Tuesday, January 25, 2011

talkin to myself (my level 1 self!)

Hi Level 1-Enlynn!

Your name isn't Enlynn yet. It won't be for a long time, but don't be afraid. You've done MMO's before, you know what you're getting into in terms of time invested, commitment, and what-have-you. Don't worry that you aren't really a shaman; you're not. You'll come into your bad healadin self after about 200 levels of other things. And that's alright.

Just about everyone out there says "Don't level as holy/disc/resto!" and they ARE SO RIGHT. But you're going to do it anyways, because you are too stubborn.

But really. If you're not having fun doing something, then don't do it. It's a game, for cryin' out loud, and you don't have to do do every single thing out there just because it's out there. That goes for every abandoned character on all those random servers. You had fun, it wasn't a waste of time.

And for the love of Elune, stop killing shit you don't need for a quest. No such thing as posterity's sake in a video game. l2train!

If you ever gripe that gold is hard to come by, I swear I'll come back in a gnomish time machine and slap you silly.

You'll think you're awesome when you're level 45. And you will be SO WRONG. It's okay, I'll be here when you figure it out. Someday you'll be in a real raiding guild and have a neat mount and all that stuff. No hurry, my dear. No hurry.

(Inspired by Rants of a Priest, Muradinn's Musings, and Dwarven Battle Medic. Join in, this is fun!)


Freedom ain't free, but it's cheap...

Hand of Freedom. It has a short cooldown, dispels a multitude of effects, and--most importantly: costs almost half as much as cleansing. So whenever I can use HoF instead of Cleanse, I will.

It's the paladin way, after all. Why cast a normal ole spell when I can blow a cooldown? Getting rid of the effect just isn't enough when you can make your target IMMUNE for a few seconds and put swirly purple under his feet! (Granted, not too many effects need the following immunity, but still...)

So here is my work-in-progress list for Catclysm Things-That-Can-Be-Freedomized. There's a special page for this list on my side bar, and it will (hopefully) grow as we get new bosses to fight and new debuffs to cleanse.

I am happy, as always, to add to the list because there are things I haven't encountered or tried yet. So feel free to add to the list in the comments below or by sending me a note at enlynn ---- at ----- hotmail ---- dot ----- com.

Note: I had all these awesome ideas for posts and Bossy Pally beat me to a blogroll post with her awesome list, and Janyaa created this great Aura Mastery list. Enjoy!



Blackrock Caverns
A few here you would think could be cleansed by Freedom, but don't. Boo: Shackles, Shadow Prison, and Statis Strike. With names like these, HoF should totally work!

Vortex Pinnacle
stacking poison debuff used by Empyrean Assassins (rogue elemental trash).
Asaad does an ability every 15 or so seconds called Static Cling (you can also jump at the end of Static's cast, but we can safely assume that HoF will still come in handy).

Grim Batol
Twlight Drakes do an ability called Hooked Net that does not show up as dispellable, but your melee will love it if you free them.
Erudax does an ability called Binding Shadows. Sadly, HoF does not remove the debuff (though it will let you move, the ticking damage debuff must be removed via traditional means. Better yet, this can be avoided!)

Halls of Origination

Earthrager Ptah
Dustbone Tormentor, Trash before the Sand-Marrowgar boss does Curse of Exhaustion. Freedom!

The Lifewarden Nymphs before this boss do an effect called Entangling Shot.
Ammunae himself does a debuff called Wither. Your DPS friends will love you if you remove this buff sooner rather than later (this fight is long enough as it is!)

The Void Seekers before this boss can do Anti-Magic Prison makes the target immune to receiving heals. Hand of Freedom works, though it doesn't show up as a magic debuff to be dispelled.



Conclave of the Four Winds. I was disappointed when I tried using HoF for frost trap. No debuffing for us, here, at least on the Frost platform.

Alakir. (Info incoming, my raid group has yet to make any serious attempts on this boss).


Magmaw. No debuffs here that I'm aware of.

