Cooldowns: How do you use them?

The other day I went against my “I’m tanking to save myself from their fail”  mantra and…well, healed for one of THOSE tanks.  By THOSE tanks I mean the ones who are slightly undergeared (the switch from Outlands instances to UK is not a very gentle one) and don’t seem aware of this fact. 

Now, spells are broken down into various categories in my head.  I like categories.  My UI is neatly divided up into sections, with each spell or item neatly in its place.  Some of these buttons are internally labeled as “buffs” and can get tossed around whenever.  These include things like Power Infusion.  The spell is nice to have having it on cooldown will never end the world.  It’s usually saved for bosses though because…well…I’m lazy on trash and probably casting Mind Sear anyway.

Other buttons are “oh shit buttons”.   These include my “AMG WE’RE ALL DYING HEAL EVERYONE OMG” Hymn, and even to a lesser extent…my shadow fiend.  My druid’s innervate is conserved the same way.  

Why are fiend and innervate considered oh shit buttons?  Because sometimes bad pulls happen at bad times.  Not having Power Infusion will never matter, but there’s a slim chance that not having my OMNOMNOM MANA ability could be bad.  On my priest this would almost never happen, by my level 70 druid is another story.  I r nub drood.  Plus, between trash pulls I can sit and  drink.  This means that I will sit and drink rather than blowing a cool down.

So if I sit and drink, and you run ahead and pull, I will continue to sit and drink and let you die.  If you yell at me for not using my innervate so I could keep up, I will just eyebrow quirk.  For one thing, if I have to sit and drink 4 pulls into UK, then your tank gear is questionable and I might well ACTUALLY need that innervate when someone blunders into that pat on the stairs, again.  For another, you should have learned to watch your healer’s mana by now.

Am I strange in my habit of “reserving” cooldowns like innervate, even though it has a short cooldown?   Should I be using it even on trash because heaven forbid an instance take 5 minutes longer?

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  1. #1 by Nzete on July 7, 2010 - 1:51 pm

    Innervate is a reserve button for trying to live through other people’s stupid.

    If the tank doesn’t want to let you drink between trash pulls (and you need it), yell at him until he finds the nearest blacksmith or AH and acquires a complete set of cobalt tanking gear.

    If you need to drink after trash pulls in UK, it is the tank’s fault. (You willl however have to explain this using very small words though).

  2. #2 by UFTimmy on July 7, 2010 - 1:56 pm

    I always struggle with when to use cooldowns. It’s why I could never play a Rogue.

    I save cooldowns for the rainy day that never comes. Or when it does I am not used to using cooldowns so I forget to.

    I have two categories of cooldowns. Those that boost performance and I have macroed in and those oh shit ones I never use.

  3. #3 by Pindleskin on July 7, 2010 - 1:59 pm

    As a tank all my reserves are pretty much ohshit buttons, and are rarely used outside of raids as I actually wait for healahs to have mana and such.
    When playing my dudu tree I’ve found that I can pretty much abstain from having to drink by using my innervate wisely. Idjit tanks always run away from me while I’m drinking anyway, no matter how much I shout at them that I’m stopping for a manabreak.
    @Nzete – yeah, small words please! Us tanks have very low int, cept for the DK’s that stack int gear for some reason :p

  4. #4 by Psynister on July 7, 2010 - 2:00 pm

    If my tank’s in a hurry, he can die even if I do have mana.DPS should never pull when the tank’s not ready, and the tank should never pull before the healer is ready.

    I save my innervate for when it’s needed. If we’re in a dungeon and I’ve got no mana issues at all then I’ll throw it on the DPS instead, but otherwise it belongs to me and me alone. Drinking takes a whopping 30 seconds if I’m bone flipping dry, otherwise we’re looking at just a few seconds worth. But, I’m also known for getting four stacks of mage food from running a random BG when I first log on and when I run dungeons I’ll Regrow/Rejuv the tank pre-pull and then nom a pastry until I’m full or heals are needed.

