State of Chain Heal 2:”Hail to The King, Baby!”

State of Chain Heal 2:”Hail to The King, Baby!”

ash2es_phixr

Alright you Primitive Screwheads, listen up! You see this? This… is my boomstick! The twelve-gauge double-barreled Remington. S-Mart’s top of the line. You can find this in the sporting goods department. That’s right, this sweet baby was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Retails for about a hundred and nine, ninety five. It’s got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. That’s right. Shop smart. Shop S-Mart. You got that?

I simply can’t resist making Army of Darkness references, especially with all the WoW movie talk  and everything circling Sam Rami. This also mirrors a conversation I had with a guildie the other night on the current state of Restoration Shamans and where we are after this most recent patch. For some reason it always makes me think of Army of Darkness and Bruce Campbell, each time I chain heal I feel the urge to yell “THIS. IS. MY. CHAIN HEAL!”

Patch 3.2 brought with it not only a new instance in the coliseum, but a slew of Restoration Shaman changes that helped bring our healing up a little bit. Back in May I responded to a very lengthy thread with my own thoughts on chain heal, and in truth shaman healing as a whole. A lot of people thought we were broken in a bad way and were QQing about how it was time to re-roll. I stood up for us and said, yes we need tweaking but we aren’t broken. Patch 3.2 brought us that tweaking. In 3.0 and in 3.1 Shaman were given a slew of other spells to round out our healing and move us further away from the Haste / MP5 Chain heal spamming model of the Sunwell days. Blizzard did an amazing job doing that… but swung a little too far and inadvertently took Chain Heal down a few pegs to the point that we were having a very difficult time keeping up with AE damage in hard modes. Many Shaman were getting passed over to bring in other healers, that was bad news and quite frankly made me a sad Shaman. Then the man himself Ghost Crawler chimed in and said that changes were coming but they had to ride the knifes edge to not over power Chain Heal and make it the only spell we cast. Congratulations sir I dare say you guys did a fine job!

Lets take a look at what made the cut, First let’s look at Chain Heal.

Chain Heal: First of all, the Range between target was increased. 12.5 yards between targets is pretty good. It’s better when you consider that this is a smart heal and directs itself to a healing priority list and makes sure those who need it get it. This gets even better when you add in the Glyph of Chain Heal which lets it hit another target for a grand total of Four at a time! Now add in the change that between jumps the amount healed only is reduced by 40% (down from 50%) and you have yourself one sexy heal again.

But wait, there’s more!

Chain Heal was made very attractive again, but there were some other changes that compliment this as well.

Improved Water Shield: Not only does this give mana back on crit heals from LHW, HW and Riptide, but now it includes Chain Heal! The other good thing about this, is when you gain the effect, it doesn’t burn an orb. This is great news because that means it’s one less GCD you have to burn, which means that much more healing. This helps fix a lot of shaman mana problems, and ensures we can hang with paladins and disc priests for that near infinite mana.

Tidal Force: Another change that included chain heal. This now gives, HW, LHW and Chain Heal 60% additional critical strike rating. This also goes well with the next change

Nature’s Swiftness: The major change here is the Cool down. It’s been reduced to 2 minutes down from 3. This is huge in fights where you’ll need a fast chain heal or a fast healing wave more often (Hodir comes to mind). Having this available 1-2 more times a fight is a big boon to us.

Tidal Waves: Again this was changed to give a different bonus to LHW. When you cast riptide or chain heal, this bad boy procs. Before it gave a haste rating to LHW, now it gives it an additional 25% crit chance. That again is pretty huge considering everything we have that procs off of critical healing.

Healing Way:  This change was bigger then a lot of people I believe have noticed. Prior to the patch it placed a buff on your target that increased healing from Healing Wave. No other target benefited from it except for the one with the buff. This made the spell primarily a nuking tank heal spell. Now however it adds a flat increase to the healing output of the spell. A 25% bonus is nothing to scoff at. This allows you to work it into your spell rotation and make sure everyone you hit with it gets the added bonus of the talent

Ancestral Healing: This used to add armor. Now it adds a 10% physical damage reduction on any person you critically heal. This procs off of every crit, including Earth Shield crit heals. Look at the other above changes. The increased crit rate, the talents that add crit and make your heals faster combined with this? You could be rolling that 10% reduction over almost the entire raid with some smartly placed chain heals and liberal use of your talents. This is huge because it helps take environmental damage and even it out for the rest of the healers. This means less mana consumed trying to catch up and top people off and overall greater raid survivability.

Putting it all together, you get a rather complex and complete toolkit with which to heal your raid. We solidify our position as one of the games best swing healers, we can put out some very very good AE healing, or can spot heal on the fly. We can take over tank healing duties, or simply roll between them all. The changes to the spells make sure we are competitive in hard mode raids, but aren’t limited to casting a single spell over and over again. Personally I think the devs did a great job with us this patch. I feel they did a great job balancing Chain Heal out while not letting it overshadow all the other spells we have at our disposal. The synergy our class has always enjoyed is still there. Personally I’ve seen somewhere between a 350-450 hps increase in throughput, which puts us on par with the other healers, I’ve been able to keep up better with area effect damage and have been able to nuke heal a tank as needed. Healing is still challenging and fun, but I don’t feel underwhelmed by the shaman’s ability to keep up.

How about you? How has your healing been since the patch? Do you think they did a good job with the changes? What would you change, add or remove that the devs didn’t? Do you feel confident to head into a hard mode encounter and give it your all?

That’s it for today, Until next time Happy Healing

Sig

Image courtesy of Universal Studios

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Healing Crusader’s Coliseum: Lord Jaraxxus

jaraxxus

Lord Jaraxxus is the second boss that will be available this week for Coliseum raiders. Take a look at the video below. Be advised that it’s in German. Couldn’t find any other ones around (if you manage to find one, please post it in the comments below). The video shows the Lord Jaraxxus fight from a an off tank perspective. It looks to be a very healing intensive fight.

Breaking down abilities, execution, and healing below.

Abilities

Fel Fireball
Inflicts 18038 to 18962 Fire damage and an additional 7800 to 8200 Fire damage every 1 sec for 5 sec.
Fel Inferno
Periodically inflicts Fire damage to allies within 15 yards for 6 sec.
Fel Lightning
Strikes an enemy with Legion Lightning that arcs to another nearby enemy. The spell affects up to 5 targets.
Fel Streak
Inflicts 8288 to 8712 Fire damage.
Incinerate Flesh
Burns the flesh off your bones! Absorbs the next 70000 healing received and decreases damage dealt by 50% for 15 sec. If Incinerate Flesh is not removed before it expires it will cause a Burning Inferno.
Burning Inferno
Burning Inferno inflicts 3120 to 3280 Fire damage every 1 sec for 5 sec to all friendly targets. The Burning Inferno is caused by Incinerate Flesh not being removed before the duration expires. Incinerate Flesh is removed after absorbing 30000 healing.
Infernal Eruption
Lord Jaraxxus summons an Infernal Volcano which causes Infernals to spawn.
Legion Flame
The Legion Flame inflicts 3900 to 4100 Fire damage every 1 sec, also you are creating a Legion Fire every 1 sec for 6 sec.
Legion Flame
Inflicts 6825 to 7175 Fire damage.
Nether Portal
Lord Jaraxxus summons a Nether Portal.
Nether Power
The Power of the Nether increases magic damage dealt by 20% for 30 sec.
Touch of Jaraxxus
The Touch of Jaraxxus inflicts 3900 to 4100 Shadow damage for 12 sec and causes nearby players to be effected by Curse of the Nether.
Curse of the Nether
Inflicts 4388 to 4612 Shadow damage every 1 sec for 15 sec.

