18 September 2009

To the edge and back

My normal blood elf elitist bravura has taken a bit of a pounding over the last few months. A perfect storm of conditions have aligned to beat the confidence stuffing right out of me.

My raid performance as shadow has, and continues to be, very lacklustre. Gear is a bit limp in several slots and we often run very melee heavy, which means I'm low on optimal raid buffs, especially in 10 mans. I make mistakes too, which contribute both to a poor performance and a general feeling of inadequacy. You can't help but wonder, when you are 2k below the top dps in your raid, and they can beat the boss with you face down on the ground for most of the fight, why you're there. I know I can play my class better, but I also believe the class is underpowered.

Unfortunately, I don't get that much time to practice. More often that not we are struggling for healers these days, so I end up healing. I never did pluck up the courage to go holy, by the way, although I went as far as to buy the gems and glyphs. I decided I loves me bubbles too much. Bu that doesn't mean I enjoy raid healing as disc any more than before. Merlot, at heart, is a hissing, remorseless, unwavering death bringer. Every time he throws a heal, a kitten dies.

I have turned instead to my shaman Golan, a tauren, an earth lover and a life giver. I love shaman healing, the mix of spells feels right, the talents and glyphs varied enough to keep shaman healing interesting and effective. When I heal as a shaman, I feel like I am pulling my weight.

It's not without its drawbacks. Nobody can keep a tank up like a disc priest; there have been times when I just couldn't put out enough heals quickly enough to keep them alive. And I've lost count of the number of times I've pushed out a chain heal on a target too far away for it to bounce. WORST. FEELING. EVER. It's a huge challenge to try and keep track of people around me and know where on grid they fit together — but it also forces me to lift my head up more than I would otherwise.

Don't worry, I'm not going to start blogging about shaman. Too many people do that too well already. It just means that Merlot's identity crisis is over. No more healing, and no more fretting over how well he heals. From now on, the only lasers I'll be firing are killer purple ones. I'm going to get better, I'm going to dish out more pain and suffering than ever before. And if anyone asks me to heal them, I'll curse them into next year. NO. MORE. MR. NICE. GUY.

6 comments:

candy said...

I faction changed my shaman to come on over to hang out with my shadow priest just to have my favorite pocket healer available rather than learn how to heal on a third toon that I really prefer to DPS on.

Mike said...

Bah, don't be a wimp. Just try holy healing for a bit. It's not that hard, and you may find you like it. The cost is pretty low, and you can always switch back if you absolutely hate it.

I love disc healing, but I holy is fun too. Besides, you'll be broadening your experience as a priest!

CC said...

Praise the Shadow!! Let those who lack vision heal; let those who see far rain destruction!

;)

Abi @ Shadow Word: Blog said...

I also prefer Druid/Shaman healing over Priest healing. I didn't mind Disc on my Shadow Priest part time but I could never see myself doing it full time. I'm loving healing on my Druid right now when I'm not watching Haathun smash things with his axe or shooting lazors from the sky as Moonkin. I considered leveling my Resto Shammy who is 70 up to 80 just to use as a healbot but I'll wait and see if I get burnt out at 80 on my Druid first.

SolidState said...

I feel your pain :(

Yet there is hope. While I still struggle and am many times at the bottom of the damage meters, sometimes I manage to place within the top 10 even on single target fights, where my DPS is usually lowest. Heck last night on Vezax I placed 4th, although that is a unique fight and luck with the shadow crashes plays a bigger role there than just about anything else.

On trash or boss fights with AoE, it gets much better as Mind Sear blows just about every other class out of the water. There have been fights where I have placed first in DPS and/or damage done, just by spamming Mind Sear. This is vs. mages, ret-paladins etc. who don't lack AoE abilities of their own and usually do much higher DPS than me on single target. Mind Sear just leaves them all behind.

Another point of light (darkness? :)) is Dylann, another shadow priest in my guild (Nightmare-EU on Thunderhorn(EU) server). He has better gear than me (~200 more haste and 2xT9 bonus), coupled with something (better rotation? more practice?) he is now usually at the top of the damage meters. Sure, I've seen even him get beaten down to 12-13th position on some single-target fights but usually he does very well, places within first 5 DPS.

To be honest, I'm not really looking to place first in damage. Not even 5th (consistently). As someone who plays multiple characters, I just don't see how it would be fair to pure DPS classes. But I expect to do at least as well as an elemental shaman or ret-paladin. I expect to be within 5% of top DPS, or at least top 5 people.

> we often run very melee heavy, which means I'm low on optimal raid buffs, especially in 10 mans

In that case it is hardly your fault if you are low on DPS isn't it? If you're doing normal 10 mans, a bit higher or lower DPS shouldn't matter at all. Just enjoy the raid and the extra badges :)
If you're doing heroic 10man, it is up to the raid leader to put a good combo together. If s/he messes up, you can hardly be blamed for having lower DPS. Don't be shy about pointing that out...

> You can't help but wonder, when you are 2k below the top dps in your raid, and they can beat the boss with you face down on the ground for most of the fight, why you're there

There are 2 parts here. DPS doesn't matter as much, to be honest. In the end of the day damage done is what matters. If you're more than 10% below the top, try to understand why - maybe you made mistakes as you said. If you're between 5% or 10% it is not so bad and if you're within 5% damage of someone else I think the difference is really small. In a boss fight where a typical DPSer will do 500k damage (not an unreasonable number), 5% difference is only 25k, which is what, 4 of your MB crits? Over an entire boss fight, that's not such a huge difference.

As for the "face down" part, if you made a mistake and got yourself killed early on, /sigh, learn from the mistake and move on. If you died because of bad-luck or lack of prompt raid healing, /sigh about drop in raid-wide damage score (as if that means anything) and move on. One thing I have to say though I love as a shadow, I feel a lot more durable than most other clothies. I often survive longer in many fights due to the self healing from my own DPS coupled with lower damage taken thanks to Shadowform.

> I love shaman healing, the mix of spells feels right, the talents and glyphs varied enough to keep shaman healing interesting and effective.

That's funny (the varied part) :)
A good friend of mine plays a resto shaman, I think maybe around 90% of his healing is from chain heal. Not exactly varied ;)

Good luck. Let's hope patch 3.2.2 buffs us by a lot :)

mrgamegeek said...

"Merlot, at heart, is a hissing, remorseless, unwavering death bringer. Every time he throws a heal, a kitten dies."

HAHAHA i say almost the same thing about my shadow priest. Unfortunately my guild doesn't care what i say so they made me spec Disc for heals. But I ONLY heal for heroics. Even then I complain the whole way through lol.