Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wait so now you want me to stand in the what?

For a long time the standard rule of raiding was "if the ground changes color MOVE".  It was a nice rule, simple, easy to remember.  However in the time honored tradition of tweaking the player base for their own amusement, the Blizzard developers have thrown us a loop in Cataclysm.   Suddenly there are good circles, things you should be standing in.  

Take a look and learn your new happy places.

Effloresence, Resto Druid

When you heal with your Swiftmend spell you also sprout a bed of healing flora underneath the target, healing all nearby friendly targets within 8 yards for 30% of the amount healed by your Swiftmend over 7 sec. Healing effectiveness diminishes for each player beyond 6 within the area.

Holy Word:Sanctuary, Holy Priest

Blesses the ground with divine light, healing all within it for 298 to 355 every 2 sec for 18 sec. Only one Sanctuary can be active at a one time.

Power Word:Barrier, Disc Priest

Summons a holy barrier on the target location that reduces all damage done to friendly targets by 30%. While within the barrier, spellcasting will not be interrupted by damage. 

 Healing Rain, Resto Shaman

Calls forth healing rains to blanket the area targeted by the Shaman, restoring 690 to 820health to allies in the area every 2 sec for 10 sec.  Healing effectiveness diminishes for each player beyond 6 within the area.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Avoidable Damage:Its more than just fire

I've had about a week or so of wicked long heroic dungeons on my priest and I'll be honest its starting to affect my confidence as a healer. 

The DPS classes have to do more in this xpac to make the encounters successful, they have to be aware of what's going on.  They have to avoid taking damage.  If the heroics fail its really our fault, not the healer, not the tank.  So what should we be doing?

Don't Stand In The Fire.

Okay, I'm done.

You think so eh?

Is this your sole definition of avoidable damage?  Yes is a recurring joke but sadly many players in the game seem to think that if they do not stand in the fire/void zone/freezing circle that they are doing all they can possibly do to avoiding damage. 

Its more than just moving out of fire.  There are other forms of avoidable damage that people seem to think does not apply to them.

Don't stand in the fire.
This should go without being said.  It is the cardinal rule of avoidable damage. If it is under you and it is doing damage move.

Avoiding Damage > Mechanics
I'm looking at you Altarius.  Being upwind, good thing.  Taking 100k damage to get upwind, not a good thing.  Sometimes lower DPS is okay.  A dead mob > damage meter epeen waggle.

Aggro is not your friend.
Pulling aggro from the tank is avoidable damage.  Get Omen and actually use it.  As ranged dps I won't pull aggro from a tank until I'm up over 130% of their threat.  I  have omen set to a100-110% warning, depending on my experience with the tank, to keep me honest.   If you have an aggro dump, use it BEFORE you pull aggro. 

Move before the fire is under your feet.
There are many things you can see coming such as the spikes from Earthrager Ptah and the fire spout from the Flame Warden in Halls of Origination.  If you can see the damage coming before it gets to you there is no excuse for waiting until its under your feet to move. 

Avoid Debuffs
Not all damage is, well, damage.  Forgemaster Throngus in Grim Batol has a casting speed debuff,  Asaad in Vortex Pinnacle has a root, the Crystalspawn Giant casts Quake.  Pay attention to those things and avoid them by jumping or simply moving.

Move, Move, Move

Sometimes you just need to run.  During the Dragha encounter in Grim Batol, if an elemental fixates on you run away. Its gets no easier to avoid damage.  Do not try to get in one more shot, just move.

Encounter Mechanics
Just knowing what to expect is often enough to avoid damage.  If you have never done a boss and don't want to admit it then fake a bio break and open a browser and take a quick look.  Its not the same as practical experience but at least you'll have a good idea of what is about to be thrown at you.
Preventing avoidable damage in your raidtime.

Anything that can be interrupted is damage not taken.

Something stunned can not do damage.  It is very easy to avoid damage when something isn't doing damage.

Slowing down one of the mobs heading for the healer is a good thing.  Buying the tank 10 seconds to grab aggro is a good thing.

Crowd Control
I said something wise...I should repeat it because it was wise.  It is very easy to avoid damage when something isn't doing damage.

