Raid Leading 101: Maximizing DPS Uptime

Raid Leading 101: Maximizing DPS Uptime

Normally, most bosses are kept still. There’s a cleave effect or some other ability which makes it difficult for tanks to herd them around. Every so often, a boss comes along where even though it isn’t necessary to move them, it can sometimes be extremely beneficial. In this week’s Raid Leading 101 post, I want to highlight a little trick that Conquest used during our first kill of Professor Putricide. It’s a really minor adjustment that our raid leader came up with and looking back now, I almost wish I had thought of it first. Who knew something so simple and minor would’ve helped out so much?

Initially, we had a DPS problem. We were having a difficult time burying slimes and phasing Putricide within a timely fashion. We were rocking six healers at the time. The raid was taking obscene amounts of damage and many players were struggling with avoidable damage. I myself hit a streak where I went 9 consecutive attempts being hit by Malleable Goo on the same night. That’s some serious tunnel vision going on.

If we downgraded to five, we’d solve our DPS issue but our stressed healers were going to be stressed even further. We found a way to help resolve these issues and it’s nothing to do with player substitution or gear. It was all due in part to improved movement and positioning.

In last week’s post about Placement and Direction, blogger What’s My Main Again made an excellent suggestion:

If I may make a suggestion on putricide… after the green ooze dies you waste a lot of time moving all the way to the other side of the room. Just have everyone move to the center. Ranged can dps the gas cloud as soon as it spawns and then melee can quickly switch after it targets someone. This also makes it easier to run back into the orange corner for the green ooze.

We’ve actually been doing that for a while, but I wanted to elaborate on that further and illustrate how we tackle it.

The orange ooze

We’ll use the Professor Putricide example.

WoWScrnShot_031010_113848 

When the orange ooze was active, we used to tank Putricide on the far right very close to the green wall. Our melee DPS had to run the length of the room to open up on the orange ooze when it fixated on a target. It was during these parts of the fight that we were able to close the gap on our damage. In order to do that, we made two changes.

First change: Instead of tanking him on the right, we placed Putricide closer to the middle where the pattern is. The orange ooze spawns, it locks on to a target and goes after them. If it happens to be a melee player, they still have plenty of time to hustle it and kite it around the room. Regardless, we cut the distance the melee had to travel to DPS the Ooze by half! They didn’t have to run as much. There was more DPS on the ooze meaning it died quicker which led to more DPS on the boss.

Second change: Instead of simply keeping Professor Putricide stationary, our Putricide tank was instructed to keep Putricide as close to the orange Ooze as possible. The reason? It allowed for incidental AoE attacks from melee to hit multiple targets. Chain Lightning would help. Divine Storm would help. Cleave, and the list goes on. The orange vials that the Professor drops wouldn’t be a problem since the entire melee group is constantly moving alongside the Professor and the orange Ooze anyway.

While it doesn’t seem like much, those two changes were enough to help put us over the top on our kill.

The lesson here is when working on a boss, try to set your tactics up in such a way that will cause the boss to take extra damage. Again, not every encounter will allow for this, but the possibility is there. Put those AoE strikes to maximum effect whenever it is feasible to do so.

If you’re curious, here’s a video of our first kill up:

Conquest_Professor_Putricide from Dannamoth on Vimeo.

This is from the perspective of one of our top mages. Look at how our tank gradually follows the orange ooze around. We have a set path to use when orange oozes are up that involve running toward the green wall, up to the table, then down the orange wall.

Also, excellent use of Invisibility during tear gas phases. Such cheater DPS!

If you look closely at the end of the fight, there’s about 6 or 7 players still alive. Yeah, we barely scraped by on this kill.

Last night, we managed to take down Sindragosa on 25. I want to stab my eyes out. We managed to get a video of it as well, so I’ll see if it can be placed up somewhere.

Death of the Niche Healer

Death of the Niche Healer

Recently a topic has sprung up among many healers. There are lots of blog posts popping up about it so I figured since I’ve been going on about it for a while now, I’ll add my two copper to the public domain here, but first a story.

In the days of vanilla World of Warcraft, each faction had access to 3 healing classes. Priests and druids on both sides and paladins for alliance balanced by shaman for the horde. The lines between the roles of the healing classes was not as defined as it could be, but raids stacked healers and slogged through 40 man content with two simple commandments;

“Heal thy group! Keep thine tanks alive!

Then along came Burning Crusade. The developers evened out the sides and gave everyone access to paladins and shamans despite faction. The developers then looked at the classes and said,

“LET THERE BE HEALER SPECIALTY NICHES!”

Thus healer niches were born. In Burning Crusade each healing class had something it excelled at. Shaman healers fought with priests for the title of group healer supreme, Paladins ruled the tank healer slot and druids were perfect healers to roll between targets. The roles however got a bit too specific. Restoration shaman spent the vast majority of BC casting nothing but Chain Heal, priests spammed Circle of Healing,  paladins Flash of Light and Holy Light spammed and druids just put a hot on everything they could. As healers our jobs could be boiled down to one button push in many cases. Players geared for it and played accordingly. Needless to say this got boring. As a person who cast nothing but Chain Heal through all of Black Temple I can vouch for this.

With Wrath of the Lich King on the horizon, the devs looked upon their world and saw that groups were picking healers based on class and not skill. So from on high they spoke out their voices echoing from the heavens

“LET THERE BE EQUALITY AMONGST HEALERS!”

Thus each healing class was gifted with new tools to help them fill various healing roles in the group. Shaman gained the ability to heal on the move and gained even stronger single target healing, druids joined the ranks of an accomplished swing healer. Priests rejoiced as discipline became an accepted way of life and paladins embraced their bacon. Raid leaders reveled in the choice of skill versus class and the land was truly flowing with milk and honey.

I hope you liked my little story there, I know I enjoyed it. It is however a true story. In the early days of the game no one really cared what the healers were doing as long as everything stayed alive long enough for the boss to drop. In BC everyone had a specific role or at least a lot more so than the one we had in vanilla. As a shaman I personally cast down-ranked chain heal more times in one night raiding than most people blink. Point was people began to take very specific healing classes for encounters as the healing strengths were specifically needed for that encounter. This is largely how BC ended with each healer falling into the category  of raid healing, tank healing and then the specifics of which flavor of each. To be honest it got a little out of hand. There were several points where shaman for example would claim they couldn’t heal Magisters Terrace, and unless they woefully out-geared the place, they were right. Some healers could walk into a 5 man heroic and not break a sweat while others had to work and work hard in even some of the simplest dungeons. It simply wasn’t balanced.

