Life in Group 5 – A Resto Shaman Blog
A resto shaman perspective on raiding


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November 25, 2011

Offtopic of the Year: A Balancing Act

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Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work – Chuck Close

As I set about getting ready for the last content tier of the Cataclysm expansion, after spending a year being taunted by elusive achievements like [Stood in Fire], it’s time to mark another milestone in my little corner of the world—the second anniversary of Life in Group 5. Yes, it’s been two years since I started creating a blog to call my own, since I started taking my theorycraft beyond the information found on Elitist Jerks, and since I started trying (emphasis on “trying”) to become a Resto Shaman yoda for … well, everyone. Let me tell you, it’s been one hell of an adventure.

Over the past two years, I’ve written 121 posts, shelved at least 30 others that I couldn’t bring to fruition, and authored multiple boss and resto shaman guides. I’ve covered a litany of Resto Shaman topics, writing about everything from being benched on HM Rag to how to review healing meters, gear up for your first level 85 heroics, and giving the full story on Resto Shamans’ Mastery. But today I didn’t want to talk about any of that; today, I want to take things a little bit off the rails, answer the question “how do you strike that balance between WoW and real life?”, and candidly talk about what exactly went on in those 30+ days in September/October of this year, when LiG5 went quiet.

A Little Background: Vixsin’s Life

It’s arguably a little hard to talk about WoW-life balance if you don’t know the other side of the equation, so before I launch into the meat of this post, I wanted to set the stage a bit and give you an idea of who I am when I’m not spamming Chain Heal or yelling at guildies who stand in Fiery Tornadoes. Outside of the game, I am a Senior Associate at a Financial/Construction consulting firm, a position that ties me up for around 50 hours (on average) every week. On top of that, in addition to the 20+ hours a week I spend raiding, I fit in time for blogging, spending time with my SO, spending time with friends, managing my own personal investments, spending quality cuddle time with my precious furry little ones, and occasionally playing SC2 or the latest console/PC game. I think it’s fair to say, my days are pretty packed.

The problem with my schedule is that, because I’m a consultant, my work can sometimes take a turn for the worse and spike up to 60, 70, or even 80 hours in a given week. I can’t plan for it, I can’t mitigate it, and more importantly, I can’t get out of it. Some weeks it’s easy to manage everything that I have going on, but other weeks are downright stressful ordeals, where I manage to only get 5-6 hours of sleep a night. It’s one of the downsides of being a raider and a working professional, but it’s a challenge that I knew I would face when I got into hardcore raiding. And, more importantly, it’s a sacrifice that I’m willing to make because of the sheer enjoyment I get from the game and from being a part of a successful team.

So now that I’ve given you all a brief background on “a day in the life of a very busy Vixsin”, let me tell you why I’m writing about this on the second anniversary of my blog.

Making the Decision to Raid, Work AND Blog

 

When I made the decision to start a blog, back in November of 2009, I was a shaman in Aftermath on Mal’Ganis, looking to find a place in the WoW community. I had, just 6 months prior, joined up with the firm I’m currently with, and was recording some relatively easy 45-hour work weeks. Combined with Aftermath’s light(er) raid schedule, a mere 16 hours a week, I had some extra time that I thought I would pour into helping the WoW Community and making a name for myself. After spending an inordinately long time settling on a name for my blog, (some of those discarded names included: “The Blue Square”, “Dual Spec Resto”, “L2HPS”, and “Stories of a Chain Heal Turret” … no laughing!), I got to work. I set the easy goal of publishing 5-7 posts a month, which although I didn’t know it at the time, would help keep me from feeling overwhelmed by an ever-growing task list in the times ahead.

Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on your view on work-life balance), my hours continued to increase as my tenure with the company grew. By my one-year anniversary of employment, those 45-hour weeks turned into 55-hour weeks, and last October, right after I returned from my first Blizzcon, my firm picked up a project that essentially required me to work over 70+ hours a week, for around 3 months.  I struggled to keep my same posting schedule in those months, but thankfully was saved by the fact that we were clearing HM ICC in under 2 hours each reset. And, even though I took a week off of work for the release of Cataclysm, my hours stayed at the same level well through the end of December.

But, I gritted my teeth and got through it, happy to see the other side where my schedule dropped back down to manageable again, and content was cleared. Then came the guild change, from FH to Pie Chart, which actually dropped my raiding days per week down to 4 (although I was still committed to 20 hours in the smaller timeframe). I settled into a new routine with a new group of people, and tried to carve out a place in their raiding world all while working fluctuating hours and dealing with multiple trips from coast to coast.

Fast forward seven months to Firelands release, and things had turned into a much different story. Professional demands and circumstances created some of the most stressful days I’ve had all year. I was at work at 8am in the morning, stressed all day about mounting deadlines, and being thrown under the bus by colleagues who I was working extra hours to help, and then participating in a 5-hour raiding session almost every evening. On one night, a pretty bad blowout with my SO, coupled with the fact that I had neglected to run logs for that attempt (‘cause NM parses matter!), had me very close to the end of my leash.

I think there’s a reason that you don’t see many working professionals in high-end / progression guilds, and it’s not because they lack the skill or the aptitude for the game that these young tykes have. In reality, I think it’s because managing a career, a real life, and the demands of raiding is oftentimes too much for one person to handle. And that really didn’t dawn on me until just a couple months ago, when I almost threw in the towel for good.

The month that LiG5 went silent

All the above being said, I don’t bemoan my busy life or the sacrifices I have to make to honor my commitments to friends, family, the game and this blog. If anything, I find the stress of it all slightly exhilarating, and the constraints of a compacted schedule are oftentimes easily offset by the feeling of accomplishment I get from readers, fans and fellow players. And to date, there has only been one time where that simply wasn’t enough to sustain me.

