Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Priestly Adventures

Back on Warsong, in Vanilla, I made a priest character, just to try it out.

After a few levels of agony, I decided that it wasn’t worth the pain, and she became relegated to auctioning. Her whole life was running back and forth between the bank, the mailbox, and the auction house.

Since then, all my auction characters have been priests. Most of them share the same name: Kaminoko, which means “Child of God” in Japanese. (I figured that was appropriate for a priest.) My auction character on Alliance-side Gorgonnash is no different.

This weekend, for giggles, I pulled out my Gorgonnash Kaminoko and gave her some play time. To my amazement, I actually had fun. You have to remember, however, that the leveling situation has changed since the time I was beating my head against my keyboard on Warsong. The random dungeon system was not in place, so groups had to be laboriously found or put together. It didn’t help that I was painfully shy and scared to death of letting people down. (It also didn’t help that a good percentage of Warsong spoke Portuguese.) Consequentially, I did a lot of soloing, which is not where a priest shines. In addition, my first Kaminoko was not decked out in heirloom gear, cast off from my mage.

I quested her from level 9, where she was, to level 16, which is the point at which I thought I might possibly be able to tackle healing an instance. (Having “Heal” is a big help . . .) Then, with a certain amount of trepidation, I hit the “Random Dungeon” key. Almost immediately, a big fiery scene flooded my screen, and I found myself at the entrance of Ragefire Chasm.

Recollecting my wits, I remembered to buff everyone with PW: Fortitude. (OK, first hurdle passed . . . I remembered to buff.) What next? Oh, yeah—PW: Shield the tank. Done.

Interestingly enough, I found that the first few pulls required nothing but PW: Shield. Hmmm . . . Our resident Disc priest, Fanthisa, wasn’t kidding when he talked about how useful this was . . . I’m sure it helped that the tank was actually holding the aggro, instead of having multiple people in the group taking damage. (Heirloom gear also helped, despite it being dps gear, instead of the more ideal stats for healers.  At least nobody asked me dumb questions about it, as they asked one of the tanks . . . “Um, tank, why are you wearing those shoulders?” “I want the extra xp . . .” “Nice spellpower.”) I found that I had only one moment of mild panic, when the tank pulled a lot of trash at the same time, but we lived. And when you’re a healer, everyone living is called success.

Excited to have actually completed an instance on this baby priest, I queued again. And again. Twice more I got Ragefire Chasm. By the time I was finished with the third go-round, I had managed to get blue bracers (they dropped every time), and my Satchel of Useful Goods (or whatever it is called) had given me a blue belt . . . three times. I was feeling pretty comfortable with the situation and had gained a level. (Woohoo! 17!)

A couple days later, I had about two hours and so decided to queue Kaminoko for another random. After all, Ragefire Chasm had been quick, and I could manage one or two of those in my schedule, including queue times. But when the random came, it wasn’t Ragefire Chasm. I knew I was in trouble when I saw the graphic for Wailing Caverns.

I remembered Wailing Caverns, not from running through it with any low-level characters, but from running through it with my 80 Druid, trying to get the achievement. I got sooooo lost. I knew the place was large and confusing, and it had poisons involved. (Not that my Druid had cared. She can abolish poisons, but even more so, she was killing things with her Thorns when she had gone through . . . running into the walls, trying to figure out where all these people were she was supposed to be Moonfiring . . .)

But, hey, I was there for the xp and the giggles, right? How hard could it be?

First tank couldn’t keep aggro to save his life. And so we lost ours. That’s about when I remembered I had a Fade button. Lesson 1 learned. (Not going to go into the difficulty we had trying to find the entrance to the instance . . . one person actually got kicked from the group because he couldn’t get back in . . .)

Then the first tank, who had been getting comments from the dps about tanking right, left after pulling a group out of spite, leaving the paladin desperately trying to tank the trash . . . and I was put to sleep. We died. That’s when I remembered that, as a human, I have “Every Man For Himself.” (It works on that; I tried it the next time around.) Lesson 2 learned.

Second tank made it through one pull, I think, before deciding he didn’t want to be there. One of the dps changed out.

Third tank was a paladin, and he did pretty well . . . pretty well until one of the mages decided to be careless in his footsteps and pulled a bunch of extra trash with him on his way, that is. Yep, you guessed it—the tank died, and two mages, a warlock, and I just could not tank all that trash.

By that time, I needed to get on with real life responsibilities, so I excused myself and called it a day.

It’s a different style of healing, but not too altogether foreign to a Druid healer, so far. I can look on PW: Shield as a sort of HoT (in a way, it is, only it’s absorbing damage over time, instead of actually ticking heals over time), and Renew is definitely a HoT. And then Lesser Heal and Heal are direct healing, much as our Nourish at level 80 or even the direct healing portion of Regrowth. Soooo . . . stack HoTs, direct heal as necessary, sort of . . . The main difference at this point is that mana is much more of an issue at a lower level, so the only HoT I use pre-emptively is the shield on the tank, and to be honest, it makes no sense to throw a Renew on a shielded tank unless he has a health deficit already.  It can tick all the way through before the shield wears off, depending on what he is doing.

Sooooo, what do I still need to learn? I’ve been told that warrior tanks hate bubbles, because it makes it difficult for them to gain rage. But that very first tank was a warrior, and he had no trouble holding aggro, despite my bubbles.  The bubbles are just too effective and my mana pool is just too small to forego using them, but maybe I can hold off on that bubble for a few seconds. Other thing I need to learn is how to make Grid show my PW: Shield, so I know when it wears off the tank. I had to keep the tank targeted, so I could see when it wore off, and it was a bit of a pain having to keep glancing to the top of my screen. Maybe I’ll bug Fanthisa about this tonight when we have our official 25-man raids.

Of course, I may find that Fan laughs at me and tells me I'm doing it wrong . . . :P  Oh, well, it's still a learning curve at this point.


  1. Since Patch 3.1? Warriors and Druids can gain Rage through PW:Shield.

  2. Cool! I can ignore the naysayers, then. :)