Glow's branches

Ramblings of a resto druid

Category Archives: healing

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?

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.

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 🙂

Quietly busy

I haven’t posted for a few days, but I have been busily updating the blog stealthily in the background.

I’m currently working on a guide to druid healing. Sigh. I know it adds to the huge waving sea of information out there, but my concern is that there isn’t much that’s pitched at absolute newcomers to the spec/class. With that in mind I’m currently shaping up a two part guide:

1. Resto druid healing for absolute beginners: including

  • one sample talent build with a brief rundown of talents,
  • our key healing spells described in plain language,
  • a simple strategy for healing 5 man dungeons, and
  • simply key binding and ui tips

2. Resto healing, the details: including

  • managing mana,
  • tank and raid healing strategies for raids, and
  • setting up raid frames/macros

Not surprisingly, this is taking me a while.

I’ll  post the first part soon (hopefully over the weekend) as that’s nearly done; I just need to add some screenshots and flesh out the last section a little. Writing this to be as short and simple as possible is a challenge, especially when I love the class/spec and tend to ramble when I let myself loose.

The second section I’m mainly writing for self-indulgent reasons. I know there’s already lots of detailed druid guides out there,  but I don’t want my ‘simple’ guide to be seen as all there is, so the need to flesh this out in a second ‘chapter’ compels me.

So in summary: watch this space, especially if you have a friend/alt/offspec interested in dipping toes into the pond of resto druid healing for the first time.

Healing Atramedes 10 man – resto druid thoughts

Atramedes has two phases, a ground phase and an air phase. He starts out on the ground, and this is the most healing intense phase. He stays on the ground for 80 seconds then takes off. His air phases lasts for 40 seconds, and in general that will be a good regen phase for us healing. He then lands again and repeats this until he dies.

Atramedes has an unusual mechanic in that he is a ‘blind’ dragon and uses sound to feel out his prey (us!). When you engage him you get a sound indicator showing if you’ve tripped any of his sonar pulses, and the higher your sound indicator the more damage you take from his attacks (because he knows more accurately where you are… or something.) If you reach 100 sound, he knows exactly where you are and erases you with his magical fire (or something… anyway – you die.) So the aim is to avoid as many of his sound based attacks as possible.

We position like this:

Atramedes - ground phase positioning

The  yellow circle is Atramedes, the skull is Atramedes’ face munching on our main tank. We have a tight ranged camp shown in the green circle and a loose melee group ranged around Atramedes’ rear quarters.

When I heal this fight, my role is raid healing and keeping hots rolling on our tank.

Phase 1:

Atramedes during his ground phase has a number of abilities that you’ll need to watch for as a raid/tank healer.

  • Modulation: this is a room wide aoe pulse. Everyone will take about 40k damage and gain a little bit of sound (7 sound level). I throw out a Wild growth after each modulation, and a RJ on anyone that’s really low.
  • Sonar Pulse: 3 or 4 little disks of sound will emerge from Atramedes and travel fairly slowly radially otwards. They are aimed at a player when they spawn, but they don’t deviate from there path once the player moves. We have the melee fairly spread to make it easier to avoid theirs since they are close, and the ranged staying tightly bunched so we can side step the pulses pretty much as a group. This positioning is also to help us with his next ability:
  • Sonic breath: this is a breath weapon that targets a specific raid member. Atramedes turns to face the Sonic breath  target, then after a second or so starts breathing sound at them. This is a bad bad thing to stand in. We have range targets of the strafe right, while the rest of us step left a little. I throw a RJ on the strafer as they run off, in case they get a tick of sound/damage. This is the main thing that causes wipes for us, when things go wrong with the breath kiting, sound levels of the raid can get very high.
  • Searing flame: (I like to call this “Searrrring FLAME!!!” because Atramedes has a funky voice) this is a raid-wide aoe that is interrupted using the gongs. Be aware that one or two pulses of this can go ou depending on the latency of your gong-ponger.  Also, it does more damage to those whose sound is high – so it helps to know who in the raid have high sound and throw them an extra heal going into the Searing flame.

I tend to save my tranquility for when the raid damage is high and you’ve just had a sonic breath/sonar pulse so you know you won’t have to move.  Use treeform early though, you’ll probably get 2 or three opportunities to go tree, depending how long your kill takes.

Phase 2:

Once he takes off, we scatter to the edges of the room, like this:

Atramedes - Air phase positioning

In this diagram, X is the initial sonic breath target, and star is the designated gong-ringer.

Duting his air phase, Atramedes continues to try to ‘locate’ (ie: kill) your raid, using these abilities:

  • Sonar pulse: more pulsing yellow circles to avoid, this time indicating where a sound missile is about to land. Everyone needs to stay out of these as much as possible.
  • Sonic breath: he targets this at a raid member a couple of seconds after taking off (variously reported to be the person with the highest sound, but this is hard to predict).  Again, the breath needs to be kited, but unlike his ground phase, he doesn’t stop casting it, AND it gets faster and faster AND it leaves a trail of fire on the ground. The fire does a bit of damage, and leave a (dispellable) dot. The fire is not a major worry unless people are already low on health, and there are lots of gaps in the fire trails. However the Sonic breath IS an issue.

In the air phase, the Sonic breath is interruptable by a gong, and our strategy is to have another designated gong-ponger that has a form of speed boost. We have variously used a rogue, a shaman or a druid or a worgen (or combinations thereof). As a druid, I can’t use Dash on every air phase, as it has a 3 minute cooldown, but the air phases are two minutes apart. So when we use druid kiting, we alternate with another kiter for each air phase.

Atramedes takes flight

Breath kiting:

Kiting is fun! When I kite, just before Atramedes takes off, I pop into kitty form and wander over to a gong on the far side of the room (eg star in our diagram above). Atramedes’ breath target is announced, and I watch that person run away from the big laser beam of death. When I think they are getting a bit close, I use the gong beside me and start moving off around the edge of the room.

The beam takes a while to get to you, but it will ‘appear’ where you were, so I don’t wait for it, I start moving as soon as I click. I’m zoomed a fair way out so I can see how close it’s getting. Once I feel it’s starting to catch up, then I pop Dash, and keep running around rim of the room.

As a guide, if I ring the gong where star is in my example diagram, I’m usually around about where X is before I pop Dash. And I’m usually around to where the green tank symbol is by the time Atramedes lands again, and the beam is getting a bit close, but not dangerously.

Phase 1 again:

So now it’s back to ground phase, with the added complication of that fire from the air phase still being on the ground.

Our ranged once again cluster up, finding a ‘safe spot’ fairly clear of fire. If we need to kite Sonic breath through existing fire, sobeit. Make extra sure you have a hot or two on the breath kiter in ground phases from now on, as they may be taking extra damage.

That’s it! Rinse and repeat three or four times and you’re done.

The Atramedes experiment fails

New treeform animation

So I discovered this today while healing a heroic. How did I miss this patch note….?