When Wrath came along all of that changed. The game devs actually went out of their way to make sure tools were put in place to allow each healer to fill each role. Whether it was a glyph, a new spell or tweaking talents and abilities, they went all out in trying to sure up healer equality. It has been a balancing act since that’s for sure, and if anyone remembers back in may when I got on my soap box about the State of Chain Heal, in some cases healers were tweaked too much to the point they were way too far homogenized. However even with the hard mode debacle, for the most part there was healer equality. Each of the classes could heal a tank, or heal a group and each could walk into a 5 man heroic and as long as the player was on their feet and paying attention they were capable of doing it. After the last set of tweaks from the devs this became even more the case. As it stands now each of the classes and in the case of priests, each healing spec, is capable of healing a tank or raid healing effectively. While some excel slightly better than others in those varying situations, the truth is they can still perform in the role and that is what evening out the healing lines is all about.

With all the options we have, I for one am very happy. Recently however there has been a new, for lack of a better term here, healer subculture emerging within the community. Players of each of the healing classes / specs are starting to demand their niches again. Whether it’s a shaman demanding to be the king of chain heal once more or a paladin begging to be only useful on tank heals, the proof is out there. People are actively trying to secure a niche in raid groups. This honestly strikes me as odd. Why would you want to go back to a way of doing things that honestly people complained bout incessantly. Why try to cling to a system that forces you to cast only one spell when you have an entire arsenal of heals available to you for any task you could be handed?

That’s the part I don’t get. I’m ok with wanted to be the best at something or even better than someone else but to actively shoe-horn yourself into a single role seems counter productive. As a healer I love being versatile, being able to sling chain heals until I’m blue in the face or swap out and lay some nukes on a tank, I like having the option. As a raid officer and healing lead I enjoy this versatility even more. I love being able to take a disc priest and tear them off of tank healing to make them raid heal. Same goes for shuffling priests and healers. I like being able to give my healers a little variety so they aren’t doing the same thing every day. I like to think they appreciate it as well. What I love most about it though is not having to rely on specific classes to be present to proceed through content like it was back in BC. So after many players struggling for so long to have this amount of versatility, why try to limit yourself. This subgroup centers around the idea that a healer should perform one function incredibly well, but not much else. A perfect example would be shaman who feel that they should only focus on casting and buffing chain heal, while ignoring all other spells.

So after clawing your way out of the niche market to be viable in all circumstances, why try to go back?

That’s it for today folks, until next time Happy Healing!~

What do you think? Do you think healers should focus on their specialty and nothing more? Do you think healer versatility is key?

Your Alt In Our Guild, My Shaman In Your Hands

arthursseat

There are now two Mimetirs.

She’s now also a male Tauren warrior on Argent Dawn (EU). This might sound like a bit of a break with the beaky tradition but it’s not too much of a stretch for a character who’s named for her ability to mimic other creatures. Being a warrior still makes her a birdbrain, after all,.

Why am I telling you this? I thought I’d share a happy occurrence with you. On Tuesday I heard (thanks Jaedia!) about Single Abstract Noun (SAN). It’s a community guild on Argent Dawn (horde side for EU, alliance side for US) open to anyone in the WoW blogging community, be ye a reader or blogger.

So, I’d like to thank Tamarind, Miss Medicina and crew for having the idea and setting it up – great thought, guys. I think the full story of how it came about – and the guild policies – are here (EU) and here (US).

The guild roster is already astonishingly long and guild chat on Tuesday was moving so fast it was almost impossible to keep up with, which was good to see. Not only that, it was lovely to see a whole load of warm welcomes when new folks signed up. So, if you’re in any way related to the blogging community – and if you’re reading this, you are – I think I’m right in saying that you’re welcome to roll an alt and join up, See moo there!

In other news …

meet my shaman, Ape. He quakes in his boots when he visits the badge vendors at the moment. At this rate he’s going to give all his frosties to the bartender at the Legerdemain in return for calming, calming wine. In the name of fun – and of my shaman’s sobriety – I’ve decided to put his dilemma to a vote with you guys.

winechoiceiseasier

You know how it is when you’re browsing the vendors in real life. You’ve tried various shinies on by this point. The blue top is only worth it if you get the new jeans as well. The stripey top only really works with some outfits. And the wristlet – well, it’s small and will put an inappropriately sized crater in your purse but then it is really shiny.

It’s easy to get in a tizwaz about upgrades to your wardrobe. Particularly if those upgrades have stats on them and it’s not just the colours that you’re trying to match to the rest of your outfit.

That’s how my shaman feels when he’s trying to decide which upgrade to buy next. I’m trying to decide whether to go for minor utility upgrades or to do what I think most of us should do more and say “dash and poppycock! I’m going to do the fun thing.”

I’ve seen and heard a lot of discussion about the various tier 10 set bonuses, and the sets themselves. I’m not going to ramble on about them here except to say the 2 piece tier 10 resto shaman bonus is nigh essential.

I will give a brief synopsis. Ape was in a mixture of 232s and 245s when he hit ICC. Several things were sorely in need of being upgraded and stats in need of being rejigged. To that end:

  • I needed to upgrade chest and hands badly. My research dug up some info on the cloth 264 gloves and chest being somewhat marvellous, so Ape dilligently saved up for those first
  • I examined and cross-examined the resto tier set and decided that I generally wasn’t very impressed with its individual pieces given my gear setup at the time
  • Obviously I needed to get the two-piece tier bonus so i decided that head and shoulder pieces were my best bets
  • I could also do with a new trinket (and belt). I’ve been running ToC25 and ICC25 as often as possible but haven’t once seen the relevant shines from them
  • My guild does more 10 man content than 25 at present due to time constraints

At the moment I’m torn between three new additions to my outfit for different reasons.

I have 78 frosties saved up.

