Exit Maloriak, Enter Chimaeron

Tuesday’s raid ended with us wiping at 1% on Maloriak, mostly due to two disconnects (one by a healer, one by a DPS) and a lack of Remedy dispels.

On our second attempt on Thursday, we kicked that guy’s ass.

And then, it was time to face Chimaeron.

It’s sort of like the worst parts of heroic Anub’arak, plus the insanity of healing the ENTIRE raid to full like with Gluth, in Naxx.

I tend to sort of “adopt” a fight, each instance or tier, that I just *KNOW*. I mean, I know all the fights, but there’s usually one that sticks out for me that I know every single detail about. It was Sindragosa in ICC, it was Anub’arak in TOGC (that damn tank who insisted on solo-tanking those adds… MAN, that still pisses me off!), it was probably Hodir in Ulduar, it was… maybe Heigan? Or Loatheb in T7.

I have a feeling that Chimaeron will be That Fight for me in T11, or at least in Blackwing Descent.

After the first wipe, I asked my healers how they felt.

Me: Okay, how’s it feeling for everyone? hahaha
Disc priest: FML
Me: Apart from panic inducing?
Resto druid: I need a pancake
Disc priest: All I use is GHeal
Disc priest: And I’m sad

15 attempts, we got from “oh god FML” to getting the boss to 40%. Not easy. The worst part is when he casts Massacre and there goes the Bile-o-Tron. I just don’t know if we have the healing, to be honest. Not a knock against my healers, but maybe we need more time before worrying about him? I don’t know. Maybe we’re getting to the point where the class really is making a difference. Maybe resto druids just aren’t cut out for this fight, maybe I should stack priests. I’m not even sure. It’s going to be fun to do research on that fight over the next few days.

Sunday, it’s back to Bastion to knock out Halfus and Valiona & Theralion again, with any luck. And maybe even pull Council, if we’re lucky? I should probably put up info on that fight before Sunday. (read: I should actually look at the fight myself before Sunday.)

I’m seriously proud of the Maloriak improvement between Tuesday and Thursday. There was some outstanding work by everyone on that fight. And some kick-ass healing on Chimaeron, don’t get me wrong. Just not quite enough.

In other news, we’re definitely looking for a resto shaman — one who will drop their Mana Tide when assigned, unlike the one we currently have. ;D — so please do app if you’re around 338 ilvl equipped in your resto gear, have a desire to push content and be challenged and don’t mind a holy paladin as your healing lead. Oh, and can make our raids! We’re swapping people around and are pretty good at it, so you might not be in for every single fight ever, but you should be in fairly often, depending on your level of play, of course.

Apply today, shammies!

(Fad, Fug, I miss you both desperately!)

Q&A Delayed

The Q&A of the week is being pushed back by a week due to lack of Qs. Seriously, only 59 different search terms over the last week. Hello, summer slump. How are you?

In lieu of my typical Q&A, here are a couple of nifty posts I’ve read in the last week or so.

1) Dealing with the Deplorable Drape by Codi at Moar HPS! Great post about all the different options you have before you go wasting 50 Emblems of Frost on the Drape of the Violet Tower.

2) Easy to Acquire Haste Gear by Ophelie at Bossy Pally. Great post, well-researched, about where to find yourself some haste. (I disagree about the Ony cloak vs. the Drape of the Violet tower, but, as Codi says in her post, it’s okay if it’s used responsibly.)

3) A Light Show by Cassandri at HoTs & DoTs. I’ve been that hunter. I’ve been that shaman. This made me laugh. I’d already read it before, but ecclesiasticaldiscipline linked to it today and I laughed my ass off again.

Short post, I know. Kind of rare. Enjoy it. ;)

Teaching a New Paladin

One of the things I like most about my blog is that I have the opportunity to inform people of my playstyle and commonly-accepted best practices for the holy paladin. And I don’t have to sit down with them and go “okay, so you need to do X, Y and Z and then don’t forget about A and B and C”. I don’t have to look at their parses, don’t have to talk to them on vent, don’t even have to look at their armories unless I feel like it.

It’s nice. It’s a little distant and I get to remain sane, but I still get to help out people who genuinely seem to want to learn.

Discouraged by all the failadins out there, my current GM (for whom my adoration clearly knows no bounds) has decided to level up a paladin for the express purposes of going holy.  She recognizes we can really use another holy paladin for certain fights (heroic Sindragosa, heroic Lich King, heroic Halion) and has decided to roll a paladin, level it to 80 and heal for the guild on this new paladin. She’s continuing to recruit, mind you (WTB holy paladin! And a disc priest, actually. Email me at kurn [at] apotheosis-now [dot] com for details if you’re interested.), but she’s working at the paladin.

It’s not like she doesn’t know how to heal; she’s a brilliant resto shaman. (Fadorable, I’d love to see you both in a heal-off in equal gear!) I think that she’s actually the best class to make an easy switch to a holy paladin — she’s already used to not being able to cast and run (beyond the one instant — Riptide for her, Holy Shock for us) and the gear is similar in many ways. I think she’ll make an awesome holy paladin if we don’t find a second by the time she’s raid-ready.

However, I find myself TOTALLY thrilled at the prospect of teaching my GM the ins and outs of holy paladining. Like, THRILLED. I don’t know why, but I am eagerly anticipating it. To the point where I’ve informed her I will be her pocket tank for her heroics when she hits 80. Maybe it’s because I know she’s already an awesome healer and I think she’ll pick up on the nuances quickly. Maybe it’s because I know that I can mold her into another me. Maybe it’s because I HAVE missed some of this hands-on stuff. I used to be the poor schmoe who would talk to the raiders about X, Y and Z issues, for the most part.

