Priest Vacancy on WoW.com for Spiritual Guidance

I figured I’d take the time here and now to clear the air.

When I was asked to take the position a year and some months ago, I felt I was the right person for the job and could do what they asked me to do. Some time later on, they were discussing the notion of reactivating Raid Rx (a column specifically about healing in raids). My workload had essentially doubled. Now the players that have read and followed along with my blog know that I am always going to be a team player. It doesn’t matter if it’s work related or gaming related. If I don’t think someone’s the right person for the job in a raid, I’ll ask them to step out for someone who I think can do better.

Hell, I voluntarily stepped out of healing a Tribute to Insanity run this week because I didn’t think I could pull it off without more time and practice.

With regards to Spiritual Guidance though, I was getting to the point where I was questioning my own work. In short, I didn’t think I could uphold the quality and content demands that the site – nay, the readers deserved. It’s difficult to come up with new and unique ideas on a weekly basis. Writing for WoW.com came with an added sense of pressure for me because I was always questioning my work and it’s relevance (you should see my recycle bin with all the crumpled papers and rejected ideas).

The problem is compounded further when the Priest writer isn’t as well versed in PvP or Shadow.

In short, I ran out of steam and I notified the editors before of this.

It’s time for someone else to come in and breathe new life to the column. I know the successor will do a better job then I. They’ll be joining a great crew of writers and personalities. I won’t be leaving as I’m still continuing Raid Rx along with other news stuff as it comes. This does help free up more time for me to work on other projects. Some players seem to forget that:

  • I’m in University (and it’s finaaaaalllls)
  • I run a guild
  • I’m writing a book
  • I write for 3 blogs
  • I’m revamping Plusheal.com

Of course, Modern Warfare 2 and Dragon Age might play an impact in there somewhere as well.

By the way, if you’re one of the many people that are applying for the position, feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions. I’m more than willing to set aside some time to have a quick chat about what to expect and other details.

But uh, do me a favour? Could you pull a Kanye on the new guy when he gets in? *wink*

Return of the Truly Legendary Items

Return of the Truly Legendary Items

hg_indiana_grail_8

Back in the Vanilla we received not one, not two, but three items of legendary status. Crafting these items was arduous and rewarding to complete. They were very lore centric and having one was a big deal Lets look at the first three Legendary items.

Sulfuras, Hand of Ragnarossulfuras4wm

The baby legendary of the initial bunch, this was crafted by combining a Sulfuron Hammer with the Eye of Ragnaros. The part list for the initial hammer was pretty steep I mean take a look at it here.

The Ingot’s only dropped from Golemagg in molten core and 50 arcanite bars was one hell of a tall order. But when you finally got the hammer made and then finally got Ragnaros to drop his eye, you had at the time THE best two hand dps weapon in the game and an item tied to the elemental lords of Azeroth’s birth, and it looked cool too!

Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseekerthundefury

The big brother to Sulfuras, Thunderfury was yet another item of the Elemental Lords that players could quest and construct. Ragnaros along with his two liuetenants had defeated Thunderaan, Prince of Air and being unable to destroy him completely, bound what was left of his essence into a talisman of elemental binding. A follower of Thunderaan unable to restore his master was instead able to craft a weapon to channel his lords fury and vengeance. To construct it you had to have both binding pieces that were drops from Molten Core bosses Baron Geddon and Garr, and had to gather the components necessary to craft the sword, not least of which required the following

10x [Elementium Bar]

In order to craft an elementium bar you needed to gather 1 [Elementium Ore] (from Blackwing Lair), 1 [Fiery Core], 10 [Arcanite Bar], and 3 [Elemental Flux].

When you finally got the pieces together you had to talk to Demitrian who summons the remaining essence of lord Thunderaan. An outdoor RAID boss fight in silithus later and you get your sword. This item was the best tanking weapon even up through The Burning Crusade. It’s proc alone making it invaluable to raids. Having one was truly amazing, difficult to get and offered a large benefit to any raid group that had one. If you had one you were pretty well set.

