Why Raiding With PvP Gear Is a Bad Idea

Matticus,
First off, I want to commend you on the very nice extensive blog you run, a lot of great resources and discussion. I have an issue and am seeking some general advice and maybe to stir up some discussion. I am currently in Iraq right now BUT i get about 3-4 hours of playtime with acceptable latency. I have a 70 Druid that I just recently (1.5 weeks) re-specced to healing due to feral frustration and a noticable lack of heals on my server. Right off the bat I hooked up with some friends (2 mages+1 hunter) and have been doing BG’s to get honor and marks in order to attain some of the PvP epics.

I’ve been doing some research via blogs to find out some easily attainable gear to help my healing and survivabilty in PVP and eventually to start up some daily instancing. I thoroughly enjoy healing and I’m going to stick with it but I can’t make the decision to PVP or PVE as my main concentration.

Right now, i am trying to do a little of both and i dont see it going anywhere fast. What im looking for is to be able to PVP/Arena grind and get myself in good shape to be a full time raid healer once i get back to the U.S. where i will have ample time to dedicate to raiding. My overall question is: Am I wrong to assume that PVP gear (since it’s mostly a solo endeavor aside from arenas), is probably the best route to achieving pre-Kara quality gear? And are there any other resources out there that might be able to lend some guidance to an undecided healer? I know my question is most likely un-answerable and is mostly self chosen, but I’m just looking for suggestions, thoughts, or guidance.

Thank you,
Jordon

P.S. Whats up with all of the ?‘s instead of ‘s

Wow, I had no idea my blog was being read overseas. I salute you, sir, even though I’m from Canada. Thank you for the kind word =)!

Now, let’s get to business.

I know there are a lot of players who recommend supplementing raiding gear with some PvP Gear to help increase their survivability. Either that, or they’re unable get access to any kind of raiding gear because the population on a server is ridiculously low.

I definitely think DPS classes benefit with a mix of several PvP pieces. As a Priest, I have even added the [item]Veteran Mooncloth Bracers[/item] to my Priest raiding gear list as suggested by you readers (You know who you are).

As a healer, would I recommend going all out for arena gear just to be able to start raiding in Karazhan?

No, I would not.

Remember that PvE gear is tailored differently than PvP gear. Even though the healing or spelldamage increase may seem similar, the difference lies entirely in stat distribution.

PvP gear has a ton of stamina allowing you to withstand and deal serious firepower within a limited amount of time.

PvE gear has added longevity and endurance so you can deal firepower over a longer amount.

It’s like comparing an A-10 to a Spectre gunship. The A-10 comes in, drops its payload, and speeds off. The Spectre just flies circles above an area protecting it’s assignments.

It’s all about endurance.

If you want to raid, stat collecting raiding gear. PvP gear isn’t going to help you much at all because it lacks important stats like mana regeneration. Five minutes into a boss fight and you’ll be OOM (after innervates and potions).

What I can recommend is this: Start arenaing and get a few points under your belt. Keep doing this for several weeks. Meanwhile, if you don’t have a good set of bracers, hook yourself up with a Vindicator’s Kodohide Bracers.When you feel ready for Kara, start running the lower level of it a few times to help gradually build up your pieces. If you’re having trouble getting Maiden’s Shard of the Virtuous, put the Arena Points to good use and grab the [item]Merciless Gladiiator’s Salvation[/item] (S2 heaing mace). That should take you anywhere between 4 – 8 weeks.

How will you know if you’re good enough? Refer to my Minimum Kara Requirements for classes. Alternately, I’m sure Phaelia, Karthis, and Big Bear Butt can help you get in the right direction as they’re both Druids and far more familiar with what you’ll need. Well, the latter two are feral. But I like to randomly link to bloggers anyway.

P.S. The ?’s occur due to a CSS oversight on my part. Will be fixed when my new layout goes live. Hopefully it will be up before Christmas. Basically, what happens is WordPress interprets my apostrophes and quotes in a weird fashion.

And godspeed, Jordon.

