- The player successfully learns and succeeds at a given task with enough time.
- The player fails and is subsequently replaced by someone who can.
Those are some of the words on Twitter used to describe the ticket purchasing process this year for BlizzCon 2014.
First of all, congratulations to everyone that managed to secure and score tickets for this year’s BlizzCon! I managed to get some for myself and Conquest will be returning in full force again with some new faces (and old).
What exactly was different about this year versus previous years?
The Old System
Historically, Blizzard has done a fairly good job managing ticket purchases. You had to keep refreshing the page, select your order, and you’d get thrown into a queue. There would be an indicator that showed you what place in line you were. If you were 1356th in line and there were 10000 tickets available, you knew you were locked in for a ticket. Once the indicator reached zero, that meant all the tickets were spoken for and had been sold. There were no more left in the system.
The New System
This year, Blizzard opted for something different. They decided to use Eventbrite instead. A few of my guildies had used Eventbrite before and mentioned that the system itself had crashed during smaller events and concerts (with a capacity of 2000 seats). BlizzCon hitting the 20000 ticket mark made me wonder if Eventbrite could even handle the expected load.
My guild has done this annually now. We had a thread set up to coordinate who was able to buy tickets, what their maximum purchasing capability was, and who needed tickets. We were all on Mumble when the tickets went live and I hit refresh, selected four, and was thrown into their waiting room. Some of my guildies were faster on the draw than I was and managed to proceed right to the checkout page. I had given up hope. I figured if I was in the waiting room, there was no way I’d be able to get tickets. But I had no visual indicator as to how many tickets were remaining so I stayed on there.
Minutes later, I was thrown out of the queue and informed that the event had sold out and that there were no more tickets available.
My first year of not getting my own BlizzCon ticket. There goes my streak.
Or so I thought.
Resigned and frustrated, I kept slamming my F5 key just because. Then I noticed my page had changed. The sold out notice was gone. Tickets were available again. Perplexed, I decided to go for it. Changed my ticket quantity to 3. Was told that it wasn’t available, but I could buy them in singles. Said screw it, selected 1 ticket and was thrown into the checkout page again. By this point, all but 4 people in guild had tickets that were spoken for. 3 of us managed to check out in time and get order confirmations on our tickets.
The last guy was still stuck and wasn’t able to get his either as it had thrown him another sold out error.
On a hunch, he was smart enough and decided to wait a few more minutes before trying again. Sure enough, 24 minutes after the first wave of tickets had been released, he managed to purchase a single ticket for himself. Everyone who had signed on and committed to a ticket managed to get one.
Weird right? What the heck happened?
Based on what I saw and my conversations with others, tickets were held on the checkout page by people purchasing them. If people did not finalize their purchase or if their check out process timed out after 8 minutes, those tickets would then be released back available for purchase.
However, the rest of us in line had been thrown out and we would not have known about it. Why would it tell us that tickets are sold out if they weren’t actually sold out?
I felt that was absolute ludicrosity. Way preferred the old system. At least I knew for sure that I had a chance. And at least I knew that once the supply bar was empty, it was literally empty. I understand that the system this year had the unintentional side effect where people could show up late and purchase a ticket 20 minutes later. Neat in a way, but not exactly fair for the people who started the F5 refresh spam on the dot.
How can this be solved?
Easy. Put in something that the previous BlizzCon pages had: A bar that shows how many tickets are remaining. Calculate it based on actual tickets confirmed and sold. I think that’d go a long way towards placating many interested players.
Oh and don’t actually throw people out of the queue.
Why They Switched
Good question. Why did Blizzard switch?
One reason why we’re using Eventbrite is because there is a quick and easy system to help us monitor purchases and be able to take tickets back from scalpers/bots.
BlizzCon is notorious for having a huge number of people trying to sell and scalp tickets. Listings appeared on Ebay weeks before the actual BlizzCon ticket sale. I’m not sure about the countermeasures or the success rate of trying to stop and minimize the effect of scalpers, but I loaded up Ebay and decided to search it up:
Maybe it’ll get shut down? Who knows?
Edit: This feature has since been removed from Warlords.
Have you seen the latest news for healers? They took away our Hymn of Hopes, our Innervates, and stuff.
Actually, they gave Innervate back. Have a gander at the latest section from the patch notes:
Active Mana Regeneration (New)
Another part of the changes to healing is providing a way for them to better manage their mana. There are ways to spend more mana for more healing but, we’re also adding methods for healers to trade extra time or healing or more mana to use later in a fight when they really need it.
- Innervate has been redesigned to now have a 2-second cast time with no cooldown, and causes the Druid to gain 2.5% of maximum mana every 4 seconds for 8 seconds. Spending any mana on a healing spell will cancel this effect.
- Crackling Jade Lightning‘s channel duration has been reduced to 4 seconds.
- Stance of the Wise Serpent now also causes Crackling Jade Lightning to cost no mana, and restore 2% of the Monk’s maximum mana if the ability is channeled for its full duration.
