The Next Generation Troll

As a way to help supplement our main raids, Conquest has started fielding weekend normal raids. Our focus during the week continues to be aimed at heroic Blackrock Foundry but we still want want to build as many tier sets as we can with the stuff out of normal mode.

Like most hybrid guild and pickup player compositions, the players you pick out of the group finder is completely random. Like any other queue into the dungeon finder, you don’t know which player you’re going to get.

Is it going to be the guy who remains completely unaware of his surroundings?

Is it the girl whose on her 4th alt but has an immense amount of experience that she can do the raids blindfolded even though her character isn’t the most geared?

Is it the player who gives zero crap at all about anything and expects to be carried through the whole instance?

The group finder can be such a pandora’s box. We stumbled out of the gate on Flamebender a little bit before we went on cruise control and demolished the other bosses of the instance (short of Blackhand).

But let me regal you with a story of a player with misplaced efforts. We had a player who had a hard time consistently staying alive. Even with their access to immunities, they would die to a Molten Torrent. They kept chasing one of my players around even though they were under the effect of Blazing Radiance. They just could not seem to handle stay alive and kiting the wolves. I was lenient at first and kept giving them opportunity after opportunity to step it up and prove me wrong but enough was enough and I delivered the bad news that I had to drop them in order to keep the raid moving on.

Oh of course they were pissed.

Most sane people would accept the fact that maybe they can’t just cut it in the current group and drop out to find another one to join or duck back into Highmaul and keep banging out more gear or practice.

This guy takes it a step further. A new level 1 alt is created on my server and instantly my chat box is flooded repeatedly with non-stop periods (as in “…” for the whole length of the chat field) in an attempt to cause disruption. Then they show up in Mumble trying to play music but it’s fairly soft and not really overpowering. Plus with Mumble open on a second screen, it takes under half a second to right click and suppress/ban the user.

I attribute that to years of practice with an AWP in Counterstrike and the quick scope.

Anyway, the chat disruption goes on for another 20 or so minutes but Warcraft Instant Messenger is busy picking it up and filtering it. The chat gets minimized, the sound notification gets suppressed, and we keep raiding anyway and taking down Flamebender within the next two pulls. Eventually, I grew wary and reported the player to Blizzard via the in-game ticket submission. I can’t seem to right click and report through the Instant Messenger window unfortunately. Just before the ignore, I receive a whisper saying “okay, going to get on my VPN now” but nothing materialized after that.

It’s amazing the effort and trouble people will put themselves through just to try to undermine and disrupt other people. This thirst for vengeance satisfaction is bizarre. If the individual placed this same level of effort on working on their awareness and general gameplay, they’d turn out to be a solid mage that any group would embrace.

Just wow. Mildly annoyed but oddly impressed.

If you get dropped from a group, try to figure out why. Maybe the reason is bull. Maybe their reason is sound. But does it really do you any good to go after someone on the internet for that? It’s a waste of your time that could be spent looking for another more accommodating group.

Remember when all trolls used to do was clog up trade chat and ask where Mankirk’s wife is?

I miss that.

Blizzard Watch and Blackrock Foundry Impressions

What a busy week! If you hadn’t had a chance yet, here’s the latest stuff written up on the Guildmasters:

Blizzard Watch

I’m back!

No doubt you’ve heard the news of WoW Insider being shuttered. Alex and Adam, the brains behind the operation, have a Patreon all funded.

Their targets were met within the day.

Blizzard Watch is a reality now with your help and support.

I’ll be on deck providing general day to day support for any Warcraft stuff and Hearthstone stuff. Once Overwatch kicks in to high gear, you’ll be able to see my contributions for that too. In fact, I just finished my first draft on a Paladin deck list that’s been making the rounds on the ladder so you can expect to see that sometime later in the week.

In other news, I’ll be temporarily stepping in as the Priest columnist dude. It’s interim for now until another can be found.

Why interim? If you haven’t yet, take an opportunity now to read Poneria’s thoughts on her own Warlock column.

I’m not Dawn.

I’m not Fox.

No way I can fill their shoes. During Mists, I tried my hardest playing Shadow at various points and just couldn’t pull it off at the level required. I don’t have the intellectual capacity to theorycraft in Holy or Discipline, either. Oh sure, I contributed to the Priest section in the Warlords of Draenor strategy guide. However, the class columnist needs to be self sustaining through the good content heavy times and the dry spells of the expansion. It’s easy to whip out something to say after a patch, a nerf, or a new raid instance. Coming up with something during the lulls is much more difficult.

