Posts Tagged ‘ToC’

Mirror, Mirror

April 27, 2010 Leave a comment

So I’m hoping anybody with a brain will have read the new blue post that was quite nicely summarized on MMO-Champion as:

  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids will share the same lockout.
  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids difficulty will be as close as possible to each other.
  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids will drop the exact same loot, but 25-man will drop a higher quantity of items.
  • Normal versus Heroic mode will be chosen on a per-boss basis in Cataclysm raids, the same way it works in Icecrown Citadel
  • For the first few raid tiers, our plan is to provide multiple smaller raids. Instead of one raid with eleven bosses, you might have a five-boss raid as well as a six-boss raid.

Personally, after seeing the end-game depression that we’re sliding into now, I don’t mind the change. People are complaining that it will ‘kill’ 25 man raiding for good and yes, it might well do, but I highly doubt it. Some guilds thrive on 25 man raiding, Wrath of Wisdom is one of them. Plus, you get rewarded for playing 25 man with extra loot/gold/badges per person, which offsets that extra hassle of having to co-ordinate 15 extra people.

The shared lockout isn’t a bad idea, I spend far too much time on this game and when I have to run the same raid four times a week across two characters (more when I get some more to 80, undoubtedly) I get sick to my stomach thinking about when I have to do it next, it’s just that drab. Knowing that I can slip into a 10 or25 man raid whenever and only have to do one or the other is a comfort because it means I can spend time doing other things, like non-Warcraft things. As if that would ever happen.

Multiple smaller raids is something I want to raise a very curious eyebrow at, since we’ve all seen what happens with these kinds of raids, yes, I’m talking Trial of the Crusader all over again. And possibly worse. As long as we don’t get some near-unheard of character calling shots for the whole expansion again by having a carnival with random monsters he’s managed to ‘slip into his giant Paladin Pok├ęball’ I guess it can’t quite be as bad as ToC, but smaller raids means less epicness on a grand scale. I quite liked walking into Naxx knowing I had to kill hordes of filthy Scourge, I didn’t quite like walking into ToC knowing I only had to kill 5 things then go AFK for the rest of the 9 hours per week raiding period. If anything, they should take note from Ulduar, yes it was huge but it was also epic, the scenery changed and it was like multiple raids glued into one big clusterfuck of awesome.

The whole raid changes for Cataclysm felt significant enough for me to make a note of, though it’s a fairly underwhelming post. Overall I’m happy as long as they don’t make it into the next Blizzard Carnival of Captured Crap and Loreless Nobodies, though I would quite like to see some ‘epic proportion’ raids again too. And I’m not talking copying and pasting Molten Core with higher level mobs either.

On a personal note, I’ve kind of found Wrath of Wisdom a replacement Restoration Shaman, which is good news because it means I have more of a chance to move to my Priest. I spoke to Esmi yesterday during her first raid back for two and a half weeks, and she said we were short of Priests anyway, and that she wouldn’t mind changing her recruiting around to see if we could get another Restoration Shaman instead, though hopefully I’ve beaten her to it. We’ll see how it goes, now isn’t the best time to be throwing things like this around, what with two officers on vacation and another officer effectively giving me the “I have better things to do than talk to you” finger, so I’ll probably press the issue in a couple of weeks on our next round of lockouts.


Wipe it!

April 10, 2010 Leave a comment

So I gave my Paladin a turn at tanking today, it was my first raid and there were only nine of us in it so it was a bit off-balance right from the off. It was ToC10 with me and some Wrath of Wisdom guildmates, just a regular run to help gear up and give me some experience and while I feel I got the latter, I couldn’t help but feel I probably made more mistakes than I really should have done.

Got the Beasts down with no problems, one wipe because the other tank went down because I was a bit sluggish on the taunting for Impales, but the second attempt went much better, including the one fight I was actually worried about the most, having to tank Acidmaw.

Jaraxxas went down fine, the Infernals were a little unusual because they’d float around despite me having agro, but I’ve seen that happen in every ToC run I’d been on so I knew it wasn’t really my fault.

