Tag Archives: Raiding

Evaluating Healers with World of Logs – Updated

Last year I wrote a series of posts on how to evaluate raiders, specifically healers, using World of Logs.

I have just updated the whole guide to account for all the 4.3 changes (yes, I’m a little slow) and have also added some new information. Topics covered are:

Basic Healer Evaluations – a look at Healing Done, spell breakdowns and buffs cast.
When Things go Wrong – a look at how to find out why people are dying.

Specific Class Evaluations:

Other resources:

I’ve been trying to find similar resources on non-healer classes so I can learn how to judge even more people (did I say judge? I meant evaluate and constructively criticize). So far I’ve found two:

Assassination Rogues – Tikari’s Tricks of the Trade
Hunters
– OutDPS!

If you have written a guide, or even just a list of tips on what to look for in World of Logs for DPS (or tank!) classes, please let me know. I’d love to link to it.

Interesting Boss Mechanics

Favorite fight mechanics is a topic that came up late one night at BlizzCon. I had an answer to this right away, as this post has been sitting in my draft folder for a couple months. I thought it was about time to finally get it completed and posted.

There are a few boss mechanics I’ve seen over the years that have really stood out as interesting and challenging. I’d love to see things like these make a comeback in future raids.

Necrotic Aura – Loatheb (Naxxramas)

Loatheb
Necrotic Aura
was a really interesting mechanic for healers. For 17 out of every 20 seconds in this fight, you couldn’t do any healing. I thought this was amazing. It meant none of your healing could be mindless. You had had to have a plan for your healing team, you had to be prepared and you had to make your heals count. It was a good lesson in timing your spells.

Aura of Despair – General Vezax (Ulduar)

General Vezax
Aura of Despair
is another mechanic that provides a healer-specific challenge. All through the Vezax encounter you were unable to regenerate mana. This was a fantastic lesson in mana mangement. You needed to be focused and you needed restraint in order to get through this fight. It was a very nice change from fights where healing could become quite spammy. While learning the fight I had to utilize my whole bag of tricks, from timing Lifebloom blooms for healing and mana return to meleeing the boss for Clearcasting procs for free heals, even using dark runes.

Inner Demon – Leotheras the Blind (Serpentshrine Cavern)

Leotheras the Blind
Though I’ve always loved healing I do enjoy getting to do something different from time to time and Inner Demon was the perfect opportunity. During the Leotheras encounter random people would spawn an inner demon and if you couldn’t kill it (on your own) within about 30 seconds you’d get mind controlled for the duration of the fight. The demons did take extra damage from nature and holy spells, making them a bit easier for healers to kill theirs, but this was at a time when spell damage and spell healing were two different stats. It could still be quite a challenge as a healer.

Poisonous Blood – Hakkar (Zul’Gurub)

Hakkar the Soul Flayer
During the Hakkar fight, raid memebers would occasionally have to pull and kill a Son of Hakkar. When the son died, they would leave a cloud of poison. While poison on the ground is usually something to be avoided at all cost, this fight made you stand in the poison! Why? Because Hakkar would then cast Blood Siphon and he would take damage from every person infected with Poisonous Blood. Hakkar was the first end boss that I ever faced in WoW and my delight at this mechanic has only grown with my raid experience. I get much amusement from thinking back to a time when people got yelled at for not standing in the bad.

Blood boil and Fel Rage – Gurtogg Bloodboil (Black Temple)

Gurtogg Bloodboil
This guy had two interesting mechanics that made him one of my favorite bosses in my favorite raid. First there was Blood Boil, which would put a stackable DoT on the 5 people furthest away from the boss every 10 seconds. I really enjoyed the emphasis this placed on spatial awareness and mobility. If you messed up your timing and positioning, someone was going to get too many stacks and end up dead. I also got to be responsible for healing one fo the groups of 5 people (pre-Wild Growth) which was a nice challenge. Then there was Fel Rage. The boss would put a 30 second debuff on a random raid member which increased their health, armor, healing and damage and then he would beat the hell out of that person for the duration. In all likelihood he’d focus on a clothie. This challenged the healers to keep up a non-tank through a vicious melee barrage and challenged the person with Fel Rage to use all the mitigation, avoidance and self-healing abilities available to them.

What are some of your favorite boss mechanics?

Heal Sniping and Meter Padding

The list of stupid gaming terms I think should be completely abolished from people’s vocabularies is long, but today the one on the top of that list is Heal Sniping.

I first heard this term back in Ulduar. My Horde main was my Shaman back then and my go-to spells were Riptide and hasted Lesser Healing Waves. As I read through blogs and forums looking for healing tips, I noticed that many people referred to this method of healing as sniping.

