Loot Management Week: The Council of Looting

I woke up this morning feeling like Dean McAmmond. I won’t discuss too much on 2.3 Priest changes. My colleagues have done a great job thusfar (Ego, Kirk, and the rest). Once I wrap up the week, I will take a look at some certain Shaman improvements.

Apparently there are high level Guilds out there which do NOT utilize a DKP system in any way. It’s… uh, really weird! I can’t say that I’ve ever been in such an organization that distributes loot based on what the Loot Council thinks. Yeah, there is no complex web script to maintain. There is no pencil and paper number crunching involved (or UI download required). If the Guild thinks you deserve it, it gets auto looted to you.

What the hell? What kind of Guild would do such a thing?

A Guild whose main goal is to progress. A Guild which values utilitarian values. A Guild that doesn’t care about loot as long as they progress. Personally, I am one of these types of players. I don’t really care about who gets what loot as long as it benefits and helps the overall raid. I figure if the Loot Council running things was mature and NOT selfish, it has a high possibility of working. The deciding methodology could range from players who want an item messaging the Lootmaster, or having officers inspect all eligible players to determine who gets the dropped piece.

I don’t think I need to spell out the possible pitfalls or negatives that this kind of loot system will offer. Think about it for a moment. The loot you get is dependent on a group of players. There’s always a possibility of bias. There could be accusations of favoritism. This kind of system offers the potential for Guild drama that would clog the front page of WoW Insider for a long time. I’ve never been in a Loot Council Guild, but I would imagine the environment would reek of paranoia.

But surely there must be benefits or else many top end Guilds would not consider the system. Aside from the lack of work involved, this system would fit strongly with organizations that have been together for a long time. I don’t refer to one year as a long time. I’m referring to three or more years, long time. These are rare Guilds that have grown together for such a long time that they consider each other an extended family. As such, they would have no need to rely on point systems to economize loot. They possess that instinctual knowledge of loot priority. They know who would benefit the most from item drops. They also know that the person they give it to would utilize it to the fullest. The Guild becomes that much stronger, which leads to being able to take down more difficult bosses.

In theory, I do agree with the principle. It’s a great Utopian ideal. But Communism also failed. Even after taking a Philosophy course and being exposed to the many ideals of Locke and Beccaria and all those other old guys, I still firmly believe that man is inherently selfish. Obviously not all of them, otherwise this system would not be in use today. If your Guild wants to pull this off, the most important thing to nurture amongst all your members is trust and a sense of community. Otherwise, nothing will stop a player from bolting once they get an item that they want (then again, not many systems can counter it anyway). Can it work? Yes, because my friend has been a part of two successful Guilds that have done it.

The next two days, I will wrap up Loot Management week with what I believe is the best possible system.

Blizzard wastes no time on Patch 2.3

Update: 9/27 (Thanks Kirk)

All priests get Fear Ward!

Drysc wrote:

Fear Ward will be available to all priests at level 20, but there are some changes in addition. Current plans are to reduce duration to 3 minutes, and increase the cooldown to 3 minutes.

To give the dwarves and draenei something else to even it out, they’ll see a new ability called Chastise (also given at level 20) which will cause holy damage and incapacitate the target for 2 seconds.

Drysc clarifies the numbers for converting +healing to +spell damage as a new mechanic for healers.

Drysc wrote:

No, it’s about a third. So 1500 +heal would give about +500 +spell damage.

Priest
Nethaera on Pain Suppression and Meditation improvements!

 

Nethaera wrote:

For instance, Pain Suppression is getting changed a bit to have more utility beyond personal use. You’ll be able to cast it on a friendly target and it will do a couple of things. First it’s going to reduce the target’s threat by 5%. and next it’s going to reduce the damage that person takes by 40%. The cooldown is also going to be reduced to 2 minutes. The intent is to give it more utility while still making it viable for multiple targets. When you’re trying to protect an AoEing mage in a raid, this could become a very useful tool.

Meditation is also going to get a bit of a bump up and it will increase to 10/20/30% mana regen as well.

Nethaera on Power Word: Shield.

