Jan 30, 2010

Stacking the Deck

What do you do to stack your group/raid's deck? I guess this could mean classes, but really I'm wondering what you do when you put the groups together.

Me, I don't start invites until I have the tanks and heals covered, minimum. There's no point in getting people's hopes up without those key roles, and the impatience factor can seriously hurt anything happening without them!

For tens, I keep tanks and heals in the same group if there is a healing priest present. If there's no priest, but there is a healing shaman, and I build the tank/shaman group around those that will be in range of the totem. Onyxia this is pretty classic. Tanks, melee and shaman is told to always be in range of that tank with their totems.

On to the dps. DPS is so hit dependent, I build my groups around Heroic Presence. It is so good to be playing in the Alliance faction with that handy little feature! After duking it out with a past raid-leading-team that tried to put my draenai healer into a group that made little sense with her totem applications, whenever possible I put melee draenai with melee dps, and ranged draenai with ranged dps. This is because totems and heroic presence are range dependent. Sticking like ranged toons together, based on the necessities of the fight, is the optimal way to group them up.

I've been lucky that in my 25man raiding career we usually had a plethora of shamans. 2 enhancement and 2 resto, most nights. This means we had 2 resto split between the healer group and caster group (yay mana tide totem usage, not to mention the other buffs being shared) and the enhancements were put into the tank group1 and a melee group. This left a tad bit of quibble room on the last group, but the benefits for the rest with added healing, hit coverage, fear protection, extra dps, all seemed worth it.

It doesn't always work out that way tho. Sometimes groups have to be built on their assignments. Onyxia is another great example because half the raid at least is focusing on running about and killing the big dragon, while others are killing adds. Grouping those teams together where possible makes good usage, too! Let's face it, it's not on every fight that we can all be grouped up together and hope everyone gets coverage with everything. Group-limited effects really spoil that, too.

What I've never really wrapped my mind around before is raids that have both sanctuary and kings up... /boggle

What do you do to build groups/raids? What did I forget?

Healing with new toons

Yesterday after running my daily random heroic on my horde paladin, I was killing time doing stuff and saw a group desperate for one more healer for ICC10. It sort of killed me. When does healing experience and raiding experience makes up for a lack of actual hands-on-practice? I'm sure this is a quandary many altitis sufferers deal with.

She'd have been third healer, but a tank healer. She's undergeared and still has blue boots. (Guess I have to get the ulduar pattern crafted). She only had 2200 bonus healing and 31% crit (totally unbuffed). I felt weak, basically, and weak + unsure at my healing skills = not a good place to be healing for a pug you'd like to make a good impression with. Since she's my only horde 80 I don't want to ruin my server reputation should anyone figure out who my Alliance mains are.

My goal is to heal on this paladin. That was why I made her, to flesh out with the 4th healing class my stable of healers, and learn the mechanics well enough that I felt confident giving directions to other holy paladins. I have 99% confidence in my ability to lead priests (even holy, which I have never played), druids, and shamans. But near to zero with paladins.

Sadly, since hitting 80 and the mad rush to gear up and get my rep and my emblems, I've tanked 99% of all things. Healing only happens when a guild tank offers or is seeking a guild heroic binge. That's it. I've healed exactly one daily random, and every single day I queue up as tank/heals. Sadness. So really I have no clue what I could do given an unknown tank factor, let alone unknown co-heals factors.

This lack irritates me, but given real life situation, my wow time may be put on hiatus depending on how strong the internet wireless junk is at my new place. So I guess we'll see what happens this coming week and weekend!

Jan 14, 2010

Goals: Rep grind!

Reputation is a joke on my alts, but on my oldest toon, my main, my lovely druid, I really want to get her rep up. I freaking crave the Guardian of Cenarius title. But.... sadly I'm lazy. Too lazy with too many 80s to do randoms on to sit and grind annoying rep.

So what are my rep goals with her?

Argent Dawn to exalted. No I will not get the other Argent rep. I've done like 3 dailies at the Tournament. Seriously.

Sporeggar to exalted. I'm almost there and getting sanguine hibiscus should be simple with my tank spec.

Scale of the Sands? She's revered now, but in the bottom half, so... Not sure how possible this will be.

The Kalu'ak to exalted. Silly and easy dailies. I really just wish Dalaran didn't lag me out so badly.

The Ashen Verdict, Silver Covenant, Explorer's League and Frostborn will come naturally it seems just from heroics with no tabard on. I dig it.

If I count right I'm at 23 exalted reps right now. 4 more with these goals, and 4 more to come just from my daily activities. 30 exalted reps will be sweet as hell! Maybe I could even do the Netherwing stuff!

Healing ICC thoughts

I've managed to heal through ten man ICC up through Saurfang on my discipline priest, my resto druid and my resto shaman. I also heal 25 man ICC on the druid. It's been... interesting. And a school of hard knocks. Here's what has been going through my mind when facing this huge payload of damage I have to help heal.

My main is the druid, and I've done far more 25s with her than 10s, I've also simply been in there more with her. I have affiliations with other guilds on the server and have pugged the priest and shaman into their tens when they were short healers or doing alt runs. But the most pain has been felt on my druid.


Because with a good raid, the trash is EASY sauce heal-wise. At least with my co-healers. Most nights we run 2 holy palys, 1 disc priest, 1 or 2 resto shamans, and me. Yeah that's a lot of friggin heals. And they're all awesome at their job. So me and my measly little hots are brushed aside pretty easily. And, I try to hurricane or Faerie Fire or roots but with heavy melee and aoe damage, basically I stand there and look pretty. (Good thing my druid is damn fine!)

