He’s only mostly dead

He’s only mostly dead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Beta Experience So Far

*Some light Cataclysm spoilers are in the post*

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the beta recently in between raids. A lot of peole ask me “Why? Don’t want you want to enjoy the experience when its all polished and stuff?” Yes and no. I plan to rocket my Priest to 85. That’s a directive I’ve issued to the guild. We’ll begin raiding operations the moment we have the man power to do so. For the most part, everyone’s bought into that idea. I’m taking the time right now in the beta to explore the world and try out different quests and really take in the sights. For me, the game has always started at the end. The levels in between were just a means to it. But with so many changes I noticed when flying around, I’m going to have to level at least 1 alt to see what’s been happening to the world.

Andorhal a three way between Scourge, Undead, and Alliance forces? Hogger in Stockades? Alliance offensive in Southern Barrens? What’s going on here!?

I want to talk about beta testing for a moment.

I think there are different categories of beta testers. Some like to sit in a city, and cast spells over and over to make sure it functionally works.  Others prefer to fly around all over the landscape and note any rocks that don’t seem to fit or waterfalls that disappear into open air. Players like me prefer to actually do stuff in a practical environment where all these skills can be applied. And others like to wipe repeatedly to test out new boss mechanics. Each person has their own specialty and preference. So if you have access to beta, don’t waste it please. There are a large number of people I know that want to get in and want to help prepare the game for launch. Play the game and send in some feedback. It kills me when I find out about people with beta access who only log in once or twice, complain about its incompleteness, then never go back in again.

If anyone has a spare key, I know a certain Priest from wow.com who would love to test numbers while standing in a capital city.

Chakra

I had a few people inquire as to my thoughts regarding on Chakra.

In a word, I like it.

I hope this iteration of it makes it through until release. If you’re not quite sure about it yet, I encourage you to check out Derevka’s post and his video:

Conceptually I understand it. For me right now, the difficulty lies in executing. I’ve been working on getting into 5 mans and attempting to try different specs and cast sequences. More thought on Cataclysm healing will come later though. I’m going to record a few videos myself healing in the beta and provide commentary while doing so.

It’s a definite unique addition to our class and I hope to master it and share the details with you (to at least help ease the transition process).

If you’re curious about the new Holy Word: Chastise and how it interacts with Chakra, I shot a brief video of my own here:

State of healing

Heal, the spell, needs to work. I feel like I’m doing this handicapped.

Still not sold on the whole DPS and heal mechanic. I have enough mental bandwidth to do one or the other really well, but not both. The game needs to slow down a lot before that can happen. This is coming from a guy who’s played his share of RTS’s and FPS’s and has been able to “read” the play and make the appropriate responses to the situations at hand.

The typical situation I’m encountering in a 5 man goes something like this:

Group has taken half damage.
Tank is continually taking damage.
Matt’s mana is less than 30% and will be empty within the next 20 or so seconds at the rate of consumption.
Do I DPS and utilize those mana returning talents? Or do I drop the quick or group wide heals to bring everyone else back to full and sink my mana even further?

For me, the latter will always take priority. I am watching mana a lot closer than usual. I can’t help but think that if Heal were to hit for the appropriate amount, I’d have a different read. I’m still falling back to Flash Heal or Greater Heal as my answers to the time vs efficiency deal.

I can’t say I’ve ever chosen to use my DPS options. Ever. My job in the game right now is to heal. Its what I chose. I like having the option to chip in on DPS once in a while if I can afford to, but I should not have to rely on DPSing in order to carry out my role as a healer.

In Defense of the New Tree of Life

In Defense of the New Tree of Life

When Blizzard first announced the changes they were making to Tree of Life in the upcoming expansion, the Druid community experienced its own mini-Cataclysm. The main gripe seems to be more about the loss of another “true” Druid form, than it is about the mechanics of the talent. The reasoning behind the Dev’s decision  is that being one of the maybe two capstone abilities for Resto Druids, Tree of Life was pretty boring. Yes, it gave you a new form, but the benefits of the talent in its Wrath iteration read like a list of lower tier talents. Assuming the math supports the Blue’s statements, the reduced mana and increased healing it offers only bring us in line with other healing classes. Not really the huge benefit you expect from a must have talent.

