Tags: Healing Fights, Heigan, Mark of the Wild, World of Warcraft
Marked Readers –
The Big Bear Butt had a funny (as usual) and interesting (as always) post a few days ago about healing the Plague Quarter in Naxx. For those not in the know, BBB has picked up healing recently and I’ve enjoyed his thoughts on the process.
His post got me thinking about the plague quarter, though and how to heal it. Well, how to heal Heigan and Loatheb specifically. The rest is a relative cakewalk (aside from those damn gargoyles).
I think Heigan and Loatheb both play up a druid’s strengths tremendously. By that, I mean these fights let HoTs really shine. How? We’ll start with Heigan.
During Phase 1, Heigan has a debuff that makes it last 8x longer to cast a spell. This is a horrid debuff because even though Heigan doesn’t hit very hard, the tank does need some heals. But this debuff doesn’t really impact the druid all that much. Whenever I notice it on me (usually by seeing the cast bar for Regrowth stretch out waaaay to long), I just cancel the spell and refresh my HoTs. It’s lovely because 8x instant is still instant!
We also shine during Phase 2. Or rather, we can if we want. We can through out Lifeblooms and Rejuv’s liberally as we run the gauntlet (and sing Diana Ross’ “Last Dance” over vent). Just make sure to keep an eye on one or both of your tanks. To tell you the truth, though, I don’t heal very much during Phase 2. I’ll try to throw out one per person or so, but no more. Some folks just can’t do the dance. While that’s fine, I’m not going to waste my mana delaying the ineveitable. Yes, it’s harsh, but I love being the arbiter of life and death!
Loatheb highlights the pure joy it is to be a tree as well. Being able to heal for 3 seconds every 20 sucks, but I also think it’s an interesting mechanic and forces us to concentrate on how we place our heals accordingly. We want to get the maximum amount of heals done during those 3 seconds. There are two key elements to making this happen:
- You want your lifebloom stacks to expire during this time. This is key because a big portion of the healing benefit from LB comes from the bloom (is it 50%? I’m not sure). To have this happen, you need to make sure your last stack is applied when there is 7, 8, or 9, seconds left before the debuff resets. Why? Because then the bloom will trigger at 1, 2, or 3 seconds before the reset, or in other words, when the healing window is open. Remember, this is only the last stack. If you want a full 3 stack bloom, you need to start casting around 15 seconds or so (depending on haste) to get all 3 up in time. Keep in mind, though, that each stack resets the timer, so you can cast one, do something else for a few seconds, then cast again. Just make sure to get the last one in time!
- Cast Regrowth so that the initial heal lands during the open window. This is kinda like the opposite of Lifebloom. Here you need to start your casting 1.5-3 seconds before the window opens (depending on your haste, test this out before the fight starts).
If you’re able to do this, you get the most out of your heals and can still get in a Nourish during the or Wild Growth as well. Finally, remember to cast rejuvs whenever you’re not doing anything else (usually between your last LB and your Regrowth). You should be able to fit 2-3 in on random raid members (don’t forget you self)!
Do all that, you will keep your tank alive and go a long way towards keeping the raid up as well.
Tags: Crit, Mark of the Wild, World of Warcraft
Marked Readers –
Crit is a great stat in WoW, but I’m not a big fan of it for healing, especially for Druids, but I think it applies to the other healing classes to some extent as well.
People love to exclaim their big crits – and huge numbers help kill the boss more quickly. But do healing crits help keep the tank alive? I’m going to argue that they don’t and my main argument is the fact that you can’t count on crits to happen when you need them. In fact, you need to assume they won’t happen and this reduces their impact when they do happen.
Let’s use a simple example. Say a tank has 35k HP and your healing spells heal for 5k a pop (on average) and your crits go for 15k (on average). You need to plan your spells based on repairing 5k a cast, right? You want a spell to land when the tank has 26-29k HP. That will top him off nicely. If a crit lands, some of it will completely top off the tank at 100% but most of it will be wasted overheals. If you plan for a 15k crit, though, then you can wait until the tank drops to 20K and you’ll still top him off. But if it doesn’t happen? What if that 15K crit is just a normal 5k heal? Now your tank is at 25K and you’re two heals ‘behind.’
