Healing Roundups and We Got Our Drakes!

Healing Roundups and We Got Our Drakes!

Not quite sure where to go or what to read? Feeling overwhelmed? Yeah, I feel the same way too. Don’t worry though. I’ve got all the healing related stuff right here for you to brush up on. Next few weeks will be exciting with all the new systems.

Druids

Lissanna’s restoration healing guide (Restokin)

Keeva’s restoration 4.0 guide (Tree Bark Jacket)

Paladins

What Holy Paladins need to know for 4.0.1 (Kurn’s Corner)

Priests

WoW Insider: SG’s Reforging, gemming and GCD tactics for 4.0.1 priests (WoW Insider)

4.0 Survival Guide – Holy & Disc Specs, Glyphs and more (Tales of a Priest)

Discipline 4.0.1 guide (Malevica)

Shamans

Resto Shaman’s Guide to 4.0.1 (Life in Group 5)

Augments

Gem conversions for 4.0.1 (Revive & Rejuvenate)

Addons

No Stock UI has a nice compilation of addons that healers and raiders will find useful. Bonus: Updated for 4.0.1.

Beru’s Addon List

Don’t hesitate to suggest other resources that you think other healers might find informational.

And bloggers, you have my express permission to plug your own stuff.

Unrelated

25-drakesr

We scored our ICC 25 drakes last night!

And one of my hunters accidentally cast a buff which automatically knocked him off his mount. Extremely comical moment, actually. My timing was pretty good.

I originally planned on healing the entire encounter with three healers, but the current raid composition didn’t allow for it. Instead, we used our previous 4 healing setup. It consisted of a holy priest (me), discipline priest, holy paladin and shaman.

The first clutch moment of the night occurred during the defile phase. Valks were inbound. I was busy stacking the raid with Renews before I realized I lost all mobility.

“Matt’s picked up.”

I looked up at the second valk, and noticed it zeroing in on the other discipline priest.

“Ann’s picked up.”

At this point, I was thinking to myself it couldn’t possibly get any worse. Two healers out of four locked out?

“Rykga picked up.”

Crap. There goes our holy paladin. Wait, that’s three healers! I barked out for an immediate use of defensive cooldowns. Barkskin and other such skills were used while the DPS desperately muscled to get us free as quickly as possible (and to their credit, they did).

After something like 25+ attempts over the past few weeks, we were able to secure our drakes. Only took us something like 5 sets of Vile Spirits. Did it with 3 Boomkins. That helped immensely.

Still recruiting for Cataclysm. May not have any immediate openings now, but if you’re looking for a raiding guild, look me up.

Priest Glyphs for 4.0.1 and Cataclysm

Priest Glyphs for 4.0.1 and Cataclysm

I am happy! Hockey season has started! What does this have to do with glyphs you ask?

Well, absolutely nothing!

But first, I’ll go over the new glyph system briefly and then follow it up with a quick review and opinion of the glyphs going into patch 4.0.1.

Except I will be going at them in the style of a fantasy hockey pool analyst.

How the new glyph system works

Here’s the official blue post. But in a nut shell, there are three types of glyphs:

Prime – Straight increase to damage or healing.

Major – Offers extra stuff to existing spells or abilities.

Minor – Convenience or cosmetic changes.

When you learn glyphs, you do so permanently. You won’t have to keep buying glyphs repeatedly if you’re changing specs or styles. Once you learn it, that’s that. However, in order to switch a different glyph in, you need to use something called Dust of Disappearance (For 80 and below, we’re looking for Vanishing Powder).

glyphs-interface

I’m going to break down the glyphs into the three major categories. Some are obviously meant for holy, discipline or both. Others have utility applications and would be valuable in select situations.

  • D: Discipline
  • H: Holy
  • U: Utility
  • B: Both

Prime Glyphs

First, we’ll look at the primes. And I don’t mean Optimus, either.

Glyph of Flash Heal (B) – Having a 10% increased critical effect chance for Flash Heal on targets below 25% will help cement healing at level 85 especially when targets get that low (and they will). Great on the clutch play and will come through when you need it.

At level 80 though, you can pass on this glyph. Not likely anyone will be dropping that low. Good mid range pick. Next season his value should sky rocket. If you can’t find anything else as holy, then it becomes more of a “sure, why not” selection.

Glyph of Guardian Spirit (H) – I personally view this glyph as a nerf from its 3.3.5 iteration where the cooldown was dropped to 1 minute if it didn’t proc. As Holy, I’ve extremely aggressive with Guardian Spirit. Unfortunately, Guardian Spirit glyph didn’t do so well in training camp. It went from an extremely hardworking and beneficial glyph to a slower but more consistent glyph. Good veteran locker room presence, however.