The new version of Tree of Life as it is in the beta, including the recent announcement that the snare is probably being removed, provides quite a few situational uses for Resto Druids, and makes the talent far more useful and class defining than before. First, lets take a look at what the new talent brings to the table:

Tree of Life:

Shapeshift into the Tree of Life, increasing healing done by 15% and increasing your armor by 120% but reducing your movement speed by 50%. In addition, some of your spells are temporarly enhanced while shapeshifted. Lasts 45 sec. 5 minute cooldown. Enhanced spells: Lifebloom, Wild Growth, Regrowth, Entangling Roots, Thorns, Wrath.

Enhanced Spells:

Wild Growth: affects 2 more targets
Regrowth: instant cast
Lifebloom: 2 applications of Lifebloom
Entangling Roots: instant cast and increase damage by 200%
Wrath: cast time reduced by 50% damage increase by 30%
Thorns: not yet implemented

The first change may not be apparent in the tooltip. The 15% increase to healing should be a larger boost than what you are currently seeing in Wrath, due to the fact that Druid healing power is being brought closer in line with the other classes without Tree of Life figured in. Because it is now a cooldown, the healing bonus can have more impact than if it was a passive bonus like the current live version. But the most obvious, and interesting, change is the enhanced spells. Not only do some our healing spells benefit from this, but some Balance spells as well.

Where I think that the new version really shines is how many different uses I can see for it. It truly went from a set it and forget it toggle, to a spell that can give you different advantages depending on when and how you use it. I really see it adding

Playing Catchup

The most obvious way I see Tree of Life being used, is as a way to catch up when massive damage or some other raid situation causes you to fall behind in healing. The ability  to heal extra Wild Growth Targets, complete a 3 stack of Lifebloom much faster, and cast Regrowth instantly, all combine for a very powerful boost to your healing when damage gets out of control. This also seems to apply to both raid and tank healing, assuming Druids are healing in Cataclysm the way the devs have been describing.

Healing On The Move

Druids are already known for being good healers on the move, but this makes us even better. By using this cooldown in high movement situations, you will add Regrowth to your instant cast arsenal, while also increasing the effectiveness of Lifebloom, and hitting more targets with Wild Growth. While the design of Cataclysm raids will determine how often you will use Tree of Life in this manner, I am sure there will be plenty of times that you are the only healer capable of truly healing on the move. This should be a good way to make up for other classes deficiencies in this area.

Damage Boost When You’re Not Healing

One of the design trends for healers in Cataclysm seems to be dealing damage when your not healing. So the bump to a few of our damaging abilities is in interesting touch. Now I am not saying this is an effective use of your cooldown in most raid situations. However, in times in which you outgear content, or in 5 man dungeons where it is not necessary to have the increased healing every boss, this can give us a nice DPS bump. I see this as more of a fun way to use the cooldown, but who knows what Blizz has in mind for the new raids.

Arenas/Battlegrounds

Arguably there is no area of the game better suited for situational abilities than Arenas and Battlegrounds. Where this talent truly benefits you in PVP is with its flexibility. Especially with the removal of the snare component taking away the one drawback that would keep you from using it in PVP. Lots of team members taking damage in a 5v5? Pop it and go to town with your raid healing spells. Someone being focused fired? Use it for the extra boost that can often be the difference between winning and losing. Got that last opponent on the ropes and want to help finish them off? This is a perfect time to cast Tree of Life and spam your enhanced Wrath.

In the end the beauty of the new Tree of Life is all its nuances and flexibility. Find the right time and way to use it will be a challenge at first, but in the long run you will gain far more benefit form it than the current design. As far as the loss of a true Druid form goes: Is it really worth it to lose a great spell, just because we don’t want to heal in our ugly caster forms? I hope the answer for most players is no.

