Typically, Curator is a walk in the park for us. However, last night, we had a couple of slightly under or borderline geared healers, no mana-battery Shadow Priest, no Shaman and their wonderful mana totems, and a Pally that put Blessing of Salvation on our healers rather than Blessing of Wisdom. To say that mana was an issue on this attempt would be an understatement and even with two Innervates in the raid, we still had all three healers out of mana well before the Curator enraged at 15%. Needless to say, this attempt ended in a wipe, but not before I got to have some fun!
Our second attempt ended in success as the simple matter of switching Blessings seemed to fix the healing problem. However, I had a problem of creeping perilously close to our Main Tank's threat...once, actually passing him for about 30 seconds when I had an unexpected crit. I stopped attacking all together which enabled him to regain agro, however, later, I did have to do something to get it under control before another crit created the same problem.
So, this morning, I decided to write about the Curator encounter for Druids in the Main Tank role, the Off Tank role, DPS role, as well as a section on emergency tactics.
Main tanking Curator is pretty simple; run in, get agro, build threat quickly, and continue to build threat. Typically, I move up the hallway and wait for him to come to me. As soon as he sees me, I pop into Bear form, Feral Faerie Fire, Mangle, Lacerate X3, Mangle, another set of Lacerates, then I begin adding Maul and Demoralizing Roar into the sequence and refreshing Faerie Fire. When I see an Astral Flare (we call them sparks) pass by, I throw in a Swipe for good measure too. Even though I'm main tanking, I still watch the threat meters. If my Off Tank is creeping up on my threat, I know I need to kick it up a notch as I don't want him to have to hold back as he's generating room for DPS to go crazy. So, basically, main tanking Curator is a threat race. If I have a good lead on the off tank's threat, I will hold back a bit before Evocation to allow my rage to build and then unload it when he's more vulnerable. Also, after DPSing the sparks in last weeks run, I'd like to advise turning the Curator so his back is facing the raid group. Usually, the Rogues and Cat form Druids are meleeing the sparks, by turning him around, it saves them a tiny bit of time getting into position during Evocation.
Off tanking Curator is a threat balancing act. You need to keep your threat under the main tanks, but over DPS with room for them to keep the damage flowing. When I'm off tanking, I like to keep my threat around 85-90% (whereas MT is 100%). Both KTM and Omen threat meters show percentages. This 10-15% buffer gives room for crits on my part and misses on the MT's part leaving plenty of time to adjust. I usually go in, after the MT gets off a hit, with a Feral Faerie Fire, start the auto attacks, and, based on the MTs initial threat damage, follow that with a Demoralizing Roar (3k or lower) , a Maul (3-6k) or a Mangle (6+k). This beginning phase is the most difficult to manage. Not only do I watch the threat percentages, but I also watch the threat damage. So, in the beginning of the fight, I keep on eye on both threat stats and adjust my attacks accordingly based on their threat values. As total damage increases as the fight progresses, the room in the 10-15% buffer range becomes greater giving room for more attacks and less micro-management. If I have a good threat lead on DPS, I will hold back before an evocation so I have more room to deal damage when the Curator is in that phase.
In this role, the job is to get the sparks down and get them down fast! We typically have the ranged DPS and Healers standing about 30-40 yards back fanned out across the hallway. This way, they are grouped together but with enough range to prevent the arcing sear from spreading. Basically, I drink some caffeine and run around like a chicken with my head cut off. ;p Well, not really, but that's what this role feels like. I like to start up close to the Curator and as soon as a spark spawns, I jump on it with a Mangle as soon as possible. When it starts moving toward the raid group, I chase it with some Shreds and a Ferocious Bite if I have 5 points and it's still alive. Rinse and repeat with each new spark.
- Innervate - Innervate can be safely cast when the Curator is in Evocation.
- Rebirth - Rebirth can be safely cast when the Curator is in Evocation.
- Innervate - Innervate can be safely cast when the Curator is in Evocation or if the healer didn't plan ahead and there is no time to wait for Evocation, you can, with minimum risk, cast it directly after a Hateful Bolt.
- Rebirth - Rebirth can be safely cast when the Curator is in Evocation. This is the only time I recommend doing a combat rez. If you do it right after a Hateful Bolt, you run the risk of mistiming and taking a bolt out of Bear form or the person accepting it right as a flare spawns and them taking too much damage.
- Cower - Cower? But that's a cat ability and I'm off tanking! Well, if you find that you're perilously close to the main tanks threat, at the next Evocation, pop into cat form and Cower. I did this last night and went from 98% to 72% threat percentage (threat reduction will vary based on how much damage the MT deals while your performing this tactic as well as home much time it takes as you are not dealing damage). The only risk to this is getting your percentage below DPS. However, if you're fast on the draw, you should have time to get in a Cat Mangle or even a Shred after the cower and then switch back to Bear form before Evocation ends...just keep an eye on the Evocation timer! You don't want to be caught with your armor down. ;)
- Health Pots/Stones - If your healers or low or out of mana, you can safely do these during Evocation or immediately after a Hateful Bolt.
- HoTs - If your healers or low or out of mana, you can safely do these during Evocation or immediately after a Hateful Bolt. Last night was the first time I risked healing myself after a Hateful Bolt and was pleased that I had time for a Regrowth as well as some Lifeblooms. The risk here is the untimely spawn of a spark as their damage will delay spell casting.
- You can do all the emergency tactics above, however your optimal time to do them is when the Curator is NOT in evocation. Since your job is DPS, it's best that you are available to deal damage when Curator is the weakest.
The most exhilarating times, for me, are when things go awry and I'm forced to 'think out of the box' and stretch my abilities. Until last night, it had never occurred to me to Cower when my threat was in danger of making me MT and it was exciting to suddenly realize something that could, and did, fix it, thereby enabling me to play rather than stop attacking and hope he can generate a decent lead before I get bored out of my mind. Last night was also the first time all our healers ran out of mana at the same time. As there was nothing to lose by risking heals after a Hateful Bolt, I tried it and was successful. Now I know it's a viable emergency tactic.