The Light and How to Swing It — Kurn's Issues, Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of my issues with the current holy edition of The Light and How to Swing It, a column written by Chase Christian at WoW.com. This post will focus primarily on the three articles written thus far by Mr. Christian as well as expound on the reasons why I believe his lack of experience as a holy paladin will be detrimental to the holy paladin community as a whole. If you’d like to read the post I wrote detailing his lack of experience and the apparent false justification Mr. Adam Holisky offered to me regarding Mr. Christian’s appointment to the column, you can do so here.

Continue reading “The Light and How to Swing It — Kurn's Issues, Part 2”

The Light and How to Swing It — Kurn's Issues, Part 1

Okay. I am not *generally* a bitch. But, sometimes, when properly motivated, I can be very, very good at being a bitch.

In this post, I will discuss the fact that Mr. Chase Christian, better known as the  rogue columnist at WoW.com, got the position of the Holy Paladin columnist as well. Further, I will explain how I feel that the justification used to placate me when I was intially outraged appears to be false.

Continue reading “The Light and How to Swing It — Kurn's Issues, Part 1”

Thinking about spellpower.

I am pretty much a die-hard Holy Light spammer. As such, I stack intellect. I’m happy with my 42k mana pool in raids.

But it means virtually nothing  on the Dreamwalker fight.

So, I’m thinking of pulling out some old gear (and getting the 251 versions of my pants and gloves, which I don’t have yet) and gemming/enchanting entirely for spellpower.

Raid-buffed, I would go from 2883 spellpower to 3205, assuming chardev.org is right. That’s a difference of 322 spellpower. I’d also drop 8000 mana… but regen is not an issue on that fight. And since the “debuff”, Emerald Vigor, means 10% more healing for each stack on you, wouldn’t that mean that every point of spellpower makes a HUGE difference? I’d keep eating haste food, lest I drop below the 1s GCD with JotP up, but I’d flask for spellpower, gem and enchant for spellpower, even using the Ember Skyflare meta for 25 spellpower and 2% intellect, instead of old faithful, the Insightful Earthsiege Diamod (21 int, 600 mana back proc).

Really, it would only require spending badges I should probably spend anyways (to get 4 of my 5 T10 pieces, if only so I can upgrade them to the 264/277 versions later) and some cash to get a bunch of Cardinal Rubies.

I’d need 10 Rubies, 3 Dragon’s Eyes, 1 new meta gem, 1 new helm enchant (+crit instead of +mp5), 1 new shoulder enchant (+crit instead of +mp5), 1 30 spellpower enchant to wrists, 1 28 spellpower enchant to gloves, 1 new spellthread for my pants… ooh, and maybe Purified Lunar Dust, too, which would bump me to 3358 spellpower. Of course, I don’t have the badges for new pants AND new gloves AND a crappy trinket I will never use except on Dreamwalker.

Hm. Maybe I’ll go do a VOA 10 on Madrana and pray T10 holy pants drop, eh? ;D

I’m not sure I’m going to do this, but at least I know I CAN do it and at least I know what it would take in order to do it.

Anyone have thoughts?

Valithria Dreamwalker

Well, I’m back to raiding. I took Sunday night and Monday night off, then showed up on Wednesday and was feeling okay, if a little worn out. I was feeling much better on Thursday when the raid began, though. We raided for 3 full hours, killing the blood princes and then cleared to Dreamwalker (killing a sort of a miniboss in there? I got an extra Emblem of Frost from some damn mob).

I was both totally prepared and not remotely prepared for the Valithria Dreamwalker fight.

Under the Totally Prepared umbrella, we have:

Glyph of Seal of Light (instead of my typical Glyph of Seal of Wisdom – although I brought an extra one of those, too, obviously, to reglyph back to my regularly scheduled awesomeness)

Libram of Tolerance (instead of my typical Libram of Renewal, although I’m thinking of picking up the ilvl 226 Libram of the Resolute)

Under the Totally NOT Prepared umbrella, we have:

– no spellpower flasks or elixirs

– bad flying coordination inside the portals to stack the buff effectively

– bad timing inside the portals to ensure the buff wouldn’t fall off between portals

– had no idea how freaking often the damn portals SPAWN

– had no idea what the best way to TARGET the stupid dragon was

I realized on my first attempt (the guild has already done Dreamwalker on both 10/25, but I missed out on the 25 due to being sick and the 10 by virtue of being sick and hating 10s) that targetting the dragon was going to be a problem.

