Totally Thrilled to Tank

I actually remembered to grab a screenshot!

Just a small update today; between packing for the trip and – ironically – writing other blog posts, I didn’t get around to writing up this post until very late at night! I’ve got some great ones all scheduled up and ready for you guys for the next week, so definitely enjoy them!

I wanted to do a follow up to a post I wrote previously about my first experience tanking, and report back that the excitement was definitely not a one-off thing! I wasn’t able to raid on the first raid night of the week, but for the second one, I once again strapped on my shield and threw myself at the tail end of Heroic Tomb of Sargeras.

Tonight’s raid was much, much smoother than last week’s (although, I highly doubt this was due to any better tanking on my part, we had many more bodies). We got through Heroic Maiden within twenty minutes, and very quickly were back downstairs at Avatar. Last week, we’d wiped there for the rest of the evening due to low turn out, alts, and some folks who were unfamiliar with the fight, which is nothing to be ashamed of since these runs are completely optional and most of the raid has gone on break until Antorus. However, our merry band was several bodies bigger tonight and that made all the difference in the world.

I discovered that, last week, I’d accidentally been murdering our melee quite a bit. I was positioning the Maiden too far from the Avatar, so when the tank swap would happen, it would take me a couple of nanoseconds after taunting to get within melee range of the Avatar. As a result, the big guy was using those spare moments to drop kick our poor melee players. This week, I made sure to keep the Maiden within the arc and things went a lot smoother! I only killed one person, and it was the raid leader, so who cares about that guy? (He totally got me back next pull though)

After about an hour’s worth of attempts, we got down Avatar! I rolled, and once again failed to get the heroic tier shoulders -boo! – but now I know for sure that I can tank Avatar. By the last couple of pulls, I was really getting the fight down-pat like I never had before, to the point where I was able to drag the Avatar off the platform right before he broke the last bit, in order to give us more time.

There was no time to celebrate for the scariest boss in the entire instance was left: Heroic Kil’jaeden. I’d heard horror stories about this guy, how his Fel Claws would hit like a cement truck barreling at you 100 miles per hour, how he would reduce tanks to quivering wrecks, how he would make you feel like you knew nothing at all about your spec. Luckily, I already knew nothing about my spec, so his power was gone!

In all seriousness, Heroic Kil’jaeden wasn’t as horrifically horrible as I was expecting. Don’t get me wrong, he still hit like that cement truck, and it still took me a couple of tries to really start getting a handle on my rotation for the Fel Claws. But, and it’s crazy even to me that I’m saying this, it wasn’t all that bad. Even though protection paladins are one of the hardest tanks to attempt this boss on.

A large, large part of my success, honestly, was due to my wonderful guildies. One of our main tanks plays a protection paladin and thus was intimately aware of when I should be using my CDs and, more importantly, when I should not be. My raid leader, too, had a great deal of experience with protection paladins, so he too gave me some very valuable tips. I highly doubt I would have been as successful as I was without their help. Thanks Xerra and Cloud!

Our first couple of pulls were pretty rough; we didn’t even get him to the first flying intermission. However, after rearranging a few of my cooldowns and, for the rest of the raid, remembering to prioritize soaking the swirlies, we starting doing significantly better. Each pull we got farther and farther into the fight, and I grew more and more comfortable with tanking it.

For the Fel Claws, I very quickly discovered that I needed Shield of the Righteous up for every single one. Period. I also needed another cooldown for the last couple of strikes, so I ended up alternating between Ardent Defender and Eye of Tyr, both of which reduced damage taken. My last major survival CD, Big Glowy Man (it has name other than this, I just don’t remember) was reserved for any panic moments.

In the end, we got him as low as 2% on the last pull of the night, opting to end on that high note rather than get sloppier and wipe at a higher percentage. While it would have been rocking to get him down my first try tanking, I’m pretty confident now that I know how to tank that fight. It’s a shame I’m figuring this out right at the end of the raid tier though!

