Priest Healing Talents for MoP – Which Would You Pick?

Priest Healing Talents for MoP – Which Would You Pick?

Been meaning to do this for a while. Wanted to analyze all the new proposed talents for the different healing classes to see which ones I would choose if I played that healer.

Priest talents

Matt’s choices

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Level 15: Nothing. All various CC effects. May as well go with the bread and butter Psychic Scream.

Level 30: Nothing. All various movement effects. Probably Body and Soul for me in most cases.

Level 45: From Darkness, Comes Light would be my main selection. Depending on the encounter, strategy and positioning, Divine Star would be an excellent alternative. Not opposed to blasting the spell down one direction healing the group.

Level 60: Defensive, personal cooldowns here. Leaning heavily toward Desperate Prayer.

Level 75: Wow. This is the hardest selection to make. I think I would take Power Infusion. Not only could I use it on myself for extra healing speed but in the event I don’t need it, i can toss it onto another player. But Twist of Fate and Serendipity are both excellent choices. You really might not be able to go wrong with any of these choices.

Level 90: This would be the second hardest talent selection to make after level 75, I think. Vampiric Dominance offers the ability for you to splash or cleave heal your group. Void Shift* offers another single target cooldown. Vow of Unity is another modified single target cooldown which gives your healing spells a pseudo Binding Heal effect with the added bonus of redirecting half the damage your target takes to you. Void Shift wins!

* For those who are curious, due to the wording of the talent, I believe that the health percentage swap is only temporary. That is, if my target had 30% health and I had 100% health when I used Void Shift and I healed myself from 30% to 60%, the health pools would reverse again so that my target had 60% health and I would have his health percentage (before being healed for that additional 25%).

If the expansion were to come out today, I would be satisfied if these were the talents that came with it. It really does make you think. In some of these cases, there isn’t always a clear cut answer as a simple strategy change or a different encounter could lead to a radically altered talent choice. The latter talents are designed to really make you excel as a healer.

Skills

Where did Vampiric Embrace and Devouring Plague go? That was the first thing I noticed. Nice to see I get Lightwell folded into the Holy skillset without having to actually spec into it. Train of Thought received the same treatment as well. No word on what our level 85+ skills are. But I think Discipline is receiving the castable Shield past 85 at some point.

My thoughts on the rest of the healers will come later this week!

EDIT: WHERE DID PRAYER OF HEALING GO?!

MoP Shakes up healing, Lodur’s thoughts

Well folks, it’s been a while, since I posted. Life has been quite busy for this little shaman. Things are calming down so you’ll see me posting more often (hopefully!). The past week was BlizzCon 2011, a fine time for everyone who got to go. For those of your readers I got to meet, it was an absolute pleasure! Shaking hands with readers is always fun, and sharing a drink with them is even better. Possibly one of the most exciting bits of news was the announcement of the new Mists of Pandaria! Not only will we finally get to play as our kung-fu pandas that we’ve been waiting for since the days of WC3, but it will bring with it a new class, the Monk.

The Monk class is an important addition to the World of Warcraft game for many reasons. Chief among them it is a hybrid class capable of filling all roles in the holy trinity of MMORPG; Tanking, DPS and Healing. This marks the third class capable of all three roles, with the other two being Druids (OP!) and Paladins.  The monk class promotes active playing. It’s a twitch class, and will be in all of it’s roles. While in DPS there is no auto attack, so you will constantly be hitting buttons. In tanking that will still be the same, and in healing well that’s where things get interesting.

Healing for a monk is not just about playing green bar whack-a-mole. The healing monk will be an incredibly active monk. Weaving into close combat to keep their orbs charged and then running around the raid/group to place healing statues or cast effects. It makes use of the monks base abilities of tumbling  and generally being a high mobility class while making you do things like deal damage or do other non-specific healing things to generate healing power. Well, that sounds pretty familiar to me, I mean this is exactly the type of healing I was talking about in March of 2010 here on the site!

It will not be your grandfather’s healing, or at least that’s the idea behind it. Since we’re still in an alpha phase, things will likely change. I personally hope they won’t. I revel in the idea of an active healer. I love the idea of being a hybrid and having to do different things in my role as a healer. I really think that it’s about time that something like this was brought into the world of warcraft as well, if for no other reason than the fact that other games are doing this as well.

T.E.R.A Online will promote active healing. Healing classes there will not just have to do multiple things besides healing in combat, they will actually have to actively target their spells for them to heal. No more just clicking an interface and a key, you will have to duck dive dip and dodge while healing, and target the right person too!  Healers in SWTOR will be healers with teeth, capable of not only healing those around them but fulfilling other roles as well. The Smuggler combat medic smacks of a billy bad-ass that runs around with wookies and will make sure you don’t die… for a price.

The point is, that the future of healing classes in games is moving away from the tried and true method of select unit frame, select spell, and to see the adoption of this in WoW in the next expansion speaks volumes to me of the IP’s survive-ability. The willingness to adapt to the market is important, and to me is exciting.

I play a healer in every game I play that allow it. I love healing, it is my passion in gaming outside of story. I’ve been healing a long time though, so anything that mixes up the normal click and click method of healing to me is exciting. Making me throw punches to charge up my healing? I’m OK with that. Making me have to run around and place my healing wards to actually heal things? I’m OK with that too. Don’t get me wrong, I love healing on my shaman, it’s always a lot of fun for me, but something like this has me seriously considering the possibility of switching to a monk to heal. It depends greatly on execution and how it feels being a healer in the expansion with the class, but I can honestly say I haven’t been this excited in a long time. I can certainly tell you that the vast majority of my play time when I get my beta access to MoP will be playing with the monk healing style to see how I like it.

