Healer DPS: The Good, The Bad, The Unfair

Healer DPS: The Good, The Bad, The Unfair

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The boss looms before you.  Psh!  Boss?  More like pansy!  You’ve worked on this guy for a whileand are just not yet on farm status.  You look at your raid frames and see that everyone seems to be taking minimal damage.  The tank is taking slight damage, but it’s nothing like the early days of learning Patchwerk.  Your mana bar is moderately full, everyone seems to have everything under control.  Your finger hovers over Smite/Lightning Bolt/Wrath/Holy Shock.

You start pressing.

In a very broad sense, this makes my skin crawl.  The hairs stand up on the back of my neck.  My ears start to bleed and my eyes start to fog over.  Okay, maybe it’s not that dramatic, but it certainly ignites a chain reaction.  Basically, a little bit of my soul dies.

The Good

There’s always a reason to need some extra DPS from the healers.  I usually only do this at the request of the raid leader.  He/She (He, in my case) is running the show.  I try to keep cycling Shadow Word: Pain on the boss when I can.  As Holy, I can use my Surge of Light proc to throw a quick Smite here or there. 

When working on Heartbreaker, I usually expect to stop healing, pop cooldowns, and Smite until that heart is dead.  Unless the raid is overgeared for the encounter, this is usually how I’ve seen it done.

Any fight that has a small “add” (Loatheb Spore, for example), it’s not detrimental to help the dps down it quick.  It usually requires minimal mana, and can help get the benefit to the raid quicker. 

If you’re running up against any kind of enrage timer, there may be a point when a little nudge from you could make the difference. 

Notice that I said, “a little nudge”.  The emphasis is on the word “nudge”.

 

The Bad

There’s a point when it becomes excessive.  If you find yourself DPSing to a point where you’re making a significant effort to damage the boss, then that’swhere I start to have issue with it.  I’ve seen it happen a number of times.  Thankfully, I’ve only seen this happen in PUGs.  I would really have a tough time in a guild where I continually heal alongside that kind of “healer”.

If you’re paired with someone else to heal a target or many targets, your shift into DPS mode then places responsibility of your original healing job solely on the other healer.  I have little faith that most “DPS Healers” will keep an eye on their original assignment if they choose to DPS instead.  Imagine carrying a TV up a flight of stairs with someone else.  Maybe they could feasibly handle it alone, but it makes it easier if you’re there to help out.

If you’re expending all that mana to do maybe a third of what the other DPS classes are doing, what are you going to do if something unforeseen happens and you have to go into overdrive healing mode?  Someone accidentally gets caught in a cleave, or another healer gets bombarded by too many of the wrong orb on Twins.  We all know accidents happen.  A raid’s strength is measured by it’s adaptability.  If you’re not capable of helping out when it’s needed most, then you’re not doing your job.

In my eyes, you’re running the risk of being disrespectful to the other healers in your raid.

The Unfair

Let’s say that you get through the encounter okay. Let’s say everyone’s alive at the end.  A key healing piece drops that everyone has been vying for.  You roll/bid on it?  In my opinion: No.  You just spent a majority of the fight DPSing the boss while the other healers did the healing work, right?  Why should we reward a player who didn’t do what they were supposed to do?  It’s like giving a raise to the guy in the office who sits on his computer checking Facebook all day. 

If you find yourself in raids consistently where your healing is not needed, then let a DPS class go in and take your place.  You’re essentially taking the raid spot of a player who can do what you want to do, but he/she can do it better.  If you’re determined to keep along your path, then re-spec/re-gear/re-gem into a DPS spec.  Healing has times of being slow.  It’s the nature of the beast.  If you’d much rather snipe some damage instead of heal, then guess what?  You’re not a healer.  You’re a DPS.  And as a DPS, you’re not specced or geared right.

