How to Discipline Heal

How to Discipline Heal

This post is intended for post 4.0.6 and is meant as a bunch of guidelines to help keep players alive as discipline.

Several notable changes are arriving with the patch which will slightly alter the play of Discipline Priests. The two biggest changes revolve around the boost to the strength of Power Word: Shield and the ability for Grace to affect multiple targets. In my playing Holy at 85 post, I mentioned about how to handle something I called “the hit”.

As a refresher, “the hit” is an ability or spell by a boss which deals enough damage which might kill players if they’re not healed up in the next few seconds. For example, Dragon Breaths are “the hit”. Any really massive explosion can be considered “the hit”. Fusion Punch is an example of a tank about to be the victim of “the hit”. It must be a severe enough blow to almost cause you to crap your pants.

Before you do anything else, I strongly advise downloading an addon called Ingela’s Rapture. It allows you to time your shields to get the best possible mana return from Rapture. In a game where mana management is important, this addon will help you.

*Sorry Ingela, meant to write about this sooner

For an alternative style of Disc healing revolving around Atonement, see this page instead.

On the tank

Stick to Power Word: Shield, Penance and the usual spells of Heal, Flash Heal or Greater Heal. Prayer of Mending is another spell you’ll want to keep activating on cooldown on the tank. Keep in mind that a Discipline Priest has two cooldowns for saving tanks: Power Word: Barrier and Pain Suppression. Unless the encounter has specific tank one-shotting mechanics that it needs to be saved for, you’ll be using those two spells on demand. With Power Word: Shield though, use Ingela’s Rapture to properly time it on the tank.

The basic play you want to make here at a raid level environment is to keep using Inner Focus on cooldown and continue dropping Greater Heals while using Power Word: Shield every time Rapture is available. Weave in Penance as necessary. The buffs to Power Word: Shield (208% effect increase) and Penance (20% increase to healing) has strengthened the position of Discipline.

2-3 players

Theoretically, the 2-3 players you’re healing would be a tanks. Since Grace can affect multiple targets, those would be the two players you want to maintain Grace stacks on. As an aside, if you were healing the 2-3 players that were in the raid itself, Grace wouldn’t mean much at all because you’d be hard pressed to heal them after the initial heal (usually the initial heal is all that’s need to keep them up). Don’t stress too much about Rapture procs here because you’re going to be balancing heals and shields on all of your tanks anyway (That does take a little more focus). Refresh the shields as necessary.

What works for me in a party environment is casting a shield on each target. Cycle through them with fast heals to keep them alive and out of imminent danger.

  1. Target A: Shielded –> Penance
  2. Target B: Shielded –> Flash Heal
  3. Target C: Shielded –> Flash Heal

Then follow it up with a quick blast of Prayer of Healing in the event another player in the group has taken damage.

4-5 players

You’ll wish to rely on Prayer of Healing for your group healing needs. Doesn’t get any easier than that and since Divine Aegis automatically activates when Prayer of Healing lands, there’s nothing else to add. You can try to get fancy and load up a few grace ticks on a few players in that group, but it might be unnecessary.

For 5+ players

I don’t foresee much of this happening, but in the event a raid healer or two goes down, you’ll need to stand on your head and try to hold it together. If health pools are dropping, get a Barrier up immediately. You know that Prayer of Healing heals a player and their group. Naturally there will be a few players left out. Let’s say there’s 3 players who are at 35% health in group 4 and all of group 5 is around the same range. Assuming everyone is in the same general location, drop 2-3 shields on players outside of group 5 and then hit a hasted Prayer of Healing on group 5 to try to account for everyone.

One last thing I want to add here is glyph selection. With Power Word Shield being buffed, the value of the glyph will rise. With shields absorbing amounts of about 35000, it might be a worthwhile glyph to consider if you’re not using it already.

Tough Call: Turning Down Epics

On this week’s issue of Tough Call, we’re going to discuss an idea that may seem counter-intuitive to some readers, especially at this point in the expansion;

Not taking epics!

Crazy, I know, but hear me out.

To be clear, I don’t mean that you should refuse to take epics, or that your gear doesn’t need to be upgraded.  Anyone who knows me knows that if the loot is on my must-have list, I will absolutely put in for it at the appropriate time.

No, what I’m talking about today is gear that is not BiS.  Your side-grades, your “better than what I have”, or that loot that’s a higher iLvl but not the ultimate piece you want.

Whether you’re running a Loot Council, a points-based system, or even some kind of Rochambeau craziness, you should still take into account the overall benefit that the loot is bringing to your guild. And that includes comparing it to the value gained by not equipping it.

My usual theory when it came to loot in Wrath and BC was “the loot will drop again”.  Nowadays I’m changing my outlook to “is this THE best loot”.  This is because, right now, most guilds should find themselves in a new position where there just aren’t enough epics being DE’d in order to get the maelstrom crystals needed for the best enchants available.

I know right now everyone should be hungry to preform better, and it’s easy to say “well, I’m under-geared” or “I need that upgrade and I can heal/tank/dps through this tough phase”.  Trust me, I really want to get rid of this 333 crap trinket I’ve been saddled with for a few weeks now.  That does not, however, mean that I will seek to equip any available epic tossed my way like a hungry hungry hippo.

Edit: Passed on 2x Jar of Ancient Remedies and used my Valor points on the Core of Ripeness instead.  Int rocks the body that rocks the party.

