How to coach the baby healer

Last night I ran 5-mans with a baby shaman healer in our guild who is learning how to heal (I was playing the kitteh).  He knows his spells and when to use them, and did not need much assistance on that.  However, there are some powerful lessons an experienced healer can give a noobie healer, even a healer of a different class.

1.  The Bossy Healer: Asserting the Expectations of DPS and Tank.

The poor shammie was healing between battles and running oom.  Oh. Hell. No.  I told the group in my most obnoxious tone that they had mage food, and they needed to sit down and use it.  Yes, as a healer, you can’t be shy to enforce the “rules”, and I let the little shammie know that he should do the same.  He then started calling out the aggromonkey mage (*cough* husband *cough*) who was having threat issues.  *Sniff* so proud.

2. Healer as Group Manager: Support abilities and cooldowns.

It is the healer’s prerogative to manage support abilities and cooldowns, and call for help.  For example: to ask the DPS toons to decurse, to call for an innervate, tranquility, or brez. I told him the dirty secret: that non-healing druids still have the insanely overpowered tranquility at their disposal, and he as the healer had the right to request it (except if the druid is tanking).  Ditto for shadow priests and divine hymn.

3. The Nagging Details: Mod setup.

Grid is daunting to set up… and though guides exist, they are not easily accessible while you’re in game and alt tabbing out for instructions.  If you walk your baby healer through an addon question by giving instructions on vent while the baby healer follows along through the menus, the baby healer will save a lot of time and frustration.  It doesn’t cost you more than a few minutes.

Anonymity, PuGs, and good players gone bad.

Confession time: I have almost done something creepy but haven’t had the opportunity to test my morals.

I really want the scorpion trinket thing.  And after a few more runs I’m going to feel even more entitlement than I already do.

I’ve talked to husband and we’ve gone back and forth about whether, in a pug, he would roll as well to increase my chances of winning it.

Which is terrible!  I shouldn’t even be plotting this treacherous conspiracy!  And probably would not if it were not for the anonymity of cross-server pugs, where the consequences for being a jackass are virtually nil.

In quasi-justification of abnormally jerkish behavior, there are so many variables you just don’t know about your pug-mates.  Is this throwaway alt #4 that you’re rolling against?  How many times has the pug-person run this instance to get this item?

In a guild group, you know who “should” get the item.  Unlike the Pug group, you’re emotionally invested in your guild mates and you want them to do well.

As Elnia comments in  The Porn Star and the Pug, it’s not necessarily a good thing to have a “wham, bam, thank you ma’am” sort of PUG experience, even if you do get everything that you want.  Just as you like seeing your guildmates get upgrades they need, is it as awesome to get the upgrade you have been working for so hard without your guildies around to congratulate you? When you’re in a pug and you finally get the thing you’re looking for – don’t you excitedly link it in /gchat with an “OMG OMG OMG” and get “ZOMG grats, you have been WORKING for that” from your guildmates and subdued “grats” from your PUG groupmates, if they say anything at all.

On a pure utility argument, in a guild group, if you don’t get the item, the item will end up  benefiting  you indirectly, because you will run with your guildies in the future.  It’s the “greater good.”  In a Pug group, that item is gone, lost in the cross-server abyss, and might as well have been sharded for all the good it’s going to do you in the future.

But this makes me a complete hypocrite.  I’ve argued (in response to Tam’s refusal to rez a pug idiot) that behavior from Pugs does carry over. You’re not just acting in a vaccuum in a Pug.  Your actions have ripples. If we take the time to “train” an asshat in a pug group, maybe he will behave properly for the next healer.  If you show kindness toward a new 80, maybe he will pay it forward in future groups.

We’ll see whether my greedy nature gets the best of me.  I’d be interested to see what others have to say on the issue.

Eep, shaking off rust: srs guild bizness and raiding

Haven’t raided in 3 weeks.   Hope I don’t suck too badly.  I haven’t signed up for ICC this week… I’m gonna dip my feet back in with TOC-10.