Epiphanize is the co-host of the Raid Warning Podcast and is currently leveling a Druid in the Cataclysm beta as well as playing one as his main.

Current Legendaries Don’t Count?

I’m wearing a sad face.

The guild rewards you guys are seeing in game are not hooked up yet. Guild rewards have 3 requirements that must be be met before you can use them. First and foremost, they must be unlocked via a guild achievement. Let’s just say, that for example, you need to complete the new guild achievement "We are Legendary" in order to unlock the Dark Phoenix. That achievement requires the guild to gain access to all 6 legendary weapons currently available in the game. (note that all guild achievements start on Cataclysm launch, so anything you have now will not matter, it must be done with your guild after launch)

Source

It appears my Val’anyr will not count towards that guild achievement. I wonder if it’s because of a technical implementation or what? I understand that players come and go. I’m aware that guilds will rise and fall. Is that alone a valid reason to punish the guilds who are still around who have legitimately worked hard on current content (when its relevant) to earn those weapons?

The Wrath weapons had quests related to it. It would seem easy to simply do a check to see if that player had the quest complete. Otherwise, an inventory check might be needed for older weapons like War Glaives or Thoridal.

Getting Val’anyr took us about 6 months from start to finish. We’re very close to finishing our first Shadowmourne (7 shards away). Knowing that we have to go back and redo or reclear most of the older instances for it even though we already have some of them just so that it counts seems odd to me.

Or maybe there will be 6 new legendary weapons added in Cataclysm.

Or perhaps We Are Legendary won’t end up being an actual guild achievement, but more of a Feat of Strength.

Your thoughts?

Without a safety net

Without a safety net

For as long as we play this game, no matter how much changes there are things that will always stay the same. Standing in fire is generally bad (there have been very few exceptions to this and the exception does not make the rule). Cleave and Whirlwind are not things you should stand next to. Don’t break the sheep, and my favorite, always blame the hunters. These are simple truths that we have come to accept as we’ve played the game.

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately in the Cataclysm beta recently. I’ve leveled Lodur to the current level cap 3 times now (once as resto, once as elemental and finishing out the one as enhancement) and some of these simple truths are being expanded and brought back to the forefront. In Cataclysm, the developers have a goal to make healing harder and more involved. Our healing spells hit for slightly less than one would expect and mana is at a premium.

You see, previously healers have had an excess of mana either through large base mana pools, stacking MP/5 or getting high returns from intellect and talents. With mana flowing like water, healers have been able to compensate to a certain extent for players who “stand in the bad”. Now, it does not mean that no one died. There are still plenty of things that will kill a person flat out if they aren’t paying attention, but some feel that the game has become far more forgiving than it was in the days of Vanilla WoW.

By making healing harder in Cataclysm, they are doing something they moved away from inadvertently over the course of two expansion. They are placing the burden of living squarely on the entire group, and not just leaving it to the healer to be the sole life-line. I’m not saying healers shouldn’t be trying to heal, but rather just stating that the game is changing. Let’s break it down to the core components in play here as provided to us by the developers;

  • Mana is a concern for healers
  • Healers will be focusing more on triage
  • Fights will be longer
  • Situational awareness will be a factor again with a lot of avoidable damage
  • It will be less about brute force and more about survival and finesse

That is just the short list, since things are constantly changing in the beta.

