Happy Birthday, World of Matticus!!

Okay, Matt’s at work (and so am I…) and I’m woefully inadequate to be the one formatting and posting this…..

but…

World of Matticus turns 1-year-old today!!!

Paaaarrr-tay!

Tremendous thanks go out to all of our readers, subscribers, supporters… and all you other lovely people who help keep us motivated to play and write about it.

Zero to Kael in 28 Days

If you’ve read much that I’ve written for World of Matticus, you know that I have raided with two Priests. This is the story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down – and how I went from die-hard, shiny alliance to being the proudest, loudest, and dirtiest Troll. My Human had been my main for over a year – Renwein was leveled up rather slowly, alongside dear friends that I met along the way. She has a depth of experience that isn’t often found in ‘toons rolled after Burning Crusade – I lovingly collected all the keys in the game, except the Outhouse key, and ran every old-world instance except Naxx. So why give up a character into which I’d invested so much time? Raiding. Bosskilling is my anti-drug. When I came back to the game in 2007, I didn’t realize what “recommended” meant when I picked my server, and I didn’t realize how much I would LOVE the challenge of end-game raiding. The problem started when I realized how the small community on my server worked against my Illidan-killing aspirations.

Think about it: out of a TOTAL server population of 4,000, the allies were outnumbered about 5:1. (I saw one estimate that said 9:1) Which gave us 667 people. About 300 of those were level 70. Finding 25 people talented and dedicated enough to raid towards end-game is hard enough – you have to manage personalities, play-styles, schedules, and real-life. Getting the right mix of classes added another level of complexity. On Darrowmere, the top Ally guild exclusively speaks Spanish. This works well for them, but also took another bite out of the available pool willing to raid in other guilds. Looking back, it’s a miracle that we made it to Vashj and Kael at all.

Hordeside was slightly different – their population dwarfed ours, and an ambitious guild called Death is Eternal had transferred over with their sights set on Illidan. On such a small server, it’s impossible not to get to know at least names and faces of the opposing faction, but we went a little farther and swapped vent information. I found out later that this Horde guild hoped that helping Ally progression would make it easier for them to recruit from other servers – PvP servers lose some appeal if the Allies aren’t even a challenge to gank. So they critiqued our wws, watched our fraps, and occasionally came in on a borrowed character. But small-server drama took over, and while the Allies were busy re-shuffling the same players through guild mergers and disintegrations, this Horde guild stayed busy killing bosses. When my guild collapsed yet again under the weight of egos and primadonnas, and the GM got his orders to ship out to Iraq, I knew I couldn’t handle another re-build. One old friend had transferred to a larger server, and asked me to follow. But a different offer came from an unexpected source:

If you can level and gear up to be there when we kill Kael, you can raid with Death is Eternal.

DiE had Vashj on farm at this point. They were down to weekly 10-minute kills, and were working steadily on Kael. This was right before Thanksgiving, and the GM estimated that with their upcoming Holiday Break, I had about 28 days to roll a new Priest, level her, and get her geared enough to be an asset. He didn’t need to point out that her final exam would be one of the hardest fights in the game – in a guild that had developed a reputation as exacting, unforgiving, and with a previously strict no-girls-allowed policy.

If I wanted to see endgame, I had two options – leave a server where I knew practically everyone, or work like a madwoman to re-create and surpass everything I’d worked so hard for on Renwein. The next day, I bought my second copy of Warcraft, and rolled my first Horde. One benefit of already having a Priest was an appreciation of the impact of racial abilities on end-game raiding. I chose a Troll – mostly for Berserking – and began the grind. I wasn’t even allowed to carry the guild tag – “Not until you’re 70,” was the GM’s final answer.

So I listened quietly on vent while DiE continued to farm Vashj and learn Kael, and ground quests every day after work and all day on weekends. I wasn’t shy about asking for help, and the Horde players I knew ran me through lowbie instances and helped with quests anytime they weren’t busy. The most unexpected thing was all the help I received from DiE’s Raid Leader. A Tauren Warrior known for his no-nonsense approach to raids, he was a database for every quest in every zone. His brain was like WoWhead on vent, and any time he wasn’t raiding he helped me in every way he could.

About two weeks into my grind, DiE took a week and a half off for the holidays. When I hit 69, the GM and Raid Leader asked me about my progress. I had farmed the Kara attunement chain up to needing instance runs, had saved up enough gold for my regular flying mount, and begun the quest chains for my Hyjal and Black Temple attunements.

