Shaman Q & A With Ghost Crawler, Resto Recap

Shaman Q & A With Ghost Crawler, Resto Recap

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For those of you who might not have caught it yet, the Shaman Q & A is out HERE . Go ahead and take a look, there is some interesting answers there. Lets talk a little bit about some of whats there, I’ll try to keep it focused on things that affect us as healers.

Ghost crawler opens up with explaining what makes the shaman class unique, and I tend to agree with him. We are a unique hybrid in the fact that we can throw out healing while melting faces without having to shift forms like a druid would have to do and we can change those roles faster then a Paladin can. He also talks about how we are the ying to the paladin yang. We are in many ways the anti paladin.

GC says:

As envisioned from the start, shamans were also the “offensive” hybrid. Things have inevitably blurred a bit since then, but they are still a counterpart and complement to paladins – paladins have cleanse, shamans have purge; paladins will let an ally move freely to escape or catch an opponent, shamans will snare an enemy to let their ally escape or catch him or her; paladins will make sure their allies’ casts aren’t interrupted, shamans will interrupt enemy casts; and so forth.

It’s true, just think about it. We are balanced in many ways to work against a paladin, but with each faction now having both classes, we stack up in a weird and awesome synergy with them.

Next point of interest is the discussion of totems. The question was asked Are there plans to look at totems in general, the way they are managed, their uses, and their benefits in the future? I’m very happy to say the answer was yes, there are plans and the first thing mentioned is the ability to drop all four totems on one GCD! When I saw that I’ll be honest, I almost did a lap around the block from sheer excitement. As any experienced raid healer will tell you, it often boils down to effective use not only of your heals, but of your Global Cooldowns. This will free up three seconds of cooldowns (totems have a one second GCD) That’s another heal, or a faster heroism, or if you’re on melee totem duty three seconds more to get your rear out of harms way. The other important note about this is since they are looking at abilities to drop all four totems on one cooldown it means they will have to continue working on the totem UI. While I appreciate the Totem timers blizzard built into the game, it still pales in comparison to mods like Totem Timers and Yata. I’m excited to see how they are going to balance this change as well as update the game’s UI for this.

Beyond this the discussion also talked about the mechanics and possible further consolidation of totems,  and there are some very interesting ideas in there. There was talk of removing buff totems and replacing them with spells (which as a shaman who is constantly supplying wind fury totem to melee I can certainly appreciate this idea) and making all the totems do something active like Healing Stream Totem. The idea of possibly letting you carry an active totem around on your back was also tossed around. GC continues on to talk about consolidation of totems (magma and fire nova potentially being combined as an example) as well as some hitting the chopping block (bye bye sentry totem). Most interesting is the talk about possibly using any Fire or Earth totem as an anchor point for Elementals. Personally I think that’s a fantastic idea and one I hope they fully explore. It’s hard to chose between that little extra damage from the fire elemental or keeping up Flame Tongue / Totem of Wrath.

There was also mention about our health pools. If you didn’t notice we have the lowest base health pool out of any of the classes. According to GC and crew they will be looking at this for 3.2. This will be good for us on those fights (like Hodir with frozen blows) where we see our health drop like a rock and have to quickly heal ourselves before we use our Aggro Dump.

After talking about totems and our health pools, the topic of PvE healing comes up.

GC says:

I know there is some concern about Restoration shamans losing their healing niche of area damage. We think that perception might exist in Ulduar just because recent talents, glyphs, and set bonuses have all propped up things like Lesser Healing Wave over Chain Heal. Chain Heal is still quite useful in some situations and with different gear in the next couple of tiers, we expect to see more shamans going back to it. We don’t want to see them return to just using Chain Heal as was the case in much of Burning Crusade. We do think Restoration shamans are at the risk of running out of mana perhaps more than any other healer right now, and in fact the seemingly unlimited mana in some healers is what leads to Chain Heal getting stomped on by other big heals. This is a problem we plan on addressing.

Well that’s refreshing. He goes on to say;

We want Restoration shamans to be a strong group healer with the option of focusing on a single target with Lesser Healing Wave as needed. Restoration shamans have two distinct healing styles now that they can shift between, and we want to preserve that. We don’t want to return to the Sunwell era, where 95% of healing came from Chain Heal. It’s just a boring play style. (And yes, paladins, we hear you.) We suspect that with a new totem or set bonus that propped up Chain Heal a little more, you’d see it getting a lot more use. We’re cool with that. It’s fun when you upgrade your gear from tier to tier and it actually pushes you into a slightly different play style.

I can honestly say I’m ok with that. Like I said in my post about Chain Heal I don’t think we’re broken or that the spell stinks, but I do agree that it needs tweaking to be competitive. I’m perfectly fine with them addressing it through gear be it totems or tier set bonuses. It’s a great way to balance out the spell without reworking the whole mechanic of it. It is a great spell and I adore my lazer beam of love. It’s iconic and distinct and has one of the coolest spell effect sounds ever (turn your volume way up and listen. Rolling thunder ftw!). On the other hand I love our new spells and abilities too. I love having heals and abilities that are synergistic and having the ability to pop out of raid healing to get some single target loving in. I’ll be honest, I hated the mindlessness of Shaman healing in BC in the end game, I like my variety I just want to be able to keep up in hard modes.

The last item I’ll talk about is something they touched on in the PvP section but I think will have an effect on PvE as well. When asked Are there any other considerations in store for improving overall performance for shaman in PvP encounters (whether in Arena or in Battlegrounds)? GC replies with

Mobility is a big problem. One of the designers described casting shamans the other day as “turrets,” which is very apt. You sit and spin and shoot (or heal). We need to get shamans some more mobility, and we have some ideas for how to do that without just giving everyone Blink.

Well, this is true for PvE as well. Think about fights like Hodir, lots of movement where we have to stop long enough to push out our healing. He’s right though, we are turrets. Like survival hunters, give us a nice warm spot to sit where we don’t have to move and watch the healing fly. I’d love to see a bit more mobility added to the class (maybe something like a hunter’s readiness so we can use Natures Swiftness quickly).

All in all it seems like we’ll be getting some much needed love. I’m hopeful and the Q&A helped keep me there. I look forward to the changes to totems and I really look forward to seeing how they address our burst AE healing.

What do you guys think? Think things will work out? Think we’re doomed?

Till next time, Happy Healing,

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Image courtesy of Wired.com

Friends and Raiders: Raider Accountability

Friends and Raiders: Raider Accountability

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So, it’s a topic that is always present but not a lot of people seem to want to touch on is disciplining raiders. It’s a topic most people hope to never deal with, but inevitably it comes up, how do you discipline your raiders? My guild has several ranks, the hierarchy goes like this.

GM

Officer

Class Lead

Raider

Veteran

Applicant

The raider rank offers free consumables for raids and a guaranteed raid spot on our 25 man raid nights. Pretty sweet deal right? The officers thought so too, but we felt it had to come with some requirements. Last year at Blizzcon 08 my guild was lucky enough that almost all the officers were able to attend. We hit up a pub, ordered a few pints and decided to hash out ground rules. We understand everyone has off days, so with that in mind how do we evaluate our raiders? We have three categories which we judge our raiders. Performance, Attendance and Attitude.