Let’s use a recent example, the other night we were in Bastion of Twilight and the boss dropped some cloth DPS pants.  Of course our warlocks were wearing iLvl 346 blue pants, yet none of them put in for the shiny new epic.  Their reasoning?  They were all within a few points of getting their tier pants and realized that the maelstrom crystal from disenchanting the pants would be worth more to the guild than giving them epic pants that they’d only wear for a week before they got their 2-piece.  Now that we’ve gotten the needed mats for Power Torrent, those warlocks are doing considerably more DPS than they would be with a pant upgrade that they were able to replace anyways.

Similarly we’ve had melee DPS players pass on their side-grades or off-spec gear in order to get the maelstrom crystals.  I’m certain that when they weighed the stats, the 1000 AP proc on a Landslide enchant that those crystals could get them looked a lot better than the marginal/temporary increase gotten though a non-BiS upgrade.

Of course, the exception to this rule is players with enchanting.  Toss them the non-BiS gear and they’ll reap the benefits of the stat increase while getting ready for the real loot, and you’ll still get your crystals when they’re done.

Please feel free to leave any questions or suggestions for future topics in the comments below.  Additionally, if you happen to know the answer to 10-down on the NY Times Crossword, that one’s been bugging me all day.

Creative Recruiting

Conquest’s 25 man raid team made some major strides today on Cho’gall. Back to back wipes at 4% and 5%. We spent a good 90 minutes after the raid just really analyzing all the little things that we were doing right and doing wrong. I’m extremely confident that we’ll get him down on Monday. That being said though, the recruiting doors are being opened for competitive, progression minded players.

Except it seems we’ve entered a bit of a recession in terms of players. With the increasing number of people situating themselves in 10 man guilds, the 25 man guilds are working extra hard trying to find players that still have the desire to do 25s. Already, I’ve witnessed a few larger guilds on my server breaking up or completely splintering off.

Not exactly the route I had in mind when I said I wanted to progress up the server rankings.

The usual recruiting methods just weren’t working fast enough. We had to really get creative and think of other ways to try to pickup players. Our initial goal was to raise awareness of our guild and to try to find the players that would both fit in and share a similar work ethic that the rest of us had to raiding. I’ve completely abolished the recruiting officer position from my guild. I think recruiting is something that every player in the guild should try to do. Different people have different talents and as a GM, I have to encourage them to play to those strengths.

Other than relying on trade chat or the recruiting forums, we’ve started trying out different strategies for recruiting. We don’t know if it’s going to work, but right now its innovate or die.

Recruiting from the other side

X, one of my players, prefers the front line approach. He’ll actively pursue and chat players up who aren’t affiliated with any guilds. His efforts have generated results as one of the players he picked up is one of our current main tanks.

But you know what’s even crazier?

He created a character on the Horde side and started advertising in their trade chat. Ever since players could have both Horde and Alliance players on the same server, it never dawned on me to try recruiting players on the other side. So if you’re stuck on your side of the server and there doesn’t seem to be any fish biting, try the other side and see what they’re like. I know I’ve received a few messages from players who were interested in switching over to Alliance for a change of pace.

Livestreaming raids

On our progression nights, I’ve started live streaming raids for players. These are generally for people who have interest in joining and raiding but are unsure of what the guild raiding atmosphere is like. So what I’ll do is activate my microphone and stream what’s on my screen as I’m playing (and they’ll hear the occasional Matti-rage).

  • I don’t want players to join the guild only to discover this isn’t what they’re looking for.
  • I don’t want to waste their time or my time.
  • I don’t want to invest gear into players only to realize that this isn’t for them.

By streaming raids, especially during progression, they’ll get an accurate idea of what really goes on in the heat of the moment and they can see this guild at its best (or its worst depending on what we’re working on).

Macroing in the LFD

I haven’t started doing this yet because I keep forgetting. But after I finish every run, I’m going to try to drop a friendly macro listing what our guild is about, where we’re at, and the fact that we’re recruiting. While granted most players are already in guilds, I wouldn’t be surprised if t here were a number of them who were unhappy or who want more from their experience

We’re still raiding right now so we’re not in any serious jeopardy. But I wouldn’t be doing my job as a GM if I wasn’t exploring additional options. I made a mistake in the last expansion. I settled for the players I had. Unfortunately, settling didn’t get me a heroic Halion kill, a heroic Lich King kill, a heroic Anub’arak kill or a 25 man Algalon kill. I’ve learned from that and the crew here have realized that the foot isn’t coming off the accelerator.

That being said, if you’re looking for a stable guild for raiding, check us out.

Classes I’m looking for especially:

  • Elemental Shaman
  • Rogue

Even if you don’t fit that, I encourage you to apply anyway. I don’t guarantee raid spots. Our philosophy has changed to take the best possible players we have available and our loot system reflects that. If you want to know more, feel free to get in touch with me via email or Twitter or in game. Either myself or one of our raid leaders can assist in answering your questions.

Feel free to toss in an application otherwise.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Lodur’s Response to the “Paragon Shaman Scare”

Lodur’s Response to the “Paragon Shaman Scare”

Following the recent world first heroic Sinestra kill by Paragon, players have been pouring over their logs determining their raid composition and the numbers necessary to succeed in such an encounter. One thing of note is that the raid Paragon took was assembled without any shaman of any spec or flavor. This has caused a bit of a stir across the Internet as players begin to question the viability of the entire class as a whole. People are calling for buffs, for other players to be nerfed, or just randomly QQing about how under powered all of the classes are and jumping ship to roll paladins. Today I’d like to break down what the problems actually are, what fixes could be proposed and dispel some of the anger, fear and angst surrounding our class in the last couple weeks. I will preface this post by saying that this is not a shot at Paragon or any other top tier raiding guild. I appreciate all your hard work and your accomplishments. This post is for the rest of us out there, who aren’t quite at their level.