My Nightmare as a Priest

I’m reading Leiandra’s post on the different types of healers and their functions. After reading some of the comments there, I felt like this merited a direct post reply on it’s own instead of a comment. I wager I’m one of the few players to have rolled all four healer classes. I’ve only raided with three of them (Priest, Shaman, and Paladin while my Druid is on the backburner somewhere at the early 50 level). Some of the comments I’ve read made me raise my eyebrow.

Elinor

I know my comparison is somewhat simplistic, but taking away +healing gear (should be the same for priest or paladin) a paladin’s biggest heal with appropriate talents is a 2.5 sec cast for 2740(840 mana). A priest with appropriate talents has a 2.5 sec cast for 3062(825 mana).

Of course there is a talent for paladins to reduce that cast time by .5 for the next 15 sec, and the 3062 for priest doesn’t include the talent to increase it by 25% of spirit.

Also a druid has a 3.0 sec direct heal for 3517 (935 mana).

Firstly, that’s an unfair comment to make. If you’re going to compare healers, the assumption should be made that they are talented to the best healing spec available. There’s no point in comparing supposed healing classes without full and complete talents because there isn’t a player in WoW who raid heals with no talents spent in their appropriate healing trees. Don’t compare base heals or stats either because certain races and classes have a higher advantage over the other. If you’re going to compare healing output, then add an arbitrary base healing number that seems fair (like +1500 healing). Please, if you’re going to compare one class with another, make realistic comparisons.

So here’s the million dollar question. Is there one healing class better than another? It depends entirely on the encounter and on the situation. Let’s hypothetically say that there’s a 25 man raid team about to engage a boss. It’s your standard tank and spank encounter. Nothing special about it. Except for the fact that Crosbane, our boss, hits like a freight train for 30 minutes. Most healers would run out of gas long before those thirty minutes are up. Pally’s, not so.

They’re the energizer bunnies of WoW. They keep going, and going, and going. It’s true that as a Priest, we have the 5 second rule to fall back on and we would gain a crapload of mana back. Realistically, we don’t have that kind of option. If we don’t heal for five seconds, our assignments are dead. I suppose the best we can hope for is to light up a PoM, a Renew, and a Shield. That would us a few precious seconds to regen our mana. Then the boss crits.

Pally’s own us Priests, period. There’s a reason why many high end raiding Guilds no longer run Holy Priests as healers. We’re a dying breed. Sure we bring a lot of specialist skills like PW:S and Prayer of Healing, but well timed spam heals from Paladins keep everything going. The reason I agree with your assessment about Paladins being the King of Healing is because they would never run out of mana in endurance fights. I’m busy struggling and blowing my potions, yelling for Innervates, Mana Tides, using my Shadow Fiend, and theres Joe Paladin in the corner just spamming Rank 5 Flash of Light over there. Couple 3 Paladins, a Shadow Priest, and a Resto Shaman with buffed mana spring totems and you have a group that can heal indefinitely.

My WWS in Carnage shows our Healers with four Paladins constantly on top all the time. Master Harth, High Priest that he is, leads the way in over all heals so there is hope for us yet.

But you can’t expect WWS to illuminate the numbers for us all the time. It only shows us one side of the story. Different Healers are best suited for different encounters.

Take an encounter like Fathom-Lord in SSC for example. There are four bosses that need to be tanked. The Hunter boss spawns a pet every now and then, and the tank that’s tanking him needs to draw aggro on it as well. So here is this one tank that’s getting his ass handed to him by two Ford F-150′s. On top of that, there’s a freakin’ Whirlwind type thing that comes around and throws me in the air every once in a while. I’m so focused on my raid health that I always seem to miss it coming by. If it weren’t for my instant spells, he would be dead. Thankfully, the Hunter boss is the second boss that needs to die. With the damage input that Thor (my tank) is taking, it’s impossible to sustain it for more then a few minutes. Eventually, I would hit a time where my potion cooldown is used, my shadowfiend timer is down, and all the innervates have been used. In this short period of time, I would excel in my role no problem. I don’t have to keep him alive for an abysmally long time. Just enough to weather the storm.