    Raids are basically the only time I don’t specifically save them for myself, but even then I’ll only give it to healers or a pally tank that had to get a battle rez unless we’re facerolling the thing and a DPS I like happens to be out.

  5. #5 by zelmaru on July 7, 2010 - 2:15 pm

    I’m pretty much on innervate auto-pilot. If Mik’s Scrolling battle text beeps at me that my mana has gone below “the threshold”, I hit my self-innervate macro and keep on truckin. I have no independent thought on the issue. I’m much more plan-y with hymn of hope or shadowfriend (he’s my friend) which require channeling or a mob likely to be alive for the next 15 seconds, respectively.

  6. #6 by Ambrosine on July 7, 2010 - 2:19 pm

    @Pindleskin – Either they will learn when they run ahead and die, or the repair bill is a tax on their stupid, either way.


    Bitter healer is bitter.

  7. #7 by Thromean on July 7, 2010 - 3:00 pm

    On my shammy, my mana cooldown has a range. I cant just pop it and run to follow StupidTank down the hall. If I sit and drink and the tank runs and dies, they will be lucky if they get a rez.

  8. #8 by Enlynn on July 7, 2010 - 3:05 pm

    There’s two ways of thinking about cooldowns, reactive or proactive. When I was learning the game, I spent most of my time “saving” my cooldowns for when I would truly need them, and then when there was a time to use them, I couldn’t get to the buttons fast enough.

    I’ve trained myself to be active, because I’ve learned that 2, 3, and 5 minutes in the game are actually quite short, that’s potentially an Innervate every other pull.

    However, your situational awareness in the instance is strong: you knew the tank was in over his head and that you might need an ace up your sleeve later in the encounter. Keeping those emergency buttons handy is a good idea when the group will likely implode with a bad pull.

  9. #9 by Pindleskin on July 7, 2010 - 4:00 pm

    @Ambrosine – Bitter tank is also sarcastic healer, so I feel ya

  10. #10 by dannyocean on July 7, 2010 - 7:09 pm

    I’m with Enlynn on this one. I have found out the hard way that if I don’t use a cooldown frequently… Tank or Healing… I am less likely to use them when it counts.

    Great example is the LK fight in ICC. As we were learning the fight, we rolled with 3 healers. As tanks we got lazy and were popping trinkets, exploit our entire rotations or using CD’s because that 3rd healer was a Pally healer just for the tanks.

    Eventually, when we went back down to two healers for added DPS… The healers were working too hard keeping us up. Now I actively use my CD’s even in Randoms just to keep that muscle memory focused.

    I do find that I have to work harder at it when on my healer because my natural tendency is to be reactive to incoming damage even though as Disco I can be much more proactive.

    BTW — God help me I did away with my DPS spec and put points in Holy. Look for a fail angel near you!

  11. #11 by joe on July 7, 2010 - 10:12 pm

    Don’t save your cooldowns. Use them every chance you get.

    Once you start using them, you will:
    a) get experience for when they are most useful;
    b) train your muscle memory for better execution; and
    c) get a sense of rhythm for longer cooldowns as you already have for the shorter cooldowns.

    I love using my full toolbox in randoms. I will:

    a) Use my fiend to save drinking on the next pull and the extra dps;

    b) Holy nova for aoe heals and aoe dps;

    c) cast Hymn of Hope to save drinking time (nice when you have lots of casters);

    d) cast Pain Suppression/Guardian Spirit every chance I get and toss on dots.

    e) generally find different ways to heal.

    These days I am in the mode of using cooldowns, not saving them.

    Raid nights I play more conservatively, but I am ready to react when necessary.

    That being said, I agree with Enlynn and dannyocean. It pays to be conservative for the first couple of pulls in a random. Check how much healing the tank needs, how much dps is in the group. If you feel that the tank/party might needs special attention, *be proactive*. Tell him that you will be drinking this run and that it is his responsibility to watch your mana bar.

