Why Nefarian Sucks

Before I begin, I’d like to state that I actually quite enjoy the Nefarian fight. At least I do on 25-man difficulty, which is what I’ll address here. (I don’t imagine I’ll ever see it on 10-man and I’m okay with that.)

However, the fight sucks on a wide variety of levels. Why is this?

The encounter requires almost perfect execution. This, in itself, is not a bad thing. Perfect execution is something we should always strive for in every encounter. The problem is actually that it requires almost perfect execution from ~9 people at separate times and sustained good execution (even very good execution) from everyone else.

1) The tanks. If your Onyxia tank isn’t turning her appropriately, your raid will be fried by her lightning. If your add tank isn’t despawning the adds appropriately in P1, your P3 add tank is screwed. If your Nefarian tank doesn’t drag Nefarian far enough away from Onyxia, they get the Children of Deathwing buff and will pretty much 2-shot both your Ony tank and your Nef tank.

2) The interrupters. While this will be somewhat alleviated in 4.1 because all interrupt abilities will no longer miss, that’s not the case today and it hasn’t been the case since the launch of Cataclysm. That means that, right now and up until 4.1, you need people able to interrupt every single cast of Blast Nova in P2 who are reliable. In the 25-man version, Blast Nova is cast every 8 seconds, so unless you have 3 enhancement shaman lying around, you probably need 4, 5 or 6 dedicated interrupters. Tanks generally have low hit, so they miss. Healers are generally the same, plus they also have this thing called “healing” to do while on the platforms. Granted, the amount of hit needed is only 5-6% since the mobs you’re interrupting are level 85, just like us. So in some cases, a tank would be okay for this. For the most part, however, in order to have interrupts that don’t miss, you need a mix and match of melee DPS who are probably going to be hit-capped. If one of them misses one interrupt, you may be able to pull through, but in our raid group, 2+ Blast Novas means an immediate wipe or means that some people die due to the extra damage and leaves us wiping somewhere under 10%.

3) The healers have to push in P2. Honestly, you’ve got to pull out all your tricks, especially if you’re planning on pushing 1-2 Electrocutes (see below) in this phase. I take 7 healers to Nefarian and put two on each platform, along with one of our three tanks on each platform, meaning there’s five DPS on each platform as well. The extra healer generally gets dropped on to the NE platform and is usually an Atonement disc priest, so they’re able to smite the add and heal that way. However, the tricky part is that we have to keep up this insane kind of burn phase for ~3 minutes and, in the case of my guild, two Electrocutes. All the while, we’re dealing with Shadowflame Barrage (which inflicts pushback — and while I try to make sure a paladin and a shaman are on each platform, they’re both using Resist aura/totem so that we get the Shadow and Fire covered from the paladin and the nature covered from the shaman), healing people up after they pop out of the lava —

  • A word about the lava. Getting out of the lava is not hard. The lip of the platform sucks and, yes,  there have been times where I’ve jumped around, flailing like a jackass. The lava does not suck. What sucks is Blast Nova being cast right as most people are jumping up out of the lava on to the platform. What we tend to do is have everyone with an interrupt try to get the first one except the person designated to be the second interrupter. But it still sucks.

— and generally trying desperately to make sure people are topped off just before Electrocute hits. I pop everything — Aura Mastery, Guardian of Ancient Kings, Divine Favor, Avenging Wrath, Holy Radiance, even sometimes Lay on Hands, though I prefer to hold that and my mana potion for P3. I also try to sneak in a Divine Plea right at the P1/P2 transition so it’s up again sometime in P2. It’s one of the crazier healing moments in the game and, the way we do it, it lasts almost the full three minutes.

This isn’t bad, but it sure means we’re pretty taxed as we push P3, with Electrocutes coming every 20 seconds or so, plus the healers chasing the add tank don’t get a chance to rest. Further, because I’ve had to blow all my CDs in P2, most of them (Guardian of Ancient Kings in particular) don’t come back up in P3. That’s why I try to save my mana potion and my Lay on Hands for P3, because I know that’s all I’ll have left to help me out with maybe two Hands of Sacrifice, if I’m lucky. So yeah, healing in any role on this fight can suck.

4) The add tank in P3 has got to be on top of his or her game. Running the adds around, dodging Shadowflame, stunning (and not stunning) as is appropriate. I have not healed the add tank so I’m not really sure what this insanity looks like, but I understand that the basic concept of this boils down to “making split-second decisions over the course of about 3 minutes, the results of which will either kill you and wipe the raid or will save you and the raid.”

5) Electrocute is nature damage. Okay, this is probably more of a pet peeve than an outright reason why this fight sucks, but it just didn’t seem to be a complete list without this as a mention. As a paladin, my Resistance Aura resists Shadow, Fire and Frost damage. Aura Mastery boosts those resistances, normally at 195, effectively doubling those resistances to 390 for six seconds. (According to this scary, yet useful, math post on Elitist Jerks, this means our base resist is ~20% against a level 88 and Aura Mastery bumps it up to the 35% level.)  Shaman are the ones in the raid (generally) who bring nature resistance in the form of Elemental Resistance Totem or glyphed Healing Stream Totem. (Hunters can also help with Aspect of the Wild, but who wants to give up the RAP from Aspect of the Hawk?) Shaman do not have a burst resist mechanic like Aura Mastery, so 195 Nature/Frost/Fire resistance is all you get from their totems, or, as noted before, ~20% resist. That means, on average, about 20k of that ~100k damage is resisted if you’re in range of a shaman’s totems or a hunter’s Aspect of the Wild. But short of personal cooldowns, there’s not a lot you can do to mitigate Electrocute damage beyond relying on someone’s totem.

6) Due to the unreal reliance on a specific handful of people, finger-pointing is hard to avoid. On the one hand, I enjoy clearly-defined roles so I know who screwed up. On the other hand, boy, does this fight piss people off and BOY, does it make people leap on each other, many armed with poorly-interpreted log data. (Pet peeve: people reading the logs who have no idea what they’re reading.)

Seriously, tempers get frayed, strategies are questioned and really, it’s just a matter of finding the right variations that work for you and then executing them. Execute the fight, we win. If any of those people (interrupters, tanks, healers) screw up, that’s almost certainly a wipe. And then you have to trace the root of that failure. So someone died to Electrocute because they weren’t topped up by the healers. Did Blast Nova contribute to the low health? Was the healer completely oom because of healing through Blast Nova? Who let the Blast Nova or Novas through?

The key to analyzing this fight is finding the root cause, not just saying “oh, so-and-so died to this”.

Wait, Kurn, you LIKE this fight?

I do. I like the feeling when Nefarian dies, knowing that the people we relied on were (almost certainly) on their game. I like knowing that we beat a tricky encounter. I like pushing myself in P2 and I’m constantly pushing to make myself better at it so I’m not practically oom when I start healing the Nefarian tank in P3.

We didn’t get Nefarian down this reset. Some roster changes, some changes in roles… we had two 1% wipes, but couldn’t seal the deal.

