So I haven’t touched this blog in quite a while. In fact, I haven’t written any real content since early April, and it’s now September. So what can a resto druid get up to in five months? (Warning: Rambling will ensue. I’ll be writing articles about what I’ve actually LEARNED later).
Quite a lot, it turns out. When I last posted, I was excited about going on my first raids (kara only), struggling in heroics, and getting my heals to about 1500.
Since then, I’ve farmed a SERIOUS amount of badge gear, and I got myself to the point that tanks were keeping me on their flist and chasing me to heal heroics. Althura healing meant quick, wipe-free runs (as long as everyone else did their job too). There were days when I did 5, 6, or even 7 heroics, so saving up 150 badges for my 2.4 mace didn’t take long. 1500 +heals started to seem like a distant memory, and fully buffed (oil, elixir, and food) I was creeping over 2k.
This happened even faster once my guild started to grow, and I didn’t get kara spots so often. Naturally, I still wanted the badges a good quick kara run could earn, and so I started pugging kara. What did I discover? Pugs were quicker than my guild runs. I still went on guild runs when I was needed, but a guild run lasted 2 sessions of 3-4 hours, and often skipped one or more of Illhoof, Netherspite, and Nightbane. Once I started pugging with the tanks I knew from heroics, I was seeing 3-4 hour full clears, and even more badges rolled in. Pretty soon I had a full set of 2.4 badge gear, and people were starting to say things like “T6 equivalent” about my gear.
Oh, I’ll slot in a few lessons I’ve learned after all. When people say T6 equivalent, they’re generally full of, well, something unpleasant, shall we say (I’ll try to keep this G-rated). I was strutting around in the best available badge gear for each slot, as well as a few other nice bits (I’d been lucky to pick up a very nice leather healing belt from the 1st timed chest in ZA). I’d been seeing these people around with “Champion of the Naaru” after their name, and I decided I wanted that. Apart from some slow quests at the start, most of it isn’t that tricky, if you’re not having trouble with heroics.
That said, Murmur is REALLY tough on heroics. Well, ok, he’s not THAT hard, but it has a tricky mechanic that everyone has to get right, and it’s quite easy for one player trying to watch Family Guy or something during the boss fights to wipe you repeatedly.
I got hung up for a while trying to down Magtheridon, as my guild was just starting to run the occasional Gruul raid (with varying success), but once again, raid pugs came to my rescue. About the 3rd pug I joined managed to down Mag, and I got my title.
This is where I started to run out of achievable goals. Heroics were becoming easy (I once ran a pally tank with 450ish defense and 10.5k health through heroic Sethekk, albeit with a bit of cc). Kara was DEAD boring, and Gruul and Mag wipes always happened because of DPS, or cube-clickers, or tanks, but if they all did their job, and the other healers along weren’t terrible, those bosses would go down smoothly as well. I was running ZA weekly with the guild, but they were downing the bear and eagle bosses before I’d even seen the inside of karazhan, and by my fourth or fifth week going in with them, they were still only starting to take a stab at the lynx boss (having never even thought about the dragonhawk). Even once we started working on the lynx, I felt like the group in general wasn’t really quite ready for it, and our success was limited.
I stuck with pugging heroics for a while, because my roommate was trying to gear up a pally tank, and I could focus on her goals for a while, but I really felt like Althura wasn’t getting anywhere. It was certainly months since I’d had an upgrade drop for me in a raid.
Anyway, I finally got a bit of a reality check in a heroic one day. I joined a group with a very undergeared warrior tank, and some seriously geared dpsers, all from the same guild. I said I was quite happy to come along to help them gear up the warrior, and we got started. Naturally, the warrior had trouble holding some of the aoe packs in heroic arc off the very well-geared mage, and the mage died once. This wasn’t all that big a deal, we had a shammy along to rez, so he was rezzed and we moved on, the mage grumbling a bit about not being healed.
Fast-forward to the first boss’s room, with all the big elites, and a few aoe packs. The tank pulled one elite, and it was fairly quickly downed. Then the tank pulled an aoe pack, but unseen by all of us, he also accidentally pulled one of the big elites. I had a fraction of a second to think, “oh god, please let the mage not go in and aoe now” before he did just that. I suddenly had a very undergeared tank being hit hard by an elite and a couple of extras, and a mage who had pulled a few more mobs off him. I decided to let the dps die and keep my tank up, which was dicey enough as it was (there were plenty of <10% health moments while I hoped my heal would get off in time). This is with over 2k bonus healing, spamming regrowth and healing touch (my direct heals) and trying to keep some hots rolling as well.
The tank stayed up, but the mage and the shammy both died. They started the corpse run, and suddenly the mage is yelling at me in party chat.
“WHERE THE F&*% WERE MY HEALS?”
“Uh, we pulled an extra elite, and I had enough trouble keeping the tank up. I’m sorry, but tank > dps in my heal priority.”
“My mate has a druid healer, they’re great multi-healers, you didn’t even get one hot on me.”
