Light & Leafy

Archive for the ‘healing’ Category

Last week I wrote a post looking at the lower spire of Ice Crown Citadel from the perspective of a holy priest who occasionally likes to be discipline. Now, because I promised, here are some tricks and tidbits I’ve picked up while healing on Sairyn and Fluffikins. Again, if there are any other tricks you can think of (and I’m sure you can!), please post something in the comments! I’m still learning the in’s and out’s of healing with leaves, so any other suggestions are highly welcomed!  For organization’s sake, each fight follows the format of what both shamans and druids can do, then druid specific tips, then shaman specific tips. Oy vey.

The Trash to Lord Marrowgar

Like I’ve mentioned before, the trash to Marrowgar is pretty simplistic, but there’s always something you can do to make these fifteen minutes of rep go smoothly

Hotting up the melee. It’s kind of like being a priest spreading out the renew love. Only it’s better on a druid because you can toss around hots faster than those shiny necklaces at Mardi Gras. I swear, the first few times I did the trash in ICC I didn’t even realize the packs of skeletons exploded because the druid had the melee so hotted up. Usually I go with a rejuv and 1 to 2 stacks of lifebloom, depending on how many melee dps I have in the group.

Or, you can just chain heal. No matter how hot your healers may be (oh oh, I went there!), normally your group will want to make sure each of the exploders die individually. I have my chain heal set up as a mouse over macro so that I can keep an eye on the current target’s health, with my trigger finger ready to go as soon as the skelly’s health gets to about 10%.

Interrupts! Sure, you can chain spam shackle undead to interrupt the Nerubian’s from casting their dark binding spell. But what if you have no priests?! The heals shouldn’t be so demanding that you can’t take your eyes away from grid/vuhdoo/x-perl for a moment to catch a interrupt or two. I feel a lot of the time we forget moves that don’t come into play in our day-to-day instancing/grinding. Now’s the time to work on your Wind Shear muscle memories.

Instant casts are teh best! By this point, we know the big guys will try to interrupt our spells. To those big guys I say, eat my instant casts! The only sure fire way to not be locked out if you can’t be bothered to pay attention to your boss timer warnings is to cast spells that can’t be interrupted.

Lord Marrowgar

Keep a rejuv/riptide on yourself. It’s common knowledge that Marrowgar has a crush on my druid. So, every time I see that his bone spike is coming off cool down, I plan ahead to have a rejuv on myself. Worst case scenario is that I did a bit of over healing. Best case is that the other healers don’t need to worry so much about their limp tree impaled next to Marrowgar’s butt. I’ve started to do the same with Sairyn’s riptide just in case Marrowgar decides that draenei are just as cute.

Stick to single target healing. It gets a little messier here. I admit freely that maybe my raid teams are just not as coordinated as others’. If you all manage to stay pretty close together during the whirlwind phase, please feel free to skip this and move on. If your team also runs around like litter of kittens during bath time, this might bear mentioning. On fights where everyone is taking damage, it’s instinctual to cast one spell to heal them all. Your intention is admirable, but the reality is that even if you have 5 people within your heal radius, it is unlikely they are going to be close enough to one another to bounce a chain heal all 4 times or to receive the splash of a wild growth. Generally is just simpler and more effective to hit each individual player with a quick heal and be done with it.

Guess what has the same length cool down as BOOONEEEE STORMMMMM? BARRKKK SKINNN! Not quite as epic as I had hoped. Oh well. You can still pop your skin at the beginning of his whirlwind phase in order to get safely away from his twirling axe. And it’ll be back up and ready to use the next time Marrowgar decides to bring out his inner ballerina.

Tanks aren’t the only ones who can use Earth Shield. Yes, you’ll want to keep it on one (generally the squishier tank) while Marrowgar is standing in place and saberlashing, but think of where it could be most effective during his whirlwind phase. Is there a certain dps who seems to lag a bit getting out of the way of the cold flames? Or a clothie who always gets caught behind one of the candelabras? Maybe they would be better candidates for a little earthy loving than the tanks with stacked armor and quick cold flame reflexes.

Totems are tasty.   Choosing the right totem is a topic for an entire post, but I’ll share 2 I love for this fight as a resto shaman: Frost Resistance and Stoneskin. Now, the way I see it is this: you can either use both totems throughout the fight, or you can plan ahead a little bit and set up 2 of your totem calls – one for the stationary phase and one for the whirlwind phase. Since no one’s really doing much damage during the whirlwind phase, there’s no reason to keep Flame Tongue and Strength of Earth down.  Use your second call to give your raid a little extra frost resistance and armor until Marrowgar settles down again!

Lady Deathwhisper

Curses are the most important thing ever! Both shamans and druids can remove curses. And the curse of torpor is no exception. Essentially, it will increase the cool down of spells cast by the inflicted player. Imagine my surprise when my regrowth had a cool down associated with it. If you are cursed at the same time as another player, be sure to remove your own first. If there are multiple players cursed, follow a hierarchy: healers then tanks then dps.

