While killing some time on an alt as I waited for patch 3.3 to drop, I found someone spamming trade chat about running Naxx for something called Raid 101. I sent a tell out to him and was surprised at his politeness and general good demeanor. At this point I’m a little overgeared for Naxx as a result of heroic badge gear, but I still have yet to heal many raids. As it turns out this is precisely what Raid 101 was about so I confirmed the run.

As the week went on I was found myself really looking forward to running, and more importantly healing, Naxx. I had DPSed it in the past with my mage and was aware of some of the basic fight mechanics, but on the whole I don’t really have time to learn boss fights. The scheduling difficulty raids only gets worse considering that I’m living in Japan now and I’m a good 14 hours ahead of EST. So, the more I thought about it, this was beginning to seem like it would be a lot of fun.

I woke up Sunday morning after a long night and really wanted nothing more than to go back to sleep. I had stayed up really late calling family in the States, and was awake for about a day. But, a promise is a promise so I dutifully headed out to Naxx and the raid began right on time at 11am. On heals it was me, a holy spec priest on raid/tank heals, and the raid leader who was a disc priest on main tank heals. The rest of the group was a mix of the raid leader’s guild and other random people who came to learn.

Since I was mostly unaware of what the bosses do, I spent a little bit of time reading up on the fights which seemed to help me out quite a bit. I’m more of a hands-on learner so nothing really compares to actually doing it, but a few things stuck with me that helped out a little bit. We started taking on bosses and knocking them out in no time at all. In the end we ended up dropping Noth the Plaugebringer as the last boss and called it there after three hours. I could have used a couple gear upgrades considering that I’m still using PVP shoulders, but I was there for the experience and that’s what I got.

The Noth fight was by far the most intense. I think when someone reposted the timer in raid chat it came out to be about 10 minutes long. 10 very long and stressful minutes, but some of the most fun that I’ve ever had in WoW so far. Because I wasn’t really looking at the boss’s health at all, it was a huge relief when he finally dropped and people were screaming on vent. It really reminded why I play this game.

As for the details of the Noth fight, I’ll try to write what I remember from that crazy experience. We wiped once because of how we layed out the fight, so we switched strategies up on the second attempt. Basically, my mind just went into full-on panic mode and instinct. I frantically kept an eye on my Circle of Healing cooldown and threw it on the tank almost every time it was up. I just glyphed for Guardian Spirit which resets the cooldown to one minute which I kept up on the off tank. I’m very glad that I did because the extra healing bonus saved us from some near wipe moments.

In addition to my “real” healing spells, I also kept Gift of the Naaru on constant cooldown for some extra help. While I use it quite often on the tank during heroics, I’m not sure if it’s really worth using a GCD for it during raids unless I cast it on myself. Aside from that, I kept my re-usable alchemist potions on CD for extra mana, as well as Lifebloom, and Shadowfiend. I think I had time to get a Hymn of Hope in for mana help, and I definitely popped an “Oh Shit!” moment Divine Hymn.

I’m running Naxx again with the same group of people this coming Sunday as well so it should be a nice break from all the 3.3 heroics I’ll be getting in provided that the servers remain stable.


What I learned:

Managing cooldowns: Pretty early on in the boss fights I learned that I should be casting something on somebody on almost every single global cool down. This is something that I’m not really used to since most of my experience comes from 5-man heroics. The closest thing that I think raid healing comes close to is battleground healing, just with a lot more pressure. Sure, there was a tiny bit of downtime here and there, but if nobody needs a heal I should probably do something else like cast Hymn of Hope.

Dealing with pressure: Even though there was another healer there to get my back, it was still very hectic and stressful knowing that 9 other people there counted on me not to suck. Even though I was on raid heals, I’d say the majority of my heals were spent trying to keep the tank up. Maybe it was because I was really tired, but eventually I was able to settle in a good groove and I stopped thinking and worrying and just kind of went off of instinct. In fact, it reminds of some Bruce Lee clips that I was watching last night.

Play nice: I’ve yet to run Naxx PUGs very often because even though the idea of 5-man PUGs is ok with me, somehow raid PUGs are bit scary. The reason for this is because I don’t know all of the fights that well and I wouldn’t want to waste someone else’s time with me trying to figure out what to do. The second reason is because I’m assuming that most other people don’t think like this and would probably waste my time without thinking twice about it. What made this Naxx run great I think is that from the get go we all agreed that we would be patient and polite in the case of a wipe.

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