Downside of Heads Up Healing

A couple of months ago, I wrote about the concept of heads up healing. The basic idea is relying visually on the screen away from the raid frames to spot impending attacks. Being able to spot who the attack is going to land on should buy the healer a few precious global cooldowns to get even more heals.

Well, I think I found a flaw with that strategy.

It’s to do with Mages.

There’s a Mage in the guild, let’s call him Echo. We were working on Mimiron last night and getting another handle on phase 1 again. The ranged players were divided equally among the… tridrants (Is there a 3-version of quadrant?).

Naturally a Napalm shoots out from the Flame Leviathan look-alike that Mimi sits on. The trajectory of the shot shows that it’s going to hit a player in my area. Sure enough, it strikes Echo and I’m able to target him by clicking the center of the Napalm while he’s on fire and all that.

But his heath bar isn’t moving. Moments later, he is burned to crisp. I frowned. I know I hit him. I saw Penance fly out and followed up with a shield. It was one of the few times where I connected with a heal and still lost a player.

A pause.

A curse.

A sigh.

I fired a disgusted look skyward as I realized my error.

That wasn’t Echo.

I healed Echo’s Mirror Image.

Learn from my mistakes. Pay close attention to who you’re targeting. When it comes to Mages, they’re more than meets the eye.

Abusing General Vezax as Discipline

The Conquest strike team reached General V on Monday evening. In the final hour remaining in our raid night, we spent most of the time identifying the environmental elements of the fight.

What did the Saronite Vapors look like?

What’s Shadow Crash?

How do we deal with Mark of the Faceless?

More importantly for healers, how do we manage our mana while being truly unable to gain it back unless it’s from said Vapors?

One of the aspects of the fight that I noticed early on is Shadow Crash.

"”Fires a shadow missile at a target. Upon impact, it leaves an energy field that lingers for 20 seconds, increases magical damage dealt by 100%, increasing casting speed by 100%, reducing healing done by 75%, and reducing mana costs by 70%.”

The primary strength of Discipline Priests lie in their powers of mitigation. Shadow Crash affects a healer’s mana cost, cast speed, and actual healing done. You can see where I’m going with this.

Power Word: Shield is instant. The casting speed debuff won’t have an effect there. It’s also not technically a heal. It’s a damage absorption. Finally it does reduce the cost of shields by 70%.

The bottom line: ~200 mana costing shields. Very nice.

Heh, I’m not going to jinx the week by predicting whether or not we’ll obtain a kill. I had an internal progression timeline for Ulduar when it came out and we’re right on schedule.

Hybrid it up on General Vezax

Hybrid it up on General Vezax

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This is a guest post by Paladin blogger Honorshammer of Honor’s Code.

General Vezax is the the last boss you must down before you cross swords with Yogg-Saron himself.

The General is one of most challenging fights in all of Ulduar due to his Aura of Despair. What is it that this lovely gift from the Developers does?

From WoWWiki (http://www.wowwiki.com/General_Vezax) we find:

Aura of Despair – Prevents mana regeneration throughout the fight by all means, except for Judgments of the Wise, Spiritual Attunement, Aspect of the Viper, Thrill of the Hunt, and Shamanistic Rage. Note that unlike the Play Test Realm version of this encounter Mana Potions and active abilities such as Evocation and Life Tap will not function.

My guild recently downed General Vezax. I was Retribution for the fight, but when one of our healers went down; I jumped in and started throwing some heals on the tank. That’s when I discovered the power of Judgments of the Wise for this fight. By Judging and stopcasting I was able to take over the 3rd healer role and concentrate on helping to keep our Main Tank alive, and do it on a Ret Paladin’s mana pool.

What exactly does Judgement of the Wise do?

Judgements of the Wise Rank 3 – Your Judgement spells have a 100% chance to grant the Replenishment effect to up to 10 party or raid members mana regeneration equal to 0.25% of their maximum mana per second for 15 sec, and to immediately grant you 25% of your base mana. (Source)

The replenishment aspect is useless. After reviewing the WoW Web Stats, I can see that I never gained Replenishment. However I did gain over 100,000 mana from Judgments of the wise! Because it works off base mana, it would restore the same amount regardless of the current mana pool of the Paladin.

We know that for a Level 80 Paladin, Holy Light cost 1,274 mana. So with a little napkin math, we can conclude that I regenerated enough mana from Judgments of the Wise to cast over 70 Holy Lights. That’s without the use of any Saronite Vapors at all.

