Focus Casting: Macros And You

Focus Casting: Macros And You

I had a revelation last week. It’s one I’m not afraid to share because I suspect there are a lot of players in the same position as me.

That position is peering out from round a corner with a bemused grin and crimson cheeks, watching the macro users of our raid do ten things at once while showering the raid in light and laughing at the boss. We’re cautious because they’re clearly performing some kind of common folklore which all players should know, right? And we shouldn’t even consider asking about macros?

Wrong.

If you’re in that position of knowing nothing about healing macros then we have something in common, you and I. Maybe you’ve just started a new healing class and know nothing about it. Maybe you’re looking to improve your WoW playing generally. Maybe you’re a raid leader, like me, and have been getting into macros via raid leading and now want to see if this macro malarky can do anything for your healing. Whatever the case, read on.

If you do know something about macros then have a read anyway – some of these might be basic to you, but you might pick up something that saves your skin, bark or cow-printed hide.

Paladins

1. Buffs up quicksmart

/castsequence [target=focus] Beacon of Light, Sacred Shield

  • This macro will put both of your essential healing buffs up on your focus, which is likely to be the tank.
  • TIP: you can use the addon Need To Know in conjunction with this setup. It’ll give you permanent timer bars for those buffs regardless of whom you’re targetting.

 

2. Easy judging

/cast [target=focustarget] Judgement of Light

  • Casts your judgement of light which both does healing and gives you a powerful haste buff
  • It won’t cause you to overaggro when casting your judgement as you’re using it on the tank’s target
  • Means you don’t have to mess around with tab or mouse targetting a mob to cast it on. You may need to re-target your tank but that’s less trouble than having to target everything manually.
  • TIP: you could use the addon Clique, which will allow you to set up mouse and key bindings for anything you could wish. Want to heal the tank? Sure, click the <insert mouse button here> and you needn’t retarget them after using your JoL macro.

 

3. Catch-all Holy Shock

/cast [mod,target=player] [nogroup,target=player] [target=mouseover,help,nodead] [target=targettarget,help,nodead] [] Holy Shock

  • If you have an enemy targetted it will automatically holy shock you
  • If you have *anything* else as target and a friendly unit as mouseover (or target) then it will holy shock that friendly unit

 

Priests – holy and discpline

1. “oh noes” button

/console Sound_EnableSFX 0
/cast [combat,@player] Power Infusion
/cast [combat] Inner Focus
/cast [spec:1,@mouseover] Penance; [spec:2,@mouseover] Greater Heal
/console Sound_EnableSFX 1

  • It works for priesties of both healing flavours. Yep, you read right, It’ll work by casting one of the spells, based on whichever spec you’re in. This saves you having two separate macros for holy and discipline
  • You could also add commands to pop your trinkets (/use 13 and /use 14) but be careful of the macro character limit.

 

2. Holy single target “oh noes” button

/cast [target=focus] Guardian Spirit

  • For you holy priesties. This is an “oh noes” button if you’ve been focussing on the raid and see that your focus, probably a tank, is wilting a bit and needs help now.

 

3. Discy Pain Suppression management

/cast [target=mouseover] Pain Suppression
/sw 8
/script Stopwatch_Play();
/say Pain Suppression Up!
/in 8 /s ***Pain Suppression depleted***

  • This is most useful for keeping track of PS cooldown and alerting you when it’s ready again – useful in fights where you need to time cooldowns and don’t have time to keep an eye out for them ticking down
  • TIP: this one may not work off the bat for you. The ‘in’ command is said to be provided through an addon, possibly the Ace3 library, though various people with various addon setups have got the macro working.

 

4. Discy raid-healing insta-bomb

#showtooltip Divine Hymn
/cast [target=player] Power Infusion
/cast Inner Focus
/cast Divine Hymn

You’re a discy priest so you’re probably healing tanks most of the time, right? That might be so, but sometimes you’ll be on raid anyway, and sometimes you’ll be on tanks watching the raid take heavy damage – and we all know how comfortable that isn’t. This macro will help you help the raid recover and soak up damage.

  • Try to have Borrowed Time proc’ed too for the (extra) haste
  • You’ve just given yourself power infusion which both reduces your cast time and mana costs
  • Bubbles! Bubbles everywhere! Your increased critical effect chance from inner Focus should mean more chance of divine aegis’ popping up.

 

Druids

1. Rolling Lifebloom
/target TankName/cast [modifier:shift] Rejuvenation ; [modifier:alt] Regrowth ; Lifebloom
  • Make a macro for each tank in the raid and you’ll be able to keep them all rolling on 3 stacks of Lifebloom, lag and catastrophe notwithstanding
  • This particular macro also has modifiers which give you flexibility in HoTs. Got a bit of extra time? Throw Tank1 a Rejuv. by pressing shift. Everything refreshed and got a couple of seconds? Stick Regrowth up by holding down alt

 

2. Quick response to tank death

#showtooltip Rebirth

/castsequence reset=600 Nature’s Swiftness, Rebirth

/run c=”Don’t release! I got ya.”if UnitInRaid(“player”)then SendChatMessage(c, “RAID”)elseif GetNumPartyMembers()>0 then SendChatMessage(c, “PARTY”)end

  • This is your “oh noes tank’s dead!” macro
  • It’ll immediately get him back on his feet and announce what you’re doing.

2a. Intuitive-res macro

#show Rebirth

/cast [@mouseover, combat, dead] [@target, combat, dead] Rebirth; [@mouseover, dead] [@target, dead] Revive

  • This is a similar one for other “oh noes” times – specifically when key people have dropped like lightbulbed flies. If you’re in combat it’ll try to use combat res, if you’re not it’ll use revive
  • Just be sure you’re out of combat after a fight’s ended before you use this, for fear of wasting your combat res.

