Dreamstate-Healing Patchwerk

25-man raids haven’t been happening for me in the day or so since I specced Dreamstate-Resto, and I was starting to worry that I’d have nothing in particular to write about on shutdown night. Fortunately, with only an hour to go, the guild had enough on for a quick Naxx boss or two, and we headed in to take on 25-man Patchwerk. Clearing trash, I really had occasion to miss Wild Growth; seeing all that raid raid damage going around was painful, and it was hard to register against even nerfed CoG and WG. I found myself spamming Regrowth a lot (Rejuv just gets over-written; the reason I always skip on Replenish). If you want to be a competitive healer on trash, pretend you’re a shaman and put on all of your haste gear.

Nobody cares about trash, though; right? Who ever said to you “your boss healing’s great, but you’re just not pulling your weight on the trash”? Okay, so it happens, but they mean you’re going afk, not that you’re 20% behind the game. Seriously; don’t afk on the trash. It needs to be cleared, and it’s faster if all 25 people are doing it.

Patchwerk. The definitive healing test. Monstrous amounts of healing spread over three tanks. I sat there healing my little heart out. Every now and then I flicked my eyes towards recount, and saw myself down the bottom. Damn. Heal harder. Spam more Regrowth. Roll Lifebloom on all three tanks. Try to keep Rejuv up. Swiftmend on the CD. Pop trinkets. Still near the bottom. What’s Wrong? I know this spec is viable.

Okay, so the MT got ganked. Stack hots, take a moment to brez, moar hots, moar regrowth. Chaos. Still near the bottom of the meter.

Eventually, we missed the enrage timer (we didn’t even make it to 20 people in the raid, this wasn’t all that surprising). Tanks 1-shotted, dpsers 1-shotted, wipe, as expected. Out of time for tonight, let’s call the raid. Great, I think. I can find out what on earth is going on with my healing. Click the drop-down for fights to have a look at overall healing. Uh, Althura… You had recount showing a trash pull.

Yes, I didn’t notice the meters weren’t changing. I just flicked my eyes over every now and then, and saw my numbers sucking. I never twigged.

Okay, so how did I perform really on Patchwerk? Very well. Topped the meters nicely, pulled over 3k effective HPS (I didn’t have a chance to check out over-heal yet). Beat my other resto druid by about 200HPS. Beat the top shammy by a touch. Kicked Ass.

Oh, 5-mans. I went along on a heroic CoS run tonight too with my shiny new spec. It worked a treat, and I found myself able to pull upwards of 1k dps on some pulls while solo-healing as well. An extra 1k dps is quite handy in beating the timer, and if your tank has enough mitigation, and your dps are decent at avoiding damage, I could see numbers even higher coming up. I can even see myself pugging normal 70 instances and beating some of the lamer dpsers. The fact that the balance SP bonuses work out of tree form is nice.

I’ll keep you up to date on my impressions of this DS-Resto build. My current impression is that it out-performs Wild Growth balance/resto builds in just about all situations. As I get more experience, I’ll keep you up to date. I think this may be a long-term spec for me. In the meantime,

Happy Druiding,

Althura.

Dreamstate Healing in Wrath

Back in the bad ol’ days, there was a time when druid HoT healing wasn’t particularly respected, and druids were expected to stay out of tree-form and spam Healing Touch. As we all know, spamming HT in caster form isn’t exactly the most mana-efficient thing we can do, and so we had to go looking for more regen than the standard resto builds could provide.

Enter Dreamstate Healing. The idea is to run down the balance tree a bit, taking Lunar Guidance and Dreamstate. Back in the bad ol’ days I mentioned before, this meant we couldn’t get Tree of Life; however, since we’ve added a few levels (and had the trees changed around a bit), it’s now possible to grab Dreamstate and ToL.

But what does this mean? It’s not the bad ol’ days anymore, and druids are loved for their HoTs, not in spite of them. There’s no need to spam HTs anymore, and we don’t need the regen.

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A Whole New World: UI Howto

In a recent post, I did a quick preview of my UI customisation, and listed a few addons I’ve used. This time ’round, it’s time to dive into the nitty-gritty and give you an in-depth look at how to make your UI look exactly how you want it to.

Your first step, and a very important one, is to backup all of your current settings. This will let you go back to the way things were before, if you just can’t make it work for you (or you get called to raid mid-setup and need to make things usable fast!). Open up your WoW folder and rename the “Interface” and “WTF” folders to something meaningful; I usually add something to the end, so I have “Interface – Good” and “WTF – Good”. If you want to work off your current settings, instead of renaming it, copy it; your copy will be your backup, and you’ll keep all your current addons and settings. You may find it harder to follow my instructions on getting set up, though, if you have a bunch of settings already.

If you’re running Vista, your WoW folder will probably be something like “C:\Users\Public\Games\World of Warcraft”. On XP, it’s probably more like “C:\Program Files\World of Warcraft”. If you’re on a mac, my condolences.

Okay, having backed up your old settings, the first thing you need is an addon manager, if you don’t already use one. I find WowMatrix to be excellent; Curse Gaming also has an addon manager. Next, there is a core set of addons that I’d recommend you grab straight away. I know this seems like a long list, but it’s not that bad, really.

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A New Look: Customizing the UI

I promised you guys a post a while ago, and it really has been a while, but I’ve been working hard. I do really have something big for you guys. It’s addons, and UI customization, and … all that sort of stuff. I’m going to jump straight in and give you a look at the end product, and then I’ll start describing how I got there.

