Forget 28/33, try 20/41 with Circle of Healing

Many Priests advocate using the 28/33 build. Heck, my priest has the exact same build. But if all of your Priests have Improved Divine Spirit, then doesn’t that kind of render that spec pointless? You may as well change it up and vary it up some. I don’t think you really need 4 Priests with Imp. Divine Spirit, do you? If you examine the holy tree, realize that heals can still get boosted higher. So let’s check out my proposed build and when to put it to good use.

Here’s the overall chart:

Most of these choices are self explanatory, but I’ll highlight the important stuff.

Discipline

Silent Resolve: This one’s an optional one here. If you have trouble with aggro management (or have a really bad tank), then pick this up. Otherwise, blow a point in Absolution and max out Mental Agility to achieve your 20 points in Discipline. My personal stance on this is that Silent Resolve should not be needed due to 1) A Priest who is aware of his/her aggro 2) A tank that can generate insane threat 3) A raid with enough healers to help even out heals on the tank so not anyone healer is over extending him or herself. If you’re somehow catching up to the tank, drop a PW: Shield, Renew, and fade for a few seconds.

Holy

For the most part, the Holy tree is remarkably similar to the standard 28/33 build except for the extra extensions at the end of the tree.

Empowered Healing: 20% extra healed with Greater Heal and 10% extra on Flash and Binding Heal. Ain’t that just peachy? Not much else to say about that besides the fact that it IS awesome to increase your healing by a fairly substantial margin. You may not think 10% is much, but 10% additional healing over a 30 minute is a damn lot of healing.

Circle of Healing: Finally we come to the most controversial spell in the Holy tree. A lot of Priests slam Circle of Healing because they don’t consider it useful or mana efficient or some other excuse that I haven’t thought of. Start thinking in terms of situational healing. Now when would it be a good time for me to ever use a spell similar to Holy Nova, that can be used on any target in a raid, which would heal their party? What class would you surmise takes more damage? That’s right, Melee classes. Face it, these poor suckers have to stay point blank staring at the butt of some boss having to repeatedly run out and bandage before being able to go back in because healers can’t be spared to keep them alive or topped off.

Remember, this spell is entirely situational. I would not recommend speccing Circle of Healing if you are working your way through Karazhan. It’s just not worth it on a ten-man group. But once you get to the 25 man raids, you’ll start having heavy DPS groups consisting of classes like an Enhancement Shaman and four Rogues (hypothetically speaking). On a fight like Voidreaver, who steps on players within Melee range for a lot within a few seconds, a spell like Circle of Healing would be a blessing. Why? You’ve healed about 2500 HP in total. That’s almost the same as a max rank Flash of Light. You can’t use Prayer of Healing because it only heals players within your party. But Circle of Healing heals any player within the raid and their party. One of my fellow Priests in my Guild does this very thing. Every time we engage a boss where Melee classes are allowed to step in, he assigns himself to healing the DPS because his build allows him to do so without much problem. It’s time inefficient to flash heal five times over five players. It’s also inefficient to lob 5 renews. Three or four pumps of Circle of Healing can breathe enough life to your specialist group and ensure damage dealt is still maximized.

Us Priests have so many different Healing spells at our disposal. The trick is to discern which is right for what situation.

Optimize Your Raiding Time

First off, some benchmarks are in order after reading Kirk’s ideal stat requirements for holy priests, I must respectfully disagree. Mind you, my guild is 3/6 SSC with Mag and VR on farm. Shade of Aran has a Poly/Pyro combination that will blast players for about 7k damage. While he is correct that there is a certain threshold in terms of HP that a player should have, I don’t believe having it as a base stat is necessary as much of the healing gear in the game does not carry much emphasis on stamina. Here’s a screenshot of my stats before and after buffs (and yes, that is 13.3k mana):

Base Stats Base Stats

Next, I wanted to build off of Kirk’s guide on forming a raiding group, I wanted to follow up with making the most out of your raid time. Face it. We waste a lot of time in raids farting around and just slacking off in general when we could be pulling mobs and downing bosses. My Guild has a time window of three hours from first pull before we call it a night. Every precious second of raiding counts. Unless you’re a super hardcore Guild who raids every day, chances are you don’t have a lot of time on encounters. It seems the primary respawn timer is two hours. That’s not a whole lot of time to work with.

The next time you attempt a raid boss, try this experiment. Start timing your raid and see how fast they can ready up before the next pull. This means from the time you wipe, to the time your entire raid team is alive with full health, full mana, and full buffs in front of the boss. Unless your Guild has the discipline of the Queen’s Guards, you’ll be amazed at the time it takes. I guarantee it.

Thankfully, there’s many different ways for you to trim the fat and get as many attempts in as physically possible.

Release and Run Back

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out when your raid wipes. But if you’re new to raiding, here’s a few tell tale signs:

  • Your Main Tank dies
  • Over 50% of your healers are down
  • Over 20% of your raid is down within the first minute of the pull
  • A class with a specific role goes down (ie, mage tanking mage on the High King Maulgar encounter)

Now don’t get me wrong. It is perfectly possible to recover from sloppy mistakes in raid. Obviously if the boss is down to 5% or less, keep plowing away. But back to my original point, let’s try not to prolong the fight. Don’t run around trying to escape him. Run to him, die, release, and run back. But there is an exception to this…

Use Protection

And I’m not referring to a Trojan. I mean use wipe protection. It will save you a lot of time. Warlocks have soul stones. Paladins can Divine Intervention. Shamans have the ability to self resurrect themselves. If you can time it properly, have a Druid battle res a priest or someone and make sure he doesn’t accept it until after the encounter resets. Meanwhile, raid members should move to a safe location away from the boss if the raid leader calls a wipe that is within range of a person who can resurrect. The only players who should not be withdrawing would be the main tank who ought to try and stay alive as long as possible to allow the rest of the melee to get some distance. Once you get that done…

Res Ressers First

I should not have to say it. But I still see it happen so it must bear repeating. A lot of beginning players aren’t aware of this, but always resurrect other players who can res first. Instead of ressing a mage or a warlock, pick up a paladin or a shaman. Just imagine it as a snowballing effect. Try using a res notifier. I believe CT Raid has one built in as does X Perl.
Ressing multiple targets

Now you can res to other players together instead of one other. Then the four of you can res another four and so on and so forth. Ideally, it would just be tanks and other melee running back in through the front door. Typically, they’ll have a lot of ground to cover between the entrance and where your encounter is. Which leads to…

Summon the Runners

Remember back before we had summoning stones? We relied on Warlocks to summon the whole raid into the door steps of MC or BWL. Sometimes it seems as if people forget they have this ability. If there is a Warlock alive, have him start summoning players the moment they zone in. There are instances the trek back to the boss is agonizingly long. You’ll shave precious seconds or even minutes which could be used towards engaging the boss.

