Prepping For Raid: Into the Fires of Blackrock Foundry

Greetings and salutations, everyone, and congratulations on making it through another Monday!  As January swiftly draws to a close, ending the second full month of Warlords, we have time to reflect back on all that we’ve accomplished so far- which, for us raiders, is the completion of one or more difficulties of Highmaul.  For my raid team (so far), that is 7/7N and 6/7H (hopefully 7/7H this weekend!)  And as Highmaul draws to a close, as Imperator Mar’gok lies dead at your collective feet, the sound of drums echoes in our ears, as our senses are filled with the impressions of hot iron, burning coal, and the oppressive heat of an everburning forge.

That’s right.  Next week, the Blackrock Foundry raid opens up in Normal and Heroic difficulties, and with it comes new challenges, bosses and the first official Tier of the expansion.

Oh.  And Blackhand the Destroyer.

Lord of the Foundry
Lord of the Foundry

Gird your loins, folks, because Blackhand has a whole slew of new baddies for us to bang our heads off of and- eventually- take down, including Blackhand himself (I hope his fight and death are more satisfying than Ner’zhul’s- whom I am convinced is not dead- and Kargath’s.)

But before you charge off to The Pit in Gorgrond, you should make sure you and your raid are as prepared as you possibly can be!  So here are some suggestions to make your first forays into Blackrock Foundry more successful!

Prepping for Raid: Into the Fires of Blackrock Foundry

1. Get your 690 ring.  There is absolutely no excuse for you not to have it- just like I said in my Prepping for Highmaul guide.  You have had plenty of time to collect your 125 Abrogator Stones in LFR, and the follow on quests aren’t nearly as difficult as the “lets go kill the spirit of a dead dragon” thing you had to do to get your 680.  Get it.  There’s still plenty of time to finish off your ring!  You have a week!

2.  Make sure your internet connection is solid.  Even filthy casuals can’t stand it when a member of their raid constantly DCs.  It just makes everyones’ lives more difficult- it still counts you as there (so the boss’s increased health is still there) but now, whatever role you’re filling is NOT BEING FILLED.  No DPS, no heals, no tanking.  We’re not asking you to have the best internet you can get- we’re asking you to check your router before raid, make sure the kids aren’t downloading anything while you’re raiding, keep the cat away from the wires, etc.

3.  If your FPS are an issue- even with spell graphics turned all the way down- its time to upgrade or fix your shit.  No, you cannot raid at 10 FPS, and don’t try to tell me you can.  You can’t.  You’ll miss things, you’ll end up standing in shit and making healers waste mana on you, you’ll miss a vital interrupt or otherwise not be able to perform at your best.  Do us all a favor- fix your video card, invest in a new one, or sit out until you can improve your framerates.  We are trying to clear content.  If we can do this, then so can you.

4.  Make sure you understand your class and how it works.  This includes rotations, defensive coolowns, procs, raid wide cooldowns, CC’s, and any tools you need to ensure maximum raid survival.  Have questions?  Ask someone!  Do your research.  Remember, things will change between patches, so it is vitally important you keep up with class changes!

5. Improve your situational awareness.  This should be a no brainer, but standing in shit is bad.  If this is a problem for you- or someone in your raid- there are tools that can help!  Download add-ons like GTFO and DBM (and make sure you have the most updated versions, as older versions tend to have bad timers.)  Get help and don’t get butthurt if people tell you to stop standing in shit- they’re trying to help you.  Accept the help and fix yourself.  And if you aren’t the one standing in shit, help people who are!  No need to be an asshat about it.

6.  Research your Tier set bonuses NOW.  This will help in the long run- remember, we have to share tier tokens throughout the raid, so knowing if you can skip your 4-set bonus or not (and which pieces you should be picking up) will be monstrously helpful when those tier tokens start dropping- sharing the wealth means the whole raid gets geared up and has a much higher chance of success overall.  Don’t be selfish- don’t take a Tier token if you’re just going to replace it in the next few bosses- suck it up and let someone else have it, someone who WON’T be replacing it with anything other than Heroic Tier.

