Archive for the ‘surveys’ Category

Shaman class feedback

Because I can’t resist a good survey, and this time it’s Blizzard doing the asking.

What type of content do you focus on? [PvE/PvP/Both]

If PvE, what type of PvE? [Heroics/Raids/Other]
25man raiding as a healer

What are your biggest quality-of-life issues? (For instance, no longer requiring ammo could be considered a quality-of-life improvement for hunters.)
At the moment, my biggest quality of life issue is the fragility of Water Shield. It’s fine that Resto Shaman are so very dependent upon Water Shield for mana regen, but I feel like I spend too much time maintaining my Water Shield when I could be healing instead. It’s annoying that the damage wave that comes immediately after the pull on the Beth’tilac and Alysrazor fights knocks off Water Shield, forcing me to spend a GCD at that early, everyone-at-low-health moment to refresh it. It’s even more annoying to have to spend every fourth or fifth cast during the incredibly healing-intensive scorpion phases of Majordomo Staghelm or second phase of Beth’tilac on putting my Water Shield back up instead of casting a healing spell.
Perhaps some numbers would be helpful: When my guild was in the Firelands this week, I cast Water Shield four times during the Shannox fight, three times during the Rhyolith fight, three times during the Alysrazor fight, and I didn’t need to refresh Water Shield at all during the Baleroc fight. In contrast, I had to refresh Water Shield ten times during my guild’s Majordomo Staghelm kill, and I refreshed it fourteen times during our Beth’tilac kill. Three, four, maybe even five refreshes of Water Shield per boss fight is manageable, but I think that ten or more is excessive.
I’d love to see some talent/glyph changes to Water Shield for Resto Shaman to bring it more in line with the way Lightning Shield works for Elemental Shaman.

What makes playing your class more fun?
In general, spells that are both useful and interesting. Riptide, Healing Rain, Telluric Currents, Unleash Elements, Spirit Link Totem, and Spiritwalker’s Grace all changed the healing playstyle by adding more variety and power without making my job more complicated than I could manage. Lava Burst made questing/doing dailies more fun because mobs started to die a lot faster once I was able to learn that spell.

What makes playing your class less fun?
As mentioned above, having to refresh Water Shield too often. Having to remember to re-drop Healing Stream Totem after I’ve used Mana Tide Totem, or Wrath of Air Totem after I’ve used Spirit Link Totem. Boss encounters that require the raid to be too widely spread out for Chain Heal or Healing Rain to be very effective.

How do you feel about your “rotation”? (Rotation is the accepted order in which abilities are used to maximum efficiency.)
Healing isn’t a rotation as such, but I like the way things are working at the moment pretty well. I enjoy the synergy of Healing Rain and Chain Heal. I like using Unleash Elements to put a small heal on a DPS so that I can power up my next big heal for the tank, or using UE on the tank himself, to give a bit of breathing room while I spool up that big heal. I try to use Riptide as soon after my Power Aura that it’s off CD pops up as I can, but I usually deliberately avoid using Chain Heal on my Riptide targets so as to avoid consuming it. Keeping Tidal Waves up and getting as many of the HOT ticks as I can is more important to me than getting the boost on my CH.

What’s on your wish list for your class?
Something to help Water Shield continue to provide good mana return without having to put it back up every fourth cast during extremely healing-intensive encounters or encounter phases.
To have the healing from Healing Stream Totem benefit the whole raid, not just my own party of five.
A “Mass Water Walking” spell that applies Water Walking to an entire party or raid. If this was done for Shaman, Mages and Priests should be given “Mass Slow Fall” and “Mass Levitation”. They’d still want the single-target versions for situations where only one person needs to be targeted, such as setting off Magma Traps in the Firelands!Ragnaros encounter, though.

What spells do you use the least?
All totems that are NOT Stoneskin, Flametongue, Healing Stream, Wrath of Air, Mana Tide, Spirit Link, Stoneclaw, Searing, Magma, or Fire Elemental. I can’t remember the last time I used Frost Shock.


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The Circle of Healing 2.0 survey has been such a great thing that it’s not really surprising that the Tanks want in on the fun. I’ve seen two modifications, one by Restokin‘s guest Bear, Garnaph, and another by Orvillius of D/E the Tank!.

In addition to my Holy-specced Blood Elf Paladin, Kiraleia, I’ve also been leveling a Prot-specced Tauren Paladin, Karelia, through LFD. I’ve enjoyed tanking with Karelia enough that I started to get curious about how the other shield tanking class played, so I rolled up a new Warrior, Katebeka, for the purpose. BTH has been a devotee of Bear Tanking ever since it first became a truly viable role back in BC, and between the fun he seems to have with it and BBB‘s enthusiasm for it, I’d also like to try Druid tanking at some point. I’ve never been particularly interested in Death Knight tanking, however.

Because my experience with tanking is limited to low-level dungeons — Karelia had only gotten as far as Razorfen Kraul the last time I played with her — I’ve decided to give BTH a guest-posting posting opportunity and have him fill out the Tanking Circle survey, instead.

BTH says:

My main, Ronada, is a Druid tank that’s been tanking since Kara. I also have a Paladin tank, and I’ve played a Warrior up to level 80 in WOTLK, but I didn’t tank a lot on him.

1. What is the name, class, and spec of your primary tank?
Ronada – Feral Druid

2. What is your primary group tanking environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
25 man raids

3. What is your favorite tanking ability or CD for your class and why?
Berserk. Sure, it doesn’t help my mitigation, but it’s great for keeping aggro on pulls. While our Swipe aggro comes and goes, generally it’s not been competitive with the aoe of other tanks.

