Heroic Blackrock Caverns Review

 Otherwise known as: Fire hurts, MMMKay? (<– Mr. Mackey voice)

 The first time I did this on normal it was pretty rough. It was in the wee hours after Cataclysm hit and I was rocking my heroic ICC 10 gear. When I zoned in the first thing I was met with was: ZOMG a Worgen! This was after lots of Horde circled around me outside to gawk at me. I felt a little embarrassed but off we went. I PUG’d it that first time and the people were really nice through a lot of wipes. We managed to complete the run in a few hours.

 When first entering the dungeon, I felt a sense of claustrophobia. I tend to prefer outside dungeons over dark, ominous ones. BRC is certainly dark and ominous. The Twilight Cultists don’t really take the effort to liven up the place and we are left with plain brown stone walls and Spartan furniture.

 Trash is minimal and not very difficult other than they can hit a tank like a truck. But, then again – Cataclysm is the expansion of evil trash mobs. The first boss is right over the first little hump in the floor. He’s got some trash around but if you are careful, you don’t have to pull them all but the trash leading up to him needs to be dealt with first.

 Rom’ogg Bonecrusher can be a real plain if people don’t get the hell out of the way of his AOE. Ever so often he’ll chain you all together and DPS has to kill the chains. Just as soon as the chains are gone, RUN AWAY! Monte Python style. You will die if you do not move – simple enough. This was kinda hard for me because I didn’t want to loose that last little bit of Penance… It’s better to run and be able to heal later than die over a 7K Penance tick. Speed boosting talents and/or rocket boots are really nice here providing you don’t run into a trash pack behind the boss.

 After good old Rom bites the dust we can squeeze around some trash on our way down the hall. There’s a metal bridge down there and a friendly NPC called Raz who comes to help deal with the trash. I have no idea why this guy is here. No clue whatsoever but I do thank him for his assistance.

 In the next room there is a giant Netherwing drake hanging from the ceiling. I don’t like it. I love the Netherwing flight and it makes me really sad to see him up there. I don’t want to think that he’s dead but mostly likely he is.

 Corla, Herald of Twilight is boss in this room. She is quite annoyingly voice acted. Not as bad as Sindy but pretty close. She has 3 adds with her that can turn very big very quickly. The tank will have to pick them up but if the DPS stands in the evil purple beams on the floor, it shouldn’t be that bad. Corla has a pretty sweet DPS wand, btw. (Worgen firing a wand is pretty damn hysterical. She makes a shooing type motion.)

 Raz makes another appearance to help us out with more trash on a different metal bridge on the way to Karsh Steelbender, the “tank check” boss in this instance. I call it a tank check because it is absolutely vital that the tank know what the hell they are doing. This boss starts out with a damage immunity buff and he has to be kited in and out of a flame wall. He cannot be DPS’d effectively until he gets 5-6 stacks of the flame wall buff. The kicker is that with each stack he hits the tank that much harder making it a chore on the healer. If this wasn’t bad enough, he summons fire up from the floor and does a massive AOE flame attack that hits everyone in the party. If the tank is not cognizant of the time remaining on the flame wall buff he can easily get one or two shot because he’ll go to put the boss back into the flame wall before the other buffs have worn down enough. If the buff transition isn’t timed right, DPS will also loose time, mana and/or focus, to kill the boss – creating a strain on an already overworked healer.

 If you have an awesome tank and the boss is dead, the hill behind him presents some more evil trash with pathing fire elementals. An optional boss is over to the right side – a giant red core hound called Beauty. Her mate is The Beast from UBRS and they have cute little puppies running around. She gets pretty pissed off if you kill Runty so leave his little ass alone. Lucky and his brothers are fair game but don’t touch Runty. She’s tank and spank. She will charge party members, fire breathe on them and has a mass fear. Other than that, she’s free Justice Points and loot. Being that she’s an optional boss, I don’t have any trouble with her being a freebie. She’s a nice little bonus should the group have time.

 Raz makes his final appearance at the last boss before dying. He goes down in a blaze of glory and takes some trash with him.

