4.0.6 and Me

It’s been pretty quiet over on the blog this week. I don’t plan ahead very well, and the obvious result is that if I don’t have time that week, I don’t blog. I’m still mulling over how I want to present my last few raid guides. I’ll be honest: as much positive feedback as I’ve received about the things, I write them for myself. I’ve found that getting the overall raid strategy straight in my own mind, and “on paper” makes me better able to respond to what’s happening when I get into raid mode, and honestly, for anyone struggling with a fight, I’d definitely suggest the practice, even if you just save it in a draft, on your computer, or have a small sheaf of notes stashed somewhere on your desk.

Production Company continues to plug right along with our raiding plans. I was actually officially offered a raiding/guild slot last week (which I would have been crazy not to accept!) and you can read more about our current progress this raiding tier if it interests you. What I wanted to chat about was my personal turn-around this week as 4.0.6 dropped and blew away my entire concept of druid healing.

As those of you who’ve been around awhile know, my druid is new to the Cataclysm scene, so I don’t have any BC or Wrath raiding experiences to draw on. I trained myself on this character specifically to heal in the “new” healing style, and I really felt like I was struggling this week as I had to readjust what I thought I knew about druid healing to reach a new balance.

On February 2nd we killed Nefarian. My healing looked like this.

This week, on February 10th, we killed Nefarian again, and my healing now looks like this.

On both kills my job was the same. ¬†Phase 1: raid heal and keep up our “add tank.” Phase 2: Heal my pillar. Phase 3: Heal the “add” tank. The add tanks were the same. My pillar mates were the same. All in all, the raid composition was pretty much identical, yet my healing spell usage underwent a radical shift from a cast-time healing approach to a very HoT oriented approach. Although I considered changing my spec in anticipation of the transition, a horrible PuG led me to believe that perhaps, maybe, keeping at least ONE thing constant would be a plus.

Part of the reason I stayed away from healing bombs is that I no longer have the nifty ability to proc Omen of Clarity since Malfurion’s Gift wasn’t in my pre-x.6 spec. However, Rejuvenation, previously a rarely used blip on my healing radar, has gained pre-eminence with the change to Nature’s Bounty. I hated Nourish before the change — it was the most useless and annoying spell in my toolbox, having a god-awful cast time for such a pitiful and puny spell. However, knowing that I can turn it into something approaching a Flash of Light or Flash Heal makes my jaded heart go pitter-patter. There’s a downside though. With all those Rejuvenations rolling, I find that my mana pool is much more unstable and the cooldown reduction on Wild Growth, which I consider a must-have rolling HoT, means I am once again feeling the pinch.

I also find a change this massive change this early in the expansion a little disconcerting. I know I’m looking at the world through a misty-eyed rosy tint, but it’s damn hard to find yourself with healing strategies mapped out for an entire raid dungeon and then BAM! reset. I spent this week really fumbling the ball on a number of encounters–fortunately not bad enough to overtly affect the raid–as I managed to get splatted by Magmaw, failed to activate things like Innervate and Barkskin, and basically reverted to week one panic mode as I tried to decide what to cast when.

The GOOD news from all this is, I discovered that Wild Mushrooms are now freakin’ awesome. Totally, insanely awesome. I actually put Wild Mushroom / Detonate on my restoration bar so that I could do this to Maloriak’s minions:

And lo, it was good.