How about a training dummy/event for healers?

OK, so there is this awesome new set of training dummies in the Mists beta that gives someone facing, raid buffs, food buffs and flask buffs, can be killed and has about 50 million health. It’s a pretty damn cool new tool for players to try to more accurately judge their DPS in a raid environment without having to actually go in to a raid. It’s a wonderful idea, a great idea and a necessary idea.

But how about one for healers?

So, lets lay it out there, healing is a stressful job, accompanied by a certain sense of anxiety and dread that accompanies healing a group for the first time. I hear horror stories of people getting booted out of instance all the time when they first start healing because they are new and not perfect. It’s a huge fear. One of the things I always suggest to new healers is to pop into a battle ground. As folks on twitter have pointed out, and I’ve agreed with for years, it helps you sort your UI, and it helps you learn some of the aspects of healing like triage. But it doesn’t teach you everything. Healing a PvP group isn’t quite the same as an instance, especially when you have to manage cooldowns and mana usage for boss mechanics, tanks, DPS and yourself.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t heal in PvP, by all means you should as it’s a great way to test out your UI, spells and what they do as well as key binds, but I still find fighting against another group of people is much different than fighting against a raid or boss design. I just want to make it clear I’m not discrediting PvP healing as a learning tool, but there’s no elegant solution to it. I mean, even Rift has healing dummies to help you gauge yourself.

Now here’s a thought that’s been on my mind for a couple months now. In The Secret World there’s a test you have to take for your preferred role to access nightmare content, and it’s called the gatekeeper. What the gatekeeper does is it forces you to respond to mechanics and use your toolkit. When I stumbled upon this I was immediately reminded of a very old class quest in Vanilla World of Warcraft , and I’m sure some of you will already know where I’m going with this.

Remember when you went for your Benediction priests? Do you remember the difficulty of that class quest and how it made you use everything you had to smartly complete the quest? It was an awesome class quest that worked within the confines of the character class at the time.

So here’s my proposal, lets have something, an event,  that you can go into that gives you NPC party members to heal and a faux boss fight. Through this, players could individually test their mettle, get logs and see if they were having issues without having to risk embarrassment or ridicule. Yes I know it’s an MMO and yes I know there are social requirements to be had, but DPS can go to a dummy and test out their numbers, why shouldn’t other classes get something similar? Why not a faux encounter like the Gatekeeper in TSW that lets you test out our abilities in relative safety. Think of how something like this could benefit healers.

Lets take that a step further, how much would something like this benefit tanks as well, or DPS. It would be an amazing boon. It would relieve so much pressure by eliminating at least partially the notion that you have to be perfect on your first time out. You could test to some extent and get an idea before ever having to walk into an instance. I would wager that if something like this was implemented there would be a lot more willing healers, and a lot more willing tanks. I can’t count how many times people in my own guild have said that they would want to try healing or tanking, but don’t want to do so in a manner that would waste someone’s time while they were learning. It’s nice to have friends to call on to learn this stuff, but sometimes they just aren’t around to help at the times you need them.

Yes you could make the argument that you can learn this while you level up and learn your abilities, but at the end of the day I’d be willing to be the amount of people that level through instances isn’t nearly as great as those that level through questing. Even though questing as a healer or tank has gotten better, it’s more often than not more effective to level as a DPS spec anyways. I’ve had healers message me for advice, and then when they get ridiculed in a 5-man or an LFR, or a new raid they just stop because while they were learning, not everyone understood that and made it twice as difficult.

The Gatekeeper system is one of the best things I’ve seen implemented into an MMO in years, it is something I would love to see re-purposed in other MMOs, if only tooled a bit differently. In our case a repeatable event or quest that lets you test yourself, your new gem setup, your new talent choices, your new reforging or just learning how spells work without the opportunity cost of failing publicly before you’re ready. Lets just make it more of an event and less of a test, make it something healers and tanks could use to get a feel for their respective roles.

Is it  a perfect solution, I can’t really say, but healers and tanks need some love too. Having a new tool for DPS to check their numbers with full raid buffs is really nice, but don’t leave out the healers and tanks, the two most stressful jobs you can choose to undertake in just about any game. I just think adding something like this would be amazing, useful, and combined with everything else at our finger tips would just further strengthen our healers and tanks, and their confidence in their roles.

I’ll write more on this later I’m sure, something more in-depth and detailed, but for now I’m curious to see what you think. Would this be something you’d like to see implemented for healers and tanks?

Matticast Episode 8: Patch 4.0.6 and Listener E-mails

Welcome to Episode 8 of The Matticast. This week MattKat, Brian, and special guest Veronica from Ask Mr Robot discuss:

– How Patch 4.0.6 effects healers

– Listener e-mails about raid issues, gearing, and judging tank performance.

