Thursday, June 19, 2008

I can't believe it's not...!


Yeah. I gave in. I'm a huggertree. (As opposed to treehugger...get it? Okay, I'll stop now.)

And...I think I like it better than dreamstate for raid healing. I can keep a tank up indefinitely by myself with rolling HoTs. It's like DS/EmpHT, but with a different rhythm. And a barky ass instead of having to look at my man-in-a-dress-lawl.

Anyway, Noodles (my pocket tank-heal-DPS-adin) and I were talking the other day about goals we had in-game. I realized I'd never really had any - except for a half-hearted ambition to someday kick Illidan's face in for being a crackhead, and to level stuff to 70 and raid. But this was mostly about goals for WotLK.

He said to me, What are your goals for before the expansion comes out?
And I said to him, Noodles, I don't really have any that I can think of.

So I thought of some.

Before Wrath of the Lich King (which is probably/maybe/possibly in 3 months):
-Get my rogue and shaman to 70 and geared out in high-end badge / farm content gear.
-1600 rating with our 2v2. Noodles and I run BM hunter-Ret paladin. It's better than you'd think. We've gone from 1383 in our first week to 1481 this week, and I'm 26 points shy of my axe.
-Full t5+ gear on my druid, Mandar.
-Help Legion kill Kael'thas FUNstrider, as the officers have taken to calling him.

With Wrath of the Lich King:
-Level Mandar as beartank feral and get him geared to be a dedicated tank at 80.
-Level Anezka (shamanub) as resto and get her geared to be a dedicated healer at 80.
-Level Cly (rogue) and Bran (hunter) to be, respectively, my raid DPS and PVP toons at 80.
-Pwn Arthas's face. Hard.

I think it's pretty doable. I can still hold my own in progression raids as tree, something I was worried about (and which directly affects my chances of getting t5/t6 quality lewtz), and I discovered last night that I'm capable of keeping 8 people alive all by myself on the Hex Lord Malacrass fight after the other two healers died. We wiped impressively nonetheless, but it was good fun for about five minutes on my part. (Raid leader: "Dar, you just focus on healing the tanks." Priest and pally: "OSHITZ WE DEADED." Mage: "Don't worry, Dar's epic. She never runs out of mana." And I didn't...but the DPS did. ;_; )

Re: the respec, I'd talked to our GM (who happens to be a fairly active 41+ resto druid himself) about making the switch, he told me my gear was probably fine for it, so I did it. Swapped some gems and some items (I've got stockpiled gear for respecs...glad I do, too) and showed up to the Azgalor attempts on Monday as tree. I told the healing officer this about ten minutes after they'd invited me. He didn't say anything. Sometimes I wonder if he hates me or if he just does this to everyone. At any rate, I think I'll keep it for a while longer unless I start running heroics on Dar again (unlikely). It's growing on me. (Har!)

In other news, Jah hit 70 on his warlock! We're in the process of farming MASSIVE amounts of primals to get him kitted out in his pre-raid epix: Spellstrike Hood, Spellstrike Pants, and Belt of Blasting. My little baby's all growed up. *sniffle*

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

De Rerum Naturae

Literally, "Regarding Natural Stuff". In this case, Druid stuff.

Hello, my name is Cly and I'm a Dreamstate resto druid. My gear is still floating around the level of late Kara and early SSC/TK, but I'm healing for my guild in BT and Hyjal and catching flack about my spec, which prompts this post.

As Dreamstate, I focus my gear around a balance of intellect and spirit (thank you, 2.3 regen changes!) with as much pure +healing as I can possibly lay my hands on. I don't stack spirit - it doesn't do as much for me as intellect - and I chase spellhaste like nobody's business. Reduced cast time on my two direct heals as well as reducing the time of the global cooldown? YES PLEASE! I don't have talented improvements to my HOTs, nor am I bound by the mixed blessing that is Tree of Life, so I rely mostly on direct heals to MH on tanks or Regrowth/Lifebloom to heal across a raid. As you can see if you click on the word 'Dreamstate', this build takes advantage of the talents Moonglow, Lunar Guidance, Nature's Grace, and Dreamstate in the Balance tree combined with (most notably) Naturalist, Empowered Touch, and Tranquil Spirit in the Restoration tree. The talents I take in Balance were originally implemented to allow full Balance druids to put out raid-effective sustained DPS, but with 61 talent points at our disposal we can steal them for a great (if nonstandard) endurance healing build.

Let's break it down by individual talents.

MOONGLOW: Reduces the Mana cost of your Moonfire, Starfire, Wrath, Healing Touch, Regrowth, and Rejuvenation spells by 9%.
-Ignore everything but HT, Regrowth, and Rejuv. This used to be the defining talent of a 24-0-27 healing build back in the days before BC, and now it's a great boost to the efficiency of three out of our four main healing spells.