So, what do you think? Does the idea of monk healing excite you? Do you think it’s silly and hate it? Do you bring PANDAMONIUM!?

How to Move and Heal

Do you know what one of the leading causes of tank death are?

Healers not being in range.

The other cause is not enough healing (ba-dum-tsch).

Whenever I jump into pickup raids or heroics as a DPS player, I am stunned at the inability of players to move and heal. This is an absolutely essential skill to have no matter what kind of healing class you play. We’ll go over a few tips to help get your confidence up to the point where you can effortlessly heal on the go. There aren’t any big secrets or special techniques. Much of it comes with foresight and experience.

Use your instant spells

HoTs, Renews, Shields, Ripties, Holy Shocks, and even Circle of Healing (Inefficient as it may be)! The moment they’re on the run, you need to be able to keep up with them. In most cases, you do not have to keep them at full health when they’re on the move. You just need to keep them alive with a nice margin of health. Instant spells are enough. Once they stop moving, start bomb healing them back to a comfortable level.

Hustle!

Body and Soul yourself. Switch to cat form. Ghost Wolf it. If you need to haul ass and you have a way of speeding up your movement, do it! Stop what you’re doing and move it!

Plan accordingly

Movement phases during raids can usually be planned in advanced. In the Lord Rhyolith encounter, tanks have to haul the ads from the middle of the room to the exterior. In Beth’tilac, large drones are manhandled to a preset location at the back of the room. If you know the rough location where the tank will be at, you can position yourself closer to that point to minimize your movement.

Leapfrog it

You move. Then they move. Then you move. Then they move. During Shannox, I’ll drop a Barrier on the tank and start moving in a pre-arranged direction. Once the Barrier falls off, they start coming towards me. We keep repeating this pattern where both the tank and the healer alternately move until we get to where we want to go.

Stand closer to them

Many of us have been trained to stay as far as possible away from a boss as DPS players to avoid different attacks or things on the ground. As a healer, being at max range can be a liability. The moment your tank moves the other way, you’re stuck playing catchup. Don’t be afraid of closing within 20-30 yards. This gives you additional flexibility and freedom for the tank.

Use your cooldowns

Even if they’re not taking large amounts of damage, a Pain Suppression of sorts can do wonders. If the tank needs to move, consider using a raid wide one like Divine Hymn or Tranquility. It’s like using a shotgun on a cockroach. It’s overkill, but it works. Wouldn’t recommend this unless you absolutely had no outs.

Have healers at different areas

If the tank is going in a predictable circle from point A to point B, have a healer at each point. The moment the tank comes into range of one of the healers, they’ll be under their responsibility. Don’t be afraid to call for help. If you can’t reach your main tank, say so. Hopefully there’s a healer nearby who will see the tank light up on their raid frames and switch to them until you’re back in range again.

Being vocal

Don’t be afraid to say things like “Stop moving” directly to your tank. If they can’t stop, at least they recognize that they’re on their own for a few seconds before you’re back in range of them. Work with them beforehand and arrange what will happen if the two of you aren’t in range of each other. Your tank can use that as a cue to use a potion or a Last Stand.

If you want some additional practice, step into some battlegrounds and participate in some PvP healing. Now it’s your turn. What other techniques would you suggest for healers on the go? Have any lessons or stories relating to healing and movement?

Healing Lord Rhyolith

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Can’t drive in real life? Maybe you’ll do a better job against Lord Rhyolith.

Imagine if you were driving a bumper car. The catch is that there is no steering wheel. Instead, you have to lean in a certain direction in order to get the car turning. Not only that, the accelerator is locked in place. You can’t stop, you can’t slow down and every few seconds it randomly decides to just give out before restarting again.

Oh, and if you make it to the side of a room, you explode.

That’s essentially Rhyolith. I haven’t even mentioned the numerous fire effects yet.

Your job as healers is to buy your raid group enough time for them to steer him into volcanoes and get rid of debuffs.

Dividing the raid

Drivers: About 7-9 total DPS (As much melee as possible)
Ad control: Everyone else that’s not driving
Healers: 6-8 (Recommend 7 to start)
Main tank: Pick a tank to exclusively pick up Fragments of Rhyolith. Their job is to stay near the center of the room and snap all of them the moment they spawn. If they’re not dead within 30 seconds, their explode and deal half their remaining health to a random player in 25 man (they deal their current health to a random player in 10 man)
Off tank: Infernal Rage are giant fire elementals that need to be snapped and dragged away from the group to the edge as fast as possible. They AoE any players within 12 yards. Their damage gradually increases every 5 seconds but the good news is that the amount of damage they take also increases every 5 seconds. Don’t let that fool you. Kill them fast.

Pick 1 player to call out the foot that needs to be DPS’d. Our caller experienced success when he was positioned to the side of Rhyolith instead of behind him. Rhyolith’s body has a habit of obstructing the view. Going from the side should at least give you a rough 270° degree field of vision which includes the direction Rhyolith is facing.