I think it’ll be fun to run around as a relatively geared tank. A huge bonus of this guild is that you get offspec gear for free, so I’ve been saving my Emblems of Frost and already have my 264 helm and shoulders for prot. Looking at chest and gloves next and then probably Pillars of Might and maybe the crafted boots too. So really, given my leetness as a tank (ahahahaha) and the fact that I’ll be pretty geared, I’m fairly certain I’ll be able to tank and watch for her to keep up Sacred Shield, Beacon, etc, and offer tips and tricks and still not die, even if things go south.

In other news, the character profile linked up in the sidebar has been updated since I got my 277 T10 helm. 990 haste unbuffed? Why yes, thank you, that’ll do nicely. ;)

Healing Classes and History

(or, Why the Hell do I Have All Four Healing Classes??!?!)

Yep. It’s true. I finally have all four healing classes at max level. I’m still not sure why, exactly, but I do. As such, I feel the need to discuss some of the differences and such between them. This isn’t going to be a direct comparison between all the four classes and five specs, but more my own history and views on each. I feel that I’ve spent a lot of time recently giving out information, which I love to do, but haven’t spent a ton of time on me/my classes/my history, despite the whole “I hate my guild” post last week. So this is a fair amount of rambling about my history with my healers in the game. You’ve been warned. ;)

Continue reading “Healing Classes and History”

Updates ahoy!

So, a variety of updates tonight/this morning.

1) Saurfang heroic down (one-shotted!), bringing our totals to 7/12 hardmodes down. Remaining are Deathwhisper, Festergut, Putricide, Sindragosa and Lich King.

Pro tip: 3 holy paladins on Marks of the Fallen Champion on heroic Saurfang = win.

2) I still hate heroic Dreamwalker, despite the fact we one-shot the encounter on our second week of attempts on her (we got her on the 4th last reset). I didn’t miss a portal this time (until the last one; I should have gone in, but I stayed out) but I got an orb like, 6 seconds before we dropped out, sadly, so my buff fell off. And then I got an orb ninjaed from me! I TOLD them all to wait for people inside, but noooo. ;)

3) The healing lead-type situation has gotten moderately better. My RL friend the resto druid SHOULD, with any luck at all, be back next week. Her RL issues have lessened (though work picked up, but should be settling down again soon) so I’m totally ready to give her the healers back. In the meantime, I’ve been doing healing since she’s been gone, basically, which is something like a month (full-time) and a few raids before that.

The caster officer/raid leader (shadow priest who goes disc for us on occasion) and I have a good rapport, really, so we’ve talked a LOT about healing and healers. He’s been my main contact with the officers, playing messenger boy between me and the tanks. Until this week.

The guild has a funny structure. Apparently those who are “officers” don’t have access to officer chat. Their “officer” discussions take place in a custom chat channel.

This channel is one that the raid leader asked me to join this week. Hooray. I’ve been in there since Sunday and it’s a little intimidating to be in there with the MT/guild leader who yells at people, the former GM who plays casually these days and others. At least the hunter/physical DPS officer is there. She’s pretty awesome and is basically my only real “friend” in the guild besides my friend the druid.

I have to say that the disconnect between the MT’s MT personality and his officer-chat personality is staggering. He can be yelling at people in raid and then discussing a new restaurant he wants to check out at the same time in the “officer” channel.

Anyways, the situation that had me questioning people’s opinions of me has been pretty much settled. I’m the stand-in healing lead, period. And they (mostly!) listen to me. I can see this being a good thing if my RL friend needs a night off. “Kurn,” she could say (or, you know, use my real name), “can you do healing tonight? I need to get to bed early.” It would be nice to do it occasionally. Just not all the time.

4) The problems I’m encountering now while leading the healers through heroic encounters (FML, I hate these things!) is that the healers have very little sense of cohesion, no team identity. And no wonder. With one exception, I’m the most senior of the current, active healers and I just joined in September.

We’re apping two holy paladins at the moment, two resto druids, three priests (all disc/holy dual specs) and basically two resto shammies. I’m struggling to find room for them all in the raids, particularly as I’m only being given six spots in the vast majority of encounters. Granted, that should be plenty, but I wish I could keep my disc priest AND a holy priest AND two resto shammies AND two holy paladins AND a resto druid all at once. But I can’t. So the shammies get swapped around a lot. The priests have a very minimal rotation, largely because the one who’s primarily holy is just THAT GOOD and I like the disc very much, he’s been with us longest of all the priests. I’m swapping the two holy paladins around whenever I can. I had T in with us for Marrowgar (H), Deathwhisper (R), Airship (H), then brought in L for Saurfang (H) and kept all of us intact through Princes. Then I swapped out T and kept L for BQL. Then brought T back in for Dreamwalker.

Whew. So personnel and cohesion is a bit of a challenge these days. Anyone have any fun team-building exercises that are doable on a forum? I really just want the healers to get to know each other better so we can learn to rely on each other more.

