Checking in on Dragons and Pandas

October 31, 2011 at 2:31 pm (Raiding)


     Sorry its been awhile since I have posted anything.  I have been busy with life and work.

  To this date I have currently completed FL raid on reg mode and defeated heroic Aly and Domo.  I hacve joined a wonderful guild on my server that runs a pretty tight 10 man group twice a week. They have allowed me to come as a please and if they need a healer they bring me along.  It works out for all parties it seems. The reason I like this group is that they don’t raid much, but when they do they know their stuff.  There is no wasting time getting organized each night and people don’t usually die to stupid stuff. 

 Firelands is a nice raid.  I dont think it is much tougher then IIC fights in general.  The problem I am beginning to see is that it appears player skill has gotten so much worse. There are never any PUGs anymore for raiding on my server and if there are they do not go anywhere.  As a healer I can at least try to give a better comment on that.  On my alt on the server I was in a PUG on Nef.  This is post nerf only last weekend. After 2-3 ours there was absolutely no progress and only 1 real push into phase 3. The problem was not how much DPS we could push because at no point were we pushing enrage issues. Most of the time we died on phase 1.  That is a problem and people would die because the heals were weak and some DPS decided to stand next to ony every…single…time. It’s like they weren’t watching damage they were taking. I know a few deaths were due to those DPS. Now, for the healing issues. it just wasnt there, tanks were dying too much.  We had 2 druids who seemd to feel like Lifebloom was a total optional spell. They would push into late phase 1-2 and being to complain about mana.  I would mention how great LB is at healing tanks and providing that mana.  There was no acknowledgment from them or change in their healign style. They just beat against the same brick wall without trying to change and improve themselves through methods, just hitting buttons harder.

So in summation please do what you can to learn.  It helps your game as a whoel because you dont waste time and you actually kill things. Also, sometimes when people make comments in raid they might be trying to help.


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Cataclysm Thoughts

January 4, 2011 at 4:45 pm (Raiding, Resto Druid Mechanics, Uncategorized)

Yay, I am back. 

    It has been awhile but I have had a wonderful new edition to my family and have been busy.

He is a joy.

     I wanted to make some quick comments regarding my Druid and his resto abilities. 

I began my dungeon experiences like most healers in that I was running low on mana constantly. There were two reasons for this.

     – Mana regen is just about non existant and spells cost lots.

     – I still had not learned exact healing style of the new xpac.

I used rejuv too much and am way too impatient when it comes down to waiting for nourish to cast so that I could heal the tank for a measly 6k just to refresh the Lifebloom. I felt that while my heal was being cast the tank was taking more damage then was going to be healed and DPS were getting hit hard as well. This got better as my mana and regen improve and after I finally started casting some spells specifically on clearcasting procs. This was a great save for my mana. Now at 346 gear levels I rarely run out of mana during a fight unless something terrible has happened. I am finally ready for raiding.

I am a bit unhappy about what I’ve heard about raiding as a resto druid and that we just dont have the toolset to heal multiple targets for big chunks. We have WG and Eff that can do aoe healing. Frankly those are pretty week spells in themselves and dont do more that 20k healing over something like 8 secs. If DPS is taking consistent damage good luck trying to heal raid damage with these two aoe spells. They are strong together but they cannot be spammed for constant damage and are HoT effects so are not able to bring anyone back from the Brink. I actually really miss being able to give out multiple lifeblooms all the time. Just imagine the aoe heal potential I could have by timing LBs to Bloom at a heavy damage period.

Anyhow those were just some quick thoughts.  I am under the impression that Blizzard will buff resto druids in some way soon, just dont know what it is. What are your thoughts?

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Oh, the Inhumanity

April 29, 2010 at 9:11 am (Raiding)

There has been a bit of a hubbub lately with the prospective raiding changes in Cataclysm

The first of the refinements being made is that we’re combining all raid sizes and difficulties into a single lockout. Unlike today, 10- and 25-player modes of a single raid will share the same lockout. You can defeat each raid boss once per week per character. In other words, if you wanted to do both a 10- and 25-person raid in a single week, you’d need to do so on two different characters. Normal versus Heroic mode will be chosen on a per-boss basis in Cataclysm raids, the same way it works in Icecrown Citadel. Obviously the raid lockout change doesn’t apply in pure Icecrown terms though, as this change goes hand-in-hand with a few other changes to raid progression in Cataclysm.

We’re designing and balancing raids so that the difficulty between 10- and 25-player versions of each difficulty will be as close as possible to each other as we can achieve. That closeness in difficulty also means that we’ll have bosses dropping the same items in 10- and 25-player raids of each difficulty. They’ll have the same name and same stats; they are in fact the exact same items. Choosing Heroic mode will drop a scaled-up version of those items. Our hope is that players will be able to associate bosses with their loot tables and even associate specific artwork with specific item names to a far greater extent than today.