 Ascendant Lord Obsidius is a pain in the ass but doable. Someone will have to kite the adds around while the rest of the group deals with the boss. He’ll switch places with an add periodically so we have to make sure we are DPSing the right one. He’s a lesser version of The Blood Council in ICC.  After an agonizingly slow fight, he’ll finally give up the loot.

 In closing, I don’t like or dislike the instance. It’s just sort of there. I’ll do it if it pops on random but I’m not going to go out of my way to do it. When I see the load screen I think “oh, ok”. It’s not like seeing the loading screen for Stonecore and fleeing in terror. It’s not picturesque in any way. It just lacks a certain something for me. It certainly keeps the same theme as the rest of the “Blackrock” dungeons but I don’t really care for those, either. The best thing that BRC has going for it is that it is short and has a good number of bosses for rep/JP.

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Heroic Vortex Pinnacle Review

 Otherwise known as: this isn’t so bad… Hurray! Volatile Air! OMG Stupid Dragon! WHY DO YOU MOCK ME?!?! Oh, it’s not bad again, sweet. I’ll just take my free Chaos Orb, thanks so much.

 I’m not sure why I picked VP to review first, maybe because it’s absolutely beautiful. I would hazard that it is the most beautiful instance in Cataclysm. While I love HoO for the Egyptian theme, VP is the most beautiful in a Renaissance painting kind of a way.  

 The first couple of pulls can be a bit hairy and chaotic even with CC. Muffin likes the Lurking Tempest because he can fill up his rage bar before the next pack. I’m sure my bear would like that, too. Usually there are critters running around in dungeons to use to get some rage but I haven’t seen any in VP so that may be the true purpose of the Lurking Tempest. Or it could be Blizzard trolling us – either way.

 While on that first hallway, try to DPS/tank with your backs to the wall. There are a few knockbacks here that won’t kill you but will be a bitch to run back to the group.

 VP is home to some of the most evil trash in the expansion. There are two “Cloud Princes” right before the first boss. They hit the tank like a freight train and spawn all sorts of little adds that usually get aggro’d to a DPS. That person usually goes splat because it can be very difficult to keep the tank up with two Cloud Princes beating on him. Once one of them goes down it gets a lot more manageable and DPS can get some heals. It’s always good to keep PoM bouncing around to try to get some free heals to the DPS as they are getting hit by the adds.

 Grand Vizier Ertan is the first boss and a total a push over. It really doesn’t matter if you stand inside of the lightening shield or outside it. In my experience, the damage on the group has been about the same. The only thing to really watch out for is the chain lightening – don’t stack on one another of the damage will be much greater. Avoid hitting the cyclones as he retracts and expands the shield and you should be golden. After the loot drops we get a fun little ride in a cyclone up to the next platform.

 There’s more trash to kill up here. They do a Hurricane AOE that is easily avoidable. Up the ramp to the right is a big stone dragon in a healing rune. He’s pretty easy – just pull him out of the rune and he goes down quickly.

 Then there’s a corridor of saloon door like trash mobs. You have to hit them until friendly so you can pass but they only stay friendly for a few seconds so you really have to hoof it through there. There’s some more trash and another stone drake before Altarius, the second boss.

 Altarius is an interesting name to me. I am a huge SciFi/Fantasy nerd and one my favorite movies is called “Forbidden Planet”. “Forbidden Planet” stared Leslie Neilson and is based loosely on William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”. Neilson’s character has been sent on a mission to the planet Altair IV where they meet a scientist named Dr. Morbius and his daughter, Altaira. So is our annoying dragon boss named after Altair IV? That was honestly the first thing I thought of when I saw his name. I like to think there is a nerdy Blizzard Dev that loves “Forbidden Planet” as much as I do.

 Anyways… Altairus is annoying to say the least. He does his little wind mechanic like in normal but now he gets tornadoes flying around that will knock your ass off of his platform. He doesn’t like when you get knocked out and will punish you for being “cowardly” by killing you instantly. You can avoid this by making your way back up to the platform in 5 seconds but people seldom, if ever, make it back in time. The 5 second thing is misleading because it takes a few seconds for your feet to touch the ground before you can start running. Tanks can avoid getting tossed out by putting their backs against one of the walls.

