7 Important Healing Lessons I Learned from 1 Quest

Blizzard quest developers, please read this. I’m writing a request and I don’t know if it’s in your plans for Cataclysm.

I want to share with you a story when I started out as a wee, young Priest. After farming for hours on end in Darkwhisper Gorge and taking down Majordomo Executus with my guild at the time, I had finally united The Eye of Divinity and The Eye of Shadow. All that remained was to complete the Balance of Light and Shadow and I’d get my Benediction.

That quest singlehandedly taught me how to raid heal. How?

Eris Havenfire, the quest giver was not able to save the peasants that were trying to escape from Stratholme. I was asked to try to do what she could not do: Save as many peasants as possible. If 15 peasants were lost, it was game over.

I remember standing on the hill frantically Renewing everyone that was going by and Flash Healing those who were at critically low health. Even though I had already cleared Molten Core a few times, this was truly a humbling quest. Peasants would spawn at different places. They would have varying degrees of health. Some would move at different rates. Others would be pursued by skeletons. Many were afflicted with a disease.

And it took me a disappointing 14 tries before I finally managed to get through it (Oil of Immolation did the trick).

What I learned

  • Target priority – Skeleton archers were picking off peasants as they ran by and the diseases weren’t helping either. Priests had to know who was going to die first and heal accordingly. Just because some peasants were below 50% didn’t mean they were going to die. Oftentimes, it was the peasants at full health being drilled by Skeleton Warriors and suffering from diseases that were the ones in danger.
  • Spell priority – If all you have is a hammer, every problem is going to be viewed as a nail. I had to rethink which spells I wanted to use next. Not every healing problem is best solved by repeated use of Flash Heal. While yes it does bring peasants above the near death zone, it wasn’t the best answer all the time. Abolish Disease or Renew would have been the better choice.
  • Reading the health bar – With the health bar up, I could deduce how much each weapon swing was hitting the peasant for. Knowing this, I was able to figure out how much time a peasant could go without healing before they fell. It played a big part when I prioritize healing targets.
  • Value of HoTs – Renew was a spell that I often thought was fairly useless. I could wait out the whole duration for it to work its magic or I could drop a quick Flash Heal on the target and call it a day. With so many targets, I needed to use Renew. The point of Renew was never to top off the peasants. It was to keep them alive long enough for them to get to that white light. I rightly gauged that a Renew on a peasant would be enough to keep them alive from Skeleton Archers as long as they weren’t afflicted with a disease.
  • Mana management – At the time, I had to rely on downranking spells and using potions to maintain my mana supply. At level 60, I had about 1700 healing power (which translates to a little under 600 spellpower by today’s numbers). My mana regeneration was a paltry 150ish MP5. Holy Nova would clear out skeletal mobs with a few ticks but it would also trash my mana pool. I had to keep a very close eye on the mana bar and use cheap spells when I felt I could get away with it.
  • Cleansing – Another early mistake I had was not removing diseases and thinking I could simply brute force heal the damage that was done. Now that might be fine with 1 or 2 targets. But when you’re trying to save 50 peasants where most of them have been infected, getting rid of the infection might be considered a smart move.
  • Shaking out tunnel vision – Unfortunately, there are no raid frames to use. I had to rely on constant toggling of name plates (and all I had were the default ones at the time) in order to look at their health. I’d often be so glued to my raid frames in Molten Core, I’d miss the obvious player who had been targeted with Living Bomb (an ability where the player explodes and deals massive damage to anyone else around them). I was able to see which peasants were likely going to be in danger first simply by watching which ones were being chased by skeletons. Just follow the path since they run in a straight line. This bought me a few extra seconds since I could anticipate their targets easily.

I understand that there it’s against the current WoW philosophy to introduce class quests again.

But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with inserting in role related quests. I’d like to see a Shaman, Paladin, or Druid try their hand at that quest. I imagine that they would take a completely different approach. It would be difficult to balance the four healing classes around such a quest and I wouldn’t dream of suggesting where to start. But at the very least, please consider it. I wouldn’t have become the healer today had I not completed that quest.

The Rhok’delar questline taught hunters how to kite (I think). If there’s any Vanilla hunters, how difficult was that quest when you were 60? What was it like then?

This would be simple Warcraft Mechanics 101 type quests. Tutorials disguised as quests that can help new players L2P! Quests that underscore the basic mechanics of the game would do wonders for new players who don’t understand different concepts. The random dungeon tool exposed me to players who had no idea what threat meant or what CCing was.

For tanks, maybe a quest on how to generate threat. Or how to maintain threat on multiple mobs as they try to juggle them around pylons (like a driver’s test).

For DPS, a quest on the basics of crowd control (if applicable) or on how to kite (possible for some classes but not others).

For healers, maybe a recreation of a similar scenario above. Healing multiple targets as they try to run away.

How could it be worked into Cataclysm?

Perhaps the town of Healshire is about to get overrun by Deathwings minions and the job of the healer is to protect the evacuees as they make a run for a portal. I don’t know but I’m sure it’d be easy to insert that lore.

Please. Recreate that experience. A new generation of players would be all the better for it.

Give Me Patch Notes and I’ll Give You Totems!

Give Me Patch Notes and I’ll Give You Totems!

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As I’m sure many of you know by now, the PTR is live bringing with it a wonderous amount of changes to pretty much everyone. I’m going to focus today on a few things, Shaman changes and tier 10 set bonus for Restoration Shaman. First let’s take a look at the set bonuses for tier 10 Restoration shall we?

Shaman T10 Restoration 2P Bonus – Your Riptide spell grants 20% spell haste for your next spellcast.

Shaman T10 Restoration 4P Bonus – Your Chain Heal critical strikes cause the target to heal for 25% of the healed amount over until cancelled.