Some fights may require more healers than others.  Dual spec is a fantastic thing.  Make your off-spec a solid DPS spec, complete with proper gear.  When you know a fight’s coming up where your heals aren’t needed, recommend to the raid leader that you switch into your DPS gear.  If you find yourself in your DPS spec more than your healing spec, it’s time to consider changing your “main spec”.  I would be significantly upset if someone was getting healing gear over me, although they DPS’d more than they healed.  Would you give awesome tanking gear (an upgrade for the main tank) to the 2nd off-tank who only tanks for 1-2 fights each night?

Is “Healer DPS” taboo?  Yes.  Why?  Because in the eyes of this Discipline Priest, you shouldn’t do it unless the raid leader calls for it.  Remember, raiding is a team sport.  Maybe you need to take a step back and figure out which part of the team you really want to be on.

ThespiusSig

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

 

Symbiotic Altoholism

This is a guest post by Saunder, a Holy Paladin from Non-squishy Heals.

Before I start I guess I should say a bit about myself. I have 2 level 80 Holy/Ret dual-specced Pallys (instance as holy, solo as ret), a 73 hunter and a 58 druid. Well I have lots more, but they are the important ones.

Most of you will be familiar with the idea of Symbiotic relationships. One definition of such relationships is that it occurs where both organisms benefit. I see alts as exactly this sort of relationship.

The hunter was my original toon. I leveled him in the blissful ignorance that comes from not reading about game mechanics, and running instances in the totally blithe knowledge that the tank will *always* have aggro, and the healer will *always* keep you alive. After all, a hunter is DPS so all that matters is how much damage he or she can do, yes?

I then rolled a Pally, and enjoyed it. I liked healing and now my Pallys are unquestionably my mains … Can you have multiple ‘main’s? Anyway … And I found out some rather nasty truths. The first one was that Hunters who don’t manage their own aggro, even at the expense of their DPS are very very unpleasant group mates to have for healers at times. I have come to realise that my play as the hunter has been immeasurably improved by playing a healer. You may ask why – well, now I know that DPS isn’t everything. You need to find ways to put out the best DPS *without* pulling more threat than the tank and, if that isn’t enough, sometimes there is no better thing for the group and the run as a whole than for the DPS to fall on their sword and protect the healer, even at the expense of their own life and repair bill. It’s not what you signed up for, but it *is* the hard reality. Not only have these observations led to much improved play as the hunter, I hope that the number of pug members swearing at me behind my back has decreased markedly. I firmly believe that to be a really effective DPS, you need to play a healer, most likely to a high enough level to run some reasonable instances with pugs and learn some of the mistakes that will keep you on your main, and your group mates, alive and happy longer.

The second truth I found was that of healing priorities. In an instance, your first and foremost role as a healer is to stay alive. That may be a very selfish view, but seriously, how much healing can you do dead? The best tank and group in the world will need heals at some point (ok, with a couple of Blood DK’s or a hybrid class that can step in that may not be an absolute, but you know what I mean) and that means you the healer need to be alive and kicking so that you can provide those heals. (It’s also a pain in the behind to have to keep running back from a graveyard if you are the only one who can res but that is secondary). The next priority is the tank. Obviously anyone who is going to keep the attention of the instance denizens away from you and the rest of the group is a good person to look after. And, in case you hadn’t noticed, healers tend to be high up there on the threat table. Second on a threat table is a bad place to be if the first on the table dies, usually leading to the situation above where you can’t heal the rest of the group as you are dead!

So there it is, Healing Priorities in a nutshell. Now, now, now, before I hear all you DPS baying at the moon for my blood (do feral Druids in kitty form still bay? *grin*), I don’t mean that I don’t heal the DPS, far from it. I will heal anyone in a party or raid, players, pets, mind controlled mobs or whoever but I will heal them after I heal myself and the tank. In a perfect world no-one will die in an instance run, but, with the exceptions of DPS-races where the boss enrage-wipes, the death of a DPS is merely an inconvenience. The death of a tank or healer is often disastrous. DPS need to understand that there are times, and that is particularly true if they do something crazy, that death is inevitable. Live with it, and know that we your healers try to keep it to a minimum.

