Monthly Archives: April 2009

Ignis – Healing the Slag Pot

So, with my new guild, we took down 25-man Ignis for the first time last night (along with Razorscale for the first time, too). Last week, we didn’t get to do much of the 25-man because our raid got canceled one night due to server issues, and so this was really our first week of good attempts on the 25-man, since we’re only raiding 25-man 2 nights a week right now, so most of my Ulduar experience came from the 10-mans last week.


Ignis a very challenging fight, which requires healers to really pay attention to keep up several tanks (who are moving around the room, depending on the strategy), along with raid members taking periodic damage, and having to avoid casting when the Flame Jets ability is cast – or otherwise you can’t heal for 8 seconds and your assigned target will probably die. It’s also an optional boss, so if your guild is really struggling, you can always skip and come back once you’ve gotten a couple other bosses down.

What I found to be the most challenging healing assignment was to heal the person in the Slag Pot. We had a priest on it for a couple tries, and then when he was having connection issues, they let me give it a try as the primary Slag Pot healer. In general, a lot of Ulduar healing requires really fast reflexes and/or really good team work & strategies for your healing crew.

What makes healing the Slag Pot hard is that:

  • You get very little warning,
  • the person in the pot takes a ton of damage
  • It usually happens around the time that Ignis casts Flame Jets

Your raid in 25-man Ulduar will need 1 or 2 people assigned to watch out for the person in the pot, since general AOE heals are not likely to reach them or be enough healing to keep them up (and FFA healing either ends up with too many people switching to the pot healer or not enough).

That said, I believe that a good resto druid makes a good slag pot healer. Why? Because we have enough instant cast abilities that Flame Jets won’t mess us up as bad as it hurts direct-healing based classes. When the priest was healing the person, he’d have to actually stop casting for a few seconds while the person was in the pot, whereas I could cast my HOTs and swiftmend without fear of being interrupted (and can even cast while in mid-air).

On 25-man, the person in the pot takes 5,000 damage a second for 10 seconds. You probably want more than one person to help out on the Slag Pot when you are first learning, since it’s pretty deadly – and the Slag Pot healers can easily help top off other people between healing Potted people.

For a druid healing the slag pot, you will end up needing a mix of your HOTs and direct heals. I’d usually first throw out a nourish, then some HOTs – maybe a regrowth if I had time, and then I’d stick to only casting HOTs (lifebloom, rejuv, & swiftmend) once I knew it was time for a Flame Jet cast. Then, after the flame jets, I’d throw more direct heals until the effect was over. Then, I’d go back to raid healing or tank healing as needed until the next time.

With X-perl and Deadly Boss mods, a skull would come up next to someone’s name in my raid frames, along with a raid warning message with their name in the middle of my screen, and so I could easily follow the warnings to figure out who was targeted with the effect so I could spam heals on them for the duration of the effect.

I’m sure there are also many ways of healing the Slag Pots. I had to keep making split-second decisions about what spell to cast and when to cast it, which I think made the fight incredibly fun. I had to use a mix of all my spells because the Flame Jet timing prevented me from just being able to use direct heals, and the amount of damage being done prevented me from just using HOTs + Swiftmend. I was also able to help out with raid healing from Wild Growth and throwing HOTs around on the tanks while I waited for another person to get thrown in the pot.

Happy healing!

Posted in Restoration Healing Trees

Druids R 4 Innervate!

Today’s history lesson: Innerate used to be the center of the entire druid class’ purpose in the game. We came to Molten Core so we could innervate priests. Here’s a video explaining what I mean (y’all should recognize this by now):

Innervate used to be the end-tier restoration talent. Before Burning Crusade went live, innervate became trainable, and we got swiftmend in it’s place. Swiftmend was wonderful, and now all druids could spec whatever they wanted and still had innervate. Yay! (we also became better for more than just being innervate-bots, lol).

Now to the purpose of this post: Innervate has always been based off spirit. It’s basically been the same spell since the beginning of Live WoW. However, the 3.1 patch heavily nerfed the out-of-casting regen which innervate is based on.  This made all druids sad.  /sniffle

The change is not that bad in raid situations for resto druids (or moonkin) who have TONS of spirit on our gear. It is, however, really bad for PvP where Blizzard doesn’t itemize spirit (and you can’t count on having a replenishment source). So, Blizzard is thinking of changing the way innervate works:

We’d like to make a change where Innervate always restrores about the same total mana (say 15,000 at level 80). That’s good for PvP but not overpowered for PvE, and has the added bonus of being more useful to non-Spirit based casters as well.

