CGL – Season 1: League of Legends debut

Not quite a WoW related post today.

I looooove my League of Legends. I’m not the greatest at it, but I certainly get a huge adrenaline rush from both playing and watching.

A few months ago, I mentioned my desire to start a recreational gaming league within the guild (and for other interested players). League of Legends will be the first game. This will be a way for me to test my system before activating the pet battles league.

Organizing and planning a rec league takes quite the effort. But it’s all coming together quite nicely. We have a confirmed (at least) 4 teams participating with representatives from Madcast Gaming. That’s actually not a bad number because at 6 total matches per team, it means each team plays each other twice.

General Information

Game: League of Legends
Map: Summoner’s Rift (Summer)
Format: 5v5, Tournament Draft
Duration: 6 weeks, 1 match per week
Roster size: 5 – 7 players

Full list of rules

Challonge.comwill be used to organize round robin play and ensuing playoff rounds.

Dates

July 27: Registration for inaugural season opens.
July 31: Registration closes.
August 3: Week 1 begins.
August 17: Week 3 begins. Rosters are locked for the rest of the season including playoffs.
September 7: Week 6. Final matches are played. Any makeup matches must be resolved in the final week.
September 14: Playoffs begin. Further dates unknown until team registration finishes.

Select matches may be shoutcasted. Official casters will be the LeetSauced crew along with the tandem of myself and Lodur.

If you’re interested, here’s the registration link. I strongly advise that you be level 30 and have several hundred games played. Although tomorrow night’s the cut off, if you’re interested, I can re-write the bracket before week 1 starts on Friday.

As an aside, have you been catching the Olympics at all? What events are you most interested in? For me, it’s both volleyball and beach volleyball. Those beach players make things look so easy. It’s so hard jumping on sand :(.

Here’s to the People

Here’s to the People

It’s not often you’ll read about non-WoW stuff. But, this is one of my quiet anticipations for the year (Counterstrike: Global Offensive being my loudest). Guild Wars 2 and I had an interesting history together. It was by no means my first MMO. But, it was my first MMO as a healer.

It was also my first experience running a guild.

To be fair, I didn’t do much more than administration, scheduling, and logistics. It’s something I rather enjoy doing (and something most players detest, because they just want to play). Basically got suckered into it, but heh, I didn’t mind. The guild was tiny. It consisted of around 10 or so players. Everyone in the guild was someone I knew in real life – We were all on the Canadian west coast.

I affectionately refer to them as the Asians (and it’s what they’re known as now in the guild when I’m talking about them since they’re still with us but involved in other games).

We all levelled and blitzed through Tyria together.

We held the line against rival guilds together.

We ascended the Hall of Heroes together.

I have a hard time explaining this to friends. “Why do you spend that kind of time with strangers? It’s a waste!” Though I’m fairly certain that’s an Asian parents question. But when people ask this, I tell them it’s no different then playing in rec volleyball or hockey. Time is set aside each week dedicated to practice or matches and it’s either going to be for competition or for fun.  Ultimately you’re with people that you like playing with while having some goal in mind.

Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if it’s Guild Wars 2, SWTOR, TERA, Secret World, WoW, or what have you. The platform or game can change. Games are going to change in features, textures, bosses, etc. But ultimately, the people is what makes the experiences worth it.

Seriously though, I can’t wait for GW2. No monthly subscription means I can play that and WoW. I don’t want to have multiple active subscriptions to games since I only have so much time I can devote. I was tempted to give TERA and Secret World a shot, but I couldn’t justify multiple subscriptions. It’s my firm belief that Guild Wars 2 is going to do quite well since it’s going to target a section of the population that’s not willing to stomach a monthly fee. It will offer competition to WoW and I want to see what the new “it” thing is going to be when the game comes out. WoW has a long, storied history of adapting ideas from other games and introducing it into theirs.

When gaming companies have to innovate and come up with new ideas, the winners always end up being the players.

Speaking of Guild Wars 2, I’m looking for some help. The community has certain leadership positions available and I’m looking to expand. A guild leader solely for GW2 would be tremendous. There’s almost no chance of me devoting my time there, with WoW, and other responsibilities. So if anyone’s looking to help quarterback a guild without the extraneous stuff that comes with running a guild, give me a shout.

