Friday, October 30, 2009

Healing is most fun when everyone around you is dying

OK, this is going to start off a little unfocused, but I kind of want to make a big generalization based on some somewhat unrelated items I've been thinking about lately

  • One thing I love about the healing blogs is there is a real sense of dialogue and community between them; Jessabelle's questionaire being a recent example (and not a meme). The topic of "making healing fun" has come up a lot recently, and I've said in general that I enjoy healing and would probably be bored dpsing in endgame.

    That being said, the raids I'm in are currently on a "farm" state of the instances we can comfortably clear, while we gear up for the achievements and heroics that are slightly out of our grasp.
  • Blizzard recently announced that the new patch will introduce a debuff in Icecrown Citadel that will reduce your tank's dodge chance. It is basically Sunwell Radiance 2.0.

    Quote from Blizzard staff

    Chill of the Throne, Tanking, and You!
    For Icecrown Citadel, we are implementing a spell that will affect every enemy creature in the raid. The spell, called Chill of the Throne, will allow creatures to ignore 20% of the dodge chance of their melee targets. So if a raid's main tank had 30% dodge normally, in Icecrown Citadel they will effectively have 10%.

    Why are we doing this?

    The high levels of tank avoidance players have obtained is making the incoming damage a tank DOES take more "spiky" than is healthy for raiding. Ideally, tanks would be receiving a relatively constant stream of damage over time. This allows healers to better plan their healing strategy, broaden their spell options, and simply give more time to react. Tanks could use their cooldowns more reactively. Instead, the current situation is that if we make a hard hitting melee boss and a tank doesn't avoid two successive swings then the tank could very well be dead in that 1-2 second window. The use of reactive defensive abilities instead becomes a methodically planned affair, healers have to spam their largest heals just in case the huge damage spike happens.

    We've been trying to do a fair amount to mitigate the effect of high tank avoidance on the encounter side of things during this expansion with faster melee swings, additional melee strikes, dual wielding, narrowing the normal variance of melee swing damage, and various other tricks. There's a limit to what we can do, however. So to give us a bit of breathing room we’ve implemented Chill of the Throne. Going forward past Icecrown Citadel, we have plans to keep tank avoidance from growing so high again. (Source)

    I think in general people are pissed about this because it was considered a hack back in BC, and it's a hack now; Blizzard planned gear itemization wrong, and now tanks overgear content. That being said; I agree that at current levels of tank avoidance, they would basically have to make the mobs deal so much damage that they would 2-shot a tank if it lands, or else the tanking and healing would be super boring.

So where I'm going with this is; when you first encounter new content, tanking and healing is very dynamic and exciting. However, once everyone in the fight knows the encounter really well, is avoiding the predictable damage and interrupting the spells and moving out of fire, healing becomes really easy. Similarly, tanking becomes boring when you have enough stam and avoidance to survive the bosses super power move without needing to use cooldowns.

Better gear for dps means bigger numbers and more procs; better gear for tanks means less need to manage cooldowns efficiently; better gear for healers means more overhealing and standing around. As my raid members have gotten better at avoiding stray damage and my tanks have gotten better at mitigating the boss's damage; I find more and more that I am spending fight time dpsing and arranging my bags.

This is just an observation, I don't really know what the game designers could do to make it so healing and tanking stays interesting as you gear up and have the encounters memorized. Any ideas?

-Zigi

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Heal Naked: Healing with the Stock UI?

In a previous post I mentioned casually that NO raiding healer uses the stock UI, and of course that was a complete overstatement, because I'm sure there are plenty that do, and do it well. I even got smacked down in a comment for it.

