Healing Baleroc 10 man

We downed Baleroc last night on another ‘off raiding’ night. (We seem to be doing this a bit recently, hats off to the skillful folk in our guild who don’t usually raid but who come along to help, often filling offspec roles.)

After a few nights of working on him trying a few different strats, I thought I’d document what we did to kill him. Druid healing point of view, as usual. :-)

Setting up for Baleroc. Ignore the skeletons they were.... already there.

We read lots of different strats for this guy. Heal rotations of one healer every 15 seconds and 4 crystal tanks, heal rotations of one healer every 15 seconds and 6 crystal tanks, heal rotations of one healer every 30 seconds, one tank on Baleroc, two tanks on Baleroc, one crystal tank healer and two on tank, two crystal tank healers and one on tank… my head was spinning with rotations!

In the end we did it the most simple way imaginable. I’m a fan of simple.

Strategy

Raid composition:

  • one tank (warrior)
  • three healers (shaman, paladin, druid)
  • six dps (just by chance, we were all ranged DPS last night)

Roles:

  • four crystal soakers
  • two healers to the tank at all times
  • one healer to the crystal soakers at all time

Our crystal rotation:

  • Crystal 1: Shadow priest to 14 stacks (or more) then hunter for remainder
  • Crystal 2: Warlock to 14 stacks (or more) then mage for remainder

We started out believing the ’30 stacks per crystal’ information, that’s floating around. But that’s just not correct. The crystal has about 3 seconds of charge-up time, so there’s 27 stacks that go out altogether.

Healing through 15 stacks is HARD and almost reliant on your heals landing at the right time, so it’s very RNG. We wiped again and again losing crystal tanks because we were swapping at 15. We noticed that it was always the first person dying, and the second person was not getting 15 stacks (more like 12). Once we realised this and switched to the crystal tanks just taking 14 max, everything was hunky dory.

Having said that, if you have crystal tanks that can eat damage, then it’s still worth putting them first, and they can judge when to move out. Our shadow priest dispersed if he wanted to take higher stacks, our warlock used… warlock things.

Our heal rotation:

On the pull:

  • We used heroism/bloodlust/timewarp a few seconds after the pull.
  • Our holy pally initially crystal healed to stack to around 50, our druid and shaman healed the MT.
  • When the pally’s stack was above 50 AND it was a safe time to swap, he called ‘swap’. With heroism going, this usually after one full crystal rotation of 4 people (two crystals).
  • A safe time to swap is pretty much on a crystal spawn/transition when the crystal tank’s stack is low.

After the pally called ‘swap’:

  • Our shaman switched to crystal tank healing and the paladin switched to tank healing full time. The druid stayed on the tank.
  • When the shaman’s stack was above 50 AND it was a safe time to swap, she called ‘swap’. No heroism this time, so this can either take a bit longer, or the switch can happen at a lower stack size.

After the shaman called ‘swap’:

  • Our druid switched to cyrstal healing and the shaman switched to tank healing.
  • No more swaps.

Basically, this isn’t a rotation, as we don’t cycle through. For those who like diagrams, here’s our healing allocation using class colours:

Positioning

We just clustered at range behind Bale. The crystal always spawns on a player, so we stayed fairly tight and moved away when the crystal was about to spawn (big glowy purple beam shows you where that is) and the crystal tank moved in. If someone is standing out by themselves it just makes it harder for the crystal tanks to get into range quickly.

Notes for healing

This is a fight where it’s important to know where the buffs and debuffs are in the raid and on your fellow healers.

The important ones are:

  • Vital spark: this stacks while healing the crystal tank. [It's important to note that if you are designated as a crystal tank healer and you are stack building, you need to stick to that role. If you switch to healing the tank for even one heal, your Vital spark will become a flame for 15 seconds, meaning you will be unable to build your stack higher for 15 seconds. This is bad.]
  • Vital flame: this flips from the Vital spark buff when you start healing the tank (who has Blaze of Glory buff). [Note that if you are tank healing and you flip to healing a crystal tank for a second, this is fine, you don't lose your Vital Flame buff. Note also that this buff lasts 15 seconds and is refreshed after 15 seconds if you are healing the tank - but it does mean that every 15 seconds you will have one heal that's not empowered. This is one of the reasons it's good to have two healers on the tank, especially late in the fight.]
  • Torment: this stacks on the person closest to the crystal. [This is the person you need to be healing as the crystal tank healer. The damage ramps up significantly as they tank the crystal, so ramp up your healing and try to keep them topped up early, as you don't want to be falling behind as they head towards 10 stacks.]
  • Tormented: this is applied once the Torment buff drops off. [If someone gets this debuff and then tries tanking the crystal for more than a couple of ticks, they will die. It's not disastrous if a dps who's not in the crystal rotation gets this. It IS disastrous if a healer gets this, so healers need to make sure they watch for the beam that marks the spawn position and GTFO.]

