It All Alts Up

For this entire expansion, I have been a one-trick-pony.  My paladin was my only leveled and geared character, with holy being her only leveled and geared specialization.  There’s a lot of reasons for this, all of which deserve whole blog posts of their own so I won’t get into them now, but the end result is that I have been without alt up until this point in Battle for Azeroth.  As much as I love my paladin, I’m glad this is changing. 

Thanks primarily  to a little zone named Nazjatar, I have pulled my monk and my mage, two of my oldest and most favorite alts, out of obscurity.  It took about a week of work – world quests, dailies, and even a few Timewalking dungeons – but I’m now a good chunk of the way towards actually being able to bring them into endgame content.  Both started at around ilvl 290, outfitted purely in questing greens. I managed to push up my monk to ilvl 394 and my mage is only a few points behind at ilvl 391. And man, can I feel the difference.

Playing a paladin as I do, and one that can heal at that, I tend to throw myself around pretty recklessly in-game.  I’m definitely that person pulling every mob I need for the quest all at once and then slowly hammering them down, mostly because my plate armor allows me to do so.  I’ve got a million ways to stay alive and, regardless, stuff just plain doesn’t hit me that hard. As it turns out, that experience is not at all universal.

When I first started gearing up my monk, the very first thing I did was pull a bunch of mobs like I would on my paladin.  Big mistake. A few moments later, I was smooshed on the ground like a sad gnome pancake, wondering where I went wrong in my life.  As it turns out, both my monk and my mage are a bit more squishy than my paladin.  Actually, scratch a bit and put a lot.

At first, I was a touch irritated by just how vulnerable my alts were.  Even when I put them in the basic Benthic gear, they would easily wipe if I pulled more than two mobs.  How am I able to just zone out, listening to a podcast while I grind my quests? After a period of readjusting however, I began to get back into my rhythm.  Old survival habits returned. I still died, don’t get me wrong, but it was happening a lot less.

What was even better was that with every gear upgrade, I could clearly tell just how much more powerful I was becoming.  My spells hit harder. My health pool increased. I lived longer. I’m so used to the imperceptibly small raiding gear increases that I was completely floored by how obvious my alts’ gear increases were.  Logically, when you upgrade 100 ilvl points in one item change, you’re going to see a difference. Emotionally however, I was completely surprised.

My end goal, as always, is to be able to raid on these characters but I’ve found myself enjoying the steps towards raiding far more than I expected to.  I know exactly how many of a certain thing I need to gather or how many quests I need to complete to get an upgrade. When I do finally score that new item, it’s immediately apparent how much better it is.  No RNG, no incremental increases, just pure exponential progression.  

The next major step on the docket will be to actually start venturing into more serious group content again.  For some reason, I always have a bit of a mental hurdle here – I know the dungeons and raids on my main like the back of my hand and yet running the same content on my alt feels like unfamiliar and dangerous territory.  That being said, it’s a hurdle I’ve overcome each expansion on multiple characters, so I’m sure I can do it again. The gear grind must go on!

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!

An open letter to the Warcraft Developers

WoWScrnShot_071815_135824Dear Warcraft Developers,

I want to begin by saying I am eternally grateful for the love you put into the game.  You really put your heart and soul into the game, and it would not be the same without your dedication.  I understand also how difficult your job can be at times.  There are may times when you folks make decisions that some players don’t agree with, and unfortunately those people can respond in less than friendly ways. However, there are also times where people respond with constructive feedback, calmly and politely pointing out what they do not agree with.  These are the kind of people I’d like to emulate.

 .
As you have probably already guessed, I am writing this letter because I am unhappy about some proposed changes.  In particular, the Legion Preview of Mistweaver Monks.  That being said, I promise to you there will be no rioting or angry accusations in this letter.  I plan to explain the reasons for my unhappiness in order to offer another perspective to you.  Whether you decide to take my advice or not, I would still like to offer it up.

