How Spirit Shell Works

How Spirit Shell Works

During dungeons when Spirit Shell is fully absorbed, it is only healing for 1. Do you know if this is a bug or if they intend it to not heal the target when fully absorbed?

– Rave31211

Received a few comments and questions from people wondering about the use of Spirit Shell so I’ll do my best to clear it up some.

When Spirit Shell is on a player, it places a shield on them. After 8 seconds, the shield wears off. That player is healed for 80% of the absorb amount remaining.

If the shield gets completely absorbed, the player gets healed for a whopping 1 health point (I guess it rounds up). There’s a few problems with it right now:

  • It can’t crit
  • It’s a really long cast time for a low benefit
  • You can’t see the benefits in your raid frames
  • Doesn’t add Grace (Thanks FtenEQ)

Derevka has added his own thoughts on Spirit Shell and created a forum thread in the beta forums expressing feedback. I don’t expect this to be the final version.

Sketch notes for Discipline, Saying No, and Creating Compelling Content

Sketch notes for Discipline, Saying No, and Creating Compelling Content

Saturday’s the day where I link  material that I’ve found interesting, informative, or thought provoking. You’ll find them gathered from a variety of topics. They’re centered around World of Warcraft, blogging, or gaming.

Lots of social commentary going on this week in WoW which is cool. Civil discussion is always welcome as long as it’s done with tact and respect. I get asked about why I don’t include stuff like that here. To set the record straight, that’s not what this blog is for. You read this blog to help improve yourself. You come here to read about Priest and raid stuff.You read Lodur’s totems and healing stuff. Other bloggers can do a better job with social commentary and I would never be able to do it justice.

Many WoW blogs I’ve seen started with topics relating to the game.

  • Helping players get better via rotations, gear guides, etc.
  • Strategies for handling certain gaming aspects.
  • Profession advice and tips.
  • Working the economy.
  • Inspiring RP (which I am envious of and can never do).
Where has that gone?

This week on the Herald:

  • Sketch Notes: How to Heal as a Discipline Priest
  • Learning to say: “No, thank you.”
  • A Fool-Proof Formula for Easily Creating Compelling Content
  • Getting Started with Livestreaming
  • Hard Truth on the Sheer Difficulty of Making an Impact
  • Added Priest and Paladin information in the Mists changes page

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Sketch notes: How to Heal as a Discipline Priest

Subscribe to this guy. If not for the posts, then at least for the sketch notes. Waiting for the one for Holy. Flowcharts and diagrams are excellent.

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Learning to say: “No, thank you.”

As much as I’d like to say yes, lately I’ve had to say no more often. It’s not that I don’t want to, but many of my duties and projects keep me quite busy. The plus side to saying no is that when you dosay yes, your time becomes much more appreciated and valued.

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A Fool-Proof Formula for Easily Creating Compelling Content

Having difficulty putting your thoughts into words? Copyblogger has a formula and system that helps you get started with a routine. Cut down on the 1500 word rambles. Keep it to something succinct and straight to the point.

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Getting Started with Livestreaming

Looking to get started with livestreaming your gaming? I wrote up a quick guide to it here on WoW Insider. Right now, the guide’s meant for PC as I haven’t been able to properlyfigure out the most efficient way with Macs.

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Hard Truth on the Sheer Difficulty of Making an Impact

“Being very good at anything involves being somewhat addicted.”

Truth.

Lodur’s Response to the “Paragon Shaman Scare”

Lodur’s Response to the “Paragon Shaman Scare”

Following the recent world first heroic Sinestra kill by Paragon, players have been pouring over their logs determining their raid composition and the numbers necessary to succeed in such an encounter. One thing of note is that the raid Paragon took was assembled without any shaman of any spec or flavor. This has caused a bit of a stir across the Internet as players begin to question the viability of the entire class as a whole. People are calling for buffs, for other players to be nerfed, or just randomly QQing about how under powered all of the classes are and jumping ship to roll paladins. Today I’d like to break down what the problems actually are, what fixes could be proposed and dispel some of the anger, fear and angst surrounding our class in the last couple weeks. I will preface this post by saying that this is not a shot at Paragon or any other top tier raiding guild. I appreciate all your hard work and your accomplishments. This post is for the rest of us out there, who aren’t quite at their level.

