Thursday, March 26, 2009

Life As A Priest

I was sitting here tonight finishing up some auctions and thinking about what I wanted to talk about tonight and I decided I would just go over what I have recently been working on. I know some exciting stuff. (Keep reading, I promise I am not going to talk about yard work, although there is a lot of it to do!) You see over the last few weeks as we have been working more on getting our act together as a raiding guild, it has become blatantly obvious to me that we are in a sad way for healers.

We pretty much have three healers currently available, myself (Holy Paladin), Zoul (Holy Priest), and my wife (Holy Paladin). (Along with the main healers, we have a Shaman and Druid with off-spec gear who do a great job when asked to respec and heal.) This is not a bad group of healers, in reality it is a great group of heals. With two Paladins you can guarantee solid heals on both the tank and off-tank, which leaves the Priest to drop the massive raid heals utilizing both AOE and HoTs. This set up has some positives and some negatives, which we will look at in a while.

So what is "the" problem? I mean, we have to assume that there is a problem or why would we be talking about it today. You are correct in that thinking. There are several problems that we are going to look at.

  1. Connection Issues - Our Priest is one of the best Priests that I have had the pleasure to run with in a long time. There were some areas that he had to learn how to handle at the beginning, but he switched to Holy right around the release of WotLK, so that was to be expected. The main problem I have seen is that he has to play through a pretty rough connection which seems to pick the worst times to drop. This is a major issue when you are so reliant on one healer to provide raid level heals.
  2. Learning Curve - My wife just recently hit 80 (okay, it has been a while, but not that long), and we really boosted her from 77 through 80. Do not get me wrong, she worked hard and we put her through the paces, but there are certain mechanics that changed dramaticaly for Paladins in this expansion. There is a lot more movement involved, which for a Paladin is almost a kiss of death. Not to mention all the "dances" Blizzard decided to drop in the expansion. (Makes you wonder if they hit Dance Dance Revelution one too many times in the break room huh?)
  3. Longer Raids - With going with a three healer set it slows down the raid a lot. This is not bad, but it does become taxing for those who have cleared runs in much quicker time. No one has made comments about it, but I know even for myself it is frustrating to spend an entire day on one wing, when it could be cleared much more efficiently. (Although much of this is also to be handed off to many members who expect to be carried and do not put the time in preparing for a raid, but that is a topic for another day.)
  4. RNG (Random Number Generation) - This little beauty right here currently hates me. I do not know if I did something to someone and they put a hex on me or what, but the last few weeks has seen many, many, many strange bugs happen to groups that I have been in. (How about bosses resetting over and over in fights!) Sure this happens a lot to everyone, but it has been non-stop it seems like the last week or so, unless because of what they are doing behind the scenes is messing with the live servers, who knows! Anyway, back on topic, with RNG there is no way to be prepared for everything and sometimes, RNG itself will just create many issues for a group alone.
  5. Schedules - Lately it seems like we have not been able to get all three of the healers on together at one time. This is not horrible, but trying to run content with two Paladins can be challenging (as we are limited for true raid type healing).
We are taking steps to correct this, with a few different members attempting to level alts as healers. The problem with this is not just a time crunch, but also learning the mechanics of healing. On top of the learning curve is also the fact that you lose solide core raiders to other areas which means it requires finding new individuals who can perform the job. So what are we to do?

Well, in steps the fearless leader! I simply respec my Priest from Shadow to Holy and start leveling him like a crack addict who just got out of rehab looking for his first hit. (Ouch, sorry to anyone out there, I hope you stay on the wagon, or whatever other metaphor fits there.) Anyway, after thinking a lot about it over the last couple of days, it seemed natural for me to take the initiative with this one. I had a couple different options as far as healers (Invincabull, Walani, Acabar, Holeycow, Braama, and Popebutch) but the choice really had to be made based on which class would bring the most to the table.

So Popebutch got the call and off he ran. He had been hanging around Undercity a lot lately. He was overseeing the day to day operations of the First Bank of Silvermoon (storage guild for MAS). He grabbed Lovkinja (my wife's hunter) and away they went. They cleared out Hilldbrad's and Arathi Highland's quests already and are currently tackling the Badlands together. When Lovkinja is not available, Popebutch is running through the grinding quests in Stanglethorn Vale. (Side story: Tonight while trying to get ten bloodied fangs off some trolls, this funny little gnome rogue thought he would jump me. I was fending off two trolls when he popped out at me. I am guessing he is not the world's greatest PVPer since he did not stun me. He was able to confuse me though so he was thinking, just not quick enough. I hit psychic scream as he confused me. Lucky for me I broke his confusion and he ran into two mobs of his own. I gathered my thoughts as I have not done much PVP with the Pope, and ran after him. I hit him with the ony two dots available and then just kept using smite on him till he dropped like a featherweigh against an angry 80's Tyson. It was fun. Part of the reason I love a PVP server, so much more randomness to it than on a PVE server.) My hope is that I will be able to power him through the content fairly quickly and be ready to raid within two weeks. Have to allow for work around the house and family time (also the random break down of every vehicle I have).

My thinking here is that, by taking the Priest we will be able to have another raid level healer available. We add in the fact that it is a healer who is leveling another healing character; should cut down on the learning curve in regards to just basic healing mechanics. I have already become comfortable with the abilities of the Priest class and feel confident in the ability to adapt to this style of healing. It is definitely refreshing to have such a wide aray of healing tools. In the meantime, it does not effect the guild because none of the core raiders will be doing anything different, nor will we need to attempt to train a new tank or look for another DPS who understands the proper way to DPS (yes I did say proper because no one gives a flying.......whoops, we will keep it clean for the kiddies!).

Edit: As a side note, we are now down to just two healers as our Priest has decided to leave the guild. Stay tuned for further drama news.

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