Glow's branches

Ramblings of a resto druid

Monthly Archives: March 2011

HoT haste breakpoints

I’ve been lucky enough to pick up a couple of extra pieces of gear over the last two weeks, so thought I might have another look at whether I should aim for the next major haste breakpoint for druids, ie: 2005.

(There’s LOTS of great literature out around about this, but here are some starters from some of my favourite druids. Windsoar has a nice representation of how hasted hot ticks work here, in her discussion of haste v mastery. Keeva sums it up well in restodruid.info’s resto cheat sheet, and goes deeper in the stat priority guide.  And Tangedyn pulls out the elegant theory-crafting for a full breakdown here.)

So. Can I make the breakpoint, and get the extra tick of Wild Growth? (And Efflorescence when I respec in 4.1.)

Testing it out

My options for working this out include:

  • spending the gold reforging/regemming in-game or
  • copying my character over to the PTR (where gems can be stupidly expensive anyway)
  • using Hamlet’s TreeCalcs (I’d use his spreadsheet and play with the numbers in there)
  • using Char Dev

I’m at work, so I’m going for the quick-and-dirty option of CharDev.

Importing Glowberry in her current state, and I have a haste rating of 1108. I’ve been focussing on mastery, as until recently my gearing wasn’t high enough to hit the 2005 mark without reforging/regemming everything to haste. I was actually much closer to the lower breakpoint, but picked up Passive Resistor Spaulders recently, and haven’t forged off the haste to mastery yet.

Ok, so currently:

glow's current stats

This is with a reforging strat of all haste/crit to mastery until lower break point, anything else I can’t reforge into mastery, reforge to spirit, and gemming prioritising  int/mastery.

Result:

  • haste: 1108
  • mastery: 1637
  • spirit: 2166
  • mana: 103465

So lets shoot for more haste. This time I reforged crit/mastery/spirit to haste where possible and then and spirit/crit I couldn’t reforge to haste, I reforged to mastery. I also changed my gemming to prioritise haste:

Aiming for more haste #1, and reforging spirit

Result:

  • haste: 2015
  • mastery: 1633
  • spirit: 1476
  • mana: 99719

Yay! I made it. I actually didn’t have to go silly with gemming to reach this. I still met +20 socket bonuses, and just replaced yellows/prismatic with Quick, reds with Reckless, and any crappy socket bonuses with Quick. No enchanting changes.

But ouch. I lost a huge chunk of Spirit in order to maintain the same level of Mastery. (As well as a bit of int, but I expected that.)

Okay so. What if I abandon the spirit part of my reforging plan? What if I still reforge crit/mastery to haste where possible, but only reforge crit to mastery on items with haste, and leave the spirit alone?

This is what I get:

Aiming for haste #2, leaving spirit alone

Result:

(This is a bit rough, as I went back later to try this strategy. So I think I chose slightly different gems, but the outcome is roughly the same.)

  • haste: 2051
  • mastery: 1278
  • spirit: 2136
  • mana: 98980

Okay so I can keep roughly the same Spririt level but lose out on Mastery as expected.

Conclusions

Well a number of conclusions:

  1. I can easily reach the haste 2005 break point without mindlessly replacing every gem and reforge with straight haste, so this is good.
  2. I’ll be sacrificing some int, which is to be expected as I have quite a few Brilliants at the moment that would go, in favour of haste/haste blend gems. But the int loss isn’t as bad as I thought it might be.
  3. I can get the haste breakpoint while either sacrificing a chunk of spirit or a chunk of mastery (or somewhere in between). I hadn’t considered this before.

Where to from here?

We’re currently working on Cho’Gall, where mana is definitely an issue for me late in the fight, so if I do reforge/regem for tonight’s raid, it would be with the spirit-heavy strategy.

This is my healing from our best Cho’Gall attempt:

Glow's healing on Cho'Gall

I’m 10 man tank healing, splashing around raid healing as usual.

Argh at tank swapping fights and my hideous low LB uptime. Argh at only 8 Swiftmends, what was I *doing*? And 40 Regrowths?! wtf!?

ANYWAY, pretending that I was doing a good job here for one moment, the main thing to note is the usual pattern for me: WG and RJ are my highest heals. So on one hand the extra tick from WG would be great, on the other hand I’ll be losing a big chunk of mastery. And based on previous mastery analysis in a similar role, I tend to make pretty high use of my mastery.

Sigh.

I’m really not sure, should I wait for 4.1 to drop, and see what the new Efflorescence brings before I do this? Or should I jump right in and see how I go with it on what (for us) is progression content?

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Druid healing in 4.1 – thoughts

I’ve been looking at the changes coming in for druid healing in 4.1, and reading/thinking about how they will change how I heal. So time for some crystal ball gazing.

