Thursday, April 8, 2010

Healing in Cataclysm: Shammy and Priests

I have read all of the changes currently released from Blizzard for upcoming Cataclysm. They have released certain information on different classes and all classes will eventually be released. You can find it at MMO champion. The most exciting changes IMO are to the two healing classes released so far. As of recently I have been healing a ton in ten man, some in twenty five, but generally I like playing all roles in game. But healing seems to be the most exciting toons to level to me, so I am super excited to read upcoming changes to shamans and priest. I have healed on my shaman for awhile now, and although my priest is only level 65, I feel like I know enough about healing to know which spells to use, and which ones are going to be awesome at 80. Plus I have gotten some great priesty info and advice from JBell and Paulo in game. So what changes are going to be sooo amazing?

SHAMANS; What did I find interesting?

Healing Rain (level 83): An area-effect heal-over-time (HoT) spell that calls down rain in a selected area, healing all players within it. There is no limit to the number of players who can potentially be affected; however, there are diminishing returns when healing a large number of targets, much like the diminishing returns associated with AoE damage spells. This should give Restoration shaman another healing tool that improves their group-healing and heal-over-time capabilities. 2-second cast time. 30-yard range. 10-second duration. 10-second cooldown. 

So what does this mean for shamans and their chain heal? Giving shamans another aoe spell is great. I can already see all sorts of issues in 5 mans or ten mans with this ability. How often do people stand in the same place all grouped up nicely to receive my pretty rain healing? Maybe I can train the dps to run to the rain if they want heals. This spell is very interesting and I am super psyched about it. I love pretty spells, and as you can imagine this one will be soooo pretty!

Spirit Link will likely be worked back into deep Restoration in some form. The idea is that you will be able to link targets together so they share damage. When we had previously tried to implement Spirit Link, it was hard to balance and a little confusing. However, we really liked the concept -- and so did players -- so we are trying to bring it back.

This sounds complicated but pretty exciting. I will link the rogue to anyone else. I mean they die too much. This ability will challenge the shaman in coming up with wise ways to use it.

PRIESTS; What did I find interesting

Leap of Faith (level 85): Pull a party or raid member to your location. Leap of Faith (or "Life Grip") is intended to give priests a tool to help rescue fellow players who have pulled aggro, are being focused on in PvP, or just can't seem to get out of the fire in time. Instant. 30-yard range. 45-second cooldown. 

I am super excited! Tamarind is not happy with this change. But I find it to be very interesting. Sometimes people are stupid. I agree they should probably not be in the raid if they are dumb and don't move out of crap. But sometimes they can't move. They may be stunned, or sapped, or w/e the case may be. I have a dk and I love my death grib ability. When I druid or shaman heal I have sooo many times wanted to yank someone out of crap, even if they are being dumb. I'm not saying I want to re-enforce their bad behavior, but this puts me in control as a healer. This makes me be a better healer and raider to be able to grab people to me and infuse them with the light. I think this change is awesome, and I am excited to see if my priest becomes one of my raiding toons in Cataclycm. (I can't raid on all of them.) But priests are seeing an exciting new spell in which I can see an infinite amount of uses. It will be interesting to see how the other members of the priest community feel about this.

In General, healers will be faced with new challenges. Managing mana pools will be more difficult according to Blizzard. Everyone is getting a heal to be used as a go to and a little one plus a big one for situational use, with maybe the exception of druids. But I am all for healing in the upcoming xpac. I can't wait to read what is in store for druids! (No pally toon yet, so I will for sure be ignorant of those changes).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Don't Forget to Shadowmeld!

Shadowmelding can save lives! Why would people forget to use it? Sometimes it fails yes, but sometimes you can save your group. The most awesome thing happened to me in a random on my priest.  

BTW, Priest Shadowmeld> than others SM.

 Our tank decided to pull the whole room, which is okay! I am a good disco priest I can handle it... until I am silenced and everyone starts running into bombs. Okay so I hate Blood Furnace, boo silence... everyone is dying around me. Of course this makes me sad as a healer but... I can save from a wipe! I know these people don't want to run back in, they are relying on their healer to rez them, for some sort of solution. So as the last dps is dying off with a bunch of mobs on them, I fear the three attacking me, shadowmeld and pray. (Sometimes shadowmeld just doesn't work and they come back later to eat your face) But luckily, the room reset, and being the good healer that I was, I was at max range from everything when I slipped into the shadows. So once I watched the pat go by me, I carefully broke ran to a safe place and rezd my party. Maybe it was just Blood Furnace, but saving from a wipe always feels good. Thanks shadowmeld.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Day the Mage Loved the Warlock

So around 1am last night I decided to go on a ToC 25 raid on my mage. I mean, there is a chance for a trinket or something, so might as well. The raid was a struggle, I have never been in such a long ToC 25, and I joined at the twins. It seemed as though many people did not know the fights, but I stuck with it. I am definitely not one to give up on an unsuccessful raid, especially when the raid leader is trying her best to explain the fights to people who didn't know them. So after being in ToC on two bosses for two hours we finally downed Anub. By this time most people in the raid had won loot already, many dropped raid and there were a few left to roll on the mediocre loot that dropped off of Anub. He dropped some bracers I sort of wanted, because an upgrade makes me happy no matter how small. I rolled and it seemed like no one was rolling against me, of course my roll was a 26, so if someone rolled against me they would surely win. As the time went on to call the roll, the lock rolls--- a 28. Oh well, this has happened to me a million times. The other mage in the raid whispered me, "That sucks, his dps is like 2k below yours, wish you could have won". I am guessing the mage felt bad for me about my 5100 GS when he had a 5600 and he wanted me to win. He had complimented me on being able to push him since, despite his awesome gear and trinkets, I was barely behind him in dps. But oh well, just because I do have high dps doesn't mean I have more of a right to this gear than this warlock right? I was disappointed, but I whispered the warlock and jokingly told him he didn't really want those bracers. I was going to gratz him, when he told me he liked his own bracers better actually. I mean he was wearing pvp bracers but yeah they were ok, I still think the ones he won were probably better so I thought he was just teasing me. He walked over to me, opened trade, and actually gave them to me! He seriously gave me the bracers. Maybe he felt bad that he had decent ones already I am really not sure, but I have never been in a PuG where someone was truly so nice. Even if they were a minor upgrade or side grade what reason would he have to give them to me? A stranger? I was ecstatic, I mean sure I got new bracers but I also found someone who was truly nice in WoW. My response to him, "OMG you are the nicest PuG I have ever met!! Thank you so much!!!" He seemed happy that he made my day. I whispered the mage who was running in the group and told him what happened and he couldn't believe it. He said his own guildies wouldn't have done that. I am just happy to know that there are such nice people in WoW, because so many PuGs can be jerks. And what do you know this all happened between a mage and a warlock!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Princes Down