Although I’m sure a number of you might have seen the signs when I made my infamous “Life in Group 6” post, I don’t think anyone, least of all me, had any idea about the sheer amount of emotional shaman baggage that I had been accumulating since the start of the expansion. I love my class, there’s no doubt about that, but there’s a downside to being one of the only people out there blogging about Resto Shaman and their issues—people come to me for help. And as much as I love helping my fellow Resto Shaman, with each and every email from someone who was struggling to keep up, from someone whose raid leader was threatening the bench, or from someone who felt that they were at their wit’s end, I took on some of those shaman issues as my own.

The more emails I answered and questions I fielded, the more motivated I felt to be a beacon for Resto Shaman, to be the one who shattered the mold and who everyone could point to and say “See, [idiot raid leader / teammate / PuG / random noob]. Vixsin can do it, so I can too”.  I fed on that idea to keep myself going through all of the frustrations (HM Baleroc, I hate you), and when I did finally get benched like so many Resto Shaman on HM Rag, I felt all of that baggage settle firmly down on my shoulders. It felt like a failure of epic proportions—not only had I let myself down, but I’d let down each and every person who had believed in me.

Even though I did manage to earn a spot on the HM Rag kill team, by that point, the baggage was too heavy to simply shrug off. The joy of having managed to endure one of the most grueling encounters out there (if not the most grueling ever), was offset by the anxiety of being reminded, farm night after farm night, that I wasn’t measuring up. The mastery that propped me up on HM progression kills started to lessen in contribution, and over several months I watched my HPS slide ever lower. Despite the fact that I, above almost anyone else, know the math behind the slide and knew it was because we didn’t want to drop healers, it still ate at me. Logging onto my shaman slowly became something that I didn’t look forward to, and every raid with the ever-present resto shaman jokes (although they were supposedly made in good humor), reminded me of the class shortcomings that I couldn’t fix.

Then, as fate would have it, I hit another one of those 70+ hour work weeks, one in which a long-time client decided to use my work as a punching bag for her frustrations on an entirely unrelated issue. I don’t remember precisely what tired and oft-repeated Resto Shaman joke it was in the following night’s raid that became the straw that broke the camel’s back, but I do remember that everything came crashing down. In that moment, I was beaten, and for the first time, I looked at my shaman with disgust.

For the first time, I felt genuinely angry with the Blizzard developers who had enabled every “Resto Shaman are bad” joke by letting our class underperform for almost an entire year. I wanted to send them every email, every whisper, every post, and every anti-Resto Shaman piece of crap that I had collected over 10 months of raiding and tell them that I was done trying to sugar-coat their failings. I was done trying to be the loudest voice about why people should love their Resto Shaman; that it was time they stood up and apologized for letting their “model healer of Cataclysm” continually be the underdog, tier after tier. Okay, maybe “angry” is too tepid a word … I was incensed.

And so I wrote—heated, caustic posts about Blizzard’s shortcomings, fiery rants about the failures of a healing model that was supposed to be more fun, and downright venomous diatribes against developers/blues who sat on their hands instead of fighting the misconceptions about shamans’ limitations. They were the kind of posts that I’ve never written before for LiG5, and after reading them, it became very apparent that they were also the kind of posts that I should never publish.  Unfortunately, in not publishing them, I managed to make myself feel even more constrained and cut off. I stopped logging onto my shaman except to raid (grudgingly), and I stopped replying to the emails that people sent me, which marked the first time in 2 years that I intentionally let readers’ questions go unanswered. And, as melodramatic as it sounds, I went to bed almost every night wondering if that day was the last time that I’d ever log into WoW. (In other words … the care cup |__|P was empty).

Regaining my Balance

In the end, I don’t think it was one thing in particular that provided the counterbalance to all of that shaman baggage, nor was it a concerted effort on my part to get back to even keel. My work eased back up, lessening the strain on my time; PTR testing began, giving me glimpses of fights in Dragon Soul that actually played into shamans’ strengths; friends stepped in, to try and make my time in game as enjoyable as possible; I went to Blizzcon, and for the first time in the last year felt like shaman concerns had been heard; and despite the fact that I had disregarded the role that I worked hard to build, players still kept sending me emails looking for guidance, help, or just my two cents. Gradually, my world started to right itself, and playing my shaman stopped feeling like such a burden.

When I look back on it now (and I may not have the complete benefit of hindsight, given that all of this is so recently in the past), what I’m struck by is how appropriate it is to say that managing to raid, work and everything in between is a balancing act. Managing those things isn’t something that you can do with a static level of effort—some days will be hard, and some days will be easy. Some days it will feel like I am artfully spinning a variety of plates or juggling a handful of priorities with the skill of someone who eats stress and deadlines for breakfast. Other days, it will feel like I’m on the verge of dropping everything. It will feel like I’ve tripped on a rug and am trying to forestall the inevitable with those last few off-balance stumbles, right before I faceplant into the Berber strands (artfully taking a lamp and a coffee table down with me).

But it doesn’t just extend to balancing priorities, because as I realized in that one month, being a blogger (at least one with the goal of helping players enjoy their characters more) is about balancing emotions as well. Some days I will be in love with my shaman, while other days I may need to seek solace on my druid and WG my ego back up to full (or my paladin, in 4.3). Some days I will come charging out of the gates in defense of Blizzard’s design choices and other days I will want to rant and rage about how they screwed the pooch when it came to Resto Shaman healing in Cataclysm.

Finding the middle ground in all of that, and getting a hold on it despite the stresses of work, the demands of family, and the issues in the game—that’s the true challenge of being a blogger. That’s the balancing act that I didn’t know existed when I plunked down my money to start my own site. It’s so easy to use those outlets that we (bloggers) have developed to make ourselves feel better without thinking of the larger consequences to the game and its community. It’s easy to level my crosshairs at Blizzard and take fire because I need a little stress release. Just like it’s easy to always argue one side of the argument—that Resto Shamans are grossly underpowered and thus deserve buffs and sparkly ponies. It’s the continual efforts at balance that are hard.

