More Quests Like This Will Help Healers

More Quests Like This Will Help Healers

*Warning: Some quest spoilers here for players working their way through Twilight Highlands*

There’s these two Alliance quests that I want to point out. I think every player should do them at least once. Well, maybe every player that’s new to the game or isn’t as knowledgeable about healing classes. For the longest time, healers have tried to educate and teach players about healing circles. Turns out there are a couple of quests in the game that help players familiarize themselves with select healing mechanics.

Look at the Wild, Wild, Wildhammer Wedding quest. In it, you’re busy fending off Twilight Hammer cultists as they try to crash this wedding. Russell Brower, that hip lute (I think) playing dwarf, sets up a wedding hymn! And there’s in game prompts telling you to stand in it so that you regenerate.

The graphic looks exactly like Holy Word: Sanctuary.

 WoWScrnShot_011211_011315

In an expansion where players have been conditioned to stand out of fires and void zones, they’re standing out of friendly stuff as well. I wish this quest would’ve been offered earlier on during the zone. More players would have been exposed to it. Hopefully, that exposure could then help recondition them to recognize the graphic and actually use it.

Actually, let’s take it a step further.

Why not have every healing circle as part of a quest? Standing in glowing circles should be reinforced at every level or zone. Maybe an Earthen Ring Shaman is dropping Healing Rain in Vashj’ir in some multi-NPC quest. Design another quest where a Druid representing the Guardians of Hyjal are using Efflorescence. Or set up another boss killing quest where that boss has an ability that nukes a blast radius. Have an NPC discipline priest who conjures up a barrier that a priest should stand under. I don’t know. I think it would help and reduce healer headaches in the dungeon finder.

Speaking of cool quests, there’s another one that’s priest related. Doing it Like a Dunwald involves players killing Darunga in a phased out part of the zone. You’re working with the Dunwald brothers and taking down an Ettin. One of the Dunwalds, I can’t remember which one, sets up a regenerative keg where players can click on it and they gain a HoT.

Now gee, what spell exists in the game where players can click on it to gain a HoT?

Yeah. That’s right. Lightwell. I wouldn’t mind seeing additional introductory quests in future content patches where players need to click something to gain a positive buff. Have that object look like a Lightwell.

My other idea to encourage players to click Lightwell is to create a glyph which turns a Lightwell into a Keg. Would players be more inclined to click Kegwell?

Side note: In case you were wondering, Russell Brower is a composer who composed music for World of Warcraft, Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2. More importantly, he did sounds for Animaniacs (Man I loved that show when I was kid. “United States, Canada, Mexico, Panama, Haiti, Jamaica, Peru…”. No other song helped me destroy my friends when we tried to name as many countries as possible [We were young. Starcraft didn’t exist then and we were tired of playing with pogs]).

P.S. Curious about the new UI I’m testing out? It’s called Real UI. You can check out my evaluation of this addon compilation on No Stock UI.

Podcast Topic: Life As A Raider

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!

A couple week’s ago we asked what your challenges were as a Guild/Raid Leader, now its time for the flip side. What issues do you have as a member of the general raid/guild population?Keeping up with raid attendance, dealing with the guild bank, unorganized raids? What frustrations would you like to vent to the leadership of your guild?

It Came from the P.U.G.: The Teacher

It Came from the P.U.G.: The Teacher

We’ve all been in this situation at least once. You get the queue for the LFD to pop, hit the button and are invited to a group that is already in progress. You see them corpse running back to the instance without even the first boss down. What do you do? Do you bail, leaving them at the mercy of the LFD tool to find another healer while you just eat the 15 minute timer on the queue? Do you ask what happened and then if you don’t like the answer bounce? Maybe you roll your sleeves up and try to get them through the dungeon?

I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying “Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for ever.” or a similar saying. I find the statement to be true in just about anything, granted that the “man” actually wants to learn to “fish”. For our purposes “man” is players and “fish” are instances. For me, I’m a teacher by nature. Honestly I am. I like giving knowledge and helping people out. That’s one of the main reasons I got into blogging in the first place 4 years ago, every person I help I count as a victory.

