New Shaman Changes Announced!(updated)

Well we talked about it durring the Shaman Q&A recap here. At the time they were talking about revamping the way totems are handled, and well some news has just come up to shed some light and detail on the new design.

Nethaera Chimed in an official blue post:

There comes a time in all shaman’s lives when they must learn to harness the power of nature and wield powerful totems. As they grow in power, so do the opportunities to use these instruments of healing, protection, and destruction. In the upcoming content patch, Call of the Crusade, the shaman will be able to quickly place totems of each element, aiding them in managing these powerful focuses of nature.

We wanted to provide some insight regarding the upcoming shaman-specific interface addition, the Totem Bar. Shaman will be able to utilize this new bar to manage their fire, earth, water, and air totems in a more accessible and convenient way. This bar will appear on the left-hand side above the standard toolbar, similar to warrior stances or druid forms. The bar contains space for four totems of the player’s choice, one of each element. Clicking the respective button will drop that totem. To the right of the four totems is a button for Totemic Call, which we have renamed Call of Earth. To the left of the four totems is a new ability named Call of Fire which will drop all four totems on the bar at once. The mana cost is the same as if the shaman dropped all four of the totems one at a time. However, it takes but a single global cooldown.

Questing shaman will be able to quickly move their totems of choice forward, while a shaman in an instance, Arena, or Battleground will be able to replace their totems if they have to move or if the totems are destroyed.

Shamans will also be able to customize their bar to set Call of Fire to drop less than four totems if they choose. Access to this functionality is made available at the same level as Call of Earth (currently level 30.) At higher levels, Shaman will gain two additional spells, Call of Air and Call of Water. These function exactly the same as Call of Fire, essentially giving the shaman three different sets of totems that can be placed at once. New key bindings will also be made available for all of these slots.

As with all new content under testing, we want to caution players that, as a new part of the interface, there may be additional changes during the period of the PTR until the release of the Call of the Crusade content patch. We look forward to constructive feedback once it is available for testing.

This is FANTASTIC news! First of all it should be noted this is something many many players have been suggesting for a number of years. The “stance” bar for totems should provide a nice, neat way to keep them organized. On top of that not only do we get our promised ability to drop all our totems on one cool down but we get THREE sets. Call of fire, Call of Air and Call of Water. This means we can swap from casting say our standard caster totems, to melee to even PvP.

I’m already making plans for what mine are going to look like if we get them and baring any totem changes. Tentatively I’m looking at the following unless they do revamp all the totems drastically.

Call of fire (caster) Stoneskin Totem, Flametongue Totem, Healing Stream Totem, Wrath of Air

Call of Air (melee) Strength of Earth, Healing Stream Totem, Windfury

Call of Water (utility/pvp) Tremor Totem, Cleansing Totem, Grounding Totem.

I look forward to being able to run in after a tank on a fight like hodir, hit one button and then run like hell out of there and start healing right away!.

Not to be left in behind, Ghost Crawler himself pops up and has a few things to say about Shaman healing as well.

GC:

We have changed Healing Way to work better with HW and we have changed Improved Water Shield to also work with CH. We also dropped the cooldown of NS to 2 min so that you can HW more often. We’ll try to make a post of all of the Resto changes soon.

Improved Water Shield procs will not consume Water Shield charges. The tooltip says something like “as if you had consumed an orb.”

Oh my!

Nature’s swiftness dropping a full minute off of its cool down is really huge, Chain Heal causing Improved Water Shield to proc is very nice as well not to mention that Improved Water Shield will not consume an orb. That’s really really good news!

I think this is a step in the right direction. They are beginning to look at our healing and are trying new things to tweak us and bring us up a bit in mana conservation as well as throughput. I’m excited to see these hit the PTR and I look forward to seeing what else they have in store for us!

So, what do you guys think so far? What other changes do you expect?

EDIT:

ANOTHER HUGE change

GC says

We have changed these spells for 3.2. And yes, there are some other changes. The main buff to Chain Heal is likely to come in increasing the jump distance to 10 yards and buffing the amount of healing decrease with subsequent targets to 40% down from 50%. CH, HW and LHW should all be doing bigger numbers when you consider all the talent changes.

We’ll try to get the full notes out soon, but even then remember that this is a major “new tier” patch and is likely to have more iteration due to PTR feedback than the last few patches.

OH BOY! Chain heal going to 10 yards and retaining  only losing 40% of its heal!?!? I’m a happy happy happy shaman with this news.

My fingers are firmly crossed that this happens.

Timing is Everything!

Timing is Everything!

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You know the old saying timing is everything right? Well it’s very true for healing. Bad timing can cause a dead tank, or a wiped raid. Management of global cooldowns, spell cooldowns and compensating for lag can make all the difference in the world between a bad healer a so-so healer or a good healer. So, how can we deal with these as healer? Well there are a couple mods that I’ve found quite useful for dealing with this.

Quartz

Quartz is a casting bar mod addon that replaces the default Warcraft one. It is highly customizable and is very useful for help with compensating for latency.

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That’s a picture of it in use. The icon of the spell is displayed to the left of the bar and the bar shows the time left on the cast, as well as the estimated time of completion. In this case you can see that my Lesser Healing Wave was taking 0.9 seconds to cast, and had 0.1 seconds left before it completed. I couldn’t get a good picture of it, but it adds a latency marker at the end of the casting bar. It’s a red block with with the latency added in on the bottom of it. You can see it slightly at the back end of the 0.9. You have to enable the feature in the options for the addon, but once you do you’ll be good to go.

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It will compensate for whatever latency the game has, and anytime you see your cast bar hit that red block, it’s safe to hit another spell and have it begin to cast when your current one is done. This is useful for many reasons, chief among them is to keep your heals streaming without interruption. Nothing worse then hitting a heal and not have it start to cast, only to find your tank or DPS dead as a result. The mod is highly customizable in look, size and what it shows you. It can show you everything from your own global cooldown, how long is left on an interrupt on you as well as function as an enemy casting bar display. If you haven’t taken a look at Quartz, you might want to.

Fortex

Fortex is a mod that tracks quite a bit of information for you. At first glance you’re probably saying to yourself “but that’s just for warlocks”, but I can assure you it’s not. The mod has an options for every class’ cooldowns in the game.

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You can see here that it makes a bar for you to use. The bar is resizable and you can adjust it’s color. When you cast a spell with the cooldown, it will show on the bar at the time marker closest to its cooldown. When a spell reaches the end of its cool down a splash icon will display growing outwards from the endpoint to let you know it’s ready. You can see in the image above my Riptide has just become available while my Nature’s Swiftness is still on cooldown. I’ve found this very handy because it’s something I can catch out of my peripheral vision easily while still keeping my eyes on the encounter and health bars. It has a ton of options and many for other classes

Picture 2

It can show you debuffs, soulstones, buffs, even trinket cooldowns. I’ve also found this very handy on my Death Knight and my Hunter. Since installing it I can tell you my healing has gone up as well as my DPS on my other toons. Knowing when your spells and trinkets are available and using them as quickly as possible can make a tremendous impact on your healing and damage output. This mod definitely helps me get the most bang for my buck out of my spells and trinkets.