- Divine Plea has been redesigned to be instant cast with no cooldown, and consume 3 Holy Power to immediately regain 7% of maximum mana.
- Atonement is no longer triggered by Penance.
- Penance now also refunds 1.1% of the Priest’s maximum mana each time it deals damage.
- Chakra: Chastise in addition to existing effects, now also causes Smite and Holy Fire to restore 0.75% of maximum mana each time they are cast instead of costing mana.
- Telluric Currents is now a passive ability for Restoration Shaman and causes Lightning Bolt to restore 1.25% of maximum mana each time it is cast instead of costing mana.
- Glyph of Telluric Currents: This glyph has been removed.
Huge, yes? Our combat regeneration has evolved quite a long way. During vanilla, we had to work with the 5 second rule: Stop doing anything for 5 seconds to unleash the full power of our mana regen. Then we went to a model where classes had different abilities to use on cooldown (while other classes just didn’t have to worry about mana at all). More changes are being worked with now to shake things up.
What happened to Druids?
I can see Druids are understandably upset with how Innervate’s going to work now. It was originally supposed to be removed but now it’s back. Are Druids really supposed to just sit there for 8 seconds and not do anything while Innervate does what it does? Any healing spells automatically interrupt it. But if you cast your damage spells, you’re negating the damage you’re regenerating.
Doesn’t make sense.
Unless you consider that Wrath isn’t going to cost you any mana.
Now you’ve got something to do while you wait for Innervate to gas you up. Spam that Wrath! But know that you can always cut Innervate off at anytime with a healing spell. Useful for those unexpected emergencies that tend to flare up during raid combat.
What happened to Priests?
Out of all them, the Priest mana abilities are the most interesting. And I say that not because I’m a Priest. I’m just that biased. Because Priests are the master class.
I’m a little concerned about the Penance one. It’s normally used on cooldown for me. There’s almost always someone that can benefit from a fast burst heal. So to use that on a hostile target instead of a friendly is concerning. Can’t quite place my finger on the why.
The Holy Priest side of things is going to be even more engaging. Now I have to actually bind a key to the Chakra: Chastise stance specifically. Priests will need to really get used to Chakra dancing. There were times through this expansion you can get away with being a little lazy and be in the non-optimal Chakra. But with the removal of Hymn of Hope, you have to pay attention and ensure you’re in the right stance or else you’re not going to have any mana left to do anything.
What’s this mean for healers overall?
Much of the regen mechanics are designed to give healers key decisions to make. Do I continue to burn through my mana reserves? Or should I take a moment now and risk raid integrity and regenerate mana? If you’re not already communicating with your other healers now, you need to start. Practice with mana potions or something. Raids in Warlords will typically be rocking 4 to 5 healers at most. If a Resto Druid needs to stop healing for a bit, the rest of the healers need to know. That’s 20% to 25% less healing power during those brief seconds. It helps to know the encounters inside and out. When are the less stressful parts of the encounter? When is the most stressful part? At what stage should I ensure I have a sufficient amount of mana reserves remaining? Not sure how tightly tuned the next raid instances will be, but you’re going to have to practice doing some DPS.
I’m going to miss just relying on Hymn of Hope and Shadowfiend. As if we didn’t have enough to do already. Didn’t exactly sign up to DPS. I just want to stare at health bars and do what I do best: Heal players, not spend part of my time DPSing because I have to.
Eh, I have no doubt I’ll probably change my mind later when I can give the game a spin. Until then, I’ll just keep on griping.
Good gravy, so many new changes coming with the alpha notes! Instead of going through all of them, I’m just going to summarize my favourites. You can turn to BlizzPro later in the week for a more in-depth analysis.
Don’t tell me you didn’t see this coming. For almost the entire expansion, Discipline Priests were considered top tier and a virtual must have in progression focused guilds. It wasn’t so much the temporarily healing buff from Evangelism, but the Archangel ratios which made us a force to be reckoned.
Let’s deal damage with any of our main DPS nukes. On top of that, a portion of the damage done is going to also heal. Oh and it’s a smart heal!
In a way, I’m disappointed that it’s lowered but I can’t help but think it’ll help equalize the state of healing classes a little more. At the very least, maybe it’ll lower Discipline representation some and allow us Holy Priest guys back into the fray as a better alternative. There was nothing really wrong with Holy (well, there was but we’ll cover that in a moment), but Holy just wasn’t quite as well sought after.
That’ll be different in the future largely because of…
Remember when Chakra came into play? It was almost two expansions ago during the start of Cataclysm. It essentially functioned as a stance for Holy Priests. Certain spells would become stronger depending on which Chakra you had active and you’d gain access to a Holy Word spell that corresponded with that stance. It was intended to provide flexibility and allow Priests to select the role they were going to perform in a raid: Single target healing or multi-target healing.