Almost a week  ago I was running a random heroic with my friend Hod (fun fact: In norse mythology, Hod is the son of Odin. A blind god who accidentally killed his brother Balder after being tricked by Loki), and we zoned into Throne of Tides already in progress. three out of the four bosses had been defeated with only the last event left to handle. The group we joined had a mage, a hunter and a boomkin all from the same guild. Now, on vent me and Hod both say at the about the same time “this is either going to be bad, or good”. We buck up, and the mage asks if we know the fight. I tell him yes, and that I’ve done it many times. The mage says something along the lines of “thank god, because we don’t” and then asks if I can explain the fight to him and the others. They listen and we attempted the encounter.

First try went well, but we did wipe when DPS got split. We made it back in and I asked if it would help if I marked the adds to kill for them. They said yes, so I broke out the old marking addon and went to town. The event went without a hitch and all three of our puggers got their heroic Throne of Tides achievement. We cheered for them and congratulated them and they thanks us in return. We parted ways, and off I went to do dailies until the reset. It was a good example of a group of players actually wanting to learn the encounter and be better. A few nights later roughly around the same time I do my random LFD queue and I wind up grouped with the mage from that Throne of Tides random. He’s happy to see me and thanks me again for taking the time to explain the fight. He tells me his group never wiped on it again, and since then he’s helped a few people understand how to do the encounter. I’m really quite happy about this and I hope that we start to see more and more of this happen. People asking questions, learning and then passing that knowledge on.

Now this doesn’t always work, the person after all has to be open to the idea of help or suggestion. That same night I re-queued at the daily switch over with two guildies. We get the Lost city of Tol’vir. In the group is a shadow priest and a ret paladin who have never been to the instance before. Before the tank can even set marks and hand out cc assignments, they dive headfirst into the first pack of mobs they see and die. We zone out, wait for the reset and zone back in. I ask them if they’ve been here before and both admit that it is their first heroic. I explain the importance of CC in a heroic now, and that they can’t just pull like it’s Wrath anymore.

I’m honestly quite nice about it. Their response is to ignore that and dive right back in. This time the tank joins us zoning out, we wait for the reset and I try to explain again.This time they flat out say that they aren’t going to listen to me and “only bads need CC, a real pro healer and tank can handle this.” At that point I feel I have no other option but to kick them, because otherwise they’re just going to waste everyone’s time with their refusal to listen, and learn.

It never hurts to take a few seconds and talk to your group. In Wrath, Matt and I both had experiences where a “good group” went in, did their jobs, and left after saying something like “good run” but pretty much nothing else. There was little to no communication during those runs, and I think that is something that still carried over now in Cataclysm with the LFD tool. I think players like to come across as confident and knowing what they are doing, for fear of being removed from the group if they don’t.  So the morale of the story is, be the one that breaks the ice, you may be able to help a new player out and make your runs a lot smoother, and you may just help improve the overall quality of the LFD groups you get as more players are educated quicker on what is going on.

So what do you think? Have you had any experiences similar to this?

Matticast Episode 4

Welcome to Episode 4 of The Matticast. This week Matt, Borsk, Kat, and Brian discuss:

  • How to keep your raid team intact when progression stalls.
  • How to motivate raiders to be better than average
  • The listener topic this week tackles difficult boss encounters

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

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Boss Explanations: A Lesson from Twitter

No lie, I’m a twitter enthusiast. I didn’t realize how much of an influence its had on me until I started taking over boss explanations to PuGs in heroic groups. I know healing PuGs isn’t for everyone, but I don’t mind it (much).

Now you see, I’m a pretty efficient guy. In fact, some would even argue I’m impatient. I’ll try to do two things at once if I can get away with it. I plan my travel routes thinking of the fastest way to get somewhere. When I get on the sky train, I choose the car and door closest to the exit at the station I want to get off at. My friends despise it when I move so quickly. But I just really don’t like wasting time. If there is something that needs to be done, then let’s go and get it over with.

In heroics especially, I get a little tired when another player in the group is explaining what abilities are there and what players need to do to counteract it. They leave nothing out at all.

Me, I’m different.

The Twitter Rule

If you need to explain it in more than 140 characters, they’re not going to get it

I’ve started challenging myself to really think about the player and the role that they are. Is it really necessary for a healer to know when they need to interrupt? Does the tank need to know about this random add that gets crushed by DPS players anyway? Ergo, in PuGs, I’ve tried to condense and compact the information into stuff that’s relevant to them.

