Archive for healers

Deep Diving for Deep Corruption

On the Heroic Yor’sahj the Unsleeping encounter, you will certainly find yourself not wanting to kill the purple slime, or the Shadowed Globule, as it is properly named. (I’ll still be calling it “purple slime”, because I’m a rebel. Or something.) Allowing Yor’sahj to absorb the purple slime will cause him to affect the whole raid with one stack of Deep Corruption. This means that if you heal after that debuff has been placed on the raid, they will gain stacks of Deep Corruption. If they hit five stacks of Deep Corruption, they will do a lot of raid-wide shadow damage to the raid. On the 25-man Heroic version, that person will promptly deal around 95,000 shadow damage to each person in the raid.

Naturally, unless you’re trying to wipe, this is inadvisable.

The good news is that about 25 seconds into any phase where purple has been absorbed, the debuff resets itself, so you technically can heal someone more than just a couple of times over the entire course of the phase. One of the best ways to deal with this is to assign healers to specific people in the raid.

You may have already known all of this, but I appreciate you bearing with me, because now I’m going to talk about how to get a World of Logs parse to show you who That Guy (or That Girl) is who is stubbornly cross-healing or healing themselves or someone else when they shouldn’t be, which will stack Deep Corruption during a purple phase and will therefore explode. Every raid group has people who cross-heal or heal someone when they probably shouldn’t, so it’s important that you be able to ascertain who screwed up to nip that problem in the bud, or at least identify the actual problem, rather than insist everything will be fine if everyone just does what they’re told to do.

Plus, your healers (or DPS with self-healing abilities, or people who click the Lightwell when Deep Corruption is up) will be like “holy crap, how did they know it was me?!” when you whisper them and go “Stop cross-healing” or whatever. ;) It’s actually really quite simple, so let’s get started.

First things first, you need to be using World of Logs for these step-by-step instructions to work. It’s likely that you can figure it out with Recount or Skada, but I’m a logs geek, so that’s what I’ll deal with here.

Second, you’ll need to figure out if Deep Corruption ever blew up your raid. If you’re using something like Fatality in the raid, this will tell you why people died and who caused that damage, but I did say we were going to deal with World of Logs, so let’s start there.

Find an attempt in World of Logs where you’re fairly certain Deep Corruption went off. You can determine this by seeing if Deep Corruption caused any damage to your raid on the Dashboard page of a specific attempt.

Then go to the Friendly Fire screen for that attempt. Hover over the top-most person and if it says Deep Corruption, bingo.

In this case, there was a hunter who blew up the raid. But this is almost certainly NOT the fault of the individual who blew up the raid. How do you determine who did the healing to that hunter? Was it specifically the person who was on that group or was there cross-healing happening? Or something else?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… The Log Browser.

First thing to do is click “remove” on that Show all events query because otherwise you’re going to have every single thing that happened to your raid sitting in there.

Then, click on Add Query. You’ll see this pop up.

First thing to do is type in Deep Corruption in the Spell box, then hit Save. You’ll now see this on the main log browser page:


Next, hit Add Query again. This time, tick the “Heal” box in the upper half and then, in the Target box, type in the name of the person who dealt all that damage. While it wasn’t Kurnmogh, I’ll use my own name there to show you where to place it.

Hit Save. Your log browser screen should now look like this:

Now hit Run!

The lower half of your log browser window is now jam-packed with information. Here’s what you need to do.

1) Find when Yor’sahj casts Deep Corruption and it afflicts everyone in the raid. This may happen multiple times.
2) Find when Deep Corruption fades from someone and that person appears to hit people with Deep Corruption.
3) Look at the heals that person received between being afflicted by Deep Corruption and when it fades from them and they hit everyone in the raid with shadow damage.

Here’s what my log looked like:

I know, that looks like a LOT of healing. But it’s not.

The hunter receives 5 heals that add to his stacks before he blows up:

1) Priest’s Holy Word: Serenity
2) Priest’s Prayer of Healing
3) Priest’s Prayer of Healing
4) Druid’s Wild Growth
5) Priest’s Greater Heal

Boom.

For the record, Echo of Light (holy priest mastery) doesn’t add stacks, nor does Prayer of Mending, nor does the Glyph of Prayer of Healing, nor do the ticks of Wild Growth — just that initial hit of it.

While this post is mostly intended for 10-man tanks, it’s an amazing guide to what does and does NOT stack Deep Corruption on the Heroic Yor’sahj encounter: A Sunnier Bear: Heroic Yor’sahj Tanking Guide, so that’ll help. Also of note, apparently the heal from the Eye of Blazing Power Firelands trinket (and its heroic version) called Blaze of Life, is apparently currently causing stacks.