5) As previously mentioned, I’ve been doing arenas with my brother (survival hunter) and our buddy Majik (unholy DK).

a) Teams with names like “u ju we ez bake oven” should be taken to the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. I’m not Jewish, none of my family members were directly affected by the Holocaust, but the very fact that people think this is an acceptable arena team name makes me sick to my stomach and makes me wish that I stuck to things like Space Quest. Freaking MMOs. I hate people. And yes, I report each and every offensive arena team name I see. :P

b) Speaking of hating people, I hate warlocks. Fear, fear, fear, fear, curse of tongues, unstable affliction, shadowfury, felhunter and/or succubus, fear, fear, fear, fear, dead. Know what I need resilience to do? Reduce the amount of time I spend running around like a moron being feared.

c) Oh, let us not forget freaking druids. Cyclone, regrowth, cyclone, lifebloom, cyclone, lifebloom, cyclone, rejuvenation, travel form, lifebloom blooms, druid is at full health and full mana again. And then continues to cyclone me. UGH. (R, you have never cycloned me. Thus, you are immune to my hate.)

d) And then there are priests. Euphie, Kaleri, you know I love you, but bloody hell, do I hate priests. If there is a sound out there that I hate more than any in all of World of Warcraft (yes, even over Jaina’s whining tones in Hyjal!), it is the sound of Mana Burn. It strikes fear and dread into my poor heart. Psychic Scream is no fun, either.

e) Surprisingly, we nearly got to 1300 rating pretty easily. We even had 9 wins in a row at one point. But we fell short and have since tanked our 3v3 rating back down to 1226 or so. It seems like every game we win gives us 3-7 points and every game we lose drops us 10-20. Pray tell, how the hell are we supposed to beat a team with a holy paladin, a disc priest and an arms warrior? It would seem logical to take out the warrior, but without pressure on a healer, there’s no way to outdamage two healers healing him. So you go for the squishy? Sure. But then I’m stuck kiting the stupid warrior around while the paladin bubbles, heals to full, judges my team’s DPS to get mana back and keeps the damn priest alive.

What about the resto druid and double rogue team? How to beat THAT?

f) And don’t get me started on how seriously OP an elemental shaman is in an arena. Good GOD, does Lava Burst hurt!!!

6) Class previews? Cataclysm beta has to be incoming. Having said THAT, of course everyone else’s preview is this week and the paladins have to wait ’till next. Of course. I’m expecting changes drastic enough to make me want to switch raiding toons. I will say this, though — I love the idea of “healing wave” and “heal” as the middle spells for shammies and priests. It’s exactly what *I* want for a paladin. So I’m envisioning Flash of Light, Holy Light and Greater Holy Light. Or something like that. They really can’t slap “divine” on too many more spell names or abilities for paladins, can they? Maybe FoL, Divine Light (medium spell) and Holy Light (for the big one)? I guess we’ll see.

The shammy and priest changes seem interesting. Not sure how to feel about Healing Rain, but HEY EUPHIE! Guess what spell you’re going to use on ME all the damn time?! THAT’S RIGHT, LEAP OF FAITH, BABY. AHAHAHA!

I used to tell my raiders, back in the day “Look. I can’t move you out of the fire on Archimonde. I really wish I could. But I can’t. So please move out of the fire. Please.”

But in Cataclysm, you will be able to.

Hilarious!

Power Word: Barrier seems nifty, too.

I’m nervous as hell about the hunter changes, by the way. My inner huntard is cringing, waiting for the nerfbat smackdown. AND, BY GOLLY, I WILL MISS MY MANA BAR.

I should end this post. My ideas are starting to degrade into OMGCAPS-like flickers of thought.

So that’s what’s new with me.

Kurn's Q&A #12

I really relish my Tuesdays off. I get to watch Lost and the newly-returned V and get to do WoW stuff that *I* want to do. Which includes writing on the ol’ blog. :)

1) best way to heal heroic falric with a shammy

Well, I don’t know if it’s the best way, but this is how I do it.

The real problem with Falric is the Defiling Horror for two reasons. The first is because it’s a horror effect, so Tremor Totem does nothing. The second is because everyone takes 16k damage. So what I do is endeavour to keep everyone topped up as close to max as possible before he casts the horror.

To recover from it, I cast Riptide on the tank and, using my hasted Healing Waves from Tidal Waves, I heal myself and a caster. Then I’ll Chain Heal off the Riptided tank, which will hopefully hit the tank and 2 melee. Then I’ll RT/HW anyone else who still needs health. Total time, with my crappy haste (400 haste + Wrath of Air) is about 8-9 seconds. I usually have enough time to get everyone to full, or close to it.

Apart from that, try to stay close together and bunched up for Chain Heal to get the maximum use possible from it.

2) choker of filthy diamonds or soulcleave pendant

Choker of Filthy Diamonds has more haste and mp5. Soulcleave Pendant has more crit. I definitely prefer the Choker for a holy paladin or possibly a resto shammy and likely a resto druid, since the nerf to Gift of the Earthmother, leaving the crit to priests. Maybe? I’m not sure how crit is for a holy priest these days, but I know crit is still awesome for a disc priest.

However, the Choker is off Rotface and the Pendant is off Saurfang. Really depends how far you’re getting into 10-man ICC, I think.

3) divine plea timer

Okay, I’m assuming you want a timer to tell you when Divine Plea is back up. For this, and any other cooldowns, I use OmniCC. It was my first-ever addon, as I recall. And it’s the one addon I cannot play without.

If you were looking for a timer to tell you how much of the 15 seconds your Divine Plea is still up for and such, I recommend Power Auras Classic to monitor if the buff is active on you or not.

4) hos divine shield holy macro wow

I haven’t actually tested this out, but this ought to work:

/cast Divine Shield
/cast [@target] Hand of Sacrifice
/raid Hand of Sacrifice is up!
/in 10 /raid Hand of Sacrifice is done!

