Patchwerk through the eyes of a Resto Shaman

Image courtesy of Feralis.org

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

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

Lesser Healing Wave method.

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

Chain Heal Method.

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

Lesser Healing Wave Method:

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

Chain Heal Method:

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

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


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

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

Till next time, Happy Healing!

~ Lodur

Evaluating Healer Performance

Evaluating Healer Performance

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This is a guest post from Derevka who has been actively blogging on his blog Tales of a Priest. This post is in reply to Healing Meters Suck and tries to tie in some qualitative and quantitative healing performance analysis.

Healing Meters suck? I tend to disagree. Healing meters and WWS Reports provide an insane amount of information and value to a well educated healer.  But now where does that leave us? You have 11 healers signed up for tonight’s raid and only 7 healing slots available — or you have a new recruit healer and you need to evaluate how they are performing. What do you do? How do you go about evaluating healers in a world where the DPSers are e-peening over their DPS and Total Damage Done?

Nearly a year and a half ago, Priestly Endeavors did a post about measuring healer performance. This is a great post, and I encourage everyone to read it.  Perhaps it is time to reflect on what methods are best to evaluate a healer?

Healing Meters:  Recount & WWS

Gasp! Hiss! Boo! There is a lot more to healing than just meters, yes, but don’t forget there is a lot of very valuable information here. The trick is finding the best way for you to harness this data to evaluate yourself and your healing team and learn where can you improve. 

The first thing you need to understand about deciphering healing meter data is knowing the encounter that the data is from.  Looking at a Recount data from Malygos is going to heavily favor the COH Priests and WG Druids, thanks just to Vortex. (While post-3.08 that may change; I don’t think it will skew it that much). You always need to ask yourself "Does this fight heavily favor a specific spec/class over another?". If the answer is yes, you have to both qualitatively and quantitatively account for that information.

Finding out how much effective healing was done by Priest X using COH over other spells can be done in Recount and WWS.  If it is a fight that doesn’t have a ton of AOE damage, and a priest has 20% of the effective healing of the 7 healers, of which 70% was COH, you might have a performance problem here. 
Discipline Priests typically are low on the healing meters since PW: Shield, Grace, and Divine Aegis have no impact on effective healing. How do you evaluate a Disc priest on a numbers game in which they are at a disadvantage? However, with a bit of poking around you should be able to find some good data in there.  On a conceptual level, PW:S is the only spell in the game that guarantees zero "overhealing".

So dive into WWS information. Find out how many times that player buffed the MTs with PW:S then you can gauge the total "effective healing" those shields provided. (I know, not an exact science since you need to weigh in SP coefficients, did the whole shield get eaten, etc. But it does provide additional data that WWS/Recount completely disregarded).

Since we are playing the numbers game using meter evaluation, does that mean it is okay for them to be dead last on the meters with 3% healing done on a fight? Maybe… however, likely not.

Healer Focus and Assignments

Plain and simple: are your healers focusing on the task at hand? Are they sticking to their assignments and trusting their guildmates? Trusting your fellow raiders to do their job is key. You cannot be all things to all people. This often can be easily discovered if you see the healer switching to other healing assignments and slacking on their primary target. Great example would be Patchwerk. You have a healer who was assigned to heal a Hateful Strike Tank, they shift focus to try to get a heal on the Main Tank — BOOM! Your resident Enhancement Shaman eats a hateful strike and dies.

Also data lives on WWS that can also provide good insight, but again keep the encounter and assignments in mind! This report can be found in the "Who Heals Whom" section. The smaller the number the fewer the people that person healed. A high focus number can generally mean the person healed "randomly" and may have deviated from their assignment. On fights that have AOE damage or multiple targets assigned to the same healer, focus numbers can increase for certain healers. A great example is my guild’s Sartharion 2-Drake strategy:  We let the Tenebron’s whelps pop, and AOE them down (and usually have some AOE damage to the raid as a result), and send in a DK , DPS, and 1 healer to heal the damage for Shadron’s Disciple. That healer, typically has a higher than average focus. Again, it is all about knowing which fight you are analyzing.

Ability to React to the Unforeseen

This measurement is very subjective, and not numerical so it is often very hard to guage. When you see it happen, it is usually quite apparent. Sometimes a healer disconnects or dies mid fight, and you need to react. Good healers are able adjust when this happens, take adjusted healing assignments. Great healers excel in these situations. They thrive.

