Thursday, December 16, 2010

How to use the Lightwell

Poor Lightwell... so much potential and so little love. But I can gladly say I've always believed in Lightwell. Through thick and thin I was there and threw it, even when no one wanted to use it. How I've fought for it and hoped, prayed for the Blizzard gods to make it loved by everyone. I wanted to use you Lightwell! 
This time I thought I'd talk about Lightwell, how awesome it is and how you make people use it.

 Lightwell? Didn't that spell suck?
Yeah it did. But there is a degree even to sucking. You can have a spell suck because it does something that isn't good. Or because it theoretically does something awesome, but it just never works in practice. Lightwell fell into the latter category, and unfortunately this was true since its conception. It used to be like Vanish, it just doesn't work when you really need it. There was nothing wrong with Lightwell as such, but since people never used it never got to work its magic, and as such it was basically useless.

Well, can't you just force people to use it? Like a cooldown, flask, pot and all those other things people forget to use although they should.
Trust me I tried, but Lightwell just wasn't very user friendly. It had a very limited range and required the user to re-target. As you might've noticed, dpsers where very spoiled during Wrath and you could never expect them to do anything that required them to move away from their dps-rotation. But quite frankly, Lightwell was too much of a hassle.

So, does it still suck?
No! Believe it or not but Blizzard actually decided to addres the abovementioned issues and changed Lightwell where it was most needed. You don't need to target it to use it, you only have to click it now, and it also has a 15 yard range instead of melee range. Using it doesn't count as using a spell so you can use it during any gcd. Also it is now glyphable to increase its charges by 5, or its effectiviness by 50%.

All is just peachy then?
No unfortunately not. Of course, few things that are perfect in the game, not even Lightwell. There are couple of things which pull Lightwell down and that need to be taken into consideration when using it.
It can be hard to target through big bosses, and difficult to see through alot of ground effects. Also although 15 yards is a million times better than melee range, it's still not a very long range. This means that placement of the Lightwell is imperative for how well it will work. Place it where no one can see it, reach it or click it, and it won't be used. Because a raid is pretty spread out, you'll also probably won't be able to place it perfectly, aka so everyone in the raid has a good shot at using it. You'll have to identify who'll need it most, and where to place it so that your target group will have easy access to it. Getting good at this is what will determine how good your Lightwell is.
Also because you can't target it, you can't make it a part of a macro. You actively have to look it up and click it, which is a turn down for many dpsers.

Target group...who?
Well it depends on setting, but in an instance you're few enough to count as one group. In a raid I typically group people into melee, ranged and tanks. You could be able to place the lightwell so that both melee and ranged can use it, but if you do you can be pretty sure tanks will have a hard time using it. Or you can place it with the tanks, but then melee or ranged or both will have trouble using it. It all depends on the fight. Decide which of these groups you want to be able to use it and adapt placement according to that, anyone else using it is a bonus. Just remember that trying to place it so that everyone can use it usually makes it end up somewhere where no one can use it. Some things to remember are to place it a little bit away from the boss, because targetting through a boss is impossible. Also avoid to place it where you know some fight mechanic or otherwise shiny/obstructive object will occur, which also will make targetting difficult. If you know that you'll move from one side to the other or like it, you can wait with placement until you know where people will stand the most.

You're talking about "using it". How do I actually get people to do that?

Yeah, if you thought placement sounded difficult, you should try convincing people to use the lightwell. Placing it where it is easy to target and see is a big step toward doing this. Althrough Wrath I tried to convince people about the awesomeness of Lightwell, and tried a hundred different placements and tactics to encourage people to use it. But it still went mainly unused even through really difficult fights. But right now most people who have started raiding, or even doing heroics, will have noticed that they're no walk in the park. Wiping on a boss for an hour in a heroic is common now! I usually only have to tell people a couple of times until they actually start using the Lightwell. Some wipes can also be quite persuasive. Of course with puggers you never know, but here are some things you can say to persuade your group to use Lightwell;

Explain to them that Lightwell is part of your healing. It's not a "bonus", but what they can count on receiving when things go rough. All healers have healing mechanics that require the team work of the group to actually do any good. Druids and shamans have Efflorescense/Healing Rain, disc priest have the big bubble and paladins have Holy Radiance. This means that if they don't cooperate they'll die and you'll wipe. Not because you didn't heal, but because they didn't let you heal.
Explain to them that they should view Lightwell as part of the boss fight mechanic. Say something along the lines of "Don't look at Lightwell as something I've put there because it's so pretty. Instead see it as if it was there all the time and imagine tactics on wowhead saying - there will be a beacon of heals in the room, you will have to use it to survive". I think people will be more prone to use the Lightwell if they realize it is a normal part of the fight, and not something extra they have to do.
Explain to them that if they take damage and don't use the Lightwell, they're riding with Deathwing!
Explain to them just how bananapants awesome Lightwell actually is. Here is some raw maths you can shove under their noses to make them drop their jaws;

