Showing posts with label Healing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Healing. Show all posts

1.12.11

This Week in Raiding: Dragon Soul First Impressions


Alrighty, now that the 50,000 Words project is done (and so help me if I see another screenshot again...) I can get back to writing about the game that I've been photographing for the past month. I would hate for Battle Medic to be known as just a screenshot blog.

There will be no screenshots in this post. I think I'm imaged out for a while.

As everyone knows, Patch 4.3 dropped Tuesday. Between a cranky computer that chose a horrible time to have a software glitch, a cranky baby that was overtired and dealing with a cold, and a cranky wife dealing with said baby, I didn't have a whole lot of opportunity to run the new content. I did manage to run End Time twice, once on my Paladin and once on my Shaman. End Time was a lot easier than I was expecting; very straightforward mechanics and what felt like low damage. I didn't really feel pushed all that much on either of my healers. End Time, at least, feels a lot easier than the Zandalari heroics and I am okay with that.

Last night Mountain Top went into the new raid instance Dragon Soul on Normal Mode for the first time. Our realm already has a number of 8/8 guilds, which made me optimistic that we would be able to get through it without too much trouble. From what I've heard, Dragon Soul is a lot easier than Firelands was, so long as the raid can manage the various different mechanics.

Without extensive preparation we managed to get three bosses down before we wiped to the Real Life boss. We spent about an hour and a half in a brand new, never-before-seen raid instance and yet still managed to easily one-shot Morchok and Yor'Sajh the Unchallenging Unsleeping. In addition, Zon'ozz fell after three or four pulls once we got the ball rolling, so to speak.

That's kinda nuts, really.

I really like the new 5-mans; they are short, well paced, absolutely stunning to look at and have the right amount of trash, I think. The boss encounters are easy enough to explain to a random group, and the entire dungeons can be completed quickly enough that they can be farmed without too much hassle. Which is what they are for, after all.

A raid, on the other hand, has to last. There is absolutely no reason that bosses should be killed on the first pull on the first attempt in the first week of a new raid - at least not by the non-hardcore crowd. Hell, some guilds have already 9-manned Morchok.

Now, as a disclaimer, we haven't pulled 5 of the bosses yet, so this may be premature, but I'm really worried that Normal Mode Dragon Soul is going to be easy enough that we'll blow through it in a week or two. And if this raid can be cleared by casual raiding guilds like Mountain Top so quickly, then unless the Heroic Modes are brutally, butt-clenchingly hard, the next five or six months until Mists of Pandaria comes out are going to be boring as hell. How long until we're through Heroic Modes and thinking, "What now?"

Mountain Top has never been a Heroic Mode guild - we have trouble getting the same people together each week and even more trouble getting a decent amount of time to raid. Five hours a week is about all we can manage on a good week, and quite often we're struggling to get more than two or three. With those time constraints, Heroic Modes always seemed out of reach. Now, however, with Dragon Soul it seems like Blizzard has lowered the bar for a guild like ours to get into them.

End game content in WoW has always been gobbled up extremely fast by the top-end guilds, and short of extremely restrictive gating mechanics (releasing the raid slowly over time, as they did with Trial of the Crusader and Icecrown Citadel) that's never going to change. Now, it seems as if Blizzard wants everyone to burn through the content just as quickly. I think this is a mistake.

When the Firelands were nerfed, I brought up the idea of the Tourist, which was received with a bit of controversy. Personally, I thought that the Looking For Raid difficulty level was going to be tailored for those people who couldn't or wouldn't run normal raids and just wanted to see the content to experience the story, but now it feels as if the Normal Modes are going that way as well.

Tonight we go back into Dragon Soul to see the remaining encounters for the first time. I would be very disappointed if we don't end this week at least 6/8, and wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Deathwing falls. Really, the only sticking point is how much time we'll have before we have a raider needs to leave in order to deal with the far more difficult fights with girlfriends, wives, babies and work.

