Notes from a Holy Priest Learning 2 Druid Heal

OK, I’ve been healing heroics with my druid alt and it’s very different than healing with a holy priest.  Seriously.  The hardest part is overcoming muscle memory to reach for certain spells that do not exist (that’s right, I totally have fewer keybinds).  So, in no particular order…

No Spammable AOE?  How do I heal up the group?

As a Holy Priest, I first hit Circle of Healing and if that still wasn’t enough, Prayer of Healing.

As a Druid, I hit wild growth and it’s on cooldown and now what do I dooooooo?

A little damage: Single target heals or hots.  Sprinkle.  Or, if you’re not expecting more damage, wait until Wild Growth comes off cooldown and hit it again

A lot of damage: TRANQUILITY.  OR if Tranq is on cooldown, Tree and sprinkle Lifeblooms (cheap)

Cooldowns.  Use them.

I have to remember, and I frequently do not, that Tranq is on a 3 minute cooldown.  Tree of life is on a 3 minute cooldown.  It’s not like Divine Hymn that is only up for a srs bzns emergency.  Tree and Tranq are meant to be used EVERY BOSS FIGHT, more than once.  (This is really hard to internalize…)

Rolling Lifeblooms

Ugh, this is like what I suck at for Shadow – refreshing dots/hots before they expire.  Lifebloom gets refreshed by another lifebloom (duh) or a direct heal.  Direct heals have a cast time.  Sometimes I time it right and the direct heal lands before the lifebloom expires.  Sometimes… it does not.  Crap.

Innervate is not stupid like Shadowfiend

Hooray!  If I cast innervate on myself, it will actually just cast on myself and restore mana.  It won’t wander off into the corner of the room and examine its shadowy tentacles like my obtuse Shadowfiend.  (I’ve macroed the fiend to attack, but sometimes it disobeys.)

Why is my healing floor way over there?

Since I suck at figuring out who is where, I don’t want to swiftmend a ranged dps and drop a healing floor where nobody can use it.  Targeting circle, where art thou?  Right now I’m swiftmending the tank and if a ranged dps is hurting, it’s regrowth.  Or the ranged dies.  That works too.

I have a battle rez

Something I totally forget.  I even glyphed it.  Self, you can salvage this encounter.  Which I forget until the death of one person leads to the death of another in a downward spiral of fail.  I could have nipped it in the bud with the first death.  Now it’s too late.

Harmony is Easysauce

Oh noes, I have to direct heal once every 10 seconds.  As a priest, it would be inconceivable that I would spend a 10 second interval without throwing a single direct heal.  I made a power aura, but this is pretty much automatic for me and I don’t have to give it much thought.

When mobs bite my face off…

I have aggro and don’t have fade.  Barkskin? Entangling roots and run like hell?  Hope the tank isn’t bad.

Where’s my binding heal?  My Desperate prayer?  I’m a special snowflake!  I can’t die!

Circle of Tanking Survey

Orvillius of D/E the Tank somehow got the idea that I was a qualified candidate to speak on tanking issues and asked me to post in the Tanking Circle. I would like the reader to know off the bat that I consider myself a tank of last resort. Whatever the current number of geared tanks we have in whatever guild I am in, I always without hesitation rank myself dead last. This probably has more to do with my frail tanking ego than anything else. Regardless I agreed to do the circle in the spirit of easy to generate content. Fill out a survey, how hard could that be? We shall find out.

1. What is the name, class, and spec of your primary tank?

Gnoblerage, warrior, Protection. 8/2/31. So far this doesn’t seem so hard of a survey.

2. What is your primary group tanking environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)

Primarily I am a heroic 5 man and trollroic tank. I have on a few occasions tanked in t11 early boss content, and done both BH bosses currently available.

3. What is your favorite cooldown for your class and why?

Probably Last Stand. It is enough of a boost to give the healer time to catch up in a bad situation.

4. What tanking CD do you use least for your class and why?

Probably Enraged Regeneration because it requires you to be enraged and costs 15 rage so isn’t always available. Also because it is a HoT essentially I tend to feel it won’t do enough quickly enough to save my gnomish ass.

