My Love/Hate Relationship with Heroic Naxxramas

My Love/Hate Relationship with Heroic Naxxramas

naxx-kel

Last night, I had the pleasure of working with some of the most skilled players in beta and we were able to clear out Heroic Naxxramas (otherwise known as 25 man Naxx). Let me tell you about my initial impressions, what I love, and what I hate.

I love…

the fact that the number of tanks needed for Naxx don’t seem to have changed. Our main tank was a Warrior. No fusses about class here. The reason he was the MT was because he was the most geared (he ran Naxx, Obsidian Sanctum, etc. every day). Prot Paladin was the second tank for any massive AoE related pulls. Feral Druid was third although he would switch up with the Prot Pally depending on what the job was. Didn’t have the pleasure of working with a Death Knight. I’m happy to say that I had no problems healing any of them on the various bosses or mobs. Druid tank had the most with 34k while the Paladin and Warrior clocked in at about ~31k. I made sure to address this first, due to a question I got from Twitter:

@honorshammer Are you seeing much disparity in healing tanks of various classes?

Hope the above question helps! Love your blog by the way ;).

I hate…

my mana regen. I took a look at one of the other Resto Druids and he was sporting a jaw dropping 1500 mana regen while not casting. In my PvP gear plus other assorted PvE epic items, I hit around 600+.

I love…

how Priests will be virtual requirements for Heroic Naxx. You can get away without having other classes at all, but you need Priests for 2 of the encounters because we have to Mind Control certain mobs in order to successfully do them.

I hate…

Sapphiron. He’s the 2nd to last boss in Naxx and he’s going to be a huge headache.

I love…

how the bosses drop between 4 – 6 pieces of loot (some of them are tier bosses).

I hate…

how people complain about not getting the loot they want because its freakin’ beta and you don’t get to keep it anyway!

I love…

that while most players were still wearing blue PvP gear to raid, we were still able to 1 shot almost every boss in the instance. We didn’t over gear it. All of us were on par with or were what could be considered slightly undergeared. This proves to me that if you have a large number of skilled players going in, you won’t have a lot of difficulty. There are a few exceptions:

Instructor Raz: 2 shot
4 Horsemen : 4 shot
Sapphiron: 5 Shot
Kel’Thuzad: 1 shot

I hate

the fact that it took us a little over 7 hours to clear. But there are a few important factors to keep in mind:

  1. Pickup raid
  2. Boss explanations are complicated
  3. Some people had to leave and we had to pull in replacements

If it’s a Guild run, I can see the time knocked down to about 6 hours or maybe even 5. Obviously if you over gear the place, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see it drop down to even 4 and a half. But suffice it to say, I suspect most guilds will take at least 2 days to clear the instance and learn it.

I love

Death Knights. Look at this screenshot below:

op-dks
The top 5 players are all Death Knights. Number 6 is a Rogue. The numbers ARE slightly inflated since Thaddius has a little mechanic about him that increases DPS. Here’s a slightly better representation:

naxx-dps1 naxx-dps2

DPS order by class on Noth:

  1. Death Knight
  2. Hunter
  3. Death Knight
  4. Death Knight
  5. Ret Paladin
  6. Ret Paladin
  7. Mage
  8. Death Knight
  9. Death Knight
  10. Rogue
  11. Boomkin
  12. Feral Druid
  13. Boomkin
  14. Mage

Your mileage may vary. We only had 1 Rogue and 1 Warlock. Our raid was stacked with an abundance of Death Knights as you can see above and all of them made up the top 10.

I love

the DPS averages. Again, scroll back up and look at the DPS on the side, not the damage done. You should be pushing over 2000 DPS when you enter Naxx. Of course, I might take that statement back later. Who knows? But I’m just going by what I’ve seen thus far.

I love

these crits:

heal-crits

Repeat after me: MASS OH PEE. That’s a Resto Shaman above me there and my own Prayer of Mending.

I hate

this whole loot homegenization thing but I understand it. I started a discussion on Plusheal about how to tell whether or not you should roll on certain cloth gear or to pass on them. Wyn will be exploring this topic at some point later on, as well. It feels weird for casters to roll on gear. But I accept it and I understand it will be better in the long run.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be doing detailed healing guides for the normal and heroic versions of Naxx and Obsidian Sanctum. You’ve seen a sample of them earlier when I published a few of the 10 man ones. They’re not designed to replace WoWWiki or Bosskillers guides. What they’re meant for is to provide you (the healer) with the knowledge that is relevant to you in order to keep your raid alive. I’m most likely going to miss out on a few abilities but I’ll be sure to nail all of the ones that are important including all major boss mechanics.

