Well, I Don't Feel Very Heroic…

So I dinged Madrana to 85 early on Wednesday morning. I have effectively lapped several of my guildmates in that they’re still 83-84. This is hilarious to me. And I’m also done levelling anything for a while, yet.

Anyways, with just a couple of pieces, including the Gloves of Curious Conscience from the Justice Point vendor, I found myself at the 329 ilvl threshold for heroic dungeons, even with two pieces of Wrath gear. I’m still wearing heroic Corrupted Silverplate Leggings, which are ilvl 264, and the heroic Rot-Resistant Breastplate, which is ilvl 277.

Tip of the day: You cannot reforge resilience.

I got myself an Ornate Pyrium Belt for 91 gold to replace my Lich Killer’s Lanyard, since the intellect boost is just such a blowout, even taking 3 gem slots into consideration. I figured I could reforge the resilience into haste or spirit, but alas. So I reforged 56 crit into 56 haste.

I picked up Diamant’s Ring of Temperance from Therazane, with whom I am revered.

Of course, during the day, most people have these things called “jobs”, so I decided not to go on any heroics until my brother, Fog (a very nicely decked out tank), got home. Instead, I ran a couple of regulars. I got Vortex Pinnacle, Halls of Origination… Picked up Band of Life Energy out of regular HoO.

So when Fog got home and Majik got in, we took about 15 minutes to boost Majik’s item level substantially. He maaaaaay have 420 resilience in his new gear… But it got him to 329. I am not amused at the fact that so much of the blue gear crafters can make is PVP gear, and even then, in many cases, you have to pay out the nose in resources (leather, bars of metal, cloth bolts) in order to just get the patterns.

But anyways.

So Majik and Sephden (Maj’s brother), Fog and me and our friend Tia queued up for a random heroic.

Heroic Shadowfang Keep.


My experience with SFK is pretty much on the exceedingly slim side. Like, I think I’d done it four times, total, in the preceeding five years.

So we get to Baron Ashbury.

Whose BRIGHT idea was it to have a mob who brings everyone down to ONE HEALTH in this new healing regime?

Having said that, I’m sure we were doing the encounter wrong and interrupting the wrong spell. We didn’t let Stay of Execution tick much, if at all and we definitely missed out on interrupting Mend Rotting Flesh. Naturally, seeing my ENTIRE PARTY WITH NO HEALTH led to panic on my part.

My advice is to let Stay of Execution tick 1-2 times just to make sure no one gets one-shotted, then interrupt it and DPS him down. If you have a Mortal Strike ability (we had Widow Venom), use it — not sure if it works, but it certainly can’t hurt.

Anyways, just as we thought we might be getting the hang of it (well, the rest of the group thought so. I wanted to curl up in the fetal position and cry.), Tia had to go since she had to work.

We then pulled in a shadow priest guildie to replace her and since we weren’t sure if he’d get the 70 Valor Points if he just zoned in and we cleared SFK, we elected to requeue for another random.

Total time spent in SFK: Close to an hour

Total JP/VP earned: 0

On the bright side of things (there’s a bright side?) I discovered that I can last an inordinate amount of time with under 10k mana, if I’m playing well. Do not underestimate the importance of the following combination:

1 Holy Shock on the tank -> 1 Holy Power Light of Dawn on the group

When you literally do not have enough mana to cast anything else, this is godly. Holy Light would have had consideration in Holy Shock’s spot, except that it no longer generates Holy Power, so it was HS to generate Holy Power. I also could have used Crusader Strike, except that, due to our positioning, it would have been difficult for me to get the whole group (including Sephden, the hunter) in line for Light of Dawn hits. So I was standing on the stairs, basically, with the entire party in front of me and willing my cooldowns to finish faster.

I used Divine Plea with Divine Focus to offset it (I know, this is Wrath-era thinking, but if you’re oom, you’re oom), I used my Dream Owl Figurine to boost my spirit, I used my “big angry man”, as I call him, but most paladins know him as the Guardian of Ancient Kings. I even blew Lay on Hands JUST for the mana return since I’ve got Glyph of Divinity.

Obviously, this attempt (which lasted close to five minutes, since I could ALMOST use my bubble again) went horribly awry and I shouldn’t have been so completely out of mana. But it was really interesting to see how long I could keep everyone at basically just enough health to live. Things went from bad to worse when I didn’t have enough mana to cleanse the Pain and Suffering off, but it was astounding to realize that I’d healed for close to three minutes without having more than 10k mana at any given time. (Note to self: make up a bunch of the new mana potions.)

Anyways. We requeued with the shadow priest and got Vortex Pinnacle.