Raid leader crisis was (mostly) averted.   Last week, you may recall, we lost a raid leader because he was leaving WoW.    We just promoted an ICC-ready experienced raid leader from one of the new recruits – bringing the total back to 4, 3 of whom can do ICC.  Being new is not a bad thing, but I feel like overwhelming the new guy is bad form… in a perfect world I’d let him get to know the guild a little better before tossing responsibility on him.

On Burnout and Alts

Confession: I don’t want to gear my alts.  Don’t get me wrong… I want to play them.  It would be fun, but I don’t want to have them geared enough that I could possibly raid with them.  Short of purposely destroying loot, it would be very hard not to get raid-ready for ICC-10 (given the new instances, badge gear, etc.)  But I don’t wanna!


2 toon rule – alt raids

As a healer, I’m very sensitive about healer burnout.  As such, I want the healers in the guild to have the opportunity to DPS, Tank, or do whatever their little hearts desire occasionally.  I’ve seen too many healers say “screw this, I’m only playing my mage” because they just can’t take the stress of always having to attend the raid or it won’t happen, and to get all the healer-grief dumped on them.

At the same time, the guild was sometimes struggling to fill raids with the right class balance, and we wanted to do 2 raid ID’s but recognized that we might need to use an alt or 2 to fill out the 2nd raid ID.  So we created the 2-toon raiding rule.

The 2-toon rule stated simply that you could only have 2 raiding toons.  We’re not gonna run your 4th alt through Naxx.  2 toons are beneficial for the guild for role versatility and filling out a 2nd ID.  More than 2 is overkill and dilutes loot.

My preference on this would have been for the 2-toon rule to dictate that your 2 toons had to be different roles… such as 1 tank, 1 dps.  But ultimately that idea was scrapped because we don’t have required specs, and some hybrids had 2 equally good specs and gear sets.

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Vent foot pedal (Stealth Switch 2)

Have you ever wished you didn’t have to push-to-talk – but don’t want to go open-mic? I had a hell of a time trying to PTT and still be able to continue throwing heals, getting out of the fire, and other such things.  No matter where I bound my hotkey, I always had to “pause” in some way to talk on Vent.

Then I found the foot pedal of awesome! Stealth Switch 2

The basic premise is that you bind it to a keyboard key, any key, and it fires that key off when you hit the foot switch. You can still use the keyboard key for the same purpose.

I ordered it on a Wednesday and it arrived in my mailbox Friday afternoon. So far, I love it. I bound it pretty easily to my F12 key (after unbinding F12 from “open bags”), and have been using that as PTT on vent.

It was easy to program, though it has some issues with Vista. However, after some swearing, I went to the website and they had simple instructions for getting it to play nice with Vista.

I love having both hands free to play and not having to worry about PTT slowing down my healing or dps. You don’t have to hit the pedal hard. I play barefoot and i have the edge of this resting under my big toe, and I shift my foot a little to click it on. You can get quite the leg cramp if you try to hover your foot over it for an entire raid!

A word of warning: This is NOT the same as stealth switch (original). The original is designed to close windows and stuff to prevent your boss from seeing you goofing off at work. I don’t think it’s meant to work with Vent. Even though it is cheaper, it probably will not be good for your purposes.

(Oh yeah, I’m not affiliated with Stealth Switch 2 and I’m not getting kickbacks or anything.  Just a product that I tried, used, and luuuv.)

Why I have this blog

So… last week in the midst of doing way too much reading about Wow and way too little PLAYING WoW… I decided to make a blog.


Because I’m a WoW research nerd and my current outlets for out-of-game nerdiness are lacking…

Audience: Guildies

I am the repository of information for my guildies.  I usually at least skim my blogroll daily (I have a feed thingy set up, all the blogs in categories, very professional.)  I look for tidbits that would interest guildies – first just for healing, but now for just about everything.  Rogue nerf?  I post about it.  New guide posted?  I add the link to the appropriate “sticky” on our forum.  All neatly catalogued so that guildies can easily find everything about their chosen professions. (Less so, about boss encounters, I’m workin on it.)

