Ask a beta healer

Hey everyone, hope your friday hasn’t been as eventful as mine. Electrical problems have been plaguing the train systems here. Some areas are single track only. Ended up being late for my chemistry class (but thats okay, it was a refresher on scientific notation, moles and balancing and oh my god its been 6 years since I’ve seen this stuff).

I hit 85 over the past week on beta and if you’re curious, I wrote about my experience and thoughts on healing so far. You can see Lodur’s done the same here as well.

So for a rainy friday post, I wanted to open the floor to you guys. Feel free to ask any questions about the beta or healing or instances below. Come monday, I’ll try to round them all up into an answers post. I admit, I’m not as well versed in the state of paladins or druids so far. Hopefully I can tap into the wisdom of both Kurn and Lissanna (I think I ran into her in Twilight Highlands as I was leveling, but I can’t be sure). Of course, I’ll try to harass Lodur as well if there are any Shamanistic shenanigans I should know about.

Anyway, whatever your healing class and whatever your questions, I’ll see if I can answer to them. If I can’t, I’ll find someone who might know.

Have a good weekend!

Shaman healing so far in Cataclysm

I’ve been spending as much time as I can in the Cataclysm beta, and trying to maximize as much of my time as possible healing. I mean, after all that’s what I get paid for right?

You may be asking yourself what this song has to do with this post? Honestly a lot of folks think that shaman healing has gone down hill and have thrown their hands up and walked away. Some of these folks just think healing in general come Cataclysm will be so broken it wont even be worth it. I’m here to assuage at least the shaman portion of that fear.

Mana and triage

For as long as shaman have been healing we’ve been a bit of a mana battery. Between our passive regen and our spells and abilities that are geared towards doing nothing but giving us mana back. The problem is that with Wrath most healers were mana batteries. Rarely running out of mana means you can heal almost perpetually through the vast majority of non hard-mode encounters.

This makes for very boring healing, and that is something that the developers have been trying to tackle for a long time now. With the reduction of mana, and the increase in the cost of several of our healing spells, it forces us to triage our heals and essentially move away from mothering a group. Most people have seen this as a fault of the new healing model. I, however, find it incredibly liberating. Granted shaman have fared better than most other classes in this regard because  we are technically the healing model for cataclysm (or so the blues tell us). We’ve been given the tools to heal effectively, and balanced to a point where we don’t over power every encounter and actively have to pay attention and manage healing spell choices. I don’t run OOM unless people are doing very, very stupid things and I’m forced to compensate (a la a mage hugging a dragon cause he though it was cute and needed a hug).

Right now if you yell at someone to not “stand in the bad” a lot of the time they will simply ignore you since healers can just dump heals on them and get through the vast majority of effects out there. If you’ve done any PUGing before you’ll have found it at least once. That hunter that doesn’t want to get out of the fire so he can squeeze off a couple more shots to up their DPS while you dump heals on them. They expect it, and if they don’t get it you are instantly a “bad healer”.

I’ve talked about this on several of my wow.com articles lately, but there is an emphasis on personal accountability. Even if you have the mana to heal someone, they may still die. Pardon my french for a minute here, but bad shit really is bad and players should avoid it at all costs. This includes Tanks and Healers. Doing the dungeon finder in the beta has gotten to a point where players know now they have to manage their own health a little bit, and the curve has gone from nightmare healing to perfectly manageable. If the changes stand and force healers to triage the heals, it will force a shift in the perception of healers. Not saying there wont be players who yell at the healer when they die (those jerks will always exist, sadly) but I think most people will come to stop expecting you to be the only one responsible for their health.

The impression that I get

Overall, healing on the shaman in the beta has been some of the most fun I’ve had to date. I absolutely love having to pick which heal is best for the situation and love the fact that not EVERYTHING is about Chain Heal or stacking pure haste. Honestly I think shaman have the perfect number of healing tools to work with in any given fight. Every new ability compliments each other, old abilities have been given just enough of a tweak to make them interesting. Overall it feels fresh, new and exciting.

