Bubbles and Crits, part 2: What the Hell Took you so Long?

This is a guest post by jeffo, a Paladin blogger from Looking For More.

Way back on September 15 I posted ‘Bubble and Crits: 3.0 to 3.2’.  In that post, I examined the development of Holy Paladins from the release of Wrath up to the much-feared Great Illumination Nerf of 2009 (i.e. Patch 3.2), and looked at how the changes to mana regeneration across the board in that patch ‘encouraged’ Holy Paladins to go from a Holy/Ret Crit-based spec into a Holy/Prot spec that focused on mitigation through Divine Sacrifice and Divine Guardian.  I concluded that the Illumination nerf didn’t hurt these so-called ‘Bubble Spec’ Paladins that badly after all, and vowed to follow up with a look at how ‘Critadins’ were holding up in the mana department.

Obviously, it never happened.

While you shouldn’t accept flimsy excuses (and I try not to offer them), allow me a moment to explain. Just after the article posted my guild headed back into Ulduar, with me planning on firing up the old reliable 51/0/20 spec and seeing for myself how my mana pool held up.  Would I be soaking up Innervates, sucking down Mana pots and leaving my partner stuck on a limb? Would we need a third healer just for me to get by?  I was a little worried, but thought it would be a good experiment. Off we went.

After clearing Flame Leviathan we rode down the hall straight to Deconstructor – ‘Crybaby’, as we call him. The trash was dispatched with no trouble, my mana was fine so far, and we began setting up. As I watched Crybaby doing his calisthenics, two words popped into my head:  Tympanic Tantrum.  I looked at the raid. I looked at Crybaby. I thought about the potential time wasted and gold spent on repairs if we wiped, and thought about how much damage Divine Sacrifice can absorb.

And I swapped into the Bubble Spec.

When we got to Kologarn I thought about how I was likely to get Eyebeamed at the same time my partner would get gripped (it’s happened before). ‘Hmm, that’s a great situation for bubble-sac’ thought I, and I stayed in the Bubble Spec. Hodir?  Frozen Blows, nuff said.  Mimiron – well, Divine Sacrifice seems like it was made with Mimiron in mind. In short, for every situation we were heading into, I found a reason to stay in my Bubble Spec.

My inner Critadin never got off the bench.

A promise is a promise, however, and I aimed to deliver something to Matticus. My next step was to post a new thread at Plus Heal asking for feedback from holdout Critadins. Unfortunately, most of the responses came from Bubble Boys talking about how much they loved the spec, so that turned into a dead end as well. This was getting tougher by the minute, but I pushed on.

I tried to pore over World of Log reports for other guilds to see how Critadins were doing, but that proved a bit too tedious – I have my limits, after all. I finally succumbed to a variation of the latest scourge to hit the world of the World of Warcraft – gear score.

I’m not a big fan of gear score, to be honest, but I thought it might work for me to some degree. I believed that checking the proportion of Critadins to Bubble Boys at the highest levels would give me an idea of how the spec was faring – after all, if the Crit spec fails, nobody would be using it, right?  So I checked the Holy Paladin list for my realm at WoW-Heroes and ran down the top 50 and checked their specs (I could have kept going, but my eyes started to bleed). 

The results were pretty interesting. 

Of the top 50 on my realm (based on gear score as supplied by WoW Heroes), we had 25 Critadins, 23 Bubble Boys, and 2 You Really Heal With That Spec? types (69 points in Holy? Really? But they must be doing something right, they’ve got better gear than me). 

Further food for thought

In the top 25, Bubbles led the way, 14-10.

Positions 26-50 saw Critadins outpace Bubbles 15-9.

The top 4 spots were split evenly between Bubbles and Crits.

What does it mean? Well, it means that Holy Paladins really are in a good place right now.  We’ve got not one, but two viable healing specs that can be used. Bubble Boys may bring a bit more utility to the raid, but there’s still a place for the Critadin, even in Hard Modes.  The giant-sized crits can keep up with the hardest-hitting bosses, and we have enough mana management tools available to keep from running dry.  It’s enough to make me think about hitting that ‘Activate These Talents’ button again…..

