Archive for November, 2010

Rules for Raiding

So Reversion and I have been kicking around “rules” for our raid. They’re more of “guidelines for us to keep in mind as we wangle this thing”. I’m  interested in feedback and suggestions from others who have raided in other situations. Do these seem optimist? Insane? Would you raid in a  group with these policies?


If you are going to miss, tell us, and as early as possible so we can fill the slot. Missing is ok – real life happens. Deciding you don’t really feel like raiding tonight and not telling us? Not ok.

If you miss without informing us then you are out and into the ‘backup raider’ tier. If you have a really good reason, and tell us later then you can stay in that tier. If not you probably will not get an invite.

‘The raid must go on’. We will try like crazy to keep the main players in but we might ask people to change alts. Sometimes we might ask them to sit one fight out. If we do either of those they will be swapped back at the earliest convenience. But the success of the raid is paramount. We will do whatever swapping is needed to make the run work.

If you miss Friday and we sub someone in then that person has dibs on your Saturday slot if they want it. You’ll be back next week (assuming you told us you were out)


Player discretion is good at any time. Do what you think is best even if the plan was slightly different… BUT if you plan to ignore the plan, don’t. If you think there’s a  problem with it, ask. If you have an idea, suggest it. We will always listen. We are VERY open to new ideas and suggestions… but…

Once we finish talking strats and have one, no more debate. Please save it for the next try. It is imperative that everyone knows what the plan is. Your ‘small tweak’ to the plan is more likely to leave someone confused at a critical time. Unless there is a severe unworkable FLAW in the current plan, buck it up and wait for the next round. It is more important for us to get a good clean try with the current plan than it is for chaotic or uncontrolled things to happen. With chaos we can’t even figure out what killed us. With a clean wipe on a bad plan we can update things and learn. A clearly articulated plan that everyone follows is better than a ‘better’ plan that leaves a few people confused.

We are open to bold and crazy ideas…. Somewhat. The rule is one per run. Per person. If your idea actually works we might allow you to have another crazy thought. If your crazy ideas always work we might stop thinking you are crazy… maybe. If you wipe us? No more crazy ideas.

This also goes for wipe ‘post mortems’. We need all the information we can get. If you think you saw something, speak up. If someone claims something was your fault, listen without taking it personally. Someone who is busy justifying a mistake is not listening to the solution.

Don’t be afraid to own up to something that may or may not have been a mistake. It is impossible for everyone to see everything that happens in a fight. There is a good chance you saw something we did not see. Speak up. Even if it seems like you are pointing a finger. It may be someone did something wrong they did not know was wrong. They will not know the next time unless someone points it out. However, once you have clearly pointed something out, then let it go. Once we have added that new piece of information into the mix for the next try’s strategy then it is no longer of any importance.

Everyone makes mistakes. We learn from them. We don’t dwell on them


If we ask you to switch specs for a fight, or pull out a pet, or be on dispel duty, there’s a reason for it. If you’ve got a problem with that, talk to us after the raid and explain, but do not say in vent “The other guy should do it, my dps is better”. Or worse “I don’t want to”. Or “I don’t have Healbot”. I expect that you know your class well enough to know, for instance, that you can cure diseases. That means you may be asked to cure diseases, which means you should be prepared to cure diseases. Do you need Decursive? Have it ready to go.


This is a ten man. Right now, we’ll use the built in rolling system – roll need if you need it, if it’s for an off spec, ask first. When we get to Cataclysm we will  have a loot master and use the prio/main/off system. One priority roll win per raid. Unlimited main – but we reserve the right to re-apportion loot if one person has won three drops and someone else hasn’t won any. Offspec rolls come after main spec, but you can have as many of them as you like. Again we reserve the right to quickly gear up an offspec someone is likely to use in the raid – say, the switch-hitting healer/dps who needs more gear for one set.  Badges only if there’s a piece you currently own that you can upgrade. BoEs if you’re going to equip them right away, otherwise they go to the guild.