4. What tanking ability or CD do you use least for your class and why?
Challenging Roar. It’s not a permanent solution to any problems.

5. What do you feel is the biggest strength of your tanking class and why?1.
Greater raid awareness. A Druid has a simpler rotation than other tanks, which makes it easier to pay attention to what’s going on in the raid.

6. What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your tanking class and why?
The lack of Bear gear is a serious weakness.
In the Firelands raid, there’s only 1 item in each slot that’s fit for a Bear (Haste does not fit Bears). Every item we get has to be reforged to Dodge. I have almost no options for deciding if I’d rather go with Mastery for bigger shields or Crit for better shields, or Hit/Expertise for more steady threat. Every Bear is going to be wearing exactly the same pieces, and reforging them in exactly the same way. Blizzard hasn’t made gear with both Agility and Dodge since BC, which is why I maintain that I haven’t seen a non-trinket Bear item in 4 years.
I have to compete with the other Ferals and the Rogues (4 people, in a typical raid with our guild) for leather, whereas there are only 2 people competing for plate tanking gear. The accessories are worse because there are generally about 7+ people competing for them when you add the Hunters and the Enh. Shamans. Add this to the fact that plate tanks can choose from more gear because they like any item with Mastery on it, regardless of whether there is Dodge/Parry on it. When my Druid got to 85 there were 4 Reputation reward items I could get. With my Pally, there were ~8. During progression, I’ve consistently had a lower Wow-heroes/Gearscore/ILevel than the other tanks in my guilds.
People say our lack of magic mitigation is a weakness – but it’s not as big a deal as most people think. Like the Warrior, we’re generally passed up on fights that deal a lot of magic damage. However, most fights where you think a lot of magic damage is going to occur, the actual amount of tank magic damage is less than 20%, which means we do as well as any other tank. But the perception is there.

7. In a raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best tanking assignment for you?
Boss tanking.

8. What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with most and why?
Druid. I enjoy tanking on my Pally, but I just know my Druid’s CDs and rotations so much better that I can focus on the fight instead of my class mechanics.

9. What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with least and why?
I haven’t tried DK tanking. I didn’t enjoy Warrior tanking, because it seemed like there were too many buttons, and I couldn’t pay attention to what the mobs/boss were doing.

10. What is your worst habit as a tank?
Pulling trash too aggressively. (As his usual healer, I absolutely agree!)

11. What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while tanking?
When another tank taunts a mob off me unneccessarily.

12. Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other tanks for PvE tanking?
I do.

13. What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a tank?
Well, I view the damage taken logs and death logs in Recount to determine what sorts of things are killing me. I also visit online weblogs, but there aren’t a lot that focus on the tanking aspect of feral druids.

14. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your tanking class?
Some people think I do more threat than them overall – but I only really can pull ahead when I’m using Berserk. On long term fights, generally the other tanks can pull more threat.

15. What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new tanks of your class to learn?
How to do Cat DPS when you’re not tanking.

16a. If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a tank via Recount or World of Logs, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. too much damage taken, not enough cooldown usage, etc)?
I always forget to use my potions.

16b. So, how about that whole Vengeance mechanic, eh?
It’s stupid, because Vengeance’s worth is inversely related to the strength of my gear. As my Dodge increases, my Vengeance goes down, which reduces my shield and threat. Also it means that the tank who has threat, keeps threat from the other tanks, but in an AOE situation it leads to one tank having no mobs and the other tank having all the mobs. Until the second tank dies, of course.

17. Dodge or Mastery, and why? or Stamina, Combat Table Coverage, or total Damage Reduction?
I prefer Agility, but then Dodge. I have reforged every reforgeable item to Dodge. For me, the debate is more if I should gem/flask/trinket for Agility or for Stamina. I take a midway approach – I gem and flask Agility, but trinket Stamina. I do use Agility trinkets on fights where aggro is a concern but tank damage is not – especially trash.

18. What tanking class do you feel you understand least?
Death Knights

19. What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in tanking?
ICE hud, Omen, I was using and liking ThreatPlates for a while but then they changed it and I haven’t taken the time to get it working since then.

20. Do you strive primarily for balance between your tanking stats (stam, mastery, avoidance), or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
I strive for balance. By being in the middle, that means if a certain fight requires more stamina or more avoidance, I can make the change without re-gemming – by changing flasks and trinkets. I believe that a 40 Agility gem is worth the same amount as a 60 Stam trinket.

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Like Jasyla, one of the reasons that I started my blog was to participate in Miss Medicina’s Circle of Healers survey. In the past year and a half, the game has changed quite a bit, and so has the blogging community, so Saunder has started it up again.

Lodur tagged the whole Resto Shaman community in his answers. Fannon beat me to tagging Glorwynn, who was at the top of my list if people whose responses to this survey I wanted to see, and she tagged me instead. 🙂

So here’s how it works.

Post this questionnaire, with your answers, on your blog. Pick the healing class you know most about (or is the focus of your blog) for the questionnaire, and then send it over to another healing blogger you know and love who heals with a DIFFERENT class. Include a link to the blogger who sent you the questionnaire, as well as a link to the blogger to whom you are sending it.

1. What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?
My main is my Tauren Resto Shaman, Kamalia.
During the past month, I’ve also spent a lot of time leveling a Blood Elf Holy Paladin, Kiraleia, through LFD.

2. What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
Kamalia does most of her healing in 25 man raids. Since Patch 4.2 dropped, she’s been doing Heroics again, but I’m not especially diligent about doing them every day, and I’ll probably stop doing them once we get three or so Firelands bosses on farm.
Kiraleia, who is still leveling, does all her healing in 5 mans.

