Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Healing’ Category

How To Use Healing Meters

So, my fellow healers, do you run with Recount (or Skada) or not? What do you use it for? I know there are healers who just don’t bother installing a recount-type addon, and I think that’s a mistake since it gathers good data for us. On the other hand, I’ve run with healers who look at their heals-per-second minute as thought it actually means something, or worse, as though “winning” that category in a raid means that they are the best healer.

First Things First: Your heals per second number means basically nothing. Ignore it. It’s a trap. In fact, in many cases the healer doing, say, 11k heals per second is objectively a worse healer than the one doing 7k. Why? Because often the big, heal-meter-padding skills are going to run you out of mana. Cataclysm healing is a marathon, not a sprint. Looking at heals per second is akin to saying “This guy averaged 8 miles per hour, and this guy averaged 5, so the first one wins” in a marathon – without realizing that the first guy dropped out at mile 5 and the second one went on to finish the race. Heals per second only counts the time you actually spend healing. So if you do, say, 100k heals in 10 seconds and go OOM, you just did 10k HPS. But the healer next to you who does 200k over the entire minute-long fight just did about 3.5k HPS. Now, maybe you blew all your mana saving a tank from some unexpected thing, and that saved the day. But it’s more likely that you just blew all your mana and then stood around looking pretty for the rest of the fight.

All right, that’s done. So let’s talk about what you can get out of a healing meter.

First, there’s the DPS/damage done tab. I prefer the “Damage Done” tab in recount to the DPS tab. The damage done will show me the course of the whole fight, not just the average. I can easily see that Mr. Rogue has great dps but poor overall damage because he’s slow getting into fights or dies a lot. The most useful part of this tab is knowing who to battle rez, blow a cooldown for, or give some specific damage-boosting cooldown. In a raid, this will often be called for you but if it’s up to your discretion, this part of the meter can help you out a lot.

Second, there’s the informative tabs – Dispells, Interrupts, Crowd Control, CC Breakers, etc. Now more than ever it’s good to know who is dispelling things, interrupting, or breaking crowd control  – and Recount keeps track of all these things. If you’ve never flipped through the tabs, do it now. You might be surprised that Mage 1 does 95% of the decursing while Mage 2 never bothers. Or remind the Enhancement shaman to use his interrupts.

Third, there’s the healing meter tab. I just said that HPS weren’t useful, but the breakdowns can be. You can see what spells you or the other healers are using, and spot problems in rotations (assuming you know rotations well enough). I like to glance at it and make sure that I’m using a fairly balanced mix of spells, with Lifebloom counting for a lot of my heals. If you think someone is underperforming, this tab can help you figure out where and why.

Fourth, the overhealing tab. Ahhh…. now this one is key. In Wrath I’d often see huge overheal numbers, as a druid. I’m working hard to get those down. A little overheal is not a problem; things like Wild Growth can overheal, as can Lifebloom or Efflorescence or…. but keep an eye on your percentages and try not to have much there. I’m trying to get my overheals below 10%.

Note: Paladins are likely to have a good bit of overhealing due to Beacon of Light and Tower of Radiance, but if you look at their parse and see a lot of other overhealing, you might ask why that is.

And most importantly, to me, the death reports tab. I’ve just started really using this one, but man does it have a lot of information. You can get a tick-by-tick rundown of the last seconds of a fight, showing incoming damage and heals by name. There’s even a way to see it in graph form. So you can see who was healing the tank just before he dropped, and who wasn’t. I’m not saying this so you can call people out better, but for learning. It’s also a good way to confirm what killed someone: “Yup, you stood in the whirlwind”, or “Yeah, the boss was beating on you for a good ten seconds there”.

So if you’re not using it, download Recount or Skada and give it a whirl. If you are using one, explore a bit and see what other tabs you have never really looked at. Right now we need all the analysis tools we can get our hands on as we learn strategies and encounters without the safety margin of inflated gear.

Read Full Post »

So, to be perfectly clear: I have not yet attempted heroics. My gear is there but last night we elected to do some normals so we could play with friends who are not yet 85. This may change entirely when I hit heroics, but I suspect the cycle will be the same.

