It's a Winter Veil Miracle!

Madrana actually got to heal something today when I queued for the random heroic!

Granted, it was Halls of Lightning and the DPS warrior and the mage kept stealing aggro from the DK tank and so they kept dying, but I actually got to heal a heroic! After queuing as a tank AND a healer!

The mind boggles.

In other news, it appears that after I submitted my guides to healing, tanking, DPSing and not failing at H-HoR to TenTonHammer, there has been some feedback and it’s looking mostly positive. I probably could have written them a bit better, but most of them were written while I was in queue for randoms on a DPS class. ;) So if you’re here because you followed the links from TenTonHammer, welcome! I hope you’ll stick around. :)

In yet other news, apparently people read this blog and did so before the links from TenTonHammer appeared. Colour me shocked. :) Saunder, over at Non-Squishy Heals, apparently takes issue with my request to paladins to use Greater Blessings, in lieu of cheap 10-minute buffs.

First off, wow, someone actually read my blog who wasn’t one of my old guildies or one of my old healers. Honestly, this is the most shocking thing of all. I’ve spent the last year or so writing into the ether and never even considered that other people would really read me. I think it’s because of Miss Medicina‘s not-really-a-meme-meme that I did back in October. Anyways, I digress.

Saunder gets pissy with me for requesting greater blessings. Here’s what I wrote in his comment section:

My primary issue (and reason for essentially telling people to use greater blessings) is that not everyone is as observant as you are. Most pallies I’ve been running with have given out 10m blessings that they let fall off. Frequently. If they buff at all.

If you’re willing to maintain buffs for the 20-25 minutes most random heroics last, good for you. I’m more addressing the players who don’t know what they’re doing and who will let a kings buff vanish, never to be seen again, after 10 minutes is up.

Personally, I just like to buff the once (assuming no deaths/wipes) and be done with it, but I suppose that really boils down to personal preference. I don’t yell at people to buff me with greaters, but I will nag if they fall off or I’m not rebuffed after a death.

Here’s the thing, though… I don’t get why anyone would buff 10-minute blessings when they could be doing 30-minute Greater blessings. Of course, if you’re the pally and I’m not, it’s up to you, so long as I always get your buff. Then I won’t gripe, I won’t complain, I certainly don’t bitch.

But even when levelling, while soloing on my paladin, I give myself greater blessings.

So, if indeed there are any paladins reading this thing, what do you think? Do you give out greater blessings in pugs or are you vigilant, like Saunder, and keep refreshing the 10-minute versions? And, most importantly, what are your reasons why?

(Also, if anyone would like to mention how they found this little blog of mine, assuming I was never guilded with you in the past, I’d love to know!)

How I Got 19 Emblems of Triumph in One Night

Due to the fact that I’ve been tanking so much lately, I’ve been working on my prot gear. Up ’till now, I’ve been using my Conqueror’s Aegis Breastplate. I’ve managed to upgrade my neck, my bracers and my legs for free out of Trial of the Crusader (25m regular) because ilvl 245 loot no longer costs us DKP and we’ve cleared it so often that most people don’t want any more tank gear. (WTB Satrina’s Impeding Scarab, but that’s a whole other story.)

So tonight, we do heroic Faction Champs and heroic Twins and I manage to win the roll on the Trophy of the Crusade off one of them. I was all excited that I’d finally get to upgrade my chestpiece (which is out of Ulduar… ugh.) to another ilvl 245 piece.

And then I realized I only had 56 Emblems of Triumph vs. the 75 I needed to turn in with my trophy for Turalyon’s Breastplate of Triumph. Since we finished the raid early, I decided I’d go for it. 19 badges isn’t that hard to get, not these days. Each random heroic you do (after the first, which I’d already done) gives you two extra badges. So if the average dungeon had 3 bosses, I’d only need to do 4 or so to ensure I’d get all 19 that I needed.

To try to make sure it was a relatively easy night, I decided not to queue as a tank. I just wanted to heal, get my chestpiece and go to bed.

First up, Utgarde Pinnacle. Great run. Fail of a hunter, though, name of Glyhm. Let us not only be in awe of his fail gear that is poorly gemmed and usually not enchanted, which includes Icy Scale Chestguard (!), nor should we only be in awe of his slightly strange spec and choice of professions (and the fact that one is nowhere near max level), but we should just sort of sit there in disbelief at this little exchange:


I probably should have gone to bed after this run, because it was definitely an indication of how things were going to go. No one said anything in party chat after that, that’s how agog we all were.