I set all of these up on my raid frames so that I could see what was going on (see below). You could also add Blaze of Glory if you wanted to track that as well, but as we were one-tanking, I just assumed it was stacking away merrily.

Tracking buffs and debuffs during Baleroc

Things to watch for as a healer:

When tank healing:

  • watch for the announcement of which blades are used. Especially early, as an early Decimation blade will require big heals to keep the tank topped up.
  • it is possible to cross heal a little when tank healing, outside of his blades (I wouldn’t try doing that during Decimation blades however). So you can throw a Hot or a spare instant on the crystal tanks if they are getting low. (This won’t build your stacks, it’s just to save them from dying.)
  • Lay on Hands works. During a bad Decimation blades our holy pally landed a lovely 725k heal.

When crystal healing:

  • damage ramps up savagely on each person, and strategies for this will vary from healer to healer. It’s helpful to know the rotation well, and have the debuffs displayed clearly. I used the lead in time while the stack was small to load up hots (lifebloom and rejuv) then spammed Nourish and then Healing touch. Either when I was falling behind, OR when it was around 12 stacks (whichever came first) I would swiftmend. I found the swiftmend cooldown aligned well with the crystal stack getting high.
  • As mentioned above, it’s not advisable to cross heal to the tank if you’re supposed to be building your stack, as you’ll lose your spark for 15 seconds. It IS okay to cross heal to the tank if you’re the ‘last’ crystal healer, as you aren’t purposefully building your stack (although it will be very high late in the fight). Note that you don’t get a big heal on the tank until your second heal, as it takes one heal to flip your buff from spark to flame.
  • Note carefully that you build a stack of vital spark for every three stacks of Torment the crystal tank has (rounded down). [So for example, if the crystal tank has 15 stacks of Torment, you gain 5 stacks of Vital spark when your heal lands.] This is why it’s great if your crystal tanks have abilities (like dispersion) that allow them to soak big stacks. You build your stack faster if their stack is high. It ALSO means that you shouldn’t stop healing if they aren’t taking damage. Spam away with your quickest heals when their stack is high, even if it means it’s a little inefficient for a bit.

Generally:

  • Calling well is critical, call swaps clearly (and if possible a little in advance, eg “Swapping after the next crystal”)
  • Popping heroism early helps both the crystal healer build stacks faster, AND the two initial tank healers keep him up during Decimation blade, when they won’t have any stacks yet.
  • Positioning is important. Keep fairly tight, but on your toes. Watch when the crystal is spawning so you’re ready to move.

I think that’s everything. There are lots of buffs and debuffs to watch, but the fight isn’t as complicated as it looks on paper, or as complicated as early guides led us to believe. We ended up single tanking it as our dps was a bit low, and when double-tanking we were hitting the enrage timer at between 5 and 2%. (As I mentioned above, this wasn’t our main raid team, so we did pretty darn well getting that close.) We switched to single tanking it to gain one more DPS, and that did the trick for us.

Flat demon.

For the stat-hungry, on our first kill:

  • Our first crystal healer (our holy pally) got to 63 stacks of Vital Spark before switching to the tank.
  • Our second crystal healer (our resto shaman) got to 67 stacks of Vital Spark before switching to the tank.
  • Our final crystal healer (our resto druid) got to 60 stacks of Vital Spark. (On previous attempts I’d got as high as 100, but I guess I was doing a lot of ad hoc healing this time. In any case, it doesn’t matter what the final crystal healer’s stack is, as they won’t be tank healing)
  • Our tank finished with a Blaze of Glory stack of 26.
  • Our tank ate five Decimating strikes in total. He dodged one and parried three.
  • Our total DPS was about 136k
  • Our total HPS was about 57k
  • Our kill took 5min 6sec

Mini disclaimer: we didn’t invent this strat, it was on Tankspot or somewhere that a few of us stumbled upon… but it worked for our set up, so this writeup just describes how we implemented it.