If you were in a Chakra stance and wanted to do something outside of the benefit, your spells wouldn’t make quite as an impact. The alpha notes said it quite clearly: The buff from being in a certain Chakra “felt like a penalty for being in the wrong Chakra, rather than a bonus for being in the right Chakra”.
Chakra: Sanctuary provided a strong buff to Prayer of Healing which was great when I was covering groups but it was lousy if I needed to spot heal the tank for a few moments. Lowering the bonuses attained in Serenity and Sanctuary are a start. Saying “I’m only losing 10% of a healing boost instead of a 25% bonus” is much more reassuring. Instead, Holy Word: Serenity and Sanctuary are receiving more of a healing bonus. I suspect our normal baseline spells will be adjusted and balanced accordingly.
Removal of Mana Hymn
Just like that.
How else am I supposed to get my mana back? One of our healing utilities is out the window as a victim of Blizzard’s crackdown on ability bloat. Now they’ve promised that mana regeneration rates and spirit will be monitored to offset the loss of Hymn of Hope. Now I’m really at the mercy of my own healing spells. I can’t heal full throttle and rely on Mana Hymn to provide me with a cushion anymore. I’m going to miss it.
To be more specific, I’m giddy with Glyph of Restored Faith. It can be used as an escape or a closer or if I just want to get next to someone. Maybe it isn’t that killer, but I really do like the fun I can get with this. I can pull myself out of harms way if I’m caught standing in a fire! It’s like a pseudo defensive cooldown!
Level 100 talents
You can find the new talents at the recently updated WoW Head calculator. I liked that old talent with Void Shift where you could use it as many times as you wanted but I guess that one was tossed.
Now there’s healing talents when you reach level 100 like Words of Mending. Every healing or absorb spell generates a stack of Word of Mending. Hit 5 stacks, cast a free Prayer of Mending! Worried about Prayer of Mending overriding itself? A minor change was introduced where Prayer of Mending from multiple Priests are able to be applied on the same target. Not only that, one Priest can have multiple applications of Prayer of Mending on more than one target!
I mean, yo dawg! I heard you like Prayer of Mending! So I put a Words of Mending on your Prayer of Mending so you can Prayer of Mending while you Prayer of Mending!
Holy Priests gain access to another talent called Clarity of Purpose. It replaces Prayer of Healing with a new spell called Clarity of Purpose. We know that smart healing spells are getting dumber. But if healing spells were given an IQ, I’m certain Clarity of Purpose would take home the smartest heal ever award. It’ll heal players within 10 yards of your target. Not only that, it splits the heal so that weaker players receive more of the healing pie.
Now that’s legit!
This is going to be a fun beta testing period. Warlords needs to come soon! I’ll do my best to keep track of any pertinent Priest changes and updates as we progress through the development stages of the expansion.
Several weeks ago, I joined BlizzPro’s The Edge videocast team as a third co-host on their show. I still receive questions from readers asking about the Matticast. This was one way for me to return to the casting circuit. We’ll be talking about news (at least, only the pertinent ones). Along the way, we’ll offer what we can about classes, skills, and raids.
- Live on Air: Tuesday 7:00 PM CST (5:00 PM Pacific, 8:00 PM Eastern)
- Channel: BlizzPro
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Twitter: @edge_blizzprotv
In the last episode, we discussed cross-realm raiding and preparing your guild for Warlords. This week’s episode 14, the crew takes a closer look at the different factors that go into planning your roster for Mythic. Meanwhile, faux patch notes kept us entertained for the day with nods and inside jokes along with pop culture references. Sadly, I think I only got half the references.
I’ll add some additional thoughts about building a Mythic roster in a future post. This is the first expansion where I’ve had to really whip out my whiteboard and really think ahead about the roles each player will have going into an expansion. I wasn’t in such a position when we transitioned from Vanilla Warcraft to Burning Crusade (and going from the 40 man to the 25 man). I can only imagine what it was like for GMs in those positions who had to make the tough call of picking 15 out of 40 players to release.
Sean wanted to take a page inspired from Diablo. Why not have loot drops completely randomized in a limited pool? But I don’t think anything can be done that can really entice me to jump back into heroic dungeons when I’m well already into raiding. Let’s face it, the first week or two of a new expansion, I’ll be dungeon diving repeatedly to get my priest at a level where he can adequately compete for raiding and then never going back again.
If there’s a system mechanic that increases character progression in addition to raiding, I’m going to be annoyed. Raids should be the ultimate way to progress a character’s power (excluding PvP). Dungeons just aren’t my thing and I hope we don’t have to run them to get some kind of currency or items that augment our gear. Just isn’t necessary. In my mind, you should be running heroic dungeons because:
- You want to get started for entry level raiding.
- Certain vanity rewards like pets or mounts (or challenge mode gear).
- An activity you enjoy with a smaller group of people.
- You need the 3000 valor points for the legendary cloak on your 4th alt.
Look, if you like dungeons and stuff, power to you. I’m just not a fan. I can’t think of anything they can do to really encourage me to go back in after I’ve had a taste of raids. There’s a finite amount of time I spend playing WoW per week and I don’t want to split up my time being forced to do something I don’t want to do for the sake of maximizing my character’s power.
