So you think you’re some kinda tough guy?

Every so often in WoW, you get to a point where the content you are working on isn’t particularly challenging anymore.  With my regular 5 man team, we pretty much roll through heroics these days.

I believe that our success has more to do with the focus we bring to a run, and the time and effort we have put into our toons, than it is about being over-geared for the instances.  Although all of us are sporting epics, there are very few Naxx-10 pieces, and almost none from the 25-man raid content.  We are definitely near the top of the heroically geared plateau though.  (I’ll save my frustration with the lack of upgrades in Naxx-10 for those who have geared up in heroics for another post. Grrr.)

So, I logged in tonight to find very few guildies on.  Unroku, one of our top dps, was interested in doing the heroic daily with me.  Karinthanis, our MT, was online, but not up for the run, so we jumped into a pug with 3 members of another guild and headed to UP.

OMG.  The tank was in blues and was most certainly not defense capped, while the two other dps were struggling to break 1k.  God love fresh 80s for having the courage to try and tackle a heroic like UP, but these guys had no business being there.  Hell they probably would have struggled with it on normal. 

So Unroku and I say, what the hell, let’s see if we can carry these three through here.  I absolutely love challenges like that!  But in UP there is a limit to how far you can carry a sub-par tank and dps, and that limit, my friends, is the gauntlet. 

We gave them two tries at the gauntlet, politely said that we just didn’t have enough dps to finish the fight before I went OOM, and parted ways.  I give those guys credit though, it wasn’t a matter of them not knowing how to do the gauntlet fight, there was just no way my mana pool was gonna last long enough for them to be able to kill the mobs. 

So I head to UC to do some crafting for Tahira, the guild’s one and only level 80 holy priest.  (She has multiple toons on another server that are her primary focus, but was kind enough to level a toon to 80 on our server to help us with raids.)  In the meantime, Unroku wants to know if I am up for another heroic or two.  His buddy’s DK just dinged 80 and would appreciate some help gearing up. 

Being slightly wiser this time, we decide to hit heroic UK.  Unroku grabs a tank and a rogue from LFG and away we go.  As we buff up inside the instance, we learn that the tank (sporting a solid guild tag) and our young DK have something in common besides the fact that they both wear plate.  You guessed it, tank had just dinged 80 as well. 

Fast forward two hours and we had finished both UK and CoS on heroic.  CoS wasn’t pretty, but we got through it.  And it was awesome.

Having a squishy tank forces you to lose those bad habits you get into as a healer.

The amount of time I could give the tank to build aggro was ridiculously short with the size of the incoming damage, but if I tossed a big heal too fast, then mobs were immediately looking my way with bad intentions. I definitely got reacquainted with my Fade button, and how important it can be to manage that cool down well.

I also got a nice refresher course on being efficient when healing the dps. The cast time on Prayer of Healing was almost prohibitively long, even after putting a bubble on the tank and getting the haste buff from Borrowed Time. I was pumping so many heals into the tank (almost 2k hps overall for the CoS run) that popping a slow heal on someone other than the tank jeopardized the entire group. Pain Suppression on the tank, and Power Infusion on the healer saved the day in multiple fights.

I further discovered how addicted to Replenishment I have become. We normally have a ret pally and/or a shadow priest on our runs, so the mana doth flow in abundance. I can finish trash fights at or near 100% mana, and boss fights above 80%. (They say strong dps is the best mp5, and I definitely agree with that, so it’s not all regen and Replenishment in those cases.) But between not having Replenishment and the rapid fire casting I was doing, I was burning through my mana pool much faster than normal. In one fight, when my spidey senses told me I might be getting low on mana (which usually means I have about 20% left) I was almost completely OOM. Consequently, I had to start paying attention once again to my Sapphire Owl and my Shadowfiend.

All in all, it was a fun night, and I felt like I got a great refresher course in being a skilled disc healer. So my advice to my fellow healers is to not be too afraid of jumping into a pug run, you never know what you might take away from it.

Vess

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