So I have been playing around a bit on the PTR, and was asked to come try healing some 10 man ICC PTR bosses, and as I was going through the dreaded initial UI set up for my Shaman, I thought I'd itemize what I consider to be the barebones essential healing mods for me, and considered what the alternatives are if you want to just use the stock UI.
  • SmartBuff

    Description: SmartBuff provides a little icon and a text warning if you are missing any buffs, or if people in your party are missing buffs that you can provide. This is highly configurable, and has different configurations based on your talent spec, and whether or not you are soloing, instancing, pvping, or raiding. When you are out of combat, you can automatically apply these buffs by clicking a button, or even have it set to when you scroll in and out.
    Use: This was much more of a necessity when I played a level 70 disc/holy priest and was responsible for applying different buffs to 5 different parties every time we wiped. Now as a shaman, I just use it to make sure my Water Shield is up and my weapon imbue is applied before going into any fight.
    Necessity Level: Low
    Other Mods: I don't really know of other mods that duplicate this functionality.
    Stock UI Alternative: This one isn't so bad for a shaman to do without addons. I can easily monitor my own buffs via the default buff tracking UI. It's much more of a headache for priests, though.
  • Grid

    Description: Grid is a compact raid unit frames mod that optimizes space by filtering down to only buffs and status indicators that you care about.
    Use: On my shaman, I have it optimized for notifying me about health and debuffs that I can dispel.
    Necessity Level: High. The default raid frames are not as I claimed "impossible" to fit onto your screen, but in a 25-man raid, it's pretty much going to be a mess.
    Other Mods: Vuhdo, Healbot.
    Stock UI Alternative: Pull your raid frames out from your raid tab onto your screen. In order to fit a lot of these in a 25 man situation, you should scale them down a lot. As for the debuff filtering... it's not pretty.
  • Clique

    Description: Clique allows you to bind spell casts to chorded mouse-clicks on a unit frame, rather than pressing a keystroke.
    Use: This allows me to fit a number of healing and dispelling spells into mouse click combos. For example, I can bind Cure Toxins to shift-left click.
    Necessity Level: Medium/High.
    Other Mods: Vuhdo, Healbot mentioned earlier have the same functionality, bundled in.
    Stock UI Alternative: Kae from Dreambound swears by "mouseover macros" as an alternative to Clique, which provide the same level of reactiveness, without needing to diverge from the stock UI. So as an alternative to the clique binding I mentioned above, you could make a macro:
    /cast [target=mouseover] Cure Toxins
    And bind that to a key, like "2". Then instead of shift clicking a unit frame, you can mouseover the unit frame and hit your "2" key to have the same effect. I think this is a very reasonable alternative, but it does take up macro and keybinding space.
  • ForteXorcist

    Description: ForteXorcist a buff/debuff/cooldown timer mod. This was actually originally a warlock mod (as they have all these DoTs to track), but they've expanded it to be customizable and to work for all buffs and debuffs; I find it to be perfect for my shaman.
    Use: I use this for tracking the duration of my Riptide HoT on multiple targets, as well as my Earth Shield buff's charges on a tank.
    Necessity Level: Medium. Without this mod I would probably be wasting a lot of mana refreshing Riptide unnecessarily, or letting it fall off.
    Other Mods: SpellReminder is what I used for a long time on my priest, and I liked that as well.
    Stock UI Alternative: The default UI is really bad for tracking buff times on multiple targets.
  • Power Auras

    Description: Power Auras provides a visual indicator based on highly configurable conditions, such as gaining a certain number of stacks of a debuff, or losing an important buff.
    Use: For my shaman, I use this to ensure I have 100% uptime on my Water Shield. In a heated battle where I'm taking damage, it's very easy to let that fall off, and if I don't pay attention, I'll suddenly be out of mana. I have Power Auras to have a giant red bubble pop up when my Water Shield is down to 1 charge or fewer. You can set up even more Power Auras based on other conditions, like missing your weapon imbue, or having full stacks of Tidal Waves. On my priest, I have this pop up when I get to max stacks of Serendipity, for example.
    Necessity Level: Low
    Other Mods: The shaman Mod Shields Up does exactly the case I mention in the Use Case, but it is not as configurable as Power Auras.
    Stock UI Alternative: Uhh, you gotta just watch the buff/debuff indicators in your upper right hand corner like a hawk, I guess.
So these are the mods I wouldn't raid without. I'm sure you can do it with the Stock UI, but one of the amazing things about WoW is the UI's expandability, and it's awesome to have such amazing and talented addon developers cranking out these awesome mods with healers in mind.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

RE: Jessabelle's Healing Questionnaire

Jessabelle at Miss Medicina posted a Questionnaire with the intent of spreading knowledge between healing classes, and among the healing bloggers. The idea is you answer all the questions, and then "tag" another healing blogger that plays a different class.