I don’t like it, but I’m okay with what it means. It means that we probably extend Blackwing Descent until next week. If we do, it means that we have 5 less bosses to kill, which means more time on other stuff. Heroic Halfus, normal Al’Akir, these are the fights we’ll be looking at, and because we’re probably extending the instance, we’ll have the time to do so. With only 9 hours of raiding a week, we can easily waste a lot of time. Maybe cutting out 5 farmable bosses is a way to do that.

All I know is that Nef will die this coming reset and that I’m looking forward to some new stuff, too.

Oh yeah, and the Defender of a Shattered World title, too!

Light of Dawn Nerf/Unnerf: Update & Thoughts

The Update:

So on Friday, they nerfed us.

On Saturday, they unnerfed us.

Bashiok said:

The hotfix note correctly describes what an attempt to fix a bug ended up changing, which was not actually the original intent. We’re reverting the hotfix until we can fix the bug without causing Light of Dawn to no longer trigger Beacon.

(Source: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2065788305?page=15#282)

So the question is, what was the bug?

Forum poster Trexokor had this to say:

If you cast Light of Dawn in the direction of friendly healable targets not in your group, there seems to be no target cap.

This appeared to have been fixed during the Light of Dawn nerf period.  Once again, there is no outside-raid target cap.

This may not seem like a big deal, but it worked in situations such as Tol Barad, where you had a couple raids working side by side.  By using Light of Dawn on a large group of players, anyone outside your raid would get healed by it, well above and beyond 6 targets.

(Source: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2065788305?page=17#339)

I’ve witnessed this odd behaviour before, so this seems a likely bug they were trying to iron out. However, the unintended repercussion of ironing out that bug was that LoD no longer transferred through Beacon of Light.

My Thoughts:

I’m not happy with where paladin healing is. I’m not talking about a numbers thing, because with the reversion of the new bug, paladins can easily top meters. I put very little care or faith into meters.

I thought maybe with the nerf, we’d see some redesigning of the holy paladin tree a bit, or at least our abilities, but it doesn’t look as though that’s going to happen.

Talents I would love for our tree to be rid of or changed.

– Protector of the Innocent
– Beacon of Light in its current form
– Light of Dawn in its current form

I’d throw out PotI entirely. I’d make BoL only transfer our direct heals (Holy Shock, Word of Glory, Flash of Light, Holy Light, Divine Light) that are cast on people who are not the Beacon. Light of Dawn would get unnerfed back up by that 40% they nerfed it down to before, but would also be off Holy Power and back on to mana, with a 12s cooldown. The cost would be equivalent to Divine Light’s cost.

I haven’t given the changes terribly much thought, but those changes emphasize healing deliberately, not passively, and reward players for smart use of LoD, rather than some of the mindless “FLASHLIGHT TIME OH YEAH!!!!” we’re seeing.

The lack of faith I have in Blizzard and the paladin healing model is pretty astounding at this point. I don’t imagine we’ll be properly balanced before T12/T13 and I find myself unhappy at the prospect of spending the next year wondering what nonsense Blizzard will spout next and what foolishness they’ll enact on the class based on that nonsense.

LoD Nerf Reverted?

Honestly, I think I have whiplash.

I got home last night around midnight to read that Light of Dawn healing no longer transferred via Beacon of Light.

Insert long blog post complaining about this.

And now, Ophelie says it’s working for her.

It wasn’t working for me. But about 45 minutes later, lo and behold, it was. I just tested it out with Walks.

WILL BLIZZARD PLEASE MAKE UP THEIR DAMN MINDS ABOUT THINGS BEFORE PUSHING THINGS LIVE?!

There’s been absolutely no contact from Blizzard to holy paladins in the last 24 hours. Just a flip of a switch to turn off LoD through Beacon transfers and another one to switch it back on.

I think there’s one thing we can glean from all of this: Holy Paladins are in a bad spot at the moment. We are broken on several levels — too effective at healing in some cases, not effective enough in others and the use of Light of Dawn, the very existence of Holy Power and the whackadoodle uses of Beacon of Light are only serving to muddle things.

I can’t wait to see what Blizzard has to say about this weekend’s changes.

(Don’t miss out on my follow-up post, located here at Kurn’s Corner!)

Holy Light of Dawn Nerf, Batman!

I was having a pretty good Friday. Thursday night, Apotheosis killed the Twilight Ascendant Council, so I was feeling pretty good going into Friday. In the afternoon, a friend called me up and we made plans to get dinner and a movie. While at dinner, I discover that my best friend gave birth to her second child earlier in the day. It was a great Friday.

I got home and see this:

Beacon of Light no longer triggers from Light of Dawn.

(Source: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/2259389)

(Please note that this change was reverted. You can read more about it here at Kurn’s Corner: Post 1, Post 2.)

For those holy paladins who made frequent use of this mechanic, this is a crippling blow to their healing numbers and their overall style of healing that has had a few months to develop.

Kurn, slow down. What the hell are you talking about?

Right, sorry. Let me talk about the style a little bit before I explain how this change deserves the term “crippling blow”.

In Cataclysm (and since the 4.0 patch), holy paladins have had two real methods of healing.

Method 1: Beacon a target (likely a tank) and heal the beacon directly, making use of Tower of Radiance to build up holy power in order to use spells like Word of Glory and Light of Dawn.

Method 1 is close to old-school healing and paladins still do really well when it comes to single-target healing. The major difference between this style and Wrath-style healing is that we are generally beaconing the target we are directly healing. Since 4.0, Beacon of Light has only transferred 50% of our heals (including overheals) to our beaconed target, so it’s not as though we can heal one target and beacon another and not have to worry about the beaconed target any longer. No more “set it and forget it” healing when we have a second target to heal, especially if it’s a tank. In current content, I’m pretty sure I can’t keep two tanks up all by myself. And that’s okay. I can still mostly keep one tank up on my own.

Method 1 is my preferred style. I’ve spent my whole WoW career focused on healing single targets and tanks. This is what feels comfortable to me. It’s also fairly clear that Blizzard intends for us to do things this way because of the very existence of the Tower of Radiance talent.

Method 2: Beacon a target (likely a tank) and heal the raid, making use of Holy Shock and likely Blessed Life procs and possibly using Crusader Strike (or, on occasion, directly healing the beacon if you’re even specced into Tower of Radiance, which you may not be!) to get Holy Power in order to cast Light of Dawn (preferably glyphed) to heal the living crap out of the beacon target, while doing some moderate raid healing.

In this way, you are still doing a great deal of healing to the beacon target, but the heals tend to spike; low heals here and there, then a big spike when you get 3 holy power for a Light of Dawn.

Here’s an example of some heals my fellow holy paladin cast during one of our recent raids, with some annotations to show where the beacon heals are coming from and where the holy power is coming from.