Nethaera wrote:

On the survivability end, we’re going to be having Power Word: Shield gain additional benefit from spell damage and healing bonuses. Base absorb values for ranks 10, 11 and 12 have been reduced though to go with that as a balancing factor for it. Unfortunately I don’t have any concrete information on what the values will end up being right now.

Shaman

Eyonix on Shaman buffs.

 

Eyonix wrote:

An example of one helpful adjustment surrounds shamanistic rage, which will also reduces all damage taken by 30% for the duration of the ability (30 seconds), in addition to its current effect. Spirit Weapons will also reduce melee threat by a total of 30% rather than 15%. More improvements should be expected as well.

Eyonix says improvements will be made to all talent specs.

 

Eyonix wrote:

There will be changes that benfefit the elemental and restoration shaman as well. And yes, more enchancement improvements are absolutely going into patch 2.3.

Shaman can train 2-handed axes and maces without talents!

 

Eyonix wrote:

Yes, all shaman will be able to equip 2-handed axes and maces (proper training required of course), without having to spend a talent. In it’s place, a seemingly solid replacement talent called elemental focus. Basically, what it offers is this — after landing a melee critical strike, you’ll enter a “focused state”. The focused state will reduce the mana cost of your next shock spell by 60%.

Frost Shock no longer subject to diminishing returns!

Eyonix wrote:

You’re welcome. No changes to those abilities, and while not the same, in patch 2.3 frost shock will no longer be subject to diminishing returns. This should prove useful.

Source: Curse

Lots of more things to look forward to especially as healers. That top change will raise many eyebrows and I suspect that the converted healing bonus to spell damage will draw some debate.

Late for Stats… more on this later as well as the next series in Loot Management. Thanks to all the birthday well wishers!

How DKP Works

DKP: What Is It?

Simply put, I would define it as a form of currency for players. When MMO’s first came into being, a loot system needed to be formed. Players realized that it would not be fair to just allow anyone to roll on loot. It would completely suck if a player joined a raid and rolled 100 while you rolled a 1 even though you were there far longer. So some guy came up with a method to assign value to item drops (I think this was back in Everquest). DKP stands for Dragon Kill Points. In Everquest, they didn’t have you kill off Ogres or Shades or Demon Hunters (At least, I don’t think so).

There’s various methods for earning DKP and it is entirely up to your Guild brass to use what they want to use. Each method has it’s own positives and it’s own negatives. There’s different ways to spend it. A lot of players whine and complain about DKP and it’s usage. But the thing about DKP is that it doesn’t determine if you get loot… it determines when you get loot. A lot of people have difficulty wrapping their heads around that concept. They start complaining when some other player gets that coveted 500 spell damage weapon before they do.

Here’s a brief overview of the different ways Guilds can classify their DKP earning scheme:

Time based: DKP earned is relative to the amount of time spent raiding.
Boss kill: You take down X, you earn Y. Simple concept. It’s kind of like working where you get paid once you finish something.

Spending Schemes:

Basic: Your typical bidding system
Zero Sum: It’s a fixed system where the same amount of points being spent for an item get redistributed throughout the entire raid. So if a player spends 25 points to purchase a Bow, the entire raid gets 1 DKP each (25/1). Carnage utilizes this.
Spend All: This goes to the highest bidder. They are required to go all in on their bid. Once they get an item, they have to climb the ladder all over again. This results in a fairly even distribution of loot I would imagine.
Hybrid: This one’s an interesting system. You have a fixed cost on items and you add a random number generator on tp of that to help weigh the statistical chance that the player can receive that item. I daresay it’s a bit complicated to set up.

More analysis tomorrow. I turn 20 so I may not get around to it. It depends primarily on how much alcohol my friends pump into my system.

Loot Management Week: Karazhan

Sorry guys, I had a really busy weekend. I had to finish up a few projects and participate in my hockey draft. I think my picks look pretty solid.

I’ve noticed an alarming trend lately in how some younger Guilds are imposing DKP for their Karazhan runs. Wait, what? Why? Why use DKP for loot distribution in a small ten man instance? Hopefully my plea can change the course of Guilds so that they don’t run into any Guild Drama later on in their path.