It feels inadequate to me now, to talk about WoW-life balance without talking about everything else that goes into it. But having come out on the other side, having realized that I can represent a class without bearing the load of its issues, that I can be a voice without having to drown out all the hecklers, that I can maintain a balance between my personal investment in a class and my higher investment in game balance, it’s a good place to be. I might have wound up face down on the carpet, knees bruised, but I did get back up. And what amazes me more than anything is that when I went to stand again, to regain my balance, there was a community there with outstretched hands to help me back to my feet.

So to all of you out there, whether you’re just passing through or you’ve been here since I posted my first few words … thank you. Because if there’s anything that can help me find that middle ground, and keep me going despite the days when there is no balance to be found … it’s you.

Thank you for helping me see the end of Year 2, and here’s to a better year to come.

~ Vix






63 Comments


 
 

  1. What a good article! I haven’t been reading your blog for that long but I really enjoyed this as well as your LiG6 article. I get it. I play resto shaman too although not high-end like you do and I do feel like we are at disadvantage on some elements. I run normal mode raids and I have troubles keep up with our resto druid. It’s ironic that shaman had been on the low end on the expansion that was about shaman and healing the world. But I digress.

    I hope you have as many more anniversaries as WoW gets. Congratulations!
    AndurDC´s last post ..A review of Mists of Pandaria talents


  2. Vixsin, this blog is what keeps me going as a shaman. Right now I am at the end of my rope. I was sat for much of our rag progression, then finally given a chance. Not long after, we made the switch to 3 healers from 4, and killed the boss 2 pulls later. Unfortunately the healer that was dropped was me. It really does hurt to realize that all it took to kill one of the hardest bosses ever was to remove me from the group. For the past couple farm weeks, officers have been refusing to 3 heal it with a resto shaman.They are trying to get me the kill as elemental (if people would stop being stupid every time I get brought in), but this is still a major defeat. I am a resto shaman and I have been since BC. Getting this kill as elemental means that I’m not good enough as a resto shaman, and that is something I refuse to accept. This is the first time that I have truly felt held back by my class, and lately I have actually been considering quitting my shaman.

    I don’t want to stop being a resto shaman. That is a title I have carried proudly for the past 4 years. I am hopeful for 4.3 and 5.0, but I will forever be scarred by HRag. This has been a rough time for many shaman, but as a group we will be able to get through it and move on to happier times with lots of pandas. We are all resto shaman, and we need to stick together.
    Thank you for your post, and keep them coming =)


    • I can certainly empathize. And all I can say is, hang in there. Class perception is a hard thing to fight, but it’s not a losing battle. We 3-healed HM Rag a couple weeks ago with double shaman + holy priest, so I can certainly step up and say that “If I can do it, so can you”. ^_^

      Ultimately, I think it’s also important to remember that classes will have ups and downs; no one can be at the top, or the bottom, forever. It has been a rough expansion for us, but I guarantee that the reason that you enjoy your shaman isn’t because of where you place on meters. Yes, everyone wants to be competitive in terms of output, but when it really comes down to what I love about shaman, it’s how they play. And that’s something that will endure no matter what sort of public perception there is or how low or high on meters I am. And if it comes to pass that you switch mains, do it because of how the class fits you versus how “in” they are for that tier.


  3. Steve D.

    Thanks for the interesting insights of how things affect you as a blogger, player and person in real-life. what I recognize since I found your blog is, that you have an unbelieveable good feeling to express my und I think also others feelings of how “WE” resto shamans think, behave and interact in the game.
    I´m currently not playing on my german server und it´s also nearly impossible to find good german blogs, so I´m thankful that you, maybe besides totemforest.com, keep up your great work here. first time I´m posting, normally I just enjoy and reading your thoughts and posts, but I thought this topic of yours made me write a small post. In your posts, and especially this one, I´m always astonished by your self-reflexion. As you said, normally hindsight needs a little bit more time, before we understand things which happened to us in the past. And as you said, main point for me is being grateful! *big fad underline* :)
    so, thanks for your efforts, work and advice´s, it also helped me, reading your blog to find things to improve in my gameplay in logs or ingame (although I´m currently not playing^^)
    greetz from a “economically shattering europe” *irony*^^


    • Thanks very much for the incredible compliments. I’m so incredibly flattered to have earned such support and I can only hope I continue to earn it in the time to come. :-)


  4. My thoughts on the missing month were along the lines of, “Hm, Vixsin hasn’t posted in a while. She must be really busy. Oh well, she’s gone for a while without posting before – I’m sure she’s just taking as long as she needs to produce a really in-depth and insightful post.”

    If it’s not too bold, /hug. You are my favorite WoW blogger and I don’t know how you do half of what you do.
    Button´s last post ..4.3 5-Man Tanking Upgrades


  5. Krysann

    I have followed you faithfully from shortly into ICC when I fell in love with my shaman. Moving into 10man raiding at the beginning of Cata, I had hoped to sustain that same high that me and my beloved shaman had at the end of Wrath. Then came the kick to the groin Cata raiding actually was. But I stuck it out through T11 and through Firelands. Defended my class, while pouring over raid logs to maximize every single drop of healing I could squeeze out of her. Many links to your blog have been made on guild websites defending and supporting why having two main spec resto shamans wasn’t “that bad”.

    Yet in the end I was beaten down. This entire expansion has felt like pushing a broke down semi-truck up a hill with the parking break on. I raid with some amazing healers, but even an alt druid in blues could make me look like I was just sitting there on my thumbs spinning. After an agonizing multi-day discussion with my fellow healers and our raid leader I have regretfully hung up my beloved shaman for 4.3 and turned to my holy paladin. I tell myself that partly I want to give us the healing class our 10man raid doesn’t have and the cooldowns that class provides, but honestly at the heart of it, I made the offer because I was tired.

