I found some time this week to join my new friends on the Raid Warning podcast. Normally podcast requests are made at times where I have to respectfully decline (my guild comes first) but we managed to work something out.
So what did we talk about?
Mattâ€™s preferred drink!
And his alcohol tolerance
Patch 3.2 thoughts
Priest Q&A thoughts
Qualities I look for in healers
Anyways, the Raid Warning crew has been feeling awfully generous as of late! Theyâ€™re giving away some pretty cool prizes in a contest theyâ€™re holding!
Do you have rage problems? Prone to extreme anger? Throw your headset across the wall because that Priest stood in the fire again?
BlizzardÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s released a new Battle Net system that allows players to merge all of their gaming accounts under one. This greatly adds to the convenience factor. You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to remember all your different CD keys for one thing. I added my Warcraft 3 and Frozen Throne keys and I found that I can download the client and play CD less! Although that feature was probably added patches ago.
Anyway, of more concern to us is the World of Warcraft account merging option. If you have multiple accounts, you can merge them all under one login name (which is the E-Mail address of your choice). Doing so means that when you login, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not using your WoW account name anymore.
Instead what happens is you login with your email and then you select which account you wish to tap into. All the characters will remain on their existing accounts. Yes, multi boxing is still possible since you can pick which accounts you want to log into. I can log into my Bravo35 account and onto my Sierra21 account and play a Warlock and a Mage with no problem at the same time (for example).
First, check out this awesome video by Siha. Some great teaser footage regarding the Hodir encounter. You can see me around the 22 second mark. I’m running away to the bottom right corner of the screen. Great choice of music, to boot!
To all the players who said Blizzard didn’t know how to create challenging content.
You guys are in for a treat.
At around 3 PM Pacific, it was announced that Hodir would soon be available for testing. In fact, he would be open at 4 PM. That left me an hour to scramble the players necessary to give it a shot. I knew there was no way I’d be able to field a full 25 man raid group. Conquest managed to bring in 6 players to jump in. I posted on Twitter looking for volunteers. No avail. I checked my GMail for online contacts. Apathy was free. Quick glance on AIM? Siha was free. After 90 minutes of struggling with UIs, server crashes and the like, we were one of the first groups that were able to zone in. The entire zone is quite breath taking. Check out some of the shots I sent into WoW Insider.
After my making my way through most of the instance where we pass through the exterior lightning charged towers (where the Flame Leviathan is, no doubt) we enter a door that takes us into another part of the area. It looks like we hit the inner sanctum. The main chamber branches off into a multitude of rooms which takes your party to different bosses. Naxxramas has four wings. Ulduar has many different wings. I was’t able to get a count. But I think there were at least 5 or so hallways that led out. We managed to find Hodir with little difficulty in a circular cavern.
And we were joined by Daelo! Poor guy! He’s the lead encounter designer for Blizzard. General chat exploded the moment he announced his presence. People were asking him to unstuck them from various areas inside the instance. It got to the point where he had to bring in his alter ego (Daelotwo) to help with the unsticking process.
What you’ll find is a large, oversized blue Dwarf-like individual. He’s got four NPCs encased in ice in front of him. Looks like they are integral to the encounter somehow. Our Death Knight tank starts the dancing process of kiting him around. We kind of deduced there was a Keristraza like ability where players had to keep moving. Siha and I were the only healers. We danced around. She covered the main tank (our Death Knight) while I tried to handle the rest of the raid.
For the past several years, we have all been conditions to aim the camera toward the floor. Illidari Council especially taught us to get out of fires. Blizzard has thrown us a curveball. This time, the raid need only look up. If you see snow, look out below as a chunk of ice is going to fall from the sky!
We barely lasted 2 minutes. But oh my was it such a blast!
I have to say something on a side note. It’s an exhilarating feeling to come to a new boss for the first time with zero idea of the boss does. It’s interesting in the fact that as players one of the first things we have to do is figure out what abilities and attacks the boss uses. Once we iron that out, we isolate what we can do or what the environment around us can do to help counteract boss abilities. I’ve never really been at the forefront of progression before. Literally. Bosses in the past have been done with explanations from other players or strategy guides or videos. For the first time, everyone is more or less on an even keel because no one knows what the heck is going on. There’s a huge rush after the fact where everyone chimes in trying to deduce what just killed them. Then theres a myriad of suggestions on how to go about preventing or adjusting for it. We don’t actually know what works. I mean testing raid content is like a big giant algeba problem: It’s literally guess and check.