How practical would it be it for a Holy Paladin to get Judgement of the Wise? Let’s look at a talents build that allows a Holy Paladin to get Judgement of the Wise, and the tradeoffs it makes to get there.

The most popular Holy Paladin build according to TalentChic is 51/5/15. Let’s look at what is needed to turn that into our hybrid build.

First off, the 5 points in Divinity have to go. Divinity is a really strong Tier 1 talent, but we simply won’t have room for it in our build. It doesn’t matter how hard the heal hits if you don’t have the mana to cast it.

Those 5 points move into Sanctity of Battle and Pursuit of Justice. Sanctity gives you even more crit for your Holy spells which should offset some of the loss of Divinity. There is a ton of movement on General Vezax so Pursuit of Justice is really nice as you move away from a Shadow Crash or into a Saronite Vapor.

Then we take the points out of Beacon of Light. This is one tank fight. Let the other healers handle the Raid; you can stay on the Tank so Beacon is a minor loss. You are going to lose the Haste from Judgments of the Pure and Infusion of Light. You will also have to heal from melee range because you won’t have the range increase from Enlightened Judgments. We had our Resto Druid healing from near melee range, so we could just have just as easily had a Holy Paladin there.

You won’t have the mana reduction from Divine Illumination. Based on General Vexax’s enrage timer, you would only be able to fire Divine Illumination more than 3 times during the fight. Are those 45 seconds of reduced cost worth the mana you can get back from Judgments of the Wise?

Assuming a little haste from gear, we’ll call Holy Light a 2 second cast. In those 45 seconds, we can get off 22.5 Holy Lights. To give every advantage to Divine Illumination, we’ll call it 23.

Holy Light costs 1271 so half it’s cost is 635. So we’ve saved 635 mana times 23 casts or about 15,000 mana. It’s about 10% of what Judgments of the Wise gives you. So Divine Illumination is gone as well. Bu-bye!

Our final move is to take 2 points out of Holy Guildance which will result in about a 4% loss of spell power from Intellect. The rest of the Holy Paladin build is pretty much intact.

With these points freed up, we continue to ascend the Ret Tree. The next point taken in Ret is Sanctified Retribution. This will increase all damage done by everyone near us, even if we are running Concentration Aura.

We want to pick up Improved Judgments so we can judge as often as possible, and trigger Judgments of the Wise as often as possible. Now we need two ‘filler’ points to move into the next Tier. There aren’t any great places to put them. I chose to put them in Crusade to increase the damage of Judgment by 3%. This build relies on judging often, so you might as well have them hit a little harder.

On the next tier, we grab Divine Purpose. The 4% spell miss will act as increased resistance to Shadow Crash and Searing Flames should one get through your interrupters.

Here again we find ourselves two points short of the next tier and not really any good place to spend them. I opted for Vengeance. Maybe you could get a stack going and hit those Judgments a little harder. It’s a filler choice so anywhere you want to throw two points will probably work.

Finally, we open Judgments of the Wise.

Here’s the final 38/0/33 build in the WoWhead tool.

General Vezax is a challenging fight. Specing for a specific fight is something that used to be fairly common in late Tier 6 and Sunwell. We didn’t need it for Tier 7 raids, but as we near the end of Tier 8, it may be something to consider again.

hybrid

Restoration Shaman – Best in Slot 3.1

Restoration Shaman – Best in Slot 3.1

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Once again we find ourselves with new content and as a result new upgrades. Our tier sets await us as well as many more foes that must be conquered. That means it’s time for another best in slot post for my fellow raiding restoration shamans. Before we get started I would like to say just a couple things.

  • First, this is my opinion. Use this as a guide or not at all, but this is based on my value of the stats we use.
  • Second, please feel free to make your own list or suggestions, after all it is your character and you should equip it as you see fit.

Head: [Steamworker’s Goggles] – Flame Leviathan 25: Good MP5 and great stats

Neck: [Charm of Meticulous Timing] – XT-002 25 (hard mode) this is a tough one to get, and so you might not get a chance at it for a while. In the meantime a good alternative is [Frozen Tear of Elune] which will run you 19x Emblem of Conquest.

Shoulders: There are two options here, first is [Conqueror’s Worldbreaker Spaulders] – Yogg Sarron 25. Haste, good mp5 and a red socket. Second runner up is [Amice of the Stoic Watch] - Auriaya 25. Crit instead of haste, decent mp5 and a red socket.