Don’t forget you can send us your questions or topic, and be sure to checkout and participate in the listener topic every Wednesday.

Subscribe to the show: iTunesRSS

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Raid Leading 101: Starting your Roster

**Forgive the absence of last week’s post. I got “blessed” by a crazy work schedule that had me away from my desk a lot. Don’t forget that if there’s anything you’d like to discuss or see in a RL101 post, you can always email me**

So, you’ve made the choice between 10 and 25. You know which feels right for you and your friends. Now you need to look at your roster. Your roster is the list of players on your team that you can pull from to make your raid on any given night. Hopefully you’ve got a group of friends that you’ve started with, which will take some of the stress off of recruiting and assembling your team. We’ll start out with the basics of your raid (this is a 101 course, remember). You need tanks, healers, ranged DPS and melee DPS.

Tanks

Tanks are the classes that will take the brunt of the damage while protecting your raid. The classes that can fulfill this role are:

  • Protection Paladin (“Prot Pally”, “Tankadin”)
  • Feral Druid in Bear Form (“Bear”, “Meatshield”)
  • Protection Warrior (“Prot Warrior”)
  • Blood Death Knight (“Blood DK”, “BDK”)

It’s best in a 10-man raid to have ~3 Tanks on your roster (~4 for 25-man). Most raids encounters will require 2 tanks for encounters. Either your 2 tanks will have to alternate who is tanking the boss, one will tank the boss while the other tanks one or more mobs that join the fight, or you’re doing a Council-style fight.

Your Main Tank (or “MT”) should be your most talented tank and will seldom need a DPS off-spec. The other tanks on your roster (“Off-tanks” or “OTs”) should have a DPS off-spec so they don’t need to be totally swapped out mid-fight. Warriors can spec into Fury or Arms, Druids into Balance or Feral Cat, Paladins into Retribution, and Death Knights into Frost or Unholy.

Healers

Healers are the players that you pay to keep you alive long enough to see the boss take its last breath. Classes blessed with this ability:

  • Restoration Shaman (“Resto Shammy”)
  • Restoration Druid (“Resto Druid”, “Tree Druid”)
  • Holy Paladin (“Holy Pally”, “HPally”)
  • Holy Priest
  • Discipline Priest (“Disc”)

For your 10-man crew, count on having ~4 Healers on your roster (~9 for 25man). You’ll always need a minimum of 2 healers (5 in 25-man) for an encounter, depending on how healing intensive it is. It’s best to have the other healers in your roster work on a DPS offspec in case you need to convert to more DPS in an encounter. Priests can spec into Shadow, Druids into Balance or Feral Cat, Paladins into Retribution, and Shamans into Enhancement (Melee) or Elemental (Ranged).

Melee/Ranged DPS

DPS are the players that put the hurtin’ on the boss. They’re primarily responsible for dealing damage to the boss and any adds that may pop up, as well as crowd control, interrupt, off-heal, or help mitigate damage. Here’s the laundry list of DPS you’ll find:

Melee

  • Enhancement Shaman (“Enh Shammy”)
  • Rogue (Subtlety, Assassination, Combat)
  • Arms or Fury Warrior (“Arms War”, “Fury War”)
  • Retribution Paladin (“Ret Pally”, “lolret”)
  • Feral Druid in Cat Form (“Cat”, “Kitty DPS”)
  • Death Knight (Unholy, Frost)

Ranged

  • Elemental Shaman (“Ele Shammy”)
  • Hunter (Marksmanship, Beast Mastery, Survival)
  • Warlock (Affliction, Demonology, Destruction)
  • Mage (Arcane, Fire, Frost)
  • Balance Druid (“Moonkin”, “Boomkin”, “Boom Chicken”, “Lazer Turkey”)
  • Shadow Priest

In 10-man, you’ll want ~8 DPS’ers (~22 for 25-man) on your roster, with a mix of melee and ranged. There will be some fights that will be better for melee DPS or ranged DPS, so a mix will give you a good chance of success. Having any of your DPS players with a tank or heal off-spec is great, but more often than not, you’ll be better off if your tanks and healers are all main-spec.

Summing It Up

A standard 10-man raid will consist of: 2 Tanks, 3 Healers, 5 DPS.

A standard 25-man raid will consist of: 2-3 Tanks, 6-7 Healers, and the rest DPS.

Of course different raids will deviate from this basic model, but in my raiding experience, this is usually what you’ll find. To start out, aim for those numbers. Once you have your 10 or 25, add 1-2 more for each role to solidify your team. Your raiders will need nights off or have real-life commitments from time to time, and those extra people will help keep your raid going consistently.

Coming up, we’ll look at more advanced roster planning, as well as a couple recruitment tips!

3 Points of Effective Raid Communication

This is a guest post by Blacksen of Blacksen’s End. Rumor has it this raid leader likes to play funky motivational music before every raid. Don’t forget to check out his blog!