Throwing Lightning and Swinging Axes

The DPS of the shaman class has always been a wobbly wooden seat in a room full of steelchairs. Ever since the days of Vanilla WoW, our Viability as DPS has sort of teetered. I’m not going to pontificate on it too much,  as I’m really a healer, but I started my WoW career throwing lightning on my magnificent Tauren Shaman and still do it now for fun and a change of pace. In BC and much of Wrath I took it away from elemental and smacked things with sharp objects and big sticks for entertainment, so suffice to say I’ve spent at least some time DPSing (yes this includes raids and hard mode raids when it was necessary).

Right now the big argument is that scaling is the issue. I can see why, and maybe there is a valid concern here. Right now at “Blue level gear” a shaman is capable of toping charts and blowing away everything that stands in front of them. The logical assumption is that scaling is the issue, that we don’t’ scale well compared to other classes as higher gear becomes available.  Maybe part of that is true, but managing spellpower coefficients is a tricky science and one that Blizzard is already looking at. If you tweak it too high you can break the system, tweak it too low and the class becomes useless. When you see them say they are increasing a spell’s power by 10%, they really mean they are adjusting the coefficient. We’ll get into that a little more later on here in the post, but just keep that in the back of your mind for now. Personally I feel that scaling is the lesser of the issues for damage.

I contend that movement has always been the greater bane  of the shaman in all aspects of life. We’re turrets, we’ve always been turrets, and anything we get to help us do our job on the move is only a stop-gap to tide us over until we can sit still and go back to work. I’ve done fights where I’ve out DPSd an equal-gear equal-skill hunter because I was able to sit in one place and just cast Lightning Bolt after Lightning Bolt (metaphorically speaking, I did use other spells), but on a very movement heavy fight I was crushed by an under-geared affliction lock. Literally the only difference was movement. While I agree that some of the spells need a little tweaking to make them a little less RNG dependent and help with minor scaling issues, I would have loved to have seen something that elemental and enhancement shaman could have grabbed to either extend the period of use for Spiritwalker’s Grace or shorten its cooldown. I think that overall would be a better, more utilitarian fix. Either a talent stuck somewhere or attached to something else. I could easily see it being an additional effect of  Ancestral Swiftness. Now this is just an idea, and maybe it’s not the best one, but I think it goes a little further to solving the real problem. This goes for both elemental and enhancement. While our mobility has improved, at any point in time we have to move, it takes us the longest to recover and start back in to try and maintain our offense.

I throw magic water on it, BE HEALED!

Lets get into the topic that is a little bit hotter of a debate, and more in my area of expertise. Right now the debate is that shaman healing is way too low when compared to other healers. While our numbers are seemingly low when compared to priests and paladins, our numbers seem to line up pretty closely to restoration druids. I think this happens for a few reasons. Shaman are the healing model for Cataclysm, or so we’ve been told since day one of the healing change discussions. I still feel this to be very true. I’ve not encountered a fight I haven’t been able to heal through with hard work, determination and communication with my group. Sure some fights are harder on us than others, but that boils down to a few reasons.

First of all shaman have slightly different mechanics than, say, a discipline priest. We don’t really mitigate damage, we stabilize and then bring everything back to whole. Healing Rains, Healing Stream Totem, Riptide, Earthliving and even Earth Shield all lend themselves to helping us stabilize players so we can either edge their health up with Healing Wave, drop a nuke like Healing Surge and Greater Healing Wave or use Chain Heal to quickly bring a group from the brink. Our job isn’t to keep everyone topped off anymore, it’s to keep them stable and alive.

The difference in healing tactics  is something we should be used to by now. In Vanilla you basically spot healed when you needed to while making sure your totems were optimally placed. In Burning Crusade you down-ranked Chain Heal and just spammed it regardless of content size and things were good as we stacked haste and MP5. In Wrath things got a little more complicated. With down-ranking of spells rendered ineffective, and the addition of a new spell, Riptide, we basically had to relearn how to heal right. We did hit a patch of trouble at the Ulduar phase of the expansion where players discovered Riptide and Lesser Healing Wave did so much healing that our other spells could be all but forgotten. This was balanced out by Blizzard at the time, but it still meant that through the life of Wrath we constantly adjusted our healing style and strategies right up until ICC dropped. Before our job was always to restore everyone to full, or as someone aptly put it on twitter, to “HEAL ALL THE THINGS!”. A lot of shaman are having trouble making the adjustment, especially those that are rolling one for the first time after playing a paladin, priest or druid. So part of our problem is there is a rather steep learning curve right now.

Secondly, just like our DPS brethren, movement is always an issue. Anytime we are forced to move our HPS drops like a rock. While we have tools to help us out in that regard, we still lack things like a multiple person HoT that we can control where it goes and can cast at the rate of a GCD between them.  Once we get into position it can sometimes take us a few moments to play “catch up” with healing. The same fix for DPS could in theory be applied here. Give us something to extend SwG out or reduce the cooldown and that will go a long way to helping through put. Although at that point, since all three specs would benefit from it, it would basically be a redesign of the spell. Point is though, movement fights (which Cataclysm has many of) are doable, but we still suffer for it.