Having a mod that helps you compensate for your latency and one that can help you manage your cooldowns is incredibly useful. There are many out there, I suggest taking a look through all the ones that are available and find ones that work for you and fit your play style and your User Interface. I just happen to have found these two mods quite useful in this endeavor. Here’s a picture of how these two mods fit with my UI featuring my friend’s lovely pet Gertrude tanking Chillmaw for us.

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So what about you? Have you found any mods that you find useful for managing your cooldowns? How about a good casting bar to help compensate for latency?

Until next time, Happy Healing!

sig3

Image courtesy of www.sharewareplaza.com

Restoration Shaman – Ulduar 10 Gear

Restoration Shaman – Ulduar 10 Gear

It was requested that I do a post highlighting the gear for the 10 man raiders, so here it is!

It’s often easily looked over when your focus is on 25 man raiding, but 10 mans are there and are a wonderful thing. They allow smaller guilds to still be able to see endgame content and to be honest some of the best loot comes from 10 man raids. Lets take a look at the toys a shaman has available to him running around in 10 man Ulduar!

Head - Couple good pieces for your head come from 10 man Uld First up is [Helm of Veiled Energies] (XT-002) Haste, Crit and good spellpower, can’t really go wrong there. Second choice is your tier piece [Valorous Worldbreaker Headpiece] (Mimron). Your tier pieces are always a good pick up

Neck[Pendant of Endless Despair] (General Vezax) is a good pickup Crit and MP5 will help keep those mana stores filled and it has decent spell power to boot. Another choice is [Pendant of the Shallow Grave] (Thorim) Haste, Crit and Spellpower as well as a yellow socket. Not bad at all.

Shoulders - Not much for us unless you have some odd obsession with spirit (let’s hope you don’t) so I would say just snag your [Valorous Worldbreaker Spaulders] (Thorim) and say thank you =D

Back -  Here we have three choices, two of which are zone wide drops from trash. First up is [Cloak of the Dormant Blaze] crit and MP5 make this an attractive pickup if you’re lucky enough to see it drop. [Drape of the Spellweaver] this one has Haste and Crit. It’s a bit more of a dps cloak but it’s still good for us. If you don’t want to wait for trash to drop it, you can take a gander at [Shawl of the Caretaker] (Ignis). Good stats, if you see it drop I suggest trying to snag it.

Chest – Obvious choice would be the tier 8 chest piece [Valorous Worldbreaker Tunic] (Yogg). If you’re find yourself with time before you get to yogg you can always opt for [Firestrider Chestguard] (Flame Leviathan). Haste and Crit, its a good pickup.

Waist - [Belt of the Iron Servant] (Iron Council) is a great belt from the 10 man. Great smattering of stats, good regen. Well worth the pickup. Another option if you have the cash to burn, you can pick up [Blue Belt of Chaos]. Crit and MP5 as well as two sockets make for a good belt. Toss a belt buckle on there and it’s even better.

Wrist[Armbraces of the Vibrant Flame] (Ignis) are BoE so you can probably snag them on the AH if you don’t see them drop. Another option is after you snag 60 Emblems of Valor to pick up [Pigmented Clan Bindings], they should last you a long while.

Legs[Ironscale Leggins] (Razorscale) has good MP5, a nice smattering of haste and some good spell power. Worth the pickup while you wait for [Valorous Worldbreaker Kilt] (Hodir)

Feet - [Greaves of the Earthbinder] (Thorim) are a good pickup. Crit and MP5 as well as a blue socket make these very nice.

Main Hand – First up is [Pulse Baton] (Mimron) A solid main hand weapon and well worth picking up. Less conventional options are [Stormtip] (IC) and [Plasma Foil] (XT-002) they pack good spell power with either Haste or Crit respectively. The only problem with them is that they pack spirit, which is wasted on a shaman. If these are going to be sharded or offer a significant boost in spell power and either crit or haste they are worth grabbing as a transition piece. But its something I would avoid if possible.

Offhand[Ice Layered Barrier] (Hodir hardmode) is a best in slot item for even heroic level. It’s a rock solid shield with great stats. If you can get this get it! Another very solid option is [Pulsing Spellshield] (XT-002) Crit and Haste help it be a very nice shaman shield.

Rings -  [Fire Orchid Signet] (Freya) is a great pick up. The ring has all the right stats and a socket to boot. Another good option is to get [Renewal of Life] (25 Emblem of Valor) with your badges. It’s a solid ring and will last you a while.

Trinkets – There are three trinkets from 10 man ulduar that are worth looking at. [Energy Siphon] (FL) has great MP5 and the on use effect is nothing to scoff at.  [Eye of the Broodmother] (Razor) 87 crit (almost 2%) combined with essentially a 125 sp boost makes this an amazing trinket to grab if you can. Last up is [Sif's Rememberance] (Thorim) Good spell power and it gives you a chance to proc more MP5. If it drops there is no good reason not to take it.

Well thats it for today. Those are the items you can look forward to from Ulduar 10. They are really nice, and in serveral cases comparable to gear from Heroic Ulduar.

Until next time, Happy Healing.

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Being the Shaman Behind the Meat Shield

Being the Shaman Behind the Meat Shield

meat

Back on the 13th, Mera asked a question that I felt deserved a post to fully answer it.

“Can shamans make good MT or OT healers, as in to the same standard of other healing classes?”

I provided a short answer of yes on the 13th, but I’m going to try to flesh it out a bit more here.

Shaman have been given a lot of tools when Patch 3.0 was brought live. These tools allow us to be competitive with other healers in single target healing. Really we can break this down into a few sections – Spec (talents), Glyphs and Strategy.

Spec/Talents:

There are three very popular specs out there right now:

  • 0/16/55 This has been referred to as the cookie cutter spec.
  • 0/14/57 This spec. This spec moves points out of Elemental weapons to buff ancestral healing.
  • 0/14/57 A build which takes a few points out of Thundering Strikes in order to have a maxed Healing Way and Ancestral Healing while forsaking Improved Water Shield.

Each has different strengths they bring to the healing fight so to speak so lets take a quick peak at some of the choice talents.

Let’s take a look at the talents we pick up in enhancement first.

Thundering Strikes: This talent is five points of wonderful. It boosts your crit by a solid 5%. This is great because when you are on a Tank there can often times be spikes in damage. Having a higher crit ensures a better chance of being able to top off the tank with one healing wave instead of two or three.

Improved Shields:  This talent increases the bang for the buck you get out of your Earth Shield. That 15% counts for a lot in the long run, and your tank will thank you for picking it up.

Elemental Weapons: More spell power is always good.  This gives you an additional 45 spell power, no reason not to take it.

Now, those are very straight forward. One can argue the same about the next set but I’ll highlight the talents in the restoration tree that, in my opinion are great main tank healer abilities, or have been updated recently and can fill that role.