Communication in raids has always been important. For most guilds, this means using some form of voice communication. Several fights require that all raiders are able to hear their raid leader and then make a tactical response. You need to hear about tank swaps on Festergut, Putricide, and Sindragosa. You need to hear requests for tanking cooldowns. You need to hear sudden tactic changes as the fight is moving. You need to hear your other healers when they’re debuffed on Sindragosa. The list goes on and on… Regardless of the fight, really, communication is a key element to successful end-game raiding.

I’ve struggled with communication at several points throughout my raiding career. A lot of guilds pitch that they "want someone who will talk on vent," but the reality is that communication can be intimidating for members, especially if they’re new. For raid leaders, it is essential to communicate effectively with your raid. I’ve found that effective communication made the difference between a wipe and a kill on several occasions.

What to Communicate

What to communicate can be a challenge for a lot of guilds. Whenever anyone says something on vent, be it the raid leader or some key members, the main goal is to have it invoke a significant and positive response. Simply put, you want things said during a boss encounter to evoke a response. Conversely, things that aren’t going to evoke much of a response shouldn’t be said on vent.

Bad example: Don’t call out inhales on Festergut. Very few people will respond (at most, 1-2).
Good example: Calling out tank changes on Festergut. Not only do your tank healers respond, but your hunters and rogues will also switch their misdirect targets.

Bad example: Don’t call out “run-out” after the pull-in on Sindragosa. By the time you say that and it’s both heard and processed by your raiders, the damage will have already been done – your raiders are either already running or already dead.
Good example: Calling out "pull-in soon, get ready to run out" on Sindragosa. Players who would have been tunnel-visioning are made more aware that they’re about to need to turn their camera and run.

Plan it out

Plan out what you’re going to communicate before the fight. One of my most common mistakes as a raid leader is not planning out communication before the pull. In the past, I’ve had an expectation that everyone will know what to communicate, and that’s all we need. With every new fight, however, I find something that’s not really obvious but probably should be communicated. Tell people before the pull exactly when they should talk on vent.

One thing that a lot of people can struggle with is balancing specific calls with general calls. Whenever you’re making a raid call, you need to know when to specify something and when to speak generally.

Bad example: Tanks asking "can I get a cooldown?" The term "cooldown" is too broad. Does intervene count as a cooldown? Raid-Wall? Guardian Spirit? Pain Suppression? Which cooldown do you actually want? The raid needs to specifically know. Asking for just a “cooldown” could result in getting multiple cooldowns wasted by stacking on top of each other.
Good example: Tank asking “can I get Guardian Spirit?” Now we know which cooldown you specifically want.

Bad example: On the Lich King’s Valk’yrs, it would be bad to say "I need a backup stun.” This risks random stuns getting thrown out on all the Valk’yrs by random people. We need to know which Valk’yr needs the stun, and who you want to execute it.
Good example: Saying “Thine, backup on Square.” Thine, a specific raid member, now knows that he needs to execute a backup stun on square.

Specific raid calls are another area in which raid leaders risk becoming unclear. In some cases, it’s better to speak generally rather being specific.

Bad example: Saying “Blistering Cold soon” on Sindragosa. This tells us nothing about the response or how most raiders conceptualize the pull-in.
Good example: Saying “Get ready to run out” on Sindragosa. This tells us what’s about to happen and the needed response.

Bad example: When an aura mastery is needed, it’s pretty cluttering to say “Warel, use aura mastery shadow.” Most of the time, it’s obvious which aura mastery is needed.
Good example: On phase 3 of Professor Putricide, all I need to say is “Warel, go” and he takes care of the rest.

Consistency

Be consistent with raid calls. While a lot of my friends have joked about how I sounded like a broken record player, the fact is that consistent calls lead to a consistent response.

Bad example: On Heroic Lich King, saying "Shadow Trap Ranged" followed by "Trap on healers plus ranged." Each call requires processing – your raiders can’t build an association between the phrase and the response.
Good example: On the Lich King, saying “Necrotic Plague in 3” every single time necrotic plague is about to be cast. This instantly prompts your members to be aware and ready for the impending debuff.

Lastly, let’s talk about how raiders should communicate. Getting raiders to communicate the way you want can be very difficult, but once they get into the loop of things, most of them will execute everything great. The most important concept of raider communication is telling us what needs to happen, not what already happened.

Bad example: On the Lich King, a disc priest calling out “I’m picked up” generally doesn’t mean anything. It requires your raiders to connect “disc priest is picked up” to “oh, this infest is going to be bad.”
Good example: Saying “Watch Infest.” Now all of your raiders immediately know the consequences of you being in a Valk’yr.

