Friday, June 6, 2008

Huntards on Heals

I made a few tweaks, edits, and clarifications to my Karazhan guide, based on many of the comments. Once again, I hope at least some of you will find it helpful.

So I have my level 70 hunter, and I have my level 62 hunter. Oddly enough my third highest level character isn't a hunter at all. Nope-- she's currently a level 31 restoration druid.

Say hello to Tamaryn:

She was actually originally spec'd Balance until level 22 or so, at which point I realized that a.) everybody wanted me to heal, and b.) I can't DPS in an instance unless I'm DPS'ing as a hunter. I just can't. So to make my life more enjoyable, I had to switch roles completely. (Although sometimes I still do miss some of the fun stuff from the Balance tree and I'll probably go back and play with it post-Boomkin-level).

So she respec'd pure Resto and hasn't looked back. Solo work is not quite as easy as it is on a hunter (or as I'm sure it would be if I was spec'd feral or something), but it's still not bad yet. Right now I can toss a Regrowth/Rejuvenation combo on myself, pop into Bear form, and take on three or four guys at my level, wearing half-clothie Intellect stuff. Dunno how long that's gonna last, but for now, it's pretty fun.

But let's talk about healing. I've done quite a few lowbie instances now with appropriately-leveled groups, and also made a few forays into Arathi Basin and Warsong Gulch, and healing is very different. At first, it was hard to get used to. I wasn't really watching the action except for on the side; mostly I was just staring at the name plates of my party members and playing this game of whack-a-mole where'd I whack the appropriate name with a heal.

Then I started doing it more and more, and things got even more complicated. Suddenly I was in situations where everybody needed a heal and I had to prioritize. It sorta hurts to have my healy-button hovering over the hunter before realizing that the tank needs it too... and opting to give it to the tank. Because you can do things without the hunter but there's not a whole lot you can do without the tank unless everything's almost dead already. It really all came into perspective when a warlock I was healing, who has a priest main, told me "Stop healing me and heal the tank." I sorta hate to pick one person over the other, but... it has to be done sometimes.

Things I still have to learn and practice: healing myself (I am absolutely horrible at this; I watch everyone's nameplate except my own and then I end up dying) and managing my mana. To be fair, really the only times I've ran out of mana that I can think of are when pulls go horribly bad and we pull a lot of extra stuff. Still, I really have no idea what I'm doing as a sapling and so I've no idea if I'm doing things mana-efficiently or not. My current healy cycle consists of mostly Regrowths with Healing Touches thrown in if someone needs a big heal. According to the people I group with, I'm pretty good at it, but I still feel kind of paranoid. I know I can play my hunter, but I'm still learning to walk with my druid. (At least I know a couple blogs that can teach me all I need to know, right? =P)

Now PvP with a healer is actually really fun, I think so anyway. The only other non-hunter class I've attempted PvP with was a mage and it was horrible and painful and I gave up after about fifteen mintues. But healing in a battleground is a whole new ballgame and I really dig it.

Things I've noticed:
1.) I get sheeped all the time when I'm a healer. It rarely happens when I'm a hunter, but when I show up as a healer everyone starts flinging Polymorphs in my general direction. Which is hilarious because I can just shapeshift to get out of it and start healing again.

2.) A surprisingly high number of people do not seem to be aware of the fact that they can kill the healers instead of their target and it will probably make their life easier. I was in a WSG game where me and a holy paladin kept our flag-carrier alive for several minutes while probably no less than five horde swarmed around the guy trying to take him down. It didn't seem to occur to any of them that they could just come and take care of me and the pally first. Nope. The reason we eventually lost the flag was because the pally and I went OOM, otherwise we coulda kept healing indefinitely I'm sure.

3.) The few people that do have a "Kill all healers" mantra are very dangerous and will stop at nothing to destroy you. *hides*

Well, that's really about it. I just thought some of you might want to hear some rare non-huntery-WoW-stuff. My closing thought is that budgeting my talent points is surprisingly hard. As a hunter it's straightforward, for the most part, you drop five points in something and the rest opens up, rinse and repeat. With my druid, new stuff opens up before I've maxed something else out and then I'm forced to choose between maxing stuff out now or later. Soooo tough to choose.


Ellis (Eonar) said...

From what I've gathered from my healing friends, failing to heal oneself is a common problem. Almost all of them have complained about it at some point or another.

As for PvP, I'm definitely a "Kill the Healer" person. I am obsessive about it.

And it frustrates me no end that I'm often the only person in a BG who seems capable of breaking off my current engagement to deal with this issue.

The other thing I'm a little obsessive about is "Protect the Healer". Thankfully it seems the Horde in my battlegroup are only slightly better at breaking focus to deal with healers than my fellow Alliance buddies...

This often results in an interesting game of ping-pong style behaviour, as I rocket back an forth between their healers and ours.

