Thursday, February 25, 2010

Healing Pigeonholes

Radom guy> LF 2 Raid Healers for 25 VOA
Me> Invite Mongrr and myself
RG> You’re a Paladin
Me> Yup
RG> We need raid heals. Is Mongrr Holy?
Me> He can be – but he’s Disc usually.
RG> Sorry – need raid heals

I seriously had to sell Mongrr and myself to this guy for 25 VoA healing – and Mongrr and I are currently 2/3 of the healers on our server sporting the Kingslayer title (not that it has anything to do with ability to heal, but still). I’ll take the healer Pepsi challenge with anyone on our server, and even if I’m not the best, you’ll still find me as refreshing as an RC Cola and a Moon Pie.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a stigma left over from BC about what roles a healer can and can’t fill. This probably isn’t helped when you have players listing themselves as raid/tank heals, and you see blogs talking about Paladins being the “best” tank heals (and Mongrr will take the Pepsi challenge on that one I guarantee).

GC came out this week with some clarification on Disc priests being great single target healers/shielders, but made the point of specifically NOT stating that they are tank healers exclusively.

A strength is not a role

Despite this misconception, there is no reason that any skilled healer shouldn’t be able to fulfill any given need in a raid. Yes, it may take some thought changes – maybe even something as drastic as a gear/spec/glyph change – but it can be done. No class is exempt from this. Any player who claims they “Won’t raid heal” because they’re discipline, or “Can’t tank heal” because they’re a shaman are probably just bad players.

Raid vs. Tank Healing

First – let’s try and clear this up. There is no such thing as tank healers any more – there are simply single target healers and AoE healers. Some classes certainly do better at putting more HPS into multiple targets, but there is no difference between healing one person up constantly, or targeting 24 players individually to top them off. The only limiting factor that has to be considered is environmental damage or some other incidental damage.

A fight like Anub’Arak is ideally suited to someone who can keep small streams of healing on multiple players at once (Druid) vs. say someone who drops giant bombs of healing (Paladins). If you have time to top everyone off though (VoA environmental damage), any type of heal is acceptable.

Paladin Healing

With the changes to Beacon of Light (allowing overhealing to count, as well as the 60yd range), Paladins excel at keeping two players maxed out. Huge mana pools and excellent mana recovery keep the Holy Light bombs rolling, and effective CD use can further extend this heal time. What seems to be forgotten however is that most fights don’t require two tanks all the time, but rather some form of tank swap. By placing BoL on the current tank, a Paladin can spam FoL across the raid. Easily hitting for 4-6k in 245 gear, and with close to one second cast times, you can quickly bring any number of players back up to full. This is especially effective against Arthas’s Infest, where you’re fighting a DoT to bring players up. One or two small HoTs (which are amazing on Anub’Arak) may not be enough to counter the damage.

AoE healing is still a weak point for the Paladin, and I really don’t feel like the glyph of Holy Light does enough to counter this in 10 mans. In a 25 man raid it might work really well, but on fights where everyone is spread out, you miss the splash healing. In a situation like this you’re better off hitting several players with quick FoLs and instant Holy Shocks.

Building a FOL specific Paladin (gemming SP over INT) can create an absolute monster for raid healing. Using the glyph of HS, plus a high crit rating, and you’re easily dropping 6-8k crits as fast as the GCD will come back up. When you consider that all this healing is going right back to your beacon target, that’s an absolute monster set of heals. A HL paladin who can quickly switch between the two healing styles is almost as deadly.

What we can’t do

Smart heal dropping and big AoE heals. Unfortunately, these tools just aren’t in our box. Priests and Shamans have smart heals, and Druids have one non-channeled AoE heal – we have Glyphed Holy Light (which just doesn’t get it done IMO). We can’t top off a whole party with a single cast, and we can’t pull off the same kind of proactive healing that Druids can.

What we CAN do

I’m going to let you in on a little secret – Paladins DO have a smart heal. It’s called our heads. Remember that scene in Blackhawk Down where that Delta force guy wiggles his finger and says “This is my safety sir”? That’s my response to a smart heal. Watching incoming damage and being aware of raid situations lets us make smart choices in key situations. A great example of this is again on Arthas. You KNOW that the tank is going to take an inordinate amount of damage from the Soul Reaper five seconds after its cast. Waiting four seconds and then winding up a Holy Light will have it land moments after the damage is taken. Two Holy Lights back to back should have your tank close to full, and will also knock off any Infest they may have.

We can also work to keep the community aware of our ability to raid heal via single target healing and smart triage. Unless it’s a crucial raid situation, I won’t heal someone who stands in environmental damage. I’ll let them die, or wait until they step out of it (especially in five mans). Mage pulls agro in the CoS alley way and dies? Well, if I can HoP them in time, great – but that’s a 3 minute cooldown. I prefer to let them die and think of it as tough love.


Healers have larger toolboxes than they did in BC, and the days of needing exclusive ‘raid healers’ is pretty much over. Yes, some classes excel at one type of healing over another, but shutting out someone because they don’t fit your preconceived notion of a healer is ridiculous.