Mistress of Pain

Mistress’ Kiss
Next spell with a cast time interrupts that school for 8 sec and causes 8288 to 8712 Shadow damage.
Shivan Slash
A whirling attack that deals 75% weapon damage and pierces through armor.
Spinning Pain Spike
Leaps towards an enemy, grabbing them and inflicting significant Physical damage.

Execution

You’ll need 2 to 3 tanks for this. Have your main tank set up shop directly in the middle of the arena. The ranged and the healers will need to fan out to help mitigate Touch of Jaraxxus.

Melee DPS will be interrupting Fel Fireball. If it connects, it needs to be dispelled.

It looks to be a fairly simple tank and spank encounter.

But wait! There’s more!

You thought Black Temple was the last time you’d see these lovely ladies. Your off tank needs to keep his eyes open for a portal. A Mistress will emerge from one and it will need to be picked up. The video shows the Mistress being tanked on top of Lord Jaraxxus. Presumably so that melee DPS will be able to add extra damage from AoE hits and the like. The pain strike move appears to be random. Casters (healers especially) need to keep their eye out for Mistress’ Kiss. I’m assuming it will wear off after some time. Don’t cast if you’re hit by one.

There’s also Infernals that need to be tanked. I’m not sure if it’s possible for Infernals to appear at the same time a Mistress of Pain is up. It’s always a possibility. The 10 man video shows 3 Infernals that spawn. Not sure how the 25 will be like. The Infernals could have more health or there could just simply be more of them.

I suggest melee players divide themselves up in two groups not exceeding 3 players. Put 1 group on each leg of Jaraxxus to help mitigate the Fel Lightning attack (Chain Lightning).

One more mechanic is the Legion Flame. If a player gets it, they will be generating flame patches on their position. Whoever gets it needs to get clear of everyone else and just start doing circles to get the patches away from the rest of the raid. Luckily it only lasts 6 seconds.

Healing

I’d suggest stacking 6-7 healers the first time through.

2 healers on the main tank, 1 on the off tank and have the rest on the raid. Advise even placement of healers across the room: 2 on the left, 2 in the middle, 2 on the right.

I think the melee players are going to need a dedicated healer but I’m confused by the wording of Fel Inferno (damage to Jaraxxus allies or to us?).

There is a lot of raid damage coming in. It looks to be a brute force healing type of encounter.

The biggest threat to the raid is largely going to be from the Incinerate Flesh + Burning Inferno combination. Whoever gets affected by Incinerate Flesh needs to be healed up. 30000 damage. Shields won’t count I don’t think.

Healers, you are going to need to do some think-healing on the go. It’s very difficult to set up healing assignments for a fight like this as there’s so many sources of damage coming in. Play it by ear. Take initiative and don’t be afraid of healing the wrong person. It doesn’t matter what the name of the spell is since they’re taking damage anyway.

Good luck in there! Again, post any observations you see in the comments below (corrections are good too)!

Thirty One

Wow. Just wow.

In case you have no idea what I’m referring to:

I don’t know that I would say we want tanking niches. I ultimately am agreeing with what you’re saying, but once we say "tanking niches" players have visions of the DK who parks outside of Icecrown until boss 4, 17 and _31_ (yes, IC is that big).

- Ghostcrawler

So any ideas on the types of bosses we’re going to see in there? Speculation is always fun. Makes me wonder if we’re going to see faction specific bosses. Maybe 6 Horde and 6 Alliance depending on which faction you’re on.

All I an think is that those raid lock out extensions are going to come in real handy.

Say it with me.

Thirty one.

Patch 3.2 in Review

Patch 3.2 in Review

bucket heads

Warning: Fanboys and Fangirls beware, as this is not a post you will like. I am about to criticize Blizzard, and if that offends your sensibilities, go ahead and mark as read. I don’t mind.

For the rest of you who are still reading, I want to take a hard look at a few aspects of patch 3.2. I am going to try not to wax poetic about how wonderful the BC patches were–in a sense, that was a different game for a different time, and I was also a different player. What I am going to do is talk about Blizzard’s successes and failures under the current design ethos, which I will sum up as Time Sinks for All Players.

Under the somewhat tongue-in-cheek category of the time sink, I comprehend raiding, dailies, instances, and overall reward structure. Let’s look at each of these aspects of patch 3.2 and examine whether Blizzard succeeded in their global goal of keeping their millions of players interested in their game. Notice that I’m not going to talk about class balance, which is a necessary part of any patch and which will be ongoing. I’m talking only about the New Cool Stuff that came in last Tuesday.

The Crusader’s Coliseum

Let me use my Mystic Orb of the Walrus (actually, a bouncy rubber ball full of green sparklies) to channel for you the Crusader’s Coliseum development meeting.

“You know, we really should make a raid instance for this patch.”

“Yeah, something like Zul’Aman. That was really great.”

“Nah, that took us forever to design. We need something easier, like a 5-man.”

“We put a lot of work into those 5-mans! I just don’t think that we can spare that much time.”

“I’ve got it! Why don’t we design an instance with just one room? We can make one room in like, a week.”

“Yeah, YEAH! And oh, let’s make them run it four times per week instead of just two.”

“Excellent. Also, we should make it take four weeks to get each tier piece, even if the bosses are pretty easy. Let’s require an emblem turn-in for each tier piece–that way it will be like old ZG rep gear, and some of them will never get it!”

“Aren’t they going to riot?”

“Well, as long as we let them get some emblems from the heroic daily, we’re good.”

When I walked into the Crusader’s Coliseum, I had a moment of panic as I realized that I was going to be spending 4-5 months of raiding within its hexagonal walls. When I panned my camera upward, I noticed that, far off center in the Alliance cheering section, there were 6 identical Syds cheering me on. I was so creeped out that I got a haircut right after the raid. In an instance where design has been reduced to brown walls and even the spectators are not individuated, how can I have any hope for interesting boss mechanics?

The Crusader’s Coliseum is, quite simply, lazy design.

The Daily Drudgery

Daily quests ought to be fun and easy. If I’m a farming type player, which many are, I’m much more likely to repeat something I find pleasant. I like the Dalaran cooking dailies, for example. They don’t require too much running, and the rewards are sufficient for the time spent. The gold standard of dailies will always be the SSO dailies of Quel’Danas. They used to be so quick, fun, and convenient that I did them on three characters. I will admit that my interest in the game is much lower now than it was back when my guild was working on Illidan. However, I’m pretty sure I’d grind at least one character through similarly well-designed dailies. The Coliseum-area dailies do not measure up. They are quite widespread and hard to do on one’s own. I particularly find the revised version of Battle For the Citadel a pain in the arse to solo. In order to kill 3 commanders, I have to clear any number of lieutenants and get my ass kicked multiple times by respawns. Don’t even get me started on Threat from Above! Dailies should be a solo operation, as they’ve historically been one of the few things one can do in WoW at 4am. As for the new dailies, I’ve only done a couple of them, and they take you a bit far from the questgivers for my taste. Out of ten or so possible dailies, the only one I really love is Among the Champions, where I get to school some NPCs in the joust. I particularly enjoy beating the stuffing out of the uppity Undead guy–if, indeed undeads have any stuffing left after the whole decomposition thing.

