Barreling through with Bearbottoms

Charging into... MY HEART

Charging into… MY HEART

You’ve already heard about Yotaan’s expansion lull project, now you get to hear about mine! Introducing…

BEARBOTTOMS!

She’s a druid, guardian to be specific, and I’m totally loving her.  I’ve been leveling her up through tanking dungeons and it’s the most fun I’ve had in ages.

First of all, we have her name.  Its just… perfect! See, I have this thing where almost every single one of my toons has the word ‘pants’ somewhere in the name.  The other part of their name has to relate to the toon in some way, either by class  or by race or by spec.  This means I have toons like Yogapants the monk and Stancepants the warrior.  So when I sat down to come up with the name for the druid, I had to keep the moniker.  The only problem was, there wasn’t any good play on words I could think of involving druids and the word ‘pants’.

So with the help of my guildies, I thought a little outside of the box.  What other types of pants are there? Well, there are jeans and shorts and bell-bottoms and…. Bell-bottoms! Bearbottoms! It was perfect.

So now that I had my name all set, I had to pick a race.  I’m no so very keen on night elves and I already had a night elf druid on another realm so I needed to pick another race.  Worgen can be druids, can’t they? I got over my dislike of the female worgen models and we were all set.

The very first thing I noticed about leveling Bearbottoms was how ridiculously tuned heirlooms were.  It had been a while since I’d leveled a toon and I was not prepared for the scope of my OPness.  I was killing things with one moonfire.  I was dinging every other quest.  By the time I got out of the Gilnean pocket dimension starting zone, I was already level 15 and ready to run some dungeons.

First, a little background on how I tank dungeons.

While I might not be the most comfortable max level tank, I’m awesome at tanking leveling dungeons… provided you can keep up.  I know a lot of tanks complain about dps pulling, well, I pull so fast the dps can’t even keep up.  I clear most dungeons in under ten minutes.  Right now you must be thinking “Wow, she’s one of those“.  Well, in reality I am.  But I’d like to think I’m a touch better than all those agressively LoSing speed demons.

For one, I always wait to pull bosses until everyone is there.  I might tear half way across the instance with all the trash tailing me, but when we get to a boss, I’m waiting until everyone is in that room.  For another, I never activate quest items until everyone who’s gotten it needs it.  So you know that famous quest in Escape from Durnholde where you’ve gotta talk to Thrall but you never can because the tank activates him before you can complete the quest? I always make sure I wait to click him until everyone is all set.

The last thing I always do is because of my healer background.  I know firsthand how annoying it is to be trying to heal someone and they LoS you.  And then inevitably blame you when they die. When I tank, I might run out of LoS but I always make sure I’ve got the self heals and mitigation to survive.  And if for whatever reason I don’t, I own up to the mistake right away.  It’s my decision to pull like a crazy person anyways, there’s no reason to blame the healer.

Back to tanking on Bearbottoms.  This was my first experience tanking on a druid, but the experience was very similar to low level warrior.  Charge in (I took that talent), Thrash, Thrash, Thrash, Thrash, Savage Defense, Cat Form and move on to the next pack.  If I’m getting low and the healer is far behind, quickly shapeshift and Rejuvenate.  But what was different from my warrior was my ability to survive.  I could pull the entire instance and survive without a healer anywhere. It’s almost unfair how over powered I am.

And on top of this, I’m still leveling extremely fast.  I can ding two level on average per dungeon if I do the quests, meaning I’m leveling up about every 5 minutes.  It’s totally crazy! Probably broken as well, but I’m going to enjoy it for what it.

I’m most likely going to take Boomkin as my offspec because the legion artifacts for Balance druids are super awesome.  Also, moonfiring things to death is kinda awesome.  I’m playing this druid entirely to have a good time, so I’m not going to worry about min maxing and ‘optimal playstyles’.  And I have to say, that in itself is a nice break from Heroic raiding min max all things mode.  Bearbottoms is my messing around toon.

So this is my little project for the expansion lull.  Will I get to 100 on her? Probably.  Am I worried about that? Not really.  I just want to maul some faces and stare at a pixelated bear butt as it flies through instances.

What are your guy’s expansion lull projects?

 

(Addendum: the amount of bear related puns I’ve created thus far is staggering.  I mean, look at the title.  Look at it.  It’s glorious!)

Fussypants’ Introduction to Healing

WoWScrnShot_061815_225617It’s that time in the expansion cycle.  Folks bored of their mains have decided to take up new classes or even new roles.  And you have made the excellent decision to take up healing during this expansion break. Well, you’ve come to the right place!  Welcome to Fussypants’ Introduction to Healing!

ABOUT THE GUIDE WRITER: I am a career healer through and through.  I raid regularly on a Holy Paladin and a Mistweaver Monk and semi regularly on a Discipline Priest.  I have also dabbled in Restoration Shaman healing (for Herald of the Titans runs) and Restoration Druid healing (more in PvP than PvE).  I heal raids almost exclusively and have extensive knowledge about dungeon healing.  Now, on the matter of dpsing… well it’s a good thing this is a healing guide!