Back: [Shroud of Alteration] – Ulduar Trash 25

Chest: [Conqueror’s Worldbreaker Tunic] Hodir 25 or 58 Emblems of Conquest

Wrist: Again two options here, First is [Binding of Winter Gale] Hodir 25 (hard) or if you aren’t quite there yet, [Armbraces of the Vibrant Flame] from Ignis 10. These are BoE so you might be able to find them on the auction house as well.

Hands: [Conqueror’s Worldbreaker Handguards] Mimron 25

Waist: I’m going to give this to [Windchill Binding] This will cost you 28 Emblems and it’s a great upgrade from the Naxx 25 loot. If you want more crit you can go with [Blue Belt of Chaos] but I’m finding the price rather inflated to have it crafted right now.

Legs: [Conqueror’s Worldbreaker Legguards] Freya 25

Boots: [Boots of the Forgotten Depths] General Vezax 25 Good MP5 and haste.

Rings: There are a lot of options here, I’m going to give my top 4 choices though to [Pyrelight Circle] – Ignis 25. [Sanity’s Bond] – Yogg 25. [Ring of the Faithful Servant] – Auriaya 25 and [Signet of Manifested Pain] – KT 25

Trinket: Again a lot of options my top picks are [Scale of Fates] – Thorim 25. [Living Ice Crystals] – Malygos 25. [Energy Siphon] – Flame Leviathan 10.  [Pandora’s Plea] – Mimron 25,    [Je’Tze’s Bell] – BoE World Drop. I’m normally not a fan of on use trinkets, I prefer ones that give passive buffs most times, but Energy Siphon and Living Ice Crystal’s passive mp5 make them worth picking up alone. The on use effect of each is icing on the cake.

Off Hand: Two solid choices here, First is [Ice Layered Barrier] – Hodir 25 (hard) or [Pulsing Spellshield] – XT-002 10. Both have good stat allocation (and it helps they look cool!)

Relic: [Steamcaller’s Totem] – Flame Leviathan 25 or [Totem of Forest Growth] – 15x badges of heroism.

Main Hand: I saved this for last. First weapon that should be on EVERY healer’s list of wants is [Val’anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings], Amazing mace with good stats. The proc as we’ve seen from the blue posts is crazy good. This will be at the top of everyone’s list. Second to this mace I vote [Guiding Star] – Razorscale 25, for best in slot runner up.

Looking at this I’m sure you will see it’s got a decent mix of MP5, haste and crit, while maintaining good intellect for replenishment and good spellpower. Some of the choices seem predictable, such as the tier 8.5 set pieces. The four pieces I selected I feel offer the most bang for the buck and allow you to gather the four piece bonus, which is worth it’s weight in gold.

If you’re looking to place value on items and stats, and figure out what weight works for you, you can use Shaman_hep, an addon from Stassart which allows you to calculate a miryiad of information from your combat logs to help lend a hand figuring out what’s best for you.

So now you’ve seen my list, What do you think are the best in slot items for Restoration Shaman?

Until next time, Happy healing

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Image courtesy of UToronto.ca

Would You Consider 3 Levels of Spirit Based Mana Regen?

This blue post came to me courtesy of Sylly. Her post in particular addresses out of combat regen.

It’s no secret that I’ve felt the pinch myself. I barely end encounters with less than 10% of my mana left.

Mana Injectors? Exhausted.

Pure Mojo Flasks? Consumed to the last drop.

Hymn of Hope? Sang so much Simon Cowell would pay me to stop.

Shadowfiend? Sparky the fiend is tired of being whipped out.

But I’m okay. I’m still hanging on. I still have mana left. There is just enough left to do the job that the encounter asks of me. But oh my is it painful. It’s as bad as House losing access to his precious Vicodin. He can do the job while grinding his teeth and absorbing the pain.

The proposed solution?

A number of WoW forum members made an intriguing proposal. Redesigning spirit regen so that it takes into account three different factors:

  1. While casting
  2. Out of the 5 second rule, in combat
  3. Completely out of combat

Sylly agrees with this and I like the idea myself.

What does Ghostcrawler think?

One way to go would be to just get rid of the FSR and make out of combat regen (legitimately out of combat – not sneaking a sip during an Arena match) provide very fast regen.

Let’s open up the floor. I want to encourage some discussion here especially in the comments. What do you think of this idea? How has your mana held up so far in the current end game?

The Reality of Recruiting Part 2

Here’s part 2! The finale will be published sometime over the weekend. How do some guilds handle the actual recruiting portion? What separates the pretender apps from the contender apps? What’s more important to guilds? Likeability or competency? Here’s what other recruiters and officers have said.

