Tag Archives: Healing

New Shaman changes…

I know I haven’t been talking much about coming Cataclysm changes and all, mostly because I jumped the bandwagon too late and everything worth of importance was already said in other places, but after two or three Beta builds Shamans finally got some love. And I am saying love as the changes don’t sound all that bad actually – you know I am the type that prefers Shaman to go to Cataclysm untouched rather than damaged by some eager class designer wishing to show us how they understand what this class needs.

Oh and don’t hold your breath – no Spirit Link.

Elemental goodies

Let’s see what is in the pot of Elemental goodies relevant to Restoration Shaman. Oh and no, I am not really going to say how good the changes are for Elemental :) There are people far more competent to do that. Actually I guess pretty much anyone is more competent for that matter than I am…

We have Hex lasting 1 minute (up from 30 seconds) – sweet change – I often felt crippled on fights like Faction Champs or Blood Queen HM when my CC was needed to save the day *cue Superman theme song* and the thirty seconds compared to the cooldown just wasn’t cutting it.

Obviously, Searing Totem  now prefers to target enemies that are afflicted by our Flame Shock or Stormstrike effects. About time I say. It actually makes it a worthy totem for us if we fancy pretending we do some direct damage contribution on those pre-enrage pushes. Guess our dps specced comrades are really happy about this change.

Last change I will mention, probably the most relevant to us is that Ancestral Knowledge (mana up) is now named Acuity and increases our critical strike chance with all spells and attacks by 1/2/3% (I think this is low value). Well, hm. At first I thought – yay, compensation for our low crit rate early on and bonus crit later. Then I started pondering whether the larger mana pool wouldn’t actually be better in the announced Cataclysm healing. I guess we will see. Right now we can only hope that all the crit dependant mana returns and the crit heals will somewhat compensate for replenishment loss.

That’s about it from Elemental, let’s go see what is in Santa’s bag for the freaks like me who throw around green leaves of good and slice through raid with golden lazorz.

Restoration changes

Okay. Here we are getting quite some interesting things that might actually spice up the talent trees a bit (and yes I thought they were boring. Solid, but boring).

Totemic Focus is now a 2-Ranks talent, down from 3-Ranks. Now also increases the duration of your totems by 20/40%. I seriously can’t see the benefits of this. Unless they make totems pop cost like 50% of your maximum mana, what’s the point here? Is there any totem duration decrease coming, or should we spec this just to make Searing, Earthbind totems last longer? On second thought – I guess some 25 Shamans might be forced into this spec for longer Mana Tide. Hm…

We even got new talent – Cleansing Waters. When our Cleanse Spirit successfully removes a harmful effect, we also heal the target for [ 1093 to 1164 ]/[ 2187 to 2330 ]. This talent sounds excellent – basically saving  a global cooldown every time we dispel and don’t have to whack another heal on the person right away. Especially if Cataclysm will be full of debuffs that hurt. Not totally sure it’s worth 2 points, I guess time will tell. It’s interesting mechanic at least.

Enhancement tree

Well this got me worried a bit in addition to other new talents. We were more or less speccing into Enhancement yet again, to pick up Weapons and Shields and try to reach the increased run speed (dropping Tuskarr’s for some sort of directly improving enchant) or investing the points in mana pool enhancement (intended) in elemental tree; now the choice is even harder. You can go pick up crit in elemental tree not leaving you enough points to pick up the new talent in enhancement tier 2 - Totemic Reach that increases the radius of your totems’ effects by 15/30%.

Again, we might not see enough fights where you’d need your Healing Stream to cover area worth of Orgrimmar, but in case this indeed is needed, it might get tricky on the points. Aaaanyways might be useful in five-man instances so you don’t have to re-drop totems all the time.

To conclude

In my opinion, these changes look interesting. They don’t add anything to be considered overpowered so we don’t have to tremble in fear we will get QQ-omg-nerfed to the ground and yet these abilities smooth some of the sharp edges this class still has in preparation for the new era.

Let’s stay positive and actually welcome it with open arms, trusting the developers they might have a clue as to what are they doing. Heh. What is your take on new spells? Especially cleansing water?


A team within your raidforce

Okay. I will admit it beforehand, for this post I am willing to adapt nickname Captain Obvious. What I am going to share is obviously a thing every progression raiding healer knows and loves and goes unspoken. Which is why I am speaking about it. So people actually stop and give it the thought. This post is about synergy in healing team. About collective experience of the team – how and why it’s such a great thing.

Team effort

Raiding of course is a team effort. All roles are somewhat equal in boss encounter to the point that you need tanks to keep baddies from dps, healers to keep tanks alive and dps to keep healers well saturated with mana. One contradiction comes in the point that loosing a single dps does not by far mean such disaster as loosing one tank or one healer (which is for most of ICC10 half of your healing or tanking squad), but we will leave it there.

