Friday, May 28, 2010

Healing I Learned From Mario

Welcome to my very first series entitled All I really need to know about Healing I learned from Mario, in which I'll be discussing learning to heal from a generic (I'd like to call it organic) approach. There are tons of great guides on my blogroll if you're looking for a how-to-holy, but in these next few posts I'd like to talk more about how we can learn inside the video game instead of playing alt-tabbed.

Even if you're already an expert on healing and video games, I hope you can still enjoy the nostalgic (and terribly photoshopped) images while I show you what Mario has taught me about the fundamentals of learning a game, and learning a role within a game.

Part I: It'sa me, Mario!

In most MMORPGs today, we're presented with lots of choices. While it may seem overwhelming to a novice player, the character art and blurbs (often thumbnail stats) will most likely guide you into making a choice. Don't sweat this part too much, if you learn more about the game and decide you don't like your character, you can always reload the game/make a new character. Games are about having fun, yeah? So jump in and have fun while you take it all in!

Theorem #1: Video game designers and artists spend a lot of time and energy into ma
king game art convey the aspects of the game. This goes beyond themes/colors/styles and can indicate important information about the character, the boss, or the encounter. With that in mind, if you had to choose tanks/damage dealers/healers from below, which one would you pick?

(As an aside, Peach plays a holy priest who spams smite. Don't ask her to heal.)

Once you've made a character, it's time to start playing. That brings me to my next important point: starting areas.

Whether it be Windurst, Elwood Forest, or Yoshi's Island, the game will dump a new character in an area appropriate to learning the new environment and game controls. Here you'll do things like slay monsters for the village guard or collect candles from enemy kobolds in exchange for mittens (or what have you).

Slaying monsters and filching candles doesn't sound very healer-esque, but bear with me. There's more to playing a healer than filling up green bars. This is the opportunity the game is giving a player to learn everything about his character. Go through your spellbook, abilities page, traits list, talent choices: whatever you have available to you has a place in the game, and if you know your abilities inside and out you'll be prepared.

I've made the mistake of dismissing abilities and spells because they "weren't for healing", but Mario would tell me that he needed every ability he could scrape together to face Bowser. Our heroic plumber crawled through sewer pipes, weathered sandstorms, and braved monsters of all kinds with a change of clothes, some reagents, and his wits. Know thyself? That is wisdom, indeed.

You'll need to know your controls if you want to bring your full capability to the table. What that will be for you is up to you, and part of the learning experience is figuring out for yourself what your buttons/controls should be. Mario might suggest that whatever your controls are, you know them well.

Up next is Part II: Brave New World. We'll see you then!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

my other bubbler

I have been doing a random splash of things lately. I'm still raiding ICC10... we've gotten Sindragosa to almost 10%, and we took out the Blood Wing last week. It's bizarre that we waited so long to do it; my progression was Rotface, Festergut, Valithria, then Professor Putricide, but we finally swung by the Princes and Queen. Princes we two-shot, and Queen we didn't spend more than a few attempts on before we got the achievement.

My guild is having the same problems many others face: calling raids to attendance, players quitting or disappearing, and being lucky to get down the farm bosses each week. It's been rough. Before I was conscripted to Healing Harpy, we raided with lots of healers. Now we are running less because we just don't have them on the roster. We're making it work on the nights we get into the raid.

Codi at Moar HPS and Larisa from The Pink Pigtail Inn have some thoughts on the state of the game, and and they say it better than I can.

healing sparkles - penance
and divine aegis are so beautiful and shiny.

I b
rushed off my priest after months of being my enchanting slave, and gave her the noble mission of roflstomping Horde. I did my very first arena last night: we ran 42 matches and won 22 of them on our priest/lock Chronic Pwnitis.

Resto druids/
anything make me sad to fight against, almost enough to make me consider switching to my thick-skinned tree ("for research"). I feel as though perhaps it's something I am doing wrong that druids annihilate us. If we can't burst down the druid's partner in the first ten seconds, the match will last long enough for me to start burning cooldowns again. It will be long and painful, because we will run around until I'm finally forced OOM and then we lose.

I tried staying mana-conservative, but I can't outlast a druid. I tried aggressively mana burning and dispelling hots, but I merely emptied my blue bar. Helplessly I watch those branches wave and dance towards victory.

I was surprised by the variety of skill we ran into. Some losses were taken, hard, by opponents who outplayed us. Some of them outgeared us (I ran into priests with 6,000 mana more than I had). Some of our wins weren't 'earned': I saw players who went matches without using powerful abilities or communicating target-switches. I ran into melee I could kite, giggling at how frustrating I must have been to them, and I watched myself die faster than I could trinket from a rogue or a warrior.

I retired my priest sometime in 3.1, so my gear is a smattering of ilevel 200-213's, but I do have four set Gladiator bonus and almost 900 resilience. I'm not terribly ashamed, since at one point it was pretty nice gear. I am using a different spec than ever before: I went without Inner Focus (which I haven't missed), and I replaced the glyph of Flash Heal (by the gods, I almost called it Flash of Light!) with Glyph of Pain Suppression.

I have to confess, though, how often I don't need Pain Suppression while stunned. I have found that my partner gets focused more often than I do, so I'm buffing him with lots of sparkles. I am still learning, however, and it's possible that if we move into more brackets I'll love glyphed PS. My playstyle leans strongly on the defensive side, I'm still not sure when to mana burn and when to spam dispel without leaving myself wide open. Who knows, maybe I'll figure out when it's right for me to burst, too!