Dividing the healers

Main tank: 1 healer
Off tank: 1 healer + 1 raid healer who can float HoTs or shields
Raid: 4-6 healers

Phase 1

With his 80 stacks of Obsidian Armor, the firepower in your raid group is going to get blunted until they whittle that armor down by steering the rock dude over exploding volcanoes. The only way to steer it is for your players to DPS the foot that you want him to turn.

For positions, instruct the the raid to stay near the middle of the island (and your drivers are exempt).

Tip: Enable name plates as it clearly labels the legs.

For starters, pick a leg to get started with. We like to open up on his right leg first just to get him gradually spinning around.

Concussive stomp: He lifts his foot up and then stomps the ground. Contrary to popular belief, it appears that jumping at the precise time of the stomp does not negate the damage. There is a slight chance you may resist it.

Volcano: When Rhyolith ignites a volcano, every player is going to 36000 damage or so over 6 seconds to 6 players on 25 (3 players on 10). When a player is hit, they gain a debuff (Eruption) causing them to take an additional 10% Fire damage every 14 seconds. If your own stack goes above 8, use a self cooldown.

Heck, use a raid cooldown until they wear off.

Crater: This is the most dangerous ability. It will catch players unaware. There is a chance that a crater will cause a stream of lava to stream outward. Any player caught in the path takes 70000+ damage. One or two players eating that is no problem. Raid healers can take care of that easily. When you have a dozen players getting ripped by that with the fire debuff, it becomes a problem.

Tip: Designate a specific player or 3 to specifically call out streams when the ability kicks in. With the amount of stuff on the ground, it’s easy to miss.

Once Lord Rhyoliths’ stacks drop to 10 or less, your group doesn’t need to worry about steering as much. Enough armor has been shaved off to the point where you can bring him down to 25%. That triggers the second part of the encounter.

Phase 2

The last phase is extremely straightforward. Once you get to that point, you essentially have the encounter in the bag. He can now be tanked. Regroup your tank healers on your main tank.

All healers

Pay attention to your individual stacks of Eruption. I found that if exceeded 8 stacks, the damage would be almost unbearable and a wipe would be imminent. Raid cooldowns are needed until the stacks drop off.

The biggest threat are the fire veins that seem to sprout from volcanos. Between that and the decreased fire resist, players will die if they’re not watching where they’re standing. You might be able to eat the initial burst. I’ve had to do it once or twice to close the distance to a tank. I certainly don’t recommend doing it unless you know what you’re doing, have little to no stacks and have a self heal (or a healthstone) to negate the damage.

Priests

Desperate Prayer really helps here. Watch the ground for any fire veins before using your hymns.

Shamans

Lay down Healing Rain somewhere around the middle of the map. Your players can spot the blue circles and stand on top of them easily.

Druids

Not uncommon to see Rebirths being used on the encounter. Get away from any craters or volcanos before using them. Watch the ground for any fire veins before using Tranquility

Paladins

With so much rampant fire damage going around, there is no wrong time to use Aura Mastery throughout the first phase.

Lord Rhyolith Resources

Discuss

Plus Heal thread

Topping Meters vs Assigned Role

Ask the healing community what they think about healing meters and you’ll get a varied response. Some people swear by them and attempt to dominate the healing charts or rank on fights through World of Logs (usually recent converts from DPS roles to healing). Other folks see them as a tool to measure spell usage and the overall feel of healing for a fight, not really caring what the overall numbers say.

Recently there has been a resurgence in the camp of people that evaluate healing based on nothing more than the number on meters and logs. While normally this is relegated to what I like to call “outsiders looking in”, or rather non-healers attempting to evaluate healing, it has become an increasing point of measurement amongst healers in Cataclysm. It is with that in mind that I bring up the age old question once again; what is more important,  topping meters or performing well in your assigned task?

Top O’the charts to ye

There are a group of players that care only about the numbers, and only care about how they rank in relation to one another. They have an inherit need to be the top dog, the big boss, the head honcho of the meters. This is because they equate larger numbers with success. For DPS there is some merit there, and having that competition between DPSers can help push your raid’s DPS to rather insane numbers. Sadly though, this doesn’t work for healers or tanks quite as well. Being concerned with topping the charts can lead to some unfortunate happenings.

The most notable effect is that people who tend to heal with the sole intent of hitting the top of the charts tend to run on E longer than other healers, and sooner. They waste more consumables and waste more raid resources like Innervates, or force earlier Mana Tides just to keep going. The wasting of resources can lead to trouble for other healers down the line, and can jeopardize the raid as a whole. A second effect is that you tend to snipe heals from other healers. This means an increase in over-healing and a waste of mana. Every time a healer snipes a heal from another healer, you’re basically denying them the effective healing for mana spent on whatever spell was about to land. Lastly, you have the potential to spread yourself too thin, which can result in a dead raid. Topping the meters on a wipe, well it’s still a wipe.

…narrow of purpose and wide of vision

Another group of players follows their assignments with slavish devotion. They latch on to their healing assignment, and even when they can see other people in need of help do not deviate. They put on healing blinders as it were. This can cause just as many problems as people who try to hog the healing glory. A tank healer may keep the tank alive, but may end the fight with a full mana bar, where other healers may have struggled and ended the fight with no mana and a list of dead that shouldn’t have been dead. The raid healer who focuses on nothing but the raid, but ignores the tanks could see a dead tank.