We got a new website in October.  I have 838 posts, 25% of total posts on the website.  It says I average .06 posts a day, but that’s just because it also says I registered December 31, 1969.  I kinda feel like I’m talking to myself.

After doing all this out-of-game work to help people get better, I login and well… get questions about stuff already on the website, painstakingly organized, and checked as much as possible for currentness.  I point people to the website, and that helps somewhat, but it seems that they just don’t want to read it.  Sigh.

Audience IRL

(This my actual dishwasher, though it now reads “Pirates > Ninjas”.)

Besides husband, I have only a few friends who play WoW.   We used to be in the same guild, but a few others wandered away for the horde side, and others are in a guild we left (awkward).  We don’t really talk much about WoW stuff out of game, except to each other.

Of course, bringing raid strat printouts to a restaurant because we forgot to study up for that night’s raid, we wanted to eat, and we had limited time before Twig had to go to bed… height of romance.  Really.

Twig is not quite ready to discuss the finer points of gaming.

Me: Mommy is a little tired of healing this dumb aggro monkey.

Twig: Monkey “oot oot oot”

Me: That’s right, monkey says “oot oot oot”.  Pug people are idiots.

Twig: Chocolate milk?

Me: Omg, did he seriously just pull that entire group?

Twig: Hee hee I fall down.

Sci Fi "No touchie" rule

I think this was the basic structure of every episode in the first 2 seasons of Stargate: SG1.

  • Dude touches alien thing that he shouldn’t (Don’t sleep with the hot alien, that counts)
  • Bad stuff happens (I told you she had Space Herpes).
  • Rest of episode spent undoing what schmuck did.
  • Entire episode could have been avoided by NOT TOUCHING THE THING IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Surely, we’ve seen this Sci-Fi motif in various shows throughout the years.  We’re all nerds.  We watch all the same stuff.  And you’re yelling at the screen “you freakin idiot, do NOT touch that goo, no good can come of it.  Just walk away.”

Then why is it that you have to remind people every freakin time “Don’t talk to Jaina until we’re ready” or “Don’t talk to bar patrons in BRD” or “Don’t push the button!”  Maybe it’s part of the GO GO GO culture that they need to press everything.  I suspect it’s the “grown up” version of pressing every damn button on the elevator.

Radio Silence

I’m mostly without computer for the weekend (still family in town), so no blogging.  By the magics of the intarweb, I’ve managed to schedule some of my yapping and yammering to appear on this site later in the weekend for your amusement.  Rejoice!

Comments are still moderated.  I’m sort of afraid of some jerkface posting porn links in my absence.  I’ll approve non-genitalia-related comments on Monday (or sooner if I can).

I also posted some more linkies to the blogroll above (points).  The list never ends!  So much to read!

(I would post a link to my blogroll here, but then WordPress informs me “someone has linked to your page” and I feel so special, and it turns out to be me linking to my own lame stuff.  Then I’m sad.)

You're about to hit MY enrage timer.

So you’re in a 10 man, and things are going poorly.  You keep hitting the enrage timer.  You just can’t dps fast enough.  And the healers are healing their butts off and running oom.

And the raid leader says what I consider to be the dumbest sentence ever uttered by raid leader: “Let’s have one of our healers switch to DPS, and we’ll 2 heal it.”

WHAT?!  You want me to 2-heal THIS?  Are you insane?

If we’re hitting the enrage timer, then the DPS has to step up their game.  Don’t put the burden on the healers to step up their game because the DPS is failing! If the DPS isn’t geared enough to put out the numbers to down this boss, then the healers aren’t geared enough to keep the group afloat with only 2 healers.

Usually it’s on an encounter that has a mechanic that can take out a player and prevent that player from doing their job for X seconds… are we just supposed to pray that one of the two healers doesn’t get kidnapped?

