Monday, December 15, 2008


Loken in Halls of Lightning is an interesting fight. Currently, Loken is the mob with the most kills of players each day. I haven't done Loken on Heroic yet, only regular, but I've been watching some threads about him.

Loken has a bunch of abilities, but we'll only concentrate on two. First, he does a Lightning Nova with a long cast time, somewhat short radius, and lots of AoE damage. Second, he has an Aura which does more nature damage to you the farther away you are.

There are two strategies to deal with this. The first, "correct", strategy is to run away from Loken when he starts casting his Nova. The second strategy is to all cluster at Loken's feet, take the damage, and simply heal through it.

A lot of Holy paladins are complaining about Loken because we are singularly unsuited to healing the second strategy. AoE healers can cope with the second strategy in a much easier manner.

What's really interesting about the fight is that the first strategy is brittle. If everyone runs out successfully, then very little damage is taken, making it easy to heal. However, if a player is slightly slow to react, they may get caught by the edge of the Nova. And they end up taking *more* damage from Loken's Aura than if they had stayed at his feet. That can easily kill them, which makes losing the fight more likely.

The second strategy is robust. The damage taken is a fixed, known quantity. As long as you can heal through it, you're good. There's a high initial barrier, but once that barrier is met, the fight becomes a lot easier. Not to mention that it increases the time DPS stays on Loken, making the fight end faster.

Ghostcrawler is insisting that this fight is still doable by healing paladins. And he's probably right. But if there's a brute-force strategy that paladins can't use, the player base will probably push towards that. Perhaps the only real solution would be to make Nova insta-gib people, forcing people to run out.

Edit: corrected the description of Loken's Aura.


  1. Obviously Holy Pallies aren't as suited to this fight as say resto shaman.

    Having said that we used the second strategy with a Holy Paladin and didn't really struggle with it. Between HL, FoL and HS Paladins can front end a lot of healing.

    As the Nova has a long cast time you can queue up a HL to land right after it does. Immediately HS the next dps and (hopefully) instant FoL or 0.8sec HL the 3rd. Beacon on the tank and you're good. Bubble is your friend and remember you can use Lay on hands offensively (rather than a last ditch 'oh help!' ability).

    Too many Holy Paladins still seem locked into the old healing mechanic though. The new talents make Paladins the most amazing healers. Our holy paladin (some badge gear one or two Naxx drops) was doing 5k heals per second in H Sartharion last night.


  2. I was able to do it on heroic, but it was rough. Luckily we had a really good tank. Two of our DPS (a DK and a hunter) died at 80% then the tank (feral druid) and the other (dps) took him down to about 6% before I died and the other death knight DPS died. The feral druid was somehow able to take him down the rest of the way. Hard, but possible.

  3. @Anonymous: "offensively"? Did you perhaps mean "pre-emptively"?

  4. One-shot him on heroic the other day using the "proper" strategy despite having a resto shammie as our healer. (To be honest I hadn't heard of the degenerate strat before now.)

    This is one of the fights that is more of a "skill" check than anything, and closer to a raid encounter than most instance fodder. If Loken were a raid boss, he'd be called a stupidity check, or something equally derogatory.

  5. I would say that the tank and the Holy paladin can stay near the guy while the dps run in and out. That way the healer and tank, which a holy pally can heal easily, take a fixed amount of damage.

    This just depends on how smart your DPS is I guess.

  6. I am an holy paladin, and I succeeded in healing Loken fight with achievement.

    One dps died at the first Nova, then all 4 remaining players ran away and back without errors. It was amazing, very very low incoming damage to heal and achievement easily obtained.

  7. This is a lot easier btw if you take a hunter along and have him switch to the nature res aura - it reduces the damage intake quite a lot & probably makes healing through it very doable for a paladin.

    Done at least half a dozen runs like this, some with a paladin healer, and never noticed anyone dropping really low on health or dying during the fight ...

  8. Loken's aura doesn't increase nature damage taken, it deals nature damage every so often based on how far away from Loken you are. This is why you don't just always stand outside of Loken's AOE, like you do for Murmur.

