shotting your party members.
The second is self-healing. Most tanks in Legion have ample ways to keep themselves healed in low-to-moderate damage situations (sorry Brewmasters). If the healer is confident that the tank knows how to use mitigation and self-healing appropriately, it frees the healer up to help with damage. This is a topic near and dear to my heart, and anyone that has watched my stream for more than five minutes knows that I’ll let Shakib sit at 40% hp for an entire pull because I know he can take care of himself. This goes both ways, too — if a healer constantly spams heals on the tank, the tank may never have an opportunity to really show off their full kit of survival abilities. There are a lot of trash pulls and bosses where my tank will outheal me because they don’t need me. Don’t feel bad about that as a healer; look at it as an opportunity to contribute in other ways.
Lastly, tanks more than any other party member need to know the dungeon inside and out. Does this trash pack have mobs that cleave melee? Better face them away from the group. Is it safe to pull these three packs together or does that require more interrupts than our group has? Where should I stand during this boss fight so I can round up the adds as quickly as possible when they spawn? It helps if everyone knows what’s going on, but if we’re being honest you can frequently skate in a dungeon as a DPS or healer without being totally aware of all the mechanics. That’s a lot harder for a tank.
Mostly, though, if you’re asking yourself what you can do as a tank to make things easier for your healer, you’re already on the path to becoming a good tank.
How can a new person learn when to use cooldowns?
But the real answer, as unsexy as it is, is trial and error. I’m still learning how to use my cooldowns, and I’ll be learning how to use my cooldowns for as long as I play WoW. The introduction of M+ has really hammered this point home for me because the things that worked in a +5 won’t always work in a +10, and the things that worked in a +10 won’t always work in a +15.
WoW is often a game of “good enough”. You learn how to heal good enough to survive a certain boss. You learn how to DPS good enough to kill trash before you run out of crowd control. You tank good enough to stay alive for four minutes on Hyrja. But as you keep cranking up the level of your keys, “good enough” stops being good enough. And then you have to figure out how to get better.
I’ve probably healed Melandrus in Court of Stars with six different pairs of legendaries as I’ve gone from M0s to +27. Eventually Melandrus does more damage than I can heal, and I go back to the drawing board. I try different trinkets, I try different combinations of healing cooldowns and externals, and I pay attention to which DPS classes need more and less help from me.
For now, I’m pretty confident that I can heal Melandrus “good enough”. But maybe we get that juicy +29 Court of Stars key and everyone dies on the fourth Slicing Maelstrom. Then I get to start learning when to use my cooldowns.
Weekly Affix Advice
Dungeons Most Affected by Bolstering
- Blackrook Hold: Several trash packs in Blackrook Hold have mobs with varying amounts of health which makes Bolstering especially annoying because it’s almost guaranteed that one or more of the mobs is going to end up Bolstered with lots of health remaining. Doing this dungeon pack by pack rather than with big pulls slows it down substantially.
- Eye of Azshara: The signature pulls in Eye of Azshara are the crabs and goblins which involve a dozen or more mobs at a time. If the mobs don’t get grouped tightly it’s very easy to end up with a crab at 40% health and 15 Bolster stacks.
- Halls of Valor: Halls of Valor is notable for its dangerous spellcasters — particularly the Thundercallers — and those spellcasters also happen to have more health than the mobs around them. It’s easy to accidentally Bolster a Thundercaller who proceeds to start one-shotting your party with Thunderous Bolt and Thunderstrike.
- The Arcway: Who hasn’t tried to pull the entire spider room and ended up with a Manafang Devourer with more health than Nal’tira? A Bolstered Withered Fiend can easily start handing out naps with Arcanic Bane, and high health Withered Manawraiths are often grouped with those Fiends making it hard not to Bolsters the Manawraiths. Rats and Mana Wyrms round out the reasons this dungeon can quickly get out of hand with Bolstering.
- Seat of the Triumvirate: There aren’t necessarily any packs that are notably dangerous for Bolstering in this dungeon, rather it’s the layout of the dungeon itself that makes Bolstering an issue. It’s far too easy to pull trash in Seat by accidentally wandering into a mob’s aggro radius, and you can end up in combat with three packs at once in the blink of an eye.
