ZOMG Resto shamans r weak?

According to WoW Insider there’s supposedly a trend that resto shaman’s are considered a weak healer, especially in heroic hard modes. There are guilds who say that bringing a resto shaman makes it almost impossible to do blah blah blah achievement.

I have to say that a lot of WoW players love statements like these. They’ll jump all over them and start deleting their resto shamans and level a new priest from 1 to 80, bitching and swearing all the way about how Blizztard screwed them.

My opinion? Shamans are awesome to heal with.

My first full-fledged healer was my pally. He healed a lot of Karazhan alt runs and even a couple of T5 fights. But in WotLK he turned to being /facerolling dps because it was simply too easy and too good to resist. So I levelled a shaman to be my new healer.

To me, a shaman feels like a complete healer. Shamans have tools to fit any situation.

Want a hot? We have riptide, earthliving weapon, and if you’re Alliance, Gift of the Naaru.

Need AoE heals? Meet the original grandpappy of all AoE heals, Chain Heal. It’s mana efficient, intelligently selects targets, can put Earthliving hots on each target and can crit each target independently giving all sorts of yummy side effects like mana refunds from water shield charges, and 40% of the healed amount to the raid member with the lowest health.

Oh noes, movement fight! My Riptide is instant cast every 6 seconds, heals for about 3k upfront (4.5k crit) with a hot after and reduces cast time for my next 2 Lesser Healing Wave/Healing Waves. With the Tidal Waves buff, my LHW is about a 0.9 second cast time and Healing Wave is 1.4 seconds, meaning I can easily cast these on the move. We also have Nature’s Swiftness to plonk instant Healing Waves. Earth Shield also provides passive healing to your target while you have to move.

Tank takes huge spikey damage? Healing Wave hits for about 9k and crits for 14.5k. With the aforementioned buff after Riptide, it has a amazingly short cast time. With the Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave, a LHW on a target with Earth Shield up heals about the same as a non-crit HW. And each crit gives the tank +25% armor, which is pretty much guaranteed when you pop Tidal Force (+60% crit).

Yucky green stuff on the ground! The new all-in-one Cleansing totem meets all your needs, plonk it down and that’s the end of worrying about spending 5 global cooldowns = 7.5 seconds cleansing poison and disease debuffs. The new Purify Spirit is also a all-in-one remover of disease, poison and curses so you don’t need to have separate buttons for all 3 and figure out which debuff is which. Only thing we can’t remove is magic, but we also have Purge which is basically a offensive Dispel Magic to remove pesky buffs from NPCs.

What else do Shaman’s provide? 144 spellpower to everyone in the raid with flametongue. Healing stream totem which ticks for about 400 for everyone in the party like a passive hot. 3% spell haste from Wrath of Air. Group fear removal with Tremor totem (great for Auriaya). AoE snare for adds (XT-002 and Mimiron). A shaman put on interrupt duty in Iron Council makes Mr. Stormcaller QQ. We can even CC with Hex if we needed to. And even though mana management is a joke now, shamans can Innervate THE ENTIRE GROUP with Mana Tide totem.

And last, but definitely by far the most important…. Shamans bring heroism/bloodlust. Now that it can’t be chained, it has lost some of its power but it still remains one of the most powerful unique buffs in this age of “bring the player not the class”.

In all the fights I’ve done in Ulduar, I’ve never felt that shamans were at a disadvantage in any particular fight. Due to the vast array of tools we have, I’ve always been able to handle anything that can be thrown at the raid and make a unique contribution. Movement fights, AoE fights, raid healing, tank healing, resto shamans can do them all.

In comparison, holy pallies have no hots and no real AoE heals (although glyphed Holy Light helps slightly). Druids have no fast big heals once Swiftmend and Nature’s Swiftness are used and their hots need time to tick. Priests are quite versatile too in raw healing but don’t bring as much utility. The other healing classes may give slightly higher output in specific situations, but then they are frustrated in others due to their limitations.

The days of brainlessly spamming chain heal are definitely over (unless you’re in Naxx-25), but resto shamans definitely have the tools to compete closely with any other healer in almost any situation.

WotLK Raiding : Not epic enough?

Many people have expressed sentiments of unhappiness with the direction WoW has been taking, and cancelled their subscriptions or closed down their blogs. Karthis was the latest one, and he will be missed as one of the best sources of feral druid information.

Me and my wife have also been feeling the same. Her account has now officially lapsed, and she can no longer log on to WoW (not that she has been trying to anyway…). I’ll probably still renew my subscription, at least until my guild clears normal Ulduar-10. Past that, there doesn’t seem to be much that will sustain my interest. The main reason is a feeling that the game has been dumbed down. The main end-game activity, raiding, has been watered down and diluted “so that everyone can take part”. I’ve previously voiced my opinions on this more than once, but I’ll do so again.

