Druid Healing: Late Legion

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
Yogi Berra


Druid Healing: Late Legion

There is a fellow Druid on our raid team and we compare notes now and then. He is a super-smart guy with a real life job that has a security clearance. He explained to me the math behind crypto-currency one night. Yeah, that smart.

He is now using what he calls his Lazy Build. He is using the legendary chest and the Tearstone of Elune along with Soul of the Forest and Spring Blossoms. He casts Rejuvenation now and then but mainly he casts Wild Growth off of cooldown.

The chest supports our bonus set and has a ton of stats on it. The Tearstone can boost Wild Growth. Spring Blossoms is a boost to our mushroom.

His healing numbers are the same as mine. I am a more active healer using Germination and trying to anticipate damage. He said that his job is to do Druid Healing. The other healers, like a Holy Priest, should be chasing those with low health with their instant spells. It is almost a philosophy in healing.

I don’t think that I’ll change over to his style. This late in Legion, most of us have all of the legendary pieces and can move things around. And it is fun to change things around, especially as we face the same bosses over and over and know the choreographed encounters pretty well.

I like the role of Healer. And chasing down those with low health is part of the fun, even if it means being clumsy and spamming Regrowth because, while I love our Holy Priest: our group collectively can get caught in a bad spot. Whether the numbers are the same, I prefer to support individuals as well.

The point is: our healing as Druids can be done several ways and still be successful.



ss1

Healing Normal Kin’garoth

“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”
Bertrand Russell


Healing Normal Kin’garoth

I hope everyone else is having as much fun as I am. New bosses, new fights, new progression and things to learn and practice.

Kin’garoth is really rough on melee. Our two Demon Hunters died instantly and had to learn to be away from the tanks. I read that one of the World First teams brought only ranged to this fight, so be careful!

You have to learn the fight, that’s all and the fun part. The main boss is in the middle of a circular room and adds show up in these spoke-like hallways. Eventually we learned to anticipate the adds and drift over to the hallways to be ready. I think we downed him after four wipes but our main tank had some computer issues and the “time spent” was huge.

The big tough mechanic is this fire beam that sort of reminds you of the cake boss. As I recall, it shoots out of his left hand and he’ll pivot either left or right for 45 degrees and then stop. It will kill you fast! Once everyone knows to watch the boss to avoid this mechanic, the rest isn’t so bad.

There are giant blue bowling balls that roll around and floor circle explosions; all which you can almost absorb (at least on Normal). I kept my eye on the boss and drifted along with the team using Rejuvenation and Wild Growth. If a player was damaged, we could heal them up. But you can’t heal through that fire beam!

We had fourteen players with three healers. We used Hero on the pull. The fight lasted nine minutes and forty-five seconds.

The fight length will drop but it looks like we can Innervate and Tranq early and then again later, find good spots to use them.

The fire beam is called Ruiner! Hot foot it out of there, run!


The design of every Legion war machine stems from the depraved mind of Kin’garoth. Obsessed with crafting implements of death, Kin’garoth infused his very body into the production machinery so he could more efficiently churn out a never-ending supply of destruction.

At the behest of the Legion’s dark master, Kin’garoth’s fevered brilliance has developed a new super-weapon which he plans to unleash upon the Army of the Light.


 

At Least in Normal: Early Healing Notes

“What a delightful thing is the conversation of specialists! One understands absolutely nothing and it’s charming.”
Edgar Degas


At Least in Normal: Early Healing Notes

The image below is from an un-updated Armory. Blizzard does a crap job on the armory, I think we can all agree on that.

normal

Healing this current raid is fun. But I am always having fun. So, that is that. I am talented as 2,2,3,2,3,3,3.

Here are my notes:

Garothi Worldbreaker
Spring Blossoms for sure. It is a stacking fight. At the end of each phase there is a “retreat!” moment where you might use Tranquility. After the first weapon is shot down, the team ping-pongs right and left as a group moving after the circles show up so they all stack in one place … as you leave that place.

Felhounds of Sargeras
Spring Blossoms again. Stack, tank, spank. The hounds are kept apart, I’d guess 40 yards. One tank gets lonely (to my left), the other tank has all the melee company and my mushroom is with the ranged who are in the middle. I put my mushroom down just before the pull to direct the ranged where I want them to stand. If you get targeted, just run outside of the stack to let the fire trail land out of the way. Displacer Beast is fine to jump away from the spinning vacuum thing.