Faction Champions scared me quite a bit, actually. I had to tank the Death Knight, but what I didn’t know was that keeping agro on him 100% of the time would have been near impossible, since Taunts eventually wore off and he’d reset his agro table in a screwy way for no reason constantly. Eventually worked into a Taunt-Stun rotation depending on Diminishing Returns, and he didn’t cause much more trouble. Got it down after four wipes, awkward but we were only nine so better than I’d hoped.

I made a bit of a fart on the twins, primarily losing agro in the first few seconds trying to move and shoot. Tanking is fine, if I’m standing still, I can hold agro even over somebody like Njev, who’s an off-the-wall Arcane Mage, but this was the first time I’d been told to move and shoot so when I lost it and it killed a ranged, being yelled at was probably well deserved.

We got Anub down easily, he’s a stupidly boring boss though, a couple of adds here, a bit of AoE there, one of the adds submerged on our second attempt (our first was just a wipefest because I managed to let an add submerge over what I thought was ice, but apparently it wasn’t) but that was only because there was no frost at all, not because I was slacking (again).

All in all, for a tank being under the defense and hit cap with blue items to boot, I don’t think it went awfully, obviously I made stupid mistakes that I shouldn’t have done and it’s perhaps reminded me that I need a bit more experience in tanking overall before I go jumping into serious stuff like ICC. A couple more ToC runs and I’ll have it sorted out.

Naturally though, I won’t be playing WoW for quite some time anyway, since my computer has finally decided to wave the white flag of surrender. It’s been having issues ever since I bought it, crashing a couple of times a day (sometimes in raids, which was annoying) and generally just freezing for a few seconds every hour or so, but I lived through it until it eventually gave up living itself. I get my next set of Student Loans through on the 19th April (my birthday too, convenient or what) so I’ll be buying a huge RAM update for it, since running Vista x64 on 2GB of RAM is almost suicide, and hoping that’ll fix the problem (all of the blue screen errors I’ve got seem to point towards the RAM or paging file being screwy). Until then I’ve handed in my temporary notice with Wrath, I hope they’ll understand but if they don’t, that’s probably all I deserve anyway.

What I worry about is that Esmi seems to have this wonderful impression of me, going so far as to suggest that I’d make a good class leader (were I not so new, at least), but I don’t feel the same way. Perhaps I just need to rethink my gaming, but my confidence and abilities seem to have flatlined recently. Perhaps it’s just a subconscious state of mind, a person doesn’t just turn bad overnight and it has been quite distracting with Veir here, and more distracting knowing that I have exams and stuff in the near future too. The couple of weeks I’ll be forced away from WoW for might actually do me good, especially if it means I come back refreshed and ready to do my best (not that I don’t try, but lately my best seems lacking).

I’m thinking about a change of direction soon. Cataclysm is only a few months away (apparently) and the time between now and then is ample enough to give me the opportunity to pick up a new class and see if I still feel like playing Shaman all the way through Cataclysm too. I sometimes feel that raid guilds expect too much from a person, and that a lack of flexibility is not always the best option. Maybe it’s just me. Some days I love my Shaman, it makes me happy, the healer is fluid, it has a playstyle I enjoy, it has a reasonable level of responsibility tied to it,everything I like about the game. Some days I just want to burn it and go play my Priest or my Druid, because the more relaxed style of HoT spamming is more toward what I enjoy (even if it does make me a button mashing retard).

If I pick a new class for Catacylsm then it’ll likely be Druid or Priest. The new Boomkin changes look awesome and I definitely want to hold onto my healing, because despite how I feel right now I can heal and I’m a bloody good healer if I’m clearcast about it. Priest perhaps because I’m just comfortable with it, though the LIFE GRIP LOLOL changes just look like another way of spooning more responsibility on the healers and less on the RETARDSTANDINFIRE DPS. I swear, the first person that blames me for not Life Gripping them out of Fire will have me picking up Druidry again.

I like having a comfortable weight on my shoulders, not too little (DPS lol?) and not too much (tanking oh god), healing seems quite middle ground and it’s just the type of class I play in every game I play, from Muse in ROSE Online, to High Priest in Ragnarok Online, to Bishop in Rappelz to Priest/Shaman/Druid/Paladin in WoW.

