Friday, 22 March 2013

The Innervate Wait

Hi. My name is Aoifen, and I have mana problems.

But that's a long story. First, let me give you a small update.

A new team

Remember a few weeks ago I said that I was looking to start raiding casually after patch 5.2? Well, after that post, I was contacted by a reader (Squee! You have no idea how happy that made me, Aceral!) and invited to go along to a farm raid with <Nessa and Friends> on Barthilas. 

I had been looking around at a few other options, but this invitation was welcome in several ways. Firstly, Aoifen is on Barthilas already, so no realm or faction transfers would be necessary. Secondly, Aoifen is my raid-ready toon - Leesah is waaay behind and would require some hard work to gear up. Lastly, Nessa and Friends are at a comfortable level of progression for me - they are working through Heart of Fear normal and only raid two nights a week, one of which is a farm night in Mogu'shan Vaults at the moment - perfect for my gear levels and current aspirations.

So, off I went! After a couple of raids with them I was convinced and bid a sad farewell to <Vitare> (who are kicking it in ToT heroics, by the way - go Vitare!) and joined <Nessa and Friends>. 

Big ugly bug

The mana problem

Raiding is everything I love about the game, and at the moment, even farm raids are progression to me so I'm loving it! There's just one problem - I have been constantly struggling for mana.

I use a Flask of Falling Leaves and reforge anything that doesn't have Spirit on it, but I still find myself, halfway through certain boss fights, with potions on cooldown and waiting desperately for the next Innervate to be available.

Why was I struggling so much? My gear level wasn't great, in the high 460s. I managed to replace a couple of items through LFR, but because I don't get a lot of time to play, the Valor Points come slowly so I haven't replaced as many items with VP gear as I'd like. 

I was fairly sure that gear wasn't the whole of the problem - there was something in my play style that was using up all my mana.

So, I did some digging. Here's some advice I collected that might help a newbie Tree with mana conservation:

Calm down. 
At first, I was having a bit of a panic in boss fights and healing anything that moved. My overhealing was probably massive! Don't forget that there is another healer or two there in a 10-man raid, so you can afford to consider who actually needs to be healed.

Know the fights
specifically when the high-damage phases are coming, so that you can conserve mana to spend then. If you are running low, at least try to keep enough mana for a Tranquility for when the raid leader screams it at you! I find using Tree of Life form a great way to regain a bit of mana while healing more, as you can sprinkle around Lifeblooms and make use of the Clearcasting procs for some instant Regrowths.

Innervate early.
Innervate gives back 20% of your own mana, so use it as soon as you get below 80%. The sooner it comes off cooldown, the sooner you can use it again. If you find yourself in the enviable position of being close to the end of the fight with lots of mana, see if any of your fellow healers would benefit from it!
Hots are still a Druid's best friend. I hadn't been using Rejuvenation all that much, preferring to use Regrowth as a flash heal. This is most likely where all my mana was going! Rejuvenation has just had its mana cost reduced, and Swiftmend is a relatively cheap heal with a built-in AOE component. Training myself to not use Regrowth so much has helped a lot.

Make use of Clearcasting.
Clearcasting procs come from Lifebloom ticks, so make sure you keep it rolling on the tank. You might like to take advantage of a Clearcasting to get a free Regrowth or Healing Touch.

Don't forget to macro your trinkets,
especially if you have a spirit one such as [Heartwarmer Medallion]. There's a guide as to how to make macros in Clique on my Macros page.

Make use of Ironbark and Barkskin.
The less damage you take, the less healing you have to do. Don't forget that you can cast Ironbark on other people. I'm still trying to remember to cast it on the tank in high-damage phases.

There's a lot to remember, but all it takes is practice to get a hang of it all. My thanks to and Restokin's guide for teaching me what my spells do these days!

I'm still setting up Weak Auras to help me with this stuff, so I'll try to post up some codes soon.

Please, if any other raiding Resto Druids read this and can offer advice on any of the information in this post, let me know!

Happy healing!
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