Locking yourself into one tiny aspect can turn you into a dead weight that brings the raid down with you. If you and your assignment are the last ones standing, and everyone else in the group is dead because you couldn’t deviate from the plan slightly or adjust, well you just doomed them all.

The Question, the answer, and the in-between

Would you rather 1. Follow your healing assignment or 2.  Show up at the top of the healing meters ?

I posed this very question on twitter to see what type of response I would get from the healing community. Seems like both sides of the coin are tainted so to speak doesn’t it? The question is in and of itself a trick. Both answers are wrong. Adhering to a narrow view of the raid can be as bad as trying to garner meter glory. I was pleased that almost everyone responded with the correct answer, adapt.

While healers shouldn’t be concerned with their placement on the meters so much as making sure they are putting out the healing relevant to their current raid content, they shouldn’t abandon their assignments and just do whatever they want. Raid leaders and healing leads assign people to certain tasks for reasons. Whether it is to coordinate defensive cooldowns on a fight or to make sure the healing load is even, they (hopefully) have the best intent for the group and know what they are talking about. That said,they expect you to adapt to the situation around you and help out as you can. Don’t try to be the hero, trust your teammates, but keep an eye out on what’s going on.

If your healing assignment is stable and you see a problem area that needs a little TLC, help. If you are in need of a little help in your task, ask for it. If you don’t agree with your assignment don’t ignore it outright, talk with the heal / raid lead about it and see if you can make a better plan. Our job as healers is to deal with some of the most difficult things the game has to offer. We have to adjust to fluctuating damage, mix ups, mistakes all while dodging fires, void zones, raid bosses, and rabid hockey fans. You have to stay on your toes and be aware, and be prepared to adapt.

Screw the meters, our job is to make sure that we worked as a team to keep the raid alive through the encounter as best we can. You do the task assigned to you, and once your stable and comfortable you branch out if you can and help sure up the sides. To give you a perfect example, we had an encounter where a raid cooldown went off early due to a miss-click. One of the other healers immediately stepped in and filled in out of his normal sequence for cooldowns to cover the miss-click, without being asked to. The healing team was able to adjust and it literally saved the encounter. It’s all about balance in the end. You do what you can to help out the raid without trying to be a hero. I encourage you to throw meters out the window and focus on survival, survival of the raid, of your assignment and of yourself. THAT is what you should be worried about. You show me a parse where you pulled 32k HPS on a H- Chimaeron wipe, and I’ll still show you a wipe. If people try to evaluate you purely on your meter rankings rather than looking at everything you do, ignore them.

Healing Priests in 4.1

Expecting an imminent patch drop! How are healing Priests stacking up? Pretty darn good actually.

No significant nerfs to Holy anywhere in 4.1. Some of our mechanics have changed slightly. Discipline suffered a slight nerf but gained buffs in other areas to the Atonement specs.

  • Power Word: Shield duration has been reduced to 15 seconds, down from 30.

Pre-emptive shielding continues to remain lucrative but the practice of shielding significant amounts of players in a raid is all but gone. In most logs, Power Word: Shield should be somewhere from 30% – 45% of the healing done due to the way it works and based on encounters as well as healing assignments. With the duration of it halved, the chances of it falling off unused become much higher. Discipline Priests will need to exhibit discipline and really make sure players get full benefits out of them.

Dispel mechanics have also changed slightly. Shadow Priests won’t be relied upon to dispel members in the raid anymore. It’ll be up to us to take care of it.

Holy

  • Absolution (new passive) enables priests to use Dispel Magic on up to 2 harmful effects on friendly targets.
  • Chakra now lasts until cancelled, up from 1 minute.
  • Holy Word: Sanctuary healing done has been increased by 35%. In addition, it has a new spell effect.
  • Surge of Light can now also trigger from Binding Heal.

Chakra dancing is just about gone now. Your present Chakra state will last as long as you like. I guess they saw no need to keep mindlessly pressing keys to refresh your Chakra state. It’ll be easier for Holy Priests to stay in one Chakra stance from now on.

Sanctuary gets a huge buff. It’ll go from “Ugh, never use” to “Eh, I’ll use it when we all stack up”. PTR numbers looked promising, but without being able to put a raid together, I’ve never been able to gauge  how awesome it would be.

Discipline

  • Absolution (new passive) enables priests to use Dispel Magic on up to 2 harmful effects on friendly targets.
  • Divine Aegis duration has been increased to 15 seconds, up from 12.
  • Atonement now works with Holy Fire in addition to Smite.
  • The direct damage portion of Holy Fire can now trigger Evangelism.
  • Power Word: Barrier’s cooldown has been increased to 3 minutes, up from 2, and its effect has been reduced to 25%, down from 30%.
  • It is now possible to remove Weakened Soul effects that were a result of another priest’s Power Word: Shield through Strength of Soul.
  • Holy Fire damage has been increased to be approximately 30% higher than Smite.

Atonement Priests get extra help now that it works with Holy Fire (at least, the direct damage portion of it). Not only that, Holy Fire gets buffed? I’m curious to see how this will play out in raids and if Atonement healing will become  more widely practiced.  

Power Word: Barrier gets nerfed with a cooldown increase along with  reduced effectiveness. Shouldn’t be too much of a bit hit. With Druid Tranquility cooldowns lowered and Shamans gaining access to the equalizer totem,  healing leaders now have much more options at their disposal.