It will be interesting to see where the numbers are in a few weeks. Will there be far more Guilds at 8/8 than Blizzard was expecting? And if Guilds do burn through the content as quickly as I suspect that they will, what is that going to do to the subscriber retention between now and Mists? Or, with the advent of the Yearly Subscription Pass does Blizzard even give a crap anymore, since the bribe of a pretty My Little Pony means that people aren't going anywhere and Blizzard has a free ride until the next expansion.

Time will tell, I guess.

I will say this, though, on a more positive note: I am enjoying the new content. Aside from the ease, I think the mechanics of the new bosses are quite cool, the scenery is beyond gorgeous and the sheer amount of lore that is stuffed into the raid and new heroic dungeons is amazing and engaging. I will be writing a lot more about the good things that Blizzard has given us in the coming days, I'm sure.


10.9.11

Guest Post: Ode to Healers

Nymphy is an arcane mage in the US guild Eff the Ineffable and co-writer for the blog D/E the Tank. She has wandered over here to Fannon's healing blog to set him straight about a couple things by volunteering to write about the most important job in a group/raid: DPS! Err...healing. Yeah, healing.


ODE TO HEALERS
In Which Team Heals and the Healer Tyranny Receive Their Due

First off, DOWN WITH HEALER TYRANNY!!! They think they are so special just because they can battle rez and bubble and have healing circles that sparkle and make pretty leaves and flowers bloom on the floor. Bah! That ain't special! I will go one more step and say that healers are my worst enemy! Ever since I joined Eff the Ineffable I hardly get to visit my beauteous Spirit Healer anymore! My time is consumed with trying to find more and more creative ways to die because those stupid healers persist in keeping my health above zero. Why, the mere thought of it is... wait? What? You mean this is supposed to be a healer appreciation post? Oh. Right. Ahem. That was for a different post. On to the real post then.

For most of my WoW career I have played a ranged DPS; mainly, a mage. I have dabbled with a healer on and off but always return to what I know best: Raining sweet arcane destruction down on my enemies. I have regarded the species known as healer with a mixture of awe and resentment. Awe because they seem to effortlessly keep groups of up to 40 people alive with just a click of a mouse button. Now I realize a 40 man group would have more than one healer, but the principle is the same. Resentment because they stand in the back clicking away just like me, but everyone values them SO much more than the DPS. In some of the guilds I was in (names are not mentioned to protect the not so innocent) healers were outright favored for gear and raid spots. It seemed so unfair! I thought for sure that healers had the easiest job ever. Just stand in the back and play whack-a-mole with healbot or grid or whatever fancy-pants add on they were using that week, but everyone acted like they were SO special.

It is rather like being picked last in gym class when you are a DPS trying to find a raid group. So I decided that I wasn’t going to stand for this anymore, and started leveling a discipline priest. I was going to sprout wings and join the exalted ranks of the appreciated! I was going to be a valued member of every dungeon or raid group!

Ilona: Level 58 Discipline Priest
Although now that my priest, Ilona, is up to level 58, I realize that maybe, just maybe, they don’t have it quite so easy. In my priest's cloth shoes I realized that healers have a horrible, thankless job. The blame for wipes is on their shoulders alone, unless of course the group blames the tank. Their presence and the fact that they are keeping you alive is taken for granted. The attitude of "Oh we can pull ALL the things because we got a healer" is prevalent, especially at the lower-to-mid levels. It seems that the healer is responsible for making sure EVERYONE ELSE gets to feel invincible. ESPECIALLY those mages! Oh, how they stand in the back and spam arcane blast at ANYTHING but what the tank is targeting. Then there’s always some huntard with his pet who decides he can tank too, so I have to pay attention to HIS health as well as the tank's! Don’t even get me started on the ones who want their pets healed. And whatever happened to MOVING OUT OF A WHIRLWIND?!? Every class of melee DPS under the sun just stands there and eats it, and then they whine to me when I can’t heal ALL the things because of the stupid things they’re doing. I’ve had enough! I’m going back to my mage. I’ll go take the longer queue times because the Outland Dungeons are about to start for Ilona, and I’m already having nightmares about dungeons full of DK’s, their sheer stupidity, their death-gripping in every direction. Oh, it makes my head hurt just thinking about it.

