Teaching job has taken over, so no post today – hopefully back in the swing of things for tomorrow. (and I’ll be done with this job on Friday)
(Warning – RPer content ahead)
So, when I’m not busy being a restorelemenhancement shaman (since I love all three specs, but am currently resto), I can be found playing a priest. Annalira leveled holy, aside from a short stint with shadow from levels 63-67ish, and she has always been intended to be a healer. Pre-BC she raided Molten Core and BWL as an auxiliary healer – never really had the gear to sustain main healing. She was the first character I got to 70, but when I rolled Annorah she took a bit of a back seat.
And then Totally Raids picked up Annorah – my enhancement shaman, who was NOT supposed to be a healer. And two weeks later Annorah became my resto shaman.
Having two level 70 fully-specced healers, and no other alts at 70… blows. I couldn’t farm, I could barely quest (as long as the quests were 3 levels lower than I was), and I got tired of the run around it took to get a group to get anything done, as well as the constant expectation that I would heal for whatever anyone wanted me to heal.
So in one great marathon I dropped herbalism, leveled tailoring from 0-350, respecced Shadow, and started working on Anna’s frozen shadoweave set. And all was good. Until I started to have in-character interactions, and realized that as much as shadow is useful, and has great DPS, and is a wonderful addition to a group… there was no way I could reasonably justify Annalira’s shadow spec without totally redoing her character (not going to happen).
This was a few months ago. Since then I’ve tried a few things (from only using shadowform when I’m actually nuking things, to wearing pretty not-arcanist-reskin gear around town) but in the end things haven’t felt the same with Anna. And while I’m connected to all my characters very strongly, she’s probably the one that I identify with the most – feeling a disconnect from that meant that I stopped writing about her, stopped talking to her really.
And I started thinking (dangerous, I know), if there were some way to have her be primarily focused on Holy/Light, without having her automatically be a healer. Two things came to mind. Heavy discipline/pain suppression priest – a PVP healer; and a smite build. Now, I’ve not tried deep discipline in awhile, so I suppose that’s a viable alternative, but that’s not a DPS build – and she fills a DPS spot in a Karazhan raid and a Zul’Aman raid, and I’m not sure I want to go back to having two level 70 healers (though having Angoleth at 70 would help).
Smite builds? Well, there’s a reason they’re called Lolsmite builds. Can you do the DPS? Yes, kind of. But you’re not a mage, and you’re not a warlock. You lose all the utility of the shadowpriest but you don’t get the scaling damage of a pure damage caster. Unlike shadow, you have easy access to mana-efficient backup heals, but there are lots of classes that do that with much more utility than a smite priest (elemental shaman being the one that comes to mind).
And thus you see my dilemma. The most logical spec for Annalira is something like the 34/27/0 build that I’m experimenting with right now. And damn if it’s not a fun way to play. Lots of usable spells, equivalent DPS to shadow, easy backup healing – the Heroic Mechanar run I did Sunday night went well, as did the heroic Shattered Halls and heroic Mana Tombs runs I did Monday, and the playstyle is really enjoyable. But if I ever want to bring her to anything more complicated than Karazhan? Well, from a raid leader standpoint, there are no situations that I’ve experienced up through SSC/TK where I would say “You know, I wish we had a smite priest”.
So far I really like this build, but I don’t want to get groups only with people that already know and like me (not that I don’t like grouping with friends, but it’s nice to know that you’re there both because they like you AND because they know you’re not a noob).
So when is it, really, just a game? At what point do you say “spec how you like and have fun with it” and when do you say “you know, you just can’t hack it, time to respec or find the door”?
I’m pleasantly surprised when unrelated things line up in ways that make sense.
The Monkeys over at World of Matticus have been addressing some of the things that stand in the way of being a really good Raid Healer. His 5 Barriers of a Raid Healer series has been great so far, and this week, he addressed Criticism.
Friday was an incredibly tough night for the healing staff of TRI, and I ended up as the stand in for our healer lead as coordinator. We were down a holy priest (the healing lead) and a resto druid (our only tree), and had no healing replacements for them. The Official TRI Doomkin offered to heal, and her healing gear is good, so that was a start, and later in the evening we were able to drum up a druid to help out for Karathress and Hydross, but it was a very stressful raid for everyone.
Add this to the fact that someone who doesn’t usually get regular healing assignments was trying to coordinate healing (*raises hand*), and we had a bit of a rocky night, at least to start. And we all had to deal with some pretty heavy criticism from deaths – unexplainable, nobody-knows-what-happened kinds of deaths that wiped the raid (like the warlock tank spontaneously combusting on Leotheras). Heated conversations in the healer channel about assignments and why tanks (and everyone else) was dying, about how to manage various catastrophes (when you have 6.5 healers and 4 of them get inner demons…), and generally dealing with the fact that two of our top healers were Just. Not. There.
Did we manage? Yes. Was it pretty? Not really, but it worked. And through all of it the healing team remained collected, light hearted, and not above poking fun at ourselves and owning up to our mistakes. (I will not automatically lump myself into this category, as I was decidedly stressed and nose deep in an amaretto sour >.>, but I tried).
When the DPS raid leader joins the healer channel to find out what’s up, you know it’s a tough night, and, while I’ve always known I’m a member of a great raid with a really solid core of healers, Friday night just proved that on a whole different scale.
So what happens when you have a 25 man raid’s worth of bored people on a Saturday night, all of whom need badges?
Last night we patched together a group of people from the Totally 25 Man Raid, and created what is now affectionately named “Totally Karazhan WTF” – Clearing Kara in record time because everyone needs more badges before 2.4. I respecced elemental (PEW PEW PEW) for the night, and we took with us a newly-keyed (20 minutes before the raid!) enhancement shaman to soak up the extra loot drops.
- 2 hour and 52 minute full clear
- 1 wipe, because I and one of the healers randomly DC’d on the first Prince pull
- Overall raid DPS of 3835
- TRI Speed records set for Attumen (2:05), Maiden (1:45), Moroes (2:56), Netherspite (4:10), Nightbane (7:27), Malchezaar (3:59), Illhoof (2:19) and Curator (2:06)
- 22 badges, a shaman who got no fewer than 10 pieces of new loot on her first Karazhan run, and other assorted drops that people had been farming for but never seen (Garona’s Ring, Light’s Justice, Barbed Choker of Discipline, Triptych Shield of the Ancients, Terestian’s Stranglestaff)
A good time was had by all, much hilarity over vent, and everyone got a pile of badges to stash away for new happy loots once 2.4 hits. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday evening!
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