The trend in Wrath seems to be to design dailies which take more time and return proportionally less gold. In turn, the non-currency rewards (pets and mounts) are much better than they were in BC. The dailies are almost a pure time sink–and regrettably, I just don’t have that time. For earning money, the AH is the only way to go. I don’t think 6 or so dailies per day, four days a week, would actually pay for raiding, while two hours a week of selling flasks certainly does.

5-man Instances

I hate to say that I haven’t tried the new instance yet. I’m glad there is one, and I’m sure I’ll get there if it ever comes up as the heroic daily. Because of the reward structure, I try to do the heroic daily whenever I’m on (which is….not that often). I don’t want to be the absolute last person in my raid to buy a tier piece (though truth to tell, I’m in competition for that bottom spot). The thing is, Blizzard de-incentivized their 5-mans during Wrath. Naxx 10 was very easy and accessible compared to the heroics. However, its design was ugly as mud. Meanwhile, the art design for 5-mans was excellent. Most of us saw this beautiful dungeon art only a few times due to the lackluster rewards compared to Naxx. From all reports, the new 5-man is pretty easy, so it’s no Magister’s Terrace. I found Magister’s Terrace to be both challenging and beautiful, and I ran it with all three of my characters (one in tier 6, and two in…crafted purples and Kara gear). I think that Blizzard has–to their own detriment–gone away from the older design of heroics, which allowed some to be much harder than others. I find the hardest Wrath heroic to be Oculus–and I managed to complete that one the day I turned 80.

Rewards and Other Phat Loot

Developers be praised, we’ve got another armor tier to acquire! I love gear. I’m glad that the stats for the three iterations of Tier 9 are actually an upgrade on Ulduar gear. My greatest disappointment with Ulduar (which I love on all other points, including art and gameplay) is that the stats on the gear were such small upgrades from Naxx stuff that I actually didn’t get to see my character improve in noticeable ways even after equipping my new pieces. The only real performance upgrade that I was able to feel was the 4 pc bonus–which for resto druids is widely considered OP. This new patch is just the opposite–I can tell that at least the middle and upper varieties of T9 are going to make a difference in my power and sustainability. I’m jazzed about that. It’s too bad the armor designs themselves are, well, lazy. Many people have commented on this, but suffice it to say, in a few months of work and struggle, Syd is going to go from a gorgeous, glowing creature whose attire includes motifs of branches, leaves, moonlight, and starlight to, well, a Buckethead. Morever, we’re all going to be Bucketheads. I refer you back to the article header should you have any question as to what one’s head looks like when a bucket is equipped in that slot.

Well, let’s say that I can ignore the ugliness of the “new” armor art. There are still many non-gear rewards to be gained in 3.2. The one thing I actually care about, the Ulduar drake that I’ve been working for, is still available (thanks!). It will take a lot of hard raiding to get there–my guild, for one, is not anywhere near done with Ulduar hard modes. There are also new horsies from the Coliseum, mounts upon mounts from Champion’s Seals, more cute pets (even a wyrmling of a different color–who cares, but thanks), and even more tabards (that look pretty much like the old tabards). The game seems to be focused on acquiring volumes of things right now. It’s not “let me get this one beautiful unique mount” but “let me grind for 10 mounts so I can add to my achievements.” I have to say, I’m not too excited about all of it, because too many things seem to be reskins of the same old stuff. My preferred mount grinds are Winterspring Frostsaber (the only kitty with no armor), which I’ve done on one character and started on another, and the Stratholme speed run for Rivendare’s horsie, which I’ve put a few tries into on Syd and ultimately intend to acquire.

How could WoW have hooked me into grinding for new rewards? Well, they could have made them…really new. Let me grind for a raptor mount, and let the horde grind for a Winterspring Frostsaber. That would be pretty sweet. Let me buy the horde mounts for Champion’s Seals. Better yet, make me an entirely new mount–how about a rideable Jormungar? I guarantee you, my play time would have gone up! The new orphan quest is an example of a “good” reward. The gorloc and wolvar pets are pretty unique, and I stayed up an hour later than usual to get my cute little baby oracle.

No More Lazy Design!

The take-home message here is that developers need to spend time and resources on their game. Period. No game is so good that a patch can bring out more of the same and expect to reinvigorate the masses. I think the art budget in particular for WoW needs to go up exponentially.

What is the one thing that I love in patch 3.2? New druid forms! They’re really quite nice (and no, I was not one of the people who complained that they weren’t done right). In my mind, Pink Kitty is pretty much the best thing ever, and I even changed my much-beloved seafoam hair in order to gain access to it. The druid forms are a good example of what happens when you give the community something they’ve asked for and actually spend a little time on it. You get Syd, happily running around in cat form, which has pretty much never happened before. I can has cheezburger naow?

Here’s hoping that the devs announce something astounding at Blizzcon. Something must be done to make up for the overwhelming mediocrity of 3.2…unless, they really do want us to run out and buy Aion come September.

Never Second Guess Yourself

You never, ever, ever second guess yourself when you’re the boss. You can’t afford to. Otherwise you’ll start growing a collection of white hairs at the ripe old age of 21 (like yours truly).

That’s a direct response to the Fel Firey one.

It’s not very often I craft responses directly to other blog posts. I felt compelled to make an exception because the problems she outlines are similar issues that I’ve experienced. I wanted to share my solution and outlook to everyone as well.

Question 1: Play the veteran no show or the steady underachiever?

All too common question for those in charge of determining raid composition, right?

Do I go with the skilled player who’s attendance has gradually decreased over the past few months and has gotten bored with the game or do I reward the near-flawless attendance player who’s not as skilled and has the gear to compete but cannot match the performance?

In order to answer this, you need to ask yourself what type of organization you’re building. Do you believe in success at all costs or a steadier but more consistent and rewarding pace?

I lean towards the former. I play this game to raid and to kill bosses. I will almost always lean towards picking the team that will grant me the highest chance of a progression kill. It’s a constant reminder to everyone. The onus is on the raiders. They’re not playing to earn a raid spot. They’re playing to keep one. Like it or not, that means the Rogue that did 7000 DPS who just happened to renew his interest in the game is more than likely to get the nod over the 5500 DPS Rogue wearing the same stuff.

Yeah, that’s a pretty big exaggeration but you know what I mean. If the alignment of the guild is in fairness and the like, then you’re going to favor the little guy. The problem is that it might take your guild two weeks or longer to get through an encounter or something. But if the guild doesn’t care about rankings and competing with other guilds, then you’re in the clear anyway.

It’s summer. I’ve seen guilds ahead of us explode and die off that would shoot us from a top 20 placing to a top 5 placing. It’s a fight right now for a lot of leaders just to maintain full strength.

Question 2: How do I cover my ass against players upset at being sat?

Ah the fine print. If there’s anything EULA’s and TOS’s and all those fancy contracts have taught me, it’s that you can get away with almost anything with fine print. If a player gets upset that they’ve been sat or are not being invited, point them to the fine print.

“But you specifically agreed that you were okay with being sat out when you applied to the guild. Isn’t that your signature, retinal scan, thumbprint, and DNA pattern on that form?”

It’s common for guilds to do some line juggling particularly on progression raids. Maybe you have an extra tank. Perhaps you have too much melee DPS. Or you’re lacking healers. Assuming your forces don’t have dual specs of the right sort (or of high enough quality gear), then you have to do an outright character for character swap to maintain the raid.

Look at it this way.

One of the best ways to truly take stock of a person’s character is to ask them to sit out and see how they react. What they say on their application is one thing. How they handle it is another matter entirely. If they handle it extremely poorly, then they’re not a player you want in your organization anyway allowing you to go headhunting again.

