Proving Grounds

1 08 2013

So here are some videos I recorded showing the proving grounds and discussing changes to the Resto Druid spec. Enjoy.

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Die, Tortos!

11 06 2013

So I haven’t really given any updates about my raiding experience lately, so I thought I’d start with my guild’s most recent big news: we downed Tortos!

This may not seem like big news to everyone, but it’s huge for us. My guild is casual progression, so to say that we wipe a few times learning a boss is an understatement. In fact, funny story about that: Phoenix whispered me during a boss attempt and, when we wiped, DBM reported to him that I died and we wiped….”DOH! Dude, 50 wipes? Seriously?” But, we are resilient. We scrape each other off the cave floor, recover, and pull again.

Long story short, we did manage to down Tortos. Turtle shells were flying everywhere, bats everywhere, falling rocks where? Everywhere. Did I mention that I am the designated turtle shell kicker? Apparently Druids are bosses for healing and kicking shells. Who knew? For anyone looking to do this themselves, Symbiosis on a Shaman gives your Spiritwalker’s Grace and is just kick-butt for Tranquility on that fight.

In addition to downing the boss, we got the One-Up achievement. http://www.wowhead.com/achievement=8077#comments

By the end of the fight there are turtles all over the freakin’ place, so I guess it’s not too much of a feat to get, but it still felt good to say, “Hey! I kicked that shell.” Hopefully we’ll down him next week with little trouble. My guild’s style is to wipe on a boss so much that, once we kill the boss, we never wipe on it again. At least, that’s the only logic I can see to it.

We did go on and get a few attempts on Magaera; we got her down to three more head cycles. Even with sloppy stacking and uncoordinated healing cooldowns it isn’t too hard to get far into the fight. The success of the fight depends on everyone having everything ready to go for those final three heads. At least, that’s what I gleaned from it. I’ll let you know more after we kill him.

So how about you guys? Have you downed Tortos yet? Or are you ROFLstomping my guild and already have Lei Shen down? Let me know in the comments below.





Day 04 – Your best WoW memory

25 04 2013

Continuing with the blogging outline, we’re up to a discussion of memories in Wow; more accurately, my best WoW memory.  This one is tough.  I’ve been playing for 4 years or so and have played with many awesome players.  To try to single out any one memory seems to lessen the others.

However, in the interest of not writing a book in a single post, I’ve reached into the memory hat and retrieved my guild’s Deathwing kill.

Where to even begin on that one…We had been working on Deathwing for a few weeks and having trouble.  Damage was unexpectedly high in areas, DPS was having trouble burning different targets within mechanic timeframes, and generally we were slow learning the fight.

On the particular night we managed to down him, we were all beginning to get frustrated.  We had had several close attempts but simply weren’t making it.  To assist healers with mana on the final pull, I had planned to get some Potions of Concentration from the guild bank….yeah, I forgot.  Our shaman healer (we were 3-healing the fight, it was not Thelon on this night) disconnected 5 seconds after the pull and did not get reconnected until we were about to switch platforms.

Once at the next platform, the shaman found out he couldn’t click any targets; turns out he had a UI error and had to reload.  Talk about being riddled with bugs.

Improper stacking on the fourth platform, lost a tank to the impales, lost the tank again to adds on the final platform….it was a nasty pull and by all means should have been a wipe.  Somehow, though, we managed to get the kill.  Don’t believe me?  Here, I has video evidence.  Enjoy.





How to Be A Good Healing Team Member

23 04 2013

I read a lot of blogs and discussions within the Druid community and even some outside the Druid realm.  Everyone is discussing the solo aspect of healing and how to maximize yourself, your healing, and your value to your raid.  Of course, this is always important, and whether you are looking to join a guild and need to show your stuff or you’re already in a guild and need to squeeze every last HP out of your mana bar, you should always be pushing yourself to improve.

What I have rarely seen, though, is a discussion on how to heal effectively with others.  How does one intermingle with other classes, even other Druids, and be able to heal at their peak while assisting others max out their potential?

“Comon, Goose, this is easy stuff we’re talking about.”

Ok, maybe to the more experienced of us or those who have been healing with the same group for years this is old stuff, but these are things I learned the hard way due to rapid guild changes.

First off, I cannot emphasize enough the fact that you are part of a team when it comes to healing.  Whether you 2 heal fights or, like me, 3 heal them, you are but a gear in the machine.  Now, obviously if you’ve got content on farm, outgear the fight, and choose to carry another healer through to help gear them, that’s another story altogether.  I’m talking about your normal raiding group.