There is a saying that says that you can never truly understand another person’s experiences unless you walk across the Barrens in their slippers. For me, I found that to be very true. Playing a healer isn’t just clicking some buttons on an add-on. It is stressful and a huge amount of responsibility. If healers are favored, they deserve to be! I will happily go back and play my mage and from now on give them my utmost respect and gratitude. I don’t know how they shoulder that load and keep their freaking sanity through leveling AND raiding! Go Team Heals! This mage will forever be your personal cheerleader!
 
 

24.7.11

Holy Paladin Basics: Getting Started

I am often asked the question, "How do you heal as a Holy Paladin?" It is a question that is hard to explain in the space that Twitter gives, or even within the space of a single post. Often, the guides that are written are done so with max-level characters who are tackling heroics or raiding content in mind, and the new, low-level Holy Paladin is left in the dark. Holy Paladin Basics is a continuing series of small, specific posts aimed at teaching new Paladin healers how to effectively use the tools that they're given to tackle any situation.

SO YOU'VE DECIDED TO BECOME A HOLY PALADIN
The wet snow was still clinging to the young Dwarf's tattered and mismatched hand-me-down chainmail as he nervously stood in front of Azar Stronghammer, the Paladin who had been his mentor since leaving the comfort and safety of his home in Anvilmar. "Ye've done well, young Paladin, ta make it this far," Azar said, a stern, yet approving look on his weathered face. "But the dangers o' Dun Morogh are jus' the beginning of yer journeys. It's now time to choose which path of the Light ye're to follow. Choose wisely, young one, but choose quickly! Me ale needs me attention!"
Kneel. Kneel before Zod Uther.
At level 10, the fledgling Paladin is faced with the difficult choice of which talent specialization to pursue. Unlike most classes in World of Warcraft, the Paladin has three completely different roles that he can fulfill: Tanking, Healing or Melee Damage Dealing.

Putting the first Talent Point into the Holy Tree and choosing the life of a healer means that you are taking upon yourself the responsibility to keep those around you alive. It means that you are going to thrive in groups, and there will always be an insatiable demand for your services at every level and in every situation.

A Holy Paladin is one of the most powerful healers in the game. Equally at home in small groups or large raids, they bring lot of unique abilities and utility spells in addition to their healing. In a raid setting, a Paladin's natural niche is healing the Tanks, as the direct nature of the healing spells coupled with Beacon of Light are excellent for keeping up a single target taking extreme damage. A Holy Paladin is certainly capable of healing the Raid as well, but has fewer tools to do it than the other healing classes.


HOLY PALADIN ABILITIES

All Paladins get the following abilities as soon as they choose the Holy talent tree:

Holy Shock

An instant cast, multi-use spell as it can be used as an attack or a heal. It generates one point of Holy Power upon use. As an attack it does a moderate amount of damage and is a very useful addition to the admittedly limited offensive potential of a Holy Paladin. This spell, when used in a Holy DPS build, gives that spec it's name: The Shockadin.

As a heal, it is an exceptional spell and forms the backbone of our healing arsenal. Healing for a decent amount and generating Holy Power, this is something that a Holy Paladin will want to cast as much as possible. It has a short 6 second cooldown, and because it is instant is one of the few heals that a Holy Paladin can cast while moving.

Meditation

Allows 50% of your mana regeneration from Spirit to continue while in combat. This ability is a freebie that every healer gets, but it's absolutely crucial for a healer to be effective. Ignore all of the other abilities - this, more than anything, is why a Holy Paladin will be better at healing than a Retribution or Protection Paladin at the lower levels.

