Thursday, October 29, 2009

More In Depth:Haste

Haste: Increases the speed at which you cast.

Haste, when balanced, is an incedibly powerful stat for a resto shaman. The goal of stacking haste is two fold, to reduce you GCD and increase your cast speed. Shamans are not as worried about the first, so I'm going to ignore that aspect of it for now. A shaman stacking haste can, if they stack pure haste gems, get an upwards of 35% cast time reductions. Shaman only have one talent that truly plays off of or has an effect dealing with haste.

Tidal Waves- When proc'ed by either Chain Heal or Riptide, this talent provides several effects for Lesser Healing Wave and Healing Wave repectivaly. It increases the bonus healing effects your Healing Wave spell gets by 20%, and a 10% bonus for Lesser Healing Wave. It also increase the cast speed of Healing Wave by 30%.

This talent, while one of the most useful in the Restoration tree, can't be considered a "haste" talent. This talent doesn't provide a set percentage of haste, nor does it have an effect that benefits from haste. It only increases the cast speed of one spell, and only for a short time.

In order to understand the pro's and cons of haste, we need a scenario to use.

Location:Trial of the Crusader
Difficulty:10 man Regular

You are healing along side a holy paladin and a restoration druid. You have a haste rating that increases you cast speed by 30%. Lesser healing wave has a cast time of 1.05 seconds, Healing wave of 1.75 seconds(w/o Tidal Waves) as will Chain Heal.

In order to get such a large amount of haste, several other stats suffered. You only have a buffed mana pool of 23k, along with a 28% crit and 450 Mp5 while casting.

By the time you get to the Icehowl portion of the Northrend Beast encounter, you are at 30% mana and have already used Mana Tide Totem. After his second crash, you don't have enough mana to cast any spells and the tank dies while the other two healers are frozen in his breath.

From this scenario, you can see the downfall of an unbalanced haste stack.

This wall o' text brought to you by: Earth Shock-Sticking earth up your butt and shocking you since 2004.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More in-depth: Critical Strike Rating.

Critical Strike Rating: Increases the chance for your spells to critically hit.

This is an amazing stat for shamans, a fact some don't readily agree with. The purpose of this posts and several to follow is to explain stat choices and how they actually benefit you are a healer.

There are a slew of talents in the Restoration tree that deal directly with crit, the following are just the ones that provide a proc/buff/additional heal from critical heals.

Improved Water Shield-This talent is a staple in shaman mana conservation and regeneration. It allows the amount of mana returned from a destroyed Water Shield orb to be returned on a critical heal without destroying the orb. With a high amount of crit, this talent can proc on one out of every two heals cast depending on the spell.

Ancestral Healing-This talent is a shamans version of a disc priest bubble, albeit a comparatively weak one. In essence, this gives a base, 10% damage reduction on targets hit with a critical heal. In several 10m settings, it is possible for a crit geared shaman to have this effect on all members of the raid and one time, though this is not an often occurrence.

Ancestral Awakening-This talent is for all intensive purposes, an additional heal costing no mana after a critical heal. Consider this, a Lesser Healing Wave crits a raid member for an 8000 crit- this talent will provide an additional 2400 healing for no mana on the lowest % HP raid member.

So these talents deal directly with the benefits of having a large amount of crit, but the Restoration tree provides multiple talents that flat out increase our crit %.

Tidal Mastery-A flat 5% crit increase on all spells. A guarantee in all Restoration shamans.

Blessing of the Eternals-A flat 4% crit increase on all spells. Also as an added bonus an addition to Earthliving procs which is always helpful. This is a guarantee in a healing shamans build also.

Thundering Strikes-Though not actually in the Restoration tree, this is a talent taken by all Restoration shamans. Another flat 5% crit increase to all spells.

