Lei Shen Is Dead (Video Included)

19 08 2013

Two words: Hell, yeah.

So after progressing through Durumu and killing Primoridius and Dark Animus for 2 weeks, my raid team starting extending our lockout. We agreed we would hold the lockout until Lei Shen died. Well, folks, 2 weeks later, he’s dead.

Allow me to send a major shoutout to my raid:

Trespando – Paladin, Tank
Beernaked – Druid, Tank
Killercroc – Warrior, DPS
Kateara – Rogue, DPS
Ivarrikka – Monk, DPS
Valente – Priest, DPS
Flashbolt – Priest, DPS
Thelon – Shaman, Healer
Zekwu – Monk, Healer
Gooseigaly – Druid, Healer

It was an absolute privilege to be able to raid with you guys and I look forward to 5.4.

For those wondering, I still have Iron Quan and Twin Consorts to upload.

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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.





Solid Progression

29 06 2013

Continuing on last week’s progression, my raid team walked into ToT last night and 1-shot the first 3 bosses. Tortos took a few attempts; I think we were starting to get too comfortable with ourselves. We moved on to Magaera but had approached our 2 hour raid time and I think we were starting to wear out. The intent is to go in tonight and down Magaera and Ji-kun, followed by progression on Durumu and Primordius. Finally, things seem to be going well.

Oh, and I finally got to replace my 502 bracers. Now if only I could get some replacement shoulders for my 486s…

So when we first downed Tortos I did not have the footage for proof. Here you are, folks. I’ve uploaded this for your enjoyment and as a preparation measure for other healers in my guild who will have to do the turtle kicking.

I also recorded our Jin’rokh, Horridon, and Council kills. I have them converting now and will upload them after raid tonight.





Patch 5.4 Proving Grounds

27 06 2013

Currently, very little is known about one of the newest features, the Proving Grounds. What we do know is that the Proving Grounds will be based on role: Healer, DPS, Tank. Each will feature different difficulties: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Endless, if I remember correctly. For now I will be talking about the healing mode; I do tank on my Paladin these days, but I am not skilled enough as a tank to discuss a tanking mode with any confidence.

So, what is the healing mode? Right now we are not entirely sure. I would assume that you will be placed in a group 10 or 25 NPCs that are fulfilling the tank, DPS, and other healer spots in the raid group. In my mind I envision having to heal the groups through raid-like fights, having to deal with mechanics specifically relevant to your role, and having to heal the NPCs through mechanics relevant to their roles.

What I do not imagine coming to Live servers is a Proving Grounds that is stricly about throughput, although it would be nice if there were a mode with Training Dummies who health are all at 1% and we can test different styles of maximizing throughput vs. mana efficiency. We will likely see encounters that require us to step out of our comfort zones, especially as we up the difficulty.

One of the biggest questions being tossed around right now is whether or not this can be used as a teaching/learning tool. I currently have mixed thoughts about the answer to this question. Will this feature allow new healers to learn their spells and which spells are best used under which situations? Certainly. Will this feature give new healers a feel for what real raids and groups are going to be like? Unlikely.

First off, NPCs are programmed to do certain things and, regardless of how random we may want them to act, there is only so much randomness that can be inserted into an NPC. In the end, we can expect them to follow the mechanics properly and to be where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there. In a real raid/group environment you may have someone experience lag or forget that they are suppose to stack and thus are late getting to the stack party. As a healer you are expected to heal that person through the mistake.

Second, I imagine that I will care less about losing an NPC DPS, or even the entire NPC group, than I do allowing one of my fellow raiders to die. When I am in raid and allow someone to die I feel a pang of guilt; when the entire raid dies because of something I messed up, I feel terrible. When I watch their health bars fall lower and lower and my cohealers and I are blowing every CD in the book trying to pull the group through I feel a sense of urgency, anxiety, I’m pumped with adrenaline. While I’m sure that I will try very hard to keep a raid of NPCs alive and will get nervous if I approach failing, the nerves will be more related to the fact that I want to succeed as opposed to I don’t want my raid to fail.

I dunno. What are your thoughts on the topic? Do you think it will help you learn your class better? Will you use the scoring mode to compete against your co-healers? As always, leave your thoughts and comments in the comments below.





What Happened to the Raid Team I Knew?

