Archive for the ‘Healing’ Category

Consistency, Please.   60 comments

Today I’d like to address a problem that has been plaguing us since the conversion to 25 man raids from 40 man raids back at the start of The Burning Crusade.  Something that has been frustrating not only as a healer, but as a raid leader as well.  The problem: consistent healing requirements (or lack thereof) through content.

When I walked uphill both ways to Molten Core, setting up your healing roster was simple: 5 Priests, 5 Druids, 5 Shaman.  15 slots of your 40 were dedicated to your healing team.  Or, put mathematically, 37.5% of your raid roster was allocated to healers.  As guild’s made the transition from 40 people to 25, somewhere that percentage got jumbled.

When The Burning Crusade started, I think it was fairly common to run an 8 healer roster for most encounters.  Broken down, you just took two of each class – at least until you got to Sunwell, and half of your healers had to reroll Shaman.  Most encounters could be done plus or minus a healer, and most raids were run with 7-9 depending on the encounter.  In fact, I think the only encounter that really favored 9 was Illidan, and even then, only while learning the fight.  I have memories of our Feral druids having to respec Resto on nights when we were short healers.

However, I think the average was probably 7-8 healers for most raid teams.  Or, put mathematically, ~32% of your raid.  A slight decline, but nothing that was too out of whack.

The introduction of Wrath of the Lich King – and more specifically, the content patch that introduced Ulduar, is where I think things started to go amiss, especially with hard modes coming forth in earnest.  You were required to have a deep healing roster, because you had fights like Heroic Freya where you took eight healers to meet the damage requirements.  But then you had fights like Heroic Hodir, where we three healed our first kill.  The rest of the zone was somewhere in between – with no level of consistency.  5 healers for Yogg, 8 healers for Thorim, 6 for XT.  As you cleared through the zone, no two fights had the same requirement, and your healing team was constantly adjusting to the requirements of the encounter.

In simpler terms you ranged from needing between 12% and 32% of your raid being allocated to healers.

As we entered Cataclysm, I had hoped that this would be somewhat alleviated.  And for most of T11, I felt it was – at least a bit.  We ran most of our T11 content with 7 healers.  We dropped to 6 for Heroic Cho’gall, Nef and Sinestra.  And we ran 8 for pre-nerf Magmaw and Chimearon.  But we pretty stubbornly kept 7 of our raid slots allocated to healers throughout the content, at least as much as we could.

And then came Firelands.  We cleared Normal out in a week, using 7 healers for everything.  However, as we approached heroic content, we found that we were once again yo-yoing healers.  We 7 healed Heroic Shannox, because we could.  But we had to drop down to 6 for Alysrazor and Rhyolith.  Back up to 7 for Beth’tilac.  Down to 5 for Baleroc and Staghelm.  And we are now finding ourselves at 4 healers for Heroic Ragnaros.  We are again jockeying between 14% and 28% of our raid team for healers.

And it sucks.

The Problem with “Off Spec” DPS

I am sure that some of the people who read this post are going to say “well, that’s what Dual Specs are for”.   Only, it’s not really the elegant solution that certain people think that it is.  Let me see if I can explain why.  For starters, people who join a raid to heal, generally want to heal.  It’s where they feel they are strongest.  It’s their comfort zone.  And most importantly, it’s what they find fun.  Which is, consequently, why they are doing it.

Secondly, healing is a very different beast to DPSing.  Many of the base mechanics of what you do as a healer have little or nothing to do with what you do as a DPS.  People who aren’t comfortable at DPS, of find DPSing natural to them, are going to flail a bit when it comes to having to DPS.  They aren’t necessarily going to be the same caliber player in a spec and role that they aren’t comfortable performing.  It’s frustrating.  Being strong DPS takes dedication and practice.  Just because you are an amazing Bicyclist, doesn’t mean that you can hop on a Unicycle and not fall off.  It’s a completely different game, and not everyone will excel at it.  Which in turn means that if you are having to sit healers to bolster DPS, you are likely better bringing in a full member of your DPS team than asking a healer uncomfortable in their DPS spec to swap specs.

The worst part of this is that the only way to get better is by doing.  Which means that they have to do something that they don’t particularly enjoy just so that they aren’t a liability when asked to fill that role.  Which means that they have to spend even less time doing what they truly want to do (healing), just so they can get better at something they don’t really want to be doing (DPSing).  It’s a very nasty catch 22.

