Veteran Dungeons are, for almost everyone, the most challenging step in the attunement process, although with a decent team and the right attitude they can also be the most fun. This post will review some “tips and tricks,” mostly Medic-specific, for healing your way from zero to 4/4. Note this is not meant to be a comprehensive guide to the mechanics and strategies for the bosses and base pop mobs, so it will assume you are already familiar with these from other sources and/or from personal experience.
In general, the raw healing requirements for Vet Dungeons, even on Silver+ runs are pretty modest, provided the team is performing well. For the most part this means: a) interrupting almost everything that is interruptable, b) avoiding almost all avoidable damage. If your team is stellar at both these things, there isn’t really much to heal; sure you have to heal through white damage on the Tank and the occasional unavoidable/uninterruptable telegraph, but unavoidable group-wide damage is very rare in these four instances (I try to highlight those occurances below). This point is driven home by the fact that there are teams of players who have Silvered some of the dungeons without a healer (I’ve heard of at least STL), and examples of players who have one-man’d boss fights with just self heals (at least Thunderfoot and Mordechai). Does this mean we are not needed? No, but it means how much healing we do is strongly dependent on the group’s performance, even more so than in other MMOs I’ve played. While first learning a dungeon, people will make mistakes, since that is part of the learning process. And you are there to provide heals in the face of the missed interrupts, the dodges from the frying-pan telegraph into the fire telegraph, and the Spellslinger Gate that turns an interrupt into a double trash pull. You are there to prevent every misstep from spiraling into a wipe, because if it does, the rate of learning will go down significantly. You are the “mistake eraser,” and the better you are, the more mistakes your team can make and still be alive, and the faster you will all progress toward the near-mistake-free run that will earn you Silver (or Gold).
I generally use this build for trash:
Veteran Dungeon Trash Build
And this build for bosses:
Veteran Dungeon Boss Build
Departures from these basic builds will be noted below.
There are many viable Medic healing builds for succeeding at healing Vet Dungeons. Find something that works for you and your group, and that you enjoy playing, even if some other players consider it “suboptimal.” If you enjoy the playstyle and can accomplish what you want in game, what exactly is not being optimized here?
You will note I don’t have either Attrition or Running on Empty, and I never equip Recharge. My Focus Recovery Rate is around 3.0, I have 8/12 of the Focus Recovery Rune Set, and I have crafted shoulders with the Reduced Burden special. Given this gear, I’ve found myself consistently drowning in Focus without needing those AMPs or Recharge. By drowning I mean I’ve never been on a run and worried about my Focus, even on boss attempts where one (or two) DPS go down early and you know you are in for a longer than normal fight. Your mileage may vary; depending on your gear you might find you need Recharge or more Focus AMPs, but I think it’s overall much more efficient to solve Focus problems through gearing than via spending precious AMP points or using even more precious LAS real estate.
Depending on your group composition, having an interrupt on trash can either be a safety measure or a necessity. As a safety measure, you can jump in on an interrupt if the person who should be interrupting is otherwise occupied (i.e., stunned, out of position, dirt napping, etc). If group comp requires you to have an interrupt, you might want to turn up the Paralytic Surge to Tier 4. On bosses I generally prefer to have a CC break to an interrupt, but if you know you won’t really be needing a CC break, by all means run the interrupt for those “just in case” moments.
This build can have great burst. When you need to heal your little Actuators off, you pop Energize (which triggers Hypercharge) and then Crisis Wave x3. You can throw a Flash in there as well, and don’t forget your trinket (I run with Protection), and your medispray (Mourningstar Medispray). Taken together this is more than enough to take any group from near zero to full in the space of a few seconds (with the longest cooldown being the Endorphin Rush debuff on the medispray, which does not prevent players from using their own medishots). When I refer to “burst” in the discussions below I am referring to this: Energize + CWx3, with some combination of Flash/Gadget/Medispray if available and needed. Given our current set of abilities, this is your best option for single-target burst as well (yes there is Barrier, but I don’t think it warrants an LAS slot for Vet Dungeons). Perhaps once Triage is resuscitated we will have a different combo for single-target vs group burst.
Stormtalon’s Lair (STL)
This is widely considered the easiest Vet dungeon, although Stormtalon can present problems if your DPS is low. Antidote will definitely be your friend on trash pulls; be sure to warn your group to stack in front of you for dispels.
