Sure, I'll heal, it can't be that hard...
by, 14-06-2012 at 04:38 PM (2605 Views)
Due to the huge outpouring of support and responses to my first blog; I have found it in my good nature to contribute again to totemspot. Today, I will talk about my latest endevour as a Shaman, healing a heroic dungeon.
For all of my WOW life, I have played DPS classes. Originally I was an Affliction Warlock, whom I loved dearly; and also played around with a Hunter. I liked the pet aspect, slinging spells and topping DPS charts. When I received my scroll, I had a freshly minted level 80 Shaman whom I wanted to throw lightning bolts around with. I enjoyed the Elem and had a somewhat enjoyable time doing dungeons with him. However, I felt the rotation was a little boring and figured healing could be something to tickle my totem. I spent some time getting my gear level up, reading various sites on the rotations and ultimately deciding to just say fuck it and jump in LFD.
I teamed with a Rogue friend and off we were whisked away to a Dungeon who's name I cannot recall. This doesn't help the story, but I know there were multiple portals and the one boss was a big dragon and time could be turned back; and another was a guy standing on some islands of lava, then he'd break the islands and I'd die.
I didn't have any add-ons loaded, so I pretty much went into the experience bareback. Now, a few days prior I was the 3rd healer in a guild run on DS. All I had to do was keep the main tank alive and spread a little healing to the rest of the group. We lived and the tank never died; so I thought I had a firm grasp on things...WRONG!
I quickly learned that many of the bosses in the heroic dungeons have movement mechanics. AKA: I have to move or else I die. I learned this lesson the hard way as we battled through that first dungeon. I died to the lava guy who crushed islands because I didn't know what was coming. Trying to keep 4 people healed (Tank/Rogue and Hunter/Lock) was a real trial while trying to jump to another island. Shamans, as we all know, don't have very many instants. I have riptide, gift of the naru (whatever the dranei's racial is) and that was about it. I didn't realize that ghost wolf and natures blessing were vital to these runs. So, I spent a lot of time getting smashed and trying to keep my team up. When we got to the cool boss with the hour glasses, it was another case of me not knowing what the hell I was doing. Should I stand behind him to avoid his cone radius attack? NO! Because he has a tail obviously...
I tried standing to the side, but I felt like I was out of range for my group. I tried off to the front, but ate a lot of that front facing AOE. Since I don't count dying there as dying, I wasn't too bothered by the outcome. We lived and I felt like I sort of accomplished something.
Our next Dungeon was the one with all the Felhunters and Illian Stormsomething. I thought it was a very cool constructed dungeon and I continued to marvel at how tricky healing was. I died a few times to the queen who turns people into puppets, just because I was standing in fire. After one death I said, "I don't get it...why do I keep dying?" to which someone in my party responded, "DONT STAND IN THE FIRE!!!!!!!!". OOOPS. The same thing happened with the last boss of that dungeon who throws up "Fel Fire" everywhere. "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming" I kept telling my self between burst healing, ghost wolf casts, and riptides.
In the end, I died 8 times to my groups 4 times (thank you reincarnate). But more then the deaths, I learned a shit ton from just those two runs.
1. Shaman movement healing is difficult. Natures Blessing (I believe it's called) will allow me to cast on the move every now and then. It should make it a ton easier to at least get some healing off during these fights. It is important for a Shaman Healer to utilize and recognize the value of ALL cool-downs. Likewise, Ghost Wolf is very important in moving from place to place. It was shocking to me too, even after reading about it. First hand experience is key
2. Default UI for healers is poop. Yes, this one should be ultra obvious, but if a potential healer is reading this and thinking about going into it without some addon, don't waste your time. That isn't to say you can't heal without an add-on, but the inclusion of one makes the experience so much smoother. Take the time to setup HealBot or Grid, and practice. That's the most important thing with using an add-on. Understand it, take the time to customize it; even if it feels like a pain in the ass.
3. TC + No Downtime - I spec'd TC because I enjoy complexity (see my love of Warlocks) and have no regrets. What I realized is that you should never not be doing something as a Shaman Healer, especially spec'd to TC. Whether it be casting Bolts to refuel your mana, dropping a healing rain on an area before it spikes, throwing out CH or HW; and hell, utilizing your cooldowns (UE, NB, the racial healing one). It is imperative to always be active as a Shaman. We don't have the most tools or the best tools; but we have enough to keep us very relevant.
4. Understand what you're doing. Knowing attack patterns, spike spots (when damage comes in big and hard) and understanding the classes in your group and how they take damage is paramount to success. Once I understand the attack patterns and cycles of these bosses; things became more chaotic fun and not chaotic misery. When it really clicked that I should be predicting damage, that when you see a Warlock low on mana to throw a riptide on them anticipating a lifetap cycle; and also using CH and HR to their full potential is key. You need to really practice to have a feel for what you'll be facing. Let people know you're starting out, ask for suggestions and learn.
5. Respect the Healer. This is the biggest thing I gained from my experience. After years DPS'ing and living the easy life; I now understand why it's tough to be a healer. Wipes fall on your shoulders most of the time, and you need to be aware of so many things at once. When you group with a good healer, you never need to worry about your HP and you generally have more fun. Running with a bad healer is not fun at all. Healing isn't easy and you need to earn the respect and trust of your groups. Do everything you can to maximize your potential through add-ons, reading and practice. Be the healer the group needs you to be and you want to be.
I learned a ton from just 2 basic runs, and am eager to get back out there and try again. Healing is very rewarding in nature, and it gave me an exciting pressure I hadn't experienced with a DPS. I say give it a shot to anyone who is curious, and don't get frustrated if you start off on the wrong foot. It's worth it in the long run and remember, you will NEVER have problems finding a Raid or Dungeon as a healer.
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