The Things we Balance

Life is a balance. We balance our work lives and our personal lives. We balance academics with extracurricular activities. We balance beer with hard liquor (some of us, at least).

WoW’s obviously no different. With that in mind, I wanted to pose some things to think about. These are questions that most guilds and officer teams will find themselves in. Not regularly or often, but they’ll do happen.

Progression vs Gear

Time needs to be managed with precision. With 9 hours allocated to raiding, it needs to be used effectively. Going into this week, we were only 5/6 with Heart of Fear coming out. The intel and opinion we had from other players and other GMs was that the first two bosses of Heart of Fear would be easy. Our options were to go into Heart of Fear and try to get two bosses down quick or fall back to the Vaults and secure additional weapons and trinkets. Elegon still drops fantastic weapons and trinkets. For whatever reason, we’ve always had a problem when it comes to acquiring weapon upgrades.

The flip side of that argument? If we secure the kills, it helps us with our overall standings. In the long run, this helps us with attracting quality recruits.

Besides, rumor has it that Garalon is serious business.

Learning vs Stacking

New players and recruits need a chance to crack the lineup. They need to have a basic understanding and exposure to a boss so that they can get their feet wet. Not only this, there may come times when a regular player can’t make it and someone from the bench needs to be activated. Do we bring in the recruits and risk maybe a few wipes so that they understand what the mechanics are? In the long run, this is almost always the better option. Experience time in the raid is always a plus. On the other hand, if you’re on a limited raiding schedule, would you rather blitz through the farm stuff as quick as possible by stacking the raid?

Every wipe on farm means less attempts on the harder bosses for the week.

There are other types of balancing questions and acts that we regularly answer. But off the top of my head, those two are the ones that come up. I find that those two topics generally face the most disagreement. You can make strong arguments for both sides and it’s not always easy to answer it. It depends on what stage you are at an expansion and what the guild goals are.

As an aside, we’re hurting on ranged DPS at the moment*. If you’re looking around for a new guild for 25s, check us out (and that invitation is open to healers and other roles/classes).

So desperate that I switched over to Shadow.

Mattivation: The Origin of Many Whelps!

Language is slightly NSFW.

We’re about to enter our 4th expansion. There’s enough new players that haven’t seen this video yet but it’s something I wanted to share. If you think your raid leader was brutal, wait until you watch this classic Onyxia wipe raid video. If you ever wondered where Many Whelps! Handle It came from, this is it!

A large number of players today would most likely wilt under that kind of pressure and environment. Me? I don’t know. I’ve played under leaders like that before and it was a different experience. I felt like I thrived and played at near my peak. I wasn’t really motivated by fear or anything. There’s just something appealing I find when I get (quite literally) get yelled at for screwing up. My officers know this and won’t hesitate to get in my face because they know the right buttons to press (They don’t care that I’m the GM :\).

Anyway, it’s a quick video I wanted to share this morning. For the older veterans, I’m sure it’ll bring a slight grin to your face. For the newer guys, that’s what you missed out on during vanilla.

Remind me to show you guys that Sebudai poster next week.

Matticus: Healing at the 0.33 percentile

Matticus: Healing at the 0.33 percentile

Guys, I have an announcement to make. This is a special day.

For the first time, I am not in the 75th+ healing percentile. I actually fell quite low. Ended up being 4th, in fact.

I’m sorry for letting you all down Sad smile (and I got beat by a Druid, ugh)!

Here’s a snapshot from World of Logs in Mists of Pandaria. As was the case during the tail-end of Cataclysm, I’m getting spanked by holy Paladins. I’m not upset though. There’s a few reasons for this and it’s largely on me. This is against Gara’jal, the third and final boss in the first half of LFR.

The thinking for overhealing, mana management, and efficiency goes out the window at this stage.

It’s about survival.

The first pull or two on an encounter is going to result in low mana reserves because you have no idea how much you have to pace yourself. If you were told to run a marathon without any idea of the terrain, the length, or the conditions, I’d say you’d tired out too because you don’t know when to jog and when to sprint. Not only that, with the Mists class changes, it’s like getting new shoes, outfit, and weights attached to your body.

logs-garajal

Link to spell usages

Thoughts

  • My top spell was Circle of Healing right at the top followed by my holy mastery along with Prayer of Mending behind that.
  • You can also see that I used Heal way more often comprising 10% of my healing done. I did run low a few times and there were periods where only light healing was needed.
  • Not only that, I was unfamiliar with the fight. Didn’t know when the big damage phases were. Didn’t realize there’d be players being spiked. Way to do my homework.
  • Kept forgetting to use my 1 minute Shadowfiend. I should just macro that to something.
  • Suffered from mana problems towards the end when we hit the last phase of Frenzy.
  • Used predominantly PvP gear.
  • Lightwell and Lightspring usage is something I have to deploy earlier. Have to start working that cooldown early instead of waiting for health to get low. In the 3 minute span that Lightwell is active, the probably is high that Lightspring ticks will automatically trigger.
  • Cascade is awesome in a 25 man environment.

