Monthly Archives: July 2013

Plays Poorly With Others

You Are Bad And Should Feel Bad Poor pug.

You Are Bad And Should Feel Bad
Poor pug.

Okay, so, I have a question.  As a healer, how do you have a “reputable” performance when you’re grouped with either people who have fantastic gear, or the sort of people who like to be constantly healing whether it’s needed or not?

I was in part one of Mogu’shan Vaults the other week for valor and lolz.  Overall, it went something like this:

  1. Man, it didn’t seem like we were taking a whole lotta damage – time to help out with a couple Lightning Bolts!
  2. Zap!  Wait, that doesn’t make sense.  We MUST be taking damage.
  3. Oh, I see, Priests A and B are healing All The Things Ever.
  4. I should be helping with healing!  But HOW?
  5. If I cast Healing Rain or Chain Heal now, it’d just be wasted mana, as everybody’s practically at full.  Maybe I’ll Riptide some people.
  6. On the other hand, I don’t want them to think I’m doing NOTHING.
  7. /casts Healing Rain, puts out healing totem
  8. /feels pretty much useless

The more they heal, the less I have to.  As DPS, this sort of dynamic makes me go “GREAT!  I LOVE YOU GUYS!”  But as a healer and as someone who is perpetually concerned by mana consumption, I just wind up standing there looking kinda clueless.  My brain is occupied with wondering what the eff would be the most efficient thing to do, because while I inevitably feel that I should be doing SOMETHING, I am simultaneously unable to figure out how to rationalize useless mana expenditures.

The only thing I can figure is HEAL ALL THE THINGS MORE AND FASTER, by literally casting right out of the gate and never effing stopping, because if I let the other healers heal, I won’t have anything to heal.  Competitive healing!  This is the healing Olympics!  If you’re starting a second late, you might as well not start at all!  Go home, slowpoke, we don’t need you here.

I don’t know if I’m really cut out to be a master of LFR/raid healing.  Heroics, heroic scenarios, transmog runs and so on are all good.  Generally when I’m solo, I rise to the occasion.  But when I’m grouped up with other healers, I just get all puzzled as to how to make a difference.

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“Echo of the Elements: Fire” Set

"Echo of the Elements: Fire" Set

“Echo of the Elements: Fire” Set

Class: Shaman

H: Crown of Flame | S: Shoulders of the Groundbreaker | Cl: Not shown
Ch: Conqueror’s Worldbreaker Hauberk | Wa: Waistguard of Calibrated Caliphracts | L: Not shown
G:
Time Twister’s Gauntlets | Wr: Not shown | B: Cleated Ice Boots

Fist Weapon: Demonblood Eviscerator
Shield: Tyrannical Gladiator’s Redoubt

Thoughts: This is Electrika’s new transmog set for her Elemental spec.  Have you ever used a guide to figure out what pieces you want for a set, only to find that THE PIECE OF YOUR DREAMS is no longer available and cannot be gotten for love nor money?  I use Icy Veins for transmog planning.  It’s not an infallible source, but it has my preferred format for these things – lots of pictures of items next to each other, on a class specific and slot-by-slot basis.  It told me that THESE AMAZING SHOULDERS THAT WENT PERFECTLY AND WERE SO PERFECT IT WAS AMAZING could be had from Doris Chiltonius in Orgrimm … hold on, isn’t that the blood elf chick who sells Tyrannical PvP gear on the wall in Pandaland?  Yes.  She is not in Orgrimmar and has not been for some time.  The shoulders are unobtainable.  ICY VEINS, WHY U DO DIS, MY HEART, IT IS BROKEN.

Yet I think being unable to get my ideal shoulders turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  The bright orange in the Shoulders of the Groundbreaker ties in with the Crown of Flame and the Demonblood Eviscerator, while the dull gray color ties that in with the metal accents on the robes.  Plus, these were cheaper in terms of effort – couple of heroics, and presto!  I got enough justice to buy old school gear!

You could consider this Attempt #2 at making “a cool fire set.”  (Attempt #1 is here.)  Is it better?  Worse?  I think it is an improvement.

WTB pretty water or ice themed crown.  (Ugly skullhat for $15?  No thanks.)