They complimented me on my hard work, and told me they had a few Christmas presents for me. The first was an invitation into the guild – the first female and non-70 admitted to Death is Eternal. The second was a full block of runs through the instances I needed for my Karazhan attunement. (Which ding’d me 70.) The final was the materials I was missing for my Primal Mooncloth Set, the Pattern and Mats for Boots of the Long Road, the Belt of the Long Road, and both Whitemend pieces. The Raid Leader had coordinated the effort and farmed the majority of the mats, and the whole guild had pitched in cooldowns, nethers, and vortices.

“You still have to earn your spot.” They told me. “And this gear isn’t good enough for Kael.” So we did two full Kara clears in two days, and as many ZA’s as possible before formal raids started again. Because they had farmed SSC and TK for so long, very few pieces of gear were needed by any healers – and I was now their only Holy Priest.

I was incredibly lucky – the help I received, and the incredible drop rate for the upgrades I needed made the unlikely speed of my progression possible. I hit lvl 70 in just under 9 days played, and I was #2 on the healing meters for the server first kill of Kael’thas on my 12th day played – exactly a month in real-time after my account went active. On Wynthea’s 15th day we killed Rage Winterchill and headed into Black Temple.

I sometimes log onto Renwein to run a weekend ZA with old friends, or just to catch up with people in Shat. I appreciate so much of the old-world content, and it still makes me sad that Wynthea’s lore-base is so shallow, but my decision to raid Hordeside was the best I could’ve made. Even after Death is Eternal parted ways, I kept in touch with a lot of the members. Most of us are working through Sunwell – all of us are looking forward to WotLK.

I’m sure this is more than you ever wanted to know about my WoW-experience, but I wanted to introduce my point of view a little more. The thing to remember is that if you really want to achieve something in the game, take advantage of whatever opportunities present themselves – even if it sometimes means starting from scratch to reach an impossible goal with an even worse deadline. Luv, Wyn

BETA: The Better Priest

BETA: The Better Priest

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Wyn received an extra beta key (courtesy of yours truly). We’re taking advantage that Northrend provides us. We had a few scores to settle and settle it we did.

What was on the line? Full and ultimate authority over the blog.

After many minutes of running around Dispelling, healing, Mind Blasting, Smiting and the match was decided. After the dust settled and the smoke cleared there emerged one ultimate victor (which was never really in doubt).

Of course, Wyn dropped a tactical Psychic Scream when my Power Infusion was active. A clear oversight on my part. I have much work to do on this whole PvP thing.

Teeth, Lack Thereof

Wisdom teeth pulled. 2 of 4. Massive pain ensues. May not blog. Three word sentences. Fun, you think? What to do? Stress free Karazhan. Flash Heal Spam. Oh wait, Paladin. Vicodin, I want. Stab my arm. Transfers pain reception. What to write? I am trying. Nothing is coming. One tooth cut. One tooth pulled. Will liquor help? Maybe some Tequila. Swish it around? Wyn take over. Can’t write now. Pain Suppression please. Grant me strength. Go see Phae. Go see Kestrel. Go see Anna. Good things there. Gave Wyn beta. Use it well. Hug someone now. Call them awesome. Run on thoughts. Where’s my buffs? Can not see. Knock me out. Must stay awake. Must heal Kara. Must get badges. Loss of consciousness.

BETA: Be All My Sins Remember’d – Friends with the Unlikeliest of Enemies

BETA: Be All My Sins Remember’d – Friends with the Unlikeliest of Enemies

What do you do when you are asked to do something that goes against your beliefs?
How do you behave when you principles become compromised?
When your friends become enemies and your enemies become friends, who can you turn to and who can you trust?

Never in the history of Dwarven-kind did we ever have reason to aid our enemies. When Dwarven children were growing up, their parents would paint them the horrors of the various monsters and beasts around the world. As a Priest, I was taught to go after them and defend my country and my right to live as a Dwarf.

We did whatever it took to safeguard our borders. From the mountains of Redridge to the Marshes of Dustwallow I went. Our objective to wipe the evil fish off the face of the planet. Every Murloc, slain. Every hovel, leveled. Any trace of Murloc, annihilated.

Our path was clear and merciless from the day our training ended.

I should’ve known priorities had changed. Quel’Danas offered the first clue. Freeing Murlocs from the clutches of Naga magic? Why not wipe them both out and be done with it? I was confused at first. I thought there was more to this. Like a faithful and obedient Dwarf, I followed my orders to the letter.

Upon reaching the shores of Northrend, I was tasked to assist yet another group of Murlocs. I had trouble reconciling this with beliefs that have been grounded into me since I had gotten my first whisker at 6 months.