Anyhow, hope that helps diagnose some of your Heroic Yor’sahj wipes!

Change is Scary

When I first started raiding, all those years ago, I was a hunter. I quickly became a sort of assistant raid leader to our guild master at the time, back in Fated Heroes. I have fond memories of telling people to /assist me as I burned down the adds on Venoxis, one at a time and getting through three of the four sheep (haha, 4 mages in a 20m! It was glorious!) and then not being able to find the fourth sheep to break…

Believe it or not, my BROTHER was one of our first healing leads, on his druid Fog. This eventually became the one and only Cryptkikr, an extraordinary holy priest. We spent a good deal of time in Molten Core and Crypt was our healing lead throughout it. I picked up bits and pieces of it since I was required to heal through at least some of the fights on many of our raid nights. The idea of a healer custom channel was, to me, GENIUS. So that’s where I learned about assignments and while cross-healing if your target is stable is fine, respecting your assignments is still the important part. To this day, one of my favourite times was healing through Thekal in the original ZG. I’d killed Thekal a handful of times as Kurn, but the raid needed a healer, so I went in on Madrana and HOLY CRAP, what a freaking rush. In truth, that may have been when I first really felt like I was making a difference in a raid as a healer.

In early Burning Crusade, I wasn’t with Fated Heroes and Apotheosis had yet to be born, so my experience with healing in a raid situation at that point was Karazhan and dual-healing Kara with another holy paladin. I had responsibility for one tank and group, the other paladin (the raid leader) would handle the other tank and the other group. We ostensibly had a priest who was supposed to be healing with us, but she was shadow most of the time (MANA BATTERIES YAY) or, oddly, AFK. (2-healing Moroes with two paladins and careful use of Turn Undead was fantastic, by the way.)

When Apotheosis first formed, Cryptkikr was our natural choice as healing lead. And since I was the most geared of pretty much anyone (with my one piece of T4, the gloves, and several off-set pieces), I decided I wouldn’t DPS. I decided to heal.

So Crypt gave out assignments and such, although I filled in now and again, especially when we were on separate Karazhan teams, but he was key for Maulgar and Gruul and Magtheridon assignments. Meanwhile, since I’d always been the research-type person, I handled strats and general raid leading duties, with Majik also being fairly vocal, and then after raids, Daey and I would sit there and go through logs for an hour after every single raid.

It was as we were getting through SSC that we felt a need for more DPS, so Crypt went shadow. We needed bodies and had pulled in several people from my first guild in BC, including a couple of healers. So Crypt went shadow and I took on the healing assignments. Crypt eventually stopped playing due to RL issues and, well, I kept doing healing.

I loved my healers. I really did. There was Furormalic, Massimo, Kazir, Noon, Opus, Ribs, Space, Q, Lokdog, Legs and, of course, Euphie. We had a great time together in Burning Crusade and I loved being in charge of the healers, even when I wanted to kill them on Bloodboil for cross-healing when they shouldn’t have done so. :)

I maintained both raid leading and healer leading through the start of Wrath, but things went poorly in terms of attendance and so we couldn’t progress, then couldn’t recruit and we stopped raiding. I went to Bronzebeard, to a guild called Resurgence, after we’d stopped officially raiding in Apotheosis. Within two months or so, guess what? That’s right, promoted to healing lead.

I left them after being there for about six months. They were having trouble forming raids, the raid leader having gquit (apparently because of me and my arguments with him — to which I say, dude, if you’re going to call for a second set of cooldowns on 4m Ignis, you’d better make damn sure we HAVE 2 sets of cooldowns to use, jackass), so I went to Proudmoore and raided with my Real-Life Friend the Resto Druid. I was there from mid-September until late May/early June and somewhere in February/March… I was asked to take over healing for my RL Friend the Resto Druid who was going through some personal stuff and couldn’t raid for a good month or so.

I left that guild shortly after my RLFtRD returned and moved on to Choice where I was happy as a clam. I didn’t have any responsibilities except to heal. It was great. Of course, I helped out with some strats and such, because I had already gone 11/12 HM on Proudmoore and the guild was 7/11 HM when I joined, so I happily gave them any input I could — which I’m sure annoyed some of the officers, but the whole walking-the-fine-line between helpful and annoying as shit is a story for another time.

4.0 dropped. I headed back to Eldre’Thalas, to resume being a raid leader for the first time since early Wrath, and to be a healing lead again, for the first time in months.

When we started raiding on January 4th, 2011, our healing roster looked like this:

3 Holy Paladins: Myself, Walks and Apple.
4 Healing Priests: Kaleri, Oestrus, Numinal and Legs.
2 Resto Druids: Hestiah and Kaleina.
1 Resto Shaman: Dar.

(Yes, we overrecruited.)

