Light & Leafy

Archive for the ‘priest’ Category

Before I get into anything else, I do want to apologize for my silence in the blog, on Twitter, and in the SAN community, I took over a former co-worker’s position, and not only has it been stressful, but it has also thrown me out of my normal rhythm of writing during my lunch break as…well…I haven’t really had a proper one in the last two weeks. I’m now trying to get into a rhythm of writing at home, which, until this post, I’ve utterly failed at doing. So bear with me during this transition. ❤


So it’s here! I didn’t see it until someone emailed it to me at 7:30 this morning, but when I did I just about let loose a raucous burst of giggles in my cubicle. I’m only going to highlight the discipline/holy portions of the preview because in my world, shadow priests don’t exist. Well, maybe they do. I’ve heard rumors. But really, they’re just warlocks that return my mana. This just in! Hardcore Holy Priest Edainne has gone to the darkside (sort of). After deciding to roll a newbie priest on a PvP server that has some of my long-time friends on it, I decided that I would level her shadow (with a healing offspec, of course!). I know. It goes against every fiber in my being. But I will not give up! That being said, I still know jack-squat about being an effective shadow priest, and as such I still suggest you go find a real one to fill you in on the shadow priesty changes announced for Cataclysm (though according to Cassandri in the comments, there’s not much).

Here’s the breakdown we’ve gotten so far from the WoW Devs. If you’re really interested in all three trees and spells, head over to MMO Champion for a complete transcript of what the blues had to say. As with anything regarding the new expansion, anything written here, including opinions, are subject to beta-testing and change.

Masteries and You

In Cataclysm, each talent tree will have three masteries associated it. Think of masteries as bonuses for the tree : the more points you place in a given three, the more benefit you will get from that particular tree’s masteries. As of right now, your main tree will be what you get your masteries from (edited as I had originally used old Blizzcon Information only to be corrected =) )

The discipline and holy trees both have two of the same masteries: Healing and Meditation. Healing is exactly what it sounds like – for every point spent in that particular tree, you will notice an increase to your healing done. Meditation is directly related to your mana regeneration (think of like the current discipline talent, only you get it with each point you spend!).

For me, this is exciting news! Instead of placing points in talents just to earn more spell power or more regen, we can put points into interesting new spells or buffs that will boost our individual playstyle. At BlizzCon, the presiding theme over talent trees was to turn them into something more exciting and less cookie-cutter, and getting rid of all the talents that passively boost your healing output (and thereby make them “mandatory” to take) seems like a way to allow players to be more creative with their spec choices.

Now, Discipline and Holy trees each have one more mastery that is unique to that particular tree. Holy priests will receive a mastery called Radiance which esssentially adds a heal-over-time component to your direct heals. Depending on how large the heal over time is, it could be nice to counter static raid wide damage (think of Queen Lana’thel’s aura or Garfrost’s stacking debuff) or it could be a huge source of overhealing. The Discipline tree will have the third mastery of Absorption which, omgawd nowai!, increases the amount absorbed by shields and aegis and barriers, oh my! It seems like a fairly straight forward concept, and while it might not be shiny exciting mastery of gloriousness, to me it’s still quite an appropriate and dare I say expected mastery for the bubblers. I’ll let a real discipline priest chew on that more though as I am most certainly a holy priest first and foremost and a discipline priest amateur.

New Spells (and Talents!) of Awesomeness!

Yoink! I mean…Leap of Faith

This might be my new favorite spell in the game, if it makes it through the beta-testing. As developers mentioned in their chat yesterday, Leap of Faith is a spell all priests would get at level 85 that on a 45 second cool-down would allow the priest to yank friends out of danger.. That’s right. You can force people to gtfo of the fires. It is the antithesis of Deathgrip!

I love this idea. I don’t know how it will play out, or if I’ll be able to really use it effectively if I’m in tunnel-vision healy mode, but the concept alone wins in my brain. I am going to LOVE yoinking stupid melee dps who purposefully stand in the gosh darn fire because they can’t BEAR to loose their precious dps for one millisecond and force me to heal them through avoidable damage. Ahem.

I also really appreciate it from a pvp standpoint (a flag carrier who’s getting focused on in Warsong Gultch mayhaps), though it makes me a little bit worried for my survivability. If you knew that I could life-grip a person on my team to me if they were in trouble, wouldn’t you just kill me first? I find we already are boosting a giant HAI KILL ME NAO PEESE sign for just being the squishy balls of lights we are. But let’s be honest here. I only pvp’d enough so that I would have to spend beau coup gold to gem all of my alts.

Power Word : Barrier

It doesn’t seem like they’ve fully fleshed out this idea, but I’m drooling over the idea of it. Then again, as only an honorary shield-spamming bubblematic, I may not have any ground to stand on when it comes to discussing awesome discipline spells. But placing a freaking barrier over my group of friends to protect them from harm is the first thing that has really made me think, oh! Maybe it’s time to switch Eda’s spec.