3. What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?
I was pretty excited about Healing Rain when it was first introduced in the Cataclysm previews, and it has lived up to my anticipation. It may not be as pretty as Efflorescence or Sanctuary, but Shaman already have Chain Heal to be flashy with. I love the way you can actually see raindrops falling if you’re zoomed in close enough or otherwise have a good angle on the spell effect. I love the way a well-placed Healing Rain will top off the people who haven’t lost much health while simultaenously providing a buffer for the people who are really hurting until I or another healer can get off a big, slow heal. Once I’ve learned the mechanics of a fight well enough to not feel completely like a headless chicken, I enjoy the challenge of figuring out better ways to place my Healing Rain circles.
With Kiraleia, I really enjoy the Holy Shock + Word of Glory combination. It feels exciting and dynamic to play to me, in a similar way to juggling DPS buff stacking and procs, and it’s been a good match for most of the tank health and damage pattern combinations I’ve encountered in low level dungeons.

4. What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?
With Kamalia, probably Healing Surge, with Greater Healing Wave not far behind. I treat Healing Surge as a panic button, but I should use Greater Healing Wave more often than I do.
Kiraleia still has a pretty limited toolbox, and I don’t think there’s any particular spell I really neglect. I use Holy Light and Flash of Light both pretty regularly when people are taking damage and Holy Shock is on cooldown.

5. What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?
Despite the loss of some of our niftiest totems, Shaman are still one of the most versatile healing classes, able to quickly shift the buffs we offer or the roles we fill to adapt to a changing situation. I also really enjoy the active mana regen mechanic of Telluric Currents. Although the damage my lightning bolts do is pretty pitiful, by pure DPS standards, it makes me feel like I can still contribute to the success of the group even when I’m temporarily too dry on mana to heal effectively.
I feel like I can go a lot farther on low mana (40% or less) with Kiraleia than I can with Kamalia because of the effectiveness of Holy Shock + Word of Glory, the talent that allows a free Holy Shock to proc, the talent that allows Word of Glory to sometimes not use up Holy Power, and glyphed Beacon of Light.

6. What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?
The current mana management mechanics of the Shaman and Paladin classes are simultaneously a great strength and a great weakness, precisely because they require the active monitoring of the player. The Paladin healing spells are probably powerful enough to make up for the quantity of GCDs that the player has to spend on maintenance rather than active healing. The Shaman healing spells may or may not be. I’m not sure that I, personally am attentive enough for these mechanics to always be a strength, instead of mostly being a weakness.
Before Patch 4.2, I could keep greater than 80% uptime on Water Shield just by having made an indicator on Grid to tell me if I had it up or not. With Water Shield falling off so much more often since the patch, I’ve had to make a Power Aura to make it much more obvious that I need to refresh it, and it’s annoying how many GCDs I have to spend on doing so.
Shaman also have to remember to spend GCDs on refreshing our standard totems after using our Big Damn Cooldown Totems. Sometimes the lag between the end of MTT and when I either remember to or have a GCD free to re-drop HST can get quite long, and that’s a lot of healing lost and extra damage taken from the missing resistances.
Paladins can regenerate mana in a steady stream by Judging on cooldown, but they have to be in range of a mob to do it, and they have to remember to do it. I haven’t quite made a Power Aura for the cooldown of Judgement yet, but I probably will soon. And, of course, they have to spend all those GCDs on it.
I’d like Blizz to do something about the charges of Water Shield to bring it more in line with a DPS Shaman’s Lightning Shield or even just the 10 charges of Earth Shield. I don’t necessarily think the Judgement mechanic needs to be tinkered with, however, because it’s kind of nifty and certainly gives the Paladin class a different and distinctive flavor among the healers.

7. In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?
I try to keep whichever tank I’m Earth Shielding either targeted or focused, and I have the talents and glyphs that buff heals to the person with my Earth Shield. Because of this, I tend to do a lot of tank & melee healing and am less effective at healing the ranged DPS. I am comfortable, however, with being given either type of assignment.
My Paladin is still low enough level that her abilities are primarily focused on tank healing. Having done raid healing with the range and clustering limitations of a Shaman’s Chain Heal and Healing Rain, I think I’d be fine with a raid healing assignment as a Paladin once I had enough practice with the AOE healing tools that a Paladin doesn’t get until fairly high level.

8. What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?
9. What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?
This depends on group size, really.
In a 10 man, I think it’s better to have all the healers of different classes than to have two healers the same because of how well the classes synergize with and complement each other. In a 10 man, bringing two Shamans won’t make up for the things a Shaman can’t do quite as well as some of the other healing classes. In 10 man, the personality of my fellow healer(s) makes a bigger difference to me than what class they play. Druid, Paladin, Priest — they’re all good, but I’d prefer a Holy Priest to a Disc Priest (although that may be an outdated preference based on not understanding very well how Priests work).
In a 25 man, however, it’s fabulous to have doubles of any healing class, or even of more than one healing class. In a 25 man, it’s great to have two Shamans, because then we can have a Healing Rain for both the melee and the ranged and double the MTT and SLT goodness. In a 25 man, I like to see representatives of every healing spec on the team.