Pass on this at 80 if you wish. Lowering Guardian Spirit to 2:30 isn’t all that bad (proc or no proc).

Glyph of Lightwell (H) – The potency of this glyph is dependant on your raid. If they’ve been raiding with Lightwell, then this glyph might be of benefit to you. Lightwell has had some unfortunate seasons over the past few years. He’s been on a variety of different teams, but most teams simply struggle with him because they haven’t quite figured out how to use his presence best. With the right team, he’d be an awesome healing scoring presence.

Mattwell says to pass on Lightwell.

Glyph of Penance (D) – By default, Penance is on a 12 second cooldown. This glyph is a virtual requirement for discipline priests to be effective in their roles. Even though Train of Thought helps in the reduction of that cooldown, you’re better off glyphing for this anyway.

For team discipline, this should be your first overall draft pick.

Glyph of Power Word: Barrier (D) – I’m going to write more about this glyph in a future post. It just got me thinking a lot about the usage.

Barrier is a new glyph just fresh out of the junior glyph league. He showed some flashes of talent and raw ability, but coaches will need to experiment with him on different lines to see what he’s capable of doing. The young product of Absorbsville is going to need to earn himself a spot on the opening night roster.

Good to draft if you have nothing better.

Glyph of Power Word: Shield (D) – The shield glyph has routine put up strong numbers in the HPS department. Team discipline simply cannot go wrong anywhere with this pick. Technically, you can use this glyph for both specs, but there is a clear edge to discipline here. Discipline shields have also been traditionally stronger (especially now coupled with the mastery).

This glyph is priority number two for discipline. Draft it.

Glyph of Prayer of Healing (B) – I’ve always preferred using this glyph in both of my specs just because it added extra AoE healing power. It doesn’t completely restrict AoE healing for discipline but it amplifies AoE healing for holy. Prayer of Healing has often been overlooked but when you need stability and coverage during frantic moments, he will have your back.

And his back.

And that other guy’s back.

And yeah, even that guy.

Excellent draft pick if you need a third slot and can’t seem to find one that really benefits you or the encounter your group is going for.

Glyph of Renew (H) – This glyph has holy all over it. I suppose you could use it for discipline, but it just isn’t as powerful. If there was a first round draft pick for team Holy, this would be it. He’s fast, he’s got great hands, he knows what he’s doing and he will get the job done quickly and efficiently.

No contest. Draft it for holy.

Major Glyphs

Next up is the majors.

Glyph of Circle of Healing (H) – No big change here. Instead of healing 5 targets, it heals 6. We all love smart heals. Team holy will once again wish to pick him up to hold down the fort.

Draft it for holy.

Glyph of Dispel Magic (U) – Not too sure about dispel magic here. He’s a bit of a grizzled veteran. Seems to come out when things get a little rough especially when it comes to some PvP action. At the very least, even if your dispel whiffs and you miss or someone beats you to it, it won’t be a complete waste as it restores 3% of their health.

More of a situational role player, in my opinion.

Glyph of Divine Accuracy (U) – Need some muscle? This enforcer glyph will help. Granted the team isn’t known for packing a whallop, but used in tandem with Smite (either for leveling or if you’re going for the Atonement build), you will want this glyph.

Situational draft pick. Depends on your team.

Glyph of Fade (U) – I can see this glyph coupled with both the Phantasm and Veiled Shadow talents for really fast movement debuff clearing. Typically, healers aren’t going to be generating a ridiculous amount of threat anyway. I haven’t pulled threat on the beta either but that could be due to having really good tanks and crowd control.

Pass at 80. Situational pickup otherwise.

Glyph of Fear Ward (U) – At the core of it, it just means priests can cast Fear Ward more often if they need to. Can’t say it has a lot of PvE applications right now (maybe the third mini boss on Halion, if that). Seems more PvP utility to me.

Really situational.

Glyph of Holy Nova (B) – In preseason, Holy Nova came in just blasting (literally). He was bugged where it had no cooldown and it just levelled the opposition no matter what they were. You could bind it to the mouse wheel and just go to town. Luckily, that has since been fixed and is now at a more stable level. Holy Nova causes no threat. The strength of Holy Nova is divided by the number of targets healed, remember.

Another decent AoE booster. Wouldn’t be opposed to drafting it for either spec.

Glyph of Inner Fire (U) – No. Just no. There are other options.

Pass on this.

