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Posts Tagged ‘Pug’

So my shaman is up to about 55 right now. She’s RAF-paired with a druid that Reversion is running. We spent time over the weekend tweaking hardware and right now he’s down to one computer and I’m up to two, so we’re just doing pairs and not quads (his Mac doesn’t run two copies of WoW at a time)

I wanted to get the shaman up a bit more last night so we logged on and Reversion specced feral on the druid. I bought my shaman dual spec last week and she’s got a nice resto offspec to go with her elemental main; the gear is close enough, leveling, to support both.

We queued, me as damage or heals, and got BRD. (This is after an uneventful pair of instances where Rev’s druid was boomkin; we ran into one total jerk of a hunter but otherwise boring.)

Somewhat to my surprise, it slotted me in as damage, so I switched specs, drank a bit, and started merrily dpsing. Fire nova, chain lightning, shock or reapply my shield, and back around – it was seriously fun. There was another shaman along, also elemental, and I encouraged myself to stay ahead of him on the dps meters.

We couldn’t tell if we were supposed to be doing Prison Break or the whole city, so we went and killed the boss who is for Prison Break and – nothing, so we set off further into the city. Partway through the healer says “sorry got to go” and drops. We requeue. Both of us shaman select dps or heals, and I’m selected to heal, so I switch specs. And promptly let Reversion die when things hit harder than they should. Ok, get Earth Shield up, make sure the totems stay down, and Healing Wave for the win!

We run around in the city for a while, and then the other shaman mysteriously drops group. We queue again – and this time I’m back to dps! Heh. I switch again as a wisecracking paladin joins up – he says “if you die it’s because I’m playing Bejeweled”.

Sadly no one in the group has the key to the doors in the place. Blizzard should think about either moving the key quest inside the instance or removing the need for a key entirely. No one ever seems to have the key any more.

We ended up killing everything we could, and then broke up. That was the longest stretch my shaman has done in a party and I’m starting to feel like I have the hang of it, whatever “it” is. She heals very differently from my druid or paladin, but I like her style. And the totems are cool. I’m looking forward to getting her up a bit higher.

One step closer to my four-healing-classes-at-max-level goal. Not sure I’ll be done by Cataclysm but I might… my disc priest is at 71 but stalled out.

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Raiding with SAN

SAN was supposed to go to Ulduar Saturday afternoon, but we couldn’t find another tank or some dps (only seven SAN folks were able to attend) so we decided to do the weekly, Marrowgar. From SAN, we had:

Me, Divergent, as a holy paladin
Reversion as Consolidate, a feral druid
Harrygiblets the hunter
Enyss the Resto druid
Shifthappens the Resto druid
Edamaxim the DK
and (I think) Norinka the Boomkin

We pugged in another tank, a shaman, and a mage and set off to ICC to clear trash. Whee! Some folks had never been in there, but the SAN folks were all on vent and we had a good time clearing – until Enyss dc’d. We still had trash to clear so we kept going. Then she came back in Vent and told us her internet was dead (she was using dialup for Vent) with no sign of coming back, so we sadly decided to replace her. We decided to go with two healers and the pug tank brought in a hunter friend of hers.

We had some fun with giants and traps and wiped once – heh – but got all ready at Marrowgar. Gave the briefing and went ahead.

Well the bonespikes just didn’t get attacked, people didn’t stack back up after bonestorms, and we wiped. We had at least three people who were new to the fight so I wasn’t surprised. I told people to stack on the tree – Shifthappens was doing a really good job getting back into position and it’s very easy to spot the tree and stand on him. (Note to Blizzard: please let us keep trees around in Cataclysm…)

I glanced at Recount so I could remind people to switch to Bonespikes and I got a surprise: neither pugged DPS had attacked the bonespikes at all. A mage and an elemental shaman, I couldn’t think of any excuse for that since they’d agreed that they understood what they needed to do. Even the new SAN people who hadn’t seen this fight had some damage to the spikes! I called them out specifically and reminded them to switch to spikes and to avoid fire; they agreed.