3. Easy poison cleanse

#showtooltip

/cast [target=mouseover, help] [] Abolish Poison

  • This is a time saver anywhere there is a lot of poison kicking around. Its utility is simple: it allows you to cleanse your mouseover target without having to target them then retarget your healing target
  • TIP: I reckon this one works for all healing classes for their various cleansing duties.

Shaman

1. Earth Shield ease

/cast [target=focus] Earth Shield

  • Very, very simple way of refreshing earth shield on the tank, providing that your tank is your focus.
  • TIP: you can also get the addon Shaman Friend to support this macro by playing a sound when ES runs down. Alternatively you could have it in place of the macro: it can be setup to provide a focus button for earth shield refreshing, and a box which visually tracks ES stacks so you don’t miss it falling off.

 

2a. “Oh noes” button version 1

#showtooltip Healing Wave

/cast Nature’s Swiftness

/cast Tidal Force

/cast Healing Wave

  • Any resto shaman worth his salt has some form of this macro. Some shamans prefer not to attach a healing spell to it so they can choose whether to fire off a single target spell or a chain heal after nature’s swiftness. You could make both of those options achievable by altering the macro slightly, to this:

2b. “Oh noes” button version 2

#showtooltip Nature’s Swiftness

/stopcasting

/use 13
/use 14

/cast Nature’s Swiftness

/Cast Tidal Force
/cast [mod, help] [mod:shift, target=mouseover, help] Chain Heal; [help] [target=mouseover] Healing Wave

  • This version will cast healing wave after blowing your cooldowns or, if you hold down shift, it will cast chain heal. It also uses your trinkets (/use 13 and /use 14) for extra “oh noes” aversion value.

In both of these you could also add a command to tell party chat or a specific target that you’re averting catastrophe this time by blowing all your cooldowns, and so won’t necessarily be able to save the day again. At least for a few minutes.

 

External links:

There look to be quite a few sites out there with musings and help on macros, ranging from forums to class-specific blogs to macro specific-all class sites. Some of them are better than others. Here are the ones I found to be either most useful for digging these macros up or, in the case of the third link, just a Very Good Idea:

  • Arena Junkies – Arena Junkies macro forum – for your PvP macro needs
  • Elitist Jerks’ various guides, forums and threads have some useful macros squirreled away.
  • Macro Explain – does what it says on the tin. You paste in a macro, it explains each line of the macro. The website also has links to other macro resources and addons.
  • PlusHeal – plusheal’s macro forum – you’ll find good discussions and very helpful folks here.
  • WoWWiki – WoWwiki’s section on macros has links to class specific macro pages.

 

Most of these macros have been tested but let me know if any of them make things go boom. Or worse still, make nothing happen at all. I hope these do work and help you have more fun healing. Perhaps it’ll even bring about that myth us healers have heard whispered about – less stress while healing.

What do you think? Are you a macro-newbie and had been afraid to admit it? Feel free to do so! Share your tales of macro learning experiences. Also let me know if any of these prove really useful or otherwise. Likewise, if you’ve been hit by inspiration and have just spent thirty minutes writing some new healing macros or perfecting existing ones, do share them!

This is a post by Mimetir, an oversized owl of a raid leader on The Venture Co (EU). You can find my twitter feed here.

(Macro image created by Emrank @Flickr, used under CC)

Thespius and Matticus featured on “Power Word: Fail”

Thespius and Matticus featured on “Power Word: Fail”

Image is courtesy of Brian Hough.

Kind of a fun title, no?  I’m ready to let the “fail” jokes ensue!  Mwa-ha-ha-ha!

In all seriousness, the folks over at Raid Warning (xSeven and Epiphanize) have assembled this special podcast (scheduled to be released March 1st) – a roundtable of some of the community’s most prominent priests.

Raid Warning’s last roundtable, Wild Shots, was a huge hit.  It was a roundtable of some very well-known hunters in the community.  You can follow links on their site to listen.

As for Power Word: Fail, I cannot be more excited for this event.  I’ve been recording with these guys for a while, and it’s always a blast.  If Wild Shots is any indication of the level of discussion we’ll have, then you’re sure to get some detailed insight into “The State of the Priest”.

Here’s who you’ll have the pleasure of hearing:

This podcast is going to center around questions you provide by emailing Raid Warning here.  We take your questions and discuss them throughout the podcast, as well as current news and speculation. 

I hope you’ll all submit questions, and check it out on March 1st!

Email: Elder.Thespius@gmail.com | Twitter: @Thespius

Looking at the Holy Priest Renew Spec

Looking at the Holy Priest Renew Spec

There is a discussion that has spawned on Plus Heal about the high use of Renew in T9 and T10 raids. Some players were asking about it and I felt it was enough to touch on and elaborate further about here.

What is it?

The Renew heavy spec: Take a look.

holy-renew-spec

It’s essentially a 14/57/0 Holy priest build but there are a few key talents that are missing. Almost all direct healing spells do not get talented. Talent staples such as Empowered Healing, Divine Fury, and Improved Healing are skipped over entirely. Instead, Blessed Resilience, Empowered Renew and Test of Faith are all taken and maxed out for amplified Renew… age.

Single target healing spells aren’t used much.

Flash Heal would mostly be used during Surge of Light procs (when they’re free). When looking at spell usages, it’ll be a mixture of Circle of Healing, Prayer of Mending and lots of Renews until the cooldowns are available. Prayer of Healing is another option when strong AoE heals are needed.

