Monday, March 08, 2010

Quiet, quiet

If i wasn't so focused on so many damn games, music, and travelling at once, I'd probably get a lot more blogging done.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Quick Insight on Restoration Itemization

So, I've already broken one of my resolutions to start out blogging steadily, but I think I have time left this year to get back on that. I've really been diving into the community and silently spectating, gathering ideas and opinions and refitting my characters after a few talks with min/maxers.

I can now say, without a shadow of a doubt, that while in a raid Infimum is haste capped, and I can NOT stress the importance of investing in 5/5 Gift of the Earthmother and 3/3 Celestial Focus. Without cluttering this place up with math, I can tell you that when you're fully specced into these two talents, you need 735 Haste to achieve a 1 second global cool down. If you stack that haste with Glyph of Rapid Rejuvenation, your Rejuv changes from a 6 ticks over 18 seconds medium powered HoT, to a 6 ticks over 12 seconds HoT that you are casting every second.

If you take a look at Infimum you will see that I don't have her at 735 unbuffed, but I use Very Burnt Worg (+40stam/+40 Haste) and achieve just over the soft cap. I don't want you to be disillusioned here, in order to get that one second global cool down that has caused me to see a MASSIVE improvement in my healing output and has eased the burden on heavy Raid Damage fights like Festergut, you HAVE to have a Wrath of Air totem and either a Swift Retribution Aura or an Improved Moonkin Aura in the raid. At the moment, without outside buffs, fully specced you would need 1063 haste, which would gimp your other stats.

Aside from this revelation in me being completely blind to something as obvious as haste caps, I've begun balancing my spirit with spellpower, instead of blatantly stacking Spirit alone. I know, it's a horribly obvious thing to do, but certain people have certain styles of play, i've just rearranged my Priorities.

Previous Priorities in Itemization:
Spirit>Spellpower>Haste>Crit>Int
Current Prioritization:
Haste(Up to cap)>Spellpower/Spirit>Crit>Int

I consider both Spellpower AND spirit equally important, since Spirit effects our Mana conservation as a Resto druid, and Provides 15% of its total as Spellpower (With Improved Tree of Life), where Spellpower is... well, Spellpower!

On another note, I've begun working harder with the guild on my days off in ICC, while I missed the last run at Putricide, we've managed to get our core group stable and are seeing increases in performance, which leads me to another point, aside from my druidiotic ramblings.

I feel that as I work together with the same CORE team over a period of weeks, we develop a more natural, subconscious synergy, we know each others queues, and we go farther, faster because of this, but there are times where not everyone we're used to playing side by side with can make it, because of this we sometimes stifle progress for lack of adaptation. I'm challenging myself, because of this, to work with more PuGs than ever (on my healer, I PuG all the time on my tank) to create a stronger sense of adaptability. When I go into heroics on Infimum, it's run and gun, brute force heal and do it how I'm used to doing it, so I'm going to attempt to FOCUS, heal intelligently, don't just wallop their wounds with a blunt force nourish and Rejuv spam, and I encourage you to all do the same, regardless of gear level, approach the run like you have to conserve mana, see if it affects your play style or approach in general.

Maybe it will be fun.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Recruiting!

Chillin and Killin of US-Twisting Nether is now Recruiting. You can see the post on the WoW Forums here.
I'm currently at work but will be posting some new entries.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Feels like Home

The guild I have become a part of in the last few months , Horde Side, Twisting Nether, pushes new content as soon as it comes out. Now we're not tops but our raid leader, and my real life friend, Beefshéild, knows what he's doing and he's all for progression. I'm going to go into my healing observations later, but I wanted to point out that as ICC develops, it becomes more and more interesting to be a healer.

I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty excited to see that CnK is 14th server side and 8th Horde side, I feel like I'm actually getting some work done, and if I'm hearing correctly, the healing lead actually complained to the GM when someone stood in for me. I've managed to pull off a few feats that make me proud, such as 2healing the first wing of ICC 10 with the GM's shaman alt when another 2 team couldn't manage it. That's just pride though and I don't want to seem a braggart, I'm really here to highlight what I've seen in the new raiding and to point out some personal resolutions with this blog.

