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?

Healing Basics

The Mechanics of Healing

For any healing class, the overall goal is the same: to see who needs heals, for how much, and to be able to provide that heal in the most effective (quick and/or mana efficient) manner possible. The basics are the same for any healing class.

1. See who needs a heal

For this, you will want a mod that provides raid frames other than the blizzard default raid frames. The problem with the blizzard default raid frames is that if you don’t click exactly on a very very small area, you do not end up targeting the person. You need frames where you are not playing “find the pixel” to click on.

  • My recommendation:  Grid
  • Alternatives:  Healbot, Vuhdo
  • Non-healing-centric alternatives:  Perl, Xperl, AgUf, PitBull

2. How much of a heal.

Any of these raid frames can be configured to “healer mode.” This means it will tell you how much health is missing in numerical form. Half a health bar for a mage is very different than half a health bar for a warrior. These exact numbers will help you choose which heal to use.

3. Heal, and heal fast

If you’re using the default UI, you have to do a “two-step” – click on your target to select, and then press a button to administer the heal. This wastes time. This is where “mouseover macros” or “click casting” come in.

Click casting: Programs such as  Clique or  Healbot  can allow you to set click-combos for heals. For example: shift+left mouse click could be flash heal and shift+right mouse click could be gheal. You do not first have to click on the person to target him, and doing “shift click” would not change your current “target” while still delivering the heal to the person you selected. This is very fast but takes some getting used to since you have no visual cues as to what is set to which click combo and you have to remember.

Mouseover Macros: These are fairly simple and useful for people who prefer pressing buttons to clicking. Essentially you write a macro that says /cast [target=mouseover] spellblahblah. This means you do not have to click on the person prior to healing him. You simply hover your mouse pointer over the person’s name in group/raid and hit the assigned hotkey on your keyboard.

4. Decursing

Yes, you have to decurse too. Any of the unit frames listed should be configured to highlight when a person has a debuff you can cure, and you won’t have to go sifting through all debuffs to find it. Alternatively, you could use  decursive  which has its own unit frames. I’d advise against this, since it’s a lot to be looking at.

It also might be useful to be able to see debuffs that you can’t do anything about just so you know who might need extra heals.

5. Managing cooldowns

Nothing will slow you down more than hitting an ability and having it say “that spell isn’t ready yet” and you lose precious seconds fumbling for a backup spell. For those who use hotkeys (mouseover macros) you can clearly see that an ability is still on cooldown. For those who use click casting and do not have icons for the heals out in the interface, it is more difficult. A mod such as  Powerauras or  Tellmewhen can be configured to show you when crucial abilities are off cooldown. Alternatively, you can use  Dotimer which has a cooldown tracker.

6. Managing latency

I recommend getting  Quartz bar. It shows your latency at the end of your casting bar, so you know when you can safely start casting the next heal without waiting for the first heal to land. This will save you time as well.

Raid Healing in a Team

Healers in a raid work together to accomplish a common goal. The amount of healing done by each member is irrelevant. What is relevant is that  the healer covered his or her assignments and did not put strain on the other members of the team.

Assignments

Generally, the raid leader or other healer in the raid will assign each healer to a role. It is important that you do your role and not try to cover everyone’s role.

Exceptions:

  • someone really truly looks like he or she is going to die. If you can afford to do it without your assignments dying, toss the heal. Better to step on someone’s toes a little than to let the MT die.
  • another healer is somehow incapacitated by fight mechanics or otherwise. It is good for you to keep an eye on raid debuffs and other conditions that would make another healer unable to do his or her job.

Communication

Healers should communicate with each other to let the team know when one healer may need extra help at a specific time in the fight.

Communicate with the team lead if you have any questions or issues with your assignment. The team lead may not be aware that you are specced or glyphed a certain way that would make your assignment inappropriate.

Healing Meters

If your job is to heal one target, your numbers will be smaller than those of the healer assigned to heal the raid. That’s a given.  Don’t snipe heals.

*twitch*

I’ve been mostly out of game for a week now.  My momma is in town to see the Twig (and me too… I guess).  She’s hogging the computer room for sleeping.

Not that it matters where she’s physically staying in the house – it’s extremely rude to say “Sorry mom, I know you flew 1500 miles, but it’s raid night, so I’m gonna put on my nerdy headset and ignore you.”

I’ve snuck on a few times when she has taken the Twig to the park, but other than that, I’m completely disconnected… and only a few guildies really use the website.  *twitch*

It’s not addiction, or the need to get my phat lewts, or even missing the raids – it’s this weird feeling of being needed online and not being able to be there.  It’s a feeling of helplessness of being unable to do anything meaningful from the website angle.  I have obligations in a game, which I could never explain to a non-gamer.

We’ve had an explosion of recruitment, which is awesome for the guild, and more than ever I feel like I need to be online making sure the new recruits feel included in guild activities.  Usually when I’m about to run an instance, I make sure to include a new recruit, so that they get to know other guildies in the group.  I just have to hope that the veteran guild members are making the effort in my absence.

One raid leader just quit the game.  Another had a totally understandable household emergency and couldn’t be there for the raid – and there was no safety net without Hubby and me online.  Guys, have emergencies next week, thx.

In the meantime, I just have to quit worrying about what catastrophes are happening in Azeroth and focus on spending time with my family.  As a sidenote, my mother being referred to as “Granny” makes me feel extremely old.