Lastly, some of our spellpower coefficients feel off. Not massively so, but just enough to notice it. Particularlly with Chain Heal, Greater Healing Wave and Earthliving. Right now on the PTR 4.0.6 build, Chain Heal is getting a 10% buff. While most would assume this means that it will heal for 10% more, this isn’t exactly the case. Remember what we talked about before with spellpower coefficients? Here’s how the buffing really works. Right now on live, Chain Heal has a spellpower coefficient of 0.32 or 32%. This means that 32% of your spellpower directly affects the amount you heal for when using that spell. On the PTR this has been increased to 0.35 or 35%. Now you may say that this is a 3% increase not a 10% increase, but look again. What got the 10% buff was the coefficient as 10% of 32 is roughly 3. This is a lot better than it seems really. As the game progresses, we will mass more and more int, and as a result our spellpower will grow. That 35% coefficient will go further to scale us better with gear as we get “older” in the content. Same goes for Greater Healing Wave which has an estimated spellpower coefficient of 80%. It is getting a 20% bump, but that means on the PTR it has a coefficient of almost 96% if my math is right.  Again, see where this is going?

Sadly, though, Earthliving is not getting any attention yet, and I think it really should. For something we can’t control where it goes and who it heals, it feels weak. When it does proc you don’t control who gets the healing effect, and a lot of healing can be wasted this way on targets that you bring to full health only to watch the HoT keep ticking away. It is something I think could stand to be tweaked just a little bit. Haste certainly gives it a little boost by allowing it an extra tick of healing, but it is still spread out over 12 seconds. I can’t help but feel raising it to a 25% sp-coefficient from 23% would go a long way to help alleviate some of concern with it, and make it count on those it lands on that need the healing. It’s not a perfect solution, but I could see it being beneficial.

But why the hell are paladins and priests pulling so far ahead?

Short answer, they’re a little bit broken right now. True priests are complaining about mana issues, but Prayer of Healing is really strong right now, currently stronger than Chain Heal by a sufficient margin. It is also spammable to a degree, while we are forced to move away from Chain Heal spam. Little things like this are what allow priests to pull ahead by such a large margin. Paladins are just, well, in a word ridiculous. The amount of free healing a paladin gets is honestly quite staggering. While I’m certainly not saying that paladin healers aren’t talented, it’s worth it to note that our big heal at a raid ready gear level will be somewhere between 23 – 32k on a crit. Paladins? Well for that same GCD that paladin with equal gear will hit the same amount. Then you get the free heal from beacon of light which will then heal for 50% of whatever the primary target was healed for. That’s a huge chunk of healing right there. Combine that with the free healing a paladin gets to do with Light of Dawn and you can start to see some of the disparity.

So right now things aren’t very balanced. That’s OK. We’re not paladins or priests. We’ll never be paladins or priests, and that’s OK too. The new patch being tested on the PTR right now will be the first step to balancing out healing. Our heals are getting stronger, and paladins and priests are getting fine tuned. This should bring all four classes back in line with one another, leaving shaman for the most part untouched except for some much needed tweaks in the positive direction.

But Paragon didn’t use ANY shaman! Method only used ONE!!! That means I won’t have a raid spot!

You realize not everyone is Paragon or Method right? These are top-tier guilds that push through content as fast as possible using every little advantage they can to get the kill and be number 1. Let’s take a trip in our time machine back to the release of Black Temple. Nihilum got the first Illidan kill, and do you know how they were geared? They didn’t farm BT for weeks gaining gear to increase power levels. No, they charged through the content and pushed right up to him as fast as possible to down him. Most of their raiders were in the previous tier’s gear or lower. They pushed through the hardest content with a lot less gear than a normal guild doing the fight would have had.

Fast forward to Cataclysm and the trend continues. If you want to be bleeding edge, right there at the forefront of the digital war for number 1, you don’t stop to farm gear. You grab what you get along the way, and keep pushing. Class imbalances play a huge roll in this. If you have four healing classes, and two of them are pushing 30% more healing than the other two, you’re going to stack them. Why? Because that extra advantage compensates for lack of gear, and helps you push through the content. The same goes for DPS and tanks. I can’t remember which guild or which fight it was, but recently a group stacked a ton of druid bears to push through the fight. Does that mean every guild should stack nothing but druids? No, not really.

Truth is that for the average guild (and I mean literally if you would take all the guilds in the world and plot where everyone falls in composition and progression), you won’t have to worry about this. As you defeat bosses and gather gear every week, you’ll do nothing but improve. Keep in mind too that this was a heroic raid boss that was completely untested before anyone actually engaged her. By the time you manage to get there, you’ll likely have geared up quite a bit, and chances are good there will be at least one or two hot fixes in that affect you or the other healers, maybe even the encounters. Any good raid leader worth their salt will know that guilds like Paragon are the exception, not the rule. If you’re in a guild that the raid leader is pushing to have the same composition, well, maybe it isn’t the best place for you.

Really, the moral of the story here is that you shouldn’t let what one guild does on one fight dictate how you play or how you compose your raids. Classes and abilities will sometimes be imbalanced, trust in the developers to notice and balance it out in the end, after-all that is what they get paid to do. Expect and prepare for change. Remember Ulduar? In wrath, shaman at the tier 8 content level were falling behind in AoE healing by a considerable margin. Players were forced to stand apart further than chain heal could jump, and we were forced to rely on alternate healing methods. This was brought to the developer’s attention, and chain heal was buffed to cover longer distances between players. During the time of this crisis, we heard much of the same concerns as we are hearing now about healing. Hang in there, don’t get discouraged, it really isn’t that bad. The things that are bad? Well those are being looked at right now.

