On a list of player names that serious WoW hobbyists should know, Phaelia definitely makes the cut. WoW Insider's Dan O'Halloran summed up why in his post last fall outlining druid blogs you should be reading: "Phaelia started Resto4Life.com back in March to educate herself about playing a better healing Druid. Turns out, she's educating the rest of us as well. Her entries delve into the many facets of a Tree Druid's gameplay: Re-evaluating Spirit, mp5 vs. +Healing and Getting More Out of Innervate are just a few of the many treasures to be found on this blog. Updated frequently with a friendly and informative tone, Resto4Life is the Big Red Kitty for Restoration druids." 15 Minutes of Fame visited with Resto4Life's creator, Phaelia of US Scarlet Crusade-A, about the many attractions of the Druid class.
15 Minutes of Fame: How did you get into WoW, Phaelia? Do you come from a gaming background?
Phaelia: I started playing WoW during the first open beta. To be honest, I was less attracted to WoW than turned off by the idea of giving over another five years of my gaming life to another game from Sony Online Entertainment. I began my MMO career as a sophomore in college, and while quitting EverQuest 1 left a void in my gaming lifestyle, I knew I didn't want to play another game from the same company. Blizzard turned out to be the breath of fresh air and fun that I was looking for!
So what's your spec and style as a Druid?
I'm what you would call a mid-content raider. My guild is full of great people who, while never on the cutting edge of content, get along well and enjoy each other's company. We'd just made our first semi-successful forays into Black Temple when Wrath of the Lich King apathy set in and brought our raiding schedule more or less to a halt.
I have been known to PvP. (As a Resto Druid post-TBC, it would have been a crime not to.) I prefer Battlegrounds to competitive Arena, though, as it's generally less frustrating. It's also healthier for objects on my desk small enough to be picked up and thrown.
So ... healing. Players who enjoy healing seem to be a minority in the game. What's up with that?
Honestly, it doesn't feel like we're a minority these days, but that's probably because I surround myself with other Druid, Priest, Paladin and Shaman bloggers, and many of them have opted to play the healing spec of their class. In general, though, I think DPS appeals to more players because of its self-sufficiency, lower stress and not wanting to feel like they're simply supporting someone else's play.
This isn't to say that the role of a healer isn't important or is somehow less rewarding -- just that some people gravitate toward the sense of accomplishment that supporting others provides. And while (good) DPSers generally don't need as much healing as a tank, a healer indirectly supports them by keeping the tank alive (who in turn keeps the mobs from killing them). In this way, healers are sort of the "glue that holds the group together," enabling each individual to fulfill their role, be it DPS, tanking or crowd control.
In a five-man instance, a healer supports individual players, but in a raid with multiple healers, she supports not only her DPSers and tanks but her other healers, too. When insufficient healing causes the raid to wipe, it's the entire corps of healers that assumes the burden of responsibility. At the same time, a healer often plays the role of the "silent hero." Someone who elects to fulfill the role must be able to enjoy her own accomplishments, even when her miraculous deeds go unnoticed by others.
Have you played other healing classes up to 70? What keeps you playing a druid?
I haven't played another healer up to 70, but I did level an Undead Holy Priest up to 60 on the Horde side pre-TBC. I switched back to the Druid because I really missed having elbows ... Seriously though, many healers thrive on the feeling of supporting other players. Through HoTs, a Restoration Druid provides a buffer to one or more tanks to make other healers' jobs easier. I honestly can't think of a more supportive role!
Who's the healing flavor of the month right now? Why? Do you think that will change in Wrath?
Though I don't have any personal experience in Sunwell, my understanding is that there's a lot of raid-wide "splash" damage going around. In this type of environment, smart targeting and AoE heals like Chain Heal and Circle of Healing really shine. With the addition of the 51-point Restoration talent Flourish and Paladins' raid heal Beacon of Light, it's pretty safe to say that we haven't seen the end of this encounter dynamic.
Give us a snapshot of what's ahead for Resto Druids in Wrath of the Lich King -- the good, the bad and the ugly.
Restoration Druids are getting a set of tools that seem to indicate we'll be specialized as tank healers. Our new direct heal, Nourish, gets both a throughput and efficiency bonus if the target has one or more heals over time on them already. Regrowth can be Inscribed to have its upfront direct heal component boosted if the target already has a Regrowth. Our 15-second, insta-cast direct heal, Swiftmend, can be Inscribed so that it no longer consumes a HoT, improving our ability to roll HoTs on tanks. When we use our new AoE heal, Flourish, I suspect it will be cast on the tank and surrounding melee, since its 20-yard range makes it more effective in close quarters.
This is encouraging, since many TBC Druids found it boring to be relegated to steadying tanks' health so that direct healers like the Paladin or Priest had an easier time keeping them up. As for the bad and the ugly, as of right now we still look like rotten broccoli. WTB a horticulture shop!
What made you decide to start Resto4Life?
I felt like I had some unique insight into some of the mechanics of the class, and I really enjoyed learning and sharing new tricks of the trade with others. As time went on, I found myself learning more and more about the spec I thought I already knew inside and out. I was originally inspired by Feral blogger Amanna of the no longer updated Adventures of Azeroth blog, the ever-friendly Vonya of Egotistical Priest, and the intelligent theorycrafting of Kirk from Priestly Endeavors (recently defunct). Like most bloggers just starting out, I was daunted but motivated by the success of the prolific and entertaining Big Red Kitty.
What do you enjoy most about working with Resto4Life?
It would be hard to say what I "most" enjoy, as there is so much that I'm thankful for. I have a wonderful group of intelligent and friendly readers with whom I communicate with regularly. I've met (albeit virtually) and befriended several other blog authors who have made a difference in my everyday life. And basically, I've discovered a whole new aspect of game play and community that I wouldn't have known about otherwise.
How much time do you devote to Resto4Life on a daily/weekly basis? How does that compare to the time you spend in game actually playing?
This is potentially embarrassing. ^_^ I probably spend 10 to 15 hours a week on Resto4Life and related activities (answering e-mails, reading other blogs, posting on message forums). Comparatively, I spend about 15 hours a week playing.
What will Phaelia be doing in the expansion? Any particular goals or aspects of Wrath you're definitely out to experience?
There is so much that I'm looking forward to in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion that I'm practically crawling out of my skin in anticipation. It's one of the reasons that I've inundated readers with so many articles about the expansion ... and all without a beta key! (Elune help them if I ever get my hands on one.) I'm most looking forward to experimenting with our new talents, trying new healing styles and seeing how the different Glyphs affect them. I'm also looking forward to finally being able to remove these marks from my face via the barber shop. Oh, and getting a tiara. ^_^