Archive for Cataclysm

On difficulty tiers

Posted in Raid Night, WoW with tags , , , on December 10, 2011 by Sindanda

I’ve been in LFR, Normal, and Heroic encounters in Dragon Soul.  The biggest pitfall I’ve come across is thinking that they relate, strategy wise.  They do not.

Let me repeat and rephrase that.  LFR is not Normal.  Normal is not Heroic.  Making the mistake of thinking that the abilities and general strategy are the same across the difficulty levels is wrong.  What is dangerous in normal is not what is dangerous (read: Lethal) in Heroic.

Just thought I’d make that point.

It begins anew.

Posted in WoW with tags , , , on December 2, 2011 by Sindanda

So, 4.3 came out, and we hit Dragon Soul.  Hard.  All the bosses are dead.  We have neat titles!  But it begs the question, was it too easy?

This, for clarification, is normal mode.  But even in Firelands, we had some difficulty with the fights.  They were challenging, to a degree.  It took us two or three weeks to get normal Rag down.  And now, two days after Dragon Soul is open, Deathwing is dead.  Granted, that we have a tighter knit group than we did when we entered firelands, a better trust bond between tanks and healers.  Oh, and the full heroic gear doesn’t hurt.  But we had that going into normal firelands.  And this is a resonating sentiment among the vocal.  That normal Dragon Soul is easy.  TOO easy.  Wasn’t this what Raid Finder was for? 

It’s dangerous to listen to only the vocal though.  If you listen to only the people that are the loudest, which are usually extremists in the first place, than you can get into trouble.  I can only gauge my personal experience, and that experience was that the content was extremely simple to conquer. 

It makes me fear for the ease or insurmountable wall of difficulty that heroic may bring.  There’s a few paths of thought on this.  One, that the normal modes. we just over geared it.  Which is definitely a viable way of thinking.  This would mean that next week, we’ll be on par for the heroic fights.  I just can’t see any way that Deathwing Heroic could be any more difficult/challenging than H Rag.  I guess we’ll see.   The second philosophy could be that they just undertuned the whole damn thing.  Also possible I guess.  They probably undertuned Heroic in that case.

On the healing note, it felt good.  Resto shamans got a little bit of a buff, and provide something unique, in terms of the Ancestral Vigor buff, which is nice.  I have a bit of an obsession with keeping it up, or trying to, on the whole raid.   There’s a lot of opportunities to utilize Rains and Chains in this tier, which is our strongest point, in my opinion. 

We did Looking for Raid as a guild.  It was fun.  I can really see how resto shamans would thrive better in a 25 man environment rather than 10 man.  But it is what it is.

A few heart attacks later…

Posted in Healing, Raid Night, WoW with tags , , , , , , on August 11, 2011 by Sindanda

Yet again, and quite happily, I have been proven wrong.

We attempted Baleroc again, against my better judgement, and the attempts all around were inconsistent at best.  We had done pulls previously, as I had mentioned in posts past, but somehow, miraculously, on attempt # 30 even, we killed him.  I was absolutely stunned, and am in awe again about the caliber of players that’s coexist with me within the raid frames.  They’re an amazing bunch, and I really appreciate their support.

I felt like much of the burden for this fight lay on the healers, me and my holy pally.  I haven’t healed anything else in this expansion that put so much stress on me to pick exactly the right spell at exactly the right time.  Throughout our attempts I struggled with the decision of HW vs. GHW?  Riptide or UE?  Natures Swiftness now or save it for the Decimation Blade?  Ultimately, I attribute a lot of my personal success in this fight to my mastery.  Plain and simple, without that extra modifier there for my clutch Riptides and UE’d GHW’s, there definately wouldn’t have been enough meat in my heals to feed the hungry health pools that chirp chirped through just over 6 minutes of pure, unleashed hell.

So how did we do it?  It was intense for me to say the least.  The first portion of the fight was a Shadow Priest taking one whole Torment phase for both of us to build stacks on.  Rae built about 40 or so before swapping over to heal the tank, while I continued to pump Bloodlust/berserking hasted Healing Surges into the shadow priest, and then the next round of shard soakers.  So I healed through two total shards, and got about 120 or so stacks.  I poped Tide as soon as I started this, because we NEEDED two tides, and there was no point in saving it.  I can’t think of a fight where I’ve popped tide within the first 15 seconds, but I’m sure it may have happened before.  Still, I hovered around 30% mana for the rest of the fight, which was nerve-wracking, to say the least.

At that point I went, pretty much full time, onto the tank.  I didn’t ever concentrate on attempting to build stacks after that, it was just a matter of me keeping my heals up on the tank, tossing Riptides to the low torment soakers (Thank goodness for my mastery!).  I would UE whenever for a Decimation phase, but for the most part it was GHW into Riptide to keep him up.  It did the job, but I pre-cast a lot before the hit was to go off.  Again, right here, I cannot stress the importance of my mastery in this.  I could have done it without it, most likely, but not without a lot more difficulty.

In the end, our tank somehow took a torment stack, which we thought was a wipe.  Apparently not, however, the Decimation either ignores the debuff, or it fell off before the last, and only one to hit him (out of three) landed.  He did end up dying, and an iceblocked mage was the only man left standing/freezing, to let the dots roll and kill him.  I’m okay with that (for now).