For glyphs, it would consist largely of:

A case could be made to include glyph of Renew in lieu of Guardian Spirit but that’s assuming that cooldowns might not be needed. I don’t know, the ability to boost healing received every minute is like a reverse 2 minute DPS cooldown, you know?

You can expect a really high amount of overhealing to come from this style of play especially when you are paired with multiple Druids. The line of thinking here though is to sustain your raiders and "slow down" whatever damage ticks they are taking long enough for a Chain Heal, or a Holy Light to bring them back up to the green zone.

What are the benefits?

Master of Priestcrafting, Zusterke, points out that:

  • A glyphed Flash Heal costs roughly the same as Renew
  • Both spells can trigger Holy Concentration
  • An Empowered Renew can hit with an instant heal in the 2-3k range (Flash Heal takes 1.5s to produce a 5k-6k heal)
  • Renew is a HoT and still produces healing after it is applied
  • It doesn’t require a glyph (although the glyph is handy)

Where could I apply it?

In Icecrown, I can think of several instances where a heavy Renew style would be very beneficial. Against Lord Marrowgar, Bone Spike Graveyards can be cushioned quite easily. Lady Deathwhisper, jus about every player would benefit and those caught in death and decay have an extra second or two to bail out. On Saurfang, players suffering from Mark of the Champion would have some increased insurance.

In the Plagueworks when fighting Festergut, the gases that damage the entire raid can be mitigated with a whole bunch of Renews. Against Rotface, even though the healing is halved, those affected by the slime debuff when they have to run out could move a bit further before a dispel is necessary. It’s also great for stabilizing the raid after one of those Oozes explode. When engaging Professor Putricide, preemptively Renewing the raid just before a green ooze makes contact or on any number of other aspects of the fight can grant a slight edge.

To finalize

I’m going to give this a shot this week and see how it works out. It’s not quite the same as dropping shields all over the place, but you can see the similarity when it comes to "blanketing the raid".

Anyway, it’s a style and spec to consider so keep an open mind.

Disc Priest Tip: Professor Putricide

Disc Priest Tip: Professor Putricide

You know how on Professor Putricide, a player needs to inhale a potion and they turn into this Abomination thing which controls all the slimes, oozes and crap? In order for Abominations to do that, they run on something called Ooze energy (It’s basically like energy). The only way to get such Ooze energy is by (you guessed it) consuming Mutated Slimes nearby.

Actually, that’s not quite the only way.

You know that Discipline Priests have this talent called Rapture which feeds energy, rage, or mana back to the target if the shield wears off.

It turns out the Abomination works the same way.

In other words, if your Abomination needs a quick burst of energy, have a Disc Priest shield them and the Abom can just sit and chill in a slime pool for a second or two in order to trigger the effect before eating it for more energy.

putricide-shield

Note: This actually isn’t my parse. Someone sent this in anonymously.

As you can see, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t offer much. But it’s nice to have for an initial energy boost when starting out.

If Druids have that Revitalize talent, it also provides a really strong energy boost as well.

Conquest will be taking cracks at him later tonight once we take down Rotface on 25.

Hello 2010

Hello 2010

dawn-2010

First, congratulations to the US team for beating the Canadian team. We’ll get you back in the Olympics (seriously, that Canadian roster looks stacked with the top line from San Jose and with others).

As with every year on the blog, I try to make an annual thing out of reviewing the resolutions from last year for myself personally, the game, and the blog.

Let’s start with that. Did I meet the goals I set out to do last year?

2009 resolutions

Blog

Resolution: 3000 subscribers – Thanks to your readership, I have exceeded that and have managed to entertain 5000 bored players at work or school.

Resolution: 1.5 posts per day – Nope, not quite. My responsibilities have increased and I have not been able to fulfill that resolution. I’m working with a great crew that’s as diverse as it can get. With Lodur, Thespius and Mimetir, the blog provides a variety of insights.

Still could use that elusive Holy Pally contributor.

Game

Resolution: Top 10 server – Nope, Ner’zhul is a ridiculously competitive server. We’re barely breaking into the top 20 overall. According to Guld Ox, we’re exactly 10th Alliance side.

Resolution: Avoiding Burnout – Still here and I’m still not close to feeling any burnout. Thank goodness for cheap steam games in keeping me occupied.

Resolution: Raid achievements – Managed to pull off some of them but not as many as I’d like. The focus continues to be on progression. We’ll look at some of the other stuff later on.

Personal

Resolution: Let things go – Yep, I’ve learned to keep my distance on topics that I would have commented on in the past. Sometimes, it just isn’t worth it.

Resolution: GPA to 2.5 – Nope, holding at around 2.2. I learned that distance education courses and myself just don’t agree with each other. I lack the discipline on my own. I need to actually be in a classroom where I can directly ask for clarification on stuff that just doesn’t make sense to me.

2010 resolutions

Time to set some goals and tasks for this year.

Blog

Resolution: 10000 subscribers – A bit ambitious and it will be double the current amount. It’s how I measure the progress of my blog. Page views have remained increased slightly (not in the same ratio). I’m more concerned about being read then I am with just page views.

Resolution: Consistency with NSUI – It’s a great blog and a great idea. I just wish I had more time I could devote to it. I blog about different addons and ways to help players when I can. I’ll try to start with a consistent update time on a weekly basis.

Game

Resolution: 8000 achievement points – Slowly but surely, I am getting there.

Resolution: Arthas hard mode (25) – That’s my ultimate goal.

Personal

I’m not quite sure what to do at the moment. I feel rather lost. Undecided about Crim and Communications (or Journalism) is unavailable to me. Maybe I should just finish with a BA and get out of here and start working.

Get the heck out of school would be a great resolution but I won’t be able to pull it off this year.