Anyways, after that… no, wait, I’m sorry. I have to address the huntard.

Aspect of the Viper definitely drops your DPS low. It’s a short-term thing you use for about 20-25 seconds at a time to fill up your mana bar when it’s low. To allow you to regen mana without dropping your DPS would make you OP. Mages have Evocation, which reduces their DPS to 0 while they channel it. Warlocks lifetap, during which they only inflict damage on themselves, not the target. And rogues don’t have mana, so there you go, the 3 mana-using pure DPS classes all have ways of regaining mana that affects their DPS.

Funny how balanced that is, isn’t it? :P

Anyways, despite the fail hunter (who makes me glad I don’t run recount on Madrana, because I think I would have cried if I’d looked at the DPS meters), we finished Utgarde Pinnacle in 22 minutes. Six badges down, 13 to go, right?

On to Forge of Souls! I basically don’t have any issues with this group. It was probably the best group of the night and I’d essentially forgotten about it entirely because nothing bad happened. Another 4 badges down, 9 to go.

And then it was time for Ahn Kahet: The Old Kingdom.

Problem #1: The mage was a cheap bastard. No table, no Arcane Brilliance (just Arcane Intellect). Given that most runs go less than a half hour and are usually quick, I can forgive them this. But it still annoyed me.

Problem #2: The mage either had no idea how to decurse or had no idea where their decurse button was. They claimed to be on someone else’s computer, so maybe the latter is the reason that I NEVER GOT CURSE OF TONGUES REMOVED FROM ME, which led to my death and the death of the warlock shortly after the second boss.

Problem #3: The warlock never bothered to soulstone me (or anyone) or put down a soulwell.

Problem #4: It appeared that the rogue had never before done the instance. Which… is fine. Honestly, I’m okay with that. The problem I have is when people don’t ask. Never been to OK before? Fine. Tell me. Then I can tell you how not to die when the last dude casts insanity, so that you’re not going “omg wtf how come u were all mced?!?!”

Despite a near-wipe on the last guy (who bugged out and reset, so we got a second chance — and the rogue died AGAIN), we got through the instance. We didn’t do the heroic-only boss, so only 4 bosses and 2 extra emblems. Six emblems down, two more to go!


So I queue up again, as a healer.

And then I see the Halls of Reflection loading screen. I sigh, wondering if I should just drop group and go to bed, but… I’m just two. freaking. emblems. from my shiny new chest. So I cross my fingers and brace myself for doing the dumbass LoS strat (I find that as the tank, you have much more pull in the decision-making process than as a healer. :P) and probably wiping a few times.

I zone in and I look around for the tank. Warrior has 27k health. Okay, not him. There’s a hunter, so that’s not the tank. A mage, nope, not the tank. The DK has 29k health. And I know I didn’t queue up as a tank. So yeah, the DK is going to try to tank Heroic HoR with 29k health — which includes kings.

We gave it two tries and then basically asked him to leave. Which he did. And he’d been unsure in the beginning anyways. I told him to keep tanking and working on his gear and thanks for trying, hoping against hope that good karma would bring me a good tank.

After a few minutes of waiting for a new tank in the queue, I was like, well, fuck. I can tank it if I need to.

So I take us out of the queue, sign up as tank and healer, then requeue.

30 seconds later, we have a priest healer. Sweet, let’s do eeeeet.

So I tank in the middle, tell them to run to me if they have aggro, if we can get the hunter to freeze something and, if the priest has a second, to shack something, that would be amazing, but not to worry if not.

We coast through the first waves. It was beautiful. I was totally in the tanking zone, I was holding aggro, things were shackled and trapped, it was AWESOME! We kill the first boss and get all the way up to the second to last wave and then it falls apart. We lose the hunter.

That’s okay, one more wave.

We lose the mage.

That’s okay, we have what, two mobs up and the boss is coming, but we can TOTALLY do this. I have 43k health and a ton of cooldowns!

The warrior dies as the Spectral Footman who came into the boss fight with us dies. That leaves the Tortured Rifleman. I get the priest to shackle and we embark upon a long, arduous fight that ends up with her death and my continuing to wear the boss down for another 80 seconds or so. I was judging light, I was using my sacred shield, Divine Plea was active and at about 12k health, I used Lay on Hands. Still going! From 43k all the way down to about 6k, whereupon Ardent Defender finally freaking procs. And then once that was done, I still had a healthstone (leftover from my raid, not from the fail warlock who was in OK with me), so I used that… and then I died.