We went again. THIS time, the spikes died. (Harry had been trying a /tar bonespike macro that hadn’t worked before; this time he switched manually. I don’t know if anyone else had the same problem but the change was obvious). People stacked back up after fires. It wasn’t a fast kill, but slowly Marrowgar’s hit points dropped until at last he was dead.

We were victorious! Loot got handed out and while the SAN folks were eager to continue, the puggers dropped and we couldn’t progress.

I checked combat logs after the fight and guess what? All the SAN folks, even the new ones, had killed Bonespikes like they were supposed to. That mage and shaman? Nope. The mage not at all, the shaman had a little damage against the spikes but not much. Yes they were high on overall dps but they hadn’t bothered doing what they needed to do. Sigh.

So anyway SAN raid group needs more people! We’ve got a really good spread of healers; what we need is another good tank and some solid dps. Ranged or melee. We’d like to do more. Daruma the shaman is about to ding 80 and be ready to raid with us; with just a few more folks we can start working in ICC. If a blogger guild raid sounds like fun, it is! So if you’ve got a spare character lying around, transfer it over to Argent Dawn US Alliance side… or level one up. Plenty of folks around to help you gear up and get ready.

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I transferred my prot/holy pally to Argent Dawn to play in SAN Sunday afternoon. I’ve recently gotten her Holy gear at least viable. It was a weird mishmash of ilvl 200 blues and 251 purples for a while but oh well. Anyway SAN went to Naxx and I decided to to raid heal. I’ve done a few heroics but this was my first raid.

I set Vuhdo up (or so I thought) to show Beacon of Light and Sacred Shield and set my mouse click bindings and we were ready to go. Or not; as we started clearing trash I realized that Vuhdo wasn’t showing me what I needed to know. I like having my raid frames set to show class colors and have the bars correspond to health. So as the person takes damage his health bar gets less full, very intuitive. Well it wasn’t doing that; the bars were just sitting there, a dull dirty color. I knew why things were screwy – Vuhdo recently released version 2.0 and I haven’t figured out all the tricks, and since I’d just transferred servers all my settings were off. It took two bosses to figure out what was going on since you can’t change Vuhdo settings while you’re in combat (argh). Anyway I need to find resources for the new version of Vuhdo and link them because some of the changes were not intuitive. (If anyone had the same problem I did, it turned out I needed to select the “Health bar/class color” option on the Panels > Bars page, in one of the dropdowns there.)

That angst over, I settled into healing. I Beaconed the lesser geared tank and spammed heals on the other tank (Reversion’s second druid Consolidate was one of the tanks and a guildy Warrior, Craghammer, the other), just like my paladin research told me to do.

For a while I just spammed Holy Light but I started running out of mana so I had to remember to go Judge Wisdom and take some swings at whoever we were fighting whenever I could. That helped a lot. Then I tried using Flash of Light, since the tanks weren’t taking that much damage, and that worked pretty well too. I kept forgetting about that instant cast heal spell thing. Somehow paladin healing feels like it should just be spamming heals. Instant casts were throwing me off.

It was a lot of fun running old content with the SAN folks. We chatted on Vent and had a good time (and this being a blogging guild, Vent chatter included discussion of Wow demographics, whether women played healers more, as well as just strategy)

I failed at Heigan dancing – I’ll justify myself and say I *thought* I was a step forward of where I was when I stopped to cast a heal. I’m not used to not being able to heal on the run. Then I missed the jump from the platform at Thaddius – twice. Oops. Good thing the raid overgeared the place!

And we wiped spectacularly on the Horsemen, once, as we tried figuring out a strategy. We’d been nine manning it up to then because one of our pugged folks went afk after the first boss and got kicked. After that wipe one of our other puggers disappeared without a word, so we grabbed two more random people and finished the Horsemen off. No problem. Not even an interesting fight.

One of the new folks wanted to tank, so Reversion went heals and Enyss, who had been healing, went boomkin. We went upstairs, killed a dragon, and then took down Kel’Thuzad. Boom! Achievement completed! Actually that was my first Naxx full clear in one session. I didn’t really get into raiding until ToC came out. Even massively overgearing the content, it was an accomplishment. Still, I found the first few fights while I was getting used to paladin healing most interesting than later on. There’s just no sense of danger in Naxx these days, not unless you take off gear and nobody is willing to do that. It’s fun seeing the old fights but – they’re dated, and that’s sort of sad.

