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Archive for July, 2011

COH Healer Survey

A bunch of my must-read healing bloggers have been doing the “Circle of Healing” healer survey again, and Rhii tagged me for my turn. I have to say, I’ve learned a lot reading other peoples’ answers. I’ve gotten some great tips for my own healing and picked up a few hints about how other classes do it (especially those mysterious shaman, but I still don’t get Holy Priests)

So without further ado:

What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?

Analogue, Night Elf Druid – resto, of course!

What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)

10 man raids, hands down. I like 5 mans too but the edge goes to 10 mans because I love having 8 friends on an adventure with me and my husband. In a five man the most we can fit is three friends and worse – none of them can be healers, so I don’t get to take Kerick or Jhudora along unless I make them dps.

What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?

Can I claim Tree of Life is a healing spell? Because I miss my tree and every time I hit that button it makes me happy.  If not, then Tranquility, now that it’s a 3 minute cooldown. I love the graphic and I love the way it feels like I trigger it and boom, everyone lives. I think I should macro that: /use Tranquility, /yell “EVERYBODY LIVES!!!!”

What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?

Healing Touch. Hate. Slow, expensive, slow, not nearly as big a hit as it should be for being so slow, some other healer’s sniped my heal or the tank’s dead anyway, slow. I use Nourish instead. That may change as we start doing Firelands but bleah. Even the name is uninspiring, it’s very Generic Healer, not Druid.

I just realized that I thought this question said “what spell do you LIKE least”, but the answer above is true for either “like” or “use”.

What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?

I’m a leaf on the wind. I’m a ninja healer, dashing in and tossing a quick dart heal on someone then dashing off again and letting one of my partners finish the job. I can be everywhere at once. In intense fights, that’s literally true – between Rejuv and Wild Growth, there’s many a time I have a hot on every member of the raid. Including Gurgie, Ado’s pet.

At the same time, almost for free, I’m keeping a stack of Lifebloom on the tank. It helps out – we have fights where I’ve switched LB around depending on who is getting hit, and that’s all I do for the tanks, and it helps out a lot. I feel like it’s similar to a Disc priest bubble, it’s never going to keep the tank alive but it helps keep death away.

What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?

The easy answer is “no raid damage reduction cooldown”. That’s the big obvious answer.  You know what? Between Tree of Life and Tranquility, I don’t feel like I NEED a damage reduction cooldown. The druid’s motif has never been to prevent damage, but to reverse it.

This is a personal feeling but I feel like our real issue is that there’s not enough difference between Nourish and Healing Touch. Either I have enough mana and need big heals, so I use HT, or I don’t have mana so I pray Nourish does the job. I almost never have balance between the two. That’s going to get worse in Firelands. I’ll probably just swap my Nourish mousebind for HT and forget about it.

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?

Oh, tell me to take my armor off and tank, because this is clearly a nightmare and not reality. I don’t do 25 mans. If someone was holding a gun to my head and I had to buy Reversion enough time to get the drop on him, I’d say raid heals. Let me LB the tank but I’m a raid healer, by class and nature. I get too distracted with a small assignment like “heal the tanks”. But that mage over there needs to be healed NOW or she’ll die! The druid has the perfect toolkit for that sort of ADD.

What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?

Holy Paladin. It could be that I just enjoy healing with Kerick because she’s so good at it, but it really feels like paladin/druid is a great combo. She’s got the big heals to keep the tanks (well not Log) alive, I dart around and worry about everyone else. Plus she has Beacon of Light and heals herself automatically so there’s three people I hardly have to pay attention to!

What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?

Holy priest. I don’t understand them, I feel like they are in my same ecological niche, and they’re too pretty. Also we never have one run with us so it’s an easy answer!

What is your worst habit as a healer?

That’s changed a lot. It used to be standing in the fire, but I’ve improved that. Now it’s “letting myself die”. Don’t ask me why my own health bar apparently has lowest priority, but the number of kills we’ve made where one dps and I are dead on the floor…

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?

In pugs and stuff, people standing in bad. In raid, we don’t do that, so it’s probably… er… sheesh. I don’t know. I guess my raid is perfect! Oh, it’s people who click “no” on the ready check and THEN announce that they need one more buff. Say you need the buff, then click “yes”, don’t screw with my ready checks! Does that even count as an answer?

Do you feel that your class/spec is well-balanced with other healers for PvE healing?

Definitely. I can top meters any time I want to, not that it matters. I can keep groups alive. If I run five mans I feel like I’ve got the tools I need. I do feel like my spec is out of balance with other druid specs in that I can’t be transformed all the time any more curse you Blizzard did you have to kill my tree?

The one issue I have is, if it’s a ten man, there’s really no reason to have more than one resto druid. You can, but you miss out on a lot by not having the range of options that other healers bring. No Spirit Link or Mana Tide totem; no Hands of Anything; no Power Word:Awesome.