 I can never tell by the animation if I am up or down wind of Altairus. I have to run around until I get the little green foot on my debuff. We healers need to be careful about not blowing through mana during this fight. It is incredibly easy to drain your whole bar in a short time with the massive haste buff the little green foot gives. Altairus has over 6 million health and we cannot burn through all the mana at the start of the fight.

 Altairus doesn’t seem to have a tail swipe like other dragons but he does have a nasty frost breath. He will pick a random party member and turn to them – unleashing a devastating frost breath. You can try to get out of the way but it’s better to stay in it if there are lots of tornadoes around. It’s better to be almost dead from frost breath than to be completely dead from a boss smiting you for your cowardice. Yes, I just advocated standing in a bad thing. Don’t get used to it.

 Altairus will ever so slowly die if everyone can stay on his platform and the healer doesn’t run out of mana. I am not sure why he’s so freaking hard compared to the rest of dungeon. The rest of the dungeon can be artfully CC’d and the bosses have really easy mechanics (don’t stand in bad, hide in pyramid). This dragon is one of the most difficult bosses in any heroic and he’s smack in the middle of the easiest heroic. Blizzard has said that all heroics have been tuned to be pretty much equal but there is no comparison between heroic Grim Batol and heroic Vortex Pinnacle. Grim Batol is far longer, has more bosses with trickier mechanics and takes far more skill. Even if you look at the other “starter” dungeons, Blackrock Caverns and Throne of Tides, it’s not comparable.

 Now, I’m not complaining that it’s not difficult enough. I am complaining that the entire dungeon needs to maintain a certain level of difficulty and challenge to players. The whole thing should have a cohesiveness that is lacking in VP. The Skyfall trash packs alone are 10 times more difficult to heal through than the first and last boss of the instance. I don’t think that trash should be more challenging than a boss. Shouldn’t a boss have a higher level of difficulty than a trash pack? Isn’t this why it is called a boss and not trash?

 Another problem is the last bits of trash – the evil Tol’Vir cat people. They pat in and out of a lightening pyramid. They cannot be tanked inside the pyramid because of a buff that makes them immune. Players run through the pyramid and nothing happens.

 After a few packs of evil cat people and another Skyfall trash pack of doom, we get to the third and final boss, Asaad. He’s a big ass genie that likes to static cling people to the floor.

 Asaad’s thing is a massive AOE that is completely avoidable with the cunning use of a lightening pyramid, called a Grounding Field, just like we saw with the evil cat people. The boss, himself, will create this pyramid for you. There’s no little trick to make him do this – he just does it on his own. There are no switches to flip, no spooky light beams to stand in or even anything to click on besides the boss. You just do your best to kill him and he rewards your valiant efforts with a lightening pyramid that saves your life so you can keep killing him. The word “counterintuitive” comes to mind. If I was an “all powerful” giant genie guy and there were 5 people trying to kill me, I would damn sure try to kill them right back – Malcolm Reynolds style.

 Overall, I like the dungeon because of the visuals. I like the inventive use of the cyclone teleporters to move us around the place – that is a nice touch and makes you really feel like you are in the Sky(wall). There’s not an over abundance of useless trash mobs – always nice when trying to grind out JP and guild XP with minimal fuss. The bosses are imbalanced and run the gamut of “was that it” to “fucking impossible”. Altairus feels out of place. He would be better suited for Stonecore in difficulty. I know he has a “wind” ability but his difficulty is light years beyond the rest of the dung

Back to the Glory Days of Tank Healing

  I got Shanghai’d into Bastion of Twilight last night. I wasn’t prepared and I got drug into the last little bit of the raid after I got home. (With no hope for anything other than repair bills since they had already downed bosses before I got home.) I wanted to do my TB dailies because we had control over it and then do the regular dailies. This was not to be. I had no idea I would be raiding and wasn’t prepared in the slightest. I thought I would get home, put on my brand new DVDs of the second season of Genshiken, do some dailies and then some Archeology before bed. It would be the perfect end to a stressful day at work but instead I got thrust into something I know next to nothing about. I just wanted to sit in my Eeyore jammies with my feet up and space out for a few hours.