Thirdly, there is always going to be a gear discrepancy.  I always keep a full balance set.  But it’s always behind our full time DPS.  For starters, I don’t get my set bonuses until I have all of my resto gear, and I just got my four piece moonkin bonus last night.  And of those four pieces, only one is heroic quality.  The rest of my gear is a mish-mash of resto gear, and gear that I can throw together outside of raids through rep rewards of valor point purchases.  Occasionally I may get a DPS upgrade in a raid, but they are rare because healers aren’t going to be awarded DPS gear over a main spec DPS.  Which, in turn, means that my DPS gear isn’t always the best optimized, and it’s generally at least half a tier behind.  This means that even if I can do awesome DPS – I’m likely still not going to be able to pull the same numbers of an equally skilled person in their better, main spec gear.  Again, meaning that it would be more beneficial to the raid to bring in that player over me in a DPS spot.

Lastly, it can be a very demoralizing experience that can eventually break people.  People in competitive raid teams want to be competitive.  They want to do their best.  They want to be performers.  And if they are constantly at the bottom, in their off spec role, it will eventually get to them.  As can comments that are meant to be a joke, or even comments meant to be helpful, about their performance in their off spec.  The other night I bit the bullet and DPS’d for Heroic Staghelm.  It was my first time for that fight in that role.  I was mildly competitive with some of our lower DPS – but when push came to shove, at the end I beat the tank.  I’m one of our top performers as a healer – and what I got to say about my undergeared, and uncomfortable performance as DPS was “Hey!  I beat the tank…at least”.  Frankly, I was embarrassed.

We have a resto druid that’s been playing moonkin for 3/4ths of our raid time for the past month as we push heroic Rag, who I am positive has been in tears on the other side of her computer on more than one occasion in that time.  She is trying her ass off, I don’t have a doubt in my mind about that.  But when push comes to shove, she’s not comfortable with the spec, and as a guild we are asking her to do something she’s not comfortable with for the success of the raid for an extended period of time.  And she’s a champ and doing it – but I don’t doubt that she feels miserable many of our raid nights.  In fact, I know that she feels like she’s a detriment, because she’s told me she feels that way and has openly offered to sit out for someone who will do more DPS.

And you know what?  It makes me feel like shit to know that she’s uncomfortable and borderline miserable for 3 of our 4 raid nights.  And yet here I am asking her to keep her chin up and keep trucking along…because I can only bring four fucking healers into the fight and I value her too much as a player and asset to our raid team for her to miss the kill.

The inconsistency is unfair to players.

In the end, it’s the players that suffer when there are such huge swings of inconsistency in what a raid requires to succeed.  It’s the raid leaders who have to determine which healers to bench fight after fight.  It’s the healers who have to attempt to learn to be comfortable and viable as a DPS, something that very few raiders have asked of them.  It’s the raids that have to build a deeper DPS bench so that they can accommodate fights that need a fraction of the healers as others, and conversely have to be benched when a fight needs more healers to succeed.

In the end, it would be amazing if the development team could pick a set number of healers that they think should be viable for every encounter.  I don’t care if that number is 5, 6, 7 or 8.  I’d just like to stop having to constantly adjust to meet the demands of an encounter.  I’d like to be able to build a healing roster and know that I’m not going to have to bench half of them (or offspec them) for several of the encounters in a content tier.  I’d just like a little consistency.  And I don’t think that it’s too much to ask.

Posted October 11, 2011 by Beruthiel in /rant, Healing, Raiding

Wednesday, er, Wonderings? Marvelous Mynn Edition!   8 comments

It’s not Monday, and I’m a bit behind on everything, so here is my weekly brain dump on, er, Wednesday.  But with good reason!  Which I will tell you about later.  Maybe.

On Raiding

Things are pretty static on this front, without much to report!  Which isn’t necessarily bad.  We snagged a second Baleroc kill (not without some effort, but it wasn’t too painful) and ended up with a good amount of time to flirt with Heroic Ragnaros for the first time.  Except it was a holiday weekend.  And no matter how many times you ask people to give you a heads up on their holiday intentions, it’s always a scramble at the last-minute when raid time comes.

