I am so Ashamed

I am so Ashamed

matts-pony

Ghostcrawler did promise us a pony.

Man, I hate myself so much right now. I have no willpower at all. Thankfully this thing is account wide so it means I don’t have to spend any in game gold on mounts ever again. Just have to buy the training for it.

But still.

I feel so dirty.

Sometimes I wonder why I’m not addicted to drugs or alcohol yet. Probably because I’d rather spend the money on shiny, transparent things like mounts. Tried speccing Shadow to see if it’d look any cooler. I was hoping it’d be a little darker or more transparent-y, but alas.

Dragon Slaying 101: Healing Sindragosa 10

Dragon Slaying 101: Healing Sindragosa 10

A few days ago I posted all the tips and tricks I’d heard for killing Sindy on 10 man and some of you then recommended other things I’d not thought of. Thanks for sharing! Some good tips there – feel free to keep adding on the comments – post is here – if you think of anything more.

So we know how to kill the dragon. But how to heal through her onslaught?

She’s got a bit of a grudge against people like you, wandering in and slaughtering her brood. She’s just landed and wants to turn your band of adventurers into a band of red goo on the floor. You’re meant to be healing them through it. What to do? Read on, though I’m going to assume you’ve read the general guide from last week so I’m not going to spell things out: this is purely about healing.

Let’s start at the beginning. Phase 1, where the healing is easy. Why? Quite simply – you won’t be doing much healing.

This might make you wonder whether three healers is too many. I’d recommend having three until your group is really comfortable with the fight. You healers might not have much to do in phase 1 but later on it’s chaotic and there’ll usually be at least one healer unable to heal for a few seconds. Having three healers available makes the chaos a bit more comfortable.

Ground phase critical info:

  • Unavoidable damage: There’s not much. Your main tank will take some damage from Sindy’s physical attacks and Frost Breath. Your raid will constantly take damage from Sindy’s raid-wide Frost Aura. Heal them through it. If you’ve met Lana’thel then compare and be reassured: the damage in Sindy’s encounter will feel a lot less threatening.
    • Class specific tips: most healing classes can make it even less threatening. Shaman, you’ve got frost resistance totem. Paladins, you’ve got Frost Resistance Aura. And Druids – make sure Gift of the Wild is up to give the general boost to resistances.
  • Avoidable damage: There are several colourful ways in which your raiders can get themselves turned into red goo, or at least badly hurt. These things probably won’t happen too often but be ready to heal mistakes.
    • If a player lets their stacking debuffs get too high, they’ll take a chunk of damage. It’s usually heal-able but if it occurs at the same time as another chunk of damage or even a tick of Frost Aura it might be enough to kill them. If you’re a raid leader you could raid warn them to move using a mouse-over-macro (or Vent of course)
    • If people don’t run out of Blistering Cold quick enough they’ll likely be one-shotted or on low health – watch Grid/Healbot as you run from it and be ready to heal anyone who’s a bit slow
    • If DPS don’t watch their aggro as the tank’s threat can be slightly lower here, they’ll die. They’ll also spin the dragon of fortune, possibly killing other people in the process
      • Class specific tip: Discy priests – If a DPS is aggro happy don’t hesitate to pop Pain Suppression on them to give your main tank some breathing space. Likewise – Paladins – if someone’s really going aggro crazy, slap a Hand of Salvation on them.
  • When to heal: If Sindy casts Unchained Magic on you immediately stop casting until the debuff goes away. Your other healers need to cover healing without you until then. You need to do the same for them if they get Unchained Magic. DBM does tell you and place markers on the people who get Unchained Magic but I also recommend letting the other healers know yourself. My healers and I just typed “UM” in party chat if we get the debuff. Then train your dagger or mace skill – the debuff feels like it takes an age to drop.
  • Nothing to do. In the ground phase you may find that no-one needs healing quite often. If that’s the case – and you don’t have Unchained Magic – then perhaps you could DPS a little. I don’t advocate healers DPSing that often but in this case it’s helpful – ideally your group needs to get Sindy to 35% health/phase 2 before a fourth air phases. So throw in a bit of DPS to help get her there, but only if you’re safe to do so.

Air phase healing:

There shouldn’t be any healing in an air phase except at the very beginning and end but people will take damage if they don’t line of sight the ice swirls behind icetombs. Likewise, multiple people may take damage if tombs are broken before all four ice swirls are done. It’s generally easily heal-able. It’s even easier for Paladins who are specced for either Divine Guardian or Aura Mastery.

Be ready to heal people up as they come out of icetombs. The longer they’ve been entombed the more healing they’ll need. Be aware of who’s entombed, too – if it’s the other healers then healing’s solely your task until they’re freed. This makes it doubly important to remain aware of the ice swirls and not get too wrapped up in healing.