Healing Way: I’ll start with Healing Way, which is second only to Earth Shield in my book when one thinks of Shaman healing a tank.  This talent recently underwent a change that make it a very useful talent once again. The full affect of the talent is applied when you use the spell once. This means that you no longer have to spam the ability 3 times to get it rolling. Front loading the effect means that you can toss a Healing Wave on the tank, and then burn another 15 seconds worth of spells and Global Cool Downs until the ability expires. Tossing another healing wave on the tank will immediately receive an 18% boost and keeping this in mind it’s very very easy to net 20k crit heals and higher. I personally feel this is a must for shaman doing tank healing.

Earth Shield / Improved Earth Shield: These are pretty self explanatory. Earth Shield is a bread and butter talent. For as long as we’ve had it, we’ve been using it and rightly so. You toss this up on the main tank and it can help to create a very nice reactive buffer for health loss. This talent also underwent a fix recently. Previously the chance for the shield to crit heal was based on the person you put it on. Meaning a fire mage was more likely to get crit heals then a prot warrior. They’ve fixed it now so that it has a chance to crit based on your crit at the time of casting. Looking at your talents you have 14% built in before gear and INT are calculated. This just helps improve something that was already golden.

Ancestral Awakening: A lot of people don’t like this talent, but I personally love it. Taking a look at it, Ancestral Awakening really fits well with a main tank shaman healer. It procs off of Lesser Healing Wave, Healing Wave and Riptide. If you are on a tank, you’re going to be using a lot more Healing Wave then you usually do, and as a result this will proc more often. It heals for 30% of the amount healed. Lets say it procs off of a nice Healing Wave crit for 20,000 hp. The talent (like beacon of light) only spreads around the part that’s effective healing. Lets say 10,000hp of that heal is actually healing. That’s still a 3k heal that lands on someone who needs it.

Tidal Force: Again, pretty self explanatory. Having something that boosts your crit for Healing Wave is always a good thing

Tidal Waves: This talent is also very nice. It procs off Chain Heal and Riptide. We can assume that you’ll be using Riptide pretty liberally as it’s an instant cast hot with a flash heal at the front (so yes you should be using it if you’re not), and so this should be up all the time. It reduces the casting time of your Healing Wave spells by 30%. That extra little bit of haste helps to deliver your big heal faster.

Glyphs:

For Glyphs it might be a bit hard to choose for tank healing duty but we do have some good ones to choose from.

  • Glyph of Water Mastery: More mana! I hope I never hear anyone complain about more mana =D
  • Glyph of Mana Tide Totem: Again more mana, in this case taking full advantage of all the INT you have.
  • Glyph of Healing Wave: This takes advantage of your Healing Wave casts by returning 20% of the effective healing done, ignoring overheal amounts. Great glyph for AoE bosses and fights where you might not be able to heal yourself.
  • Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave: Less mana to cast, and faster then it’s big brother, this glyph lets LHW strike an Earth Shielded target for a respectable amount on par with non crit Healing Waves.
  • Glyph of Earthliving: This helps make sure you have a HoT up as much as possible. 5% more Earthliving procs can help cushion your healing a bit.
  • Glyph of Chain Heal: Even though you’re going to be casting more heals then Chain Heal, it still remains our most efficient heal. Casting it in between Healing Waves can help keep Tidal Waves up, and if you happen to catch any low melee in the process, so much the better.

Pick glyphs that help fill in gaps in what you need. If you need more mana, two glyphs will go along way to help that. If you find yourself taking damage and not being able to peel away from the tank, there is a glyph that help you keep standing long into the fight. Now these are just the Resto ones, I’ve heard people using ones to finagle more crit and such.  Take a look Here and find ones that work for you.

Strategy

Lets face it, loling around and chain healing a raid isn’t rocket science. Using our tools to their full potential while raid healing take much more finesse. Switching gears from Raid Healing to Tank Healing takes a different mindset. First thing to remember is Resto Shaman don’t really have any preventative measures to help mitigate incoming damage beyond Stoneskin Totem and Strength of Earth Totem to add armor or STR/AGI for mitigation. Our healing is all reactive aside from maybe our two HoTs, and even then we only have full control over one of them. Earth Shield requires the person you put it on to be hit before it goes off. As a result we spend a lot of time overhealing when we’re on a tank in an attempt to keep them topped off. With the amounts of mana regen we usually have, it’s not hard to keep the spells constantly streaming while keeping up on mana. You will also make full use of all your healing spells as a tank healer. Be adaptive to the situation and be ready to move with your tank. With raid healing it’s easy to sit put and plug away but a lot of times with the tank you’ll have to move with them to keep them in healing range or line of sight.

Conclusion

With all this in mind my answer to the question is Yes, I feel that shaman are more then capable Tank Healers, on par with other classes. We have all the tools necessary to fill both roles of the Raid Healer and Tank Healer effectively. There may be fights were a certain type of healer is better for the job (like a Discipline Priest healing the Sartharion Tank on Sarth 3D) but that doesn’t mean it’s the case every time. We can keep up with the Priests, Paladins and Druids in single target healing just fine.

Image courtesy of www.plan59.com

Primal Mooncloth – Do You Need to Upgrade?

Primal Mooncloth – Do You Need to Upgrade?

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Have we been teaching wrong? Image courtesy of gozdeo

There’s a gearing question I get asked more frequently than any other. I also see it all over the Priest-related interweb. It goes something like this:

My Priest just started running Kara/Heroics, and I have the Primal Mooncloth Set. I’m dying a lot. When can I/ should I break PMC bonus so I can get more stamina?

The answer is invariably along these lines:

PMC has no Stam and makes it hard to stay alive. As soon as you have 2 of the 3 slots replaced, go ahead and break it. Shopping List: Robes of Heavenly Purpose or Gown of Spiritual Wonder, Light-Mantle of the Incarnate or Mantle of the Avatar, and Belt of the Long Road or Cord of Braided Troll Hair.

This always kind of bothers me a little bit, probably because I’m a crotchety oldster who was working my way through T5 content before the 2.3 badge rewards and ZA were introduced. Back in MY day, the only pieces that would add stamina to your stats without gimping your +healing and regen abominably were your Tier tokens. Which, with the infamous Warrior-Priest-Druid combo, in most raiding guilds, went to tanks first. And especially since Druid tank itemization meant they needed the T4 set bonus, preferably from their chest, Priests were pretty much out of luck. (I’ll spare you a very compelling QQ-anecdote about the injustices visited on my Priests specifically when it came to Tier-gear. Just know that it was very tragic, compelling, and you should pity me. Thank you.)

Basically, Primal Mooncloth meant you could keep your raid alive, and whether or not YOU stayed alive was your own business – weren’t you the healer??

As a result, many, many healy-Priests (myself and Matt included), worked their way into T6-level content with dramatically less stamina than recommended. For me, especially given the pressure-cooker of being the first and only female in my hardcore raiding guild, it meant I had to learn to stay alive. This is the origin of the “Oh s***!” macro, and why my UI is painstakingly designed to keep my field of vision clear.