I know I can do better next time.

13 Punishing Raid Mechanics Which Made You Go “PICK ME PLEASE!”

13 Punishing Raid Mechanics Which Made You Go “PICK ME PLEASE!”

Blizzard’s been crazy inventive with their raid mechanics over the year. Whenever I think they’re running fresh out of ideas, they manage to come up with something new and different. Malygos was one of the first raid bosses where we were not using our own class abilities to bring down a boss — We sat in a vehicle (red dragonflight).

But, encounters aren’t all about the tanking, the DPS, and the healing. There’s these little gimmicks and tricks that need to be executed with perfection or else it’s back to square one. Most guilds have those few players that were liabilities. For whatever reason, they couldn’t get it quick enough.

Learning curves? No, more like a learning line which was parallel to the X axis. The quality of a player’s skill isn’t measured by their HPS, DPS, or SPS (Survival per second). It’s an immeasurable quality of their ability to pick up mechanics quickly enough and master it. Mastery just isn’t a character stat. It’s also a player stat.

Atramedes – Gongs

Ah, the gongs. All you had to do was click a gong which interrupted Atramedes’ casting, reset every player’s sound, and gave Atramedes a case of Vertigo. This was one responsibility that you trusted to a small, select group of people. Too early, and you waste a gong that’s not going to catch an interrupt. Too late, someone in the raid dies and you need to burn a fast combat res or go through the raid short handed. Most raid leaders assumed this duty themselves.

Honorable mention: Players that ran the Sonic Breath right into the raid or into the tank.

Ultraxion – Fading Light and Hour of Twilight

One of the easiest mechanics in the game yet has claimed so many lives. Raid wipes hinged on people both hitting “the button” at the right time and not hitting “the button”. Getting the occasional death? Sure. Getting consistent deaths? What the hell, man. And there was a 5 second grace period which is like an eternity.

Actually, the times I died was either because my macro wasn’t on the bar, or I hit it too early. When you’re used to fighting Ultraxion on hard mode and then downshifting to normal mode, old habits die hard.

Nefarian – Missing an interrupt

Prior to the nerfs, you needed (at minimum) 6 solid, reliable interrupters (or 3 on 10 man). Shaman classes dominated here because Wind Shear was awesome. If even one person blew an interrupt on phase 2, the entire raid wiped after the platform exploded.

I was tempted to switch to my Resto Shaman alt for this one.

Teron Gorefiend – Ghost

Beating Gorefiend was like spinning Roulette. We all prayed that the ball didn’t land on that one player who struggled night after night. They couldn’t reliably kill their ghosts without the instance of the others. I kid you not. One night, there was a conversation that went something like this:

“It’s hard to turn the ghost, target the enemies, and click on the different abilities to kill them!”

Vent turned silent.

Supremus – Running

People that couldn’t run. Goddamnit. How can you not outrun the slowest, largest thing in the instance? Yes, Supremus had a quick dash if you were too far. BUT STILL. You didn’t have to outrun him forever. You had to outrun him long enough so that he switched phases!

Professor Putricide hard mode – Unbound Plague

Putricide on hard mode was one of my favourite fights during Wrath. It was one of the ultimate exercises in teamwork. Players had to coordinate who had the debuff, who didn’t, and who could take the debuff. You had situations where a dirty person mistakenly ran into a clean person too early. Did it too late and you run the risk of dying. Eventually you’d run out of people to use if the Unbound Plague debuff didn’t wear off. Thankfully, the debuff only last for about 60 seconds — But it was 60 seconds of steadily increasing damage.

Archimonde – Air Burst

I observed that people with really bad depth perception struggled like crazy on this fight. Air Burst would knock players up really high and Tyrande gave you feathers to slow your descent. They had a hard time gauging where the ground was and how long it took before they pancaked. I can understand the Fires being a problem because they were often unpredictable. I remember I was kept way out in the back with no way to get within range of my groups because the fire had cut me off. But at least with tears, you have some semblance of control when to hit the button.

Lurker Below – Spout

World’s easiest mechanic which also claimed many lives. Yes jumping into the water meant you’d take some damage, but it was hardly even fatal. I’m quite ashamed to say that I was the worse at this largely because I was healing with 5 FPS. I stood directly behind Lurker (opposite the tank). I compensated for this by facing away from Lurker and looking at the water instead. Backwards healing so that I could smash my forward button and prayed it was enough time to push me into the water. With single digit FPS, you did everything possible to get as much of a lead off as you could.

