Wow.

The mind boggles. I just tanked Heroic Halls of Reflection, not using the wussy LOS strat, with a total pug. My healer was a priest who still had blues.

And we didn’t wipe. No one died. Everyone worked together as a team.

Granted, we then did the wussy ledge strat for the escape bit, but considering how well they’d done on Falric and Marwyn, I didn’t complain too much. They deserved an easy run.

Good to see some people still know how to use their class abilities.

Also, I got BB King on my hunter! Coming soon, a video of the event, because I frapsed it. :)

Another 80 and some musings.

Well, the mage is 80 and it’s led me to some thinking about my alts and how I play this game.

My first toon, forever my “main”, even if I don’t raid with it, was Kurnmogh and I love my hunter all day long. Kurn and I have been through it all together. But sometime in there, I rolled a bank alt toon, which ended up being a human female paladin, named Madrana. Levelling Madrana (as holy!), back in the day, was a welcome reprieve from farming Essence of Air out in Silithus, which is basically what I’d do on Kurn when I wasn’t raiding or couldn’t get a guild group to go to Strat UD (my favourite instance) or UBRS (for my bloody T0 chestpiece!).

Madrana got to be a pretty awesome healer, pre-BC, even if most of her heals were Flash of Light and I didn’t understand half the mechanics of a pally.

Burning Crusade launched and my brother rolled a human warrior on a PVP server, where some of his RL friends played on Horde side. His goal: to level up and kick their asses. I know, my brother is a dork. So he calls me up when he’s level six or so and is like “I NEED A HEALER COME HEAL ME!”

Having already levelled a healer to 60, there was no way I was going to do it again (haha, I was so sure back then…) so he encouraged me to roll up a DPS class. And so my mage was born. I hit 30 and then discovered the utter chaos of Southshore on a PVP server. So I left Darkspear and brought the mage “home” to Eldre’Thalas — and my brother brought his warrior over.

At some point during this time, I also rolled a shammy, who would eventually be Katarah, but she started life as Shockra. I know, horrible name, eh?

I got the hunter, pally and mage up to 70 in BC but ignored the shammy.

In Wrath, I got the hunter, pally, shammy up to 80 and then got the priest going. And I’m getting a druid up there, too. :P

I think that, for the most part, playing my alts (not necessarily levelling them, but playing them) is my break from my raiding “job”. I raid 12 hours or so a week on Madrana and I heal, so it’s work. I like to get Kurn into whatever raids I can because I like to take pride in my hunter and I like to see how I’m doing compared to people playing their toons full time.

I got the shammy up because I wanted to understand healing better, from a shammy perspective. I’m not quite sure that I do, but I definitely know that I can’t DPS worth a damn on the shammy. ;)

And then I started playing the mage, for fun. And with the advent of 3.3 and the dungeon finder, I was having a BLAST going through instances on my mage. True, there was usually a wait, but I loved learning these stupid instances again from the perspective of a pure caster. I’ve sheeped things! I’ve provided food! I’ve buffed intellect! Good times.

Now that there are the four 80s (whose recent achievements are on the right over there… the order is Madrana, Kurn, the shammy and the mage), with a fifth to level by Cataclysm (stupid druid), I have plans.

Madrana is saving her Emblems of Frost for tier gear, first and foremost. Kurn, meanwhile, is upgrading via Emblem of Frost gear from the vendor, not going for tier armor yet, because hey, I don’t have access to the marks that drop in ICC.

Kurn is also my leatherworker, so after enough rep runs and such, I should be honored with Ashen Verdict and be able to buy patterns for various boots — boots that I’ll use on Kurn, the shammy AND Madrana, probably, because the crafted plate boots just aren’t as good as the crafted caster mail boots.

So how to fund the purchase of Primordial Saronite and such? Simple. The shammy and the mage will be using their Emblems of Frost for Primordial Saronite and finish gearing themselves up with Emblems of Triumph.

Both of them should get 19 Emblems of Frost a week, assuming no ICC runs, until the new VOA boss comes out (Tuesday?) at which point they’ll get 21 a week, one would presume. It’ll be slow, but at least I won’t have to spend 3000g on a single Primordial Saronite. I don’t know how many the shammy has, atm, but I’m pretty sure I’m into the 40s, so I’ll have enough to purchase the patterns as soon as Kurn hits honored.

So that’s the plan.

