Monthly Archives: March 2011

Raiders of the Lost Noob (A Tree Grows in Azeroth — Part 4)

As there has been a bit of a gap in episodes, I thought it’d be nice to do a quick summary of the story leading up to this installment. A flashback montage seems to be what’s called for here:

A quick recap of this sordid tale.

I was very confused at this point.

With the three movies quoted above (Breaking Away, Rocky IV and The Karate Kid), there’s a common sequence of events:

  1. Hero is brought to a low point by almost everyone else by a series of events.
  2. Hero goes through an epic training sequence, showing their grit and determination.
  3. Hero gets to the penultimate event, and not only wins the event, but everyone’s hearts — INCLUDING THE ANTAGONISTS.

Think about that last point for a minute. Imagine the end of the movie, the hero has won the match, the race. Afterwards (or even during), the antagonists slowly come around and embrace the hero. The hero takes the admiration with humble pride, and the movie fades out.

I was only at step 1 above, as we catch up to my tale. Kicked to the curb, my ineptitude was exposed, I resolved to switch over to a spec I never had played. Then, after I topped the healing meters, my raid would slowly start to applaud and smile at me, signaling they have accepted me as a good player now. I would then humbly smile at them, extend a central digit at them, and then inquire to them about their predilection towards apples.

Anyhow, now that I decided to go down the path of the healing arts, I had to figure things out. I’d love to say that the first thing I did was to go and devour every healing resource I could find.

If you’ve read my previous missives, you know I can’t do it the easy way. Honestly, after eating that huge helping of Humble Pie in Naxx, I really wanted to redeem myself by making a go of it on my own first. I sincerely took a look at the talents and my gear, and started over.

As was my noobish tunnel-vision, I never saw healing as anything more than something I’d use after a pull, so I didn’t have to sit and eat to get health back. So, for me, moving to making healing my emphasis was actually a huge risk. However, I love a good challenge.

I still had a patchwork (Patchwerk? D’oh!) set of gear, but I dove right into healing. My first heroic I healed was Halls of Lightning. I whispered my friend and told her what the luck of the draw gave me, and she went, “OMG, you’re so screwed!”

I did pretty well in it, and only caused problems due to me failing with Loken and his damn Lightning Nova. I could heal just fine, I just was a step too slow. All in all, I was pleased with myself.

I had Grid set up, my mouseover macros at the ready, and I was ready to get back into Naxx and get to show them my stuff.

So, I’m back in Naxx, this time running around as a tree. I had just downloaded Recount so I could pay attention to what I was doing, and I was pleased to find that I was topping the meters as we were clearing trash. I mention this to my priest friend, who hisses, “TRASH DOESN’T COUNT!” Suitably chastened, I move on and do an acceptable job healing. I was delighted and a bit shocked.

A few weeks after my initial success, drama takes full hold of our guild, and we disband. However, with my newfound confidence, I happily step into a few raids with friends of friends, and get compliments on my healing by some pretty good healers. I had started to actually study my healing craft more, with Keeva of Tree Bark Jacket fame being one of my first resources, and I was enjoying myself.

It was at this time I saw in the server forums that a raiding guild was looking for a Tree. I knew nothing of these people, and my old guild wasn’t a serious raiding guild. However, I just liked the posts I saw, and decided to give it a try, and I applied with Team Sportscoat.

The brought me in, and this was my first true exposure to a more serious raiding atmosphere. I had nowhere to hide if I messed up. When I joined TSC, Ulduar had just opened up. We were a 25 man guild, but also ran a few 10 man raids.

Our 25 group wasn’t progressing as quickly as the main 10 man, and I suddenly found myself chosen to be in the main 10 man. I was quite excited to be chosen, but I was stressing out, as I really didn’t have a ton of raid experience (which I was very upfront with). I was doing pretty well with everything, until we hit Hodir. Hodir exposed one of my biggest weaknesses, and it was quite shameful. However, Hodir also allowed me to break out and really step things up.

You see, my main problem was really movement. Now, I’m a healer using Grid, so I do my fair share of keyboard turning. When I need to, I can move quickly, but it’s a ton more comfortable for me to use the keyboard for movement when I’m healing. The problem was, I was using the ARROW keys for movement. You know, the keys that are on the right side of the keyboard, nearest the mouse (if you’re right-handed). That same mouse that I need to move on the raid frame to use my mouseover macros. Yeah. Um….

That’s what got me with Loken, and that’s what got me with Hodir. Hodir is a Resto Druid dream fight — at least it should be. It was a nightmare. I kept getting clobbered by the falling ice, mainly because I’d get tunnel vision healing, and not be able to move quickly enough out of the way. This was the only time I can recall being called out with a final warning:

REZZNUL! If you die to the ice again this next pull, you WILL be kicked from this raid!

I somehow was able to hobble through it and survive. Right after the raid, I realized I had to fix this, and fast.

I went online and watched the Tankspot video of Hodir. This time, I was watching the one Tree just running all over the place the entire fight. I watched the video a few more times, mesmerized. It had finally penetrated my thick skull that the strength of the Resto Druid is the ability to heal on the run. I used all kinds of tricks before to adapt to my arrow-movement disability, but it was just ridiculously hard in some fights.

I immediately began to retrain myself to move using WASD, freeing up my right hand completely. I was running all over the place, throwing HoTs on me like a maniac. I really was amazed at how effective I felt now. I also felt embarrassed that I allowed myself to have waited this long until I got to this point.

The next week, we’re back in Ulduar. We’re clearing trash to Hodir, and I’m getting pretty nervous. This is my first time really getting to put into action my hard work, and I’m afraid I’ll go back to old habits midway through and choke.

The fight begins, and I just do what I saw in the video. I run, I dodge, I can catch everyone with HoTs. It was so effortless, so much fun. Hodir died. I didn’t.

I look at the meters for the fight — I did over 60% of the healing. Our other Holy Paladin (a well-known meter whore) was cursing Druids at that point. I’d have to say that this was my biggest learning step that took me to another level in effectiveness.

The next time we ran 25 Ulduar, I get a whisper from that Paladin. Previously, he had given me crap about messing up at times, and I felt he didn’t like me (not that I cared). The message was:

“How do you heal?”

At first, I was feeling defensive, as if I had to justify what I did to him. So, I ask him why he was asking. He responded:

“I want you to teach the other druids to heal as good as you.”

We then had a nice discussion about my healing style, and he thanked me.

Afterwards, I was amazed at my journey. I went from almost getting kicked out of the raid, to being someone they considered a good authority on playing my class.

How about them apples?


Movie References: Breaking Away: “Do it for the Cutters!”; The Karate Kid: “Get him a body bag! YEAHHH!”; Rocky IV: “You can’t win!” and “I must break you.” Back to the article.