Don’t use 7 words when 3 will work (Good rule to follow for you new bloggers).

For this to really work though, players need to have certain schemas in place. A schema is basically a concept that lets you understand information in your own way.

Examples of Schemas

  • Void zone: Some dark circle on the ground that’s bad.
  • Cleave: Some attack that destroys all melee.
  • Tail swipe: Stand anywhere else but on the butt of the boss.

I’ve found the results to be promising. Most players I’ve come across seem to instantly just “get it” without the need for further explanation unless it’s a completely new concept for them.

Anraphet (Halls of Origination): Spread out. Stay out of voids. Stack up on Omega Stance. Massive DPS.

Rom’ogg Bone Crusher (Blackrock Caverns): DPS chains. Run away when chains are dead. Watch for ads, AoE as you go.

Drahga Shadowburner (Grim Batol): Burn down fire elemental. Watch where dragon is facing, run through to avoid breath. Avoid big puddle.

General Husam (Lost City of the Tol’vir): Avoid yellow orbs. Stand out of dust on the ground (Shockwave).

High Priestess Azil (Stonecore): Avoid void zones. Kite ads into void zones. Watch for dust on the ground (she throws rocks). Interrupt Force Grip.

Asaad (Vortex Pinnacle): Keep jumping. Spread out. Stack up when he draws lightning on the ground.

Vanessa Vancleef (Deadmines): Avoid fire, ice. Nuke 1st then 2nd boss. Avoid spinning things, nuke 3rd boss. Kill worgen, nuke boss. Kill ads before Vanessa. Use ropes.

Okay, I think went over by 6 characters with Vanessa. Hopefully, my point stands. The reality is that not many players read the full quest text. Like it or not, they read the objectives. By condensing explanations, players unfamiliar to encounters might get a better handle on them.

For obvious reasons, you don’t want to use this approach when it comes to raid bosses. Although, now I’m curious to see if it is possible to condense each role duties to 140 characters or less for raid bosses.

Challenge laid.

How To Tank Heal As A Holy Priest

“I am only one, but still I am one.  I cannot do everything, but I still can do something and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”

- Helen Keller

Holy priests have always had a reputation for being extremely versatile healers.  Somewhere down the line we lost that and I don’t know if that was driven more so by the developers or by the player base, but we did.  We soon found ourselves being trapped in the mindset of being nothing more than Circle of Healing and Renew bots, which meant that we were often competing for raid spots with resto druids, who were practicing a similar style of healing, albeit with Wild Growth and Rejuvenation.  The only thing that really set us apart was Guardian Spirit and even that wasn’t enough to guarantee us a raid spot over a druid or any other class that could do our job better than we could.

With the release of Cataclysm, we found ourselves reclaiming that identity of being extremely flexible healers with the help of an incredible new ability known as Chakra.  For those not in the know, Chakra is a new talent in the holy tree that allows a priest to place themselves into a state that enhances certain abilities and opens up new ones for them to use, depending on the kind of role that they will be filling in a group or raid.  Currently, there are three Chakra states that can be described as the tank healing or single target healing Chakra (Serenity), the AOE or raid healing Chakra (Sanctuary) and the last one being a Chakra that enhance your damage dealing spells (Smite).

Sadly, old habits die hard and there are a still a number of misconceptions out there that holy priests either cannot tank heal or should not tank heal, due our having such strong AOE healing capabilities that many feel are not worth giving up to have us tank heal or heal a single target.  I consider myself extremely fortunate to have an amazing healing lead who is not afraid to try new things and knows her healer’s strengths and to be part of a healing core where my fellow healers are not afraid of change and can excel at things that most people would feel are not possible or not worth it to try and do.

Here is a run down of the abilities you will most likely use and the talents that will help you best in tank healing as a holy priest, in my experience.

Chakra.  The Chakra of choice for tank healing is Chakra: Serenity, which you enter by casting Chakra and then immediately casting Heal right after it.  Recent patch notes from the PTR have indicated that Binding Heal, Flash Heal and Greater Heal are being added to the list of spells that will activate this particular Chakra.  Being in this Chakra takes Holy Word: Chastise and changes it to Holy Word: Serenity.