Hmmm, interesting set bonus. Two piece gives you more haste very much like how Tidal Waves reduces the cast time of your Healing Wave by 30%. Personally I love haste, and rolling Riptide should be a part of any Shaman’s normal healing arsenal so this set bonus really appeals to me. The four piece bonus is also very intriguing. The wording is a little weird and so it will have room for interpretation. Is it placing a HoT on a target for 25% of the amount healed similar to how Earthliving Weapon places a HoT on the target? Will it give an instant heal for 25% of the total? My moneys on a HoT. Personally I like these set bonuses. I think they are solid additions to our repertoire. Looking at them though we can take a guess at what type of damage we’re going to be seeing… I’m guessing lots of raid damage. Giving us haste, adding an additional heal component to our chain heal this just screams to me tons of raid wide damage (thoughts of Sun Well suddenly jump to mind). Now I’m looking forward to the aesthetics of the set. Hopefully we wont look like a mix between bugs and sand people.

So our set bonuses are shaping up nicely (which is pretty par for the course for us at this point). Lets swing our attention over to the patch notes shall we?

Not much is changing as of yet, of course as you know that may or may not change. For now though here are the bits though.

Orc and troll shamans now have their own unique totem art.

Shamans

* Fire Nova Totem: This totem has been replaced with a new spell, Fire Nova, which is available at the same ranks as the old Fire Nova Totem. Existing characters will automatically learn this new spell in place of the totem. With a Fire Totem active, shamans will be able to use Fire Nova (fire magic) to emit the same area-of-effect damage as the old Fire Nova Totem from the active Fire Totem, not consuming the totem in the process. Fire Nova will activate a 1.5-second global cooldown when used and has a 10-second spell cooldown. The caster must be within 30 yards of the totem to use this ability, but does not need to be within line of sight of the totem.

I’ll leave the totem art aside for a second, first lets talk about Fire Nova.

This one is… interesting. Basically getting rid of a totem that some of us were using to help with AE damage in fights like Thorim’s arena. It lets us not have to cast a different totem, but instead we can center an AE spell off our current fire totem. This still requires you to run into melee and drop said totem, but it’s a nice touch. I can run in set my totems and then when needed blast out some AE damage to help thing the gaggle of bad guys we’re killing. I’ll have to play with it more, but so far so good.

Now, onto totem art. Orcs and Trolls it has been long overdue that you guys get your own. Lets take a look at them real fast

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The Orc one is pretty gnarly. Not only is it a totem but it can double as an axe! It seems to fit to me.

3.3-troll-earth-totem

Trolls are pretty cool too. Troll fetish hung from the totems looks like the shadow hunter’s totems in WC3.

All in all pretty good job. Now if I may I’d like to take a second to rage about another set of totems. The Dwarf Shaman Totems. Now I know that Cataclysm (or at least 4.0) is a while away, they… bother me.

3.3-dwarf-totem

I understand the concept behind it. It’s a hammer with Gryphon feathers. I’ll be honest though, as someone who is going to race change into a Dwarf Shaman I’m a little disappointed. I mean I can see the correlation between axes and Orcs, fetish masks and Trolls and I can understand the correlation of hammers and Dwarves… kinda. When I was at blizzcon and they were talking about bringing Dwarves into the fold of Shamanism, they mentioned making sure they had unique totems. They said they wouldn’t be kegs (which made us all sad) but that they were looking at maybe rune stones. I look at the above totems and that doesn’t scream Dwarf to me. Had they been chunks of stone with glowing colored runes in them I’d have been content. I mean look at the Draenei’s totems

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They pretty well scream Draenei. They have holographic rings around oddly shaped stone with the element present above it. Even the *Now* Tauren Totems fit their race

totems

So… why can’t Dwarves get something stone related? I mean think about it. They live in the mountains, they have a racial ability called Stoneform, they are known for their Gryphons, but only one clan (Wildhammer) and they aren’t playable, but we hear about is how they are awesome miners. Sure we hear about their forges and smithy’s but I think the totems could be a bit better suited to the race (read more metal/stone and less wood please).

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy I can finally be a Dwarf Shaman. I’ve wanted to be a Dwarf Shaman for a long long time. I thank Blizzard for that, but that doesn’t mean I won’t weep a little bit every time I drop a set of hammers on the ground. Trolls and Orcs won out with some pretty good totem design and Tauren get to be unique snowflakes again with theirs. Overall I’m happy with it. Giving each race’s Shaman’s a unique totem is a good step. But if Goblin Shaman get cool looking gear totems, I don’t know what I’m going to do. Maybe throw my hammer at them. Maybe cast Wrath of Carpentry.

Although maybe I can rename myself Captain Hammer and invite people back to my Hammer Cave to show them my Hammer….

So what do you guys think so far? Like the new totems, dislike the new totems? Like the set bonuses?

Until next time, Happy Healing

Sig

Images courtesy of Dr. Horrible sing along blog, WoW.com, and WoW guru

The One That Got Away

The One That Got Away

The other day I had the good fortune of talking with our friends over at Wow relief and our conversation got me thinking about something.
Some of us have been around for a long long time in this game. We’ve lived through PTRs and Betas and now two expansion with a third on the way. We’ve seen many things change and many things come and go, and things that were promised to us never come to be. I got to thinking what I would love to see added to the game for my class. The answer actually comes from the Wrath of The Lich King beta.

Back in Beta, restoration shaman had a rather interesting 51 point tallent to play around with. It was unique and new and fresh and odd and I loved it.

Spell_Shaman_SpiritLinkSpirit Link (Rank 1): You link the friendly target with two nearby targets, causing 50% of the damage taken to be distributed to the linked targets. After 2200 damage, the link will sever.

