Footwerk the Druid is a member of highly rated 3v3 team, "Heal me Im strong" in the Vengeance battlegroup. In a time when healers are struggling to excel in the Arena, Footwerk has managed to make the traditional Druid-healer format a viable and powerful composition.
And while we have the bad news that Footwerk may be leaving WoW, we were able to catch up with him to grab a few words for the Colosseum. Obviously, he wants to thank everyone in his guild, Drama, for all the fun and wishes them good luck in the upcoming Ulduar. But, good news for the Colosseum, he had a lot more to say. WoW Insider: What's your team like? What are your opening tactics like, and the general plan behind your strategy?
Footwerk: My teammates are Azreal, a Retribution Paladin, and Ayumus, a Mutilate Rogue. Some might know Ayumus as Ayume. Our playstyle can somewhat be summed up in the phrase "the best defense is a good offense."
More specifically, we try to apply as much pressure as possible in our opening Crowd Control routine. A lot of the time, we have our paladin blow wings in the opener to garuntee we get as many defensive cooldowns as possible out of everyone on the opposing team. This is extremely important for our comp because it keeps the other team's DPS focused on peeling my Rogue and Paladin, rather than just sitting on the Tree. (By tree, obviously, I mean me.)
This tactic also helps us to stay competative against Holy Paladin teams by forcing them to bubble and/or trinket very early in to the match. Otherwise, we just end up being overwhelmed by the number of cooldowns Holy paladins have to get out of Crowd Control and keep their teammates alive.
The challenges our team faces are based on a few different class combos that really disable us. The first more obvious team comp is Hunter, Paladin, and X teams. Most of the time, Dearth Knights are the "X" in that team. Our rogue can't disarm traps 100% of the time, and flares eliminate the ability to cheap shot after sap. Cheap Shot is an important part in the chain of events required to get a Paladin to bubble when we want him to.
If we fail at killing the paladin and the other team is allowed to establish control, the only option left is to try to kill a DPSer and use whatever CC we have left to keep the paladin from bombing Holy Lights. Frost traps and Blessings of Freedoms make it extremely hard to keep both melee on any target.
The only other comp we split games with is any Rogue, Mage, and X comp where my rogue will get caught in any stun and the Mage will POM him and Imp-CS me for the whole thing. Ayume and Azreal do an incredible job avoiding and getting out of those kind of situations, but when mages and rogues are doing 20 - 30k damage in 1-2 seconds sometimes it's just unavoidable. Death Knights are less of a problem than those other two examples just because they're more succeptable to CC. And, having a Ret paladin helps with minimizing their Slows, but every once and a while there will be a DK team that just shuts down my healing with their AOE and there's nothing I can do to keep everyone up.
WoW Insider: Which mods do you use -- how have you customized your screen?
Footwerk: For PvP, I use Proximo, Afflicted, and a focus frame addon just because the Blizzard default one doesn't show buffs or debuffs. I don't like addon maintainance every time there's a new patch so I keep it simple. No bar mods or anything like that.
WoW Insider: How do you work out target designation? (Does someone call it out, or is everyone on their own to figure it out?)
Footwerk: Most of the time we have a pretty good idea who the targets are going to be when we see the team, but almost everyone will call for the planned swaps when we see people trinket our bait CC. Occasionally, some one will trinket something unexpectedly or some one will overextend in a bad spot and Ayume and Azreal yell it in Vent. No one really "leads" the team, I like to backseat drive sometimes to keep them updated on targets they can't see, but we all contribute equally to target calls / strategies.
WoW Insider: How do you schedule your playtime? Do you try and work during "good times to queue?" Is this different now than in previous seasons?
Footwerk: Generally, the only one of us who has any real time constraint is Azreal, he has some big important "job" thing that he's always talking about. It really cut into our play time.
WoW Insider: What's been the biggest change in your strategy between each bracket of ratings? (1500s, 1600s) Is there a big change for this season?
Footwerk: Bad healers are easier to CC, so generally as we move up in rating we swap from killing DPS to killing healers.
WoW Insider: What signals to you that you need to radically change strategy midmatch? (And how do you accomplish that change?)
Footwerk: When DPS don't die in whatever CC we landed on the healer, we have to swap to whichever doesn't have a trinket.
WoW Insider: You hear a lot about clicking versus binding. Which skills do you still click, which do you tend to bind?
Footwerk: Embarassingly enough I still click Hurricane and Battle Rez just because I use them so infrequently. However, I think not only binding all your abilities is important, but binding certain abilities to certain hands is super important so you can do important things at the same time. For example, I bind myPvP trinket, my target swaps, and NS all to my mouse hand. The rest of my normal abilities and short cooldowns are on my keyboard hand so that it doesn't interfere with using my important abilities as fast as possible.
WoW Insider: What are you trying to improve?
Footwerk: I would say the thing I could stand to improve most on would be staying more efficient through small changes, like making sure I use all my clearcasts on Regrowth and Wild Growth.
WoW Insider: A lot has been made of healers not having a strong role in Season 5. What do you think about that commentary?
Footwerk: I don't think any healer is happy about being less effective and less survivable, but who would be? Damage is obviously still too high, but I don't think anyone wants to see another Warrior and Druid style take over where damage is slow, healers are invincible, and CC doesn't mean much. DK / Paladin is getting dangerously close to reaching this status.
WoW Insider: What are you hoping to see improved in 3.1? We've seen some changes, obviously, but there's more to come.
Footwerk: Hopefully, damage is scaled down somehow through a resilience buff or arena aura. Arcane mages need some tuning, since they have too much burst yet not enough risk involved when compared to paladin divine shield + avenging wrath mechanic. Blood plague removing HoTs AND being spread by pestilence - they should really just remove the Blood Plague HoT removal. It's too much to handle combined with plague strike for Druids. Holy shock could probably use some tuning, holy paladins are premium healers for a reason.
On the subject of paladins, I would think a damage nerf would make other healers a little more attractive in 2v2. Currently, zoning into a 2v2 match as a druid when every DK team is being healed by a Paladin and I have to deal with 40 yard range Judgement of Justice and the ridiculousness of a DK getting dispel spammed and freedomed on cooldown. I could go on forever about DKs so I'll just stop at that.