Hex and Entangling Roots can be used in the 25 man version of the fight. If you see a mind control running towards you, a hex can be a great way of preventing your team mate from smiting you into oblivion. Entangling roots are also a useful tool, but try to root your rather large friend somewhere away from other players so she doesn’t start slapping people around.

Purge, baby, purge! Kind of like how I mentioned priests could dispel the buffs from the purple short wearing monstrosities, only with purge! I think it might be a little harder for restos, though, because purge isn’t generally a spell I expect to be using (then again, I rarely pvp). Just a friendly reminder though: if you have a mage, give him a little time to steal the buff before you purge it. If he still hasn’t and it’s been a good 5 seconds, it’s probably a good idea to remove it before you tank ends up sprawled out on the floor.

Use heroism/blood lust when you’re on the verge of breaking her mana shield. You have 24 seconds until the next set of adds, and Lady’s mana shield is sitting around 16%. Now is the time to heroism and pop cooldowns to help you easily transition into her second phase. Don’t worry about wasting it on the shield and not on the Lady herself; if you’ve made it to phase two, you’re likely to succeed.

Frost resistance is great for phase two. If you have a paladin, an aura is wonderful to help mitigate the damage her aoe frost bolt does to your group. Luckily, you don’t need a pally to provide the resistance if you don’t happen to have one kicking around. Drop a totem, forgo the flame tongue buff, and be happy when you’re chain healing through the frost damage that people aren’t getting hurt more.

All hands on the poop deck! (hehe I wrote poop in my blog. I have the mentality of a 4 year old. /shame)

If you’re on the main boat, stand near the edge so you can heal the jumping tank as he careens towards your ship. If you’re set to be standing on one boat anyways, it pays to be somewhere you can reach both tanks. You’ll be able to spam heals on the tank who’s getting axes chucked at him as he tries to safely land back on your ship.

Trees should probably stay on the main boat. Ok, maybe I always turn into a bear so I can have the rocket butt bear. But generally speaking, I don’t bother flying over from one boat to the next. I stay on the edge of our boat to help heal the tank handling Saurfang, but unless it’s dire, I refuse to jump from one boat to the next because the jumps always switch me out of tree form. It gets expensive after awhile, and for whatever reason it lags me to hell when I’m on the way down. It’s just easier, and a bit safer, if I bounce (rocket-free) around the deck of one ship.

Honestly, shamans, I don’t have much else for you here. Sorry. *averts gaze bashfully*

DBS (Does Bake Snickerdoodles? Hrm not quite right. I need to work on effeminizing Saurfang’s abbreviation).

Healing through Marks. Typically, I assign one healer per mark. There’s not too much you can do to get through the damage except to time your cool downs to the duration of the fight, and focus on your assigned target. Marked players will require heavy healing, and even the slightest distraction could mean death. On my druid, I normally roll all of my hots, followed by nourish spam and swift mend on cool down. On my shaman, marked characters get my earthshield and lesser healing wave spam. Sometimes, if the mark happens to be near another player, I will bounce a chain heal off of him to help keep the raid topped off. On both characters, I save nature’s swiftness for that oh-dear-lord moment that usually occurs near the end of the fight.

Helping your ranged dps, one root at a time. I found that healing really wasn’t intense the first half of this fight, no matter which character I was on. So, I took to keeping my druid in her caster form to help root the blood beasts, buying the ranged dps a little more time for kiting the adds. You’ll just need to be careful to make sure no one is in melee range while the add is rooted, or the beastie will turn to nomnom on your friend.

Rawr! I’mma big scary bear! If you’re confident, you can shift into bear form and taunt a blood beast to you to get it away from the tanks and melee. Because you’re not normally a bear, it’ll be easy for the ranged dps to pull the beast off of you. You can also use this in an emergency if you see a beast ready to chow down on someone in range. If you do taunt the blood beast though, remember to start running away. It’s not doing your team much good if you’re allowing yourself to become a snack to an overgrown blood worm.  This can also be a useful strategy if you’re running with a very low amount of ranged dps.

Let’s talk about rebirth: don’t use it if you don’t know how they died. If a person died because of a Mark of the Fallen Champion, it’s pointless to battle rez them. They’ll only come back to life with the debuff again, and likely die to the amount of damage done in the seconds it would normally take to fill their life bar. This means Saurfang gains an additional 5% of his health back, and it’s a risk that’s usually not reasonable to take. There is an alternate strategy using a paladin that I’ve heard rumor of, but as I have not tried this myself, I’d rather not recommend it to any of you. If you’ve heard anything about the divine intervention strategy, I’d love to know if it was actually a plausible strategy or not.

More totem talk? Right, this probably seems like a no-brainer. But I want to remind you that you can use Earthbind totem to control the blood beasts, much like a druid’s entangling roots.  I recommend placing the totem between the stairs and your kiting dps so that it likely will not be trapped anywhere near something it can gnaw on (i.e. your teammates).

So, I believe I’ve covered everything I’ve thought of in the last few weeks. Clearly, I don’t have as many tips for my shaman friends as I do for my trees, but I’m  hoping to see more Sairyn action in the upcoming weeks, and if I find any new tricks, I’ll be sure to update. Also, apologies for the wall-o-text. I tried to cut it up a bit for the sake of space, and that plan backfired on me.