[22:42:26.717] Holy Paladin Divine Light Fury Warrior +30777
[22:42:26.993] Holy Paladin Protector of the Innocent Holy Paladin +*826* (O: 5877)
[22:42:27.412] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +0 (O: 18147) — from the DL
[22:42:27.756] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +0 (O: 3952) — from the PotI

[22:42:28.535] Holy Paladin Holy Shock Kitty +*4418* (O: 10545)
[22:42:29.067] Holy Paladin Protector of the Innocent Holy Paladin +4162 (O: 198)
[22:42:29.367] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +0 (O: 7793) — from the HS (1 HP)
[22:42:29.736] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +0 (O: 2571) — from the PotI

[22:42:30.686] Holy Paladin Enlightened Judgements Holy Paladin +*0* (O: 4414) — judgement
[22:42:31.519] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +0 (O: 2602) — from EJ

[22:42:32.532] Holy Paladin gains 1 from Holy Paladin’s Blessed Life — 1 HP

[22:42:35.419] Holy Paladin Holy Light Hunter +12396
[22:42:35.847] Holy Paladin Protector of the Innocent Holy Paladin +5310
[22:42:36.054] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +6198 — from HL
[22:42:36.537] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +2505 — from PotI

[22:42:36.537] Holy Paladin Holy Shock Hunter 2 +10011 — 1 HP
[22:42:37.116] Holy Paladin Protector of the Innocent Holy Paladin +4987
[22:42:37.591] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +2420 (O: 2586) — from HS
[22:42:37.926] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +0 (O: 2352) — from PotI

[22:42:39.400] Holy Paladin Light of Dawn Enhancement Shaman +0 (O: 8401)
[22:42:39.400] Holy Paladin Light of Dawn Ret Paladin +7402 (O: 955)
[22:42:39.400] Holy Paladin Light of Dawn Fury Warrior +0 (O: 8596)
[22:42:39.400] Holy Paladin Light of Dawn DK Tank +*12149*
[22:42:39.400] Holy Paladin Light of Dawn Rogue +8935 (O: 928)
[22:42:39.400] Holy Paladin Light of Dawn Frost DK +8300
[22:42:39.813] Holy Paladin Protector of the Innocent Holy Paladin +0 (O: 5272)
[22:42:40.250] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +4200 — from LoD
[22:42:40.250] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +4178 — from LoD
[22:42:40.250] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +4055 — from LoD
[22:42:40.250] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +4109 — from LoD
[22:42:40.250] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +4150 — from LoD
[22:42:40.688] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +2487 — from PotI

Over ~13 seconds, the paladin did a lot of healing to the raid and did about 86k in healing to the beacon target, a DK tank.

This is how it broke down, via timestamps:

22:42:27: 22099 — Big chunk from a DL beacon
22:42:29: 10364 — small
22:42:31: 2602 — smaller
22:42:36: 8703 — small
22:42:37: 7358 — small
22:42:40: 12149 (direct LoD heal) + 23179 — huge

So while it was “only” about 86k to the tank, he healed a lot of raid members, too.

Meanwhile, this is what my ~13 seconds looked like:

[22:42:28.083] Madrana Holy Light Prot Pally +*3433* (O: 14287)
[22:42:28.524] Madrana Protector of the Innocent Madrana +*0* (O: 6877)
[22:42:29.367] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Pally +0 (O: 3438)

[22:42:30.688] Madrana Holy Shock Prot Pally +0 (O: 8780) — 1 HP
[22:42:31.021] Madrana Protector of the Innocent Madrana +0 (O: 4163)
[22:42:31.717] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Pally +0 (O: 2082)

[22:42:34.200] Madrana Divine Light Prot Pally +2801 (O: 26806) — 1 HP
[22:42:34.200] Madrana Holy Shock Prot Pally +0 (O: 8787) — 1 HP
[22:42:34.643] Madrana Protector of the Innocent Madrana +*7077*
[22:42:35.419] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Pally +3538

[22:42:36.902] Madrana Light of Dawn Madrana +7240
[22:42:37.116] Madrana Light of Dawn Resto Shaman +8038
[22:42:37.116] Madrana Light of Dawn Fire Mage +6838
[22:42:37.116] Madrana Light of Dawn Shadow Priest +7013
[22:42:37.116] Madrana Light of Dawn Moonkin +*10750*
[22:42:37.591] Madrana Protector of the Innocent Madrana +*6355*
[22:42:37.591] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Pally +3620
[22:42:37.926] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Pally +3705
[22:42:37.926] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Pally +3625
[22:42:37.926] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Pally +3717
[22:42:37.926] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Pally +5697
[22:42:38.238] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Pally +0 (O: 3177)

[22:42:40.250] Madrana Divine Light Prot Pally +21437 (O: 9401)
[22:42:40.688] Madrana Protector of the Innocent Madrana +0 (O: 4278)
[22:42:41.510] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Pally +0 (O: 2139)

130470 healing to my beacon target in ~13 seconds, broken down this way:

22:42:29: 21158 — big
22:42:31: 10862 — small
22:42:35: 41932 — huge
22:42:38: 23541 — big
22:42:41: 32977 — huge

So while my heals on my beacon target, a paladin tank, were generally bigger and more regular than my fellow holy paladin’s heals, I also didn’t really do a lot of raid healing. In fact, I’m sure that if you add it all up, he did more healing than I did in that span, especially because a lot of my heals overhealed my tank.

You can see that these are two distinct styles with different focuses. There are different specs for them, different glyphs and it changes how you generate holy power.

So, what does this Light of Dawn/Beacon of Light change mean?

It means that Method 2, which is beaconing a target like a tank and going to town on the raid, becomes a lot less viable. Light of Dawn was that guaranteed big, instant heal. 20k, easily, as long as people were in front of you and you had three stacks of holy power. You really need that extra oomph to help steady out your beacon target. If you could time it well so that just as soon as your target needs that hit, you had that 3 charges of holy power and were properly placed to maximize the number of people Light of Dawn would hit, you were golden. My fellow holy paladin is AWESOME at this and that’s why I put him on the raid and assign him a beacon target and I balance the healing on that target knowing how good he is at getting that LoD to go off at the right time.

With this change, I COULD continue to have him on the raid, but would have to compensate for the lack of big heals from LoD. It would probably be easiest to stick him on a tank full time, which I don’t think he’d like very much. (We’ll talk about it, buddy!)

So can paladins still raid heal?

Eh. Kind of? There’s no excuse not to pick up Tower of Radiance and Eternal Glory now, since our use of Word of Glory should skyrocket since we’re not going to be using our holy power on Light of Dawn very much anymore.

If your paladin is good at using Holy Radiance and is willing to make sure they’re raid-healing using Word of Glory (which will still transfer to the beacon) and direct heals, there’s no reason they can’t raid heal, but I can’t help but think that all priests are better at it than paladins are, with Prayer of Healing, plus Circle of Healing and Sanctuary. Druids can use Wild Growth more frequently now and get extra healing via their mastery by layering Rejuvenation on top of Wild Growth, not to mention, they have Efflorescence. And then shaman are still able to use Healing Rain and Chain Heal… it’s going to be a tough job to raid heal going forward without relying on Light of Dawn for those little spikes on the raid and the cumulative effect on the tanks.