Buffing

There’s a neat utility called XRS (X Raid Status, I believe) which comes with X Perl Unit Frames.What it does is scans every player and lists what buffs are missing for them, so players don’t have to keep asking for buffs repeatedly. The raid leader presses the button, and it spits out the list.

XRS

The onus is then on everyone else to buff the rest of the raid. The only buff that you absolutely need on trash is Power Word: Fortitude. Otherwise, you can just whisper a player to toss a 30 minute one instead of repeatedly asking for it in raid. This is one of my pet peeves in raiding is people asking for buffs in the middle of trash. Whatever it is, it can wait. It’s just trash. You shouldn’t even need Salv right away if your tanks and healers are able. Hopefully, you’ll be given a 5 minute one in between trash pulls as the raid is steaming along. The last thing players need is a break in momentum. If you’re a buffer and you notice someone is missing a buff, just take the time and give them a 30 minute even if you’re not the person assigned to buff that group. Just do it, and it saves time, frustration, and heartache.

Preparation

Illidan has taunted us by continually saying that we are not prepared. Shut him up by proving him wrong. Mages should start conjuring water and food before everyone even gets to the instance. Bandages should be made before the raid. Most importantly, repair, repair, repair. I cannot count the number of times I’ve had the urge to strangle guildmates for failing to repair. You know there is a raid. There should be no excuse for you not to be repaired 100% on first pull.

AFK’ers

Alterac Valley isn’t the only instance to suffer this problem. Raids will have problems of players going AFK. Even I am guilty of this. But I’ve learned and gotten better. I try to time my AFK’s on trash pulls knowing that my presence is not essential. Bad times to go AFK are the pulls just before the boss, pulling the boss, or during the boss encounter. Do things that you would normally do before going on a flight to London. Make sure you go to the bathroom, and make sure you grab a bite to eat. I’ll admit I don’t have the luxury of eating at my computer on some nights. My family’s quite traditional and is required to eat at the dinner table sometimes during raids. I go there, I wolf it down, I come back during trash pulls not during Tidewalker or Lurker.

Hopefully, these tips will help streamline your raid some more so you can get in an additional 2 or 3 shots at the boss.

Play of the Week

What’s one of the biggest thrills you get from playing WoW? Doing a five-man quest with two players.

Doc and I wanted to wrap up the Ashtongue quest series which culminated in you killing a mounted Orc on a Netherdrake. Oh it was a glorious battle indeed. Wave after wave of Shadowmoon Orcs rushed against us the moment we touched down and killed the channelers. Eventually I drew aggro since it was just me and a hunter. Naturally this gave him free reign to just shoot everything. I think there was a point where I was down to 6% health and still managed to survive. What helped was that the incoming mobs were ranged and shooting their pathetic arrows at me. This allowed me enough time to predict their next shot so I can time my heals accordingly. If you ever find yourself being under siege, spam everything you have to stay alive. Remember, forget what you’ve been taught at the academy. In the real world of WoW, the law of the jungle reigns supreme.

Even in WoW, rules are meant to be broken.

Matt’s on Curse, and PvP Zones: The Good and the Bad

I’ve recently started blogging over on Curse about a week or two ago to help boost my traffic and viewership. Boy, all I can see is that it works. If you check out Curse, you’ll see my name mentioned on the front page (unless they’ve loaded up on news that it goes down). I’ve teamed up with another blogger there to create a blog called The Daily Quest. We were stuck on ideas for names, and this popped in my mind as I was bombing cannonball stacks. And why not? We’re both writers who enjoy what we do. Other than that, nothing else has really changed. My content will still be published here and there to reach a wider audience. So without further adieu, here is today’s piece.

PvP Zones: The Good and the Bad

Don’t worry, I have absolutely no intention of blasting WSG, AB, EoTS, or AV. That’s already been done to death by countless others and I see no need in further adding my 1.8 cents to that pile (Canadian, remember?). With the release of Burning Crusade, Blizzard decided to add extra PvP related gimmicks to various zones in the outland after the huge, “success,” they had in Azeroth (Eastern Plaguelands) and Kalimdor (Silithus dust stuff). After that mammoth of a post I wrote yesterday about Priest gear and the time it took for me to make all the links Curse-able (Thanks Kody), I needed a break so let’s check it out shall we?

 

Hellfire Peninsula

The Good

This would the first PvP area that players encounter as they start to level from 58 – 70. The gimmick here is that killing members of the opposing faction or capturing the three points of interest (Stadium, Broken Hill, The Overlook) would net you honor tokens which you can turn in for some cool swag. In addition, if a faction held all three towers, that faction would get a zone wide buff good for PvP or PvE purposes (5% damage, still good in
instances).

The Bad

Those three points change hands more times than Paris Hilton. It takes a party or even a small raid to maintain control of the points. No one’s going to take the time to do that. Players capture them then bugger off allowing the other side to take control and back and forth it goes. Make it more difficult and add something to dissuade the other side. I’m sure the Legion could install some Fel Flak Cannons around the area, which could be controlled by the faction owners of the points.

Zangarmarsh

The Good

A fair number of guilds have begun to enter Serpentshrine Cavern. That makes it beneficial to help get the zone wide buff (Also 5% in damage). What we have here is two towers flanking a middle tower. Capture them, and you get possession of a flag. Plant it at the central spire to gain the buff (No cheating, you can’t mount or shapeshift). Remember those marks you got in Hellfire? Yeah, they’re still good here. I know the Alliance one is somewhere a little ways from Telredor. I don’t have a clue where the Horde one is. Oh, you also get a graveyard in the middle.

