RSS

Category Archives: Healing

Anything related to healing, especially when it comes to shaman-, druid- and holy-priest-healing

A quick test of some new shaman talents

I decided to test two of the new shaman abilities while questing, in this case Ancestral Guidance and Astral Shift. Check out the video. These are nice CDs that can help the healer in your group a little bit for sure.

While Astral Shift is a classic “lower inc damage on yourself for a few secs” talent, Ancestral Guidance is right down the “heal while doing dmg” alley that Blizz seems to head into more and more.

Sure, we had stuff like disc priests and their smites, or Vampiric Touch, for quite some time in game, but think about it…the monk is based on “healing by doing damage”, and so it does not surprise me that a talent like Ancestral Guidance comes up.

While active, it reminds me a bit of VT… small numbers, but lots of them. It’s only a very temporary effect, but imagine a raid boss-fight, popping this ability when you have lots of raid-buffs or even encounter-buffs like the one during the Madness of DW-fight… for a short time, this ability can actually contribute some very useful extra-heals.

I have to play around more with the talents.. the shammy ones are interesting, but still, the druid ones seem to be the most exciting ones for me right now. We will see how things will change, this is, after all, still early beta.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Classes, Healing, Mists Of Pandaria

 

A little video about the druid-changes

 

So I just tried some of the new healing spells, and wanted to show you a little bit of what you can do. Of course,the “classic” stuff is still there… Rejuv, Regrowth, Nourish, WG, LB, Rejuv&Swiftmend for AOE, etc.

In the video, you can also see me place the shrooms (the new placing-mechanic is nice…after all, there aren’t many people who wanna place just ONE of them, so being able to activate the placing-ability ONCE, then click three spots in a row to place them makes it quicker, prolly even while you heal), call in my treants, etc.

Of course, the effect of Cenarion Ward can’t be seen as it is triggered by taking damage.

Watch the heal-numbers and the mana-usage… it feels quite nice IMO!

The char you see is lvl 85, mostly in LFR-gear with 397s thrown in, ilvl 390

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 7, 2012 in Classes, Healing, Mists Of Pandaria

 

Playing around with the new druid talents

Image

So far, three of my chars have arrived at the beta-server, because other than the questing on Pandaria, I wanted to check out healing. I have of course taken a look at the new talents, even though I didn’t get to try them all in “normal” situations such as instances (still downloading parts of the data, and also, last night was raid-night in DS)

While the shaman- and priest-talent look nice, I was blown away by the changes to the druid. I dunno whether that is just early euphoria, but so far, this looks like FUN, and might help me get back into playing the resto-druid. I really loved the spec, but during Cata, I felt like something was missing, and compared to my shaman and priest, I felt like I was struggling more with the druid in the same situations… it just felt like something was missing.

1. Treant form
The good ol treant-form is back. In Cata, I used the glyph to make my tree-form look like the old treant, because it’s…I dunno, THE healing-form for me. Sure, the shape is rather cosmetic right now, but it sure feels good to see it being back, and it seems the backlash from druids convinced Blizz to bring it back.
I was hoping for this setup: If you want to, you can use the treant form (which is plain cosmetical, not boosting your stats), and in situations where you need to boost your output, you switch to the “new” tree-form… like a “primal tree” or something.

2. Cenarion Ward
One thing I like about shaman-healing is Earth Shield. It allows me to switch my attention to others in the group while the tank gets some healing from ES. Now, with CW, I can add that to the HoTs I have on the tank. Its not as same as the Earth Shield, as it has lesser charges, and a 30 sec CD. It does LAST 30 secs, but the charges get used up, so you can’t keep it on the tank if he keeps taking damage. Still, a nice tool.

3. Healing Mushrooms
Of course, a stationary effect you can trigger is tricky sometimes, but imagine a fight like Zon’Ozz… before the fight, or during the “bouncing phase”, you position them where the raid will stack, and use them when the dark phase starts, providing extra heals.
Or, if you know where the tank will keep the boss, and he won’t move much, you can place the shrooms there for an emergency heal. I am pretty sure that more and more possible uses will be found.

