Disappointment for Paladins

Actually, I daresay that disappointment is being shared by many players in the healing community as well. Ferarro, one of the main pillars for Paladin resources has been discovered for not being truthful.

It’s not my place to discuss blog politics. But I’ve seen a lot of discussion and questions about what’s going on. I don’t know all the facts, but I can definitely start with putting some pieces together.

Timeline over the past week

Here’s a quick list of events over the past week that have led to this. I suggest reading everything listed below first.

So what exactly went wrong here? What’s the offense? Here we’ve got a great Paladin blog that’s helped many new and veteran Paladins of all specs become better.

A good portion of the WoW blogging community writes under a pseudonym or a pen name (false name). I’m one of the rare WoW bloggers who write with their real name (technically Matt is my name and Matticus is what I sign off with). In this case, another person’s identity was assumed and used without their knowledge. Pictures and various videos were lifted to add further authenticity. It’s a good thing this wasn’t being used maliciously. Some serious damage could have been done.

It was an extremely elaborate operation. Seven different people all writing under one name at various stages in the blog’s life. A Blizzard employee? CIA agent? It doesn’t make sense to me. Why claim to be a Blizzard employee and write about stuff that can’t legally be written about? Doesn’t that break an NDA of some sort?

I’m actually quite impressed that someone’s been able to carry on this charade for a long time. We’re talking on the scale of years.

Do I buy what happened?

I’m not quite sure what to believe now. This is the internet. You have your beliefs, I have my beliefs. It just seems amazingly far fetched. Some people are going to believe and trust what was said because they want to believe and maintain the illusion. Skeptics out there will continue to point out various flaws.

Personally, it just looks too easy. It sounds too easy.

Anyway I’ll stop here for now. Read through the posts above and come to your own conclusions. The thing about the blogging community here is that if something seems or smells off, someone’s bound to keep digging and digging until they get something. So for all the new bloggers out there, when you hear the advice to blog as yourself we literally mean it. Don’t try to assume anyone elses identity.

When you read anything, always look at it from a critical point of view. Use your head, use your reasoning and figure out if what you’re reading makes sense. Too many people these days read something and just automatically assume it’s true since the source seems authoritative. Be critical about everything you read (especially here since I probably write more mistakes than I do correct stuff).

Don’t believe everything you read.

Weekend Reads

It’s Friday. There’s nothing like the feeling of sitting on a patio with a cold beer on a hot sunny day with a cool breeze. I’ll relive that feeling later after I finish my banana, cherry, coke flavoured Slurpee (I hate spoon straws).

This upcoming weekend, we’ll be engaging the boss that is Iron Council normal hard mode. Will see if I can create a movie of it. I’ve been able to record via Fraps before but I lack the know-how to resize the video entirely.

Speaking of news, I’m busy moving blogs this weekend. Plus Heal and No Stock UI will be moving servers in addition to this blog. By the way, not sure if anyone noticed, but I inserted a Google Reader widget for additional stuff to read. I’ll share stuff that I’ve written elsewhere in addition to cool stuff I come across in my Google reader.

So what’s new this week?

World of Warcraft

New blog: Defeat Dragons – This is a hybrid WoW and leadership blog. Reminds me of Chick GM when that was young.

Wordy Warrior’s back and is now self hosted. I was starting to wonder what had happened.

Lenelie’s Voice voices her WoW pet peeves. One of which includes countermanding raid leader instructions by a non-leader. It’s rather frustrating when I see it during various pickup raids. Let the leaders do their job. If you’re not satisfied with it, leave and form your own. The way I see it, when I join a pickup raid, I place myself at the mercy of their leaders and trust that they will do the right thing. Nothing’s going to stop me from leaving if I’m not satisfied with the way things are being handled.

Amber’s got a nifty Bubble flowchart.

Blogging and writing

Write to Done: Five Tips on Writing a Fantastic About Page – Solid post. I stumble across new blogs all the time. I’m loving what I’m reading. But I don’t know who is writing it. Doesn’t hurt to toss in your email or a contact page so readers can send in some fan mail to boot.

Psychology

Psyblog: When Groups are Bad for Productivity – Social loafing. The idea that the more people there are involved in a group, the less effort being exerted by individuals within the group. Does it sound like your raid? Give it a read!

Friends and Raiders: The Social Aspect of Warcraft

Friends and Raiders: The Social Aspect of Warcraft

social-network

Someone once said “Hey it’s no big deal, it’s just a game right?”. As a kid, those games of jacks or playing war were always competitive but the statement held true. At the end of the day it was just a game and you could walk away and go back to being friends with your nemesis of twenty minutes prior. The games we play evolved over time and became not only part of daily life for a lot of people, but a part of culture for us. Take a look at the Nintendo Entertainment System, even if you never owned one you know about it. Products bearing it’s symbol are still present.

Fast forward to the discovery of the MMORPG. I played Ultima Online for a good long while as a teen, and then moved away for other endeavors (see trying to be a rock-star). I came back to the MMO scene with City of Heroes and of course World of Warcraft. What stands out about these games is not just the amazing content they can provide and the hours(years) of enjoyment they bring you, but you get to talk and do things with friends and other people. Working towards a common goal whether it is downing a boss or capturing the opposing factions flag still feels great at the end of the night no matter what if you can do it with your friends. It’s that aspect of the game more then anything else that draws me into Warcraft.

Warcraft is a rare  and unique snowflake. Not only has it set the bar unbelievably high for game content and playability,but the community that has sprung up around it has gone beyond the normal social aspects of any other MMO. There is a feeling of comradeship and competition that spans millions upon millions of people. The first time the true scope of the community hit me was when I read the story of Ezra Chatterton, otherwise known as EPhoenix. He passed away October of 2008, but before that touched so many of our hearts with his visit to Blizzard’s HQ as part of a make a wish deal. Hunter season 2 crossbow? That was his idea. It was also a wonderful way for the company to give back to a kid who found true joy playing their game with his father. When his ailment was reported, the outcry and comments from thousands upon thousands of people wishing him well, making characters on his server just to say hi and see how he was doing and even digging in their own pockets to donate funds was overwhelming. It was one of the largest showings of concern and care I’d seen in a long long while. When he passed millions of players mourned together. We has lost one of us, and we grieved as one. That was just one life, one player, one character.

Think back on your own travels through WoW. Have you ever had a friend you made in game that turned out to have a large impact on your life? Did you meet your potential love in real life while running an instance? Do you find yourself making friends in game and then moving those relationships outside of the game? I’m guessing more then a few of you do. I know I do. Lets look at some of the social parts of the game.

Guild

The guild is the family unit of the game. You play together,craft together, and more often then not raid together. You share your victories and your defeats with them. You spend the majority of your time in a guild. Think about it, You spend your time with these people like a family or coworkers, and over time you develop strong bonds with some of them. Take a moment and look back on it. I’m sure you can think of a few people who you met through your guild that you considered a close friend or confidant. Like families your guild will also interact with other guilds on your server who are of a like minded direction. They tend to flock together. Top end raiding guilds all know each other, the “brass” so to speak knows each other and interact on a regular basis much like families in the same neighborhood would. I’m sure you know more then a few people from other guilds around the same tier as yours pretty well. Your guild also more then likely has some form of website or forum that lets you keep in touch, even with those who leave the game.