My problem is that I’ve written so much that I don’t know what to really write anymore. Ideas themselves aren’t a problem. But a class columnist has this level of expectation and pressure on it as Poneria illustrates. With the Priest being such an iconic class, it wouldn’t be possible for me to sustain the level of quality that I expect from myself over the long run.

It’s like being expected to hit a home run at least once per week.

Imagine a waste basket in front of you that’s filled to the brim of crumpled Post It notes and scribbles. In that waste basket are ideas that might be good enough for something else, but might not be up to the standard that Blizzard Watch readers expect and deserve.

Look, I absolutely love my Priest. Not once has any other class been considered as a main switch. But I lost my confidence in writing about it ages ago. You have WoWHead, Icy Veins, Noxxic, Ask Mr. Robot, and How to Priest as these wonderful resources for both new and veteran Priests to turn to. What the hell did I have to add anymore?

In the spare time I had before in the past, I’d periodically mentor new bloggers or columnists to the realm of Warcraft blogging. I’d tell them the day they start receiving comments that disagree with their content, it means they’ve officially reached the big time. As a blogger, our roles are to help educate and encourage discussion. Alternative viewpoints aren’t a bad thing. If everyone agreed with everything written in a post without a second perspective or anything else to add to the discussion, then I failed my job. But hey, this is the internet. People say things. People say really mean things. And I try to encourage the new writers not to give up, to not take it personally, and to not let it get under their skin. The moment it does, then the internet wins.

Confession: I let it get to me. I started second guessing myself. I second guessed every post I wrote and every idea that popped up. Before, the standard used for writing posts was “Would Matt read this?” and if the answer was yes, I’d start.

The blank document in front of me was like a huge giant slab of marble that was waiting desperately to be chiselled for the words, ideas, and entertainment to be unleashed upon the world.

Now, I don’t even know what my standard is. I’ve built up my own internal expectations to the point where I can never surpass them.

I forgot to add, Big Bear Butt’s recently called it a career from blogging too. He’s a veteran blogger and fellow WoW Insider colleague. There were times where I was depressed about writing and wanted to reach out to him because I felt that he could at least understand (I never did though as I just swallowed it, bit my tongue, and went back to grinding away at what I was working on). He and I started writing about Warcraft during the same time period around 2008 where we had legends like Phaelia, BRK, Ego, and so forth. I don’t think there’s anyone left that’s still active (even playing the game).

This is why I’m only filling in temporarily.

Anyway, I promise, I’ll keep the seat warm for you. Feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions. Can’t say I’ll be able to answer all of them but I’ll try. If you’re interested, here’s the contact form.

Blackrock Foundry Impressions

Is Blackrock Foundry fun?

Yup, I’d sure say so. We’ll find out if the instance is just as fun and engaging in two months as it is now. The reaction to it appears incredibly positive. First few week’s often energetic as players are enthusiastic about the instance and the atmosphere.

We learned the hardway early on in Highmaul not to take anything for granted so we opened our week into normal mode to help shore up any remaining gear issues while getting everyone’s feet wet for heroics. Plus, let’s not forget the benefit of tier sets and bonuses.

Gruul – I daresay this guy is the Patchwerk boss of the instance. Burning Crusade veterans should have no problems as they ace through the Petrify and Shatter mechanics. We didn’t have the benefit of radial circles on the ground that informed us who would get hit by Petrify affected players. Oh yeah, everyone in raid was hit. None of this 8 players business. Anyone else’s lawn called? Something about getting off it? 🙂

Oregorger – The trick is to stay behind this guy. When phase 2 rolled around, we stacked the raid together and rolled around the chamber to activate Blackrock crates. You might have to time defensive raid cooldowns against the Acid Torrent.

Blast Furnace – Apparently, this was bugged during the first night or so. Thankfully, it was hot fixed a little later on. One of the toughest bosses in the instance even on normal. Ended up stacking sides during the first phase. Having a Priest with Mind Control will come in handy during the second part.

Hans and Franz – These guys are hans down my favourite boss of the instance. If your guild ever needed an idiot and movement check, this one would be it. If you haven’t referred to the abilities as pop tarts and stamps yet, you should start.