That means we only got one of two nights to focus on him – but were able to go in an 24 man Heroic Cho’gall and Sinestra on Sunday with a few friends and family members tossed in to help.  Alas, she was stingy with her Shard of Woe, which made us all a little sad.  But Monday, with the healers showing that they don’t believe in vacations and free beer, we were able to go in and play around a bit with the big fire kahuna.  And it was a lot of fun.

I’m quite sure that after week 3 the novelty of finding new and interesting ways to wipe on Heroic Rag will wear off, but for now it’s still fresh enough that people seem to be enjoying the progress.  We have approached the fight with the mentality that this will take months to master, and each night we look at the next small step we need to accomplish to get to the end goal – a kill.  Breaking the massive encounter up into smaller pieces of progression markers makes the encounter a little less intimidating for me, and I’d like to think others as well.  While the end result is still a kill, we are trying to make sure that we don’t burn out our guild trying to get there.  Each small achievement is one more step down that path.  And eventually enough small successes will combine themselves into a large success.

We’ll get a kill on our time, and my only goal is to see that happen before the next content patch.  Personally, I’m looking forward to the challenge. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted September 7, 2011 by Beruthiel in Blizzcon, Brain Dump, Deep Thoughts, Hard Modes, Healing, Mynn, Raiding

Healing Baleroc 10 Man (video guide)   14 comments

One of the most common questions that I’ve been asked is how to handle Baleroc 10 man normal as a druid.  It’s something that a lot of druids struggle with, so if you are struggling a bit, it’s ok!  You are not alone!  As such I decided that it might be worthwhile to do a guide of this encounter from a 10 man normal perspective from my alt druid, Elentari.  Now, I’ve offered a strategy for the fight that works for us.  However, there are many ways to skin a cat, so please keep in mind that just because this works for us, doesn’t mean that it will necessarily work well for your team!  However, it was my hope and goal with this video that I could answer some of the more common questions that I get regarding this fight in it’s 10 man iteration.  Additionally, if you run a 10 man regularly, and have additional advice or tips and tricks that you use, please comment on them below!  I am confident that others would be thrilled for the feedback.

Before we get to the video, there are a few things that I’d like to note.  Elentari is in gear that is a mish mash of what she had available to her.  She doesn’t have any set bonuses (well, so does now, but didn’t at the time I made the video) and she doesn’t have any neat haste trinkets or racials.  This is the reason that I wanted to capture her healing it and not Beru.  Because she is likely geared similarly to a lot of other druids out there looking at Baleroc for their first time.  She doesn’t have full BiS gear from any tier and she’s just doing her best to make magic happen!  In the actual video, I make an enormous number of mistakes and it is far from my best performance.  However, the video is meant to be more of a “this is how we tackle this in a 10 man setting” and I wanted to get it out timely, rather than wait to see if I can get a “perfect” capture of the fight were I make fewer errors. So you have me not playing my best with all my warts out for everyone to see, but with what I’m hoping is insightful commentary.  :)  I’m not setting any records here, but that’s ok!  My goal isn’t to dominate the fight, it’s to try and help druids at all gear and skill levels who are struggling on the 10 man version of this encounter.   As such, I hope you will forgive me my flaws.  Lastly, and this is very important, please do not be like me and keep your LB active!

Phew!  I honestly think I’m more nervous about posting this video than I have any of my others!  Well, now that is out of the way, here is the guide.

(please note that it will be best viewed in one of the larger resolutions)

A few additional comments!

  • I know that in my video we commented that we have a paladin solo heal his shard/tank.  We always have a paladin for this task, because if the paladin from the video isn’t available, I heal it on my paladin.  That being said, if you do not run with a paladin do not despair! I think that a disc priest could probably do the job equally as effectively.  Not only that, but I think that probably any strong healer that was comfortable with it can probably do the solo part, but paladins and priests do really well at this fight and their bubble mitigation is amazing.  Ultimately, try having your strongest healer run solo and pair up the other two and you will probably be fine!
  • 2 tanks and 3 healers means that your DPS does have to carry through a bit.  Our first kills on this in our alt run shaved very closely to the enrage timer.  However as long as you have solid DPS you should be fine.  I am a pretty firm believer that a two tank strategy is more stable and far easier on your healers.  It does put the burden on your DPS, but if they can pull through you will have a much easier time of it!
  • I just wanted to reiterate that there are many ways to skin the cat!  Just because this strategy works well for us does not mean it will translate well to your raid team.  Don’t hesitate to mix it up a bit and take the pieces of it that you like, and discard the pieces that you don’t like!
  • In the video, I make a comment regarding mana gain from two piece T11.  I really mean 2 piece T12!
  • You can also find some additional information on the fight (including my power auras) in my 25 man version of the guide.
I hope that this is helpful!  Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions, and I heartily encourage other 10 man druids to leave commentary on their experiences and what worked well for them!