Next up from me – an evaluation of the changes Cataclysm brought to Paladins. Due six months after WoW 5.0 is released…

For the Resto Shaman: Settling the Crit vs Haste Discussion

For the Resto Shaman: Settling the Crit vs Haste Discussion

sham-crit-haste

This is a guest post from Lodur, a Resto Shaman who set up an experiment to determine what is better: Haste or Crit. The experiment consisted of two relatively equally geared Resto Shamans with slight variances in haste and crit thrown into a full clear Heroic Naxxramas.

Round 1

Lodur from Zul’jin here again. Today I’d like to talk a little bit on the topic of Crit versus Haste. This has been a hotly debated topic among the shaman community since patch 3.0 dropped on us giving us all kinds of goodies. Specs have been proposed and gear has been compared using every measuring stick imaginable. The arguments are all over the Internet, and you can find them on all sorts of forums and websites. Right now though I’d like to take a look at some key points for each camp that have recently been brought up in my guild’s Shaman Class forums.

Pro Crit:

  • Bigger heals = less heals needed

  • Allows for increased rate in procs in key talents such as Improved Water Shield,and Ancestral Awakening.

  • Takes full advantage of the fix to Earth Shield which now has a crit change equal to the caster and not the recipient of the shield

  • Allows for Increased performance of preventative healing

  • Allows for greater single target healing efficiency

Pro Haste:

  • Allows for lower casting time for Chain Heal which is a shamans most efficient heal (5.23 heal per mana)

  • Allows for a greater number of spell casts which will allow key talents such as, Ancestral Awakening, Tidal Waves, and Healing Way to proc more often on more targets

  • Allows for Increased performance in "twitch" or reactive healing

  • Allows for greater group healing efficiency, while giving the passive regen of a Glyphed Water Shield time to restore mana. 

  • Allows for quicker application of Earth Living Weapon so as to proc to more targets

To further understand these points we can look at the talents and abilities so you can begin to see where each is coming from.

Talents / abilities Described:

  • Ancestral Awakening: When you critically heal with your Healing Wave, Lesser Healing Wave or Riptide you summon an Ancestral spirit to aid you, instantly healing the lowest percentage health friendly party or raid target within 40 yards for 30% of the amount healed. This may not seem like much but this adds up over time. It normally clocks in at around 1% of your total healing output.

  • Improved Water Shield: You have a 100% chance to instantly consume a Water Shield Orb when you gain a critical effect from your Healing Wave or Riptide spells, and a 60% chance when you gain a critical effect from your Lesser Healing Wave spell. This is helpful with mana regen especially if your find your MP5 or raid replenishment lacking.

  • Healing Way:Your Healing Wave spells have a 100% chance to increase the effect of subsequent Healing Wave spells on that target by 18% for 15 sec. This turns your 15,000 Healing Wave crit into something that creeps up to around 20,000 and with the change to the talent applying the full bonus on once cast of Healing Wave, it has found it’s way into many rotation.

  • Earthliving:Imbue the Shaman’s weapon with earthen life. Increases healing done by 150 and each heal has a 20% chance to proc Earthliving on the target, healing an additional 652 over 12 sec. Lasts 30 minutes. 20% meaning 1 out of every 5 heals will land a hot on a target. Using a Glyphed Chain Heal means 4 targets per heal. A 652 HoT doesn’t seem like much but it adds up over time. 

Practical Application:

Someone once said me to "Lodur, I hear what you’re saying but I need to see the numbers." So after a lengthy discussion with another shaman in our guild we decided to give it a go. I would continue to stack haste (Hello, My name’s Lodur, and I’m a haste junkie) and they (I wont use their name simply because I don’t exactly have their permission to post their toon details on the interwebs and I’m respectful like that) would stack crit and change spec and see what numbers we got.

All numbers are without totems or self buffs, and not including Earthliving Weapon. These also do not take into account trinkets like Egg of Mortal Essence . Both of us were present for all four wings of Naxx and we were both tasked with Raid / OT healing at the same time in order to keep things as consistent as possible.

(And before anyone says quality of player or anything silly like that it should be noted that me and Shaman 2 are consistently within a stones throw of eachother every raid and both have been doing this for a long time!)