  • With Cataclysm level 85 starter blues, it heals for approximately 20k hp over 6 seconds, or 6-7k every 2 seconds, making it the strongest hot in the game.
  • Glyphed you'll have to use it once every 12 seconds to use up all the charges before it can be recast.
  • Using up all the charges makes it heal approximately 300.000 hp (glyphed). That for the same mana cost of ONE Healing Touch, Greater Healing Wave, Greater Heal or Divine Light, making it insanely mana efficient.
  • If everyone in a 10 man raid used it at the same time, it would be  more than 30000 hps, while the healer could simultaneously throw other heals. Beat that!

Wow, that really is awesome! Anything you'd like to add to that?
Once you managed to figure out placement and getting people to use it, there is one more thing to get totally right. Make sure people don't use the Lightwell wastefully. This is a minor issue, so I'll only mention it as a sidenote down here, but make sure people know that although it has plenty of charges (at least when glyphed), they're still not unlimited, and any charge used when it's not needed is a charge wasted. It also means that charge won't be there when someone might actually need it. Actually this is a really minor problem, at least to my experience, but it could be good to at least point out so people, once they get used to using it, don't just click it everytime they see it. Or maybe I'm just daydreaming here, we've still got a long ways to go before we've got that kind of problems!


  1. I haven't seen the Lightwell in use much yet, but previously whenever I saw it, I made a POINT of clicking it and getting a charge out of principle alone. Kind of like a druid's Efflorescence now - I stand in it regardless of whether I need it BECAUSE IT'S THERE, DAMMIT. :D

  2. I love the IDEA of Lolwell, but it completely COMPLETELY depends on the skill and willingness of other people. So whether I end up keeping the talent (I currently have it) will depend on whether the people I usually run with can be trained to use it. I wish there were a way to see how many charges are actually used without doing a WWS parse.

  3. I think there are things that the officer or administration can do to motivate others to use it, too.

    I know Beruthiel, over at Falling Leaves & Wings mentioned that she would be going thru the logs of her guild raids and trying to find out who was not taking advantage of the Lightwell.

    I don't know what the consequences would necessarily be, but I think some behind the scenes work and communication between the officers/leads could go a long way into enforcing the use of Lightwell.

    The only thing that's still difficult for me is telling myself that the DPS didn't click on it and died and it was not my fault. Some part of me still feels like I shouldn't have let them get so low or I could have done something. I may have to shake that feeling.

  4. @Oestrus-

    It may be hard to do it, but I think you will definately have to shake that feeling. In its curretn state, and rightly so I may add, teh DPS ARE responsible for themseleves to a higher degree than they have been since pretty much WotLK has been out.

    Even BC has fights in which I can recall the raid leader saing before the pull to bandage if need be or pop a potion to help with healing.

    CC is back, watching your threat is more important than it used to be, and once again, regretfully for the recount whores (pardon the usage), DPS is held responsible for thier actions outside of pew, pew, pew.


  5. @Rades
    Well at least that is a good first step ;)

    Yeah I was thinking about this today actually... do I really like the way Lightwell works? And then I thought I shouldn't be whining about it now that I actually got it to do what it's supposed to do and most people actually use it. But still. Should so much of my healing depend on the good will of others? Regardless of my own skill? Not really sure if I like that...

    Oh yes, pure commanding usually works really well, at least in raids where people can be whipped at least to some extent. I'm thinking if they actually know why they're being whipped into using, everyones happy ;)
    Haha, I've shrugged that away a long time ago. As soon as we wupe I always caps "Yyou didn't use lightwell enough!". But now people are actually becoming really good at using it (even in pugs omglol) so I'll have to find a better excuse...

  6. Speaking of that, I had a PuG tank that I absolutely fell in love with last night.

    The second he stepped into the instance, he spammed a CC macro, that listed all of the possible marking symbols and the CC method that each one represented. Spelled correctly and everything. How neat is that?!

    Then he went on to ASK me for a Lightwell on the first boss (politely, even) and TOLD me where to position it for maximum efficiency. I was quivering mess of glee, at this point.

    He thanked me for dropping it and stated he could "use the hell out of those things."

    Needless to say I was quite smitten by him, until he left us before the final four bosses of HoO, because his guild needed him for something. Up until then it was a great run and I was pleased as punch to have him on board.

    So, the message is spreading. Keep on preaching!