Entries in raid healing (4)

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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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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