The biggest difference between good runs and bad runs is people avoiding, or not avoiding, the avoidable damage.  I can tell you from my recent experiences healing that people that do not avoid damage make a healers life a living hell and basically doom a run to failure.   So please, don't stand in the fire & stuff.  Especially the stuff.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Attitude Problems

I am sorry if this ruffles any guildie feathers but I am feeling a need to express myself and justify some of my actions.  I will also be honest and up front about myself.  I tend to tease some of my younger guild mates but they know I adore them and almost never refuse their requests.  I would bend over backwards to help any of The Dragons, almost.

Recently someone within our guild made a statement towards another guild mate that brought out evil bitchy Cheres.  I took offense to the statement and felt obligated to respond.  I can be a bit, what's the word, harsh at times and despite my reputation I take no real joy in that.

What bothered me most was the elitist attitude displayed by this person. It was their nonchalant attitude about others that rubbed me all the wrong way. I know there are always outside the game issues but the problem is the fact that this persons head is a tad too large. To make things worse, this air of superiority is fueled more by association and class luck than skill.

We have all seen those elitist types who talk big but can play. They talk the talk and they walk the walk.  We have a few of them in my guild.  Hell I'm sure I'm perceived as one of them.  But while many people might be turned off by the attitude they at least have the skills to back it up.  This person is a decent player with a barley tolerable personality and is far from a must have raid member.

So where does the elitist attitude come from? They take ownership of the overall accomplishments of the team and the relative ease of the class they play and its spec. Outsiders would have no way of knowing what role this person plays or how much or little they contribute to the success of The Dragons. Being on the inside, I know exactly where this person stands and it is not nearly as high as they have fooled themselves into believing.

So why do I care? What bothers me most is how condescending this person is to their own guild mates. If this person is that forward in guild chat what are they like in tells or with pugs? What types of abuses has this person perpetrated outside of guild chat because they felt entitled and superior? The more I thought about it the more it aggravated me.

I may be an officer but I hold no real position of influence over this person. Nothing I say or do will have any major effect on that person. When I spoke up, it was because I wanted that person to realize that at least one person in the world recognized what was happening.

Sometimes in life we all need a cold splash of reality to wake us up. During this particular incident I felt an immediate reaction to hand out the attitude adjustment. It may not have been my place, but sometimes you just have to step up and say something.

If you are an asshat, I am going to call you and asshat. If you are not as good as you think you are and you are treating others like they are below you, I will call you on that too.  No one messes with my guild mates, not even my guild mates.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hunter Consumables for Cataclysm

Cataclysm has brought with it some really nice changes for hunters when it comes to consumables. I used to bring elixirs to raids but those plus my pet's buff food and arrows and life as a raiding hunter got expensive

But that was then and this is now.  And now is good for the raiding hunter. 


In Cataclysm all the flasks provide the base stats while elixirs provide secondary stats such as crit, haste, hit and mastery. For Hunters the agility flask means we can die like everyone else!

Scrolls count as elixirs now and won’t be overwritten by other buffs like they used to. Lets say you are on the last attempt of the night and your flask is down then using a scrolls is an inexpensive alternative to dropping a one hour flask.


There's no need to worry about going over the haste-cap with Potion of Speed anymore!  Potion of the Tol’Vir gives us a straight up agility boost for 25 seconds.

It’s always good idea to bring a health potion or two just in case. The healers are more strained in and it will be very rare to see everyone in the raid at 100% health.  Its possible that during some encounters will die without some extra self-healing like a heal pot or a Healthstone.


In Wrath of the Lich King it was not worth it for MM or SV to use the Fish Feast. In Cataclysm they decided that Fish Feasts should be the best possible thing for everyone to eat so now all the Fish Feast equivalents provide “+X of a useful stat”.

Seafood Magnifique Feast isn't on my list.  For most guilds this is a rough one to get.  To get the recipie your guild must complete the achivement That's A Lot of Bait.  That's a lot of fishing. 