24 06 2013

I’m serious. I ran with my normal group Friday night and swore I had stepped into the wrong raid group. We blew through the first 4 bosses inside of two hours. We usually spend two nights working to get that far. And then, on top of that big bowl of ice cream, we threw a cherry on top as we downed Magaera in 4 attempts, Ji-Kun in 3, and got a few solid attempts on Durumu. I was so proud of our raid team those two nights.

(Best watched in 1080p for all it’s shining glory)

So a few thoughts on Magaera.

First, the fight really isn’t that hard if everyone keeps their heads on straight and follow the plan. Stack when you’re supposed to stack, spread out when you’re not stacking. Stay out of green crap on the ground, it will very nearly one-shot you.

Second, when we first started our attempts we had 3 stack points for the various Rampages. I liked this when we first started out, but our raid team had problems with dropping junk on the stack points. Ranged DPS like to stand on the next stack point, so when the ice came out, it was on the stack point. Couple that with tired raiders and a general lack of common sense on our first night attempting Magaera (last week), people died. So when we went back in Saturday night, our raid leader opted not to use stack points and instead marked our most raid aware and fight-studied melee DPS with a skull for stacking. When rampages came, we knew to stack on him. When we were spread out, we were told to stand at maximum range.

The lack of absolute stack points helped a lot due to Ranged having to be at max range; ice was dropped well away from stacking locations, our melee DPS are very reactive and could haul butt when Cinders was placed on them (a shoutout to Killercroc, Ivarrika, and Kataera), and overall the areas around the heads were fairly clear. Until the end of the fight, that is, but that’s to be expected with all that crap coming out.

The downside to not having designated stack points is that the stack point may move Rampage to Rampage if your desingated DPS isn’t aware of your healing abilities. Inform them on your Mushrooms and ask that he try to keep stacking at the same spots. I really didn’t have to say anything to Killercroc, he’s just good enough to know. Instead, I had to learn to plant my Mushrooms based on him. Two wipes and I had his pattern down, so it’s not that big of a deal. We ended up only having 2 stack points, which made coordination a lot easier. Oh, and Mushrooms are going to be HUGE for you on this fight. Use them on every Rampage. You may not get them fully charged each time, but try to get them charged as much as your can; this very much becomes a balance of knowing that you are wasting mana in overhealing in order to have the needed burst healing to carry your raid through the damage phase.

Now, as you can see in the video, one of our raiders got hit with the poison bombs consistently. This is a major no-no and you need to get this straight with your raid. Tunnel-vision happens, but it is no excuse. I really wasn’t aware of why one of our DPS had died until I rewatched the videa about 10 times and happened to see him on the very corner of my screen take the poison bomb full on in the face. There will be a discussion had about that one.

Third, healing cooldown coordination is huge on this fight. We learned that we didn’t need to use our cooldowns early in the fight as damage was low(ish). It isn’t until the last 3 heads that really needed those cooldowns. Sadly, after watching the video, I realized that I didn’t use my Tranquility. Bad Druid. If you watch the video and see a Tranquility going off, I’m pretty sure that was our bear tank. Check my spell bar, Tranquility never went on cool down. I’ve already discussed this with my main co-healer and he’s already fussed at me about it, so you guys can take a pass on that one.

Now, Ji-Kun was an immensely enjoyable fight. I was placed on the nest team because, of the three healers, I was the only one that had done the nests in LFR. There will be words had about that later this week with the other two. However, I was surprised at how well this worked out. I didn’t get much time to look at what was going on with the boss, but if you are not on the nest team, I highly recommend having Stampeding Roar on your cast bar to assist the raid during Down Draft. I do know that our tanks were soaking up some of the green puddles, but I am unsure how many they soaked.

Pro tip for those on the nest team: you have to refresh your feather stack on the third nest so you’ll have enough to do the top nests. It may seem trivial at first, but the 1-minute debuff you get when picking up the feathers can really mess you up. This debuff prevents you from picking up another feather to refresh your feather stacks. Remember you only get to use the feather 4 times before the stack falls off.

Killercroc ended up not refreshing his feather properly and was not able to fly to the third upper platform, leaving me and the hunter to deal with the eggs. We managed to kill one, but I died in the attempt and we wiped. It turns out that you have to kill the eggs quickly on the lower nests; if you take too long killing the second nest your debuff wears off and you refresh your feather stack. This will screw your heading into the third nest as you will not be able to refresh the stack then for the upper platforms. When you kill the first nest, haul butt to the second. Burn them as quickly as possible and get off of the pad, heading for the third. You want to be off the second nest by the time the debuff falls off. After that the fight is a cakewalk; at least my part was.