I’d like your opinion on which of them I should go for. I promise that whatever way the vote goes, that will be what I buy next – feel free to keep an eye on WoW-Heroes for confirmation. The options are:

  1. I bite the bullet and buy the Purified Lunar Dust. Happily, it’ll solve the trinket issue. On the other hand Murphy’s Law says I’ll then get Althor’s Abacus and/or Solace of the Fallen quicksmart thereafter.
  2. I save up for both the tier helm and tier shoulders and then buy them together: basically buy the set bonus, as neither item on its own is that much of an upgrade over what I’m currently wearing
  3. I buy the shoulders now even though they’re a next-to-nothing practical upgrade. Why? Because I’ve heard about the shoulder-shoveltusk animation and I think it sounds really quite fun. I know, I know, small things. The catch here is then deciding which of the other options to pursue after the shoulders have made my day.

As a fourth, ugly-duckling type option I could say dash it all, and go for the somewhat-shiny but not-critical-upgrade Waistband of Despair.

So what do you think – what should I go for? Cast your votes now! Feel free to either just post a vote or go as in depth as you like. Either vote here in the comments page or tweet @Juddr, voting closes on Monday or so.

This is a post by Mimetir, a druid of a raidleader on The Venture Co. (EU). You can find my twitter feed here.

Article images originally by Daniel Coomber and littleREDelf @ Flickr

Raid Leading 101: Placement and Direction

Raid Leading 101: Placement and Direction

raid-directions

I’d like to share two stories today.

I remember years ago when my guild (at the time) set foot into Serpentshrine Cavern. We nuked the trash and faced Hydross for the first time. Our raid leader gave us directions on which elementals to DPS down first and which side of the room we had to drag her to. Since we had 4 tanks, each one was assigned a different elemental. One was assigned to the left, the other was on the right, and so forth. Things seemed to look good until the fateful question was asked:

“Wait, is that our left or is that Hydross’ left?”

And so the next fifteen minutes were spent debating which left was appropriate.

The next one is a little more recent and it comes at the heels of our Sindragosa attempts. We’ve sort of managed to stabilize our ground and air phase placements. Where we’ve struggled was during phase 3. Here’s a glimpse at our attempts:

Raid lead: “Okay guys, on phase 3, I want the frost beaconed player to stand on his tail.”

*Phase 3 hits, beaconed player runs very far toward the end of the tail, wipe ensues due to distance*

Raider: “You told us to stand on the tail.”

Raid lead: “Okay guys, well when I meant tail, I meant that you should stand where the tail and the butt meet, not the end length of the tail.”

*Phase 3 hits, beaconed player runs just below the butt, raid follows, gets Tail Smashed*

Raider: “I’m pretty sure that we stood in the right spot.”

Raid leader: “Well when I meant where her tail and butt meet, I didn’t mean directly behind it. You should stand just beside it so that the conical attack doesn’t hit you. Try a little to the left of it.

(At this point, he asks in officer chat if he wasn’t being precise or clear enough.

I looked skyward before burying my face in my hands.)

As you can see, good communication is a necessity. I’ve been in many pickup groups where raid leaders say one thing only to mean the other. They were not clear at all. In today’s post, I’d like to introduce a few terms and concepts that have allowed me to place players with pin point (almost smart bomb-like) accuracy.

Various terms

Set the orientation

The first thing I like to do is set the orientation of the encounter. In order to determine this, you need to figure out in your strat whether or not the boss is going to be mobile (constantly moving around like Professor Putricide) or static (like Festergut or Deathbringer Saurfang). Everyone needs to be on the same page and be reading from the same playbook.

Examples:

  • Using cardinal directions, you’ll be standing…
  • Facing this boss, I want you over to the…
  • Boss will always be moving, so you need to stay within melee range on…

For bosses where they are tanked all over the place, sometimes it’s best to rely on relative terms (left of, right of, behind, close to, etc). On bosses where they get tanked primarily in one location, compass directions can work well (North, south, east, west).

Identify landmarks

Look around the area and see if there is anything you can use. Perhaps there is a pattern on the floor that will make an excellent bullseye for players to stand on. Or maybe there is an object that can be used.

Examples:

  • The entrance
  • The orange wall (Professor Putricide)
  • Base of the stairs
  • Right pillar

Be as descriptive as necessary. Try to look for features that are unique. There is only one table in Professor Putricide’s room. One of the faucets are colored green (Exception: You may need to be more specific when working with colorblind raiders).

On the go

Most fights tend to involve a lot of movement. Players need to be instructed on the fly where to run to or where to run away from. Using land marks helps as well, but focus more on the words you’re using. Note the italics.

Examples:

  • Run along the orange wall
  • Run away from the boss
  • Move toward the yellow star’d player
  • Tank the boss as close to the edge as possible

Really obvious directions are being given to players. It’s easy enough to hear these instructions and catch on to what the raid leader wants you to do.

Dress rehearsals

At the very top chamber where Blood Queen Lana’thel is, you’ll notice that there is a grate. When you kill her, you can simply drop down to the floor below. Until then, it can serve as an excellent way to place raiders before actually engaging the boss. I put a star icon on my head, run to a specific spot on the circular pattern on the ground, whisper a player and tell them to run to me. This is where they stand on the fight using the circular pattern on the ground that’s directly in front of the Blood Queen.

putricide-placement

(Example instructions for avoiding oozes: Start at the orange wall when the green ooze comes out! Don’t stand in the middle pattern. When it’s dead, cut across and stand under the green faucet. Avoid standing in the middle pattern. When the orange ooze comes out, wait for it to cross the middle. Start going to the green wall, then head towards Putricide’s table at the back before running toward and along the orange wall.)

Simple communication cuts down on wasted time and attempts. Be as clear as possible. Try to think of ways where raiders might misunderstand what you’re saying and plan around that.

Be not afraid, as the forest nymphs will guide you on how to please your raiders.

How To Win Epics And Influence People

How To Win Epics And Influence People

Admit it. You like loot as much as I do. Maybe you oggle over stats on a new shiny with a calculator and spreadsheet at hand. Perhaps you spend a minute twirling your character around in the dressing room to see how a new item fits.

Whatever the case, you get that fuzzy feeling when you crouch over the still-sizzling and now gently glittering bit of the boss’ corpse and see that it’s dropped something for you.

But should you roll?

Minding your manners with loot is a basic expectation amongst WoW players in any group; organised, guild, PUG or otherwise for 5-25 mans. “Doin’ it rong” with loot could mean dire consequences for you. You could be laughed at, shunned by the community, or end up with your characters running around in eye-peelingly bright colours.