Dungeon Difficulty and Rewards
10- and 25-player (normal difficulty) — Very similar to one another in difficulty; drop the exact same items as each other.
10- and 25-player (Heroic difficulty) — Very similar to one another in difficulty; drop more powerful versions of the normal-difficulty items.

We of course recognize the logistical realities of organizing larger groups of people, so while the loot quality will not change, 25-player versions will drop a higher quantity of loot per player (items, but also badges, and even gold), making it a more efficient route if you’re able to gather the people. The raid designers are designing encounters with these changes in mind, and the class designers are making class changes to help make 10-person groups easier to build. Running 25-player raids will be a bit more lucrative, as should be expected, but if for a week or two you need to do 10s because half the guild is away on vacation, you can do that and not suffer a dramatic loss to your ability to get the items you want.

We recognize that very long raids can be a barrier for some players, but we also want to provide enough encounters for the experience to feel epic. For the first few raid tiers, our plan is to provide multiple smaller raids. Instead of one raid with eleven bosses, you might have a five-boss raid as well as a six-boss raid. All of these bosses would drop the same item level gear, but the dungeons themselves being different environments will provide some variety in location and visual style, as well as separate raid lockouts. Think of how you could raid Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep separately, but you might still want to hit both every week.

We do like how gating bosses over time allows the community to focus on individual encounters instead of just racing to the end boss, so we’re likely to keep that design moving forward. We don’t plan to impose attempt limitations again though, except maybe in cases of rare optional bosses (like Algalon). Heroic mode may not be open from day one, but will become available after defeating normal mode perhaps as little as once or twice.

In terms of tuning, we want groups to be able to jump into the first raids pretty quickly, but we also don’t want them to overshadow the Heroic 5-player dungeons and more powerful quest rewards. We’ll be designing the first few raid zones assuming that players have accumulated some blue gear from dungeons, crafted equipment, or quest rewards. In general, we want you and your guild members to participate in and enjoy the level up experience.

We design our raids to be accessible to a broad spectrum of players, so we want groups to be able to make the decision about whether to attempt the normal or Heroic versions of raids pretty quickly. The goal with all of these changes is to make it as much of a choice or effect of circumstance whether you raid as a group of 10 or as a group of 25 as possible. Whether you’re a big guild or a small guild the choice won’t be dependent on what items drop, but instead on what you enjoy the most.

We realize that with any changes to progression pathways there are going to be questions. We’re eagerly awaiting any that we may have left unanswered. To the comments!

I have read multiple blog posts from people saying the changes are great because.

– 10 mans are viable once again

– Just because you are in a bigger raid doesn’t mean you should get better gear.

– To be the best you had to do 25s and now you don’t.

I want to address the last point. We have 10 man raiders who are happy because they can now be “the best” without doing 25 mans and 25 man raiders arguing that it ruins the motivation to do 25. I would have to agree with the 25 man raiders here. It is easier to get 10 great players together to go right into HM than it is to get 25 for that. Also it will be easier to gear those 10 players no matter what is said. Also at what point does this stop? Let’s say I am a serious 5 man raider and feel offended that 5 man groups are left out. Will blizzard next make heroic drops on par with 10 man raiding drops? If that does ever happen in the future I don’t want to hear any complaining from 10 man raiders who applauded this change. No matter what expansion you are in there is some content that will be over geared. It’s a fact of life. No reason to get mad because some people are doing 25 man HM and getting better gear then you. With these new changes you won’t have the same chance to gear up.

     Also, what will happen to the crafted gear? There is some epic crafted gear that is at 25 man level. Will those now be at 10 man level and will be cheap enough for everyone to buy because they can be replaced so easy? Will there even need to be a LFR tool because PUGs will be non-existent? How easy/hard will these raids actually be?

     My idea to help raiding in Cataclysm instead of this is to have an achievement for beating a boss on 10 man in only 10 man or less gear. Then have the last instance boss drop top 25 tier items. This will help 10 man strict get high gear to feel better and will not lessen being in a 25 man raid.

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Healing meters number etc.

March 9, 2010 at 5:47 pm (Raiding, Resto Druid Mechanics)

After a raid a few nights ago I have really put some brain power into describing why I heal the way I do. This began after I was called out for using lifebloom multiple times on putricide (It was the third spell in my total heals after rejuv and wild growth). I was of course called out by the guy who also enjoyed calling out “heal me” in the middle of raid (yes he is DPS).  So after I was rudely called out for healing wrong while having highest heals during most of our attempts I felt kind of angry. I feel that I am a strong raider and know what I am doing when it comes to resto healing. Here are some reasons I came up with to explain my healing style.