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?

Recount during raids, mostly the death log, sometimes the decurse log to see if I’m ahead of Repgrind tonight. World of Logs, sometimes, but I’m not religious about it.

Mostly I use the “how many bosses did we down” meter!

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?

That we’re poor tank healers. Mind, raid healing is my preferred task, but I CAN tank heal, and I’m good at it. Blizz did a good job this expansion making sure we’re viable as tank heals should we need to be and their recent changes show they’re not done tweaking us.

What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?

HOT management. I was a halfway decent healer before I got Vuhdo but I wasn’t a great healer. Once I learned how to track my hots, to know what each did, and to choose the right heal at the right time, I got a lot better.

If you can’t tell how many stacks of Lifebloom you have, how long until it blooms, and who has a Swiftmendable effect (and if SW is off cooldown) you’re not playing at full potential.

If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)?

Definitely overheals. Druids still top there. Also high output. They should see 100% uptime on Lifebloom if I’m doing it right. Lots of Wild Growth but it should never be my top spell.  I want to see that I was the first person to land a heal on someone who just got hit with a big spell – but not the last person.

Haste or Crit and why?

Haste. I’m a resto druid. Haste to certain breakpoints is a huge, huge HPS boost. Crit’s nice and all but… Haste.

What healing class do you feel you understand least?

Holy priest. I don’t have one in my raid. I don’t play one as an alt. I don’t know anyone who does it for reals. It’s all weird and glowy and full of Chakras.

What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?

VuhDo, and I recommend it highly. Any druid needs a healing addon to help track HOTs and VuhDo does it so well! I also use Power Auras to help me time Innervate with Power Torrent, and to track Harmony.

Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?

Once I got comfortable with my mana regen, I stopped stacking spirit so exclusively and went into haste. I like some crit and mastery, should my haste not be quite there, and recently I’ve been Asking Mr. Robot what to reforge and gem.

You’re it

I’m supposed to tag someone else to do this survey. If she’s inclined I’d love to hear Repgrind‘s take. Her human Holydin Kerick is my primary raid healing partner, and she raids with a Horde crew on Vanicus the BE paladin, so I’ve wondered if she sees any differences between them based on her raid makeup.



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An Ode

I think that I shall never care
for a tank so lovely as a bear.
A bear whose hairy butt must go
Between me and my frightful foe.
A bear with tooth and mouth and claw
Set to mangle murlocs raw
A hide so thick to ward off blows
A great big health pool to ease my woes.
I’m a tree, with flowers in my hair;
But only the best should be a bear

In honor of my husband coming home and tanking some trolls, which made me realize it’s been two weeks since I’ve healed a bear butt! Bears are an endangered species!

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It’s been awful for the last two weeks – no bear to tank for me whenever I want a run! Couple that with my renewed interest in Valor Points and you have a recipe for… well, annoyance. I’ve been trying to do guild runs but probably half my randoms have been total randoms so far.

Yesterday I queued up to do a heroic, by myself. I got Stonecore. Never my favorite but not that bad. I’ll have to actually pay attention to some fights, is all. The tank, a DK with a name something like JohnnyDK, starts complaining immediately that he hates this place and “please something else”. I point out that the dungeon finder is on cooldown so we might as well start.

He tells the shaman to hex one of the trash mob, pulls, and goes down like a cheap… tent in a high breeze.  And then lies there dead while I keep the rest of the party alive longer than he was. We wipe. I release and come back. He still hasn’t released.

It’s really bugging me. I point out that if he had released and come back we might have taken out this group. Did I mention that his “pull” was to face-aggro the mobs? And he ignored Millhouse Manastorm who was standing 10 feet away shooting us? And that he’s a dk with Death Grip?

After a minute or two, he still doesn’t release. I’ve recovered my mana so I rez him. He stands around, waits for his mana to come back, and then charges into the group again exactly as he’d done before. Once again, his health heads for the bottom like a has-been popstar’s charts…. he showed no signs of cooldown usage or anything. Only this time I die before he does.

So I do something I’m not proud of, I say, “You are the worst tank I’ve ever seen” and drop group. Could I have worked with him to figure out why this trash was so hard? Probably. Was he actually the worst tank ever? I don’t know, two pulls isn’t really long enough.

My brother was online. Not Logarithm, a different brother. He’s been slowly gearing up his paladin tank and he told me he was high enough to get into a heroic. I convinced Falahla to come and lend her mage-y awesomeness and we queue up.

We get Throne of Tides, which is great, and I look at my brother’s gear. It’s…. painful. He’s got 10k more health than me and his gear is barely acceptable for this place – if he was ret, or “this place” was a battleground. The only things he has with tank stats are his shield and relic.

I whisper to him about what stats he needs to look for and to make sure to use crowd control and we’re off.  Our random people are a mage and a dk, apparently together/in vent together, since one tells us the other is afk. No problem. It takes about five minutes to kill the first trash pack since the heals aren’t getting interrupted, but we get past that and are good. I have to tell my brother where to go; he never came here on regular so this is new to him.

