Archive for the ‘zen’ Category


The ABCs – Not just for Discipline Priests


For those who haven’t read Paolo’s brilliant post, ABC means “Always Be Casting.”  He discusses it from the point of view of a Disc priest, which boils down to “damage will happen, so use every single GCD you have to prevent it.”  Preemptive absorption is the Disc priest’s best friend and there isn’t a single fight in ICC where using every one of your GCDs to pre-shield is a detriment.  (I originally didn’t include Gunship in it, but that is mostly because there is so little healing to be done on that fight at all.  Having a Disc priest pre-shielding the raid -does- free up most of your other healers to DPS, I guess!  Win/win situation.)

I’ve recently been working with a couple other healers who aren’t living up to their potential and the concept of ABC has become one that really needs to be emphasized.  There is never a time when a healer should not be utilizing every single GCD.  Embracing this fully can really spike a “good healer” to the realms of “fantastic healer.”  I know many people bring up the idea that constantly casting like that will just cause huge amounts of overheal, but as always, the number one factor in overheal is bringing too many healers.  Nearly all content, including most hardmodes, can be effectively healed by 5 healers.  So if you’re worried about running into overheal issues when going with the ABC idea, you should be asking one of your healers to DPS instead.  It will make your raiding group more effective and your kills that much faster.

Trees and Holy priests have this great little trick of pre-HoTTing the raid.  While this does tend to spell some overheal initially, knowing when the damage is coming and to who allows you to have the HoTs in place and already ticking when the damage comes in.  This includes the tanks during those heavy tank phases, like during Festergut.  There is no reason you can’t use every GCD to stack up your HoTs on the tanks if the fight as no damage incoming to the rest of the raid.  Keep PoM rolling, keep Renew ticking and keep up those stacks of Serendipity.  Even if the damage is currently very light, you should be rolling HoTs as a preventive measure so that you aren’t scrambling later to catch up.  Like Disc priests are with shields, being proactive with HoTs are the key to keeping the rest of the healing team at an even keel.

I hope I don’t have to tell healadins that they should always be casting, but just in case…  Healadins!  The ABCs apply to you, too!  During light healing phases when Holy Light spam is unnecessary, you should be switching to a constant flow of smaller Flash of Light heals.  The mana you spend on spamming it constantly is absolutely next to nothing, so the overheal from it doesn’t count at all.  You should also always utilize your GCDs to Judge (on CD if at all possible, since the mana return is insane on it) and refresh your Sacred Shield/Beacon of Light.  Spamming heals is what healadins -do,- so being committed to the ABCs should be second nature to you.

Shaman have this interesting combination of abilities that makes constantly casting a real treat, namely Ancestral Awakening and Ancestral Healing.  When you crit, you get free smart heals on -other- people around and also your target takes less damage.  I’m not saying that you should be rolling around nothing but CHs to blanket as much damage reduction around as you can, just that you should be using every moment you can to heal every bit of spike damage that you can.  Heck, follow the ABC ideal and make sure to recast Water Shield and Earth Shield when you get the chance!  Shaman are similar to paladins in how they heal now, so using every spare moment you can to sneak in some direct healing is the way to go.

The ABCs are one of those basics for WotLK raiding that I hope everyone can embrace.  Sure, things will change with the expansion I’m sure (not for healadins, I’d wager!), but we need to think about maximizing for -now,- so that more raiding groups can down all that lovely hard content out there.  As always, this concept is for progression content, not the stuff you can beat with your eyes closed.  Actually, you can still use the overall idea on those easy fights, just let the ABCs apply to DPSing, too…


re: Hard mode soccer


Reading Gev’s post here, I think that the analogy is very apt.  I am a big fan of relating WoW to team sports, as there is team work and cooperation involved in end game content.

Some of the comments decry the choice of analogy, saying that it isn’t equivalent, as there is no new content unlocked at higher levels of play in soccer, but this really isn’t true.  One of the reasons why some college sports programs are better than others is that the facilities are so much better.  There is a major difference between playing on an open field with sticks marking the goal posts and playing on an Olympic field.  The higher you progress in a sport the bigger the rewards (money, fame, etc), the more complications there are to deal with (crowds, more stringent rules, bigger penalties for failure) and the more difficult the playing is.  If that isn’t -exactly- like raiding in WoW, I don’t know what is.

