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Introducing Avalonna…

The Triumphant Return of “Tales of Priest v2.0 – Beauty & the Bitch”

I met Derevka many moons ago, as we play on the same server. Several of his old guildmates had joined our ranks, I dropped hints for an eternity that if he ever decided to change guilds, look me up. He had always been a valuable source to bounce ideas off, and we have had some great discussions. When he told me he was ready to take a more serious approach to raiding & wanted to join Dark Nemesis, I was happier than a pig in shit.

You’ll notice we’re two vastly different people: Although we’re relatively the same age, I’m a brash, loud, easily excited & very blunt Mechanical Engineer from Chicago. He’s a softspoken, calm, Ivy-educated….something. Honestly, he told me what he did a few times, and I still don’t get it. The point is, although we agree on many issues, you’ll see us disagree on many of them as well.

I suppose a little background is in order. I have played WoW since launch, although I started on a warrior. I leveled a priest when we needed more healers at the time MC was released, and I haven’t looked back. I have many alts with extensive play time and hard mode experience – you’ll notice I tend to gravitate towards healing classes, not only because I enjoy healing, but because I find I can’t truly understand a class unless I play it. At 80, I have an Enh/Resto shaman (Radiated), a Holy/prot pally (Urusai) and a hunter that I’m trying to get the hang of (Kruegera). I am currently leveling a druid, and have an 80 fury warrior and a 72 mage.

I have always been a “progression” raider, notching my belt with Rag & Nef, and with parts of AQ & Naxx before I was fed up with PVP servers and transferred to Bloodhoof to join Dark Nemesis. We went on to get C’thun, Original Naxx through the 4 Horsemen at 60, and Vashj/Kael/Illidan & KJ before they were neutered at 70. We’ve rounded out Wrath with most server firsts on ‘hard mode’ content, & our rank usually hovers around top 100 world/top 50 US. We killed Heroic 25man Anub several weeks ago (with A Tribute to Skill on the first kill), and have had the last 4 weeks of aggravating 49/50 clears of TOTGC 25.

But we’re not hardcore.

Yes, you read that correctly. We’re not. We’re actually a bunch of drunks, and we don’t compete for rankings – if we get one, we get one. If we get a server first, or lead the server in rankings, that’s cool too – but we’re not going to beat ourselves up over it – things become less fun when you obsess about that. Our guild is actually very small by 25man raiding standards – less than 40 “mains”. We’re made up of adults (I use that term loosely) with full time professions, families, school or some combination of the three. Because of this, our raiding schedule is less than 18 hours a week. How the hell can we do that? We’re supposed to be fat, unemployed & play 24/7, right? I’ll make another blog answering that later when I get around to it.

Alright, enough of that crap. Time to answer the MEME questionnaire floating around.

What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer? Avalonna, Disc (54/17) / Holy Priest (13/58)

What is your primary group healing environment? 25-player Heroic Versions Raids

What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why? Prayer of Mending. With the 2 pc t9, the amount of healing for a fire n’ forget spell is unbelievable. For Disc only, penance is yummy (Glyph for it or I’ll mock you), and for holy, Circle of healing (I had no problems with the cooldown once the amount it healed for was increased. Bad priests really abused that spell).

What healing spell do you use least for your class and why? Greater Heal. Don’t spec for it, don’t use it. With current gear available, using flash is more effective and taking spell warding is invaluable for Heroic raids. I can never advocate a Holy (raid healing) using it, and I have seen disc priests stack haste to the heavens to support it, but it’s not something I would strive to do, especially since we always run with a holy pally. I’ll throw out an honorable mention for Lightwell – the red headed stepchild spell of the raiding holy healers.

What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why? For Disc priests, single target healing & mitigation. Absorb the hit before you have to heal it. For holy, it’s raid healing & the ability to throw out large amounts of healing to multiple targets in a short amount of time.

What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why? Disc has poor multi target healing abilities, aside from using a BT to shoot off a PoH. Holy has poor single target healing, when compared to other classes. Don’t get me wrong, both specs are capable of doing both roles well, but you wouldn’t use two sticks to start a fire when you have a lighter, either – use the best spec for the job at hand.

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you? Disc – tank healing. Holy – raid healing.

What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why? I’m assuming this means what class do I personally prefer playing, in which case I enjoy Holy priests slightly more than disc (although I love both) and much more than other healing classes. I feel priests have much more variety and decisions in their healing, and that keeps it interesting.

If the question is what type of healers do I enjoy being with in a raid, I really have no preference, although I am partial to having our holy pally, Samgee. I have no need to worry about the tanks with him around (or any good holy pally, but we’re having trouble finding another!). Samgee, if you happen to read this, don’t worry – I still think you’re a dick.

What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why? Personally, I hate healing as a holy pally. It’s one of those classes that are easy to play, difficult to master. There’s not much variety in your healing aside from deciding who to put beacon on. SS, Fol, judge, HL HL HL, repeat…..yawn. As for which classes I dislike healing with in a group, as holy I again have no preference. As disc, having more than one disc priest can usually be awkward though.

What is your worst habit as a healer? I think any healer is guilty of tunnel vision now and then. I play on a 28” wide screen monitor, and even zoomed out I find myself sometimes losing focus on the environment.