10. What is your worst habit as a healer?
I’m terrible at using my cooldowns, such as they are. When I’m in a 25 man with another Shaman, the other Shaman will inevitably beat me to recognizing an appropriate moment to use SLT. I still fumble with my Paladin’s Lay on Hands cliquebind and too often don’t get it out in time to make the save.
If I work at it, I can train myself to (usually) remember to use a spell CD, but I totally fail at remembering to use trinket CDs. I almost never remember to use my Tyrande’s Favorite Doll mana return in between triggering it as part of my MTT macro.
I’m also bad about spamming my efficient heals, such as Healing Wave and Holy Light, when I should be reaching for my more powerful heals, such as Healing Surge or Greater Healing Wave and Flash of Light.

11. What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?
In a Heroic, that one ranged DPS who won’t change position to stand in the Healing Rain that I’ve managed to place just right to catch everyone else.
Leveling tanks who pull more damage than my Paladin can keep up with, then blame her for the wipe.

12. Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?
Indeed I do. As I wrote above, I think that a more diverse healing team is stronger than one with too many multiples of the same spec.

13. What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?
If I’m running out of mana excessively fast, I’m probably doing something wrong. Either I’m not paying close enough attention to where I’m standing relative to the rest of the raid, particularly the ranged DPS, and am wasting my Chain Heals and Healing Rains on poor targeting/placement, or I’m spending too much mana healing myself from what should have been avoidable damage.
I used to monitor my spell distribution in real time on Recount. Ever since Patch 4.1, however, I’ve been experiencing severe frame rate freezing whenever I target a boss or add for hostile actions such as lightning bolting or judging. I have therefore been keeping Recount disabled on Kamalia and Kiraleia.
I do usually go look at the WoL parses for my guild’s raid nights, but I don’t generally do it right away. I look at my spell distribution and the uptime of my shield spells. If my guild’s other Resto Shaman was in the raid, I compare what I was doing to what he was doing.
But really, as long as my numbers are in the ballpark with the rest of the healers, and I’m not dying to stupid stuff, and I’m not letting my healing assignments die unneccessarily, and I’m pacing my mana usage appropriately for the fight, I figure I’m doing well enough.

14. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?
That Shamans are still all about the Chain Heal LOL, I guess. And I’ve heard that at low levels there are folks who think that all Shamans only want Agility, when in fact it’s only the Enhancement Shamans who want Agility and the Elemental and Resto Shamans want Intellect.
As for Paladins, it’s probably the one that I haven’t yet realized that I have myself about how the class works.

15. What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?
Remembering to keep up Earth Shield and Water Shield, and getting to have an instinctive feel for the range of a Chain Heal jump and the size of the Healing Rain circle.
As a leveling Paladin, I’ve been struggling with trying to figure out whom to Beacon in any given 5 man group.

16. If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via Recount or World of Logs, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)?
I use Riptide and Unleash Elements more or less on cooldown (I have Power Auras for that). I don’t use Greater Healing Wave and Healing Surge as often as I should. Earth Shield or Riptide is often my third greatest percentage heal, after Chain Heal and Healing Rain, again meaning that I should probably be doing more active healing with spells like Greater Healing Wave. I use MTT fairly regularly, and I use TC lightning bolt regen at some point in most fights, but I forget to use mana/concentration potions and my healthstone. I’m slow on the draw with SLT. Because I food and flask buff for Spirit, not Int, I am usually not in the top three of a 25 man healing team, but I am not so far behind that I could be accused of not pulling my weight.
My Paladin’s meters would see her using Holy Shock on cooldown with Holy Light as the usual filler, interspersed with Judgement at least every minute and occasional panicked Flash of Light spamming. I use Word of Glory frequently, but not immediately upon getting to 3 charges of Holy Power. I will throw Holy Shock on random targets in between pulls just to keep 3 charges of Holy Power up, so that I can unload a fully charged Word of Glory as soon as the tank aggros the next pull. Word of Glory most often goes to the tank, but sometimes I use it on a DPS who is taking an unusual amount of damage. I bounce Beacon around to whichever DPS seems to be the squishiest — or the greatest aggro magnet — in the moment, but don’t often put it on myself because I already have a talent that heals me whenever I heal someone else. Perhaps my greatest misconception about Paladins is that, in a 5 man, I shouldn’t just Beacon the tank?

17. Haste or Crit or Mastery and why?
I’ve been running a Haste/Mastery build. The Resto Shaman Mastery is made for difficult content where health levels are often very low. Haste is always yummy for swifter cast times and more ticks. Crit was nice, but not worth favoring over Haste or Mastery because my proc-on-Crit effects were not a great percentage of my overall healing. With Crit having become more important in Patch 4.2, I need to see if I can reach the 2005 Haste threshold, and if I can’t, I suppose I should prune my Haste back to the 916 threshold in favor of picking up more Crit.

18. What healing class do you feel you understand least?
I read enough Druid blogs that I feel like I sort of understand how they work, but I don’t have a lot of hands-on experience with Druid healing. Although Kerisa has a tree spec and glyphs drawn from my blog studies, I was too intimitated by all the LFD horror stories to queue her up as a healer for very many dungeons in Wrath. I would like to try Druid healing with her again sometime, but first I’d have to get together a tree gearset….
I don’t understand Priest healing very much at all. I don’t read very many Priest blogs — but the ones I do read, Disciplinary Action and Murloc Parliament, have gotten me interested in trying it. I have a level 20-something Priest who is currently rocking a solo questing focused +Smite Disc spec, and I intend to pick up a Holy second spec when she hits level 30, but it’ll probably be quite awhile before I get around to doing any serious healing with her.

19. What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?
I use Grid+Clique for raid frames & spell targeting and Power Auras to track my various buffs and cooldowns. I have Mana Tide Totem macroed to Tyrande’s Favorite Doll and a /say announcement that I’ve dropped it. I use macros for Word of Glory and Wild Growth in Clique. My Paladin uses Fannon’s focus-the-tank Judgement macro.

20. Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
By the end of T11, I was trying to keep Haste and Mastery mostly balanced and reforging out of Crit. My guild was doing a mixture of normal modes, for which Haste was favored, and hard modes, for which Mastery was favored, so I wasn’t comfortable with stacking either stat at the expense of the other. I’m not quite sure yet what I’ll be doing in T12, but I’m leaning toward trying to balance Crit and Mastery after having gotten Haste to a threshold value.

I’d like to tag…
Rades of Orcish Army Knife because I know he’s got some healers hiding in his string of alts,
Akabeko of red cow rise because she wasn’t blogging yet the first time around and I’d love to see what she has to say,
Apple of Azeroth Apple because if I’m remembering correctly, her Lisan is the Holy variety of Paladin, rather than the Prot or Ret variety,
and Zelmaru of Murloc Parliament because I could have sworn that she did the Circle of Healers v1.0 as a Druid back in the day (but I can’t find it on Miss M’s list) and she’s now healing as a Priest instead of a Druid.

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the Cataclys-meme

A survey about the first week of WoW 4.0. from Janyaa of Muradin Musings which dovetails neatly with Jaedia’s Blog Azeroth Shared Topic on first impressions of the new expansion.

1. Disk or Download?
Disk. Our wireless connection in our current apartment is pretty good, but I didn’t want to strain it with downloading something as big as a whole new expansion.

2. Did you experience any difficulties? IE: Login servers crashing, late delivery, etc?
Nope, no problems at all.

3. What are you doing first? IE: Speed leveling to 85, rolling a new race, completely avoiding the new content, etc?
BTH and I took our mains out to level to 85, but we took our time doing it.

4. Mt. Hyjal or Vash’jir?
We went to Mount Hyjal first, and were glad we did. We circled back around to Vashj’ir after we finished up Twilight Highlands, and although it is visually gorgeous and there’ve been a lot of fun quests, the number of gathering quests has made questing in a group a real pain. We’ve had more trouble with Alliance gankers in Vashj’ir, too — it can be really hard to find that warlock who’s pew-pewing you when you have to look around in three dimensions instead of just two. BTH has decided that Vashj’ir is a completely miserable zone and I may end up having to finish it on my own. When I level alts, I’ll probably take them through Hyjal first.

5. Worgen or Goblin?
Both, eventually. It’s still up in the air which one I’ll create first.

6. Questing, dungeons or both?
Almost entirely questing. We only ran one dungeon between 80 and 85, and we haven’t yet gotten around to running another. I tend to prefer questing in general; when I’m leveling with alts I generally only run dungeons when I have the quests for them or if I decide that I want a level or two of XP fast before I go on to the next zone.

7. What was the first piece of gear you replaced and with what?
I didn’t really pay attention to that. Kamalia’s Elemental set was T9, and she’d replaced it all by the end of Hyjal. I let the quest rewards pile up in my bags and didn’t actually put anything new on until we’d finished questing for the night, so I swapped out several items all at once.

8. Did you take any time off from work or school?
We’d already used up all of BTH’s vacation time, so he couldn’t take any time off from work. I wanted to take time off from my internet-based, contract work job, but wasn’t quick enough in setting my availability to receive new assignments to “unavailable” and ended up with a big assignment on the seventh.

9. Will you be keeping the same spec and main, or changing to a different toon?
I raided with my boomkin during the last half of Wrath, but in my heart my “main” was always my resto shaman. I leveled my shaman first and have barely even touched my boomkin in the past week. I would prefer to raid with my resto shaman in Cataclysm content.

10. What’s been your favorite aspect of Cataclysm so far?
I’ve really enjoyed the variety of new quest mechanics. The new zones are visually gorgeous. I love flying over Kalimdor as I travel from one Archaeology site to another. Uldum is awesome. The adolescent gnome fantasies were utterly hilarious; I can’t wait to see them again when I level through Uldum again.

I have taken a gazillion screenshots, especially of all those cutscenes and cinematics. Here are a few that I hope aren’t too spoilery for folks who haven’t done the new zones yet.

So there I was, flying through the lovely new Cenarion Wilderness in Desolace toward an Archaeology dig site when I got stuck on a tree branch. I looked around and saw that it wasn’t just any old tree I’d gotten stuck on….

Like Jaedia, I couldn’t resist pulling out my Speedy while I was accompanied by the Child of Tortolla 😀

Word. You tell ’em, Earthmender Duarn!

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There was a time when I added a new entry to the “memes” tag on my LiveJournal once a week or so. Those days are long since past, but I still find a good survey hard to resist. I think I first saw this done by Pilfkin, and then by Jaedia, and then by Anea, and then by Rades….

1. Raider, farmer, PvPer, or altaholic?
Raider, yep; farmer, occasionally; PvPer, no way!; altaholic, absolutely

2. Favorite raid or dungeon?
Karazhan, Zul’Aman, Ulduar. As 5mans go, I rather like Zul’Farrak and Sunken Temple.

3. Number one choice for a new playable race?
I’m pretty excited about Goblins being playable in Cataclysm. Besides that, I agree with folks who think that Tuskarr would be a pretty awesome race to play, and Furbolgs wouldn’t be bad, either.

4. Class you play least skillfully?
In general, I much prefer being a ranged class to a melee class. I have fun with my DKs, though, and with my little Warrior, when I actually go out and do quests with her. I guess at the moment I’d tag Rogue as my least favorite class to play.