Mana being a concern and the focus being more on triage is a big thing. Right now healing sort of devolves into whack-a-mole frantically trying to keep everyone up. Come cata however, healers will have to make judgment calls as to how to prioritize heals in order to conserve mana and maximize healing benefit to the group.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. In the Throne of Tides (one of the new 5 players dungeons in the next expansion) the very first boss has a spout / geyser like ability that she forms underneath her. The tank and melee need to move out of this before the ability triggers, or they take a lot of damage. Healing this, I had the tank and a rogue stay in the “void zone”. The tank and rogue both took a massive amount of damage. The rogue was JUST far enough away from the tank to be out of Chain Heal range so I had to decide to drop the nuke heal on the tank or the rogue. Needless to say I picked the tank. The rogue died immediately after my heal landed on the tank (1.7 second cast time for those interested). Had either the rogue or the tank moved out of the ability, neither would have died as I wouldn’t have had to decide who got healed and who did not. A little situational awareness would have gone a long way here.  The boss also spawns adds that need to be tanked and dealt with. One of the ranged wasn’t paying attention and wound up proximity aggro-ing two of the mobs and he was dead before I could even cast a single heal on him. We wiped it after that and tried again, but you can see how paying attention counts for a lot there.

This same fight, at about the 2 minute mark I noticed my mana reserves getting low. The damage throughout the fight was pretty steady, but people not paying attention caused me to burn a lot more heals than I would have liked. The fight in total lasted about 4 minutes or so, but in that 4 minutes I had burned a mana potion, my Mana Tide Totem and ended the fight with around 5% mana. It was a bit of an eye opener. I was forced to figure out which heal was appropriate for what damage in order to conserve as much mana as possible, and had to make decisions on when it was safe to let the tank take a couple extra hits before casting a heal. Spam healing to keep everyone at max just doesn’t work anymore.  Keep in mind this is a normal 5 man dungeon not heroic, and I entered this with ilvl264/277 ICC25 gear. It was refreshing and scary, but not at all impossible. Now this will likely change in the raiding end game, but I wonder how much. The encounters in normal dungeons are already shaping up to be more involved than being simple tank-and-spanks, and one can only hope that the learning curve for endgame will continue along that path rather than decline. After my first run though it got easier, and I ended with more mana, but that is in part because the groups did everything they could to avoid damage and make my job easier. That in turn made it easier to heal through the “oh shit” moments.

Now, what does this have to do with non healers? Well to get to the point of my post, my guild constantly reminds players to “help your healers out”. This means avoiding the bad (looking at you here defile!). We expect the healers to heal and do their jobs well, but we expect all the other players to help themselves stay alive. Use potions or health stones, move out of fire, run to your linked partners on Blood Queen, stay vigilant and react quickly. This is not an uncommon sentiment, but some people seem to think they can stand in the fire and squeeze out one more attack while the healer keeps them up. In Cataclysm if you aren’t paying attention and don’t react to the bad things happening around you, it is very likely you are going to die regardless of how skilled your healer is. With all this going on, it becomes more about surviving for as long as possible in a fight. After all you can’t DPS if you’re dead right? So this means when you see a Healing Rain or Lightwell going down, it will be your responsibility to get to it as much as it is the responsibility of the healer to make sure it is placed optimally. It means managing your threat to make sure you don’t gank and doing things to keep the damage you take at a minimal level even if it means stopping what you’re doing for a few moments to stay alive. You will need to do it. It really seems to be shaping up to have more individual accountability by virtue of taking away what I like to call the “Healer Safety-Net”.

If the trend continues into raids, healers simply will not be able to compensate for bad decisions or poor situational awareness. They wont be able to heal through all the damage being done. Instead it will take coordination of the entire group, people paying attention to their environment and an understanding that the game has become dangerous again. We’ve gone from killing boars to resurrecting gods. The stakes have been raised and we will all have to adapt.

So remember to help your healers out, because it looks like that safety net is going away.

Cataclysm: Spammable Body and Soul? Sure!

Cataclysm: Spammable Body and Soul? Sure!

bsspam

Discipline talents got slight revamps. There are two big things that jumped out at me when I logged in earlier in the evening.