As I wrote at the very beginning of this blog healing community is very special and although we form “insider” groups in our raids as dpsers and tanks do, we our groups have a bit different spirit. While the dps groups are usually full of friendly banter and competition, the tank group is mostly tossing around and showing off who outtpsed whom where, the healer group (when not fooling around) is quite calm relaxed and stressed community at the same time.

We just worry too much. It’s the very nature of a healer. We use our resources to let someone else to do the job and kill the boss. Although in PuGs we are often able to adapt the “don’t care that you died” attitude towards strangers, it’s quite different in guild raids. When you know the person who just died for some time, when you share a bond as brothers (sisters) in the arena, beating the odds to raise your hand in a final shout of victory. Okay, derailed. We healers are care-bears. And for the best results, we need to click not only on raid composition side. We need to click on personal side and learn to work like one. Rely on your comrade to heal the person you back if you are busy saving some pity ass over there. Trust them with your virtual life in order to do your job to the fullest. If the Appletree said he’s got me, then he’s got me. Period. No “ifs” no “buts”.

The importance of knowing your co-healers

About a month ago, my super awesome healing core started falling apart. First I lost a restoration druid who was able to clock insane 9+K effective healing on Blood Queen in tandem with Paladin healer (pre buff), end the fight with quite some mana left and even laugh about it. We are talking about loosing a Paladin who was able to kite zombies on Gluth while solo-healing the encounter (well, okay, it was late into T10 content with a bit of gear buff for Naxxramas) or solo healing Saurfang with 5% buff for the giggles. A paladin who (don’t ask me why) made look my hasted out LHW healing like damn slow sniping everything before me and keeping to his assigments. We are talking about loosing awesome tri-spec priest willing to respec for each raid, dps or heal as needed, rocking any meter and mastering bubbles to the point where Saurfang was unable to reach more than 40 runic (pre buff). But most importantly – it was loosing 3 other healers that progressed Icecrown Citadel alongside me. Bunch of fellows that we learned to heal the fights with, dipped our toes in the deep water before jumping in. Creating healing stereotypes for bosses to the point where you knew what healing you don’t really have to bother with.

After this leave we struggled to even get a raid going (add holiday and exam period as well) and only last week we managed to fill in the healing channel with a Druid and a Paladin. And we went for Icecrown Citadel. And it was terrible. Okay, I gotta admit the raid was bad for many reasons – just one regular tank, two unknown puggers, one healer in mostly i200 gear, the other one in i232 and both of them without any experience in Icecrown Citadel. In hindsight, the raid went fairly well. Just saying this in case any of my guildies will read this and will assume I think they are shit – because I don’t. Time proves very quickly those two know how to heal and that it was just the lack of experience and team play that made the raid so painful

We three healed everything up to Putricide, and yet we were struggling. It was mess. Even if I did assignments (which I haven’t done in ages), I could feel the uncertainty of us all – we were constantly on the look-out to compensate for others, which often led us to abandon our assignments in good hope to help others who seemed to be falling behind. Absolute ill practice and breaking all healing commandments (if there are any) leading us to many wipes. We weren’t ready and used to trust each other. I couldn’t yet trust the Tree to pick the raid up, I didn’t know him.

A week has passed. What has changed? A lot. Granted the buff went up by 5%, we geared the Paladin to average i232+ and our Tree picked some shinies as well, but the main difference was in the flow of the fights. We were trying out each other’s trust. Sure, we were still cautious but we gave each other chance to pull our weights before stepping in. And it worked. I am not saying we are where I want us to be. Yet. It’s been a week and there is long way ahead for us to learn to play as one. But we are definitely on the good way. We still overheal a bit too much on the assigment overstepping but that’s fine. It will mellow out over time.

From a raid leader perspective

I think I didn’t fully appreciate it before. As healer I was always happy it’s there and as raid leader I liked that I can count on those people to get us through anything. But I don’t think I ever realized how much a successful raid relies on the silent strong force of healers and their ability to cope with each other and with any bad situation together.

It’s saving huge amount of resources if your healers are used to work together and if they click. Less communication required, better assignment overstepping and better judgement of situation. No blame shifting – if healer screws up while being in comfortable place, they admit it and works with others to possible fix. If only by asking for help at certain moment (debuff landing, AoE connecting). It’s giving their raid leader a time to breathe if he can fully count on the healer crew and their ability to push through anything.

For me, getting this synergy back, will be like rediscovering my place again and getting into my comfort zone, as raider, healer and raid leader. I am looking forward for the day when there will be no re-explanation of assignments or tasks in healer channel because we will all know what will be going on, we will know that first few seconds of fight we can focus each on different tasks and tunnel on them because others will carry their weight to the fullest.

We will, without a doubt, close our eyes and take the leap into the abyss, trusting those healers down there to catch us. We will learn to heal like one, move like one, raid like one. And at that point, my task as a healer lead will be fulfilled. I helped to forge yet another excellent healer force.

