Category Archives: healing

Healing for Dummies…or Healing Dummies, or…Heal, Dummy!

A few weeks ago,  while trying to rescue Momokawa from her sticky peach river of healing sadness, young leet Druid looks over my shoulder and informs me of “better ways I could be healing with her” in his very polite but brusque manner. 

I thought, you know — it sure would be great if there were training dummies for healers. I really did.
Well, turns out I’m not the only one– Matticus, that amazing young man from the north, put out a great post on this, too http://www.worldofmatticus.com/how-about-a-training-dummy-for-healers/ and Vidyala wrote a great post which essentially sums up that the only way to learn is to play, pride be damned http://manalicious.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/the-road-to-perfection/
I can tell you now, I agree with Vidyala, but I also think that many paths available for learning are better than fewer. Of course you need the on-the-job training, the reading of spells over and over, and yes, the asshats in an instance who inform you, in not-so-gentle terms, of where you went wrong, but I also know the simulated learning before anyone has a repair bill or vote to kick button is launched would sure help prevent the pride before the kick-vote, even if it won’t guarantee its elimination. I would love a simulation that informs me “refresh Lifebloom, stack x3, wait for clear casting, (and has information about what glyph or talent point has caused this effect, etc.) and informs me, truly informs me, about what the hell I am doing. This is because—I am a good person, and I want my group’s chances of success to increase, not crash. (Many young people I know right now are getting their drivers’ licenses and permits, so test drives, simulated events, and road practice is big on my mind now.)
Last night, in fact, a very dear friend and wonderful shaman healer Turkic stepped in for a healer on our  normal raiding night. I’m still in Texas, and again, my RL had to pull together some folks who were either late, or absent, or like me, wandering off in the hill country to chase fireflies and enchiladas. Now Turk is indeed a wonderful friend, and a great player. He taught me some of the basics of shaman healing, but though I have the gear, I rarely get to practice anymore. My raid leader/GM, the kind and pragmatic Lothair, also got to talking about shaman healing, and he kindly went through his steps, spells, and actions with me last night. I realized I did not have Telluric in my talent tree, and before the big belly bomb hits I may go ahead and put those talents in so play around with them. (We were both lamenting the new talent trees, and not looking forward to them at all, but like most things, it was not up to a vote.)
I have written so many times about missing true trainers, and how we players who can look to mentors in the game are truly blessed. What if you don’t have a patient guildmaster, though? What if you don’t have a dear friend who has years of experience, know-how, and then some time to lend a hand?
Well, of course there are the amazing bloggers out there, like Lizzy at Waterbender’s – she recently put up a post about the new talent trees, and if I can start healing more with Matty, she will be one of the first places I go, along with Effraeti, my beautiful Draenei friend. For Druid healing, my first stop is Navi, of course, and there are so many wonderful Druid healing blogs out there, I am at no loss for information. For priestly goodness, the head honcho is of course, Matticus, so Zep zips over there, too.
But I still say, a few healing dummies would be a wonderful thing. Think about this: I was sitting here with my little nephew, and he wants to join the fun in Azeroth. His parents have no clue, and because I do, I am so reluctant and hesitant about this sweet kid joining this world of asshats, no guidance, trolls, and jerks. Not every kid out there is bad, or has parents who guide him through, or is some mean little snot–some kids out there think Draenei are cool, know the lore, and think this is a magical, wonderful world still. (Kind of broke my heart, to be honest.) And because he does believe that, I don’t want him to play. He started a warrior on my account, and starting hacking away at moths in Azuremyst to get those vials of moth blood (who knew moths’ blood had restorative properties?) The flood of emotions while explaining the basics of the game overwhelmed me, for him. I don’t need some 40-year-old nerd rager crushing my nephew’s spirits, and my player friends: neither do you. (My point is — we all need to be vigilant to the jerks out there…)

So, perhaps Aunt Matty will help him navigate Azeroth in the future, but time and distance makes that tough. I don’t want Blizzard to “raise” him, or any child for that matter, but a few more avenues to learn so playing with others is enjoyable, would be a very good thing indeed. 
And dammit, keep cross-realm summons, Blizzard. 