The first  few dungeons on the way up healed like Wrath dungeons, IMO. People took big hits and had to be healed up all the way or the next big hit would kill them. I saw places where they were taking damage that they didn’t need to – spikes, boulders, fireballs, shadow blasts, things that they needed to move out of. And everyone seemed to be working hard to learn what the tells were for those, and not take that damage again. Still, the health wasn’t there.

Around 84 the health pools suddenly got big enough to take a hit or two, but at the same time my mana regen went through the floor. I had thought it was bad before; now, some of my spells were using 5% of my mana, or more. I was ending every fight OOM, begging for another druid’s inervate, using spirit buff food and flask, and desperate to know what was wrong.

We hit 85. I started getting gear and tweaking performance. I’d already trained myself that pre-hotting was bad, that using hots on slightly damaged people was bad, that I needed to use Nourish and Healing Touch more. Now I really worked at it. I learned fights, tried to find time to use Thorns on Reversion, and just didn’t know what I was doing wrong.

Then I read this post. If you’re a resto druid, or run with one, or just want to know how we work, read this. It told me all the things I already knew, but gently, in a well put together way that just got through my thick skull and told me, oh, this is how.

It made all the difference. I switched to using Lifebloom all the time, no matter what. I remapped a few mouse clicks, and the next set of dungeons I ran, I was sitting on a happy mana pool. I made people eat between fights and all was well.

Only now I have a different problem. If I’m not healing all the time – and I’m not – and I’ve learned the triage game, so I don’t need to sit there thinking that much, what am I doing? I am not amused by standing around waiting for someone to take the magical amount of damage that means I’ll actually throw them a heal. Keeping the tank up doesn’t take all my GCDs. If I don’t do anything, I get distracted and then miss my cue when  I do need to heal.

My solution? Put two talent points in that crappy talent that gives you free Wrath, and stand there and cast stupid green balls of minor, tickly annoyance at mobs.

Yeah, so I’ll probably switch back as soon as we run raids, or maybe even heroics, but it is far too annoying for me to be standing around twiddling my thumbs waiting for something to happen.

I really hope that when the difficulty ramps up, it means I have more to do, not less to do it with – but with Blizzard making everything about the mana game, I don’t see that happening. News flash; I think the mana game is boring. There is nothing fun about staring at blue bars as opposed to green ones.

But at least I see why they put that stupid talent in there. Great, Blizzard, you’re making me dps. This is why I rolled a healer, right?

That sounds really negative. I’m having a lot of fun with the new dungeons and I do enjoy learning the new healing model – but I wish there was a middle ground between Wrath and Cataclysm as far as healing goes. Wrath fights got my adrenaline up. These fights …. yeah I’m seeing boss mechanics and I can tell you what bosses look like but I’ve made a terrible realization that I really really like the game of Whack-A-Mole Health Bars.

Ah well. Too early to pass judgment yet! Anyone else have insights or opinions? Anyone else find yourself dpsing to fill the time?

Read Full Post »

Loving the expansion. The dungeons are hard. Nicely hard. So far the only person I have heard saying how easy they were is a cocksure tank whose boast were not quite loud enough to drowned out the whimpering that was his healer, over in the corner, rocking back and forth moaning ‘oom… oom’.

FYI to all tanks, if you think you are doing great but your healer is a nervous wreck then you are not as good a tank as you think you are.

But this one is not about tanks… or rather it is not ONLY about tanks.  I just read another blog that had a nice description of some of the trials of these new runs. It mentioned that they wiped a lot due to OOM but that she thought they had actually covered for some lesser experienced players. No offense to the other blogger but those statements are a contradiction.

The healer’s mana is everyone responsibility

There is a lot of damage in these runs. LOTS of it… however, a huge proportion of it is avoidable. It is up to every single person in the run to do their part in avoiding it. Anything less and you get OOM heals and a graveyard run. These new runs will require everyone to learn all the little tricks of their class that they never had to learn before. Everyone should recite this mantra, ‘there is ALWAYS something more that I PERSONALLY can do to make the run better’.

Breaking the habit

I have now done every run on non-heroic and many of them several times. I have done all my runs with good players. They were mostly long time players with alts and varied experience. But even running with high class players I STILL see things they are not doing or not doing well enough. For example there are lots of things mobs do to us that are interruptible casts but very few people are interrupting them. The attitude of ‘just DPS as hard as you can’ is very very hard to shake. I know we did not really need CC in the last expansion, but it is much more than that. We needed almost none of the extra tricks DPSers could do and hence no one remembers they have them.