Way impressive, no? I figured we’d be just fine. But no, the priest drops group. SIGH.

So we go for another healer, and a druid shows up. The druid immediately starts asking why we’re not doing the LOS strat. >< And then, despite not having aggro (hi, I have Grid, don’t you lie to me, you leafy bastard), proceeds not to heal me as much as he probably should have been healing me, doesn’t remove even ONE poison and then I die and we wipe.

We run back. Again. And now the mage has decided she’s had enough. So we get a warlock. Who, of course, doesn’t SS the healer or provide a soulwell.

Once again, the idiot druid fails. I’m sorry, when I’ve taunted off of you and you no longer have aggro on any of the mobs AND I’ve BOPped you just to make absolutely certain half the mobs who are up aren’t going to touch you, you cannot blame your death FROM THE POISONS THE ROGUE STACKED ON YOU, on me. Sorry. Especially when you can cleanse poison off yourself. Seriously.

So the druid does just that, blames me for his death, then says this strat doesn’t work, and leaves the group.

So I left, too. I got up, got ready for bed, then sat back down and queued myself up just as a healer for another random heroic, because really, I was just one emblem short of my damn chest.

And there’s the bloody Halls of Reflection loading screen again. I could have screamed.

The group looks more competant than the others. There’s a DK, a ret pally, a warlock and a warrior tank who has 39k with kings. Cool.

LoS strat? Sigh, yes, LoS strat.

Two wipes, due to the LoS strat, since the tank (and others) kept creeping around the corner out of MY line of sight, but anyways. We finally got Falric down and wiped on the waves after him. I could have left. I had my stupid badge. But the four of them were all from a guild on Caelestrasz and seemed at least somewhat competant, so I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt.

After another wipe on the trash pre-Marwyn, I said that this was my last attempt and that we should make it a good one. The warlock has no shards, so no SS, no HS. /facepalm.

We start in on the trash and even though I have to use Holy Wrath on cooldown to stun things and use Divine Shield/Divine Sacrifice to keep us alive, we made it through to the boss. The warlock even ninja soulstoned me as soon as he had the shards, in the middle of waves. Of course, he then took 4 ticks from every Well of Corruption that spawned on him, but he lived and we lived, and hey, let’s go escape the Lich King!

We wiped on the second-to-last wall because they were killing things randomly and there was still a witch doctor up that the Lich King caught up to and they couldn’t kill before he was on us, because he was a caster. ><

So I advise them to focus the witch doctors and to pop cooldowns on the second wave of the last wall. We escape the third wall easily and are nearly overrun at the last wall, but we all pop cooldowns and escaped. True, we lost the warlock, but he pulled aggro on an abom who cleaved him, so there wasn’t a lot we could do.


So all that said and done, I went and got my chestpiece, got +10 stats to it, put in a Solid Dragon’s Eye for 51 stam and a Regal Dreadstone for 10 dodge/15 stam (and to activate my meta). With an elixir of mighty fortitude, a guru’s elixir and a 40 stam food buff and Blessing of Sanctuary, I now hit 40k health, self-buffed.

I was also told, by various groups, that I was an excellent healer (the OK group and the last HoR group, in particular) and that I was a great tank (the HoR group that saw me solo Marwyn for over a minute).  I don’t really believe the great tank business, since I think pally tanks are very overpowered at the moment and it’s all about knowing when to hit your cooldowns, but it’s nice to hear praise about my healing. I take pride in healing and really do consider it my main job in this game. If I wasn’t at least somewhat good at it, I don’t think I’d be doing it at all. Hell, if I weren’t good at healing, I might still be DPSing. Which I’m no longer as good at as I used to be — which is one reason I keep healing.

Anyways, I’m certainly not going to be tanking a lot more than heroics for the foreseeable future, but I think I’m going to keep tanking a bunch of those (at least one a day) to help me get accustomed to it. I still don’t love it or anything, but I do enjoy learning about various aspects of the game and pally tanking is so easy compared to what I imagine warrior or DK tanking is, that I’m just going to enjoy this brief period of time where I’m not loathing tanking.

It’s so hard to imagine that, once upon a time, back in Apotheosis, I OTed Hydross’ adds and Tidewalker’s murlocs… Thank God we got a real OT for those fights after just a week or so of my standing in for them. :P

Heroic Violet Hold and… tank failure?