My point is, I’ve done the content that the Priests asking about Primal Mooncloth have done – and I stayed alive. So I know it’s possible. So it bothers me to blame the prolific Priest-mortality rate on the gear and nothing else. If I wasn’t positive that people would feel attacked, accused, and offended, here’s what my response would be:

“Primal Mooncloth is perfectly adequate for the content you’re running. Rather than worrying about what gear to exchange to boost your stamina, let’s treat what I think is the real problem. Tell me about your raids: What’s killing you? Loose mobs, or AoE damage?”

And working from there, I’d like to go through a trouble-shooting dialogue. If loose mobs are running around and slaying healers, either your Tanks need to work on tanking, your CC needs to work on CC’ing, your DPS needs to work on not breaking CC, or YOU need to work on heal-timing. These are all very important skills, and, often, healer-deaths are simply symptomatic of underperforming raiders.

If AoE damage is killing you, then you simply need to learn how to keep yourself healed.

  • Do you have PW:S and Inner Fire up at all times?
  • Are you using profession-related bonuses appropriately? (Fel Blossom, Nightmare seed, Bandages – yes really)
  • What kind of consumables do you bring? (Stam + Spirit food, Super/Major Rejuv potions)
  • Are you using the right cooldowns? (Healthstones, trinkets)

And the biggest one:

  • Are you fully playing your Priest? Priests are unique in the sheer variety of tools in our healbox. Binding Heal, Renew, CoH, ProH, Fade, and ProM (and Desperate Prayer, if you have it), will ALL keep you alive. In fact, they are designed to keep you alive. Priests can and should be able to heal themselves without ever neglecting their duty to the rest of the raid.

It’s not that good Priests never die – Spirit of Redemption points out that Blizz KNOWS we’re going to die. It’s that the best Priests know that gear is not the major limiting factor in your performance. And as much as I advocate using the best gear available to you, it should be to augment your skill as a player, not to replace it.

Notice: I hesitated to post this entry, for the same reason that I hesitate to reveal my real answer to the pertinent gear-question. I realize that my opinion will hurt some feelings, and it is not my intention to imply that people looking to break PMC with any of the numerous options in the post 2.4 game are bad players.  It is my intention to imply that perhaps, as a community committed to improving our gameplay, our first instinct shouldn’t be to swap gear, but rather to ascertain how we can out-perform our pixilated limitations. If, after determining the REAL cause of death, we find a certain stat to be lacking, then we can recommend gear to augment that stat.

Luv,
Wyn

Spell Haste: Why You Don’t Need It

Spell Haste: Why You Don’t Need It

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Image courtesy of andrewatla

A few words on Spell Haste: I can tell that Spell Haste is going to be the next big epeen-measurement stat. There are a couple of reasons behind this, the biggest one being that Sunwell fights are so demanding that Spell Haste is indispensable to heal all the incoming damage. The thought process runs something like this: If it’s good enough for Sunwell, it’s good enough for everyone, right? In fact, the more you have, the better you must be, right? Nope. Of course not – if that were true, I wouldn’t have a reason to post.

Sorry, I missed a left turn at Albaquerque. What is Spell Haste? Simply put, Spell Haste allows you to cast the same spells – faster. 15.67 of Spell Haste is a 1% casting-time reduction. Haste can also decrease your global cooldown to a minimum of one second. (That’s at something like 475 – effectively haste-capped. At this point, I’m not entirely sure it’s even possible to stack up that much spell haste. It certainly isn’t possible without running your other stats into the ground.)

As cool (and useful in Sunwell) as Spell Haste is, there are a lot of reasons it just doesn’t live up to the hype:

Sloppy Healers

Once in a while, some misguided soul will compare healing a raid to playing whack-a-mole. Maybe it’s accurate for your first few raids – before you figure out much about game mechanics and set up your UI properly you might have no idea who was going to take damage next. This is probably why you see so many entry-level wws reports showing an abundance of Flash Heals; the healers just aren’t experienced enough to not play a reactive game. But good healers know their fights, know their raid-mates, and know their raid frames well enough to start a cast before damage happens. Giving those same, inexperienced healers spell haste before developing their other, more relevant stats first, simply reinforces that gut reaction o-m-g-he’s-gonna-die-i-gotta-toss-healz-nao mentality. Spell haste won’t make inexperienced (or bad, for that matter) healers better, but it will train them to think faster is better – when really, planning ahead and paying attention is better.

Opportunity Cost

Flash back to Economics class with me: Opportunity cost is the cost of resources that must be given up in order to obtain other resources. You’ll notice a pattern with pre-Sunwell Spell Haste items – to get the haste, you have to give up mana regen.

Exception: Brooch of Nature’s Mercy, which is worth farming Eagle Boss in ZA for its Spirit alone.

As you’re working your way through content, you have a lot to think about in terms of stat-balancing. Your +healing must be high enough to handle the incoming damage, you have to have enough regen to last the entire fight, and you have to have enough Stamina so that you can actually do some healing. If you’re not to the point where most of your slots have few upgrades, you probably don’t have stats to spare. If you think you do, you probably don’t have enough regen. These other stats are so important for T4, T5, and BT/Hyjal content that giving them up for a stat that is not required is foolish. Wait to stack Spell Haste until you really can afford the cost to your other metrics.

Running Out of Mana

One thing that I notice most often with premature Spell Haste stacking is that casters run out of mana.

Quickly.

Why?

Bear with me. (Warning: I like easy math, so I’m using VERY rounded numbers and assuming no Quartz, Lag or other fun stuff)

Say I have a 10k mana pool, and that each Greater Heal costs 500 mana. This means I can throw out 20 of them before I go out of mana. But, I also have 250 Mp5. Each of those 20 casts took 2.5 seconds – a total of 50 seconds.

So I accrued 10 full ticks of my Mp5 – an extra 2500 mana.

An extra 5 Heals. An extra 12.5 seconds of casting.

Which, thanks to the magic of Mp5, bought me ANOTHER 1094 mana.

ANOTHER 2 casts, ANOTHER 5 seconds – and I’m done. (Because that only bought me 250 mana, which added to the 94 I had left over isn’t enough to cast another heal for this experiment.)

So TOTAL, my 10k mana pool and 250 Mp5 bought me 27 heals over 67.5 seconds. (There is a FABULOUS mod called Dr. Damage that will show you all of this in a tool tip.)

If my G.Heal hits for 6k, I just healed for 162,000. But what if we trade regen for S.Haste? Okay, now I have a 10k mana pool, each heal costs 500 mana, so I still get to throw 20 of them before I go oom. But NOW, each of those 20 casts took TWO seconds. So NOW, it only took 40 seconds. Which means I only got 8 ticks of my Mp5, which is now 200. So I only got back 1600 mana. An extra 3 heals. An extra 6 seconds of casting. Only 300 mana back. Suddenly, I’m done. (Sure, I could wait 1 second, and buy a 24th heal but then i’m REALLY done – and it takes me longer to get back in the game, because my regen is less.) Total: 23 heals over 46 seconds. 138,000 healing. Down 24,000. Down by more than my Main Tank’s pool.

