15 February, 2009

I want Holy Charge!

I just finished tanking Heroic Violet Hold and Utgarde Pinnacle, and I couldn't help but find myself wishing I had a charge or an Intervene. I don't mean to whine, considering paladins just got Hand of Reckoning and we're getting omega awesome tanking buffs in 3.1 with silences and the like, but seriously? I want Holy Charge!

There's one pull in Pinnacle where there are two ranged mobs and two melee mobs at the top of a set of stairs. I have to body pull, which causes havoc with the four mobs trying to reposition them. It's one of those times where I hate having to run in and try to pick everything up as my idiot DPS unload into the mobs that I haven't even touched yet. Warriors have a throw, we have a throw. Warriors have a Shield Wall, we have a Shield Wall. I want Holy Charge!

The animation would be absolutely preposterous, imagine Holy Shield shining all over the pally's legs. It would look like The Flash wearing plate, streaking forward to shield slam his foes...

Paladins have a lot of novel tanking abilities, and we've complained enough about our lack of a single target taunt, and we eventually got it. I'm hoping if we complain enough about the lack of a charge, we'll get one, or something at least close. I don't want all the tanking classes to be completely the same, but I'm hoping we'll reach a point where all the tanking classes are equal in different ways.

13 February, 2009

The Flow of Things

Just popped in to write up a quick post before Naxx10. I've been trying to find my groove lately with this whole blogging endeavour, and I've realized a few things as I was reading around the nets.

My post ideas, the ones that I think have the most value, are long, involved, and written like graduate-level thesis papers. I'm a theorycrafter at heart, and that was influencing both my post length and content. I was tending to write posts that were better used being posted on Elitist Jerks. While theorycrafting is great, I need to learn to separate the two. I'm starting to get a feel for what content I want on my blog. The really intense theorycraft is best posted on EJ, and all the things that would get me banned from EJ (lol insane mods much?) I can post about all the fun stuff I do in the game that has no real place on EJ.

I think I'm basically going to use my blog as a way to reflect on my experiences ingame. I've been reading Anea's blog over here (go read it!) and I like her style. I'm going to save the intense, consuming theorycraft posts for Elitist Jerks, and have fun over here. I think it'll be good for me.

(All said and done, please don't hesistate to ask me for help with math-intensive theorycraft. It's what I do best and I'm more than willing to crunch numbers for anyone who needs it.)

Time to go tank me some Naxx10. See you all in Azeroth!

27 January, 2009

Pally Power!

I haven't posted in quite a long time, largely due to my newfound (or perhaps just rediscovered) appreciation for my tankadin. Sure, sure, I love healing. Honest, I do. I never want to stop healing, but sometimes I could sure use a break. I found this release in rolling my pally from Holy over to Prot.

I have a full set of tanking blues gathered from questing, as my original intent was to spec Prot at 80. I didn't, I specced holy and started raiding as a healer. I certainly didn't regret it, but I still wanted to try out tanking. I took a hiatus from pally healing to switch over to my resto shaman, which was also fun, but it still smacked of healing far too much for my current tastes. So, yesterday, I specced my pally over to Prot. A few thousand gold later, I'm gemmed, enchanted, and sporting a few new BOE epics (what else was I supposed to do with my 31,000 gold bank account but buy fancy new toys?)*.

It's everything I could have asked for and more. It's neat to see the content "from the other side" so to speak. I feel like I'm putting my plate to good use. I wreck, essentially. AOE tanking is a complete and total blasty-blast.

And in response to this post over at Holy Discipline: I'm a cute, shiny little tank and I LOVE IT.<3

All that being said, brb, tanking Heroic Strat.

*Disclaimer: I play the AH like a fiend, and most of the gold I spent today I'll have made up tomorrow, so the 6,000g I dropped into a helm, ring, and gloves will be more than made up for. :P And no, you can't have any.*

14 January, 2009

Healing Tunnel Vision

Last night's run of Naxx25 Patchwerk prompted me to finish writing this draft. I encountered this issue during that fight and it got me thinking again.

Tunnel vision is the disregard for everything but your central task, an intense focus on the one thing (and only that thing) you are engaged in. I see tunnel vision hit healers mostly, and I blame the fact that they typically target raid members, and not the boss. As a tank, I have the boss targetted at all times. I have a much more accurate feel for the boss fight because I can watch his health progress. DPS are the same, but since healers don't usually have the boss' health in view, I feel like they can easily lose track of the fight's progress.