Monday night we took Consolidate and Divergent to a TOC pug. The pug took a while to form and they had trouble deciding what they wanted me to do. I ended up healing, along with Consolidate and another paladin, this one far better geared than me, if snotty. This was a full pug, nobody else from SAN along, and on the worms literally half the raid dies, including Consolidate.

Well both tanks are up and so are the paladin healers so I check that I’ve got one tank beaconed and the other pally has the other tank and I start spamming Flash of Light on the rest. The one dps’er and the two tanks. Yeah. We down the worms without too much trouble and in comes Icehowl.

It turns out that as long as the healers don’t run out of mana, Icehowl is kind of easier with only five people because there’s less chance of someone getting trampled. It took us ten minutes to down him but nobody got trampled even once, nobody else died, and I didn’t even run low on mana. I’d used pretty much nothing but Flash of Light and the other paladin commented something about how he was doing most of the healing. I said nothing, but by the end of the run, yes, Other Pally had almost 50% of the heals (versus Consolidate and myself) but was also beating Consolidate on overhealing. Beating a druid at overhealing doesn’t say much. AND he was keeping people way too high on phase 3 Anub… but that didn’t matter. We steamrolled TOC, I picked up some upgrades for Divergent’s healing set, getting her to almost that psychologically important 5k gearscore. She’s definitely ICC viable in both specs now.

Anyway I love the versatility of the paladin. Paladin tanking is a lot of fun in 5 mans, although I find raid tanking boring. You get to set the pace, be the leader, in 5 mans, but in raids you just get hit in the face. I’d rather heal, where it feels like you’re helping out everyone else on the team to get their job done. Kind of like being a cheerleader. Only, you know, useful. And with better outfits.

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Stockades are Srs Bznz

As Reversion mentioned yesterday, we are Refer-a-Friend levelling again. I’ve got a warlock and he’s got a mage. Never got a lock past 30 – they just combine all the things I don’t like about hunters with the survivability of a mage and then go emo to boot – but I figure I might like it at higher levels so why not see on a totally disposable character?

Anyway, we picked up all the Stockades quests and as the first one was going green, queued for Stocks. Fifteen minute queue times are not my norm  but signing up without a tank or healer, you take what you can get.

The tank starts pulling pretty much the instant we get there. I frantically start trying to share quests – manage to get the first one shared just before we killed the guy it was for, so yay. I notice the bear tank is avoiding most of the rooms on either side. He heads down the hall, then turns right and clears that way. He stops in every door, looks in. If there’s a chest in the room, he charges in, clears the room, and takes the loot. Yeah, ok, so the greens get rolled on but not the white items and at this level every little bit of money helps.

We steamroll through, me being torn between life tapping and annoying the healer. I hate life tapping locks… and now I am one. It’s that or use my wand. Which I did, sometimes. The tank sure isn’t letting us drink.

All this time, the tank has not said one word. The other puggers said “thanks” when I shared quests or “chest” if they saw one – it didn’t matter, the tank had already seen it and opened it – or “pat”. The tank? Not so much.

We went and killed the end boss and got the “Dungeon Complete!” mark as I hurriedly looked for quests I hadn’t yet shared… ah there it was, the one of the guy at the end of the other corridor. I shared it, said “He’s down the other hall” and wonder of wonders, the tank accepted my quests and charged down.

I looked at my other quests. I was very short on the “Collect 10 Bandanas” and we weren’t getting enough Convicts and Prisoners for Quell the Uprising. I told Reversion and he started pulling extra mobs out of other rooms, running them to the tank and frost novaing them in place. The tank says nothing to this. I ask in chat if we can get more of them for my quest. Nothing.

We kill the named guy, loot his head. The Stockades has more “Bring back his head/hand/whatever so I know he’s dead” quests than anywhere else in the game, I think. I’m sure my bags were dripping gore… let’s not ask about where I was keeping my Conjured Rye bread. Anyway, the tank drops, followed by the healer and the other dps. Reversion and I sigh. I pulled out the voidwalker and we assessed what we still needed; 1 convict, 4 prisoners, and 7 bandanas between us.