WHAT IS HEALING?

In the broadest sense of the word, healing is restoring the life to your allies.  But I mean, that definition is very vague.  That sounds more like a deep philosophical thought than a job in World of Warcraft. Yes, healing is making sure your allies don’t die but it’s so much more than just that.

Healing can be best described as reacting.  Reacting to the damage going out (or that will go out) to your allies and making sure that your allies don’t die.  Healers, out of all the other parts of the trinity, have to be the most on their feet.  The damage going out can change at a moments notice and healers have to be ready to react.  Healing does not have a set rotation or a tank swap mechanic.  Sure there is an ability priority, but the spells you cast depend entirely on what is going on in the raid around you.  Healers are reactionary.

So before you ever try to seriously attempt a healing class, I would recommend taking a good look at yourself.  Do you have fast reaction times? Do you react well under pressure? Can you make decisions quickly? If you answered no to these questions, odds are you won’t find healing very enjoyable.  Healing can get frantic and chaotic and if that sort of thing stresses you out, I would say healing is probably not for you.

At this point, you are probably thinking “By gosh, this healing thing seems more terrifying that I thought!”.  But don’t worry, its really not as bad as it might sound!  I describe it this way so you know what you are getting in to.  Healing is really a completely different style of play than DPSing or tanking.  It’s not scary, its just different.

Priest HealingTHIS IS THE PART WHERE I TELL YOU HOW AWESOME HEALING IS

Healing can also be incredibly empowering. Sure, when you dps you influence the outcome of the raid, but when you heal, you actively decide it.  How and who you heal can mean the different between life and death.  Many times, you will have to make a choice between which person you save and which person you let die.  And when you do a good job healing, you can tell.  When you down a boss and no one has died because of your clutch heals, it’s an awesome sense of success.

Skill can also get you farther on a healer.  A good dps is limited really by how strong their gear is.  There is a mathematical number that dps cannot get higher than, no matter how amazing they are at their class.  But with healing, there isn’t the same sort of number cap.  I’ve been in so many raids where, despite my lower gear, I was the top healer because I casted my abilities on the right people at the right time.  Now, I’m not saying you can heal better than someone in Mythic gear when you are only in greens, but skill is a much bigger factor.

And finally, healers are highly sought after.  When you role a healer, you will have faster queues and better chances of getting into group content.  People want you.  I always joke that the reason I became a healer was the faster queues, but there is honestly a lot of truth to that!

So you have decided you want to pick up healing.  But before you jump in, here is the basics to healing.

THE LINGO

Every healing class has slightly different spells and thus slightly different acronyms and names for their spells, but here are some general terms that you will need to know.

HoTs ~ Healing over Time or Heal over Time spells.  An example of this would be a Shaman’s Riptide or a Priest’s Renew.  These heals provide a chunk of healing spread out over a period of time.
Rez ~ You probably already know the meaning of this spell, but just as a refresher, a Rez is any spell that brings a player back to life.  It cannot be cast in combat and has a relatively long cast time.  As a healer, it is generally your job to rez all the people who die once the fight is over.
LoS ~ Line of Sight.  As a healer, you have to be in the line of sight of the person you are healing.  Especially in small cramped environments this can be harder to maintain, so make sure you inform those you are healing if you can’t see them.
OOM ~ Out of Mana.  All healers require mana to cast spells and this is the acronym you use to let your group know that you need a second to drink up and get your mana back.
External ~ A damage reduction spell you can cast on other players.  Players, especially tanks, will often call for an external when they are taking a lot of damage.  Healers mainly are the ones who cast externals, so make sure you know which ones you have.  An example of an external would be a Druid’s Ironbark or a Paladin’s Hand of Sacrifice.
Absorbs ~ A healing spell that instead of returning health to a player, it puts a temporary shield on them. Absorbs do not actually heal any damage back, they prevent any future damage (for as long as the shield holds). A classic example of an absorb would be a priest’s Power Word: Shield.

Each spec will also have it’s host of lingo related to specific spells.  Generally these are just acronyms for specific spells.  An example of this would be a shaman’s HST, meaning Healing Stream Totem.

Druid HealingGENERAL HEALING TIPS

  • The tank is your top healing priority.  If a tank and a dps are both taking damage, always heal the tank first.
  • Know which heal is your ‘filler heal’ and which heal is your ‘oh shoot heal’.  Every class has a slow cast low mana ‘filler’ heal and a fast cast high mana ‘oh shoot’ heal- know which is which and use the ‘filler heal’ when there is less or predictable damage going out and the ‘oh shoot heal’ when there is high or bursty damage.
  • Don’t be afraid to use your cooldowns! In fact, pop them often and early.  If you always save your healing cooldowns, you will find yourself at the end of the fight without ever using them.
  • When you don’t need to be casting healing spells, don’t be.  Overhealing can be a real problem so in the effort of conserving mana, only cast healing spells if people are damaged or are about to be.
  • Carry mana potions or drinks on you at all times. Managing mana is a huge part of being a healer so you need to have supplies to get your mana back
  • Pay attention to your environment.  Healers can often fall into the trap of tunnel visioning those little green bars but often times, what is going on in the game world can be the cause of damage.
  • Dispel all things. With a few exceptions (and these are mainly raid mechanics), if you can dispel something, do it.  This will save you mana in the long run.