Last night I was talking in our guild healing chat channel. And I said "honestly, at this point, I pretty much view my job as putting up healing buffers to keep people alive until the palys or the shamans or even the priest let loose a heal bomb. I know the heal bombs are there and I know it's going to come. I just gotta keep people alive til then." A very forgettable job. :( My heal numbers look like crap. My overheal is insane. The numbers don't bother me since I know and accept my role. But I know my RaidLeaders don't really get it. How'd I go from uber heals in TOC to nada in ICC? Well we went from 5 to 7 healers. And 1 shaman to 2 most nights. My hots are overwritten so fast, it's only on fights that are freaking crazy to heal (Marrowgar and Deathwhisper) that I might actually put up a good show numbers wise. I mean, I'm still doing my job. I'm healing to my best. But it's hard to show that until everyone in the raid is nearly dead and my hots helped keep them alive. Luckily, one of the uber paladins that heals our raids saw my chatting and loosely agreed with me, then later on in our 2healed 10 man he complimented me because we healed that to death and rocked it. The best compliment is when he says "I like not having to stress about the healing situation." Yay?!

In TOC I loved my crit, even at a lowly 22%. I didn't even have the (4) T9 that let Rejuv crit, but in TOC it was WG that went a little crazy. My healing strategy was Rejuv and Nourish heavy with WG every time it was on cooldown. But now that I'm in ICC with more healers that heal like mack trucks, I've switched to Rejuv and Regrowth, and pulled Swiftmend out of the cobwebs. I mean, it was on my bar, but I barely had to use it. In ICC despite the Chill of the Throne damage is intense and fast heals are king, I think. Well fast heals and bubbles! And my heals... are not fast, unless I nourish spam, which makes me just another healer like the rest in my healing crew. I want to heal my best, but I want to really bring something useful to the raid, and I think my methodology now is good, given the other awesome healers I raid with.

Marrowgar and Deathwhisper are where I really love my glyph of Rejuvenation. Whatever it's proper name, it boosts heals when targets are below 50%. That thing has saved lives on Marrowgar, I know it. GCD annoys the piss out of me in ICC. Did I mention I'm not haste capped yet? Not by a long shot. And the one upgrade I've gotten to drop in ICC10 (last night) has crit on it. #%!@! I actually traded out equal ilevel bracers from TOC and lost 2 sockets just for some haste. This is making me sad. But I refuse to gem purely for haste and I love my socket bonuses. So I'm up a creek without a paddle, basically, until I can get more upgrades.

I learned on Deathwhisper that I simply HAD to change my hot keys for ICC. Which is tough as I try to make my cleanses across all my toons on the same hotkey. My aoe heals on the same hotkey. My bigger heals on the same hotkey. Because of this hot mentality I'm focusing on with the druid, I really had to shift away from that. And I have to bring in my decurse for this Witch. It's aggravating and pushing me to set up clique and get it working. And it was Marrowgar that made me reconfig my Disc Priest's buttons.

On my druid, this is where I'm at with my hot buttons.

I really feel I should probably switch Nourish and Swiftmend, but then I use Swiftmend when I intended to nourish and I get confused, mostly because of my keybind setup across all 4 of my healers. I may have to macro Swiftmend to my Rejuv or Regrowth buttons with a modifier. I don't use many macros at all so this is a big undertaking for me. But like I said, ICC is pushing me to become a better healer. Clique may be needed to transform my cleansing life on all my toons.

As for my Discipline Priest had her share of keybind shakeups to get through ICC. I've only been in ten man a few times with her, but the first was extremely rough for a number of reasons and really bushed me to get the most out of my healing there. I learned from that escapade and next time in made some changes.

After the experience in ICC, and leading to a successful 2 heal 10man clear through Saurfang with my resto tree buddy (@xparanormalityx) I used this setup instead.

I have to say, healing ICC with the priest was HELLA FUN. On my druid I feel weak and too slow, and shaman is.. awesome in an epeen sorta way. But I felt my most versatile and best on the priest. Even as a tank healer, two healing it with my druid buddy made me intensely happy to heal again. Maybe it was just that that ten man had a certain ambiance that made everything fun and good. Not sure, but it was great.

The shaman? She's OP. Walked into a 25man ICC pug and chain heal stomped holy priests that overgeared her, though I was fighting with a druid for pure numbers. The drops that druid got made me cry inside for my main, but the shaman got a suuuuuper shield so I was happy. She's not the first to get tier 10, as the druid got her gloves for some sexy haste, but she's undoubtedly the sexiest of my toons, even if the most underplayed. Life in my bank guild is quiet.

Jan 7, 2010

Oculus can fuck off

The rantings of the pro/anti Oculus arguments are getting on my nerves. In a big way. I'm stubborn enough that the more crap they try to drop in my lap, and the more furious some people get that I don't like the instance and I won't run it if it pops in random LFG (so sorry but those other 4 aren't paying my monthly subscription) the more irate I get and closer to telling people to jump off a cliff. I have done Oculus. I cleared it with guild, I wiped in it with guild, I've cleared and wiped with pugs. It's not fun for me. I will force myself to do it sometimes. Other times 15minutes debuff won't bother me. I have 3 other 80s and more alts, and an hour debuff won't bother me either. So, seriously, carrot, stick, whatever, for some of us nothing is going to sweeten this deal or force us to do that instance.

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