They can’t exactly utilize the mechanics from Diablo’s adventure and bounty modes. You’re controlling a character with 6 abilities in that game. All areas of a map are randomly generated. All the loot stats and features are also randomly generated. In Warcraft, you’re playing your toon which has all these attacks and cooldowns. All the heroics are on a set layout. Lastly, each dungeon has it’s own set of loot rewards from each boss. Does WoW need anymore RNG? Right now, I know that if I wanted a weapon, I could run a certain boss in a specific heroic over and over again until I attained it. Chance says that if I do it enough times, eventually the dice roll will go in my favor*. At least I’d know what I can do increase the odds. With completely random loot tables, it wouldn’t matter what I did. I’d have a roughly equal chance no matter which boss I came to.
*In practice, I have the worst luck.
What about you? Are you a dungeon runner? What drives you to propel your characters through 5 mans? What would you like to see to improve your experience within them?
The news that cross-realms are allowing players to raid on other servers on both normal and heroic mode is a god-send! Players are no longer restricted to paying server transfer fees in order to raid. Cross-faction raiding isn’t going to be a thing anytime soon (and I doubt it ever will), but at least players can now raid across servers. This is a great way for a prospective player to “try” a new raiding guild before they commit to transferring. It’s great for guilds like mine to help fill out a raid in case we’re short players by using a service like Open Raid.
Another benefit? You can start selling guild runs and kills. It’s also known as “guild boosting”.
There’s a market out there for players who want the normal mode achievement. There’s players who want the gear that your guild has been routinely sharding week after week. People might scoff and laugh, but there’s always going to be a buyer. People want the loot, the achievements, and the mounts but aren’t necessarily able to commit the time required to a proper raiding guild. Just keep in mind that gold and loot still can’t be traded on non-connected realms so they’d have to transfer a character with gold plus the items that are the rough equivalent to the price negotiated upon. I’ve seen some players willing to transfer an alt and then boosting their main.
Want to make it even easier? Make sure the alt is the GM of their own guild. Last I checked, guild bank transfer limits were at 1 million gold. The character needs to meet the requirements though.
How does one go about it?
I’d strongly suggest doing this with a 25 man raiding team. I imagine it’s significantly harder to carry a person on 10.
Step 1: Discuss it with your guild
I’m using the word “discuss” in a loose term. It should be pretty easy to sell your guild on the idea. Remind them that that funds coming in are going to guild repairs and to the next expansion (recipes, crafting materials, enchants, etc). Will your participating raid members obtain a small cut? If you’ve already made that decision to sell runs, let the guild know. Any dissenters can be silenced with sound reasoning. If they still disagree, well that’s ultimately up to you to decide. No one has to participate if they don’t want to.
We’ll get to the actual agreements in a moment.
Step 2: Advertise it
You can sell something but if no one knows about it, you’re not going to be able to make any gold. No one’s going to come to a run they don’t know about! Hit up trade chat and see if anyone local is interested in the kills. Failing that, see if anyone on Open Raid is willing to go. Advertise on your server’s forums! They’ll ask you for a price and that’s going to fluctuate greatly based on things like your server progression, what they’re entitled to, what bosses are going down, and so forth.
If you have a guild website, consider creating a page dedicated to this information. Make sure you include the important stuff like the price and what they get. Include who they should message about it. Throw in the dates and times if you know it for a fact. If loot prices are different, specify that too.
That’s where the next step comes into play…
Step 3: Settle on the terms and price
Are clients paying for just a Garrosh kill? Do they want a specific item? Do they want all items? Are they expecting a full clear? Heroic boss kills? All of those factor into. Speak to your client and figure out what they want. It seems the going rate for a straight up Garrosh kill with whatever loot they want is 15k.
Naturally the going rate of this stuff is going to be influenced by demand and the progression capabilities of your server.
Figure out and set your guild prices for:
- Loot (Both normal and warforged)
Talk to your client and figure out exactly what they want and what they’re paying for. Once you have that step figured out…
Step 4: Arrange payment
Take a deposit.
Some guilds ask for non-refundable 15% up front. Other guilds ask for 50%. Consider cutting a deal on the price if the run is scheduled to occur on the day of. Again, this obviously isn’t going to work if the player is on a cross realm since they can’t trade gold but if they’re willing to transfer servers on an alt, take that into consideration. I find that the more well-known a guild is, the higher the deposit they can command. Reputation seems to play a big part. Guilds that routinely top the kills race ask for a higher deposit because they don’t want to be ripped off. Buyers can rest easily knowing that these are guilds who are also quite serious and skilled at what they do.
Step 5: The logistics
This up to the raid leader to decide. Which player is going to sit? Is the client going to attempt to participate and contribute? It might just be easier for them to die immediately and AFK lest they accidentally mess up the kill. This is where the client can pay up the rest of the fee associated with the run.