Walk in the Light

Increases the effectiveness of healing spells by 10% and removes the cooldown while increasing the effectiveness of Word of Glory by 30%. Another ability that makes a Holy Paladin a much stronger healer than the other specs.

Illuminated Healing (Mastery)

This ability places a shield on the target of each of your Direct Heals (as of 4.2: Flash of Light, Holy Light, Divine Light, Holy Shock, Word of Glory) for a fixed percentage of the heal. It is augmented by Mastery Rating, which can increase the size of each shield. Trained at level 80, this ability is not going to matter much to a levelling Holy Paladin.


LEVELLING AS A HOLY PALADIN

Regardless of your class, levelling as a healer is not a challenge for the faint of heart. Questing will be a lot slower and more difficult than with a Retribution or even a Protection talent specialization. Enemies of all sorts will chuckle as you tickle them for virtually no damage with your weapon. Holy Shock will be your best friend, but enemies will seem like they take forever to die and it's likely that you will become intimately familiar with each of the questing zones many graveyards. You'll probably know the Spirit Healers on a first name basis.

On the other hand, a low level Holy Paladin is a beast at healing in dungeons.  As such, your best levelling path is through instances using the Random Dungeon Finder starting at level 15.

If your plan is to heal once you reach Level 85 (and I can't imagine there is a reason to level as Holy if it isn't), there are several advantages to levelling through Dungeons:

1) Low level dungeons are easy to heal and provide great experience and gear. Even without any guild perks or heirlooms to help boost Experience Point gain, a single dungeon run at low levels will provide a sizable chunk of a level, if not more. As well, the dungeoneering Paladin will almost certainly be clad in the best gear available for any particular level, which makes healing even easier.

2) Levelling as a healer will provide a greater understanding of the healing dynamics of the class. Rather than levelling as another spec and choosing Holy later, someone starting as a Holy Paladin will be able to spend time with each ability as they are learned, and will be able to see how each spell relates in function to the other spells in the toolbox. It is the best way to get an intuitive knowledge of all of the spells in a class's arsenal, and will ease the learning curve in the higher-end content.


GEAR & STATS FOR LEVELLING

Gear

Paladins have a great deal of flexibility when it comes to levelling gear as they are able to wear any type of armour available. Mail armour is preferred until level 40 when it's possible to train Plate. However, until level 50 when the Plate Armor Specialization ability becomes trainable (which gives an additional 5% mana when wearing all plate armour), a Holy Paladin can and should use any armour type that is an upgrade.

Holy Paladins are unique in that they are the only class to have an armour class all to themselves. Plate with Intellect (or Mail with Intellect below level 40) is not desired by any other class that can use it, consequently it can be somewhat harder to find. The advantage is that in a group or raid there will be less competition for that gear, giving you a better chance to get it.

Holy Paladins are also one of only two healing classes that can use Shields, although they can also equip any type of off-hand item other than weapons. Shields with healing stats (Intellect, see below) are rare and precious objects while levelling, and it's more than likely a shield will get replaced much less often than any other type of gear short of a Relic (which you won't see until around level 50).

Stats

INTELLECT is your highest priority stat, and should be on every single piece of your gear. Get used to stacking as much of this stat as you can, because it is your best friend from now on. This stat not only determines how much mana you have, but also your spell power which increases how big your heals are. In addition, Intellect factors into mana regeneration. More Intellect is always better.

While levelling, all the other stats are relatively meaningless and Intellect should be prioritized over everything else. My personal strategy is to equip any gear that has more Intellect, even if it is a lower item level or has worse secondary stats. Until you hit Northrend, no other stat matters.

However, since you're going to get secondary stats regardless, it is useful to know what they are and what they do.

SPIRIT is your regeneration stat. It allows you to increase the amount of mana you regenerate both in an out of combat. It's a very good stat to have if you are having problems with your mana when healing dungeons. Never, ever stack Spirit instead of Intellect as Intellect contributes to your regeneration as well.

