The Reality of Healing Heroics and Tips for Holy Priests

The Reality of Healing Heroics and Tips for Holy Priests

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Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.
- Newt Gingrich

I’ve scheduled a tentative 10 man Naxx on Saturday. We’re projected to have around 8 players that are capable of reaching that level by then. After that, I’ll have no choice but to pug the other 2 slots.

Since I’ve hit 80, I’ve started working my way through a few heroics to try and get some badges.

Let me tell you, it is not easy.

It has been such a long time since I had to work this hard to heal. I have to drink after every pull. Every cooldown needs to be noticed and taken into account. Every spell cast needs to be carefully thought out. I’m sitting at ~470 mana regeneration with a few quest and instance blues. The rest are filled out with T6. There are times when you have no choice between letting a player die to prevent an overall wipe. It’s absolutely tough.

Over the past few days, I had the opportunity to heal Halls of Lightning and the Occulus (on Heroic since they were the dailies). There’s a few things to remember:

  • We don’t outgear the instance: It’s a fresh start for everyone. The playing field has been leveled. I’ve resorted to using consumables to help finish off my old stock of TBC food. This goes the same for tanks.
  • We’re going in blind: We don’t know the instance. I don’t like going into a fight without knowing what I’m up against. I keep WoWhead open and WoWWiki to understand what abilities bosses uses and develop a counter for it. Two things to watch for is debuffs and any special animations on the ground or spells that the bosses use. Watch for the in game boss cues. It’s a hard lesson to learn every time.

One thing that most Priests (or all healers) will find when healing any sort of high end instance is that they’re running out of mana. Don’t forget that it takes more Spirit now then it did back at 70 to reach the same level of mana regen. The amount of Spirit required to reach ~1000 mana regen is much higher then it was at 70.

Here’s a few tricks to help out:

  • Hymn of Hope: It’s an 8 second channel spell and you’re going to be hard pressed to find time to use it. Observe the boss and find a pattern. See if he has a long cooldown for an ability. Put a shield on the tank, a Renew, and a Prayer of Mending. Top up the rest of the party as best as you can. Hit your Hymn and pray to the highest deity you know that you can maximize the use out of it. You can break it early. I set my personal limit to around 50%. If the tank reaches 50%, I’ll break my Hymn and start healing.
  • Shadowfiend: Since it’s a 5 minute cooldown, this is the first trick in the book I’ll use. In the event we wipe, I should have it up for the next attempt.
  • Runic Mana Potion: I’ll typically blow a potion in conjunction with Hymn of Hope after it’s cast. I don’t try to save it. I try to be liberal with their use.
  • Guardian Spirit: Don’t think of it as a healing bonus spell or a way to prevent the person from dying. Think of it as an instant 50% health return. Gauge how much damage the tank takes roughly per hit. If they take 5000 damage blows and your tank is at around 7500, slap the GS up there and stop healing. Watch as the tank’s health rockets back up to 50% while you spend precious seconds just regenerating mana.
  • Pain Suppression: A lot of beginner Priests like to use Pain Suppression when their tank is really low on health. I don’t advise this since they run the risk of tanks dying. I drop Pain Suppression when tanks have near full health. I can stand there and mana regen knowing that my tank is taking reduced damage buying me more time to get more mana.

I’ve spent an average of nearly 3 hours per heroic dungeon. I’m way in over my element. But hey, that’s how Matticus rolls! I’ve always been a front line player!

Still looking for Mages, Warlocks, Hunters, Shadow Priests, Shamans and other healers! If you know of any that want to progress, tell them to drop me a line!

Wrath of the Lich King: First Impressions

Wrath of the Lich King: First Impressions

While some of us (ahem, Matticus) are already level 80, most WoW players are still in the thick of the leveling process.

I thought it might be interesting to share some of my impressions so far with all of you, and of course to invite everyone to add their own thoughts and ideas.

Here’s what’s been going through my mind so far.

1. The art is amazing! Everything feels sharper, more rich, more detailed than previous versions of the game.

2. I love the shadows. The world has a depth that it never did before.

3. I really appreciate quests where I don’t have to kill 6 of this mob and 8 of the other. The more inventive, the better.

4. I still don’t like robot-themed areas. Fizzcrank airstrip gets a big thumbs down.

5. I’m enjoying all of the prehistoric-ish animals and humanoids. It makes me wonder if the designers read Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear while they were working on the storyline for the Vykrul. If not, it occurs to me that they would probably like it.