Performance

This is judged by varying degrees depending on class and role. We divided out the basic archetypes into 4 groups and an officer looks over each group one for melee, one for hunters, one for casters and one for healers (guess which one I take care of). We don’t set hard numbers but we look for a couple things. Is the player performing well based on assignment and others of their class? Is the player prepared with proper gems, enchants, talent spec and consumables (and using the provided consumables)? Does the player have their resistance gear(if applicable)? Is the player following assignments (healers on their target, interrupts doing what they need to do, the right sheeps going out)? Is the player consistently dying to void zones for no good reason? Is the person looting / herbing / mining etc instead of doing what they are supposed to be doing (ex: picking flowers instead of healing the tank)

That’s a rough sketch but you get the idea.
Attendance

This one is a hard number. We require that those of the raider rank attend 75% of the main raids (we only count our 25 man raids since for us that’s the focus) if you are not going to be able to make an official raid we expect you to give us notice so we can prepare. We understand that life happens and well, real life is more important then the game. We just ask that our raiders give us notification so we can bring in a replacement and keep the raid going for those that are on.

We also require that raiders be at the instance at the time of raid invites. This is not too much to ask, log out at the instance the night before if you have to. We don’t want to keep an entire raid waiting because one or two people are horsing around in Dalaran, or are always waiting for a Warlock to summon them.

Attitude

This one’s a bit of a wild card for some people, but the basics of the concept is as follows. Is the player badgering other players? (this includes harassing classes on the same token if they are going to drop or pass the token to the player) Is the person constantly in a sour mood and taking it out on the raid? Is the person ignoring assignments? Is the person acting like they just don’t want to be there? This also includes personal grievances between players. If one player has a problem with another we investigate it.

For this one it’s more the temper tantrum rule. If you’re being pissy, expect to be called on it.

Punitive Measures

So, now that we’ve metered out the 3 categories to go by how does one go about reprimanding offenders? For attendance issues we review the monthly numbers and people below the 75% mark are brought to the attention of the raid officers. If we see that there is sufficient reason for a demotion (ie skipped two weeks of raids for beer blasts) we will demote the person from raider status. We understand that real life happens and of course won’t hold unavoidable events against our raiders.

For performance and attitude we follow the Three Strike Rule. Each time a raider breaks one of the rules they receive a strike. Along with the strike comes a warning, usually handled in whispers during a break in the raid or if its severe enough during the encounter. We try to avoid public defamation on vent (but that doesn’t keep us from screaming to get out of the damned void zones when needed). Attitude problems are dealt with swiftly and on the spot. Informing the raider that they can and will be removed if the behavior continues (and following through with it). There is an officer in every class channel and usually one per group in 25 mans, so we have a good idea when someone is acting up. When a raider reaches three strikes they will receive two treatments. First is a docking of DKP. My guild still uses the DKP system so this is a major check point for most of our raiders. The degree of the docking depends on the severity of the strikes to be decided by the raid officers. Along with that comes the evaluation of the person’s raider status.  The raid officers decide if the person should be demoted.

Personal grievances are set for investigation. Officers will step in and separate the people in question, find out whats happening and determine what needs to be done, if anything.

To be honest we’ve never gotten to the third strike for anyone. DKP docking and removal of rank act as great deterrents and our raiders are generally pretty adult about most things, our officers are pretty proactive as well. We hold clinics and workshops as necessary if a player decides they need help. An officer is almost always on in game and class leaders are always afoot. We are very active as a guild and work together to bring everyone up, as well as weed out anything that might threaten the stability of our raid and guild.

You’ll find most raiding guilds have something like this set up. Ours is probably more lenient then some, but it works for us. We have a pretty long app process so people who make it through generally are good seeds and mesh well with the way we do things, so disciplining raiders doesn’t come up very often.

So how about you? How does your guild handle your raider? Do you Handle them at all? How do you handle personal grievances among guildies/raiders?

Until next time, Happy Healing

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Image courtesy of Guardian.co.uk

13 Express Methods to Wipe Your Ulduar Raid

13 Express Methods to Wipe Your Ulduar Raid

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It’s been done. Your main tank is dead. Your healing corps is decimated. It seems as though your stealthers continue to be found and shredded. Plate armor is sundered and scattered across the battlefield. The clothwearers torn apart with nothing left aside from their robes.

It’s a wipe.

What’s the best course of action you can take to assist your raid?

Suiciding yourself and wiping along with them.

Don’t give me the rallying cries of “Mimiron will never take me alive!” either. You can’t solo a boss unless he’s within one or two spell casts of death. How many times have I witnessed a player single handedly declare victory against a raid boss? I can count that number on one hand.

So don’t be a hero unless you can actually do it. Here’s how you can make yourself useful when a wipe’s called. Ever wondered what the fastest way to die on each boss was in Ulduar?

Oh and a special note to healers. When a wipe is called, there is thing that you have to actually do that can help hasten the process.

Stop fracking healing!

Flame Leviathan

Wipes when: You’re down to 3 choppers, no tanks, and maybe a few demolishers. Unless the bucket of bolts is at a ridiculously low level, you’re done.

Methods: Jump out and close within melee range of the boss. If the Flame Vent doesn’t get you, the rockets will.

Ignis

Wipes when: Main tank is dead with no other alternatives or when a Construct gets pulled into the raid and gets stupidly detonated taking out the entire crew.

Methods: Jump into a scorch. Cast a spell before Flame Jets connects. Hug a Brittle construct before blowing it up.

Razorscale

Wipes when: No tanks are alive and that big honkin’ Titan guy does what Right Said Fred sings by doing more than a little turn on the catwalk. Yes, I’ve seen pickup raids demolished by that one trash mob. Also consider a bailout when an off tank isn’t able to tank quick enough and the debuffs continue to stack too high on the main tank.

Methods: Go die in a fire. Literally. The blue fire will do the trick. Give big honkin’ Titan guy a hug. If it’s phase 2, the plan is to try to pop a breath mint into Razor’s mouth by getting in front of him. I’m sure he’d appreciate some juicy fruit when you’re being blasted with his Flame Breath.

Deconstructor

Wipes when: Completely pounds the crap out of your main tank. Or when Joe Paladin forgets to run out of the raid with a light bomb. Also happens when Deconstructor wolfs down some grilled repair bot burgers. Oh yes, and if your raid forgot to eat their wheaties this morning and managed to close in on the enrage timer.

Methods: See that guy that’s glowing white? Give him a big hug. Let’s not forget the guy in black and purple either. Run to him! Tantrums, when they occur, will auto-slaughter the raid.

Iron Council

Wipes when: One of the tanks gets Falcon (Fusion) Punched. Raid eats a green rune and is too slow getting out of it. Anytime those Iron Council folks are basking in blues of glory. There’s a multitude of causational factors that could lead to a wipe.

Methods: Do everything I mentioned in the last paragraph. Oh, and hug the small Iron Dwarf. He’s the lonely one of the bunch. Gets frequently picked on all the time. When he’s doing that Overload thing, he’s just trying to unload his problems. It doesn’t hurt.

Much.

Kologarn

Wipes when: Eyebeam fail. Stone grip fail. Tank-falls-off-ledge fail. No one in melee range of Kologarn fail.