Heal

In Cataclysm, the idea for healers is to have one efficient spell that covers their basic healing needs while everything else has its own niche (Greater Heal being only for situations that really need massive healing and Flash Heal being only for situations where you need that heal quickly, mana be damned). We’ve had this spell before, it just needed some attention after being on the highest shelf in the broom closet of the storage facility for the last two expansions By itself, it’s kind of an uninteresting spell, but the implications that come with it should be very exciting once we get more details about how exactly healing will work come the expansion.

Inner Will

We get to choose armor types! Inner Fire will still exist in its current form, granting spell power and armor. Inner Will will increase movement speed and decrease the cost of instant cast spells. It gives us a choice to make each fight to decide which will be more helpful. Inner Will might be more helpful on future encounters like Saurfang where you’re constantly tossing instant casts (bubbles, renew) on the raid while running around from things like those icky blood beasts. I really enjoy having to assess situations and adapt for new strategies.

Chakra

The developers described Chakra as a Holy Priest talent that would increase a certain type of healing after using a spell appropriate to that type of healing three times. So, imagine you’re healing a tank with Greater Heal. After the third cast, you would be granted a stacking buff that would increase your healing done to single targets. Or say if you did the same with Circle of Healing or Prayer of Healing – your area of effect healing would then be increased.

This was another theoretical talent that I really enjoyed the sound of. Sure, spamming the same spell from the same type may not be your typical raiding style, but being able to increase your specific healing niche for a fight seems like a very practical tool in a holy priest’s arsenal. One of the most enjoyable parts of playing my priest as holy is knowing that no matter the situation, I can handle it. I am the jill-of-all-trades healer, and Blizz seems to be supporting that style by allowing us to choose moment by moment what kind of healer we are.

Imagine if you will, a fight where a dedicated tank healer is needed. It’s you, a holy paladin (assuming they are still the undisputed kings of the single target heal), and a druid healing (assuming again that encounters need three healers). The holy paladin was just bludgeoned to death by a pack of marauding murlocs (don’t laugh, I’ve seen it happen). All of a sudden, the tank has no healer! Now, druids are perfectly able to heal tanks (I’ve done it. That’s the beauty of having so many healers I suppose), but you’re able to switch directly from healing the raid to healing the tank (with increased single target healing!) simply by casting a spell three times. It’s kind of like your very own ruby slippers. Only, instead of taking you home, they take you were you actually need to be.

In Conclusion

I’m EXTREMELY excited for the priest changes in Cataclysm. They seem to have read my mind and taken everything I loved about priest healing and just amplified it; well maybe not Life Grip — I was never creative enough to imagine that. To be honest, I’m just excited about healing changes in general – I like having to THINK about my choices rather than just spamming any and all of my spells with no consequences at all to my mana.

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?

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).

Me: I can haz tank 4 new instances? /cuddle
Bf: Sure, when do you want to run them?
Me: Nao! I luv lore!
Bf.: Ok, let’s grab some dps from the guild and head into heroics.
Me: Okies. I gotz phat lewtz. I can heal anything lolerskatez *smitesmitesmite*

Wednesday evening. The boyfriend and I decide to have a go at the 3 new instances, and because we’re obviously over-powered, we decide that we really don’t need to read up on them and we also don’t need to go into the normal versions.  Because, where’s the sense of adventure in that?  We grab a mage, a enhancement shaman, and a boomkin and away we go!

First things first! Forge of Souls! I get all the way out there, summon everyone and realize….I have one devout candle left. So I schlep back to Dalaran to buy reagents. In the mean time, everyone else has turned in the first quest and is ready to go. I fly back, salivate over all the juicy lore I’m reading, and finally finish so that Mr. Tank can go and pull the first group of mobs. Hey, those kinda resemble the nasties out in the various battle fields! We make it out into the open forge, and I’m breathless. It reminded me of the first time I saw Utgarde Keep; everything is so beautifully illustrated, and look at that down below! It’s a giant….

WHAT THE HELL?! Why is everyone’s health at or below 50%?! Oh-shit-oh-shit-oh-shit. Heal the tank. Heal the mage. Crap, the shaman’s almost dead. What in the name of the Light is going on here? Dammit, E., mark the stupid targets so that everyone isn’t dpsing something different and tanking their own mobs! You.Will.Not.Die. *Casts Divine Hymn*

We almost wiped in the 2nd pull of the instance. All because I was admiring the architecture of the guy I’m going to be comissioned to kill. We kept plugging right on through, each pull requiring me to, you know, actually heal. I don’t remember the last time (before I went into the Frozen halls) when I wasn’t bouncing around casting holy nova or dealing with guild workings as I instanced. By the time we got to the first boss, I had enough sense to start proactively casting renew, and using wow-lotta flash heals to keep my serendipity stacks up so I’d have a quick greater heal or prayer of healing when I really needed it. Trying to heal efficiently and effectively in a heroic?! I call poppycock.