Each healing class heals in a different way. Here is a brief little run down to help you decide which class is for you!

The powah!!

Holy Paladin

Holy Paladins excel at single target and burst healing.  With their Beacon of Light, paladins make excellent tank healers and are very strong in smaller groups. Holy paladins heal mainly by casting medium sized single target heals (Holy Shock and Holy Light) quickly on a number of targets.  They also have a secondary resource called Holy Power, generating it with Holy Shock and spending it with Light of Dawn and Word of Glory.  Paladins have amazing burst capabilities with Avenging Wrath and when played correctly, rarely ever have mana issues.

The biggest strength of a paladin healer is their single target healing. They are arguable the best dungeon healers and are very strong tank healers.  Paladins also bring Devotion Aura and their Hand spells to the table, which are fantastic at preventing or reducing damage.

Holy paladins are weak at multiple target healing. Their multiple target heals are less effective than the other healing classes so they cannot heal up a number of people at the same time.  Sustained raidwide damage is the hardest type of damage for them to heal through.

Holy Paladins are a nice mix of reactionary and preemptive healers.  Their burst and single target allows them to quickly return someone to full health but their damage reduction spells are best when casted before damage goes out.  Also, their mastery makes it beneficial for them to heal targets even when they are at full health if damage is eminent.

As a paladin healer, I would recommend this class highly for newer healers.  The spell priority is easy to learn and plate armor means that paladins are less squishy than the other healers. Holy paladins are the easiest to pick up yet can be highly customized by their glyphs and talents.

And I mean, I’m kinda biased because this is my main.

Mistweaver Monk

Mistweaver Monks are arguably the most unique healing class in game right now.  Unlike every other class, they channel Soothing Mist on a target and can instantly cast Surging Mist and Enveloping Mist during the channel.  They ‘weave’ this in with casting Renewing Mist, a HoT that jumps from player to player across the raid.  The last major ability they have is Uplift, which heals all the players who currently have Renewing Mist on them.  Mistweavers have a secondary resource called Chi which they generate via Surging and Renewing Mist and spend with Enveloping Mist and Uplift.  The Mistweaver playstyle is highly mutable, depending on which talents you take, making the spec very customized.

Mistweavers are very strong multiple target healers but also have very strong burst on a single target.  Their big cooldown, Revival, is incredibly powerful and can bring a group from almost dead to full health. They also can earn back mana through their Mana Tea.

Mistweavers struggle in sustained single target healing.  While they can burst very high, it is not sustainable for long amounts of time.  Mistweavers are also generally harder to learn than other healing specs, and switching between single and multiple target healing can take some getting used to.

Mistweavers are mostly reactionary healers. They can respond almost instantly to damage with their instant casts and big burst.  But they also can sustain a low amount of healing almost indefinitely in between damage spikes.

Mistweaver healing is one of my favorite styles of healing outside of paladining.  The playstyle is truly unique and the talents offer a lot of customization.  And I will forever be an advocate for Fistweaving as I think melee dpsing to heal is one of the coolest things ever.  However, I would recommend trying out a different healing class before monk.  The playstyle can be very hard to get down and mana is an ever present issue.

Discipline Priest

Discipline Priests are the masters of absorbs.  Through their various shield spells, they can prevent damage on multiple targets or give their allies a few more seconds of life.  Discipline priests are best when healing with other healers due to the nature of their absorb spells.  A discipline priest’s big ability is Power Word: Shield and their single target healing comes mainly from their Penance and Heal spell.  The last major ability disc priests have is a spell called Archangel.  A free crit on a 30 second cooldown, Archangel greatly augments the disc priest’s ability to heal groups.

Discipline priests are very strong at preventing damage, so they are not particularly powerful in single target or multiple target healing.  They simply make it so that damage never lands in the first place.

As such, Disc priests are very preemptive healers.  Since they work to keep damage from ever happening, disc priest require a deeper knowledge of fights.  They heal best when they know when the damage is coming.

Discipline priests, when played right, can be extremely powerful healers.  The playstyle is very fast paced and rewarding. While this was nerfed pretty hard in Warlords, they also can theoretically heal by damaging their foes via Atonement (although this is not very powerful).  The disc priest is an easy healing class to pick up but I would recommend choosing a different class to start out with healing.  Because disc priests heal in such a different playstyle, they do not teach the the habits that most other traditional healers use.  All the same, it’s a very fun class to try out!

Big thanks to Cloud for the discipline priest edits! There’s a reason why you are our guild’s top healer!

I have a LOT of healing screenshots

I have a LOT of healing screenshots

Restoration Druid

Restoration Druids are slow and steady, as they maintain HoTs on a number of players.  They have high mobility and low cast times and can sustain their healing for a very long time.  Resto druids also benefit from a host of talents that allow them to change their style of healing, depending on the encounter. They really are the Jack-of-all-Trades for healers.

