Recruiting Healers is Like Picking Up Women (and a WoW Blogger’s challenge)

I don’t get as much time to check out my feedreader as much as I like. But every once in a while, when I have time, I’ll pop open Google Reader. Sometimes I’ll see a post title that catches my eye which makes me zero in on it.

Ess wrote an eyebrow raising post about how not to recruit healers.

Here’s one of the points Ess offers:

2. Whisper them every time they log in.

So, this person that has been whispering me the second that I log in has been doing this for the past several days. Really… is it necessary to whisper me every single day? I have gotten the picture — I know they want me to join their guild. I’m always polite about the recruiting part, and tell them I appreciate it, but remind them that I plan to stay with my guild. (Are they hoping to wear me down?)

Also, they’re usually asking me to heal something at that moment for them. Because they ask me every day, I find myself much less inclined to run with them. I don’t want to do anything to encourage this behavior. If you were hoping to build a relationship with someone, would you really call them every single night and ask them to do something? Hopefully not. It sends bad signals, suggesting that you are high maintenance. This is a definite turn off. It makes me wish there were some sort of invisibility setting so they couldn’t see me when I logged in.

I can’t say I’ve ever experienced this stalking behavior. I’d get a lot of additions onto friends lists and I do get my share of messages when I do log on. But it hasn’t happened as much since the debut of expansion. Maybe the tanks or DPS just got tired of waiting for me to say yes and moved onto other healers instead. That’s okay. I prefer to test the waters anyway.

I gotta say, I really like Ess’s style and post here.

In the spirit of single’s awareness Valentine’s day coming up in a little under a week, I’m issuing a challenge to WoW bloggers to write a valentine’s themed post. Here’s a few post ideas and themes that you’re welcome to use. By all means, feel free to come up with your own! I’ll feature a few pieces that caught my eye next week (if I have any takers). I think I found my sweet spot. I should come out to Waves more often. London Fog seems to be the fuel for my blogging engine.

The GM’s just not that into you: Recognizing the Signs
Azeroth’s romantic getaways (Booty Bay takes on a whole new meaning)
Getting noticed by the guild of your dreams
Telling your ex-spec that you’ve moved on

Malygos Phase 3 Made Simple

Malygos Phase 3 Made Simple

malygos-p3

“Anyone have any tips for Malygos Phase 3?”

This is a common question I’ve seen on my Twitter that I’ve decided to address.

The phase 3 of Malygos is difficult for players the first time they run into it. It generally takes a number of wipes before players figure out what to actually do and how to do it.

When I explain this fight to pickup groups or other guilds, I try to keep things as simple as possible.

Setting up

As phase 2 ends, the entire instance is going to fill with bright, seizure inducing colors.

To make sure everyone’s in sync and starting in the right area, I get everyone to snap and move down to the southern side of the platform. Look on your minimap for this if you have to. I ensure everyone stays together as much as possible.

Note the red dot in the diagram above.

As the platform breaks apart and your raid falls, see to it that no one touches their flight controls. Let Malygos settle down and park himself. Once he does that, the raid leader cues the raid to climb.

Climb directly up until you’re at head level with Malygos. For the remainder of the fight, this is where you’ll be on the Z axis of things. You don’t have to worry about climbing or diving. You and your raid are only going to focus on strafing.

Movement

Note the four dark blue (navy) circles on the map above. Those are going to be the 4 points everyone will navigate to.

Now that the raid is head level and starting at the south position, you’re going to move towards the east, north, west, before heading back to the south.

In other words, fly counter-clockwise in 90 degree increments. You don’t have to do this constantly. Only move when the raid gets hit with a static field (30 yard AoE damage spell). See a static field? Move east. Another static field? Head north.

For the DPS

Even though I’ll have anywhere from 6 to 7 healers for phases 1 and 2 on Malygos, I’ll specifically jump into the play on phase 3 to help DPS. I like to get another healer to do it with me. This drops healing drakes down to 4 but increases attacking drakes by 2 (or having a net result of 20 firebreathing drakes).

Flame spike: Damaging fire attack that awards a combo point at the cost of 10 energy

Engulf in flames: Finisher that adds a DoT effect. The more combo points, the longer the duration of the DoT. Can stack.

As you can see, the more Flame Spikes you cast, the more DoTs you can add and the longer they last. It takes a while to build up momentum.

For the sake of simplicity and those doing it the first time, I suggest going for a 1-1-1-2 rotation.

On a side note, I think the guild best is currently at 22 stacks. Can’t remember if it was one of my Warlocks, a Hunter, or Kimbo (Ret Pally) who pulled it off.

For the healers

First thing’s first. What you may realize is that your raid frames are going to be useless! They don’t show the health of the drakes! There are a few addons that combat this, but I’m going to assume that you completely forgot to get them.

Press Shift V. This brings up healthbars on to the screen. At this point, you’re going to be relying on heads up healing. In other words, you’ll have to filter out the players with low health bars, target them, and heal them.

Revivify: 10 second HoT. Each application adds 1 combo point. This can stack up to 5 times.

Life Burst: This is an AoE healing finisher which increases your healing done by 50% (and lasts longer per combo point). If you have maxed out combo points (5 of them), the spell will heal around 15000 across all friendly targets within 60 yards.