So far in Icecrown Citadel, everything seems a bit more amped up. Now I'm not here to talk about old raid days or any of that because, frankly, I didn't start REALLY playing WoW until right before Burning Crusade. The trash pulls take more focus, hit harder, and have more abilities to watch than anything I have encountered up until this point. I really notice that as a healer, I'm dropping hots left and right, Rejuvenate on everyone, Wild Growth every time the cooldown is up, three-stacks of lifebloom on each tank, regrowth where it fits, swift mend too! And I find myself watching my mana and being so thankful for my spirit stacking tendencies (and for Nature's Swiftness/Healing Touch.)

I've really fallen into loop of brute force healing my way through content until this point. In ToC I could get away with Nourish spam and I've begun to realize that I developed some bad habits when it came down to spell selection, not because it was encouraged, but simply because I could. Running into the first trash pull, cocky, full of piss and vinegar really took the wind out of my sails and I've had to focus on bettering myself as a healer because of this. In my experiences, pre-healing is no longer a viable means to slack off during a fight, I have to THINK, I have to REACT and I have to do both in under a second. I need to parse data and decide who needs the heal worse, and all of this culminates in the first boss fight where I have two to three tanks taking the cleave, I have to heal, think, react, and stay out of the MOBILE fire.

Now, I know not all the fights are as mobile as Marrowgar, but I know for a fact Rotface IS, and it's very much enjoyable to be thinking, playing, enjoying and marveling, I've had to break my tunnel vision and focus on my healing, adjust my play-style, my healing priorities AND my UI so I can stay with all the events that are going on around me. These fights, in my opinion, are making it very ACTIVE for healers, learning new content, communicating and adjusting accordingly, all without making the fights feel too busy.

Resolutions-

It's a new year and almost everyone has a resolution or two. Random goals we'd like to achieve, regardless of what benefit comes to us. I tend to take it light on my resolutions because I know at one point I'll forget I made it if it's too lofty, so I thought I'd make a couple of simple promises to myself for the coming year.

1. When I started this blog, I was all about it, I was learning my class that I thought I knew so well and I intended for it to be the SPOT for people to come. I know that is silly with everyone having a blog, I just want to update more, try slowly at first, a post a week, move it to two posts a week, and by mid July, be posting once a day, assuming I have something to post about. I think this is entirely achievable and may just get a few readers in here.

2. Work with others to get this Blog to the public: I know there are plenty of people out there who blog, and they do a damn good job at it, I'd like to add my input and maybe a little help where it's needed. I enjoy healing, it's what I love to do, so I want to help out in any way I can to spread the love around. It's eventful, it's stressful, and it's relaxing all at the same time. I really look up to Lodur, Matticus, and the guys at PlusHeal and TankSpot as posters and general positive points of the community, maybe I can offer a little help, too, who knows.

3. Use Twitter/Facebook/Myspace more: I really neglect these things as both contacts and promotions. I'm working on musical projects from a distance, gaming pretty hardcore, and basically forgetting to keep in touch ever since I moved to this place. It's a quiet, out of the way town and I sometimes forget that I don't really know anyone outside of the digital world.

4.
Get more friends to play WoW: Just so I have some people I know in real life hanging around. What can I say, I'm cool like that.

So tell me, what are your opinions on the new bosses?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Long Road of Silence: Return from the Hiatus and Guild Outlook

Now I know in the blogging community I'm not known well enough by this point for my hiatus to have been a marked affair, but I'm back. Since my last post about three months ago a lot of things have happened:
I worked six weeks straight of twelve hour days, seven days a week
Guari, NE Resto Drud is now Infimum Tauren Resto/Feral
I've migrated from Firetree to Twisting Nether
One of my co-worker Trainees is the GM of and I've become a member

This marked a lot of big changes for me, making my first healer my first Horde, also bringing in a new passion for levelling, attempting to get a Priest, Paladin, and Shaman to 80 in order to more fully understand the healing undertaking as well as to keep up with the GM's 4 tanks.