(fill in the blank) by proxy

Many days ago, our guild’s “expert” on all things MoP was saying the first wave of new content would be coming out August 25-26th, and before that the big release date of September 25 was announced. September 26 is a BIG day for me in real life, so I thought, “Well, gee. Okay.” And then my reaction to the late August announcement was more in line with “Oh, sh*t.”

Look – some of you know what I do in real life. It really makes no difference to my virtual Azerothian life: if anything, my Azerothian life has pushed more into my real life than the other way around. And I’m not dealing with the push-back well.

I promised no negative posts, and that is an easy promise to keep–this is not about Blizzard, or dates, or real life, or anything. It’s about a convergence of factors, things out of my control, and how I’m going to handle it. This is about the natural sighs that accompany any transition — an end of a summer romance. For those of you who do know more about my personal life than others, I had to take the month of July and heal up. I just did. All the projects, chores, good intentions, etc. had to “stay put” while I sorted out, meditated, and moved some of the puzzle pieces around. It’s all good. Bear summed up my feelings perfectly when it comes to how I’ve been internally negotiating with myself some of the anticipated disappointments I know will happen. I even contemplated asking a very trusted player to play my shaman to get me through the ICC thing at least. (Oh, like you never wanted someone to farm for you or play your character!) But turning of the keys to my shaman is too much for even me to contemplate. Besides, I want to be there when, and if, it happens.

I am going to be visiting my folks tomorrow – my mom needs me, and I miss her and my dad anyway, and am looking forward to it. But it means in terms of the unfinished business of Miss Shammypants that while I will be able to derp around and farm on my laptop, no raiding or dungeons of any kind. This is really bugging me. I have only one final thing to do for the ICC thingy, and three more for dungeon hero (which two of them were SO DAMN CLOSE!). Why is this bugging me so much? Why don’t I have time to do them? Well, because I’m doing things once again for everyone else. Like I said, I took July and some of August for myself, because well, I had to. It was either be selfish or find my size with a jacket with wrap-around sleeves.

Vidyala’s retrospective is great: http://manalicious.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/cinematic-retrospective-a-look-at-warcraft-trailers/ and so is Bear’s insight: http://thebigbearbutt.com/2012/08/16/world-of-warcraft-mists-of-pandaria-game-trailer-is-live/

Almost every blogger is excited about the release, and I for one absolutely LOVE the cinematic. It is great. And I know, so what if I don’t get those things done? Well, the anticipated disappointment is because I know when the Pandas hit the fan, no one, and I mean no one, is going to want to do any old stuff anymore. It’s a reality of gamers. Hell, it’s a reality of people. Know how it feels when someone asks you to help them move, or take them to the airport? Yup. They are going on a journey and you’re not included in anything but the work part. But hear me clearly: as far as Bear’s ICC runs, with him, I know I have a true hero. For real and true. And if I never get that done with that amazing group because of my family obligations, and yeah, I love my family, so it’s not a chore at all, maybe when the dust settles someone will want to complete it with me. Maybe some rainy fall day someone will say, “Hey Matty, want to finish up Cata hero?” and I’ll say, sure! So when you watch my silly little clip above that is why I cry and laugh. I know it’ll be okay, even if the big waves of new content hit the shore just as more tidal waves of real life are going to be crashing down on me.

Theme Song: Grouplove/Itchin’ on a Photograph (holy timewarp: does the lead singer remind you of Michael Hutchins, too?)

Oh, and stay tuned: I should have time to write on the blog (gods help you all) I have been feeling this way for a long time, and have some thoughts on Druid, and other classes’, healing:
http://www.worldofmatticus.com/how-about-a-training-dummy-for-healers/

Survivor mage…

But when you look this good, who cares about your DPS numbers?