Shade of Aran – Flame Wreath

Oddly enough, the biggest wiper of this tier was to people moving when they didn’t have to. Flame Wreath incinerated those with itchy fingers. They’d see a huge ring of fire around them and instinctively try to move after being constantly drilled to stand out of the fire.

The Lich King – Defile

The more you stand in it, the bigger it gets. This took us way longer then it should’ve to master. I view Lich King as 1 of my biggest failures for the group I had at the time. If I had been more ruthless, would I have been able to gather players that were capable of getting us through that phase faster? I don’t know.

Thaddius – Plus and Minus

“Is positive side his right or our left?”

Buried my face in my hands.

Magtheridon – Cube clicking

Ol’ Maggy had a channeling ability that would go off and nuke the entire raid. However, there was only one way to stop this — Synchronized cubing. If 5 people clicked the cube at the right time, his channel would be interrupted and he’d get pissed off at the raid and rage out. However, if even one person missed a cube click, the rest of the raid would rage out.

Raid’s sounded something like this:

“HOLD HOLD HOLD HOLD HOLD HOLD HOLD HOLD OKAYCLICKRIGHTTHEHELLNOW

*wipe*

“… Okay, who missed it this time?”

“Sorry, boss.”

“Damnit Joey.”

Sindragosa – Ice Tombs

We had this one Mage back in the day. We entered the air phase with the Sindragosa Ice Tombs. Targeted players had to array themselves in a specific pattern so as to not nuke their partners. The rest of the raid ran to the top of the stairs and waited until the Tombs hit, then they had to run back within melee range and DPS the players out of the ice block (Hagara’s intermission phase was inspired by this).

Anyway, this one Mage would run to the top of the stairs with the rest of us despite the fact that he had the mark above his head from Frost BaconAnd he kept forgetting to move down to get the frost bombs away from us. It felt like every third raid he’d forget to do this. After about 6 raids of him consistently doing this, we were too tired to yell at him anymore. We pretty much just stopped saying anything and vent was super quiet when it happened. While we were still recruiting a replacement, I’m positive every person in the raid kept praying “Please target me with the Tomb. Please, please, please target me.”

Geeze, I just about aged a few years from this encounter alone.

Just thinking about all that stuff makes my blood boil.

… Actually, don’t even get me started about Blood Boil.

 

Staggered Raiding with Swagger

Cool, it looks like not every raid is going to be available immediately after the game release. I’m cool with that and I know others are, too. It took me less than half a week to level to from 80 to 85 and I predict it’s going to take me around the same time to go from 85 to 90. That should be enough time to hit cap and hit up scenarios along with dungeons for whatever points and gear needed. There’s still that minimum item level needed to queue for LFR.

My personal goal is to at least hit that mark before raids open.

How Blizzard used to slow content consumption down in the past

  • Really hard raid encounters that were near-mathematically or skillfully impossible without exploits (Vanilla)
  • Attunements (early Burning Crusade)
  • Gradually releasing bosses (Wrath, ICC)
  • Limited attempts (Wrath, ToC)

Now there’s no gimmicks or tricks. It’s just a straight-up “We’re not releasing this completed instance to you yet”.

There’s still a remarkable amount of players that are rather “upset” about the whole staggered and delayed raiding thing (if recent blog feedback’s an accurate indicator).

I’m going to use an analogy.

Let’s use swimming.

What if the race started before swimmers even reached the pool? Phelps and Lochte would have to race each other to change into their speedos, get their goggles attached, and put on their caps before sprinting and diving in the pool and racing their medley.

But now all the swimmers start at the line at the exact same time. Their speed and performance can actually be gauged by their abilities in the pool as opposed to how fast they can get ready.

If you think about it though, there’s going to be two races going on: First to hit level cap and the first to raid kills/clears. One shouldn’t impact the other.

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?!

The Story of Dobby – The Resto Shaman Who Could

Alright folks, gather around and take a knee.

I have a story I want to share with you today.

His name is Dobby. No, he’s not a house elf. Dobby’s story isn’t exactly unique, but I wanted to share how his work ethic and drive to raid contributed to his cracking the lineup.

When Dobby first came to us a few months ago, we were already well into Dragon Soul at that point. If memory serves, we were halfway through the instance on the hard mode stuff.

But there is no way Dobby could’ve made a meaningful contribution at the time.

  • He had been out of the game for a few months.
  • He was barely loaded with Firelands gear.
  • Completely unfamiliar with Dragon Soul mechanics, much less heroic mode.

We knew that taking him in would be a calculated risk. There was a chance he would flame out and not care about raiding anymore, or thrive on the opportunity presented and work his way into the lineup.

Now most recruits who get rejected tend to turn away and look around for another guild with (shall we say) more accepting standards. They don’t care about putting in the time required to get the gear or playing to gain the necessary skills. But we told Dobby he could hang out with us in the guild and keep chipping away at his gear and continue playing.

