Tobold's Blog
Monday, August 31, 2015
Old and out of practice

Nearly a decade ago for some time I was doing raiding in World of Warcraft, for some time with a rather hardcore guild. So hardcore in fact that they kicked me out later when I went on an announced summer holiday, as that sort of lack of commitment wasn't allowed. So during vanilla WoW I got up to Nefarion in Blackwing Lair (BWL) while most other raiders where still struggling with Molten Core. And I was good at it. I was playing a holy priest and at the time where healing still had aspects of mana management I was one of the top healers in that guild.

From vanilla on I got less and less interested in raiding. I was and technically still am in a much more relaxed guild, signed up for raiding less and less frequently, and got more and more disenchanted by changes to raiding which turned it from a series of interesting decisions into a Simon Says memory game of dance steps. I think I was still okay though at that time as a healer. I remember a Malygos raid where everybody was still alive at the moment that he enraged and killed us all, and as a healer one couldn't do better than that.

I didn't play much Mists of Pandaria, and in Warlords of Draenor I did very little PvE group content. I did the one dungeon needed for the first stage of the legendary ring in normal, and a few LFR raids just to have a look. But nothing which required any serious skill. But this weekend I was thinking that maybe I should do some more dungeons on heroic, and do the rest of the legendary quest line. For that I had to visit the proving grounds and as a healer beat the silver level of the proving grounds to be allowed to heal in a heroic dungeon. With memories of past skills and an iLvl of 680 I thought that wouldn't be much of a problem. And was proven very, very wrong.

Okay, so I didn't have any addon like healbot, and used the standard interface for healing, which certainly wasn't optimal. But mostly it was a question of feeling old, slow, and out of practice. At some point I was supposed to dispel stuff, and had no idea where my dispel button even was. And just brute force healing didn't do the trick as I had thought it would. After failing the third attempt I gave up. Not because I didn't think I wouldn't eventually succeed with addons and such, but because I concluded that if the proving ground was a problem, I probably wouldn't be a good group healer any more. And you get already enough nasty remarks if you heal perfectly and some idiot stands in the fire and then complains.

I think my hardcore endgame days are really over.

You just need some practice to get into it again. Things have changed a lot since vanilla, but you can still get into it again. You just gotta figure out how the classes work. They are not the same at all, but I am sure you can do it if you try a few more times.
If you were fine healing LFR (in 680 you certainly should be), then dungeons are more than a joke, they were even during High Maul.
Proving Grounds shows the different options of what a good healer should expect and be able to deal with when prepared and put in a similar situation.
So yes, when you don't know what you are expected to dispel and then don't know where your abilities are, you won't succeed in PGs.
Just have a look at the guide, beat PGs silver and then do the legendary quest.
And after reading that I think I can finally come to terms with the fact that I am and always have been really, really ultra casual as MMOers go. My crowning achievement in vanilla WoW was getting my epic mount, hitting 60, finding Silithus and then wondering what the hell else to do. Got invited to a raid against an emerald dragon once, watched dozens of people wipe. Stopped playing until BC arrived.
At some point I was supposed to dispel stuff, and had no idea where my dispel button even was. And just brute force healing didn't do the trick as I had thought it would.

Well, that's been so for a while. There are a lot of nasty magic debuffs that are completely harmless if dispelled in a timely manner but do a lot of damage if not. Having your dispel hotkeyed is easily done, you don't need anything else than standard UI to see dispellable debuffs just take a stroll through the options.

I never healed so no specific tipps, but tanking and damage was easy enough for me and I would guess healing is the same. Hmm maybe I should try it.
Proving grounds can be a very rollercoaster experience. Ilvl is capped, which means that overgearing it is not an option (but ilvl is not raised, so undergearing it actually hurts). Problem is: classes work very differently in that fixed scenario, with some of them it's trivial, with some it's very hard.... With some you can manage even if you don't master the class, others are a lot less forgiving.
Knowing the composition of the waves helps a lot, which means that trying multiple times, working on one wave at a time (as in the old-school level-based games) is a sure way to progress.

...and this reminds me that I'm not sure I ever did the healing silver at level 100.... DPS I certainly did and since I have no memories of it, it must have been trivial. Tank silver I still remember as a nightmare, as I was undergeared and I was more or less running MoP tank gear.

For instances: right now everyone overgears heroics by a large amount, if you stumble on a self-healing tank you can probably spend the time DPSing and looking at the scenery and noone will notice. This cannot be said of mythic and (even more) of challenge mode.

My guild was never that good/HC, but my devolution to solo and casual has been rapid. My worst times in WoW have all been pugging 5-person content. But the legendary ring finally got me to try some after I really outgeared them. I hate to admit it, but the groups weren't that toxic. You will need some speed boosts to keep up with some chain pulling tanks. :-( Might I suggest getting some addons and trying TW events? It is LK this weekend.

PG are their own thing, and harder for some classes than others. A much better player than I was failing their Guardian druid tanking. Reading up showed a needed talent change for a silence and how/where to taunt one add. The got it the next try.

A personal taste is addons, I have lots. When some kid makes a "play the game for you" I have my "using tools is a main differentiator between humans and animals" retort. Healing is probably a purge/cleanse issue that a colored Healbot bar could make obvious and a click to solve.