Consider my current healing team:  Restoration Druid (Me), Restoration Shaman (Thelon/Cainon), and whatever other healer joins us for the week.  We are currently shifting regularly between a Holy Paladin and a Holy Priest, depending on who’s available that night.

Now, first off I’ve been healing with Thelon since Dragon Soul when he was healing on his Holy Paladin Cainon.  He is familiar with my healing style, my reaction speeds, and my humor.  Humor may seem like it doesn’t fit in right in this topic, but the ability to get along with your co-healers in and out of raid can greatly increase your Symbiosis once in raid.  Heheh, ya see what I did there?  ….right

At the same time, I am well aware of the same aspects of him.  I know that if something happens and I am not in range to handle it, he will already be on it, and the same goes the other way around.  Sometimes one of us gets occupied taking care of something that detracts from our healing; all we have to do is say “It’s all you” and the situation is understood.

Which brings me to another point of healing in a team: Trust.

“Well of course I trust my co-healers, Goose.”

Do you?  Seriously, do you?  Consider times when the raid is split and the two healers have to heal their own half of the raid.  Forget the abstract example, consider Elegon (for those of you who have seen it on Normal mode).  In 10-man (my raiding environment), the fight has to be 2 healed.  During Phase 2, the raid has to split to deal with the orbs and then burn down the pillars.  When you run off with your half of the raid and your co-healer runs off with the other half, do you trust them to be able to hold up their end?  I don’t mean saying it’s their responsibility; I’m talking about do you watch the health bars of their group and start to worry when the bars drop below half?  Now we’re getting somewhere.

Mind you, Elegon is manageable once proper gear is acquired, but during progression on a boss like this, the stress is certainly there.  On any fight where groups are divided for mechanics, don’t be afraid to let some of your AoEs or even single target HoTs find their way to the other healer’s group so long as it does not detract from your own group and mana is not a concern.  During our attempts leading up our Elegon kill, I would spread a Rejuvination or two into the other side of the raid; when the raid collapsed onto Elegon for each set of orbs, I would cast Wild Growth on myself  as I stood as close to center of the raid as I could, allowing it to spread among the two groups.  Now, this was not because I didn’t trust my co-healer (of all the healers I have ever met, I trust him the most), it was a quality of life thing, helping to lessen the impact of the orbs when the exploded as DPS killed them.

Know the abilities of your co-healers or, more accurately, know their limits.  I don’t know all the spells of a Restoration Shaman, but I’ve been healing with one long enough to know the main stuff and to know what he can pull off on his own and what he will need help with.  The same goes for him about my own abilities, albeit he has an 85 Druid of his own.  Know the major Cool Downs of your co-healers.  Mana Tide Totem?  Healing Stream Totem?  Divine Hymn?  Spirit Shell?  Hymn of Hope?  Aura Mastery?  Devotion Aura?  Revival?  Do you know what each of these do?  Read up on them; this isn’t a post where I will review the details of each.  I don’t mean know the ins and outs of the classes you’re healing alongside, but you should be aware that Healing Stream Totem is simply placed and not channeled.  Hymn of Hope and Divine Hymn are both channeled, but only Divine Hymn is a healing spell and only Holy Priests have it.  Hymn of Hope can be cast by any priest and can be a life saver if cast by a Shadow Priest.

Communication, communication, communication.  I cannot stress enough the importance of healer chatter.  My guild’s third raid group, my second raid group, only allows the raid leader, tanks, and healers to talk during boss fights.  Communication is key.  But sometimes there isn’t enough time in a boss fight to chatter everything that needs to be said.  If others are talking in vent before a pull and you need to relay a message, whisper your co-healer.  Many a boss fight has been saved by a pre-boss message or even a whisper half-way through the fight…not that I recommend typing when you’re suppose to be healing…

Spend time outside of raid talking with your co-healers in a more casual environment.  Ask them what their spells do, what their class strengths and weaknesses are, what their “OH CRAP!” button is.  Knowing what tools the other guys have will help you to use yours more effectively.  Did you know that Shamans increase the health of the player they’re healing?  Did you know that Discipline Priests priests put a buff on players by healing them that allows future heals to heal for more?  It’s called Grace, read up on it.  Oh, and Grace doesn’t affect Atonement.