What is heal sniping?

Heal sniping is healing a target that will be healed by someone else shortly. If you can get your heal off faster, you get all the credit on the healing meters, while the person whose heal lands after gets nothing but overheal. Sniping is stealing a heal from someone else. The term generally implies competition among healing teams and bad, meter-whoring intentions by the sniper.

I’ve seen people refer to all sorts of things as sniping:

  • My RT/LHW example above. Fast heals = sniping
  • Pre-HoTing = sniping
  • Power Word: Shield = sniping
  • Healing someone with a HoT on them = sniping
  • Using healing cooldowns outside of emergency situations = sniping
  • Healing anyone you’re not specifically assigned to heal = sniping

I call bullshit.

The biggest problem with the term heal sniping is that it implies bad intent. If I know that the other druid is casting a slow Healing Touch on target A and I cast a fast Regrowth on them before it goes off so I look good on meters then yes, technically I’m sniping. But does that really happen? Raid frames can tell you when someone has a heal incoming but they can’t tell you if the caster is going to have to stop casting to move out of something bad, may not tell you if the heal will bring them to full and there’s likely more damage coming soon anyway. Am I using a fast heal to be an asshole or am I just trying to save target A from floor-tanking for the rest of the encounter?

Healing is a team effort, and the healers work together to keep everyone alive. If we avoided any healing spells and tactics that could be considered sniping, no one would get healed. Thinking about healing in terms of sniping is the wrong mindset. It’s not a competition. If everyone gets healed and no one dies, you win – collectively.

If I’m assigned to heal the tank and I use a spare GCD when the tank’s not in danger to cast a Wild Growth on the raid am I sniping from the raid healers? No. I’m helping them. If I’m assigned to raid heal and I stack Lifebloom on the tank along with a few direct heals when I can manage them am I sniping from the tank healers? Nope, just helping out. If my assignments are at safe health levels and I pop a quick heal on someone dangerously low on health who is not my assignment am I sniping in an attempt to appear higher on the healing meter? Of course not, I’m trying to save someone from dying. Cross-healing is an important part of being a healer – knowing when you should stick to your own targets and when you can afford to help out others is one of the things that separates the good healers from the bad.

Snipe healing is often paired with another stupid concept – meter padding.

I need to clarify (because I know some people are misinformed) that overheal does not pad the meters. Healing meters (such as those on World of Logs) show the amount of effective healing done. So if I throw Rejuvs on as many people as I can even if they’re not taking damage, I’m not making myself look (superficially) better in any way. I’m just being an idiot. It is impossible to ‘pad the meter’ with overheal.

If your assignments don’t die and you’re not running out of mana too soon, tossing out your high HPS spells to put out as much healing as possible isn’t meter padding. It’s doing your job to keep the raid healed.

Every healer should be healing their ass off and working to put out as much healing as they possibly can.

There are a couple real examples of meter-padding, but I would hope they don’t happen often. If you take extra damage so you have more to heal or continue to heal after a wipe has been called, that’s meter-padding. Of course, those things are extremely obvious to anyone paying attention and those caught doing either should be laughed right out of the raid.

But what’s the real problem?

The problem with terms like sniping and meter padding is that they are non-descriptive, blanket statements that get thrown around too much. You could call any healer who does well on the meters and casts a lot of high HPS spells a meter-padder, when in reality they’re just doing their job to the best of their ability. These terms also distract from what’s really going wrong. Almost every problem that can be generically attributed one of these things has a real, specific problem behind it.

If my assigned target dies because I’m busy healing someone else’s target then I lack focus, the ability to follow assignments and the instinct to know when I can safely spare a heal for someone else.

If I run out of mana because I’ve been busy casting heals on those who aren’t taking damage or casting more heals than necessary then I’m inefficient, and need to learn how to manage my mana better.

If healers have spare GCDs and mana to heal everyone else’s targets consistently, there are too many healers in the fight.

If everything goes well, no one dies due to lack of heals and the boss goes down, congratulations! There’s no need for slinging around terms like sniping.

I’m not saying that players who’d rather place highly on the meters than play effectively don’t exist, but to any healing lead/raid leader/log analyser worth their salt it’s going to be pretty obvious who these players are. Who cares if you have the highest HPS when your targets are always dead? Or if you’re wiping? No one focused on progression does.

When your healing team runs into trouble, address it head-on and find out what the real problems are. Stop using terms like sniping and meter padding and remember that healing is a team sport.