Noobhealing Lookback

So Much Going On Things can get a little chaotic.

So Much Going On
Things can get a little chaotic.

Healing makes every fight feel far faster to me (until I run out of mana), as I am intensely focused on that task and have an immense dread of seeing stacks of Determination upon my person. It’s not that I mind the wipes, because sometimes sheeyit happens.  I’m just allergic to the jerks who start talking sheeyit in response to repeated ones.

The Secret to Success The One Habit of Highly Successful LFRers

The Secret to Success
The One Habit of Highly Successful LFRers

My cats will tell you that when I am healing, they get no love.  I will, horrifyingly, refuse to even pet them, because I simply can’t sacrifice that much attention (or spare the limb).  As it turns out, I like having to care, because it makes things more interesting … but at the same time, my capacity for caring has its limitations.  There’s only so much I am willing to put myself through, because having to care takes a lot more energy.  I can deal with caring + mechanics, or I can deal with caring + the total whining nincompoops that often show up in LFR, but I can’t deal with all three at once.  So at this point, unless pressed by friends who are looking for a faster queue, I will not heal for:

Terrace of Endless Spring
Reason: Tsulong

I.  Hate.  That “night” phase.  Hate it.  It’s a mana-sucking void of quasi-doom where people either stand in the Sunbeam and drop puddles of fear into it, or they never go into the Sunbeam and the stacks deal increasing amounts of damage while I am getting ever lower on mana.  It’s not impossible, and my best buddy Tremor Totem helps out, but it’s not fun, either.  Somewhere between the rising sense of “OMG, OOM” and praying for the DPS to kill faster plzkthx, I got a passive-aggressive thought going, “Well, I SAW ’em make a healthstone, so they should USE IT.”  This inevitably collides with a sudden realization that I am glad I don’t actually know how many stacks of the debuff everybody has, because then I’d get depressed.

I hate having to heal Tsulong too.  FIRST you put me through the wringer with constant raid-wide damage that increases with each stack of the debuff, and NOW you want me to heal this mother trucking NPC too?  Look, I say we heal him to death with swords some more.  What does he actually do when he’s not terrified of the dark anymore (because we beat the sheeyit out of him), anyway?  I STILL DON’T KNOW.

On the upside, healing Sha of Fear is easy as … well, taking candy from a baby doesn’t do it justice, because the baby cries and throws a fit.

Forgotten Depths
Reason: Tortos

@#$%ing ninety million @#$%ing turtles and ninety million @#$%ing bats and the turtles ricochet EVERY-FREAKING-WHERE and they interrupt me ALL THE TIME and it’s just, AUGH, GAWD I CAN’T STAND IT I HATE MY LIFE CASTING CRAP SHOULDN’T BE THIS HARD.  Yo, I’m gonna Riptide you and toss out a totem, but that’s about it until Spiritwalker’s Grace is off cooldown.  Stop standing in sheeyit, will you?  Oops, there goes the bat tank.  Well, @#$%, there goes the raid, the bats are chewing everybody’s faces off.  @#$@ing turtles.  @#$^ing bats.

Bleeping Turtles, Bleeping Bats THEY'RE EVERYWHERE

Bleeping Turtles, Bleeping Bats
THEY’RE EVERYWHERE

Halls of Flesh-Shaping
Reason: Durumu

Because being dead does such wonders for your numbers.

Purple BS I agree.  Of course, in stopping to take this shot, I died.

Purple BS
I agree. Of course, in stopping to take this shot, I died.

Pinnacle of Storms
Reason: Lei Sheeeeeeeeyit

I’ll be honest: I haven’t tried to heal this one again after the last time.  I can’t bring myself to do it because healing the Lei Shen fight just seems about as fun as jamming your hand into a hot toaster.  If it’s not me feeling antsy about my numbers to begin with, it’s me dreading the fact that I’m an obvious target for sniping because my numbers are, “at this stage of the game,” considered le suck.  As DPS, my numbers can be le suck and little to no attention will be paid to me, unless:

  • I screw up in an epic manner, such as the rogue who Shadowsteps off the platform somehow
  • The LFR wiped and people want somebody to blame it on, but the tanks are capable and the healers say they were healing, so everybody below a certain DPS threshold is a target
  • I was a jerk and pulled before everybody was ready or even back from the last wipe

Frankly, this can be a huge pro in the favor of DPSing, even if the DPS spec has the longest queue.

p.s., Did you realize that there’s “ham” in “shaman” …?  No WONDER I like it!

