Healer core influx

Not sure what we did to deserve the surprise influx of 5 new folks, 3 of which are exceptional healers, but I cannot be happier with the results.  We also more than doubled our dwarf population in the process.  [spell]Stoneform[/spell] ftw!

I’ve never been much for meter whoring (part of why I don’t succeed as well as dps as I do as heals — but that is a whole other can-o-worms).  If I did my job, the raid succeeded, and I didn’t cause any unnecessary damage / fubars — I really couldn’t care where I, or any of my healers, end up on the meters.  That said, when you get rofl stomped from where you are normally… it’s time to dig into the parses and figure out just what the heck you could be doing differently.

For example: On Heroic Halfus I was leaning way to heavily on [spell]Atonement[/spell] and hardly using any of the other tools available to me.  With the Mechanic changes, there is virtually no reason to smite, beyond stacking Evang initially, until the drake adds are dead.  [spell]Prayer of Healing[/spell] and [spell]Power Word: Shield[/spell] — both of which trigger [spell]Divine Aegis[/spell] are worth so much more throughput in the early stages of the fight.  I <3 having another disc priest in the raid that I can learn from.

Watching [armory]Epoch[/armory] and the new resto shammy “hop-scotch” [spell]Healing Rain[/spell]  for the Melee kite path on Maloriak was pretty sweet too.

4pc T11, complete with bird baths

Finally got my 4th piece of T11 last night… the infamous bird baths.  Kinda makes me miss the consta-tree form wherein I could hide blizzard’s propensity to whack gear with the fugly stick.

Ah well, I spend more time looking at grid than I do whatever my toon has equipped.

I will be thankful for the extra spirit though!

Mercurial Mantle
Mercurial Robes
Mercurial handwraps
Mercurial Legwraps

H Halfus – mechanic change

If you’ve been using (abusing?) a disc priest strat for Heroic Halfus you may hear your disc priests commenting that their numbers just are not the same.

Their numbers are just fine… blizzard changed the mechanic of the fight.

Halfus Wyrmbreaker

  • Shadow Nova is now cast less frequently in 10-player modes to account for fewer available interrupts there.
  • The captured drakes in this encounter now apply Dragon’s Vengeance when they are killed instead of when they are freed. To account for this change, the health and damage of the drakes has been reduced, and the damage bonus gained from Dragon’s Vengeance has been increased.

Our first two kills we used 9 healers, 3 of which were disc priests. This weeks kill we used 8 healers and only one of which was disc. Don’t get me wrong — Disc priests are still very useful for this fight with the [spell]Power Word: Barrier[/spell] for the sub 50% knock downs. The ‘OP’ness of the smite / [spell]Atonement[/spell] is just diminished by the spell effects not being magnified until a drake dies. Thus, our strategy had to be adjusted as well.

The old strat of Demo Locks & mages blowing up the whelps while the rest of the raid focused on one of the adds was just not viable after the change in mechanics — both from the raid dps required (without the boost from halfus before a drake was dead) and from the healer mana to omg a tank is dead again stress. We played with a variety of pull changes — 1 – 5 of the drakes being pulled at the start and a variety of kill orders. Finally settling on 2 drakes (Nether Scion and Stormrider) + whelps on pull, with all dps focused on Stormrider. Whelps were intentionally left to die to attrition / cleave and coincidentally died within the 10s of Nether Scion, netting us [achievement]The Only Escape[/achievement]. DPS kill order was Stormrider, Nether Scion, Halfus — with whelp cleavage only after Stormrider was dead. Hero/Lust after tank aggro on Stormrider has been established.

Healer strat changes: 3 disc priests down to 1. Disc priest using barrier early in the fight to help mitigate raid damage, especially if interrupt was missed, and every knock down the CD is up. Up one resto shammy (from 1 to two) — with both tides blown in the first phase (prior to 1st drake dying). Healers focused on intensively on tanks until the dps could get a drake down. Mana is bad, really really horrible until that first drake goes down — don’t be afraid to use your big expensive heals and cool downs right up front. The raid must get over the initial hump and get that first drake down, in order to do that the tanks must be kept alive.

