The 9th 90 and Thoughts on Druid Healing

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Almost a year ago to the day, a friend of mine actually listened to me talking up WRA and made a tank alt.  He asked me to make a healer to level with him, so I did, just like a good responsible “you should switch servers”-talking friend should.  There was, however, a small problem: he rolled a DK, so I was fifty-sixish freaking levels behind from the get-go!  As a result, my poor druid never did catch up to him, and that, I thought, was that.

But then Goa got another case of alt-itis.  I’m sympathetic to this problem because I know alt-itis well.  I’ve had it on many an occasion, and some might even say that I show the symptoms of a chronic case.  Around level 70, Goa mentioned wanting a leveling buddy … and wouldn’t ya know it, I just so happened to have a stalled druid sitting at that exact point!  Thus began the odd leveling partnership between one evil soul-stealing goblin warlock and one shoeless treehugging troll hippie.  (It was weird.  No, not the whole warlock and druid combo – the whole me not being the goblin thing.)

Once we got past Utgarde Keep and I re-familiarized myself with something that wasn’t a shaman, things went pretty well.  In fact, they went freaking great except for those couple of times when I got smacked by things and fell daeeeed to the ground.  Overall, I was shocked.  I had no idea this druid thing was so EASY.  I didn’t have to do much more than Rejuvenate until I got into the 60s, and even after that point, most situations felt laid back.  Rejuvenate and chill, yo.  Whooshy sounds!  Maybe put that green circle thingie down.  Nice lookin’, isn’t it?  I like the little leaf thingies that float up, those are neat.  Oh, I guess I should cast a heal or something, earn my keep.  Nah, we’re lookin’ good, I’ll just Rejuv + that other HoT thingie that stacks.  What was that one called, anyway?  Lifebloom, that’s it!

And on it went.  Wrath dungeons?  Druid healing was totally easy.  Cata dungeons?  Druid healing was very easy.  Stormstout Brewery?  Druid healing was STILL easy.  Temple of the Jade Serpent?  Druid healing was mostly easy, unless the tank decided to pull the whole Courtyard full of Sha when I wasn’t even in LoS yet.  Siege of Niuzao?  OH MY GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE THIS IS CATASTROPHIC I REGRET EVERYTHING HOLY CRACKBASKETS

Always Shoot for the Stars Blah Blah Blah And if you miss, land face first.

Always Shoot for the Stars Blah Blah Blah
And if you miss, land face first.

My druid’s first Siege of Niuzao run turned out to be The Moment in which I realized I’m Doing It Wrong.  To be sure, it wasn’t the first time I’ve observed some randomass things in LFD and have subsequently wondered what I’m doing with my whole existence, like that one time a feral druid showed up and tanked the whole Siege of Niuzao in cat form.  I told him he was the skinniest bear I’d ever seen!  Still, underweight grizzly or no, he overgeared the whole thing and that was that.

But when I was an at-level druid faced with healing an at-level paladin tank clad from head to toe in PvP healing gear, my lack of true druid comprehension bloomed into a freaking nightmare.  No longer could I rely on a simple, trustworthy combo of Rejuvenation when needed, Wild Mushroom + Efflorescence (OMFG HOW IS THIS FREE), Wild Growth and a bit of Lifebloom to touch up on things, only tossing in one big heal here and there when necessary.  Rejuvenation had been my primary healing spell ever since I got it at level 4!  DPS got smacked by shit before the tank got aggro back?  Rejuv.  Tank taking more damage than Lifebloom can handle?  Rejuv. All the adds on me?  Rejuv.  And prior to that awful Siege of Niuzao, it WORKED.  It healed what I needed by the time I needed it (a.k.a. before the target died), and I always had more than enough mana to spare.

But during that Siege of Niuzao and after, I hit a skill wall where not only did Rejuvenation NOT compensate for the damage a target just took, enough people were taking MORE damage for LONGER, causing me to use Rejuvenation even more frequently, which of course ended in me being OOM or nearly so long before the fights were actually over.  And just think, that was five people.  Now that I’m trying to heal 25-man LFRs on a druid, I’ve had to abandon Rejuvenation as a staple almost completely.  If that trucker’s up on more than like, three people, I got a problem.

I Was Doing So Well And then End Game hit me in the face.