WoW Websites / Blogs

I’m a recent addition to this world in many ways, but it’s still amazing to me the sense of community you get when you browse private blogs and websites dedicated to the game. I have met so many people through these sites, not just as a writter here at World of Matticus but through reading other’s blogs, following them on twitter and even randomly finding them on facebook. Talking about the game has bled over into talking about real life. Sure there will always be exceptions but I find more often then not bloggers and people who put their WoW ways up on the Internet are a friendly bunch (in my case the term jovial has been applied). You yourself probably have had interaction with a blogger that has grown to what you would call friendship. Communities like Plusheal are great examples. So many people from all different servers sharing ideas, helping each other out with tips, strategies, loot ideas. You can even find WoW Twitters like Mine and Matt’s and in fact using such a site further highlights the sense of community. These sites bring us news of events like Ezra and highlight the triumphs and hardships of our gaming community. If not for websites like Plusheal I never would have met Matt, Syd and Wyn and lets face it, those three are pretty alright =D

The Friends list

Throughout your travels you’ve more then likely gathered a few friends that you’ve tossed on your list. Occasionally those friends are Real Life friends who happen to be in another guild, or sometimes ex guildies. Sometimes the game can cause a divide in a friendship and cause people to no longer speak out of game let alone in game. I’d like to share a bit about my friends that I’ve acquired through the game.

One of my best friends is a raiding warlock in my guild. We met through the game and found out we lived in the same city, all of 10 minutes away from each other. He has become one of my closest companions and is like a brother to me (talking about you Tim!). But I probably wouldn’t have met him if not for the game. In fact the vast majority of my guild. I talk to them outside of the game and look forward to events like Blizzcon as excuses to meet up with them have a few beers and share in a solid friendship that has be cultivated over the course of years. I miss some that have left the game to pursue other endeavors but I do try to keep in touch. And occasionally I’ll get a surprise like last night where friends of old that fell off all radars years ago pop back in the game with a fresh game card and their old level 60 toons.

One of my longest in-game friends left my guild a long time ago, but I always kept in contact. We talk whenever possible and its nice to catch up. She also listens to my rants which is a bonus and she helped me understand a lot about paladin healing when I switched over to healing lead and before I stumbled upon the websites here and Plusheal for information.

I met my girlfriend through the community as well. We started talking about being healers and the game and found out we had so much more in common. I recently made a toon on her server and was invited into the guild she is part of. Within minutes I was welcomed warmly and sincerely and was made to feel a part of the guild immediately. They are a great bunch of folk, and I never would have met her or them if not for the community surrounding WoW. I’m very glad to have met them and look forward to spending more time with them.

I lost a friend because of the game too. There was a disagreement over specs and honestly rather silly things. When the dust settled whether it was pride or whatever, I lost a real life friend that I had for years prior. It hurt but it’s just the nature of the game.

I’m in awe daily by the amount of people I get to talk to and interact with through twitter, this website and the game in general. That’s the part that really draws me to World of Warcraft, I love interacting with people. I find it so much more gratifying then say, just stomping goombas (although mario time will always be a treasured event). I think it’s safe to say that WoW has moved beyond being “just a game”.

So how about you? Have any stories of friendship gained or lost to share? Do you think the social aspect of WoW is what makes it such a powerhouse?

Until Next time, Happy Healing,

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Image courtesy of www.yourmwr.com

Save Players with Aggressive Shielding

Save Players with Aggressive Shielding

I have a confession to make.

I’m an aggressive Priest. Like really aggressive. I’ll shield extra targets as much as I can. I’ll squeeze in extra DPS if I see the opening.

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The current train of thought for Disc Priests is to stick to 1 or 2 targets. They’re tanks. Make sure they stay alive at all costs. The mentality of Disc Priest healing is similar to that of a Paladin.

I’ve spoken to a lot of my colleagues who are also Disc Priests. I’ve compared some numbers and talked shop with a few. Many are reluctant to throw around extra shields because of concerns due to mana management or tank deaths.

Instinctually though, when a Disc Priest shields a target with full health, they can deviate from it for a few seconds to throw a shield on another target or use a Borrowed Time proc on another player who needs it.

The parse shown above is a screenshot from World of Logs. It’s another parsing website (and I’m starting to like it as it shows contributions from Divine Aegis and Power Word: Shield). You’ll notice I fire out an abnormally large amount of shields and Prayer of Healing. I believe 58 refers to the amount of players healed as opposed to the number of times cast.

Target the squishies

As an aggressive Disc Priest, if your main tank assignment is topped and loaded, look around for other targets of squishability opportunity. Some excellent soft targets to shield:

  • Mages
  • Non-plate healers (yeah you Paladins are fine)
  • Warlocks
  • Rogues

Yes Ulduar has an abysmally large amount of raid damage. Although Disc Priests aren’t best suited to handle the healing of it, we can extend the life span of those most vulnerable for a few precious seconds while the rest of the healing cavalry step in.

Fights are routinely ended with under 10% mana after using everything at my disposal. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as your mana is managed properly.

Stretch yourself and be better!

State of Chain Heal, Lodur’s Thoughts

State of Chain Heal, Lodur’s Thoughts

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A couple days ago one of my twitter buddies linked me a forum post that has been going on centered around the state of Chain Heal. Here’s the thread if you want to take a look. I generally make it a rule not to troll the official forums for the sheer amount of flotsam that tends to be present, but I did read it. All 22 pages (at the time of this post). I have a few opinions on this topic (keep in mind this is my opinion), and I’d like to take a moment to share them.

(this will probably be a bit  of a rant. so apologies in advance I just hate gross generalization)

/soapbox

There seems to be a perception that Chain Heal, and Restoration Shamans are broken in general. Not broken in the “DUDE I totally need to roll a Resto Shaman” but broken as in not functioning correctly. I cannot agree with that, not even a little. As a true lover of the class and all it’s faults and strengths, I can honestly say we are better off then most classes and specs. Are we perfect? No, we’re not. Are we broken? Hardly.

In the thread people quote the musings of Mek from Ensidia. I’m going to copy and paste the opening statement from the thread here.

There has been theorycraft showing that CH isn’t as strong as the other options. There have been logs produced showing how shaman are HPS capped. I’m not going to repeat all the data here, because you’ve read every post. Further, you have some of the top guilds putting shaman on spot heals instead of AOE heals or even replacing shaman with other healers for hard modes.

Mek, the resto Shaman from the #1 raiding guild Ensidia, is abandoning Chain Heal in favor of spot healing with LHW/RT.

http://ensidia.com/community/blogs/cause-and-effect.html

Chain Heal cannot compete with the comprehensive AoE healing power of four highly skilled Priest and Druid AoE healers. This is simply because if you compare the relative spell combos they have many advantages.

Vis Maior, a Top 20 US progression guild recently replaced one of their shaman with a priest, because Chain Heal could not keep up. Sixthy, the other resto is spot healing the raid with RT/LHW. His Chain Heal for the raid was 6% of his total heals.

http://elitistjerks.com/f79/t49212-resto_best_practices_pve_healing_discussion/p12/#post1248740

Deconstructor hard mode (25) really made Chain Heal look weak in my opinion. We had a 2nd resto shaman in for a few attempts and CH just flat out couldn’t keep up with PoH / CoH / WG / etc / etc.