My ten man finally downed the blood princes. Not that we had made many attempts in the past, but I think we were going about ICC all the wrong way. On our first night we would clear everything up to Rotface and then move on to Dreamwalker. Then on our second night we would make a few attempts on a new boss, but we had different people show up on our second night. I mean, why would people want to come to a pure progression night if we aren't really getting anywhere. Last night our core group decided the best way to encourage people to come both nights was to leave some easy bosses alive for Monday night and go straight for some progression. And it totally worked! We downed Saurfang and went straight for the princes. We made about three attempts on them before our kill. We only had two tanks, using a dk instead of a ranged tank on Keleseth. We also learned the fight with two healers, our shammy/shammy team. 

A few tips to the frustrated healer: You don't need three healers, you might want to use three for learning but definitely not required if you usually run with two. MOST of the damage taken is avoidable by your dps, and as a healer you are in the position to know when they are taking hits that they shouldn't be. So communication is key, letting them know what you see as far as avoidable damage goes. The fight seems so confusing, but once you learn the abilities and where the damage is coming from it really isn't that bad. Make sure you stay spread out, stay away from the shiny orbs and fire orbs. These things might be pretty but are bad. The most annoying part of this fight for a healer is the shock vortex. We can heal through a lot of damage, but when people are knocked out of our range there is nothing we can do. So this is a big one to avoid. DBM lets you know if you are standing too close to this, so listen to your warnings! Once your group learns what to avoid, the role of healing is back to normal and not so chaotic. 

After our new raid kill we went to OS 3D. I had never even done OS on my shaman since she is my newest 80 so I got a ton of achievements really fast. I became Champion of the Frozen Wastes and Emeraldstorm of the Nightfall at the same time. Of course I didn't win the roll on the mount, but oh well we made progress in ICC last night. And I am still happy every new fight we succeed in our shammy/shammy team.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Kitties Rejoice!

I haven't been able to play my kitty a whole lot lately. But the new change for mangle still gets me excited! 
As always future patch notes can be found on the Public Test Realm.

  • Feral Combat
    • Mangle: The debuff from this talent now lasts 60 seconds, up from 12 seconds.
I mean how awesome is this!! Ok so I visited the forums and a lot of druids are confused by this. I understand that kitties can be quite the confusing class to play. A lot of people are upset because they feel as though Blizzard is trying to simplify their rotation (which is not a rotation but a priority system). In reality, this is a huge raid buff for kitties. No more having to mangle when you don't have a bear druid or arms warrior in your raid. Many kitties have the luxury of having these classes already, so their rotation is already without mangle and for them, this doesn't change anything. But for those who don't always have a bear or arms warrior you can apply mangle much less. It is kitty common knowledge that shred does more damage per energy than mangle. You still have to keep track of your buffs/debuffs ensuring that the mangle debuff is always up, you just don't have to renew it as often. This will increase your dps for sure. Whether it simplifies the system and makes you sad because you liked the challenge of kitty dps is another issue. It is a buff, and I think you will still have a pretty decent amount of buffs and debuffs to watch. 

Ele Shaman Tier 10: Go For the Four Piece Bonus!

Check out the changes on the Public Test Realm.
  • Shaman Tier-10 4-Piece Elemental set Bonus: This bonus has been slightly adjusted to account for the fact that haste now modifies Flame Shock's periodic damage ticks. The bonus now makes the shaman's Lava Burst cause Flame Shock to tick at least two additional times before expiring.
I have been sort of confused on how to gear my elemental shaman lately. There has been some argument as to wether we should gear T10 4 piece or T10 2 piece plus off gear. Also Blizzard seems to keep changing our set bonuses to confuse us. I mean if Elitist Jerks is arguing about it, then how on earth am I supposed to know what to do!? Well seems like they have finally settled on an answer after some testing on the PTR. So... without worrying about the future patch go ahead and get the four piece set bonus. Elitist Jerks says it is better even with the future changes to our flame shock. (Flame Shock: The damage-over-time component of this ability can now produce critical strikes and is affected by spell haste.)

"It's been established at this point that 4pc t10 is superior to 2t10+offset," says Masanbol. 

He also includes an updated BiS list. Which includes the Tier gloves instead of Tier pants. This is another choice I have been racking my brain on. This list includes heroic gear, so if you don't have access to heroic gear you may want to really analyze how these pieces work for you. It is probably better to get the gloves, and then get the same pants in regular 25 mode. If you are like me, and unable to roll MS for clothy gear then this list might have to be adjusted as well. But definitely get the tier chest, helm, and shoulders no argument there. Once you get to the point of choosing gloves over pants, this may come down to what is available to you and what you can get in the other slot. At least it is comforting to know that our 4 set bonus is worth it, and maybe it will remain as is for awhile so I don't get headaches from trying to choose gear.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dual Healing ICC- Shaman+Shaman

Probably everyone I know is running ICC with only two healers. So I am sort of curious of what the two healer combos are. I know my friend Jessabelle has a priest/druid combo with shaman back up. This sounds like an awesome combo. I think anything combined with a druid would be pretty nice. Especially a disc priest or pally. Some teams that people might not think are so grand might be a holy priest/druid or pally/disc priest. I really think that any combo can work as long as the healers are working together. We usually run with a pally/shaman combo with two healers on the side if needed shaman/priest.

