Entries in healing (14)

Throwing Out The Big Heal

My second career choice.

 I'll admit it, I did not level my priest from level 70 to 80 as holy.  The dual spec talent, while nearly pointless on my rogue, was too enticing for my priest.  So Solidsagart went to the dark side, literally, while making her way to the end game.  Since reaching level 80 she's done a complete 180, focusing solely on healing.  I've paid my dues (being blamed for everything), learned the ropes (let hunters/rogues die), and found out which responsibilities I like and don't like.

Being the critical person that I am I've realized how poorly designed the healing mechanics are right now.  The developers know there's an issue and plan to rectify the sitution in Cataclysm, a topic I've discussed, but meter epeen blinds many players.  Ghostcrawler summed the problem up nicely in a blue post from yesterday. 

"Now in general I wish there was a little more coordination among healers, but the current damage model we have just doesn't really allow it. I remember when tanking Molten Core, that the priest would say over vent "Big heal coming on the OT!" as he powered up a Greater Heal. You don't have that luxury these days. One of our designers was watching an old Illidan video recently and remarked how everyone was at 50% for so much of the fight. Now days someone is at 100%, will hit 100% in the next couple of GCDs, or will be dead. In that environment, you'd get "Big --" out of your mouth before it would be too late. Players need more health and heals have to be a little more expensive."

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Healing Is Boring

How many of you just yawned?  Thanks crazy_ryan.

Getting my priest to the point that she could heal challenging raids took some time.  I spent hours inside various dungeons farming loot and badges.  It is to the point now that my alt has as many Glory of the Hero sub-achievements as my main, and that's without even trying.  Initially the process was a lot of fun.  As a poorly geared level 80 I was constantly busy spamming heals, dispelling and general riff raff.  In essence, I was re-learning most of the encounters from the new perspective of a healer, so my brain was engaged.  The switch from pure DPS to pure healing extended the replayability of these dungeon.

Unfortunately, I still hit that wall.  You know, the one that makes getting instance X a drag, where you always speedrun instance Y, and contemplate bailing on Z.  The wall I am referring to is being overgeared, and that's when healing is incredibly boring.

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Healing Is Awesome

Those of you who have been following my WoW career on Project Lore may recall a priest I made at the tail end of The Burning Crusade.  I cut my teeth healing those late game dungeons, leveling holy from level 60 to 70, but never healed with enough frequency to feel comfortable in her shoes.  I ended up dropping her like a bad habit when Wrath of the Lich King came along.  It wasn't until my rogue had been topped off and geared for raiding that I returned to my space goat.  Thanks to the Dungeon Finder she's been geared up for some weeks now.

For fear of making a fool of myself I eased into healing like I do into a jacuzzi; feet first, acclimate, leg, other leg, acclimate, my precious, acclimate, the unimportant parts.  Guild run dungeons came first, with me rolling on unwanted gear before I pieced together a healing set deemed worthy.  Then I tried my hand at random heroics, hoping, praying that I wouldn't have to heal someone as poorly geared as myself.  After scoring some much needed epic gear there and honing my skills further, I ninjaed my way into a few weekly runs for my first taste of raid healing.  I may have been the bottom of the healing meters, but things went well enough.  That is to say the quests were completed.  After soaking up further badges in VoA and more random raids/dungeons I figured I was finally geared enough to tackle bigger projects.

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PvP Resilience Gets a Buff

This morning blue poster Bornakk announced the first of what could be several fixes to the PvP system. Resilience will soon be getting double its regular buff, which he states would decrease the damage taken from other players by up to 10 or 20 percent. Here's the exact wording of the announcement:

"We are currently in the process of applying a hotfix to buff resilience. While some modifications may be made, we intend to have this buff in effect for the remainder of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. The change will double the value of resilience in reducing damage done by players.

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5 Easy Achievements You May Not Have Known About