Be ready to raid at raid time – flasks, repaired, online, ready to rock. Be in vent, don’t be in a heroic. We haven’t had any problems with this yet, let’s hope it continues.

Come as what you were invited as. If you want to change, talk to me. Please let me know what geared alts you have  – you never know when we might really need you to bring in a particular ability to a fight. But generally, I’ve thought about the raid composition already and I need you to be who I invited you as.

It should go without saying but please have DBM or the equivalent. We’re not perfect at calling things out in Vent. Vent can go down, or lag, at the worst possible time. Having DBM will help you be aware of what’s going on. Understand what’s going to happen – we can explain fights, that’s fine, but if you don’t understand the explanation please ask. If you get through a fight and have no idea what just happened, please go watch a video or read a guide and find out.



Have fun  – seriously, raiding takes work, and we have to be diligent, but if you’re not having fun please stop, figure out what would make it more fun, and do that. Maybe that means you stop raiding. Maybe it means you change your role. We’re willing to work with you but you have to let us know

Treat each other with respect. My number one rule. We’re supposed to be friends. We’re supposed to cooperate. Don’t be rude in vent. Saying “paying 5g for a misdirect to Mage X” is probably funny. Actually paying, and then gloating about it? Not funny, plus you’re wasting all our time.

We appreciate that you’re here, and contributing your time. There are nine other people also here contributing their time. No one’s time or fun is more important than anyone else’s. Don’t waste each other’s time.

Don’t curse in vent. A slip of the tongue is one thing, a constant string of foul-mouthed profanities is not ok. “Retard” jokes are not ok. Anything that is designed to hurt or offend someone else is not ok – we’re here for a common goal, and that goal is never furthered by making someone else feel bad.


Again, have fun. Reversion’s and my raiding goals right now is to see excellent new content, before it is obsolete, with a group of friends, while having fun. None of those are merely optional. You will have fun, or else! (er… wait….)


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Boss evolution 2


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Recently, I blogged about Reversion and I setting up our own raid.  We went for our first time last week and got 11/12 down and some attempts on the Lich King.


This week, we went Friday and Saturday. The raid composition was slightly different. Some people couldn’t make it – one had to work, my brother owed a weekend to the Army – and some just didn’t show. We found substitutes and got started. Karius the mage and Rossini the warlock were both there, tearing through the bosses of ICC with us. One of the substitutes we’d arranged earlier in the week, a mage, offered to have her husband bring his hunter. He’s in a different guild and has a lot more ICC experience, so we gladly accepted.

We tore through the first three bosses on heroic, with one funny bit when the other tank suggested trying to bug Saurfang on the gunship. Apparently there’s a way to stand on the rail and taunt him where he can’t hit you, and then you can get the achievement for no one going over more than twice easily – the melee can just stand over there and kill mages and such.

We finally agreed to try. “But only one crazy idea per person per raid,” I said. That’s the rule.  I’d seen someone trying to “bug” Saurfang before and it didn’t work but hey, why not try it.

Well, it didn’t work. The tank died over there. Ooops. But the rest of us were alive and we didn’t really want to wipe…

Reversion jumped over. The hunter misdirected the adds on our ship onto him. They decimated the mage and came back. We cleared the adds on our ship. Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat. I hope the other guy went and got a beer while we were playing – floor tank is always a boring role.

When we got to Deathbringer’s Rise, we explained the strategy for doing it heroic, got set – and suddenly I was staring at a loading screen. So was Reversion. And so was everyone else, apparently.

Well… great… The world was down. We waited and after a few minutes we managed to get back in. But we were downstairs again. Oh well, go back up – and the boat is gone. Again. We had some fun waiting for people to get back in by using the warlock stone to summon ourselves, jump off the ledge, and get back to the top without dying.
“Hey,” said the hunter. “If we fought him right here, would the beasts spawn over the edge?”

Nobody knew the answer.

“What if we knocked them back over the edge?”