Doing it right, though, could mean that you get the loot you need and that people will consider you trustworthy. I don’t just mean regarding loot. Being sound of mind with loot etiquette is considered a signal that you are generally sound. Loot etiquette is about everyone getting the purples they want without unpleasant hold-ups. So if “your shinies or your life” doesn’t go down well, what is the right way?

I’m going to start off with some basic guidelines and then discuss a few of the finer points regarding loot. A lot of this column might seem like basic stuff to you if you’re a hardcore raider but it’s crucial stuff others have asked me to explain – and who knows, perhaps there’s something in it for everyone.

Either way it’s all subjective stuff and I expect – nay, demand, as any good highwayowl should – that it might inspire a healthy debate about how you expect others to mind their loot manners. But first hold your horses, on to the guidelines;

You should roll on an epic drop if:

  1. It’s a direct upgrade for your main spec. Sidenote: don’t feel guilty about rolling! A DK in my guild always used to feel guilty for rolling as though he hadn’t earned it. That’s tripe. You’ve as much right to roll as anyone else, especially if you’ve given it your all, no matter how little or large the meters ‘think’ that is.
  2. It’s a direct upgrade for your off-spec or a minor side-grade for your main spec if no-one else needs it as in point #1
  3. It’s a quest or seasonal item which you can reasonably assume that if people need it in order to complete their quest/achievement, they will roll. I’m thinking of things like Green Winter Hat. Frozen orbs also come under this category in random PUGs, these days

You should not roll on an epic drop if:

  1. It’s a BoE and you’re needing it for cash without asking/having a group consensus on doing this. I was in a PUG last week for which Avool’s Sword of Jin dropped from the first trash pack. Everyone greeded except the DPS warrior. When pressed by the rest of the group he said he needed it for his off spec. We asked him to equip it and he admitted he was needing it for his flying mount costs. This makes him a ninja, a liar and simply rude as he didn’t apologise at all – all in one. Don’t be that guy.
  2. The item doesn’t have your exact stats and other people need kit with those stats. The obvious case in point here is if you’re a priestie healer and you roll on something with hit on it when there are cloth DPSers in the group. They won’t thank you for taking their epix, and you’ll likely replace it with better itemized pieces quickly anyway.
  3. You’re rolling against someone you run with weekly and it’s orders of magnitude a greater upgrade for him than for you. Take this one with a pinch of salt. It depends on your own opinion, your interpretation of your stats and on how nice you’re feeling, frankly. Passing on a bit of kit for someone else occasionally (don’t do it all the time) can be a kind act and can win you a friend for life (or at least a fortnight) and upgrading Clarence’s iLevel 200 shoes might just benefit the whole group.
  4. Thanks to Phaythe for this oneStat sticks. That is, if it’s a bow or gun and it’s an upgrade for a hunter, melee DPS shouldn’t roll on it. It’s not as much an upgrade for you as for the hunter whose ranged weapon provides a large amount of his DPS. Likewise, hunters shouldn’t roll on melee weapons if meleers need them, for the same reason.

Basic principles that those are, they’re still shrouded by a grey miasma. For example, no basic etiquette list is going to help you if you haven’t got some grip on your class. You do need to know which stats are useful for your class and spec, to stop you getting laughed or nerd-raged at for rolling on tank loot as a fury warrior because it’s purple and you’re in greens, and that’s all you know.

But I’m no theorycrafter, I hear you cry. ” That’s fine. It is essential that you have a basic grasp of your stats but you don’t need any more than that if you don’t want to confuse yourself for whatever reason. Perhaps you’re a fresh 80 wanting to take it slow, just not a stat-interested person, perhaps you’re new to the class, or just get confused with amounts of stats – whatever the reason, step one is to remember that it’s ok to only have a basic grasp; you don’t need to be a human WoW stat splicer if you don’t want to be. Just get as far into stats as you’re comfortable with.

Step 2 in this case is to be proactive. Get that basic knowledge of your stats. There are websites out there with information for all classes and specs, and a lot of those sites have people who are genuinely helpful if you ask questions. You could also use sandbox websites like Warcrafter, customizeable stat-weighting addons like Pawn or programs like Rawr in advance and when loot drops so you know what items and stats to look for.

Likewise, you could also find friends or helpful players who can answer questions like “do I need more hit” or “is Hersir’s Greatspear better than Twin’s Pact for me?”

And yes, players should be willing to help. They should know it’s entirely possible that players can gear up in Heroics and then hit raids with gaps in their knowledge. I have, as a new bear tank who geared up purely in Heroics and is starting to raid from a bear’s furry perspective – looking straight at ICC loot. The end-game raids *are* the training grounds in WotLK.

If all else fails and the roll-timer is running low (it’s not that long if you’re agonizing over rolling) then you could always ask in raid chat whether it’s ok that you need X too. If the other rollers are nice and considerate they’ll either say “sure go ahead” or “no, because ABC good reason, for you”. An answer like “omg no feck off its mine noob” is a sure reason that they are only in it for themselves and you should probably roll.

You could also look at min-maxing if you do have a grasp of stats and you want to wring more out of your items. In order to avoid mis-looting in this case you’ll need an even clearer grasp on your class; which stats are useful and until which point (for example, soft crit cap if you’re a holy priest), how much to stack some stats while safely ignoring others. You’ll also need to keep updated with hotfixes and theorycrafting trends – and it’ll behoof you to be flexible if the theorycrafters turn a long-held cornerstone of your class on its head.

This is a real beartrap (or owl, or… you get the idea) as regards etiquette. If your stat requirements change due to min-maxing or trying new set ups, it might make you appear inconsistent or dopey – at best – when rolling for loot. At worst, it might make you seem plain weird or rude, because you might be rolling on things you weren’t interested in last week or items which other people think aren’t exactly suited to you.

I wasn’t kidding when I said loot etiquette was subjective. In this case the best method is probably to say “I want to roll on this because I’m over the soft crit cap and need some haste”; sounding reasonable is going to be more acceptable and trustworthy than, say, swearing and disappearing in a homely blue beam.

There is another form of min-maxing specifically related to PUGs vs. guild runs. I think of it as the loyalty <-> selfishness temptation. Say you’re in a PUG run and a piece of loot drops which is a side-grade for your character. Or maybe you think the item might be useful in one or two progression encounters; in reality it’d likely never see the light of day out of your backpack. It so happens that it’s also a huge upgrade for some of the other healers in your PUG. Do you roll on it because 6 extra haste might give you an edge in your guild’s progression night? Guild comes first, right? Every little helps?