Does all this sound ridiculous? Unrealistic? Who’d pay that much gold for this stuff? Y’know, there’s over 7 million subscribers. There’s going to be a select few who are willing to buy their way to the top.
Last minute reminder: There is an absolute ton of risk involved in these kinds of transactions. There’s no guarantee the guild can carry a person from start to finish. There’s no guarantee a person is able and willing to pony up the rest of the mentioned fee. Either party can get ripped off at any time. If something doesn’t sound right, walk away. I doubt Blizzard GMs will be able to assist with this type of stuff if someone gets scammed or ripped off.
One of the first mistakes I made in the formation of my guild was one that a lot of people make: we mostly relied on “common sense” to dictate what was and was not acceptable. For whatever reason, “common sense” was fine for the first couple of months, but after more recruits joined us, it became apparent that we actually needed to sit down and write out rules to let people know what behaviour was expected of them. The worst part of it all is that my officers and I were just dumbfounded at how poorly some people could behave! We honestly could not understand how anyone thought X or Y behaviours were appropriate. As such, most of the rules we wrote had a “private name” used to refer to them by the officers, as they were named for the guild member who caused us to write the rule in the first place, along the lines of “the Kurn rule” or “the Majik rule”. It definitely made for some memorable moments, but what I took away from it was that you have to be clear about your expectations from the start!
We had a raider early on who had a really difficult personality and didn’t get a long with a lot of our long-time raiders. Problem was that he was really good DPS, and I found myself with a dilemma after he caused a kerfuffle with some of my players. I had to choose between showing him the exit and hurting overall raid DPS, or attempting to smooth over the row and investing some of my credibility into him. I chose to do what I (mistakenly) perceived as being for the greater good and worked things out, but there was an even bigger incident not much longer after that and he really had to go that time. Trying to find a compromise (and compromising my own integrity) only kicked the ball down the road a little ways. I should have ripped the band-aid off quickly, and I paid for that dithering in the end.
- Find a way to deal with it: Involves muting, not socializing, or other methods.
- Find a way to change it: Involves talking to the player and asking them that their behaviour needs to change.
- Remove the problem: The ol’ gkick strategy.
One of the hardest lessons I learned the first time around is that people aren’t actually expendable. When you’re in a highly competitive environment with a ton of applicants it is easy to forget that. Everyone wants to be “uber” and kill the top monsters. As a motivation tool my officers and I leveraged this. We’d remind folks that there were people in the minor league waiting for the slot on the roster. It really demoralized more than it motivated. Later on I focused more on developing talent and retention. Keeping even average players for an extremely long time yielded far better results.
Amy Emmence (@amyemmence)While not an original or very early on officer, I feel when I became an officer, I felt a bit less than worthy and did not try and actively do more for my guild than I had done before. I realize now that I was asked to be an officer because I was “worthy” of the role and respected in the guild and let that guide me now.
Sometimes you have to be a jerk. Don’t farm it out to officers, don’t put it off, don’t hope that things will magically get better — part of your job is making people feel like you are securely in charge and protecting the guild community.
When I took over as GM, I set expectations for officer activity too high. As an example, in the first month of MoP the role officers were expected to give raiders written reviews every week so we could nip any performance issues in the bud. After the first month, these were expected to be done monthly. This was great while it lasted but after a couple months sitting down and writing 8 healer reviews (or worse, 14 ranged reviews) really wore on people and the activity dropped off, causing some disappointment. A couple officers even stepped down from their roles – this wasn’t the only reason, but I’m sure the workload was part of it. The lesson? Set realistic expectations. It’s better to do things well, even if that means those things happen less frequently. People can only dedicate a certain amount of time and energy to the guild before they start burning out.
My biggest mistake was a significant lack of game/life balance. I poured an unfortunate amount of trial-and-error into the guild in the early years, lacking any formal knowledge of what it took to build and maintain a successful guild, to the detriment of those around me. Guilds are demanding (especially raiding ones), but all can be managed if you have the necessary tools and know where to set boundaries.
(@Zaierpally)I think the biggest mistake I’ve made is not having enough communication. I’ve had a couple of different instances where I thought everything was going great and then it all blew up in my face because there hadn’t been good enough communication. I’ve had situations go from good to terrible because of a lack of communication both between myself and other officers/the GM and between myself (as an officer) and the rest of the members of the guild.
Scott Andrews | Guild Leader’s HandbookOutside of me as the guild leader, the leadership had no structure. Officers had no specific tasks and I simply promoted every “founding member” regardless of ability or desire to lead. Committed and organized leadership is a key part of a successful guild, and the lack of it made everything way more difficult for me in the early going than it should have been. Fortunately, many of my officers stepped up in a big way when I needed them, or the guild would have died in its infancy.