Friday, January 21, 2011

did blizzard really get healadins right?

After looking over some logs this week, I realized something. Every encounter heals different.
The Past

The BC and LK design of the Holy paladin was basically to use one or two spells and get a lot of use out of them. This is sort of like the mage dps design, where there aren't a lot of sources of damage, but there are a lot of other factors (cooldowns, procs etc.) that make how you use those spells more interesting. So rather than the paladin having 5 different heals, they pretty much used Flash of Light or Holy Light (depending a little on what gear stats and encounters looked like at the time) but with other spells to boost those heals, such as Beacon of Light and Divine Favor, and then all the paladin support abilities, like the Hands.
Source: Ghostcrawler, post 40

For some fights, Beacon is awesome because it does so much healing.
For others, Beacon is awesome because it helps generate more holy power to use LoD over the raid.
For some, I'm mostly a tank healer with some powerful raid cooldowns.
For others, I'm a raid healer with a powerful hot on the tank.

In some fights, our mastery blows. Others, it ends up being a bit more healing.
In some fights, I'm afraid to use Divine Plea. In others, there's a 'safe' phase to use it on cooldown.
In some fights, I'm twitching for Radiance to go off cooldown so I can use it again. In others, I save it for specific abilities.

Sure, Divine Light is still my go-to single target heal, but Holy Light sees some use if I'm trying to conserve mana. I never cast FoL, but that doesn't mean I'm doing it right.

There's only a couple of things that never change. Judging a lot, Beacon on someone, Holy Shock on cooldown. Everything else depends on the encounter.

Maybe it looks different in 10 mans, but this has been my experience so far in 25's. How do you feel about your paladin? Are your encounters dynamic?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

fun with graphs: maloriak

It's been a pretty great raid week, so far. We have five bosses down. Omni gave us quite a bit of trouble the second time (we got him on Monday and again last night), but these things happen.

If you're having trouble with slimes on Toxi, you can encourage your raiders not to use aggro dumps. Abilities like Hand of Protection, Ice Block, and Feign Death do 'work', but then the slimes will target someone else and they won't get the icon or the raid warning. Chaos!

Then we went and one-shot Maloriak, which was awesome. I decided to take a look at my performance for this guy, since it was kind of messy I figured there would be room for me to improve. I had some fun with my photo program, where I aligned my buffs cast with my healing done and the raid's damage taken.

Bossy Pally and the Giant Spoon has a great write-up for how to use WoL to track your buffs cast. It's a pre 4.0.1, but her directions for navigating logs are still spot-on.

Granted, these alignments aren't perfect but I think they are still close enough to give me a sense for how I was responding to the encounter.

First and most important, this is some weak healadin cooldown management. Could have gotten one more trinket pop, three or four more Ho-Sacs, two more Aura Masteries, and I don't see any HoPs or Salvs (though hops and salvs are situational).

What is this? Why did Beacon fall off for that long? How embarrassing.

I have been saving Avenging Wrath and Divine Favor for specific periods of heavy damage with Holy Radiance. I don't think this is bad, per se, but I could have squeezed out another 2 uses of AW and still had it available for those times I used it for burst raid healing.

Since I ended the fight with more than 20k mana (I think it was more like 40% mana but I don't remember for sure now), I am not too concerned that I did not Divine Plea much. Once 4.0.6 hits, this ability will be a little more usable... but then in an encounter like this one without a lull period, better to judge more and reserve mana than endanger my tank. I had thought these two uses came at a time when my assigned tank had less 3 or 6 adds and we had just recovered from a red phase, although according to the graph I timed the first plea very poorly, the raid was taking quite a bit of damage.

It's not listed above but I judged 34 times, or approximately once every 14 seconds. Not bad at all. I could push it if I needed to. I didn't include that graph, but I'm judging fairly consistently throughout the fight (though I could have judged sooner in the fight to get JotP going).

Our first death was a healer who had Consuming Flames. I could have helped prevent this by focusing him.