This is like extreme whack-a-mole.

You may not have combo point indicators so you’ll have to keep track of it mentally in your head. And since Life Burst is a large AoE, you don’t always have to target the weakest drake. Just pick one and slam the key and it should engulf everyone.

For the DPS and healers

Lastly is the Flame Shield mechanic. Any spell that registers combo points will work (Revivify or Flame Spike). The more combo points, the longer the shield.

You’ll want to use this when he targets you with a Surge of Power. Having Deadly Boss Mods installed will cue a large warning on your screen that Malygos is looking at you.

Even though he looks at you, you still have time to build up points to survive. A lot of players will panic when this happens and feel helpless.

Get a grip on yourself and calm down.

When he looks at you, there are 3 seconds before he fires his laser beams. The beams will last 5 seconds. You just need to have the shield up for a portion of it to survive. With luck, your AoE healers can still catch you while the beam is going off to help mitigate some of the damage.

Let me reiterate, you don’t have to have your shield up the entire 5 seconds to survive. So if you’re caught with your pants down without any combo points and he’s looking at you, fire off 2 or 3 combo point spells and hit your shield. You should be able to survive it with slight scale damage.

Reminders

  • Run south going into phase 3
  • When Malygos levels up, climb up to him and reach head level
  • Strafe in 90 degree increments going counter clockwise
  • DPS: 1-1-1-2
  • Healers: 3-3-3-3-3-4 and press Shift V to toggle health bars
  • Don’t panic when he catches you with no combo points since you still have time

Good luck and good hunting!

Patchwerk through the eyes of a Resto Shaman

Image courtesy of Feralis.org

Lodur from Zul’jin here once again. This post I’d like to talk a little bit about healing Patchwerk as a restoration shaman. This will be a bit of a short post for me this week. Patchwerk for the longest time has been THE premiere check for your dps, your tanks and your healing. He is a perfect measuring stick for your raid if you think about it. He’s a straightforward fight, dps can sit and dps, tanks sit and soak damage and healers sit and heal. There’s no fancy gimmicks, no movement or fire to move out of , so it really is the perfect boss fight to check out your raids gear and ability.

You might ask youself “What is there to know? Don’t we just dump heals into tanks and call it a day? ” There are a couple different roles a shaman can play for healing through Patchy here. The two tried and true methods are Chain Heal spam and Lesser Healing Wave spam. Lets talk about the strengths of each for a moment here.

Lesser Healing Wave method.

  • Quicker heals
  • Using Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave allows the spell to hit for almost as much as Healing Wave
  • Lower spell cost for more heals per mana spent.
  • Quickly allows off tanks to be topped off to full health

Chain Heal Method.

  • More efficient heals (5.3 healing per mana spent)
  • Allows for both off tanks and main tank to be targeted and healed through the jumps of chain heal.
  • Smoothes out healing on the off tanks so second healers have an easier time keeping the tanks health even.
  • Allows for lag compensation due to added healing buffer.

Lesser Healing Wave Method:

This method is really straightforward. Simply put you keep Earth Shield up on your tank and continue to dump Lesser Healing Waves and Riptides into him constantly. Make sure to keep your Water Shield up for maximum mana regen and to make sure you have full charges available for Improved Water Shield. Using this method you have to apply healer tunnel vision. By that I mean you have to pay attention to your tank and only your tank, if you try to heal another OT or the Main Tank, your tank is likely to eat a large spike before you can top him off. This method allows for very little error but is very mana costly in the end.

Chain Heal Method:

Personally I prefer the Chain Heal method, let me explain a bit about why. Firstly, it is simply our most efficient heal. You get the most bang for your buck out of it and if you have your 4 piece set bonus from tier 7, or even if you’re still rocking a couple pieces of tier 6, you just get the most mileage out of it. Secondly it has a lot of synergy with some other talents that you will find useful for this fight.

Lets go ahead and assume you’re assigned to heal one of the two Hateful Strike tanks (I’m operating under the assumption you’ll be using the two OT strategy.) The tank you are specifically assigned to will be your the starting point of all your heals. He will get the most out of your chain heals. After that if the OT’s are situated right, it will bounce off of your tank and onto the second OT, thereby adding a buffer to that tanks healers. My experience has show that two restoration shamans placed on the OT’s produce enough of a healing buffer that the other healers have a light healing load, it makes sure to smooth out the spikes in healing you normally see. Think of it as like providing the driving baseline for a band, it helps set the framework for everything around it. There are a few more benefits to this. Lets say something goes terribly wrong and all of a sudden someone other then the OT’s takes a Hateful Strike, if you’re already chain healing you’ll be able to heal the person through the smart heal component without having to divert attention away from the OT’s in order to heal someone up. We can also assume you’ll be using a healthy smathering of Riptide it’s just going to pump your Chain Heal amount up that much more. Also, by using your chain heal you’re allowing for Tidal Waves to be up all the time so if you need to throw a LHW or a HW it hits for that much more.


All in all he’s not terrible for us, just make sure you have your Runic Mana potions and Mana Tide Totem ready to go to keep your mana up, and it should be smooth sailing for you. Both methods work (regardless of crit or haste gear =P ) and as long as you’re paying attention to your tank, you will easily succeed.

Now if you guys have a different way of doing it, please feel free to share =)

Till next time, Happy Healing!