Change

  • Efflorescence has a new spell effect.
  • Efflorescence has been redesigned. It creates a healing zone at the feet of a Swiftmend target, but this healing zone now restores health equal to 4/8/12% of the amount healed by Swiftmend to the three most injured targets within 8 yards, every 1 second for 7 seconds. This periodic effect now also benefits from spell haste, but the individual ticks cannot be critical effects.
  • In addition, Living Seed is no longer a prerequisite talent for Efflorescence.

Impact

The combination of the ground clutter and the lacklustre performance of the spell are why I dropped the 6 points from this and Living seed a while back. The new spell graphics are a lot more ground-friendly but more importantly, the switch to this being a smart heal give it a lot more appeal.

Aaand, I might look again at whether I want to push for more haste, especially when I’m purely raid healing. Hitting the 2005 haste break point would mean an extra tick from WG and from Efflo. I’m in a ten man guild, so I’m still not sure whether I’m better off sitting on my mastery oriented current gearing, but I’m looking forward to experimenting with it and seeing what it brings.

I’ll be avoiding those points in Living seed. My usual role in raids is either pure raid healing or offtank healing with splash raid healing,  so I’ve found Living seed to be of little benefit in my healing tool kit, and haven’t  taken it for a while. It will be nice to get Efflo without LS. 🙂

Change

  • Lifebloom’s bloom effect has been reduced by 20%.

Impact

I tend to only let Lifebloom ‘bloom’ in emergency situations (or during tree) and currently don’t take any more points in GoTEM than I have to, so I doubt I’ll see much difference here.

Change

  • Nature’s Swiftness: When activated, your next Nature spell with a base casting time less than 10 sec. becomes an instant cast spell. If that spell is a healing spell, the amount healed will be increased by 50%.

Impact

Ok this is starting to look a bit tastier. I loved NS back in vanilla as a tank saver (omg NS rotations on Maexxna 1.0)  but it’s slipped further and further into the doldrums with each increase in tank health. This will give it a bit more bang for buck, especially with my current mastery-focussed gearing. Looking forward to trying this out and having ye olde NSHT macro back on my bars.

Change

  • Malfurion’s Gift now reduces the cooldown of Tranquility by 2.5/5 minutes.
  • Druids now innately have 100% pushback protection from damage while channeling Tranquility.

Impact

Well, this is the big much-talked about change in the druid community. Is the change designed to ‘bring it on par’ with power word barrier? Does this mean it’s our ‘new cooldown’? Does this mean we can say goodbye to a ‘proper raid cooldown’ or tank cooldown? Will it just mean other healers point at the healing meters and cry that we’re ‘once again OP’? Doesn’t it just enhance a very ‘undruidy’ spell that requires us to stand still for 8 seconds?

While there’s lots of speculation about the intent of this, and what it means for the long term future of druids in (especially heroic) raid content, I am actually looking forward to it, and planning where I can use it effectively. The pushback resistance is great, now I can just WG, TQ, WG without deciding whether to slide a barkskin in there. Should be fun 🙂

Change

  • Raise Ally has been redesigned to be a battle resurrection, analogous to Rebirth. It is instant cast, but costs 50 Runic Power to use, and has a 10-minute cooldown. It shares the same global battle resurrection cap with Rebirth and Soulstone.
  • A dead player can now be resurrected by targeting them using the Party or Raid Frame even if they have released. No more hunting for corpses.

Impact

These are just nice additions.  It will be great having another brez in our (10 man) raid, especially as it means I can be rezzed now sometimes, other than as a ghoul!

The raid frames is a bit of an ‘oh, FINALLY’ reaction for me – but I’m still wondering whether us night elves will get our corpses back when we release – and whether we’ll be considered to be ‘out of range’ for that reason. We’ll see.

In conclusion

I’ll be respeccing, probably something like this:

I can see that with this and the shaman changes, Blizzard are looking a bit closer at what the we’re bringing to the table apart from our raw healing output. It will be interesting to see how far they go with that – I’d hate to see a healer homogenisation go too far.

In the short term I’m looking forward to experimenting with a different spec, and hoping it can help our guild push a bit further in our current endeavours.

Soloing heroic Halls of Lightning

Another weekend heroic, this time Halls of Lightning. Slowly whittling away at my list.

Usual set up: feral tank spec and gear, ilvl 346 or thereabouts. The clear took about 30 minutes, I avoided a fair bit of trash.

Trash

The trash in here was fairly easy, although a bit painful in the first few groups, what with disengaging and knocking back aplenty. I cleared the right hand arc of the entry area, so I could engage Bjarngrim without picking up adds.

I then cleared through the Slag gauntlet, pulling them up to the stairs. Their death explosions don’t dent the lvl 85 health pool.