Methods: Just repeat everything above. Stand in beams or jump off the ledge or run far away from him.

Auriaya

Wipes when: Not enough players absorb a sonic screech. Alternatively, difficulty with the pull. If you can master the pull you can master the boss. But the pull is what gets to raids.

Methods: Just get eaten up by the various cats. Stand in the void zone.

Hodir

Wipes when: Frozen blows dominates your entire raid. Tank dies. Raid doesn’t know how to either keep moving or watch for camp fires.

Methods: Stop moving. Avoid the big snow drifts and get flash frozen. Stand under falling icicles.

Thorim

Wipes when: Either the arena team doesn’t hold out long enough or the gauntlet team is too slow. In phase 3, it happens because a taunt’s not quick enough.

Methods: During the second phase, if you’re gauntlet, do run into the line of fire. Do stand next to the guy with the fire shield icon above him. If you’re in the arena, make some friends. During the third phase, dive into the lightning streams.

Freya

Wipes when: Have you heard the phrase:

“Oh what the frack. Who killed the Stormlasher/Snaplasher/Water elemental before the others were down?”

Yeah. Happens to us. Too anxious on the trigger finger. AoEing detonators is also a very bad idea…

Methods: …But AoEing detonators leads to a speedy death. If it’s on ‘shrooms, look for the player who is flashing lightning and stand next to them. Lashers are a bit of a pain to die to however. Freya’s one of the worse bosses to wipe on because it can take a while for everyone to die.

Mimiron

Wipes when: I don’t even know where to start. Missing tanks? Nuked healers? Not enough DPS? It could be any number or combination.

Methods: Here’s a quick list.

  • Phase 1: Run into land mines
  • Phase 2: Get up close to the boss. Let the fires engulf you or have the entire raid stand in one direction and simply eat the arcane guns.
  • Phase 3: Run into any bots you see. Bomb bots are great for this.
  • Phase 4: Run into land mines.

General Vezax

Wipes when: Healers run out of juice with no Saronite vapors around. Lack of interrupts on Vezax. Tank faces a super saiyan General Vezax who dishes out 50000 damage. Yeah. Happened to us before too. Not pretty.

Methods: Stand in a Saronite vapos for more than 7 ticks. Hug Vezax without interrupting anything. Let him warm you up some.

Yogg-Saron

Wipes when: Anything bad that can happen will happen. Players become magically blind to the color green. It happens.

Method: Run into clouds and run into the green beams emanating from Yogg-Saron.

How Matt Almost Lost 22000 Gold

How Matt Almost Lost 22000 Gold

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I forgot I had this post sitting in my drafts. It was written a few weeks ago. Here it is now with an important message to guild masters everywhere.

It was a warm and breezy Tuesday. Raid invites had been sent out. It’s the grace period where players are busy wrapping up their affairs and getting prepped for the raid. I slammed down a Coke because I had a feeling it was going to be one of those nights. Groups were organized during the preparation period with players specifically assigned to their vehicles and their roles.

Quick work. Next!

After toasting Flame Leviathan, the pull was set up for Razorscale. A quick countdown ensued and the Dwarven expedition team began placing their Dwarven engineering skills at work charged with getting harpoon turrets up quickly.

This is where the fun happened.

A level 1 Gnome Rogue messaged me.

“hey, its maddawg. can i get a ginvite?”

“Standby. Doing Razor.”

“o, ok.”

A few minutes later, we wrecked him and started opening up on Ignis trash.

“you guys all done in there?”

“Yeah, Razor down. Hop on vent for a sec, need to ask you something.”

“sry cant. at a friends house right now.”

I thought nothing of it and wired out the invite.

Of course, when you give an inch…

“hey, can i get promoted to officer? need to organize some stuff for the bank.”

This was followed by one of the swiftest guild kicks in the history of guild kickingness.

The vault of Conquest would not be breached today! We had around 22000 gold. That amount is just in hard currency and in the main bank (Offshore guild bank accounts? I wouldn’t be that paranoid. Right?) Including various raiding materials such as flasks, enchants, gems, and other things, the amount would have been colossal. It would have been enough to request a bailout anyway.

So what gave it away?

In one of the most failed social engineering tactics of this century, the Maddawg impersonator made several mistakes. More importantly, I had various defenses in place to protect against such infiltration.

Bad target

He didn’t exactly pick the most ideal target. I am perhaps the most paranoid guild master on the planet. That would be a result of Criminology program I’m enrolled in.

Restricted bank access

Freshly invited players do not get access to the bank. They can see everything but they can’t withdraw out of it. No cash, no flasks, and not even a single grey item can be pulled out without an officer signing off on it.

Authentication fail

The first warning sign I received was when he said he was unable to get on vent. Yeah sure there’s a multitude of reasons for that. Policy is still policy. I get instantly suspicious if I don’t hear a player asking for an invite.

Officer alt policy

No alts of any of the leadership including myself are promoted past a social rank for any reason. They are all aware of this and they agreed to it.

What was even funnier was just minutes ago Maddawg had said he was going to head out and to not expect to see him on for the rest of the evening. He wasn’t able to raid that night.

Image courtesy of woodsy

Announcing Magecraft.org!

For the Mages, you guys have a new place to call home.

Look no further than Magecraft.

Wanted to drop by with a quick note from a guildie. He’s hard at work building a community with a few other Mages and could use a community hand. I know the chances of Mages reading this blog are slim to none, but perhaps you can direct your Mage guildies be they varsity or new to this young and fledgling discussion board.

This is from Dan (one of the brains behind it) himself:

For the last couple of years playing WoW as a Mage their has always been something that has been missing from the community. The gap I felt was due in large part because their really isn’t much support for new Mages, as well as a place for discussion for ‘veterans’.

The mage forums are okay at best, most of the threads end in a ridiculous flame war over stupid issues.  I’m attempting to remedy those problems by releasing a site similar to MainTankadin, Plus Heal and shadowpriest.com.

MageCraft is currently being worked on, feel free to drop by, ask questions, contribute, or just chat about recent achievements with your Mage.

Since I don’t have a Mage of my own nor do I have any desire for one, I may not be able to contribute as much as I’d like. But I do plan on lurking and sneaking around like any Dwarf Priest would.

Anyway, do register and do ask questions. Dan’s a truly stellar Mage (along with the other Mages in Conquest). One of the top Arcanists I’ve had the pleasure of saving from various falling objects of black circles on the ground since he never makes me regret it.

Healing Priest Guide: Part 1 – Talents

Healing Priest Guide: Part 1 – Talents

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In 3.1, PvE Priests are in a good place. We have two distinct and raid-viable healing specs, and enough good places to put our talents that you can make arguments for several “cookie-cutter” builds.

When I first started rooting around in the WoW-blogosphere, I came upon a post over at Dwarfpriest that laid out each talent and what it did – and it helped me understand so much about my class mechanics that I thought I’d borrow a page from her grimoire and go over the trees as they stand now. (However, while she included our shadowy brethren, I won’t. Sorry guys, it’s not that I don’t love your replenishment you, it’s just that I’m not going to claim to be knowledgeable about that strange tree of yours.)