The Bad

Did anyone really have an idea of what to do? There weren’t any instructions on how to properly get the bonuses. Talk about being noob-friendly. Aside from the graveyard, there wasn’t much of an incentive to do it.

Terrokar Forest

The Good

Here we go! This is one of Blizzard’s finest. Capture five Spirit Towers, and the entire zone gets 5% additional damage and 5% additional experience gained (Those of us at level 70 should gain 5% additional gold from mobs). Note that the effects last for six hours. After that time is up, the control of Towers can be disputed. With the Towers under your control, the Auchindoun instances now have Spirit Shards that can be looted from the bosses within. These Shards can then be turned into the Spirit Sages (Allerian Stronghold for Alliance, Stonebreaker Hold for Horde) for some cool epic swag. As a Holy Priest, he didn’t have much to offer me. What a waste.

The Bad

Players are too busy bombing eggs to help. The distance between Skettis and Skethyl Mountains makes it difficult to assist. I can’t count the amount of times I’d be busy trying to capture towers and yelling for raid invites and I’d get whispers saying: “Hold on! Just a few more eggs and I’ll be right down!” Get the Skettis Bird guys to start laying some eggs on top of the Spirit Towers. Make it easier for us to bomb them and capture them.

Nagrand

The Good

So here’s a town that’s capturable via PvP. All you need to do is bomb to submission the Guards (if there are any) and then make like Counterstrike radio spammers and “storm the front”. Your reward? Halaa, which is a town rich with amenities such as quest givers, vendors, and a (you guessed it) 5% damage increase buff across the zone. There’s 4 of these flight post things you can interact with that stuff you on a Wyvern (weird) which flies you around the city for you to lob explosives on players and guards below. When the Guards are neutralized, players go in and must defend the flag as it is being hoisted. Congratulations! The day is yours.

The Bad

It needs a flight path. Seriously. Or some kind of a portal which will shuttle us between the towns and Halaa. If only I had an epic mount to get me there. I think Halaa also needs some Flak Cannons. Nothing would bring me the satisfaction of shooting down a 64 Rogue who laughs, sneers, and spits as he flies by knowing there’s not a damn thing I can do about it (until he lands, anyway).

Wrath of the Lich King is promising additional World PvP fun. I’m waiting eagerly to see what it brings. That means more things to do in between those 50 minutes AV queues (Come on BG 9, I know you can do better). For the time being, we can only hope Blizzard might add another PvP gimmick in Netherstorm. I’d love to have 5% additional damage when taking on Kael’Thas. You know there’s this really popular map called DoTA on Battle.net, which might be adaptable to WoW…

Gearing Your Fresh 70 Holy Priest: My Recommendations

As Holy Priests, the main stats we are concerned with are +healing, mana per five, intellect, spirit, and stamina (yes, stamina is up there since we can’t heal if we’re dead). I’ve compiled a list here of the best possible pre-raiding gear you can acquire before venturing into Karazhan. I will also list your gem choices and possible enchants. The ideal professions for Priests would be enchanting and tailoring as we get some awesome BoP recipes for us to use only. This helps maximize our healing and means less dungeon instances we need to do. I know there may be better items to get out there, but this Burning Crusade priest healing gear list shows you the quickest and most cost effective way to gear up your Priest.

Updated 10/13/07: Hallowed Shoulders and Garments as well as Veteran’s Mooncloth Cuffs added. [Thanks Gnomik/Luni]

Updated 11/24/07: Typos fixed. I think.

Updated 07/17/08: Added Shadow Pearls and Star of Elunes for Spirit regen.

Head

Watcher’s Cowl (+79 Healing): It costs about 13 gold but is quite possible one of the best blue cloth healing pieces in the game. I’ve even seen resto druids use it (because they can’t find anything better?). You need to be Revered with Cenarion Expedition to purchase and equip it. Find it at the Quartermaster at the CE Camp in Zangarmarsh.

Whitemend Hood (+79 Healing, 11 Mana Per 5): If you’ve got some extra cash lying around, consider getting this made for you. Difficulty lies in finding a player with the recipe and who has a Nether for sale.

Neck

Necklace of Eternal Hope (+48 Healing, 8 Mana Per 5): This one will set you back about 25 heroic badges. If you don’t think you’re geared properly enough for heroics yet, then try the next one which is a little longer to get.

Natasha’s Guardian Cord (+55 Healing, 6 Mana Per 5): You can get this neckpiece from Blade’s Edge Mountains. It’s at the end of a ridiculously long chain quest which starts when you find a Mask on the Ground that you hear voices from. The 9th step in the quest will reward you with this decent neck.

Sethekk Oracle’s Focus (+35 Healing, 8 Mana Per 5): Go to Sethekk Halls, get the quest to kill Darkweaver Syth, kill Darkweaver Syth, turn in quest. Voila! Easy neck!

Shoulders

Primal Mooncloth Shoulders (+92 Healing, 7 Mana Per 5): This is a Tailoring Mooncloth recipe which is BoP. It requires:

But boy is it worth it. The pattern will cost you 6G.

Hallowed Pauldrons: With the amount of times you’ll be running Shadow Labs, odds are high this will drop for you. Grandmaster Vorpil will have this for you.

Back

White Remedy Cape: Easiest cape you can possibly get. It’s a tailoring BoE blue. The pattern itself is a world drop. If you put a tell in trade chat, hopefully you’ll be able to find someone who can create it on your server. It’s Level 69 so you can start shopping for it a little earlier. If you’re on Ner’Zhul, look up Mallet and I can craft it for you. Here’s the mats requirement:

Chest

Primal Mooncloth Robe (+121 Healing, 10 Mana Per 5): Best. Healing. Chest. Pre-raid. Ever. If you don’t have Mooncloth tailoring, drop whatever profession it is you have and use it. It’s just about on par with T4.

Hallowed Garments: Killing Murmer could yield this drop for you as well. Good alternative for you non-tailors.

Wrists

Bindings of the Timewalker (+64 Healing): Have a lot of time on your hands? Go run Black Morass a billion times. This sweet bracer comes at a not so sweet price of about 43G and lost hours better spent playing hockey or watching the Office.

