My previous post had me delving into the lighter side of things, and joining in with the "non-meme" Circle of Healers thing.  This time, I am joining Death Goddess in filling out the DPS Survey, which I have decided to call the Circle of Killers.

What is the name, class, and spec of your primary dps?
Spazmoosifer, Priest, Shadow (13/0/58)
Spazknight, Death Knight, currently Blood/Unholy

What is your primary dpsing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
Spazmoosifer: Mostly 10 & 25-man raids, with the occasional 5-man run.
Spazknight: Primarily 5-man instances and some 10-man raids.

What is your favorite dps spell/ability for your class and why?
Spazmoosifer: I don't have one particular spell or ability that I like necessarily more than others. I do like the synergy between various spells, for example, I love the fact that Vampiric Touch and Mind Blast work together for replenishment, while Mind Flay and Shadow Word: Pain mix well too.

Spazknight: Prior to the changes to Unholy Blight, that would have been my favorite ability, however, I have become rather fond of Hysteria lately, which I like to cast on other melee DPS in order to help out the entire group.

What dps spell do you use least for your class and why?
Spazmoosifer: Shadow Word: Death has pretty much fallen out of my casting priority all together, except when I am running into a fight and need a filler spell.  The reason being is that other spells generally take a higher priority due to higher damage gains, and I don't suffer the backlash (that can kill you on some fights like Hodir if not managed properly).

Spazknight: I have the horrible tendency to not use Rune Strike at all.  Though I am planning on adding it to my macros in order to make it more of a "without thinking" kind of ability.

What do you feel is the biggest strength of your dps class and why?
Spazmoosifer: Shadow priests are amazingly adaptive, especially with the ability to switch to healing on a whim.  When played properly, a well geared shadow priest can surprise even seasoned veteran DPSers.

Spazknight: The biggest strength of a death knight, in my opinion, is their ability to switch from a DPSer to a Tank with little more than a gear change, and likewise, a DK Tank can easily switch to DPS if necessary.

What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your dps class and why?
Spazmoosifer: Shadow priests have had consistent issues with scaling for quite a long time.  A result of these issues is that in lower tiers of content, they are very much sought after, and become less sought after when moving to higher tier content.

Spazknight
: Death knights are still a baby when it comes to the evolution of the information that is available when compared to other classes.  This is due to both being the newest available class, as well as the fact that there are many more options available for talent trees when compared to other classes, allowing for a wide variety of game play.

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best dps assignment for you?
Spazmoosifer: Because I think it is the biggest strength of the shadow priest, I believe that any assignment that I am given is appropriate, as long as the raid leader is assigning other DPS to appropriate roles.  If I am asked to single target DPS, I will single target DPS like a mad man.  If I am asked to AoE DPS, I will wipe them all out.

Spazknight: Because I am less comfortable overall with my death knight, I do prefer to do more single target damage. Specifically, if the target is moving very little, or moving around but slowly, I can usually keep up with others.

What dps class do you enjoy dpsing with most and why?
Spazmoosifer: When playing on my shadow priest, I absolutely love DPSing with Warlocks and Boomkins.  The buffs that they provide help increase my overall damage by a lot if the players know what they are doing.

Spazknight: Because Hysteria is my current favorite ability, I absolutely love throwing it on a warrior.  It is even more fun when they don't quite realize what is going on.

What dps class do you enjoy dpsing with least and why?
Spazmoosifer: I actually don't like mages when it comes to DPS, as they seem like they are overly self focused as a class, though I do appreciate the biscuits and intellect buff I get from them.  Also, the fact that mages seem to be able to get much higher on the DPS charts with a lot less trouble is rather annoying, along with the fact that many of them have issues controlling their threat, and end up dying.

Spazknight: Paladins.  Never liked DPSing with them...not quite sure why.

What is your worst habit as a dps?
Spazmoosifer: My worst habit (and possibly most beneficial to the raid as a whole) is that I am very willing to stop DPSing and begin healing if I determine it is necessary.  I am not sure, but I think that this may annoy some people, especially when all it does is prolong a wipe.

Spazknight: Pulling aggro, but not by overtaking the tank in threat.  Rather I don't rely on the tank always having a taunt, etc. on cooldown when another DPSer pulls threat, so I will try to bring the target back via Death Grip.