Because resto druids heal primarily through HoTs, they excel at sustained healing.  Resto druids are also very powerful multiple target healers and have a very strong healing cooldown in Tranquility.  And, when played right, they rarely struggle from mana issues.

However, resto druids are weak at burst healing.  They cannot maintain single target high intensity healing for very long before they run out of mana.  Druids also have a large number of abilities which can be harder to maintain.

Preemptive healing is the resto druid’s forte. While it might be tempting to spam Regrowth, resto druids perform best when they allow their HoTs to ramp up and heal over time.  Just like disc priests, a deeper knowledge of the fights and when damage will be going out is important to resto’s success.

Resto druids have a variety of builds available to them, which allow them to customize their heals like almost no other class.  So if one build does not work for you, another might.  And especially in some of the high movement fights, resto’s ability to move and maintain their healing make them very valuable and very powerful.  Resto druids are a good entry level healing class as well, but it is important to remember that they heal preemptively instead of reactionary.

Big thanks to GenVG, Serephita, and Glar for the resto druid information! They were the source of all the resto information found within (as I am not familiar enough with the class to provide such info)

Restoration Shaman

Restoration shamans have a good blend of active and passive healing.  They have a few HoTs but they also have many abilities that require active casting.  Shaman have a toolkit that allows them to ‘set and forget’ to heal lower priority targets while they focus on those taking more damage.  Their toolkit allows them to adapt to a variety of situations.

Shaman are amazing at large group healing.  With a variety of multiple target heals, they excel at keeping large numbers of players up.  Resto shaman shine especially when players are stacked up in one spot.

On the flip side, shaman are very weak at small group and single target healing.  Their abilities are designed to blanket an entire raid group and they simply do not have a lot of spells to quickly heal up a single target.

Shaman are also very reactionary healers.  They see the damage going out, thrown down the appropriate totem, and begin healing up the damage.  They have little in the area of damage prevention which means all of their healing happens after damage has already been taken.

As the resident shaman healing in my guild puts it, resto shaman are communist healers.  They share all their healing with everyone and excel at healing everyone all at once.  Shaman also rarely have mana problems, allowing them to really pump out good numbers.  Shaman healers are a very good candidate for beginner healers as their toolkit is easy to pick up.

Big thanks to <oTQ>’s resident shaman healer Worldhopper for all the shaman advice! Again, I did not know this class well enough so all this information is courtesy of her!

Holy Priest

Holy priests are the very image of what comes to mind when you say ‘healer’.  All of their spells outright heal up a target- little of that absorbs or HoT business for these priests.  Holy is very much the Jack-of-all-Trades, having a tool for almost every single situation.  Holy priests also have powerful healing cooldowns and great proc synergy if played correctly.

Holy priest’s greatest strength lies in that it has a heal for almost every situation.  It has two direct single target heals (Heal and Flash Heal), three multiple target heals (Prayer of Healing, Binding Heal, and Circle of Healing), a set and forget reaction heal (Prayer of Mending), a HoT (Renew), an absorb (Power Word: Shield), a very powerful ‘oh shoot!’ button (Guardian Spirit), the healing spells granted by each Chakra, and two powerful long cooldown heals (Lightwell and Divine Hymn).  Holy priests have the spell for every occasion, the trick is deciding in a split second which spell is best.

However, Holy’s strength can also become it’s weakness. There is a very high skill barrier in learning which spells to use when.  Often times, poor spell choices result in going OOM rather quickly.  Holy priests need to know the damage pattern of the fight very well or be super quick on their feet.  Holy priests have all the tools, it’s learning how and when to use them.

Because holy’s heals directly replace heal that has been lost, holy is a very reactionary style of healing.  There are a few abilities that you can preemptively toss out but most of holy’s healing comes after the damage has been dealt.

Holy is very much the iconic healing class.  Heck, half of their spells have the word ‘Heal’ in it! But don’t let this fool you. Holy is a very complex and very versatile healing spec that, when played correctly, can really pump out the healing.  While it is not the simplest healing class to pick up, it has the most tools for each situation.  Also I mean Spirit of Redemption is kinda awesome fun!

Big thanks to Cloud, resident priest in my guild for providing me with knowledge on Holy healing!

I hope this guide proved useful to all you up and coming healers out there! While this was a beginners guide to healing, I would also strongly recommend visiting Icy Veins for more in detail explanation of each class.

Good luck and may all your bars be full of green!

Heraldic Invitation

WoWScrnShot_042615_173134Many months ago, I blogged a bit about an event I ran with my guild by the name of Herald of the Titans.  Once again my guild is running groups through for the achievement, and I wanted to open up the invitation to all my readers!

The Herald of the Titans achievement requires some rather specific situations.  First, all the 10 people in the raid group must be level 80.  No level 100, not even level 81.  You’ve gotta be level 80 on the dot.  Secondly, everyone in the raid must be wearing ilvl 226 or below gear.  And while all of this is active, you must go and defeat Algalon the Observer in Ulduar.  Basically, you complete the fight at level and at gear.

