Using GridStatusPriestAOE for Maximizing Priest AOE Spell Effectiveness

OK, this is the most embarrassing thing ever.  You see that Group 2 needs healing!  No problem, Prayer of Healing to the rescue!  You center it on someone and… it hits only that person.  Everyone else was out of range.  Waste of mana.  Waste of time.  And embarrassing.  (How do I tell whom the AOE hit?  GridStatusHealTrace.)

But seriously, you’re staring at bars.  How are you supposed to know who is in range of whom?

Enter GridStatusPriestAOE.  If you are using Vuhdo, TOO BAD!

How GridStatusPriestAOE Works

This lovely addon gives you a suggestion as to which person, if healed, would maximize the healing done by that spell.  You’re gonna cast POH on group 2 anyway, but on whom should it be centered?  GridStatusPriestAOE knows.

Now, this is best used as a range checker, not as a suggestion on which group to heal or where your circle of healing should be.  It is NOT good at telling you what to do.  You have a brain for that.

With that said, let’s get to the setup.

Configuring Status

Looky, here it is under your status tab.

I wouldn’t put “check only for first group”… well maybe if you’re in a BG.  But honestly, you need to know ALL THE GROUPS.

Here’s the config for circle of healing.  It has all sorts of nifty options, like hiding it when I’m not in holy spec or hiding when on cooldown.  Yes please.

Now, what is this heal threshold?  It’s so you don’t keep seeing the icons when nobody is hurt.  I would say, just TRY the defaults and then fiddle around from there.  The defaults are pretty good.

The priority is 99, which is higher than that of Prayer of Healing, because I don’t want to cast prayer of healing if COH will do the job.

Now the Prayer of Healing!  I don’t recommend “always show best target in each group”.  With that checked, it will have a dot for each group up ALL THE TIME regardless of whether anyone is hurt.  I unchecked the other options as well.  Do whatever you prefer on those.

The priority on this one is 97, lower than that of COH.

Put It Somewhere In the Grid Frame

Now, there are colors for these boxes, so you can tell which is POH and which is COH in your frames.  I opted to just use an icon plugin and reserve a spot for those two icons.

Examples

I took some screenies when I was in a srs bzns raid.

OK, now Ashe is the person you want to do POH on for group 1.  You don’t want to do POH in group 2.  However Kari in group 2 is the person on whom you want to center the COH.  Here’s the interesting part… Kari is not actually injured.  However, Circle of Healing is smart and will splash AROUND the central person.  I think you can even center it on a mob.  So, without this addon, never in a million years would I see these health bars and think the druid is the one I have to COH.

On this one, Group 1 and Group 2 are both injured enough to warrant a POH.  At least according to the threshold I set.  My threshold is probably too low.  And there’s the COH target (once again, not injured).

In which PUG Raiding returns Arcanetinkertank’s Confidence

I’ve been in a weird place since 4.2 mentally. It might be the unbearable summer heat or maybe frustration with trying to get a new set of progression bosses down, but I’ve been feeling like my mage DPS wasn’t up to par. I know that I am not a top guild progression mage, but in the guilds I’ve ran with I’ve always been near the top of the DPS meters. Lately it was slipping to fourth or fifth.  This is personally disappointing as I think of myself as reasonably geared to my Effing DPS peers. So a little over a week ago I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and get back into magery shape.

Finding a Spec

First thing I did was re-evaluate my specs. I had been going Fire spec primarily and decided to try out arcane as most people seem to be getting better parse results with that. I read up on Elitist Jerks and saw that Fire just wasn’t scaling as well into the new tier. Yes you can still do quality DPS, but there will not be the consistency you’d expect from Arcane. I toyed around with Frost which can be viable, but you sacrifice output for what you gain in control.

Tweaking my Gear

Next I downloaded Rawr and started getting my enchants, gems and reforging in line with where I should be for optimal DPS output. I followed the suggestions and regemmed and reforged my gear to maximize for my arcane spec. I kept fire as my second spec simply for AoE DPS situations. Arcane’s emphasis on mastery works well with Fire’s DoTs, though my gear is not optimized for Fire at this time.

Worked on My Rotation

I needed a baseline to figure out where my DPS should be. I figured I cannot control what buffs and debuffs will be in play from week to week with our revolving roster, so I should try and find what my self buffed (minus food and flask) should be. I downloaded Simulationcraft and played around with it to make sure I was getting an idea for how much damage I should be doing at teh practice dummies. Then I went there and practiced a lot. This led me to make an arcane burn phase macro. The core component of the Arcane burn cycle is timing your cooldowns to all stack when you have 4 stacks of the Arcane Blast debuff. You follow the burn phase with Evocation and go into conserve phase until they all line up again. My macro:

#showtooltip Arcane Power
/use 13
/use 14
/use Mana Gem
/cast Arcane Power

What this does is makes sure I use my on use trinkets as well as my mana gem for maximum DPS output. I also make sure I have the mana gem and DPS trinket visible on my bars as wellto make sure everything is off cooldown when I pop Arcane Power.