Then there is the very uncomfortable truth that there are players out there who just don’t seem to ‘get’ it. You can tell them that unloading the full barrage of their uber talents and abilities before the tank has established threat is a bad idea until you are blue in the face and they will not change their ways. Surprising how fast they learn when you let them die as a result of their actions. Explain to them the pain they are causing, then if they don’t learn, just practice tough love. They will, and the group as a whole will thank you for it in the long term.

So on the one hand, playing a healer alt really is a good thing for the DPS classes out there, and as a side effect, obviously, some percentage of you will find that you like healing, thus helping with the perpetual healer shortage. Excellent. I can live with that! :D On the other hand, it is just as valuable for a healing class to play the DPS role. Why you ask? As a healer, you need to know as much as possible that will make your runs more successful. After all, rightly or wrongly, the finger of blame is often pointed at the healer when there are problems. That means knowing the mistakes the other classes are likely to make. It can be a general knowledge such as the hunter example above, or it could be something much more specific. When that particular glow comes from the mage’s hands, for example, a LOT of AOE damage is about to happen, and that, in turn, leads to a LOT of threat. So have the big heal part way throughcasting so that if the mage *does* get aggro you might save them from being one-shotted. For those classes where you have emergency buttons, bubbling a mage in those sort of circumstance is not a bad idea. How cool is it to hear the anguished sounds that the clothies make on vent when they get aggro only to find they are still alive! You get to sit back and bask in the adulation of your peers. Ok, they mostly just grunt at you and expect it, but that’s the life of a healer

Really look at the benefits of the different instance roles. Playing a different role is a big way to get fresh enjoyment and experiences. It will keep it interesting at the very least, and you never know, you might actually learn something and make life easier for everyone around you.

For more great rants (and commentary), do visit Non-Squishy Heals and be sure to subscribe!

My Newfound Respect for Melee

My Newfound Respect for Melee

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Remember how I told you all, on April Fool’s Day, no less, that I was going to run off and play Ret Paladin? Well, it wasn’t entirely a joke. Yes, I’m still raiding on Syd, and still healing, but I’ve been playing my paladin this weekend as both Ret and Holy. I have a lot more confidence when I’m healing, and I have a few amusing stories about that stemming from a Naxx-10 PuG that I healed last night, but today I’m mostly here to talk to you about the special challenge of melee.

Not many healers have a melee class as their alt, and now I can see why. I’ve done ranged DPS before in group settings. I’d say it’s more of a challenge to me than healing at this point, but I can see how it could be done well. However, I was determined to take my Ret Paladin to some heroics. As I’m in a confessional mood, here’s a list of the Melee Failures I’ve indulged in over the last five days.

Failure #1

Accidentally taunting off the tank. Sorry, Brio. I’m still not sure how I managed to hit Shift 1 with the back of my hand, but I certainly did it.

Failure #2

Pulling mobs by accident . . . with my butt. You know, when you’re a melee class, you have to get behind the mobs. I think that my time as a healer has made me scared of them, and I tend to stay at max range, which can be rather dangerous with patrols around.

Failure #3

Hanging out in the green stuff. I was so happy when we defeated the first boss of Heroic Gundrak. So happy, in fact, that I stood there doing the Macarena as the poison slowly killed me. As always, I was suprised when Marfi hit the floor.

Failure #4

Staying in for whirlwind. I realized belatedly that the last boss of Heroic Gundrak was doing his little spinny thing. By the time I strafed out, I was low on health, and a ghost rhino charge made me go splat.

Failure #5

Standing in front of the boss. Now, I know I’m not supposed to stand next to Brio. I’ve made many jokes in my life about melee humping the hind legs of bosses. I’m not sure why I ended up in front of Heroic Anub’arak, but I do know what happened to me when he cast pound. Pound equals splat, for something like 10,000 overkill.