Podcast Topic: The Paragon Effect

Each week on Matticast we will be featuring a topic driven by our audience. You can submit your comments on this post, or e-mail us with your thoughts. You can even send us an audio clip (mp3 format please). This is your chance to have your say on what we discuss on World of Matticus. Also don’t forget, if you have general questions you’d like answered on the show, you can send them our way. Remember we record on Sunday nights, so get your thoughts in before then!

There has been a lot of debate over the usefulness of Resto Shamans and Resto Druids in raiding since Paragon started leaving one or both of the classes out of their world firsts. While we think the general consensus is this shouldn’t start a trend, it does raise questions. What are you concerns with both healing specs? Do you think these issues have been addressed in patch 4.0.6. What specific challenges are you having with either class, either as a raid leader or a player of that class? What about the nerfs to the other healing classes, paladins in particular? Are these going to be effective in balancing the healing classes?

Matticast Episode 5

Welcome to Episode 5 of The Matticast. This week MattLodurKat, and Brian discuss:

  • Randomize raid encounters
  • Why healers always get blamed
  • Update on the Druid/Shaman healing situation in progression raiding.
  • The listener topic this week tackles difficulties you face as a raider.

Don’t forget you can send us your questions or topic, and be sure to checkout and participate in the listener topic every Wednesday.

Subscribe to the show: iTunesRSS

Healing Chimaeron

Healing Chimaeron

Feel free to scroll down and watch Conquest’s kill video as well as read the comments I had on my own performance.

As Priests, we have it easy. There are so many simple tools we can use to heal this unique encounter. I’m going to break this post down by spells and healing techniques.

Best advice I can give you about healing through Chimaeron is to not panic. The first couple of attempts, my eyes were glued to my screen. I imagine every healer who sees this fight for the first time feels the same way. Its simply overwhelming and you experience this feeling of helplessness washing over you as you watch the rest of your raid plummet.

But don’t worry. There is a light at the end of a tunnel.

Assignments

I recommend raids start with 7 healers on 25 man (3 on 10 man). This early in the end game, I think that having that extra healing GCD is going to be a must.

2 healers on the tanks
5 healers on the raid

Assign each healer to 1 group. Make sure those groups are relatively close to each other so that healers can spring AoE heals when needed. I’d drop a Prayer of Healing after a Massacre to elevate them past 10k and keeping them in the safe zone. You’ll want your positioning to look something like this:

BossBlueprintStrat_1294778027

As you can imagine, the + symbols represent the raid healers. The blue circles represent where their groups should be. The two groups near the top are for melee while the two near the bottom are for ranged. I’m the one right in the middle. The green circle represents my approximate AoE healing radius.

Also note that I didn’t draw this to scale. It’s an idea of how I wanted our groups to array ourselves.

On a side note, check out Boss Blueprint if you want to create your own boss strategies and tactics. It’s how I created this one.

Phase 1 (Triage healing)

You have 4 spells at your disposal when trying to keeping your group alive.

Holy Word: Serenity

Get in this Chakra state. The instant heal is a life saver. You have about 5 seconds to heal affected players up past 10k health otherwise you risk them dying to a Massacre or a Caustic Slime.

Flash Heal

Your fast heal will get plenty of action and work on this encounter. I’ve seen players frown at using such an inefficient heal. But guess what? This is one of those encounters where its warranted. You can’t spend your time worry about mana efficiency here. If you’ve gotten to this point, then you already know how to manage your mana, cooldowns and spell usages anyway. Besides, its not like you’ll be chain casting Flash Heal on the same player repeatedly. All you need is just one. In most cases, only one player in your group will be below 10000 health.

Heal

Yes, it is a little slow to use. I’ve developed a habit where I would just continue chain casting Heal on myself or another player in my group even if they didn’t need it. Why? Because there’s a 20% chance that my Heal will land on a player in my group who is the target of my Heal. If I’m casting Heal and a Caustic Slime strikes my target, I can simply let the heal go through and it will get that player above 10000 anyway. Just be prepared to switch to your assignments within your party.

Work that Mastery while you’re at it!

Binding Heal

Great spell to have if both you and another player in your group have been hit. One cast will get you and your target to safety. I’m not seeing this spell used often enough.

Phase 2 (Brute force healing)

Group up and unload your biggest AoE healing spells.

Prayer of Healing

Identify the members in the raid who do not have personal cooldowns they can use to survive. I got into the habit of Flash Healing that player and a second player before casting Prayer of Healing on my own group with help from Serendipity. As a Disc Priest, you’ll want to do the same with a shield into a hasted Prayer of Healing (due to Borrowed Time).

Holy Word: Sanctuary

Stack the healing circles on top of each other for maximum effect.

Yeah.

No brainer, eh?

Divine Hymn

You’ll want to coordinates Hymns and Tranquilities across the raid. If you have a Disc priest, find a way to weave in their Power Word: Barrier. I find that the first Feud can be healed through without cooldowns. But any Feuds after that are best done with rotating cooldowns. If you’re just learning the fight, I suggest going with using 2 cooldowns per Feud. As your raid gets geared and stronger, you can drop down to 1 per feud.