Atiesh, Greatstaff of the GuardianActionMedivh

If you’re looking for a lore weapon steeped in Azerothian history this staff delivers and in spades. When Naxxramas was released we got a chance to begin building the staff of the Guardian’s of Tristfall and ultimately Medivh himself. The staff was protected by the Kirin Tor after Medivh was assasinated and then was destroyed when Archimonde blew up Dalaran. The staff was shattered into Forty Two (42) pieces that were scattered to the far corners of Azeroth. Brann Bronzebeard himself held the base piece until he lost it to C’thun in AQ40. Kel’thuzad wanted the powerful focus for himself and when Naxx came to Azeroth the scourge began gathering pieces, eventually obtaining the head piece and the 40 shards of the shaft itself. Players could gather the shards for the frame from bosses in Naxx and the Head from Kel’thuzad himself. The base could be obtained by defeating C’thun in AQ. When all the pieces were assembled you could obtain one of four flavors of the staff. Priest, Druid, Lock and Mage were all able to wield a version of it with stats custom tailored for the PC. The staff also gave players the ability to teleport their entire group to Karazhan, the home of medivh himself.

Having one of these was truly epic and not many people managed to compelte it. It is a very lore centric item to the world of warcraft and if you had one, truly it was awe inspiring.

From here lets take a quick jaunt to The Burning Crusade. In BC endgame, technically three legendary items were introduced outside of the Kael’thas encounter. I wont spend too much time here because honestly while they are legendary quality, I felt truly let down by the items themselves.

The Twin Blades of Azzinothillidan02

These items are the weapons of Illidan himself. Illidan obtained these weapons by slaying the doomguard commander Azzinoth nearly 10,000 years prior. They became the symbol of his office so to speak and all demon hunters since have wielded dual glaives such as these. These items were drops from Illidan himself, there was no quest to obtain them. While getting them was still an amazing task after having to defeat all of Black Temple and it’s challenges to even have a chance to obtain them, it didn’t quite have the feel of obtaining any of the previous three. I know someone who had obtained a Thunderfury after much hard work and then had received a set of blades and he said that it just didn’t feel like it had the same weight. While they are very lore centric, and they are wickedly cool. I think there should have been a bit more questing to get them. But that’s just one shaman’s opinion.

Thori’dal, the Stars’ Fury thoridal

Every hunter I know wanted this item. It was THE best dps bow in the game, and until recently held that same title. It drops from Kil’jaden in Sunwell Plateau and it generates it’s own magical arrows. Before the removal of the need for quivers and ammo pouches this was HUGE. Research doesn’t show a tie to any lore specific character for this item and honestly there’s not a lot of info on it other then it’s awesome stats. It is speculated that it is a manifestation of the sunwell’s power because of it’s ability to create magical burning arrows, but blizzard has never released any official lore about the item itself.

From there we move on to the absolute return of the TRULY legendary items. In Wrath of The Lich King these items are lore centric and as we can see the reward for the time put into obtaining them is there.

First up my personal favorite (for obvious reasons)

Val’anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings WoWScrnShot_102709_222741

This item is obtained by defeating bosses in the instance of Ulduar 25. You obtain 30 [Fragment of Val’anyr], and then fuse them together into the shattered fragments. The quest leads you to a computer console of the titans that explains the history of the mace and how to reforge it. Let me share with you the history of this item. Created by the Titans themselves, Val’anyr was given to the first Earthen king, Urel Stoneheart. With it, he was to create and give life to the rest of his brethren. Urel Stoneheart used Val’anyr during the first war between the Earthen and the Iron Dwarves. The weapon was shattered and its remnants were believed lost in the conflict.

So here you have an item gifted by the titans, the shapers of all life on Azeroth even the Dragon Flights themselves, given to the First Earthen king, and well honestly the first earthen. They GAVE him the power to create life. This item is an old item of power and is tied intricately with the creation of the Dwarves. Having one means you’ve collected the fragments, defeated Yogg on hard mode and have put the time into getting the item. It just feel awesome to hold something with such heavy lore weight and think “wow, this item created an entire race. And here I’ve only unlocked a small portion of it!” Having one truly you can feel the reward for the work put in and it feels truly legendary.