Murlocs. We are helping Murlocs fight other Murlocs. I have gone from mindlessly bringing whole Murloc villages to the ground to risking my life to rescue Murloc Tadpoles (children) from captivity. I infiltrated a cave under the guise as one of their own and led a small strike force deep into the heart of enemy territory. Silencing the guards were easy. Extracting the Murlocs held hostage were a bit more of a challenge.

For the first time in my career – nay, my life – I fought back to back with a Murloc covering my flank and I his. My Apostle more than held its own effortlessly cleaving the tainted Murlocs in half (after some practice from being rusty at least). In the end, the operation was ultimately a success with zero casualties.

However, going on these joint missions have left a sour taste in my mouth. I wish to be rid of them as quick as possible. I would much rather be supervising Gnomes. I now question my ethics. To whom do I owe my allegiance? The Dwarven banner or to myself?

This is the difficulty that I must wrestle with internally.

Now I have a vague idea how Americans thought when they first executed joint missions with the Russians.

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BETA: The Dawning of the Death of Downranking

BETA: The Dawning of the Death of Downranking


Image courtesy of deboer

A blue post has yielded valuable information that will change the way we heal:

This is not a bug.

In the latest WotLK beta push, we made a large change to the mana cost of spells.

All player spells now cost a percentage of base mana rather than a fixed cost. Base mana is a special value determined by the player’s level and class, regardless of any effects or items that increase intellect. It is the size of a player’s mana pool if the player has zero intellect.

This change was made primarily to prevent downranking, as it’s a technique that was never quite intended. Rather than continue to find ways to penalize players for casting low-rank spells, we decided to essentially make doing so obsolete. If rank 5 and rank 6 of a spell cost the same amount of mana, but rank 6 does more damage/healing, then there is no reason to consider casting rank 5.

So, each spell line (eg. Frostbolt, Shadowbolt, Greater Heal, Rejuvenation, etc.) has a fixed percentage of base mana that it costs for most of its ranks. That means each time a player gains a level the cost will go up some. The percentages were picked to attempt to keep the costs relatively similar to what they are currently in World of Warcraft. For most spells, that percentage will drop some when the player receives their highest-rank spell in existing Burning Crusade content. This was done to better fit the existing cost curve, and to keep the mana cost for level 70 players as close as possible to existing costs. Level 70 characters will see most of their maximum rank spells change in cost slightly up or down, but not by significant amounts.

We anticipate there being some balance concerns due to this change, and our development staff will be ready to implement new spells, abilities, or talents to resolve those issues as the testing process continues.

Zarhym

Old and busted

In the past, downranking our heals served primarily as a way for Priests to maintain mana as much as possible. Why spend almost 500 mana to cast a Flash Heal when a rank 2 Greater Heal that costs 210 mana does the same? Okay, sure, I stretched the cost slightly, but not by much. But I trust you get the idea.

Between downranking, chain-potting, trinkets, talents, spells, and other abilities, getting mana back was like tapping into the oil sands in Alberta for gas. There’d be enough to fuel one person for a long time.

The new hotness

Your max rank spell now costs more than a down ranked spell. My max rank Greater Heal cost me ~750 mana and all of my downrank spells cost ~860. The big question going into the expansion right now is how mana regeneration will function in raids. Chain potting has been nerfed big time with that debuff (although the debuff itself no longer appears, I’ve heard scattered reports that the debuff itself is present. It just doesn’t show up on the buff bar. Downranking now removes another form for casters and healers to conserve mana.

So what’s left?

  • Trinkets
  • Abilities
  • Gear
  • Tuned encounters

Trinkets, talents and abilities are simple no brainers. Gear is going to be jaw droppingly and fist pumpingly awesome. I’m anticipating about 110 spirit and 150 intellect on level 80 epic items. That will help increase our ability to regenerate mana yes. To counteract this effect, our spell prices will also increase once we’re at level 80.

I suspect raid compositions and raid specs will shift slightly from a DPS optimization build towards raid mana endurance. An example would be bringing classes that can help restore mana (Shamans, Druids, Shadow Priests, etc).

The last thing now is to ensure that the encounters in the game are at a bar high enough to present a challenge and low enough that it can be reached by the dedicated and the few (at least early on before it understandably becomes nerfed).

We are now at the mercy of Blizzard.

Halfway through level 71. My new job is keeping me busy on the weekdays. I cannot blog, raid, beta, and work at the same time! Need to max out time management skill to 300!

Mass Resurrection? More Like Mass OP!

Mass Resurrection: Wow. Now Paladins have more of a reason to DI Priests, AMIRITE?