Now on to the really exciting stuff.  I rank 8th on this fight, with just under 41k HPS.  Compare this to my Holy Pally peer, ranking 129 with jsut shy of 45k.  That means, to me, two possibilities,  people are bringing less resto shamans, which pits me against a smaller pool of people, and/or resto shamans are just, as a baseline, incapable of pushing the pure throughput that a holy pally is.  I think both of these are at work here, but regardless, I did the 8th highest healing per second on this fight.  And I’m extremely happy with that.

What I learned on this fight is 1) I am in love with my mastery.  2) Latency was huge here.  There were so many times both of us saw our heals land on our client, but the server never got it.  It was just…intense.  As much as I’m happy that it was difficult, and that we overcame it, I never ever want to heal it again.

And tomorrow, Beth for sure.

Not a real post.

Posted in Healing, Raid Night, WoW with tags , , , , , on August 11, 2011 by Sindanda

The raid week begins again, and as we elegantly tripped our way through the 3 encounters we had previously killed, I thought about what was ahead.  Baleroc stands as a terrifying banner-bearer (to me) advertising proudly the horrors to come beyond his gate.  Staghelm and Ragnaros are between 2-4 weeks away, and my mind is already slipping to those world firsts, where there were no shaman to speak of.  And so much to-do about it.  I won’t get benched, simply because at the moment we have noone else.  But that’s not very reassuring.

What is reassuring is that I ranked again, on Alysrazor.  I’m very exctied about this, but I want to reinforce the fact that I do not now believe that meters and mundane numbers are enough to quantify a healers effectiveness.  My ranking, to me, only means that I’m capable of pushing throughput at a similar level as my peers.  If I never ranked, I’d still think I was a good healer, if I were saving lives, and making it through encounters.

Beth is on our plate for next raid night.  I hope to report a kill.  We were struggling last night, but we swapped the pally and I, and I’m now on the top tank/dps, and I’m using glyphed stoneclaw on cooldown, and things are going swimmingly.  My spell repertoire consists of GHW, Riptide, and UE up top, and Riptide when we decend.  I’m concerned about mana, as we’ve made it to about the halfway mark in the fight, and after trinket/tide we wipe and I’m at about 50% mana.  I think ultimately this is going to end up like Nefarian, where we’re all healing on fumes, essentially, saving the raid by the skin of our teeth.

Echoes of tier 3

Posted in Raid Night, WoW with tags , , , , on August 8, 2011 by Sindanda

Heroic Baleroc was a very sobering experience.  There was a stark, bold contrast between this fight and every thing else we’ve done in Cataclysm to date.  The reason is because it’s the only fight that feels like we can’t do it yet.  Like we’re somehow not supposed to be here.  It’s as if, by the numbers and the analysis, Baleroc has said “No, turn around and get more gear, then you may proceed”.

Let me explain.  We three healed the encounter, which was unstable at first, but we got it done.  We we going along, making great headway, and then there was one of those attempts that just ‘clicked’.  I just got to a point, watching the raid, hearing the calls, that everything was working, we were doing it right!  It didn’t last long.  Baleroc finally decided to stop kidding around, and enraged.  We stayed alive for a solid 7 seconds before all of us lay dead at his feet/hoove things.

We did it right, the execution was spot on, for the most part.  So just do more DPS next time, right?  Sort of.  When we wiped, Baleroc had ~12 million HP left.  There weren’t any unnecessary deaths, there wasn’t any “OOPS WE FORGOT TO FLASK”.  We were all at about 100%, and we failed.  This is the part that gets me.  Never before in this tier nor the previous have we come up against this particular block.  Even if we brought in another DPS and two healed it, at a generous 30k DPS estimate, that’s only an extra 10.8 mill.  It doesn’t seem like we can close that gap right now.

It’s pretty clear what this means to us as a guild.  That we need to invest more into our DPS.  We shard at least 50% of our heroic loot from this tier already, and have been since week 1.  I understand being gated by a dps check, but I don’t like it.

It wasn’t a rock, it was a ROCK MONSTER!

Posted in Raid Night, WoW with tags , , , , , on August 3, 2011 by Sindanda

First night in Firelands for the week.  Our Resto druid was without power, so we had to make due with a holy pally and me.  For Heroic Shannox we had our shadow priest spec disc, which left us without replenishment.  It didn’t seem to affect me as much as it did our Pally, but I’m fairly sure he’s running much different trinkets than me.  Currently I’m sporting Darkmoon card and Jar of Anicent Remedies, both of which provide huge regen.  Which makes me really shaky about replacing either of them with throughput trinkets. 
More about raid night>>

I’m sorry ma’am, it appears you’ve dropped this totem.

Posted in Raid Night with tags , , , , , on July 29, 2011 by Sindanda

Accidents happen.

Dealing with frustration in a progression PvE setting is difficult.  If you’re in a PUG or otherwise solo, it’s simple.  Blame everyone else.  The problem is, when the time comes, at some point you’ll be in a group of people you respect, who’s opinions you genuinely give a fuck about, and you’ll get madContinue reading