In typical priest ethnocentrism, she calls it a "Circle of Healing Bloggers", when I'm pretty sure any impartial observer would agree that "Chain of Healing Bloggers" or "Totem of Healing Blogs" would be a far superior name... but I suppose the damage has been done ;)


  • What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?
    Zigi, Resto Shaman.

  • What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
    At the moment, I am primarily healing in 10-man raids.

  • What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?
    Chain Heal, because it's spammable, looks cool, and is a good example of a spell that Blizzard has made useful ever since level 60, and is still a staple of shaman healing today

  • What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?
    Hmm, Shaman really only have 5 healing spells in our arsenal (6 if you count the totem), so there are no spells that I never use, but based on my meters since 3.2, I rarely cast Lesser Healing Wave. With the changes to Tidal Waves and a high level of haste, a Healing Wave cast is usually only 2/10ths of a second slower than a Lesser Healing Wave. The only benefit of that spell is mana efficiency (from the improved crit), which has not been a problem for me recently. I still use it situationally to top off raid members when CH is totally inappropriate, but it is not the go-to spell it was before 3.2.

  • What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?
    Our strength is very high throughput in both aoe and tank healing roles.

  • What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?
    Our weakness is mana management, and scaling to 25 man raids.

  • In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?
    I haven't done a ton of 25-mans, but having read some of the big-boy shaman blogs, and from my experiences in PUGs, I do feel that resto shaman are better suited to tank healing roles, with backup AOE. If a holy priest is not available, then a resto shaman is pretty good at the dedicated aoe role too.

  • What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?
    I'm gonna second Jess here, and go with Disc priests. Their damage prevention buffs, passive talents, and spells, all make healing noticeably easier on everyone.

  • What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?
    I'm going to answer this in an extremely selfish way and say Holy Priests. Keep in mind, that this is JUST in the context of this question. Obviously I love holy priests because I played one for 2 years, and they do amazing throughput healing, but in terms of buffing other people in the raid, holy priests actually provide no raid buffs that a disc priest can't provide as well. Sorry Jess :(

  • What is your worst habit as a healer?
    Probably refreshing my HoT, Riptide when I don't have to, or even worse, Riptiding the tank and instantly Chain Healing it off instead of letting it tick a little bit. I definitely have to consciously think about it to get the full value of my Riptide, considering I have the set bonus and the glyph for it!

  • What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?
    I have mentioned this in comments on Jess's blog in the past, but it's gotta be linking/asking for/bragging about healing meters. This is not to say I don't look at healing meters, or feel an irrational swell of pride if I top them, but I am also completely conscious of the fact that healing meters are misleading, incorrect, and can lead to bad healing habits. For one thing, disc priests are horribly represented on healing meters, as Blizz has provided no official way to track absorbs. If this caused all guilds to avoid disc priests, it would be a disaster!

  • Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?
    At my niche yes; in 10 man raids, shaman shine. I do feel like we don't scale as well as any of the other healers into 25 man content, just because our AOE heal hits less than everyone else's; I know a lot of shaman feel like they get shoehorned into tank healing or sidelined, but right now I'm definitely enjoying my niche.

  • What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?
    I think the most important metric for a healer is the ability to follow an assignment and keep those people you're assigned to alive. If there are no assignments, then my success criteria is no one dying.

  • What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?
    I think that people who played WoW prior to WOTLK know shaman as AOE raid healers, and honestly, prior to playing one myself, that's all I thought they were good for too. However I was surprised at 80 to find that we're probably comparatively better at tank healing than raid healing.

  • What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?
    I think mana management can be tough- especially coming from other classes. We only have one "trick" to get back mana, our totem, as opposed to Priests (Shadowfiend, Hymn of Hope, Inner Focus). Keeping up 100% uptime on Water Shield is ESSENTIAL. Get a mod for that.

  • If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)?
    My overheal is between 20 and 30% usually depending on the spell, which I think is probably a little high, but not the worst I've seen. I'm pretty happy with my healing output. If anything the criticism would be what I mentioned before- I probably use Healing Wave on some occasions that Lesser Healing Wave would be the right spell.