One of the commentors on the post suggested the idea of skiing as a better analogy and I think that’s an excellent one.  All skiers pay the same amount to access the slopes, but you have to pass certain skill checks to gain access to the most difficult runs.  You have to first start on the bunny slopes and work your way up.  What Blizzard has decided to do is to make the black rated slopes easier so that more people can use them.  People without the skills to really ski runs of that level gain the illusion of being able to.  Yes, more people will be able to use those slopes, but the loss of challenge to those already on that rank is great.  It is similar to the “dumbing down” factor in U.S. public education that has been occurring in some ways.  (Another topic, of course, but an equal comparison in my mind.)

Why have I been thinking about all this?  Because I am -bored.-  I am utterly bored with raiding in ways that I never was in TBC.  It is not helped by the fact that healing has this odd combination of mind-numbing redundancy (“Everyone is doing their job well, time for my rotation”) and break-neck stress (“arg, everything is going to pot, I need to heal like a mad thing and pop all my cooldowns and arrrrg!!!”).  My raiding group is stuck right now due to a terrible run of DCs on every single fight and by human error.  It is very hard to stay focused and in a dedicated mind-set when you see people making the same mistakes over and over again.  Plus, I heal 25 mans on my paladin.  Healadin healing is more boring than any other healer, I kid you not.

Recently, I’ve been having to literally force myself to log on.  Even PvP is becoming a teeth-grinding experience, what with the flood of people from the new random battleground feature.  By all means, join in the fun, but please at least ask around to find out what you should be doing and for gods’ sakes make yourself the blue quality PvP gear.  (Arcane mages excluded, of course.  Man, anything involving wizards makes me want to cry sometimes!)  I am certainly not a PvP hero, just look at my arena rating!  But it makes me want to bang my head against my desk when I enter a WSG and the majority of our side are on defense in our flag room.

So yes, accessibility has very much been on my mind as of late.  Specifically, where is the line where a game becomes -too- accessable and the quality drops because of it?  I’m sure I have no idea of the answer, but it makes for interesting thinking.


OOM? – Tips for healers with mana problems


I was in the midst of this big post with much math and I decided that something a little simpler and down to earth would be a good idea.

– First things first –

Before you go into the process of dealing with your gems, gear, enchants or other expensive changes, I recommend that you always look at what you’re casting and when.  With the current level of content, mana is rarely an issue, as there is more regen now on gear than in previous tiers.  After that, I’d suggest looking at your spec.  Sometimes (especially during respecs) important regen talents can get skipped.  Some glyphs are also good for helping that little bit that you might need.

Also, keep in mind that ending the fight with more than 5% of your mana is a rather big waste.  I know that seeing that blue bar creeping down there can be scary, but if you’re really close to the end of the fight, just hold on until the end.  Having enough for in use of emergencies is fine; having enough to heal for another full minute is pushing it.

– Things for all classes –

Runic Mana Potions:  This is my biggest weakness, by far.  Mana potions should be used in all difficult fights.  Breaking myself of the habit of keeping them “just in case” is one of the hardest things I’ve done as a healer.  By using it by default in progression fights, I’m able to gear harder towards throughput which decreases the amount of “just in case” moments that I have.  If you’re having a hard time convincing yourself to use potions regularly, I suggest getting a few Dark Runes for those -truly- problem moments.   You’ll recognize those from Vanilla days and possibly from those Vezax hardmodes.

Insightful Earthsiege Diamond metagem:  I know that I sound like a cheerleader for this thing, but it really is a healer’s best-friend.  It blows away all the other metagems for mana regen and gives you generally more “bang for your buck” than anything else for that slot.  I suggest changing this little guy out before your other gems because you’ll lose less and gain more.

Stand in melee and hit the boss:  This only works when you have a paladin in your raid group (highly likely) and when you standing in melee wouldn’t endanger yourself or others.  Even if you don’t cast mostly instants, it’s possible to take a swing between casts, so long as you aren’t in a phase that requires constant flat-out casting.  The mana return on taking a couple of swings now and again can be quite noticable.