Veteran’s Mooncloth Cuffs: The time required to grind out the Honor for this vs the Bindings of the Time Walker would work out in favour of these cuffs. One weekend in Alterac Valley should yield you enough honor points for this PvP item.

Gloves

Gloves of Penitence (+46 Healing): Chances are you might have this. All you had to do was kill Levixus the Soul Caller and it’s yours.

Prismatic Mittens of Mending (+55 Healing, 7 Mana Per 5): Consider upgrading to these once you get the Gloves. The first boss in Botanica, Commander Sarannis drops them.

Belt

Primal Mooncloth belt (+81 Healing, 8 Mana per 5): Finish out the set, get a set bonus where you gain mana back (5% of your mana regen to continue while casting). Like the shoulders, this pattern is also 6G. Mats are:

Legs

Whitement Pants (+62 Healing, 11 Mana Per 5): The difficulty here would be finding a tailor with the pattern who has a Nether available for use. Nether costs have dropped in price so it shouldn’t be as as before the patch when the only way to get them was killing the end boss in Heroics.

Feet

Jeweled Boots of Sanctification (+55 Healing, 6 Mana Per 5): Dropped by the big bad confused Ogre from Shattered Halls who doesn’t know which way he’s going.

Rings

Keeper’s Ring of Piety (+42 Healing, 7 Mana Per 5): This one’s easy to get. If you’ve been following your Karazhan attunements, then you will have this one by now. The Quest is given by Sa’at in the Caverns of time after you’ve completed Hero of the Brood.

Ring of Convalescence (+57 Healing, 4 Mana Per 5): Requires you to be Revered with Honor Hold (Or Thrallmar). Will cut into your gold pouch with a price of about 18G. Pick it up from the Quartermaster.

Trinkets

Lower City Prayerbook (+70 Healing): Yeah the on use effect sucks. But just look at the passive ability! Besides, -22 mana isn’t that bad. Any mana saved is mana that can be used later. Think of endurance fights. Think of how often you you will use it and think of what that mana can be used for later. Requires a Revered Reputation with Lower City (Shadow Labs loves you).

Scarab of the Infinite Cycle (+70 Healing): Spell haste rating is cool. It makes your spells go faster. Too bad it requires running Black Morass a couple of times.

Weapons (Staff)

Epoch-Mender (+227 Healing, 10 Mana Per 5): For a staff, it’s not the greatest. It drops off of Temporus in the Black Morass. Personally, I would stick to a 1 Hand/Off hand combination until later on. But it’s still a decent staff. If you’re Scryer, opt for the Seer’s Cane instead.

Weapons (1 Hand))

The Essence Focuser (+227 Healing, 11 Mana Per 5): Scout your local auction house as it is a world drop. Unfortunately, no stats.

Gavel of Pure Light (+299 Healing, 8 Mana Per 5): Do lots of Mechanar runs to increase your rep. You need Exalted to be able to buy this from the Quartermaster. This will really make your wallet hurt with a near 192G cost. If you’re lucky, you might be able to get Hammer of the Penitent to drop off of the Mechano-Lord in Mech. Either way, you’ll get a good mace to use.

Weapons (Off Hand)

Netherwing Spiritualist’s Charm (+33 Healing, 6 Mana Per 5): Once you become neutral with Netherwing, you’ll get this as a reward. Head down to Shadowmoon Valley and look for an Elf wandering around killing Flayers just below the Netherdrakes.

Wands

Soul-Wand of the Aldor (+22 Healing): Hands down, the best wand you’ll get for a long time.

Enchants & Other Augments

Glyph of Renewal (+35 Healing, 7 Mana Per 5): This goes on your head. Requires Honor Hold/Thrallmar reputation of revered. Costs 100G.

Greater Inscription of Faith or Greater Inscription of the Oracle: Depends on which faction you chose (Aldor or Scryer). Aldor for the win!

Enchant Cloak – Subtlety: Wait for Patch 2.2 and Enchanters will be able to get this beauty. It’s updated for BC materials. It reduces the threat you cause by 2%. That means 2% more healing! Whee!

Enchant Chest – Restore Mana Prime (6 Mana Per 5): Easy to get. You’ll want this.

Enchant Bracer – Superior Healing (+30 Healing): Same thing. 4 Primal Life’s and 4 Greater Planar Essences and your bracer got a whole lot better.

Enchant Gloves – Major Healing (+35 Healing): Ouch. In addition to 6 Greater Planars and 6 Primal Lifes, now you need 6 Large Prismatic Shards. Put it on the best possible gloves you have knowing that you won’t be replacing it for a while.

Enchant Weapon – Spellsurge: This unique enchant has a 3% chance on cast to restore 100 mana (not 100% mana) to all party members over 10 seconds. This is most useful in a raid environment, but there is a lot of debate between this and +81 Healing. Hopefully one of my other fellow Priest bloggers will dwell on this topic (Ego? Kurt? Anyone? Eh, guess not. I’ll get around to it eventually).

Enchant Weapon – Major Healing (+81 Healing): Stick to this for now. It’s cheaper.

Enchant Boots – Vitality (4 Mana Per 5): Restores Health and Mana every 5 seconds. The enchant is a world drop.

Enchant Ring – Healing Power (+20 Healing): Remember when I told you to take up Tailoring and Enchanting? Here’s the other half of the reason why. Enchanters are able to enchant their own rings (Must be Soulbound).
Golden Spellthread (+66 Healing): Here’s a big hint: Put this on your Whitemend Pants. You’ll need 10 Primal Life’s and an Aldor Exalted Tailor with a Primal Nether. If you’re on Ner’Zuhl as Alliance, send Mallet a tell and I’ll do it for you.

Gems

Purified Shadow Pearl (+9 Healing, 4 Spirit): Spirit changes in recent patches have modified the Priest choice of gems rather extensively. The ideal blue slot gem now belongs to these Shadow Pearls. Bear in mind, they’re not something that can be mined or prospected easily so the cost of acquiring these might be higher than normal.

Sparkling Star of Elune (8+ Spirit): This is another option for you if you’d like to focus more exclusively on mana regen. But at an early level, having both +healing and mana regen should be worked on simultaneously.

