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.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Goatee -- or can I change into a Tauren?

As a healer, I think the Blood Elf racial skills are going to keep my goatee safe.  The arcane torrent restores mana which will be more important then ever.  The Blood Elf's magic resistance works against all spells, not just nature spells like the Tauren's racial.  An extra stun would be nice, but I would miss the silence effect of arcane torrent.

I have not been healing with my Paladin much since 4.0.1 released.  I ran him through all the Elemental event bosses, but I didn't use anything but Beacon, Holy Shock, Holy Light, and Word of Glory.  I think Light of Dawn would have been useful, but by the time I remembered it, I had done all 4 bosses.

The patch notes for 4.0.3a shows the designers have been fine tuning paladin healing.

Holy Radiance now has reduced effectiveness on targets over 8 yards away from the paladin.  /RW Radiance Active, Move to me!   A talent that encourages Holy Paladins to move is unnatural.  We stand in one place casting Really Big Heals.  But, maybe not so much anymore.  Holy Shock, WOG, Light of Dawn, and Holy Radiance, makes us so much more mobile.

Beacon of Light now lasts 5 minutes, up from 60 seconds.  In Wrath the Beacon of Light was a signature spell of the Holy Paladin.  It was a priority to keep it active and learning the best times to refresh it was important.  It's possible that the new Beacon with a zero mana cost (Glyph of Beacon of Light) will be a more strategic spell.  I don't know, and I won't until I get some experience with actual level 85 encounters.

Blessed Life: the effects of this talent cannot occur more than once every 8 seconds, up from every 2 seconds.  I'm guessing the PVP players won't like this very much.  Free Holy Power from attacks is a powerful ability.  This talent would also be useful while leveling from 80-85, if you insisted on doing it as a Holy spec.

Illuminated Healing absorb shield now absorbs 10% of the total amount healed, up from 8%. Each point of Mastery increases the effect by an additional 1.25%, up from 1%.   Shields are good.  Shields that absorb even more damage are gooder.

Light of dawn has been redesigned. It no longer has an enforced cooldown, now costs Holy Power instead of mana, and scale in direct proportion to the amount of Holy Power used. In addition it now heals the 5 most injured group targets (including self) in a 30-yard frontal cone. A smart heal for the paladin.  Glyphed this will be very powerful in a 10 man raid, healing 6 of the most injured.  The cool down has been removed, but getting three Holy Power is a more organic cool down.  Decision time, WOG or LOD at three Holy Power.

Protector of the Innocent no longer triggers from self-heals.  Smells like another PVP tweak.  I imagine the Holy Paladin spamming heals on himself while laughing at the player attacking him.  This talent appears to address the common, I forgot to heal myself syndrome many healers experience.  A personal mini beacon.

Fine tuning pass number 41 or whatever.  I expect there will be more tweaks in the weeks to come.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Why Does Blizzard Hate Wrath Design?

“Why Does Blizzard Hate Healers?” - World of Warcraft

I'm glad the designers are spending so much time on healing.  But, this article is bad.  It's not surprising to see comments like, "...No reason why heal[e]rs should have it easy..."  The article needs to own the design decisions.  In Wrath they decided on a model that lead to very fast fights.  If the raid's DPS was below average then healers were definitely going to run out of mana.  If the raid didn't dance correctly then it didn't matter how much mana the healers had.  The Wrath model was as valid as the next expansion's model, but instead of saying that, this article props up the next design by breaking down the old one.

Stay on message, the next expansion is going to be different and just as fun.   


Friday, November 19, 2010

low level holy priest healing talents... or lightwell!?

The low level Holy Priest's Talent selection is frustrating because many of the talents do not apply to low level healing necessary in Random Dungeon Finder groups.

I know that the Light Well spell is improved and easy to use, but at levels 30-40 there's really no reason to use it.  I plopped it down and the couple of people that used it, ran up right next to it before clicking it.  So be ready to tell people how it works.

Empowered Healing and Improved Renew.  I'm not sure why they didn't just roll the renew buff into Empowered, but renew will be a low level holy priests friend.  Heal takes a long time to cast, and Flash Heal will eat your Mana up fast.

Note: Renew is good for the tank or anyone else taking constant damage.  Casting renew on everyone that takes a hit will eat up your Mana.  Use the very mana efficient Heal spell to top off a player that took a hit.

Divine Fury.  Faster heals is a good idea.  Still the Heal spell ends up being a 2.5s cast which is a long time when the tank has pulled too much trash.  Keep refresh running, when the tank starts dropping hit them with a Power Word: Shield spell, then start the 2.5s Heal spam.  A shield + heal is less mana then one Flash Heal spell.  Also, the shield is sometimes enough to let the renew catch them up and a heal isn't necessary.  It's okay to cancel the heal if it looks like they aren't going to need it.

Inspiration requires a critical spell hit which at lower levels requires spamming Heal.  Not real useful.

Surge of Light has a very low proc rate, which would be fine in a raid, when heal spamming is going to happen.

Desperate Prayer.  Free self heal, not exciting...