Failure #6

Getting ahead of the tank. In Utgarde Keep, I was getting antsy. Guess what happened when I edged in front of Brio? More pulling mobs. I’m glad Brio and I have a stable relationship, because I know exactly what he would have said if any other melee did that. Oh well, at least I can bubble and save myself.

Failure #7

Getting too far behind. Also Utgarde Keep. I have no excuse this time, only that I had to pee, and that turned into rather poor dps for a minute there. It turns out that you have to keep up, all the time, as a melee player.

Failure #8

Ignoring the kill order. Skull is for decoration, right? I’m issuing an apology to Amava, who was tanking Violet Hold on his cleverly-named druid Moodyswinger.

Failure #9

Panicking about my own health instead of trusting the healer. No, I didn’t say, heal me please, but I definitely used my Art of War procs whenever they were up, mostly on the tank, but also on myself. I have also bubbled a record number of times during the weekend.

Failure #10

Incomplete gear switch. I’m sure both Ret Paladins and Feral Druids face this one all the time. I don’t use any inventory manager addons, because my laptop’s poor performance means that I can only run necessary addons–nothing extra. This Sunday I DPS’d about seven heroics wearing my Holy libram. . . from Karazhan.

That’s my list of spectacular melee failures. The only one I didn’t check off this week was Die in a Fire. In my defense, Sartharion was the first instance I did with Marfi as DPS. I didn’t realize at that point I was making a checklist. I did die in that fight, not to a void zone or lava wave, but to a stray add. I also did about 1000 dps in my full suit of greens, but hey, I’d just dinged 80 10 minutes before. My dps has improved a bit now, but the failures keep mounting.

The Value of Failure

I’ve always told my students that failure is instructive. Errors are acceptable–even a good thing–while you’re learning a language, and they’re acceptable when you’re learning a new class role as well. If you never allow yourself to make mistakes, you’ll never learn. You’ll just continue doing what is comfortable and never branch out. However, I know my limits. I’m practicing in Heroics because they’re the minor leagues. The next time I see the green stuff, I’ll be running away.

There’s a very good reason that I haven’t let myself DPS in Naxx yet. Even though the paladin is different from my resto druid, it’s the same raid role, and I have a wealth of experience healing on both toons from Classic to current. In a raid, I owe more to my group members, so I have to know what I’m doing to some degree. Sure, I messed up my Holy spec last night and forgot to even get Bacon of Light, but it didn’t matter. I still beat the other healer, a better-geared Holy priest, on the meters. It is true that I only pulled ahead because she died on the first pass of the Heigan dance, which then continued for 10 more minutes with about five players alive, but I was proud of myself nonetheless. It’s absolutely amazing how much energy playing a new character can give me on this very, very stale content. However, the Flash of Light spam nearly killed me. Syd uses such a variety of spells, which I have mapped for both hands (left hand for direct heals, mouse for hots), that I never feel stress in my wrists. This morning my left wrist is killing me from repeatedly hitting the C key. I don’t know how full-time paladins do it.

4 Questions to Answer on the Respec Policy

4 Questions to Answer on the Respec Policy

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post detailing the freedom that players had in their own play. Reader Revaan wrote a series of questions that I wanted to answer but I never got around to it until now. I’ll divide that post into two parts: One with a direct Q & A to his questions and the second half with a more detailed thought process.

Q&A

Revaan: The debating about consequences of respeccing seems to make it clear that every guild should have a policy about respecs. Do you require approval from anyone? If so who?

Matt: Yes and no. Players are free to respec on their own time for PvP or just for general farting around. I impose no conditions on their respecs. When it comes to raids however, they’re required to go back to the original spec they asked to be in when they joined the guild. I’ll elaborate more on this later.

Revaan: Do you have some sort of trial period with the new spec?

Matt: I usually give it a raid. I’ll compare that day’s performance with data from past raids and see if there’s a significant difference. If both specs are about the same, it’s a wash. I’ll let them decide what’s better for their style of play.