So why would someone want to go for such an achievement? Well to start us off, it’s not actually an achievement, its a feat of strength. And as everyone knows, that’s 3x more fancy.  But on top of that, you also earn the Herald of the Titans title.  And bragging rights! What’s more for there to ask for?

If you are interested in joining the event, shoot me an email at thefussypants(at)hotmail(dot)com and go to our guild forum pages for more in depth information.

We currently do not have a run date because people are still leveling and gearing up but when such a time comes around it is my priority that everyone who wants to gets a run.  The event is a ton of fun and I would love to play the game I write about so often with my readers!  Come join us!

Now, onto other business!
WoWScrnShot_100115_184024The vote was in, and Yotaan and I have started leveling our Ironman toons! I am playing a goblin hunter by the name of Greedypants and he is playing a tauren druid by the name of Bullsmack (isn’t that such a great name!).  And yes, you should all feel bad for voting warlock because warlocks are icky and gross.  Thank goodness hunter beat out by one vote!  Mages forever!

Currently, Yotaan is level 5 and I am level 2 so technically he is in the lead.  However, I’m just letting him wear himself out before sweeping in and taking the prize! Totally!

We will keep you updated on our exploits as we level!

Speculations about Specializations

WoWScrnShot_092015_204342Somewhat of a bomb was dropped at Dragon Con a few months ago but it seems many people did not hear about it.  To sum up what happened, Blizzard had a panel at the Con where they dropped a boatload of information about Legion.  The piece of information we want to focus on today is this (from MMO Central Event’s Live Twitter of the panel).

The overhaul of specs was to be expected as this often happens every expansion.  But the interesting piece of news was the renaming of the specs.  Currently, none of the specs in game have been renamed.

Fussypants: While I was at first a little shocked by the decision I’ve come to understand why Blizzard wants to rename specs.  As it currently stands we a good number of specs that share a name with another spec from a different class.  There are:

Frost Mages and Death Knights
Holy Paladins and Priests
Protection Paladins and Warriors
Restoration Druids and Shamans

While I know there are undoubtedly people who are super attached to the name of their spec, I am ok with changing a few so that every class has 3 unique specs.  And I would say I do have a horse in this race because I extensively play two of the specs which have two classes.

What would I like to see changed?
First and foremost, I think Holy Paladins could become Templar Paladins.  I mean, even the name sounds pretty cool! Templar.  Templar. Let lame Holy Priests keep the name ‘Holy’ (I kid, you guys aren’t lame.  But the name Holy fits your class better than it does for paladins).
Protection Paladins could become Crusader Paladins or Protection Warriors could be renamed Vanguard Warriors, since both would also fit with their themes.  I could see Frost Mages becoming Ice Mages (but I don’t know enough about Frost Death Knights to suggest a name Change).
Restoration Druids and Shamans is a harder one for me to pick a name (as I do not play that class as much as I play the others).  Spiritmender could be a cool name for Shaman Healers perhaps….

Overall, I think its a good idea to switch up the specs every expansion, names, mechanics, the lot.  Sure, some changes aren’t as successful, but some gameplay styles become so much more fun after a revamp.  It’s good for the game to keep changing so it doesn’t stagnate and decline.  Also, I really want Templar Pallies now.  Templaaaaaaaar.

Yotaan:
Now, Blizzard is trying to differentiate the specs more to fit the fantasy tropes they represent.  Some are I little less straightforward than others.  Some are vague and greatly changed from their original name.  Enhancement shaman come to mind instantly.  They are clearing the melee spec of the shaman class, but how can one name them…  A review of the class shaman faction doesn’t help.  The only option is “Earthfury” which doesn’t make much sense.   A Windfury shaman is a possibility, but limiting the name to one single spell doesn’t really fly.  I do like keeping Elemental the same name, it does fit the class and theme.  I also like Fussypant’s suggestion of Spiritmender.
Rogues could use a change.  Assassination is perfect and Subtlety I do think works.   Combat is nonspecific and could use a change.  Assassination  uses poisons to kill.  Subtlety bursts out of the darkness in an overwhelming attack.  Combat fights?  I suggest Blizzard embraces the “pirate” theme – the swashbuckling fencing master.  There are lots of choices there and the best is Privateer (the paid pirate mercenary.)
Warriors need a rework, but it’s not complicated.  Fury stays fury, as its the icon of the bloodthirsty berserker.  Arms would become Armsmaster, the ultimate weapon master.  Protection would be Vanguard.  There we go, (brushes off hands.)

What spec names would you guys like to see changed?

Rediscovering World of Warcraft

Rockin' Out
This is going to sound completely crazy.  Ready for it?

I had forgotten what ‘fun’ was in WoW.

Yup, really.  Recently, I have become so focused on making the most of my WoW time, prioritizing, and getting stuff done.  WoW became almost like a chore.  Ok, first I gotta go my Ordos and Celestial runs on all my 90.  Next I need to run the LFRs for the legendary quest on my priest and then my druid.  Ok, now I need to level my professions on my druid.  Oops, I forgot to post my auctions, better head out to the AH.  It was tedious, it was time-consuming, and honestly, it wasn’t fun.

