Friday, 22 March 2013

The Innervate Wait

Hi. My name is Aoifen, and I have mana problems.

But that's a long story. First, let me give you a small update.

A new team

Remember a few weeks ago I said that I was looking to start raiding casually after patch 5.2? Well, after that post, I was contacted by a reader (Squee! You have no idea how happy that made me, Aceral!) and invited to go along to a farm raid with <Nessa and Friends> on Barthilas. 

I had been looking around at a few other options, but this invitation was welcome in several ways. Firstly, Aoifen is on Barthilas already, so no realm or faction transfers would be necessary. Secondly, Aoifen is my raid-ready toon - Leesah is waaay behind and would require some hard work to gear up. Lastly, Nessa and Friends are at a comfortable level of progression for me - they are working through Heart of Fear normal and only raid two nights a week, one of which is a farm night in Mogu'shan Vaults at the moment - perfect for my gear levels and current aspirations.

So, off I went! After a couple of raids with them I was convinced and bid a sad farewell to <Vitare> (who are kicking it in ToT heroics, by the way - go Vitare!) and joined <Nessa and Friends>. 

Big ugly bug

The mana problem

Raiding is everything I love about the game, and at the moment, even farm raids are progression to me so I'm loving it! There's just one problem - I have been constantly struggling for mana.

I use a Flask of Falling Leaves and reforge anything that doesn't have Spirit on it, but I still find myself, halfway through certain boss fights, with potions on cooldown and waiting desperately for the next Innervate to be available.

Why was I struggling so much? My gear level wasn't great, in the high 460s. I managed to replace a couple of items through LFR, but because I don't get a lot of time to play, the Valor Points come slowly so I haven't replaced as many items with VP gear as I'd like. 

I was fairly sure that gear wasn't the whole of the problem - there was something in my play style that was using up all my mana.

So, I did some digging. Here's some advice I collected that might help a newbie Tree with mana conservation:

Calm down. 
At first, I was having a bit of a panic in boss fights and healing anything that moved. My overhealing was probably massive! Don't forget that there is another healer or two there in a 10-man raid, so you can afford to consider who actually needs to be healed.

Know the fights
specifically when the high-damage phases are coming, so that you can conserve mana to spend then. If you are running low, at least try to keep enough mana for a Tranquility for when the raid leader screams it at you! I find using Tree of Life form a great way to regain a bit of mana while healing more, as you can sprinkle around Lifeblooms and make use of the Clearcasting procs for some instant Regrowths.

Innervate early.
Innervate gives back 20% of your own mana, so use it as soon as you get below 80%. The sooner it comes off cooldown, the sooner you can use it again. If you find yourself in the enviable position of being close to the end of the fight with lots of mana, see if any of your fellow healers would benefit from it!
Hots are still a Druid's best friend. I hadn't been using Rejuvenation all that much, preferring to use Regrowth as a flash heal. This is most likely where all my mana was going! Rejuvenation has just had its mana cost reduced, and Swiftmend is a relatively cheap heal with a built-in AOE component. Training myself to not use Regrowth so much has helped a lot.

Make use of Clearcasting.
Clearcasting procs come from Lifebloom ticks, so make sure you keep it rolling on the tank. You might like to take advantage of a Clearcasting to get a free Regrowth or Healing Touch.

Don't forget to macro your trinkets,
especially if you have a spirit one such as [Heartwarmer Medallion]. There's a guide as to how to make macros in Clique on my Macros page.

Make use of Ironbark and Barkskin.
The less damage you take, the less healing you have to do. Don't forget that you can cast Ironbark on other people. I'm still trying to remember to cast it on the tank in high-damage phases.

There's a lot to remember, but all it takes is practice to get a hang of it all. My thanks to and Restokin's guide for teaching me what my spells do these days!

I'm still setting up Weak Auras to help me with this stuff, so I'll try to post up some codes soon.

Please, if any other raiding Resto Druids read this and can offer advice on any of the information in this post, let me know!

Happy healing!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Pandaria Raids Loot Cheat Sheet

Pre-patch 5.2, [Elder Charm of Good Fortune] allows you to take an extra roll for loot after killing a boss in Pandaria raids. This extra roll gives a chance for you to receive a useful item of loot from that boss' loot table, or an amount of gold, a gem or a flask. The same charms are used in all raid types - Raid finder, Normal and Heroic.

