HOWTO: Top the Healing Meters. No, really.

Do you want to be top of the healing meters in your raid? Yes, YOU?!?

Sounds like the start of a cheesy infomercial, but today we’ve got a top raider telling us exactly that. Yes, Vixsin of Life In Group 5 has gone – a little bit – to the dark side, and today she’s offering a guide to just one thing – not healing a specific fight, not cohering as a fluffy bunny healing team, but just making damn sure your bar is bigger than everyone else’s

“This is one of the concepts that I really struggled when making the move into the upper echelons of progression, and a topic that Derevka discussed from a more global perspective in a post back in February—Zero Sum Mana. For a conservative person like myself, it was difficult to cut into the mana buffer I had on most fights because I always found myself thinking “but what if I need it?!” But the reality is that the extra mana that you have at the end of an encounter represents stats that could have been put to use elsewhere, and by keeping them allocated to regen you don’t need, your HPS ceiling is lower. So, you should always aim to end an encounter bone-dry, with as much effective healing as possible (this is much different than simply spending 5 minutes spamming heals into all and sundry and thinking “well, I spent all my mana, so I did good”). Because the more tightly tuned your mana, the more conscious you become of how your consumption changes based on your rotation.

Practical Examples: Although mana management isn’t generally an issue at the start of an expansion, since at that point, your stats don’t allow you free reign with your healing arsenal, the need for tuning ramps up as the expac progresses. My first time into any progression encounter, I’ll try to head in with as much mana and regen as possible. Then, during the first couple of pulls, I’ll look for areas where I can carve off some regen for other secondary stats. If there is a +damage modifier in the fight, and I’m on Vixsin, I know that I can knock off a couple hundred mp5. If there’s time enough for me to TC, then I can shave off another couple hundred or, as was the case with our first kills of HM Spine and Madness, I can swap out a regen trinket (Jaws of Defeat, in that case) for a throughput one (Seal of Seven Signs).”

Vixsin’s really not pulling any punches here, and that’s what makes this guide so unique. She covers knowing your fellow healers’ weak spots on the meters, blagging yourself extra buffs, beating the other healers to the punch by stacking Haste – all the dirty tricks in the book. And alongside that, she’s also got a whole bunch of super-crunchy advice on maximising your numbers whilst at the same time putting out a scary amount of actually-effective, actually raid-saving healing.

Now, I imagine a lot of people are thinking “that’s really unfriendly to your healing team – why did she write this?” So why did she do it? Well, for once I’m going to quote a post twice:

“The question that I get more often than any other question out there … by a mile … is about why the player isn’t doing well on meters. And, most times, isn’t a question motivated by selfishness or ego, but rather one asked by players who aren’t confident in their performance or who simply want to improve. These are players who are advised, on forum after forum, blog after blog, that “if the boss dies, then you did your job”. But the problem with this sentiment, and what they’re realizing as they send me an email or post in the healing forums or reach out to friends, is that … THIS ADVICE IS ABSOLUTE SHIT. It’s shit because it does nothing to empower the person who receives it; it does nothing to quantify the conditions of success, nothing to distinguish the myriad of greys between the pass/fail ends of the spectrum. What happens if the boss lives? Well you know that you didn’t do your job, but nothing beyond that. Or, even worse what happens if the boss dies and you still feel unsuccessful? According to the simple definition of success, you’ve nothing to improve upon.”

Throughout the post, she scatters in tips on using this advice for good, rather than evil. But the fact is – people look at the meters. And a lot of people – a lot of us – want to look good on the meters.

DPSers are spoiled for choice on guides to do just that. So I think it’s about damn time that the healers had something similar.

Let’s join in. What are your best tips and tricks for topping the healing meters? Doesn’t matter how underhanded – let’s hear them!

Read more →

A Hundred Questions LFR Must Answer

And in WoW news, meanwhile – the LFR posting on the blogosphere has started to ramp up. I’m expecting this to be the big one – more than any other feature in 4.3, perhaps until the next expansion, I’m anticipating debate, discussion, and detailed blog posting about Looking For Raid and the trials and tribulations therof.

(Of course, I’m also anticipating a million how-to-mog posts. But LFR’s going to be the debate-starter.)

It has already started with a couple of posts, notably an excellent one from Shintar some time ago. But today, The Grumpy Elf lives up to his name and delivers a really fascinating dissection of the LFR idea, in a truly massive post highlighting all the questions that Blizzard have yet to answer about LFR

“What about roles? Is Blizzard going to fill the raids with the standard 2 tanks, 2 healer, 6 DPS set up? I know my guild likes to do 2, 3, and 5 when we are starting out new content. Sometimes we still keep that even on stuff we can farm. How about solo tank fights? I can solo tank a buttload of stuff this expansion so far. I would say almost a quarter of the bosses can be solo tanked. So why make sure to give us 2? Are they going to just assume someone will have a viable DPS offset? Same with heals, some fights can really benefit from having three healers while others two is more then enough. Hell, I have a holy paladin in my guild that is more then willing (and capable) to one heal some of last tiers stuff.

Most tanks hate being on add duty. Add duty is probably the hardest tanking job anyone can have. Maybe that is why I like it, who knows. If we are given two tanks from the system who is to say we will get anywhere while we wait for the two people to fight it out on who will be the add tank. Is the system going to tell us who will be main tank and who will be off tank? How is the system going to actually decide this? Will the person it selects for it actually be capable of doing it? I know many fights where if all you ever did was main tank you will be in for a shock when you have to add tank.”

This one’s going to spark some debate – when you head over to read it, be prepared to get annoyed. I violently disagreed with at least two of Grumpy’s points – vote-kicking (not all people with vote-kick timers are “assholes that kick anyone that is not perfect”), and loot etiquette (if you’re rolling Need for your guildies, you’re part of the problem), and was uncertain on a few more. But nonetheless, he hits a whole bunch of home-runs too.

How WILL roles be distributed? How will communication be handled? What about DBM? What about offspec loot roles? Who’s going to decide what tactics we use?

It’s the start of a very interesting discussion, and I look forward to seeing the responses – and slightly apprehensively to finding out what the answers are.

Is the current LFR plan filled with holes? And what do you think the solutions will be?

Quote taken from The Grumpy Elf’s post .

Find The Grumpy Elf’s homepage at http://thegrumpyelf.blogspot.com .

Read more →