After introducing each talent, I’ll spend some time showing how to actually make a build – by walking you through mine, as well as other examples.

Discipline

A quick note on our beloved Disc tree: If you Google Priest Specs, you’ll likely find a lot of people talking about how Priests have “14 mandatory talent points.” (Sometimes they say 13.) What they really mean is that there are some talents in the Disc tree that are so universally outstanding that every Priest should take advantage of them – PvE, PvP, Holy, Disc, or Shadow. These talents are Twin Disciplines, Improved Inner Fire, and Meditation.  It takes 10 points in Discipline to get to Meditation and 3 to max it out. The 14th point is Inner Focus, which I agree should be considered mandatory. You can fool around a little in the 2nd tier with Improved Fort, Martyrdom, and Silent Resolve, but skipping those others will handicap any spec you try to put together.

Tier 1:

Unbreakable-Will Unbreakable Will: Reduces the duration of Stun, Fear, and Silence effects done to you by %6 per rank

Outstanding for PvP, but no longer the premiere choice for the first tier of a PvE build.

Twin-Disciplines Twin Disciplines: Increases the damage and healing done by your instant spells by 5% per rank.

This is your bread and butter for any PvE build. Renew, Circle of Healing, Prayer of Mending, Desperate Prayer, Holy Nova, PW:Shield, SW:Pain, SW:Death, Devouring Plague, Flash Heal and Smite (when made instant by Surge of Light), and the Glyph effects for both PW:Shield and Dispel Magic all benefit from this. You could make a strong argument for this in PvP as well.

Tier 2:

Silent-ResolveSilent Resolve: Reduces the threat generated by your Holy and Discipline Spells by 7% per rank (capped at 20%) and reduces the chance your helpful spells and damage over time effects will be dispelled by 10% per rank.

For PvE, the threat reduction can be helpful when running 5-mans with pugs, or on fights like Auriaya or Ignis where there’s a lot of raid healing and random adds popping up. For PvP, this keeps your DoTs ticking, and your Renews and PW:Shields where they belong.

Improved-Inner-Fire Improved Inner Fire: Increases the effect of your Inner Fire spell by 15% per rank, and increases the total number of charges by 4 per rank.

This will increase the Spell Power gained from 120 to 174, and the charges from 20 to 32. For PvP or PvE, you want this talent.

Improved-PWFort Improved Power Word: Fortitude: Increases the effect of you PW:Fort and Prayer of Fortitude spells by 15% per rank and increases your total stamina by 2% per rank.

As long as one Priest in the raid has this talent, the others could technically do without it, but you’ve got to put two points into something in this tier to get to the next level. For PvE, it should either be Silent Resolve or this. For PvP, Martyrdom would probably be a better choice; the 4% total gain to personal stamina is nice in PvP, but it’s not going to make or break you.

MartyrdomMartyrdom: Gives you a 50% chance per rank to gain the Focused Casting effect that lasts for 6 seconds after being the victim of a melee or ranged critical strike. The Focused Casting effect reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting spells and decreases the duration of Interrupt effects by 10% per rank.

Brilliant for PvP (and in my opinion, more useful than Imp:Fort), but next-to-useless for PvE.

Tier 3:

MeditationMeditation: Allows ~17% per rank (50% at max) of your mana regeneration to continue while casting.

Disc, Holy, PvE, PvP, Shadow…. Take this talent, and max it out.

Inner-FocusInner Focus: When activated, reduces the mana cost of your next spell by 100%, and increases its critical effect chance by 25% if it is capable of a critical effect.

Priests argue whether this one is actually mandatory. To an extent, it’s a function of playstyle – I always use this for either Prayer of Healing or Divine Hymn since they are the most expensive. Because of that, I use this every time it’s off cooldown. The added crit also means an almost guaranteed Surge of Light and Serendipity proc. It’s also a nice last-ditch effort when you’ve run out of mana. Really, I just can’t figure out where you’d get more benefit from spending a single point.

Improved-PWShieldImproved Power Word: Shield:
Increases the damage absorbed by your PW:Shield by 5% per rank.

Brilliant for PvE or PvP disc builds. You also must max this out to access Soul Warding.

Tier 4:

AbsolutionAbsolution: Reduces the mana cost of your Dispel Magic, cure Disease, Abolish Disease, and Mass Dispel spells by 5% per rank.

For PvE-Disc, this can save you a TON of mana over the course of a fight like Hodir or Yogg-Saron. For PvP, don’t leave home without this – remember that you’re not only dispelling and curing your teammates, but offensively dispelling your opponents.

Mental-AgilityMental Agility:Reduces the mana cost of your instant cast spells by ~3% per rank. (Caps at 10%)

If you’re this deep in the Disc tree, you’re not going to be getting Surge of Light procs, but this still impacts Renew, Prayer of Mending, Desperate Prayer (if you took it), Holy Nova, PW:Shield, SW:Pain, SW:Death, Devouring Plague,and the Glyph effects for both PW:Shield and Dispel Magic. Not a bad place to put points to get you to the next tier.

Improved-Mana-BurnImproved Mana Burn: Reduces
the casting time of your Mana Burn spell by .5 seconds per rank.

Utterly useless for PvE. Absolutely essential for PvP.

Tier 5:

Reflective-ShieldReflective Shield:  Causes 22% or 45% of the damage your absorb with PW:Shield to reflect back at the attacker. This damage causes no threat.

Originally designed to work no matter who you had shielded, the code proved too complex. For now, this only works when the shield is on you. Pro for PvP, this has basically zero application in PvE.

Mental-StrengthMental Strength: Increases your total Intellect by 3% per rank

I think if this were lower in the Disc tree, it would become another “mandatory” talent. For raiding, Int. scales your replenishment and increases your crit. The total mana regen formula is also largely dependent on int. If that wasn’t enough, you also have to max this out to access Power Infusion.

Soul-WardingSoul Warding: Reduces the cooldown of your Power Word:Shield ability by 4 seconds, and reduces the mana cost of PW:Shield by 15%.

If you’re this deep into Disc, you already know that Shield is one of your most-cast spells. This removes the cooldown (why does it have that, anyway?), and makes it cheaper. You’ll get a lot of mileage out of this one point, especially PvE-ers with the 4-piece Tier 8 bonus. (+250 Spell Power after casting PW:S.) You have to max out Improved PW:S to take this.

Tier 6:

Focused-PowerFocused Power: Increases damage and healing done by your spells by 2% per rank. In addition, your Mass Dispel cast time is reduced by .5 seconds per rank.

PvE-ers will want the increase to spell power, and appreciate the cast-reduction on fights where Mass-dispel is needed. PvP-ers will want both effects. Highly Recommended.

Enlightenment Enlightenment: Increases your total Spirit and Spell Haste by 2% per rank.

Spirit will increase your mana return, and Spell Haste is becoming more and more important. You could argue about this talent, but it’s a very solid choice for PvE or PvP.

Tier 7:

Focused-WillFocused Will: At max rank, this increases your spell critical effect chance by 3%, and after taking a critical hit you gain the Focused Will effect, reducing all damage taken by 4% and increasing healing effects on you by 5%. Stacks up to 3 times, lasts 8 seconds.