We went back along and found rooms that had only a couple guys left in them and played it real safe. Reversion would sheep pull, or aggro using a small damage spell. I’d set my voidwalker on whoever came out of the room, we burned them down, used Frost Nova to keep them from running, and ate between every fight. Fortunately we were level 28 and they were mostly 23 and 24; if they’d been our level it would have been a lot harder, but we downed them and Rev got all his bandanas. I was short three so we kept it up. Only came close to death once, in a room with three guys and very stubborn sheep.

Job done, we left the instance and started turning in. Dinged twice just turning in quests. Triple XP is awesome. Of course our gear is getting really ridiculously bad, we’re on a server where we don’t have any high level alts to bankroll us and you can’t really level gathering skills using RAF since you skip out of zones so darn fast. Oh well. We’ve got training money and our mounts anyway.

PS – these alts are in SAN on Argent Dawn, Profusion the Mage and Invariant the Warlock.

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L2P Nub

So there we were in POS, Analogue in tree form and Reversion’s second bear tank, the undergeared one. Soon as we saw the loading screen we knew we were in for fun. His second bear is lightly geared, has some holes, and was running with an experimental high-agility build. That’s why I bring Analogue along when we want to run instances with that tank; she’s usually able to keep things up just fine, but I know some of the POS pulls are fun..

We get a warlock, a dk, and a paladin. The warlock hasn’t been here before on this character; he asks people to “share quests” and we remind him to talk to Jaina at the portal in. This is halfway through the first pull. He says “Ok, can I brb?” and we give him permission, starting in on the next pull. Then I notice his health bar is going down… and down… he’s managed to aggro the caster mobs that everyone always skips these days. So Reversion and I go back and res him. Well now he’s got the quest, so we keep going.

First boss is fine. Then we wipe after that because I’m careless and not looking where the tank is and run into the ambushers. Oops. That was dumb. We get back, clear to Ick and Krick, kill them, and start up the hill. It takes all my button spamming but the first two groups go down and everyone is alive. The paladin seems to have a broken cleanse button so we have to wait around after the fight for the diseases to wear off, but it’s going ok.

The next set of mobs, Reversion tells the DK to run to one caster and death grip the other caster on top. Wonder of wonders he listens, we take out that group. We go to do the second group – and wipe; I have no idea why. Everyone runs back, except for the dk. He didn’t run back last time either and this time he’s under the mobs and I couldn’t rez him if I wanted to. We tell him to release, wait for him to do it or reply or… nothing. So he gets kicked and a mage joins the party. A mage with a gear score higher than mine and an ego to match.

The first pull wasn’t bad; Reversion kept aggro, we’d already killed one caster and the mage’s blizzard didn’t pull off. Now it was time for the tunnel. Reversion gave the standard rundown; get to the middle, don’t dps till then, don’t get ahead of the tank. We run to the plate, kill everything. One of the dps goes down; I have just enough time to rez before we’re in combat again. We start off up the tunnel but it’s taken long enough there are a lot on the bear. Since this alt only has 29k hit points in bear form, Reversion stops to kill a few adds. The mage and paladin, however, don’t stop. I sigh as their health bars go down, and then ours go down, and it’s a wipe.

“???” says the mage. “You don’t stop in the tunnel nub”.

“You do if the tank needs to kill the adds,” Reversion points out.

“You fail as a tank. L2P nub.” And he quits party, just like that.

Needless to say we finished the tunnel and the boss fight without any trouble at all.

I think the problem is that for a lot of people, unless you’ve played a role it’s hard to tell the difference between “bad” and “undergeared”. You can tell good geared players easily. You can tell bad ungeared players really easily. You can even tell bad geared players – they’re the ones with a 6k gearscore and 2k dps. But it’s hard sometimes to tell if a player is bad, or just lightly geared. If you wipe on hard fights, sometimes it’s just because you’re short on health. I’ll point out that Reversion’s second bear is better geared than his primary bear was the first few times we ran H POS; gear inflation is insane these days.  But the mage wasn’t willing to stick around to see which was the case. We’d deviated from his knowledge of “how you do the tunnel”; he couldn’t see that the reason why was a good one, so he left.