Royal Nightseye (+9 Healing, 2 Mana Per 5): This is your best friend. Most of the time, you’ll want to get a yellow gem for the socket bonus. Personally I say it’s hogwash. Most of your red and blue’s should be Nightseyes. There’s not a lot of gear where the socket bonus is good enough to warrant not using a Nightseye.

Teardrop Living Ruby (+18 Healing): I don’t use this at all personally. I heavily favor Mana Per 5 over miniscule amounts of +healing. It’s only 9 more than the Nightseye. I do not foresee it making a huge impact.

Luminous Noble Topaz (+9 Healing): For the rare pieces that do have a kickass bonus when you slot in a yellow gem, use one of these babies.

Conclusions and the Math

I’ve factored in my top choices in gear and included the best enchants, augments, and recommended gems. Here’s the final numbers:

Head: 135 Healing, 24 Mana Per 5 (Whitemend Hood, 3 x Royal Nightseye, Glyph of Renewal)

Neck: 48 Healing, 4 Mana Per 5 (Necklace of Eternal Hope)

Shoulders: 125 Healing, 11 Mana Per 5 (Primal Mooncloth Shoulders with the Aldor Greater Faith Inscription)

Back: 59 Healing, 7 Mana Per 5 (White Remedy Cape)

Chest: 139 Healing, 20 Mana Per 5 (Primal Mooncloth Robe, 2 x Royal Nightseye, Enchant Chest – Restore Mana Prime)

Bracer: 94 Healing (Bindings of the Timewalker, Enchant Bracer – Superior Healing)

Gloves: 90 Healing, 7 Mana Per 5 (Prismatic Mittens of Mending, Enchant Gloves – Major Healing)

Waist: 99 Healing, 12 Mana Per 5 (Primal Mooncloth Belt, 2 x Royal Nightseye)

Legs: 154 Healing, 17 Mana Per 5 (Whitemend Pants, 3 x Royal Nightseye, Golden Spellthread)

Feet: 55 Healing, 10 Mana Per 5 (Jeweled Boots of Sanctification, Enchant Boots – Vitality)

Ring: 77 Healing, 4 Mana Per 5 (Ring of Convalescence, Enchant Ring – Healing Power)

Ring: 62 Healing, 7 Mana Per 5 (Keeper’s Ring of Piety, Enchant Ring – Healing Power)

Trinket: 70 Healing (Lower City Prayberook)

Trinket: 70 Healing (Scarab of the Infinite Cycle)

Weapon 1H: 380 Healing (Gavel of Pure Light, Enchant Weapon – Major Healing)

Weapon OH: 33 Healing, 6 Mana Per 5 (Netherwing Spiritualist’s Charm)

GRAND TOTAL:

1690 Healing (Does not include the Whitemend Bonus. Factor that in, and you’ll get healing increased by up to 10% of your intellect. So you could easily be looking at over 1700 Healing)

129 Mana Per 5 (Note that this is just from the gear. I did not calculate spirit bonuses into it)

With those kinds of numbers, you can easily begin raiding Karazhan. I started doing it with ~1300 Healing.

And there you have it! Matticus’ recommended pre-raiding checklist for the Holy Priest. If I’m wrong somewhere, please leave a comment and I’ll fix it. Remember, there are better blues out there you can get, but I only listed those that offer the best value for the buck (and time).

Whew, that list took a lot of time. I started compiling this at 6:30 AM. It’s about 9:23 AM right now. Good thing it’s server downtime day.

Sources:
WoW Wiki
WoW Head

5 Things about WoW (post TBC) and How I Would Fix Them

Matt’s Note: I’d like to introduce another writer. Ryan “Doc Holiday” has been a friend for many years. He also plays World of Warcraft with a Hunter as his main. He’ll usually post one or two days out of the week. His columns can be found under Ryan’s Rants on the side. Enjoy!

5. Heroic Dungeons

Now to be honest I’m not wholly against the idea of “beefing” up instances and offering up some decent epics but… something got lost in the translation. I don’t think it was Blizzard’s intentions that heroics become a nightmare of micro management for CC classes but thats what they got much to the chagrin of any non CC class in the game. Not only that its a nightmare for priests (2 shot wonders) or Druids (I wish i had some aggro management or at least let me cast heals in bear form) but the testing for heroics had seemed to be play tested with a group consisting of tier 6 Warrior, Holy pally, Mage, Mage, and a Mage. Now people are going to tell me “Hey Heroics are a success” and they probably would be right but that doesn’t stop me from hating it anyway.

How I would fix it

Making trash hit like a brickhouse and have a ton of health doesn’t make the game more “epic”. Well designed instances and fun encounters do. e.g…black morass. Whoever made Black Morass I would promote him and see what they could do with Heroics cause its got to be better then whatever fool suggested mobs that hit for a billion and have more health then Tidewalker.

4. Epic flying Mount

I can’t think of a bigger time and money scam then the epic flying mount. Question. Why would you spend 5000 gold on something that is completely irrelevant to game play? Oh people come back with “It helps me farm faster”… Really if you’re good enough to farm 5000 gold then why do you need an epic flying mount? This one item has basically done two things: Inflate the cost of everything on the auction house and keep gold farming companies in business. The first thing is probably good for Blizzard it keeps people playing longer. The second is well not good for Blizzard unless they secretly own the gold farming companies.

How I would fix it

It should be some grand quest that believe it or not… Takes time. The idea for daily quests is a good one but could be put to better use with a grand quest spread out over weeks or even months. Only the truly dedicated would complete these “epic” quests. Is it truly awe inspiring to see Johnny McCreditcard or Bill the Overpowered Warlock Mote farmer of doom flying his epic flying mount around all the other thousands of people with theirs? Truly epic indeed.

3. Time equals Gear

What ever flavor it comes in, Arena, Battlegrounds, or Reputation gear. Rewarding someone by simply playing is too me the lowest form of mediocrity. I would think as a 2000+ rated arena team its pretty degrading to see that hard earned arena gear on some team that maintains a even record. Yes the drive to be good is kept alive in wow. Want to earn gear? AFK in a Battleground, repeat, get easy epics. Grind Mechanar on easy mode, get an epic. Thats right people don’t excel because we know your too stupid to do anything that requires the smallest amount of skill.