On a related note I've come to understand healing as a whole a bit better, but I will get into that once I've achieved level 80 on Metrics, Alcubierre, and Tacheon, (math/science nerds rejoice at this point once you figure out my naming pattern.) The thing I REALLY want to touch on in this is guild cooperation and overall pacification.

I like my guild, I like it a lot, but I've seen a lot of problems with peoples attitudes and talking down on one another that is accepted simply because "that's the way subjectx is!" or "oh, who cares, they're a good player." And while this is all fine and dandy with anyone who knows them or is willing to bite back or, gods bless them, ignore the individuals, anyone newly introduced to the guild is going to shirk back and refuse to input. I'm not going to lie, there are three or four people in that guild who I absolutely HATE playing with, yes they're good, but I've seen "I'm pro" or "you're a scrub" so many damn times by this point that I just want to choke the shit out of them.

Note to self and viable rule of thumb: if you're DPS and the raid lead hasn't called for it, don't whisper the druids and demand a battle rez because "these scrubs can't do this without my leet dps."
Also, a suggestion to GMs and Officers everywhere: Even if this person just has that "I'm a complete ass and subject only to my whim and fancy" attitude, reign them in for the raid, Morale is actually pretty important and leading off a raid with someone following your statements with "and don't suck, scrub" is not the way to attract positive attention for your guild.

This has been more of a welcome back soapbox than anything, I know, but it's just a simple reminder that a team works better when everyone works well with each other and you don't have someone screaming in /raid about how everyone sucks compared to mr. ret pally because he's top DPS by five or so points, and how he's "not even trying" or "wearing PvP gear."

It might take a few days/weeks for me to get back into the swing of things, but as I've progressed into ToC 10/25 regular and hard and seen numerous upgrades (but still haven't cleared Ulduar or upgraded my Naxx25 shoulders for god knows what reason) I'm learning the breadth and depth of my healing class and abilities. As I expand on said abilites I will be posting my own commentary, in guild matters, raids, five mans, and anything else I can muster, from a Druid PoV (followed by a Paladin, Shaman, and Priest, when I can get to them) for each boss Naxx to ToC and beyond.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

BlizzCon 2009

So, I went ahead and bought my streaming internet access to BlizzCon 2009.
I'm not going to lie, the in game pet is what sold me, but I will say this: I'm pretty damn excited about being able to roll a Worgen Druid. I love my druid to death, but I'm not the biggest Elf fan, chalk it up to me liking dwarves, or the fact that the males are so disproportional and I have to play a female if I want to cope with my character.

I'll probably wind up recustomizing Guari to be Worgen and just rolling HoTs like that. Some of the other race/class combinations make me pretty happy. Human Hunter, Dwarven Shaman, Gnome Priest, all very much desirable for me. I'm not the biggest fan of the Draenai for the same reason I'm not the biggest Night Elf Fan: I love dwarves... well, actually it's the disproportions again. I like the new up and coming secondary profession from what I've heard, and how guilds will progress, it will make me feel like working with my guildies more and maybe it will light a fire under their asses to stop screwing around when it's raid time. Flying mounts in azeroth? Cool. And the way they played it out so Goblin Cities that are neutral now will remain neutral... I can dig that.

Tauren Paladins... oh shit.

I'm pretty excited all around about the expansion, and I'm going to have to work my ass off to be top tier before I roll into it (probably sometime next summer, a friend of mine Jakoh theorizes that the trailer for Cataclysm hints that it will be released before Icecrown. I can only hope he's right.

Also, on a personal note: I have been pwned by IRL dealings at work and will be working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week for the foreseeable future. After we hire some new hands and I get them trained and released on their own, I will be releasing healing "guides" for boss encounters that I do. These will be more reference material than anything, suggestions and possible tactics from a healers perspective rather than strict guides.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Feeling like a hinderance on my Guild

For a casual progression guild, we've kept moving fairly well. The guild I'm in, We Fight For Glory, actually keeps pretty busy gearing lower tiered members on non-progression days, and working on what we can on progression days. I can't help but feel, though, that I'm holding them back at times. One of our tanks insists that his opinion is fairly standard and I am "main heals" for the guild, while I see the healing roles and equally important and not-so-much denoting main or secondary titles (at least not since I left Kismets.)