Raiding was akin to a test. Everyone could always take part. Some people did well because they prepared and were knowledgeable. Some people barely got by but still passed the course. And some people partied all night, showed up wasted 30 minutes late without any pants, and got 7/100. In WotLK raiding, the new philosophy seems to be “everyone gets a gold star” for zoning in. The smart kids are supposed to challenge themselves by taking the test while standing on their heads. Holding the pencil with their toes. While not wearing any pants either.

The result is that raiding just doesn’t seem like an epic challenge anymore. WotLK raiding is certainly “epic” in that loot drops like dandruff, but the actual encounters leave me feeling like I’m in an extended heroic run. There’s so much loot that I’m pretty numb to it already since the numbers are so ridiculous that they look like the cost of toilet paper in Indonesian rupiahs. “2 rolls will cost you 500,000 rupiahs, sir”

Part of me wonders how much is simply due to the fact that we’ve been playing WoW for more than 3 years. That’s a really long time, and we’re not even among those who played since the beta. Contrary to what a lot of people believe, the difficulty of a raid encounter isn’t just how much hp and damage the boss does. A long-time raider has probably seen most of the tricks that a raid mob can do. This leads to a sense of “oh he has venoxis chain lightning, a anubisath meteor, and they have to die together like core hounds”.

Even though Ulduar is definitely a step up from Naxxramas, the fights still seem a bit dumbed down. By this I mean that there is much less individual responsibility for raid members. In general, tanks tank mobs, healers heal everyone, and dps just kill things. Yes, this is not a major revelation. But it leaves me feeling that the raid is not a team of adventurers fighting into a dungeon. There’s no sense of cooperation and teamwork that characterised many of the Classic and TBC raids. The only thing that makes these fights not strictly tank and spank is the need to occasionally move to avoid ability X, but even then this is just responsibility to yourself. It’s not teamwork.

In Classic 40-mans, it felt like you were part of this big force that assembled to take down a big bad boss. Rogues had to disarm traps to get past the suppression room. Hunters had to tranquilise enraged targets. Warlocks had to chain banish elementals. Healers had to rotate regen periods to keep up their mana to plonk heals on the 8 tanks wailing on all sorts of crap.

TBC was the 25 man era. SSC, TK, Hyjal and BT all had interesting complicated fights. As an officer, we wailed and gnashed our teeth when people screwed up and wiped the raid, but there was a real sense of camraderie when everything clicked and the raid pulled it together to down the boss. To this day nothing compares to the feeling we had when we downed Vashj, after close to 2 months of attempts. We struggled with attendance, the usual no-shows on progression bosses. Our first kill was done with a bunch of non-raiders in blue gear, who had the heart and the willingness to learn which enabled us to take down what I still feel to be the hardest boss pre-Sunwell. We went in there night after night, in a fight where basically no one can screw up. Our elemental dps teams learned how to work together and cover each other when a tainted elemental spawned. Our strider kiters and strider dps team worked out how to use netherweave nets to help down each strider in time before the next spawn. The naga tank and dps team put out good dps to down each elite naga and helped clean up leaking elementals from all quarters. We passed cores like NFL quarterbacks. When we finally downed her, my hands were shaking for an hour. To this day, I still respect the people who were willing to stick to it, and I’ll never feel the same about the scum that came slinking back from “real life issues” once t5 helms became available.

Even the attunements and grinding contributed to the feeling of accomplishment. It gave people something to do outside of raids. Me and my wife duoed the first 2 rooms of Scholomance at 60 to get exalted Argent Dawn rep for the spellpower trinket for my warlock. At 70, we duoed the first room of heroic Steamvaults to get exalted Cenarion Expedition rep for the hit rating ring. In WotLK, you can just go press random buttons in a Naxx-25 and walk out with 5 epics.

Please note that none of the above stems from a desire for exclusivity, something which really boggles me. Why do I care that you’re standing in Ironforge with shoulders from Boss Y? It doesn’t change my play experience in the slightest. I’m more confused at how there are so many dumb people who use their max level characters to go to Ironforge/Stormwind to buy stuff from the AH and then say “sorry need summon my hearth is on cooldown”. It’s almost like they have never heard of AH characters…

Are hard mode achievements epic? Not to me. Doing things in a dumb way to get a title and more purple rupiahs doesn’t feel epic either. There’s no challenge in a fight where the raid goes “We could pwn this guy anytime we want, but WE’RE NOT GOING TO”.

However, Blizzard seems to be sticking firmly with this new raiding philosophy. And of course, many people do seem to like it. Some people would like it if they zoned in and pressed a button and got 5 epics, it would be the most popular instance Blizzard ever created. It would be boring as hell, but still popular. Kind of like WotLK raiding?

Hibernation

Looks like I haven’t posted in a long while. Been busy with a fair amount of work, other non-work related work, and also a declining interest in WoW as well.