Question 3: How can I handle loot discrepancies?

Include the human element. Having a clause that allows a group of players to override something will help with progression. If the guild is more based towards fairness and equality, then don’t bother. I’ve written about loot posts in the past. I firmly favor looting gear to the people who will get the most use out of it instead of passing it to another player where it’s only going to collect dust because they never use that spec. Why did they get it? Because a chart or a list of numbers demanded that it be so. We can’t control item drops. We can only control who it goes to.

It’s about trust. If you don’t trust the guys making the loot decisions, you shouldn’t be in that guild anyway. They’re going to make mistakes. As long as their mistakes don’t exceed the number of right calls, then it should be all good.

Yes human discretion can be bad. I’ve heard the arguments before. But it can also be used for good.

It sucks being in charge. The reason why there’s so few GMs compared to players is because no one wants the job.

Okay, that last bit might not be entirely true. Have a good weekend! (By the way, if you intend to check out GI Joe, leave something in the comments about it when you do. Undecided between theatre or just waiting.)

Ulduar Nerfs and Bugs

Looks like there were some undocumented changes made to Ulduar.

Check out this post on Main Tankadin. (Thanks Honors).

Here’s a quick summary from various sources (Forums, direct observations, things I heard second hand).

Flame Leviathan

  • Seems to be bugged. Doing FL with 2 towers is fine and dandy. But FL still has the 3rd tower buff on him even though there’s only 2 towers up.
  • Vehicle targeting reticule looks really good.
  • Gnomes have been busy. Enhanced the handling of vehicles. They turn much better.
  • Choppers can pick up Pyrite and drop them wherever they like.

XT Deconstructor

  • Deconstructor seems to spawn a bajillion ads. Look at the main tankadin post above for a screenshot.
  • Now throws Light and Gravity bombs during tantrums.

Thorim

  • Chain Lightning only blows up 2 targets.

Freya

  • Iron roots: You can trinket out of them. You can blink out of them. Hand of freedom. Bring a Shaman with Earthen Power and call it a day. Shapeshifting works. Anything that can get you out of snares will work.
  • Sunbeam visual effect seems to be missing. But the debuff on players is still there.

Mimiron

  • Phase 3: Don’t have to place the mines. The player loots it, uses it, and the head will automatically drop down. Mimiron has upgraded to smarter magnets.

General Vezax

  • Vezax’s health reduced by 10 million.
  • Saronite Animus health reduced by 2.5 million.
  • Animus spawns after 6 clouds instead of 8.

Check the comments for other nerfs. I’ll try to update this post with extra information.

Archetypes of the Female Gamer, revisited

Archetypes of the Female Gamer, revisited

femme_fatale_collage

Shock. Frustration. Anger. Despair.

Before last week, these are words I never would have connected to my experience with World of Matticus, either as a writer or a reader. However, last week Lodur’s article on guild Egoists just left me cold. I’ve invoked these four words to let you the readers know what powerful effect such things can have, in the short term at least. Over the weekend I did a lot of reading and a lot of thinking, and I think I’m finally ready to explain why a recitation of stereotypes about women disturbed me so much. First of all, I would like to say that I mean Lodur no disrespect. I am quite sure that his intentions were good, and in his own mind, his article is not even about women.

This piece is my attempt to explain why these stereotypes can never be gender neutral, and also why they are so harmful. I will say that even in the places where Lodur claims that the stereotypes could apply to men or women, it is “feminine” behavior that he abhors. Mischief is caused either by women acting like women or men who, aberrantly, act like women. These negative stereotypes are, at their core, the narratives by which male gamers understand their experience of female gamers. They act as framing devices, informing all interactions with “real” women gamers. For this reason, the female gamer has to earn the grudging respect of her fellow players, while a male gamer may start out with a measure of respect and either keep it or lose it by his behavior.

We’ve Heard It All Before

When I read Lodur’s article, it struck me as eerily familiar. I’ve seen much the same recitation of feminine sins on the WoW forums, usually as a justification for excluding women from raiding guilds. Archetypes, or stereotypes, help people quickly make sense of the world according to pre-determined building blocks. Moreover, they are are seductive because they are impossible to disprove–everyone can think of some story that corresponds in some vague way to the type, and as far as most people are concerned, one example is sufficient to prove the rule. Moreover, they carry the weight of repetition. The Princess, the Diva, the Vixen, and the She-Wolf (or, if you like, the Femme Fatale) exist outside the world of MMOs. I am just as likely to see women called “Princesses” on Perez Hilton or the WE network as on the WoW forums. It doesn’t surprise me that all four terms are misogynist in origin: the stereotypes are very old, and they certainly pre-date the feminist movement of the 20th century.

Most intelligent people will agree that negative stereotypes don’t apply to everyone, but there’s usually the sense that they apply to most people in a given category. I challenge that notion. Stereotypes are convenient. They offer an easy framework. It’s possible to act them out, and it’s possible to interpret people’s actions according to them–but that does not make stereotypes just or accurate, not for anyone.

In this article, I’m going to go through each of these four types and explain how, in my limited personal experience, I’ve seen them used to restrict or punish female gamers. I want to recognize the power that these stereotypes have as a lens for understanding the gaming world. At the end of the article, I will draw some conclusions about online feminism and offer some suggestions on how players–both male and female–can work to establish equality in the virtual world. In this article, I’m not arguing for replacing Lodur’s terms with gender-neutral “PC” phrasing. Instead, I encourage people to discard stereotypes altogether–both their names and their content–and undertake the far more difficult task of addressing every situation in all its messy specificity.

The Princess

Calling someone a “princess” implies that she is selfish, entitled, and weak. Storybook princesses like Sleeping Beauty and Snow White need a man’s help to fully realize their life goals. Princesses don’t slay dragons–they get eaten by them. Remember Princess Peach from the Super Mario Brothers game? She’s an aloof, ungrateful brat who skips off to another castle the moment her brave hero unlocks her cage. My father, incidentally, calls me Princess when he wants to piss me off, especially if I’ve tried to borrow money. The very essence of the Princess is that she wants something for nothing, and she doesn’t want to say thank you. In Lodur’s article, he tries to explain how a Princess can be a man or a woman, but I don’t buy it. The Princess’s narrative is too coded in our culture as a woman’s story. The closest I can think of to the Princess stereotype for a man would be calling a gay man a “Queen”–but that means something quite different. It does strike me, writing this article, that women gamers face many of the same prejudices applied to gay male gamers, but that would be a topic for a different article. The Princess Gamer, as it were, is not very good at her chosen game. She’s nice and sweet, even “attractive,” if such can be said of a virtual personality, but she’s not capable of earning her place in a raid. She may be the significant other of a “real” raider–a sort of rider on his contract. Single or attached, the princess always needs someone to rescue her from her own inability to earn DKP!