We do well in new-to-guild content, having downed The Assembly of Iron and Auriaya last week and putting Flame Leviathan, Kologarn, XT-002, and Ignis on farm. I know that at this point, after the release of 3.2, that isn't an amazing track record, but very few of us (myself being one) have come from hardcore backgrounds, and what with my hectic seven-day-a-week work schedule, a self-imposed practice period for music, and raiding, I don't want to get burned out so I'm satisfied until I can level things out.

That's just my problem, I feel that because of my status as one of the "top" healers in WFfG, my work schedule cutting off my raid time, and my inability to help more than mats, healing, and advice (for now, I need to finish levelling cooking) I'm just damaging the guild's raid progress. I wanted to address this because I know there are other people that feel this way, whether it be work, school, or just life in General, I want to throw this out there:

You're not holding your guild back, if they thought you were, I bet you'd get a hell of a lot less raid invites.

The problem we face after that is how to maximize our limited time or how to find a guild with the right time frames. Honestly, this can be impossible if you're unwilling to server transfer, and after three on Guari and one on Lumeov, I'm less than willing to move again. I enjoy my home on Firetree, but there are only three options open to me.

1.) Stop raiding-Simply said, Simple Solution and, to be frank, that's not going to happen.

2.)Find a Raiding Guild that matches your availability-
That was my thing at first, when I transferred to Firetree, WFfG DID match my scheduled availability, but due to things beyond the GM's control, that changed less than a week after I joined. I've already transferred, so I'm sticking with it.

This particular choice can be very difficult, not only in finding a guild that can meet your specific time requirements, but in leaving behind a guild you're familiar with. Aside from requiring a large amount of communication, this can be approached from a couple of different angles.

a.) Trade/GuildRecruitment: Both are pretty excellent tools to get yourself out there. Though you might not want to be open about your search at first, or you might get washed out in the sea of absurdity in /b/... I mean Trade Chat, /join guildrecruitment you might just find a gem.
b.)Ask people you PuG with: A lot of guilds might not be actively recruiting, but if you prove yourself capable, they'll more than likely take you. Most PuGgers are more than willing to share information about their guild anyway. It never hurts to ask.
c.)WoW Forums: Never underestimate the forums. It's how I've found a majority of guilds I've been in, from casual with no interest in raiding to hardcore. A lot of people use the forums.

3.)If available, assemble a secondary group you'd be willing to lead-
Not very many people like PuGs, and if you can get guildies together to run things, that's probably the optimal choice. Sure, it might require a few weeks of Naxx and getting everyone primed and set on the whole teamwork aspect but if everyone's willing you can have an elite group in no time and set IT to suit YOUR needs while staying with the guildmates you know and love. (Well, maybe you don't love them, but still)

Now my problem, and this may match some of yours, is that I work nights so I need to find a morning or afternoon time raid guild to maximize available time. As it stands, I'm one hour behind server time on Firetree, so starting at 9:30 server and having to be at work at 10:00 my time gives me about an hour and fifteen minutes before I need to jet. This is problematic and the afternoons are prime times for taking care of those sleeping, eating, bill paying nuances of life, so my best option is mornings.

That being said, and having searched to see what I can find (to no avail) my only real option is to start a group of my own.

Let's see how that goes.

-Guari

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Progress! Progress! Personal Insight on Approaching new content.

Not everyone out there has been in 5, 10, or 25 man Coliseum.
Then again, not everyone has been in 10 or 25 man Ulduar!
Or even 10 or 25 OS, EoE, or VoA!

I know this may come as a shock, but I even know people who haven't been in a Heroic, or even to the Continent of Northrend!