This little baby was awesome in my eyes. The concept behind it and the possible strategic uses of it, especially considering the health pools of both Druid tanks and Death Knights  intrigued me. It wasn’t your normal everyday spell. As a healer we’re used to playing healing triage as well as Cast X spell get Y result + / – a little. This you know the values but you can effectively use this to shift some raid damage around. Alas this was not meant to be and it was replaced by Riptide, which is a very good spell, but doesn’t lend itself to the same sort of mysterious awe that Spirit Link gave me. With cataclysm coming back I’d love to see this come back as a mastery spell or some such. It was a fantastic concept that I’m sad to say got left on the cutting room floor.

So, with that I turn it over to you our readers. Anything you want to see desperately added to the game? Why? Did you find something in a Beta or PTR that you wish would have made it to the live servers?

That’s all for today, until next time Happy Healing!

Sig

Raider Nostalgia: Patch 3.2.2

Raider Nostalgia: Patch 3.2.2

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As most of you have heard today patch 3.2.2 is going live. With it marks the triumphant return of the Brood Mother and her many whelps. So what’s in store for us?

The Brood Mother Returns
After years of lurking in her lair battling the many brave adventurers who travelled from afar to challenge her, Onyxia returns stronger than before to commemorate World of Warcraft’s five-year anniversary.

  • Onyxia has been scaled to offer new challenges to level 80 players and is now available in 10- and 25-player modes.
  • Adjusted for modern raiding, but with the fundamental experience of fighting the Brood Mother still in effect, including the horrors of her Deep Breaths!
  • Onyxia will now drop level 80 item versions of some classic loot items from the level 60 encounter.
  • Brood of Onyxia, a very rare 310%-speed mount modeled after Onyxia herself will be available for the luckiest of challengers

This has gotten me very excited. For many of us, Ony was our first real raid experience. I know it was for me. I had done some molten core, but my first real raid with my guild (same one I’m still with today) was Onyxia. Of course my first ony raid tale is a little bit different then most. I happened to have participated in this raid from a bar. My then girlfriend worked at a bar that happened to have really good wireless Internet. I hoped on my laptop while waiting for her to get out of work and wound up getting invited to an Ony raid. We killed the Brood Mother, I got a shiny new helm and I did this while having a frosty cold pint. When we heard that they were updating her for the anniversary at Blizzcon, I definitely joined in screaming at the top of my lungs in excitement. Along with this announcement also came the news that in Cataclysm Rangnaros, Nefarian and a few others will be back again! This announcement even got me to dust off my hunter and level her to 80.  This type of boss is something that many of us remember fondly and I think it was a good call on their part to update her to level 80 and bring us back some favorite loot updated for level 80 as well.

Let’s not forget this is a patch though, so some things are changing for classes and abilities. Healers this patch are largely untouched. Shamans however get a nerf of sorts, not as bad as it could be but bad enough.

Shaman

Cleansing Totem: No longer purges instantly when dropped

Like I said could be much worse, this change will require Shaman to change tactics slightly. On fights like the Faction Champions in ToC, dropping a cleansing totem was a great way to get 5 people cleaned from poisons and diseases very quickly. Now we have to use this totem more proactively rather then reactively as once you drop it you have a good 3 seconds to wait before it starts doing it’s thing. Complete Patch notes can be seen HERE

More Patch Notes

Dungeons & Raids

  • Shadowfang Keep
    • Wailing Guardsman: Screams of the Past will no longer have multiple applications on a target. Recast time has been increased.
  • Ulduar
    • Increased the cooldown on Immortal Guardians’ Drain Life ability in the Yogg-Saron encounter.

Achievements

  • The Achievement “Iron, Dwarf Medium Rare (25 player)” now requires 25 kills, down from 50.
  • The Frostwolf Howler and Stormpike Battle Charger Achievements will now be awarded when a player learns the respective mount spells.

Professions

  • The blacksmiths of Orgrimmar grew tired of running to the rear of the city to craft items and have installed a new anvil & forge at the General Store in the Valley of Strength.
  • Engineering
    • The Mind Amplification Dish no longer changes the appearance of your helmet.
  • Inscription
    • Added a recipe for Runescroll of Fortitude. This item grants a stamina buff equal to the highest rank of Power Word: Fortitude (untalented) to all players in the raid. The effect of this runescroll is exclusive with other stamina scrolls and Power Word: Fortitude.
  • Leatherworking
    • Added a recipe for Drums of Forgotten Kings. These drums increase all stats by 8% for all players in a raid. The effect of these drums is exclusive with Blessing of Kings.
    • Added a recipe for Drums of the Wild. These drums grant a buff equal to the highest rank of Mark of the Wild (untalented) to all players in a raid. The effect of these drums is exclusive with Mark of the Wild.