One combo I was pretty sure was a bad idea would be any two of the same class. I mean maybe holy/disc priest combo, but that doesn't count. How could a raid do well with two healers of any one spec/class. Well I was pleasantly surprised last night. In my ten man ICC, our pally has been taking a break. Our priest enjoys dpsing so I have been volunteering to heal, which I am completely happy with. But why not use our priest instead, because two shaman healers seem like a fail to me. We have two shaman healed a lot of fights but last night... was our first time one shotting Rotface. We cleared everything no issues with heals of course, and then came Rotface. We usually wipe a few times before we sloppily down him. But last night, with two shaman healers we one shotted him. I was actually surprised. My co-healer whispered me and shared his fears that he thought our combo was bad and that he thought we would have more issues. I completely agreed with him, and I am still stoked that we successfully have been healing ICC with two shamans. After a few weeks of this combo I feel excited to really feel as though we are a good team, and that it is possible to two heal with the same class/spec. I still don't think it is the best idea ever! But it works. I wonder if any other class has had the same success with two healing with their twin.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Healers' Assignments

I have noticed a huge decrease in raid leaders passing out healing assignments lately. I was in VoA the other day, and the raid leader actually mentioned that us healers should decide who we are going to heal, and work it out amongst ourselves. My first reaction was psh, we don't need assignments for this, heal people below 100% hp. We never spoke with each other, or designated healing assignments amongst ourselves. End result- had no issues and killed Toravon. But WHY!?

Why does it seem like healing assignments are unimportant nowadays? We don't even get healing assignments in my 25 man ICC. Seems sort of weird. Is it just my group? I would say not, because all of the pugs I have been in, neglect healing assignments as well. There could be a few reasons for this new strategy, or lack thereof, in raids. Maybe the raids are too simple, or the healers are so awesome, or maybe people are getting so impatient and have very high expectations in raids!

I kinda think all of the above is partially true. The newer raids are much simpler in mechanics as far as healers are concerned. Ulduar was a healing heaven, as far as things to do and difficulty. In ToC and ICC, most fights could be two healed even by many PuGs and less experienced raiding guilds. Is Blizzard trying to make up for the fact that we don't have enough healers by requiring less? I find some of the fights challenging when healing in ICC with only two healers, but shouldn't it require three healers?

What about healers being extra awesome? I think as the game goes on, players seem to be getting more skilled and knowledgeable. Healers, in particular, have a great desire to learn about their classes, and work as a team. As the game continues healers understand what they are supposed to be focused on, without an assignment. Paladins work out their beacons among themselves. Shamans discuss earth shields, and totems if needed. Priests and druids pretty much heal the raid with HoTs and shields on the tanks. Healers know how to work together, and the assignments are kind of assumed nowadays. It seems to work too.

In PuGs, people have seemed to reach the height of impatience. You can get ridiculed for handing out assignments, or going into details on how the fight works. Which is why many raid leaders ask for achievements and GS. They don't want to take time to explain the fight to people who have never done it. This impatience in PuGs is really starting to take the fun away from the game. Even in five man heroics, everything is so rushed because people just want their frost emblems damn it!   This strat doesn't work for me. I kinda go along with it, I even think it is crazy to hand out healing assignments in certain places. But what about people who don't know the fight? Is it fair how we have become so hurried in places. I remember in BC where people really took their time on that evil bitch in Mechanar, b/c she was hard! In most 5 mans in BC, tanks marked everything, and asked the dps to cc. I can't recall the last time I was asked to sheep something that wasn't a raid member who was mind controlled. I wish we could get back to the way things were. Running raids and heroics for fun, and maybe gear. But really trying to coordinate the fight.

For now, the lack of healing assignments seems to be working out okay. But is that really what healers want? I think not. I think healers, above all, enjoy planning, and understanding the game. So they want challenges that force them to talk with one another and divide up roles. Hopefully something changes in the future, to force players to do this. Personally I enjoy having assignments and giving assignments. It makes me think about the game and understand other classes as a raid leader. Being able to coordinate fights is what makes WoW so much fun for me. Asking me to aoe everything down, or throw HoTs and everyone without thinking, is not enough.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Who Should You Listen to in Vent?

The answer in short: ME! (or ok, whoever your raid leader is)

Have you ever had that raider (not current RL) who is a strong leader? Or are you a raider who has had to listen to conflicting voices over vent unsure of which one to listen to? Most of the time, my raids go nice and smooth. I have, on occasion, had that raider who loves to be a leader and wants to take over at the wrong time? A few nights come to mind when I thought about this. It is bad when people are talking over vent about raid strats and no one is sure which one the raid is going to use. What is worse is calling out over vent a strat mid fight when you are not the raid leader. 

To those of you who think you are leading but are not: Let the raid leader decide what strat will be followed. Shockingly, different strats work on the same bosses! I have raided in many groups and PuGs and many times have used a different strat, which many times works great. So there is not only one ultimate strat to go with. If you have a feeling like your raid is facing doom because of the suggested strat, speak with your raid leader via whisper, or in a private vent bind. Do not call it out over the raid because it confuses people. Let the raid leader announce the strat. During a fight if something is not going right, and you think you can fix it by calling out to dps what to do; you can't. It is confusing to people because some people listen to the raid leader and some listen to you. So better to keep your mouth shut and see how it goes, then speak with the RL on the next attempt in private. Also, keep quiet in vent, I realize you are an awesome raider and you have great ideas, but you should not call out Brez or hero, that is my job, or current RL. I know sometimes you are trying to help out, but if you have any questions ask before the fight starts. Raiding is not always so serious, so I am sure you are capable of judging how casual your raid leader is feeling that night, and if you are on old content it probably doesn't matter as much.