Once you get the boss down to about 35% you will likely stack with the rest of the raid and burn the boss. At one point during the main fight as I was nest hopping I had to Brez one of the DPS on my way to the upper nest. Doing that after having just come from the bottom nests and are about to leap into the air toward the upper nests is just….ahhhhh. I just can’t explain how much fun this fight was for me.

Durumu was enjoyable as well, believe it or not. He is not as complicated in 10 man Normal as he is in LFR. Well, that is to say that the maze is much easier to deal with. Your best bet? Have all range stack on melee and move together. It just makes it easier that way. We haven’t killed this boss yet, but I imagine we will get him next week; we were simply too tired by the time we got to him to be able to learn a new fight.

Oh, and a bit of humor: if you happen to have a bear tank, keep a close eye on him. There’s nothing like seeing a bear go from zero to warp in no time flat. It’s especially funny if you can time a “Engage Warp engines, Mr. Sulu” perfectly.





Patch 5.4 June 20 Update

22 06 2013

The first update to the 5.4 PTR notes has been made. There are plenty of changes being made to other classes, but I am glad to see that the initial notes on Restoration Druids are holding. Here are the changes that apply to us directly:

*Innervate now causes the target to gain mana equal to 50% of the casting Druid’s Spirit every second for 10 seconds. The total mana gained from this ability can never be less than 8% of the casting Druid’s maximum mana, and the amount gained is unaffected by Mana Tide Totem.

So yea and nay for this change. The “never be less than 8%” part helps to alleviate the concerns that many had about lower-geared healers and those choosing to run low-Spirit builds not receiving a benefit from Innervate. In this case it is still a nerf to lower-geared healers, but not so much as to be unusable. For those having continued mana problems, I encourage the use of Hymn of Hope prior to Innervate to increase maximum mana (if your Spirit is below the point that it would return 8% of maximum mana, using Hymn of Hope to boost maximum mana will proof beneficial) and Mana Tide Totem. Carry lots of mana potions and switch to Flask of the Falling Leaves. Not sure how many Restoration Druids have changed to the Intellect flasks, but I still utilize Falling Leaves (Spirit). This may change as we head into the next gear tier.

I was very disappointed to see that Mana Tide Totem would not have an effect on Innervate. My hope was that the Spirit boost from MTT would be able to buff the Innervates. I have only been keeping up with the intermingling of different spells since the launch of MoP when I found myself really struggling. While I have been vastly unhappy that I have not been able to use Innervate and MTT at the same time as they overrode each other, I am not aware whether or not this has always been the case. Raiding in ICC I healed mostly with Restoration Druids, a Pally, or a Priest. Cata saw me healing mostly with Pallies and Priests. The launch of MoP was the first time that I regularly and progressively healed with a Shaman.

For those who like to PVP, please be aware that Faerie Fire has had its duration decreased to 20 seconds, down from 40.

*Glyph of the Master Shapeshifter now reduces the mana cost of all shapeshifts by 100% (up from 90%).

I can’t say that I have ever burned through mana due to shifting too much, we don’t tend to shift much when healing. This is likely more of use to other specs. However, fights such as Tortos do see me shifting to Stag and Cat form frequently as I’m designated kicker in addition to raid healing, so situations like that may see a benefit. Strangely enough, mana is never a concern for me on that fight.

*Living Seed effects can now stack up to 50% of the casting Druid’s maximum health.

You know, I’ve never been a fan of Living Seed. Back in Wrath we had to spend 3 talent points in it to unlock Efflorescence. When the Living Seed requirement of Efflorescence was removed, most Druids left Living Seed behind. It reared its head again when it became a passive ability. Even recently when I examined my World of Logs, I found that Living Seed was only doing 1% of my total healing. This is mostly due, in my opinion, to the fact that we don’t stack Critical Strike rating in Restoration as it is our weakest stat. With the new T16 bonuses trying to synergize with crit and Living Seed, we may see Living Seed become a larger portion of our heals. Time will tell.

And that’s it for this round of updates. Time will tell if any/all of these proposed changes will fly or die. I sincerely hope they survive. I don’t raid 25s, but I understand that we are still struggling in that area. I find 10s to be very doable for our class, but we lack a lot of the utility that other healers bring to the table, forcing us to rely more and more heavily on our sheer throughput to stay in the game. Me? Bring on the throughput buffs, baby.

As always, leave your thoughts in the comments below.








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