  • Soul Warding moves to tier 2
  • Borrowed time returns

Moving Soul Warding up to tier 2 opens up some interesting speccing options as Discipline. Previously, it was thought that Archangel and Evangelism was required in order to advance deeper in the tree (to me, that didn’t make logical sense). Now it looks like Priests have two routes they can go when progressing. You can pick up Improved Inner Fire and Soul Warding to get past (and I predict that being the optimum raid spec) or you select the Archangel and Evangelism combination (useful for either leveling or powering through older raid content).

If Archangel and Evangelism were in the game right now, I’d dual spec into them for sure. Just being able to power through certain farm bosses in ICC or 5 mans gives us a little bit more of something to do. Think being in Icecrown gear and tackling ToC or Ulduar on normal.

Can’t Holy Priests get Soul Warding?

It certainly looks that way.

With Soul Warding at tier 2, Holy Priests will want to snag it at max level. And who wouldn’t? Being able to cast a massive amount of Body and Soul’d shields on assorted players? Multiple sprint buffs? Hell yeah!

But there’s a problem so don’t get too excited about the prospects. As Holy, you don’t get access to Rapture which offers some mana return when your shields get punctured. This means it will be an increasing drain on your mana so you’ll need to Body and Soul your targets wisely. Remember, we’re supposed to be using out mana intelligently in Cataclysm.

All I know is, between Life Grip and Body and Soul, there will be zero reason for anyone to die in a fire now.

Also, losing internet connection at 12 AM sucks when you have a post ready for immediate publishing. Sad panda.

What Did You Want? Future of Healing Assignments – Part 1

What Did You Want? Future of Healing Assignments – Part 1

A couple of weeks ago I gave you all a quest – what did you want me to write about. A fair number of you responded to the quest and Jooles completed it by way of winning my RNG ingame /roll. So now here I am, a giant oversized owl ready to hand over the quest reward with a yellow question mark ruffling my ear feathers. Which, let me tell you, does nothing to help the usually-aggrieved furrow of a boomkin’s brow.

Joole’s question was this:

The future of healing assignments. Have they gone the way of crowd control due to smart heals and class pigeon-holing? Is it Paladins heal tanks, Shammy’s heal melee, Priests + Druids heal raid forever or is this going to change in Cataclysm? Which way are Disc priests going to go?

With four healing classes to look at and changes happening all the time in beta it’s taken a brief spell to get going on this. This ‘ere is the first of a two-post answer. I’m not stumping up precisely calculated answers; with things not nailed down in beta I’d have to be a physic owl to do so. Which I’m really not, given I can’t remember what I had for dinner tonight and I’m not playing in the beta.

I am looking at the beta information for healing classes and talking about the picture it gives me of their healing style. I’ll look at two classes a week and include a summary of my predictions for healing assignments at the end of the second post.

So without further ado, let’s have a look at Cataclysmic druids and paladins.

Druids:

Anyone got an axe? Tree druids are going to be split into two camps. Blizzard have said they want the difference between a druid’s direct healing spells and their HoTs to be more noticeable, and boy, are we going to notice it.

Tree druids are losing the permanence of tree form but gaining the ability to tank-heal more seriously. At least that’s what Blizzard want: according to blue posts they want trees to be capable tank healers who can spot heal when the going gets tough. But I foresee it not quite playing out like that in healing assignments.

Sure, druids are going to be able to keep tanks up.

But they’re also going to be your “oh nitwibble” guy when things go wrong. Given that we know there’s going to be more damage flying around affecting everyone in the group and that druids’ tree form is going to be the “it’s all gone wrong and I need to pump out extra healing for a bit” cooldown, you’re going to need someone who waits for those “oh nitwibble we’re all dying” times and reacts the second it hits.

Your tree druid is the guy breaking out the roots for the extra healing when everyone’s taking more damage. He’ll stand there (with the current speed penalty to tree form he’s not going anywhere if things are that bad) madly spamming HoTs, the effectiveness of which now scales the more injured the target is, on the group when things go wrong. Not to mention the new talent “efflorescence” which spawns a patch of healing flowers underneath the recipient of a critical-hit Regrowth. So while your druid’s standing there setting his limbs on fire spamming HoTs, the rest of the group could be running madly to stand in the good stuff on the floor. I can hear it now – raid leaders yelling “things are going to piffle! Go stand in the healing fauna!”

