Blood Pact: Mistakes other people make
Blood Pact is your weekly warlock digest brought to you by Dominic Hobbs. "So this is hell. I'd never have believed it. You remember all we were told about the torture-chambers, the fire and brimstone, the "burning marl." Old wives' tales! There's no need for red-hot pokers. Hell is--other people" ~ Jean-Paul Sartre
While I try not to read Arcane Brilliance if I can help it, I did notice that the one on January 16th had a lot of comments and an intriguing title. While I didn't expect Mr. Pants to actually start flaming mages I did hold out some hope for all those comments. Anyway, the piece inspired me to write a similar article. Not so much because there are a lot of warlocks that need improvement but rather they need a place to point others, so they may learn how to play with a lock.
So here's a short list of things I see in groups and raids that could be improved and make the whole experience a lot smoother.
As locks we are masters of managing our health and mana. While we have limited ability to fill up the green one, this should be no issue when we have a healer around. The problem is that so often the healer doesn't realize that his healing you after Life Tap is a direct link to his being able to get his gear (...emblems or whatever). You are there to kill the stuff for him, he is there to let you do that faster and with less dying. It gets so bad that sometimes we have to actually ask the healer to heal us! This sorry state of affairs has gone on so long that there are even locks that extol the virtues of self healing abilities and Dark Pact simply because they make it easier on the healer.
Healers, please listen. We locks want to kill all the nasty things between you and the goal, be they bosses, trash or that creepy looking spider that startled you earlier on. We will happily do this and never shirk on the dealing of the damage. Please remember us in your healing and think about how we want to use the health bar for our mana. We get through mana so much faster than you (seriously locks, if you have never played a healer you wouldn't believe how long they can go without drinking and they have no Life tap at all!), and while you regenerate it passively all the time we have to tap. Throw us a HoT after every pull and we'll just tap for the duration, or be ready to throw a heal before each pull as we tap between fights.
After all that though, there are some things that us locks can do to make things easier on our more healing-shy healers.
- On long fights (bosses) tap little and often, this plays well with GaLT anyway but also means that you will probably either heal yourself up or pick up incidental heals from the likes of PoM, CoH, CH etc.
- Don't tap away half your life just before the next trash pull. Make sure you have what you need but if you go into the fight with a big deficit then you not only distract the healer from the tank (which may be nasty) but also force that healer into a big(ish) heal at a time when the tank may not have much threat on all the mobs (especially any ranged mobs).
- If you just want to proc GoLT then use a rank one Life Tap.
- Make sure you can see HoTs when they are on you, if you notice one then you can consider using it to top up your mana as well as your health.
- If you use addons such as PitBull you can set this to show any heals incoming. If it is going to have some overhealing to it then you might want to get a quick Life Tap in before it lands. The healer is only going to be frustrated by the lock that taps just after they topped them off.
Pets are part of the team. Pretty much every pet or minion has some synergy with their master and as such the better one performs, the better both perform. When a minion or pet dies a significant portion of what that character has invested in, has been removed from the fight. Healers, for the love of God, have pets on your healing bars and show them a modicum of care. I'm not suggesting that any pet gets heals in favour of a player (well, maybe a mage) and especially the tank, but to disregard them completely is crazy. Minions these days are pretty damn hard to kill (probably because Blizz knows they are important and can't persuade healers to care) but that doesn't mean they are invulnerable. On the other hand, they are very easy to heal, with all that mitigation something as simple as a disc bubble lasts them for ages and a small heal will normally fill up any health bar.
And buffs. Dear lord how many times have I entered an instance after a wipe and every buffing class rattles through their buffs while I summon my minion. Yes it is good to get back into the fight faster but you wouldn't give the mage a lower rank spell than everyone else just because it saved you a few seconds, would you? That's what you do to pet classes by not buffing their pets. Demonology locks make great use of minion buffs with talents like Demonic Knowledge. So to all buffing classes, don't forget the pets.
Again, there are things we locks can do to help here:
- If you have the chance to summon your pet before you get to the place where buffs are cast then do so. Even the most fastidious pet-buffer can easily forget how many pets there should be before he can start. No good in TotC, but most other places you can summon as soon as you step through the instance portal then move on for buffs.