Darkglow Embroidery (tailors only): Generally, I prefer this thread over the Lightweave because I have an intense dislike of throughput procs.  Mana return procs you can model for and plan around, but having a throughput proc when you don’t want it instead of when you do just annoys me.  (Granted, my tailor is a Disc priest and spellpower procs are the most annoying things when you’re bubble spamming.  Getting that “a more powerful spell blah blah” message makes me so mad.)

Mighty Rhino Dogs/Spiced Fried Herring:  There are fights that need just that little extra push in the regen area and changing out what you eat is a cheap way to get it.  I don’t suggest gearing towards always using this food, though, as you’ll be missing the beauty of having it specifically for difficult fights.  For you Spirit using classes, I suggest staying away from food that gives you Spirit.  You’ll get far less regen than from the MP5 food and you won’t get nearly enough spellpower to make it up.  You’ll just be losing large amounts of budget by trying to stay on the fence.

Change your trinkets:  This is a blog post in and of itself, but not all mana regen trinkets have the same strength.  Trinket slots are great because they allow for quite a bit of flexibility and style.  Do some research on which are better than the others and pick them up.  Switching around your trinkets depending on the fight you’re on is an old, wonderful trick and well worth the pain it is to lug around several different choices.

I do -not- suggest using Flasks of Pure Mojo, as it is very underbudget for a flask.  The correct budget would be 54-55 MP5.  I’m not really sure what Blizzard was thinking with this thing, but it’s not worth losing that budget on it.  Stick to those Frost Wyrm flasks.  Well, unless you’re a paladin, but more on that later.

– Class specific –

Druids:  You have Innervate, what more could you need, right?  Many times, druids are asked to pass along their Innervates to other people, especially to people that they have just battle rezzed.  If this is a regular occurence for your raiding group, you might want to consider picking up a glyph for it.  That way, when you give it away, you still get a little something for yourself.  Spec wise, make doubly sure you’ve picked up Revitalize.  I’m not kidding.  The amount of mana you get from it when you’re rolling Rejuv on groups that include yourself is massive.  15% chance to proc on every tick to give you 1% of your total mana.  That’s massive.  If you’re doing a fight where there are slight lulls or times when healing is less frantic but you can’t stop casting altogether (this is most fights, really), switch in that Idol of Awakening you have hopping around your bags since Naxx.  Yes, you -can- change idols during a fight!  You will lose the bonus spellpower from the Black Willow idol, but you can just switch it back when things pick up again.  Let’s not forget the oldest trick in the Tree regen book, of course.  That would be casting a single Lifebloom when you get an Omen of Clarity proc and letting it bloom for the free mana back.  It doesn’t -just- work on Vezax!

Shaman:  For you guys it is less about tricks for when you are running out of mana and more about preventing yourselves from getting to that point in the first place.  One of the biggest issues I see shaman having is in keeping up their Water Shield during fights with lots of AoE damage.  It is -vitally- important to keep that bad-boy up.  A trick I use is that if I ever have a GCD or am moving at all, I will recast it without even caring if I still have a charge or two left on it.  Those fights where you feel you don’t have a free GCD can really suck for it, but sometimes you just have to make that decision to have mana for the end of the fight.  There are some great add-ons that will track your shield’s uptime, too.  (I use PowerAuras.  The combination of sounds and giant graphic really works to alert me.)  Another key ability you need to work with is Mana Tide Totem.  I like to drop it as soon as I hit 75% mana, in the hopes that I’ll be able to drop it again at the end of the fight.  Those things seem to be common knowledge, but here’s a tip that you might not see much: bind your Tidal Force to all your cast-time spells.  Crazy idea, I know, but shaman get mana back from crits, so maximizing the number of times you crit can really help your regen.  I used to be one of those people who saved Tidal Force for when I needed a burst of heavy healing, but doing that meant that I wasn’t using it often at all.  Using it as a regen tactic makes far more sense to me, as you can use it to its full potential.  Like druids, you could also switch to using your Totem of Forest Growth during lower healing portions of fights, but the mana saved won’t be as great for you as for your Tree friends.  Still, it’s nice to have that option, since you can switch totems back and forth during combat.