Still, who’s the bigger idiot, the tank who stops or the mage who keeps going?

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This weekend it was time for some BC dungeon pugs with my disc priest and Reversion’s warrior. Thursday afternoon I had run around and gotten us attuned for Old Hillsbrad so we tried queuing specifically for that and got a party right away, to our pleasant surprise.  There was a paladin, a hunter, and a shadow priest. Reversion and I hopped on the dragon, the shadow priest right behind us, and took off. As we start in on the first guards at the gate the hunter says “We can’t make the dragon work”. So we tell them to get a new pack of bombs first and they make their way to us. I glance at the paladin and hunter – same server, different guilds, but I was betting they were friends or relatives in RL. Sometimes you can get that vibe.

We start clearing stuff, I ask the shadow priest for some tips on a face-melt rotation (thanks! It worked, I killed quest mobs most painfully) and then I notice something odd. When we’re fighting, Reversion is the only one in melee. The hunter and priest are staying back, as they should, but so is the paladin. And he’s… casting… Exorcism?

Yes, we had just encountered the melee hunter’s opposite number; the ranged Ret pally.

I let it slide. He’d occasionally run in and consecrate, and he seemed a bit awkward at the game. When we made it to the keep to get Thrall, he could not find the basement and the hunter reminded us that he wasn’t there yet before starting the escort phase; I was more convinced than ever that they were a dad and kid, or something similar. The paladin said nothing the whole run. His exorcisms hit pretty hard, actually, and things died well. So it didn’t matter.

Next there was an Auchenai Crypts run, not notable except that we got three hunters as our dps. It’s bad enough trying to convince one hunter that his pet is growling; trying to track down and identify which two out of three are doing it, especially when two are white corehounds, is just not fun.

That was Friday; Saturday morning we queued up and got Steam Vaults. I was thrilled; I’ve been in there perhaps twice before. It’s great fun running instances you don’t really know. We got a mage, a DK, and a hunter. We fought our way to the gnome mekgineer boss – then were stumped. Where was the other boss we had to kill? We backtracked and started clearing. Suddenly the mage said “I was right we just need a key” and takes off for the other side of the instance where the locked door is that the final boss is waiting behind. We ignore him since Reversion has already said he’s pretty sure we need to kill the boss over up the ramp from where we are.

“Guys I gtg” the DK says suddenly, and leaves. The mage follows suit without a word, and we queue for dps. We finish clearing trash and we’re still waiting, having found the naga lady boss and her elemental pets.

After six or so minutes in the queue we agree we have nothing to lose by trying, so we start in three man and wipe. No problem; I identify two things I did wrong, we note boss mechanics and discuss strategy as we run back. Reversion is explaining to the hunter how he wants to have the hunter use Distracting Shot and freeze trap one of the adds on one side of the room. As we’re plotting strategy we get just a tiny bit too close to the boss – oops. The hunter goes down fast, Reversion and I try until I get silenced, and we wipe again.

Back again, and we’re ready to try. Reversion charges in. The hunter pulls out an add, but it resists the trap. Reversion taunts it back, and then the hunter pulls it out again. They ping pong it for a few rounds as they’re dpsing down the other add. For an ad-hoc strategy it works great. They kill the first add then focus on the second one. I’m healing away – she keeps silencing me so I have to play catch up rather than dps – and then suddenly I notice my combat text: “Berrysnatcher has died”.

Berrysnatcher? Is that the hunter’s pet? Nope! In the middle of the fight we’d received our two new dps friends, a rogue and a shaman, who commendably had run straight into the fight and gotten creamed. Vuhdo, like most raid frame addons, can’t update during combat and I had not even noticed the two new guys were here before they died.

We took the boss down, I rezzed and apologized to the new folks, and we ran to the end boss and killed him down fast. It was great fun – I love strategizing kills rather than just brute forcing them.