To say I was not prepared is an understatement. I haven’t even begun to think about raiding. I don’t know what the new flasks are. I don’t know where any of the entrances to new raids are. I have no idea what any of the bosses are or even what loot they drop. I’m still on the heroic grinding stage of things. I still haven’t done heroic SFK, for fuck’s sake and here I am standing in front of Halfus Wyrmbreaker with no clue and only 20 minutes left in the raid. I had no time to look at anything.

They tried to explain the fight to me. It was stressed that I would be healing Adlin and only Adlin since there would be a healing debuff. OK, I can do that. Heal the tank – it’s kinda what I’m good at. We make the pull and Adlin drops like a ton of bricks. “Healing Debuff” is a nice way to say that your Greater Heal will hit the tank for 48. Yes, just 48. Not 4800 – only 48 health. It was like I was back at being level one with the original “Heal” spell. It was crap.

We tried again and the same thing happened. Apparently there is a tank swap but we just could not pull the timing of it off. We kept wiping on it for another 20 or minutes before calling the raid.

From what I saw in my brief Cata raiding it seems like we will be going back to the glory days of Disc Priest on tank healing. I mean that we will be healing the tank and no one else. I took my finger off Adlin for a GCD to bubble Bags and Adlin was one shot. I can’t be doing anymore spot healing or helping out on raid heals like I used to. I truly think the days of being a “Bubble Bot” for the raid are over. Hurray to that!

Back when TotC first came out I had a special relationship with my Pally tank, Kells. He was awesome. We had an odd connection – I would always know that he would be in my range and he knew when to use his own CDs. It was a glorious thing. We raided a good long time together and it became that I got a true sense of pride when healing him. I would not let anything touch “my tank” and he would not go down with out a fight from me. Every GCD was spent healing him and only him. I would be damned if he was going to die on my watch. The damage was pretty hectic for me back then and there were some times that I didn’t know how on earth we survived it. I look back on it and it seems so trivial compared to what we have now but back in the day it was horrible.

Then ICC came out and was nerfed into the ground. I came to have spare GCDs for the raid. I could contribute to raid healing and not constant tank spamming. I began to think of Disc as an excellent HEALING spec and not just for tanks. I began spreading bubbles and Renew around the raid to help out my Resto Druid. I was at the haste soft cap and with BT up my Flash heal was down to a 0.9 second cast time so I was spreading bubbles and flash healing tanks just to get a DA proc – not because he really needed to be healed. It was nice and we began to 2 heal encounters. I became the jack of all trades – I had the good damage reduction and the good, raw healing.

Then Cata came out and everything changed. This may just be a gear thing. I can testify that healing heroics is much easier now than it was even a week ago because I have gotten my gear in order – stacking spirit and reforging haste has done wonders for me. (I now have 1065 haste and 3451 MP5 out of combat.) Perhaps once we have our Professor Plums it will be easier and I can go back to helping out on raid heals. But right now, I just cannot afford to. We are truly back to heal spam on the tank just to keep them on the beveled edge of surviving.

I’m also seeing that the Smite Spec is not for raiding, at least this early in the expansion. The healing through doing damage is a lot of fun for me. I especially like it on bosses that require DPS on the adds. I can stay on the boss and make the encounter not as time consuming at least in a small way. Sometimes I am just yelling in my head “Kill it already!” so I like it when I can be useful in getting the boss down not just healing the group up.

I didn’t have the opportunity to even think about Smiting during my raid time last night so I think I will go to the Shield spec and drop Evangelism/Atonement the next time I go in there. I really wish Blizz would give us Triple Spec – not just Dual Spec. I don’t want to drop my Shadow spec but I need to have a good raid spec and I also want to have fun in dungeons with Smite. I also want a good PvP spec so maybe Quad Spec would be better… I really don’t look forward to carrying around 3 sets of gear again but I can’t wait to see how long I last with some good resilience going.

But, anyways… The days of Disc Spam on the tank have returned with a vengeance. We have Blizzard talking of bringing us in line with Holy in shear numbers and flexibility but then we get pigeon holed back into a main tank healing role. Blizzard, make up your damn minds already. I can’t be both at the same time like I could in ICC a month ago. I cannot be everything to everybody all the time anymore.