Clearing the Slag.

The I cleared the first elemental pack, but stealthed past the rest – they didn’t present much of a challenge, and I wanted to push on.

Onto the ‘statue’ corridor after Volkhan. The Siegebreakers fear when they die. I cleared the first group, and tried stealthing past the second. But they pop into life anyway, and still aggroed on me. So I cleared the rest.

In the last large room after Ionar, I cleared the entry golems and one pack of Stormforged guys, but basically stuck to the right hand wall, and you can avoid most of this room at 85, even without stealth. Just keep an eye on the patrols.

Bosses

None of the bosses presented particular issues. I tanked them all in bear form, and I didn’t need mitigation cooldowns – so any tank class (and probably lots of other nontanks) could solo them.

General Bjarngrim

As I stated above, I cleared the area. I pulled him with his lieutenants then popped beserk, and killed them before moving onto him. Whether he was in berserker or defensive stances, he didn’t do much damage.

How can it be? Flesh is not... stronger...

Admittedly, I didn’t try him when he was lightning charged,. It would have been less waiting for him to patrol, but I wasn’t sure how I’d go. I think it would have been fine.

Volkhan

Another easy tank and spank. I ignored his adds and just single targeted him down.

The master was right... to be concerned...

I guess because I ignored the adds, they didn’t ever get low enough for him to shatter them. I spent spent the whole fight ready to step away from the adds, but never needed to.

Ionar

Again simple tank and spank, except for his dispersion. Once he dispersed, I kited the sparks down the centre of the stairs and then back up the side wall, so I didn’t get any stacks.

I'm in there somewhere...

But because it was just me, I spent the whole fight with the annoying dot going –  I was on about half health by the time he died.

Loken

And lastly, another easy ye olde tanke and spanke. I didn’t run out for nova, just barkskinned the first and SIed the second – but to be honest all of that was unnecessary.

Loken sharp today Larry!

And that’s that! Possibly the easiest of all of the wrath heroics I’ve yet attempted.

Soloing heroic Ahn’kahet: The Old Kingdom

More free time on my plate, so back to soloing stuff! Working down my soloing list sequentially, which mean Old Kingdom was today’s project.

Entrance to the Old Kingdom

Usual set up: feral tank spec and gear, ilvl 346 or thereabouts.

Trash

Trash was fairly trivial…. except for the Spell flingers. They do an attack that does 80% of your max health, so if you accidentally aggro two groups, you will probably die. I aggroed two groups. I died.

Two of these and you're toast.

The rest was pretty easy. The entrance watchers are stealth detectors, so even if you’re a stealther you’ll need to clear these guys. Lots of the rest of the trash was avoidable just by walking around it.

Bosses

The bosses were all easy…. except for Taldaram.

Elder Nadox

I went bear and single targeted him and swiped/thrashed the small adds as the arrived. Once the guardians arrive, switch to them and kill them, then back to the boss. Didn’t take much damage so he was easy.

Elder Nadox

No druid loot though, woe! 😉

Prince Taldaram

Ok Taldaram was tough. I tanked him in bear form.

Possibly I should have started popping cooldowns earlier to keep my health high  so I didn’t run out of cooldowns late in the fight. His channelling is nasty with noone to break you out. Not deadly, just an unmitigatable dot and a humiliating posture.

It's not what you think! We were just hugging.

Yes well. Humiliating. But I did kill him so I guess I get the last laugh. Poor bear though 😦

Jedoga Shadowseeker

Jegoda was fine. I tanked her in bear then popped into kitty when she called a supplicant. Still, I only just killed the supplicant in time – it probably wouldn’t have mattered if I didn’t, she didn’t do much damage herself.

Jedi bosses. Gotta love them.

I stayed out of her lightning patches and just burned her down in bear form.

Amanitar

He was really easy. So easy in fact that the door bell rang and I had to afk for a while.

Mushrooms.... many many mushroooms.

Didn’t need cooldowns, just tanked him next to a healthy mushroom and broke it whenever I was shrunk. Though tiny bears are pretty cute 🙂

Herald Volazj

Lastly Mr Mind Control. Except not, as it was just me. He channelled Insanity at his 66% and 33% marks, but there was no insanity for me.

He whispers to me about my guild. "Those who dine on lost souls..."

Once I realised I could skull bash ll of his mind flays, he was a simple tank and spank.

So that’s it, one more wrath heroic down, and yet again it was the San’layn prince that was the hard part.

New druid guide – aggro!

I’ve just finished the text for a new druid guide about managing healing aggro. You can find it in the Druid guide menu above, or here.

