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Posts with tag healers

The Deserter Debuff is a good thing

We talked yesterday about dungeons. Today, while crawling the blue tweets, I came upon this exchange between community manager Lore and a player who doesn't like the deserter debuff. Only Lore's side of the twitter exchange remains, for whatever reason, but it's worth reading.

The disparity between tank/healer and DPS queues for heroics has always been there, and it's likely going to remain for the future. It's simply a matter of math - for every tank and healer in a dungeon, you need three DPS, but the actual number of DPS per tank and healer is much closer to what we see in LFR. And even LFR doesn't pop instantly or even close to it.

But the deserter debuff isn't just implemented to control tanks and healers and keep them from dropping group at the first sign of trouble, knowing they'll immediately get a new one. It also exists to try and curb the mentality that any perceived or real failure is immediately grounds for bad behavior - because dungeons are and are supposed to be a group activity, and using the dungeon finder is essentially partaking in a social matchmaking system that breaks down is such behavior isn't penalized in some fashion. The deserter debuff exists not necessarily to punish, but rather to serve as an incentive - it is as much carrot as it is stick.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

Dungeon behavior, quests, and grouping

Okay, tanks and healers, let's be up front about something: we own LFD.

This came to mind while reading these posts on the forums about tanks queuing up for a dungeon solely to get the early quest item, then dropping the group as soon as they had it, forcing the group to wait to replace them. Tanks can do this because we have instant queues - if you want to tank a dungeon, all you have to do is queue up and you're in almost immediately. Healers sometimes have a bit of a wait, but usually not much of one, and can often have instant queues as well.

DPS? Well, DPS players (the most popular role, so we know it's somewhat self-inflicted) have to wait. On average, they have to wait up to an hour to get into a heroic. So if you're a DPS player queuing up for a heroic, it can be immensely frustrating to finally get that group you've wanted, zone in, help the tank kill the mobs he or she needs to get to that quest item, and then the tank drops the group, at the very least setting you back a half hour if not outright dooming your dungeon run. You did your part - you helped clear to the quest objective. And your reward is more delay.

Rygarius mentions that a solution is in the works (it's now live), that the end boss' death will be an objective of the quests, and I think it's a solid workaround. And the reaction of some players to this workaround is revealing in a way I find disturbing.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Death Knight, Monk

Watcher on health and healing changes in Warlords of Draenor

If you remember after the last Dev Watercooler, there was a flurry of activity on Twitter as Celestalon and Holinka answered questions. This time Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has taken to social media to answer questions and explain what's up. We're collecting his tweets here, to give folks a chance to see what he's got to say about the big changes coming to health and healing mechanics in Warlords. There's more after the jump.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, News items, Monk, Warlords of Draenor

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

Breakfast Topic: Your greatest WoW save

I no longer remember the exact boss or who was raiding with me, but I do clearly remember having a conversation with a friend while I was healing Karazhan. At the time, I was grumbling that I didn't think we had the right group composition to do an encounter successfully -- but it was only after the group's other healer died that my friend agreed. Of course it was then that I decided this wasn't going be a wipe -- something I hadn't thought was possible until just then. (Certainly no one was more surprised than I was when I pulled it off.)

Whether raiding or not, we all have close calls in game -- that was only one of many I've had. But it was certainly memorable. So what about you, dear readers? Share your stories, your near-misses, your especially memorable almost-but-not-quite deaths.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

Five ways to help a healer in random battlegrounds

Five ways to help a healer in random battlegrounds
Do you wish there were more healers in random battlegrounds? Do you hang your head on the many occasions when your faction ends up with just one healer and the other side has four or five? Isn't your faction just the worst at PvP? Your faction, hey? What scrubs. So, what can you do to improve these healer numbers? What can you do to ensure there are more healers backing you up when you charge a boomkin, priest and elemental shaman at Lumber Mill all by yourself with your trinket on cooldown? Help your healers, that's what.

Here's some insight for you from an experienced PvP healer: healing random battlegrounds is really not that much fun. There are various reasons why, and I'll get to them, but what we're really here to talk about is how you can make your healers' experience a better one. Why should you care? They'll keep you alive if you do. And being alive is considerably more fun than being dead!


1. Identification

In order to help out your healers and keep them happy in battlegrounds, you'll need to know who they are. Now, when I'm healing, the first thing I'll do on zoning into a battleground is right-click my character portrait, go through the drop-down to set my role, and choose healer. My hope is that, by taking these simple steps, I can point out to those around me that I'm healing. I'm going to be keeping them alive, or trying to.

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Filed under: PvP

Why aren't more healers queueing for the Raid Finder?