Glyph of Mass Dispel (U) – Very cool glyph to have. A 0.5 second cast that removes something like 10 magic abilities? To me, this would be a unanimous pick for all specs. It used to be restricted to discipline only since it was a talent.

Highly recommended draft pick.

Glyph of Pain Suppression – (D) Not only is it meant for discipline priests, but the PvE application is extremely low. This is clearly meant for PvP. If that’s what your interested in, then yeah pick this one up. It’ll come in handy.

Situational for PvP use.

Glyph of Psychic Scream (U) – Surprisingly useful in instances as emergency forms of CC. Fear bombing them means the mobs won’t run all over the place but it prevents them from doing stuff.

Pass on it for now, but don’t forget about it when you’re grinding instances.

Glyph of Smite – Pairing Smite with Holy Fire just got a whole lot better. This duo will do wonders. Almost like an extra boost to healing if you’re into Atonement (in which case, you should get it).

Get this for leveling, but you can probably pass over this at 80.

Glyph of Spirit Tap (U) – Purely for leveling purposes. Ignore it otherwise.

Pass.

Glyph of Spirit of Redemption (H) – You know, as a priest, you shouldn’t plan on dying as a strategy. Rather nice to have, I suppose.

Pass.

Minor Glyphs

Now it’s down to the minors.

Glyph of Fading – Figure its situational for PvP or any point where the use of Fade outweighs the use of healing (Otherwise known as never, right?)

Glyph of FortitudeDraft this. There will be times when players die and they will resurrect mid fight. Fortitude is one of the must have buffs they should have once they come alive.

Glyph of LevitateDraft this as you never know when you’re going to go flying off a ledge.

Glyph of ShadowfiendDraft early in the event your Shadowfiend dies. It won’t be a total less as sparky will still grant you some mana.

Glyph of Shackle UndeadPass. Nothing to add here.

Glyph of Shadow ProtectionPass unless you don’t have any other forms of shadow protection like Paladins. Otherwise, it becomes unnecessary.

And that’s that! I suggest hitting the local auction house and grabbing glyphs cheaply (if they’re there).

Reminder: Updated Dispel Mechanics

Just wanted to post a quick reminder of the dispel changes. Every healing class has the capability to remove harmful magic effects from friendly targets. You may have to talent into it somewhere, but it is possible.

In encounters going forward, any highly important buffs that need to be removed will come in the form of magic. Other negative debuffs will annoy the raid or make life a little more difficult, but they will not get to the point where the encounter becomes literally impossible to do.

For example, if Lich King were to become a Cataclysm encounter, Necrotic Plague would be a magical ability so that any healing class could remove it.

Druids

Remove Corruption – Removes a curse and a poison (Removing magic requires the Nature’s Cure talent).

Paladins

Cleanse – Removes a disease and a poison (Removing magic requires the Sacred Cleansing talent).

Note: Protection and retribution paladins cannot cleanse remove magic.

Priests

Dispel Magic – Removes 2 harmful spells from allies or 2 buff spells from enemies.
Cure Disease – Removes a disease.

Note: Shadow priests cannot remove diseases in Shadowform but can still dispel. No change to Body and Soul. It will still remove a poison if you Cure Disease yourself only (Won’t work on others).

Shamans

Purge – Removes 2 buff spells from enemies.
Cleanse Spirit – Removes a curse (Removing magic requires the Improved Cleanse Spirit talent)

Note: Disease and poison removal abilities have been removed. Yes, that includes the totems.

Mages, warriors, hunters and warlocks (Fel Hunter) have no changes to their dispel mechanics.

Actually, come to think of it, Necrotic Plague is still going to be a disease in post 4.0.1. That means the only way to remove it is by having a priest or a holy paladin in the raid.

Oh dear.

Hopefully, it’ll be hot fixed so that it becomes a magic effect or something. Unless they don’t expect anyone to raid past 4.0.1. Right?

The Mercenary Healer?

The Mercenary Healer?

With Cataclysm dropping on December 7th, and BlizzCon this month on October 22nd and 23rd, a lot of people are planning to have some downtime before the new content is released. Guilds are taking breaks to unwind or just have fun outside of a full-blown raid. My guild will likely be taking a break from raiding to work on fun things like achievements and mount runs before Cataclysm very soon. That does however leave me with some free time in game for probably a month. So I’d like to share with you my plans for the downtime before the expansion.

First on my list are the ICC drakes. I want them both, and very badly. I haven’t stepped foot in ICC-10 but a handful of times and haven’t really tried to get the meta achievement before, but now I’m making it a priority to complete these tasks. Likely it wont take me too long to get all the achievements in the meta and get my lovely — and super fast– pile of dragon bones. After that however I have a plan for my time. Not every guild is stopping raids before Cataclysm. In fact many will go right up to the expansions release. I know of a few that having a hard time with certain boss fights, particularly with healing.