Yes. So does it for the other healers in your PUG. They want to give their guild’s runs an edge, too, and they want to progress their character. In this case the etiquette really is personal preference. I’d say if it’s not that much benefit to you then be nice – it’ll make that healer’s day and may gain you another healer’s loyalty.

In any case, if the drops are perfectly stat’ed for your spec and it is an upgrade then you should roll, right?

Wait.

The only thing is – you’re a mail wearer, and the drop’s cloth. This is a frequent event for my resto shaman. I’m currently wearing two pieces of cloth from badges – but useful (and indeed on the BiS list for me) raid-drop cloth? Those I won’t get for a long time because there are clothies in my group. I wouldn’t even consider rolling against them. Generally you’ll be looked at askance and have some trust-points taken off if you ask to roll on loot that’s not your armour proficiency. It’s Bad Manners.

This is all particularly relevant when there are no loot systems in place. To a certain extent loot systems remove the need for etiquette towards other players, as they give you an incentive to wait for the thing you really need. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still be nice, considerate, and win some friends with (or without) a set loot system like DKP or Suicide Kings.

 

What do you think? Are loot manners the stuff of life or of forgotten legend for WoW? Do you have problems with etiquette because you don’t know what to roll on and don’t feel you can admit it? Do you think loot systems are much safer? Are there any other grey areas that irk you regarding loot?

This is a post by Mimetir, a druid of a raidleader on The Venture Co. (EU). You can find my twitter feed here.

Article images originally by Migraine Chick and unforth @ Flickr

Priest Tier 10 Changes: Right Idea, Wrong Timing

Thespius covered his thoughts on the proposed tier 10 changes yesterday so I won’t rehash his words. In this post, I’m going to try see if I can logic out why the changes were made.

You know, there was a PTR patch not too long ago where Priests received similar tier changes. I can’t remember if it was tier 8 or tier 9, but the details were some percentage increase based on some spells. Actually, it might have been tier 10.

Whatever. The point was, it was the PTR, and the change wasn’t final. In fact, the finished product ended up being radically different to what it was initially (I have a strong hunch it was tier 9).

Right now, I’m really super skeptical that this change will make it live as it is. The entire internet blinked at the changes. Personally, I think its a placeholder change. Numbers can always be adjusted later. I’ve done a lot of PTR bosses and they’ve always worked on fleshing out the encounter details before tweaking the numbers (Faction Champs on the PTR was AoE’d down instead of CC’d and single targeted). Maybe set designs are the same process.

Now, let’s discuss the bonus itself. I’m in a fairly unique position where I can say I am neither a Holy Priest or a Discipline Priest. I am a healing Priest and I’ll switch to whatever spec is deemed necessary. Naturally, I shot straight for the 4 piece right away because I wanted to give them a shot. I’m also going to compare this with the Ret Paladin 2 piece (On melee swing, resets the cooldown timer on Divine Storm).

  • How often does it really get used? I know there are clutch moments when you’ve chained 2 back to back Penances or got that extra Circle of Healing when it counted. But that’s not exactly the norm. I get those too. But more often than not, I get the cooldown reset and I end up not using it because no one needs a heal at that particular moment in time. What ends up happening is that by the time I use it, the amount of time that passed would have been the same when the spell was on cooldown without the reset anyway.
  • Overhealing and not enough health: To build upon the previous point, the heals are held when the cooldown resets to preserve mana and preserve the cooldown. No point in using it when no one needs that heal. Looking my Ret Paladin for a second, I watch that Divine Storm cooldown like a hawk. The moment it’s up, I slam that ‘3’ key like no other. Sometimes I’ll get 3 in a row and I’ll not use my Judgment or Exorcism or whatever spells simply to work that Divine Storm cooldown again. What’s the difference between this and the healing? When you’re DPSing, the mobs you fight end up having a lot of health. This makes the spell much more useful because there is a chance you can end up using it more times then you normally would. In fact, as a DPS, you end up using those abilities everytime the cooldown is 0. Anything that resets the cooldown is a plus.

    But as a healer, you’re not healing players with 80000 health. You’re not getting a maximum gain back every chance the cooldown is up because it isn’t always used. The health ceiling is too low. The only encounter where you would use up the Penance cooldown every time would be on the Dreamwalker fight. A Disc Priest just alternates between Penance and Flash Heal and lights up Penance everytime it resets on Valithria herself. In that sense, they are no different than a DPS player. The difference is that the bar increases instead of decreases.

    With the current raid health, we just don’t get those kinds of opportunities enough.

  • Constant versus proc: You can tell where I’m going with this one. The proposed changes are a constant. They will always be in effect. One of my Priests in the guild likes to refer to proc chance items as “The Vala’nyr Effect”. Its absolutely awesome when the proc lights up, but its just like any other item later. Having a constant is (usually) better since it’s always there. I love my Vala’nyr to death, but sometimes it just fires off at non-opportune or non beneficial times (“Crap, I got the buff when I’m stuck inside a giant frozen ice block or am busy running out of this really long trail of purple fire”). Straight buffs are straight buffs.

All in all, if our current tier bonus does end up changing, I do hope they file this set bonus in the “future tier 11/12/13 set bonuses”. It was a great idea and I know many of you were pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out. Maybe when the increased health pool changes go up (during Cataclysm), we can make it really shine.

Anyway, I still maintain that the PTR is the PTR. This is the direction they’re leaning toward and it’s either a placeholder or the numbers will be changed later. What we do definitively know is that there will be a change to it.

Now if you really want to make it interesting, here’s my proposed T10 change:

4 piece: Your Circle of Healing and Penance spells have a 20% chance to cause your next Flash Heal cast within 6 sec to remove the Weakened Soul debuff on that target.

How is that for complicated? Probably overpowered. But that’d be kinda fun to play with.

Discipline’s Tier 10 4-piece Joke

Discipline’s Tier 10 4-piece Joke

Haha!  Hey!  Hey!  I got a great one for ya! 

“What do you call a 5% buff to Power Word: Shield?”

“Insignificant.”

Wait!  I got another one!

“Name something fun, interesting, and awesome that gets replaced by something as mundane as a bowl of rocks?”