It’s basiaclly a five man guide – though much of it would be useful for a new druid healer in raid fights with adds like Maloriak or … =thinks= … =draws blank= Wow, Blizzard have really cut back on add fights. 😉

In any case, I hope it’s useful for new druids, as well as any healers struggling in instances where they are  grappling with new-found friends unwanted aggro during combat.

Images to come, it’s a bit text-y at the moment.

In any case, enjoy!

More quiet busy-ness

Been away for work for a few days, so not much WoW activity and not much bloginess. I have been working on the first of my ‘Druid healing – advanced’ pieces to follow on from my basics guide. The first part will be about managing healer aggro and that’s about three quarters done so should be up in the next day or so.

A close look at mana potions

Managing mana is one of the fun things about healing that I’m glad Blizzard have added back into our game.

There’s a school of thought that any mana left at the end of a fight is mana wasted, and that if you’re managing your mana well you should be using every consumable, cooldown and trinket available to you to squeeze every last heal out by the end of the fight.

Well. The main game is beating the boss. Our role in that is to keep people alive, but if I can’t do that because I’m doing my utmost but running out of mana then I need to take stock of the consumables and cooldowns I’m using and make sure I’m optimising that.

So a close look at the three mana return potions available:

  • Mythical mana potion
  • Mysterious potion (alchemists only)
  • Potion of concentration

I’ll review these below, using their raw numbers, not adding in any alchemists bonus in order to keep it simple and generally applicable. It doesn’t change the *relative* value of these potions.

The options

Mythical mana potion: Restores 9250 to 10750 mana. (1 Min Cooldown) (Average = 10000 mana)

The stock-standard mana potion. As with all potions, useable once per fight. It doesn’t matter when you use this, as long as you have a deficit of at least 10750 mana and you aren’t in the middle of an innervate (or mana tide or similar) that will overfill your blue bar.

Mysterious potion: Restores 1 to 30000 health and 1 to 15000 mana. (1 Min Cooldown) (Average = 7500 mana)

This is an alchemist-only potion, and in any case unless you are after an instant health boost as well, doesn’t seem worth it. Also, as the range of possible returns is so large, it’s not something you can rely on. And reliability is a huge factor when we want mana back and want it back now. (But it is cheap to make if that matters to you.)

Potion of concententration: Puts the imbiber in an elevated state of concentration where they can restore up to 22000 mana over 10 sec, but they are defenseless until their concentration is broken. (1 Min Cooldown)

This delivers more than twice as much mana as the standard potion…. but what’s all of the defenselessness about?!

Concentration

The concentration potion puts you to sleep for 10 seconds. Anything that would break spell casting, like moving, being stunned, silenced etc will break the effect. While you sleep you regenerate 22000 mana. If your concentration gets broken half way through, you will have regenerated about half of that. Clearly the best way to use this potion is to get 10 seconds worth of sleep out of it, and hence the full 22000 mana.

“But hang on, Glow!” you’re saying. “When can I afford to sleep for ten seconds?! The raid will burn to death, the tank will die, and the other healers will point at me in rightful indignation!”

This is a good question. When can you afford to sleep for ten seconds?

When to sleep

Any time that you don’t need to move for 10 seconds, and your heal assignment isn’t taking much damage. If it’s a possibility for another healer to cover for you in that time, chat with them about it before the pull and see if it’s okay, then call over Vent when you’re about to take the potion.

Some specific times I use mine:

Magmaw: During vulnerability phase. This is a no brainer. Raid damage can be heavy on magmaw, plus I keep HoTs rolling on the tank, so I often have mana issues on this encounter. I innervate early on, and usually use my concentration potion in the second vulnerability.

Maloriak: During a blue phase. This will depend on your role and the random order of the phases. My role for the fight is healing the add tank, and off-healing the raid. If the second round of blue/red has blue first, my add tank will not have adds yet, and the raid damage is light, and I don’t need to move, so I can safely sleep knowing the other raid healer will cover the iceblock targets.

Chimaeron: During feud. Yes, you read that correctly, during feud. I’m tank healing for Chimaeron (I’m guessing lots of druids reading this are too). For the first feud I pop WG Tranquility WG and innervate myself. For the second feud our shadow priest pops hymn and PoHs. I throw a WG, sleep for 10 sec and then start hotting up the tanks.

Snoozing during Feud

I haven’t used Potions of concentration in Bastion, all of the bosses there have so much movement that I haven’t seen a good ‘window’. Open to suggestions though 🙂

In summary

If you haven’t tried sleeping during raids yet – it’s time to start! Quite a few of the BWD fights have healer ‘downtime’ phases where movement isn’t critical, so look for an opportunity to use a Concentration potion. And discuss it with your other healers, you might find it helps to coordinate when you’re each sleeping. Nothing like a nap rotation 🙂