My buddy Ran frequently teases me when I am playing my mage, Ceniza, stating, “Oh, I thought you were healing,” because my fireballs and combustibles just cannot compete with his legendary daggers, or his warlock prowess for that matter. This got me to thinking, however, about switching from character to character, and the abilities we do have to keep our tails alive. Obviously, when we are playing a healing character, we have various abilities to keep others alive and ourselves, to greater to lesser degrees. Maybe I’m not doing it right, but I have yet to find that “Oh, Sh*t!” button while healing on Matty, but she is not without a few salutiferous solutions up her sleeves.

I am too sleepy and lazy to come up with a comprehensive list this morning, but these thoughts were rattling around my noggin: Just how does one survive when the odds are proccing against you?

Preventative Cures:

  • Draenei:  Draenei have the Gift of the Na’aru. This little spell with the big cooldown
  • Herbalism: picking flowers has its benefits–this has saved my mage many times, even though the act of picking the daisies bores the snot out of her.
  • Mages: Ice block, and Dwarfs have the racial Stoneform
  • Death Knights: All kinds of goodies to keep them from going all morgue-box
  • Rogues: recuperate, naturally
  • Paladins have all kinds of means of keeping healthy, the big doses are of course, Lay On Hands and the Guardian of Kings, who shouts the interjections when he’s out such as “Hey!” I keep expecting him to follow that with “Get off my lawn!” but he never does, as disappointing as that is. Maybe that’ll be in tomorrow’s patch.
  • Forsaken: Oh, this is distasteful, but they have cannibalism. Well, waste not, want not, is the Dark Lady’s motto. Got a couple hundred dead bodies lying around? Dig ’em up and use them for your dark purposes! Hooray!
  • Warlocks rock the gym, using all kinds of spells to not only heal themselves, but others in case of emergency. If there’s a lock in the room, I always feel better, and stock up on Lockrocks, put it on my action bar for quick access, and have been known to crack a soulstone or two. See? They’re not so evil.

As far as warriors, other Horde races, etc., I do not have any authority to write further. I would love to know your favorite prescription for staying healthy and whole, and able to live to fight another day.

Oh, and this might be the cure for LFR loot-aches:
http://lifeingroup5.com/?p=2882&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mops-solutions-problems-t13

Theme song: Spoonful of Sugar by the ultimate mage, Mary P.

And Bear posted this link, because laughter is the best medicine:
http://www.thedailyblink.com/2012/07/forum-raiders-in-real-life/

Boo-boo bear

Maybe because I’m getting the hang of it, or maybe it wasn’t that difficult, but changing Luperci into a Holy paladin for the quick LFR rush wasn’t bad at all. So taking stock, from the shaman’s restoration spec, Zep’s Holy priest, Lupe’s Holy paladin, and now Momo’s druid leaves, there is a definite pattern: there is the light touch, the boo-boo kiss I call it, to the full-mana-blowing triage, get the crash-cart Code Blue big heals. And like all output, gear, talents, and numbers matter. Right now, dungeons are a bit boring with Momo at this level (60s), but those home-grown organic healing casts sure are pretty spells, and she is lovely casting them. None of my skills as a healer is that great, but it is a VIP pass to quick entry to any situation. Healing is serious business, but somehow I just don’t feel as anxious about it as when looking at my DPS scores, or even the tummy-wrenching moments in tanking. (Ever get yelled at by a Dwarf speaking Portuguese? It is transformative.) I mean, I hate to see good elves die, but healers can blame players for standing in stuff, or the tank not holding aggro. Healers seem to get this pass on performance, fair or not. Good healers are nearly invisible–if no one is dead, then they have done their job. And like misdiagnosing or arrogant physicians, the only real issue is when healers think they have their practice all summed up — but things change, there is always something new to learn. It will come as a shock when Momo is at a higher level and I actually have to run and heal–moving my tail is not my strong suit. (It’s the lack of using Healbot or Macros–I do most of my healing spells the old-fashioned way, and so far so good. But in real raids, that ain’t gonna cut it.)