- Lower Karazhan: Lower Karazhan has too many big pull opportunities in it for Bolstering not to rear its ugly head a few time. The timer in Lower Karazhan is very forgiving so you can take it slow on Bolstering and pull smaller, but it makes the dungeon very tedious, and Lower Kara punishes you with the length of the run back if you wipe.
Dungeons Most Affected by Grievous
- Cathedral of Eternal Night: Agronox and Mephistroph are both fights that feature continuous group damage. Your party members will be triggering Grievous throughout the duration of both boss fights which will be an enormous drain on your mana and probably force some healing cooldowns earlier than you’d like to use them.
- Lower Karazhan: Moroes might be the boss most affected by Grievous in all of M+. Garrote will constantly proc Grievous, and if Grievous reaches five stacks it can be nearly impossible when combined with Garrote to heal off of someone without cooldowns. Healers will need mana trinkets for this marathon.
- Seat of the Triumvirate: Zuraal gets a surprise twist on Grievous because whoever gets Umbra Shift will not only have to deal with the usual damage from that stage but also have to heal themselves through Grievous without any healer support. Good luck. L’ura is already a taxing fight on healer mana pools because of its length; adding Grievous into the mix is almost unfair.
- Eye of Azshara: Wrath of Azshara‘s Heaving Sands guarantee Grievous will be activating all fight long. Everyone will need to be topped off for Crushing Depths if you’re trying to soak it legitimately, and Grievous can make this a real pain. Immunities are especially valuable for Wrath of Azshara on Grievous weeks.
Best Dungeons to Run This Week
- Upper Karazhan: There isn’t much trash in Upper Karazhan to worry about Bolstering other than the Mana Wyrms, and even in that room your spawn point is probably 20 yards away from you so won’t lose much time if you Bolster a few wyrms and decide to intentionally wipe to reset them. Grievous can be an issue at times on Medivh but you’ll have time to catch up on it between phases.
- Darkheart Thicket: Most of the trash packs in Darkheart Thicket are reasonably sized so Bolstering rarely gets out of hand. Dresaron can be annoying with Grievous but you have some breathing room between each Down Draft to top people off.
- Vault of the Wardens: The end of the Tirathon fight can get nasty with Grievous but otherwise the bosses in Vault of the Wardens aren’t a big deal this week. The trash packs in Vault are mostly all the same health values making Bolstering a lot easier to deal with.
MDI Time Trial Keystones Revealed
Players who have completed the Proving Grounds stage have until Friday, March 16 at 3:00 PM PDT to submit their team to Blizzard using this sign up form. Blizzard has now provided more details about the Time Trials which will start on Tuesday, March 27.
The Time Trials will take place on Tournament Realms with normalized gear and teams will have unlimited tries to achieve the fastest times. 3 dungeons will need to be completed and the times of all 3 will be added together.
Everything You Need to Know About MDI Time TrialsFor last year’s first Mythic Dungeon Invitational, only the top 8 teams were invited to take part in the next stage. This year, we’re allowing even more teams to compete for their share of the $200,000 global prize pool. All eligible teams who complete the MDI Proving Grounds will receive an invitation to the Tournament Realms, which are specifically configured realms for the next stage of the tournament. All players will have access to the same top-end gear to equip their character and prove that they have what it takes to be crowned as the global Mythic Dungeon Invitational champions.
What are the Time Trials?Kicking off Tuesday, March 27, the Time Trials is a way for us to judge the overall skill, expertise, and flexibility of teams as they tackle three dungeons across different difficulties. Some teams are good at pushing high keys, or surviving nasty affixes, or maybe they’ve mastered a single dungeon. But in the MDI, teams need to have all these skills to thrive and make it to the top.
Maw of Souls +20Bursting
Neltharion’s Lair +24Sanguine
FortifiedThese three dungeons will be the sole focus for teams during the week of Time Trials and all teams will have unlimited tries on the Tournament Realm to refine and master these dungeons.Just completing the dungeons in time won’t be enough and teams will need to push themselves to see how fast they can run each of the dungeons. We’ll compile each team’s fastest time on each dungeon and add all three times together for their Time Trials score. Only the top 8 scores for each region move onto the Regional Bracket stage, so expect teams to be fiercely competitive to stay on top of the pack.Make sure you submit your scores from the Proving Grounds period. All entries must be received by March 16 by 3:00 p.m. PDT. Only dungeons completed during the Proving Ground period will be considered.Keep on top of all the latest news on our new MDI hub!