7.  Start getting your Savage Bloods to augment your crafted pieces.  Well, technically, you should have started this already.  But it won’t hurt to start now, if you’ve been putting it off.  Savage Bloods allow you to craft tokens that will upgrade your 640 craftables to 655 (and then to 665!)  BRF item level is going to start at 650 for LFR (which will not be out until Feb. 17) and will increase by 15 when you go up a difficulty level (so Normal will start at 665, Heroic will be 680, and Mythic will be 695.)  Anything you can do to improve your gear before BRF drops will help- it can’t possibly hurt.

8.  Look at boss guides, and stay ahead of your raid’s curve.  Icy-Veins already has written guides up for Gruul, Oregorger, and Beastmaster Darmac on Normal and Heroic.  READ THEM.

That is it from me for now!  Keep your eyes peeled, for there will be many videos coming in the next few weeks!  And, as always, keep cool, and stay angry, healers!

~Aura

 

Add-On Sanctum: GTFO

Greetings and happy Sunday!  I know everyone’s getting ready to head back to class tomorrow (my first one is at 7am.  -shudder-), but I wanted to show you the first episode of a new video series I’m doing- the WoW Add-On Sanctum!  These are quick, 3-4 minute showcases of mods you need in WoW, and the first one I talked about was GTFO by Zensumin!  Go check it out!

Don’t worry, as soon as I remember to film Imperator Mar’guk, I’ll have the last Angry Healers’ Guides to Highmaul up and ready to go (should be doing that tonight, so hang on!)  Also, keep your eyes peeled- I’m going to be doing a few more videos, as well: the Transmog Sanctuary and How To RP in WoW, each of which should have an episode out sometime in the next week!  Until then, keep cool, and stay angry, healers!

~Aura

State of the (Healing) Union Address: Pre-Patch 6.1

Greetings and Happy Tuesday, everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful three-day weekend!  I am happy to report that as of Sunday, my raid finally got Imperator Mar’guk down (Normal only- we ARE casual, after all.)  To commemorate (not really), today I will be discussing my overall thoughts on healing so far in Warlords of Draenor (Normal and Heroic instances as well as Normal and Heroic Highmaul.)

State of the (Healing) Union Address- Pre-Patch 6.1

And, so far healers… we’re looking good.

DISCLAIMER:  Again I say (as it seems I have to say this every time I make a post like this), my word is not the law.  All of this is based on my PERSONAL experiences, and may not be the case for every healer on the planet, so before you come barking to me on reddit or Facebook or Twitter (or wherever you may find me) about “oh, well, you didn’t mention ‘this,'” please note that I did warn you that this is an article that is strictly my opinions on how things seem to be pre-Blackrock Foundry.  Anyone who chooses to ignore this disclaimer will be mocked publicly.  Also, cherry picking my posts to me will result in a verbal bitchslap that will sound something like, “Maybe you should include the rest of my post instead of the parts you wanted.”  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.  (If I need to put stars and sparkly shit around these Disclaimers to get people to read them I will.  Don’t test me.)

Anyone who’s seen any of my Angry Healers’ Guides to Highmaul knows my standard raid healer composition, but for those of you not in the know, I will enlighten you: I run with a Restoration Shaman, a Restoration Druid, a Holy Paladin, and a Discipline Priest (me!) so I can give you a fair assessment of their strengths as of right now and how they work in a raid (please keep in mind I am coming off of maining a Resto!Shaman myself in MoP.)  As the healing lead for my raid team, I make sure I understand how my healers do their jobs and what, exactly, they have in their arsenal that I can call on to save our collective butts.  And my team is pretty damn strong- we’re not perfect, not by a long shot, but the fights we know, we have down to an art.

First, lemme talk about mana regen (which is a topic I first started out discussing when I revived this site.)  We all know it took a significant hit at the beginning of WoD- it made healing Heroic instances and absolute nightmare of a task, but has been minimized by both player skill and overall gear scores.  Healers have a much better grasp of what heals are needed when.  We have gear that has Spirit on it (now that we finally have weapons worth spending three Temporal Crystals and five Sorcerous Fire on for Mark of Shadowmoon!) and we are balancing around it.  We have a better understanding of how our classes work and boss mechanics that require us to think outside of the box.