Also, I’m 18/0/53 on the mage. I’ve glyphed for Frostbolt, so it no longer slows (!) but causes 5% more damage, and I have Focus Magic and Torment the Weak (which I really didn’t understand, but TOTALLY do now — everything is a damn slow! Go go TTW!!). The mage’s achievements are hilarious, because I’m a brand-new 80, so everything I do is an achievement. Got a dungeon/raid emblem, achievement. Didn’t use the defense crystals in VH, achievement. Etc, etc. It cracks me up.

Happy new year, everyone. Looks to be an exciting year in terms of WoW. :D

It's a Winter Veil Miracle!

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

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

The mind boggles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heroic Violet Hold and… tank failure?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which is fine.

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

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

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

Stupid perfectionistic tendencies…

A-tankin' we will go.

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

Apparently, I’m a decent tank.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Dear Paladins in my PUGs: A Letter from Kurn

Dear Paladins in my PUGs,

Hi. How are you? Good? Good.

I’ve noticed a very disturbing trend among paladins in my random dungeons on the Bloodlust battlegroup: you don’t know what the hell you’re doing. And because I raid as a paladin, this makes me want to throttle you IRL until you reroll DK or rogue or quit the game entirely.

I don’t care if you’re specced holy, protection or retribution, your job consists, in part, of buffing people. You have Blessing of Kings, Might, Wisdom and possibly Sanctuary.

Nine times out of ten, you need to buff your group members in a random dungeon with Blessing of Kings. No, wait, let me rephrase that: GREATER BLESSING OF KINGS.

What is UP with all you cheap-ass retnubs out there? Seriously. Go buy three stacks of Symbols of Kings (300 symbols) and buff people with a half hour buff. And buff! If you didn’t want to actively buff anyone, you should have been a rogue or a death knight.

If someone says that they have Drums of Forgotten Kings, then buff the people in your group appropriately with wisdom or might. Tip: hunters, prot and ret paladins and enhancement shammies, despite their mana bars, will always want might over wisdom. All other mana classes will want wisdom. All melee classes will want might. It’s not rocket science.

Further, there is a BEAUTIFUL, WONDERFUL, FANTASTIC addon called PallyPower that is amazing for setting up your blessings, so you just set up the buffs and then you can see how much time is left on everyone’s blessing, if people are buffed or not, who’s in range and who isn’t… it’s a great little tool. If you’re going to pug anything, GET THIS ADDON.

Also, I know that most of you couldn’t care less about the spells in the Holy section of your spellbook, but you get Cleanse at level 42. It removes Magic effects, Diseases and Poisons. Bind it to a key. Use it on yourself if no one else. Your healers will appreciate it. Especially if you’re with a shammy, who can’t dispell magic, or a druid, who can’t dispell diseases, or a priest, who can’t dispell poisons. You can. You are totally obliged to make use of this spell.

And finally, you have this whole 12-second-immunity thing called Divine Shield. It’s the bubble. If you think you’re about to die, you may not be wrong. Use your bubble. Don’t be like “wtf y dint i get healz???”. Bubble and STFU and try not pulling aggro. Unless you’re the tank, in which case that’s what Divine Protection is for.

So, to recap:

1) Buy Symbols of Kings. Buff your group with Greater Blessing of Kings unless someone has a drum. Then give out Greater Blessing of Might or Greater Blessing of Wisdom.

2) Use PallyPower to organize your buffs.

3) Learn to Cleanse.

4) Use your bubble when needed.

And quit being such dumbasses in my pugs that you make me want to forget I ever rolled a paladin myself.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Me

LFG, ICC and other assorted acronyms.

As I write this, I’m waiting for a random Lich King Dungeon for my mage, who is now 75, thank you very kindly, and I’m amazed by how long it takes to form a group.

Compared to, of course, level 80 instances that I DPS on my hunter.

Or any level instance when I queue as a healer or as a tank.

Hell, queueing up as a healer AND a tank means you’re never going to ever, ever wait. It’s hilarious. I’ve done the random heroic every day (from Wednesday on) on my paladin, queued as both a healer and a tank and so far, I have tanked: Nexus, Forge of Souls, Azjol-Nerub and Trial of the Champion. I have healed nothing.

Ooh, VH for my mage!

…Interlude for discussion of VH-related fail…

… the DK tank just wiped us on the first boss. Granted, it was the kite boss. But, the DK tank hasn’t dropped death and decay once and he had no presence up WHATSOEVER, much less FROST presence, until wave 5.

By the end of the second boss, the DK tank seems to have learned to drop D&D, has been in Frost Presence and has hauled ass to portals in a reasonable manner.

And yet, by the end of the instance, it appears that the DK tank did not learn from his mistakes. At all.