How I would fix it

First and foremost: Arena teams must achieve and maintain a certain rating for certain gear. Failure to do so means you cannot wear that gear or purchase that gear in the future. No more points for “winning” or “losing” a Battleground. You get points for doing what you should be doing. Whether its dpsing or killing blows to healing or flag capturing or flag defending. No more Reputation gear. It would be replaced with Hero Gear. Tired of shadow labs? How about doing it without CCing anything? doing it in an hour or 45 minutes or 30 minutes? Reward people for the skill that is required to do these feats because you would be in fact training them to be better players and maybe just maybe you would have more then .01 percent of the total wow population doing the things you spent a lot of time developing like the Black Temple.

2. The Forums

I cannot think of a bigger cesspool and waste of time as the official forums of WoW. Trying to find useful and helpful information is harder then finding a needle in a haystack. Is everyone that plays wow a crystal meth addicted moron? If you read the wow forums the answer would probably be yes. What should be resource for the 9 million subscribers has turned into a never ending forum for trolls, criers and flamers. On the plus side it has created a huge offshoot industry of websites offering dedicated wow gamers the things they really need.

How I would fix it

Scrap the forums. Blow them up and start again. Hire a ton of moderators and have them deal with troublemakers right away. For those helpful and talented wowers out there give them a job and have them contribute full time to help make the game more enjoyable for everyone. There are plenty of great websites out there that do just that, for those that are for beginners (WoW Insider) or to the more advanced (elitist Jerks).

1. Trash

Oh lord give me strength after this wipe to battle through another hour of trash clears so that I do not take my own life in rage. You know I listened to Blizzard’s raid discussion and their attempt to defend the amount of trash in its raid and I just wanted to scream BS the entire time. No one can tell me that more trash is better or equal to less trash with more difficulty. The idea of putting trash into an instance to let you know that if your not ready for this instance yet is ludicrous. Bosses should be the test for guilds not trash. End of story period. Time after time again the thing that ends raids for almost every guild is a re clear of trash in starter raids of SSC and TK. You would think they would have learned something from the most successful raid instance of all time and no I’m not talking about Naxx I’m talking about BWL. Two quick boss encounters that were challenging some nasty trash that tested your tanks, dps and gear, a timed room clear that kept everyone on there toes to a boss that was tied into those timed rooms. Follow that up with some new and interesting trash 3 quick dragon bosses, the big doggie, then the end boss and what you had was 3 or so hours of fun. Now its an hour of trash followed by 2-4 attempts on a boss thats very unforgiving with mistakes.

How I would fix it

I am not saying eliminate trash but what I am saying in its current state is it either needs to be reduced or have its re spawn time increased. I once heard a Blizzard developer say that trash should be “relaxing”. Well I don’t want my pallies relaxing when I get poisoned and they don’t cleanse me instantly so i die. I don’t want my tanks relaxing when enraged Murlocs are running around 1 shotting healers. In the future, trash should be either tied into a boss encounter in a 15-20 minute cycle or removed entirely. Attumen is a good example of how trash affects a boss encounter, it adds a sense of urgency to the encounter without making it seem horrid if you have to do it again. If there is no trash then boss encounter should be difficult or long. Razorgore is a perfect example of a encounter that was interesting, chaotic and long. It felt truly epic and was followed up by a short but difficult encounter in Vael. How many times did you wipe on Vael? I know some nights it would take hours to down him but the important thing is it kept making us come back no matter how long it took.

Tidewalker down, and more Shamanisms

Two tries, one dead water bubble farting giant. It’s about damn time. All we had to do was get a prot specced pally to tank the murlocs and we were set!

Loot:
[item]Pendant of the Lost Ages[/item]
[item]Pauldrons of the Argent Sentinel[/item]

Update: I made a section purely for Shamans where everything Shaman related will go. I’ve added two of my Restoration specs for both PvP and PvE use. I didn’t explain most of the abilities because I think they’re fairly self explanatory. I added notes on the different points you could off spec.

Shamans and You

Sorry guys, I had a 12 hour double shift on Saturday which reduced any thought of me writing. I’ll make up for it with a double header today. I’ve written virtually nothing about my Restoration Shaman. Let’s change that shall we?

As a Restoration Shaman, you are nothing but a support class. You’re not expected to DPS with Lightning Bolts or Shocks or what have you. Unlike a Priest where we can Flash Heal, Greater Heal, and PW: Shield players, Shamans are expected to assist offensively and defensively.

Offensive Arsenal

Purge: Similar to a Priest’s dispel, except it can only be used offensively against enemy targets. Unfortunately, it cannot be used against friendly targets to removed debuffs. At later levels, it can remove two at time.

Earth Shock: This is an interrupt spell. It’s pretty straight forward. If Aran starts casting a Frostbolt, press it. It also silences that school of magic for several seconds.

Frost Shock: This is a slowing magic effect. It’s like Frostbolt but without the massive damage and it’s instantaneous (like all shocks).

Flame Shock: Deals initial damage, with subsequent DoT Damage applied afterwards (Mind Blast followed up with SW: Pain).

Nike Shock: Makes a target run faster (Boy don’t I wish that was real).

Lightning Spells: Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning are the two mainstays in terms of pure damage dealing. Chain Lightning affects three targets within relatively close proximity of each other but contains a cooldown. Lightning Bolt just hits one target but has no cooldown.

Heroism: Alliance Shamans get the 40 seconds of increased haste to spells and attacks. Good finisher.

Defensive and Healing Spells

Earth Shield: The giant brownie floating around players is a must get talent for any Restoration Shaman. Unlike Power Word: Shield which absorbs and prevents damage being applied to a player, Earth Shield will automatically heal at random whenever a player is hit. The threat is redirected to the player who has Earth Shield on. It’s perfect for tanks who need extra aggro. Think of the spell as a 10 charge Prayer of Mending without the bouncing effect to other players. The only downside? At level 70, it costs a whopping 900 mana.

Healing Waves: Nothing special here. It’s the two direct healing spells that shamans have (Lesser Healing Wave and it’s bigger brother Healing Wave).

