Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Life As A Healer: Week Two

It’s been an odd kind of week; my time has been split roughly between WoW, D&D Online, and catching up on my backlog of Criminal Minds, Warehouse 13 and Eli Stone.

I spy, with my little eye, a dead raid.  Oops.

I’ve had my first experience with real raid healing, having spent an evening working on the hard-hard mode of 25-man Iron Council last night (which we didn’t get down in the end, but we were getting close).  Now that’s what I’d call a challenge: being one of the designated healers for the Steelbreaker tank.  Apart from a failed attempt at ToC10 Heroic earlier in the week, it’s just been normal ToC25 and Ulduar25 which, while challenging, didn’t really require me to stretch my abilities.

You see, while I’m a competent healer at this stage (helped by my relatively high-level gear), I’m still working on picking up the little things that I can do to keep a tank alive (and the pressure in hard modes encourage growth – along with the desire to throw things at the screen).  Growth in this sense means picking up things like how to time my cast of PW:S to get Borrowed Time at the right moment to then be able to cast a 1.6 second Greater Heal that lands right after Fusion Punch hits the tank instead of a Flash Heal that lands for maybe 2/3 as much.  (Maybe that’s not the best way to react to it, but it’s proving effective for me to use in that situation, especially if Penance is on cooldown at that moment)

It’s tricky, as I don’t really have anyone in-guild I can get to mentor me; our priests are all either main-specced Holy or Shadow, and our leading healer priest wasn’t able to offer much advice when I did try to get some advice.  Looking at WWS logs for other guilds are only effective in showing what spells they cast; it doesn’t give me tips on how they cast them, such as the Borrowed Time thing I described above.

One thing that has proven effective has been improving my visual alerts with the new version of Power Auras Classic, which now has support for dual-specs and more options that make it more flexible.  I’ve replaced Inner Fire Helper with a simple aura, changed my Flask aura to alert me when I don’t have either Flask of the Frost Wyrm or Flask of Pure Mojo active, and implemented another that displays when Penance is off cooldown and ready to cast.

I’m also having some success having dropped Bartender4 in favour of the default Blizzard action bars, and relocating Vuhdo’s raidframes closer to the centre of the screen so it’s easier to glance up at my toon to check if there’s something happening that I need to react to (such as patches of fire on the ground in which my character may be standing).

Sadly, the downside to being so reliant on mouseover healing is an equally growing reliance on keyboard-turning due to my mouse being unusable for turning while it’s over the raidframes; I think working out some way to get around that will have to be my next move.

Other than my healing, things have been pretty quiet.  I’ve been investing in Eternal Life for darkmoon cards in preparation for the next faire, along with my other usual AH investments.  I’m back down at 50k from my high of 70k, but I’m still ahead considering just how much I’ve invested in card mats (I’ve cards enough for three nobles decks already).

For now, though, I think I might go do some research on the possibilities of Prot Warrior PvP.