In PvE, you can make a good argument for 3% crit. In PvP, this will increase your survivability tremendously. An interesting detail is that even when you’re wearing resilience gear, this talent will work if you WOULD have been crit, but a crit is prevented by your gear. Nice.

Power-InfusionPower Infusion: Infuses the target with power, increasing spell casting speed by 20% and reducing the mana cost of all spells by 20%. Lasts 15 sec.

This is one of the defining spells of a Discipline spec. Requires 5 points in Mental Strength. You can cast this on yourself, or make best-buddy friends with a mage.

Improved-Flash-HealImproved Flash Heal: Reduces the mana cost of your Flash Heal by 5% per rank, and increases the critical effect chance of your Flash Heal by 3% per rank (10% at max) on targets below 50% health.

 You’ll be Flash Healing whenever penance is on cooldown – even if you didn’t need these 3 points to get to the next tier, this talent would be a major part of the mana-efficiency that makes Discipline such a strong spec.

Tier 8:

Renewed-HopeRenewed Hope: Increases the critical effect chance of your Flash Heal, Greater Heal, and Penance (Heal) spells by 4% on targets afflicted by the Weakened Soul effect, and you have a 100% chance to reduce all damage taken by 3% for 20 seconds to all friendly party and raid targets when you cast PW:Shield.

So, when you shield someone, your major heals heal for more on them. You also reduce the total amount of damage they take, period, in addition to what is absorbed by the shield itself. This talent is amazing for either PvE or PvP.

RaptureRapture: At max rank, when your PW:S is completely absorbed or dispelled, you are instantly energized with 2.5% of your total mana, and you have a 100% chance to energize your shielded target with 2% total mana, 8 rage, 16 energy, or 32 runic power. This effect can only occur once every 12 seconds.

Getting mana back is a Very Good Thing, whether you’re killing bosses or player-opponents. Helping your team or raidmates have more resources is also a Very Good Thing. This talent is awesome for PvE, and due to the Dispel mechanic, equally so for PvP. Maybe more so.

Aspiration Aspiration: Reduces the cooldown of your Inner Focus, Power Infusion, Pain Suppression and Penance spells by 10% per rank.

As Disc, these are the spells that more or less make your spec. Allowing you to cast them more will allow you to do your job without always being on cooldown. PvE or PvP, you want this.

Tier 9:

Divine-Aegis Divine Aegis: Critical heals create a protective shield on the target, absorbing 10% per rank of the amount healed. Lasts 12 sec.

This provides an additional shield to Power Word:Shield, that scales with your Spell Power. As Disc, providing preemptive healing is one of your major benefits, especially as you venture further into single-target healing. A must-have for PvE, and a solid choice for PvP.

Pain-Suppression Pain Suppression: Instantly reduces a friendly target’s threat by 5%, reduces all damage taken by 40% and increases resistance to Dispel mechanics by 65% for 8 sec.

In PvE, 5% threat shouldn’t break a tank in a raid scenario – this is an excellent extra cooldown for those fights where the boss hits extra hard on a regular basis. (Think Mimiron Phase 1, or General Vezax). For PvP, the life you save could be your own, and it’ll even help you hang onto your PW:S and Renew.

Grace Grace: Your Flash heal, Greater Heal, and Penance spells have a 50% chance, per rank, to bless the target with Grace, increasing all healing received from you by 3%. This effect will stack up to 3 times. Effect lasts 15 seconds. Grace can only be active on one target at a time.

Maxed out, this gives you a 100% chance to increase your healing on one target by 3%, stacking up to 9%, for 15 seconds. I think you can manage to throw a Flash Heal or Penance every 15 seconds on your MT. Don’t skip this for PvE. For PvP, you’ll see less benefit from this, but in 2v2 or situations where one of your teammates is being focused, it can help a lot.

Tiers 10 & 11:

Borrowed-Time Borrowed Time: Grants 5% per rank spell haste for your next spell after casting Power Word: Shield, and increases the amount absorbed by your Power Word: Shield equal to 8%, per rank, of your spell power.

As if you needed another reason to cast PW:Shield. Maxing out at 25% spell haste after casting a Shield, and an additional 40% of your spell power added to the power of your Shield means more mitigation for raid damage or single-targets, and faster heals from you. A Disc on raid duty will use this for Prayer of Healing. On the Tank, it will help you drop faster Greater Heals (or anything else.) For PvP, this also synergizes well with Reflective Shield, dealing more damage to your attacker.

Pennance Penance: Launches a volley of holy light at the target, causing 375 Holy damage to an enemy, or 1484 to 1676 healing to an ally instantly and every second for 2 seconds.

Penance is a little funky, because of its dual nature. It ticks three times: Immediately, 1 second later, and 1 more second later. Each tick has the chance to crit (and proc Inspiration, Divine Aegis.) Talented, this 10 second cooldown is 8 seconds. You can glyph it down to 6.4, but remember: it has a 2 second channel time – so 2 of those 6 seconds don’t matter anyway. The damage range is 30 yards, the heal is 40. It’ll heal for something like 8-12k, and damage for 2-4k at lvl 80. This spell is AWESOME.

holy

A note on the Holy tree: as a rule of thumb, and especially in 25-man raid content, Discipline Priests will specialize in single-target (tank) healing, and Holy Priests in multi-target (raid) healing. So, Holy Priests will spend the mandatory 14 points in Disc, and Disc Priests will put enough points into Holy to get Inspiration, because of its huge benefits to tank healing. Discipline priests who don’t do this will find themselves at a serious disadvantage when healing tanks. I’m also operating under the assumption that serious PvPers will be spec’ing Disc, since it’s amazing right now, and the PvP applicable talents in the bottom of Holy are largely outshone by their Disc counter-parts. I’ll still point them out when they come up, however.

Tier 1:

Healing-FocusHealing Focus: Reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting any healing spell by 35% per rank.

There’s some debate over how effective this talent is, compared to your other options in the holy tree. Basically, the only top-end fight where spell pushback is bad enough to kill you is Mimiron. If you find that you cannot survive this fight due to blasts, by all means take this talent – it, and a Paladin with improved concentration aura, will help your survivability immensely. For all other PvE encounters, there are better places to put the points. For PvP, this just might save your life, or your teammates – take it!

Improved-Renew Improved Renew: Increases the amount healed by your Renew spell by 5% per rank.

Synergizes exceptionally well with Empowered Renew, for those going deep Holy. For Disc builds working towards Inspiration, this is also an excellent choice, since Renew benefits from Mental Agility and Twin Disciplines. It won’t give you the full 5 points you need to get to Tier 2 talents, though. For PvP, I find it helpful to have a bigger spell that’s castable while mobile – and with all the help the Disc tree offers to keep your spells from being dispelled, there’s a high chance it will last long enough to do quite a bit of good.

Holy-Specialization Holy Specialization: Increases the critical effect chance of your Holy spells by 1% per rank.