We get to the first boss without incident. Between Falahla’s awesome sheep and great dps, and my very powerful heals, we can do this. And my brother has all the right tank instincts, just bad gear and no clue about the fights. I can work with that.

Wipe on the first boss due to some… misunderstandings…. that you need to kill the crowd controlled caster adds, not just watch them sheepily wander about.  Came back and wiped when he stands in a blue waterspout. Came back again and won the fight easily.

Now I could say something about how it’s nice that the puggers aren’t complaining but – my brother is beating both of them on dps easily and Falahla is doing more than everyone else in the party combined. It’s pathetic.

I give my brother very basic instructions and he handles the next boss like a pro. Again Falahla is carrying the party… that fight is a dps race, that’s all, and she can apparently win that race even hobbled to the rest of us.

We skip the corridor leading to the brain eater. I just don’t think I can keep him alive on this trash. Instead we do the gauntlet and he does an awesome job picking up adds. No sweat. And on to the final boss. He’s a bit sluggish to get the big adds in phase 2 but I get all the aggro there so I just kite around a little until we hit phase 3. Then I die because nobody else is killing the flesh beasts that are left over, so I decide to, so I forget to heal myself. But we finish off the fight no problem.

I tell my brother to go finish Twilight Highlands, get a Wildhammer tabard, and look for gear with parry, block, and mastery instead of hit and crit :)

Then finally Ado and Kerick get done playing with their real friends on their Horde server and come join me and Falahla. That makes 3 dps, one healer… and no tanks on. But Grom’s on, and he’s sad that we don’t have room for dps. And I know for a fact that his tank set is pretty great!

It took a little arm twisting but we got him, and drew Halls of Origination. We decided to make it a fast run and just go for the necessary kills. With all of us in vent, the run was smooth and fun, just like we’d hoped. I know Grom isn’t that fond of tanking but he did a great job for us.

So there’s three runs, three tanks. One in absolutely terrible gear that I spent all the time it took to coach him through. One in great gear but unsure of himself that I had no qualms about. And one who probably had good gear – his health pool was nice – but I didn’t give more than 6 minutes of time to before condemning him back to the darkness from whence he came. Not exactly my best performance.

But with my brother, and with Grom, I knew they’d listen if I told them something. And they’re people I like, who like me. Neither was just in it for fast VP.  I’ll heal in a situation where I know it’s going to be really hard for me, but for a stranger?  One who won’t even release when he dies?

Yeah, I don’t think so.

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First, a quick note: our raid finally downed Nefarion on Friday, giving us our Defender titles, getting the guild the kill, and helping us feel like we’re ready for Firelands. The other guild raid downed him Sunday so congrats to them too!

In the last week I’ve been on enough trash runs that I’m only 600 rep away from being honored with the Defenders of the Ashen Verdict or whoever they were. I’ve helped kill hundreds of scorpions, magma lords, corehounds, whatever. I’ve seen the tank trinket drop twice, a cloth hands pattern drop twice, and… that’s about it, really; other people talk about coming away with epic loot but I just didn’t see much.

I did have a ton of fun though. It was really great to see pug groups form up and go. Sometimes our server can feel a little dead but pretty much any time I wanted I could get a run. I think this sort of thing is great for the server community. I learned a lot about what guilds could run a decent trash run and which couldn’t. Who could manage the turtles and who would end up horribly dead. There was one run I went on with some folks I vaguely know, Reversion has run with them more on his hunter. Nice, nice people but not very good raiders. They decided that the way to handle the turtles was to put one mage on each big turtle – the ones that spell reflect. I didn’t last very long in that group.

There were hunters doing 5k dps. There was a tank whining about not getting to roll on dps loot. There were four other resto druids, three of whom used nothing but Wild Growth and Regrowth. The other one, I was so shocked  I had to whisper him because he was doing druid heals right. We ended up chatting as we healed and I found out he’s looking for a raid and passed his name along to the other raid leader in guild in case he might have an opening.

That druid wasn’t the only person in a trash run looking for a real raid slot. It seemed like people who were unhappy with their raiding in 4.0 were using trash runs to show themselves off. Several of the raiding guilds were running trash farms this weekend.  I went along with a couple. Most of them were pretty solid folks.

I remember in Vanilla WoW there was a spot in the Blasted Lands where there were high level, hard to kill mobs that dropped good loot. Groups would form up and go there to farm. I kind of wish we had more of that. In a few weeks the trash runs will be gone and we’ll go back to running only with our own raid groups and once again I won’t know whose guild titles mean what. I love the convenience of dungeon finder and always thought the community weakening aspects are an ok trade, and I still do, but I like the feeling that there’s been this week that the server is just a little smaller and friendlier.

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