One of the first things that I make sure to do anytime WoW comes up in a conversation, whether it be with my Mother, a stranger, a friend, or a Co-Worker, is that I enjoy how it manages to cater to the more hardcore gamer spectrum as well as the more casual gamers. There always will be complaining that Blizzard favors one over the other, but I honestly don't feel this is the case. I can only imagine it being very difficult to get both an ex-EverQuest end of game raid/farm/killfest player and Jane Q. Public, a 59 year old home maker who has only seen video games played briefly by her kids and grandkids, to enjoy the same game!

This fact alone is what brought me to this entry. A few simple tips about approaching progress, especially if you're closer to the Jane Q. Public spectrum (as hardcore raiders oughtta know this by now, but then again, the could be getting comfortable in their farm content, who knows?)

When progressing through new content, wipes are bound to happen. It doesn't matter how good your team is or how elite your gear: there is a chance to lose when you don't know what you're approaching.

I know a lot of people, I've run with them, seen them in General Chat, and heard them talking about it in Ventrilo, who call a run after two tries of facerolling by Boss X in Instance/Raid Y. I've found myself, at times, victim to a flaw that has caused me to panic in a situation I'd otherwise be cool-headed and calm in. Simply put, I get lazy with my farming content and don't think that the newer things might stretch my healing abilities as I approach them.

The first time I ran 5 man heroic Trial of the Champion, it took three tries to pick out the right first boss to kill, unluckily enough we managed to pull a wonderful hat trick of Warrior, Rogue, Shaman (we killed the Rogue first, Warrior Second, Shaman last by the way) and they absolutely handed our asses to us. A lot of time, I'll approach content that's new to me with at least SOME knowledge of what to expect, as I'm not in a top tier raiding guild, we're not focused on server firsts or throwing ourselves against a boss until we topple him. As much as I'd like it (at times) we aren't pushing to clear new content the day it comes out. Hell, I was on hiatus from the game when Ulduar came out originally, by the time I came back (4 months later) there was a wealth of information available to me, yet I still had an adaptation period to get used to the runs.

All this talking and nonsense filling your screen can honestly be boiled down into four points.
1.) Don't be afraid of wiping, it happens, and only by fighting and adapting will you succeed.
2.) Keep in mind how easy it is to fall into a farming routine and get lazy and unattentive. Running things that you typically avoid is a decent way to keep sharp, try to keep focused as if it were your first run/raid.
3.) If you're a little behind on content clearing, don't worry, the people before you are almost all
doing what they can to provide information to the community, don't be afraid to study a fight to get by that new boss your guild is attempting.
4.) This IS a game, and as shocking as it seems, it's supposed to be fun. Yes, to be in endgame we all have to put a little work in, but it should never feel like a second job. ALWAYS keep fun in mind, don't be afraid to walk away for a bit, it might do some good. Getting burnt out is NO fun, I promise.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Trust Issues: When is Too Much Enough?

I'm one of those healers who has issues trusting the other wound-menders and tank-touchers in a raid setting. I come from an extensive background (on Azjol'Nerub) of PuGging raids and finding the singly most unreliable healers server-wide. This had deeply ingrained in me the compulsive want to see everyone's health bar at full. It's subconcious, and a horrible thing to take part in.

This habit single-handedly causes more of my mana conservation issues than any other quirk of my healing style. I blame it on raid healing in a tank spec, but that honestly has nothing to do with it, I have trust issues (healing wise, anyways!) and in light of this I want to be able to help any healers who may share this full bar I'm-the-only-healer-who-can-do-it mentality.

In a raid setting, communication is key. If you're out of mana and down your innervate, make sure someone knows they may have to pick up a little extra load while your Mana Regen does its sweet, sweet job. I think, then, that the logical path is expecting the same behavior from the other healers. Sure, throwing an occasional Wild Growth to help them out isn't such a bad deal but I sometimes find myself unintentionally taking over their healing assignments while attempting my own at the same time. This causes many problems, not only by decimating my mana pool, but in causing massive overhealing to be done by overlapping heals with a Priest, Paladin, Druid, or Shaman, and in turn lowering my overall Healing Per Mana efficiency.