Well, the only person in raid with a knockback was… me. In my offspec. I agreed to go boomkin, we re-arranged the assignments, and I dug out my “dps gear”. Which is basically enough stuff with hit on to get me to hit, a trinket that doesn’t have an “on heal” effect, and that’s it.

We got started, the tanks positioned Saurfang, I tried to remember how to dps. The first beasts spawned. I knockbacked. They didn’t go over. Maybe I hadn’t been close enough. I repositioned while killing them. The next wave spawned, same thing. And something else was wrong; these beasts weren’t that fast, or aggressive enough. I was getting suspicious – and I realized I didn’t have raid lead any more. When the world had gone down, I’d lost lead.

Too late, we realized this was normal Saurfang, not heroic. But he was almost dead… so we just killed him.

Then it was off to Dreamwalker, so that the other druid could switch to her shammy who had gotten first 4 plus Dreamwalker the other night. We tried on heroic, and failed. I’m not sure why, because I don’t feel like I really understand that fight. The first attempt was definitely my fault because I missed a bunch of portals – I didn’t realize they were red, not green. Not to mention unnecessary deaths from falling out of the dream… oh well.

We went and killed Rotface and Festergut on heroic, made two attempts on Putricide before setting him to normal and then, seeing as it was late on Friday, killed the Princes on regular and disbanded for the night.


The next night, same time, same place. We cleared trash to Blood Queen, set it to heroic – and got kicked downstairs. Annoying. Then went upstairs, and the trash was back. Extra annoying. Then we one shot her. Not annoying at all. So we went and one-shot Sindragosa, despite the fact that I managed to stand next to the frost beacon when she was at 10% and had to be broken out.

So we had a good three hours to work on the Lich King. We went up and the hunter volunteered to explain and call the fight. He had a lot more experience at it, so we gratefully accepted the offer and got to work.

The first three attempts we made, we got farther each time. The fourth attempt we wiped in phase 3. The fifth attempt was… not as good; we screwed up with the plague and died early. The sixth attempt, everyone listened, positioned themselves perfectly, followed orders – it was great having someone who A knew the fight and B was not healing or tanking call it; we’re thinking of switching to Reversion’s hunter in order to let him be better equipped to direct fights.

We were at 20% and things were chaotic, but we were all alive. I started muttering the percentages aloud as I watched and healed (I got sucked into the sword on our third attempt, and healed the guy and got out, that was very cool. I was sort of hoping it would happen again but it didn’t). Then  –  10%. The Lich King wiped the raid, we watched, we cheered, we rezzed, and we killed him.

A wall of achievements filled my chat log. Every one of the people we had brought got the achievement. For some, this was their first kill. For others, the first time on that character. It felt… awesome.

We’re going back next week and are going to try to get even more alts turned into Kingslayers. And this raid is going into Cataclysm. It feels so great to have a group of people you can rely on.

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Warning: the following post is full of broad, sweeping generalizations that are only true of me, and maybe not even then.

Imagine this as one of those “tell-all” articles featured prominently on the cover of Cosmopolitan, “Things Your Healer Won’t Tell You”, or “The Things You Think You Know (but don’t)”. Actually, don’t imagine it that way. I’ve never actually read one of those articles and they might be really lame.

I’ve been reading some blogs about what healing is going to be like in Cataclysm, posts about what Blizzard wants it to be like, and that has me wondering; are we healers all just plain nuts? There are things I do, things I think, and I’m not sure how they’ll match with our new healing methods.

  • When you die, I feel guilty – no ifs, ands, or buts.

There’s a reason why we joke about “Oh, no heals for you” – because we can’t do it. Once you’re a healer, in that mode, it’s almost impossible to let someone’s health bar drop low without trying to heal him. Often, we don’t really recognize any health bar as a particular person. We know which ones represent the tanks, we have things organized so we sort of know who is where  – but when I’m in the thick of things, I don’t ever think “Oh yeah I was going to let xxArthaaasxxx die, he’s a jerk”.