Which is a little worrying to my mind. I have a feeling trees won’t be able to be both your tank healer and your “oh nitwibble guy” given healers are going to have less mana. You’re going to have to choose between the tree who heals your tank and the tree who stems the mass-damage spike. Given that Blizzard are trying to homogenize the healers so we can all handle 10 and 25 man content, I’m a little worried that tree druids are going to be irreplaceable.

Paladins:

I can see the paladin running around. Groans from paladins, eh? Hear me out.

First of all, holy paladins are going to need to accrue globules of this new ‘Holy Power’ combo-point like thing. Holy paladins can do this three ways; their primary is by healing (duh). Specifically, by using Holy Shock or healing their Beacon of Light target if they’re talented into Tower of Radience.

Sure they can stand anywhere to use this, but Holy Shock has a 6 second cooldown and healing their beacon target might not always be the smartest move. Maybe the beacon target doesn’t need healing, or maybe it’s more mana efficient to get Holy Power another way rather than casting a heal right this second. So a a secondary Holy Power gatherer they can also stick Crusader Strike up on something, which requires Mr. Holy to be doing the hokee-kokee into melee range.

Now, Blizzard have said flat out they’re trying to remove the “tank healer” label from paladins, though it’s stuck so well they’ve had to scrape it off with new tools in the holy toolbox. So how to make the paladins less like a tank healer?

They’ve given them AoE capability. What with the new “Healing Hands” and talent-based “Light of Dawn” AoE cone/wave heal, paladins could find themselves on their toes. Popping Healing Hands will allow paladins to act like a sparkly version of Healing Spring totem, giving out a short range aura-like AoE heal and “Light of Dawn” could be useful for both clusters of melee and slightly more spread out ranged, depending on your positioning relative to them.

So holy paladins might be donning the headless chicken suit to run around and AoE/aura heal. They’ll need to be spacially aware at all times of who’s standing where so that if they want to use “Light of Dawn” on a few ranged they have to stand a distance away to catch everyone in the cone. Want to use “Healing hands”? Go near the people who need it. Need more Holy Power but can’t heal to get it? Run into melee and stick up Crusader Strike.

 

To my mind druids and paladins are going to be shaken up. Possibly even mixed up, as if we put on the over-generalization goggles for a moment it looks like they’re swapping some of their current iconic roles of trees running around, paladins being the big healers.

Having recently started playing a paladin I’m somewhere between excitement and terror that they’re getting yet more bells and whistles. Druids might not getting that much, but it looks like they don’t need new spells for their role to be flexible. That’s either quite admirable or a tad worrying.

What do you think? Do you see druids and paladins completely differently, or has this opened up new ideas for what Cataclysm will look like?

This is an article by Mimetir, an owl (and resto shaman) of a raid leader on The Venture Co. (EU) You can find my website MMO Melting Pot here and my twitter feed here.

Article image courtesy of Chris Campbell @ flickr

Another Battle Rez?

In my morning perusal of MMO-Champion, I came across a Blue Post from our friendly neighborhood crab (AKA Ghostcrawler) about the mandatory nature of Shamans. You can read the whole post if you like, since there are some compelling arguments on both sides.  However, I want to draw your attention to one specific part that caught my eye:

For now, in Cataclysm, we are just sharing even more of the buffs and debuffs across a wide gamut, especially very powerful ones like Bloodlust and Battle Rez,….

Say what now?!! We can all agree that Rebirth is a very nice ability to have in progression fights. It’s the only ability to bring someone else back to life in the middle of combat. Sure, Shamans have Reincarnation, but Rebirth allows any class to return to the land of the living.

Even our beloved Goblin Jumper Cables XL lack the ability to rez in combat.

