Gang aft agley – my first Kara run plus lessons

Let’s start with the “whee” stuff. For those late to the party, I joined a raiding guild a couple of nights ago. The MAIN reason I got in was because my daughter is already in. My gearing was considered… adequate, but they were healer heavy. I was told straight up that I would be pretty close to last choice for healer unless they were “just” gearing up the lower rank players. And I literally had no problem with that or I’d have not joined. Fair shake for everyone. So even before the ink is dry on the paper…

Last night was Kara cleanup, and a number of healers – specifically priest healers – weren’t available. So as I’m preparing to help some friends run a group quest, “Hey, wanna run Kara?” First indication something’s wrong with me — I told my group that because they were assembled and ready to go that they got the right to say, “please stay” and I would. I have good friends, so off I went to Kara.

Cleanup. Very little trash. The plan was Opera, Nightbane, Curator, and Chess. Nubcakes, your host, slowed that down a bit. We hit Opera, the show was Romulo and Julianne, and we wiped. No big deal, I learned a couple of critical points (we’ll save that for the analysis that follows this), and we let the the couple share their friendly drop. And I got really lucky — I was the only priest, remember, so when Julianne dropped the Masquerade Gown, this player with only points for first run got it. Nightbane wiped us once, we picked up some more lessons, and he too bit the dust — but this time the longerterm players got some well-deserved gear. Curator… wiped us twice, and by that time I was wiped myself. Oh, there were additional time-slowers — a player was having computer problems and kept DCing, people scheduled for dropout hit pumpkin time and had to be replaced, that sort of thing. Expected for a cleanup run, actually, and there were players standing by. (Gah, if I didn’t have a real job I’d have asked to be allowed to repair and return — I’ll get to that, too.)

So that was the overview – nice, firm run, two bosses down, a disappointment on the third, an amazing piece of fortune plus I got a nice drop out of it. On to analysis and lessons learned – what I assume you come here instead of me bragging a bit…

Let’s start with things done right. Why? Because you may not have thought of them yourself. Besides, I haven’t finished dislocating my arm to pat my back (grin).

Always, always, always, be prepared. In my bank, I have one bag reserved for “Instance Run” gear. It had a bunch of water and bandages, about half the buff food I’d made, and some odds and ends (like reagents) I consider “what I want to have if I go to Kara or Heriocs.” It also has a few things for others – a stack of Symbol of Kings, Seeds, Ankhs, that sort of thing – that might turn out necessary on a bad night This (eventually) nearly full bag is experience. If I get an invite – as I did last night – I hearth ‘home’ and swap one bag out. Yes, the whole bag. If I’ve been gathering so I’m full, I’ll also swap for a mostly empty bag. And then I run quickly over to repair and top off, and then I get the summon. As it happened last night I was topped already. And since I only recently joined the instance bag wasn’t as full as I intend — that will change.

Out of sequence, the first thing I did after leaving the party last night was restock some and repair. Oh, it needs more, and I was exhausted. But it’s another lesson — because I was so tired I might forget to finish stocking the next time I’m on. There are some criticals that need to be in place whether I get everything else ready or not.

Lesson. I got a brainfart on basic macro writing. (yeah, one of those kind of brainfarts). The priest’s shackle is the most popular cc in Kara. And it breaks all. the. time. I knew this but failed to prepare. And all my current macros are set for 5-man stack-target healing (that is, heal focus, else heal friendly target OR friendly target of enemy target OR heal me – though that’s a bit out of order). So I couldn’t steal a darn thing to make up for my brain shutdown. Here’s the basic, pre-tweaked, fix – steal and cleanup as you see fit.

#showtooltip Shackle Undead
/cast [target=focus] shackle undead

Easy, clean, and against some mobs something you’ll be hitting every 5-6 seconds due to the constant break. (macro, heal, macro, heal, macro, move, macro…)

Lesson: have Pen or Pencil and Paper beside your computer. It is now 9am. I finished at 2am. I sort of remember who gave me some mana pots after I ran out, and which player did what in other cases. Make. Notes. Specific “thank you’s” make a difference. And when others are nice they deserve the thanks and recognition and, if you CAN, some reparation. Yes, “it’s the guild, man, just helping the guild” is cool and all, but I’m supposed to be doing that too. Way too often you get a guild member who is a leech, trusting “it’s the guild” to take care of the eventual hundreds of gold. Folks, we’re priests. We’re clothies. A bad sequence gives us an armor repair bill of almost 10 gold. A plate wearer will do that on a GREAT run. Support your team. If you’ve not got much gold right now, at LEAST get a specific thanks off to the ones that gave you specific help. I’m going to fail that very basic task because I forgot to write down who gave me mana pots. I am annoyed.