Cost: 76% of base mana
Range: 50 yards
Cast time: 1.5 seconds

That’s redonkulous! I have a big time feeling the cast time will get nerfed. But maybe not. Time to download the beta build and check it out!

Also coming up tomorrow morning, my thoughts on downranking and its effect on Priests (did I use the right “it’s”? Goddamnit this happens every time).

Edit: Forgot to add, thanks Breana!

Edit: Fixed. When in doubt, if you could say “it is” use the contraction “it’s” to mark the removed space and letter i. If it’s not two words, you don’t need the apostrophe. Thanks to everyone who caught it before I could pull it up at work. Luv, Wyn

The Search Continues…

The Search Continues…

spotlight
Image courtesy of hberends

Matt and I want to thank you for the overwhelming response we have received so far to our call for submissions – they have impressed us in terms of quantity as well as quality. We really shouldn’t have been surprised, considering the existing quality and participation we see from the community around this blog every day, but we were a little caught off guard by the enthusiasm!

We have decided to leave the casting-call open for a week. All submissions must be entered by midnight, Pacific Daylight Time on August 20th.

Again, the subject is a 500 or so word article on your thoughts about WotLK. Please use the contact form to send in your post (That way it is sent to both of us.)

The prize is a spot on the World of Matticus staff – an unpaid, glamorous job characterized by fraternization with the coolest bloggers in Azeroth, Outland, and Northrend.

Thanks in advance, and we look forward to hearing from you!

Luv,
Matt & Wyn

Primal Mooncloth – Do You Need to Upgrade?

Primal Mooncloth – Do You Need to Upgrade?

lecture 
Have we been teaching wrong? Image courtesy of gozdeo

There’s a gearing question I get asked more frequently than any other. I also see it all over the Priest-related interweb. It goes something like this:

My Priest just started running Kara/Heroics, and I have the Primal Mooncloth Set. I’m dying a lot. When can I/ should I break PMC bonus so I can get more stamina?

The answer is invariably along these lines:

PMC has no Stam and makes it hard to stay alive. As soon as you have 2 of the 3 slots replaced, go ahead and break it. Shopping List: Robes of Heavenly Purpose or Gown of Spiritual Wonder, Light-Mantle of the Incarnate or Mantle of the Avatar, and Belt of the Long Road or Cord of Braided Troll Hair.

This always kind of bothers me a little bit, probably because I’m a crotchety oldster who was working my way through T5 content before the 2.3 badge rewards and ZA were introduced. Back in MY day, the only pieces that would add stamina to your stats without gimping your +healing and regen abominably were your Tier tokens. Which, with the infamous Warrior-Priest-Druid combo, in most raiding guilds, went to tanks first. And especially since Druid tank itemization meant they needed the T4 set bonus, preferably from their chest, Priests were pretty much out of luck. (I’ll spare you a very compelling QQ-anecdote about the injustices visited on my Priests specifically when it came to Tier-gear. Just know that it was very tragic, compelling, and you should pity me. Thank you.)

Basically, Primal Mooncloth meant you could keep your raid alive, and whether or not YOU stayed alive was your own business – weren’t you the healer??

As a result, many, many healy-Priests (myself and Matt included), worked their way into T6-level content with dramatically less stamina than recommended. For me, especially given the pressure-cooker of being the first and only female in my hardcore raiding guild, it meant I had to learn to stay alive. This is the origin of the “Oh s***!” macro, and why my UI is painstakingly designed to keep my field of vision clear.

My point is, I’ve done the content that the Priests asking about Primal Mooncloth have done – and I stayed alive. So I know it’s possible. So it bothers me to blame the prolific Priest-mortality rate on the gear and nothing else. If I wasn’t positive that people would feel attacked, accused, and offended, here’s what my response would be:

“Primal Mooncloth is perfectly adequate for the content you’re running. Rather than worrying about what gear to exchange to boost your stamina, let’s treat what I think is the real problem. Tell me about your raids: What’s killing you? Loose mobs, or AoE damage?”

And working from there, I’d like to go through a trouble-shooting dialogue. If loose mobs are running around and slaying healers, either your Tanks need to work on tanking, your CC needs to work on CC’ing, your DPS needs to work on not breaking CC, or YOU need to work on heal-timing. These are all very important skills, and, often, healer-deaths are simply symptomatic of underperforming raiders.

If AoE damage is killing you, then you simply need to learn how to keep yourself healed.