My experience in WoW extends to three raiding guilds, one casual-raiding, one fairly serious guild, and one hardcore guild. In all three environments I have played with other women. Some of them were better-than-average, and some were worse. I can say with perfect confidence that my own skills are sufficient for a good raiding guild. I’m also not afraid to admit that several of the women I’ve played with were better than me! What I’ve never experienced, however, is a woman receiving preferential treatment despite poor play. Each guild had at least one woman officer, and in all three guilds, women received high-end loot. However, no one got more than her share. In fact, most of the women I knew received less than their male counterparts of similar skill and attendance. I’ve only seen one woman who managed to close this gap, truly getting an equal portion from the Loot Council without incurring any resentment in the process. She’s an excellent player who has never, ever talked on vent–the only way out of the Princess stereotype, it seems, is to effectively hide one’s gender. The shadow of the Princess haunts all women players who are “out” as women, and women raiders come under heavy scrutiny. In my recent experience, one woman player’s initiation period was extended far beyond what it should have been, just in case she made some mistakes down the line. When a woman is married to or dating another raider, she becomes doubly suspect. The assumption usually is that she plays only as a favor to her man, and that she sucks at the game. I’ll tell you now that my fiancé and I are a gaming couple, but good as he is, he follows me from guild to guild, not the other way around! However, people usually assume the opposite to be true.

The Diva

This idea brings me to the next stereotype, the Diva or Prima Donna, who by her very nature, wants everything. Unlike the Princess, the Diva gamer is actually a good player. The Diva is not like other women–she’s exceptional. The guild needs her, and she knows it. She makes ridiculous demands, and the rules don’t apply to her. Her attendance will be terrible, but she’ll expect the guild to save her a spot just in case she shows. Even if she has no DKP, she’ll expect people to pass her loot because, well, she’s the best. If there’s a new guild policy, she’ll certainly take offense to it. Unlike the Princess, who can be meek and beguiling, the Diva just can’t shut up. She always has an opinion, and she screams it from the mountaintop. Regarding the question of gender neutrality, I have, in fact, seen the terms Diva and Prima Donna applied to men, usually gay men. The implication of using the terms is that the man in question is behaving like a woman, and that such behavior is reprehensible. Even this category, which is the most applicable to men of all Lodur’s terms, never rises above is misogynist origins.

Every guild mistress or female guild officer confronts this stereotype at some point. I’ve been an officer in three guilds now, and I’m also a feminist. That means I rub elbows with the Diva stereotype any time I express my opinion. I am a thinking person, and I don’t lack for opinions. I’m not always right, of course, but I feel strongly about many things. I am quite capable of going on crusade if I feel that fairness is on the line. My point is that outspoken women incur risks in guilds that outspoken men do not. There’s a sense, especially in very hierarchical guilds, that not everyone has a right to an opinion. I’ve gotten more careful on this point over my years of gaming, and it sort of saddens me that I have done so. I’ve actually turned my mic off during raids to keep myself from speaking!

Lodur incorrectly connects up the word “virago” to vixen in his article, but I find it much more proper to give it a treatment under the diva category. A virago is a manly woman–a woman who looks, acts, or thinks like a man. The assumption is that “manly” behaviors like playing well, expressing one’s opinion, and getting angry are somehow unnatural in a woman. I’ve seen women respond in various ways to this idea, but most follow one of two patterns. Women seem to either embrace “masculine” behaviors or else over-perform “feminine” ones. In my former guild, an excellent female healer played two male toons and dissociated herself from all the other women raiders in an attempt to be “one of the guys.” She even named her main character after a beer! What she was doing, essentially, was getting herself out of the diva stereotype by embracing the virago. In my case, I’m always more likely to make a performance of my gender in ways that display to the guild. I collect cute pets, and I display them proudly in raids. I change my hairstyle often, and I comment on others’ trips to the barber shop. I talk about kittens, rainbows, and unicorns in guild chat. This assault of cute is, I think, meant to reassure my guild that I am, in fact, a “real” woman with a soft side, and not a heartless bitch. Both responses to the diva stereotype ring false to me–I suspect that neither represents the real player’s personality.

The Vixen, the She-Wolf, and the Bitch

I’ve deviated from Lodur’s formulation here in order to combine a group of like stereotypes. Each word refers to a female animal, and all three terms have to do with women’s sexuality. The Vixen is the seductress, the She-Wolf the deceiver, and the Bitch the punisher of men. I’ll invoke the term Femme Fatale as well here, as that may be a more familiar image for some readers. The Femme Fatale is actually all three of these things, and that’s what makes her so deadly. The animal metaphors I use here imply that women are less than human–they are savage beasts, much to be feared by male gamers. The deep assumption is, of course, that women’s sexuality is by nature deviant or wrong, that all women should be good little prudes. As animal types, these women go about their destructive behaviors without thinking–they are primal forces, out to disturb the happy homosocial world of male gamers.

Lodur uses the “Vixen” as the archetype of a seductress. This woman uses her sexuality to get what she wants or needs. The innuendos fly thick and fast, and she’s able to keep a straight face as her male “victim” blushes. What does she want? It’s not entirely clear. She may just be lonely, and those late-night tête-à-têtes on vent might be her most meaningful connection to another person. What is clear, however, is that any romance with a Vixen is doomed. It most definitely will not work out in the end–the motif is a tragic one. Most guilds don’t really appreciate star-crossed love affairs among their raiders! To the patriarchal raiding guild, mixing feelings with progress is a threat indeed.

As for the She-Wolf, she’s an animal of a different sort. While the Vixen might be seen as needy or lonely, the Wolf is a predator. She’s crafty and devious, taking advantage of “innocent” men. Lodur applies this term almost exclusively to men who pretend to be women in-game in order to enthrall their fellows into giving them gold or items. The Wolf uses her sexuality as a weapon, and her tools are morally suspect–racy whispers filled with innuendo, even cyber sex. It’s an equivalent to online prostitution, and I have no doubt that there are in fact some real cases of such behavior. What’s less clear to me is how typical these cases are, as I’ve never witnessed one or heard of one from a reliable witness.

The Bitch, on the other hand, is the logical endpoint of all the animal archetypes. The Bitch is the female version of the Grim Reaper. She is out-and-out hostile towards men and has very little use for them. She lives to wreak havoc, and she laughs at men’s pain. The fear, of course, is that both the relatively innocuous Vixen and the more sinister Wolf will, at some point, remove the mask and reveal themselves as the Bitch. All of the Femme Fatale types end at the Bitch, unfortunately for everyone.

Of the group of stereotypes I’ve discussed in this article, I find the animal types the most humiliating for women. All of them have something to do with women’s sexuality, and the overwhelming implication is that any invocation of sexuality in an online context has a sinister purpose. That’s fairly ironic, considering that your average male gamer is no prude. Sexual innuendo is a huge part of gamer culture, especially raiding culture, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Some dirty jokes offend me, sure (especially rape jokes, for obvious reasons), but most are innocuous. They are simply the result of putting a mixed group of adults together, encouraging them to have a few beers, and then giving them microphones. As far as online relationships go, in my experience the good outnumber the bad. I’ve known one gaming couple to go on to marry and another to date for more than a year. In both cases, there were no animals involved.

The Truth About Vixens and Bitches

For every feminine stereotype I’ve invoked here, I could probably come up with male ones as well. We could fill the whole barnyard with Pigs, Dogs, and even Teddy Bears, but that wouldn’t be very fair either. The truth is that stereotypes are attractive because they make things easy. They give us a means by which to fit our guildmates into predetermined, simple narratives. Stereotypes break down the mess of reality into easily digestible pieces, but they do not represent that reality fairly or equitably. Real situations are complex, and real personalities defy easy definition. These stereotypes, or cultural types, do in fact come from somewhere, but not from the truth of everyday, ordinary gamer experience. They existed before the invention of the MMO, and they apply much more widely.