Also, I played a holy raid healer for so long, as disc I struggle with now and then with staying focused on my target(s) when I see someone in the raid low. 9 times out of 10, when I give into the urge, my target dies. The healers in my guild are phenomenal, and there’s no reason I need to even consider doing someone else’s job. And after blowing a Tribute to Insanity (25) attempt this week, take it from me – trust your healers. If your respective targets die, it’s easier to know who to blame that way anyways.

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing? We have a tank that likes to take off without saying anything and start pulling trash – PoM has proved invaluable as a leash to see where the hell he went. He knows it drives us nuts, so we stopped complaining and turned it into a running joke.

Other peeves are fairly typical and seem to be prominent in any PuG I’m in– DPS that stand in fires or take orbs to the face & want to get mad at the healers when they die; Expecting me to run back while you wait for a rez; Blaming healers when the tank takes multiple 30K+ hits in less than a second….I think the guy in a PuG that holds up the pull demanding a fish is my latest annoyance – bring your own damn consumables!

Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing? I’m very happy with where disc & holy priests are at. I will throw out that I think Resto shamans need some love. They lack a niche and a good ‘oh shit cooldown. Their current position is a far cry from Sunwell raiding (Encounter too hard? ADD MOAR SHAMANS!!)

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer? The standard “WoL & recount” is a given, but honestly I think the best tools (pun intended) are the healers in my guild. We don’t recruit for the bench, and we prefer to cut a healer that doesn’t meet our expectations, even if we need that class. The result is a very strong, competent healing group, and we’re able to pool our skills thru discussions, WoL dissections & suggestions...usually via AIM or IRC when we’re supposed to be working, but also during raids to adjust strats on the fly.

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class? I’m often surprised how many players don’t recognize disc as a viable and powerful PVE healer. I’m also constantly aggravated that non healers don’t recognize that gearing and gemming for disc and holy are two very different things.

What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn? To think for themselves. We get so many apps, that when asked to explain their spec & gemming choices, they responded with “well, I copied this build off EJ a long time ago, and it seems to work”. No. Do not pass GO, Do not collect $200. Specs can vary drastically from play style, raid makeups and content it’s being used in, and what works for Peter might not work well for Paul – don’t copy someone’s spec and take it as gospel. Take the time to truly understand your choices. Experiment. Talk to other healers. This will not only make you a better healer, but allow you to adapt to different situations and future changes in your class.

If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)? For Disc, what appears to be low healing overall, & top 3 heals will usually be a combination of Penance, PoM, & Flash. Targets should have almost a 100% uptime on the Weakened Soul debuff (This is based on the assumption the person evaluating is not using any disc related plugins estimating damage absorbed, and generic conditions – things change from fight to fight).

For Holy, high output, usually in the top three of overall healing. Top 3 heals will usually be CoH, PoM, PoH/Flash (again, fight & raid makeup depending).

Haste or Crit and why? I’ve seen this argued back and forth, It really depends on your style. For me, when I’m disc, it’s crit. Haste is nice, but flash heals that go off quicker than my GCD (w/o borrowed time) can start to be a problem. Also, when learning many hard modes (Algalon 25, Yogg 0, H Anub25 come to mind), higher haste will blow through my mana faster, even with my large pool. I usually sit around 10% and it’s very comfortable at my gear level – I haven’t felt a need to go higher. Crit, however, procs my Divine Aegis – One of the most important parts of disc healing…and only Communists don’t like shiny bubbles.

Now, with holy, I like my haste but ONLY AFTER I am at my ideal crit level. I’ll spare you the engineering nerd math, but basically ideal crit range is 35%. While beyond is still effective, basically at that range when multi target healing, you are pretty much assured at least one of your hits will produce a crit. After that point, I like my haste. A fully ‘Dipitied PoH flying off your fingers in 1 sec is better than sex. Almost.

What healing class do you feel you understand least? Resto druids. But I almost have one at 80 so I can understand it more. I’m that type of person that has to experience it for myself before I can really comprehend it.

What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing? Grid with quite a few plugins for tracking buffs/debuffs, cooldowns, hots, shields ect. Because I have a shaman and a pally I also have the add ins for beacon and ES. I love Grid and its customization abilities, and I still think it’s one of the best healing raid frames if setup and used properly. I also use Clique, Mendtracker (I think that’s the name, tracks my PoM targets). I also use Miks Scrolling Battle Text for things like surge procs and other the like.

Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why? Mostly balance. Unlike a lot of DPS classes that stack one stat sky high, I’ve found priests are a balancing act. Am I at my ideal crit level? Am I happy with my regen & int levels? After that, spec depending, I’ll weigh in on SP and haste/crit. If you look at my gems right now, though, you’ll think I have a screw loose. I’m in the middle of a regemming/evaluation tizzy. It’s only gold, right?

My conclusions are based on my experiences, with the raid setup I am used to. They probably differ from other priests’ responses, because their setup and raid content are probably different.

Stay tuned for my next post – I’ll explain how to make plutonium out of common household items.

Avalonna of Bloodhoof

Dark Nemesis

Twitter: That_Ghoul_Ava

BTW – we’re looking for an exceptional Holy pally & Feral druid!!

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Written By: on November 11, 2009
  1. i like you priests… you heal me… sometimes…

  2. I'm in love. :P
    Great first post. Greatly looking forward to hearing more from you. It was a great insight into your play style.

  3. Ha Thanks!

    Look forward to doing more but you'll have to bear with me – I'm not much of a writer.

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