Yesterday night, I took a boat load of screenshots, recorded vent when the raid leader was delivering explanations, and I have a plethora of notes all across my desk with diagrams, and post-its scattered all over the place.

By all means, if you’d like to savor the learning experience yourself, go for it. I’ll be here if you need a quick pointer or two to help you out.

Which is what this blog is for.

Questions? Comments? What else would you like to see? Will the Canucks make the playoffs this season? Will Brady get usurped? Do you require more Vespene gas? Are you, in fact, a hollahback girl? Will I ever stop beating myself up over the 7 questions I know I for sure got wrong out of 50?

Big shout out to Totodile for having to put up with the various morons in the raid, as well as organizing and quarterbacking the whole show!

Over 1000 Herbs Required to Level Inscription to 350

At least, that’s according to Siha’s Inscription guide. If you’re planning on becoming a glyph maker and picking up this profession, consider this an excellent starting point. If you’re the farmer and want to know what to stock pile, according to Siha:

Shopping List

The bottom line: based on all of the above, here’s what you’ll need to level Inscription as high as possible when 3.0.2 goes live.

  • 150x Earthroot, Peacebloom, or Silverleaf
  • 60x Briarthorn, Bruiseweed, Mageroyal, Stranglekelp, or Swiftthistle
  • 150x Grave Moss, Kingsblood, Liferoot, or Wild Steelbloom
  • 140x Fadeleaf, Goldthorn, Khadgar’s Whisker, or Wintersbite
  • 210x Arthas’ Tears, Blindweed, Firebloom, Ghost Mushroom, Gromsblood, Purple Lotus, or Sungrass
  • 350x Dreamfoil, Golden Sansam, Icecap, Mountain Silversage, Plaguebloom
  • 360x Any Outland herbs

That’s a lot of grass to stockpile.

Red Rover, Red Rover…

Red Rover, Red Rover…

bear-kodo

…We call that Shaman over.

Although seriously, who would win in a fight? A Kodo? Or a Bear? The Twitterati give the decision to the War Bears 4 – 2. Now the bears have the two horns (tusks?) on the side that would impale a Kodo from the side for sure. However, the Kodo has a large horn of its own. It would be a matter of who is able to outmaneuver the other first, I’d imagine.

@behemothdan War bear for sure. The kodo may have size but no offense that the bear can’t handle.

@Medros war bear

@fernashes war bear all the way.

@ipwn kodos are toougher. war beas are meaner. bears, but it’d be close

@Onawar brewfest kodo would win!

@Knurd Kodo. It’s more rare.

The Dreamstate Special: Hybrid Builds for 3.0.2

The Dreamstate Special: Hybrid Builds for 3.0.2

This article is a follow-up to my previous discussion of the most workable pure healing talent builds for druids once patch 3.0.something hits live servers. There’s been some speculation in my guild that the big day will be Tuesday, but I would personally be surprised–I don’t think the classes are in balance yet.

Today I’m going to speculate about the future of Dreamstate builds, and I’m writing particularly in response to Bonkers’s question about Dreamstate in the comments for my last article. Bonkers is actually my co-resto druid in Collateral Damage, and he’s usually right about all things druidic.

Dreamstate Basics:

The Dreamstate build takes its name from one particularly great talent in the Balance, not Restoration, talent tree, but it is nonetheless a healing build. Yet, in its BC form, the build did not include Tree of Life, which most have come to think of by now as a spec-defining talent. In the early days of Burning Crusade, Dreamstate builds had a solid advantage over Tree of Life builds. In fact, Syd’s original talent build for 5-mans in BC was a Dreamstate-plus build that dipped all the way down to Moonkin form before picking up the early talents in Restoration. Dreamstate, however, was strong early on mostly because Tree of Life Builds were weak. The reason was that Lifebloom in its original state did not stack properly–only the first application received a bonus from + heal. The Dreamstate druid did in fact use Lifebloom, generally a single stack, but most of her healing was done with Healing Touch, alternating Rank 4 and max rank.