I don’t feel over powered, but I do feel capable. I don’t feel like there is anything I can’t do without a little hard work. I still get a twinge at certain bosses in the 5 mans, knowing what they can do and looking at a group composition planning my heals for which ability. It’s exciting and I feel like a tactician rather than a small child playing whack-a-mole at the local carnival being swindled out of my $2. I mean I’ll always be a healer, but it feels like I’m falling in love with it all over again. There’s excitement and consequence and every death isn’t all just on me. I know that priests and shaman have fared better than paladin and druid healers so far, but I think in the end it will balance out and everyone will have as much fun as I do right now.

In conclusion, at least for shaman, the world is not ending. The sky is not falling, and ultimately we’ll be better off in the end it seems. GO TEAM SPIRIT FINGERS!

So I’m going to spend my weekend healing 5-mans and recording videos, anything specific you guys want to see from the beta? I’ll do what I can to provide!

Until next time, Happy Healing!

POLL: Are you switching mains for Cataclysm?

This is a great time for players to ask themselves if they want a chance of pace for Cataclysm. Last year, I wrote a 3 step process to switching mains. It’s still valid.

So my questions to you today:

  • Are you switching mains?
  • To what and why?

As a GM, I’ve the enviable pleasure of combing through the guildies who have expressed interest in main switching. I’ll write a behind the scenes post on that later (when I actually come up with a plan). I’ll do my best to see if I can accommodate it, but I know deep down that I may not be able to approve anyone. There are too many factors to consider. Have they demonstrated their aptitude for playing that class? Do I have someone covering their existing role when they do switch out? I don’t have the authority to tell people what they can or cannot do. In the end, I have to decide whats the appropriate number of classes or roles required for a raid. Obviously, I’m not going to be able to green like 7 players who want to do nothing more than tank. There just wouldn’t be enough jobs to go around. Everything needs to be examined on a case by case basis.

What about for the rest of you GM or officers? How does your guild plan to handle main switching?

Post edited for further clarity

Are you switching mains when Cataclysm is released?

  • Nope! Staying the same! (54%, 246 Votes)
  • Yes, same role but different main! (21%, 94 Votes)
  • Yes, to a DPS role (11%, 52 Votes)
  • Yes, to a healing role (9%, 40 Votes)
  • Yes, to a tanking role (5%, 21 Votes)

Total Voters: 453

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My Vision of Tier 11 Priest Armor

My Vision of Tier 11 Priest Armor

Oh yeah, I’m sure you know who this guy is. His name is Altair from Assassin’s Creed. Cataclysm isn’t even close yet and already I’m day dreaming about my tier gear. Anyway, this idea came from leveling throughout Uldum. I was inspired by the deserts and the Egyptian themes.

I’m hiding my helm if we’re getting a turban though. Do you know how long I wore my Spellweaver’s Turban for back during Vanilla? Too long! What do you want your tier 11 to look like?

Raid Leading Smoothly Like Barney Ross

Raid Leading Smoothly Like Barney Ross

This is a guest post by Blacksen of Blacksen’s End. Don’t forget to check out his blog!

I just saw The Expendables a couple of nights ago, and while not a particularly fantastic movie, there were a few good moments. The movie basically revolves around a team (called “the Expendables”) who undertake a mission to free an Island from a tyrannical General and the American investment puppeteers ordering him around.

The team consists of 4-5 skilled assassins (if you can call them that), all taking orders from Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone’s character). While watching, I noticed that the movie was kind of like a World of Warcraft raid. The Expendables fought wave after wave of terrible soldiers (Sylvester Stallone ironically calls them “trash”). At points, they were just throwing out grenades and AoE’ing the trash down. Eventually, they would run into one of the Americans (which we could call a “boss”), and there would be a big battle around them. Throughout the movie, I noticed that Barney Ross had a lot of characteristics that matched my own raid leadership style. Even towards the end, Sylvester Stallone made a terrible “your mom” joke.

What other qualities that Barney had that would make him a good WoW raid leader?

Draw the line and stick to it. Without giving anything away, there are numerous instances in which Barney clearly draws a line. At the start of the movie, he draws the line for one of his team members. He essentially says “this is how much I’m going to tolerate,” and when that team member does cross the line, there are some real consequences.