So, as a healer, do you have appreciation for your healing team as a whole? And do you feel appreciation from your fellow raiders, raid leader and healers?

Are you still stuck in the raidforce with healer(s) that will do anything just to top meters, being useless and oomed halfway through fight but boasting how they had to cover for you “like all the time, dude”.

Or are you at the wonderful place when all your fellow healers are at same page, when cooldowns to pump up healing synchronise yet the healing gets distributed without (too much) overlapping?

And a final note for raid leaders outside the healing crowd – look at your healers and if they are indeed the stars they should be, cater to them. They are your precious. I am not saying to pat their back when they manage to heal your raid through Naxxramas weekly. But realize how much luck you have having such amazing squad to refill your raid’s health.


Operation: Rahana’s blues

After this terrible Nexus PUG experience I got yesterday, I made up my mind to actually go and do the experiment I had in mind before. Being sick and tired of carrying people’s asses through content without them at least pretending to be trying (I don’t mind carrying undergeared people who perform up to their gear capabilities), people not bother to gem or enchant, I decided to undergo this undercover operation. Let’s call it for the sake of terminology:

Operation Rahana’s Blues

What is it about? Over the upcoming week, I will gather and gear myself in blue quality gear from end-game normal instances and heroics. If I am lucky enough, I will equip said gear by next weekend, and I mean full blue gear and I will PUG. I am thinking about the sample of 10-15 heroic instances as a healer to not only see if I can still make them in lower quality gear than I am used to and especially, how will people react to such “undergeared scrublol” healing their instances. I will do my part, but I will get carried. Okay. Before we break down the rules, let me share the bloody Nexus heroic I did as a daily yesterday.

Nexus heroic is srz bussiness

It is. So here I am, loading screen of Nexus, thinking to myself what a great place to be, getting some heirloom badges and my daily portion of Frosts. The party looked great too – paladin, warrior, death knight and a hunter. Add my shaman totems to the mix and here we go, faceroll party milling enemies into dust. I couldn’t be more wrong. By the looks of it, the random members were sporting T9 and epics all over which made them slightly less awesome than me flashing my T10 all over the place and well being the cool kid and all. And then the fun started. First off, aggro was all over the place. Which was kinda strange given that highest dps was 2.2K overall done by the warrior with the tank sporting 1.7K dps overall as second on meters. Have you now gotten the general idea of the group? Fine, moving on. Somehow we managed to pull additional group to Commander Kolurg group despite Tremor totem. Which actually happens sometimes and well, it startled me a bit. Pause on healing for 5 seconds and then pushing in macroed Chain Heal and healing like madman. The interesting thing was that the tank had obviously no intention to pick the loose mobs – healing that thing with two rangers darting me is quite some fun, but nothing I’d like to do with PUG. Kudos to the hunter who sent his dinosaur to roflstomp and tank the berserk bashing on me.  Moving on. I must admit, I wasn’t doing my best healing on the next mobs as I was engaged in guild and other chats. However, without any prior notice, the tank run past corner, took the group in front of Grand Mage Telestra and took her for good measure too. Yeah, that’s pretty much how you do it all the time, but well, usually with heads up and not so poorly performing party. She died, I popped trinket and MTT to replenish myself, moving on. We killed the first draconian group on platform, second with the rift too. We are ready to jump down to tickle the wraiths when all of a sudden, this pops in party chat:

[P] [Karno-Shattered Hand]: fucking retarded noobs go fuck urself hahahahah!

A player has left your… Wait what? And yes, this was the tank. I seriously have no idea what made him to call us retarded noobs. No one died, stuff although slowly still died and the party chat was silent. Now, I am absolutely against Naming and Shaming, but this guy deserves all of it. Out of curiosity, I armoried him later. This is his protection build. Reckoning maxed out and no JoJ or Touched by the Light. Go figure. Now before you go bash on me – I don’t mind anyone in wrong spec or gear as long as they can somehow fill their role and don’t act like utter douchebags. Which this paladin did. The douchebag part I mean. Well, so there we were, four players without a tank, four minutes on debuff. The arms warrior was a good sport though and after I told him to “just go ahead and pull” he bladestormed our way through trash. As we were killing last trash before Anomalus, a druid joined us. Sprinted in, buffed us with cheap buffs (d’oh) and started tanking the boss. I had to swallow the urge to ask him why he is in kitty gear (he had 30K bear hp) and went on to heal him. Truth be told, he ate quite some ES charges. And now the fun part – NO ONE, and by that I mean no one in caps and bold, bothered to kill the rifts. Or the spawned adds. Without saying anything or moving, they just proceeded bashing on to Anomalus when he was immune, obviously not paying attention to the amount of damage incoming on the whole party. And they died. I say they, because I managed to save the hunter who took advantage of FD and pet tanked the boss and the little myself. After we killed the boss, I was getting a bit pissed off, really. Come on. If you want to do it achievement style, say so we can work it out. The only thing that made me not to drop the group was that fact that no one dared to bitch about dying. That would probably made me shit nuclear mushroom clouds. Anyways, moving on after another set of small buffs. All went rather fine, although by reaching the ramp to Ormorok the Tree-Shaper I got kinda annoyed that I am tanking the small saplings without anyone bothering to kill them off. The greatest shock came on the last pull of the patrol going around Ormorok. I launched a heal five seconds into the fight. When I did, my screen flashed, the omen sound indicating you are failing your aggro management resonated in the room as two centaurslashtree things happily walking to hug me hoping for the some quality time together. Dino to the rescue, again. I am starting to like the hunter. Well, to close the story, I really stopped healing after Keristarza dropped dead and just watched people going low with the stacked debuff. I was just too tired to be nice. And the hunter needed on the mail boots that were, actually, an upgrade. In retrospective I had to admit the hunter rocked. Only T9 he had were shoulders, rest was blue stuff. He was BM with the big Dinosaur pet and that evil thing was constantly saving my ass gnawing on anything that as much as looked at me. So although he pulled “just” 2K dps in the end, he was one of the better players you meet in PUGs. Completely exhausted, I decided to do this social experiement.