- Tell your imp to stand away from you (and anyone else) if the fight includes targeted AoE attacks (such as Northrend Beasts and Professor Putricide) so they don't end up standing in nasty stuff for ages. Just not so far from healers that they can't reach them.
- Switch off Phase Shift. Seriously, it was standard form in TBC to have your imp act as a portable and immune mana-battery but these days he is (or should be) actively taking a part in combat. Having Phase Shift on auto-cast is just a waste of his mana and means he is safe when he is out of combat and is completely impervious to getting buffs. Switch it off.
Ok, this is a tough one for the PUGs that many of us are doing these days but it is one of the easiest ways to reduce the "WTF factor". Let the tank mark up, if that means he has to become the group leader then so be it. Tanks, mark the target you want us to make dead first. Tanks will often bemoan the difficulty of AoE tanking and blame the AoEing DPS for pulling aggro. This is all very well if you want the DPS to focus one target but if you don't tell them this, then you'll likely get the DPS doing whatever delivers the most damage per second, that's what they are there for. Slap a skull on any mob and most DPS will be itching to see how fast they can kill it, affording you a little time to throw in some AoE moves on the rest. Threat generation in Wrath is crazy and while AoE threat-gen may feel weak in comparison these abilities are tuned to be effective enough for burst damage classes to wail on even with every buff n the game.
What can we locks do to help here?
- If the leader marks something to die then kill it first. The tank should be generating their threat hard and fast on that target so go for it. If you are asked to nuke skull then don't AoE simply because there are more than two mobs within 20 yards of each other.
- Get a feel for your tank's abilities. While it's the tank's fault if they're about as threatening as a sock puppet it's still the DPSers fault if they pull aggro. Use a threat meter and watch it. If you are constantly well behind the tank then you know you can open up with every can of whoop-ass in the larder.
- Know how to ramp up damage. This might be by starting with slow DoTs (CoA for example) or even waiting a little while. If your tank needs time to generate threat then give it to them; it's frustrating but better than paying repair costs.
- Be aware of threat ranges. In the Blood Pact about voidwalkers we talked about threat mechanics; remember that you can have more threat before taking aggro if you stay at range.
- Know when you have aggro. It may sound silly but many people don't even know if they pull aggro. Addons like PitBull again make this very easy with the banzai module but there are many, many ways to know and this is something not to be ignorant of.
- Run towards the tank. If you do get aggro, then running from the fight and leading the mob away from your tank like some Benny Hill sketch will probably result in the mob chasing you till he catches you and kills you. if you run towards the tank then they have a better chance of getting it off you.
- Shatter. I know it uses a shard and has a cooldown but don't be that guy that never uses his cooldowns in case one day he needs them. If you rise high on threat then dump it if you want to carry on blasting. If you get aggro then get rid of it.
- Don't always just assist the tank. This is kinda opposed to what Pants said but he made the assumption that the tank was not swapping targets much or at all. It is true that what the tank is looking at as he starts the fight is probably what he wants dead first, this isn't sure enough to work with. Having the focus frame and seeing their target is good but a decent tank will be tabbing away and making sure none of the mobs he is controlling runs off and splats their healer (yes, they care more about the healer than you). Get used to knowing which mob is next to die (assuming you aren't AoEing) and work on that. Often it's better to reduce the enemies number one at a time than keeping them all alive until the end, even if that makes the fight shorter. A mob on half health hurts just as much as one on full health (normally).
Blood Pact is a weekly column detailing DoTs, demons, and all the dastardly deeds done by Warlocks. If you're curious about what's new with Locks since the last patch, check out WoW.com's guide to patch 3.3 or find out what's upcoming in Cataclysm from the BlizzCon 2009: Class Discussion Panel.
Filed under: Warlock, Raiding, (Warlock) Blood Pact
Reader Comments (Page 1 of 8)
Yomamma Jan 25th 2010 4:08PM
As a healer, if you start spamming heal me in raid or in vent, you get put to the last of my priority list. Yes, I know your health is low because you life tapped. I am aware of everyone's health . Be patient, I will get to you.
