Guild Recruitment & Roster Management

Recruitment. Just that one word makes me want to run for my mommy. Of all the administrative tasks a guild has to handle, recruitment is the one I most loathe.

“Is this too many melee DPS? Wait, do we need more ranged? Is five warlocks on the roster really too many? Wait, I thought we had like six resto druids…”

Apotheosis is getting very close to being basically full for Cataclysm’s launch. Actually, we’re probably already sitting at full, but there’s always something that will come up and throw a monkey wrench in our plans. You have to allow for RL emergencies, RL schedule changes, RL issues in general, as well as burnout, general malaise, boredom and the like.

Not to mention the fact that our raid attendence requirement is 75% over four weeks. That means an average of 2 nights a week and then one week where you raid for 3 nights, to maintain Raider status.

So if the typical raid requires, say, six healers, you need a minimum of 8 or so on the roster in order to mathematically make sure you’re covered in terms of attendence.

If the typical raid requires 2-3 tanks, you want to make sure you have 4 who can all do the job at about the same level of competency (ie: not using potentially poorly-geared offspec tanks to start out).

Plus, you kind of want things to be relatively balanced. At least I do. I don’t think five of one spec/class is a good thing, but we currently have five warlocks interested; two destro, one demo, one aff and one undecided. Does five warlocks screw us over? No, but it makes fitting them all into a raid more difficult if every one of them shows up on the same night.

I’m working on a second recruitment/pre-Cata video right now. I hope to have that up tomorrow sometime and a third one up in two weeks. And then a “ZOMG CATACLYSM” video the day before launch.

It’s kind of weird, recruiting for a guild that hasn’t done a whole lot this expansion. I mean, if you want to get really technical, we’ve gotten up to Thaddius in Naxx 25, got Sarth (no adds) and didn’t get Maly.

That’s sad.

In the couple of weeks pre-4.0, we did get to 11/12 ICC 10.

And this last week, we got Lower Spire and Plagueworks down, Blood Prince Council down and Valithria Dreamwalker rescued.

So, really, 9/12 ICC 25 (regular!) isn’t terribly impressive.

Until such time as we get a couple heroic modes under our belts, I’m recruiting based on the success we had in BC. Yeah. Not a lot of people particularly care what we did two years ago. ;)

Still, we’re filling up those spots on the roster and getting there.

I’ve posted to the Alliance recruitment forums (old and new), the realm forum (old), MMO-Champion, WoWhead forums, and edited our info on Wowprogress.

Anywhere else I should post? Like, where do rogues hang out? Seriously. WTB a rogue or two. And an enhancement shammy!

Cataclysm Beta Builds 13221 & 13241

As always, thank you to MMO-Champion for listing the patch changes!

I never did talk about the last beta build (13221) so I’ll talk about those changes here as well.


* Holy Radiance’s effectiveness now diminish on targets farther than x yards away.

That’s cool. It was a little OP for someone 20 yards away to get the entire benefit of something that comes from us in a pulsing wave thing.

* Divine Light base healing has been increased by 30%. From 8538-9512 to 11100-12366

* Flash of Light base healing has been increased by 30%. From 5313-5961 to 6907-7750.

* Holy Light base healing has been increased by 30%. From 3202-3567 to 4162-4637.

* Holy Shock base healing has been increased by 30%. From 3033-3285 to 3943-4271.

Holy crapsicle. Buff time! Hooray! Maybe now I won’t feel like my heals are completely ineffective.

* Lay on Hands no longer restores mana.

That’s okay! No worries! The new Glyph of Divinity means that anytime you cast Lay on Hands, you gain 10% of your maximum mana. That’s on a 7m cooldown with the new Lay on Hands major glyph.

* Beacon of Light now lasts 5 min, up from 1 min.

Well, that’s handy. We can now remove the major glyph of Beacon of Light which reduced its mana cost to 0 and put in that snazzy new Lay on Hands glyph. :)

* Mastery: Illuminated Healing now absorbs 10% of the amount healed, up from 8%. Now lasts 8 sec, up from 6 sec. Each point of mastery increases the absorb amount by an additional 1.25%, up from 1%.