Most of these negative female stereotypes hint at, in some oblique way, survival techniques that minorities of different types have used to get ahead in a society that is unfriendly to them. They are, in feminist terms, tricks of the weak–in order words, the most convenient strategies available to disadvantaged groups. They may be present in gaming life because women are truly a minority. I’m not saying these are good techniques to use; rather, I’m pointing out that the stereotypes are exaggerated versions of real phenomena. Even though WoW is famous for attracting women players, in my observation women make up less than 10% of the raiding corps of most serious guilds. As such, women are at a serious disadvantage, and not much can be gained within a guild by the techniques of feminism–solidarity and rational discourse. In order for solidarity to take effect, a woman has to go outside her tiny guild community to form bonds with other female gamers. I would say that the WoW blogosphere provides solidarity for many women bloggers and has the kind of active, intelligent community of men and women needed to carry on rational discourse. Inside the male-dominated micro-community of the raiding guild, many women might choose to play dumb and hope not to be noticed. They might represent themselves as the exception–the one woman who’s not like all the other “bad” ones. They might do what I do, and use unicorns and rainbows to disarm their guildmates before expressing their opinions. They might even flirt with men in their guild! Heavens preserve us from these evil acts. While women might display unwelcome behaviors or even, consciously or unconsciously, perform one of the aforementioned stereotypes, I doubt that there are very many Evil Women Gamers who are out to cause trouble. There is absolutely no reason to exclude women from raiding or from guild leadership. It won’t stop drama–because nothing can.

As I understand it, human beings have a great capacity to do evil–it is perhaps as great even as their capacity to do good. It’s not just women who love guild drama–it’s all people. There is a part of all of us that seeks chaos and destruction, and in the relative anonymity of the online world, drama is common because it has low stakes. Those who form part of online communities should understand that. Yes, do what you can to keep the peace–but that shouldn’t involve excluding women. The best way to keep drama out of a guild would be to have no members, but then it wouldn’t be very much like a guild.

For women, it is worth noting that the stereotypes themselves have a certain attractiveness. It’s possible to live out a type, and this is usually done unconsciously. My advice is for every person to be analytical about his or her own behavior. Play against type, and don’t seek out the chaos. Make sure that it’s you–not the prescribed storyline for female gamers–making decisions.

I’m Not a Feminist, But. . .

Most of the time, I use my virtual soap-box to tell people how to game, not how to live. In this one case, I’m going to make an exception. Call me a bitch or a diva if you will–I expect it. I will also tell you what I really am. I am a feminist. As a bonus, I will even tell you how I got there.

When I was a freshman in college, I took an English class with Pat Johansson, one of the Deans. She was one of those people that you’d never want to mess with. A tiny grey-haired woman who walked with a cane, she nonetheless had a presence that commanded instant respect. Only now, as a college professor myself, can I appreciate the amount of effort that it must have taken her to produce that effect. In one class session, we were discussing women’s roles in society, and I prefaced a comment with “I’m not a feminist, but. . . ” I’ll never forget what happened next. Dean Johansson stood up, assisted by her cane, and declared to the whole class that ANYONE who said such a thing was, in fact, a feminist, but was lying to herself to please men. I was extremely embarrassed at the time, but now I am grateful. That moment has stuck with me, and ever since, I’ve made exactly the same response to every woman I’ve ever heard repeat that hackneyed turn of phrase. Dean Johansson forced me to be honest with myself. Did I believe that I should receive the same salary as a man who did the same job as me? Yes. Did I believe that women and men had equal potential? Yes. Did I think that I should have access to an education? Yes. Did I think that women should be free to create their own life narratives, independent from the stereotypes? Resoundingly, yes.

Now, feminism might mean different things to different people, but at its most basic, it’s about equality. The stereotypes about women gamers restrict what women can be or do in game by guiding people’s understanding of their behavior. Gaming society ought to be a sort of utopia–after all, we choose our avatars, and they can free us of the constraints of class, race, and even gender. Equality ought to be easier, not harder, to achieve in the game world, but the opposite is true. MMOs are a sort of frontier society, and like the Wild Wild West, they are unfriendly to the few women who venture beyond the borders of the civilized world. I find more gender discrimination in-game than out, and part of the blame can be laid at the door of pervasive stereotypes about female gamers. I urge you, dear reader, to think very carefully before applying any one of these terms to a real person. I think you’ll find the cookie cutters a poor fit. If anything I’ve said in this article strikes your imagination, I urge you to consider whether you are, in fact, a feminist, or rather, an e-feminist. And yes, I think that men can be feminists too. Do you think that women should have an equal opportunity to play in raiding guilds? Do you think that they should receive the same loot as men for the same effort? Do you think that women should be judged as individuals and not types?

If the answer to any of those questions is yes, I urge you to put the Princess, the Diva, the Vixen, the Wolf, and the Bitch behind you. Regardless of your intent in using them, discerning reader, these words have their own connotations, and they are decidedly misogynist. Instead of taking advantage of the convenience of stereotypes, I urge you to address drama and misbehavior in your own guilds in their very messy and complicated specificity. Believe me, the results of thinking outside of types will do both you–and the object of your analysis–more credit.

Northrend Beasts Notes (Extra)

Some more information. My guild and I just cleared out the encounter on 10 man.

We brought a standard loadout:

  • 2 tanks
  • 3 healers
  • 5 DPS

Here’s a few extra notes.

Phase 1: Gormok the Impaler

Looks like the Snobolds are the ones dropping fires. The person attacked by the Snobold cannot attack the Snobold himself. That person has to stay on the boss as there’s nothing else they can do. The rest of the raid has to clear out the Snobolds as fast as possible. Looks like they’re the ones that drop fires on the ground.

Our tanks switched between 3-4 Impale debuffs.

Phase 2: Acidmaw and Dreadscale

When you kill one snake, the other will enrage.

Phase 3: Icehowl

When he does his leap knocking players to the wall, everyone will be stunned for a few seconds. He’ll focus a player, and then run towards him. At this time, all players gain some sort of a speed increase to help them get clear.

If he manages to hit a player, he will enrage. But it’s temporary. Looks like it lasts for around 10 or so seconds before it wears off.

All in all, very good fun!

Note: 3 Emblems of Triumph drop from the first encounter

Healing Crusader’s Coliseum: Northrend Beasts Encounter

Image, abilities courtesy of MMO Champion

The Beasts encounter consists of three separate fights within 1 encounter. Consider the strategies here in beta. The information is pulled from watching various videos and reading further into datamined abilities. Feel free to make any adjustments or corrections in the comments below. Once I knock out the fight myself, I’ll update this with further information.

Watch this video here. I’ll be referencing it.

Phase 1: Gormok the Impaler

25 man health: 8.92 million

Abilities

Staggering Stomp

Deals a staggering stomp that inflicts 9263 to 9737 Physical damage to all enemies within 15 yards and interrupts spellcasting for 8 seconds.

Impale

Inflicts 150% of weapon damage to an enemy and causes it to bleed for 3500 to 4500 damage per application every 2 sec. for 30 sec. (10 second cooldown)

Your tank is going to position Gormok in the middle of the room.

The raid is going to be assaulted by Snobold Vassal. They come from the boss. Various raid members are going to be attacked by them. Seems like they jump onto players individually and prevent them from using abilities or spells. The only way for them to be removed is for your raid members to target them and kill them.

/target Snobold Vassal

I’d suggest adding that to your macro list and having it bound.

Watch out for patches of fire on the ground. Just stay out of them. No idea how much damage players take. No reason to stand in them.

You will need two tanks to handle this. The cooldown on impale is every 10 seconds. Your tanks have to switch and taunt every 30 seconds before the stacking debuff overwhelms them.