Posted September 2, 2011 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, Healing, Video

Healing Heroic Baleroc (video guide)   3 comments

Heroic Baleroc.  The “healers” fight for this expansion.  I think I’m going to rename it to “the fight where your disc priests and paladins completely kick your ass!”.  I jest!  In all honesty, when push comes to shove, this fight is more about the raids situational awareness and ability to meet the enrage timer than it is about the healing. I’d say that it’s probably 60% situational awareness, 20% DPS, 10% healing and 10% OH GOD TANK USE ANOTHER COOLDOWN!  There are a lot of moving factors with the encounter, but once you get it down, it’s a lot of fun.  Oh, and don’t sit idle if you are told that you can’t heal this fight.  We used a 1 paladin, 2 disc priest and 2 resto druid healing combination to learn the encounter and repeat our kill.  We are absolutely viable on this encounter ;)

With such a quick encounter, it doesn’t leave a whole lot of time in the videos for much information outside of just walking through how I heal, so there are quite a few tips that I couldn’t get into the video below!

As always, please note that this video is best viewed in one of the higher resolutions.

A few tips!

  • Save your glory for another fight.  You will not be able to keep up with your Holy Paladins and Disc Priests on this encounter.  I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try!  Just don’t be discouraged if they more than double your healing done.  To give you an example, on our second kill I think I ranked like 68th in the world on WoL at ~23k HPS while our disc priest ranked at only 123 with just under 42k HPS.  Also, don’t fight your disc priests and your paladins for the chance to supercharge their spark stacks.  They have the best tools to keep your tanks alive on this fight, and they really are going to be your strongest healers for that job.  It’s ok!  You are still viable, but they truly should get the juicy roles this time!
  • Don’t Believe Everything You See.  While both Skada and Recount do a fair job in attempting to track absorbs, they aren’t 100% accurate, especially on this encounter.  I don’t know why, but they seem to struggle in allocating which absorbs are being used.  You can see in the video the pink bar just dominates across the top of my healing/absorb meter.  However, when you upload the parse into WoL it tells you a vastly different story.  The reason that I’m sharing this is so that if you have struggles while learning the fight, you know not to rely solely on recount/skada to review what may be healing issues.
  • Power Building Spark Stacks.  You probably heard me mention “Power building” a few times.  Let me explain what that is!  For our first two ranged shards we have a shadow priest that “solos” the shard.  This allows the healers that are on that shard to build stacks very, very quickly.  The way that this works is that at 11 stacks the shadow priest gets a Pain Suppression.  At 19 stacks the shadow priest disperses.  By the end of the shard, they will have ~25 stacks of torment and healers that are focused on them can really juice up their vital spark stacks.  The two healers who will be the main healers focused on the tank should be assigned to these two shards so that they can build >100 spark stacks in that time and focus solely on the tanks after that.  (You will notice that in the video I mention I try to sneak a few quick heals in to boost my stacks as well).
  • The Numbers.  We use 2 tanks, 5 healers and 18 dps for this encounter.  This really requires your DPS to push themselves hard to meet the enrage timer (you saw we came just short of it in the video).  Some people utilize a one tank strategy for the encounter, but that puts a lot of extra burden on your healers during decimation blade.  A two tank strategy is the more stable strategy if you have the DPS to navigate the encounter.  As a side note, our first kill also came just shy of the DPS timer, but our OT that night (a feral druid aka Brade) saw it coming and lined up some hefty magic (aka hax druid cooldowns) and was able to tank out the last few seconds of the fight after the Inferno Blade tank died.
  • The Healing.  We set up the fight in the following fashion.  Shard 1: Disc/Paladin ranged shard (shadow priest), Resto Druid melee shard, Disc/Resto Druid Baleroc Tank.  Shard 2: The same as Shard 1, only the paladin swaps over to the Baleroc tank when his shadow priest is at ~19-20 stacks of torment to help smooth the transition.  Shard 3: Disc/Paladin/Druid on Baleroc Tank, Disc on ranged shard, Druid on melee shard.  Shard 4: Disc/Druid on Baleroc Tank, Paladin builds stacks, Disc/Druid same as shard 3.  Shard 5: Disc/Paladin on Baleroc tank, Druid on tank/building sparks as able, Disc/Druid same as Shard 3.  All remaining shards are the same as Shard 5.  Now, there are a few times that the healers change.  If one of the two torment healers receives the tormented debuff, they are paired off with another healer and they swap assignments while tormented is active.  So the tormented healer heals the tanks, while the non-tormented healer heals the shards.  Our disc priests are paired up and our resto druids are paired up.  Now, if BOTH end up having tormented, other healers need to step in and help with the torment targets.  This healing strategy may not work for everyone, but works well for us.
  • Tormented.  This is really the bane of this encounter!  It is essential to have a game plan for how to deal with back ups when one of your shard soakers has tormented.  It’s also pretty important for you melee to have a “game plan” for how to move, so that they don’t infect each other.  We work out back ups in advance, and often have to have a ranged back up step in to help the melee.  The biggest piece of advice that I can give anyone about dealing with the tormented debuff is to have good communication.  Once you work that out, the debuff becomes a lot easier to manage.  The second piece of advice that I can give regarding it is to set designated “clean” areas that people should stand in if they aren’t afflicted with torment and “dirty” areas where they should be if they are.  This should help prevent unintentional spread of the debuff around the raid.
  • MORE DODGE!  I can’t say that I know a lot about tanking this fight, and I’m not going to pretend that I can give you much advice on that front.  However, I will say that your decimation blade tank will be your healer’s best friend if s/he can dodge as many of those decimation blades as possible.  Decimation blade tanks should work to build avoidance sets specifically for this fight.  How they go about doing that is beyond my knowledge, but I’m sure you can find the information with a few clicks and a google search!
I almost forgot!  Power Auras!  I added two new auras for this encounter.  One to let you know when you have the tormented debuff and one to let you know that you have countdown and how much time is left on the debuff.
  • Tormented
Version:4.21; buffname:Tormented; x:-307; bufftype:2; alpha:1; owntex:true; y:142; texmode:2
  • Countdown
Version:4.21; buffname:Countdown; x:200; bufftype:2; alpha:1; owntex:true; y:92; texmode:2; timer.h:4.05; timer.enabled:true; timer.cents:false; timer.y:48; timer.x:240