Dear Archeology,

Please stop sucking so bad. The one thing I was really looking forward to was Archeology and I am a bit disappointed. I cannot imagine trying to do this without an epic flyer.

 I didn’t get my first rare until skill 262. I was really about to give it up when the Chalice of whatever finally popped up from Dwarf artifacts. Once I got the rare project, the only thing that would spawn would be Troll or Fossil sites. I could not get a Dwarf one to spawn to save my life.

 The next rare I got was the Fossilized Raptor Hatchling. I was tickled pink about it but I didn’t get it until about 350 skill. Once I finally got to work on it, nothing but Dwarf sites would spawn. GGRRR!

 The Draenai rare was pretty easy to get as was the Nelf rare Queen Azshara’s Dressing Gown. Then I got the clockwork gnome pet and again no Dwarf sites would spawn.

 Then I got a site in Vashj’ir of all places. It was horrible! I can’t really tell where I am in Vash because the 3D environment really messes with my head and that made for a very frustrating survey. Luckily, Blizz has added a hot fix to where these sites no longer spawn.

 Now I have 525 skill and nothing really to show for it. I’m getting scepters for that achievement so I guess that’s something.

 I wish the sites would spawn nearer to each other. This morning I had a Tol’vir site and then one way the hell up in Winterspring with none in between. The other extreme is the constant Swamp of Sorrows to STV circuit. I especially hate the Troll sites because they can be so large and unruly – think Gurubashi Arena and outside of Sunken Temple. Why would you make a dig site that is almost nearly underwater? Honestly.

 I don’t really know what can make it better. It’s still going to be a grind whatever you do. Maybe increase the amount that common artifacts can be vendored for. I love it when I get those grays that go for 8-10g. It makes me feel that I might have done something other than waste a lot of time flying around.

 I wonder if we will get new artifacts as the expansion progresses. Will we get stronger epics from dig sites in patch 4.1 than we do in 4.0? Maybe a new mount? This would be the perfect place to insert the ZG tiger and raptor mounts back into the game. Or maybe even give an Orc style wolf mount that could be obtained by Alliance. Horde can get a horse from the Argent Tourney but we have never been able to get a wolf.

  I would love to see the little blue artifacts we get (pets not included) accessible through the main Archeology window like a spell in the spell book. I love those little pieces but I already have so much in my bags and bank that I can see myself deleting them. If we could form the artifact and then it gets saved on the Archeology window we could then click on the picture of it to see the artifact in action without taking up bag space. There would be no fumbling through your bags to find the thing when your friends want to see it, either.

 The possibilities are endless. We can tell that Blizz has already started to tweak it and are doing their best to make it successful. I commend them for the changes they have made so far but there is still a ways to go yet.

 Anything to break the monotony of golden teeth and troll dinnerware would be most welcome.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Also, at Sonic you can order “1 Float”. You get a Coke AND a Float – decidedly not a Coke Float.

1 Float - $1

How to Heal as a Priest in Cata

The first week of Cata I was an absolute mess in dungeons. I still didn’t grasp what Blizz wanted me to do and random people can be a touch on the unforgiving side. More often that not, I was starring at my screen in disbelief as tears streamed down my face. But, then I had an epiphany, not everyone needs to be topped off all the time and fast, expensive heals are better to use than slow, mana efficient spells if the tank is in true danger of going down. I started to really think about what had happened over night between Cata and WotLK.

I looked at my gear first. Spirit used to be not very attractive to Disc Priests since we got a lot more out of Intellect and Rapture procs. I still had it on my gear since most cloth had it or MP5 but I didn’t stack it. The only time I really had to think about regen was on Lich King and then I started to stack it. I think I ended WotLK with 1800 odd out of combat regen now I have 2962 MP5. I have the Heartsong enchant and a trinket with a Spirit proc and when those proc I can get up to 4800 odd out of combat MP5. That’s a pretty big difference. I’ve noticed that I don’t have to drink as much and I can spend the extra regen on the more expensive, faster spells. I’m not saying I don’t go OOM because I do it just now that I have a little more breathing room and I don’t have to blow my mana CDs as early.

