Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dungeon Finder's New Bias ... how it forced me to run a dungeon with my guild.

I logged in and checked Dungeon Finder, since there was extra loot for healers, I queued.  Note, I'm not real social butterfly, I don't "/g hello everyone" because I don't care if people know I'm around or not.  So, I'm queued up ready to get my satchel of exotic mysteries when I get a group, and jump into a Random group filled with players from my own guild.  Apparently, their healer left and I got randomly selected to replace him.   We all had a good laugh about it, especially since they hadn't asked me to queue with them in the first place.   It's not like they wouldn't have asked me, if they knew I was around and looking for a group.  I least, I that's what I tell myself before I go to sleep.

The Dungeon Finder's new bias which matches with players from the same realm first is apparently to blame.  I've noticed a lot of people from the same Realm in my groups, and I think it's a great new feature.  It's amazing how many of these players whisper me, "hey you guys are level 25?"  So many new people looking for a high level guild.

If meet some random player from your realm and they are good, add them to your friends list.  These people could fill in gaps in guild runs, be it dungeon or raid.  Make a note, good deeps, great tank, whatever, so when you are looking to fill in a run, you'll have a list of contacts to check.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dev Watercooler -- Number of Abilities - World of Warcraft

Dev Watercooler -- Number of Abilities - World of Warcraft

I've struggled with handling the number of abilities issue, especially with some of the more subtle abilities (hand of salvation, etc). My personal technique for handling this, is to simple focus on a new ability for a few runs. I'll do a postmortem of a past run and notice for example, that I'm not using Divine Protection. Obviously not using an ability that mitigates damage and therefore reduces healing is big no-no. This ability is especially valuable when used in conjunction with Divine Sacrifice, since you can redirect damage a player that is about to get slammed and mitigate it. Using the Glyph of Divine Protection makes it especially powerful when handling big damage spell based abilities. After this research, I make a new macro:

#showtooltip Divine Sacrifice
/cast Divine Protection
/cast [@mouseover, help] Divine Sacrifice

I then link it to a keybind and focus on using that ability in the next few runs. During these runs, I'll be thinking about it, as I let my normal healing routine run on automatic. After a few runs, I won't have to "focus" on it as much, and eventually, it'll just be part of my arsenal. This has a lot to do with learning each encounter and anticipating instead of reacting with an ability. I know the big bad Creep is going to blast the tank with a Giant Ball of Fire soon, so I can am ready with Divine Sacrifice. Once it's in your head as an option, it'll be more natural to react with it too.

I remember on my casual Holy Priest, I'd run several heroic 5-mans, without ever using Guardian Spirit. A 31-point talent with a short 3-min CD that I never used is shameful. I even had a key bind on it. But, now I pop that GS on players all the time, especially in heroics, when running with a Tank that doesn't like to CC.

Like all things worth doing, the room to improve is key to making me come back to the game raid after raid.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The skull of tanking

The standard marks that I use is a simple kill order, skull, then cross, then star, then square, and then moon.  I expect star, square and moon to be crowd controlled.  There are a lot of CC options, but the classic would be rogue sap the star, hunter trap on the blue square, and mage polymorph on the moon.

If you don't have a kill order, then players will split their damage instead of creating a focus fire on a single mob. This will make trash take longer and make the tank scramble to maintain the attention of multiple mobs.  If the players follow the damage order the tank's job will be much easier, the healer will use less mana, and the group will move faster through the dungeon.

I also like the CC to happen after the tank pulls (expect for rogue sap of course), instead of "sheep pulling" as many people refer to it.  There's always going to be the beat of time between the sheep's polymorph and the tank gaining control.  This beat of time, is very dangerous, especially if you have players laying into the targets fast.  Instead let the tank pull, then lay down the CC.  The player doing the CC, needs to worry about where they are going to CC the mob.  Casting polymorph on a mob that is sitting next to the tank isn't a great option.  If the tank range pulls the group, this usually gives plenty of room for the CC to take place while giving the tank plenty of room to cleave.

Friday, February 25, 2011

locked boxes inside boxes

I found this amusing.  A locked lockbox looted from a locked lockbox.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Troll Druid Levels 1 to 15... or Big Bear Butt Bounce

After reading, Bigbearbutt's Post about troll druids, I decide to roll a little troll myself.    First, I have to agree the starting area is fun and fast.  I especially liked how the rescued raptor hatchlings which were following me around jumped onto the face of the Big Bad Naga.

Cat form at level 8 is great, except that casting thorns breaks form, and returning to cat form leaves you with no energy for a long time.  I guess thorns is designed for the caster specs.  I know that on my Resto druid I cast thorns on the tank as much as possible.  Of course moonfire also breaks form as expected, leaving no way to range pull except to switch to Troll Form, pull, switch back to Cat Form, which would be okay, except for the energy problem.  Getting 3 points into Furor will solve the problem, but assuming you take Feral Swiftness first, it's going to be level 15 before you have a couple of points in that talent.  Faerie Fire is a level 24 spell unfortunately.

At first I used a rotation of Rake, Claw(Mutilate at level 10), Bite-- the idea was to put up Rake first, so you could get max ticks out of it before the mob died.  During these levels nothing lives that long.  Claw, Claw, Bite pretty much killed anything.  Sometimes, I would just save the energy, just Claw/Mutilate twice and skip Bite.