“… target the dragon with your mouse, Kurn, then spam Holy Light. WTF.”

I know. I did that for my first attempt. It was very poor. I was trying to judge mobs to keep Judgements of the Pure up (ahahahaha, forget THAT nonsense in the freaking chaos) and all the time I lost in switching targets and also in switching targets back to Dreamwalker meant I was getting frustrated as crap.

“So… use a focus, Kurn. Geez, this isn’t rocket science.”

Well, that’s exactly what I did on my second attempt. (We had 9 wipes before getting her down… up?? on the 10th.) Except that HEY, focus targets that you’re focused on in one phased area VANISH if they’re not targettable in another phase!

So not only is Dreamwalker not sitting there on my Grid, but the focus mechanic is basically useless to me, right?

Third attempt, I made a macro.

/focus Valithria Dreamwalker

Then I edited my Clique frames to include my ShadowedUF Focus frame (I use ShadowedUF) as well as my Grid frames. So all my happy Clique bindings now worked on my focus frame. I dropped my macro someplace useful on my bars and would hit that as soon as I came out of every portal phase and went back to my regular Holy Light bombing.

At that point, having gotten the mechanics of healing the great damn dragon in front of me down properly, I turned my attention to not sucking at getting green orbs.

The most stacks I had at any point was about 16, and that was twice in all of our attempts. In other words, I FAIL REAL GUD. I was getting better at getting a quick rebuff once I was back inside the portals, but if I didn’t have at LEAST 3 seconds left on the buff before zoning back into the portal, I was screwed.

And, on our final (successful) attempt of the night (yes, Apotheosis, the Infamous Last Attempt is not just a phenomenon that happens to us!), some dick ninjaed my portal from me at one point, leaving me to deal with this thing called “regular mana regen” for a full portal phase. Ugh!

I’m seriously considering buying the 251 level versions of two more pieces of tier and gemming/enchanting them with spellpower, along with chunks of T9 and other old gear, so that I basically have a spellpower set specifically for Dreamwalker. I’m going to have to sit down with my gear in my bank and figure out if that’s at all possible, but I’m thinking that it can’t be a bad thing to try to boost my spellpower for that fight.

Oh, the best part about the Dreamwalker fight? 9% overhealing.

I don’t remember the last time I saw that number. Ever.

Circle of Healers #2 – The Follow-up

Totally forgot that Saunder posted a follow-up to Miss Medicina’s original surveyish post and her recent post in response to Saunder reminded me it was something I needed to post, too! :) I snagged all six of Saunder’s questions and the two additional ones from MM.

1. Reread your original answers to the questions. With the benefit of hindsight, score your own work in terms of its cringeworthyness.

Eh, I’m not horrified by my previous responses. I don’t use Lay on Hands enough, though — and I hadn’t mentioned it at ALL in my previous post. I think I probably forgot it existed for a few minutes when writing the original answer for “least used” healing spell.

2. Has your healing improved in the area you identified as your weakest?

Not a whole lot, really, but there’s not a lot I CAN do about my lack of heals on the move and my lack of group heals. But I have pulled some huge numbers on Blood Queen attempts that just remind me that I’m usually at my best with a persistent damage aura going. It means that the tank and OT both benefit from my direct heals (well, one of them with Beacon) and the melee benefit from my Glyph of Holy Light splashes. It’s always fun to see huge numbers.

3. Have you changed your ‘least favoured class to heal with’?

Nope. Still don’t like healing on my shaman. I don’t feel any more powerful than I do on my paladin, even though I can chain heal four people at once versus dropping a 20k heal on a single person.

But apparently, this was meant to be “what other class do you not enjoy healing alongside you on your healer?”

Four months or so ago, I would have probably said a disc priest. Not that I don’t like them, but because I had my doubts that, in a 10-man, a disc priest and a holy paladin would have been able to get through Saurfang together. But then I did that in December or early January and it wasn’t just “fine”, it was “great”. So I guess maybe a second holy paladin would be my answer now. ALL FOUR other classes/specs that heal regularly have better raid-healing capabilities than I do as a holy paladin.