TwizzCast: Episode 14

TwizzCast: Episode 14

I know it’s been a while since I’ve been on the air. Clearly there millions of you just dying from the lack of hearing my voice.

Right?

No?

No.

Awww…

In any case, you can find me on the latest episode of the Twizzcast where I co-hosted with the elusive T-Wizzle. The honor of being the first guest without the explicit tag goes to moi (Canadian for me).

We chatted a little bit about Enjin, how to get through a near guild death experience, along with some of the more under-the-table changes coming into Mists of Pandaria.

What I’m Doing on my Birthday in September: MoP out on the 25th

This is absolutely brilliant. The guess I made was a late summer/early fall release.

Incidentally enough, it debuts the day before my birthday and I already bought a digital deluxe and a normal copy for myself. Quite pleased that a digital deluxe is offered this time around. Saves me the trouble of staying out til’ midnight to get a copy of the game and battling through lines and such.

But, this is good news. With a release date, we now all have a timetable. I’m sure guilds and leaders are already in the process of gearing up for the release. Already, plans are in motion for roster additions and other changes for the expansion. We’re on the final stretch now.

What’re your plans?

How Did Your Guild Start?

I suspect many of you joined your guild way after it was formed. There’s probably some of you that were there from the beginning. A rare number of you were the ones who actually started it.

To those of you in the first category, have you ever wondered how it all began? Was your GM just bored one day and decided to go with it? Did he get kicked to the curb and wanted to start his own group? Was she pissed off at the way things were run and said “Enough is enough”?

Oh, and is there a story behind the guild name?

Derevka: The biggest change in Mists is how we look at mana

Derevka: The biggest change in Mists is how we look at mana

I jumped on an opportunity to speak with Derevka about the upcoming expansion and his thoughts on the priest class in general. We chatted about the state of both healing specs, raiding encounters in Mists, and spell usage.  Keep on reading for the full interview.

Matt: Hey Derevka, it’s been a while. You’ve recently picked up activity again on your blog, Tales of a Priest after taking a brief reprieve earlier in the year. You’ve especially been hard at work lobbying for some priest changes like Chakra and have put in some research on the mana regen talents.  So what do you think is the biggest change for priests leaping from Cataclysm to Mists, in your opinion?

Derevka: Tricky question, since I’d argue that Priests were affected least by the onslaught of changes that came in MOP— at least from a class mechanic standpoint. For the most part our healing strategy will be ‘more of the same’. Perhaps the biggest change in Mists will be how we look at mana. First and foremost we need to realize that once we hit 90, we will not be getting any more mana. 300,000 is our pool. Period.

Mana pools, since they do not scale, will be something we need to really keep an eye on. For example, Greater Heal in quest greens costs the same amount of mana that it does in full epic T14. The only thing that will scale is our ability to regen mana via spirit. We will need to balance spirit and know when we have too much or too little. Mana is a zero-sum game.

Purely spamming Prayer of Healing will quickly have you running out of mana; we’ll need to be more mindful of what spells we choose to cast as well as how to use our mana cooldowns, and talents. It could be a steep learning curve for some who are too used to the Dragon Soul era of mana and are unfamiliar with mana management.

We’ll need to be more mindful of what spells we choose to cast as well as how to use our mana cooldowns, and talents.

M: Yeah, I found that out the hard way having to put Heal back in my bars again. Have you figured out any numbers for Spirit benchmarks or what we’ll need to hit at different stages of character progression? For example, how much are we going to need to adequately heal through heroic dungeons, challenge modes, or entry level raids?

D: Spirit numbers are tricky, as it really depends on your healing style. I will say that we’re going to want spirit on pretty much all of our gear in the first tier of raiding. Gone are the days of equipping non-spirit/dual stat gear!

For those who remember MP5 as a stat, think of spirit in that manner — it provides zero throughput: Just pure regen. We’ll have the ability to trade off spirit (via reforging) for throughput stats pretty easily, but it’ll depend on what your comfort level is. Personally, I would suggest being cautious with mana at first, and then pair back my regen instead of gasping for mana but my heals hit like a truck. It’ll be a fun balancing act, and will depend on individual healing style.

kite

M: What do you feel is the go-to Priest spec?