Learning the true meaning of Christmas helping the party

I always found discussions ironic and funny about ‘tanks versus dps’ or when people were whining about DPS not getting respect. I lost count of how many times some mage would say something like, ‘I do more than just dps, when at add comes after the healer I frost nova it and blink away.’ I just wanted to pound my head on the table and shout ‘That is not helping!’ I didn’t usually because it took too long to explain the reasons why that was a bad idea.

There are things DPS can do to help. Lots of things. Very few dps seem to know what they are or when to use them or how. This is not surprising. We have not really needed those tricks. How many druids here know where your hibernate button is and that it works on dragonkin? Just yesterday a VERY solid kingslayer boomkin had to go find it in her spell book because she had never used it. How many hunters here know that distracting shot is a ‘forced attack’ and works VERY well with frost trap to CC stuff by pulling it out of the melee? A couple runs back I taught that trick to an outstanding hunter that had played one since vanilla beta. This is not to toot my horn. I only know a few tricks, mostly from classes I have played a lot. There are lots out there.

I find myself in runs where over half the classes have spell interrupts or silences but I seem to be the only one using them. I probably missed seeing some of them, but that is not my point. My point is that even very good players need to be racking their brains and burning up the internet for more tricks and tips on what THEY can do to make the fights better. Learn more CC tricks. Dig through your spellbooks for long forgotten abilities and see what they can do. And…

DON’T STAND IN THE FIRE!

As I said above most of the damage is avoidable. Some of it is only BARELY avoidable so you have to move fast. We need to hit ourselves in the head every time we find ourselves doing our rotation while standing in the bad.

Speak up

I have said in the past that more people need to be willing to point out the mistakes of others. I really believe that you don’t learn to play better until something pushes you or someone gives you a tip. I have learned plenty that way and I like to think I have offered a lot of helpful advice that way. And now is truly the time for it. There are so very many things in these instances that need to be pointed out to people. If you see someone doing something wrong please tell them. It is not being a jerk, it is being helpful (if you say it nicely). If someone can’t handle being told not to stand in that stuff then you should not be running with them anyway. And don’t assume because someone is a good player that they don’t have room for improvement.

Listen

This goes for all of us. There are always more tricks to learn and more skills to get. There are always new ways to use the skills we already have. If you think you can do more, ask. If someone makes a suggestion, listen.

Earn it

Some DPS whine that tanks and heals don’t give them enough respect… Time to go earn it. I don’t care what your meter looks like. If you are standing in the flaming whirlwind while not using your interrupts, mitigation moves, stuns, et cetera then trust me, it is not the healer’s fault she has no mana.

Do you die a lot? Maybe swap in a tanking trinket for a mitigation cooldown. Or grind some first aid. If the healer is leaving your health low he might have decided you are too expensive and expendable to heal up. So pop a bandage and a potion and help him out. Above all you should be focusing on getting your skill at avoiding damage up. In fact you should be focusing on that concept more than you focus on getting better gear.

Now tanks and dps say it with me all together, “The healer’s mana is my responsibility.” Put it on a post-it note and stick it to your screen. Tattoo it on the back of your mouse hand. Learn it, know it, love it.

Read Full Post »

One of the best things about being a resto druid – other than tree form, awesome hots, and the general coolness of it all – is the rest of the blogosphere of resto druids. Seriously some of the best, most talented bloggers out there are resto druids.

For instance, are you wondering about gear for getting ready to raid in Cataclysm?  Lissana can help you out. So can Naora and Maedred and Angelya

Resto druiding in Cataclysm in general? Start with Lissana (Currently aimed at level 80s in 4.0.3a, she’ll update to 85 shortly) or her Cata Leveling Guide if you want to level in your offspec (because tree punches don’t always cut it). Keeva’s Guide will be around soon and will be well worth the wait, believe me. Bookmark it now if you haven’t.

What professions you should think about? Keeva’s got you covered.

