Sunday, December 5, 2010


Just tried to log into to look at the new moonkin pets and got this message (and a much higher number, took me a minute to remember how to screenshot it):

Guess I shoulda guessed it would be like this.


The Times They Are a-Changin'

The Times They Are a-Changin'.  Actually quite an appropriate quote from a song writer many of us know of and love.  Work's been busy.  Off time has been busy.  Half-way through holiday season now and everything conspires against me putting in more entries into the blog.  Before Cata hits I thought I'd throw one last entry onboard as things will be hectic for a while.

Firstly.  Cata hits Monday night at midnight.  I'll be one standing in line at one of the local Walmarts, hoping to get a Collector's edition (wasn't bright enough to pre-order one through the local Gamestop).  Although I may break down and just do a digital download during the day on Monday.  I've got two boys who play and they'll be wanting their copies too. 

I'm growing to love the changes they've been making to druid healing but the model that came out in 4.0.3a is less than thrilling.  I find the thing I forget most is that I can change to tree.  When I do remember it's getting late in the fight and mana is becoming an issue.  As many have found out, changing to tree really just provides a way to burn through massive amounts of mana in a short time.  I keep finding myself getting near OOM during our guild raids so I need to work on overhealing less.  Adapting a Monty Python song: "Every mana is sacred, every mana is great, for every mana that gets wasted, God gets quite irate."  I'm going to have to learn, and raid/dungeon people are going to have to get used to, having my party/raid members running at less than 100% health for longer stretches of time thatn we're generally accustomed to doing.  i.e. Must be smarter at healing.  The mechanics and reasonings for this have been hashed out by people far smarter than I on other boards.

I really like our "little" guild.  It's been relatively stable for the two years I've been in it so far.  Guild drama is a rarity.  We're reaching one of those growth points though and the strain has been building underneath the surface.  We're historically a leveling guild, and by all accounts still accommodate leveling toons with enthusiasm.  But, in practice, we've really grown into a casual raiding guild.  Raid style looting vs dungeon style need/greed looting has become an issue.  I think we've settled on a toon being able to roll on an item if that toon can use it at all (in either of that toon's specs).  This will further the 'leveling' custom, as we're working to let a toon advance itsself, not just advancing the current spec a toon happens to be participating in.  In retrospect, all of this will be moot shortly, at least for a while.  We'll all suddenly not be upper and lower level 80's but equivalent 81's, working our way to 85.  We'll readdress how we handle the issue when we have different "levels" of 85's.

With luck the new dungeons / raids will provide some stimulus for more entries as we dive into Cata.  Have fun out there.  Enjoy seeing old things in new ways.  Stop to look at the new scenery.  Happy hunting!

Living life one GCD at a time,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The death of Level 80 Heroics.

Every once in a while something just walks up behind me that I should have noticed, and smacks me upside the head with a 2x4.

Reading Keeva's blog earlier today just such an event happened.  Keeva had a great little compilation of short topics that got all put together into one post, Quickies for Maintenance Day.  An off comment while talking about mount/pet changes hit me, which I've paraphrased such that no one will be trying to do level 80 heroics anymore.  I felt like this needed a little more discussion.

Level 80 Heroics have been around for a source of daily runs in order to produce a source of Frost emblems, now changed to Justice Points.  Since the change to 4.0.1 they actually produce more in the way of rewards as all of the runs give Justice Points when earlier only the first run of the day produced Frosts.  Now there's a mad rush to do chain heroics, in order to get your toon's banks of Justice Points topped off so that you can buy higher level'd gear as soon as it's available from Cataclysm.  

Wowwiki has a great rundown on the topic of Justice Points.  Per wowwiki, "outgrowing content by out-leveling it will result in the listed objectives no longer rewarding Justice Points."

Whoa!  You can only do level 80 heroics (for Justice point rewards) at, duh, level 80!  Once you hit level 81, you can do the heroics, but you will not get Justice point rewards for them.  There will no longer be lines of people queued up waiting for a level 80 Heroic.  Of course we'll have Cata's dungeons to do, but you know what I mean.  Aside from the short time you're a level 80 toon, you'll have very little incentive to even deal with the level 80 heroics.

Soon there will be ONLY ONE REASON to do these heroics: to get the Achieves associated with their completion.  In the near future, if you have a toon you've got leveled up finally to 80 and above you'll be looking to your guildies.  Guilds will have "fun days", where they do the level 80 heroics in chain fashion. Doing so over a period of time in order to get the achieves for all their leveling alts.  As monotonous as some of them were, a small part of me will miss them.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

VuhDo review.