A Dreamstate druid healed like a holy priest, constantly casting and canceling that big heal and weaving it in with hots. Besides the mana regen and the access to healing touch, the other attraction to a Dreamstate build for BC was increased mobility. The tree of life 20% snare was and is a big pain in the bark for certain fights. “Move out of the bad stuff,” in fact, is the most often-heard raid instruction for Tier 6 content. I don’t know Sunwell encounters first-hand, but from what I’ve read, being at the right place at the right time continues to be key. Tree form waddles rather than runs, and with weaker Lifebloom in early BC, this was a deadly combination. In the current state of Lifebloom–strong, and properly stacking–druids do fine moving around. My Lifebloom is strong enough so that I don’t have to worry so much about AoE–I just stack it on myself and move at my pace. I probably take a tick or so of damage from AoE effects in a fight like Illidari Council, but I survive it very well. Right now, the only fight that I do out of tree form is Archimonde, and that is mostly because I’m assigned to decurse.

For Wrath, and for the upcoming patch 3.0 Dreamstate and Tree of Life will be greatly different from what we’ve used to. Tree of Life has essentially been updated to include some of the advantages a Dreamstate healer used to have. A tree gains access to most of her useful spells, including Healing Touch and Remove Curse, and the snare will go away. The tree bonus now is all about efficiency and power–with the new, expensive Lifebloom, the reduction from Tree Form becomes quite significant, and the Master Shapeshifter talent adds to the healing power of the tree as well.

My assumption, initially, was that Dreamstate had gone the way of the Dodo and that the new must-have talent in Balance was Nature’s Splendor. However, trusting Bonkers to be on the right track, I took a Dreamstate build in beta last night on Syddera, my level 70 clone on Northrend. I took her through about half a level, running around with my favorite warrior, newly fury-specced, and alternately healed and dpsed. And let me tell you, we were a leveling machine–there was no stopping, no eating, no drinking–only killing things very very fast. I’m convinced that Dreamstate is the right leveling build now.

Dreamstate at 70 (28/0/33)

This is quite different from the old Dreamstate builds, mostly because Dreamstate has moved to a lower tier of the Balance tree, and Balance has been altered to include many more resto-friendly talents at the top. Despite such a significant investment in Balance, this really is mostly a healing build. I only picked up DPS talents when I had to to get to the next tier. With this build, I’m planning on healing instances as well as questing with a buddy. For solo questing with instance possibilities, I might choose Starlight Wrath instead of Genesis in Tier 1.

As a side bonus, this build picks up Insect Swarm, which has always been quite useful, and which has now moved so far down the tree that healing trees won’t have it. I don’t use this talent much for leveling–Briolante, my afore-mentioned warrior leveling partner, kills things too fast for it to matter. However, Insect Swarm shines in raids and instances.

Notice also that in Restoration, I DID NOT pick up Natural Shapeshifter or Master Shapeshifter. This build, at 70, stays in caster form the entire time (which for me is a huge bonus). Dreamstate is meant to offset the greater efficiency of the tree for healing, and in any case, you don’t even HAVE Tree of Life form until you get to 80.

Dreamstate at 80 (28/0/43)

I also played around with a prospective Wild Growth-Nature’s Splendor build yesterday on my level 80 premade druid, a hunka hunka manly night elf I’ve named Sydd (creative, I know). After I got rid of his horrible hairstyle and shaved off his scraggly beard, I went with Briolante to the forest below Dalaran and we found an enormous elite–a big robot-looking dude, like something straight out of a Miyazaki film. We spent 5 minutes or so slowly killing him so that I could test my mana regen. It’s bad news folks. A triple-stack Lifebloom and a Rejuvenation will drain your mana bar slowly but surely. In live, I cast something every GCD and use less mana. I didn’t notice mana problems on Syd at 70 in beta either for damage or healing, but even in gear with 600 or so spirit, my premade druid has issues. In fact, we had to try the elite twice–I simply wasn’t able to stay in mana if I remained in caster form and helped dps. On live, Brio and I have taken down many elites that way, and I was disappointed at my performance in beta. To kill that elite, I had to stay in tree, use a minimal cast rotation, and use my Innervate. Guess what folks? Innervate only filled half the mana bar with that level of gear. I realize that my mana regen will be much better than the premade druid’s–at 70, Beta Syd’s regen is already higher than Premade Sydd’s. However, most people will probably start out raiding with stats equal to–or even weaker than–the premade characters.’ My guess is that druids are really, really going to have to watch their mana for Wrath raiding.

As a consequence, I think Dreamstate builds will be a viable alternative at 80. Many of the talents in the highest tiers of the Resto tree are looking comparatively underpowered, and with the more generic gear of Wrath, we’ll always have huge amounts of intellect to make Dreamstate work properly. We might see a repeat situation of early BC, where Dreamstate seems strong only because deep Resto is weak.