“The Priest Tier 10 4-piece Set Bonus.”

Let’s bring everyone up to speed.  Not all priests are at a place where they can experience, or even look forward to the set bonuses of the current tier.  The current Tier 10 4-piece is as follows:

Your Circle of Healing and Penance spells have a 20% chance to cause your next Flash Heal cast within 6 sec to reset the cooldown on your Circle of Healing and Penance spells.

Avalonna at talesofapriest.com has a great write-up of how beneficial this was to Holy Priests.  Now, I have very little knowledge of Holy, since I’m primarily (and almost solely) Discipline.

From a Discipline standpoint, this was amazing as a tank healer, or even a Discipline raid healer.  Follow me on this one, as it’s my first attempt at something resembling theory-crafting.  I apologize in advance if my numbers are off a little bit.

The “Math”

Penance is 16% of your base mana.  You get 3 pulses of healing.  I can crit all 3 for ~14k.  Flash Heal is 18% of your base mana.  With Glyph of Flash Heal and Improved Flash Heal, it’s less.  I can crit and get about ~9k (with a 3-stack of Grace).  Penance is relatively cheap, and heals more than Flash Heal.

With full raid buffs and the Borrowed Time proc, my Flash Heal cast is ~1 second.  With Glyph of Penance, the cooldown is down to 8 seconds (thanks to the lovely Penance nerf we had a while back).  So, you’re telling me I have a chance to reset an 8 second cooldown with a 1 second cast?  Yes, please! 

Not to mention that Avalonna also points out in her post that this Flash Heal! proc doesn’t have an internal cooldown.  It’s possible that you can have a string of Flash Heal -> Penance -> Flash Heal -> Penance -> etc. etc.  Even without worrying about Grace, this becomes pretty powerful. 

The Fun

When I was first looking at the likelihood of getting my Tier 10 set, I was salivating at the mouth for a cool and interesting 4-piece bonus.  Look at what we’ve had in the past:

Tier 7 – Reduces Greater Heal cost by 5%. (Discipline doesn’t really utilize this in most circumstances.)

Tier 8 – Casting PW:Shield grants 250 spellpower for 5 seconds. (Obviously useful for Discipline.  Kinda “meh” for Holy.)

Tier 9 – Increases Divine Aegis and the initial hit of Empowered Renew by 10%. (Blizzard gets the idea to involve both specs.  Still, marginal increase.)

So finally, we get a Tier bonus that’s interesting, challenging to work with, and it gets tossed under the bus.  If it was deemed overpowered, a simple fix would be to either shorten the window needed to cast the Flash Heal, or reduce the chance for it to proc to less than 20%.  I feel that completely redesigning it was a bad move on Blizzard’s case.  People need to understand that this game is organic.  I personally enjoy having to tweak my playstyle a bit to get more “oomph” out of my healing.  The Tier 7 set had me speccing into Divine Fury and utilizing a Borrowed Time-hasted Greater Heal for a while.

The Replacement

Our incoming Tier 10 4-piece set:

This bonus now increases the effectiveness of the caster’s Power Word: Shield and Renew spells by 5%.

Sorry, I just gagged a little while reading it again.  Blizzard has gone the “easy route” and just given us a static stat increase.  As far as Discipline goes, it’s a sad one at that.  Thanks to math from Zusterke, I’m able to whip out some numbers for you.

Let’s say you have 3000 spellpower, raid-buffed or not.  Your glyphed Power Word: Shield will total 8,813 (as of right now).  At 3200 spellpower, it’s 9,177. 

With this new “buff”, those numbers change to 9,254 and 9,636, respectively.  You’re looking at a 441 and 459 jump.  Even at 4000 spellpower, you’re only increasing your shield by 532 points of absorption.  With how bosses and mobs hit, this is hardly worth even considering. 

Even if you’re able to keep up PW:S on the raid the WHOLE time, you’re preventing only ~11,500 extra damage every 15 seconds. 

Hence, this bonus is far from worth it to me.  Dawn Moore wrote up on WoW.com her initial thoughts on the changes.  She writes:

“Still, the buff is exceptionally good. The only problem with it is that so many priests who turned their back on the tier gear for other badge items (such as shadow’s tier gear) with better itemization are now going to be screaming bloody murder.”

I disagree with the phrases “buff is exceptionally good”, “only problem”, and….well, hell, I disagree with her.  I really don’t know any Priests that I game with or interact with in the blog/twitter communities that were against the original set bonus.  If anything, those that were on the fence about the bonus were quick fans once they actually acquired the bonus.  This news of “4-piece hatred” came out of nowhere, as far as I’m concerned. 

Then again, I’m just one person.  It looks like I’ll be going the route of dropped loot, crafted pieces, and off-set badge gear.  This particular Priest isn’t too thrilled about the change.

Other Thoughts:

Lilitharien from Divine Aegis

Bati from Holy Nova NOW!

Miss Medicina’s “To Bonus or Not to Bonus”

How do you feel about it? How does this affect your gearing strategy as you make your way through the content?

Email: elder.thespius@gmail.com | Twitter: @Thespius

 

It Came From the P.U.G.! Good Surprises.

It Came From the P.U.G.! Good Surprises.

For those who might not know yet, my gluttony for abuse knows no bounds. As a result I find myself in a rather large number of P.U.G. groups. At the end of the day I bring you, my readers, the stories of my travels in the random grouping of Azerothian adventure in It Came From The P.U.G.!

Last night something awesome happened, something I completely didn’t expect. I’ve never been an achievement monger. I’ve never gone out of the way to try to get them and as a result I’m missing just a few from getting my Red Protodrake. I queued up for my daily random and waltzed into Azjol-Nerub. Oddly enough the LFD system had queued up multiple healers for one group. A quick laugh and a decision of who was going to DPS and who was going to heal and we were on our way. We blow through the first boss and make our way down to the second boss when the druid of the group doesn’t even ask if I need the achievement for Hadonox (which I did), but just goes for it anyways. We complete Hadronox Denied and my achievement pops up. I say thank you and the druid makes a comment about how he saw I needed it so he just went for it.

That right there absolutely floored me. I didn’t ask for the achievement, I didn’t have to beg or cajole. The just did it because they saw I needed it and wanted to help. The entire group was excited I got the achievement and we came together at that moment, five complete strangers. Moments like that truly show off how amazing the community of gamers can be!