Advertisements

By now, all my healers except poor little Nesme have seen the Lower Spire of Ice Crown Citadel (don’t feel too bad for her, though, since she did just get Quel’Delar).   I think it attests to the ability of Blizzard to create a raid where I’m not snoozing until I get to the last half of the instance (ToC, I’m looking at you. *evil glare*).

Along the way, I’ve managed to pick up some tricks that maybe will help someone else out there conquer the lower half of ICC. I was going to do this in one great gigantic post, but I figured that would create a wall of text so large it would put some of my verbose guildies to shame. So, today will be priests (of both the discipline and holy nature, as I’ve *gasp* raided the first 4 bosses as both) and next time we’ll look at what I’ve found as helpful as a druid and a shaman. Most of you have probably already figured this stuff out, but maybe you’ll be able to apply some of the tricks to other Blizzard encounters that are similar!

Marrowgar’s Trash

The trash leading up to Marrowgar is pretty simple but you can make it even simpler on your healer friends!

The Dead skeleton duders that usually come in packs of 4 or 5 explode upon death; your tanks don’t really feel the pain, but your melee sure will. I like shielding all the kittehs, rogues, enhancement shamans, warriors, and dinosaurs in my raid when I got my bubbles going on (ret pallies don’t exist). Otherwise, I make sure to blanket them with soft fuzzy renews before the first dies. Speaking of those guys, I always make sure that I have a Pain Suppression or Guardian Spirit ready for my bladestorming gnome-turned taunka or rawr!cat. Because the only thing worse than a dps pulling aggro is a dps splattered on the floor.

There are 3 pulls, all in the middle of each room, with 2 Nerubian casters. They can be shackled. Remember that? You probably haven’t had it on your spell bar since Burning Crusade, I know.  But trust me when I say that those pulls go so much smoother when you don’t have to turn every two second to smite the tree out of his cocoon. Another thing about shackle: just because people keep breaking it doesn’t mean you should stop casting it. Shackles will interrupt the Nerubian when it’s casting the web wrap or dark mending spells. And a non-healing spider is a good thing.

The only thing left are the giants that come out roaring when someone steps on their traps. Guardian spirit can be useful when cast immediately on the tank to keep him in tippytoppy shape until the other tank gets there to share the saber lashes. Other than that, be grateful that you have all those neat instant cast spells and try ever so hard not to get interrupted. Unless you like wanding down big bone giant, which is very much a possibility.

The trash in here is pretty easy, though if you ever feel overwhelmed remember that you can always sprint back to Light’s Hammer and everything will leash back. If you ARE running away, make sure that you keep yourself protected with bubbles or wings or whatever else you have in your arsenal.  If you’re really bored, you could always have a healthy competition with the other healers to see which of you does the most dps. My bets are on the aggressive penance priest.

Lord Marrowgar

I’ll admit, it took us a bit of time to really get Lord Marrowgar down. It can be hard to get used to switching gears between every phase, but you’ll certainly get the hang of it!

If you’re not standing in his hit box, do it! Now! Standing with melee isn’t cheating; it’s simply making your life easier by not having to dodge each of his flame breaths. Plus there’s the bonus of your bonespike being quickly taken care of by all those nearby melee dps! It’s their payment for having you always saving their aggro-pulling behinds.

During the BOOONNEEEE STORRRMMMM phase, bubble yourself before you start running away. Chances are you’ll get hit for a tick or two of his giant whirlwind, but even on 25 man this can be easily mitigated by a bubble. Also, tossing renews/bubbles out like they were rice at a wedding will help cover raid heals until you can find a spot far enough away from the twirling skeleton of doom and his blue flame patches to triage those who need immediate attention.

The only other thing I can think of, and this seems much more pivotal on 25 man than on 10, is to keep guardian spirit or pain suppression up on a designated tank as often as you can. They really do take quite the beating while everyone else gets to stand still.  And if they’re moving out of Cold Flame constantly, the more extra healing they receive, the better the attempt is sure to go.

Lady Deathwhisper

I love mana burning her during this encounter. Usually, we don’t need me to do this anymore, but when we were first starting ICC, it’s seemed to help tons to mana-burn her while the dps were chasing down adds. I’m not sure if it reduces her mana with both the burn and the little bit of damage the spell does as well, but it’s definitely worth a shot if you’re feeling a bit tight on dps.

Dispel is your friend. Those the green horrors romping around in purple shorts? If you’re worried about your kiting tank getting smoshed by them, you can always dispel their buff. This is incredibly helpful when you don’t happen to have a mage to spell steal or a shaman to purge. Sometimes I forget that a priest’s dispel is both offensive and defensive.  Usually, I’ll tab target my way through adds to make sure none of those beasties is doing more damage than it has to.

The last thing I have to say about Deathwhisper is that if your tanks are kiting her on her platform away from the death and decay puddles and the pink ghosties, I’d recommend jumping up there with them so there are no line-of- site issues if they duck behind a pillar. Otherwise, suggest having them come down her front stairs so you have the majority of the room to work with.

Gunship AHOY!