I Was Doing So Well
And then End Game hit me in the face.

I also realized that (at least right now) as a druid, I overheal ALL THE TIME because I feel like I can’t efficiently respond to sudden or drastic downturns (which, of course, contributes to my persistent mana issues).  I don’t know if fate has it in for me or what, but if I don’t keep people topped off, SUDDENLY SHEEYIT HAPPENS AND IF SHEEYIT HAPPENS WE ARE DOOMED HOLY CRAP.  Somewhere around 50% HP, tanks will inexplicably start taking a ton of damage that I just can’t overcome by spamming what I think is my Big Guns single target heal intended for said situation, Healing Touch – that is, if I haven’t already gone OOM.

People make druid healing seem so effortless.  It seemed so effortless, once.  Now it seems like I just can’t do it Right, or like the Right way made an abrupt turn at level 87 or so and forgot to tell me.  We’re gonna have to work on this.

Welp That's Not What I Intended It started off so well and somehow ended up like this.

Welp That’s Not What I Intended
It started off so well and somehow ended up like this.

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16 thoughts on “The 9th 90 and Thoughts on Druid Healing

  1. Leit

    This could pretty much work as a “thoughts on levelling any healer” post. It’s schizophrenic the way that healing goes from “keep hots running and occasionally flash heal” to “OH MY GOD THEY’RE DEAD JIM”.

    As it stands, levelling as a healer does almost nothing to teach the toolkit, and is an active detriment to learning good healing habits.

    Wouldn’t worry too much about overhealing. It seems to be a druid thing. The nature of the beast, or maybe flower of the tree.

    Also, 9 90s? Sweet! 😀

    Reply
    1. Prinnie Powah Post author

      I expect the total dissonance between healing LFD and LFR now because of the difference in bodies to heal, but I still never quite seem to be prepared for that moment when all the heirlooms are gone, your gear is average and people are still playing the way they always have, even though the damage they take has increased. I do recall having mana issues on Electrika once she hit Pandaland dungeons, especially once she got to 90 and did not yet have LFR gear. Still, perhaps because druids have to be more proactive with the HoTs and/or resto shaman mastery saved my ass more than I realized, the shift seemed way more abrupt on Betheki.

      It’s like overhealing is considered wasteful. If somebody crows about their healing numbers in LFR, one of the quickest ways to check them is to tell them they overhealed the most. In the terrible Siege run that I did not describe in full, the second tank that came through specifically told me not to overheal during the Commander Pavlok (sp) fight. Okay, I said! This did not end well, because then Rejuv didn’t compensate when he started REALLY taking damage, and without some sort of health margin/ongoing HoT to cover for the longer cast time of my big heal, the dude was dead FAST. I had been spamming Healing Touch to get him back above 50%, but he just kept taking more damage than that healed. I battle res’d him, but by that point was out of mana, so he died again and then dumped the party. GREAT!

      Yeah, this is the 9th 90. Is there an achieve for 10? No? Darn.

      Reply
      1. Leit

        From experience: nope. No achieve. I has a sad.

        He probably didn’t want you to overheal on account of all the adds then making a beeline for you. (gas a druid, get used to this. :P) If he’s a poor tank, that means a lot of trouble picking them up. People throwing bombs at the boss can also damage the tank, and it’s a little distressing how many folks don’t seem to realise this.

        Overhealing costs style points, but druids’ style has always involved dumping a big bucket o’ heals over everyone and hoping enough of it sticks.

        Reply
        1. Prinnie Powah Post author

          …………………………… whoa. You mean I can kill the tank with bombs? I HAVE TO TRY THIS. I mean, uh, yeah, that’s bad, like when people toss that amber crap on the boss AND tank during the previous boss fight (I forgot the bug’s name).

          Speaking of adds, I’ve become increasingly used to them making a beeline for me, thanks to Electrika’s improved gear. I had a mind-boggling moment the other day where I realized that as a tank, I used to freak out about aggro when I had overgeared DPS in my party … AND NOW I’M THAT OVERGEARED DPS. (Plus, I’ve always been told that if adds weren’t trying to eat my face, I wasn’t playing an elemental shaman right.)