Healing in general? Lissana’s always a good place to start. A very insightful post from Cannot Be Tamed compares heals across all 5 Healing specs – highly recommended reading, just to really understand your partners in heals, if nothing else. And, to toot my own horn, my old posts on Triage and staying calm are more relevant now than when I first wrote them. And Reversion post about understanding the “shape” of a fight’s damage, while designed for tanks, has a lot that healers should know, too.

So, yeah. All those links are written by people with resto druid main or off specs. What can I say? Clearly the true spec for bloggers must be Tree.

After all, we all communicate electronically, saving lots of paper, and hence, trees.

Save the Trees!

Read Full Post »

I love long weekends. Seriously love them. They give me time to play WoW and also do other things I love (cook elaborate turkey-based feasts, work on NaNoWriMo, watch the toddler tease the kittens, check out the Playstation Move Gladiator Combat game [ow, stiff arms today!]). Mostly play WoW though.

This was definitely a healer-centric weekend for me. From least advanced healer to most:

My Gnome Priest, Elucidate, dinged 80 yesterday. That makes four pairs of 80s for Reversion and me. Three pairs of tank/heals, including one pair that’s tank/heals/heals/tank. Huzzah! We got them enough gear to get into regular TOC and the ICC 5 mans (did anyone else notice they raised the gear requirements on heroics and such?) by raiding the guild vault, buying a piece or two, and crafting a couple ilvl 200 pieces. Then we ran TOC and FOS/POS on regular a few times for some gear. Yeah, it’ll be obsolete but hey, a few pieces will make leveling to 85 easier. And my trinkets were really really bad.

The best bit was, I’d been queueing all day as dps/heals. Halfway through our third TOC I was thinking how easy it was to heal this time. Then I saw a Living Seed on myself. Then I noticed the druid wasn’t showing up on Recount. Ooops. I’d forgotten to check what my role was, and I was supposed to be dpsing! I switched to Shadow, apologized, and dotted the Black Knight to death. Ahem. Ooops.

So she’s disc/shadow. I’m not sure I’m good at disc yet, at least not beyond “bubblebubblebubbleSMITE” but I can keep the party alive most of the time. And PW:Barrier is cool. Too short, but cool. Even if people always run out of it. Sigh.

Divergent, my Holy Pally: this is backwards chronologically but I want to whine about druid heals at the end so, Saturday we did an alts run on ICC and I brought Divergent. I like paladin healing right now. Charging up Holy Power and using either Word of Glory or Light of Dawn feels amazing. With Beacon and my self-healing, I can keep myself and one tank alive with basically no effort. It’s very nice. We went 9/12 with a couple heroics but the group wasn’t our normal one, we had alts and some guildies who don’t really run with us and while it was fun I didn’t feel like we made as much progress as we usually do. Still, I like having the pally heals available.

Analogue the Druid. Oh, my. Friday night’s ICC we extended a lockout that had just Sindy and LK. Try as I might I could only get 9 guildies in (turkey casualties were high this weekend) so we ended up bringing in a friend of one raider as a third healer. So our heals setup was druid, paladin, disc priest. I thought we were in trouble when the other healer observed that the disc priest wasn’t gemmed and enchanted. Oh well; the two of us were well set up.

It took a couple tries to get Sindy down but it always seems to. I don’t know if that fight ever feels really clean. Well, I’m sure it does if you’re really good raiders but ours always feel chaotic.

Then we went up to Arthas. Reversion explained the fight, we got into position, I prepared for the usual slowly progressing wipes. I was confident in our ability to get him down though. I mean, we had most of our normal raid, the dps looked fine, the heals were fine…

It was a nightmare.

Infests were killing us. I’m not going to assign blame there: all three of us could have done better. The disc priest could have pre-bubbled us, but he wasn’t running any raid frame addons (sigh. And insisted he didn’t need to. Sigh.) Multi could have timed his Light of Dawns to have three holy power and go off at just the right second. I could have timed Wild Growth and Swiftmend perfectly. As it was, we were wasting cycles healing Infest victims back up (and, as the disc priest couldn’t freakin’ see the debuffs, since he WASN’T USING RAID FRAMES, he wasn’t helping at all there. Can you see I’m ticked about this one?)

Then we started getting into the transition and I realize that I popped Innervate already and I’m at 17% mana. In transition 1. What the heck? Well, it’s a wipe anyway. I’ll pay more attention.