Mek and Sixthy are not scrubs that just started playing. They are some of the best players in the world.

While I respect Mek and Sixthy , and appreciate everything they have contributed to the Shaman Community as a whole (this is in no way a shot at them or the OP of the comment above), I cannot agree that Chain Heal fails to measure up to the other AoE healing. I also feel that they are taken out of context quite often and people take statements like “this spell is better in this fight compared to this one” as “OMG SHAMANS ARE BEING REPLACED CAUSE THEY STINK”.  With Vis Maior, pointing out that they replaced a shaman with a priest is fine, but that’s going to have a lot to do with their composition. ( I checked their site they don’t have a raiding roster posted) I did notice they had three Resto Shamans on their members list. Unfortunately I don’t have details as to whether or not they were all raiders, but looking at each toon’s loot page it seems likely they are. I can see that being a problem, not because of the weakness of the class or spells, but based on composition. As a Healing Lead I can tell you, too much of a good thing often turns swiftly into a bad thing, and there have been many nights a raid has suffered from too much of one concentration.

Second thing I would like to point out is quoting that Chain Heal for Sixthy was 6% of his total casts. That’s fine and all but is that one fight? I started going through the EJ post, there is a lot of information there, but all of it is subjective. Keep in mind your mileage may vary. I can produce WWS that show Chain Heal being 50% of all healing done, doesn’t mean it’s a “God Spell” by any means. Also, pointing out that the spell is HPS capped is moot. Technically all healing spells in the game are HPS capped if you have all the items/gems/enchants necessary to push that cap.

I’m going to quote Ghost Crawler here. He chimes in on the topic with the following.

We’re not convinced there is a Resto or Chain Heal problem in PvE.

Part of what we wanted to do was give shamans other spells to cast besides CH. Riptide is an awesome spell and seems to be fun for a lot of shamans. People are still casting CH, and probably a lot more often than priests are using PoH and druids WG (depending on the fight of course). We would want to make sure that any change to CH didn’t send shamans back to the Sunwell world of just using that one spell.

Well, I agree 100% with GC. Blizz gave us a multitude of spells so we weren’t one trick ponies. Back in BT / Sunwell days you could bind all your keys to Chain Heal and just roll your face on the keyboard and win (with the exception of keeping one key for Heroism / Bloodlust). Well… that just wasn’t fun. Now we have a lot of cookies, and they are quite delicious. Personally I think Chain Heal is just fine. Would I complain if they did buff it a little? No sir, I’d be grateful but I don’t expect it. I like the fact that unlike Wild Growth and Circle of Healing, there is no cooldown on the spell other then the GCD. I like the fact that if glyphed I can hit 4 targets at a time. I love the fact that it is a smart heal and not just blindly jumping to pad over healing. I love the fact that it feeds our other talents and spells with buffs and loving. I love the iconic spell, bottom line, but you can’t lose sight of every other tool we have at our disposal and say that we don’t measure up or that the spell fails. Math can be produced to support any argument, ask my buddy mike. He has a degree in Computational Physics. His entire job is to debunk the theories put forth by other scientists using math. His stance is

“I can find an equation to prove or disprove anything given enough time. Numbers change and statistics are subjective”

I agree with mike. In a game of Random Number Generation no numbers can be absolute. I can roll a 20 sided dice 10 times, and I can get multiple 20′s in a row. That doesn’t mean the die isn’t balanced, I just had a hot streak. Try to keep that in mind when applying numbers to the game. We can shift the tables, but at the end of the night it still boils down to RNG

/soapbox

Ok, now that I have the rant out of the way, lets take a look at the Resto Shaman’s Tool box and what we bring to the table.

Cleanse Spirit – While not a “healing” spell in the effect that it doesn’t restore health, it’s a reactionary tool to stabilize. It removes 1 disease, 1 poison and 1 curse for a 7% base mana cost. Well, thats kind of an amazing tool, and one that shouldn’t be looked over.

Riptide – Our instant cast HoT. This spell Is more amazing then people give it credit. As a HoT it’s admittedly not as good as some of the others available, but adding the T8 2pc bonus and the Riptide Glyph makes it a bit better for use as one. Lets not forget the spell gives your Chain Heal a 25% boost. Oh and it can trigger Improved water Shield. Thats hardly something to scoff at.

Tidal Force – This talent is on 3min timer. It gives you a 60% increased chance to crit on your Chain Heal, Healing Wave and Lesser Healing Wave with a diminishing factor of 20% on each successful crit. I know in a normal raid I run about a 31% crit chance. Poping this to give myself a 91% crit chance, and combining that with say Riptide on a target is a very attractive healing explosion.

Tidal Waves – This ability gives your next 2 healing wave or lesser healing waves a 30% haste increase after you cast CH or Riptide. It also gives HW a 20% increase in healing, and LHW 10% boost. Combine that with Tidal Force and you can have some big HW heals in clutch situations.

Earth Shield – This bad boy is a great little cookie. You toss it up on a tank and it gives you a little bit of a buffer for healing. It really shines on a tank that has a ton of avoidance (see Death Knight or Bear Tank). It has a few second internal cooldown between healing procs, but when your tank is dodging 70% of the incoming attacks that becomes less of a factor. Average healing is between 2 – 3k . I tossed this up on our Main Tank (DK) in Uld last week and after one fight he asked if he even got hit. ES was down 3 charges but no healers had to touch him. I think that says something about this spell right there.

Lesser Healing Wave – This is our Flash heal. It’s fast and works like our healing jab. Combine that with Tidal Waves and it’s that much faster while Tidal Force can give it a little more bang for your buck. You can also toss in a LHW Glyph and give your ES target a little LHW loving. It also triggers your Improved Water Shield to help with your mana regeneration.

Healing Wave – This is our Greater Heal. It’s slow and it hits hard. You can speed it up with a Tidal Waves proc and boost it with Tidal Force. It also can trigger IWS and you can Glyph it to heal yourself whenever you use it.

Healing Stream Totem – Since patch 3.1 this has become one of the greatest tools we have at our disposal. Combine it with the recent changes to Restorative Totems and toss in a Glyph of Healing Stream Totem and watch this puppy start pumping out massive AoE HoT healing. Using this with Chain Heal on top of it just becomes a ridiculous amount of raid healing.

Acenstral Awakening – This little puppy might not be the greatest tool we have, but it is definitely useful. It can proc off Riptide, LHW and HW and heals the lowest health target within 40 yards for 30% of the amount you just healed. Combine that with some of the aforementioned talents and you can get a decent amount of mileage out of this one.

Earth Living Weapon – Our healing weapon imbue adds 150 healing and has a 20% chance to toss a small HoT off the target of the heal. This can and does proc off of chain heal and taking Blessing of the Eternals can increase the proc percentage as well as the Glyph. It might not seem like a lot but free healing is free healing, and it does add up.