Take Myself Out for a Spin

On Saturday I was on standby for our Firelands raid. I felt pretty good about my DPS on Friday’s raid, but my situational awareness on Shannox was pretty bad. So while the Effers were off I ran some heroics, did my dailies, and got into a Baradin’s Hold 25 man raid PUG. I don’t pug raid often, but I find it kind of interesting because here is a group that has no knowledge of you, and in many ways you find yourself needing to prove yourself not an idiot by standing in the fire or they will verbally berate you and kick you from the group.

In the 25 man I didn’t stand in the fire. I stacked properly and I finished 6th on the recount I had running. I was significantly over similarly geared mages in the same spec, and the difference in the top 8 DPS was just a small amount. I didn’t get any loot, or recognition as a great player for anything. But I felt coming out of that thing that I had done really well. It was like going for a run and realizing you did 3 miles in 25 minutes. Yeah you could do better, but maybe you aren’t in suck bad shape as you thought.

I’m the best tank in the world! (And so can you)

Eff the Ineffable has a strict no alt policy on current content. T11 is about to get booted to farm night so alts are welcome and we will start to see some long time raiders wearing different shoes which will be a refreshing change. So with this no alt policy I’ve not done much raid tanking except the occasional Baradin Hold and a few wipes on Halfus one night when we had no geared tanks when we started raiding. So up to this point all of Gnoblerage’s tanking gear has been Reputation, Justice Point, Valor Point, Troll, Heroics, or crafted.

Last night a guildie wanted to finish a PUG BWD ID he had going. I was asked to tank, and three wipes later I am officially 1/12 on T11 content.

Yes this is post nerf obviously. And the troll heroics and addition of T11 to the Justice Vendor helps a lot in gearing choices. But that said I still had to maintain threat against T12 ready folks, and use my cooldowns properly. The point of this post is that by staying focused on what you want to do, you can catch up to progression ready people. I wouldn’t say Gnoblerage is ready for T12 yet. But he clearly is fine for anything in T11. With a few choice pieces he could be ready for T12 soon though.

Effing Officers

So, what happens when a guild without officers swells to almost 2 10-man groups?  All of a sudden, Alas has more than she can reasonably handle.  Every little QQ is ending up on her doorstep.

We had to help her out, so we collectively decided to have officers.  However, we’ve all been burned by officers before.  Specifically officers who do not do any jobs and cliquishness.

The discussion lasted for pages.  Since we’ve done everything by consensus until now, we dithered around with every aspect of officership back and forth until we hammered things out over the course of… 2 weeks?

So, in a nutshell, here is how a formerly officerless guild finds itself officer-ful, but manages to keep its vision and character.

Officer “Rules”

There are 4 officers.  They are meant to deal with a specific job, and handle the day-to-day regarding that job.

  1. Recruitment officer: To take care of new people, make sure they’re fitting in
  2. Raid Coordinator:  coordinates the raiding program.
  3. Banking officer: Organizes the bank, procures materials needed for guild items (fish feasts, flasks).  Sells extra stuff and deposits cash in the guild bank.
  4. Revelry officer: To plan non-raiding stuff for people.

We went back and forth as to whether they needed an officer rank, since really only the banker needs different permissions.  However, we decided that a different rank would help new people identify officers and prevent confusion.

Volunteer Underlings.  Each officer can have volunteer underlings.  For example, the raid coordinator is not going to lead all the raids.  The raid coordinator is going to work with the volunteer raid leaders (probably 2-3) to make sure that every raid has a leader, that rostering is done in a timely manner, that loot lists are synched up, and that the rotation system is being recorded accurately (i.e. writing down who sat and who went) and being followed.

How are Officers selected?  A vote.  People volunteer for the spots, we all vote on it.  It’s a secret ballot sent to 2 independent guildies who are not volunteering for any officer job.  (Why 2?  To make sure the count is accurate.)

Other Officer Constraints.  We were concerned about officer slacking or officer cliquishness, so we instituted the following safeguards.

  • Terms of 4 months.  People can be reelected for as many terms as people vote for them.
  • We’re going to prevent couples from being BOTH officers.  One of them is fine.  But we’re trying to get diversity in the officer group.
  • No officer forums.  No officer chat.  Well, there is an officer chat but everyone has access to it, so every once in a while we say “HAY GUZY IM TALKING IN DARK GREEN”
  • Decisionmaking will still be made by the guild at large.  The officers are only there to handle day-to-day crap.  So the officers will not be instituting a new loot system or any other such decree.

