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Considering that I played WoW as a mage for about a year and a half, I still question my abilities as a healer from time to time despite getting frequent compliments. In all fairness, I think I’m actually not too bad at healing and have taken to it quite well. Most heroics are incredibly smooth with little to no “Oh shit!” moments as I like to call them. However, I still find myself getting very nervous when trying out new content for the first time. A large part of this nervousness is probably due to the fact other players don’t want to, or don’t have time to explain strategies, especially in PUGs.

If I remember correctly, this is how the conversation went during my first time in heroic TOC:

Me: “I haven’t healed this yet so please let me know any tips, etc to heal better here”

Tank:
“easy”


To make matters worse, the first time I tried healing TOC it was on regular and it wasn’t long before I was kicked from the group for the usual “L2p n00b!” style stuff. That was a pretty crushing moment. For whatever reason, I become a far more sensitive player while healing. I should point out here that it’s not the offense of being called a “n00b” by some kid, but more so that it makes me question whether or not I’m a good healer. There seems to be a lot more personal responsibility on behalf of the healer as opposed to the kid only eeking out 700 DPS in the same instance.

So, needless to say I was damn near terrified to try out the heroic version when faced with it via the random dungeon finder. In fact, I was even a little afraid to hit the “Enter Dungeon” button each time for fear that I would end up healing H TOC. But I manned up and figured I had to learn it eventually so I put my game face on and did my best. This is where it gets pretty surprising to me.

Because I knew that TOC may be a problem for me I read up on the strategies a little bit so I would know what I was getting into. Basically what I took away from this was to turn your back when the one guy does the thing, some zombies blow up a lot, and that’s about it. As we dropped boss after boss I was astounded at just how it easy it was. Perhaps the other people I was grouped with were well geared and experienced. I’m not sure why, but it was absolutely no trouble at all to heal. Sure there were a couple tight moments, but even during the black knight boss I just kind of stared at my computer amazed at how little damage people were taking.

Right after the run I wanted to do it about 10 more times because of the great drops and my new found confidence. Hopefully I don’t get too confident, but now I feel much better about my skills as a healer and ready to tackle some more difficult content. I’m looking forward to healing the hell out of heroics this coming weekend with the LFG tool so I’ll be sure to post anything interesting that happens.

Thanks for reading Thoughts Of Warcraft! @ https://thoughtsofwarcraft.wordpress.com

Brad

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Anybody who has read a little bit of the blog before knows that running 5-man dungeons is one of my favorite parts of the game, so it’s no secret that I’ve been chomping at the bit to try out the LFG tool that came with 3.3. So much so in fact that I’ve just been leveling some alts and mindlessly grinding rep just to kill time on my mains.

During this time I was able to level fishing and cooking quite a bit on my priest and get almost all eight other characters on my account to around the level 20 range so that they can start hitting instances. With one character of every class leveled pretty good, I’d say that the most intriguing one is Partydoctor, my druid. He’s a boomkin in the making now, but I’ll probably go dual spec at 40 as tank/heals.

Ok…down to business.

DPS:

As Truckspank, my priest, gradually became my new main, my trusty old mage and first character ever, Chipdipson, has been doing nothing but collecting dust and making the occasional bag for a long time. With the ease of finding groups now, I decided to get him some tier 9 badge gear and so far it’s a (fire) blast. Considering that there is vastly more DPS in the game than tanks and heals, I was really surprised at just how fast I was able to get into a heroic group. Chipdipson currently has a couple pieces of gear from Naxx, but for the most part it’s all just rep rewards and heroic loot. It is however pretty well enchanted and gemmed which seems to make a pretty big difference.

Within the first couple minutes of joining up with a group, I instantly remembered just how fun it is to blow stuff up. With my current frostfire spec, almost all of my damage comes from three spells: Scorch, Fire Blast, and Frostfire Bolt. The big damage comes in when hot streak procs and I get a free Pyroblast. Rinse and repeat. While this may sound simple, it’s surprisingly fun as hell to play. When buffed up enough, I can get some enormous crits going which is so much more invigorating than healing.

Healing:

Even though I had a ton of fun bombing through heroics with Chipdipson, my priest is still new main and as such is my main concern in terms of getting some nice tier 9 badge gear as soon as possible.