In the meantime, she is lovely, isn’t she? She changes her hair color frequently to match her ensembles, and once in a while will go in her owl form to put the astronomical-object smack-down on evil doers. And then, she goes and chills in the forest, with her leaves and, well, paraphernalia. Druids have stuff. A lot of stuff.

The Good Gamer.

In a comment I posted on Jaded Alt’s blog, I feel like I am singing the same tune too often these days. The chorus is: “Players can be mean. Players can be cool. Players can be jackasses too and still make you drool.” Wait. That’s bad. Anyway.

As I mentioned a few posts back, was working on Zeptepi the “Hooker with a Heart of Gold” Holy Priest. Or, at least that is how she was dressing for awhile:

After a few shots of Lord Something-Or-Other booze…

Now she is in more modest attire:

And yes, back to being a Draenei…

During this transitional phase, when I was trying to learn how to use Healbot (and I swear to GOD if any one of you !*)$%*(*)#(* says ONE WORD about me not knowing how to instinctively use an interface like Healbot I swear I will rip that smug look right off your stupid face and leave nothing but eyebrows and boogers!*). So, my first run through with Healbot was Well of Eternity. And, after listening to Illidan’s dialogue for the umpteenth time, it truly is a frigging ETERNITY OF CHEESY SCRIPTS…oh, the hubris of the hero...but, we all know where that got him). The dps was great, tank just dandy, but no one said hello or anything, but okay. Get to the eyeballs, and I’m distracted by a butterfly or something on Healbot and am trying to dodge them but alas, get eaten. Die. The immediate felstorm of nerd rage that befell me was worse than anything that demon could have done:

‘HEALER R U BLIND?’ (I answer with a simple ‘yup’)
WTF
I apologize and say that I am trying to get used to a new add-on and am then met with:
‘HEALER DOESN’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING’ (I am giving them credit for grammar.)
I answer: ‘nope.’
Rez at graveyard, leave party, and hearthstone OUT. (PEACE!)
Now, the thing is, I didn’t know what I was doing 100% — getting used to a new add-on takes some practice. What I am not sure about it is their reaction: Again, I ask, ask, ask: in real life, do you (you nerd rage pendejos) always get perfection? And if you saw it, would you know it, my Philistine friends?

My cross-dressing rogue tells me every time I enter a dungeon it’s like driving a car down the highway and trying to be friends with all the drivers around me. It is impossible. And there is usually a collision.
The very next dungeon, got a “good job” from the tank at the end. Night and day.
Now, yesterday, don’t know what got into me, but was tanking, and the little druid said she didn’t know what to do. Some sweeping maternal instinct or some such nonsense fell over me, and decided this would be a training/teachable moment. I would help them, and offered as such: no matter how many wipes or retries. Of course we got Lady Sylvanas, and that is tough for mediocre players, including me, as I have stepped in her purple goo once or twice. We wipe, and we struggle, but “we” finally got it. Or I should say they did (I already knew what to do, but there is no “i” in team, but there is in wipe?). The rest of the dungeon did not go smoothly, but we did finish. At one point, though, the players who were really struggling thanked me profusely for being patient, declaring that it was like being in “nirvana” to quote their words, to meet a nice, good, and patient player. Later I told Guarf it was almost embarrassing, and a little tiny bit pitiful–are people so desperate in this world to encounter any generosity of spirit that they drop to their knees in gratitude?

Luperci the Swag Paladin

Now, I have run a few things here and there with my new guild, and they are great. But even they sometimes have that ‘tone’ of a hint of smugness that you cannot dispel from really good players. They know what they’re doing, they know what is going on, and they know how to play, and play well. They have crafted a vocation in WoW that must be enjoyable and gratifying. But, the smug smirch is there.