Enjoy the patch! Looking forward to your thoughts when it goes live!

The Automated Healing Line

Ever wonder what would happen if you’re in the middle of the instance and your healing spells just aren’t working? What if you had to phone in for divine tech-support to get those heals flowing? How about placing an order for a buff or a healing spell? Well, reader Wistoovern mused this very topic and this is the end result. I present you with the Automated Healing Line. I couldn’t help but laugh pretty hard at this one, I mean could you imagine having to do this every time you healed someone?

I don’t know about you, but working in tech support for a number of years and being a dedicated healer I just find this incredibly amusing. It’s especially funny for me because having worked in a call center with many WoW gamers as co-workers this just makes perfect sense to me. It combines call center humor with priest healing and gives a possible explanation as to that occasional healing latency.

Wist did a great job splicing everything together and getting the monotone computer voice just right, next time maybe we’ll hear the screams of the dying in the background as that raid boss comes bearing down on the group while the healer is on hold.

So, what did you think?

Healing Heroic Magmaw

Healing Heroic Magmaw

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Note: That’s actually Lodur’s kill screenshot. How he heals with raid frames that small, I have no idea =).

Healing from World of Logs

Conquest is officially 2/13 in the hard mode 25 progression. It was nice getting the kill and getting the monkey off our backs. It had been weeks since our last progression kill and this was much needed.

Why Magmaw?

We had been struggling for a long time on heroic Chimaeron and it was felt that a change of pace was needed. Knowing it was nerfed, we detoured straight to him instead. I think it took us about ~20 wipes.

Setting up

The first 14 attempts of the night saw us using 7 healers and 4 tanks (1 Frost DK kiting). On the kill, we ended up with 7 healers and 5 tanks (2 Frost DKs kiting).

Healers

2 x Resto Shaman
1 x Resto Druid
1 x Holy Paladin
1 x Disc Priest (Shields)
1 x Disc Priest (Atonement)
1 x Holy Priest

magmaw-heroic

Every DPS player and healer stands on the star and DPS’s from close quarters. The two tanks on Magmaw positioned themselves on the shield depicted above. Our resident Holy Paladin and Resto Druid were assigned to both of them. The triangle, diamond and square marks served a purpose.

We had a group of players who would stand on the outside in order to draw fire from pillars and Nef’s fireballs. We had a Frost Deathknight pick up the parasites but I was having trouble keeping him alive towards the end. This was offset with a second Frost Deathknight who assisted on picking up additional parasites (and split the parasite damage accordingly).

Bro tip: Place all of your outside players together in a group to maximize group healing. In our case, both of the Frost Deathknights, myself and two Hunters were placed in that group. Prayer of Healing combined with Chain Heals and other spells were enough to keep us alive through the pillars.

Tank healing

You will want to use two dedicated players. One healer by themselves may not be enough (at least, when learning). If you’re tank healing, you can’t even deviate for a moment because that tank will die. It’s going to take everything you have to keep them alive. Configure your raid frames to show debuffs like Mangle. If necessary, get your tanks to call the switches so you can keep pace with them. 

Assign another healer to cover the tank grabbing the Constructs. They can switch between the tank and the raid if they choose.

Raid healing

Raid damage is going to continue slamming the players (the outside group especially). I wasn’t able to keep them and the kiters alive myself. You’re going to want to use 2-3 healers at least. It’s to counteract the damage from Magma Spit and Lava Spew. Be fast with any Ignitions. It’s up to the players to move, but if you’re standing at the right spot, it shouldn’t take more then a few steps to get clear.

Head phase

When Magmaw eats the spike, this is the time to regenerate and use mana cooldowns. With 3 Priests, we used our Hymn of Hopes separately. Our Resto Shamans used their Mana Tide totems earlier on. Telluric Currents for Resto Shamans helps immensely from what I understand.

Additionally, you may want to consider having 1 Atonement Priest. Smite during the head phase to heal up any residual damage from the transition.

Concentration Potions are awesome here.

Parasite kiting

For the kiting healer on the outside, I suggest using a Holy Priest. My main job was to heal our Frost DKs as they were weaving figure eights around the room. Body and Soul was enough to give them a little burst of speed if they needed it. The benefit of a Priest is that if the DKs get trapped with incoming parasites or encroaching fires, Life Grip gave them a way out. If the kiters were in no danger, I’d default to throwing Renews on the group while running around fire dodging.

This job sucked for me. I had to hog Innervates and use the expensive spells. There  were times when I had to swing through in front of the marked positions to get in range of Druids. With the amount of cooldowns we had and the DPS, we were able to afford to do that. The faster a fight goes, the higher the HPS since you’ll have more mana.

Hunters: Don’t use Ice Traps. Outside group may not be able to see Pillars or Nef’s Blazing Infernos

Final phase (sub-30% health)

Spread out immediately (Try 6 – 8 yards). This is the most stressful part of the encounter.

Your healing lead is going to want to take a broader look at the health of the raid. Use Tranquility and Divine Hymn accordingly. Don’t forget about DPS Druids or Priests.

The DKs and I drop back further away to allow room for players. Shadowflame Barrages are going to hurt. You may wish to take a moment before the encounter to manually position your healers to maximize the area.