To you poor raiders who are confused by this conflict: Safest bet is to always listen to the raid leader. If someone else calls something out during the boss fight, just ignore it. Then you can blame any fail on the raid leader. If half of you decide to listen to someone else, and the other half listen to the raid leader then chaos will ensue. Consistency is key. Best example is Lady Deathwhisper. If someone says stop dps and wait for adds, and raid leader says burn her down, you can see what happens if half the raid is doing one and half doing the other. If anyone listens to the extra helpful leader, then that significantly lowers the chance that the boss will be burned down in time. So try to keep this as a rule, at least everyone will be on the same page.

To the current raid leaders: When these conflicts come up, make up your mind quickly and be definite. Don't sound unsure of yourself. Let your raid know that you are in control, and remind them that you are the one to be listened to. Sometimes people have genius strats that you didn't think about. As long as you are clear on what you want to be done, then your raid will likely listen. (I have made this mistake many times, running with someone more experienced on a specific boss, and then doubting myself.) If you want to use someone else's strat, make it clear before you pull which one you have decided on. Biggest thing to do: Ask in the raid if anyone is unclear on the strat, or if anyone has any questions. This way there is no confusion and no excuse for confusion. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

What Defines A Guild?

WoW is a very competitive sport. Why is it that there are always labels for everything? Including guilds? They must have a label, you as a player must label yourself. Well what makes us feel like we have to label our guilds, and explain to others how our guild works or plays. What types of guild exist and how do we decide what type of guild to be a part of? I have been thinking about this a lot lately, because it seems as though my guildies view our guild as a casual raiding guild. When we are actually supposed to be a casual guild...period. I have been putting guild raids on the calendar since Naxx. So I can definitely see how my guild started expecting me to lead a raid every week. But the problem is that they expect to see a raid, and to be a part of that raid, like they have some sort of inherent right.

The Guild of Friends- This guild exists simply because these people were friends, either in rl or in game. They only want to play together to have fun and enjoy themselves. If they are big enough they might try out some raids. But nothing too serious, this type of guild is relaxed, and fun to be with.

The Leveling Guild- This guild was created to help people get to 80. What an awesome notion. It is so much fun to have a guild full of people low level so you can actually run dungeons at level. I wonder what happens to all of the toons when they reach 80? Sometimes the guild converts into a raiding group, many times the 80s leave the guild, and allow the 70s to help the lowbies level.

The Hard Core Raiding Guild- This guild is clear in purpose, and can be very picky about members. They attempt to be the first at kills. They require exalted with Sons of Hodir, and extensive knowledge about your class. You have to meet certain attendance requirements to be accepted, and to continue raiding each week.

The Raiding Guild- This guild's purpose is to raid. But has no desire of being server first. They raid each week with the goal to progress, and they have organized raid leaders and regular raiders who get the spots in raids. This probably makes up the majority of guilds. They plan on raiding every week, but don't have the strict requirements as the hard core raiding guild. Although the seriousness of this guild definitely varies, as well as progress, they raid and have fun.

The Casual Guild- This guild is so generic, it could really fall into so many categories. Some guilds who call themselves casual, actually raid every single week.( like my guild) Sometimes these guilds just log on and do whatever. There are some in my guild who log on, and do dungeons, and achievements, and rarely join us for raids. This guild's categories are where problems from. It isn't well defined. The name casual is why my guild started to have issues.

Where did things begin to go wrong?

  • By defining ourselves as a casual guild, we did not determine if we would raid, how often we would raid, and any rules we would go by for raiding.
  • It is easy to set up raiding rules, such as looting, but as far as how often to raid, we didn't set this up.
  • So apparently my guild got use to me setting up raids every week for them. But what if I want a break!? 
  • We don't have any other raid leaders for end game content, only for older content. But the players want the latest thing!
So the biggest thing that happened was that people joined after we had a close knit group, of doing things together for over a year. When they joined they saw us running raids. Seems like people get upset if they are not incorporated into the raids. After everything I have gone through in my guild the last few weeks, I learned to say: Hey we are not a raiding guild!

I was getting so caught up in trying to please everyone and get people into raids. I forgot to remember that we set the guild up to be casual. Which means if you want to raid take some initiative, don't always rely on your raid leader if they give you permission to set up your own raids. If you want to regularly raid then join a raiding guild.

So when creating a guild it might be a good idea to make a clear purpose (which we did) and clearly tell everyone joining what your purpose is (which we did), and do not create habits that conflict with your clear purpose (oops).

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Arena Beginnings: The Healer

Lately, I have become disenchanted with the art of healing on my druid. Raid healing becomes sort of mundane to me. The habits I have gotten into make druid healing too repetitive. Maybe if I didn't run around constantly while healing, moving out of crap would present more of a challenge. Maybe if I waited longer to try to heal the raid, I would be fighting to keep them alive, instead of hotting them up for damage I know they will take. Druid healers are awesome to bring into any raid, especially movement fights. I use to enjoy healing in raids on my druid. But now I am taking a break. So I appointed my shaman to head raider, so I still get to enjoy healing in raids. Ya shamans have way less spells, but I would argue that for me shaman healing is much more challenging... anyway...