For my level-80 Dreamstate build, I’ve chosen to get Tree of Life. I was impressed with the mana efficiency difference at 80 between using tree and not. I figure the armor bonus is so minor as to not be worth noticing from Improved Tree of Life, so what you’re missing out on is really just a portion of the spirit-based bonus to your spellpower. Notice also that you will have to respec at level 80–you can’t just continue down the Dreamstate path you’ve started at 70. A Dreamstate druid at 80 really NEEDS Natural Shapeshifter–you will still be shifting out to caster from time to time if Insect Swarm is important for the fight. It’s ironic that at 80, the only healing druid who shifts mid-fight will be a Dreamstate build. I have also set up my Balance talents a little differently for level 80 to be more raid-friendly.

Conclusions:

My recommendation for level 80 is as follows. For 25-man guilds with two Restoration druids, one should take Dreamstate and the other a Nature’s Splendor/Wild Growth build. Okay Bonkers, so you can take Dreamstate and use your Innervate on me . . . kidding. From what I’ve observed in the past, diversity of skills strengthens large raid groups. For 10-man guilds, I would take the Dreamstate build for best mana management, even though it does not contain Living Seed or full points in Improved Tree of Life. I think that at the lower gear levels, Dreamstate will give you a little leeway with mana. Heck, we may all take Dreamstate builds to get a gentler adjustment to the strict mana management conditions of Wrath.

Build Your Own Guild Part 4: Leadership

Build Your Own Guild Part 4: Leadership


If you can, dear readers, stretch your reflective faculties for a moment and recall the first article in the Build Your Own Guild series, in which I urged future GMs to start forming an officer corps. This entry will delve a little deeper into the question of leadership and show you how to construct and maintain your guild’s hierarchy. The principal lesson here is delegate, delegate, DELEGATE! This article will show you how officers and GMs work together to govern the unique virtual organizations we so casually refer to as guilds.

History Lesson: Getting Medieval

I would like to meditate for a moment on the word “guild” and its history, as I think its origins are rather instructive for MMO players. A guild, in the medieval sense of the word, is an association of tradesmen, artists, or craftsmen. Guilds oversee the production and distribution of material goods, and they regulate both practitioners of a trade and the larger market in which that type of product is bought and sold. My favorite guild example dates to cinquecento Italy. Imagine Renaissance Venice, her canals a-stink with the smells of a thriving fishing industry, her now-white palazzi ablaze with murals in every color of the rainbow. Somewhere in the Serenissima, probably next door to the leather-curers guild or the paper-makers guild, Tiziano Vecellio runs his own workshop. He sees himself as a craftsman, rather than an artist, producing goods for sale. He is the Master, and his is the signature on most of the products. His employees, however, are also craftsmen, some of them as talented as the master, and Journeyman and Apprentices work together to create great pieces of art. Sure, Tiziano himself may be the one to sketch the Madonna’s face, but what about her hands? Guess what? Renaissance art was a cooperative enterprise, and just look at the product. Pretty fantastic, eh?

Why the long excursus into metaphor, you ask? For you, the prospective GM, the setup of your guild is your masterpiece–the way you do things at the beginning will prove to all your members that you are a capable leader, someone they can trust. But like Tiziano, you can’t go it alone. You will need help, and the end “product” that you create–namely, excellence in raiding–will be a group effort.

Choosing Officers

If you’re contemplating setting up your own build, you probably have a few people in mind for officer positions. Make sure, however, that your officer corps is not composed entirely of your best friends and your significant other. For a raiding guild, you need a balance of power, and this means bringing people into leadership positions who represent different constituencies and have different perspectives. You will also need to limit the number of officers to a manageable size–too large, and every member who’s not an officer will start to feel left out. The following are my quick tips for forming a workable officer corps.

1. Size

If you plan to focus exclusively on 10-man raid progression in Wrath, your optimal number of officers (including yourself in this number) will be three. That means that there will always be a tiebreaker vote. The percentage of officers to members will still be rather high, especially if you are a niche guild and limit yourselves down to 20 or so players. I think this model will be extremely workable in Wrath. The good news is that if you form a guild of this size, your work as GM will be much less, and you will not need to define each officer’s role to the nth degree. The three of you would each probably be capable of handling any questions your members have, and all members will know the officers personally.

For the 25-man size, the task is more difficult. I suggest either three or five primary officers (including yourself of course). Three will be just fine if you plan to also have class or role leaders to do some of the work, but if you do without them, expand up to five so that you can cover all the necessary tasks. I actually recommend against having class leaders. That model worked better in Vanilla WoW, when specs were less differentiated and there were more people to manage.

