The Hamlet and Dayani Show?

A.K.A. “Because I needed another project…” ;)

Hamlet and I got together today (let’s ignore the fact that it was 3:30am for me) and recorded a little podcasty-kinda thing where we just generally chatted about healing topics, primarily things that we had wanted to say last week on Wowhead Weekly but didn’t get to.

He’s hosting it over at his blog, so you can find it here:

I’ll note that we’re pretty amateur here – just recorded a conversation in Mumble, and probably weren’t as candid or comfortable as we might have been without that little blinky red light – so view this as a trial more than a finished product. Let us know what you think; if this sort of thing seems generally interesting we may do it again whenever we have a backlog of topics to talk about :)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Patch 6.0.2: Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing

It’s been one day since Patch 6.0.2 was applied, and as Mythic raid logs accumulate, we’re starting to see some familiar trends. Before people get too worried about What This Means For Warlords Healing, I want to jump in and address the issue. The TL;DR is: this month is meaningless, and absolutely none of this has any correlation to how the healing game will play out in Warlords of Draenor. But that is just the short story – you all know I’m going to provide you with the long story, too ;)

So here’s what the rankings looked like earlier today – highlighting Warcraft Logs’ new RaidBots-esque feature:

The first day of Mythic SoO raiding shows absorbs are still king

The first day of Mythic SoO raiding shows absorbs are still king

(And here’s the direct link to that report – mind you, the graph is skewy because there’s no option other than “view the last two months”, but Mythic rankings were only added yesterday; the table below still gives us the same information.)

These results seem to contradict the developers’ intention, and many of the things I’ve written here, about absorption healing not being as powerful in Warlords. Discipline Priests and Holy Paladins are on top, like they have been all expansion, but this doesn’t mean that Warlords hasn’t fixed the absorption issue. All it means is that it takes more than a bit of class tweaking to fix the absorption issue.

There’s a lot of things at play here beyond the numbers issues that are highlighted by that table. Numbers can be tweaked, and probably will be, but that won’t bring around the Warlords atmosphere we all crave. Here I’ll break down all the various reasons why I casually dismiss this entire month as “Magical Unicorn Fairyland Raiding”, and assert that nothing we do until December 2nd will really matter. A lot of this will apply to DPS as well as healers, so tell your friends ;)

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Posted in Mists of Pandaria, Raids, Siege of Orgrimmar | 8 Comments

Another Quickie: Guides, Site Updates, and My First Podcast

So, I have about 15 minutes before I have to go get ready for a party, but I thought I’d just post another little update here:

1. Wowhead Healer Guides

With 6.0.2 right around the corner, I’ve updated the Holy Paladin, Mistweaver Monk, and Restoration Shaman guides to help you cope with the changes that are coming. The top section, “6.0.2 Survival Guide”, will list the most important changes that will affect you on Tuesday as you venture back in to SoO. The rest of the guides focus on what you’ll be doing at level 100, which is still a good read, but probably not as important as knowing exactly what’s going on for the next month.

2. Site Updates

You may have noticed there’s a “Warlords of Draenor Info” button on the top menu bar now; it’s where I’m going to put the analogues of my “What’s New in MoP” class pages, when I finally get them written. For now, there’s a comprehensive overview of what generic things are changing that will affect all healers – stuff like mana, how the new stats work, and some details about the new healing model.

I’ve also put up a new guide to Choosing a Healer, with a totally subjective opinion-based matrix of descriptors for each class’s Warlords playstyle. If you’re wavering on what class to play, or just feel like seeing what’s happening to your class in the expansion, have a look!

3. BlizzCon Prep

I guess I haven’t officially announced this here before, but I am going to BlizzCon this year and have been crazy busy preparing for that. It’s eating up a lot of time! It does mean I’ll be out of the country for launch, so I’m working hard on getting things ready before then so all I have to do while traveling is press a few buttons and you’ll all have the updates and guides that you crave.

4. Guest on Wowhead Weekly

Just a couple days ago I was a guest on Wowhead Weekly, along with Hamlet. It was a pair of firsts – their first show with guests, and my first time ever on a podcast! I had a blast. We talked about healing in Warlords and mostly about how it isn’t as scary as you think. I didn’t have time to address all the topics I wanted to — believe me, I can go on about healing for hours — but I hope you’ll find it informative and at least a little entertaining. And I can always answer questions here or on Twitter if there’s something you wanna know that Hamlet or I didn’t cover on the show! :)

Posted in Blog News, Monk, Paladin, Shaman, Warlords of Draenor | 12 Comments

A Quickie: Stuff I’ve Been Up To on Beta

Hey everyone, I’m still alive! *waits for you all to finish cheering*

I have been rather lax here at Healiocentric, and it isn’t out of lack of things to say. I have a lot of things to say. I just haven’t been finding a lot of time to say them, because I’ve been spending so much time on Beta. This post will be sort of a run-down of all the fun things I’ve been doing, that have kept me away from all of you lovely people for a while.