6. I really miss flight form.

7. I’m not a fan of land mounts that jiggle too much–they make me dizzy. That means you, Amani War Bear and Black War Elekk. Either I’ve got to take Dramamine or I’m sticking with the Talbuk.

8. I can’t believe I got to ride on a mammoth for a quest. It was a shame that it was even more wiggly than the War Bear! At least I know not to save my money for the Grand Caravan Mammoth now.

9. I can’t believe I have more gold now than when I installed the x-pac.

10. I never thought I would say this, but I love being a laser chicken, if only for a little while. Go Go Hurricane!

10 Tips for Extreme Leveling to 80 (without denting your wallet)

10 Tips for Extreme Leveling to 80 (without denting your wallet)

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I hit level 80 last night around 8:45 PM. Most of the player curve is around the 74-75 area so I’m considered “ahead” of the curve. Although I could credit my leveling speed to my “Asian racial (25% extra stamina when really focused on a goal, cooldown: once every 365 days)”, there’s a few things to keep in mind if you really want to get to 80 as fast as possible.

Note, you’ll miss out on a lot of the lore and the story. But I’m proceeding on the assumption that it is not a primary concern.

  1. Accept all quests in the area without reading the backstory. 4 out of 5 times, the quest involves you killing something or picking something up. Read what you have to do, and go do it. You don’t need to know about the circumstances behind the objective.
  2. On quests where you need to pick up items off the ground, keep looking for others. It takes a few seconds to loot one anyway. Use the time to spot.
  3. Forget professions. Worry about them when you’re 80.
  4. Train at every 2nd level. Unless there is a specific spell that you feel you really need, it takes a lot of effort to fly down to the port and boat or zepp back to your capital cities.
  5. Keep the autorun handy. Read up on WoWhead or your favourite leveling guide to find out what you need to dow hen you get to your destination.
  6. Chunking. Just like how I sometimes write my posts in massive chunks or blocks, do all the quests in an area. I’ll usually do 7 or 8 quests at a time per hub and do a gigantic turn in.
  7. Know your damage rotations. Find out the fastest way to kill things even if it means being inefficient. You’re trading efficiency for speed. Find out what the “execute” range is. A typical Smite and Shadow Word:Death will kill any mob with around 3000 health remaining. Holy Nova will clean it up.
  8. Blow your cooldowns. You’re not fighting a raidboss. Everytime Heroism is up and you have to level an entire camp of Gnolls, do it. If Power Infusion is available and you get to blow up Murlocs, use it. Maximize the useage. If it involves you killing 60 Rhinos for Nessingwary, it’s a green light to pop trinkets and just nuke the place.
  9. Consumables. Chances are, you still have still have some Mana Potions and food or flasks left. Use them as you’re leveling. They’ll provide a slight edge.
  10. Know how much resource it takes you to kill a mob. For example, I know it takes me ~3000 mana to bring a whelp down to its knees. For most mobs, its around 3000 – 3500 mana. If I can squeeze off one more kill before drinking, I’ll do it.

What other tips would you suggest for players that want to level fast?

Back to our Regular Blogging (Ding)

Back to our Regular Blogging (Ding)

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Time to catch up on some much needed sleep. Shutting off all my alarm clocks.

***11/15 UPDATE*** Matticus MIA

11/15

10:29 PM: 78. Going to pass out. Will take 80 by Monday.

11:26 PM: 72. For those that’re more interested in loot council, the type I’m shooting for is one where the players themselves have a say in whether or not they want a piece of loot. Read more about the FAQ here. Still need casters and healers.

6:41 PM: 71.

8:30 AM: Home with WoTLK normal and CE copies. Installation done after 30 minutes. Currently engaged with the Patch boss. 2 hour fight. Guild has a 61 DK already and a couple of 71 players.

Gone fishin’. See you in a few days.

Seriously.

Northrend’s nice this time of year.

All my friends and guildies have their copy. I won’t be able to get mine until tomorrow morning. Sigh. But I need sleep. 500 gold up for grabs for the first player to get to 80. What do you guys want to see in regards to future blog posts?

Q&A: How Do I Break Into Raiding?

Q&A: How Do I Break Into Raiding?