Antoran High Command
This fight will become one of my favorites because it is a bitch. Germination because we are all traveling and a bit scattered. There will be a guy in the pod (behind you) that you have to heal while there is a slow kiting of the boss — at least that is how we are doing it. Ursol’s Vortex is the best spell ever, when the adds arrive it negates the blade-spinner from leaving the add stack (they jump to the farthest player). You can cast Ursol’s Vortex every other spawn so talk to another Druid. The damage is steady so Flourish and Velen’s and your staff off of cooldown, use tranquility early so you have it again (about 11 minute fight, I think) and use Innervate early; maybe at the first shield.

Portal Keeper Hasabel
Volunteer to take the portal, it is much more fun. The stay-at-home guys are bouncing right and left to avoid a big ugly circle and killing imps. The third and last portal is tricky because the lights are out; there is a trick to bringing some candle but (in Normal) we blow it off. If you can, get your Raid Leader to go up before the pull and put a raid marker at the portal so you can find your way out quickly.

The Defense of Eonar
Totally fun and often confusing. The main note is that the extra-action button has TWO actions! It is easy to miss that. The first will make you fly (it is so fun) and the second click can target where you can land quickly, ending the flight. There are Big Dudes who have to die and Little Dudes who want to march and kill the boss (who you are protecting). Again, Ursol’s Vortex to slow the walking guys can help.

Imonar the Soulhunter
The novelty of this fight is the transition, the bastard takes off running and leaves a trail of bombs and stuns and trip wires. Lots of damage, I used Tranquility here. Avoid the trip wires and let a hunter use turtle-shell to explode the mines or some such. Just don’t be first!

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Healing is healing and can get routine. Using our toolbox and utility is the fun part (so far) in this raid.

Do you have any tips that I can use?




Patch 7.2.5: Resto-Druid’s Decline

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”
Vincent Van Gogh


Patch 7.2.5: Resto-Druid’s Decline

Today is June 8, 2017.
Best guess is that this patch will drop June 13, so anything written now is speculation. I spent some time reading the forums here.

We know that Resto-Druids alone of the healing classes are getting a 4% across-the-board nerf to their healing. This is the cause of some concern to Druid healers!

Here is the concern.

  1. Now, at the end of Nighthold, Druid healers in mythic raiding are topping the charts. I only heal Normal and Heroic and have never felt like I was the master of the raid.
  2. The reason for this is the powerful Shoulder Legendary and our four piece bonus set from Nighthold.
  3. Testing on the PTR for Tomb has those raiders transferring their own characters so their numbers reflect the shoulders and Nighthold set bonus. So, in testing, the Druids look over-powered and so must need the nerf (I guess).
  4. In patch 7.2.5 the powerful shoulders will be nerfed.
  5. Early in Tomb, Druids with their Nighthold bonus sets will look pretty good, but as they progress they will get weaker and weaker in comparison to other healers.
  6. Getting weaker will be because we will at first add the two-piece from Tomb on top of our four-piece from Nighthold and drop Legendary pieces in those slots (shoulders). Then, eventually move to the four-piece from Tomb and then still have the two-piece from Nighthold. Then, eventually drop the two-piece from Nighthold in favor of higher powered pieces; perhaps our Legendary pieces after we’ve gone through the painful process of upgrading seven or eight Legendary pieces from 940 to 970.
  7. How long will it take to replace our Nighthold stuff, two months? It is over this arc of time that the Druid healer will be slowly, in comparison to the other healer classes, will get weaker and weaker.
  8. Looking at the four-piece from Tomb, one can see that they are inferior to the set from Nighthold in design.
  9. Conclusion: this will sneak up on us and make us feel worried that we are executing poorly when it isn’t our fault.

It is a disturbing scenario.

One can imagine that Blizzard is keeping it’s finger on the pulse and will fix or erase the nerf if Druid healing is sub-par; not because of our skills but because of their design. Remember that MW monks have been waiting for six months (for this 7.2.5 patch) to get fixed!

I can imagine some distress when we start Tomb as equals-or-better (if indeed Druids are currently over-powered) and then as we progress deeper into Tomb that we get less and less and less until we wonder why are we even here.

The other argument that I’ve seen is an interesting one.
If you are a Heal over Time healer, then your chart numbers SHOULD be really high because you are ticking along for the entire freaking raid! On-the-spot healers should not look as high because they are doing instant healings with big pops of their spells. That anyone would try to balance the over-all numbers to be equal is bad and not factoring in the style of healing brought by the different classes.