Continue to keep 2  tank healers for Magmaw, 1-2 on the Construct tank and the rest on the raid. Construct tank healing is going to be sketchy. Your raid leader might have to call a DPS burn on a Construct if there’s too many up when you transition. It’s going to be nearly impossible to keep a tank alive with 3 Constructs up. It’s doable if they have 2 Constructs. Watch their tank cooldowns and when theirs wear off, use yours. That should buy you about 30-50 seconds if healers have their single target cooldowns free.

Good luck!

The next question is heroic Maloriakk or heroic Atramedes next.

Also, Conquest healing corps is looking for another Holy Paladin, Boomkin/Resto Druid, Shaman (all specs) and Priest (all specs are welcome). DPS classes are also encouraged to apply.

Full list

Application page

How to Discipline Heal

How to Discipline Heal

This post is intended for post 4.0.6 and is meant as a bunch of guidelines to help keep players alive as discipline.

Several notable changes are arriving with the patch which will slightly alter the play of Discipline Priests. The two biggest changes revolve around the boost to the strength of Power Word: Shield and the ability for Grace to affect multiple targets. In my playing Holy at 85 post, I mentioned about how to handle something I called “the hit”.

As a refresher, “the hit” is an ability or spell by a boss which deals enough damage which might kill players if they’re not healed up in the next few seconds. For example, Dragon Breaths are “the hit”. Any really massive explosion can be considered “the hit”. Fusion Punch is an example of a tank about to be the victim of “the hit”. It must be a severe enough blow to almost cause you to crap your pants.

Before you do anything else, I strongly advise downloading an addon called Ingela’s Rapture. It allows you to time your shields to get the best possible mana return from Rapture. In a game where mana management is important, this addon will help you.

*Sorry Ingela, meant to write about this sooner

For an alternative style of Disc healing revolving around Atonement, see this page instead.

On the tank

Stick to Power Word: Shield, Penance and the usual spells of Heal, Flash Heal or Greater Heal. Prayer of Mending is another spell you’ll want to keep activating on cooldown on the tank. Keep in mind that a Discipline Priest has two cooldowns for saving tanks: Power Word: Barrier and Pain Suppression. Unless the encounter has specific tank one-shotting mechanics that it needs to be saved for, you’ll be using those two spells on demand. With Power Word: Shield though, use Ingela’s Rapture to properly time it on the tank.

The basic play you want to make here at a raid level environment is to keep using Inner Focus on cooldown and continue dropping Greater Heals while using Power Word: Shield every time Rapture is available. Weave in Penance as necessary. The buffs to Power Word: Shield (208% effect increase) and Penance (20% increase to healing) has strengthened the position of Discipline.

2-3 players

Theoretically, the 2-3 players you’re healing would be a tanks. Since Grace can affect multiple targets, those would be the two players you want to maintain Grace stacks on. As an aside, if you were healing the 2-3 players that were in the raid itself, Grace wouldn’t mean much at all because you’d be hard pressed to heal them after the initial heal (usually the initial heal is all that’s need to keep them up). Don’t stress too much about Rapture procs here because you’re going to be balancing heals and shields on all of your tanks anyway (That does take a little more focus). Refresh the shields as necessary.

What works for me in a party environment is casting a shield on each target. Cycle through them with fast heals to keep them alive and out of imminent danger.

  1. Target A: Shielded –> Penance
  2. Target B: Shielded –> Flash Heal
  3. Target C: Shielded –> Flash Heal

Then follow it up with a quick blast of Prayer of Healing in the event another player in the group has taken damage.

4-5 players

You’ll wish to rely on Prayer of Healing for your group healing needs. Doesn’t get any easier than that and since Divine Aegis automatically activates when Prayer of Healing lands, there’s nothing else to add. You can try to get fancy and load up a few grace ticks on a few players in that group, but it might be unnecessary.

For 5+ players

I don’t foresee much of this happening, but in the event a raid healer or two goes down, you’ll need to stand on your head and try to hold it together. If health pools are dropping, get a Barrier up immediately. You know that Prayer of Healing heals a player and their group. Naturally there will be a few players left out. Let’s say there’s 3 players who are at 35% health in group 4 and all of group 5 is around the same range. Assuming everyone is in the same general location, drop 2-3 shields on players outside of group 5 and then hit a hasted Prayer of Healing on group 5 to try to account for everyone.

One last thing I want to add here is glyph selection. With Power Word Shield being buffed, the value of the glyph will rise. With shields absorbing amounts of about 35000, it might be a worthwhile glyph to consider if you’re not using it already.

Lodur’s Response to the “Paragon Shaman Scare”

Lodur’s Response to the “Paragon Shaman Scare”

Following the recent world first heroic Sinestra kill by Paragon, players have been pouring over their logs determining their raid composition and the numbers necessary to succeed in such an encounter. One thing of note is that the raid Paragon took was assembled without any shaman of any spec or flavor. This has caused a bit of a stir across the Internet as players begin to question the viability of the entire class as a whole. People are calling for buffs, for other players to be nerfed, or just randomly QQing about how under powered all of the classes are and jumping ship to roll paladins. Today I’d like to break down what the problems actually are, what fixes could be proposed and dispel some of the anger, fear and angst surrounding our class in the last couple weeks. I will preface this post by saying that this is not a shot at Paragon or any other top tier raiding guild. I appreciate all your hard work and your accomplishments. This post is for the rest of us out there, who aren’t quite at their level.