2. Diversity of Talents

All of your officers should not excel at the same aspect of the game. They should not be three healers or three dps. You should include your primary Raid Leader in the officer corps, but the other members do not have to be your best players or best strategists. One of them, at least, should be computer-savvy enough to build and maintain your website, if you cannot do so yourself. Try to find people with different interests. And yes, sometimes this means looking beyond your immediate circle of friends. Caution: it may seem attractive to a new GM to appoint as an officer someone who has been a GM in the past. Be careful–this person might be so used to leading that he chafes at just being an officer and effectively undermines the officer corps’ decisions. Have a very thorough talk with any officers with GM backgrounds so that the guild hierarchy–whatever it is–is clear to them.

3. Diversity of Perspectives

Your guild is a raiding guild, so most of your officer conversations will be about raiding, and almost all of your planning will be dedicated to raid progress. You do not, however, need to find officers who agree 100% with your vision. It is best, in fact, if officers to some degree serve as checks and balances for each other. For a real life example, in my guild, raiding is important to every one of our eight officers (yes, too many!) but within that general category, our priorities fall under several subheadings. For some real-life examples, in Collateral Damage, our Raid Leader wants everything to be well-organized, transparent, and planned out ahead of time. The officer who manages our Loot system wants all policies to be fair and all goods to be distributed equally. Our personnel officer focuses on the human side of things–she wants to make sure that no one feels left out. And me? Believe it or not, I’m always the one pushing for faster progress and stricter requirements.

4. Open Positions

When you introduce your brand-new guild to the world, you probably won’t have the perfect balance of officers yet. I suggest starting out with yourself and one other person (or for the large guild model, two) and promoting the rest of your officer corps after you actually begin raiding. You need to see how people operate in their new guild context, but you can’t do all the work alone at the beginning.

Your Management Hierarchy

Let’s imagine that your guild is up and running and you’ve identified and promoted four other people to work with you. Now what do you do? I have seen guilds flounder at just this juncture. People become officers, but it’s a vanity position. There are no clear duties and no opportunity for leadership. In practice, the GM runs the guild by himself. Or worse, no one runs the guild. No events are scheduled, and people associate with each other only in guild chat. Here are 5 ways to avoid the no-leadership quagmire.

1. Weekly Officer Meetings

Schedule a meeting at a mutually convenient time, and hold a meeting every week. Believe me, you’ll have a lot to talk about–some of CD’s run upwards of three hours, and they were longest at the very beginning. You should at the very least check in with the guild’s progress, set the raid schedule for the week, and vote on any potential recruits. This is also a good time to talk through the inevitable member complaints and make plans to address them.

2. Give Each Officer a Specific Task

You chose officers with different talents for a reason. Assuming you’re a large guild with 5 officers, here’s a sample breakdown. As GM, feel free to snap up the role you like best, but if it’s your name at the bottom of the guild panel, expect a secondary job as QQ filter. Your five officers could best divide into the following roles:

a. Raid leader and strategist
b. Loot system manager (if you use Loot Council, this person tracks drops received)
c. Personnel officer (this person takes attendance and tracks raider status/performance)
d. Recruiting officer (woot! This is what I do)
e. Website manager (don’t underestimate this one–it’s a TON of work)

As GM, you need to funnel any specific questions or complaints to the officer who specializes in that area. People will want to talk to you too, but if you get a loot-specific question, pull the loot system manager into vent with you when you talk to that player. You will find that your officers will become experts in their area of expertise.

3. Strive for Consensus

When there is a decision on the horizon, particularly if it’s an important one, don’t just flex your GM muscles and make the call yourself. Discuss any decision that has far-reaching implications in the guild meeting, and let each officer present his or her opinions. Very likely, some of you will disagree on any issue that’s halfway worth talking about. As GM, you may feel tempted to go with your own opinion after nominal discussion, but I urge you to wait it out and let people make full arguments, especially when they feel passionately about something. There should be give and take. If two parties disagree, have them propose compromise solutions until each of them can live with the new policy.