Don’t use DKP for Karazhan. As a Guild run, there will be at most two classes that are the same (warrior/warrior, priest/priest). It adds unnecessary work and possible consequences in the future. Loot should be decided via rolls or gear prioritization. I’m assuming that your guild is running with the same crew of people on a weekly basis. Even if you have two or three groups for Karazhan, then the loot being distributed should remain in those individual groups.

Like come on, seriously, its only a ten man raid. Did anyone run UBRS with DKP? I think not. There’s only a few pieces in Karazhan that can be used by multiple classes. Even then, a simple roll off will work for it. There’s a LOT of bosses in there that it’s almost virtually guaranteed that everyone will get an upgrade at some point. As you progress through the higher areas of karazhan, you’re going to end up with players with an insane amount of DKP through the roof. Once you start instances like Gruul’s and Mag, then you will have players with lopsided points (in the range of thousands). These are the instances where DKP really DOES matter.

The rest of the week, I’m going to discuss the various methods that Guilds can use to distribute their loot in the best possible way for players. Each loot system is different and should be tailored to the primary objective of the Guild.

Getting your Leadership skill to 375

I just finished off setting up my new hockey blog known as Lowongo’s crease (It’s a play on my last name for those that know me). The layout hasn’t been completely finalized yet, but I wanted to give me facebook viewers more to chew on instead of just WoW. Expect a lot of Canucks coverage along with other news, opinions, and thoughts around the league. On to today’s piece…

Here’s yet another reference to the business Guild model of WoW. Some would argue that a Guild is defined by it’s players. I would argue that excellent leadership defines how well a Guild performs. Unfortunately, leadership is not something you can go to a skill trainer for. I’ve been in my share of numerous Guilds. I’d like to think that I know what is good leadership and what is bad. I’ve seen Guilds crash and burn, or flourish and thrive. Similar to my column on valued traits for a Priest, here are 6 of the valued traits in a Leader no matter what class they play.

Edit: Again I am beat to the punch by Kirk.

Patience

“The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man’s foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.”
– Tomas Huxley

No one likes to wipe. But true leaders expect it. I commend real leaders for their outstanding patience whether its in dealing with new raid bosses or frustrated guild members. No matter what the circumstance may be, they are able to weather the storm of angry guild members or angry raid bosses (I’ll let you decide what is worst). The goal has been set and the challenge has been issued. Now it’s up to the players to respond. Throughout it all, they maintain a face of dignity and passivity knowing that things will improve with time. I think Mayor Rudy Giuliani is a great example of this. He was the face of the city after the 9/11 attacks. There’s a reason why he was one of Time’s Man of the Year.

Knowledge

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
– Peter F. Drucker

This ought to be self explanatory. Any leader be it class, raid, or Guild will have done their homework on whatever they are responsible for. Raid leaders know the fight and are able to convey the strategy effectively. Class leaders know how to play their class and teach others to optimize themselves better. With that being said, leaders are humble enough to acknowledge that even they cannot possibly know all there is to know. The world is in a continuously evolving state with patches, changes, nerfs, etc. They realize that even though there is a lot to know, they are quite willing to learn even more.

Inspiration

“One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.”
– Arnold Glasgow

In a way, this is related to Social Skills but I wanted address something else. Your leaders are people that players turn to for advice and guidance. With responsibility like that, they’re expected to know how to convey information. But in order to do that, they do two things which any player can accomplish: Plan and set goals. They are able to focus the Guild in a certain direction and layout the steps necessary to accomplish it. They already have solutions to every problem that comes up because of their planning and anticipation. This is the kind of player who is not afraid of pulling the trigger when $&%@ hits the fan. They already have a Plan B and a Plan C in mind in case Plan A goes horribly wrong. No one likes to stand around and mindlessly die in case something bad happens. Every raider wants to try and salvage the situation. A good example that comes to mind is when our MT Lang ate a blow which caused him to crumple, Maeve was second on aggro since he’s been building up enough threat to stay just below him on the list. The moment Lang was down, a half second went by when Maeve bellowed for all of Lang’s healers to switch to him as he was tanking. Had he not made that call, we would have stood around not knowing what to do and we would not have gotten the satisfaction of the Guild first kill on Fathom-Lord.