Let’s look at what some numbers produce, looking at builds and stats first. All gear is at the item level of i200 and i213. This is without totems, weapon buffs, food or raid buffs. Both shamans used the same Glyphs for the run. Glyph of Chain heal, Glyph of Water Mastery, Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave and Glyph of Water Shield

The Stats

  Lodur Shaman 2
Spec Spec here (Excludes Improved Water Shield in favor of Healing Way) Spec here (Inclusion of Thundering Strikes over Enhancing Totems )
Intellect 1010 983
Haste 419 (14%) 262 (8%)
Crit 19% 31%
Spellpower 1952 1936

As you can see the stats are fairly close, differing mainly in their haste and crit rating. So lets take a look and see what the end result of the run was number wise.

The Results

  Lodur Shaman 2
Total Healing 5328335 5089956
Water Shield 60813 64400
Earthliving 444686 311665
Ancestral Awakening 75251 67245
Average Crit 24% 34%
Overhealing 40% 40%

Wow. Pretty close there! Now that’s overall for the entire raid night. So as everything averages out at the end they wind up being pretty similar. We can break this down a bit further and look at some of the individual fights to look for strenghts and weaknesses for each. Lets pull out two boss kills here.

Maxxena:

Lodur: Total Healing Done: 68,068
Shaman 2: Total Healing Done: 123,953

Damn, got almost doubled on that fight! The strong single target heals allowed for Shaman 2 to top off tanks and webbed people in one gulp causing my quicker heals to move on over into overhealing.

Heigan the Unclean:

Lodur: Total Healing Done: 222,257
Shaman 2: Total Healing Done: 109,780

Haste won that round! The faster group heals and lesser healing waves allowed for me to top people off quicker while diseases were cleansed.

The trade off between bosses carries on from there with Crit winning on Loatheb and Haste winning on Patchwerk. The two have fights where they will always shine slightly brighter then the other, but overall they perform to roughly the same output.

The Conclusion

It is, in the opinion of this shaman, so close that the difference really boils down to playstyle.

Both ways work! If you have a preference roll with it. Gearing for both is very easy. There’s haste on just about everything and what mail spell power pieces don’t have haste normally have a ton of crit (yes I know it can be argued that its elemental gear but it still works for healing all the same).

There will always be fights that are slightly tougher for your then if you had more haste rather then a ton of crit, but thats true about everything in the game. The synergy between the two is also noticeable. Fights where a hastened Healing Wave can keep Healing Way up so that the crit spec can land a huge, huge heal will always be there.

Well that’s it for round one of haste vs crit. Round 2 will be after 3.1 drops and Ulduar is available. Until next time, happy healing.

Image courtesy of Aurik

Recommended Requirements for Naxxramas (Normal and Heroic)

Recommended Requirements for Naxxramas (Normal and Heroic)

Your requests have been heard and I am here to deliver. I’ve received repeated emails for minimum Naxx requirements for both 10s and 25s. Unlike the Kara or ZA guides I wrote, this one will be much more brief. I won’t be able to give precise numbers for stats or anything like before due to radical buff changes in raiding. I spent a lot of time writing, re-writing and scrapping this post repeatedly because it’s extremely difficult to pen this. Here’s what you should shoot for.

Before you even read the numbers, you should consult Anna’s blog: Am I Ready to Heal Naxx?

Note: These numbers are good for both Naxx 10 and 25.

Note 2: Your mileage may very. Experiment with different raid combinations to find out what works best.

Tanks

Health: 25000 unbuffed
Defense: 540 (Crit immunity)

Note: Druids will have a higher health pool. 30000 health is a good number to aim for.

Melee DPS

Hit: 9%
DPS output on average: 2000 DPS

Obviously the more the merrier.

Caster DPS

Hit: 17%
DPS output on average: 2000 DPS

Note: Both percentages assume you are completely naked and lacking in hit-increasing buffs. You can find your hit percentage by mousing over the hit rating on your character screen.

Healers

Spellpower: 1550
Mana regeneration: 700 (is what I was able to get away with)

Paladins mana regeneration: around 200 with 25% crit is a good start

Shamans may have slightly lower mana regen.

Treat these as guidelines! Use your discretion. If you can handle a few heroics under your belt, then you’re ready to give Naxx a shot! Don’t expect to be killing Kel’Thuzad or anything right away. Know your limits.