Tip: Make sure that players about to be entombed are fully healed: heal them up as they are about to be iced. Shamans’ riptide, Druids’ HoTs and Priests’ Renew should top off their health and keep it there for the first few seconds of air phase.

Phase 2 critical info:

When Sindy hits 35% health she’ll start stacking Mystic Buffet on everyone, which increases their magical damage taken by 20% per stack. Ideally everyone in the raid will reset their stacks by line of sighting Sindy behind an ice tomb – including heparty chat trimmedalers and tank.

First thing’s first. Set up a stack-reset rotation amongst you and the other healers. That is, every time there’s an icetomb two of you should reset Mystic Buffet stacks and heal the raid, and the third healer should stay out to heal the tank, as they will be taking a lot more damage and line of sighting Sindy behind an icetomb also means line of sighting your tank. See the diagram for how my healers organise the rotation.

This rotation can be messed up by a healer being icetombed. If that happens just skip their step and fill in appropriately: for example, if Bob is meant to be healing the tank this turn and Carla next turn, but Bob gets icetombed, Carla stays out this turn to cover tank healing in Bob’s stead.

Your group needs to have only one icetomb up at any point. Be aware where icetomb people are standing before they’re entombed. If they’re standing within 10 yards of you you will also be icetombed. Stop what you’re doing and move away. If you’ve time, yell a warning that they’re standing close to raid members.

Class specific tips:

  • Paladins, you can make this phase easier for your whole healing team. Beacon of Light isn’t affected by line of sight. (Paladins, this is not applicable. Thanks for the correction here folks!)
  • Shaman – this may seem counter-intuitive when the healing’s heavy but if the fight’s got messy and Sindy’s on low health, remember to drop Flame Elemental totem. It’ll help on DPS and you can focus on healing. Likewise, Bloodlust/Heroism should always be in phase 2. The later the better: find the fine line between the fight not being chaotic enough and half the raid being dead.
  • Druids – keep HoTs up on the tanks. Also, practice getting precise on range to icetombs. Ideally be no more than 10 yards away from people about to be entombed, to reduce running time
  • Priests – bubble as many people as you can. Priesties of the holy variety – throw guardian spirit up on the tank. If things are really going down the drain then you might buy some extra time by dying, healing for free and without ouchies as Spirit of Redemption, then popping back up with a soulstone or combat res. Discies – consider throwing Pain Suppression up on the tank if there are no threat issues.

 

That’s it, doc. This is one of those odd fights in which there seems little to do, then suddenly a flurry of mad button pressing. I hope some of these tips have given you a heads up or helped you go the extra seven leagues. I don’t play all of the healing classes inside ICC so feel free to share your expertise in the comments; let’s make these two guides all that dragon slayers could ever need inside Ieccrown Citadel!

What do you think? Have you any tips to add? Do you enjoy healing this fight or do you find it boring? Do you think it’s highly luck based or only skill and awareness based? Do you get annoyed if your teammates turn themselves into red goo and you know you stood no chance of healing it?

This is an article by Mimetir, an owl (and resto shaman) of a raid leader on The Venture Co. (EU) You can find my twtitter feed here.

Are Healing Classes Losing Individual Identity?

In my recent Priest changes announcement post, Kivassha posed some excellent questions that I wanted to share.

Comment edited for length

Hi Matticus

In my mind disc priests are topping up absorbing the damage on Tanks, almost like druid heals are for raid, helping with spike damage until the big chain heals (shammy) and POH (holy priest) lands.

My concern?

I wonder if getting Disc priests to focus on MT will make it boring. I like how classes compliments each other and the unity that forms when everyone gets to know each other’s play stile and can on the fly make the right decision and heal where it is needed. It feels like the synergy will be lost between classes.

With the holy priest changes a priest will be able to heal a little bit more like a druid does with all the hot changes. Again how will the synergy between classes work? How would druids feels about this?

How boring will it be if everyone can do what every other healer class can do? Holy can main tank heal, can do big raid heals and will now be able to do really good HOT’s. Even Shammies will now have a HOT. So I wonder if Druids will get big long casting spells like POH, Chain heal?

To me it looks like they are giving each healer class similar capabilities to make them more like all round healers. Will this take away from each class the niche they have?
Yes the email sound negative, but I am curious and excited to work out how things will work in future.

[…]

I can’t say whether or not Discipline healing will be boring. Different healers I talk to just love healing. If you love what you do, you’re never going to find it boring. As for class synergy, there’s no reason for it to go away. Don’t forget that this is just a class preview of what they intend to do. There is still a long wait before Cataclysm is installed on our computers. If you look at the different things that healers can excel at, Discipline Priests are optimized best for tank healing. Does that mean it’s the only thing they can do? Nah, far from it. That’s what I’ve always liked about the game is that I can mix and match healers and not have to worry too much at all about it.