Bad example: On Sindragosa, having a healer say "I’m Unchained" means nothing. This requires all other healers to know everyone else’s healer assignment.
Good example: Saying "Watch Group 4" gives us information. Now all healers know the consequence of you being unchained: group 4 needs more healing.

Bad example: Saying “Oh S***” on any fight. Random expletives don’t give us any information and just put people on edge. We need real responses with real information.

Note: Matt is extremely guilty of this. Don’t do it.

Your raiders will also thank you if you tell them exactly what you want said. Tell them the exact phrasing you want. This will lead to a more consistent environment and thus more consistent responses. It takes the burden off of individual raiders for coming up with what you want said, and will likely make them very happy.

Nearly every hardmode raiding guild has a vent atmosphere during fights. If you find yourself wiping due to seemingly random things, see if communication has an answer. Communication is generally an easy problem to address as it has very little to do with tactics or individual skill, but more preparation and consistency. You can sometimes beat the more challenging elements of a fight just by clearer and regular communication

Five Misconceptions About Healers

Five Misconceptions About Healers

Sometimes there is nothing more frustrating in a raid than watching your raid wipe. I feel that the only thing more frustrating than the wipe itself, is watching the healers get blamed right away. As a raid officer and healing lead seldom do I let things really truly get under my skin. But when I see a wipe and I hear the question in vent

“healers, what happened there?”

It raises my ire. I understand that healing is something that quickly comes under the analytical scope when an encounter fails. But when you have someone assigned to lead the healers it’s their job to find out what happened, and on the off chance they do find something wrong it is their job to address and resolve the issue. When a tank or dps starts berating healers about what happened it gets on everyone’s nerves. We’re going to use the term Healer Rage here. Healer rage can take many forms, quiet determination, outright aggression, passive aggressive behavior (such as “missing” a heal on a target) all the way up to outright quitting. You might remember my first post here on World of Matticus where I talked about the 5 Archetypes of the Healer. I broke down what makes a person choose to be a healer in a game like World of Warcraft. Each of those healers are still around and kicking and always will be.

Today I’m going to talk about some general misconceptions about healers, as well as what triggers Healer Rage and how different healers deal with it.

5. All healers are created equal

There are a lot of people who seem to think you can equally exchange Healer A for Healer B and see no difference in the performance of the raid as a whole. I’m not talking classes here, purely about the player. This might seem like it doesn’t happen but it does, and quite frequently.

“Why not bring Dude B, he’s just as good as Dude A?”

Now I’m not trying to be elitist and talk about difference in skill, but the truth is we all have our strengths. Some healers are better at tank healing, they understand it better. Others are better topping off a raid. Some know the intricacies of a short burst fight and intensive healing, while others still are built for longevity fights. We all have our specialties our niche. The idea that you can take any healer and slap them anywhere and get the same performance is not a good one to have.

Why this causes Healer Rage

Dude B is a tank healer, he revels in it. It is his specialty without question. Dude A is a raid healer, he knows the in and out of everything there is to know about keeping the raid at peak health. Raid officer decides to switch their assignments. Dude A is now on tanks and Dude B is healing the raid. When you take a healer out of a comfort zone it is akin to dumping a bucket of cold water on a sleeping person. While some people can handle a shifting role like that, we all tend to have our preferences. Moving  us from those preferences tends to make us just a tad bit grumpy.

4. All healing capable classes are built equal

Some people think that all classes are equitable. What I mean is that a Resto Shaman is the same as a Holy Paladin as a Resto Druid as a Priest. Lets be honest, while this has become closer to the truth over the many years that we’ve been playing this game, it is still a ways off. Sure my Shaman is capable of healing a single target quite well, But an equally geared Discipline Priest or a Holy Pally will beat me every time and vice-versa for raid healing. Sure you can stick them in that roll, but results might not be optimal. This is considering the merits of the classes and talents without accounting for player skill.

Why this causes Healer Rage

Just like above, when you take someone out of their safe spot people’s nerves are on edge and performance can often times suffer. Over the years I’ve come to realize as healers, we tend to like our niche. When Shaman were usurped as the kings of raid healing, there was quite a loud outcry on the forums and through the WoW universe. This is very much the same as the reasoning behind the rage of number 5. I’ve also noticed in both 5, and 4 here that healers thrust out of their comfort zone tend to be quieter and deal with their rage about it more internally.

3. Healing is Easy!

There are some people out there who feel that healing is the easiest job in the game. I’ll be honest, there was a point where I felt that way. That was when I was playing a hunter in 40 man raids and before I had ever touched the healing side of a Shaman. Nothing could be further from the truth. Healing is one of the most stressful aspects of the game. You are responsible to heal any damage taken in a raid, people look at you to stave off that wipe or to keep them up no matter what, because they think all you do is sit there and spam a few buttons.