Several weeks ago a fellow guild-mate wanted me to show how I'd set up my Grid for my healing needs.  It just happened that I ran across VuhDo a few days later and have been sold on it ever since.

First, my old Grid layout looked something like this.  It was clean and well thought out.  I had my HoT's in different corners, and they'd give a yellow then red warning when they were getting ready to expire.  I prefer dark backgrounds with health that is shown decreasing, from the right (an inverse color setup).  So health is essentially a dark bar that shrinks from the right.  The reason I like this is that I can focus more easily on who needs heals.  More color showing means it moves up in my priority list.  In the grid example to the right, the bottom frame shows someone at approx 75% health.  The green number "4.4" on my tank, Irinbells, shows me I have three stacks of LifeBlooms (hence green) which will bloom in 4.4 secs.  One problem I had with grid was my need to be the instance leader, or for the tank to be the instance leader.  Grid automatically places me at the top, and then places the instance lead as the second frame down.  Although if I have lead, it automatically places the tank in the second slot, which is where I want him.  Nothing irked me more than having the tank stuck in the third or forth slot, and having to mouse carefully back and forth between us as I went along.  This left me constantly asking at beginning of instances to have the lead changed over to the tank so that my grid layout would be easier to use.  This request was generally heeded about 90% of the time.  Dispells were done with Clique, which I had setup to fire on left and right mouse buttons if I held down the shift key as 'Remove Curse' and 'Abolish Poison', respectively.

Next are a set of pics from my VuhDo setup.  These are taken actually very close in time to each other but show a few different things taking place.  
First thing you'll notice is that my tank is set off to the left from the main group, VuhDo can be set up to do this automatically.   The red surrounding the toon's frame shows he has aggro.  You can see in the second pic that 'Star' has just picked up aggro as well, which lets me know to consider throwing a Rejuv their way in case they take some damage.  The top left of the frame shows the character's "Rejuv" status. The number within the purple colored square counts down the last 9 seconds of the Rejuv in case I need to watch for who'll need to get replenished.  The red circle next to the Rejuv square shows that these toons are capable of receiving a Swiftmend if needed.  Once used, the circle will disappear on all frames but will return once Swiftmend's cooldown is up.  WildGrowth is the green square in the bottom left corner of each frame and also shows a countdown till it's done.  Mana bars are set in the bottom of each frame.  Once again, I mimicked my health preference with an inverse colored bar, filling from the right.  More color means more attention.  "Thab" in the first pic has his health bar with a darkened part.  VuhDo is showing me that it expects him to have received that much heal from the current Rejuv by the time it expires.  In the second pic a poison has dropped onto me with 5 secs left until it expires.  VuhDo contains it's own built-in version of Clique, which I have set up to operate exactly like I did with Grid.  Not shown here is that I have it set to show a small version of a marker icon right over the player's name.

A bonus feature I found with VuhDo (in Louisiana we call these a "Lagniappe", meaning a little something extra) is that I can have other frames within my UI hidden.  I've decided what works best for me is to hide the "party members" so they don't take up the visual space on the left side of my screen.  I've left my toon and my target's toon.  The reason I left these two is to make it easier to access the menues WoW gives you when you click on these frames.  i.e. Leave Group, or to mark with an Icon.  Below is a typical, though small, version of my basic UI in action.  As you can see, I have VuhDo taking up a very small area of my screen, yet it is my area of greatest focus.  The size frames I am using lend themselves very well to 10 and 25 man raids as well.  On 25 mans, I'll unlock the frame and move it over to the left just a little before locking it back down.

What I did not do is try to show you the exact steps to set this up.  There is copious information linked from VuhDo's creator as to how to go about setting it up to your liking.  The major thing to do is dive in and play till you start seeing what you have in mind for your needs.  There is a certain point at which a lightbulb goes off in your head and the setup process makes sense.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Five finished where none of us had started.

Jumped on to do a quick random for my two frosts last night after work.  What transpired ended up being somewhat amusing so I thought I'd recount some of it.