A lot of World of Warcraft raider leaders don’t know how to do this (and I admit, I sometimes fail at enforcement). You must clearly identify the point in which someone isn’t adequate. Is it 8k DPS? 10k? 2 Malleable Goos? 5 Deathwhisperer ghosts? And when one of these does get crossed, you should be prepared to actually enforce the proposed consequences. If you tell everyone “we’ll be swapping you out the second time you get hit by Halion’s cutters,” then you should actually swap people out at the second time they get hit by cutters.

expendables-3

Keep your cool. Even amidst hundreds of bullets flying his way every second, Barney is still able to stay calm and make good decisions. He doesn’t get too angry, stressed, or upset, despite being in a very difficult situation. Being able to make decisions when things are very challenging and stressful is a critical part to effective raid leadership. Barney could have started to freak out and make rash decisions. Instead, he chose to stay cool, think things through, and make good calls.

Know how and when to change plans. Sometimes, things just aren’t working. For Barney, crap seemed to hit the fan all the time. Whether he’s just riding in a car with his friends and getting ambushed, or he’s trying to set up remote mines in the villa, things just never seem to go right. For both Barney and his second-in-command, it was critical to deviate from the plan and adapt to the situation. For raid leaders, there are several points in which you might also need to do this. If you don’t have a raid composition that’s going to complete a fight, it might be worth not trying (heroic Lich King without a disc priest, for example). There’s really not much of a point in attempting heroic Halion with 5 healers, so you might need to change plans.

If you’re trying a certain strategy and it just isn’t working, try something else. Heroic Halion was a good example for us: I was stubborn for a while and insisted that Halion be tanked at the wall while upstairs. We eventually found that it just wasn’t working, so we tried the “run through” strategy that we use now.

Stallone probably would have been more willing to change plans much earlier, as it was pretty obvious things weren’t going right.

Delegate to key players. For some raid leaders, it can be really tempting to try to micro-manage everything that’s going on. After all, most of us trust ourselves more than anyone else. By trying to control everything, you feel like there’s less room for other people to make an error in judgment. Usually, this mentality leads to poorer decisions and a more stressed raid leader. Barney clearly would have known that if he were a raid leader. Throughout the movie, he knows when there are times to delegate tasks for the rest of his crew. Sometimes, you just can’t do everything alone. More importantly, he knows which members would succeed better in certain areas.

At one point, the “short” team member was given a job in which his small stature would help him. By identifying the advantageous qualities of your key players, you can delegate them tasks in which they will truly shine.

expendables-2

Recruit a completely badass team. I’ve said it a hundred times, and I’ll say it again: the key to a successful progression guild is effective recruitment.

Barney would have died within the first 5 minutes of the movie without the support of his team. For raid leaders, this is also the case. Recruit badass players – you’ll need their support in order to free an Island from a tyrant… erm, I mean free Azeroth from Deathwing.

Reinvigorate Your Blogging Self with These Ideas

Reinvigorate Your Blogging Self with These Ideas

reinvigorate-blog-ideas

New site design is coming along extremely well and I’m very pleased with the progress so far. It’ll definitely go up within the month. Check the bottom of the post for a sneak preview. School begins for me tomorrow which means I’ll have more time to write since I won’t be working as much.

So what’s up, fellow bloggers? Got the no-beta-key blues? Running out of things to blog about? It is definitely the calm before the storm. I know several blogs are hitting that hibernation period where they’re just waiting it out until there is stuff to write about. I suffer from the opposite. I have too many ideas but not enough time. But if you’re stuck and still learning for something to blog about, let me try to help!

I have something called an inspiration file. Its basically a jumping point that I use whenever I’m in need of post ideas. Any idea I ever have whether it is good or bad goes in there. If I hit a snag one day where I’m stuck, I’ll pop it open and see what’s in there that I can use. Sometimes you can chain one post idea into another idea or break it down into multiple posts. I’ve had a habit in the past of trying to be too complete when it comes to posts and this is one way of breaking them up into smaller chunks.

Don’t even worry about credit. Take an idea, twist it, manipulate it, turn it into whatever you like. Its yours to use and abuse as you see fit. Let it grow and evolve.

Your guild

It doesn’t matter if you’re a GM, an officer or just a guy within the ranks. There will always be players interested in policy making and guild experience as a whole. Are you satisfied with it? Any changes you’d like to see made? What are some other day to day observations?

  • Making Roster Changes
  • Lessons You’ve Learned
  • A Shift in Loot Policy
  • How not to Evaluate Potential Applicants
  • A Day in the Life of Your Guild
  • How to Break the Ice with New Players

Your Class

Everyone loves to read about class news and class mechanics. With the expansion months away, there is still time to teach new players (or alts) the fundamentals of playing. Or heck, if you have a burning question about a specific class, throw it to your readers. There just might be someone out there who can give you a hand with it.