*Just to clarify, before the comments start, this post has nothing to do with me or either of my raid teams. I read a couple posts this week that talked about snipe healing – one condemning it, one extolling its virtues. This isn’t even a direct response to either of those posts, just a tangent my brain went on after thinking about the subject for a while.*

What’s better than one Ragnaros kill?

Two Ragnaros kills this week!

Ragnaros - Arm of Hades first kill

Team Hansel - we're so hot right now.

Last night Arm of Hades went into Firelands, one-shot Majordomo then killed Ragnaros for the first time. After 5 not so great attempts where people made silly mistakes and we didn’t get past the 2nd transition, our 6th attempt look us right to the end. We even got the achievement. We’re also the first Horde guild on our server to kill him! (yes, it’s a small server).

This means that next week I will be trying out my first hard modes on both my druid and my priest – Apotheosis just scored our first Rag kill on Thursday. I’m interested to see how the 10man and 25man formats compare for hard modes.

Wish us luck!

Recommended Reading

First of all:

Firelands Achievement Screenshot stolen from Kurnmogh

Woohoo! Ragnaros is dead. On Thursday Apotheosis strolled in to Firelands and knocked out Baleroc, Majordomo and at long last, Ragnaros. That fight is a lot of fun and it felt great to finally kill him. I’m super-excited to get started on heroic modes next week.

Now, on to the link love. Here are some great posts related to raiding I’ve read recently:

  • Morynne at Marks-365 takes a look at 10 vs. 25 raiding, examining the benefits and drawbacks of both. I’ve been meaning to write a post on this for quite some time and I always other people’s opinions on it very interesting.
  • Sunnier from A Sunnier Bear looks at what it means to be in an end-game raiding guild. It’s a really good reminder for those who currently raid and good information for those who are looking to start.
  • Kurn from Kurn’s Corner writes about the difference between an explanation and an excuse. I only stood in that lava wave because my cat jumped on my keyboard. And then caught on fire. Honest.
  • Beruthiel from Falling Leaves and Wings asks how you define exceptional. It’s a good idea for every raider to ask themselves what makes them good (or great) and what they could work on to be even better.
  • Srsbusiness from Simply Business gives a very thorough rundown of the Firelands Legendary Staff quest. For those people who, like me, are unlikely to ever experience this it’s an interesting read. Also great for those who will be embarking on the quest themselves and want to know what’s in store.

Enjoy!

How to Heal: Beth’tilac (25N)

This is my second Druid healing guide for the Firelands raid instance. Though it’s written from a 25-man perspective, most of the tips should apply to 10s as well.

Beth’tilac is generally the second boss raid groups tackle in Firelands. I giant fiery spider with a lot of adds to manage. The first phase of the fight isn’t too difficult from a healer perspective but the second phase has huge, always-increasing raid-wide damage.

If you’re not familiar with the general tactics of the fight, check out the Icy Veins guide.

Debuffs you want to be aware of:

Fiery Web SilkFiery Web Silk – This buff is applied to anyone who goes up on Beth’s web during phase 1. It’s not 100% necessary to be able to see this, but if you’re healing on the ground I find it helpful to be able to see who I won’t be able to heal. If you’re healing up top it will show you who you need to heal.

Widow's KissThe Widow’s Kiss – This debuff is applied to the tanks in phase 2. As soon as you see it applied to one tank, expect the other to taunt.

When I heal Beth’tilac I am generally on the raid and I do not go up on the web.

Phase 1 :

This phase is about add control. A small team consisting of a tank, a couple healers and possibly some dps will go up onto Beth’s web to engage her while the rest of the raid stays on the ground to fight adds. Raid-wide AoE damage will begin almost immediately after the pull and persist until people go up on top of the web.

  • Before the pull, cast a direct heal to trigger Harmony and stack Lifebloom on the tank who will be going on the web.
  • Once the boss has been pulled, cast Wild Growth as you are running into the room along with a Rejuvenation on yourself. When the raid is situated, Swiftmend to place an Efflorescence.
  • Use Barkskin.
  • When you see/hear that the tank is going on top of the web, refresh their LB stack and put a Rejuv on them to give them a bit of a buffer for the initial damage. You may also want to Rejuv any dps/healers that are going up the web.
  • The Venom Rain will stop once the tank is up there.
  • Once your LB has expired stack it up on the Drone tank along with a Rejuv. Use direct heals when necessary.
  • The raid will be taking random damage from Burning Acid so spot heal people with Rejuv, Regrowth, Wild Growth and try to keep Efflorescence down for the people who are grouped up.
  • I like to use Tree of Life and Innervate approximately 1-2 minutes into the fight so it’s up again for phase 2.
  • Approximately 1:20 after the web group goes up, Beth’tilac will begin casting Smoldering Devastation meaning they all need to jump back down to the ground.
  • At this point Beth will start casting Venom Rain again.
  • Use Barkskin.
  • Use Tranquility on the first Venom Rain so it is up again for phase 2. Use Wild Growth and Efflorescence as much as possible.
  • After this, the web team will go back up and the phase will repeat.

