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Raid Rx: Post-patch healing thoughts

Matt Low

Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand pooh-bah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a WoW blog for all things UI-, macro- and addon-related. If you're looking for more healing advice, check out the Plus Heal community.

That was one thorough beating I took on that last raid night. Raiding on patch day is one thing. Healing on patch day is something else entirely. There are so many factors and variables that cause troubling issues. I don't even know where to begin. If you're having difficulties healing your raid, you can rest assured it probably isn't your fault.

Well, maybe not entirely. I'd chalk it up to stuff like:
  • learning the new skills and abilities
  • other classes learning their new skills and abilities
  • awesome bugs in Icecrown Citadel
  • performance issues like lag
  • lack of familiar addons
Anyway, the rest of the column is devoted to my healing experience. It might be skewed, wrong, incorrect, outdated or something. But it is straight from my perspective and I'm hoping your experience has been different than mine. I'm also hoping to find out what is working for healers and what isn't. Perhaps there are some group tactics that have yet to occur to me.

We didn't spend a ton of time on actual bosses. A good chunk was spent waiting for players to connect, finalizing glyphs, grabbing gems or acquiring updated addons. The end of the night resulted in a kill of Lord Marrowgar on heroic after a handful of wipes. So my experience largely consists of raiding with some FPS (frames per second) issues in a slightly short-handed raiding environment. We cleared trash with about 15 and started first pulls on the boss with 21. Yes, it was less than ideal circumstances.

But I really, really wanted us to play with our spells. So alas, not much of a directed discussion today. Today's post will be a myriad of scattered thoughts and observations.

I decided to go holy for most of the night. Don't get me wrong! I like discipline. I wanted to try discipline. But I felt the learning curve for playing holy was higher and I wanted to get a jump on mastering that particular spec. To be more specific, I wanted to grasp Chakra in a raid environment. I started the night sticking mostly with the Renew Chakra. Raid healing was the job I assigned myself. I need to consciously remember to actually activate my Holy Word spells. I forget that it's there. One would think with all the beta playing I've been doing, I would've remembered to do that by now.

I think what I need is an addon on my screen that says Holy Word is up or that my Chakra isn't activated. I suppose I could rely on Post-It notes. More visual cues are needed, but that could be a product of a learn to play issue on my end.

About halfway through our attempts, I decided to try a slightly different change of pace. I switched to a Prayer of Healing Chakra instead and focused strictly on AoE spell usage of Circle of Healing and Prayer of Healing. Naturally, I drained my mana more quickly than usual. I became quite envious of discipline priests and their seeming inability to drain mana. But since Rapture will activate every 6 seconds now and the fact that a holy priest is unable to tech into Archangel and Evangelism, it is understandable. I've had to push for extra Innervates. I may even need to resort back to the mana regeneration flask as well as keep my stack of mana potions topped off. From my glances at the mana bars for the healers, I think I was the only one that was whipping through mana. The rest appeared to be stable (or at least, they have enough to do the job and then some).

How are you doing, paladins? I imagine this must be a really rough moment. Having a new resource in holy power must take a bit of getting used to. Just having extra healing spells at your disposal must be daunting as you try to figure out when to use which spell at what moment.

Druids must feel awesome right now. I was looking at the numbers and they seem to be skyrocketing to the top in a big way.

Actually, it felt to me that healing was up across the board on all classes and specs. I wonder if that's a product of players just taking additional damage and our having spells that hit way harder.

The bugs in Icecrown were hilarious. We had a hard time trying to isolate why our tanks were getting destroyed in the earlier attempts. Apparently, it seemed as if the frontal cleave attack that Marrowgar does was much narrower than before, which means that it would occasionally not hit the other soak tanks. Here are some more that I picked up when I was browsing the dungeons and raid forums.

  • Festergut places Vile Gas on everyone at range, no matter how spread out you are.
  • Rotface does the same.
  • Double the mana pool on Lady Deathwhisper (that explains why we were working twice as hard).
  • Professor Putricide throws Malleable Goo at everyone who is ranged.
I almost wish this was left in the game. This would give us difficulties of normal mode, heroic mode and nightmare mode! Just for fun, how would you modify the other Icecrown encounters for nightmare mode?

Did any healing teams feel the loss of Judgement of Light? Even though the reputation of the ability varies from paladin to paladin, I won't deny that in a post patch world, the loss of its presence can be felt.

Hey shaman, just a friendly request. Stop casting Earthquake. I know it is a ton of fun. Unfortunately, I can't see the bad stuff on the ground and it's affecting my survivability. I heard that has something to do with a messed up projected textures, however. Won't blame you too much, but don't get too crazy with it, OK?

That summarizes just about everything that was going on through my head. Now I have to settle the players in my guild who are understandable angry and frustrated with their lack of numbers. Ghostcrawler did toss a post up covering some of the balances they were planning to introduce.

Need advice on working with the healers in your guild? Raid Rx has you covered. Send your questions about raid healing to For less healer-centric raiding advice, visit Ready Check, and don't miss our strategy guides to Icecrown Citadel and Halion/the Ruby Sanctum.

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