Another good choice for Disc Priests working toward Inspiration, this is also worth maxing out as you work towards gear caps. Personally, I find that 25-30% Holy Crit (when fully raid buffed) provides a guaranteed Surge of Light proc off either Circle of Healing (especially when glyphed) or Prayer of Healing (especially with 2-piece T8 and/or Inner Focus activated). Once you’ve reached that soft cap, feel free to reduce the points here to take either Healing Focus or max something out further down the tree. For PvP, I personally take 2/2 Healing Focus and 3/3 Improved Renew to get to the next tier – there are talents that will provide more reliability and stamina that are more worth the points.

Tier 2:

Spell-Warding Spell Warding: Reduces all spell damage taken by 2% per rank.

I’ve seen suggestions that Spell Warding also helps on Mimiron, and other AoE-heavy fights in Ulduar. My opinion is that for 5 talent points I can either increase my PW:Shield to protect me from ALL damage, or increase my healing to keep me and the other people that I’m healing (can’t forget about them!) up through the damage. For PvP, however, this can save you against burst damage attacks from pesky mages, and the ongoing drain from warlocks.

Divine-Fury Divine Fury: Reduces the casting time of your Smite, Holy Fire, Heal, and Greater Heal by .1 seconds per rank.

If you find yourself grinding solo a lot, pick this up. If you find yourself using Greater Heal a lot (and check a combat log – don’t THINK you’re using it a lot, know.), pick this up. If you 2v2 or maybe 3v3 and need to be able to dps a little, pick this up. If you need points to get to 3rd tier talents, pick this up. If you need to find talents to put into something you KNOW will be more useful, do that. Most Disc Priests rely on Penance, Shield, and Flash Heal. Most Holy Priests rely on Flash Heal, Renew, and Circle of Healing. (not to mention Prayer of Healing….) This talent affects NONE of those, so you can safely rob points from it without getting anyone killed. You do need it maxed out to access Searing Light, so Holy-DPS builds will want it. (LoL-smite!!)

Tier 3:

Desperate-Prayer Desperate Prayer: Instantly heals you for 263-325. 2 min cooldown.

At lvl 80, this hits me for around 5-6k, and can crit. This point is all about personal playstyle. I have a bad habit of staying too long to get off just.one.more.heal. This helps keep me alive when I finally run away. If you find yourself not having any problems staying alive, feel free to skip it. For PvP, anything insta-cast that helps you is a good idea, so make sure you have this.

Blessed-Recovery Blessed Recovery: After being struck by a melee or ranged critical hit, Blessed Recovery heals you for 5% per rank of the damage taken over 6 seconds. Additional critical hits taken during the effect increase the healing received.

This talent is as mandatory for PvP as it is useless for PvE.

Inspiration Inspiration: Increases your target’s armor by 8% per rank (25% max) for 15 seconds after getting a critical effect from your Flash Heal, Heal, Greater Heal, Binding Heal, Penance, Prayer of Healing, or Circle of Healing.

Anyone planning to heal a tank is short-changing themselves if they don’t take this talent. (That should be everyone, even dedicated raid-healers. It proc’s off all your AoE heals, too.) For PvP, any increase in armor is a good thing when you’re wearing a dress.

Tier 4:

Holy-Reach Holy Reach: Increases the range of your Smite and Holy Fire spells and the radius of your Prayer of Healing, Holy Nova, Divine Hymn, and Circle of Healing spells by 10% per rank.

Holy Dpsers will want this for sure. For PvE healers, the current debate is whether 1 point is sufficient – I find that on AoE heavy, yet very spread out, fights like Deconstructer and Hodir, I appreciate any extra range I can get. Disc Priests can feel free to ignore this – If you’re going this far into Holy it’s for the next talent. PvPers will need to check their personal style – but most arenas are so mobile and small, that I doubt you’ll see much benefit.

Improved-Healing Improved Healing: Reduces the mana cost of your Lesser Heal, Heal, Greater Heal, Divine Hymn, and Penance spells by 5% per rank.

Very few Disc Priests will go this far into Holy, including PvPers. Personally, I DO take this talent in my Disc spec, (I steal 1 point from Rapture to do it), since it’s VERY SPECIFIC for General Vezax, and Rapture benefits on that fight are almost negligible. Holy Priests will likely need at least one point here to get to the next tier, but if you’ve looked at your combat log, and found that you don’t cast Greater Heal enough to justify these points, feel free to move them from this into something else.

Searing-Light Searing Light: Increases the damage of your Smite, Holy Fire, Holy Nova, and Penance spells by 5% per rank.

This requires 5 points in Divine Fury to unlock. PvE healers will find it utterly useless. HolyDPSers will love it. Disc PvP builds will have a hard time figuring out which points to steal from survivability viable talents to put into it.

Tier 5:

Healing-Prayers Healing Prayers: Reduces the mana cost of your Prayer of Healing and Prayer of Mending spells by 10% per rank.

With all the AoE damage in Ulduar, the T8 2-piece bonus (adds 10% crit chance to Prayer of Healing), the T7 2-piece bonus (adds an extra bounce to Prayer of Mending), and the fact that Prayer of Healing is now castable on ANY party in your raid…. you’d be mad not to max this out, because you will be spamming these spells.

Spirit-of-Redemption Spirit of Redemption: Increases total Spirit by 5% and, upon death, the Priest becomes the Spirit of Redemption for 15 seconds. The Spirit of Redemption cannot move, attack, be attacked, or targeted by any spells or effects. While in this form, the Priest can cast any healing spell free of cost. When the effect ends, the Priest dies.

This is your angel-form, and the beacon telling the raid that you have died. Again. I’ve been told that this is helpful after you die in PvP, but my opinion is that if you went Disc PVP instead of Holy PVP you’d probably still be alive. The reason all Holy Priests take this talent is for the 5% spirit. Increases your regen, and if you take Spiritual Guidance (why wouldn’t you?), your Spell Power.  You also have to take this if you want Lightwell.

Spiritual-Guidance Spiritual Guidance: Increases spell power by 5% per rank of your total Spirit.

You’re a Priest, so the vast majority of your gear will have a lot of Spirit. It’s likely that all of your blue sockets have either Spirit or Int/Spirit gems. You’ll get a lot of spell power out of this.

Tier 6:

Surge-of-Light Surge of Light: Your spell criticals have a 25% chance per rank to cause your next Smite or Flash Heal spell to be instant cast, cost no mana, but be incapable of a critical hit. This effect lasts 10 seconds.

Holy DPSers will like this one, too. Healers will find the mobility and mana-free benefits to Flash Heal (also great for stacking Serendipity back up after Prayer of Healing, since ProH will likely give you a proc) indispensable. The debate here is whether 2 points are required. Please note that this does not increase your chance TO CRIT, but rather for your crits to CAUSE A PROC. I keep 2 points in, because I like being able to count on this after a large amount of raid damage, and I find a noticeable reduction with only 1 point.

Spiritual-Healing Spiritual Healing: Increases the amount healed by your healing spells by 2% per rank.

Odd in that it increases healing but not damage, this should be considered mandatory for any Holy build.

Tier 7:

Holy-Concentration Holy Concentration: Your mana regeneration from Spirit is increased by ~16% per rank (50% max) for 8 seconds after you critically heal with Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Binding Heal, or Renew.

This talent is a large source of mana regen for any Holy Build. Don’t skip it.