4. Did you read the entries from others in the webring, especially your class?

I did indeed! And still traipse through other entries if I’m bored. :)

5. If Yes to #4, did you learn anything that made you a better healer?

Not with regards to pally stuff, I don’t think (it’s been a while!) but I think I remember a priest writing about using Holy Nova to heal while on the run, which I thought was freaking brilliant and have used that when moving on my little 72 disc priest.

6. What tools/resources or information do you think you would need to improve as a healer and how could that help the community at large?

Maybe the ability for the combat log to record locations of people, movement and stoppage in movement. I love WorldOfLogs and love that they can show us the breakdown over time, show us combat log snippets… but it really doesn’t show us where we are in relation to others. That’s the one thing that I’ve really, REALLY wanted to see and it’s not a failing of WoL’s, because the combat log just doesn’t record that information at the moment. I think it would be GREAT for the community, though, if only to see where people are standing during fights, when they move as a group, singly, etc.

7. What did you identify as your worst habit as a healer? Have you improved in this area?

I said it was my cross-healing. To be honest, it’s not that I’ve necessarily improved in this area, but I am EASILY the healer in my guild who cross-heals the least. So I look good because other people are worse than I’ve ever been.

8. What did you list as your favorite healing spell and your least used healing spell for your class? Are these answers still true? If they have changed, what caused the change (i.e. patch fix, different healing environment, etc)?

Still a sucker for Holy Shock, but I’m using it less often now. I swapped to the Glyph of Beacon of Light from the Glyph of Holy Shock, but I’m debating getting the new libram and going BACK to Glyph of Holy Shock. The least-used (well, we’ll imagine I said Lay on Hands for that)… still don’t use it nearly enough, but I’ve used it on at least two Putricide kills, so even if I never use it again, I used it when it counted, at least twice. :)

Maybe ignorance IS bliss / Divine Plea offsets

I admit it. I remain almost entirely ignorant when it comes to the Blood Prince Council fight. And yet…

Basically, I heal the living crap out of my target while having a beacon on another tanking person and stay away from anything I see that is obviously bad.

And I get an achievement for my ignorance and I beat out the other holy pally on the meters, even though he used Judgement of Light, haha!

Speaking of numbers, I really have to remind myself, frequently, that meters suck. It’s kind of hard not to put faith in them, though, when you’re doing well. ;D Honestly, it just means that people weren’t healing my target and sniping my heals. I know that. But it looks so pretty! I mean, look at this from an attempt on Blood Queen Lana’thel!

Truthfully, I have to say that the two-piece Tier 10 bonus for holy paladins has changed my entire playstyle.

It is this:

While your Divine Illumination talent is active, your heals are 35% stronger.

I have a keybound macro to take advantage of that. Shift-S pops Divine Illumination and then Divine Plea. So I’m at 85% of my ability instead of 50%. This almost certainly means a tank will not die when I pop Divine Plea. Not only that, but everything is super cheap to cast! AND I’m regenerating mana?! Hi, two-piece, I love you. Marry me.

I generally pop it when I realize my mana is at about 60-65%, will probably refresh Beacon and Sacred Shield and continue spamming merrily along. Then when Divine Plea is up again, I’m usually down to about 35-40% of my mana. So I pop Divine Plea with the Talisman of Resurgence to offset it. So instead of healing for 12-13k, I’m healing for around 10k. Totally worth it.

Then, next time Divine Plea comes up, I still have Avenging Wrath if I really can’t wait another minute for Divine Illumination to be up again. Instead of 12-13k, I’m healing for about 8k. Less worth it, but it’s better than not having any mana, particularly in a situation where I can’t melee to regen or can’t even spare the globals to judge in the hopes of a Seal of Wisdom proc.

Thinking about it, I should probably pop DivIll/Divine Plea around 70% mana to ensure that I CAN wait a little between DP coming off cooldown and using my trinket and then waiting for Divine Illumination to come back up after DP comes back up after using the trinket with it.

Anyways. Healing meters are bad and I feel like a bad player for not really caring enough to know the details of the Blood Prince Council fight and I should adjust my Divine Plea usage just a wee bit.

Oh, and in brief other news, Maj, my brother and I pretty much ruin Old Kingdom, Drak’Tharon and Violet Hold. No kidding, my brother does leet hunter DPS after a quick respec. And Maj got a couple of upgrades today to render him uncrittable by a boss 3 levels higher than him. And my tree got nothing except experience, which is fine. I’m level 76 now. And totally out of rested! WOE IS ME, people. WOE.