    If all is well with the party, then blow everything. With a solid group, I have little competitions with myself :
    a) how much %overhealing I can reach;
    b) can I can outdps the tank or even a dps (always fun to post to guild chat);
    c) can I heal the entire instance with all instant cast spells; or
    d) make work for myself and ask tank to replace mitigation with dps.

  12. #12 by Csara on July 7, 2010 - 10:30 pm

    My major position on Innervate, as a cat druid, is ‘MAGES don’t get my innervate’. Rinse, repeat, follow by profanities.
    Why should I sacrifice precious GCDs in one of the toughest rotations in the game so that you can blow through that mana and (in some cases) beat me by less dps than I lost by stopping to top you up or (in most cases) be lower on dps than me anyway?
    Grrargh! Kitty STOMP!

    Healers, however, are welcome to all the innervates they want, cooldown allowing.

  13. #13 by Echo on July 8, 2010 - 2:58 am

    I’ve got a 73 Druid myself and I get asked for my innervate all the time but its only the freaking hunters that really piss me off. Especially if they have a misguided sense of their own superiority and thinkthey should get it because they’re the best dps.

    Piss off, I could respec, heal the instance from Boom and rape them on the meters.

    I’ll generally use Innervate to avoid drinking because I regularly forget to stock up and getting biscuits out of a pug mage is often like trying to get blood from a stone.

    The CDs I need to get better at using are – tranquility and natureswiftness – I tend to use everything else fairly regularly.

  14. #14 by Jen on July 8, 2010 - 3:59 am

    I don’t remember what I was doing while leveling, but now my druid has a power aura that tells me I’m under 70% mana and I should use Innervate/trinket. On my shammy, unless the group seems really, really suicidal, I use Mana Tide whenever it’s off cooldown and I’m reasonably low on mana. (At least in theory. In practice I save it for the inevitable moment when I run out of drinks halfway through the instance…)

  15. #15 by Kazgrel on July 8, 2010 - 9:48 am

    A theory I have is that this could be attributed to a trickle down effect from being an overgeared level 80; these folks are so used to just steamrolling everything that if they can’t run into a pack of 4-5 elites and AOE them all down without getting their face smashed in, it must be the healer’s fault for their health dipping so low. Heaven forbid a group actually need to use some finesse (ie: CC) to lighten the damage inflicted upon the tank. Of course, I do feel sorry for those that DO try to CC, only to have someone go “omg a sheep!!11one” and poke it with a stick/sword/fireball/etc.

    Your use of cooldowns has merit and makes sense to me. Best to have those CDs available for boss battles where you run a serious risk of going OOM due to spamming heals on said undergeared tank.

    Can’t wait to see if Cata 5 mans do away with most all of this AOE zerging and make people actually have to think and pay attention, heh.

  16. #16 by Jasyla on July 9, 2010 - 2:52 pm

    When I’m in a raid, I generally innervate when I reach 70% mana. When I’m in a heroic, I never reach 70% mana and am more likely to innervate a hunter :P

    However, if I did ever get low on mana in a heroic I would rather Innervate myself than sit down and drink.

  17. #17 by Lien on July 22, 2010 - 8:30 pm

    (I’m late to this party, but.) Yes, Innervate is an oh sh*t button. …. and I might have to blog about when and where to use innv now. But I digress. Innervate is, in my opinion, not a ‘Let’s try to catch up to the tank who won’t wait after I’ve said I’m drinking.’ It’s a boss fight cooldown, raid or heroic, where I need the mana.

  18. #18 by JustinM on July 27, 2010 - 5:33 pm

    I’m the same way, I find myself saving my cooldowns because im afraid they will be on cd when I actually need them, So thats why I always take up alchemy with every healer I have and power level it, because as low as level 65 you can get endless mana potions which you can pop after every fight or every 60 seconds not in combat, it truely helps a lot and has an infinite source.

    So those pesky tanks that keep going can shove it cause I usually keep up with them. I would prefer not to let the tank die, because dps usually follows the tank and the whole group wipes, and then its all “your fault”. That’s been my experience anyway.

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