I was slowly burning out on WoW.  It’s not that I didn’t want to play, but when I was, I’d spent more time reading or listening to music than actually playing.  WoW became a checklist, a job, and that’s not why I love this game.  Until, everything changed one fateful night.

In order to get my last couple of sigils for my druid, I was running back to back LFR.  I was barely paying attention to the raids (you can heal the older LFRs with your eyes closed it seems), and really would rather be doing something else.  So, I turned to guild chat.

For the next couple of LFRs, I chatted with my guildies.  We talked about absolutely nothing, but it was relaxing.  And at times, funny.  There was no pressure to do anything (it’s not like we were in an instance together or something), and time passed really quickly for me.

I finished with my LFRs, getting my last couple of sigils.  But instead of feeling accomplished or even remotely satisfied, I just felt resigned.  First step down, eighty million to go.  Why was I even doing this again?

Some of the guildies that I had been talking to decided to run a heroic dungeon for giggles and chuckles.  There was no gear or anything I needed from a heroic, so I almost decided to pass (like I usually do).  I needed to get working on the legendary questline, right?

That’s when I stopped.  And thought.  And realized that I was being ridiculous.  I play video games for one reason- to have fun.  Not to get the best gear, not to be the most skilled, but to entertain myself.  And was I really entertaining myself by forcing myself to slog through this legendary questline for the 4th time? Not at all.

So I asked to come along on the dungeon run.  My guildies quickly invited me (I was to be the healer) and we were off.

We zoned into Shado Pan Monastery, us guildies and an unknown tank.  Someone joked in guild chat that we should give the tank a hard time, since we were all from the same guild.  Then, rather out of the blue, the tank announced he was ‘baked’.  And what followed was the craziest, most hilarious heroic I have ever run.

We started off with a bunch of potato jokes (because baked, geddit?) which then turned into hilarious ‘don’t do drugs’ facts (Four out of every three people who do drugs die).  All the while, we were speeding through the dungeon, recklessly pulling packs of adds that we probably could have avoided.  At one point, one of my guildies switched on pack, which started a ‘flame war’ between him and another guildie.  It was crazy and hilarious.

I was really doing nothing as a healer, as everyone out geared the content.  So, I switched to my feral spec, and that’s when things got really insane.  Suddenly, one of our guild members started to die during every trash pull (I’m not sure if this was purposeful or not), and this started another ‘flame war’ about who should be taking the blame.  We were still pulling relatively fast, and our tank was starting to joke around with us guildies.

All of a sudden, we found ourselves at the end of the dungeon.  Instead of me going back to resto, we decided to burn the boss, and pop literally every cooldown we had (some of which were not spell cooldowns, but toy cooldowns too).  The boss’s health plummeted, and then we were done! The heroic was complete, and the run ended!

Everyone said their goodbyes, and we parted ways with the tank (I never did write down his name).  I had to log out, as it was getting late for me.  But even after the run was done, I found myself thinking about it.

The heroic was awesome.  It was totally insane, completely out of control, and absolutely hilarious.  That is why I transferred to this realm to play with this guild.  That is why I came with my guildies that night.  That is why I play WoW.

Recently, I reflected, I had forgotten this.  I became so worried about maxing out my characters, about utilizing my time, about only doing the things in the game that will improve my gear somehow, that WoW had stopped being fun.  I was so intent on the legendary questline, and my ilvl, and my auctions, that I didn’t do anything besides that.  I was so focused on my goals that I didn’t even hang out with my guildies anymore.  WoW had become a job.

But my guildies reminded me what WoW was all about.

I don’t play WoW to have the best gear.  I don’t play WoW as a chore or job.  I don’t play WoW to be the best player.  I play WoW because it is fun.  Because the people playing are fun.  Because the experiences I’ve had, and will continue to have, are fun.  I play WoW to have fun.