In Cataclysm, we’re going to have to let people sit at less-than-max health and that is going to be really really hard. All my instincts say “Heal that bar!”

  • Healing is my thing

The same pleasure a rogue in super-epic-ilvl277 gear gets in topping a dps meter, I get in ending a fight with everyone alive. I like healing, I find it fun and challenging and the only job in the game that reaches out and grabs me by the throat. I’ve dpsed and tanked 11/12 fights in ICC – meh. I just don’t care to do that regularly. But I’ll heal ICC over and over and over again, because when I’m healing, every fight is different every time. You are fighting a boss and his minions: I am fighting death itself. Your scorecard is the amount of damage you put out; mine is the number of people I saved. If we wipe, you get upset with other people for screwing up; I get mad at myself for not saving them anyway.

  • I find healing fun even as it is

But I do see their points – because I find healing fun in 10 mans and not so much in 25s. Spamming Rejuv on groups 3-5 is not really super fun. Spamming rejuv on the whole raid, looking where to place Efflorescence, rolling Lifebloom on a tank, checking to see if I need to spend a whole two seconds casting a single Nourish – that is fun, and I get to do that in ten mans. I’m worried that they will be crippling me by making me worry about mana. I’m going to give it a try, and learn how to roll with the punches. I mean, I was concerned that I wouldn’t like druid healing after the changes and now, other than missing my tree, I’m ok with it.

  • I don’t really want to dps

I’ll qualify this. When I outgear the content, sure, dropping Hurricane is fun. But I want encounters to be hard and expect me to focus on healing, not hard and expect me to focus on both healing and dps. Maybe some people like this, but please, Blizzard, give us a way to avoid it. I have an off spec, I use my off spec, let me dps in that.

  • My toolset is awesome! All except for the wonky egg seperator…

Blizzard has given all the healing classes a range of tools to use. Some classes have a billion, like Holy Priests. Druids have about 9 and that’s more manageable. Still, I eye them a little suspiciously. It’s like my utensil drawer. There’s my trusty spatula and a good knife, and then a whisk, and I guess I use that peeler sometimes if I’m using my knife for something else, but what is that weird plastic doodad anyway? And why does anyone need an asparagus trimmer?

My heals are like that. I love how Mastery works with druid hots. I love, love the way Efflorescence triggers off Swiftmend – it just feels right, like you’re blooming the heal and causing life to grow. But we have these nice fast or instant cast hots – and then we have long, comparatively slow casts of Nourish and Healing Touch and they just don’t feel right. I feel like one of them should be shorter, and one longer. Then we could really pick and choose what to use. As it is, I still am not using HT; if I have to cast anything, it’s Nourish because I almost always have a hot on the target already (and thus, get my mastery bonus plus the backed in bonus to Nourish). Healing Touch is that egg separator – it’s just taking up room in my drawer, I feel a bit embarrassed about it, and maybe one day I’ll use it but I won’t be bragging about it to my friends.

  • We’re gossipy little backbiters

If your raid has more than two healers, I guarantee you at least two of them whisper each other multiple times during the raid. It’s like a rule. “That tank had four stacks of X””. “Healer Y is using THAT spell, can you believe it?” “Why won’t the mage decurse? Ok we’ll work around that”. I’m getting worse, too. I used to just gripe at my husband; now it’s whispers. Why don’t we say these things out loud? Well, sometimes it’s a healer-related FYI kinda thing. Sometimes it’s because we don’t want to sound accusatory. Also I think healers have a bit of an inferiority complex and we’re afraid that if we say “X did Y” that what the raid hears is “I’m a lousy healer and I can’t deal with this”.

(Someone please tell me this is really universal. It has to be, right? I’m not always the first one to start whispering…)

  • I’ve played games that are like spreadsheets. Healing isn’t like playing a spreadsheet

Yes, there are bars on your screen and you spend a lot of time looking at them. No, this does not make WoW into “Excel with sound effects”. If you want that, go play EVE Online. If you think we have that, go play EVE Online. Now there is a game that has spreadsheets. Yeah, so sometimes I miss cool effects or visuals. Tough. I like my little squares of healing. They are the source of my power.

