Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Thrust Upon Me

"Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them"  - William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

I was very recently given the honor of being appointed by our Heals Lead to step in to her role for our raid team.  She was the bomb-diggity with a side of iggity when it comes to heals lead.  I have no clue how in the name of the Monkey King I'll actually fill her shoes.  I'm doing my very best not to panic at the thought.

There are so many things that made her such a badass heals lead that I hope to emulate.  She would research every single fight for hours and hours and post in our guild forums healing strategies and tips before we even stepped foot in the fight.  After, she'd always follow up with adjustments to fit our team.  She'd always be supportive and encouraging of us to really flex our healing muscles on any fight.  She set such an atmosphere of teamwork and mutual respect that it didn't matter if you failed miserably in a fight – we were all in it together.  There was never any infighting in the heals team over gear, raid spot, or even over oreos or chips ahoy being better.  She has a soothing presence, is a quiet, gentle, but strong leader.  She also seems to know each healing class inside and out.

The research is easy.  Boiling it down to essentials that all the healers need to know about will be a bit tougher, but it's possible.  For me, the biggest hurdle I'm fearing to start is that intimate knowledge of the other healing classes, as well as my own.  I'm very comfortable healing with any class beside me, true, but I worry about advising the raid lead on which healers to bring in when, how to best use the tools in our toolbox to their greatest advantage.

I have always and will always believe that the teamwork of the healers is the most important aspect of healing.  Yes, topping the charts is something I always strive to do, but it's not the be-all and end-all of healing.  If you're busting the roof off the charts but the raid is dying anyway, you're doing it wrong.  If you're tops and have zero mana two minutes in, you're doing it wrong.  If you're not properly utilizing all your skills and those of the rest of your team, you're doing it wrong.

No one person wins a fight.

Well, unless it's one man standing at the end.  Which is a rush, but is completely besides the point.

I'm taking a crash course on the other healing classes....so why not share it with the rest of our community?  Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I will be doing a series of posts about how to play well with others.  I plan to detail the strengths of each healing class and how we as Druids can work in tandem with them to help our raid teams be successful, no matter which boss we fight.

For now, panic is being held firmly in check, and I wonder if I will grow to the greatness that my heals lead set the example for.


Until next time, long days, pleasant nights & happy Raiding.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Initial Thoughts on Garalon

The day has come and I find myself again in the ranks of active raiders in the GoF.  I'm now 40+ pulls in to the fight against Garalon.  No, we can't dance on his corpse quite yet.  We are getting there, one pull at a time.

Garalon brings out the best in Resto druids...and unfortunately shines a very bright light on our severe weakness.

We stand out because of the consistent, raid-wide damage from the Pheromone debuff.  This debuff is carried by one raider and passed from one to the next as it stacks, increasing the damage dealt to the entire raid.  The damage from the debuff pulses every two seconds, the base amount of damage increasing on each pulse.  I find myself using Wild Growth on CD and throwing out Rejuvenations and Swiftmends as needed (read: nearly spamming) to keep people's health from dropping dangerously low.  Our ability to have HoTs ticking on several raid members simultaneously, paired with consistent damage ticking away at everyone's life bars, really makes us sparkle.


There's always a but, isn't there?

We are at a disadvantage when there is MASSIVE damage.  The problem here is another ability of Garalon's, Crush.  I think Garalon is in middle school, since he Crushes every 30-40 seconds.  Crush is triggered by the Pheromone debuff passing from one person to the next.  It does massive, raid-wide damage.  And this, my leafy friends, is where we struggle.  Yes, we have Tranquility. Tranquility is a beast when we need to really grab that healing 'oh-shit handle'.  Tree of Life is ours too.  Tree of Life gives us a good boost to quickly heal people up.  Both of these are key CDs that I would argue MUST be used on this boss.  I personally use Nature's Vigil on this fight as well – anything I can do to keep my raid up I'm game for.  Each of these spells do dull the pain of the Crush, but it makes it dreadfully obvious that I just don't have those nuclear bomb style heals.  They take time to work AND they each have a three minute CD.  I find myself struggling just to keep people alive.

It almost goes without mentioning that this fight is a major test of mana conservation and management.  I use every resource at my disposal to keep that blue bar from draining while keeping those green bars full.  With so much consistent raid damage and frequent massive spikes, without careful attention to mana management and use of CDs you WILL OOM.  Quickly.  And you'll want to cry.

Where I find my own performance in need of improvement is my proactive use of ALL my healing CDs and remembering to count the bloody Crushes.  I also need to concentrate more carefully on keeping my Lifeblooms up on -somebody-.  I share this with you so you can also consider areas where you can also step up your game.

I'll keep you posted as we continue through the fight, and do my best to give you a concise and useful breakdown of what works and what doesn't when I cross that bridge.

Until then, long days, pleasant nights & happy Raiding.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Back in the Saddle

We've all had the inevitable WoWcation or three, regardless of the cause. For Wrath from Ulduar through the end of Cata, I was on the front line of my raiding team, sheltering tanks and deeps alike from death when I could, and Rebirthing them when I couldn't. I was deeply involved with working with the team to push ourselves to the limit.

...And then life happened.

So here I am, feeling like I'm starting back at square one. New gear to min/max, new stat weights to learn, revamped skills and talents to wade through. None of this bothers me, really. What does bother me about climbing back in the saddle is the feeling that my team is carrying me.  I pride myself on being one of the best damn healers on my server.

Being the weak link on the team doesn't sit we'll with me. However, it does give me the opportunity to remember what it's like to be the new kid on the block. Instead of mourning the loss of my epicosity, I'm embracing the learning process. In doing so, I hope to help old and new Druids grow in their raiding knowledge and skills.

Please join me on the journey.