Social Skills

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”
– Theodore Roosevelt

There’s a lot of excellent players who know their material and the class inside out. But when it comes to talking to other people, they just don’t have a friggin clue. I think having some degree of emotional intelligence helps. A key skill, not just in WoW but in life, is your ability to interpret the other person’s words either in text or via voice. You have to know how to handle the other player as a player instead of just a random NPC. One of the things I admired about Warack was his tendency to check up on players every now and then. He’d whisper them randomly or just jump into a channel and talk to them for a while, see how they were doing, and try to “get a feel” for the over all guild mood. Think of it as taking a temperature of the Guild. With the pickup of solid players, they also know how to refrain from telling them to exactly what to do. My understanding is that I rolled a Priest from 1 – 70 and I should know the basics of it. I don’t want to be told how to heal, when to heal it, and who. That kind of thinking comes naturally. I love it when tanks often tell me to keep them alive. You worry about holding aggro, and you let me worry about keeping you alive so you CAN hold aggro.

Confidence

“The spirited horse, which will try to win the race of its own accord, will run even faster if encouraged.”
– Ovid

It all boils down to one word: Belief. They believe in themselves and they believe in others to achieve the objective. The aura of confidence comes from their high knowledge of play and how to get it accomplished. I feel reassured knowing that I can place my character under the command of someone who knows what they’re doing as opposed to a raid that is being led by a headless chicken. Even if they don’t know what they’re doing, they can at least pretend. The point is not whether you down the boss or wipe horribly. The point is that someone had the confidence to get the raid going and try it. If that player doesn’t have the skills themselves to pull it off, they’re able to point to the person that does.

Authority and Respect

“The country is full of good coaches. What it takes to win is a bunch of interested players.”
– Don Coryell, ex-San Diego Chargers Coach

Props to guys like Blori and Harth. They really know how to get the raid to shut up and listen. Everytime you hear either of their booming voices, you know it’s their time. Why? Perhaps it’s their age and maturity. Every time they speak, they command that aura of authority and respect. When you hear it, your back automatically straightens while your ears latch on to their words. Unfortunate that this isn’t a trait that can be learned or gained. I once listened to a raid leader who sounded like he had nasal issues and sounded like your typical four eyed Urkel. No one would take him seriously at all because of the way his voice sounded. The bottom line here is that not only must you be willing to voice your commands, but your Guild must be willing to listen to listen to them. Former Vancouver Canucks Head Coach Mark Crawford got fired because he lost the locker room and players started to tune him out. One of these days, I’m going to record ventrilo during a raid night and put a snippet up here so you can get an idea.

Clearly there are many more traits that I have yet to identify. I’m merely setting myself up for a part 2 further down the road. The next time you go raiding or PvPing or whatever it is that you do, listen to your leaders and see how they are. Do they or do they not possess the traits I have listed above? If not, it might be time for a scenery change.

Quotes are courtesy of askmen.com and About.com

And for you young Guildmasters out there, every chance you get to use the term “Brouhaha” you take it.

My desk

Me and a raid leader were comparing desk spaces the other day. He’s got a three monitor set up while I only use two: one for gaming, one for everything else while gaming.

I’m beginning to not enjoy these Maulgar-esque fights with multiple tanking targets. Tonight was Fathomlord day. We had the toughest time with four tanks and nine healers simply because the pet and hunter were being tanked by the same player who was getting knocked around all over the place. A tank being knocked all over the place is bad because 9 times out of 10 he will end up out of range. I’m busy slamming my Oh $&*% macro trying to keep the guy alive while moving around the damn pillar AND making sure I’m alive. Starting in SSC, I’m beginning to notice a trend where some of these pulls need to be accomplished with a tank, a healer on the tank, and another healer on THAT healer. Blizzard sure does seem to have endless gimmicky ideas for trash and raids.

My Interface

There has been a flurry of Raiding interface posts (courtesy of Kirk and Galadria). I’m going to show a screen shot of mine in a moment and label all the present addons in the screen. But first, I want to show you an addon that will blow your mind away as a healer and make you drool. Check out the following shots:

Edit: Forgot to enable comments

Now that I’ve caught your attention, you will most likely be asking yourself “OMG WTF IS THAT?”. This, my friends, is a raid user interface called Pitbull. You can find a copy from Curse Gaming.