Flamebender – Conquest spent a few wipes here as we attempted to shoot for the Steel Has Been Brought achievement. It largely worked with us just tanking Steelbringer to the side while he jumped around the raid. If you’re planning on obtaining this for your guild, pull him way into a corner. He does knock backs which are insanely annoying especially if you get affected by the Molten Torrent ability and can’t jump into range of melee fast enough.

Kromog – Kolagarn 2.0! Nothing can get more random than this. Stack up your range and healers. Establish defensive raid cooldowns on breaths as needed. I used at least one per breath. Paladins and Mages can easily ignore the rune and hand mechanic. If someone gets caught out, a Paladin Hand of Protection will save them.

Beastlord – This is another quick test of your raiders and how swiftly they can dodge the spears being thrown. Your healers will be pushed during Ironcrusher phase with the Stampede.

Operator Thogar – The other movement heavy fight in the instance is Thogar and his toy trains. Set defensive cooldowns against the Iron Bellow from the Man-at-Arms. The Cauterizing Bolt from the Firemender is key as it deals 20% damage to the ads then healing up to 35% of their health over 10 seconds. Time your Mass Dispel against it. Make sure you download Thogar Assist.

Iron Maidens – Can’t say I’ve participated in an encounter this long since my first go at Illidan or Kil’jaeden. You’ve got time to theoretically use Heroism twice. But you should really save it for 20% when the fight really starts.

Blackhand – This is a really satisfying end boss to an instance. It has three phases, none of this intermission junk. The changes they made to phase 2 with the bombs and the spear throwing is handy and makes things easier as long as the fixated players know how to drive the tanks around. I’d advise referring them to something else other than tanks lest your actual tanks get confused. Phase 3 is the biggest individual awareness check ever. Stand at the wrong spot or angle to the impact of the Massive Smash and you’ll go flying off the ledge — Just like your chances of beating this guy. Heroism here.

I can feel the pain of having no Resto Druids in raid. If you happen to be a Resto Druid, a Balance Druid, or a Shadow Priest, check our guild out. We could use your talents.

I’ll Never Forget the Fond Memories at WoW Insider

You might have seen some of the alleged rumors and news going around yesterday about Joystiq’s demise. How does this affect WoW Insider? Well, WoW Insider is under the arm of Joystiq which is also owned by AOL (along with Massively). Heck, #SaveJoystiq was trending all day earlier. I’m sure the support from many of the readers was well received by the writers. If anything happens to Joystiq, the sister sites would feel the effects. I’m sure if there were anything official to announce, it would happen soon. Until then, I’m going to take a moment and be all sappy. I’m almost never sappy.

Matt? Show emotion? Please. But indulge me just this one time on a trip throughout the years and the awesome writers that I am proud to have worked with (and played alongside).

WoW Insider was my first big break. During the Spring of 2008, then editor Liz Harper signed me to write a weekly Priest column. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t have any formal training or a post secondary degree completed yet since I was still in university. All I had was this blog as my portfolio. The Warcraft blogosphere then was completely different. There wasn’t an Icy Veins yet and WoW Head was still in it’s infancy as just a database. WoW Progress didn’t exist until 2008 and on. Elitist Jerks was the place to go for class discussion and theorycrafting. All these community sites and forums for classes never existed and MMO Champion had one of the more horrendous looks at the time (but at least it was organized and neat). I can’t say for certain what the oldest Warcraft fansite is, but WoW Insider would definitely be up there. I never did find out how the idea and the initial production of the site began.

WoW Insider wasn’t the first place to go if you wanted patch notes, raid guides, or blue posts. MMO Champion and WoWHead both filled that quite handily. If those two were the head and brains of Warcraft fan sites, then WoW Insider would’ve been the heart and soul. There are easily hundreds of opinions and editorial pieces published over the years that highlighted initiatives by players, challenged designer decisions, and offered advice on all sorts of topics. Yeah, some of it was fluff but I can’t deny the impact or the community aspect and the way it brought people together.

I’ll never forget that chance Liz gave me.

I’ll never forget the lore debates between Mike Sacco, Matt Rossi, Anne Stickney, and Daniel Whitcomb late at night.

I’ll never forget Alex and Daniel’s constant back and forth regarding each Mass Effect game, the characters, and the choices.