Once your healers get into a groove, this fight really becomes less about the healing and more about the raid focusing weaving through the torment mechanics.  Between the video and what I posted above, I think I covered most everything, but if you have any questions (or I missed something!) please don’t hesitate to let me know!  Good Luck and Have Fun!

Posted September 2, 2011 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, Hard Modes, Healing, Video

Healthy Competition Builds Stronger Healers   18 comments

There has been a bit of a stir up in the community lately regarding the concept of  Heal Sniping and how it’s viewed by different healers.  I’ve already offered my thoughts on it in several different comments as I worked my way through each post, and I’m not going to rehash them here.  However, all of this discussion did get me thinking about a tangentially related topic.  Competition.

Competition is not a four letter word.

Something that regularly confuses me a little bit is why people tend to classify healing competition as a bad thing.  I mean, we ask all of our DPS to compete with each other regularly.  We even go so far as to look at who is on the top and who is on the bottom – and to an extent insinuate that those on the bottom should strive to be on the top.  Granted, there are encounters where DPS are given special assignments that will hinder their DPS for the good of the raid, but generally DPS is a rat race to see who can contribute the most for any given encounter.

We expect this of them and consider it good play. Read the rest of this entry »

Healing Heroic Alysrazor (video guide)   3 comments

The next Tier 12 boss that we tackled was Heroic Alysrazor.  In all honesty, this has been one of my favorite fights so far this tier.  I don’t know if it’s the running around rampantly while casting, or just all the different aspects of the encounter.  I just really had a lot of fun learning the fight.  The video that you see below was our second kill.  I made a few large mistakes that I wasn’t happy with in our first kill, so I captured our repeat performance for the video (which I also make mistakes in!).  Because the fight is so long, I was actually able to cover most everything in the video, but I do have a few things to add below.