Happily, the healer was also from Proudmoore, so we queued up for a random dungeon together, with her in her tank spec (she’s a druid) and got the same ele shammy as in VH, plus a priest and a ret pally. We ran DTK randomly and VH (not randomly). How is it possible to reset a dungeon from within the cross-realm LFG interface? We couldn’t seem to reset DTK.

Anyways, it’s nice — my mage made a friend. And is 3 bars from 76!

Right, so, where was I? Oh, yeah, queueing up as a tank AND a healer.

So those are the two roles for my druid, right? So I’ve taken to doing this before I queue:

– check spec.

– put on opposite-spec gear.

– queue for whatever I want.

– get called in to tank or heal and, once zoned, only have to change EITHER spec OR gear to match the role I’m in.

Basically, I’m sitting there in tank spec with healing gear on, but my queues generally go like this:

Tank, tank, tank, tank, healer, tank, tank, healer, tank, tank, tank, tank… tank.

There ARE no tanks out there for lower level instances and so very few at higher levels.

In other news, thanks to some gratuitous trash-farming, Kurn has the Ashen Band of Vengeance while, due to a guild ICC25 and a pug ICC10, Madrana has the Ashen Band of Wisdom. Kurn has yet to kill a single boss in ICC (though not for lack of trying on Deathwhisper 25), whereas Madrana has killed them all twice already, once on 25 and once on 10.

My thoughts on ICC:

– Trash is icky unless you know what you’re doing.

– The first four bosses are basically a review of Black Temple with a hint of SSC and just a sprinkle of Hyjal.

– Marrowgar might be a little overtuned in 10s, but seemed like a pushover in 25. I worked HARD in that 10-man pug, which was mostly some guild’s run. They’re not amazingly geared, but they’re good enough that they shouldn’t have had to struggle as much as they did. This fight steals from SSC’s Leotheras the Blind (whirlwind), Hyjal’s Archimonde (the fire, although it doesn’t chase you) and BT’s Naj’entus.

– Deathwhisper is a little overtuned in 25m, I think. The big Death and Decays are fine, the deformed fanatics/adherents are fine, the resistance to various forms of damage based on mob type, all fine. The MC + the Curse of Torpor need to go or at least  be nerfed on 25 or else your cleansers/CCers HAVE to be on their game. 10m is a freaking pushover in comparison. This fight steals from the Shade of Akama fight, in that you deal primarily with adds until the boss comes out.

– Gunship Battle is HILARIOUS. I love it. The guild one-shotted it, I believe, and the 10-man only took four attempts or so. Got it by the skin of our teeth, mind you. But we got it anyways. :)

– Deathbringer Saurfang. 3 tries on 25m. 2 tries on 10. And I even got this on 10m:

stormingmess10

That’s I’ve Gone and Made a Mess, which was originally a reference to our good ol’ buddy Moroes in Karazhan, because Saurfang originally Garrotted, the way Moroes did.

– The best item in the ENTIRE GAME, hands-down, drops off 25m Deathwhisper: Zod’s Repeating Longbow. I haven’t seen it, but it’s in the drop table at wowhead and OMG. Reference to Superman II? WIN. “Kneel, son of Jor’El! Kneel before Zod!” God, I love that movie. If Kurn can get this bow, ever, I may never replace it. Okay, so I probably would in Cataclysm, eventually, but it would sit in my bank right next to my Rhok’delar.

Other achievements I’ve recently gotten include the BEST-NAMED ONE EVER.

retreating

That’s “We’re Not Retreating; We’re Advancing in a Different Direction.” I got that with my RL friend, the resto druid and three of “our” guildies, although I was on my hunter which not everyone knows about. I laughed my ass off when I got it.

I’ve also been getting a lot of rep while doing the new dungeons. Madrana got these:

mad15

And Kurn got:

kurnknights

Both Kurn and Madrana have gotten:

lfm

Which brings us back to LFG and the dungeon tool.

There I was. Level 71. Tanking, on my druid, in Azjol-Nerub. (As if I don’t deal with Anub’arak enough as it is!) I’m in with a 74 rogue and a 76 DK, as well as a 73 mage and a 72 priest.

I can’t keep aggro off the 76. And have trouble with the 74 at times. And because I’m always taunting off of them, it’s tough to get aggro back from the healer. So I basically stopped worrying about them and worried about the healer. Because, as we all know, if the tank dies, it’s the healer’s fault, if the healer dies, it’s the tank’s fault and if the DPS dies, it’s their own damn fault, right? :D

So the DK is all like “wow tank how come you cant hold aggro?” And I mention that he’s never on my target, so yeah, he’s going to pull aggro. And then I say:

Me: “I’m trying to taunt off the priest and so my taunts aren’t up for you.”