Healing Gormok

Start off with 6 healers.

Assign 2 to the tanks who are switching back and forth.

You may need 1-2 healers on the melee as they will be affected by the Staggering Stomp.

Put the last healers on raid to take care of any Vassal or fire damage. They should also help support the tanks if they’re idle.

Once he dies, you have about 15-20 seconds before the twin worms appear.

Phase 2: Acidmaw and Dreadscale

25 man health: ~6.97 million each

Abilities

Acidmaw Dreadscale
Paralytic Bite

Inflicts 12950 to 15050 Nature damage on an enemy and injects them with a paralytic toxin.

Burning Bite

Inflicts 11100 to 12900 Fire damage to an enemy and coats them with burning bile.

5 yd range, Instant

Paralytic Spray

Sprays acid at an enemy and nearby targets, dealing 8325 to 9675 Nature damage and applying a debilitating paralytic toxin.

Burning Spray

Sprays fluid at an enemy and nearby targets, dealing 8325 to 9675 Fire damage and coating them with burning bile.

100 yd range, 1.1 sec cast

Acidic Spew

Deals 2775 to 3225 Nature damage per 0.25 sec. to enemies in front of the caster.

100 yd range, Instant

Fire Spit

Deals 9250 to 10750 Fire damage to an enemy.

100 yd range, 1.1 sec cast

Slime Pool

Inflicts 5088 to 5912 Nature damage to enemy targets within the Poison Cloud.

Molten Spew

Deals 3700 to 4300 Fire damage per 0.25 sec. to enemies in front of the caster.

100 yd range, Instant

You can see the similarities between the 2 snakes. One snake will be grounded at a time while the other will be above ground. They alternative every so often.

First thing you’ll notice is that the tanks immediately face them away from the group. This helps offset Molten Spew and Acidic Spew. Make sure the tanks aren’t near each other either. You want to avoid overlapping spews.

Take note that all DPS is focused on the snake currently above ground. The snake that’s grounded probably has some sort of damage reduction modifier.

Snake above ground

Kite him in a clockwise fashion. He has to be kept moving. Around the 3:25 mark, you can see poison clouds being left. Think of Grobbulus. Have a traditional tank kite whichever snake is up. What we’re seeing is a caster tank (presumable a Warlock) on Acidmaw and holding aggro (or whoever snake is grounded). You can probably keep one healer on it.

When the snakes switch, keep an eye on the ground. Look for dust particles. Get clear of them as that’s your cue as to the snake positions.

IMPORTANT!

When Acidmaw is grounded, he’s going to be able to hit any player with Paralytic Spray. Targets nearby will be hit with that as well.

Applies a paralytic toxin that inflicts increasing Nature damage every 1 sec. and reduces movement speed over time until the victim is entirely paralyzed.

This is what Burning Bile does:

Coats enemies with burning bile, inflicting periodic Fire damage to them and their nearby allies. The burning bile of a jormungar is known to neutralize paralytic toxins.

So one of these toxins is going to cause your raiders to slowly become paralyzed and take increasing nature damage. The burning bile can clean that crap off. The raiders affected by burning bile have to run towards the toxin affected players. Make it easy and have both players run towards each other to speed it up even more.

If you wish to make it even easier for yourself, just have affected raid members run towards the main tank. It won’t matter who has what buffs as they’ll be able to cancel each other out.

Be sure that you kill Acidmaw first. If you kill Dreadscale first, you won’t have a way of removing the Paralysis.

Acidmaw above ground

The situation is going to be reversed. The main tank is going to be hit with the paralytic poison. Designate a player to run in periodically and stand near the tank to wipe off the poison.

Healing Acidmaw and Dreadscale

2 healers on the main tanks, 1 on the caster tank, and 3 on the rest of the raid. Remember that raiders will take damage from Burning Bile so they have to take care where they stand.

I’m not quite sure when they switch. I don’t know if its time based or percentage based.

Phase 3: Icehowl

25 man health: 13.3 million

Abilities

Ferocious Butt

Delivers a ferocious headbutt to an enemy, inflicting 69375 to 80625 Physical damage and stunning for 3 sec.

8 yd range, Instant

Arctic Breath

An icy breath that freezes targets in a cone in front of the caster, inflicting 20000 Frost damage over 5 sec.

100 yd range, Channeled

Massive Crash

Leaps into the air and crashes down with massive force, dealing 11000 Physical damage to all enemies, stunning them, and knocking them back.

1 sec cast

Whirl

Whirls around, dealing 9250 to 10750 Physical damage to all nearby enemies and knocking them back.

15 yd range, Instant

Frothing Rage

Increases Physical damage and attack speed by 50%.

Instant

No downtime between snakes and Icemaw. He’s tanked near the middle of the room.

Artic Breath doesn’t seem to be controllable. He’ll just turn and spray. Think to those big Sons of Hodir trash mobs in front of Hodir. Have an off tank ready to pick  him up just in case. The Breath is a channelled. As long as hes channeling the spell, players caught in the breath can’t do anything.

Dealing with Ferocious Butt

Okay, fast forward to 7:36. Icehowl leaps in the air and knocks everyone towards the wall (Massive Crash). The boss mod will announce that Icehowl is glaring at a player and lets out a bellowing roar. A quicker way is to see if the boss is facing your direction. If he is, RUN TO THE SIDE AND GET OUT OF THE DAMN WAY. At this point, Icehowl gets stunned for several seconds allowing the raid to get back into position. It seems like he takes extra damage during this stage. Looks like the stun lasts 15 seconds.

After his stun wears off, his Whirl kicks in (spins around and knocks back everyone). Your tank needs to haul ass back in range fast.

Icehowl gains an enrage and it must be dispelled. It’s called Frothing Rage. A Hunter’s Tranquilizing Shot should negate that quite nicely. Look at 8:29 for a better idea. I think this happens if Icehowl manages to connect on a player with Ferocious Butt and kills a guy or manages to hit someone. Note that the Enrage appears to wear off after 10 – 15 seconds if you’re not able to Tranq Shot it.

Healing Icehowl

Same thing as before. 2-3 healers on the main tank (I recommend a Disc Priest). Everyone else is on raid healing.

Keep tanking him centralized. When he nukes the ground, get the heck out of the way. Resume DPS. Rinse, repeat, link loot.

I hope this helps you guys out! Again, any other observations or corrections, please post in the comments. Strategies here were pulled from watching the video and from reading the datamined stuff. I’ll probably end up modifying this later depending on how off I am or if there’s a better idea.

Ulduar Fights Where It’s Just Not the Healer’s Fault

I’ve experienced just about type of death in Ulduar. I’d die to Constrictor tentacles. Early on, I’d get rocked by Hodir’s Flash Freeze. Sometimes I’d get unlucky with a Rocket Strike.

Today’s post is designed to help you identify under what situations a healer is at fault and when it is simply out of their hands. Keep in mind there are several exceptions. In most cases, tanks are the one that will be bearing the brunt of these abilities. If they die, odds are good they weren’t at full health. If it were any other player, well let’s take a look shall we?

This is a really long post. I’d consider using it as a reference when trying to troubleshoot your raid to see if there really was anything that could have been done to keep players alive.

Flame Leviathan

Nothing much here. I don’t send healers onboard the tank. I usually send up hybrid DPS who are able to heal in addition to DPS.

