Admit It: You Get High From Being Clutch

Admit It: You Get High From Being Clutch

gs-save

Ever wonder what it’s like to feel “high” in this game?

This is one of those methods.

I’d wager that Holy Priests get a bigger kick out of it then the other healers. Unlike the other clutch healing abilities, Guardian Spirit has two key effects: It offers both increased healing received on the target and the ability to grant a second chance in case the target dies.

Usually, when Holy Priests burn Guardian Spirit, it’s meant for the extra healing because of some massive amount of incoming damage.

But if tank health, your global cooldown, your lag and your reflexes all line up, then you just made a great save. The rest of the raid might not be aware of your efforts. But who cares? Deep down inside, you are the one that made that save and salvaged a possible kill from a definitive wipe.

It’s one of the best feelings in the World of Warcraft. I’ve never been able to score that feeling of satisfaction playing other healers. Sadly, whenever you do pull off the save, it ends up being a wipe. Seems rare whenever such a tank save results in a kill.

In any case, a new year means new responsibilities for people. Players have new priorities in their lives (or other games). My guild’s looking for 2 healers. I’m not picky on any classes. Yes, we’ll even consider Priests even though we have 3 right now. I would genuinely like the services of a Holy Paladin and a Resto Druid.

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?

Ardent Defender Overrides Guardian Spirit

I want a Paladin tank. One of my tanks will be retiring from the game soonly and I’m hoping to start shopping around. So if there’s any free agent Alliance Prot Paladins looking for a raiding guild, get in touch with me.

Some intriguing information coming out of Honor’s Code lately.

The Hammer has reported (via Modus) that the Paladin’s tank saving ability, Argent Defender, activates first over Guardian Spirit. Ardent Defender has priority. Raid leaders then are going to have to reconsider and re-order which save to activate if they’re working on progression bosses. Paladin saves will need to be factored in first.

It’s a great read for all healers as we gain a sneak peek into the future. Our play is tied directly to our tanks so its good to keep up with that stuff.

Again, free agent Protection/Holy (dual off spec) Paladins looking for a raiding guild are players I’d love to speak to. Check out the Conquest guild site. We’re presently raiding 9 hours a week, but I will be adding an extra day just after the Independence Day weekend.

Any free agent Balance (DPS) Druids are also encouraged to apply.

Suggested Healing Priest Specs, Glyphs, and Addons for 3.1

Not sure how to spec or glyph for 3.1? Here are my suggestions. Feel free to modify accordingly. WoW Insider has a great roundup to everything 3.1 related.

No Stock UI has a great list of updated and compatible 3.1 addons for you to peruse.

Discipline Priest Specs

57/14/0

Soul Warding: Reduces the cooldown of Power Word: Shield by 4 seconds and reduces the mana cost of Power Word: Shield by 30%.

Absolution: Reduces mana cost of Dispels and Disease curing spells by up to 15%.

Focused Will: Increases your spell critical effect by 3% fully talented. If you get crit, incoming damage is reduced by 4% and healing effects on you increase by 5/10/15%.

3 points can go either into Absolution or Focused Will. With the amount of cleansers and dispelers in my arsenal, I opted for the increase crit for the time being. But that might change later.

Improved Flash Heal: Must talent, I think. Reduces mana cost of Flash Heal by 15% and increases the crit chance if your targets are below half health.

Rapture: It’s different now. When your Shield is absorbed or dispelled, you instantly get back 2.5% of your total mana and your target gains 2% mana, 8 rage, 16 energy, or 32 runic power. Works every 12 seconds.

Discipline Priest Glyphs

Glyph of Flash Heal
Glyph of Power Word: Shield
Glyph of Penance – NEW: Your Scribes will have to be lucky here.
Glyph of Prayer of Healing – At least it’s some form of AoE healing if the fight calls for it

Holy Priests Specs

14/57/0

Blessed Resilience: For 3 points, it increases your healing effectiveness by 3%. The stronger your healing effectiveness, the better this talent will be. For the time being I opted not to get it.

Serendipity: A haste inducing talent. Requires you to Flash Heal or Binding Heal before it adds a 12% haste buff per stack up to 3 (total of 36%). Makes your next Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing faster. Note: Binding Heal used to grant 2 haste buffs per one cast. It doesn’t do that anymore.

Test of Faith: No change here.

You’re going to end up with 6 talent points. You can only invest in two of the above abilities. I recommended Serendipity and Test of Faith.