happyhourAs I recently lamented, questing in Zul'Drak has brought out a huge need for healing my leather-wearing rogue. The other day after a particularly close call, I called up a Heavy Frostweave Bandage, and my screen lit up as that familiar, lovely sight of an achievement flashed across my bandaged figure. Ultimate Triage. Apparently, it was a closer call than I had realized, and just through that simple action of healing my character that had less than 5% health, I had earned an achievement. It was easy. Perhaps too easy. And if I was as big of an achievement whore as some of us out there *cough* Juggynaut, I certainly would have already completed it, even if it meant intentionally waiting until the last second possible to make a killing blow on a mob while it beat me senseless. But, like many aspects of WoW, achievements are like candy. And once I got the one easy fix, I started searching for more. I've come to expect certain achievements - exploring areas here, completing X number of quests there. And I'm sure you have, too. So I won't detail those. The achievements that seem a bit more random, and still relatively simple, are what I'll focus on for now, since those are the ones I'm going after myself. For one, there's It's Happy Hour Somewhere. I had seen this one on the list before, but I didn't look too much into it previously. Turns out not to be too tough if you've made it to Outland. A quick trip to the Shattrath bar yields 13 different drinks from the two different barmaids. While your there, buy coffee from a roaming vendor in the Lower City. If you have any mage friends (or are a mage yourself), each of the 9 conjured waters counts. Find any remaining drink needs from a general goods vendor. Cha-ching. One warning: I do not recommend drinking and riding (your mount). The simulated dizzyness can make you feel sick IRL (or maybe I'm just too sensitive!) Another achievement that I didn't intentionally go for but was happy to get was a while back when I visisted the barber in the Undercity. Style your hair, and you get Shave and a Haircut. So simple. Then, there's Going Down?, which you get for falling 65 yards without dying. I got it a while back after an accidental fall, but as you can see from the WoWhead page, players have figured out plenty of high spots to jump off of for the achievement. And regardless of whether you like tabards as a fashion accessory, buy one and you get the Represent achievement. Of course, if you collect 10 tabards, that's another achievement. But if you're just starting out with achievements, you may not want to jump for that one just yet. I would consider these at the bottom of the difficulty scale for achievements, but a good place to start if you want to up your achievement points. WoW may make an achievement whore out of me yet. So who else out there loves achievements? What other achievements would you recommend for someone starting out? Any achievements you're stuck on? I'm still /love-ing and then killing all the critters I see in hopes of one day getting them all!

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Going Solo: Bandaging on the Battlefield

bandageUp until recently, most of my questing was done in pairs. My rogue teamed up with my husband's warrior for a while as we leveled together. And when he out-leveled me, I started questing with his DK. Either way, I essentially had a tank as we took on quests and easily progressed through the game. But over the past few weeks as I ventured through Dragonblight and now in Zul'Drak, Locomomo has gone solo. So now I've got no tank. Combine to that the fact that many areas within this zone have a high concentration of mobs that like to attack you in twos and threes, and I was in a heap of trouble. But it's been a good learning experience; I've adapted my play style a bit, and that alone has been a fun challenge. Being a rogue, I've been able to escape the multiple mobs with Vanish, and when that's on cooldown, a combination of Sprint and Evasion paired with some strategic weaving through mobs so I don't draw more fire. When I have multiple mobs I can handle, Adrenaline Rush and Blade Fury work nicely together. But there's still the problem of the sheer amount of damage I've been taking. I'm running low on Frostweave needed to make bandages, and also need to restock on foods - both for the buffs they give and for their healing properties. What's been saving me there is the Medallion of Heroism trinket I picked up as a quest reward from the Battle for the Undercity. I love the critical strike bonus, but more importantly at this point is the healing capacity. I've been hitting that trinket as soon as it goes off cooldown. As I said, it's been a fun challenge and really reminds me of some of the awesome rogue abilities that I wasn't using as much when leveling in pairs, simply because I didn't need to. As for the healing issue - I look at this as a good reason to go for that Stocking Up achievement! So have any of you found a reason to alter your play styles recently? Do you prefer soloing or questing in pairs? More importantly, anyone have some Frostweave to spare? :)

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Val’anyr, the Hammer of the Ancient Kings Is For Hunters

Juggynaut...Doesn\'t Goto You! I kid, I kid.  If there is one thing in a guild that can cause drama, it is who gets the privilege - that's what it is after all - of wielding the first copy of a Legendary item.  The fact that Val'anyr is another "crafted" orange makes it that much more exclusive, thanks to the random number generator playing a roll in its creation.  Now that Bornakk has explicitly laid out the details of the weapon's proc , the discussion can begin on who "deserves" the healing mace. Before we dive into the class breakdown, it's important that we understand exactly how the proc works.  Juggynaut laid out the basics yesterday, but one major point was glossed over, the internal cooldown.  Everyone knows what a cooldown is, once used the ability/spell/proc takes x seconds to be usable again.  For the HotAK, once the proc is triggered it will not be able to proc again for at least 45 seconds.  This is important because to maximize the legendary's benefit during an encounter, you need the item to proc as much as possible.  It's not that simple though, healers also need to max out the shield as much as possible. The discussion over who can reap the most benefits from the tank-healing item already started in the comments section of Juggy's post.  Every healing class can trigger the effect relatively fast.  The benefits of one class over another becomes more clear when we look at who can efficiently cause the proc, and maximize their shield.