Druids in most cases have to take care of damage before it hits. This is why we have soo many great long term spells. Our spells are made to keep DPS at a decent health when damage is going out all over the raid on a constant basis. We thrive on fights like Twins and Festergut. Why else would a druid refer to pre-hotting something on a regular basis.

So we have the constant damage pre-hot spell (rejuv), the “oh crap i got hit by a different colored ball and am still taking damage” spell (regrowth), The melee aoe friendly (Wild Growth) and finally the “multiple people will take some big hit at some unknown time in the future” spell which I refer to as lifebloom.  Now as I explain why I use lifebloom please remember the fact that MP5 does not matter at this stage in the game which mean zero mana issues. 

Lifebloom was once the love of tank healing druids, or so lore goes. But the came patch 3.1 where something happened and it no longer had to be rolled. For mana management purposes it could now bloom and still provide some huge heals (usually overheal).  But something happened and lifebloom went back to being just a tank heal to be ignored. I am a huge fan of Lifebloom. What other spell can provide 400-1200 HOT tics and then bloom for at least 5k. This spell is great when the raid is taking non-continious damage (Like in Putricide). Sure you want to give as many people as possible Rejuv, but you can only do so much and at the same time people take some damage spikes from green slimes and malleable goo. Druids need to stay ahead of the damage by using lifebloom, once we fall behind we are stuck using nourish.  So remember to watch your fellow raiders in the environment and throw out that lifebloom when you know they are susceptible to damage. This way you can keep them alive.

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Last Nights Raid

February 22, 2010 at 3:33 pm (Raiding)

So I was able to get into our 10 man ICC raid last night which turned out to be pretty productive. We started off by flying through Festergut in under an hour and a half. Through that we had 2 deaths and no fights had to be explained to anyone which really helped. We eventually wiped once on rotface then came back and took him down handily. Next was the exciting Blood Council.

I still have no clue what is going on in this fight. As a healer all i do is avoid staying close to people while running all over the place to heal the many tanks and DPS while they run from boss to boss. I also avoid any balls of flame or white things on the ground. I am hoping that each time I go in I get a better understanding. Luckily my “noobness” didn’t stop us and we only wiped once on the council.

Next we decided to clear a wing and take out the queen. This fight gave us the most trouble for the night because of the coordination needed in the biting. We wiped a few times when 4 people were attempting to bite others. As a healer this fight has some constant raid damage with spikes in damage to tank and those dps who have boss abilities on them. I was able to get in the groove where I would attempt to keep up constant rejuv on everyone. I would then WG one of the targets that is chained to the other so that they both get healed as they run together. Other than that I use SW and Regrowth as needed. After we got the bites coordinated she went down pretty easily.

In our last 30 minutes we tried dreamwalker a few times. I was very excited for this fight because it is healer focused.  We attempted it 3 times with a pally going through the portals. Me and a Shammy were staying out and healing. In all 3 wipes i think we were running into the mini enrage at about 7 minutes in. It is a difficult fight to get used to, I do enjoy throwing the boss some HOTS during the encounter. Every write-up I have read on this fight speaks about boss healer and raid healer etc. I have a new proposition though for druids. How about we do both? That way one healer in the portal, one healer out and one going back and forth. I say druids for this because of HOTS. As a druid just hot up everyone including the boss then go in the portal. If you do not have rapid rejuv then those HOTS should last just long enough for you to be in the portal. Then you come out of the portal throw a quick WG out on the raiders and HOT up the boss. I think this is good for a few reasons. Your HOTS will be getting larger and larger towards the end, like 15k a tic at time. Also you can make it so 1 healer doesn’t make or break the process. During last nights raid if the stacks fell off our boss heals, it was over. So what do you think about this plan?

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Helping one, Helps everyone.

January 14, 2010 at 2:32 pm (Raiding)

My pally healing buddy recently started a series on guild progression and building a strong raid team. You can read this at I wasn’t to add my own 2 cents today in speaking about how to improve your guild and raid team.

I really only began raiding in Wrath when I had joined a guild called abyss on my server. It began as a fun group of people who seemed to work really well together. So we progressed while having fun. I wouldn’t have considered myself a very strong raider at the time. I was a fury warrior and really only knew about my rotation. I did not know how I should gem or set up my talent tree to provide the greatest benefit to the group. I believed socket bonuses were important even if I had to take a stamina gem. Also, I was so new to raiding I did not understand boss mechanics and as DPS I had to avoid certain things to make life easier on our healers. I am sure others considered me a bad raider at the time. Looking back I do not think I was bad, just uninformed. I would have improved my gems, enchants and spec if I even knew what I was doing. I needed a mentor.

Back to the present. I now know very much about my class as a Druid Healer and Fury Warrior. I even know where to search for theorycrafting info on all classes. I know buffs and abilities of multiple classes. I even know boss mechanics pretty well and have a much easier time understanding new bosses. Now I am the one who gets kind of annoyed with bad raiders who may be slowing us down in our progression. But just like me some of these players just may need some help.