An example would be the healers for Lady Blaumeux and Sir Zeliek on Four Horsemen. Lets pretend one of your ranged tanks DCs. This healer quickly adjusts, calls out on vent they are now tanking Blaumeux (along with the other ranged tank) and spams heals on themselves until a new ranged player comes to replace them from the front group. No one else dies, as you get your shiny epics from the chest minutes later.
This measurement encompasses the "don’t stand in the fire" rule:  Situational Awareness.

Are you in  Sartharion’s Void Zone? Are you standing in Sapphrion’s Blizzard? Now these points, are easily counted.

The Death Test

Probably the easiest to check, but perhaps the most subjective of all. If your assigned target not die, you win. Generally, yes – but not always. You need to look at the bigger picture. Did they go OOM and another healer have to step up and do double duty? Did they lose awareness and chain a KT Frost Blast to the melee?
Evaluating healers is not easy. I am typically the one to do healing assignments, and often the officer to pass final judgement on a recruit healer.  When I say /promote or /gkick, or when I chose one healer over another healer when making up the raid roster for the evening, I often have a lot of math and though behind those decisions. Using WWS and Recount, as well as many subjective methods.

Ultimately your healing roster and performance is something that should be constantly evaluated. Finding out your flaws, and taking steps to correct them is one of the best ways to improve; diving into the details really is the best way to do that.

Further reading:

Matt wrote a Spiritual Guidance column on WoW Insider several months ago titled: Measuring a Priest. Several of those points still ring true today.

Image courtesy of danzo08

Does Your Raiding Guild Need Premium WWS?

Does Your Raiding Guild Need Premium WWS?

wws

Many raiding guilds are aware of what WWS (WoW Web Stats) is and what a tool it can be to troubleshoot and improve member performance. In a nut shell, it takes your combat log and translates it into meaningful data (if you know how to use it). The WWS client runs locally off your computer (it’s a small download) which parses the log that you’ve recorded. It’s accuracy increases with the more source combat logs you have. I try to get my officers to run a long in addition to my own so that we can have an accurate and reliable report.

What you might (or might not) be aware of is that WWS offers a premium service and Conquest picked up a subscription not too long ago.

What is WWS premium?

Simply put, it’s a subscription based service for certain WWS based features such as:

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Your eyes will no longer be assaulted with irrelevant ads.

Faster loading times

During peak hours, your reports are given priority in the queue and will be taken care of first. It seems the guys on the free side of things will have to take a number and stand in line (literally).

Longer hosting

The WWS website keeps an archive and history of all of your reports. A guild account will keep your information for 30 days and having an unlimited account keeps the log information for as long as your account is active.

Cool Matt! Did you get one?

Let me see if I can sound out my reasoning for acquiring one.

Most readers are aware of my devotion to maintaining a high level of performance. The advertising aspect is irrelevant to me. As a frequent web surfer, my eyes will automatically tune out ads. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in this service and I gladly support the guys behind it. But if I go to any site with ads, I typically zero in on the content. I suspect many of you are like that as well. Like it or not, ads are here to stay because they help support the people behind the site.

What about getting moved up in the queue? How important is that? Fellow Twitterati and blogger Santyn grumbled earlier that he was “moving backwards in the queue”. On some nights, you could be standing in the e-lineup with 100 people in front of you. Sometimes you’ll end up in the 400 range. After every raid, the players that are still around bug me into uploading the combat log so they can evaluate themselves and other players around them to see how they’re doing. Even though the raid ends at 9 PM sharp, the discussion can list for an hour after the raid about specific problems or player issues that WWS can shed some light on. I’ll often listen to the ground pounders compare themselves to other players from other guild reports or look at their own individual rotations and damage output.

I may not understand a word of it, but it sounds pretty important. For myself, I make it a habit to check out the healers and their rotations and see if there’s anything out of the ordinary. I have to say that I’m blessed to be surrounded by a group of people who aren’t only hell bent on trying to improve their play but trying to improve the play of others around them.

Having a historical archive of guild WWS may not be useful at first. I suspect it will become much more important later on. If a player wants to change certain parts of their gear or their spec to test for improvements, they can do so and then look back at a recent history of their performance to see if there’s a noticeable difference.