Revaan: What if the chosen role is full?

Matt: Tough. It’s first come first serve, usually. If there’s a set amount of tanks and another player wants to go Prot, it’s highly unlikely they’ll ever get a spot unless one of the tanks decides to retire or spontaneously gets their account hacked. But that rarely happens.

(Actually, at the time of this writing, I just found out one of my main tanks had his account compromised. Go figure.)

Revaan: Are they first up if that role opens up or will the guild recruit and you need to compete with applicants?

Matt: Typically no. Players tend to have a certain amount of gear invested in them. For them to change roles like that is a messy undertaking for the guild because not only do we have to find a replacement for the spec they switched from, we also have to gear up that player again. It would be as if we were gearing up two players again instead of one. I would much rather recruit from outside but I will never say never. Situations like these are often resolved in a case by case basis.

Explanation

I don’t like asking people to re-talent themselves unless I have a very good reason to do so. I prefer to let players come to their own conclusion about what’s best for them.

Here is a list of the 3 goals for the 3 different roles in the game.

  • DPS: To deal an insane amount of damage
  • Heal: To heal or mitigate an insane amount of damage
  • Tanking: To survive an insane amount of damage

Respeccing within the role

Let me give you an example of a case where I approved a respec.

During the infant stages of Conquest when we were working our way through Naxxramas, we picked up a Rogue named Derek. He’s an extremely bright and skilled player. He wanted to try out a new spec because he had reason to believe that he could increase his DPS output.

I don’t know much about Rogues. But I figured I had nothing to lose. I was essentially trading a DPS spec for a DPS spec.

After the raid was done, I pulled up the Patchwerk notes for that day along with notes from previous raids and compared them.

Sure enough, Derek’s performance improved notably. It was partly due to gear and partly his style. But it seemed the spec helped a lot. Alas, from what I’ve been told, this upcoming patch may nerf it. You Rogues probably know what I’m talking about because I don’t know what I’m talking about. All I know is, he respecced and his damage spiked upwards.

Derek did an insane amount of damage before. After the respec, he did an insanely higher amount.

Allow your raiders to innovate and test new specs that allow them to excel at the same role. I had a Warlock (let’s call him Tom) who tried a new spec every raid for the first few weeks because he wasn’t sure what the optimum spec was.

What’s cookie cutter now could become outdated later.

As my former mentor Blori once told me,

There ain’t a problem in the world that can’t be solved without more DPS.

Inform your GM

Let your raid leader know. I guarantee you that they will generally be supportive (the good ones at least). Here’s the process:

Derek: Hey Matt, I’d like to respec.
Matt: Why’s that?
Derek: I think I can do more damage
Matt: Sure, go for it and let me know what you need.
Derek: Don’t forget to log me for Patchwerk so I can compare it to last week.

It’s that simple.

Respeccing roles

This one I am not as receptive as. A raid composition consists of a simple equation:

X healers + Y DPS + Z tanks = Dead boss.

By changing the equation, you risk rendering the problem unsolvable. A great tank does not necessarily make a great healer and you may find yourself short stacked on bosses from time to time.

It is an extremely tough sell to a GM. But that’s when everything is good.

On the other hand, if your raid has a few key role players absent, requesting a respec could end up being favorable.

If I’m short on healers and a DPS hybrid requests to go healing to help alleviate the stress, I am way more likely to approve it.

  1. Keeps the raid in house. I don’t have to outsource my important roles to trade chat.
  2. Solves a problem with little effort: It’s a good reflection on the guild member.

I guess my underlying philosophy towards respeccing can be boiled down to one line:

If it improves the raid group in any way, ask.