5. What do you feel is the biggest strength of your tanking class and why?

This stems more from tanking in Wrath, but I always felt like Warriors excelled at single target boss tanking, and had more abilities to throw at a situation making them less of a niche tank.

6. What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your class and why?

Probably AoE tanking. It has gotten a lot better, but it still can be hell to tank several mobs at once without one slipping away. That skill set takes lots of practice to master I find.

7. In a raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best tanking assignment for you?

Due to the gear gap with other tanks who are in our raiding program I’d say off tank. The problem with this question now is that so many raid fights require both tanks to do the exact same thing because of a tank swap mechanic that every tank usually has the same assignment. There are some exceptions, but in general that is true.

8. What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with most and why?

In wrath I usually tanked with another Warrior, but I’d probably say Paladin because the ease of Pally AoE tanking makes me less nervous on trash packs.

9. What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with least and why?

Probably Death Knights. It seems that mastering DK is pretty hard, so finding a quality DK tank is a rare thing. That said I’d like to say Morehnai would be a fine tanking partner.

10. What is your worst habit as a tank?

At this point it is keeping Demoralizing Shout up all the time. The initial need to get a jump on threat and stay ahead of DPS on the first part of a pull makes me put it off a few GCD and then I sometimes forget to actually do it. My old worts habit would be blow all the cooldowns at once.

11. What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while tanking?

DPS who can’t control their threat in AoE situations. I can only get threat so fast, and if the hunter is nuking one target, the rogue another, and the warlock a third, somebody is going to die. Waiting a second so I can get them nice and tidy for you would make it better for everyone.

12. Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with others tanks for tanking?

Well historically it seems that Warrior’s damage intake is slightly spikier than Paladins so I  think healers worry more about me than a similarly geared paladin. But I think overall with practice I could be equal to any other class/spec of tank.

13. What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a tank?

Tidy plates and omen are good tools, also I look at each pull like a hole of golf. Every one is a fresh start and I evaluate myself on how well I held threat and made incoming damage manageable for the healers. Sinc eI don’t really raid often I don’t have Word of Logs to look at.

14. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your tanking class?

I think people who don’t have an alt or main which has rage, really get how if things go badly with a pull and I get rage starved that we could be in for a world of hurt. Unlike every other class our resource pool starts empty and that makes it hard to start super strong sometimes.

15. What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new tanks of your class to learn?

Probably to understand  what all of their abilities can do. Warriors have such a large toolbox that sometimes they don’t realize how everything works. I tanked two tiers of Wrath content before I realized how Enraged Regeneration works and that it was a survival cooldown. Players of any class should take the time to read up on everything in their spellbooks and think through scenarios when they would be helpful so they can plan to use it when it is time.

16. So, how about that whole vengeance mechanic, eh?

I think it is interesting. It combined with a few other changed in warrior I think have made AoE easier from what it once was. On single target though I don’t really notice a huge difference from the way it played in wrath. My gearing strategy hasn’t even changed that much.

17. Stamina, Combat Table Coverage, or total Damage Reduction?

I currently am aiming for about 15% Parry, 15% Dodge, and 50% block. Anything after that would go into stamina. I’m not any of those numbers yet, so I still have a ways to go.

18. What tanking class do you feel you understand least?

Bears. I cannot recall a single time I’ve tanked with a bear in a raid. So they are like some kind of rare breed of tank I only see once in a blue moon in a pug when I’m on my mage. When I see one I feel like I am seeing something special because I can’t remember the last time I saw a bear in action.

19. What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in tanking?

Tidy plates, Omen, Deadly Boss Mods, and Grid. I know many people think of grid as a healer thing, but I have actually found it very helpful in tanking. When you start plugging in things like Raid Status Debuff and aggro alerts you can get an easy gauge on how things are looking. There are lots of fights wher eyou need to do a tank swap at a certain number of stack of something. Grid helps me see where my tank is and as soon as he is at the limit I know it is time to taunt. In addition grid’s aggro warning let’s me know who has aggro quickly so I can decide if they are worthy of a life saving taunt.