Love them or hate them, the mushrooms are an interesting mechanic for the druid in general (it took me a while to get used to them, but I actually like using them when I play balance), and it makes sense that there now is a healing-version. Let’s try to put it to use!

4. Treants
I can be a whole forest! Imagine being in treant form, then calling out three more treants that provide extra healing… a treant-emergency squad. I can’t measure yet how much healing output they add, but just like the shrooms, this can be a very useful CD when the group/raid takes a lot of damage.

Other stuff: Glyphs arent as essential anymore, they just add cosmetic effects or some useful stuff that fits your healing style. Still, I like the new swimform (orca)… as “classic” as the old form is, many players agree the swimform is incredibly ugly. I did use the Glyph of Rebirth (when using CR, the target comes back at 100% health…a nobrainer IMO), and will play with the others.

Obviously, I cant test out the lvl 90 talents yet, and with 3 healers at 85 and a monk I wanna lvl, it might be some time until I can, but so far, the changes to talents and glyphs seem like a lot of fun. Maybe it’s just because this stuff is new, but to me, it feels as if there are more options for the druid now, more Cooldowns and things like the Cenarion Ward, which might just make resto-style healing more fun for me again. Hope that will happen, and I hope that when I try to heal some instances, that those changes will turn out to actually make a difference =)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 7, 2012 in Classes, Healing, Mists Of Pandaria

 

First beta-impressions

I spent a few hours in the beta by now, and just wanted to share a few impressions… =)

– As expected, the panda-starting-zone is totally overrun. Still, the quests are nice, the area and landscape is beautiful (just like the music), and I have to say..the female pandaren is really nicely done. I am not sure yet whether she actually fits into WOW for me (as she might be a bit TOO cute), but the animation and facial expressions are nice indeed.

– I also rolled a human monk. Unfortunately, no quests available for monks at Northire Abbey yet, so I had to grind my way to level 4 or 5, in order to start questing in Goldshire. Since I didn’t have gear or weps from quest rewards, that was…challenging (level 3, starter gear, going for lvl 6 kobolds), but some white level weps from the vendor (!) helped, and by now, I have a mix of crafted and quest gear.
I am not quite sure whether I like the martial arts style of the monk, but then again, I just made it to 10, chose the healer-spec, and will try him in instances next week.

– Also, the copies of some of my 85s arrived, and I queued for a normal MoP instance. The design was nice, but it took some time to get used to healing. My gear is mostly LFR-raid gear, ilvl 388, and I was able to easrily keep the first group up.
However, mana is a BIG issue, both regarding the mana-costs of spells and the mana regeneration. I admit I wasn’t healing as strategically as I could have, but I was OOM on the water-boss before he really got into phase 2. Check out this article with impressions from Joe Perez.
Then, we hit the water boss, the one I read about in advance, and he was just as annoying as I expected him to be. Granted, with each such bosses, you might need a successful kill or two in order to fight him easily, but right now, he simply feels like an annoying design.
The idea is from SSC. I found the harmful void zones hard to see… a dark room, with black, watery voidzones from the dead water ellies, plus the actual water you cant step into. The first part was easy, the second was…
annoying. Even with Natures Grasp in use, I found it hard to getr ANYTHING done while avoiding the water wall. The two possible strategies seem to be:
a) get behind him, burst, run around to dodge his water rinse and repeat while sloooowly grinding him down.
b) the hard method, with the group with their backs to a wall, the healer healing through the water-beam. This is
not fun if you have mostly melee chars.

The group I was in (as usual, the others didnt say much) tried the first approach, and soon, I was dead, without
being able to cast much.
Now, I am sure it just takes another attempt, and I am sure many will find this whole thing easy. I am not sure what to think…its SSC all over, and why not make him do this ability temporarily, instead of the whole fight? It feels kinda pointless to fight a boss that is basically a lawn-sprinkler, revolving 360 degrees while blowing a stream of water. If this was only in the last 10% or like, at 80, 60, 40 percent or whatever, it would still require tacts, but right now, it just feels annoying…
Am I being too negative? I dont know. The other parts were ok, but this wasnt much fun, as its not only a recap of old mechanics (SSC and Deadmines), but just… not fun.