  • How to be an Expert <Class>
  • Being a <Class> in a Raid
  • Mastering <Class> in PvP
  • Common <Class> Mistakes
  • Why You Picked Your Class Instead of a Different Class

You

Time to dive into some introspection. This could range to just about anything in regards to you. Is there something you wanted to get around to but couldn’t? For me it would playing Shadow. No matter how much I try, I just can’t seem to do it. Maybe you’ve had a problem during your experience in WoW like an argument with a player or managing loot. How did you resolve it?

  • Things You Wish You Knew How to do but Couldn’t
  • One Shotting Procrastination: Your To-Do List Before the Expansion
  • A Personal Guide to Staying Happy in WoW: What Does it for You
  • Are You a Socially Responsible Guildie?
  • 5 Tips to Never Be Late for a Raid Again
  • Managing Your Server Reputation

Your blog

Your blog is your soap box. Take good care of it! What are your future goals? What type of readers are you appealing to? If you’ve been around for a few months and have developed a steady readership (which doesn’t have to be enormous mind you), ask them what they want to read about. Do not under any circumstances accept “Whatever you want” as an answer. At the same time, it does have to be a topic you’re interested in writing. Lastly, ask yourself if you would read your own blog. If you wouldn’t, figure out why.

  • Upcoming blog plans
  • What Would You Readers Want to Read About?
  • Your Blogging Goals

Fill in the blanks

Here are a few generic ideas that you can take and apply to any topic of your choice. I’m sure you can fill in the blanks and come up with something, right?

  • 15 Tips to …
  • The Truth Behind …
  • How I did …
  • How to <do something> Like …
  • A Constructive Criticism of …
  • Myths About …

Other miscellaneous ideas

Tell a story about yourself or your activities. Everyone loves reading about humorous stories (They Laugh When I Wanted to DPS – But When I Rolled a Ret Pally…).

Interview someone in the community. There’s a whole slew of intriguing personalities around the WoW blogosphere (or podcast crews as well). What’s the worst thing that can happen? That they say no? Plus its a great way to develop friendships. I should fire up my 20 questions series again. Those were so much fun.

Ask a question. You never know what will happen when you ask a question and let the comments write the post itself. Then you can cherry pick the most insightful and turn that into a post.

Bonus: 10 Questions for a Blizzard Developer. You have a chance to sit down with a dev. What do you ask them? What do you say to them?

If you’re really stuck for post ideas, you could also write your own idea post ;). Anyway, this list is just the tip of the ice berg. I didn’t even go into detail about addons or raiding yet.

But hey, if you do take inspiration from any of these, drop me a line. I’d love to read it (and link to it in the future)!

And yes, the preview I promised you.

wom-50

All I can say is just wait until the entire thing is ready. WoM 5.0 is almost here!

Why Healing is fun in PvP

Why Healing is fun in PvP

This is a guest post by Sylvara, of the Raging Monkeys. That is quite possibly one of the best blog names I’ve seen so far.

While not playing WoW actively at the moment, the thing I really miss most about the game at times is PVP. Even when I was raiding 3-4 times a week, I would hop into some quick BGs with Era, my personal retridin, on off nights or after raids had finished. PVP has always been a great outlet and a change from PVE healing for me. I have learned valuable things there that have benefited me in PVE over the years and that’s why I have been a bit of a spokesperson for it in our raid guild, together with my BG buddy.

img01I started to heal in BGs regularly in early vanilla. This was the time of PVP rankings where battle groups did not yet exist and players would have to compete against everyone else on the server in order to claim ranks (the threshold of players per rank being limited). At the time I was lucky to chance on a group of like-minded players that, not only founded one of the more progressed 40man raid guilds at the time, but were what I would still label “crazy PvPers”. At some point we had 5 Grand Marshals and 3 Field Marshals in the guild. One GM was a woman and all the FMs were female players too, contradicting the general notion that female players like to PVP less than males. Whenever they had an open spot in their premade, they’d get me in as replacement healer. And though I was also raiding 4 times a week and leading the healers, I got pretty obsessed with PVP for a while before giving up just short of rank 9.