Phase 3

Smite

Your healing spells are useless. Switch to Smite mode and go to town. You deserve it.

Leap of Faith

Keep this spell in your back pocket. It isn’t exactly a heal, but it does buy time for your raid to take down Chimaeron when you Life Grip the target he is chasing to a safe area in the room.

Conquest Video

Chimaeron normal mode on 25

In this video from my perspective, I’ve been assigned to group 5 (The all healer group). I’m using Real UI (and you can read up on my thoughts on this UI compilation on NSUI). Note that my group 5 is the last row not necessarily the farther right column.

Things you shouldn’t do in a raid

You’ll notice I make a number of key mistakes on our first kill.

Open bag, find mana potion: I started using Real UI recently as an experiment on compilations. I completely forgot to ensure my Mana Potions were on my bar. So what did I do? Open up my bags, find my potions, and click on them.

Have the character sheet open: In the biggest example of healer tunnel vision in the HISTORY of tunnel visioning, yours truly fat fingers the character sheet. I must have left it up for a solid 2 minutes or so before I realized I had it open. My eyes were that glued to my raid frames. Even my raiders are perplexed as to how I left my expanded character sheet up taht long.

Remember your DPS spells: Yeah, I had to rearrange my keys. Once we hit the final phase, you’ll notice I kept trying to cast Holy Word: Sanctuary. I forgot what I had Smite bound to and it took me a few seconds to remember what keys they were. Whoops.

Need specific advice on your own individual play or on your healing team? Feel free to leave a comment or question here.

For a different perspective, check out a blog entry by Kae from a Resto Druid perspective. If you’re a blogger and you’ve written a blog post on Chimaeron as well, let me know and I’ll add a link straight to yours.

How to be a Purple Kodo

How to be a Purple Kodo

Making the decision to become a blogger about your favorite game can be a daunting task. There are a lot of things to consider before jumping into the project. Even then when you enter into the race, it can sometimes be hard to stand apart from the pack. Matt and Joe will teach you how to be the Purple Kodo in the herd.

Starting a blog, website or forum is a big task. Let no one tell you differently. You shouldn’t be afraid of it though, it’s a rewarding experience. It is something though that you should not be afraid to ask for help or advice from the community. To that endeavour Matt and I have decided that we’re going to be offering our assistance for those looking to get started in blogging, forums or just generally joining the community. Crafting a successful site and becoming a part of the WoW Healing Community can bring with it a lot of questions, and being people of the community we like to help out. So here is our first official post to help you become the fabled Purple Kodo.

Questions For the Pros

Hi,

After being promoted to healing officer for my guild, a lot of people, not only in my guild, but in the community on the server have been asking tips of me of late. So, in my mind, I decided to make a website to help these people by making guides, writing blogs, etc. Thinking that this would be relatively easy, I began looking for the materials that I would need, get ideas from other sites, like yours. After deciding that I was crazy and I would need help, I would like to ask for any advice that you guys may have in this be it free video editing software that is pretty solid, how to get my site out there, etc. Thanks guys, and keep up the good work.

Sincerely,
Mylindara
Resto Shaman

Mylindara,

Writing blogs and creating a website is a great way to consolidate your tips, tricks and information for healing. Your story is pretty much exactly what prompted me to start blogging. I had recently been promoted to a healing officer position and people from within the guild, and around the server, started asking for advice. Before I get started with offering up some advice on pulling it all together I need to issue a warning here.

Starting, maintaining and producing a website or blog is a lot of work. By undergoing this you are basically inviting yourself to another part-time job at a minimum. Take it from someone who has started quite a few forums, websites and blogs. You have to ask yourself if you’re willing to put in the work that it will require in order to not only consolidate the information, but keep it up to date, accessible and clean from spam and flame. You’ll also want to make sure that content is updated at much as possible to keep it fresh in people’s RSS feeds.

Still with us?

Matt’s comments in blue while mine will be normal.

Getting started

OK here are some pointers on getting started. WordPress.com does free hosting for blogs, as does Blogger. WordPress.com and WordPress.org give you a little more choice for themes, and offers some pretty good tutorials on the basics of blogging and setting it all up. For video editing tools, your cheapest bets are pretty good. The free windows live moviemaker is pretty darn good for simple editing of videos, as is iMovie that comes with an apple computer. If you want to get any fancier than that you’ll have to spend some cash, but those should do just fine. Also pick a name for the site that is both catchy and sums up what you’re all about (World of Matticus, TotemSpot, Way of the Totem for example).

Don’t make the jump to self-hosted right away. It requires a little advanced technical knowledge on your part when it comes to websites and site design. My first advice to you is to see if blogging is something you actually want to do. I’m not referring to intention here. Actually write it and see if you like. I can’t emphasize how much work is involved at times. In fact, as I’m finishing my side of this post up, it’s almost 1 AM here in the west coast. Don’t expect this to be an easy, overnight project. It’s taken me 3 years and I don’t think I’m done yet.

Be patient when it comes to results. Let me show you a screenshot of the first year.

analytics-0708

This site was getting an average of 200-300 hits a day. It wasn’t until about a year later before traffic exploded and the numbers became fairly consistent. Hey, if you’re not in it for the views, no problem. If you are in it for the views, then you’re going to be in for a long rep grind with the internet.

“Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown.”