By simply being in Chakra: Serenity, your chance to crit with direct healing spells is increased by 10% and they will refresh a Renew that is present on the target.  Currently, only Heal, Flash Heal and Greater Heal are capable of refreshing the Renew.  Binding Heal and Holy Word: Serenity are slated to be added to the mix, based on information found in the patch notes that were released last week.  You will want to remain in this Chakra for the entire time that you are responsible for healing the tank.  Being in this Chakra does not lock you out or prevent you from casting other spells, not related to the tank healing state.  You can still use a Prayer of Healing, if the group that the tank is in gets low on health or use a Circle of Healing if those around them are taking damage.

Holy Word Serenity.  This spell can be used a number of ways and has drawn comparisons to being our version of Holy Shock.  One way you can use it is to use it off cooldown.  The buff that Holy Word: Serenity leaves will increase the crit chance of your direct heals on the target by 25% for 6 seconds, in addition to the 10% increased crit chance that you have from being in Chakra: Serenity.  Having this buff on the tank regularly means that any incoming heals that would need to be used have a chance of healing for more and being more effective.  You can also choose to use this more selectively and wait until the tank is taking large amounts of damage, use it first and then take advantage of the crit buff by following it by spamming direct heals.  Either way is fine, but this spell is a core part of tank healing and should not be left out when you’re doing that.

Prayer of Mending.  As always, Prayer of Mending should be used every time it is off cooldown.  Be sure to toss it out either before you cast Chakra or after you have safely entered the correct Chakra state, which is Serenity.  If you don’t cast it at the right time, you may accidentally find yourself entering the wrong state and being in Chakra: Sanctuary, which is the AOE or raid healing state.  This will prevent you from using Holy Word: Serenity, which is only available by being in Chakra: Serenity and your direct heals will not be nearly as effective.

Renew.  Slap a Renew on the tank and if you are using your designated Chakra state to its fullest, it should never fall off of them.  Talents like Improved Renew and Divine Touch can help make Renew more effective by increasing the healing that it does and by eliminating the usual delay in healing output that comes with using a heal over time ability.

Empowered Healing. Placing three points in this talent increases the healing done by Binding Heal, Flash Heal, Heal and Greater Heal by 15%.  These spells are going to be your bread and butter for tank healing, so you are going to want to have that added boost of healing.  You are also going to want three points in Divine Fury, so that your Heal and Greater Heal have their cast time reduced by 0.5 seconds.  That may not sound like a lot, but compare to it the cast time when you don’t have points in this talent.  Believe me, you will feel and notice the difference.

Surge of Light.  Surge of Light allows you the chance to get a free, instant cast Flash Heal that is incapable of critting each time you use Heal.  Unless you’re facing a fight with unpredictable spike damage, Heal is going to be your core spell for tank healing.  It’s been determined that roughly 1 out of every 17 Heals cast will result in a Surge of Light proc.  That may not sound like a lot, but every little bit helps and Flash Heal is extremely expensive to cast on its own, without an immediate reason to do so.  If you’re still not convinced that this talent is useful to you, Surge of Light was mentioned in the recent patch notes, stating that Flash Heal and Greater Heal will be added as one of the spells that can trigger Surge of Light and the heal generated by the proc will be able to crit.

Inspiration.  This talent is considered a must have, since you probably won’t be throwing shields on the tank that often, if at all and you want some kind of damage reducing ability to fall back on.  More on that later.  It’s also the only ability that warrants you having any kind of critical strike rating to speak of.

Serendipity.  There are times where your tank is going to take a lot of damage really quickly and you’re going to need to act fast.  You want to have options available that will maximize the heals you will need to throw out, while also being mindful of your mana bar.  Serendipity can help you with that and you can customize it to meet your needs.  If your tank is in trouble and you need a heal, use Binding Heal.  If it’s just your tank that has taken a lot of damage, use Flash Heal.  You now have one stack of Serendipity, which will reduce the cast time of your next Greater Heal by 10% and its mana cost by 5%.

If that single heal wasn’t enough, you can follow it up with another Binding Heal or Flash Heal and gain a second stack of Serendipity, which will now reduce the cast time of your next Greater Heal by 20% and lower the cost by 10%.  Two stacks is the most you can have on yourself at any given time.  You are now prepared to do what I call a “Serendipity bomb,” which is what I call using Flash Heal –> Flash Heal –> Greater Heal.  It is extremely mana intensive to do this, even with the reduction in cost from the talent.  This method should only be used for emergencies, not as a regular style of healing.

