Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tens and Twenty Fives: Different Attitudes

A consistent question inquiry on most questions asked in my application was how I felt about tens versus twenty five man raids, and how it might impact my healing.

When I applied to Apotheosis, I honestly didn't feel terribly picky about whether I ended up in a ten or a twenty five man guild. I'd done both in Wrath, though my twenty-fives career ended when my computer was just too crappy to handle the graphics. I'd always had an impression of twenty-five-man raids as being the upper crust of raiding society, simply because they were a tier higher of item levels back in Wrath; I was interested, but as I hadn't yet discovered that separating raiding and role play yielded best results, it was out of the question for me to find a 'real' twenty five man raid guild.

I knew I did well in LFR, and that my computer could handle LFR twenty-five man graphics; I didn't have a strong preference either way. Besides, with 25 people, I can hit more players with chain heal and healing rain- it seemed like there could only be bonuses!

I'm only two weeks in, and doubtless I'll have more insights later, but so far there are several differences that I hadn't accounted for when I considered the choice between ten and twenty five.

Numbers: Working for others versus doing what I do best

In a ten man, obviously your composition is limited. You will always need to be aware of who your other healers are, what they do best as players (and as their class) and how you can help them and your raid have the best chance at success. If I am co-healing with the holy paladin, I need to know if he's mastery heavy or haste heavy, I need to know if he favors holy radiance spam or tank healing, and from there I can pick up the pieces he may be leaving behind. If I'm with a discipline priest, I know I'll need to be heavy on the raid heals and can safely ignore the tanks; with the resto druid, keep the direct heals rolling while his HoTs do the rest, and with a holy priest, pay a bit more attention to the tanks than I normally would. Different players have different styles, and who I was healing with was a huge portion of how I healed the team. It was never a conscious thought process; just 'having a feel' for the team.

In a twenty five, we typically have at least one of everything, if not two! I am not trying to compensate for weaknesses, nor stepping back where others have strengths; it's up to me to do my job to the best of my ability. I feel that as a shaman, I have great versatility in my class, something that I really enjoy! But now is my time to show what I can do, and do it as best as I can.

Cooldowns, cooldowns, cooldowns!

Something that I'm still growing accustomed to is the sheer number of cooldowns we have available for use in a twenty-five man setting! While I still favor my Telluric Currents build for gaining mana, it sees much less use than it did in ten man because of the sheer number of regen cooldowns we have. We usually have at least one healing and one shadow priest, we always have replenishment- not always so in a ten-man!- there's more healers to pick up the slack if you need to pop a concentration potion... so while there's more to heal, there's also more help to maintain mana while doing so.

But it isn't just mana cooldowns; it's healing cooldowns too! We have one or two cooldowns available per nasty event! Things that I used to just have to power through alongside my other healer(s) now have mitigation or throughput assistance, for every Big Nasty Ability! This is fantastic- but it also means that my cooldowns become less of a 'use it when it is needed' and more pre-planned. There's less room to deviate when everyone needs to work precisely and communicate what is happening and when.

Raid Frames Are Important.

This was something I definitely had not anticipated, and partly the importance comes from how Apotheosis organizes its twenty five mans. I don't really have experience in other twenty-five man groups, but it seems pretty evident that it is much more necessary to have greater coordination and organization than a ten would require.

As I mentioned, when I was asked to heal 'group three', I found myself in a bind because I didn't have raid frames that allowed me to sort by groups. Having adjustable, modifiable raid frames is a huge boon to the twenty-five man healer, and something that I would strongly urge anyone transitioning from tens to twenty fives to look in to- preferably before your first raid with the new group! I really didn't realize just how important it would be until after the fact, which led to that awkward situation where I had to hastily memorize my group's names and locations on my alphabetical default UI raid frames; not optimal in the slightest!

Even if I hadn't been asked to heal a specific group, I still thinking switching to custom raid frames was a smart choice for me. The ability to adjust where my frames are and how much space they take is quite nice; the default UI makes twenty fives take up about a quarter of the left side of your screen. That means your eyes are always to the left, more vertically oriented, and not paying as much attention to things like 'fire' and 'timers'. In tens, I hardly looked at my frames- I had no specific assignments, I just healed folks that needed healing.

These are just the differences I've found so far, after two weeks- the things I didn't anticipate in shifting. I did anticipate correctly that I wouldn't be able to heal the meters into quiet, whimpering submission- that I had been a large fish in a very small pond, and now I'd be a small fish in a big pond. I did correctly anticipate that my single target spells are less frequently used now than my Healing Rain and Chain heal spam, and that both spells are now more commonly utilized to their best advantage, instead of accidentally chaining to just one person or laying down a healing rain that no one finds their way to.


Update on Project: Heal All The Things!

Clemyntine, my druid, is now level 40 and her skinning and herbalism are lagging behind, but will soon be caught up! I have PuG healed my way to great victory, rolling on healer cloth the whole way through because hahahahahahaha what is spell leather?!

So far my esteemed fiancee and I haven't yet managed to roll our priest/warrior duo- he wants to be a warrior now, not a bear. I'm not stressing about it too much, as I've been busy on Clem anyhow.

I was a balance healer up until dual spec at level thirty, and the difference between balance with okay healing talents versus resto was enormous; my average rejuv tick at level thirty as balance was 93. As restoration, it was 134. Everything suddenly became easy and I wasn't OOM all the time. 

I'm not sure when I'll pay attention to specializations. I happen to have cloth heirlooms, but not caster leather, and I'm loathe to give up my bonus experience, so I may just stick to auction house cloth once the LFD stops letting me roll on cloth drops...

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