    My guild isn’t world class. We are just yet another small 10man guild on a backwater server who will not see HM Rag down this expansion (6/7HM’s is good enough for us). It shouldn’t matter what healers we run, but taking my relatively undergeared holy paladin into our 6/7hm farm night and seeing numbers I could have never dreamed of on my shaman both lightened my load and made me want to kick some teeth in.

    I look forward to continuing to follow the journey of Vixsin through 4.3 and watching you fight the good fight, but this resto is hanging up her totems for the forseeable future. I just hope in 5.0 there are totems to come back to and will pray to the WoW gods that Shamans won’t spend another expansion being the rusty spare tire.


    • Believe you me, I can absolutely understand that decision. And in the end, it is all about playing what makes you happy. No one wants to log onto a game that they play for fun and feel like they’re fighting an uphill battle.

      I wish you well on your Pally and I know I’ll be incredibly jealous of your Holy Radiance awesomeness. ^_^


  6. Shonokoko

    Dear Vixsin,

    I want to say Thank You! in return. I remember when I started to look for more information about resto shaman and accidentally came across your blog. Back then it felt that there was not much out there for us – and even now resto shaman blogs seem to be rather scarce. So it was truly love at first sight when I found LiG5. Since then you have become my go-to source for all things resto shaman. I still read other blogs and visit EJ on occasion, but Life in Group 5 is where I always go first. The reason is not ‘just’ to find numbers or a BiS list , but rather your ability to share your insight and experience in a way that appeals to hardcore raiders and people who are just starting alike. You convey an enjoyment for the game and the class that continues to encourage and inspire me. Long story short – Thank you for finding the energy to continue, for your time of playing and blogging :)


    • It was that scarcity of Resto Shaman blogs that motivated me to start my own, and it’s something that definitely keeps me going! Thanks for sticking with me and LiG5 through it all. ^_^


  7. wylhelmina

    I would hug you in realy life darling! i’m a good hugger lol! that said that piece was well writen and can to touch me in meany meany ways. Thanks you some much to keep up posting and careing so much about our litttle comunity!

    I pass by exactly the same situation that you been. Émotional about about to much careing. I left wow for a good 2 week lol! had a rechute but came back as elemtale! but i’m a healer in the soul. so i ask to be switch again in my guild!

    I realy hope 4.3 bring us more in part with other! otherwise i’m gona gear my other 3 healer via LFR.

    thanks to you too vixin we like you very very much!


  8. Stunchy

    I am truly a lucky man and now I have just added one more to the list of things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving:

    #1,000,001 – That Vixsin made it through her toughest raiding/working/resto-shamaning times without walking away from the game or the class, that Vixsin still has the resolve to stand up and be an example of a shaman who can excel at the highest level, and that Vixsin still intends to channel some of her time and talent into making the resto shammy community a better place through her wonderful/amazing blog.


  9. Your signoff almost sounds like a New Years toast =P Props for maintaining a balance, recognizing there are periods of feast as well as famine. Weathering [the storm] is more important than maintaining some arbitrary quota, imo.
    Here’s to a good year!
    Ahtchu´s last post ..Trip To Fan-tasy Land


  10. Vixsin, thanks for your great post! I could relate so much to every word you said .
    Your blog has always been a spark of hope for me. I’m a passionate healer and I sticked to my shaman as main through whole Cata, although it really has been a painful road.
    If I look back, I can hardly remember a single raid where I’ve actually felt powerful and confident as a healer, what is a shame, considering I used to play this game, and especially my shaman, for enjoyment.
    It always was a struggle just to keep up, giving 150% to maybe perform 2% better than the other healers in the end, from which I know that they don’t even put half of the effort into their characters than I do. I used to be our guild’s strongest healer, but I have the feeling that my raid has lot a bit of their belief in my healing skills during Cata, because no matter what I did, I just couldn’t deliver those healing numbers anymore and I really struggeled on some progress fights. I must say, that hurt me most.
    My Resto shaman used to be a setoff to my working day, I’ve always looked forward to my guild’s raids, but with Cata sadly that changed completely. My Resto shaman went from a beloved hobby to an additional burden, that I had to deal with on top of all the other stuff in my life. It really made me sick and I’m sure all the stress that Cata brought cost me at least 3 years of my life. To see every raid, that all the tons and tons of effort I put into my character just didn’t pay off was more than frustrating, I can’t even express…
    Our situation has to get better with MoP. It just has to! I’m not sure if I could take another expansion like this one.
    Resto shaman is a fun healing class with a hell load of potential, we just need a litlle more love and fine tuning. I hope we’ll get our long deserved overhaul with MoP, that’ll make us competitive and appreciated healers again. Because, although I play all healing classes, rerolling has never been an option for me.

    I also really, really, really hope that some Blizz devs are reading your blog, too!

    So, keep up the good work, as long as you’re raiding on your shaman I know there’s hope and it can be done and, as cheesy as it may sound, that I’m not alone with this!

    /hugs to you and to all other fellow Resto shamans


  11. I’ve stepped away from the path of the chain heal, but I’ve been anxiously watching your mounting frustrations with the design and impact of that design for raiding shamans.

    Congratulations on making it to year 2! Even with my varying interests, I’ve enjoyed your blog immensely and would be sorry to miss out on your insightful looks into the inner workings of your class.
    Windsoar´s last post ..Giving Thanks


    • <3 you Windsoar. You were one of the first blogs I started reading and your support was integral in developing my own confidence in being a blogger. Here's to many more years for us both.


  12. Tikiya

    Oh my god I got a little emotional here, I’m crying. Damn. *hugs*

    Keep the good work up Vix, we love you ;_;


  13. Uglychick

    Like a lot of others before me, this post made me quite teary. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself in your posts.