I think the gunship battle is my favorite fight in the lower half. And if you ever get the chance to be in one of the cannons, go for it! It’s incredibly fun and a really good way to relax mid-raid if you’re finding yourself stressed.

Rocket butt keybind! I always happen to jump over to the other boat. I find it safer to have someone there just in case people beating on the battle mage start getting hurt. I usually place my rocket pack on my bars wherever I have my abolish disease keybound; you won’t use that spell at all during the fight, so I find that’s the easiest one to replace and remember to use. Using the keybind will allow you to fly over there sooner, rather than having to click on the shirt, and then click on the placement of the landing point. Right before I land (either on the Horde’s ship or back on my own), I’ll cast a bubble and a prayer of mending on myself. It helps negate the damage you take upon landing. One other note about landing – when you land on the opposite boat, try your hardest to land on top of some of the axe-throwers in the front row (Sorry,  I don’t know what the Horde equivalent is.) so that you can bring their health down a bit lower.

Keeping up the other boat’s tank. The opposite faction’s leader will be hitting his tank quite hard, especially as time goes on. I like keeping a renew and either a guardian spirit or pain suppression up on that tank when I can. Stacking up serendipity can also be useful to get out lickity-split greater heals (shorter than the cast time of a flash heal!) if Saurfang/Muradin are stacking their buffs really high. Also, since you’re leaving the ship earlier than your tank, it’s helpful to have a few instant casts ready to go so that you can heal him as you’re flying through the air.

Deathbringer Saurfang

Discipline priests were just too overpowered for this fight, with their bubbles of awesomeness preventing DBS from gaining any blood power. So, Blizzard (rightfully) scaled back the effect bubbles have on DBS’s blood power bar. I usually heal this fight as discipline anyways, but that’s just because this fight is still primarily all predictable damage that you can mitigate.

Using pain suppression on the tanks when the Blood Beasts appear is really helpful. Some tanks, especially, paladins, can generate enormous amounts of threat on nearby targets without even trying. Tossing pain suppression on the tank will help decrease their threat on the blood beasts, allowing the dps who are going to kite them pull them away more easily.

Bubble as much of the range as you can right before a blood nova. On 25 man, there is less room for everyone to spread out, making it much likelier that more than one person will get hit by the blood nova. To make this easier to heal through, mitigate as much of the outgoing damage as you can by peppering the raid with bubbles!

Remember, Divine Aegis and your normal bubble will both absorb damage. I usually will hit someone with Blood Boil with a shield and then with a heal that can proc divine aegis so they’ll absorb the majority of the damage, rather that just what the bubble would absorb on it’s own.

Binding heal is your bestest friend. Normally, this is a heal I usually forget to mention. It’s second nature in my own play style, but I never remember it when I’m talking to others. Binding heal just might save your life if you have a Mark of the Fallen Champion. By using it to heal yourself at the same time as another, it helps you keep yourself alive through a thoroughly wicked debuff.  Guardian Spirit is also a very good spell to keep on players who have Marks on them as it will increase the healing done to them as well as prevent them from becoming Deathbringer’s snack.

I think that concludes my priestly thoughts on the first 4 bosses. I’ll try to get some druid and shaman tips up by the beginning of next week. Since I don’t happen to have any experience pallydining it up in the Citadel, be sure to check out Cel’s advice for holy paladins at I Like Bubbles! And if you’re a priesty who has any other advice or tricks for the first wing of ICC, please share in the comments or on your own blog!

Happy weekend, all!!!

/hug

A few days ago, Professor Beej posted a guest post at World of Matticus asking readers which of the healing classes they chose, and why they felt it was the right match for them. The answers were insightful, and got me thinking.

Do I feel like any of my healers suite me better than others?

I couldn’t really answer this question. There are some I feel more comfortable with, sure. But if I were to go with familiarity, well then Edainne in her discipline spec would probably be on par with Nesme. My reaction time feels about the same for both, and I’m still forgetting some spells that I really should try to use more consistently.

“Why I love healing” is a topic for another post another day. Simply stated though, I do. And though I’m not sure if I can ever suffer from “healing burnout,” I think one of the things keeping healing fresh for me is the ability to switch from one healer to another and have a completely different experience. In the end, I’m just using a different spell to keep the green bars verdant, but haven’t we always been told it’s not about the destination but about the journey?

My healers can reflect my mood, my inspirations for playing at any particular point in time. They each bring something unique to the table, and have lessons to teach me.

Edainne

She is indisputably my main, and as far characters go, I’m most comfortable with her. I like keeping her holy spec versatile so that I can fill whatever role is most needed at the time. She has all my really exciting achievements, all my nostalgic mementos. When I created her, I put a lot of my heart into the process. Before I even got the game, I researched names that would be appropriate (hers is a re-spelling of a Celtic goddess of healing), created her back story and a central idea for the character, and decided that if she was going to be a healer, I was going to pick the class that had the most options (this was before Wrath when most of the healing classes had only a few spells while the priest had, like, a bajillion).

When I’m on Edainne, I love that I have the versatility to do, well, anything! I can blow bubbles, I can punch people to heal them, I can even jump around casting holy nova! Sure, she’s hella squishy in PvP, but I like to think that it was just encouragement to react more quickly than they could kill me.