How does the recruiting process work for your guild from start to finish?

They first apply.  The officers then receive the application and discuss any issues in a private forum.  We ask guild members and ex-members from that person’s previous guild.  Finally, we will either:

a) Respond to them in-game
b) Decline them. Even if we respond, we can still decline them if something unsavory pops up.

Kitts

We try to use as many means of advertising that our guild is looking for good players while still avoiding the catch-all that is Trade Chat.  Of course, everyone used realm forums, but I’ve also used Guild Watch announcements, posted on PlusHeal forums and consistently post in GuildRecruitment channel while leveling my fishing in Org. Hilariously, for a while our guild website was getting quite a bit of outside traffic as a result of the number of women we have in our guild and the rest of the server population wanting to check out our RL Pics thread.  This got the guild name out there a bit.

Viktorious

The applicant places their application on the guild forums and are then asked to join our guild chat channel and disband any guild they are currently in. The applicant has 3 weeks to get to know us and secure a sponsor before voting begins. They have 3 weeks to get into groups and get to know the guild. In that time, a voting booth is opened up and the applicant must obtain 15 yes votes, if for a raider these yes votes must include a yes vote from both class leads. if the applicant receives 3 well justified no votes, the application is terminated. each no vote extends the probation period one week If thapplicant receives the necessary votes, they begin a probation period of 6 weeks. At the end of the period another vote is taken. 15 yes votes again are required, with fewer then 3 no votes. Again 3 no votes will kill the application and the person will be asked to leave.

Lodur

What is the most common mistake that recruits make when they apply to you?

We’re fairly forgiving, but we don’t like seeing people apply who obviously have no idea how to gear for their class/spec. Not taking the application seriously. We get a lot of applications that are very poorly filled out, featuring little to no capitalization/punctuation, skipped questions and incomplete answers.

Seri

They forget that we’ve been raiding successfully without them up to this point, and that their job with their application is to sell us on the fact that they’d make an excellent contribution to OUR team, not that we’d make an excellent contribution to their playing and loot-gathering experience. "I want to join because I’m tired of wiping with people who don’t know what they’re doing" or "You guys seem like a good way for me to see end-game content" are all red flags. I also hate seeing tanks/healers apply when that role is obviously not their passion and they’d rather be joining in a DPS capacity. As a healer myself, few things irk me more than someone who applies as a healer, but can’t wait until the raid ends to spec DPS or log onto a DPS alt, and is only healing so they can get into a raid guild. They never perform as well as people who love the role.

Cerinne

The most common mistake is the new 80 or 77 who joins expecting us to spend our time babying them to raid status or to help them run every group quest in the questlog.  We have no greedy goblins in our guild so they shouldn’t expect their epic flight to be paid for.  Also, another mistake is to join our guild as someone who isn’t 80 and spam chat to run every old world or BC dungeon.  The only dungeon I ever ran while leveling was ramps when I first got into Outland.  It wasn’t until Northrend that I tried to hit every dungeon possible.  It is much faster to quest to 80 then to run every dungeon.

Finnugen

Unprepared players who don’t know their classes as well as they should or higher level raiding, who use green quality gems or who don’t even now about consumables or what kind of consumables or optimal for them. And then there are the players who think that the less text they type the more we’ll like their application…

Fire

In contrast, what would you describe as the perfect application?

Well thought out answers which show in depth knowledge of the class and the realities of high end raiding. The ability to type properly (not as common as you’d think).

Sylly

Answers of 2-3 sentences.  Show me that you took 5 minutes to fill out our application.  After all, you’ll be spending 9-15 hours a week in the raid, what’s 5 minutes to apply?  Also, something that shows they have an understanding of the game and their class, beyond "uber-deeps".  Extensive vocabulary is always a plus.

Viktorious

The perfect application would be THOROUGH. It would convince me that they know their class, know their raid fights (even if they haven’t experienced them first hand), and know their place as part of a team–meaning willingness to rotate with their classmates, acceptance of criticism, and acknowledgment that top-notch raid performance is a journey, not a destination that they have already reached. If I look them up on Armory, I should see that this character really is their main and their pride and joy–this is especially important for tanks and healers.

Cerinne

What’s more important: Being competent or being likable? Why?

That seems to depend on our current needs. At the moment we’re looking for active raiders, so being competent is more important. However we’d still not invite someone we don’t feel will fit in, even if they are a class A raider.