Really though, every class should have a balanced responsibility, that’s how the game should work. The tanks shouldn’t be the ones always needing to do “more threat!”, the DPS should be the ones who could do “a little less” or “manage their threat reductions better”. Likewise, DPS should always “carry potions” and “not stand in burny shit”, but instead it’s blamed on the healers if one of them dies from too much damage. This sort of imbalance isn’t helped by Blizzard doing things like ‘gear check’ bosses (Festergut) or by not giving classes reasonable tools for PvE survival (Fury Warriors and threat dumps have apparently never met). I never played Vanilla or TBC but some aspects of them seemed so much better, and a mix of what we have now and what we had before would be beautiful. Cataclysm will tell, I guess.

Miss Medicina’s Healing Questionnaire

March 16, 2010 Leave a comment

What is the name, class and spec of your healer?
Totemshock, a Restoration Shaman.

What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp , 5 mans)
Since I joined Wrath of Wisdom, my primary healing environments are 5 mans or 25 mans. The daily Heroic is pretty boring as a Shaman, I usually spend my time throwing random Lava Bursts or Chain Lightnings around between heals, which are mostly just Riptide or Lesser Healing Wave. The only Heroics nowadays that challenge me are the new Icecrown wings, because there’s a considerable amount of damage flying around for all players, not just the tank. In 25 mans I’m usually asked to heal the tanks and melee, which is my perfect job because of the way that Chain Heal bounces. Other times I’m just told to raid heal whoever, and perhaps my favorite role so far has been tank healing Tomjones during our Blood Princes encounter, a healing feat which tested more than anything my ability to heal smartly, rather than just chain spamming and running OOM within a few seconds.

What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?
It’s a toss up between Riptide and Earth Shield, the former because it looks pretty and is useful for topping up people on the move, and the latter because it’s a lazy heal, I can dump it on the tank and forget they exist for eight charges.

What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?
Gotta be Healing Wave. That’s not to say I don’t use it, it’s particularly snappy when I need to top somebody up for a bigger hit than a Lesser Healing Wave (and with my current Haste rating, I can usually do that in just over a second), but usually for all healing purposes, it’s either Lesser Healing Wave (for 5 mans) or Chain Heal (for 25 mans). Healing Wave has found its way onto my ‘top heal’ list in the Dreamwalker Valithria fight, though, as it’s the most powerful heal I have, and as one of Wrath of Wisdom’s portal hoppers, powerful healing is what I really need.

What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?
Shamans are pretty unique in that they have no specific role, and can fill in just about anywhere. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been a tank healer, a raid healer, or an all-out-balls-to-the-walls freelance healer. That asides, the huge range of Totems we have, as well as the fabled Heroism/Bloodlust make us remarkably useful for any raid group.

What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?
Being good at everything means we’re not particularly ‘perfect’ at anything, which is a small price to pay really. I guess the biggest weakness of Shamans is the stigma attached to them that suggests they’re an easy class to play. Many a time have I heard from some swoony DPS (shut up and go mash your fucking keyboard you dispensable scrub) that Shamans only ever spam Chain Heal and that’s it. To a point, it’s true, depending on the encounter (looking at you Festergut), but to say that a Shaman is any more or less difficult than a Rejuve spamming Druid, a Renew spamming Priest or a Holy Light spamming Paladin is just silly. Every healer class has its share of abilities for different situations, and to stigmatise one class as being ‘easy’ is just naive.

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?
I don’t have a particular assignment I think suits me best, and having the ability to fill in many different roles means I can switch it around a bit and not get bored. Tank healing is perhaps the most taxing of things I’ve done, with raid healing being fairly casual, Chain Healing with Healing Waves on the tank if I see them drop a little low.

What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?
My Shaman, which is why it’s my main. Holy Priest isn’t a bad class to play with but in my current gear (perhaps it’s just my play style) I find myself being hard pressed for mana during even the most simple encounters, and I highly doubt I could walk into ICC10 and heal through Marrowgar, letalone somebody like Valithria. Holy Paladin was very heavy work, especially because I ran with a pretty strict 10/25 man guild. The use of CDs being the deciding factor of a Paladin, popping Divine Plea at the wrong moment could be the difference between you having mana or not and the tank getting that 20k crit or not. Not that I’m shying away from hard work, but I like being able to play whack-a-mole on the raid, tank healing was just me sitting there pressing Holy Light on the same person over and over. Shamans have variety, and that’s what I like.