5. Original UI or modded UI?
Original UI (see screenshot in the previous post).
I run with a bare minimum of raiding mods — DBM, Omen, Grid+Clique for healing/buffing, Quartz, Squawk & Awe for Kerisa. I’m not even using a dps/healing meter at present; I dropped Recount when I was having severe framerate issues in ICC and have felt somehow freer without it. I suppose I should pick up ClassTimers, or something of the sort, because I really like the way Squawk & Awe gives me the times on Kerisa’s CDs and have begun to wish that I had CD timers for other things, such as Kamalia’s Riptide.

6. Profession you’ve never levelled past 200?
Blacksmithing, because the character who has it isn’t high enough in character level to go past 200 yet, and Jewelcrafting, because I don’t currently have a character with that profession.

7. Favorite flying mount?
I like my assorted Dragons a lot, but I absolutely adore my Cenarion War Hippogryph and my Argent Hippogryph. I worked really hard to get both of my Hippogryphs, and I’m kind of sad that as Horde, Kamalia can’t get the pretty white Silver Covenant Hippogryph.
I actually quite like the Tawny Windrider — I like the notion of having a Windrider like the ones used in the flight paths. I like the various Gryphons, too, and again am a little sad that as Horde, Kamalia can’t get them.

8. Nozdormu — friend or foe, you figure?
Friend… maybe. That he is revealed by the Hourglass of Time when we think we’re trying to uncover the leader of the Infinite Dragonflight is a little disturbing, though. Are all the Dragon Aspects destined to eventually fall into insanity? First Neltharion, then Malygos… and the slow corruption of the Emerald Dream into a Nightmare and what we see at the Bronze Dragonshrine suggest that Ysera and Nozdormu are in peril.

9. Useless item you have in your bank that you’ll never get rid of?
The “Faded Photograph” that starts the Linken quest chain in Un’Goro Crater. An Elegant Writing Tool for Kerisa. A Crystal Pylon User’s Manual, and several copies of the lyrics to the Lament of the Highborne. Various out-dated Reputation rewards, such as the ring from the Violet Eye. The Mallet of Zul’Farrak, the Scepter of Celebras, the Enchanted Azhsharite Dagger, all acquired by Kamalia in the course of getting her Loremaster.

10. Most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?
Kamalia’s epic flying, at 5k gold, followed by her Cenarion War Hippogryph at 1.6k gold. Everything else I’ve bought has been 1k gold or less. Kerisa is almost ready to buy her epic flying, too.

11. Favorite starting area?
Mulgore. It’s so beautiful, and so peaceful, when you’re out in the middle of it, that it can be easy to forget that it has its own fair share of troubles.

12. Inane goal you worked hardest to achieve?
Kamalia’s Loremaster, her Netherwing Drakes, and her Black War Kodo. I dislike PvP so very much that doing enough of it to earn a Black War Kodo was a lot of hard, unhappy work for me. Keija keeps telling me that, as a Warrior, she really ought to have a Black War Kodo, too… so I guess I’ll have to see how much honor I can get for her with Wintergrasp Commendations.

13. Darion Mograine VS Tirion Fordring, gloves off — winner is?
Mograine, not because I necessarily think he’s cooler, but because, as he often points out to Fordring, he’s not restrained by moral objections. He’d fight dirty, and Fordring would be unable to counter effectively.

14. Game music or your own playlist?
Game music. There are some wonderful bits of music in the game soundtrack.

15. Particular option or setting that you always toggle on a new alt/server?
Turn on all my action bars and put my hearthstone in the far left-most spot of the bottom action bar. Move the starting spells and abilities, including racials, to spots on the taskbars where I put analogous (or the same) spells on my other characters. Zoom my minimap out to max. Leave “General” chat — and leave “Trade” as soon as I first enter a city. Before it was default, I always made sure to turn on the “auto self cast” option. By the time I reach level 20, I’ve generally turned on the Gear Manager and created a “quest” gearset.

16. Highest amount of levels gained in one play session?
Prolly 12 or 13, the level you’ll get to if you do everything in your starting zone. I’m pretty sure I’ve played through a whole starting zone in one session at least once or twice. In an ordinary day of play, I’m usually good for three or four levels before I go off to do something else (in or out of game), though I do prefer to end on an even level and get training before I log out if I can.

17. Thing you’d most like to experience or see in-game?
Umm… killing the Lich King, I guess. I’d also love to see the Algalon fight in Ulduar.

18. Worst PuG moment?
I try to shrug off my bad PuG moments and not dwell on them for too long. There are a couple I haven’t forgotten, though.
Kerisa’s very first heroic as a newly dinged 80 left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. I queued up for Heroic Utgarde Keep, and the paladin healer immediately started disparaging my gear and dps. Finally I said “shut up, pally!” and put him on ignore.
Then there was the time that I’d just dual-specc’d Kerisa as Resto and my Resto gearset was still half Boomkin stuff. BTH and I queued up for a random heroic with him as tank and me as healer. We got Forge of Souls. I wasn’t sure I could do it, but BTH said we should see how it went. I struggled to keep up with the healing and with my mana levels, but we were doing okay. Then at the entrance to the hallway leading to the end boss, the group aggroed two of those spectre things by accident and we wiped. I’d barely zoned back into the dungeon when I found myself running along the streets of Dalaran. BTH observed that the group was missing someone, but said cheerfully, oh, another DPS will be easy to get. Honey, I said to him, they kicked me! He dropped the group immediately, agreeing with me that it was not my fault as the healer, that no healer could have prevented a wipe on that bad pull, and it was his fault as the tank for having not watched where the second spectre was closely enough. Kerisa’s Resto set is much better now, and she’s been pressed into service as an off-spec healer on a few ICC fights (BQL, most often), but I’m still reluctant to queue for Heroics as a Healer with her.