Image courtesy of marcello99

Recommended Requirements for Naxxramas (Normal and Heroic)

Recommended Requirements for Naxxramas (Normal and Heroic)

Your requests have been heard and I am here to deliver. I’ve received repeated emails for minimum Naxx requirements for both 10s and 25s. Unlike the Kara or ZA guides I wrote, this one will be much more brief. I won’t be able to give precise numbers for stats or anything like before due to radical buff changes in raiding. I spent a lot of time writing, re-writing and scrapping this post repeatedly because it’s extremely difficult to pen this. Here’s what you should shoot for.

Before you even read the numbers, you should consult Anna’s blog: Am I Ready to Heal Naxx?

Note: These numbers are good for both Naxx 10 and 25.

Note 2: Your mileage may very. Experiment with different raid combinations to find out what works best.

Tanks

Health: 25000 unbuffed
Defense: 540 (Crit immunity)

Note: Druids will have a higher health pool. 30000 health is a good number to aim for.

Melee DPS

Hit: 9%
DPS output on average: 2000 DPS

Obviously the more the merrier.

Caster DPS

Hit: 17%
DPS output on average: 2000 DPS

Note: Both percentages assume you are completely naked and lacking in hit-increasing buffs. You can find your hit percentage by mousing over the hit rating on your character screen.

Healers

Spellpower: 1550
Mana regeneration: 700 (is what I was able to get away with)

Paladins mana regeneration: around 200 with 25% crit is a good start

Shamans may have slightly lower mana regen.

Treat these as guidelines! Use your discretion. If you can handle a few heroics under your belt, then you’re ready to give Naxx a shot! Don’t expect to be killing Kel’Thuzad or anything right away. Know your limits.

Does Your Raiding Guild Need Premium WWS?

Does Your Raiding Guild Need Premium WWS?

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Many raiding guilds are aware of what WWS (WoW Web Stats) is and what a tool it can be to troubleshoot and improve member performance. In a nut shell, it takes your combat log and translates it into meaningful data (if you know how to use it). The WWS client runs locally off your computer (it’s a small download) which parses the log that you’ve recorded. It’s accuracy increases with the more source combat logs you have. I try to get my officers to run a long in addition to my own so that we can have an accurate and reliable report.

What you might (or might not) be aware of is that WWS offers a premium service and Conquest picked up a subscription not too long ago.

What is WWS premium?

Simply put, it’s a subscription based service for certain WWS based features such as:

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Your eyes will no longer be assaulted with irrelevant ads.

Faster loading times

During peak hours, your reports are given priority in the queue and will be taken care of first. It seems the guys on the free side of things will have to take a number and stand in line (literally).

Longer hosting

The WWS website keeps an archive and history of all of your reports. A guild account will keep your information for 30 days and having an unlimited account keeps the log information for as long as your account is active.

Cool Matt! Did you get one?

Let me see if I can sound out my reasoning for acquiring one.

Most readers are aware of my devotion to maintaining a high level of performance. The advertising aspect is irrelevant to me. As a frequent web surfer, my eyes will automatically tune out ads. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in this service and I gladly support the guys behind it. But if I go to any site with ads, I typically zero in on the content. I suspect many of you are like that as well. Like it or not, ads are here to stay because they help support the people behind the site.

What about getting moved up in the queue? How important is that? Fellow Twitterati and blogger Santyn grumbled earlier that he was “moving backwards in the queue”. On some nights, you could be standing in the e-lineup with 100 people in front of you. Sometimes you’ll end up in the 400 range. After every raid, the players that are still around bug me into uploading the combat log so they can evaluate themselves and other players around them to see how they’re doing. Even though the raid ends at 9 PM sharp, the discussion can list for an hour after the raid about specific problems or player issues that WWS can shed some light on. I’ll often listen to the ground pounders compare themselves to other players from other guild reports or look at their own individual rotations and damage output.

I may not understand a word of it, but it sounds pretty important. For myself, I make it a habit to check out the healers and their rotations and see if there’s anything out of the ordinary. I have to say that I’m blessed to be surrounded by a group of people who aren’t only hell bent on trying to improve their play but trying to improve the play of others around them.