Druids should have nothing to worry about at all. We still heal in fairly different styles. While some of the mechanics might blend together, the numbers still need to be tuned and adjusted accordingly. I suspect that will help narrow the gap a bit between Priest and Druid healing.

Going back to healing styles again, I don’t think it’s going to be boring for healers. Each healing class can do something similar to each other. That’s good though. While you want to encourage a variety of healers in your raids, it doesn’t mean that you have to always have a Shaman or have to always have a Paladin. Each healing class has their own strengths and weaknesses. At the very minimum, each class can fire off some AoE heals. Each class has a large heal, a fast heal, and an efficient heal. It just so happens that their extra healing spells are done in a different way. Priests have group based healing in Prayer of Healing and Circle of Healing. Shamans have that new Healing Rain which hits everyone in a certain area. Paladins come out at the end of the week so we’re not sure what they get yet.

As far as the healing niche goes though, you are right that each class will have similar capabilities. How much would it suck if a Druid healer who loves to play a Druid has to re-roll to a Priest to heal a particularly difficult encounter because the Priest can heal a certain encounter way better than a Druid can? During Sunwell, I heard many top end guilds had to bench Paladins and some Druids for the Twins encounter. They ended up bringing in Shaman alts and Holy Priest alts for Circle of Healing and Chain Heal. The philosophy of Blizzard has always been to bring the player and not the class. A Druid should be able to heal an encounter just as well as a Priest, Shaman, or Paladin and I agree with that.

The identities of each healing class won’t be lost though. Just because each class can keep players up doesn’t mean they’ll lost their own unique style or method of doing it.

Let’s not forget what Ghostcrawler said:

We’d rather make healing fun for the players who like to heal rather than make healing easy for the players who hate to heal but do it anyway.

And I’m sure they’ll find ways to make it entertaining.

Heroic moments

Heroic moments

Last couple days I’ve been talking with a few friends about the heroic or epic feel of the game. This was spurred by the recent Cataclysm class previews. My friend felt that the game was making players too over powered and he feels that what he wants is and I quote

“To have the ever loving shit beaten out of the raid by a boss. Like seriously have Deathwing be so badass he just looks at us and we die.”

I replied with a little snark informing him that he could always level to 60 and turn off xp and raid classic content while it still existed, whatever was left of it.

To me the game is taking a logical step in many ways, I mean let’s take a look at all the things we’ve done in the game (and by we I mean as a collective player base).

  • Defeated an elemental lord
  • Defeated the son and daughter of the aspect of earth and the progenitor of the Black Dragon Flight
  • Defeated and old god and his followers
  • Defeated troll tribal leaders and their god
  • Defeated the Lich Kings floating citadel and his right-hand lich
  • Cleansed the home of Medivh
  • Defeated a Daemon lord
  • Stomped a troll hero into the dirt
  • Defeated a power sucking Prince of the blood elves
  • Defeated Illidan
  • Restored the sunwell while repelling a powerful Eredar
  • Trudged through the snow and ice to set fire the the Lich Kings floating citadel AGAIN!
  • Killed the aspect of magic
  • Beat down ANOTHER god and the servants of titans
  • Slapped around the custodian of the titans
  • and Dethroned an undead king

/breathes

So…  Yeah. Safe to say we’ve done a lot right? but if you look at it it’s been big bads right? So why shouldn’t we feel a little powerful right?

We’ve all had those moments too, where after a boss goes down or a particularly hard fight is won where you want to stand up and thrust your fists in the air and yell in victory. I know it’s just a game, but you can’t help but feel accomplished sometimes. For me it’s those moments of the harrying first kill. My guild’s first Blood Queen (25) kill, there were only two people left standing. Me and the feral druid stood over her corpse amid a sea of raider bodies. It may sound weird but in that moment I felt really good at the kill, being so close to that wipe and trying EVERY trick I had to stay alive / res / keep someone up long enough for the DoTs to tick was heart pounding, and that kill is among the ones I savor the most. I count that as one of my heroic moments in the game, where I felt that this could see this as a scene from a movie or book and wanting to throw my hands up victorious in the air and scream my defiance at this villain that had stood in our way threatening death, and nearly delivering it in full.

In every story I’ve ever read as the main character got more powerful, so did his enemies. We are about to go up against the corrupted aspect of earth. EARTH. That little thing all of Azeroth is comprised of. Safe to assume he’s going to be something of a jerk right? So with all the class changes happening I think it’s in good form that we are starting to feel well…. uber. It fits with the progression of the game.