Mongrr has a similar post, but about Disc priests over at savethelightwell. Go check it out. I also encourage you to read about Old Painless (check my blogroll).

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tanking Crib Sheet – The Lich King Rough Draft

This is a work in progress (like Sindragosa) because we have only downed him once. Or first kill was pretty spectacular though, and involved about 7-10 hours of wipes and raiding.

Good luck.

Right now we use three healers and two tanks – Disc Priest, Resto Druid, Resto Shaman and Protaidn, Bear. DPS is Retadin, Boomkin, Ele Shaman, Arcane Mage, and Rogue. You will need either a rogue or a hunter for this encounter – unless some other class can de-enrage a mob.

The Setup

Position the raid so that they are spread out in a semi-circle between the edge of the platform and the transporter pad you just came up. You’ll want to stay spread out, simply to avoid any clutter or confusion (there will be enough of this later). MT will be picking up and holding Arthas on this spot. The OT will stand on the inside of the transporter pad circle (the opening that faces the throne) and hold his adds facing away from the raid. Shambling Horrors do a shockwave that will one shot any non-tank. Hold them close to the small ghouls that are popping up, as you’ll be spreading a disease through them to burn them down.

Phase 1 – the pull and the first 30%

Talk to Tirion and start the 2 minutes or so of RP. Once Arthas comes down, all DPS should focus on him as the MT holds him on the transporter pad. When adds start spawning, the OT picks them up and holds them just outside the platform. Having a hunter MD the large adds to you really helps if you’re not a DK or a Paladin. Don’t let the Horrors face the raid, and just burn Arthas down until 70%.

Phase 1.5 – One minute of stress

Get all the adds to the edge of the platform (past the jagged line) and keep burning through them. Three Raging (Enraged?) spirits will spawn at 20 second intervals, stunning the person that they spawn on (if it’s the tank, watch your agro). We found it best if the OT runs to the person spawning the spirit, otherwise they seemed to get one shot by them. Hopefully all your ghouls and horrors are down by now, and you have at least one Raging Spirit dead by the start of P2.

Phase 2 – 30% of chaos

As tanks this is fairly easy. You’ll have the following things to watch out for/do during this phase.

· MT – Hold Arthas near the middle of the room. Be ready to use a cooldown the first time you get the plague. Your OT will still be dealing with one or two remaining spirits that your DPS will be focusing down.

· OT – Hold the adds facing away from the raid. Move yourself near the middle of the room as well – you want to keep as much distance between your raid and the edge of the platform.

· Soul Reaper – This hits the tank for 50k before mitigation and resistances. If all the adds are down, your OT should be taunting as soon as you get this – if not, start popping cooldowns. If your big one is down, this is when you hit trinkets/pots and make that “HNNNNGGGGHHHH” sound as you watch your health plummet into the 10% range. Trust me, making that sound helps. Clenching your butt up tight does as well.

· Defile – try to avoid splitting your raid in half if this is on you. Keep moving the Defile/Arthas between Tirion and the portal. The first one should be gone by the time the third one pops.

· Help the DPS – Paladins, toss your shield at the Valkyr. Druids can put up infected wounds and feral charge, Warriors have mad stuns, and DKs..chains of ice?

· Keep your head on a swivel – now is not the time for tunnel vision.

Phase 2.5 – 1.5 Redux

At 40% Arthas will stop the insanity and you’ll do phase 1.5 all over. Nothing different here, except you’ll get more Raging Spirits. Police them up, and burn them down. Now is an excellent time for Bloodlust. This will last about a minute, and then Phase 3 begins.

Phase 3 – 40% to ??? (yeah, not telling you)

At the start of P3 you’re probably going to have one or two Raging Spirits left. Burn them down while repeating everything from P2. While you don’t have to worry about Valkyr any more, your do have to watch out for Vile Spirits. While the ranged DPS ‘should’ be burning them down, they will probably be a few that slip past and head for the ground. They do about 15k when they land, so just keep an eye on them. Tank swapping will still be taking place.

At some point you will lose a healer or DPS to Frostmourne. They’ll be out of action for about a minute, but don’t worry – they’ll be back.


At some point something will happen which will trigger some other thing and then there will be something else that happens. Hold it all together until this does – I guarantee it’s worth the wait.

Hard modes are hard

So our first night of attempting hard mode ICC kills didn’t work out so well. On the plus side, everything else went fairly smooth, and I certainly feel better about my healing. I have realized however that my hatred for Priests hasn’t diminished at all. We didn’t spend a lot of time with the hard modes, as we wanted to ensure we got a repeat LK kill this week.

If any other Healadin is reading this blog – please let me know if you can confirm that Beacon works on Dreamwalker. It looked like I was getting BoL heals on her while healing the raid. If this is so I’m going to go crawl in a corner and wait for our incoming nerf. 74k+ HL crits with 27 stacks was ridiculous.