...My druid isn't completely useless. My friend proposed that we put together an arena team. He said I should bring any toon I wanted. So I went into some bg's with both my shaman and druid and healed away. My mage would have been fun to pvp with, but since he is taking that role, I was determined to be our healer. We recruited a rogue, and we all queued up together for some practice. I use to pvp on my druid all the time, when I was bored with pve content, and I leveled my shaman in bgs  while healing. After our practice runs I was pretty sure I preferred druid healing in pvp. Being able to run around constantly is actually a huge advantage, and is a challenge because when a rogue sees a tree, you know he will try and stun lock you. So I decided to make my druid our primary healer for 3's. I can't wait to see how we do, the more I pvp the more determined I am to be able to live through any class pounding on me. BTW if you are a dk, I'm sorry but your army of the dead is not going to help you kill me, when we are in the middle of nowhere by ourselves. I have counted at least 3 dk's trying to army me in AB when no one else was around. 

I am looking forward to the new challenge with druid healing. Of course my priorities change versus raid healing, so it will take some adjusting. Best way to prepare is to do BGs get some resilience gear, and use leftover triumphs for extra resilience gear. Our first week I had no resilience gear and I was still pve specd, and no barskin glyph. We won three matches out of ten, which is kinda sad, but even with my first two pvp pieces I can now live through a rogue sap with barkskin. So I am excited to see how we do this next week. 

I love the fact that I can change the game, by joining something new like an arena team, and I have to relearn and respec in order to do well. I take back the things I said about WOTLK being boring, or maybe to easy to grab content for PuGs. I am excited about the fact that I am progressing on one toon with ICC, and now on this one I can see how I stand in pvp, something completely different. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Best Healing Fight in ICC

Valithria Dreamwalker I love you!! So currently in ICC 10 we run with two healers on basically every fight. So I'm running primary spec dps, and back up heals if needed. I am so happy that I get to heal on this fight. I know others have been on this dragon for awhile, but I was just recently introduced to this boss. Basically, the tanks and dps focus on tons of adds while the healers get to experience pure healing joy, and spamming their biggest most awesome spells available to them.

I was thoroughly confused as to what I was suppose to do as a healer when I first attempted this boss. The whole point of the fight is to heal the big dragon up to 100% hp. How to go about this? Well you have to have one healer keeping an eye on the raid, so you can dedicate a healer or rotate healers through the portals. We have a dedicate pally on the raid, b/c ya he can beacon the big dragon! The other healers take turns clicking on a portal, or so I was told a portal, but really a green ball that you can jump on like getting into a vehicle. Once you click on the green ball you can start flying around collecting stacks of green awesome. All you have to do is fly through the green clouds floating around, and collect as many as you can before you get knocked out of this state. Once you get knocked back down to the ground, you can begin healing. (I thought I could heal in the air while flying, I was confused, maybe I wasn't paying enough attention to the explain). Each stack of green increases healing done by 10% and increases mana regen. So spam away! Target the big dragon, apparently she is not on healbot, so just click her big butt. Our priest's healing one one attempt was over 15k hps. It is just really fun to heal away, with no overheal! This is finally a fight that lets the healers shine, and takes away all the glory the dps have received in ICC. So enjoy healers, I know I did.

A few tips: If you want to go easy mode go with four healers. The dps will be fine, but maybe this is kinda too easy for some of those hard core raiders. Don't send too many healers in the portals at one time. They will steal each others stacks, and it is much better for them to have more than 6 or so stacks each. When you click on the green, hit your space bar right away, flying around as quickly as you can and stacking the green clouds. Always heal the dragon if your raid doesn't need heals. If you raid healer has mana issues let them go up once to get a few clouds for the mana regen. The fight has a soft enrage at around 6 minutes. A crap ton more adds come out, so it is essential to finish the boss before this point. Heroism makes the dragon really huge and it is just cool looking. Since I am a shaman the only shield I really have is earth shield. But sorry disco priests, this dragon isn't taking damage so no shielding necessary. She starts at 50% so just healing spams needed. Enjoy your time to shine healers, after this fight the heals are back down to two.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Circle of Healers: Part Two

Ok, so Miss Medicina has posted some new questions as a follow up to the original Circle of Healers Survey.

The New Questions:

1. Reread your original answers to the questions. With the benefit of hindsight, score your own work in terms of its cringeworthiness.
Ok, so I was primarily a druid healer when I first answered this survey. Now I can safely say that I can competently raid anything as a shaman healer. I have done ICC as both, but moreso on my shaman.

2. Has your class's healing improved in the area you identified as its weakest?
I still feel as though druid's are weaker in the area of tank healing. Now that I heal with my shaman, I think my biggest weakness is mobility. On my druid I can run around almost the entire fight unless I need to cast a regrowth or nourish on the tank. 

3. Have you changed your "least favoured class to heal with"?
I originally said that I disliked healing with paladins. In a two healer fight if I am on my druid pallys are completely fine, and probably somewhat desired. On my shaman, I might struggle since we have no HoTs b/w us, and we both have the big crit heals. In a 25 man I prefer to run with a huge variety of healers. I love them all.

4. Did you read the entries from others in the webring, especially your class?
I paid close attention to other druids and shamans.

5. If Yes to #4, did you learn anything that made you a better healer?
It helped me to read what shamans said, since I was new to shaman healing. Looking back I realize I can identify my shaman play style with some of those posts. I love the tank healing! I can do it yes I can. Healing melee is awesome for shamans too, I can chain heal a few times in b/w healing the tanks. As a druid, I didn't really learn much, but was definitely interesting to see how we all have our favorite spells, and how no one uses healing touch lol.

6. What tools/resources or information do you think you would need to improve as a healer and how could that help the community at large?
There isn't a whole lot of information for shaman healers blog wise. I try to read up on elitistjerks. I would love to put out some info on shaman healing, and now that I have healed in 10 and 25 man ICC, maybe I am a bit more qualified. It is always best to compare yourself to other healers of the same class, which I was able to do last week in 25 man. When I heal in PuGs I get to run with other resto shammys so all of this helps me improve and get a good idea of what I am doing right and wrong.