20. Do you strive primarily for balance between your tanking stats (stam, mastery, avoidance), or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?

Right now I’m trying to get my mastery up. I want to make my incoming damage to be a lot smoother so healers don’t think I’m so spikey to heal. Spikey equates to squishy and no tank wants to be thought of as squishy.

 

Well that wasn’t so bad. I don’t have that much Cata raid experience so some of my thoughts draw upon my wrath experiences that I still think are relevant to my opinions. Hope this helps any if anyone has corrections, opinions, or questions please sound off in the comments. If you are a tank, feel free to contribute to the Tanking Circle as well.

Twig-isms and Twig Jokes

As Mama Murloc says, Twig is becoming an expert at the “NOT” joke.  What do I mean?  Remember Wayne’s World and movies circa that.  “I love watching the Love Boat reruns… NOT!”

So, Twig has decided that it’s fun to say things that are absurdly false and giggle maniacally.

Other than that, she just says funny stuff.

***

Twig: Mommy is a BOY!  Daddy is a GIRL!  (giggle giggle)

***

Twig: Need swim diaper.

Me: No, you don’t wear diapers anymore, so you don’t wear anything under your bathing suit.

Twig: Wear swim BUTT.

***

Twig: Turtles are good at swimming.

Me: That’s right.

Twig: Turtles are good at FLYING! (giggle giggle)  Turtles are good at JUMPING!  (more giggle)

***

Twig: (Runs in frothing at the mouth) White toothpaste is SPICY!

(Apparently she decided to try brushing with the adult toothpaste.)

Twig: … and a little gross.

***

Twig (at the cats): BE NICE!  NO BITE!

***

Twig: Mommy wear a DIAPER! Daddy wear a DIAPER!  (giggle giggle)

***

Twig: (getting into the car) Turn on air conditioner!  Blow all the hot out!

***

Twig: (at the bird feeder) I love the baby cardinal.  (Looks around the room) I love lamp.

Me: *dies*  (You have to see Anchorman to get this one)

***

Twig: Ice cream is DINNER (giggle giggle – but hopeful)

Me: Ice cream is dessert.

***

Hot Lava is my New Nemesis

Well it’s Hot Lava!  Check it and see.  I got a fever of a hundred and three…

Ahem.  No more singing!

Back to srs bzns.  Overjoyed by the ability to get VP in T-11 normal (and outside the dreaded, dull, and repetitive Trollroics), I enthusiastically tackled farm night.  Until we got to Nefarion.  I had never done Nef.

I ran to my pillar on time.  It was the right pillar, too.  I hopped out of the lava… clear over the platform of the pillar and off the other side back into the lava.  WUT?  I tried again.  Hopped right over again.  Dead.

This is not the first time I have been confronted by jumping fail.  Remember Blackfathom Deeps?  That water jumping thing at the beginning?  Ugh.  Luckily we had a warlock who was good at jumping or I might not have finished.  He summoned me to the other side after a few too many (embarrassing) tries.  I was giddy when I found the way to skirt along the wall and avoid the jumping altogether.

How did I get past Thaddeus in Naxxaramus, you ask?  Levitate for the priest, cat-sprint for the druid.  I can’t make that jump on my own.  Not a chance.

The day I get the achievement for not getting static cling in Vortex Pinnacle is the day Hell freezes over.

I need to suck it up and learn to do it, but I know that these sorts of things do not come naturally to me.  I’m just not a coordinated person, and fortunately WoW is one of those games you can play pretty well even if you’re bad at timing and twitch.  And sports.  So, my learning curve is pretty long for jumpy things and, as luck would have it, the rest of the guild has already learned the encounter and it’s not cool for me to be causing wipes when basically everyone else has it down.

Maybe I’ll take a swim in the Stormwind Canals and practice hopping onto dry land.  That’s the closest I’m going to get to a practice dummy for jumping.

Failing and Flailing at Shadow

I did Shadow last night.  It was awful.  I’m awful.

