Archive for January, 2010

Disc Priesting Newb Take 2

After that first initiation into party healing with the guild, I knew I was still an uber newb.  I was fully aware that my “success” that first time was due to the fact that I was primarily healing level 80 with raid level gear in a regular level 70 dungeon. I knew that the only way that I was going to improve was to get more experience.  And that meant pugging as a healer.

Worse – pugging as a newb healer. <insert Dramatic Gopher>

A terrifying proposition to be sure!  However, I had recently read something that had helped me decide it would be better to learn at Lv 70 then at Lv 80.

Heartbourne at Project Lore had written about his experience using the Dungeon Finderto to level my Death Knight from level 75 to 80. In that leveling process, I found groups instantly when I queued as a tank, and generally other players were gentle with helping me learn how to tank”.

He also described how “The story changed when I hit level 80” when normally the Dungeon Finder would group him with well geared 80s whose first reactions were to judge his low gear and laugh at his health.

That pretty much decided it for me then that I had to at least give it a chance.  It was now or never.

So I gave myself a week to prepare.  I studied up on the dungeons available to me – Utgarde Keep and Nexus. I even took notes on each boss and what their abilities were – what to watch out for.  I reread my how-to-disc guides again and tweaked grid.

And then, the day finally came.

With Regis’ warlock in tow for moral support and suffering, we queued for Utgarde Keep.  I hadn’t read up on Azol-Nerub so I decided to pick a specific dungeon to be safe.  Nervously, I selected my role as healer and waited for the loading screen to instantly appear.

Which it didn’t.  In fact, our wait time was long enough for me to forget about being nervous, get tired of catching weeds in the fountain of Dalaran and consider requeing for a random dungeon instead.

How did it go?

I guess it depends on the evidence.  You be the judge.

I did not come out at the start and say “Hello.  I am a newb healer” or “This will be my first time healing in a pug.”

The Tank (a warrior) was a runner who did not always wait for the healer while cleaning trash.  And I did not speak up at any point to ask him to wait.  Maybe it was a rage thing?

One of the Melee DPS (DK) died on trash and I didn’t think of rezing them.  “Oh, right… I can do that” crossed my mind when it was too late of course.

That Melee DPS later dropped the group without saying a word, I think after she had died again.

I kept the tank alive thou.  Until the last boss, when the wipes began…

I started the instance with 20 x water.  I finished with zero.  I hear that’s a sign of overhealing…  and of neglecting my shadowfiend puppy.

I managed to use spells that I had “forgotten” the last time:  Penance, Prayer of Mending and Binding Heal.  I think I “oooh” the first time I Penance’d.

We got a new DPS… which didn’t die but did drop the group because they “gotta go”ed.

I didn’t use any damage dealing spells.  I was too focused on the length of the green bars.

I’m not sure how many times we wiped on Ingvar.  I would guess at least 3, maybe 4, times before the tank paused for a good length of time and then disconnected.

Regis says it wasn’t my fault.  Supposedly the tank didn’t step out of the way of Ingvar’s Dark Smash.  Personally, I think I could have done something more…  like applying Pain Suppression to the tank as soon as I hear the warning.   I think I probably stumbled over my buttons and just wasn’t as quick as I needed to be.  I’m fairly sure that I should be able to heal though it if I choose the right spells.

Not once did anyone blame the healer.  Perhaps I was lucky? It was suggested that maybe the warrior tank had thought he wasn’t getting the proper heals and that was the reason behind him dropping the group ….

The newest DPSer was a friendly DK who offered to step in as tank, in DPS gear since the Dungeon Finder was taking its sweet time to find a replacement.  It had no problems finding a Shaman DPSer to finish off the party, who was kind enough to offer to throw up some heals on our improv tank.  I’m not sure how much healing the shaman might have contributed but whatever it was, added to the fact that the friendly DK doged the Dark Smash, was enough to make the difference down went Invgar!

So we got through it.  That’s gotta count for something!  Right?

So, my dear fabulous readers, are there any other tips you could give me about learning a new Spec or Role, regardless if it’s switching to a healing role or a new DPS spec?

Or is the secret as simple as practice, practice, practice?

How do you study for new fights?  Or with all of your healing experience, do you just go in there and rock it?

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An amazing thing happened to me a few weeks ago.  I was called upon by my guild to heal an instance with my priest, Stinka.

Stinka was originally created with the intention to learn how to heal behind her.  Of course, after much study, she listened to the masses and leveled using the Shadow Tree.  As a young and shy toon, she never saw much healing action – primarily because I never bothered to look for groups.  

Fast forward to the amazing thing that happened to me a few weeks ago. 

I’ve got to set the stage properly:  I believe we had 2 level 80s in the mix and we were running regular Azjol-Nerub which is for levels 72-74.  Wait – maybe the first one we did was regular Nexus which is for levels 71 to 73.  Maybe there was 3 level 80s.  I don’t know.  At that point in time, it didn’t matter – all that mattered was that I was responsible for their lives.