And that’s exactly what he did.

Whenever a guild member posted that they were looking for players for a Firelands run, he was the first to volunteer for it. Naturally, as one of the few mail wearer’s, Dobby obtained first pickings to everything and the Firelands heroic drops augmented his character quite nicely.

Looking for raid, another fantastic gearing out process, was available and he ran that on his own time whenever the raid week reset to roll on drops and secure Valor points to purchase specific upgrades.

To top it off, he watched our livestreams and idled our Mumble channel when we were raiding. Dobby stayed on top of the subtle changes that were made throughout all the attempts so that in the event he was called in, he wasn’t a liability. He seamlessly fit right in during the times he was called to action.

“You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.”

Christopher Gardner (Will Smith), The Pursuit of Happyness

Dobby is a perfect model story for the ideal recruit who doesn’t get accepted right away. That’s the kind of work ethic that scores big points with recruiters and leaders. Recruits who understand their weakness and work hard to minimize or remove it are the kind of players that I look for. You can’t teach that attitude. Of course, he could’ve taken the easy way out and just gave up. But Dobby chose to do it because he wanted to raid with us. Once the goals were laid out, he just went out and did everything he could to earn it.

He’s not the only one. One of our Holy Paladins (I’ll call him Moe), just about did the same thing. We gave him constant feedback in areas he needed to improve on and he gradually improved his play to help anchor the tanks when they needed it.

Don’t feel dejected if you don’t get in the first time. At least you know what you need to do to ace it the second time.

 

Professionals in your Guild

If you’ve been around in a guild long enough, you’ll be exposed to people with a diverse array of hobbies and people who work in varying fields.

I’ve raided with two Doctors (Ph.D professors).

I’ve raided with soldiers.

I’ve raided with politicians.

Policemen, Firemen, and ambulance personnel (EMT, I think?).

I’m almost positive that I’m not the first to have raided with someone who’s in IT in some capacity. Actually, I’d argue just about every guild had someone who’s worked in IT, or some related position.

Take advantage of their knowledge outside of the game. I once clogged a toilet and had a plumber guildie who taught me how to unclog it. My lawyer guildie gave me some helpful pointers helping me ace my US law class years ago. There’s no harm in networking with your own guild because you never know if they can hook you up with something or get your foot in the door somewhere.

Now if I could build a dream team of guildies based solely on their real life jobs, here’s what I would pick.

Lawyer

They might not be able to represent you or officially give you legal advice, but they can help you with suggestions and what’s right or wrong. Alternative: Police officers.

Mechanic

Totally not a car person.

Travel Agent

I like planning trips and vacations, but it gets a little overwhelming at times. Would be great to tap into the insight and tools of a travel agent.

Plumber

Really though, any person with a tradeskill would be a plus. They can give you pointers on home improvements or helping you troubleshoot problems.

Chef

Having a foodie on hand who can throw in tips about meals or getting started would be nice. Bonus points if they’re stars on the grill, too.

Bartender

For the times you need to loosen up and need drink suggestions. And they make great listeners.

Accountant

Someone to help with taxes every year!

Philanthropist

That’s just self explanatory :).

Retail

This one’s a little more common then you think. Nothing wrong with the occasional family and friend discount here and there. I’ve seen guildies hook up other guildies with tech hardware just to help boost their computer performance in game.

IT

Can’t forget these guys. They’re the ones that can help you resolve any computer issues and give you tips on upgrade suggestions as you need them.

Now if you do take advantage of the skills, you should show appreciation somehow. If they’re a player in the same area and they offered you a discount on something, use the money you saved and take them out to lunch. That’s just one example.

What about you? Have you ever tapped into the expertise or field of a fellow guild member? Or on the other side of the fence, have you offered benefits to your guild?

Raiding Needs an Off Season

It’s that time of year again.

Hockey’s over and congratulations to that-team-that-must-not-be-named for taking out my boys in blue in round 1 and then taking out the second and third seeds en-route to the cup finals before winning. Now it’s going to be another few months before hockey picks up again. This is the time when players, agents, and GMs start figuring out what kind of deals to make to bolster their teams for next year.

If WoW were to have a raiding off season, I’d say it’d kick in effect in the month leading up to Mists of Pandaria. But, the sooner there’s a release date, the better. Raiding activity seems to be at a low. Even in my guild, I’ve lost 2 players to Diablo 3 or other games because they needed a break (However, one of my legendary wielding players is coming back off reserves so that’ll help).

Like it has been in previous expansions, I’m expecting activity to pick up in that crucial month. That’s when many players will slowly start trickling back in after they find out that [flavor of the month MMO] wasn’t quite the game they envisioned it to be. It’s when players will be leaving and joining new guilds and jockeying for a good, stable position once Mists debuts.

And it needs to get here soon.