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! 🙂

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About Dedralie

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13 Responses to Another Quickie: Guides, Site Updates, and My First Podcast

  1. Prakalasa says:

    You’re going to be at Blizzcon?! Can I fanboy myself over there sometime to say hi? (I work very nearby there and am used to seeing the con goers). Will Vorti be going as well? Despite living nearby I’ve never wanted to go since all my guildies are other Aussies. Regardless I hope you have a great time 🙂 Stop by in n out burger in Anaheim nearest the convention center and you’ll likely see me though I’ve no idea what either of you look like.

    • Dedralie says:

      Well, if you look at the bottom of this post there’s a picture of me 😛

      Vorti will be there for a little bit before the con but is going to visit family while I do the convention. Of course I’d like to meet you, you’ve been one of my biggest supporters for a long time :), and I’ve never had an In-N-Out burger so it seems appropriate to head over your way and say hi!

      • Prakalasa says:

        Hehe yeah I saw that part after I left the comment I just got a little excited. Btw i never get to tell you I saw the NPR article on you when you did your “pie chart”! Well Once the con comes around and I see my schedule I’ll try to figure out if I can come out there and meet you both. If you need any tips for food or non packed locales for drinks or coffee I’ll be happy to offer some advice. I remember trying the wow insider party at the Annabelle hotel and it was quite the madhouse so I’ll Probly never go there again.

      • Prakalasa says:

        So my work schedule is the worst thing possible for trying to come visit the con goers so I’ll just keep an eye out for you should you come for a bite to eat. 😉 hope you both have a fantastic trip! Enjoy our unseasonably warm weather this week

  2. Season says:

    Hey! Long time reader first time commenting, love your blog.

    I haven’t had the opportunity to play the beta and I’m really worried about how healing will be. I love that they’re making it overall more difficult and I know that they will balance stuff out eventually so I’m not worried about playing a low output class either. Something thats difficult to read up on in patch notes is: How does it actually feel to heal as a Shaman in WoD compared to the other classes? Is it fun? Does it feel like you’re actually helping? Is mobility a big issue in this new content? (Compared to Druids for example). There’s a lot of negativity going on on various forums and while I know that the haters are normally more vocal than the happy players and that the changes aren’t final it still makes WoD as a Shaman feel less exciting than it should. Please tell me Shamans are awesome.

    • Dedralie says:

      Aww, hi Season, nice to hear from you 🙂

      Okay, so here’s the thing. I am way more optimistic and happy than like 99% of the people who play this game. So keep that in mind. But honestly? I love playing my Shaman in WoD. I’ve done all the raid tests on Mythic, Normal, and LFR (and most of the Heroic ones too), so I have seen how we play over a wide variety of content, and I think we feel good.

      Yes, losing Ancestral Vigor is a big deal for our value to a raid, I can’t deny that. But it isn’t exactly the sort of ability I ever actually noticed during a fight, you know, it didn’t really change my decisions. The only time it ever impacted what I did was on Heroic Garrosh, when we AFKed the Terrace intermission – all my guildmates could go get a drink or stretch their legs for a minute, but I had to stay at my keyboard casting Healing Rain every 11.5 seconds to keep Ancestral Vigor refreshed on the raid. 😛

      Other than that, I feel that all of the changes have been good. It really matters who you cast Chain Heal on again. It matters how you spread your Riptides, it matters whether you can place your Healing Rain in a good spot because Conductivity’s mana savings translate to awesome throughput gains with more Chain Healing. I actually use my single-target heals and don’t feel punished for doing so, unlike in my usual 25-player raid where whomever I am targeting gets healed back up by smart heals while my spell is casting.

      The smart heal change affects us, but not as badly as you might fear. Yeah, we’re likely to see more overhealing from HST than we are used to, but for pretty much all the rest of our smart heals it isn’t much of a difference. HR was already overhealing a lot in MoP, and so was Chain Heal, and that’s all gone way down since the model in Warlords is one of slow-filling HP-bars rather than instantly-topping-or-not-ever-moving-because-absorbs-LOL HP bars.

      I even feel much better about our spread healing prospects with the way High Tide works. On a truly spread-out fight, you can take the hit from Glyph of Riptide in return for ensuring 6 bounces of every Chain Heal.

      Now … you did have to go and mention mobility, so I’m gonna bring you down a little. I’m sorry in advance. We didn’t get any nerfs to mobility, but we certainly are not as mobile as the golden children of t17, Druids and Holy Priests. The Glyph of Spiritwalker’s Focus helps a little, giving us more frequent, but shorter, bursts of mobile healing capabilities. And ironically, HST being nerfed helps a little here – since it is no longer a ridiculously OP I-Win button, we can save it to drop when we’re moving. Echo of the Elements will work for this too, or the aforementioned (*shudder*) Glyph of Riptide. But our mobility options are just about as limited in Warlords as they are in MoP.