Poll results

Last week, I ran a poll asking if you cleared out all bosses when running heroics. Here are the results:

poll-heroics

I resounding 47% of you do go after each and every boss in the instance. The next chunk of players are indifferent and go with the flow. A staunch 16% won’t knock out all bosses if they can get away with it. I suspect those might be the players where nothing attractive remains in current heroics or from Triumph badge vendors.

Guest posts

I promised I’d write them and they’re on the way. Bear with me. If it takes me a few days, a few weeks, or a few months, I will get them finished.

WoW.com is hiring again

I stepped down from handling Spiritual Guidance to focus on more general work and Raid Rx on wow.com. The site is expanding. A healing priest and a shadow priest have been brought on for twice the priestiness.

Yes, our class is so awesome, we get two columns featured.

They’re also looking to expand again. A Resto Druid, a Holy Paladin, an addon specialist, and a lore specialist.

More healers would indeed be awesome. Now they can heal me through the various PTR runs!

Quick application tip: I’m just going to use an example on the blog here when I look over contributors who want to work with me. Don’t bite the hand that feeds. If you’re applying for a position, don’t talk trash about the employer and then apply to them expecting to be successful in your application. I’ve seen people trash my blog and the work I invest into it on their twitter or their blog  and then they get in touch with me asking why I never link to them or highlight their work.

Like, seriously? I didn’t realize there were people that dense that were out there. Blogs are google-able. Everything is accessible. Nothing is hidden.

There is a line between constructive critique and being a dumb troll. Dumb trolls don’t get very far and they never will because they just don’t learn.

In any case, if you’re even remotely thinking about applying, just give it a shot. If you read the blog on RSS, you’ll notice I insert a quote by Wayne Gretzky:

“I miss 100% of the shots I never take.”

So take chances and shoot more. You just might score one. If you’re unsure or have any questions, feel free to drop me a line. There are some questions I won’t be able to answer but I can try.

It doesn’t hurt to know every pop culture reference and cult classic known to man. I was ridiculed for the longest time when I didn’t understand the Monty Python and Princess Bride references.

Which by the way, I finally watched. To be honest, I didn’t understand much of the humour. Probably a generation gap thing though.

The Issue with Discipline Raid Healing

The Issue with Discipline Raid Healing

As Priests, we exist in two healing realms: Holy and Discipline.  Discipline and Holy.  I say that because one is not superior or inferior to its counterpart.  Each specialization has its own tree.  Each has its strengths and weaknesses.

We were told way back before Wrath of the Lich King that these two trees were going to serve different fundamental purposes: Tank-Healing or Raid-Healing.  Seems simple enough, right?  Once Discipline Priests got past the backlash of “Disc is PvP lol” malarkey, people started learning that Discipline Priests can actually function as Tank healers.  If all of our tools are used in concert with each other, we can be a damn good single-target healer.

Is Discipline, though, viable as a Raid-Healing spec?  That’s debatable.

As with most aspects of this game, everything is going to be viable as something other than it was intended, depending on the situation.  For Discipline, Loatheb is an awesome example.  Although our talents are angled towards single-target healing, a combination of PW:S, Prayer of Healing, Penance, and quick Flash Heals (all powered by Fungal Creep) make us a formidable Raid Healer in a short amount of time. 

Another example is Deathbringer Saurfang, the last boss in the first wing of Icecrown Citadel.  It seems widely accepted now that a Discipline Priest shielding the raid helps reduce the amount of Blood Power that Saurfang gets via Blood Link.  The sooner Saurfang’s energy reaches 100, the sooner a Mark of the Fallen Champion gets put on a random raid member.  Absorbs from PW:S, as well as Divine Aegis, reduce the amount of Blood Power he receives.  Thus, fewer Marks on the raid, which means you can obtain I’ve Gone and Made a Mess with ease.  Not to mention, you get the boss down faster and easier.

Beyond the Situational Awesomeness

I’ve seen a trend of Discipline Priests insisting that they only raid heal.  They seem to hate the idea of being locked onto one or two tanks and will choose to “bubble spam” the raid.  An occasional spell other than PW:S might be used, but it tends to be a one-button spam from players like this.

I have no problem with people trying something different or off the beaten path, just so long as they’re smart about it and demonstrate a mastery of their choice.  I’m sorry to say, but playing Whack-a-Mole with Weakened Soul hardly shows mastery.  In cases like Saurfang, it’s a conscious and strategic choice.  In other cases, it’s a waste of mana.

Power Word: Shield / Rapture – Through Borrowed Time, we’ve received a nice scaling talent as a Discipline Priest.  It’s a valuable spell to the Discipline Priest, but it’s not the only spell we have available.  Since Rapture returns mana to you (ideally equal to or greater than the cost of PW:S), it increases your longevity as a healer, making PW:S one of the front-runners in our arsenal.  Notice, though, that Rapture only triggers when a shield is “completely absorbed or dispelled.”  Yes, partial absorbs are better than no absorbs at all.  However, in quite a few cases, the raid won’t take damage for a while.  Any shields that are put up on raid members that aren’t even touched is a total sacrifice of that mana.  Let’s say your PW:S costs 666 mana (yes, mine does).  If you cast it consistently, and 10 of them don’t even get touched, you just threw away 6,660 mana.  How much damage did you prevent?  Zero.  If you’re casting PW:S consistently, Renewed Hope will be up the whole time.  Since it doesn’t stack, those 10 shields mitigated no extra damage.