Although I’m pretty confident with my healing abilities at this point, there are still a couple heroics that I’m just not comfortable healing yet. These would have to be Halls Of Lightning, the Trial of the Champion 5-man version, and of course Oculus. It doesn’t help the situation any more when I think back to almost getting booted from a HOL group last year as DPS and some bad TOC experiences. I suppose there’s no way around it and I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it one way or another if it comes up as the random dungeon.

The first four groups or so that I joined up with were simply amazing. They were quite possibly the smoothest heroics that I’ve ever had the pleasure of doing. The two that really stick out in my mind were Nexus and Violet Hold. Of course these were fairly easy even while undergeared, but it was absolutely astounding at how quickly the bosses went down. As a healer, I only had time to throw out a renew and a flash heal or two before the boss was down and we moved on to the next one. It was a pretty nice welcoming to the future of LFG.

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned…the next post is about Easy Tier 9 Through Badges.

-Brad


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.

Get it? Five men...

Get it? Five men… OK…. Moving on…

So in an earlier post I wrote about having trouble finding groups for the Hellfire Peninsula instances, but not long after writing that article, I was able to make quite a few runs through all of the dungeons in Hellfire and get some great healing practice through PUGs. I still, however, haven’t found a worthwhile guild yet to run 5-mans with, but hope to soon.

For the most part, the Hellfire Ramparts and Blood Furnace healing went pretty smoothly. They both kind of blend together in my mind, but they’re a quick and easy introduction to healing the Burning Crusade content. Ramparts went extreemely smoothly in almost every run I did which really surprised me. In fact the only close calls I really had was on Nazan, but this was most likely due to people standing in the badsauce and a slightly undergeared tank.

I’m still figuring out when and how to use the multitude of spells at my disposal and there’s nothing like a couple “Oh shit!” moments to speed up the process. Although this spell won’t really make or break an instance run in most cases, it’s also really nice to have Gift Of The Naaru as the Draenai racial. If the tank is taking a ton of damage and I have to also tend to the rest of the group at the same time, it’s a really nice HOT to throw on the tank to buy me a few more crucial seconds.

Vuhdo

At level 69 I ran a couple battlegrounds to get used to the key bindings of the VuhDo addon. Whenever I’m in 5-man instances I prefer to heal by using the F1-F5 targeting system so learning a new UI is really frustrating for me. For me, I just really like the feeling of seeing the picture of who I’m about to heal and then clicking the icon of the spell that I want to heal them with. Of course, I realize how neccesary these kind of addons are when healing any more than five people, but I don’t think I’ll ever use it in a 5-man instance.

Unfortunately I was only able to get into about 2 or 3 battlegrounds which sucked, but it was still a good time. I’m still doing a couple here and there at level 70, but the disparity in levels pretty much turns me into a walking target. However, even at my low level and arriving half-way through a fight, I’ve been able to almost top the healing charts. But, I’m really looking forward to the 3.2 patch changes where you can get exp through the battlegrounds. I intend to level to 80 by doing as much PVP as I can stand.

Brad

For the faction my character is associated with!

Take A Knee (2)

For the past two weeks, I haven’t been able to play a whole lot of WoW. Sure, I might get a couple hours in here and there, but I haven’t had much time to do any serious leveling. Work has been busy lately and when the weekend hits I try to get out a bit, so I’m really only playing an hour or so each day if that. However, with some large rest bonuses building up I was able to really make use of what little time I had to play which was nice.

Because I made the 50-58 climb whenever I found a couple free hours, I can’t really recall too many highlights aside from the occasional instance. I spent a pretty good amount of time in Un Goro Crater, then headed up to Felwood, and knocked out a couple quests in Winterspring before hitting 58. One tactic I found myself doing was turning in quite a few “travel here and talk to this guy” style quests, just to get some xp while doing other things around the apartment. Usually I would set course for a zone, make some food and email people, and then come back to WoW for the turn in. It worked out pretty good.