Operation: Rahana’s blues

As I said, the aim of this operation is to test how are the PUG waters for newbie healers. In order to somehow compensate for my experience, I decided not to take any epic item for the set, limiting myself to original heroic drops maximum. I will however do my gearing properly, which means rare quality gems and solid enchantst, as would anyone who cares about gear but plans on quick replacement. I will hide all my fancy kill titles and make an opening macro line of being new healer and asking people to have patience.

And I can’t wait to see myself fail. I am horrified how I will do – because seriously, there is definitely a difference between the comfort level of my gear as it is to some bluish starter gear. But I hope it will be fun as well, to actually test how I’d do in the hostile world, beating not only mechanics, but the moronic GearScore as well.

If anyone feels like trying this out with me, you are most welcome. Go for it, try it, send me an email how it was. Let’s see if we can cheat the system with low GS!

The gear so far:

[Frozen Forest Kilt]

[Moragg's Chestguard]

I plan to get the trinket from heroic HoS, crafted Saronite shield and the Grizzly Hills PvP totem. If you can save me time looking through loot tables, do you still recall where the starter/blue gear drops? Quests are unfortunately, not an option.


Pit of Saron, mon!

Moving on! Yesterday a first instance guide for the Icecrown Citadel was posted here (omigod really???) and by now we reached then end of Forge of Souls and are ready to jump through the pink swirly thing called portal and voila, here you are. Or there.

Pit of Saron

Pit of Saron is open-air instance featuring Saronite mines and Saronite miners, drakes and bosses. The single most important thing about that fact is that you can mount up and stroll around on your pretty mounts. Which as well means that often your tank will be way ahead of you getting himself killed while you still look around and do “ooooh” sounds about the instance. Be prepared! Let’s go with some general tips for the instance:

  1. There is really no need to play any other Water totem than Cleansing. And even if you do, it’s highly advised to use it on the upward slope after Ick and Krick. The mobs do some heavy fire damage and put up diseases, so both counter-totems compete for a Water slot, however from my experience even with lack of other source of fire resistance, the disease hurts more and you want Cleansing there
  2. Speaking about the slope, it’s the part with the highest wipe percentage of the whole place – you start with heavy nuke adds spread around (half of them casters) and the dps usually goes all out and someone often pulls two groups. In such cases, be prepared to loose people or wipe. It’s not your fault. It’s just tough to heal.
  3. There isn’t really much of your non-healing spells to utilize, all dispelling will be done by totem and there really is no need for interrupts or purges, but at times the healing will be pretty intensive. This instance does not test your all-round shaman skills like Forge of Souls, it will test your spot-on healing and judgement. And cooldowns. Don’t forget cooldowns!
  4. Seriously, if you don’t have Nature’s Switftness and Tidal Force macroed together and keybound in convenient place, do so now. For real.

Okay. That’s pretty much it I guess. There are no significant mobs or situations to pay attention to. Well maybe the dragon riders who tend to throw their axes around make them spin and chop. But if you have eyes those shouldn’t pose a threat to your group at all.

Forgemaster Garfrost

Okay, this boss is pretty much retard check. You’d say that the concept of breaking line of sight to clear debuff is quite simple, yet people fail it. Rule of thumb – people with more than 12 stacks don’t deserve heals. Especially if healing them puts the tank in danger. On the other hand, if you let them die, you’ll be called names. Get used to it, it happens.