Also consider that encounters are changing. The way we handle fights now is for the most part pretty linear. Don’t stand in fire, don’t stand in front of the boss, let the tank get aggro etc etc. Even the current mechanics can be boiled down to simplistic measures in many cases. In Cataclysm however the dynamics of each role are changing. The mechanics of each class are changing and this is going to allow developers to make more interesting encounters.

Me, I’m looking forward to Cataclsym and all the changes. I’m looking forward to having to approach different encounters differently. I look forward to feeling like yes I am powerful, but still have a damn good challenge ahead of me. I’m looking for more spells, more encounter mechanics, harder mana regen. I’m looking forward to feeling like the team I belong to earned EVERY kill with sweat blood and perseverance. I don’t think we’re overpowered, I just think we scale with content!

So how about you? How do you feel about the changes coming? Do you think they are over powered? Do you have a heroic moment to share? A well earned kill?

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

 

Dragon Slaying 101: How To Sindragosa 10

Dragon Slaying 101: How To Sindragosa 10

Sindragosa. Even the bravest amongst us shiver or spit when they say her name. There’s a lot of hatred for her but not much in the way of a definitive How You Deal With Sindy. So today I’m doing just that for raiders needing advice on Sindragosa 10. I’ll follow up in a few days with tips specific to healing here.

Though the encounter can seem easier than others in ICC Sindy will turn you and yours into foiled adventurer sandwiches. I believe some encounters can be harder on 10 man than 25: this is one of them.

You’ve just redecorated Sindy’s ledge with the trash and your group is pausing to do crucial things like buff up and get coffee. Then a giant ribcage full of blue gas lands on your tank and you’re all in combat. What to do?

Sindragosa: quick facts

- Don’t Panic! Tactically If you know any combination of Garfrost, Sapphiron and Any Other Dragon at all, you already have a good idea of the tactics for Sindragosa. The encounter’s also nicely paced – it starts off gently.
- She’s a dragon. That means standing behind her will get you tail swept and standing in front of her will get you cleaved. This particular dragon also has a Frost Breath which hits anything in front of her.
- Sindy uses a lot of auras and debuffs. Most of them affect every member of the raid. Here’s what you need to know:

  • PERMEATING CHILL will stack on all meleers as they attack. They should stop attacking Sindy when it gets to 5-6 stacks, until it falls off.
  • INSTABILITY will stack on any caster who Sindy casts UNCHAINED MAGIC on. To prevent stacks of Instability simply stop casting until UNCHAINED MAGIC falls off. Really, stop casting, it’s possible to kill yourself with these stacks.
  • MYSTIC BUFFET will stack on everyone in phase 2. It increases magical damage taken per stack. More on that later.
  • FROST AURA will deal 4.5k damage to everyone every 3 seconds any time Sindy is grounded  That means healers need to be constantly healing.

In phase 1 Sindragosa has ground and air phases. The first air phase occurs at 85% health, and then every 90 seconds thereafter until 35%.

Ground phase critical info: Positioning

Threat: Sindy tests your DPSers’ ability to watch their aggro. As usual the tank will have to position an unwieldy dragon – oggle over my arty  diagram for positioning. More importantly though, the tank will also get PERMEATING CHILL and will sometimes have to stop hitting for a few seconds to let the stacks drop.
Frostie: You might want to consider some or all of your raid wearing one piece of frost resist kit to mitigate some of the frost damage which is going to get worse as the fight progresses. At the very least I’d recommend your main tank picks up a piece of frost resistance.
Hokie-kokie: Sindy will pull the group in to her. Then she casts a 25-yard AoE called BLISTERING COLD. It has a 5 second cast time. Run away in a straight line as soon as she grips you in. Anyone caught in the AoE will either be dead on the floor or near-dead on their feet.
– Your tank should be aware that Sindy seems to move forward onto the tank after Blistering Cold, whether or not the tank moved.
Tip: DBM counts the BLISTERING COLD ability cooldown. Be ready to run as it ticks down. I also find it useful to turn on the spot to face the direction I want to run as the cooldown ticks. I also remind anyone with high debuff stacks to let them drop, in case they get caught in the AoE and their debuff might finish them off. Death Knights can use Anti-Magic Shell to null the effects of Blistering Cold.

Air phase how to:

The air phase is the first that requires co-ordination. It’s like Sapphiron’s air phase: you hide behind icetombs to line of sight (that is, put something between you and it so you can’t see it) an AoE.