Apple and Legs pulled themselves from the starting roster due to lack of time to get their ducks in a row to be “raid ready” by the extended deadline I’d given them. We removed Kaleina from our starting roster on January 25th due to a variety of things, including sporadic attendance. So our 10 healers dropped to 7 healers — good thing we overrecruited.

Having said that, we now have 8 healers on the roster, one in his trial, and though there’s only three of us left from a year ago (me, Walks and Kaleri), we’ve gained Sara, Kit, Featherwind and, of course, Jasyla. Plus Baylie, our new resto shammy who’s in his trial with us.

I love my healers. Sara and Kal share a brain sometimes (and, for whatever reason, poop comments/jokes are quite popular with them). Walks wanted to be a raid healing paladin in Cataclysm and so he has become phenomenal at it (unlike my sorry self), while sneaking in the most terribly awful puns you could ever imagine. Kit and her Spirit Link Totem have SAVED THE DAY on more than one occasion. Feather is always up for a challenge and is another one of us strange people with two max-level healing toons of the same class and spec. Baylie is still making his mark, but I’m looking forward to seeing more from him. And Jasyla, well, Jasyla is awesomeness in druidic form.

Healer chat has been filled with pudding and wine discussions, poop jokes, a ton of laughter and massive amounts of RSA announces.

Through the last year, it hasn’t always been easy for me to raid lead while being the healing lead as well. On countless occasions, I’ll have forgotten cooldown rotations and be in mid-fight and go “uh… crap… okay, so I’ll get AM first, Walks gets AM second, Kal third with PWB” and so on. Sometimes, I’ve actually forgotten to give out healing assignments at all. >.>

I came into the expansion thinking “I AM GOING TO DO HEALING REVIEWS EVERY MONTH OR TWO”. And I’ve done them twice, total, in the last year. (And will be doing them again this week.)

Overall, I feel that the healers have really deserved better from me in the last year. I’ve always thought “hey, I can do (some healer-related thing) tomorrow or next week,” but tomorrow or next week never seemed to come.

When my grandmother broke her hip in late December (she’s in a rehabilitation center now to build up her muscles and such, so she’s doing quite well — thank you for all your concern, tweets, emails and positive thoughts!!), I suddenly had 2-4 fewer hours in any given day, due to going to the hospital to see her, staying anywhere between 1-3 hours and then coming back home. This utter lack of time, plus the start of my winter semester, plus the fact that one of my officers with whom I’ve played WoW with for six years, on and off, is stepping down as an officer and a raider… this meant something had to give if I wanted to continue to play WoW with any kind of seriousness.

So I approached some people in the guild about becoming officers. One was Serrath, whose name you’ve certainly seen in the comments on this very blog, who I asked to take over Loot Master duties. The other was Jasyla, because it’s clear to me that it’s time for me to hand over the healing lead reins to ensure that the healers get the attention they deserve.

I’ll remain a healer — despite the fact we’ve had trouble recruiting hunters, I know that no one wants me to inflict my poor DPS skills on the raid on Kurn — but will hand off the healing lead hat to Jasyla and I’ll concern myself primarily with raid stuff.

In a way, it’s going back to my roots. This is where I started, after all, right? Barking out commands and orders in Zul’Gurub on Venoxis? It’s something I’ve done for the last year, so it’s not new to me, either.

But at the same time… my healers are my peeps. Don’t get me wrong, I really like my guildies overall, but over the years, dating back to BC at least, it was always the healing team that made things awesome for me. Cryptkikr, Euphie, Furormalic, even Noonshade and Opus back in the day (despite the nastiness that happened in the start of Wrath, I still think fondly of the BC days with them), all of which gave way to the people in Resurgence, like Kaleri (and Kaleina, who was healing on her priest as Carmentes back then) and, shockingly, Euphie (again!) and Fadorable. That gave way to my RL Friend the Resto Druid and a couple of the other healers over on Proudmoore. And eventually, my move to Choice gave me the opportunity to get to know Fugara (the GM) and meet Walks and heal alongside some very talented healers in Wrath. Even today in Choice, I love chatting with Fug and Azrulian and Lovin, while getting to focus on JUST healing the fights, which is still glorious.

So I am very reluctant to place them in someone else’s hands, but at least I know they’ll be well-cared for. Apart from anything else, I know Jasyla knows how to read the logs, so I know she’s not going to bench people for low healing output. ;)

This change has been in the making for about a month and that’s still not enough time for me to accept that for the first time in years, as long as I’ve been an officer-type person in the guild, I am NOT going to be doing healing assignments on a regular basis. I know it’ll be a benefit to the raid group as a whole to have someone else dedicated to that and no longer will I have to sit down and do assignments AFTER I’ve explained to everyone where to stand, etc, etc. No longer will I forget cooldowns or forget assignments altogether. It’s a good thing. It’s a good change.