I know the example is over simplified and doesn’t take into account many, many factors. But the fact remains that anticipating a crit will leave you scrambling to catch up when it doesn’t happen and if you don’t plan for them, they will be largely wasted when they do happen.
For me, I’d much rather be able to have a higher ‘base heal’ (i.e. 7k instead of 5k in the example above) and a smaller crit amount (12k instead of 15k) because that enables me to maintain a higher level of consistent healing. I’d also be able to heal longer because I won’t be spamming heals and wasting mana in an effort to recover from a ‘missed’ crit.
What do you think? I’d be especially interested in Pally healers since they are the class that seems to crave crit more than the others. What happens when the big nuke heal doesn’t land?
Tags: alts, DPS, Healing, Heroics, Mark of the Wild, Recount, World of Warcraft
Marked Readers –
I’m a druid, and I also play one on TV. I tank and I heal and I like to think that I excel at both. But I also have several alts – a hunter (the first Nose), a priest (my current leveling obsession), a death knight (blech), and a warlock (my bank alt and my only other 80).
Eblis is 80, but I will make no claims to warlock mastery (warlock wizardry?). Sure, I read up on the class and I know what I’m supposedto do, but my toolbar is a mess and my rotation is more miss than hit (though I’m pretty close to hit cap, i’m proud to say). So when I do take him out for a heroic or two, I end up languishing 3rd on the dps meters.
The other day I was doing my banking and saw the following –
[guildy 1]: We need a tank or DPS for H-UK, any takers?
[guildy 1]: Anyone?
[guildy 1]: Hey Noze, you wanna go?
[Noze]: Sure, I’ll take Eblis
[guildy 1]: …….
w from [guildy 1] Sure you don’t wanna tank?
w to [guildy 1] nah, eblis needs the badges.
w from [guildy 1] …….
So it was that got to DPS some. As it turns out, our healer was a tree-alt of one of our top warlocks. She’s kinda goofy, but she pumps out the DPS. She’s also a top-notch healer. I knew we were in good hands. So off we go and it was apparent from the start that I was very rusty, and my toolbars were very messed up. For one thing, my life drain button is between to my conflagrate and chaos bolt buttons. Needless to say, I kept hitting life drain on a regular basis. So much so that our healer asked – Noze, why are you casting those short life drains? /blush
It went on like that for most of the run. Which we got through with ease, mind you. But my DPS was pretty poor, though I chalked it up to poor gear (it’s always the gear’s fault).
After the run, I was back to banking but still in the party. The healer was as well and she stared asking me some questions about the spells I was using and such. She had recount up and was going over my detailed stats both overall and for the Ingvar the Plunderer. She had some great advice on what to concentrate and more importantly, what to look for when I examine my own recounts in the future. Great tips and I’ve put them into play (though I still need to redo my toolbars).
Then she asked me to go over herrecounts and see if there was anything she imo. She was using a heavy lifebloom-centered rotation, which is fine. I explained why I preferred a more nourish-heavy rotation, especially with the glyph, but she was doing perfectly well with the glyphs she had.
It was a profitable experience for both of us, I think and I realized it should be happening much mor often. It’s easy to perceive advice from others as criticism, but that’s not the case – especially if it’s coming from respected guildmates. It’s often a great opportunity to improve your game and learn a trick or two that will boost your performance next time out.
It worked for me. I had the chance to run more heroics a few days later and I made a conscious effort to apply her tips into my rotation. And my DPS went up! It was still third, but at least I was closer to #2 than the tank at #4!
