Archive for the 'Decent' Category

15
Mar
10

in-SAN-ity

In-SAN-ity.

Looking at Wikipedia, i found this definition

Insanity, craziness or madness is a spectrum of behaviors characterized by certain abnormal mental or behavioral patterns.

There is, however, a different meaning, which can be constructed from the letters. At this, it would define situation of being in SAN‘ ness. And with that, i am afflicted as well.
Most likely it is for the best, after all i am partially to blame for the whole thing – being one of those who always said that an all blogger guild is something good, not something to fear. But, as with so many things, it could even argue that being in SAN also exposes people to a good kind of insanity – at least if you base it on the definition that ‘sane‘ means ‘behave within the current norm‘, which would have insane be ‘behave outside the norm‘. From what i have seen of the guild, i would say SAN is what a guild should be like, but the average guild i know of is a lot less lively and friendly.

Aside that, i have taken a few steps into low level healing. And that is quite a challenge from healing with an ICC geared Paladin. With a mana pool which can be emptied within a few seconds of throwing the biggest possible heals around the group, and a whopping one or two spells to choose from, things are, to say the least interesting.

Doing the low level instances with a guild group, and one of the fitting level is another very welcome change from the time when we duo-leveled through the start. It makes these trips fun, and i can only recommend this to people who have not done this, or did these instances ages ago.
And as with so many things, fun can also come with limitation. And sometimes, limitations will actually teach people to do their tasks more efficiently, and in the end – better.

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05
Feb
10

The power of Vuh’do

We have been at it again. Racing through Icecrown Citadel – 10 men (or well.. 10 strange people) on a mission. And as it is by now expected – from most, that is – we sort of waltzed through past the poor Saurfang who carried the body of his boy off.

Yes, there were no wipes, and few deaths on the way there. I still consider that an achievement, considering that we raid in more or less constantly changing group setups. But ok, everyone sort of knew what to do.

On we went, past Precious and Stinky, and into Festerguts little domain. And there, our oh so successful group was gutted.. repeatedly.

Yes, we had several wipes. Let us just assume that the first few (one or two) were actually caused by The Group™ needing the time to adjust to each other. I mean, it is quite a step up in difficulty from good old Saurfang (see how he is now good old, while only 3 weeks ago he was the bastard who randomly killed everyone ?) to Putricides twins. Right.. twins.. i am not even sure they are, but they sure look and sound like it.

But, that adjustment done, we still did not manage to get things done. At some point during the fight, usually when the damage output was high, one of the tanks would suddenly keel over, with me (the tank healer, as you may have guessed) staring at the screen, wondering who the hell ate all those nice heals i threw out.

Looking through the death log (a recently discovered function in Scada), i realized that the tank in question had not been hit with that many heals at the time. And that had me puzzled. I could not, for the life of me, understand where that long gap in healing had come from. I had been constantly tossing out heals.

Now, i have to mention that in order to survive the fight, i usually do not just spam Holy Light, but use a mix of Holy Light, Flash of Light and Holy Shock. This seems a lot more mana efficient while not really being that big a risk. Or so i thought before that fight. So, paging through the deathlog, i would notice gaps i could not quite explain. It was as if someone (or something) had eaten one of my healing spells before the tank got it.

Yes, i did look around at my companions. None of them seemed to have any inclination of staying longer than necessary staring at Festergut, and inhaling his definately foul-smelling gas. So it seemed very unlikely that they would do such a thing. I mean, everyone knew that once one of the tanks keeled over, the enrage timer would shorten significantly, as the other tank would take out the melee team once sufficiently prepared by Festergut.

And yes, Festergut himself somehow did not seem capable of such a feat – stealing a healers spell – come on. That cannot be true.

And suddenly it hit me. The spell had not been eaten, really. It had been redirected. And while Festergut was definately having his own part in this, the person to blame was really me, not him. After all, it was me who allowed him to do so, by the power of Vuh’do.

Again, i have to ask for a bit of indulgence while i explain this to those who are not familiar with it. Vuh’do gives me a very nice 6-mole window for my whack-a-mole game. (right, sometimes it is a 9 mole window, but lets not go there now). The 6 moles are, left to right.. the first tank. The first tank’s target. The first tank’s target’s target. And then the same for the second tank. And since my heals should always hit the tank which Festergut tries to smash through the floor into the rooms below, it seemed sensible to let him tell me whom to heal.

So, effectively, i had reduced my whack-a-mole to a one mole game. Just keep healing Festerguts target, and you are fine, i thought. Well.. that is WRONG. Now, don’t get me wrong, this has worked out rather well on a number of encounters, which is why i did not challenge the method until very late. But it is a fact that Festergut will turn to cast bad things at other people too. And since there is a significant delay between me summoning that nice, soothing holy light, and the light actually hitting my target, he has enough time to turn back and deliver yet another crashing blow to the poor tank well before the light reaches him. (talk about the speed of light.. not that fast now)

So, it seems that was exactly what happened. In healing his target, i accidently healed a random raid member, who undoubtedly also enjoyed being basked in this wonderful light. Still, in the end they hardly needed it as much as the poor tank did.

And ‘lo and behold – once i turned back and healed my two charges separately, always sending the light exactly where i wanted to, and not where Festergut tried to redirect me to, things went a lot more smoothly, and we finally had the long-expected victory.

Not by the power of Vuh’do – sometimes that power can tempt us to do foolish things.