Unexpected EOF Jan 25th 2010 4:17PM
As a warlock, I fully support your choice here. Unless the healer is terrible (and I am being terrible for not having managed my mana properly) I will never ask for a heal. And I'm not one of those people who thinks most healers are terrible. I have had two bad healers out of well over 100 random PuGs.
jay estrela Jan 25th 2010 4:26PM
You must have never played a Warlock. My main was a warlock but is now a Resto Sham so I have seen it from both sides. Many healers will feel put off that a warlock will just tap after a pull instead of drinking and in response just not heal them until they take mob damage. I agree that this can be annoying but the fact is that it takes two seconds to top them back off and throw a hot or shield on the tank then start drinking yourself. By the time the tank has pulled the next mob and is taking dmg you will be back to full mana and can come back and heal the group back to full which will DRAMATICALLY increase the pace in an instance.
Yomamma Jan 25th 2010 4:28PM
I don't know. The more I read this article, the angrier I get. There are other people in the raid that I need to pay attention to over your pet. I'm sorry if it gets missed on heals and buffs. And no...I do not put pet's heath bar on my unit frames. I have enough things to worry about in the raid. Your pet is your responsibility. Learn how to manage it. And for the love of all things, please learn how to read a threat meter. If you see yourself going up high, back off of the DPS. Take some responsibility of your survivability on yourself. Don't rely so much on the healers doing all the work for you.
Urkwow Jan 25th 2010 4:33PM
Amen for healers. The warlock who poasted this is a jerk. As a healer, who has to drink between fights: if I'm sitting and drinking, to get mana, and you life tap you will get no heals. If I'm spending my time and vitrual gold to get mana back, you can sit your cheap, lazy ass down and do the same. Healers are not your personal mana battery. If you actually have to sit and drink between fights, too bad. All the other caster classes have to drink mana, too. Groups are NOT solo. You are now acting as a cooperative, not a single person who is pulling mutiple mobs as fast as you can to level. It is NOT ok do go into fights with half health, cause your pet will tank the mobs. Healers want to take every advantage they can get going into fights, and that menas full health for everyone. Your life tap annoys the living crap out of us. Just sit and drink. Or even better, tap once, and sit and eat and drink, so you get health and mana regen at the same time.
That being said, in raids where you run low on mana, sure, you can get health back. But be sure you are close enough to someone taking damage to get healing splash. Healers notice who takes damage, and who takes damage often. Those are the first to be ignored for heals in a tight situation. In the long run, they are not worth spending mana on to keep up. Constant use of life tap will put you on that list very fast. You become as bad as the loser that always stands in the fire. If you life tap at the wrong time, we let you die first.
Keep in mind, healers cannot kill you. But if you are stupid and take unnecessary damage, we can let the Darwinian process finish its work.
kathodos Jan 25th 2010 4:32PM
As someone that plays a healer and a warlock, I agree.
Slog Jan 25th 2010 4:38PM
Wow some of you healers ARE diva's.
Come over to my group, I got you, your mana, and your pets backs.
Jennifer Jan 25th 2010 4:42PM
re: Yomamma's comment on pets.
I do actually have a special bar for pets in my window, but it is strategically placed several inches below my main healing bar. It works out well for me, because if I'm spamming heals, I'll only see the players, because they are my first responsibility. When I get a chance to breath, I can take a broad look at all of the bars and will be able to toss heals towards the pets, too.
And with respect to Jay Estrela's response, I would argue that if the tank is pulling while the healer is OOM, then there is something fundamentally wrong with the run to begin with. I have been in many situations where I have to race after a tank and pray that I'll get him shielded before he dies and finally get within range when he/she is at 25% health. The faster things go do, then faster he moves, the harder it is for the healer to catch up. And having a healer who is out of range and/or out of LOS of the tank is just as bad as having one who is OOM.
adyuaa Jan 25th 2010 4:44PM
I used to have a macro that cast regrowth and whispered to the lock, "Welcome to Kah's rehabilitation for locks who have been yelled at by healers. Regrowth is on you and will continue healing for 27 seconds. If you Life Tap in that time, it will be healed with no extra effort on the healers' part."
Of course, that was unwieldy and annoying after a time or two, so I reduced it to one line and try to keep track of locks who want the reminder and those who don't.