  • Forgemaster is a Deathknight that will run away to runeforge his weapon to deal more frost damage. It happens at 66% and 33% of his health. You won’t notice the difference on decently geared tank though. He will run away at that point, and two things happen – wise people hide behind boulder, braindead startle after him to dps!
  • The main mechanics of the fight is the Permafrost. A stacking DoT debuff (similar to Keristarzsa in Nexus) that does not break with moving, but by breaking line of sight with boss. You do that by hiding behind Saronite boulders.
  • Time to time, he will happily toss huge Saronite boulder at random party member. It doesn’t do much damage, but it has some AoE knock back effect upon landing, so clear the area or get bounced. When you hide behind the boulder, your Permafrost stacks reset. Mind you, breaking LOS to boss means breaking LOS to tank!
  • Frost resistance is crucial. Do not hesitate to sacrifice the Flametongue spell power to Frost resistance, unless you have another source of Frost resistance present in group. Everything from boss direct attacks to Permafrost ticks deals frost damage here.
  • Oh, using Heroism is advised on this boss, I usually pop it after he gets his first rune weapon. It will fall off before you reach last boss.

Krick and Ick

After clearing all the slime-thing dragging abominations in area, you are facing Krick and Ick. Or, in short, the Ugly thing. By now either your whole party knows how to move out of slime poodles, or you know who is slacker and needs more healing. Make that mental note, it will be needed. This fight is shorter than Garfrost, but the Ugly thing’s abilities make it rather eventful. Get ready for some death blame if people fuck up. Happens here too.

  • As expected, he will spawn poison poodles all over the place. Move out or die, simple as that. The “acceptable” slack time is like two seconds. By that everyone should have spells finished and free to move. That as well means  quick LHWs might be needed to cover this slack.
  • He does this funny Pursuit thing – he will target random party member and start pursuing them (who would’ve guessed), increasing his damage but decreasing his speed. Why is that important to you? I’ve seen tanks taunt him back and tank him through that damage increase.
  • Poison Nova aka “just blame the healer if you are melee” ability. He will stop moving, attacking and everything and start casting Poison Nova. Yeah, your reflex is right. It’s NOVA spell so you get the hell away! It’s pretty much one-shot spell. And if the person caught in it survives by any chance, the following DoT component is bound to kill them. PS: Rogue’s Cloak of Shadow does not cut  it here. Just so you know.
  • The biggest test of your spot healing comes with this ability – Explosive barrage. To illustrate how it looks – he will start spawning growing arcane bubbles under every party member. Those bubbles grow while dealing damage to anyone near them and their only goal in their short lives is to explode and deal some more damage. Yeah. Staying away from those means pretty much constant movement. Fun fact: 8/10 dps personnel is absolutely sure this is healable through just fine and they don’t have to move more than once per two or three bubbles. Remember, you can’t heal stupidity. And even if you do, you will just end up blamed and tired.

Scourgelord Tyrannus

Hooray. After the upward slope pain and rushing through tunnel (seriously, the most entertaining parts of the instance, innit?) you end up on the terrace with Scourgelord Tyrannus flying around on Rimefang (‘scuse me but wtf is dat name?). Again, this is general awareness fight and does not need you to heal like mad. Or it does. The base mechanic of this fight is Overlord’s brand. Link-like spell that either reflects all damage back at the linked person, or heals the boss for amplified amount of your healing. Be ready to save the dps before they realize they got the debuff, but if they keep on going, feel free to let them die.

Correction as submitted by Rades – I am wrong, he is right!

Hi Blueberry, I’m pretty sure that the Overlord’s Brand does not reflect damage back to the Brand target, but rather any damage done by the Branded character gets reflected to Tyrannus’ target (the tank). It’s like the opposite of the Devourer of Souls debuff, except worse I guess – instead of lazy DPS blowing up a random teammate by mistake (Devourer) they instead blow up the tank…which means wipe.

(Really, it’s the same principle though for DPS. Got debuff? STOP ATTACKING! /sigh)

This fight needs quick judgement and reaction from you. If you get the Overlord’s brand, you need to renew ES on tank as quickly as possible and toss a Riptide on them which should cover it for the most part. Resist the urge to top everyone and the tank off during brand, rather think about your spell and target priority once the brand is gone. Same goes for when you are in tomb – if you get targeted, stay clear od others, ES+RT on tank and get tombed. First heal after tomb must always land on you.

  • Forceful Smash – instant melee attack that deals quite a lot damage and knocks the tank back. Is often followed by:
  • Unholy Power a self-buff that increases his damage done by 100% (which can be very lethal). By reaching the boss, you should have rough idea what you and the tank can take. Should either one of you be rather squishy, kiting during this buff is highly advised. And just in case, extreme single target spam should commence.
  • Rimefang, flying above you, will make the fight even more interesting. He will rain down snowballs that will deal damage and snare people in them, so you want to avoid those. He will as well target people to encase them in Ice tomb – those will have a hunter’s mark like icon above them. As far as I know, Ice tomb can be chained, so stay away from people getting in. It’s not really dangerous, a single RT before the impact will most likely do the trick.
  • Go heroism at the start (when he actually jumps down) and kick in fire elemental. Frost resistance is nice to have here, but not crucial. And healing stream totem smooths out the edges.