Other talents that can help for emergency situations are Test of Faith, which increases all healing done to targets below 50% health and of course, Guardian Spirit.  There are two ways you can use Guardian Spirit.  You can use it when the tank is getting dangerously low and allow it to activate, healing the tank by a large amount and allowing you a few seconds to focus on others who may need healing.  Or you can cast it on the tank and follow it up with some heals, which will be enhanced by having the effect on them and get them back up to snuff.  To make the most out of Guardian Spirit, make sure that you glyph for it and it also helps to create a macro that will announce in the raid or your healing chat channel (if your raid has one of those) that you have cast Guardian Spirit and on whom you have cast it.  That will alert other healers that your target needs heals and will prompt them to toss some heals on them, if they are able to do so.

Power Word: Shield.  Throwing a shield consistently on the tank while healing them may not always be the best idea, because discipline priests rely heavily on Rapture as a way to get mana back.  The best people to place a shield on, where it will get absorbed the most are the tanks.  If you have shielded the tank, that means they can’t and that could affect the amount of mana they get back in the long run.  I would coordinate this with your discipline priests if possible, by finding out if they are going to be anywhere near where you and your tank will be located and how diligent they are about shielding tanks other than their own.  Some are more consistent about this than others.  If you do have the all clear to shield at will, save it for when you see them taking a large amount of damage.  I wouldn’t throw a shield every time it’s off cooldown or if the tank is nearly topped off.  Use it as a way to buy yourself some time to heal them back up, either by using a “Serendipity bomb” or other combination of heals to get the job done.

A lot of holy priests may get flak from the community at large for attempting to tank heal, but we’re really not bad at it and in fact, we have tools that can really be useful when we’re called into action as tank healers.  The strength of a discipline priest has always been mitigation and preventing damage whereas ours has always been raw healing and reacting to damage.  Just because we lack the mitigation strengths does not mean we do not have the healing capacity to successfully heal a tank and should not be considered for such a task.  Some have argued that our strength is in our AOE heals, but we only have two extra AOE spells (Circle of Healing and Holy Word: Sanctuary) that discipline priests don’t have access to and one of them is on a 10 second cooldown and you need to be in the appropriate Chakra state to even activate it.  We have obviously been given the tools mentioned above for a reason.  What other reason would there be to have shields or to have Chakra: Serenity, if we’re meant to go back to the Wrath style of healing?

Hopefully, this post will give people the encouragement or the motivation to try out tank healing, if you are a holy priest or to consider a holy priest as viable candidate to do such a thing, if you’re a raid leader or a GM.  What are your thoughts on this topic?  Can it be done?  Should it be done?

Special Delivery: Rounding Of This Week’s Best WoW Posts

So has everyone recovered from the New Year? I’m guessing you’re getting stuck into the wealth of new and changed features that Blizzard showered on us just before Christmas, then. I’ve read all kinds of reactions in the past week or so – people saying the raiding’s hard (but good!), people saying it’s hard argharghargh and folks not knowing which way is up with the new healing model. And let’s not talk about the subtle effects of Cataclysm’s new guild structure on guilds themselves.

Or maybe we will. I’ve gathered up some of the best healing, leading and guild-related posts from the blogosphere over the past week. You might remember from before Christmas that curating the blogosphere and sharing it with you is what I do, both here and over at MMO Melting Pot. Mind you, you might not remember… depends on your dark iron ale intake over the holidays I guess! Either way, let’s kick off 2011 with the first roundup from the blogosphere – which, suitably, has felt like its had a fresh injection of lifebloom…