Effing. Awesome. 8 second shield that’s a minimum of 10% of your heal and mastery givs you even more absorption? This is amazing.

All around, 13221 was a huge buff to holy paladins.


* Holy Radiance  20 yards range added to the tooltip.

Good to know.

* Light of Dawn now uses Holy Power instead of Mana. Now heals up to 5 targets. No longer has a cooldown – Consumes all Holy Power to send a wave of healing energy before you, healing up to 5 of the most injured targets in your party or raid within a 30 yard frontal cone for 1008.96 to 1124.15 per charge of Holy Power.

Okay, this is NOT a nerf, I repeat, this is NOT a nerf! Walks was telling me about this earlier tonight (guild stuff has me buried, so I haven’t tested anything yet). Here’s what he has to say:

Walks: The new Light of Dawn is kind of amazing.

Kurn: The lack of cooldown is really that good, eh? Is it a smart heal? (That would be asking too much, I imagine.)

Walks: Yes to both. 3 stacks of HP will heal for about 8.5k non-crit. It is a smart heal, but the players must be in front of you.

Kurn: Wait, SERIOUSLY?! A directional, smart heal, that heals for 8.5k non-crit? SS or it didn’t happen!!!

Walks: I will later! <3 Raid time. Oh, the LoD glyph lets it hit a sixth target.

So here we have an ability with a variable “cooldown”, that is a smart heal! It’s our version of Wild Growth and Circle of Healing! Complete with the glyph that will add another target to the heal. This is, to be blunt, awesome. And is finally a 31-point talent worthy of its spot. IMHO.

* Blessed Life now cannot occur more than 8 seconds (up from 2 seconds).

PVP talent for sure.

* Protector of the Innocent now affects heals on any target except yourself.

Small nerf, but it makes sense. Why proc a heal on yourself after you’ve just healed yourself?

Overall, holy paladins are looking AWESOME.

But basically, you want to go out there and hit full raid groups of people with Light of Dawn while you still can. ;) My record is 26 people, not including myself.

I'll take it.

Apotheosis went in to ICC 25 for the first time as a guild. Here’s what we did.

– 1 attempt at Marrowgar heroic, before we did a one-shot of Marrowgar regular

– One-shots of LDW, Gunship, Saurfang, Rotface and Festergut (all on normal, even Gunship, sadly due to some buggy interface issues)

– One wipe on Putricide, followed by a clean kill

– One wipe on Dreamwalker, closing out the night

I was emphatically not prepared for a few things (Putricide phase changes are at 80% and 35%. Remember this!) and we definitely need to iron out some issues, but it went okay.

Tomorrow, I begin going through the logs and wearing the Healing Lead hat, which will involve talking to the healers. We had a ton of overhealing, which is fine, but I suspect there are some other issues as well that will need to be touched upon.

It was pretty disappointing to see that a healer and a tank just flat-out didn’t show. The tank had some last-minute recording to do with the band he’s in. I’m going to have to give him my cell number I guess, so he can text me in the future or something. Very bad to have a tank who just doesn’t show.

The healer? No idea. Would have been great to have a resto druid. But alas.

At least we had a feral druid who knew the fights and was able to be a kitty and a bear as needed. And we had E, the wonderous priest, pinch-heal for us.

So despite a slow start (looking for fillers) and some DC issues, it went pretty well. I hadn’t thought we’d get Putricide so easily, but we did. :)

My officers kicked ass and did a great job together. At one point, it was almost like we were in BT again. Good times. :)

All in all, it went well and we’re going to try to go back on Thursday. I think we’ll start out in Blood and then move to Frost. That gives me some time to sit there and write up a coherent Sindragosa strategy…

Next week, assuming we do this again… Heroic Marrowgar is gonna be our bitch. :)

Kurn's Healing Lead Philosophy

Tonight, November 2nd, 2010, Apotheosis will step into ICC 25 for the first time as a guild. Indeed, this will be the first 25-man raid we’ve run together since Naxxramas and Obsidian Sanctum back in February of 2009.