I would be more inclined to put holy paladins on the tanks, but a good player should be able to still raid heal. It’ll just be more difficult.

Any ideas for how to fix paladins, if, indeed, you think they’re broken?

I’m not a numbers person. I don’t look at the healing meters and go “ZOMG I R GUD” if I happen to top them. (Which rarely happens because I’m focused on my tank.) If I did my job, I’m satisfied and my job will mostly consist of healing a tank. I like that job and I feel I’m still able to do it.

However, removing this more dynamic style of healing is going to suck. Why even bother to cast Light of Dawn now? The healing it provides is pretty low at 6-8k a person. With 130k or so raid-buffed, even 10k hits aren’t all that huge. Part of the fun of being a paladin in early Cataclysm was the ability to help out on the raid while healing the tank or helping out on the tank while healing the raid. It seems as though we will be able to do one or the other, but not both — and we’re heavily slanted towards single-target healing with our current spells.

What I would do:

– Restore Holy Light’s Holy Power generation via Tower of Radiance: More holy power to use leads to more LoD use, even if it doesn’t benefit the beacon any longer.
or
– Restore Light of Dawn’s power back up to its level before it got nerfed in terms of strength (either 40 or 60%, I can’t keep all these numbers straight): A stronger LoD means we won’t NEED to cast it as often to still help out on the raid.
or
– Lower the cooldown (and possibly slightly lower the mana cost) of Holy Radiance: If Holy Radiance is used more often, we won’t need to keep trying to use up holy power in order to help out on the raid.
or
– Give us a mastery that actually doesn’t suck.
or
– Chuck Beacon of Light and Light of Dawn and completely redesign the Holy tree in a way that makes us WANT to spend points in it: No details on this because I don’t even know what I’d like to see. I do know that when I look at resto druid trees and holy priest trees, I get jealous, because I can see where it’s an actual choice to pull points from their main trees and put them in disc/shadow or feral/balance. I resent having to spend 31 points in the holy paladin tree and would go another 5 points deep in ret if I could (without losing my 5 in prot). I feel like I should want to drop as many points in holy as possible and really have to make a tough choice to drop talents into prot or ret.

That’s all my opinion, mind you.

But wait! Kurn, what’s this about a Conviction nerf?! Two nerfs in one day?

Sadly, this is true. Holy Radiance crits no longer trigger Conviction. This will lead to less uptime on Conviction, which leads to lower healing overall. Granted, even in 346-level gear, I had about 80% uptime on Conviction. Nowadays, I have about 90% uptime on it and I don’t abuse Holy Radiance on cooldown, so I don’t expect to see too much of a difference in my overall numbers due to this.

Crappy day to be a holy paladin?

So what else is new?

The funniest thing about all this is that when Holy Light was changed to no longer grant holy power through Tower of Radiance, Nethaera was like:

It is intended that Protector of the Innocent and Light of Dawn transfer healing through Beacon of Light. Furthermore, we didn’t feel that changing either of those would have fixed the problem.

(Source: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/1532043235?page=70#1386)

Yeah. You guys got some ‘splainin’ to do.

My Chimaeron Job, Spec & Glyphs

I mentioned the other day that I have myself on group healing for Chimaeron. A commenter, ambient, asked this:

You haven’t group healed on your paladin in ages…is there a reason you put the druid and priest on tank duties and gave both the paladins group assignments?

I put the resto druid and one of my disc priests on the two tanks because we’d tried resto druids on groups on our first night on Chimaeron and it didn’t work out amazingly. I like to have one disc on a tank on any given fight because she prefers tank healing while the other prefers raid healing.

So why give the paladins group assignments?

Walks, the other holy paladin in Apotheosis, loves group healing. I stick him on the raid and tell him to beacon a tank and while he’ll need some help to keep the tank up, he’s excellent at using Light of Dawn and Holy Radiance to their maximum effects to keep up raid healing. He’s also just a great healer in general and a very strong player. So I gave him the melee group (group 2). While he wasn’t going to use Light of Dawn on them, he was comfortable with healing a group.

I, on the other hand, was not, but, by golly, if Walks could do it, so could I! Or so I reasoned.

I went in to our second night of Chimaeron attempts (where we killed him) with a really sub-par spec for the encounter. I have two specs. My “primary” is one I don’t use often, actually, and is the one I use to switch up things. My “secondary” is a very safe tank healing spec where I don’t presume that all my Holy Power will go to Light of Dawn and where I have Eternal Glory and all that jazz.

My spec last week that I used for Chimaeron didn’t have Eternal Glory. Which is pretty fail. We won anyways, but I knew I could do better.

So this week, this was my spec: 31/5/5

A Tower of Radiance-less, Aura Mastery-less spec with Blessed Life, of all things, that still had Last Word, Eternal Glory and a bit of extra judgement range, since I knew I’d be standing with a ranged group. My glyphs were Holy Shock, Seal of Insight and Word of Glory, plus Divinity, Divine Protection and Salvation. I made a macro to bind my Divine Protection use to Holy Radiance, which I used on every Feud, so that I wouldn’t be a complete idiot and FORGET to use Divine Protection, as I am prone to doing. It happens when you see EVERYONE IN THE RAID at one health, you know?

With Word of Glory, Holy Shock, Infusion of Light procs for faster Holy Lights/Divine Lights and Daybreak procs, it’s really not too hard for a paladin to group heal. Your attention CANNOT waver, though. No blindly clicking your heal button on a single target while you look around the screen at various timers or indicators, nothing like that — at least, not for me. As soon as my attention would slip, people would die. (I did apologize to my party beforehand.)

So I was a lot more prepared last night, thanks to my screwy spec. I kept Light of Dawn over Aura Mastery because my plan was to have some Holy Power saved up to blast a Light of Dawn now and again on Feuds, but hey, that didn’t work out. At least I remembered my Holy Radiance!

Anyways, I did want to share that. And I do want to talk more about the state of paladin healing, but I’m not ready to tackle it yet. Part of that post will expand on the answer I’m about to give for the second of ambient’s questions:

Why is it that you hate PotI? Did you mean to say that you love it? Cos I can’t see what the downside of it is.

I hate passive healing. I loathe it. Can’t stand it. I think every single heal that I cast should be something I meant to cast. I resent that Protector of the Innocent automatically heals me and I hate that it transfers through the beacon. I am a huge fan of pre-emptive healing and reactionary healing, but passive healing? Not something I dig. I feel strongly that my heals should be measured, careful, decisions, not “oh here, here’s a free heal for you AND your beacon target!!!”.

And I’ll get into that some more when I eventually tackle a post about some different ways of paladin healing in Cataclysm. :)

Updates, Kills, Nerfs and Stress!

What I like about blogging is that your blog is always there when you want to write. I’ve actually wanted to write a lot in the last week, but I rarely have the time these days. Being a GM means a LOT of your free time (and some of your non-free time!) goes to guild stuff.