Items

  • The Black Heart: This item’s animation has been changed and no longer resembles Hand of Protection.
  • Death Knight Tier-9 Tanking 4-Piece Set Bonus: Now decreases the cooldown on Vampiric Blood, Unbreakable Armor, and Bone Shield by 10 seconds instead of 20.
  • Druid Tier-8 Healer 4-Piece Set Bonus: The amount of healing this set bonus grants on the initial cast of Rejuvenation has been reduced by 50%. In addition, this set bonus no longer has strange interactions with Harold’s Rejuvenating Broach.
  • Glyphs
    • Glyph of Bone Shield: This glyph now grants 1 additional charge instead of 2.
    • Glyph of Flame Shock: Redesigned. This glyph now makes Flame Shock periodic damage able to be critical strikes.
    • Glyph of Mind Flay: This glyph no longer reduces the magnitude of the movement reduction on the Mind Flay victim.
    • Glyph of Scourge Strike: Redesigned. This glyph now causes Scourge Strike to extend the duration of Frost Fever and Blood Plague by 3 seconds each time Scourge Strike is used on a target, up to a maximum of 9 seconds.
    • Glyph of Typhoon: This glyph now increases the range on Typhoon by 10 yards in addition to its current effects.
    • Glyph of Unbreakable Armor: Now increases the armor gained from Unbreakable Armor by 20%.
    • Glyph of Vampiric Blood: The glyph now increases the duration of Vampiric Blood by 5 seconds instead of 10.
  • Libram of Obstruction: The buff to block value from this relic is now exclusive with the buff to block value from Libram of the Sacred Shield; it is impossible to have both buffs at once.
  • Libram of the Sacred Shield: The block value buff from this relic has been increased to match its item level.
  • Relics: All buffs provided by relics (idols, librams, totems and sigils) now share an exclusive category such that gaining a buff from one of these items will remove all other buffs gained from items in this category.
  • Totem of Quaking Earth: Attack power value increased to 400.

User Interface

  • Battleground Queuing
    • Players may now only queue for no more than two Battlegrounds at a time.
    • The dialog box for entering a Battleground match has been changed to reflect the following options: “Enter Battle,” “Leave Queue,” and “Minimize.”
    • The time a player has to enter a battle when selected has been reduced to 40 seconds when not already in a Battleground and 20 seconds when in a Battleground.
    • Players already in a Battleground can now choose “Enter Battle” for a new Battleground under any circumstance (i.e. while dead, in combat, falling, etc.).
    • A new Battleground will not launch until the maximum number of players on each side are in the queue (i.e. 40 players per side for Alterac Valley).
  • The size of the Focus Frame can now be adjusted via the Interface Options menu.
  • Mail System Auto-Complete Feature
    • The inline auto-complete feature for the mail system has been added back into the game. The mail system will now have both the pre- and post-3.2.0 auto-complete features available.
    • Added a label to notify players that the Tab key will allow players to navigate through the character names listed via the auto-complete feature.
  • For additional notes on Lua and XML changes please visit the UI & Macros forum.

Bug Fixes

  • Death Knight
    • Rune of Razorice: The frost vulnerability granted by this enchantment will now increase the damage done by Frost Fever as intended.
  • Druid
    • Balance of Power: Misleading tooltip reworded. The tooltip previously reported an incorrect value for the increased chance to hit with spells. The actual benefit of the talent is unchanged.
  • Hunter
    • Master’s Call: This ability now correctly removes the snaring component of Infected Wounds, Frostfire Bolt, and Slow.
    • Trap Mastery’s (Survival) tooltip now states the correct amount of snakes summoned.
  • Mage
    • Arcane Missiles: Ranks 12 and 13 will now properly cause players to enter combat.
  • Paladin
    • Hand of Freedom: This ability now correctly removes the snaring component of Infected Wounds and Frostfire Bolt.
  • Priest
    • Divine Aegis: Ranks 1 and 2 will now work with Holy Nova.
    • Glyph of Power Word: Shield now correctly uses the Priest’s spell critical chance instead of the target’s.
  • Rogue
    • Vanish: This ability now correctly removes the snaring component of Frostfire Bolt.
    • Honor Among Thieves: This talent will now work properly again if two rogues with different ranks of the talent are in the same party.
  • Shaman
    • Grounding Totem will now properly protect against the Death Grip spell.
    • Lava Burst can no longer deal critical damage to targets who are immune to critical strikes (due to, e.g. Roar of Sacrifice, Blessed Resilience).
    • Lightning Shield: This spell will no longer set off some trinkets when it is cast.
    • Stoneclaw Totem’s pulses will no longer break stealth on nearby hostile units.
    • Thunderstorm and Shamanistic Rage can no longer be used while Frozen, Cycloned, Sapped, or Incapacitated.
  • Warlock
    • Demonic Circle: This ability now correctly removes the snaring component of Frostfire Bolt.
    • Fel Armor: This spell was unable to set off trinkets and other effects. That has been corrected.
    • When using Shadowbolt or Incinerate while having Backlash and Backdraft active, only Backlash will now be properly consumed.
  • Coliseum Trinkets: Some spells that should have triggered these trinkets will now trigger them (such as Holy Nova and Fel Armor).
  • Death Knight Tier-9 DPS 4-Piece Set Bonus: Now grants the correct chance for disease damage ticks to be critical strikes.
  • Hunter Tier-9 2-Piece Set Bonus: Critical damage from Serpent Sting will now work properly with the Mortal Shots and Expose Weakness talents.
  • Lightweave Embroidery: This tailoring item enhancement will no longer trigger from the periodic healing granted by the warlock spell Fel Armor.
  • Mote of Flame: Corrected a typo in the tooltip.
  • Paladin Tier-9 DPS 2-Piece Set Bonus: Now grants the correct chance for Righteous Vengeance ticks to be critical strikes.
  • Shard of Flame: Corrected a typo in the tooltip.
  • Val’anyr, Hammer of The Ancient Kings: Healing from Prayer of Mending now triggers the shield from this item. In addition, a bug was corrected which would cause the shield points to be overwritten rather than stack up as intended.

So, how do you feel about the patch? Excited or angry that it seems like it came too soon? Does it make you think back on your time in early raiding? What was your first raid? Any other bosses you want to see ramped up to 80?

Until next time, Happy Healing!

Sig

Image from pewpewlazers.wordpress.com

Guild Talent Point Wishlist

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The guild talent point system is an upcoming feature in Cataclysm that will allow guilds to invest points into certain special abilities. It’s the same idea when it comes to our individual classes. The only difference is the fact that guild talents will either give your guild some cool abilities or passive perks.