Why don't healers queue for the Raid Finder
While writing the Azeroth Ethicist article on whether it's ethical to "cheat" the Raid Finder's loot distribution system, I linked a post from The Grumpy Elf about the lack of healers in the LFR queue and the effect it's having on queue times. There was an observation there about how LFR healing may actually be more stressful than its normal counterpart:

No matter what, you name it, everything in the LFR when done wrong screams "the healers will fix it". Dropping the bad where it should not be, no worries, the healers will fix it. Not using your defensive cooldowns, no worries, the healers will fix it ... even in the LFR if you do not follow mechanics it hurts and puts all the pressure on the healers.

There are a lot of reasons why the LFR queue is so long these days for the average player -- ilevel requirements (though Blizzard's made it easier to get gear from older raids to address this), the sheer popularity of new content, and, as Ghostcrawler pointed out, tanks and healers who queue with their guildies -- but I think Grumpy Elf has a point.

While I've mostly tanked in Mists of Pandaria, I healed my way through the Raid Finder in Dragon Soul, and the number of players who took unnecessary or avoidable damage was depressingly high. You expect that with anyone who might be new to the instance, but it wasn't fun seeing a raid with lots of people in normal or even heroic tier 13 ignoring, say, the players trapped in Hagara's Ice Tombs.

So for the healers out there, here's a question: Are you queuing for Raid Finder raids? If you are, is the job noticeably more difficult or stressful than it is with your guildies? If you aren't queuing, why not?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Officers' Quarters: An overhealing intervention

A worgen casts a heal
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook.

Healing can be a tricky thing to evaluate, but crazy overhealing combined with mana problems makes for an easy diagnosis. This week, an officer wonders how she can approach the problem in a guild where constructive criticism isn't always welcome.

Hi Scott:

I am an officer and raid healer in a casual raiding guild that has a 10-man team attempting current content. We aren't progressing fast ... but everyone feels good about where we are.

Except for me.

Don't get me wrong. I am never frustrated with the group as a whole for our attempts. Most of us are parents with full time jobs and there are only a few who have the time to even hit VP cap during the week. Some are (rightfully) terrified of LFR. But almost everyone gives 110 percent.

My issue is with my co-healer, who handles tank healing. This person is a good sport and a good player. They contribute to raid materials, are always willing to help gear folks, and they are always at raid on time and ready – three big wins in any officer's book. The issue is that they are a really bad healer. They are constantly overhealing encounters by 20 to 60 percent of total healing and are out of mana before the encounter is half over – after cooldowns. They are always on the top of the healing charts, but their effective healing (total healing minus overhealing) is way low.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Resto druids vs. the world: Healer balance in tier 14

Resto druids vs the world Healer balance in tier 14
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Today, it isn't enough that mistweavers are taking our gear -- now they're taking our jobs.

The beginning of an expansion is usually a bad time to write deep, meaningful, and typically pompous posts on the "state of the class" and whither the druid and all that crap. For that matter, the beginning of Mists of Pandaria struck me as an especially bad time, because so much of what we were used to in WoW got changed and sent everyone scrambling. Toss in a brand-new hybrid class (the monk), and you've got the perfect storm of elements that make evaluating healer performance a dicey proposition at best. I poured myself a nice cocoa, kept an eye on World of Logs and Raidbots, and watched as the numbers rolled in and a legion of holy priests tore their garments and cried out in despair.

Given that patch 5.1's now live, it seems an appropriate time to swirl that cocoa, take a look at how healers did in tier 14, and ask what's likely to change. As of now, it seems apparent that:
  • Holy priests were actually right.
  • Monks kicked your dog, seduced your mom, stole your XBox, and drove off in your car.
  • Paladins are still topping the charts on certain encounters, but they're no longer dominating all of them.
  • Shaman have improved a lot from their lackluster performance in Dragon Soul.
  • Resto druids are back in same boat we were in at the beginning of Cataclysm, and it's not a very nice boat.
Just for fun, here's a Shifting I wrote almost a year ago on healer balance in Dragon Soul, if you'd like to see how classes fared in the last tier of raid content.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Tanks, healers, and a daily problem

Tanks, healers, and a daily problem
As someone who plays a guardian/restoration druid, I've had mixed feelings about Blizzard's move to the "dailies model." Of course, you don't need to be playing a tank or healer to feel that way -- it would appear that everyone on the planet has mixed feelings about the seemingly-endless march of Mists of Pandaria dailies -- but there's an special agony to them if you don't have a battle-ready DPS spec. Beefy mob health pools make killing anything as a healer last the approximate length of the Roman Empire, and because quest mobs rarely hit hard enough to make Vengeance a threat, tanks don't fare much better. I will grant that grinding Golden Lotus to revered did give me the opportunity to finish Gone With the Wind after all these years. (Spoiler alert: The North wins the Civil War.)