Paladins:  Of all the classes, healadins have the most tools at hand to deal with mana, so it really comes down to using each bit to its maximum potential.  One of the big issues I often see is timing the use of Divine Plea.  Some people try to use it as little as possible, stacking MP5 on their gear to make up the difference.  However, by using little tricks to help out while Pleaing, you’ll not need to do that.  The 2T10 bonus is really handy here, as you can simply macro Divine Illumination to your Plea; you won’t be as nerfed by the Plea and your HLs will cost less during your heavy spam time.  If it is on cooldown, using Avenging Wrath during your next Plea is great, too.  I do -not- suggest making a macro for that one, as using AW means you won’t be able to bubble for a time.  It needs to be a conscious choice to use it so you don’t screw yourself up if you’re using other cooldowns.  Unless you need them for specific fight mechanics, popping Divine Sacrifice or Hand of Sacrifice (let the other healers know you’re doing so!) can offset the healing reduction from Plea quite nicely, too.  Macroing your Divine Favor to a spell or two so it’s always on cooldown is a great trick.  (I used to only macro it to Holy Shock, but I’ve since moved on to macroing it with Holy Light, too, since I need the mana more during “sit and spam” fights more than movement ones.)  Healadins can use Lay on Hands on themselves for a short boost of mana, although it causes Forbearance so keep an eye on your timing.  Using Glyph of Divinity means that you can get twice that amount at the same time as you give another healer a mana boost.  This is a favorite trick of mine!  Another little trick that can add up to big savings is cast Judgement of Light/Wisdom on cooldown.  (Only use Light if someone else is using Wisdom.)  Not only do you get mana from the Judgement of Wisdom on the mob, but it procs your Seal of Wisdom for extra mana back.

Priests, Disc:  Discipline is full of great mana saving tools that are very easy to use, so it is very much about using those effectively.  One of the most important things is that you need to know what kind of damage to expect in each fight and when.  Trying to keep an entire raid bubbled is very costly to your mana, especially given the 12 second cooldown on Rapture.  It isn’t so bad if the damage is a constant, so that you’ll be getting the proc every 12 seconds, but it is in a single burst, your mana will be hurting.  Keeping Rapture always on cooldown by putting a bubble up on the tanks is really a key part of regen for Disc priests.  After that, it is all about making sure you are using Inner Focus effectively.  Macroing it to Divine Hymn and Prayer of Healing are both musts, of course, but in many fights neither of those spells will see any use.  Knowing that, I like to keep a separate hotkey for it, to be used in conjuction with a Penance on the tank.  Planning your uses is really key, as you can keep it on cooldown for the first half of a fight, planning on using your Diving Hymn near the end with it.  A very, very simple trick is using your Shadowfiend just before Heroism is cast.  As it is considered a pet, casting Heroism after you summon it will make it attack faster and return more mana.  Popping Heroism is planned out by the raid, so knowing when you should use your pet is really key.  While it isn’t really so much a trick, I like to bubble before casting Hymn of Hope.  You know, just in case!

Priests, Holy:  First off, all the tips from above about Inner Focus, Shadowfiend and Hymn of Hope apply.  Added to that, Holy priests have this great little proc called Surge of Light that needs to be used effectively.  Having an add-on that will keep track of the procs is a great idea.  Keeping Holy Concentration up at all times is also really key in making sure you don’t run out of mana.  Try not to waste mana using Circle of Healing to heal only a single person, as a good Empowered Renew can do just as well.  (I see that happening more than I care to mention.)  One of my favorite tricks is to use Guardian Spirit constantly.  It is a very cheap ability to use and the glyph means that it can be used at will without it not being around to save a tank’s life.  I especially like it when I know that certain people tend to take longer to “get out of the fire” than others, so it alleviates some of the pressure in keeping that person alive.  Using GS and then an Emp. Renew is a great, and very cheap, duo.

– More knowledge means less regen needed –

I’ve never been a fan of stacking regen stats as, really, it isn’t needed.  Knowing how your class regenerates mana and what you can do to maximize that while still stacking those throughput stats is really the key to be a grade-A healer.  We all have fights where our mana is taxed, so don’t feel that struggling now and again is any sort of reflection on skill.  Heck, difficult fights -should- tax our mana, as well as our throughput and our nerves!  It is in how we react to those taxing situations that shows what kind of player we are.