HASTE is a throughput stat that increases the speed of your heals and lowers your Global Cooldown, allowing your to cast more spells in a given period of time. This is a great stat to have, but at low levels you will never be able to acquire enough of it to make a significant difference.

CRITICAL STRIKE RATING increases the chance that your heals will land as a critical strike which will make them heal for 100% more. This is nice to have, but it's unpredictable and most healers tend to favour the predictable healing increases that Haste provides instead.

MASTERY is a stat that you will start seeing on gear once you hit level 80 and move into the Cataclysm levelling zones. It increases the effectiveness of your Illuminated Healing shields. As such, it isn't something that you need to worry about for a while, but once you're at level 80 it's generally regarded as the least important of the secondary stats for a Holy Paladin.

Other stats, like STRENGTH, AGILITY, HIT RATING, SPELL PENETRATION or DODGE are stats that will not help your healing at all, and so have very little use for a Holy Paladin. STAMINA will increase your Hit Points, and therefore your survivability, but is not something that a Healer should go out of their way to gear for; your Tank should be taking the large majority of damage in an instance.

We will discuss the various different Secondary Stats from the level 85 perspective later in MASTERY CLASS: GEARING AND STATS FOR ENDGAME CONTENT (coming soon).


NEXT HOLY PALADIN BASICS CLASS:
The Holy Toolbox: Spells and Spell Selection
  
  

21.7.11

Addons: Tracking Illuminated Healing

Ever since Patch 4.2 handed us a very lovely buff to our mastery, Illuminated Healing, it seems that Holy Paladin mastery fans are starting to crawl out of the woodwork like an infestation of termites. A strategy that is heavily reliant on gearing for Mastery is beginning to gain a measure of acceptance as a very specialized method of Paladin healing, and that makes it more important than ever to know what those little invisible shields that Recount insists are there are doing; because the default user interface does a horrible job in telling you who's got 'em and how big they are.

TRACKING ILLUMINATED HEALING

There are three things that a healer needs to know when it comes to keeping track of Illuminated Healing bubbles: Who has the shield, how long it's going to last and how much it's able to absorb. Technically, all of this information is presented in the default user interface, but it's poorly implemented and not available at a glance.

I am using three different Addons to get this functionality upfront and easily accessible: Grid, Power Auras Classic and the useful Ingela's Absorb Tracker.

Power Auras and Ingela's Absorb Tracker working
together to show me what I need to know.


POWER AURAS

I've set up Power Auras to display the Illuminated Healing icon above my target's cast bar when the shield is active, along with a timer showing me exactly how long it's going to last. I have it configured to only show my own shields, although it could be configured to show any Illuminated Healing bubble.

Here is the Power Auras configuration string. Feel free to modify it for your own usage.
Version:4.21; icon:Spell_Holy_Absolution; buffname:Illuminated Healing; x:354; alpha:0.5; owntex:true; mine:true; groupOrSelf:true; size:0.1; y:-144; targetfriend:true; timer.b:0; timer.g:0.6; timer.UpdatePing:true; timer.Texture:Crystal; timer.enabled:true; timer.cents:false; timer.Relative:CENTER; timer.UseOwnColor:true


INGELA'S ABSORB TRACKER

Immediately above my Power Aura is the latest addon to fill up my Interface folder: Ingela's Absorb Tracker. It's an exceptionally elegant little piece of programming, designed to track the amount of absorption of the different shields that are available; including Power Word: Shield, Divine Aegis, Illuminated Healing and Blood Shield, among others.

IAT is very easy to set up, only requiring a minute or two to position it where you want and choose which absorbs you want to track and on which targets.

I have mine set up to track only Illuminated Healing on my current target, same as the Power Aura. As I switch targets IAT and Power Auras seamlessly switch with me, letting me know the bubble status of that particular target at a glance.


GRID

What these two Addons can't show me is whether or not people in the Raid other than my target have Illuminated Healing shields, which is where Grid comes in. I have always been a big fan of the customizablility of Grid and how a tiny little box can be configured to show so much useful information. In fact, my own setup is incredibly simple compared to what Grid is capable of. To see an insanely cool and useful Grid setup, go here.