Healing by the Numbers Again

“In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.”
Friedrich Nietzsche


Healing by the Numbers Again

NB: If you spend too much time thinking about it, it might drive you crazy!

Context:
When I was a-huntering in WoD, everyone played Survival while it was the top DPS spec. One of the big lessons was on multi-shot because it had a bleed effect and was an AoE spell. The best way to play was to let those bleeds do their job over time while you might focus on a bigger mob. The temptation was strong to keep multi-shotting those adds to make them disappear sooner.

Overhealing:
I look at my Logs for our Heroic Gul’dan kill. Druid, Shammy and Holy Pally are all overhealing by a massive amount. The top three spells for each healer are between 25% and 50% overheals!

This is nothing new, overhealing is a measured thing on any meter-type addon. What is telling, I think, is that we are not letting our spells run their full course and heal up our players over time — which is our design.

Of course, I can not find the Dev postings from pre-Legion but, as I recall, the intention was that everyone would get used to never being fully topped up. Without Spirit to regenerate our mana, we’d have to be crafty with our resources. Also, tanks would be dependant on outside healing beyond their own resources, leaning heavier on the dedicated healers.

Clearly this is not happening at all. Our blood DK, a tank, often out-heals the healers. We healers will not allow players to not be topped off and will massively over-heal to get them topped off. The initial design did not work out.

Only the highest skilled group of players would see the original design intention. Those players would be under-geared by our standards, avoid the damage with aplomb and healers would allow their spells to run the full course. Resources would be an issue and each encounter would be executed like a well-drilled ballet. Sounds like the World First guys, doesn’t it?

We see in each encounter the potential for raid-wide damage destroying half of the players. And we can not allow that. So we over-heal and every healer does it; from the normal dungeon pug to the top mythic raid.

The healing numbers are skewed and are not telling much of a story. If everyone is over-healing then what could it possibly matter who the top healer is on the charts? The top healer is so anal-compulsive that he is topping off even the 95% healed. I would guess that ALL healers are a bit anal-compulsive; especially if they are looking at charts which we all are! Egads!

It would be tough for anyone to tell me to get my healing numbers up when Efflorescence is cooking along with 61% overhealing. In that case, I’m not doing anything but dropping a circle off cooldown.

As healers we will always be balancing the actual fight experience against the charts. It is as if we are playing two different games at the same time. If you think about it too much, especially overhealing, it might drive you nuts!

Healing by the Numbers

“Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.”
William Shakespeare


Healing by the Numbers

I was reading Lost by Cinder Says this morning. I value bloggers who talk about playing WoW. It made me think about Healing Numbers and numbers in general, which we all can obsess on.

Each raid encounter is designed to reflect the playstyle of the classes. I’ve seen it very specifically as a DPS when cooldowns, even short ones, line up perfectly with events.

My favorite example are the Imps on the Mannaroth fight, they line up perfectly with the Hunter’s Barrage spell. If you use Barrage when the Imps first arrive, then though-out the 14 minute fight you’ll have it ready for every arrival and your DPS numbers will look great.

Healers see the design as well though sometimes it is a bit more subtle. A Slam spell is very predictible and means for raid-wide damage. A Healer might start padding up the raid in anticipation and then, once Slam has slammed, use some smart heals for those who took damage.

We have all seen DPS execute to the exclusion of everything else around them. We call it “tunneling” as in having tunnel vision and ignoring the surroundings. Some classes, like the Druid Balance class are loathe to move, they have to get locked into their rotation to get Starfall to stack, for example.

Healers can be that way too. Healers can get locked into the mechanics of an encounter and run their rotation to execute at the highest healing numbers possible. Sometimes, they’ll let another player die on the spot and say, “You can’t heal stupid”.

But you can heal stupid. Let me add a comma. But you can heal, stupid. DPS can fall into the rhythm of an encounter and do the dance but Healers are listening to a different song, we are healing other players. That is our job, to heal other players.

I think that if you are playing to top the charts that you are not playing a very fun version of the World of Warcraft. To top the chart in Healing, you will start to cheese the meters, perhaps by using Tranquility three times in a fight even when there is no need. Trying to get that spell in early and as often as possible is only to top the meters.