7. What did you identify as your worst habit as a healer? Have you improved in this area?
I identified myself as an impatient healer. Which I still am! On my druid I know exactly when people are going to take damage, so I HoT them in advance. This doesn't lead to mana problems, or extra high overheals, because these people do take damage. But it frustrates me when I look at recount and see the other healers so low. I need to learn, still, to be patient, so that the other healers can do their job. This is more a problem in ten mans than 25s. As a shaman, I don't have this issue, because I HAVE to wait to heal. I think this is why I enjoy shaman healing so much, I get to see bars change drastically when I throw a heal. One little lesser healing wave is so much more healing in one quick shot than a rejuv. So I like to see the bars change, not over time, but right now! I am impatient remember!

8. What did you list as your favorite healing spell and your least used healing spell for your class? Are these answers still true? If they have changed, what caused the change (i.e. patch fix, different healing environment, etc)?

My favorite spell on my druid was rejuv combined with swiftmend. This is the most powerful spell I can use to save someone quickly, or get a huge heal to the tank. I would say wild growth will almost tie with this. It is awesome for raid healing, and anyone notice the pretty two set t10 bonus? On my shaman my favorite spell is riptide. I love being able to splash that water on someone, and make my healing wave a much quicker heal. Chain heal is awesome and everything but, I love the riptide.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A WoW Without Add-Ons

What would WoW be like without any add ons? Would we even be able to function? Has anyone forgot to check "load out of date add ons" when your add ons where out of date and you were forced to run something without some of your favorite add ons? I am curious if we could even run raids without using add ons. If we don't know how much damage we are doing, how do we know how to improve ourselves? How would we ever know if our rotation was right? What about boss timers, how would we know when the overcharged add is coming? or bone storm? We would just have to like, react or something instead of anticipating.

I would like to address what my favorite add ons are, and what add ons I doubt I could live without. I am also curious what other people view as the have to have add on. I even have add ons that I hate using!

For me, I would have to say the add on I depend on most would be a tie with Deadly Boss Mods, and umm.... don't judge me... recount. Deadly Boss Mods(DBM) is absolutely awesome. It yells at me when I am standing in crap. It gives me the ability to yell at my raid when bone storm is coming in 5 seconds, or blood beasts in 10 seconds, or w/e is needed. Without DBM we would have to react when something happens without knowing beforehand. This add on is so essential when I lead a raid, I think I would be lost without it. What about /range, how do I know what 12 yards is? I know recount can be limited in usefulness, but it helps me in my personal raiding and as a raid leader. It is important for me to know if people are improving on certain fights. I like to know what fights are a struggle for certain classes, and what fights favor others. I also like to compare my dps week to week, to see if my upgrades are improving my dps. Recount can be abused, but it can also be awesome. I use it to check on my healers, if they are having mana issues how much overhealing are they doing? What classes are prone to overheals? By watching recount and always checking heals, overheals, dps, etc. I can know what should be a trend for certain classes.

I also use GRID for healing. I just started using grid during ToC, so I know I can fully function as a healer without it. But I love being able to see incoming heals from other healers, and see in a nice format who is taking damage. This add on is a luxury for me, not a need. I know many healers who could not live without healbot or grid. I can definitely see how it is easily addicting. I also use de-cursive. I realize that I can use grid for this, but I like how de-cursive yells at me, and when I am on my mage, I don't watch grid too much. I use omen when I am doing dps, but could definitely live without it for bosses, I have learned to use the in game threat meter.

I love using Quartz or IceHud for my cast bars, but it isn't necessary. I also live off of AtlasLoot, which is totally not necessary, it is kinda fun to be surprised by what the boss drops. Oh and my new favorite feral by night for kittys. What about the new add on I found for tanking, tauntmaster? I love it!  I use so many add ons, I am not sure I could play without them.

It seems like every time I use a friend's computer they have one thing that drives me nuts. Gatherer!!! Ok, I know this is completely useful, but I can't stand all of those pictures on my maps. I also hate when it tells me someone in my guild picked an herb, because I really don't care. Lucky for me this is an add on, and I don't have to download it, it just drives me nuts when I realize the computer I am on has it.

So, what would WoW be like with no add ons? I wonder how raids would work. I can't imagine that things would go well at first if they were all taken away. We rely so much on these add ons. Is there anyone who raids who does not use add ons? I can't even imagine one of my raids where I can't go back and check what went wrong. We would be raiding blindly! What a scary thought. I will definitely try to get some screenshots and post them later of all my add ons. I just think it is interesting on how dependent I have become, and I wonder about others; Are we add on dependent?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Another Nerf on the Raid

Ok so Blizzard has announced yet another nerf, 

After each region's maintenance this week, raids will no longer lose attempts on wipes in Normal mode for Professor Putricide, Blood-Queen Lana'thel, Sindragosa, and the Lich King. There will still be limited attempts in Heroic mode.

We will continue to monitor developments in Icecrown Citadel in the future, especially since the Heroic difficulty has been unlocked by a significant number of raids.

I personally have not completed ICC. Very few people have. I have made my attempts on Putricide, and that is where my raid group currently is. Many hard core raiders, although they have not downed the Lich King, are frustrated by this change. One of my friends, who is in one of the top five raiding guilds on our server, is really annoyed with this nerf. I know many raiders, just like him are frustrated with how easy this entire expansion is. 

Has Blizzard made this entire expansion too easy? Where it is puggable? and doable by any casual raiding guild? I suppose that is why they introduced hard modes. Since many people haven't unlocked the hardmodes in ICC yet, it is too early to tell if the hard core raiders will be satisfied. I like being able to go into ICC, as more of a casual raider, but I don't like all of the nerfs. I like working hard for a long time to achieve something, and I didn't mind the attempts in normal mode. It creates a challenge, and players can truly feel a sense of achievement. I wonder if players who are even more casual than myself are excited about the nerfs in raids. For me I like the counter because it creates a goal. To down the bosses with so many attempts left. This is truly the expansion for PuGs, and I am interested to see if Blizzard plans on releasing more challenging content, that is not puggable so easily, in the next xpac.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Gear Score=DPS?