QQ Box.  Here’s how officers differ from your average people who volunteer to do specific jobs, like volunteer to be raid leaders.  They have to deal with the QQ box.  The QQ box is an email address to which we send complaints – and it is forwarded to all the officers.  Then it’s their problem.  I’m not entirely sure how they’re going to handle the QQ, but that’s not my problem.  (This is to prevent all QQ going to Alas.)

Recruiting.  Since we’re getting a bit bigger, we should probably, uh… have a system for recruiting.  What we decided is if a recruit can get 3 guild members to vouch for him/her, that’s good enough for us.  That way, it’s not really an application or a vent interview or anything that formal.  The recruit just needs to have conversations in some manner with 3 guildies, be it in-game, over IM, in vent, or on the forums.  (Note: if one member of a couple vouches for a member, the other one cannot.  It has to be 3 semi-independent members.)

And the Winner Is…

3 of the 4 spots went to people by default because of lack of competition or the no-couples rule.  We’re voting on the 4th spot now.  How anticlimactic.

A Holy Priest Raiding as Disc

After reading about Disc being soooo awesome (compared to Holy), I decided to give it a spin.

I ran a few heroics to train my muscle memory to the disc way and avoid the aforementioned holy habits. I reforged my gear to Disc stat priorities.

Then I went to a raid.

In the end, there was no noticeable advantage over Holy.  My numbers were basically the same as last week.  My mana STILL ran out, maybe I had a little more, but it wasn’t dramatic.

Now, you say, maybe I just fail at disc and the only reason that the healing was about the same was because I’m more practiced in Holy.  Looking at the logs, however, I didn’t see any execution or spell choice errors that, if fixed, would pump up my healing.  Grace uptime was good, cooldowns were used, spell choices were appropriate.  (Remember, toward the beginning of Cata, I did raid as disc until we got a full-time disc priest, so this is not foreign stuff to me.  Like riding a bike that has beams of holy light shooting out of it.)

So I reforged my gear back to Holy stat priorities.  However, because I know that I’m going to have to do some disc-ing, I went bare-minimum on haste and dumped the rest into mastery that works for both specs.  I’ll keep an eye out for some “sidegrades” that are better itemized for Disc among the t-11 stuff.

I’m definitely going to keep the Disc spec because, as I understand it, there are some fights that I have not seen yet where disc has an advantage.  Ok, I’ll bite.  But I’m still firmly Holy with a Disc OFF-spec.

Then I tried smiting, but that’s the subject of another post…

Bad Holy Habits in Discipline Spec

The hardest part of speccing Disc/Holy is healing with basically the same tools and using them completely differently.  I had to nix some of my holy habits – because they are quite awful in disc.

1.  Hands off the Renew.  Hands off!  I swear it’s a nervous tic… OMG STOP HITTING IT.

2. Why am I not going faster when I bubble myself?  OH CRAP IT WILL EAT MEH…

3. Prayer of Healing… Sparingly.  Stop jamming the button like a coked out ferret.  Hit it once and STOP.

4.  There is nothing bound to the COH button.  Stop jamming THAT like a coked-out ferret too.

5. There is no lolwell.  It’s ok.  They weren’t going to use it anyway.

6. Desperate Prayer for the… oh right, I don’t have it.  /die

7. Dome is pretty and sparkly.  Oooooh.  Now where’s the button for that sucker?

Priest Healing Versatility: Is Holy/Disc Dual Spec Expected?

Oestrus over at Stories of O has been asked to go discipline.  I’ve been reading that article with interest because the comments just seem to run a huge spectrum.

What really stuck out for me, and in the Plusheal thread, is the argument made by some commenters that because, unlike all other healers, the priest has two distinct healing trees available, in order to be an effective priest healer, you should dual spec Holy/Disc.  If you’re not doing that, you’re not using your class to its maximum healing potential.

If you’re in a progression guild, you’ll do everything you need to.  I’ve heard of druids going resto/resto for slightly different specs to get the encounter right.  I get that.

However, what disturbs me is the possibility that certain encounters are simply not possible in Holy or Discipline spec (right now Disc seems to be OK for everything, but that could change).  Are encounters designed with the assumption and expectation that any healing priest can (and will) change to a more favorable spec, and therefore it is “balanced” healing-wise?

I’m not really sure what to make of this.  I’m having trouble keeping up with Holy, and I know that some fights are very disc-friendly.  Right now I’ve respecced Holy/Disc (rather than Holy/Shadow) and am going to take disc out for a spin.  Hopefully, I like it.  If not, I am going to have to gear another healer.

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.