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while dpsing?
Spazmoosifer: People that don't move out of the fire.  If you are running DBM or BigWigs, you should never have a problem with this if it is set up properly. Move your ass out of the fire, and pay attention.

Spazknight: Not getting heals.  A lot of times, melee DPS are given less priority because of their relative location compared to the tanks.  However, I do appreciate those healers that use their "smart" heals, such as Circle of Healing or Chain Heal.

Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other dps?
Spazmoosifer: I actually don't feel that the shadow priest is balanced well with other DPS classes.  Blizzard has made the comment that "hybrid" classes should have lower DPS than "pure" classes, which I am completely okay with.  I do have a problem, however, when a DPS class that is more than one tier under me is able to throw out more damage during a fight.

Spazknight: I don't really feel comfortable with giving a definitive answer to this, as I have just recently picked up on playing my death knight again, though from what I have seen, I think the class is relatively well balanced when compared to the other melee DPS classes.

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a damage dealer?
Spazmoosifer: I use a number of tools to evaluate my performance, including Recount, World of Logs, WoWMeterOnline, ShadowFriend, doing DPS testing on target dummies, and keeping a mental note of where my performance was previously on encounters.

Spazknight: Because I play my death knight more casually than my priest, the only real tool that I use to evaluate my performance is Recount.

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your class?
Spazmoosifer: The biggest misconception about shadow priests is that they cannot compete with other classes in DPS.  There have been numerous times when I have gotten whispers asking how I am so high on the "DPS meters".  I believe that this misconception comes from people that don't spend the time to learn how to properly play the class.  Just a note for people: if you know your class, you can beat out others on the meters.

Spazknight: Death knights are overpowered.  While at the beginnings of the class, the death knight was indeed overpowered, which was a class balancing issue.  Now after people have geared up more, and Blizzard has implemented changes, the classes seem much more balanced.

What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new dpsers of your class to learn?
Spazmoosifer: The most difficult thing for new shadow priests is how to manage your spells when casting.  The biggest problem that I see is that people don't know how to manage the various DoTs, and casting spells at inopportune times, causing a loss of DPS.

Spazknight: Many people playing death knights switch over from being casters, and managing the runic power along with the runes can be a major issue.

What dps class do you feel you understand least?
Paladins are probably my least understood DPS class, this is likely due to the fact that I have never played a paladin, and during my play time, I have actually run with relatively few paladin DPSers.

What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in dps?
I am what I like to call an add-on-aholic.  All together, I have 82 different add-ons installed right now.  However, I am constantly switching between add-ons, getting rid of the ones I don't like, and finding new ones.  However, if I were to recommend any add-ons to aid in DPS, I would say the Forte group of add-ons are spectacular (and were actually created by people on my server which is pure win).

Strength over other stats or balanced stat allocation, and why?
For both my priest and my death knight I try to keep my stats pretty well balanced, and watch the areas where there are "caps" in place (such as hit, expertise, etc.) so that I don't stray too far away from those "cap" values.  I do keep more up to date on my priest by regularly viewing the forums over at ShadowPriest.com.
 
 
Many of those that walk in the shadows also dabble a bit with walking in the light as either a Holy or Discipline Priest, and currently, there is an effort to improve healing all around the WoW universe, especially with the healing bloggers out there.  This effort to improve healing is taking place in the form of a blogpost survey, here's my contribution:

What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?
Spazmoosifer, (primarily Shadow) Holy Priest

What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
Split between 10 and 25-man raid healing, with the occasional 5-man.

What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?
Prayer of Mending is by far my favorite healing spell, not only does it heal for a decent amount, it also jumps around like a kid with ADD.  It also reminds me of Ron Popeil, where you set it, and forget it (for like 10 seconds).

What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?

Noobishly, I tend to not use Binding Heal very often, which is most likely due to the fact that I am rarely taking damage, because I avoid the fire like the plague.

What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?
I definitely think that the biggest strength of a Holy Priest is the ability to adapt to various situations.  During the course of a night, I may be asked to raid heal, tank heal, or even just jump into healing while I am specced Shadow.

What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?
I would say that the biggest weakness is the comparatively low amount of healing that we do, which is likely due to shields and efficiency, however, this low "amount" of healing, can often cause a pick up group to choose another class instead (which is why recount sucks).

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?
Personally, I don't care to be a tank only healer, as I feel like my abilities are being wasted.  I prefer raid healing, because I have found that I am quick to getting heals on the people that need them the most.