As you’ve seen from the shots above, it has a special feature which functions like bullet tracers. It graphically generates a line from you and your raidmates to the players they are healing so you can visually see on your screen who is healing who, with what heal, and when it hits in real time. Is that not mindblowingly awesome? It’s like little lasers! Now healers can really pew pew. I believe the numbers you see on their names are the estimated heal amount.

But there is a problem.

With all the graphic generation, heal calculation, and so on and so forth, you will need a nuclear reactor to power your computer. As much as I want to run this, I know my computer would buckle especially in a raiding environment. So to you healers who have kickass machines, give this a shot. It’s got a ton of more features as well, but that part caught my eye the most.

Here’s the interface that I use. Make a note of the numbers that I photoshopped in there:

1: This is singlehandedly the most important addon you will ever use in your WoW Raiding career. You can skimp out on the heal addons, and the threat addons, and the pretty addons. But get Deadly Boss Mods. It highlights important knowledge and phases during your encounters. It is an absolute must.

2: X-Perl Unit Frames is my primary UI of choice when interacting with my party and my raid. It boasts a whole slew of options and is compatible with CT Raid, oRA2 and a few others. It’s able to show me the target of my target’s target (four windows). It can show all MT targets. It shows who’s targeting you. It shows who’s also assisting you. It also shows players with buffs that you can provide. It’s an easy way to spot if a player is missing Fortitude or DS. It’s also got a built in range finder, spell cooldown (you can see how long before you need to refresh renew), if the raid is down it shows who has soulstones or Shaman’s self res active, and most importantly, your screen flashes if you pull aggro.

3: I use Bongos 2 to manage my extensive array of options and choices for my bars. If you look really carefully, you can even see the way I bind my keys. It allows me to flexibly move my map, my bars, my FPS and castbars all around. Note that I don’t have my menu’s or my bags on screen (I rely on Esc. and Shift + B for that respectively).

4: I like my map square so I can see more surface area. Thank you Squeenix.

5: I didn’t like the way Blizzard organized my buffs, so I turned to CT_Buffmod. I do believe you need to download the core, however…

6: KLH Threatmeter (or KTM). It’s a way to graphically view your own aggro and threat generation. Normally I disable the view but keep the transmission enabled to free up more real estate on the screen.

7: Finally the last one I use is Natur EnemyCastBar so that I can see at a glance what is being cast by my target. It’s an excellent tactical addon to download to help you prepare for any incoming spells or attacks. Allows you to deliver an appropriate and timely response.

There ya go! That’s how my setup is at currently and it’s served me well. It delivers a lot of information that I need so I can calculate my next move.

Calling the Wipe

This is one of the toughest calls for any raid leader to make. But it’s one of the best ways to optimize your raiding time and not waste any more effort or consumables trying to prolong a fight that’s already lost. I know some of you may think “Never! No surrender!” but really, it is a futile effort if your MT dies or over 50% of your healers are dead, or some other crap hits the fan. I want to give an example of a wipe procedure since not many young Guilds have such a concept in mind. Many inexperienced Guilds will continue to engage to the bitter end.

Wipe Preparation

What, you thought Warlocks were only good for Healthstones and DPS? No, they have Soulstones which when applied to any player allows them to resurrect themselves whenever they like. If that player falls in combat when the entire raid is still alive, it’s best to blow it. When you are engaging raid bosses, operate as if you are not going to wipe unless it is painfully obvious. So again, blow the stone. If you’re the last man standing, don’t blow the stone.

Wipe Calling

I sympathize with the Raid Leader when it’s called. It’s not a very decision to make and a false call will involve a waste of over hundreds of gold in repair bills and consumables. The correct call will save time and allow for more attempts. Typically, your Raid Leader will announce a wipe. When that happens, the following should happen: Ranged DPS would run to a location where they can be easily picked up (Such as the Gate when engaging Gruul). Try to get a Priest, Shaman, or Paladin in that same position and have a Paladin use their Divine Intervention to render that player immune. Shaman’s have the ability to self resurrect themselves, but that is an ability which should be used if the other two options are available. If you want to be really crafty, get a Druid outside in a clear position from where he can Battle Res a healer. Generally that is not recommended since it can be put to better use during combat. But if you’re in a raid instance and mobs start to respawn in ten minutes, you may not have the time or energy to reclear it all. Make sure that healer doesn’t accept it until after the encounter is reset. The moment wipe protection is utilized, make sure it’s called in vent so that players know. If there isn’t one, the last thing to do is the walk of shame back from the graveyard.