Him: “thats what im doin waht ddid u think i was doin to boss” (I think this was referencing keeping on my target.)

Me: “Watch your Omen. If you don’t have it, get it. Better, run an instance that’s suitable for your level.”

DK: “funny mate funny”

Me: “True, I can’t keep aggro from a level 76. I’m not supposed to.”

DK: “still ur a tank”

Healer: “a tanks job is to keep aggro off the healer, a dps job is to keep aggro off himself now lets stop arguing”

DK, to me: “u cant ever hold agro off all us so stop telling me what to do”

Me: “You really don’t understand the mechanics of this game…”

DK: “what fuck u talkin about now”

DK: “what u think im doin”

Of course, this was all happening during the trash and boss fight for the second boss in Azjol-Nerub. So as soon as we were done:

votekick

I’m going to write three how-tos, I believe. How to Behave as a Tank/Healer/DPS in random dungeons.

The overriding rule to them all is, of course, don’t be a fucktard dick.

Patch 3.3 Hilarity

Good gravy, it’s been a busy 18 hours or so. Apart from some sleep, I’ve managed to:

– update almost all of my addons so I don’t get crazy LUA errors anymore

– do Forge of Souls, Pit of Saron and Halls of Reflection on my hunter (all using the LFG feature which is FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!!!)

– kill Razuvious (target of the weekly raid quest) on my hunter and my shaman

– tank a random heroic. I was a little surprised when I joined the random heroic queue on my paladin and it’s like “A GROUP HAS FORMED. YOUR ROLE: TANK.” And I was like, eh, why not? Best thing ever is that, halfway through, someone in the group was like “oh thank God we got a good tank!” and I’m like “haha, bad time to tell you I’m holy, 95% of the time?”

So, left to do: FoS, PoS, HoR, weekly raid on the paladin. FoS, PoS, HoR on my shaman.

We’re doing 25-man Icecrown tonight, I believe. They put together some 10-man groups earlier and at least one of them killed all four bosses, so we’ll see how that goes. What’s unfortunate is that it seems that the content is a cakewalk so far. I mean, my previous guild, who, on Monday, killed Heroic Northrend Beasts for the first time (and they’ve been trying since the FIRST WEEK OF SEPTEMBER) walked in there and killed Lord Marrowgar on the second attempt. I’m not thinking my current guild is going to have many problems.

Also, my tank gear apparently doesn’t suck. Granted, I had 5% extra health from Luck of the Draw (? The buff you get when you do pugs.) but party-buffed (kings, fort, and a Guru’s Elixir), I had 45,248 health. Kind of nuts. But I did upgrade from my T7.5 gloves and T8.5 shoulders to T 9.10 (ilvl 232) gloves and shoulders, so I’ve got 2pc-T9 bonus and 2pc T8 bonus and it helps that I picked up some ilvl 245 gear (Arbiter’s Muse and Bracers of the Shieldmaiden) from TOC25 last week. I figured if it was going to get DEed anyways, I may as well pick up some cheap off-spec loot so I don’t look like a moron in heroics.

And apparently, I don’t. :) Just need a new freaking sword or mace or something.

What is equal parts hilarious and sad is that my paladin’s tanking gear is better than my hunter’s gear. Period. /sigh.

Well, at least my hunter is no longer stuck on the steps up to the airship at the end of Halls of Reflection. A GM moved me somewhere because I kept getting DCed. Annoyingly, I could move my pet up the steps through Eyes of the Beast so I saw the dude with the daily, I saw the Captain’s Chest and I saw the port to Dal… but couldn’t interact with any of them. :P

Anyways, very much liking the new content. I’m hoping Icecrown Citadel won’t be a total joke of an instance like TOC.

OH! And I nearly forgot!

My hunter got to exalted with the Kirin Tor.

I have never done a single dungeon run wearing the Kirin Tor tabard.

ALL of that rep — 3000 to friendly, 6000 to honored, 12000 to revered and 21000 to exalted (42000 rep!) — was earned over the last year by virtue of cooking dailies, fishing dailies and dungeon dailies. And that wasn’t even every day. That was just when I felt like it. When I realized I was freaking halfway through revered a couple of months ago, I was like “damn, that’s a lot of rep!” and so I’ve tried to do at least the cooking a little more often than usual. But still, not daily.

I’m just so very amused that I got exalted with Kirin Tor (giving me 10 exalted reps!) without doing anything I wouldn’t have normally done.