… I need to stop posting stuff at 6-7am.

Haha?

Okay, I clearly need to look at the logs in depth, but, uh, this amused the living crap out of me.

Basically, those graphs show me doing over 8k effective HPS, over 12k raw HPS over the course of a 1m 23s attempt on Queen Lana’thel. The first graph shows me, then the resto druid and a resto shammy. The table shows me, the druid, the shammy, the RET pally (JoL), the other resto druid, the SHADOW priest (VE) and the other holy paladin.

Sure, it doesn’t matter because we all died real fast. But damn me, how hilarious is that? :D

Edit:

Bwahaha, look at these numbers! I got seriously lucky with my timing. Look at the utter lack of overheal in this 8 second snippet. I was healing the bear tank with my beacon on the warrior tank.

[23:40:55.005] Madranah Glyph of Holy Light Ret Pally +1413
[23:40:55.005] Madranah Glyph of Holy Light DPS Warrior +1413
[23:40:55.005] Madranah Glyph of Holy Light Rogue 1 +1414
[23:40:55.005] Madranah Glyph of Holy Light Ebon Gargoyle +0 (O: 1333)
[23:40:55.005] Madranah Glyph of Holy Light Warrior Tank +1413
[23:40:55.005] Madranah Beacon of Light Warrior Tank +12698
[23:40:55.832] Madranah Holy Light Bear Tank +11768
[23:40:56.541] Madranah Glyph of Holy Light DPS Warrior +1236
[23:40:56.541] Madranah Glyph of Holy Light Ret Pally +1236
[23:40:56.541] Madranah Glyph of Holy Light Rogue 1 +1235
[23:40:56.541] Madranah Glyph of Holy Light Ebon Gargoyle +450 (O: 786)
[23:40:56.541] Madranah Glyph of Holy Light Warrior Tank +1236
[23:40:56.541] Madranah Beacon of Light Warrior Tank +11768
[23:40:57.455] Madranah Holy Light Bear Tank +11551
[23:40:58.158] Madranah Glyph of Holy Light DPS Warrior +1213
[23:40:58.158] Madranah Glyph of Holy Light Ret Pally +1213
[23:40:58.158] Madranah Glyph of Holy Light Rogue 1 +1213
[23:40:58.158] Madranah Glyph of Holy Light Ebon Gargoyle +0 (O: 1213)
[23:40:58.158] Madranah Glyph of Holy Light Warrior Tank +1213
[23:40:58.158] Madranah Beacon of Light Warrior Tank +11551
[23:40:58.687] Madranah Flash of Light Bear Tank +*6481*
[23:40:59.389] Madranah Beacon of Light Warrior Tank +6481
[23:40:59.612] Madranah Flash of Light Warrior Tank +5236
[23:41:00.325] Madranah Flash of Light Bear Tank +567
[23:41:01.183] Madranah Holy Light Bear Tank +*20051*
[23:41:01.183] Madranah Flash of Light Warrior Tank +458
[23:41:01.542] Madranah Flash of Light Bear Tank +567
[23:41:01.713] Madranah Glyph of Holy Light Rogue 2 +2106
[23:41:01.713] Madranah Glyph of Holy Light DPS Warrior +2105
[23:41:01.713] Madranah Glyph of Holy Light Ret Pally +2106
[23:41:01.713] Madranah Glyph of Holy Light Rogue 1 +2105
[23:41:01.713] Madranah Glyph of Holy Light Warrior Tank +2106
[23:41:01.729] Madranah Beacon of Light Warrior Tank +16267 (O: 3784)
[23:41:02.353] Madranah Flash of Light Warrior Tank +458
[23:41:02.541] Madranah Flash of Light Bear Tank +567
[23:41:02.993] Madranah Holy Light Bear Tank +13362
[23:41:03.257] Madranah Flash of Light Warrior Tank +459
[23:41:03.585] Madranah Flash of Light Bear Tank +567

Confession Time

I have a confession to make.

The guild my paladin is in requires BigWigs as a boss mod. I mean, they require Omen, oRA and BigWigs, and Grid/Clique if you’re a healer. That’s it. Not terribly stringent requirements, since I already had Omen, oRA and Grid/Clique.