I’ve basically been running this place for the last five days on normal. It’s actually old hat to me now on both my hunter and my paladin. Heroic? Not quite so much. I was pleased that we were making good use of CC. The thing that pissed me off the most was that my brother and Sephden were being all covert about something and wouldn’t effing tell me what was going on. “Just let it be a surprise,” they said. I don’t know about YOU, but when I’m in a heroic run for the very first time, and I’m the healer, the LAST THING I WANT is a damn surprise!

It was for a stupid achievement. Extra Credit Bonus Stage. Woo-freakin’-hoo.

Anyways, the first boss, High Vizier Ertan, is basically the same on heroic, except that I think the tornadoes slow your cast speed now. (Did they before?) So we ran out and I had a hell of a time trying to get everyone to stack up on me for Holy Radiance (which I popped each time we ran out). Fine, you don’t want my heals, you can die. :P

You also get a Lurking Tempest who’ll show up sometime during the fight. Just look at him to scare him away like you do with the others.

The second boss, Altairus, is also very similar to the normal mode of the fight… except you get FREAKING TORNADOES EVERYWHERE.

And the last boss, Asaad, is the same except he now does this Static Cling cast. It roots you to the ground and is a magic debuff, so it can be dispelled. Not a big deal. There’s an achievement if you manage not to get the debuff at all during the fight and that’s doable by virtue of jumping at the right instant while he’s casting it. I didn’t care to jump like a moron when I’m supposed to be casting, although I tried it once and avoided the debuff. Hooray.

So we finished the heroic and I promptly logged off to go have dinner and watch the hockey game.

I was drained. I didn’t even log back in until much later (I may or may not have fallen asleep while watching my Montreal Canadiens lose 5-3 against the Philadelphia Flyers. >.>) and I have pretty much zero desire to do another heroic anytime soon. Not because it’s HARD, though it’s challenging, but because it’s challenging in a way that saps me of my energy and desire to perform this role.

Throughout our attempts on Baron Ashbury, I kept thinking to myself, “You knowww… Focus really isn’t THAT bad. And is it really a bad thing to bring a useful pet to a raid? And you DO have an awful lot of healers…”

It’s ridiculous, I know, and it’s more of a function of gear and what my party is or is not doing than it is of my healing ability. That said, it’s very hard to go from being one of the best-geared and most-experienced players in the guild who could literally save the entire encounter if needed, to what I am now — a moderately undergeared healer who feels as though she has no real control over whether or not her group lives or dies.

I know that I’ll feel better in a week or in a couple of days or even tomorrow. But my first encounters with heroic dungeons are reminding me way too much of the insanity that was the Kael fight in heroic Magister’s Terrace.

Players are now extremely responsible for themselves and their lives. The mechanics out there are really deadly. Maybe in two tiers, we’ll be able to faceroll through this stuff with any old pug, but I can’t save you if you stand in the lightning in Vortex Pinnacle. I can’t save you if you pull aggro and Blessing of Protection is on cooldown. It’s like I see all this stuff happening that I just can’t stop and it’s one of the more frustrating parts of being a healer. The thing is, I’m sure it’s frustrating for a good tank, too. And I’m sure it’s frustrating for a good DPS, too.

What they’re doing it trying to bring people back towards being team or group-oriented. Which is awesome.

But everyone who played through Wrath of the Lich King picked up some awful habits and, in my case, some attitudes that are now out of date, and we now need to be broken of them. It’s not a pleasant feeling, but there’s nothing to be done except work through it and adjust. All the wishing in the world won’t bring us back to pre-Wrath so that we can skip two years of sloppy runs and bad habits.

Despite my knowing that it’s a necessity, it doesn’t make the process any easier.


16 Replies to “Well, I Don't Feel Very Heroic…”

  1. Honestly? I started heroics yestarday (i needed to cheat ilevel system by buying some pvp items!) with our guild tank who dinged 85 just few days after expansion went out. The point is, he had already much experience in heroics with our other healers – druids, shamans and priests. We went fluently trough most of heroics we did (Baron was an one-shot, we also wiped on some other bosses due to tactic fails). And suddenly my tank said – “you are a healing machine, we don’t need to use cc at all”.
    And i am not trying to say that i am so skilled. I am just saying that i adopted and i love it. Paladin is an awesome healer. We just need to get rid of all this WOTLK habits and learn from beginning.
    I had many doubts if it will work – making fast decisions which spell to use. But it works. And i really enjoy it. It also reminds me ages of TBC heroics.
    There was nothing fun in doing 7 minutes heroics in WOTLK, healing trough every boss mechanics without even thinking about them, letting tank to pull whole rooms. I really prefer this! :-)

  2. Yeah, I’m dreading my first heroic. Heck, until I actually did it last night I was dreading my first normal. When I saw the nerfs I almost didn’t let myself wait for the queue. But, the dungeon run was fun and I had a good experience… I fully expect quite the opposite when I get around to getting to 85 and trying my first heroic.