First attempt at a complete UI

First attempt at a complete UI

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Where I’ve Been…

Once again, I’ve had a bit of a gap in posting. This is partly because WoW is taking a bit of a back-seat to work at the moment; I’m not raiding, I’m not even heroic-ing much. I’ve been … Social-WoWing, I guess. I tried a stint as level-80 balance, and loved it for soloing. I did some feral time too, and loved it even more! Pulling 15 or 20 mobs and bear-AoEing with swipe is great fun. But DPSing instances just isn’t for me; not on my druid, anyway. Tanking I don’t hate, but it’s just not what I love.

So back to resto I went. I think it was inevitable.

Anyway, the other reason I haven’t been posting is that all of my meta-WoW time lately has been spent fiddling with my interface. Playing with macros, addons, and other UI customisations. I’m sure I’ll end up with one helluva series on what I end up with, but for now, this is it.

Happy Druiding,

Althura.

Guild Progression: What It Is and How It’s Done

A little while ago now, I had to give my guild some news. Althura is moving to a more supervisory role; taking something of a ‘hands off’ approach, as it were. Moving up and out (though not ‘out’ of the guild); taking a step back; taking a ‘wait and see’ position.

Resigning as a core raider.

This isn’t a choice I wanted to make, but unfortunately, due to those nasty IRL things that pop up from time to time, Dissent’s HoTNelf is going part-time for a while. I’m going to miss out on a ton of progression content, which really sucks. Progression is why I play. Lack of it is why I ditched my last guild (In spite of them being a great bunch of people! Hi FFJ!). Fortunately, Dissent has social and backup-raider ranks, and so moving out of full-time raiding doesn’t mean they’re gonna ditch me. Probably, anyway.

I’m slowly creeping towards the point of this post, but if you read oneHoTNelf often you’re used to that. Don’t worry, I’ll get there.

Anyway, the start of the month saw my first night sitting out of raid in … A Very Long Time. I even sat in the raid vent channel for a while. I sat outside Naxx. I already miss raiding; but most of all, I miss being directly responsible for guild progression.

“Hang on Alth, you weren’t responsible for guild progression, just involved. Right? Not an officer, not a class leader… Not Responsible.”

Wrong.

In a guild, every raider is responsible for guild progression. Every backup raider who comes in once in a while. Even some of the socials. But particularly the core raiders. Responsible. Directly.

But what IS progression? How does it work? If I’m responsible for it, what do I have to do?

Read on.

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WotLK Resto Druid Gear: Dungeon Drops

Well, with wrath out, there are a whole bunch of new dungeons; and that means a whole bunch of new loot tables. I’ve run a few of the new instances now, mostly on heroic (I did normal Utgarde Keep, Nexus, Azjol-Nerub, and Violet Hold too, while I was leveling). It’s nice to hit 80 already geared for heroics, but then I was pushing 1300 SP before wrath even hit, and we can’t all be sunwell-geared before we hit 80.

I never moved my BC pre-heroic gear guide onto this blog; it sat on the guild forums. I always thought about shifting it over, but never did. There’s not much point now, but what there is a point for is a guide to gearing an 80 druid for raids and heroics. I’m doing it in a few parts, because there are just so many options out there; it all started with my rep reward guide.

So here it is; what drops where, healer-style. I’ll pop the recommended level range in brackets, so you know when to hit it up.

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Burning Crusade Redux: Best and Worst

Wrath of the Lich King is in full swing, and all of the serious WoW players have it installed by now. We got an early start on some of the features with patch 3.0.2, and we hit the ground running. My guild’s already cleared 10-man Naxx, and we’re hoping to clear 25-man this coming week. Level 80 heroics are already old-hat; the epics are flowing, and people have leveled their professions to 450. Dissent’s MT is already sporting a couple of pieces of T7 warrior gear.

People who even mention running the old instances are laughed at: I’ve watched many a flame session directed at some poor sap trying to get a ZA group together. Seriously, that’s nearly as bad as running UBRS! Plus, we all know you’re just after the achievement now that out-leveling and outgearing the place is so easy. What else is there to gain, but an empty achievement accessible to anyone who can get a bunch of level 80s together?

Hang on, people. ZA was fun! I remember reading previews of Zul’Aman, and I remember it being praised for its atmosphere, its storyline, its… General FUNness. So why shouldn’t people go back and run it?

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Of Moonkins and Server Transfers

I haven’t really been posting much lately, and there is one core reason for that, I guess. All of my WoW time has been spent leveling towards 80. That means no new healing tips, because I haven’t been healing. No insights into dungeons (because I’ve hardly done any) or raids (because I haven’t done any at all!)

So what HAVE I been doing?

Going boomkin, for a start. I highly recommend throwing at least a few points into balance while you level. I’ve left myself only about 20 points into resto, and I’ve stacked most of the core balance talents. Especially with the change to spell power, you will put out some really good damage, as well as having better survivability in moonkin form.

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Healing HowTo: Addon Frenzy!

Hopefully, you’ve all bumped into WoW addons at some stage or other. They allow outside developers to write extra features into the WoW interface, and there are some REALLY neat ones out there.

So, how do you get these addons? The easiest way is to install an addon manager. Addon managers generally install addons for you, check for updates regularly, and so on. My current favourite is called WowMatrix: It’s quick, easy to install, and FAR more up-to-date than most addon managers I’ve used in the past. It has a neat “Get More AddOns” tab that’s easy to use and automatically handles installations for you.

So, once you’ve worked out how to get addons, which ones do you want? There are SO many out there.

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