It’s not even in-game stuff, it’s out of game stuff. Planning. Reading parses. Dropping notes to people. Figuring out promotions. Oh, and then what to do about Cauldrons? And how can we incent the raiders to give us Lavascale Catfish?!

I have a break in my day today that allows me to post here because a lot of the stuff that’s been consuming me over the last week has been dealt with. Our first batch of promotions went out this morning to those with whom we’re happy concerning performance and if they’ve been to all 9 of our raids thus far. Welcome to Raider rank, kids. :)

Aside from that, I’m pretty pleased with our raids thus far. Every week, we’ve killed everything we killed the week before AND a new one.

Week 1: Argaloth, Magmaw, Omnotron, Halfus, V&T
Week 2: The above plus Maloriak
Week 3: The above plus Chimaeron

And we also got Atramedes to 28% on Sunday. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Chimaeron.

We did it with the following group of healers:

2 holy paladins, 2 disc priests, 1 holy priest, 1 resto shaman and 1 resto druid

The individual assignments:
Group 1 – minus the two tanks: resto shaman
Group 2 – melee: holy paladin (not me)
Group 3 – casters on left side of the room: holy paladin (me)
Group 4 – most of the healers: holy priest
Group 5 – mostly ranged on the right side of the room: disc priest
MT – resto druid
OT (double-attack tank) – disc priest

First of all, let me just state for the record that prior to Chimaeron, the last time I healed a GROUP in a 25-man raid was almost certainly on Naj’entus in Black Temple. You know. Back in 2008.

Second of all, huge props to one of our discs for digging up this little nugget of awesomeness from the PlusHeal Chimaeron 10m thread:

Way we did this was to add Low Health debuff to Center Icon on Grid and the other debuff (Caustic Slime) to Border indicator (set the aura to a yellow colour).

That made things SO much easier, at least for me.

So the groups were more or less taken care of. The tanks were more or less taken care of.

How to deal with Feud and the multiple Caustic Slimes the entire raid had to absorb?

Well, I looked at our lineup and I coordinated everyone’s cooldowns/abilities. Like, every single one. I assumed the following:

– Feuds would happen an average of 1m apart with the occasional one 30s after the last and the occasional one 90s after the last
– We would have no more than 5 Feuds

This was sparked by Beruthiel and Vixsin‘s comments on this post of mine (so many awesome suggestions there!!! Thank you, everyone!):

Vixsin: Surviving Feud is all about coordinating raid CDs and having all your non-healers use their group healing spells. Ret and Prot pallies should be hitting HR. Elemental and Enhance Shaman should be dropping Healing Rain. Feral druids should use Tranq. Personal CDs also make a huge difference, along with a raid leader who screams “click the lightwell!!”

Beru: during feuds have them work out a Tranq/ToL cycle. They should not utilize both CDs for the same feud. For example: Feud 1: Druid 1 Tranq, Druid 2 ToL, Beru ToL; Feud 2: Beru Tranq, Druid 1 ToL, Druid 2 heal; Feud 3: Druid 3 Tranq – the other two ToL when it’s up and if it’s needed.

I also seriously considered making two healers be a “Slime Team”, as per Vixsin’s suggestion:

For quick and easy topping, handle “Low Health” like you did Penetrating Cold–assign healers to specific groups. (Priests on ranged, R-Sham on melee).

It was definitely still in my mind as a possibility if what I came up with just flat-out didn’t work. But… it did. And here’s how we did it.

First off:

1) ALL Paladins should hit Holy Radiance when we’re clumped up.
2) ALL Shaman should get Healing Rain down on the clump spot ASAP.
3) ALL Resto Druids should get an Efflorescence up on the clump spot ASAP.
4) ALL Holy Priests should get a Sanctuary on the clump spot ASAP.

Then we did this:

Feud 1:

– 1x Power Word: Barrier
– 1x Lightwell
– 1x ToL and LB/WG spam, using Regrowth w/ OOC procs and keeping Swiftmend on CD for Efflorescence
– 1x Mana Tide Totem (and again on cooldown anytime we’re clumped up)

Feud 2:

– 1x Divine Guardian
– 1x Barkskin/Tranquility (resto druid)

Feud 3:

– 1x Power Word: Barrier (other disc)
– 1x Divine Hymn (shadow priest with PI and Lifeblood for maximum ticks)

Feud 4:

– 1x Divine Guardian (other pally tank)
– 1x Barkskin/Tranquility (feral DPS druid)
– 1x Lightwell (should be back up)

Feud 5:

– 1x Power Word: Barrier (first disc)
– 1x ToL and LB/WG spam, using Regrowth w/ OOC procs and keeping Swiftmend on CD for Efflorescence (same resto)
– All kinds of personal cooldowns, including Healthstones

I know what you’re all thinking. “Wow, Kurn, that’s some serious overkill and overplanning!”

On our kill, we had 13.3% overhealing. So not a lot of overkill. And while it was a lot of planning, I think it was just the right amount of planning. So far as I can tell, everyone did what they were supposed to do when they were supposed to do it on all 8 of our attempts. We never had more than 5 feuds.

What is something that really surprised me is this:

182823 raid DPS
85376 raid HPS (effective, not raw)
98423 raid HPS (raw)

The average DPS and HPS on a kill, according to World of Logs:
228673 DPS
88908 HPS

I’m pretty sure the average HPS is raw, because otherwise I don’t know how we won, basically. I’m chalking it up to our outstanding healing, which allowed us to overcome the issue of having substantially lower DPS than the average.

That’s the sort of thing that makes a healing lead proud of her team. :)

For reference, here’s what my Grid looked like throughout the vast majority of the fight.

Chimaeron is not for the faint of heart! You can clearly see that five people have the Low Health debuff and that they also have Caustic Slime on them (yellow border). My groups go from 1 on top to 5 at the bottom so there I am in the second position in Group 3 benefitting from Protector of the Innocent. Lord, I hate that talent. Having said that, it was usuallyNOT enough to keep me alive. I had to watch my health carefully, lest I die. And for that fight, I was definitely specced 3/3 PotI. (I’m normally 2/3.)

And speaking of talents. And being a paladin. And such.

There are nerfs a-plenty in the new PTR patch, including a likely live hotfix to our passive Walk in the Light, which now supposedly only adds 10% to our healing spells instead of 15%. I am so tied up in my paladin that I don’t think I have any choice but to continue as my paladin, even if I’m unhappy about a variety of changes. I’m hoping 4.1 will show us more love than 4.0.6 is, thus far.

With regards to stress, I find myself remembering why being the GM sucks. It’s not just the work, although there is that. It’s not just the constant stream of whispers and PMs, although sometimes that does get tiresome. It’s the loneliness. I’m surrounded by great officers and we do a lot of things by vote/committee/etc. I’m not a dictator, I’m not a monarch. I’m the representative of the officers that takes what’s said behind closed doors and announces it. I’m the one who pushes the officers to discuss things. Basically, I’m a facilitator.