Unlike Sapphiron, the AoE doesn’t come from Sindy herself but ice swirls she places on the ground. Those swirls are what you need to line of sight. air phase2

1. Two raid members will get target marks. They should run to pre-arranged ‘ice tomb positions as in the picture. These positions should be the same for every air phase. Everyone else should stay away from those two people until they’re entombed in ice. 
2. As soon as they’re tombed up everyone else should gather round the tombs. You have a few seconds from the ice swirl appearing to the AoE occuring. Look for the ice swirls and line of sight them. There will be four swirls in total and they could be anywhere on the platform – including behind you.
3. As you avoid the AoE you also need to break the ice blocks to let your comrades out. Do this by slowly DPSing the iceblocks so they break just after the fourth swirl/AoE: try to avoid letting icetombs break. I’d recommend not getting below 25% health before the fourth blast.
Tip: remember I said this was a forgiving fight? We found it’s possible to live through breaking one or both icetombs early on air phases, but I recommend breaking them slowly for safety. If necessary assign your top two DPS a block each to solo and have everyone else focus on avoiding the AoE. DoTs such as DK diseases should not be used on the icetombs as they break too easily.

Phase 2 critical info:

Sindy is permanently grounded. She will still use Ice Grip and Blistering Cold and casts Ice Tomb on one player at a time. Meanwhile, MYSTIC BUFFET is a killer. It’s important not to let Buffet stack too high: hide behind an ice tomb until it drops off. Some thoughts on dealing with buffet:
- Sindy casts icetomb frequently in this phase and you really don’t want multiple tombs up at once. When someone is marked to be tombed they should run to a pre-defined space. Next to Sindy’s head is a central spot for this as everyone – including tanks – can get to it quickly.
- Have a second tank. Even if it’s a kitty druid. They just need to tank for a few seconds when your tank’s stacks reach 4-5 and need to be dropped
- Healers should remove stacks on a rotation basis so that at least one is not behind the ice block, so they can heal the tank. My healers and I set up some simple macros to tell each other what was going on – e.g. /p staying out – Pitil next
- DPS should be split into two groups. On the first iceblock group A removes their stacks, group B nukes Sindy. Visa versa on the second iceblock.
- Tip: You do need to break the icetombs. You could have all DPS do this, although it causes chaos and the potential for multiple tombs is high. I’d recommend assigning one, or even two, high DPSer to do nothing else but nuke icetombs for this phase.

That lot should be all the info you need to get through the fight – hopefully some of these tips will help it go smoothly for you. Remember she does have an enrage timer so unload the DPS as quickly as possible in phase 1. Skimp on healers or off tank if you want but be certain you can deal with phase 2 if you do. When you do take her down break out the screenshot buttons: you’ve just downed the Queen of the Frostbrood.

 

Now it’s your turn. What do you think? Have you got any tips to add here to All That Sindykillers Could Ever Need? Have any of these tips clinched the kill for you?  How hard do you think this fight is – or looks if you’re not there yet – and most importantly, how fun? I’d like to hear if you think this is a hard or even an easy fight – but remember everyone is of a different skill level, so please no suggesting that a team of grannies could do this over afternoon tea!

Priest Changes Announced! Your Thoughts?

Priest Changes Announced! Your Thoughts?

300-shield-wall

Some of the announcements were those I had expected. But there were a few surprising ones too! Check out the official blue post!

Expected

Heal: Yep, I figured they’d bring this back. Flash Heal is a 1.5 second cast, Greater Heal is a 2.5 second cast (untalented) which means that Heal will lie somewhere in between. I remember using this spell quite a bit during my downranking days in Burning Crusade and Vanilla. But yes, that’s another direct heal for us to use. Flash Heal will be on the side in favor of Heal.

Prayer of Spirit is gone: I expected this would go too. Last month, I asked in a post whether or not Spirit would be removed. My logic was that since Spirit would become a mandatory stat for all the healing classes, there wouldn’t be much of a point in having a buff around that did that. They removed it from raid buffs like Kings and Gift of the Wild. It didn’t make sense for Divine Spirit to stick around either. Guess that answers that question.

Radiance: Wow, that seems a little overpowered. It’s like converting Glyph of Prayer of Healing into Glyph of Everything Healing. Every direct heal now has an additional heal-over-time at the end of it. I think several weapons in the game had an effect like this as well.

Power Word: Barrier: Totally called it. Although knowing my luck, it might not make it past the beta phase :(. Almost two years ago, Kestrel interviewed me and served me a helping of my own 20 questions (I haven’t done them in a long time actually and I kinda feel like bringing it back. Any ideas on who I should interview?). One of the questions he asked was what the Wrath of the Lich King 51 point talent would be like. I said:

Matt’s version – 12 seconds, channeling, 2650 mana: Draws on the spirits and ancestors of all party members of the Priest to create a large bubble, capable of absorbing 22945 total damage to players within a 5 yard radius. While the barrier is in place, spellcasting will not be interrupted by damage. Players in the party within the Barrier can not be affected by fear or silence effects. 5 minute cooldown.

Blizzard version – Who knows?