Lightwell Lightwell: Creates a Holy Lightwell. Members of your raid or party can click the Lightwell to restore 4620 health over 6 seconds. Attacks done to you equal to 30% of your total health will cancel the effect. Lightwell lasts 3 minutes or 10 charges.

Most Priests who like this spell REALLY like it, and the rest of us call it LoLwell. If you can train your raid to use it properly, it can be very useful. You must take Spirit of Redemption to unlock it.

Blessed-Resiliance Blessed Resilience: Increases the effectiveness of your healing spells by 1% per rank, and critical hits made against you have a 20% chance, per rank, to prevent you from being critically hit again for 6 sec.

For Priests who insist on PvPing Holy, this is the entire reason you’re this deep in the tree. It is an amazing talent. The question is whether it’s more amazing than everything you give up in the Disc tree to get here, and I don’t think it is. The change to increase the effectiveness of your healing spells DOES add up in PvE, however, and if you’re soft-capped on crit, but don’t Greater Heal much, those points you robbed from Divine Fury and Improved Healing will stretch to this. HOWEVER, the amazing Sindaga did some great math over on the Elitist Jerks forums that suggests you’ll want to max out Test of Faith first. Ghostcrawler, if you’re reading this, I think this talent should be moved much further down in the tree – around where Divine Fury is. (actually, GC, if you’re reading this just make Greater Heal baseline 2.5 seconds and take Divine Fury out all together. Also, I’ll be asking for your autograph at Blizzcon!!)

Tier 8:

Body-and-SoulBody and Soul: When you cast Power Word:Shield, you increase the target’s movement speed by 30% per rank for 4 seconds, and you have a 50% chance, per rank, when you cast Abolish Disease on yourself to also cleanse 1 poison effect in addition to diseases.

Another very solid PvP talent, much too far down in the Holy Tree to do much good. (and since it would synergize so well with several talents in the Disc tree, I really do wonder why it’s located here at all…. GC?) However, aside from the situational use of the self-cleanse for poison, there are better places to spend the points for a PvE healing build.

Empowered-Healing Empowered Healing: Your Greater Heal spell gains an additional 8% per rank and your Flash Heal and Binding Heal gain an additional 4% per rank of your bonus healing effects.

Anything that increases your Flash Heal is huge at this point. Binding Heal (especially) and Greater Heal are just a bonus.

Serendipity Serendipity: When you heal with Binding Heal or Flash Heal, the cast time of your next Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing spell is reduced by 4% per rank. Stacks up to 3 times. Lasts 20 seconds.

With 3 stacks, this reduces the casting time of your Prayer of Healing by over a third. (36%) Mine are about 1.7 seconds, and I have less than 450 haste. While no longer glitched to allow 2 ProH casts, it’s still a huge benefit in fights like Freya and Deconstructor that involve predictable raid damage. With Surge of Light, it’s typical that your next Flash Heal will be instant to aid in re-stacking this. Do not skip this talent.

Tier 9:

Empowered-Renew Empowered Renew: Your Renew spell gains an additional 5% per rank of your bonus healing effects, and your Renew will instantly heal the target for 10% per rank of the total periodic effect.

In addition to adding more to an instant cast spell without a cooldown (great for fights where you’re running a lot – Hodir and Thorim, anyone?) it gives Renew a front-end instant heal like a Druid’s Rejuvenation. With Circle of Healing on a 6-second CD, this gives you a great option for a single player who needs a heal NOW. For you Holy PvPers, this is another heal that can’t be kicked. If you’re in this far anyway, take it along with Circle of Healing.

Circle-of-Healing Circle of Healing: Heals up to 5 friendly party or raid members within 15 yards of the target for 958 to 1058. 6 second cooldown.

The spell that changed the face of Holy Priesting. Still a powerhouse, even without being spamable – the range is increased by Holy Reach, the healing output increased by Twin Disciplines and Divine Providence, and it will nearly always proc a Surge of Light, which will then help you stack Serendipity.

Test-of-Faith Test of Faith: Increases healing by 4% per rank on friendly targets at or below 50% health.

This talent is an extension of the use effect of the Crystal Spire of Karabor. Maxed out, and combined with 2 points in Blessed Resilience, it makes for some interesting effects on Flash Heal and Binding heal – at the expense of Greater Heal. If you don’t have all 5 points to spare, you’re better off taking the crit from Holy Specialization, as this is situationally applicable. Unless you’re PvPing, in which case you already have 3 points in Blessed Resilience, which makes this a no-brainer.

Tiers 10 & 11:

Divine-Providence Divine Providence: Increases the amount healed by Circle of Healing, Binding Heal, Holy Nova, Prayer of Healing, Divine Hymn, and Prayer of Mending by 4% per rank, and reduces the cooldown of your Prayer of Mending by 8% per rank.

Circle of Healing, Binding Heal, Prayer of Healing, and Prayer of Mending are all in heavy rotation in Ulduar, and gain tremendous benefit from this talent. Max it out.

Guardian-Spirit Guardian Spirit: Calls upon a guardian spirit to watch over the friendly target. The spirit increases the healing received by the target by 40%, and also prevents the target from dying by sacrificing itself. This sacrifice terminates the effect, but heals the target of 50% of their maximum health. Lasts 10 seconds. 3 minute cooldown.

A talent worthy of capping a tree – this is amazing. You can glyph it to reduce the cooldown to 1 minute if the target doesn’t actually die, which would change it from an emergency button to a very frequently used part of your overall healing rotation. I’ve found that, due to the 40% increase to healing (from ALL healers, not just you), very often, the target doesn’t trigger the sacrifice. I’ve got mine macro’d to whisper the target that it’s on them, so that tanks know not to blow additional cooldowns. (and mages feel loved.)

Next Post: Building your spec

Luv,
Wyn

This is What Panic Looks Like

This is What Panic Looks Like

no-frames

Hands up! Who can tell me what fundamentally important aspect of a UI is missing from this screenshot?

Hint: Compare it with the images from this post.

The Story

We initialized a pull on Freya and on the first wave of Detonators, my client crashed.

“I’m offline!”, I grunted.

Closed the WoW client and restarted it again. Managed to load back in and what did I see? No raid frames. Some of the officers utilize the oRA2 keyword invite option. I whispered the appropriate word and was told I couldn’t be invited due to combat. Duh, I forgot. My raid frames still hadn’t shown up. I panicked and did the only logical thing that made sense.

I activated friendly name plates.

Normally I have name plates disabled. I even unbound my hostile name plates so I could use that key for something else. Thank goodness I didn’t unbind name plates. It wasn’t exactly the ideal set up but the encounter became even more like whack a mole.

Except this is advanced whack a mole.

Where the moles will only appear within 15 yards.

And they’re moving all around.

So just a quick lesson. If your client is unable to load raid frames for whatever reason, name plates is the plan B followed by a quick prayer.

My Definition of a Good Priest Redux

My Definition of a Good Priest Redux

Focus

Almost two years ago, I wrote a post about the definition of a good Priest. It was one of the questions posed by Ego back then (to which I’ve lost the original link to).

The Priest class has evolved over the past two years. We’ve gained some and we’ve lost some. Has my stance on the subject changed?