One of the best pieces of advice I could ever give to someone is “look to your skills first and to changing your gear second.”  Or perhaps I should say that after your skills comes looking at your communication!  Talk to your other healers to coordinate things like when to drop Mana Tide or when to have your priests use Hymn of Hope.  See if you can work your healing assignments so that your Trees will always have a rolling Rejuv on your healers.  Make some plans about when the best time may be for your healadin to pop Divine Sacrifice.  As the group becomes more efficient, so will each member of that group.

If you have any additional tips or tricks when it comes to mana usage, please let me know!  I love hearing what other people do to get the most out of their raiding experience.


Invitation to readers and fellow bloggers


There are been occasions where I have to responded to other people’s blogs here, usually to make additions or factual corrections to other people’s entries.  As such, I’d like to state publicly that I’m open to such things from others.  Conversations where we don’t all agree are what make life interesting.  Note, of course, that I reserve the right to respond right back and that counter-arguments that aren’t backed up with proof will probably not be given the full weight you may think is due.  I have no problems being proven wrong so long as there is actual evidence for me to look at.  Stories and feelings are not empirical, therefore can’t be used as evidence.  My less factual offerings (generally available under the “zen” tab) usually have a factual basis to them, but are a bit more lax when it comes to interpretation.  I still like to discuss such topics, so readers should feel free to lay into me on those subjects as well.

I have at least one major post coming up, but this has been an unfortunate week for me of few raids and less free time than planned.  Both my birthday during the weekend and the death of my favorite great-aunt have left me scrambling and more than a little… well, disdainful of internet-based emotional turmoil.  I should be back in full swing soon, with at least the one substantial post to enjoy.


Raiding mindset – other people say it better


I confess, this is a pretty zen post, mostly because the new Dragon Age expansion is out and every spare moment I’m not raiding is dedicated to that.  There, I admitted it.  I’m a terrible blogger.

– re: Social Difference in Raiding (and theorycrafting) –

Bellwether has an excellent post over at her blog that really explains quite clearly the sort of mindset a person needs to be a positive member of an organized raiding group.  I’ve always favored comparing raiding to playing a team sport, as that truly is what you’re doing.  It’s you and 24 other people trying to accomplish something together.  When I used to play soccer for fun, you can sure believe there were times when I didn’t want to go to the games (and I never wanted to go to the practices!), but I did it because not showing up would be self-centered and horrible.  Guess what?  Soccer is just a game, too!  There’s no good reason why something that wouldn’t fly for my soccer team should fly for my raiding team.

How does this relate to theorycrafting, you ask?  Because that is the “practice” that I do for my raiding team.  Two of the biggest things I hear from people about why they don’t like theorycrafting is: a) it takes too much time and b) it is too hard.

I’m going to tell you a secret…  In any given week,  I spend maybe 30 minutes on theorycrafting.  That’s an average, since some weeks I barely do that and during patch weeks I tend to do an hour-ish as I wait for the servers to come back up.  I’d probably spend far less time doing it if I didn’t feel the need to theorycrafting for all of my healers.  Included in that time is watching videos and reading strats for new fights.  So… 30 minutes a week is really too much?  You can’t spare that much time to make yourself a better raider for your own sake and the sake of your team?

The argument that theorycrafting is too hard for some people seems a little much to me, too.  Let me use an example of some theorycrafting someone emailed me about recently, since it’s fresh in my mind.  The question was if Blessing of Wisdom was better for healadins than Blessing of Kings.  I popped open WoWhead and searched for Blessing of Wisdom to see it gives 92 MP5.  I open my little computer calculator, add 20% to that for the improved version and got 110.4 MP5.  At that point, I opened up a post on my own blog to find out how much MP5 I get per point of INT (because I’m lazy) and then round down to .75 MP5 for the sake of argument.  All I do then is divide 92 and 110.4 by .75 to find out how much INT it would take to get that amount of MP5.  (122.7 INT and 147.2 INT, respectively)  Since Kings gives 10%, you just multiply that by 10 and viola!  The INT threshold where Kings is better than Wisdom is 1227 INT for regular and 1472 INT for improved.

I literally used nothing beyond the math I used in middle school for the entire operation.  The most complicated part of it was finding for X in: x * .75 = 92  Searching for the information certainly wasn’t hard; if I hadn’t had that post on my blog, I would have just used the search function on to find out the same thing.  It would have taken me probably 5 extra minutes, but it certainly wouldn’t have added to the difficulty.  Heck, I just googled “mp5 from int paladin” and there was my blog post with all the information you need, right there at link #4.  So even navigating EJ isn’t required.