~ Lodur

WoW Insider’s Raid Rx Makes a Return

I’m in class right now so I don’t have much to add (Learning about policing and media perceptions and stuff, good lecture, contrasting police forces all over the world. Did you know Canada doesn’t have water cannons to deal with riots or protests?). Just wanted to raise awareness and shamelessly promote it. You can find it on WoW Insider. This week’s post is about the raid healer leader. Here’s an excerpt:

In the past, I didn’t become the healing lead because I was asked to. I saw the disarray of healers we had. I knew how disheveled we were as a unit. Because of my dissatisfaction, I decided to do something about it. I know some of you are thinking along the same lines. Maybe you feel there is no direction or order or structure. Perhaps your raid leaders aren’t taking it seriously or are even ignoring the healers entirely expecting them to sort things out amongst themselves.

If you don’t see anyone else doing it, take charge of it yourself. You’re going to feel overwhelmed at first. I know I did. It’s up to you to turn your ragtag group of healers into a lean, mean life-saving machine.

For the Resto Shaman: Settling the Crit vs Haste Discussion

For the Resto Shaman: Settling the Crit vs Haste Discussion

sham-crit-haste

This is a guest post from Lodur, a Resto Shaman who set up an experiment to determine what is better: Haste or Crit. The experiment consisted of two relatively equally geared Resto Shamans with slight variances in haste and crit thrown into a full clear Heroic Naxxramas.

Round 1

Lodur from Zul’jin here again. Today I’d like to talk a little bit on the topic of Crit versus Haste. This has been a hotly debated topic among the shaman community since patch 3.0 dropped on us giving us all kinds of goodies. Specs have been proposed and gear has been compared using every measuring stick imaginable. The arguments are all over the Internet, and you can find them on all sorts of forums and websites. Right now though I’d like to take a look at some key points for each camp that have recently been brought up in my guild’s Shaman Class forums.

Pro Crit:

  • Bigger heals = less heals needed

  • Allows for increased rate in procs in key talents such as Improved Water Shield,and Ancestral Awakening.

  • Takes full advantage of the fix to Earth Shield which now has a crit change equal to the caster and not the recipient of the shield

  • Allows for Increased performance of preventative healing

  • Allows for greater single target healing efficiency

Pro Haste:

  • Allows for lower casting time for Chain Heal which is a shamans most efficient heal (5.23 heal per mana)

  • Allows for a greater number of spell casts which will allow key talents such as, Ancestral Awakening, Tidal Waves, and Healing Way to proc more often on more targets

  • Allows for Increased performance in "twitch" or reactive healing

  • Allows for greater group healing efficiency, while giving the passive regen of a Glyphed Water Shield time to restore mana. 

  • Allows for quicker application of Earth Living Weapon so as to proc to more targets

To further understand these points we can look at the talents and abilities so you can begin to see where each is coming from.

Talents / abilities Described:

  • Ancestral Awakening: When you critically heal with your Healing Wave, Lesser Healing Wave or Riptide you summon an Ancestral spirit to aid you, instantly healing the lowest percentage health friendly party or raid target within 40 yards for 30% of the amount healed. This may not seem like much but this adds up over time. It normally clocks in at around 1% of your total healing output.

  • Improved Water Shield: You have a 100% chance to instantly consume a Water Shield Orb when you gain a critical effect from your Healing Wave or Riptide spells, and a 60% chance when you gain a critical effect from your Lesser Healing Wave spell. This is helpful with mana regen especially if your find your MP5 or raid replenishment lacking.

  • Healing Way:Your Healing Wave spells have a 100% chance to increase the effect of subsequent Healing Wave spells on that target by 18% for 15 sec. This turns your 15,000 Healing Wave crit into something that creeps up to around 20,000 and with the change to the talent applying the full bonus on once cast of Healing Wave, it has found it’s way into many rotation.

  • Earthliving:Imbue the Shaman’s weapon with earthen life. Increases healing done by 150 and each heal has a 20% chance to proc Earthliving on the target, healing an additional 652 over 12 sec. Lasts 30 minutes. 20% meaning 1 out of every 5 heals will land a hot on a target. Using a Glyphed Chain Heal means 4 targets per heal. A 652 HoT doesn’t seem like much but it adds up over time. 

Practical Application:

Someone once said me to "Lodur, I hear what you’re saying but I need to see the numbers." So after a lengthy discussion with another shaman in our guild we decided to give it a go. I would continue to stack haste (Hello, My name’s Lodur, and I’m a haste junkie) and they (I wont use their name simply because I don’t exactly have their permission to post their toon details on the interwebs and I’m respectful like that) would stack crit and change spec and see what numbers we got.

All numbers are without totems or self buffs, and not including Earthliving Weapon. These also do not take into account trinkets like Egg of Mortal Essence . Both of us were present for all four wings of Naxx and we were both tasked with Raid / OT healing at the same time in order to keep things as consistent as possible.

(And before anyone says quality of player or anything silly like that it should be noted that me and Shaman 2 are consistently within a stones throw of eachother every raid and both have been doing this for a long time!)

