Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dr. Wipesaver: How I Learn to Stop Worrying And Love the Wipe

Okay, so my original plan for this post was to go over our specializations, stances, and masteries, Exalting in how awesome Eminence is now that it's been added to the Stance of the Wise Serpent, enjoying the fun and unique utility Stagger brings to the Brewmaster, and bemoaning how dull Stance of the Fierce Tiger is in comparison. I was going to go into how the Mistweaver mastery's primary problem is that it depends on the group being aware and intelligent (and will likely mandate an addon to be useful in random groups.) I was going to vent about the frustrating RNG dependency Windwalkers have with their mastery, especially when you spend an entire boss fight with the damn thing only proccing once. (I know, RNG Gods, that Monks don't need help to be awesome, but shouldn't you think about helping us be more aweosme?) I was going to praise Brewmaster mastery as mastery done right. (Mastery is like Beta - use it too often, and it stops feeling like a real word.)

That post will come later this week, as will a post about my Monk wishlist in terms of abilities, glyphs, and talents, and possibly even a look at fist weapons level 1-90. The delay is partially because a computer issue erased what I had, and I don't feel like re-typing it, partially because this stuff changes so often I'm afraid to get too excited (and getting kind of tired of making posts that are obsolete within two days of posting them), and partially because of a dungeon I ran in the Beta last night. I'm going to relate a story from my 3rd attempt at healing, coming in at the last minute for the Sha of Doubt in the Temple of the Jade Serpent, and how A) Monks are just as awesome as we've been lead to believe and B) How the new talent system is completely changing how we dungeon.

So I wait in the queue for a bit, deliberately going for Temple of the Jade Serpent because I'd been told I could get monk glyphs there. (That is a lie, at least when it comes to random groups - I'm going to walk in there manually at some point because no one seems to know where you get monk glyphs yet.) This was on my Mistweaver and would be the third dungeon I've done in MoP as a healer and the 7th dungeon EVER that I've gone into as a healer, discounting some times I've gone Holy on my Paladin to help with achievement/mount runs of Wrath raids. (Aside: I hate healing in PVE...but I love healing as a Mistweaver, and have now gained a better appreciation for healing as a whole. After I level my Warlock and DK on live, I'm going to level some healing classes, probably a resto druid and disc priest.) After finding out that no, no I can not, I sigh and go help the group take down the remaining boss, the Sha of Doubt.

Thirty seconds later, we're corpse running, having been slaughtered by our summoned doubt-selves, most of who lived long enough to heal the boss.

Alright, that's fine. The Prot Paladin we had as a tank was new here too, the Frost DK was from Mekkatorke with a name in Cyrillic and seemed to have maybe 25 words in English that were related to WoW (He was awesome, don't get me wrong, but communication barriers are hard), the Demonology Lock had the same problem all Demonology Locks have right now, in that they're still learning how their spec plays after a massive re-design, and the Windwalker had he same problem most of us monks have right now, in that we're learning how our brand new class plays while Blizzards keeps altering exactly how we play. We know how it works now, we paused to read the dungeon journal about this instance (At least, that's what 4 of us did. Our Big Russian Orc Death Knight couldn't understand us in that regard, so he just stood around waiting for us to go. He already had the achievement for this place, though, so I wasn't too worried.) We're all gemmed, enchanted, and geared, we're going to do fine.

Thirty seconds later, we're back at the graveyard.

This process repeated a couple times more. If we were on live I have a feeling the group would have dissolved into insults and accusations by this point - thankfully, this being beta, wipes seem to be less range inducing when no one can pinpoint one person as the problem. Still, it WAS frustrating, and the tank proposed we drop group and go our ways.

"Wait." I said, not sure why. "I have a plan. This is either going to work and be awesome, or we're all going to wipe again - and look awesome doing it."

The Windwalker's second spec was Mistweaver. The Warlock did, in fact, have Glyph of Demon Hunting. So we talked for a bit, doing our best to relay information to our Russian friend through emotes, links to abilities, and, in one case, me dueling the Paladin to show how our healing strategy was going to work. (He got the important parts, switching to blood spec but staying in frost presence for first part.)

The Ex-Windwalker's only gear change was for a polearm, since Mistweaver's can dual wield anymore. He even stayed in Stance of the White Tiger for parts of the fight because we needed the extra DPS. Talents were changed: the Paladin subbing out the holy-power based HoT that they get in exchange for Selfless Healer. The new Mistweaver and myself both dropped Mystery Talent in favor of Chi Burst (it was a tough call). The Warlock got ready to demon-switch and changed for Grimoire of Service out of Grimoire of Supremacy. The DK made some changes, most of which he did while watching us, and while I'm not quite sure what all he changed, explaining to someone why they should, for this one fight, get Anti-Magic Zone when neither of you speak the same language is hard AND hilarious. I switched into DPS gear, excepting my trinkets and rings (I wasn't going to sacrifice ALL my int and spirit, thank you very much).

And then we fought. The plan was simple - everyone was to stand near the Jade Serpent Statues. When the adds come out, forget about normal tanking/dungeon protocol, stick near the statues while the two monks do as much damage as they can for the benefits of Eminence, the Prot paladin was going to use Word of Glory and Selfless Healer mixed with Judgements and Hammer of Wrath to combo as a healer/tank, and the DK and Warlock was going to do as much damage as possible, using their current weird combinations of survival talents/glyphs and damage/tanking gear to still stay alive while doing so.

And it worked...kind of. We managed to prevent any of the adds from healing the Sha, and the only death we had during the fight was me (I kept forgetting that I had to heal myself), and the DK's use of their Battle Resurrection fixed that problem the first time, and a Soulstone solved it the second. We were all resource-starved and disoriented afterwards, and the fact we only had one real DPS spec left meant we were kind of doomed.

However, it was the most fun I've had in a dungeon in ages.

How does this tie to monks? Well, it wouldn't have worked with any other healers. The strategic use of Eminence and double dipping with the same benefit provided by the Jade Serpent Statues is what made surviving that possible, since I did almost no targeted healing (aside from keeping Renewing Mists up and Chi Wave whenever it was off cooldown). But it also shows how well we work in groups. By forming a strategy, by working together, by knowing our class, we were able to punch the one thing that plagues wow players from time to time: the Doubt that we are awesome.

It also shows that, as aweosme as we are, we need other classes - the extra targeted healing thrown out by our Protection friend, the Death Knight's ability to Death Grip things off of us and give us some breathing room when the evil-Warlock was going all crazy on us, the Warlock's ability to adapt from ranged to semi-melee to tankish on the fly...if they hadn't done those things, hadn't known what they were doing, we would have died too. The entire group was needed, and this servers as lessons for Monks everywhere: yes, you are playing the most awesome class in the game. Yes, you can fill every role aside from ranged DPS. Yes, other classes need to hurry up in acknowledging how great you are. But there are things they can do that you can not, and even without a Druid to actively give us Symbosis, we still need to learn how our abilities work with other classes to make the best use of our own abilities - and remember that, as the most awesome class in the game, it is not our duty to make everyone sit back and watch how awesome we are, but enable them to elevate their own class to it's most awesome level so the entire party looks awesome.

And it also shows that, if you ever aren't sure if your class or group can't handle something, take that doubt and start punching it. You'll get the point across - and when you're done, see if your Doubt dropped any Phat Lewts.

Until next time, keep punching.