Shadowmourne

This is probably the most talked about and watched legendary to date. Everyone and their mother is talking about it and it’s uses. This item is also steeped in insane amounts of lore. well… let me just get right too it

Shadowmourne… A great two-handed axe fit for a giant, born of sacred and corrupt powers, host of a thousand dead souls and able to be wielded only by the most stalwart armsmasters of Azeroth. Its creation seems nearly impossible; and yet, the rumors do not cease.

Darion Mograine believes that only the hammer of Arthas himself will provide a worthy model – but such absurd ambition is just the beginning of Shadowmourne’s creation. To contain the energies that dance across its cold edges, Shadowmourne would be hewn from piles of impure Saronite: the hardened blood of the Old God, Yogg-Saron. To fuel its power to kill, it should be drenched in the souls of the most potent servants of the Scourge as they are slain, one by one, with the unfinished blade. To help break through the Lich King’s armor, it is to be adorned with fragments of the Frozen Throne, originally crafted by Kil’Jaeden out of ice from the Twisting Nether

Only with these mighty components, it is said, can Shadowmourne be finished. And, yet, even if the axe could be completed, questions and fears remain. Is forging the souls of the deceased into a weapon treated with blood and the essence of the Twisting Nether truly any different from the crafting of the Scourge’s runeblades? And who will be bold enough to try to wield such a weapon? Might Shadowmourne bring the same doom and misery to the living as its sister blade did?

Um… yes pls. so far in order to obtain the item of such legendary proportions there is a long quest line in place. the quests, as far as is known is as such.

  1. Neutral [80R] The Sacred and the Corrupt
  2. Neutral [80R] Shadow’s Edge
  3. Neutral [80R] A Feast of Souls
  4. Neutral [80R] Unholy Infusion
  5. Neutral [80R] Blood Infusion
  6. Neutral [80R] Frost Infusion
  7. Neutral [80R] The Splintered Throne
  8. Neutral [80R] Shadowmourne…
  9. Neutral [80R] The Lich King’s Last Stand

This ranges from obtaining Artha’s mace, to killing specific NPC’s and bathing the blade in their blood up to defeating the Lich King himself. It is an outstanding amount of work to obtain and from what we can see, it’s well worth it. Obtaining one of these will be hard work, but in the end the return for the time invested will be amazing. And just fitting with the epicness of the weapons we received a plethora of sound files with the new voice of Arthas. Does this mean that Arthas’ soul will be the final one to occupy the blade? It is at this time unknown, but I for one look forward to finding out. In case you missed it here’s a short video of the weapon.

BC didn’t feel like obtaining the legendary items was very significant in the world, no where near as much as Vanilla WoW’s items did. In Wrath though it feels like obtaining the items has weight in the story, and truly feels awesome to hold. Now there are non legendary quality items that have this feel to them, that truly feel epic and story impacting, but that my friends is a post for another time.

What do you think of the legendary items? Do you think the way they are obtained now is good or bad? Do you like the lore of the items?

Until next time

Sig

Article main image courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd. Images throughout courtesy of wowhead, mmo-champion and wow.com

A Friday Geek Moment

I’ve come into the habit of walking into work, sitting down at my desk and getting ready for the day.  The trick is, how I get ready for my day. 

I go through my morning routine: some coffee, a bagel or muffin.  I wipe down my desk from the overnight guy’s late-night snack.  I shoot the sh** with my co-workers about random stuff.  After making sure the database is updated, I open up my browser, and I type www.mmo-champion.com.

I find some good stuff there.  I like laughing at the Blue responses to all the forum QQ.  I see how we’re all getting nerfed or buffed.  I’m “in the know” about which guild got the newest World First. 

Today, however, I saw something that significantly raised my geek factor.  I love movie trailers.  Big epic scenes with climactic music underneath.  Awesome voiceovers and sweet editing.  I gotta hand it to Kinaesthesia from the Vodka guild (US-Alterac Mountains) for some awesome work.  Enjoy!!