For the first time since then, I’ll be a raid leader in a 25-man group. And for the first time since April or so of 2010, I’ll be the healing lead.

I’m not the most fantastic raid leader. I am, however, a pretty darn good healing lead. I’m good at distributing resources, I’m good at identifying issues the healers may be having and I try my best to assign people based on their strengths both as a class and as a player.

So tonight, I get to test out my healing lead skills (along with the raid leading skills — gah! Suddenly, I’m glad that I did some ICC10s with the guild pre-4.0…) and get to look at (and thus, evaluate) some players for the first time.

While thinking about how I’m going to work things tonight, I thought I’d share a bit about my healing lead philosophy, which seems so different from many others I’ve seen or heard about.

1) Clarity of Instructions. I’m going to give you clear instructions as to who your target is. I will rarely say “you two, you’re on tanks, everyone else on raid”. I will assign you a tank and, taking a cue from my most recent healing lead, if you’re “on raid” I will probably assign you a group or two. If there’s confusion as to where to stand, I’ll assign that as well. (My healers from my Bronzebeard guild may recall the detailed guide I had for where to stand on Freya!)

2) Asking for Feedback. After a new fight (wipe or not) I will generally ask the healers how that was. Was anyone too stressed? Was anyone bored? Does anyone have any suggestions for the next time that would make things a little easier or better spread out? Back when my Bronzebeard guild was learning Yogg, this kind of feedback was invaluable. Same with when my RL friend’s guild was learning LK. Remember that feedback from healers doesn’t mean you have to take their suggestions or anything. It just means being aware of their perceptions of the fight. Remember that sometimes people will see things you won’t.

3) Having a Sense of Humour/Being Understanding. People make mistakes. It’s exceedingly difficult to wrangle 25 people together and do something “right” on the first attempt. The raid group is made up of people, too. I don’t have too much of a problem wiping the first few pulls on a boss, so long as we learn from each mistake. And as long as we’re learning, it’s all cool. If someone stands in fire for the third pull in a row, I’m less understanding. But for the most part, I’m a fairly understanding raid leader and healing lead. Perhaps a little too forgiving, but I don’t want to have an environment where people are afraid. Fear is a terrible motivator. I want to motivate people to do better because they want to do their best for the team, not because they’re scared Kurn is going to yell. (Although when I yell, you better freaking watch out… ;D)

Perhaps the best example of having a sense of humour about things is this one time on Yogg-Saron, where one of our healers didn’t get inside before someone started the fight. I was laughing so hard I was crying, particularly as this priest was using /say to crack us all up. Like /say Knock, knock? and such.

I mean, at that point, you already know the attempt will be more difficult than it should be, and may even result in a wipe, so why not laugh about it?

4) Understanding How the Classes Work Together. This is actually what’s got me a little worried about tonight, since I don’t really feel all that comfortable with the various changes. Obviously, I know how paladin healing has changed and I know chunks about how holy priests and disc priests have changed, but resto druids remain a little bit mysterious to me and I’m basically hoping that shammies haven’t changed much at all. ;)

When approaching a fight, you need to know how to divide your resources, though. Six healers? Who’s on the tanks? Who’s on raid? How do you make that decision? Part of it is what the classes are capable of, obviously. In the pre-4.0 world, you never would have put a holy paladin on anything but a tank (or a single target who is taking obscene amounts of damage). Now, however, druids can do some outstanding single-target healing, so while you probably still won’t want a holy paladin on “the raid”, you can probably put a druid on a tank to help pick up the slack from a paladin’s gimped Beacon of Light, which will allow the druid to help out on the raid as well.


5) Understanding How Your Players Like to Play. No matter what’s more efficient or what’s “better”, you will undoubtedly run into healers who are not team players and will grumble and complain about how you’re wasting their awesome talents by assigning them to X or Y instead of Z. Usually this behaviour is seen in those who place a great deal of importance on healing meters instead of on their job, which is to keep people up.