So Blizzard! My birthday is coming up shortly in another week and 2 days. I know you’re hard at work on Cataclysm and Icecrown. One of the biggest features I’m waiting for is the new upcoming Guild talent point system.

I’m aware you’ve included example talents like extra gold on mobs, reduced repair costs, mass resurrect and the ability to summon everyone to a certain point. I’m no game designer and I doubt I’ll ever make a good one. As a guildmaster, I have my own wishlist of guild talents I’d like to see. If you have time, I’d very much appreciate it if you could look it over. I don’t expect you to use any of them but I hope something on my list might inspire your talent designers.

  • Cauldron of Enlightenment: Alchemists are able to create a Cauldron of Enlightenment which is able to produce 25 Flasks of Enlightenment. Flask increases your highest individual stat by 40. (Remember, this is when spell power and mp5 and such gets compressed down to base stats).
  • Bug out: Immediately renders a player immune to fires on the ground… by teleporting them out of the instance, removing them from raid, and from guild.
  • Overdrive: Haste of all members in raid increased by 25%. Does not stack with Heroism or Bloodlust. Causes Exhaustion. Only usable by the Guild Leader.
  • Skilled Negotiator: All faction discounts increased by an additional 5%.
  • Asylum: The 10 yard radius around you is instantly converted into a sanctuary. You cannot attack opposite faction members and opposite faction members cannot attack you. Lasts 30 seconds. Not usable in PvP.
  • Let’s be pals: Reputation gains increased by 5/10/15% (Okay, that’s too much. I guess a realistic number would be 2/4/6%)
  • Slavedriver: All crafting professions create items 10/20/30% faster.

What about you, the rest of my readers? What type of guild talents would you like to see? Remember, the rule is that you cannot include any ability that could aversely affect PvE or PvP. So no class damage modifiers. I only included the pseudo-heroism for guilds that might not have a Shaman.

Faction and Race Changing, Lodur’s Thoughts

Faction and Race Changing, Lodur’s Thoughts

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As I’m sure you know by now, one of the long awaited features has been implemented. Faction Change is here! I know a lot of people who were waiting for this for a long time. A few of my guildies had high level horde toons that they are swapping over to alliance and bringing into the guild. I also know a lot of people that I follow on Twitter have gone through the switch or are considering it as we speak. I also know a lot of people who have been dreading it, afraid that faction balances would be blown away or that guild ninja looting will skyrocket. Others are using it a point of recruitment. Trying to get their real life friends to swap factions and join their raid groups.

So I’m here to offer my opinion on this one, first though lets take a look at the facts.

Faction change is a one way change to the opposite faction

You can only choose a race that your current class is available to (example Horde Shaman hopping over to alliance will have to be a Draenei)

  1. Can only faction change one toon at a time
  2. Character has to be minimum level of 10
  3. PVP real restrictions do not apply
  4. Can faction change once every 60 days.
  5. Every time you want to faction change, you have to pony up the $30 bucks.

There’s several more, hit the FAQ page for all the details, these are just the “highlights” if you will.

Personally I like the idea of faction changing, I mean with the technology they are implementing it makes perfect sense. If I can change my gender why not my faction? It’s all just shifting pixels and databases around. I think people who fear it are unfounded. Honestly the argument of “what is going to prevent them from joining my guild, looting the bank and then faction changing?” is kinda moot. People have been doing that for a long time before faction changing, you can always hot foot it over to wow.com and their guild watch articles to see that for certain. If people are going to do it, they are going to do it, regardless of faction change. I look at the faction change as a chance for people to start fresh, but also as a chance for people to bring favored toons with them to play with their friends. I have a good friend who plays horde side, we’ve been talking about the faction change for a while and I would love to have him come over to alliance on my server so we can both enjoy the game.

Now for the real meat of this article, race change. People have been asking for this since Burning Crusade. The ability to change your race, but keep your class and faction. With the announcement of the new class race combination, there was renewed interest (there was a pretty big roar when Gnome Priest was confirmed). Me personally, I want to make my blueberry a Dwarf Shaman when Cataclysm comes out (or 4.0 if they do it then). I made my toon a female back when it was first offered because I kept getting stuck under the platform for The Lurker Below, and well… I got tired of it. Enter sex change and no more getting stuck on terrain. Being a Dwarf though would fit me more, and would fit my naming scheme better. Basically I’d be a happier Shaman. My interest in this sparked a conversation with the officers of my guild. Swapping your character race could have an impact on your raid. I’ll use myself as an example here.

Draenei currently have a few racials that are beneficial to a raid. First on the list is Heroic Presence. This racial grants all players in the group with the Draenei a 1% hit bonus. This might not seem like a lot but when you are hovering around the hit cap, that 1% can make all the difference in the world. Second on the list is Gift of the Naaru. This is a free Heal over Time that all Draenei get. The amount healed increased with attack power or spell power values. On fights like Vezaxx where watching your mana consumption is critical, this spell can help save the day. It costs no mana, has a 3 minute cooldown. So, if I race change to a Dwarf, my raid loses 1% hit for one group and a free heal. That 1% hit can be a bit of a bitch to lose, but in my opinion a raid shouldn’t be dependant on it. If I’m not on for a raid the raid doesn’t have that 1% hit anyways. So why gear expecting it? Yes it makes things easier on that one group, but still. I think this holds true for all the races. I don’t feel the vast majority of the racials are make or break for a raid, and with the potential revamp of racials coming (confirmed by the devs at blizzcon) there may be other more beneficial racials available soon.

