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This is the third week our guild has been working on Valithria 25, and in my opinion the healing is going fine, a few tweaks to make across the board but otherwise fine. We’ve downed her both weeks previously, though both weeks took a good ten or so wipes to actually get going, and both successful attempts were made at the 21:50 mark when the raid had resolved to “one more try then we call it for the night”.

The good news is, I won a relatively nice helmet for myself, and by relatively nice I mean ‘it suits me perfectly since I’m nearly Haste soft-capped, so a change to crit is just a little extra push’. The bad news is that we don’t really have her on farm and in order for us to heal her to full, we all have to give up 100g to the wonderful repair guy before he bribes enough mobs to let us win easily.

Today’s raid came with a gut wrenching shock. Esmi was on Standby. Esmi is our healing leader and one of the best healers we have (along with Lhuranan and Molotov), and with a lack of Molotov also, we were two good healers down. In their place, we had a fresh faced Druid who’d recently migrated from my previous guild, and a fresh faced Holy Priest who’d been here once before, but had a little trouble ‘staying alive’. The other healers were me, Lhuranan, Drusskand (Boomkin-turned-Resto Druid) and Edicia. Lhuranan took over healing priorities today, not that they were needed for the most part, but he did a good job nonetheless. We also had our Elemental Shaman, Vorm, go Resto after a handful of wipes because the healers outside were seemingly struggling to keep up the other 19 non-portaling people.

In regards to portals, I’m going to make a bold statement which isn’t backed by empirical evidence, but instead nurtured by gossip, rumors and general experience. Personally, I would love a second opinion on the matter, but I’m going to say it anyway. Druids don’t make perfect tank healers. Nor do Shamans. The highest throughput class right now for tank healing is a Paladin, which we only have one of.

Now, our portal hopping crew usually consists of me, Lhuranan, Molotov/Drusskand and Edicia. Today, Lhuranan stayed outside to raid heal since the newbies would be less hard-pressed by portal hopping, meaning that our usual lineup of two Shamans, a Druid and a Paladin became one Shaman, two Druids and a Paladin. Not the best raid makeup, at least in single target EHPS.

The new Druid did amazingly well for a first try, she picked up a good stack count and didn’t miss any portals, and ended up leveling with Drusskand for healing, who were a shade below Edicia, who was a fair bit behind me. Our Holy Priest and Lhuranan did a wonderful job outside keeping everybody up, but there were a few DPS problems that I won’t really run into, let’s just leave it with two words: Blazing Skeletons. The tanking wasn’t too bad, but we kept losing tanks randomly even when we had three, and mobs would sometimes get loose and gank a healer, so definite room for improvement there. What with the new Icy Touch buff, it might not be a bad idea to have a Death Knight tank here, from the things I’ve read about the buff, pulling agro off of an Icy Touched mob is near impossible now.

There are three things we (as the healing group) need to do to be the best of the best at this fight:

1) A better healing lineup: two Druids isn’t cutting it, they should be on the raid and we should have another Holy Paladin portal hopping with our existing Paladin and two Shamans.
2) Healers need to be aware of their best EHPS single target rotation: ElitistJerks has a million and one spreadsheets that will inform you of your best outputs, for instance a Shaman’s best output is Riptide -> Healing Wave -> Healing Wave -> Healing Wave -> Repeat, but what about a Holy Paladin or Resto Druid? Look these things up and improve. On top of that, we need to be learning how best to time our Cooldowns to coincide with things like Heroism, that includes the outside Priest using Guardian Spirit a little more often on Valithria if it’s not been wasted on another raider. It finally means things like Wild Magic or Speed potions, that extra throughput along with your Cooldowns and Heroism is going to put you at the cutting edge of your abilities.
3) Edicia needs to man the fuck up and heal properly: I spent my entire day today with Edicia on focus, looking at specific buffs and their uptimes, and it was dreadful. Wrath of Wisdom is cursed in that we don’t have a Paladin leader, and nobody asides me has a significant amount of Holy Paladin experience, so I’m the only person who can ‘improve him’. Last week I got Esmi to persuade him to swap out his old Glyph set for Glyph of Light (5% healz yeahhh), but even with that he’s still not performing. One of his best throughput buffs, Judgements of the Just, provides him with 15% Spell Haste for a whole minute, and yet the uptime on it is awful, for all of our attempts he’d use it for the pull and then forget it exists. No wonder he’s underperforming when he’s losing 15% of his throughput right there.

I spent a good few minutes talking to our raid leader for the day, Gnoor (Fatty, Gnoob, whatever you want to call him), and I’m not the only one who wants to throttle Edicia. The problem is all he’s told me to do is ‘speak to Esmi’. Well Esmi has already admitted she’s not an authority on Holy Paladins, so what am I supposed to say? I’m aware that explaining the basics is beautifully easy for somebody with her level of comprehension, but explaining to somebody like Edicia is not going to be quite as easy. I stand by what I said in a previous post, it’s not the class that’s causing the fault, because even if the class had every potential available unlocked, there’d still be a dribbling idiot sitting behind the monitor mashing his happy little face into his happy little keyboard and hoping he wins. I just hope that we get a new Holy Paladin raider soon so we can ditch him entirely, before one of us ends up saying something we regret.

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