Tag Archives: resto

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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Maybe I Could Like Mists of Pandaria…

I’m reading through WoW Insider this morning catching up on all the newly released Mists News, and I picked out some of the things that stood out to me. All of the quotes and information I’m getting come from WoW Insider’s coverage of Mists, so you should check out the whole thing (it’s a lot!).

The Tillers are hardworking, salt-of-the-earth types who provide the rest of the pandaren with their food, but they’re too busy to take care of some local problems, like the virmen. Help them out and you can become a Tiller too, complete with your own plot of land. Yes, you heard right — your very own farm.

 When I was leveling in Westfall, someone mentioned “farming.” At that time, I asked my husband how I could get a farm, and he laughed. Well, they’re 6 years late, but I CAN GET MY FREAKING FARM!

Wait, did I just say beer elementals? Yes. In fact, they’re called “alementals.” This should give you a pretty good idea of the more light-hearted feel of this zone. While it’s not necessarily true that you won’t run into more serious threats in the Valley of the Four Winds, as a Blizzard rep said, “I’ve saved the world a bunch of times. I’m OK with saving the beer right now.”

That last quote, FTW.

While the art was not completed for the press preview, the developers did reveal that the reward for collecting all of the gold medals was a unique mount styled after the qilin from real world mythology.

I love mounts, I like achievements, and I like being challenged. Bring on challenge modes, I say.

The artifact sits in the center of the map. Whoever claims the artifact must hold onto it as long as possible — a difficult task, since not only is the opposing team trying to kill you and recover the artifact for themselves, but the artifact also causes a constantly increasing amount of damage over time to its bearer. The longer you hold it, the more dangerous holding it becomes. Once the bearer of the artifact dies, it falls to the floor and another player of either faction may pick it up.

 [...]

 The Silvershard Mine uses the Payload ruleset from Team Fortress 2. Players must escort a cart of resources from one end of the map to the other as quickly as possible. The cart only progresses forward when its owners are standing near it. The opposing team must stall the cart’s progress as much as possible to prevent a timely capture.

This is AWESOME. I can’t wait to get into these battlegrounds. I love new objective mechanics. I’m a dork like that. I hated Isle of Conquest, though; these sound much better.

To respec, you no longer return to your class trainer and pay a lump sum of gold. You swap out talents exactly the same way you do with glyphs right now. You purchase an item, spend that item to clear a tier of talents, then pick the new one. If you only want to change your level 45 talent, then you only change your level 45 talent. Forgetting one does not cause you to forget them all.

Regardless of how I feel about the new talents (and I’m still meh on them right now), being able to change just one point without going to a trainer is a huge quality of life change. Yes, I realize this wouldn’t be possible in our current talent system. NO, I DON’T CARE. /QQ.

…the appearance options are broken down differently. You choose a category (such as Hair), and then that category expands into a full-sized bar on the screen. That bar is filled with thumbnails displaying the various options.

 [...]

 Additionally, in the bottom right-hand side of the screen, there is a small gameplay video for your chosen class so you can see a little bit of how the game plays in action before you settle on it.

I like this a lot. The character customization process has needed a little love. Not that I’ll find time to make more characters…or will I?

Chris Metzen kicked off the Mists of Pandaria press event by explaining the tone and narrative goals of the expansion. Players have voiced concern because Mists of Pandaria does not have a clear, global threat in the vein of the Lich King or Deathwing.

 [...]

 Mists of Pandaria itself, the game that comes in the box, will be a full, contained story. The entire arc of Mists of Pandaria will be there when you install the game, before any content patches at all. The content patches will be treated as sequels to that story.

 [...]

 While the steps taking us there are still unknown, Metzen did reveal that the war waged in those patches will reach a massive conclusion: We will lay siege to Orgrimmar to remove the mantle of warchief from Garrosh Hellscream’s shoulders.

This was one of my chief concerns when they announced the expansion, so I’m glad to see it addressed straight out. I like the idea of having a complete story and then adding to it. And who doesn’t want to go overthrow Garrosh? I’m down.

…you will be getting an 11th character slot for your monk.