Let’s look at what some numbers produce, looking at builds and stats first. All gear is at the item level of i200 and i213. This is without totems, weapon buffs, food or raid buffs. Both shamans used the same Glyphs for the run. Glyph of Chain heal, Glyph of Water Mastery, Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave and Glyph of Water Shield

The Stats

  Lodur Shaman 2
Spec Spec here (Excludes Improved Water Shield in favor of Healing Way) Spec here (Inclusion of Thundering Strikes over Enhancing Totems )
Intellect 1010 983
Haste 419 (14%) 262 (8%)
Crit 19% 31%
Spellpower 1952 1936

As you can see the stats are fairly close, differing mainly in their haste and crit rating. So lets take a look and see what the end result of the run was number wise.

The Results

  Lodur Shaman 2
Total Healing 5328335 5089956
Water Shield 60813 64400
Earthliving 444686 311665
Ancestral Awakening 75251 67245
Average Crit 24% 34%
Overhealing 40% 40%

Wow. Pretty close there! Now that’s overall for the entire raid night. So as everything averages out at the end they wind up being pretty similar. We can break this down a bit further and look at some of the individual fights to look for strenghts and weaknesses for each. Lets pull out two boss kills here.

Maxxena:

Lodur: Total Healing Done: 68,068
Shaman 2: Total Healing Done: 123,953

Damn, got almost doubled on that fight! The strong single target heals allowed for Shaman 2 to top off tanks and webbed people in one gulp causing my quicker heals to move on over into overhealing.

Heigan the Unclean:

Lodur: Total Healing Done: 222,257
Shaman 2: Total Healing Done: 109,780

Haste won that round! The faster group heals and lesser healing waves allowed for me to top people off quicker while diseases were cleansed.

The trade off between bosses carries on from there with Crit winning on Loatheb and Haste winning on Patchwerk. The two have fights where they will always shine slightly brighter then the other, but overall they perform to roughly the same output.

The Conclusion

It is, in the opinion of this shaman, so close that the difference really boils down to playstyle.

Both ways work! If you have a preference roll with it. Gearing for both is very easy. There’s haste on just about everything and what mail spell power pieces don’t have haste normally have a ton of crit (yes I know it can be argued that its elemental gear but it still works for healing all the same).

There will always be fights that are slightly tougher for your then if you had more haste rather then a ton of crit, but thats true about everything in the game. The synergy between the two is also noticeable. Fights where a hastened Healing Wave can keep Healing Way up so that the crit spec can land a huge, huge heal will always be there.

Well that’s it for round one of haste vs crit. Round 2 will be after 3.1 drops and Ulduar is available. Until next time, happy healing.

Image courtesy of Aurik

Heroic Sartharion 3D Conquered

Heroic Sartharion 3D Conquered

matts-drake

It is done. Approximately 24 hours since the experience and epiphany I had last night, it all paid off.

Sarth and his 3 drakes are down.

Twilight Drake

A big thank you goes to everyone in the guild. Without their efforts of them, the assistance of the Plus Heal Community, and the various bloggers who’ve written about their experiences, this post would not be here right now.

The handling of the Drake was flattering. The officers and an overwhelming majority of the guild felt that I should have gotten the first one.

Needless to say, I double checked to make sure.

The last thing I want on my hands is a riot because the GM gets awarded the first Drake. I’m not one for mounts. Even though I made a Flying Carpet, I still ride on my purple Gryphon. But I guess the Gryphon will get rested for a while.

Subsequent mount drops will be handled with interested members rolling instead of the loot master doing a raid roll. This gives players a measure of control and it allows players who don’t care about the mount to opt out of rolling for the ones that do.

My hands were shaking once we got that Shadron down. It was the first time we hit that plateau and after that, it just felt like smooth sailing from there.

Total time spent: ~8 hours on just 3 Drakes alone
Time of death: 7:04 PM PST, January 28

  • Worked on the pull
  • Worked on the Drake positioning
  • Worked on Whelp and Elemental tanking (We used a Death Knight)
  • Worked on healing the ad tanks and the Drake tanks
  • Worked on surviving Fissures and Firewalls
  • Worked on timing Main Tank “saves” (Pain Suppression, Barksin + Survival Instincts combo, and Guardian Spirit)

Extra things

These points may be minor, but they might help you. We increased the healing from 6 to 7. This gave us 2 Paladins. The fight took slightly longer, but it paid off.

Now what these Paladins did was they spent 17 points into Protection to pick up Divine Guardian.

The moment I used my Pain Suppression on the first breath, I’d pick one Paladin and tell them to bubble. Since a majority of the raid members are standing together, this helps mitigate raid damage during that period. On the second save, the Druid tank on Sarth popped his Barksin and Survival Instincts to outlive that breath hit. At this point, if it goes off, I alert the Holy Priest to get into position because his Guardian Spirit is up next.

Reader Rivendael brought up a great comment that I wanted to reiterate:

Hi Matt, I’m surprised that you have to watch the animations at all :)

It’s very responsible of you, considering that most healers need to/are very used to watching mainly health bars, but in the end, I’d say that the job of watching for breath cooldowns should in fact fall on the tank.

As my guild’s druid tank on Sarth (we’ve downed 3D), even before the fight, I establish player orders for the cooldowns we’re using. When Vesp lands, I call for the first cd-user to “prep” (usually all my healing pallies and priests). When I see the breath animation, I call for the prepped player to use his cd. Then I call for the next player to prepare. And so forth.

