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Posts with tag Healing

Switching roles

It's officially the end of the expansion, because I'm tanking again. Every expansion, this happens. I start off tanking, something happens and I switch to DPS, and then by the end of the expansion I'm tanking again. The best part is that it usually happens in the middle of working on heroic progression, meaning that I'm suddenly tanking the hardest fights in the game. Usually without having ever tanked them before, in fact. Last night for instance I found out that I am much better at doing Heroic Norushen if I go down to kill the big add with some Vengeance built up, for how much it helps with Shield Barrier if I mis-time and get hit by the big attack.

My gear is adequate - about ilevel 566, with quite a few heroic pieces - but it's still a learning curve and one that's sometimes fairly hard to adjust to, and not just for me. This is a raid we've been clearing weekly, and suddenly here's a new tank who doesn't know what's going on as well as the previous tanks did. Combine that with my general sense of perfectionism (I do not like making even the most understandable mistake) and it can be pretty stressful.

But sometimes it's necessary -- your group has all the healers it needs, and you volunteer to DPS. You've been playing a hunter, now you're on your priest healing instead. (Hi, Final.) You're a tank but you're burned out and you need a change of pace. So, how can you deal with this, both as a player and as a group with a player switch? While I'm not pretending to having any sort of universal answer, here's a few things I've noticed.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Interview: Technical Game Designer Chadd "Celestalon" Nervig talks Warlords of Draenor

I was lucky enough to head over to Blizzard Campus this week to talk to Technical Game Designer Chadd "Celestalon" Nervig. Chadd is a huge part of the class design team, key to a lot of the changes we saw in the recent Warlords of Draenor patch notes, which is just what we discussed. We were also joined by Senior Community Representatives Zarhym and Lore. You can also find a much-abbreviated summary on Wowhead.

Olivia: First up, is there anything you really wanted to clarify and get out there?

Celestalon: I've tweeted about pretty much everything. This was the first version of the patch notes, there have been more changes since then, those patch notes are about a week old or so?

Zarhym: Yeah it's like, tons of changes. [Rygarius] said he had a huge list of changes.

Celestalon: There's another five thousand words that aren't up there yet, which [Rygarius] is working on now.

There have been different amounts of patch notes released for different classes. Paladins have been complaining that they haven't got enough, rogues have been really happy that not much has changed. Is it safe to assume there's more to come? This is just step one?

There's definitely more coming. Like, for example, paladins had relatively few patch notes, and a lot of that is we were relatively happy with how things played out, at least for ret and prot, with the exception of a few things we can solve with tuning – changing numbers. So a lot of what you see in the patch notes now is what we call design changes, so the mechanics that we want to change so we can get to some design that we like.

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Filed under: Interviews, Warlords of Draenor

Wowhead introduces class guides

Wowhead has just launched a new feature for players new to the game, and players new to a different class as well -- class guides written for virtually every class and spec in the game. The guides act as a brief overview of what you'll need for the class you play, covering spells, talents, glyphs, enchanting, gemming, reforging, and even topics like tackling the Proving Grounds and Challenge Modes. Some guides also include basic DPS rotations for each spec as well.

Written by familiar faces from around the WoW community, the guides themselves are fairly basic -- you won't see any number crunching or theorycrafting. Instead, they act as a quick reference for players wondering what they should be doing with the character they play. That said, it's a wealth of quick-reference information that I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep bookmarked. Check out the class guides for yourself over on Wowhead.

Filed under: News items

What will raiding be like in Warlords?

When discussing how the changes coming in Warlords of Draenor will affect raiding, we're of course looking at an incomplete picture. We don't know what new spells and abilities might come, we just know to an extent what won't be there - abilities like Skull Banner will be gone, as well many CC abilities, and healing will be greatly changed - casting on the move will also see a significant decrease. What we therefore need to consider is that raiding itself will have to change to embody these changing philosophies. It would be a disaster to alter class abilities and leave raids designed around the same high damage, high mobility kit we see in modern raiding.

But what will raid design entail? Well, I'm not a raid designer. If I was, I'd be super busy designing some raids. What I am is a guy who raids a lot, so I can give you my perspective as a dude who has seen every fight in the game at this point. What are we in for in Warlords, based on what Blizzard has said is changing, and what they intend to try and do?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

What the Dev Watercooler says about the future of PvE

This week's Dev Watercooler post served up a lot of changes for healers. But just because the article -- and the follow up conversations on Twitter -- is dense with healing talk doesn't mean that the tanks and DPSers out there can just ignore it, because these healing notes offer some tantalizing hints at what PvE group content in Warlords might be like. Of course we're missing a lot of details with Blizzard's bit-by-bit announcements, but we can make some leaps based on what we've been told so far.

We already knew that the game would be changing significantly in Warlords. Stats are being reduced (squished) across the board, but Blizzard has already said that while stats will be going down, your relative power won't -- back in September Ghostcrawler assured us that mobs will still take the same time to kill, even though the numbers involved will be different. And in this update, Blizzard let us know that they're still on track for that relative power idea... that is, unless you're a healer, specifically saying, "we're buffing heals less than we're increasing creature damage."