Please note that this video is best viewed at one of the higher resolutions.

A few notes!

  • Mana – It’s pretty much a non-issue on this encounter.  This is largely because you get a full mana reset every full rotation.  You will likely have to innervate in phase 1 the second time around (and perhaps the third, if you have a third) because you do go through a fair chunk of mana during the AE, but I was never really pinched on mana to the point that I felt I needed to hold back or be particularly “smart” about what and when I was casting.  Don’t hesitate to bomb your tanks as needed, you will have the opportunity to refuel :)
  • Haste Cooldowns – Outside of the big damage phases at the start and in phase 4, there really isn’t a huge need for saving your haste cooldowns.  Use them freely to help heal the tank during heavy damage phases, such as tantrums.
  • Tank/Healer Communication – I did touch on this in the video some, but I wanted to reiterate it here.  Communication between your tanks and your healers is important.  You tanks should communicate when they are going to make fast transitions to a worm (such as heroic leap or feral charge), and they should also communicate when they are going to take a tantrum without a cooldown, or for an extended period of time.  Additionally, tanks should communicate meteor navigation so that they don’t end up out of LoS of their healers while moving around meteors that spawn in their worm areas.
  • Dodging the Bad – It can get kind of hairy, and can be tricky to navigate everything going on during the fight.  You will get into a grove after some practice, and it will become almost second nature to dodge fire worms and the brush fires.  However, it is important while you are learning the fight that you make a concerted effort to stay clear of things that will do damage to you.  The extra GCDs that it takes to fix those mistakes at the wrong time could potentially be the death of a tank.  Once you get the hang of running around while casting, it gets hard to remember that you cannot run and cast on every fight!
  • Tornadoes - Remember, you are only responsible for you in tornado phases.  You cannot save stupid here, and you will likely kill yourself trying.  If you are comfortable enough to toss out a heal or two, go for it.  But do not risk your life because someone else got careless.  You are number one in this phase of the fight and everyone else needs to be responsible for themselves.  I will swap my LB to myself for this phase and Barkskin right as the tornadoes are spawning as an extra precaution.
Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have questions.  Good Luck and Have Fun!

Posted August 14, 2011 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, Hard Modes, Healing, Video

Monday Musings – Stay Out of the Fire Edition   2 comments

So, this weekend I saw Cowboys vs. Aliens.  I will come out and say right now that the only redeeming thing about the movie was getting to see Daniel Craig in chaps for two hours.  In fact I’d even go far enough to say that I got more enjoyment out of wiping to Alysrazor all night on Sunday than I did watching that movie.  I mean, to be fair, I really didn’t have high expectations for the movie from the start.  I mean, the concept just seemed…off to me.  Be that as it may, even Brade rated it as “wait for video”!

On Raiding

We have been working on Heroic Alysrazor.  Contrary to what my raid may believe, I find it a really fun fight, but that might just be because I get to run around and cast ALL my heals while doing so.  Feathers own.  Anyhow, we’ve been working on the encounter and have pretty much narrowed a kill down to “everyone surviving”.  If people live, we will win.

We had a 7% wipe last night, after just a night and a half working on the fight.

People have died to any number of things during the fight.  Worms, brushfire, tornadoes, meteors.   You name it, someone in our raid has probably died to it.  Unfortunately, a kill on the encounter will boil down to individual play and survival.  If our raid can live, we will have a kill.  If our raid cannot live, we will wipe.

We are sub 50% after the first burn phase.  We are usually low 30’s for the second burn phase.

As a leader, I feel somewhat impotent on this encounter.  It’s mildly frustrating to have nothing to offer your raid outside of “just please, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY, stay out of the bad”.  It’s not something that can be fixed on the macro level of the raid, but rather needs attention at the micro level of each player.  Of course, after a few hours of the fight when I see someone die my inner monologue goes something like this: COME ON! I can bloodly well heal the tank, heal your brushfire eating ass, heal your tornado hitting ass AND still dodge the bad.  WHY IS IT THAT YOU CANNOT DO YOUR JOB AND DO THE SAME?!?!? RAWR!!!

Of course, it’s just a few minutes after having such thoughts that I usually do something stupid and am forced to eat the words of my inner monologue.  I guess that’s karma for you.