So, I’ve most definitely got the tanking bug. And, I think I can say without being too boastful, I’m maybe not the worst at it! There is definitely things I know I could improve upon, but figuring out tanking has honestly been as easy as figuring out a different healing class (figuring out DPS characters is like rocket science to me). I’m really hoping that my raid will allow me to gear a tank set come Antorus because I’d really love to learn those fights from a tanking perspective as well as a healing perspective earlier than I did this raid tier.

Guys… I think I love tanking.

P.S. Huge, huge shoutout to my co-tank Alarys! You were the best tanking buddy ever and I’m so appreciative of your patience and understanding! ❤

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Tentatively Thrilled to Tank

I never think to take screenshots at the time, so please enjoy these after the fact images

With Antorus on the horizon, we have official reached the twilight hour of Tomb of Sargeras. For my raid team, since we’ve all gotten our Ahead of the Curve achievements, this has meant that we are in a period of relaxation. Our typical raid nights have changed from progression focused to alt focused as we push as far as we can into Heroic ToS in the five hours we have each week.

Even for someone like me, who loves her Holy Paladin to the ends of the earth, these alt-nights have been a fun break from a spec I probably play too much of. Heck, even a fun break from a role I play too much of. For the first couple of nights, I brought a DPS character, and learned that, despite my best intentions, I am not very good at damage dealing classes.

Many moons ago, my mage was my predominant raiding character. I would sling ice at whatever threats faced Azeroth. I eventually switched over to healing full time (and never looked back) but my gnome mage has always held a special place in my heart. And one day, I always hoped to get back into the raiding groove with her.

My triumphant return was a lot less triumphant and a lot more terrible. I’d thought I’d kept my mage pretty well geared and prepped all things considered, but I could barely pull my own weight. Even more embarrassingly, I died almost every single pull. Keep in mind, these are boss fights I have done dozens upon dozens of times. I know them so well I can do them in my sleep. But somehow, I could not make the jump from healing them to DPSing them.

Alright so, mage is a bust, what about some of my other characters? Maybe a melee DPS? I brought in my monk and was met with even worse results, despite the fact that my monk’s gear is a tad stronger. Now this was just getting silly!

I was beginning to think that healing was just about the only thing I could do. That wasn’t the worst thing in the world; there’s enough different healing styles that I don’t think I could ever get bored. But I’m supposed to have a competent offspec for raiding and, judging by my performance, it’d probably make more sense for me to sit than to bring a DPS character.

But then, I found it. My second calling. And it was in one of the most unexpected places.

This past Saturday, more as a joke than anything else, I joined raid in protection spec on my paladin. My gear wasn’t the best in the world but really, the bigger hurdle was that, other than an odd mythic+ here or there, I hadn’t tanked all expansion. I only vaguely knew what my abilities did. I certainly didn’t know what the tank mechanics were other than the ones I had to heal through. And yet, there I was, joke-threatening to tank Heroic Maiden.

Maybe they had faith or maybe they were just as crazy as I was, but my guild gave me the go ahead and I, joined with one of the main tanks, gave it a whirl. And… we didn’t die right away. And then, when we did wipe, it wasn’t my fault. What is this sorcery?

As I discovered, quite literally on the job, Heroic Maiden isn’t too difficult of a fight to tank. The only major mechanic is the taunt off after every infusion or smash (depending on what your own infusion is). A quickie cooldown or Eye of Tyr for each Hammer Smash and I was pretty much golden!

We tightened up mechanics on Maiden a bit and then got her down within the first half hour of raid, no mean feat considering the number of alts and folks who’d never seen the fight before. I even netted a pretty slick tanking trinket (to replace one of my healing ones I’d been wearing because I was suuuuuper prepared). Next up was something a lot harder: Heroic Avatar.

As we’re riding the elevator down, one of the other main tanks who was on a DPS alt for the night whispered me, warning about the difficulties of the next boss. Grunty and Smashy, as they are affectionately called by my guild, are mean like bees and unforgiving to tank error. And, not only was I new to this fight, I was also playing a protection paladin, a spec that had encountered additional difficulties with almost all of the Tomb of Sargeras bosses.