I potentially could have used Radiance more than I did, but I did manage to hit it during the four major raid damage spikes of the fight (the fifth spike was tank damage from the burn phase, and my healing spike was LoH from the looks of it).

A quick note on mastery: My mastery absorbs are a bit higher (less nonabsorbs) and make up more of my healing than the last time I wrote about it. I believe this is because my tank was assigned to adds, so the damage was coming in more often in smaller chunks. For bosses that do big hits on a long swing timer, our mastery will (in theory) shine less.

So there it is. I've certainly progressed from standing in Pillars of Fail, there's always room for growth. Hope you enjoyed my performance analysis!

Friday, January 14, 2011

the couple that plays together...

Brief infodump: Lux and I have pretty much been playing games together for a long time. WoW is no exception. We've done most major things together, and our guild is used to achievements popping in twos (and I have to admit, I found it hilarious when we got Two Humps). We even got our level 80 achievement on the same kill in HoS, became Explorers in a bike built for two, and, of course, got just about every raid achievement we've ever earned--together.

Cataclysmic Leveling

So, the new questlines from 80-85 are mildly a pain from a duo-perspective. With heavy phasing and excessive breadcrumbs, we had to be in constant communication. More than once, one of us would take a quest and the quest-giver would disappear or we'd get thrown into a plane and land half-way around the zone. Do you have this quest? Did you get credit for that? You're not on my map anymore, where did you go?

It's not unplayable, by any means, but I think it would be difficult for two players who just wanted to quest together for a session or two to do so. If they weren't on the EXACT SAME LEG of the zone, they wouldn't be able to see each other, let alone get the same quests. Their best bet would be a new zone altogether, or to avoid questing and just queue (oh but which dungeon- do you have this one discovered?)

Lux and I were already used to quest monogamy so it wasn't a big deal for us, though it's annoying to take a quest and have him disappear because I reached a different phase.

Epic... all by myself

For fun, we made some goblins to see the new starting areas. I made (yet another) priest and he made (another) warrior. I was not prepared for how difficult it would be to force lowbie leveling into a team experience.

First, the phasing. I don't think I would have noticed it at all had it not been how many times I looked over at his screen and saw something entirely different. If I were by myself, the phasing would have been seamless and the storyline was really neat. But the starting area for goblins is more like a single player game than an MMO. As such, we spent a lot of time basically doing the same thing in the same place but not at all doing the same thing or in the same place.

Second, the weird way we got credit for things. Some quests functioned like normal, where we only had to slay 10 rats. But there were a lot of quests that, in the rest of Azeroth, we would normally be able to get credit for things together and it just didn't happen that way. We each had to cajole our own party-goers, run down looters, break into the bank, and yes, we did have to blow up the mansion twice in succession (though we each only saw it once).

Some of those I can understand, but some just seemed buggy as all get-out. Really? I need to pull the lever, too? We need to free double the captives? We need to kill this guy again to prove he's dead?

(Granted, it makes more sense that a quest mob would only drop his head once. But then if were were following logic here, why couldn't we just bring his head back together?)

And to make matters worse, it wasn't all the quests that worked that "didn't work", some did work they way they normally do. The ones that didn't were just often enough to keep us in a constant state of confusion. Did you get that? Yeah, I got the combobulator. No, did you get credit for the Goblin Zombie? No... Wait, yeah I did. Er, no. I still need 5. Is that what you need?

Wait, huh? What combobulator?

Our lowbies are level 21 now and even into Azshara we were still dealing with the confusion. (As an aside, I really do think that Blizzard did a fantastic job with new leveling. Both my shaman and priest got abilities in a timely manner, I enjoy the popup at level that tells me what I can train next. Getting a core ability at 10 is really neat, and the talent trees are more fun to level in).

But really, the new questing paradigm at low levels has been more like each of us playing our own game in the same room than us playing together. Really, Blizzard, you want us to escort the same caravan... again? Not fun.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

feeling illuminated?