A new week means a new Dev Watercooler! Today, Blizzard looked at healing gameplay. Cataclysm was the last expansion where there was a true healing “reset”. Mists of Pandaria largely preserved that same model. Now we’re entering Warlords where the healing model is getting changed again. The Watercooler can be summarized in three points:
- Health and resilience
- Smart heals getting “dumber”
- Instant casts getting slower
Raiding realities going into Warlords
The Mythic size raid group is dropping from 25 to 20. Less players overall which means slightly less healers to bring in so I can understand the dumbing down of some of the spells. More difficulties and the ability to scale the number of players you bring in also allows raid groups to control for that. Keep this in mind as we go down the list of changes. Lots of the freakout is taking future expansion plans and applying it to the current game.
What’s happening to the mana regeneration? That’s going to go up. At the start of Cataclysm and Mists, I’ve had to chug pots and burn cooldowns just to keep up with running the heroics. To be fair, this was a time when there wasn’t that much information on how to do the bosses. Much of our time was spent working on staying alive not so much killing the boss fast. Everything leveled off weeks later as we acquired more gear and crafted more stuff.
If I’m interpreting it right, it means our healing style shouldn’t change that much between doing heroic dungeons and heroic raids.
The downside is that now we’re losing out on our low-throughput healing spells (Nourish, Holy Light, Heal, and Healing Wave). I’m not afraid to see them go. Let’s be real, we’ve only ever used these spells twice ever in an expansion: Once at the start of it because we couldn’t afford to cast Greater Heal and at the end of the expansion when we run out of mana on a long and dragged out boss fight.
… Oh, you guys never ran out of mana? Must be nice!
Our smart healing spells are getting dumber. Instead of striking the most wounded player, the spells will now hit any wounded player. Healers can also jump on the blame RNG bandwagon! A reduced raid size does mean higher odds that our spells will hit intended targets at least. No more using Circle of Healing without abandon anymore.
Absorbs are being looked at. They’ve always been incredibly strong dating back to Wrath. Discipline has been so dominant compared to Holy. Not much information was offered as far as what specifically they plan to do with it other than tuning the strength of absorbs. Can’t see that problem going away though. Doesn’t matter if Power Word: Shield absorbs for 50000 or 10000. That’s still an additional layer of health going on top of players.
There’s a nice summary at the bottom of that part on what the devs plan on hitting.
That’s a lot of big changes for healers: reduced throughput, more triage, less powerful “smart” heals, weaker absorbs, fewer spells, and a new focus on efficiency decisions.
Okay, let’s look at instant spells. Not so instant anymore are they? Cascade, Divine Star, Halo, and Prayer of Mending are being given a 1.5 second cast time! To be fair, other classes are seeing reductions in their instant spell arsenals. Wild Growth and Uplift have cast times tacked onto theirs.
Hey remember when Prayer of Mending didn’t have a 10 second cooldown?
Pepperidge Farm remembers.
I can understand Divine Star and Halo getting cast times. But Cascade? It’s not exactly appealing in the current version of talents. Maybe that’s just how the encounters are setup. Cascade actually takes time to travel around from player to play so I’m not sure why that cast time is needed.
Hang on, these are PvP nerfs? Hrm, okay. Not what I wanted to hear. What I’m more concerned about is what those spells mean for Shadow. Divine Star and Halo are one of the few spells we can cast on the move and that’s being slowed down slightly.
Speaking of more questions, what’s going to happen to Atonement or the Monk version of it?
Maybe I’m just hitting a point of mental fatigue. I liked having smarter heals around. I liked having one less thing reduced to chance. When I’m not busy dodging a meteor, dispelling a silence, and deliberately taking damage for my Prayer of Mending to fly off, I was reassured that my smart heal would always hit the most injured player without any thought. Now I have to take extra time and carefully consider a choice between using a single target heal or a multi target heal. Granted, I’ve already been doing that since vanilla. But over the years, the small incremental changes to healing and rendering them smarter helped cut down on burnout rates. Healing the dark shaman top side and taking care of the Iron Tombs and the like was pretty darn engaging.
Healers think and decide way more than any other role in the game. Tanks, granted, have it fairly difficult. They have to consider boss positioning, direction, and their own cooldowns. One wrong choice and it’s an automatic wipe and that’s a ton of pressure. But at least those mistakes can be corrected quickly on the next-go round and aren’t as dynamic (as in, the boss shouldn’t face this direction or this defensive cooldown has to be used at this time).
Healing is a little more dynamic. You’re not always going to see the same situation. A different person might receive a debuff. Instead of a rogue standing in fire, it’s going to be a mage and are they shrewd enough to Ice Block it? Who needs the dispel in the next 5 seconds when that debuff goes out? Now I have to gamble with my spells. I have to hope that my Prayer of Healing will splash onto that really wounded guy and not the one who is at 90% health. Because if that RNG dice goes against me, I better follow up fast with a Penance or else that really wounded guy is going to wind up a dead guy.
Current: A small group that just took more raid damage than others? No problem, I can respond fast with a Circle of Healing and they’ll be safe.
Future: A small group that just took more raid damage than others? I can use Circle of Healing that might hit all of them, but I better be prepared to follow up with a few Flash Heals just in case it doesn’t.