So today, I tanked Heroic Violet Hold on my paladin for the random heroic.

No one died. There was a moment or two of concern when we were dealing with the kiting boss, whose name I can never remember, but by and large, I held aggro. And people lived. My healer was never in danger.

And yet, after Cyanigosa died, one of the members of the group (I can’t even remember the class type) told me that I had the worst threat of any pally in my gear they’d ever seen. Then they left the group before I could even go “I’m holy, 95% of the time”.

So, even though the rest of the group laughed and said I did fine, I’m sitting here wondering what, exactly, I did wrong.

It’s true, my spec isn’t maxed for threat. So I could fix that. I could also tab-target more and stack more Seal of Vengeance on various mobs, but if they’re being AOEd down faster than I can stack the debuff, does that matter?

I’m dropping Consecrate whenever I can. I’m also using Hammer of the Righteous on cooldown. Judging Light. Keeping Holy Shield up for the mitigation and the threat.

On single-targets, I’m pretty much fine. I way out-threat most people on Omen without even trying. I suppose it’s just the groups of mobs. If we were all focused on one target (my target) and assisting me for the others, there wouldn’t be a threat issue. The issue stems from people AOEing or not focusing on my target.

So as a tank, am I to spread my threat around beyond passive abilities like Consecrate, Holy Shield and even Retribution Aura? Or am I to expect that good group members will follow my target?

Or, what if I’m really just that bad? Should I then remove myself from the tanking role in the queue and focus on healing, which is what I do best anyways? I could. But would that serve the larger community, to remove a not-terrible tank from the pool of available tanks that seems to shrink every single day?

The way I see it, hybrids who don’t have at least one of their specs dedicated to tanking or healing are fail. They should have rolled a pure DPS class. Paladins can be melee DPS, tanks or healers. Shammies can be melee DPS, ranged DPS or healers. Priests can be ranged DPS, tank healers or group healers. Druids can be melee DPS, ranged DPS, tanks and healers. Warriors and DKs can be melee DPS or tanks.

All the healers CAN be DPS. All the tanks CAN be DPS. And since DPS is basically the easiest job with the least amount of responsibility and, one can argue, the most fun, a lot of hybrids choose to be DPS.

Which is fine.

What I find NOT fine is that, in this day and age of dual-specs, hybrids STILL aren’t tanking or healing. It’s not *that* hard, it’s just different from what you’re used to doing. And with the new dungeon tool, it’s easy to find a group so you can practice. Just make sure you won’t die in three hits if you’re tanking or run out of mana after one group of trash mobs if you’re a healer, and you’re good to go.

So the way I see it, by entering the queue as both a healer AND a tank, I’m doing my job as a hybrid. I’m not entering it as a DPS, which is the most common kind of player available, but as the two most sought-after roles. So… if people live and I hold aggro pretty much the whole time, even if my threat output isn’t amazing, does that mean that I shouldn’t enter as a tank at all?

That said, I clearly need to analyze my threat output and I guess try to stick to the 96969 rotation better.

Stupid perfectionistic tendencies…

Kurn's Guide on How to Successfully Clear Heroic Halls of Reflection Without Being Lame and Cheap

Kurn’s Guide on How to Successfully Clear Heroic Halls of Reflection Without Being Lame and Cheap

If you’ve been doing the new dungeons that came out with 3.3, you’ve been in a fail Heroic Halls of Reflection group. That’s just how it goes. Everyone seems to be having an awful time of it in a pug.

The nature of the first two boss encounters is very different from any we’ve seen in dungeons previously. You have a circular room and get adds spawning in 360 degrees around you. I think you start out with 3 and end up with 5 in the later waves, but I’m usually too busy tanking or healing to pay attention to counting mobs per wave.

Because of the way adds spawn, and the types of adds that spawn, many, many people have decided that “line of sighting” the adds is the way to go. The theory is that if you’re hiding in one of Marwyn or Falric’s alcoves, the mobs will have no choice but to charge the alcoves and you can AOE/etc the mobs down, making things a lot easier.

Nonsense. For any player who actually knows how to play their class, and not rely on 2-3 buttons to AOE crap down, these are not terribly difficult encounters to do without a LOS strategy. I personally hope that the LOS strat gets nerfed out the wazoo, because it encourages extremely lazy and poor play, in my opinion.

Moving on, your mileage may vary, of course, but this is how I do it as a tank.