With so many talents effecting, and effected by crit, I'm always surprised that so many people don't know the true value of crit. Critical heals provide a restoration shaman with a mana return, damage mitigation and an additional free heal for 30% of the original crit. Would I say that crit is the most important stat for a resto shaman? I couldn't really say that because all healers have a different style of playing. I know some shamans the never use riptide but still are able to heal effectively. I know some that stack so much haste they have a Lesser Healing Wave that is under 1 second. Some stack so much Mp5 and Int that it is almost impossible for them to go below 80% mana. These are all different ways of capitalizing on the versatility of the restoration shaman, and all have their merit(except haste stacker's without Mp5 trinkets, faster spells means "SHIT no mana!" comes sooner).

Critical strike is the most prevalent, and in my opinion ignored stat for resto shamans. With the raid make-up I usually run with, I have nearly a 45% critical strike chance. This is an incredibly high amount, and I only wish I could get more. I know their are benefits to Haste, Mp5 and even Int stacking, but flat out Crit is usually how I go, because with so many talents that increase it and benefit from it, why wouldn't you want a lot?

This wall o' text brought to you by: "CRITICAL HEAL MUTHA FUCKER!!!!!!!" Also, the Shamans Association for voice-box replacement.

Monday, October 26, 2009

O Mai Freaking Gord.

Pet Peeve of Raiding #1: People that tell me how to play my class when they themselves don't play that class. Seriously? Fuck off and deal with whatever it is you do and leave me be.

Pet Peeve of Raiding #2: People of the same class/spec telling me how to do my job when I am doing better than they are. If I needed your help, I'd fucking ask for it.

Pet Peeve of Raiding #3:People I don't know sending me whispers asking for stuff while I'm raiding. Fuck off and die. That is all.

Pet Peeve of Raiding #4: People playing music over vent. If I wanted to hear Brittany spears distorted and garbled I would just go to my sisters CD rank and pop one of her many albums into the stereo.

Pet Peeve of Raiding #5: People that say, "Hey man are you rolling on ?". I might be. It hasn't dropped yet so why do you even care? Shut up and worry about the fact your dps is the lowest out of everyone including me. A fucking healer.

So that pretty much covers the major ones I have. I encountered all of these plus many more in a ToC pug I was in a couple days ago, and I nearly flipped out. I understand if you have a suggestion for me to increase my longevity or HPS, I welcome it even. Maybe you're on an alt and your main is the class I'm currently playing. Those situations are fine, you could even give me a really good tip to increase my effectiveness as a healer. But, please for the love of all that is good, have some common courtesy. I know for some of you elitists and twelve year olds that Ebay'ed and think you know everything this is hard, but it will prevent people like me, the ones with anger problems, from verbally cutting your balls off in vent.

This wall o' text brought to you by: Spiked Deathdealers-Roflstomping the throats of noobs and asshats alike since murder in a video game became legal.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Stats: A shamans best friend.

Many a shaman will argue that haste is the new it stat for restoration shamans. Sure we get to cast faster which adds up to more HPS, but what we sacrifice is much more important than haste.

As I am currently geared, I have the following stats.
Spell power-Healing:2509
Mana while casting:588

These stats are un-buffed, with the exception of totems which I consider a 100% up-time self buff. I've often gotten remarks from raid leaders that my crit is high, my haste low, and my mana regeneration at a good spot. I may never say anything, but I've never agreed with that statement. The reason my crit is so high is because the gear I wear is heavily stacked with crit, so nothing I can do about that. And honestly, crit is an amazing stat for shamans. We get mana back on critical heals, improving out longevity, and a crit heal can be the difference between a dead tank and a live one. My haste isn't low because shamans only need haste in one scenario: Heavy raid damage and Chain Heal spam. My guild runs with three healers, which means I am not overly taxed in AoE heavy fights. And as for my mp5, I would like to have it higher, but it isn't something that effects me unless I am spamming constantly.

I know several shaman healers that have an upwards of 800 haste, a number that to me is incredibly, and abnormally high. These shamans are great healers in their own right, easily out gearing me and out playing in my opinion. But I can't help but think that the 5% crit that they are missing compared to me would greatly help their healing. More often than not, my mp5 is also much higher,(The shamans in question have Solace of the Fallen/Defeated, so this really doesn't apply as it is a mp5 trinket).