I learned to heal on Eda. She was my springboard, and as a character she still has loads for me to learn and improve on. Right now, learning to play as a discipline priest has got me thinking about healing in a completely different way: prevention is as important, if not more so, than response. I’m learning to expect damage instead of just fixing it after the fact. I feel like it’s a nice correlation to outside the game experiences. And because of being that priest who always takes lightwell and that priest in Burning Crusade who took Circle of Healing rather than spec into Divine Spirit, I’ve learned to be ok with being different, that I can be just as effective and knowledgeable without being the same as everyone else. Funny how a video game could teach a life lesson…

Sairyn

What I love about Sairyn is that I feel like I could heal through any kind of AoE damage if I casted chain heal fast enough. I love that I can make pulls easier just by knowing which totem is the best for the job. Also, chain heal just LOOKS fun. And the idea of healing everyone by linking them together just fits my mentality nicely.

I tried for a long time to force Sairyn into being my damage-dealer. Everyone else was going to be a healer, but Sairyn just HAD to be elemental; I think I truly felt that people would think I was crazy if all I did was heal on each character. Through lack of practice, no doubt, whenever I dps’d on her I felt like she was underperforming. So, I wouldn’t play her as often, which would lead to her gear falling behind, which would lead to even more performance issues. A pretty nasty cycle I had gotten myself into, no?

Just before 3.3 came, I decided it was time to stop pretending that I was some well-rounded, can play anything well sort of player (like Osy is). I’m happiest when I’m tossing chain heals, and that’s ok.  Sairyn encouraged me to be honest with myself, and I appreciate her so much more for it. I no longer toss her to the side to play with other characters first, which also helps me deal with guilt I felt after abandoning her at 70 until Wrath came out.

Fluffikins

Fluffi never fails to make me smile. She was the first character I leveled completely by myself, and I’m really proud of that. When I started playing her, I thought moonkins were the most adorable thing in the game, and I couldn’t help but want one. Around 70, though, I had watched Osy’s druid heal for long enough to know that I wanted a tree too!

After playing a priest for so long, having multiple hot’s and instant casts was something I really had to get used to. Fluffi taught me the value of having patience, and I learned a lot about timing. She gave me a lot of experience in preparing for in-coming damage since I could hot everyone up before a pull even began.

I think I enjoy party healing the most on her. I feel almost as versatile as I do on Edainne; Fluffi has tremendous capacity for healing output, even if her gear isn’t as tricked out as others’. And having tree form lets me focus on healing 100% time; the cost of shifting in and out of tree form is too great to want to dps while bored.

Then, of course, there’s the bouncing. And the fact that everything I heal with looks like a flower. But, oh god, the bouncing!!!!! I feel like I’m a little kid again skipping down the cold, Scourge infested hallways of Ice Crown!

Nesme

Nesme is kind of like the final piece of an abstract jig-saw puzzle: with her, I can finally see the entire picture, though I still might not understand exactly what I’m looking at. She has helped me understand that paladining requires so much more than binding holy light to every key then unceremoniously rolling my head against the keyboard. Which of my spells will save the person with aggro? Which will save the person entombed? How fast does my holy light actually get after I’ve casted it the first time, and how long until my haste buff wears off and I need to judge again?

She makes the game feel new to me again. I know nothing about paladins, really, except that I can spam holy light on a tank like nobody’s business. And that Patchwerk becomes the most funnest fight evar when you’re a holy pally. Hellooooo beacon!

I’m not comfortable playing with her yet (zomgwings!), but that’s what makes her such a breath of fresh air every time I do. I have to work to save people from their own stupidity! And it made me give much more credit to other pallies who I thought had the easiest job in the world.

Maybe I’ll play Eda when I need to have the fast reaction time, or Fluffi when I’m exuberant and just want to bounce. Maybe Sairyn will come out when I’m feeling kind of enchanted by nature, and Nesme when I want a challenge and learning experience. Each of my healer’s has a special place in my heart. And I’m lucky enough to feel that, in some way or another, they’re appropriate for me.

I’m luckier still to have enough friends to let me heal on as many characters as I want. ❤

So, what about you? Does a particular character, healer or not, resonate more with you than others?

*Clears Throat*

Why did you build me up,

Saurfang, baby, just to kill me more

Face on the floor.

And then worst of all,

You always spam nova

After a blood beast

Can’t get you beat.

I’m confused!

Marking everyone, honey!

You didn’t do tha-at before!

So, help me up, Saurfang,

Don’t wipe me no more!

That was to the tune of “Build Me Up Buttercup” by the Foundations. If you don’t know it (WHAAT?), go here. Nao. I canz wait.

Something interesting came up last night. We’ve killed Saurfang twice in our 25 man group and loads more in our ten mans. And yet, last night, he seemed substantially harder than he has in the past.

At first, I really thought it was only because we pugged a few spaces. Maybe they were just getting hit by the blood beasts as we were killing them. Most of the marks we were receiving were handed out during add phases anyways. It made sense.