And quit standing in the fires! Sure I love getting my healing numbers to epeen greatness, but there’s no way we can afford to drop a healer when there’s way too much totally avoidable damage.

But to object to 2-healing something is like admitting “I suck” or “I’m afraid.”  I get so much crap over this… sometimes even from other healers who wear it as a mark of pride that they can skirt the edge of sanity and reason and somehow squeak out a victory.  No thanks.

There are many encounters that can be 2-healed, depending on the gear/skill level of the participants and the mechanics of the fight.  However, I strenuously object to making MY job harder to make the DPS’s job easier… rather than telling them that they need to be gearing and practicing to put out higher numbers.  And as much as I love a challenge, sweating and swearing through an encounter isn’t exactly “fun.”

Healing assignments: Cross-healing tanks in a 10 man

I usually get stuck with healing assignments, so here is my opinion on tank healing in a 10 man raid.  The alternative to me doing healing assignments is that nobody does them and it’s a holy hell mess.  But that’s a gripe for another time: Raid leaders who believe healing assignments to be unnecessary.

Suppose you have a 10 man raid with 2 tanks and 3 healers:

  • Disc Priest
  • Holy Priest
  • Druid

The standard thing to do would be to put 1 healer on each tank and 1 on the raid. Let’s say I put the Holy priest on the raid.  We’re left with the disc priest and the druid.

Now, I won’t put 1 healer on each tank.  Instead I’ll put 2 healers on 2 tanks, with each assigned a primary focus.

The Disc priest’s awesomeness comes in the form of bubbles, which of course have the weakened soul debuff.  If Disc priest is assigned to 1 tank, it looks something like this:

  • Prayer of mending (15 sec CD)
  • Bubble (15 sec debuff)
  • Gheal during borrowed time (roxxor!)
  • Penance (8 sec CD)
  • Uh uh Fheal ohcrapohcrap swear swear swear
  • Penance again
  • Repeat

Ok, it’s not always like that.  But unless you stick another bubble on another target, you have a 15 second “valley” in your abilities where you don’t have buckets of awesome to throw on the tank.

Similarly the druid on 1 tank looks something like this:

  • Rejuv (yay big awesome hot)
  • Regrowth (yay long hot)
  • Swiftmend eep!
  • Uh lifebloom stacks (expensive)
  • Nourish nourish nourish
  • Lifebloom drops when the tank doesn’t need it (fail)
  • WG if there are a lot of melee hanging about the tank
  • Repeat when Rejuv falls off

Well, again, some of the best stuff can only be applied once to a target, just like bubbles… wasted.

So I would tell the Druid to “main heal Tank A and hot Tank B” and the disc priest to “main heal Tank B and bubble Tank A”.  What you get out of this arrangement is:

  • Bubbles on both tanks
    • proccing 2 sessions of borrowed time hastyness instead of 1
    • Any other “proc on bubble” bonuses (t8 4pc bonus)
    • Weakened soul on both targets, increasing healing to other tank if priest needs to throw a direct heal.
    • No chance of renewed hope dropping off the party.
  • Rejuv and possibly regrowth on both tanks
    • smoothing out damage spikes
    • revitalize possible (if talents taken)
    • Proccing effects off druid idols
    • Maximize t9 4pc bonuses to Rejuv
    • Swiftmendable hot on both tanks in case there’s an oopsie

If your healers are pretty good at changing targets and have good situational awareness, assigning tank healers this way can benefit the entire raid.

Example 1: Pally, Druid, Disc priest.  Assign Pally to heal Tank A and bacon Tank B.  Assign Disc Priest to heal Tank B and bubble Tank A.  Druid raid heals.

Example 2: Pally, Holy Priest, Shaman.  Assuming a decent number of melee.  Pally heals Tank A, Bacon tank B.  Shaman heals Tank B chain healing through Tank B to top off Tank A and Melee.  Holy priest heals raid and POM both tanks.

How do you do your healing assignments?  Do you assign 1 healer to each tank or employ a different strategy?