That’s four lines and should work with two button clicks or presses. I highly recommend that your shield come FIRST in the macro, lest you be ruined in the face by whatever insane damage is hitting your target. Also, your @target could be @focus as well or even this:

[@mouseover,help,nodead]

5) paladin group buffs how to

Oof. Okay. The first thing to know here is what buffs other classes give that are equivalent.

Warriors: Battle Shout is equivalent to unimproved Blessing of Might. Improved Blessing of Might (2/2) requires the warrior to have 5/5 Commanding Presence to be equivalent. That’s in the third tier of the Fury tree. This is not part of a typical warrior build, as I understand it.

Shamans: Mana Spring Totem is equivalent to unimproved Blessing of Wisdom. Improved Blessing of Wisdom (2/2) requires the shaman to have 3/3 Restorative Totems which is the fourth tier of the Restoration tree. However, it leads to Mana Tide Totem which virtually all restoration shammies take.

This is the general order that I, personally, recommend for pally buffs:

Death Knights (DPS): Blessing of Might, Blessing of Kings
Death Knights (tank): Blessing of Kings, Blessing of Might
Druids (bear): Blessing of Kings, Blessing of Might
Druids (kitty): Blessing of Might, Blessing of Kings
Druids (moonkin): Blessing of Kings, Blessing of Wisdom
Druids (trees): Blessing of Kings, Blessing of Wisdom
Hunters (survival/marks): Blessing of Kings, Blessing of Might, Blessing of Wisdom
Hunters (BM): Blessing of Might, Blessing of Kings, Blessing of Wisdom
Mages: Blessing of Kings, Blessing of Wisdom
Paladins (prot): Blessing of Sanctuary, Blessing of Kings, Blessing of Might, Blessing of Wisdom
Paladins (ret): Blessing of Might, Blessing of Kings, Blessing of Wisdom
Paladins (holy): Blessing of Kings, Blessing of Wisdom
Priests: Blessing of Kings, Blessing of Wisdom
Rogues: Blessing of Might, Blessing of Kings
Shaman (enhancement): Blessing of Might, Blessing of Kings, Blessing of Wisdom
Shaman (elemental/resto): Blessing of Kings, Blessing of Wisdom
Warlocks: Blessing of Kings, Blessing of Wisdom
Warriors: Blessings of Kings, Blessing of Might

Of course, if you have a warrior in the group, it’s likely more beneficial to have them pop Battle Shout and you do kings than it is for no kings and your might, even if it’s improved. Same deal for wisdom and mana spring.

Alternately, you can buff everyone with Drums of Forgotten Kings and then give physical DPS might and healers and casters wisdom.

6) dk tanking halls of reflection

Note: I am not a death knight, nor am I a great tank. However, if you’re going to do the LOS method on Falric and Marwyn, just drop Death and Decay and hide around the corner. For any casters or the riflemen, Death Grip is great. For the chase scene, D&D is still awesome to use and you’ll want to Death Grip or Strangulate the Witch Doctors to bring them close if they’re a little far out. Blow your cooldowns when you can, saving Army of the Nub Dead for the second spawn of adds at the fourth wall on the chase scene.

7) list of cuts a purple gem can be cut to

Here’s a list of epic, level 80 purple gems. And here’s the list of rare-quality ones.

8) melee dps toravon guide

Hit boss. Don’t touch Frozen Orbs unless there are basically no ranged. Collect loot.

9) shammy tanking gear 3.3

Okay. You can equip a shield. This does not make you a tank. There is no mail gear out there at level 80 that has any kind of defense on it and very little leather, due to the druid changes. You would basically have to stack resilience. The major problem with shaman tanking, apart from the fact that you’re squishy as all get-out, is that a key to tanking is avoidance, like dodging, blocking and parrying. Your parry talent, Spirit Weapons, also reduces threat. Bad combo.

I don’t advise shaman tanking unless you’re doing it for fun with friends OR your tank on Lady Malande on the Illidari Council in Black Temple DROPS and your resident enhancement shaman thinks quickly, throws on a shield, pops Shamanistic Rage causing your raid leader to shout out over vent “ALL HEALS TO DUPER, ALL HEALS TO DUPER!”, which never had been heard before and never would be heard again. Ever. ;)

10) soul shriek aggro reset

Nope, there’s no aggro reset associated with Soul Shriek, as far as I can tell. It IS, however, a silence. Make sure someone is assigned to cleanse this magic effect off your tanks!

Random Dungeon Storytime!

So last night, after my raid (in which I did awesomely in terms of numbers since I was the only holy paladin in the raid), I did the random heroic on 3.5 toons.

On the paladin, I got Utgarde Pinnacle. Nothing seriously good or bad happened except that an enhancement shammy got flattened by Skadi or whatever his name is and, *while* I’m casting the rez, he’s all “rez plz”.

So I’m like “I was, you know, casting the rez.”

“ty”

And the tank, a gnome DK, was like “U MAD? LOL”

The tank, who was subpar to begin with, got put on ignore after the run. :P

Then poor Kurn got Oculus. >< Not only did I get Oculus, which I desperately was not in the mood for, but the holy paladin healer was a dumbass who clearly does not know how to read chat.

As I do in every random run where there’s one paladin, I hit my Drums of Forgotten Kings macro.

I don’t know. Maybe I should figure out how to actually link the item in the macro. Why? Because after waiting about 15-20 seconds for an acknowledgement or the pally to actually start buffing, neither of which happened, I buffed kings.

The pally, IMMEDIATELY thereafter, started buffing everyone… with 10m kings.