  • Druid:  Sorry to all the other healers out there, but the shapeshifters seem to be the best suited class for the item.  A well-played healing druid can almost guarantee that the proc will pop whenever the cooldown is completed, and add a substantial amount to his shield over the 15 second interval.  As an added bonus, the druid doesn't have to change their playstyle to do this.
  • Paladin:  These plated healers are fantastic single target support.  On the flip side this means that their ability to get the proc off is more of a challenge.  While they may miss a few procs over the course of an encounter, the class' gigantic heals will make for a large shield, giving them the edge over holy priests.
  • Holy Priest:  An arsenal of various group and single target heals allows the holy priest to consistantly score the proc.  Once triggered, the priest can then focus on Greater Healers to maximize the shield, or raid heal, depending on the encounter.  Their abillity to adapt to either situation enables them to maximize their sheild, while remaining efficient.
  • Shaman:  Resto Shammies get the worst aspects of the Paladin and Holy Priest.  Like the paladin, they will miss a few procs.  When the shield does activate it's unlikely that they will be able to maximize its potential absorption, the knock against holy priests.  Seems that handing a shaman the Hammer of the Ancient Kings is not the best choice.
  • Discipline Priest:  Plan and simple, you guys got the shaft.  Since Disc is based on mitigation and not actual healing - also why they fail to be ranked fairly in healing meters - the proc won't trigger for many of the spec's spells.  A Disc priest would have to play their spec poorly to make sure the proc stayed up as much as possible.
No matter which class in your guild ends up with the item first, there is one thing to be concerned about, a change in their playstyle.  Many players will have to modify the way they heal in an effort to maximize the benefits of Val’anyr.  During the early learning curves it will be to the detriment of the raid. In an effort to force the proc, or to increase the size of their shield, I expect players to be spamming heals when they aren't needed, causing mana issues for the tank's healer.  It almost makes Val’anyr a double-edged sword.  Sure, it'll increase your worth and healing, but the raid may pay as you learn the fine balance of maximizing its benefits and keeping a healthy mana pool. In my eyes Val’anyr is best fit for a druid (sorry Juggy), but there is one other major point to consider.  Perhaps a Paladin is the raid leader, GM, or just a player who never misses a raid.  If that is the case, then the guild as a whole should see that toon as a more appropriate candidate. Has your guild decided where the first Val’anyr is going?  Is it going to the most dedicated healer, the character who will can benefit highly, or both?  If it was my decision, I'd award the most consistent and talented druid, paladin or holy priest with Val’anyr.

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Val'anyr's Proc Mechanics Revealed

The stats on Val'anyr, the new legenary healing mace that is obtainable in Ulduar, were revealed a little while ago, but the special proc that is on the mace has been a bit of a mystery since its tooltip was discovered. Ferraro over at Paladin Schmaladin has been posting over the past few weeks about the mace, and the discussion sparked a couple of developers - Bornakk and Ghostcrawler - to let the community know exactly how the proc works. The basics are these: There is a 10% chance on any heal for the weilder of Val'anyr to gain the blessing from the mace, as long as the heal is not completely overhealing (ie the target is not at full health when you heal them). It is a 15 second effect with a 45 second internal cooldown. For the next 15 seconds, all of your healing spells will create a shield on their target(s) for 15% of the heal. This includes overheal and spells that do no actual healing. The shield will stack with itself, and will max out at 20,000 damage absorbed. Bornakk gave a few examples of how it actually works and Ghostcrawler has answered many of the questions that have come up since then. Check out their posts on the official forums for the complete details. Unfortunately I won't be seeing one of these in my guild for a long time (and we haven't even seen a shard drop). Anyone out there close to collecting the 30 shards needed for it?

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The Joke Known As Healing Numbers