And that stress is truly unbelievable the first time. 

How did I do? 

Well, you might have figured it out from the title of this post….   Lets say that I am very thankfully that we had a Level 80 tank because I think the only spells that I used were Power Word:  Shield, Renew & Greater Heal

Not once was Prayer of Mending cast!  The same went for Penance!  And I didn’t use Shadowfiend because I didn’t think you could outside of Shadowform – the poor neglected puppy!    😛

Also, the PWS, Renew and Greater Heal Spells were a  few ranks lower than what I could actually do.  The spells that I actually had on my action bars in my second spec hadn’t been updated to the highest rank in many levels.  Mucho thanks to the party member who thought to give me that duel-spec tidbit of information after the first pull.

Thanks to the fact that the tank was level 80 and the party was a group of experienced players, no one took much damage.  Eventually, I figured out that I could toss a Shadow Word Pain dot up once in a while.  That’s right – I figured out how to heal and cause damage at the same time! 

I suffered from incredible Healer Tunnel Vision.  All that mattered were the health bars of my party.  It was all that I could see.  Healer Tunnel Vision was so intense for me during Boss fights that it took a while to realize when the fight was actually over.

When my team’s health was at max, my own mana became priority, just so that I could be ready for the next pull.  Dead mobs with loot waiting to be picked up were irrelevant.  Sorry but I can’t heal and loot at the same time.  My focus was always to be ready for the next pull, the next threat to my party.

Another thing that I almost got in trouble with is that my Healer Tunnel Vision didn’t necessarily include my own health bars…     Yes silly healer, you’re responsible for your own life too!  I also got a horribly stiff neck from being locked in Healer Tunnel Vision mode. 

Even though I know my first run as a healer was filled with newb and “rigged” with heroic level toons in a normal instance, as I mentioned earlier, it was amazing.  It was an incredible, stress filled, exhilarating experience!  It was definitely on the same level of a roller coaster thrill ride.  It’s too soon to say that I’m junkie but it’s definitely a ride that I’d try again!

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Ulduar is one sexy lady.

This past weekend was a good bit of raiding fun for us in The Zug Initiative.

Many of you are likely aware that we in TZI are not exactly “cutting edge” in the WoW raiding scene.  Which I’m quite happy with, because even though I do put a lot of time into the game, I don’t want to live by a WoW schedule.  Sure, we schedule some things on the weekend if we can get people to show, but no one has a hissy fit if I can’t make it.  Anyway, this isn’t the point of this post.

Although Ulduar may be old news to many, it’s new to us.  We messed around the the Flame Leviathan and Ignis a couple of weeks ago, but this past weekend, we put forth a good effort to take out what bosses we could.

Friday, we had a couple of wipes on ol’ Flamey there due to a couple of coordination issues, but we got the bugger down in due time.  We went off to one-shot Ignis followed up with a one-shot of Razorscale, even though it was the first time we experienced Razor.  We wiped a few times on the Deconstructor because the adds seemed to overwhelm us.  On one of those wipes, we realized we were getting adds prior to when they’re supposed to spawn in phase 2.  It finally clicked that we missed some trash and then after that, we took down the seven-year-old-in-a-giant-smash-robot-body.  Then we called it a night.

Sunday, we decided to push in a bit deeper into the instance, despite having to make a couple of minor line-up changes.  The other MT – neither of us are off tanks – had to work.  I’m happy to say that everyone did admirably, whether it be a new role or a reprisal.  Anyway, we went off to visit the legless boss, Kologarn.  A few wipes caused by some bad luck with the ol’ eyebeam and healers getting picked up, but eventually we got to walk across his corpse.  Sadly, one of our dps had to take off, but we decided to push on with just nine folk.  Auriaya was next on our list.  The pull is fairly awkward, but Chawa did a great job on it.  I screwed it up the first time, though.  I suck out of the corner too soon and got pounced.  The second wipe, I screwed up because I didn’t target Auriaya at the rest of the raid.  After that, Chawa unfortunately didn’t make the corner and got pounced herself.  But from some quick thinking and a snappy battlerez from Ianto, Chawa was back up, blowing the hell out of the baddies.  The crazy cat lady didn’t stand a chance after that.  We headed on over the Assembly of Iron with a plan in mind.  Sadly, it didn’t work.  I kept getting destroyed by Fusion Punch.  We switch up the tanks and we lasted longer, but the pieces didn’t fall into place.

So, all in all, it was a lot of fun taking in some content that was new to us.  It’s clear that Blizzard spent a lot of time on Ulduar.  It’s a massive raid. 

And as my title suggests, it’s gorgeous.  It’s sad that people a lot of people might miss or skip it for phat lewtz from other things.

Be sure to check it out if you can!

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Within the first week of the new 5 man dungeons in ICC, Chawa got some nice upgrades.  The polearm Orca-Hunter’s Harpoon dropped, which is blingable (aka: came with a gemslot)!  And she finally replaced one of the last pieces of blue gear on her with the purple bracers Essence of Suffering

However blingable that polearm was, it came with a heavy price tag for a hit-capped hunter:  a + 84 to hit rating. 