  3. I’m still working on adapting to normal instances; I waited until I was done with enjoying the leveling process — mind you, between mining and archaeology, I think I gained at a level and a half without any quests at all!

    That said, my roommate is currently being my pocket tank for normal instances and we’re working our way through the dungeons so I can learn the fight mechanics. It’s been an interesting gearing up experience, though I feel that I definitely need more haste to go hand in hand with my spirit regen; the latter hasn’t been too bad so far, tho.

    Kind of seriously dreading heroics. Definitely won’t be randoming those. @_@

    (Note: Halls of Origination with a prot pally, a holy pally and two ret pallies who only used Repentance when reminded and then forgot to renew..and who stood in bad things.. was a special run. Kudos to the awesome hunter we had with us, kited and trapped like a pro.)

  4. you just vocalized how I felt when I logged out from WoW last week and canceled my account (except I logged out in rage due to certain comments after voicing my concerns and burned multiple bridges – I have a ….temper :/)

    btw, I remember Wrath heroics, back in a day, where you had to coordinate kiting Loken (2 different strats that I know of- either you kited him from column to column, or up and down the shiny line), when you had a kill order in AN and when you had to duck the pound (which I used to do reflectively even in ICC level gear O_O) and you absolutely couldn’t stand in those spikes or more then likely you’d be dying and god forbit you had no poison cleanser in your group (or someone who’s on the ball with interrupts) – I still have nightmares healing that place on my priest.

    I remember when you had to duck the smash in UK, or wipe (and I remember wiping on that boss repeatedly with tanks who refused to duck the damn smash and healers who didn’t stop casting when he roared) when pulling more then one group at the start of UK meant an unquestionable wipe, when you had to LoS pull very carefully those packs with casters or wipe due to ads, and I can go on and on.

    I also remember tail end of BC when we AoE pulled every single heroic MagT trash pull, didn’t rotate dpsers on Vexalus, barely used CC on Delrissa (mostly cause we could and not because it was necessary), barely any CC on Mechanar trash, sloppy multiple group pulls that didn’t’ result in wipes in Arcatraz, healing through fire on the group with those husband and wife bosses, etc.

    I get so annoyed when people blame Wrath for everything, and lament the lack of difficulty… everything is difficult in the beginning. in my personal opinion though, anything after lvl 82 is edging a little too close to brutal and it firmly steps over that line once you start doing heroics. too much RNG involved, too much of a perfect reflex requirement, no room for error whatsoever. even overgearing Cata heroics will not make them less tediously draining, IMO. not the way they are currently designed.

  5. ” LoS pull trash packs with casters in HoS – on that crossroad between Maiden, Krystalus and Bran – and btw, you didn’t pull more then one of those constructs at the time, you could possibly pull 2 if your healer was fantastic, but mostly, you got them one at a time.

  6. I love your blog; long time reader, first time commenter.

    But now you understand the ‘why’ the recent nerfs came to Holy Pally’s over the last few days. It’s easy to write off paladin’s who were using the Lod/HP ToR Build as ‘bad’, but they were only using the kit as they saw fit. I’ll be the first to admit, I used it; but I did so a) knowing it would be nerfed and b) feeling very, very sad for the other healers. I’m not mad they nerfed it, but I’m sad that they took away what was a fun rotation…. I somewhat wish they would’ve nerfed our beacon/beacon transfer or LoD more and kept the mechanics in place.

    And honestly, I fully expect *more* holy pally nerfs in the coming days/weeks. Our Judgment simply returns too much mana. LoD is still very, very powerful even at 1 HP charge. Holy Radiance in a 5 man is too effective glyphed. The list goes on…

    I’ve been fortunate with my LFD groups in that ‘most’ people understand that healing is now hard and CC is a neccessity. I’ve had a few DKs who insist on Howling Blasting everything in sight, but the other DPS members were quick to come out and and say stop. Overall, I’m a fan of the changes but I feel like healers have an undue amount of responsibility to change ‘how’ players have been playing.

  7. I ran heroic Thrones of the Tide last night, for my first Cataclysm heroic, and this post so accurately sums up my feelings.

    As a healer I think it’s my fault when anyone dies. And I know that’s not the case now in Cataclysm. Stand in the bad you die, there’s nothing I can do. And yet I still feel guilt and shame every time someone dies.

    It’s going to be quite a learning curve, for all of us.

  8. As the tank that was there for UFTimmy’s healing, he was fine. It really was a matter of people not taking ownership of excess damage. This isn’t ICC with a 30% buff to everything. These aren’t the heroics you were running in WotLK with gear that was a good 3-4 tiers higher.

    This is ouch!

    Good post. I’m feeling reluctant to jump back into the heroic (as a tank), so I don’t think that’s an isolated sentiment. There was a lot of deaths, wipes and even the odd instant death. I blame bad DPS habits.