And Blizzard fixed the exploit on the gunship allowing marked players to hop into a cannon so they wouldn’t take any damage and risk dying, giving Saurfang 5% of his health. We all knew that was coming, sooner or later. So, we had to step up the healing game to get the marked players through the fight. That really wasn’t so bad. I focused on the marks while allowing the 2 other discipline priests handle bubbling the rest of the raid.

Well, it wasn’t bad until the 6th mark or so. I believe that’s where we started loosing people, even though our pally had one marked baconed, and everyone but him was spamming heals on marked players.  But, with nearly another mark out and Saurfang only sitting at 25% of his health, it was game over.

We wiped a few times over, attributing it to the lack of coordination we were feeling all night. A little after our normal break time, we decided to call the raid and hope that we’d have better luck on Thursday. A quick Patchy kill to end the night on a positive note, then off to our own desires(I wish we had Wintergrasp to try out the new boss, but there’s always tonight).

My 10 man decided that we’d go in, since we still had an hour or so before end time, and clear the front of the house so that when we went back this weekend we’d be able to focus more on the content we haven’t cleared or seen.  Breezing right along (and winning a sexay new belt off of Marrowgar), we got to Saurfang, happy knowing that we could kill him in revenge for all the wipes and headaches he caused earlier.

Now, my favorite dwarven discipline priest waited while I switched into my ohmaigawdbubbles!spec, and we divided up the bubbling assignments.  Our holy pally went ret to smush face, and we were in business.

Or so we thought. We got about to 80% of his health, and realized that his blood power was already at 50%. The last 4 or 5 times Dyrum and I have healed this fight together,  we were able to get through the entire encounter without a single mark. Suddenly, I was wishing our holy pally was still helping out healing.   One mark went out on our top dps.  Then a second.  Then a third.

My fingers eagerly twitched for my guardian spirit button to help keep the marked players alive, only to cast power infusion on a kitty.

This wasn’t the clean, predictable kill I had expected.  It had this messy, scrambling feeling.

What happened to Saurfang? What happened to ez-mode lewtz?

Well, as far as I know, there were only 2 theories:

  1. (Provided by a lock guildie in the 25 man version) Saurfang had bugged after the patch. He was stuck on heroic mode, gaining blood power at a much higher rate and doing more overall damage to the raid. I haven’t found any sources pointing to this as of yet, but I was eager to believe that over believing our group was just incapable of fighting the fight as intended.
  2. Saurfang had been fixed to work the way he was always intended to. This was the theory that Osyras and I were tossing back and forth.  Maybe discipline priests were never meant to be completely win for that fight. Instead of preventing Saurfang from receiving blood power on a target whose damage is absorbed by a bubble or divine aegis, maybe bubbles were only ever meant to absorb the damage while allowing Saurfang to continue to build blood power.  It made sense the more we considered it. It would make the achievement to kill him without Marks of the Fallen Champion more difficult to get. And it wouldn’t put one healing class so above and beyond any of the others. The only question I have is, if this was the way the fight was intended to work, why didn’t Blizzard fix it sooner, rather then lulling guilds (like mine) into a sense of accomplishment and farm status?

I’m not really sure I know what happened last night, though I’m sure I’ll find out in the coming weeks.  I do wish that Blizzard would mention something, either by saying that yes, they fixed Saurfang to be the fight they always intended him to be, or by confirming that he was glitching out on heroic mode after the patch yesterday.  Stealth patching is…stealthy.  I like knowing what I’m up against. I don’t really care if the encounter had to be tweaked,  I just want to know if I need to fix my healing strategies or not.

Saurfang will either return to being the easy peasy lemon squeezy fight that he was, or we’ll have to adapt and succeed. Maybe that’ll make the rewards ever so sweeter.

Did any of you have problems with your ICC attempts this week?

Also….

Having a cold is teh sux. Having a cold, and having to go to work, is worse. Having a cold, having to go to work, and having to deal with snow is the worst.

I can haz hot cocoa?

Fried brain is fried. I had my weekly meeting boss encounter this week, and let’s just say we barely escaped the enrage timer. I wanted to pick my brain (and maybe yours) about whether or not socket bonuses are worth gemming for (mostly in regards to my pally). But, that kind of thing requires supreme linkage and remembering where I got all my original information in the first place. Needless to say, my brain is still reeling from this morning, and that will be another post for another day. Likely tomorrow.
Right, where was my rambling going? Ah yes, something near and dear to my heart. My absolute favoritest spell in the game! Something I can confidently educate young priesties about without having to go to a bazillion different websites!

Guardian Spirit!

The Basics

For those unfamiliar, guardian spirit is the 51 point talent tree for holy priests. When cast on a targeted player, it will increase healing done to said target by 40% for 10 seconds. If, during that period of time, the player receives a hit that would kill them, the spirit sacrifices itself, saving the player and restoring 50% of the player’s maximum health. FIFTY PERCENT. There is a relatively short cool down on this spell (Up to 3 minutes, depending whether or not you glyph it, but we’ll get to that later!). Essentially you can use it to increase healing on a certain player OR to save someone from certain doom.