When I play my lock, I try to keep an eye on the healer. If they go out of mana faster, I Life Tap less and try to do so when a Haunt is coming back to me quickly.
Yomamma Jan 25th 2010 4:50PM
I actually play a Resto Shaman...so your pets are indirectly being healed by my glyphed healing totem, and from chain heal. I just don't see a need to keep an eye on a pets health. I also play a hunter, and know that when my pet gets low on health it's time to pull him back. Why can't locks learn to do that as well?
And for throwing a HOT to a warlock lifetapping. I have no problem doing that either. My HOT's are kind of limited so you're not getting my first riptide at the start of the pull. That goes to the tank.
My beef really is with those who say HEAL ME in vent or in chat. It seemed like the Author is one of those bads.
Ratskinmahoney Jan 25th 2010 5:13PM
That kind of attitude is precisely what the point of that part of the article was about. Warlocks have small mana pools compared to every other caster class, we have much greater mana costs per casts than every other caster class. You think you have to burn your gold drinking, well it would cost us four times as much to keep ourselves topped up in that way.
Sure if the group has stopped for a mana break, and a Warlock is standing around at 5% health waiting for you to finish and not eating then he/she is taking the piss, but our class is designed around the understanding that we make good use of life-tap. Also, as ISL destro, or Afflic we generate pretty awesome amounts of self-healing, so it's not like we're not helping you out at all.
Noone's expecting you to manage our pets for us, but there are limits to what we can do. I don't expect you to prioritise my pet over any member of the raid, just to be aware that he is part of the raid dps and he is giving you free spirit and intellect, unless I'm dreadful, he's not going to be asking for much. If you struggle that much with healing in that encounter, let him die first, if not you're doing yourself no favours by ignoring him.
We appreciate healers more than most, because we know that we depend on you for dps, even if we're taking no damage. We hand out healthstones, and you're always the ones to get our soulstones, just understand we need a little more love than mages :)
Keruna Jan 25th 2010 5:25PM
Wow you healers are seriously on Diva status. I play both a resto druid and a warlock and I fully understand how easy it is to heal a lock when they lifetap. The only time lifetap has been a problem is when a silly lock taps in the middle of a boss fight when they are seriously low on HP. Most of the time a couple of quick hots that regen faster for me since my gear has a butt ton of Mp5 will top off the lock without me even feeling it. I pretty much just make it standard practice to throw a hot on the lock both right before a pull, and right after we down mobs so they can lifetap.
It's important to keep in mind that if the lock you are healing dies it takes longer to run the instance anyway. The whole point is to get through as quickly as possible and deaths/drinking just slows the whole process down.
Dharmabhum Jan 25th 2010 5:43PM
Thanks for addressing the interaction between my Renew button and your Life Tap! I
Enli Jan 25th 2010 5:55PM
As a healer, my opinion is that you locks can just life tap away as you see fit, as long as you don't do it during combat just when the boss is about to do his big AoE attack. I am drowning in regen, I can spare the heals.
I will also buff your pet, even if you summon it after I've buffed everybody else. And I'll also heal it, no problem, as long as you understand the priority list in a typical 5-man is: tank, me, DPS, pets.
Just watch your threat. That's really the only problem I ever have with locks, as soon as they get some nice gear they become aggro monkeys. Just remember that you're still a clothie...
Ozzard Jan 25th 2010 5:58PM
I play a tree with about 400 MP5 in (unbuffed). In heroics, as you'd expect, I generally have plenty of mana. I usually tell any warlocks "If you've got a HoT on you, feel free to lifetap". It's usually greeted with "Yay!" or similar :-). I'll then try to keep a Regrowth on the 'lock at essentially all times. Most 'locks then tap as often as they need to keep the mana bar reasonably well topped off. It keeps the group running smoothly, and everyone's happy.
Lifetapping to top off mana helps in other ways too. If I have to drop everything and keep the tank alive, I may have no GCDs (or *very* occasionally mana) to keep a spare HoT on a warlock. At that point, most 'locks have a plenty large enough mana pool to keep on nuking until the crisis is over one way or the other.
