How to prep your guild for Cataclysm. Or: "Dear DPS"

Ever since Blizzard announced their intentions for healing in Cataclysm I’ve had this uneasy feeling about how the changes might turn out, or rather how to get the message across once the time arrived. Already in December 2009 I posted some quotes by Ghostcrawler in our guild forums, discussing the changes to health and things like mana regen. And I do welcome these changes, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside because things like meaningful spell choices, timing, prioritizing and mana management should matter in an MMO and it reminds me of how it was to heal encounters like Ragnaros or Firemaw back in vanilla WoW. We had good HPS back then but HPM was seriously lousy, so as a consequence you would employ tactics like the classic healer rotation or dancing with the 5-sec rule in longer fights. Do you remember when we were still timing our mana potions and bandage quickly between phases? That’s right. <3 You can hear my nostalgia and that will never change – I do agree with Dwism that WoW raiding as a whole has become better, encounters more diverse and interesting certainly, but there are things about the past that this priest simply misses. Mine is a healer’s background and as such I have always been working inside a closeknit team. Our healing struggles brought us together and forced us to communicate in ways that are almost forgotten today. Maybe that seems a good thing to some but I am a team player through and through and I love working with my team.

I’m under no illusion that Cataclysm will be vanilla all over, I know it won’t be but maybe it can find a middle ground between unnecessary downtimes and imbalances vs. steamrolling and easy loot. Cataclysm is a bit of a homecoming, not just thematically but the way it’s going to simplify stats again, make things like mobs or mana-management harder and epics (supposedly) feel more epic again. We will see.

Changing mindset

To get back to the uneasy feeling, what I’m worried about is how we will revert to this more careful and tactical mindset in WoW, not “we” the healers but “we” the entire player base. All of us have become reckless halfway through WotLK, tanks reckless with pulling, DPS reckless with starting to fire and AoE right away, healers reckless with mana and overhealing. It’s a mindset we will all have to lose if Blizzard’s promises come true and it’s a good thing because it will make encounters more tactical again.

Once I saw the new talents and spells that are now live, I was planning to write a short summary for my guildies with all the healing relevant changes, so people are prepped and also aware of new spells and effects to look out for in our future raids. I don’t expect everybody to be aware of other classes new spells, so when there’s important news to share that is going to benefit you in raids, I do like to communicate that beforehand so people have time to read up and adapt. There is also an entirely more selfish reason behind it: I don’t intend to go through important things like that mid-raid and I’ve been an officer in WoW long enough to value anticipation over reaction, it’s saved me and my fellow officers a lot of nerves in the past. In fact I will always try and open a topic or write a summary or guide so I can point people to it if need be or get grumpy because “it’s all been written on the forums for weeks damnit!”. I’m all for being prepared and transparent – especially if it saves me from getting moaned at because death is suddenly a feature of the game again. If you expect people to take note of something, write it down and get a large trout ready for later.

That said, I have been putting this off for a while, mostly because I didn’t know quite how to approach it yet and I have to say thanks to Tam for his recent topic which reminded me that there was something important I needed to do before Cataclysm!
Have you informed your DPS already that there would be no more heals for them in the expansion? Pardon, I mean, informed your guild about the healing-related changes? If not, I recommend you mention it at some point for your own sake as much as everyone else’s. Also, those guild forums aren’t there to look pretty!

The reason why I single out the DPS too is simply because they are the biggest group in WoW and often outside of the healer-tank equation in the sense that while healers and tanks are always made aware of changes in their departments quite instantly, for obvious reasons of closer teamwork and imminent consequence, DPS are often late to notice. And that is the nicest possible way for me to say this, so don’t push it.

“Dear DPS”

Since I have gone through the trouble of putting a post together that (hopefully) sums up the essential healing changes in a simplified way for non-healers, see a copy of my post below and feel free to use, alter or copy it for your own purposes in case you’re not up for writing one of your own. If you do copy, you might wanna change the guild name though (/ahem)!