I want TBC healing where I could face the wall and pay attention to triaging the bars on my screen, uninterrupted by some disco dance of fire and poo.

So I am going to try little healer.


Well, I don't think he was really looking for tips on how to do PG Silver, but Meh, seeing as I just did it on a Priest, as healer...

First, it's not YOUR iLevel that's scaled, it's the HP / output of the mobs. To be fair, I know this is true for the DPS fight, because it took me dozens of tries to do it on my Warlock... it was inhumanly difficult. But on my disc priest, one shot. I never even got to the part where I fail and then analyze things.


Go Disc. Have 610 iLevel.
Have your heal spells on click through macros, get the addon "Decursive."

Discipline destroys holy in that the shield can be pre-cast and essentially lasts until used up. The only time this is a problem is if there are multiple disc priests in a small group.

Silver can be insanely hard. You don't have time to be slow at targeting and casting, so all that has to down to muscle memory. After that, The big gate is the healers you have to interrupt in DPS and the debuffs you must dispel as healer. In THAT aspect, healer has it easy in that you can dispel all day long... where some DPS has limited interrupt ability.
I did some heroics at WoD launch and they were tough. But when I heal them now, frankly, I just DPS most of the time because everyone outgears them so much they don't need to be healed.

I can guarantee you that being slow and out of practice enough to struggle with the proving ground does NOT mean you will struggle with the actual heroics. Not nearly a year after release when the tanks are packing ilvl 700 gear.
When Draenor first launched, I was maybe a couple weeks late to the heroic dungeon party, so I figured I should probably DPS instead of tanking, just until I got some gear and 'git gud'.

I did the bronze tanking and found that moderately challenging, so I assumed the silver (required for heroics) would be punishingly difficult.

Later in the slag mines or whatever it is, the entire party wiped against Roltall at 50% health, except myself. I soloed him for the rest of the fight, and the tank quit, so I tanked the rest of the dungeon with absolute ease.

Buoyed with confidence at the success, I went and did silver, and it wasn't much harder than bronze. Gold is some next-level bullshit, a serious tank-DPS check.
I turned 46 this year and finally the lack of twitch stopped the itch. I always loved the team sport aspect of mmorpgs, from pvp to raiding but like other sports the reflexes slow and, well, there you go. I like Hearthstone now and Civ and Hitman:Go and Xcom, etc. The funny thing is that while I don't miss mmorpg's so much the habit of playing them for 10 years kept me on the merry-go-round an extra year. I suppose I wasn't ready to retire. That's when I remember your idea of a card based mmorpg Tobold, an idea before its time. I would love a team based strategy mmorpg that didn't require my reflexes at all, rather the knowledge of mechanics and tactics picked up over the years. Maybe someday.
I think it is your attitude that has changed. The PG can be challenging for some classes and specs but relatively simple if you put in some practice/fiddled with add-ons/change glyphs and talents/read tactics. My main stumbling block these days isn't lack of ability, but lack of will to do the required homework and prepare properly.
Since I know you are into mobile gaming, mind I recommend something that will scratch that 'healer' itch? It's called "Little Healer" and it's a really good raid simulator, minus the graphics.

It's the perfect PUG simulator. The other healers are AFK, the DPS take avoidable damage and the tanks never use defensive cooldowns.
You don't need add-ons, just turn on raid frames in the standard WoW interface options, much easier to see health and especially the debuffs you need to cleanse.

Also, I have to agree with most of the commenters here. Healing in heroics is significantly easier than proving grounds, especially given how overgeared you are for heroics while the proving grounds scale with your gear.
Proving Grounds are very helpful to get into a shape again after a prolonged pause. Also they are a lot harder than a typical heroic dungeon run which at present time is dominated by raid-geared people that kill the boss before your healing stream totem expires.

What you are supposed to do in Proving Grounds is not to give up after the first failure but to analyze what you did wrong and correct that mistake.

By the way, there are kind of funny moments in healer proving. If you fail to dispel the bomb in time, one of the party members tries to shame you for it, only to be quickly shut up by the other. At one moment, party's hunter stands in the fire puddle and you have to heal him throug it until another party member spans him into consciousness. If you fail to heal the tank and he "dies", he actually apologizes to you for being so squishy.

In tank proving, you have just one companion which is both healer and damage dealer, and this companion is much less friendly. She yells at you if any mob barely touches her, and if you die, she makes clear that this is your own fault.

In DPS proving, you're alone, but you have no time for social interactions anyway.
Hehe...I got my gold proving ground on the holy priest and that certainly wasn't easy for me either, returning to Draenor after several years of WoW abstinence. I was one of the first priests that got benediction (solo on first try ahem) back on my vanilla realm, so I've a bit of an ex-raider pride like you do. ;)

I remember I made a forum guide about this to comfort others and tell them how I eventually did it after a few hours - and oh, the mockery from some quarters (not so much in my own topic but others). Ofc you can't expect so much from official WoW forums but it still made me realize how much I've forgotten. All the new talents, new addons....we say it's easy jumping back into WoW, easier than with other MMOs, but it isn't. Not once you're getting into the meat of things again.

Found the thread btw -

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