So to summarize in the following order:

* Soulstone
* DI
* Shammy Res
* Fancy Druid maneuver

Post Wipe and Analysis

Your Stoned healer picks himself up and starts ressing other healers OR Your DI’d player clicks off the buff (debuff?) and starts ressing other healers OR Your Shaman activates his self res and starts ressing other healers OR your Battle Res’d Healer wakes up and starts ressing other healers.

See a pattern here? Let your tanks and melee run back since most of the time you won’t be able to pick them up without drawing Aggro. If you can get a player, call it out in vent so they don’t zone in and be forced to run the gauntlet.

As players are being ressed, buffed, and positioned for the next attempt, go over the encounter and figure out what happened. What is a badly timed misheal? A crit from a mage which pulled aggro? The tank not eat his Wheaties that morning? Figure out what the problem is and remedy it, or else it will happen again. Raid Leaders should not be afraid to reassign healers to different assignments. Some healers are better tailored for certain jobs then others. Maybe you want your veteran healers to focus more a bit on the clothies during some phase where they take damage (Mage tank in Gruul’s lair). Sometimes you need to mix and match. But more importantly, analyze what your mistakes were so that they don’t happen again. If the fault was the result of a player, don’t call it out in raid but allow them to speak up and take responsibility. It shows signs of maturity and trust. If no one admits fault but you know who it is, send them a light whisper letting them know that they forgot an assignment or made a mistake because some players just aren’t aware that did anything wrong.

Sometimes, I wish Blizzard would implement an Instant Replay function with speed up and slow down functions so certain phases can be analyzed.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place, PvP Stories

I started to level a Paladin.

Yeah, that’s right, it’s my third healer (I have a 53 druid lying around somewhere too).

Herein lies the problem. I’m out in the middle of hell(fire) happily wailing away on random boars so I can treat their toxic carcass (worst quest ever by the way) into something purified. Then receive a tell being asked if I want to heal Ramparts. I’m thinking about doing it until something hits me: I’m Retribution specced. Sadly, I turn the poor chap down.

Well, here I am in a sort of catch-22 situation. There’s almost no chance whatsoever that I can heal Ramparts with a ret-specced pally without substantial healing gear. But at the same time, if I switch over to Holy it makes grinding quests and leveling way more difficult then it should be (I leveled Holy/Disc on my Priest). So here’s my dilemma:

I can spec Holy and simply instance grind my way up to 70 and do whatever easy quests I can do.

or

Stay Retribution and stay out of Instances altogether relying on drops from Quests or the AH to upgrade my equipment.

I’m quite glad with Blizzard’s decision to at least look at the possibility of adding an element of spelldamage to all of us +heal users. Even though we’ll go down, we’ll go down with the intent of delivering a bloody nose to that bastard warlock or sneaky ball-less rogue who ganked us healers.

When I was grinding my Priest to 70, I didn’t have as much runins with the Horde as I anticipated. I guess that was because there was a mutual ceasefire between the two sides as both factions wanted to rush to 70 quickly. Oddly enough, I was the first to hit 70 in my Guild. Now it seems all bets are off as both Horde and Alliance are hanging out in early leveling areas to take out their frustration on us low level guys.

Carnage has developed a healthy hate relationship with Sword of the Horde. My Guildmates were out in Thorium Point in the Searing Gorge just leveling up their Shaman Alts. A few SoH members arrive and a skirmish ensues. Both sides begin calling for reinforcements but alas, I do think the decision went to SoH.