I am sure the other fights are more fun, or maybe this one is easier for druid or priest (instead of shaman), and the designs are great.It didnt feel quite as tough as early Cata, even though I was OOM at some point, and I
still have to get used to a) the new talents and glyphs and b) the lack of addons, as I was healing this old school-style .

I will try again, but so far I can say:

– Beautiful landscape and music

– Quests seem to be fun

– Initial instances dont seem to be as hard as they were for healers in early Cata

– I hate that water-boss. Results may vary, but this one didnt win me over, even though I hoped he was less annoying than the description sounded =)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 6, 2012 in Classes, Healing, Mists Of Pandaria

 

Class love: The druid

Image

Even though I nowadays play my shaman the most, the druid, for a long time, was my “main”, and I still enjoy playing him.

I remember rolling him in Vanilla… I was very intrigued by the general idea… a versatile class with shape-shifting. Sure, back then, balance and bear-tanks were in a bad place (Moonkins being designated “innervaters” and buffers for raids, bears simply not being very useable tanks), but I didn’t think very much in terms of raiding, I was just in love with the overall concept, and seeing druids in action while I was questing got me interested even more.

I still remember the awe I felt when I came back from a questing-round through Lakeshire, headed to SW to check the auction-house, and saw a level 60 druid in full tier 1 (that’s why I transmog all my shoulders to look like the ones on the picture above… for old times sake and because it’s a very “druid-y” look).

However, it took me until Wrath to totally get into the class. The leveling up to 80 (as feral) was insanely enjoyable, and when it was time to run heroics, I got into balance… and soon was impressed how much fun the spec is. The spec has some issues, and went through a bunch of changes, but I still like the playing-style (and the moonkin-form).

I also tried healing then, but jumped in at the deep end too quickly, running heroics without decent enough gear, later in the expansion. The very spammy-healing style and the fact that I simply hadn’t done enough “research” into how druid healing and talents work spelled disaster, so I went back to being a moonkin.

Cata came around, and I got more and more bored with DPS. I did consider playing a bear, but eventually started healing, and that is what his main-spec is nowadays.

Of my three healers, the druid to me is the most problematic. I have no problem with it feeling “faster” or “spammier” (esp. in LFR), but I do notice what a lot of great druid-healers are feeling (check out Lysanna’s awesome blog HERE): the druid, right now, misses some things, and seems to be a bit weak compared to the other specs, especially when it comes to Dragon Soul.

I do notice that as well, as I do struggle with some fights, whether it’s raids or heroics. Examples? The adds in End Time (the Sylvanas-part). When the PUG (as usual) kills the big add first and the little ones start throwing body-parts, the group takes a lot of damage, and it seems hard to outheal that, or at least much harder than it is with my shammy and priest.

Same goes for the Azshara-fight. This might have to do with people not focussing on the “Hand Of The Queen” quickly enough (random DPS gets mind-controlled and attacks the healer), but that fight, on the druid, is always a semi-nightmare, while it’s ok with the other healers.

Still, I do like the actual style… lots of HoTs, combining abilities, being very mobile. Still, I do hope there will be some changes coming in the next expansion.

What other specs do I enjoy?

All of them! I still remember how much fun it was to level as a cat, and for some reason, I did enjoy it more than playing my rogue. Also, being able to heal myself, switching forms when I was overwhelmed… great stuff.

I think I heard that druids, in MoP, will have three specs they can switch between, and I sure hope so, because for leveling older content, I play a bear, which requires me to unlearn my talents, spec into feral, then, after soloing, speccing back into my normal specs (Balance/Resto).
I love bear-tanks. I am not happy to hear that in beta, right now, they seem a bit underwhelming, so I hope that will change, because as a healer, bear tanks are my favorite tanks.

Lore

I love the philosophy and style of druids. Whether it’s the WotA and Malfurion’s beginning as a druid, or the later druid-efforts at the Molten Front, I really enjoy the class-lore, druid organisations, and seeing druids in action.

In general

Jack of all trades, master of none? Maybe, but the druid is a very versatile class. Even with the current weaknesses of the resto druid (on live-servers) or bears (beta), the druid is the most versatile class, and very well done. We have come a long way since Vanilla, and even though monks seem to be aimed at being as versatile as druids (well, almost as they only have one DPS-spec, not two like druids), I hope druids will stay a viable, fun class… I sure will keep playing it.