My healers just need to macro their cd to me and be in range, that’s all, and I take the burden off them so they can -visually- focus on their heals, while dodging lava walls and void zones. As the one player facing Sarth’s bigass head all the time, it’s the least I can do. Since your Sarth tank obviously has a mic, why not suggest that he do the same?

The answer to that is we both do it. The Sarth tank and I are able to watch for his head. As a healer, I like to use IceHUD so that I can see the health bar of my target, the health bar of myself, and the action that’s going around. This goes hand in hand with my heads up technique of healing.

The “double affirmative” from the Sarth tank and myself strengthens our judgment. It’s better to have two pairs of eyes on it if possible. It helps confirm that it is the right time to use a save when two players are saying the same thing. While there’s nothing wrong with allowing Sarth’s tank to call out when to use the save, I prefer keeping my head up instead of relying on reflexes to hit the tank.

Either we’re both right or we’re both wrong.

I do have a video from a DPS perspective. Just need to find a suitable host. Any ideas of a Youtube or Filefront alternatives?

Also: Ner’Zhul is ridiculously PvE competitive. We’re in the top 20 of guilds that have successfully killed Sarth 3D.

Healing Assignments for Resto Druids

Healing Assignments for Resto Druids

broccoli-banner

Perhaps more than any other healing class, Wrath of the Lich King has revolutionized the way druids heal. I’m going to take a bit of a look back to where we came from as a way to help understand any troubles druid healers might face at present when we try to figure out what our role in raids should be.

Back in the “Good” Old Days

I came of age as a healer during the BC raid content, and I think part of me will always missing rolling Lifebloom stacks on four different tanks during the Hyjal trash waves. Lifebloom spam may have been widely criticized, but at the time it was effective and felt very dynamic for the player. The timing was tight enough to require tank-specific macros, which I miss, because I could always change their icons to a pig whenever I got mad at them (sorry, Brio). However, when healers argue now that they don’t want to be locked into a rotation, they’re probably thinking of something like old-school LB rolling with horror. That was a rotation, all right–but it left me dizzy. I had to keybind Lifebloom twice–both to my mouse clickwheel and to F. The “F” was for when I needed to refresh while turning with the mouse. At the time, there was no way to increase the 7 sec Lifebloom rotation, and the penalty for letting the stack fall off was fairly severe. I never ran into mana problems, but sometimes the tank would take more damage than I liked if their stack slipped off, and I had few ways to play catch-up. If one tank’s stack went, then most likely all four would.

Even some boss fights made Lifebloom spam worthwhile. On Illidari Council, I used to assign Bonkers to roll LB on three tanks, giving him 1 GCD per cycle free to do “whatever he wanted.” Let me add that the healing buffer Bonkers provided to three of the tanks won the fight for us on more than one occasion. Why did I give the assignment to Bonkers and not myself? Because Bonkers is quicker than me. My assignment, keeping up the group on Malande, was a lot easier. The odd thing is, these kinds of assignments seemed great to Resto Druids at the time–1 GCD free? That’s amazing.

Now that I think about it, the Good Old Days don’t seem so great after all.

Broccoli, v. 3.0

Patch 3.0 brought new tools for the druid healer, offering flexibility where before we had none. However, it strikes me that many Broccoli Stalks might be a little bewildered by all our new toys. And if we’re confused, imagine what it’s like to do healing assignments for a resto druid these days. A few days ago I came across this topic on PlusHeal forums, posted by Siha of Banana Shoulders:

So, I’m the healing lead for my guild, and it usually falls to me to do healing assignments.

I’m having some trouble deciding how best to make use of resto druids. I know in TBC I always used to use them for a multi-tank assignment, keeping a bunch of people hotted up with Lifebloom, but I’m not really on top of all the resto druid changes in WotLK yet.

The talented Siha, as always, gets right to the point with her post. I replied in the topic, but I think that the question has enough merit to warrant a full-length post.

So, what do we do with the newly-versatile druid? After looking at my own performance and those of my Cruciferous Vegetable buddies in Conquest, I am convinced that Resto Druids can be assigned in two different ways for Wrath content. I’m going to showcase a couple of meters-topping druid performances to show just how versatile trees are these days

Raid Healing

This assignment is the most obvious for a resto druid. Wild Growth, due to its higher total healing and it’s status as a heal over time spell, suffered less from the recent nerf than Circle of Healing did. With Rejuvenation, Wild Growth, and perhaps a glyphed Healing Touch in the mix, druids have a powerful toolkit to deal with raid damage.

Let’s take a look at the meter breakdown from an expert druid healer on Gluth, which features heavy raid damage:
s13-meter

Now, the meter % alone might not mean much, but let’s factor in healing assignment. Both S13 and I were assigned to heal the kiters on Gluth, and we have similar gear. Why did he outperform me? Let’s take a look at the abilities breakdown.
s13-breakdown

Take a look at S13′s Healing Touch percentage and the amount it hits for on average. That tells me–even if I didn’t already know–that he’s using the Healing Touch glyph. The fact that he’s able to get so much healing out of a direct healing spell also tells me that S13 is fast. He’s really great at reacting to situations. Notice here that he’s also made a lot of use of Lifebloom–nerfed it maybe, but useless it is not. This WWS report is post-WG nerf, by the way. S13′s performance shows how little a healer has to rely on Wild Growth to be effective (and to post good numbers while doing so). If I were to take a look at S13′s targets, I would see a lot of healing on the 5 kiters, but also a decent amount on other members of the raid. S13 is a great raid healer because he’s able to pay attention to a lot of things at once and to accurately judge when he can go a bit beyond the boundaries of his assignment.