D: Hard question as they both provide some great tools and flavor. If I had to knee-jerk a response, I am going to say Holy. Holy always does well early in an expansion as it is arguably the least reliant on combat stats of the two  priest healing specs. I say this because Disc gets a good deal of it’s output from Divine Aegis. DA, apart from POH, is created by critical heals In low iLvl gear (aka Fresh 90’s) you’ll have innately lower crit chance due to less available Intellect on gear, and stats.  Now, do not misconstrue me and say “Derevka said to stack crit as disc at 90!” … No, that’s not what I am saying. I am saying that you’ll innately have lower critical strike due to your intellect and available crit, thus causing the creation of Divine Aegis more difficult (ie. 5 mans).

M: With that in mind, what does Discipline need to get itself back up to comparable level with Holy?

I do not think Disc is in a bad place at all. I think that Holy will just have an easier time early in the level 90 gear grind, only because Disc has a more strict gear requirement than Holy. Disc will be very powerful, particularly since it still has Barrier and access to the new Spirit Shell. Spirit Shell could be one of “those abilities” that winds up getting nerfed when used  “creatively”. I do worry that Spirit Shell will be used to bypass boss abilities. I mean, you have the ability to prep a tank with a 60% HP bubble– then PW: Shield on top of that, and if you wanted, Pain Suppression as well. Remember people using Guardian Spirit to avoid Valiona’s Blackout in Heroic Bastion of Twilight? This could potentially be used similarly. Time will tell.  Spirit Shell is going to be perfect for those places where you would have POH/DA prepared the raid… except now, all that POH healing will be Spirit Shells!

I mean, you have the ability to prep a tank with a 60% HP bubble– then PW: Shield on top of that, and if you wanted, Pain Suppression as well.

scenario

M: In a previous conversation, we were talking about Mastery and how the points have changed. Do you consider haste the primary secondary stat for Holy with Mastery and Crit right behind it? What about Discipline?

D: Yes, Mastery should be a bit more transparent when it comes to its benefits on the character sheet. It’ll be much easier to understand now that they have streamlined the stat conversion straight to percentage gained.

That said, it is hard to provide a concrete statweight since a number of our spells are in flux when it comes to combat stat ratings; specifically regarding what affects them and what does not.  As of build 17882, we have Holy Word: Sanctuary now being affected by haste, which has me concerned, I did the math and its not good news– but it may be a bug. That said, since HW: Sanctuary is being affected by Haste, it does make breakpoints something to keep in mind. I have calculated the required Haste Rating for each Spell’s Breakpoint and will be publishing those numbers shortly. I do not think we’ll be ‘chasing breakpoints’ in MoP, but keeping them in mind will be critical–We’ll want to know where they are, so we can ensure we aren’t so close that we should change a gem or two. I do not think we’ll be gearing to get that additional HW: Sanctuary tick.

However, a Hymn tick on the other hand…

Preliminary simming is going to put Haste/Mastery pretty close to one another for Holy; however it will depend on how you heal. Are you going to be constantly spamming? Are you going to be weaving in more Power Word: Solaces? Are you going to burst heal and then slow down to regen? Are you single target healing? These all have different impacts to your statweights. If forced to chose, I would probably suggest gearing for enough Haste (raidbuffed) for the added Hymn (both), Renew tick and for a 10th Sanctuary tick… then Mastery. We’ll likely have a good deal of mastery  since a lot of the cloth drops and craftables are covered in it!

Discipline will enjoy Mastery since it now has a 3rd spell that benefits from it: Spirit Shell. Power Word: Shield, Divine Aegis, and Spirit Shell will all scale from Mastery. More simming will be needed to be done to get these stats, but for the most part Haste & Mastery will likely be our top go-to stats.

For the most part Haste & Mastery will likely be our top go-to stats.

M: Level 90 talents. What do you think about each of them and what’s going to be your standard level 90 talent?