For what? To get that 138k out fast enough so that it’s overheals? Because in 95% of the raiding-game, you don’t need to throw ‘em out that fast to keep up with the damage, so they would be wasted. But you’re not chain-casting? You’d have more time to regen mana? Great. Then you really don’t need the Spell Haste.

Lack of Available Gear

Another reason not to fuss over Spell Haste too much is how little gear there really is out there with Spell Haste on it. WoWhead lists 29 Priest-friendly healing items with Spell Haste GAME WIDE. Of these, 16 drop in SW, 1 in Hyjal, 2 in BT, and two require Hearts of Darkness. So unless you’re very wealthy or your guild is working through advanced End-game, you have 8 options total – and a few of those are for the same slots!

Not Fully Developed as A Talentable Stat

As Priests, we have a couple of talents that reduce the casting time of certain spells. Could be divine fury, could be shortening up our Mass Dispel or Mana Burns. But, there is no far-reaching talent option to truly take advantage of this stat wholesale. Yet. I anticipate that WotLK will bring a lot more viability to this stat as a whole, with the introduction of talents like Improved Holy Concentration. The new content will probably require a decent amount of Spell Haste, but, as currently implemented, the fact that Spell Haste gains no help from any available builds further decreases the value of gaining it as compared to other stats – spirit or +heal – that DO gain multipliers from our available talent trees.

Sunwell fights are a holy-crap-did-you-see-that-by-the-skin-of-our-teeth kind of experience. I know a guy who, before the 2.4.3 nerfs, was spending nearly 1,000g on Mu’ru attempts PER NIGHT. (Scrolls, haste pots, elixirs, repairs, etc. He’s actually leveling an herbalist just to take the pressure off.) The best comparison is to old-school Naxxramus. You just don’t do Sunwell unless you’re really dedicated to the game, and long after WotLK comes out, veteran raiders will be swapping stories about how hardcore the fights were, and what a mind-bender it was.

Luv,
Wyn

Assigning Healing Strategy – Part 2: Double Shifting Healers

Assigning Healing Strategy – Part 2: Double Shifting Healers

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Image courtesy of hkarl

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

In case you missed it:

  1. Week 1: Recognizing Class Strengths

Throughout your raiding career as a healer, you will find that the measure of being a good healer is underscored by one question:

Do you keep your target up?

When you start approaching T6 content in Hyjal and Black Temple, keeping a player alive indefinitely (or at least, 5 minutes) is not just a good skill, it is a virtual requirement. Your healing boss should be able to put any healer on any tank for any trash pulls and not have to second guess their decision. This is the personal standard by which I base my healers on.

So what’s the next step?

Find out if your healer can keep up two targets.

As the healing stratician, I get the pleasure of doing all the assignments for all the bosses. Sometimes it has to be done on short notice and it’s nice to know I’m not the only one in the game that has to to pull off a hail Mary. Unfortunately, I don’t get much say in who stays or who goes. I can’t pick my lineup because I never know what crew I have to work with on any given week! This is a challenge unto itself because certain classes are optimized for different roles and I have to be really creative in order for our group to find success. We raided all of SSC and nearly all of TK without a Resto Druid. It’s doable but it’s tough.

Double shifting the Healer

There are going to be times where you can get away with not having a full healer’s attention on a tank. The reason for that is because there are other healer’s on said tank. I often feel uneasy having only two Paladins on a main tank. I know I would feel more at ease if there was at least one more. However, I also know that due my personnel, I can’t spare another player on them full time.

What I can do is split a healer’s attention between two tanks. If I don’t have a Druid, I’ll put a Priest on it. Generally speaking, a Druid would be my top choice due to the nature of the class. Barring that, I’d take care of it myself personally. If I’m not able to, I’ll flip a coin and pick a Paladin or a Shaman.

The principle here remains the same. What we’re doing is taking a healing class and assigning them two different players to keep alive. In the end, we’ll have something that looks like this:

Alpha Tank
- Pete the Paladin
- Paula the Priest
- Darren the Druid
Bravo Tank
- Pierce the Paladin
- Pavol the Priest
- Darren the Druid

Understand that in most boss encounters, only one tank is necessary. But also understand that there are some fights where the boss encounter requires more than 1 tank to eat damage or to tank a different NPC. Here’s a few player examples of when double shifting is a good idea:

  • Covering a player 2nd on threat
  • Highest person with health gets a Hateful Strike
  • Multiple tanks on multiple mobs

Hopefully you’ll be able to understand the message I’m trying to convey here. Fights will become more complicated for you as you progress through the game and double shifting healers is one way of answering the challenge. Sometime early next week, I’ll illustrate in further detail how a Priest can double shift in terms of spells and things to watch out for (might use that for a WoW Insider post actually).

How about some concrete examples of which bosses to double shift on? Pulled from WoWWiki we have:

  • Supremus: Hateful strike – ~7 – 10k melee damage to the target with the highest current health inside melee range.
  • Gruul: Hurtful Strike – Always hits the second highest aggro target within his melee range; therefore essential that any melee DPS classes maintain their aggro level not only below that of the MT, but also below that of the OT.
  • Magtheridon: Phase 1 – It is theoretically possible for a moderately geared healer to cover the first two tanks on the Warlocks especially now that the encounter has been considerably nerfed.

Next week, we look at the pivot healer! See ya then!

Rez Me First!

….Or at least another Priest.

It could be a Soulstone, a Divine Intervention, a vanished Rogue with a pair of cables, or a clever Druid with a well-timed battle rez taken once the coast is clear. The idea is to save the raid the lengthy corpse-run, and to pick up and move on as quickly as possible.

Wipe Prevention – (n.) – \?w?p\ \pri-?ven(t)-sh?n\ – the concept of having at least one raiding member with the ability to Resurrect other members still alive after all other raiders are dead, and the boss or mobs have reset.

Because the entire purpose of wipe-prevention is time-efficiency, it has always frustrated me when the player charged with reviving the raid seems to have no concept of whom to rez first, second, or last. It gets worse when no one else in the raid seems to know what to do, either. After my guild’s last efforts in Sunwell, I decided to write a quick tutorial:

Always resurrect other rezzers first

This is the most crucial point, but even within this simple concept, it makes the most sense to pick some rezzers over others. Three classes have out of combat resurrection spells. Priests have Resurrection, which costs 60% of our base mana. Shamans have Ancestral Spirit which costs 72% of their base mana, and Paladins have Redemption which costs 64% of their base mana. It makes sense to pick up your Priests first, since they will be able to resurrect the most people without having to stop and drink. Remember that HEALER doesn’t necessarily mean REZZER. Druids can obviously not help here, but non-healing Priests, Shamans, and Paladins should. Don’t let them be lazy.