Not pictured: Me flying off approximately 3 seconds later because of his knock back ability

Still, I wanted to give it at least a couple gos. After all, I’d just gotten a new tanking trinket and now had a somewhat stronger idea of what my tanking CDs did! I pulled up my belt, taunted the Maiden, and we were off.

I very quickly learned that Heroic Maiden is a walk in the park compared to Heroic Avatar. The fight features two mobs, the Avatar and a Maiden, that needed to each be tanked by one of the tanks for the start of the fight. The tanks would then switch who they were tanking after the person handling the Avatar got two stacks of Devastate. This is further complicated by the fact that the Maiden has to be dragged all around the room to intercept beams of fel that are empowering the Avatar. And it was all just as hectic as it sounds.

I started with the Maiden and I won’t lie, it took me a few tries to get the taunt swaps mixed with the movement correct. Those first couple of pulls, there was just so much going on that I’d lose track of my own health and then forget to use a CD when I needed to and would very quickly end up as a splat on the floor. But before long, I found a rhythm.

Once I found that groove, I really started to get into it. There was something so steady and dependable about taunting off at the two stacks. And yet, the movement around the room kept the fight interesting and ever-changing. It was fun, and fun in a way I would have never expected. As the patterns got smoother and smoother, the stress of having the entire raid rely on myself began to fade away. I knew what I needed to do and knew how to do it. Unlike my DPS characters, when stuff went wrong, I could instantly identify where the error had occurred.

Even though we were wiping, I could have kept going for hours. The zone, as I like to think of it, is something I love so much about healing – a mindset where I’m totally on top of the encounter but also completely relaxed. I’ve never reached that with DPS characters. And yet, on my first night of tanking, in Heroic difficulty no less, I found it right away.

I’ve tried to get into tanking multiple times. I’ve tried leveling solely as tanks, tried testing it in battlegrounds, even tried throwing myself into mythic+s. But apparently, the push I needed, hilariously enough, was the high stress atmosphere of Heroic raids. That is something I never would have guessed!

The test going forward will be to see if this newfound excitement persists. I’ll probably never move past my love of healing, but tanking is promising to become a close second.  I can’t wait for the next raid!

Au revoir, Overflowing

Huge shout-out to Vall, who went out and got this screenshot for me

Ding dong, the witch is dead! And by witch I mean Overflowing affix for Mythic+ dungeons.  And by dead I mean being removed with patch 7.2.  Hooray!
For those who don’t know, Overflowing was the one healer specific affixes for Mythic+ dungeons.  Well, at least, it was supposed to be healer specific.  Unfortunately, due to the nature of the affix, it ended up only really applying to certain types of healers.

The tooltip for Overflowing reads: “Healing in excess of a target’s maximum health is instead converted to a heal absorption effect”.  Jargon aside, that basically means that any overhealing done turns into this really awful shield that absorbs the next couple of heals.  And additionally, that really awful shield doesn’t just absorb the amount of heals that went over, it absorbs 300% of the amount of overhealing.  So let’s say you accidentally overheal your tank by 300,000.  Because of Overflowing, you now have to heal through an absorption effect of 900,000 health points before your healing abilities start actually healing the tank.

The solution seems quaintly simple: don’t overheal! And while the goal of all healers everywhere is to avoid as much overhealing as possible, because of the nature of some healers’ tool kits, that goal not always successful.  Especially if, say for example, the healer stacks crit as their main secondary stat.

Let’s take my Holy paladin for example.  The stat priorities for holy paladins place crit as our number one secondary, as has been the case for quite some time.  And consequently, I’ve been doing just that; right now, I’m sitting at about 38% Critical Strike Chance. However, holy paladins also can get extra crit from multiple other sources.  These range from the 20-45% crit increase during Avenging Wrath (our main healing throughput cooldown), an additional 50% crit chance increase for Holy Shock (our primary healing ability), and a few other specific ability crit increases in our artifact talents.  Long story short, holy paladins have a lot of crit.

