How much healing is PW: Barrier worth?

Barrier is one of the great new additions for Cataclysm, initially so good that Discipline priests were almost mandatory for much of T11 heroic modes. It's since been nerfed a bit (well, a lot actually) but it's still a mainstay of heroic raiding because encounter design tends towards lots of damage concentrated in short periods rather than being evenly spread through a fight.

So it's good, but how good? Is it as good as Tranquility? Better?


Blizzard need a little help with Priest T13 bonuses

Sometimes it feels a bit like Blizzard just throw stuff at the community and sees what sticks. It's very early doors to be moaning about set bonuses for T13 but there's definitely things to moan about were these to make it live. Could it be that the designers pick something in the direction they want to go and let community feedback smooth out all the obvious problems? Nothing inherently wrong with letting smart players tell you what works or not, but it does give the impression that Blizzard are somewhat clueless about their own game.


How to priest "Through a Glass, Darkly"

Last night I got all my Eternal Embers for the legendary questline, so off to Coldarra I went for the next stage of the quest, Through a Glass, Darkly. Now if you've never tried to solo a tough group quest or dungeon this will probably be the single hardest thing you've done in WoW by yourself, it's meant to be a bit of a challenge and certain parts really wear the novelty of it thin. I refused to watch any videos or read any guides beforehand and I'm glad I did, but if you find yourself a little stuck, here's my guide for how to complete the quest with a regular old shadow priest raiding spec. Bear in mind I did this at ~375 ilvl so you may struggle more or less with some parts.

Load up with food and water, and in case you struggle, bring some health pots, buff food and a flask or two. Make sure you have keybindings for shielding and healing yourself, Psychic Scream and most importantly to use Dispel Magic on enemies. If you're saved to Malygos give up now because according to wowhead comments you're stuffed until the next reset. If you get into trouble at any point, a handy trick throughout the encounter is to bust out your Shadowfiend and then Fade to let him tank for a few seconds. Head to Coldarra in Borean Tundra and you'll be treated to a cutscene. Talk to Tarecgosa and head into the Nexus, the entrance is at the bottom down a ramp.


Burst is the tank killer

I often tell people off-handedly healing is easy because "It's just making health bars go up". It's not really true though, a healer's job isn't to fix health missing from damage, it's to stop that health reaching zero (Chimaeron, annoying as he is, is highly instructive in this). 0HP means you lost, otherwise you're still good, for now. When you get out of the mindset that health levels matter just because they're not full, you get to asking "What health level does matter then?". The sharp end of healing is dealing with players in immediate danger of death, that health level that because of encounter mechanics means a player could die before you could react and cast a large enough heal to stop them reaching 0HP.

When you screw this up and someone dies unexpectedly, more often than not it'll be because the player took a burst of damage that wasn't entirely predictable; the health level you thought they were safe at turns out not to be. This is part of learning an encounter to an extent but there's more to this, because it makes certain types of heal better than others in a lot of situations. And now it's time to talk about tanks.

No! Come back, I promise it's relevant.


"OMG everyone's dying!"

I mentioned decision paralysis in passing in the last post and it's really a subject worth talking about as a healer. It's important to recognise that as a healer you're faced with many more choices to make than a dps or tank and although a lot of them are easy to make, things can get out of hand in an instant.

Decision paralysis can happen when faced with an overwhelming amount of information all at once, where your brain is so overloaded it gives up trying to solve the problem and just says "I don't know". If you've healed 25m raids at some point chances are you've definitely experienced this, but it happens just as easily in 5m dungeons. If several people need attention at the same time it's very easy to think too long about it, over-analyse and either act too late or not at all. And then people die. Someone looks at the death logs and sees no heals from you on the players in the seconds before they hit the dirt and you're struggling to explain why ("Sorry, lag spike...").


WoW's healing model

First up, to set the scene, I want to talk about the very fundamentals of healing in WoW, the framework every healing spec and class plays in. If you want to know healing, you’ve got to know this stuff. A lot of it will sound obvious but every time I talk about healing here, it’ll be built on this understanding of how it all works.

Healing is all about making decisions and making them well, to keep people alive. For a given situation there is always an optimal choice for the best outcome and the more often you make that correct choice, the better a healer you’ll be.


Hello the internet! Welcome to a World of Warcraft blog, there definitely aren't enough of these already... I will be dumping whatever thoughts here as I feel like writing about them. You lucky people. It could be worse, I nearly called this blog "priesttomeetyou".