Throwing Lightning and Swinging Axes

The DPS of the shaman class has always been a wobbly wooden seat in a room full of steelchairs. Ever since the days of Vanilla WoW, our Viability as DPS has sort of teetered. I’m not going to pontificate on it too much,  as I’m really a healer, but I started my WoW career throwing lightning on my magnificent Tauren Shaman and still do it now for fun and a change of pace. In BC and much of Wrath I took it away from elemental and smacked things with sharp objects and big sticks for entertainment, so suffice to say I’ve spent at least some time DPSing (yes this includes raids and hard mode raids when it was necessary).

Right now the big argument is that scaling is the issue. I can see why, and maybe there is a valid concern here. Right now at “Blue level gear” a shaman is capable of toping charts and blowing away everything that stands in front of them. The logical assumption is that scaling is the issue, that we don’t’ scale well compared to other classes as higher gear becomes available.  Maybe part of that is true, but managing spellpower coefficients is a tricky science and one that Blizzard is already looking at. If you tweak it too high you can break the system, tweak it too low and the class becomes useless. When you see them say they are increasing a spell’s power by 10%, they really mean they are adjusting the coefficient. We’ll get into that a little more later on here in the post, but just keep that in the back of your mind for now. Personally I feel that scaling is the lesser of the issues for damage.

I contend that movement has always been the greater bane  of the shaman in all aspects of life. We’re turrets, we’ve always been turrets, and anything we get to help us do our job on the move is only a stop-gap to tide us over until we can sit still and go back to work. I’ve done fights where I’ve out DPSd an equal-gear equal-skill hunter because I was able to sit in one place and just cast Lightning Bolt after Lightning Bolt (metaphorically speaking, I did use other spells), but on a very movement heavy fight I was crushed by an under-geared affliction lock. Literally the only difference was movement. While I agree that some of the spells need a little tweaking to make them a little less RNG dependent and help with minor scaling issues, I would have loved to have seen something that elemental and enhancement shaman could have grabbed to either extend the period of use for Spiritwalker’s Grace or shorten its cooldown. I think that overall would be a better, more utilitarian fix. Either a talent stuck somewhere or attached to something else. I could easily see it being an additional effect of  Ancestral Swiftness. Now this is just an idea, and maybe it’s not the best one, but I think it goes a little further to solving the real problem. This goes for both elemental and enhancement. While our mobility has improved, at any point in time we have to move, it takes us the longest to recover and start back in to try and maintain our offense.

I throw magic water on it, BE HEALED!

Lets get into the topic that is a little bit hotter of a debate, and more in my area of expertise. Right now the debate is that shaman healing is way too low when compared to other healers. While our numbers are seemingly low when compared to priests and paladins, our numbers seem to line up pretty closely to restoration druids. I think this happens for a few reasons. Shaman are the healing model for Cataclysm, or so we’ve been told since day one of the healing change discussions. I still feel this to be very true. I’ve not encountered a fight I haven’t been able to heal through with hard work, determination and communication with my group. Sure some fights are harder on us than others, but that boils down to a few reasons.

First of all shaman have slightly different mechanics than, say, a discipline priest. We don’t really mitigate damage, we stabilize and then bring everything back to whole. Healing Rains, Healing Stream Totem, Riptide, Earthliving and even Earth Shield all lend themselves to helping us stabilize players so we can either edge their health up with Healing Wave, drop a nuke like Healing Surge and Greater Healing Wave or use Chain Heal to quickly bring a group from the brink. Our job isn’t to keep everyone topped off anymore, it’s to keep them stable and alive.

The difference in healing tactics  is something we should be used to by now. In Vanilla you basically spot healed when you needed to while making sure your totems were optimally placed. In Burning Crusade you down-ranked Chain Heal and just spammed it regardless of content size and things were good as we stacked haste and MP5. In Wrath things got a little more complicated. With down-ranking of spells rendered ineffective, and the addition of a new spell, Riptide, we basically had to relearn how to heal right. We did hit a patch of trouble at the Ulduar phase of the expansion where players discovered Riptide and Lesser Healing Wave did so much healing that our other spells could be all but forgotten. This was balanced out by Blizzard at the time, but it still meant that through the life of Wrath we constantly adjusted our healing style and strategies right up until ICC dropped. Before our job was always to restore everyone to full, or as someone aptly put it on twitter, to “HEAL ALL THE THINGS!”. A lot of shaman are having trouble making the adjustment, especially those that are rolling one for the first time after playing a paladin, priest or druid. So part of our problem is there is a rather steep learning curve right now.