4. Hold Votes on Important Issues

Your officers can only serve as checks and balances for each other if you give them power. Try for consensus first, but what you may find is that not everyone speaks up every time a new policy is on the table. If everyone cannot agree after a reasonable amount of discussion, as GM, it is your responsibility to call for a vote. Except in dire circumstances, abide by that vote. Remember: if you have power as GM, it is only because others entrust you with it. Allowing them a voice will convince your fellow officers to stick around and support you. My guild–which has no GM, only officers–has just now put in a voting policy. We felt that compromises were sometimes worked out only among the most vocal officers, and in any case sometimes we would have 12 hours of discussion over many weeks with no solution reached. We’ve decided to hold votes after 2-4 hours of discussion on a topic when we can’t come to consensus. I am in full support of this idea–even though I’m one of the loud people! If you never vote, you may create a situation in which one person can veto any idea by holding out on the compromise. That can lead to guild stagnation, particularly if it’s a regular occurrence. Sometimes your officers will have to agree to disagree.

5. Know When to Play the GM Card

If you’re going to be the first among equals, you have to know when to step in and put an end to debate. Maybe votes are inconclusive too, or your officers just can’t come up with a decision. In those cases, use your best judgment and lay down the law. Don’t do this too often though–a GM whose attitude screams: “It’s my guild and I can do what I want with it!” won’t be in power for long.

Conclusions

It’s not very fun to be the Supreme Emperor of a nation of one. If you want a happy, healthy, resilient guild, you will need a power structure that puts some of the authority in other people’s hands. Build trust with your officers, and always treat them with respect. They are both your friends and your work colleagues, and the relative unity that the officer corps presents to the guild will determine your success or failure in endgame raiding. People want to feel that their leaders are both well-organized and fair. Use the GM/officer dynamic to create that feeling, and you’re well on your way to climbing up the rankings on your server.

Retirement

Retirement

cake

It’s getting ever so closer. Until then, I get to enjoy this dee-licious chocolate cake all by myself!

For 9 gold! It was on sale.

Think I’ll go take the day off and get away. Knowing my luck, something completely cool and badass is going to happen and I won’t be able to report it until Saturday =(.

Kalecgos down to 11% and 16% respectively (both halves). Buckling and gradually losing bodies after the 5th portal set.

Anyway, back to this cake…

Healing Naxxramas – Patchwerk (10 man)

Healing Naxxramas – Patchwerk (10 man)

patchwerk

Post is about the beta raid and is subject to change at any time. Changelog at the bottom.

Patchwerk is one tough Abomination. You won’t have to worry about raid damage. Your main focus is going to be on the main tank and the off tank. Do a quick check of everyone’s health totals. Make sure your MT and OT have the largest and 2nd largest health pools respectively.

Upon first pull, Patchwerk will latch on to the first person who gains threat on him and stay on him for the duration of the encounter. He does a Heroic Strike attack which will hit your OT for about ~7000 damage. Important: The OT is determined to be the player with the most health after the person with Aggro.

Therefore, if necessary, tell players to click off Power Word: Fortitude (like Death Knights).

There’s also a river of slime nearby. If you jump into it, you can knock off about 50% of your health instantly. Use at your own risk.

Patchwerk has a rough enrage timer of around 5 minutes. Have your tank blow Shield Wall around 15 – 20%. If you’re specced for Guardian Spirit, use it the moment Shield Wall expires.

Healing

Tough, tough, and really tough. You’ll be working your stopcasting here often. Holy Priest on the MT, Resto Shaman on the OT, Paladin with Beacon of Light on one tank and healing the other to cover the bases. Flash Heal for maintenance healing. When your tank drops to 60% or less, queue up a Greater Heal and keep your finger triggered on the stopcast button. If someone else catches him, hit it. If not, let it go.

I want to emphasize that the raid should not be taking much (if any) damage at all.

Bust out the Hymn of Hope early on while eyeing your group. Make sure all the mana users can get the most out of it. When you get low again, bust out the Shadowfiend. Your last line of defense is the Runic Mana Potion.

I did this fight with about 477 MP5 while not casting. I felt a lot of pressure towards the end. However, I did this with blue PvP gear. We should theoretically have an easier time with the various PvE gear we’ll get access to.

spirit-deathWhen you kill him…

See the green slimes above in the screenshot I posted? Those mobs aren’t targettable via mouse. However, if you get in close range of them, you will explode pretty horribly.

Don’t understand? Think of it as a mini-Frogger.

So when you do get him down, don’t forget to sidestep those oozes or else you’ll end up like Matticus with a faceplant on solid concrete.

Changelog

9/24/08 – Original post

The Talented Druid, v. 3.0

The Talented Druid, v. 3.0

When patch 3.0 hits live servers, every endgame raider is going to have to make some difficult choices. We will go from being the max-level, king of the jungle, top of the talent tree whiz kids we are right to being unfinished, not done yet, 10 levels behind. These comments are based on the current beta build, and of course all talents are subject to change at this point.