Project Platekini Part Two: “Not Saltstone” Set, or the “Fallen Dreams” Set

"Fallen Dreams" Set

“Fallen Dreams” Set

Class: Paladin

H: Not shown | S: Gladiator’s Scaled Shoulders | Cl: Not shown
Ch: Gladiator’s Scaled Chestpiece | Wa: Belt of the Fallen Emperor | L: Cenarion Thicket Legplates
G: Gauntlets of Raw Strength | Wr: Not shown | B: Cataclysmic Gladiator’s Warboots of Alacrity

Shield: Crest of Retribution
1h Sword: Greatsword of Horrid Dreams

Thoughts: If Helen of Troy had the face that launched a thousand ships, then this is the transmog set that launched one alt and a bazillion plans that still haven’t been finished (yet).  I almost called this the “Dat Ash” Set, but I maintain some pretense of dignity.

This is the set my sole blood elf was made for and undeleted for.  I had a moment of brilliance (Ermagerdda would be a GREAT name for a dwarf or an orc), combined with residual feelings of guilt (ERMAGERD ANOTHER BLOOD ELF THEY’RE LIKE 2/3RDS OF THE HORDE WTF), which mixed with the conversation of some friends who like to talk up how awesome warrior is.  So I deleted the blood elf and made Ermagerdda the Orc Warrior, only to realize that this set, as-is, can only be done on a paladin, what with the class-specific gear and all.  Craaaaap.

Lastly:

Blame Blizzard, Not the Mogger Seriously, I wouldn't go to some of these places if I didn't have to.

Blame Blizzard, Not the Mogger
Seriously, I wouldn’t go to some of these places if I didn’t have to.

The Young and the Retless

Nope Nope Nope Nope Running scared!

Nope Nope Nope Nope
Running scared!

After going through the effort of getting Nir geared in heroic dungeon and Darkspear weekly tank plate, and then shelling out the precious gold to (mostly) enchant/gem her for that role, I have utterly and totally chickened out.  I concluded that I it was much safer to DPS my way into ToT, whereupon I will switch my loot specialization to Protection.  Once I acquire ToT tank plate, I will then requeue for Mogu’shan Vaults as a tank.  This will enable me to safely blame the healers for any fail because with my gear, I obviously know what I’m doing amirite?

The Best Part of Being Well Geared I have GOT to get in on this.

The Best Part of Being Well Geared
I have GOT to get in on this.

I think I’ve pointed out before that I suck at Retribution. It’s not a rotation that comes naturally to me, and keeping up Inquisition seems to be beyond my attention span, what with its maximum duration being thirty seconds.  Inquisition, I mean, not my attention span – that’s more like a minute.  It’s also beyond my willpower, because if I have three charges of Holy Power, I want to use Templar’s Verdict with that sheeyit!  Apparently they’re going to increase the duration of Inquisition (as seen on the 5.4 PTR), but it probably won’t solve my latter issue.

Honestly, this is one of the things that prevents me from really enjoying the paladin class.  I’d like to have a “helpful” spec (tanking) and a “loner” spec (theoretically, ret).  But because I can’t seem to master Retribution whatsoever, that means I can tank, or I can tank in terms of watching my performance be about as bad as possible even though I’m actually using skills.  (I’m talking 30k bad.)  Nir got very, very lucky with loot and rolls in Mogu’shan Vaults last week, landing a chest piece, Starshatter and legs.  So I am going to assume getting out of tank plate, reforging/gemming and the enormous size of a human female’s Starshatter will help my miserable performance.  Hope springs eternal!

Secretly, I’d also like 1handed Retribution to actually be a viable option, mostly because that would work better for Nir’s backstory (not like I ever RP, but somehow she has the longest and most complete one) and also because I like shields.  Alas, being so bad to start off with means that I really couldn’t make an effective argument for it.  No, I really do need the big smashy 2handers to compensate for incompetence.