I’ll never forget Dan’s numerous lolcat pictures where he seemingly had one for every possible situation.

I’ll never forget Mike Grey and his calming influence or the lessons he taught about the business side of things.

I’ll never forget Adam’s liberal use of facepalm Picard pictures.

I’ll never forget when Anne introduced me to the mimosa nor all the new Starbucks drinks she came up for me to try.

I’ll never forget how I managed to rope Joe into being one of the Shaman writers.

I’ll never forget Lisa who was like the English teacher you wanted that did not use a red pen whenever you screwed something up.

I’ll never forget Fox because seriously, how can you forget Fox?

I’ll never forget Allison Robert when she won the informal headlines contest for page views hands down with “Naked Women Playing Cataclysm Alpha”.

I’ll never forget Olivia who literally showed me what tenacity and hard work looked like if they chugged energy drinks.

I’ll never forget Robin’s encouragement in making an appearance during WoW Insider guild events (I was a shy fellow).

I’ll never forget Dawn and her relationship with Ruthers, the Yak. She was always the better Priest.

I’ll never forget Sally or Kristin and the perspectives they brought to the discussions which made me re-examine my own.

I’ll never forget Chase Christian and our hilarious exchanges about how bad the other’s healer class was.

I’ll never forget Christian Belt and his nigh-legendary rivalry with about every Warlock columnist who ever tried to wage a war of words.

I’ll never forget the revolving door of Warlock columnists until one Megan managed to break the curse.

I’ll never forget the sleepless nights leading up to patch or expansion drops and the work we put in to ensure all the basics were covered.

I’ll never forget the readers (and the email comments which can never see the light of day).

I’ll never forget the fun and planning that went into Hello Kitty Insider.

There were numerous other individuals who were there. I feel like there are going to be a few others that I have forgotten. Amanda, Liz W., Big Red Kitty, Big Bear Butt, Basil, Frostheim, Chase H., Scott, Josh, Matt W., Kelly, Stacey, Lissanna, other writers, and then there were the support teams operating behind the scenes who helped ensure the site was running. One of the best editorial teams I had the pleasure of working with.

The Hypothetical

If you follow editors Adam or Alex on Twitter, they’ve both been posting hypothetical questions.

I am going to emphasize that it’s all hypothetical.

It would be nice if this was the 24th century and money wasn’t a thing anymore. But writers have to pay the bills, put a roof over their head, and put food on the table. For some, freelance writing is a part time gig. For others, it’s a full time career and profession. I think there’s a few things that the corporate overseers could’ve done better and should’ve evolved with the changing internet. If a game can make over 50 million dollars from crowdfunding alone, then that needs to be examined as potential revenue stream.

Here’s a few options I can think of that seem to work well for the sites below:

There’s the Starcity Games model where they have a nice collection of accessible articles and a premium selection of written content. However, It could be spun so that premium content would be available later for free (and that those interested in supporting the site would get a first crack and view premium content first).

Another model is to follow in the footsteps of the TotalFark and Reddit Gold programs that allow users to provide a modest monthly subscription donation which includes optional ads, special site-wide perks, and awesome deals with select partners.

The last one I can think of is New York Times and Wall Street Journal model which places everything behind a paywall (and this would be the least likely route since the hypothetical site wouldn’t last very long here).

Whatever ends up happening, this is all research into hypothetical situation that might not occur. Either way, I encourage you to let them know directly (or you can respond here).

Time to Change Servers?

Recruiting’s just abysmal these days. After we joined the Mythic 2/7 club the other night, we started work on Brackenspore. Three starting healers have decided to leave the game or explore other opportunities elsewhere. Haven’t called a day off yet outside of the holidays.

Every week it’s a struggle where for every gain or sign of progress we make, a player calls it a career.

Wasn’t this expansion supposed to rejuvenate and regenerate the player base and bring back players?

Wasn’t Warlords hailed as the best all-time expansion the World of Warcraft received?

Is it the healing game and systems in general that have turned off healers completely?

The state of raiding is in a flux now with the extra difficulty level added which helped further separate raids into different tiers. It seems now though that players are settling at the tier they’re at with little to no desire to advance up. There’s the rare number who do want to make that push for themselves and try to move up to the more difficult content in the game. Others are content or just don’t care. Nothing wrong with that, of course. But it doesn’t make it easy at all.