Next attempt I watch and notice that I can see my mana pool go down every time I cast anything. This should not be. I have a mana pool that makes paladins cry. I end the LK fight with 70% mana. I haven’t worried about mana in a year. What is wrong?

I’d noticed a mana problem on Sindy, and asked the arcane mage to switch to frost so we’d have replenishment. Had she switched back? Nope, there’s replenishment right there. I ask Multi and he’s hurting too.

Wipe after wipe, we’re struggling to handle infests and running out of mana. We’re not even getting into phase 2. I’m starting to tear out my hair: I can heal the infests back up, but if I do, I won’t have any mana for later in the fight. As we’re buffing up from a wipe, we discuss strategies. Multi pulls out some flasks of pure mojo. I take one, and then look at my stats.

Oh. There’s the problem. I’m regenerating 600 mana per 5 in combat. Rejuv costs 900 mana. If I can cost 3 rejuv in 5 seconds, that means I’m using three times as much mana as I’m regenerating. Innervate is basically worthless, I get one potion – and they freaking nerfed replenishment; it returns half the mana it used to. Wow. No wonder.

Ok. I understand this is the Cataclysm healing philosophy. And I know the 4.0.3a changes to druids hurt and they may have to change us back. But I realized as I stood there, staring at my stats, that we had probably seen our last LK kill until we were 80. The math just doesn’t work any more.

My mana pool, all buffed up, – I forget what the numbers were this week; I think they were lower than usual. Let’s say 40k. That’s 45 casts of Rejuv. With replenishment and Revitalize, let’s pretend I’m regenning 700 MP. That means if I do my usual Rejuv spam, I’ll be OOM in…. let’s see. Math. If I cast 3 Rejuv in 5 seconds, not counting mana gains I would go OOM in 75 seconds. However in that time I’ve regenned 10,500 mana. That’s another 12 Rejuvs. So there’s another 20 seconds. Say I popped innervate and a mana pot in there, and be generous and say that buys me another 45 seconds.

Total: 140 seconds. 2 minutes 20 seconds. Or, Transition 1 of LK.

(Math not intended to be theorycrafting, just envelope calculations like I did in my head standing there on the platform)

So don’t rejuv spam. But how am I supposed to get everyone over 90% health every time Infest ticks?

That is what makes me angry. Not what I might or might not be able to do at 85. That’s weeks away. I care about today, about those last chances to down the Lich King,the Kingslayer title for some of my friends, the fun I can salvage at the end of an expansion. I have faith that if the numbers are really bad, Blizzard will fix them not long into Cataclysm. But right now, I feel like they cut my legs out from under me. They gave me the new healing model while I’m still trying to play encounters designed for the old model, and it just doesn’t work any more. Spout your lines about wanting us to use all the tools in our toolbox, Blizzard, but sometimes that nail really is a nail, and darn it, I want my hammer.

Anyway. I’m not really angry. I obviously had a lot of fun this weekend. I just wish I thought this next Friday, which hopefully will be our last ten man night before Cataclysm, will go better than my last attempt to raid on my druid. I think we’ll just work on the Lich King and see if we can kill him one last time. I’ll adapt my strategies, we’ll work even more closely as a team and we’ll see what happens.

Read Full Post »

Holy Shock, Batman!

So this weekend we transferred my paladin and Rev’s spare druid over to our new home on Winterhoof. I pulled the paladin out and started figuring things out. We were planning to do an alt raid that night and I needed to get either my tank set or my holy set back up.

I decided to start with the tank set. I grabbed a belt, added some new gems, and queued up for heroics. I’d gone ahead and re-specced her already so I thought I was ready. It had been a while but paladin tanking had always been fun, I’d pulled 3k+ dps while holding aggro like a pro. No problem. Right?

Ouch. After an instance run where I struggled to pull more than 900 dps, couldn’t keep anything on me to save my life and was absolutely lost as to what I was doing, I went and read more details. Ok… so either Crusader Strike or Hammer of the Righteous, but not both. Excorcism Consecration (edit: brain fart. Thanks for the comments) maybe but it’s not as good as it was. And Holy Wrath is better than before. Let’s try again.

