The Second Most Important Thing
A dead dps’er does no dps. Watch the 0/21/40 Warlock rip aggro too fast off the tank. Watch him die. Watch him continue to be dead and do no damage. Same goes for a bad enhancement shaman that Stormstrikes too early in a boss fight, or maybe even just starts out too early gets some unlucky windfury crits, rips aggro, pulls boss, and in a best case scenario dies. In a worst case scenario the tank can’t recover aggro, the Mage Ice Blocks, three healers die and it’s a wipe.
Similarly, Blizzard is quite fond of the “stay out of the fire/void/water/lava/poison/etc” type of encounters. Gruul: move out of cave-ins. Lurker: get under the water. Zul’Jin: avoid cyclones in phase 3, get out of the pillars of fire in phase 5. Rage Winterchill: run from Death & Decay. And along those lines there are whirlwinds to avoid on bosses (High King, Zul’Jin, Leo), times when aggro is dropped, and adds to pickup, kill, and/or avoid. Not to mention environmental damage.
All this adds up to a lot happening to everyone in the raid, and lots of hurt for the healers to fix. You might not get a timely heal so don’t take chances. Instead take measures to ensure you stay alive. Here are the things I do to be sure I’m up and about throughout the entire boss fight:
1) Don’t start until the tank is good and ready. On fights like Gruul and Void Reaver I wait a loooong loooong time. I know I’m going to out-threat at least 1 of the 3 or 4 tanks. I want them to have as much of a lead as possible.
2) Use health pots. Sounds logical right? You’d be surprised how many dps’ers don’t show up to raids with health pots. Or that don’t use them. Buy the mats on the AH, find a potion master in your guild and have them make you stacks—procs FTW.
3) Healthstones. In my guild we call it “Stoney Crack” because I’m addicted to healthstones. I ask for fresh HS after every wipe and before every boss fight. I want to be sure everyone in the raid has every opportunity to stay alive, but also, the HS is the first thing that I use.
4) Lesser Healing Wave. Yeah, you can heal yourself! Go figure. In fact, if you are spec’d right you even have +healing based on your AP. Throw yourself a heal.
Seems logical right? Not breaking news here; not telling you anything you don’t already know. But how often do you pop a HS, a pot, and throw yourself a LHW? If you die on a boss fight with either HS or pots on CD then you've failed--except of course for those 27k Hurtful Strikes. ouch.
I’ll throw out one other tidbit. OK two-—I’m feeling generous, maybe it’s the Guinness talking. First, hot key your means to heal. Be it HS, pot, or LHW, keep them close at hand. I learned this in the fall as we were taking on Lurker. After taking a Whirl followed by a Geyser (or vice-versa) then scrambling to get my mouse over to the health pot section of one of my action bars as my life ticks away 500 health at a time from Scalding Water and a close call or two and a death or three, I decided to make full use of my mouse. I have a 5-button mouse and in real life the two thumb buttons on mapped to Ctrl+V and Ctrl+C for quick copy and paste functionality as I’m Excel-ing my way through the day. So in WoW I have them bound to my HS and health pots; occasionally to a auto self-cast LHW. Pressing a button is 0.5 to 1.0 second faster than seeking and clicking—-and often makes the difference between life and death.
Finally, I have a WTFOMGHOLYS#!& heal macro. The macro pops everything I have that can possibly heal me in one click. I stopped using it in raids where healers are quick to respond and a HS+pot combo results in about 3 subsequent over-heals, whereas popping a HS will save my ass long enough for the healers to react and top me off. But, if you want the macro it’s something like this:
/use Master Healthstone
/use Crystal Charged Focus
/use Cenarion Healing Salve
/use Bottled Nethergon Vapor
/use Super Healing Potion
The “Master Healthstone” will use any of the three levels, and since it shares a CD with Crystal Charged Focus you won’t burn both. Next just for laziness I include the two instance-specific heal pots followed by the general one.
Happy dpsing with your new-found extra long life. LHW FTW!