Have you noticed that any 80 running around Dalaran, from any non recognizable guild can have a pretty awesome gear score? Well I definitely have, and I love to inspect them and see what all they have equipped. Awesome gear from ICC? No, not even close, not even gear from ToC. Just gear you can buy from the vendors. Although I was annoyed when Blizzard made awesome gear available to everyone, I have come to realize, just because the gear in Dalaran has an awesome gear score, does not mean it is better gear and equals more dps. I think mostly, it is not people's fault that they don't understand, you would think if it is a higher ilvl it is an upgrade.

When I run with people who don't typically raid, but have high gear scores, I can definitely tell in their dps. Why is it that this person has 245 items and mine are only 232, but my dps is much higher? Probably the stats are better on the gear I choose. The 245 gear from vendors is not as good as getting your tier 9 set, on most classes. (I don't play all classes so not sure for all) And just because the cloak for frost badges is the cheapest thing available does not mean you should buy it. I mean I am talking about dpsers here, and the cloak has Mp5 on it! Why not get your tier gear first? Or at least the belt which is super awesome? Ya I know, the tier gear is only 251 ilvl, instead of 264, but many of the 2 piece set bonuses on tier are awesome. I only dps on a shaman, mage, and feral druid, but I know these are all worth it. I know that a boomkin is worth it as well. So research and find out what people of your class are saying about t10 set bonuses. O and btw, the triumph badge trinkets suck! Ok, I have one on my shammy because I had absolutely nothing else from raiding, and I hate using it, but if you have something else you should definitely be using it. Equip/Equip trinkets are almost always better than Equip/Use.

I have a great story that illustrates my point. There is a mage in my guild, who is a decent player who could not for her life figure out why her dps was lower, much lower, than mine when my gear score was much lower than hers. Well I inspected her, and freaked out! Her haste was really low, her gear was all bought, and her trinket was the hit trinket, when she was waaay over hit cap! So I proceeded to ask her if she had any other trinkets. She did, but they were both ilvl 200. She had in her bags Embrace of the Spider and Abyssal Rune. So I told her to switch out her awesome ilvl trinket, and switch out most of her gems. There were a few pieces of gear I told her to go grab. Including finishing off her t9 set bonus, instead of those juicy 245 helms, and shoulders, etc. from the Dalaran badge vendor. We had done a test on the IF dummy, and yes I realize how this isn't the best way to gauge dps. Her dps before switching out gear, was around 3k. Her gear score was well over 5k at this point. After she did the recommended upgrades/ilvl downgrades, we did a re-test. Her gear score was then 4700. Yep I forced her to lower her gear score. So the re-test. The conditions were the same, her dps was over 5k. WHAT!? But doesn't gear score mean everything? As any skilled raider will tell you, no! Also, to further my point, she went from doing 4k on tank and spank fights to doing up to 7k!!! Pre- heroism! I mean wow, what an improvement.

This doesn't come from people being stupid about the game, it would just seem like a better gear score equals higher dps, and maybe it should. But it absolutely does not. If you are serious about improving your dps you really need to learn what stats are good for your class. If you are unsure about gear there are so many people willing to help you, so ask them. People ask me all the time and I am happy to help. It doesn't help that people in Dalaran are requiring a certain gear score to go to a certain raid. I realize there has to be a cut off, but gear score does not equal dps.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Shaman Post 3.3.2

Ok, so I was able to do my ICC ten last night to see how the change affected my dps. This week I am starting ICC 25 as well, so I will be able to see how I compare with other ele shamans. So I have really only been comparing myself to myself. As far as I could tell, my dps was an improvement. For Lady Death whatever I had been doing around 4500 and last night I pulled around 5k. Gunship I was doing around 4500,  which before I did 4k. This could mean absolutely nothing because the raid make up was different, and of course there are always other variables to consider. But overall it seemed on each fight I did a little more dps than I did last week, and the week before. (Except for Marrowgar, I did the same amount of dps b/c I died) I didn't get any new huge upgrades in b/w so I am guessing the buff definitely helped. Also last week I had an arcane mage and last night I didn't, hmm... with a mage my dps could be incredible! I also ran Patchwerk last night for the weekly raid quest on both my shaman and my mage. Yay! A good way to compare the two on a tank and spank. Soo.... ya, my mage def kicked butt on that and yes her gear isn't as good as my shamans. So, mages still kick butt, although I was much closer to her than before. Shammy pulled a little over 7k dps, and mage was hovering around 8k.

So the point of the day is, don't play toons just because they are OP at the moment, Blizzard does care and does attempt to improve the classes that need it. Stick with the characters you love to play. O and gratz to the locks for your buff as well, even though you hate my mage, I don't mind you and your little angry imps.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Patch 3.3.2- Thank you Blizzard

So the patch notes, as always are found here. It is a small patch, except for the release of the Lich King of course! Also a new VoA boss to get extra loot chances, awesome. But the change I was looking forward to the most, and the only one that affects the toons I play?