The other day, the DPS queue for LFR was going to be at least a half hour, so I thought I’d go to the Barrens and kill some Commanders for resources and fun.  (I forgot that it’s not fun on melee, because of increased exposure to poison, fire and axes.)  Right after a series of deaths due to not being able to get out of poison fast enough, I accidentally got myself flagged for PvP by a careless tab target.  I died again right before the commander went down, of course.  Was it the commander or a player taking advantage of my distraction?  I will never know.

I knew I was flagged, so I waited until everyone had left to go fight the next Commander before I ressed.  Unfortunately, there was a Stealthed rogue I didn’t see, literally waiting just for me to come back to loot so she could stun me and rogue me in the back.  When I say just for me, I’m not being sarcastic – there was no other flagged Alliance in the area other than myself.  I felt so hopeless in Ret, I just stood there so it would be over more quickly.  That way I could run back AGAIN and try to loot the stupid resources AGAIN.  Then I flew to a hiding spot and remained there until the flag wore, but by then I didn’t feel like doing anything at all.

p.s., I also decided to DPS because tanking Elegon with two FPS seemed destined to be really, really awkward.  I’ve never fallen through the floor before, but they always say there’s a first time for everything.

“Element Strider” Set

"Element Strider" Set

“Element Strider” Set

Class: Shaman (with gloves and staff), Hunter

H: Helm of the Nether Scion | S: Feludius’ Mantle | Cl: Mindshard Drape
Ch: Firestrider Chestguard | Wa: Belt of the Iron Servant | L: Groovey Legguards
G:
Handwraps of the Raging Elements | Wr: Not shown | B: Cleated Ice Boots

Staff: The Undeath Carrier

Thoughts: Yep.  I’m wearing a treestump hat, I look ridiculous, and I LOVE IT.  I want the heroic version next.  Haters gonna hate.

Haters Gonna Hate I wanted to screencap him actually saying it in person, if you will, but he wouldn't say it again!

Haters Gonna Hate
I wanted to screencap him actually saying it in person, if you will, but he wouldn’t say it again!

This particular outfit is one that has undergone a large number of revisions as Electrika has leveled and other items became available.  Once upon a time, it was intended to be an outfit she could wear around the 70s and discard once she hit 85, and it involved an entirely different selection of weird hat (the Dream-Wing Helm), shoulders (Thick Scale Shoulderpads) and chest (that fel iron mail that blacksmiths can craft).  But then I didn’t dump the outfit like a hot potato.  Instead, I kept on adjusting it to involve cooler things.

The hat was the hardest thing to get, and not because Bastion of Twilight normal is a huge challenge at level 90 – it was more because nobody wanted to go, pretty much ever.  I managed to luck out with it and the shoulders on the ONE Bastion of Twilight run I was able to get myself in.  Cal has been trying to distract me from other things (as well as trying to prevent me from dragging him to the Bastion of Twilight), so when he heard of a group going there, he hooked me up.  I am very, very thankful that the gear dropped and I got it, because I will probably never find another group again.  This is sad, because I really want the blue heroic version too.

The staff is, quite frankly, a stand-in.  When I came up with the outfit originally (and when I started collecting crap for it), Ele was using a mace/shield combo.  I REALLY want to go back to that.  I just have to, you know, get a one-handed weapon.  So far, I’ve gotten a staff (currently using), a shield, and an offhand.  GO ME.

The Tyranny of Choice, Vuhdo Edition

About a week ago now, I finally started putzing around with Vuhdo.

Ack, Boxes They're everywhere!

Ack, Boxes
They’re everywhere!

After first freaking out about All The Windowz because there are at least three to start off and that may be too many for me to mentally cope with (private tank?  Wat?), I then spent way too long trying to figure out how to get to the options.  The other addons I use have options that I can access through the game’s interface menu, but Vuhdo doesn’t.  It was like Vuhdo was laughing at me!  LOL YOU’RE TRYING TO GET TO THE OPTIONS BY RIGHT CLICKING THE BOX WITH YOUR NAME IN IT THAT’S SO FUNNY DO IT AGAIN.