If a shaman does terribly at doing anything but spamming Chain Heal, but does BRILLIANTLY at that, then they’re obviously going to be happier spamming Chain Heal and will probably look for ways in order to do that and “cheat” on their assignments. So head it off at the pass and, if you value them as a team member, assign them to what they’re going to do anyways. Of course, if you can swap them out for someone more team-oriented, that’s probably the best choice, but if you can’t (and who has a plethora of spare healers?) then try to work with them.

6) Know What You’re Seeing When Examining Parses. The worst thing to do in terms of evaluating a healer is to look at where they stand on the full report of healing, or even just the boss fights. It’s terrible. It doesn’t take into account anything like movement, assignments, cleansing, etc. What I look at, in order:

a) All healing done during all bosses: Just to get an idea of things. If all my healers are clustered nicely around 15% of healing done, sweet. But they probably aren’t. Looking at this doesn’t mean whoever tops it is godly. Rather, a large spread means that there may be problems in assignments or how the healer followed assignments. It’s telling you what to look at when you look at the individual fights.

b) Healing done on individual fights: Did we lose people? If so, how? Was it DPS failing to move out of the fire or was a healer slacking? Was it a tank death? What was that tank’s healer doing? This is where I get an idea of where the fight went wrong and if it was preventable and what healers were doing at that time. I will dig into the log browser and expression editor here. Was a healer locked out of all their spells thanks to Curse of Torpor and THAT’S why their tank died? If so, it’s a mage or druid or resto shammy fail for not cleansing the curse in time. That sort of thing.

c) Overhealing: Was overhealing a problem? Were people sniping other people’s heals? Overhealing can show if people are respecting assignments or not and can also show you if your assignments aren’t right. For example, if you have 7 healers and all of them have 65%+ overheal, drop a healer!

d) Abilities used: What were the primary spells your healers were casting? Is what they were doing right? Wrong? Unsure?

e) Uptimes: If your paladins aren’t keeping Judgements of the Pure up over 90% of the time during boss encounters, that’s a fail, for example.

7) Communicate With Your Team. If you see issues with your healers, tell them about it! Don’t just assume it’s going to fix itself. And be specific. Don’t be all “yo, dawg, don’t be fail”. Say something like “You know, I noticed that your Prayer of Mending use wasn’t very high, but it’s really something you should endeavour to use on cooldown as much as you can.” Being tactful here is key. And if you don’t understand why they’re doing something, ask them! “Hey, I was wondering, why are you using X glyph instead of Y? I’d love to hear the reasoning. From what I’ve read, X is more efficient, but I’d love to know if it’s not the recommended one!”

Basically, my healing lead philosophy is one that encourages teamwork, feedback, communication and specific instructions. It’s also a lot of work for the healing lead because you have to do your research and talk to your healers, which is something a lot of people don’t have time for, nor do they bother to make time.

I tend to either have the time or make the time for it and all the healers I’ve worked with in this game have noticed it. Trust me, healing leads — that extra five minutes you spend with a healer of yours can be the difference between them thinking you’re a snob who never has time for them or thinking that you’re pretty awesome and you know your stuff.

Trial of the Idiotic Crusader

There are three things anyone who’s read this blog for any length of time knows about me:

1) I hate 10-man raids.

2) I’m a pretty decent holy paladin who is very familiar with the changes to the class, given time on beta and such.

3) I’m pretty damn well-geared. (Bear in mind that chardev isn’t all the way up to date, but at least the gear I’m wearing there is what I’m wearing on live.)

Tonight, a certain priest was asking in guild if anyone was up for TOGC10. I didn’t say anything. I purposely didn’t say anything. Until like, the third time she asked and I was like, well, crap.

So I sighed and let her know that if she desperately needed me, I’d heal. But I had a few things to do first — update a website, take a phone call… it would be 15 minutes at least, probably closer to 20. Ended up being about 30, but anyways.