I queued up for my random as my usual healer self and got dumped into Halls of Stone.  Only, it wasn't at the entrance.  We were right at the entrance to Krystallus.  Several were finishing their run back to the spot, they were in a post-wipe phase and had somehow lost their healer.  After appropriate buffs were passed around and before running in, I said "ok, please remember to stay away from each other after his blowback."  On the very first blowback, the mage near me got thrown further away (my back was to a nearby wall) and ran right past me as we turned to stone.  Boom, I'm dead, great.  I thanked him for my 6 gold repair bill and released to run back.  I got back just as the DK tank had finished kiting Krystallus back out of his room.  All the DPS had died in the process.  A few touchup heals and Krystallus fell over dead.  Before I could rez anyone, all three DPS released and left the instance.  I guess from their point of view they'd taken two wipes and were calling it quits.

I let the tank know I'd stick it out (hah, a tree pun) and we re-queued.  As you'd imagine we had three fresh new DPS in short order and off we went.  Maiden of Grief was easy as always.  Duh, don't stand in black stuff.  Just as Brann started his thing in the Tribunal of Ages the tank says he's gotta go.  He'd stay around till this sequence with Brann was finished, but his guild was starting ICC and he had to head out quick.  Tank gone.  We cleared the one last group of roving mobs that's always left over outside the last boss and right on the spot a new tank showed up.  He was ecstatic that we only had the last boss to go.  Two minutes later we had opened the door, charged in, and downed the boss.  The usual thanks for group got passed around, and it hit me.  No one that finished this instance were present when it had started.  I've never before been a part of a complete group swap-out.

On a side note.  VuhDo rocks.  I'm now one week into using it for all of my healing needs.  Next week I'll get some screenshots ready and start working on a quick demo of how I've got mine set up.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Life happens...

Nope, I've not disappeared off the face of the earth.  Life happens.  For us it's the summertime scramble.  We had two kids in AllStars, vacation to the beach right after that, then work work work to pay da bills.

Since my last post I've had time to do quite a bit.  RebirthII is doing some casual raiding with it's upper levels now.  Tunin's gear is getting good enough that I can finally be helpful for many of the raids our guild can pull off.  I seem to keep missing the times for the raids as they like to go a little early for me so I have been PUG'ing several of the weeklies.  Football season is upon us so my Tuesday nights on my non-work weeks are now taken up to go see the kids play.

I'd been asked by one of my guild mates to put something up about my Grid setup.  I'd actually collected up quite a few screeenshots of my Grid during an ICC rep run and was ready to write some in depth verbiage about them but...  Last night I discovered VuhDo.  It got me excited enough that I got up early this morning to install it.  I wanted to get started setting it up to my liking before the 7am maintenance took us offline.  I therefore will be withholding my Grid setup details pending my VuhDo experience.  Hopefully it won't take me as long to post about it as it's been since my last blog post in here.

As always, Happy Hunting!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

They're a little weird ... but they're good at what they do.

I think it's funny sometimes how things come in waves.  I had an experience a couple nights ago that I was going to write about.  I then just happened over to Keredria's blog Tree of Life and noticed she'd just blogged recently on a similar topic with this article.

Our guild, RebirthII, decided to have an Ulduar 10 man day.  As I showed up it became apparent I'd missed out on the weekly raid quest, which was to kill XT-002 Deconstructor.  Nearly everyone else had done it in the guild group.  Not being much of a raider due to time constraints I'd missed out.  One of our main tanks, Irinbells, hadn't done it either, but knew a group that was getting ready to run.  I had him check, and they were up for some druid heals to go with the group they had together already.  So off I went.  Irin had one cautionary point to make though, "they're a little weird, and kinda young, but they're good at what they do."

As I joined, their leader Iceshaman sent the usual Vent settings over. "Is anyone here a lesbian?" is the first thing I hear as I join, spoken by some anonymous toon on their chat.  Irin whispers "see what I mean?"  The second thing I noticed is that the average age, gauged by sound of their voices, was about 15.  And I think that's because Irin and I significantly averaged their age upwards by being present.  Their leader Ice ran a tight ship otherwise though.  Once he found out I was new to the instance, he said I was with him.  Prior to every fight Ice gave a very to the point and clear message to each person what he expected them to be working on.  These were probably some of the best pre-fight summaries I've heard.  For the fight with XT-002 we ran like clockwork.  We were lined up one one column of the floor, and if you got a 'light bomb' dropped on you you were to run four squares to the right before it detonated, then come back to the middle.  If you got the 'gravity bomb' you were to go left.  I really didn't even need DBM as he called out instructions anyway as we went along.  "Tunin, light, head right", and so-forth.  