What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?
Druid, on the basis that it’s the only class I don’t have at 80, and low level healing is just a nightmare. I don’t really get the Druid healing plan anyway, it just looks to me like you faceroll as many HoTs as you can and relax. My problem with a Druid is that I don’t have a particularly useful ‘Flash Heal’ until I get to 80, I either have to waste a Glyph spot on Healing Touch (to make it into my Flash) or go with Swiftmend and just hope the tank doesn’t lose too much HP in the 15 seconds afterwards. I’m no Druid expert and as much as I’d like to have a play with them, I just don’t have the motivation to level another character so soon after my clusterfuck of Squiggle/Shadowgrasp and full time raiding with Totemshock.

What is your worst habit as a healer?
Panicking. Oh god. If I see somebody drop low or somebody gets a debuff they shouldn’t or fail at a boss mechanic and there’s a bit of extra damage, alarm bells start ringing in my head and I think “oh shit please don’t die”. Usually I save my Nature’s Swiftness for moments like this, but sometimes (it happens less and less often as I get used to screw ups happening) I just kind of freeze, and then end up mashing whichever button is under my finger at that given minute hoping that it works. The good thing is that in 25 mans, I have a bit of cover for times when this happens, and it means I can cover someone else if they too have a similar “oh shit” moment.

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group enviroment while healing?
Every healer’s worst nightmare, bad players. If you stand in fire or whirlwind or cleave and you die, don’t blame me. Just don’t. I’m sick of being blamed because you assume that “I have Tier9 this Cleave won’t kill me and if it does it’s the healer’s fault”. If you want to pull that extra pack of mobs or get hit by two consecutive Shadow Blasts then go ahead, be my guest, but there are two things I won’t do. First of all, I won’t heal you when you have half a ton of agro on your ass. Why? Because then I’ll have that same half a ton of agro on my ass, and your equipment is far less important than mine when repair bills are involved. Secondly, then, because I can’t. If you get whacked by two 20k hits quarter of a second apart, what the hell am I supposed to do about it? You stood in that void zone or you intentionally didn’t move from a Nova, enjoy your death. I’ll res you when we’re done, otherwise shut the hell up and go wallow in your laziness and stupidity.

Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?
Every healer spec seems to have its niche, Paladins are tank healers, Druids are raid healers, Discipline Priests are damage mitigators, Holy Priests are raid healers, Shamans are bits of everything. I guess Shamans are quite powerful in terms of the fact they have no really significant drawbacks, and we do hold one of the most sought after raid buffs in the game, and are the only class who exclusively does. In one way I feel that this is probably a good thing, because it means I’m more likely going to be invited versus that scrubby Holy Priest in blues, on the other hand I can’t help but feel that when I do want a break, I’m going to be causing the raid to miss out on a massive buff because no other class can do what I can. Overall though, balance is nice, and I think there’s quite a nice balance overall between healers, but more importantly, it’s balanced while still being unique. I don’t like this homogenization rubbish, I don’t want every healer having a nuke, a shield, a big heal, a quick heal, a heal for Sunday’s only and a heal that can only be used when Neptune is lined up with Alpha Centauri, so the fact that all healers have something different but are all equally useful is one thing I think Blizzard has nailed right on the head this patch.

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?
First and foremost, did everybody survive? If yes, then great, I did my job as a healer. If no, then I ask myself who’s responsibility that person was, and why they didn’t do their job. I also ask myself why I didn’t cover for them, because I probably should have. If it’s my responsibility then I ask why they died, was I too slow at reacting, did they stand in something bad, a multitude of reasons. I use meters as guidance, because despite the extremist view of them being e-peen only, they can be quite helpful. Am I overhealing too much, was my mana regen too high and could I forfeit a bit of it for more throughput. How did my healing compare against other classes and specs. I’m quite competitive, my fellow Resto Shaman (Lhuranan) is of a similar gear level to me and I can’t help but feel slightly aggressive when I’m healing because I like to know I’m pulling my weight. That’s not to say I want to go crazy on overhealing just to prove a point, but I know if he’s sniping every single heal from under my feet then something’s wrong. Overall though, the main evaluation is ‘did we wipe?’ If we didn’t then I did my job, as did everybody else.