After what felt like a lot of trash (damn you, ToC for making me think no trash was the new norm), we made it up to the  first boss. Since none of us really knew what the hell was going to happen, we all charged straight into the middle of the room. Didn’t really get everything that was going on, but we did figure out pretty quickly that those little elemental-looking soul fragments were bad news bears. “Kill the pink thingy while I try to kite him” became a common refrain. Then all of a sudden this purple swirly thing started flying around the outside of the room, and a DBM warning yelled at us to converge on the boss. Which, since it was a raid warning, seemed like the smart thing to do. At around 3% of his health, he feared me into the purple swirly stuff and I realized why my DBM yelled at me in the first place. I was feared to the edge of his room and before I was even able to reclaim control of my priest, I was in angel form, looking over my party members and screaming, “WTF” at my monitor.

A quick rez and rebuffing later, we were heading down the ramp towards the final corridor. “Hey, I don’t think we need to pull that wraith in the corner, so I’m just going to L.o.S. the one inside the hallway….”

Now, normally I think my boyfriend is one HELL of a tank. That particular time made me want to roll up a news paper and bop him on the nose: BAD TANK! BAD! Don’t you EVER make me have to heal through two of those wraiths again…

The Devourer of Souls actually wasn’t so so bad; we lost the shaman when he was the first recipient of Mirrored Souls and our Boomkin and Mage destroyed him, but really we were able to get through it relatively unscathed. Silly shaman…

Of course, now Ms. Jaina wants us to get our hands dirty in the Pit of Saron. Again, I was astonished about just how awesome everything looked. Between the Frost Wyrm mount, and just legions of slaves everywhere, it did feel pretty epic. Oh, and having my boyfriend rescue a female dwarf only for her to ask him to have her babies was gosh darn priceless (what kind of babies do you get when you mix an undead draenei and a dwarf….)

Not knowing our way around, we killed a LOT more trash than we need to. Like, the entire left side of the instance, where there are no bosses. Everything seemed to go swimingly, probably because both the tank and healer were prepared for things to, well, hurt. We got to Garfrost, and all of sudden, there appears to be a saronite node flying in the air! In my direction. What the…

OWOWOWOWOWOWOWWW.  Note to self: when a boss hurls METAL at you, its generally in your best interest to get the hell away. After he chucked a few large chunks of saronite at random team members, DBM was screaming for us to “Hide Behind the Rock.” Wha? What rock? The only thing in here is the saronite…oooohhh. That rock. I gotcha. The rest of the fight was pretty much running away from the airborn crafting material and then running behind it so he couldn’t destroy us with his AoE frost damage. And we won, and there were all the happy slave freed from their captors! Yay!

Now it’s time to make our way to Ick. Again, really didn’t take the easiest route to get to him, but meh. We made it! And, surprisingly, Ick and Krick weren’t very difficult to beat. Run away from the purple orbs, check. Don’t stand in the green goo, double check. Flail around when the nasty flesh beast is chasing you, yep I got it.

I’m a huge lore dork. I gobble the crap up. I literally will email myself the Know Your Lore columns from WoW Insider, or lore articles from WoWWiki to read while I’m at work. My boyfriend knows this. He teases me relentlessly about it. So, while Jaina is interrogating a gnome death knight giving essential plot points, where do you think I’ll be? Standing at the bottom of a gauntlet, rip-roaring and ready to go? Or sitting with my face thisclose to the screen, clapping my hands giddily and possibly squeaking in excitement?

I manage to tear my eyes away from the lore for a second, only to see that EVERYONE ELSE’S HEALTH BAR IS RED. Bloody, giant-warning-signal red. My darling, brilliant, oh-so loveable tank decided to charge up the gauntlet. Knowing full well that the president could be standing in our living room, and I would be telling him to shhhhhhush so I can hear what Jaina is saying. At this point, it’s really quite useless for me to charge up there myself, so I wait at the entrance to rez everyone. I will say though, I love the fight to Scourgelord Tyrannus. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else, but it feels so epic and keeps you on your toes the entire time; it gives the game a sense of urgency I had been hoping for desperately since we were having a Ren Faire in the Lich King’s back yard.

Scourgelord’s fight was really not challenging at all, though I kind of wish I knew about his mechanics before I went in. I would have switched to my discipline spec to absorb the damage, rather than heal people (and Tyrannus in the process).

Around this time I realized I should really make dinner. And, of course, dinner comes with down time and some catching up on our T.V. shows. Thing is, our couch is magical. And by magical I mean ridiculously comfortable. I really, truly tried to stay awake, but once he was asleep on the couch, I knew I was a goner. I think we woke up around midnight to brush our teeth and stumble into our bed.