Eid

I have to say at this point in the game, with Ulduar recently released, both are equally important. Before, it was likability > competence but in order to actually get anything done in Uld, new recruits need to be able to play or there’s just no point to them being in the guild when we’re trying to progress and there’s this new guy who needs help to get to where we are before he can help us succeed. It sounds terribly self-serving but it’s necessary to be a competitive raiding guild on any server.

Raesa

We have competent people who aren’t always very likable, and likable people who aren’t always competent. In the end, the likable ones stay longer. They may not raid with us often… but they stay.

Amber

Being likeable in a slim margin over being competent. I’d rather have someone who didn’t drive me up the wall personality-wise than suffer an asshole who played like a dream. Since I do heroics and raids with a large group of people, being competent in our guild is not as big of a concern.

Aislinana

You’ll notice a few common themes among answers. I’ll leave them open to your interpretation.

State of the Blog: Summer 09

Dear friends,

Do not be alarmed. I know some prominent bloggers in the community have decided to call it a blogging career due to time and family concerns. I’m not quite done yet. There’s still a lot of bosses to kill and players to heal. I have always made time for writing, so that’s not the case.

No, the only reason I’d close these doors is if I run out of the financial resources necessary to maintain them.

A lesson for new bloggers out there: Success always comes at a cost. This particular cost happens to run into the 4 digit range. I’m just a university student. I don’t have a full time job. I’ve relied upon freelance writing to help offset the costs. That’s not enough anymore.

So now what?

World of Matticus is going to undergo some slight restructuring to maximize advertising. Plus Heal for the time being will remain ad free as long as possible. I’m not going to say no to advertising but I will have a strong hand in what is and isn’t displayed if I choose to go that route. I’ve stayed away from Google Ad Sense due to the plethora of gold selling and RMT ads that are shown and the short term benefit (money) does not outweigh the long term cost (you guys leaving and/or being pissed). Wouldn’t be surprised if I was called an idiot for walking away from such rather lucrative offers, heh.

For the time being, the blog’s going to undergo some shifting of content and real estate while I figure some things out. Incidentally enough, this means that header at the top is going to get changed up a bit.

The Store

I just opened up a store on Amazon recently. So if you’re an Amazon junkie who’s into action figures or Warcraft novels, check it out. If you also plan on picking up Warcraft III, or some gaming accessories (I recommend Sennheiser for headsets), I do manage to get a small cut. I also list several books on a wide variety of topics from business to writing to blogging that I’ve personally picked up (and recommend) if you’re looking for some reading material. It’s still a work in progress.

World of Matticus… premium?

Had a humorous suggestion from a fellow WoW Twitterati:

“You should launch premium content on World of Matticus. Include healing strats an idea for phase 1 and 2, and phase 3 and 4 be premium only. Or leave out certain key words from phrases (Example, remember to … stand in the fire!)”

While the idea is rather entertaining, that’s not the route I’d consider right now. Perhaps down the road I might toss up a subscription service for videos of dancing Dwarves on the Stormwind fountain. Not sure how well that would work out.

Blizzcon

No guarantees. But… I will try to attend this year. I’m also going to try to apply for this. What holds me back, you ask? Same thing that holds me back from everything else. Fear of failure. Now if I can just figure out who I can get in touch with specifically…

Donations

An overwhelming number of people on Twitter, IM, Plusheal and via EMails have asked me about this. I did run a donate page last year, it didn’t work out so I pulled it in favour of other features. I’m not going to ask for donations. I don’t know. I just don’t like asking for help until I really, desperately need it. I don’t think I’m at that point yet. The way I see it, if someone does a favor for me or gives me something, I’m indebted to them. As a result of that, this leaves me in a perilous position of somehow returning the favor.

This is why I’ve had so much difficulty shopping for birthday presents (especially for women).

So if donating is something you’re volunteering to do, head over to Plus Heal. Scroll down to the footer and use that link. I cannot and will not ask for it. The option is there if you choose.

If you want more details on the situation, I popped a thread open on Plus Heal about with more information (especially for the folks curious as to the actual numbers of cost and site demographics).

This is just another challenge. Just another encounter in the World of Blogcraft. Gotta figure out the right strategy and execution.

Healing Ulduar: Hodir

Healing Ulduar: Hodir

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For other bosses in Ulduar, check the Ulduar Healing Strategy Page

Hodir is a fight that requires a lot of movement. This boss is a big cuddly snowman who likes to spread the love, and the iceblocks. This fight will keep you on your toes. 