Change is scary, though, and I really have to wonder how it’s going to feel to me, personally, next week when Jasyla does the healing assignments solo. (This week is a transition week for both Toga and Serrath as loot masters and me and Jasyla as healing leads.)

At least I’m still going to heal on my paladin and will still be in healer chat and will still get to hang out in the best Apotheosis raid channel. And I know my healers will get the attention they really deserve. <3

Co-operation vs. Competition

Anyone who’s healed with me, particularly with me as their healing lead, knows that I do not put a huge emphasis on numbers while healing. I don’t care who’s topping the healing meters, I don’t care who’s at the bottom. I take those numbers in stride and I don’t sweat it, so long as people are not dying due to lack of healing.

This is because I care more about defeating the encounter as a team than topping the meters. I don’t even have Recount or Skada up most of the time because I don’t want to focus on numbers. If I have it up, it is almost certainly as a quick diagnostic tool for after the pull, so I can see if people were respecting their assignments.

Please bear in mind that I’m not saying it’s not important to do your best on an encounter, but it’s not doing your best, for example, to allow Gushing Wound to stay on the tank during Alysrazor, just so you’ll have more healing to do. That’s padding the numbers and artificially inflating them at the risk of killing your tank.

At this point in the expansion, after having raided for several months with my own healing team in Apotheosis (up to a year in some cases), I just flat-out don’t care which of us tops the meters or which of us (that would be me) is occasionally outhealed by our DK tank. (Actually, that was all of us on Baleroc, sometimes…!)

My healing roster in Apotheosis currently consists of: 2 holy paladins, 2 resto druids, 1 disc priest, 1 holy priest and 2 resto shaman (one is in his trial). But I don’t look at them and say “oh, holy priest, huge buffs, God, I hate Sara for having a more powerful healing cooldown!!” Nor do I look over at Walks and curse at him for grasping holy paladin raid healing better than myself. Nor do I gripe about Kal and her amazing bubbles on the tanks when my “bubbles” are pathetic and miniscule, even with a hefty amount of mastery. (Okay, I gripe a little, but screw mastery anyway.)

I don’t get upset when Kit saves the day with a well-timed Spirit Link Totem. I don’t get angry when Jasyla or Featherwind manage to squeeze in another Tranquility for an extra few hundred thousand healing. I don’t begrudge any of my healers their successes, because when they succeed, my whole team succeeds.

On December 6th, the Holy Paladin 4pc set bonus was nerfed in a hotfix. No longer would our 4pc set increase healing done by Holy Radiance by 20%, it would now only increase it by 5%.

In the PTR notes for 4.3.2, the change is mentioned because the tooltip will now read 5% instead of the incorrect-since-December-6th 20%.

I noticed a few tweets and such about the nerf, from people who had not read the hotfixes (or perhaps they had and it just didn’t register as anything interesting at the time), basically cheering that holy paladins were being nerfed and they thought that holy paladins were being nerfed from the level they’re at now.

My question here is why?

Why on earth would you be glad to see your teammates be nerfed?

When resto druids got a 20% nerf to WG’s healing and a glyph change that is ridiculous, I didn’t cheer, I didn’t express my sheer joy. I was upset on their behalf. When holy priests complained of not having a really viable raid cooldown during 4.0-4.2, I was right there with them, saying yes, it would make so much sense for holy priests to have a real raid cooldown that matters! When they got their Divine Hymn buffs, I was thrilled!

When resto shaman got Spirit Link Totem, I was really pleased for them, same with when resto druids got the reduced CD on Tranquility. And in the early days of T11, I got spoiled rotten by having not one, but two Power Word: Barriers at my disposal, thanks to Kal and Num.

My question here is… why does the success of my class make people feel so angry that they then feel HAPPY when my class gets nerfed?

This isn’t a new thing, not at all, but I feel as though the inter-class arguments have gotten worse in recent times. I feel as though many players just no longer care about the team aspect of the game and are only out to make sure that they’re topping the meters.

Can you top meters while being a good team player? Sure. Does that happen often? No. Generally, in my six years of playing, if a healer was concerned about topping the healing meters, that healer would not follow their assignment and their assigned people would die. That’s why I don’t care about the meters. If I top them, great. If I don’t, well, did my target or targets live? If so, good. If not, then we have a problem.

I feel strongly that the WoW community has become too fractured and divisive. Tanks argue that other tanks are OP, pure DPS argue about hybrids being too competitive and healers… healers lose sight of the fact that we’re all on the same team and that, ultimately, we all want the raid to live and bosses to die.