Tank Healing

Yes, I know druids have an AoE heal now. That doesn’t mean that we’re not still good at our old role, healing the main tank. I’ve just shown you the WWS from a druid who excels at raid healing. Now, I’m going to show you my own meter performance. I am a tank healer. That’s what I like, and that’s what I’m good at. I’ve been healing a warrior MT so long that I know how the damage hits and what I can do to fix it. I don’t pretend to be the best at anything, but if I’m in charge of healing assignments, I’m going to stick myself to a tank. It’s not usually very showy on the meters, but I’m going to give you a peep at the one fight in Naxx that does let tank healers show off–Patchwerk.
syd-meter

To understand this image properly, you should probably know that Silvia and I were assigned to heal the offtank, a druid, while S13 and Arktos were assigned to the main tank, a warrior. For the life of me, I can’t remember what Kaldora, our holy priest, was assigned to that day. The nature of the fight dictates that there is simply more healing to do on the off tank(s) than on the main tank, so an off-tank healer is going to post higher numbers. Be that as it may, this is nonetheless a good performance from me personally. Let’s look at the breakdown of what I did.
syd-breakdown

First of all, notice the presence of Regrowth. I use the Regrowth glyph, and a fight with heavy tank damage also shows it off. Meanwhile, I keep Lifebloom rolling on the primary off-tank. As for Rejuvenation, I keep it on both the primary off-tank and the backup. At higher gear levels, your raid is less likely to need two offtanks for Patchwerk. I used to post even more impressive numbers when two off-tanks took heavy hits. I would keep up my full hot rotation on the druid and use Rejuvenation, Swiftmend, and a Nature’s Swiftness/Healing Touch on the secondary off-tank. I always say that Resto Druids can heal two tanks as well as one, and it’s very nearly true. This is a lesson I learned in Zul’Aman, and it still serves me well on a multi-tank fight like Patchwerk. One thing an MT healer can never forget is the power of Swiftmend–it’s easy to ignore, but make yourself use it whenever you can. You’ll notice that Nourish is missing from my rotation, even though I have the 4pc T7 bonus. Regrowth is simply better if the damage is high. I will use Nourish on fights where Regrowth might be overheal, or on long fights that might stress my mana.

My message to healing leads is this: resto druids can tank heal. You might think that only a paladin or discipline priest will work, but don’t discount the resto druid, particularly one who’s used to this job. We may have a discipline priest solo-healing the MT on Sarth 3D, but that doesn’t mean a resto druid cannot be assigned to the task. In fact, some days I want to arm-wrestle Mallet for the job.

Glyphs and Talents

As you can see from our performances, S13 and I, despite having almost the same gear, are very different healers. There are slight differences in talents and glyphs that support each of our preferred roles. Here are my thoughts on how to set up a resto druid to excel at either raid healing or tank healing.

Raid Healing

In terms of talents, I suggest Tranquil Spirit to make Healing Touch and Nourish more efficient, a fully talented Gift of the Earth Mother, and perhaps Naturalist for the shortest Healing Touch cast time. As an alternative, you might put either 1 or 2 points into Improved Tranquility. I find this spell very useful when I can remember to use it. It shines on any fight where the raid is fairly close together and AoE damage as high–I’ve used Tranquility to good effect on Loatheb, Sapphiron, and OS3.

To heal S13-style, you will absolutely need to glyph Healing Touch. I am extremely impressed with the HPS of this spell, and it only gets better as your gear scales. In addition, we can all afford the mana at this point. S13 doesn’t run OOM any more than I do. The raid healer has some amount of choice in the other glyph slots. I suggest Swiftmend and Innervate, but if you find that you never use Swiftmend, Lifebloom will also work. The Regrowth glyph, while good in and of itself, won’t do much for you if you’re never assigned to tanks.

Tank Healing

In terms of tank healing talents, the most important one to have is Nature’s Splendor from the Balance tree to extend HoT duration. However, all raiding restos should have this talent. I also use Tranquil Spirit to support my Nourish (in case I ever use it), a fully maxed Improved Regrowth, and Gift of the Earthmother for easier HoT refreshes. I do not have Living Seed at the current moment. It accounted for less that 1% of my total healing when I had it. If I get enough haste to remove points from Gift of the Earthmother, I may try it again. I have a feeling that either 1) Living Seed will do more healing in Ulduar or 2) it will get some sort of buff in the future. As for Replenish, either build should skip it because it’s endlessly terrible, but the tank healer especially does not need it.

In terms of glyphs, I use Swiftmend, Regrowth, and Innervate for main tank healing. The only debateble choice here is Innervate. I prefer it over Lifebloom, but Keeva of Tree Bark Jacket, who also main tank heals often, writes very convincingly in favor of the LB glyph in this recent post. A main tank healer should not glyph Healing Touch. It’s more useful in the large version paired with Nature’s Swiftness.