Having a historical archive of guild WWS may not be useful at first. I suspect it will become much more important later on. If a player wants to change certain parts of their gear or their spec to test for improvements, they can do so and then look back at a recent history of their performance to see if there’s a noticeable difference.

Patchwerk, because of the nature of the encounter, is our main DPS measuring instrument of choice. It’s a simple and straightforward encounter that involves little movement. All DPS players are capable of opening up to their hearts content with little worry of pulling aggro. Having a premium account allows you to store these records so that you can re-examine them later.

Does your guild need WWS premium?

This is going to depend on a number of factors. You’re essentially paying for the 3 services above. Depending on your guild and your needs, this will either be an asset or a waste.

Guilds that would benefit:

  • Are more into cutting edge content
  • Are performance oriented
  • Care about the information
  • Are committed to improvement
  • Have players who love analysis

If your guild that likes to take it easy and go through content at a casual pace (be it normal or heroic), then you might not be willing to fork over the 3 month subscription for a $15 guild account. If no one in the guild really cares about theorycrafting and analyzing their own DPS, then having a WWS paid account isn’t going to benefit you much since it won’t be used.

But if your guild wants to compete and be a top tier organization, having a WWS paid account would be an asset. You could start off with the $27 Unlimited account for 3 months to give it a try and see if it is of any use.

You can find out more information about WWS paid accounts here.

Don’t forget

You can not game the system. You can’t split costs with another guild and share it. It’s strictly for the personal use of your guild.

As a side note, I’m grateful to the people that have helped chipped in financially to help make the infrastructure of the guild a success. Want an idea of how much running a guild can cost?

50 slot Ventrilo: $210
Webhost: $119.40
WWS Premium: $81
VBulletin Software: An arm and a leg
Dropping toy trains before every boss encounter while the GM’s trying to explain something: Priceless

Okay, that was a bad Mastercard commercial. But those costs are on a yearly basis. Already these figures should tell you I’m a fairly devoted GM.

It’s an interesting cycle. I play WoW so that I can earn some money on the side from writing about my experiences and knowledge that’s WoW related. Some of the money I earn gets invested back into the blog and back into the guild so that I can continue playing for more experiences and knowledge within the game. Which I can then write about.

Not exactly the average college kid’s part time job.

My Love/Hate Relationship with Heroic Naxxramas

My Love/Hate Relationship with Heroic Naxxramas

naxx-kel

Last night, I had the pleasure of working with some of the most skilled players in beta and we were able to clear out Heroic Naxxramas (otherwise known as 25 man Naxx). Let me tell you about my initial impressions, what I love, and what I hate.

I love…

the fact that the number of tanks needed for Naxx don’t seem to have changed. Our main tank was a Warrior. No fusses about class here. The reason he was the MT was because he was the most geared (he ran Naxx, Obsidian Sanctum, etc. every day). Prot Paladin was the second tank for any massive AoE related pulls. Feral Druid was third although he would switch up with the Prot Pally depending on what the job was. Didn’t have the pleasure of working with a Death Knight. I’m happy to say that I had no problems healing any of them on the various bosses or mobs. Druid tank had the most with 34k while the Paladin and Warrior clocked in at about ~31k. I made sure to address this first, due to a question I got from Twitter:

@honorshammer Are you seeing much disparity in healing tanks of various classes?

Hope the above question helps! Love your blog by the way ;).

I hate…

my mana regen. I took a look at one of the other Resto Druids and he was sporting a jaw dropping 1500 mana regen while not casting. In my PvP gear plus other assorted PvE epic items, I hit around 600+.

I love…

how Priests will be virtual requirements for Heroic Naxx. You can get away without having other classes at all, but you need Priests for 2 of the encounters because we have to Mind Control certain mobs in order to successfully do them.

I hate…

Sapphiron. He’s the 2nd to last boss in Naxx and he’s going to be a huge headache.

I love…

how the bosses drop between 4 – 6 pieces of loot (some of them are tier bosses).