Before I begin, I just want to say: I love healing in Warlords. Love. The dungeons feel challenging and have a lot of BC flavour, with interesting trash mechanics that can’t be simply ignored, and in raid tests so far I’ve used a larger subset of my toolkit than ever before. Mana matters, choosing the right target to heal matters, and healer balance is mostly okay. I’m enjoying myself again, and after a year of SoO, Warlords is like a breath of fresh air.

So anyway, on to the rest of the post!

1. HealerCalcs

This is Hamlet‘s baby, but I’ve been babysitting it for him on occasion. HealerCalcs is a comprehensive multi-spec spreadsheet that models individual spells as well as healing rotations. It’s incredibly powerful and flexible, and while it is still a work in progress, it’s really fantastic for getting an overview of how each healing spec is performing.

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Posted in Proving Grounds, Theorycrafting, Warlords of Draenor, WoD Beta | 29 Comments

Off-topic: ALT:ernative Chat’s “10 Years: 10 Questions”

As WoW‘s 10th anniversary looms over us all, the ALT:ernative Chat blog is running a “10 Years: 10 Questions” project that I thought might be kind of fun to participate in. She’s posted 10 questions for anyone who plays WoW to answer, so I strongly encourage all of you to participate if you’d like! Check the above linkydink for the deets.

And now, for more information about me than you probably care to know, my answers to the 10 Questions:

1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?

I started playing Warcraft so that my boyfriend would agree to buy, and wear, brown shoes with his brown business slacks.

He always wore black ones, and it bugged me. He’d started playing World of Warcraft and was getting pretty caught up in it, and I didn’t have much interest in the game myself. But he’d been wanting me to play with him, so I saw an opportunity and made a proposal. He agreed that if I played WoW with him for a whole week, he’d try out brown shoes.

It’s now 8 years later, and he’s got brown shoes, and I’ve got a crazy WoW habit. :)

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Posted in Off-Topic | 5 Comments

Warlords Update: Resto Shaman Talents & Minutiae

There’ve been a few changes to Resto Shaman in the Beta that I thought I ought to cover, since a couple of my WoD Mini-Analysis posts focused on these spells and Talents in their first incarnations. This should be a “short post”.

Just to keep myself feeling all proper and academic-like, I should acknowledge that I’ve used Hamlet’s HealerCalcs spreadsheet – which I’ve been helping him maintain, in lieu of building my own spreadsheets – to hammer out some of the mathematical details herein; he’s been posting about it over at his blog if you want more details (see here and here).

Riptide Rebalanced

Riptide’s sources of healing have been shuffled around. The initial heal has been increased by about 70%, while the HoT effect has been reduced by about 20%. This change was probably aimed at reducing the benefit of the Riptide glyph (and perhaps even at shifting the balance of power of Riptide itself, since HoT effects are strong in Warlords).

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Posted in Shaman, Warlords of Draenor | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

MoP in Review, Part 3: The Troubles with Bubbles

In this third installment of my Mists of Pandaria review/opinion series (previous posts in the series here), I’ll be tackling the topic of absorption healing and why it has been so prominent throughout the expansion. This is a retrospective, more of a historical analysis than a mathematical one; I’ll talk a bit about absorption mechanics in general, dissect the factors that make absorption so strong in MoP, give a bit of history about the evolution of absorption-based healing from 5.0 to 6.0, and finish up with a bit of a look ahead into Warlords. And listen, I’ll try really hard to keep my ranting to a minimum, but this topic gets me – as it does most Resto Shaman – a little heated up ;)

This is going to be an inherently Paladin- and Priest-focused discussion, so I apologise in advance to all my Monk, Shaman, and Druid readers. I’d like to think that you’ve all been touched by the absorption ‘problem’ enough to still find this interesting. If nothing else, jump ahead to the Warlords section and read about the future of absorption healing – I hope it will help you feel a little better.

Introduction to Absorption Mechanics

Everyone knows absorbs are good – it’s all too obvious if you have either a Discipline Priest or a Holy Paladin in your raid, and these two specs make up a plurality of healers in raids, if you combine 10- and 25-player raiders into a single pool. But what makes them so very strong? Is there ever a situation where they’re less powerful than healing? If you’re not accustomed to thinking a lot about the nuts and bolts of healing, these might be questions you haven’t been able to answer.