The Glyph of Awesomeness

The Glyph of Guardian Spirit is, I believe, part of the reason I love my 51 point talent so much. The glyph makes it so that if the guardian spirit does not sacrifice itself (i.e. the player doesn’t take a hit that would reduce him to a puddle of goo on the ground), the cool down on the spell is reduced to 1 minute.  Which means, in another 60 seconds you can use it to save someone else!!

Times to Bust out the Wings

There is not really any “wrong” time to bust out your wings. But, there are some really crucial moments when wings can push your healing over the top (or seriously help out your fellow healers), enough to get you through the rough patches during an enounter.

1. On Cool Down on Tanks – If you’ve glyphed guardian spirit, you’ll be able to increase the healing done to your tank of choice by 10% every minute. Go ahead. Try to convince me your other healers won’t adore you for it? I’ll be over there receiving hugs from my holy paladin team mates…Even if you’re not glyphed, the healing increase will still be much appreciated.

2. On Tanks during Specific Phases of Fights – When you know a tank is going to take extra damage, it’s always helpful to squeeze a little extra healing where you can. Communicate with your other healers so you’re not all blowing your CD’s to save the tank during Festergut’s first inhalation and leaving the poor bloke on his own during the second.

3. On DPS who Pull – Did your favorite gnome blink ahead and accidentally pull the shade lurking in the hallway? Did the kitteh with the crazy swipes aggro a mob that the tank didn’t quite have? Never fear! Guardian Spirit will save your over-anxious friend from certain doom. Even if you want to let them die to teach them a lesson,  it’s more time efficient (and friendly) to save your whoopsie-daisy compatriot.

4. On DPS You Expect Might Take a Swing or Two – Some trash you can’t help but have nearly everyone get hurt on. Like the packs of geists running amok in the upper spire. We almost always accidentally pull them. Accidentally pulling usually means the tree and the priests in the back will garner their attention first. And our little arms warrior or our kitty druid will usually swipe/bladestorm them down before they resort to killing the healers. Since they’re protecting the squishies, I protect them with a preemptive guardian spirit, nearly guaranteeing their survival until the tanks get full aggro. Same is true with the zombie mini-Frankenpuppy spawns. The tanks will not likely pick them all up (there can be upwards of 40!).

5. OH SHNIKES moments – The tank has just ran out of range.  All of the faction champions in ToC have decided to smother the poor defenseless lock. A ghostly hunter has iceblocked someone on top of a flamestrike who has already been gouged by a mercenary. No heal you have will be fast enough to save this person from their impending doom. But if you’re seriously quick enough (which, to be honest, 75% of the time or so you probably won’t be), you can still save their life with a quick application of wings.

*BONUS! STORY TIME!*

Last Sunday, my friendly 10 man group went back to ICC to pound our head against Professor Putricide some more. We got him down to about 4% when suddenly we realized the only un-slimified place was a tiny patch on the opposite side of the room. DPS was dying left and right. I had already been turned into a fail angel. Only a tank and 2 dps survived, one hovering near death. In my last second, I threw a guardian spirit on our kitty….

He and my engineering death knight boyfriend rez’d the other 8 of us. It. was. epic.

But I iz raid healz! I dun need no stinkin’ wing glyph!

There are plenty of awesome glyphs for the raiding priest, especially those that can increase your party healing abilities. But, for me, glyph of guardian spirit is too awesome not to have. Most of the time, you’ll find your cool down will be reset t0 1 minute (the extra healing usually goes far enough to save your friend without having to rely on the sacrifice). Having the incredibly short cool down makes it even easier to use, and everyone will be grateful for the extra support.  The glyph makes it go from an “Oh shit” button to fairly consistent buff that’s too powerful to be ignored.

One more thing about guardian spirit…

IT’S PRETTY!!!!!!!

I am not the best healer.

That little sentence doesn’t bother me. It never has. used to. But not anymore (and I think I’m a better friend for it =D)

I am not the best healer I could be.

Oh, now that sentence? Hmm. Well, it’s honest. But gosh how I wish it weren’t.

When I started raiding, back in Karazhan, I was pretty confident in myself. I also hated taking advice, and assumed I knew what my character was capable of better than anyone else.  To add to the steaming pile of ego, I was (at the time) the only female healer I knew, and constantly felt as though my healing “buddies” held that against me. So I played my priest my way, and was happy with my output.

Flash forward to Wrath.  Through a series of fortunate events (both in game and out), I no longer feel femi-rage every time I log onto the game. I have a safe environment, filled with healers of every gender and species that I feel confident and comfortable discussing the mechanics of this whack-a-mole we’ve immersed ourselves in. I finally brought myself to the point where I can take advice without feeling anxiety or pain over not realizing it myself.  And I have team mates I can rely on to play just as hard as I have.

All of this is wonderful…except for the part where my own skills seem to have diminished over time.  Honestly, I don’t know what caused it. Maybe it’s flipping through each of the different healing classes at least once a day, making myself a jack of all trades without a specialty. Maybe it’s from always assigning myself a floating position in raids, always looking at the big picture. Maybe I’ve ALWAYS been this way and in true Trini fashion I only realized it years after the fact.

So what’s a priest/druid/shaman/pally to do?