Another Battle Rez?! What an awesome addition, if you ask me. Especially if the intent is to make 10man raids more appealing. There won’t be a need to stack druids on harder fights where a lot of people are “off’ed”. Take a look at a couple other skills that are being shared:

Who is going to get it, though? The new class abilities show no sign of another in-combat resurrection, even amongst non-healing classes. Will it be something that can be learned like the Jumper Cables? Or will it be assigned to one specific class? With the latest tweaks to Guild Perks, we can’t expect it to be one of those. Blizzard doesn’t want those to be game-changing abilities.

So, who do you think it will be?

Email: Elder.Thespius@gmail.com | Twitter: @Thespius

Configuring the Healing UI: What’s on Your Wishlist?

Configuring the Healing UI: What’s on Your Wishlist?

You can see elements of the default healing UI in place in a recent post. A number of you asked what the configuration window for it was like.

Don’t laugh.

Here it is.

healing-ui-config

Yeah, that’s it.

I should also add that it’s certainly possible to drag it the frames around. I can’t seem to find a way to lock it but maybe that’s a user error.

You’ll notice a c heck box that says Keep Groups Together.

Unchecked, it allows you to sort groups by role, group or name.

Now I don’t expect the default interface to outright replace addons like our beloved Vuhdo or Grid. But I do believe there are some aspects of it that could use additional improvement. It’s important to discern between must have and nice to have but can probably heal without it type changes.

  • I’ve already mentioned the need for clearer debuffs to appear on the frames
  • Resizeable bars would be excellent to have because not everyone plays on the same setup
  • Customizable energy bars. I don’t need to see rage, focus, or energy bars but I do need to see mana bars of other players (healers specifically)

What about you? What would you like to see added? What do you think is important to have on your healing UI? What can you get away without having?

Cataclysm: The updated healing UI

Cataclysm: The updated healing UI

Spoiler warning (As if the title didn’t give it away)

Check out the updated default healing UI. Yes, this is the default UI. As in, the interface you get without any customization whatsoever. I queued randomly into Blackrock Caverns (took a while, but I managed to get in).

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What you see right now is actually the raid frames, not the party frames. I didn’t switch to party frames yet (I prefer my raid UI for everything and this is as close as I can get to it). First thing you’ll see is that the top left of each player has a little role icon.

Never again will I ever see the question “Who are the tanks?”

At least, I hope.

And yes, the red frame highlight shows who currently has aggro.

Yellow frame shows who I currently have selected. You can also move the frames around. I haven’t found out how to lock it in place yet.

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Now we’ve got some more action going on here. The healing combat text hasn’t changed much. My personal Renews appear on the bottom right. Haven’t shielded anyone yet.

If you look carefully at our tank, you can see a Frostbolt icon on the bottom left. I almost missed it. Things like debuffs that can be removed need to be made a lot more noticeable.

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Green bar shows approximate incoming heal amount.  I don’t know if that’s before or after any type of Mortal Strike debuffs or healing buffs.

That’s it for shots since I’m too busy trying to keep the group alive (Prayer of Healing was the next spell cast, believe me).

Then we wipe because I cast Guardian Spirit on the wrong Pally when some Ogres and stuff wander into us.

EDIT – Back in. Here’s more:

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Something that needs to improve on is the dispelling interface. It’s really hard to notice. You have to mouse over it in order to see what type of debuff it is. In the shot below, you can see a little red skull icon on the top right denoting a disease. The actual disease icon is then on the bottom left where you can mouse over and see what it actually is.

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I think a better solution would be to fill the entire player frame with the appropriate dispel color which states what type of debuff it is.

For example, if I get  hit with a Frostbolt, my background color could fill with a gradient blue which overrides my normal class color of white. That would make it extremely obvious I have a debuff. The actual debuff icon could still be on the bottom left.

Definitely very cool though.

Thoughts? If this continues to get developed and streamlined further, I might not have to use custom raid frames anymore.