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Posted in Discipline, Mists of Pandaria, Paladin, Philosophy, Priests, Raids, Theorycrafting, Tier 14, Tier 15, Tier 16, Warlords of Draenor | Tagged | 11 Comments

Proofing Grounds: The L100 Mekka PG Challenge [feat. Hamlet]

Sometime last week, DK theorycrafter and soloing trailblazer Mione tweeted that the MoP Proving Grounds were available on the Mekkatorque Warlords of Draenor beta server, and they scaled with gear! While initially this prompted a round of testing to determine how the scaling works and whether it was a good or bad idea – an opinion I’ve still not fully formed for myself – it also led to something a little more generally interesting:

… A friendly “competition” between me and the only other Proven5 Healer I know, and my favourite healycrafter, Hamlet! You may know him from Twitter, or perhaps from maintaining Moonkin and Resto Druid theorycrafting threads on Elitist Jerks, or from his shared blog with Perculia of Wowhead – and if you love healing, you definitely should know him, as he dissects the theory behind healing concepts in great detail and knows more about all the classes than I do :)

Table of Contents
Caveat Healor
Druid (Hamlet)
Monk (Hamlet)
Paladin (Hamlet)
Holy Priest (Dayani)
Shaman (Dayani)
Disc Priest (Dayani)

As it turns out, attempting the Proving Grounds provided us both with a lot of insight into each class’s mechanics and toolkit. The exercise became more of a collaboration, as we discussed strategies and helped each other the whole way through – just like the last time I did a Proving Grounds challenge. And since we worked together closely on these challenges, we thought it’d be a great opportunity to present a joint post detailing our shared PG experiences. So please welcome Hamlet as Healiocentric’s first ever co-author!

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Posted in Discipline, Druid, Holy, Monk, Paladin, Priests, Shaman, Warlords of Draenor | Tagged , , | 23 Comments

Achievement Spam

I’ve been pretty quiet over here for a while, but I’ve been working on a few things and now I can share them all with you! I’ll try to go here in the order of what I suspect most of my readers will care about ;)

Warlords of Draenor Alpha

Squee I'm one of the cool kids

Squee I’m one of the cool kids

I’m in! I’ll be bringing you all the healing news that’s fit to print from the Alpha, just as soooon as I get it downloaded and set up! I’ll probably be focusing first on Resto Shaman news, since that’s the class I’m most established in, but I’ll do my best to think of things to write about every class so that none of you feel left out (except for you dirty DPSers who randomly read my blog ;) )

If you also are on the alpha, and want to chat, I’ll be Dayani on Alliance side and I’m already set up as Hordeyani on Horde side – I think only the one server is available right now, Lost Isles, so that’s where I’ll be. I’ll be looking to spend some time there this weekend; I’d love to hang out and hear some of your thoughts on the changes in progress.

45/45 Gold!

This past weekend I also finished my long-standing but previously neglected goal of reaching 9/9 Gold Challenge Mode dungeons on each of my five healing characters. It was nowhere near as grueling as my Proving Grounds challenge, and frankly it wasn’t as satisfying, but I did have a great time hanging out with some new and some old friends throughout the whole process. I owe a great deal of gratitude, and probably beer, to Arielle of The Inconspicuous Bear, as well as Serrinne (whose lovely presence graces Twitter here daily), for organising, leading, and fun-ifying the Challenge Mode project :)

The lovely, lively ladies of Healiocentric: Marjaneh, Holy Paladin; Hamera, Mistweaver; Dayani, Resto Shaman; Peshka, Disc Priest; and Aiea, Resto Druid

The lovely, lively ladies of Healiocentric showing off their great new gear:
Marjaneh, HPal; Hamera, Mistweaver; Dayani, RSham; Peshka, Disc Priest; Aiea, Resto Druid

I won’t be writing a multi-class guide to Challenge Modes, because I don’t feel that my experiences were particularly valuable to players who want guides, let alone need guides. Arielle is so pro, it basically didn’t matter what I did so long as I stayed behind the bear butt :P But I’m happy to answer questions and give advice just as I did with my Proving Grounds post, so if you have anything to ask, just leave a comment!

And if you were hoping to do Challenge Modes yourself, don’t forget to check out Hamlet’s video guides playlist, all from a healing perspective. Eventually, Arielle and Serrinne will run every single person on the planet through these CMs, so you’d better be prepared! :D

High Esperations

And in other news, I’ve finally reached level 50 on my Esper in WildStar! This means it’s time for raid attunement, which entails doing all of the group content and actually performing well. It’ll be a good project for getting the hang of Esper healing, and you can be sure that some of that process will end up here in some form of commentary.

Still super cute, even though she's a certified bad-ass.

Still super cute, even though she’s a certified bad-ass.

The WildStar leveling process has been … an interesting experience. I hate leveling – because it represents the longest block of time I have to spend outside of a healing role, and you all know by now how I feel about that. WildStar was a real love-hate relationship for this process (whereas usually, I just hate, with the white-hot fury of a million Eldan Power Supplies). I have complicated feelings on the topic, and I’ll just briefly comment for now.