Secondly, just like our DPS brethren, movement is always an issue. Anytime we are forced to move our HPS drops like a rock. While we have tools to help us out in that regard, we still lack things like a multiple person HoT that we can control where it goes and can cast at the rate of a GCD between them.  Once we get into position it can sometimes take us a few moments to play “catch up” with healing. The same fix for DPS could in theory be applied here. Give us something to extend SwG out or reduce the cooldown and that will go a long way to helping through put. Although at that point, since all three specs would benefit from it, it would basically be a redesign of the spell. Point is though, movement fights (which Cataclysm has many of) are doable, but we still suffer for it.

Lastly, some of our spellpower coefficients feel off. Not massively so, but just enough to notice it. Particularlly with Chain Heal, Greater Healing Wave and Earthliving. Right now on the PTR 4.0.6 build, Chain Heal is getting a 10% buff. While most would assume this means that it will heal for 10% more, this isn’t exactly the case. Remember what we talked about before with spellpower coefficients? Here’s how the buffing really works. Right now on live, Chain Heal has a spellpower coefficient of 0.32 or 32%. This means that 32% of your spellpower directly affects the amount you heal for when using that spell. On the PTR this has been increased to 0.35 or 35%. Now you may say that this is a 3% increase not a 10% increase, but look again. What got the 10% buff was the coefficient as 10% of 32 is roughly 3. This is a lot better than it seems really. As the game progresses, we will mass more and more int, and as a result our spellpower will grow. That 35% coefficient will go further to scale us better with gear as we get “older” in the content. Same goes for Greater Healing Wave which has an estimated spellpower coefficient of 80%. It is getting a 20% bump, but that means on the PTR it has a coefficient of almost 96% if my math is right.  Again, see where this is going?

Sadly, though, Earthliving is not getting any attention yet, and I think it really should. For something we can’t control where it goes and who it heals, it feels weak. When it does proc you don’t control who gets the healing effect, and a lot of healing can be wasted this way on targets that you bring to full health only to watch the HoT keep ticking away. It is something I think could stand to be tweaked just a little bit. Haste certainly gives it a little boost by allowing it an extra tick of healing, but it is still spread out over 12 seconds. I can’t help but feel raising it to a 25% sp-coefficient from 23% would go a long way to help alleviate some of concern with it, and make it count on those it lands on that need the healing. It’s not a perfect solution, but I could see it being beneficial.

But why the hell are paladins and priests pulling so far ahead?

Short answer, they’re a little bit broken right now. True priests are complaining about mana issues, but Prayer of Healing is really strong right now, currently stronger than Chain Heal by a sufficient margin. It is also spammable to a degree, while we are forced to move away from Chain Heal spam. Little things like this are what allow priests to pull ahead by such a large margin. Paladins are just, well, in a word ridiculous. The amount of free healing a paladin gets is honestly quite staggering. While I’m certainly not saying that paladin healers aren’t talented, it’s worth it to note that our big heal at a raid ready gear level will be somewhere between 23 – 32k on a crit. Paladins? Well for that same GCD that paladin with equal gear will hit the same amount. Then you get the free heal from beacon of light which will then heal for 50% of whatever the primary target was healed for. That’s a huge chunk of healing right there. Combine that with the free healing a paladin gets to do with Light of Dawn and you can start to see some of the disparity.

So right now things aren’t very balanced. That’s OK. We’re not paladins or priests. We’ll never be paladins or priests, and that’s OK too. The new patch being tested on the PTR right now will be the first step to balancing out healing. Our heals are getting stronger, and paladins and priests are getting fine tuned. This should bring all four classes back in line with one another, leaving shaman for the most part untouched except for some much needed tweaks in the positive direction.

But Paragon didn’t use ANY shaman! Method only used ONE!!! That means I won’t have a raid spot!

You realize not everyone is Paragon or Method right? These are top-tier guilds that push through content as fast as possible using every little advantage they can to get the kill and be number 1. Let’s take a trip in our time machine back to the release of Black Temple. Nihilum got the first Illidan kill, and do you know how they were geared? They didn’t farm BT for weeks gaining gear to increase power levels. No, they charged through the content and pushed right up to him as fast as possible to down him. Most of their raiders were in the previous tier’s gear or lower. They pushed through the hardest content with a lot less gear than a normal guild doing the fight would have had.

