State of the Raider 3

This week, I had the pleasure of raiding in both the regular 25man on Wednesday and Thursday and 10man on Sunday and Monday.  This gave me a really good chance to determine how well I am progressing.

To Do List Progress

First of all, I was curious how I am doing compared to the To Do List I made a little while back.

1. Manage my Riptides better – do not overdo them.  Alternately, unglyph Riptides and use it on cooldown.

I switched out my glyphs, and took the glyph off my Riptide.  This works much better for me.

2. Maintain Tidal Waves for every Healing Wave/Greater Healing Wave/Healing Surge.

I think I am managing this well.  This carries over from Cata, and so is not a change for me so much as a reminder to myself.  The only time I really miss taking full advantage of Tidal Waves is during periods of slow incoming damage when I am low on mana.  Healing Wave is pretty mana-neutral, and works well in these periods.

3. Only cast Chain Heal on Riptide targets.

Similar to Tidal Waves, I think I am doing well here.  It is a mild adjustment, as in Cata Chain Heal would consume Riptide.  So this is a nice change, and I am adapting well.  Once in a while, I still have to cast without the combo, just because my Riptide is on cooldown and not placed right for the need Chain Heal.  This is a good standard, but I do not think 100% is necessary, though, I will keep aiming to improve based upon where I expect damage to go out.

4. Continue to use Unleash Elements on cooldown for the single-target heal buff.

I noticed this week I was using Unleash Elements less than usual, which sounds about right for new fights where both the raid and I are adjusting to new mechanics.  I have been using it, but not as often as I would like for the healing boosts.  Definitely room for improvement.

5. Get more comfortable with my new healing cooldowns (Ascendance and Healing Tide).

I think I am getting more comfortable with all of these cooldowns.  The key now is figuring out when is the best time to use them in encounters.  There were a few times this week (especially in 10man), where I used a cooldown in an emergency situation and then berated myself for not having it later in the fight.  But learning encounters with just two healers in our 10man made keeping my fingers from those buttons difficult.

This also includes Spirit Link Totem.

The one cooldown I have to add to this list is Stormlash Totem.  It is imperative that I improve my usage of this cooldown.  It is not a healing cooldown, but especially for fights where we are still at a point of fighting the DPS race – like Elegon – it is critical.

6. Get more comfortable with my healing totems and their timers (Healing Stream and Healing Tide).

I am happy with my spread of Healing Stream Totem.  I am getting used to pressing it regularly.  Always room to improve, though.  :)

7. Get more comfortable with my mana pool and regen.

I boosted my Spirit and Crit, dropping my Haste some.  My Haste should still yield me the next haste break with raid buffs and Ancestral Swiftness, which I am spec’d into.  My Spirit is sitting around 7500.  And I boosted my Crit which seems to be helping some too – both in heals and regen.

This tier, there are a number of encounters, or even just phases, where I cannot really justify the spam usage of Healing Rain and I am resorting to single target healing.  Prior to the state of Resto Shaman right now, that thought would have concerned me, but I am finding myself quite capable and that spamming a combination of Riptide and Healing Wave is making mana a zero issue.  I want to improve my combinations of Healing Rain and single target (which still using Healing Stream on cooldown).

8. Learn the fights better (from a healer PoV).

This is progressing nicely.  I even ran Heart of Fear in LFR early in the week, which helped enormously in our 10man there Sunday and Monday.

I have seen all Mogu’Shan Vaults in both LFR and Normal.  And I have seen the first three bosses in Heart of Fear on LFR, and the first two (so close to all of the second!) in Normal.

9. Try not to overheal or cast when I do not need to.

Still a difficult transition for me.  I feel like a slacker during low damage periods.  I am used to spamming Lightning Bolts during slow periods.  I do not like standing around, but my mana demands it.  :/  Especially with the state of mana and mana regen right now, I stick to my constant of maintaining a low overhealing percentage.  Healing those who do not need heals is hardly an effective use of my mana.