Other buffs

The old scrolls & drums are not needed provided you have done your pet research and filled your stable with buffing pets.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cataclysm, Healers and You

I've been out playing my holy priest lately.  I like to bring multiple choices to the table for whatever my guild might need.  I have to tell you that even with a guild run that healing can be extremely difficult.   I was discussing this in vent last night with some of my guild mates, one of which is a beast of a healer.   Things have changed and the attitude of DPS towards healing needs to change.  Here are things we as hunters need to know to make life easier for our selves, our healers and our raids.

Health Pools are Huge
Tanks are sporting 150-200k HP.  Hunters are running around with 100k+ health.  People are dying slower so they can be healed slower.  Healers can use (re:must use) more mana-efficient spells instead of the most time-efficient ones.

What does this mean for you?
  • Don't expect to be at full health all of the time.  The healer may just use aoe or proc heals to take care of us. 
  • Slower heals means no heals for pets.  Not that we got a ton before but now the druids aren't dropping HoTs on everything that moves.  If you need your pet alive, you need to do it yourself.

Health Pool Increase ≠ Healing Output
Health Pools have increased upwards of 200%.  Healers are seeing a HPS increase of about 60%.  Healers are having to do more to achieve the same results than before.  

What does this mean for you?
  • Try even harder to avoid taking damage.  Being knocked down to 30k health because you were standing under a falling rock is harder to heal than it used to be.  There's almost no excuse to be takin extreme damage, its easier to avoid taking damage now than in WOTLK.  There are many dungeon bosses where it is possible for a hunter to take no damage at all.
  • Just because you may now be spending more time at reduced health it doesn’t mean that healers have become worse players.  It just takes more time and often also effort to get your health up than it used to.  Do not blame your healer for your inability to get out of the fire.

Efficient vs Emergency Heals
Blizzard loosened restrictions on heal timing (damage is now less spiky) but they kept healing difficult by making mana matter.  The spells that heal the fastest also cost enough mana to not be sustainable for long periods of time.  For example, Flash Heal,  is a  fast and sizable heal, but using it for all purposes will force a priest to go oom long before the fight is over.  Emergency healing really is only for emergencies.  The majority of a healer’s casts have to expend as little mana as possible in order for healing to be sustainable.  Efficient, sustainable casting typically heals for small amounts and takes longer to perform (Heal as compared to Flash Heal).  In other words, efficient healing costs in time what it gains in mana. 

What does this mean for you?
  • Don’t expect fast heals.  If a healer can heal you slowly, you should be happy because it means the healer is more likely to have enough mana to finish the fight.
  • Don’t expect blanket heals; the old tactic of HoTs and bubbles for everyone is no longer viable.  Preemptive healing has to be cut down on because overhealing is a genuine concern.
  • If you’re needing and getting fast heals on a repeated basis, you’re jeopardizing the healer’s ability to finish the fight and you’re doing something wrong.
  • Healer mana is now a meaningful limit to fights.  In most situations avoiding damage is more important than squeezing in an extra shot while in the fire.  Higher dps ends the fight faster, so optimized dps given avoided damage is the goal.
  • Don’t always expect high hps from your healer.  Considering the pressures for healing efficiency and mana conservation, hps can no longer be viewed as an accurate catch-all measure of a healer’s worth.  In fact, if the members of the raid are good, the hps will be relatively low.

Healing the Unhealable: How can you help your healer?
  • Avoid the avoidable.  This is huge and worth repeating over and over again.   Any damage you don’t take is not only mana directly saved, it is also time saved in terms of cast bars and global cool downs.  
  • Keep adds off the healer using those fancy hunter tools.  Misdirect, Traps, Scatter Shot, Distracting Shot.  This is all huge because of the increased amount of time that all healers have to stand still for long cast bars.
  • If your tank seems to be lost in some sort of AE pull haze offer to use crowd control.  Crowd control dramatically reduces incoming tank and party damage per second, and it makes healing much easier.  Feel free to be pushy about it.  
  •  Heal yourself when you can.  This may be an alien concept to most hunters, but there are plenty of options for it: lightwells, health stones, bandages, health potions, etc., all make things easier on the healer and take very little effort to make use of.   
  • Its okay to stand in the AE heal circle.  Blue for shaman, gold for priests, green for druids.  If it makes a happy sound and increases your health its a good place to stand.