Ulduar
My guild has been progressing decently in Ulduar-10, but have been stuck on Mimiron for a couple of weeks. We raid Ulduar only 3 nights a week, and the earlier bosses pretty much take up 2 full nights (especially Freya’s trash….) This leaves only 1 night for attempts, and the fight is quiet complicated so it is difficult to bring new people in if the regulars aren’t able to make it for some reason.

Since the last Ulduar update, we have cleared a few more bosses.

Hodir is just extremely annoying as a healer. It’s simply a long, drawn out fight that leaves me feeling tired. My friend’s description of “Indian dancing” around lights was pretty much spot on. The last time we downed him, we wiped a few times due to us bringing in a guest resto druid who had never seen the fight before, together with another resto druid who was just a weak healer (consistently about 30% lower healing than me and the usual holy priest). It’s ridiculous that on a fight where there is constant movement a resto shaman can outheal 2 resto druids. The whole fight is just about constantly jiggling left and right, avoiding icicles, standing near the snow piles so you can get on to avoid flash freeze, and preparing to spam chainhealzorz when he gains frozen blows… over and over and over again until he dies. Mana isn’t even an issue for a resto shaman since the constant raid damage means water shield charges keep proccing.

I did Thorim gauntlet the previous week as well. This seems easy enough, except it took me a while to realise what the miniboss shooting animation was like. The first miniboss does a skadi breath like attack, where a wave of force comes down either the left or right side of the corridor depending on which arm is firing. I expected a bit glowier animation or at least a visible wave of damage, but instead you just get hit depending on which arm is smoking. I got hit a couple of times until I figured it out but even then, on 10-man I just healed myself through it. The rest of the gauntlet seemed to be just tank and spank.

Ignis… is also another annoying fight. Somehow we don’t really seem to have a strat, unlike what I see other guilds use. Our main pally tank just seems to tank Ignis near the pool, and our boomkin and dk tank just handle the adds by themselves. The only things to look out for are to avoid casting during his flame vent, otherwise you get silenced, and to heal the person in the vibrating crotch pot.

Currently we can get through Mimiron phase 1-3 flawlessly, after about a night of serious practice tries. Phase 1 is all about using cooldowns to survive plasma blast, and spamming heals on the main tank.

Phase 2 is just a healing extravaganza since there is a ton of unavoidable random damage. I was running myself low in this phase until I figured out that I should just stand close to the melee and run rings around him to avoid the missile strike while spamming chain heals instead of standing far away and being forced to use lesser healing wave on single targets getting spewed on by lasers. I keep telling the ranged dps and the other 2 healers to come close too, but for some reason they are shy folks and love standing by their lonesome where they can’t be aoe healed.

Phase 3 is quite easy, a ranged dps tanks the flying head easily with earth shield on them. Assault bots are picked up and dpsed down, with the dk handling the bombbots using that freeze move. I use a macro to target bombbot and /cast Frost Shock to help slow them down when they spawn. Overall this is just a mana regen phase for me.

Phase 4 is pure chaos. Our problem right now is the pally tank getting instagibbed by either a missile or a laser barrage. It just takes time to practice since dps seems up to the job of coordinating to take the separate parts down together.

Argent Tournament
I don’t even know why I bother doing these dailies, but it just seems a waste not to. I’ve sold 2 mechanopeeps so far, for 3.5k and 2.6k gold respectively. Since it takes 8 days of dailies to get 40 seals, this is about 325-437g per day in addition to the 150g from dailies. I’ve been getting Scourge Curio as the JC daily a lot too, which means I can knock it off together with the killing Icecrown Scourge dailies. At this point Pockie my ret pally has gotten Ambassador of the Alliance and has enough seals to buy another pet, being a Champion for 4 factions. I saw a guildie using the Darnassus pet treant, and it’s so adorable. It sleeps and dances just like a real resto druid haha, reminded me of my wife’s resto druid sleeping in SSC and wiggling that tree root tail.

Death Knight
For some reason I’ve picked up levelling my Death Knight again. I pretty much abandoned him a while back since I couldn’t get into how the Death Knight played. I also had to spend time levelling up his mining and blacksmithing, which was annoying and probably contributed to his being tossed. Now that I’m actually playing him, it doesn’t seem so bad. Though they are still really overpowered. I soloed Araj the Summoner, along with 6 random buddies that I aggroed accidentally, to get my Scholomance key. With no talent points and no glyphs. I had forgotten that there was a talent reset, and my glyphs were for Unholy abilities. In one weekend he got from 60 to 63 and is now chugging away in Hellfire Peninsula. At least the feeling of /facerolling has been reduced slightly, though what I’ll do as yet another tank/melee dps at 80 hasn’t been decided yet. I’ll probably try to splurge some gold on him, though I don’t think he can put a dent in my 122k.