Over time you and your co-healers should begin to work more in sync, and what I have outlined above can help to greatly increase the synergy.  You’ll get to the point that a single phrase can communicate the next 30 seconds of the fight.  No, I’m not talking about “Initiate Plan Delta Alpha Tango!”  I know that my Shaman co-healer will drop his Mana Tide Totem once all the healers have burned through a set amount of mana.  The problem with this can be that my Innervate and his Mana Tide Totem don’t stack, effectively wasting my CD.  My healing addon lets me track the mana of party members; if I’m planning to use my Innervate and the other two are starting to approach the point that he’s going to use his Totem, all I have to say is “Hold on to that Mana Tide Totem.”  Just from that, he knows that I’m aware of the other two closing in on the need for mana, that I’m lower on mana than they are, and that I want to utilize my Innervate before he uses his Totem.  Sometimes he drops it shortly after my Innervate drops off, other times he doesn’t end up using it because raid damage has slowed and our mana bars are refilling passively.

The trick to the example above is that you have to also be aware of the other healers and their mana burn rates.  Sure, you want to be able to use your Innervate as much as possible, but by telling a Shaman to hold off on his Totem, are you jepardizing him and the other healer later in the fight?  You must be aware of these things.

Finally, practice.  LFR is a terrible place to practice working together; don’t even bother with it.  Every time your raid wipes you should be chatting, working together to determine what you could have done as healers to keep the raid up just a little bit longer.  Sometimes it’s a mechanic that one-shots the raid because someone screwed up.  Other times you and your healers are sucking wind for mana at the end of a fight; were you guys playing around at the beginning trying to outheal each other?

All things in time.  Take what I’ve said here and think about it and, as always, leave your thoughts in the comments below.





Day 03 – Your first day playing WoW

23 04 2013

So already I’m falling behind on this blog assignment, but I have a good reason, I swear…..I’m now on two raid teams.  Of course my Druid is still my main, but I’ve started tanking for our “third” raid team on my Paladin.  Anyway, on to today’s topic.

 

My first day of WoW is a bit fuzzy.  I remember hanging at my friend’s house who had given me the Recruit-A-Friend invite.  Installing and updating seemed to take forever.  At the time I had only bought Vanilla and BC, stating that I would purchase Wrath later on if I needed the expansion.  Maybe I’d be content with just BC.  Oh, how naive I was…

The opening cenematic was awe-inspiring; I especially enjoyed the opening to the Night Elf race.  My friend and I had already decided that I would play a Druid based on my desire to play support as well as get up in the bad guys’ faces when needed.  I had no clue about the roles in the game and how exclusive they are once specced.  I was used to playing a few FPSs where I could go Sniper but still carry a pistol for close range stuff.  I am grateful that my friend let me learn a lot of the role related stuff once in-game; it may have overloaded me with everything else there was to learn.

We moved through the opening quests in no time and arrived at Darkshore.  Allow me to go ahead and say that Darkshore is perhaps my favorite place in Azeroth…well, used to be, before Deathwing had to come through and smash its face in.  I used to hang out in the woods on a little hill next to a waterfall and listen to the spooky sounds with the music on low.  Damn you, Deathwing.

I specifically remember dancing on the desk of the Dolanar inn.  We spent several minutes timing the lag so that our characters, both Night Elf Druids, would dance in sync.  A few other lowbies stopped and clapped before continuing on their way.  It was a simple thing, but it amused me to no end.

After that, the rest is history.  It took me nearly a year to level my Druid to 80.  I leveled primarily by healing dungeons, though I did do quite a bit of questing in Ungoro Crater.  Once max level my friend, another buddy, and myself formed our own three man guild called the “Wings of Fate.”  If you haven’t started guessing yet, Rhevyn/Raven was the friend that got me into WoW and Pheonix is the other friend in the guild.  “Wings of Fate” you ask?  Consider this:  Raven, Pheonix, Goose.  ‘Nough said.





Day 02 – Why You Decided to Start A Blog

11 04 2013

That’s a loaded question, there.  I read blogs a lot when I was leveling my Druid to find resources for learning my class.  Once maximum level and gearing up, I had my main blogs locked down and read their thoughts on the class and how they were working everything.  You would not believe the effort that goes into research so you know the ins and outs of your class and role.  Sure, anyone can heal, and a lot of people can heal good, but your best healers take the time to research what others are doing and get involved with that process.

I guess it was the getting involved part that lead me to start this site.  Sure, there were plenty of blogs out there, but I wanted, and still want, to be involved more with the core group of Druids, not just another one on the sidelines copying everyone else.  Not that everything I did and do are straight out of a guide, but I take everything I read with me and work it into my style.  I wanted the opportunity to give back, to be one of the guys relaying the important stuff about our class, and to put my own style into it.

So for I don’t seem to have been very successful in this blog or its goals.  I get tied up in stuff outside of my computer monitor and weeks will go by before I remember that I have a blog.  This stems from my own lack of journal keeping skills and that I haven’t formed the habit of putting thoughts onto paper..er…pixels.  But, every post is a step in the right direction.

