Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Me - the huntard

I never did groups with my original main. Groups seemed like a scary place to be where you might get yelled at if you did something wrong. I found it much nicer to skip instances and level peacefully on my own. Admittedly, my view might have been skewed by levelling while in the same room where my husband was trying to PuG his way through the then top-level instances. I think all the muttering about the lack of ability of group members made me nervous of ending up being one of those clueless people that turns the instance into a wipe-fest. And since I reached 60 just days before the expansion, I could go on merrily soloing my way to 70.

Trap, what trap?
One day when I was maybe 65+ a guildie was trying to get a group together to do Blood Furnace with his healing alt and asked if I could come along as DPS. I explained that I didn't know anything about this instancing thing, but would come if he couldn't find anyone else. In the end the group was mostly much higher level than needed for Blood Furnace, so I was assured "it would be fine". So off we went and then the group leader says "and Yrsa you trap the blue square". My reply was a very panicked "huh?". Once my guildies stopped laughing at me for managing to get my hunter to 65+ with no clue about trapping, they kindly explained the procedure to me.

Learning experience
I managed to get through that instance ok in the end, but it does show how much there is to learn about the game and your class which you have to figure out without a guiding hand from Blizzard, particularly when it comes to group play. There are skills that you might think of as useless when you level up which suddenly becomes amazing once you start doing instances. All of a sudden it's not just kill, kill, kill - you have to think about tactics and performing a role. It is easy to dismiss people lacking knowledge as noobs, it takes more effort to give them a friendly pat on the shoulder and point them to places of learning. My priest would probably be a priestard if not for some good and timely advice from a fellow healer which lead me onto the path of theorycrafting.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Beginner's guide to healing add-ons - part 1

Keeping it in the green
As a healer healthbars are just the beginning. You need to be able see who has a debuff you can dispel. You need to know when someone has a debuff that does silly damage and requires spam healing to get through. When working as part of a healing team you need to be aware of who has incoming heals and who is HoTted up. Out of combat you need to see who has lost their buff. That's a lot to keep track of on top of retaining situational awareness and staying out of trouble.

Add-ons != cheating
There are people out there that will argue that using add-ons for healing is tantamount to cheating. I wasn't healing, or even raiding, back pre-TBC, but I have been told that there were add-ons then that pretty much healed for you. You mashed your button and the add-on would pick which target most needed healing and which level of the spell to cast. Yes, that is ridiculous, but even if you wanted to, you couldn't do that now. Blizzard changed things so that kind of automation is no longer possible. Healing add-ons today are purely informational. They take the information that is there already and display it in a way that makes it easier for you to see the things you need to be aware of.

What the future holds
If you heal just fine using just the standard UI and naught else - good for you. Personally, I've used various add-ons before getting to the set-up I use today. I'm quietly pleased with my current UI (though I am constantly ogling UI threads for new ideas), but I also retain a fondness for some add-ons out there that I don't use anymore. So I have decided to do a series over the next few weeks, looking in detail at some add-ons that can be useful for healers. My aim is that it should be easy to follow even if you are new to healing or add-ons (or both). I will look at various add-ons that I currently use, have used or decided weren't quite right for me but that I know are popular - hopefully you might find some add-ons that are right for you.

A post on Grid will be coming this way in the next couple of days.