There’s a feeling of apprehension that GMs keep in the back of their minds. No one’s going to discuss it though. It’s a sinking pit in their stomach. It’s the fear that their guild crumbles. I’m vulnerable to that too. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if other GMs look ahead to see and wonder if their guild will be around next week.

With the player recruiting drought though, nothing is ever off the table. It means I’m considering server moves and faction transfers. Yes, even Horde. Right now, it’s all spitballing. Get a red team to poke holes into the idea and get a blue team to find every reason to make that move. Ner’zhul is a PvP server and I’ve heard applicants change their mind at the last minute simply because they were afraid to transfer to a PvP server and get ganked all the time.

I don’t know where that fear comes from because while you may suffer the periodic ganking or two, it isn’t that widespread or common. Most people just want to get from point A to point B and get their farming done or what have you. In the extremely unlikely event you do get camped, you can always change activities or switch to an alt and come back later.

Anyway, enough of that. Mythic Brackenspore is on deck. The difficulty curve on this encounter relative to Twins is amazing.

Welcome 2015!

Welcome 2015!

I know I’m a few days late, but Happy New Year everyone!

Warcraft underwent huge changes for 2014. We were stuck in Siege of Orgrimmar for most of us. I ended up getting pretty sick of the instance the same way I was annoyed with Icecrown Citadel and Dragon Soul. 2014 ended with a new expansion, scalable raid sizes, and a new mythic difficulty.

After acquiring the Master of Apexis achievement the other week, I am so done with that. If you had to farm Apexis dailies on three different toons, you’d be sick of it as well. My garrison responsibilities have dropped significantly. With my barracks at level 3, and a full arsenal of followers armed with 650+ ilevel and being all epic’d out, there isn’t much else for me to do. I still deploy them on level 100 missions for the sake of hoping for lucky drops out of my Salvage Yard, but it hasn’t paid out yet (again, multiply that by three toons).

Speaking of Mythic, the crew knocked out Kargath last week. That boss seems easier compared to Heroic Imperator. Anyone else get that feeling? Now, it’s onwards to Twin Ogronn. Seems to me the difficulty from Kargath to the Twins is a slight jump before it escalates severely to Brackenspore or Tectus.

Anyway, aside from that, have you made any resolutions for this year?

Game Time for Gold? Yes Please!

Have you seen the news about game time for gold? It broke earlier today in a forum post from Bash. Aside from the standard looking ahead to patch 6.1 content stuff like flight master paths, garrison stuff, and that Pepe (which is a separate blog post altogether because frankly, I just don’t understand the appeal), they dropped this bomb:

We’re exploring the possibility of giving players a way to buy tradable game-time tokens for the purpose of exchanging them in-game with other players for gold. Our current thought on this is that it would give players a way to use their surplus gold to cover some of their subscription cost, while giving players who might have less play time an option for acquiring gold from other players through a legit and secure system. A few other online games offer a similar option, and players have suggested that they’d be interested in seeing something along those lines in WoW. We agree it could be a good fit for the game, and we look forward to any feedback you have as we continue to look into this feature.

You’ll recall that this was one of the main hyped features for Wildstar around the use of CREDD. EVE uses a similar currency called PLEX.

I’m in favor of it. I think it’s a great idea. It gives players like me with limited time (or limited energy) another way to pick up gold. And it gives players who don’t has much access to funds another avenue to keep their game time going.

But isn’t this kind of thing going to mess with the server economy? I want to say this is a method that will certainly put a dent into the illicit gold selling community. What’s going to do a better job than Blizzard legalizing that itself? I just don’t want to see this feature backfire upon itself the way they introduced real money trading into Diablo. I’d go out and suggest that this would ruin the game, but the examples with PLEX and CREDD have me wondering. It’d for sure upset the balance and prices of BOEs now. I could buy a BoE trinket for $20 and not bat an eye but 45000 gold would make me pause.

Are you a fan of the currency trading idea? It’s not set in stone yet but they did say they were exploring the possibility.

Now the question remains, what would you call this new currency? Needs to be short and catchy.

Highmaul Day!

What an exhausting week. Running heroics, challenge modes, recruitment, and preparing for Highmaul took quite a toll. Given the option between raid launching after a week into the expansion or after two weeks, I think I would’ve preferred the former. The issue with taking the time to gear up is that everyone plays and levels at different rates. Inevitably, no matter what I do or how many runs I attempt to do, there’ll always be players who feel left out.