Since I’m tanking on a paladin, I stand near the center of the room. My preferred kill order is: GHOSTLY PRIEST, PHANTOM MAGE, then whatever’s left, with a loose priority of SHADOWY MERCENARY, TORTURED RIFLEMAN, SPECTRAL FOOTMAN.

I inform my group of this order and tell them to run to the consecrate I’ll be dropping if they have aggro.

If there’s a Death Knight in the group, I ask them to Death Grip the Phantom Mage to the group. Alternatively, I can pull them to me if my Avenger’s Shield is up. If there’s no mage, DK’s should DG the Riflemen. Alternatively, a priest can Shackle a ranged, a ret pally can Repentence, any pally can Turn Evil (although I’m usually too busy to spare 1.5 seconds of cast time, which opens me up to being crit), hunters can freeze trap/use freezing arrow.

What’s that? Yes, I do, in fact, encourage the use of crowd-control. It’s logical. There is a crowd of mobs. We need to control them. USE YOUR CROWD-CONTROL ABILITIES.

Of course, at the beginning of each pull, everyone can (and does) grab aggro very easily. So I drop a Consecrate, use Hand of Reckoning and Avenger’s Shield if needed and then, this is sort of the key, when they’re all piled on my Consecrate, I use Holy Wrath. BAM. Stunned, and their hatred of me is probably pretty secure.

I almost always save my Righteous Defense for the healer. And if my healer is a priest, I will do what I can to cleanse various poisons off the healer, myself and the group, basically in that order.

So, I kill the priest first. Why? When there are other, very dangerous mobs still up?

Simple. The priest heals and since I have very few interrupts with long cooldowns on them, and since I can’t rely on puggers to always interrupt, we get rid of the priest first.

The mage goes second (unless it’s CCed) because of the fact that its mirror images (Phantom Hallucinations) will explode for 10k each and that’s on top of the Flamestrike, which is seriously annoying. They do a ton of damage, basically. Everything else is easily taken down, but the mages can put out a ton of damage in a short period of time that affects the entire group.

I like to get rid of the Shadowy Mercenaries next, if possible, for three reasons: a) Kidney shot means I have no avoidance at all for 3 seconds — or the healer is out of commission for 3 seconds, b) Shadowstep is evil, c) Deadly Poison and Envenomed Dagger Throw stack poisons that can be potentially dangerous without a Cleansing Totem or any of the three healing classes who can cleanse poisons. If you’re a shammy, Cleansing Totem on these waves beats Healing Stream and Mana Spring, hands down.

The Spectral Footmen can sort of chill out. They’ll shield bash, which is no big deal if I have aggro on them. That’s why I like to go after the Tortured Riflemen next.

Not only are these guys ranged, which is a pain, but they’ll CC and impede our movement with Frost Traps. Hand of Freedom to the rescue! But the big thing to watch out for here is Cursed Arrow. It increases the amount of magical damage the person with the curse takes by 50%. If you can decurse, DO SO. I’m talking mages, druids and resto shammies. That debuff has *got* to go. Apart from that, if you have someone who can dispell the freezing traps, these guys drop low on the priority list.

And then you deal with the Spectral Footmen.

Falric and Marwyn aren’t difficult at all after the trash, but after having witnessed this twice in two days, I need to remind people not to stand in the Wells of Corruption that Marwyn casts. They’re little purple circles on the ground. Don’t stand in them. What do they do? They apply a stacking debuff (that’s a curse, fyi, mages, druids and resto shammies!) that increases your shadow damage taken by 30%, 60%, 90%, etc. This wouldn’t be too bad, ordinarily… except for “Shared Suffering” – “Inflicts 6,000 Shadow damage every 3 seconds for 12 seconds. If dispelled, splits the remaining damage equally between all players. Magic effect.” So don’t stand in the wells.

Okay, so once you’ve dispatched Falric and Marwyn, you have a wee bit of trash and then the Lich King toys with you for a while.

There are four barriers and each barrier drops as soon as all the undead mobs from that wave die.

Ghouls are easy, just keep them off your healer.

I then like to take down the WITCH DOCTORS, but I need to keep aggro on the abominations because they have a Cleave. So why the Witch Doctors? Curse of Doom, Shadow Bolt and Shadow Bolt Volley. They’re casters, so if you can silence them at all to keep them moving, that’s a huge bonus. The Witch Doctors cause the most damage, the Abominations are just there to distract you and the Ghouls are just there to cause havoc. Given that the Aboms are very mobile, and can be brought way back to the wall to fight, the Witch Doctors simply have to be the priority so that if your DPS is a little slow, you do not risk having to stand right next to the Lich King to finish up a Witch Doctor before the wall breaks.