Now, speaking of Healbot, the push to actually try to figure it out came from some good-ol’ boy in a PUG who was super sweet and offered to answer any questions I had about it. And here is my point about that: if you want to play in a world where there are more wins than losses, make it so. It is going to mean you have to be patient and friendly with other people. 
And therein lies the rub. 
I must also mention that I am the loneliest Jedi princess in the galaxy because I didn’t realize the SWTOR was for PC. I am….a Mac person. I have had a Dell, but it’s headed for the heap. Don’t start in with me. I am not mentioning this to start a Mac/PC debate. That is as boring as crust. But, what I will say is even the industry experts think that not developing SWTOR for Macs was a bit rushed.  Yesterday morning I brought in my Mac laptop to work — it was way before I was on the clock, and had a few minutes to do some writing on my personal laptop. The “IT guy who loves me” helped me set it up, and we started talking about his experiences in SW. He nerd-raged for a bit, but then ultimately, blushing, says he loves it. He loves that he doesn’t have to talk to anyone but NPCs and can solo play to his heart’s content. But even he thought it was lame it wasn’t available on Macs. (Wish you could have seen the look on his face when I told him what the number one search words on my blog and in general are about Draenei…adorable dork! Any single dork girls out there want a geeky IT guy with a job? Let Matty know.)

The point is, playing with others is not all it’s cracked up to be. Game developers get this. But how this is helping and promoting our cultural sensitivity and social graces, I have some fears. I am praying for some societal backlash, where we take back our worlds, virtual and real, and start having some manners. Even Emily Post, the superlative authority on manners and etiquette, was of the mindset that manners are truly about making others feel comfortable. Simple.

So, don’t you forget about me, those who have left to a galaxy far, far away. I’m still here helping the good folks in Azeroth. Actually used my Leap of Faith for an actual game purpose today: DK Tank not standing in Illidan’s “male enhancement puddle,” and pulled him over so he’d get the buff. See? I’m not so dumb.
*How’s that for maturity and grace under pressure?
*Leap of Faith is really for giving down-and-out friends big hugs fast.

Healing sucks.

I have tarried far too long writing and playing this fine, misty fall morning. But I need something to wash out the sour taste of ‘bleh.’ This is pure, uncut whining: sometimes this avocation is just not satisying.  Ran a dungeon with guildmate, and I could tell his frustration when we died on the last fight of Shadowfang Keep. I didn’t dispell fast enough, or good enough, ran out of mana too soon, and couldn’t have dispelled if I wanted to. Boss was pulled before I had a chance to put out lightwell, make sure we were all buffed, packed, and ready to go. Needed to top off mana, and the impatience was palatable. Normally this particular guildmate is pretty easy going, but there was an edge today. Don’t really blame him: on guildchat, he has been grousing a bit about bad PUGs. I got put in the proverbial doghouse, I guess.

NowI love Shadowfang Keep, and wondered what it would be like to heal it. It is not fun. He was using his Death Knight as the tank, and there was another DK who kept fainting at the sight of blood, and an elemental shaman who graciously put out his mana totem for me, but I could tell got a bit frustrated with me at the end. I have not taken the time to figure out my healing add-ons and am still learning so much. But there is little patience in Azeroth for dorks and noobs, we all know this. What was simple enough in regular dungeons is not on Heroic mode, but since Catacylsm has been out for almost a year now, the expectations are that every level 85 character is an expert. Admittedly, my learning curve is somewhat softened by the fact that I do have a main, and know more than I did.

But sometimes I just don’t feel like it: I don’t feel like researching add-ons, or watching videos, or reading blogs, or blah blah blah.

On the bright side, I did manage enough to get the healing gloves, and that should help quite a bit. I need to be patience with myself first, in all things. And off I go to do some things I am exalted with: Laundry Baskets of Doom, Junk Drawers of Never Ending Absymal Depths, and slaying the Demonic Despots of Unpaid Bills.