This is also the same way I earned the Less-rabi achievement. Someone just saw I needed it and went for it making sure to hit each interrupt.

With all the horror stories in pick up groups (my own tales included!) it is often times hard to keep sight on the good that you come across. Those times where something honestly nice and unexpected happens. This past week has been very cool on that front each night for my dailies.

Two nights ago my queue found me in Oculus. Two of the party members just freshly dinged 80 and happened to find their way into my group. One of the members was complaining about carrying fresh 80s and I piped up. It was actually really fun, and watching a fresh 80 warrior tank and a fresh 80 warlock having a blast in an instance most people hate was refreshing. They both got some good upgrades and the run was fast and smooth. We spent the entire time just talking and having a blast. It was just a fun healthy run. And at the end of the day that is why we play the game right? To have fun. Most of my runs this week have been like that. Lots of conversation, friendly and enjoyable. I’m very pleased by this and hope I get to see this more often. No one telling someone they hate them or how they fail at life, but rather just getting along and having a good time together.

So what about you? How have your P.U.G.s been this week? Anything fun or exciting happen? Any good news from the LFD system?

That is it for today, until next time Happy Healing!

Advice on Blogging Safely Without Fear of a Gkick

I sensed a disturbance in the force. As if millions of unsatisfied WoW bloggers cried out in terror before being silenced.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t as dramatic but I wanted to offer up some advice to both bloggers and guildmasters about guild stuff that gets blogged. I’ve been on both sides of the coin and I’d gladly share my experiences with those that are a little nervous about coming out to their guild that they’re a closet blogger.

So in this post, I want to expand on a few aspects of blogging about your guild.

  • What spawned this post
  • The guild master’s perspective on the blogger
  • The blogger’s perspective versus the guild
  • Why blogging is good for the application
  • The negative side effects
  • My personal limits
  • How to “out” yourself

A quick background

There was a question on Twitter asked a few nights ago regarding the revealing of your blog to your guild. It eventually turned into this post by anea. I responded that I had no problem with it and that I encouraged it. After a bit more reading and research, I came across a rather disappointing story of a blogger who got the boot over their blog Whoops, factual error. I misread. He didn’t actually get canned. He left of his own accord. Larisa detailed her own thoughts regarding the situation. The folks at Hots & Dots listed their stance on it too.

As a guild master

I go out of my way to remind the bloggers in my guild that they are free to write about whatever they wish, but have some tact. If it’s a problem with myself, a situation, conflicts, or policy issues, that it be brought up with myself or an officer first to see if it can be resolved. After that, they’re free to blog their experiences and what not free of reprisal. It’s not fair to me if I am told that there is no problem only to find out minutes later on their blog that they got treated poorly or had some really bad experience somewhere. It becomes even worse if it’s something that I could have fixed.

Again, I stress that I would never gkick anyone over their comments on their blog. I might be a little hurt but it comes with the territory. I’ll gladly remove players for attitude reasons or what not, but their blog is their territory. It is their personal haven for their thoughts. I don’t exactly pay these guys unless it’s in epics. I would never dream of with holding Holy Paladin loot for the Bossy Pally (especially now that she’s our only one).

Besides, have bloggers in your guild can be a positive thing. They’re ambassadors of your guild to the public and to potential applicants. Bloggers can offer an idea of what raiding or day-to-day guild life is like. This helps applicants reach a better conclusion on whether or not your guild is a good fit for them.

Note: I mentioned this in Anea’s post, but I am most likely the exception as opposed to the norm. Guild masters have take a variety of stances and perspectives when it comes to stuff like this. Some will embrace it and others will feel threatened by it. Not every person is willing to have guild business on the internet and will view it as a private and internal affair. I guess you could say I lead one of the rare few blogger-safe guilds in existence!

As a blogger

In previous guilds, I’ve been just a raider who blogged. So I definitely get that whole feeling of wariness and caution. But you know, I figured I didn’t have much to lose. I knew I was a fairly decent Priest and that raiding guilds love Priests. If I was going to get booted for having a published opinion, then I didn’t want to be in that guild anyway.

The trick though is to write without being utterly spiteful. Don’t come out with guns blazing when you face a problem. Write about it with a sense of style. Write it calmly. Write your drama posts as you would an objective news reporter: The facts. Add your opinion, your feelings, your thoughts afterward.

My blog has always been my personal outlet when I was frustrated with different aspects, proud of various achievements, or if I simply wanted to get my thoughts organized somewhere.

It can also act as a thermometer.

When you notice your blog starts to have more negative posts about your guild, it’s time to re-evaluate the guild you’re in. In the past, I’ve read blog posts centered around dissatisfaction with certain policies or actions. Then I think to myself, “Man, that player and that guild certainly did not make a good fit”.

The story of the bossy pally and how she conquered

I’m going to pick on the bossy pally here just because I’m her GM.

Ophelie was not the first blogger to apply to the guild. A while ago, there was a hunter by the name of Amava who applied. You may remember that hunter blogger from a long time ago. But I knew the name, I knew the blog, and I already made up my mind to pick him up. I only skimmed his application. If memory serves, he actually did list his blog in it. Amava has since retired from blogging and is now a social and casual player.

Now the bossy pally on the other hand, did not. She merely mentioned that she had a blog without listing her URL. When I saw that, my eyes narrowed, my knuckles cracked, and my brain turned full tilt.

Here was a supposed blogger who applied without listing their URL.

First, the thought on my mind was that came up was “Why?”.

Why would anyone withhold their blog URL and from me of all people?

Maybe they’re shy. Maybe they’re a little intimidated that what content they have on their blog isn’t good enough. Are they embarrassed? But why be embarrassed? There’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Unless you have a terrible blog layout with really bad eye gouging colors and the inability to type properly, I’ll definitely give applicants that chance.

But, I will absolutely deny an applicant if I find their blog aesthetically vomit worthy. Comic Sans MS?! Fuchsia (I hope I spelled that color right)?! Really obnoxious ads that obscure everything?! Not in Matt’s guild!

Regardless, I was determined to find her blog. I’ll walk you through what I was thinking.

How does showcasing your blog help your application?