Gearing Your Fresh Level 80 Holy Priest: Matt’s Recommendations

Here it is, Priests. This is the list you’ve been waiting for. Remember, this isn’t the absolutely best gear you can get at level 80 for pre-raiding. This is the fastest way to get gear you can get at level 80. I’ll provide you with quest options and purchase options. Cheap enchants and select gems will be at the bottom.

The goal here is to get your Priest geared as quick as possible without relying on the RNGness of instance grinding (or at least, running them as little as possible). Means it’s going to rely on BoEs and Quest rewards although I will provide a few choice recommendations for some instances.

Head

Cowl of the Vindictive Captain (81 Spellpower): It’s the quest reward from doing the Utgarde Pinnacle quest: Vengeance Be Mine! Lack of Spirit on this one, but doubles as a potential DPS helm. No Crit either.

Frostsavage Cowl (81 Spellpower): Same amount of Spellpower as above. Contains PvP stats like resilience. Not completely optimized for PvE. Does have Crit. Opt for the cowl if possible.

Neck

Titanium Spellshock Necklace (49 Spellpower): First piece of gear with a socket! Epic quality. Downside is that it could cause a dent in the wallet. No Spirit on this one either. Decent amount of Spellpower and crit.

Amulet of the Crusade (40 Spellpower, 10 MP5): Remember those Scarlet Crusade you banged up back in Dragonblight? Here’s the Admiral. Comes from the Icecrown chain quest: The Admiral Revealed.

Shoulders

Mantle of Electrical Charges (60 Spellpower, 51 Spirit): Comes from doing the instance quest in Halls of Lightning: General Bjarngrim.

Back

Wispcloak (59 Spellpower, 20 MP5): Craftable by tailors. The tailor must have run all the normal dungeons and defeated all the end bosses in order to unlock this recipe. Doesn’t have Spirit but has a decent amount of MP5.

Shroud of Dedicated Research (46 Spellpower): Purchasable from Archmage Alvareaux. He’s the Kirin Tor quarter master. Must be Honored with them in order to purchase.

Chest

Moonshroud Robe (105 Spellpower, 89 Spirit): Ouch. Just wait until you see the mats required for this bad boy.

  • 8 Moonshroud
  • 6 Bolt of Imbued Frostweave
  • 1 Eternium Thread
  • 1 Frozen Orb

Moonshroud’s going to be the tough one. It’s going to take Tailors around 16 days from start to finish assuming they blow their own cool downs. You can cut it down to 8 if you do some tactical trading here and there by exchanging cooldowns with other players.

Bauble-Woven Gown (81 Spellpower, 68 Spirit): Comes from the other Utgarde Pinnacle quest Junk in My Trunk. Great alternative to the Moonshroud Robe if you don’t feel like breaking out the coin bag.

Wrists

Ancestral Sinew Wristguards (50 Spellpower, 27 Spirit): Slap on the Wyrmrest Accord tabard and start grinding your rep with them as much as possible. Contains a nifty Blue socket for more delicious Spirit gems.

Gloves

Moonshroud Gloves (76 Spellpower, 67 Spirit): This is the second and final piece of the Moonshroud “set”. Not as expensive as the Robe, but can be pricey:

  • 4 Moonshroud
  • 4 Bolt of Imbued Frostweave
  • 1 Eternium Thread
  • 1 Frozen Orb

Gloves of the Time Guardian (60 Spellpower, 51 Spirit): Comes from the Caverns of Time quest: A Royal Escort. Are you prepared for the “Arthas yapping” boss? Again, another cheapsauce alternative.

Belt

Fishy Cinch (60 Spellpower, 51 Spirit): Make friends with your fish pals, the Oracles. There’s a few dailies you can do start with there. I don’t have the time to work on doing dailies with them yet.

Deep Frozen Cord (61 Spellpower): Plan B is to just hook yourself up with a tailor and make this BoE purchase. No Spirit. Has some crit, however.

Legs

Frostmoon Pants (61 Spellpower, 68 Spirit): Finally, daddy’s got a new pair of pants! This one’s from our tailoring friends. Unfortunately, it does eat some expensive materials.

  • 1 Moonshroud
  • 6 Bolt of Imbued Frostweave
  • 4 Iceweb Spider Silk
  • 1 Eternium Thread

Feet

Aurora Slippers (60 Spellpower, 51 Spirit): Like the Frostmoon Pants above, this will eat up one of your precious Moonshrouds. Again, see your local tailor and skinners.