.
The first and probably biggest argument that I have is the removal of Fistweaving.  No wait! Don’t run away now! Give me a second to explain! I will be the first to admit, Fistweaving in its current iteration is a little clunky.  Actually, a lot clunky.  Switching between stances and juggling healing abilities is a touch counter-intuitive at times.  But I would rather see the whole system overhauled rather than removed.

.
In Legion, there seems to be a lot of stress on class fantasy and Fistweaving seems to fit the fantasy of mistweavers perfectly.  Martial arts is the bread and butter of the monk class and mixing healing with this is not only thematic, its fun.  A large reason why I initially rolled my monk (ha ha puns!… ok I’ll see myself out) was because of fistweaving.  Something about being a melee healer really appealed to me.  I agree that fistweaving would take a lot of tuning and tweaking but I very badly would like to see it happen. I think melee healing is a unique and highly rewarding experience and I am sad to see it go.

What will we be now? Herbalists only??

What will we be now? Herbalists??

If fistweaving cannot stay as a toolset available to all monks I understand, but I would petition that it live on as a talent choice.  Some sort of talent that changes all the monk abilities to deal damage at close range while also healing allies.  Or something like that, you would know best how to implement a thing like that.  I firmly believe that fistweaving is an important part of what makes a mistweaver and I hope that you can find a way to at least keep some aspects of it.

.
The second element that I hope changes by the time Legion is released is the mechanic of Soothing Mists (and it’s interactions with other healing abilities).  While I again agree that it needs changes, the changes proposed don’t keep with the current theme.  In fact, unless I’m misinterpreting the post, it seems like Mistweavers are being homogenized.  Instead of channeling and instata-casting heals, Mistweavers now will cast their low cost low output heal and their high cost high output heal just like every other healing class.  I play a lot of healing classes and Mistweavers have always one of my favorite because their healing style is just so unique.  I love the channeled heal that allows me to instantly cast others.  I enjoy the extreme burst or the sustained throughput that mistweaving offers.  While I am not playing the proposed changes now, from what was written they just don’t seem like the same mistweaver I know and love.

.

In the same vein, I also enjoy the ability to build my enveloping mists into a great and satisfying Uplift.  But as it currently stands, its a clunky transition from channeling soothing mists to casting enveloping mists and uplifts.  So what I would recommend is, instead of getting rid of casting other heals while channeling soothing mist, embrace that style.  Make everything instant cast or castable during the channel of soothing mist.  Just like fistweaving, soothing mist is another unique and very monk-like way of healing that I hope is embraced is the spirit of class fantasy.

.
The last change I want to bring up is actually something I’m pleased as punch that you’ve added. And it’s this

Mastery: Gust of Mists
Your targeted heals also cause a gust of healing mists, instantly healing the target for a minor amount (increasing with Mastery from gear).

.
THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART! No one ever ran through those pesky spheres and if there was movement in the fight my spheres would be left behind, unloved and forgotten.  You nailed it with this one!

.
That just about wraps up this letter to you Warcraft Developers.  I hope I was able to clearly illustrate why I am unhappy with these changes and I do hope that you take some of what I wrote into consideration.  Until next time, stay awesome!

.
-Fussypants, Career Healer

Times Change

Times ChangeIf you had told me a year ago that I would be raiding current tier progression, I would have looked at you and laughed.  If you had told me a year ago that I would be the officer in a guild 900 strong I would have shook my head and told you no way.  If you had told me that I would have tanked current raids, led three groups successfully to their Herald of the Titans achievement, or fallen in love with the monk class I simply would not have believed you.  And yet here we are, a year later.  And all those things are true.

A year ago, I was a part of a small but cheery little guild.  While it was full of wonderful people that I truly enjoyed playing with, it just was not a good fit for the way I played the game.  A year ago I was an average pug healer.  Occasionally I would have some really good plays but I wasn’t much special.  I wanted to raid more than the pugs I could get into, but I didn’t think there was a guild out there who would want me with my unpredictable schedule.  A year ago I was terrified of tanking.  I couldn’t even lead a dungeon at max level, let alone tank any raids.  A year ago, I restricted myself to what I had at that time.  I rarely went far beyond my comfort zones and I hesitated before most opportunities.