Notes about the fight:

  • Lots of movement
  • Raid wide damage

Abilities

Biting Cold – This is an aura like affect that pulses through the entire raid. This is much like the ability from Keristrasza in the nexus, you need to keep moving to keep it from stacking up on you. Each stack increases the periodic damage it deals. 

Freeze – This deals about 5k frost damage to all players within 10 yards of the target, it also roots the targets in place.

Flash Freeze – This encases the entire raid in blocks of ice. This is prevented by standing on snowdrifts. 

Icicle – Occasionally giant blocks of ice will fall from the ceiling. These deal 12,000 damage to anyone hit and have a knock back component. You can see which areas will be hit by a small circular glyph on the ground. If you are having trouble seeing the glyphs, go into your video settings and turn on Projected Textures. Before a flash freeze, a larger glyph will show on the ground before the ice falls and will leave behind Snowdrifts which must be used to avoid flash freeze. 

Frozen Blows – Reduces Hodir’s physical damage but adds a frost damage component to his attacks. This also has a raid wide frost damage effect. 

Enrage – Hodir has a 9 minute Enrage Timer 

Ability Examples:

ice      

 Icicle

 snowdrift

 Snowdrift

 freeze

 Freeze

NPCs

Hodir also comes with a selections of NPC’s that must be broken out of their icy prisons. There will be four on normal and 8 on heroic. The npc’s consists of the following. 

2x Druids: The druids are hard to miss, they’re in boomkin form. When you break them out they DPS Hodir but also cast Starlight which increases the attack speed of anyone standing in it by 100%

2x Shaman: The shamans DPS Hodir elemental style and will occasionally cast Storm Cloud on a raid member. This ability lets you buff several raid members with Storm Power which increases their critical strike damage by 135%

2x Mages: The mages will help try to break fellow NPCs out of ice blocks and will cast a Toasty Fire. The fire is literally a camp fire on the ground, but it fights off the effects of biting cold. Falling ice and Flash Freeze will wipe out the fire. 

2x Priests: The priests will smite and occasionally throw out a heal, but most importantly they will cast Dispel Magic to free players from the effects of Freeze

Execution

Your raid will head in following the Main Tank. The tank will take Hodir back towards the rear of the room. DPS will begin by breaking out the NPCs. After all the NPCs have been broken out, DPS can start in on Hodir. When DPS first engages Hodir it is a good time to blow Heroism / Bloodlust. Healers should move into position to be near the Main Tank while everyone else needs to move into position around the raid. DPS continues on Hodir until he is about to cast Flash Freeze. Everyone needs to move to the Snowdrifts to avoid being frozen. After the Flash Freeze any raiders who were frozen should be broken free ASAP. DPS will then begin on the NPCs again until all are free, and then will resume DPS on Hodir. Rinse and repeat until the big guy is done. 

Healing Hodir

Healing Hodir has two major components, 

Main Tank – Three healers should be assigned to the main tank. They should be in close proximity at all times and moving with the tank as needed. Grace from a Disc Priest helps even out the damage from Hodir. 

Raid – The rest of the healers should be spread out along the outside of the raid to cover as many raiders as possible. 

All healers will be moving quite a bit during this fight, dodging falling ice and shaking off the effect of bitting cold until the NPC’s are broken loose. Shamans will be using a lot of Riptide and Lesser Healing Wave, Druids will be right at home rolling HoTs, Paladins will be using quick Flash Heals, as well as priests utilizing renews and quick heals. It is possible to toss out a longer cast heal such as Greater Heal or Chain Heal and move before biting cold stacks, as long as you can find yourself a rhythm for move and cast. Your main goal as healers should be to find a Toasty Fire close enough to the raid to sit on. If you have the Toasty Fire buff, you can spam heals without worry of stacking Biting Cold. Since the rest of the raid will be moving around though, be prepared to move to keep people in range. Once you learn to balance the movement and the heals the fight is pretty straight forward.

Until next time, Happy Healing. 

Healing Ulduar: Freya

Healing Ulduar: Freya

freya_banner

For other bosses in Ulduar, check the Ulduar Healing Strategy Page

Freya offers everything a healing druid could ever want: pretty flowers, sparkly green trees, gnarled ents, angry seed bombs, and even friendly mushrooms of safety. This boss fight is a colorful, chaotic miscellany that asks healers to use all of their skills without overtaxing them in any one area. When you take on Freya, be prepared to react to whatever her tree-friends throw at you next. Keep reading for a healing-oriented rundown of her abilities.

