Your Winter Veil Gift, From Us

Winterveil

Winter Veil’s a’comin! The nights are closing in, the frost’s creeping over the tavern windows and yetis are Icehowl’ing in the snowy fields. It’s a magical time of year that we’d like to celebrate alongside you folks – what better time than to give you a gift? That gift is – a chat by the fireside with each of us. But we need your help to do it.

What we want from you is a topic of conversation. We want you to nominate a different topic to write on for each of us – that is, Matt, Wynthea, Lodur, Thespius and me, Mimetir (Syd is still AWOL being happy and busy, I believe). The topic can be anything at all you like – whatever you want that writer’s thoughts on. WoW related things are a good start for a WoW blog obviously, but as it’s Winter Veil – if you want us to write on something else, we might just do it.

You have until Monday 14th to reply to this article with your topic nominations for each writer. Of course we can’t write on every topic you guys nominate because if we try that we’ll miss Winter Veil ourselves! So once the five-day nomination time is over, Matt will make a list of the collected nominations for each WoM writer and make a secret santa roll to decide which topic we each write on. We’ll each then write an article on our individual topic, given by one of you, and post it up during the holidays.

Sound complicated? Sure, it does a bit. I’m a bird brain trying to explain something, been at the eggnog too much and all that. I’ll give you an example to clear things up.

  • Say six of you nominate different topics for Lodur to write on. That makes six potential topics for Lodur’s Winter Veil-time article
  • Matt takes a 1-6 list of those topics, ordered by when they chronologically appear in the comments on the article
  • He then does an independently adjudicated ‘Lodur roll (/roll 1-6)’ to decide which topic Lodur writes on (this does of course mean that RNG might decide it’s not your topic’s turn this year – but it might decide it is)
  • He does the same for the other four writers – me, Thespius, Wynthea and himself  – and announces the winning topics, along with details of when the articles will go up

Then you watch out over the holidays to read articles on the selection of topics you wanted to hear our deepest thoughts on. You then respond with what you think about your topic and our thoughts. Win.

So how about it? Help us give you something this Winter Veil. What do you want to talk about?

Assigning Healing Strategy – Part 2: Double Shifting Healers

Assigning Healing Strategy – Part 2: Double Shifting Healers

138656_7992
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!

Going All In on the Crystal Spire of Karabor

Poker is one of my favourite non-WoW activities and I know I’m not the only one. One of the cardinal skills you pick up as you play the cards is knowing when to go all in. My guild utilizes a DKP system (chips) and now that we’ve started to work on Illidan in order to take him out and get his phat loot (pot).

One of the items Illidan drops is the infamous Crystal Spire of Karabor.

Seeing as I know next to nothing about the supremeness of this mace, I’ve had to turn to my newest mentor, Wynthea, and ask several questions

Why is this weapon so good?

Basic Stats:

15 Int
22 Stam
486 Healing
6 Mp5

The stats would make it a good, well-rounded main-hand for any healing class, but nothing special. It’s roughly comparable to the Lightfathom Scepter (Vashj), Dark Blessing (Zul’jin), or the Gavel of Naaru Blessings (150 Badges from the 2.4 vendor). What gives this mace "Holy Grail" status is its additional effect:

If your target is below 50% heath, your direct healing spells will cause your target to be healed for an additional 180 to 220 health. 

I’ve always been adamant about using staves because I’ve wanted to spread the healing loot around as much as possible to the Paladins, Shamans, and Druids. I’ll make an exception here, however.

For a Paladin single-targeting a Main Tank, an extra 200 health points when their health is below half is nice, but not awe-inspiring. However, if you’re a priest charged with raid healing, an additional 200 health to each recipient of your Prayer of Healing or Circle of Healing when they need it the MOST is tremendous.

Bear with me for a short explanation (warning: MATH!):

The impact of bonus healing on the amount of output for a particular heal is not random. If you have 2000 bonus healing, it doesn’t mean that a Greater Heal with a base healing amount of 500 will heal for 2500. It also doesn’t get a random number up to 2500; there’s a coefficient.

This is where I grab an Asprin. But it’s because I’m mathematically challenged.