In TBC the PVP system got its huge revamp and when I left my first raid guild, I also left premade PVP in such big a fashion. I am not a fan of pugging, neither on the PVE nor PVP side of WoW, so I kept being part of relatively small groups of PVP-interested players in my next guilds. Somewhere in mid-TBC me and Era started to team up as “pali-priest duo infernale” and have kept going at it ever since, PvPing a lot on weekends, collecting each season’s gear and having loads of great laughs – there are those nights when we’re almost unstoppable.

So why am I actually doing this? Why am I enjoying PVP as a healer? I’ve been reading healer blogs and sites for years, but I notice there’s not an awful lot going on on the PVP side of things. I don’t know if my fellow priests don’t enjoy BGs or if they’re too shy to write about their experiences, but here’s my take on the matter. (I might have to add that I am excluding arenas here, for there are fundamental differences between healing in arenas and healing in BGs. While I’ve also given arenas a go myself, that topic would need an extra post of its own).

The joys of PVP

If I had to name the top 5 aspects I appreciate about PVP as a healer, then it’s the
following:

  1. The frenzy of battle
  2. The teamwork mechanics
  3. The strategic aspect
  4. The different healing approach
  5. The power to turn the tide

I enjoy a good confrontation in games. I enjoy the pressure and thrill of challenge and the big difference between PVE and PVP will always be that player characters behave erratically while NPCs will follow script. Even if you can (and should) expect certain classes to do certain things in BGs, there is always the element of surprise and human error which keeps things interesting and chaotic. This influences the way you need to react.

I have never experienced a stronger team-building effect in WoW like the one you get from playing with the same few people in BGs regularly. If you have a serious go at this, you will soon find yourself part of one well-oiled team machine that knows each other’s next moves blindly and keeps each other’s backs free. The satisfaction of surviving onslaughts twice your number because you’re acting as one unit is incredible. Epic win! Only really hard earned raid firstkills ever compare in terms of adrenaline rush for me.

BGs are all about strategy and if you want to play and win, you will need to learn every individual map’s ins and outs. I enjoy tactical moves like pre-emptive strikes and feints and I have often seen the outcome of a BG turn around because there were just a few people
taking charge of overall tactics.

I mentioned before that I find an outlet in PVP healing. It’s a total change of focus for me and, while I also keep my partner’s butt alive, it allows me to play a lot more ego-centric than in raids, which is thoroughly relaxing. I use different sets of spells and abilities,many of which revolve around my own survival and crowd control, as much as adding some DPS when I can.

There is an immense satisfaction in seeing your team turn the tide, in knowing that your healing and timing were crucial to the overall outcome of a BG. Even if you lose, a good battle is still fun. I admit that it’s even better to win and find yourself on place 1 or 2 on honor gained though – which is often the case for a good healer and his partner.

What PVP can teach you

img02What I tell not only other healers but also ranged DPS in the guilds I am in, is that there’s actual benefits for PVErs to play PVP at least occasionally. Ranged players especially, often suffer from ‘feet of stone’-syndrome (don’t stand in the fire, anyone?) and tunnel vision. It is one of the most remarkable differences between PVP mages, warlocks, hunters, hybrid DPS, healers and strict PVErs: PVPers have to move around almost constantly while performing. Okay, you can just play Alterac Valley all the time hiding somewhere in back row, but that’s seriously meh! If you want to improve on things like movement, situational awareness, reaction time and survivability, then enter more BGs. Don’t go in all by yourself but go as a small team, so it’s not so frustrating when you start. I found that a lot of the automatisms I developed in BGs benefited me greatly in PVE encounters.

Besides these elemental benefits, it will also teach you a lot about other class mechanics, strategic maneuver, group organization and timing.

A few tips for healers

I’ve just mentioned it and will mention it again – try and go in with at least one more person who is playing a non-healer. Pugging while you’re playing a support class is a seriously frustrating and ungrateful job, even if you can throw heals around randomly. As healers we function best in cooperation with others and if you want to experience the enjoyable side of PvP and reduce your number of deaths, find yourself someone that watches your back as much as you watch his. Me and my buddy are usually on vent when we PVP, which is an additional help and source of fun.