Ridiculous and overpowered? Yes. Thank goodness I’m not a game designer. But I’ve always secretly wanted some sort of group shield. Later on during the development cycle for Wrath, I remember reading a post saying that the devs wanted to introduce it, but ran out of time or something. Now it’s being pushed back to Cataclysm.

Anyway, so it looks like it’s just going to be a big shield that hits an entire group. I don’t think it’s going to be a smart spell in the way Circle of Healing was. I suspect it’ll hit every player within a single group which offers a fair degree of predictability like Prayer of Healing does. Nope, GC just clarified it. It’s going to be similar to the Death Knight Anti-Magic Zone. So it’s going to create a bubble somewhere on the ground and players that stand in it will have any incoming damage absorbed (and not just spell damage like AMZ since it’ll absorb all). Already in my mind, I can picture of myself casting Barrier on one group and then casting Prayer of Healing on a different group. Think of how many lives you’d be able to save even further on something as simple as Stinky! As for shield strength? Possibly on par with or stronger than an individual shield.

Internet? Can I get an internet fist bump?

Deep down inside, there’s a little me that’s screaming “Yay! Blizzard liked my idea!” but I know better. It’s probably a spell that someone deep in the dev team already coined and it just happened to be a coincidence. I’m glad to at least see that there are plans to introduce it.

Unexpected

Leap of Faith (I’m calling it Life Grip though): Oh my goodness, a defensive Death Grip that Priests can use to pull compromised players out of fires! I can see a ton of intriguing abuse for this especially in PvP. Need to get the flag to safety? Have them run below the graveyard and Life Grip them up. But yes, I can certainly see the application in raid environments. It’s got a 45 second cooldown so it can’t be too abused. Note how it says that it’s expected to help rescue players who have pulled threat. I wonder if it functions as a minor threat lowering ability. The problem now is that I foresee other players complaining and saying “Well why didn’t you life grip me out?!” and opening yet another can of raid worms.

Inner Will: It’s various Mage armors for Priests. Sort of. This one increases movement speed and reduces the cast of instant-cast spells. It’s either Inner Will or Inner Fire. I suspect in most cases, we will use Inner Fire. During phases where we need to hustle, we’ll switch over to Inner Will. I wonder if it’ll stack with Body and Soul or the 85 equivalent of Tuskarr’s Vitality.

Holy Form (sort of): There’s a new talent that tips Holy Priests into a super-saiyan form when they chain cast Prayer of Healing, Heal, or Renew three times in a row. The effect will vary based on which spells have been cast. Perhaps a stronger AoE heal, a stronger single target heal, or harder hitting ticks from the Renew? Nice to see them add some more interesting effects for the Holy Priests. [Edit]: GC also stepped in and elaborated further saying that the talent (called Chakra) allows the Priest to temporarily specialize in something like tank healing, group healing or even Smiting.

Lesser Power Word: Shield: It hasn’t been confirmed as being in the plans for Cataclysm yet, but it’s something that has been discussed. A second (and slightly less potent) Power Word: Shield that’s exclusive to Discipline only. The aim is for it to be used on multiple targets. I suspect it’s been inspired by the massive shield casting style of raid healing Discipline Priests and this does make sense. At the moment, Discipline has limited tools in handling AoE or raid wide damage. We had to rely on establishing massive shields before the attack hit and follow it up with a Prayer of Healing or something. Since Mana management is going to play a more important role, shield spamming wouldn’t be a viable option anymore unless a smaller Shield was introduced. Interesting idea!

Actually, if you look at the Mastery Passive bonuses, you’ll see Absorption is listed under Discipline. Conclusion? Increased emphasis on Power Word: Shield (and the lesser one if it’s in the game), Power Word: Barrier, and the various Divine Aegis bubbles.

Our Shadowy brothers got an interesting mechanic change with the introduction of Shadow Orbs. Reminds me of the little floating things that Troll Priests used to have back in the day. Anyone remember those?

Okay, time for bed. Tomorrow’s Raid Rx on WoW.com will have a full analysis of the dispel changes, and what the Shaman and Priest proposed changes will look like in future Cataclysm raids (at least, in theory).

Shaman Changes and Priest Preview Thoughts

I am still shell shocked over some of these amazing Shaman changes. I have an Elemental Shaman myself which I like to play on. Terrible at it, but it’s fun all the same. As I’m big into healing, I’m keeping a really close eye on the different healing adjustments and features being added. There’s this thing I have about thinking in the future and visualizing what things will be like.

If you haven’t looked at Zorash’s analysis on Healing Council or Lodur’s assessment on WoW.com, do check them out as well.

