Monday, June 25, 2007

Hitting Things in Durnholde Keep

Went to Durnholde Keep. First, a few words about the instance itself – the setting is really cool, but the actual rescuing Thrall part is kinda frustrating and not a ton of fun. I like that they tried something different for an instance, instead of just killing trash, killing a boss, and so on until you’re done, but I didn’t really enjoy escorting Thrall. This is the first outland instance that I enjoyed substantially less than some of the Azeroth ones; up to now, I’ve considered all of the Outland instances superior to all but the best of the Azeroth instances. (VC and Scarlet Monastery.) The group was on the whole decent, with a good hunter and warlock and a very poor mage as the DPS. I main healed of course, and the guildmate I’ve run every instance so far in Outland with tanked.

Anyway, a little while back, I wrote a post on my instancing style, which up until now has consisted of doing nothing but healing, cleansing, and stunning things that were beating on squishies. I received some suggestions to the effect that I’d be a more effective group member if I healed from melee range, and indeed there are some advantages to that. Durnholde Keep was my first test of healing from melee range.

Now, I’m going to spoil the ending – it worked horribly for me and by the end of the instance I was back to healing my normal way. The biggest culprits in my mind are that I’m just not used to healing from melee range, and thus am very bad at it, and that Durnholde Keep might be an especially bad instance for it. Some of the mobs in the first half have cleaves, which I ate my share of, giving me another target to take care of (myself), and even worse, some of the mobs in the second half have intimidating shout. Getting feared is very bad for me; I can bubble out of it only every six minutes, and it’s still slightly disorienting, and probably not the best use of my bubble. If I don’t get feared, not only am I still in action, I can immediately cleanse it from someone else - the intimidating shout used by the mobs in Durnholde counts as a Magic effect - plus any squishies that picked up aggro as a result of the tank and pets running around can be saved with a timely Hammer of Justice.

There were also some hidden drawbacks to being at melee range. I really can’t see what’s going on as well, so my ‘save the squishies’ functionality went down the tubes. I kept healing the lock when he was just life tapping because I couldn’t see him, and once or twice didn’t heal him when he was genuinely getting hit for the same reason. (Sometimes I can catch life taps because it makes their mana go up, but if I just notice that their health is suddenly down a bit, I need visible confirmation.) What’s more, with all the added confusion and damage I was taking as a result of being at melee range, I barely even had time to ever hit the mobs, which is the reason I was in melee range to begin with. Now, I did do more damage than I normally do in instances, since I normally just hit mobs to recover mana with seal of wisdom (my favorite!), but I didn’t do anything close to how much even the tank did. (I’m talking a factor of twenty or something here; I lost by a lot to the felguard and even to the marksmanship hunter’s cat, which wasn’t even out half of the time – he know about the cleaves.)

I’m by no means giving up entirely on melee healing, and I’m sure my poor experience with it isn’t indicative of what can be made of it, but I felt like my performance as a healer and as support was demolished by my attempt. It could just have been Durnholde, which is already a stressful instance, with an additional friendly to keep track of (Thrall is a pain to heal because he has a jillion hp, but I don’t think he has much mitigation) and some mob abilities that punish those that stand too close. Things went much more smoothly (for example, we stopped wiping) when I switched back to standing out a ways, though that could have been a coincidence.

So what say? I want to do the paladin class proud by healing while also being a front-line hero, but it’s flatly making my performance worse, and I have a responsibility to groups I’m in to perform reasonably effectively (plus I like succeeding.) Any other melee healing tips people can throw me? What am I doing wrong?


Sylvina Solaris said...

It really really depends on knowledge. If it's your first time in an instance, hang in the back. Learn what mobs you can be in melee range of, and watch/position yourself with rogues to avoid cleaves. Basically, just pretend your a rogue in terms of positioning. and pull your camera angle out a good bit so you can still see your surroundings.

As for the whole mobs fearing you thing, just try to learn which ones do it and remember that. It may also be because your tank wasn't super outfitted. It becomes easier at 70 when people have good gear and the tanks are barely taking damage, it gives you a lot more time to focus on being an effective melee healer if you don't have to spam heals constantly. If you have a bad tank who takes a lot of damage then don't worry about melee stuff, just throw a JoL if you can and heal away. Overall, Trial & Error will be your friends in the end.

Megan said...

Take baby steps and slowly build up your multitasking skills.

Start off with something simply like maintaining JOL/JOW from a distance (between your tank and your ranged DPS) and watch for loose mobs that break for the squishies and intercept them.

Also, you can do much more when the rest of your group is on the ball. In a random PUG where the skill is questionable, you'll find the very first few moments of a pull (where bad DPS frontload and bad tanks have tunnel vision) are the worst to try and do everything at once.

GSH said...

I'm probably the biggest proponent of melee-healing, but it's just not worth it if you are the main-healer of a 5-man.

As you noted earlier, being able to watch everything, and react quickly is essential to healing well. Plus spamming FoL is more mana-efficient.

The only time I melee-heal in a 5-man is if I'm an off-healer or I'm in a guild group and I get bored.

Melee-healing is more a raiding or off-healing thing, because you have priests and druid there to help cover for you.

It's kind of like being a shadow priest. If you're the only healer, you drop out of shadowform and heal.

Sylvina Solaris said...

Actually a good shadow priest/tank combo can heal through in shadow form. Which goes the same for paladins. It depends on the skill of your team. I melee heal as a main healer in heroics a lot, and it pays off big time I think.