    That said, I do think you're right in that most Paladins are complaining about Loken purely because most other healers can do option 2 with relative ease. Loken is about the only fight in Wrath that I've seen so far which requires a heal -right now- on more then 2 players or else someone dies, which makes things a little difficult if you're based on single target spells.

    I don't think there needs to be a "solution" as you propose; there already is one. Loken is not the first boss in the game that you approach slightly differently because of your party makeup. If a Paladin finds it too difficult to heal through via method 2, then he should try to convince the party to use method 1 instead.

  9. I've downed Loken on my warrior (blue/heroic gear) with my guildy paladin healing (blue/heroic gear) several times. We've tried both strategies, and found that running out is a lot easier for him, but staying in isn't impossible.

    Yes, holy paladins have it harder on some fights because of a lack of AoE heal. But I think that smart (maybe even overly creative) use of Beacon and just plain knowing your own ability as a healer is enough to clear all of the current content.

  10. Strategy 2 is the best but I can understand might be hard for a holy paladin.
    But with the right setup might be done really easily.
    1) With a Balance druid that can trow hot on everybody just before the nova.
    2) with a lot of paladins (the more the better): pala tank+holy pala+3x retri and you have all players that can become immune to damage (ofc not all to be used for the same nova) AND 5 lay on hands.
    Also I agree that a good use of beacon might be the way to go.

    Talking about bosses I find Herald Vasjez / Old Kingdom really bad tuned in heroic mode.
    We couldnt find a way to pass the "insanity" phase: killing 4 "mobs" with a healer that can heal to full hp everybody can be done only by certain classes and taking a LOT of time (too much).
    Then something odd happened: just before the 1st insanity 2 of our party died (don't know what happened maybe just frustration for all the wipes for the priest healer who wasnt focused and let them die). You cannot believe it but it was PIECE OF CAKE. 3 ppl left: priest (healer), warrior (tank) and me (balance druid).
    Insanity vs other 2 was piece of cake for all of us and we killed the boss really easily.

    When a boss in heroic mode can be do easily in 3 and it's (seems to be) too hard in 5 then in my opinion need a complete rework.

    I apologize for the long post and for talking about another encounter too.

  11. I do it on Heroic all the time. In fact, I got the achievement for him the other night. It's really not hard, you just have to make sure everyone is on their toes. Took me about 7 total wipes to really get enough finnesse to down him, but now that I have. I have not wiped on Loken since. So I am proof holy paladins can do it, and it really isn't as bad as everyone says.

  12. There is a third strategy open only to Holy Paladins.

    Your DPS and Tank engage at the circle, and alternate between there and the stairs (1 run). The Holy Paladin stands to the side, and beacons themselves. You will take consistent nature damage standing at the side that is easily healed by the beacon, and reduce the number of healing targets to 4, or basically 1 if everything goes right. Did it last night, and we messed up by moving all the way down rather than just alternating between two points, but our healer said it was easy.

    Again, every fight in wrath has a trick, and in this case the trick is that the Paladin can reduce the number of targets being healed to 4 and maximise the use of his beacon. It is a solution only a Paladin can use as well.

  13. The only problem I have had with this fight is running away from the nova. You have to be at least 20 yards from him to avoid the blast, but not too far away where you would start taking damage after he is done casting. The best strategy for me is to mark one dps (or myself) who has a 20yd ranged ability. As soon as Loken begins to cast his nova, run away until the ability turns "red" on the bar. In other words, until he is out of range of that ability. For good measure take one or two more steps beyond. Have everyone group on that person (they should have followed that person as soon as they started running anyway), and after Loken casts his nova, allow him to run up to you. Rinse and repeat, just run in a different direction next time. Even as a pally, healing the rest was a breeze.

  14. Hard, but doable. Beacon is your friend. Also I found this helpful:

    /cast Divine Favor
    /cast Holy Shock

    ...on your desired target to set up a fast HL behind it.

  15. There are multiple visual queues that help with distancing the nova if you position Loken in the middle of the glowing circle in front of his throne.

    1) The graphic as his nova charges - this is the least reliable.