Copra, a priest from Thunderhorn EU, asked the writers of Matticus such a great question that I thought I would share it with all of you. In his words:

The question is, how on Earth (or on Azeroth, depends on your preferance) are we newcomers going to learn the group dynamics, the class or the requirements of Boss fights? By cutting us out of the instanced content that is the tutorial to raiding 60s, 70s and later 80s instances, there is little hope that the burned out raiders will get replaced by players who are as skilled or as motivated.

Any hints on how to gain that experience early on and how to ‘impress’ the raiding guild leadership before you hit the cap and start making a fool of yourself with your gear and skill?

To share a bit more background, Copra is coming into Wrath of the Lich King with a bit of a disadvantage. He’s a fairly new player who is not yet at the level cap. And yet, Copra, you must take heart! Even brand-new players can break into raiding. However, you can’t really get into a raiding guild before the level cap–the game starts at max level for a raider. Yet, people can, and frequently do, level up new toons and join raiding guilds with them. Here’s my suggestions for getting yourself ready to raid in a few short weeks.

Tip #1: Level fast.

The content of Azeroth and Outlands is enjoyable in its own right. If you had a different in-game goal in mind, I’d say go slow and enjoy the scenery. However, if you want to raid seriously, the first and most important thing you must do is reach the level cap. In order to do this most efficiently, I suggest taking on the kind of quests you can solo. No instances, no group quests, no stopping. When you hit 58, go to Outlands. When you hit 68, go to Northrend.

If you join a guild during the leveling period, understand that you’re teaming up for company rather than instance runs or old-school raids. It might seem like a good idea to have higher-level players run you through stuff, but the XP gain per hour is not nearly what you could achieve with the same time spent questing on your own. The best type of guild to join pre-80 is what’s called a leveling guild. Essentially, these organizations are fun, casual associations of people who like to share the same guild chat.

Tip #2: Save your money.

You can reach level 80 in your underwear–no really! It’s not recommended, but I’m sure there are players who will do it for kicks. It is important, however, not to spend your time or resources acquiring gear at 60 or 70, particularly the craftables. Once the content goes by, its craftables and BoE items quickly become obsolete. You’ll spend days tracking down Frozen Shadowweave, and the return will be negligible. Your gear from quest rewards will be enough.

Tip #3: Hold off on crafting professions.

Most of the gathering professions, with the possible exception of mining, can be raised to the cap while you level without any inconvenience whatsoever. However, the crafting professions are an enormous pain in the booty. My advice is to take either herbalism or mining and skinning as your professions and sell all the proceeds. Bank and bag space are at a premium when you’re leveling fast. At max level, you can decide what your crafting profession(s) need to be and worry about it then.

Tip #4: Respec for success

Research your class a bit, and as soon as you hit max level, spec into the role that is most desirable for raiders. Sometimes there’s one right answer for a class, but most often, you have multiple viable options. I suggest a dps or healing spec. While a tank finds all the pickup heroics he wants, raiding guilds always have too many. I do not recommend a tanking spec if you’re looking to break into raiding on the late side. Healing, however, tends to be in demand, and most guilds can sneak in one more dps. For a class that would be attractive to raiding guilds, my money is on Alliance Resto Shaman. In contrast, rogues and warriors would probably have a more difficult time breaking into raiding late.

Tip #5: Once you hit max level, PuG, PuG, PuG

Many people hate pickup groups. Don’t be one of those players! Sometimes you will meet nice people and great players. At the worst, you’ll learn a lot, because you’ll be working hard to compensate for other people’s mistakes. These max-level PuGs are where you will do your learning. There will be growing pains, but it’s worth it. PuG for 5-mans, heroics, and Naxx-10 if you can. If you’re lucky, someone will recruit you for their guild.

Tip #6: Research your class

Read voraciously about your class and spec. There are a lot of places with good information. Read WoW blogs! If you’re here on Matticus, you’ve made a good start. I predict that in a couple of months there will be a rash of “gearing up for Naxx” posts. Read them and follow the advice. When I recruit, one of the things I check for on someone’s armory is class knowledge. Have the right gems, enchants and spec–it will open doors.

Tip #7: Spend your gold

You’ve been using those gathering professions to make money, right? Now is the time to spend it. Improve your gear by buying BoE blues (that you will then fully gem and enchant). If you’re rich enough, now is the time to level a crafting profession. Make sure it’s one that gives your class a special advantage.