Why I am a terrible raid leader

This is exactly how I hear raiding instructions and why I am the worst raid leader on earth.

“Blah blah hits tank hard blah blah raidwide damage blah blah cleanse poison blah blah don’t stand in the green fire blah blah will need extra heals blah blah.”

In the “blahblahs” are instructions that are useful to everyone else that I completely tune out – like when to switch targets, picking up and positioning adds, kill order, boring crap like that.

On the odd night when I’m actually tasked to DPS (and this has happened probably twice) I’m always asking husband “which one do I hit first” and other such noobish questions that I’m thankful I don’t have to say into vent.

Talk about healer tunnelvision!  It’s downright embarrassing having done a fight multiple times and not really “knowing” it at all.

The luck of the gnomish

“Oh hey, let’s run HPOS, I need the thumb trinket on my warrior,” says husband.

Bam, it drops.

The next day: “Oh hey, I just got this awesome offhand, we should run HFOS for Seethe.”

What do you think drops as soon as we finish the instance?  Yep.  Off the boss who is supposed to be giving me the scorpion trinket thingy.

Those dirty gnomes have all the luck.

I'd better stick to healing

Last night, the husband purchased the “fun family game” band hero (which is like rock band, but made by a different company).

Oh. I. Suck.

I suck so bad that the game snarkily asked me if I needed to adjust for lag, because surely nobody could suck as badly as I did.  I resisted the immature urge to flip off the screen, mostly because my mother is visiting.

Meanwhile husband is jamming on the guitar and the drums, no problem.

Sigh.  At least the Twig likes the drums, and they are adjustable to Twig-height (gotta take super-cute picture of that).

My Grid Setups

Yum, grid plugins.  My security blankie.  Seriously, I’m one of those people who gets flummoxed patch day when all my mods are broken.  I’m helpless.  Wah, where’s my blankie?!

But hey, my neurotic need for addons may be useful to someone reading out there, so here goes:

Grid Plugins

Generally useful:

  • Gridstatusraiddebuff - shows raid debuffs
  • Gridstatusself - helps identify self in raid frames
  • Gridstatusmts- helps identify mt’s in raid frames
  • Gridautoframesize - resizes based on your group size
  • Gridmanabars - shows mana bars

Status tracking:

  • [priest] Gridstatusshield - estimates shield left (pw:S and divine aegis)
  • [priest] Gridstatuspwshield - Shows time left on your power word shield
  • [priest]  Gridstatusmending - Shows time left on mending and tracks stacks
  • Gridstatushots – adds functionality to hot tracking, including changing color of your own hots based on time left and tracks all hots on target. It provides support for using timers instead of boxes if desired.

Moar boxes/info etc:

  • Gridcornerplus - adds 12 boxes to your corners
  • Gridsideindicators - adds icons to the top, bottom, left , and right on your frames. In addition to the corners.
  • Gridindicatortext3- third row of text in center of box
  • Gridindicatorcornertext - so you can show cooldowns/text in your corners rather than boxes
  • Gridindicatorsidetext- same as above but text on sides.

Continue Reading »

You don't deserve my Brez

Now that battle rez is on a 10 minute timer, and you can glyph out of using a reagent, every moron feels entitled to a battle rez as soon as he meets his unfortunate demise (most times due to his own stupidity).  Or maybe I’ve just grouped with morons lately.

Take the FOS pug I was in yesterday – the most recent offender, we’ll call him “PhailDK”, because he was pulling 900 dps in purples.  First he goes AFK mid-instance, instructing us to go on without him but not to kill the final boss without him.  Yes, sir!

Then he, of course, bites it by standing in front of Mr. “Face of Bo” (or whatever that dude is called – but he does totally look like the Face of Bo on Dr. Who) when the face is doing the “lazer beams from his face” special.

“Brez!” he orders.

Of course, I ignore this.  I’m busy healing the useful people in the group, who are perfectly capable of pulling their weight and not standing in bad stuff.

“Brez plz,” he whines.

“Just don’t release,” another group member informs him.

“Ok.”

Wait… he was telling me to battle rez him, not because he thought he was essential to completing the encounter (haha) but because he was afraid he’d lose out on loot (that he didn’t deserve).

(For those following along at home, no, scorpion did not drop.  Sigh.)

Then, on HHOR (hate) there was the tank that informed me that I should battle rez the DPS who died on wave 7.  Well, yes, Captain Obvious, I do see that so-and-so is dead, and that I do in fact have the tools to fix that particular predicament.  I also should keep the rest of the group alive and even with my celestial focus and insane haste I just don’t have the spare few seconds to battle rez (and then top off the formerly dead companion before he bites it again).

Pop Quiz!

Question 1: Do you get a battle rez?

  • Are you a tank?
  • Are you a healer?
  • Are you really really important DPS without whom we might lose the encounter?
  • Are you a druid who can subsequently battle rez another fallen companion?
  • Did you die to unavoidable damage?
  • Did the raid leader tell me to battle rez you?

If you didn’t answer “yes” to any of the above, have fun staring at the floor tiles until the encounter is over.

Question 2: Who gets to tell the druid when to battle rez?

  1. The raid leader.
  2. The raid leader.
  3. No really, the raid leader.

Whee, I love quizzes.