– Let’s just be honest –

The bottom line is that people don’t theorycraft because they don’t want to.  It doesn’t interest them, so they don’t feel like putting forth the energy.  Part of me shakes my head at that, at how lazy that seems, but then I keep on doing the crafting for them anyway.  I… can’t really make a moral judgment against it, since I’m just adding to the problem!

Not knowing about why and how things work in WoW is like being part of a choir and not knowing how to pronounce the Latin you’re singing.  Sure, one person who doesn’t know won’t have a -huge- effect on the whole, but can you imagine an entire choir of 25 people singing who don’t know?  You might be able to fake it enough to be okay, but imagine how much better it would be with all of you singing in crisp pronunciation.  Raiding is much the same way.  If no one really knows how their class does things, you could do alright in slogging your way through.  But just imagine how much better it would be with 25 people baring skill and knowledge!  Even worse would be you being that one person in the back, faking it and letting the others cover for you because you couldn’t be bothered to look up how to say “ora pro nobis”  or who to give what buff to.


Trauma – Who should get it and how to use it


I know, I promised this long ago, but it’s hard to slog through WoLs to find all the recent numbers.  Just be glad that Blizzard fixed the proc on Trauma or else this post would have been very short.  (“Don’t use it.”)  I’m going to go class by class, as it’s just easier to discuss that way.  The proc, by the way, is called Fountain of Light if you’re looking for it on your own parses.

– And now it’s time for a breakdown –

Druids:  You want to pick this mace up, you really do.  Trees are absolutely the best class to use this mace, especially as you only lose -one- throughput stat (haste) in taking it, where the other healers lose two  (crit and haste).  It will proc off of HoT ticks, so being haste soft capped with the proper casting rotation is key to really having this bad boy shine.  On fights without aura damage or where the raid is spread out very far, you’ll still see at least  4% of your total healing from the proc.  On aura fights, you’ll see that number jump to about 10%.  To really maximize Trauma, make sure that you’re using the 4T10 bonus and pick up a Glyph of Rapid Rejuv.  You’ll see the usefulness of the proc jump a full 2% that way.

Shaman:  I’ve been hearing that this mace is considered best-in-slot, despite being behind in HEP.  From what I’ve seen, it can be a very good mace depending on the fight and on the healing assignment.  Generally, any fight with constant raid damage where you can roll CH through groups of people is a good time to use it.  At those times, you’re likely to see the proc sitting at about 6-8% of your healing, which is a decent chunk.  However, if you’re not in those optimal circumstances, you will see a big hit in Trauma’s usefulness.  Lucky for you, most of the hard fights can utilize the proc, if your healing lead does assignments correctly.  Have a chat with her/him to make sure they’re up to speed.  I’d suggest also having a crit/haste weapon in your bags as well, for those times when chain casting CH on clumps of the raid isn’t feasible.  If you’re really looking to maximize your Trauma, make sure you’re using 4T10 and casting Riptide every cooldown (but not “eating” it with a CH).

Holy priests:  There are two varieties of this spec and one is very much better than the other at using Trauma.  Holy priests using Emp. Renew are going to see some decent usage of this proc, especially if they are making sure to use CoH on cooldown on the melee or a similarly bunched up group.  Remember to keep PoM on cooldown, too.  Generally, a Renew using Holy priest will see about 5% of their healing from the proc under the best conditions, falling to about 3% on non-aura fights.  Like shaman, proper assignments are necessary to really get the most out of the proc.  A FoL specced Holy priest will not see -nearly- the numbers here.  You might be able to squeeze some more out of it if you glyph PoH, but in general you’ll only be seeing about 1-2% of your healing from the proc.

Disc priests:  You poor, unloved souls.  This weapon is really bad for you since you use no HoTs and it doesn’t proc off glyphed PW:S.  The parses I’ve seen have shown most of them with less than 1% of total healing from the proc!  You do have the added bonus that the only true throughput stat for you is spellpower, so if you end up getting it for just a spellpower mace, make sure to keep PoM on cooldown at all times.  If you get the chance to use Divine Hymn once in a while, that’ll help you out, too.  (To clarify, the loss of crit/haste/regen for a Disc priest is extremely minor if there’s a decent spellpower upgrade to be had.  PW:S scales horribly with anything but spellpower.)