For Circle of Healing, that coefficient is 21.4% per target. At rank 5, CoH heals for a "base amount" of 409-451. So, if a priest has about 2300 bonus Healing, fully buffed, the equation looks like: 2300*21.4 + (random number between 409 & 451).

So, their CoH on a non-crit will heal for around 900-1000 per target. (CoH gets 492.2 from 2300 bonus healing) With the Crystal Spire, a target below 50% health would now be healed for 1080-1200 for a non-crit. It would     take around 3300 bonus healing to get that result without the spire, (x*21.4 + (random number from 409-451) = 1150. Solve for X) so the use-effect is worth around 1000 +healing in that situation. When it crits, it’ll hit for around 1500-plus. Just for comparison, that’s like 5 people getting instantly flash-of-lighted by a paladin all for less than 400 mana.

The effect is slightly less dramatic with Prayer of Healing, because Prayer gets a higher benefit from bonus healing – so the fact that the Spire contributes raw health points is a little less critical. That said, it’s still worth around 460 +healing.

Which classes benefit the most?

Shamans do benefit from the Spire, since Chain Heal qualifies as a direct heal, and hits 3 targets. Both healing waves would also receive the benefit to their single targets, which could help in certain situations. Most shamans I know, however, find more benefit from simply casting Chain Heal faster and opt. for Dark Blessing, from Zul’jin in ZA.

Great, so Shamans get overpowered again. It’s a good thing I have a higher chip stack than my Resto Shaman.

Paladins would see the increase to their properly-timed Flash of Lights or Holy Lights, but since Paladins are the work-horse single-target healers, they would see less advantage to equipping this mace than the bonus to spell crit given by the Hammer of Atonement Kazrogal drops in Mt. Hyjal. This is mostly due to the fact that Paladins are usually assigned to main tank healing. Given a single-target with something like 20k health, 200 additional points when they’re already below half and receiving damage hits in excess of 5 or 10k is not wholly worthless, but just an inefficient use of resources: a priest with the same mace in the same raid can get that SAME 200 extra health points to the Main Tank and everyone else in their group at the same time.

Hah. It’s no Benediction, but it’ll do.

For Druids, the extra bonus is almost completely worthless; it stipulates that it can only be triggered by a direct-heal, so Rejuvination and Lifebloom, need not apply. Swiftmend would get the benefit, but because of its cooldown, just doesn’t have the same utility as an always-available direct heal.

However, seeing as we are non Druids, we may not be correct in this assumption. Might there be a Druid of Restoness that would be willing to shed some light?

Priests see gains to Flash Heal or Greater Heal, as well as Binding Heal, CoH, and ProH. Prayer of Mending and Renew are NOT considered direct heals – although there is some question of whether a ProM bouncing off the priest with the Crystal Spire equipped would.

The idea here, though, is not what impact 200 HP might have on one single heal, but how much can we eek out of that 200 HP bonus. The answer is simply get as much use out of it as possible by hitting the highest number of targets that are below half health as quickly as possible. Priests, with a good ProH-CoH combo can hit 15 people with this proc in the space of 4.5 seconds or less.

Clearly, the mace was designed with the CoH priest in mind. Gimme. It also looks BADASS with our T6 gear.

What offhands can it be paired with?

Currently, the best healing off-hand in the game is the Scepter of Purification from Archimonde in Hyjal. Fortunately, though, the 35-badge Voodoo Shaker is comparable, and arguably 2nd-best in slot. There is no reason to NOT take the mace on the supposition that a weak off-hand would compromise its value in comparison with a staff.

Other good off-hands include:

Touch of Inspiration (Reliquary of Souls, Black Temple)

Talisman of the Sun-King (A’lar, Tempest Keep)

So after all that, it appears as though there is an item in the game worth going all in for. But I do know my Guildies read this.

On the other hand, I could be bluffing.

4 Smart Studying Lessons to Help Get an A in Your Raid

4 Smart Studying Lessons to Help Get an A in Your Raid

For the few of us unlucky souls who are undergoing a summer semester in school, it serves to have a helpful reminder of what we students can do to get ahead and get an A. The flip-side is that some of these lessons work both ways and can be applied in WoW.