My buffs. Granted, it’s Oculus. And we spend half our time on stupid dragons. But really? Overwriting my 8% kings that has a 30m duration with a 10% kings with 10m? Instead of giving me and the DK and the two feral druids might? Instead of giving him or herself wisdom? And you’ll note there’s Crusader Aura, too. Guess what aura was up THE ENTIRE RUN? That’s right. Crusader Aura.

The paladin met my ignore list right after the run.

Then the shammy healed… Utgarde Pinnacle. Yet again, my tank was a gnome death knight. Apart from no one initially picking up the harpoons, and the mage AND warlock pets pulling unwanted mobs on TWO separate occasions (I let the mage die because of it), it went fairly smoothly.

At this point, I was exhausted and wanted, desperately, to go to bed. But just one more random on my mage for the Emblems of Frost, right? Couldn’t be too bad, right?

Wrong.

I get Halls of Lightning. Eh, better than Halls of Stone, I reason. So I buff everyone, put down a table, put Focus Magic on the resto shammy and we’re off.

We do the first pull and the tank runs down to the second pull and I start casting Blizzard.

“don’t forget to flamestrike and then downrank flamestrike” the resto shammy whispers to me.

“I don’t really use Flamestrike,” I reply.

“you should” he says.

Now hold the phone, here. I’m 57/3/11. That’s an Arcane build. Near as I can figure, along with WoWWiki, talents which improve Flamestrike’s damage are:

Ignite, which I don’t have

Critical Mass, which I don’t have

Fire Power, which I don’t have

Pyromaniac, which I don’t have

So is there any reason for me to cast not one, but two ranks of Flamestrike with 0 fire talents benefitting it when I can just cast Blizzard? Blizzard has, near as I can figure, three talents in the Frost tree that directly benefit it, and only two of them benefit its damage. Improved Blizzard doesn’t increase damage, but adds a chill to it. Piercing Ice would give me 6% more damage to Blizzard and Arctic Winds (which I can’t seem to link to from the talent name, for some reason, but is at http://www.wowhead.com/?spell=31678 ) would give me 5% more damage to Blizzard.

Ignite gives me 40% more damage if I crit, I’d get 6% more chance to crit from Critical Mass, I’d do 10% more damage from Fire Power and 3% more chance to crit from Pyromaniac. So shouldn’t I just cast Blizzard? I miss out on 11% damage from Frost talents vs. 10% damage from Fire talents, but I miss out on Ignite and the extra crit chance to help proc Ignite if I cast Flamestrike.

Basically, is it just me, or did the resto shammy think I was a FFB mage?

Since I hadn’t (and still haven’t fully) done my research, I just stopped responding, but he kept it up. I told him that I was just playing to have fun, get my badges. “but thats why your last” he said. I checked my recount. I was, indeed, doing less damage than the rest of the DPS. But really, this is my 4th 80, who has been 80 for less than a month. Do I really care?

“Dude,” I responded, “this is my 4th 80. I really, REALLY don’t care.”

Shortly thereafter, we had a death in the group. One of the DPS died on a pack pre-first boss. Well, we then accidentally (?) pulled the CHARGED boss. So we had a pack of trash, PLUS the boss and his adds.

Other DPS dies.

I start focusing the adds, being that I’m the only DPS still alive. The resto shammy is typing, all in caps “RUN BACK RUN BACK” and the DPS are basically just lying there. “after the boss dies” they said. Apparently, they didn’t understand that it was POSSIBLE that the boss WOULD NOT DIE if they didn’t run back.

So it takes something like five minutes. And the resto shammy wants us to WIPE so that the dead DPS don’t “get a free badge”. So he actually RUNS AWAY from me and the tank and doesn’t heal the tank for the last 40-some seconds of the fight. Well, over the course of the five minutes, I used 2 mana gems, an evocation and a mana potion and we finally got the boss down, no thanks to the resto shammy.

So he’s all like “i’m not rezzing you” to the dead people and I just snapped at him.

“Dude, you’re just a dick,” I said.

“says the fail mage,” he replies.

“Fuck you, buddy,” I said, then left the group, putting him on ignore. I don’t normally give people the opportunity to report me for even something as minor as profanity, but my patience was at an end.

In all fairness, perhaps I am a fail mage. Perhaps I SHOULD be using two ranks of Flamestrike or whatever on AOE. I honestly don’t know. But that guy was my definition of a jackass. Everything he said set me on edge, his suggestion to WIPE on the first boss was ridiculous and clearly he’s a nimrod if he wants to NOT heal his tank so that he can better facilitate his stupid wipe idea. I also think he’s a bad healer for letting two of his DPS die, but hey, if the DPS dies, it’s their own damn fault, usually.

So I left the group, ignored him and logged off and went to bed. :P

And now I’m doing research to figure out what my AOE spell should be. Clearly, Arcane Explosion is a deathwish, since I wear cloth. :P

And this post from Critical QQ says I should use Blizzard. Granted, the post is 9 months old.  Eh, I’ll figure it out.

So those were yesterday’s randoms. I hope today’s will be less interesting.

Rotface and Cleansing Totem

I haven’t really spoken about strats for ICC25 as of yet, mostly because I’m not a raid leader or even a healing lead at this point in time, which suits me just fine.

But I found this in my search stats, and thought I should address this immediately:

“rotface cleansing totem”

No! Don’t do it! I know I am a HUGE proponent of Cleansing Totem. I have said, repeatedly, that shammies should drop it all the time because it’s the best totem ever.

But dropping it on Rotface is BAD. As soon as the person with mutated infection gets cleansed, they drop an ooze. Dropping an ooze in the group is similarly BAD.