So, IF this kind of change went live, it would reduce the value of spirit for PvE a bit (while Intensity & Improved tree is still really what makes spirit useful for resto druids, and doesn’t really change the value of spirit for moonkin, since they whine about it anyway).

What I think would be the best solution is to have a % of mana returned.  A number like 75% of mana would be pretty universal, for any level druid and any class you cast it on. If you really did cast it on a huntar, it would return 75% of the huntar’s mana. If you cast it on a level 50 druid, it would restore 75% of their mana.

In a lot of ways, restoring a flat number is harder because that number has to scale with you as you level, and won’t scale as you get gear upgrades. So, I’d prefer something that just scaled with how much mana you had. It’s more fair to all druids & all the casters that we’d use it on if it’s a flat % of mana return. It would end up saving everyone a lot of time and energy in the long run, IMO.

Being based on % of mana, instead of either a flat number or spirit would be great for both feral and resto druids, so I believe that would be the best way to handle the situation. At the very least, I wanted to bring the proposed change to the attention of the healing druids who read my blog. I’m supporting a change to innervate, but I’d prefer that it still scale with something at level 80, even if it doesn’t scale with spirit.

What I think is nice is that the devs have now addressed 2 of druids major problems (moonkin pvp mana concerns & savage defense issues) on the forums recently, which means we haven’t totally been forgotten! (I have to always look on the bright side of things, afterall!).

Posted in Moonkin Balance DPS, Restoration Healing Trees

Savage defense lag issues?

The savage defense bug is not a bug, it’s the new “lag” issue…

Here’s a recent GC post about the savage defense mechanic. I’m going to focus just on the second paragraph here:

It’s not a bug in the sense that we can’t fix it. It’s Internet latency. If we think it is going to become a real liability for bears, then the kind of thing we can do is design around it. For example, Savage Defense could have 3 stacks that affected the next 3 hits. Dropping from 2 stacks to 1 stack because of latency mismatches would be superior to dropping from the shield being on to the shield being off. We need to get a better feel for how common the problem is and how SD is working in general before we started iterating on the design though.

savage-bear-failsIf you aren’t going to be able to fix the SD mechanic, then the mechanic will need to change. We gave up both armor and HP for the SD shield. If it’s going to be random and unreliable, then it’s likely to be more of a liability than a bonus.

Think Tank has a good write up and analysis of savage defense, and how it wasn’t working as intended. A lot of the procs are coming late so that they aren’t actually absorbing damage…

Based on what I’ve read, the problem is wide-spread and happens often for druids. It is going to eventually require a design change, if there isn’t any other way to fix it.

When it is thought of as a temporary annoyance, it’s not worth getting worked up over. I like the fact that druids post more constructively than other classes, however it may help if we let GC know how many people are having the problem.

I think that being able to stack 2 or 3 charges would help out the ability in a lot of ways (better consistency for AOE tanking, better able to handle the lag issues). If it makes druids’ overall mitigation too high to actually have SD working properly, then the amount healed for each proc could be reduced a bit to keep things balanced. Just please don’t leave it like this for a year or two before deciding it’s an important problem to deal with. I’ve been pretty quiet on the issue until now because I figured it would eventually get fixed.

Sure, latency causes problems for other classes, but this ability can be the difference between life and death for the Main Tank of a raid in Ulduar…. We could deal with the “lag” cat form range bug, and it’s annoying if your DPS ability doesn’t work right, but it’s really going to cause long-term problems if the ability doesn’t change to deal with the latency issue. When it’s a bug, it’s something we know can get fixed. If the answer is just “sorry lag,” then something about the ability needs to change soon. It is going to be a real liability because we’re always going to be balanced around how it should work, rather than how it is working.

We need savage defense to work right. Please.

Posted in Feral Bear tanking

Spotlight on: some other druid blogs

I wanted to take some time to see if I could find a couple quality druid blogs I hadn’t seen before. So, this is what I found in my morning search:

New this month is a blog called Earth Shields and HOTs. It’s written by a resto druid and a resto shaman. Sometimes, it’s nice to be able to keep up on what more than one healing class should be doing. They have some general PvE raiding advice mostly.

Another blog I found today that haven’t seen before is Tastes Like Battle Chicken. It’s a moonkin raiding blog with some general boss advice and other interesting articles. They have general moonkin advice and seem to be doing a pretty good job of trying to explain moonkin to new players, while still having helpful information for more experienced players. Not sure how long this one has been around, but it’s got some interesting articles.

Happy reading!

Posted in Moonkin Balance DPS, Restoration Healing Trees

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