Second, lemme talk to you about mechanics.  Other people (being non-healers) have started understanding that THEY CAN’T STAND IN THE FIRE.  (OK, not everyone has figured this out, but hey.  It’s a start.  I’ll take it.)  Those non-healer types have realized that they can help their healers conserve mana by using personal defensive cooldowns, potions, and lock rocks.  And we can tell!  And, gods above, do we appreciate it!  Healers love running with people who understand their classes- not just how to maximize their DPS rotations, but how to survive and encounter as long as possible.  People now know that healers cannot- and will not!- heal them through avoidable damage anymore.

Let’s bring this thing to a close with healing niches- yes, they still exist, but YE GODS try outhealing a Shaman on Brackenspore.  It can’t be done!   Just because you are a niche healer doesn’t mean you can’t blow the healing charts up!  Discipline is amazingly strong right now, with the ability to heal with their shields, and holy Pallies and their double Beacon make them amazing tank healers.  Druids can literally spec to be the perfect tank or raid heals.  And nothing- NOTHING- I’ve seen so far beats the Monk on sheer all out raid healing CD with Revival.  Niches are there, and we are rocking them.

Healing right now is looking fan-tabulous.  We took the nerfs in stride and we are proving that nothing can keep a good healer down.

Well, that’s it outta me for now.  Come back later on this week, I’ll be talking about something, I’m sure.  Until then, keep cool and stay angry, healers!

~Aura

 

 

What A Long, Strange Trip It’s Been…

Greetings and salutations, everyone!

Today is a very special day for me.  Today is my 10th WoW Anniversary.

Happy Anniversary, WoW!
Happy Anniversary, WoW!

As such, I decided to write up a special post.  This post is dedicated to the game I have happily spent the last decade blogging about, making videos about, and- recently- streaming and podcasting about.

I started playing WoW on January 16th, 2005.  I was in the US Navy and I was actually stationed in Japan, which is why I didn’t start playing when WoW released on November 23rd- it wasn’t available in Japan.  So my boyfriend (now husband) and I had to wait until we went on leave (paid vacation for you civilian types) back to the USA to get my copy.  Its funny because my husband’s WoW-iversary was yesterday- we flew back to Pennsylvania (where we are both from) for his friend’s wedding.  We installed the game on our laptops the night before the wedding, and before we headed off to bed for the night, he had one thing he needed to do: he wanted to make a character and kill something with it.  So he did- he created a Forsaken Mage named Meridion on Uldum-US and in Deathknell, the Forsaken staring area, he killed a rat.

The wedding was the next day, and the following evening, I created my first character- Anoura, Tauren Druid on Uldum-US to play with him and my friends in Japan who were going to be getting the game or who, by some stroke of luck, had already gotten the game (because they were turbo-nerds and pre-ordered it months in advance.)

I don’t have that druid anymore, but I have made others.  Those 10 years saw WoW as a huge part of my life- this was the game that my husband and I play together.  Its not the reason we got together, nor is it the reason we stayed together, but it is a huge part of our lives (and I squarely place the blame on him for getting me into it.  Before WoW, I had NEVER played an MMORPG.)  We play it together NOW- and he still has that mage, that mythical first character, even if he is no longer Forsaken (or named Meridion.)

These 10 years have seen me go through the many stages of WoW- I’ve been hacked, I’ve raided, I’ve been a hardcore PvPer, I’ve RPed (and still do), I’ve made friends and made enemies.  I’ve traveled the length and breadth of Azeroth and defeated its most powerful enemies- Arthas, Illidan, the Old Gods, and even the Elemental Lords have fallen before my blades, my spells, my arrows.  I have even crossed the Dark Portal- TWICE- to fight on soil I had never seen.  I have been betrayed and raised up as a Hero of both the Horde and the Alliance (even if my heart will always belong to the Horde!)

This game gave me an outlet when things got difficult.  I remember coming back from deployments, looking forward to what Blizzard had done with World of Warcraft, eager to see what changes awaited me, what challenges I would be expected to face.  What friends I would make.

And I would not trade these last 10 years for anything.

Thank you, Blizzard.  I know you get a lot of guff for some of the decisions you’ve made.  But thank you.  This game has been a life saver.  A sanity saver.  And you deserve all of the props for creating it, maintaining it, and making it the game I ALWAYS come back to.