Grace – This fun talent, at the start of WotLK, used to be allowed on more than one target at a time.  Once Blizzard thought that was a little bit overpowered and was steering Discipline away from it’s original intent, they restricted Grace to one target at a time.  As a single-target healer, Grace is a great tool to have (though I wish it could be on up to three targets for fights like Marrowgar and Goremaw).  As a raid healer, it’s a wasted three talent points.  I find it particularly hard to assist with raid healing without using either Flash Heal or Penance (or the occasional hasted Greater Heal – all three of which activate Grace).  In most cases, you’ll be snipe-healing multiple targets.  If not, you’ll use a couple heals to top someone off, then off to the next target.  Grace isn’t given the chance to shine.

Where To Go From Here

Spec – I currently rock out a 57/14/0 spec.  I’ve tried various versions of it, but this spec just seems to work really well with the way I play.  I like to use Renew to help pad the tanks, or throw some on the raid to help out.

Given what I wrote above about Grace, I would choose to sacrifice those points and put them elsewhere.  I threw together a 52/19/0 spec if I were to try to re-work myself into a raid-healing Discipline mode.  I also took the points out of Focused Will (sacrifice some crit) and switched Spell Warding to Divine Fury.  I topped out Divine Fury (taking one point from Inspiration), and grabbed all three points of Improved Healing.  The goal is to hopefully rotate Greater Heal more into your rotation and make it (and Penance) cheaper to cast.  You still get powerful shields and good utility, but it’s not the end of the world trying to keep Grace up. 

Spells – As I pointed out above, I’m not a big fan of the “bubble spam”.  Sure it may look good on World of Logs or the estimated “absorption meter”, but I think it’s impractical.  I’m not in a raid to top a meter, I’m there to keep the whole raid alive.  With the alternate spec I suggested above, sniping Flash Heals and Penances is a great way to keep the raid up, as long as you’re also utilizing Prayer of Mending, Renew, and Prayer of Healing as well. 

If you choose to keep a variation of the first spec, then keep in mind the benefit of keeping Grace on your primary target.  You’re not going to be the most amazing raid healer, but you can certainly help out:

Prayer of Mending – I always keep this bouncing.  There are addons available to let you know when your charges have run out.  I tend to cast mine whenever it’s up.

Renew – If you put the points into Improved Renew, you can help out the other raid healers with this one.

Prayer of Healing – Although a bit of a mana drain, it’s amazing when it crits and each member gets his/her own Divine Aegis shield.

Binding Heal – ?!?!?! you say? I use this spell when I just need to single target someone.  Yes, it heals me at the same time.  Higher mana cost, the self-heal may be worth it, and I can keep the Grace stack on the tank.  I’ve tried both ways, and using Binding Heal has seemed worth it to me.

So there you have it!  I’ve always felt that Priests are incredibly versatile healers.  I don’t enjoy one-button spams or anything proved to be “easy-mode casting”.  We have an amazing arsenal of spells available, and using all of them can make us unstoppable.  There’s no reason you can’t take the intricacies of our class and harness them to do what you need them to.

My point is that if you’re going to go off the beaten path, think about what you’re doing before you take that step.

How do you feel about Discipline raid healing?  What other tricks have you figured out over time?

**Image credited to the Elitist Jerks forums**

Email: Elder.Thespius@gmail.com | Twitter: @Thespius

7 Important Healing Lessons I Learned from 1 Quest

Blizzard quest developers, please read this. I’m writing a request and I don’t know if it’s in your plans for Cataclysm.

I want to share with you a story when I started out as a wee, young Priest. After farming for hours on end in Darkwhisper Gorge and taking down Majordomo Executus with my guild at the time, I had finally united The Eye of Divinity and The Eye of Shadow. All that remained was to complete the Balance of Light and Shadow and I’d get my Benediction.

That quest singlehandedly taught me how to raid heal. How?

Eris Havenfire, the quest giver was not able to save the peasants that were trying to escape from Stratholme. I was asked to try to do what she could not do: Save as many peasants as possible. If 15 peasants were lost, it was game over.

I remember standing on the hill frantically Renewing everyone that was going by and Flash Healing those who were at critically low health. Even though I had already cleared Molten Core a few times, this was truly a humbling quest. Peasants would spawn at different places. They would have varying degrees of health. Some would move at different rates. Others would be pursued by skeletons. Many were afflicted with a disease.

And it took me a disappointing 14 tries before I finally managed to get through it (Oil of Immolation did the trick).

What I learned

  • Target priority – Skeleton archers were picking off peasants as they ran by and the diseases weren’t helping either. Priests had to know who was going to die first and heal accordingly. Just because some peasants were below 50% didn’t mean they were going to die. Oftentimes, it was the peasants at full health being drilled by Skeleton Warriors and suffering from diseases that were the ones in danger.
  • Spell priority – If all you have is a hammer, every problem is going to be viewed as a nail. I had to rethink which spells I wanted to use next. Not every healing problem is best solved by repeated use of Flash Heal. While yes it does bring peasants above the near death zone, it wasn’t the best answer all the time. Abolish Disease or Renew would have been the better choice.
  • Reading the health bar – With the health bar up, I could deduce how much each weapon swing was hitting the peasant for. Knowing this, I was able to figure out how much time a peasant could go without healing before they fell. It played a big part when I prioritize healing targets.
  • Value of HoTs – Renew was a spell that I often thought was fairly useless. I could wait out the whole duration for it to work its magic or I could drop a quick Flash Heal on the target and call it a day. With so many targets, I needed to use Renew. The point of Renew was never to top off the peasants. It was to keep them alive long enough for them to get to that white light. I rightly gauged that a Renew on a peasant would be enough to keep them alive from Skeleton Archers as long as they weren’t afflicted with a disease.
  • Mana management – At the time, I had to rely on downranking spells and using potions to maintain my mana supply. At level 60, I had about 1700 healing power (which translates to a little under 600 spellpower by today’s numbers). My mana regeneration was a paltry 150ish MP5. Holy Nova would clear out skeletal mobs with a few ticks but it would also trash my mana pool. I had to keep a very close eye on the mana bar and use cheap spells when I felt I could get away with it.
  • Cleansing – Another early mistake I had was not removing diseases and thinking I could simply brute force heal the damage that was done. Now that might be fine with 1 or 2 targets. But when you’re trying to save 50 peasants where most of them have been infected, getting rid of the infection might be considered a smart move.
  • Shaking out tunnel vision – Unfortunately, there are no raid frames to use. I had to rely on constant toggling of name plates (and all I had were the default ones at the time) in order to look at their health. I’d often be so glued to my raid frames in Molten Core, I’d miss the obvious player who had been targeted with Living Bomb (an ability where the player explodes and deals massive damage to anyone else around them). I was able to see which peasants were likely going to be in danger first simply by watching which ones were being chased by skeletons. Just follow the path since they run in a straight line. This bought me a few extra seconds since I could anticipate their targets easily.