A few days later, we caught wind that SoH was planning to engage Doomwalker! Oh how the WoW Gods must love us. For those unaware, Doomwalker is an outdoor Worldboss. Ner’Zuhl is a PvP server. It didn’t take long before a battle plan was in the works. We had a few observers out by Doomwalker over in Black Temple and sure enough, SoH members began trickling in. Immediately the siren was sounded and a wing of Carnage members in epic mounts in PvP took off from Shattrath to head straight for BT. There were only ten of us but that’s all that was needed. We had no intention of engaging them in direct combat. Sheer numbers would dictate that we would lose. Our goal was to disrupt and harass. All is fair in love and PvP servers after all. We were noticed by one or two members and they broke away from their main raid group to engage us. Bad idea. All of us swooped down, dismounted smoked the lone Shaman, mounted up, and orbited the area within a span of 7 seconds (1 second to dismount, 3 to kill, 3 to mount). I love surgical strikes! Of course, we did have our share of problems with accidental Doomwalker pulls (I forgot he shoots people out of the air). Decision to Carnage.

Just a few days ago, SoH must’ve still felt bitter over the events that transpired. They start harassing my Guildies Shaman alts yet again (now in Hellfire). They ran back into the second Horde town (blood elf town) in the area hiding behind the town guards thinking they were safe. Our guys hopped on their mains. If you’re trying to get at two Horde low level Hunters who think they’re safe behind guards, so what do you do?

AoE the town Guards. It was absolutely hilarious when I heard about it over ventrilo. I’ve always known Mages were powerful, but you really do not want to get on their bad side. Decision to Carnage on this one. My hats off to them, they’re a great sport.
Now I wonder if I’m going to get jumped when I’m out there leveling.

Gearing Your Fresh 70 Resto Shaman: My Recommendations

Due to the overwhelming popularity of my pre-raid Priest gear checklist, I’ve decided to compile one for my resto Shaman. Bear in mind, this list only contains the best possible healing gear you can obtain before Kara that is mail. If you wanted just the best possible healing set, refer to my Priest check list. It’s bad enough my Priest is a squishy. I wanted my Shaman to hold his own (for a few seconds longer anyway). Your ideal professions here would be skinning and leatherworking. Similar to my Priest, I place a huge emphasis on MP5 even more here alongside Healing. Remember, these pieces may not be the best overall, but they’re the quickest to acquire the moment you hit 70.

If you have any pieces you can think of that aren’t on this list, please add a comment or email me and I’ll make the addition. When I was building my Shaman’s Resto gear, I built him with PvP in mind therefore my gear consisted mostly of Arena or BG pieces.

Head

Living Dragonscale Helm (+81 Heaing, 14 Mana Per 5): It’s a craftable item made by Leatherworkers with a 365 skill which is bind on equip. It’s quite costly but you’ll be using this head piece for a while. The required materials to create it are:

The pattern is also a random world drop.

Headdress of the Tides (73 Heaing, 9 Mana Per 5): If you’re unwilling to acquire all the materials to create the above Helm, you can try your hand at running Heroic Underbog repeatedly until you get this. You’re looking at Ghaz’ran, the hydra boss in the middle so set aside a good portion of your time for it.

Neck (Recycled from Priest Page)

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.

Shoulder

Pauldrons of Surging Mana (No Healing, 13 Mana Per 5): Check the Auction House as you are levelling up. You might be able to snag these discount shoulders for a good price before you work your way up to something better. I picked up my Shoulders for about 17 Gold. They’re not very popular, so expect a slightly lower price. But that will depend on your server population.

Various PvP Shoulders: Just bite the bullet and either do some Arena’s or general BG PvP. The next decent upgrade you can acquire will be in Karazhan. Otherwise, your option is…

Mantle of the Sea Wolf (+51 Healing, 8 Mana Per 5): Ugh. Heroic Mana Tombs. Kill Tavarok.

Back

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

Void Slayer’s Tunic (+88 Healing, 8 Mana Per 5): This one requires a group quest to complete. You need to complete a fairly long quest chain which involves killing Dimensius the All-Devouring way out in Netherstorm.

Earthpeace Breastplate (+92 Healing, 16 Mana Per 5): A slight edge in healing and twice the mana per 5 as the Void Slayer’s Tunic gives the one the slight edge. Unfortunately, this chest piece has no stats on it. I highly recommend using this one in environments where you know you won’t take a lot of damage, or if you do minimal at best.