Empowered Renew: Another instant healing spell added to Priests. The closest thing I can think of is that it’s an inverse Lifebloom. Instead of tick, tick, tick, BOOM! It becomes BOOM! Tick, tick, tick.

Holy Priest Glyphs

Glyph of Circle of Healing
Glyph of Hymn of Hope
Glyph of Renew
Glyph of Flash Heal
Glyph of Guardian Spirit

Things will be very busy in the World. New places to explore, new dungeons to conquer. All of us will do our best to provide the advice and guidance in the challenges ahead.

Guardian Spirit Works on Kel’Thuzad

Derevka from Tales of a Priest asked me to issue a World of Matticus all points bulletin:

8:50 PM Derevka: word to the wise, Kelthuzzad CAN be buffed with Guardian Spirit while you are MC’d. We had 10 seconds of “OMG DONT KILL HIM!”

For those of you unaware, if you kill a subject with the Guardian Spirit buff active, they gain 50% of their health back. For most of us, 50% is no big deal. But if you’re sporting a bajillion health, 50%’s a pretty honkin’ big deal that would make Howie Mendel proud.

So if you’re on the last legs of the encounter and a Holy Priest get’s MC’d, make sure you CC him like crazy. If he gets the wings off, try to break it with a Purge or Dispel.

As Wyn always tells me, you can’t spell success without CC!

Healing Naxxramas – Maexxna (10 man)

Healing Naxxramas – Maexxna (10 man)

maexxna

Maexxna is the last boss in the Arachnid Quarter. I don’t know if it’s a he or a she, but I think it’s a she. Let me tell you that she is one heck of a honkin’ big spider.

Tank that boss at a distant pace away. Try to keep the raid near a wall and the tank in the middle. Make sure the tank faces the big Max away from the raid. She’ll periodically do a Spider Wrap cocoon that will temporarily stun players and prevent them from moving or casting spells.

Every so often she’s going to target a player and fling them to a wall. You can adjust the direction you get thrown because it flings you in the direction directly behind you.  At the same time this player is going to be wrapped in webbing and will not be able to do anything. Other players in the raid have to go up to the webbing and DPS it down until the player inside is free. If you can afford it, I suggest tasking your strongest ranged DPS on webbing breaking duty. For myself, I used a Hunter for this. Any class will work.

Little mini spiders will periodically show up. Have a mage freeze them up and the raid AoE them down. No mages? Well, then just AoE them down. Frost traps and Earthbind totems for extra marks. Get your secondary tank to drag the suckers toward Maex herself and get the melee in on the action.

At the 30% mark, big M gets even bigger and hits like a freight train. Around the 35% mark, I strongly suggest all DPS to stop what they’re doing. Wait for the next web spray to go off. When that’s over, pop Heroism/Bloodlust, initiate all cooldowns and tip her over the point of no return.

This is where it gets dicey. Pay close attention to the web spray timer. As the countdown gets closer, load up on HoTs on the tank. Have the tank blow their emergency survival cooldowns to try to survive the wrap.

For the next Web Wrap, have a Priest watch the cooldown accordingly. As it counts down, have them light up a Guardian Spirit along with full HoTs. The HoTs should be amplified by an additional 40% and the GS will ensure survivability long enough until players are out of the wrap.

If you have a Discipline Priest, do the same thing. Have them use Pain Suppression instead of GS. Don’t worry about threat. It shouldn’t be a concern here. If Pain Suppression causes your tank to lose aggro, something is very wrong with the tank.

I think a Prot Pally can help if they’re specced accordingly. Make sure that the Prot Pally isn’t the one tanking. A Divine Shield should mitigate further damage done by 30% since some of the incoming damage is redirected to the Paladin. Just make sure they’re not tanking Max.

For Healers

Necrotic Poison – This is the main reason why the tank faces the big M away from the raid. It reduces healing taken by 90%. It must come off. Any Druid, Paladin or Shaman can remove it. She also does a 15 yard conical directly in front of her. That would be the second reason.

The Reality of Healing Heroics and Tips for Holy Priests

The Reality of Healing Heroics and Tips for Holy Priests

heroics

Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.
- Newt Gingrich

I’ve scheduled a tentative 10 man Naxx on Saturday. We’re projected to have around 8 players that are capable of reaching that level by then. After that, I’ll have no choice but to pug the other 2 slots.

Since I’ve hit 80, I’ve started working my way through a few heroics to try and get some badges.