Then lo and behold, Wow Insider covered this topic recently, as in why I SHOULD do shadow.  Hrm.

Reasons to do Shadow (for me):

  1. I can run heroics with Team Heal (some of us HAVE to go DPS for this to work)
  2. I can be DPS in a raid… if we are oversubscribed on healers, and there’s no other healer that outputs better DPS than me, oh right, not gonna happen.
  3. I can avoid getting roflstomped while doing dailies, but you all know I hate dailies.  And I’ve already retasked herb gathering to the cheater druid.

Reasons to NOT do shadow and go disc instead.

  1. I super-suck at shadow
  2. Laral is obviously better at shadow and makes my super-suck more obvious
  3. Apparently Disc is awesomesauce.  Not that I’m going to give up HOLY for it.
  4. I’m going to get the tier gear anyway, and it works for both.  You bet I’m lazy about getting MORE vp for a shadow set.

For you healing priests out there, is your second spec a healing spec or shadow?  And how do you like it?  How does it affect the raid team?  How does it affect your ability to do heroics?

I didn’t realize that I was burnt out until I started playing an alt

I knew I was in trouble when I gleefully offered to sit out a raid.  Twice.

See, I had been working ridiculous hours and the ONLY wow time I could afford was getting raid ready on my main, and then attending raids.  That is IT.  Now work has calmed down and suddenly I’m like… crap!  I haven’t played anything but my main in 6 months.

In 6 months, your standard altoholic is climbing the walls.  In 6 months even the most normal non-altoholic needs to do something else.  Anything else.

I went on a gaming binge.  I considered changing my main.  After all, we only have a part-time druid on Team Heal.

Then I came back to my senses.  Holy Priest is awesome.  Sure, we have a lot of priests, but Holy Priesting can fill multiple roles, any role that needs it, with our enormous toolbox.  That is really special for a constantly-shifting 3-person Team Heal.

The lolwell will remain.  For now.  USE IT, DAMMIT.

(Though, honestly, I am tempted to switch if only because leather gear has SPIRIT and I wouldn’t have to grind so many stinkin VEE PEE.)

Balancing Attending Raids and Sitting Out on Team Heal

This is a very simple principle that a lot of people don’t get…

Assigned spots: If you want to be able to raid every time you want to, you need to be prepared to raid when you don’t feel like it.

Rotation: If you want to be able to skip raids every time you want to, you need to be prepared to not-raid when you might want to raid.

As you probably guessed, given our emphasis on Real Life first, the Effers go with the Rotation model.  We have enough raiders to cover when people go on vacation… or work late… or get sick, but that means that sometimes we have a few too many who are ready and able to go.  So we rotate.

Now, this rotation is imbalanced.  Namely because there are always more DPS than tanks or healers.  The DPS take reasonably frequent turns sitting.  However, Team Heal almost never sits out.  I’m not saying that the same 3 of us showing up to each and every raid.  I’m saying that there have only been 3 of us available at any given time.

What this means is that if 2 of us can’t make it on a given night, we are scrambling for heals, usually borrowing from Team Tank.

Last night Eff got 2 new awesome healers.

Am I pissed that I will now have to sit out?  HELL NO.  I don’t have to sit out.  I get to sit out.  I get to not-sign-up and not worry that the raid will not happen if I don’t go.  In the end, being able to take off when I want for RL is definitely the biggest consideration.  You bet your ass I won’t be crying about sitting out when I’m catching up on girly TV that Gnoble won’t watch with me.

I am looking forward to welcoming new members to TEAM HEAL.  May our reign be long and oppressive.

Now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to take a peek at druid healing, since we now have 3 priests.  Oh yeah, and I’m obviously INSANE.

Getting the Dreaded Valor Points

There’s been talk lately about doing instances for VP, capping, etc.  See Kurn’s Post, Windsoar’s, and Oestrus’s.

My Thoughts on Gear and VP

And I’m going to share with you my thoughts coming from a full-time working mommy.

The Facts of LIIIIFE…

FACT: If you are srs bzns hardcore, you will cap your VP every week on your main, and then cap your VP every week on your alt to support your main.