Do your homework

In math class, you derive equations from problem solving questions in order to find a solution. Practice, practice, practice. The goal here is to continue killing bosses like Tidewalker, Leo, Rage, Gorefiend, and etc to keep your skills sharp. Before you expect it, you’re going to get hit with an examination (who happens to be known as Illidan). The end-raid bosses serve as a check to see if you’ve learned anything from earlier bosses .

Make friends with the A-level students

Hint: They’re usually the ones that sit in the first two rows of the class. They have a good work ethic, they always pay attention, never miss a lecture, and they know what they’re doing. Typically, these A students won’t mind helping you out. They’ll give you a few tips for homework or help you study by giving you easy ways to remember certain facts. They help isolate your weaknesses in the subject, so you can recognize and prepare for them. In WoW, this might be someone in a slightly more progressed Guild. This is a player that’s already done what your Guild is working on and it pays to make friends with them so you can call on them from time-to-time for some advice on what they’ve done at certain points of a fight. If you happen to have your own blog, you just might discover that one of your readers has gone through the same experience that you’re going through right now and can help you get through the proverbial hump.

Get sleep

sleeping

Before every major exam or test, get a full night’s sleep. It’s been shown that sleeping is the most important thing a person can do to prepare because it allows the body to fully recharge and absorb materials from your studying sessions. The same holds true for WoW. There have been some raid days where I’ve been exhausted from lack of sleep. Raid time comes around and as a healer, it’s hard for me to keep my attention level high (because it can be boring on trash).  I typically counter the effects with a combination of coffee or tea (and at one point in time, caffeine pills but you shouldn’t do that), but the results are no substitute for the real thing. A rested raider is a happy raider.

Stick to the schedule you set for yourself

schedule

More importantly, make sure the raid leader follows this. There should be a 30 minute invite grace period allowing people to scramble in, get repaired, purchase reagents, create potions, etc. During this time, they should also be in position for the first pull the moment the 30 minutes are up. A late start is never a good sign since people will get frustrated. Figure out your goals for the evening and what to do if they’re met early. Will you give everyone the rest of the night off? Or push on and get some attempts on the next challenge? Decide out what you want to do, how to get there, and what can be realistically achieved with the time left. There’s a time for WoW, there’s a time for studying, and there’s a time for Wii Fit. Just as crucial is knowing what to do when you run out of time When there’s a scheduled end time, make sure that is followed. If it looks like the attempt is going to go over, kill the raid there. Don’t fall into the "just one more" trap. It’s best to come back the next raid day full of energy and life, and this ethic continues to reinforce your commitment to starting on time by ending on time. Respecting that 24 other players have set aside this time specifically for raiding, and they’ll be more likely to show up and push through the entire raid whether you succeed or fail.

Hopefully these four lessons can help you when you’re raiding. If not, maybe they’ll help you outside of WoW!

Any other students or retired students? Might there be some more sagely advice that can be added?

Brooding Over Bloodboil

For once, I’m at a loss here and I’m hoping to garner some insight or advice from the readers. My Guild had started to work on Gurtogg Bloodboil. We were working on Bloodboil for a few hours on Sunday. I used to think that Najentus was considered a heavy healing fight.

Boy was I wrong.

I won’t go too much into an explanation, but here’s the WoWWiki link for the strategy.

Loadout

  • 4 Holy Paladins
  • 2 Holy Priests
  • 1 Discipline Priest
  • 1 Resto Shaman
  • 1 Resto Druid

Directions

Phase 1

3 Paladins on each tank. We use 3 to rotate aggro on the boss. I, the Holy Priest, heal the tank who is actively being attacked by the boss. The rest of the healers are assigned to the bloodboil groups healing (Resto Shaman, Priest, Paladin) or raid healing.

Phase 2

This is where things get dicey. The 3 Paladins that were on the tanks immediately jump the player with Fel Rage. I heal up the melee before switching to tanks and then raid healing. The Resto Druid covers the 3 tanks. 1 Paladin and 1 Resto Shaman are raid healing. The other Holy Priest and Discipline Priest are also on the player with Fel Rage.

If the player is a clothie, Pain Suppression gets applied.