Lesson. Start your combatlog immediately. sigh. In a bit we’re going to do some analysis of my performance which was… adequate, but needs improvement. Unfortunately I didn’t remember to turn on the combat log till just before Curator. Look, your guild leader may not want the log. Your class leader may not want it, your team leader may want it, but you copy it anyway even if you’re going to dump it later. At a minimum you get to try to check your own stuff to try to improve. And you never know – your guildmembers may start asking for your data for, oh, a guild WWS dataline.

Lesson. When your guild has mandatory tools, download them. (Check, did that). Run them to make sure there’s no major problem. (Again, check). And if it’s been more than a few months – maybe as little as one month, maybe a year – run the darn things to make sure you know how to use them. Specific example – my guild insists on CTMods. Yes, there are other tools. Whether I like them better or not (and honestly I’ve not used them in a year so have no opinion) is IMMATERIAL. My guild said CTMods, so it’s CT. And last night when the rubber met the road, I discovered I’d forgotten a couple of things. Oh, I gimped by, but OUCH. Couldn’t remember how to get all the players on-screen. And then discovered they were overlaying some critical buttons, and weren’t where I could best interact, and… Today will be play with CT-Mods (among others) day. I coped – I think I’m pretty good, and it’s not a case of never seeing it – but I could have done better. At the least it was a distraction while I was learning a new battle.

ANALYSIS. Let’s take a look under the hood – what did I do or not do that contributed to us not downing Curator? Well… it actually turns out to be fairly simple.

sigh – I tried to cut and paste and edit the healing reports from WWS, and it messed up. So… back to descriptions.

The problem boils down to the fact I was a new factor. I’d let a couple of players die in the previous battles, and so the two experienced healers weren’t, well, quite ready to trust me.

Battle plan was that pally 1 healed warrior (tank) 1, and keep an eye out on the party. Pally 2 got tank 2, same general word. And I got the party, with an eye on tanks under 50%. I did a pretty good job of staying off the tanks — not shown in the stats is that I opened each battle with a frisbee to the tanks, and I threw it a couple more times during the battle. Not just for healing — frisbee means ~600 more aggro for each tank each pop. I also did about 2% of the healing of one of the tanks.

Where we went really bad was a bit of miscommunication. I was responsible for half the healing done to one of the paladins. Quite literally, I didn’t tag him as a paladin during the battle. I happen to know it was almost constantly renews with some flash heals – he never got THAT bad, but still. In exchange, he gave me 22% of the healing I got (I self-healed 78%). ummm, let’s kill that silly statement up front. “The healer should never heal himself.” Balance, children, balance. When you are below half, everyone else is pretty healthy, and the battle is early, your death is really going to ruin everyone’s day. Now, I recommend using binding heal here as someone else ALWAYS should be in need (it is, after all, chain lightning), but a quick self-renew isn’t terribly out of place either.

Other healing mistells… All three of us split healing of 93% of the shaman’s total heals. The pally and I split healing the mage. Now before everyone goes saying it’s the paladin’s fault, the timeline shows that the bulk of the pally’s mage healing came from (wait for it) after my death.

Never trust cold statistics without context.

Next time I go with this pally, I will ask him if he wants me to keep an eye and slap heals on him or not. I was slightly behind the power curve (timing) on a couple of heals. I never went OOM in curator – not only were there pots and my pet fiend, but I even got a few steps of the five second waltz. But it was one more place I was putting my attention.

And one of MY projects was one of the first to die. Sorry, hunter V. I know that I should have caught it a bit earlier.

OK, lest anyone think ‘the wipe was his fault’, there were other factors, most of which I will. not. discuss. A couple of obvious factors: At that point everyone was tired. We had a player dc early in one battle. Did I contribute? Yep – good and bad. Next time, the big boy falls. Because I’ve taken these lessons and this analysis away.