This huge amount of crit makes a lot of sense for our healing style.  Holy paladins, in this expansion especially, are the masters of large single target heals.  We have one area of effect heal and no heals over time to speak of, but we can single target spam like a beastie.  However, because we are experts at big, single target heals, we often overheal by a large amount on that one single target.  Especially when combined with our crit, it is not untoured for me to crit heals of 2-3 million health.  And when I’m only trying to heal someone for 1-2 million, that extra chunk of healing all becomes overhealing.

Usually, this isn’t a huge deal.  But now, enter Overflowing.

Let’s take that same scenario where I’ve healed for 2 million but only needed to heal up 1.5 million.  I’ve just done 500,00 overhealing, which translates to a 1.5 million absorption shield.  Wonderful. I’ll need to heal through that shield in order to be able to start healing my target again but if they haven’t taken damage, I run the risk of criting again and creating yet another shield.  Not a great position to be in.  I either have to throw some small, lower crit chance heals on to try to get rid of the shield or just hope that, when they do take damage, it won’t immediately drop them to 10%. And seeing as how Mythic+ dungeons are considered the ‘raiding experience’ of five mans, the damage can get rather spiky.

Or, let’s say they are taking damage and now I need to get through that shield as fast as possible to heal them up.  But I can’t heal them up too quickly because I could break through the shield, crit and overheal, and have to begin the process all over again.  It’s a constant battle with RNG.

So to avoid creating that terrible shield, I won’t heal the tank until they drop below 70%.  I won’t even apply big healing abilities until they hit 50%.  And I’ll have to pray that the damage is smooth enough that they don’t drop from 60% to 5% in the space of a few seconds.

I do proclaim! that Overflowing is the worst affix ever!

It’s an incredibly nerve wracking experience.  And especially when you start getting up to the higher level of Mythic+s, it starts becoming untenable.  I have to keep a super close eye on health bars and shields and which heals I press, along with dealing with all the other mechanics of the fight.  I’m generally a pretty competent healer but this was getting to be unfun.

Now this affix wouldn’t be ‘the witch’ if it had applied equally to all healers.  The problem was, it didn’t.  Holy paladins and holy priests dreaded Overflowing with all their being.  Resto shaman and resto druids especially loved this affix like a dear friend.  Because for them, it was like the affix didn’t even exist.

I’ve talked to a few of my resto druid friends about this (mainly to complain about how awful Overflowing is for holy paladins) but their general experience with the affix was that they’d never had an issue with it.  Because the majority of a restoration druid’s overhealing comes from the little ticks of HoTs, the shields they were getting were tiny by comparison. And those little baby shields were really quickly healed through by the continuing HoT ticks.

Talk about unbalanced.  While some healers would be working their butts off to deal with the affix, others didn’t even notice if it existed or not.  As a result, certain healing classes stopped being brought to those higher level Mythic+s.  Even in my own guild, while I knew it had nothing to do with me as a person, I stopped being asked to run mythic dungeons because I just couldn’t keep up.  And there was no comparative affix that was difficult for those other healers.

Luckily for myself and the other holy paladins and priests of the world, Overflowing is set to be removed in the coming patch. In it’s place is an affix called Grievous, with a description that reads “While below 90% health, players are afflicted with Grievous Wound”.  Obviously, I’m going to reserve final judgement until I actually get to experience the affix firsthand (after all, I did think that Overflowing could be fun at first, what a naive fool I was then). But for now, my holy paladin is satisfied.  Avoiding overhealing is a fun exercise in theory, but in practice, it ended up being a lot more stressful and uncontrollable than I ever could have expected. Can’t wait for 7.2!

Fussypants’ Headcannons!

Wow, I never thought Yotaan of all people would get a post about RP and headcannons out before me.  He’s just not really the story-telling type, that was my job! No, it’s still my job! And now I’m going to do it! Pants style!