I love choice in games. I like the ability to pick and decide my fate and that of others. I just wish that those dynamic choices be from the encounters more so than from my tools. Now there’s one more thing we have to actively think about all the time instead of simply relying on reaction.
Bring on the beta!
A few days ago, Warcraft Technical Game Designer Celestalon dispensed two hours worth of information on Twitter. One specific topic caught my eye. It’s no secret that racial bonuses in the game are a little skewed and slightly imbalanced. Many of the top tier raiding guilds are Horde and I’m fairly certain much of it is due to the min-maxing bonuses that the racials provide. So come Warlords, they’re mostly getting overhauled. While nothing has been finalized just yet, here’s where the racials stand right now.
- Draenei: Heroic Presence is now +X to your primary stat. Gift of the Naaru heals for the same amount but over 5 sec.
- Dwarf: Lost Crack Shot and Mace Specialization. Gained Might of the Mountain, a passive which adds 2% Crit Damage. Also… A change to Stoneform: Also removes Magic/Curse. HOWEVER, it still cannot be used while CC’d. (It is still NOT a CC-break)
- Gnome: Escape Artist dropped to a 1min CD (from 1.5min), and Shortblade Specialization became Nimble Fingers, 1% Haste. Also- A tweak to Expansive Mind. Was +5% max Mana. Now +5% Max Mana, Energy, Rage, or Runic Power.
- Humans lose the Mace/Sword racials. The Human Spirit becomes +X to two secondary stats of your choice. Every Man for Himself, we’re still evaluating. Itemization changes may mean no nerf needed.
- Night Elves: Quickness also increases movement speed by 2% passively. They also got a new passive which is quite unique… (Remember, no more haste breakpoints!) Touch of Elune, a new passive which grants 1% Haste at night, 1% Crit during the day.Shadowmeld is unchanged.
- Worgen: Darkflight is staying unchanged.
- Blood Elf: They gain Arcane Acuity, a 1% crit passive. Arcane Torrent now restores 20 Runic Power, or 1 HoPo, or 3% Mana, or Chi.
- Goblins: Not much. They were about at baseline. Time is Money becomes real 1% Haste, not just attack speed / cast speed. Subtle diff.
- Orcs were one of the outliers we brought down. Lost the Axe Specialization, and Hardiness is 10% Stun reduction (down from 15%). Blood Fury is unchanged.
- Tauren: Endurance becomes +X Stamina. Brawn is a new passive which increases Crit Damage/Healing by 2%.
- Troll: Berserking Reduced to 15% Haste (down from 20%).
Pandaren, of course, will most likely not see a change and retain their Epicurean bonus.
The Draenei racial bonus is much more appealing. Too bad we don’t know what the +X value is for the primary stat. It’s going to go right to Intellect for priests of all kinds. Gift of the Naaru will heal 20% of a target’s health over 5 seconds (instead of 15). It’s another healing spell you can add to your bar and you can save it for emergencies (every 3 minutes).
My first Priest was a Dwarf. I miss Stoneform and the ability to shrug off poisons. Now it functions as a secondary self dispel since it can remove magic debuffs and curses. The extra crit damage is handy for the Shadow and the Discipline Smiters though. May not be as helpful for Holy.
What about the Gnomes? There’s still the bonus to mana but it’s been expanded to include the energy of other class types. The natural 1% haste is new and useful for all priest types.
Humans gain a rather unique spin to their buff. They get to select which two secondary stats get a bonus. I imagine one of those will be Spirit and the other will be Haste, Crit, or Mastery — Whatever your priest is short on. An interface is being worked up right now allowing you to pick. The ability to pick and choose offers some neat flexibility.
Night Elves. Sigh. Really? Server time makes a difference now? Blah. I hate randomness. But it looks like there’s not much that can be done about that.
Horde side, Blood Elves continue to be the winner. The crit bonus passive is second only to Arcane Torrent’s innate mana restoring capability.
Goblins? The ability to Rocket Jump is huge in heavy movement fights. Now you get a flat 1% haste instead of a bonus to attack and bast speed.
Orcs can’t play priests so that point is rather moot.
Tauren Priests are already benefitting from a slight stamina boost allowing them to withstand a little more damage than usual. But the new Brawn bonus is a solid boon for priests of all types.
The first iteration of the Troll’s Berserking was pretty overpowered. It was like a mini-Heroism on demand. Now it’s been nerfed to a flat 15% Haste bonus instead of the 20%. Not quite as good but still reliable for burst healing your way through stuff.
Huge nerf to the Undead’s Will of the Forsaken with the cooldown going up. No other changes.
So let’s assume that you’re rolling a new Priest. You have all these excellent racials available to you. No more of the junk bonus to hit or expertise or any of that stuff.
Which one should you go for?
If you plan on playing Alliance, I would favour the Draenei bonuses. Hard to say for sure without knowing what the X value is. If you’re PvPing, Dwarves or Gnomes are a good bet. I like Gnomes though since Escape Artist is handy (and the fast cooldown).