D: For raiding? Hands down, Cascade. I like them all (even beyond just the visuals). Halo is nice, but requires too much positional tweaking to make it really solid and is too expensive and too long a cooldown to be reliable. Divine Star will be great in 5 mans (I know I’ve used it a lot in heroics), and will work well in raids that have you all grouped up (a la Ultraxion). However, Cascade has proven to be the strongest for me in the test raids I’ve done. Even on 10 man— remember Cascade will hit 15 targets, and 10 man raids do not have 15 targets typically (pets).

halo

M: What about raid encounters? How about some previews for healing?

Hard to really nail this down simply. At the moment, some of the 10-man encounters have been wildly undertuned. For example, we accidentally killed Lei Shi in the Terrace of the Endless Spring due to dots when we tried to wipe/reset to get more testing/logs on the fight. Oops! Heroic Testing has just started, but has some promise to be challenging.

I will say that there are going to be some head nods to old encounters. Garalon, for example,  has a Professor Putricide-esque ability requiring you to pass a DoT/Debuff around via proximity. Not “recycled” content, but certainly some “oh this reminds me of X!”.

The one that I liked the most was Imperial Vizier Zor’lok. It is one of those fights that has different abilities in each phase of the fight, and then the final phase has all the abilities active at once. I enjoy these “progressive fights”; fights in which you learn how to manage and heal each phase, and then you have a capstone in the final phase.

M: Oh man, I love Professor Putricide. Always made jokes about who was dirty and who wasn’t. Vizier sounds something like Mimiron. If I remember right, most of these encounters were for normal mode and purely for testing of mechanics.

That’s correct as the only testing so far is Normal and it really was about testing mechanics. But the tuning of the mechanics are still important. Again, if you look at Lei Shi, you’ll see the latest patch notes took that feedback and increased some of the damage she does. Hopefully she won’t be quite the pinata she proved to be originally!

M: How much will I need to work Solace into my “rotation” (for lack of a better term) to see sizeable gains along the lines of mana hymn or fiend?

D: First, I’d be remiss not to ask people to calm down about Solace. People are really getting panicked over Solace. Yes, Solace provides the most regen potential, but there is a cost to that.

When you are casting (or chain casting) PW: Solace you are doing zero healing. Those GCDs have an opportunity cost. It is up to you, to evaluate when you can fit those in and what the cost to doing that (vs healing) is. It might mean the tank takes a couple of melee swings and goes without a heal for 2-3 seconds. You’re going to have to heal that back up, but is the cost worth it? That is the question you need to ask yourself.

When you are casting (or chain casting) PW: Solace you are doing zero healing. […] It is up to you, to evaluate when you can fit those in and what the cost to doing that (vs healing) is.

Now, as far as how do you need to work Solace into rotation? You’ll want to find the gaps in damage–which can be hard the first time you see an encounter. I strongly suggest macroing PW:Solace with a mouseover/assist macro. This will allow you to simply hover over a DPS/Tank and Solace their target, all while not losing your current target (like the tank).

For PW: Solace to work out equal to Mindbender (assuming you’re also using Shadowfiend on CD) you’ll need to do 3-4  per minute (current build has it restoring 1.5%). Its actually 3.555/minute but remember its in aggregate. If for the first minute you got only 1 Solace in, to be on par by the end of minute 2, you’ll need to have 6 during minute number 2. Here is a link to an article I put together outlining how these talents work, and specifically how the granularity of the spells can work to your advantage.
I promise you, finding those GCD’s isn’t as difficult as it may seem. You just need to find the places to do it and weigh the opportunity cost.

divine-star

M: Right, yeah. I mean if we had access to Solace right now, we’d use it on Tendon phases during Spine (oh gosh, wouldn’t that just be so awesome to have right now?). In contrast, relying on Solace on Zon’ozz while the ball is active and bouncing around is probably a bad idea since you run the risk of losing players.

D: Yep! Finding the appropriate spots to use Solace will be the marker of a priest using it correctly. Of course, given that its clearly been under the watchful eyes of Blizzard and has been kept in check… 3-4 casts per min (in aggregate) is not a meaningless number as there may be fights where that much non-healing time is too much. However, if the Normal tests so far are any indication, you should be able to find time to cast Solace if you look for it.