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?
That we’re easy to play, or that we’re only useful for our Heroism/Bloodlust. As I said before, Shamans aren’t a one button class, no class is, if they were then it’d be boring. Additionally, I’d like to think that even if Heroism were removed from the game, or never existed at all, that my Shaman’s raid spot would still be validated by what I bring to the raid, which is more than just spamming Chain Heal.

What do you think is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?
Every healer has three things to learn, regardless of class:
1) Be thick skinned. More often than not you will be blamed if somebody dies. Ignore them, be polite, kill a kitten, just don’t aggressively confront them.
2) Analyse the situation in a diplomatic manner. If somebody dies, be willing to admit that it might have been your fault. If it wasn’t, then be diplomatic and say why that person did die, and if they repeat the mistake, be ready to jump in with a quick heal to save the situation.
3) Don’t play god. You might be able to keep everybody alive but there’s no reason to be a dick all of the time. Yes, DPS are expendable and your job is probably more important than theirs in 90% of situations, but unless you’re feeling particularly vindictive (which I usually am, so excuse my hypocritical posting here) then even if somebody stands in fire or void zones, don’t let them die ‘just to teach them a lesson’.

If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)?
People who read meters and treat them as the do all and end all of healing should be shot, carved up, and fed to retarded Rogues who dual wield Fishing Poles. However, in a 25 man situation, analysis of meters is not a bad thing, and I tend to always look at my own with a grain of salt. I tend to find that my overhealing is quite low, Chain Heal is a smart heal and if nobody needs healing, it won’t jump, which cuts a lot of my overhealing right down (versus say the Holy Paladin who’s overheal splashes to their Beacon whether they want it to or not). My skill usage is usually aimed at Riptide and Chain Healing, with Lesser Healing Wave and Healing Wave hits cast to snipe up low HP raiders who need it, but whether or not somebody reads my meters and disagrees with how my skills come in order of use, they can screw off, my healing style is my healing style and it’s one of the few things I won’t back down over, especially when I know in my mind that I’m doing a bloody good job.

What healing class do you feel you understand least?
I mentioned this before, but Druid is my weakest class knowledge-wise, my Druid is currently sitting at level 42, ungeared and on the rested experience cap. Low level healing is quite mana intensive, especially with each Rejuve cutting up a good 7-8% of my mana, even with Innervate on CD I still have to take breaks from time to time. It’s been quite a turn off, actually, making me not want to level it at all. My recent subscription to ‘Through the Eyes of a Tree’ should hopefully bolster my knowledge a little more, however.

What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid in your healing?
I’m proper hardcore, me. No add-ons or macros at all, basic Blizzard frames, I don’t even use raid frames, I just click people on my screen and then move my mouse to click on Chain Hea—. Most useful add-on I have is XPerl, it shows raid frames in a stylist and condensed manner, it highlights people with diseases, poisons, curses and magic effects, it can show low mana, HoTs, everything. Bartender keeps my bars tidy, Satrina Buff Frames keeps my buffs tidy, DBM keeps my play style tidy, and MikScrollingBattleText allows me to track who I’m healing and for how much, skill cooldowns, buffs I acquire and other general things.

Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
I’m pretty cookie-cutter, I use ElitistJerks quite a lot because, to be honest, they obviously know their stuff. If they say our best EHPS stat is Haste, then I’ll likely stack Haste, if they say Crit, I’ll likely stack Crit. That said, I do have an affinity towards Haste on most of my characters, because I prefer a quick paced play style with faster hits (like a Shaman or Affliction Lock) versus something slow and clunky (Warriors, hi!). The majority of my gems are Haste, with a couple of hybrids to meet my meta requirements, meaning I can use more Spellpower oriented things outside of gear (Fish Feast, Frost Wyrm Flasks, etc). I’m almost at the soft cap for Haste, my Chain Heals are about 1.7-8 seconds, and just over a second during Heroism. The only other stat I’d consider chasing would be spellpower, but my heals are fairly heavy hitting as it is, and what with the Icecrown Citadel nerf to dodge, the damage comes in less heavily than it did in ToC, meaning that I don’t have to stack my heals to the roof per hit, as long as the throughput is generally good.