As far as healing goes, we didn’t last long enough to get a good handle on healing. This instance feels like Zul’Aman: Reloaded (in terms of relative difficulty from Karazhan up).
Notes and observations
4 frozen NPCs in the middle of the room. Of the 4, you can break up to 2 on Normal and all 4 on Heroic. They assist the raid and hand out buffs.
Breaking out the Moonkin offers a haste buff to the raid (Unsure if its spell haste, haste, or both types of haste). You currently have to stand on the circle of light in order to use it.
On Normal, Hodir has 10 million health. On Heroic, around 30 million.
His attacks are melee and frost based.
Frost novas are dispelable. I believe they are cleansable as well. Hooray for magic effects.
This encounter is inspired by Keristraza in the sense that players have to move around to reset the damaging frost aura. It starts off at 200 initially and then continues to double to 400, then 800, then 1600 and so forth.
After the initial 45 seconds, Hodir does an ability called Flash Freeze. It’s a 9 second cast capable of nuking everyone in the room regardless of line of sight. It is possible to fully resist it. If it connects, you get encased in a chunk of ice for 5 minutes. The only other way out is to get busted out by DPS. Don’t forget that when you’re frozen, the aura is still on you.
Frozen Blows: Physical damage reduced by 70% but attacks deal 17750 additional Frost damage.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d like to extend a hearty thanks to the brave players who were willing to wipe with me.
Eridan – WTB more soulshards *grin* Siha – Being online at the right time. Probably would not have gone in without her healing presence. Wukki – Helping me with the notes and boss observations (and doing some research on her own) Apathy Inc – I forgot your blog address again Superkathoid – For offering her services as DPS even though I was already full on DPS 🙁
I plan on leading another team back in there tomorrow (Friday) at around 3 PM PST. We’re setup on Broxigar. Iron Council is scheduled for 4 PM PST. If you’re interested, I’ll on the PTR around then to get my present guild organized. I’ll most likely need an extra set of hands. You’ll recognize me on my character (Matticus).
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.
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:Ã‚Â 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.Ã‚Â 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.Ã‚Â 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.
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 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.Ã‚Â Take a look Here and find ones that work for you.
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.
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.
This week’s blog posting format, with some special dice rolling help from Anna, is the list post. It should be a little easier for the bloggers to do now compared to week 1 when I dropped the rant bomb on them. However, while it’s easier for them to produce something, I think it’s only going to get much more difficult for me to judge and critique them accordingly.
An excerpt from the EMail I sent out:
The list post is my baby. I don’t think I’d be far off from the truth if I said that it’s one of my signature style of posts ;). Again, like last week, you think up your topics and your points… I’m expecting top quality stuff here. You guys know who you’re up against and what everyone has to offer.
Note, I couldn’t think of any other lists that were off site off the top of my head so I poked around my archives. Remember length doesn’t matter but you do want to provide enough to show that you’ve put some work into it instead of just randomly listing stuff. Think to yourself how you can not only list your points, but elaborate on them further.
In the critique post, I mentioned that you should look at different blogs and authors and find out what makes them so appealing to you and that you should try and emulate their style. Use their elements. Take that extra step. The rant post, while not the best week 1 post, helped demonstrate to me who’s a writer and who’s a blogger. The bar has gone up.
A successful list post provides just enough information but also leaves the option open for readers to comment and contribute, to agree and disagree, etc. Look at each other’s critique that Wyn and I wrote and see if there’s anything from there that you can apply.
Speaking of List Posts, I said that I had trouble scouring the WoW blogosphere for list posts. If you have any that you’ve written in the past that you’d like to share, please leave a comment with a link! I’d love to check them out and read (or re-read them) again!
3 more upcoming posts today at 6 AM, 10 AM, and 2 PM.