We have so much going for us now, we are a complete healer. Our strength lies in the synergy of spells and talents as well as our ability to compliment every healer in the game. I once referred to Restoration Shamans as the driving bass line that keeps the song moving forward. I still fully believe that. I think our spells are strong and I think they give us an ability to fill multiple roles in a raid at the drop of a hat. I think our versatility and synergy allow us a certain amount of freedom many classes don’t always have. I can go from raid healing to tank healing in the blink of an eye, and be just as good as any other healing class.

I don’t think chain heal is broken, I just think it’s not the crutch it used to be. I think people should stop looking to it to be the spell it was in Sunwell, and should accept that it is one of many tools to be used with great effect. You have to use every tool you have at your disposal to be effective or as the saying goes, the sum is greater then the parts. I think chain heal keeps up with PoM, CoH, and WG just fine. I think swinging to one extreme and favoring one spell or the other is horrible. You should never grow to rely on a single spell, nor should a class be defined by the strength of a single spell. For all the people who claim that a shaman’s worth lies in Bloodlust and Heroism solely, or that since chain heal isn’t a god-like spell that we have no use in a raid. That just makes me sad. As someone who truly loves the shaman class, and as a person who enjoys it so much that other classes pale in comparison to play I beg you. Please look at the class as a whole. Look at all the wonderful things we bring to the raid and treat us like any other healer. I beg you to keep in mind composition of the entire raid over individual classes. We stack up just fine compared to other AoE healing, don’t write us off.

I’m ok if you say one of our spells is not suited for a specific task, but it really sets me off when it degenerates down into a crude understanding of how things are. I know for a fact I can keep up on hard modes, I know my spells will be there to back me up. I know this because I use everything and the kitchen sink when healing.

What do you guys think? Do you think Shaman Healing is broken? Do you think we can’t keep up with hard mode healing? Do you still love your Lazer Beam of Love?

Until next time, Happy Healing

sig4

Image courtesy of Lize of <Gladius Dei> on Kilrogg
Found through official forums

The Purple Kodo: 13 Points of Blogging

The Purple Kodo: 13 Points of Blogging

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If you are comfortable and satisfied with your blog and how you write, then don’t read this post. For those of you that want more, keep reading.

Not a WoW related post. Feel free to mark as read.

I’ve been blogging for almost 2 years now and I’ve picked up a number of skills and techniques both from reading to trying it out myself. As a result, there are a number of beliefs and worldviews on blogging that I wanted to share particularly to those who have blogs and those who want to try their hand at it.

Just keep in mind that these are all my opinions and not a right-way vs wrong-way. Blogging isn’t an exact science. There’s always an exception to everything.

There are a multitude of mediums these days which people use to express themselves with. Some like to paint. Others like to dance or to write. When it comes to writing, people like to keep journals or in our case write a blog. In my case, the fact that I chose a blog versus something else like a privatized LiveJournal account or writing in an actual leatherbound journal demonstrates that I wanted to be read. I wanted to interact and get into discussions with other people. So when I hear someone say to me that they started a blog just to get their thoughts down, I’m usually a bit skeptical. Blogs are public unless they’re passworded. The fact that they’re public and easily accessible tells me that the person had a subconscious desire to be acknowledged and read.

Point 1: Blog awareness leads to blog readership

The thing about readership is that there’s often never a straight and honest explanation as to why people are not reading your blog.

You’ve written all this great stuff that people could enjoy and learn from.

Why isn’t anyone reading it?

magnifying-glass

There’s all these great reasons why people would want to come to your blog. But my experience after reading around I’ve kind of boiled it down to 3 reasons:

  1. No one found your blog
  2. People found your blog but didn’t subscribe
  3. People found your blog but didn’t share

No one found your blog: Pretty straight forward here. Readers will not be able to read what they can’t find. How am I (a reader) supposed to like your blog if I don’t even know it exists? This is why it’s a good idea to cultivate good reputation with other bloggers. Yes, this is real life rep grinding at work. This is where linking out is good. Comment on other blogs. If you’re going to email a blogger, read this other post first on emails that I wrote. Make sure you don’t just link the blog, but link a post or two that you feel are your best. Just don’t be upset if you don’t receive a response. Sometimes I see brilliant examples of myself or a few posts get completely blasted. Then I see emails from the same people asking me if I’ll link to their blog. Thanks, I’ll pass.

People found your blog but didn’t subscribe: It’s like picking up a copy of Wired and not having the envelope to subscribe more. Or ordering high speed internet for only a month and not realizing there’s a recurring subscription option. Make it easy for people to subscribe to your blog or at least easily read on a regular basis. Have full feed RSS and email options. Accessibility is king.

People found your blog but didn’t share: I’m a healer. I’m also an officer. I tend to share stuff about healing or guild leadership stuff on Twitter and on my blog. Why? Because I know most of my followers are also healers or are interested in leadership stuff. They follow me because their interests are aligned with mine. I might come across a really slick and polished Elemental Shaman post, but I wouldn’t really share it because it’s the wrong audience. We share stuff because we find it interesting and relevant to other people. Make your blog a place to share and be shared!

Point 2: Getting noticed

Look, we’re all gamers. No one is born with the natural talent or ability to be noticed. No one taught me how to get into marketing, advertising or branding. I’m a Criminology student. Not a day goes by that Wynthea doesn’t continuously remind me that I should have gone into marketing. But marketing and selling your ideas (in the form of your blog) is part of how you get noticed in this business.

A metaphor if you will now:

Here we are just inside Mulgore. My really low level Tauren Druid is surveying the the various Kodos being offered. I’ve got my share of grey Kodos, brown Kodos, or even slightly green Kodos. But they all look the same to me. They’re the same bland and dry Kodo mounts that everyone else has.

Oh my god! It’s a purple Kodo! Holy crap! Kodos aren’t supposed to be purple! They’re supposed to be grey, brown and greenish! Why is that one purple? It’s so interesting because it is purple!

You have to stand out in the giant bell curve of the WoW blogosphere somehow.

I took Seth Godin’s purple cow concept and applied it to WoW.

The average attention span of a human being is 3 seconds. Actually it’s probably less. Like it or not, you’re trying to appeal to a mass number of players who don’t even realize they’re standing in the fire. So keep that in mind. I cannot stress this enough. If you want to get noticed, you have to stand out enough so that when you do get found by readers, they’ll want to share it with their friends. They’ll want to email links. Or post your blog on their guild forum. If they’re Twitter savvy, maybe they’ll post it on twitter to help spread it even further.

Point 3: The blogging for yourself mentality

“But Matt! I don’t care about numbers! I don’t care about being read! I only care about me, myself and my thoughts!”

That is totally okay. I’ve offered advice to some people who wanted to get more results with their blog and have been shut down with this line before.

If you want to blog just your thoughts and your reason, hey that’s fine. But don’t be depressed when you realize that no one out there really gives a crap what you’re writing about.

I’m not trying to be mean. I’m trying to give you the honest truth. Hell, there are days where I write crap too.

But one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, eh?

Do you truly think that thousands of people are going to care that you just got the ‘Going Down!" achievement?

Or that you just did Nexus?

Or that you hate this rep grind and you wish Blizzard never put them in?

If you want to excel, you have to put in the work. The same rule applies to blogging and everything else you want to do in life. If you are happy with being ordinary and blogging for yourself, then stay ordinary and disregard everything on this post and throw it out the window.