Anyway, I won’t have to worry about dealing with five mans anymore. I’m looking forward to raid. We’re opening with a large raid size of 34 players. Once we feel ready for Mythic, that number is going to drop by almost half.

World bosses

How are we going to handle world bosses? I’m sure this is another question GMs are struggling with. We have no definitive time frames on respawn timers or their frequency. Is it once a week? Several times a week? Fifteen minutes? We don’t know. My current approach right now is to take world bosses off the schedule and encourage players to get into groups and run it on their own until we get a firm idea of when they appear. I’m not going to sacrifice a raid night waiting for a spawn when it could better off spent diving into Highmaul.

Returning guilds

Have you noticed this? I’ve seen characters coming online and recruiting for guild names I had thought since retired since the days of Burning Crusade. I never expected to see them again. This expansion has been a real jolt to the community, it seems. We’ll see how many of them end up sticking around, however. I suspect the opening month will really dictate how many guilds are pretenders and how many are contenders. I think the reality of raiding and the logistics will hit home for many leaders again and they realize why it was they ended up quitting in the first place. But with all the difficulty changes and the flexible raiding options, maybe it might not be so bad for them.

To all the guilds entering Highmaul this week, best of luck!

Talents and Glyphs for Your Level 100 Disc Priest

Talents and Glyphs for Your Level 100 Disc Priest

When I levelled to 100 and started queueing into heroics, my mana regen was absolutely abysmal. I actually opted to pick up Words of Mending because of the extra passive Prayer of Mending that it would fire out. Heroics at 610 ilevel with non-existent Spirit with similarly geared tanks and DPS is truly a challenge.
No one has health pools high enough to soak that kind of periodic and unnecessary damage.
The damage out from the group is competing against my ability to keep the group alive long enough resulting in strategically healing the tank and the highest DPS.
My mana regeneration isn’t enough to keep everyone topped off which results in a different mindset of making sure players are above an arbitrary threshold (like 30% across the board).
Don’t mistake my observations as complaints as most of us veterans have been here before from the start of Burning Crusade, through the heroics of Wrath, the mana and healing crunch during early Cataclysm, and the slightly more relaxed Mists of Pandaria. I’ve done the dance before. I’m still trying to get over the fact that spirit’s only available on a few items. I mean, I get it. I know why. But it’s the first expansion where I’m not scrambling for as many spirit items as possible and where I’m legitimately competing against Warlocks and Mages for that cloth gear.

Normal mode dungeons and early heroics (ilvl 600 – 615)

Now, let’s talk about talents for a second. I mentioned Words of Mending because the outgoing Prayer of Mending was free. I love free (even though it’s like buying McDonalds coffee, with every 7th coffee granting you a free one after). It means my mana can be saved for other crucial spells like a well timed Power Word: Shield. At this stage of the gearing process, you probably don’t have any trinkets but you’re slowly working on your way to obtaining that legendary ring from Khadgar. Maybe you have it, maybe you don’t. You might still be using an heirloom weapon or something. The name of the game here is efficiency and low costs (or free costs). Like it or not, you’re going to be dying for mana if you intend to solo queue into heroics. The pool of players will range from skilled players who won’t take any damage to players who are attracted into standing in every fire or void zone or ignoring mechanics.
Recommended talents and glyphs
Surge of Light tends to proc after one or two taps of Holy Nova. Great if you need to bank a few instant heals in reserve for upcoming damage. Your Psychic Scream talent and glyph offers you an out in case CC breaks early or if you attract company. Power Infusion provides much needed mana relief during high pressure phases. Your Power Word: Shield will both absorb and heal with one action.

Heroic mode and Challenge Mode (ilvl 615 – 630+)

Now you’re in a slightly better position. Your spells and heals are hitting for a little more. People aren’t dying as much. You can afford to be a little inefficient here and there if you need to in order to save players. Your trinkets and neck have spirit on them now. You’ve said goodbye to Hellscream’s BoAs. You’re ready for the next step and want to gear yourself up for raids that’ll be opening in December. You want to be an asset to your guild and indispensable to your raid.
Recommended talents and glyphs
Psychic Scream stays. It’s a clutch spell that can make or break your Challenge Mode attempts. Surge of Light continues to be useful but Mindbender is another choice if you want that slight extra damage (very slight). You don’t need the Power Infusion as much since it only kicks in once every two minutes. Instead, pick up Spirit Shell because you’ll guaranteed to use it twice throughout most boss fights to help the group absorb incoming bombs or damage pulses or anything that could potentially flatten your group.
Clarity of Will becomes the winner here for the level 100 talent. You can pre-shield your tank a few times with it before they engage the boss and it gives you something to do if everyone is at full health. I managed to coat the tank with a potent 163k shield before a pull. I’m sure some of you can do much higher. Try to load up on as much mastery to help increase the power of Clarity of Will and your other absorb effects.