The Pull

Conquest wiped this weekend in our 10 man because Yogi Ragadast, our bear tank, decided to eat a pickinick right in the middle of Freya’s patrol path. Beware that this guardian of the forest ranges far. Ideally, you want your tank to charge in and keep Freya occupied by the creek while the raid stands toward the center of the room awaiting adds. Note that attacking Freya before taking care of her trash waves does exactly nothing.

Phase 1:The Trash Roulette

In Phase 1, you cannot damage the boss and must instead deal with waves of adds. Freya will summon three separate trash events to keep raiders’ nasty paws out of her vegetable garden. Waves will spawn once per minute, and it’s possible to have more than one wave active at a time if your DPS is slow. They can appear in any order, and some will repeat during your encounter. I will explain in brief how to deal with each.

Type 1: Snaplashers, Ancient Water Spirits, and Storm Lashers
This wave is the most dangerous. Each mob type has a different amount of health, and all three must die at the same time or they will be rezzed. The Snaplashers have a stacking buff that makes them hit harder when they receive damage, so your dps will have to periodically switch away from them. In 25-man raids, two tanks may be used to deal with this phase. If that is the case, healers must keep an eye (or two) on the Snaplasher tank. In 10-man raids, one tank will take care of all these adds.

Type 2: Detonating Lasher
These little flowers may look sweet, but don’t be fooled. They’re rotten little skunkflowers at the core. These guys can attach themselves a healer very easily, and they’ll blow up when killed. If I attract too many four-petaled friends, I use Shadowmeld or Barkskin until they make like a tree and leaf. The Detonating Lashers are not particularly dangerous, though raid healers may have to clean up the mess that results if someone’s too close when one of these little suckers blows up.

Type 3: Ancient Conservator
This is essentially a tank and spank add. However, he spawns fun happy mushrooms that you absolutely must stand under in order to avoid his silence. Remember, mushrooms are a good thing.

Miscellaneous Phase 1 abilities:
During phase 1, Freya will also summon a glowing green tree, the Lifebinder. When it appears, the raid must kill it immediately in order to avoid its healing effect.

Healers must also be aware of the debuff Sunbeam. Freya will target a player and cast this ability, which does a weak AoE. It’s not disastrous in regular mode, but I expect that with hard mode it’s a different story.

Phase 2: Goddess on the Move

Phase 1 serves to wear down Freya’s HoTs and allow her to take damage. In Phase 2, your tank will need to kite her in a circle around the room. Why? You’ve heard of the druid spell Living Seed. Freya, the druid goddess, casts seeds of evil. These are small glowing seed pods that appear on the ground and then detonate after a few seconds. The raid will need to stay ahead of the chlorophyllic explosions. Aside from the Bad Seeds, the spawns of the Lifebinder tree, and the Sunbeam effect, Phase 2 is a tank and spank.

Healing Assignments

Much of the healing in this boss encounter is reactive, and it can either feel like catch-as-catch can chaos or like a perfectly orchestrated minuet. It all depends on the skill of your individual raid members at their jobs. A knowledge of movement and the basic raid mechanics like target-switching on demand will lead to a win. Everything might be messy, but it’s not difficult. Healing assignments can be fairly loose here, but we assign one specific healer to the main tank and one to each of two offtanks. Beyond that, healers work their magic on the move and cover players in their area. I’d say this is one of the least demanding fights healing-wise in Ulduar. Even though the adds phase can be hectic, it’s nothing like Thorim’s arena. I’d also say this boss is slightly more difficult on 10-man because there’s less redundancy in raid roles. In 25-man, you can still eke out a kill if, say, your players execute the different movements with something less than precision.
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The Reality of Recruiting Part 1

Last week I sent out an open call on Twitter for players who are involved in the process of recruiting for their guilds. Either they’re an officer or a GM or some other person in a position of leadership. I was able to get in touch with a myriad of personalities and guild types. There are numerous post in the WoWosphere about recruiting do’s and don’ts along with various tidbits of advice. The aim of this post is to outline their mentality and thought process when considering applicants.

This is part 1 of 3.

When recruiting, what are common characteristics that you value in players who you consider?