FACT: Cloth gear in Firelands has no spirit, so the ONLY spirit gear I’m gonna get as a holy priest is the tier stuff.  And I have serious mana problems anyway, so it truly is necessary to load up on spirit.

FACT: We have 3 raids a week. I love raiding.  I love TEAM HEAL. I do not love grinding.  I do not love pugs.

FACT: We have a 3-year old who needs all sorts of attention and care and other stuff.  Sometimes she doesn’t want to go to sleep.

FACT: I’m really getting into Castle on DVD and would rather watch that instead of farming VP.

My General Gear Plan or Theory

I have little in-game time for non-raiding, so I primarily spend it getting raid ready.  I evaluate which path will get me the most bang for my buck, since I do not have time to do everything – and then I prioritize.

In this expansion, it will be VP over dailies, due to spirit considerations.

My Day

Oestrus went through an average not-raiding night with us, and that was very instructive.  I’m going to share my day with you, since that might also be helpful.

The Weekday

  • 5:45 – Arrive home with the Twig.  Feed cats.  Clean cat pan.  Feed (outdoor) birds.
  • 6:00 – Start dinner.  Do dishes and stuff while dinner cooks.  Assist Twig with various things.  Try not to wuss out and order pizza.
  • 6:15 – ATT arrives home.
  • 6:30 – Eat dinner. If we’re too late getting home, or zombiefied or lazy, or we run out of groceries (doh), we may go out to dinner.
  • 7:00 – Spend time with Twig.  Necessary head start on chorecraft (like starting laundry).
  • 7:30 – Twig’s bath (we’re usually late getting this started)
  • 8:00 – Story time
  • 8:30 – Twig’s bed time.  (Hopefully we can end story time around 8:15 and tuck her in then… hopefully).
  • 8:30 – We can now get online (maybe… if Twig isn’t having issues).  Or do other (necessary) stuff. (more on this below)
  • 11:00ish – our bed time.  Usually we’re dumb and stay up later.  Sometimes we’re smart and go to bed at 10:30.

Twig usually needs interventions until at least 9pm.  If we’re with guildies, no biggie.  But you can’t take kid breaks while pugging without the puggers getting snippy.

On raid nights (3 of them), we raid, starting at 8:30. For 2 hours on Tuesdays and 3 hours on Friday and Saturday.  So any OTHER things that we could or should be doing after Twig’s bedtime get postponed to the 4 nights a week that we do not raid.

So the remaining 4 non-raid nights, the post-Twig-bedtime activities vary (in neverending combinations).

  • We sometimes run a heroic or 2.
  • We do other in-game raiding prep like enchanting new gear, farming herbs, etc, if we only have a short time period.
  • Blogging.  Anything that requires screenies might eat the evening.
  • Chorecraft that we totally didn’t do on raid nights.  Laundry reaches critical mass and threatens to envelop the house. There might be a kitchen SMELL that needs investigation and disposal.  And when the hell did all the Duplos get dumped on the floor?  Good lord, cat, stop vomiting.
  • Twig-prep for the next day of school.  Extra clothes for her cubby, swimming items for splash day, etc.
  • Grocery shopping.  One of us goes shopping, and the other stays home (maybe running heroics).  Can you believe that groceries have to be purchased and hauled every week?  That totally annoys me. (Seriously, I’m not being sarcastic, I resent every grocery trip.)
  • Watch TV, especially if Twig is particularly demanding and doing a heroic just ain’t gonna happen.  Besides, Futurama isn’t going to watch itself.
  • Social life?  Oh haha, that’s funny.
  • UNEXPECTED EVENTS!!!

The post-Twig-bedtime time slot isn’t as long as it would seem, considering that I have to be at work at 8.  ATT leaves the house at a similar time as I do to take Twig to day care.  If we do too many nights where we’re gaming until 11 or later during the week, we become zombies.

(I’d like to say, in case you’re wondering about the high volume of chorecraft, that I’m not a clean freak.  Far from it.  I do the absolute bare minimum to avoid rats.  And chorecraft still manages to be grossly time-consuming.)