Congratulations, you just cleared Pit of Saron. I really hope there were no rough bumps along the way and if there were, take them easy. This is probably the first or second instance on the “just blame  it on healer” instance of all times. And don’t worry about lewt – Jaina will just port you to the cave for a while. Get ready to enter the mayhem of Halls of Reflection. Seriously, the place has Lich King and Frostmourne, it’s awesome place to be. Till you try healing it.


Forge of Souls

Right, I decided that after the last rant on the topic, I might as well give it a go and supply fresh restokins with a little piece of advice on these dungeons. So for now, we will let the best advice (Do not go there unless you have good non braindead group) be and let’s focus on the somehow useful info for the three instances.

As a general rule – be prepared to bring your best game. Things can go very messy all of a sudden even for skilled and guilded group, and it may get even worse with PuGs. Be prepared for some quick totem twisting, be ready to interrupt, purge, pre-heal, quickly responsively snipe-heal, be ready for big fluffy pink rabbits to be shooting from cannons at you. Okay, I made the rabbits up. But it may happen! I guess.

As well, for the purpose of this guide, we will assume that at least 2 of 3 dps you run with are either morons or undergeared. Or, in worst case, undergeared morons. Wait, that’s not the worst case. Worst case are undergeared morons who act like they are the single most important thing on Azeroth. And hate pink fluffy bunnies.

Forge of Souls

Forge of Souls is the first of the three dungeons you will encounter.  It’s the one you will really, really need to bring the best out of your situational awareness and support role and abilities. Here are some very basic guidelines what to expect in the instance:

  1. Packs of just two mobs with big kick ass axes tend to cast bubbles on themselves. These bubbles don’t absorb damage, they reflect spells. Your i232 arcane mage is completely able to immediately kill themselves halfway through Arcane Missiles. Whenever you see the shield coming up, quickly pay attention to any spells flying back into the ranged cluster, identify type of spell on the go and bomb that person with RT+LHWs. There is no time to waste.
  2. Packs of 3 or more adds nicely spread around will need your best interrupting possible. Help your tank to round them up, ask which one to bring close if you want to. Tanks will totally appreciate that. And it helps you. Seriously, it’s better if everyone eats the tank than if there is loose mob attacked by and attacking everyone. PS: Those packs are often packed with AoE damage, so feel free to position yourselves to max out the Chain Heal use (I often stand in melee to get the melee lazor heal and spot heal ranged, or the other way round if the party is full of ranged of course).
  3. There are these flying skulls that will aggro random person, follow them, stop and explode. It hurts. You can somehow avoid it by waiting for it to stop and start the explosion while you get away, however not many other people will. It is especially nasty if you get the explosion coupled with some AoE (see point 2), that’s when it gets pretty lethal.
  4. The spirits in the end of the instance are really, really nasty. AoE that hits quite a lot, the damage on tank is heavy as well and there is some decursing to be done. Stand in CH range to at least two people, else you won’t have enough time when it hit the fan.

Now, let’s do the bosses. There is pretty much nothing you can do about those bosses, it all depends on how the rest of the party controls the fight. Be prepared that in average PuG you will loose a person or two on the last boss and it will rarely be your fault. Don’t be dickward if it was your fault, but don’t take the blame for deaths you couldn’t prevent by any means.

Bronjahm

First boss in Forge of Souls essentially has two phases. It’s quite easy boss to do especially for a shaman healer, but it can get quite lengthy if the spawn control is not good enough. As well, remember to kick off your fire elemental and heroism in phase two. It won’t be ready for second, final boss, but using it there is suicide anyways.

  • Phase one is quite easy on you – all you have to heal is the damage being inflicted and if you have the global spare then throw a spell at the add to nuke it before it reaches Bronjahm.
  • The add: player with debuff called Corrupt Soul or something like that has to move away from the boss as far as possible and everyone should nuke the Soul when it makes its way back to boss. It will heal him for something like 120K, which is not really nice.
  • For phase two, everyone needs to hug the boss. If there is anyone who doesn’t do it, they deserve to die (as they mostly will even if you healed them like mad). Important is to heal people feared away, because the further from boss into the vortex they will run, the more damage they will take. The phase starts with him at 30% and emoting something, that’s when you come close, pop fire elemental, tremor totem and heroism.
  • A totem twisting is advised here. Flametogue – Earthbind (slows adds) + Tremor (fear for P2) – Healing Stream – Wrath of Air / Windfury depending on party.

Devourer of Souls

This boss can easily wipe your party if your dps left their brain at the door. It does shitloads of damage per se and to add to it, it shares damage with targeted person upon casting. Lucky for you, all these abilities are emoted by Devourer so you have time to prepare and they are as well quite visible not to miss them.