Aggressiveness and enthusiasm are a huge factor in how I perceive an application. I immediately discard applications that offer the bare minimum of responses–yes/no and even the occasional "maybe" to our questions. Even if they’re undergeared or inexperienced, an applicant who goes the extra mile to show us that they can keep up with us via WWS reports, their level of preparedness, or their devotion to theorycrafting has an advantage over a decked-out applicant whose attitude is blasé. One mage we recruited came from a no-name guild on our server, but his DPS was impressive for his gear and he was extremely eager to prove himself to be in our caliber. His application even noted that he had 50 stacks of fish feasts banked for new content–that’s some preparedness and willingness to wipe right there!

- Cerinne, Impulse (Cenarius US)
Blog: Spectrecles

We are looking for people who will stick with us, so we want them to be interested in progression at our casual but serious pace. Personality is important to us, as we want to enjoy one another’s company.  We look to see that someone knows their class and can demonstrate this both through their answers to their application and through their armory.

- Sylly
Blog: Rolling Hots

I like it when people are up front and honest about why they are leaving their current guild and willing to share the name of their current or most recent guild. Completely anonymous applications make me instantly suspicious. I want to know that their guild officers are in the loop about their desire to leave, because that is a pretty clear indication of how they’ll handle things down the road if they want to leave OUR guild.

Other characteristics include: Experience, demonstrated knowledge of their class/spec/role and maturity.

- Seri
Blog: World of Snarkcraft

Being articulate, someone who seems to be a good fit with our raid personality wise, someone who isn’t afraid to research their class in order to improve their abilities. We also do trial runs  in five mans and sometimes bring them to 10/25 mans to see how they do, but in general it’s actual trial time that usually gives us the whole picture, regardless of what we test/try out prior to accepting a trial.

Knowing one’s class and being able to play their character properly (It seems obvious, but then again…).

- Fire

What are some of the expectations that you set for recruits right off the bat?

I expect that within 2 weeks of joining the guild, any player should be able to compete equally with any other member of the raid.  While we do often invite friends of people we have recruited, we don’t want to carry anyone, no matter who they are married to/dating/best-friends with or how hilarious they are in vent.  Other specific expectations include 75% raid attendance, fully gemmed & enchanted gear, being self-sufficient (flasks, food, repair costs without complaining) and DPS above a given threshold; for Ulduar this is 3.3k right now.

We expect that our recruits know more than our raiders.  We also expect good rotations, solid knowledge of all encounters, the gear that they would like in the future, and know how to be kind and courteous to all folks.

- Kitts, Lowered Expectations
Blog: Blood Elf Priestess

That they sign up to our progression raids, come to the raid with appropriate reagents / pots / flasks and 100% repaired. We’ll also try to let them know which bosses we’re going to take on, so ask that they will keep an eye on the guild’s forums for tactics and / or look up the tactics by themselves.  We also use teamspeak and expect them to at least be able to listen in.

- Eid, Dead Poets Society

Pull your weight. If you are a new 80 then we expect you to research your class, know what heroics to run to get geared, do dailies to get rep, get gear enchanted, etc.

OR

Take the initiative. If you don’t know where to find this information ask a senior guild member to help find it. I am a Warlock, but as an admitted forum troll in the guild I know where to send someone if they are looking for the hunter hit cap or where to send a druid looking to dual spec Resto.

- Finnugen, Legacy of the Elite

Do you conduct any sort of background checks on recruits? If so, via what methods?

We don’t really go talk to their former or current guild masters, if that’s what you mean. But I do run a guild history check on the name at Warcraft Realms and WoWProgress to see if the person’s a guild hopper. I also sometimes do a search on the realm forums to see if the recruit is prone to trolling (a no-no). There’s also a question on the app asking if the recruit knows anyone or has played with anyone in the guild. I definitely make a point to ask the people named in those 2 questions. Amory, etc, but I think that’s pretty standard.

- Raesa
Blog: Violaceous Mana

Only if we suspect that there may have been issues in a former guild, or if someone mentions something to the officers about the person. Then we’ll talk to officers in the former guild. Usually, any issues will come to light very quickly, and we can gkick accordingly if necessary, or give them a chance to reform themselves.

- Trilynne, Dawn of Maelstrom

Since our guild has long had a "referral process" and requires vouches from other members and eventually from an officer, the background check usually comes from the people they associate with. If you’re in tight with a bunch of our members and they say you’re alright? Then you’re probably not going to be a bad match for us. However, complete unknowns usually never get in. Someone we’re on the fence about usually sits down and gets asked about what they are looking for in a guild, etc. We also ask prior guild members or ask around the community at large. We’re not a huge server, a history follows you most times.

- Aislinana, Northrend Commonwealth