There are bloggers out there who are satisfied with where they’re at. They’re comfortable with it. And I applaud them for it. But there are bloggers who want more status, who want more recognition, and want to be “a big deal”. They want to be read more. They want to be acknowledged.

More importantly, they want to do this without trying.

No. Doesn’t work that way.

Either put in the hours or be satisfied as a grey Kodo just like everyone else. And I’m going to say it again because I’m undoubtedly going to receive feedback on this.

There is nothing wrong with blogging for yourself

Point 4: Specializing and the niche

I’m a specialist blogger. Anna is a specialist blogger.

I shake my head every time someone asks me if it’s a good idea for them to start a WoW blog on everything.

Do you know why specialists are called specialists? Because they pick 1 or 2 aspects and become really good at it. That’s why they’re special!

mister

Anna’s a kickass Resto Shaman and Paladin. More importantly, she is an RP blogger. The vast majority of the WoW population don’t RP. But for the few that do, Anna is the undisputed Queen. RPers will flock to her blog because they want tips, guides, and other activities to develop their characters in an RP fashion. If I could summarize Anna’s niche, it would be Shamans, Paladins, healing, and RPing.

Remember that you’re not going to be read by everyone. I don’t read Hunter blogs. I don’t particularly pay attention to Rogue or caster blogs. I don’t have those classes and I never will. Understand it and embrace it. Everyone has different tastes and interests. I know some people who read World of Matticus because Lodur is that much more awesome as a Shaman. Some readers are exclusive to Syd because they value her insight and Druidic ways.

By appealing to everybody, you appeal to nobody.

Point 5: Plan ahead and be dynamic

I know it goes against what I just wrote before it. But I’m going to give you a great example here that I’ve noticed.

Gold making blogs and guides.

There are hundreds of gold making blogs and guides. They are all parroting the same thing. The game is set in such a way that the economy of the game in terms of gathering and spending are going to be the same. Personally I think out of all the blog types, economic blogs are the ones that have the highest turnover.

There’s only so many tips and resources you can give to players to make money. It’s not very often that new “products” or “services” are introduced into the game that players can make money from.

By contrast, when No Stock UI was launched, I knew that the addon scene would constantly be evolving. Blizzard would introduce new elements. There would be new addons and other visual toys. It’s a dynamic topic.

Point 6: There is always room for expansion

I’m also not saying that if you choose a topic you are stuck exclusively talking about that topic. I started out trending just towards Priests. After that, I became an officer and wrote about leadership and guild business along with ways to handle loot. I wrote about leadership in addition to healing. I expanded upwards and broke into another audience level. Soon I had tanks and DPS who didn’t come to my blog to be better healers. They came to my blog to learn about other perspectives and how to improve their own guild. It was a gradual process.

So when I say don’t blog about everything, I absolutely literally mean that. Because it’s very hard to keep everybody satisfied. You can’t keep everyone happy. But that does not mean you’re forbidden from extending to a different topic or two.

When you feel ready to start branching out your blog into other areas, take that first step. Do it slowly, do it surely. More importantly, do it gradually.

Point 7: Branding

One more thing when it comes to specializing. Be prepared to stick to it for the long haul. Otherwise you’ll have to completely start your brand over from scratch. Like it or not, you and your blog are going to be associated with a name and an image. Once that image is formed, it is extremely hard to shake.

If you’re not sure you’re going to be in it, then pick a neutral name. This is why I named my blog World of Matticus instead of Priests R Us or something. I didn’t know if I’d still be playing a healer a year from now. I still don’t know if I’ll be playing a Priest a year from now or if I’ll even still be playing the game. We can’t predict the future but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep our options open.

When the unfortunate time comes and you decide you’re done and want to shift focus, be prepared to lose people. I’ve unsubscribed from blogs before because they decided to shift topics and I just didn’t have any interest in what they were branching out to. You win some, you lose some. That’s the nature of blogging and it is what it is. It’s about acceptance and understanding what happens.

Point 8: Perseverance blogging

Write often. If you want to remain at the front, you have to stay fresh and new. Not only that, if you stop writing for a few days, it’s going to expand to a few weeks until eventually you decide that you just don’t want to write anymore. If you actually want to be a "hardcore" blogger, you have to get yourself to write something. I routinely stay up until 2 AM and I don’t rest until I have at least something on paper or something that’s almost complete enough I can finish in the morning. Find a way to set time aside for writing and develop habits.

Do it before raids.

Do it while farming.

Write while doing dailies.

To me, blogging is like an itch that has to be scratched. The longer I don’t write, the more itchier it gets until I finally have to sit down and satisfy that itch.

I’m always interested in looking for regular contributors. Several months ago, Lodur came to me and e-mailed me two guest posts. I published them and he received a warm reception.

Then he did something no other guest post or contributor wannabe ever did.

He contributed posts 3, 4, and 5.

Was his blog formatting perfect? Did it meet my standards? The standards were met but the formatting was off slightly. I corrected some errors and gave him some tips. But the primary reason I extended the invite to him is because I could immediately tell he loved to write as much as I did.

Lodur was a purple Kodo in a sea of other Kodos.

Obviously you can’t do much about genuine emergencies. Those will happen. Even just laying down a thought or two about a post is a good starting step.

pencil

Point 9: Quality vs Quantity

Here’s another argument that I hear a lot of.

“I prefer to write quality posts as opposed to writing a lot of posts.”

Hey, that is totally your purview. But I want to share with you something I realized early on.

You don’t know what quality is. You’re not going to know what quality is. Every post you write is either going to be a stud or it’s going to be a dud. You’re not writing the same thing repeatedly. You’re writing something new everytime and you’re not going to know if you’re going to hit a foul or if you’re going to hit a home run.

This is why I prefer to run with and write whatever idea I get. I get a thrill knowing it’s either going to fail big or succeed big. And I write it down, and I publish it and I wait and see. Just like this post. I already know it’s going to be frowned upon by many people because their blogging outlooks are different from mine.

Some days I spend 4 hours crafting out a carefully thought out, and well researched post. It gets a handful of responses at best. Other days I spend out 15 minutes to hammer out a quick post before hitting the sack. The next morning I am amazed at the amount of discussion it spawns.

You’re never going to know what constitutes as a “quality” post.

A friend from a different guild once remarked to me that he liked all the posts on my blog because he thought I wrote really well.

Wrong!

I corrected him and said I have an equal number of stinkers as I do winners (probably more stinkers). The ones that you happen to like are the ones that stand out the most. The ones you don’t like fade away thereby seeming as if I write nothing but good posts.

Whatever posting schedule you set for yourself above all else, try and remain as consistent as you can (which is weird coming from me).

Point 10: Blog Sensitivity

This is something I get talked to a lot by other people. Every so often I receive a comment or an email and it just sets me off. All the friends around me try to calm me down and not to take it so seriously.

rainny

I know that. But it’s still difficult. Why is it so hard? Up to this point, I couldn’t really answer why.

The reason I take comments so seriously is because I care about what I’m writing. I’m passionate about my class and what I do in this game. I love what I do and I’m going to be a little annoyed once in a while.