But I’m still the guild master. And even though it doesn’t mean a whole lot as compared to my brother or Majik or any of our other officers, I’m still “the face” of the guild.

People act differently around me. I have to wonder how to act around various people. Can I shoot the breeze with a guildie about stuff that’s going on or is that best left within /o? Am I allowed to make mistakes like a moron or is that going to reflect horribly on my ability to lead? It’s as though I’m always putting on a public face that’s there “for the betterment of the guild and the raid group” and I don’t get to relax in-game at all. As such, I haven’t been in-game a lot over the last few days. I’ve been working hard to get all these promotions and attendance things taken care of and help plan out our progression route (right now, Atramedes, Council, Cho’gall, Nefarian and Throne somewhere in there), so it’s not like I’m sitting here doing nothing. Oh, and I’m recruiting, too. (Resto shaman, resto druid, balance druid! Apply now!)

But it’s still lonely.

Toga, one of our officers, was the original GM of Apotheosis when we formed. We signed the charter that Majik bought, decided upon officers and the officers basically voted unanimously (there were like, 10 of us at the time) to make Toga the GM.

I’m pretty sure Toga has never forgiven us for that. ;) I thought that as the primary raid leader back in BC, I got a lot of whispers and messages. I thought wrong. When I became the GM when Toga stepped down midway through SSC due to RL stuff, I was flooded, inundated. And I realized that I was the go-to person people would come to about stuff that would impact their raiding.

“Kurn, I can’t go to the raid on Tuesday, I’m sorry.”
“That’s okay, thanks for letting me–”
“My mom’s… well, this is hard to say, but…”

And the person would launch into an extremely personal story that I didn’t need to hear. I mean, you can’t make the raid. Okay. Thanks for the heads up. I don’t need to know more.

But I knew the people coming to me with these things needed to tell me. There’s something about telling someone you kind of know over the Internet some personal things, so you can vent about how you’re feeling without any RL repercussions.

This is when I realized that I needed to start sharing my WoW stuff with my RL friends. One of them is extremely kind to listen to me babble. She knows the names of many of my guildies, past and present. She doesn’t play at all and has no interest, but when I told her I got the Kingslayer title, back in the day, she was thrilled for me!

I also talk to my RL Friend the Resto Druid, because it’s always nice to have an objective opinion from someone who knows the game and how guilds work, first-hand.

So it’s lonely in-game sometimes, but, thanks to some of my awesome friends, I get to vent to them about the in-game frustrations I have and no one in Apotheosis needs to be witness to that. Which is probably a good thing.

Anyways, invites in less than 6 hours. I need to comb through the Atramedes log from Sunday and figure out why it looks like I failed so badly the parse doesn’t seem to be picking up various things and counting others as double damage and the like. I’ve been very pleased with WoL in T11 content, but DAMN, Atramedes is messy as hell.

Sorry for the long-winded update, but not writing for a week totally meant this was going to happen sooner or later. ;)

Exit Maloriak, Enter Chimaeron

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

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

And then, it was time to face Chimaeron.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apply today, shammies!

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

Healer Evaluations

(Note: This is probably one of the weirdest posts I’ve ever made. I sound like I have multiple personalities.)

Early this week, I started in on healer evaluations. I really wanted to take a look at what my healers were doing and give them some feedback and some direction. I felt I’d been a little too busy leading raids to really chat with my healers during raid time, so I decided to evaluate all of them based on the week’s raids. I was grumbling about doing so on Twitter and a LOT of people were curious about what these evaluations entailed, and could they see an anonymous one?

Rather than compromise any of my actual healers’ privacy, I decided to evaluate myself so that I can post my own evaluation here. I didn’t learn a whole lot while combing through the parses, but I thought I’d share with you a taste of what my healers got from me. I had to basically pretend that I was addressing a healer who wasn’t me. *I* knew various justifications and reasons for various things, but I had to pretend that “my healing lead” had no idea, and then write from that perspective. Thus, I’m writing as Kurn to Madrana. I feel very weird doing so!

Apotheosis’ logs are free for people to view, since I think it’s important for prospective apps to see logs for good and bad nights. Here are our logs. I’m reviewing January 4th, January 6th and January 9th (Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday).

Okay, here we go.

Hey Madrana! :) Here’s a quick evaluation based on our first three raids. You’re being evaluated on attendence, respecting assignments/healing appropriately and not dying to dumb shit. That’s the technical term, yes. ;) There’s also a bonus category of “being awesome”. There’s also a section for “things to improve” at the bottom.

1) Attendence: 5/5

Perfect attendence. You were on-time, prepared and were available for the full duration of the raid.

2) Respecting Assignments/Healing Appropriately: 4.5/5

Magmaw: Healing was primarily distributed over both tanks during the five attempts. The only time tanks died was on a called wipe or when the DPS weren’t able to adequately chain Magmaw, thereby extending the Mangle and killing the tank. You were on tanks, so this is fine and entirely what was expected. 91.7% uptime on Beacon of Light on all Magmaw attempts, 86.2% JOTP uptime, which could use a little work. Good use of regen abilities and trinkets in order to regain mana during the DPS burn phases. Good use of Aura Mastery to help combat the Ignition. Didn’t make any use of Hand of Sacrifice (range issues?) or Hand of Protection for a DPS (not watching them at all?).

Omnotron (Tuesday): Very strong healing on your assigned tank, who received almost 50% of your total healing over all 10 attempts. Beacon uptime was strong, but again, JOTP uptime could be better. Good use of Aura Mastery to combat Magmatron’s flames, good use of Hand of Sacrifice to mitigate damage on various raid members. Good use of Hand of Salvation on over-eager DPS!

Omnotron kill: Strong healing on your assigned tank again, good stuff. While Beacon of Light doesn’t show up as a buff cast (likely cast pre-combat), this means that when it fell off, you neglected to refresh it. Since most of your heals were directly to the tank you were beaconing, you lost out on a LOT of holy power.

Halfus: Excellent work on the tanks, helping out on Fog while focusing on Dayden. On the kill, your uptimes for Beacon and JOTP were both in the 80% range, so that needs work. Good use of CDs such as BOP, Divine Plea, Divine Protection, Aura Mastery, Hand of Sacrifice, Divine Favor. The only thing that could have improved here is if you hadn’t died in the first minute.

Valiona & Theralion: Great focus on Dayden here, although why Toga got 8.7% of your total healing is an interesting question… On the kill, he received 12.2% of your healing. Again, Beacon isn’t showing up for half the fight, but I know there was an issue with it on this fight for some reason. That said, great JOTP uptime (over 96%), good to see a HoSac use, a BOP, a Divine Shield, Divine Favor… Good job here.

