Saturday, July 25, 2015


The very same day I was complaining in this blog about my raid giving gear to healers and tanks first I found myself in a position to benefit from that very policy and completely forgot to protest. Our warrior tank has all his tier bonuses so I'm only competing with one other healer for token drops now. I feel a bit guilty, like any situation where I notice that I'm benefiting from an unfair system. Should I have refused the token on principle?

It's weird to realise that if I had been any higher on the list I wouldn't have ended up with only Heroic tokens-- previous token drops were almost all from the normal modes that we've been farming for this purpose. The people who got tokens before me are going to have to wait for the DPS to complete their bonuses before they can justify taking the ilevel upgrade. This tier sure is about the bonuses.

Speaking of which, the legendary ring has been depressing me. I feel like we are moving towards this ring being absolutely compulsory for all raiders, and I have lost faith in Blizzard to have any awareness of this kind of power creep.

It would be nice if I could just raid normally and get it, but several months ago I made the mistake of not playing the game for a bit. When I came back to raiding I still needed Highmaul drops for the quest, but my raid was only doing Blackrock Foundry. Today I still need Blackrock Foundry drops when my raid is only doing Hellfire Citadel-- basically I never caught up and actually probably fell further behind because I'm out of sync with the reward structure. Doesn't really seem fair, but I don't care so much that I'm willing to resort to grinding for the sake of "efficiency".

Friday, July 24, 2015

Avoidable mechanics

Spirit spirit everywhere but not a GCD to drink.

Y'know because mana tea is based on spirit now but GCDs are too valuable to spend drinking it. So it's an accurate analogy.

For most of the previous raid tier I felt distinctly regen starved, but having the opposite problem is way more frustrating. Being low on regen at least forces you to play better to compensate. Too much mana will always dumb down healer gameplay, and I have to say I feel pretty dumb running a spam healing rotation on the entire raid at all times because I literally don't have anything else to do with the mana and if I don't overheal I'll end up at the bottom of the numbers.

My raid has been overhealing every single fight. Even progression fights. It's completely ridiculous. I switched to DPS at the beginning of last night's raid (even though I hate melee) because the excess of healing is so obvious that I feel like a dickhead contributing to it. They asked me to switch back to healing on the second boss after a few wipes that of course had zero to do with healing throughput, and we overhealed the rest of the raid.

Is there a way I can point this out without seeming like I'm acting subversively towards the guild? WoW players are a passionate bunch and experience has taught me that their sense of loyalty is very easily offended.

How do players usually figure out an ideal healer/dps ratio? Most people seem to want more healing than they need-- is it a common cognitive bias to think this? Does Blizzard quote any specific ideal ratio? Does the skill level of the group affect healing demand? Should it? I'd hazard a guess that the top ten raiding guilds use fewer healers than most groups.

What I know is that when I heal a challenging 5-man dungeon, I feel like I'm using all the tools of my class as intended, making efficient choices and reacting to dangerous situations. When I heal as part of a team I try to see "around" what all the other healers are doing to fill the gaps, and most of the time it's just really obvious that the gap remaining is far smaller than the throughput that I'm capable of. I feel like I'm spending all my time competing with other healers to fill the limited opportunities for healing in the fight as quickly as possible, since nobody is ever in the danger zone for longer than it takes for five instant heals to land on them.

No amount of healing gear will prevent people from dying stupidly to avoidable mechanics.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The patch cycle

Tier sets and trinkets threaten to change my gameplay with every new drop. I think the designers have let the final tier of the expansion become an excuse to go fucking nuts with any and all class bonuses. So now I feel like a complete dolt for thinking item level was going to matter at all when it's actually all about the bonuses.

I understand Rushing Jade Wind is popular now. Makes sense to take it into fights with heavy stacking, but it's the definition of situational, and it's really not a situation that happens so consistently that you need to improve the spell that you already have for that situation-- at least not at the expense of one of our most powerful cooldowns.

Apparently, Xuen has been declared underpowered this tier. I'm not sure how they are measuring relative "power" in this case, because one talent is a spell that costs a a shitload of mana and only hits the people standing right next to you, while the other doesn't even cost a GCD and does more than half a million healing. Xuen saves lives. Having a tiger up is like having another half healer for 45 seconds. It makes a hard phase easy, even if you don't happen to be standing next to all the people who need healing.

It's obvious what's happening. Monks have too much regen, again. Same as last expansion. Rushing Jade Wind is a mana dump. The ridiculously slow GCD we've been given this expansion probably doesn't help either-- it's not surprising that Mistweavers feel like their GCD is limiting them more than mana.

If you're overflowing with mana you don't need to waste a talent on a spell upgrade that will only help some of the time-- just cast more Surging Mists. One of the strongest points of our class is the 0.5-second channel fast heal combo. If you're not using this every time a raid member is in danger you're not playing a Monk properly.

I joined a new raid. They have some great players but they care way too much about gear and have a stupid policy of prioritising healers and tanks. It kind of makes sense, until you consider the central leadership of the guild all play tanks and healers, and then it makes perfect sense.

I think I'll ask them whether they think this policy might affect raider turnover. It's not unusual to have something of a "curve" to your raiders' performance, but I can't help but notice that this guild is overflowing with skilled healers and tanks (even ones that aren't guild officers) but has only a handful of DPS with a similar level of performance.