Once Stormrider keels over (star #1 in the pic below), the healers can breath again. The disc priest heals (now boosted by Halfus debuff) alleviate a lot of the pressure on the tank healers and the raid healers can catch up on the straggling low health raid members. By the time the second drake and the whelps die (star #2 in the pic below) you’ll find yourself fumbling for your dps spells because there is just no one taking damage outside of the knock downs. Remember to keep an external CD on the Halfus tank for knock downs and it’s easy money sub 50%.

After we got the pull / kill order figured out, the fight seemed drastically easier than the previous two kills provided you can survive until Stormrider is dead.

From orange to white

I finally caved in and relented to switch mains from [armory]Karalana[/armory]  to [armory]Karalyss[/armory] for the benefit of our healing core for at least duration of the current raiding tier (T11).  Running 2 main spec resto druids, and 2 off spec is just not the ideal raid healing comp.  I love my druid, and I’ll admit to having withdrawl symptoms… no tranq, no NS+HT, no seal form, no instant flightform, no dps offspec … what the heck do you do when not running something?

With all the snow we had last week, I finished off questing in twlight highlands trying to replace some of the greens that I was still wearing, then moved onto Deepholm to open up the Therazane rep.  Thursday night I took the plunge and unlearned my shadow spec and respec’d holy (keeping the halfus disc smite + attonement offspec).   I spent about 45m with our resident holy priest guru ([armory]Celdrid[/armory]) setting up keybinds, mouse overs, and power auras… then queued up for a regular random. 

As we were waiting in the queue, [armory]Celdrid[/armory] asks if I switched my glyphs… oh crap, I hadn’t.  Luckily the queue was long enough that I could cough up 10g a piece for some [item]Dust of Disappearance[/item] and switch them out.  [armory]Celdrid[/armory] started off in his disc halfus smite spec, and switched to using mindspike after the first couple of pulls.  A couple of regulars later, he went shadow. 

I had always been scared of specing holy… I knew holy priests could kick some arse, but the number of spells seemed overwhelming.  I leveled up [armory]Karalyss[/armory] as shadow, and she was specifically spec’d as disc for Heroic Lich King fights. 

Learning Holy healing has a lot of synergy and some of the same concepts of the resto druid.  [spell]Renew[/spell] as a replacement for both [spell]Lifebloom[/spell] and [spell]Rejuvenation[/spell].  [spell]Circle of Healing[/spell] is similiar to [spell]Wild Growth[/spell]. [spell]Heal[/spell] is the equivalent of [spell]Nourish[/spell], [spell]Flash Heal[/spell] the equivalent of [spell]Regrowth[/spell], and [spell]Greater Heal[/spell] the equivalent of [spell]Healing Touch[/spell].  I was already familiar with [spell]Prayer of Mending[/spell], [spell]Prayer of Healing[/spell], and [spell]Power Word: Shield[/spell] from my time spent as discipline.  [spell]Guardian Spirit[/spell]  replaced [spell]Pain Suppression[/spell].

The new stuff:

[spell]Lightwell[/spell] aka LoL well — dang can that thing heal.  I’ll admit to very infrequently clicking on it prior to specing holy.  Did you know that it now has a 20y ‘clickability’ and doesn’t interupt casted spells (but does interupt channeled ones)?  5k healing ticks for 6s, yes please!

[spell]Chakra[/spell]… while I love the effects of the mechanic, it made my brain hurt learning — heck it still makes my brain hurt.   I spend most of my time in 5 mans in the Serenity (Heal) Chakra, but in raids I found myself flipping back and forth quite frequently.  Macroing the spell abilities Chakra enables, like [spell]Holy Word: Serenity[/spell] is a royal pain in the arse because the same button morphs into [spell]88686[/spell] when you are in Sanctuary Chakra.