WARNING!! SPOILERS ARE IN THIS VIDEO!!!

Coming soon!!  =)

ThespiusSig

What do You Look for in a Guild Website?

This is a great question asked by Nibuca on Twitter which was brought to my attention by Gnomeaggedon.

Guild websites can be a great tool for communications between guild members and detailing raid accomplishments. You can use it to hold information for prospective recruits, keep track of loot that has been awarded and set up forums for active discussion between your players.

So here’s today’s questions for you all. I’m actually in the midst of writing a long post about guild website essentials, so consider this a research post designed to see if I’m on the right track.

Does your guild have a website? Do you use it or not, and why? What features would you consider important or expendable?

Dragon Slaying from a Healer’s Perspective: Onyxia

Dragonslayf2j

Every week I watch different players doing things in Onyxia encounters that could make healers spit flame. Not only that, I find myself reacting to and making the same mistakes every week. So what are these recurring things, and how can everyone make sure that healers don’t turn into fire breathing dragons?

Traditionally us healers don’t do much slaying of anything, especially dragons. We do something much more important. We’re the brave souls who sally forth calmly into the face of death to keep others in one piece, or at least standing vaguely upright. You know those others – the heroes who charge in bandying about a cacophony of curses. The ones who would get flamed into foil-packed toasted sandwiches or seared to a fowl-shaped frieze on the wall, or reduced to roasted bear.

But other heroes like to keep us healers on our toes. Hell, we like to keep ourselves on our toes. A dragon slaying party can make a lot of mistakes, and you’d be surprised how few heroes seem to know the Basics of Dragon Slaying. Many bands of adventurers charge into the dragon’s den without checking that everyone knows those basics, which I think is mistake #1.

So what are the most common and basic mistakes a do-gooder can commit while trying to saw Onyxia’s head off? And what can us healers, whatever class, do so we don’t feel like taking a deep breath and belching fire at people? Well, a long career of healing dragon slayers has taught me a lot.

Here are my top ten observations for both us healers and your actual slayer of dragons to remember while venturing into Onyxia’s den, especially if braving the fight with a motley crew of unknown quantities.

I always see tanks or DPS…

1. Getting cleaved. Obviously this is a hazard of the job for tanks. But every time I go to Onyxia there are some foolhardy melee DPSers who like to stand face to face with their foe. I always find myself politely telling them that if they stand behind the trash they will do more DPS and won’t die from cleave, which is something most monsters in the den do. This is always after at least two DPSers die once or one of them dies twice

2. Going out of Line of Sight. There is a hill on the path to Onyxia’s den. And just over that hill is – well, is your tank. And he’s found himself facing an angry dragonkin whom he can’t move for fear of cleaving the party apart. Positioned just right so that if you stay safely at range you’re over the hill and far away for healing purposes, but if you go in close you’re in danger of getting cleaved (see above)

3. Killing people by big-add AoE proxy. I’ve seen tanks pick up big adds on phase 2 and move to tank them next to healers and ranged folk. I sometimes don’t see this until the add’s AoE has fried me because I am looking at healing addons and frantically trying to keep everyone standing upright rather than watching the pretty pictures on the screen. Likewise, melee folks should run away from this AoE, but don’t always do so.

4. Panic-position Onyxia. This happens when she lands in phase 3. Things are hectic and every tank has a different idea where’s best to position a large angry dragon.

  • The tank might place her at the back of the cave: if he does then players are likely to get feared into a tail swipe and bring out many whelps. Handle it.
  • The tank might instead place her at the side of the cave: if he does that then players will get feared and tail swiped but probably not into the whelp eggs.

5. NOT dealing with whelps. Whelps are hungry when they wake up and there are a lot of them. If they’re not controlled and killed then they will quickly attach to a healer and start munching, or gobble up the mage they noticed AoEing at them. Hell, I’ve often seen tanks bashing away at a clutch of whelps all on their lonesome on phase 1, with no DPS bothering to go to them – unless you count those flying past into the whelp eggs and skulking back out again, leaving the tank to deal with more.