Some healers only heal what is necessary. Some might blow their cooldowns to keep a single player up and running. Some see the game differently than jacking up big numbers. The game is designed to keep that player up and running, that is why our HoTs run for so freaking long. Those players may not top the charts but those are the healers that you want on your team.

Healing what is necessary is difficult. Seeing that player stuck in the fire or a tank who let too many stacks pile up; sure, it is their fault but do they deserve to die? It is more than rotating your cooldowns to max out your numbers but, I happily admit, it is part of it too. What if, Elune forbid, you topped the chart in mana management? That would be a whole different look at healing.

Sometimes, when we have a boss on farm, I’ll try to top the charts and talk smack to the other healers. They love it when I fail, believe me! We get geared enough and rehearsed enough that over-all damage drops to only the mechanics. Then, feel free to cheese the meters; you might be surprised that your comrades have been doing that all along; using a 20 pound hammer on a 2 penny nail.

The Healer Paradigm

“The truest expression of a people is in its dances and its music. Bodies never lie.”
Agnes de Mille


The Healer Paradigm

Long ago, Healers got stereo-typed. Just like “loser kids in Mom’s basement” the facts proved the stereotype wrong. Not all Healers are shy, standing in the back and timid. Nor are they all Moms or women, nor are the specs so simplified that they are unchallenging. That stereotype was broken, flawed, lame and stupid.

Healers are fierce and are riding the up and down waves of an encounter with zero down-time.

I know that the DPS take time out to type in chat or hang back on trash pulls. A Healer can not afford that at all, what a luxury! How entitled! Even Tanks are vamping, waiting to taunt or for a cooldown. And I mean no disrespect for the lesser roles. It is that Healers are hard-core in every situation.

It is a satisfying rush to be on top of it for three hours. It can be exhausting too. When, after a night of raiding, players are rushing to even more content; they can’t understand that I’m tired!

We make a difference. We can see the immediate effects of our spells. Unlike a nine minute fight where the DPS can not really “see” the health bar go down, our Healing lives are dynamic, in the moment and crucial for every second of the raid.

It is true, on progression and learning new fights, we Healers can often have tunnel vision on our raid frames — but even then we can see the fight. Once we clear progression, we see the fights as well as any ranged player.

Sometimes, it is kind of fun to really see which players suck. Constantly dying to stupid stuff; “rez me, bro”. We know which players can really play, often we know their job better than they do!

If you dare to play a role that is fully engaging: try Healing.

In WoD, it was pretty strict with raid composition. 2/3/7 and then 2/4/9 and so on. In Legion, we tackled the first wing in Heroic at 2/3/12. Think on that.

When we hit Spellblade, we began wiping. Was it the new mechanics? Finally someone asked if we had enough Healers. Then they said, “Wait, we did the first wing in Heroic at 2/3/12?”

You are welcome.

Druid Healer: Power Moves

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
Dr. Seuss


Druid Healer: Power Moves

While raiding in Warlords of Dreanor, we had some combinations (or synergy of Talents) that could heal the entire hurting raid up to max. Heart of the Wild (if I remember that name right) plus Incarnation and then Tranquility was monstrous powerful. It would be called a Signature Move for us Resto-Druids.

When not combined, our trusty Tranquility could heal up the raid some and often not over-come the bad stuff that the tank was dealing with; on it’s own it felt pretty weak.

I was working with some dancers in the 1990’s, lovely ballerinas and modern dancers who had begun doing some single-handed handstands and odd flips, contorted and painful to my eyes, but flashy. I asked what they were doing. I was told that a dancer needs to have a Signature Move on the dance floor to be noticed at the hip-hop clubs.

We Resto-Druid need to have our own signature moves to distinguish ourselves among the other healers. Bad ass stuff. Here in Legion, we won’t have that same power move that we had in WoD but we can do some good stuff; when we run combinations.

Swiftmend with the Prosperity Talent, followed by Wild Growth with the Soul of the Forest Talent, followed by the Flourish Talent and then our Healing Staff spell: Essence of G’Hanir, should be a chart-topping combination.

I have not “artifacted up” to getting Tranquility down to two minutes but I can see that Incarnation does not boost Tranquility. My best guess (and I could be wrong) that our Healing Staff spell could double the ticks on Tranquility making it luster and shine on a predictable two minute cycle.