Yep, they were a little weird.  They were definitely young.  But like Irinbells had meantioned, they were good at what they did.  It was refreshing to run with a different group and have fun.   In retrospect, it was the natural born leadership of Iceshaman that made it a good time.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

How about a ready check?

Just when I thought I was running out of little things that bug me...

I'm busy saving up my Frosts as there's some gear I've got my eye on.  Being as I don't raid much my main source is the first random daily heroic giving me a whopping two Frosts/day (wheee!).  So I que'd up Friday evening when things had settled down at the house and ended up with a Trial of Champions run.  We mounted up and took off.  Man, this first phase while mounted was taking forever.  We spent at least two to three times longer doing this than it should have.  At the end it became clear why.  It seems our tank's toon disconnected at some point, and with all the commotion of mounts running around I'd not noticed one of us standing in one place doing nothing.  I hate re-que'ing for a tank as you never know how long it'll take.  But after asking the other guys, they wanted the first tank dropped and then wanted us re-que'd.

As soon as I hit the que button, I typed "hey guys, that took forever and we don't know long this tank'll take... gonna take a two minute break and get my drink refreshed".   I came back in less time than that, to find everyone at less than 10% health, fighting on the other side of the ToC hall.  The tank's dyeing words were "dude, are you going to heal?".  My reply as all four of my teammates ghosted, and the remaining mobs charge across the hall at me, was "uhh, I'd said I was gonna be AFK".  His reply was that no one told him.  Great, a needless wipe, where I look bad.

Post mortem:  Everyone's seen a tank do this.  They join an instance already in progress, replacing a failed, disconnected or ejected previous tank.  They realize where they are, then charge ahead with a "lets go!".  Apparently this guy joined up within seconds of my leaving my chair.  No one in the group said "hey, the tree just afk'd" when he charged off.  That alone should have stopped the tank in his tracks.  But, whatever happened to the tried and true, simple "r?".  If you only get three replies then you investigate.

I must admit that I share some blame.  Unless you are an hour into trying to finish Occulus with a couple of people who have never run it before, you should be ready to finish a simple five man heroic at one sitting without getting up after you hit que.  I just wanted to stretch my legs real quick, freshening up my drink was my excuse to make an orbit around the kitchen.

"r?" would have prevented a wipe.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Disappeared there for a bit...

You'd think I fell off the edge of the Azeroth the way I've been gone.  The world is flat you know, Tuninn the DK has his Explorer title, he'd know.  Things have been busy.  Tunin turned 80 during a PUG at UP just over a month ago.  Tunin then started the progression towards getting his full epic gearset, and now am on a nearly full set since then.  (For the last few weeks, in real life, I've been nursing three broken ribs, and haven't felt like doing anything where I had to sit in front of a computer.)

The first things I had to do with Tunin is retune his glyphs.  Gone is Glyph of Healing Touch as I now have Nourish I can spam away if needed.  The glyph set I settled on are: Nourish, Innervate and Swiftmend.  My minors, for what they're worth, are Unburdened Rebirth, Glyph of the Wild, and Glyph of Thorns.  I tuned my spec tree a little more to one found I think at elitistjerks, and is an 18/0/53 variety.

Tunin has now healed his way through all the standard heroics.  He is currently working on the 3.3 patch heroics and has finished The Forge of Souls, and The Pit of Saron.  Tunin has been to Halls of Reflection once, and it was a bad day.  We wiped 5 or 6 times.  The main problem was that Tunin would draw aggro very early on while our group was hiding behind a corner.  Someone pointed out that I can't throw any heals until well after the tank has gained aggro as they were attacking me too soon, and he wasn't successful at pulling them off of me.  So two more times in a row, between waves, I'd stop throwing heals and yet aggro would again go straight to me.  We quit out of frustration, but I'm thankful they stuck with me for a PUG for so long.  It was afterwards, while doing some reading that I had another of my epiphanies.  HoT's generate threat during EACH TICK, not just when they're thrown.  My general practice in a 5 man is to keep the tank fully loaded with three Lifeblooms, and a Rejuv ticking on everyone.  This lets me hit a Swiftmend on anyone (remember, I don't consume mine as I'm glyphed) in a pinch, and/or hit with a Nourish as needed.  When the tank starts getting in trouble, and Lifebloom is nearly expired, actually leaving Lifebloom alone is the answer, as it'll bloom, giving the tank a massive healing burst.