Throwing Lightning and Swinging Axes

The DPS of the shaman class has always been a wobbly wooden seat in a room full of steelchairs. Ever since the days of Vanilla WoW, our Viability as DPS has sort of teetered. I’m not going to pontificate on it too much,  as I’m really a healer, but I started my WoW career throwing lightning on my magnificent Tauren Shaman and still do it now for fun and a change of pace. In BC and much of Wrath I took it away from elemental and smacked things with sharp objects and big sticks for entertainment, so suffice to say I’ve spent at least some time DPSing (yes this includes raids and hard mode raids when it was necessary).

Right now the big argument is that scaling is the issue. I can see why, and maybe there is a valid concern here. Right now at “Blue level gear” a shaman is capable of toping charts and blowing away everything that stands in front of them. The logical assumption is that scaling is the issue, that we don’t’ scale well compared to other classes as higher gear becomes available.  Maybe part of that is true, but managing spellpower coefficients is a tricky science and one that Blizzard is already looking at. If you tweak it too high you can break the system, tweak it too low and the class becomes useless. When you see them say they are increasing a spell’s power by 10%, they really mean they are adjusting the coefficient. We’ll get into that a little more later on here in the post, but just keep that in the back of your mind for now. Personally I feel that scaling is the lesser of the issues for damage.

I contend that movement has always been the greater bane  of the shaman in all aspects of life. We’re turrets, we’ve always been turrets, and anything we get to help us do our job on the move is only a stop-gap to tide us over until we can sit still and go back to work. I’ve done fights where I’ve out DPSd an equal-gear equal-skill hunter because I was able to sit in one place and just cast Lightning Bolt after Lightning Bolt (metaphorically speaking, I did use other spells), but on a very movement heavy fight I was crushed by an under-geared affliction lock. Literally the only difference was movement. While I agree that some of the spells need a little tweaking to make them a little less RNG dependent and help with minor scaling issues, I would have loved to have seen something that elemental and enhancement shaman could have grabbed to either extend the period of use for Spiritwalker’s Grace or shorten its cooldown. I think that overall would be a better, more utilitarian fix. Either a talent stuck somewhere or attached to something else. I could easily see it being an additional effect of  Ancestral Swiftness. Now this is just an idea, and maybe it’s not the best one, but I think it goes a little further to solving the real problem. This goes for both elemental and enhancement. While our mobility has improved, at any point in time we have to move, it takes us the longest to recover and start back in to try and maintain our offense.

I throw magic water on it, BE HEALED!

Lets get into the topic that is a little bit hotter of a debate, and more in my area of expertise. Right now the debate is that shaman healing is way too low when compared to other healers. While our numbers are seemingly low when compared to priests and paladins, our numbers seem to line up pretty closely to restoration druids. I think this happens for a few reasons. Shaman are the healing model for Cataclysm, or so we’ve been told since day one of the healing change discussions. I still feel this to be very true. I’ve not encountered a fight I haven’t been able to heal through with hard work, determination and communication with my group. Sure some fights are harder on us than others, but that boils down to a few reasons.

First of all shaman have slightly different mechanics than, say, a discipline priest. We don’t really mitigate damage, we stabilize and then bring everything back to whole. Healing Rains, Healing Stream Totem, Riptide, Earthliving and even Earth Shield all lend themselves to helping us stabilize players so we can either edge their health up with Healing Wave, drop a nuke like Healing Surge and Greater Healing Wave or use Chain Heal to quickly bring a group from the brink. Our job isn’t to keep everyone topped off anymore, it’s to keep them stable and alive.

The difference in healing tactics  is something we should be used to by now. In Vanilla you basically spot healed when you needed to while making sure your totems were optimally placed. In Burning Crusade you down-ranked Chain Heal and just spammed it regardless of content size and things were good as we stacked haste and MP5. In Wrath things got a little more complicated. With down-ranking of spells rendered ineffective, and the addition of a new spell, Riptide, we basically had to relearn how to heal right. We did hit a patch of trouble at the Ulduar phase of the expansion where players discovered Riptide and Lesser Healing Wave did so much healing that our other spells could be all but forgotten. This was balanced out by Blizzard at the time, but it still meant that through the life of Wrath we constantly adjusted our healing style and strategies right up until ICC dropped. Before our job was always to restore everyone to full, or as someone aptly put it on twitter, to “HEAL ALL THE THINGS!”. A lot of shaman are having trouble making the adjustment, especially those that are rolling one for the first time after playing a paladin, priest or druid. So part of our problem is there is a rather steep learning curve right now.

Secondly, just like our DPS brethren, movement is always an issue. Anytime we are forced to move our HPS drops like a rock. While we have tools to help us out in that regard, we still lack things like a multiple person HoT that we can control where it goes and can cast at the rate of a GCD between them.  Once we get into position it can sometimes take us a few moments to play “catch up” with healing. The same fix for DPS could in theory be applied here. Give us something to extend SwG out or reduce the cooldown and that will go a long way to helping through put. Although at that point, since all three specs would benefit from it, it would basically be a redesign of the spell. Point is though, movement fights (which Cataclysm has many of) are doable, but we still suffer for it.