Last night, it was a mess of cooldowns being blown at the absolute worst times. Bloodlust at 3%? Really? Our healers were hurting because they had their faces buried in the tank frames, healing their rears off. Normally that's a good thing, a great thing for them to be so focused on tank healing, but in general, I don't think there's any real need for it.

Let me start off by first contradicting myself. There are fights where extreme tunnel vision is allowed and somewhat encouraged. Brutallus comes to mind. Pallies could not stop casting or the tank would die. One missed heal, the tank would die. For the healers, nothing else mattered besides keeping the tank up, so tunnel vision was ok.

And now the bad. In fights like Patchwerk, which I slightly compare to Brutallus, tanks are the only ones taking any damage, so tunnel vision on that tank is a good thing, right? I say wrong. Heroic Naxx involves multiple tanks taking Strikes, and while you as a healer may only have one tank target to heal, you need to be aware of your surroundings in order to best help the raid. Completely non-healing issues such as the aforementioned Bloodlust example come to mind. I realize, healers, that your job is to keep the tanks alive, but the rest of the raid's job is to kill the boss. I say the same for you that I do for DPS who insist on not having raid frames (They reason because they don't care about the raid's health, they're just here to kill the boss): tanks, healers, and DPS all interact and meld to kill the boss. The tank's job matters to the healers and DPS, the healer's job matters to the tank and DPS, and the DPS's job matters to the healers and tanks. I think we need to start a WoW Environmental Awareness campaign, because this is the second issue I've dealt with now that directly involve a need for greater spacial awareness while playing the game.

Get Your Eyes Out of Your Addons

This post is in response to the "Don't Rely on Addons to Heal" post over at World of Matticus, found here. This is a subject I feel very strongly about. As I peruse the Elitist Jerks forums, I see many UIs posted in the UI threads that are just god-awfully hard to heal with.


"Addons not make one great."

I can't stand people who rely solely on addons because they feel they're a better healer because of it. Healbot, Clique, Grid, and what have you are not the key to being a good healer. I actually argue the opposite. I feel that addons, when used incorrectly, actually reduce the effectiveness of a healer.


One thing I absolute cannot tolerate is people who have fifteen million spell icons and over nine thousand action bars out on their screens. You don't need that many. I guarantee you, you don't need that many spells out on your screen. I for one (and keep in mind, this certainly does not and should not necessarily apply to everyone) don’t need to see my spells to know what I’m casting. I know F4 is Flash of Light, F3 is Holy Light, 5 is Holy Shock, and F1 is my “Ah crap, burst damage incoming” Trinket + Divine Favor + Holy Shock + Flash of Light button. I don’t need to see them to know what I’m casting.


It’s More Than a Feelin’

Heck, I don’t even need to see my cast bar. I may be alone on this as well, but I can cast through feeling. I know how long a Flash takes to cast, likewise with a Holy Light. I know when the spell is about to end and can preemptively hit my next heal at the same moment my current heal goes off. Honestly, in raids and instances, the only things I even care about enough to have on my screen is Grid with the raid health bars and my target’s health bar. I don’t need to see chat (that’s what Ventrilo is for), I don’t need to see my target’s target, I don’t need to see the boss’s health (some say this leads to healing tunnel vision, but that’s a different post entirely), and I certainly don’t need to see half a million tiny spell icons, most of which I’ll never cast during the fight anyway.


Tips for Improvement

Get your eyes off your addons. You’d be amazed at how much more effectively you can heal if you’re actively watching your raid members. You’ll not only see who is taking damage, but more importantly, WHY they’re taking damage. You’ll also see who’s going to be taking damage (that rogue with A.D.D standing in the fire?) and can react accordingly, preempting most of the damage they’ll end up taking: You can start a heal so that it lands just as they finish taking damage, reducing the total time they spend damaged. Your eyes should be centered in the middle 60% of your screen, not roaming the bottom of the screen staring at action bars.


Furthermore, having a plethora of bars and icons and miscellaneous crap on your screen interferes with seeing aforementioned fire. If you die because you couldn’t see your environment, you’re not doing your job. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is as a (former) raid leader when you have players dying not because of the game (Random Number Generator comes to mind) but rather their own lack of attentiveness. If you have a 5 by 5 grid setup that occupies the middle 4 square inches of your screen, you’re doing it wrong.


Look forward to a new post soon about how to reduce UI clutter and make more efficient use of space. For now, I hope I’ve left you thinking about what addons you use and ways you could make better use of them. I’m not telling you to scrap addons entirely, just to use them well, and scrap what you don’t need. When it comes down to it, you should be watching your raid members because you’re healing the player, not the health bar.