    I suppose I have taken a slightly different approach to my resto shaman and the dilemma of appearing to be outclassed by every other healing class in the game (or so it seems at times, from those resto shaman ‘funnies’ that people like to throw around). While I don’t for one minute question whether or not shaman have drawn the short straw on far too many encounters in Cata, this has been my challenge rather than my bane. And fortunately for me my guild has not once suggested sitting me for any fight because of my class, despite it being a widely held view that resto shaman are the weakest link.

    Perhaps being in a 10s guild has played in my favour, as has the fact that our raid schedule puts us in the category of ‘casual raiding’, so the pressure to ‘optimise’ the group make-up hasn’t been part of our thinking. Nevertheless, I honestly believe it is an ability to work to the strengths of my class, particularly good use of cooldowns and knowing how to prioritise my healing efficiently, as well as being able to work beautifully with our glorious paladin healer, that has kept me firmly in the healing team.

    My guild has struck a balance between what is optimal and what is achievable with my shaman, and I love them for it. When my AoE healing wasn’t proving to be optimal on H Beth, up I went to heal the away team, while our paladin and disc priest managed down below. H Shannox sees me on the Shannox tank more often than not, because it works for us. All three of our healers have worked on having a viable dps off-spec available if needed, and we mix up which two healers will be healing two-heal encounters, so we can do it with any of our healing combinations. We are working on H Rag (although with the patch looming I fear that we may not get it this week) and it is possible that it could bring me to tears, but as I have been healing for all bar one of our guild first kills throughout Cata (curse having to work instead of raid!), I am confident I will see dark blue on the healing meter for H Rag as well.

    I love my resto shaman, and if it means I have to work just that little bit harder to make things happen with her than my disc priest or resto druid, then so be it. From Vanilla to current content, she hasn’t failed me, just asked for some thoughful consideration at times. For all the pleasure she has brought to my experience of WoW, I can certainly cut her some slack.


  14. I honestly do not understand amount of posts in which people say they are giving up on shaman, nor do I understand the disappointment about the class itself. Saying things were bad for us for almost a year is an overstatement, we’ve clearly had a rough start in Cataclysm, but after Purification buff we were really competitive in Tier 11, especially in 25m environment. 4.1 brought us the long awaited raid cooldown which I was a bit skeptical about at first, but I fell in love with it the first raid I had pleasure of using it. I remember me and my resto shaman friend were always near the top of healing meters on most encounters, not even mentioning the giant advantage we had over others on Chimaeron. Can’t see how you can whine about being bad in T11. Back in those days we were healers who couldn’t really go oom with so many opportunities to use Telluric Currents and we wouldn’t let other healers go oom either with Mana Tide on steroids called Jar of Ancient Remedies and Darkmoon Card: Tsunami.

    With 4.2 encounters it might seem we’re a bit behind other healers, but from my PoV it’s not even half as bad as you say. I have Disc Priest and Holy Paladin as my alts, both have decent gear being around 375 ilvl and I’m nowhere near the numbers I’m capable of making on my shaman unless the fight lasts 1 minute and I use Divine Favor, Wings and Guardian on paladin, spamming my team with Divine Lights while having Holy Radiance on. What I mean is that it is possible that we might be behind when it comes to numbers, but even in 4.2 there is no encounter that is impossible to heal for us.

    Sadly, my guild has switched to 10m raiding in 4.2, I’ve been present on every first kill we had in Firelands apart from Shannox and I never felt underpowered at all. As a matter of fact, I remember a week we killed Baleroc on our first pull with me being there and a week later when I was benched on him to let our disc priest in, it took my guild almost an hour to get him down.

    If you play it right and people in your raid will do that too there is no way you can’t keep them alive, if they drop dead saying there is nothing you can do just because you’re playing shaman is just a lame excuse in my opinion and I don’t see the situation changing dramatically for most of you rerolling, sorry.

    The only thing I was disappointed about 4.2 is how they nerfed our mana regen, it feels like it was a bit too much to nerf Mana Tide Totem by half to everyone, seems much more reasonable to let others get only 200% of our mana instead of 400% or make it shaman beneficial only, our mana regen without Telluric Currents is just plain pathetic and we’re way behind others in that matter.
    Simonek´s last post ..Ragnaros Heroic


  15. Shaloxeroligon

    Well I certainly want you to keep blogging. You’ve been an inspiration to me; like, you’ve single-handedly made me want to roll a shaman and heal with the rest of them. Your math is solid, your reasoning is sound, and your words are powerful. Keep at it, and we’ll keep reading it.

    Best of luck!


  16. maeklund86

    /hug

    I think people a bit selfishly piled their problems onto your capable shoulders. Many times have I just wanted to lift my hands in the air and yell out in agony. No matter what I did, whatever I tried, reforging and researching gear, trying out different strategies, I was still left behind. It began to feel like people regarded me as a lesser healer, due to the numbers.

    Seeing you, in your bravery and openness, struggle with the same in a much more competitive situation and sharing your experiences, really gave the rest of us someone to seek counsel from. Your thoughts and advice, and your sheer willpower not to give up, and go on a flaming QQ-spree (which at times really would be acceptable) has done wonders for my personal struggle with the resto shaman. You really give the extra energy to the rest of us to keep on going and not give up.

    You are doing wonders on a personal level, and more then you might think. Best wishes, a great end of this year and chin-up! To share something so personal requires courage. It is well met.

    Thank you!


  17. I just wanted to say Thank You for being awesome.

    /hug
    Beruthiel´s last post ..Blessing of…Bloodlust!


  18. Bell

    Hang in there, Vixsin! I’m doing the same, albeit from a more-dps centric perspective now. I tried so hard to remain a mainspec healer for my guild, but then they brought in a new druid. So our little 10m has too many healers, and when the RL says someone has to go dps, it gets quiet for a few moments until, inevitably, I see, “Well . . . the shaman could dps?” And I sigh and give in every time just so I don’t miss out on kills. I’ve had to accept my new role as dps if I want to remain a full-time raider for this guild, and I’m just hoping that I can be a true healer again for MoP.