A couple weeks ago I got a tell asking if I would heal an ICC -10 man heroic. I politely declined, only to receive a tell from the person again, and this time with an offer of gold. 5k gold in fact. I declined again because I was scheduled to be in a 10 man heroic run with guild mates later that week. But it sort of got me thinking. I’ve always been terrible about earning money in WoW. I hate farming, I level tradeskills to help my raiding and the guild, but don’t generally farm mats to saturate the market or what have you. I generally have enough gold to be comfortable, but not rich by the game’s standards. So would it be wrong of me to accept a cash reward for healing through content like that? I mean, I know the fights, I’m already geared and would require NO loot from any of the bosses, and by the time I do this I’ll already have all my achievements. I bring my own consumables with me wherever I go. So is it wrong to accept a cash reward for my healing and knowledge of the encounters?

I don’t think it is. I won’t demand it per say, but I will accept it and will always accept the highest bidder. For the weeks leading up to Cataclysm I will become a mercenary healer. I will heal for the highest bidder and the highest profit. I view it as simply welcoming the mentality of our soon to be goblin shaman brothers early, as it is a business model they would approve of I think. It would also present me with a unique opportunity to see how other groups run their raids. It may sound like I’m being a bit of a jerk here but I find it a much more enjoyable use of my time. I could level an army of alts or various professions, but I already have 5 level 80’s and have plans for another alt on another server for a special project.

So that’s my plan leading up to the Cataclysm release. To become a mercenary healer, and hopefully live up to standard set before me by the original A-Team.

What about you? Is your guild taking a break before diving into Cataclysm? If so, what are you going to do? Will you level alts? Level professions? Will you just take the time off and relax? Maybe play other games?

Well that’s it for today. Until next time, happy healing!

Raid Warning Shift Happens Druid Roundtable

Raid Warning Shift Happens Druid Roundtable

Shift Happens: A Warcraft Druid Roundtable Event

On Oct 12th the Raid Warning crew will be joined by some of the biggest names in the Druid Community. They will be answering your questions, comments, phonecalls, and e-mails while kicking back and having a few laughs.

Want to get involved?

Submit your questions for Shift Happens via email (raidwarningpodcast@gmail.com), Epic Advice, comment below, or call The Raid Warning Rant Line at 707-602-RANT (7268)

The brave souls appearing on this edition of Shift Happens:

Tyler “Murmurs” Caraway of WoW Insider
Dan “Qieth” Poulsen of Qieth’s Quips
Keeva of Tree Bark Jacket
Redhawk of Redhawk’s Gaze
Lissanna of Restokin
Immamoonkin of MagicMelonBall
Graylo of GrayMatter
Fellhoof of ThinkTank
Astrylian of Rawr
Arawethion of Elitist Jerks
John Patricelli of Big Bear Butt
Lufitoom of Life of Lufitoom
Relevart of Relevart’s Druid Reliquary

How to Melee DPS Without Making Healers Cry

This is a guest post by Shazrad of Zul’jin. One of the best players I’ve ever had the pleasure of raiding with. ~Lodur

As DPS it’s our job to do as much DPS as possible.  We can’t do that if we can’t stay alive. We can’t do that if we are irritating our healers to the point that they think it would be more mana efficient to res us rather than heal us. In truth, nothing irritates healers and raid leaders more than DPS who have little or no situational awareness.  With that said lets break things down a bit.

To start with let’s break down what DPS really is. I know what some readers are thinking.  “DPS means DAMAGE PER SECOND dummy!” I’m sorry but you are wrong.

It stands for this:

  1. Don’t stand in things that damage you
  2. Placement, placement and placement
  3. Stay alive

Any raid leader will tell you I am right.

Matt’s notes: He’s right.

Those 3 things are the most common obstacles that melee DPS face. Your rotation can be perfect. Your spells can be up without missing a beat. Yet if you fail in any of those 3 areas you become useless to your raid. In order to help you better understand what each item means I will break them down for you.

