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
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!)