  • I don’t want to worry about mana

But I will. I get that. I’ll learn. I just don’t want to – I’m terrified that every wipe in Cataclysm will be twice my fault – once because I let people die, once because I ran out of mana. That if I were  a better healer my mana would stay full even when the dps is not doing their job. I want more enrage timers on bosses. Make it obvious why we failed. Don’t blame it on me! There is nothing worse than staring at people dying, and your empty mana bar.

  • I’m still going to heal

Even if I do have to use my egg separator, worry about mana, deal with guilt complexes, whatever. Because that’s what I love in this game.

Bring it on.

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Once, months ago, I read a lovely blog post over at Righteous Orbs about a Naxx Run featuring a Real Girl Paladin Healer Who Could Solo Heal This Place.

Friday night, I was that healer.

Ok, so I hope I wasn’t that snotty, and I was a druid, not a paladin, but we went to Naxx and since I was setting the thing up I had the pleasure of telling everyone they could go DPS on most fights. We were eight; we were doing the “fewer than 9” achievement for completing Naxx. We had my brother, who hadn’t been in Naxx before. Reversion and I didn’t do Naxx on anything like a regular basis, so we were going for the fun. We had a great group of guildies – Repgrind, of course, was one – and man, we had a blast there. Multi the Shaman went heals on the fights where we needed two healers, like Thaddius and the Horsemen.

It was like being Superman. Things died so fast they didn’t have time to do their schtick. Heigan? We wiped, once. The second time he died before the first dance phase. Wow. We got the time achievement for the spider wing without even trying. Gluth? Died before he could call his zombies to him, or decimate, or anything.

Yes, we wiped. Once on the dance, once on Patchwerk. Apparently if you don’t clear all the trash before him? Like the two rooms full that we walked past half of? It aggroes on you and eats you from behind. But we were – seriously, I think the top dps’er was doing more damage than some whole raids I was on, Back In The Day. Ok, those raids sucked, but still!

The night still being relatively young when we got Naxx done, and some of us realizing all we needed to be Champions of the Frozen Waste was Malygos, we went off to Eye of Eternity. Wow… what a nightmare. All this time I’d thought people were complaining about the mechanics of using a dragon, and couldn’t figure out what the big deal was. I didn’t realize the graphics in that place were like a bad acid trip. And a migraine. On a boat. In a hurricane. In Fairy Princess Candyland.

Wait, where was I? Ugh. Well on the third try, Malygos died. I am never ever ever ever going back there; I was sick the next morning from that place.

Druid heals are so overpowered right now. I adore my mastery. Rejuv and Regrowth are awesome, I love love love Efflorescence. Healing Touch? Not touching that. I’ll use Nourish if I have to but I’m glorying in my flash-healing, hot-dealing powers of Nature-y nurturing. You know how overpowered I am?

I one-healed Saurfang and didn’t break a sweat.

Yes, my group was awesome. No, I didn’t intend to do any such thing. It’s just after our third wipe on Heroic Saurfang Saturday night, we set it to normal and I went to start him up. “That’s funny,” I said as I clicked him. “The boat disappeared.”

A minute later, and some muffled semi-cursing, I look and see Reversion, who was going to help me heal that fight, has – just disappeared. Yes, somehow he fell off the ledge. There was some sort of “Wait my run key is stuck – oh crap!” thing…. and I had started the event, we had no choice but to try the fight.

And four minutes later, after a single mark, Saurfang died. I wasn’t even out of mana. It would have been impossible if the raid had taken much unneccessary damage, but they killed beasts and avoided splash damage. like pros.

So druids, spread your newly-leafless wings and glory in being the healing gods that we are for this brief shining moment…

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lurn 2 reed

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Boss evolution 1

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