Raiding (ilvl 630+)

Welcome to raid finder (or normal mode or heroic mode or mythic mode, whatever your fancy). You’re now working with a team of healers and you’re in a position where you can bust out your Disc specialties and shine.
Recommended talents and glyphs
Level 30: Body and Soul
Level 45: Power Word: Solace
Level 60: Void Tendrils
Level 75: Spirit Shell
Level 90: Divine Star or Halo (encounter dependant)
Level 100: Clarity of Will
You’re going to be building up and banking Holy Fire stacks for Archangel anyway. May as well convert that into Power Word: Solace and use ’em as you go. Your level 60 talents for crowd control aren’t going to be relevant as much so it’s a preference. Level 90 talents will center around the raid encounters. Returning priests may be shocked (and partially annoyed) to find that Halo and Cascade now have a slight cast time. Clarity of Will continues to be my pick for the 100 talent because you can pair up with another healer who can supply heals to the tank while you drop large absorb shields simultaneously.
I consider Penance to be mandatory but Fade and Purification is up to you. Some of the upcoming encounters will involve plenty of dispelling so I like having the Purification glyph. Fade adds a slight damage reduction. It might not seem like much but it’s something especially at the start of a tier.
Anyway, don’t take my word as gospel. Start of with whichever talents and glyphs you like and feel free to try out new builds as you adventure throughout Draenor. If you’ve been having success with a different build, post it! I’d be happy to hear and try it out myself. I have not had an opportunity to give Saving Grace a try. Any of you budding Priests out there use it in current dungeons?
Checklist of Things to do at Level 100 for Raiders

Checklist of Things to do at Level 100 for Raiders

I could not stop myself. After levelling up my main Priest to 100, I had to level another one to provide additional resources and support. Ended up reaching level 100 on my Paladin on Saturday so I could tank on our alt raids on the weekends. Plus I’ll be maxing out it’s support buildings like the herb garden and the excavation mine.

Apexis Shard Farming

Once you reach level 100, your garrison will offer two sets of dailies for Apexis crystals. These things are currency for gear. Plus you can use them to upgrade the same items that you’ve purchased for later. Right now, it seems like the 630 level blues are available and the raid level ones will be available later on when the actual raids open. Try to knock out the the ones that give 1000 Apexis crystals. I’ve noticed there was a display bug. For example, today’s daily offered the Ring of Blood set of dailies and that one said it would reward 800 crystals but upon turning them in, it awarded 1000.


Legendary Ring Questline

Khadgar provides this quest at level 98 but you can realistically start it at level 100. His pet an be found at your garrison and will direct you to see his tower out in Talador. The quest is called Call of the Archmage. WoWHead has a great guide on it here to help you get started.

Treasure and Rare farming for garrison resources

I’m addicted to garrison development. After playing years of Heroes of Might and Magic (with the third one being my favourite), I just have a love for base building type games and controlling armies. Treasures are the most lucrative for garrison resources although many rare mobs will drop them as well. When you take them down once, they become ordinary mobs after that and won’t drop any more additional resources. The treasures that are the biggest pain in the rear are the ones in Nagrand as they often involve using those Goblin gliders to get to really hard to reach places.

Heroic dungeon farming

You need to have a 610 ilevel minimum to queue into them. Not only that, you also need to have finished out your Silver level Proving Grounds. However, it’s still possible to stroll into the instance portal and get in that way if you’re running with your guild or with your friends.

Challenge mode dailies

If you complete the challenge mode daily, they offer a random item that’s 640 ilevel which is the level of gear from normal mode raids. For me, today’s was Shadowmoon Burial Grounds which took us a solid 2 hours and 30 minutes. I’ll have a writeup on that later on in the week but boy was it rough. As people get a little more geared up and more familiar, those times should lessen significantly. Not to mention, we walked in there without really knowing much about what to do and there were plenty of trial and errors.