Patchwerk, because of the nature of the encounter, is our main DPS measuring instrument of choice. It’s a simple and straightforward encounter that involves little movement. All DPS players are capable of opening up to their hearts content with little worry of pulling aggro. Having a premium account allows you to store these records so that you can re-examine them later.

Does your guild need WWS premium?

This is going to depend on a number of factors. You’re essentially paying for the 3 services above. Depending on your guild and your needs, this will either be an asset or a waste.

Guilds that would benefit:

  • Are more into cutting edge content
  • Are performance oriented
  • Care about the information
  • Are committed to improvement
  • Have players who love analysis

If your guild that likes to take it easy and go through content at a casual pace (be it normal or heroic), then you might not be willing to fork over the 3 month subscription for a $15 guild account. If no one in the guild really cares about theorycrafting and analyzing their own DPS, then having a WWS paid account isn’t going to benefit you much since it won’t be used.

But if your guild wants to compete and be a top tier organization, having a WWS paid account would be an asset. You could start off with the $27 Unlimited account for 3 months to give it a try and see if it is of any use.

You can find out more information about WWS paid accounts here.

Don’t forget

You can not game the system. You can’t split costs with another guild and share it. It’s strictly for the personal use of your guild.

As a side note, I’m grateful to the people that have helped chipped in financially to help make the infrastructure of the guild a success. Want an idea of how much running a guild can cost?

50 slot Ventrilo: $210
Webhost: $119.40
WWS Premium: $81
VBulletin Software: An arm and a leg
Dropping toy trains before every boss encounter while the GM’s trying to explain something: Priceless

Okay, that was a bad Mastercard commercial. But those costs are on a yearly basis. Already these figures should tell you I’m a fairly devoted GM.

It’s an interesting cycle. I play WoW so that I can earn some money on the side from writing about my experiences and knowledge that’s WoW related. Some of the money I earn gets invested back into the blog and back into the guild so that I can continue playing for more experiences and knowledge within the game. Which I can then write about.

Not exactly the average college kid’s part time job.

Healing Naxxramas – Patchwerk (10 man)

Healing Naxxramas – Patchwerk (10 man)

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Post is about the beta raid and is subject to change at any time. Changelog at the bottom.

Patchwerk is one tough Abomination. You won’t have to worry about raid damage. Your main focus is going to be on the main tank and the off tank. Do a quick check of everyone’s health totals. Make sure your MT and OT have the largest and 2nd largest health pools respectively.

Upon first pull, Patchwerk will latch on to the first person who gains threat on him and stay on him for the duration of the encounter. He does a Heroic Strike attack which will hit your OT for about ~7000 damage. Important: The OT is determined to be the player with the most health after the person with Aggro.

Therefore, if necessary, tell players to click off Power Word: Fortitude (like Death Knights).

There’s also a river of slime nearby. If you jump into it, you can knock off about 50% of your health instantly. Use at your own risk.

Patchwerk has a rough enrage timer of around 5 minutes. Have your tank blow Shield Wall around 15 – 20%. If you’re specced for Guardian Spirit, use it the moment Shield Wall expires.

Healing

Tough, tough, and really tough. You’ll be working your stopcasting here often. Holy Priest on the MT, Resto Shaman on the OT, Paladin with Beacon of Light on one tank and healing the other to cover the bases. Flash Heal for maintenance healing. When your tank drops to 60% or less, queue up a Greater Heal and keep your finger triggered on the stopcast button. If someone else catches him, hit it. If not, let it go.

I want to emphasize that the raid should not be taking much (if any) damage at all.

Bust out the Hymn of Hope early on while eyeing your group. Make sure all the mana users can get the most out of it. When you get low again, bust out the Shadowfiend. Your last line of defense is the Runic Mana Potion.

I did this fight with about 477 MP5 while not casting. I felt a lot of pressure towards the end. However, I did this with blue PvP gear. We should theoretically have an easier time with the various PvE gear we’ll get access to.

spirit-deathWhen you kill him…

See the green slimes above in the screenshot I posted? Those mobs aren’t targettable via mouse. However, if you get in close range of them, you will explode pretty horribly.

Don’t understand? Think of it as a mini-Frogger.

So when you do get him down, don’t forget to sidestep those oozes or else you’ll end up like Matticus with a faceplant on solid concrete.

Changelog

9/24/08 – Original post