I think we will probably spend an hour or so with the fight tonight to see if we can net a kill out of her.  We have a working strategy.  We aren’t failing at the DPS check.  So ultimately, it’s going to be up to each individual to determine our success.  We will either get it done tonight, or we won’t.  I’d like to think that we will – but I watched too many hours of people standing in the bad for it to be a sure thing ;)

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Healing Heroic Beth’tilac (video guide)   5 comments

The third Firelands heroic that we tackled was Beth’tilac.  It was a fairly fun fight to heal, and I definitely felt growth in how I approached healing it during our attempts leading up to the kill.  For the encounter I am assigned to heal one of the spiderling/broodling DPS at their assigned cave.  Of the three heroics we’ve done so far, I feel that this one has the biggest healing push as well as DPS push to get through it.  It has challenging moments during phase 1, and takes literally everything you got by the end of phase 2.  I had a lot of fun with the encounter, and I hope that you do as well!

Please note that this video will be best viewed at one of the higher resolutions.

A Few Notes!

  • Barkskin – Even if it’s something that you regularly forget to use, you should be using it here.  If for no other reason that to try and conserve some healer mana.  Barkskin every time that Beth rains on the raid in phase 1, and then on cooldown in phase 2.
  • Timing Haste Cooldowns – I touched on it very briefly in the video, but wanted to address it in more detail here.  You should make every effort to time your haste cooldowns, when possible, for when you need more burst healing in the encounter.  During the rain in phase 1, and anytime during phase 2.  I like to start the fight with my SoW for my first WG and Rejuv on my soaker and myself going into my opening tranq  and then coming out of the tranq activating NG to help stabilize the raid, even if it’s just a couple of GCDs worth of WG.  Maximizing when you use that haste will be extremely helpful for this encounter.
  • Managing Your Mana – I have yet to have any other encounter this tier that has taxed my mana they way this one has.  I work very hard to try to manage my mana going into phase 2 so that I enter into it at at least 75%.  I innervate after the first spew phase as soon as power torrent procs, and then on cooldown afterwards.  I make a conscious effort not to heal more than needs to be done during the first phase.  I use nourish as a filler on my soaker when I can get away with it, and even though it’s not the most effective use (hps wise) of efflorescence, I still rely on swiftmend to help get my soaker topped up because it’s cost effective and if he stays in the efflorescence, it’s cheap healing.  I’m careful about how much rejuv I toss out in the first phase.  I always pot.  I usually use a mana potion, but I think I could probably sneak in a concentration potion early into phase 2.  However, we have a number of healers who are hurting significantly more for mana than I am, so I usually yield that time for them to pot.  By the end of the fight, all of your healers will be feeling the pinch.
  • Tree of Life – I’m not 100% sure that I like my second ToL timing, and I’m still debating if it would be better to use that latter in the fight when you are more pinched on mana and Beth is hitting much harder.  It’s a tough call because you want to conserve as much mana as possible early in phase 2, but there is still a fair bit of healing to be done.  Which, ultimately, is why I opt for ToL at that juncture.  I’m going to play around with moving where I use this cooldown in phase 2, and would encourage you to find a time in the phase that you  think it fits your healing, and the needs of your healing team, best.
  • The Healing – We use seven healers for this encounter.  We’ve used any combination of our healing team while learning the fight.  We send only two healers up to the web (a Holy paladin and a Resto Druid or Holy Priest), have one healer assigned to each of the three caves/soakers, and have two healers assigned to the drone tank/raid.  When Beth spews on the raid in phase 1, everyone does what they can to help keep the raid alive.  In phase 2, we have two healers on the tanks and the other five dealing with the raid damage.
  • Communication – I cannot stress enough how important communication is for this encounter!  Your broodling teams need to communicate with each other, as well as their back ups when they miss one, are focused by the drone, etc.  If a broodling makes it to the raid during the spew, it’s likely that you are going to lose members of your raid.  The best thing you can do is communicate.  It’s equally important that your web team have strong communication as well.  Your web tank should call out when he’s up, the web healers should communicate when they are up, and the DPS should only go up after those two things happen.
Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have questions!  Good Luck and Have Fun!