Tags: 10-mans, 25-mans, Mark of the Wild, Naxx, PUGs, Raiding, World of Warcraft
I had an interesting opportunity yesterday to compare and contrast normal 10-man raiding and 25-man heroic raiding. In the morning (server time, late morning my time), our guild got together to continue a 10Naxx run they started on Saturday. I joined in as a healer and we quickly knocked out the plague quarter. The hardest part (as always) was getting enough folks to fill out the group – especially healers. The next hardest part was running the gauntlet of maggots and stalks in the room between Haigen and Loatheb. Yes, I know it’s not an extremely difficult run, but it can be annoying – especially if you don’t have a warlock. Anyway, despite having two tanks who were doing this quarter for the first time, we downed all 3 bosses with one shot each. Especially impressive was our work on Haigen’s Dance. We were a melee heavy group and they all did really well staying out of the fire.
After Loatheb, though, I had to bail for my dog training class. But it was fun, I didn’t need any loot that dropped, but badges are always nice (5 more ’til the heirloom trinket!) and helping folks gear up is always a good thing. After I left, the raid moved on to construct and killed Grobbulous and Gluth – again, both very impressive with a relatively new raid. Those fights, while not especially tricky, do take coordination.
I logged back on later in the evening and was immediately whispered by a guildy about healing 25Naxx. Sure, why not, I said. This, too, was a continuation run from earlier in the week and my guildy and I were filling in for a guild he and several others had run with before. I was the fifth healer to join and when I did, they were still looking for 2 DPS. If I’m going to run 25 mans, I prefer being among the last to join since that cuts down on all the waiting. I don’t know how long they were trying to fill out the raid, but I can imagine it was quite some time – they usually are. As it was, it still took 20 minutes or so to get everyone summoned, repaired, buffed, re-summoned, respecc’d and in place. But the vent chatter was lively and amusing, the raid leader had a great voice (it’s amazing how smoothly a raid goes with a sexy woman’s voice guiding us) so the initial wait wasn’t too bad. Also, as it turned out, we were starting on Plague Quarter as well.
I was put on raid heals, which was fine since I wasn’t 100% sure who was tanking. I did ask in RC who they were, but no one answered. I should have asked again, but I didn’t. It didn’t matter much, we made quick progress to Noth. I whispered the RL/healing lead that I could handle the decursing, but wouldn’t be able to do much healing then. I was the only tree and I saw 2-3 mages who also decurse (but never do). We had several shaman, but I didn’t know if any were resto. The RL said thanks and that her normal trees hated decursing. That surprised me and I told her so and asked why. “It cuts down on their healing output.” I just laughed. I’m not big on meters in general, but especially for healing. As long as the boss dies and at least one person is alive (preferably more), I’ve done my job. Besides, decursing (and poison) is what we do! Regardless, the fight went smoothly and we killed him with one shot. We moved on to Haigen and killed him in one-shot as well. (and I missed out on his cloak
We had to find 4-5 new folks, including a couple of healers for the next quarter (military) since our two priests were needed to MC in Rezuvius. Well this took some time, but again, we eventually got rolling and killed the Inspector in one shot. But of course, we now we need to replace a couple more folks. As we looked, we did clear the trash up to Gothik, but here we waited. And waited. And waited. A full 30 minutes of just waiting for, well, I’m not sure what. We seemed to have a full raid, though I wasn’t sure if everyone who was leaving had left. Folks started getting impatient (myself included) and the RL pointed out that replacing people took time and they were nearly ready. Well, that’s great, but telling us sooner would have been nice so we weren’t left speculating. But we kill Gothik in one shot and…you guessed it, had to find replacements, this time for our lone warlock!
Now I was pushing up against my time limit. I needed to take the dog for a walk and hit the sack myself. But I like the 4-horsemen fight and, when actually fighting, this wasa very good group. So I stuck around – the DPS replacement was found and he flew in quickly. We set up for 4-horse and – I gotta say – this was the best fight I’ve been apart of. We killed each horseman on just one stack of debuffs. It was amazing!
But time was up for me and I made my farewells. I also saw a few others say they needed to bail. I don’t know if they found replacements and continued on. But as I logged, I remembered why I just don’t like 25 man raiding very much – all the waiting around.