The other day I leant some advice to a raider in our guild. He had just begun serious raiding a month or two ago and has been coming into ICC with us. He does middle of pack DPS and has some issues with mechanics at times. The problem with his DPS is that he was a hunter and could do so much better especially with his higher than 5k gearscore. He had been feeling kind of let down because he knew that people were less then pleased with his performance. I approached him as I wish I was and began throwing ideas his way. No, I did not say “you suck, do this”. I just let him know that he was doing well and just think how much better off he could be doing if he went MM. He was told what to gem for and I pointed him to some very nice hunter blogs that gave him a proper rotation. This hunter took the suggestions to heart and changed everything around. Last night(in one day) he improved to the top of our DPS, it also gave him confidence that appeared to help him with understanding boss mechanics (don’t know how that happened exactly).

He is learning and listening which is all that can be asked of a good raider.

Now I just have get him to start bringing flasks to raid :-/.

So now I am thinking that to help build our guild we can take some of these players who have been marginal in the past and help them with positive reinforcement. We have a progression raiding mentality but not the players. I think to grow we take in some of these players and help them succeed to come raid with us in the future. It should be easy to pick the ones who will listen and work hard to become better raiders.

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January 4, 2010 at 12:54 pm (Raiding)

Here is a picture of what my UI looks like for you too see.  Yes it is kind of cluttered now. I am hoping to get pitbull or the like in the future to get rid of the left side. I focus most on grid anyhow.  I use clique and keybinds for most spells.

As I make changes I will update this photo.

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Finishing up Ulduar

December 29, 2009 at 6:14 pm (Raiding)

     My guild has been decently strong in 10 mans; we have cleared through ICC and have even gotten Northrend Beasts down in ToTGC. But we have yet to down Yogg.  When 3.2 came out we just kind of gave up running into Ulduar. This has changed recently. We really want to get the full clear and to do that we need to down the Yoggster.

So last night we start on Mimiron (we had cleared up to him earlier in the week). It is such an easier fight and only took us two tries with many people who had not done it before. Then comes wonderful General V. I swear the worst part about that fight is the running back to it on a wipe and we did wipe a few times. This was a new fight for a few of the guildies who came along and we had a few issues on those silly life leeches. We wiped 3 times in which we were fighting for a good few minutes yet it didnt seem like we didn’t even make a dent. Finally, something clicked and he stopped getting healed up. After making it look so hard for an hour we somehow made it look exceptionally easy. Here are some notes I made for myself as a resto.

-Wild Growth is just great on this fight when there are multiple range. I just have to remember to wait while the ranged assemble themselves on the shadow crash puddle then heal efficiently.

-Trust your other healer. We were doing this with me and a pally healer. The first few tries I would try to keep the tank hotted with rejuv at least to assist the other healer. i found it easier to save my heals and just go heal the tank while the pally was looking for the green cloud.

-Finally, let the HOTS do the work. I know it is difficult to see people with 25% health knocked off but the rejuv will heal them enough if I let it. I was only using Regrowth when clearcasting was active.

      We had just enough time to try Yoggster 3 times before we called the night. unfortunately we had those wonderful phase one issues where there were adds all over the place. Getting used to this phase will come with time. We were only able to push into phase 2 once and that was with 3 adds still up. I don’t think we had one attempt in phase one where at least 4 extra guys were spawned :-(. We have extended the raid ID and hopefully I will be writing later this week about Yoggy finally being defeated. Maybe I’ll even try to take a video of it. I do enjoy this fight because no one is being carried.

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First Saurfang Encounter and fun for Druids of all kinds

December 28, 2009 at 8:45 pm (Raiding)

I finally was on when my guild attempted Saurfang the other night and got to attempt some new and exciting things.

One observation I noticed was that this fight is harder than the 3 previous by a large margin. Lord Marrowgar is utterly easy after the multiple nerfs to make tanking easier. Lady Deathwhisper is easy once DPS understands who they are supposed to attack. The ship fight while fun is easiest of all i think. On any of these boss fights our group did not take too many attempts to understand and beat.  Then comes the tiny guy.

     This guy is small and does not look imposing at first glance. Even after he begins to attack the tanks its not very bad.  We had a good setup each and every time. Then those silly adds just created havoc. It is not the add’s damage but trying to stay away from them while healing/dpsing and at the same time staying away from your fellow raiders. 

    It got to the point where I got to try out my non-geared boomkin spec to include some typhoon for crowd control. We began to do better, but DPS was bad (probably because I was doing an awful 1500 DPS). I think our best attempt was 10% or so.

      I do have a new respect for boomkin and think I will try to seriously duel spec for it in the future. I will write about my boomkin progression after I get some practice.

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