And yeah, there are always those that already know most of this (or think they do), I’m actually surrounded by dedicated raiders and crazy alt-players myself in Adrenaline, but it still doesn’t hurt – and then there’s also the large trout thing.

Those shiny new AoE heals to look out for in Cataclysm!

I was planning to write a short (ha-ha) overview about healing changes sooner or later before the expansion and since I got some time tonight, now is as good a time as ever! 
There’s obviously some changes in game mechanics and playstyle incoming for everybody in Cata which is going to concern all of us in our future raids. I haven’t played the beta but I’ve followed things and talked to those that have, and if you believe blizzard’s announcements some things will change bigtime, at least in the beginning of the expansion. some of these things concern me as a healer more than they concern you but ultimately we are all co-dependent and it’s important that everyone is informed about major changes in the healing or tanking or dps department so he/she can adapt to it. Adrenaline IS a progressive raidguild and even if we aren’t of the leet persuasion we care about things like raiding quality and optimization.

To cut to the chase, there’s a few changes I’d like to make people aware of from a healing POV: several healing classes have been given new and more area-related heals (meaning they stick to the ground) in the last patch and we can therefore expect these to become relevant in our future raids. for them to be used to their full potential however, all of you need to understand what these spells are and what exactly they can do for you

I know some of you already know this, in which case it won’t hurt to refresh your memory! <3 Before going on, I’m going to sum up briefly what has been announced on Cata and is healing-relevant: – mana will be a lot bigger issue for everybody. many healing spells have been or will be scaled/nerfed accordingly for lvl 85
– HP will increase more dramatically than HPM/HPS
– all healers now have in-built dps mechanics that either improve healing and/or mana-regen
– cleansing and decursing have been nerfed

What does this mean for you? basically that healers can’t and won’t spam heals the way they have so far. there is less “universal” healing spells around which means we are forced to make choices again between most efficient heal vs. fast heal vs. big heal and believe me when I say we haven’t really had to do this in a long, long time!
There will be less tolerance for ‘unnecessary’ damage taken and there will be less leeway to cover up or compensate. one thing that won’t change in Cata is that it’s the MTs > you and there will be situations where it’s good to go back to whatever means of self-preservation you got. we have all fallen into a bit of an OP or lazy mindset towards the end of WotLK and that will have to change again and revert to a more tactical and sensible playstyle.
The good news is that our HP is increasing massively, which should give everyone some breathing space – at the same time this means HP bars won’t always be topped up right away like people are used to, so don’t panic!
along with that note that you will see healers more often adding dps now as part of their healing “rotation”. and since blizzard wants debuffs to become a bigger deal again, cleansing won’t be as swiftly or efficiently anymore in some cases either. priests for example have had their improved cleansing removed entirely.

now for the cool stuff –

New healy stuff – look out for it, use it, love it!
(*including spell changes up to Cataclysm beta-build 13277)

1) Shiny yellow dome: PW:Barrier coming to you by a Disc Priest.
Will shield from 30% damage and spell interrupts for 10secs.

2) Yellow circle of northern lights: HW:Sanctuary coming to you by a Holy Priest.
Will heal up to 6 players for 18secs.

3) Green circle with floaty leaves: Efflorescence coming to you by a Resto Druid.
Will heal up to 6 players for 7secs.

4) [lvl 83] White patch with rain drops: Healing Rain coming to you by a Resto Shaman.
Will heal up to 6 players for 10 secs.

1)-4) stack and are either costly and/or on a longer CD so making use of them is important. You won’t always be required or asked to run for these of course, ideally they will be placed in the best spot for/on yourself, or wherever they make most sense. Still if you’re outside and close to one while taking damage, you know what you gotta do! Yes, you can stand in the yellow/green crap now, wohoo! (these show better or worse depending on your video setup afaik, so you might want to check that out!)