While I’m very glad I will be able to roll a monk without deleting anything I currently have, I’m a little disappointed. They had talked about doing a 50 character limit but not limiting it per server. I’d like to see that, or a much larger server cap, like 15 or 20. I’ve played on the same server for 6 years. I know people there, I’m not currently keen to roll elsewhere.

This is now what will make me roll my Pandaren. I only play female characters (I can’t get used to the way male characters walk. Sorry, guys. I still like you and all, you just walk funny), and I am THRILLED with this model. I can’t wait to create mine now.

I didn’t spend a lot of time actually playing a druid, but I did hear a bit of interesting news while I was playing other classes, so I hopped onto my premade druid to find out for myself. I was able to confirm that, yes, there are some minor glyphs druids are going to absolutely adore. Here they are:

  • Glyph of Stars: Transforms your Moonkin Form into Astral Form. This glyph essentially makes your character appear as a spirit instead of a moonkin. You look very nearly like you do while dead — but people can see you this time. And your armor, for that matter.
  • Glyph of the Orca: Transforms your Aquatic Form into an orca. This one is pretty straightforward. Remember those orcas in Northrend? Yeah. Much better than your weird snarling rubbery seal.
  • Glyph of the Chameleon: Gives you a random appearance when you shift into Bear or Cat Form. Essentially, this one gives you a random coloring every time you shift. Great for breaking up the monotony of locked-in bear/cat coloring.
  • Glyph of the Stag: Transforms your Travel Form into a stag that other players can mount. Yes, that’s right. Your pals can ride you while you’re in Travel Form, and you’re also a stag instead of the clearly-inferior cheetah.
  • Glyph of the Tree: Lets you transform into Treant Form.

 So these basically own, right?

Breaking this down one by one:

    • Glyph of Stars: I actually like my moonkin form, but I understand why those who don’t would love this. And who knows, the option of switching back and forth might appeal to me. It’s an option, and since they’re minor, it’s not like we have anything better to stick there. Might as well have something fun.
    • Glyph of the Orca: YES. Yes, yes, yes, yes. I love that.
    • Glyph of the Chameleon: Also yes. I will absolutely get this if I end up going feral, which is actually on the table right now.
    • Glyph of the Stag: HOLY CRAP. Putting aside all the “mount” jokes, this is ridiculously awesome. Yes, Michael Sacco, this basically owns.
    • Glyph of the Tree: Like permanently? I can go back to my favorite tree form for good? I CAN SINGLE-HANDEDLY BRING THE TWIST BACK TO MY GUILD?!!! Sign me up. Done. Sold. I like the aesthetic of the new tree form, I really do, but my in-game identity was that treant form for 3 years. I miss it.
Other tidbits: I’m looking forward to pet battles. I don’t care if you think they’re childish. I played Bejeweled when it was an in-game addon (anyone remember that?).  I think it’s going to be a blast.

The new zones look and sound cool. I’m eager to try them out.

Have I warmed up to Mists? I think I have. I’m not on the edge of my seat like I was for Wrath and Cata, but yeah, I’m ready to see what it’s all about.

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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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A Different Point of View: Learning by Switching Roles

Your life? No! Mine!

This is something that’s been on my mind a bit for the past several weeks. I’ve been leveling my warlock and I have been using the random dungeon finder between quests. Especially in the lower dungeons, I found quite a few of the healers were losing gobs of mana healing me. Why? Because they didn’t know that I could use Drain Life to get back my health from my Life Tap and were healing me as if I were seconds from dying every time I tapped.

This made me wonder how much I didn’t know on my druid before I switched roles and went from healing to dps. This led to a discussion with a guildy who agreed that the more you understand each class and role, the better you become as a player.

It’s exactly what happened to me. I realize that now, when I was healing, I had a limited view of what else was going on in the raid. I knew who was tanking, I knew when they needed to be healed the most, I knew where to stand and where not to stand, and that about covers it. I rolled my eyes when my husband would pound the desk in frustration because he didn’t get healed, and I’d laugh when he’d gripe about not being able to overtake our dps warrior in damage.

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