Razorscale

You died because of:

  • Devouring Flame – Your fault. Should not have been standing in them. It’s the blue stuff on the ground.
  • Flame Breath – Your fault. Don’t stand in front of Razor when this happens. Tanks are an exception.
  • Fireball – Our fault. It’s only 11000 damage or so. However, there are times when a player does get gibbed by these. I’ve been hit by this twice in a row in the span of a half second. I happened to have a shield up which saved me with a 15% health left.

Ignis

You died because of:

  • Scorch – Your fault. Why on earth would you stand on a big giant tower of fire?
  • Flame Jets – Our fault. Players should be in the green when Flame Jets connect.
  • Slag pot – Our fault. You can help even more though if you can. I cast Lesser Healing Wave on myself when I play my Elemental Shaman to help the heals out.
  • Construct explosion – Your fault. Run the heck out before it gets detonated.

Deconstructor

You died because of:

  • Gravity Bomb – Neither. It’s the job of the guy who got Gravity Bomb to get clear. If he’s too close, he pulls you in and detonates. Bomb guy’s fault.
  • Light Bomb – Both. It’s the Light bomb’s duty to also get clear. But the raid will take 2 or 3 ticks of Light Bomb damage. Our job is to heal that up. Requires effort on both parts.
  • Tympanic Tantrum – Our fault. We should be able to outheal the damage done by Tympanic Tantrum.
  • Bomb bot – Your fault. Should not be within proximity of these things when they explode.

Iron Council

You died because of:

  • Fusion Punch – Our fault. Unless none of the healers are dispellers. Then it’s the dispeller’s fault. That debuff has to come off quick.
  • High Voltage – Our fault. Steelbreaker’s aura. Everyone gets hit by it no matter what. It just has to be out healed.
  • Rune of Death – Your fault. Shouldn’t be standing in it.
  • Chain Lightning – Both. It depends on how much damage you take. If you die to a chain lightning, check to see if you were properly spaced up. You can stay with 1 or maybe 2 other players nearby. That type of damage is survivable. If your health was too low for a period of time, then its our fault for not getting you back in the green quick enough.
  • Lightning Whirl – Both. It should be interrupted. It’s normal to see 1 or 2 ticks slip through. Most players should be able to survive that. If you didn’t survive it, then chances are you weren’t topped either.
  • Overload – Your fault. When the little guy stops moving and starts doing his Kamehameha move, run out of the blast zone.
  • Lightning Tendrils – Both. It’s difficult to outrun this. Some players are going to get caught in them. At the same time, a concerted effort should be made by those not being focused to run away from it, not run towards it. Focused players are taking 3000 – 5000 damage per second. It’s possible if its one or two players. It’s a nightmare if it’s five or so.
  • Melee hit for 30000 – Not our fault. Ideally a cooldown will be popped. I know when I see Steelbreaker on the tank, I’ll drop a Pain Suppression reflexively on the tank to buy some extra time to get him repositioned. Sometimes Murphy likes to come along and crap on your raid with a Rune of Powered up Fusion Punch. One word: Screwed.

Kologarn

You died because of:

  • Shockwave – Our fault. No player should be that low when Shockwave connects. Otherwise they’re dead.
  • Stone Grip – Our fault. Gripped players just have to be kept alive until the arm takes enough damage.
  • Focused Eyebeam – Your fault. On the one hand, your health should be high enough to eat a tick or two if necessary. On the other hand, if you have several seconds to run and kite the beam before you start registering damage.

Auriaya

You died because of:

  • Seeping Feral Essence – Your fault. It’s basically a void zone. Get out of it.
  • Sonic Screech – Neither. Some players weren’t stacking up when it went off. Obviously if you’re at 5% health when it hits, you’re probably going to die. Should be in the green as much as possible.
  • Sentinel Blast – Our fault. It’s healer duty to heal up the initial parts of the blast. The faster the interrupts, the less we have to worry about it.

Hodir

You died because of:

  • Biting Cold – Your fault. Keep jumping. Keep strafing. Keep dancing and moving.
  • Flash Freeze – Your fault. Weren’t fast enough getting into a snow drift.
  • Icicles – Your fault. You can see the blue runes on the ground. You know where they’re coming from.
  • Frozen Blows – Our fault. There’s nothing you can really do to avoid it. It’s up to us healers to play triage on the whole raid.

Thorim

You died because of:

  • Charge Orb – Your fault. Should be standing near the center of the room to avoid this when in the arena.
  • Smash – Your fault. Should not be standing in front of the Rune Giant in the gauntlet.
  • Shockwave-like ability – Your fault. Dodge them.
  • Rune Detonation – Your fault. You see the fire shield above the target, get clear of them.
  • Chain Lightning – Both. Don’t stand with more than 2 other people. There’s only so much space in the room and you do have to dodge Lightnign Charges.
  • Lightning Charge – Your fault. When you see the streams coming from the wall towards Thorim, break off quickly.

Freya

You died because of:

  • Detonating Lashers – Our fault. Unless your raid manages to precisely kill all of them at the same time.
  • Nature Bomb – Your fault. When you see these big green balls on the ground, that’s your cue to move.

Mimiron

You died because of:

  • Napalm Shell – Our fault. We have to be able to heal this through.
  • Plasma Burst – Our fault. Tanks and healing cooldowns must be used so that they can live.
  • Shock Blast – Your fault. We can’t outheal 100000 damage all at once.
  • Proximity Mine – Your fault. No comment.
  • Heat Wave – Our fault. Shouldn’t be a problem healing this up.
  • Rapid Burst – Out fault. No good reason why we’d die to this either.
  • Rocket Strike – Your fault. Stand out of the red stuff on the ground.
  • Laser Barrage – Your fault. Nothing we can do about this either. Up to you to make a run for it.
  • Bomb bot – Neither. These things do a lot of damage when they explode. By now, your raiders should be able to survive at least one of these with you at full health. Hopefully the rest of your raid can kill these before they become an issue.

General Vezax

You died because of:

  • Shadow Crash – Your fault. Outrun these. We’ll do what we can to heal up the player or two that gets hit by it.
  • Searing Flames – Neither. Someone missed an interrupt. This should not be going off at all.
  • Surge of Darkness – Neither. Depends on the strategy. With defensive cooldowns, it shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Mark of the Faceless – Neither. Again, this requires the efforts of both. The target has to run out fast. Those nearby need to be healed up quickly.
  • Saronite Vapors – Your fault. Be very careful about staying in too late. As a Priest, I Prayer of Mending on stack 6, and Shield myself on 7 and escape with about half my health. Others may not be as lucky.

Yogg-Saron

You died because of:

  • Shadow Nova – Our fault. Unless your raid killed like 5 guardians at the same time.
  • Death Ray – Your fault. These green beams start off harmless at first and don’t move. When you see them, get clear. It amazes me how many players still stand there after it’s been there for several seconds. Drop what you’re doing and move.
  • Crusher Tentacles – Your fault. Shouldn’t be in melee range of these. They will kill with one blow.
  • Brain Link – Technically our fault. But run towards each other quick!
  • Squeeze – Our fault. We have to keep you alive long enough for the DPS to break you out.
  • Sanity – Your fault. There is nothing we can do if your sanity reaches zero.

And there you have it! Use this list only as a rough guideline. There are always exceptions to everything. Look into the context of what happened before making a judgment. You don’t always have to assign fault. But it is important to find out what happened so you can make sure it doesn’t happen again. You’ll notice that a lof of these deaths are easily preventable by healers. But there are some rare cases where there’s just nothing we can do short of a psychic Guardian Spirit on a player.

Yes, you’ll notice I didn’t add any comments on Algalon. I haven’t engaged him and it won’t be for a while.