Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Seeing the Light

Spurred on by my first ever comment by my reader (I'm hoping for more, but I'm not sure it's quite plural yet) and boredom of yet another train journey, it's time for another brain dump. Kudos to Tamarind for posting the comment and making my day.

When I left this morning I was well in to the heroics, and had started looking at more advanced ways of tweaking my gear and playing style for maximum DPS, but as I've progressed, and the holiday season has ended there are less guildies available to run instances; I'm not quite sure whether it's my work commitments getting me online at bad times, the increased amount of raiding the guild is doing, or that people have started to realise how bad I am… I'll let you decide.

So anyways, I've started using the dungeon finder a lot, previously it was purely to top up the groups, now it's to find three or four other players. The first thing I notice, if there's a tank in my party you're into an instance quicker than you can blink, with a healer, I've generally got time to nip downstairs and put the kettle on. If it's just me, or me and only DPS, it's thirty minutes plus! THIRTY, three zero, there can't be that many Warlocks in the world can there?

As the handy-man said to his apprentice, "screw this", I'm getting the bandages out.

So off I go to have a read up on specs, I decide on http://www.wowhead.com/talent#bchZfurrRzbkcdoh as my spec and start to have a play with the healing mechanics; the first thing that strikes me is the options available to a healing priest nowadays, back in Vanilla WoW, which is the last time I did any serious healing, I used primarily Greater Heal, Flash Heal, and renew, with the occasional downrated standard heal if mana was an issue, and not much else. It strikes me that there are at least ten spells which will be in standard use, plus the more occasional spells like Guardian Spirit and Hymn of Hope etc. And what the hell is Chakra??? It sounds like some 80's punk rock band… I set up my bars in what seems to be a reasonable order, those of you who read my last post, you'll remember my fingers have long term memory issues and it takes a lot for me to get used to Renew, Flash Heal, Heal, and Greater Heal not being 7,8,9, and 0 anymore.

It just so happens that a few guildies need a healer for a normal instance for their alts, so I volunteer and head along and help out on the understanding I'm popping my healing cherry and am likely to suck…. And suck I did. Fortunately I had the sense to go for a normal where my overpowered gear and lower damage made up for my complete ineptitude. Several lessons were learned; firstly, Chakra is very important, secondly, I need some addons to help out desperately, thirdly, the bigger health pools mean that you can leave the DPS on lowish health for longer than I'd historically be comfortable with if you're desperately struggling to keep the tank up without too much danger.

I find healbot on either curse.com or wowinterface.com, I can't remember which, and set to installing it (I know, I know, "only nubs use healbot" pro healers use grid, I remember grid being a steep learning curve and I'm already feeling battered and bruised from my first healing experience, deal with it). I set about configuring it, so I have Heal on left click, Greater Heal on right click. I latterly add Decurse and Power Word Shield plus a few other bits and bobs, but you get the picture. Heal is my go-to spell, in normal circumstances I keep Chakra up on single target healing which renews Renew for free and makes it extremely mana efficient, I reckon I can keep Renew up on three targets quite easily if needed. My 'oh crap' spell is bound to ' again and I have the Chakra specific spell on 1, Chakra itself on 2, with Prayer of Healing, Prayer of Mending, and Circle of Healing on 3,4 and 5. This way, most of my healing is done by mouse clicks, and anything else is relatively close by my left hand should I need to change tack.

All in all I'm much happier with the healing since I've got this, I've also installed an addon to let me move pretty much anything about the screen so the important 'things to click' are all close together.

Some more general thoughts on (Holy) Priest Healing summarised below

  • Single target healing Chakra with Heal is your main healing, with renew.
  • Swap to Flash and Grater Heal when the going gets tough.
  • Don't forget the chakra specific spell in this form, it's very efficient and improves the Crit of your next heal(s).
  • Keep Prayer of Mending up if there's a lot of party damage; always cast it on the tank.
  • AOE Chakra is crucial for some bosses (more on that in a later post) the specific spell can be vital, but is massively mana intensive.
  • ALWAYS use a Lightwell before a boss pull, its free heals.
  • Consider using a macro to spam party chat with "click on the Lightwell, numbtee" or something similar – the more scathing the better.
  • Talk to your tank – whisper him or her when you first get to the instance and tell them if you've not been there, or you have problems with running short of mana etc…
  • Use Circle of healing sparingly, I'm not sure it's that useful a spell any more, Prayer of Healing is far better for topping off part health.
  • Don't be scared to shield targets, sling a renew at them and then come back to them later, suggest they click the Lightwell too J
  • Be aware that DPS being silly is as likely to make you go OOM from not moving out of the crap as you being "a noob" the finger of blame is often pointed at the "nub healer" in PUGs, don't be afraid to, politely, point out that it's not (always) your fault.
  • Leap of Faith is simply the best spell for annoying the hell out of your friends, work out the most ingenious way of doing so, and let me know what it is… (it's also useful in fights too)
  • Have fun, healing rocks!


  1. Oh my God, I can't take credit for that. Pewter linked to your post on Twitter, which is what brought me here. I think what might be interfering on the comment reception front is the fact you don't have name/URL enabled on the comment form - this can conceivably bring more spam but you can control that, and I think Pewter was saying that with the current setup means she actively can't comment. Blogger and Wordpress don't really enjoying speaking to each other so Blogger often won't let Wordpress bloggers comment except through the name/URL function.

  2. oh I see, you might have guessed I'm pretty new to this blogging lark. Hopefully it's enabled now.