You should also take at least a basic interest in things like BG tactics, play style, stats, and gearing for PVP. You don’t need to respec in BGs as much as you do for arenas, but a general knowledge of how to play and which abilities come handy will help you along the
way – and resilience, lots of it. I found most of the info I needed in the past via Elitist Jerks, Arena Junkies and the general WoW class forums.

My last advice to you is to give your PVP experiences time. Be patient and don’t give up just because you’re losing battles and get killed often. Hang in there and you will gradually notice the differences as your team becomes a more coordinated force and your gear gets better. If nothing else, you will have some good laughs with friends and learn to mind your six more in raids. Me personally, I am greatly looking forward to rated BGs in Cataclysm!

Sylvara, Stormrage EU
August 30th, 2010

He’s only mostly dead

He’s only mostly dead

Some of you may have been wondering where I’ve been and have been pretty curious as to what Lodur has been up to. Ok, well probably none of have been overly concerned at my absence and probably didn’t even notice I was gone =P

Honestly though I’ve been a busy busy shaman. You see I’ve learned a few things from Matt. Chief among them is a love of projects. To that end I’ve been pretty hard at work launching a new site that just went live on September 1st, 2010. I’ve been killing myself trying to fit in filling in content there among my other obligations, and it hasn’t been easy.

The site is called Bow Down To Us, and it is a geek site. You want comics? We have you covered! Want to know more about what games are coming up? We have you covered there! Want to kick back on a gamer forum and just shoot the breeze? We have you covered there too! From general news all the way up to a section devoted to WoW, we are hoping to grow the site into something awesome. So if you get a chance, check out the site.

Aside from that I’ve been doing my normal gig at WoW.com with recent articles detailing Healing Rain, and some Cataclysm updates and Blue posts. When I haven’t been working hard on articles for the new site, I’ve been spending time in the Cataclysm beta. I’ll be honest, I’m hooked. It feels so fresh and so new. Not just the 80+ content, but even leveling from 1 up. I’ve been leveling my Dwarf Shaman (because they are ridiculously awesome and the best shaman ever), and my Worgen Druid. If you have beta access and are looking for any groups or anything feel free to hit me up. Lodurzj is the 83 shaman, Lodurious is the Dwarf Shaman, and Lodurwolf is the Worgen Druid.

I’ve also been spending some time over at Totemspot. If you haven’t heard about it, shame on you! It is the community created for Shaman, by Shaman. All walks of life are present there and there are some awesome people there. I’ve been trying to answer as many restoration questions about the beta on the forum, and in my articles, as possible. That does take up a lot of time.

Things are going back to normal, so you’ll see more posts from me back here again. I’ll be continuing my posts on WoW.com, and you can also find me at BDTU and Totemspot. With things returning back to normal I’m also going to hit some SC2 multiplayer. To that end I still need a 2v2 partner. So if you’re interested let me know!

So how about you guys? What have you been up to? Anything fun?

 

3 Points of Effective Raid Communication

This is a guest post by Blacksen of Blacksen’s End. Rumor has it this raid leader likes to play funky motivational music before every raid. Don’t forget to check out his blog!

Communication in raids has always been important. For most guilds, this means using some form of voice communication. Several fights require that all raiders are able to hear their raid leader and then make a tactical response. You need to hear about tank swaps on Festergut, Putricide, and Sindragosa. You need to hear requests for tanking cooldowns. You need to hear sudden tactic changes as the fight is moving. You need to hear your other healers when they’re debuffed on Sindragosa. The list goes on and on… Regardless of the fight, really, communication is a key element to successful end-game raiding.

I’ve struggled with communication at several points throughout my raiding career. A lot of guilds pitch that they "want someone who will talk on vent," but the reality is that communication can be intimidating for members, especially if they’re new. For raid leaders, it is essential to communicate effectively with your raid. I’ve found that effective communication made the difference between a wipe and a kill on several occasions.

What to Communicate

What to communicate can be a challenge for a lot of guilds. Whenever anyone says something on vent, be it the raid leader or some key members, the main goal is to have it invoke a significant and positive response. Simply put, you want things said during a boss encounter to evoke a response. Conversely, things that aren’t going to evoke much of a response shouldn’t be said on vent.

Bad example: Don’t call out inhales on Festergut. Very few people will respond (at most, 1-2).
Good example: Calling out tank changes on Festergut. Not only do your tank healers respond, but your hunters and rogues will also switch their misdirect targets.