- Ross Perot

Getting out there

As far as getting your site out there, get active in the greater healing community. I earned a reputation through posting frequently on forums like Elitist Jerks and PlusHeal. Add your site to your signature, post often, and participate in the community. You represent your site in all facets, and the more people think of you, the more they’ll think of your site. If you don’t have a twitter account, get one. Matt pushed me into it a while ago, and it’s still very true. Twitter is a great way to get your posts out there on the web and let people know when new posts are active. There is a strong healing community present there, and a strong WoW community in general. I know that I’ve gotten into plenty of healthy debates over twitter and gotten a lot of great information through it as well. In the end it’s the writer that makes the site. Not just through the content they produce, but how they represent and conduct themselves in the community. Keep the word community in mind, I’ve seen good sites with great information die because the person wasn’t present in the rest of the community. Also remember that it is OK to ask for help from the community. I’ve had another healing blogger help me with my own private hosting, and I wouldn’t be writing on WoM alongside Matt if he didn’t make a call out for help with blogging and content. You should still keep your content up to date, and try to post on a regular schedule. If you’re writing alone, once or twice a week is a good pacing to make sure you always have fresh content, without letting yourself get burned out on it.

Link out. I cannot emphasize this enough. Find ways to link to other bloggers. I know it defies logic, but other bloggers do look at who links to them (there’s some blogging code and mumbo jumbo built into most major blogging platforms that show this). The point is to catch and attract their attention. Your goal is to develop readers first and that’s one way to start. Write a fantastic blog post? Chances are, it’ll get linked to as well. Blog Azeroth is another excellent resource to turn to in order to get started. Check out this post at Disciplinary Action for additional pointers.

This has gotten a little long winded, so I’ll round it up here. It’s a lot of work to put it together, but if you’re willing to put in that hard work it can be a very rewarding experience. I know for me every person who tells me my post helped them down a boss, or top the healing charts or even just get their guild a little further along, I count each of those as a victory in and of itself.

We all blog for different reasons. Your goals are going to be different from that of others. Blogging is like playing WoW: There’s multiple ways to go about it. If you’re trying to achieve something specific, then it takes a certain mindset and methodology to go about it. Larisa at the Pink Pigtail Inn uses different measurements and has different goals than I do, but that doesn’t make it any less valid in any way. She writes about life for her in Azeroth and her personal views about WoW and the community. We write about how to kick ass healing along with raiding and guild management tips. Although we may not see eye to eye, that doesn’t change my deep respect for her and her work.

Some people just find pink pony tailed gnomes more appealing then grey bearded dwarves, I suppose.

Good luck in making your new site, and if you have any specific questions, feel free to ask!

~Joe and Matt

There you have it folks. If you have any questions at all about blogging, feel free to contact us here at the site. We’d love to get your questions, and to help you out!

Tough Call: Is Preparation Enough?

Tough Call: Is Preparation Enough?

683292_50743243Welcome to Tough Call with me, Viktory.  This column aims to answer some questions and start even more discussions about one of the trickier aspects of raiding, raid leadership.  Sometimes “raid leadership” will mean strictly talking about class composition, role management, benching policies and loot, and inevitably sometimes it will bleed over into overall guild leadership. 

Based on my own experiences and the conversations I have every week with current and past guild/raid leaders, I know that this is one area where there is almost no black and white, and everyone can use some help or constructive criticism at times. 

I can tell you now that my answers will not be the universally-applicable answer, nor will they be the happy/nice/”make everyone love me” solutions.  That simply is not effective; raid management isn’t a WordPress plug-in, it’s a graduate-level course in human relations and resource management and we’re all crazy for trying to do it. 

My aim is always to have the most efficient raid possible, so that we can get in, get the job done, then go have a beer and pat ourselves on the back afterwards. 
Bottom line, the intent of this column will be to discuss how to make the decisions that the 24 other people in your raid would hate to make.  After-all, “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown”; but hey, you get to wear a frickin’ crown!

Now let’s move on to this week’s topic.

Preparation is the bare minimum

This week, many of you will either be grouping together for your guild’s first serious raids this expansion, or will be seeing more of your guildies hitting the gear levels to be able to join your raiding ranks.  Either way, you should be in a position where you have to decide who you will take to raids and who will be coming in off the bench.

In order to field the best team possible as you roll into a brand new expansion, you cannot always rely on the players who were your all-stars in Wrath.  Some may have grown complacent.  Some may have life commitments that prevent them from gearing-up (or even leveling up) as the same pace as the rest of your guild.  Some may even be less interested in raiding than they were last go-round.  Regardless of the reason, you owe it to your group to take an honest look at every possible option and make the best decisions.

If your group is already 12/12, please accept this High-Five and check back with us next week.  If your group is exactly 10 people and you would never dream of raiding with anyone else regardless of how long you have to wait…  let’s agree to disagree

If you’re still with me, I assume you’re not in one of those first two groups, and you’re probably facing some of the same decisions I’ve had to make this week.

For the sake of argument, let’s presume you’re doing 25-man raiding and have a roster of 30-40 people to choose from.  Six months ago, you could have considered multiple factors: experience, achievements, badge-gear vs boss-drops, etc.

Today, preparation is king.

Preparation does not always mean gear.  Sometimes people can get lucky and every instance they run drops exactly what they need.  I’ve seen it.  That doesn’t mean that they are any more prepared to raid than they were the day before, it just means that they may have a larger margin for error.

  • Among your healers, who is most prepared to keep your team alive when you’re in those first raid encounters?  
  • Who has taken the time to watch the videos, read the boss breakdowns, and consider what parts of their class/spec are best suited for each fight mechanic?  
  • Which of your tanks knows what is expected of them on each fight and which one is just hoping you’ll point them towards a boss and let them button-mash?