It was mostly a guild group. 2 tanks (both paladins), two healers (me and O), then a hunter, an ele shammy, a warlock and an enhancement shaman all from our guild, with a ret paladin and a DPS warrior as pugs, rounding out the group.

I don’t know what anyone else was assuming about it, but I assumed the following:

People aren’t going to know what to do and this is going to be painful.

By and large, I was right. I wasn’t horribly frustrated by that. I expected it. I did not expect 7 wipes on heroic beasts. Nor did I expect a Jaraxxus one-shot.

This isn’t a blog post about how my guildies and I (well, mostly my guildies) got Tribute to Skill or got the TOGC 10 achievement. (I’d never done it all the way before.) It’s not even a blog post about how I still hate the warlock and felhound on Faction Champs or the pain that Light Vortex can bring. Nor is it about how we didn’t even actually get a burrow on our first Anub attempt.

It’s about my experience healing.

Fuck that place.

It dawned on me, perhaps on our fourth wipe on heroic beasts, that we are at that stupid time of the expansion where:

a) we are not tuned in our abilities,

b) the environment has not changed so that our abilities have even a SEMBLANCE of being tuned.

You can get away with this in ICC with 30% more health, more damage, more healing and more absorption.

It is very much a different story when attempting to do content that is a little more challenging than your average dungeon without a buff.

O and I are good healers and both very experienced in TOGC. We’re both 4/5 TOGC 25 (stupid Anub…) and, between us, we have 33 kills of heroic beasts on 25-man. Granted, she had those kills on her druid instead of her priest, but hey. Experience, you know? It matters.

So while I anticipated some problems, I was, in no way, prepared for the amount of problems we had.

First of all, I kept losing my tank on Northrend Beasts.

I didn’t know why. I STILL don’t know why, except for two attempts.

Seriously, I’m looking at the logs right now.

Barring attempts where I got Paralytic Toxin on the worms… and barring the attempt where someone got trampled and so Icehowl enraged (and no tranq shot was cast!)…

So attempt 1: Paralytic Toxin, which means running, which means not casting.

Attempt 2, Trample/enrage.

Attempt 3, not sure why, but my tank (as opposed to my brother, who was also tanking) ended up with both Molten Spew AND Acid Spit. Ow.

Attempt 4, ah yes, there I was standing around, casting, minding my own goddamn business and someone runs past me with a Snobold on their head. No, they didn’t run past me. They ran right next to me. So that the Snobold was actually IN RANGE of me.

[22:04:52.365] Madrana begins to cast Divine Light
[22:04:52.365] Snobold Vassal casts Batter on Madrana
[22:04:52.365] Snobold Vassal’s Batter interrupts Madrana’s Divine Light
[22:04:52.469] Snobold Vassal Batter Madrana 992 (O: -1)
[22:04:52.771] Madrana Retribution Aura Snobold Vassal 284 (O: -1)
[22:04:53.971] Gormok the Impaler Impale PallyTank 7046 (O: -1)
[22:04:54.377] Gormok the Impaler hits PallyTank 7474 (O: 7941)
[22:04:54.785] PallyTank dies

Dead tank.

Attempt 5, Paralytic Toxin.

Attempt 6, I tried to squeeze a heal out to a DPS who had stood in the fire just a touch too long and then got caught with the long cast time on Divine Light. Even with over 1000 haste, it’s just SUCH a long cast. My instincts definitely betrayed me here. Divine Light may be the spell the most similar to the old Holy Light and it may even have the same Clique bind as my old faithful HL… but the cast time ALONE needs to set it far, far apart from Holy Light. 2.5 second talented base cast time. That’s crap is what it is. In this world of content where your tank can and WILL die within 1-2 GCDs, that’s a death sentence.

Attempt 7, at least it wasn’t my tank who died. O got a Head Crack from a Snobold and couldn’t adequately cast, so Fog went down.

It’s not all bad RNG, but it looks like a lot of it was. If only I hadn’t been silenced. If only O hadn’t been silenced. If only Icehowl hadn’t trampled someone. If only…

We one-shotted Jaraxxus, though, mostly because hi, it’s a healing fight and O and I could probably both heal our way through that fight in our sleep, having a combined 29 kills on 25-man heroic Jaraxxus.