Let me tell you, it is not easy.

It has been such a long time since I had to work this hard to heal. I have to drink after every pull. Every cooldown needs to be noticed and taken into account. Every spell cast needs to be carefully thought out. I’m sitting at ~470 mana regeneration with a few quest and instance blues. The rest are filled out with T6. There are times when you have no choice between letting a player die to prevent an overall wipe. It’s absolutely tough.

Over the past few days, I had the opportunity to heal Halls of Lightning and the Occulus (on Heroic since they were the dailies). There’s a few things to remember:

  • We don’t outgear the instance: It’s a fresh start for everyone. The playing field has been leveled. I’ve resorted to using consumables to help finish off my old stock of TBC food. This goes the same for tanks.
  • We’re going in blind: We don’t know the instance. I don’t like going into a fight without knowing what I’m up against. I keep WoWhead open and WoWWiki to understand what abilities bosses uses and develop a counter for it. Two things to watch for is debuffs and any special animations on the ground or spells that the bosses use. Watch for the in game boss cues. It’s a hard lesson to learn every time.

One thing that most Priests (or all healers) will find when healing any sort of high end instance is that they’re running out of mana. Don’t forget that it takes more Spirit now then it did back at 70 to reach the same level of mana regen. The amount of Spirit required to reach ~1000 mana regen is much higher then it was at 70.

Here’s a few tricks to help out:

  • Hymn of Hope: It’s an 8 second channel spell and you’re going to be hard pressed to find time to use it. Observe the boss and find a pattern. See if he has a long cooldown for an ability. Put a shield on the tank, a Renew, and a Prayer of Mending. Top up the rest of the party as best as you can. Hit your Hymn and pray to the highest deity you know that you can maximize the use out of it. You can break it early. I set my personal limit to around 50%. If the tank reaches 50%, I’ll break my Hymn and start healing.
  • Shadowfiend: Since it’s a 5 minute cooldown, this is the first trick in the book I’ll use. In the event we wipe, I should have it up for the next attempt.
  • Runic Mana Potion: I’ll typically blow a potion in conjunction with Hymn of Hope after it’s cast. I don’t try to save it. I try to be liberal with their use.
  • Guardian Spirit: Don’t think of it as a healing bonus spell or a way to prevent the person from dying. Think of it as an instant 50% health return. Gauge how much damage the tank takes roughly per hit. If they take 5000 damage blows and your tank is at around 7500, slap the GS up there and stop healing. Watch as the tank’s health rockets back up to 50% while you spend precious seconds just regenerating mana.
  • Pain Suppression: A lot of beginner Priests like to use Pain Suppression when their tank is really low on health. I don’t advise this since they run the risk of tanks dying. I drop Pain Suppression when tanks have near full health. I can stand there and mana regen knowing that my tank is taking reduced damage buying me more time to get more mana.

I’ve spent an average of nearly 3 hours per heroic dungeon. I’m way in over my element. But hey, that’s how Matticus rolls! I’ve always been a front line player!

Still looking for Mages, Warlocks, Hunters, Shadow Priests, Shamans and other healers! If you know of any that want to progress, tell them to drop me a line!

Defending Your Faction Leaders with Guardian Spirit

Aylii pointed this out to me the other day. I thought it was hilarious. It was located in the Bug Report forum.

We were trying to kill the faction leaders tonight, even though they are level 83 and we are 70 we managed to fight are way threw it.

Anyway we were on the bloodelf faction leader and many horde priest were in the room non-flagged.
When we got the boss low they would cast Guardian Spirit on the boss and pretty much he would get healed to full or half health. We brought his health down to 1% at least 4 times only having him be healed to full. It only takes 1 hit and trying to get 40 people to stop damage that quickly is tough. So after about 1hr 30min doing that we wiped out all the rest of the flagged horde left in the room and left.

This should not be allowed to work on faction leaders. It is way overpowered and it’s impossible to kill them if the other faction’s priest cast this spell on the boss.

I’m looking for a nurf to this spell on faction leaders only. Any blue want to comment?

Source: Bug Report Forum (World of Warcraft)

My take on Guardian Spirit

Did a quick Skill Mastery: Guardian Spirit writeup based on the various experiences I had from a raiding stand point (Find it on WoW Insider). Check it out! Would love to encourage some more discussion from non-betaers and betaers.

At school, can’t write much now. WTB powerpoint lecture slides that don’t suck.