Druids then, apparently have a major disadvantage in Halls of Reflection.  The majority of my heals are Hot's in nature, with occasional spot mends here and there.  I'll therefore have to change my tactics during this phase alone, and spam the crud out of Nourish ALONE.   This way, when we're between waves, I'll not draw aggro by having HoT's ticking away on every one in the group.  Since coming to this realization I have yet to actually get a random back to Halls of Reflection to try it out.

ICC Rep Runs.  Oh my these are fun.  Irinbells in my guild, Mok'Nathal's RebirthII, put one together the other night and I signed up.  It was actually my first prolonged sit-down in front of the computer in two weeks.  We had a blast.  Probably the best part was having all 10 of us chatting on Vent at the same time during the event.  I'll be watching TradeChat again to try and get in on more of these in the future.

Will sign off for now.  I'll keep track of the new tree strategie for Halls of Reflection and let you know.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Druid changes, and, the boy's makin' daddy proud.

Oops, it's been two weeks since my last post.  Things have been busy around the homefront (read - kid's baseball) as well as work.

There seems to be a lot of verbiage on the druid blogs about the proposed changes to the ToL with the upcoming Cataclysm release.  I decided to hold back and not comment quite yet until I had time to digest it a little.  I don't completely agree with the detractors of the changes.  Blizzard has realized that the Tree of Life is nothing other than a cosmetic change, as the ToL's abilities are already baked into it's spec.  There are a few benefits when changing into the tree, such as 6% more healing to party members, but by and large the ToL is cosmetic.  I think for me personally, I don't want to be changed out of ToL as it's become part of my personal image for Tunin.  Initially upon looking at what they want to change one begins to feel like the druid is getting nerfed.  No one wants to be nerfed.

My suggestion to Blizzard:  We agree, the ToL as it stands is mostly a cosmetic device.  Please show us how you're not nerfing what resto druid healers can already do, but are extending what we can do with a cooldown.  Please make being taken out of ToL form during "off" cooldown times visually optional.  Distinguishing between the two, ON vs OFF cooldown, could be as simple as having an aura on the tree while his/her cooldown is being used.  Think shadow priests, but different.  This will make these changes more palatable to those of us who have tied our personal images to our trees.

On another note.  The boy is making his daddy proud.  My oldest son has caught the healing bug (quite the oxymoron there).  He's apparently been watching over daddy's shoulder enough that he decided this looked like more fun for his pally.  As such he respecced into a healadin a few weeks ago.  I've already watched as he progressed through his "epiphany" stage that I went through as well.  He's in his low 70's now, so we'll be watching at how he progresses up to 80 with his new toy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Like it or not, healers do have priorities.  They generally go Me, Tank, Other (read DPS).  Priorities do shift at times, as I've sacrificed myself in the past to give my dyeing heal to a tank or the lone DPS left at the very very end of a boss's life.  But by and large, I'm here to keep my tank alive.  If DPS gets healed then consider it as icing on the cake.  Don't get me wrong though, I don't like having any deaths on my runs.  As a very strong rule of thumb, if I can keep the tank alive we're all gonna make it in some form or fashion.  The issue I'm taking way to long to build up to is when DPS begin asking for heals.

I like pulls begun with everyone completely topped off.  I know within one or two pulls who my top aggro pullers are going to be.  I usually have a HoT ticking away on them as well as my tank.  I can't stand starting a fight with someone's HP not fully topped off.  I can only imagine that most healers have this same mindset.  We all know someone who's happy to run off and start a pull with 75-80% HP, or half their mana.  This drives me nuts, it's an itch I have to scratch.  Which leads me to my next issue.  If you're at less than 25% HP, and you're not taking (many) incoming heals, then there are other current events going on around you.  I promise, you were taken into consideration during this pull long before you realized your health was low and that incoming heals were slow.  I've already made a priority list in my head, quite some time ago as this began to take shape.  Apparently you weren't on the top two (or three) of the list.  Get over it, I'll get back with you as soon as I can.  Seeing "Heal please" go across my chat box just adds one more item of information to process at an already stressed time.  I'm not a vindictive person, but I'd be lying if I said the thought had never crossed my mind to reorder someone's priority from "4" to "5" after such a request.  ;)

I actually had two great examples of this laid out in my head, but decided their specifics would be a moot point.  It does however make me wonder back to when I was playing with my DK as one of the lowly (heh) DPS.  I can't remember if I ever made the cardinal sin of asking for heals or not.  If I did ever do this in the past, then to the healer there that day I say this.  Sorry, I was but a young grasshopper who had not yet learned the way.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Epic Fail Tank.