What we do, and your mileage may vary, is have everyone stack up on Rotface and beat on him at close range, sidestepping Slime Spray and running out when the big oozes explode.

If someone gets the mutated injection, we have them run to the OT who is on the outer edges of the room, dodging slime pools and trying not to run headfirst into the slime that fills up quadrants of the room.

We do not currently cleanse any of the people with mutated infection. This is similar to most people’s strategies on Grobbulus in Naxxramas. Just let it fall off naturally. The reasoning is that it appears that cleansing someone will reset his timer on casting it and will eventually lead to more casts of mutated infection, leading to more slimes, leading to more explosions, leading to less DPS just by virtue of people running away, not even taking into consideration the number of people who may die due to more infections, slimes and explosions.

So, long story short: NO CLEANSING TOTEM ON ROTFACE. Your raid will thank you for not cleansing, I promise. And if they don’t, point them here. :P

Another 80 and some musings.

Well, the mage is 80 and it’s led me to some thinking about my alts and how I play this game.

My first toon, forever my “main”, even if I don’t raid with it, was Kurnmogh and I love my hunter all day long. Kurn and I have been through it all together. But sometime in there, I rolled a bank alt toon, which ended up being a human female paladin, named Madrana. Levelling Madrana (as holy!), back in the day, was a welcome reprieve from farming Essence of Air out in Silithus, which is basically what I’d do on Kurn when I wasn’t raiding or couldn’t get a guild group to go to Strat UD (my favourite instance) or UBRS (for my bloody T0 chestpiece!).

Madrana got to be a pretty awesome healer, pre-BC, even if most of her heals were Flash of Light and I didn’t understand half the mechanics of a pally.

Burning Crusade launched and my brother rolled a human warrior on a PVP server, where some of his RL friends played on Horde side. His goal: to level up and kick their asses. I know, my brother is a dork. So he calls me up when he’s level six or so and is like “I NEED A HEALER COME HEAL ME!”

Having already levelled a healer to 60, there was no way I was going to do it again (haha, I was so sure back then…) so he encouraged me to roll up a DPS class. And so my mage was born. I hit 30 and then discovered the utter chaos of Southshore on a PVP server. So I left Darkspear and brought the mage “home” to Eldre’Thalas — and my brother brought his warrior over.

At some point during this time, I also rolled a shammy, who would eventually be Katarah, but she started life as Shockra. I know, horrible name, eh?

I got the hunter, pally and mage up to 70 in BC but ignored the shammy.

In Wrath, I got the hunter, pally, shammy up to 80 and then got the priest going. And I’m getting a druid up there, too. :P

I think that, for the most part, playing my alts (not necessarily levelling them, but playing them) is my break from my raiding “job”. I raid 12 hours or so a week on Madrana and I heal, so it’s work. I like to get Kurn into whatever raids I can because I like to take pride in my hunter and I like to see how I’m doing compared to people playing their toons full time.

I got the shammy up because I wanted to understand healing better, from a shammy perspective. I’m not quite sure that I do, but I definitely know that I can’t DPS worth a damn on the shammy. ;)

And then I started playing the mage, for fun. And with the advent of 3.3 and the dungeon finder, I was having a BLAST going through instances on my mage. True, there was usually a wait, but I loved learning these stupid instances again from the perspective of a pure caster. I’ve sheeped things! I’ve provided food! I’ve buffed intellect! Good times.

Now that there are the four 80s (whose recent achievements are on the right over there… the order is Madrana, Kurn, the shammy and the mage), with a fifth to level by Cataclysm (stupid druid), I have plans.

Madrana is saving her Emblems of Frost for tier gear, first and foremost. Kurn, meanwhile, is upgrading via Emblem of Frost gear from the vendor, not going for tier armor yet, because hey, I don’t have access to the marks that drop in ICC.

Kurn is also my leatherworker, so after enough rep runs and such, I should be honored with Ashen Verdict and be able to buy patterns for various boots — boots that I’ll use on Kurn, the shammy AND Madrana, probably, because the crafted plate boots just aren’t as good as the crafted caster mail boots.

So how to fund the purchase of Primordial Saronite and such? Simple. The shammy and the mage will be using their Emblems of Frost for Primordial Saronite and finish gearing themselves up with Emblems of Triumph.

Both of them should get 19 Emblems of Frost a week, assuming no ICC runs, until the new VOA boss comes out (Tuesday?) at which point they’ll get 21 a week, one would presume. It’ll be slow, but at least I won’t have to spend 3000g on a single Primordial Saronite. I don’t know how many the shammy has, atm, but I’m pretty sure I’m into the 40s, so I’ll have enough to purchase the patterns as soon as Kurn hits honored.

So that’s the plan.

Also, I’m 18/0/53 on the mage. I’ve glyphed for Frostbolt, so it no longer slows (!) but causes 5% more damage, and I have Focus Magic and Torment the Weak (which I really didn’t understand, but TOTALLY do now — everything is a damn slow! Go go TTW!!). The mage’s achievements are hilarious, because I’m a brand-new 80, so everything I do is an achievement. Got a dungeon/raid emblem, achievement. Didn’t use the defense crystals in VH, achievement. Etc, etc. It cracks me up.

Happy new year, everyone. Looks to be an exciting year in terms of WoW. :D

Kurn's Guide on How to Behave as a Healer in Dungeons

Kurn’s Guide on How to Behave as a Healer in Dungeons

You’ll note that I don’t specify “random” or “heroic” or “raid” dungeons. That’s because I believe that my guide is good for any level healing class in any size of dungeon, be it 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 or 40. It was inspired, of course, by the fact that I’ve done more 5-man regulars and heroics in the last week since 3.3 came out than I have in the previous five months, but there are some good basics here of which all healers should be aware.