Players and guilds are in a flux right now. This is going to be the time where players will be jumping around different guilds and M: situating themselves for Mists. Any advice for a 10 man Priest making the switch to 25 man and what they can expect with MoP raids?

D: 25 man raids will be interesting in MoP. I do not want to turn this into an argument about which is harder or if 25’s are dying. However, 25 man raids will have a challenge on a number of fights based purely on available real estate. A few of the fights seem to be reliant on spacing aspects like spreading out and grouping (even more so on Heroic, when looking at the Dungeon Journal). With the same square footage in the boss encounter, 25 man raids could find themselves in a position where they simply run out of space.

Healers in a 25 man raid, always need to be sure they do not have “I’m the Hero Syndrome”.

I’ve seen this happen to a number of healers when making the switch from 10s to 25s. They simply do not rely on the other 4-5 healers on their team and either: deviate from assignment, go OOM from being inefficient, or ignore instruction. You really need to work as a team in 25s, arguably more so than in 10s as you have substantially more people working with you, and covering potentially greater areas.

Be the uni-mind.

M: Let’s talk about our favourite spell Lightwell. There’s a certain cost/benefit between having it clickable vs having it firing off when player health drops below 50%. Are you going to leave yours glyphed or unglyphed?

D: Well since Lightwell and Lightspring both are healing for the same amount, the only added benefit of not Glyphing Lightspring, is that you can control its output (assuming players click it) . However, there are not many Major Glyphs we can choose from and I predict this being the glyph that we will run 95% of the time, with the 5% of the time on fights that you will ‘order’ your raid to click it at a specific time (such as Chimaeron’s Feud).

Lightspring will be ‘what’s expected’ and running it unglyphed, you likely will hear “I thought it was lightspring and would auto heal me!”

lightwell

M: We were chatting briefly about the lack of Holy glyphs. It seems that there’s a certain 3-4 glyphs that are the most optimal for Holy right now. What spells would you like to see affected by glyphs for extra or altered functionality?

D: If I were to have a wish list? Whoo, boy. I’d like a glyph to allow us to channel Hymns while moving. I hate casting HoH and then having something spawn under my feet! Or perhaps something that makes Spirit of Redemption useful? I’ve always hated a talent that only is used if you die/fail. Perhaps remove the “on death” and grant something useful like an on-use throughput increase. (See Also: Archangel, Tree of Life, Ascendance, and Divine Favor)

M: Alright, that’s all I have for you, Derevka! It’s good chatting with you again and thanks for taking time out of your schedule to offer your thoughts on (what is clearly) the best class in the game. Bonus: Your MoP release date guess?

D: Well, we are in the potential final stages of testing heroic raids! I would imagine another 2-3 weeks of raid  testing before we get a date. I also will assume they’re going to test LFR as well. If I were to bet, we’ll have a release date when they debut the opening cinematic at Gamescom.

I am hoping the launch date isn’t in the two weeks where I have a vacation and big work conference in September. With that in mind I am going to say 10/2/12–but I will hope it lands before. My raid team has already been tired of farming Heroic DS since February! We want something fresh, and I know many people share that opinion!

Where’s my panda?!

5 Ways to Pass Time on a Saturday

5 Ways to Pass Time on a Saturday

Need something to read for your Sunday evening? I’ve got some selections for you! Did some car shopping today. Love the new car smell. Didn’t buy or commit to anything yet. Eliminated the RAV 4, Expedition, and Escape.

The Guild Philosophy of Dr. Seuss

If Dr Seuss were a raider, this is what he’d be looking for in a guild. I imagine it’s what we’re all looking for. Elizabella lists positive and appealing guild aspects (for most of us, at least).

Mistweaver Monk Abilities and Rotation

If you’re looking for a solid resource for Monks, visit my fellow WoW insider colleague Chase’s recently updated guide. It’s got a better overview of spells along with rotations and situations.

Dragon Soul Retrospective

Jasyla lays out her experience in the final raid of Cataclysm and how it was for her as a healer.

Crisis of Identity

Kaleri muses how the upcoming change of role is going to affect. Going from a healer to a tank should be an easier transition. At least, a tank knows the trials that a healer goes through in order to keep them alive.