Blade Wind the Invoker
Given the nerf to group Interrupt Armor duration, it’s more challenging, but certainly still very doable, to use the IA from Prot Probes (via the Solid State AMP) to avoid the subdue on phase transitions. This is not really necessary in the first phase transition, but it is very useful in the second transition to ensure your group can get a stun off on the first Electrostatic Pulse. I generally cast Prot Probes just after the fourth add goes down. Note if you fail at the timing you can use Calm to get your weapon back instantly, but you might want to save it to break out of stuns from Static Wisps.
The Gusts (little adds) hit pretty hard, so be sure to keep Prot and Mending Probes running to help with the tank damage. One source of danger is if you get bad RNG and several puddles in a row spawn on you (my record is three). Since you need to run away from the group to drop them, you can sometimes spend a fair bit of time not in healing range of the Tank (even with Urgency to help). So try and keep the Tank as topped off as possible just in case you won’t be seeing them for a while.
I generally try and stay on Stormy’s front left paw, in range of the Tank but out of danger from his cleave. Put Antidote on your bar to dispel the debuff from his cleave, which will slow the Tank (making kiting more difficult) and apply stacks which increase damage taken. The times when Stormtalon is stunned after interrupting Static Wave is clearly a good opportunity to get everybody stabilizing/topped off. I use Calm to breakout of the stun after the knockback, which gives me plenty of time to run into the middle without needing Urgency (provided you run sideways and aren’t too close to anyone there is zero chance of getting struck by lightening.) I save Urgency for emergencies, which can happen frequently during the kiting phase. The fight is a DPS check due to the tight soft enrage, so it’s important to keep the DPS alive to get a kill.
Ruins of Kel Voreth (KV)
A little more difficult than STL, with more trash and, with the exception of Grond, more complicated boss encounters. You will need Antidote less on trash, although it’s very helpful for the Voreth Darkwitches.
Grond the Corpsemaker
Urgency is your fiend on this fight given the large area and the fact people tend to get pretty spread out during the add phase. Your default position should be on his front left paw, along with the DPS, which will allow you to heal the Tank and give you plenty of time to interrupt Thrash since he always goes counterclockwise. After people trap their fleas, try to get everyone to return to this position for healing. Be ready for burst healing on Mutilate if the target fails to avoid it.
The DoT that the pursuit target gets is pretty painful, so you will want to start by hitting them with Prot and Mending Probes to ensure they are getting some healing goodness even if you get separated from them. But you will want to stay close to them because those Probes will not be sufficient to keep them up. Emission and Shield Surge should be fine, and use Urgency to keep up if needed, or to escape if you get cornered by the bombs. I think having clean pursuit phases is the key to the fight; if you are using VoIP, one thing that helps is for the pursuit target to countdown the last few seconds of the Tracking Beacon debuff (the icon is the same as your Recall button) to alert people that a new target is about to be chosen.
It can’t hurt to group up before the flying-flaming-razor-disk dance party starts and out out Prot and Mending Probes to help keep people up in case they miss a (dance) step. I also find disabling “double-tap-to-dash” useful to avoid mishaps. Be ready to burst the group back to stable if people come out of that phase with a few cuts and bruises.
Provided your group is good at green-orb grabbing and interrupting Trogun’s Volcanic Strike, tank damage will be manageable. If not, it can get spikey, so be prepared. If you are suffering from the Tank dying before you get a chance to heal her back up, you can try moving points from Flash and Crisis Wave into T8 Protection Probes for some extra mitigation. As soon as he starts with the razor disks again I Urgency away to have sufficient distance to easily avoid them (while picking up orbs, of course).
This instance turns up the amount of trash, but a lot of it (especially at the beginning) is avoidable no matter what optionals you have. But be prepared for a lot of pulls between the gauntlet and Mordechai. The Silver timer is pretty tight on this one, especially with some optionals, and rehearsing Mordechai enough to get a reliable one- or two-shot will take some time.
This boss is a breeze with good interrupts and a nightmare without them. As such, I take Paralytic Surge T4 to serve as a “spare” interrupt (taking points out of Crisis Wave). We typically interrupt everything except “Into the Stew,” and if the stew-goer is due to interrupt the next cast, I can take their place. Be sure to top off the stewed player once they are out (they emerge pretty tender and juicy, but without a lot of health). There isn’t too much else to say on the healing front, with solid interrupts and good DPS this meal won’t last very long.