The whole time I’ve also been trying to keep my professions up to snuff which is a bit pricey. My first aid is really high and is actually very handy even as a healing class. After a fight I can just bandage up instead of healing and then going back into shadow form. I’ve also been trying to keep my Alchemy and Herbalism skills up which has been relatively easy. I did have to farm for herbs around Blasted Lands for a little while to get my skill up to the proper level for Outland. Speaking of Outland, I rushed there immediately after hitting 58.

Outland (2)

Despite being a healer amongst a ton of DKs in Hellfire Peninsula, I still haven’t managed to find any groups going for Ramps or Blood Furnace which kinda sucks. I’m really anxious to try my hand at healing some BC content so hopefully I can get in there soon. One thing I noticed was how good the quest reward gear was in Outland compared to my boss loot from vanilla WoW. Considering this, it’s a shame there isn’t more of an incentive to hit up the classic dungeons. I’ve never seen the majority of that content and I suppose I don’t expect to anytime soon.

I managed to get a group going for Stratholme which was a lot of fun since it was the first time I seen it outside of “Culling Of Stratholme” instance. We managed to get hung up on one of the bosses which was actually kind of fun. I can’t recall which boss it was and there doesn’t seem to be much information on her online but mid-fight she turns one of your team members against you. That itself wasn’t very hard to take care of, but I think everyone was pretty shocked that we encountered anything other than a simple tank and spank.

Well there is the update. I will try to make another post as soon as possible as soon as I do some cool stuff in game.

Brad

For the faction my character is associated with!

The Lost Priest

Here is a screenshot I took during a Scarlet Monastery run around Halloween of 2008. If I recall correctly, the server crashed and I didn’t get kicked off. I was walking around this crazy netherworld for quite awhile until it finally locked up. The priest, Kleepklop, is level 59 and I don’t really intend on playing it again any time soon.

WoWScrnShot_052509_173638

After QQing quite a bit about being bored at level 80 as a reasonably geared mage, I decided to put all of my efforts behind leveling my Draenai Priest named Truckspank. Like all of my favorite characters that I’ve made, the name Truckspank comes from a podcast. This one comes from a great podcast called You Look Nice Today. I highly recommend it if you enjoy highly literate and offbeat humor.

Last week I did my best to clear out as much as I could on my bank alts through vendors and the auction house in order to get the 1,000 gold to dual spec on the priest. I also grinded through some Northrend quests as well on Chipdipson to get the last bit of gold needed. I got dual speccing on my mage a while ago and went deep frost as my second spec but it’s really not that fun. I think it’s mainly boring because it’s just a different kind of damage as opposed to being able to tank/heal like other classes. So far on Truckspank though it’s been great to have dual spec for leveling as shadow and healing in instances with a deep holy spec.

So far I’ve been able to get some really great groups going and I’m having a lot of fun with WoW again. The above picture is from one of several Zul’Farrak runs I did this past weekend. Before we entered the instance we all lined up right in front without realizing it so I got a screenshot of it. I was actually able to get some pretty good gear and exp by doing a lot of instances. I ran Uldaman a couple times, ZF, and also did a late night Sunken Temple run.

WoWScrnShot_052509_120527

In most cases, healing instances is pretty easy and thoughtless fun. As long as things don’t get too crazy, I usually just throw out a couple renews and bubbles and sit back and collect some exp while other people do all the work. Not too bad. But, I also think that healing in instances is pretty rewarding. There’s nothing like the feeling of knowing that everyone would be dead if you weren’t there.

On the same token though, I’m a bit worried about how I’ll do in the Wrath instances once I hit 80. I’ve had experience healing a lot of the vanilla WoW 5-mans and it was pretty easy, but for some reason I’m thinking that the new content will be much harder to heal. I’m also still intending on running a lot of PVP at 80 to get the feel for healing in tight situations.

For Truckspank’s professions I’m doing Herbalism and Alchemy. In regards to Herbalism, I really like the Lifeblood heal-over-time spell as well. It’s certainly saved me from many a wipe while questing. I’m still however a bit on the fence as far as Alchemy goes. I know that I will probably never use most of the quick spells like magic resistance or invisibility for 15 seconds. I guess the two-hour long defense buffs are pretty good though for questing. Truckspank is currently level 49 and I’m looking forward to getting into Outland as soon as possible.

Brad

For the faction my character is associated with!

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