Why this causes Healer Rage

Healing can be one of the most challenging roles in the game! Not only do we have to effectively manage our own resources such as mana our own health and consumables, but we also have the privilege of playing broker with yo ur health totals! What people often don’t realize is that as a healer we often have to play triage. Prioritizing heals is more than just making sure the tank is topped off and then spilling over into your group or raid. We have to decide sometimes who lives and who dies! That is a heavy burden and one that we often times have to make as snap decisions. When a healer gets criticized for this, it’s not exactly fair, and can cause not only rage but an added level of stress. This is normally when you’ll find healers raging openly either through comments or possibly even over voice.

2. A healer has to carry those who are under-geared / unprepared

While a healer is capable of carrying an under geared tank or healing through a certain amount of damage from players not moving fast enough out of area damage, it should not be expected of us. There seems to be a large amount of players that believe a healer is obligated to heal the tank that isn’t even trying to mitigate their damage or are woefully under geared for the content. Some people think it is OK for them to stand in the middle of a raging fire on the floor because the healer will heal them through it. You may think I’m making this up, but I’ve seen enough dps actually do this and then when asked about why they would say “because the healer has to heal me!”. This also holds true for people who don’t know the mechanics of a fight, yet insist to pull and bring much unnecessary damage on themselves.

Why this causes Healer Rage

Much for the same reason as number 3. Healing is already challenging enough in some cases. Doing things that while funny, are disruptive and unnecessary can really alienate you from your healer. Tanks don’t randomly go into your dps spec and pull the groups in HoR, it just isn’t happening. If you’re a dps and you’re purposely standing in Rotfaces’s slime quadrant just to get your extra couple hits in, that’s completely unnecessary and honestly it’s rude. It is every raid members job to mitigate as much damage as they can, you can’t rely solely on the healers. Eventually you’ll get healers that will respond to this but ceasing to heal you, or openly being aggressive about your actions.

1. Whenever there is a wipe, blame healers first

There is this mentality that every time there is a wipe, you need to yell at or blame the healers first. After all it’s their job to heal you through anything right? (see number 2.) There are few things more frustrating than seeing the group wipe and to hear someone immediately ask “so what happened there healers?”. What boggles my mind is when this happens despite things like mortuary, big brother, raid buff system or several other mods that people may use that announce who dies and to what. We’ll use one of the new ICC trash mobs for an example, Stinky. Stinky and it’s twin Precious are the pets of Festergut and Rotface. They are also mini bosses very much like the trash pulls leading up to the Twin Emps were back in AQ40. Each has an unique ability, but in Stinky’s case I’ve seen this mini boss / trash pull wipe more groups than some of the bosses! Stinky has three abilities

Decimate: aoe that knocks everyone to 15% health
Mortal Wound: 10% reduced healing done to you stacks up to 100%, placed on tanks
Plague Stench: raid wide aoe that ticks for about 3k every 2-3 seconds

He’s pretty much setup to really mess with healers. If you get an ill timed Decimate followed by a quick Plague Stench it is possible to have multiple people in the raid die in one stroke. Every time I’ve seen a group wipe on it, the first thing I hear asked is why the healers didn’t heal through it. Sometimes I’ve seen it expected of healers to time their group heals perfectly to go off when decimate does! I’m not saying healers shouldn’t be prepared for it, but latency spikes and lag can cause heals to not exactly be spot on, and that should be kept in mind.

Why this causes healer rage

When a boss goes down smoothly you almost never hear anyone say; “That was awesome! Great job healers! That was all you!”, but when a wipe happens you will hear the phrase “what happened healers?” way too often. Not everything is within a healers control. Sometimes things happen that stretch our abilities so thin there is no recovery. Random mob abilities chaining together can cause a group to wipe before a healer even has a chance to react. When someone places this burden on the healers, it’s a short trip to off the rage deep end. Healers are already shouldering enough weight in a run, keeping a group topped off, playing healer triage and managing our resources to keep the group going. Looking at the healers after every wipe can cause healers to snap. I’ve seen healers rage quit raids, I’ve seen them rage quit guilds, I’ve seen them completely stop healing on the next pull just to watch the person who blamed the wipe on them die. I’ve heard stories of even worse events that have gone as far as an entire healing team leaving a guild in one swoop, leaving a raiding guild effectively healer-less.

Healers carry large burdens in a raid or group. Sure sometimes we might make comments about something being so easy because a tank out-gears an instance, but those are welcome breaks. We are not omniscient,we are not gods, we are not capable of predicting what is going to happen and when. We are just playing our role in a group, doing what we can to make things go smoothly. Remember, our job is a stressful one and one vital to the raid. Trust in your healing leads if you have one to make sure healers are doing what they need to be, and trust your healers a bit. Basically cut us a little slack, it’s often times a thankless job.