Haste is another thing I had to look at. Before it didn’t matter because HoTs didn’t benefit from haste like they do now. Now the more Haste I have, the more healing I get out of a cast of Renew. Haste also benefits my GCD so I can cast spells not only more quickly but more often. Haste is a really good stat to have right now. Reforging for Haste is definitely a good thing as long as the regen stay intact. EJ is saying we need at least 910 Haste with 3/3 in Darkness to get our GCD to 1 second.

I then looked at my healing spells themselves. I had always been a big fan of Prayer of Mending. In WotLK heroics it was seldom ever used to its full potential. In Cata dungeons, it is almost always completely used up. I can think of only a handful of times that it has not used all of its ticks. That’s usually when it hits me after the tank so I SW:D the tank’s target to get it to jump back to the tank and then it jumps right back to me. It’s a “smart” heal that can act a little stupid sometimes.

I’ve talked about Renew before and I stand by what I said. Renew is a great thing to keep rolling on the tank and to triage DPS. I had a hunter in a random PUG complaining I didn’t heal him. Yes, I did. He got a Renew and wasn’t happy about not being at full health. That’s what bandages are for. I’m not going to sacrifice my tank for DPS, however bitchy they are. L2Health Pot.

Prayer of Healing is also nice. Disc has a guaranteed DA proc with it now on all the targets that it heals. This can lessen the blow of boss AOE. PoH combined with Renew and PoM can be a very potent bit of healing to the group while not forgetting about the tank.

So, here are the secrets to Priest Cata Healing:

1) Maximize your regen over everything else. Once you are comfortable, then look at haste. Spell power is nice but regen comes first. If you have the choice of regen or spell power – take regen.

2) Healing the tank is more important then the DPS. If the tank goes down, the group is done. If you have to pick which DPS to save, make sure it’s one that can CC. This means DKs and Warriors will be eating a lot more pavement than they did before.

3) Cope with everyone not a full health all the time. I used to be really anal about this but I don’t have that luxury anymore. If people bitch about it, tell them to deal with it. Life Grip that DPS standing in AOE – let them bitch that they didn’t die for once.

4) It is OK to use all of the spells in your spell book. Flash Heal is crazy expensive but if the tank is about to die, use it! Use all of the tools in your toolbox! Dust off Binding Heal and learn to love it! You will be using all of the tricks you haven’t used since the last PvP season to keep the group alive and that’s OK. That’s the way it is meant to be.

5) Stage your CDs effectively. Don’t blow Power Word: Barrier at the same time as Pain Suppression. Similarly, do use Pain Suppression to cushion the tank while you channel Hymn of Hope for mana if it’s up.

6) Use your group heals. They are good mana to HPS ratio and might even save a wipe. Heal and PoH are about the same cast time – you can get a heal out of 5 targets in the same amount of time as Heal on 1 target.

7) Know every spell at your disposal – even your damage spells and CC spells. I switched out a glyph so that my Psychic Scream now makes the target stand in place instead of fleeing. I can CC if the situation calls for it; maybe someone broke sheep or it wandered into the tank’s AOE. I can help buy the group a few more seconds to increase survivability. Mind Control can be a glorious thing – especially on the Shaman Naga trash in Throne of Tides. I can heal the group with the enemy’s mana pool instead of my own.

8 ) Look at buffs on the mobs. Is that buff magic? Mass Dispel it. Some mobs have to be dispelled before they can be damaged or the buff on them will damage the group if not taken off.

9) Know mechanics of boss fights. I confess to not listening to boss strats every time because I just heal stuff and stay out of the bad. Now I can’t brute force stuff. A perfect example are the adds on the final boss of Stonecore. I get aggro on them more often than not. I used to pray that the tank would get them or Fade would be off CD. Now I know that I have to put a void zone between myself and the adds so that they don’t bother me or the group.

10) Don’t let the jerks get you down. The Ignore List really should have more space than it does right now.

Dear Self,

 You are still squishy. Yes you now have 114K-ish health but BC heroics still hurt. It’s not even the bosses that hit hard – it’s the stupid 27K health trash.

So, self, please pull trash in such a way as not to imitate a Japanese Kamikaze pilot. Or at least stop watching the original BBC mini-series of “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” on Hulu and pay better attention to where you are running… :3

Dear Fellow Disco Priests,

  Don’t drink the “Heal” Kool-Aid that Blizz has forced on you!