/salute

Here’s to 10 more wonderful years, World of Warcraft.  Let’s make them great!

~Aura

Things You Should Never Say to a Healer… if You’re DPS!

SNARK POST AHOY!!!!

snark_warning

Sorry for the “no post on Tuesday” thing.  I thought I had this scheduled to post then, but clearly I did not, and for that, I apologize profusely.  Let me make it up to you by being snarky!!!  As a healer, I hear a tremendous amount of stupid things from other players- not all the time, mind you, but often enough to make such posts as this possible.  And EVERYONE does it- tanks, DPS, even other healers!  And it irritates me every time because it’s like people don’t care about why I’m doing- or not doing- something, only that they think I’m wrong and need to try to prove it to me.

Well, needless to say, that’s why I have posts like these.  To show you how idiotic it is to do that.  Let’s get to it, shall we?

Things You Should Never Say to a Healer… if You’re DPS!

1. Why are you OOM?  Ok, if you’re asking this, then you CLEARLY haven’t been paying attention to recent healing changes in which Blizzard has stated that healer mana regen and our ability to get back mana was kind of ridiculous at the end of MoP.  It got to the point where I never dropped below 75% mana on my Resto Shaman- while casting nothing but Chain Heal over and over again.  So healer mana regen got hit with the nerfhammer and most of us lost our mana generating abilities.  This means we have to think, DPS.  We have to be careful.  We have to watch our spell prioritization and your health to make sure we put the right heal on you at the right time.  See, the problem is that you look at it like a DPS, so let me explain it like I’m DPS- if you screw up your rotation, you lose DPS, right?  If I screw up mine, people DIE.  Chances are, if I’m OOM, either I screwed up or someone else forced me to spam Flash Heal on them for whatever reason.  So have no mana.  Shut up about it.

2.  Why did you let me die?  I didn’t LET you die.  You probably died because I was either saving my life or a tank’s life.  I am a healer- I WILL prioritize my life and the tank’s life over your life.  I know, it’s kind of messed up, but think of it this way: if I die, you and the tanks don’t get heals.  If you don’t get heals, you die and can’t DPS.  The tank dies and that will probably lead to a wipe.  There are two tanks, between three and six healers, and between six and 23 DPS.  There are more of you than there are of us at any given point in time.  WE can afford to sacrifice a DPS if it means keeping a tank or another healer (or ourselves) alive.  You are the BOTTOM of our healing priority list.  Deal with it.

3. Why are you rolling on that (main piece of armor?)  Because that armor no longer has Spirit on it to tell you that it is HEALER ONLY.  We have to share.  So do you.  /roll

4.  Why are you rolling on that (minor piece that doesn’t have Spirit?)  This could be any number of reasons, but I’ll give you the big one- because that ring has Crit/Mastery on it, and that is WAY BETTER than any ring with Spirit on it because it has my two BEST STATS.  It is still very good and completely viable for me, so stop whining about it.

5. I NEED HEALS NAO!!!!  Um… yeah, this is probably the worst way to get on your healer’s bad side.  I’ll get to you, calm the hell down.  Yelling at me like I don’t spend the entire fight monitoring people’s health bars is moronic.  Chances are, I KNOW you need a heal.  See #2 and the “you get prioritized last for a reason” speech.  Also, don’t scream for heals if you aren’t sub 30% health, because if you aren’t, then you’re really in no danger of dying unless you stood in the fire for too long and can’t lock rock/ PCD your way out of it.  In which case you need to not stand in the fire because that is avoidable damage and now you are making me waste my precious mana because you screwed up.

6.  Why weren’t you in range to heal me?  Lemme put it to you this way- I have to be in range of the tanks AT ALL TIMES.  You don’t.  It is just as much your responsibility to stay within 40 yards of me as it is my responsibility to stay within healing range of you.  Want healed?  Stay with me if you want to live.

Believe me, this isn’t all I’ve heard, but it’s a good start.  Thank you for stopping by! I’ll have another post up on Friday about something healing related (I am debating between several topics right now) so make sure you come back and check it out!  As always, keep cool and stay angry, healers!

~Aura

 

Pissed Off Healers of World of Warcraft… UNITE!