Nature’s Swiftness: This spell rocks. It’s on a two minute cooldown but it allows the next nature spell cast to be instantaneous. Is your tank just hundreds of health away from doing? Blow Nature’s Swiftness and Greater Healing Wave and make your other healers look bad. Can also be combined with offensive spells like Chain Lightning to finish off a player swiftly.

Chain Heal: In my opinion, this is where Shaman’s make their worth. It’s similar in nature to Chain Lightning except it heals your raidmates. I’d say Shamans are ideal for healing Melee DPS groups. When Chain Heal is cast, it will jump two additional times after your first target. You have no control over who gets the subsequent two heals and the amount healed for is less each time. For about 500 mana, its some insane healing efficiency. It’s three targets healed for the time it takes to cast off a Greater Heal on a Priest on only one target.

Play Overview

It’s a little more difficult to play a Shaman then a Priest in PvE encounters. You need to maintain your totems, make sure certain spells are interrupted, and heal in between. Obviously there’s no way you will ever match up to the amount that a Holy Priest can do nor the endurance of a Paladin. Chain Healing is the big key here. It’s the ability to heal multiple targets within a short amount of time at a decent mana cost which is significant.

Toteming Techniques (for the PvP Player)

With totems, you have the flexibility to increase the damage done by casters, melee characters, or hunters (but not all three at once). They provide additional buffs like increased mana regeneration or health and the ability to automatically remove totems. Earthbind can slowdown opposing enemies within the totem radius. Fire totems can provide additional damage from another source or increase resistance against certain schools of magic (like frost).

Understand that you can drop four totems at any one time: Air, Water, Earth & Fire.

I have several default setups depending on what classes I am playing against.

Air Totems: My threes and fives team both have Warriors and another melee class. Just before we are about to engage the other team, I will drop my windfury totem for a few seconds so that the effect is applied on the melee guys. Then I will drop a grounding totem to absorb that incoming frost bolt or shadowbolt that I can feel coming my way (XPerl lets me know when I’m targeted). I’d never use wrath of air or grace of air since it’s primarily windfury and grounding totem’s as soon as it’s available.

Fire Totems: There’s not a whole lot of selection. I could drop a searing totem to annoy the other team, but if it starts hitting the Warrior he ends up getting extra rage. If there’s a frost mage, I will drop the frost resist to help with that. It’s unfortunate we’re unable to use fire elementals in arena. But I suppose having a 5 shaman team with 5 fire elementals and nearly 200 seconds of Heroism would tear through most teams.

Water Totems: By default, I would leave a mana spring totem. If there’s a rogue or a hunter on the opposing team, poison cleansing gets dropped. Mana Tide comes down if healers need the mana (frequently myself and the paladin who gets mana burned).

Earth Totems: I have three choices here: Earthbind, Tremor, or Strength of Earth. Usually I’ll drop the Strength totem to help increase DPS a little bit. Tremor goes down if there’s a Warlock or if a team member gets hit with fear close to me. Earthbind’s a last resort that I keep open if there’s any kiting that needs to be done.

Within the first 10 seconds of the Arena gates opening, you should be able to figure out what classes are arrayed against you and what totems you need to drop. It’s especially important to position them in areas where it’s difficult to target. For example, if you get the bridge arena, place your totems under the bridge if you plan to engage up top. If you get pillars, you can even leave a few in the corner behind the pillars. For Lordaeron, consider placing them up close against the tomb in the middle of the map forcing the other team to run around and shoot it.

There is a lot of back and forth switching of players. You need to ensure that the opposing Paladin’s Greater Heal does not get cast or the Shadow Priest’s mana burn is interrupted with E. Shocks (I’d prioritize the shadow priest over healers). If Earthbind is on cooldown and you need to keep moving, jump, do a 180° mouse look, frost shock, and mouselook back to the original direction so you can keep running away.

Shamans do have a lot of potential in both raids and PvP. But there isn’t one specific area that they excel in. Except raid healing. Did I mention that already?

Priest Efficiency vs Overall Success

There appear to be two schools of thought when it comes to Priests and raiding.

Old School: Mana efficiency, conservation, rhythms.
New School: Doing whatever it takes to keep the damn tank alive even if it means going OOM (Out of mana).

Back during the Pre-BC raids where there 40 people (25 skilled players and 15 afk players), Priests could get away with following the five second rule. With the decrease in raid sizes, I’m going to make the ultimate no duh statement and say that each player has a far greater and more noticeable impact then before.

A lot of Priests seem to discourage the use of Power Word Shield until they absolutely need to citing that it takes up far too much mana for a not-so-great return. I am one of the few priests who did not spec reduced threat (Silent Resolve) or Martyrdom. I placed my 2nd tier points into Improved Fortitude and Improve Shields. Shields are improved by 15% along with an additional 20% of your +healing attached to it. I will explain my thoughts on Silent Resolve in one of my Priest sections later on.

The damage prevention to mana cost ratio sucks: True.
This leads to an impracticality of spamming Power Word Shield: True.

But listen to my next point. Even though the damage prevention scaling is not the greatest, it is important to remember that as your gear is getting better, your mana regeneration increases. You’re gaining more mana back and you can afford to cast it more often. You don’t need to spam it every time the Weakened Soul debuff is active on the tank. But you can spam it on other members of the raid who need it. Good priests don’t have tunnel vision. Even if you cannot afford to expend the time or the mana to heal another raid member, you can blow a global cooldown and shield him and let another healer do it for you while you return to your healing assignment on the main tank.

I can understand in parties why you would be hesitant to do something like that unless it was a dire emergency. But raiding is not quite the same as partying and some players have difficulty grasping that. You have access to a lot more utilities with 25 players then you would with only 5.

Ways to regenerate your mana:

By yourself
Super Mana Potions
Food: Blackened Sporefish
Flasks: Mighty Restoration, Shattrath Flask of Restoration, or Unstable Flasks of the Physician (Gruul’s Lair only)
Oils: Superior Mana Oil, Brilliant Mana Oil (If you have the time to grab Large Brilliant Shards)
Elixirs: Major Mageblood and another elixir combination of your choice
Shadowfiend

By others
Shadow Priest: Vampiric Touch
Druids: Innervate
Shamans: Mana Spring Totem, Mana Tide Totem
Paladins: Blessing of Wisdom, Judgment of Wisdom
Other: Spellsurge Enchants

With all of those effects, there is a lot of mana being returned and Priests can last for a long time.