Tip #8: Apply to a Naxx-10 guild

By the time you hit 80, the first wave of raiders will have moved past the first tier. However, my experience with TBC tells me that there are always guilds out there that focus on the first instance. There are still active Kara guilds now! Find a Naxx-10 guild that’s no more than halfway through the instance. That way you will get to do all the learning with them. What you don’t want is a more experienced guild. You want to be there for a lot of the first kills so you can have the experience that goes along with all the wipes.

Tip #9: Apply to a Raiding Guild

With Naxx-10 cleared a few times, you have probably gained the basic skills of a raider. Now is the moment to apply for the next tier. This likely means switching guilds. Of course, you’re going to be quitting your Naxx-10 guild respectfully, right? Part of that means not taking uber loot if you know you’re leaving soon. Apply to guilds on and off the server. Look for an organization that has the chops to do 25-mans but isn’t too far beyond Naxx. You might even move laterally, over to a Naxx-25 guild. Alternately, if your Naxx-10 guild has the skills to move on in the 10-man bracket, just stick around and progress with the same group! 10-man progression provides a real alternative in Wrath to the mega-guilds.

Tip# 10: App to Impress

If you do decide to change guilds, make sure that, in your written application and/or your interview, you communicate your enthusiasm for raiding and for the new guild. Nothing impresses me more than effort–make that guild application shine. Note: monosyllabic answers bad, demonstrated knowledge of class good.

And just remember–nothing is impossible. If you have the will to work toward a goal, you will succeed. I bet a player could start today and be ready for raiding in a couple of months. The other lesson is this–the World of Warcraft is immense. If you’re willing to spend time looking, there is always a guild to suit your needs.

The Matticus Guild Philosophy

I’m currently in the process of laying down the foundation of my new guild. I’ve got my leadership team in place and my goals laid out. My goal for Wrath is to kill Arthas and I’m going to be surrounding myself with players with that same goal. I’ve outlined my 3 P’s philosophy. I was advised that I should have clear goals in mind along with my system. So here it is:

Progression

This is a raiding guild, first and foremost. While I like PvP like any other player would, my heart belongs in the PvE world. We will tackle farm content at times, but the moment I feel we are capable of “jumping the curb” (as Guy Kawasaki puts it), I will not hesitate to make that leap. Old world raids are something I won’t completely rule out. But I won’t even bring that up or mention it until a year or so had gone by in Wrath.

With that in mind, loot council will be loot system of choice. I know a lot of players have mixed feelings about loot council. Some players have had bad experiences and some have had terrific experiences. In the interests of progression, I feel that loot council is the best system to use. Loot may not be fair and it may not be equal, but I will do my best to ensure that it is effective and not wasted. The concept of loot rot is where a player has an epic and then decides to pursue (and pick up) an item of marginal upgrade to them when it could have benefited another player.

I have no desire of seeing that happening again.

This means you have to place your trust in myself and the system. You have to trust and believe that I know what I’m doing. For this to work, players have to buy into the system and have faith in my vision.

Performance

Everyone gets held to the same standard of performance. If you don’t meet it, my team and I will sit down with you and attempt to isolate the problem. WWS and other tools will be used extensively to help troubleshoot and improve your play. Everyone in my organization understands that they will be criticized and critiqued to a degree. I want it known now to my current guild and future prospects that I will never have a problem with you as a WoW player, only your WoW playing. We have a fair number of analysts (who amaze even me) who will go through as much as they can to help you get better.

Unless you’re a big douchebag. Then you’re gone.

Everyone has off nights. Even Matticus has off nights (and they tend to occur around the time of NHL playoffs). I’m not the best Priest in the game, but I usually bring 100% as much as possible to the table. However, if I start playing like crap for whatever reason, I won’t hesitate to pass raid lead to my lieutenants and excuse myself from the raid. I’m not going to bring down my guild if ‘m the reason for failure. I’s a two way street. If I think you’re having an off night, I won’t hesitate to pull the trigger and ask you take the night off.

This is also where loot council comes into play. Did you flask? Come fully repaired? Early? Full set of pots and reagents? My council will factor this into their thoughts. I reward performance and preparation. I believe good players should get rewarded for their hard work and effort. I will strive to make the process transparent and minimize any possible accusations of bias. Don’t worry, you get to have a say in the type of loot you’re interested in. I’m not going to send you something that you don’t want.

Accountability is something I believe in.