Problems

A player with Fel Rage has the following effects:

  • increases armour by 15,000
  • increases health by 30,000
  • increases healing done by 100%
  • increases damage done by 300%
  • increases size by 100%

The raid gains a buff called Insignificance where every spell they cast has no threat. One problem is that if a clothie gets hit with Fel Rage and Pain Suppression is applied, the player dies just as Fel Rage is about to wear off. Gurtogg gets progressively stronger during this phase. I can’t help but wonder if it would be a better idea to delay Pain Suppression for about 5 seconds before it becomes applied.

In our case, it’s not just the person with Fel Rage who is dying. Other members of the raid seem to be dying from a lack of heals or other miscellaneous reasons.

I can’t help but wonder if it would be better to stack all four of the Paladins on the Fel Rage’d player immediately along with the Discipline Priest and then have the Holy Priest switch to raid healing instead. This would essentially give us a picture of something like this:

  1. 4 Paladins and a Disc. Priest on Fel Rage
  2. 2 Holy Priests, a Resto Shaman, and a Resto Druid on the raid divided up accordingly

By switching the Holy Priest to the raid, this opens up a lot more options that the healer can use other then Flash of Light spamming.

Another problem that isn’t so urgent is our DPS output. Gurtogg has a 10 minute enrage encounter. I notice that when we hit the ~50% mark, the timer is around 4:45 or less. Granted we did lose 1 or 2 players at this point.

I seriously hope the Recount Death meter gets fixed as soon as possible. With that tool being down, we have no way of ascertaining the cause of death when players die. As a result, healer blame has increased in recent weeks and has gotten me irritated. Most of the time, it’s never justified. It tends to be the result of a fight mechanic that players seem to forget about (some raiders mysteriously forget that Najentus’ spines can be removed). Therefore, the "blame healers" catch all is used. I’m afraid that I might one day lash out if I see another "healers fault for wiping" comment in the raid.

6 Reasons Why I Haven’t Killed Archimonde Yet

6 Reasons Why I Haven’t Killed Archimonde Yet

archie-sad
Image courtesy of KLatham

Note: If you are against WoW players with elitist attitudes, don’t read this post.

"No sacrifice, no victory!"
Sam Witwicky (Transformers, 2007)

I’m sure you’ve read about some of the frustrations that I’ve had with Archimonde in the past few weeks that we’ve worked on him. I wrote off the first few wipes as attempts on learning. Following one of our recent raids, a raid leader asked me for my thoughts on the issue. At the time, I did not know what to say because I did not put a lot of thought into it. After a few days of reflection, I’ve come up with a list of reasons about what our Guild is missing and why we aren’t getting things done.

Willingness to bench players

Remember Bruce? He’s an active member of our 25 man teams. When I mentioned to my raid leader that we should be switching out players that aren’t cutting it, he responded by saying that it isn’t going to work all the time. This is true, I will admit. But this is a progression encounter and we need to bring our best players in at all times. The fact is, Bruce doesn’t qualify as that yet. I respect the fact that he decided to go hemo spec to further help the raid. Unfortunately, I don’t for a second believe the DPS output of the raid has increased to offset the amount of potential damage he can do if he’s not hemo. For a melee player on Archimonde, he has to perform more damage then that.

When we first started on Archimonde, the raid leader said he was going to keep a list of names on who was dying and why. Enough is enough. It’s time to put that list to good use and bench the players that are at the top of the list. I don’t care how good or reputable that player is. If you’ve died many times, then you’re only gimping the raid. Hell, if it were me holding up the raid, I would voluntarily sit out because I know that I suck.

But there are certain players who make me groan to myself everytime they raid with us. It’s because they’re stupid or they don’t listen or they don’t pay attention. I’ve had to mute myself on numerous occasions because I have one hell of a temper. I don’t mind occasional wipes as long as we learn from them and it doesn’t happen again. Those are called progression wipes, and we learn best by experience. Yet if the same players continue to die for the same reasons, why are we bringing that player to a progression raid?