So just what does this mean for future PvE encounters? Let's take a look.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

Oops, I queued as tank again

I've tanked a few LFR's lately. The thing is, I didn't mean to.

I don't mean I pulled aggro. I mean that when I queued, I forgot that I had tank selected alongside DPS. I do this in five man heroics I'm running for justice points as well. When I find myself selected to tank the dungeon (often only noticing after I get in and no one else is the tank) I usually shrug and put on my tank set and do it. It's not the group's fault I keep forgetting to uncheck that box, after all. And there's a bit of an up side. The other day my wife and I were talking in game and I said "I think I'm going to ride my blue dragonhawk" which surprised her, because I am not a mount collector. "Wait, you have a blue dragonhawk?" Well, yes I do, and I can thank forgetting to uncheck that tanking box for it.

I'm under the impression that I'm fairly rare in this regard. I don't know how true that is, because I've really only talked to a few people about it, and some of them don't play hybrids, so there is no other box for them to check. I'm sure all the warlocks I know would select tank if they could, for instance. But at least some folks seem to do this from time to time.

Being an opinionated cuss, I have some thoughts on this whole phenomenon I'd like to share.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Healer representation in Mists of Pandaria


Dedralie at Healiocentric has started a series examining how the 6 healer specs fared in Mists of Pandaria, and the first installment starts with a look at representation in raids. It's a fascinating article on the rise, fall, and sometimes stagnation of class fortunes, and toward the end there's a pretty cogent prediction on what mythic raids in Warlords of Draenor are probably going to look like if current trends continue.

This is a quick summary, but I'll provide more details past the cut. As Dedralie writes, while we're not really talking about healer balance or throughput here, there are a few obvious trends you can track from the Mists launch in September 2012 all the way to heroic Garrosh kills in January 2014:
  • Discipline priests and holy paladins ruled the expansion.
  • The absorption effects brought by these two healers is a huge advantage in heroic content (even more so in 10-man), and it may be too valuable as a mechanic.
  • Tier 15 (Throne of Thunder) was the most balanced with respect to representation. Tier 14 saw significant gulfs between class popularity that unfortunately returned with a vengeance in Tier 16 (Siege of Orgrimmar).
  • While monks and holy priests are still struggling for representation, it's instructive to look at the fights where they were significantly more popular.
  • Mythics will probably look like the "under-healed" heroics of MoP, which will prejudice heal teams toward synergies between absorption healers and those with strong throughput-based cooldowns.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Monk

Does WoW need a training dummy for healers?

You've just gotten a new piece of gear and you want to see what swapping it in will do for your gameplay. So you head to the nearest major city and find a training dummy to hit while you keep an eye on how you're performing. This seems like a good plan until you realize that training dummies really only help measure your DPS -- there's no easy way for a tank or healer to gauge how new gear helps them without jumping into a raid or dungeon and seeing how it performs. While that certainly works, it means those classes don't have an easy measuring stick.

This is exactly why Healer CDs has argued that healers need their own healing dummy -- and on Twitter, Celestalon has chimed in saying he sees the value in the idea... but isn't sure if it will be included in Warlords. We'll just keep our fingers crossed.

Filed under: News items

The quick guide to mistweaving

I didn't start my monk journey as many others did at MoP's release, but switched mains during tier 15 due to raid needs. My confidence was at an all-time low because monk healing felt so foreign, compared to other healing classes. After some time, I completely fell for my monk and want to share what I've learned along the way.

I'd like to get it out of the way now - this guide isn't meant for the advanced mistweaver. It's a quick guide to get you healing, stat. I'd like to cover in-depth mistweaver topics in the future, so don't worry! This is a resource meant for monks hitting level 90 and are interested in trying their hand at healing. It's meant for brewmasters or windwalkers curious about healing or even for those being thrown into a new off-spec.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Monk, Mists of Pandaria

Totem Talk: Immersing yourself into the Siege of Orgrimmar

Totem Talk
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem talk for elemental, enhancement and restoration shaman. Want to be a sultan of swing healing? A champion of Chain Heal? Totem Talk: Restoration, brought to you by Joe Perez (otherwise known as Lodur from World of Matticus and content creation at InternetDragons.TV), shows you how.

I don't know about you, but for the last couple of weeks I've been super excited. I love new content patches, and this one I think is one of my favorites. Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I love lore, and this patch is pretty full or some tantalizing story bits. It's made all the cooler, at least for me now being horde and all, seeing all the nifty tie-ins inside and around Orgrimmar.

To see the awesomeness that is the Siege of Orgrimmar, well, you're actually going to have to get in there at some point. Be it LFR, Flex raiding or normal raiding, there are so many ways for you to get in and experience what I think is one of the best raid zones to date. To do that, you're going to need to get in and get past the first set of challenges that await you.