Edit/Update: we’ve recently been two healing/one tanking this fight. My notes on that are here.

Annnd a video of us killing him, from melee dps PoV. This is a pretty clear indication of our two heal swaps being called, and the crystal rotation in action.

And a video from my PoV, from a different night. Showing what I do. Just raw footage, I really need to add a voiceover or annotations, but for what it’s worth, you can see my healy ui in action:

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34 Responses to Healing Baleroc 10 man

  1. koalabear says:

    Thank you for this excellent guide!!

    My favorite part was the quip about the Warlock doing “warlocky things”

    :D

    I’ve been informed by my RL that I will be crystal tanking since I can do those “warlocky things”

    • Glow Glow says:

      haha thanks Koalabear :-) I think that bit was our warlock’s favourite part too – he did stir me about it. I told him that he had magic, and did… magic stuff! He mumbled about ‘shadow wards’ and ‘nether protection’, but I’m sure that was just warlocky things ;-)
      Good luck tanking the crystals, hope the guide helps!

  2. Deppi says:

    I keep trying to leave comments but your site keeps timing out . . .

  3. Pathologie says:

    Awesome guide! We used this tonight

  4. Izariel says:

    Very well written and illustrated guide, props to you!

    Regarding your crystal rotation you mention that it is hard to heal through 15 stacks. In my raid we simply start out with 2 healers on crystals and just 1 healer on the tank. It makes healing the crystal soaker much easier and has the added benefit that two of your healers start building stacks right away. We typically get both healers to about 60 stacks before switching and don’t even need to use heroism.

    After a crystal disappears, we rotate the healer with the highest stack to the tank and let the others continue to build stacks. If Baleroc gains decimation blade, we have an extra healer switch to the tank and rotate the current tank healer to crystal duty after the decimation blade runs out. We found that having 2 healers continuously building stacks helps a lot when dealing with multiple decimation hits in a row.

  5. Navimie says:

    Awesome guide Glow! Slapped a link in on my site for my healers to have a read, hope you don’t mind! And the funny thing is… I got referred to your site from a Paladin of all things… (/hides branches)

    • Glow Glow says:

      Aw, we still have to let our steely healy friends show us things occasionally :-) And I hope it’s a little useful for your team, though it sounds like you guys have him pretty nailed anyway :-)

      Also, our warlock is still doing Warlocky things. As a druid, I find it best not to ask.

      • Navimie says:

        Heh it’s not that I was worried about listening to his advice… it’s that a paladin was directing a resto druid to a resto druid site… it just feels wrong :) But hey, now I have a new blog to read :)

  6. Sevrus says:

    “Warlocky things …” :p

    Use Soul Link to mitigate 25% damage, drop a Shadow Ward around the 10 stack mark, and if your healer is having problems, swap to Demon Armour for the 30% healing buff. Can generally take up to 15 stacks and survive.

    • Glow Glow says:

      Yay! Thanks Sevrus :-) I hope warlocks find that useful, even if it *does* involve sacrificing demons. I guess it’s fighting fire with fire, right?

      And thanks to the Frostwolves for dropping by! :-D

    • Navimie says:

      I knew you’d like that warlocky comment Sev :)

  7. Surya says:

    Great guide and congrats on the kill! My guild is currently on Bale and we hope to down him within our next raid night, this should definitely help healing the fight (I’m a pally healer and we use the same healing setup). May I ask what UI you are using by the way? I really like the layout. :)

  8. Surya says:

    Disregard my previous comment, I am new to your site and didn’t notice the Mod and UI tab so thank you for putting that there. You are awesome :D

    • Glow Glow says:

      No problems at all. Your comment actually prompted me to go and check to make sure it’s all up to date…. and it’s not quite.

      Instead of Pitbull I’m now using Shadowed unit frames, so my party/target frames will look a little different on my recent screenshots. Also, rather than Parrot, I’m now using Mik’s Scrolling Battle text.