3) Not Dying to Stupid Shit: 3.5/5

Magmaw: On the early fights (possibly called wipes), you got hit with a couple of Parasitic Infections. Just wanted to make sure you were aware of that. You ALSO got beaned with Massive Crash three times. I know it’s hard to heal the tank if he’s being Mangled without risking this, but maybe throw HoSac on him and run back out? Or use Divine Protection or Divine Shield here when you run in on a Mangle. Over all the attempts, you took a fair amount of damage from Pillar of Flame: 460705, with 112096 coming on the kill. Definitely need to work on that.

Omnotron: You did an all right job in avoiding Poison Bombs, coming in at the middle of the pack with 2 hits over all the learning attempts on Tuesday. Could be better, but not horrible considering the lack of experience we all have with the fight. You got hit 0 times on the kill, which is great to see.

Halfus: Fireball Barrage. We all died to it more than once and there was no way we could dodge it some of the time that it was in use, but you died to it on the kill and had to use your soulstone to pop back up. Knowing that you have a crappy integrated graphics card, you’ll just have to watch more carefully for the effect, as faint as it might be for you. It would be great if there were a projected texture for it, but there isn’t. Boss mods will come in handy when they’re fully up to date to help you know when you’re standing in it, but until then, you really need to watch your feet on this fight.

Valiona & Theralion: You spent 6.6 seconds in the Twilight Realm, most likely on called-for wipes, as you were dying, since your time there was so low. Good job dodging the mechanics of the fight. Your friendly fire from Engulfing Magic was middle of the pack, but could be better, particularly since unless Holy Radiance is active, you don’t have anything ticking to cause damage. On the kill, you had Engulfing Magic and caused 0 friendly fire, which is great. Looks like you bubbled EM off, which is probably a good plan. Good positioning to avoid damage from Devouring Flames, too.

Overall, apart from the Fireball Barrage and Pillar of Flame (admit it, you’re a closet pyromaniac and this is how you indulge yourself safely, right?), you did a great job in dodging most of the environmental issues we saw in last week’s fights.

4) Being Awesome: 4/5

– While you were WOEFULLY unprepared to raid lead for Omnotron on Tuesday, you got your shit together and had everything prepped for people to read for Thursday. Good work on Magmaw, Halfus and the double dragons, though.
– Listening to your healers for feedback for healing assignments is great — use them as a resource for information!
– You did a lot of work towards ensuring everyone was ready to raid and had made the same efforts to prepare themselves. It did not go unnoticed!

Total: 17/20

Pleased overall, although you definitely want to watch for some of the environmental stuff.

Specific Things to Improve:
– Pillar of Flame, Fireball Barrage. Basically, anything to do with fire, since you were fine with the shadow damage and poison/electricity stuff on other fights.
– Beacon uptime was good except on that Omnotron fight. I know you told me that you had refreshed it on Valiona and the logs confirm it, despite the low uptime, oddly enough.
– JOTP – gotta make sure that is up over 90% each fight.

Thank you for being a great addition to the healing team. I’m really looking forward to working with you through this content!

So there you go, that’s what most healers got a version of. It took me around an hour to 90 minutes for each, depending on the various issues I saw with the healers. Not something I want to do every week, but definitely something to do once a month or so.

A Word About Lay on Hands

I have a lot of comments to respond to, I know. I’m sorry! Responses coming Soon(tm) to a blog near you.

I did want to mention something, however.

Last night, I did a 10-man Blackwing Descent run. More new people in for Magmaw, to get a handle on it, then a lot of Omnotron attempts.

On the entire night, trash included, I hit Lay on Hands 10 times.

I never used to use Lay on Hands on myself for mana regen back in Wrath of the Lich King. And with its crazy cooldown of 40 minutes to an hour, back in the day, along with the fact that it drained ALL your mana for using it, I didn’t use it very often at all in Vanilla and Burning Crusade. I’m sure I used it a bunch of times in raids and stuff, but I only have one really strong memory of using it in Burning Crusade and that was well-documented in our Vashj kill video when my LOH crit the tank for 15k and it was only 9% overheal.

But I used it a lot last night. I probably used it more last night than I would have in three weeks of Wrath raiding.

Used properly, it’s an amazing tool. You can pop it on someone, anyone, who’s about to die and half of that will transfer to your Beaconed target, which is great. Sometimes you have to use it on your Beacon itself, sure, but you can save two lives with one keypress a lot of the time. Plus, appropriated glyphed for it, it’s on a 7m cooldown and you get 10% of your maximum mana back.

I used to think that having to use Lay on Hands had meant that I had screwed up. That my inattention had meant that my target had gotten that low. To use Lay on Hands felt, to me, as though I had failed.

Not the case, not in Cataclysm. In fact, it probably was never the case and that’s just my own neuroses talking. I never hesitated to blow it when I thought my targets needed it, but I always felt as though things could have gone better to prevent my using it.

Now, I love Lay on Hands more than I ever thought possible. It is NOT an indication of failure — at least, not yours. It’s an indication that you are in a tight position and you used the tool best suited for the job. Using Lay on Hands is almost always a great thing to hit. With a 7m glyphed cooldown, with the mana you get back from it, there’s almost never a downside to using Lay on Hands.

So use it more. EVERYONE should use it more. Paladin tanks especially — do not hesitate to pop it unless you need to bubble or BOP something off during a fight, since Divine Protection no longer causes Forbearance.

The moral of the story: Using Lay on Hands should be a point of pride; that you used The Big Heal when you had to. So make sure you’re using it!

A Tale of a Heroic PUG

I’ve done quite a few heroics lately, as I expect most of us have. I could tell you about my healing in heroic Halls of Origination, on the Setesh fight that lasted almost 7 minutes because we pulled by mistake when still fighting trash. (Hymn of Hope + even a feral innervate + tranquility + every effing cooldown in the book = win, apparently)

I could tell you about how I “healed” (I use the term loosely, because we died an AWFUL lot) heroic Stonecore yesterday. But I won’t. What I’ll say about that run here is what I tweeted yesterday about Ozruk, which should help out holy paladins everywhere:

I don’t know if this is a hotfix or something, but I found that I got the melee bleed debuff when I’d appropriately judge when he had his Elementium Bulwark up.

When Ozruk says “Break yourselves upon my body. Feel the strength of the earth!” judge at “Feel”. This will give you the bleed debuff for four seconds and you’ll break yourself out of Paralyze.

This was while using Seal of Insight, FYI, and I was at range the whole fight. I knew I wouldn’t survive the shatters if I was in melee range, so I came prepared with Sulfuron Slammers (again, drink them at “Feel”!) which also worked. Bubble works, Every Man works and Hand of Sacrifice (you can cast it on the tank at any point during the “Break yourselves” emote, I believe). But then I noticed I had the bleed debuff and realized it was my judgement that had caused it. So go forth, paladins, and heal Ozruk knowing you can get out of Paralyze very easily with just a bit of timing. :)

Having said all that, I will not regale you with my tales of heroic SFK (two Godfrey kills, no legs yet) or heroic Deadmines (Ripsnarl isn’t really that bad, though).