In the end I don’t think either will have such a large impact on the game as a whole, I do however think that it will have a huge impact on individual player experience. It’s kind of like work, a happy employee is a productive employee. I don’t really think it should matter if a player wants to play a different race or swap factions as long as they are happy.

What do you think? Are you pro or con faction change? Pro or con race change? Do you think it will be largely game impacting? What are your concerns or the something you look forward too the most? Any racials you think a raid relies on?

That’s all I have for today. Until next time, Happy healing

Sig

Image courtesy of Marvel.com

What Cataclysm is Doing Right

What Cataclysm is Doing Right

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There is much to do about this upcoming expansion pack, more so then Burning Crusade and I dare say more then Wrath of The Lich King. I say this because of the buzz around the net as well as just what I hear walking around my home town. People are excited, hell I know I am. But I think people are more excited about this expansion then the other two. I’d like to talk about why we might feel this way about Cataclysm.

In Burning Crusade we were excited, don’t get me wrong. We had just bested the Black Dragonflight, saved the world of Azeroth from the terrors of an awakening Old God and his minions and layed the Smack down on a mighty Lich and his floating fortress of evil. We were eager to go and take on the the next threat to our home and take the fight right to it’s doorstep! We dove into Karazhan and drove out the taint infesting it, we took on Magtheridon and cut the head from between his shoulders. We beat the naga champion into pulp and took the fight to Kael’thas and his generals, all leading up to taking down the of the betrayer and then saving the all Azeroth yet again, this time from the evils of a freshly summoned Kil’jaden.

Then Wrath of The Lich King was announced. We would be returning to Azeroth full time, albeit the frozen northlands. We stepped foot into Borean Tundra or the Howling Fjord and were treated with lush, full environments to play with. From the very beginning we were taunted by the Lich King. Every step of the way he was there, messing with us, trying to break our minds and bring us into his influence. When he failed to do so he sent his agents to kill us. We cleared the Grizzly Hills and Fought back the corruption in Dragon Blight, we stomped on the trolls pledged to the lich king in Zul’drak and freed the animal spirits from their chains, We took on the Vyrkul in their homes among the storm peaks while making friends with the Sons of Hodir. We broke into the home of the titans and cleansed the corruption from it’s halls and saved the world yet again from an awakening god. We proved our worth at the foot of the Lich Kings citadel and now await the doors to be breached so we can take on the blight of our lands head first.

Burning Crusade:

Burning Crusade did a couple things right, and a couple things very wrong. It was a good time because it was new content. We got to go play in Karazhan which thrilled most people because it had been sitting there for so long. We got our first glimpse and some interaction with major lore characters. Shamans and paladins got to swap sides and new races were introduced (although I still think blood elves won out compared to us blueberries), and we got one hell of a troll instance (I loved Zul’aman). They also introduced arena style pvp with various formatting for smaller more intimate pvp battles. It even allowed you to battle against your own faction! The visuals of the landscape were wild and colorful and they let us fly around on the backs of our own personal griffins. We even got to go back in time and participate in some amazing key events in Azeroth history ( I still hate you so so much Archimonde!)

But for what they did right there were a few things they did wrong. The terrain didn’t blend very well between zones. Good example would be going from Zangarmarsh to Nagrand, the contrast was incredibly violent. This theme persisted through most of the between zone areas, with the exception truly being between Netherstorm and Blades Edge Mountains. Our major antagonist was Illidan Stormrage. He was supposed to be the architect of all the going ons in outland, and yet we saw or heard very very little from the emo elf. When we finally killed him atop Black Temple, I couldn’t help but feel it was a bit hollow. Also at some point focus seemed to shift from Illidan to Kael’thas a little bit. He was arguably the harder fight of the two, he taunted us more then Illidan did, and then tried to summon a being capable of culling all of Azeroth. Blood Elves flowed pretty well into the horde lineup, but Draenei seemed out of place even with the alliance. I asked around for some thoughts on favorite and least favorite things from burning crusade and here’s what I got in reply:

Favs:

Shattered Halls

Heroic Magisters Terrace

Lore and Burning Legion theme

Flying!

Space Goats!

Caverns of time!

Least Fav:

Heroic Rep Grind

The SSC lift (I hated that damn thing too, might be worse then door boss)

Arena

All of Hellfire Peninsula

Auchenai Crypts (hated that damn bridge)

Wrath of The Lich King:

Wrath has done a lot of things right. First thing off the bat is the interaction between Arthas and the PC’s. From our first steps onto the shores of northrend the Lich King has been there to taunt us. So much so that when I finally drive a mace through his face atop Icecrown I know I’ll dance a jig, and I think many of you will too. We are driven to want to kill him. In this they learned from their mistakes in BC and did great. The zones looked amazing and the flow between them was incredibly well done. It was very natural flow from say Borean Tundra to Dragon Blight. The quests are immersive and the entire expansion is dripping with lore tidbits, questing gives you story and feels much less of a hodge podge grind. Wrath gate event in the game is amazing, even on the 6th time seeing it.  The instances are incredibly well designed and they brought back one of the most awesome but least experienced instance of vanilla WoW back for everyone to enjoy (Looking at you here Naxxramas!) The daily quests seem less of a grind, and they got rid of attunements for raids and heroics which allows players to experience the content without the soul sucking rep grind. A hero class was introduced for the first time! New Technology was introduced in they way of phasing which was showcased in the Death Knight starting zone but is present throughout the world. It also introduced 10 man raids. Which again allowed further access to content among smaller guilds. Along with these came hard mode encounters and refined vehicle combat. To me this found it’s ultimate purchase in Ulduar, which is a beautiful and wonderfully designed raid zone, and almost ties for first place with me for favorite raid zone (BWL still number 1 in my book) Wrath has done so many things very very right, and very few things wrong. I got some replies to my question earlier to wrath too. here they are.