I do hope that that will change in Mo

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 5, 2012 in Classes, Healing

 

Invitations and good intentions

Image

Last night, Blizzard sent out yet another 250K beta-invites, and this time, I actually did get an invite. Due to the rather slow internet connection I get out here in my “neck of the woods”, it will take a little while for the download to complete, but that’s ok… the good news is that I have another week and a half off of work, so when the download is complete, I will actually have time to test out things.

And that really is my intention (well, another thing I wanna do early on is extract the music files from the data-files, just like I did with the live-game, as I love many tracks from the game-soundtrack)… the idea is to actually do what the beta-test is for, beta-testing.

For all of those who now say “D’uh”, you apparently have not been in a beta before, because there ALWAYS are a lot of people who simply log in to do what they do in the live-game as well… hang out in Stormwind and complain, over and over.

However, there ARE people who do actual testing, and my main-interests here are:

Test the class/spec changes of my favorite classes. I am a bit worried about some of them. Sure, I hope there will be some changes, as, for example, the resto-druid is not in a good place right now IMO, but the whole talent-overhaul and changes like the ones regarding shaman-totems will need some time to get used to.
And the beta-feedback from the testers DOES help to iron out whatever is wrong, that’s what we are here for. So for those that simply complain, writing a USEFUL report in the beta-forum (“OK, I tested my spec in this instance, and here is what I think that does not work well…” instead of “BLIZZ HATES US, THEY BROKE MY CLASS! DOOM! ARMAGEDDON!”) will get you further than just sitting in SW and yelling out that you can’t wait for GW2

Testing the professions. I am not sure whether you can yet, but ofc, it will eventually be possible. I am quite interested in the changes for inscription (research!), JC, maybe alchemy.

– Quest-testing. This is a biggie, and what I did most in the Cataclysm-beta. Blizz said they wanted to do a bit less phasing, or at least, use it a bit differently, but phasing and event-quests are always problematic, and the more people test them in beta, the better. Vehicle quests that are bugged, quest-events that fall apart when another player starts the event (that simply shouldn’t happen anymore in games these days… more of an “old days”-thing), etc.
Testing this requires you to do other things in between, trying to find out if the quest still works when you come back. Abandoning and retaking quests, even dieing while you are on it, all that and more can help to get rid of problems, to make sure everything works when the game goes live.

– The monk. I love healing, and the monk sure does have an interesting concept behind it. With my shammy, I’m not a fan of the “telluric currents spec”… the one where you spec into this talent, and can restore mana by casting Lightning Bolts. It’s some of the “healing by dealing damage” concept, but to me, it feels buggy, dodgy, not very… streamlined.
The monk really is supposed to push the “deal damage to heal” to the limit, and so, I’d like to check that out, both with an 85 monk and by leveling one from 1, and compare it to my favorite healing specs (holy priest and resto shaman).

Healing in MoP. Related to “class/spec changes”. I just wanna see how healing works out with all the changes in MoP. I hear discipline priest isn’t feeling right yet, but holy priest seems to be doing well. I hope that it won’t be “early cata” all over. Yes, it’s supposed to be challenging, until gear upgrades make it easier, but healing early on in Cata, frankly, was frustrating, and I sure am not the only one who thinks so.
Even when trying your best to avoid overhealing, mana was such a big issue, and I don’t think needing a mana break after almost every trash pull is engaging gameplay.
I DO appreciate challenges, but when it gets totally frustrating or to the point where most of the workload rests on the healer’s shoulders, something is wrong.

New instances. This of course relates to healing as well, but I might try to see them as a DPS char first, in order to “feel them out”, and then go back to healing. I hope they will be challenging and fun, without being “tear your hair out” difficult, like SFK or Stonecore were with PUGs. Don’t get me wrong, if you have competent players or, even better, guildies that you can coordinate your efforts with, those dungeons were doable (still aren’t fun though, esp. Stonecore), but the LFD-tool has become such a standard, and instances should cater to groups that are random and don’t communicate much. Thats the way it is, and Blizz’s approach of “If the group does things wrong, they’ll fail, so they have to use the mechanics right” kinda backfired, as there were PLENTY of votekicks for healers and tanks who didn’t do anything wrong, just because the rest of the group blamed failure on them, when it was the good ol’ “Stood in the fire” thing.
Blizz, we love challenges, but if you wanna put together random people, especially with the current attitude many players have, don’t make them as frustrating as heroic Stonecore or SFK!