  • Don’t stand in things that damage you - This sounds easy. I guarantee you that almost every raid leader will agree that standing in fire/defile/desecrate/ (insert random boss ability here) causes 90 % of raid DPS deaths. Standing in things that damage does not just mean health dropping. Some things cause your attacks to slow, some cause you to miss more often and so on and so forth. There are rare occasions where standing in something will give you a DPS boost. Those instances are so rare, it’s best to just not stand in anything that appears on the floor during a boss fight. If you’re not sure, ask. No good raid leader will be mad at you for asking but you can bet that you will hear it if you don’t ask and die repeatedly to the same thing when all you really need to do is move.
  • Placement, placement and placement – Where you stand is just as important as where you shouldn’t stand. This typically means that unless told otherwise melee stands BEHIND the target, casters stand off to the side or behind the target. DPS who stand in front of the target are dealing with cleaves, parry, and everything else the tank is dealing with. It’s not somewhere you want to be on most fights. Always know where you need to be and be there and you will be loved by all. (Disclaimer: I probably still won’t love you I’m anti love unless you’re a chicken salad sandwich.)
  • Stay Alive – No matter what you must live. Dead DPS is not DPS; it’s a corpse. Corpses (unless you’re a ghoul) sit there and rot. So do whatever you have to do to NOT die.

If you can do these three things you are already a step ahead of the game.

Tips and Tricks:

In this section I will go over some basic things that will help you survive.

  • Keyboard Turning – Its bad! Do not do it. Keyboard turning is using your arrow or A and S keys to turn. This method of turning is to slow. Instead use your mouse to turn. Right click your mouse and move it to the left or right. It’s about 100000 times faster. Keyboard turning is just too slow for raiding. The abilities that bosses throw when you need to turn and burn hit so hard that if you keyboard turn you will most likely die. Dead characters are useless.
  • Jumping out of Damage – Its bad do NOT do it. Jumping in World of Warcraft is not like jumping in the real world. When you jump the game records your position. When you land it updates your position. So when you jump out of damage the game registers you in the damage until you land. In most cases your jump is farther than you actually need to go. This means you are taking damage the entire time you are in the air. It’s bad. Don’t do it.
  • Strafing – Is useful. When fighting most bosses they have a tendency to throw stuff right at your feet. Try to get in the habit of strafing left and right to move out of the damage. Moving this way is easier and faster than turning and moving.
  • Zoom Out – Zoom your camera out as far as you can. This allows you to not only see what you are doing but you can also see what’s going on around you. Knowing what’s going on in a fight is the key to winning.
  • Situational Awareness – Without this you might as well go back to soloing Dead Mines. Get yourself a good boss mod. Set it up so that the information it provides is easy for you to see. I try and keep all my important alerts right around my character. This way my eyes are always on what my character is doing. Try to avoid sticking it way off in a corner somewhere. With it up there you are having to constantly take your eyes off the action.  Also make sure you enable the audio alerts. These sounds will draw your attention to important details even if you’re focused on something else.
  • Stay Behind – Unless your raid leader tells you to specifically stay in front of a boss attack from behind. Attacking from the front causes you to miss more often (except in certain special boss fights).  Bosses also often have cleaves and other nasty effects that will usually kill you in a single hit.
  • Ask Questions – Do not be afraid to ask your raid leader a question. I know this is cliché but “There are no stupid questions unless you don’t ask them.” So ask. Even if you have asked before. Do not go into an encounter with a question. Unasked questions are the same thing as not knowing what to do. You will likely die or even worse you may wipe the entire raid out because you didn’t know what to do and didn’t have the guts to speak up.
  • Get Some Mods – There are plenty of mods out there that will help you with every aspect of a raid. Mods like Power Auras Classic and GTFO can be set up to let you know when you are taking damage. Deadly Boss Mods and Big Wigs are extremely good at letting you know when to move. These are just a few examples of mods that can help you know when to move.

Final Thoughts:

In closing there are three things I would like to stress:

  1. Anything on the floor be it fire, funky red glowing circles or a big fluffy blue line is probably bad. Get out of it unless your raid leader says to stand in it.
  2. Know the fight before you start the fight. Watch a video, read a strategy, ASK YOUR RAID LEADER! Know when to move.  Don’t be that guy…
  3. STAY ALIVE NO MATTER WHAT. If you die you are useless to the raid.
Guild Advancement 101

Guild Advancement 101

This post has everything you ever wanted to know about the guild leveling system and perks for the expansion.

Guild reputation

Edit: There is going to be a cap on the amount of reputation you can earn with your guild. That value will be capped weekly. It’s not like guild experience (that’s capped daily).

Like most other in game factions, you can gain reputation with your guild.

Note that if you decide to change guilds, you will lose all of your guild reputation and will be required to earn it again when you join a new one. Earning reputation is quite easy to do. As you are earning guild experience, you are also earning guild reputation.

The guild cap

A hard cap of 600 1000 members is allowed for a single guild in Cataclysm. If your guild exceeds 600 people, don’t worry. You don’t have to make immediate cuts right away. The problem you’ll have is that you will not be able to invite more players until your guild drops under the 600 1000 member count.