The Weekend

  • Sleep in as long as freakin possible post-raid.  (Often we take turns – one of us will sleep in, the other will tend to Twig.  The early riser gets a nap later in the day.)
  • Twig activities (that’s probably 90% of what we do)
  • Family lunch
  • More chorecraft and errandcraft
  • Call the grandparents
  • UNEXPECTED EVENTS!!

And then the day progresses around 5:45, as seen above.  It’s possible to occasionally get online for things like farming herbs when Twig is awake, but not for an uninterrupted activity like an instance… and well, we would rather spend time with Twig and leave the house and blah blah.

When I have to Work Overtime?

The shit hits the fan.  WE HAVE NO TIME TO DO ALL THE THINGS.  There is no time for non-raiding gaming when that happens, for either of us.  And raiding is also reduced.

What Are These “Unexpected Events”?

In no particular order, a sample of recent random shit that happens.  Each event itself may not happen often but guaranteed we get 1-2 fun surprises a week.

  • I got stomach flu.  Then I got a cough.  It was like sick-o-rama for 2 weekends.  RL stuff fell to ATT to pick up the slack.  We still have a backlog of dishes and laundry since I was out of commission.
  • My car battery died.
  • The A/C had issues.  It is 100+ degrees outside.  IT IS A BIG DEAL.
  • Twig has a very long nap at day care and is bouncing off the walls at bedtime.  (GLARE at day care.)
  • The cat peed on the bed.  More laundry.  This means the cat has to go back on prozac.  Add cat-medicating to the list of chorecraft.
  • Where the HELL did all of Twig’s socks go?  Off to Target!

“Burst” versus “sustained” effort

After a new patch, a lot of people DO ALL THE THINGS and just postpone the RL stuff to accommodate.  I remember those days, and kind of miss them.  But hey, life choices.

What this means is that I’m planning to be putting in pretty much the same effort every week.  No huge gaming sessions right after a patch release, but no totally slacking off a few weeks in, since I will still be needing stuff.  I suspect that’s a different model than many gamers, and a very different model than hard-core raiders.  Pacing for a marathon instead of a sprint.

Cutting Down On Raiding for VP?

It’s tempting from a purely gear standpoint, since the firelands gear isn’t so great for me, even if a boss is killed.

Nope. No raid skipping here. For so many reasons.  But here are the big ones:

  1. I heart raiding.  I do not heart grinding
  2. Skipping raids hurts the team because we’re low on healers and because I will be lagging behind in experience, if not in gear.
  3. When all my other guildies are running the raid, who the EFF is going to do heroics with me?  I’d have to full-pug.  Hell no on that.

TL;DR

Given the above, the verdict was about 500 VP last week.  That was from killing 1 Firelands boss and doing some heroics.  Not capped, but I did make a decent effort of it.  Sure, I could have made more time, but that has proven to be a mistake in the past.  Generally when we are serious about gearing, and get online 5 nights a week, the house goes to total crap in a matter of days, we stay up way too late and feel groggy at work, and it bites us in the ass.

I’m not saying POOR ME, I WORK SOOOO MUCH QQ.  I’m saying that this is what I realistically CAN do with the time I have and the priorities that I set out for myself.  And I’m OK with that, because it’s more of a sliding scale than an all-or-nothing proposition.

Guild Expectations

Luckily – or not really due to luck at all – the Effers do not expect capping every week.  A reasonable effort to gear is expected if you want to raid, but there is no hard-and-fast rule for how you get there.  If someone wants to take an alternate path (like grinding money to buy BOE’s off the auction house or getting rep rewards) power to em.  We have successful guildies who primarily do instances for gear, and we have people who religiously do their dailies, and people who do a little of both.  And it all pretty much evens out.

Now, this will vary from guild to guild.  And if it’s not working for you, you can change your priorities (in-game or out of game) or change your guild.  There’s no right way to do it, so long as everyone is on the same page with the guild for what is expected.