      I didn’t really notice this as much of a problem except for on Operator Thogar and Hans’gar and Franzok, both not appearing until Blackrock Foundry. Sure, there’s hectic movement during some parts of Highmaul fights, but I’ve still been able to do well with planning and using all the tools at my disposal (and leaning on the Glyph of Riptide a little harder than I should, but making up for it with bananas High Tide Chain Heals afterwards). We’re probably tied for second-least-mobile class, along with Disc, but we’re a darned sight better off than Holy Paladins in the mobility department.

      A lot of people on the forums seem to feel that the smart heal changes take away our choices (I disagree – I think they put the emphasis back on *our* choices rather than the game engine’s choices) and that we still suffer from having a stack niche that isn’t the best. But they also make the dubious, to me, claim that Resto Shaman are terrible at the start of every expansion, and this just hasn’t been my experience at all. Certainly in Cata and in Mists, I feel that our Mastery is insanely strong at the start of an expansion, and that Crit giving both throughput and mana regen allows us to heal more than other classes in similarly terrible gear. If you’re the kind of Shaman who prefers to shun Mastery for Haste, then I could see how the start of the expansion could be unpleasant, but as a committed Mastery-lover I am always strong when an expansion launches.

      I have no idea what we will play like tomorrow. I haven’t touched Level 90 theorycrafting, because to my mind this next month doesn’t matter. We’re applying Warlords mechanics to Mists content, and I don’t think we’ll learn anything about our class or our performance at Level 100 from this. We won’t even have the vital Improved Chain Heal perk that makes Chain Heal a thoughtful, skillful cast! So don’t sweat it with how you do this next month (I really have no idea — we might be insanely OP, we might be terribad, hell, I’m probably going to be Elemental the whole month anyway.)

      I hope this helps! And thanks for commenting 🙂

  3. Season says:

    Oh my god, a reply, and a quick one at that. Now I love you even more <3.

    As for my comment on mobility, I do know that we haven't been nerfed at all in that department but theoretically they could've increased the movement requirements in general thus making it more difficult for us. It's good to hear that it's not a big issue.

    I do like Mastery but atm in MoP it feels like we don't get to use it as much with people going to full health super fast. Since people will hover at non-max health in WoD for a longer time it sounds like Mastery will be awesome. And being able (and rewarded) to use slow single-target heals is something I really really want, using the correct heal for a given situation (and seeing the result) is what makes healing fun for me.

    As for smart heals giving us more choice I do agree with you, believeing it's the opposite really doesn't make any sense.

    You mention High Tides, and while that talent surely looks super mega awesome, what do you feel about our other talent choices? I've never been a fan of Primal Elementalist (talent into a 5min CD) and Storm Elemental Totem kind of feels the same and I really prefer talents that are either passive or on a shorter cooldown. I do like what they're trying to do with Cloudburst totem but it feels like we'll pick High Tides 90% of the time regardless.
    And several other tiers seems to have no-brainer talents for example Elemental Blast (atleast in first raiding tier) and Conductivity. Did you experiment a lot with these tiers? And I want to love EotE but I cant help but feel that random proccs fits better in a DPS build rather than a Healer build. I want to be happy that I get a procc rather than feeling that I have to use it suboptimally just because it procced.

    I just realized that I'm sounding like the people on the forums =(

  4. Kai says:

    They announced for several expansions that they want to ‘fix’ healing so that healers don’t have to stare at their frames and keep everyone at 100%. That never worked out if you were doing current heroic/mythic content. I have serious doubts it will this time around. Which also means absorbs will still be very useful and PWD: Barrier highly desirable.Typically having a one of a kind CD is great. Everyone else has the 3 min personal output thing. Being the odd guy out isn’t a disadvantage, it’s usually a reason you want that class/spec in your raid.

    Not overly happy with holy paladin right now. The new CD just feels way too powerful. 200% output plus 20% crit and haste is just resulting in a ridiculous amount of overheal, I’m afraid. Having different CDs to space them out and being able to use them all at once when it was needed seems so much better.
    But what might really kill it for me is that it looks like you have to use crusader strike for maximum efficiency. Having to be in melee to max our healing potential is something that I really don’t look forward to. Can’t say I was a big fan of judging in MoP, but CS is a looot worse.

    • Dedralie says:

      On PW:B — It’s not a disadvantage at all to have a CD that isn’t like the others. That’s not the ‘problem’ (if there even is one – I haven’t decided) here. The issue we brought up in the podcast about PW:B is simply that it is no longer *as strong* as it was in MoP and Cataclysm, because the way damage is going out has changed.