We wiped twice on Faction Champs before O had to go (she hadn’t anticipated taking so long with the issues we’d had on the beasts) and we pulled in my favourite BC-era priest, E.

Faction Champs down on the first try. At least this fight hasn’t changed much. I still hate Unstable Affliction.

Also, the Horde (or, I guess, Alliance, if you’re Horde) druid is still in perma-tree form. FYI.

On to Twin Valks!

This was the suck. Mostly because it felt like I couldn’t do anything EXCEPT spam Divine Light in order to keep up the tank. We’d gone with a one tank setup wherein the DPS all get dark aura and burn the crap out of the white Valk, leaving the tank to just use passive AOE and such to hold aggro on the black Valk. It was fine… unless I wanted to judge or something. So I judged on the pull on the third attempt and spammed Divine Light, so that it was more than half my healing done and I had pathetic use of the other spells in my arsenal.

Now, while this is somewhat an unorthodox method of doing it (I would have been much more comfortable with Fog and the pally tank on one mob each) it’s still ridiculous that due to the insanely high cast time (at least, relatively speaking), I can’t even afford to judge once a minute on that fight and have to use my other instants very sparingly.

Holy paladins are very broken here and I would submit that Holy Light should have a medium cast time. When they talked about a three-heal system, here’s what I thought:

FoL: Short cast, very expensive, average throughput

HL: Medium cast, medium cost, average throughput

DL: Long cast, expensive cost (not very, but higher than medium), huge throughput

Instead, we have:

FoL: Short cast, very expensive, average throughput

HL: Long cast, very cheap cost, less than average throughput

DL: Long cast, expensive cost, huge throughput

There HAS to be a step between FoL and HL/DL. That’s what we’re really missing. A two-second (talented) cast time on a casted spell. Like the old HL with Light’s Grace up.

Anyways. Anub’arak went smoothly, surprisingly, despite poor positioning. We had one wipe but we learned that, with hero, we could push him into P2 without a burrow.

Naturally, we pulled him a second time without first checking to make sure hero was up. Whoops.

We kited him around in the burrow phase without issue and then burned him down. Props to E for being a kick-ass healer, as per usual.

So that was most of my evening. I hate that instance. I never, ever, EVER want to do it again, not on normal 10 or 25 and certainly not on heroic 10 or 25. It’s just not meant to work with our current abilities and talents.

After getting down to a 1.3s Holy Light, having Sacred Shield and things like Divine Sacrifice/Divine Guardian and running TOC/TOGC with those tools and that speedy cast, I could do anything. Running it tonight (well, technically last night) was a painful reminder that I am gimped far beyond what I recognize and that I am nowhere near as good a healer as I was three weeks ago.

What sucks is that it’s not that I’m not a good healer. It’s that my mechanics make me a worse healer than I was. I could reliably do my job, three weeks ago. This raid picked away at some of my confidence.

See, I KNEW that I could do what was required of me in there. Or I thought I could. Now, I’m not so sure. And I’m not so sure it’s even that I’m not making the right decisions, because I think I AM making the right decisions, just about all of the time.

The mechanics, especially when matched against that particular instance on that particular difficulty, are just flat-out going to lose against TOGC10. Did we get the achievement and finish the instance? Yes. But would it have gone about 10 times more smoothly back in the world of 3.3.x? Hell yes. I wouldn’t have had any problems. None. I know my capabilities.

And what I saw in TOGC10 really hit me hard.

We have an ICC 25 coming up on Tuesday and perhaps one on Thursday. Guild runs, predominently. I was feeling pretty good about maybe flipping the switch to heroic Marrowgar and maybe BQL and maybe even Dreamwalker.

After the TOGC run? Not so much.

I’ll post more pally stuff soon, btw. I’ve been lax, I know. Guild stuff is always beckoning!

(By the way, still recruiting for Cataclysm!)