Seriously, I’m glad hardly anybody does the Golden Lotus dailies these days, ’cause I was standing there at the Golden Pagoda, chaining the Chain Healing as though right clicking THIS TIME was going to do something different than it did the LAST TIME.  Maybe if I hold down the right click, a new thing will happen!  Nope.  Chain Heal.  Maybe I need to double right click!  Nope.  Chain Heal.  All I wanted was some OPTIONS, not INDIGNITY, but alas – it seemed I was doomed to be stuck forever with the latter.

Thanks to the assistance of a friend, I finally located the magical command (which has to be typed in the chatbox) that opens up the magical land of Vuhdo Options.  So.  Many.  Options.  There are tabs, and then the tabs have tabs!  It probably didn’t help that I was attempting to LFR with my guild at the same exact time (CARRY ME, GUYS).  Actually, it turns out that messing with Vuhdo settings in combat is bad, because it causes it to bork.

THERE ARE SO MANY OPTIONS I CAN'T I JUST WAT Point and click seems like ancient history now.

THERE ARE SO MANY OPTIONS I CAN’T I JUST WAT
Point and click seems like ancient history now.

It took a while, but I finally scored my first Big Achievement (and, sadly, #1 priority): making Vuhdo pretty.

See, much nicer. And so colorful!

See, much nicer.
And so colorful!

My second Big Vuhdo Achievement: discovering that Vuhdo is (one way) people get snappy res messages.  Can I get a heck yeah?

Automatic Ressing Machine Res anywhere, anytime.  Well, almost, anyway.

Automatic Ressing Machine
Res anywhere, anytime. Well, almost, anyway.

I gotta get the spells I set in Vuhdo into muscle memory.  I logically remember that I set Chain Heal to shift-right click  (so I can’t accidentally repeat the Golden Pagoda scene), for example, but I need to know spell assignments to the point where I don’t have to even think about it, I just do.  Since I currently have a limited number of mouse buttons available to me, I’ve tried to pick the “Important” spells.

Left click: Earth Shield
Right click: Riptide

Shift-left click: Greater Healing Wave
Shift-right click: Chain Heal

Ctrl-left click: Purify

Setting Earth Shield to a mouse click has not wholly prevented me from casting it on myself by accident, but it has helped.  I decided to go with Greater Healing Wave as my “solid” single-target spell because I currently have a set bonus for it.  I’m also assuming that if they’re taking so little damage that I want to cast something like Healing Surge, I’ve got time to shift one of my hands to the proper keyboard button.

Speaking of spells, another thing that broke my brain was the Vuhdo distinction between “profiles” and “key sets.”  I spotted some checkboxes for activating a profile on switching to Spec 1 or Spec 2, so I thought I’d make one for each.  It made sense to me to stick the healing spells Elemental has access to in the same general area (a.k.a. the mouse), since I do like to be prepared with some backup heals in OMFG emergency situations.  Well, I Did It Wrong.

Had I not been distracted by all ninety million options + spec 1 + spec 2 + boxes + wat is going on here, I would’ve noted the little text message that states, quite clearly, how profiles do NOT save spell bindings.  Nope.  Having not seen it though it was directly in front of my face, I proceeded to change the spell bindings for elemental, only to then discover they remained as such upon switching back to Resto.  Bah.  Turns out I needed to save different key settings.

Once I got that figured out, I felt better.

Maybe We Can Work This Out

Maybe We Can Work This Out

At this point in time, there are two things that bug me.

1.) I have to open up Vuhdo options to type in the name of the tank for Earth Shield’s buff watch thing.  When tanks drop like flies for unknown reasons, this can get annoying.  (My tendency to type “/vudho option” is also annoying.)  Similarly, I can’t figure out how to get the dang thing to switch the buffs to watch for different specs.  It’s pointless for me to track Earth Shield when I’m in Elemental spec, so I’d rather make sure I have my own shield and weapon imbue up and running.

2.) I have to get a one-hander for ele because if I can’t use a shield on either spec, I will go mad.  Ok, so that’s not exactly Vuhdo related, but it’s still true.  /tapes shield to staff

And lastly,  food for thought:

Somebody HAS to Have Done This Already

Somebody HAS to Have Done This Already