      PW:B scales its power up with incoming damage. If the WoD model of encounter design is no longer to have periods of insane spike damage, then PW:B necessarily becomes weaker than it was in MoP, because 25% of WoD damage is smaller than 25% of MoP damage. PW:B used to handily beat other healing CDs on sustained raid-wide AoE damage (e.g. Rampage, Interrupting Screech, etc.) because the amounts of damage the raid was taking were much higher, *and* because the healing throughput CDs didn’t scale up with each additional player the way that PW:B does, either.

      Now that Tranq/Divine Hymn/HTT/Revival scale linearly with players added, *and* with the change to make damage less bursty, the damage-prevention CDs of Devo Aura and Power Word: Barrier are comparatively less powerful than they were in MoP.

      PW:B further loses out because WoD encounters are for the most part highly mobile. For nearly every fight in Highmaul (except Tectus, and serendipitously timed Enfeebling Roars on the Twin Ogron), there are reasons to spread out during periods of high raid-wide AoE damage. Spreading out or having to move is much more detrimental to optimal PW:B use than to optimal Devo Aura use.

      Now, I’m still not certain that PW:B being weaker in WoD than it was in MoP is actually a problem, it is just an interesting reversal of the power of throughput vs prevention CDs. Prevention CDs still always have the main advantage that prevented damage can never kill, that advantage just may no longer mean that we can rely on damage prevention CDs to drop healers.

      Woo that was a novel, and yet, I have more.

      Re: Paladins. I don’t blame you for not being happy about Paladins. The back-to-Wrath feels of having a lot of cast-time spells, but without the associated wheeee of having abundant Holy Power with which to cast finishers, results in a spec whose toolkit doesn’t quite feel complete to me.

      I also liked having a bunch of separate CDs. I’d suggest using the Merciful Wrath glyph if you really dislike having one insane throughput boost on a 3-min CD; I really liked having the 90-sec still-very-awesome Merciful Wrath ability. It’s obviously not as good as being able to choose whether to concentrate 3 separate cooldowns in a short period of time to cover a very dangerous ability, or to space them out to cover more frequent, less dangerous abilities, but it’s at least a step closer to that direction.

      I’m not so sure about CS. It deals no healing, costs more mana than Holy Shock, requires you to be in melee and potentially seriously screw up your strategy by dropping ranged-targeted effects in the melee pile, aaaaaand as of right now, Holy Power spenders are not even all that powerful. On Beta, a 3-HoPo WoG is 5% stronger than a Flash of Light/Holy Light, and a 3-HoPo LoD is 9% stronger than a fully effective Holy Radiance (once you attribute Daybreak healing to the HR that provided the effect rather than the Holy Shock that procced it). Obviously if you use EF then Holy Power is somewhat more valuable to you, but I think we may see a lot of Sacred Shield pallies and in those cases Holy Power may not be a huge enough draw to bother wasting a GCD and endangering your raid just to generate it twice as fast.

      We’ll see, but I think the developers want to discourage that as much as possible, while still keeping CS as a HoPo generator for soloing/niche situations.

      • Kai says:

        You’re giving an awful lot of credit to Blizzard that the healing change with ‘you don’t need to constantly top people’ works. It’s kind of tough to believe. If it did, wouldn’t that also make healing rather trivial and encounters too easy? Either that or just all dps checks. But if something is a dps check and healing rather trivial, the obvious solution is to cut healers until it’s pushing them again.

        It’s just not feasible that people can sit on 50% HP for longer periods without them risking to die. If that’s how it works, it just can’t possibly be challenging cause, well, people won’t die.
        Could be that all encounters are just purely technical and about execution, I suppose. We’ll find out in the next few months. 🙂

      • Dedralie says:

        Well, I have healed every Mythic boss during raid testing, and while it is not like people are NEVER topped off, it is also much slower to top people up than it has been throughout Mists. That said, this is the first tier of the expansion, so there is definitely room for the pace of our healing to outstrip the health pool gains and damage patterns of later encounters. I think it is unlikely because our healing spells now deal a much smaller portion of our health pool than they have, so there is a long way to go before one Halo sets your raid back to full, Heroic Lei Shen style.

        Ultimately, yes, I am optimistic about things in general, and I know that I am in the tiny minority on that count. There definitely is a lot of execution required in the fights I have tested, and a lot of movement that hampers our ability to heal people quickly (unless we are a Druid or Holy Priest of course :-/). We have nothing to do but see how things unfold. But I think they are on the right track and I have really enjoyed all the content I have tested. 🙂

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