It takes much longer to get 25 folks together to start a raid and then you’re replacing folks after every boss, if not pull. And it’s a process that feeds upon itself. As you need to replace folks, you’re waiting around and taking up the raid’s playtime, so others will need to leave in fewer fights. Plus, every time you find a replacement, there are fewer replacements to find the next time, meaning more downtime. Plus, as you find more replacements, the quality is most likely going to go down. Thus the fights get harder to complete.
10-mans suffer from the same problems, of course, but it’s a matter of scale. You need 3 healers not 5 or 6. You need 5 DPS, not 15-18. Plus there’s only 10 folks who can bail on you, not 25. So its easier to get a raid going, and its easier to find replacements – all for the same content! I’ll keep running 25-mans, I guess, as opportunities arise. But this weekend just confirmed that 10-mans are the way to go.
Tags: Builds, Genesis, Healing, Healing Touch, Mark of the Wild, Moonglow, Natural Perfection, Naturalist, Nature's Majesty, Nature's Splendor, Nature's Swiftness, Nourish, Regrowth, Rejuvenation, Revitilize, Swiftmend, Tranquil Spirit, World of Warcraft
Marked Readers –
In my post on how I heal (entitled, creatively enough, How I Heal), I wanted to talk about my resto build, but wowarmory was down for maintenance.
Well it’s back up now, and fortunately I logged out as resto. But instead of going back and editing the old post, I decided to make a new one.
My Resto build is 11/0/60 and I think it’s pretty normal, but I’ll go over my thought process in creating it. The eleven points in Balance are nearly required for healers, I think. Genesis gives a 5% boost to healing done, Moonglowlowers the mana cost of our most popular heals, Nature’s Majesty boosts the crit rating for HT and Nourish which is OK, but it also is needed to reach Nature’s Splendor – which increases the duration of our 3 main HoTs. I’ve seen some folks take Nature’s Grace which increases casting speed on crits. But druids aren’t really crit based (certain talents to the contrary), so I felt those 3 points would be better spent elsewhere.
Zero points in feral, of course because, well, how far down that tree would you have to go to find anything remotely related to healing? Nurturing Instinct at 22 points? No thanks. Though I will say NI is an underrated talent while leveling. I went from 0-70 as feral, but I built up a healing set and was able to heal just fine in that spec and I think NI was a big part of enabling me to do so. But that’s a digression. Back to the build!
In the resto tree, I’ll address the talents I skip rather than the ones I took. It should be obvious why I took what I did, but it’s not always clear why I bypassed certain ones for others. The first case is Naturalist. As we level, and don’t have our full compliment of HoTs yet, this is a very useful talent. Taking a full 1/2 second off HT’s cast time is huge under those circumstances. However, the only time I use HT now, is in conjunction with Nature’s Swiftness. I never cast it on it’s own, so those 5 points would be wasted.
The next talent I skip that many others take is Natural Perfection. Again, druids aren’t a crit based healing class, and to be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of crit heals anyway. To me, most of the crit would spill over into the overheal category. Look at it this way – you can’t anticipate a crit heal, right? So to be a good healer, you have to assume you won’t crit and plan/cast your spells accordingly. You can’t let the tank lost half their HP and hope for a 15k crit to top them off. Instead, you have to anticipate your regular 8-9k heals throughout the fight. And when you do get that big crit heal? Well, the 8-9k you anticipated is used fully, but the rest may well be wasted. Healing for me (both as a healer and as a tank) is best when it’s constant and consistent.
I also pass on Revitalize mostly because I rarely see the tank at a loss for rage/mana/runic power. I know as a tank rage is rarely a concern. I guess it’s possible that it would be of benefit to the raid during raid heals. Since I do throw rejuvs and WGs around liberally. But again, I don’t notice the purty boys gimping their dps due to a lack of their juice of choice. More is always good, though, so I might actually rethink this. Do you use Revitalize? How useful has it proven to be?
Anyway, I don’t PvP, so Improved Barkskin was never a consideration for me. (But manOman would I love it for my tank!).