5) Golden floaty bowl: Lightwell / Lolwell coming to you by a Holy Priest.
You can expect to see lightwell more in Cata than we have so far. I’d like to point out that this is now one of our most efficient heals and I encourage everyone to use this if you can and need to. it has been fixed so you won’t have to target the well anymore in order to heal yourself. it’s easy to oversee in the heat of battle but you can get used to clicking it more.

6) Light of Dawn: not really something you can seek out, but still nice to know that Holy Paladins have a shiny cone heal of their own now. They are also getting Holy Radiance at lvl 83 which is another AoE healing spell emanating from the Paladin to players around him.

That’s it! I hope people will be more familiar with these new spells and effects until Cataclysm, there’s some shiny new stuff going on really and while nobody can tell how much these will be used, I think it’s safe to say they will have their regular place! :)
It probably makes sense too to make similar topics about changes in the dps or tank department for everybody if you feel there’s things that are good to share and inform the rest about. Cheers!

And now you know what sort of WoTs poor Larísa is regularly subject to in her guild forums!

8 comments

  1. It will definitely take some time to get used to happily stand in the green crap rather than running away from it. Or rather: to distinguish between good green and bad green; I suppose we’ll se both in Cataclysm.

    I never was particularly good at using the wells in TBC, and clicking objects midfight as I’m about ti die will sometimes make me fumble a bit. Even if you don’t need to target it, it might be handy to make a macro for it perhaps? Would a simple /use lightwell work, provided you were about in the area, or would it take something else?

    And WoT are underrated!

  2. @Larísa

    Yeah it will take practice but I’m positive we’ll get used to it soon enough. I’m kinda excited to learn something new and the way these ground-heals add a new tactical aspect to things. =)

    unfortunately there’s no direct use-macro for lolwell as far as i know, but there’s a work around that was explained over at Harpy’s Nest some time ago:

    http://harpysnest.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/lightwell-and-loving-it/

    @Tessy

    Awww thanks Tessy, and of course you are!! ^^

  3. If only efflorescence wasn’t green. I wish they had gone for flowers springing up as described by the tooltip.

    Got a few other ideas for the Lightwell problem, haven’t had time to test them out yet though.

    The fact that sometimes my sanctuary doesn’t come with a graphic doesn’t fill me with happiness though. How can people stand in something they can’t see. Although they manage with voidspots…

  4. @Erinys

    I have the same issues with sanctuary – at first i thought it was my grafX settings but by now I think it’s just buggy…it certainly doesn’t help.

    And I would love to hear more solutions to the lightwell issue – we are currently discussing this in our guild forums and I think it’s gonna be hard to convince some of our DPS to pay any attention to lightwell if they can’t macro it easily. which is a shame because it’s so much better now than it used to be and it makes little sense for me to cast it if people won’t use it. =/

    Do you use a macro yourself for setting it up by the way? I was thinking of maybe also adding some sort of announcement (but then i doubt anyone reads that in a raid)..

  5. At the moment I just nag on vent but once I’ve thought of something appropriate, I’m going to macro it on to the cast. Was thinking of having it as a yell rather than in raid so the red text might stand out more. Probably going to keep with the saying in vent though, that way they have no excuse.

  6. Great post!

    Just as a heads up, Holy Paladins already have Light of Dawn. It’s our 31-point talent that is a big conal heal.

    It’s at 83 that all paladins gain Holy Radiance, which is a heal that’s centered on us and will heal nearby allies.

    And at 85, we get this guardian dude who’ll duplicate our heals on low-health targets (up to 5 heals or 30 seconds) on a 5m CD. :)

    All things you can’t REALLY watch out for, except for Holy Radiance. If you see a paladin glowing and running quickly, go stand on them! ;)

  7. Oh boy, I’ve mixed things up again haven’t I?? you can tell how many holy paladins actually read this site…hehe, thanks Kurn!
    all fixed now =)

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