Healing rain: At first glance, it looks like an extremely spiffy AoE healing spell. Click the spell, select an area, and watch it rain. The amount healed diminishes based on the number of targets within the area. It doesn’t appear to be a channeled spell. It’s more a heal over time effect. Does that mean it’s a fire-and-forget type spell? You get 2 seconds to cast it in any area within 30 yards. It last 10 seconds but it can be brought up again after. I suppose this means melee can afford to get drilled by Cleave or Whirlwind again. It’d also be pretty cool to have multiple Shamans in the raid casting Healing Rain in the same area. Makes me wonder if the effect is additive if the same place is targeted.

Spiritwalker’s Grace: On the fence on this one. I know caster Shamans are like turrets: They stay still in order to blast targets (hostile or friendly). 10 seconds where Shamans can move and cast without any interrupt penalties is a good thing. 2 minutes as a cooldown seems like a long time. I’d say maybe somewhere in the 60 second to 90 second range but I suppose that’s a question easily answered when we have an idea of what encounters will be like. The talent is supposed to allow Shamans a bit more leeway during movement heavy fights, not make it super easy, right?

The Priest changes are coming soon. I don’t think I’ll be around in the hour when they go up though.I hope they bring in Power Word: Barrier. I remember the devs saying they wanted to include something like that in the game but they couldn’t pull it off at the time. I was envisioning it as something similar to the Death Knight Anti Magic Zone (the bubble on the ground) but for all types of damage or something. I can see it being a talent in Discipline (since they’re removing all the stat increasing type talents anyway) or it being a max level spell.

With the announced Dispel changes, I’m also curious as to whether or not Mass Dispel will stay in the game. I can see them making the case to remove it to make the whole dispel mechanic mean something. On the other hand, it means we can’t strip Ice Blocks or Divine Shield.

Anyway, changes should be up in a few hours. For now, I have to go downtown. Maybe I’ll bring my Macbook and just chill in the library and wi-fi it up.

Changing of Dispel Mechanics

These changes went up the other day and are altering the way us healers do things. I gotta admit, I am more the intrigued in how the system is being set up. Here’s the summary:

  • Druids will be able to dispel defensive magic, curses, and poison.
  • Paladins will be able to dispel defensive magic, diseases, and poison.
  • Priests will be able to dispel defensive magic, offensive magic, and disease.
  • Shaman will be able to dispel defensive magic, offensive magic, and curses.

This leads me to conclude that upcoming encounters in Cataclysm will revolve primarily around removing magic. Also, is anyone else a little confused about the way they’ve worded defensive magic and offensive magic? I’ve read it as all classes can remove magic debuffs on friendlies while Priests and Shamans can remove magic buffs on enemies. I did have to think about that one for a good minute to make sure I had it right.

How this affects raid utility and healing

* Protection and Retribution paladins will lose their current ability to dispel magic.
* All shaman will lose dispel disease and dispel poison in exchange for Restoration gaining dispel magic.
* Restoration shaman, Restoration druids, and Holy paladins will need to talent into their defensive magic dispels.
* Shadow priests won’t be able to remove disease in Shadowform.
* Mage, hunter, and warlock will retain their current dispel mechanics.
* Body and Soul remains the same, and basically any dispel mechanic not mentioned above is currently planned to remain as it is.
* When possible, we’d like to combine dispels into a single action. For example, the druid ability to dispel curses and poisons might be a single spell with a Restoration talent that also allows it to dispel magic. This part of the design isn’t finalized, however.

On encounters like Rotface, I’d usually ask a Prot Paladin to handle dispels since they’re the ones on the outside anyway (on 10 man at least). With this change, this means that I’ll need to assign a healer to take care of that. It shouldn’t be a significant problem at all. What it means is that the healing “bandwidth” is going to get a little clogged up more with extra dispels that need to be done.

To be honest though, I don’t foresee it being a serious issue. As a reflex healer, I’m already spending my GCDs on player dispelling anyway and on some fights, I like to have a fun competition on the dispel meters to see who can squeeze off the most and the fastest.

For example, you know that guy in Warsong Gulch who just sits around while the rest of the team is killing the opposing flag carrier but is just spamming the space around the carrier with right clicks and your jaw drops in amazement when they return the flag even though you could’ve sworn you got to it first?

Yeah, that’s me!

I’m also thinking that encounter mechanics will change so that poisons, diseases and curses won’t be as punishing to the raid unless you’re on hard modes. My expectation is that debuff mechanics will simply need to be healed through since if you don’t have the class composition to cleanse it, there isn’t much that can be done. With the pool of available dispellers narrowing, there is a greater emphasis on healing teams to contain at least 1 healing class of each type. Just having the classes alone aren’t enough since non-Priests will need to talent into the ability to dispel.

As for PvP, I’m not too sure what effect this change alone will have. It’s going to make things increasingly tougher, I would imagine. But let’s not forget the increased stamina change coming to all the classes. So for example, while that Rogue you’re engaging has all his poisons on you, I imagine it wouldn’t be as deadly at 85 as it would be right now in the game.