  • 1 Moonshroud
  • 4 Bolt of Imbued Frostweave
  • 2 Heavy Borean Leather
  • 4 Iceweb Spider Silk
  • 1 Eternium Thread

Rings

Ring of Temerity (54 Spellpower): A blue zero mana regen ring coming from doing the Oculus quest: The Struggle Persists.

Lion’s Head Ring (55 Spellpower, 20 Spirit): Decent spellpower and spirit from running the Gundrak quest: For Posterity.

Weapons (Staff)

Malygos’ Favor (314 Spellpower, 95 Spirit): This is the normal mode staff drop from the Oculus off the last boss.

Sempiternal Staff (314 Spellpower, 53 Spirit): Drops off that Infinite Dragonflight bad boy Chrono-Lord Epoch in Caverns of Time: Stratholme.

Staff of Draconic Combat (408 Spellpower, 69 Spirit): See if you can get your hands on that beauty. It’s a Heroic drop from the Cache of Eregos in the Oculus (last boss). It’s the bigger brother to Malygos’ Favor.

Weapons (1 Hand)

Flameheart Spell Scalpel (355 Spellpower): It feels really weird to use a weapon with hit rating on it due to the waste stats. But there aren’t any alternative daggers from quests or vendors. Purchaseable at Kirin Tor – Revered from Archmage Alvareaux

Netherbreath Spellblade (355 Spellpower, 26 Spirit): However, if you run Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle and get lucky with Skadi the Ruthless, he just might drop this sword-like dagger for you. It makes me look dashing on my Dwarf.

Gavel of the Brewing Storm (355 Spellpower): More reason to make friends with or scaly friends. The Wyrmrest mace is purchasable after hitting Revered. Fail with lack of mana regeneration, however.

Weapons (Off hand)

Handbook of Obscure Remedies (59 Spellpower, 38 Spirit): For the low cost of 25 Emblems of Heroism, you can pick up this sweet offhand from the Emblem vendor.

Wands

Purifying Torch (26 Spellpower): Argent Crusade, at Revered, will give you access to their torch.

Wand of Ahnkahet (33 Spellpower): If you feel comfortable, run Heroic Ahn’Kahet and try your luck at getting this wand.

Rings

Ringlet of Repose (43 Spellpower): All you gotta do is run Halls of Stone. It’ll drop off of Maiden’s little sister who happens to also be a Maiden.

Titanium Spellshock Ring (49 Spellpower): This epic level ring has zero mana regen but it does have a gem slot. You can opt to stuff in a regen gem of some sort or resort to it a spellpower red gem to ramp up your amperage. Up to you.

Spectral Seal of the Prophet (51 Spellpower): Head over to Drak’Tharon Keep and toggle it onto Heroic for a challenge. With luck, this will drop off Tharon’ja (Prophet).

Enchanted Wire Stitching (46 Spellpower): Say hello to Meathook! This ring drops in CoT: Stratholme off of Meathook. Don’t worry, you don’t have to set it to Heroic.

Trinkets

Soul Preserver (75 Spellpower): You’re undoubtedly going to run Stratholme a few times. If you’re lucky, you might be able to get this trinket off the end boss. It will certainly help with the mana problems that most Priests have at this stage of the game.

Mercurial Alchemist Stone (59 Spellpower): Alchemists may wish to consider using this stone. It should last them for a while. In theory.

Talisman of Troll Divinity (73 Spirit): A whopping 73 Spirit on one trinket? Hell yes. I was lucky enough to get this on my first run through Drak’Tharon Keep. The use effect will be a big bonus on fights with enrages or massive damage spikes. The net effect is that your target (or targets) should see a bonus to their healing received by ~290. Usable every 2 minutes.

Enchants and Augments

Helm enchant – Arcanum of Blissful Mending: Another reason to knock out the Wyrmrest Temple rep first. Obtainable at Revered.

Shoulder enchant – Lesser Inscription of the Crag: Sons of Hodir provide this one. Scribes need not worry about grinding their rep here. This area is only unlockable after doing a massive (and epic length) chain quest. With enough dailies, Greater Inscription of the Crag becomes an option.