I heal as a holy paladin because I like the class, overall. I can’t imagine relying on hots, I am bad with the large priest toolkit and the idea of chain heal is still pretty foreign to me, despite the fact I’ve done some ICC 10/25 on my shaman (and several dungeon runs/heroic dungeons since).

I won’t reroll a healing class because a certain class is OP and I won’t shelve my paladin if we’re completely ineffective. I play the class because I enjoy my capabilities within that class. (Although I miss Divine Intervention. A lot.)

So it boggles my mind when I see other healers, good healers, rejoice at a nerf to a class they feel is overpowered. It makes me disappointed in them and the community at large. It makes me wonder what happened to team spirit and being happy and pleased about the successes of your team members. When did it all become about the self?

I feel, more and more, as though my team-first attitude is endangered. I feel as though 25-mans are endangered. I feel as though the game, somewhere, changed forever and the community it’s built up since that change is filled with “gogogo” people who are obsessed with their own personal performance.

Again, I will reiterate that there is nothing wrong with maximizing your own performance, so long as the team comes first. But I have to question if other people even understand what a team is anymore. Sadly, I think a lot of people view their fellow healers as competition and not as teammates.

I celebrate the successes of my team. You, almost certainly, cannot solo-heal raids. You do it with a partner or two or five or six. I ask that you show them some respect, no matter how badly you may be outhealed or no matter how badly you outheal them. For better or for worse, they are your teammates, even in LFR, and if you don’t show respect to your fellow healers, those poor people in the trenches with you as you struggle to keep that death knight or warrior alive, then how on earth can you be a team player?

We’re all on the same team, with the same goal. Let’s remember that the next time a series of nerfs or buffs come down, shall we?

Updates

Hey folks! I hope the holidays are treating everyone well and that people are enjoying whatever it is they’re doing at the moment, whether that’s in-game or out. :)

As for myself, as some of you on Twitter or in my guilds may be aware, my 93 year-old grandmother fell last week and broke her hip. She’s been in the hospital since then and has come through her surgery quite well. That said, she’s still quite elderly and she has a lot of work ahead of her in terms of recovery and rehabilitation. Thank you to everyone who’s tweeted me with their support. Your positive thoughts, good vibes and prayers are greatly appreciated and I ask that you continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers. <3

So that’s primarily why I’ve been quiet of late, although there’s also the whole “holiday” thing. It hasn’t been the best holiday for me and the family, but we’ve managed to find pockets of joy here and there.

I have a LOT to say about Dragon Soul, paladins, raiding, LFR, elitism, VPs and the like… but I’m not sure when I’ll have the opportunity to write about it all.

In short:

– Apotheosis is 8/8 and we’ll be pushing H Morchok on the 3rd of January (and we’re recruiting, apply now!)
– I’ve done LFR a few times and have had mixed experiences with it, but overall, it seems to be an easy way to get at least 250 VP, if not 500.
– If a holy paladin gets the green buff on Ultraxion, HOLY CRAP, it is AWESOME, haha! (I normally get blue with Apotheosis, but got given green in Choice last week and I blew up the meters, which was hilarious.)
– I also want to do an in-depth examination of Holy Radiance at some point, but basically, it can be very, very useful. It still doesn’t mean that we are “raid healers” though. We can help on the raid significantly, but we’re still very well used as tank healers. If you have 3 resto druids, 1 holy paladin, 1 disc priest and 1 holy priest, you and the disc are likely best served on the tanks with the others on the raid. Do not forget that while Holy Radiance is all shiny, your group comp might be best served with you on the tank. And that is okay. It really depends on your assignment and your group.
– Ultraxion healing: I recommend resto druids/holy priests on red, resto shaman/holy paladins on green, disc priests/holy paladins on blue. Basically, your strongest raid healers on red, then people who will mostly proc green’s buff on green (Sanc, Wild Growth, Healing Rain don’t proc it, so Chain Heal and Holy Radiance go go go) and tank healers on blue. Seems to work nicely.

Anyhow, that’s all from me for now. Short post and it’s still about 500 words. I am incapable of writing less, it would seem!

Best wishes to you all and have a happy (and safe) new year. :)

More Baby Paladin Adventures!

At this point, the “baby” paladin isn’t all that little. Well. He’s still a dwarf, so he’s little in that sense, but he’s, er, level 70.

I told you. I must have a screw loose!

Of note, at level 64, I soloed Banthar, Bach’lor and Gutripper as ret.

At 65, right after Gutripper’s quest dinged me, I soloed Tusker.

/flex

Bach’lor was actually rough due to the knockbacks, but I kited a bit, stunned a bit, used WoG, Flash of Light, Lay on Hands… Win. Tusker was a bit rough too, but I got through that in three tries rather than the SEVEN Bach’lor required.