          You know, as far as overhealing goes, I almost think, “EFF THIS STYLE CRAP.” If I overheal, AND we live, AND I still have mana, who cares? Seriously, what does it matter in the least? Ok, so as Betheki, I don’t have mana left at this point. BUT SOME DAY I WILL.

          Reply
          1. Leit

            I just remember that boss as “where is it, worthless, useless!” guy because bombs are boring and killing the amberwing isn’t. 😛 Anyway, yeah… that dungeon seems to have opportunity upon opportunity to murder your party. So great.

            Back when I was learning to tank back in Cata, we’d dungeon with an ele shammy who used Rockbiter. And hit the imbue invokey thing on CD. >.< Good times.

            Reply
            1. Prinnie Powah Post author

              SPEAKING OF.

              Every time someone says “what class are we getting next” and people respond with “DEMON HUNTER,” I say NOPE. Shamans still have Rockbiter Weapon for no apparent reason other than pissing people off – which must mean that shamans are going to get a tank spec so we can use that skill in a more legit and group approved manner.

              /prospeculation

              Reply
    1. Prinnie Powah Post author

      Oh sure, I can easily blame everything but myself! Specifically, I blame:

      – The first tank for wearing an entire set of PvP healing armor while tanking a PvE dungeon
      – The first tank for not pulling mantid mobs out of the amber shield they create, thus reducing damage done to them, resulting in longer fights
      – The first tank for not understanding the concept of “active mitigation” or “defense cooldowns,” or even “self healing,” since he WAS a paladin
      – The second tank for abandoning the group during a boss fight
      – Blizzard for saying LOLZ 300K MANA IS ENOUGH GUIZE

      Reply
      1. Beetle

        I can sleep better now knowing some things are set in stone:

        The earth is round
        The universe is a cold big place
        Cookies are good
        WOW PUG dungeons and raids are still 99.999% guarantee stomach-burn

        Reply
          1. Leit

            Which probably would have resulted in the tank tearing you a new one, because it doesn’t sound like he would have appreciated his trash spread from hell to breakfast. 😛

            (seriously, if you ever want to convince a tank to drop group, spam knockbacks.)

            Reply
            1. Prinnie Powah Post author

              I have such beautiful, painful memories of wee elemental shamans using Thunderstorm in Gnomeregan, knocking mobs off the ledges and causing everything ever in the dungeon to storm us all at once.

              I figure that as Betheki with that particular tank, I had two advantages:

              1.) He wasn’t pulling crap out of the amber shields, which is Doing It Wrong, and
              2.) I’M THE HEALER. HAHAHAHA. YES, TRY TO GET RID OF ME, SINCE YOUR GEAR IS CRAP AND YOU CAN’T KEEP YOURSELF ALIVE WITHOUT ME.

              He did eventually drop because I couldn’t keep him up on the 2nd boss – he just took WAY too much damage.

              Reply
              1. Leit

                Protip: there’s a spot near the beginning of Blackrock where you can pull almost the entire bottom half of the dungeon by knocking a mob off. You really have to be *trying* but it can be done…

                Reply
                1. Prinnie Powah Post author

                  I’ve also learned that if you are dumb enough to jump off the ring to fight Lord Incendius on the level below, you’ll aggro the mobs on the OTHER side (at the same level you’re jumping from), who then proceed to run down through Blackrock and bring all their friends.

                  Reply
  2. Wilhelm Arcturus

    “I overheal ALL THE TIME because I feel like I can’t efficiently respond to sudden or drastic downturns”

    I have been working on a druid healer and I overheal like no other. I just got through WotLK on a diet of keeping 3x Lifebloom up on the tank, tossing Rejuv’s about quite liberally (you’re pet is hurt? have a rejuv!), Ysera’s gift to keep me out of trouble personally, and a Wild Growth or a Healing Touch in times of need. But clearly my days of slopping on healing with a trowel will come to and end at some point.

    Reply
    1. Prinnie Powah Post author

      All good things come to an end … alas!

      It’s entirely possible that “overhealing all the things lolz yay” is doable at end game, what with the better gear and set bonuses that I don’t have yet. So I hold out the hope that just maybe, I can use Rejuv like crazy again.

      Buuuuut then a guildmate of mine who does heals/boomkin for our raids was like, “Rejuvenation? I never use Rejuvenation!”

      Reply

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