Most of my character start off with a set of personality traits and characteristics.  Sometimes they just at that level, no back story or name.  Name you ask? Well, the majority of my characters have a name that ends in or relates to Pants.  I’ve got Fussypants, Fancypants, Yogapants, Stancepants, and Bearbottoms to name a few.  Doesn’t really make for great RP names, does it? So, part of creating headcannons also includes picking an appropriate name that matches with the character.  Actually, this is typically the last part, once I’ve  cemented down the story.  Personality traits, then backstory, then name. Well this was a lot of exposition, now lets get to those headcannons!

WoWScrnShot_082215_174132First off, we have my main and most beloved character, Fussypants.  She’s a draenei holy and protection paladin with a strong sense of morals and compassion.  Very much the archetypal paladin, my draenei is the first person to stand up to something unjust and will put her life on the line for a righteous cause.  She’s a fierce defender of her companions but she also internalizes issues to protect those around her.

Backstory-wise, she did live on Argus but was still rather young during the exodus.  She came of age around the time the draenei landed on Draenor and joined the guard in her home town.  She was still a paladin at this point, but she relied much more heavily on her martial abilities and her trusty shield.  However, when the orcs attacked, she was badly injured and spent the rest of that war recovering in hiding.  After this experience, she became more in touch with the Light and took up the mantle of healing, though she still carries her trusty shield. When the draenei eventually escaped to Azeroth, she quickly joined up with the Stormwind army. She has, for the most part, remained in the army all the way up to the events of Warlords of Draenor.

I struggled the most with a name for her, as she is the character I am most attached to, but eventually I settled on the name Kya.  No last name yet, that will come later, but for the most part, I’ve settled upon her story.

Moving on to my next character! My gnome mage, despite being my oldest character, does not actually have a complete backstory.  Personality-wise, I know she is ingenious and resourceful.  An unwavering sense of optimism as well as a stubborn streak a mile wide means there is very little in the world that she cannot do. She is talkative and sometimes overly cheery but she is also highly dedicated to her duties and friends.  I have a working name for her of Mikri but I’m sure this will probably change once I settle on a complete backstory.

Fancypants FloatingNext up we have one of my newer toons, my human priest Fancypants.  Fancy is vain (what a surprise there!), self-centered, and incredibly presumptuous.  The rest of the world is beneath her, despite her not being particularly skilled at anything.  Now you must be thinking, this is a terrible character, why would you ever play someone like this? Well Fancypants is unusual in that her backstory actually came first, before her characteristics or name.

You see, Fancypants came from wealth, with a capital ‘W’.  The daughter of a very influential Stormwind noble, she got everything she ever wanted without having to do a thing.  She entered the Stormwind clergy but left shortly after, finding their life of prayers and public deeds boring.  Unfortunately for her, her family’s prestige and wealth was not to last.  A very public and very dirty contract ended up with her father’s title being forcibly removed and even worse, the family was now prime targets for Stormwind’s underworld.  Fancy and her siblings were all sent away for their own protection, a fact she resented immensely.  After leaving her prearranged ‘vacation’ home, she now wanders from town to town sneering at the ‘low born commoners’ and burning through the remaining bit of her inheritance.

Fancypants does not yet have a name, but you better bet your bottom dollar, it’s going to be prissy and very very rich sounding.

Elfster Gallery

Hey look, I’ve actually got some artwork I made for Elfster!

Last on the docket is a very old character of mine, my blood elf shadow priest by the name of Elfster. Look, she doesn’t have a Pants name! …Although the name she has isn’t great for RP purposes either.  Elfster… isn’t all there.  She’s got a few screws loose although she does her very best to hide it.  It probably has something to do with the whispers she hears constantly, but Elfster would never tell you about that either.  She’s accutely paranoid, extremely single minded, and highly observant.