Penultimate lesson: It’s real easy to walk away with just the obvious. Until I analyzed I only knew I’d been out of position a couple of times. It wasn’t till the stats check that I realized I was healing a paladin. Save your log, use a parsing tool, and look for what might have been a problem.

Ultimate lesson: Remember that no tool tells all the story. Even with all that you have to use your mind and skills to realize what they’re telling you. They’re aids, not solutions.

Aaaaand, a postcript: If doing all this is more than you want to do, and everyone’s still wanting your company, GREAT. Remember rule one: It’s supposed to be fun. Just… when you’re getting 10 people together, sometimes you might want to make sure you’re not having so much fun it’s not fun for anyone else. Do a little work so it’s fun for all. OK?

~ by Kirk on September 11, 2007.

12 Responses to “Gang aft agley – my first Kara run plus lessons”

  1. For the combat log problem you might want to have a look at LoggerHead (http://files.wowace.com/) – it tuns the log on or off based on the zone you’re in. A bit annoying when you first install and have to tell it what you want for each zone but after that you never need worry again.

  2. Thank you, Rob. I use ace, and didn’t even think of that.

  3. Completely off topic here: have you seen a British stand-up comedian by the name of Eddie Izzard doing a piece on “The best laid plans of mice and men”?
    p.s. I apologize if I shouldn’t be posting this here.

  4. Inphidel – OT, or not, it’s my blog and I can kick it if I don’t like it. As it is…

    Yes, and it is indeed a funny sketch. Though I still think the mice are one up on the gnomes…

    Now back to WoW. What are you doing, trying to get me offtrack worse than normal? (grin)

  5. About that bit on communication, don’t be afraid to speak up. If aggro is accidentally pulled and a tank is able to jump on him, even though you’re not assigned to him but its clear that no one else is ready, let the rest of your team know. This way, when your Paladins are ready, it can free them up for someone else in the group who needs healing so that not all of your spells are tasked onto an individual.

    Sounds like you’re fairing well in there. Keep it up and your gear will upgrade from adequate to “HOLY $%&@ THATS AWESOME”.

  6. Matticus, yeah, I know. It’s habits, is all. I’ve not done raiding since before TBC – and I’d stopped a little while before that.

    So in a lot of ways this is relearning – and taking the opportunity to let others benefit from my oopses. I figure I make lots of these mistakes, why NOT let others learn from them (grin).

  7. For paladins, we generally prefer getting healed by someone else, rather than self-healing. This is because Spiritual Attunement will give us mana back if someone else heals us. (SA is mostly for tanking, but taking advantage of it when healing is always good.)

    So your paladin was probably okay with trading heals.

  8. True – indeed, highly likely, GSH, but I didn’t ASK.

    I’ve seen more raids and instances crash on failure to communicate than any single other reason, and I – who am busy preaching this stuff – failed to do it. /foreheadslap

  9. See, I’m a hunter, that’s what I do, I “misdirect” (grin).

  10. Start working on your Arcanoweave set. The more Arcane resistance you have, the easier Curator is.

  11. I think this is a great post. For one thing, it is sooo close to home. I try to remember who gave me what, and thank them, but it is so rare that someone does give me something that I am not smart enough, or organized enough, to keep a pen and paper handy to help me remember. And so about 4 days ago we were getting ready to start the Kara run… and someone handed me a stack of Earthen Elixirs. They said “I noticed you use these.” I said thank you, but I did NOT note the name, and by the end of the run, I could no longer remember who that awesome person was. Also, last night our priest was having tons of problems reshackling his target on Moroes, and the tank asked him if he had that VERY SAME macro. he did not, and in fact we finally gave up on Moroes because we could not control the adds. Whether it was a feared add running out fothe room and resetting it, or a resisted ice trap, or a broken shackle, it was crowd control issues all the way.

    As far as starting combat log… I have no idea what you’re talking about [grin]. Is there some way to toggle the saving of your combat log to a text or ascii file? From what you’re saying, I guess so. You have just revealed an entire section of the game that I am ignorant of. Thank you! [cries].

  12. BBB,

    The quick answer is to type /combatlog before you get started, and everything that runs through your combat log (default right ‘chat’ panel) goes into a saved file. The slightly longer answer is to download and use Rob’s recommendation (above) which will do this automatically. Slightly longer than that is reference to this previous post on theorycrafting, and last… I see another post coming.

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