The tanks talk when they need taunts rotated, the DPS follows instruction on mobs to kill, healers should be communicating constantly. Whether this is in a private /healing channel, over Vent, or just in Raid, we need to keep the lines of communcation open. Maybe one day, when I've fully implemented this system among the Healers of We Fight for Glory, I will find my mana bar pleasantly difficult to drain in a six-minute fight.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Situational Awareness and You: A Guide to Avoiding Blindsides

Have you ever had one of those moments of horrible realization? One where you flip through your recount to find the semi-geared insert-random-DPS-here doing a less than subpar 300 dps? Where every pull is draining your mana fully, sometimes twice? But you need this heroic and it's an off time for the server, the tank's not so great no matter how amazing his gear, and even waiting 5-10 seconds after the initial pull your 3/3 Subversion specced Death Knight is pulling aggro.

Then the worst thing happens, a wipe. Not just a normal wipe, the kind of wipe where the mobs mop the floor with you because they have a lot more friends than you do. The kind of wipe cause by someone not paying attention and body pulling another group, or talking about how easy this instance/raid/fight is and slacking off. The kind of wipe that can only be cause by someone not giving 100% effort and attention to the task at hand.


As a Restoration Druid, I've found it a bad, bad habit to know I can HoT and walk away when it comes to running heroics and trash in OS, Naxx, and VoA. Go get a sandwich, cook a steak, take a nap, do a shift at work, and the Tank still has full health. This is a HORRIBLE habit to get into. We, as healers, as players, always need to be paying the fullest attention we can. Text messages, a phone call, they're not vital emergencies when you agree to heal, tank, or DPS an Instance, Heroic, or Raid.

As a good example: Elorius, Deathterrors, and I joined with a Prot Paladin and Warlock to knock out the Heroic Daily, Old Kingdom, before I had to scurry off to work. I scoped out the Paladin on our arrival and all seemed fair, he was in very nice gear, definitely prepared for tanking and his spec was all set (I've made a habit of inspecting my tanks after half way through a smooth HoL run, the Tank revealed he had been playing in Arms spec and was not performing to his fullest potential.) The tank proved to be a case of "not the gear, the player" as even on my request, Deathterrors and Elorius managed to pull aggro without trying too terribly hard after waiting five seconds post-pull.

I was a bit iffy about the warlock, as she was armored to the teeth in PvP crafted and Wintergrasp Mark gear, but it was good enough to provide sufficient DPS... or so I thought. Now, it occurs to me than an Afflcition spec takes time to build up DPS, and if you're burning down mobs too quickly it's going to wind up looking bad in numbers, but we weren't burning them very fast, and even in a 3 minute boss fight, it didn't break the 500 mark, after hovering around 300 and admitting to being distracted (but that's not why we're here, is it Guari!? No, it isn't!)

After all of this, we struggled through Elder Nadox, scraped by Prince Taldaram and were being manhandled by the pulls between the lower platform and Heral Volazj. I won't lie, I was beginning to get frustrated when the last straw snapped the camel's back... midway through a mispositioned pull FAR too close to a patrolling group, I called for everyone to hug the wall to avoid adds and threw out groupwide rejuvs and a wild growth. In a case of unattentive playing, our lovely warlock friend was nailed by wandering Elementals, who proceeded to steamroll our group. Even Nourish, WG, Swiftmend spam and a fairly well timed NS+HT, followed by Innervate and more spam barely kept myself and the tank alive long enough for his Consecrate to kill the mobs, my guildies and I(as politely as possible, etiquette is ALWAYS important) to let the tank know we needed to go, and me to log off just in time to make it to work, a heroic incomplete.

Now I'm not calling fault to anyone here, at least not openly, but I wanted to share this in hopes that you, as healers, DPS, or tanks, whatever form you find yourself reading this, will keep an eye open and scan your surroundings. Try not to allow yourself to get terribly side-tracked, remember that other people feel the pain of repair bills, and work as hard as you can to achieve the ultimate goal: success.