  • Haste or Crit and why?
    HASTE! All shaman now live and die for haste; chain heal spam is AGONIZINGLY SLOW if you don't have enough of it. NOM NOM HASTE.

  • What healing class do you feel you understand least?
    Well the only class that I have not healed at 80 on is a resto druid, so definitely that. They just have so many spells that seem very similar in function: Lifebloom and Rejuv; Nourish and Healing Touch and Regrowth.

  • What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?
    I use Clique/Grid for healing, ForteExorcist for tracking my hots and buffs, and Power Auras to let me know when my shield or weapon imbue has fallen off.

    I use a TON of macros, but mostly just things like binding my two big cooldowns: Nature's Swiftness and Tidal Force into one giant OSHIT button.

    The other one I like, and this is just to save space on my bar, is I have a macro that casts Stoneclaw Totem if I'm in combat, or my Resurrection spell if I'm out of combat. The idea is I can't cast Res out of combat, and I'd never need Stoneclaw out of it.

  • Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
    Right now Shaman are stacking haste to the sky, and I'm not different. I do feel that when newer content comes out in 3.3 I may move back toward a more balanced approach with mana regen, if the fights are long.



So for choosing new bloggers to add to this questionaire, I would normally pick
BobTurkey or Healing Way, but I think Bob is on vacation, and Llyre is a Shaman so I can't pick that, so I'm going to go with a blog that I just discovered recently because of their awesome illustrated boss guides: Kae from Dreambound!

-Zigi

Monday, October 26, 2009

Yogg Saron Down

Yay, we killed Yogg!
I might do some editing on this video, but here it is for now:

video

-yigi

Saturday, October 24, 2009

RE: Healing and fun

Llyra from the Healing Way blog is starting a series of posts on Healing and fun from the perspective of WoW development. I thought there were a lot of interesting points which I wanted to give my perspective on.

Can healer's enjoy solo-ing? With dual-spec, does this even matter anymore?
So from 70-80 I actually ended up preferring a holy/disc leveling spec for my Priest rather than Shadow. This is mostly because my spirit levels were so high from my raiding 70 gear, that any build with Spirit Tap would have zero downtime, and my spellpower was high enough that mobs would never live long enough for the very long dots to tick to their full extent. In contrast, holy has a spammable damage-up-front spell, and can spec to actually make this damage totally fine for solo content.

With the advent of dual-specs, Llyra discards the idea that this will make hardcore raiders pick a dps spec as a second spec, as they can now min/max even further. While this is totally true for Priests, and I actually do have 2 healing specs on my priest even though I am not a hardcore raider; I don't think this is very true for the other healing classes. I'm not even sure what talent points I would want that I'm not already getting on my Shaman. Maaybe Healing Focus. I've already told you why I don't like Improved Reincarnation. Other than Priests, who have two very different healing trees, the other healing classes are viable in their cookie cutter specs.

How can Blizzard make healing more fun?
Obviously I don't know if this applies to me- I played a DPS class (Rogue) for about a year and got pretty bored, after which I leveled my Priest and that became my main for the next 2 years. I really don't think I'd ever consider playing as my main any class that doesn't at least have the capacity to heal on it. While I do really enjoy the occasions that I get to DPS in my ele spec for a 5-man or for a specific boss where we scale down our healers, it's more of a vacation than anything else; I don't think I'd be happy dpsing every day. DPSing just doesn't seem dynamic enough for me, while healing forces you to constantly be reacting.

That being said, I think the biggest barrier to entry for healers, is that it really is almost unimaginable to be a raid healer without mods. The default user interface just doesn't cut it. It doesn't normally bother me, but I was trying to make a character on the PTR, and I didn't want to migrate all my mods. I found that I had no problems dpsing things there, but I just didn't want to deal with the default UI when it came to healing. I'm sure I could approximate the functions of Grid/Clique (or Vuhdo or Healbot) with the default unit frames and mouseover macros, but it wouldn't be elegant, and it would be pretty miserable overall.

