The Gray Place


Posted in Uncategorized by mrfenris on February 2, 2011

I picked my seven-year-old son up from school the other day (his school has a working planetarium in it, how cool is that?) and we were driving to Grandma’s to pick up the other two DPS when a radio ad for Deja Vu came on.

Son: “Dad what’s Deja Vu?”
Me: “A strip club.”
Son: “What’s a strip club?”
Me: “Well it’s a place where you can go and watch people, mostly women, take off their clothes and dance for money.”
Son: “That’s stupid.”
Me: “Why?”
Son: “Why would I go there and pay money to take my clothes off and dance?”
Me: “/facepalm”

“There’s something good waitin’ down this road
I’m pickin’ up whatever’s mine” -Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

The most important thing about healing isn’t your heals per second, heals per mana, combat regen, or cooldowns.  It isn’t about Grid vs Vudoh, aura tracking, or castbars.  It isn’t about absorbs vs directs vs hots vs smart heals.

It’s about knowing the encounter and understanding the incoming damage.  Everyone should be saying “duh” right now, but until you understand this simple fact, you’ll always be making the wrong spell selection, over-healing, and falling into “heal holes”.

Once you understand the pacing of the damage coming in then you can start doing positive actions such as pre-casting, staggering cooldowns, and you’ll have much faster reaction times with your dispels and instants.

We’ve all been there.  Running a new place for the first time.  Your healing the tank, when from out of nowhere the party takes a huge chunk of damage and the boss starts pulsing an AOE.  Now your juggling spamming the tank and AOEing the rest of the party and you feel yourself losing the incoming damage vs the outgoing heals battle.  Often we panic at these moments and waste mana on your emergency heals and blow all of our cooldowns to power through it.  Of course then, when it happens again during the next phase we’re all out of tricks and we wipe our party.

Been there.  Done that.

But the key to getting around those hard phases is understanding three simple things.  When it’s coming, when it stops, and what’s after it.

When it’s coming.  When it stops.-

Wowhead.  Plus Heal.  You tube.  Etc.  The number one reason these sites are your best friends is not because they show you how to do something.  It’s that their filled with people who wasted tons of attempts and died.  Use the time they spent learning the encounter and the time other people spent commenting on the encounter to lessen the time you spend dying on a boss.

Remember that’s a core component of my WoW philosophy.  Spend as little of your real life time as possible while learning to play as best as possible.  You aren’t in an uber guild.  You don’t need that extra .333% skill that hours upon hours of research will give you.  Know the basic mechanics, don’t stand in stuff, tank, heal, and dps.

You don’t have to remember that Lord Dinglepuss deals 85980545k AOE Hamster based damage.  You just need to know WHEN he does it so you can start to precast your longer cast timed spells.  This way while he’s casting his damage your casting your heals  to land right after the damage hits.  It’s almost like you get a free cast by doing this.  Instead of standing there waiting for the damage, then waiting 2.3 seconds while your casting your response heal, you’ll be able to fit almost two heals into that same window.

In addition you need to know how long that high level of damage is going to be heading your way.  Can you get away with spam healing through it?  Are you going to waste a cooldown you need later if you pop it?  Does the next phase’s mechanics negate any healing you’re doing now, ala Baron Ashberry?

What’s after it.-

So you’ve gotten through the first phase of the encounter.  But at what cost?  Your out of mana, your regen abilities are on CD, and you’ve got one little potion, and the boss still has 75% life.  You aren’t going to make it through the remainder of the encounter because you’ve shot your wad due to your not understanding of the first phase.

High Prophet Barim is a perfect example of this.  When I was first running him on Heroic, I was having to power heal through his Fifty Lashes and toss my Lightwell near the tank.  I could get through it, but due to mine and the DPS’s lower gear score we didn’t have the “umph” to make it through the Shadow phase without my mana being drained 100%.

Enter a quick peek at Wowhead.  It took about 50 seconds during a res, to figure out that we could Disarm him during his Fifty Lashes and make the tank’s incoming damage almost a joke.  We one shot him right afterwards.  If we hadn’t taken a peek to figure out how to get through that first phase I could have never made it through the rest of the encounter.

Rearmed with an understanding of how to ease my burden in the first phase I could now start to soften up the Shadow phase.  Instead of tossing my Lightwell by the boss to help with the Lashing, I could place it along the kiting path so tanks and deeps could take a puff on it as they passed it.  This let me get out of the Shadow phase with 35% mana, Divine Hymn, and a potion still up and ready for use instead of completely tapped out.

Know what’s coming.  How long it lasts.  Know what’s coming after it.  This is the best tool you have in your healing arsenal.

You know why running a Heroic is always 10x easier the second time?  It’s because you know that “this” trash mob deals spiky damage.  That “this” pack likes to AOE or that “they” like to deal burst damage on a random party member.

Don’t be content.  When you have trouble with an encounter figure out why.  I got my ass handed to me by Beauty the other night.  Fears totally screwed up my world.  (We could have done a little better with our CC too.)  There’s got to be a better way to do this encounter.  Instead of just blindly going in there and giving it the old college try the next time it pops on random, I’m going to hit Wowhead and spend 5 minutes figuring out what I can do to be successful in there.

Be proactive.  Take a couple of minutes to figure out what’s giving you a hard time and fix it.  The stat weight of being a “smarter” healer outweighs the stat weights of Int, Spellpower, and Spirit combined.

“But I live with what I’ve known
And then maybe we might share in something great
But won’t you look at where we’ve grown
Won’t you look at where we’ve gone -Candlebox

I always chuckle when I read Looking For More’s “Corporate Raider” dry erase cartoons.  I do not work in a corporate environment but I think I’m actually on a lower ring of hell.  City government.  I cannot tell you the sheer amount of stupidity I deal with on a daily basis.  In a given day you can have the meeting where the public is invited, the “big” meeting with the Mayor’s staff, the “other big” meeting with your Director, and the “real” meeting where you and your fellow supervisors talk about how to actually accomplish what everyone wants, given the resources you actually have.  This last meeting is usually had at a diner, bar, or couch whilst drinking coffee, booze, or coffee with booze and it always accomplishes more than all the previous meetings combined in 1/5 of the time.

Seriously.  I think these people do this shit just to feel important.

As of right now we are on Def Con:4 with what’s being dubbed “Operation: Snow Control” ready to be put in effect.  Meh.  You’d swear it was an “re-election” year.  Operation: Snow Control…  I’d much rather be running Operation: Boobie Gobbling.

It’s winter.  It snows.  Handle it.


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