I understand that it comes with the territory too. It’s a part of the “business” and it’s something I’m going to deal with. Does it make it any easier? No, but that’s the way it is.

If you care about what you write and don’t get offended easily, then man… props to you. That’s a very rare breed. You’d make the perfect blogger. Thick skin isn’t something that can easily be grown. I’ve witnessed promising bloggers start out strong only to receive 1 or 2 negative comments. Their blog then lies abandoned in some blog graveyard somewhere to be forgotten.

When it comes to games especially, just remember that there is always someone out there who is your superior. Accept it and move on.

Point 11: The sixty day test

An average lifespan of a blog is under sixty days. If a blog reaches that point, then the blogger has managed to achieve a state of “rhythm” and regularity with their writing. The actual quantity doesn’t matter. It could be 60 posts in 8 weeks or 8 posts in 8 weeks.

What matters is that they didn’t just drop off the face of the planet.

I run into posts that say “Sorry, will be back soon. Life owned me.”

And then I don’t hear from them again. Too often I come across blogs that say they’ll come back soon. Six months later, I remove them from my reader. Blogs that had such promise in the first month suddenly become extinguished because the blogger realized they just couldn’t do it.

Again, nothing is wrong with that. Blogging is not for everybody. It’s easy to break into but it’s extremely difficult to stay disciplined enough to keep at it because just face it: Not everyone likes to stay inside cooped up doing nothing but writing.  

Going back to my earlier case study with Lodur, I apply something similar with guest contributors. I get a lot of applications from people who are excited and want to be a regular and active blogger. But I fail to see the actions that backup that sentiment. They decide that they just can’t commit. Or maybe they come to the conclusion that blogging is a lot more work than they imagined. It’s very easy to say you want to do something. But when you realize the pressure and the responsibility, sometimes it’s not as appealing.

And that’s perfectly alright. This way, they don’t waste their time doing something they don’t like doing.

Point 12: The two question approach to posting

Alright, now up to this point I’ve preached the idea of standing out. But the meat and potatoes of a blog is in the posts you write.

Here’s a simple question you can ask yourself to find out whether or not your post should be written. It’s a fairly simple test.

  • If I write this post, is ANYONE going to give a crap?

If the answer is yes, good. Go ahead and write it. Doesn’t matter if people disagree or agree. What matters is if you perceive people care.

Now as a masochistic WoW blogger myself, I ask myself question number 2.

  • If I write this post, is someone going to benefit from it in some way?

Note the difference between question 1 and 2. Question 1 is whether someone cares. Question 2 is whether someone’s going to derive something useful.

For me personally, I’ve written countless of strategies and tips. I face a lot of “this is useless, I already know this” or “people who don’t do this are noobs”. On the flip side, I know there are others who comment “Thanks! I didn’t know about this until you mentioned it!” And that’s what keeps me going.

Point 13: My definition of a successful post?

If someone finds something useful out of it and if I make it interesting and compelling enough. I don’t care if I reach 1 person or 1 million.

If I can reach even 1 person, then it’s mission accomplished.

Finally, remember that this is the summation of my experiences in blogging. It’s not going to appeal to everyone. We all have reasons for blogging the way we do. All that stuff up there is the blue colored lens by which I view my efforts in writing. You might agree and you might not. I’m not here to tell you the right way or the wrong way of blogging. I’ve relayed to you exactly what went through my mind as I went from starting the blog 2 years ago to where I am now. 

It’s up to you to decide what you want to do. My door’s always open to people who have questions about healing and blogging. I can’t promise the swiftest of answers but I do usually get around to everyone eventually.

Be a purple kodo!

Image courtesy of m3_fs

The Hard Mode Thrill

The post you’re about to read is from the past. I wrote this post on Saturday hours after we had taken down Deconstructor on hard mode. It’s the 10 player version.

Going in there, I figured that this was a boss well within the crosshairs of what our guild was capable of doing.

The adrenaline rush and feeling the entire raid got was immense. It’s been a long time since I had a feeling like that wash over me. I could tell it was the same thing for the others in the group. The challenge, the wipes, and all the little things added up and resulted in a big giant virtual fist pump when we took him down.

Some of these hard modes really transform the fight into a whole new level. The complexity, the demands and requirements transcend everything. Sometimes I think to myself what would have happened if I was in an organization that was way more involved then what Conquest is now. I’d imagine one of the requirements would be doing everything on hard mode first before dialing back. Could you imagine? I tried Thorim on hard mode a few times. It made me appreciate just how much simpler and stress free the easy mode was.

If you’re looking for a pre-nerf Hyjal, Black Temple, or Sunwell type of experience, give hard mode a shot. They do drop Badges of Conquest after all.

That feeling can be replicated on 10 mans. I found it similar to hitting the Zul’Aman bear timer.

Expect a post sometime later this week with a tactical break down of how Syd, myself, and the rest of the raid handled the walking bunch of bolts.

An early teaser

Quick notes though for those of you wanting to get some attempts on him.

  • 1 tank
  • Doable with 2 healers
  • Position at the front of the stairs not to the sides
  • No bots to worry about at all
  • Priority on life sparks that spawn
  • Designate positions for players to run to with gravity well (they spawn void zones)
Breaking Down a Paladin’s Efficient Heals

Breaking Down a Paladin’s Efficient Heals

pally-equation

This is a guest post by Hitty the Pally. Be prepared for heavy math towards the end of the post (well, at least, it was for me :D).

I recently went back to becoming a full time Holy Paladin for 3.1.0 for many reasons including having some of our healing raiders leaving the guild.  Just to give you a quick history lesson on Hitty the pally, I started as holy hybrid in 1.0 dispelling my way through MC and switched to protection spec in 2.0 to fill a large gap left by our MT taking some time off.  Eventually he came back and ended up being a ret paladin in the late stages of TBC and stuck with it for 3.0.  I’ve always enjoyed being a dependable raider filling in all three roles when needed.

So here I am, most of my core training was from healing lava packs in Molten Core and boy was I in for a holy shock.  There are so many new toys to play with outside of the simplistic trio of Holy Light, Flash of Light and Cleanse.  So here I am getting the crash course on healing by a fellow holy paladin teammate with all these fancy terms like Bacon, Sacred Shield and JotP.  My pally friend has this enact ability to top healing charts with his eyes closed.  Now I know and understand thoroughly that being a healer you are part of a team.  Everyone on this team plays a role in which if everyone succeeds the raid will have a good chance of winning (its NHL playoffs isn’t it Matticus?). 

Editor’s note: Playoffs ended when the Canucks were eliminated.

Not to take anything away from my counterpart.  He is just that good and dependable (except with buffing… I can win there!).  The common joke in our guild is he has a big red button that he presses when he wants to top the healing charts.  Anyways he plays a major part in our guilds progression and we love him for it. But there’s a dps fire inside of me   I want to become number 1!   Talk about ego and insecurity problems /sigh.

The goal is to beat my friend and wins the heal meters among pallys!  So with every raid night the past 3 weeks, I start by pumping myself up to prepare for the challenge.  I put on some classic energy songs before raids such as Welcome to the Jungle by Guns n Roses to “Remember the Name by Fort Minor to Crowd Chantby Joe Satriani.  Hungry like a dps machine to test myself against my competition I wait for the perfect opportunity.  The chance arrived in my lap, there was no danger to the raid and I went for it. FAIL.  Next boss to try again, FAIL.