Three hours later I was still miserable. Tanking just wasn’t fun any more. With reluctance I switched spec and gear. I stared at my blank talents, going “uh….” and then went over to Blessing of Kings and grabbed a spec and plugged it in to my own talents. Then I replaced my 219 shield with a ilvl 270 pvp shield, queued as healer, and we’re off.

Ok… so. Beacon still works, just not as much. And Holy Shock gives me holy power. And Word of Glory is a nice heal when I’ve got enough HoPo. And heals-with-a-cast-time on my beacon target generate HoPo… hmm. I can do this. No Sacred Shield but that one was always dumb anyway. And Holy Crap I Can Shoot Lasers From My Hands.

Wait… this is FUN! Whoa!

See, I never really like paladin healing before. It felt like a one-note pony: beacon the tank, roll flash of light or holy light. Meh. And in 5 mans I just didn’t have the tools I really needed to keep people alive.

Now I have big heals, little heals, fast heals, slow heals, instant heals, auto-self-heals, auto-Beacon-heals, and an AOE. Seriously? It’s like being a druid! I have choices and have to change my priorities second by second.

One guess what spec I took to that raid! I had a blast there, healing in a team with another pally and a shaman. Way too much fun. I think I’ll keep this holy spec… but I may have to switch from prot to ret.

Or a dual-Holy-build. Some of those other talents look fun.

Read Full Post »

There’s been some brouhaha in the blogosphere recently about the role of DPS classes in 5 mans. Are they just supposed to obediently follow the tank, should they be given more consideration, does the healer regard them as nothing more than useless mana-sinks? Really it’s the sort of thing I don’t think we’re going to be talking about any more once the expansion hits, at least not for a year or so, because we’re resetting the gear curve and things are going to be hard again.

That’s my theory, see: ease of content is promoting an attitude of “I can do it all myself, what do I need these other four losers for?” even in basically decent players. How many stories have you heard of a tank-and-healer out-dpsing the three dpsers – and laughing at them? Or the hunter who did 12k, pulled the boss off on himself, but got the pet to tank it so it was fine?

In less than a month we’ll be back to the old dance, where everyone had to know his part and follow it. But for now, here’s some thoughts. First, from my uber-geared-healer side: Shut up and follow the tank. That’s what I’m doing. Maybe he’s nuts and pulling three groups at once (Hi Reversion love) or takes forever to pull just one, or is going some really non standard way – I once had a tank go RIGHT in Nexus, can you believe it?

But he is standing between me and nasty big things with teeth and curses and I will let him do that. If you stick near us, you’ll get heals. I throw them at anyone who is in range. If you aren’t? If you’re on your own optimal path, or see some side path you think needs exploring? Don’t expect me with you. This is for your own good.

No, really. See, when you pull more than you can handle, you’ll die. If I’m there, maybe I can keep you alive. Maybe I can’t. Either way the mobs are going to attack me too. Then I die. Then we have a long run back.

However, if you die nicely where you are, maybe the tank and I will come and rez your butt.  Heck, I might even innervate you if you’re a mana using class. I won’t need that spell for myself until Cataclysm.

See, there’s only one of me. Even if I could guaranteed keep you and me alive – what happens to the tank in the meantime? Or the other two dpsers? There’s four of you. Assuming you all come into the instance and run in different directions, I can only be with one of you at a time.

Now, the other side of things. This weekend I ran a Deadmines on my level 20 hunter alt. She’s heirloomed up, she has two different pets to choose from, she kills things so fast it ain’t funny. I get a group: there’s a priest healing and a druid tanking. There’s also a paladin and a shaman.

The druid goes tearing along like you expect. Then he gets to the room with the first boss. Somehow everything gets pulled at once (no it wasn’t me doing it) and he dies. I switch my pet to growling, keep aggro off the healer, the healer keeps us up, we finish, we rez the tank, who says something really dismissive to the healer. And then the tank rolls Need on the cloth gloves that just dropped, that the priest rolled on.

The priest asks the druid not to roll on intellect cloth. The druid says, and I kid you not, “I use mana too”. And then again criticizes the priest’s healing.

I chime in to say that intellect is spellpower, now, and a tank doesn’t need it. I get told to “shut up huntard” and asked whether I know how to druid tank. I refuse to play this epeen-waving game and we continue.