And then after lunch and some baby play time (Nomster dinged one yesterday and I guess she’s not really a baby any more!) we queue again and get Sethikk Halls. Ah, yes…

So we get a hunter, a mage, and a dk. The mage is very “go-go-go” but I’m having mana problems so Reversion takes things at my speed. The hunter has to be told twice to take his pet off growl. He’s not very good and he keeps a constant stream of banter going that tells us he’s probably about 12. In fact, after some particularly inane comments, I ask him if he’s twelve and he eventually after some “lol” and “guess”  says he’s 11. Well, we’re warned.

We get all the way to the end and on the final boss wipe; I got polymorphed and couldn’t get around the pillar in time to avoid the arcane explosion. The mage says something rude and drops group; the rest of us run back and a nice shaman joins us halfway through. “Oh, that boss,” she says when we explain what happened. “Ugh. But why drop now?” Exactly my thought. I share the instance quests with her even though she can’t complete them since we’ve killed a boss she needs, but now she’s got them, and she thanks me. We drop the boss. The hunter dies; I don’t think he understands the need to hide behind the pillars even though we told him so. Reversion’s been whispering with the shaman, who wants to know if we’ll re-queue with her once the others drop. We agree and wait. The dk drops – and the hunter starts popping up the “requeue” screen. We decline and decline and decline. “Come on pick a role” he says. “You’re not very good at taking hints are you?” I ask. Finally, since we’re not getting rid of him, we take the queue.

Of course the last slot is a dk. He sets out immediately proving that he is less mature than the hunter; death gripping mobs to himself, being a jerk in chat, and finally bragging “Wow! I’m getting 1k death strikes!” which makes us all notice that his damage is, in fact, abyssmal. We point this out – he’s doing 125 dps. The idiot hunter is managing close to 500 – and he gets abusive, so we kick him.

His replacement is a paladin. A paladin who apparently thinks he is the tank. “Go go go” he says. I explain again that Reversion is catering to my mana. He doesn’t think much of this. He keeps over-pulling, grabbing other groups – and finally he runs into a room, aggros everything, I am sitting and drinking and we just decide to let him die. We end up wiping since he pulled three groups and didn’t kill anything before he died and on the way back from the graveyard he starts giving me crap about “you need to say something if you’re afk”.

I explain that I was not afk, I just wasn’t putting up  with that sort of behavior, and he tries to vote kick me. Reversion laughs at him and says “good luck with that, since I’m married to her, no way”. Apparently he tried again several times and then he tried to kick Reversion, with the same luck.

Unfortunately since we kicked the dk, we cannot kick this idiot, so I tell the shaman not to heal when he does his nonsense. Sure enough when we get back he tries it again. We ignore him, Reversion tanks the mobs he was planning to pull, I heal people who aren’t the paladin, the paladin dies, we clean up, and we leave him lying dead on the floor and head in to kill the boss.

The guy didn’t bother releasing. Why do that when you can pile invective on peoples’ heads? I guess low level instances are srs bznz and that my job as the healer is to heal people regardless of whether they are doing their job or trying to get me killed. Also I guess things like “doing what the tank says” or “paying attention to healer mana” are overrated.

Anyway, great weekend. I learned a valuable lesson about the difference between jerkwad behavior and “I’m 11″ behavior. I’ll put up with 11 year olds but people who are just annoying and mean get to suffer.

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Maybe you’re like me; totally psyched for Cataclysm, starting to be a bit bored with current content, wanting one last run through Old Azeroth before it becomes New And Improved Azeroth (Now with 500% more Lava!). And you’ve rolled, or are thinking of rolling, a class that can heal. Let’s say you’ve never healed before. Does the prospect seem daunting?

It definitely can, especially at low levels when you don’t have as many healing abilities. Team that up with low level tanks not having all their mitigation abilities and low level dps being no better than top level ones at not getting face stomped and a pug of RFC or Stockades suddenly approaches the difficulty and pain of a Blood Princes encounter.

The first thing you have to do is start thinking like a healer, and I think the most important skill there is triage. It’s a term referring to what battlefield medics or ER staff do; assess the injury status of patients in such a way as to save as many lives as possible.

For triage in WoW to work, you need to know what your abilities are and what they do. Even at low levels most healing classes will have at least a long slow big heal and a short fast small heal. Some classes already have hots or shields or other ways of preventing or healing damage. Make a mental inventory of all these.