I understand that there it’s against the current WoW philosophy to introduce class quests again.

But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with inserting in role related quests. I’d like to see a Shaman, Paladin, or Druid try their hand at that quest. I imagine that they would take a completely different approach. It would be difficult to balance the four healing classes around such a quest and I wouldn’t dream of suggesting where to start. But at the very least, please consider it. I wouldn’t have become the healer today had I not completed that quest.

The Rhok’delar questline taught hunters how to kite (I think). If there’s any Vanilla hunters, how difficult was that quest when you were 60? What was it like then?

This would be simple Warcraft Mechanics 101 type quests. Tutorials disguised as quests that can help new players L2P! Quests that underscore the basic mechanics of the game would do wonders for new players who don’t understand different concepts. The random dungeon tool exposed me to players who had no idea what threat meant or what CCing was.

For tanks, maybe a quest on how to generate threat. Or how to maintain threat on multiple mobs as they try to juggle them around pylons (like a driver’s test).

For DPS, a quest on the basics of crowd control (if applicable) or on how to kite (possible for some classes but not others).

For healers, maybe a recreation of a similar scenario above. Healing multiple targets as they try to run away.

How could it be worked into Cataclysm?

Perhaps the town of Healshire is about to get overrun by Deathwings minions and the job of the healer is to protect the evacuees as they make a run for a portal. I don’t know but I’m sure it’d be easy to insert that lore.

Please. Recreate that experience. A new generation of players would be all the better for it.

The Gearing Process to ToC 10 for a Priest

This is a guest post by Aleph, who chronicled his early end game gearing process.

Upon levelling my priest to level 80 and looking at joining my guild’s raid team as a healer, I found that I hit a barrier where I simply had no means of gaining any new gear that would get me up to Naxx10 level and therefore enter the raiding circuit as it were.

Before I continue I should make a few things clear.

I play in seasons. I play from June/July to September, then break until December and play until early January, taking a break until Easter time where I play for most of April. This makes it take amazingly long for me to achieve almost anything in WoW.

So, brand new level 80! How to begin?

Develop a routine

Well, the first thing you’ll want to do is start developing a daily circuit. The length of your circuit (and therefore the amount of dailies involved) depends on your playtime per day. I had a very limited playtime and so I found it was easier to focus on one zone at a time. I started with Icecrown and the Knights of the Ebon Blade faction. I began at the Shadow Vault and gathered up the daily quests available there. I completed these and flew down to the quest hub at the Overlook which is on the cliff just east of the Scarlet Onslaught Harbor. I Completed all three of the dailies there, then flew to the Skybreaker and collected the daily quests there (I omitted the pvp quest because it took me too long to complete it). What people miss sometimes are the two quests on the ground. Upon completion of these quests you can either head over to the Argent Tournament or return to the Shadow Vault depending on the amount of play time you have left. You should repeat this until you have enough reputation to purchase some of the items from the Ebon Blade Quatermaster then move on to another faction.

Build up reputation

Make sure to go around and buy a tabard from the four factions you can get a rep tabard from, Kirin Tor, The Wyrmrest Accord, Knights of the Ebon Blade and The Argent Crusade. While doing your Daily rounds, go to the LFG interface and chose from the level 80 dungeons. These are: “Caverns of Time: Culling of Stratholme”; “Trial of the Champion” (this gives excellent loot); “The Nexus: Oculus”; “Ulduar: Halls of Lightning”; “Utgarde Keep: Utgarde Pinnacle”. Run at least one of these a day with your tabard for the faction you’re working on reputation for until you no longer need reputation with that faction. Then switch to another tabard and start the process again.

Do homework

While doing this, ask around for the generally accepted stats for your class/role for heroics are for your realm. On my realm it was around 1.5k spell power for a holy priest. It is possible that disc priests (or other classes) may have an easier time healing the easier heroics thanks to the damage mitigation. Luckily I had the dual spec and had shadow as my secondary spec. Some of my guild mates offered to take me to Violet Hold Heroic mode as a DPS. I accepted and got a lot of reputation and even a few healing items. If you get a chance to join onto a heroic as your off-spec, go for it; don’t worry about being a fifth wheel.

Buy gear

Once you’ve done a few days worth of daily quests and have built up a decent buffer of gold, visit the auction house and look for any BoE Epics or Rares that you can buy. If you are unsure about what items to buy, ask your friends or guild mates. I bought two items, one epic and one rare item, these allowed me to begin running heroics.