The game is pretty hard in comparison to what we’re all used to by now in WoW. It’s not that leveling requires a great time investment – I have 6 days /played and at least half of that was me standing around in my housing plot while alt-tabbing and chatting to people about how much it sucks that standing around in my housing plot whilst alt-tabbing and chatting to people doesn’t award XP – it’s that leveling requires you to actually learn how to use your class’s skills and to deal with the game’s combat system. You will die if you elect to ignore telegraphs, or can’t deal a reasonable amount of damage, or don’t learn to interrupt certain important spells.

And die, I did. A lot. But you know, I kind of admire this relentless take on leveling. At the very least, it was nice to feel engaged in the process. I often don’t in WoW – I can just watch Scrubs or something and auto-pilot my way through tedious quests and kill X of this and gather Y of that. WildStar’s innovation isn’t in the quest design – you’ll still eradicate X and deplete the world of its strategic Y reserves – but in the requirement to actually care about what you’re doing in order to survive.

Unfortunately, this can feel punishing and frustrating, especially where the area design and the game mechanics seem to conflict. Yes, I’m talking to you, I.C.I. Base Camp. A game where the primary objective of combat is to dodge huge areas on the ground should not take place in (a) a cave (b) with terrible camera angles (c) and lots of patrols (d) with some packs of enemies that respawn immediately (e) and surprise-five-levels-above-you! respawns at that.

However, there are some really great things about the leveling. It’s a mix of exploration and breadcrumbs, so you really do get to see the world and feel like you’re part of it. There’s some genuinely funny stuff. And every so often you get to do a “Shiphand” mission, which is like a solo instance (think the Isle of Thunder scenarios, tech-wise, but with more direct involvement in the events) that develops the “World Story”. The Shiphands are pretty cool, and are actually quite worth it, taking about 15-20 minutes and rewarding around 8-12% of an XP bar. Plus you get a bunch of loot in them.

There’s a lot of incentive to level in groups – although the game’s tech doesn’t always play nice with this concept in terms of quest credit sharing, it does a pretty good job, and there are even group quests to kill dangerous mobs that remind me a lot of running into scary giant robots in the Outlands.  The “Mentoring” function that lets you scale your level down to your friends’ level if you get ahead is really great and ensures that helping out lowbies isn’t a complete waste of your time.

The group content itself – Adventures and Dungeons – are, from what I saw, a lot of fun, but unfortunately don’t seem to reward enough XP to make it worth leveling through them. You can even run the Shiphand missions with multiple people – and at least one of them has a special objective that you can’t do without friends!

In the coming weeks I’ll be finding out if all that leveling was worth it. The state of the end-game is the most important aspect to me, and that’s what I’ll be investigating now. Well, now now, I’m going to bed. As a parting gift, I will leave you now with some of my live-Tweet material from my leveling process – I hope you enjoy, and come back here for more updates on WildStar, Warlords of Draenor, and all the other random things I spill on my keyboard ;)

Posted in Challenge Modes, Discipline, Druid, Esper, Mists of Pandaria, Monk, Paladin, Priests, Shaman, Warlords of Draenor, WildStar | 2 Comments

WildStar for Dummies: Don’t Let the Nexus Vex Us


Table of Contents
Basic Training
Dual Resources
Shields and Absorption
User Interface
Wrapping Up

In this long, dreary drudge ’til World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor Alpha, or Beta, or you know, something, my WoW guild decided to take up WildStar. And since I’m rather susceptible to peer pressure, I went along with it. While I’m typically not interested in new MMOs – they mean new leveling! Ugh! – I figured I’m probably missing out on opportunities to hone my WoW critique by not learning new systems. Figuring out what does and doesn’t work for me in a new game could help me understand more about what does and doesn’t work in WoW, and why; and a new game with new ideas could give me a broader background to draw upon for analysis.

Dayani Esper

Aren’t I adorable? :)

So with this in mind, I thought I ought to write some about my WildStar experiences. I don’t know if I’m going to do a full-blown theorycraft/ encounter/ class guide, and I don’t even know if I’m going to try all three healing classes in the game. Don’t expect to see WildStar icons up there on my header anytime soon! But it might be interesting, helpful or fun to share my WildStar adventures (and Adventures!) with you all.

Today I reached level 20 as an Exile Human Esper, and in the past 24 hours completed both a Dungeon and an Adventure (like Dungeon-lite) in the healing role. At the end of it, I was pretty happy – the group content was hard, it required coordination and awareness, and best of all, there was plenty to heal!

In this post, I’ll talk a little about my first impressions and give a bit of info about healing and how the game works. Remember, I don’t know a lot about WildStar yet myself, so these posts will be pretty much a chronicle of one old dog’s attempt to learn new tricks.

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Posted in Esper, Medic, Off-Topic, Spellslinger, WildStar | 7 Comments