What I will say is that I did most of H Deadmines in a guild run yesterday as my holy pally and then swapped out to my hunter for the last boss (allowing one of our healers to actually heal the last fight instead of OS DPS) so I could snag the Chaos Orb for the crafting of a guildie’s gear.

I probably should have just stayed in on the paladin because then I would have gotten another 100+ Justice Points. And then would have had enough for my helm, the Crown of the Blazing Sun.

I logged back on to Madrana to see… 2143. 57 points shy of my damn helm.

Crap.

ALL of my heroic runs to date have been with the guild. I don’t know if it’s because I’m the GM or because I’m a healer or because my hunter can actually CC or what, but I’ve never had an issue finding a group in-guild. This is opposed to most of my guildies who complain constantly about the fail pugs/dungeon finder groups they’re in.

So I decided I’d go try a heroic random, all by myself.

Blackrock Caverns. Which I haven’t done on heroic.

Thankfully, at least to my eyes, I get a group of four people all from the same guild on the Akama server. I figure this should be less painful than most, even if the tank hasn’t done this on heroic before.

They’re really good at pulling the trash around the first boss, there’s great use of CC (sheep and sap and repentence) and things are going great.

We pull the first boss properly, after clearing most of the trash and the first thing I realize is the boss occasionally puts on a 25% reduced healing debuff on the tank. Peachy.

Then I realize that Quake spawns adds. Peachy.

All of this is handled okay, we kill the adds easily and then get chained.

We break the chains. I pop Holy Radiance to GTFO… and three people, including the tank, die to the thing the boss casts after he chains you. Sigh.

So I’m like “gotta run out of that, guys. :)” and the tank was like “lol I usually stay in on regular guess I can’t here!” I’m fine with that, no worries.

We go back in and take down the boss properly, now that we’re all aware that there are these crazy-ass adds and that we have to run out, etc. Goes fine.

Everything goes beautifully until Corla, the second boss.

Now, on beta, she had three adds. The way we did it on beta was have people rotating in two beams to prevent those zealots from evolving and just let one of them evolve at a time. But the version I tested didn’t have Corla fearing, nor did things hit quite as hard as they were hitting on live.

The Evolved Twilight Zealots, if you were unaware, have an ability called Gravity Strike and, in conjunction with Grievous Whirl and Shadow Strike, all of this will totally destroy the tank. It was actually a bit hairy to heal them separately in the trash leading up to Corla. So my group was basically planning to ignore the beams, evolve all three adds and I’m like, “I can’t heal that.”

“I’ll interrupt the strike,” said the rogue.

“That’s not the issue,” I said and linked them Gravity Strike.

“oh wow that sucks,” one of them says.

So I tell them I’m going to handle the stacks on the right-most add, which I marked with a circle. The mage says he’ll take the left-most add. The ret pally says he’ll do the middle one.

About thirty seconds into the encounter, the mage’s target evolves.

We wipe, despite a heroic effort by yours truly. The tank also popped his CDs appropriately, using Shield Wall and Last Stand. But the damage was just overwhelming.

Mage apologizes, we give it another shot.

This time, the mage himself evolves. He didn’t watch his debuff and got stacked to 100.

Wipe.

Mage apologizes again. They now inform me that they’re all on their vent and that they’ve got it all worked out.

So we go again. This time, the ret paladin’s target evolves. Apparently, there had been some confusion and he thought the rogue was going to get that target.

Apologies once more.

At this point, I’m like… I have my Justice Points. I literally only came in with the hopes of doing one boss to get the points that I need.

Then they suggest they let the zealots evolve in a controlled fashion. Bear in mind that I’ve had ZERO issues controlling my stacks and the stacks of my zealot in these three attempts, even when things went to hell.

Based on my mana and such on the previous attempts, I reiterate that there is no way I can heal through a zealot up along with the boss at this point, but that if they want to boot me and replace me with another healer, I’d completely understand, since it’s a guild run, basically.

They were like “no, no, that’s okay,” so we tried it again. And promptly died when the mage transformed because he, again, wasn’t watching his debuff and stepped in too soon, refreshing his stacks.

So at this point, it was clear to me that we weren’t going to get the encounter down. I had wiped five times with these people. Throughout it all, I’d been patient and calm. I’d been clear about how to go about doing the encounter. I had used buff food after every wipe.

On the run back to the instance, I basically said, “I think I’m going to take off, guys. Thanks for the run and I wish you the best of luck with the rest of the instance. Take care.”

And I dropped group, grabbed my body, then ran out, got my new helm and that’s all she wrote.

I feel badly about leaving. I feel badly about not being able to heal through an evolved zealot. But I’d gotten what I wanted and I gave it a really good try, educating the group about the evolved zealot’s abilities, giving them the opportunity to replace me to try their strat and basically being very patient with them.

I still feel badly, though. Shouldn’t I be able to heal through an evolved zealot? Maybe, maybe not. I mean, the issue isn’t that I can’t heal through one for 30 seconds, but I can’t continually heal through one up during the entire encounter. 85k mana goes FAST if you’re casting Divine Light and the occasional Flash of Light all the while praying Eternal Glory procs more often. Even with my Big Angry Man out (Guardian of Ancient Kings), I can’t maintain that kind of healing. Not even with a variety of both my cooldowns and the tank’s.

My paladin was always my alt. I’d be pulled into raids if we needed healers, back in Vanilla, but my main was always Kurn. As such, since then, I’ve always been lacking a bit of confidence. “This is my alt,” I used to think, “I have no business healing Molten Core!!”

Obviously, healing through Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King has alleviated the confidence problem. I had no problems being the strongest single-target healer in WotLK ICC25HMs. I had no problems shouldering the responsibility of healing two tanks at once or being the primary reason Valithria Dreamwalker got healed to full.

When I came back to Eldre’Thalas, I knew I was one of the most geared and experienced people in Apotheosis and so I was fine with taking a lot of responsibility on myself in our little excursions to ICC.

So it’s a little humbling to sit there in a heroic 5-man and be like “Yeah, I can’t heal through that.”

Should I be able to? I mean, assuming that the fears and Shadow Strikes are interrupted properly, assuming good cooldown usage by the tank, should I be able to heal through the Corla encounter with a single evolved zealot up at all times? If so, why can’t I? Is it gear? Spell selection? Oh, God, is it really because I’m just not good enough of a healer?

One half-hour spent working on Corla and all my WotLK confidence has flown out the window.

MMOMeltingPot linked to a great post about how healers have no instant gratification from casting a heal and seeing it actually DO something. The poster says “Random dungeons are a front for blamestorms and negativity that make folks discontent, and it’s a bit worse than I expected, but that is just one element in the shitstorm.”

While I wasn’t blamed by my group (they seemed to mostly understand that Gravity Strike is a Bad Thing), I came away from my pug feeling very negative and discontent and, worse, blaming myself. Questioning myself.

So I ask you, my fellow paladins, my fellow healers, my fellow dungeon-runners…

How have YOU done the heroic Corla encounter in Blackrock Caverns? And what kind of a healer did you have?