So… my download is in progress, and I’ll let you know what I think! =)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 5, 2012 in Classes, Healing, Mists Of Pandaria

 

Class love: The Shaman

Image

As I mentioned before, I’m a certified altoholic, and throughout the years of playing, I have changed my “main” a couple of times. I started out as mainly DPS, with my mage (a class I always feel home with for some reason), later on I enjoyed tanking a lot on my warrior and paladin, but nowadays, it’s all about healing for me.

And even though I can’t ever REALLY narrow it down to ONE main, I of course find myself playing certain chars more than others, Right now, that is the shaman, and I truly fell in love with the class.

Which is weird, because at first, I simply didn’t understand it so well. I leveled my shaman with a good friend, and I was struggling a bit with the concept of the enhancement spec, the use of totems etc.

In WOTLK, I leveled him to 80, and by then, I think I had gotten the hang of the spec, and enjoyed it lots. There is something very dynamic about Lava Lash and Stormstrike, and always fun about chain lightning, of course.
I farmed heroics with him a bit in late Wrath, got him geared up, but then I started playing other classes again, and eventually, Cataclysm hit.

The return

The shaman was one of the last of my chars I leveled to 85, and afterwards, I kinda abandoned him again, focussing on my pally, mage, druid.
Then, at some point, I got him out of “storage”, and eventually, started healing on him. Once again, I don’t play as much DPS anymore, and healing is what I enjoy most these days, it seems to be more down my alley, seems to fit my playstyle more.
Again, I was slightly baffled… the healingstyle of resto-shamans is a bit different from other styles, and I ofc did my fair share of mistakes. However, staying stubborn and doing research paid off, and by now, the shaman is my favorite healer.

Does the class have issues? Sure does, but which class/spec doesn’t at some point?

I love the concept of the Earth Shield, the buffs that totems give you (which has me slightly worried about the upcoming changes in MoP), abilities like healing rain and chain-heal.
I also love the concept of general… resto DOES feel very “nature-like”, very “earthen”. Compared to the “flashy” style of priests or holy paladins, the shaman is more in touch with nature, and I love watching healing rain at work.
Also, even though the shaman might lack in some aspects, the ability to cast spells like Chain Heal while running makes him great for fights like Haggara… when the lightning phase is up, it’s fun to drop a healing rain into the path of the raid as it circles the platform, or dropping a chain-heal on them.
Even though the actual heal-output seems lower than that of an equally-geared holy priest, I enjoy heroics and raids with the shammy a lot, and the healing style seems to fit my mentality and “play-style” well.

Enhancement

For soloing stuff, or when I just don’t feel like healing sometimes, enhancement is my go-to-spec. All my armour-tokens and VP went into the healing-gear, but the enhance-gear is decent, and the spec itself, to me, is fun to play. I hear it’s horrible in PvP, but I guess that doesn’t matter as I am mainly PvP, and when I DO hit a battleground, I prefer other classes.

Enhancement does feel very dynamic, and I love the spell effects. Blizz’s changes to increase AOE-damage of the spec did wonders, and even though it feels different than, say, simply calling down a Starfall, it’s nice to be able to AOE as well.

I do solo-runs of MC on a regular base, and for some classes, the self-ressing corehounds early on in the instance can cause problems. With a magma totem and my AOE-spells, I can bring all of them down in a very controlled manner, making sure there is no chain-ressing or anything.

Summary

The shaman is a very very versatile class which brings quite a lot of utility to every group and raid. Enhancement is a fun damage-spec, very active and dynamic, while healing is a very very nicely done healing spec.
I do hope that the changes in the upcoming expansion will not ruin the class for me, but I just approach it with an open mind and will try to roll with the punches… I’m too much in love with the class to give up that easily =)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 2, 2012 in Classes, Healing