What was that thing Garrosh said in the cinematic?
Times change.

Today I am a proud officer in <Of The Queue>.  I have successfully lead a number of events.  I have tanked all of Highmaul, most of Blackrock Foundry, and a bit of Hellfire Citadel.  I have become a much better healer, capable of using my cooldowns and abilities in a raid environment.  I am in a raid group that is 7/13 in Hellfire Citadel and progressing rapidly.  And I now rock a mistweaver and brewmaster monk as my second main.

So many times we stop short with what we have.  We are so afraid of change and of failure that we don’t move forward.  What we have is good enough, no need to desire more.  But the world out there is boundless in it’s opportunities. Even if we fall, we can always get back up again.

Have I had my fair share of failed ventures? Absolutely.  I worked so very hard on things that completely fall through.  I’ve said “Good enough” instead of finding ‘best’. I’ve let fear keep me from trying new things.

But I’m making the conscious effort to stop.  I want to experience all that the world has to offer (both in game and out).  Instead of saying no, I want to say yes to new experiences.  Because the world moves and world changes.  Times change.

I have found my niche in the game where I am happy.  I log in and say hello to all the people and I feel like I belong.  I’ve pushed beyond my ‘good enough’ and into my ‘great’. I’ve found friends to support me and taken opportunities that I never would have dreamed of getting.  And most of all, I’ve accepted that it can change.  Everything can change. I won’t be stuck in the past, grasping at the almosts.

So this is my message to you today.  A bit sappy, I willingly admit.  But genuine.  Seek out what makes you happiest.  Times change; let yourself change with them. Find your ‘great’.

Brewmastering

Me and my bull bud

Me and my bull bud, taking awful selfies

I am not a tank.  Have I tanked before? Yes.  Do I have a general idea of what tanking is all about? Also yes.  But I am a tank? No. I don’t have the reflexes or knowledge to tank with any regularity.  The best I can do is a few leveling dungeons. Which is why the story I am about to tell is so shocking (even to me).

As I have mentioned a few times, I am currently running a Herald of the Titans achievement group.  I, Iike I always do, went healing on my monk.  However, so did the majority of the other players who are part of the achievement group.  So when it came down to putting together the 10 man groups, we had plenty of dps, a plethora of healers, and not enough tanks.  Not even remotely enough tanks.

The day of the run came, and still no tanks had appeared.  Instead of postponing the whole group, I bit the bullet and switched my offspec to tanking.  Fifteen minutes later, and we were getting set up for our first pulls.

Now I had never tanked Brewmaster before, ever.  I knew vaguely that they had some sort of stagger ability, and something to do with flying kegs.  Other than that, I was completely in the dark.  I had a decent amount of gear (since I had been gearing up Windwalker and most of the gear is easily translatable) but other than that I was thrown out in the world without a clue in the world on how to Brewmaster.

I hurriedly set up my action bars as best as I could, read the tooltips of my abilities, and mentally prepared for the fight.

A little background on the Algalon fight.  There are a few adds during the fight, but the tank doesn’t really need to handle them.  The boss is hard enough.  Algalon, it seems, was not squished properly with 6.0.  His attacks are incessant and he hits like a cement truck.  Within the space of a few seconds, Algalon is capable of throwing out 44k damage.  And considering the tanks had about 50k health, this makes Algalon extremely dangerous.  Knowing your cooldowns and abilities is a must.  And here I was, a brand new Brewmaster, going in to tank this cement truck.

Unsurprisingly, the first few pulls did not go over so well.  As soon as the tank swap came, Algalon would turn his fist of fury on me, and gnome monk would squish everywhere.  However, I am super glad to be part of a supportive and encouraging team, so we picked ourselves back up and kept at it.

I started to get smarter, building up my Brew stacks so I could pop my Elusive Brew when the boss started smashing on me.  Instead of lasting three seconds, I lasted five, then ten, then until the other tank picked the boss up again.  I was actually getting better at this!

