Before patch 3.3.3
, I would have asked whether you had a Mangle bot for whatever DPS records you supplied, but that's no longer necessary.
- Did you provide a World of Logs entry or other third-party record of your raid performance? This one's close to non-negotiable for many raiding guilds.
- Are you properly specced? As with the bear, speccing a cat is pretty straightforward, and assuming you're using a PvE spec, the only real differences are between specs with more or less AoE damage.
- Are you hit- and expertise-capped? At lower gear levels, this isn't hugely important because so much of the cat's DPS relies on bleeds and specials. It's more of a concern as you advance to Icecrown-quality gear and your white hits become truly potent. Because you should always be behind a mob, you only need to worry about the expertise soft cap (26). Both the bear and cat are considered 1H weapon attackers, so your hit cap is also 263.
- Are your gem and enchant choices an appropriate reflection of your gear? This is directly related to your passive armor penetration and what kind of trinkets you have. Do you have a trinket with a huge armor penetration proc?
- How well did you do on fights like Deathbringer Saurfang and Festergut? Both fights are considered benchmarks for melee DPS, and Saurfang is arguably the best "cat fight" in the entire raid. You should have some of the highest numbers of your career here. If you don't, what happened?
- How well did you do on fights like Blood Princes and Sindragosa? Melee DPS is somewhat of a liability on these encounters, particularly on their heroic versions (doing heroic Blood Princes with a lot of melee one week was enough to send our raid leader to the nuthouse). Just as I'm interested in seeing how you well you did on good "cat fights," I'm equally interested in seeing what kind of damage you can pump out on fights where the deck's stacked against you.
- What raid buffs were available to you for the DPS you're claiming? Most of the jaw-dropping cat numbers you'll see on third-party sites are the result of experience, good latency, smart trinket, cooldown and proc exploitation, a high crit rate and getting buffs like Hysteria. For all I know, your WoL record comes from a night when the enhancement shaman didn't show up, the death knight was selling Hysteria to the highest bidder, your internet sucked or you got bitten last on Lana'thel. Nobody wants or needs a bunch of excuses if you turned in terrible numbers, but when you're pointing to specific encounters as an example of what you can do, put the fights in context for us. What was going on in the raid that night that had any effect, good or bad, on your DPS? In other words, if we put you in those same circumstances again, how repeatable is your performance?
- Do you have any experience tanking, and if so, what's your bear set like? You will almost certainly be asked to tank at some point.
- Are you good at "staying out of the fire?" Cats have some of the best "Oh s&%t!" buttons available to melee DPS: Barkskin, Survival Instincts (if you're an end-game raider, you should have it), Dash, Tranquility if the healers are getting pasted, and -- if all else fails -- Bear Form and Frenzied Regeneration. If I go through your logs seeing a pattern of early deaths -- either one-shots because you did something dumb, or slower deaths where you didn't blow anything to survive -- what that tells me is you don't take responsibility for your own survival in a raid. As a healer, that doesn't give me warm, fuzzy feelings.
Due to how quickly healing efficiency outscales tank HP and the demands of the average raiding encounter, guilds are typically more lenient with the gear requirements for healer applicants.
- Are you properly specced? As with the bears and cats, I want to see a player who knows what he's doing. I'm open to eccentric choices more than most raiders are -- I'd be the world's biggest hypocrite if I weren't -- but if you're making unorthodox spec or glyph choices, I want to hear your reasoning.
- Are you haste-capped? This is the biggie. You should be haste-capped, or -- if your gear simply doesn't allow for it -- you should be making an obvious effort. A restoration druid who's far below the haste cap will spend way more time than the rest of the heal team on the global cooldown and thus unable to cast. That doesn't help your prospective raid on encounters with insane raid damage, and there are a lot of them in ICC. If you don't seem to be prioritizing +haste on your gear, it could just be that you've had lousy luck with drops, but we don't know that unless you provide an explanation.
- What's your raid-buffed MP5? Blizzard's acknowledged that healer efficiency is too good, but that doesn't mean you get to ignore your mana. Mana-intensive fights like Arthas, Lana'thel, Blood Princes and Festergut can and will run you OOM if you're not careful.
- How fast are you? This one's tough to quantify, but it's getting easier to figure out with the advent of mods like PhoenixStyle. If we PUG with you and you're consistently one of the fastest healers to heal Incinerate Flesh on Jaraxxus, decurse on Lady Deathwhisper or heal Vile Gas on Festergut, you can probably handle stuff like Pact of the Darkfallen and Harvest Soul.
- What's your throughput like on fights like Twin Valks, Festergut and Lana'thel? These fights are tailor-made for resto druids: consistent, widespread raid damage that's not too bursty, where HoTs are virtually guaranteed to have low overheal.
- What mods and macros do you use? The basic UI isn't that great for healers, although some of the criticism is a bit overblown; a competent healer with nothing but the default raid frames can still blow an inexperienced one out of the water. That said, addons like Grid, Clique, Vuhdo, Healbot, SmartRes and buffing mods will give you a lot more information about what's happening to the raid, and -- more to the point -- can be heavily customized. Trees are very dependent on these mods because so much of our healing is through HoTs that have to be tracked closely.
- What job are you used to doing? The vast majority of resto druid are being used as raid healers, but you might be coming from a 5-man healing background or a guild where you were a tank healer, or coming from a raid healing background to one where a guild needs a tank healer. Are you OK with respeccing and reglyphing for the demands of each role?
- Do you have experience on difficult healing encounters? One of the reasons that my guild dislikes revisiting heroic Anub'arak in ToGC-25 is that we've picked up a few new healers during our time in ICC, and Anub is a terrible fight for them. If you have -- or can get -- experience healing things like a three-tree Freya, Firefighter, a hard-mode Yogg, ToGC-10 or -25, or any heroic Icecrown encounters other than Gunship, that's a big plus.
Every week, Shifting Perspectives treks across Azeroth in pursuit of truth, beauty and insight concerning the druid class. Sometimes it finds the latter, or something good enough for government work. Whether you're a bear, cat, moonkin, tree or stuck in caster form, we've got the skinny on druid changes in patch 3.3, a look at the disappearance of the bear tank, and thoughts on why you should be playing the class (or why not).