 

What about you?  If you’re reading this and have a blog of your own, what made you start?  For those that don’t blog, have you considered starting?





Welcome Back

9 04 2013

So, the Mists have risen.  Oh, alright, they lifted months ago and I never came back to talk about it.  I’m sorry for that, truly.  I wanted this blog to be something of a resource for other druids to read and peruse like I did on other blogs when I was leveling my druid.  In fact, I still peruse quite a few.  However, visitation has been low with less than energetic feedback.  It’s discouraging to write with the intent that others will read only to find that consistently your material is read by only 1 or 2 people.

So, that coupled with all the new stuff to do in Mists have been keeping me very busy.  In addition, I bought my first home back in October.  My last post was back in September, and I was only looking at the time.  So much going on.

An update on my end: my guild, SummuS, progressed mediocrely through 5.1.  We went 4/6 consistently in MSV, though we did get Elegon down toward the end.  I think we got Will of the Emporer down just prior to 5.2.  In HoF, we progressed to 3/6; Geralon was a bitch.  We never stepped foot into Terrace.

5.1 was an interesting time for Druids, specifically Resto druids.  I like to think I’m fairly well-liked in my guild; others will say differently.  That said, I spent the majority of 5.1 sucking wind for mana, gorging on Spirit food, addicted to Spirit flasks, keeping Innervate on cooldown, crying for Mana Tide Totems from my 2 Shaman co-healers, and always checking my supply of mana pots.  While very few of my guildies said much, I always felt like they looked at me with a sympathetic, almost pitiful, eye.  I had gone from one of the most powerful healers in my guild to someone that could do only half of what the other tw were doing in the new raid.  Hero to bitch, just like that.

Part of the problem there was that I spent the first month and a half tanking MSV, so I got a ways behind the other healers in terms of gear.  Additionally, I was up in the air as to which role I would ultimately perform this expansion, so I tried to maintain two separate sets of gear.  It can be done, but only one can be your “main” set.  When we did finally get another tank, I was already behind the curve.  Fortunately, later on in the tier I was able to get mana regen to the point that I could keep up with the others.  In fact, depending on the fight, I could even come out ahead.

Disclaimer:  Healing meters do not tell the whole store, as any healer will tell you.

Resto Druids were in a boat much like the beginning of Cata.  Our mana regen sucked.  We are HoT based, so our heals take time to work.  During the time our HoTs are working, other healers sniped the heals out from under us.  Raid damage is becoming large raid-wide hits that occur periodically instead of consistent low damage.  We could heal, but all the other healers (save for Disc priests, the Light bless their souls) could heal better. 

Time were dark; our branches sagged, our leaves dried out, our roots left without soil and water.

Again, much like Cata, we made our return to the frontlines once our mana regen reached a point that we could spam our main shit, Rejuvination.  Back in Cata, specifically DS, I had to TRY to run out of mana, and because of it I was always top of the healers.

Enter Throne of Thunder.  Dat trash….just wow.  Let’s not talk about them, let’s talk about the first boss.

I’m enjoying the first boss immensely.  Consistent damage in predictable phases, yet the stuff can still hit the fan is someone doesn’t follow the mechanics properly.  Stack phases with heavy damage, crazy damage, cool down blowing damage.  Lucy!  I’m Home!

So far this tier I’ve been doing well.  I’m consistently holding between 60-70k HPS, depending on the fight.  Excuse me, other healers of Azeroth, this Druid’s comin’ through.  I’m telling ya, if you ever need an ego boost, go into LFR (I’m talking to healers) and whoop some butt.  Yes, I know that LFR isn’t a place to learn to heal well, and I’ve written about that in the past.  However, it will let you see just how much output you can reach and the limits of your mana.  These days I’m doing as much as 200% the healing that other healers do in LFR; this means they’re doing 50% of the healing I’m doing.

Am I bragging?  In the words of Captain Picard, “Ya damn right.”  Seriously, try it sometime.  Go in there and blow all your cooldowns, mop the floor with the others….or get mopped, depending on which side of the coin you’re on.





Into the Mists

26 09 2012

Greetings, all.  Been a while since my last post.  Still planning on getting around to that Bear guide.   The Inconspicuous Bear has a very good write up in the mean time.

Oustide of that, work has been crazy over the past month, I’m working on buying my first house (Huzzah!), got a lot of work to do to the house I’ve been living in to get it ready for the next person, and I’ll be losing a week out of my work schedule next month due to a business trip I’ll be making to Connecticut.  Absolute nuts over here, but we’ll survive.