Tips for healers …

1. Watch where you stand. Particularly during phase 2. Make sure you’re not too close to the southern area where the big adds spawn, especially if the tank on big adds is a bit sleepy. Said big add may appear, set eyes on you and think you’re the tastiest target. It’s also easy to get out of range of people, especially ranged folk who are doggedly following Onyxia up and down the cave. Avoid all this by trying to strafe across the middle of the cave in p2.

2. Be on your toes during deep breath. Get out of the way of it, of course. Start heading back into the middle of the room as soon as it’s passed in order to beat fires out on anyone who didn’t manage to get out the way in time.

3. Never assume the tank is in safe hands. Healers get themselves tail swiped and cleaved too – I’ve seen it. Heck, even phase 2 is dangerous – deep breaths may mean that the tank and healers are separated. Last week I was in a run in which all the healers dove to one side of the room during deep breath and the tank went the other way – we all assumed one of the other healers would stay near him. Panic mode ensued. Try to stay in range of the tanks at all times but not too close. That way fried healers lie.

4. Run diagonally. Sounds weird, but look at the shape of the cave – very long, and the monsters tend to spawn or be tanked at diamond points. The tank’s making the pull? If you run in a strange line – and next to the tank – you’ll get cleaved or tail swiped right away. I saw a priest do just that last week. Run diagonally in and you’ll always be in range to top off the tank as he’s moving Onyxia and you’ll end up standing in a safe place. Likewise throughout the fight, diagonal lines will often get you near other players and away from fire and adds the quickest.

5. Be aware of your space. You will be moving around a lot – move your class specific tricks with you. As a shaman I move my totems to where the rest of the group moves for each phase, so people retain the buffs. As a druid I’ve run around like a rootless sapling trying to keep the tank alive in the north end of the cave and combat resurrect the top DPSer from the south of the cave. Assume in a reactionary fight like this that people will make mistakes: use your class to the full to make it easier on the whole group.

So those are the basics as I see them. They might sound simple – they are. But how many times have you seen some of the above happen? They’re intended to give dragon slayers and healers food for thought rather than offer strategies on how to heal; this isn’t a fight with challenging tactics, just one that needs everyone to stay aware of the situation. One last tip for free: if you want to get the bounty without repair bills, don’t assume everyone knows the tactics. They might not. Everyone has to start being a dragon slayer – maybe in a foreign tongue – sometime in their life.

I’ll be following up by talking about my observations and practical tips on healing Sarth3d in part 2 in the near future. Meanwhile – is there anything I’ve missed for Onyxia – any warnings about the dangers of dragon slaying? Or have you often committed one of these mistakes and just can’t help it? Are there any tips you can give to other healers in danger of frying out there? Any thoughts on how critical group make-up is in this situation?

Case Study: Anub’arak 10 Heroic Featuring a Priest and Druid

case-study-anub-10-h

This was a post I’ve been debating myself repeatedly on whether or not to trash because I wasn’t sure if it was worth it. Comments from the recent survey asked for more case studies and as a result, I’ve decided to revisit and polish this up some more.

Note: This post was written several weeks ago so the time context may be off.

Quite frankly, Anub’arak 10 scares the crap out of me.

Tonight, we were planning to zip through ToGC 10 and get it down in order to acquire additional gear and tokens. Up to this point, we had been running with 3 healers: 2 Resto Druids and myself on my Priest.

Heading into the fight, we knew we’d have to drop down to 2 healers for the extra DPS on the boss. We drew straws. Syd and I lost (actually, of the 3 healers, our DPS alternates weren’t as good compared to his). This was the first time either of us would be healing this encounter.

First attempts

The first several attempts were designed to get our feet wet with managing surface phases and burrow phases. I decided to give this fight a crack with me opening as Discipline. I would cover the tanks and Syd would take the rest of the raid. We both cover Penetrating Cold between my shields and her HoTs.