  19. Nalik

    Normally I only pass by to read, but this time I had to comment!

    Love you Vix, beautifully written. It’s awesome to read about yourself and your thoughts and feelings and it feels even better to be a part of your community.

    Hold on, Vix. We will help you stand up again, just like you helped all of us.


  20. Anonymouslol

    :’( /hug

    Thank you for writing another amazing article. And congrats on the 2 years :) Keep the balancing act up. It’s such a valuable lesson you’ve learned, one that will strengthen you for the rest of your life.


  21. Muzei

    I’ve been reading your blog for well over a year now, never posted (not much of a commenting type), but after reading this post just wanted to pass on my support and a job well done! Your an inspiration to all resto shaman, thank you for all your hard work and I look forward to reading your future posts!


  22. Kistikoom

    Your emotions, passions, insights, ups and downs have keep me coming back to your blog since the beginning. Simply put, you write one of the best WoW blogs out there. Thank you for all your hard work.


  23. You are an inspriation to me. You write everything that you express through blood sweat and tears and I am sure that every resto sham that had stumbled upon here would of thought the same.

    I Love my Shaman so much and I have been resto for years. I’ve seen how much of a juggling act it has been in raids and heroics and over half the time, it wasn’t pretty. But just because Blizzard enjoy playing mind games with us all, we won’t stop playing that class that we love so much.

    I would love to hug you so much because the days where I doubted myself, I come here and I READ your posts. You are amazing and you take care where ever you may go, we will all support you with all our hearts.
    Thank you for being EPIC! X
    KTom´s last post ..Chapter 19 Page 22


  24. Voltigeuse

    /hug

    You do a great job and we appreciate it.


  25. Congratulations on two years of blogging, Vixsin. I look forward to what the third year will bring.

    You are the source I turn to for all things Resto Shaman.

    I’m curious, though — I (and others) tend to think of you as a “she” because Vixsin-the-character is female, but I seem to remember you mentioning once, in passing, that IRL you are male. Which is it, so that I can use the correct pronouns for you?
    Kamalia´s last post ..A Rainbow of Classy Clothes


    • On second thought, that’s really quite an impertinent question, and you don’t need to answer it if you don’t want to.

      Thank you again for everything you do to show that Resto Shaman are awesome and to help other Resto Shaman be as awesome as you are. :)
      Kamalia´s last post ..out of time to Stand In The Fire


    • No worries at all! I am, in fact, female, both in game and out of it. (Although I have been known to troll unsuspecting players into thinking otherwise). ^_^


  26. I already commented on this, but I just stopped by and wanted to say thanks again. Your articles always give me hope that helps me continue raiding on my Resto shaman and I can not thank you enough for that. :)
    It seems that the patch is going live this week and I’m really concerned, if Resto shamans finally will be competitive again this tier. I had high hopes for those patch notes and to see that the Riptide buff and that HP gimmick, that’ll even lower our HPS by devaluing our Mastery slightly, is all we’ve got in the end really, really disappoints me..but well, we’ll just have to make the best out of it now, I guess.

    I love the Resto shaman community, but I really think we need to speak up more! I go to the US healing forums and honestly see a “Fix Resto Druids” thread (yeah, really..) when shamans should be the ones demanding that. So, if any of you has the time, please support every Resto shaman thread you see, maybe it’ll help just a little bit to make our concerns get heard by the devs. :)
    Just wanted to drop this here, where hopefully some Resto shamans read it.

    So, big thank you again, Vixsin, you’re great!

    Love, Luna


  27. Hunaiam

    Even though I am no longer raiding and will probably not be a participant in the WOW community in the near future, I will continue to read your blog. Thank you for the help you have provided, and I look forward to many more fantastic blog entries.


  28. Bravo Vixen, and TYVM (yes, in caps) for the support youve so generously given to the shammy community. I’m not high end, but am one of the diehards loath to give up on my sweet shammy. Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us. and making ours a bit better with your blog. Carry on Valient Shammy. :)


  29. Karmmah

    Thank you Vixen for being my resto shaman therapist. I found your blog at the beginning of cata when I was seeking help and guidance in working through our class short comings. At the time, I was the only active raiding shaman (of any spec) in my guild and, just like you, on the end of some rather frustrating jokes. I NEEDED the COMMUNITY SPIRIT that I found here. My resto shammy has been my main from day one back in BC. I needed to keep her going, not only for myself, but for other resto shammys who were struggling with class acceptance (both personally and from outside sources). This post also brought tears to my eyes and I just want to say thank your for stucking with us through it all. Here is to more to come! ~Karmmah


  30. Vixsin,

    Your contributions to Resto Shaman healing have been many; some subtle, some obvious.

    1) Great PVE Resto Shaman knowledge; I’ve read many other blogs, but non have been as insightful, as thorough, or as persistent. Several other blogs have just gone silent (and I fear what that might portend)
    2) Stubbornness/Consistency: given all of life’s challenges, coupled with a long search for “healing parity”, I think 99.99% would have thrown in the towel. Your stubbornness begets your consistency, and the results are much appreciated.
    3) Reason > Emotion –> Soothing; Your cool reason and encouragement have indeed kept me, and probably many more, from quitting the class if not the game. My raid thanks you.

    Thanks for sticking to your guns, fighting the good fight, calming us all a bit when we were ready to throw in the towel ourselves, and enlightening us all.

    -Rekthar of Ravencrest


  31. Shamshocks

    I found this blog right after 4.0 dropping and all i can say it that it saved me and made me the healer that i am today. i spent hours trying to figure out how to heal on my own and could never do it well. then one day i found a link to this blog and i fell in love with it. the post are very well written and make even the new players understand the ideas behind what drive shaman healing. i went from being in a guild that could kill fester gut after the RS patch to a group that is 6/7 and pushing for sever frist in 4.3 from what i have learned from this blog.

    Again thank u for the amazing reads and personal insight. keep it up.