A couple nights ago I ran across an Epic Fail Tank, but not for the reasons you'd initially think.  Wanting to pick up one more random run Sunday night, my oldest son and I hit the LFG button while teamed up.  We ended up in UK with an average group, but an 80 lvl DK as our tank.  I've run across lvl 80 DKs tanking non-heroic dungeons before.  They usually will own up to wanting to practice a new spec, or just not ready to be in charge of a heroic 5 man yet with their gear, etc.

Our first pull was large.  He went in and basically pulled the whole first set of mobs.  I was able to keep him healed up.  Luckily no one pulled major agro from him though, a few touch up heals here and there for everyone else.  I commented to him, "feeling a little enthusiastic are we?" or something to that effect.  The next couple of groups to drop the fire were no problem.

Then we entered the Dragonflayer Pens.  I'd learned in the past that I can judge how well a tank will do later in the dungeon by how they fight the first dragon to the left as we enter the room.  He didn't turn the dragon around.  A good tank turns the dragons around while fighting them in order to keep his DPS, and me , from taking flame damage from the dragon.  In my experience, a tank that doesn't turn them around either doesn't know he should because he's new, or my new category, he doesn't care.  Single dragon dispatched, we went to the moved on.

We began the next pull of the dragon and his handler.  About 8-10 seconds into the pull another dragon came across my field of view.  Uh oh, someone must have backed into agro range of another group, been there done that.  My initial feeling is 'no problem', this tank can handle the challenge, I'll just keep everyone topped off.  Then I saw the chat window.  The DK dropped two lines:  "Hahahahahaha", and "Have fun dying!"  Then he left the dungeon having run through the room and agro'ing every mob in the Dragonflayer Pen and dragging them to us.  Obviously, we wiped shortly thereafter.

Thinking back this had to have been his plan all along.  No big investment to him as we were no more than 5 minutes into the dungeon.  He was out to have some fun creating a major wipe and leaving with us helpless.  I'm not the vindictive sort so I don't think I'm gonna drop his name.  But it is written down.  As he's on another server I'll probably never run across him again.  Should I though, I have a special tanking death planned for him.  ;)

Anyone else ever have problems with a tank intentionally taking a group in to die?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Cooking got a little easier

Just got Tunin up to 450 cooking skill.  It took Tuninn (the DK) much more work to do the same thing.  Before patch 3.3.3 one had to buy recipes from the vendor for 3 Dalaran Cooking Awards, to get up to lvl 425.  One then had to finish out with either Gigantic Feasts or Small Feasts until one got all the way up to 450.

Since the 3.3.3 patch, I was able to buy Firecracker Salmon for 3 Dalaran Cooking Awards (as usual) and go all the way up to 450.  So what's happened is that it seems Blizzard has changed the cooking recipes so that they stay yellow all the way up to 450, instead of greying at 425.

I'm guessing they're trying to help people get to a cooking lvl of 450 prior to Cataclysm coming out.  That way they can lvl cooking there to whatever the new upper level SuperGrandMaster Chef is.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Healing break

Have been on a break from healing for the last week or so. Real Life and work have conspired against me. The kid's baseball seasons have begun as well, and is stealing from WoW time.

What time I have had has been devoted to lvl'ing Tunin's fishing and cooking. While playing my DK I realized people tolerated me as "lowly" DPS much better if I threw down a quick Fish Feast.  Nothing says you're committed to sucess of your dungeon than putting out approximately 9 gold worth of a buff.  I've decided it makes sense as a healer to do what I can to buff my team beyond the simple class buffs.

In my experiece, fish is where the money's at anyway. They always sell fast in the AH, and usually do so at good prices.

Interesting places to hide in WinterGrasp and fish:
  • Standing on a crossbrace, under one of the smaller bridges, either the East or West Bridge - rarely found under here
  • Far SouthEast near waterfalls, there is a small area between ice and rock face to stand and fish - only problem here is there are two mineral nodes near here as well and many people overfly this spot
  • By the Alliance FP, BUT ONLY on days where the Dalaran Fishing Daily is Dangerously Delicious!  On those days there are strength in numbers as others fish up their daily.  On other days you're asking to be ganked as Horde start their hunt here and you're generally all alone.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

How long does it take a Rogue to die?

I can tell you. It's about one sip of iced tea.