Guild experience

Guilds can now earn experience which contributes to the level of a guild. The higher the level, the better the rewards. guilds will have access to all sorts of cool stuff like additional bank tabs, increased experience gain, and increased money gain.

Ways to earn experience

There are a number of ways for your guild to earn experience:

  • Killing bosses in an dungeon (At least 4/5 must be from the same guild)
  • Killing bosses in a raid (At least 8/10 or 20/25 must be from the same guild)
  • Rated PvP like a battleground or an arena where 80% of the group is from the same guild (8/10, 12/15)
  • Doing normal quests or daily quests which award normal experience
  • Players leveling up their professions (any)
  • Players leveling up their reputation (any)
  • Complete guild achievements

The experience cap

As guilds are participating in activities to level up, there is a hard limit on the amount of experience that can be earned for the week. Currently, the guild cap is weekly daily. Not sure if that will be changed to daily upon the launch of the expansion.

Source

I’m not opposed to the idea of imposing a weekly cap instead of a daily cap. This places smaller guilds on a relatively even footing on larger guilds. For example, assuming the weekly cap is something like 10000 experience, the large< Mammoth> guild could easily score 10000 experience within 2 days. However, the smaller <Stingers> guild would take 5 days to reach that amount of experience. It wouldn’t matter though since the cap would then reset every week. Daily would work if the value was small enough that a 10 man guild (for example) would have the opportunity to max out.

Exception: Guild achievements that contribute guild experience will not count towards the cap. If you want to max out your guild fast, all you need to do is knock out some guild achievements!

Source

Guild perks

guild-perks

As long as players have the appropriate reputation with the guild and the guild is at the right level, you’ll be able to access guild perks in a special tab in your spellbook. If you’re wondering where to find Mass Resurrection, this is where it will be.

On a side note, it doesn’t seem like Mass Resurrection has a mana cost associated with it. I also wonder if I’m in Ashenvale and I’m in a party with someone who is in the Barrens, if that player dies, will I be able to resurrect them from a zone away?

Here’s a full list:

Level 2: Fast Track (Rank 1)
Level 3: Mount up
Level 4: Mr. Popularity (Rank 1)
Level 5: Cash flow (Rank 1)
Level 6: Fast Track (Rank 2)
Level 7: Reinforce (Rank 1)
Level 8: Hasty Hearth
Level 9: Reinforce (Rank 2) 
Level 10: Chug-A-Lug (Rank 1)
Level 11: Mobile Banking
Level 12: Mr. Popularity (Rank 2)
Level 13: Honorable Mention (Rank 1)
Level 14: Working Overtime
Level 15: The Quick and the Dead
Level 16: Cash Flow (Rank 2)
Level 17: G-Mail
Level 18: For Great Justice
Level 19: Honorable Mention (Rank 2)
Level 20: Happy Hour
Level 21: Have Group, Will Travel
Level 22: Chug-A-Lug (Rank 2)
Level 23: Bountiful Bags
Level 24: Bartering
Level 25: Mass Resurrection

Guild achievements

guild-achievements-a

Some of these achievements don’t actually seem all that bad. Obviously you need to be in a group that contains a majority of your guild to actually pull them off.

But then you see these achievements…

 guild-achievements-b

… Any farmers out there looking for a guild?

Guild rewards

guild-rewards

Guild rewards (like an additional bank tab) can be bought. Your guild needs to reach the appropriate guild level, have the appropriate achievement, or the members need to have the right reputation to purchase or use them. Members can buy items like that Worn Stoneskin Gargoyle Cape for 1200g. The item is considered bound to the guild. If that player leaves, the item is returned to the bank. Actually, it looks like once a player buys a next generation heirloom item, it’s theirs to keep. No word on whether or not the ability to transfer it to other guild members is going to stick though. The vendors for these can be found in capital cities near the NPCs that offer guild services.

Guild UI Stuff

guild-activity

The guild UI pane experienced an overhaul. There are a number of different ways to sort the guild roster now. You can see how much experience a person has contributed to the guild and where they rank (and look at that Matticus guy, he’s ranked 18th. The hell’s he doing? Sitting around capital cities trolling trade or something?)

guild-profession

You can even sort the roster list by professions and see what everyone in the guild has. The [View All] link shows what your guildies can produce combined. No more having to sticky forum threads with list of players who can craft specialty items.

My personal favourite? No more receiving messages asking “Matt, link enchanting”.