Healer angelSorry healers, but I'm going to have to do this. I always hate being the one to blow the spot of some people in raids, but it's time to do it. As a healer I can stand up and proudly say: Healing numbers are a joke. -deep breath- Now I feel better saying that, I'll totally explain why. Healing numbers have been broken for a while, and people don't realize it. They've always went back and looked at overall healing and boss healing and decided who to continue to take on a raid. Healing numbers are funneled in through many programs, most popular being Recount. It is a glorified spreadsheet program tracking all stats of a fight, from DPS to Healing. The problem that stands is no program is as smart as the healers who are tracked by it. You can twist or sway numbers to really show how great or lazy you really are. The general consensus is that, you get a base idea of who is doing what in a raid, and that is a really helpful tool. I, myself, am a Holy Paladin. I'm useless to multiple targets (for the most part), and I really am there for one purpose - Tank Survivability. However, most healers numbers are so skewed, it's hilarious. Next time you’re in a raid and between pulls, watch who’s healing while everyone is eating for the next pull. Don't think we're not totally sandbagging our numbers so we continue to be brought. Healers are the biggest whores of all. Warlocks? Feel free to Lifetap away, you're giving me a raid spot - do it mid-fight even. I’ll heal you through any damage you want to take. Just remember to whisper me first, so I can get the first heal off. Retribution paladins? I adore Seal of Blood/Martyr you're going to give me a shot at t7.5 next week. Don’t tell the guy forming the raid though, he'll never understand. Yes, I Beacon of Light and Holy Shock during the vortex phase of Malygos. During that phase, you can only use an instant heal. I'll Beacon of Light myself and heal the tank because two heals show better than one. Yes I stand in black circles from time to time, to take damage to heal myself (purely for mana reasons...of course). Sometimes, I'm just mashing the heal buttons and not even sure if I’m hitting anything. The whole time most of your healers are playing a cat and mouse game with how much damage we can let in, while still making our numbers look like I am the Lightbringer. There is even fight mechanics that make me a total cheater. Sometimes I just look forward to Patchwerk. That fight mechanic is money for a Holy Paladin. The fight takes 3 tanks in a 25 man raid, and spike damages them over and over again with a "Hateful Swing". This hateful swing is an 80k damage swipe before an kind of mitigation. I really get to just spam Holy light, and watch my number get higher than Michael Phelps. Seriously it's Beacon of Light one hateful tank + Holy light spam = Win. Nothing like flaunting the numbers to Patchwerk to make my cyber-ego grow larger than the monster from “Cloverfield.” All in all, I’m amazed we’re even tabbed in for fights we aren’t cheating on. Most healers are such Twitch playing, Monster drink addicted, DDR playing, Chemical Brothers listening, Strobe light rave dancing, Nancy boys, that you should probably put a leash on us to make sure we don’t wander off to our own death (only cause we're following you because of the text we just got). Seriously, We do text/twitter/call people while we're healing especially if the current fight doesn't lend it's self to our style/spec. The flat out basics are, Numbers don't take in the mechanics and team play of the healers.  I'm designed to be a wrecking ball with my healing in terms of just giving enormous burst heals. On high damage fights I'm so high on healing numbers that it will take 4 bosses to get other healers within range of me. Healing numbers don't take into account I'm healing special items, or that some heals are smart heals and some brute force designed with the intent of pouring on as much healing as it can. Some fights you pile the raid into a small spot, and can heal the group easier in a pile. It totally eliminates the need one big heal and a ton of small heals are better, depending on what fights you pick in some raids -- Your best healers may show up as your worst on those given nights. So next time you’re sitting there worried about getting heals, don't worry. Unless you pull threat off of a tank and wipe an undying attempt over a misdirect – you'll get healed from the healers. If your raid stays alive, healers are doing their jobs. Know that, it’s a healer party composition that will together be better than the sum of its numbers. Know that your healers are sandbaggers too, and I just exposed our dirty secret of the “Health Limbo.” How low can you go, before we let you fall? Am I right healers? Can I get an Amen?

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Dual Spec Is Not All It's Cracked Up To Be

Next Question PleaseI'll admit that Dual Spec is going to be a game changing mechanic.  There is no denying that.  The ability to trivially change from one layout to another, glyphs, button layout and talents all together, is an exciting idea for most classes.  While appealing to the PvP/PvE crowd - that is, the players that switch back and forth around their raid schedule - Blizzard also believes that the changes will create more tanks and healers per realm.  How many people will go DPS with a Tank/Healer off-spec, rather than a PvP survivability or solo PvE off-spec remains to be seen.   Then there is the issue of one's ability to play their vastly different spec... I'm not saying that the idea isn't a valiant effort on Blizzard's part to fix the various issues it's tackling.  If anyone can pull off such a drastic change, it's Blizzard and their slew of talented designers (oh, right).  My pessimism creeps in because Blizzard and the general WoW populace seems to think that the mechanic will fix all of these issues.  Poof, everything is perfect.  Hasn't Patch v3.0.8 taught us anything? All things considered, I think these problems will be eased, not solved.  The PvP/PvE crowd will be the only sect entirely satisfied.  Although they may start wanting a Tri Spec setup, ya know, for solo PvE.  The quantity of tanks and healers will be split with the PvP crowd, while quality comes with practice.  The first few months could be rough as new or rusty tanks and healers get back into their groove.  I still expect to see plenty of LF2m Tank/Healer either way. Then there is my concern for SolidSamm.  What about the non-hybrid classes?  Warlocks, Hunters, Mages and Rogues are all designed to do one thing, DPS.  Without the ability to offer drastically different specs (don't forget, pet tanking is going bye-bye) we could be left fighting for far fewer spots in raids than before.  If you had the option to take a geared face-melter who could also heal if someone leaves, or an arrow-flinging Hunter, why would you confine yourself to just the Hunter?  Dare I say that the feature will create more homogenization? Scary thought indeed. Initially, I was ecstatic about the Dual Spec feature.  After mulling it over with a certain Horde buddy, I wouldn't mind it not coming with Patch v3.1, or at all in its present condition.  Are you as paranoid about the change as I am, or are you entirely for it?  There are also the issue of Dual Speccing loot drops.  I won't even get into that.  This is one of those things were I hope I am wrong, but I can't see all my points being incorrect.

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