Farm for badges

By now you should be almost ready to start doing heroics. This is where our tactic changes. You’ll want to set your hearthstone to one of the inns in Dalaran as this will be your new base of operations. If you haven’t been doing so already, you should start picking up the normal daily dungeon quest. Each day, log in at Dalaran and go to the Violet Hold where you will find two daily quest givers. On your left as you enter is where the normal dungeon daily quest can be found and on your right are the heroic versions. We’ll be turning right and collecting the normal daily quest for now. Once you have the daily quest put yourself in the LFG for the level 80 dungeons, making sure you’re queuing for the one the quest is located in! Then go out of Dalaran and continue with your daily quest circuit until you get into a group for a dungeon. Go to the dungeon then at the end, hearthstone (or take a mage portal) back to Dalaran and hand in the quest. It is important that you hand in the daily dungeon quest before the daily quests reset. The idea here is to gain as many badges of heroism and triumph as possible in the shortest time. As you may know, Badges of Heroism drop from bosses in heroic dungeons and Badges of Triumph are gained (at this point) from handing in the daily dungeon heroic. With this in mind, it is advisable to (If possible) try to set up a day where you and four other people clear all of the heroics at once. This will greatly increase the amount of badges you can get. Otherwise continue with your other dailies.

Once you have collected enough gear from these activities and think you will perform well enough in heroic mode dungeons, join the LFG queue for Utgarde Keep (Heroic mode).The heroic dungeons are in a separate list to the normal dungeons. Go on the Utgarde Keep run and see how well you perform. If you think it is necessary, ask the other group members how they think you performed. If you did well, start joining some more difficult heroics. Look up which are the easiest and do those first. Then, as you get more gear, advance up the heroics. By the time you can do heroics like Halls of Lightning, Halls of Stone and Oculus, you should be looking at entry level Naxxramas, depending on the gear you have accumulated. If you haven’t, don’t worry. By now, you should have collected quite a few Emblems of Conquest and perhaps some Emblems of triumph from the heroic daily quest. These can be spent in Dalaran in the Horde and Alliance sections of the city. Each badge type has its own vendor. Look at the vendors and look for items which would benefit you the most. Work out what you should buy first (always go for the item that will give the biggest increase) and buy it. After a couple of days, perhaps weeks, depending on how many heroics a day you run. If it is possible, try to set up a day where you and four other people clear all of the heroics at once. This will greatly increase the amount of badges you can get. Also, don’t forget to get the heroic and normal daily quests each day because you can complete the normal quests while in heroic mode as well.

A good measure for when you are Naxx ready is when you have over half of the superior achievement completed. That means getting at least eight i187 items or better before setting foot in Naxx. Some PUG Naxxramas groups might require you to have the entire superior (and even sometimes the epic version as well) but for guild runs, get a guildy to /inspect you to check out your gear. They will generally say whether you are undergeared or not in comparison with the rest of the guild. Just make sure you let the raid leader know that you are now available for raiding and they should factor you into the next run or two. At this stage, you will probably be under a trial period, in which make sure to put 110% effort into the raids so that the raid management see you as a player who benefits the entire raid and not someone who is a liability.

Get your feet wet

This part is one where it is almost required to be in a guild. If you want to get up to ToC 10 level, you will want to be making regular forays into Naxxramas 10. So, once you’re in your guild run, clearing the quarters, gathering up loot left and right, how do you improve and get to the next level of content (Ulduar10)? Well, the best way to get to the next level is for your guild to get to the next level of content. At this point it is inadvisable to join any PUG raids as you will want to be fully focused on guild progression. If you think your guild is not moving fast enough, offer to take more responsibility in raids, work on tactics that work specifically for your guild, offer to set up the healing assignments or, even offer to set up another night of raiding for the guild (make sure you have the green light from above before doing this). This post is not about progression however. Once your guild has cleared the four quarters and has made decent attempts on the last two bosses, you should be able to begin Ulduar 10 raids, depending on your raid team’s gear/ability. Also look for any Obsidian Sanctum 10 or Eye of Eternity 10 raids as the two instances offer some nice items which can help a lot in Ulduar10.

I would recommend that, once your guild is in Ulduar 10 and has cleared a few bosses that you join a Naxxramas 25 pickup group in order to gain a few items that will help you to advance in Ulduar. Guilds seem to advance fairly steadily through Ulduar, provided that their gear is adequate for the level of content and also that they have the drive to progress. Progression will be faster with a group of dedicated, intelligent people who generally know what they’re doing. If you are hoping to find guides to the bosses here, you can find Ulduar healing ones and Trial of the Crusader ones.

If your guild has really got stuck into Ulduar10 and have arrived at Yogg-Saron, I would recommend attempting to take him down before moving on to the next raid. You don’t have to, but it’s a great fight in the way that all of the players must be on top form and concentrating 100% for the entire fight. So! Once you have successfully cleared Ulduar, chances are you have already attempted the newly refurbished Onyxia’s lair. You will get some nice gear upgrades from here, mainly the helm, but once this has been done, you are pretty much out of content before ToC10. This is where you have two options.

  1. Go on to ToC10 and give it a try.
  2. Return to Ulduar and gear up some more.

I would recommend you give ToC a try unless you’re woefully unconfident with your gear level. This is where we utilize one of the great tools of the internet.

What’s the next step?

You don’t have to follow this next step if you disagree or disapprove of this practice. I am talking about LootRank. There are a few sites out there that offer this service but I use Guildox for it. Mainly because if you are not familiar with the parameters you want, you can pick one of their sample templates which fills out the information based on the class/spec combo you use. You can also link your characters gear to it which helps by highlighting any items you already have. Once you press view loot ranking, a list will appear which has a section for each slot (and enchantments) which are ranked from 1 -7 in the order they appear. A good idea is going over to WoW Head and using the item comparison page to double check if the items are for you. This way you can make sure you’ll get what you need. You can check where the gear drops so for example I see that the top staff for me would be the Icecore Staff. I can see that it drops from Hodir in Ulduar10 H. It is important that you see the H as the staff only drops if you defeat Hodir before he shatters his rare cache. It is advisable to use this tool as you look to enter ToC10.

