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.