Personally, 60% of my base mana is 1,500. My Shammie brothers-in-arms’ rezzes cost as much as 3,000. I only have to drink to the point where I have 3,000 of my mana back and my regen will allow me to chain-cast rezzes without stopping until the whole raid is up. It makes more sense to pick me up than to pick up an ele shaman with only 250 mp5 and a 9k mana pool.

Resurrect raiders who need to do extra prep second

This means warlocks who need to summon healthstones and demons, Hunters who have to revive their pets, and buff-classes who will need to fill their mana in order to buff. (Mages, Druids)

Last are classes with little prep

Rogues who may need to apply poisons, non-buffing (usually feral) Druids, and Warriors.

Other speed-recovery pointers
  • Once their summoning duties are over, warlocks should drink to replenish their mana, rather than distracting the healers by life-tapping.
  • Group-Buffs should be done as soon as a given party is fully rezzed.
  • If one raider is doing the bulk of the rezzing, another member of their class should take over their buff-assignment (where possible), so they can drink and be ready to go with the rest of the raid.
  • All raiders who are NOT rez classes should eat their buff food and replenish their own mana as soon as they have been revived – this is not the time to take a bio-break or grab a snack.
  • One of the macros I posted in my UI series is my Rez macro. It casts rez, whispers the recipient, and plants a message in my guild’s healer channel to let them know my target. This avoids wasting time while two or three people try to rez the same target.

That can sound like a whole bunch of rules, but the underlying principle is very simple: Rez the people who can help get the rest of the raid up as quickly as possible first. Rez the people who need time to get ready second. Rez the people who need the least time last. You can save enough time this way to get in more attempts, avoid re-clearing trash, or keep a night of farm content from drawing out much longer than it should.

Luv,
Wyn

Wyn’s UI – Part Four (The Macro Problem)

Wyn’s UI – Part Four (The Macro Problem)

Part four of a series. Part One , Part Two , Part Three.

Hot Keys

One of the add-ons that has the biggest impact on my UI and gameplay is Bartender. As I’ve mentioned before, I navigate and target with my mouse. If I need to move and target or cast at the same time, I use auto run – it’s on my 4th mouse button. Nearly all of my spells and abilities are Hot Keyed to my Keyboard. Here’s how that looks:

This is what my keybinds look like when I’m out running around solo. Most of the icons should look pretty familiar, and you can see that my offensive spells are on the top line. That blank spot is for my Disc buffs when I respec for the weekend. I do not hotkey my consumables, to avoid hitting them when I type. The bottom row is non-sensical, but it’s also not bound… it’s where I throw things when I need them once, then I don’t move them out ’til I need to put something else there. When we get into macros, you’ll see that the single-buff of Fort is redundant… my first row of buttons scrolls away when I have someone Mind Controlled, and I sometimes like to play nice with the allies and toss them a buff. Again, the numbers on the bottom of the icons are from Dr. Damage. One thing about Bartender is that you can use your standard keybinds from the stock bars, but if you want the numerals to show up on the icons you have to use the slots specifically labeled in the menu for Bartender. It’s in the same window, just scroll down.

Dr. Damage also gives you super-nifty Tool Tips on mouseover. Like this:

 Dr Damage ToolTip - Smite  Dr Damage ToolTip - Heal

I think I may have mentioned that I’m an information junkie… this just feeds the problem.

 

offensive with alt

This is still my offensive set-up, but I’m holding down the Alt button. See how the icons change? That’s a product of using macros with the “?” icon. I’ll get to that in a second. Notice, too, that the healing coefficients change on ProH and Nova’s icons.

When I’m raiding, a quick Shift+Scroll Up gives me this:

Greater Heals normal

Holding Alt will make the same changes that happened to the offensive set-up.

My Super-Secret Macros

I may be crazy for deciding to discuss macros. They can be very simple or complicated, and I use a mixture of both. This is not intended to be a macro tutorial. These are simply a few I’ve cooked up, cobbled together, or flat-out stolen. I wanted to show you what those extra buttons on my bars do, and this seemed to be the best way. PLEASE feel free to ask questions about the ones I list, but understand that I probably won’t be able to help you troubleshoot one that you’ve written. If you DO want a how-to, the best one I’ve ever read is over at Priestly Endeavors. A few notes before we begin:

  • I’m Horde. If it’s a macro that sends a whisper, and you’re an Ally, your buddies won’t speak Orcish, so change that to Common.
  • Nearly all of these use the #showtooltip command. That makes the tooltip show up on mouseover, even though it’s a macro.
  • When I’m setting these up, I almost always pick the “?” icon that shows up first. That way, if it’s a button that does more than one thing, the icon on my bars will change when I press the modifier.
  • LINES are very important to a macro. If you keep typing without hitting [enter] it will read all as one line. New commands MUST be started on a new line, so make sure they match up to the line-breaks here if you copy/paste.

 

Since none of my offensive spells involve macros, I’m going to assume you’re looking at the raiding picture with all the G-heals. I’ll go from left to right.

Gheal macroStopcasting saves lives. Even after 2.3, being able to stop a heal on one target, change targets, and instantly start casting your new heal is an excellent skill if someone is spiking. Also, you can keep hitting this when targeting the MT, and just let it land when they actually need a heal. That way, you can drop out of the 5-Second-rule, without abandoning your job. (yes, you could jump or step forward, but jumping wastes time, and so does hitting multiple buttons.)

#showtooltip Greater Heal(Rank 7)
/stopcasting
/cast Greater Heal(Rank 7)

 

 FW Macro Now that all priests have Fear Ward, it’s nice to be able to let your tank know you’ve got their back. This one casts FW on your target, and whispers them.

#showtooltip
/cast fear ward
/script SendChatMessage(“Fear Ward on YOU”, “WHISPER”, “Orcish”, UnitName(“target”));

 

Prayer Macro AltThese three all do pretty much the same thing, and I just wrote it as another space-saver. Hit the macro, and it’ll cast Prayer of (whatever) on your target and their party. Hold Shift, hit the  macro, and it’ll cast a single-buff on your target. Hold Alt, hit the macro, and it’ll cast a single buff on you. Neat, huh? (You can tell it’s not a raid night because of how few candles I have on me….)

For Shadow Protection:
#showtooltip
/cast [modifier:shift] Shadow Protection(Rank 4); [modifier:alt, target=player] Shadow Protection(Rank 4); Prayer of Shadow Protection(Rank 2)

For Fortitude:
#showtooltip
/cast [modifier:shift] Power Word: Fortitude(Rank 7); [modifier:alt, target=player] Power Word: Fortitude(Rank 7); Prayer of Fortitude(Rank 3)

Divine Spirit:
#showtooltip
/cast [modifier:shift] Divine Spirit(Rank 5); [modifier:alt, target=player] Divine Spirit(Rank 5); Prayer of Spirit(Rank 2)

Flash Heal Macro Normal Because my UI set up has either my offensive spells or my Greater Heals visible, but not both, I wanted the option to toss a G.Heal on myself when I’m solo without too much effort. So I made this. Generally, it’s the same as my stopcasting macro for Greater Heal, only for Flash. The difference comes in that if I hold Alt, it’ll interrupt whatever and start a max-ranked G.Heal on me, without changing my target. Handy, right?

