One of several abilities gained by Durumu the Forgotten on Heroic Mode is Dark Parasite, a debuff that is applied to random party members at various points throughout the fight. The debuff is of most concern to healers, but it is also of special interest to all Shaman, as Grounding Totem can be used to negate the mechanic!
Avoiding Dark Parasite probably isn’t the most important thing you can do in this encounter. The mechanic certainly isn’t the most dangerous one in the fight. But in the spirit of every little bit helps, I’m here to tell you how you can save your raid a bunch of hassle, eliminate a source of potential fatality, and prove your awesomeness 🙂
What is Dark Parasite?
Dark Parasite lasts for 30 seconds and is a Magic debuff that can be dispelled. While Dark Parasite is on a target, that target takes periodic Shadow damage – one tick every two seconds. Each tick is 10% larger than the previous tick, so eventually the debuff will have to be dispelled in order to prevent the affected player from dying, or the affected player will have to use a powerful survivability cooldown to mitigate the damage.
When the debuff is dispelled, it is replaced with a new debuff, Dark Plague, which inherits the remaining duration of Dark Parasite. (E.g. if you dispel Dark Parasite with 10 seconds remaining, then Dark Plague will have a 10-second duration.) Dark Plague causes a Wandering Eye to spawn at the affected player’s location every 3 seconds. The Wandering Eye will choose a random player and fixate upon them, casting Devour on that player, which deals 50,000 damage every 2 seconds and also inflicts additional damage each time the Wandering Eye takes damage.
So in short, this debuff requires careful attention by the player who receives it (to make sure they have defensive CDs available and active), by the healers (to make sure they can dispel when the player begins taking near-fatal damage), and by every raid member (who may be targeted by a Wandering Eye and take damage). It takes DPS away from principal targets in order to deal with the Wandering Eye spawns. It takes healing attention away from tanks or other injured players. And it has the potential to kill the debuffed target if that player takes damage from any other source.
So while it is not the deadliest mechanic in the encounter, Dark Parasite is a very nasty ability to deal with – a simple one, yes, but nasty – especially during other highly damaging phases, such as during Light Spectrum or the Disintegration Beam maze. It is typically handled by dispelling the target after a set period of time; in my raid, we were dispelling after 20-25 seconds depending on whether the affected player had a defensive cooldown available. But it would be much better if we could prevent the debuff from ever being applied to our raid members.
And … we can! Because we are Shaman!
Finally, Some Cheaty Shaman Bullshit
Grounding Totem (even if unglyphed) will absorb a Dark Parasite cast if it targets a member of your party. This applies the harmful debuff to the Totem itself, and then destroys the Totem, without triggering the Dark Plague effect.
Of course, this only works if:
- The targeted player is in your party.
- The targeted player is within 30 yards of the Grounding Totem.
- The Grounding Totem has been dropped at the right time!
I’ve been practicing my Grounding Toteming and I have a few tips for any Shaman who wishes to assist their raid by ensuring their entire party remains an inhospitable host.
Timing is Everything
Update: The DBM timer has been tested now and it works perfectly. Drop your Grounding Totem about 5 seconds before the Dark Parasite CD bar finishes, and you’ll get it every time. 🙂
Dark Parasite has a 1-minute cooldown, but it can be delayed by the Disintegration Beam phase, and cannot occur in the 50 seconds following the spawn of an Ice Wall. Sometimes this ends up as a 13-second delay from the expected cast time, and sometimes it’s a 20-second delay. Even then, the actual time the debuff is applied can be delayed by 4-7 seconds in one pull, while coming right on time on another attempt. Although the Durumu fight is 10 minutes long, because of the various delays there are only 7 occasions on which Dark Parasite is cast.
Because Grounding Totem only has a 15-second duration, this means you can’t just blindly cast it every minute – you will miss the debuffs that are applied 20 seconds late. Instead, you need to know when the debuff is going to be late, and drop it a few seconds ahead of the time the debuff is actually going to go out. This will allow you to cover the 7-seconds-late scenario.