10. Do not panic heal.

As I get into my healing grooves for the various fights, this becomes easier and easier.  The biggest issue with panic healing is coming so far during Heart of Fear, which is probably a little hindered by my gear.  Doing the fights with two healers was part of it, I am sure, but there is already so little cushion in 10man.  I have 5-6 other healers to rely on in 25man.  In 10man’s this week, it was only myself and one other.  It is a lot of pressure, but a good kind of pressure.  It is just different, and I am adjusting back to it.

25man

This week was progression work on Elegon.  I really enjoy Elegon on 25man, even though we did not get him down yet.  It has a nice combination of raid healing and single target healing (where I can manage some regen).  That, and not to sound too full of myself, I dare say I rocked on Elegon.

Currently, it is a matter of familiarizing 25 people with all of the mechanics, and getting them to pew pew out huge numbers at the same time.  Even though we were wiping, we were flirting with the enrage timer as well.

But: mechanics first, DPS second.

I was pleased that I was not panic healing, despite our progressive stance right now.  For one, I cannot heal people that fall through the floor.  Nor can I really save someone who gets zapped in the lightning puddles (especially if they are not topped off when they do) or walks into the pillar wall.

Focus is for what I CAN heal, and that I did.

Sure, some people took more damage then they “should” have, but it is progression.  I expect these things.  Heck, I even expect these failings from myself on occasion.  Sometimes, mechanics combine just right or I am too focused and do not move fast enough.  Practice fixes this.  I also expect that we will improve, because I know my fellow raiders enough in this regard.

I, personally, think we have a solid chance of downing Elegon is coming week.

10man

On Sunday night, our 10man group finished up Elegon in two attempts, and one shot Will of the Emperor.  This was pretty exciting for me, as it marks my first Normal clear of Mogu’Shan Vaults!  Woot!

Then, it was on to Heart of Fear.  The first boss, Imperial Vizier Zor’lok, took the better part of the evening.  I like the mechanics during that fight, they are quite varied, but unfortunately random as well.  It was rough with only two of us healing, but we got our groove, and conquered the platforms.  Then, we were mainly focusing on the final phase, in the middle, where things get even more random.

It is kind of a cooldown crap-shoot at that point.  Attempts where the right platform (the Tortolla shells, as Ranico refers to them) was not first hurt, a lot.  I was using my cooldowns for the platform shells, and so if it was not first, they were not available when we hit the middle phase shells.  (Which means that fight is a lot shorter than it seems, heh.)

But we persisted, and we prevailed!  With two healers, I might add.  <flex>

Monday night was all Blade Lord Ta’vak, the second boss.  Oof.  That fight is a LOT of healing.  LFR did not even come close to preparing me for that fight.  Sure, I saw the mechanics, but in LFR they were pretty meaningless.  LFR was:

  1. Do not stand in tornadoes from Tempest Slash (but even if you do = we win)
  2. Stay spread out Wind Step (but even if you do not = we win)
  3. Stack for Unseen Strike (but even if you do not = we probably win)
  4. Do not fail to tornadoes in the second phase (but even if you do, you probably won’t die and = we still probably win)

Oh, and of course, in LFR there is no steady raid damage going out while you are dodging tornadoes in phase two.

This was fine the first time across the room, as I had Ascendance and Spirit Walker’s Grace available.  It seemed somewhat random as to whether Spirit Walker’s Grace was available for the second run.  But that is probably the first fight where I ever envied the DPS.  lol  All they have to do is cross the room while dodging tornadoes.  I have to run, dodge, and cast WHILE running and dodging.  Whee!

I was getting better at the first run, but the second one made me sad, watching everyone drop…

I am arguing with myself as to whether glyphing Riptide would make much difference there.  I do not think it really would.

  1. It would be without the upfront heal, which I like.
  2. It would probably not even cover the damage during the run period.
  3. It would make sure I am OOM by the time I hit the platform.

It is also the first raid mechanic I can recall that completely makes my totems useless.  They cannot help me until we all reach the platform.  Or I am within 40 yards of it, hmm.

Final Thoughts

I still have room for personal improvement (however, I feel I always do), but I am making great progress.  I still have room for improvement on our current progression bosses, and some additional research is in order before raiding this week.

But above all: I am thoroughly enjoying being back to progression raid healing!

~ Effy

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