    2) The columns to his right and left indicate the ideal 20-25 yard range

    3) The stone tiles that comprise the floor appear to be five yards by five yards.

    I prefer #3. Simply position yourself directly in front or behind Loken depending on your class / role and strafe out when he begins casting nova. Somewhere between four and five stones (consistent with location of the columns) is the ideal distance.

    If everyone can do this, the healing should be trivial. It disappoints that a majority of the player base will want to default to the "brute force" method. Unfortunately if Blizzard buffed the nova to a one-shot mechanic, it would be nearly impossible for players who deal with lag regularly to persevere.

    Re: Herald in Old Kingdom. 1) Resto druids are insanely difficult to kill in heroic mode. 2) The "best" strategy is certainly to let two dps die before either insanity phase, which is greatly disappointing.

  16. I disagree that option #2 is out for us, in fact it's quite easy. Make sure you have Loken's cast bar on your screen (I /focus him and have quartz set up to show my /focus cast bar). When there's about 2 seconds left on his nova (less if you have a lot of haste) start queuing up a HL on yourself. As soon as the nova goes off both you and the tank are healed to full (you do have beacon up, right?). At that point you just need to throw a few HL's around your DPS. Since everyone is stacked at melee range no one takes any aura damage so there's no risk (unless you somehow brought someone here who can't survive the nova).

  17. OK, this makes me want to do this instance now. I haven't done it on regular even. The opportunity just hasn't presented itself.

    That said, my guild has employed the following strategy so far to this fight: bring 2 healers.

  18. I just did the fight on heroic last night for the first time. I am one I those that was slow to react and then forgot about the aura and died to that. The problem from healing is that people that do take the damage will continue running because they are low health. It's the natural thing to do in wow. If the mob hurts you run away and wait for a heal. Creatures of habit, but imagine that if more people see the fight and make the mistakes they will all understand what to do differently.

  19. I've run this mulitple times on normal and heroic, I also haven't run with a holy paladin at all since WotLK launch, however I didn't think the Lightning Nova to be that much constant damage, more like a short burst with time to heal (the group). So Beacon the tank and heal up the group. Also I think HL glyph would help a lot.

  20. There is also a third strategy.
    Tanking him by the pillar, and running out of line of sight each time he starts casting the nova.

  21. Can't LoS the nova iirc.

    For Insanity, just LoS it, if everyone moves, no one gets an insanity phase.

  22. My group of friends often runs heroics with a druid healer and me as a ret paladin.

    With Insanity, what we do is that, as he casts it, everyone unequips their main hand weapons, even the healer. As soon as it has been cast, you re-equip it and the copies of everyone that you have to fight don't have any weapons equipped, reducing their damage and healing a bit. We also always focus on the druid first.

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  24. I found it interesting that Ghostcrawler felt the need to post a strategy for a fight involving one particular class.

    Re: Insanity - I don't find it poorly tuned or designed, I find it refreshingly different. Our Hunter died almost immediately to our two melee DPSers, and I believe our DK died as well. Fighting the boss himself is beyond easy, and then only facing 3 copies is simple. My group one-shotted this encounter the first time we saw it; I loved it for being something I had never done before.


  25. Wow....

    I have to say if any paladin is having trouble healing this...then just wow.
    THis is a fight where beacon SHINES. THIS is why we were given that ability.

    Just tank him up top. When the crap is about to happen...just run out of range, AS A GROUP, on top of each other..and tank him there. Rinse, repeat. How difficult can it really be. With Holy shock, Bubble, Lay on hands...any paladin that fails at healing this is just dead weight plain and simple. do need a tank and some dps'ers who are half awake and pay attention.

    The days of tank and spanks, fol spamming boss encounters are really over. If people fail at Loken, how can they expect to make it on sartharion, sapphiron, thadius?

    P.S. Roh, love the website and I hope I dont come across as a snotty hardcore or whatever...but as a paladin...I just dont see how this fight is so difficult really.

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  27. Reclaimed, comments get moderated on older posts. I think I've set it to moderate after two weeks.

    It's more a defense against spammers.