Both of the tanks I kept alive through a combination of Shields and Improved Renews. Yes, a Discipline Priest who uses Renew is a rarity, but I wasn’t going to debate on right or wrong ways. I had a job that involved keeping up 2 tanks alive at all costs. When that happens, you use every spell in the book regardless of your spec. Penetrating Cold seemed to hit me more often than not. I was reminded why Binding Heal was in the game.

Syd and I stood on the tail end of Anub for most of the night. Made the job easier for our tank if the Burrowers locked onto us before he could get to them. If I had the opportunity (which was rare), I’d sneak in a Shadow Word: Pain or Death once in a while.

The basic game plan was to overpower the initial 70%. If we hit two burrow phases, it would be game over.

anub-burrow-phase

At 5 seconds to burrow, we’d yank Anub from his ice patch and drag him off to the side. This way, if melee players get focused while beating on ads, they’d have enough clearance to jet to point 1 (actually, any player that gets focused goes to point 1). The next person that gets it shoots up to way point 2. The last person heads down to way point 3.

If the timer isn’t up by then, we play it by ear and bring down another orb.

Meanwhile, our players were kiting Anub to his designated spot. Players being pursued by scarabs were shielded and renew’d immediately. In the event I had nothing to do, I’d chip on scarabs with a Mind Blast and Shadow Word: Death nuke (just like Arena).

I remember one time watching Anub getting perilously close to Syd and she managed to break into Cat form and sprint, which brought us a few precious seconds before he resurfaced.

The second surface phase was a basic repeat of the first. Once we tipped him over, everything changed and this is where it got really interesting.

Note: This is where you want to start reading

My mana was at the point where it was time to break out the Shadowfiend. How convenient Heroism was used after he had spawned! I made sure the tanks were properly shielded and HoTTed at all times. Penance, Greater Heal and Flash Heal were cycled among the two tanks. I heard the distinctive cue of Tranquility firing off. I did my best to balance shields on Penetrating Cold targets as well.

Try as I might, I couldn’t do it. Our Anub tank died while the beetle was at 17% or so.

The next attempts were more of the same.

Main tank dead at 12%.
Main tank dead at 15%.

This was true triage.

Whatever I was doing, it wasn’t enough. Frustration, anger, you name it, I felt it. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the Disc Priest class.

There was something wrong with me.

Syd, with her uncanny knack of detecting my mood (must be a girl thing) suggested the brilliant idea of me going Holy and her looking after tanks instead.

Structured cooldowns

Before I forget, I wanted to mention that we became more disciplined in our cooldown use. We decided to script our cooldowns in advance. We had a Prot Paladin, 2 Druids (Boomkin and Resto) and a Priest. In other words, we had 3 outs. The Druids were placed in separate groups for Tranquility.

We had no troubles adjusting to surface or submerged phases. We hit the 30% mark again and it was do or die time.

For group healing, I kept a hasted Prayer of Healing ready for the second group while a glyphed Holy Nova was reserved for mine.

The players were lowered to 50-60% ranges before firing off heals. Empowered Renews were placed on Penetrating Cold targets at all times and the tanks if they were getting too low.  We were all within close proximity of each other. Surge of Light activations were held for sudden Penetrating Cold victims (like if they were at medium health and gained the debuff).

Once I felt we were about to get overwhelmed, I called out for a Tranquility. Syd lit hers while our Boomkin shifted out and casted his well.

I started to run low on mana. I brought everyone back up before a Divine Sacrifice was called and gambled Hymn of Hope. In hindsight, I should have Hymned during the Tranquilities (again, learn from my mistakes).

It must have felt like an eternity. I wasn’t sure how much further we could go. I shot off an Inner Focused Divine Hymn in desperation on the final stretch. We had nothing else left. Heal after heal was cycled while I was inwardly praying for him to fall over. Last ditch Desperate Prayer saved me after another nasty Penetrating Cold.

Our Mage died. It looked like the raid was about to buckle, but Anub managed to fall over first before we did.

In recent weeks, we’ve used two groups to successfully bring down Anub that featured Holy Paladin/Resto Shaman and Disc Priest/Resto Shaman healers. I hope you’ve taken something away from the post and I’ll see if I can do more case studies in the future.