Guild Controls

Shots of the guild controls courtesy of Kurn. As you can see, it looks like ranks can physically be shuffled up and down the ranks. I’m not sure what the cap is on new ranks. Permissions of ranks have largely remained the same. Bank tabs are now purchased directly from guild control instead of the actual bank. Lastly, there is now an option to enable a rank that requires players to have an authenticator before they’re allowed to reach that rank.

What about you?

Are you still floating around somewhere hopping from guild to guild?

Not quite sure what you want or what to do?

You better figure it out fast!

At the very least, I’d suggest guild shopping now. Any guilds that are still actively doing stuff are a good bet to be stable into Cataclysm. To me, that indicates a leadership that has some idea of what they’re doing if they’ve managed to hold things together this long. I know some people are waiting for Cataclysm to arrive before they start the guild shopping process. But isn’t that a bit late though? Wouldn’t you want to look around now at the proven guilds instead of waiting to see what Cataclysm guilds flop or emerge as power houses?

No rush, I suppose. You still have around 2 months.

Frequently asked questions

For achievements like “Bushels and Bushels”, will the amount of herbs I (and other guildies) have farmed before Cataclysm count towards that total? Or do we all start at zero when this gets implemented?

No. Anything gathered before the guild achievements kick in will not be counted. The only exception is the achievement for We Are Legendary.

Question about “mobile banking” and “have group, will travel”: Does the guild share a cooldown, or can anyone in guild with enough rep to use it do so independently?

I can confirm that the guild does not share a cooldown. I activated my guild Mobile Banking ability and checked with the rest of the guild. It activated my 1 hour cooldown but it did not trip the cooldown of anyone else. I suspect Have Group, Will Travel will work the same way.

Smite Healing with the Atonement Spec

Smite Healing with the Atonement Spec

Atonement’s one of those really curious talents in the discipline tree. We’ve never really experienced anything like it before and I can understand the reluctance behind taking it.

But it’s got some potential. And I found it fun the few times I pulled it off.

How it works

The basic premise is that you’re unloading Smites on a hostile target. As you’re hitting them with Smite, Atonement activates and heals any player within 8 yards of the target for 100% of the damage that Smite does.

For priests at level 80
For priests at level 85

Here are the key talents:

Atonement: You absolutely need this. Its kind of the central focus. In an earlier build, Smite would heal 60/120% according to the damage dealt. In the current beta build, it dropped down to 40/80%. As of the current PTR for the 4.0.1 patch, it was raised to 50/100%.

Archangel & Evangelism: Both of these talents help with buffing the damage you’re dishing out or allowing you to get some precious mana back.

Divine Aegis: Yup, DA bubbles will appear off of heals from Atonement.

Feel free to pick and choose the rest of them according to your own play style.

Glyphs

You’ll want to get some of these glyphs to help vault your utility.

atone-glyphs

Glyph of Divine Accuracy: I know I have close to zero hit gear. For this spec to work, you need to be able to hit the boss. If you can’t hit the boss, you can’t heal.

Glyph of Smite: The Holy Fire DoT doesn’t last that long, but the does help.

Those are the two main ones and everything else is up to you. However, I would recommend:

You’re in the discipline tree anyway. May as well get some glyphs that augment that tree further.

Spell usage

Open up with a Holy Fire right away, then begin blasting away with a Smite. If you’re lucky, you’ll get in about 4 powered up Smites before th e DoT wears off. You’ll need to eyeball your mana here. Get a full stack of Evangelism going. Between Evangelism and the Glyph of Smite, it should elevate you to some reasonably comfortable numbers.

Once I notice a mana deficit of about 15 – 20%, I’ll pop Archangel and instantly get my mana back and resume Smiting.

You still have access to your healing priest spells. Don’t be tunnel visioned into believing that Smiting is the only way to heal because it isn’t. It is the main focus, but don’t forget about your other heals. Use them in a pinch if you need to. Instead of sitting back and waiting for people to take damage, you’re actively doing something which has a positive side effect.

If you’re in a smaller group environment like a 10-man or a 5-man, you’ll need to keep a closer watch on yourself and any other ranged players that aren’t standing with the melee.

In a raid environment, you can use this to your advantage. If you’re like me and contemplating the usage of a full time Smite priest, that’s one dedicated healer on the melee. That means you can focus the efforts of the other healers on the ranged players and maybe an additional one managing the tanks.

Limitations

I expect there to be some sort of diminishing return. I just don’t have the faintest clue what it would be (as in how many players before the effectiveness reduces). Unless you really want to stack your entire raid on top of the boss, the usability of this spec is going to be limited to melee friendly bosses. You don’t want to tango with Deathwhisper or Saurfang for instance. Either the ghosts or bloodbeasts will tear you and your raid up alive. You’d probably want to revert back to the traditional style of being a disc priest and resort to actual healing if those types of bosses are waiting for you.