Blizzard wants you to have fun

Yes they do. You get valor points for doing just about anything now. Can’t wait for Farmville WoW style to debut so I can get valor points for growing turnips. Personally, I like having all these options at my disposal. It means if raid gets cancelled due to real life holidays or if we have a finals week where 10 players in the guild need to write their LSAT/MCAT exams, we can still at least secure valor that week (Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever had a doctor in the guild, ever).

Nailed it

Madness is down. We were consistently getting to platform 4 on Monday. Finished it off in 3 or so attempts on Tuesday (lockout extension). I don’t know what kill’s more satisfying: Madness or Spine. That first Madness kill is super messy though: 4 healers alive and 2 DPS still standing.

Now we’re in New Game+ mode which means backtracking and picking up achievements and other kills from previous tiers.

On a completely unrelated note, always stretch before playing any sports. Paying the price right now for not properly stretching after some serious outdoor 3v3 volleyball. I also need to L2 jump serve.

Question: Guild A or Guild B?

Question: Guild A or Guild B?

I am a terrible blogger and lost the link to this self post on r/wow. But, I thought it was a good question since there’s bound to have been other players in similar situations.

So I have been faced with a problem and thought I should ask for some advice.

Since the start of cataclysm I have raided with a guild that was fairly progression drived (downing final bosses in a raid before next patch and even working on progression). When DS hit, we hit the ground running. After 4 months or so of raiding we got our rogue his legendarys and then the group kinda fell apart. I wasn’t ready to be done with raiding just yet so I pugged a lot for 8 weeks or so and got my tauren holy pally well geared. Enough so that I found a new guild that was still doing heroic progression and joined them. Now after 3 weeks in this new guild, my old guild decided to start running again. I plan on raiding with them come MoP, so they want me to bring my pally back and continue progression. But I don’t want to leave the guild I just joined without a healer. I have a disc priest in the old guild that I have been healing with, but it makes our comp less than optimal. Any suggestions on what I should do?

My initial thinking is to analyze why the first group ceased running. Depending on the reasoning, it could happen again and you might find yourself hung out to try. If it’s due to players losing interest or the leadership losing interest, you’d better be careful because there’s a chance that it’ll happen. One common trend I notice about certain players is that their interest level is up there when it comes to raiding content, but once they hit a progression wall (or if they’ve beaten the progression wall), they’ll stop showing up and lose interest until the next content patch. Repeat that for the next tier.

I personally hate people like that.

You end up equipping them so that they become an asset and then they take their leave costing you time to train up and gear a replacement. Call ‘em yo-yo players.

But I’m digressing.

If you don’t think  they’re going to lose interest or anything like that, then by all means resume progression since it seems like you’ve had the most fun. If you can’t say for certain that they’re not going to bail out on you, then I’d stick with the second group since it seems that they’re a little more stable and established.

Secret option C? You could double dip and play both your Priest and your Paladin, but you might find yourself burning out twice as fast and reducing your overall effectiveness to both groups. But, that largely depends on your gaming stamina and interest levels anyway.

Have any of you been in a situation akin to this fine fellow? What did you end up doing and how did it turn out? What would you suggest that this person do?

Serenity and Renew Buffs

You might have noticed that within this recent ~20 GB beta patch that Renew and Serenity gained some buffs.

  • Chakra: Serenity healing increased by 70%
  • Rapid Renewal (New): Your Renew heals for an additional 15%, instantly heals the target for 15% of the total periodic effect, and has a 0 second reduced global cooldown.

But what you might not know is that being in Serenity increases Renew by an additional 15%. A minor update was given to Serenity so that the single target healing buff (from spells like Flash Heal and Greater Heal) now applies to Renew. This component of Serenity is effective as of the current build as it apparently wasn’t in place before. I didn’t notice until it was pointed out to me by @KelestiMMO. Thanks!

Health restored

Discipline Holy Holy (Serenity)

5230

7998

9199

Speaking of Serenity, it got mad buffed. Hits super hard now (From 7900 + 76.2% spell power to 13400 + 130% spellpower).