I've been avoiding mastery (Illuminated Healing) on my gear for a while. Skada was estimating my mastery at less than 5% of a boost to my healing, as opposed to the extremely visible boosts that critical strike and haste offer. I figured, without the math, that with only our direct heals causing the bubble, and with the duration being short enough that not every bubble gets absorbed, it's going to be a pathetic amount of healing.

And at first glance it is, because Beacon of Light, Prot
ector of the Innocent, and Holy Radiance don't cause bubbles, and those account for a brickload of my healing.

First, the log: WoL report for Four Lights Conclave Kill

Second, some rough math. I added together all my direct heals,
including overheal. We're including on this list: Flash of Light, Holy Light, Divine Light, Word of Glory, Light of Dawn, and Lay on Hands (though I didn't cast any FoL). That's total effective direct healing of 1,302,129 and total direct raw healing of 1,451,189.

Third, my mastery. Like I said, I've been avoiding mast
ery when possible. According to my armory, I am currently carrying 8.89 mastery rating (8 base, .89 from gear). Each point of mastery rating adds 1.25% to each bubble. 10 base +(.89*1.25)=11.1125. So, each direct heal should in theory proc a bubble of 11.1125%.

In Theory

Total raw direct healing of 1,451,189 should proc 161,227 in bubbles.

In Practice

According to WoL, I had potential absorbs of 161,000 (listed to the far right as Overhealing). So my napkin math and WoL haven't disagreed too much there. Below, I am using 161,000.

However, in practice, I only had 105,
818 absorbs via Illuminated Healing, or 65.73% of total potential bubbles. 55,182 (34.27% of every bubble) went to waste. Instead of enjoying 11.1125% absorbs, it's practically closer to 7.3%. Which isn't actually as bad as I had imagined it before, though still nothing to cheer about. WoL ranks Illuminated Healing as 3.9% of my healing because a good half of my heals don't proc it.

Tank Healing And Mastery

If what I've done above isn't convoluted enough, I decided to take a look at absorbs on just the tanks. After all, if Mastery helps us be better tank healers, then it's still a good stat. However, to do the modeling, I had to take a look at all holy paladin heals on each tank, all effective absorbs on the tank, each paladin's mastery, and extrapolate potential absorbs (the things I do for WoW...)

However, what I found is that (and here's a shocker) since most of our direct heals our going to the tanks, most of our wasted bubbles are on the tanks (68% effective, comp
ared to almost 66% overall).

In summary, I am going to keep my eye on my mastery in other encounters, but crit, spirit, and haste are going to offer me far more healing than Mastery (can and) will.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

status: total flux

This is a turbulent time. The changes made to 10 and 25 man raids, shared lockouts, and equalized gear have forced changes upon guilds and raiders alike. The announcements of 25 guilds going to 10s has rippled throughout trade chat and the blogosphere. I see displaced raiders looking for new homes, as well as new waves of players who are going to raid for the first time.

The first tier of an expansion can be difficult for guilds. Players on the roster are either finding they didn't have time to level and just aren't ready to raid yet, or perhaps the changes to their class/game were just too much and now they have no desire to play. There are also lots and lots of new guilds recently formed. With 10-man raids gaining new viability, there are room for more guilds, but that also means that lots are recruiting right now.

If you're looking for a home, or if you're looking for fresh meat, I imagine you're not alone.

Bonus for the Guild:

Getting players geared up to raid right now is easy. Most BiS gear is from heroics, rep, and crafted. A player need not set foot in a raid just yet to perform at an acceptable level. At worst, they are a few weeks behind your best-geared folks. At best, they may even have a boss kill you haven't gotten yet.

Bonus for the Player:

It's a good time to be a healer. (Then again, isn't it always?)

Even if you aren't a healer, it's still easy to put together an impressive gear set. You don't have to raid to get geared up, you don't have to dump thousands of gold into epic gems, and you don't need an impressive list of current tier boss-kill achievements. Cataclysm is a clean slate for raiders who want to get started now, and a guild will be more focused on your recent activity (how you've jumped into five mans and learned your new class mechanics) more so than how you did SWP years and years ago.