The druid now is in cat form. He stays in cat form the rest of the instance. The paladin throws Righteous Fury up and soaks a lot of aggro, I keep my pet ready to growl things off me if I can. However, I’m doing so much damage that basically every mob runs over and beats on me.

The healer does an amazing job and I don’t die, but my damage is now terrible because, well, I’m a hunter and all these things won’t stay at range. So now the tank starts mocking me. I point out how if he was doing his job I could do mine. “Learn 2 hunter” is his reply.

What exactly should I do? Feign Death? Don’t have it. Freezing trap? Don’t have it. Misdirect? Don’t have it. Disengage? Don’t have it.

At some point we finally get out of combat long enough that the priest is able to initiate a vote kick, reason “ninjaing loot”. I vote yes. The vote fails.

“Stop being loot whores” is what one of the other two dps say. I sigh.  The group continues.

This is the incredible thing to me. The healer is being mocked, when his skills are actually above average. He’s not getting most of his loot. He’s dealing with inconsiderate, jerkish people. Me? I would have sat down and not gone any farther, or let the tank die, or something. But he didn’t.

As a low level dpser, I had two choices: drop group or keep putting up with this crap. I stayed. Maybe I should have dropped  but at that point I was rolling need on spell drops so I could give them to the priest. It felt like I’d be abandoning a comrade in a pit of suck to leave now. So I shut up and followed the tank.

On thinking about it, I am depressed but think it was still the best choice. It was that or leave, and it didn’t really violate my principles enough for me to leave in a snit. What I didn’t do was head off on my own and kill something I’d decided needed killing, because that wasn’t my job and because that would have made it harder for the healer, who at that point was the only person in the instance I thought was innocent of blame. Even though the tank was wrong and he sucked, I could only have made the situation worse by independent action, not better.

But I don’t think I’m going into lowbie dungeons without at least Reversion again. Two of us makes a powerful force against stupidity.

Still, I think all of us need to steal a motto from somewhere else. I’d suggest “Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You”, but man, that  one gets harder all the time. Maybe “First, Do No Harm” would work?

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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…

Read Full Post »

I figured I was about as ready as anyone, coming up on 4.0.1. I’d read Lissana’s guide, Keeva’s guide, and about a thousand other sources. I knew what gear changes I’d need, what spells to re-map, and of course, what mastery was going to do for me.

What I didn’t know was how things were going to feel. Would I feel like the competent protector-of-health-bars that I did pre-patch? When I went into ICC, would I be contributing or a drag on the other healers?

After the patch I logged in, got my interface working (and was once again thankful for Vuhdo; the patch day update worked flawlessly) and assessed things. Three pieces of cloth gear that needed to go. The belt was easy, the bracers more of a challenge – I’ve had terrible bracer luck – and the hat?  My precious ilvl 277 cloth hat that I’d gotten from a Heroic Gunship on 25? What was I supposed to do there? Well, I’d leave it for later.

The first time I tried to heal anything, I got Reversion to queue up with me. We got Oculus – and I crashed, restarted, crashed again, restarted, crashed  – finally gave up and went away. (Interestingly, Reversion and Karius went on to three man Oculus with some random DPSer. Apparently the healer was not necessary after all. And more interesting, when I logged in the next day, I was awarded Justice points for completing that place. Hmm).

Finally Saturday I got into some heroics. They went fine. I could keep people alive. Then, a guildie was getting a Ruby Sanctum attempt together. Well, I’d never been, so…

Wow, that place hits hard. We wiped a lot, but finally downed the three small bosses, and then died to Halion over and over again. Finally we called it. Right about then I was getting whispers from our raid leader, asking what I was doing that night. Well, nothing, but…

So he was in a regularly-run cross-group 25 man ICC that needed a tree healer. And since our Sunday group had a lockout where we’d cleared to LK, I could go 11/12 with the other group and not worry… probably. Did I want to come?

Well, sure. Let’s give it a try.

So there I was, and there we were. Two trees, two shaman, and a priest. A third resto druid who didn’t read the patch notes was locked out until Rotface. “We’ll five heal this” the raid leader decided. Then “And we’ll take Marrowgar on heroic”.