Blizzard has got to be aware that their default unit frames aren't adequate. This would be fantastic if they addressed it some way. In general, I'm having fun as it is though ;)

-Zigi

Friday, October 23, 2009

Making Gear Choices on a Resto Shaman

Depending on if you're shooting for 10 or 25 man content, or if you are intending to maximize your raid healing or tank healing potential, your spell selection will change, and consequently, your stat priorities should change as well. This can make forum or blog discussion on optimal shaman gearing very difficult, as two different resto shaman could have wildly different stat priorities, and neither would be necessarily incorrect.

Fortunately, the resto shaman community has some amazing tools at their disposal to evaluate and optimize your gear, glyphs, and totems. I'm going to go over how I would use these tools to evaluate a potential gear upgrade. In this case, I am deciding whether or not I should break my Tier 9 set bonus for a shoulder piece that has better stats.


  1. Get a combat log
    I suggest the mod LoggerHead, which you can set to automatically toggle logging based on your location.

    Then, pick a fight or set of fights you think represents your regular healing rotation pretty well. Obviously I'd avoid General Vezax, or any fight where you change your role. If you DPS on Hodir, for example, turn off logging for that fight.

    In this case, I logged our guild's first attempts on Heroic 10-man Northrend Beasts this past Wednesday.

  2. Download, configure, and run shaman_hep
    shaman_hep is a tool developed by an awesome guy named stassart. He's a frequent poster on ElitistJerks, and keeps up with the latest theorycrafting for resto shaman (you can PM him or give feedback in a dedicated EJ thread here). He developed this tool that parses your combat log, and based on your configuration, it spits out some important information and analysis that you can use to improve your glyph selection, talents, and gear, based on your actual playstyle. In short, it's awesomesauce.

    Unlike other WoW tools, it doesn't run as a mod in game, but it's a perl script that you run offline on your combat log. The configuration is fairly straightforward. If you have the cookie cutter resto shaman spec, you can assume that it pretty much works out of the box, you just have to put your name in the configuration (this is important because you could have several shaman in the raid, which would mess up the stat collection). You should also look through the configuration and make sure that the buffs and glyphs match your set up. If you're curious, I've uploaded the config I used here.

    After you've done that, you can run it at the command line. It will work on Windows, Mac, or even Linux.

  3. Interpreting the output
    So the output can be kind of overwhelming- I've posted the output from my Wednesday parse here- but all you care about is the stuff at the end really, so scroll down to the bottom.

    What shaman_hep does is it has taken into account every talent, glyph, certain totems, and stats and normalized them in terms of spellpower.

    So since I am evaluating a shoulder upgrade relative to a set bonus, the two important parts to me are:

    Set Bonus Report:

    Tier 9 2-piece:
    Effective: 74738 (2.81%), Total: 141278 (3.52%)
    Combat Effective: 74343 (2.84%), Total: 127720 (3.28%)
    Combat EHPS: 104.9594
    HEP: 167.8772
    Tier 9 4-piece:
    Chain Heal:
    Non-crit Effective: 346244, Count: 85
    Crit Effective: 423183, Count: 82
    Number of crits from T9 4-piece: 8
    Increased average effective per crit: 1087
    T9 4-piece Combat Effective: 9079
    Combat EHPS: 12.8179
    HPS HEP: 20.5016
    Combat extra mana: 78
    Combat MP5: 0.5538, Mana HEP: 0.6510
    HEP: 21.1526


    and

    Stat relationships:

    Shaman Healing Equivalency Points:
    1 SP = 1
    1 mp5 = 1.1755 (calculated)
    1 mana = 0.0330
    1 Haste rating = 2.2574
    1 Crit rating = 1.0384
    1 INT = 1.2802 (actual)
    1 INT = 1.1421 (max theoretical)


    To break down these, what it is saying is that 1 point of crit is worth 1.0384 spellpower based on my playstyle. You will notice that the haste value is very high. While this is probably inflated because of the fight I chose, in general it is in line with how most shaman are gearing these days (I believe most shaman are using 1.8 as a benchmark for haste).

    In comparison, the tier 9 4-piece set bonus is worth about 21.2 healing. So, if I can find a shoulder that gives me that much healing, or equivalent stats, I should break my set bonus.

