Tag Archives: restoration

Hozen fling poo, I fling lava. I win.

This Healer's SO Helpful

This Healer’s SO Helpful

I finally got Electrika to 90 over the weekend (leveling is why I haven’t posted since last week), and somewhere in Pandaland, I suddenly had a “whoa …” moment of appreciation for the elemental spec that I had never experienced before.  (I admit that I last spent a lot of time in elemental was prior to patch 5.0 and shaman deletion #1.)  Oh, there was joy when Lava Lash procced like, three or four times and I had the magic instant casts.  Oh, there was glee when I could mash Chain Lightning over and over and it actually cast every time.  Oh, there was euphoria when I could use Ascendance and throw lava around like a madman (and look like one!).  Also, the fancy upgraded elementals (thanks to the level 90 talent) are snazzy lookin’.  I like looking good.

I actually like being a shaman now, to the point where I think I may make Electrika my main.  I can be ranged DPS, which means I can compensate for my internal derp mechanisms by staying away from things that hurt.  I’m tougher than a mage, and I can actually keep up something that resembles a generally accepted rotation.  (Running around in circles casting Arcane Explosion is not considered by most to be a true rotation, which makes mage-ing suck for me because that’s totally the best part.)  I’m more inclined to be elemental-y than I am to be warlock-y.  And unlike hunter, I can switch to a healing spec, which means I can be useful in group situations or help my mostly DPS friends.

My conclusion about the shaman class in general is:

Shaman 1 to 20?  Sucks.  Sucks bad.  Needs Earth Shield SOONER OMFG.
Shaman 21 to 60?  Meh.
Shaman 61 to 80?  Ok, you know, I can live with this.
Shaman 81 to 90?  WHEE CHAIN LIGHTNING YOU @%#^&*!s!  I FLING LAVA AT YOU!  EARTHQUAAAAAKE!*  THUNDERSTORM!  ZING!  ZAP!

There is ONE THING that gets me down, though, and that is the limit of 300k mana.  It’s old news to most folks, but Electrika is really my first Serious Encounter with it.  Ailabeth is my only other real mana user, so when she hit 90 and I had 300k mana, I didn’t think a thing of it.  Besides, it’s not like it mattered for her.  Dispersion!  Mindsquid!  If she runs out of mana, the party chugs on.

But for Electrika, there have been a number of instances where fights have dragged out and/or people have taken a crapton of avoidable (why is this tank in DPS plate) damage, and I’ve just gotten so low on mana, I can’t cast crap other than my dinkiest spells.  I mentioned wanting more mana in guild, which is when a guildmate said hey, that’s unfortunate, ’cause 300k is all you’ll get.

Wat.

So lemme get this straight – everybody ever can pretty much increase their health out the wazoo with gear, enchants, gems and whatnot – but I’m stuck at 300k mana FOREVER?  Tanks can show up with 700k+ HP for cripe’s sake!  Why, exactly, am I stuck with 300k mana, especially when casting IS MY LIFE?  (Or, if I’m resto, when casting IS EVERYONE’S LIFE?)  WHAT IS THIS MADNESS!?

Okay, so, three options.  Better mana management, forget healing people to full because lawl, increase potency of heals somehow.  I can’t ever tell if the third is happening with improved gear, because as I get improved gear, I get into “improved” situations in which more people show up in similarly improved (and HP increasing!) gear – from 90 normals to 90 heroics, and from heroics to LFR.

It was the queue timer more than anything that made me switch specs.

It was the queue timer more than anything that made me switch specs.

I AM trying to get better at mana management (sadly, my Passive Aggressive Mana Management technique won’t work in LFD parties, since I can’t ride on the backs of other healers … I AM THE ONLY ONE OGOD).  But I confess I still like casting the costly heals for two reasons.  One, multiple people are taking damage (example: everybody jumps down to fight Gekkan and chaos ensues), and two, the more costly heals actually heal a “worthwhile”-feeling chunk of my tank’s 700+ freaking thousand HP.  My dinky heals are just that – dinky.  Good to toss on a DPS or something, but when that tank is pulling lots of mobs, I need the big guns!