  • Healing Tips For Magmaw – if you’re raiding Blackwing Descent and eyeing up the optional boss Magmaw, Tzufit’s got all you need to know. It’s a detailed post going through the everything from the Bad that your whole raid wants to avoid and the tricks the boss has up his sleeve. Throughout the post Tzufit includes little tips, like a chunk for healers on how to keep the tank alive while he’s being chomped, a trick for druids to help the raid move on time and along with it, a warning about what can go wrong.
  • Raiding Strategy, Redux – Analogue over at Looking for More has written up her guild’s policies and goals – primarily for her raidgroup, but she’s shared it with the rest of us too. The post covers everything from attendance and performance, raid composition, in raid behaviour and loot. All for a 10 man progression guild. Thought provoking post, and might be useful for guilds in similar positions.
  • The state Of Play; Resto Shaman 4.0.6 Preview Edition – The definitive article on how resto shamans are performing right now and how they’re likely to do in the near future. Vixsin opens up with a detailed look at resto shaman performance in all major group content – heroics, normal raids and heroic raids – and accompanies the review with some strong opinions on healing in general. She goes on to examine the incoming big changes to mana tide and what questions still remain unanswered as the patch looms.
  • Healer Evaluations – Kurn’s recently appraised her healing team and has ended up sharing the process with us. But she didn’t pick one of her healing team to be her example: she’s evaluated her own performance to give us an idea of how she handles healer performance evaluations. Her take on herself goes through various categories from attendence to being awesome and gives scores out of 5, along with brief commentary. At the end she tots the scores up and gives a summary of how she thinks things are going for the healer (e.g. herself, here) and what they should improve. Interesting reference for raid and healing leads.
  • Patch 4.0.6 PTR Resto Druid PvP Thoughts – not often we see articles on PvP healing, right? Bit of a change, then. Oom over at Oombulance has taken the patch notes and gone through them all with an eye how to how they’ll affect resto druid PvP play. He takes us through anything related, giving brief thoughts on how and why it’ll affect druid healers in PvP compared to how it is pre-patch.
  • Spirit/Intellect Relationship, evaluating gear choice – Jar’s breaking out the math and equations to work out gear/stat priorities for resto druids. If maths isn’t your thing, don’t worry – it’s still possible to get some useful information if the maths goes right over your head, as it did me. To tie it all up at the end Jar takes his findings and uses two trinkets as an example comparison to get you started.
  • And a quick shout out to Windsoar over at Jaded Alt, who’s been busy posting up great guides for some of the normal mode raid bosses this week. And she shows no sign of slowing down. Find them over on her homepage, and if what you’re looking for isn’t there yet – give a quick poke. I’m sure she’s either got it in the pipeline or can point you in the right direction.

That’s it for this week – was there something there for you, or are you looking for a topic the blogosphere didn’t cover?

Raid Leading 101: 10 vs 25

Probably as old as when Burning Crusade launched is the discussion of 10man vs 25man. The jump from 40man to 25man jolted a lot of raiders and caused the collapse of several teams. Raid teams started out in 10-man Karazhan, which geared them to enter the 25-mans until the end of the expansion (Gruul’s Lair, Magtheridon’s Lair, Serpentshrine Cavern, Tempest Keep, Black Temple, Sunwell Plateau), with a 10man Zul’Aman thrown in for flavor.

From what I saw, there was a stigma that 10mans were inferior to 25man. 25man Raid Leaders were thought of as more commanding and needed more control over their team, whereas 10man Raid Leaders didn’t have as much responsibility. The only way to get any decent gear in Burning Crusade was to run 25man raids. Legendaries were obtained only in the greater of the two. The end result was people preferring 25mans over 10mans, even lasting into Wrath of the Lich King. Anyone else remember needing to get into 25-man Trial of the Crusader to get a decent trinket at the time?

However, with Cataclysm, the tables have shifted toward more balance. With the changes that Blizzard implemented, there is less pressure on needing to raid a certain size. Let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s (as I’ve seen it).

25-man

  • More likely to have every raid buff due to a larger raid.
  • Raiders of the same class can feel more free to tweak their specs.
  • More forgiving to players that may be a little “sub-par”.
  • Battles have a more “epic” feel with a bigger raid.
  • More players = wealth of opinions in strategizing fights.
  • Three in-combat resurrections allowed per fight.
  • Raid competition may not be as crucial (melee vs ranged).
  • ————————————
  • Maintaining control over a bigger group.
  • More standby’s may be needed.
  • More people may equal conflicting egos/personalities.
  • Possible to run into scheduling difficulties.
  • Harder to start up from scratch.
  • Easier for people to slightly slack at times.
  • More officers may be needed.