Overall Awareness: This has not changed much. If anything, the amount of information needed to make the right choice at the right time has gone down slightly. With the removal of downranking, gauging the health of a player and then responding with the appropriate rank is no longer necessary. We’re still watching out for fires and health bars. I daresay the number one killer of Priests everywhere is getting out of dangerous stuff too slowly or not at all. We’ve moved from Nightbane’s fires to Sartharion’s Flame Walls to Kel’Thuzad’s Void Zones to Mimiron’s Rocket Strikes.

Perseverance: The bosses are different. The spells and tools have become increasingly diverse. I don’t like giving up. No one likes to lose. I may not express it, but I do chase after that “high” I get after taking down a boss. It’s a great feeling knowing that you played a key role. Good Priests know when to take risks to keep tanks alive. Most fights have one or two tanks that are involved with doing something. When the tanks are down, the game is over.

Clairvoyance: Can you predict incoming damage before it lands? Can you react to the little DBM mark that gets placed on a player which signifies the ensuing Shadow Crash? When Flash Freeze hits, do you know who is going to make it and who isn’t going to make it? These are the little things that separate great healers from okay healers. Your reaction time isn’t going to increase. But spotting these small details sooner will help you make your decisions quicker. One DoT tick is enough to kill a player. How many last second saves have you made on players? Ever received slaps on the back after a kill when a raid member thought they were done for only to be saved from the jaws of death with a last second shield, or instant heal to pull them out from the red health bar?

Preparation: One thing I am glad that has changed is the amount of preparation. I used to bring 20-40 potions every raid night. Brilliant Mana Oil was in my inventory. Flasks were supplied with Illidari Marks or were farmed for on my Elemental Shaman. The reduction of chain potting has dropped potion consumption drastically. I go through about one to two injectors a month instead of per raid. I lock myself in Howling Fjord and shoot enough fish to keep myself stockpiled (MP5 fish).

Openness: Always keep an open mind. Don’t shut down everything you hear. Feedback is feedback. It’s up to you to discern between valuable and useless. But outright rejection should come after you examine it. What are other people saying about you? Does it have merit? What information is missing from their perspective? What do they see when they watch you? I can’t emphasize critical thinking enough.

All in all, it seems my stance hasn’t changed much over the past two years. It’s been refined a little by the different class changes and from my forays into the different raids. When I wrote the original post, I had just finished wrapping up Gruul’s and Mag’s. Opening into SSC started a month after that post. Man how that time flies by, eh?

How about your class? Has your definition of a good <class> changed?

It Came From the PuG!

It Came From the PuG!

Definition : PuG

Pickup Group; used commonly in WoW and other MMORPGs. Basically means a group that isn’t formed by people you know; instead, it’s formed up of random, possible noobs that can completely wreck whatever experience you are getting the group for.

Ex. “I was in a pug with Oversoul and that F#$*& ninjaed T7.5 glove what a dick !”

We’ve all had those moments where we’re really bored, or we have an alt that we want to run through an instance that that rest of the guild is done with or just isn’t in the mood to run. Others of us are professionals at this and stick exclusively to doing raids this way. The item I’m talking about is the PuG. or Pick Up Group. This is a random assortment of players taken from either Looking For Group or sometimes trade chat. The power of a PuG is quite amazing honestly. You’re taking players that most likely have never met, never played together before and you are taking them in one direction together.PuGs also have some amazing stories attached to them. They are terrible, awesome and often times hilarious.

Personally I’ll admit I’m a glutton for punishment. I love PuGs because they give me a certain amount of freedom I don’t have when we’re running a raid or when it’s an all guildies group. I can do and try zany and weird things I couldn’t otherwise get away with  and see if they work. I’ve had amazing PuGs and I’ve had ones so terrible you can’t help but laugh hysterically

Let me share a couple gems from my recent PuG experience

I often miss my guilds 10 man runs on Lodur due to real life popping up. Sometimes late night I’ll log in and park myself in Dalaran, grab a beer and sit around trade chat waiting for a Uld / VoA  10 group to need a healer. I dutifully send my tell and when they ask my gear level get to gleefully tell them “working on rounding out my T8.5″. Needless to say it is not long before the invite comes in.

A little over a week ago I found myself looking for an Emalon 10 group. I hadn’t killed him that week and badges with a chance at free pvp / pve loot is always welcomed. I get in the group and find my way down to the vault as the group is being filled up. They were looking for a second healer when someone noticed my name.

“wait… Lodur… Lodur from world of matticus Lodur? Guys stop looking for another healer just let this guy solo heal it!”

Obviously he was just yanking around and we all had a good laugh at that and found a nice restoration Druid to come along with us. The group went really well despite a couple wipes and things came together after everyone figured out where to stand. We had a warlock that kept cracking jokes about going healing spec and helping out. It was a good PuG, we all had a good time and a couple upgrades were found for members of the group. Everyone was even tempered and were having a blast making crude comments and bashing a few mobs in the face.

Before that on a late night for me a guildie asked if I wanted to come heal Iron Council for a PuG Uld10. I said sure and hopped a bird. Got there and got in, popped a couple elixirs and got ready for the pull. There was a green Resto Shaman and a paladin healing with me. This time I did step up and organized who was healing who and doing what and we began. About 45 seconds into the pull a tank goes down. I’m laughing because I immediately get 4 tells saying “sorry we’re normally better then this”  we dust ourselves off and go back in and at it. The druid tank was making all sorts of bad jokes in between and even though we never downed IC, it was fun and I made a couple new friends. I also helped a new resto shaman out with ideas and tips to help him become competitive for raids.

A little time before that I was on my Death Knight and I got a tell asking if I was DPS or Tanking spec. I replied with “both” and I got an invite right off. The group was for a Naxx 10 run so I figured why the hell not I’ll go along with it. 3 DKs, 1 Boomkin trying to heal, one Holy Priest and one Resto Druid with a couple hunters and rogues. We make our way in and do pretty good. The group had already cleared most of the wings and only had military and then Saph and Kel. 4 Horsemen took a while to get but we eventually did it, but that’s when things went south. We get to Saphiron and the guy tanking it starts explaining the fight… but he’s doing it wrong. I pipe up and correct him on some of the things. (like the fact you DO NOT want to stand behind big angry skeletal dragon…). He immediately gets pissy and throws a bit of a tantrum. Five minutes later he calms down and we do the pull… only to have him turn her towards the raid. Two dead healers later we wipe. Not only did this happen once, but two more times after. I asked him nicely to turn the dragon away but he kept doing it. So, I hop into my tank gear, switch to frost presence and sit where the dragon should be facing. I see the dragon start to turn, and I taunt keeping it where it should be. He taunts to get it to face him, I taunt back. Eventually I get kicked from the group and get a nasty tell. I personally thought it was hilarious.

Lately though I haven’t had to pug much. I’ve been spending more time doing guild only runs and even on my new DK over on Icecrown, Rhyane, Nytesong, Ezrii and the rest of the Black Powder Foundry crew make sure I don’t have to PuG. (thanks again guys!) But truth be told I feel the itch again. I think I might have to find my way to a couple late night PuGs to get my fix.

So how about you? Have any PuG stories to share? Do you love PuGs or hate them?

Until next time, Happy Healing

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Image courtesy of www.pugslife.org