If you plan on playing Horde, I’m leaning towards Blood Elves. That mana restore is so nice to have especially on progression fights when you’re tapped out. Berserking is another trait you’ll find attractive and is great if you’re playing either shadow or healing.
Personally, I’m staying a Pandaren. Can’t get enough of that food buff.
Back in Wrath, right around the era of the Trial of the Crusader patch, Blizzard pushed out a new feature. It was a tool designed for raids who didn’t raid as often or who had trouble investing significant and meaningful hours in progression before the week reset and all their progression and work had been lost.
Yes, the lockout extension feature.
To my knowledge, it was one of those things that not many players really raved about but no one slammed it down either. It was completely optional and not many had the desire to extend it. Two expansions later, raids are getting larger, there’s more trash in the way, and time just seems to be a factor. This isn’t 5 years ago where I was in a raid that insisted on everyone going way past their bed time to get that much needed kill in. I was in guilds that asked much of their players to sacrifice sleep and hours for the sake of progression.
When Conquest was first formed, one of the key decisions was laying down our hours. In order to maximize the potential pool of players, I ensured that our times were west and east coast friendly. But this had the cost where we would not be able to go past our end times even if we had gotten a boss down to 1%. With Siege of Orgrimmar being the deep instance that it is, many of the players lobbied for more time on end bosses and extensions on the week to put in more work. It’s paid off because we secured kills on Nazgrim and Malkorok on the days where we normally would’ve reset.
At the same time, like other raiding guilds, we’ve seen our share of players come and go. This is the part of the expansion where many players are slowly returning back to the game. They’re smart and skilled players, but sometimes there’s nothing they can do to survive through a large explosion even with all their defensive cooldowns used simply because their health is too low. Or we’re not able to meet a DPS check on an earlier boss like Norushen and Sha of Pride.
It’s a tough balancing act between providing our newer players with the gear and experience they need now so they can be in a position to help us later versus ensuring that the raid has adequate time to work on progression bosses in the second half of Siege. Blizzard has announced the end of the Challenge Mode season coming soon to coincide with a new patch deployment. While there’s been no mention of a friends and family alpha, the patch signals that we’re one milestone closer to the next expansion and our time in Siege is growing shorter.
How long does it take to gear a freshly geared 90 and put them in a position where they are no longer a detriment to a heroic raid boss?
My estimate is 3-4 weeks. This includes running the raid finder, flex raids, using crafted pieces, and completely carrying them through any available farm content. On 25 man, that time could be cut to 2-3 weeks largely due to the larger pool of gear that drops from killing bosses (6 items on 25 vs 2 items on 10) and this assumes they’re diligent in farming their Lesser Charms on the island or via pet battles.
My original stance was to continue weekly raid resets. Until we’ve got a core group of 25-30 players who’ve been around long enough where they don’t need gear anymore, we’re going to need to keep that farming going. Every once in a while, we can pull in a player who is already at our level and ready to go to the point where we don’t need to gear them out. If we don’t funnel gear, eventually we’ll reach a point where we run out of players to bring in (because turnover, people leaving/quitting/new jobs/no time, etc). Our depth is amazing. It’s how we can even field raids sometimes. There’s always going to be a bottom end and we have to narrow that gap between top and bottom to help make it easier for us when we reach the harder progression bosses. It makes sense to do this at the beginning of the tier as well to really maximize all that gear coming in.
Now here’s the flip side of the equation.
When we get to a new boss, we need time to learn the nuances. We have to learn the new phases and mechanics that come with it. We have to wipe to it. We have to see it so that we can understand and then execute. This usually happens towards the end of the week because the first part of the week is spent clearing UP to that boss. Our ultimate end objective is to KILL everything in this instance. The fact that it’s the final tier in the expansion means that we have a silent countdown clock hanging except we don’t know what the end time is going to be. I’d rather err on the side of clearing everything early then clearing everything too late. I want to get these guys a heroic Garrosh kill. That’s what we’re all here to do. Just when it seems like we’re all prepared and ready to take down a new boss, we run out of time, and it’s Tuesday. We have to kill all that stuff again. And guess what? There’s days where our consistency and our mindset isn’t there and we don’t even GET to the new boss that we want which cuts in to our progression time, and then boom, reset again.
This is where we are at today. This is why I proposed the compromise of 3 pulls to get it done on farm or else we move on. It helps ensure chances on getting the players that need gear their gear while simultaneously ensuring that we have enough allocated time to work on a new progression boss. Problem is, that isn’t good enough anymore.
We’re still lacking on time. In the end, we’ve opted to switch to an extended week schedule. Week 1 is spent getting as far as we can, week 2 is spent extending to work on whichever boss we just cleared to. Any new recruits are typically brought in during week 1 to learn and get suitably equipped. Our veterans and heavy hitters are brought in for the progression stuff.
I really miss winged instances.