Fast forward to Cataclysm and the trend continues. If you want to be bleeding edge, right there at the forefront of the digital war for number 1, you don’t stop to farm gear. You grab what you get along the way, and keep pushing. Class imbalances play a huge roll in this. If you have four healing classes, and two of them are pushing 30% more healing than the other two, you’re going to stack them. Why? Because that extra advantage compensates for lack of gear, and helps you push through the content. The same goes for DPS and tanks. I can’t remember which guild or which fight it was, but recently a group stacked a ton of druid bears to push through the fight. Does that mean every guild should stack nothing but druids? No, not really.

Truth is that for the average guild (and I mean literally if you would take all the guilds in the world and plot where everyone falls in composition and progression), you won’t have to worry about this. As you defeat bosses and gather gear every week, you’ll do nothing but improve. Keep in mind too that this was a heroic raid boss that was completely untested before anyone actually engaged her. By the time you manage to get there, you’ll likely have geared up quite a bit, and chances are good there will be at least one or two hot fixes in that affect you or the other healers, maybe even the encounters. Any good raid leader worth their salt will know that guilds like Paragon are the exception, not the rule. If you’re in a guild that the raid leader is pushing to have the same composition, well, maybe it isn’t the best place for you.

Really, the moral of the story here is that you shouldn’t let what one guild does on one fight dictate how you play or how you compose your raids. Classes and abilities will sometimes be imbalanced, trust in the developers to notice and balance it out in the end, after-all that is what they get paid to do. Expect and prepare for change. Remember Ulduar? In wrath, shaman at the tier 8 content level were falling behind in AoE healing by a considerable margin. Players were forced to stand apart further than chain heal could jump, and we were forced to rely on alternate healing methods. This was brought to the developer’s attention, and chain heal was buffed to cover longer distances between players. During the time of this crisis, we heard much of the same concerns as we are hearing now about healing. Hang in there, don’t get discouraged, it really isn’t that bad. The things that are bad? Well those are being looked at right now.

Discipline without Penance – Can It Work?

Discipline without Penance – Can It Work?

penance

This is a guest post from Wistoovern, a Discipline Priest who takes a closer look at Penance to see if it’s really all that

There are some instances in World of Warcraft where individuals who take a role proceed to redefine it into "non-traditional" role. For example, there is the player that decided to level without killing anything, or the hunter that decided not to level ranged weapons at all, but instead maxed out melee. These people are proof that your characters are flexible, unique, and can fill roles that others would not immediately think of.

Along these same lines are character builds that involve or ignore talents and spells that others find key. I’m speaking specifically of the new Penance spell that all of the Discipline priests that I have met so far are just ga-ga over. However, while it might be an efficient spell depending on how you use it, I beg to differ when it is said that a Discipline priest must have it in order to be a viable party/raid healer.

My initial thought to the spell was, "Why? Priest spells have a certain ‘flow’ to them; a spell like this is only going to throw everything out of whack." Well, imagine my surprise when so many Discipline priests started extolling its virtues. Personally, I am still unmoved. I do not believe that this spell is key to Disc healing – after all, we did without it for so long. But shall I go into specifics as to why it is not so as important as others might think?