Where are the theory-crafters? We need to peel back the tool-tips to see what is really cooking on the stove. Some things are counter-intuitive, I seem to remember (somewhere, probably in Alpha) reading that our mushroom is not a HoT! Seems that it should be, right? Yet, the Spring Blossoms talent which sits on our mushroom (when it procs) IS a HoT!

Some things make me nervous. The tool-tip for Stonebark, for example. “Reduces the cooldown of Ironbark by 30 sec, and it increases the healing from your heal over time effects by 20%.” ALL heal over times on everybody or just the guy who got Ironbark cast on him? It can be read two ways if you are used to frail tool-tips.

In the big picture, I suppose it doesn’t matter on the path to success. We’ll heal in our style and try to make sense of exploiting our Mastery as best we can.

Still, we want to look good on the meters too! We need our power moves.

Healing HFC Normal: Pre-Patch

And she’ll have fun, fun, fun
Till her daddy takes the t-bird away.

The Beach Boys


Healing HFC Normal: Pre-Patch

Our raid group met up for a pre-expansion patch HFC Normal run. Some players were the same, others changed from mage to rogue, for example. Our main tank was a healer now.

The nerf was pretty nerfed to the HFC bosses. It is bugged too. I got the fire buff from Iskar that would not go away! My GTFO was honking the whole fight. Finally after the encounter, I had to let myself die.

Some of the players had not logged in since we stopped raiding. So, there was some fun exclamations and worries over talents and “where is my button”? The Rainbow Generator was a big hit.

The realm phasing is a nightmare. I could stand next to my raiders by the summon stone and not seem them. I could be summoned and still not see them. We had to go into the raid to see each other.

We blew through the raid even with some puggers in the group. We even carried a hunter in 640 gear, no problem.

I was on my Resto-Druid, we had a Shaman healer and a Holy Pally. On Archimonde, our healing stats were 22%, 22%, 22%. Even as can be. Our raid leader said that our group’s DPS was getting better with each fight which is why we were there besides some good social time.

My Notes:

  • I’m still torn between Germination and Spring Blossoms. I think it will depend on the encounter.
  • Cenarion Ward — I felt it could be cast on cooldown. It never felt significant.
  • Flourish — I felt it should be cast on cooldown, which isn’t super fun; just maintenance.
  • My fingers are still used to keeping up the old Harmony mastery!
  • There was not enough damage to really push heals or pad the meters; I hope we run Heroic on Sunday.
  • I went Balance Affinity on the Iron Reaver pull but my dps was not competitive at all.
  • As I understand it, our new mastery will give a player more and more and more heals with the extra HoTs. It never felt that way, even with the mushroom, germination and lifebloom. Maybe they just got topped off — I forgot to look at overhealing on Recount.
  • I really look forward to tougher fights when mana is an issue, slower heals are okay (heal over time spells) and tanks are in need of my attention.
  • Resto-Druid is fun!

Talent is Cheap

“A little brains-a little talent
With the emphasis on the latter!”

Damn Yankees


Talent is Cheap

I love smart people, that is why I like reading bloggers. I see that many are settling into their rotations and getting comfortable with their spells and talents and new flavors.

My Resto-Druid healer, I have a feeling that my talent tree will be a constant re-setting depending on the fight. My hunter, well, I have a feeling that I can get a build and “set it and forget it” and respond within my set-up to the different fights.

I was so excited to see Spring Blossoms really have an impact that I thought I might skip Germination (and the heavier mana drain). Then I did the LFR Blackhand; no one could stand still enough for my mushroom to have an impact!

I’m starting to think of raid bosses as either “traditional” with tank swaps on one big boss and the melee stacked on his butt and “run for your life” encounters! Maybe I need a better title for that second one.

I will approach it with the tanking being the deciding factor. If it is a fight like the Blast Furnace, Thogar, Hellfire Assault, Blackhand, Archimonde (maybe) then I’ll use Germination. If it is more traditional, so to speak, like the Tyrant; then I’ll use Spring Blossoms.

And that is just one tier of talents! I might have to make decisions on Moment of Clarity for a rough-on-the-tank fight over Flourish.

It is appropriate that I have a Tree form as I think the Talent Tree will be chasing me all through Legion. Pre-reading the Adventure Guide, I’ll have to be able to name the encounters as Traditional or Run For Your Life or Something New (all based on the tanking duties) and plan ahead so I am the best healer you’ve ever played with in the wonderful World of Warcraft.

What good is being a talented baseball player on the basketball court? I need the right talents for the right fights.

xo