Conclusions

We’ve come a long way from Lifebloom spam. Whether we’re set to healing tanks or the raid, druids have a variety of techniques now to support their chosen role. We can do it all–just not all at once. If you’re a healing lead, it’s important to get to know your healers. With the new diversity of the druid class, skill and preference start to weigh heavily on how you should assign your druids. So, why not ask them what they like, and what they are good at?

Healing Rotation: Good Idea or Bad Idea?

Look at this blue post below. It appears that Priests are about to get additional sweeping changes to the class.

We have some exciting changes planned for priests. Many of them will make it in 3.1 (Ulduar). We hope to have them finalized enough to be able to announce some in the next couple of weeks, but that date might not work out for a number of reasons. The community has a way of overlooking all those caveats such as “at this time” or “assuming nothing changes” and suddenly we are “breaking promises.”

Source: Two Non-QQ QUestions for the Devs

I don’t plan on being a cynic. I am not particularly good at being a cynic. I’m far too hopeful and optimistic for my own good. Other bloggers are way better at that than I am. All I can say is that I’m really looking forward to see what these changes are.

Despite all the improvements and changes made to the Discipline tree, I can tell from the amount of emails I read, tweets I get, and forum posts I peruse that there is a significant number of players who remain skeptical about the healing capability of Discipline.

A change like that doesn’t occur overnight. A change happens like that from player to player. All it takes is for one Discipline Priest to heal a Heroic expertly. Then those 4 players that partner with them will spread the word allowing that Priest to heal for other players. Then he gets invited to raids and so forth. Being accepted as Discipline takes time.

Even I was skeptical until I tried it out myself.

I asked everyone around the table if they would feel comfortable having a Disc priest on main tank duty even with no paladin. Every one of them said yes.

Source: 8 Reasons

Healer Rotations

Here’s another forum post located in the same thread as the last one.

When I say we want healers to have rotations, that doesn’t necessarily mean you always press 112311231123 forever and install cooldown timers so that you don’t go insane. Some dps classes are closer to that, but dps classes in general don’t have to be as reactive to situations as do healers, so they can handle it.

What I am really getting at are things like Swiftmend and Riptide. Swiftmend is a very fun spell — IMO one of the best ones in the game. But you can’t spam Swiftmend. In fact, you have to be pretty smart about when you set it up and when you use it. And yes it has a cooldown. Riptide has a similar mechanic where you want to X when Y happens and you can come up with a lot of other examples. Riptide is fun. Swiftmend is fun. Greater Heal… eh, it does the job. But it’s not a particularly fun button to use.

Disc gets this vibe with some of their shield mechanics, Grace and Penance. I do think that Holy could use a lot more of it though. The main "interesting thing" that happens with Holy is Holy Concentration and its Improved version. That’s not bad, but we’re not sure it’s enough. I don’t think we would actually use this specific example, but imagine a talent that sped up Greater Heal’s cast time when you cast enough Flash Heals. Now you have a reason to "weave." You have a mechanic that rewards you (but doesn’t require you) to switch from one thing to another. Another idea (off the top of my head) is that CoH healed more on targets with Renew on them (this steals too much from the Resto playbooks IMO). These don’t necessarily have to be random procs or cooldowns, though sometimes these systems end up using those specific mechanics.

This is the kind of thing we’d like to do to Holy.

This is an approach that has merit. I admit I have not played my Shaman as Resto yet. Therefore, I don’t know what it’s like to use Riptide with its bonus effect.

I know for me when it comes to healing, I will make whatever move necessary to keep my players from dying. I’d call it the Dominik Hasek approach since he was known for doing whatever was necessary in keeping pucks out of the net.

And the same thing applies here. As a healer, it’s your role to do everything in your power to save. Calling it a healing rotation though implies that there should be a specific sequence of spells you should cast to best “optimize” healing done. By doing that, you’d gain additional bonus effects of some sort if you can combo 3 Flash Heals and a Greater (as an example).

Unlike DPS players, it is not always possible for healers to to stick to a specific sequence. On my Elemental Shaman, it’s Flame Shock, Lava Burst, and about 5 Lightning Bolts before I start it all over again (Single mob, will throw in Chain Lightning for multiple ones).

We’re not going to constantly use up our Global Cooldown because we might need it (although to be fair that is encounter specific).

On the other hand, I have a feeling that by implementing a change like this into the game, it may slow down some healers. I’m referring to the decision making aspect.

“I could use this Instant heal now, or I could cast my big heal which activates my other healing increase bonus to my lesser heal but if I do that he might di- Oh crap he’s dead.”

The point

I am totally in favor of more changes to the Priest class to add in bonuses for using specific spells after certain conditions. But I won’t always exercise the option to use them because of how the nature of healing is.

When I was Holy, I’d often get Surge of Light procs. I’d wait and watch for players to heal before I converted it to a free Smite instead. Sometimes we just don’t have an occasion to use spells.

This is especially true when tanks have a hard time taking damage.

The Question

Do you think added bonuses from using spells at specific times is going to help you or hinder you? (Don’t worry about the class you play. It’s directed to all healers).

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

5 Archetypes of the Healer

5 Archetypes of the Healer

whyweheal

This is a guest post by Lodur

Hello everybody! Lodur, resto shaman from Zul’jin here again. I was running heroic Violet Hold last night when a hiccup with a player and Zuramat the Obliterator almost caused the group to wipe (lag + lots of little adds = low health for everyone).