If I ever see Mana Tombs or Auchenai Crypts again, I will cry and/or scream. I had never been so happy in my LIFE to see Sethekk Halls after a certain point. Hell, I was even HAPPY to get Escape from Durnholde. The first two times, anyways.

As soon as I hit 68, I started selecting Utgarde Keep specifically in the dungeon finder. There was no WAY I was going back to Auchindoun!

And before you knew it, I was 69.

That is where the suck began.

I had so many awesome tanks in the 60s, in BC content. (Lots of crappy ones, too, but mostly the DPS were crappy versus the tanks.) And as soon as I set foot in Utgarde Keep, I started getting idiots. I’ve run UK about 14 times now. I have had two good tanks from pugs. I’ve run it three times with the pally tank alt of a guild rogue, Tikari, which is great, but the realization slowly dawned on me: if I want a good tank, I’m going to have to do it myself.

Trouble was, my ret gear consisted largely of the heirloom Shadowcraft (leather) stuff. Farm heroics for Justice Points? Me? Hah! Why would I do that when I had a bonus 20% XP anyways and would never, ever inflict my fail retness on others?

I had the heirloom valor helm and the heirloom agi cloak, so if I was going to tank, I needed the tanking cloak ($$$), the tanking heirloom chest and tanking heirloom shoulders. I could deal with the helm, even if it’s mostly geared for DPS. At least it’s stam and strength and it’s plate.

Thus began the grind.

I can’t tell you how many heroics I’ve run in the last two days. Probably about 13 or so. I capped out Madrana’s VP via dungeons and then two more because healers had Call to Arms (3 Golemblood Potions and an Obsidian Hatchling for my troubles) and then did several on Kurn. At least four, since I got three Chaos Orbs and lost out on one.

That is more level 85 heroic dungeons in 48 hours than I’ve done since December.

And along the way, some notable groups:

– An all-guild group consisting of four people who were incredibly racist and vulgar, all of whom I reported after the run. They tried to recruit me, since I was healing on Madrana. Despite their douchebagginess, they were spectacular players and heroic SFK went quickly and smoothly.

– By contrast, a heroic SFK I got today had a “tank” who had less health than I did. Now, I know, I’m in some heroic raid gear, but I should almost never have more health than the tank. Really. After he got me to blow Lay on Hands AND Hand of Sacrifice on him IN THE SAME PULL, I looked at his gear, saw it was almost all the ret PVP gear, none of it gemmed or enchanted and he was using a spellpower sword. Vote-kicking him felt good.

Having said that, I think he might have been better than a fail DK tank I had in UK on the baby pally, though. Imagine, if you will, a level 71 worgen death knight “tank” who is:

* dual wielding
* not using Death and Decay or, apparently, spreading any diseases, meaning that any time I dropped even a HOLY SHOCK on him, the other 3-4 mobs would charge me and kill me
* using Rune of Lichbane on his two weapons and only using Death Strike and Heart Strike
* apparently unable to use Dark Command or Death Grip

Vote-kicking him felt less good than the fail pally “tank” from H SFK because this guy wasn’t even 80 ot 85 yet. 71. He clearly didn’t know his class that well, but my feeling bad for him evaporated the third time we wiped because mobs killed me and he didn’t know how to taunt.

– Oh, and there was that dipstick of a druid tank in heroic Lost City. He berated everyone (except me) in the group repeatedly for being “fucking retarded” and “total fail, epic fail!”. They weren’t that bad, they just weren’t putting out much more than 7-8k damage each.

This caused the tank to yell at the ret pally so much that when the tank DEMANDED the ret pally leave… he did. I feel bad for the ret, even if he only did 5k DPS on the first boss.

We had a trash wipe on our way to the third boss and the tank just LOST it on the DK (who had replaced the paladin) and I’d had enough at that point. I initiated a vote kick and the reason I gave? “Jackass.”

It passed in about 2 seconds.

We got a very nice (albeit less geared and less skilled) DK tank to replace the abusive druid tank and finished up the instance without any issues.

– On Kurn, there was a fail H Deadmines run that actually was finished successfully, but in the middle of the nightmares, my bow broke. That’s how bad the run was and how often I died. I actually tried to rez people with Mass Rez and it was still on cooldown. Squishy tank who didn’t know the instance very well and undergeared healer. Like, my resto shaman who is just barely qualified for heroics has about 15k more mana than the resto shaman who was healing us.

– Also on Kurn, a group where the shaman healer didn’t know he could (and should!) keep Flame Shock up on Ozruk in Stonecore. So he kept getting stunned (and I did, too, at the start). I don’t know WHY, but Serpent Sting doesn’t count as damage or whatever and it’s been that way for quite some time. Luckily, I always keep some Sulfuron Slammers on me, which breaks the paralysis.