Wait, there are three reasons.  People get tunnel vision (I call this DPS Goggles) and don’t see their HP decreasing and/or don’t use self-healing skills, which would help ease my heavy mana use.  So I think the DPS can use that healthstone they got earlier while they think I’m going to heal them, IF they’re even thinking about something other than skill cooldowns and rotation.  Communication issue much?

And I LIKE to keep people as close to topped off as possible, because it feels safer.  You never know when sheeyit will hit the fan, and the more HP they have, the more time there is to respond to a drop.  Sure sure, leave that DPS at three quarters health, it’s ok – except then the DPS stands in something, or gets aggro somehow, or gets hit by something big.  If you are working on keeping the tank/yourself up and the DPS had the DPS Goggles on and didn’t see their overall health going dooooooown, then that’s that for the poor DPS!  THEN of course mobs take longer to kill and THEN of course I’m going to run out of mana eventually because I only have 300k of the stuff, even with the Mana Tide totem (which of course has a huge cooldown).

Fel tells me I need to get the Riptide glyph and actually expect the other LFR healers to do something instead of trying to do it all myself.  BUT BUT, WHAT IF THEY DON’T OMG.

Suddenly, Muscle Memory is Useless

Suddenly, Muscle Memory is Useless

Here’s another thing, though it isn’t related to the shallow end of the mana pool: how the heck do you select raid members that are not in your party?  Thanks to running LFD constantly, I’ve trained myself to use F1 through F5 to select myself or my party members.  This allows me to select others quickly, in turn enabling me to move my left hand back to the keyboard to move my character out of crap when necessary.  My right hand is using my healing/totem hotkeys all the time – and they’re all oriented to the right hand side of the keyboard.

But when I’m in a party with more than five people, my method suddenly goes to hell.  Well, the first five people in my party are fine – the rest are (possibly) screwed.  I inevitably try selecting them with F6 and on, but that of course does nothing, so then I have to move my right hand away from my keys and up to the mouse, select them, then move back again – sounds like it’s not much, but for me, just because I’ve gotten my right hand back to the keyboard does not mean it’s in the right place, which means I may not be casting the right spells.  Since I order my heal hotkeys based on the increasing amount healed, I may be healing too much or too little until I figure out that my hand has shifted a key or two over.

In other news, I lost a roll, pretty badly.

I'm just going to try to keep my dignified composure. ... OH MY GAWD I ROLLED A 9 WHY GAWD WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

I’m just going to try to keep my dignified composure.
… OH MY GAWD I ROLLED A 9 WHY GAWD WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

But it’s cool ’cause he’s my friend, right?

* While in the midst of an elemental high, please remember to heal yourself periodically.  Dying causes extreme and immediate painful withdrawal effects.

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Gimme a Super Soaker and I’ll Heal You

Electrika is now in the 60s, which is actually past the point where each and every shaman I have ever made has fallen face first into the delete button.  This is my first shaman ever that can actually FLY.

I’m starting to like shaman healing, mostly because I envision myself doing two things:

  1. I am throwing buckets of water at people.  Lots of buckets.
  2. I am making it rain on their heads.  SAD STORMCLOUD FOLLOWS YOU EVERYWHERE.

I like picturing my party looking like soaking wet cats by the end of the dungeon.  And if I’m sometimes secretly pretending to drown everybody in my party, does that make me a bad healer/person?

ALL THE WATER, YOU'RE IN IT

ALL THE WATER, YOU’RE IN IT

I gotta say, leveling a healer from scratch helps immensely in feeling comfortable with that role, even if you take a break for a few weeks and come back to it later.  For example, Ailabeth has leveled to 89 completely in Shadow.  Whenever I use her Disc spec to heal in transmog runs (because Holy has too much going on for me to handle), the feelings are not good.  I am pushing buttons that seem like good buttons to push, but not enjoying it because there are probably better buttons to be pushing and/or a better order to push them in, and we’re all getting a little too close to death for my tastes.  Also, I inevitably look for Dispersion when I’m low on mana.  NOT HAPPENING.