I’m starting to think that there is a hate-hate relationship with hit rating.  There is no love anymore.

At first its love-hate.  As a young 80, you desperately need hit rating and you hate the fact that you need it.  In order to reach the hit cap I took every gem and every enchant that was necessary to get myself there.  Slowly, gear with hit rating allowed me to replace those enchants with ass-kicking attack power ones.  My silly yellow hit gems were replaced with bright red ones or wicked orange ones.  I appreciated the fact that you didn’t have to gem according to the socket colour if its bonus was unnecessary hit-rating.  Finally, my gear was enough to get myself hit capped.

Except hit-rating is a greedy and selfish lover.  It doesn’t understand the concept of being hit-capped.  It doesn’t understand that we only need it to a certain point and then we crave other stats above it.  I’m sorry hit-rating, I didn’t mean to lead you on.  I just want to be friends. 

Hit-rating can’t let go.  It will begin to stalk you and slyly arranges to accidentally bump into you, under the cover of the new gear available from the ICC dungeons.

With the amount of hit rating on the Orca-Hunter’s Harpoon, it wasn’t  just a bump.  I would call it a tackle….

Chawa’s hit rating has been bothering me since she received the upgrades.  With a minor ring switch, currently she’s running around with 79 extra/wasted hit points over the cap.

Thankfully, OutDPS has put together a simple yet comprehensive gear list that also lists the amount of hit the gear gives you.  With it, I’ve used to identify upgrades that hit-rating hasn’t corrupted yet.

I’ve got my sights set on the Needle-Encrusted Scorpion Trinket from HFoS, which would conveniently replace the last piece of blue gear I’ve got.  Add that to a new pair of boots (from either normal or heroic HoR) and I’ll actually be 15 points under the hit cap!

Then I’ll have to send hit rating an apology and socket myself with a little yellow hit rating gem again.  Yes, hit rating, I still want you as a stat in my life but just not in everything that I equip. 

I’ll tell you what.  I know an up and coming troll hunter on his way to 80 that would love to get to you know better….  🙂

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Most LFD stories go into some length of how a group (or part of it) was filled with fail.  This one is slightly different.  As it was mostly some bad luck and our own little bit of fail. 😛

So, last night we only a few guildies were left when Chawa and I were able to log on.  (We’re two or three time zones “behind” most of our guild mates.)  We grouped up and ran a normal HoR run in hopes of a couple of tank upgrades for our pally, so I was running on Darth.  He got a cloak and although there were no drops of interest from the rest of the run, we kept going.  Finished it up, no problem…it was on “normal” after all!  We wanted to keep going and I wanted my 2 x EoF’s on Darth, so we opted for a random. 

One of our DPS dropped and our healer (guest poster Brokentree) switched from his Tree Druid to get some practice Healadin.  The ol’ LFD system ushered us into HToC picking up an Arms Warrior as our third DPS.  The first bosses we got were the Dranei healer, Dwarf rogue, and Gnome mage.  Healer went down fine although I missed a couple of interrupts due to cooldowns and polymorph.  Seems our DPS warrior also went down fine.  Not quite sure how she died (I think it was a poison pool), but she released and scooted back into the instance. 

Finished that off and then we were on Paletress.  Due to some range issues with the fear segment, our warrior went down again.  (I think Chawa might have died and flew back in for this one, too?)  But finally Paletress bought the farm as well. 

On to the Black Knight.  During phase two, a bit too much ghoul aggro and the warrior died again and flew back.  And during phase 3, I think both she and Chawa died just as the Black Knight was going down.  Pretty tough practice run for our Healadin, but we made it through and fortunately the warrior didn’t seem to get too upset by the deaths.

Us guildies were still up for more and the warrior didn’t immediately drop the group, so we offered her to come along for another.  Seems that she was up for it and off we went to Utgarde Pinnacle.  The first boss was smited with no problem, except for the fact that when she died, the “sword phase” was still ongoing.  So when the warrior and our tank went up to fetch loot, they both got hit with the massive debuff/DoT.  The warrior, of course, died again.  Poor girl.  Rez goes out and we move along. 

Second boss, no problem.  Now to Skadi.  Everything went very smooth.  Run to halfway, let the tank pick everyone up, AoE.  Scurry to the end, get everyone down and pick up harpoons as they drop.  Get Skadi.  Almost lost the warrior to the whirlwind, but Skadi died without losing anyone from our group.  Huzzah!

And wouldn’t you know it, the Reins of the Blue Proto-Drake dropped! 

We stated in Party-chat for everyone to need, which everyone did.  And I’m quite happy to say that the luck of our high-repair-bill warrior had turned around, for she had won the roll!  We go on to finish our run without further incident.

So, there you have it. 

Even after a few deaths, it might be worth your while to tough it out!

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