Lastly, some of our spellpower coefficients feel off. Not massively so, but just enough to notice it. Particularlly with Chain Heal, Greater Healing Wave and Earthliving. Right now on the PTR 4.0.6 build, Chain Heal is getting a 10% buff. While most would assume this means that it will heal for 10% more, this isn’t exactly the case. Remember what we talked about before with spellpower coefficients? Here’s how the buffing really works. Right now on live, Chain Heal has a spellpower coefficient of 0.32 or 32%. This means that 32% of your spellpower directly affects the amount you heal for when using that spell. On the PTR this has been increased to 0.35 or 35%. Now you may say that this is a 3% increase not a 10% increase, but look again. What got the 10% buff was the coefficient as 10% of 32 is roughly 3. This is a lot better than it seems really. As the game progresses, we will mass more and more int, and as a result our spellpower will grow. That 35% coefficient will go further to scale us better with gear as we get “older” in the content. Same goes for Greater Healing Wave which has an estimated spellpower coefficient of 80%. It is getting a 20% bump, but that means on the PTR it has a coefficient of almost 96% if my math is right.  Again, see where this is going?

Sadly, though, Earthliving is not getting any attention yet, and I think it really should. For something we can’t control where it goes and who it heals, it feels weak. When it does proc you don’t control who gets the healing effect, and a lot of healing can be wasted this way on targets that you bring to full health only to watch the HoT keep ticking away. It is something I think could stand to be tweaked just a little bit. Haste certainly gives it a little boost by allowing it an extra tick of healing, but it is still spread out over 12 seconds. I can’t help but feel raising it to a 25% sp-coefficient from 23% would go a long way to help alleviate some of concern with it, and make it count on those it lands on that need the healing. It’s not a perfect solution, but I could see it being beneficial.

But why the hell are paladins and priests pulling so far ahead?

Short answer, they’re a little bit broken right now. True priests are complaining about mana issues, but Prayer of Healing is really strong right now, currently stronger than Chain Heal by a sufficient margin. It is also spammable to a degree, while we are forced to move away from Chain Heal spam. Little things like this are what allow priests to pull ahead by such a large margin. Paladins are just, well, in a word ridiculous. The amount of free healing a paladin gets is honestly quite staggering. While I’m certainly not saying that paladin healers aren’t talented, it’s worth it to note that our big heal at a raid ready gear level will be somewhere between 23 – 32k on a crit. Paladins? Well for that same GCD that paladin with equal gear will hit the same amount. Then you get the free heal from beacon of light which will then heal for 50% of whatever the primary target was healed for. That’s a huge chunk of healing right there. Combine that with the free healing a paladin gets to do with Light of Dawn and you can start to see some of the disparity.

So right now things aren’t very balanced. That’s OK. We’re not paladins or priests. We’ll never be paladins or priests, and that’s OK too. The new patch being tested on the PTR right now will be the first step to balancing out healing. Our heals are getting stronger, and paladins and priests are getting fine tuned. This should bring all four classes back in line with one another, leaving shaman for the most part untouched except for some much needed tweaks in the positive direction.

But Paragon didn’t use ANY shaman! Method only used ONE!!! That means I won’t have a raid spot!

You realize not everyone is Paragon or Method right? These are top-tier guilds that push through content as fast as possible using every little advantage they can to get the kill and be number 1. Let’s take a trip in our time machine back to the release of Black Temple. Nihilum got the first Illidan kill, and do you know how they were geared? They didn’t farm BT for weeks gaining gear to increase power levels. No, they charged through the content and pushed right up to him as fast as possible to down him. Most of their raiders were in the previous tier’s gear or lower. They pushed through the hardest content with a lot less gear than a normal guild doing the fight would have had.

Fast forward to Cataclysm and the trend continues. If you want to be bleeding edge, right there at the forefront of the digital war for number 1, you don’t stop to farm gear. You grab what you get along the way, and keep pushing. Class imbalances play a huge roll in this. If you have four healing classes, and two of them are pushing 30% more healing than the other two, you’re going to stack them. Why? Because that extra advantage compensates for lack of gear, and helps you push through the content. The same goes for DPS and tanks. I can’t remember which guild or which fight it was, but recently a group stacked a ton of druid bears to push through the fight. Does that mean every guild should stack nothing but druids? No, not really.

Truth is that for the average guild (and I mean literally if you would take all the guilds in the world and plot where everyone falls in composition and progression), you won’t have to worry about this. As you defeat bosses and gather gear every week, you’ll do nothing but improve. Keep in mind too that this was a heroic raid boss that was completely untested before anyone actually engaged her. By the time you manage to get there, you’ll likely have geared up quite a bit, and chances are good there will be at least one or two hot fixes in that affect you or the other healers, maybe even the encounters. Any good raid leader worth their salt will know that guilds like Paragon are the exception, not the rule. If you’re in a guild that the raid leader is pushing to have the same composition, well, maybe it isn’t the best place for you.

Really, the moral of the story here is that you shouldn’t let what one guild does on one fight dictate how you play or how you compose your raids. Classes and abilities will sometimes be imbalanced, trust in the developers to notice and balance it out in the end, after-all that is what they get paid to do. Expect and prepare for change. Remember Ulduar? In wrath, shaman at the tier 8 content level were falling behind in AoE healing by a considerable margin. Players were forced to stand apart further than chain heal could jump, and we were forced to rely on alternate healing methods. This was brought to the developer’s attention, and chain heal was buffed to cover longer distances between players. During the time of this crisis, we heard much of the same concerns as we are hearing now about healing. Hang in there, don’t get discouraged, it really isn’t that bad. The things that are bad? Well those are being looked at right now.