That’s it for today, until next time folks Happy Healing

 

Images courtesy of Icanhazcheesburger.com and staples

Case Study: How Conquest’s Healers Were Recruited

Case Study: How Conquest’s Healers Were Recruited

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On Saturday, I wrote a brief highlight on how not to recruit healers. The actual post was written by Ess. Reader Spinks posted a comment wondering how I recruited my healers.

In truth, recruiting healers involved higher standards and scrutiny. This was only because I’m way more critical with healing. It’s difficult to explain. Maybe it’s because I know what I want in a healer.

I’ll start with the longest serving healers and work my way up.

Sthirteen

I’ve served with S13 in my last guild. He was there when we worked on Illidan and onto Kil’Jaden. Even though he’s only played for a little over a year, he’s come a long way from the Druid who played all the way up to level 10 without realizing he could equip gear. His signing was a no brainer. I’ve known him for many years and Resto Druids aren’t exactly a common commodity on my server.

Sydera

Syd was a transfer. She was one of the founding mothers of Conquest. If she hadn’t come to me, Conquest might have still been just a dream. Her case is a unique one. She was on a different server. There was no way I could gauge her play without directly observing. A lot of it was based on inference. It certainly helped that she turned out to be a great Druid blogger. Reading her posts showed me that she knew what she was doing even though I had no way of seeing it for myself. Her previous guild managed to kill Illidan prepatch which added extra credibility.

Kaldora

I didn’t know Kaldora that well. I’ve played with him several times in other raids. One day he decided to leave his previous guild and sign with Conquest for a more focused raiding experience. I knew from the times I’ve played with him before that he knew what he was doing. He took advice and critique really well. Quick learners is a big must for my healers.

Epiks

I don’t know what it is about Resto Shamans. But they’re always hyped up on something. Epiks actually came to me in trade chat. I didn’t know about him before so I had very little to go on. Like Kaldora, he wanted a change of scenery. I had nothing to go by other than his present gear and the reputation of his old guild. I knew how progressed his old guild was and I could tell by some of the 70 gear he still had Epiks was a part of the team that helped his old guild get to where they were before Wrath. That was a testament to his perseverance and his abilities. Even though those were all good marks, I still didn’t know enough about him as a player. A Naxxramas and Obsidian Sanctum run later, his position was virtually cemented in the ranks.

Krinan

I took a chance on her and she took a chance on my guild. Krinan’s journey into the guild revolved around Twitter (and she has a post up on that very subject). Her pickup was a great risk moreso for her then myself. She was willing to take a chance on an unproven guild with an unproven GM. In most cases, that would have been a recipe for disaster. I’m proud to say she’s still in after 4 months. I think what did it for me was her willingness to give this organization a chance and her ability to learn quickly.

Notice that gear didn’t play a significant factor in the signings of these players. In Epiks’ case, his 70 epics from BT and the like demonstrated to me that he could hold his own. But not a single one of these players entered the guild and leveled to 80 with more then a handful of blues and greens.

These are players I know and count on to hold down the fort and they’ve done an admirable job of doing it.

photo © David Martín :: Suki_ :: for openphoto.net CC:Attribution-ShareAlike

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

How to Recruit a New Healer in 10 Easy Steps

sydera-post

This is Sydera’s SYTYCB week 2 entry.

It’s 9:00 p.m. on a Sunday night, and where’s your resto shaman? Oh right, he’s taking three months off raiding to spend time with his new girlfriend, and you need that tremor totem for Vashj right now. What do you do? If you follow these ten easy steps, you’ll be seeing the beautiful banana beams of Brain Heal again in no time.







Auntie Syd Wants UCall me crazy, but I like doing guild recruiting. So far, I have recruited ten total strangers for my guild, Collateral Damage of Vek’nilash, and eight of these new members have become great friends and guildmates. As for the other two, well–you the readers will have the opportunity to learn from my mistakes. How do you tell the truly awesome players who will someday invite you to their house for homemade ravioli from the habitual guild hoppers? This simple list will help you navigate the chaos.

1. Look early and often

Guild turnover is a constant surprise, and you will never be able to predict exactly when you’ll be short-handed. If you’re not recruiting, your guild is shrinking. If you have specific needs, allow a month or so to find just the right player.

Over time, I have observed that my best recruits were rarely those that fit my narrow search criteria. When I tried to recruit a resto shaman, all I found were two wonderful holy priests. Jesmin and Fortitius have since become cornerstones of the healing corps, and as a side note, they’ve both invited me over for dinner! If you find an exceptional player, don’t ever miss out.

2. Build up your guild’s reputation

A guild’s recruitment officer is also its public relations specialist. Start participating in your realm forums–you’d be surprised just how much goodwill you can generate with some friendly, respectful posts. Potential recruits may be reading, so don’t act like a jerk unless that’s the attitude your guild is going for!