  • Demonstrates your knowledge: I want to know what you know. If it’s about raiding? Great. Class knowledge and posts? Perfect. Even if your blog has nothing to do with the game, I’ll still hunt it down anyway because it offers me an insight into your personality. I have this theory that when it comes to writing, people unconsciously imprint a part of their soul or essence into their work. It offers a glimmer or a window into what makes that person who they are. Thankfully, when I saw her blog, I was satisfied with what I saw. Here was a person who was young and new to the world of blogging but had a solid grasp of their class. Her blog layout? Passed with flying colors.

How might showcasing your blog work against you?

  • Content censorship: I think this is something that bloggers wrestle with internally. There is a political aspect to this. “If I write about this, will the leadership get mad? If they get mad, does that jeopardize my status in the guild?” Bloggers, especially those new to the guild or who aren’t as “established” in their organization tend to be a little cautious. No one wants to piss off their boss intentionally. No one wants to screw up their raid spot or have that epic drop accidentally mislooted. As a result, you’re not quite as free as you think you are because you’re subconsciously trying to put up a positive image of not rocking the boat.

Writing about guildies and my limits

Unless my guildies already blog, I’ll never list them by name. It’s more of a protective measure. Every day, I get various tells and emails and such. Most are positive and some aren’t. The last thing I want to have happen is for that sort of publicity spillover to the rest of my guild when that flak is undeserved and unnecessary. I’m a little paranoid about it, I’ll admit. It might be unjustified even so.

All the same, it allows me to blog about certain… finer, humorous moments in the guild without opening them up for exposure. I would never shy away from writing about the positive outcomes. At the same time, while I may be reluctant to write about the negative experiences, I won’t be afraid to dish that out either. If someone in the guild epically failed and took 18.63 seconds to shake of the Pact of the Darkfallen on Blood Queen, I’ll write about it but withhold their name. The primary purpose of the blog has always been to teach and to get you readers to think. Readers can learn from my successes. But they can just as easily learn from my failures. As long as someone out there is getting some kind of value from what they’re reading, then our job here is done.

Be careful about the dirty laundry you decide to air. It could very well come back and bite you in the ass.

Again, you have to remember to be tactful about how you come across. This is the internet. It’s a little difficult to convey tone. Saying “You moron!” like House is vastly different saying “You moron!” in a playfully, teasing manner.

Various ways  to “out” yourself

  • Forum post: Create a simple forum post announcing your blog’s URL and what it’s about. Solicit some advice and feedback about what they like, didn’t like, and what they’d want to read more about.
  • Stealth: Insert it in your forum signature. See how long it takes for people to notice.
  • Announce in guild chat: Maybe log on late or early when there’s a few people around. Subtly leak it to the players that are online. Say that you’re working on a little WoW project.
  • Scavenger hunt: Just say that you have a blog. Leave no URL. Leave no clues. Leave no other indications. Make them work for it and lose sleep until they find it.

So how has Ophelie turned out so far? In about 2-3 months, she’s come a long way. When she was first in the guild, she had a tough time speaking at all or saying hi. Now she actually speaks and has even taken the initiative to lead a 10 man.

Lastly, I’m not saying you have to out yourself. That’s your personal move. You shouldn’t be afraid to though.

Let this be a warning! No applicant’s blog will ever be safe from the super blog stalker! Of course, you could just also not say anything and I wouldn’t have a clue (unless I recognized your name like I did with Amava’s).

Ugh, I’m losing my touch. I look at this post and it seems like I’m all over the place. I suppose that’s just blogger rust. The formatting looks weird! Where’s my coherency? Where’d my flow go? I’ve lost my blogging mojo! Sigh! But whatever, I want to get this post out.

Cataclysm Stat Changes: Yes!

Between the removal of mp5 as a form of mana regeneration, many of the changes announced at Blizzcon have been explained in more detail by Eyonix.

The best change for me?

Raid buffs will no longer boost Spirit, so you shouldn’t find yourself unexpectedly over the Hit cap because of buffs.

If I read that right, does that mean no more Divine Spirit for Priests? If so, we’ll hopefully get another ability to compensate.

More importantly? A 33% reduction in candles used! Hooray!

More health

Anyway, there’s a lot of reading to do in between the lines. For example, if you check out the second post about changes to existing gear? You’ll notice there are some common qualities among the various roles:

If you are a melee DPS class, druid tank, or hunter, expect to see:

  • A lot more Stamina. Bear-form Stamina scaling will be lowered as a result.
  • Strength if you wear plate. Agility if you wear mail or leather.
  • Existing Attack Power becomes Agility and Stamina.Armor Penetration becomes Haste or Crit.
  • No Intellect on melee gear. Hunters won’t need Intellect since they will no longer use mana. Shaman and Retribution paladins will get mana and spell damage in other ways.

If you are a DPS caster, expect to see:

  • A lot more Stamina.
  • All of your Spell Power converted to Intellect and Stamina.
  • No Spirit. You won’t miss Spirit, though, because you won’t need it for DPS or mana regen.

If you are a healer, expect to see:

  • A lot more Stamina.
  • All of your Spell Power converted to Intellect and Stamina.
  • Spirit instead of MP5. You’ll probably be happy with Spirit, though, because mana regen is going to matter more than it does currently. Healing paladins and shaman will benefit more from Spirit than they do currently.

This is Blizzard’s way of increasing the challenge of healing without having to resort to having stuff hit way harder and relying solely on reaction time. I did triage healing before during Vanilla, and it was quite the experience (it’s also something I want to write more about later on).

But notice how everyone is getting a lot more stamina. Health pool gaps between plate and other armor wearing classes are being narrowed. For healing, this removes a strategic component. An example is that on a fight like Blood Queen, if a Priest, a Mage, and a Paladin have the Pact of the Dark Fallen debuff, the Priest and the Mage would typically be prioritized first. Their gear doesn’t have as much stamina as the Paladin does. Since all classes will have similar amounts of health, we don’t have to spend that split second to prioritize the cloth wearers first.

I’m fairly certain that our healing spells won’t be scaling as high. We won’t be seeing as much players with full health in raid fights. Healing will revolve much more around priority, priority, and priority (more on that later).

Spell Power on weapons

One exception is that caster weapons will still have Spell Power. This allows us to make weapons proportionately more powerful for casters in the same way they are for melee classes.

I love that change.

Questions to ask

  • Is Divine Spirit actually going to be removed or is it just the spirit component of the various stat increasing raid buffs?
  • What happens to Inner Fire? Does it simply provide a boost to Intellect with Spell Power being removed?