But Electrika shows that increased competence leads to slightly less panicking, which is immensely beneficial.  I had a couple of “AMAZING! IT’S LIKE I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING!” moments in Blackrock the other day, which of course I failed to screencap.

After clearing the Grim Guzzler of all the bargoers, we exited out the back onto the small, circular platform that rises above the anvil you use for Dark Iron.  We had an overenthusiastic enhancement shaman DPS who noticed Lord Incendius down below and decided to engage him by jumping there.  Perhaps predictably, he aggroed the mobs on the opposite half of the circular platform.  In a scene somewhat reminiscent of Gnomeregan but with way more fire, those mobs proceeded to run through the rest of Blackrock to find us, dragging along every additional monster they could find.

I saw them running for the door when I followed the tank down, so I knew sheeyit was coming.  In the chaos that followed (Dark Iron dwarves!  Golems!  Lord Incendius!  Fire elementals!  ALL THE THINGS!), the DPS shaman died.  Everything attacked him first and all at once before the tank could get aggro on some of it (and I inevitably got aggro from the rest of it by SPAMMING ALL THE HEALS).  One other DPS was a clothie, and the poor chap went down almost instantly while I was focused on keeping the tank and myself up and running so we could get control of the situation.  When all was said and done, I somehow managed to keep the last DPS standing too.  We stood proudly atop a pile of corpses!

I will probably never be so badass again.

Similarly, when we jumped into the Ring of Law, I somehow aggroed the spectators in the ring above.  I don’t recall them ever doing that before, but the moment I saw my portrait go red, the “OH CRAP” warning bells went off.  Indeed, All The Things from the nearby area charged me just as we were fighting the first boss there, but Reincarnation was off cooldown, so I popped back up and kept on going LIKE A PRO.  ONLY the DPS shaman died that time, and I have no idea how I did it – I was so low on mana!  Possibly the tank was better prepared for the sheeyitstorm?

Electrika’s now transitioned into Burning Crusade dungeons and Death Knights.  I always thought the party of “all DKs all the time” was something of a joke, but I actually had a party of all Death Knights the other day, and every last one of ’em was in Blood Presence and Death Gripping crap until I said something.  One was still in Blood Presence even after that!

The real big shift that I’ve noticed, however, is how tanks now pull a lot of crap all at once.  I swear this started pretty suddenly in Hellfire Ramparts.  The first big pull is from the door to the guy who calls the warhounds.  Then they pull everything in the middle + first boss.  There’s a bit of a breather when they drag the two guys at the foot of the stairs up to the small group upstairs, but then the open area is a huge pull of ALL THE THINGS.

Have we gotten braver?  Have we gotten dumber?  Has Blizzard placed more mobs more closely together?  I don’t know, but it’s such a huge amount of damage all at once, even with platewearers, that I have to be ON THE BALL or they die when they do that.   Now that I’ve gotten Healing Rain, I start casting that before the tank has gotten everything grouped up tightly, targeting the approximate spot where I think the tank going to end up.  Once that’s up to cover for the DPS getting aggro and to buy me a bit more time to get a massive heal off for the tank, I start churning out those big buckets of water (Healing Wave/Greater Healing Wave/Chain Heal).  If I’ve misjudged whereabouts the tank will stop running and/or the tank runs JUST out of range, tank will likely end up dead.

Dancing With Spirit Wolves I'm the one with Water Shield.  Not like you can really tell ...

Dancing With Spirit Wolves
I’m the one with Water Shield. Not like you can really tell …

People say that healing is boring, and I do see lots of healers jumping around and/or pulling crap.  I can’t say the same, since I find I have to pay much more attention to what’s going on than I do as a DPS.  Maybe it’s just because I’ve leveled so many DPS classes but so few healers?  In any case, I have pretty much zero screenshots of Electrika, because OMFG THE TANK OH GEEZE.

p.s., I’ve written before about totally colluding with the healer to get an annoying DPS killed.  I’VE NOW BEEN ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THAT REQUEST.  It was so WEIRD.