      Everything else looks pretty correct though :) Hope that helps :-D
      Glow

  9. Furíah says:

    Great guide very well informed will be trying it on monsay (2 days time)

    Was wondering what addons you use for your UI

    Please respond.

  10. Fedris says:

    Thanks to your guides, we just killed baelroc and ryolith with ease, awesome work mate!

  11. Kyzen says:

    We will be making our first attempts at Baleroc this Thursday. I’m so nervous! Thanks for the guide and the videos. I watched your PoV video and it helps a lot.

    I see that before you started stacking sparks you would SM the soaker for a quick spark to instantly go into flame for the tank again? Is that right?

    • Glow Glow says:

      Hi Kyzen,

      I don’t actually deliberately build stacks, as our strat never has me on the tank with a stack, but relies on building our other two healers high. So I tend to offheal with reckless abandon.

      While I’m main tank healing I do try to SM the crystal tank at around 10 stacks, just to try and make sure they don’t die. I don’t always get a chance to do this, especially if it’s Decimation blade at the same time I have to keep a close eye on the tank, and help heal him to full if needed.

      From what I’ve read of other trees healing this using a full rotation strat, one approach is to pop treeform early and spam regrowths on the crystal tank, with a SM when the stack gets high. Jasyla gives a better explanation of that here: http://www.cannotbetamed.com/2011/08/09/how-to-heal-baleroc-25n/

      Hope that helps :-D

      • Kyzen says:

        Thanks that helped a lot. We actually did go with the ToL spamming at the start to build stacks and it worked really well.

        We downed him in 4 attempts. :)

  12. Beargryls says:

    Awesome strat. I was struggling with healing this as a druid. I found this and explained it to my raid. We killed Baleroc two attempts later. Thanks!

  13. Pânzer says:

    Thank you so much man!! After 2 days trying this boss and failing, we finally killed him last night with this strategy (and it was even easy!!). Before we were doing two tanks and the healers rotating all the time, so I guess that was adding too much complexity to the fight. Plus doing it only with 1 tank gives you that extra dps to beat the enrage.

    Thanks!

  14. Crazycakes says:

    On behalf of my Guild (Mea Culpa on Aszune) i would like to thank you for this excellent and informative guide. It was our first night of trying Baleroc and although the timing took a little getting used to we could all appreciate straight away that this tactic would work. Your explanations are thorough yet simple to comprehend and it gave me a clear insight into what was needed to succeed. Once again thanks for this

  15. reddragonkris says:

    Hey. I have a question and was hoping that you may have the answer. Ok we have been trying the fight a few times. Im priest healing with a pally and a druid/shaman depending on the night. Ok.. we got we the 2 heals on tank and 1 on crystal, Im noticing that as the first person on crystals that one of the tank heals is collecting more vital spark than I am. I am spamming my fastest heal. So can 2 people be healing a crystal persn and both collect the spark?I norm end one crystal with a stack of 17 to 25 spark, and they alrdy have roughly 30.

    • Glow Glow says:

      Yep, as many healers as you like can collect the sparks. Some guilds ask the main tank to use cooldowns at the start and have all three healers on the crystal tanks at first, to build stacks.

      To build stacks fast you should spam your fastest direct heal (as you sound like you are doing) and the higher the stacks on the crystal tank, the faster you’ll build your spark.

      Just… watch your mana :-) FH can chew through pretty fast.

      If you’re disc (you probably should be for this fight if you can) Penance counts as three heals, so it really good if you can time it towards the high end of your crystal stack. PI is great too for both the extra haste, and the mana cost reduction.

      I haven’t healed this on my priest, so you’ll know a whole lot more than I about what works well, but hopefully that helps! GL!

  16. Cincinattus says:

    Fantastic guide, Glow! Thanks for posting this.

    i370 tree here. I just downed Baleroc as a pug and figure I got trolled as the outside healer. I had sole responsibility for the shard tanks and got yelled at a lot as I learned what was going on. I was pretty frustrated with my showing so I ran across your explanation and it made so much sense. Now I realize how it’s done, just wish I had seen this before starting.