For any starting restoration shaman, I would highly recommend gemming for spell power and Int as these are the most important stats for healing heroics/Naxx. Once on to harder content like Ulduar, I would suggest Int/mp5 gems,Int/SP or Int/haste. Once you know your class inside and out, and have a firm grasp on where most of your healing comes from, you can change your gems and enchants accordingly to fit the play style that you enjoy and are best at. Never let someone force you to play in a way that you feel is inferior or wrong. If someone tries, explain why you chose to gear as you did, and if they don't like it, so what, it isn't their character to screw around with. If this person happens to be a raid leader and doesn't want to listen to what you are telling him, I would suggest moving on as the atmosphere is obviously wrong for you.

This informative delve into the art of shamans is brought to you by: Shamans- WE GOT MUTHA FUCKIN HEALIN LAZAHZ.
Also, the Association of Moonkin Haters-Purple vertical lasers are offensive to shamans everywhere.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A guild and its' officers.

A guild is a community within a community. A group of people with common goals or values that want to work together to achieve feats not doable alone. A guild cannot just be thrown together with no planning and be expected to succeed. A guild needs a leader, and a leader needs others, others that s/he trusts to advise him/her in doing what is best for the guild. When someone up to the task takes the reigns of a guild, it will usually go well, with member numbers swelling as others learn of the success of . Now, more so than the people in charge, the regular members give the guild it's public image, and really holds it together. A guild master and it's officers make up a small percentage of the membership, and when push comes to shove, are only able to do what the members allow them too.

Many believe that a guild should only have a small number of officers. People that are close and will do what is best for the guild as a whole. On general principles this is very true, but taken too far, this can lead to problems within the guild. If a guild has only officers that are close, they can lose sight of what the members as a whole want or need. An easy method of fixing this is to have what I like to call sub-officers. People that are not full officers, but still have a say in what happens to the guild as a whole. These people should be chosen from the most trustworthy raiders, or even just general members that log in a great deal of time with the guild and it's members. These players can be what many guilds chose, Class/Role Leaders. A Class leader will be the person that other players of the same class turn to for help, with questions for the GM or problems they have with the guild or specific members. A Role Leader will be someone that is more knowledgeable, or willing to learn about the aspects of all classes that can fill the role s/he is responsible for. As with Class Leaders, a Role Leader will help, answer questions or forward them to the GM, and help with intra-guild problems. These players, often times raiders are much more involved with the day to day problems and moods of other guild members, and thus can greatly help a GM with solving problems.

In many cases, an officer is chosen for his/her seniority with the guild. This practice can lead to guild drama, lose of members, and worse. Now, many times, a member has his/her seniority because s/he is an exceptional contributor, enjoys playing with the guild, or is just an all around good person. It can't be said however, that all senior members are the best choice. If a member of the guild goes above and beyond what s/he is required, helps others without hesitating, and does his/her job well, you would think s/he would be given a position that could help other guild members. However, what if this member had only been in the guild for a short time, or just came back from extended leave? In most cases, this person won't even be considered for promotion until a very later date.

The moral of this story is this: A guild must chose officers by performance, attitude, and contribution over anything else or the guild will suffer. A guild must stay in touch with what the guild as a whole needs or it will suffer. More importantly, a guild must remember that they play a game with real people. A Game, that other people invest time in to have fun, a guild has no right to force this game to be a chore, and guilds that do are not worth the time or effort people put into them.

-This wall o' text brought to you by: Advocates for non-asshat guilds-Fuck with us and we'll cut you!!

(This is in no way reflective of my guild right now. This was a pre-write that I did about two months ago)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The sack is empty. And a lie.

Empty. Dried out. Nothings inside.