Next, assess your party makeup. I’ll assume a classic five man group; fewer than five man and the problem gets easier. Our imaginary party will be a young Warrior tank, a hunter and his pet turtle Bessy, a frost mage, a rogue, and you, a priest (translate this to whatever healing class is appropriate; the priest is a good one for this scenario).

Notice that I set up this party so that other than the hunter’s Mend Pet ability, nobody else has healing spells. We’ll assume the rogue can bandage and likes to do so. Everything else is up to you.

Now set up a priority queue in your mind. It goes like this:

You
Tank
Whatever DPS has done the least to make your life miserable or you are romantically involved with
The other dps
The pet
The DPSer you are romantically involved with if he forgot that your birthday was last week

This is the “keep them alive” priority and not the “heal them” priority. What’s the difference? The “keep them alive” priority stays static the whole time; it doesn’t change unless someone annoys you enough to move down the ladder, or brings you chocolate and wine and moves up the queue. The “Heal them” priority queue changes every second of the fight. Here’s how it work.

You engage a small patrol. The tank picks up aggro and starts taking damage. You throw him a Power Word: Shield and a Renew and he stops taking damage while the shield is up. When it wears off, he starts taking some damage again. The Renew is a Heal Over Time spell and mends some of that damage, but he’s down about a quarter of his hit points and the mobs are still hitting him, so you start casting a Heal. (Assume you don’t yet have Greater Heal). Now he’s got his health back. You refresh the Renew, the mobs die, and everyone’s happy.

That one was easy! Only the tank needed healing. You adjusted your heals based on what he needed to keep his health bar full, didn’t waste mana, and nothing got scary.

Now on to the next pull. This one has more mobs and some of them are ranged. As you throw a Renew and Shield on the tank, it causes you to get aggro from one of the casters, who starts throwing ice bolts at you. You immediately put a shield on yourself and since you don’t have much damage, a Renew. Then the mage gets attention from one of the mobs, who wanders over and starts hitting him. The mage panics and runs over to you and then frost novas and runs away, leaving the mob right next to you. The mob decides that you look tasty and starts biting you. Meanwhile the tank just got critted and is at 50% health and falling.

Summary: You and the tank are both being actively hit
The mage is not being actively hit
You are at 70% life. The tank is at 50% life. The mage is at 30% life.
What do you do?

Well, whatever you do, you’ve got to get the mob off you. Take a few steps toward the tank. While the frost nova holds the mob can’t bite you. When it wears off, it will have to come toward the tank to get you. At the same time, refresh the Renew that’s on yourself. Now pay attention to the tank! If you can shield him again, do that. If the Renew is gone, refresh it. Then cast your fast quick heal, Flash Heal. It doesn’t do as much, but your tank is hurting bad and you need to get some breathing room. Often a couple of quick fast heals will get you enough breathing room to have time to cast your long slow top-them-up heal.

Now the tank is at 70%, you’re at 85%, and the mage is still hurting. If you can spare time, drop a Renew on him and let him stew. If you eventually have the time and mana, Flash Heal him to about 80%. More than that is a waste of your global cool downs and mana. He should have learned his lesson and not pull the mobs again this fight. A few missing health points is a good lesson.

Oops, mobs still not dead. The tank has them all now, but the hunter, who has been afk, finally wakes up and sends in his pet, who growls at one mob and gets it to turn and fight him. Bossy the Turtle takes some damage. You can choose to heal it, or not; the hunter ought to Mend Pet on it and he was stupid to have its Growl on, but the pet is doing good dps and if you can spare the mana, give it some love.

And the rogue is taking a little aoe damage. He bandaged himself earlier when things were messy, so now you drop a shield and a Renew on him, and then turn your attention back to the tank who is in need of more Flash Heals.

Oh, dear – you guys just aggroed the boss who was wandering around, and he runs in and throws a big AOE that damages you all pretty badly. What do you do now?

Throw a shield on yourself and the tank (if you were a druid you’d be dropping more HOTs on you both here) and then cast your AOE heal. Sorry paladins, you don’t have an AOE heal, but the other three classes do and this is where to use them; you’ve got at least three people hurt and the tank is not taking so much damage that your heal can’t keep up.

