So, with Cataclysm now upon us, many people have been running heroics and raid dungeons. One of the things that has become obvious is that we have returned to the days of “GOOTROF” (“Get out of the Rain of Fire”). The punishment for not moving in a lot of fights is not just a drain on healer mana, but is most likely just outright death. However, not all the ground effects are fire, and not all of the things that force us to move are obvious. Another problem is that some of the ground-covering effects in Cata are GOOD heals (like efflorescence, healing rain, etc).
For learning which ground effects each of the healing classes use for our AOE heals, Matt Low wrote an article on wow insider describing the GOOD ground effects to stand in. That article has pictures of what each of them looks like (though sometimes even the good effects share graphics with bad effects *grumble*).
The nice thing about heroic 5-mans is that they teach you some (but not all) of the visual queues to pay attention to in raid dungeons. Normal-mode 5′s teach some of the mechanics, too, but they tend to be less deadly than the heroic counterparts. When you are in the 5-man dungeons, it would do you good to pay attention to what is going on around you so you can learn some of the movement mechanics which will be important for your raiding experience in Cataclysm. Basically, one thing that makes heroic 5-mans hard is that they require everyone (tanks, healers, or DPS) to have fast reflexes and move at the right time. For both 5-mans and raiding, situational awareness to your surroundings is going to be the key for success.
Here are some examples of mechanics shared by 5′s and raids:
- Staying out of Cyclones: Altarius in the Vortex Pinacle 5-manhas some nasty cyclone effects that bounce you around and can throw you off the platform. This teaches you the mechanic used in the Conclave of Wind fight in the Throne of the Four Winds.
- Multi-directional lines of death: General Husam in the Lost City of Tol’Vir 5-man has a shock wave that shoots out in lines from him going in 4 directions, where you basically have to stand in a safe spot between the lines. This is similar to (though not exactly the same as) Magmatron’s “Inceneration security measure” that shoots out in 4 directions from his body in the Omnitron Defense System in the Blackwing Descent raid.
In Cataclysm, we once again need to learn how to get out of “fires”. I’ve been tempted to take a guild group down to Baron Geddon in Mount Hyjal to practice running out of fires by playing “chicken” to see who can run in & out the most times without dieing. One of my biggest complaints about early WotLK is that it didn’t force people to have to pay attention to moving out of bad things, because most effects in WotLK could just be healed trough. However, most things in Cataclysm can’t be healed through. Regardless of what role we play in dungeons and raids (healing, DPS or tanking), we all have to do our part in moving out of various things happening in all the encounters, and we have to learn the difference between bad things on the ground, and good things on the ground. Once we all get better at moving at appropriate times, and learn the “dance” of all the different fights in normal & heroic 5-mans, we will be better prepared for learning the dance in raids. You should be mentally prepared for wiping A LOT, in either heroics or raids while everyone learns the dance of Cataclysm bosses.
I think that heroic 5-mans and such will get easier over time as we better learn what effects to watch for and better learn how our own abilities work in those encounters. Another important piece of advice – if your computer can’t handle all the visual effects or lags too much when grouping or raiding, you may want to look into hardware upgrades for making your Cataclysm experience smoother. We got a new video card and power supply for my computer, so that I could turn up some of the spell details for raiding without losing so much of my frame rate.