  • Stop Assuming you need it - Yeah, it’s a 51-point spell. But do ALL Beast Mastery Hunters use Beast Mastery? It’s not too long ago that Lightwell was at the top of the Holy Priest’s tree, but did anyone actually use it? Taking a talent without making sure that you will use it efficiently is useless.
  • Dual Tasking? – Let’s be honest – priests are not hybrid classes. We’re not meant to do both healing and damage at the same time. We really get to pick one or the other. We do a good job at either one (nice shadow priests, GOOD shadow priests…), but both at the same time is impractical or inefficient. So a spell that can either do heals or DPS depending on who is targeted? This can be a big problem.
  • I Mean Really, Dual Tasking? – There are only two other spells that we have that works like this: Holy Nova and Dispel Magic. However, the priest that considers Holy Nova a crucial part of his healing spells needs a reality check, and Dispel Magic (and Mass Dispel, fine) is not going to be an issue if it’s cast on the wrong target (unless you REALLY had to dispel a DoT or effect off of a player and you miss).
  • Did I Do That? YES! - Let us not forget Mr. Urkel and his occasional mistakes with such horrible results. Imagine that you go to heal someone in your party, without realizing that you have a mob targeted that has not yet been pulled. Oops…not only are you making new friends FAST, but your tank probably won’t have time to pull it off of you. Any other heal, and this would not be a problem – in fact, the inability to use healing spells on enemies can help you.
  • The Hell Does That Mean? - Well, here’s a trick that I used to use in Hyjal and Kara. Target a mob that you have to Shackle, and after they’re Shackled, leave them targeted. When you click your keyboard buttons for heals, the system will TRY to heal your target. Oops, you have an enemy targeted, so it will instead give you the "grayed-out finger" pointer. Then, just click on your healing target. Sounds bulky? It’s not! It’s a click tap-click to healing someone. Advantages: no need to use a focus, and you can still pick up the shack quickly if it breaks. Disadvantages: slightly slower than normal, takes a little getting used to, will not work with Dispel Magic…or Penance.
  • What He Giveth With One Hand... – When the GMs build spells, they do it with careful consideration to effect intensity, cooldown, casting time, mana cost, and reagent cost. If they did not, you’d see Instant 50,000 damage spells that cost 100 mana with a .5 second cooldown. No, every spell that they give is balanced through the various aspects. High effect? It will have a high casting time or casting cost. Instant effect? High mana cost or cooldown. Low mana cost? Reagent cost. And when it comes to pure healing spells, cooldowns can be death (literally). Waiting for a heal to be available – or, rather, a heal that so many people think is just "so awesome" is a crapshoot. If a six-second cooldown can kill Circle of Healing, how is Penance so great with a TEN-second cooldown?

I can’t deny that a lot of the numbers for Penance look really good. But assuming that this spell is going to be a Discipline priest’s best friend is like assuming that all druids have feral sets (they don’t) or that all Warriors have Titan’s Grip. I’m not saying don’t use it – just don’t be so surprised if your Discipline priest starts laying down the heals without Penance. It can be done. Really.

Guest Post: A Micro Level Look at a Priest’s Trinket Usage

Guest Post: A Micro Level Look at a Priest’s Trinket Usage

guest-post This is a guest post from Calogero

Hey all , this is Calogero, level 80 discipline priest from Lothar. A little about me before I begin: I am currently raiding with ‘Legion’, a guild that has pushed through all of Naxx 10 up to Sapphiron in the past two weeks. My raid experience includes everything up to AQ 40 in vanilla, up through Black Temple in BC, and now through most of Naxx and Sartharion in WOTLK. I actually only started playing the priest about 3 months ago, when a friend asked me if I wanted to roll on his server (Lothar). Outside of WoW, I’m a 20 year old guy from New York, I go to school and do data management for a hospital.

Topic of the night: Trinkets

I recently picked up the Spirit-World Glass from Gothik in Naxx-10 and the Majestic Dragon Figurine from Sartharion-10. These two can make a wicked regeneration combo that should not be overlooked for longer fights. Any and every spellcast will trigger the Majestic Dragon figurine. Cheating the 5SR with this trinket can regenerate a lot of mana. In addition, Inner focus triggers the figurine, and all ticks of the following spells will trigger the figurine: Hymn of Hope, Penance, and Mind Sear.

So, in a perfect world, to regenerate the most mana, I’d do the following, assuming I had 10 full ticks from the figurine:

FYI: O5SR means out of the 5 second rule

Don’t cast for 5 seconds, then pop Spirit-World Glass. Stop casting for 4 more seconds, cast Inner Focus, which renews the Figurine tick. Wait another 9 seconds, cast Penance, which renews the figurine tick 3 times. Wait another 9 seconds, cast Hymn of hope, which gets 8% of my mana back, and the last tick will renew the figurine, which gives another 10 seconds of extra mana, O5SR. If this was at all possible to pull off uninterrupted, I could get 12 ticks of mana regen O5SR, which, at my current gear level, gives me about 1300 Mp5 when raid buffed with the Spirit-World Glass in action, and a little less than 1000 without it. This all would come out to around 13000 mana over 60 seconds.

Matt’s included a little diagram to help illustrate this better:

trinket-timeline

Obviously, in a raid situation, it’s near impossible to get all of these off in a row. This is where trust comes in. If you have another trustworthy healer or two, let them know, and see if they can keep an extra eye out. See how much of this you can play with and manipulate to keep yourself out of the 5 second rule, while keeping the Figurine ticks up. You can throw a shield, renew, PoM, and pain suppression on the tank before you start. The penance will heal your target for around 9k health on average. It’s very possible to get a few ticks off if you’re prepared.