10-man

  • Usually tighter-knit group.
  • Easier to start up from scratch.
  • More responsibility on each player.
  • Possible to have one of each class (very little gear competition).
  • Fewer standby’s may be needed.
  • Fewer officers or leaders needed.
  • ——————————–
  • Less input for fight strategies.
  • With fewer people, the fights may feel “less epic”.
  • More responsibility on each player.
  • Less room for error.
  • One in-combat resurrection available per fight.
  • Possible to miss certain raid buffs because of limited raiders.
  • Less room for error because of fewer players.
  • Raid composition may matter more (melee vs ranged).

The Choice is Yours

When you’re deciding on which side to go with, keep all of these things in mind. Some of the pro’s and con’s are the same. “More responsibility for each player” may be a good thing for your team or it may not be. You and your team are going to weigh these points differently, and that’s perfectly fine. It all goes back to what you want out of your team. Maybe you want the “epic feel” of 25man and don’t mind dealing with more people/schedules. Perhaps you like less gear competition but don’t mind putting more responsibility on each individual raider.

Remember, the same ilevel gear drops off of 10man vs 25man, so that’s no longer a factor. More gear drops on 25-man than on 10-man to even the scale. Also, Blizzard is still working on balancing the difficulty of the raid sizes, so one doesn’t feel noticeably harder than the other. Personally, I feel this is hard to achieve, but I’m fine with them getting it as close as they can.

As for me, we’ve decided on 10-man since the beginning. I don’t want to put in the extra effort needed to wrangle 24 other players, and we like the greater responsibility placed on each raider. We may not have that “epic” feel because we prefer a more intimate raiding environment. It’s not that I don’t enjoy 25man raiding, but I prefer 10man.

What about you and your team? Have you already made a decision? Are you split? What other pro’s and con’s can you add to the above list?

 

10 Things I’d Rather do Than Heal PuGs

10 Things I’d Rather do Than Heal PuGs

A great part of WoW’s healing base has foresworn the dungeon finder tool ever since Cataclysm, avoiding PuGs like the plague, running away and screaming in terror. And we all know why of course: a lot has changed in the mana business and also, heroic dungeons require a lot more cooperation, tactical approach and CC than they used to in Wrath of the Lich King. Blizzard’s promises in that department have come true.

Now I’m probably not your best candidate because I’ve been a PuG-misanthrope ever since… ever. Sometime through my late level 50ies of vanilla WoW, I did one sucky corpse run too many or heard a stupid comment too often from a random lol-DPS in Stratholme, Diremaul or Scholomance, to put me off anything public or pickup in WoW permanently. Which is probably good to highlight in this context: Yes, there was stupid back in the “good old days” too.

I’ve stuck to my own raid guilds for dungeons ever since then and I’ve been so fortunate to always have more competent groups of players at hand. Yes I’m a spoiled holy priest – but then, I’ve also done a great load in order to keep the guilds running I’ve been in. Nothing comes for free in the World of Warcraft.

I’ve still pugged a handful of 5man runs, especially in the later stages of WotLK as Blizzard was so cunning to make pugging an achievement that comes with a pet (ugly as it might be). You got me there! And it wasn’t even the worst experience; in fact it’s showed me that not all PuGs are completely horrid, even if I still considered them a waste of my time.

But that was in WotLK. You know, “I can get free badges while walking my dog puppy”-WotLK, the expansion of free rides and blissful matters-not-just-AoE-olol. The era of pretty dead party chats too, so dead in fact that exceptions of the rule almost felt outrageous.

That doesn’t work so well in Cataclysm: The new heroics make the best team of guild mates facepalm after 2 hours have passed. And you only really stick around for that long because you actually know these people and enjoy their company. Alternatively, you can be openly grumpy and abuse them in party chat for being blind as a bat, without them going into an emo-fit which makes up for a little at least. I still luv my tank mate despite the fact that he made me run heroic Deadmines for 3 hours on launch week.


Those saints among saints

Healing Cataclysm heroics is a challenge and having to do so in a group of complete strangers who are likely not nearly as vocal, cooperative or forgiving as guild mates , doesn’t make things easier. It has a good chance of making things hellishly frustrating, in fact.