The 3 points I didn’t put in Natural Perfection or Revitalize? I put them in Tranquil Spirit. Nourish is my new favorite spell, and I’m actually pretty liberal with Tranquility since it has the a 4-minute CD and is threat free.
So all-in-all, I’m happy with my build. Those last 3 points could be placed elsewhere, true, but it’ll take some convincing. Any arguments out there?
Tags: Builds, Glyphs, Healing, Lifebloom, Mark of the Wild, Nourish, Regrowth, Rejuvenation, spell rotation, Swiftmend, Wild Growth, World of Warcraft
Marked Readers –
Have those feral/resto spec’d druids out there ever notice how the role you fill most switches back and forth every few weeks? You’re going along and healing Naxx and OS and EOE and Heroics because, well, that’s what the group needs. Then all of a sudden, you’re asked to tank and that’s your thing for the next week or so because, well, that’s what the group needs. There is no rhyme or reason to it (at least in my case), no healers or tanks have gone on vacation, it’s just the way it goes.
I’m in healing mode right now, and have been for longer than usual. I think the reason this time is because I’ve built a reputation as a healer among some of the raiding guilds on my server and they ask me when they’re short. Raiding guilds are never short on tanks, and they’re (rightfully, I suppose) reluctant to take a PUG tank if they are. But healing is a different story. Healers don’t need to know the fight backwards and forwards as much, just give them an assignment and brief explanation on what to not stand in or when to run around etc. and you’re set. Plus, folks love Trees.
So today I thought I’d write about my healing style – my build, my glyphs, and my rotation.
First I’ll explain my build. I don’t think there’s anything extraordinary about it, but it’s not the full cookie-cutter. Hmm, well, wowarmory seems to be down for maintenance at the moment, so I’ll come back to my build. (Is it wrong that I don’t have it memorized? I hope not).
I do know what glyphs I have though. Until 3.1 and the new glyphs, I had the Glyphs of Regrowth, Rejuvination, and of course, Swiftmend. 3.1 brought new choices and I decided to take the Glyph of Nourish over Wild Growth and Rebirth. My rationale was pretty straightforward – I didn’t want to ‘waste’ a glyph slot on a talent that I would use once every 20 minutes at best (worst?) and often less than that. True, it would be nice to have and I expect that if I were in a set raiding group with multiple Trees, one of us would have it. But whenever I b-rez someone, it’s well known in the raid that it’s happening and we ensure they get back to full health ASAP (I even throw a MOTW for good measure). So I just haven’t seen too many cases where you’d need 100% health right away. So the new Rebirth was out. What about Wild Growth?
I love Wild Growth. It’s an awesome spell and gives us Trees a very powerful and unique AOE heal. In it’s generic form, it heals up to 5 party/raid members and the glyph boosts that to 6. Not bad, a 20% overall boost in healing. You’d think. But that’s not quite accurate. When this glyph was first announced, I started paying attention to my WG’s and how often they popped up on 5 folks. And the answer? Often, but not an overwhelming amount (I didn’t pay close enough attention for actual statistics). I’m not sure why, maybe it’s because folks spread out naturally to get a better view of the fight, or because on most fights, spreading out is needed to avoid AOE, but finding clusters of 5 isn’t easy. And if that’s the case, that sixth WG would be going to waste much of the time, wouldn’t it? Now, if I raided 25-mans more, things would be different, I’m sure. In big raids, you can’t swing a 1-handed mace and not hit someone, but for me and my 10 mans? WG is fine as is.
I should say the other druid healer in my guild has the WG glyph and really likes it. So there is a definate audience out there. But for me, the choice comes down to Nourish. 6% healing boost for each HoT? Even if stacks of Lifeblooms don’t count (and they don’t :(), we can still get a 24% boost for each Nourish if we time it right and 18% in most circumstances. Regrowth, Rejuvination and LB are always on my guys and if I need an extra boost, I’ll toss a WG as well. Plus, the included 20% boost of the base heal if one of the HoTs is on as well I can’t describe how satisfying it is to top a tank off with just a 1.5 second cast (less with haste!). So Nourish it is. Though I balked at paying the 2-300g for it when it first came out, when it dropped to 40g, I took the leap.