The Lich King’s aura ticks for an obscene amount, so you need to be aware of his position and yours and get the hell out of Dodge.

The only major issue on this is the last group. You’ll basically have a double spawn before the last wall. You will be seemingly overrun here. This is where cooldowns come in handy. When the SECOND group spawns:

– Heroism
– Tank cooldowns
– DPS cooldowns

Don’t forget to drop aggro if you can — fade, feign, invis, etc, just to make sure your tank can adequately pick everything up. There’s little cleansing here, just some Curses of Doom, but again, CC can help out — as long as your CC target is closer to the wall than the Lich King. Holy Wrath is godly here, for any kind of paladin, so be sure to use it on cooldown.

Then run like hell and you’re done.

Note that if Jaina or Sylvanas die, that’s it, it’s a wipe. Until they die, you still have a chance, even if only one person survives to run to the airship.

For those classes with cleansing abilities who don’t typically cleanse, (prot and ret pallies, shadow priests, DPS shammies, mages, moonkin and the like) I HIGHLY recommend getting Decursive to help you quickly cleanse/dispell stuff off people to help out your healers, for all instances, not just this one.

I hope this helps out people who might have previously struggled with this instance. In short, just use your class abilities as best you can. CC, don’t steal aggro, focus stuff down and you’ll be collecting your loot ASAP. :)

A-tankin' we will go.

So, due to the fact I’m trying to get into a routine of doing my daily random heroics on my pally early in the day (so I’m not tempted to leave it ’till the last minute before 3am server), I’ve already tanked my way through Utgarde Keep today.

Apparently, I’m a decent tank.

The priest who was healing me was like “boring, overgeared tank!”

I’m definitely overgeared for regular heroics and more than adequately geared for things like heroic Halls of Reflection. My tanking gear is about on par with my hunter’s overall gear.

The problem is, I have very little confidence in my tanking abilities. A lot of the time it’s not a huge problem to build threat. Consecrate, Hammer of the Righteous, yadda yadda yadda, dead mobs.

The priest nearly died at one point and so I did Righteous Defense on her AND BOPped her. I think, but I’m not sure, that doing so makes me leet.

While it’s possible for me to chain pull an instance, I don’t always do so, even if my healer and DPS have mana. I want to make sure I’m keeping Sacred Shield up, want to ensure Avenger’s Shield is off cooldown, I want to hit Divine Plea just as I’m running in, if it’s not already active… I’m sure that in time, with practice, these things that I’m double-checking will become second nature to me.

It’s hilarious that with a few button clicks, I can go from being a very good healer to being a decent tank. Switch specs, use ItemRack to select my prot gear, change my bar config with a new Dominoes profile, change my mouse click bindings with a new Clique profile, make sure to turn on Righteous Fury and Seal of Vengeance and I’m basically good to go.

What’s more hilarious is that doing stupid stuff, which is what I ADORE doing in this game, particularly on my hunter, is easily made possible on the pally.

For example, my hunter cannot solo the first two mobs of Heroic Forge of Souls, not even as BM with a bear pet with 23k health (I am NOT joking, Fozzie had 23k health when I tried!).

Madrana, on the other hand, doesn’t even HAVE to chain fear one of the mobs in order to solo them.

Kurn cannot solo the Wrathbone Laborers (big skellies) in Heroic Pit of Saron. Madrana can. She can also solo the gargoyles on the left side and the poison-dropping guys near Ick.

Judge Light, use Seal of Light and occasionally use Lay on Hands or Divine Protection. That they BOTH cause forbearance now is really, really, REALLY annoying. “But… how.. why do I have forbearance?! I didn’t bubble! Oh, dammit, I forgot.”

I’ve re-discovered how important Holy Shield is. Paladins have pretty abysmal block rating in general, probably because we have Holy Shield. And Redoubt. In fact, I was soloing the second mob in HFoS and watching my character sheet. 12% block bumped up to 42% block, bumped up to 72% block, with 20% parry and 30% dodge (with Mongoose proccing and my libram’s proc). That’s like… 122% chance to dodge, parry or block. I can’t remember the order of the hit table, but that’s probably 5% chance to be missed, 30% to dodge, 20% to parry and then 47.4% chance to block, or whatever. Which is hilarious. And Holy Shield causes more threat, too. Pally threat is very interesting. You basically encourage them to hit you and the more they hit you, the more threat you gain. It’s sort of like they get increasingly frustrated that they don’t kill you. Or something. Even more hilarious with ret aura up, I’d imagine, though I generally run with improved devo aura.