Was in Nexus a few days ago.  I had a great tank.  I love pally tanks as they tend to hold aggro well which makes my job easy.  I guess it makes my job a little too easy sometimes.  We had a great PUG put together.  There was the pally tanking, a rogue, a mage and a DK.  We were banging along in nice fashion, which should have been my warning about danger to come later.  I was able to heal the 5 man by just dropping HoT's on the pally, then sit back and roll them as needed.  I think I put one or two HoT's on someone else out of boredom at some point even.

We were halfway through the boss Ormorok when I slipped.  Like I said, things were peachy.  I renewed all my HoT's on the tank, no one else had been pulling aggro, and an intense thirst hit me.  I reached over to pick up my large cup full of iced tea and took a swig.  As the cup lowered and my view was no longer obstructed my grid showed me the error of my ways.  My rogue was replaced with a dark box and the letters "DEA".  Oops.  Ormorok had turned hit the rogue, I guess critting with at least one good hit.  Looking at recount showed that the rogue and mage were rocking along with amazing dps.  I should have realized it was possible that the boss might get distracted from the tank for just a second due to that massive dps hitting him from behind.

I was so embarrassed.  I spent the rest of Nexus with at least a couple of HoT's on the rogue so I wouldn't have to rez him a second time.  To that nameless rogue out there who probably doesn't remember the incident, I'm sorry.

Rereading my title made me think of a rogue joke.  So, how many rogues does it take to screw in a lightbulb?  One.  Here watch.  Wait, where's the lightbulb?  I know it was right here.  Who stole the lightbulb?  Wasn't there a rogue here to help demo this?

Friday, March 19, 2010

"mana" == "hold up a sec"

I've become something of a connoisseur of tanks over the last few weeks.

I try my hardest to give them the benefit of working with them the best I can so that they can become better tanks.  Remember, it wasn't too many weeks ago I was the new healer.  New tanks are the most unpredictable.  I think somewhere they've seen people they consider to be good tanks, charging through instances at a breakneck pace.  They therefore decide that in order to be considered a good tank, they too must charge ahead as fast as they can.

I would like current and future tanks to take heed.  When your healer says "mana", that means "hold up a second."  Some like to say "OOM", I generally don't, as that implies you're truly out of mana, and should be used only as an announcement of dire things getting ready to happen in a boss fight gone bad.  I do have Innervate, but have learned through experience that as soon as I pop Innervate just to "top off", I'll need it one minute later to survive a boss fight.  I therefore keep an ample supply of drinks handy.  I'm quite happy burning through 10 secs of a 30 second drink break in order to do a quick mana top off.

I remember one jaw dropping experience I had in Sethekk Halls.  I had a new DK tank with us that day.  He had that "charge in" personality.  We'd just finished up a difficult pull, as I'd had to liberally pour heals all over the group as he wasn't holding aggro very well.  One of the bosses was just around the corner and I felt sure I'd have to burn my cooldowns in there so I announced a quick "mana" and popped one of my drinks for my druid.  What followed was my own experience of a Leroy Jenkins moment.  The tank replied "Nope, don't need any", and charged through the door without us.  The rest of us took off after him, catching up to him just in time to drop a few heals before he fell over dead.  The fight was close, needing both my major cooldowns of a mana potion and my Innervate to make it to the end.  I tried to be as nice as I could when I let him know that "mana" was not a question as to any one else's need.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Epiphany...

While not completely deserving, as the tank we were with had truly pulled too much, the comment stung. I got up the next day, and instead of playing, started working my way through the process of figuring what had to change. At level 60 my main problem was that I had a severe lack of spells. There was the instant Regrowth, the two second Rejuvenation, and the three second cast Healing Touch. I had no quickly acting quick touch-up heal. On replaying the tank death in my head, I had noticed that my HoTs weren't keeping up with the damage he was taking. My problem was that once I made that determination and hit "Healing Touch", the tank was often less than three seconds from dying. As it was, I was a few tenths of a second from finishing that Healing Touch when he dropped over.

What I found out lead me to a revelation in healing style and rotation. I reglyphed with Glyph of Healing Touch, this decreased my cast time by 1.5 seconds. I also placed 5 points on my re-spec into Naturalist, which reduced my Healing Touch by another 0.5 seconds. I now had a decent spot heal I could cast (pre-Haste) in one second. My heal rotation was therefore dropping Rejuvenation on everyone that needed it, and doing spot heals and "touch-up" heals with Healing Touch.