The "sack" refers to the wealth of knowledge I collect during PTR periods. As of right now, 3.3 has provided me with absolutely nothing of interest or worth. Oh cool, shamans get a weird AoE spell that I don't really care about. Look at that, haste affects HoT's which I have a total of one of. The ugly t10 gear previews just cements the fact that I will never make an alt to 80, and that I will most likely need to stock up on Noggenfogger Elixir's. The fights from Icecrown so far don't excite me, but in this regard I feel like once the PTR hits, I will find them fun and interesting.

Why healing isn't fun to face-roll.
One a completely different note, I finally discovered why I heal instead of DPS or tank (other than the fact I fail at both). Healing forces you to interact with your fellow players, plain and simple. There is no set rotation that you can macro to two keys and say "I win". You are forced to be aware, and more than that, flexible in how you interact. As a tank or dps, your job is to smack the bad guy till he dies, a task that lends itself to you sitting there and going down your keyboard to cast your spells. As a healer, I must, and I stress must be aware of where people are, what they are doing, and how much damage they are taking. This means that before a fight I might need to ask the tank to do a certain thing to decrease the damage he takes, a talent or trinket for instance. I might tell the dps to bunch up as much as is safe so my Chain Heal hits all of them. Healing is a reactive job, less so for druids and possibly priests but not by much. I need to know within a second whether to cast Healing Wave, or Lesser Healing Wave. I have to watch what player has Riptide so I can cast Chain Heal through him/her for a better effective number. If a boss fears or drops a poison, I need to drop my respective totems. All of these aspects make healing stressful, yet fun and incredibly rewarding. It doesn't matter how long you've been playing, or what gear you're in, when someone says to you, "Great job healing dude", you feel proud of yourself. If healing just involved going down a list of spells and hitting them when off cool down would I do it? Would you?

This informative post brought to you by: Mana Tide Totem-It's like the fountain of youth but you'll still grow old and die! And no one will care!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Shamans: A story of straightforward badassness.

Shamans have always been a great class to play, whether it was in classic and you spammed Chain Heal in ZG or BC where you did the same thing in a different zone. Well the zones weren't all that different but that is a conversation for a another time. And in WotLK, Chain Heal spam is still prevalent, but it is mixed in with so many other powerful spells it isn't mindless. With riptide, Tidal waves, and even Lesser/Healing Wave shamans have a variety(though not as large as priests) of spells to use. However, unlike some classes, shamans spell are extremely straightforward.

Take paladins for example, I had no idea what Beacon actually did until a few days ago. Now maybe I'm just stupid but it honestly confused me. Even priests, with nearly ten spells to choose from at any given time would confuse and annoy me. The way shamans heal is by large direct heals that can be spread out over large distances. I could possibly have Riptide rolling on four people at a time, and with the improved distance Chain Heal jumps I can sometimes hit ranged when the melee was my target. It is, in my opinion, still the paladin that will come out on top in fights with minimal raid/large tank damage, and holy priests with the opposite. Shamans, however, can compete with the best of them.

Take ToC 25m. Many of the fights in it have AoE damage, well all of them do to varying degrees but it is in the high AoE fights that a shaman will excel. Take the Twins fight for example, a fight easily lost if people don't pay attention. I can hit over 5-5.5k hps on this fight. Granted so can druids and even priests if they are holy, but it used to be that shamans were brought for Heroism/Bloodlust and whatever else they brought was just extra. With high mana regeneration rates as well, a shaman is one of the longest lasting healers as well.

As I've been tooting my own horn this whole time, I'd like to point out something I dislike about shamans. It seems to me, that a shaman is much less dependent on gear that other classes. I'm not even close to being as geared as our main pally healer, yet I can easily beat him on many fights. Our heals scale with gear more than is fair to other classes.

-This wall o' text brought to you by: Earth Shield-Its a hunk of flying shit that doesn't smell or give you sars.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tank Love.

Now this is something that I've noticed throughout my career in WoW as a healer. When you, as a healer are assigned to a specific tank over a long period of time, you become attached to each other. You begin to talk to that person more readily and regularly, and you have a certain type of relationship that allows you to play together as you do.