Do you have a point, Enlynn?

Not really, but I do have a word of caution. If you're looking for a new home, one of the biggest flags on a guild application is this deceptively simple question: Why did you leave your guild?

Quantify the Fail

Blanket statements like "they suck" or "raiding this tier was too easy" sound just as bad for the applicant as they do for their current guild. Try to come up with something objective, it doesn't even have to be major. Instead of "they waste too much time", try instead: on this WoL report, we made 6 progression attempts in 3 hours, which isn't enough for me. Instead of "they don't kick the baddies", say: players are allowed to raid with pvp talents and resilience gear, or even: in this WoL report, we hit the enrage timer five times while the same three players consistently get killed by the same mechanic for a fight we have been working on for six weeks.

If you caught that I said "we" instead of "they", well, it looks professional on a player when they can identify that they belonged to the group even while the group failed. In my extremely humble opinion.

And do you think I'm making up the "this tier was a joke"? I wish I were. And unless you can say with certainty that the guild you're applying to had absolutely no problems with said tier, you could be bringing up painful memories of a raid that was NOT easy for reasons that had nothing to do with the fight mechanics. No matter how simple an encounter is to execute, we will remember its difficulty by the emotions we felt while learning it. Things like guild drama, recruitment problems, even RL strain make stronger impressions on past raiding experiences than how tight the enrage timer is.

If you have never raided and want to get started now, I have a word of encouragement. Jump in, and put yourself out there. This is a new game for everyone. Players with lots of raid experiences will, indeed, pick up on new mechanics pretty quickly, but everyone is still learning. What you've done with your character in the past month counts for a lot, and it's a good idea to use that as a selling point.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

pillar of fail

First raids this week. We're squeaking by on healers, running with 6 when we'd like 7, and two of those are dps who offered to heal just so we could raid. Three cheers for flexible hybrids!

Adgamorix over at Divine Plea has a fine write-up on his own raiding experiences and how he'd like to improve.

Myself, my logs are here: Conclave - my damage taken over 2-1/2 hours of wipes
and here: in which Enlynn takes 58 ticks of Pillar of Flame over 19 attempts

Alright. I'm still feeling pretty clunky. I haven't keybound Radiance but I think I need to. Perhaps I need a macro for Bursty or Two +Radiance, as well. I am wasting valuable time trying to get to the button when I decide it's time.

Though I think I'm doing okay with my other spells. LoD is ridiculous in a good way. A lightwell disappeared from getting full clicks last night! Though with only 9 Healthstone uses over 19 attempts... Well. There's room for everyone to improve. We're raiding again for the first time in weeks, maybe months. Everyone is learning. New encounters, new mechanics, new spells, new talents, new rotations.

And to be fair, on 25 man it's a lot harder to see ground effects like Pillar of Flame when there are 16 players stacked over 3 healing effects. I did learn something valuable: boss encounter addons work much better if you have them enabled.

I am using DBM now simply because I can't get DXE to work. I miss DXE and if anyone has a link to one that works for the new encounters, it would be MUCH appreciated.

EDIT: I should have mentioned that there are "two" pillars of flame. The first will spawn the adds, which is the one-that-must-be-avoided, and another (larger area) which does fire damage. If you are using an addon that tracks and announces fails, it will announce it for those who take damage (even if they don't spawn the adds). So while I am shaming myself for 58 ticks of avoidable damage, I didn't necessarily spawn adds 58 times. If you're trouble-shooting for your raid, keep that in mind. I'd only call it a fail if the adds are spawned.

UPDATE: Adgamorix suggested we move more ranged to melee range and on 1-12-11 we got him down following his good advice. We put our hunters and a lock (who had specced to be an AoE monster) on the outside and this worked out a lot better than having everyone try to dodge the pillar. It also kept all our healers in range of tank at all times, and I asked the healers to each focus on one of the ranged staying out so they got the extra heals as needed (that may have been overkill, but boss kills are boss kills). So, this definitely works!