Compare this to the last boss, the Fathom Lord himself. Initially Lang is over there with a Paladin. This Boss is last on the food chain. Paladins need to be able to keep Lang alive for at least seven minutes. Oh, and they have to heal themselves too. Lang may not be taking as much burst damage as Thor was, but he’s taking a beating for a longer amount of time.

Do you see the point I’m trying to make here? It’s nearly impossible to compare all the healing classes together. Each brings a different set of skills to the table. With the encounters in end game, I suspect that Paladins are better suited and utilized more often then not. As a Priest, I have enough spells at my disposal to react quickly enough to salvage a raid in case anything goes wrong. A Paladin won’t be able to recover as much. But their long term efficiency is so good that there is little reason for raids to go in the crapper.

Sooner or later, our class will go the way of the Dodo bird. Aside from broccoli, that is my greatest fear with Holy Priests rendered inert, useless, and outclassed in every aspect. I guess I better start accumulating Shadow Gear. Good thing I have a Paladin and a Shaman to fall back on.

Healing a Raid: A Priestly Perspective

To end off the week, I will help all of you budding raiding priests who have never joined any groups larger then 10 (AV an exception). Yeah, you the one who has never once set foot inside MC or BWL or Naxx or Zul’Gurub or any of those old fun instances that we used to do before. By the end of this column, my hope is that you will be able to excel and surpass the expectations of your raid leader.

I wont touch on the spells specifically and what they can do. You leveled from 1 to 70 on your own. If you don’t know the capabilities of the tools at your disposal, then you have no business playing a Priest. But I will guide you on when you should use them.

Your raid makeup could consist of a variety of different healer classes. More often then not, you as a priest would make up several of those slots. Let’s now for the sake of argument pretend that you’ve been assigned the dreaded task of maintaining te health of your raid as opposed to healing a single person. It’s such a daunting task healing 4 other players in a party. Now you’re responsible for 24 others. What do I do?

Let’s check out the toolkit. There’s a reason why Blizzard gave us to much stuff to work with.

Renew: Cast this on targets that have taken hits but are not expected to take damage again. Examples would include mages, hunters, or other ranged DPS (maybe rogues). It’s a relatively cheap heal over time spell where you don’t need to tie up your 1.5s cast time or our 2.5s cast time. But don’t forget to stack these up with Renews from other priests. Our main tank sometimes has up to Renews on him at any given time.

Flash Heal: I tend to downrank my heals a little bit here for two reasons: 1) Reduces mana cost 2) Less overhealing done. I’ll use a flash heal between ranks 4 – 6 depending on the situation at hand. In some cases, I will use a max rank flash heal just because tanks are taking so much damage that my heals are only maintaining his health instead of restoring it up. Used mainly on players taking damage frequently such as the main tank or in an emergency.

Greater Heal: The big brother of Flash heal. This one I keep max ranked. You don’t have to. Its entirely up to you and your playing style. Drop these ones on your main tank or your assigned healing target.

PW: Shield: There appears to be much controversy over the usage of this spell. Philosophically, I disagree with many other priests on how and when it should be used. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Your duty is to the raid. If spamming shields every 40 seconds is the only way to do it, then you spam it and you like it. Usually though, I will cast it if a tank jumps from 100% to 40% (or any number below 10000 health). These bosses hit like a freight train on afterburners. I’ve seen players get taken out with an 8k crit followed up by an 11k special attack. I am one paranoid priest.

Prayer of Healing: Don’t spam flash heal 5 times to heal your party. It’s a huge waste of time. Just drop a Prayer repeatedly until everyone’s back to full. 3 seconds on a prayer versus 7.5 seconds on flash heals. Usually, once the boss executes some sort of AoE damage which nails your group, you’ll want to cast this.

Prayer of Mending: Use in case of an emergency. The amount of damage it heals is a little more then the amount of damage received. But I am referring to a normal hit not a special attack at will knock off a good portion of the tanks health.