  • Phantom blast is spell cast on tank, can be interrupted and deals some 18Kish damage, shadow damage.
  • Well of Souls is created when the Devourer jumps over at someone and creates a purple poodle under them. The tick of the poodle on heroic is something between 4-5K shadow damage and kills quickly. Often is put under melee without boss being moved, be vocal!
  • Unleashed souls – Devourer spawns heckload of adds that will start munching on party. The best advice is to move away from any purple poodles, refresh Water Shield often and spot-heal everyone else. The only dangerous thing about this ability is that you might start to panic. Don’t, it looks worse than it really is.
  • Wailing souls is nice spell very similar to barrage that Mimiron does. What does it do then? Well the Devourer fixates himself in spot and direction, and starts turning around spraying the area in front of him with heavy shadow damage and knockback spell. Almost impossible to heal through, possible to save someone who is late on moving out.
  • Last but not least, the most important spell – Mirrored Soul. As you might’ve guessed, this is the shared damage spell. And if people don’t stop dps as soon as they see it, the targeted person is in trouble. You have to be really quick in identifying the target and spamming them while keeping up the tank. Oh, pray it isn’t you on the first go. Chances are by the second time he casts it, there is one dps less. In all seriousness, this is the source of dying even with good group or as a geared healer. Be prepared for it, even various bleed effects and dots can give you hard time while ticking on boss with this debuff.

Anyways, hope you will have fun in the place. It’s the least stressful of the three and although it has only two bosses, it’s quite fun. And it’s short. As always, post your comments and stories below and stay tuned for Pit of Saron and Halls of Reflection.


Healing your first heroics – just don’t.

At the early beginning of this blog when I was delusional about how easy it is to blog, I posted a series of articles trying to breakdown the basics for healing heroic instances, one by one. And I would say I did quite okay job for that time being scared bloggy chikkinsheet and all. Since last week I really, really wanted to post a guide to the new ICC heroics – better late then never, eh? But while trying to find any possible spare time to write them, I happened to run Pit of Saron myself with a PUG. And yeah, as you can guess, it was just brain numbing experience. And I can’t imagine any newbie average geared shammy being able to get through. My back was seriously aching.

The setting: Pit of Saron

The characters are your average PoS pug people. There is some shadow priest, some deathknight a pally tank, restoration shaman and a mage. The tank is just under i232 on average, with corresponding stats – we are talking 36K buffed with okayish avoidance (by okayish I mean manageable with reasonable pulls). The healer was, of course, awesome. I mean, hasted and pimped out Restoration shaman sporting 4T10, sweet thing, I’m telling you. The bit of a problem were the dps. The mage led the charts with impressive 4K average, then long time nothing, then little nothing, then there was the Deathknight just above tank damage done with 2.1 dps and the priest was just terrible. I believe my Searing totem would be more useful dps tool. But hey, whatever. The tank was pulling a bit over his comfort zone but I had the mana to keep him alive. Though pulling two Shovelers was just a tad too much. They really love slinging the dirt on me. But hey. Now the story about how Rahana was striked out.

Hiccup 1:  Forgemaster Garfrost

You know, the boss that buffs himself at 66% and 33% of his health by stunning people and then runs off to a runeforge to get the buff. That’s not all he does, of course. He does stackable frost damage aura – much like Hodir or in Nexus, but unlike these two it cannot be removed by movement. No. Way to remove this stuff is to actually break LoS to the boss by hiding behind one of the many boulders he’ll toss at you. Long story short, with all the awesome dps we had, there were only 2 people out of 5. Me and the mage. Not only healing 12+ stacks is pretty much global cooldown locked, especially in half melee half ranged group, it really becomes quite lethal. And well, if 3 people decide to chase the boss around when you try to hide behind the boulder and clean yourself (breaking LoS to those three puppets too) someone is bound to die. Most likely the 17K healthpool priest. And who’s to blame? The healer. Sure. I mean, I did almost frikkin 4K effective healing, used Mana Tide, Mana trinket and was really considering a pot. But it was my fault people died when they decided to ignore fight mechanics. Rahana just got her first strike.

Hiccup 2: Krick and Ick and stuff around

Pulling more abominations before Krick and Ick is fun and speeds up. Pulling up to three at a time while having group composed of people clearly unable to move out of green goo is stressing. Not fun. Cleansing totem is a godsend there.  I must say no one got pounded by Icks (Kricks?) one-shot AoE. Moving out of the exploding bombs was totally different matter. I absolutely adore people who are able to suppress any common sense in order to produce just this more dps, the needed few bits of dps that can make wipe-kill difference. Yeah, right. I somehow healed through. But if you asked me, I have no idea how. It was all reflexive, pushing key combos on auto-pilot, trying to preserve the last bits of my sanity hanging on to the task I do in this game. Keeping every sorry butt around me alive. I managed. Surprisingly, pulling out such a stunt is obviously casual stuff, not deserving even a low five. Rahana’s second strike came on the ramp leading up. Pulling the first two groups at once is something I find challenging even on guild runs (challenging means not allowing a single death). It’s just impossible to keep everyone alive if they decide to go all out, I have all 3 spread casters on me due to healing threat and everyone is about to die. I kept alive me, myself and mage. Like it or not, that’s how I roll – tank -> healer -> useful dps -> others. Anyways, obviously not amused corpses awarded me with strike two. Way to go Rahana.