#showtooltip
/stopcasting
/cast [modifier:alt, target=player] Greater heal(rank 7); Flash Heal(Rank 9)

 

I would feed my Shadow Fiend cookies if I could. I love the little guy. But sometimes, he gets lazy. This macro will keep him attacking non-cc’d mobs if his current target dies, and toss a scroll on him (if I have one) to boost his mana-return. Just spam it for a second.

#showtooltip
/cast Shadowfiend
/petaggressive
/petattack
/use [target=pet] Scroll of Strength
/use [target=pet] Scroll of Agility

 

Most of us have been in a situation with lots of people rezzing at the same time. Just save time, and have your macro type in your healing channel who your target is. Mine also whispers the person that’s getting a rez.

#showtooltip
/cast Resurrection(Rank 6)
/6 Saving %t the run back, but not the repair bill
/script SendChatMessage(“Rezzing you”, “WHISPER”, “Orcish”,UnitName(“target”))

Focus Macro This is really simple. It just sets my focus to whatever I’ve got targeted. No muss, no fuss.

/focus

There are some really nifty things you can do with focus macros, like this one I stole from Priestly Endeavors

/focus [noexists,target=target][exists,dead,target=target][modifier:alt,target=target]
/stopmacro [modifier:alt]
/cast [target=focus] Shackle Undead

The first line says: [make my current target the focus if I don't have one] or [make my target my focus if my current focus is dead] but [if I'm holding Alt, make my target my focus no matter what].
The second line says:[if I'm holding Alt to re-set my focus, ignore the rest of the macro]
The third line says: [whatever I'm targeting, cast shackle undead on my focus]

Down-ranking macros are fun! Here’s one for Prayer of Healing. Hold Alt to cast rank 3.

#showtooltip
/cast [modifier:alt] Prayer of Healing(Rank 3); Prayer of Healing(Rank 6)

P4 Random Not a macro, but sometimes in a quest or a fight there’s a random item you need to use regularly. I drag mine over to “J” and just hit it whenever I need it. This is from when I had the daily quest in Nagrand.

Nova NormalNova Alt I always heard it was good to keep Rank 1 Nova on your bars for PvP purposes, but where to put it? On the same button, naturally. Hold Alt to use Rank 1, hold nothing for max-rank.

#showtooltip
/cast [modifier:alt] Holy Nova(Rank 1); Holy Nova(Rank 7)

Lifetap We all know Warlocks Life Tap at the WORST time… this was my solution to train my ‘Locks to know when it was okay. For this one, I didn’t use the “?” icon, since that would just look like a normal Renew. Dr. Damage still catches the heal, though. (True story: one of my Warlocks actually macro’d his LifeTap to whisper me that he was going to do it in response to this macro. I was so proud!)

/script SendChatMessage(“Lifetap if you need to”, “WHISPER”, “Orcish”, UnitName(“target”));
/cast Renew

OhShit Sometimes, you have to keep yourself alive ’til your fellow heal-bots can help you out. EVERYONE must have an “Oh, Shit” button. This one can keep me up through over 20k damage. The [combat] modifiers keep reagents from being used up accidentally.

/target player
/cast [combat] Power Word: Shield
/use Master Healthstone
/cast Prayer of Mending
/use Fel blossom
/use [combat] Super Rejuvenation Potion
/use [combat] Nightmare Seed
/use Battlemaster’s Perseverance
/use Vial of the Sunwell
/cast Renew

Trink 1 Trink These are both really simple, but helpful. No matter what trinkets you have equipped, each of these macros will use one of them. Use the “?” icon, and you can see which trinkets you have equipped at the moment.

#showtooltip
/use 13

#showtooltip
/use 14

P4 Berserking If my heals have to come faster, they may as well come bigger. This trips Berserking, my OP-as-hell Racial, and my +healing trinket at the same time. (Does not trip GCD)
You can macro all kinds of things together – multiple trinkets, other abilities. Go nuts!

#showtooltip
/cast Berserking(Racial)
/use Tome of Diabolic Remedy

 

I wrote this last one just to save space on my bars. It gets out my Puppy and my Nether Drake. If I hold Alt, it gets out my Puppy and my Raptor.

#showtooltip
/use Worg Carrier
/cast [modifier:alt] Swift Blue Raptor
/use Reins of the Azure Netherwing Drake

Add
/equip Riding Crop
as the last line, if you want, but remember to replace your trinkets when you get where you’re going!

To Be Continued. . .

Wyn’s UI – Part Three (Boss in Action)

Part three of a series. Please read Part One & Part Two.

Okay, finally a real action shot like I’ve been promising. Welcome to Mother Shahraz. There’s a LOT going on in this fight, but you do get to stand still for most of it (unless you get Fatal Attraction, but that’s another post altogether.) I picked this shot because it catches a few things – good mana-regen cycle, a solid fight with only one real phase, and me making a pretty big mistake.

Typical Bossfight:

Click to enlarge....as soon as Matt uploads the larger version!

 

BF Focus

1. I set the boss as my focus on this one, so I can more easily watch for what aura she has and which tank she’s targeting. Different fights call for different focii; just set it to whomever you need to babysit. If you’ll look at the bottom row of myBartender you can see an icon that’s an eye with something pointing at it.
I’ve macro’d that button to set my focus just to make it a little faster and easier. I’ll post about the macros I use at the end of this series.


2.HoT Candy keeps track of everyone I’ve Renewed. Right now, it’s just the MT, but that’s because my mana’s about shot. (No worries, my pot CD finished as I took the SS.) Resto-Druids especially take note: HoT Candy is your friend.

RegenFu Bar
3. This is part of RegenFu. I’m just about out of the Five Second Rule, and will hit some serious mana-regen goodness. Fully buffed, my non-casting regen is over 900, but in full shadow resist, it takes a big hit. So I’ll burn Inner Focus before my next big heal, to maximize the mana I get back without stopping casting. I also wait until I’m out of the FSR to burn my Earring of Soulful Meditation. (If you don’t have it, find a way to get it. The Bangle of Endless Blessingsfrom Botanica is a substitute, but only about half as good.) I rarely make it the full 15 seconds without casting something, but at least I get the full benefit at the beginning.

4. Here’s where this shot catches me not paying close attention. Look here on my ElkBuffBar – Clearcasting is just expiring, but you can see at the top of my screen that I didn’t have enough mana to cast the Circle of Healing I was trying to cast. On Grid, you can see that group 3 was taking pretty even damage – I was spam CoH-ing them to patch them up. I should’ve thrown a G.heal on Joe in the middle, there. I’d’ve been finished with the cast by the time I had enough mana to CoH again, and been able to burn Inner Focus more appropriately, or let one of my Shammies top off the rest of the Warlocks while I regenned a little more.