Grid showing Illuminated Healing shields on the Druid and Priest.
I have configured Grid, along with the extension GridSideIndicators, to show me a red dot on the Top Middle of each health bar to indicate the presence of an Illuminated Healing bubble. Simple, but effective in showing the status of my shields on the entire raid at a glance.
 
 

6.7.11

Tag, I'm it! 20 Questions for Healing WebRing 2.0

Saunder over at Non-Squishy Heals has resurrected an old blogging meme originally started by Miss Medicina, one of the great, lost luminaries of WoW blogging. The original 20 questions circulated back before I started writing Battle Medic, or even reading WoW blogs, so I didn't have a chance to participate or read any of the old ones. Saunder has tagged me to help kick things off, and I'll tag two more people at the end to carry on.


1. What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer? 

My main healer is a Paladin by the name of Thosif. He is, confusingly enough given the title of my blog, a human and not a dwarf, although I'm very tempted to change that.

2. What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)

I am a dedicated PVE healer, so my main healing environment is anywhere people are trying to kill Internet Dragons. I enjoy raiding in particular, and I love the intensity and accountability of the 10-man raiding format where there isn't anyone else to cover for me if I make mistakes. It's the most delightful kind of stress imaginable.

3. What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?

Lay on Hands, or as I like to call it: The Reset Button. It is the most deliciously overpowered spell in the game on a measly seven minute cooldown when properly glyphed and talented. There is no other spell in the game that can instantly reset a Tank's health and give the caster a huge chunk of mana at the same time. There is no greater feeling of exultation than a perfectly timed Lay on Hands that saves a person from imminent death. I look for any excuse I can find to cast it.

I just wish it could Crit and transfer through the Beacon of Light. I miss those days, but if there ever was a spell that was overpowered, that was it.

The biggest problem with Lay on Hands is when I accidentally hit it a split second too late to save the target. I have Auto-Self-Cast set to On, and so if I cast LoH just a split second too late and my tank dies, it automatically casts it on me, usually wasting a large majority of the heal. I've had to create a macro to only cast it if my target isn't dead to work around the problem. My Tank will still die, but at least I don't blow a long cooldown for no reason any more.

4. What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?

Flash of Light. It's definitely the Holy Paladin's most useless spell. It's better now that Infusion of Light makes it instant, but it's still too expensive relative to the amount it heals, and it's cast time isn't fast enough to justify ever using it. I admit, however, that I do use it occasionally when a raid member is on the brink of death. It's a rare occasion when I do, though, and it normally means that the person in question is a single stiff breeze away from being a floor smear.

5. What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?

As far as healing in Cataclysm goes, the Holy Paladin's biggest strength is Mana Efficiency. This point is proven every single patch as Blizzard frantically nerfs us to bring Holy Paladins down to the same level of efficiency as the rest of the healing classes, and each time the plate-wearin' battle medics just roll with it and keep bombing the big, expensive heal. Holy Paladins simply have a staggering array of unique methods that regenerate a silly amount of mana - Divine Plea, LoH and Judgements - in addition to options like potions and trinkets that are available to all classes. I continually find it astonishing how quickly I can make a dire mana situation comfortable again by just intelligently using the tools available.

6. What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?

Raid Healing, no question. With only Holy Radiance and Light of Dawn to add a tiny amount of AOE healing to a raid setting, Paladins are hard pressed to keep up with the other classes when the raid is taking a lot of damage. And if everyone is spread out then we're completely screwed.

Interestingly, Blizzard started Cataclysm with the goal that each healing class would be able to fulfill both tank and raid healing roles, and yet it seems that each change that they make pushes Holy Paladins back towards being specialized Tank Healers. I don't mind this because I actually like the idea of a degree of specialization in the healing classes, but I do find the inconsistency in Blizzard's approach a bit annoying. Am I as a Holy Paladin capable of being a Raid Healer that is as effective as a Shaman, Druid or Priest? As of 4.2, the answer is no.