If your group is good at timing their double jumps and staying out of the fire, all damage is avoidable except the cleave on the Tank. If this is the case, I recommend keeping Empowering Probes on your LAS to make the fight quicker, if not, Protection Probes should help reduce damage from any mistakes even if the group is pretty spread out.
His cleave is a very wide arc, so it is difficult to “flank the Tank” and stay out of the cleave but within healing range of the Tank. I find it much easier to stand directly behind the Tank, just out of cleave range but within healing range. As far as overall positioning, I think it’s generally better for the Tank to keep the boss facing the center of the room, except when he needs to be turned to swipe a mushroom. If he is tanked facing the walls of the pit, I find the healer can sometimes get boxed in between the walls, the cleave telegraph, and the crap the Moodies are throwing down into the pit.
This is more commonly known as the “left” gauntlet, as opposed to the “right” gauntlet (aka, the Lava Field). For this gauntlet I move Flash to Base and Crisis Wave to T4 to pick up Protection Probes T8. This is one of the few cases of group-wide unavoidable damage: when the shield drops, everyone will be taking ticks from Molten Heat. As soon as the shield goes down I put out Prot Probes and Mending Probes and start spamming Emission. If you find yourself falling behind, do some burst healing. Once the mob is down and you are once again comfortably under the shield, stay a little behind the group and top everybody off with Emission and Shield Surge to be safe and to prepare for the next shield drop.
The phases of the fight where you are actually attacking the boss should be pretty light on heals since you will be interrupting his Shred ability. If this is missed and the victim doesn’t have a CC break up, get ready for some burst healing. Provided the tank picks up Razooki (touch his monkey! touch him! love him!) and the DPS are good at dodging the bad stuff, there is not too much to do until the ink phases. Speaking of those, CC break out of the blind if you get inked, and try to keep Prot Probes or Mending Probes (or both) up on anybody who gets inked so you can keep the heals on them without having to be near them. Be sure Energize is ready when you transition back to DPSing the boss just in case people are in need of topping off from bomb or ink damage.
Keep Antidote on your bar because anyone who gets clipped by the lower beams will get a pretty nasty (but dispellable) DoT. Purging this is very high priority, although your highest priority is staying alive (sound familiar?). Calm can be a life saver if you get too close to the edge of a lava pool, and can also be used to remove the blind (although clearly you should be avoiding that by not looking into the light…never a good idea). The best advice for this fight is “Remain Calm and Stay Alive.” Having Paralytic Surge (possibly tiered) to interrupt Big Bang and Vicious Barrage in the event one (or more) of the DPS aren’t around can be an attempt saver, and you can swap it in for Calm if you are confident in your own survival.
If you are having issues separating the “bad red” from the overall background redness, or distinguishing the “jump over” lower lasers from the “run away from” upper lasers, I recommend colorblind mode Protanopia (the middle option). Harmful telegraphs will be yellow and beneficial ones will be purple (takes some getting used to), but I find it helpful in this particular room.
Sanctuary of the Swordmaiden (SSM)
The War and Peace of Veteran Dungeons. This instance has a bad rep, but in its current state it is very manageable. All trash is “leashed,” which is unusual for an instanced dungeon, so if you pull them too far away from their anchor point that will eventually lose interest and run back. This means you can skip most trash unless you have an optional that requires you to kill them. Of course, for some packs it will be easier and safer to kill them than try to avoid them, but with a proper interrupt rotation you will cut through them very quickly. There are also a lot of potential mini Bosses, but none of them should present much of a challenge, and the boss encounters, with the exception of Rayna Darkspeaker are pretty forgiving.
The main thing to watch for here is if a DPS gets aggro via out-stacking the Tank on Resonance. Given good communication, the Tank will very quickly try and remedy this by ringing some chimes, but in those precious few seconds you are going to have to keep that (potentially clothy) DPS alive. Another thing to be mindful of is not Shield Surging the chimes. Remember our trusty Shield Surge also does damage, and hitting a chime with Shield Surge will build a stack of Resonance on you. Don’t do it!