Pour A Little Healin’ On Me Baby

I didn’t have a healer Hordeside, since my Shadow Priest only uses her Disc offspec if and only if a very good friend asks for backup on a transmog run.  So I started up a shaman (YES AGAIN WTF) since I have plentiful mail heirlooms and no surviving pre-existing shaman of either faction.  (Also, goblins can’t be druids yet.)  So far, I’ve come to the conclusion shaman healing reminds me of throwing buckets of water on people … in slow mo.

MY JOB IS ORLYYour job is to shut up, stop pulling crap and start nuking sheeyit better.

MY JOB IS ORLY
Your job is to shut up, stop pulling crap and start nuking sheeyit better.

I’m told that level 22 is too early to decide that I hate shaman healing.  I’m told that it gets better.  There’s AoEs, there’s Earth Shield, you get haste so casting sheeyit doesn’t take so long …

But I don’t have any AoEs yet.  Earth Shield doesn’t show up until level 26.  Aaaaand I have pretty much zero haste of course, so my spells take a Very.  Long.  Time.  (And if I try to quest by myself, killing things also takes a Very.  Long.  Time.)  To me, this doesn’t make sense.  Why would you make something suck at first?  This isn’t raiding here!  We don’t need to weed out the weak before we’ve even seen Gnomeregan!

Because the only other character I’ve done a lot of healing on recently is Daschela (my druid), I associate Riptide with Rejuvenation.  They’ve both got an instant cast, provide a bit of heal at first and more healing over time, and make another healing spell more effective.  You get it at a low level and it’s pretty much a standard thing to use when you are a nooblet, so they’re totally similar, amirite?  Actually, this comparison only contributes to my frustration, for Riptide has a stupid cooldown that Regrowth does not.  It basically means I can’t hit Riptide two or three times in a row like I can with Rejuvenation to get the squishy babytank out of the red bad danger zone.   (But six seconds isn’t much, you say.  Well, when you have a tank with a few hundred HP, those six seconds can mean death.)

At this point, I have two healing spells, both of which feel like they’re taking FOREVER when I NEED them RIGHT NOW.  When in combat, I’ll start casting one of these before the squishy babytank needs a heal, but it’s not uncommon for the squishy babytank to die RIGHT before I get the heal off.  If I hesitate, or if there’s a sudden swell of damage after I already started casting the less powerful healing spell, the babytank is pretty much effed.

This usually results in the entire party dying, because I’ll get flustered (I WAS SO CLOSE OMFG), go a;lsfdkjas;ldfkjas;lfkja;slfdkjasl;fdj, and proceed to heal the wrong person.

GO ME.

On the other hand, sometimes I get a nonsquishy babytank who might even pop a Word of Glory in here or there, and I can actually eat dinner with one hand while healing with the other.

I’m told I need to learn how to blame the tank for bad gear and the DPS for not killing stuff faster.  (Secret: I only look at the tank’s gear if there’s something Obviously Wrong, like the time that one DK showed up in part leather with Resurrection Sickness*.)  Ok, sure, I’ll work on my blaming others skill.  Still, the true test of my endurance will be to see if this shaman lasts past the 50s.  This is traditionally when my shamans kick the bucket.

On a lighter note …

Physics, Don't Question ThemBecause the moment I do, their failure will fail.

Physics, Don’t Question Them
Because the moment I do, their failure will fail.

*Makes you wonder WTF that DK was doing.

Daschela’s Just Confused

Help Me Help You
So Daschela did some lowbie LFD runs as a healer, which proved to be a thoroughly confusing experience.  The first few parties were neither here nor there, and had a mostly run of the mill, “Hey hunter, here’s how to turn off your pet’s taunt” type feeling to them.  Unfortunately, Daschela then leveled up enough to enter Scarlet Monastery.  The new Scarlet Monastery is a dog-eat-dog-and-Scarlet-and-player world for a nooblet heals, especially if you zone in to a party that’s already started where the previous healer, for reasons unknown (though soon to become clear), jumped ship.

I’m sure you are familiar with that part where you grab an enormous archery target and proceed to run towards a huge pack of archers, led by what is arguably a miniboss/midboss/guy who failed to get promoted.  One must avoid the ever present threat of dying in a fire until you get within a certain range, whereupon you are swarmed and must down ’em all.  Well, that didn’t go so well for Daschela.