Bracer

Primal Surge Bracers (+37 Healing, 6 Mana Per 5): You can get these from the last boss in Black Morass, Aeonus himself. Expect multiple runs. But it might be better off…

Veteran Ringmail Bracers (+42 Healing, No Mana Per 5): …For you to spend a day or two grinding out Alterac Valley or some other Battleground and pick up these instead.

Gloves

Fathomheart Gauntlets (+55 Healing, 7 Mana Per 5): The last boss in normal Steamvaults, Kalithresh drops these gloves. Again, these ones may take a while to pick up just because he’s a pain to get to.

Belt

Stillwater Girdle (+53 Healing, 8 Mana Per 5): Ugh, Resto Shamans really don’t have it easy when it comes to gear do they? This one comes from of Heroic Mana Tombs of all places. Furthermore, you have to clear all the way to the end and kill Nexus-Prince Shaffar to pick it up.

Pants

Oceansong Kilt (+84 Healing, No Mana Per 5): The Reinforced Chest you get after dropping Vazruden and Nazan will have a chance to reveal these pair of pants.

Feet

Wavefury Boots (+55 Healing, 8 Mana Per 5): The last thing you need from a heroic instance will be the easiest to get out of all the ones listed. Chances are, it will be super easy for you to find groups to go into Heroic Slave Pens and kill Rockmar.
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 Heaing, 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). Remember that this item isn’t unique so you can pick up two of them.

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 (1 Hand))

The Essence Focuser (+227 Heaing, 11 Mana Per 5): Scout your local auction house as it is a world drop. Unfortunautely, 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.

Shield (Off hand)

Crystal Pulse Shield (+35 Healing, 6 Mana Per 5): Check your Auction House for this other great BoE drop. It’s a great early shield and will last you before you upgrade to the one from Chess.

Totems

Totem of the Plains (+79 Healing): Note that the increase in healing is only applied when you cast Lesser Healing Wave. Once you kill Tusker and turn in the quest, it should be a no brainer to pick up this reward.

Totem of Spontaneous Regrowth (+88 Healing): The increase in healing is applied after you cast Healing Wave. To get it, you’ll be wanting to visit Mennu the Betrayer in Heroic Slave Pens.

Enchants & Other Augments

Glyph of Renewal (+35 Heaing, 7 Mana Per 5): This goes on your head. Requires Honor Hold/Thrallmar repuatation 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 dwelve 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

Royal Nightseye (+9 Heaing, 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: 116 Healing, 14 Mana Per 5 (Living Dragonscale Helm, Glyph of Renewal)

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

Shoulders: 24 Healing, 19 Mana Per 5 (Pauldrons of Surging Mana, Greater Inscription of Faith)

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

Chest: 92 Healing, 22 Mana Per 5 (Earthpeace Breastplate, Enchant Chest – Restore Mana Prime)

Bracer: 72 Healing (Veteran Ringmail Bracers, Enchant Bracer – Superior Healing)

Gloves: 90 Healing, 7 Mana Per 5 (Fathomheart Gauntlets, Enchant Gloves – Major Healing)

Waist: 53 Healing, 8 Mana Per 5 (Stillwater Girdle)

Legs: 144 Healing, (Oceansong Kilt, Golden Spellthread)

Feet: 55 Healing, 12 Mana Per 5 (Jeweled Boots of Sanctification, Enchant Boots – Vitality)

Ring: 57 Healing, 4 Mana Per 5 (Ring of Convalescence)

Ring: 42 Healing, 7 Mana Per 5 (Keeper’s Ring of Piety)

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)

Shield OH: 35 Healing, 6 Mana Per 5 (Crystal Pulse Shield)

GRAND TOTAL:

1407 Healing

110 Mana Per 5

Naturally, those numbers don’t look good as the Priest who is fully geared with non-raid epics. But as this is a Shaman, exceptions must be made. Again, if there’s a piece of loot which is easier to obtain and is better then what I have listed, please drop me a line.

And there you have it! Matticus’ recommended pre-raiding checklist for the Restoration Shaman.