Tag Archives: healing

Assorted Thoughts: A Month In

We’re almost a month into Mists of Pandaria; doesn’t seem like that long, does it? We’ve tilled our farms, we’re earning our rep, we’ve stepped into some heroics or LFR or raids, and we’re starting to get a feel for this expansion.

So far, I dig it. I was never overwhelmed and blown away, but it’s like the whole expansion sneaked up behind me and surprised me with little bits of awesome. I’m enjoying the expansion as much as any other at this point, and that’s saying something, since MoP had me concerned from the get go.

Wanderer's Festival

Here’s a few thoughts from my experiences so far; how have yours differed? What’s going on so far with you, or what’s demanding your attention?

About Those Dailies…

I like dailies. I really, actually do. They’re a great way for me to get things accomplished without being chained to my computer for 30+ minutes at a time. I can stop in the middle, go hang out with my kids, answer the phone, chat with a friend, and when I come back, I’m right where I left off.

I will say that unlocking Shado-Pan and August Celestials made my head spin a little. Shado-Pan is probably my least favorite group of dailies, mostly because my Pandaren companion hasn’t learned to Shadowmeld and Swift Flight. We’re working on it, though.

Healer Rehab

In order to raid, my guild needed more healers. I’ve certainly healed here and there along the way for particular fights, but I haven’t been a dedicated healer since Burning Crusade. However, the biggest problem I’m having is one that I’m sure a lot of healers have had this expansion: healing as if the way we use mana hasn’t changed.

Even though I know exactly what I should be doing, I end up falling into old habits when the damage starts getting high, and pretty soon I’m watching the Innervate cooldown. I’m going to have to keep working on making new habits.

The good news is, I actually enjoy healing again (SHH, don’t tell anyone). It’s been long enough that it doesn’t feel like the same old, same old way it used to feel.

Plus, I’m a tree again. That alone is enough to make it worth it.

You Can Dance If You Want To

Guilds & Priorities

Right before and right after an expansion hits, it’s not unusual for a guild to go through some growing pains. Some people move out, other people move in. This time, though; it was a big deal for me. Several people I’ve raided with for years were unsatisfied with 25-mans and decided to leave to join a 10-man guild. It’s better that they did this in the long run than be unhappy, but I find that I miss them quite a bit.

It’s led me to think about what my priorities really are when it comes to raiding. Do I still care as much about 25-man content as I thought I did? I don’t know right now. Do I need the “epic” of 25-mans (bigger raids have always felt more epic to me; I know not everyone agrees) or could I be satisfied with a 10-man?

With that group went some of the people I consider my closest in-game friends, and perhaps just as importantly, the ones that took me seriously as a player and to whom my opinions mattered. I’ve discovered that particular aspect is more important to me than I realized. I’m interested to see what happens in the next month or so as we progress, and how I ultimately decide my priorities. Right now, it’s still unclear.

Raiding is still fun; that much hasn’t changed, at least!

Second Tree from the Left

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Screenshots & Reactions from MoP Beta

First off, let me point you to a couple of thoughtful posts about druid beta stuff I read this week, because this will not be one of those posts:

No, my post will be about, as the title suggests, random reactions to things I experienced in beta since it stopped crashing every two minutes. With pictures, of course.

Pandaren Starting Zone

From the Wandering Isle

Pandaren Starting Zone

Temple area from the Wandering Isle

Jade Forest

The Arboretum in the Jade Forest

The exact words that came out of my mouth when the above screenshots were taken: “Ooh, that’s pretty!”

Glyph of Stars

Astral Form using Glyph of Stars

Okay, I was all for keeping my moonkin form, but I have to admit these stars are cool. I might change my mind.  

Level 85 Mistwalker Monk

Level 85 Mistwalker Monk casting Soothing Mists

Created a premade monk for my husband to play with. Could that guy look any cooler?

Pandaren Rogue

Level 85 premade Pandaren Rogue

Pandaren Rogue about to STAB THINGS…

Pandaren Rogue in the act of STABBING THINGS.

I’m asking for a race change for my rogue when it’s my birthday. I’m not kidding. 

Pet Jounral

Pet Journal – Pet Options

Wait, what? I can rename my pets?! Meet Botty, Shivers, and Chili. 

Glyph of Stag

Druid Travel Form with Glyph of Stag…and a warlock.

This is both extremely awesome and terribly awkward. 

Tree Form Dancing

Celebratory tree form dancing, don’t mind me.

Glyph of the Treant

Tree Form Healing in Temple of the Jade Serpent

Tree Form Healing

Tree Form Healing in Temple of the Jade Serpent…again.