  4. Plug these stats into lootrank
    shaman_hep even gives you a nice pre-made lootrank URL you can use!


    Lootrank:
    Overall:
    http://www.lootrank.com/wr.asp?Cla=64&Art=2&Max=20&Gem=4&mh=2.2574&mp5=1.1755&mcr=1.0384&spd=1&Int=1.2802&Sta=0.1000&Arm=0.0100&Sckm=86.6325&Ver=6


    Once in lootrank, I can enter my own name and server, and then I scroll down to the shoulders section to see if the shoulders I'm looking at (the non-heroic Pauldrons of the Spirit Walker) are worth more than the set bonus.



    At +16.06 points, the shoulders are not quite good enough to break my set bonus yet. Still, I'll hold on to them, and if I get maybe a leg upgrade, I will swap out my set for those.



Whew, that was a lot of text.

-Zigi

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Things I love: Illustrated Boss Strats

I dunno if it brings up awesome memories of watching Onyxia Wipe on Youtube, but I'm always tickled by illustrated boss strats. I remember in particular a series that helped my old guild get through T5/T6 content, like this one on Leotheras the Blind in SSC.

Anyway, trolling through my blogroll this morning, I came across a link to this illustrated guide to Yogg-Saron, which just so happens to be the fight that our guild is going to be working on on Monday. Something about seeing cartoon stick figures yelling at each other, rather than hearing my own guildies do it on vent, makes it suddenly more fun.

-Zigi

A year ago, I idolized him. Now I'm stealing his clothes.



Maybe it was my nostalgia post from Tuesday, but I found myself going through my old fraps'd videos on my computer, and I came across this capture I took during the WOTLK opening events. As you can see I'm in my level 70, T6 holy priest at the time; as I've annotated the video though, it was certainly Thrall's awesome moves that planted the seed that made me switch to shamanism (even I call false advertising!).

[BTW, I tried to upload the video with "The Boy is Mine" as the soundtrack and YouTube din't like. :(]

Anyway, maybe it's because he's my Shaman Idol, but I'm pretty psyched that I completed my 4-piece set bonus for Conqueror's Thrall's Garb. Woo!

For those of you who are interested, after obtaining my 4-piece set bonus, I ran shaman_hep on my logs for a Heroic NRB fight, and I got the following HEP values for my Tier 9 2-piece and 4-piece set bonus. I'll probably make a post about how shaman HEP weights work, but for posterity, here's my config and output.


Set Bonus Report:

Tier 9 2-piece:
Effective: 74738 (2.81%), Total: 141278 (3.52%)
Combat Effective: 74343 (2.84%), Total: 127720 (3.28%)
Combat EHPS: 104.9594
HEP: 167.8772

Tier 9 4-piece:
Chain Heal:
Non-crit Effective: 346244, Count: 85
Crit Effective: 423183, Count: 82
Number of crits from T9 4-piece: 8
Increased average effective per crit: 1087
T9 4-piece Combat Effective: 9079
Combat EHPS: 12.8179
HPS HEP: 20.5016
Combat extra mana: 78
Combat MP5: 0.5538, Mana HEP: 0.6510
HEP: 21.1526


As you can see, for me, the Tier 9 2-piece set bonus is amazing; the 4-piece bonus is only alright.

-Zigi

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Healing Vezax makes me nostalgic

So yeah, our guild is backwards and we did TOC before Ulduar. What of it?

Anyway, last night I healed General Vezax for the first time, and even though it was so frustrating I wanted to die, it actually gave me super flashbacks. Not to any other fight in particular, but rather to back when I was an undergeared priest stepping into Karazhan in level 65 blues.

I'm so used to pre-emptively overhealing tanks and not really having mana problems with all my nifty procs and meta gems and totems and potions. Even though Vezax is clunkily designed in terms of how it makes most healers' itemization completely wrong, it does make you think really carefully about what spells you can afford to cast, in a way I haven't thought in a long time, since those days when I was jump-casting downranked greater heals on Curator.