The stinginess amazes me. I’ve witnessed tanks or other important impact players go down because a priest wanted to let their heal cast finish. If your tank absorbs a huge hit which drops them from 100% to 15%, you better take a step forward and backward to cancel your heal and light up your Power Word Shield, Renew, and Prayer of Mending. Otherwise, that extra half a second that you wait to let your heal finish could mean the end of your raid. Don’t even think about it. Just react! It’s okay. I don’t think I’ve ever met a raid leader who would get pissed off at a Priest for allowing the tank to live. So what if he’s inefficient? So what if he doesn’t end up with full mana? What kind of Priest ends up with full mana at the end of a raid? A lazy one, that’s who. I would take an alive tank paired with an “oom” Priest over a dead tank and a topped off Priest any day.

This has been one of the few things that have constantly frustrated me. When I raid with another holy priest in Karazhan and we have separate healing assignments and his assignment dies, I ask him: Did you shield him?

His response: No, I don’t like PW:S. It’s inefficient.

Who cares if it’s inefficient? The end result justifies the means.

I remember during Blackwing Lair on the insane 30 minute Chromagus fights, Priests would take turn taking breaks from healing to spirit their way back to full mana. I consistently blew Major Mana Potions, Dark Runes, and Tubers to prevent players from collapsing. I don’t think many new players know what they were, but they’re just consumables which returned mana on different cooldown timers.

If you need to Shield spam your tank, then Shield spam your tank.
If you need to max rank Flash Heal spam your tank, then you do it.
If you need to pull aggro on other ads to keep your tank alive, then macro an unequip on your weapons and bite the bullet.
If you need to heal without mana, keep a stack of bandages handy (No joke, I’ve healed ranged DPS with bandages but it paid off with the guild first boss kill).

At the end of the day, if one person in your raid is left standing and that big bad beast of a boss is not moving, then you can relax knowing that you have succeeded. No matter what happens, your duty as a Holy Priest is to the health of your raid and your tanks. Everything else is secondary only to that primary goal.

Hydross of SSC has an approximately 9-10 minute enraged timer in which he goes berserk and starts going all Tie Domi on the raid. Innervate has a 6 minute cooldown. I know that I am able to last for a long time without an innervate until the 8-9 minute marks. I made a deal with my druid where I would blow as much mana as I could within the first minute or so of the fight. My 600 damage smites or 800 damage mind blasts aren’t going to pull aggro off our tanks. If they are, something is definitely wrong with the tanks and I should just gquit. After I finish spamming Shields, Smites, Renews, or whatever will get me down to about 60% mana, I whisper him to light up his innervate on me. Voila, I’m back to full mana, Hydross is down to 80% instead of 83% and I’m back to heal mode.

Be creative, guys. Think of ways you can help the raid even when there’s nobody to heal. Improvise and think on your feet. I will stress this one more time, do what you need to do to win (short of cheating or exploiting… those are big no no’s).

Fear Wards confirmed, and why you should never swear in trade chat

You are a Horde Warlock being beaten upon by three Alliance players. Out of the corner of your eye, you notice Howl of Terror is now available for use. Your eyes narrow and you slowly grin. You activate it and watch your attackers flee befor- Oh wait, that Rogue is unaffected. You die and curse the Alliance a thousand times over.

Fear Ward.

The spell itself is an annoyance to Horde. It is the ability to 100% resist the next Fear effect from affecting a player. The Psychic Scream of Priests are one of the most powerful spells in their arsenal. Used properly, it can provide you with precious seconds to heal you and your allies. Improperly, and it will wipe the most battle hardened players.

Tremor Totem was the Horde response to Fear Ward. I suppose it did it’s job, but not as efficiently as Dwarves (and now Dranei). That particular totem wipes off fear every couple of seconds. Unlike a Priest’s Fear Ward which automatically mitigates and prevents the fear effect from taking place, the Tremor Totem continually pulses and removes the fear effect if you have it on you. Believe me, I’ve dropped my totems within 30 yards of tanks on Nightbane. I would gladly take Fear Ward over Tremor Totem in a heart beat. The damn totem only has 30 yards, but most players get feared out of range before the effect is removed! But bear in mind, I’m speaking strictly in the PvE sense. In addition to fear removals, it also removes sleep effects, Mind Control and the Seductions of a Succubus (As stated by WoWWiki). It’s best to drop the totem immediately when your mates are hit with fear and you still retain control of your character.

But fear not Hordelings, it’s been confirmed by the blue that Fear Ward will be given to all Priests. Of course, I can’t read French to confirm that, but the folks over at MMO-Champion have been able to translate it (Scroll down a post). It may not have as much of an impact on the PvE side of things because I’m positive that Horde players have been able to adapt to the absence of Fear Ward. I can only imagine what kind of an effect this will have in competitive play. All I can think of now is Alliance are screwed. There’s too much possible theorycrafting that it’s impossible to map it all. I predict more Horde teams will be dominating in the upper echelons of Arena play. If you think I’m wrong (I know there’s someone), please do tell me. I’ve played Alliance my entire WoW career and I know next to nothing about what the Horde can do (Besides what’s been done to me of course).

On another side note, here is the worldofmatticus.com misplay of the week.

There’s this Warrior on my server who decided to start some trouble in trade chat. He began swearing a couple of times and I guess some players made good on their threats to screenshot his in game chat and report it to the Blizzard GM’s. Several hours later, his Guild is busy in SSC tackling Leotheras. He’s one of their primary tanks. I’m sure by now you know where this is going. Leotheras is dropped down to 1%, and that Warrior all of a sudden stops moving and appears to be disconnected. The raid wipes without the tank maintaining control.

He got suspended.

So, if you ever get the urge to start swearing or cussing out other players on trade chat, bite the urge and leave town or move on. It’s not worth it at all.

EDIT 23:39: Anonymous comments enabled. Discuss, praise, and flame away. Too much of the latter and consider that removed. With great power comes great responsibility after all.