It was the best of pugs, and the worst of pugs…

Best Dance Animation EVAH

I’ve been healing a lot recently (wow, shocker), mostly leveling dungeons on my new druid. And I’ve been noticing some very interesting things about both healing, and the attitude towards healers.
Leveling Dungeons are really hard
Once you finish with the faceroll of Wrath dungeons, healing gets really hard. The gear wall for Cataclysm (made doubly hard by how heirlooms level scale), left my druid with half the health of everyone else in the dungeon, and scrambling to mash the buttons fast enough to heal. Then, once you finish with Cataclysm, you get to Pandaria.
I had this foggy notion that Pandaria healing was easier than Cataclysm, and I wouldn’t have to be popping Tranquility every boss fight. Boy, was I wrong.
To start off, mana starts to matter. Instead of being able to simply frantically mash buttons to heal everyone, I have to mash buttons in a mana efficient way. Which is way harder than it would seem. A lot of times I let dps die in order to keep the tank up, because I simply don’t have the mana.
Although my heals can heal for a pretty good amount, I’m constantly using my healing cooldowns (such as Ironbark) to keep up with the damage. I had to research how to use my cooldowns, because I genuinely needed them. And the funny thing is, is that I’m using more cooldowns in leveling dungeons than I ever do in raids or max level dungeons.
I truly believe that leveling dungeons are harder than max level healing. I have to be way more on my toes and use way more abilities to keep everyone up. This may be a factor of how druid healing operates, but I don’t think that is the case. I have to be on top of every decurse, every damage spike, every HoT, or I cause a wipe.
But, by leveling dungeons being so hard, I am getting a way better grasp on my druid and how to play it than I got on my paladin (who leveled tanking). I know what my cooldowns are and when to use them. I know how things interacts, and what heals I should do in what order. And I know who is takes higher priority when there’s a lot of damage. Leveling dungeons are hard, but instructive.
Many players are rude/don’t care
Now, this may just be my experiences, but the majority of the groups I’ve been in are, for lack of a better word, crappy. Melee standing in the badness, ranged not stacking for heals, tanks not waiting for me to get mana. It hasn’t been fun.
On top of that, people are more impatient. I was in a group where the tank pulled a boss while I was mana-ing up. I was locked out, and after a bit, they all wiped. I patiently explained to them that I was getting mana, and that I was sorry I didn’t make it inside in time. But in response, one of the dps raged at me, blaming me for taking “10 hours to walk up stairs”. Then, after that, s/he passive aggressively asked before every pull if I was ready, and blamed me every time they dropped below 50% health. While that was definitely the worst incident, many runs have been similar.
It seems that players just don’t care anymore. We are at this stage in the expansion where most everyone is old pros at this content. They all have their overgeared 90s, along with haughty attitudes. No one gets out of the bad because it “doesn’t matter”. No one is friendly to each other because we all just want to get this last alt up to 90.
But what we have to remember, is when we are in leveling dungeons, we typically aren’t playing our overgeared 90s. We are playing our undergeared 85+, who do take significant damage from the bad stuff on the floor. And by ignoring this, you are making your friendly neighborhood healer’s job that much harder.
It’s not that hard to get out of the bad, and say hello when you zone in, and bye or ty when you zone out. People need to remember that it still does matter, even though you’ve done it a million times before. And for goodness sakes, wait for you healers to get mana!!
Leveling brings out the worst, and best, of people
I have been in slow groups, fast group, silent groups, and talkative groups. I have been in groups where the tank can’t keep aggro for anything and where dps are more aggressive pullers than the tanks. But I have also been in fantastic groups where the tank does a fantastic job keeping aggro, has a good pace, and then manages to cast Inneravate on their healer when it comes off cooldown (seriously, any tank or dps who does that deserves a gold medal). Everyone reacts differently to the tedium of leveling.
But when you are stuck in that repetitiveness, remember that everyone else in the group is too. We all want to do the same thing, level up, gear up, or just experience the content. So how hard can it be for everyone to just treat others how they themselves wish to be treated? We are all in the same boat; try not to tip it over for everyone.
Also, GET OUT OF THE FIRE!!! 😛

 

The Horror of Healing Changes

Druid Healing

With all the WoD news coming, some of the most emotionally impacting for us here at Growing Up In Azeroth would have to be the healing changes (at least for Fussypants; she stomped angrily around the house for an hour after reading them).  We’ve waited for a bit to collect out thoughts (and to cool off), and now are ready to talk about the proposed changes.
Fussypants: Before we begin, I just want to point out that I have played a resto druid, a holy priest, and a holy paladin pretty extensively, so I’m coming from the point of view of a healer.  My dad, on the other hand, has only dabbled in healing, and is providing the rarely played resto shaman position.  Let’s get started!

“Ideally, we want players to spend some time below full health without having healers feel like the players they’re responsible for are in danger of dying at any moment. We also think that healer gameplay would be more varied, interesting, and skillful if your allies spent more time between 0% and 100%, rather than just getting damaged quickly to low health, forcing the healer to then scramble to get them back to 100% as quickly as possible.”
“To that end, we’re buffing heals less than we’re increasing creature damage. Heals will be deliberately less potent compared to health pools than before the item squish. Additionally, as gear improves, the scaling rates of health and healing will now be very similar, so the relative power of any given healing spell shouldn’t climb so much over the course of this expansion.”

Fussypants: Ok, well I agree with the idea that people should not always be at 100% health.  However, I have a few qualms with this.  First, many players, not knowing any better, may complain and yell at the healers for not healing them all the way when this goes live.  The abrupt change between always being at 100% to sometimes being at 100% is going to be hard to go through.  I know that I have mindset that I need to heal people 100% whenever I can, so it will be hard to get over.  The smaller heals too, with be annoying at first.  But, this part doesn’t bother me much, and I can totally see why Blizzard wants to do this.

Yotaan:  I think the players will switch over quickly in most settings.  Those in randoms, however, will likely gripe.  I think the healers may overextend themselves a bit in the early dungeons as they adjust too.  They go OOM trying to top everyone off when it’s not necessary.  Still, not a big deal in my book.

