Thursday, July 9, 2009

Freya + 3 Or How I Finally Learned How To Heal

Every level of content has those decisive fights that really force you to L2P. Pre-BC Patchwerk taught me how to heal dance and really make the most out of my Holy Paladin. During BC Teron Gorefiend sent me scurrying to Elitist Jerks trying to find a way to maximize my sloppy threat rotation.

This time around the honor is going to Freya + 3.

For those unfamiliar with the fight, it's the usual Freya, which isn't especially hard on healers, but with a few twists. Similar to OS3D, there are three random minibosses in the room that each have a certain twist they add to the fight. Unlike OS3D the adds do not need to be offtanked during Freya + 3.

One add brings a heavy damage AOE that silences if you're caught casting during it.
Another add brings a root that does significant damage to those that it hits.
And yet ANOTHER adds a minor nuke in the form of a pillar of light that hits people who are bunched up.

All of these adds also increase the physical and magical damage of her and her adds by 50-75%.

Needless to say, the healing output required spikes significantly and is complicated by the fact that you can't pre-cast to heal the AOE for fear of getting locked out.

For the first time ever I really felt like I was healing. I felt like every single tool on my bar was getting used. The difference between using LHW and HW was an active choice based on the situation at hand. If I didn't monitor my riptides and keep all 3 HoTs rolling at once at all times, people died. My HPS went from a paltry 2.5k to 4k not out of simple optimization, but out of necessity.

Now that I've seen what the LHW / HW + RT build can really do in the right situation, I don't think I'll ever be able to look back.

Now onto Firefighter.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I haven't touched this is a while!

The end of the school year as a teacher is a strange and magical time of exhaustion, anticpation, and bitter-sweet depression. Needless to say, it also makes raiding and keeping abreast of all that is Warcraft difficult.

So here's to that.

Now that summer is upon me, I'm revisiting this blog as an attempt to not only get back into the blogging spirit, but also to examine some of the finer points of playing a Resto Shaman in these difficult times.

Mek and Sixthy are yelling about this or that, raid spots are being stolen by those dastardly priests and druids, and the very core of our unique playstyle is being snapped up even now by paladins!

But hey, now we can drop 4 totems at once right? RIGHT!?

In all seriousness, these are very exciting times for the Resto Shaman.

To recap: the vast majority of Resto Shaman may be looking at the cries of 'Our HPS can't compete' and shaking thier head quizically. I know I was. Then I stepped into hard mode Freya (3 Guardians) and stared blankly as the holy priest I was with was pulling 5-6k HPS while I was struggling to manage 4k.

The clouds parted, the heavens poured out, and I suddenly understood what all this LHW / RT nonsense was really about.

Before, the facerolling wonder of Chain Heal, which got us through BC raiding with top marks, was all there was to playing a Resto Shaman. This attitude and muscle memory rolled right into WotLK raiding. Chain Heal held it's own in Naxxramas and, depending on your experience, OS + 3D. What's made all this so difficult for so many Resto Shaman is how stark a shift it's been from hitting Chain Heal over and over again to spot healing with hasted Lesser Healing Waves and Riptide. But this is the future.

In patch 3.2 significant changes are landing to two of our most useful talents when it comes to this style of healing: Tidal Waves and Improved Water Shield.

IWS is turning into a strange new version of Illumination, as no longer do procs consume WS bubbles.

Tidal Waves is also changing, replacing the haste buff on LHW with a 25% crit buff. This means no more .9 sec LHWs, but this means a few excititng things:

1) More Ancestral Awakening procs
2) Better uptime on Ancestral Healing (also changed to a flat 10% physical damage reduction)
3) More IWS procs

The current talk on the street is that, with these changes, we might be shifting to a primary tank healing role, especially considering the fact that Beacon of Light will start being affected by total and not just effective healing in 3.2.

These are exciting times. Let's all roll with the changes as best we can. Over the next few days I'm going to be posting guides to various difficult encounters in a variety of raids, especially Ulduar hard modes.

Let the totems roll.