  • Shamans
    • Talents
      • Elemental Combat
        • Shamanism: This talent now provides 4/8/12/16/20% extra spell damage to Lightning Bolt/Chain Lightning, up from 3/6/9/12/15%, and 5/10/15/20/25% to Lava Burst, up from 4/8/12/16/20%.
      • Tier-10 Elemental Shaman 4-Piece Set Bonus: Redesigned. Successful Lava Burst casts now increase the duration of Flame Shock on the target by 6 seconds.
YAY! I was starting to really worry about my poor little shaman, when all I read is that ele shamans were among the lowest dpsers in game. It seemed as though I was doing okay in ICC, but my mage was doing much much better, so I could definitely tell what people were talking about. My shaman was main spec resto, but since my guild has so many awesome healers, it was more useful for me to go dps as main spec. Since I am starting ICC 25 soon, this change comes as a big relief. At least Blizzard is recognizing the problem and trying to fix it. So for once, I am really excited that my class received a buff and looking forward to seeing how it affects me in ICC. So thanks Blizz!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The AFK Five Man Trend

The new looking for group tool is very useful in many ways. It has also created some major issues. It may be shocking to discover, but people from other realms really don't care about others when there is no one from their own realm in a PuG. The first trend I noticed was that people would queue specifically for the new five mans and drop when they didn't get the loot they wanted. I mean seriously? That jerk of a tank got me into this and now I am saved, with no way to finish. I personally have NEVER done this because it is so wrong imo. When I bring a toon in I stick around for the whole thing, regardless of what boss I want loot from.

The newer, just as annoying trend, is for the dps to queue up and go afk. Ok so this isn't so bad, because the queue will find a new dps within seconds. But what is going on with dps who port into the instance and then go afk. What!? O and when they are gone for five minutes you still can't vote to kick them out. Ya, guess what, the genius lazy dpsers in the game have figured out just the amount of time they have to afk until the option to vote to kick is available. It is really frustrating to run with someone who purposely was gone for as long as they possibly could be gone. Really smart dps, go into the instance and put someone on follow. Of course it is much harder to notice you are afk when you are following someone around and not doing any damage.

So I implore all of the dpsers who queue into a random. Don't be a jerk, do your job, and actually, like hit something or eventually, the group will click the vote to kick button enough until it actually works.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

OP Mages: Really?

Ok, so I love how people like to throw around the fact that other classes are so overpowered. I mean what does that even really mean? Does it mean awesome players excel at this class more so than normal powered classes, or does it mean that even a moron can excel at this class? I am not really sure which one is the correct definition but I would like to go through both scenarios.

So, when someone who is an A mazing player plays multiple classes and one class does 10k dps, and the other does 7k. Does that mean that this class is overpowered? It likely does, I mean I have a kitty druid, ele shammy, and arcane mage, and all are around the same gear level. Who wins in a boss fight? Arcane mage, cmon obviously. Right now my arcane mage beats out. I now how to play all three toons. But my arcane mage just has awesome dps right now. I think when looking at overpowered classes in this sense, we have to realize that this type of overpowered is just a phase, it changes all the time. In Ulduar my druid kicked my mages ass. This type of OP, when individuals are balanced in skill level, and gear, changes frequently, no one stays overpowered for too long, (except ret pallys of course but they don't count). People like to complain about OP classes, but the argument is useless, because class make up changes all the time. Don't be one of those people who plays the class who is OP at the moment. Play what you enjoy, and realize you can't always be on top.

If people think of overpowered in the terms, that this class can be played by a monkey, then people are definitely wrong about arcane mages. If mages are so easy to play, what is with all the low dps and deaths? Being a mage isn't complicated rotation wise, but staying alive is the biggest challenge for a mage. They are the biggest wimps of any class. Think about it! The locks with all of their hp, and the SP with their ability to heal. Don't tell me that isn't a way to keep yourself alive, I heal myself as an ele all the time when healers seem stressed. Using the things in a mages arsenal to keep themselves alive requires thought and skill. Ice block timing, using frost ward, and fire ward, thinking about helping the raid with amp magic (what people use that?), blink!!! Again it isn't that difficult if you are a skilled player. But being quick about moving out of crap, and picking up dps again is essential as being a mage. I have seen many mages just be fail. If OP is this, then mages are not OP. I don't play a ret pally, but everyone I know who does, tells me that they literally hit whatever button is shiny. So ya, mages are doing awesome dps right now, but it still takes skill to play one so don't get caught up in what is "OP" right now. Every class has times when they are excelling over others. I have experienced it myself within my own toons. But play what you enjoy, and don't worry about what other classes are doing. You know you didn't mind when you were OP =P

Most Important Role in ICC: DPS

I have been working on ICC now on two of my toons. Running on my mage and shaman, sometimes druid. One group I run with is quite awesome with no problems clearing up to Saurafang and beyond. The other group I run with is a group of awesome people, but is having issues with Saurafang. The more I run ICC, I realize that this place is all about the DPS. Every fight seems to be a dps race of some sort, and if the dps is low then you struggle through the fight. Many fights can be run with two healers, and the tanks don't have too complicated of a job. I am allowed to say this because I have healed these fights as well. Healing in ICC is a bore compare to Ulduar. I mean don't get me wrong, it isn't completely easy, but in Ulduar every fight seemed like a healers fight. In ICC it is time for the dps to shine.

Now when you have a bad tank, maybe a good healer can compensate, when you have a bad healer, the other healers work harder and can compensate. When there is dps who isn't up to par, unless one dps is incredibly awesome, it is sort of hard to compensate on a dps race. Point being: DPS, pick it up, study your class, this is really the first place I have been in, where the fights are so DPS dependent. This is especially true in ten mans, because in 25 mans there is always more room for compensation.

When putting together an ICC ten man raid, consider the dps, the most important role. Pick people you know are skilled players. Require a certain gear level, and try your best to balance the raid. Any dps increase is desired. Shaman totems, arcane mages, druid's crits (which don't stack with the shaman crit no?), unholy dks for those casters, and so many classes provide a buff to the dps. Use these classes wisely. Balance the melee and ranged, because many fights require some melee (Lady Death&Decay), but in some fights (Saurafang) a melee heavy group can be a downfall. So choose wisely, raid make up and dps skill can really play a huge role in ICC success.