Divine Touch... Renew is great at this level, any extra healing from it is great.  Pop in the Prime Glyph of Renew for even another 10% extra.  Here's what I do, let the tank pull a group, they will drop a bit, hit them with Renew.  This allows the direct heal to land, plus allows the tank to establish could aggro control.  The smart play isn't always to keep the tank topped off.

Holy concentration.  Mana can be a problem especially in low level Random groups where Aggro Control is not always great.

That's it.  Two very useful talents, Improved Renew and Divine Touch.  Three okay talents, Empowered Healing, Divine Fury and Holy Concentration.  The second level (Desperate Prayer, Surge of Light, Inspiration) barely register.  Lastly, The Light Well, which shall always seem like a great spell but is just not useful at the lower levels.

Forcing a player to stay in a single tree at lower levels prevents some very effective low level healer builds.  It's Frustrating to spend a talent that's not going to be useful until I'm healing a heroic.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Healing the Elemental Invasion Bosses

I've lost more players to "standing in fire" then any of the other mechanics. The first time on the flame boss, the tank and melee damage just stood together in a huge fireball of flames. I hurled heals in as fast as I could but nothing was going to save them except a little movement.  So every flame boss attempt since then, "/p Please don't stand in the fire."  Every tank so far has understood, but the DPS still have trouble moving and still die because of it.

The water boss is good place to practice your interrupts.  The long spell, "Gahz'rilla Glacier" is the best "Ice Block" of all time.  It prevents all damage and restores a lot of health.  Interrupt or end up killing him twice.  You can see the ice spikes below your feet before they go off, so move, move move.  The pool is full of hungry fish, so try not to go swimming.

The air boss is good place to practice healing on the move since you can see those cyclones coming. 

I've only healed the earth boss once.  The damage spiked, requiring burst heals on 2 or 3 players at a time.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Greater healing waves and Lifeblood...

I have to admit, my shaman rarely used Greater Healing Wave during 5-man heroics.  I have it in a macro with Nature's Swiftness, so I "saved" it for when I need an instant big heal.  This has been a mistake.  With the Rapid Currents and Tidal Wave buffs from a Riptide, the first GHW has a 1.1 second cast time, the second GHW hits in 1.3 seconds.  When incoming damage is high, I can Riptide, GHW, GHW, Healing Surge and then repeat since Riptide will be ready again.  This rotation puts out a ton of heals very fast.  During normal damage, I can Riptide, HW, HW, HW, repeat.  The last healing wave will be slow, but the sequence is very efficient.

I have haste in every socket.  I have reforged when possible to add haste.  I don't have top end gear, but I imagine it's possible to get those GHW's down to 1.0s.

I recently skilled up my Herbalism to 450 to check out Lifeblood.  A macro activates it when I use GHW.   When it's available, I can Riptide, GHW(1.0s), GHW(1.2s), GHW(1.7s) matching my Riptide cool down exactly.  The haste buff lasts enough time for about 3 sequences.

The shaman is a true Big Healer.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Heroic Boss Skip, Kingslayer Shaman, and Who Needs Healing Touch, Nourish Talents

I run heroics on my alternate healers for fun, practice, and justice points.  I keep getting tanks that want to skip bosses, like they are just there for the two Frost Emblems.   I would go along with this during those runs.  I understand that people were doing the dungeon only for the emblems.  But now, it doesn't make sense to me.

I tell them, hey all the bosses give Justice Points.  This is especially weird when the party is blowing the content up quick.  The other day doing Old Kingdom, I got the tank to go down and do the Mushroom Boss.  Three players got the Heroic Dungeon achievement even though it was obvious they had done the dungeon before.  I haven't gotten a calculator out to see if the extra couple of minutes to kill Dred is worth 16 Justice Points, but I'm guessing even if you have killed him 1000 times before it's going to be worth it.

My alternate Restoration Shaman got invited to do Sindragosa and The Lich King even though he has never been inside ICC before.  I know the fights well.  I kept up my earth and water shields, hit riptide on cool down, blasted out fast lesser healing waves and healing surges to low health players, and chain healed when everyone looked good.   Even under geared with no experience healing raids my heals were close to 35% of the heals.  I realized  I never used my Mana Tide Totem.  The extra Mana might have been useful to the damage classes, but I'm not sure.  I'll remember it next time.

We had two restoration druids.  One of them was blowing up the meters (45%) with rejuvenation, regrowth, wild growth.  He didn't cast a single Nourish or Healing Touch (not even with a Nature's Swiftness), but had both of them talented in his tree.  On my Alternate Restoration Druid, I decided to not take any talents buffing those spells, specifically Naturalist and Empowered Touch.  Instead I put the points in the Blessing of the Grove, and Nature's Majesty to buff rejuvenation and Critical heal chance.

The other druid barely used Wild Growth and as a result was very low on the meters.  I think he must have been concentrating on tanks.  We could have easily replaced him with a damage player.

I was pugging with a bunch of people I don't know, so I kept my mouth shut and just enjoyed the ride to Kingslayer.