19. Best dungeon/raid moment?
The first time my BC guild beat Zul’Jin. We’d spent hours wiping on him, slowly mastering each phase of the fight and gradually getting further and further along. We had so many ready checks that were votes on whether or not to continue. Finally, after about four hours, we downed him! It was such a feeling of triumph! We were all hollering and cheering over Vent. The NPC party afterwards was a total icing-on-the-cake treat.

20. Worst quest ever that you totally hate doing?
The scattered pages quests! The Shredder Operating Manual in Ashenvale, and The Green Hills of Stranglethorn in STV. After doing those on a few characters, now I just send any and all pages I find to my banker to go on the AH.

21. First thing you do when you hit 80?
Same things I do when I hit any other even level… get training, check the bank to see if I had any items squirreled away that I can now use. I’ve only gotten two characters to 80 so far, so I don’t really have a lot to go on there, lol.

22. Character (of yours) you would RP as if you had to?
Any of them, I suppose, if opportunity and mood struck me right.

23. Keyboard, mouse, or both for using abilities?
Both. I do all my healing with the mouse via Grid+Clique, I put my most frequently used abilities on hotkeys, and I tend to click less frequently used abilities (even when I do have them keybound).

24. Thottbot or WoWhead?
Used Thottbot at first, because it was the resource BTH knew. Only started using WoWhead recently, but I like it. When I’m looking for an NPC’s quest or gossip text, sometimes one place has it, sometimes the other.

25. Acronym you’ve seen in chat but don’t understand?
I think I’ve figured out most acronyms I see in chat by now.

26. Plot point you’d like to see resolved someday?
I’ll be very disappointed if we don’t see a follow-up to the Platinum Disks from Uldaman in the questlines associated with Uldum.

27. Biggest thing you’re looking forward to in Cataclysm?
Tauren Paladins & Priests! Troll Druids! Dwarf Shamans! Goblins!

28. Guild event you’d like to see?
I’m envious of the awesome guild anniversary parties organized by Larisa‘s guild. It would be really fun to be part of something like that.

29. Level range you hate being in?
Thirty to fifty. I end up bouncing back and forth between zones a lot because the quest difficulty gradation in most of the zones in that level range isn’t very smooth. I’ll do a handful of quests here, a sheaf of quests there, and often visit each zone twice — once when its lower level quests are green and yellow for me, and again when its higher level quests are green and yellow for me. In between, I have to go to another zone because all the quests left in the first zone are still orange or red.

30. Favorite map to quest in?
The Barrens and the Ghostlands, because I have them pretty much memorized by now. Beautiful places like the Hinterlands and Nagrand. In Northrend, probably the Storm Peaks.

(What else was I supposed to do yesterday, when three of the four servers on which I have toons were down, down, down all day and all night for “extended maintenance”? :P)

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Another reason for starting this blog is that I wanted to participate in Miss Medicina’s Circle of Healers survey.

* What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer? Kamalia, restoration shaman

* What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans) 5 man heroics for the past several months, but I’d really like to get back into raiding (10 or 25 man)

* What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why? I love Riptide. I was SO happy when Shaman finally got an instant-cast heal (and a HoT, to boot!). I suppose I might not have thought to mention it if I hadn’t already read Vixsin’s response, but I also adore Earth Shield. When I’m 50 yards behind the tank getting my loot off the last pack of mobs in a Heroic, it’s so much fun to see crit heals popping up as ES charges go off, and to know that the tank will be safe until I get in range again. For all that druids are suppose to be kings of the HoT, I really miss Earth Shield when I’m playing at being a Tree with my Boomkin.

* What healing spell do you use least for your class and why? Like most other shaman, Healing Wave. It’s big, but it’s so slow… and I’m not packing enough haste yet for it to be fast enough to be worth using in most situations.

* What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why? I think shamans have a great ability to customize their healing strategy to fit both the encounter and their group by wise totem choices. I love Cleansing Totem and Nature Resist Totem — they make the healing easier on me, if I’m in a 5 man, or on the rest of my healing team, if I’m in a raid, in encounters where poison/disease or continuous nature damage are factors. When I’m running Heroics I will often change my totem set based on how well I think the rest of the group is performing — if I think they need a boost, I’ll put down totems will benefit them, but if they’re doing just fine, I’ll use my default totem set that mostly benefits me.

* What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why? Mobility, mobility, mobility. With only one true instant cast spell and only one controllable HoT (Earthliving is a HoT, yes, but I can’t control when or on whom it will proc), shamans have to STAND STILL to heal effectively. I tend to do a lot of standing in the fire for a second while I finish a heal that I was already casting when the fire landed on me, then strafing out and Riptiding myself. Learning a fight that involves a lot of running around is very frustrating for me because it always seems like I can’t finish even ONE heal without the “RUN NOW” element(s) of the fight catching up with me.

* In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you? Tank/melee DPS healing. ES on the main tank, RT/LHW zapping spot damage, then CH off whomever of the tanks and melee is lowest in health for big damage spikes or AoE damage waves. Even when I’m theoretically assigned to raid healing I tend to do a lot of tank healing because I’m always keeping an eye on whichever tank I’m ESing.

