Monday, December 14, 2009

Quick thoughts on patch 3.3

First and foremost, GotE is now a must have talent, imo. The 10% boost to haste is noticeable and necessary for tank and raid healing alike. Go out and get it. Got it? Good.

Secondly, the new looking for group dungeon and raid system seems to have awoken the spirit of the ninja in many previously honest players. The arrival of cross-realm grouping has marked the departure of the only real deterrent for loot ninja’s, which is (err… was) public ridicule. You can whine and complain all you like in your trade chat, but there's no stopping Mr. or Mrs. Ninja from quietly returning to their realm with your loot in tow. My recommendation, unless you are simply farming emblems, is to avoid the nice new LFG utility (and it is indeed nice) whenever possible.

And finally, it seems that two sects have formed on my realm in regards to the first wing of ICC (not counting the hard core bunch). One is the adventurous souls who are willing to bang their head against the instance, gear score be damned, hoping to learn the fights and ultimately counting on skill to get them through. The other being the GS obsessed bunch who've read somewhere that a 5.1k gear score is bare minimum for ICC and thus refuse to even attempt the instance until everyone in their group finishes farming their emblems of frost and triumph.

Personally, I fall into the first group, while it seems the majority of my guild stand firmly in the later. Time will tell if gear requirements are indeed that lofty for this instance, but this tree certainly doesn't intended to wait around for someone else to find out.

Resto druid LFG ICC 10, pst... ;-)

Friday, December 4, 2009

3.3 Patch notes

3.3 Patch notes

There isn’t much to report on the patch notes thus far for resto druids, but there are a few changes that peaked my interest.

Gift of the Earthmother: Redesigned. This talent now increases spell haste by 2/4/6/8/10% and reduces the base global cooldown of Lifebloom by 2/4/6/8/10% instead of its previous effects

GotE might be the most controversial and misunderstood druid talent in the resto tree, but with this change in 3.3, it may now be a no-brainer talent. Five talent points get you a 10% spell haste buff along with a 10% shorter GCD on lifebloom. The “haste cap” may be a thing of the past, but improved haste on all our spells is a giant buff to raiding trees. Is there any down side here?

Glyph of Rapid Rejuvenation: This glyph allows for the druid’s haste to reduce the time between the periodic healing effects of Rejuvenation.”

This is an interesting proposition, especially with the four set bonus allowing Rejuv ticks to crit, but is it better than the other major glyphs? Personally, I’m a swiftmend whore who likes to have that button armed for as long as possible. From a strictly raid healing view, however, it does sound like a powerful glyph to run with.

Rebirth: The cooldown on this spell has been lowered from 20 minutes down to 10 minutes. Cannot be used in Arenas.”

Wow. Just, wow. Basically every druid, in every raid, will have a battle rez up for every encounter. Should we revist the Rebirth glyph and think of our B-Rez as a 100% hp heal? That’s probably going a bit overboard, but still.

Rejuvenation: The base duration on all ranks of this spell is now 15 seconds.”

Blizzard is doing a little house cleaning here. This will have no effect on level 80 raiding druids, but it’s clear from this and other patch notes that Blizzard is revisiting the leveling process, attempting to make it as efficient as possible. Is this continued movement toward easy mode proof that rumors of Cataclysm being the final chapter in WoW are being realized?

Nature's Grace: The tooltip now correctly indicates that it will not be activated from periodic spell critical strikes.”

More house cleaning.

Tranquility: The cooldown on this spell has been reduced to 8 minutes, down from 10 minutes.”

Now, with the Improved Tranquility talent, you’ll be able to cast this party heal every 3.2 minutes. Will we be rethinking our raid group set up in 3.3 to allow this heal to effect tanks and melee? I think the mana cost on this channeled spell still makes it an inefficient heal in a raid environment, but it will be interesting to see if some druids are able to make it work.

Knockbacks no longer dismount players. If on a flying mount, you will be knocked back a short distance before being able to resume flying.”

Hallelujah. There’s nothing more bush league than a fail laser turkey flying around ice crown trying to make toons fall to their deaths by typhooning them off their flying mounts. I’m glad to see Blizzard is making that a thing of the past.

And finally…

The totally revamped dungeon system makes looking for a group as simple as joining a BG. As if the new heroic dungeon emblem system didn’t make gearing up easy enough, you can now queue yourself up to earn those emblems with the click of a button. I’ll save my rant on this topic for another day, but it’s clear Blizzard wants the path to end game completion to be as quick and convenient as possible. Here are some of the highlights…

“Groups using this tool will be able to teleport directly to the selected instance. Upon leaving the instance, players will be returned to their original location. If any party member needs to temporarily leave the instance for reagents or repairs, they will have the option to teleport back to the instance.”

“Players can choose the Random Dungeon option.”

“The Heroic Wrath of the Lich King Daily Random Dungeon option will award two Emblems of Frost no more than once a day.”

“The normal Wrath of the Lich King Daily Random Dungeon option will award two Emblems of Triumph no more than once a day.”

“Continuing to complete Wrath of the Lich King Heroic instances using the Daily Random Dungeon option will award players two additional Emblems of Triumph each time.”