The troll cat form itself is very trollish and Blizzard did a good job of making them very unique compared to Taurens and Night Elves.  I've always preferred the sleek dark Panther look of the Night Elves, very Jazzy, just like the Cat Form dance.  On the other hand, the trolls are punk rockers who think punk rockers are all posers.   I was admiring my cool unique cat form appearance at level 8, when a twin druid ran up the trainer.   

I hit level 15, trained up the Bear spells, and next time I have a couple of hours, I'll queue up as a tank.  It'll be fun comparing low level instances between tanking and healing.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Lower Blackrock Spire... or Lets pull the whole room, again...

My level 57 priest appears in LBRS for the first time with a level 60 Death Knight.  This DK was one of the don't-stop-pulling-until-someone-dies variety.  While I'm picking up the quests, he's already pulled a couple of groups.  I pop a renew on him and a couple of them run right towards me.  I'm not sure if it's this DK's tanking style or what, but for the entire instance I was fighting heal aggro.  It didn't help that the tank's pulls usually ended up getting every group in the current room.  It was close a couple of times, but I was able to keep everyone alive.  It was a good change from the never ending Blackrock Depths runs.

During the Urok Dooomhowl event, where waves of ogres appear, I found that staying right on top of the tank was the best approach.  The tank would eventually get control of them, and binding heal kept me alive until then.

Body and Soul lets me drink and then quickly catch up to the group.  I ventured way out to the AV entrance in horde control Hillsbrad to pick up some manna biscuits which helps a lot for restoring mana quicky.  It's crazy that alliance has no flight points in this zone anymore.  It could be that when Cataclysm goes live and Gilneas is populated that some things will change in these zones.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chakra Bleu ... Binding Pray of Healing.

How to heal level 50-60 dungeons using a Holy Priest.  Renew, Chakra, Heal, Heal, Heal, Heal, ..., Chakra, Heal, Heal, Heal, etc.

Things have changed now that my lowly priest has gotten the Chakra and Revelations talents.  The Chakra has too different modes, the Serenity Mode, which is activated by casting Heal after hitting the Chakra spell, and the Sanctuary Mode which is activate by casting Prayer of Healing (and Prayer of Mending but that's a level 68 spell).    Each mode lasts for 30 seconds at which point you have to start it again.  (There's a talent State of Mind that can be used to extend the time of the state, but I don't have enough talent points for it yet.)

In the Serenity mode a Heal will reset the Renew duration on the Heal's target.  It also adds 10% extra crit on all direct heal spells.  It's my Chakra of choice at level 55.

The ability to keep a Renew spell running just by hitting the tank with the very mana efficient Heal spell is great.  I have enough mana regeneration to spam the Heal spell.  This keeps Inspiration up on the tank, and procs Surge of Light for free Flash Heals.  If you have an aggressive DPS that likes to off tank, keeping up renew on two targets is pretty easy.

The Chakra spell itself does not cause a GCD, so it can be added directly to a Heal macro.  Such as:

#showtooltip Heal
/cast Chakra
/cast [@mouseover,help]Heal; Heal

The Revelations talent changes your Holy Word based on Chakra mode selected.  In Serenity, it becomes Holy Word: Serenity.  This is an instant heal that increases crit heal chance on the target by 25% for 6 secs.  Obviously a great spell if the Tank is going to be slammed with big incoming damage or a DPS pulls aggro and will need big fast heals to survive until the tank gets control back.  The problem is that at this level of healing, nothing is hitting tanks that hard and DPS can be saved with a shield and Flash Heals.  I also really liked the ability of Holy Word: Chastise to interrupt an NPC casting a nasty spell.  

Also, there's a bug which makes a simple mouse over macro impossible with the Holy Word spells.   I have to select the player to target the Holy Word: Serenity spell.  It's a very annoying for someone that's used to mouse over healing, and I hope it's high on Blizzards to do list.

The Sanctuary Chakra is a lot more spectacular looking, with the big white AOE heal on the ground, but it's pretty pointless at this level of healing.   Except when pulls go bad...

Prayer of Healing
Binding Heal + Serendipity + Prayer of Healing is a life saver when pulls go bad.  Imagine you're in the Grim Guzzler and suddenly all the patrons are attacking.  You plant a Renew on the tank and 15 "Change Targets" flash up, the Mage starts spamming Arcane Explosion, and the Tank is turned to the wrong direction, trying to figure out where to spit his Cud.  Binding Heal, keeps you and the target with the lowest health alive and makes the next 2 Prayer of Healings go fast.  Rinse and repeat.  BH, POH, POH, BH, POH, POH, ...  The party will be amazed when everyone is alive afterwards.  The 15% heals from Chakra Sanctuary can't be discounted in this situation, but in general this shouldn't be happening very often.

Next Talents
Next I have to decide, do I take the Circle of Healing talent or the State of Mind talent.  Circle of Healing seems like a great spell in theory, but with the long cool down, I'm thinking its more of a Raid talent then a low level healing talent.  Where as with State of Mind, all I get is the ability to extend the Chakra state that doesn't really take any time to restart.