It seems that I have a gear issue in that my mana isn’t as infinite as my counterpart.  This was to be expected as my gear is inferior to my opponent but there was a few interesting findings in Recount and WWS logs.  I was able to keep up my effective healing on three conditions.  1, the fight must be short as I am chaining holy lights till I’m oom or 2, there are enough ppl who required healing or 3, stand in the fire and selfishly heal myself.  The short story is I need to boast my mana regen capability which means I need more Cowbe- err Crits!!!

Mana regeneration for Paladins have always been interesting compared to the other healers.  The bread and butter of our mana regen are through Divine Plea and critical proc heals with the Illumination talent.  Generally speaking we are never out of the 5 second casting regen not to mention Spirit doesn’t do pally’s any good.  In combat mp5 regen isn’t much better as it is very hard stat to stack as most cases the preference would be to increase Int for divine plea, +spell, and +crit.  Illumination is a talent that has a 100% proc rate to gain 60% of the base cost of FoL, HL or HS.  Looking specifically at spell crit, I have a lot of work to do.  Generally speaking, my sworn enemy will have more crits than normal spell casts in every category with a crit rate of BLAH.  My numbers really show as I would be opposite with more normal spells than crits.  Alright!  Time for science.  Divine Favour allows me to crit one of my spells every 2 minutes, which spell would be optimal to use in conjunction with Divine Favour to return the most mana. 

Please keep in mind that all these numbers and calculations are very simple math equations without factoring many different buffs, procs, talents and environments. 

Illumination Rank 5

After getting a critical effect from your Flash of Light, Holy Light, or Holy Shock heal spell you have a 100% chance to gain mana equal to 60% of the base cost of the spell.

Divine Favour

3% of base mana

Instant cast                                         2 min cooldown

When activated, gives your next Flash of Light, Holy Light, or Holy Shock spell a 100% critical effect chance.

Holy Light Rank 13

29% of base mana

2.5 sec cast                                         40 yd range

Heals a friendly target for 4888 to 5444.

Flash of Light Rank 9

7% of base mana

1.5 sec cast                                         40 yd range

Heals a friendly target for 785 to 879.

Holy Shock Rank 7

18% of base mana

Instant cast 6 sec cooldown         20 – 40 yd range

Blasts the target with Holy energy, causing 1296 to 1402 Holy damage to an enemy, or 2401 to 2599 healing to an ally.

Okay, starting in 2.4 there were certain spells that required a percentage of the base mana.  With 3.0, it’s pretty much the norm.  Now this basically means the amount of mana a certain class has before any modifiers such as int, racial or buffs.  So I got nekked for the purpose of science and found that for a Paladin, your base mana will always be 4394 at level 80.  I tried to ask a blood elf to help me confirm my findings but all I got was a slap.

Divine Favour = 4394*3% = 132 mana to cast.

Holy Light = 4394*29% = 1275 mana to cast.

Flash of Light = 4394*7% = 308 mana to cast. 

Holy Shock = 791 mana to cast. 

With these values now, we can find out how much mana it cost to cast both spells plus how much mana is returned.

DF/HL 132+1275 = 1407 mana cost.  1275*60% = 765 mana return for 2.5 second cast. 

The net cost to cast a HL would be 1407-765 = 642

DF/FoL 132+308 = 440 mana cost. 308*60% = 185mana return for 1.5 second cast.

The net cost to cast a FoL would be 440-185 = 255.

DF/HS 132+791 = 923 mana cost. 923*60% = 475 mana return for 1.5 second cast. T

The net cost to cast a HS would be 923-554 = 448.

Woot! Let’s break this down to mana regen per second. 

HL would be 642/2.5 = 257/1,

FoL would be 255/1.5 = 170/1 and

HS would be 475/1.5 = 316/1. 

The winner is… Holy Shock! 

So here we go, I found a new trick to add to my trade and hope it’ll help me inch closer and closer to my formidable opponent.  Here’s a new trick for an old dog.  If anyone has any other tricks to share, please do!!  I can’t wait till the next opportunity I get.  Nothing’s wrong with a little competition, ya?

Post edited with updated values May 27, 09

Healing Ulduar: Thorim

Healing Ulduar: Thorim

thorim_31_phixr

For other bosses in Ulduar, check the Ulduar Healing Strategy Page.

“Interlopers! You mortals who dare to interfere with my sport will pay… Wait–you… I remember you… In the mountains… But you… what is this? Where am–”

Thorim is the lord of storms, and brother to Loken. He is one of the Keepers of Ulduar.

The fight  is broken down into 3 phases, with phase 2 having two parts. First, lets see what Thorim can do.

Abilities

Sheath of Lightning – When the encounter begins, Thorim will coat himself in an almost impregnable sheet of lightning.

Charged Orb – Charges an orb in the arena with the power of storms. The tower will discharge Lightning Shock which can chain to multiple people in close range to eachother.

Lightning Shock / charged Orb Example:

lightning_phixr2

Storm Hammer – Thorim throws his hammer into the arena causing Deafening Thunder. It can interrupt your casting and places a debuff that increased casting times by 75% for 8 seconds

Summon Lightning Orb – Sends a ball of lightning down the corridor towards the players, laying waste to everything in it’s path.

Chain Lightning – Thorim casts a lightning bolt into the party that increases in damage the further it jumps.

Lightning Charge - Thorim absorbs the power of a nearby lightning orb and then discharges it in a cone back towards the orb he siphoned the power from. After the charge Thorim will hit faster and harder. This is a stacking buff, and acts as a passive enrage in phase 3

Lightning Charge example:

lightning-charge_phixr

Unbalancing Strike – Reduces the tanks defense by 200.

Enrage – When you start phase 2 you have 5 minutes to reach him before he enrages and clears the raid out.

Adds

Thorim has a lot of friends who want to play with you.

Runic Colossus

Ancient Rune Giant

Those two are like mini bosses. They don’t hit too hard.

Dark Rune Warbringer

Dark Rune Evoker

Dark Rune Champion

Dark Rune Commoner

Waves of trash will consist of these mobs.

Execution

The fight itself has 3 phased, with phase 2 having two parts.

Phase 1:

You enter the arena to see a giant Jormungur facing off against opponents of the opposite faction.

thorim_phixr

They are easily dispatched and don’t really hit hard on tanks. Clean them up and get ready for phase 2.

Phase 2:

Phase 2 is split into two sections, a Ramp/Gauntlet group and an Arena / pit group. We’ll talk about the ramp group first.

The Ramp group will normally consist of one tank, seven DPS and two healers. Speed is the biggest factor here. The faster you get to the end of the hallway, the sooner you can start phase 3. For healers you want someone who can snap big heals, or heals on the move. We found that druids and holy paladins work incredibly well for the ramp group. Large effective heals and lots of mobility.

There will be three groups of Warbringers along your way and a giant golem at the end of the hall that sends death down one side at a time. We assigned someone to call out which side to move to. As a healer, don’t worry about keeping someone who stands in the line of fire from the golem alive, they’re going to die. It’s pretty easy to heal the Gauntlet, just keep the tank alive and burn through as fast as possible.