Some healers however, are still bothering. They are still healing PuGs and going in fully prepared to supervise the party and make it succeed. They have the sort of patience that I’m not sure whether to call noble or slightly nutty, but in any case I have big respect for them to put up with the risk. It’s not just the whole coordination part after all: PuGs are time-consuming. The chance for these runs to take longer than usual is high, already due to limiting factors such as party chat. It is a lot of extra playtime to put into something that has a high risk to go wrong. And while in times of precious mana, DPS and CC have probably become more important than ever, the high pressure on healers and tanks is unchanged and so is the blame-factor. Not everyone has switched boat from WotLK yet.

In her most recent blog post, Ophelie tells us why healing PuGs can work out and how healers can contribute to that success. I’d never have the willingness or dedication (and I secretly suspect her to create her own WoW hard modes that way, things are not yet hard enough for Holydins it seems!) but it’s definitely a great guide if you’re a healer and looking to PuG heroics without wanting to throw yourself off a bridge after the first 30 minutes.

I raise my hat to all who try and risk their sanity and self-confidence in the progress. What many people do not know: a bad PuG can make any healer feel shitty. You can know that there was nothing you could have done differently – still: SHITTY!

Before you call me out for speaking without experience, I’ve in fact blundered into 2 PuGs in Cataclysm myself. Number one ended at the first boss, after approximately 10 wipes of the exact same fashion and loads of “GOGOGOGO!!!”. A chronic case of Speedius Nubicus. The second PuG lasted exactly 3 minutes before I pulled the plug – and you’d have done the same. Let’s just say it doesn’t bode well to enter a heroic Stonecore where the rest of the group is already in the process of corpse running, because their last healer fled in terror. Not the finest act to leave them mid-combat, but then…who among us to cast the first stonecore?

PuGs like these aren’t only plain painful, but I simply don’t have time for this. My gametime is more limited than ever these days and what I need in order to be ready for my guild’s raids asap, are efficient runs. I love the new dungeon difficulty, just so there are no misunderstandings here: challenging doesn’t have to equal mind-numbingly long though. I’m more than willing to admit that I don’t take the lead in PuGs usually and that’s probably a wrong perception of my role. It is certainly not by default the MT’s. Furthermore, I don’t actually make use of vote-kicking. Why not? I just CAN’T BE ARSED! If I need to kick and replace five people first before I can start a run, I rather go do something else. By the time we’ve finally found “teh perfect tank” the first person who got replaced is probably already so bored that he decides to bugger off by the time we look halfway ready.

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My contribution to a serious topic

I’d still like to contribute in a more productive or rather creative way to the whole PuG-healing thing and since I’m not a saint who can tell you how to make it happen, I’ll tell you what I’d rather do instead of making it happen!

When starting to think about this, the first spontaneous things come to mind, were:

· Running a screwdriver through my left eye. Real slow.

· Jumping off an airplane with no parachute on. Working as intended.

· Entering a den of rabid wolves in a meat skirt.

But….that’s not realistic, I know! So, I’ll be good and limit myself to things that are actually there in the game, painful and annoying and… still so much more preferable to healing PuGs right now!


10 things I’d rather do than heal PuGs

I would rather…

  • Get exalted with Silithus. Again.
  • Repeat the entire Argent Tournament daily jousting-grind to buy all available pets and mounts.
  • Travel from Bloodmyst Isle to Booty Bay. Via Northrend. By foot.
  • Give gold to every lvl 5 beggar in Elwynn Forest.
  • Run guild alts through Gnomeregan 5 times a day. Make that 10 times.
  • Re-skill both my professions up from zero.
  • Follow the public channels. Yes, that’s general and trade chat.
  • Change my holy priest to worgen female…./gasp. Okay, for one week.
  • Read the quest texts of all new Cataclysm quests. No word skipping.
  • Hang out with THIS GUY!

This list was originally a lot longer, but I forced myself to keep it short, just like the rest of this post. And with that, I’ll wish the saints among you who are still out there facing their PuGs good luck and hold on to that halo! You’ll need it.

Sylvara

Adrenaline, Stormrage EU

P.S. No random pugee was vote-kicked or otherwise harmed in the process of writing this article.

Podcast Topic: What Dungeon/Raid Bosses Are Causing You Trouble?

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!

This week we are looking for the Dungeon/Raid encounters that are troubling your guild. Having healing issues on Vanessa Van Cleef, DPS troubles on Magmaw, need help with phase transition on Nef? let us know what bosses are troubling your guild at this point and we will do our best to help ya out.