Folks couldn’t avoid the fire.  That happens, and Daschela had to toss off a few heals to keep said folks up.  That also happens, but the archers got pissed off at Daschela for doing that, and they swarmed her instead of the tank.  This happens too sometimes, and Daschela’s kind of squishy, so she had to spamheal herself while running after the tank.  Simultaneously, the rogue’s health started dropping FAST.  Wait, why the hell is Daschela running after the tank?

I’m cool with meeting in the middle, but the paladerp seemed to be content to stay on the far side of the field where we had started, ignoring poor Daschela’s seesawing HP.  Unfortunately, the moment spent trying to keep the rogue alive was a moment spent not keeping herself alive, and Daschela went down.  The inevitable wipe then occurred, and recriminations passed around.  The paladerp’s logic in running away and not pulling mobs off the healer was something like this: since he wasn’t getting any heals, he decided to pull some of the packs away.  To what?  For what?  Why not pull away some of the mobs tearing Daschela a new one?  The world will never know.

Help Me Help YouWhen people say pull the mobs away from the healer, they generally don't mean it like that.

Help Me Help You
When people say pull the mobs away from the healer, they generally don’t mean it like that.

Dear paladerp: ignoring the fact that you can heal yourself and others in times of necessity but apparently chose not to, let’s strike a bargain here – pull the crap off me and I’ll heal you.  Deal?   As you can see, another night elf DPS apparently had had it long before with the tank, but rather than initiating a vote kick, he decided to yell in all caps at him for awhile.  This is, of course, because tanks are hard to come by in comparison to everybody else.

Daschela felt really bad for the poor night elf rogue in the party, who kept dropping like a fly despite Daschela’s best attempts to keep her up.  She felt less bad about the tank, who died again when he pulled everything in the last room before the final boss (and then accused her of attacking and therefore shirking her healing duties, even though she only casts Moonfire or Faerie Fire which are kind of obvious and instant, and only when things are going well enough for her to select something other than the tank, which they weren’t).

“Maybe this is it for me,” Daschela thought.  “Perhaps I have reached the pinnacle of my healination skills.”  So she joined the next party as DPS.  Eff that healing business!  Apparently she can’t keep up anyway.

Or Can She?

Then, as luck would have it, the tank, the healer and one additional DPS wanted to continue and complete the rest of the Maraudon joint after killing Lord Vyletongue.  It seemed, however, that the healer and one of the deeps had underestimated just how dang long the place actually is, and so they disappeared after a few minutes.  Daschela, resisting the instinct to /facepalm, offered to heal while simultanteously apologizing ahead of time for the fail she felt would almost certainly happen.

A mage, a druid and a warrior walk into a bar ...

A mage, a druid and a warrior walk into a bar …

One underleveled warrior, one mage, and one seriously baffled druid then proceeded to three-man All Teh Things, including the bosses – with NO deaths.  None.  We lived through it all.  While Daschela’s got int leather heirlooms up the wazoo, the tank and sole DPS most certainly did not have heirlooms of any type.  Yet despite that, there were only a couple of hairy moments where things got a little scary.

If I suck at healing as much as the Scarlet Monastery fiasco led me to believe – how the hell did we live?

I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO THINK.

Dual Spec Personality
Having achieved level 30 and a dual spec, my summary of Boomkin is: OH MY GOD WHAT THE HENRY CLAY FRICK AM I DOING JEEBUS CRIPES!

First off, as a druid, I already feel like I have too many toolbars.  So then you add eclipses.  One general “Eclipse” category would’ve been good enough for me, but oh no – we’re BALANCE, right?  So we gotta have lunar AND solar sheeyit!  First the scale goes one way!  Then the scale goes the other!  What the hale am I doing?  I HAVE NO IDEA.  Apparently I gotta work it up one way or the other to get to shiny ignition and we have liftoff, but all I wanted to do was go pew pew pew!

NEED MOAR PEW PEW PEW, less shiny interface moon/sun thingies popping up on my screen kthx.

Pew Pew Pew