Examples:

  • Players unable to time their air burst tears
  • Shamans who don’t stay with their group for decursive purposes
  • Paladins who can’t seem to listen or understand their assignments

Lag cannot continue to be an excuse

Several of our players were affected by lag issues (no doubt stemming from 2.4 patch related problems). But even before then, some players were complaining about lag affecting their timing. Those players have got to go. We cannot blame all problems on lag. If you cannot compensate for lag, then the law of probability dictates that sooner or later you will get air bursted, die, and subsequently wipe the way. In fact, based on the amount of players that were lagging that day, we should have done something more lag friendly instead. But my point here is the fact that if you’re experiencing connection problems, bow out of the raid and watch some TV.

Healers are being blamed

The whole blame healer excuse also needs to stop. Every once in a while, if it genuinely is a fault of one of ours, I know that our healers are man enough to accept that they had a brain fart and lapsed. But in an encounter with Archimonde that has Doomfires that snake out from Archimonde at a slow speed? We have the best healing corps, in my opinion. Yet a lot of pressure has been directed at us. Statements like "I need heals through doomfire" or "I wasn’t getting any heals" don’t cut it here. As a survival fight, there is no reason for any player to be suffering through doomfire. Healers might be able to compensate for one player getting it, but not when multiple players are getting hit. And they have the audacity to say that they’re not getting the proper heals? Why are you eating doomfires in the first place?

Consistency

In hockey, goalies that are on fire continue to play. Goal scorers that continue to score are paired with the same players. Why? Because of this magical thing we call chemistry. Those same players continue to deliver the same results night after night.

We’ve had nights where we one shot the first 4 bosses in Mount Hyjal with absolutely no problems on trash within the first 90 minutes.

If that’s the case, why do we change up our roster when we get to Archimonde?

The raid leaders said it themselves. This is not a DPS fight, this is a survival fight. We can afford to keep certain classes that might not boost our DPS up a lot because we know they’re not stupid. Instead, we bench those players to bring in players who aren’t as good but we unfortunately need their buffs that they bring to the table. I’d rather take an extra Shadow Priest or a Ret Paladin instead of an Elemental Shaman or Holy Paladin. I know it’s extremely hypocritical for me to say that after I mentioned Bruce earlier above. But that case is an exception. Melee players are the rare few who get to go all out on Archie without much fear of anything happening to them.

I will take veteran experience over buffs any day.

Where’s the focus?

Everyone needs to be present and on the same page. I downshift my focus on trash, but I still go through the motions. However, when we get to bosses, my back is straight, my door is closed, and my cellphone is off. One small mental slip in concentration will result in a wipe. In an area like Hyjal, it is often disastrous.

One of our Warlocks once pulled aggro on Azgalor without realizing it. The raid promptly died and it was 5 minutes to the end of the raid which lead to the raid being called. That’s 30 minutes wasted. For a guild that only raids 11 hours a week, every minute is precious.

One voice

It’s nice to have 2 or 3 authority players who are leading the raid. But there are times when too many cooks spoil the broth. I’ve seen times where one person said to do this, and another player told that same person to do something else. Both players hold rank in our Guild. We cannot afford to have more than one person directing the play. Uncertainty is going to kill us. Those raid leaders need to get together and pick one person to lead quarterback that play and be done with it. If he’s wrong, then it’s another lesson to add to the playbook. The point is that he picks a clear direction for the player to proceed in with no hesitations.

This is one of my harsher posts and it’s for good reason. But the tone of this post pales into comparison to the moods I’ve felt after some of the recent raids. I’ve tried to structure this post in a way that can reasonably convey how I feel about our Archimonde attempts with some reason and thought behind it. My tolerance level is quite high. I’m not at the point where I’m openly going to criticize my raid leaders (yet). This is just what I think and my vantage point is different than everyone else in the raid.

In review, I believe my Guild needs to :

  1. Toughen up and crack down on underperforming players
  2. Stop subbing out players
  3. Not blame lag
  4. Bring back the focus and turn off the distractions
  5. Have one leader that’s clearly in charge of the operation

Healers: Simplify Your Healing Tank Targets

New hotness

Nowadays, our raids frequently carry as little as 3 tanks to as many as 5. Keeping track of who’s heaing who can be a bit of a doozy. Even the tiniest confusion or overlap can be wipe a raid. Here’s a quick tip make assigning heals easier.