5. On Bartender, you can see which of my cooldowns are available. Mana management is absolutely critical for these kinds of fights. My Pot CD finished as the SS was taking, Fiend is down, Inner Focus is available, and my Earring is down.
Pot CD
Fiend CDEarring CD

As healers, our mana-rotation is as critical as a DPSers spell rotation. Learning to be efficient is one of the best things you can do to become a better healer. For me it looks something like this:

  • Start: 12.5k manaI can haz cookie?
  • First Pot – 9k mana
  • Pop Earring – 9k mana again
  • Inner Focus – When expensive heal is needed
  • Shadowfiend – 6k mana
  • Second Pot – 7k mana
  • Earring again – ASAP

    And so on.

Mana is a lot like gasoline in your car – it’s just as easy to keep the top 1/4 of the tank full as it is the bottom 1/4. And the earlier you pop those cooldowns, the sooner they’ll be available for you to use again. Once you’ve used them all, just rotate through as soon as they’re available. I tend to Inner Focus for Prayer of Healing, but will use it for G.heal or Binding heal, if necessary. A tip for Mother – don’t wait to Fiend. Your mana will drop faster than you’ll believe, and when that CD comes up again, you’ll be very thankful. Also, watch for the auras that increase or reduce shadow damage. You don’t have to wait for the increase-aura to Fiend, although it will help you, but you will want to avoid the one that will nerf your little guy.

BF Quartz Bar
6. Okay, I’m going to highlight that mistake a bit more here. Since I didn’t use my Clearcast to throw a heal on poor Joe, I pasted this copy of my casting bar in from another screenshot so you could at least see where it goes and how it works. You can see from my toon’s posture that I’m not actually casting anything. Quartz tells me what I’m casting, what rank, shows a timer, and who I had targeted when the cast began. I change targets almost constantly, so that’s a very handy feature.

BF Grid All7. This is one of the best shots to show how Grid works; most of the raid is at full health, and it’s obvious who needs heals. If you look at the top-right square, you can see Acalon – our MT for this fight. The Red dot in the upper left of his box means he has aggro. There will be any number of those little dots when there are multiple mobs targeting people. That dot, rather than damage taken, is my cue to take action in most cases. A working knowledge of the mobs involved helps me know if I should start casting a heal, or just shield/renew the people with aggro. The groups are a little jacked right now – my raid leader moves Shammies into the melee group in a rotation for Bloodlust (Heroism) purposes. You can also clearly see who is dead, and who is out of my range.

BF DBM8.Deadly Boss Mods lets you move where your raid warnings pop up. Back to the concept of reducing eye movement to maximize reaction time, having them right where you can see them helps you know who’s about to need a heal – especially if it’s a fight like Void Reaver or Illidari Council where the boss targets random raid members to take damage.

9. Here’s Recount again. Pray is a shadow priest. He’s beating the Paladins on heals, because they both died early-on. It’s important to note that just like any other statistics, the data is only as valuable as its interpretation. This particular shot tells you very little without knowing the set-up. Por was assigned to heal up those people who get Fatal Attraction. Not very glamorous, and it limits his ability to cross-heal. Wize and I are both on raid-heals, so we’re pretty much neck-and-neck. Eizara is generally assigned to the Tanks, but her mana-efficiency is so excellent that she helps a lot with hotting the raid. She is an absolute BEAST of a resto-druid.

10. Scrolling Combat Text isn’t that important, as far as I’m concerned, for my incoming heals or mana regen – I’m watching bars, so I can see that. The important thing is that it tells you when you gain a buff or debuff. Clearcasting, Diabolic Remedy, Deep Meditation, Band of the Eternal Restorer, Berserking… all that stuff pops up over my head, and keeps me from having to watch my buff list. There are mods that do this, and will personalize it any number of ways, but the stock UI also has this feature now. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch it showing in this ss, and it looked funny ‘shopped in. The “10″ is where it would go.

Bossfight Breakdown

These shots were taken during a trash-pull right after Mother. I’m very self-critical, and have found a lot of value in analyzing my own performance after a given boss fight. I wanted to walk you through my personal stats after a fight.

Wynthea's Effective Heal Detail
This is a pretty typical boss-fight mix for me. I’m usually assigned to raid healing, and expected to help out on the tanks when they’re taking extra damage, or their healers are in some way incapacitated. Notice how MANY times particular heals were used: 17 Greater Heals compared with 14 Flash heals. 57 Renews. Clearly, I love me some Circle of Healing. It is my bread-and-butter for raid healing, but be careful not to fall into the trap of spamming it for everything. I have seen priests with upwards of 90% CoH – I cannot stress how inefficient that is. CoH is a great tool, but it is not in any way a substitute for good decision making.

A few examples:

  • My CoH costs approximately 400 mana to heal 5 people for about 1k each. I can patch up a group with roughly 3k damage each for 1200 mana. Not bad, but if that group happens to be my actual group, my ProH heals for about 2.5k per target at a cost of around 900 mana. Time-wise, the 3 second cast is the same as the time it would have taken for me to cast the three CoH’s. It’s actually a faster option, because my GCD won’t be up by the time the ProH is done, so I can move directly on to my next target. ProH also gets cheaper because of how well it lends to burning Inner Focus.
  • CoH is perfect for a situation where a group is taking moderate damage across the board – assuming you throw out about 3 CoH’s on the same group, you just healed 5 people for about 3k each – much better than the time it would have taken to Flash Heal the same people (7.5 seconds) for that amount… but if a single-target is down by even 5k, you’re much better off throwing a rank-5 Greater Heal than spamming 5 CoH’s.

Note: If you are taking damage yourself, and so is the Tank, don’t be afraid to Binding Heal. Once they nerfed the mana cost (it used to be about 1k, and now it’s around 700), it became very viable to heal the two most important targets you have – yourself, and the guy keeping the bad guy from flattening you. It costs about the same as two Flash Heals, and saves you the casting time, and the decision.

This shot is the report for WHO I healed during the same bossfight.

Healed Who

1. Remember, my assignment was to raid-heal, and supplement on the tanks when their assigned healers needed help. (Usually from getting the Fatal Attraction debuff.) Acalon was our MT, and he got the bulk of my raw heals, usually in the form of ProM, Renew, and Greater Heal, with a few Flash Heals thrown in if I got nervous. I forget where I read it, but a good rule to follow is to Flash Heal if your target needs a heal NOW, Greater Heal if you think you have time, and just Renew them if you KNOW you have time. That said, I keep Renew on the MT at all times, and ProM him as much as possible. My #2 target is Omegax – a warlock with a fondness for Life Tap. His heals are mostly Renews. Oneiros and Bull were our OT’s, their mixes look a lot like Acalon’s.

2. This second area of the screen shows a break down of what heals I used on a particular target. Haidi is one of our healadins, and the first example of my typical raid-healing mix. You can see that he didn’t require any special attention. Working through the rest of the raid heals, this is pretty much typical for everyone, maybe with a Flash Heal thrown in.


To Be Continued. . .