I had never downloaded BigWigs, continuing to rely on my old favourite, Deadly Boss Mods. I resisted BW for a very long time because… well, they do the same damn thing. I still prefer DBM, to be honest, but I have to say that BigWigs definitely has useful tools to ensure you see that you’re standing in fire, poison, etc, that you’re standing too close to others on a fight where range matters…

But I downloaded BigWigs because, at some point last week, half the guild was like “crap, my BW is out of date”. And I thought, well, I should probably install it and run it simultaneously with DBM so I can get used to the BW sounds/warnings while not screwing up because I know how to react to my DBM warnings.

So, there we were, about to pull Saurfang on Wednesday, when I heard this noise and wondered what on EARTH this infernal pinging was. It had to be BigWigs, I reasoned, because it certainly wasn’t part of the fight. It sounded like I was on a submarine and we had sonar going and we were tracking other ships or torpedoes or something.

And then I saw it. A little square box had cropped up and had as its contents the list of people in my raid that I was 9 yards or less away from.

I stepped back two paces.

Silence. And a little smiley face in the range box.

Okay, I admitted to myself, an audio tool for range can really come in handy in a number of places.

Some of the warnings are a little too harsh — the screen shaking, the audio AND flashing colours, combined with raid warnings and such can make it a little confusing. But all of that is customizable.

I love my DBM. I really do. I think it’s a fine piece of craftsmanship. But I’m going to be running  both from now on, because BW just has that something extra. Plus, it was invaluable to me and my guild back in Hyjal because it would announce the types of mobs in the upcoming waves, and good ol’ Football (melee DPS officer) would call out assignments on the fly. “Shack 2, spell reflect casters, pally tank pick ’em up, warriors pull one each off him for kill targets.”

Apart from anything else, BW saved my ass twice on Thursday alone. Once, I was the person Rotface spewed his slime at — and it told me when I was targetted and not when he was done casting. And the second time was because I was TOTALLY healing my ass off and I almost got blown up by a slime. I would have been killed if I hadn’t run away, like a little girl, when my screen turned blue and shook violently, thanks to BW.

Having said that, I genuinely hope that the majority of the players in the raids DO NOT have BW installed. Why? Because they miss even the obvious things like range issues. If they actually did have BW installed, would they not NOTICE the big slime is going to explode? Would they not NOTICE that their computer is beeping at them because they’re in range of 8 other people? If they do have it installed and are still missing most of these warnings… I just don’t even have words.

By the way, you should definitely download DeadlyBossMods or BigWigs if you don’t run a boss mod addon.

Briefly, in other news, I’ve managed to outheal the other holy pally. Finally. He has this stupid tendency to judge light, CONSTANTLY. I mean, all the time. Even with ret pallies in the raid. But tonight, he didn’t judge light (no idea why) AND I got the following Rotface assignment:

– Beacon the MT, heal infected players

I even outhealed my RL friend, the resto druid/healing lead. The only person I didn’t outheal was the disc priest, and half of his effective “healing” was casting PW:Shield on people. I don’t normally get caught up in the numbers, but DAMN, did it feel good to finally not have all my heals totally sniped! I usually just focus on keeping my target up, which is usually the MT or OT, and keeping my beacon up on the other of them, but I’ve noticed that the other holy pally will tend to beacon his target and raid heal, unless he’s specifically told to place his beacon on someone else. (And then he’ll usually judge light.)

So now I know that I don’t totally suck and confirms my suspicions that the only reason I’m “so low” on the meters (which suck anyways) is because of assignment. My RL friend knows I won’t deviate from my assignment except for quick spot heals, so she gives me the job of primarily keeping the tanks up by virtue of direct heals and beacon.  And I do enjoy it, except that all the healers are also tossing heals on the tanks — the other holy pally (via beacon if not direct heals), my RL friend rolling hots, the priests dropping POM, Renew, using Penance and shields, the shammies with ES and Riptide and chaining off the tanks and melee… So, it’s very rare that I have high effective healing or show up huge on the numbers. Which is fine. It’s just nice to see for myself that a small change in assignments can bring out those numbers and I AM capable of doing them, when asked to do so.

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:

huntard1

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!

Whew.

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.

Whew.

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

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.