The raiding tree will have a particularly difficult set of decisions to make. Our prospective talents pull us in two directions, much as they did in early BC, as resto druid healers split into Treeform and Dreamstate varieties. This time, the choice is a bit more subtle, and it focuses on a few key talents. To read a great rundown of the new druid talents and their implications for raid and group healing, mosey on over to Resto4Life. Phaelia has your numbers amply covered! This article attempts to use those numbers to create meaningful builds not for the endgame at 80, but the soon-to-be middlegame of 70 raiding. I don’t know about you, dear readers, but my guild is not finished raiding yet! We’re going to have to learn to operate within the new framework, and quickly. We will be raiding the very day the patch comes out, and I want to be ready.

Prospective Build #1: Wild Growth (8/0/53)

The main goal of this build is to take just enough Restoration talents to reach the talent formerly known as Flourish, Wild Growth. Along the way, the build picks up a few fun new bells and whistles, which should make for an interesting night of raiding while I try them out.

Fun Features:

Wild Growth is an AoE spell that heals 5 party members for 1085 over 6 seconds at max rank, and it promises to be simply tons of fun. As you might guess, rank 2, which we’ll have at 70, is a bit less impressive. Sure, it’s been hit with the wrong side of the nerf bat, but I am hoping for a favorable re-balancing before the patch goes live. It might require learning a new healing style, but it’s animation is beautiful (shiny, pretty cascades of light-filled leaves surround the targets), and it will probably be quite useful in the current end-game content. I am going to make one of my CoH priest buddies switch with me on Bloodboil and let me heal bloodboil groups.

I’ll also be psyched to get my grubby little branches on a fully-talented Living Seed. It doesn’t quite have the wheeeeeeee! factor of a brand-new AoE heal, but I’m hoping for a zippy animation and a sound that either beats or equals the zing of of the priest’s frisbee (Prayer of Mending).

This build also includes Omen of Clarity, which has shaped up to be a neat little effect (for once!) in its current incarnation.

Passive Benefits:

While Natural Shapeshifter seems a lackluster talent now that I won’t ever be shifting out of tree mid-fight, it does lead to a lovely bonus in Master Shapeshifter.

In the Balance tree, I’m able to reach two resto-friendly talents, namely Genesis and Moonglow. That means stronger HoTs and cheaper Regrowths!

Spell Rotation:

This build relies heavily on HoTs and assumes that I will be doing tank healing for the most part. The Regrowth-related talents have excellent synergy with each other, and I am expecting to proc Living Seeds like crazy on my favorite tank. In order to get a further benefit from Regrowth, I am hoping that the Glyph of Regrowth will be available to me. Said favorite tank has promised to level up inscription ASAP, since he’s a flower picker already.

And yes, Lifebloom will continue to be my bread-and-butter spell with this build, even though its effectiveness has now been nerfed all to hell. It is my hope that Genesis will cushion the reduction to Lifebloom’s coefficient, but I will reserve judgement on that point until I see it in action. I logged on the beta to drop myself off things, and the nerf looks pretty significant, but I would still like to see it in raid conditions.

As for Wild Growth, I think I will drop it on the melee area from time to time, but unless I take someone else’s habitual job, I won’t use it all the time. I’m a tank healer, after all.

Drawbacks:
One would expect this build to pick up a fully talented Gift of the Earthmother. I’m on the fence about this one. Phaelia thinks it will be useless, and she’s probably right. I certainly think with the amount of unavoidable spell haste on Wrath of the Lich King gear that it will be totally redundant in its current form, but I’m holding out the hope that it will be useful at 70, since I have practically no spell haste in my regular set.

Prospective Build #2: Nature’s Splendor (14/0/47)

Fun Features:

The capstone feature of the Nature’s Splendor build is the increased duration of Lifebloom. This build would allow a druid to maintain triple stacks of Lifebloom while also casting Healing Touch. I think we’ll still be triple-stacking Lifebloom even though we won’t get as much out of it as we did pre-3.0. The usefulness of Healing Touch, however, remains in question–it’s never been our best spell. Nature’s Splendor increases Lifebloom’s duration to an incredible 10 seconds, which gives me time to sneak in Healing Touch. If I have the Healing Touch Glyph, the spell turns into something more like a Flash Heal, which sounds like loads of fun to play around with. However, its efficiency concerns me, and a druid who uses HT often, glyph or no glyph, will be putting to the test the devs’ current complaint that druids won’t be able to run out of mana.