“Random Dungeon rewards will be placed in each player’s inventory automatically upon completion of the dungeon (final boss killed). A pop-up notification will display any rewards earned through the Dungeon System.”

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Healing on the run: Anub'arak

Healing on the run: Anub’arak

Phase 1:

Where to stand – Get your butt to the middle of the room, near an off tank if possible. As always, do not stand in front of the boss.

What to watch for –

1. Nerubian Burrowers! – Two sets of adds will spawn during phase one. The first set will easily be picked up by the off tank and brought to a patch of ice to be dps’d down. The second set of adds, however, is far more dangerous as the off tank will likely have farther to run to pick them up (and the movement slowing affect of the ice patch to deal with as well). You’ll be healing your tanks quite a bit at that point, so don’t be surprised if the adds spawn with you as their target. Do yourself (and your off tank) a favor by stopping your heals and running toward your OT until he/she can gain aggro.

2. Penetrating Cold. – Anub’arak will cast this DoT on random toons (2 in 10 man, 5 in 25 man) throughout phase one. It’s easily healed through, but certainly worth your attention if you’re assigned to raid heals. Keep an eye on your Deadly Boss Mod for this cast.

3. Downtime. – That’s right, I said it. If all goes well in phase one, you’ll likely find yourself with very little healing to do. Only your tanks and a handful of your fellow raiders will need heals, but do NOT get complacent. Damage spikes still occur in this phase and Anub isn’t exactly tickling your main tank. Keep everyone topped off and stay sharp. Phase two will have you (literally) healing on the run.

Phase 2:

Where to stand – You won’t do a lot of standing during phase two. Toons, adds, scarabs, and Anub will all be running around like crazy, and if you’re smart, you will be too. The only advice I can give you is to pay attention to where you are and what’s going on around you.

What to watch for

1. Anub’arak! – Phase two begins when Anub burrows underground, making him invulnerable and wiping all aggro. He will randomly target one of your raid members and chase after them (slowly at first, then gaining speed until he cannot be out run) only stopping when he runs into a patch of ice. If you’re his target (you’ll know by the skull that appears over your head) find the furthest ice patch from Anub and go stand BEHIND it. (Some guides will tell you to stand on the ice, however doing so will slow your run speed and often still results in a damaging hit from Anub.)

If you are NOT Anub’s target, pay attention to who is the target and get out of their way. Also pay attention to where Anub is while underground. Many toons have died from standing in his path and you do not want to suffer the embarrassment of being one of those toons. If you see his spikes coming in your direction, move.

2. Scarabs! – These little buggers don’t hit hard and they don’t have a ton of health, HOWEVER, they do stack a DoT on their target which will eventually make life miserable for your healers. Pay attention to when you’re picking up aggro and start kiting them early. You do not want any stacks of their DoT on you.

3. DoTs! – More times than not, a few toons will end up with a good number of scarab DoTs stacked on them. This DoT lasts 30 seconds and does roughly 1k damage per stack per tick. Add that to Penetrating Cold when Anub reemerges, and a once easy healing fight will now be crazy hectic. If keeping the raid alive is your responsibility, you’ve got your work cut out for you. Heal hard and heal fast. Oh, and more adds will be arriving soon, so expect to have aggro when they appear.

4. Your tanks. – With everyone kiting mobs, moving out of Anub’s way and dpsing the scarabs scattered all over the room, it’s easy to end up out of range of your tanks. Find them BEFORE the end of phase two and HoT them up. Anub’arak will start beating on your MT when it reemerges from underground, whether your healers are ready or not.

5. End of phase. – Phase two ends when Anub reemerges, then it returns to phase one until Anub’s health is under 30 percent. The overlapping of the two phases is the most dangerous part of the fight, so stay on your toes.

Phase 3:

Where to stand – Phase three is tank and spank, with a twist. Stand in range of as many toons as you can.

What to watch for

1. Leeching Swarm! – Anub’s swarm damages everyone in the raid and leeches 10% of their current health every second (returning that health to Anub as a HoT). In other words, your job as a healer is to keep EVERYONE under 50% health without letting them die (except for maybe your tanks who you will likely keep topped off). This fight is tailor made for Resto druids because it basically boils down to HoTs vs. DoTs. Normally I don’t tell my fellow trees how to heal these fights, because everyone has their own build and their own style. In this case, however, I will make an exception. Healing Touch, Nourish, Regrowth and Swiftmend should NOT be used during phase three. Those spells just crit too often and heal too big for this phase. Trust your Rejuvenation and Wild Growth spells to work their magic. Save lifebloom only for spot emergencies and don’t stack more than 1. I know keeping everyone in raid at such low health goes against all your instincts as a healer, but once you get used to all the red health bars on your healing addon, it really isn’t that bad. Think quantity instead of quality in this phase, and it’ll be easier than I make it sound.

2. DoTs and adds. – When phase three begins, any adds that are out or DoTs (like penetrating cold or scarab poison) that are up will still need to be healed through. Don’t be afraid to use a big heal to save a life at this point, but once they’re all down, put those big heals away for good.

Should I freak? – Yessir, you should. This is THE end game encounter (for the moment) so downing Anub’arak is as tough as it gets. This fight truly is a skill check. If you can heal through it, you can heal through anything.