Just one thing though. If someone in a BG does attack you, and a teammate does go out of his way to attack them (like he should), please run once they've engaged.

There's nothing more frustrating than intercepting a rogue trying to kill my friendly priest/druid, delivering a Hamstring/Piercing Howl to slow them down, and then have the healer simply stand there and get beat down anyhow.

So many times I just want to scream at them, "I just disengaged a target just to blow 17-20 rage and a short cooldown specifically so you could run away. RUN AWAY!"

Anonymous said...

When healing make sure you have a rejuv on the tank whenever they are taking damage. Rejuv is very mana efficient and is a great cushion when they are taking a lot of damage. Heck, when they aren't taking much damage it's pretty much all the healing you need to do.

If someone else is taking damage in the group as well, just toss a rejuv on them and forget it. Only regrowth if they are about to die. Hunters in particular shouldn't need heaing, as a hunter who pulls agro is a terrible hunter. (Unless your tank sucks ass, which tends to happen a lot while pugging.) Also, even though you're a lower level, keep some different ranks of healing touch on your bar, and try not to use the max ranks if you can help it. As you get more +healing gear the lower ranks get more and more mana efficient as compaired to the max rank. Using the smaller heals will be nicer for your mana pool if you have to chain cast, and will overheal less if you're careful.

Also, don't aim to keep the tank at 100%, try to keep him at around 90% depending on how much life he has, or about 80-90%. This gives you plenty of wiggle room to prevent overhealing, while making sure that he can survive a spike of damage before you can heal him.

It's a shame that the best healing spell the druid has, Lifebloom, isn't available untell well into Outlands. =( But that's a different ball of wax.

Stupid Mage said...

You can do perfectly fine healing with no points in the Resto Tree. The ohshit buttons don't even show up until 21+ points in.

For flexibility, you can concentrate on either the Balance or Feral Tree to get nice talents for solo work and still be a great Healer - just a simple gear swap and you're good to go.

Sade said...

Yeah, there really isn't much reason to level Resto unless healing is ALL you're doing, and from the sounds of things, it is not. You don't even have to gear swap if you level Balance, at least not until Outlands, where a line starts to be drawn between regular caster gear and Healer Gear. I strongly recommend that you just stick with Balance, or maybe a Balance/Resto hybrid, at least for now, as soloing as Resto is going to cease to be fun at around your late thirties or early forties. You'll be a perfectly capable healer despite not being specced that way.

Pike said...

@ Sade and Stupid Mage -

Indeed, I'm well aware of this, but Resto is a blast right now and I'm spending 80% of my time in instances anyway.

And I want to be a tree, but that's beside the point.

I'm prepared to re-spec if necessary but for the time being I don't want to, I like my healy talents an they're getting more and more interesting. Fun > fast leveling.

Pike said...

Also I should clarify, I was planning on going Moonkin around 40. I'm not entirely crazy. =P

Cynra said...

In the Battlegrounds, the best way to survive as a healer is to let everyone know that you're a healer and that, dammit, you're going to heal people! Be vocal! Be loud! Be annoying! The relative lack of healers on Battlegrounds often means that fellow fights don't expect to have to defend a healer -- and you'd be surprised how quickly people will gather around you once you let it be known that you are planning on healing their sorry butts. My perky priestess usually what seems like an entire battalion following her when she's in the Battlegrounds.

And healing yourself? Priests have it easy once we learn Binding Heal at 64. There are days on the Battlegrounds where all I seem to do is spam that and Psychic Scream.

Mister Adeqauate said...

What mages are awesome in PvP one of the best classes l2taptheinfintemysteriesofthearcaneimho

Brehm said...

Every nameplate is incredibly easy to keep your eye on except for one. YOURS. Having a level 70 priest who has always been holy, I know that when we wipe its because (mainly) the healer forgot to heal himself. *doh*

As for PVP, its usually not too hard to hide "around a corner" from the action and still maintain LOS on your heal target. And I've often encountered the rare warrior or such that just can't seem to deal with me doing nothing but healing myself (until help arrives) that we have a long long long dance of "you hit me, I heal me." It's fun to tie up a warrior for a good 3 minutes by keeping myself alive.

Yunkndatwunk said...

yeah it's hard to remember to heal yourself I still did that even up to Kara!
I don't usually have the problem where people ignore me while I heal :) At 70 my priest was always target numero uno.

But at lower levels, yeah if I'm on a non healing class I'd shout "kill the healer" and people just wouldn't do it! Or one guy said "I'm tanking the flag carrier you kill the healer" I didn't even know what to say to that.

The only benefit of getting targetted in wsg and if no one's helping you is you could then run the opposite way and keep healing yourself thus drawing several people away from the flag carrier. On a priest that's harder since I tend to live only a few seconds with my raid heal spec. Though when disc or even blessed resilience spec I could last until I was oom.

Yeah the people that do nothing but go after healers are annoying, but I do it too when not on my priest :)