Why am I writing this? Because I’ve run tons of dungeons in my WoW career as all three roles (healing, tanking, damage) and every time I’m on one of my toons, there’s always at least one moron who doesn’t know how to appropriately behave in a group. Always. And those are the GOOD groups.

So, from someone who raids primarily as a holy paladin, who runs anything she can with her hunter, who will reluctantly tank as her paladin, who pugs raid content on her resto shammy, who plays a mage in the 70s and has a dual-specced resto/feral (tank) druid in the 70s as well, here’s my guide for healers.

1) Heal. This is a bit of a no-brainer, I know, but a long time ago, on a server far, far away, I used to group with the warlock officer of my guild. Awesome person. Great warlock. She had a priest alt. And she’d levelled the priest shadow. But when she got to 60, she went holy to heal us in 5 and 10 man dungeons. So there we are, in UBRS, doing the Father Flame event and someone dies. “Oops!” says the warlock-priest, “My bad! I forgot to heal! I was DPSing.”

<3 her all day long, but if you’re that kind of a player who primarily plays a DPS class and has a healer alt (or DPS main spec and healing offspec), remember what your role is for the group. If you’re a healer, you heal, even if you’re bored. (I get very bored at times on my paladin and my shammy. So I feel for you. But you still should pay most of your attention to the health of the group instead of what % the boss is at because Murphy’s Law will step in and kill your healing targets while you’re innocently DPSing away.)

2) Heal the pets.
No joke, I’m not kidding, pets are an important part of the group’s DPS and rezzing/resummoning pets can be time consuming for the other players, so make sure that when you’re healing the group, you’re healing the pets, too. 3.3 means pets will be taking a lot less damage now, but it’s still important to keep an eye on them.

3) Prioritize. Basically, prioritizing is the key to healing. Your top priority in a 5-man is the tank — but don’t forget about yourself. If BOTH of you are in mortal danger and you don’t have Beacon of Light up or Binding Heal at your disposal, do what you can — Nature’s Swiftness for both druids and shammies is there for a reason. Remember the age-old saying:

– If the tank dies, it’s the healer’s fault.
– If the healer dies, it’s the tank’s fault.
– If the DPS dies, it’s their own damn fault.

You’re responsible for everyone in a 5-man, but the DPS has to take some responsibility for themselves and the tank has to take some responsibility for you.

4) Know which heals to use. I’m not going to go through the zillions of healing spells available to holy paladins, holy priests, disc priests, resto druids and resto shammies. But suffice it to say, your spec and class abilities give you lots of tools to heal with (yes, even paladins have lots of spells these days!) and you should know not to, for example, use Lesser Healing Wave on three separate people when one Chain Heal will do the job. You should not cast Healing Touch on each group member when one Wild Growth would have sufficed. Don’t drop a 20k crit Holy Light when a 4k Flash of Light would have been fine. Don’t cast Prayer of Mending when your target needs Penance or, gasp, Greater Heal.

But how do you know which to use? Practice. Get used to what your spells are healing for. Turn on combat text and get an idea of the ballpark. Then when you’re healing your group, if you’re using frames that show you the difference between current health and maximum health, you’ll have a much better idea of which heal to use. I strongly recommend Grid and Clique for raid frame addons, by the way.

5) Move out of crap/away from adds. Having said that, if you, as a healer, die because you wouldn’t move out of the fire, poison, void zone or whatever or you die because you let adds beat on you without trying to run to the tank (or bubbling or fading or even shadowmelding), that death is entirely your fault. You’re not a tank. Well, you might be, but not when you’re in healing gear in a healing spec. :P Healing is about being aware of the group and their health — that includes you and your environmental awareness. Don’t be that idiot standing in the fire. (I’ve been there and done that, myself. Not a lot of fun!)

6) Cleanse your group. This might seem like another no-brainer, but you should be dispelling/cleansing everything you can off your group. Your priority is to heal and you might have to heal through a lot of debuffs if they pile up too quickly, but as soon as you can, start getting them off of you, your tank and the group. (Cleansing Totem is probably the best totem in the entire universe.)

7) Buff your group. Prayer of Fortitude, Divine Spirit, Shadow Protection, Gift of the Wild, *Greater* Blessings and group-appropriate totems!

A specific note to shammies: Totems are always a little tricky. If there’s a DK in the group, you shouldn’t need to drop Strength of Earth and can drop Stoneskin instead (or Tremor as needed). If they have a few points into Frost (for Icy Talons), you shouldn’t need to drop Windfury. Otherwise, look at your group composition. If you have yourself and two or more caster DPS, go with Mana Spring and Flametongue, along with Wrath of Air. But if you’re the only mana user, consider Windfury instead (unless already covered by a DK).

Depending on the group, I typically drop Strength of Earth, Mana Spring, Flametongue and Windfury, so that both melee and casters get two of my buffs.

Basically, just be aware of what’s already covered by your group and don’t overlap buffs. :)

8) Use your defensive cooldowns. Priests have Guardian Spirit or Pain Suppression, paladins have Hand of Sacrifice and many have Divine Sacrifice. Use them. They are life-saving abilities. (Tip: Don’t use Hand of Sacrifice without bubbling first and you should still expect to have to heal yourself after Divine Sacrifice if you use it without bubbling.)