3. Search creatively

Almost all recruiters post both on their realm forums and on Guild Recruitment. Those two search options are no-brainers, but there are other tools out there to help you. I use www.wowlemmings.com to sort through the posts on the official forums, and I always write to WoWInsider’s Guild Watch column when I post a new opening. In addition, community sites like PlusHeal or TankSpot often have a recruitment forum. Try to reach the widest possible audience.

4. Write an advertisement with personality

Your advertisement should be both expressive and informative. These two examples, both from Sunwell guilds, show how an ad can reflect a guild’s general attitude.

Sample Ad #1: Relaxed and uncensored

Casual

Sample Ad #2: Businesslike and respectful

Lunacy

“Mostly our raid vent and guild chat is used to discuss non-WoW related things such as affairs with married women, getting your girlfriend pregnant, binge drinking, and other topics. We are looking for highly skilled players that have a good sense of humor, want to progress, and won’t burn out or quit the first time they get to second base with a girl.” “We like to keep a calm and collected raid with leaders who don’t yell at their raiders at every turn, while still managing to be successful. We’ve recently cleared all of Sunwell. We are 6/6. But that doesn’t mean we plan to cease raiding. =)”
I like the irony that <Casual> uses in their description, but as much as I might admire their writing style, I know right away that they’re way too macho for me! The second guild, <Lunacy>, uses a serious tone for their ad, which tells me that they are more hardcore than the first guild. The smiley, however, softens the ad a bit and gives it some humanity. Even though Casual’s ad is more creative, Lunacy’s ad would attract a more reserved player like me.

To sum up: write an ad that appeals to the kind of player you want.

5. Prepare a thoughtful application

Most guilds use an application template. Search around, find one you like, and adapt it to suit your guild’s needs. Provide a link to the application on your guild website, and make sure the instructions for posting are easy to follow. Include at least one question that lets your applicants show who they really are. Collateral Damage asks applicants to tell us a joke. This question is an idiot check, and anything that’s not obscene will work for us. Extra points are awarded for silly–we’re more likely to invite players whose sense of humor matches ours.

6. Know your competition

Find out which guilds on your server are similar to yours, and lurk in their forums if you can. If they are currently recruiting, you should know about it! If you admire something about their organization or application procedure, imitate it! If you get applicants that don’t suit your guild, refer them to the kind of guild they want. In addition, talk to other guilds’ recruitment officers and share information–you may learn some useful gossip.

7. Research your candidates

Inviting new members into your guild is like welcoming strangers into your home. Trust is important–after all, you don’t want them to leave with the silverware in their pockets! In addition to scrutinizing someone’s gear and reputation through the Armory, you can look up his guild history at www.warcraftrealms.com/charhistory.php. You’re checking for one of two warning signs: a list of guilds a mile long, or no list at all. A player with a short record has very likely changed names, which goes right along with guild- and server-hopping.

Remember–if you do the research, you have to use what you learn. Both of my failures in recruiting came from giving a player the benefit of the doubt. When you recruit, go with your instincts. If something feels wrong, it probably is.

8. Contact your prospects personally

One of my recruits, Thunm, told me that he chose my guild because one of our officers took the time to go to his server and talk to him one-on-one. When you see a promising post on the forums, make a personal reply, and follow that up with an in-game contact. Chat over vent, and let your prospects ask questions–they will want to check you out as well.

9. Make a good offer

When you invite a new guild member, do so in good faith. Try not to recruit positions that involve lots of bench time or poor prospects for loot. In short, make the kind of offer YOU would want to accept. I see many guilds make the mistake of thinking only about progression or about their longtime members–remember to make your new guild member feel welcome.

10. Follow up!

Congratulations! Your guild has a new healer, and you are the person she knows best. Serve as her mentor, and check in with her often. If the guild isn’t happy with your recruit’s performance, be the one to explain why. If it seems that the guild is a good fit, be her champion when the officers vote on whether she should be promoted to full member.

Always remember: Be honest, both with yourself and with any applicants you talk to.

The more you know about your guild’s personality and style, the better you can describe it to your potential recruits. You don’t want to be one of those lolguilds that advertises in general chat with really original lines like: We haz guild bank and taberdz, pst for invite!

And most of all, don’t panic! The right person for your guild is always out there.

Sydera

Assigning Healing Strategy – Part 3: The Pivot Healer

Assigning Healing Strategy – Part 3: The Pivot Healer

Welcome to the third in a 5 part series here on World of Matticus. For the next several weeks, I’ll be covering the rare topic of assigning raid heals. No one really wants to do it but it’s the most important job in the raid and I’ll provide a basic overview of the process and some advanced tips!

In case you missed it:

  1. Week 1: Recognizing Class Strengths
  2. Week 2: Double Shifting Your Healers

Last week, I discussed the concept of double shifting your healers. I instructed that it is possible to assign one person to look after more than 2 people simultaneously. This week, I’m going to discuss the pivot healer.