7. In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you? 

In light of what I discussed in the previous question, my best healing assignment is on the tanks. We have a lot of flexibility and utility when it comes to Tank Healing that we simply can't bring to the raid. A single, skilled Holy Paladin can go a long way towards keeping two tanks up - although he will need some help.

8. What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?

I adore Paladin healing. There is a spell for any situation that can come up in an encounter and the Holy Paladin's answer is not necessarily limited to pouring more healing onto a target to solve it. Got too much threat? Hand of Salvation. The mage pulled aggro again and is about to die? Hand of Protection. Your tank is about to take a staggering amount of damage? Hand of Sacrifice. Ooops, the Tank is about to become worm food? Lay on Hands. Need an eight second vacation from all worries? Bubble, baby.

9. What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?

Well, I can't say that I'm an expert on the other healing classes. Aside from the Paladin, I have raid healed in WotLK with a Priest (both Holy and Discipline) and done low-level dungeons with my Shaman. My druid is still languishing at level 20, so I wouldn't say that I have a good grasp on tree healing yet.

Each of the different healing classes feels different, and I appreciate each one for what they do best. I enjoy my priest, and miss the days of the bubble-spamming discipline style. I also really like the little Shaman: There's nothing quite like healing with bouncing laser beams. And while I haven't got a good feel for Druid healing, I have always loved Heal Over Time spells, and that style of healing really appeals to me.

To avoid sounding like a complete cop-out, though, I suppose that the class that has the healing style that I like the least is probably the Shaman. I find that having all cooldowns tied to totems needlessly complex compared to the simplicity of the Paladin abilities. Having to turn off one ability - Healing Stream Totem, for example - to activate another and then remembering to reactivate the first one seems a lot more clunky than could possibly be fun. I can see myself healing a raid as a druid, but I'm not sure if I can keep all the various totems straight to the point where I could be effective on a Shaman. Time will tell, I guess.

10. What is your worst habit as a healer?

Well, one of the officers of my guild would say that it's letting Enhancement Shaman die too frequently.

As with most healers, I can tend to focus on my raid frames too much and not be as aware of what's going on around me as I should be. It's killed me more times than I can count. I call it getting Gridlocked.

Also, every now and then I'll accidentally hit the Whisper Reply button while healing and get stuck in the chat box and unable to heal or move. It's easy to tell when this happens to me, because I'll die and then immediately say, "11111111111wwwwwwqqqqqqqqq333333333" to the raid. It's kind of embarrassing, honestly. I can already see the comment section filling up with people telling me to switch to Clique.

11. What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?

My biggest pet peeve when it comes to healing is when a Warlock Life Taps himself to the brink of death and then expects me to heal him mere seconds before a pull. This is why you guys are so squishy! Life Tap is a great tool, but it's not designed so that you don't ever have to use water to regenerate mana. All you're doing is forcing me to drink after I heal your lazy ass.

12. Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?

If by well-balanced you mean ridiculously overpowered, then yes.

Seriously though, I think that Healing is in a good place right now and all of the healing classes are well balanced right now. Healing numbers in the raids that I've seen have been very close, and any healing class can top the meters on any given fight. A rare victory for the Bring the Player Not the Class concept.

13. What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?

I use Recount, and I look at my spell choices and performance after most boss fights, particularly the wipes. I haven't really used World of Logs much, although I understand it's unrivaled as far as deep performance analysis goes.

But the main criteria that I use is the ol' Did my Healing Assignment Die? method.

14. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?

The biggest misconception that people have about Holy Paladins is that they seem to think the we're not absolutely awesome in every way. Flaws are for other, lesser healing classes.

Another misconception is that all Holy Paladin players become extremely arrogant once they put on Intellect plate, and I have no idea why this myth keeps persisting. It's a mystery.