Tree form. Tree form. I’m a TREE. OMG, I MISSED YOU TREE FORM! I missed you so much, don’t you ever leave me again. I’m going to hug you and squeeze you and name you George! I love you, George! /flail. /squee.

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And Then I Healed: Observations of an Offspec Healer

Way back when Patch 3.1 dropped introducing dual spec (tell me you hadn’t totally forgotten that there was a time without dual spec!), I said that I was looking forward to being able to switch between Balance and Resto easily, and I flipped back and forth frequently throughout the expansion. Though I almost always dps’ed in our 25-mans during Wrath, I often healed 10-mans, ran heroics as resto, and cut my real PvP teeth in that spec.

Enter Cataclysm, and the whole idea of healing made me a little nauseas. I heard what all the healers were saying, and I knew there was going to be an adjustment. With that in mind, I just shuffled Resto out of the way for a while. The re-introduction to healing came slowly, starting with the last boss in a heroic run and progressing to Baradin Hold and then to filling in for our 25-man raids, mostly on non-progression bosses.

With our 25-man raid now broken into two groups of 10, hybrids once again earn their stripes by being able to fill multiple roles as needed; and boy, did I ever earn my hybrid stripes last night! Here are three of the things I realized last night while doing a fairly poor job of healing through Atramedes.

1) There’s something to be said for being thrust from your comfort zone. For years I knew nothing but healing in raids. When I switched to dps, it was almost like learning a whole new game: new things to understand and pay attention to and new people to impress. I wasn’t a great dpser for a while, and last night, I wasn’t a good healer. This was our second time seeing this boss, and I had previously dpsed with a different composition. Not only were we learning the fight with this new setup, I was 100% off-balance (ha! Unintentional, but I’m leaving it). The struggle to do everything I needed to do as well as I possibly could was a humbling reminder to stay on top of my game. Feeling complacent? Don’t be afraid to try a new spec or roll a character to fill a different role. I’m amazed by the things I learn by forcing myself into a completely different perspective.

2) Healers can’t always catch you when you…fail. I know from experience how easy it is to tell yourself: “It’s not that much damage; I can take it and the healers will heal me. It’s the healer’s job!” Sort of. It’s the healer’s job to keep you healed up through unavoidable damage. Of course we all make mistakes sometimes, and healers are awesome at covering our butts. But you should never assume that a healer can save you if you stand in something dangerous or do something that will put you in jeopardy. Thankfully, our group is awesome at both correcting mistakes and being honest and gracious about having made them, and no one was being intentionally negligent. Still, my hands were full enough with healing everyone through Sonic Breath and Searing Flame, and when raiders occasionally dropped the proverbial ball, there weren’t always enough hands open to catch it. The number one rule of raiding has always been: stay alive. You are just as responsible for your health as your healer is.

In this scenario, the couple is Atramedes and the thirsty dude is an AWESOME raider!

3) Healing is less predictable than dps. I should disclaimer this with: or at least it is when you’re not used to healing. I realized last night that I have a pretty firm grip on boss fights when I’m balance. After a few attempts, I know what to expect. I’m usually completely comfortable with my rotation and my normal way of doing things, so following my pattern of dps while dodging such-and-such that’s on a timer is pretty easy. I can glance at my NeedtoKnow bars and decide what my next step is at my convenience. Moonfire about to fall off? Starsurge coming off cooldown? About to hit an Eclipse? With a split second look, the little Tetris pieces in my head fall into place, and my next several steps are laid out for me, especially if you combine that familiarity with fight experience and DBM timers.

Not so with healing! I can make some reasonable predictions: The raid’s going to take a hit after Sonic Breath; the mage pinging gongs during Searing Flame is going to need a HoT. But just as often I’m not expecting random raider A to suddenly drop to 10% of his health, or random raider B to suddenly be out of range. In the past, it wasn’t uncommon for druids (or at least this druid) to keep HoTs up on at least the people who were expected to take damage, and sometimes this meant a whole group or practically the whole raid. I couldn’t possibly do that now, at least in my current gear, and expect my mana to last through the fight, so I feel like I’m reactive healing a lot more than the preemptive healing I was accustomed to. I have a much deeper respect for my healers after last night than I have lately. Thank you, healers; we love you!

We did kill him despite my shortcomings last night, and I found it refreshing to do something different. I guess the TL;DR of this would be: 1) Try something new, 2) Keep yourself alive, and 3) Appreciate your healers!

Raid well, my friends. :-)

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