What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?
I absolutely love healing with Shaman healers, because I have found that I mesh well with them, and usually end up having less overhealing and having better mana efficiency.

What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?
While I love Druid healers, and their ability to throw out HoTs, I absolutely hate being on a healing team with them.  This is due to the fact that, while their HoTs will usually do the job, during my quick reaction, I often toss a heal out that will basically cancel out the HoT, ultimately wasting mana and time of the healing group.

What is your worst habit as a healer?
My worst habit is probably my overuse of Flash Heal, I rarely use Greater Heal, even when it may be the more effective spell to use.

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?
DPS that doesn't do anything to help out the healers, which I have found is more of a problem with the non-hybrid caster DPS classes.  They tend to get overly focused on pumping out the damage, that they end up dying from purely preventable damage (which is I still haven't been in a group that has gotten the Cheese the Freeze achievement on Hodir).

Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?
I think that there are some minor issues regarding balance, but overall the balance is pretty decent. However, I think the main balancing issues currently exist as encounter design issues rather than with the classes themselves.

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?

Our guild uses World of Logs, and I often take a look at what I can do to improve by taking a look at those logs.  I also personally use WoW Meter Online to do some additional comparison, which has helped me to notice a few issues in the past that I missed on WoL. I also do like to take a look at Recount after various fights to see if I can determine who is "slacking" on our healing team, and what changes can be made to improve success.

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?
Holy Priests can't main tank heal.  While a Holy Priest may not be the best person suited for main tank healing, we sure as hell can do a decent job when the need arises, however, I find that main tank healing is a waste of both the talent and the spells at the Holy Priest's disposal.

What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?
Coming into WotLK, I had never healed more than tossing out a few heals here and there while I was DPSing. I found that learning how to heal was easy, but learning how to heal while not going out of mana, not overhealing, and using the right spell for the job has by far been the most difficult thing to learn. Gear itemization and finding the right balance of Intellect vs. Spirit vs. Spell Power and Crit vs. Haste was also an issue.

If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)?
The first thing I look at is how many (if any) deaths occurred, and what breakdown occurred that caused the death (did the person just not receive any healing, or were they standing in the fire?).  Specifically in regards to Recount, I take the results with a grain of salt.  I learned long ago that I should not necessarily compare my healing to that of other healers (though vast differences can indicate an issue).  I have also found it useful to compare my HPS with my overhealing, and look at if I run out of mana to determine if I was properly conserving when I needed to be.  I also like to take into account what other utility I am providing, such as dispelling, and factor that in, as it can sometimes be more important than the actual heals.

Haste or Crit and why?
I like to work on a balance of both, but it really depends on the situation.  If the encounter requires kneejerk reaction and fast heals, I will stack haste.  If I have to land larger heals, I will stack Crit.  However, I have found that balancing the two is usually the best method, as it keeps people alive while not going out of mana.

What healing class do you feel you understand least?
Holy Paladins are probably the class I understand least.  I know they are effective main tank healers, however, I have seen some that are incredible raid healers.  I have not played one at all, and don't know what they all have in their arsenal.

What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?
I am what I like to call an add-on junkie, if there is an add-on for something, I have probably tried it.  That in mind, I personally use HealBot as my healing addon of choice.  This is due to a couple reasons:
1. It displays things in vastly different colors (depending on your set up), which I have found more effective for me when compared to viewing buffs.
2. I can move it out of the way when I am not healing, but still have it handy if I need to off-heal.

While I have tried other add-ons, namely Grid + Clique I didn't care for the setup, and found HealBot to be a much easier interface to learn when I started healing.

As far as macros are concerned, the only one I really use is my /focus macro, so that if I accidentally click somewhere, I can get back to my target quickly.  I do however, use a ton of macros for my DPS spec, just never found the need for them while healing.

Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
I have found that this is very situational, at least for myself.  In total, I have somewhere around 12-16 different gear sets (with intermingled gear) that I use for various situations. I try to keep the names of my gear sets (using ItemRack) applicable to how I use them, and have gear sets with the following names:
  • Intellect (for fights like General Vezzax where mana regen is an issue)
  • Haste (when quick heals or mass dispells are the priority, such as Faction Champs)
  • Holy Haste (when quick heals & mana conservation are the priority)
  • Crit (when I need big heals)
  • Mana Regen (when I have to stretch the time I can last healing)