What is the pivot healer?

Simply put, pivot healers are single target healers that switch between two or more assignments. It’s a technique to make life a little easier for your healing lead. It’s a way to minimize idle healers and recycle them.

A case study

Still unsure of what I’m referring to? Let me give you an example.

The first dual phase fight that comes to my mind is that of Leotheras. There are two main tanks required for the encounter and they alternate themselves depending on what phase Leo is. If Leo is a demon, the Warlock tanks him. If Leo is in his Elf form, he get’s controlled by a standard tank.

In true Matticus-like fashion, I’ll park 2 Paladins and a Priest on the main tank during Elf mode. Once phase 2 hits and Leo turns super saiyan, the same 2 Paladins and Priest immediately pivot over to the Warlock tank. At this point in time, the main tank is no longer taking the brunt of the damage so the healers that were on them can be rotated off of them.

pivot

And that’s today’s lecture! Hopefully the really cheesy graphic above can help illustrate what I’m trying to say. Remember they switch targets after a phase is over and look after whoever is holding the attention of the boss!

Would You be Interested in an all Healer Community?

EDIT: Nevermind! It’s been brought to my attention that there *is* in fact an all healer community in existence that’s been around under my nose for the longest time. Light Natured forums appear at first glance to be what I’ve been looking for. The community forum’s been broken down by class and has some extra sections devoted to general discussion and UI’s and such. How I’ve never found this place, I will have no idea. Obviously I didn’t look hard enough =). They need to do a better marketing and promotion job. I guess I’ll have to flex my blogging and WoW Insider muscle and raise some awareness. I do seem to be suffering some performance issues on the forums. They do take a while to get into the different sub sections.

This is one of the few pleasures I get from blogging. My interaction with readers sparks ideas. Sometimes they’re bad, sometimes they’re good, and sometimes I come up with a “EUREKA” of an idea that would’ve done Archimonde Archimedes proud.

Tonight I had a discussion with neutralise as we were discussing the impact of a raid wide Prayer of Healing. Somehow, my brain went off on a tangent. I wondered if there was a community or forum specifically devoted to Holy Priests who would discuss their trade (similar akin to the Shadow Priest.com forums). After some quick searching, Twittering, and general asking around, I was amazed to discover that there wasn’t a community already in place.

Not only that, there doesn’t seem to be places for Resto Druids, Holy Paladins, or Resto Shamans specifically either.

The only place that I know of that represents anything close is the Elitist Jerks forums. I’m not going to lie. Every time I go there, I feel fairly intimidated. There’s also a lot of information to wade through to get an answer you’re looking for.

My vision

Seeing as there doesn’t seem be a local healer community, I thought to myself why not start a healer community?

Financing is not a problem. One of the reasons I run affiliate advertising on my blog is so that I can take what I earn and invest it directly back into the community. Heh, like it or not, money makes this world go round.

I’m picturing a discussion board where healers of all shapes, sizes and progression levels can:

  • Exchange ideas and tips amongst individual classes
  • Ask for help and advice during PvE content
  • Discuss upcoming healer changes
  • Interact with other healers overall
  • Come for early advice and support on getting started with end game

I’d handle the maintenance and logistics of the project myself including hosting, software and such. The design and structure would be an interesting challenge to undergo.

My obstacles

Moderation - It’s a no brainer that a community like this would most likely attract some big time morons. As much as I’d like to, there’s not a chance in hell that I’d be able to completely police the place. I’d have to realistically turn to volunteers that have proven themselves fair and in possession of a back bone.

Structure - Organization of this community would have to be done properly. Like boss fights, it’s one thing to know what to do. It all comes down to execution. If I can pull it off right, I have no doubt it would be a great community. Done incorrectly, and it would just be another failed startup project. Razorbax suggested a Forum/Wiki combination but I have my reservations about that. I could go forums first and then “immortalize” epic posts after into its own Wiki for easier navigation and access.

By the way, that quote Razorbax listed? Not me.

I swear.

Name – You guys might think this is silly, but the name is important. I don’t simply want to create forums and slap World of Matticus forums on it. A day might come where I won’t be around and it’d be nice for this community to be able to stand on its own. I’d sponsor and support it, but it should have a distinct brand of its own. The challenge here is to think of a name that’s catchy, easy to remember, and isn’t already registered on the WHOIS database.

Interest – But right now, I’m getting ahead of myself. What’s the point of establishing a community if there’s no one interested in it? I ran it by the night owls still awake in BA chat, and they seemed receptive and encouraging of the idea. Still, I’d rather ask you the community in general and get your thoughts.

Any ideas, feedback, questions, or comments would be welcome. But do answer the poll first below =).

Which site hosting does your guild use?

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