If you are part of the team that goes up onto Beth’s web in phase 1:

  • Make sure the tank has Lifebloom and Rejuv before they go up the web.
  • Make sure the tank goes up before you (unless you like being smacked around by the boss).
  • Keep LB and Rejuv rolling on the tank at all times. The tank will be taking considerable damage, so use a lot of direct heals as well.
  • Use Wild Growth on cooldown to counter the damage the rest of the group is taking from Ember Flare. Use Beth’tilac as your target to ensure it hits everyone.
  • Use Rejuv on anyone who needs extra healing, and use Swiftmend on cooldown to keep Eflorescence up.

 Phase 2:

After Beth has cast Smoldering Devastation 3 times, she will come down off her web and phase 2 will start. During this phase Beth’tilac will cast Ember Flare on the raid every 6 seconds or so. She will also build stacks of Frenzy, increasing her damage done by 5% per stack. The longer this phase lasts, the more intense the raid damage becomes.

  • Group up on the boss’s butt.
  • Stack Lifebloom on the current tank. When the tank gets The Widow’s Kiss be prepared to swap your LB to the other tank.
  • Use Wild Growth and Swiftmend on the raid every time they are off cooldown.
  • Use Barkskin on cooldown.
  • Mana may get tight on this phase so Innervate as soon as you need it and a mana pot will be helpful as well.
  • Use Tree of Life and spam Lifebloom on the raid along with Regrowths on every OoC proc to conserve your mana pool (along with WG/SM on cooldown).
  • If ToL is not up, toss Rejuvs on those with the lowest health.
  • When the stacks of Frenzy get high (~15) use Tranquility.

Happy healing!

How to Heal: Maloriak (25H)

Maloriak is a very fun fight to heal. There’s bad stuff to run away from, big damage on multiple tanks and huge AoE raid damage to heal through. It’s a very long fight so it’s important to manage your mana and get the most of your cooldowns.

The differences between hard mode and normal mode:

  • There is a new Dark Magic phase
  • Ablities hit harder, boss and adds have more health
  • 12 minute enrage timer

When I heal Maloriak I am generally on the raid.

Dark Magic Phase :

This phase has lots of raid damage and some tricky tank damage.

  • Keep full Lifebloom stacks on a tank (either the Maloriak tank or the add tank, whoever you think needs it most).
  • Keep a Rejuvenation on both the Maloriak and add tanks.
  • After the Vile Swills have spawned, use Tree of Life and roll Lifeblooms on both tanks.
  • Use Wild Growth on cooldown on the people taking damage from Dark Sludge.
  • Use Swiftmendon cooldown to put down Efflorescence – the add tank is a good target for this.
  • Use Rejuv and Regrowth to spot heal those who are taking a lot of damage. I find I use Regrowth on this fight a lot.
  • Use Barkskin when Dark Sludge starts piling up.

Red Vial Phase

This phase has huge raid-wide damage. Consuming Flames will usually hit twice, but on occasion it can hit 3 times.

  • Keep LB on the main tank.
  • Make sure everyone is topped up before the first Scorching Blast.
  • Rejuv anyone who gets Consuming Flames.
  • Use Wild Growth on cooldown.
  • Keep a Rejuv on yourself which you can Swiftmend for optimal Efflorescence placement.
  • Use Tranquility on this phase after the 1st or 2nd Scorching Blast to top people up quickly.
  • Use Barkskin before Scorching Blast. Do not use it right when the phase starts, the first Blast doesn’t happen for a while.

Blue Vial Phase

This is the easy phase where you get to regen some mana before the next, more damage-heavy phase.

  • Keep LB and Rejuv on the tank.
  • Use the occasional Wild Growth around the melee to counter Biting Chill.
  • Regrowth and Swiftmend those who get hit with Flash Freeze.

Final Phase

This phase has the same mechanics as normal but everything hits a whole lot harder.

  • Keep LB and Rejuv on the tank.
  • Watch out for Absolute Zero. It can one-shot you in heroic.
  • Cast Wild Growth and keep an Efflorescence down during Acid Nova. Use Tranquility during this if it’s up.
  • Spot heal the raid with Rejuv and Regrowth.
  • Use Tree of Life if it’s available and stack LBs on all tanks.
  • Use Barkskin during Acid Nova.

Happy healing!