  • Do you have PW:S and Inner Fire up at all times?
  • Are you using profession-related bonuses appropriately? (Fel Blossom, Nightmare seed, Bandages – yes really)
  • What kind of consumables do you bring? (Stam + Spirit food, Super/Major Rejuv potions)
  • Are you using the right cooldowns? (Healthstones, trinkets)

And the biggest one:

  • Are you fully playing your Priest? Priests are unique in the sheer variety of tools in our healbox. Binding Heal, Renew, CoH, ProH, Fade, and ProM (and Desperate Prayer, if you have it), will ALL keep you alive. In fact, they are designed to keep you alive. Priests can and should be able to heal themselves without ever neglecting their duty to the rest of the raid.

It’s not that good Priests never die – Spirit of Redemption points out that Blizz KNOWS we’re going to die. It’s that the best Priests know that gear is not the major limiting factor in your performance. And as much as I advocate using the best gear available to you, it should be to augment your skill as a player, not to replace it.

Notice: I hesitated to post this entry, for the same reason that I hesitate to reveal my real answer to the pertinent gear-question. I realize that my opinion will hurt some feelings, and it is not my intention to imply that people looking to break PMC with any of the numerous options in the post 2.4 game are bad players.  It is my intention to imply that perhaps, as a community committed to improving our gameplay, our first instinct shouldn’t be to swap gear, but rather to ascertain how we can out-perform our pixilated limitations. If, after determining the REAL cause of death, we find a certain stat to be lacking, then we can recommend gear to augment that stat.

Luv,
Wyn

So You Think You Can Blog? Looking for a 3rd Writer!

So You Think You Can Blog? Looking for a 3rd Writer!

SYTYCB

Week 2

Matt and Wyn’s Week 2 Critique

Crutch: 12 (or More!) Songs for a Musical Karazhan
Veleda: The Humble Checklist
Jen: 10 Silly Timewasters
Sydera: How to Recruit a New Healer in 10 Easy Steps
Joveta: 10 Reasons Horde is Better

Tulani withdrawn
Crutch eliminated

Week 1

Matt and Wyn’s Week 1 Critique

Joveta: Dear Azeroth, I Hate You
Sydera: An Open Letter to the Badge of Justice
Jen: WTB 2m leetsauce DPS 4 MrT, lf uber CC, kkthx!
Veleda: WoW is not a Zero Sum Game
Crutch: The Last Piece of Loot
Tulani: The Dark Side – Expansion Syndrome
Rusco: It’s not you, it’s me. Yeah, no. Really.

Rusco Eliminated

Updates

August 22: Contest Closed – More Details Will be Coming Up

Original Post

I want to get straight to the point. I’m looking to add a 3rd blogger to the World of Matticus crew.

Originally, I was envisioning a contest or a competition where participants would write a weekly post and I’d let my readers vote who would stay or go. Of course, I’d have a panel of “expert blogging judges” to provide their thoughtful opinions and critique. Each week, they would have to create a post for a particular theme or in a certain style. For example, one week would be a list, another week would be an RP post or I could get them to generate their own Cosmo-ish post.

But I’m not sure if I have the interest from readers to pull off a project like this. Maybe a duel to the death on one of those floating rocks in Netherstorm would work. Who knows? Maybe I will get enough interest. I know I’d definitely I’d definitely ask Kestrel, Anna, and Phaelia to guest judge ;).

The Underdog Blogger

  • You are a motivated writer at heart
  • Ideas come to you but you’re unsure about them
  • You don’t have the technological know how or time to establish a blog
  • You’re not comfortable/confident with promoting or marketing your blog even if you had one
  • You want to be heard but don’t feel loud enough

Does the above sound familiar?

could-be-you

What I’m offering

I am offering you a chance at the microphone here on my blog. You have the opportunity to bypass problems that early blog startups face. You won’t have to worry about security, maintenance, promotion or any of that stuff. All you’d have to do is simply write. I have no expectations for you to write daily. For example, Wyn volunteers to write a post or 2 every week. She chips in whenever work and real life allow, and I still shoulder the majority of the posts. But that doesn’t mean I can’t use an extra set of hands.

You can even view this as an opportunity to learn more about blogging in more detail. The experience gained writing here could be used to help springboard your own projects down the road.

I could really use some help.

What I’m looking for and how to apply

If you’re considering this position, just understand and recognize the fact that it’s not a paid position.

This will be an exercise in creativity. In 500 words (plus/minus 50) or less, can you tell me what you are looking forward to the most in Wrath of the Lich King? Whether you are a tester or not has no relevance. Even if you want to try it for fun, by all means. Feel free to leave a comment here or contact me directly using the form (it gets my attention quicker, and that’s a big hint).

EDIT: August 18th. World of Matticus turns 1.