    -Shamshocks


  32. Calmseer

    I wrote to you at the start of Firelands, with raid leaders breathing down my neck to produce more. You looked at my logs and gave me some very helpful advice. My numbers soon improved to the point where I was outhealing the paladin on our 10-person team but (of course) still lagging behind the druid.

    Then the raid leaders insisted that I was the bottom performer even though the logs said otherwise and kicked me off the team anyways (they broke up soon after that and never saw more than a boss or two in HM Firelands even after the nerf while I made it to 6/7 at least, so I had the last laugh). That became the start of a very frustrating tier. I joined and left two other guilds after that. The jokes about the suckiness of shaman healing, Paragon’s “useless class,” raid leaders passing me over for loot because I couldn’t put out the same numbers as other classes. It all got old really fast.

    But I refuse to just switch to another class. I really, really enjoy playing a shaman, and I know that Blizzard could completely change things up whenever they want to (even if they’re not going to this tier) and make my new class “the suck class.” I’d rather spend my $15 doing something I enjoy and taking the time and patience to find a raid leader who looks at more than just meters than chase after the flavor of the month.

    There was a light at the end of the tunnel though. I’ve finally found a raid team that seems to want me and appreciate me and understands that shamans have it rough (one of the officers is an elemental shaman with a resto offspec). They almost never bench me, and I make a good showing on the meters, too. Last night we cleared the first 5 bosses in NM Dragon Soul; I was first for two encounters, just barely second for a third, and only came in last on Ultraxion (we’re running Priest-Paladin-Shaman, so the lack of a druid to compete with is probably a big help).

    I’m sorry to hear that my e-mail earlier this summer was one of many that added to your burden, Vixsin, but you really did help me, and I appreciate it. I hope you’ll continue to be our shaman Yoda.


  33. Feyama

    Times are really tough for resto shamans. I have the luck that I am well resprected for my healing performance and my reliability in my raid, I think that is what keeps me in the healing group and away from the bench for every encounter. But sometimes I just struggle so incredibly hard with my class.
    - I hate it to be told one of our holy palas that my output is incredible when people stand together and that I should stop whining
    - I hate it to be told that I should be the tank healer for tonight, because our holy palas are now presumably unstoppable AOE machines
    - I hate it to be my own nerf
    - I do not want to be taken to the raid because I raise HP (never played the manatide spending machine either)
    - I hate it to stand in front of the valor vendor and to recognise that the new two pieces I could buy would break one of my main healing mechanics at the moment and I can not see if that is worth it.

    I play my shaman since the first day they when they were available at alliance site. I love her and I will not let her down. This is a hobby and it is for fun but my heart is bound to that mail wearing, hoofed girl with Russian accent and I know I would not be happier if I would give her up. I would feel like a loser, like somebody who did not stand up against all those obvious flaws made in character development. I will be there when Blizzard gives those reliable shaman players what they deserve and I will also be there when the next deathblow for resto shamans hits. Sometimes I hate to be a shaman, but even if I play an in many ways disadvantaged I will be there to kick some bosses asses and dammit I will be one of the best playing losers out there.

    We are all out there Vix. Every evening we struggle and we fight and we wait for our shining moments. And when I have my most frustrating moments and I can read through your blog and recognise that I am not alone in my frustration it all feels a little lighter. Thank you so much for that.


  34. Hope to see an end to all this whining about how bad shaman healers are because Dragon Soul brings us back in the game as most fights favour our healing possibilites with people being clamped up quite often.

    Got 7 bosses down tonight, was present on 6 of them and won healing meters on all, competing with HPala and two RDruids (not same time obviously). Ultraxion sure is fun to heal, but it’s probably going to be hell on heroic, although it’s not Baleroc all over again as the raid is stacked most of the time so we’re going to be quite good for the fight. Madness of Deathwing brings us infinite mana Magmaw style encounters back so we’re going to be gods of this fight as well.
    Simonek´s last post ..Ragnaros Heroic


    • ^ What Simonek said.

      Was in for all fights healing with a Hpally and Rdruid, and had no problem keeping up and even beating the druid while leaving the pally way behind. Madness is an awesome fight for us, was sitting at at-least 25khps with the others at 20 and 15kish.

      Bring on heroics :D


  35. Dak

    Hehe, you are the person I point to whenever someone says Rsham can’t do it or whatnot, and you’re the one I come to when the overwhelming whining has gotten to me. :)

    Thank you so much for doing what you do. I don’t know you and I doubtless never will, but from one nerd to another: /hug.

    Keep rocking.


  36. Dak

    Oh yeah, and you’re also the one I point to when I hear (jokingly or not) that females can’t play. SUCK IT JERKS.


  37. Last night while our guild blitzed through the first couple of bosses of D-soul culminating in a bit of tuning up on Ultraxion for Sundays beat down . (undeniably being Alexstrasa is cool)

    (No snootiness at the progress were causal core burnouts from hard-core guilds so 3 hours to kill 4 and a bit bosses and pretty much guarantee a 5th felt like a good raid to us)

    I started to go over my performance compared to our other regular healers and I really felt the faith coming back , I’ve managed to keep upper middle pack by really maximising my performance as much as possible through firelands HC , and I’ve not been benched yet other than voluntarily when
    I’ve known a healer wanted something or I wanted to be kind to them .

    It feels like there’s Gas in the tank again

    Is it mastery with the raid encounters having more damage ?
    Is it the changes to shamans, the buff to riptide and healing rains granting increased hp to the raid
    Is it fight mechanics with chain-heal coming to its own ‘ even in 10’s ’

    All I know is it feels like this ( possibly posted before but :-O)

    http://www.thedailyblink.com/2011/10/totey-the-loneliest-shaman/


    • Just my personal opinion, but to take a stab at the last three questions.