My Grid needed serious reworking as well. Pre-epiphany it was little more than a frames to click upon, with aggro indicators. Post-epiphany, each party member had a larger square frame. Each frame would show aggro via a red upper right corner indicator, as well as it's border going red. This let me know who might need a HoT touched up very shortly in the fight. I had the bottom right corner changed to follow my Rejuvenations. That corner stayed purple while a rejuv was on the player, and at 4 seconds left would turn yellow, and with two seconds left would turn red. I now had a way to know when I was going to need to redrop a rejuv on someone. Regrowth became a numerical countdown in the bottom left corner, for when used.

Dungeons flew past much easier now. Wipes became must less frequent, and usually not my fault. I was still learning as a healer. More than once I've hit the wrong spell and killed a GCD waiting to fix my error. But since the day of the epiphany, have never been told "... you suck as a healer."

Saturday, March 6, 2010

In the beginning...

[ This being my first attempt at blogging, please bear with me as I learn my way around. Thanks! ]

In order to set the context for where I am now, I need to give an idea as to how I've gotten to this point. Tunin was born around the beginning of November, 2008, to the Mok'Nathal server. I'd never played an MMORPG before. We live out in the sticks, and broadband was finally brought out to us. Druids seemed the coolest thing to roll, not having much more than the information that was initially presented to a new WOW player. Tunin started the usual quest progression. He didn't do much in the way of dungeons. My initial progression took me through the usual druid forms. I just couldn't get the hang of cat and bear forms. Tunin therefore morphed slowly into a solo'ing Moonkin/Boomkin druid. Being a rather casual player, with lots of RL activities as well (wife/kids/work), Tunin's progression was slow compared to many. Then he hit 55 and the world opened up a little. A DK was rolled, with the very similar name of Tuninn.

With my Tuninn as my fearless DK, mobs were dispatched with efficiency and speed of which my moonkin had never dreamed. Tuninn became a solo'ing force that quested his way through to 80 far quicker than Tunin could have thought possible. Tuninn then did the usual new 80 things. He pvp'd his way through WinterGrasp to gather honor points for his first full set of epic gear. He then slowly evolved his gear through 5 man heroics and the AH to the point where he'd plateau'd to a certain extent. With a gearscore of approximately 4500, and a DPS at around 2.5k, further improvements were going to take massive amounts of gold in AH. Tuninn has yet to actually raid, his guild being one more of a social/lvl'ing guild. Time is also a factor, with RL issues I can't generally allot as much time as may be needed to raid with Tuninn. As such, Tuninn has reached his goal for now. Back to Tunin.

Tunin had languished his way to 59-60 in off times from my DK. I'd always wanted to heal. When questing with my son I would enjoy being able to throw some quick heals to help him out as he 'tanked' for the two of us through some sticky quests. Doing daily heroics with Tuninn gave me as much DPS'ing as I'd wanted to do. The healer standing behind us during the heroic dailies always intrigued me. At that point I had an epiphany, Tunin was going to heal. In fact, Tunin was going to do nothing BUT heal. Progressing my DK to 80 had completely ignored the usual dungeons. I'd already done the usual quest-lines, so redoing these didn't hold any particular fascination. I decided I would lvl Tunin to 80 completely by healing in dungeons. He therefore got dual specced into both a moonkin and a tree. Yes, I know I just said he's ONLY heal on his way to 80, but why lock yourself out of a quick need for a moonkin for some odd quest, hence the dual-spec.

I'd been reading through many of the healing blogs and thought I was ready. I set up grid. I set myself up with what I felt was a good spec for the points I had to spend. I also glyphed myself up with what I thought was a good starting set of 2 major / 2 minor glyphs. What followed were two very tense, awkward days of healing. Hellfire Ramparts became my nemesis. Getting a party through without a wipe, if not three wipes, seemed impossible. I could make the HoT's flow, but the direct heals seemed to take way too long. A tank could, and generally would, die before I could realize my HoT's weren't enough, and start a direct heal. Then it happened. I had a tank who really did take too much of a pull, and died. But the DPS were able to pull through, and with several very close calls and a quick rez to the tank we were on our way to the next pull. In the middle of my rezzing the tank, one of the DPS said something to me that hit hard. "Dude, I'm not trying to be mean, but you really suck as a healer." I finished out the dungeon, licked my wounds, and called it a night. I was doing something wrong. I'll continue with Tunin's epiphany on my next post.