I haven’t completely filled out all of Elfster’s backstory but I do know she is an agent working for Wrathion.  During the events of Mists of Pandaria, she was a thick as thieves with the last black dragon and personally carried out a number of missions for him.  At this point, her whereabouts are unknown but it is believed that she is somewhere in alternate Draenor.  And of course, since her backstory isn’t finished, neither is her name.

Well there you have it! Some of the backstories and headcannons I’ve put together.  None are completely finished and all could be changed dramatically but the characters themselves will probably remain the same.  I’ve actually written a few short stories about these characters which I maaaaaaaaaaaay or may not post here.  Only time will tell!

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!

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?

Shields or no Heals

WoWScrnShot_082215_174132With sure steps, the heroic paladin dashes over the open field.  Her exotic build and glowing eyes mark her as one of the noble race of Draenei.  And her heavy plate armor embedded with crystals further denotes her as a paladin.  Across the expanse, the paladin charges to a fallen comrade.  She kneels down and quickly casts a healing spell upon her ally.  The figure stirs as it’s wounds begin to heal.
But the enemy is not gone! With a bloodthirsty shout, the orc raises it’s axe to behead the righteous paladin.  The draenei swiftly raises her arm, but instead of a protecting shield like usual, she carries a rather useless tome.  The orc’s axe carves right through the book and into the paladin and she is slain.
“Back again?” The spirit healer questions.
“Yeah,” answers the draenei glumly, “I can’t take any hits anymore without dying.”
“While I might not be an expert, I would really recommend investing in a shield,” offered the spirit healer.
“Yeah, but this book has got such better stats! It’s even Warforged!” counters the draenei.
“Honey, Holy Paladins just aren’t meant to use books.  Ignore the stats and go back to your shield.  You’ll thank me later,” the spirit healing wisely advised, “Or rather, you won’t because you and I will barely ever meet.”
“Thanks for the advice Mrs. Spirit Healer!”
“Any time Fussypants.”
The draenei returns to the living world.  But before she charges once more into battle, she pulls out her trusty shield and returns it to her arm where it belongs.  With a satisfied smile, Fussypants once more ventures forth to heal her allies.

There are very few stipulations I have when I play Warcraft.  I’ll play every race and almost every class.  I’ll play any faction on any realm.  I’ll play any role and any part of the game.  But what I will not do, is wield an offhand other than a shield on my holy paladin.

It’s just not right.  Holy paladins are the protectors of the light and of the injured.  And we can’t go about protecting when we’ve got some pathetic lantern dangling at our side.  A holy paladin needs her trusty shield.  That shield saves her life while she saves the lives of others.

But Fussypants, you might be thinking, paladins use Librams which are books! Surely you can transmog a book offhand! Yes it is true that paladins carry librams.  However, if you remember back, the libram didn’t replace the shield.  It was alongside of it.  Paladins can carry books, that I don’t care about.  But they have to carry that shield.  Book or no book, the shield must be there.

And if you are thinking about the BC cinematic as an example of a paladin libram, let me point out to you that that is Maraad, who is a ret paladin.  I honestly don’t care what those good for nothing but face smashing melee boys are up to, I speak only about holy paladins.  And holy paladins must use a shield.

The stats are of no importance to me.  If it ain’t a shield, I ain’t wearing it.  This is why, to the chagrin of my guild, I continue to wear my ilvl 670 shield instead of the 691 offhand that I have.  I cannot disgrace my holy paladin with that disgusting offhand.

Holy paladins are meant for shields, just like peanut butter is meant for for jelly.  Sure you can have them apart, but they aren’t as good.  And you certainly can’t pair mayonnaise with peanut butter, it’s gotta be the jelly.  Just as holy paladins can go offhand-less (not as good) but they can’t use a book (nasty). With the shield, paladins become an amazing juggernaut of healing power!

This is where I draw my line and not even the Naaru can move me.  Holy Paladins must have shields.  In order to heal those we care about, we must be able to protect ourselves!
#ShieldsornoHeals

(Yes, I wrote this whole thing to validate keeping my shield on my paladin.  Sometimes I don’t get why my guild still keeps me on the raid team :P)