This is not a full step by step healing guide, instead it is my own observations and the sharing of information that I found useful as a resto shaman in these encounters.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

The right and the wrong ways to use healing meters

The right and the wrong ways to use healing meters
Meters are a sticky topic. My esteemed colleagues Dawn Moore and Matt Low have both touched on them and their use in the past, but it's time for a few lessons. Some home truths, if you will. Healing meters are something of a problem. Why are they an issue? Well, healing isn't measurable in the same way as DPS is. A while back, in my guild, we had a paladin healer who bragged constantly about his HPS -- yes, healing per second.

Now, DPS isn't even the optimal way to measure damage. HPS is far from the optimal way to measure healing. Why not? Well, there's so much more to healing than just raw numbers. If the paladin in question blindly blasted out his max HPS in a short fight, he might accidentally be efficient, but on longer fights, where triage healing was needed and DPS was tight, he went out of mana immediately. He was using healing meters the wrong way. He was using them like damage meters, looking at hard numbers and thinking that was the measure of a good healer. So how should you use them? And what are the pitfalls to avoid?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Patch 5.4: Patch notes updated with smart heal information

Patch 54 Patch notes updated with smart heal information
The latest iteration of the patch 5.4 patch notes has been posted over at Wowhead, and they contain some changes to AoE heals. As Perculia explains,
Several heals now function like smart heals, in which the 6 most injured friendly targets within range, and minor guardians are no longer targeted. Affected heals are Healing Rain, Holy Radiance, Holy Word: Sanctuary, Light's Hammer, and Spinning Crane Kick.
Smart heals are heals which, as Perculia says, pick out the players who need healing the most, and put their heals into those people. Previously, spells such as Healing Rain would target everyone inside them, whether they needed healing or not. That included players, hunter pets, warlock minions, everything. What was the problem with that? Well, particularly in 25-man heroic raids, spells like Healing Rain were causing massive input lag.

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Filed under: Raiding

Are AoE heals too effective?

Are AoE heals too effective
There's been quite some discussion of late around healing circles, with Game Director Tom Chilton commenting on how there had been too much of a move towards smart heals, and away from intelligent selection, as well as asserting that part of slimming down the button bloat could well be to remove the basic spammable low-cost heal from a healer's arsenal. And now, Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street is joining the fray, with the tweet below about AoE heals.


There is definitely some truth in this, firstly for "set and forget" AoE heals such as Lightspring or Healing Stream Totem, which aren't necessarily standard floor-based or spammable AoE heals, but still heal smartly in the general area as opposed to requiring the player to pick a specific target. Secondly, when "spam X when nothing else is going on" is the best strategy, healing quickly becomes boring.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

I hate scenarios

blood in the snow
Behind the scenes at WoW Insider, we've been talking a lot about scenarios recently, for various reasons - some of which we hope to be able to soon share! In those discussions, I relatively quickly had to come out and admit, yeah, I kind of hate scenarios. It's not that I think there's anything actually bad about them. Maybe individual scenarios have certain annoying mechanics, I honestly haven't done enough of them to know. But I kind of dread doing them, and avoid them for the most part, and there is a very simple reason why: when I first go into one, I don't necessarily know what I'm supposed to be doing.

I cannot communicate how much I despise that feeling. It's why I love being a healer. Here is your job as a healer, in any dungeon or raid ever: you stay out of the bad stuff on the ground and you play Rejuvenation (or Holy Light, or Healing Wave, or whatever) whack-a-mole with health bars. It's great. It's structured and straightforward and it's always the same. Sometimes there are additional mechanics you have to be aware of but, here's the thing - boss needs interrupts? Not a healer's job. Mobs need kiting? Not a healer's job. Turtles need kicking? Not a healer's job. Boxes need clicking? Not a healer's job (usually).

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Humor

Breakfast Topic: Are you a happy healer or a reluctant healer?

Breakfast Topic Are you a happy healer or a reluctant healer
I was smirking my way past the Gordon Ramsay-esque commentary on Twitter recently (go to the tweet to view it in all its unblurred, NSFW glory) when it struck me: Blizzard has created so many incentives to play a healer. Obviously, they've worked -- but are the healers enjoying it?

As a long-time healer, I find myself broken-hearted at the idea that players are going through the motions of healing simply because for the sake of faster random queue times or to fill a hole in a roster lineup. Healing by people who aren't passionate about healing? Healing by people who aren't glued to the action? Healing by people who might be watching "other things" on another screen, or eating pizza, or, or ...? Dear readers, we're talking about saving lives here. I weep. Seriously, I weep.

Still, there seem to be quite a lot of healers going about their business in today's game. If you're a healer, do you enjoy the role? Did you choose to be a healer of your own volition, or were you influenced by queue times, role benefits, or the needs of your raid or guild? If you were nudged into healing by outside forces, has it been worth it? Are you a happy healer or a reluctant healer?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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