15. What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?

The thing that most new Holy Paladins have a hard time getting used to is that one of the most fundamental things that must be done constantly has nothing to do with healing: Judging. Casting Judgment returns a significant amount of mana and gives us our Judgments of the Pure buff. The one thing it doesn't do is actually heal, so it's a little counter-intuitive that a healer should be wasting a Global Cooldown on it. Once that lesson is learned, mana problems tend to become a lot easier to deal with.

Also, it takes a long time for a new Paladin healer to get used to all of the utility spells that are available. There are a lot of them, and they aren't going to be something that will be used every single fight, but are extraordinarily powerful when used at the right time. Believe me, the Mage that's topping the meters will adore the Paladin that casts Hand of Salvation on them to help reduce their threat so they can rock out even more DPS.

16. If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)?

They would likely notice that I strictly follow my policy of never healing Rogues. Just kidding, I love my stealthy, backstabbing brethren.

A very close analysis of my healing logs would show a very good usage of short-term cooldowns such as Judgement and Holy Shock, and an appallingly poor usage of long-term ones. I admit, I'm awful at using my throughput cooldowns like Avenging Wrath or Divine Favor. It's a flaw that I'm working hard to overcome, and just put together a couple of new Power Auras to remind me to use them and let me know when they're available. I'm just always afraid that I'll use a cooldown and then not have it available when I truly need it. As far as flaws in my game go, this is probably the biggest.

17. Haste or Crit (or Mastery) and why?

I have always been a Haste fan. I like the responsiveness that haste allows, and the throughput benefits in undeniable. I ate, slept and pooped haste in Wrath of the Lich King.

However, with the changes to Mastery in 4.2, let's just say that I'm crit-curious. At some point I am going to experiment with a Crit/Mastery build and see how that goes. I'm pretty sure that the pure healing numbers will be great, but I'm not sure about how it's going to feel: Is it going to feel so slow and clunky as to make healing no fun? Are my heals going to arrive a split second too late all the time? I don't know, but at some point I'm going to give it a try.

18. What healing class do you feel you understand least?

Druids, for the simple reason that I haven't ever really played one before - at least not in any meaningful content. Although I do keep up with a lot of Druid bloggers, so I think I have a decent theoretical understanding of the class.

19. What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?

I don't do any healing at all if Grid is not installed. It is my minimum requirement as far as addons go. Thankfully, the developers seems to respond quickly when Blizzard breaks it with a patch and it's downtime is typically very minimal. I also have GridManaBars and GridSideIndicators installed and customized. I have it configured just so, and it is a warm, fuzzy blanket of comfort when I step into a new dungeon because while the encounters may be unfamiliar, Grid is always there for me.

I also use Deadly Boss Mods, Mik's Scrolling Combat Text, Power Auras, Stuf Unit Frames (not the Raid Frames), Recount and Omen. I try to keep my user interface relatively stock and basic - it's more patch resistant that way - but I've been noticing that more and more addons have been creeping in as I try to improve my healing performance. But I really try to make Grid and Power Auras do most of the heavy lifting as opposed to having more addons.

20. Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?

A Holy Paladin that isn't stacking Intellect these days is an rarity, certainly. The secondary stats are more up in the air, however the vast majority of Holy Paladins came down on the side of Spirit and Haste. Unfortunately, until patch 4.2 our Crit and Master simply weren't good enough to bother with. Now that our mastery has been vastly improved there is a little more wiggle room for out-of-the-box thinking.


Well, there we go. 20 questions answered - some more thoroughly and less glibly than others, but answered nonetheless. I hope you enjoyed it or, at the least, didn't find it offensive. Now to tag two more healers representing different classes to pass it on.

I throw it over to Angelya of Revive and Rejuvinate and Oestrus of The Stories of O. I can't wait to see what these lovely ladies have to say.

EDIT: I also tagged Glorwynn of Heavy Wool Bandage to answer this questionnaire as well. She has answered here from her unique perspective as a dedicated, but low-level healer. Give her a read!