Over the next two hours, I went from completely inexperienced and confused to ‘Hey I actually know sort of what I’m doing’!  As someone with a chronic fear of tanking raids, that was a really empowering moment.  I began to feel that I actually knew a thing or two about tanking.  I began to conquer my fear of being the punching bag.  And while we wiped a lot, I feel like I was actually accomplishing something.

Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful with our attempts to down Algalon.  As we found out later, that fight is now as hard, if not harder than it was when it was current.  We simply weren’t prepared for an encounter as bleeding edge as it was (this is not me making excuses, that fight is more wicked than many of the current encounters I have done). However, we did get it down to 19% and I have high hopes that we will be able to conquer it next weekend.

After the raid, I went and read all that I could about Brewmastering. Unsurprisingly, there were things that I had been doing wrong.  But not as many things as I feared.  As it turns out, I had actually managed to figure out a lot about brewmaster tanking in my first two hours.  Whether that it testament to the ease of the class or my skills at picking up tanking quickly, I cannot say.  But I’m still really proud of that raid.

I’m always looking to improve and expand my interests and abilities in WoW.  Tanking was a huge area of the game that I had barely touched up until now.  After playing for a large portion of my life, its pretty thrilling to discover parts of WoW that I don’t know yet.  Tanking world, here I come!

 

Addendum: Remember to go enter in the contest!

Mistful of DPS healing

By the way, this tank was awesome

By the way, this tank was awesome!

And here I go again! I’ve started yet another healer, this time a mistweaver monk.  I’m leveling this one to be the healer in several Herald of the Titans runs.  Which in hind sight, might not have been the best idea considering that monks were not around when Wrath was current and there is no tier gear for them.  Oops.  I’m too far along though to turn back (BC leveled at the moment of writing).

I chose mistweaver for two main reasons.  I have never played a monk beyond level 20 and I was curious about fistweaving.  Monks beyond level 20 is a truly enjoyable affair, but fistweaving not so much.

First, let’s start with the positives.  I’m really enjoying monks!  I think the Chi system worked out remarkable well and feels intuitive (instead of tacked on like it is for paladins).  There’s a good rhythm of building and spending chi, especially for mistweaving.  And the accelerated leveling is a gift that keeps on giving.  Monks feel fast, light on their toes, and flexible.

If I had to pick one negative thing, I would chose the fact that one must constantly interrupt the channel of soothing mists.  For years I have been trained to never interrupt channeled casts until they are done.  Especially for healing abilities (Tranquility and Divine Hymn come to mind), you never want to interrupt if you can help it.  And this ingrained knowledge has made it difficult for me to interrupt Soothing Mists to cast other abilities.  It’s a small pet peeve, but I feel guilty every time I end Soothing Mists early.

While I think Mistweaving is enjoyable and lively, the same cannot be said for fistweaving.  I feel that fistweaving could be fun and enjoyable, but right now it is weak.  Very weak.  Perhaps this gets better with level or gear, but as it stands I cannot reliably heal by fistweaving.

I know I’ve already mourned the loss of dps healing, but it still haunts me.  There is just something innately appealing about being able to do two roles at once.  While I don’t advocate for the return of SoO disc levels of power (while enjoyable, it was a balancing nightmare), I do think that dps healing should have some sort of relevance.  It’s just too entertaining a mechanic to get nerfed into oblivion.

Other than fistweaving, monk has been an enjoyable healing class! Monks are different enough that the play style doesn’t feel like any other class, an impressive feat considering all the different healing builds out there.  And as a bonus, when I get to max level, there are a bunch of monk transmogs just waiting for me to wear them!