I take Antidote for this pyromanaic, replacing Mending Probes. The DoT from the Lava Pools debuff does a fair amount of damage and the sooner it is off, the better. Note dispelling the debuff does cause the lava pool to immediately spawn under the player dispelled, so you want to make sure you (and/or your target) is in a good position to drop the pool before dispelling. There are various strategies for handling this DoT/pools, and you certainly don’t have to dispel them, but it does give you some more control and reduces overall incoming damage. If you are individually dropping the pools away from the boss, you can sprint out, quickly dispel, and then if it looks like you need to get back in a hurry, just Urgency back. If you decide to group dispel all the debuffs, make sure people know to remain stacked in front of you given Antidote’s short range, then dispel everyone as soon as the DoT is up and double-dash together out of the pools.
Just before the walls of fire are called down to dispose of you, she will reduce everyone’s health to around 10% no matter what the starting point, so you don’t need to worry about getting people high before hitting the phase transition (save your Focus, not that you need it). During the wall dodging phase your Number One priority is to not die (that is forever and always your number one priority), but you should also try and get everyone back to full (or at least reasonably close) before the phase ends. This is usually pretty easy with a combination of Emission and Crisis Wave since you will likely be pretty closely grouped (since there is only one gap in each wall), just try to stay a little behind everybody.
I take Antidote for this boss, replacing Mending Probes. I also take Paralytic Surge rather than Calm since there is nothing to CC break out of, and it’s nice to have a backup interrupt when he uses the Heal Totem. When the boss is enraged your Tank will be kiting for her life, and the boss occasionally slows her, making her kiting less kitey. Dispel that nonsense. Even though the Tank is kiting, she is likely to take some hits, so do your best to stay within healing range at all times (Urgency can obviously be a huge help) and be ready to burst if needed. Other than the kiting phase, healing is light.
Moldwood Overlord Skash
The only healing challenge on this fight is dealing with the damage during the “hammer phase,” or as we started calling it the “donut phase” (given the annulus shape of the telegraph that spawns around each player.) Our strategy has been to stack as tightly as possible without knocking each other around with the Tank closest to the hammer (but not directly under), myself behind her (so none of the discs emanating from the hammer hit me) and the DPS near the Tank but a little further from the hammer. The discs spawned by the hammer head toward each player and do damage and spawn little spider adds on impact. If your Tank tries to absorb all the discs she will take massive spike damage and have a lot of adds on her. This can lead to Tank death, absent some cheat death mechanic such as a Stalker’s Last Stand, so we usually have the Tank try and pick up a lot of the discs, but not all, and let some go by to the DPS. There will still be decent Tank damage, plus some damage on the DPS, so you should be ready to burst and then continue pumping out the heals until the adds are gone and everybody is stable. Note given the knockback from the donuts, moving needs to be kept to a minimum; we are usually tightly enough stacked that by just rotating I can reach everyone with Crisis Wave (although not all simultaneously, usually just three targets, including me). Note the upside of losing someone on the donut phase is there will be fewer discs and hence less spike damage and fewer adds in subsequent phases. I’m pretty sure our first few kills were with one (or two) DPS down, although the “eyes” do present a soft enrage mechanic.
Spiritmother Selene the Corrupted
This is by far the easiest end boss of the four dungeons (imho). During the dark phases you can just group up on the boss (although you can’t DPS her due to Shadow Meld) and heal through the damage; there is no need to go into the light. This avoids the group getting separated from her Shadow Grip ability but obviously leads to more healing (with Mending Probes and Prot Probes ticking, Emission spam and Shield Surge should be sufficient). If you have Focus issues, by all means get into the safe zones. Note this advice does not apply to the last dark phase (when she casts Blackout instead of Shadow Meld). I’ve heard the damage from Blackout is too high to heal through, and never had the desire to test it myself.
– Work out an interrupt rotation with your team and interrupt all the things for MoOs and reduced trash kill times, as well as an easier time on bosses.
– Remain Calm and Stay Alive. Many fights can be finished with a DPS (or two) down, so prioritize keeping yourself and the Tank up.
– Practice, practice, practice the boss fights until you can reliably down the bosses with almost no wipes
– Profit (or at least, get attuned and have a lot of fun, since the gear/gold/Elder Point rewards are not very exciting).