The Arena group has a it’s own tree of woe to deal with. The aforementioned adds will be flooding into the arena to get a piece of us would-be adventurers for ruining their entertainment. Easiest way to do it is have tanks set up an AoE pit in the center of the arena. We use three tanks (bear , paladin and warrior just for reference). The druid and the paladin tank the vast majority of the mobs while the warrior pulls the champions off to the side slightly (see triangle on the diagram) to keep them from whirlwinding the dps.

arena

Healers (blue circles) should spread out around the AoE pit to minimize the impact of the Storm Hammers. Priests should be ready to mass disspell the Runic Shield from the evokers. Group healing helps a lot in this part of the fight.  CoH, Chain heal, glyphed Holy Light and even Wildgrowth will help keep the dps in the AoE pit up. Just keep an eye on aggro happy AoE damage dealers though, sometimes warlocks like to explode without warning here. Healers that are spread out should watch for Lightning Orbs and be ready to move quickly, least they chain the damage to other players. If you get snap aggro from adds through healing, you should run through the AoE pit to give your tanks a chance to snag them with a taunt or even just Consecrate / Death and Decay to grab them. Continue to burn down the pit, picking off Evokers and Champions as you can until your ramp group reaches Thorim and starts phase 3. Name of the game is survival. Heal your rear off! keep everyone up, especially tanks and you’ll be good to go.

Phase 3:

Once you reach Thorim’s platform he jumps down into the arena. A tank has to pick him up right away while everyone else works on adds. Thorim hits reasonably hard when he connects so it is suggested to have a few healers on the tanks. Normally We put 3 healers on the two Thorim tanks, Druid, Paladin and a Disc priest have been wonderful for evening out damage and making Unbalanced Strike transitions easier.  As the fight goes on, Thorim hits harder and harder, much in the way of Gruul the Dragonslayer, but three healers should be enough to keep the tanks alive. The rest of the raid and healers need to be spread out around the room, more then 10 yard away from someone if you can. When Thorim Chain Lightnings, it can have disastrous results.

While you’re healing keep your eyes peeled for a white pulsing line going between him and one of the pillars. At this point, you want to run away from that line as quickly as possible. After the line is done energizing him, he will cast an arch of lightning in a 60 degree cone  towards wherever he pulled the power from. If you’re caught in it it will hurt. Stop your casting and move fast and then resume healing. The tanks will keep rotating so make sure they are topped off while your raid healers keep track of everyone else. Tank healers have to be careful to make sure they switch to the new tank quickly otherwise you run the risk of the new tank eating two large strikes back to back later in the fight.

In my opinion the hardest part of this encounter is phase 2 for arena healers. There is just a lot going on. There’s a ton of movement, a ton of raid damage and a ton of situational awareness needed to make it through. Heads up Healing comes in very handy in the arena as it lets you move before you’re splatted. It also helps you when you can see the mobs turn to go take out that AoEing warlock before they actually hit her (looking at you Jahadura!) and splatter their remains all over the arena floor. Once you get this part down, the rest of the encounter is no harder then anything else you’ve faced so far. Now for the good stuff.

Healer Items:

Once you free Thorim and he’ll leave behind the Cache of Storms, here’s some goodies he has

T8 Helm token

Scale of Fates – Trinket (Haste/Spellpower)

Pauldrons of the Combatant -Shoulders (Shamans)

Wisdom’s Hold – Shield (Paladins, Shamans)

Leggings of Lost Love – Legs (Priest, Druid)

Also a little poll here. My guild leader things Thorim sounds like Patrick Stewart, I think my guild leader is very mistaken. What do you guys think? Does Thorim sound like Patrick Stewart?

Until next time, Happy Healing

sig3

Is Tree Form Fun?

On Thursday Ghostcrawler put up a provocative new topic in the healing forms asking druids an open question–is tree form fun? Ever since I’ve been following the topic, and I must admit that I’m glued to my seat. I’ll post below my answer to GC’s query:

In all honesty, I love the druid healing style but hate tree form.

Tree form is a sacrifice I make so that I can play in the style I like.

Why?

1. The form is not aesthetically pleasing. The tree is unfeminine, un-treelike, and brown all over. In the blogosphere, we’re jokingly referred to as rotten broccoli. I love the grace and beauty of my elf. I originally healed on my character because resto druids could stay in elf form. I do have healers of other classes, but it is the playstyle, not the look, of my druid that makes her my main.

2. The limitations of tree form restrict certain types of behaviors in a seemingly arbitrary fashion. It makes me less likely to contribute dps in a raid when other healers would do so (XT’s heart).

3. The limitations are no longer verisimilar (realistic). I actually used to like the tree snare of 20%. I healed some fights in Tier 6 in form, some out. I shifted to move. I liked this mechanic, as it showed the “true” elf underneath the “false” tree skin. Now that the limitations are purely arbitrary, I don’t see their purpose.

I’d rather keep the elf form for healing–would it be possible just to glow green or something?

Otherwise, can the tree form be updated to something
1. customizable
2. anthropomorphic (dryad/nymph and centaur please)
3. gender-specific
4. horde-alliance specific
5. gear-progression revealing. This isn’t a big deal to me, but many players would like to display a weapon as moonkin do.

Thank you for including this topic. It raises my hopes–please don’t disappoint!

And now, for the blog, maybe I’ll explain a bit more what’s most important to me. In my opinion, which I recognize may differ from others, the art is the number 1 attraction of any game. I simply won’t play if the visuals don’t appeal to me. As far as druids are concerned, I like the concept of shape-shifting in its original form (cat and bear only when Syd was created), but I don’t like to be locked into shape-shifting. I also love being an elf.

Here are my suggestions to Blizzard for managing the overwhelming outcry for new, better-looking forms in this topic.

1. I would make the greatest number of people happy with the least work. Along with “display cloak” and “display helm,” let people click a box for “display form.” This is a solution that costs little, allows for customization, and doesn’t require an artist.
2. If Blizzard is determined that all druids must display a form, start actually working on them. I know that art is costly and time-consuming. I also know that artistic projects can actually be finished–if they are being worked on. Even though Blue posters say that druid forms are “in the works,” they have been at that state for years. Pardon me if I don’t believe them. I think it’s a shame, because any budget spent on player character art will be directly appreciated by the player-base. It is a better investment than designing a great T8 shoulder. When it’s the character itself, something that we look at all the time, the artwork really shows itself to best (or worst) advantage.

I’m not saying that I’ll reroll a priest right now just to get to see my elf form while I raid, but it’s definitely something I might work on for the next expansion, especially if we get some raiding down-time. I do love the druid playstyle though–it’s just that it requires me to be uglier than anyone else in raid.

Also, did I ever tell you guys about the time I failed the Thaddius ledge boss? Yep, I thought the tree druid in front of me was me. There can, in fact, be PvE advantages to customization.

What’s my ideal “tree” form? Well, I think I’d just use the priest’s shadowform and turn it green and sparkly. Either that, or let’s scrap the tree, I want to be one of the gorgeous new girl centaurs they introduced with Wrath–naturally, with a customizable hair style and color.