The Playful Tank/Healer.
This is a combo you don't see often as many a healer isn't assigned to one specific tank long enough for the relationship to advance this far. This is a relationship in which the tank and his/her respective healers joke about letting the other die, or dpsing when they are supposed to do something else. You get sarcastic remarks flung back and forth with these two, but it is always in fun. In these cases, the two involved are either social and thus the relationship advanced faster or have been playing together long enough to know each other and how they play. This team is usually your best healer/tank skill wise, though sometimes this is not the case.

The Serious Tank/Healer.
This combo is one that many people hate having. With this team, either the tank or the healer, or both is very serious about what they do and almost never do anything else. With this team the relationship is less social and more like a business, with one or both of the people trying to min/max the other and make sure they are performing to the best of their abilities. With this team, it is likely two players that do not participate in the guild as much as others and feel that they are not up to par with the rest of the guild.

The Disconnect Tank/Healer.
As the name implies, these two individuals have a disconnect between raiding as a tank/healer team, and just being in the same guild. With this combo, the two respective tank/healers don't interact that much with each other outside of raids. Now, in raids, these two perform well together and actively try and make the others job easier. This is also a team that will be very social, but polite with each other, as they do not have a strong relationship.

These are only the basic combo's that I've encountered, and there are many people that can't be dropped into these categories. Many people fall in between Playful and Serious, with some being at the extremes and others not. As long as your tanks and healers can work together though, they are doing their jobs.

-Brought to you by *HEROISM!* "Look at me! I'm casting so fast it's like I'm on roids or meth but really I'm just fucking huge and really goddamn fast!"

Friday, October 9, 2009


Bleargh!! That's the sound I make when I do something that bores me, a sound I've been making a lot lately. The weekend and patch 3.3 should remedy that hopefully.

Speaking of the weekend, The guild is heading into Uld/ToC tonight(I'm full raider!!! ZOMG) and as I like to pile work onto myself I decided to record out boss fights. I really had the idea because of a certain amazing shaman named Hardwired and his healing video's. My hope is that these videos(that I make) will help the guild learn where mistakes are made or come up with new ways of doing an encounter. So there's that, what else should I talk about?

Oh yeah, I finally learned to do something that I'd been struggling with for a while. Heal Well. As MUSED takes 3 healers into our raids most times, I'm never able to even get near the top of the healing chart, and when your 20-60k below the other healers in healing done you get sad. Last weekend we took a stroll into 10m ToGC. Now the week or two earlier we downed ToC 10 for the first time, needless to say not everyone was geared enough. However, it was extremely fun and I kicked ass healing wise. When you get a compliment from a paladin that you consider godly at healing you know you did damn good. Once I get more time I'm going to post on an interesting occurence I've noticed with healers and the tank they are assigned to heal.

-Brought to you by the loving embrace of FIRE ELEMENTAL TOTEM. Warming you up with fire since a long ass time ago.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I cancer and u!-Contradictions are my speciality.

A while ago I posted on why I dislike addon packages, and preloaded UI's. They aren't your UI, they're someone elses that you just happen to be able to use. I was always of the feeling that a serious UI should be made by you, and carefully constructed to fit your needs. Here's where I must contradict myself.BeneaUI is possibly the best UI I've ever seen. Made by a serious raiding priest, it basically says, "Healers, I know what you need, here it is". The UI is clean, not overly flashy or in your face, but it provides everything that I, as a healer need to know.


This UI consists of quite a few addons, so many in fact that I won't list them all. A few major addons are Domino's, Stuf unitframes, my much beloved coolLine cooldown tracker, and many many more. What I enjoy most about this UI is the low impact feel it gives you without losing essential addons. With faded bars, minimalist unitframes and no background/border colors on several things it gives the feel of being minimalist, something I greatly enjoy. I would also like to point out the sheer amount of work that Benea must have put into this. Grid is configured up to Twins in ToC, Priest and Druid buffs are included, all manually added. Different textures for addons that don't come with them, stuff like that. In all honesty, I don't have any gripe with the UI that isn't purely aesthetic and I recommend it to any healer struggling to perfect their UI.