We didn't get Yogg down last night, but it felt so good to be able to heal people frivoulously at that point that I just didn't care.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Our Fault, Your Fault: Tier 9 Edition

One of my favorite blog posts from a longstanding member of the healing blog community, Matticus, is his run down of fights in Ulduar.  Basically he breaks down analyzing the deaths in each fight, and assigning blame to either the healers or the guy who died.  Now, this is a little simplistic and fingerpointy, but it gets the point across well, so I thought I'd do my take on it for the newer round of content, ToC and Onyxia's Lair.

Northrend Beasts
If you died to:
  • Gormok's Fire Bomb - Your fault. Move out of fires, noob.
  • Gormok's Snobold – Raid dps's fault. They're supposed to get this off you, and it should be their highest priority.
  • Gormok's Staggering Stomp - If you're melee, probably our fault; Stomp isn't that much damage and it's not tough to keep the melee topped up on this fight.
  • Acidmaw's Paralytic Toxin – Your fault, you're supposed to get to the raid member with burning bile (I know some raids do this backwards, but it is not hard to get to the burning bile target if you act as soon as you get the debuff).
  • Acidic Spew and Dreadscale's Molten Spew– Again, your fault- this damage is avoidable if you're not the tank
  • Acidmaw's and Dreadscale's Slime Pool – Probably your fault, this is like standing in fires.
  • Acidmaw's and Dreadscale's Sweep– These two are generally unavoidable, so if you die to these it's our fault.
  • Dreadscale's Burning Bile – If you are the one debuffed by Burning Bile and you die to this, it's our fault, because you can't avoid this damage.  If you die from the aoe effect from other people, it's probably your fault.  Don't group up!
  • Icehowl's Arctic Breath and Whirl- Our fault. It's healers' main job on this fight to stay spread out around him so we don't all get iced at the same time.
  • Icehowl's Trample – Your fault.

Lord Jaraxxus
If you died to:

Faction Champions
Uhhh, probably our fault.  Let's skip this one.

Twin Val'kyr
There's very little healing required on this fight if everyone is on their game.  Only two real things a non-tank could be dying from on this fight and that would be:

Anub'arak
If you died to:

Onyxia
I'm gonna make this simple and say:
And a special holiday edition:

Headless Horseman
Just kidding.  If you are a dpser dying on HH or a healer letting people die on HH this is probably not the post for you.

-Zigi

Friday, October 16, 2009

Someone set up us the blog

Another meta post about actually setting up the blog. I was trying to find a way to get one of those pretty "achievement" feeds that I see on other people's blogs. It looks like most of them are using hosted wordpress blogs with that add-on installed. I'm trying to get something together for blogger, and I feel like I'm close. As you can see on the sidebar right now I do have a shredded RSS feed from the armory that can be used however. Unfortunately it does not preserve the actual date and timestamp, so it is not really what I want. I also would eventually like to include the appropriate artwork or tooltip.

I've also found a few other bloggers on BlogAzeroth that are looking into solving the same problem, most notably Razorbax from Three Druid Noob.

Man, setting this blog up is almost as fun as actually playing WoW. Geez, I am more geeky than ever right now.

-Zigi

Knee-jerk blue reaction: Improved Reincarnation


A recent blue post on the forums revealed that they are thinking of lowering the overall cooldown on Reincarnation to 30 minutes, which means that with the talent it will go down to 15.

Quote from Blizzard staff
Reincarnation cooldown
We might drop Reincarnation to 30 base, talented to 15. That's a slight nerf to the talent, but at the same time taking the cooldown that low might make an unattractive talent more attractive. (Source)


They hope that this will make the unattractive Improved Reincarnation talent suddenly popular. Now I'm not normally one to look a gift buff in the mouth, and if they give me a 30 min CD on base Reincarnation, I'll take it and be happy, but I still don't think this makes the Improved Reincarnation a good talent, or an attractive one to Shamans. To see why, you need only look as far as the iconic healing class and my former main, the holy priest.

Prior to patch 2.0.1, holy priests would rarely spec for the Spirit of Redemption talent. Back then it merely provided the pop-up temp healer effect, and had no passive bonus other than that. Even though that pop-up healer is extremely useful and can often make the difference between a progression boss kill and a wipe, it was referred to as "Improved Death" and was avoided except for very specific gimmicky progression fights. Finally after years of being an ignored talent, Blizzard buffed the talent in 2.0.1 and gave it an awesome passive spirit bonus. The talent became a spec-defining talent in the holy tree.

