Being a Hero: Serendipity

July 16, 2009 at 2:10 pm (5 mans, Being a Hero, Grouping, Healing Mechanics, Naxxramas, Raiding, Serendipity, Talents, Ulduar)

Serendipity: When you heal with Binding Heal or Flash Heal, the cast time of your next Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing spell is reduced by 12%. Stacks up to 3 times. Lasts 20 sec.

I plan to post several articles soon focusing on Serendipity because I still see Priests not taking it. Equally I think it’s a very complicated ability and it’s something I find it very hard to use correctly in raids when there is so much to think about. Serendipity doesn’t buy you mana, only time. Therefore you only benefit from it is when you are hard pressed to heal. You need it most when you don’t have time to think about it. Hopefully if I get this down on paper it will help me get it straight in my head and allow me to make the right decision with less thought.

Just like Power Word: Shield, or Renew, or Prayer of Mending, what Serendipity gives is stress insurance. The contract goes something like:

I, the undersigned, being of sound mind and body bla bla bla…

…Promise to pay the sum of a little bit of time now, because I’ve got plenty to spare while Hodir pansies around gently patting the tank. I’ll cast a few single target heals like Flash or Binding Heal. In return, Serendipity promises to give me a whole bucket of haste when Hodir starts throwing around Frozen blows and things get dicey.

The key is knowing when to cash in the insurance.

You only get the benefit for your first Prayer of Healing or Greater Heal. After that you have to build your insurance back up again. So it’s only worth taking advantage of when you are hard pressed for time. Unfortunately you don’t get a choice. You can’t decide not to use up your Serendipity stacks unless you just don’t cast certain spells at all. If you want to cast Prayer of Healing, you will use or lose any Serendipity stacks you’ve currently got.

So the worst thing that could happen is that you cast a Prayer of Healing at a time when it’s quiet rather and so don’t have it when the “OH S**T!” moment hits a few seconds later. Where possible then, save your stacks for a time when you need them. I suppose that’s what having other healers in the raid are for, let them heal a little and save your Serendipity stacks for when they are needed. Don’t squander your resources if you can help it.

On the other hand if I sit sit back miserly protecting my Serendipity stacks the raid could die a long slow death because I don’t pull my weight.

Serendipity is a nice thing, and it can do a lot for you when it comes to something like Freya’s exploding daffodils. However if I sit back and don’t cast my best heals (Prayer of Healing) just because I’m waiting for the ideal time might cause more problems than it averts. Sometimes trying too hard to be the hero means you cause the exact harm you were trying to prevent. Every movie involving time travel proves this to be true.

So there is a balance to adopt in terms of knowing when you should wait and when you should not. A big part of that will be knowing the fight and the likely abilities. XT-002’s Tympanic Tantrum is the only real AoE in the fight. So can safely spend your Serendipity for quick help on the Tank, or topping up people wandering too close to the Bombs. Once it gets close to Tantrum time you need to be thinking ahead and saving up those serendipity stacks ready to go. If you know it’s soon, save your Serendipity.

On a fight with more single target damage it’s much easier to save your Serendipity for important moments. For the most part nobody casts Greater Heal in their standard rotation so you can easily make do with Flash heal and Renew and save Serendipity for a big Greater Heal when somebody gets caught in the fire, or takes a big hit you were only half expecting.

It’s a fine line to walk, but knowing the fight, and being able to rely on the other healers in your raid will help a lot in terms of helping you stack Serendipity and helping you spend those stacks at just the right time.

Tip: Use a mod like Powa Auras to show your Serendipity stacks in a more visually explicit way. For example, mine is set up to show a tower of 1-3 icons rather than a number because I find it much easier to read at a glance. Also it allows me to locate Serendipity away from my other buffs which I care much less about.


1 Comment

  1. Serendipity & Prayer of Healing « Spot Heal said,

    […] heal crits for around fourteen thousand, Prayer of Healing currently crits for twice that! What Serendipity gives you is the ability to blast the raid with giant Prayers of Healing at a moment’s […]

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