LUNAR GUIDANCE: Increases your spell damage and healing by 25% of your total Intellect.
-This is how my +healing tops 2.2k in crappy Kara/ZA gear. This talent right here. Raid-buffed, I've got almost 600 intellect...Useful for maxing out underwhelming gear or taking advantage of great gear, or anything in between. Scales with raid buffs as well.

NATURE'S GRACE: All spell criticals grace you with a blessing of nature, reducing the casting time of your next spell by 0.5 seconds.
-Never rely on this. It's fun to play with, sometimes it helps you get off a clinch heal when the tank takes a spike, but never EVER rely on it as a healing tool. I have 11% spellcrit in my healing kit, fully raid-buffed. Most of the time I use the proc to Wrath the boss with a 1 second cast. (You never know. I'm pretty sure the difference between our 1% wipe and the winning attempt on Supremus last night was all the healers helping DPS on kite phases.)

DREAMSTATE: Regenerate mana equal to 10% of your Intellect every 5 sec, even while casting.
-The crowning glory of this spec, the reason I make the weird gear and enchant choices I do, the reason my mana regen is so damn high, the reason I can get away with using Regrowth spam as my raid top-off heal, and the reason I have only used six mana potions since I started raiding above the level of Karazhan. 15% additional spirit has nothing on this talent. Scales with gear and buffs, and gives me 60-65 mp5 in typical raiding setup.

This is the basis of the spec - the framework that lays the foundation, and we build on it with the Restoration side:

NATURALIST: Reduces the cast time of Healing Touch by 0.5 seconds.
-It makes spamming HT much more time-effective, that's about all there is to it. 3.5 second baseline cast time to a 3.0 second baseline cast time FTW.

TRANQUIL SPIRIT: Reduces the mana cost of your Healing Touch and Tranquility spells by 10%.
-Mmm. Mana efficiency. This, along with Moonglow, provides a 19% mana discount for HT. Decent stuff.

GIFT OF NATURE: Increases the effect of all healing spells by 10%.
-Mandatory resto druid talent. Scales with gear and buffs, et cetera et cetera.

EMPOWERED TOUCH: Your Healing Touch spell gains an additional 20% of your bonus healing effects.
-This tops off the dreamstate HT build and lets me do the crazy things I do with direct heals. Healing Touch rank 13 gets 100% of your +healing. I have right around 2k +healing buffed. (2000 x 1.2 =2400) so with my gear it's an extra 400 health (or 600 on crits) for my big OHFUX heal. Winnar. Maybe it doesn't seem like much, but...well, you get the idea.

And, perhapse the paragraph that should have lead off this post:

A Dreamstate druid is an endurance tank-healer who builds a large mana pool, a mountain of +healing, and more mana per 5 second regen than strictly necessary in an effort to provide their assigned tank with a constant stream of huge, reliable heals. When healing a tank, I rely on a spell rotation generally consisting of Regrowth - Rejuv - HT until the HOTs tick off, repeat. Or, if things get sticky, I ramp it up and just chain-cast HT.

No, you will not top healing meters with this spec. You will likely hover near the bottom if you're doing what I do - heal one or two tanks and spot the raid when you get bored - but in a clinch, Nature's Swiftness plus Healing Touch and if you're lucky, bam 10k health on a tank who's dropped to 1% and is freaking out because all his healers are going to land something just a fraction too late.

My gear is far from amazing. I'm still rockin' out the full Primal Mooncloth set, the ZA leather healy hat, gloves/weapon/boots/rings from Kara, a blue healing/haste trinket, and the offhand from Al'ar. But in a pinch I can solo-heal both the MT and the Hateful Strike tank on Supremus, or keep fifteen people up on Anetheron, or switch between three-shotting elementals and topping off everyone within two steps of me on Vashj.

We wiped 11 times on Supremus, each attempt getting better, and I kept dying first (and was thus at the bottom of the healing charts). Our healing lead whispers me, links the healing done chart, and asks me if [person on top of list] outgears me by THAT much...and one of my friends (who happens to be the DPS lead) tells me if I went tree, my HPS would go up by about 200...and one of my OTHER friends (the main tank and former recruiting officer) whispers me and says "O hay, we might ask you to respec tree, just fyi."

So I put on 3 pieces of my crap PVP gear, we changed the way we were kiting the pile o' rocks, and he died. And the next day, I found out that both my friend the DPS lead and the guild master (who is a restotree) stood up in O-chat and said I was doing just fine as a nontree, dammit.