“We also took a look at healing spells that were passive or auto-targeted (so-called “smart” heals).
We want healers to care about who they’re targeting and which heals they’re using, because that makes healer gameplay more interactive and fun. To that end, we’re reducing the healing of many passive and auto-targeted heals, and making smart heals a little less smart. Smart heals will now randomly pick any injured target within range instead of always picking the most injured target. “

Shaman Healing
Fussypants: Ok, I can agree with this.  Effectively, this forces a healer to be more aware of who’s receiving the heal, instead of endlessly spamming their smart AoEs heals.  I like this .

Yotaan:  Fussy, I don’t like this.  The little I have healed has been resto shaman, and many of our heals are smart AoE heals.  The resto shaman mastery buffs the healing done to more damaged players, and by making smart heals less smart, shaman will be doing less healing.  Chain heal is iconic to the class and this will have a big impact on play style and shaman healing effectiveness.  Now, I spot or off heal a bit when I playing elemental too, but I only use the healing totems.  Healing Tide will be greatly affected and may not be as helpful in those clutch situations.

“Another of our goals for healing in this expansion is to strike a better balance between single-target and multi-target healing spells. We’ve taken a close look at the mana efficiency of our multi-target heals, and in many cases, we’re reducing their efficiency, usually by reducing the amount they heal. Sometimes, but more rarely, raising their mana cost was a better decision. We want players to use multi-target heals, but they should only be better than their single-target equivalents when they heal more than two players without any overhealing. This way, players will face an interesting choice between whether to use a single-target heal or a multi-target heal based on the situation.”

Priest Healing
Fussypants: Yes.  I approve.  They are making it inefficient to spam AoE heals.  On my paladin, I always disliked how spamming Holy Radiance would get me the best heals.  Also, other classes, like holy priests, could do very well because they had many AoE heals.  This is going to make healing much more interesting!

Yotaan:  Aaaahhh!  Again!  My poor resto off-spec…

“Finally, we’re removing the low-throughput, low-mana-cost heals like Nourish, Holy Light, Heal, and Healing Wave, because we think that while they do add complexity, they don’t truly add depth to healing gameplay. “

Fussypants: No. No. No, no, no. I really hate this idea.  I really do.  Basically, this turns into a lot of pointless standing around.  Instead of casting Holy Light to top someone off in a low mana cost way, I will now have to use a higher mana cost spell to do the same thing, or just stand there until they are lower heal again.  When I play, I love action, and movement, and spell casting.  This effectively makes it so that, instead of casting a low mana heal, I will instead be watching my mana, or just standing there.  I love doing  something, and to me, standing waiting for mana is not compelling game play.  At all. Ick.

Yotaan:  I totally think this is fine.   I don’t use that heal very much, and I know that they have to get rid of something.

“Over time, healers have gained a bigger and bigger arsenal of heals that they can cast while on the move, which removes the inherent cost that movement is intended to have for them, while also limiting players’ ability to counter healing in PvP. This left silences and crowd control as the only ways to actually limit an enemy player’s healing output. We’re still preserving the option to instantly heal, but are reducing the number of instant-cast healing abilities overall. Here are some examples:
Druid
Wild Growth (Restoration) now has a 1.5-second cast time.
Monk
Uplift (Mistweaver) now has a 1.5-second cast time.
Paladin
Eternal Flame and Word of Glory now each have a 1.5-second cast time when specced Holy.
Light of Dawn now has a 1.5-second cast time.
Priest
Cascade, Divine Star, and Halo now each have a 1.5-second cast time when specced Holy or Discipline, while remaining instant cast for Shadow.
Prayer of Mending now has a 1.5-second cast time.”

Light of Dawn
Fussypants: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! ARGGG, THIS IS SOO DUMB!!!!!!!! So, because healing on the move was affecting PvP, they are changing it for PvE too??? For my paladin, this will bring me down to one instant cast, that is on a 8 second cooldown!  How am I supposed to heal the group if I’m running from the bad?  Apparently, not with Light of Dawn anymore!! And on my druid, I now will have to cast Wild Growth? Isn’t that just creating another AoE heal that won’t be mana effective anymore? Isn’t that basically removing it from use on cooldown?  And for priest, casting Prayer of Mending?? What?????????

I incredibly strongly disagree with these changes.  Many of the spell that they have added cast times weren’t that uber powerful before.  It’s not like Tranquility was on the move or something!  And, from the little PvP I’ve done, healing on the move isn’t that huge of a problem (correct me if I’m wrong).  The cast times should be for PvP only!
/steams in corner

Yotaan:  My rest shaman is smugly looking at you Fussy.  Welcome to the Club.  /violin

Fussypants: Overall, I really dislike these changes.  It sounds like Blizzard want to make healing harder, by making it way less fun to play.  I don’t want to stand still instead of healing, to have to cast Light of Dawn (seriously, that is my favorite spell to jump around and cast).  I’m really hoping that something is changed, because I cannot see myself enjoying things if this is how healing will be.
However, I realized much will be changed when WoD finally comes out.  I will try to remain cautiously optimistic about healing in WoD.

Yotaan:  It’s gonna be fine and, more importantly, it will be fun!