Old and Busted

In older raids, we’d have only 1 main tank and maybe a handful of off tanks. Jobs back then were pretty static. A set number of healers would overheal the main tank while the rest of the healer benchwarmers and waterboys would keep tabs on the off tanks. It worked fine then because the encounters weren’t that complicated to deal with. But oh how times have changed.

New Hotness

I’m introducing a new concept of mine that I came up with a few months ago. It started when my Guild began working on Hydross. As you know, Hydross requires 2 different tanks to jump and hold aggro on him. It doesn’t make sense to say heal the main tank. There’s only one real main tank. Even then, that main tank might be rotated off to different roles or different mobs depending on things like resistance fights and such. For some fights, it’s impossible and even inconvenient to declare a single main tank. A great example is a fight such as Al’ar where you end up using as many as 4 tanks simultaneously. When you’re fighting Leotheras, half the time you’re healing a warlock who by most definitions would not be considered your Guild’s main tank.

Chances are your Guild’s already doing it. I’m simply putting a name to it.

The Active Tank

I defined the active tank as the player that’s currently holding aggro on the main boss right now. It could be any player or any class on the the boss at any time. It’s usually determined by the target of target window.

An example of healing assignments for Al’ar on Phase 2:

  • Pete the Paladin is healing Tim who is grabbing all the birds
  • Reginald and Riley, the 2 Resto Shamans, will be healing the raid
  • Penelope, Price, and Dominic (2 Priests and a Druid) will be healing the active tank which could either be Tyler, Thomas, or Tootoo

If you’re the healing leader, you’re going to recognize what a pain in the ass it is to tell your healers:

“Heal Tyler, Tootoo or Thomas, whoever happens to have aggro on Al’ar at the moment.”

It’s easier to tell your Priests to cover the active tank. By saying that, your healers should recognize that their job is to heal whoever has aggro on the boss.

I’m always on the lookout for different labels and methods to make healing assignments easier on a raid. Are there other ways that you use or that your Guild uses to simply healing assignments more?

Ask Matt: Raid help?

It just occurred to me. I’ve spending so much time writing about Guild theory and blogging that I’ve started to deviate from my primary focus: help you heal your raid. Right now, the trend from some of the other bloggers I’ve seen is trouble with Kael’Thas. I’m working on a fairly mammoth sized project that involves covering healing for the entire encounter which includes recommended healers, methods, phase-by-phase breakdown for healers, and so on and so forth. There’s no way I can squeeze that into a post. I wouldn’t dream of doing it like that because it’s too much information to absorb visually.

Grr, it’s too hard for me to explain right now. You’ll have a better idea when you see it.

In any case, any problems with any boss encounters from the healing end that anyone has? I can only offer my experience and wisdom on bosses I’ve done. Sorry T6 Priests/Healers!

Finally: The Kael’Thas Death Story

Kael'Thas down

I was debating between that title or 40 Raids and 40 Wipes.

But he’s dead. What a thrill! =)

We started him at 4:00 and killed him about 40 minutes later. First attempt of the night! That gives us about 4 hours to play with Mount Hyjal. Whoo hoo! Expect a Priest primer on Kael in the coming days and how to assign healers to the various assignments.

Anyways, can’t blog much right now. We’re heading into Hyjal.

Healing Tips for 25-Man Raiding: WoW Insidered, Matt Reviewed

I woke up this morning and decided to check my grades to see how I did this semester. Turns out I got an F in Cognitive Science. Now I’m really depressed about it, but I’m working on a plan to address it next year.

Anyway, aside from that I was catching up on a little bit of light reading on WoW Insider. One of the columns featured is that on 25-man raid healing by Marcie Knox. The article essentially summarizes the tips and tricks that healers can pull off in order to succeed in end game content. Let’s see if WoW Insider experts and I agree:

You need at least one of each healing class. Yes, even a holy priest and the rare resto druid. No matter what you’ve heard, running with all paladins really won’t get you very far, nor make the journey pleasant.

Disagreed. Ideally it would be nice to have all four healing classes, but sometimes it simply isn’t possible. Can you do some 25-man content with all Paladins? Yes. Is it recommended? No. But you do not NEED a Resto Druid, Shaman, Holy Priest and Paladin. If you set it as your goal to recruit one of each healer before trying your hand at raiding, you’ll be stuck for a long time. Carnage is incredibly stacked on Paladins and Priests. We have one Resto Shaman and no Druids (WE COULD USE ONE THOUGH SERIOUSLY). We went from Karazhan to Kael since we started back in June.