James Jan 25th 2010 6:35PM
I use Dark Pact instead of Life Tap since 3.3 because it raises much more mana in less time and doesn't require healing. Obviously this only works for affliction, but that is the best spec anyway :D
What does annoy me about other healers (I have a priest too) is that they will rarely put a lock, mage or shadow priest above another dps on healing priority. Surely it stands to reason that a squishy with 18k health is more likely to die from unavoidable damage than a ret paladin with 24k? On my disc priest bubble priority goes Tank>Me>Clothies>Leather>Mail>Plate. It is not so hard!
Cyanea Jan 25th 2010 6:45PM
One thing that Warlocks never realize and that annoys me as a healer (who has an 80 lock that I once raided with, so I'm not just talking out of my ass here) is that you DON'T need to be at full mana for trash. With Replenishment aplenty, you don't even need to be at HALF mana for trash.
Also...for those of you who have the Glyph for LT, put Life Tap Rank One on your bar and do THAT at the beginning of a pull.
Xova Jan 27th 2010 4:40AM
I guess I take a proactive approach to Lifetapping 'locks since I play a Priest as a main and alt a Warlock. When I'm on my Priest, I tell the Warlock they can LT as needed and I'll heal them up. I recommend they use Rank 1 Life Tap if they're just using it as part of their rotation. I'll usually just keep Renew running on the warlock at all times, and that's enough to keep their health up. If they LT more than my Renew can handle, that's on them. With pets, I have pet frames on my VuhDo grid, and will heal and buff them as needed - I understand they're an important part of DPS and hey, more DPS helps make my job easier too.
When I play my 'lock, I do get annoyed if a healer doesn't bother tossing me a HoT or a quick heal now and then. I don't LT excessively with her, and I use Rank 1 LT in my DPS rotation. I usually keep my 'lock at about 75% mana. If it's after a hard fight and I get below that, then yeah I eat/drink - it's not a big deal. But having played both sides, and knowing how many times a Warlock should need to LT, as well as knowing how much a simple HoT can heal for, there's no reason that a healer shouldn't be able to toss a Warlock one to top them off, nor is there any reason for a Warlock to LT down to dangerous levels.
bughunter Jan 25th 2010 11:51PM
As a warlock in a guild with an excellent healer who is always on and always ready for a random dungeon, I often thank her for "healz" when she tops me up after I LT, and I remind her her "if I LT too much let me know."
Her response is usually just, "kk np," but once she said "don't LT before a boss pull." She didn't know about the GoLT. But then I didn't have a rank 1 LT hotkeyed, either. Now I do.
I never complain about late heals, nor do I even ask for heals. If I don't get a heal it's because the tank or the mage needs it more; I bandage. Or I use my HS or a potion. That's what they're for.
And I NEVER expect her to spend mana healing my pet. I get far, far more effective pet healing out of Health Funnel... and if it dies, then resummoning it costs only a shard.
In return, I make sure she always has a healthstone and a soulstone, and I'll even throw a scroll or a bandage on her if I think it's needed. (And if she goes down, I'm the first to bandage the tank, though it doesn't usually make much of a difference.)
I'm the only 80 warlock in the guild, so i certainly don't want to give the impression that warlocks are greedy for heals, or that LT is a pain for the healer. I want the warlock to be essential.
Azizrael Jan 26th 2010 2:31AM
My Affliction lock will always be my mine but I've also been gearing up a Holy Paladin and I'm with you all the way.
I've never encountered anything but Destro locks running random heroics and it's about a 50-50 split between people who know when to tap and how much, and the guy who taps five or six times to get his mana back to full and his health down to 2k right as the tank pulls the first pack on the ramp after Krick & Ick in POS HC. Please don't be that guy - if the tank is taking hits from four mobs at once and the rogue is standing in the AOE, they're going to get heals before you.
That doesn't mean "the lock won't get healed because he annoys me", it just means priorities that need juggling by a single target healer (well, double with Beacon) and you should at least be very careful to not take aggro on anything while two or more players are taking damage.
Sadly those life taps often lead to a rain of fire before the Prot Warrior has a chance to build up enough aggro, and the ensuing mess is the healer's fault.
Most players who understand class mechanics understand that warlocks need to life tap to gain mana from health. You don't always need a full mana bar on every fight - better to tap once every 10-20 seconds than keep your mana topped up at the expense of your health and the healer's sanity.