What is the bottom line of this – There is a lot of power in Vuh’do. Or in any other addon which does the same. But with all that power comes the responsibility to think about what you use how and when. Sometimes, the true power lies in ignoring the special things they can do to you, and go back to the basics.

12
Jan
10

Healing is..

Tam’s recent post over at Righteous Orbs sort of made me think. Is healing easy / easier than dps ? Is it more fun, more stress, or just.. more ?

Ercles commented that for him, healing is more stressful, while dps (until you have mechanics of an encounter hard wired into your brain) is more challenging. And in a way, i am inclined to believe him. There is a certain “do not mess it up or it will all go to hell” quality about healing, and most boss fights are over once one or two healers are down, while they can still be won with one or two dps down. But perhaps that is seeing things too simple ?

Looking through the web, i came across quite a few posts which claimed this or that being easier or better. (one recent example can be found here) Finding a consensus on this seems not that easy, and as the last poster commented (oh, not this again) it seems to be a point which is difficult to agree on.

So, i actually want to stay away from trying to claim one to be harder than the other. In my eyes, it is a lot about how you like to play your game. So, for some people, it is easier to tank things, while for others it is easier to keep things alive, while the third group prefers to make things dead. Preference in the end.

Let us look back at what Tamarind wrote :

… DPS Get Bad Press. There’s too much talk about interchangeable DPS, or stupid DPS, or DPS just not being as important or necessary as tanks and healers. Bullshit. In that fight, I stood at the back in my sissy room and cast flash heal and prayer of mending (everybody was generally too spread out for AoE heals to be very effective) and that was it. A monkey could have done it, assuming you programmed my flash heal button to give him a banana, or an orgasm, every time he cast it. The DPS, by contrast, were changing targets, running around, controlling adds, co-ordinating attacks on the shield …

While he is probably very right in stating that raid healing in that encounter is like a very simplistic single target “whack-a-mole” game with a limited need for location awareness (“do not stand in the green stuff – ever”), i personally do not see this as a negative comment, and i definately do not read it as “Healing is Facerolling”, as DwRedux commented on it. Different encounters have different levels of complexity for different people, and this one specific one seems to be a dps challenge.

So, healing is not facerolling. But what is it ? It is an evil whack-a-mole. At least on that, most healers seem to agree. And for me, quite a bit of fun comes into it when you actually realize that sometimes you can predict the right mole to show up, and whack it just before the had is up, so to speak. That makes it

  • different from dps, as you actually can (and probably should) try to anticipate what will happen, and act against it
  • easier than dps, because in the end, your array of targets varies little, and there are just two main distractions. (staying in range of the moles, and not staying in whatever stuff you should move out of)
  • Fun.

So, for me (and yes, this is a purely personal preference, and should not be seen as any kind of global statement), healing is primarily a lot of fun. A bit more fun that dps (which i have tried, too)

But, going back to what i mentioned above, healing is also more stressful. Mostly, (and again Ercles mentioned that, but allow me to repeat it) because of the risks.  There usually are fewer healers than dps. So, losing one has a bigger impact on overall performance than losing a dps. Losing a tank is worse (undeniably), but different from the tanks and dps, it is the job of the healers NOT to lose anyone. So, in a simplistic world, people could say losing any raid member means the healers were not quite good enough.

Before everyone jumps on this – i know that anyone can actively ensure that their character will not make it to the end of the fight alive. And in some fights, it is impossible to keep all the moles whacked. But the truth still is – if a healer misses too many moles, the game is over before the bad guy (or lady, as in this case) has been taken down.

And that is the responsibility of all healers. Be it raid or tank healing, the main game is “do not miss too many moles or the game is over”. Raid healers have more moles, and might loose a few permanently in a fight. Tank healers usually have just one mole, and may never fully lose that, but might miss a few bonks if they recover well enough.

That is unique to healing. Dps and Tank mechanics change in their own way between encounters, but for healing, the major chain (aside of global effects) is the “mole dynamics”. Of course, there are more and less interesting encounters out there.

I peronally like Saurfang’s moles. Lazy start, very regular mole appearance, followed by a frantic finale. Also, i am looking forward to one of the yet not seen encounters, where there is actually a mole which needs to be hammered down before all the other small moles have been lost.

So.. where is my bottom line ?

Unsurprisingly, healing is

  • fun
    • sometimes stressful
      • mole-heavy
        • resource management
          • and of course

decent.

23
Dec
09

Surprises from the Sanity Tap

Right – this was definately a surprise. I did take a sip from the sanity tap, expecting the usual mix of running, being yelled at, and so on. Truth to be told, it did start like that.

HoL was the poison of choice. The first hurdle was the instance server dance. It took a few rounds, but then that particular enemy was defeated :). From then on, things didn’t go too badly. Clean pulls, no deaths, first boss down like a charm.. and then.. no more tank.

Who knows if he felt under-healed, or over-geared, or just was bored. He was gone.

This was where the first surprise hit. The four remaining just kept going through the trash towards the second boss.. or rather… the boss lady. By then, a new tank was found, who was a newly risen tank with assorted blues and without being defcapped.

And this is where the second surprise hit – he was not thrown out. Nor was he underperforming. He simply tanked her. Granted, it required more than just decent healing, but in the end, that wasn’t much of an issue.

After that, on we went, and the tank did what tanks do best – run ahead. And of course he died. But lo and behold – he simply said “well ,that was the first death in 8 heroics” and laughed it off. The by far better tank ready bear in the group let him have the pleasure of tanking, and the rest of the run actually went off without a hitch.

I guess this time i had one of the more sane moments. And a decent group. Yohoo..

L.