Favs:

No more attunements or rep for heroics!

Ulduar Hard Modes

Ulduar!

New Pets!

Storyline and Quest integration

Phasing

Least fav:

Sons of Hodir rep grind (pre relic turn in)

Arena

Door boss! (he hates me too =/ )

Quite a difference in lists. Note how short the list of dislikes is. If I missed anything above forgive me, it wasn’t intended to be all inclusive, just sort of a highlight reel.

Lets move on to the upcoming expansion,

Cataclysm

In almost every fantasy novel I’ve ever read, there is a love for home, or a quest to protect home or even the dream of returning home after the adventure is completed. You can see this trend in the Lord of The Rings trilogy, Count of Monte Cristo and various other stories. I point this out because it’s a common theme. This is one of the things Cataclysm is doing right and doing it up front before the game is even released. We are returning home after fighting a grueling war that has taken it’s toll many times over only to find our home ransacked, disheveled and forever changed. Places so familiar to us are being left scarred and broken and lets be honest it gets us riled up. Blizzard is doing something most people never thought they would, in essence they are destroying azeroth, and reshaping it. It is definitely having the desired effect, I could hear it when the game was officially announced at Blizzconm I could hear the whispers around the room and look at all the smiling faces and heads nodding.

We have major lore figures being thrown at us right away, Deathwing not even close to least among them. We see the return of those we thought we had defeated such as Ragnaros coming to burn the world tree in Hyjal and Nefarian back to help his father’s plans along. I also suspect we’ll see Lady Aszhara before too long.

We get to explore areas that have always been enigmas to us such as Uldum (pronounced “Ul-doom” in case  you missed the panel and matt’s report on it) and what lay behind those doors where all those dragonkin came to murder us in Nefarian’s throne room back in the day. We get to travel beneath the Maelstrom and we are promised we’ll be able to fly in the old world now (we get to visit Iron Forges airstrip and the dancing troll village if they are still there!). The gates of the Greymane wall come open and we get to see Gilneas for the first time! I remember sitting in front of the door on my Night Elf hunter when it had the elite furbolg in front of it wondering when I’d get to go play in Gilneas. At this point the tidbits they are releasing feel even more epic then Wrath did. We are fighting to defend our world against a force that was entrusted with it’s safe keeping by the titans themselves. A being so powerful that the earth trembles and ripples with his very power. We are waiting on the edge of our seat to see who lives and who dies in the coming events. As old enemies resurface, alliances are made and the very ground we walk upon is shattered.

In short this expansion is doing what a good novel would do, bringing you back home. In this case though it’s bringing you back home to a place that isn’t the place you remember. By tossing us into this world wide upheaval they are pushing us further into the story. Everyone from RPers to Raiders should be happy with the content that is going to be provided to us. Lore junkies will be turned on their ear and will be foaming at the mouth for more ( I know I already am!). This expansion is setting up with an epic feel to it. Even look at lowering the leveling from another 10 levels to only 5, the emphasis shifts more on content then just leveling. In my opinion that is what they are doing right. They are giving it a feeling of epic grandeur that started with Wrath and seems to have only gotten better over time. I may sound like a fan boy, but as a person who has been reading and writing fantasy stories for a very long time, I’m starting to feel like I’m playing through the events of a book rather than just a game, and that makes me happy and excited to see what’s in store.

So what do you think? What was the best and worst of Burning Crusade? What was the best and worst of Wrath? How do you feel about cataclysm so far? Excited, sad, angry? What are you looking forward to the most?

Until next time,

Sig

Image courtesy of memory-alpha.org

Cataclysm Gear Economy

Cataclysm Gear Economy

Well, I’m confident all of you have heard by now how stats are being changed around come cataclysm but in case you missed it

Itemization
In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, there are plans to streamline the statistics found on items. We want to remove all unnecessary stats, make all existing stats understandable, and make all “core” stats more appealing. Here are some examples of such plans.

•MP5: This will be removed from items and replaced with Spirit. All healers will be given a meditation-like ability.
•Spell Power: Spell Power is being removed from items as well. Don’t panic, we’ll be improving Intellect so that it provides mana and Spell Power.
•Attack Power: We’re removing Attack Power from items as well. Instead, we’re allowing Agility to provide the necessary Attack Power for leather and mail wearers. Strength will provide the appropriate amount of Attack Power for plate wearers. This means leather and mail items will no longer be desirable for plate wearers.
•Defense: The Defense statistic is also being removed from items so that players no longer have to worry about juggling around “the cap.” Tanks will receive the necessary anti-crit from talents, like Survival of the Fittest.
•Armor Penetration: This ability is too confusing and “mathy.” It is being replaced with Mastery, a stat that makes you better at what you do. More on that later!
•Haste: Will also increase the rate at which you gain energy, runes, and focus. Retribution paladins and Enhancement shaman will have a talent that allows them to take advantage of this benefit.
•Block: Block Value is being removed. Blocking will now always mitigate a percentage of damage.
•Stamina: Players will notice more Stamina on gear as Defense, Spell Power, Attack Power and Armor Penetration are removed.

Lots of changes here, but let us focus on the ones that affect us the most. First on the docket is MP5.

MP5 Is currently one of the prime stats for Restoration Shamans, so this change frightens me a bit I’ll be honest. There is just something dirty about the possibility of Mail caster gear having spirit *shudder*. That’s neither here nor there however. This will be the first time that Restoration Shamans will be stacking something for mana regen OTHER then pure mp5. We’ll be getting something like Mediation for all classes. it’s uncertain at this time whether this will show up as a new talent , or if it might show up in the new mastery system that has been talked about (more on that later). The stat will still be present on the character sheet, but will no longer be seen on gear.