Gulp. I whisper my guildie, who promises to send me strats for any heroics, and we’re off. For the first trash fights, I’m trying hard to use what I think my “new” rotation should be: LB one tank, WG off cooldown, Swiftmend someone in melee to proc Efflorescence, and spot heal with Regrowth. Problem is, nobody’s staying damaged long enough for Regrowth to actually hit! By the time I’m done casting, someone else has healed. So I start dropping Rejuvs. The instant small heal is usually enough to get them fully up.

I sneak a glance at the meters. Holy cow! The Other Druid is doing 30% of the healing, I’m doing 20. Yeah, so the priest is a disc priest and Recount is bad at seeing shields… and we’re topping the overhealing meters too… but seriously, I’m feeling overpowered. The Other Druid’s rotation is almost entirely Rejuv and WG. I think I’m using Swiftmend more. Recount isn’t giving me any feel for my Efflorescence – it’s just not showing up at all.

So on Marrowgar, I go to the old strategy, Rejuvs everywhere, WG, and this time I use Swiftmend on myself because I’m good at standing in the knot of people, and Efflorescence can do its best.

Well, first time, we wipe.  I stupidly ran into a flame and didn’t get out in time, everyone was sloppy… yeah. We come back and try it again. I pop tree on the second bonestorm and run around, feeling immensely powerful and amazing. Marrowgar dies. Wow.

We proceed to steamroll the place. Well, there are some wipes on some of the heroic modes (We set Lootship, Rotface, BQL and I think Festergut to heroic. This group was not playing around). I’m going to ignore the specificc fights and focus on the details:

Your Old Rotation Still Works

With caveats: Lifebloom on only one person at a time, Regrowth is fast and Nourish is slow. Don’t bother using Nourish, or Healing Touch. Use Swiftmend, but try to use it on tanks/melee. Rejuv-spam is both possible and profitable. Note that this is in ICC, at level 80, with mana pools that don’t twitch. Once we have mana problems, it’s something else

Your New Shinies are New and Shiny

Efflorescence, I love you. You’re tied to my beloved Swiftmend, you are pretty and green and leafy. I just hope the DPS knows the difference between you and Deathwhisper’s DND.

Fast Regrowth, you sure pack a punch. I might miss my old buddy, Slow Keep The Tank Happy Regrowth, but your makeover was pretty nice and I welcome you to a more prominent mouse button.

Tranquility – I’ve always sort of loved you but previously we had to keep our friendship secret so my friends didn’t mock you. Sorry I specced away from the faster cooldown when I started raiding, but you just weren’t what I needed for cutting-edge content. Now that you’ll heal the people who actually need it? I think we’re going to spend a lot more time together.

Tree Form… I miss seeing you all the time. I think what we had was good. I hate this new long-distance relationship, but man, when you do visit, you make up for lost time! I’m sad and frantic and people are about to die and then suddenly it’s – “Oh, hi Tree! Missed you! Ok, while I’m running around like crazy, let’s Wild Growth like, the whole raid, and throw some instant cast Regrowths at the same time. K? K!”  I promise to get the glyph as soon as it’s available – sure, some druids are excited about switching for your bigger and more colorful cousin but my heart belongs to Wilted Broccoli.

I Still Feel Like A Druid

It’s still about the HOTs. I still need Vuhdo to show me all my little hot timers, I still use the same triage system.  “Druids take care of the ranged” is still an instruction I can handle. I love it. I was so worried about my beloved class – and at 85, who knows? But today at least, I still feel right.

 

This has gotten long enough, so I’ll save my “when will Tree Form save your butt” post for another time. Oh, and remember that epic cloth hat I was griping about having to replace at the start of this post? The 25 man I ran with did Rotface on heroic and I got the leather equivalent of that hat – ilvl 277 and just right for a resto druid. So then I grabbed the frost badge belt and a pair of nice pvp bracers, since I have lots of honor lying around, and by Sunday’s Lich King downing I was all leather all the time. 5% extra intellect is nothing to sneeze at.

And the spec I’m rocking is a little weird – I skip Nature’s Swiftness, actually, because I just wasn’t using that at all. When I start leveling I’ll probably go back and do something different again , but right now I wanted as many of the direct increases to healing talents as I could. Still, loving it!


Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.