Thursday night, we decide that we REALLY want to go back and finish the questline on Osyras (his DK) and Edainne. We grab a few friends, thinking it won’t take but a minute. People have already done the fight (though, maybe not on this particular character), so we know that there will be 2 bosses with 5 waves of fast spawning trash before each of them.  AND everyone has to sit through the lore so impatient tank can’t be impatient! No problem, right?

I wanted to cry. For the first time, ever, I felt like I was a completely atrocious healer. I mean, I’ve made plenty of mistakes before, but this time I just couldn’t heal through anything. And if anyone died, we were kind of screwed since the trash spawns just quick enough to prevent any resurrection. We wiped so much I literally had to port back to Dalaran and repair (Also, wtf, Blizz? Why are there no repair posts close to the instances? Why are they all inside the freaking raid?!). I was frozen by archers, shadowstepped/slowed by freaking footmen, and devoured by mages. AND we were in one of the alcoves to the side. Seriously, the bosses were freaking jokes compared to the trash waves. I was using guardian spirit on CD and the shadow priest and I were blowing divine hymns and shackling anything that wasn’t getting hit by AoE. Eventually we made it through, but damn. I felt so utterly useless.

Trying not to spoil anything, I lurved the gauntlet as much as I lurve the cave in Pit of Saron. Being chased like that? AWESOME! Recognizing that at this moment we’re not strong enough yet to face the might of the scourge? Sa-weet!

Speaking of the gauntlet, wanna know something funny? You can get ahead of the walls. True fax. You’ll kill your party members in the process when they can’t tank the adds and everything ends up killing Jaina, but you can TOTALLY get ahead of the group, isn’t that right darling? *cough*

All in all, it was a helluva fun night. I ran the three instances again, and once I knew what I was doing and what the heck was going on, it wasn’t nearly as lawlfail as these attempts were.

Tl;dr: Eda’s a nub healer who’s lore-crazy, and the new instances are pretty and epic and feel like you actually are where you’re needed to be.

I haven’t done a ten man raid on my priest in a VERY long time. I usually save her for the group I’ve raided with since The Burning Crusade; but between work schedules and lack of desire to play on some of our member’s parts, it’s been quite a few weeks since I’ve found myself in a 10 man before the week’s over. Figuring it was Sunday night, and that Onyxia is not usually a place we need a 3rd healer anyways, I decided to pug it up some. I still could put her head to use and upgrade one of my Ulduar rings. I found a death knight from a guild I had never heard of who was looking for more healers for a 10 man Ony. Sure. Why not? The boyfriend even hopped on his elemental shaman for some Tier 9 action!
I should have known when the death knight answered my innocent, “does everyone know the fights?” with a “Lol. It’s only Onyx.”
I got to the stone before everyone else, even when I was one of the last people invited to the group. As I summoned people, and laughed about my boyfriend’s gear (it’s his 5th 80 to be fair), a giant raid warning popped up: R U DISC OR HOLY?
Me: I’m holy….or discipline I suppose. Why?
RW: IT WOULD BE EASIER FOR YOU TO MT HEL AS DISC
Me: Uh, I don’t think it would be much different either way. I can tank-heal fine as a holy priest. =)
RW: DISC IS FOR TANK HEAL HOLY IS FOR RAID WE HAVE SHAMAN SO WE NEED TANK HEALS
Me:….

Me (to guild and boyfriend): /facepalmbear

Clearly, the raid leader had never played a priest of any kind. I obliged him, because I wasn’t interested in educating him about greater heal or my glyphed guardian spirit or empowered renew. And, I never raid as disc with my guild, so why not?
We killed Onyxia. With the raid leader barking out instructions every single step of the way via raid warnings! Yay for micromanagement! Was it pretty? No. Was I crying and trying to find on my discipline bars my guardian spirit when the resto shaman ran into Ony’s tail (twice!) and flew into the whelp caves? Oh yes. I mourned the loss of my circle of healing and surge of light, though I’d be lying if I didn’t say I felt like a champ bubbling everyone when the adds came pouring out.  Also, not even using half of my mana is OP!
Halfway through her air phase, the raid leader, a handful dps and the tree were down. I was nearly giddy when she finally was brought back to her cave’s floor. We sludged through her last 30%, with half our dps down, and our resto shaman out of mana. Somewhere around 10% I ended up standing next to her front left leg, and a fear threw me in front of her, letting  Onyxia cleave me into oblivion (where is my pretty spirit form to heal everyone? *sniffles*).
It was the kind of run that was so bad, but ultimately successful, that you could laugh through it. I had fun playing with bubbles and Weakened Soul/Grace. Also, Penance makes me giggle. The same way that prayer of mending does because it’s kind of like I’m punching someone to life. Maybe I’m just a sadistic healer….