I used to get so upset when I couldn’t keep a tank up and I was going OOM nearly every pull. The reason is the spell “Heal”. It seems innocuous enough – a cheap slow heal that can be spammed until the cows come home. But, there is a dark side to this spell.

With the talent “Strength of Soul” we get with our 2 points: “When you heal a target with your Heal spell, the duration of the Weakened Soul debuff on the target is reduced by 4 seconds”. The talent Rapture states (with 3 points): “When your Power Word: Shield Is completely absorbed or dispelled you are instantly energized with 6% of your total mana. This effect can only occur once every 12 seconds.” The Weakened Soul debuff lasts for 15 seconds.

So let’s do some simple math:

Cast PW:S on the tank – 15 seconds of Weakened Soul. The bubble is instantly consumed giving me back 5043 mana. The bubble itself costs about 3912 mana to cast – I’m making 1131 mana when it breaks. I now have a 12 second CD on Rapture so any bubbles that break on a DPS (or me) will not give me any mana back – I’ll just have to eat up the cost of casting it.

If I were to cast “Heal” now that would subtract 4 seconds off the tank’s Weakened Soul. It takes at least 2.14 seconds to cast the “Heal” spell. So really, I’ve taken off 7 seconds of Weakened Soul by the time “Heal” has landed. Weakened Soul is now down to 8 seconds and Rapture’s CD is now at 6 seconds.

Now to leave it like this would be good because you would get another Rapture proc the next time you would cast your bubble. But in Cataclysm you have to keep a constant stream of healing on the tank so what do you do? You cast “Heal” again because it’s cheap and mana is tight. You just took the rest of the Weakened Soul debuff off your tank and Rapture is still on CD when you cast PW:S again. It gets absorbed immediately and you have no Rapture proc.

Rapture is now off CD. You have the choice to bubble a DPS and hope for the best or wait to bubble the tank again for a guaranteed Rapture proc. You aren’t going to waste 4K mana on a DPS that isn’t taking damage just for the shot of getting 1K mana back so you wait to bubble the tank again – starting the vicious cycle over again.

“Heal” is not as awesome as we have been led to believe. It can seriously mess with our regen if not used properly. Rapture procs account for a lot of regen during a dungeon run. One thousand mana may not seem like a lot on trash pulls but over a 5 minute (or more) boss fight it really begins to add up.

In this expansion of seriously evil trash (Millhouse Manastorm) and even more evil bosses (Heroic Altarus), we need all the mana we can get our grubby hands on but we don’t need to be forgetting we have other spells than “Heal”.

We still have Penance, Greater Heal and Flash Heal in our arsenal. They didn’t take those away they just made them “less attractive” than they were before. We can still use them if we manage our mana better than we did before.

I used to spam “Heal” because I thought Flash Heal was too expensive. And guess what happened? The tank died because I could not get them “Healed” up quick enough. I chose to use the slow, baby heal when I should have been using the expensive, quick heal. I have never seen “Heal” hit for more than 12K but last night I was getting 35-37K flash heals. A Greater Heal hit for 43K. Penance can hit for 21-25K. That is a shit ton of healing we have seemingly forgot about.

We just cannot sustain a tank with a 2 second “Heal” that hits for 1/3 as much as our other heals. We cannot afford to let the tank die. If you see the tank drop like a rock, Flash Heal or Penance if it’s off CD. Full mana at the end of the fight is wasted mana, especially if the tank is eating the pavement. You are going to sit to drink after each or every other pull anyway – blow it all. Go for broke on each pull.

Let’s all remember that healing isn’t a cakewalk like it was a few months ago. I can’t bubble the group and then read WoW Insider on my laptop while they do all the work like I used to.

A good dungeon run is dependant on several factors not just the healer. Both the tank and the DPS need to be on the ball, as well. If the DPS takes the time to CC a target the tank needs to know how to react to that. If the tank asks the DPS to CC then they need to know what to do. Dungeons are now designed to let everyone take responsibility equally. A geared healer isn’t able to carry an under geared tank and a healer’s mana pool won’t be able to carry low DPS, either. All of the pieces of the puzzle must be in place for success.

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