The Reality of Healing Heroics and Tips for Holy Priests

The Reality of Healing Heroics and Tips for Holy Priests

heroics

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

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

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

Let me tell you, it is not easy.

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

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

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

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

Here’s a few tricks to help out:

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

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

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

SYTYCB: The Last Piece of Loot

SYTYCB: The Last Piece of Loot

This is a SYTYCB submission from Crutch who made it into the top 7.

crutch-post “Of course,” I sigh as I pick up my badges, trying to ignore the other loot as it taunts me with its very presence. I walk away, moving on tothe next boss, just a little disappointed.

I’ve been running full Karazhan clears every week since the beginning of February. I’ve downed this boss 29 (TWENTY-NINE!) times, and I’ve only seen it drop once. And that time I lost the roll!

“I want this nightmare to be over!”

It seems like everyone has a story about some piece of loot that just won’t drop for them. That elusive item that you’ve hunted for hours, weeks, months, maybe even years, and it still hasn’t dropped. You’ve farmed this item so long that the anticipation of clicking on the corpse is just a little painful, even as fighting the actual monster is trivial. You know all of its tricks, you just want that little icon to appear when you click on the corpse. As the mob loses its last percent of health and it falls over dead, you’re torn. Do you pray the treasure would finally just drop already, or do you try to keep yourself from believing, hoping to avoid the feeling of disappointment when it inevitably doesn’t?

Maybe you’re a prot paladin, running Shattered Halls well past the point of getting Exalted with Thrallmar, all for a Figurine of the Colossus. Maybe you’re a hunter in yet another pug, praying that Gruul will finally drop your Dragonspine Trophy (and, while you’re at it, that you’ll beat all the other hunters, rogues, and fury warriors on the roll!) Perhaps you’re the rogue on top of the DKP list for your guild, and you just want Illidan to drop his Warglaive of Azzinoth. It might be that you’re running Black Morass for the 20th time looking for Hourglass of the Unraveller, or maybe you’re just hoping that those Scarlet Spellbinders will finally, finally give up the Enchant Weapon – Crusader.

Me, I’m a holy paladin. Our guild is 4/5 MH 4/9 BT, but I’m still running Karazhan every week, and not just for badges. No, every week, as we kill Illhoof, kill the four spell shades at the top of the next ramp, and turn to those cursed library doors, I think to myself “Ok, Nielas Aran, are you finally going to give me my Pendant of the Violet Eye?” I spend those two or three suspense filled, excruciating, boring minutes dodging blizzards, not moving on flame wreaths, dodging arcane explosions, healing a little harder through the elemental spawn. Long gone are the days where we worry about him running out of mana, and having to bubble through a pyroblast. The accursed Shade drops, and I drink, waiting for our raid leader to announce that maybe, this week, it dropped. But, no, another Saberclaw Talisman and Shermanar Great-Ring to shard later, and we’re on to Netherspite.

“I’m not even sure I want it anymore!” I yell at the screen, frustrated.

Maybe I should get in on an SSC pug and get Sextant of Unstable Currents, or TK for Fel Reaver’s Piston. “It’s not that good,” I mutter angrily, trying to convince myself that what I have is>enough. And maybe it is “enough”… but it’s not what I want.

So next week, I’ll go down that familiar hallway past Curator, past Illhoof, to that ill-fated progenitor of Medivh for the 30th time.

Will it drop?

Or will I sigh, loot my two badges, and leave again, just a little more disappointed?

Tell me, oh readers, of your tales of RNG woe and let us commiserate together.

One Shotting Heroics: The Secret

The Dark Knight BatmanThis post isn’t really a response to Brendan’s guest post a few days back. It’s my perspective on the Heroic at Honored issue that was continued by Amava.

As long as you have the desire to progress and to succeed, then I am confident that you’ll do fine in Heroics. Veteran players like myself who levelled to 70 within 2 weeks of TBC’s release ended up learning every encounter the hard way. The first time I did Shadow Labyrinth, it took two hours and trash reclears just to kill Murmer for our one frag. I didn’t even want to think about Heroics at the time.

The Heroics of now are much more manageable than they were before. I’m not going to say easier, because players still need to have a level of intelligence and gear required.

For example, in Heroic Sethekk Halls, the opening pull involving the two ghostly mobs? Both were immune to shackle, traps, and any kind of CC. I remember they would randomly drop aggro and charge our members. It was a nightmare just to be in that instance several months ago. Your tank had to be geared enough to withstand the massive amounts of damage, and skilled enough to hold aggro on two mobs simultaneously. Your healer had to be fast to sustain your tank. Having a Hunter was almost a requirement for Misdirect.

Trash in Karazhan have been nerfed enormously. What once took two nights can now almost be done within three hours. I remember a pack of trash that was outside of Maiden’s hallway leading towards the Opera Event. Those necro’s could not be shackled nor pally feared. You had to have two tanks on at all time getting aggro on both of them simultaneously so that when one tank got frozen, the mob wouldn’t run and charge a random player in the group.

I thought that was the hardest encounter I had ever faced at the time

It’s a habit of mine that I continually forget that heroic instances of post 2.3 are much more different than they were in pre 2.3.

Why Blizzard dropped the reputation level

1: Replay Value

They lowered it because it was difficult for players to find groups for Heroics. Only a fraction of all WoW players are raiding any kind of 25 man content. The 70′s who aren’t are typically in casual Guilds who do not have the kind of dedication or personnel to go the route of raiding but want to have fun doing challenging content. If they’re not interested and don’t have the time to PvP, what’s there left to do? 5 man instances are the only option left in order to acquire gear.

2: Patch Nerfs

There’s been four main patches since TBC was released. In every patch, there’s been nerf after nerf on various heroic instances. Each gradual reduction in difficult increases the margin of error that players have. That means more time to recover in case something bad goes wrong. It means the ability to take in players who have the brains but not necessarily the gear. Grinding to revered would have increased the chance that you would get the necessary dungeon gear to replace your preexisting greens and lower level blues.

3: Player Pool Increase

Even on a server as populated as Ner’Zuhl, it took me a long time to not only find tanks and DPSers, but to find players that had to have the key to go in. Now there are more people running heroics because they don’t have to spend the time necessary to grind the rep to get in. In my opinion, players that were kara geared or higher had no need to run heroics (other then badges for nether’s, etc). What was the point? Having T5 gear is better then badge gear. They could not justify the cost of badge runs with that of raids. Players that were far below that could not keep up with whatever their job was. This resulted in a small selection of players who had the NEED to go in and WERE sufficiently geared to go in.

Now heroics are such a piece of cake. I can breeze through them

What’s my secret?

I run with a Pally tank and a Mage. It makes it so easy for me to blog and read while I play WoW at the same time.