It should be absolutely unacceptable for your raid members to expect you to give them boss breakdowns before each pull.  Efficient raids will already be slowed down by new class mechanics and everyone needing new loot, you absolutely cannot allow another 10-15 minutes per raid to explain the strat.  Certainly you may review how your implementation of the suggested strat may differ (where to group on Altramedes, which drake to focus first on Halfus, etc), but the concepts and fight mechanics should have been discussed on your guild forums well before raid day.  This includes making sure the vital roles (such as interrupts, counter-spells, DPS tranquilities, etc.) have been assigned, preferably including back-ups.  If someone cannot meet this minimum standard, then they are not prepared to meet the challenges of raiding in Cataclysm and have made your decision that much easier. 

Remember, your roster should be a living document, constantly changing to meet your needs, and hopefully constantly improving as time goes on.  If you bring in the player who is most prepared, the one who went through the beta, has cleared every heroic 20 times, did 10-man raids before your guild had 25 people ready and thinks they know exactly what to do on each fight; that player can still fail.  They might have learned all this to mask the fact that they suck as moving out of the fire.  Preparation doesn’t show skill, but it does show dedication to the ideal of efficient and knowledgeable raiding.

Preparation is king, but it is not a guarantee.  Pick the guys who know what is expected of them so that you stay alive longer and can get the best possible looks at the new content.  Then, after a few nights, go back and use this experience to help you pick out who your top performers are.

Raid Leading 101: 3 Important Communication Tips

Last week, we covered some of the basic pro’s and con’s to both 10- and 25-man raid styles. Thanks everyone to their input and comments. I’ll be updating the post soon to get those new items in there! This week, we cover the art of communication.

Now that you’ve donned the crown of Raid Leader, you have to pontificate with your subjects… meaning you have to talk to your raiders. This sometimes can be the hardest aspect of the job. You definitely have to be more “on the ball” than the other people on the team. In my time as a raider, and also as a Raid Leader, I’ve always found the best Raid Leaders have been great communicators.

Choosing Your Style

When I raid, I like a positive and friendly environment. In raid environments, I usually do best when people are laughing, smiling, and overall having a good time. This is a game for me, and although I take it seriously, I work hard to make sure people are having fun. As a Raid Leader, I try to impress that upon my raiders.

It’s on you, as Raid Leader, to decide how you’re going to motivate your team. Positive reinforcement? Brow-beating? Drill Sergeant? I’m particularly biased towards the positive reinforcement, but I also see the benefits of other styles as well. Think of it this way:

  • You can take each good thing from a wipe and build on it. Encourage that kind of behavior or style of playing. Praise the healers for an excellent job handling that attempt, even if they ended up wiping.
  • You can point out the faults in each attempt, in an effort to discourage that from happening again. Even take it farther and threaten substitution if it happens again. Point out that if the mage doesn’t move the split second he needs to, he’s getting replaced.
  • You can be the strong, silent type. No news is good news. Set your assignments, and let the raiders discover what went wrong.

Either way you go, you must be aware of what kind of style you possess. This will easily decide what kind of raiders you’re going to have. There are plenty of raiders out there that enjoy different styles of raiding. Some like tough competition, some like the team environment. Be conscious of the tone you’re setting, whatever that may be.

Your Intentions

Just like in the olden days when a gentleman would court a lady, they would state their intentions. You must do the same. This goes back to our discussion on motivation. Have you been honest with yourself about your motivation? What do you want to achieve? How do you want to go about it (all things we’ll eventually cover)? You need to be up front with your raiders on what the goal of this adventure is:

  • What size are you going with? 10 or 25?
  • Are you going to work towards heroics? or just normal?
  • Are you bringing close friends? or are you valuing performance over history?
  • What sort of attendance policy do you intend to have?

By setting out the groundwork to your raiders, there’s very little room for guessing on your part. When you talk things out, it solidifies it in your own mind. Also, all of your raiders and potential recruits will know what they’re getting into, and what to expect.

Honesty is the Best Policy

An awesome line from my favorite movie, Swingers: “Respect my ass. What they respect is honesty.” The same holds true for being a Raid Leader. You need to be a straight shooter. If you want someone on your team, you need to be up front about it. If something’s not working out, you gotta speak up.

I’ve learned this first hand as a Raid Leader. **STORY TIME** When I was running the original Team Sport raids, we had a warlock that was never up to snuff. We tried to be up front from the beginning about what we expected of the raid team, and we knew that this warlock wasn’t up to it. Nice person, and fun player but just didn’t have the extra “oomph” to raid at the level we wanted to. Constantly long AFKs, not paying attention in fights, etc. Since we let it go on for so long, it had become acceptable to this player to act like that. When it came down to saying that we wanted to move forward but without the warlock, we were met with some unnecessary drama.

Essentially, if we had been honest up front regarding what we expected and that the warlock’s behavior wasn’t what we were looking for, we would’ve saved a lot of trouble. Now, within the Raid Team, I have little to no problem telling people that not signing up is unacceptable, or that not having food/flask is not gonna cut it. I’m not a jerk about it, but I’m honest with my raiders about what I expect of them on the team, and when they’re not getting invites or raid spots, they should know why.

How have you stepped up to the task of communicating to your raid? Are there any alternate methods/tips you’ve used that have been particularly efficient?