Anyways, that’s my dime’s worth about tanking. I think it’s sad that if I queue up as a tank, I don’t get to heal. At all. I’ve done two quick heroics with me healing just because I didn’t want to bother with tanking and was in a rush, but in order to get the healing job, I had to opt out of the tanking role. I guess it makes sense, though — you bring 5-7 healers to content where you have 5 groups. So you need just more than 1 healer per group. You need 2-3 tanks to content where you have 5 groups. So you need just under 1 tank per group.

Am I the only one who thinks it might be very cool to have 5 healers and 5 tanks and 15 DPS? On most every fight? With beacon of light, you could have two paladins accounting for 4 of the tanks, have a disc priest in on the fifth, a resto druid hotting the tanks and the raid and then a resto shammy or holy priest on the raid.

Strange as it may be, I miss the fights like Maulgar. Man, did that pull initially suck, but it was awesome. Mage tank on the mage, MT on Maulgar, no “tank” for the priest, fel hounds on the warlock and hunters on the shammy. I guess that the Four Horsemen is sort of like that, but the fact that they’re in separate corners already takes some of the challenge out.

Okay, enough ranting about WoW. It’s the holiday season and I desperately need to do some shopping.

More 10-man bitching.


So why am I bitching when I got an achievement? Basically, because I don’t particularly care too much for achievements and mostly because I then got swapped out on Saurfang (for a DPS, no less) and lost out on 2 emblems and 275 rep, since I’m human. I think, anyways. Don’t you get 250 rep (regularly) for a boss kill?

Anyways, this has me out of sorts. I don’t *want* to do 10-mans with the guild as it stands. I could probably pug it or go with the group I did it with the first week it was released. And then, I’d get all 8 of my badges and all my rep, assuming a decent group.

Honestly, the rep doesn’t bug me as much as the badges do. Being forced to run 10s to get badges to get my tier faster really pisses me off. But until I have… oh, let’s see now… a minimum of 310 badges to get the cheapest combination of 4 pieces of T10… then I’m not going to quit bitching about losing out on badges.

Assuming I get in for all of ICC25 and do my random heroic daily each day and do the random weekly raid (8 + 12 = 20), my total at the end of the week will be 98.

At a rate of 35 badges for the next 2 weeks or so, I’ll have 70 (2 weeks) + 98 (estimated total by next Tuesday) = 168 badges. Which is enough for 2 pieces of T10 and leaves me with 48 left.

Assuming that the next wing opens up after that two-week period, it will have three bosses, Festergut, Rotface and Professor Putricide. That’s up to six more emblems on 25 and up to six more on 10, meaning up to 12 more emblems a week.

Presume it now takes 3 weeks to get into the next wing, not four.

35 + 12 = 47

47 x 3 = 141 more emblems over 3 weeks, assuming you get every badge available to you, even though there are limited attempts on Putricide.

141 + 168 = 309 by the time raids reset on February 2nd and my guess as to when we’ll be able to get into the third wing.

Are you freaking kidding me?

It’s possible that I’m going to have to keep up with this nose to the grindstone thing until FEBRUARY?! And even THEN, I won’t have enough for 4 pieces of tier?!

This is the third reset right now. I’ve missed two days of daily randoms on Madrana and have missed out on one boss fight (2 emblems). I’m six emblems down and two of them aren’t my fault. I cannot continue to lose out on emblems like this or it’s going to take another 2 weeks of dailies to catch up.

This is ridiculous. I need to talk to my RL friend about stuff and how if the guild isn’t going to assure its members that it takes into raid of full emblems, I’ll just pug — to better the guild. How dumb is that? I’m working MY ass off to be able to get “Your Holy Shock spell causes the next Holy Light you cast within 10 sec to have 0.3 sec reduced cast time.” as my 4pc set bonus. Who do you really think is going to benefit from that? That’s right. THE TANKS WHOSE ASSES I AM KEEPING ALIVE. And they can’t even assure me that I’ll get all my badges in a week?

I spend a lot of time thinking about guilds and communities and some of the failures I’ve seen. I can point to where and why each guild I’ve been in has done poorly or broken up. I know exactly where the problems were.