The NS+HT macro is replaced by a [spell]Flash Heal[/spell] x 2 + [spell]Greater Heal[/spell]  via the  [spell]63733[/spell] talent. 

Had I not already had Looking for Many, I certainy would have earned it this weekend.  I got guild groups when I could, and when I couldn’t I bravely joined LFD.  In the begining I was slightly cheesing the ilvl requirement with an alchemist stone in my bag, but not equipped.  

I ventured into my first heroic as holy… in an LFD pug.  I was lucky enough to get a 4 man same guild group who had both a compentent well geared tank and compentent CC’ers/dps’ers all pulling over 10k.  We breezed through Lost City, with one death… shammy ate a bomb while I was being hung.  I probably could have saved him with a Guardian spirit, but the keybinds are not ingrained quite yet.  I  couldn’t have asked for a better group for my first heroic, and I made sure to thank them for their patience (glug glug glug —  drinking like a fish out of water between pulls) and allowing me to practice on them. 

Every heroic I entered, I was able to finish.  Some of them were certainly easier than others — Stone core is still a pita, while Lost city seems like a walk in the park. 

By raid time on Sunday, I was upto a 344 ilvl equiped and feeling alot more comfortable with my power auras and keybindings.  I made an appearance on the healing meters… way down at bottom.  I overused [spell]Prayer of Healing[/spell], and underused [spell]Circle of Healing[/spell].  I was horible with staying in [spell]Chakra[/spell], and frequently wasn’t in the correct state for the type of damage the raid was taking. 

Lessons learned:  Power Auras settings that were fine in 5mans are lost in the spell effects of 25m raids… and I just plain need more practice.

Smite! Disc priest alt mets Heroic Halfus

Much like heroic LK, the disc priest once again comes out of cold storage to make an apperance for heroic modes. This time its for [spell]81749[/spell] rather than [spell]Power Word: Shield[/spell].

Did I mention we made an appearance on the DPS meters as well?  Sure we weren’t pulling the 60k our friendly fire mages were, but we are tucked in nicely between our lovely tanks.

The I-Win macro for the night included ([spell]Archangel[/spell], [spell]Power Infusion[/spell], [spell]Smite[/spell]):
/cast Archangel
/cast Power Infusion
/cast Smite

About 45m into the night this got bound to mousewheel down via VuhDo.

Any time I was forced to move out of the way of [spell]83706[/spell] I cast a [spell]Power Word: Shield[/spell] on myself or another healer. This helped with push back and gives a little helping of haste (via [spell]52798[/spell]) to our next two spells as well. Make sure you get a [spell]Power Word: Shield[/spell] up on yourself for the [spell]86169[/spell]. Even with my low HP I was able to survive them with a shield. We also used [spell]Power Word: Barrier
[/spell] to cover the tanks during the [spell]86169[/spell]

There is a huge gear differential between myself and Celdrid. Celdrid is 4750+ Wow heroes (357 average iLvl equiped), while my recently dinged 85 barely able to step into heroics priest was sitting at a mere 3600 and change (316 average iLvl equipped). Yes, she is still wearing greens ([item]Sarcophagus Bracers[/item]), sporting the boa cloak ([item]Ancient Bloodmoon Cloak[/item]) and walking around in pvp shoes ([item]Emberfire Boots[/item]).

Neither of us choose the traditional disc spec, opting for more of the defensive talents like [spell]Focused Will[/spell] and [spell]Inner Sanctum[/spell]. Celdrid started the evening using [spell]Holy Fire[/spell] before [spell]smite[/spell] for the extra damage, but switched mid-way through the night to just [spell]smite[/spell], thus his spec is picking up [spell]47577[/spell] for the hit on [spell]Holy Fire[/spell]. Being gear impaired, and thus regen impaired I picked up [spell]15311[/spell] which reduced the cooldown time on [spell]Shadowfiend[/spell] to enable me to use it twice per fight.

[armory]Karalyss[/armory]: 33/3/5
[armory]Celdrid[/armory]: 31/3/7

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