Spell Power is also one of those prime stats for us. Expanding INT to be the root of spell power is interesting, but it does make a certain amount of sense. It does offer a boost in spell power right now as well as in crit and it does affect your mana pool size.  Right now we stack it to take full advantage of Replenishment effects. Seeing spell power removed from gear though is going to be interesting in and of itself. A lot of on the fly gear choices can be boiled down to how much more SP it gives you over your current piece (assuming similar stats in other regards). I’m certain that they will add an item to the tooltip noting how much SP an item is worth similar to how Druids see Feral Attack Power listed on items when everyone else doesn’t.

Haste will continue to affect us casters as it does now. Blizzard is happy with how haste worked out for us so you wont see much if any changes there.

Defense and Block, now I’m sure you’re asking yourself “how does this affect us, we are healers?” well I can assure you it does. Changing Defense to no longer be a geared stat is huge, and in my opinion a very welcomed change. I can tell you that there have been several times I’ve pugged a group and found the tank not defense capped, or defense capped but having rather dismal health pool. This change will help alleviate that. By letting tanks get their crit immunity through talents, it leaves them free to gear up stamina. This will also give some added mitigation from block which as it stands is convoluted and a stat that, to my understanding, is largely ignored by tanks.  After talking with my guilds main tank and guild leader, most tanks gear for effective health. As a healer I appreciate this, letting more tanks do this without worrying about losing a few points in defense is a HUGE boon to not just raids, but pugs and heroics as well.

Stamina for everyone! This is good for us as healers, I remember having to have stamina sets for certain fights just to be able to live through certain effects. Those days should be long gone. Effective raid health should go up and through the roof and our jobs as healers should get just a little bit easier. I look forward to not seeing mages and other clothies getting one shotted by some trash mobs *cough* The Descent into Madness *cough*

My concerns though, are for how gear will be distributed. Currently if a piece of Leather Spellpower gear drops, there is not really any question who it goes to. But if we are gearing up for all the same stats, how much blurring of lines will there be? I remember a time when I saw Paladins running around in cloth because it had better stats for healing. I don’t know if we can rely on things like haste and crit to separate that either, as now most of the healing classes tend to stack both (yes some more then others). I’ll be interested to see how this plays out. I eagerly await the changes if nothing else just to see how my gear is going to look before I put it on and look at my stat sheet.
So, what do you think? Excited about the changes? Hate them? Concerns or ideas?

That’s it for today. Until next time, Happy Healing!

Sig

New Poll: What about Cataclysm excites you the most?

What about Cataclysm excites you the most?

  • The New "Old" World (51%, 672 Votes)
  • Guild Leveling (16%, 213 Votes)
  • Goblins and Worgen (13%, 166 Votes)
  • The New Story Line(s) and Lore for Azeroth (12%, 162 Votes)
  • I'm still enjoying Wrath too much to care (8%, 94 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,307

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Of Heroes and Villains part 1

Of Heroes and Villains part 1

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Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last few weeks you’ve likely heard about Blizzard obtaining and copyrighting domains and trademarks surround the name Cataclysm. wow.com has been doing a great job keeping up on it .
The registering of the domain and copyrighting the name has sprung all sorts of speculation in the community. Some are calling it the name of the next expansion and a reference to the Maelstrom, the aftermath of the Well of Eternity exploding. Others speculate that it is the name of the next MMO that Blizzard has been working on (I have my own theories on what that one is, but that’s another post). All the buzz has produced one important truth. With Ulduar here and Yoggy being trampled, and with the tournament around the corner we are definitely getting ready for the announcement of the next expansion. Regardless of where the expansion takes us, one of the most talked about things has been what the next hero class will be. Today I’d like to talk about hero classes for a bit, this is the first in a series of three posts.

Back in the days of Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos many of us were marveling at our new hero units. Some of us lucky enough to be in beta got to experience them before they were level capped (A lvl 14 mountain king > scourge fyi). It added a new depth of strategy to the game we all loved. This solidified even more as we got into The Frozen Throne and saw the story unfold.

When World of Warcraft came out there were many of us that were disappointed to not see hero classes present in the game (hell, we had to wait until patch 0.6 to be able to play Druids!), but we did ok and trudged along. When the announcement for The Burning Crusade came, the community was full of speculation and hopeful murmurs that hero classes would be in the game finally! Again we were let down, but we sucked it up and kept trucking. Then came the announcement for Wrath of the Lich King, and with it the announcement of our first hero class, the Death Knight. I’ll be honest I was giddy and eagerly followed their development. When I got to play around in the beta I was not disappointed. The way they were packaged and presented to us was amazing and it had a way to immerse you into the story line. The way your character broke out from under Arthas and went back to their faction was great. The entire story surrounding them was amazing and most importantly, their arrival signified two things. Hero classes were indeed real, and their arrival has changed the story of the world we play in.

Now that we are looking for the next hero class, lets take a quick gander at the actual list of Hero units from WC3.

Alliance

Horde

Scourge

Night Elf

Neutral

Quite a few of them right? Some of these are already in the game in the shape of NPC’s or bosses, and a few are already playable. Looking at the list above you can figure some of them out see Paladin’s are already a playable character, as is Death Knight. Archmage abilities can be found on regular mages now (with mass teleport being replaced by portals in a way). Lots of the Shadow Hunter abilities found their way over to Shaman, and various others are represented by NPC’s strewn about the dungeons and cities of Warcraft. Take a look around and see who is where.

So what do you think the next hero class will be? Do you think it’s one of the ones on the list? What do you think of hero classes in general?

Be sure to check back for part 2 of Heroes and Villains,

Until next time

Sig

Image courtesy of www.comicbookmovie.com