“Yeah sorry, but it was really hectic, and sparing a heal for you might have let the tank die.”
“That’s %&$#ed, I’m the $%^#ing AOEer, you heal the AOEer you dumbass.”
Anyway, I suddenly found myself kicked from the group. I whispered the mage and told him I was sorry he died, but I saw the extra mob pull and I just had to worry about keeping the tank up so we didn’t wipe, not trying to save one dps.
He called me a “nub”.
Anyway, we disagreed about this for a while, whispering fairly angrily on both sides. Eventually, he pulled rank on me (“Hand of A’dal” after his name trumped my “Champion of the Naa’ru”) and said that I’d never last in any serious raids if I stuck with that attidude.
I still stand by my actions there. Given a serious risk of your MT going down, and certain death of a dpser without heals, you’re almost ALWAYS going to let the dpser die and keep the tank up. Granted, I may have been able to pop a heal or two on the mage without letting the tank die, but the mage might have died anyway, and it might have caused the tank to go down. Still, it irked me that some dpser thought he knew better than me about healing, purely because he’d seen some (SSC+) 25-man content.
That wasn’t quite the final straw, but it was close to. The same day I pugged a heroic with someone from a guild called Dissent, and mentioned a bit of how I was feeling about being stuck progression-wise. He encouraged me to check out the guild website and apply, as they were after a good resto druid.
I threw an application up on the website, expecting to hear back in a couple of days that I wasn’t really experienced enough. Sure, I had all of this supposed “T6 Equivalent” badge gear, but I had not a single drop from anything beyond ZA. In fact, I’d only ever done a bit of trash in TK, and never stepped inside SSC or any of the higher-end raids.
To my surprise, my application was approved within an hour or two, and I was contacted in-game by Dissent’s heal team leader almost immediately. I said my (rather sad) farewells to my guild-mates and fellow officers from FFJ, and /gquit.
The next few days were a whirlwind for me. I was recruited on a Tuesday, and my first raid was a full Mount Hyjal clear on Wednesday night. I had a whole instance to learn all about, and five bosses to read up on. MH is T6 territory, so I had to check out which pieces of T6 were upgrades, and which weren’t. I had to grind about 3k honor to buy my PvP trinket (there are a couple of bosses in MH which are made much easier if everyone has one on).
One thing I learned from all this is that, by and large, when people say “T6 equivalent”, they’re probably exaggerating. Looking at my badge gear, there’s not a single piece I’d keep over T6 bits.
Anyway, MH went quite smoothly, with only one wipe, on trash, where we let our pally tank die. MH is a wonderful instance, by the way. Great scenery, and it’s a long and interesting event which tells a story. It’s also all outside, so you can mount up and get around quicker!
Thursday and Friday were Black Temple, and I was told to be ready to take a stab at up to the first 6 bosses on the first night. Six more bosses to learn about kept me pretty busy, but turned out to be a bit of overkill. For various reasons, we only got 3 bosses down on Thursday, and another 3 on Friday. Saturday was a night off, so I looked forward to taking it easy over the weekend. Right up until an officer whispered me to ask if I’d been hooked up with my shadow resist gear yet. It turns out the seventh boss in BT needs the whole raid to be at, or close to, the 365 SR cap. You can probably do this with greens “of Shadow Resistance”, but you’ll end up with virtually no other stats then. The solution is a bunch of crafted epics, which unfortunately require a serious number of Primal Shadows (about 25) and Primal Life (12, from memory). End weekend of relaxation, begin weekend of serious grinding.
Actually, probably the main cost of the SR gear is all of the Hearts of Darkness needed, but the guild bank was supplying those, so I didn’t have to worry about that.
Anyway, I came up a couple of shadows short in the end, but the guild bank had a couple spare, so come Sunday night I had my 365 SR cap (with the help of a buff and a flask). Mother was as straight-forward for this guild as everything else I’d seen, but I’d been warned that the next boss (Council) wasn’t on farm yet, and I could expect some wipes, and possibly no success. We did down Council after only a few wipes, but we didn’t have the right people on to take a stab at Illidan himself, so we called it a night.
Illidan was, at the time, the only boss Dissent was yet to down, even though most of BT was practically farm content.
Now, I’ve been with Dissent for a month or so, and seen several full clears of MH, and (last week), I finally got to participate in a guild first with Dissent: The Death of Illidan. The infamous final boss of BT put up a great fight, and it took many hours of wiping on him before we finally got it all right, and he went down. It’s a very fun encounter.
So there you have it, from scrub kara noob to participating in a progression down of Illidan (prior to patch 2.4, the final raid-instance boss in the game) in four months. I’ve learned a lot, had a heap of fun, made some friends (and a few enemies), and hopefully gotten to the point where there’s not a person on my server who could seriously call me a noob.
I’ll hopefully be motivated enough to keep posting, and while I won’t give away the low-down on our guild’s custom-built Illi strat, I’ll certainly have plenty of lessons to share, both healing-related and otherwise.