9) Inform your group when you need mana. If you actually say in your group chat that you need mana, then when the idiot tank runs in and pulls the boss before you’ve even had a sip of water or nibble of a mana strudel, at least you can be like “OMG WTF I SAID I NEEDED MANA”. Never assume that your tank is remotely considerate of you. And even if you do get a considerate tank, the DPS may not be.

Example: I was tanking Halls of Lightning with a RL friend of mine who was healing me on her priest. We were in the hallway with the statues on our way after the first boss. She hadn’t stopped to drink after the boss or the first wave of mobs in the hall or the second wave (since there was a fear and the hunter got feared further into the hallway for the second group). So, because I know that healer mana is not necessarily infinite, I waited for her to sit and drink as I watched the idiot mage in our group run full speed ahead to trigger the third group.

I almost didn’t taunt off the moron and then said, in party chat, “If we could possibly avoid pulling when the healer’s drinking because she’s out of mana, that would be appreciated.”

So the best way to avoid misunderstandings or bad pulls like that is to announce your status to the party. And I don’t mean by being annoying and typing /oom six times in a row. “My mana has waned!” can only be heard a few times before people start to go insane. :P (Yes, Kylon, if you’re reading, that’s a reference to you and that BRD run from when you apped to Fated Heroes. YERL! <3)

10) Be patient. Easier said than done, I know, healers. But even though you want to use a baseball bat to beat the people you’re grouped with (whether in-guild or a pug — it can happen either way), you need to take a deep breath and realize you’re not going to be stuck healing those morons forever. Dungeons, even the longer 5-mans, take about 30-35 minutes of your time. Raids obviously take longer, but generally have a fixed end time. If you’re sitting there, wiping on Anub’arak on heroic mode for the 38th time that week, take a deep breath, look at the clock and tell yourself you only have another hour or so to go.

11) Resurrect your dead group members after combat has ended and you’ve gotten a bit of mana. Period. No excuse not to. The only time you shouldn’t be expected to rez the dead is when you died. My philosophy is: if your healer has to run, so do you. Of course, if someone has to afk real quick, the benefit of the doubt should be given, but if the dumbass is chatting in group or whatever and isn’t running, tell him or her to start running their ass back to the instance. I have, in the past, back in Shadow Labs, I think, forced the group to wait on a rogue who died and didn’t run back instead of rezzing him. The entire time he was running back, he was arguing with me and I finally managed to get it through his thick skull that his resurrection is entirely based on my kindness and I don’t take kindly to people who don’t even make the effort to run back. (Tip: In a raid situation, rez healers/rezzers first and if you’ve been the recipient of Divine Intervention, ALWAYS rez the pally who cast DI on you first! It’s only polite.)

12) Don’t do too much.
Okay, that’s not a specific thing for when you’re healing in a dungeon. But I had to mention it anyways because healers and tanks can burn out really, really quickly in this game. Why? There’s all kinds of responsibility on their shoulders and people are WAY too quick to judge. Both are thankless roles. In fact, if healers and tanks do their jobs right, no one should notice anything — because people lived and the tanks held aggro. And since healing meters are a terrible way to gauge your performance (unlike DPS meters for the DPS classes), it can often seem like you’re doing your job without feedback or encouragement.

In the past, I have countered this, in general, by not doing 10-man raids. And not doing any 5-mans that frustrate me. Nope, my paladin basically did her 25-man raids and that was it. And then came Emblems of Triumph and I needed a bunch of Emblems to make use of the Trophies of the Crusade for gear. Suddenly, I was doing 10m VOA, 10m Ony and even the occasional 10m TOC/TOGC, in addition to 25m VOA, 25m Ony and the guild runs of 25m TOC/TOGC. Ugh!

Thankfully, Emblems of Frost are only attainable through the 10m and 25m versions of Icecrown Citadel — and the weekly raid quest. And daily random heroics. And there aren’t separate hardmode timers for ICC, so there’s only two raid lockouts for Emblems of Frost to drop. Whew.

So I’m doing four bosses in 25m ICC, four bosses in 10m ICC and the weekly raid quest. The daily random heroics? Well, I keep signing up as a tank *and* a healer, but I have tanked every single random heroic I’ve done thus far: Azjol’Nerub, Old Kingdom, Gundrak, Halls of Lightning, Trial of the Champion, Utgarde Keep, Forge of Souls… I’m losing track of them all, but it means I’m not healing nubs and I’m getting a lot of practice tanking.

So really, that’s not a lot of healing I’m doing on my paladin. Granted, I’m healing daily on my shammy, but she’s not doing any ICC yet and has, like the rest of my toons, stopped running Onyxia and VOA (at least until the new VOA boss comes out). I’m reserving ICC for my hunter and my paladin right now, so that’s not any extra healing.

I know someone who, I kid you not, was healing both Ulduar 10 and 25 on two toons every week, in addition to healing Sarth3D 10-man zerg attempts, plus VOA on both 10/25 on both toons. That was too much healing for her. Even half of that is too much healing for me and too much healing for most sane people. There’s just so much time that you can spend healing up other people in any given raid week, IMHO, and the further you stay back from that limit the more you’ll enjoy the time you ARE healing and the less likely you will be to burn out. Everyone’s limits are different and you should be aware of when things are starting to feel like an obligation instead of a fun part of a game.

Anyways, all of that said, healers, even you part-time healers who are discovering healing through the new 5-mans and random dungeons, thank you for your dedication, for being the ones who choose to clean up after everyone’s mess. There are never enough healers and *good* healers are extremely rare. So I hope that this guide has helped you out a bit and that you know that you’re appreciated in general for the choice you’ve made to heal through portions of this funny little game we play.