So yeah, lots of “interesting” runs.

But mission accomplished! The heirloom Might chest and shoulders are mine!

And I’ve tanked!

I actually tanked with just the chest, the tanking heirloom cloak and the valor helm (and my ring, of course) twice and then once I got the shoulders, I couldn’t resist going again.

This is the first time I’ve tanked on a paladin since 4.0 dropped.

I’m still not great, I’ve never been a GREAT paladin tank. I’ve been at least adequate most of the time, though.

I gotta say, it’s a little horrifying to realize you don’t REALLY know what the hell buttons you’re supposed to be pushing. Apart from anything else, I FORGET to Word of Glory myself to keep Holy Shield up and I keep hitting Shield of the Righteous when I only have one charge of Holy Power. I know, I know… fail!

So the baby pally is almost 71 and is tanking ’till 80ish. At that point, time to race change to human and then we’ll see how the tanking situation is. The Wrath content tanks are awful from just about every run I’ve done and I KNOW that content as a tank (thanks to tanking on Madrana in heroics back in the day and thanks to tanking on my druid, also back in the day), so it’s just easier to adjust to the new pally tanking methods and going to town on Wrath instances.

I just hope no one looks at my trinkets. They’re level 60ish blue healing trinkets…

Kurn's Healing Lead Philosophy

Tonight, November 2nd, 2010, Apotheosis will step into ICC 25 for the first time as a guild. Indeed, this will be the first 25-man raid we’ve run together since Naxxramas and Obsidian Sanctum back in February of 2009.

For the first time since then, I’ll be a raid leader in a 25-man group. And for the first time since April or so of 2010, I’ll be the healing lead.

I’m not the most fantastic raid leader. I am, however, a pretty darn good healing lead. I’m good at distributing resources, I’m good at identifying issues the healers may be having and I try my best to assign people based on their strengths both as a class and as a player.

So tonight, I get to test out my healing lead skills (along with the raid leading skills — gah! Suddenly, I’m glad that I did some ICC10s with the guild pre-4.0…) and get to look at (and thus, evaluate) some players for the first time.

While thinking about how I’m going to work things tonight, I thought I’d share a bit about my healing lead philosophy, which seems so different from many others I’ve seen or heard about.

1) Clarity of Instructions. I’m going to give you clear instructions as to who your target is. I will rarely say “you two, you’re on tanks, everyone else on raid”. I will assign you a tank and, taking a cue from my most recent healing lead, if you’re “on raid” I will probably assign you a group or two. If there’s confusion as to where to stand, I’ll assign that as well. (My healers from my Bronzebeard guild may recall the detailed guide I had for where to stand on Freya!)

2) Asking for Feedback. After a new fight (wipe or not) I will generally ask the healers how that was. Was anyone too stressed? Was anyone bored? Does anyone have any suggestions for the next time that would make things a little easier or better spread out? Back when my Bronzebeard guild was learning Yogg, this kind of feedback was invaluable. Same with when my RL friend’s guild was learning LK. Remember that feedback from healers doesn’t mean you have to take their suggestions or anything. It just means being aware of their perceptions of the fight. Remember that sometimes people will see things you won’t.

3) Having a Sense of Humour/Being Understanding. People make mistakes. It’s exceedingly difficult to wrangle 25 people together and do something “right” on the first attempt. The raid group is made up of people, too. I don’t have too much of a problem wiping the first few pulls on a boss, so long as we learn from each mistake. And as long as we’re learning, it’s all cool. If someone stands in fire for the third pull in a row, I’m less understanding. But for the most part, I’m a fairly understanding raid leader and healing lead. Perhaps a little too forgiving, but I don’t want to have an environment where people are afraid. Fear is a terrible motivator. I want to motivate people to do better because they want to do their best for the team, not because they’re scared Kurn is going to yell. (Although when I yell, you better freaking watch out… ;D)

Perhaps the best example of having a sense of humour about things is this one time on Yogg-Saron, where one of our healers didn’t get inside before someone started the fight. I was laughing so hard I was crying, particularly as this priest was using /say to crack us all up. Like /say Knock, knock? and such.

I mean, at that point, you already know the attempt will be more difficult than it should be, and may even result in a wipe, so why not laugh about it?

4) Understanding How the Classes Work Together. This is actually what’s got me a little worried about tonight, since I don’t really feel all that comfortable with the various changes. Obviously, I know how paladin healing has changed and I know chunks about how holy priests and disc priests have changed, but resto druids remain a little bit mysterious to me and I’m basically hoping that shammies haven’t changed much at all. ;)

When approaching a fight, you need to know how to divide your resources, though. Six healers? Who’s on the tanks? Who’s on raid? How do you make that decision? Part of it is what the classes are capable of, obviously. In the pre-4.0 world, you never would have put a holy paladin on anything but a tank (or a single target who is taking obscene amounts of damage). Now, however, druids can do some outstanding single-target healing, so while you probably still won’t want a holy paladin on “the raid”, you can probably put a druid on a tank to help pick up the slack from a paladin’s gimped Beacon of Light, which will allow the druid to help out on the raid as well.