Perseverance

We’re going to wipe. A lot. Get used to it. If you’re not used to wiping by now, then a progression guild may not be for you. It’s the courage and the will to continue that counts. Accept the fact that there are nights where we’re seemingly going to beat ourselves against a wall. That’s what learning is all about. We wipe, we learn, we move on. If this is not something you’re prepared to do, then my guild is not for you. If you don’t believe in the system, then my guild is not for you.

We’re going to have good days and bad days. Some days, we’re just going to have to grind out the encounters. We’re going to have a lot of fun regardless of what happens.

Those three principles will center around my attitude in running the guild and my raids. It won’t be a democracy. It’ll be a mattocracy. Democratic guilds have always been stonewalled in my experience. There would always be disagreements. Surrounding myself with people who agree with me and my vision solves most of that. I’ve got an awesome team behind me in terms of leadership and ability.

One more thing

You should be aware of a few things. I’m only human. This is the first real guild that I will be leading into an expansion. I’m going to make mistakes along the way. But you have to believe that I will do what I can to fix them. My “youth” and “inexperience” are what some would consider flaws.

I will also listen. I may not do what you ask. I may not believe the same way you do. But I will listen to anyone under my leadership especially if they disagree with me. In the end, you have to respect that I may go in a direction you do not believe in.

It’s a hard thing to ask people you hardly know to believe in you and trust you. But if you’re truly interested in raiding with me, I will need your faith and trust. Without it, my system won’t work. Trust me to do the right thing.

Because if I don’t, a number of bloggers will certainly make it public and hold me accountable. It certainly is in my best interest to do well.

Progression, performance, and perseverance. That’s my system. Trust me.

Still interested?

I have a number of DPS and healer spots still open. I don’t have any Mages or Shamans at the moment. Tanking positions are presently filled while applicants are being reviewed.

Intended raids will be on Tu, Th, Sat, and Mon from 6 PM – 9 PM. I wanted to start out with smaller hours but that won’t be possible with progression in mind. I intend to be in Naxx by Christmas.

The site’s still being worked on. Give it another 48 hours and forums should be available. In the mean time, if this is something you’re really interested in doing, leave a comment with your email and Syd or myself will get back to you.

Yes, that Syd.

Twitterati’s Advice to GM-to-be Matticus

Twitterati’s Advice to GM-to-be Matticus

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Let it be known that to me, GM does not stand for Guild Master. I prefer to think of it as General Manager. Sports terms work a lot better for me and it’s something I can handle (though I suppose it is more of a business term). Yesterday afternoon, I lit up a simple tweet:

What advice would you have for up and coming GMs?

The response was absolutely long and enormous (as you can see on the left).

I don’t know if there’s much more to be said after such a myriad of replies.

If you have anything you’d like to add, feel free to do so.

Bonus points if you can match the Twitterati and keep your advice under 140 characters.

Note: Tweetdeck is the official Twitter client of Matticus.

“Matt, heal me! Why are you running?”

Oh, it just brings tears to my eyes when I anticipate hearing those phrases again. To level with me is a most unique experience. You can ask Wyn that. You can ask any of my friends that. You see, I have this knack for simply attracting mobs. Whether I move or whether I don’t, I am a virtual magnet for them. I’ll try to slip between 2 mobs breathing a sigh of relief when I’m almost through only to find to my surprise that I end up getting both of them.

Sometimes I’ll panic and run if I think the situation’s a lost cause. Usually I’ll stay and fight. Until I realize I’m fresh out of gas (and mana). As a frequent multi tasker, sometimes my attention won’t be focused on the mob or the task at hand. I usually need a “gentle” reminder of this from time to time.

Aurik and Sephrenia want to issue a gentle reminder to tanks and DPSers that if you’re going to level with them, they understand and know that you will need heals. Because if you don’t get heals, you die. And if you die, they die. Ergo, it is in their best interest to heal you.

But if you’re rolling with me, remind me that you’re pulling so I can switch back into the game and watch you. Great raid healer. Not the best grinding healer.

While I don’t like hearing the phrase heal me in raids, I’ll frequently issue the instructions for extra heals on a player if the situation calls for it (damage debuff, impending big hit, healing reduction debuff).

WoW Insider Podcast Available for Download

Here’s the link to the post at WoW Insider!

MP3 direct download.

I should note that it is now officially on the record. Both Phaelia and Elizabeth Harper (WI producer) have admitted that Priests are the best overall healing class in the game.

Thankfully, no one pushed me hard enough to admit what I thought was the worst healing class in the game. Glad I dodged that bullet.

Welcome to… the Healer Hour.