Initial thoughts on hard modes

Our biggest challenge wasn’t that the bosses were hard (they are), or that we weren’t prepared (we weren’t). Instead it was that our new tank and ranged DPS haven’t killed Arthas yet (at least on those toons). Oops. This led to the discovery that the toggle between normal and heroic is 10 minutes, and they can’t run into the instance after a wipe.


I’m going to say that my first shot at trying this guy as a healer should not have been on heroic. I lost my SA and got myself out on an island and died to a bone spike during his Bone Storm. I didn’t see any other huge mechanic change though, so I’m fairly confident we can push past him next week. We’ve also confirmed (not that there was any doubt) that Cowntzero’s (warrior tank) snap DPS isn’t as high as mine was. Way to live with 20HP Womb!


Didn’t try this on heroic. From what I read though it seems to be 25m abilities on 10m. CCing the Boomkin will be interesting.


Aww yeah. I honestly didn’t even realize it was on heroic. Beacon is incredibly overpowered on this fight, as I could stand on the edge and heal both tanks. I’m embarrassed to say this is the only heroic we managed to do. This will change next week though.


IT BURNS, OH GOD IT BURNS. We normally kill Saurfang before he can get off a single Mark. Our best attempt last night was 87% with 3 Marks out. Stupid blood pets.

Why I hate Priests

Two words – Lazer Beams. One of the things I like about the Paladin is that my toolbox is very straight-forward. Big heal, little heal, instant heal. I have a few utility ‘hands’ that I can toss around, but for the most part the choices in any given situation are one of those three staple spells.

Priests have what – eight? Nine? I honestly don’t know if I could handle it, though it would be pretty awesome to have that kind of utility at my disposal. Different choices for burst heals, a small HoT, shields, proactive healing, smart heals, and Lazer Beams. Oh how I hate those beams.

It did feel like we had good synergy though, as Mongrr and I quickly slipped back into our 3.1 healing setup. Like always, it’s fairly difficult to ignore someone who has just taken damage, but we do a fairly decent job of trusting each other to cover our assignments.


I am fairly certain next week will see us getting one or two additional hard mode kills. As long as we get a repeat Arthas downing, I don’t see any reason why we won’t be dedicating at least one night a week to learning the tougher fights. Like anything else, I think it’s just a matter of time before things click and we’re pocketing some sweet kill shots.

Now to go learn MouseOver macros….

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Parabola 3 – Forum Trolls 0

Spend more than two minutes on a realm forum and you’re likely to stumble across a forum troll. You know these brave souls, the ones who not only post anonymously on the internet – they also create a level one alt on some far away server. The vile and hatred that these folks can spew forth is simply amazing, and it can be thoroughly entertaining.

How to beat them

First, you have to understand that you can’t win an argument with a troll. No counter-point can dissuade them, as they aren’t concerned with winning an argument. Chances are their sole purpose is to wind you up, and make you look like an idiot on the forums.

Once you understand this basic point, you can begin to start killing them with kindness and logic backed with indisputable proof (Armory links and such are great for this). Mongrr is especially talented in this department and as Thraxx put it he can “Eviscerate them before they know they’ve been cut”. Mongrr doesn’t fight fire with fire, but rather with cold logic and quotes/posts that are easily found. I swear he keeps bookmarks just for these opportunities.

Comedy is also the anathema for forum trolls. Hate and anger are their weapons of choice, so smothering them with kindness and understanding throws them completely off their game. You have to be careful though, you can’t attack them with it, just roll with their comments. Once they see that they can’t get a rise out of you, they’ll move on to another target.

Of course in my experience on the WoW forums, someone else will generally take up the torch of hate against them, and you can just sit back and watch the fireworks.

Gaining experience

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t always had this Zen like approach to dealing with forum trolls. Several years ago I would have been the first to rise to the bait, and letting them win with the first cast. After dealing with many guilds as a GM, and especially my time in Forgotten Fury with Fyrre, I’ve mellowed out some. Fyrre was by far my favorite troll – he’s one of the few that I’ve actually seen lose an argument with himself.

In house guild lawyers are also a great source of frustration and trolling. These are the players who want to take your every statement apart and twist it to their advantage. My advice is to just boot them early. It’s far easier to deal with any fallout resulting from their removal than it is to go through weeks of discussion and dissention. There are literally thousands (probably more like hundreds of thousands) of guilds out there – yours may not be the one for them (or you).


At the end of the day remember that this is a game, and we’re supposed to be having fun while playing it. Trolling is a special form of raiding for these folks, don’t become their next victory. Ignoring them, or smiling politely as you go on about your way is the best tactic for dealing with them. Eventually they will become bored, and move on to another target. We’ve now had three forum threads about us deleted – one was a congratulatory post about our server first 10m Arthas kill, one was actually a troll post directed at us (this one may still be there), and the third was Ed (not his real name – or is it?) calling out the form mod as actually being the troll. Each of these threads quickly degenerated into a profanity filled name calling session – in which the only winners were the folks who wanted the thread to go away.

Now back to your regularly scheduled Paladin blog.