After several raids at this content level, you should be more than ready to have a valid attempt at ToC10. However, perhaps your guild has not been gearing up as zealously as you have and do not want to go into ToC 10. While they will most likely leap at it, if they do not, you may want to look around your server to see if any other guilds are running it and see if they have a space for you on their next raid. If that fails, you could always attempt to PUG it, although this may not be very successful. The best plan, I think is to help your guildies to gear up quickly by giving any hints or tips you might have learned on your journey to ToC10. Patience is a key requirement for this stage. Please keep in mind that most guilds will charge into ToC10 before even defeating Yogg-Saron and so the last paragraphs or two are completely useless.

Now you should be ready for ToC 10 man! Good luck and happy raiding!

Shadow Priests Are Allowed to Divine Hymn

Yesterday’s post on hybrids spawned a great discussion on when it becomes useful for DPS players to switch out to different roles. Today, I wanted to expand it further and delve into the topic of Priests.

Now according to the Rules of Raiding #77:

DPS and tanking players should not have to heal.

It’s a good rule that states that if you’re in a DPS position or in a tanking position, there is no reason for you to have to change your role to heal. For one thing, you don’t have the spec or the bonuses or the gear to pull it off long term in an encounter.

If you’re a Shadow Priest, all you need to do is simply wail on the boss.

Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple. Rule #10 for instance states:

Every possible course of action should be considered by every player no matter what they do in order to beat the encounter.

In a case where rules may clash, rules that are lower on the scale will supercede the ones above it.

Let’s apply it.

Shadow Priests will almost never be called upon to drop their Shadow form to heal. It’s inefficient and often times unnecessary. But a Shadow Priest is still a Priest and they have access to some valuable cooldowns.

There is one in particular called Divine Hymn.

Don’t shy away from using it if you have to. As one of the healing leads, I look and see what cooldowns are available. I won’t hesitate to ask for Shadow Priests to Divine Hymn. I won’t hesitate to ask a Ret Paladin to use their bubble-sacrificing abilitiy. Feral Druids know that my Priest is the Hummer of healers in the guild and that I am one heck of a mana guzzling machine when I hit the accelerator. Yet I’m playing a hybrid class, right? (That’s a joke).

Anub’arak is a stressing fight for healers. This oversized frost beetle ramps it up a notch when he hits the 30% mark and everyone in the raid starts taking damage. A quick glance at the cooldowns available is followed by me barking out names and abilities. They respond with either an affirmative or a negative. This isn’t the time to debate why their cooldown isn’t up. Maybe a Paladin had to bubble earlier in the fight to survive. Stuff like that gets discussed after the fact, not during.

I run a total of four Priests during raids. Two are Shadow and the other two heal. Shadow Priests know they’re not going to be asked to drop form and heal (usually). But four Priests means access to four Divine Hymns which is extremely powerful during a a phase with high incoming damage.

The final point I want to stress is that a Shadow Priest isn’t required to keep the raid alive for long periods of time. That’s not their job. But they can help keep the raid stable enough for everyone else to stay alive and pile on their damage.

If you’re in a top 100 worldwide raiding guild, your Shadow Priests might not have to do it. For the rest of us, every option needs to be considered.

Discover How Priests Gain 7000 Mana in 1 Shot

Psssst! Want to hear a secret?

Did you know Priests can maintain a near limitless amount of mana?

It’s very possible. But it does abuse a certain in game mechanic. This post is just for educational purposes only. I’m not here to encourage you to knowingly abuse game mechanics. Wynthea has this deluded idea that Blizzard reads my blog. Personally, I’m a skeptic. If I see a hotfix or a patch update within the next several weeks that address this, I’ll believe it. But until then, I’m going to assume I fly well under their radar.

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while. It wasn’t until I read this post on Plus Heal that the urge to get it out there resurfaced.

Anyway, this idea revolves around Rapture.

When your Power Word: Shield is completely absorbed or dispelled you are instantly energized with 2.5% of your total mana, and you have a 100% chance to energize your shielded target with 2% total mana, 8 rage, 16 energy or 32 runic power. This effect can only occur once every 12 sec.

After you shield someone and their shield wears off because it absorbs the damage or get dispelled, you gain back 2.5% of your total mana. Your target gains some form of energy back as well. But we’re not concerned with that aspect of Rapture.

Normally, for the tank healing Discipline Priest, it’ll only work once every 12 seconds just like the tool tip says.

However, for the raid healing Discipline Priest, something else occurs.

Let’s take a fight like Kologarn. Kologarn has the Shockwave ability where his arm completely manhandles the raid and does a fair amount of damage. A shield cast on a player will be fully exhausted after one sweep.

So what happens if you shield 10 players before Shockwave connects?

My Priest has around 33000 mana fully raid buffed (Note: Newer Priests, do not do what I do and stack copious amounts of Intellect. I do it to have a bit of fun with my Priest). Rapture will give me back 837.5 mana if one shield gets absorbed or dispelled. Seeing as the Rapture debuff is not in effect because the shields have not been consumed, it’s easy to conclude that you would gain a ton of mana back if your shields were simultaneously absorbed at the same time.

In other words, I would get 837.5 x 5 = 4200 mana back. Give or take. Shield 10 players, and I would get upwards of 8000 mana as the Rapture internal cooldown kicks in.

Anyways, that’s today’s public service announcement. Don’t go around spreading this secret now. We might get nerfed again after all!