In this guild, the problems lie in communication. Plain and simple. They need a communications officer to express to the guild what the officers are thinking and planning. If I can be blamed for anything in the past, *lack* of communication was never one of my faults, so this drives me absolutely bonkers.

10-mans. I knew they were a bad idea from the start, when I had to split up my guild into two Kara groups based on availability, social cohesion, group makeup, the ability to summon Nightbane and, oh yeah, skill.

10-mans = Failure

I really do recognize that Blizzard wants to make WoW raids more accessible. That’s why we’ve seen raids go from 40-man to 25-man and 20-man to 10-man.

But I still think that 10-mans are the biggest headache to manage for guild leaders. When I was a GM, I was like, “You know what? Fuck 10-mans. Run them, don’t run them, I don’t care.”

They’re filled with drama. You organize them in-guild, officially, and people invariably end up getting saved to the wrong run because some people didn’t show. (See: Karazhan.) You let people run them freely and people invariably get hurt feelings because they don’t get to go “with the cool kids”. (See: Zul’Aman.) You encourage them to run on their own with pugs and people invariably don’t go because they don’t feel like pugging raid content and wiping.

I honestly believe that the introduction of 10-man raid content, starting with Karazhan, but becoming more pronounced with Zul’Aman and developing into the headache we now have with Wrath content, has thrown a wrench into the works of any decent raiding guild.

My personal stance on 10s is “fuck that shit”. I view 10s to be inferior in terms of time + energy = reward than 25-mans. Obviously, I’m right in the sense that right now, ilvl 251 stuff drops out of ICC10 and ilvl 264 stuff drops out of ICC25. Stuff that I have that isn’t tier is basically 258 at this point. Almost everything I have is 245 or 258. ICC10 is a marginal upgrade for me from TOC 25 and is probably a downgrade if the piece is from TOGC 25.

But the problem right now is that you have to do 10s for two reasons. One is rep and the other is Emblems of Frost.

Blizzard has come up with this insane scheme to force you to get 400+ Emblems of Frost in order to get your tier gear. You MUST buy the Emblem of Frost version of your gear (ilvl 251) in order to use the tokens that drop in ICC25, to upgrade your tier to ilvl 264.

Thus, because I do want to get the exalted Ashen Verdict ring and because I do want to wear my tier gear, I need to do the following every week:

– ICC10 (not organized formally by my guild)

– ICC25 (regular raid)

– Random Heroic Daily x7

– Random Weekly Raid x1

That gives me 35 Emblems of Frost a week. I currently have 72 and I should have 76 (I missed 2 days of dailies).

This week, my guild is attempting to set up 10s on the forums. So far as I can see, utter failure. I signed up before the other regular holy paladin did and I am, thus far, not on the invite list. Healer 1: resto druid, Healer 2: shadow priest, Healer 3: other holy pally.

WTF is that all about? If you’re going to post and ask for people for your run, you should take those who post first. If you want to set up a super-secret, ultra-uber group, then use the guild calendar or something else so that you can be assured of the people you need.

I don’t care about going with the cool kids or not and I really hate 10-man content with a fiery passion. So I’ll make my own arrangements or whatever and if I miss out on 8 badges and a chunk of rep this week, so be it. But this is indicative of a serious problem in WoW, I think. Any time you split up a raid group that is generally larger (25 in this case) and force them to do the same content on a slightly less difficult scale, you’re going to end up with people who either miss out due to scheduling issues, have hurt feelings because they’re not as good as those organizing the run or, like me, figure that it’s just not worth the headaches to get 8 emblems a week.

This is the first time I’ve aggressively pursued 10-man content because I recognize I need the badges and rep. And into the third reset of ICC, I’m already disillusioned and am counting down the days ’till I can reform my old guild. :P

Note: Should this nonsense continue into Cataclysm, where we need badges for tier, etc, I am definitely organizing groups for the guild as a whole.

Short form of above: Fuck 10-mans.

Definitely not perfect.

So I’m standing there on my mage, frostbolting King Dred, when he does his bellowing roar.

“Man, I wish I had Every Man For Himself on this character,” I muttered to myself.

And then stopped.

And blinked my eyes (not my toon).

I DO have Every Man For Himself! My mage is human! It just wasn’t on my bars. >< Way to go, me. Way to freaking go. EMFH has been out for what, over a year? Goes to show you how often I play my mage.

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.