Now you’re all at manageable health. Go back to the tank, keep him alive, and – oh dear. You’re out of mana. This will be fun.

Warn everyone “OOM!” and hope they get the message. No matter how much damage is flying around, do not spend mana on heals for anyone except you and the tank, and mostly the tank. If he drops you’re all dead, whereas if you keep him alive you might survive this.

Every time you have enough mana, cast your Flash Heal. It’s the fastest cast you have and so will get you back into mana regen mode as fast as possible (takes five seconds after the end of your last cast for your mana regen to start actually doing much).

Now let’s talk about what happens when things really go haywire; multiple groups of mobs, aggro everywhere, tank getting low, mage getting squishy, and your own special set of ravenous admirers.

First off, don’t panic. Easier said than done, but don’t panic. If you do, things will get worse. The worst outcome here is a wipe. Nothing can be worse than that. Your goal, once things start going turnip-shaped, is to keep yourself alive at the end. Everyone else is a means to that end. Remember, you have the magic res fingers!

If you are to stay alive, that means someone has to kill the mobs that want to eat you. Probably that means keep the tank and some dps alive. Sometimes it means all the dps die really fast and you and the tank slug it out slowly with the last few mobs.

start with keeping yourself alive. That might mean moving instead of healing; go over to the tank and hope he pulls the mobs off rather than trying to heal through the bites. You are not the tank. Don’t act like one. If you have damage mitigation cooldowns, use them. A druid should throw a hot on herself, throw Barkskin, and go to the tank. A priest should shield herself. A Paladin can use Hand of Salvation or Divine Protection (use HoS on yourself, Divine Protection on the tank, and gain some breathing room).

Next, if the tank is getting low, throw heals at him while you scan everyone else. Is there someone who is very low but not actively taking damage? Throw a hot or shield or Flash of Flight/Flash Heal at him to give him more breathing room. Someone who is low and actively taking damage, and not the tank, is probably going to die no matter what in a “ah crap” situation. Don’t waste mana and GCDs on a mage who has three mobs on him. He will die and his friends will come eat you next. It is his job to ice block at this point and avoid death, not your job to save him.

Heal the most likely to survive; this is why it’s triage. You decide who lives, who dies. Who is stable or could be stable with minimal intervention? Did the hunter just have his pet growl mobs off of you? Heal that pet, unless the hunter is about to die, in which cast that’s wasted mana.

Keep an eye out for environmental issues that affect you; fire on the ground, curses. Moving cuts down on your heals but so does being dead. Some curses can be ignored or healed through. If you have a curse that makes your casts take 50% longer and it can be removed, remove it! The one GCD and minimal mana you spend there pays for itself almost instantly. On the other hand, if it’s a curse that makes you have 100 less skill at Bows, like in SFK sometimes, ignore it.

Avoid tunnel vision at all costs. I think this is the number one cause of healer death; you’re too busy staring at the health bars to notice the gnolls eating your spleen. One of the best tools for preventing tunnel vision (and sometimes for causing it) is a good raid healing frame mod. Healbot and Grid + clique are both popular setups; my personal favorite is Vuhdo which I think combines the flexibility of Grid with the ease of setup of Healbot. Other sites have done far better rundowns of how to install and tweak these; if you’re stuck for ideas, I recommend visiting the http://www.PlusHeal.com forums and their UI and Mods subforum to see screenshots and suggestions of Healer UIs. Sometimes though healing frames can make tunnel vision worse, when all you focus on is the part of your screen with little boxes and icons. I suggest moving the frames somewhere near the middle of your screen and forcing yourself to see other areas.

Other than that it’s about practice, practice, practice. Going into battlegrounds can be good practice at getting a UI with raid frames set up to where you can concentrate on the frames but still watch your environment. Pug some dungeons – and please don’t wait til you’re 80 to start. It is harder to jump in at top level because your gear will be lagging compared to what people expect. But if you did just dual spec to Holy and you’re 80, go ahead and start! Don’t take stupid comments personally, just have fun.

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