Bad example: Don’t call out “run-out” after the pull-in on Sindragosa. By the time you say that and it’s both heard and processed by your raiders, the damage will have already been done – your raiders are either already running or already dead.
Good example: Calling out "pull-in soon, get ready to run out" on Sindragosa. Players who would have been tunnel-visioning are made more aware that they’re about to need to turn their camera and run.

Plan it out

Plan out what you’re going to communicate before the fight. One of my most common mistakes as a raid leader is not planning out communication before the pull. In the past, I’ve had an expectation that everyone will know what to communicate, and that’s all we need. With every new fight, however, I find something that’s not really obvious but probably should be communicated. Tell people before the pull exactly when they should talk on vent.

One thing that a lot of people can struggle with is balancing specific calls with general calls. Whenever you’re making a raid call, you need to know when to specify something and when to speak generally.

Bad example: Tanks asking "can I get a cooldown?" The term "cooldown" is too broad. Does intervene count as a cooldown? Raid-Wall? Guardian Spirit? Pain Suppression? Which cooldown do you actually want? The raid needs to specifically know. Asking for just a “cooldown” could result in getting multiple cooldowns wasted by stacking on top of each other.
Good example: Tank asking “can I get Guardian Spirit?” Now we know which cooldown you specifically want.

Bad example: On the Lich King’s Valk’yrs, it would be bad to say "I need a backup stun.” This risks random stuns getting thrown out on all the Valk’yrs by random people. We need to know which Valk’yr needs the stun, and who you want to execute it.
Good example: Saying “Thine, backup on Square.” Thine, a specific raid member, now knows that he needs to execute a backup stun on square.

Specific raid calls are another area in which raid leaders risk becoming unclear. In some cases, it’s better to speak generally rather being specific.

Bad example: Saying “Blistering Cold soon” on Sindragosa. This tells us nothing about the response or how most raiders conceptualize the pull-in.
Good example: Saying “Get ready to run out” on Sindragosa. This tells us what’s about to happen and the needed response.

Bad example: When an aura mastery is needed, it’s pretty cluttering to say “Warel, use aura mastery shadow.” Most of the time, it’s obvious which aura mastery is needed.
Good example: On phase 3 of Professor Putricide, all I need to say is “Warel, go” and he takes care of the rest.

Consistency

Be consistent with raid calls. While a lot of my friends have joked about how I sounded like a broken record player, the fact is that consistent calls lead to a consistent response.

Bad example: On Heroic Lich King, saying "Shadow Trap Ranged" followed by "Trap on healers plus ranged." Each call requires processing – your raiders can’t build an association between the phrase and the response.
Good example: On the Lich King, saying “Necrotic Plague in 3” every single time necrotic plague is about to be cast. This instantly prompts your members to be aware and ready for the impending debuff.

Lastly, let’s talk about how raiders should communicate. Getting raiders to communicate the way you want can be very difficult, but once they get into the loop of things, most of them will execute everything great. The most important concept of raider communication is telling us what needs to happen, not what already happened.

Bad example: On the Lich King, a disc priest calling out “I’m picked up” generally doesn’t mean anything. It requires your raiders to connect “disc priest is picked up” to “oh, this infest is going to be bad.”
Good example: Saying “Watch Infest.” Now all of your raiders immediately know the consequences of you being in a Valk’yr.

Bad example: On Sindragosa, having a healer say "I’m Unchained" means nothing. This requires all other healers to know everyone else’s healer assignment.
Good example: Saying "Watch Group 4" gives us information. Now all healers know the consequence of you being unchained: group 4 needs more healing.

Bad example: Saying “Oh S***” on any fight. Random expletives don’t give us any information and just put people on edge. We need real responses with real information.

Note: Matt is extremely guilty of this. Don’t do it.

Your raiders will also thank you if you tell them exactly what you want said. Tell them the exact phrasing you want. This will lead to a more consistent environment and thus more consistent responses. It takes the burden off of individual raiders for coming up with what you want said, and will likely make them very happy.

Nearly every hardmode raiding guild has a vent atmosphere during fights. If you find yourself wiping due to seemingly random things, see if communication has an answer. Communication is generally an easy problem to address as it has very little to do with tactics or individual skill, but more preparation and consistency. You can sometimes beat the more challenging elements of a fight just by clearer and regular communication