After patch 5.2, Elder Charms will be replaced by [Mogu Rune of Fate].

The loot that drops will only be something that is from that boss' loot table, so I wanted to create a list of the pieces from each boss, so that I could choose when to use my lucky charms. So, here's a list of caster leather gear (with Resto Druids in mind) for each boss in Mogu'shan Vaults, Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring. I've also added the available loot from the upcoming Throne of Thunder raid. Not all the loot information is available yet, but I'll add it after the patch drops and as soon as its available.

This list can also be used by Balance druids and casting Monks. I've included the dps trinkets but not spellpower items with hit. 

I hope it helps! Please let me know if I've missed any items or if there's any way I can improve the layout.

All item information comes from Wowhead.

The Stone Guard

Feng the Accursed

Gara'jal the Spiritbinder

The Spirit Kings


Will of the Emperor

Imperial Vizier Zor'lok

Wind Lord Mel'jarak

Amber-Shaper Un'sok

Protectors of the Endless


Lei Shi

Sha of Fear

Throne of Thunder (available in patch 5.2)

Jin'rokh the Breaker


Friday, 1 March 2013

A Raider Appears (sort of)!

Okay, so it's been a while. Sorry about that. R&R seems to be turning into a bit more of a "here's what happened to Ang recently" blog rather than anything useful. Apologies for the wall-of-text nature of this one, too!

The truth is, I went away from WoW for a little bit. My friends on the Horde side stopped playing again, and all I was doing Alliance-side with Aoifen was dailies and a bit of pet-battling. I didn't have the item level for LFR and I couldn't upgrade much without Valor points. The thought of logging on just to do dailies really turned me off.

Then, two things happened that made me take an evaluating look at my game.

The talk about patch 5.2 started - the Thunder King, the new raid, the new quest hub area. I realised that I was so far behind in reputations and daily grinds that I wasn't even close to Revered with Golden Lotus. I was going to be way behind in any new content.

The second was this post by Ambermist of Tastes Like Battlechicken - World of Warcraft is My Game. Such a brilliant post, go have a read!

The facts about my game currently are thus:
  • I love raiding with friends, and I haven't done any of it since Wrath, not counting a few LFR Dragon Souls. I miss it desperately.
  • It's unlikely that I'll be able to raid with either of my two current guilds. My Horde guild has a few people still, but four or five people do not a raid make. My Alliance guild is full of lovely people, but they are heroic progression raiders and are unlikely to want a rusty noob in there with them, especially on progression content. Also, they start raiding before my Sproutling is in bed.
  • Dailies suck, but I'm willing to do them to get the rep and points.
  • I love to run old content for achievements and mog gear but I haven't any idea how to find a group to go with for the raids I can't solo.
  • I am willing to put in some work and make changes to make sure I'm playing the game the way I love to.

New Goals

My first new goal was to gear Aoifen enough to run the current raids in the Raid Finder before the patch comes and they become "old". As a casual that's no small feat - I'm only getting two hours in the evening a few days a week do get this stuff done.

I did Shieldwall dailies almost every night for the last two weeks (I've barely seen poor Mr Ang) and I'm finally Revered! I also had enough VP to buy a trinket and get my item level over 260. 

Last night I went off to RF Mogu'shan Vaults for the first time. The first half was blindingly fast - even though I read the info about the bosses, I have no idea what happened on most of them! Thankfully as a healer you don't really have to know about target switching or anything, just stay out of fire and follow the ranged around when they move.

The second half was a little different - it seemed to be a slightly lower-DPS group as the bosses took a long time to go down and I had very little mana through most of the fights ("Come on, innervate, come on!"). But the fights looked really interesting - especially Elegon! Shiny stars ftw!

I even picked up a couple of pieces of loot, and I can't stay away from that shiny extra roll button, even though I only seemed to get gold from it. Is it worth using the coins, generally?


Long story short, all this whetted my appetite for more raiding so I'm on the hunt for a new home where I can do some. 

I'm looking for a guild who raids in the Oceanic GMT+10 timezone once or twice a week, preferably starting after 8 (8:30 would be even better), who needs a Resto Druid and occasional Moonkin. I'm planning on visiting a few different servers to see where I might fit in, so if anyone has space in their guild for a slightly rusty (but rapidly shining up) healer, please let me know! Horde or Alliance!

Wish me luck.