(Probably.)

5) Understanding How Your Players Like to Play. No matter what’s more efficient or what’s “better”, you will undoubtedly run into healers who are not team players and will grumble and complain about how you’re wasting their awesome talents by assigning them to X or Y instead of Z. Usually this behaviour is seen in those who place a great deal of importance on healing meters instead of on their job, which is to keep people up.

If a shaman does terribly at doing anything but spamming Chain Heal, but does BRILLIANTLY at that, then they’re obviously going to be happier spamming Chain Heal and will probably look for ways in order to do that and “cheat” on their assignments. So head it off at the pass and, if you value them as a team member, assign them to what they’re going to do anyways. Of course, if you can swap them out for someone more team-oriented, that’s probably the best choice, but if you can’t (and who has a plethora of spare healers?) then try to work with them.

6) Know What You’re Seeing When Examining Parses. The worst thing to do in terms of evaluating a healer is to look at where they stand on the full report of healing, or even just the boss fights. It’s terrible. It doesn’t take into account anything like movement, assignments, cleansing, etc. What I look at, in order:

a) All healing done during all bosses: Just to get an idea of things. If all my healers are clustered nicely around 15% of healing done, sweet. But they probably aren’t. Looking at this doesn’t mean whoever tops it is godly. Rather, a large spread means that there may be problems in assignments or how the healer followed assignments. It’s telling you what to look at when you look at the individual fights.

b) Healing done on individual fights: Did we lose people? If so, how? Was it DPS failing to move out of the fire or was a healer slacking? Was it a tank death? What was that tank’s healer doing? This is where I get an idea of where the fight went wrong and if it was preventable and what healers were doing at that time. I will dig into the log browser and expression editor here. Was a healer locked out of all their spells thanks to Curse of Torpor and THAT’S why their tank died? If so, it’s a mage or druid or resto shammy fail for not cleansing the curse in time. That sort of thing.

c) Overhealing: Was overhealing a problem? Were people sniping other people’s heals? Overhealing can show if people are respecting assignments or not and can also show you if your assignments aren’t right. For example, if you have 7 healers and all of them have 65%+ overheal, drop a healer!

d) Abilities used: What were the primary spells your healers were casting? Is what they were doing right? Wrong? Unsure?

e) Uptimes: If your paladins aren’t keeping Judgements of the Pure up over 90% of the time during boss encounters, that’s a fail, for example.

7) Communicate With Your Team. If you see issues with your healers, tell them about it! Don’t just assume it’s going to fix itself. And be specific. Don’t be all “yo, dawg, don’t be fail”. Say something like “You know, I noticed that your Prayer of Mending use wasn’t very high, but it’s really something you should endeavour to use on cooldown as much as you can.” Being tactful here is key. And if you don’t understand why they’re doing something, ask them! “Hey, I was wondering, why are you using X glyph instead of Y? I’d love to hear the reasoning. From what I’ve read, X is more efficient, but I’d love to know if it’s not the recommended one!”

Basically, my healing lead philosophy is one that encourages teamwork, feedback, communication and specific instructions. It’s also a lot of work for the healing lead because you have to do your research and talk to your healers, which is something a lot of people don’t have time for, nor do they bother to make time.

I tend to either have the time or make the time for it and all the healers I’ve worked with in this game have noticed it. Trust me, healing leads — that extra five minutes you spend with a healer of yours can be the difference between them thinking you’re a snob who never has time for them or thinking that you’re pretty awesome and you know your stuff.

Heroic Sindragosa: A Flowchart for Unchained Magic

Not being able to sleep sucks, so here’s something I’ve been meaning to post for a few days. You are free to snag this particular image, so long as it is NOT modified, and post it to your guild forums or whatever. I’d prefer it if you uploaded it to photobucket or something as well, instead of using up my bandwidth by hotlinking it. If that proves to be an issue, I’ll disable that. Obviously, click on the image for a larger version.

Flowchart for Unchained Magic on Heroic Sindragosa

Obviously, some classes (mages, paladins, shadow priests) are able to work around Unchained Magic at least once, perhaps twice throughout the encounter. This should be viewed as a general, beginner’s guide to Sindragosa’s Unchained Magic on heroic, where the Backlash caused by dropping your stacks of Instability will hit people within 20 yards of you once you drop your stacks.

Still, enjoy. Please. Spread the word.

Pretty please.

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