      Yes. Always true on a new tier with more mistakes to go around.
      Partly, though I don’t see how healing rains was changed….
      and ABSO-F-ING-LOOTLY. Yes. All the fights except maybe the ice phase of Hagra seem like they allow sufficient density for CH to actually work as intended.

      I’m in a strict 10 man guild, downed 4 bosses so far in about 3-4 hrs of raiding. Only learning the ping-pong game gave us any difficulty. Two bosses one shot, Hagra took 2-3 tries (we didn’t see the ice walls growing out of the middle). Not bad for my little casual guild.


  38. and I join the group of “fans”. as for me this place, your blog. is all that I needed. and even more. how much of science and useful knowledge contained herein. About our Shamans from the sign of the spirit of nature.

    what can I say about what I found here .. in the current guild .. I’m clas leader. GM kazla one solar day I do a small guide for resto .. and for this and all he did.

    “f__k me, I’m lazy draney (from TBC did not repair the Exodar is just laziness), all I wanted to know., from scratch after Sophisticated mathematics, interwoven with teorycrafting is here> link <"

    I do not think I have to write where he ran? :)

    that is so briefly ..
    thanks for all the calculations in exelu
    and for thousands of magic numbers to remember
    very nice application, which itself occurred not check

    and in total for it to know from somewhere else in the world are like me. who, despite what the numbers show in August will inspect not.

    besides you help in creating a monster ..
    over several months, the first resto shaman on the "Bladefist EU".
    the third today, healer (only holyprist Druja and above) .. 8/8n and nice in the first week.
    at the beginning 4.xx, I prayed not to get a kick from the 1st group ..
    determined as the robot; heal, intterpts, cc, slowing everything that could, freeing the dps's with their work, miniTank – Adds a collector of other healers … > Where others can not, there goes Totemiaczak <<

    thanks to the knowledge of your blog, and just great stubbornness on my shaman in the game I am who I am. and I'm proud of

    Keep warm, with gratitude and respect for YOU!!
    Totemiaczek.

    and from me to all resto shamys if yor RL ask cen you heal this? :
    It’s not a question of can or can’t. There are some things you just to do.

    and sorry for my english, I’m not in the best :/


  39. Dundai

    Hey Vixsin
    Great post. As allways insightfull and high quality reading. I hope that you´ll keep the good work for yet another two years :)


  40. Taton

    Thanks for sticking it out through the hard times, your community appreciates it. You’re my favorite WoW blog because your positive, measured posts are not only refreshing but also a necessary counter to the unproductive forum ranting out there. In particular, your feedback post in the Shaman forums hit the nail squarely on the head and provided well-structured points for others to pick up and run with. It’s a rare thing to be responsible for elevating discourse and I’m impressed that after two tiers of artificially high hurdles for our spec, your continue to do just that. Never lose that perspective.

    And welcome back to Mal’Ganis!


  41. Tronador (nee Vorin)

    I getcha. I hit the end of my leash in FL myself, took a few months off, and was lured back to WoW after a couple encounters (IRL!) with old guildies. In short, I missed my friends. But I had no desire to start working my ass off as a resto shammy in 10m raiding, all over again.

    I did that shudder-ful thing: I specced ele, and now just blow things up. Having never raided as anything but heals…this is fun. Really fun. But I wonder how long it will be.

    Yerself, I’d never had made it as far as I had without your support. You are the premier resto shammy blogger. I still read every damn article you write, and love them all, even though I’m on resto-hiatus (though I do /cheer each time there’s a clumping mechanic in DS.) I cannot, cannot imagine the work it takes to produce this level of content, *and* field the questions as a yoda must. (Yes, I’ve asked some myself!)

    TLDNR ver: THANK YOU VIXSIN. I hope you find your balance, becuase in doing so finding our own becomes a little easier. /knucks


  42. Anastas

    I’ve been reading LiG5 for about a year and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed both your playing advice and your stories. I play my resto shammy much better thanks largely to your excelent writing. If it is any consolation, not every resto shaman is having a laousy time this expansion. I occassionaly raid 10s in a casual guild (with some people who raid more seriously on other toons) and when I manage to not stand in the in the fire, I’m often on top of the meters and feel I’ve brought a lot to thet raid. So, many good thoughts and warm wmishes to you, Vixsen.

    Anyway, thanks very much for your wonderful posts.


  43. kuko

    Well wow, not managed to read this before. What an absolute stunning article. I’m not as professionally developed as most and nor am I into the mathamatically side of wow but on each of your posts I can relate to one thing or another. As I imagine, so caqn the rest of the shaman com

    The first thing I check when shaman news is on mmo champs or facebook pop up is this site, to see your veiw/spin on things, When a new patch comes out I check your site for BiS or maybe a change to gearing and gemming, I see myself as a good reactive healer and am always getting praised about my healing, this in turn feeds down from your information.

    Be proud of what you have accomplished and even more so that you’ve found a good balance to both work/life/play!

    Keep these epic posts coming and I’ll keep reading!

    Kuk( funny o ) :p
    Aerie peak


  44. Right there with you Vix, I got your back.
    Ashlay´s last post ..About me


  45. Lardmus

    We <3 you. Chin up and onwards towards new progress wipes!


  46. Cnossus

    Very, very bright people over here, including those of you who have commented. Thanks, Vixsin, for a terrific blog with your incisive, perceptive, and very helpful observations. Sadly, I am frantically levelling a druid based on those excellent parse charts. Good luck to you all.


  47. Calmseer

    So, apparently KIN got the World-First Madness of Deathwing kill with four shamans in the raid: three resto, one elemental. Reportedly they also had not a single warrior in the kill.

    I’m dying to hear what the rest of their healing team was. Will still be calling us the “useless class”?

    Whatever the case, I’m enjoying Dragon Soul, even if I do feel like Blizzard simply built a raid instance around our strengths instead of fixing us. I’ll take it for now.


  48. Calmseer

    ^ Should read, “Will DREAM Paragon still be calling us the ‘useless class’?”


 
 



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