Healadins:  The lack of throughput stats on this is a major issue for you with the added bonus that you need very careful healing usage to get anything out of the proc.  Fights with aura damage are a must.  You’ll have to be casting Holy Lights (it procs off the glyph) where all of your splash will hit the melee.  This means either all the melee is grouped up on the tank (ie. Festergut), one tank is standing close to the melee (ie. BQL) or you’re just pure spamming the melee itself (ie. Sindragosa).  Keeping the FoL HoT up on the tank is generally not going to help maximize Trauma, as forgoing any HL spam is just going to decrease its effectiveness.  Even under those circumstances, you’re likely to see no more than 5% of your healing from the proc.  Healadins with FoL builds should pretty much avoid the weapon altogether, as they’re likely to only see 1% of their healing from the proc, if that.

– So who gets the thing? –

Hands down, druids should get it first as it is best-in-slot without question.  After that, shaman should pick it up, followed by Holy priests.  After that, I’d most likely give the thing to Disc priests, since spellpower is such a big deal to them and the loss of crit/haste/MP5 on a healadin’s weapon is going to be a bigger loss for them than for just about any other healer.  It should be noted that the only healers who should be using Trauma on all fights are druids and possible Holy priests, if they are given proper healing assignments.  A note that all these numbers are from 25-man raids.  10-man raids will show a marked drop in the usefulness of the proc, due to fewer people to proc on.

I should probably put this in bold, but…  Do not replace Val’anyr with Trauma!  You shouldn’t be replacing the legendary with -anything- at this point, in fact.  The proc on it scales with healing, so even if the stats on the mace seem to be lacking, you’ll still be getting 10% or more of your healing from it.  And that’s effective healing, as the bubbles that aren’t used aren’t counted in the log.  Heck, I have seen fights where my #1 heal was the proc.  (No lie!)  If you are not happy with the amount of Val’anyr procs you are getting, you should examine your healing style first and foremost.

The final thing to keep in mind if you’re using any proccing item:  The real key is to cast as much as possible.  Cheers!


Day 2 of Zero Add-on Project


Okay, this isn’t -quite- the same as the other day, as we don’t have official raids on Thursdays, but I did run about a million VoAs and I did something I never thought I’d do.  I PvPed without add-ons.  Madness!

My initial impression of druid healing with base UI was actually more in line with how I felt about healing with the priest, in that it was actually easier than on the paladin.  I think the main reason for that is there are no life-threatening abilities that must be maintained or you wipe.  Druids are able to just go down the line, Rejuving, and pause to cast a Wild Growth or a Lifebloom on the tanks every few seconds.  Very similar to priests, actually.  Once I got into the rhythm of it, I found that very little had changed from healing with add-ons.  Maybe I’ve internalized those HoT timers by now or something.

Doing arenas and battleground without add-ons sucked a bit more.  I was harder pressed to keep myself alive, especially in the BGs, because my health bar was way up in the corner.  That was quite annoying.  It wasn’t such an issue in arenas, as I was running twos, so I had my partner and I pulled out right in the middle of my screen.  In arenas, it was trying to target the enemy healer to Mana Burn or whatnot that gave me issues.  Not to mention that you get used to your UI being set-up exactly how you want it and changing it for something as reactive as PvP just makes you nuts.

Oddly enough, when I was going some random 5-mans last night, I found that healing those with the base UI was -more- annoying than healing raids.  The group interface is really terrible, especially when you play with small buttons.  All the health bars are smooshed up in the top left corner where it’s completely out of the way.  I usually have the tank focused and pull the focus frame to the middle of my screen, but I keep having to glance up to look at the group’s health.  Annoying as all get out.  At least with the base raid frames, you can move them and put them directly in the middle.

Tonight is more raiding for me, this time probably on the druid for ICC-10.  (She’s my strict 10-man character.)  We’ll get a good view of how hard it is for raid healers to heal without any bells and whistles.  So far?  I’m finding this whole experiment to be a true test of skill, but I think it would be utterly doable for any healer out there, given the time and effort.