We were able to stave off a wipe, and as I was ressing the only casualty the tank sends me a tell: “;Lodur man, I have no clue how you can do it. That had to be way hectic”

The statement got me thinking about how I started healing and all the different types of healers there are. I then began wondering how they got into healing.

Mulling it over I’ve come up with a few archetypes that the healers you run into can usually be framed in.

The Archetypes

Average Gamer

This is the guy (or girl) who does it simply because he can, it’s part of the game. This gamer usually has a full roster of alts more then likely created at a time when someone made a statement like "wow, we’re short on healers, we should probably get more". This game is often very easy tempered, very slow to anger or excite and tends to enjoy all aspects of the game.

Signs

  • Proficient for multiple classes and roles.
  • Likeable
  • Normally well read.
  • Well known by guildies
  • Always willing to help out in whichever capacity is needed

The Ex-Healer

This person started as a healer and has probably done more then their fair share of raids doing nothing but playing green bar whack-a-mole. Often times they are suffering from healer burn out and switch their class to DPS spec, or a new class all together, normally one that is not a hybrid and has no healing capability. These people tend to avoid healing like the plague. In extreme circumstances they may go back to their healer for a night’s raid or just long enough till a full time healer logs on, but will quickly return to DPS as soon as the opportunity is afforded them.

Signs

  • Doesn’t want to heal
  • May only heal for a raid or two
  • History of healing

Reluctant Healer

Normally this falls to someone who happens to be playing a hybrid that can heal at a time when their guild needs to fill in gaps. Sometimes this person takes a liking to healing and decides to go healer full time. They tend to learn quickly and climb up to eventually be a solid healer a short time after their switch, but still tend to maintain a DPS or tank set "just in case". They tend to be willing to change their roles from healing back to DPS or tanking whenever offered until they can get a fix for the other walks of life, and then normally return to a healing spec afterwards. It should be noted that a reluctant healer that doesn’t fully enjoy healing but stays that way because it’s the only way they can raid, can suffer from healer’s burnout very quickly.

Signs

  • Rolls on offset gear
  • Doesn’t really like healing
  • Spec flexibility
  • Fast learner

Hero Complex

The Hero Complex is an inherent desire to help others. It is a compulsion to help make their world right. This healer-type loves their role with such enthusiasm that there is almost no other way for them to play the game. They immerse themselves in the world of min maxing and micro-management. Their true joy is saving the day, getting that tank to full from red line and stopping a wipe, or saving that dying DPS that only had 50hp left. If this person has an alt it will usually be a tank or tank type. After all, if you can’t heal them you might as well save them by taking the damage for them. They will jump at any opportunity to participate in any event and generally are very affable, active in raids / heroics and social events, and aren’t afraid to take on roles abnormal to their class. They often refuse praise and can be found exalting the deeds of others around them. They epitomize the team player.

Signs

  • Really likes healing
  • Active in raids and social events
  • Definite team player

God Complex

A God complex is a state of mind in which a person believes that they have supernatural powers or god-like abilities. The person generally believes they are above the rules of society and should be given special consideration. These healers are bad news for raids and guilds. Like the definition suggests they often believe themselves above the rules set for everyone else and believe they should have special rights. They think that they are the best at their craft and refuse, rebuke and often times aggressively and openly oppose suggestions or criticism. In game terms they tend to condescend to other healers commenting often on how others need to step up or keep up. They openly exalt their own deeds with statements like "DUDE I’M AWESOME LOOK AT ME!", and when attempts are made to bring them back in line (or they are told an event or raid is going on that they don’t want to go to) they will often times try to hold the raid hostage until they are either given what they want or the raid fails and has to be cancelled.

Signs

  • Aggressive
  • Stubborn
  • Condescending
  • Holds raids hostage

Optional:

  • May or may not have their own World on the internet


Lodur’s Tale

Thinking over all of this I went back and thought about how I became a healer. When I rolled Lodur, the goal for her was to throw lightning and melt faces. I had been playing a hunter for the vast majority of Vanilla WoW and wanted a change of scenery. Shortly after hitting 70 our guild leader hits me up because they need another healer for Karazhan. I had never healed before but said sure. I did inform him though that I’d rather be DPSing. I grabbed what meager healing gear I had available to me, respecced to good old 0/5/56 and headed in.

Two full kara runs later and I was hooked. Healing was amazing fun and gave me a fresh new look on the game. I still kept my DPS gear (just in case ;] ) but made the decision to stick with healing from then on. I grew to hate speccing out of Restoration and whenever I had to for arena matches I would go back as soon as possible.

I poured over blogs and sites like Elitist Jerks learning everything I could about the ins and outs of my class and the math behind it. Every chance I got I would go healing to learn more about how to be better at my class.

One night I decided no heroic shall be refused my healing! (I paid for that statement dearly when Magister’s Terrace was released) I started out as the Reluctant Healer, but have since moved on to Hero Complex. Lodur is "Resto4Life!" and I don’t think I’ll ever want to spec a different tree, oh, and for the record my main alt is a DK tank =)

So time for you guys to share. What got you into healing? And What archetype do you fall into?