  9. I ran Heroic Grim Batol last night (was my very first heroic). Trash aside (omg so much trash), the boss fights are smart in that they test your ability to avoid damage.

    For Mumbriss, people were getting hit w/ blitz and the pound, draining healer mana. Once they stopped doing that, we were golden.

    Forgemaster, once dps stopped standing in fire/rocks/getting behind him during shield, things went so much smoother.

    Valiona, again, staying out of bad, avoiding the breath = win.

    Erudax gave us a bit of trouble cause we weren’t getting the adds down quick enough, resulting in drakes, resulting in extra damage, resulting in healer oom. Once we got the adds down at the right clip, the party damage dropped significantly, and when the boss died she was still sitting at 90% of her mana.

    Bottom line is, yes heroics are hard, but as long as you play smart they won’t be as soul crushing as you fear they are.

  10. I am so with you Madrana…considering taking the paladin next to 85… as Prot.

    Last night, 2 DPS (lock and a hunter and I) all q’d up as DPS for a heroic…..and 40 minutes later…guess what popped….Heroic Deadmines….

    1 feral druid (no enchants…no gems…)
    1 resto druid
    1 shadow priest (me)
    1 aff lock
    1 MM hunter

    Poor druid had a hell of a time…eventially left in frustration…tank would break CC etc…we req’d and got a shaman and i Healed as a Holy Priest…managed to keep the feral tank up for 2 bosses…before I even left in frustration…his lack of enchants really hurt….our lock had more HP then he did almost…

    Lesson for the day…run Heroics with guild mates and use vent. Save the headaches for something else. But the challenge is appreciated, much more engaging then facerolling Wrath Heroics.

  11. Did my first heroic (which was a pug) last night as well. And yeah Blackrock kicked my arse. (Steelbender)

    Nothing I did could keep the party alive. I know its not my fault but still did not help my ego to see 15k hps and 5 dead toons.

    To the tanks out there. Pulling fast does not mean the heroic will end sooner, just means I have no mana and makes the healer more stressed, just had to get that out.

    Cannot agree more with you on this. Guild run or nothing is how I play now.

  12. Pretty sure I warned you about heroic SFK, it was my first heroic too! Blizzard’s LFD tool is sadistic that way. Trust me when I say that if you had gotten to the last boss, Lord Godfrey, you would’ve been DOUBLE PISSED at the curse. :(

  13. I meant to comment on a previous post about the normals being too easy, to basically say that BRC and ToT are both set up for new 80’s not geared ICC 80’s.. and not to worry, the heroics would be brutal. God are they a big bag of suck…. bad to tank, worse to heal.

  14. For me, it’s the inadequacy and insecurity that upsets me so much. I feel the same way you do. I’m supposed to be a blogger, people come to me for advice and to know what it is that I’m doing. I’m in a high end raiding guild, where I performed well and saw a lot of content and picked up a lot of accolades and achievements. I have a lot of indicators in my history to show that I just might know what I’m doing.

    And then Cataclysm hits.

    Everyone goes right back to Square One and we’re all suddenly noobs again. Everything I had to show for that could have suggested I was a great player and could have handled anything thrown at me means nothing now, with how the healing models have changed and how the instances have been tuned.

    It brings up a huge sense of anxiety, especially knowing that most guilds only give you a certain amount of time to get it together. What if I don’t get the things I need to drop before that date? What if I can’t find the groups that can make it through these encounters? What if I can’t afford the gems/enchants to make the cut? It certainly breeds a lot of paranoia and other negative feelings that I know I do not cope well with.

    I can’t imagine how other people are playing it so cool, calm and collected when I know deep down that I’m losing my shit.

    In terms of small victories, I did read that priests received some kind of hotfix to their mana regeneration and other priests are making it sound really noticeable. I think I’ll do a couple of regulars to test it out. Lord knows I could still use some upgrades!

  15. @Oestrus: I haven’t played my priest at all, so I can’t offer anything on that… but being cool? Well, although Kurn will disagree :P, we haven’t set an exact date for starting raiding. We want to do it at some point in January (first or second week), but we won’t bust our balls to do it if the composition isn’t right. I’m going with a Blizzard-style mentality here: we’ll be ready when we’re ready. This might make a few people antsy, but I’d rather have them bored than stressing out that in x days they have to be ready and they’re underprepared.

    Personally, I’m scared to even heal a heroic and I have no idea how I’m supposed to deal with raid healing since I can’t roll Rejuv and WG. But I’m trying to be calm and keep everyone relaxed – we’ll take it easy and all relearn how to play… I’ve improved hugely since I healed my first level 85 normal, so I think a week should be enough for you to get used to heroics. And if you’re failing… remember that even the best guilds are still struggling!

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