The main reason no one wants to take Improved Reincarnation or pre-2.0.1 Spirit of Redemption talents is that we're healers. Healing aggro is basically a thing of the past; the only way these talents could have any use is if we die, and more often than not, that would be our own fault. Rather than spec to improve when I fail, I'd rather spend points in throughput or mana efficiency talents, to help me NOT DIE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Still, I feel like Shaman are very strong healers right now, and I'm not going anywhere. But I will be leaving that box 0/2 until they can find a way to design that talent so it doesn't just improve your fail. Cause Zigi don't fail. Zigi win.

-Zigi

PTR Testing Notes: Lord Marrowgar

Last night, the US PTR saw it's first Icecrown Citadel boss:
Lord Marrowgar.

I wanted to try him out personally, but by the time I was able to get on and get a raid together, he was bugged out and untestable. This is the information I have gleaned from MMO-Champion and videos and such:

  • There are 3 trash pulls up to the boss. They are all very easy and nothing that could really ever kill anyone unless a DPS pulls aggro.

  • The boss has 18M health on normal 25 man, which means he should have ~5M on 10 man. This is a REALLY low amount considering Ignis has 5.6M on normal.

  • He only has 4 abilities, and none of them look like anything too hard to handle.
    1. He has a cleave called Saber Lash which will hit the tank and an off tank for 300% weapon dmg (not 100% sure what he even hits for, so this isn't much information). As a result of this, the tanks should stack. This ability seems like what Halazzi or Koralon does.
    2. He will emote (not sure what the emote is as of yet), and begin to Whirlwind around the room for ~15 seconds, dealing damage and leaving a DoT on anyone he comes in contact with. This is just like what Leotheras the Blind from SSC did, and is pretty easy to avoid if everyone spreads out and melee runs out after the emote. He also drops aggro after the WW and must be taunted.
    3. He will target a random raid member and impale them and anyone within ~5 yards of them with an ability called Bone Spike Graveyard. This will become an attackable target (much like a Flash Freeze on Hodir) and must be killed by the ranged ASAP, as it will incapacitate whoever is impaled as well as deal 10% of total health every second.
    4. The last ability is Coldflame, a fire that will start at Marrowgar and head towards a random raid member, much like a Doomfire on Archimonde or Legion Flame on Lord Jaraxxas. The fire does 7000 damage every second for 3 seconds (not sure if this is a DoT it leaves, or if this only continues while standing in the fire). Also, it should be noted that 7000 dmg/sec is the 25 man number, and the 10 man will likely be lower. Basically, the targeted raid member and anyone else in the fires path should turn and run in a straight line so as to not bend the flames.



This boss looks pretty simple and doesn't seem like he'll be much of a road block. I look forward to seeing more ICC bosses and hopefully even testing them myself.
~Yigi

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Welcome to the suck

Hi, I'm Zigi, and I'm a WoW player. I spend all my time talking about WoW with Yigi anyway, so I figured we'd start putting it down in a blog for posterity!

Here are some ideas I have to start the blog off, mostly lifted from other blogs that I like.

Topics
This is just a list of the kind of topics I normally chat about with Yigi, either in-game or offline.  I figure we'll probably cover topics like:

  • Raiding
  • Economy
  • Class balance
  • Roles
  • PVP
  • Theorycrafting
  • PTR experiences
  • Alts
  • Guild building
  • Interface
Organization and Layout
To make it easier to navigate, I hope to keep tagging posts with useful labels, like the class that they pertain to, or the game version if it's a theorycrafting or PTR post. For example, this post will be tagged with "introduction" cause it's a rough introduction, and "blog" because it's about the blog itself.

Features
Features that I liked from other blogs that we should have are:
  • Wowhead mouseover links.  Does this work?   [Update: IT DOES WORK! SWEET.  All Credit goes to Arcane Blaster]

Not Yet Implemented
Things I want to put in eventually:
  • Achievement feeds for our mains
  • Sigs for our mains and our alts in the sidebar
Well, that's about it.  Next stop, content!