I hate…

how people complain about not getting the loot they want because its freakin’ beta and you don’t get to keep it anyway!

I love…

that while most players were still wearing blue PvP gear to raid, we were still able to 1 shot almost every boss in the instance. We didn’t over gear it. All of us were on par with or were what could be considered slightly undergeared. This proves to me that if you have a large number of skilled players going in, you won’t have a lot of difficulty. There are a few exceptions:

Instructor Raz: 2 shot
4 Horsemen : 4 shot
Sapphiron: 5 Shot
Kel’Thuzad: 1 shot

I hate

the fact that it took us a little over 7 hours to clear. But there are a few important factors to keep in mind:

  1. Pickup raid
  2. Boss explanations are complicated
  3. Some people had to leave and we had to pull in replacements

If it’s a Guild run, I can see the time knocked down to about 6 hours or maybe even 5. Obviously if you over gear the place, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see it drop down to even 4 and a half. But suffice it to say, I suspect most guilds will take at least 2 days to clear the instance and learn it.

I love

Death Knights. Look at this screenshot below:

op-dks
The top 5 players are all Death Knights. Number 6 is a Rogue. The numbers ARE slightly inflated since Thaddius has a little mechanic about him that increases DPS. Here’s a slightly better representation:

naxx-dps1 naxx-dps2

DPS order by class on Noth:

  1. Death Knight
  2. Hunter
  3. Death Knight
  4. Death Knight
  5. Ret Paladin
  6. Ret Paladin
  7. Mage
  8. Death Knight
  9. Death Knight
  10. Rogue
  11. Boomkin
  12. Feral Druid
  13. Boomkin
  14. Mage

Your mileage may vary. We only had 1 Rogue and 1 Warlock. Our raid was stacked with an abundance of Death Knights as you can see above and all of them made up the top 10.

I love

the DPS averages. Again, scroll back up and look at the DPS on the side, not the damage done. You should be pushing over 2000 DPS when you enter Naxx. Of course, I might take that statement back later. Who knows? But I’m just going by what I’ve seen thus far.

I love

these crits:

heal-crits

Repeat after me: MASS OH PEE. That’s a Resto Shaman above me there and my own Prayer of Mending.

I hate

this whole loot homegenization thing but I understand it. I started a discussion on Plusheal about how to tell whether or not you should roll on certain cloth gear or to pass on them. Wyn will be exploring this topic at some point later on, as well. It feels weird for casters to roll on gear. But I accept it and I understand it will be better in the long run.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be doing detailed healing guides for the normal and heroic versions of Naxx and Obsidian Sanctum. You’ve seen a sample of them earlier when I published a few of the 10 man ones. They’re not designed to replace WoWWiki or Bosskillers guides. What they’re meant for is to provide you (the healer) with the knowledge that is relevant to you in order to keep your raid alive. I’m most likely going to miss out on a few abilities but I’ll be sure to nail all of the ones that are important including all major boss mechanics.

Yesterday night, I took a boat load of screenshots, recorded vent when the raid leader was delivering explanations, and I have a plethora of notes all across my desk with diagrams, and post-its scattered all over the place.

By all means, if you’d like to savor the learning experience yourself, go for it. I’ll be here if you need a quick pointer or two to help you out.

Which is what this blog is for.

Questions? Comments? What else would you like to see? Will the Canucks make the playoffs this season? Will Brady get usurped? Do you require more Vespene gas? Are you, in fact, a hollahback girl? Will I ever stop beating myself up over the 7 questions I know I for sure got wrong out of 50?

Big shout out to Totodile for having to put up with the various morons in the raid, as well as organizing and quarterbacking the whole show!

BETA: Just for You Jess

BETA: Just for You Jess

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WoWScrnShot_080608_234244 WoWScrnShot_080608_234241

You asked about it, Jess. This is what Starfall looks like. This must be the only time I’ve ever felt envious about Druids.