Chest enchants – Greater Mana Restoration would be the call I’d make here. Mats are a bit on the expensive side so make sure you get yourself a decent chest. Enchant Chest – Major Spirit is a decent and cheap enchant to toss onto a blue for the time being until you replace it.

Cloak enchants – If you can afford it, go for the Wisdom cloak enchant. Make sure you have a damn good cloak to go with it. Otherwise, for the low low price of 6 Infinite Dust, you can get a little extra Speed. Tailors get the option of further enchanting their own cloak with Darkglow Embroidery.

Bracer enchants – Superior Spellpower is what I would consider for a top end Wrath level item. I wouldn’t use it on anything less than an epic quality due to the cost of the mats involved. Go ahead and stick on BC level enchants on your blues for the time being.

Glove enchants – Exceptional Spellpower is a (relatively) cheap glove enchant you can toss onto your mitts. Spellpower gets increased by 28.

Belt – Eternal Belt Buckle: Yes, there is an augment for belts. It is not an enchant but it’s not any less important. Hit up your local auction house or blacksmith and make sure you get one of these belt buckles! It adds an extra gem slot to your belt! This could make or break your meta bonus! Get one!

Leg patches – Opt for the Shining Spellthread first. Once you get a real set of pants, upgrade it to a Brilliant Spellthread.

Boot enchants – Greater Spirit is the main boot enchant of choice. For any sort of resist boots, you may wish to opt for Greater Fortitude.

Weapon enchants – Several interesting choices here at your disposal:

  • Exceptional Spellpower: A good starter choice for Priests in terms of economic impact. Should be affordable for most players.
  • Exceptional Spirit: Slap this on a mana regen weapon of your choice. Or even keep it on your main weapon of choice. You can’t go wrong really.
  • Mighty Spellpower: Exceptional’s big brother Mighty increases your spellpower by 63 (compared to the 50 that the big E provides). 13 Spellpower. Can you justify the mats? If you can, go for it. It’s a tough pill to swallow though, early on in Wrath.
  • Major Intellect: Although it’s an old school BC enchant, I’m wondering if it’s worth putting on a high intellect staff for the purposes of mana regen. Perhaps you could macro a weapon switch with Hymn of Hope so that it could provide a little bit more extra juice.

Gems

There’s a lot more options for gem configurations. I’ll list all of the useful ones first.

Red

Runed Scarlet Ruby (19 Spellpower)
Purified Twilight Opal (9 Spirit, 9 Spellpower) Purple gem
Luminous Monarch Topaz (9 Spellpower, 8 Int) Orange gem
Potent Monarch Topaz (9 Spellpower, 8 Crit rating) Orange gem

Blue

Sparkling Sky Sapphire (16 Spirit)
Purified Twilight Opal (9 Spirit, 9 Spellpower) Purple gem
Misty Forest Emerald (8 Spirit, 8 Crit) Green gem
Seer’s Forest Emerald (8 Int, 8 Spirit) Green gem

Yellow

Brilliant Autumn’s Glow (16 Intellect)
Luminous Monarch Topaz (9 Spellpower, 8 Int) Orange gem
Potent Monarch Topaz (9 Spellpower, 8 Crit rating) Orange gem
Misty Forest Emerald (8 Spirit, 8 Crit) Green gem
Seer’s Forest Emerald (8 Int, 8 Spirit) Green gem

Your gem configuration is going to largely depend on the meta you want to go for. You may have to switch to hybrid color gems instead of pure color gems in order to activate it. The general rule of thumb for entry level Priests is to go for mana regeneration and spellpower. This early in the game, you’re going to want to take a hard look at your Spirit and mana regen so that you have the capability to sustain yourself in raids.

Meta

Bracing Earthsiege Diamond (25 Spellpower, 2% Reduced threat)
Ember Skyflare Diamond (25 Spellpower, 2% Intellect)
Insightful Earthsiege Diamond (21 Int, chance to restore mana)
Revitalizing Skyflare Diamond (8 MP5, 3% increased crit healing)

I’ll pick Insightful Earthsiege. Reports say that the proc gives 600 mana. No doubt it has an internal cooldown.

Sources: WoWHead and WoWWiki

Last updated

November 27