Passive Benefits:

The other standout feature of this build is Nature’s Grace, which has excellent synergy with the constantly-critting Regrowth. If I time it right, the Nature’s Grace proc could always be used with Healing Touch.

Spell Rotation:

Guess what, I’ll still be tank healing! Except now, a Healing Touch or glyped Healing Touch will be in the rotation for tanks. It will be a little bit like getting Nourish before the fact. Lifebloom stacks will be in effect, and Regrowth will be used for its yummy crits. Now, if it’s possible to use both the Regrowth glyph and the Healing Touch glyph, this build looks a lot more interesting.

Drawbacks:

The Nature’s Splendor build feels very unfinished at 70. The balance talents I’d need are clear, but I had a heck of a time deciding what to take in Resto beyond the basics. Without the last 10 talents, I can’t get full synergy. I contemplated taking Empowered Touch, for example, and I might have with more points. I think if druids are really going to use Healing Touch instead of having it sit on their bars a-wasting, they are going to want to go for a full complement of related talents. That’s not really possible at 70. Darnit, and I really wanted to make use of that 4 piece T6 bonus (which….I don’t have yet).

I hate spreading myself that thin in the Restoration tree to get Nature’s Splendor. I’ve been 0/0/61 for a long while now (ever since Bonkers took Insect Swarm). With fourteen points in Balance, at least one very good talent will be missing from my resto setup, and that bugs me. I like to get the full effect of a healing build!

Conclusions:

I’m going to start out with Wild Growth. And please, keep that weed killer away from me!

Prayer of Mending Generates Threat for Priest (Same with LB, Earth Shield)

Yeah, you read that right. Threat is now being slightly changed. As it stands right now, Prayer of Mending when activated generates threat for the player it is on. This change now means that every time we cast Prayer of Mending and it activates, threat is generated for us.

The same effect applies to Lifebloom and Earth Shield for their respective classes. Wonder what the Paladin equivalent is.

Source: This blue post

PS, the life of a blogger. One window open on an RSS feed for blue posts, one open in GMail for contacts, one open in Twitter for breaking news and one on course notes for my exam Monday :(.

EDIT: And one messenger window open for my favorite enhancement shammy to fast track me interesting stuff!

Regrowth 3.0: The New Hotness

Regrowth 3.0: The New Hotness

It’s no secret that the nerf bat has hit restoration druids hard. Perhaps it was even a rabid nerf bat!

However, we are left with one shining ability whose awesomeness might just help fill the gap left by a formerly useful Lifebloom and the once-OP Flourish, the much-overlooked Regrowth.

This spell, once a joke, shines in 3.0 and beyond because of a perfect storm of talents that all combine to buff it into a surprisingly spammable Flash of Light equivalent. So it seems that priests are going to mix Flash Heal into their rotations now, but we healers of the leafy persuasion will be going one step farther. Regrowth will go from being an extra hot on a tank to a high-frequency spell for druids, no matter what their healing assignment.

Talents that Affect Regrowth

Improved Regrowth
Living Seed
Moonglow
Nature’s Splendor

With Improved Regrowth, and with Natural Perfection for extra credit, Regrowth simply crits all the time. Add that to the crit on level 80 gear, and a crit on Regrowth will be practically guaranteed. Living Seed will almost always be active for us, which is an exciting prospect.

In addition the Glyph of Regrowth makes the spell even more spammable. I suspect that we’d spam it anyway, but the Glyph sweetens the deal by upping the effectiveness of the spell when the hot is still active. When I use the spell now in live, I’m likely to reapply it on my tank just before the old one drops. This isn’t exactly spamming, but I’d still be getting the effect from the glyph even with my current playstyle. And guess what! If we’re not spamming Regrowth, the extra duration of the hot portion that we’ll gain from Nature’s Splendor will make it easy to reapply before the effect wears off.

It does leave the future of Nourish, druids’ new level 80 heal, in doubt. The devs don’t seem to realize they’ve created a lackluster competitor for Regrowth.

Yes, Ghostcrawler. If values stay the same, Nourish won’t make it onto my spell bar.

Regrowth is simply going to be awesome post 3.0, at 70 or 80, with or without the Glyph of Regrowth. However, most of the druid community believes that a nerf to Regrowth or its Glyph is upcoming–I sure hope not, because we need at least one spell to cheer about!