Last week on Hybrid Theory, I got into some of the basic details of what would make you and your spec desirable in a raid. I covered the DPS specs, and this week I'll be covering tanks and healers. Warriors, priests, I'll be leaving you out of this one. I love you, really, I do! But it's that conditional love, where I only love you if you're specced how I like. I hear Rossi, Knox and Harper still love you! Man, they sound way cooler when you refer to them by their last names, don't they? Like detectives, or super heroes.
Hybrid Theory comes to you yet again from blogger and columnist Alex Ziebart. You're in for thrills, chills, and quite possibly some useful information, but I doubt it.
...Right. Anyway! I'll be detailing the strong points of the tanking and healing specs of our beloved hybrids, and the utility you provide. Should you be looking for a new raid group anytime soon, these will be the things you'll want to keep in mind when asked what you can offer a raid. Having good gear and knowing how to play is also a plus, but this is a start.
Never fear you QQasuals(just kidding!) out there, next week I'll take a step back from the raiding scene and cover some of the new toys in Patch 2.4 and what they mean to you. However, it isn't next week yet, so read on!
Just like last week, I'll cycle through each of you one by one.
Feral Druids: You're right next to the Protection Warriors as far as tanking viability. There's a few encounters that will tear you up(like Illidan himself), but for the most part, you're sitting pretty. I covered a lot of your utility, such as Feral Faerie Fire, in last week's column, but here's what you'll be good for specifically as a tank.
- Excellent Off-Tank - Having the highest base damage between the two rage users, this means you're the most capable of generating threat when not taking damage, and thus most capable of generating threat when not being hit in the face. You'll be very valuable in encounters that require multiple tanks on one target, such as Gruul, Void Reaver and Gurtogg.
- High Armor and Health - Against bosses that hit insanely hard in physical combat, such as High King Maulgar, you're the best candidate out of the tanking classes to take those hits. While crushing blows can be an issue for feral druids, your health, mitigation and high dodge rates do you well.
- Strong Multi-Mob Threat - Your multi-mob threat isn't as strong as a Protection Paladin's threat, but it's a good substitute if a raid lacks one of those. Swipe like there is no tomorrow.
Balance Druids: Moonkin are not tanks. I don't care what your YouTube video says. Go be useful and Moonfire spam something.
Protection Paladin: Of the three tanking classes, you are unfortunately the least desirable. It's going to take some work to convince a raid to take you, but not impossible. Most of your utility isn't exclusive to Protection Paladins, so that makes it even harder. Regardless, here we go!
- Strongest Multi-Mob Threat - AOE Tanking is awesome. When it comes to handling multiple mobs, you're the best. This is most useful in Mount Hyjal, where many of the trash waves are made trivial with a paladin tank. However, most encounters which seem like they're built for Protection Paladins(like Morogrim) are actually more easily tanked by Holy Paladins, so who knows?
- Blessing of Kings - While technically Holy Paladins can reach this, it is a Protection talent. Blessing of Kings gives raid members a flat 10%. Sounds good to me.
- Righteous Defense - Again, Holy Paladins have this, but that doesn't make it less useful on a Protection Paladin. Righteous Defense is a ranged taunt, and though it can be awkward to use without the proper macros, is one of the easiest ways to nab a mob that has peeled off toward a caster or a healer. It's also a good tool to quickly pick up add spawns that appeared on the other side of a room.
Restoration Shaman: Every raid wants at least one of you, if not two. Despite that, you guys seem very, very rare. Which should make searching for a raid even easier, really.
- Earth Shield - Set it and forget it. For ten charges, anyway. Excellent damage buffer on a main tank, and also has alternative applications thanks to the 30% spell pushback resistance it carries. There's no shame in putting Earth Shield on an AOEing mage or warlock, though it should probably be on the tanks most of the time.
- Chain Heal - Pewpew lasers! Chain Heal is awesome, and two of them is even more awesome. This spell makes you, arguably, the best in the game at healing the potatoes of a raid, while most everyone else keeps the meat(tanks) up and running.
- Totems - Restoration Shaman get Mana Tide Totem, which is pretty sweet all alone. Plus you have the usual loadout of Windfury or Wrath of Air, Healing Stream or Mana Spring, you know the deal.
- Ancestral Fortitude - While difficult to keep up on a tank reliably, especially on encounters in which you need to do heavy raid healing, an extra 25% armor on your tanks is greatly appreciated. Holy Priests have a similar talent, but we're not discussing them right now, are we?
Restoration Druids: No, I don't mean Dreamstate. Nobody ever means Dreamstate when they ask for a Resto Druid. Trust me.
- HoTs - Your Healing over Time spells, your HoTs, are your biggest priority. Lifebloom is your primary healing spell, and it is quite amazing. Learn how to use it and practice rolling it on multiple tanks at once, because you're going to be doing a lot of it. Lifebloom = Good.
- Innervate - Mana, yum!
- Tree Form - While not able to be used in every encounter, having the Treeform aura in your tank group is a pretty hefty boost. Restoration Druids really should have no mana problems, so you can afford to be outside of the Healers + Shadow Priest group.
Holy Paladins: The Burning Crusade has not been kind to you. You're basically doing the exact same thing in a raid now as you were three years ago in Molten Core. Luckily, you're still good at that thing, but... yeah. Sorry. You're really good to have along, it's just going to be a boring ride for ya.
- Powerful Single Target Heals - All Paladins really have is single target, direct heals. Luckily, you're one of the best at it. Thanks to the Spell Crit stacking that good Holy Paladins should do alongside their +Healing, you're a power house when it comes to single target heals. The combination of Holy Paladin and Resto Druid does wonders, thanks to the big direct heals from one and the strong heals over time from the other.
- Blessings - Wisdom, Might, yadda yadda. Holy Paladins will generally have Improved Blessing of Wisdom and possibly even Blessing of Kings, which is what your advantage would be over other Paladin talent specs when it comes to these.
- Judgements - Do not underestimate the Judgements of Wisdom and Light. Over the course of a boss battle, Judging Wisdom will regenerate thousands and thousands of points of mana for your raid. It may be difficult to watch all of the time and keep it active, but it's worth it. If you just want to set it and forget it, convince your raid leader to recruit a Retribution Paladin for Crusader Strike!
- Divine Shield - Pretty simple. The ability to go invincible for awhile can be a huge advantage when something goes awry.
- Mm, beefy! - Paladins are generally high armor, high stamina. Being a healer in plate is pretty nice when a mob gets loose. You can keep popping off those heals while the priest next to you keeps popping into angel form.
That's really about it, there's your selling points. Like I said last week, though, there are absolutely no alternatives to being a good player. Just because you know you have these tools doesn't mean you know how to use them. Go out, play the game, learn your strengths. If you need to spend a little extra time in 5-man dungeons of Karazhan to brush up on these abilities, do it. The experience will be worth it. And again, as I said last week, remember that you are a hybrid. This may be as simple as knowing when you need to shift gears mid-combat to pull your raid out of a jam, or as annoying as carrying 2+ sets of gear with you at all times. It's a part of your class, and something you should take in stride.
There you go folks, that's it for my Raiding 101 bit. Boring, I know, but hopefully it was useful to somebody out there. Next week, as I said, I plan on covering some of the new toys in patch 2.4, and that should prove to be quite a bit more exciting. Maybe, if you're nice, I'll make fun of Moonkin again. Otherwise? I'll pick a new victim. I'm looking at you, Enhancement Shammies.