In case of emergency, break open glass

You’ll remember the other day I wrote about what Priests should do in the event they have pulled aggro. Here’s the other side of the equation: What to do if the tank has less than 10% health and in imminent danger where he could die and wipe the raid. Follow this process to ensure maximum possible survival.

1 – PW: Shild (Prevent further damage)
2 – Prayer of Mending (Mitigate further damage done)
3 – Renew (Constant heals)
4 – Flash Heal (Fastest way to heal. We’re concerned about time now)
5 – Repeat step 4 until he’s back up. Use shield’s again if your assignment’s health is questionable.

Other Healers

Usually, if there’s other healers on the tank, you’ll have no idea what kind of spell they’re casting. But here, time is of the essence. Drop flash after flash until he’s back in the game. Let other healers drop the big heals. Either way, get your assignment topped off. If you and your other heal happen to both drop big heals simultaneously, there’s a 3 second window where the tank could get critical’d and spontaneously die. You don’t want this to happen so be on the safe side and spam flash.

Exercises

So here, I took random screenshots through the past few raids with our raiders at various stages of decay. More often then not, you’ll encounter such similar situations. Take a look at them and think to yourself what you would do, who you would heal first, and why.

Here is shot number one. Light damage has only been applied to the raid. Matticus (Mallet) is in the uber healing group. Lang is down 25% (our main tank) and Bdon (an off tank) has also sustained hits as well as the rest of the melee DPS in his group. Although you can’t tell, I have Lang selected. But it looks like Cheever also has him selected too. So my play here is to deselect and drop a prayer of healing to top off the group. Then I’d probably take care of the rest of the DPS.

This shot was taken too late. But look at the assist window on the right. This shows us who is healing Lang: All five of us. If that happens, just move off of him and take care of someone else, like Bdon.

Ah, our first casualties of the night. Going to save my own skin and heal myself. There’s no real danger at this point so long as the tanks are still alive. We lost a healer (with 6 left) and an off tank (with 3 left). No big loss, no sense of panicking.

Again, cursor on Lang shows that I’m not the only one on him. Renew, Prayer, move on. Let the Priest and the Paladin on him take over with flashes and greater heals. Dropped renews on everybody on group 5 and group 3 that was wounded. Keep the shield cooldown on standby in case Lang gets spiked again.

Now we’ve got some real pressure applied to the raid here. A lot of damage has been done and the raid is in various health states. I included my target of target of target window along with my Nature Enemy Cast Bar (NECB). Seeing how my group is wounded, I light off a Prayer of Healing. Then I noticed Mirri was also in the process of casting and is closer to getting the heal off. I cancel my prayer, and default to healing the tanks starting with Lang and Bdon. Once they’re up, I ease off and begin my renew cycle on DPS.

Now we’ve got some serious problems. We’re down a healer and the tanks are taking serious damage (465 doesn’t seem like much). When you get to a case where you have multiple tanks with relatively low health, pick one and stick to it until they’re topped. I chose Blori and called out in vent “I’m staying on Blori”. This cues the other healers and frees them up knowing they don’t have to worry about him as much. For example, now Mirri can heal Bdon or Dager can heal Lang without needing to rotate flashing Blori. Communication is important. Let the rest of the healers know who you’re healing.

This one was a big giant leap of faith. One of our healers is offline and one of the tanks is under enormous stress. Notice that my target is Maeve. Also take a note that there is only one other healer besides me who has Maeve targeted. Bdon is a hit away from going under. But seeing as the assist window only shows two healers out of six who have Maeve targeted, it stands to reason that the other 4 must most likely be on Bdon. There is no other player in the raid who is prioritized higher then he is. Although there is no way to say for sure (unless I clicked him to determine the assists), I do believe it’s a logical conclusion to make.

In any case, you may or may not encounter such situations like that in the future. Hope this column helps you deal with any scenarios that show up. Remember, don’t panic. Keep your cool and prioritize.