* What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why? I’m going to interpret this question as “if you were two-healing a 10 man raid, what healing class would you choose as your partner?” and say that I’m always happy to be two-healing with a Holy Paladin or a Resto Druid because these classes can have great synergy with a shaman and because if I’m with one of those classes I worry a little less about my own fumbles leading to wipes. To three-heal a 10 man raid, I think that Resto Shaman, Resto Druid, and either Holy Priest or Holy Paladin make a great team.

* What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why? Other resto shamans — especially in a 10 man environment. Not so much because of the gear competition issue, but rather because I feel like a more diverse healing team has greater flexibility to respond to whatever situation that might occur.
I love to have a Disc Priest in the healing team in a 25 man raid, but in a 10 man raid, I’m still enough of a reflexive rather than an anticipatory healer that trying to heal with a Disc Priest, when I can’t even see damage happening because it’s all getting absorbed, is kind of frustrating.

* What is your worst habit as a healer? I have so many “bad healer, no cookie for you” faults that I can’t pick just one…
I’m a keyboard turner. I’ve never quite been able to wrap my head around how moving with the mouse works. I can navigate with the mouse when I’m auto-running, but in combat situations my mouse is dedicated to Clique+Grid and I do all my movement with the arrow keys (and Q&E when I know I’ll need to strafe).
I’m also not very good at anticipating damage and lining up my heals accordingly. Usually when I attempt this I misjudge the combination of my haste and my latency and my cast ends up landing in the 0.1 second before the damage wave occurs, instead of the 0.1 second after.
I tend to have mana troubles when a fight gets really crazy because I forget to refresh Water Shield on myself. Recently, though, I figured out how to make my WS show up on Grid, and that’s helped a lot.
And I’m very bad about healing the tank rather than the other healing assignment I’ve been given, and it has, on more than one occasion, led to a wipe. It’s worst if Bear Tank Husband is one of the tanks — because of leveling together and running instances together and so forth, I heal him whenever he’s taking damage totally instinctively. Thus, the best assignment for me, specifically, is as a tank/melee DPS healer.

* What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing? Folks blaming the healers for a wipe, when I know that I and the other healers were healing our tails off trying to keep things-gone-wrong from getting past the point-of-no-return. It gives me a huge guilt complex and damages my confidence in my own abilities and competence.

* Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing? Absolutely. I believe that the best healing team is a diverse healing team, because each class has strengths and weaknesses that all work together synergistically.

* What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer? Well, did we die? If we wiped, was I the first healer to go down? Am I keeping ES up on the tanks and WS on myself consistently?
On Recount, I look at where I’m falling relative to the other healers in the raid. I’ll quote Miss Medicina because she said it pretty well already: “check my healing output against my overheal amount, and compare it to the other healers in my group. I have a basic idea of where I should fall on the healing meters, and if I’m far above or far below, that gives me an idea of how the healer balance is working out.”
I also use Recount to keep tabs on my spell distribution. My three main spells (CH, RT, and LHW) should be the top three and at about equal percentages; if they’re not, I’m not being as efficient or effective as I could be. If ES is coming in as one of the top three, I’m not paying enough attention.

* What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class? That we’re only worth bringing to a raid for Bloodlust.

* What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn? Matching names in your raid frames with characters running about the playing field so that when you see your raid frames dropping, you can correctly choose your spells and CH people who are bunched up or RT/(L)HW someone who’s standing alone.

* If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via Recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)? In a 25 man raid, when I am one of 5-6 healers, I tend to be 3 or 4 on the total amount healed ranking and last in the HPS ranking. My overhealing number is generally about 50% of my effective healing number, and I am usually among the lowest in the overhealing ranking. It’s not uncommon for me to be beating another healer in the effective healing rankings by a small amount and be totally overshadowed by them in the overhealing rankings, showing that a) I’m unintentionally sniping a lot of their heals and b) the other healer is putting out a TON more healing than I am. As noted above, I like to see CH, RT, and LHW as my top three spells in approximately even percentages, with Earth Shield, Ancestral Awakening, and Earthliving following in smaller, but again approximately even, percentages.

* Haste or Crit and why? Haste, haste, haste! The faster I can cast, the better I can cope with high mobility fights, and the more useful HW becomes. Crit is nice, but I would rather not have to depend upon critting reliably to be able to heal reliably. I am nowhere near the haste soft cap yet, which is why I am still running with Guiding Star and Pulsing Spellshield equipped even though I have Surgeon’s Needle and Pride of the Kor’kron in my bags (not to mention that I never got any of the weapon drops from ToTC and have been on hiatus from raiding for pretty much all of ICC so far — but even though I would lose haste, I would totally take and equip a Trauma if I ever get the chance to roll/bid on one).

* What healing class do you feel you understand least? I don’t feel like I really fully understand any of the other healing classes because I haven’t played them (much) myself yet, but probably Disc Priests, simply because shielding seems to be such a different mindset than “big heal, little heal, slow heal, fast heal” toolbox the other four healing specs have.

* What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing? I use the basic, unmodified form of Grid, and Clique for healing. I also have DBM, Recount, and Omen. I have a macro to trigger my trinkets, but since I favor trinkets that don’t have an on-Use effect because even with the macro I’ll probably forget to use them, I don’t use the macro much, either… it’s a vicious cycle. I also have a Tidal Force + Nature’s Swiftness macro that I had to disconnect from any other healing spell and bind into my main action bar before I was able to use it effectively.

* Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why? Haste, as explained above, is king of the resto shaman stats, but I haven’t gemmed flat-out for it because I feel like my spellpower is still a little low. Thus, I have Reckless Ametrines in my red sockets, especially when I can eke out another few points of spellpower with a socket bonus. Crit and regen I try to keep balanced.

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