Painless VP

So the plan: get VP as much as possible (because I do need the spirit gear), but not so much that it cuts into my fun, or that it is painful.  To do this, I need to be crafty.

First, I try to get guild groups (or partial guild groups).  This has been easier lately, but I have a few strats.

  • Ask another priest.  Laral, our resident disco priest, is in the same boat that I’m in regarding needing VP for spirit gear.  If I say VP, he generally says HELL YES.
  • Ask people’s alts.  People will jump at the chance to get gear, JP, or VP on their alts.
  • Be willing to do regular heroics, not just trollroics.  That way, you can include people’s alts and have a fast run.  After a few wipes, a Trollroic is not a time-saver, even though it gives double-vp.
  • Don’t do it on raid night.  Everyone else is raiding.  Duh.

Second, for full pugs, queue for a regular heroic rather than a trollroic.  That way, it’s easier to compensate for fail.  Once again, if there are a few wipes, a Trollroic is not a time saver.  Also, there’s no VP if you fail to finish.  ZG is particularly hard to finish with a group that is uncoordinated.  And I’m not sure I’ve even finished ZA at all.  (This is “better safe than sorry.”)

Third research and prioritize.  Are you doing dailies?  What do those dailies get you?  Is it better than what VP gets you?  In other words, evaluate your other in-game activities to make sure they’re a great (or efficient) idea before continuing to do them.  For example: I was reading up on the firelands dailies, and I need 425 marks of the crap tree just to open up the first vendor. That’s going to be a long time coming before payout.  Plus I didn’t see any spirit gear there!  VP are definitely a priority over that.

In The End

Holy shit, this is long.  I guess another TL;DR is in order.

  • If you are in a hard-core raiding guild, there is one right way to do stuff.  There’s more wiggle room in other situations.
  • There are many ways of getting where you need to be in gear.  Some are faster than others.
  • Make sure you and your guild are on the same page, and you know what is and is not expected of you.  If these expectations don’t match up, maybe the guild is not a good fit for your life.  Neither you nor the guild is necessarily wrong about expectations.
  • Prioritize ALL THE THINGS.  Which gear to get first.  Which RL things take priority over the game.

Circle of Healers 2.0

I got tagged by Kamalia and Apple.  For Science!

1. What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?

Zelsha, Priest, Holy.

2. What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)

10-person raids.  (10 man is sexist, yo! Even though I say it all the time.  But I digress…)

3. What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?

Circle of healing, for sure.  I use it almost every cooldown, regardless of assignment.  It just smooths out the raid in an elegant fashion.

In second place is prayer of mending.  However the stupid thing frustrates me by getting stranded on a random DPS, so it doesn’t bounce as much as I’d like.

I have penance envy.  I admit it.

4. What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?

Regular old Heal.  I’m trying to be mana efficient and use it, but it feels like the health bar does not even MOVE when I cast it!

(I’m trying to use Renew less, since I tend to go OOM from it.)

5. What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?

Versatility and a tool for every situation.  I can tank heal, I can raid heal.  All with the flip of a Chakra.

6. What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?

Just one?  I feel like mana efficiency is a problem (especially compared to those cheater disc priests).

But since I’m talking about it, the runners up:

  • Also our mastery, while powerful thoroughput, translates into overheal in many cases.
  • Our crowd control kinda sucks (except in graveyards).
  • And finally, the inability to cleanse poisons or curses is bullshit.  (You hear that, Blizz?)

7. In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?

I don’t do 25’s, but if I did, I’d be a raid healer.  Pleaaaase do not make me tank heal.  Pretty please.

8. What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?

This is selfish, but I hate tank healing, so I like healing in a team where I’m not the obvious choice for tank healer.  If I am grouped with a pally or disco priest, it means I’m off the hook for tank healing.  SIGH OF RELIEF.  I have a slight preference for disco priest over pally because I better understand their cooldowns, and we can coordinate amongst ourselves when to best pop hymn of hope etc.

It was a hard decision, because I also love Mana Tide and Wrath of Air.  (Don’t hate me, Rhee.)