Here is the actual timer for the ability from my closest attempt:
- 1 minute after the fight begins
- 2 minutes after the fight begins
- 3 minutes 20 seconds after the fight begins
- 4 minutes 33 seconds after the fight begins
- 6 minutes 33 seconds after the fight begins
- 7 minutes 46 seconds after the fight begins
- 9 minutes 44 seconds after the fight begins
Although DBM now has a progress bar to represent Dark Parasite’s timing, I find it helpful to have other reference points so that I don’t mistime my Totem. I have a few different “landmarks” that I use to eyeball (c wut i did there?) the right times to drop Grounding Totem. I literally have this written down on a notepad in front of my monitor and refer to it during the fight:
- 5 seconds after the cones of light appear during the first Light Spectrum
- 7 seconds before the first set of Ice Walls spawn
- 5 seconds after the first Disintegration Beam disappears (note: Eye Sores will still be up)
- 20 seconds after the cones of light appear during the second Light Spectrum
- At the end of the second Disintegration Beam/maze running
- 25 seconds after the cones of light appear during the third Light Spectrum
- At the end of the third Disintegration Beam/maze running
If you’re working backwards from the Enrage Timer, you’ll want to drop your Grounding Totem at the following times:
Or, I’ve created a custom WeakAura with 7 bars that count down to the Grounding Totem drop times. When a bar expires, it’ll play a Sonar sound, and that’s when you should drop your Grounding Totem! (Note: I haven’t tested this in the fight yet – I am pretty happy with my notepad-on-desk solution. If you do use this, please let me know how it works for you!)
This WeakAura is unnecessary if you run DBM, since the recently-implemented Dark Parasite timers are accurate. However, if you run a different boss mod – or no boss mods at all – or if you just want a sound to play every time you should drop your Totem, you may still find my WeakAura useful.
Many thanks to Ashunera-Temerity@Windrunner-US (who also writes the excellent Windlashed blog), Eyliria-Something Wicked@Whisperwind-US, Mallusof-Invictus Maneo@Ragnaros-EU, and Vorticose-EXALTED@Aman’Thul for their assistance in formulating this WeakAura! Especially Vorticose and Eyliria, who each put in hours of work into fixing up my hodge-podged FrankenAuras. 🙂
And thanks to Omegal-Something Wicked@Whisperwind for adding the Dark Parasite timers into DBM. I’m sure I was at least 1% responsible for that, from all the whining I did on our guild’s Mumble about how difficult it was to track without a timer 😉
A Few Parting Tips
Remember, Grounding Totem has only a 30-yard radius. This means that – particularly during the Light Spectrum phase – it can be difficult to place the Grounding Totem to ensure that all the members of your party are covered. (This is more of a concern for 10-player raiders, since in 25-player raids you can assign a party to each beam, and you will usually be with your own party.) I’d recommend also taking Totemic Projection, so you can place the Totem more precisely and ensure maximum coverage of your group. During Light Spectrum I project my totem to the centre of the room (just beneath Durumu) and that typically covers everyone in my party.
If your raid group cannot place a Shaman in each party – and unfortunately, I don’t think that Grounding Totem is a good enough reason to Shaman-stack – your raid leader should try to prioritise putting the Shaman you do have into parties with people who don’t have a way to cooldown through the Dark Parasite damage.
For example, Paladins (with Divine Protection), DKs (with AMS/IBF), Monks (because they can Diffuse Magic to remove the debuff without incurring Dark Plague), and Shadow Priests (Dispersion) have strong personal CDs that will allow them to hold the Dark Parasite buff until it expires, and thus don’t need the Grounding Totem’s protection as much as classes with weaker personal CDs. I’d recommend having your healers and tanks protected, just so that you never have to worry about healing through Dark Parasite damage on a tank with Serious Wounds.
On 25-player mode, where three debuffs are handed out every time the Evil Eye casts Dark Parasite, it is possible for more than one of those debuffs to target players in the same party. In this situation, poor Grounding Totem can’t decide who to save, so it throws its hands up in the air and saves no-one. While that’s unfortunate, it doesn’t really detract from the fact that it is incredibly useful to have even just the potential to protect a party from Dark Parasite.
Good luck with Heroic Durumu! 🙂