Hiccup 3: Scourgelord Tyrannus

I will admit it, after suffering through the tunnel and already feeling the “LOLNOOB healer” attitude in the party, I really lost interest in group progress. Which pretty much lead to strike three. In few words, Unholy Power and Overlord’s brand on me. They somehow overlapped, and although usually I’d be more than fine to bomb the tank through it even at the cost of longer fight, I slacked. Willingly or not, I let the tank die and the group wipe. I know this was pretty dickhead thing to do, but after being constantly bullied since first boss, I couldn’t care less. Well, guess that got me strike three and out, as I was kicked while flying back to the place.

Moral of the story? Again?

I confess, I don’t take my A game to heroics, at least not very often. But still, my gear and experience allow me to make miracles and godly saves when needed and I always have few tricks  up my sleeves to pull off. I really can’t imagine a fresh healer going through what I got there. And that is not supposed to mean that I am uberleet player, that simply means we are all still learning and we are still making mistakes and learning from those. And it absolutely outrages me if I see someone not pulling their weight themselves bashing other people for their mistakes, or even worse, putting the blame where it doesn’t belong. What do you think? Have fresh players any chance to like the end of the game? The point where they are going to try and master their class?


Totems choices. Oh so many.

So… uh… I kinda like wanted to write long posts (yeah, at least two) over the weekend but well, I came back home from cinema on Friday and felt extremely “whatever, fuck it” about everything. I swear I was in so bad mood I barely left bed over the weekend, grumping around at everyone. I made however two fatal discoveries as I was browsing my TV Shows folder looking for anything that I haven’t seen yet (NCIS, Black Books and Being Dead are all fine, but not the tenth time over) – the first discovery was Chuck – a TV series by NBC about a guy who soaks up all joint knowledge-base of CIA and NSA and is assigned two agents for protection. I thought the series extremely sucked but after episode 4-5 I got extremely hooked. And by extremely hooked I mean I managed to down series 1 and 2 and first 5 episodes of series 3 in a row, with barely taking food breaks and some lousy 6 hours of sleep during this marathon. Go figure how much work I did. Hell I even got soo hooked I am now registered and posting at various Chuck boards and I am waiting every Monday for new S3 episode to be aired (damn olympic break, really). The second discovery was that Yvonne Strahovski (Agent Sarah Walker) is not only cutie, but frikkin hot chick. Well that is my lame excuse while following text was not printed over the weekend. What’s yours for not doing anything? Well, let’s get some work done now then, shall we?

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Weapons of Choice

This is the second part of the lightweight restoration shaman guide by Rahana. In this part we will be dealing with simple spell overview and talk through any and all spells that should not be missing from your bars.

Restoration shamans have quite interesting spells in their arsenal, and even the only “visible” healing spell in game. As well, that “visible” healing spell is the spell this class got well- known for. But there are way more spells we are (should be) using for and while healing than one shiny healing lazor called Chain Heal.

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ICC gear sets (version 1-normal) and Totem thoughts.

So, I finally got to making the ICC gearlist of well, Rahana’s BiS at the current moment. I did it using values from Shaman_HEP from our last Icecrown Citadel raid, in which I healed everything from start up to and including Festergut and few tries on Rotface. The results are a bit skimmed, as for the configuration I used some things I didn’t have at that time – especially 2T10 attained just after that run.

Thinking about what to wear is srs business!

All the gear selected for the gearlist (both BiS normal modes and BiS heroic modes) is taken from Wowhead.com. I will not, ever, suggest what trinkets you should be using. It’s mainly because I myself have about… well, many trinkets from various instances that I swap in and out if needed – although being the mana junkie I am… my mp5 trinkets and mana restore trinkets lead the way now.

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It’s alive!

Yeah yeah, I know I slacked very much, and this was cause by various reasons ranging from leading the guild from officer position and trying to recruit enough people for our own raids (over holidays), being ill (over holidays) and the need to hand out with friends and family despite aforementioned (over holidays). I spent quite some time in the game in my bed too, respecced my paladin to protection for faster queves for Saronite farming, adjusted this and that and well, generally did nothing at all that could somehow be classified as “work”. Including this blog, but hey, I really had no topic to write on.

However, there were some interesting things that happened over that AFK period, be it new ICC wing or some very interesting PuGs I got. As well, I have been finally installed into Guild Master position after the start GM being AFK for over month (I am telling you, dealing with guild from officer position without set ranks, guild bank and other stuff is really not fun task to do). And finally I got myself to write something here too. So, where to start?

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