But what to replace? Swiftmend stays. It is by far my favorite glyph. Glyphs that enable a spell to not consume what it normally consumes tend to be very popular because it frees the caster from having to re-apply something and saves a GCD. So it came down to Regrowth and Rejuv. Rsejuvination is nice. 50% more healing when you need it most (when your target is <50% health). Plus it’s an insta cast, so I can throw it back on quickly and it doesn’t take as much monitoring. But still, I didn’t notice too many times that I was healing targets under 50% health. Either my HoTs were keeping them up, or other healers were throwing big heals out, or a quick SM or NS/NT got them back in the green. What about Regrowth? It’s a great glyph, 20% extra heals is nothing to sneeze at, but I can’t say I keep it up all the time. Sometimes in th heat of th battle, I lose track of the ones I’ve casted and they expire. So it’s definately not as easy to monitor as Rejuv. Plus, it takes some extra timing since it takes around 2 seconds to cast. I don’t want to cast it too soon and lose HoT ticks, but I don’t want it to expire.
Ultimately, I went with Regrowth mainly because how well/often it works depends on me. I’m the one who’s responsible for keep in up to get the bonus. If I went with Rejuv, I’d almost be hoping my target would drop below 50%. Well, not hoping, but you get the idea. I want my glyphs to have an impact, not wait on circumstances to align just right.
So my major glyphs are Swiftment, Nourish, and Regrowth. My minors are Thorns, Unburdened Rebirth, and MOTW. The last two are no-brainers, but why Thorns? I dunno, I don’t swim much, I don’t have Typhoon, I guess I could use Dash, but never got around to changing them. When you paid for each respec, including glyphs, I kept my minors the same, with Thorns, Rebirth and Challenging Roar.
So now that my glyphs are set, what rotation to do I use? Well, it kinda-sorta depends on who I’m healing/what role I’m filling. If I’m on raid heals, I don’t have a spcific rotation per se but rather I prioritize my spells. I typically start with my instants – Rejuv and LB and I spread them around depending on how many folks are taking damage and how much damage they’re taking. The purty boys usually take damage all at once and it’s typically a one hit amount and that’s it. By tossing a few HoTs on them, I can let them heal up over time. If someone accidentally (stupidly) steals aggro or stands in an ashtray too long and takes a bigger hit, I’ll use a regrowth or even an SM or NS/NT. In fact, I tend to use my SM and NS cooldowns more on the purty boys than the tank, even when I’m healing the tank. I’d guess it’s mostly because tanks have dedicated healers and therefore don’t need ‘oh craps’ as much. But in any event, raid heals tend to be more intuitive than a straight rotation.
On tanks (and off tanks) it’s a bit different, though. There is a rotation I try to stick with as much as possible. The rotation revolves around a couple major features – keeping as many HoTs active as possible to boost Nourish; making LB last as long as possible but ensuring it expires after 3 stacks so I get that mana back; keeping Regrowth up and ticking; and oh yeah – keeping the tank alive.
Basically, the rotation is this: LB RJ RG LB RJ LB (let it expire) refresh as needed and Nourish and SM as needed.
I add additional LBs only when the stack is about to expire. This way, I get over 20 seconds of HoT goodness per stack. Once I have 3 stacks up, I have to let it expire so I get the mana refund. Keeping LBs rolling sparks fond memories, but sucks your mana dry in no time. I also keep my Regrowth refreshed and try to cast it with 3-4 seconds left on the timer (more if I’m lagging). I dont’ want to lose more ticks than necessary, but I also need to keep it up. If in doubt, refresh early. Rejuvination is something I throw in as needed. I try to keep it rolling, but if it drops off for a few seconds, it’s not a big issue.
I’m usually able to keep this rotation up on both the MT and OT consistently. Or I can keep it up on one and throw hots around the raid if needed. That takes a bit more concentration, though.