Transmog Time: Monk-pocalypse

I have a dirty little secret.  I love to make monk transmog sets, but I don’t have a monk high enough leveled to wear them.  For months now these have sat shamefully, burning a hole in the back of my bookmarks.  I’ve decided to come clean and show the world my dirty little secret.  So please enjoy this rendition of Fussypants goes transmog crazy: Monk Style!
Dragon Warrior MonkDragon Dancer
This first look was based entirely off the shoulders.  I saw someone wearing these, and thought the dragon glow (which fades in and out of existence) was the coolest thing ever.  But when I looked up the rest of the set, I was thoroughly unimpressed.  A little searching and I created the perfect dragon monk set!  Glowy and cool, but still practical and not too flashy. (BEWARE: There seems to be a bug on WoWhead right now where the chestpiece for this shows as invisible, so click the model viewer at your own risk)

Chest: Hillman’s Leather Vest   Staff: Aspirant’s Staff of Harmony                              Gloves: Hillman’s Leather Gloves        Head: Adventurer’s Bandana                 Legs: Rigid Leggings    Shoulders: Grievous Gladiator’s Copperskin Spaulders        Belt: Grievous Gladiator’s Waistband of Cruelty      Boots: Rigid Moccasins

.


Electric Bogaloo MonkThe River
This was another one of those sets where I loved certain aspects of it, but not others.  So I mixed some newer gear with older greens!  Seriously, how can you not like those glowy blue orbs/beads? Note: This does not look as good on male toons because the boots do not cover past the knee and the shorts are frayed.  If anyone can find a better alternative, please let me know!

Chest: Clefthoof Hidemantle        Shoulders: Red Crane Mantle                          Belt: Weaver’s Cord of Eternal Autumn        Gloves: Tharill’s Blessing              Boots: Clefthoof Wanderboots       Staff: Ghost Iron Staff                                   Legs: Trickster’s Leggings       Head: Red Crane Crown

.


Drunken Brewmaster MonkThe Drunken Brawler
Technically speaking, this next set is not restricted to monks only! I was going for a more rugged look for this, and also straw hats are fun! Another added benefit: because of the color scheme, many pieces can be swapped out if farming proves to be too difficult (I am guilty of this).

Chest: Heraldic Breastplate       Shoulders: Shoulder of the Ogre Nabber            Belt: Potent Belt      Gloves:  Heraldic Gloves       Boots: Swabbie’s Booties      Staff: Suen-Wo, Spire of the Falling Sun or Cranedancer’s Staff                        Legs: Earthbound Leggings     Head: Straw Hat

.


The Road Warrior MonkThe Road Warrior
Rejoice! This one isn’t monk restricted either! I was going for a sorta ‘warrior on the road’ vibe, and I kinda like how it turned out! Plus, this kilt model has always fascinated me because it is actually pants that have been stretched into a skirt.  Yes, I think about the important things.

Chest: Grizzly Jerkin      Shoulders: Defiant Spire Shoulderguard                        Belt: Snow Lily Belt        Gloves: Gory Gloves      Boots: Thunderlord Sabatons      Legs: Kilt of Sewn Flesh      Head: Runic Leather Headband

.


Classic MonkClassic Monk Set
A very classic monk look, slightly redone.  And yes, not restricted to monks (rogues would look pretty rockin’ in this too!)

Chest: Leather Tunic of Eminent Domain      Shoulders: Puncture-Binding Spaulder Boots: Landfall Leather Boots      Gloves: Gloves of the Silver Assassin             Belt: Belt of the Merciless Killer      Legs: Leggings of the Broken Beast           Head: Cursed Vision of Sargeras

.


Starcaller transmogStarcaller
Last but not least, a druid look! I respecced my druid to boomkin (with Glyph of Stars of course) and I realized that I had absolutely zero transmog outfits for her! That certainly won’t do! I was going for a starcaller look, hence the tabard.  Keep in mind that I made this with the intention of having the Glyph of Stars up, so the whole thing would be blue and sparkle.  And yes, this is not class restricted.

Chest: Lo’ap’s Tunic of Muck Diving        Shoulders: Spaulders of the Ring         Belt: Mighty Girdle   Gloves: Gloves of the Silver Assassin    Boots: Acidmaw Boots Staff: Ethereum Life-Staff or Apostle of Argus       Legs: Shattrath Leggings       Head: Phantasmal Headdress      Tabard: August Celestials Tabard

.
It has been laid bare.  My obsession over monk transmog, my apparent love for the one shouldered look, and my over-usage of the color brown in transmog. What do you folks think? Any improvements you would suggest? Which was your favorite?