Now, dual-specs exist for just this reason -- i.e., so you don't have to quest on specs that are really designed for group play -- and I could avoid this problem if I really wanted, but here's the thing: I really like being a tank/healer. Whatever it takes to be a truly competitive DPS, I just don't have it, and I will tank or heal 5-mans and raids, happy as a clam, and hopefully contributing to a lower dungeon queue. By contrast, dailies leave me trying to collect every quest mob in sight to get enough Vengeance to AOE them down efficiently, but it feels really inconsiderate to do this while other players are trying to get the same mobs. And other players are always after them, because everyone's on the same rep grinds. Every day is like being trapped in the starting zone of a new expansion, and I honestly don't know if I have it in me to do this all over again on my alts (who are -- surprise, surprise -- tanks and healers).

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Dungeons and you - a guide to basic etiquette

Dungeons and you  a guide to basic etiquette
I am generally a tank, and therefore when I run heroics I tank them. This is not always the case. If I want DPS gear, I queue as DPS because it's only fair to perform the role you intend to gear up. This results in me ending up switching to tank after a previous tank has left, or the group has wiped a few times, about half the time I sign up to DPS. This is intensely frustrating to me, because I don't like having to switch and end up seeing the gear I came for, and signed up for, going to someone else because I'm tanking. I also don't like tanking after waiting in a queue for twenty minutes.

Therefore, this is a basics guide to dungeon running that covers a few things all groups should know, because I'm seeing a lot of groups that don't seem to know them. Five man dungeons are all about personal responsibility in the Mists of Pandaria era - you need to help keep yourself alive by making smart decisions.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Shifting Perspectives: Lifebloom is like broccoli, and other lies my mother told me

Shifting Perspectives Lifebloom is like broccoli, and other lies my mother told me TUESDAY
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This Tuesday, Lifebloom prevents vitamin deficiencies.

When I was a small child growing up on the mean streets of a rural farming community, my mother used to hector me into eating my vegetables.

"You'll get rickets if you don't eat your broccoli," she said.

"Children in some parts of the world would kill to have string beans," she said.

"You'll flunk your SATs if you don't eat zucchini," she said.

So I'd choke the stuff down in resentful silence, assuming that dessert would be forthcoming in the typical quid pro quo of the childhood dinner table. (My lawyer father lived to regret teaching that phrase to small children.) It took me until freshman biology to realize that my mother was exaggerating the odds of developing scurvy if we didn't eat a sufficient quantity of vegetables at every meal.

And you know what? Playing a resto druid on the beta is kind of like being a small child getting Lifebloom and Harmony endlessly stuffed into your face. In the meantime, there's a bowl of deep-fried, bacon-crusted, chocolate-dipped Wild Mushrooms just ... out ... of ... your ... reach on the table.

I ate the green stuff, Blizz. Now where's my dessert?

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Mists of Pandaria Beta: Spirit gear is coming back in fashion

It's been known for a while that spirit gear isn't on the list for the most part right now for players leveling in Mists. DPS cloth abounds, and the idea the designers have is that you can just reforge the DPS gear into healer gear easily enough (or at least reforge it so that it's passable as healer gear).

In part, this concept comes from the new rewards system, where you don't see all the gear rewards the quest giver offers but rather only the ones that are specific to you. As a solution to this, Blizzard provides green gear vendors that distribute off-spec gear.

However, Ghostcrawler announced today that Blizzard's going to offer more spirit gear again via quest rewards. This is in part due to the constructive (read: non-trolling) feedback it's received on the issue.

Ghostcrawler
After reading more of this feedback and looking at the zones, we're concerned that there aren't enough quest rewards with Spirit on them. We are leaning towards offering more, as choices, so that players who feel like their Spirit is low can choose to have more.


So rejoice, healers! Getting geared up will be a bit easier for you now.

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Looking back on healing in Cataclysm

Now, this is a forum post that I think merits a little more attention. We all know that developers weren't happy with the spamfest that healing often was in Wrath of the Lich King and that they looked to make it a far more cerebral activity in Cataclysm. Now that we're approaching the end of the expansion, Practical, one of the Blizzard forum MVPs, recently started a thread examining how healing turned out and what can be improved. Most of the people in the thread generally agree that healing started out pretty fun in tier 11 but declined afterwards. Reasons given range from boring boss mechanics to fights with random elements that made healers feel useless when they couldn't control or prevent player deaths.

Practical observes that a lot of the later problems with healing in Cataclysm might actually be the result of a surfeit of raid fights that required constant stacking, and the inevitable effect they had on certain healing spells' being too powerful. Having recently looked at healer numbers in Dragon Soul, I'd also venture that AoE healing spells that aren't numbers-restricted (for example, Circle of Healing versus Holy Radiance) on top of that raid stacking are making healer balance look worse than it actually is.

So what are your thoughts, healers? How did healing work out for you this expansion, and are you looking forward to the Cataclysm changes? And are the problems we're seeing really the result of healer mechanics or raid design?

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

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