Posted August 7, 2011 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, Hard Modes, Healing, Video

Healing Heroic Shannox (video guide)   3 comments

I finally got some video that I’m comfortable sharing with you for our heroic Shannox kills.  It’s not our cleanest kill, to be perfectly honest, but I decided if I waited much longer trying to get a “perfect” shot, the guide would be obsolete.  In all honesty, some of the trouble I have had with getting good footage is because in our first two kills I got myself trapped.  I really struggled with that mechanic of the fight while leading the raid – and ultimately had to take a step back in the “leading” part to fix my performance.  That’s not to say that I trapped myself every time we pull this fight – in fact, 95% of the time I am fine.  But those first couple of kills I managed to plant right into one like a champ.  In fact, our third kill, the guild was convinced we wouldn’t win unless I trapped myself and tried to convince me to do just that (I refused!).

Needless to say, you can’t get a very good feel for healing the fight from inside of a giant block of amber ;)

In this particular pull, there are still a few mistakes we make as a raid.  We have a little bit of trouble resetting Rageface’s stacks early on and lose a couple of people as a result.  We also lose our riplimb tank at 8% – from rewatching the video it looks like his heroic leap didn’t update his positioning in time and the game registered him still in Shannox’s spear throw.  Regardless, I do feel that it’s a good representation of the encounter.

Please note that this will be best viewed in one of the higher resolutions.

A Few Notes!

  • The Healing – We use 7 healers for this encounter, but in all honesty we do not need that many.  In fact, we’ve been discussing cutting it down two 6.  However, since our DPS is comfortable enough with the fight and we don’t have issues getting him down timely it’s not problematic to bring in 7 and gives everyone some face time and a chance at loot.  We put 3 on the Shannox tank, who move with him when he kites.  We put 2 on the Riblimb tank who move with him as he moves the dog around the room.  And we put two on the rageface targets/raid.
  • Dealing with Rageface at high stacks – It will happen that you don’t get rageface’s stacks reset and they grow unwieldy.  When they become too high face rage will become almost impossible to heal, and raid cooldowns should be utilized to help keep the target alive.  A hand of protection will clear it completely, while a pain suppression, guardian spirit or hand of sacrifice will likely save someone’s life.  Ultimately, the best option is to get him into a trap ASAP and for everyone to get away from him and kite him upon being freed from the trap until his stacks reset.
  • Communication! – This is one of the encounters where communication is key.  The Shannox tank needs to be clear about when he’s going to have to kite, so that healers can be in position to heal him as he moves.  The riplimb tank needs to be clear about communicating when slows should go out.  The rageface DPS needs to communicate about if kiting is needed when rageface comes out of a trap, and when rageface has high stacks and his targets will need extra healing.  And, lastly, the raid as a whole needs to communicate the location of crystal prison traps, and to call out if immolation traps need to be disarmed.
  • Rageface – We use an arcane mage and a moonkin on rageface to help break face rage.  I honestly have no idea what magic they use to make it happen, but they work very well together and it’s rare for a face rage to last longer than two seconds.  If anyone is interested in how they achieve that, let me know and I can ask them!

Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have questions!  Good Luck!

Posted August 1, 2011 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, Hard Modes, Healing, Video

Monday Musings – Ron’s Bogart Edition   1 comment

What?  You aren’t up on your Harry Potter?!  That’s ok, let me educate you a bit so that my title makes a bit more sense.  You see in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban the students are given an assignment that forces them to face their worst fears.  Ron Weasley’s turns out to be spiders.  Of course, later in the book Ron is met with (you guessed it) giant spiders!  How does this play into my musings?  Well, see if you can guess how I spent most of my time yesterday! ;)

On Raiding

We are currently working on our third Hard Mode encounter of this tier – Beth’tilac.  Last night was our second night of work on the giant widow, and our first full night of attempts.  After a few strategy changes from Thursday night, we managed to work her down to 22%, and are very close to a kill.

Of the hard modes that we’ve done so far, this is the one that I’ve found the healing to be the most intensive.  I am assigned to heal one of the cave/broodling/spiderling DPS and it can definitely be a bit tricky, especially when Beth is spewing all over the raid.  In addition to that, the raid damage in phase 3 is brutal.  I find that my mana bar is plummeting and I am still working out how to manage it a bit more so that I have the resources to push through until the very end of phase 3.  I have a few ideas, but won’t get to exercise them until we get back in there for some more attempts. Read the rest of this entry »

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