No word yet on whether this will  be final in either the PTR or the beta. We’ll know within the next week or so.

What I need to now do is find a volunteer priest willing to go Smite heal in our raids. Anyone else planning on giving this a try when the patch kicks in?

Updated Flexible Raid Lockout System

**Forgive the slight grammatical errors. I wrote it in a hurry and overlooked the “it’s” that I had written incorrectly. Thanks to those who pointed it out.**

Up until today, the new 10/25 raid lockout method has been met with praise and condemnation. Most of us have believed that if you started a 25man, you could stick with that 25, or downgrade to 10 on the same lockout. It was thought that you could not “re-upgrade” to 25man. Until now.

As posted on MMO-Champion today, Bashiok wrote a Blue Post about the new system that we’ll see VERY soon.  As in, 4.0.1 soon. In terms of current raiding, this new system will only be in place for ICC and Ruby Sanctum but will persist through all of Cataclysm. The post itself took a couple times for me to digest it, so I’m going to attempt to break it down for you. (Key word: attempt)

Its Purpose

The purpose of this new “Flexible Raid Lockout System”, as opposed to trapping people into raid IDs or limiting their raid potential, seems to allow a more fluid movement through a typical raid week. Before this system, you’d step into a raid, and as soon as you killed the first boss, you were locked to that ID. The raid could sit dead mid-way through, and you’d be stuck. You couldn’t really progress unless you found people from that raid or people that weren’t saved yet. Except for guilds, it would be really hard to continue.

Its Mechanic

Each raid, rather than being designated an entire lockout, has a lockout for each encounter in it, regardless of raid size (10 or 25). For Icecrown Citadel, this means 12 “lockouts”. As Bashiok said, they want raiders to have the “opportunity to defeat each encounter once a week.” You are locked out of each individual encounter as you down a boss. A couple things to keep in mind:

  • You cannot enter a different raid where bosses that you’ve defeated are still alive.

What does this mean? Let’s say you’ve killed Marrowgar, Deathwhisper and Gunship in your raid on Wednesday night. On Thursday, you cannot join a raid of either size that still hasn’t defeated Gunship. From what it seems, that raid would have to defeat Gunship before you joined in.

  • Upon entering a new or different raid, you’re not saved to their “list” until you down a boss. Getting saved to a more progressed raid will lockout all bosses until that point.

In using the example above, if you’ve killed Marrowgar, Deathwhisper and Gunship, and join a different raid that has the first four bosses, as well as Rotface & Festergut killed, you won’t be saved until you down any of the other bosses alive. If you defeat Putricide with them, your raid breakdown will now say that you’ve defeated Saurfang, Festergut, and Rotface as well (even though you didn’t ACTUALLY kill them).

  • You can switch between 10- and 25-player raids along the way. The above stipulations still apply.

You can kill the first quarter on 10-man, join a 25-man to kill the 2nd quarter, then finish out the rest on 10-man. We once thought that once we downgraded to 10, we couldn’t upgrade to 25. This obviously is not the case anymore.

Heroic / Hardmode

Heroic Mode or “Hardmode” seems to work on a very strict lockout system, where once you’re in, you’re in. I’ll try to bullet-point how this works:

  • If you down a boss on Heroic (in any size), you can only continue to raid Heroic with that specific raid. You cannot change raid sizes and continue on Heroic.
  • If you down a boss on Heroic and join a different non-Heroic raid, that raid cannot upgrade to Heroic with you in it.
  • You cannot join someone’s else’s raid if they’re already defeated a boss on Heroic.
  • If you down a boss on Heroic, then the rest of the raid clears the rest without you, you can still join another non-heroic raid that already has your same bosses down.

The one problem I have with this is not being able to join a raid with Heroic bosses already down. If my guild starts Heroic ICC without me because I have to work on the first raid night, then it seems like I can’t join the raid mid-run. Is this intended to make it harder and “more Heroic”? Or is this maybe an oversight or misreading of the mechanic?

—-

I do like that you can continue to raid if your normal group can’t, but the restrictions on Heroic seem just an ounce too tight. Overall, this really will allow people to raid 25s if they want or can, and doesn’t penalize people for only being able to do 10mans. It in fact let’s them join in on a more progressed 25-man raid that may need an extra body. With it being a little less restrictive than we all thought, I’m really looking forward to seeing this new “lockout system” play out. What do you think? Interesting mechanic? Or too confusing?