9. What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?

The advantage to being a Holy priest is that I can “make it work” with just about any other healer, and change roles as appropriate.  But usually a Resto Druid will snag the enviable “raid healing” spot leaving me to… tank heal (sigh).

(This is the part where I shake my fist at Kotak.)

10. What is your worst habit as a healer?

Topping off the bars.  Especially since I have echo of light in my mastery, I should know better.  And then I’m oom.  And there is lamentation.

11. What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?

No healing assignments, or disregard for healing assignments.  Assignments work, people!  Respect them, use them, love them.  (Second place: Click the damn lolwell.)

12. Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?

Sure, I think Holy priests are generally fine.  I think I’ve got good cooldowns and reasonable (though not enormous) thoroughput, but need moar mana.  I have decent burst healing when needed.  I wouldn’t give up my cooldowns for more thoroughput.

13. What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?

World of Logs after the fact – but more importantly whether the encounter felt “in control.”  Was I able to hit my assignments?  Did I feel like there was mortal danger?  Did I have to use a cooldown when it should not have been necessary?  Did it feel like we were on the “edge of a wipe”?

Our heal team communicates very well, and we generally troubleshoot amongst ourselves during and after the raid, since numbers don’t tell the whole story for healing.

14. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?

That holy priests can’t tank heal.  We totally can.  Sure, others may be better at it.  But with Inspiration, Guardian SpiritSerendipity, and Holy Word: Serenity (in Chakra: Serenity, of course) we can deliver powerful single-target healing and cooldowns.  (I still reserve the right to hate tank healing.)

A close second: How the lolwell works.  I still have people remark to me “I didn’t realize I could click it from all the way over here!”

15. What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?

All the bells and whistles.  I don’t know how many times others have remarked to me “holy shit, that’s a lot of spells” and “chakras are TOO HARD”.  There are more buttons than for other healers, and it takes a lot of practice to automatically reach for the right spell for the situation.

I used to tape reminders to the edges of my monitor like “Guardian Spirit” and “Divine Hymn” and then the number it was keybound to.  It did increase my usage of the spells I often forgot.  Now my monitor is paper-free.  However, I often forget about YOINK (Leap of Faith) and am fumbling for that one.

16. If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)?

Decent (but not top) thoroughput, but too much overheal (much of it from echo of light).  Cry.  They would see a reasonable number of dispels, but not too many, as my fellow healers on TEAM HEAL are definitely quicker on the dispel button than I am.

Spell use would vary based on assignment.

  • For Raid Healing: Circle of Healing, Prayer of Mending, Prayer of Healing, Renew, Binding Heal
  • For Tank Healing: Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Prayer of Mending, Holy Word: Serenity, Renew
  • For 5’s I USE ALL THE THINGS.
  • In fights with a lot of movement, you will see bubbles for body & soul.  Otherwise, I avoid them.

Also, they would see not enough people clicking the damn lolwell.

17. Haste or Crit and why?

Haste, because Crit super-sucks for Holy.  (See #20 for more)

18. What healing class do you feel you understand least?

Paladin.  I’ve leveled the others to the 80’s so I feel I understand the fundamentals (in fact, at various times, my main has been a resto shaman (BC), disc priest (WOTLK), and resto druid (also WOTLK)).  But I have a lousy knowledge of paladin spells and cooldowns, and when I’m leading a heal team with a paladin, I end up giving vague instructions like “do that thingy with the rays of light.”

19. What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?

20. Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?

I tend to keep crit pretty low because it sucks.  While in theory, I’m supposed to only stack haste to 12.5% raid buffed and then dump the rest into mastery, I tend to keep a little more haste on hand.  This is because, in our team, sometimes we don’t have a haste buff in the raid and I need my heals not to feel “sluggish” in those cases.  Plus, my mastery ends up as overheal a lot, so I don’t mind trading some of it for haste.

TAG, you’re it!

Druid: Elfi of Elfi’s World (oh noes, guildie nepotism!)

Paladin: Eade of My Pally Heals

Priest (Disco): Slice of Slice 213’s blog.

Shaman: Merinna of Be Healed

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