You have 6-8 raid slots for healers to work with. Start with 7 and make adjustments as you go.

Agreed. Typically, I would start with 7 and work my way up or down depending on the following:

  • The encounter
  • The gear of healers
  • The skill of healers

You’ll only need to do this the first few times when you’re working on a boss. After a while, when bosses can be done with no effort, you can remove healers as necessary to speed up the fight.

All healers must have the following information instantly available at all times:
a) Raid Health Monitor
b) Range Indicator

Kinda. I do keep the raid health monitor window open but I never make use of it. I’m not sure if Knox refers to the health of the entire raid as a percentage or the health of each individual raid member. Regardless,everyone’s health bar should be on the screen. Don’t just have your party window open in a raid.

As for the Range Indicator, it’s a good idea to have one. I’ve grown accustomed to my Priest that I can visually tell whether or not I’m in range of my tank. If I’m able to, I do a quick range check before a boss by lighting up a Prayer of Mending to ensure line of sight is not an issue. It’s a good tip for Alar when you’re not sure if the ledge the tank is standing on is going to interfere with your LOS heals. If your tank isn’t, a quick bark over vent should move them an inch or so over.

Have at least 2 people willing and able to handle the healing assignments.

Agreed. When I run my pickup Magtheridon, I make a deal with my partner. He runs the strats and I take care of the healing. He tells me whose tanking what, and then I pick out the healers who’re going to cover each tank.

In Carnage, our healers take it one step further. The raid leader puts up icons and calls out which tank is on which trash mob. Our healers take a more active approach and type in our healer channel which tank we’ll cover. Here’s an example for Hydross:

  • Resto Shaman: Raid
  • Holy Paladin 1: Water Tombs
  • Holy Paladin 2: Active Tank
  • Me: Active Tank
  • Holy Priest 2: Melee DPS
  • Holy Paladin 3: Elemental Tanks
  • Holy Paladin 4: Elemental Tanks

Active tanks refers to the one who is currently tanking the boss. Remember Hydross needs to be alternated between two tanks. This way, our healers are much more alert and everyone is accounted for. We have clearly defined our roles to ourselves and to each other.

You’ll need a way to do healing assignments. Here’s some common methods:
Macros – Easy, in-game, and nothing to download; this is what I use
Text File – WoW crash-proof, alt+tab then copy/paste into chat; Notepad, etc. (Watch for the multi-line limit)
Text Addons – Like a text file but in-game, good if you have 1k macros already; Notes (Is it still around? Can’t find it.), etc.
Assignment Addons – Fill out a form

Agreed. Typing it by hand sucks. Typing it again because someone was AFK sucks more. Personally, I use macros. Example:

/rw HEALING ASSIGNMENTS:
/rw —
/rw Tank 1: Healer A, Healer B
/rw Tank 2: Healer C
/rw Tank 3: Healer D
/rw Tank 4: Healer E
/rw Raid: Healer F and G

I mainly use this one for my own pickup raids on Mag and it spits out nice lines and alerts everyone.

Set up a healing channel to broadcast the assignments or use the Guild Info window if you’re an officer

Agreed. A typical channel name is GuildHeal or something. Just type /join GuildHeal and type / followed by the channel number. Usually it’s something like /5.

I like to change the color of all the text in the healer channel to something bright so that it stands out. To do this, right click on the tab above your chat window (General). Mouse over to Channels, then there should be a red square next to the name GuildHeal. Click the square and a color wheel should pop up. Drag the circle to any color you like.

Get set up to record your combat log and parse it via WWS.

Agreed. Post raid analysis is always important when you can’t seem to do a boss properly. You need to troubleshoot and diagnose the problems in order to fix it. For in game, I suggest an addon called Recount. I’m going to post an indepth guide to it later on in the week when I start accumulating some screenshots.

Well for the most part, it looks like we do agree and emphasize the same things (except for the first point). Knox’s healer is in Mount Hyjal. My Guild’s working on Kael. Who knows? Maybe I’ll radically change my views once I get into Hyjal.