Ashran and PvP

During the opening few days of the expansion, there was virtually no Horde in Ashran. A few of us managed to queue into it repeatedly and take advantage of the situation by farming up as much honor as possible unchallenged. I used the extra honor to buy some 620 pieces to help put myself into position to queue into heroics.


Garrison Followers

Now this is the fun part. Everyone loves having more followers! Don’t forget that if you want to upgrade your followers to epic quality, the experience they earn after hitting level 100 goes towards that. So you can turn superior followers into epic followers just by repeatedly sending them out on missions. Here’s a few easy ones you can pick up:

  • Image of Archmage Vargoth: Requires a bit of a trek to Frostfire Ridge
  • Defender Illona: Really easy to snag as well. Complete the single quest in Talador (and yes, Horde players have their equivilent).
  • Pleasure-Bot 8000: Tailors will want this robot.
  • Abu’ghar: Look for 3 items around Nagrand (His fishing lure, his line, and his pole) then look for him within Stonecrag Gorge in the southern most pool of water.
  • Leo’rajh: Just have to find him and free him within Spires of Arak.

Check out this link on WoWhead for a full list of followers that can be earned via quests!


Alliance First Level 100!

Alliance First Level 100!

Elapsed time, 10 hours and 5 minutes. The servers opened up at 11:45 PM Pacific a few minutes early. Turned in all my dailies and started my pre-planned route on the way to level 100. At around 9:50 AM the next day (Thursday morning), I turned in my final quest and hit level 100. All in all, my run took me around 10 hours and 5 minutes. My personal best on beta was 9 hours and 33 minutes but you factor in the periodic disconnects and you can see it adds up. Being on a PvP server and being ahead of the curve means almost no one tries to gank you. All the higher level players know and we have a gentleman’s agreement that if you go after an opposing player, it actually slows everyone down for levelling so we don’t tend to go against each other. After that, I tried to stay up for a few hours longer by running a dungeon and completing my Apexis Crystal dailies. Holy heck, it feels as if my body just started weaving in and out of consciousness. There were times I snapped back to reality while healing and noticed my group was a little further ahead in the dungeon. Took a herculean amount of effort just to try to stay focused. After that, I queued up more work orders and garrison missions and went to bed for a few hours.

I was up for about 30 consecutive hours. I’m naturally an early riser so I was awake at 6 AM on the Wednesday. That’s when I did my shopping and cleared out as many other errands as I could. Met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while for dinner and just made an effort to try to relax myself before the game launched. Later that night, I tried taking a nap but I was at that weird sleeping state where you’re partially asleep but still slightly awake and aware of everything. At about 10 PM, I gave up.

Why didn’t you take your time to level to 100 and enjoy the sights and scenes?

I did that during the beta. The final builds of the game were at a point where I could just quest at my own leisurely place and really immerse myself in the lore. I knew when game day rolled around though, it would be a mad rush to 100 and I didn’t want to get myself caught with the flood of players. You just have to beat the curve.

How’d you do it?

Many players out there relied on energy drinks or caffeine to get them through it. I bought myself a fruit platter and had two jugs of water beside me plus a few snacks to munch on. Things got a little dicey around 6:30 AM because I was starting to get hungry and I was running out of hard food to eat. I knew that I would receive breadcrumb quests that sent me over to the next zones so I timed my bathroom breaks with that. During RP sessions in game, I’d pull nearby random mobs for bits of extra experience or start disenchanting items to keep my bag space clear. Most of my experience came with practice on beta servers where I had my routes all figured out.

Why not server first?

When I was the only level 94 in Gorgrond, I ran into a Horde level 95 Shadow Priest. I remember early on in the day a few rollbacks were issued out to players on EU servers for abusing and exploiting the turtle quest turn in on Timeless Isle. Or maybe I was beat out with a player who had a Darkmoon Faire buff. I’m not sure, but I certainly gave in my best effort and loaded up with experience potions on the way up. I’ll certainly settle for Alliance first though.

I am so excited for this expansion. No real dailies to do, for one! No quests to grind out or anything. Lots more exploration! More world PvP action (one of the benefits of being 100 is I get to dish out payback on players who annoyed me over the years).