Why, re-learn my skill sets, of course!

In the next few days/weeks/months, I’m going to make changes to my play style. I’ll probably redo my UI multiple times, set up new ways of testing my abilities, go through and REALLY focus on each of my healers one at a time. And everything will be documented here.

And hope, that some where along the way, my friends out in cyberspace will come to me with new ideas, or stories about relearning something they thought was second nature (it’s kind of like a healing support group).  Maybe out of this purely selfish venture someone else will find something they can tweak for their own uses.

Afterall, we’re all trying to make the little green bars stay green!

So, as my main, and as the healer I’m most surprised that I don’t perform better with, Edainne will be getting the loving treatment first and foremost.

Things that will be involved:

  • Reworking her UI (which will likely be used as the backbone for everyone else’s)
  • Giving myself healing assignments out of the norm (Tanks, particular group assignments, etc).
  • Working to increase my response time
  • Making sure all indicators for various buffs are in place, meaningful, and accurate
  • Taking a good, hard look at her talent points to ensure they are properly allocated.

Here’s to making ourselves better! Think of it as a WoW New Year’s Resolution (albeit late).

Rush

Posted on: January 25, 2010

Who’s ready for a science lesson?!?

*pauses*

I said, who’s ready for a science lesson?!

*crickets*

Well, since it’s my blog, you’re going to get one anyways! HA! See how I tricked you there?

When humans are under stressful, threatening, or incredibly exciting conditions, we tend to respond with a basic “fight or flight” instinct. We either run away from our situation and regroup ourselves accordingly, or we take the bull by the horns (metaphorically, I don’t actually suggest trying this at home) and face our situation head on. No matter what we choose, our bodies are already beginning to prepare themselves in case of an emergency. The adrenal and pituitary gland are secreting epinephrine and endorphins into our blood stream, while our brain is sending signals by way of norepinephrine.

Wait. Back up. This is a WoW blog. Why are we using big words pertaining to our REAL bodies when normally we’d be healing the animated bodies around us. Well, it’s all connected.

Epinephrine (also known as adrenaline), norepinephrine, and endorphins are all different types of hormones released in our bodies  during times of stress (stress, in this case, meaning any thing physically or mentally dangerous or exciting; this can include pain, being scared, the sensation of falling, high tension situations, etc.).  Epinephrine is released through our adrenal glands right above our kidneys, and is responsible for increasing oxygen supply to our brains and muscles. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter, or a messenger, for our brains, and in addition to telling our hearts to beat faster, it is believed to increase attention/focus and our ability to make decisions quickly. Endorphins are controlled by our pituitary glands, and are released during times of stress and physical pain; they promote a sense of well being in the body and control the amount of pain our brain picks up.

So, now that we know a little bit about them…

The three hormones we’ve briefly touched upon usually combine to form what’s commonly known as an adrenaline rush.You know the feeling. The sense of euphoria you get when you’re screaming your lungs out on that new 90mph roller coaster. Or the jittery insomnia you experience the night before a major exam.  Maybe the exhilaration of an encounter you just can’t seem to beat…

That’s right. You don’t need to (thankfully) pull someone out of a burning building to feel the rush.  You can experience it in a controlled environment with nothing but a few hours of your time at stake.

I think that makes certain boss fights enjoyable:  the thrill of not knowing whether or not you’re going to succeed. If you were to go into Naxx and wipe repeatedly on Anub’Rekhan, well maybe you’d just get angry or put it aside. And once you finally DID succeed to kill him, chances are you’d be excited, but not euphoric.

Now picture yourself in Ice Crown Citadel, facing Professor Putricide with only 3 more attempts before Tirion comes in and tells you its time to throw in the towel. You can’t spend hours more wiping, you can’t even come back the next night to finish.  The pressure is tangible. And that’s when the rush starts setting in.

Now maybe some raiders come to the table with the cool, collected attitude that I’ve never had. But I’m pretty damn sure every single one of us last night was hopped up on the experience. I don’t rightly remember the last time we all raided in nearly complete silence, so intensely focused on our jobs. I don’t remember the last time me and my tree friend couldn’t find the words to describe the intensity of healing the last phase of the encounter.  The B.F. and I were up until ungodly hours of the night going over and over the fight, gleefully picking through every detail, too excited to even contemplate going to sleep. Just thinking about it, nearly 15 hours later, I can feel my heart start to race and the energy start to well up inside me.

And I can’t help but think that it’s a great mechanic of the game. Theoretically, we should perform a bit better while under the effects of the rush: all our attention is focused on the game. I know I did. I poured every bit of mana I could into the green bars on my screen. I pre-hotted, pre-casted. I stopped being overly concerned about my mana pool, relying on Sneaky the shadowfiend, and innervates, and *gasp* even mana pots! I felt completely in tune with Edainne at that moment, even though after years of healing on her I know her like the back of my hand.

And, in a way, it’s cathartic. We get to experience and release the emotions we don’t normally deal with in our day-to-day lives.

So, my dear readers, when was the last time WoW gave you such a rush? I’d love to hear others’ stories, maybe commiserate over fights that got my blood going, so to speak.