In today’s news, the Mists of Pandaria have risen and a whole new continent has come to light.  What were you guys up to for the first two days?  I’ve been slowly making my way through the quest lines, doing my best to read at least the cliff notes on the quests so I understand what’s going on.  Have I ever mentioned that I hate questing?

The opening quests were great IMHO.  I loved the cinematics, how my character was involved in parts, and the revelation of the Horde fleet.  Follow that up with some strafing runs with the gyrocopter (ROFLcopter ROFLcopter), and the chance to perform a HALO jump off the airship.  Nicely done.

I was concerned about how Blizzard would handle raids and the Alliance/Horde war in a land that did not wish to have a war, but I understood once I completed the quests with the fish-faces involving the retelling of how the Alliance squad got beat up.  Turns out the Horde have been allying themselves with the Hozan and there are already cultural divides existing in Pandaria.  Having not started playing a Pandaran yet, I haven’t come to see how the pandas are able to choose between the two factions.  A task for another day, perhaps.

And Poke`mon battles!  Er…battle pets…right.  This in itself has been a serious distraction from what I really need to be doing.  Leveling and working on professions need to be my focus, but who can resist running around smacking critters with my own critters.  I’ll never forget when my Guild Master was on vent with me and I mentioned that I was tearing up the low level critters.  “You mean I’m NOT suppose to be battling these level 23 pets out here?”

….”No, Tres, those pets are just you.  Have fun…”

Oh, and in-game battle NPCs to go up against?  Crazy.  Feel like I’m back on my GameBoy Pocket when I picked up Charmander for the first time.

So how about you?  What’s been keeping you busy these past days?  Have battle pets captured your attention, or are you able to put them aside for the next couple of weeks in lue of getting your character raid ready.

As always, leave your thoughts below.





New Arrival

29 08 2012

Thankyou Goose, for the warm welcome.

         Allow me to introduce myself.  On WoW I go by the name Phoenix.  As Goose previously stated, I’ve been playing the game now with him for the past couple of years and I’ve been a real life friend of his even longer than that.  Over the years, we’ve had a lot of great moments and a lot of moments of total fail as we went along through our instances and quests.  Prior to Goose joining the community, I started out as a Druid on the realm of Sen’jin back in February of 2008, so I never got the chance to do the content of Vanilla and BC in their prime years.  Since my start, I’ve gone all over the place from Maelstrom to Horde on Kul Tiras and Daggerspine along with Cenarion Circle where Goose started out and once gain back to Alliance on Sen’jin. 

          If I recall correctly, I started leveling a Discipline Priest around when Goose was leveling his first character being his Druid.  He was a bit surprised to see I put the money together to transfer my Priest to his server.  At that point the Priest kind of grew on me and I noticed myself playing that character a lot more than my Druid, so starting in Cataclysm I more or less put my Druid up on a shelf for a bit.  I must say, that was a deadly combination of healers back in the day between Goose and myself.  I still laugh every time I think about our raid leader calling him and telling him to get his tank healer back in the raid group.  It was funny, because we also had the lowest gear scores in the entire raid, by most considered too low to even enter ICC. 

            Since then I’ve broadened my knowledge to include Paladins, Shamans, Death knights and I’ve got a Rogue at about level 67.  That said, my primary area of expertise mostly revolves around Druids and Priests.  As we draw closer to the expansion I’ve debated more and more which character I should level first.  The vote goes between my Paladin, Priest, and Druid, all of which I’m quite fond of.  I haven’t had a lot of time lately between work and college courses to play, but I hope to get a feel for the changes with each class before the expansion actually drops. When I finally do, I’ll continue to put my perspective of each class I play up on the blog.  I’m sure Goose and I will have conversations and get feedback from each other as we go along.  But until my next update, thanks for the welcome.  Happy blogging.

Phoenix





Bring On The Phoenix!

28 08 2012

Ok, on a more serious note, I’ve decided to bring on a buddy of mine to help write stuff for the blog. Not only is it boring, I’m sure, the read through just my own rantings, I’m hoping to bring in perspectives on other classes.

Phoenix is a long-time friend of mine outside of WoW. We have leveled and raided together in the past, and at one point even lead up a guild together. He also has a druid, so I’m interested to see what all he will have to say about some of the new changes coming. On top of his druid, he has several other max-level characters and will hopefully be able to offer some insight into those classes. Among his other characters is a Discipline Priest, which should prove to be a compliment to my own Holy Priest that is currently sitting at level 79. I hope to have her maxed out in the next week or two and then begin writing about her more.

So everyone give Phoenix a warm welcome.








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