    You refer to a WG-TQ-WG-ToL rotation you use, I couldn’t find where you describe that more thoroughly. I also don’t use HT as much as you seem to, and I’m wondering how you manage the long heal times, because I find I get in trouble as soon as I venture away from RG/RJ/SM combos.

    Again, thanks for sharing a resto druid specific viewpoint, I will be looking forward to reading your posts going forward.

    • Glow Glow says:

      Hiya Cincinattus :-D

      Healing the shard tanks is HARD WORK. I see lots of comments on forums etc that healing up to 14 stacks isn’t possible… and it IS (it’s how we do it) but it’s really hard work and requires a solid plan for what you’re going to cast when, a solid knowledge of who your ‘squishies’ are and you still need perfect execution. I don’t think I’d like being a PUG healer for this, I’d freak out. SO! props to you for giving it a go, and hopefully you have a good guild with you next time ;-)

      Hmm, the WG-TQ-WG rotation was more for back in the days when mastery worked on the ‘heals you do on targets with hots’ mechanic. IE it was good to throw out a WG before a TQ so your TQ gets a boost as your targets are largely pre-hotted. Mainly now I make sure I have harmony up and just refreshed my LB before I launch into TQ. Most fights these days I either need to chain TQ/ToL (eg Alysrazor ground phase) or I need to alternate them (eg Majordomo Scorpion phases/Rags seeds), and it’s a matter of choosing the one that I need to stand still for versus move for… if that makes sense.

      In terms of using HT a fair bit, I either use it on clearcasts as a filler OR I time a RG so that I get Nature’s grace to haste it. I track the internal CD of Nature’s grace so I can try not to cast RG outside of this, so that I have it up my sleeve when I need it. Also, I have lifeblood macroed into it (I’m a herb/alch) so that I get hasted HTs a fair percentage of the time.

      Hope that helps :-)

  17. Silverleif says:

    Glow, this is a fantastic write up!! You provide so much neat concise information on one post, on top of an enjoyable read (watch for the beam, GTFO X.D). Resto druid here, reached 7/7 so far and now onto heroic Shan, i375 equipped with similar gear and looking at the vid, similar healing style. I still very much loathe this fight. In fact I prefer Domo, Alysrazor and heroic Shan x 1000 times, without a doubt. Rags deserves a mention but he’s fun. As for Bal, he’s anything but fun. Vital spark stacking gets me here, because I wander away from the task without thought. It’s the permanent role of raid healer in me that gets me in trouble, insta-reaction and BAM up in flames. The highest I’ve ever managed to stack is 47, and that was a decided “don’t look at anyone else, they’ll be right”.

    Our raid strat is similar to what you have stated, though we rotate two tanks for the blade. I’ve recently moved to a new guild, where the healers are a lot more vocal about raid activities. It kind of stunned me, like a mullet. I didn’t say a great deal first night, but just kept on healing. I am not looking forward to heroic mode Bal, for what I can tell the only change is final countdown? Yay to pact of the darkfallen practice.

    Anyways! I will end my rambling here and just say, Thanks for a clearer understanding Mate.

  18. Silverleif says:

    Man, sorry Glow. I messed up my link to the final countdown. [Queue music]

    • Glow Glow says:

      No apologies needed, I fixed the link for you :-) And now I have this 80s soft metal song going through my head…. damn you!
      Thanks for your kind words! Hope the writeup’s useful or at least mildly entertaining :-D

      I know just what you mean about the differences in healing teams. In LoLS the healing team is pretty quiet, and I’m used to a much more vocal team. I’m not an officer or anything, so sometimes I have to tell myself just to be quiet and stop being bossy :-D Our team is excellent, so it’s not an issue at all, just not what I’m used to from the past.

      And omg, the cross-healing twitch reflex! Luckily, my role in the fight doesn’t involve me building a stack, so I can be evil and cross heal. Not sure how I’d go if I had to be too disciplined hehe :-) And yeah, looking forward to heroics myself…. Shame they are getting the nerfbat. :”’(

      • Silverleif says:

        Nerfbat! It seems a slap in the face after all the blood, strain and tears over the past months, but I guess the move onward to the big Wingaling himself :P From what I’ve heard here and there, it’s gonna be a grand ole dragon fight.

        PS. Sorry about that reference, it’s been in my head most of the day too T.T