Don’t forget about the Cataclysm class information changes. They’re coming out with them tomorrow (at least for Shamans and Priests).

The thought process of Lodur

The thought process of Lodur

Recently a comment on of my latest posts over at wow.com brought into question a bit of my integrity. Normally I do my best to ignore the bad comments but this one stuck with me a little bit. My last piece was talking about restoration shaman and haste. People seem to be under the impression that I didn’t like haste and was jumping on the band wagon to appease readers. Well as I’m certain most of you know I’m not really into the whole appeasement thing. It was questioned my “flopping” in stat priority, so I figured I’d take a few minutes and explain a little bit more how I view things like stats, spec and strategies.

First I don’t think there is a wrong way to do it. Not saying if you’re a healer and go afk because your HoTs are still active is ok, but rather everyone has their own style of game play. Some people love to tank heal, other people love to raid heal some float between these roles. Others still like the idea of being pure utility, not caring about topping the charts but rather lessening the burden of their fellow raid healers. The thing is all of this is valid, each is a unique way to play the game. We each play the game to have fun right? An easy way to do that is to find something you enjoy doing and making it yours.

I’ve seen healers stack Int above all else (recently) and still do fantastic jobs. I’ve seen players with more MP5 than I think even they knew what to do with but they still did fine. I saw a healer with SP coming out of every pore. I’ve seen healers and players doing all sorts of wacky things that work for them. But that’s the point it works for them. I acknowledge the fact that sometimes there are things more optimal to a situation, better ways of doing things based on the encounter alone. I accept that and I am not above admitting sometimes certain things are better than others in those situations. I like telling people different ways of doing things because it sparks creativity and offers an alternative way to do things that someone might not have thought about before. I like it even better when someone shows me something I hadn’t thought of before and I can say that I learned something from it.

So, there I am, in the middle. I try to see everything from the point of view of “how would this work?” rather than “oh that is just out right wrong! When it comes to things like stat priority my firm belief is that it will always be custom tailored to the role you choose and you as a player.

I mean we play in a game with a rather large population of players right? Eventually we’re going to run across something that might not be how we’re used to doing things but somehow works. Me I’d rather keep an open mind and take a look at it and try to understand how it works. I’d rather understand it rather than just dismiss it out of hand. Who knows I might learn something from one of those wacky situations. I know there’s been a few boss fights I heard of some strange way of doing it that worked, as well as the fact my guild routinely does things in a very odd fashion, but it works for us.

So what about you? In your travels have you encountered anything cool or odd that you didn’t expect to see but worked? Melee hunter? holy pally dps? Maybe some odd stat stacking?

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

 

Done!

Alright, so you all may have noticed that I’ve been a little absent as of late.  Believe me, it’s no fault of my own.  I love to blog.  Throughout my tenure here, I’ve been able to start some great conversations.  Seems like everything is going fine, right?  Yeah, F*** that.

Everything’s all fine and dandy until you’re not allowed to write anything.  I wrote a post debating one of Matticus’s points (actually, I’ve done a couple counter-point posts).  Have you seen it?? No.  Why?  Well we have a system:

I write a post.  I edit the post.  I schedule the post according to the rules.  I’ve learned that this is when posts get “approved.”  Most of the time, totally fine, but this time, no.  Matt goes in and just stops the post , simply because he doesn’t like that it disagrees with his.  I thought I was supposed to be able to write what I wanted?  Yeah, it’s f***ing bull****.  Ask me to join your blog and then I can’t even debate you.  Just write my f***ing posts for me, then.

I ORIGINALLY was going to start my own blog.  That way, who gets to “approve” my posts?  Me.  I don’t have to get cutoff by some douchebag.  Seems like I had the right godd*** idea the whole time.  If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s poor management like that.  And I’m not the only one.

Call the cops because I’ve been robbed. Robbed of my right to be treated like a decent respectable blogger. I mean I put in my dues! I sweat and pour over my writing as much as everyone here! Why am *I* the one that get’s shafted? I hope your editors read this Matt and learn just how much of a jerk you really are!

I’m not supposed to put this up here, but you all read this blog, so you should know what happens.  Lodur, as you know, is now writing for WoW.com.  Know who’s NOT writing for WoW.com as much anymore?  Matt.  Guess who’s pissed!!  Matt.  Lodur has told me countless times how much he still loves writing for this blog, but you’ve seen him less and less, too.  My personal thought is that someone is holding a f***ing grudge cause they’re a little butt hurt.  Not our f***ing fault you’re a reject, Matt.

So, F*** the schedule, F*** the censoring, F*** this blog, and F*** you, Matt.

Yeah I said it.  /rant off