MoP Shakes up healing, Lodur’s thoughts

Well folks, it’s been a while, since I posted. Life has been quite busy for this little shaman. Things are calming down so you’ll see me posting more often (hopefully!). The past week was BlizzCon 2011, a fine time for everyone who got to go. For those of your readers I got to meet, it was an absolute pleasure! Shaking hands with readers is always fun, and sharing a drink with them is even better. Possibly one of the most exciting bits of news was the announcement of the new Mists of Pandaria! Not only will we finally get to play as our kung-fu pandas that we’ve been waiting for since the days of WC3, but it will bring with it a new class, the Monk.

The Monk class is an important addition to the World of Warcraft game for many reasons. Chief among them it is a hybrid class capable of filling all roles in the holy trinity of MMORPG; Tanking, DPS and Healing. This marks the third class capable of all three roles, with the other two being Druids (OP!) and Paladins.  The monk class promotes active playing. It’s a twitch class, and will be in all of it’s roles. While in DPS there is no auto attack, so you will constantly be hitting buttons. In tanking that will still be the same, and in healing well that’s where things get interesting.

Healing for a monk is not just about playing green bar whack-a-mole. The healing monk will be an incredibly active monk. Weaving into close combat to keep their orbs charged and then running around the raid/group to place healing statues or cast effects. It makes use of the monks base abilities of tumbling  and generally being a high mobility class while making you do things like deal damage or do other non-specific healing things to generate healing power. Well, that sounds pretty familiar to me, I mean this is exactly the type of healing I was talking about in March of 2010 here on the site!

It will not be your grandfather’s healing, or at least that’s the idea behind it. Since we’re still in an alpha phase, things will likely change. I personally hope they won’t. I revel in the idea of an active healer. I love the idea of being a hybrid and having to do different things in my role as a healer. I really think that it’s about time that something like this was brought into the world of warcraft as well, if for no other reason than the fact that other games are doing this as well.

T.E.R.A Online will promote active healing. Healing classes there will not just have to do multiple things besides healing in combat, they will actually have to actively target their spells for them to heal. No more just clicking an interface and a key, you will have to duck dive dip and dodge while healing, and target the right person too!  Healers in SWTOR will be healers with teeth, capable of not only healing those around them but fulfilling other roles as well. The Smuggler combat medic smacks of a billy bad-ass that runs around with wookies and will make sure you don’t die… for a price.

The point is, that the future of healing classes in games is moving away from the tried and true method of select unit frame, select spell, and to see the adoption of this in WoW in the next expansion speaks volumes to me of the IP’s survive-ability. The willingness to adapt to the market is important, and to me is exciting.

I play a healer in every game I play that allow it. I love healing, it is my passion in gaming outside of story. I’ve been healing a long time though, so anything that mixes up the normal click and click method of healing to me is exciting. Making me throw punches to charge up my healing? I’m OK with that. Making me have to run around and place my healing wards to actually heal things? I’m OK with that too. Don’t get me wrong, I love healing on my shaman, it’s always a lot of fun for me, but something like this has me seriously considering the possibility of switching to a monk to heal. It depends greatly on execution and how it feels being a healer in the expansion with the class, but I can honestly say I haven’t been this excited in a long time. I can certainly tell you that the vast majority of my play time when I get my beta access to MoP will be playing with the monk healing style to see how I like it.

So, what do you think? Does the idea of monk healing excite you? Do you think it’s silly and hate it? Do you bring PANDAMONIUM!?

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

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

SYTYCB: The Dark Side: Expansion Syndrome

SYTYCB: The Dark Side: Expansion Syndrome

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tulani-postThis is a SYTYCB submission from Tulani who made it into the top 7.

I remember back in September of last year, I was talking to a friend of mine. He had raided through Naxx pre-BC, and at the time resided in my hardcore progression guild. We were discussing the unnamed expansion, and he warned me of something that at the time, I didn’t – nay, couldn’t – believe, in my limited BC-only raiding experience. Now, however, it’s more than a reality; it’s an epidemic.

Expansionitus.

That’s right, I said it. I said what so many of us in our “expansion craze” refuse to acknowledge.

There is absolutely nothing that makes me want to scream more than pre-expansion lull. The length of time to get five people together increases to unbearable standards, and god forbid you try to slap a raid into a cohesive class balance. Recruitment slows to a crawl, and the only sign of life in your previously loudmouth guild is the discussion of what’s to come. Everyone turns to the future while shunning the present.

I’m talking to you. You, who’s read everything you can on the new expansion, and now you’re biding your time, leveling alts, and saving up your money, ready to sprint right up to the top all over again. In the meantime though, you’ve grown bored of this version, and you’ve started showing up less and less, and when you do, you couldn’t be more uninterested. And your attitude drags everyone else down with you.

Oh, you thought the quitters were the worst? No, it’s you – the player who’s far too lazy to put in the effort they did a few months ago, but still hang around anyway. You, the member who, had you acted like this before, would have been kicked without a second thought. These members litter raiding guilds as the expansion nears; as an officer, you won’t believe how infuriating it is to deal with the victims of this plague. Well, I’m here to administer the vaccine, and a swift kick to the behind:

Expansion isn’t for months. That’s months of new raids, months of new content, months of new kills.

Allow me to backtrack a second here: I am every bit as eager for a new haircut as the next girl, and there is nothing wrong with preparing and being excited. Expansion will surely be great, and with all the buzz, it doesn’t take an analyst to see how much it dwarfs what we currently play. However, I have goals which I need to see accomplished before I can enjoy something new.

My aspiration? To /dance on Kil’Jaeden’s corpse, plain and simple. I mean, it seems easy enough. You’d think with guilds who have cleared the majority of the game, the only way to go is forward, right? Wrong. Let me tell you my abbreviated story: the looming expansion has hit my guild smack in the face, right after we killed Mu’ru, the “hardest boss in the game.” And I’m not alone. I’m not the only guild experiencing the all-too-common symptoms: the sudden disappearances, the lack of concentration, the endless burnout… but one boss from the end? Your attitude, Mr. Waiting-For-Expansion, is a slap in the face not only to current members, but to everyone who’s given all they have to get us where we are today.

“But Lani, it’s all for nothing anyway. In a few short months, everything you do now won’t matter.”

Allow me to read this for what it really is: in a few months, all that nice gear, and your top dog reputation, will be insignificant, and you can’t handle that. Did you not join your guild saying that the joy is in the journey, not in the epics? It’s another reminder of how a lot of people lie on that question, and unfortunately, it’s those very people that see that the physical gain is going to be worthless, and they’re jumping ship quick. But me, I have a need to kill this big stinking Eredar, for pride, for completion. I don’t want to be “That Guild,” who we’ve all heard about when we’re clearing trash. The “yeah, we almost killed C’Thun, then Beta came out” guild.

We all know Expansionitus isn’t a real disease. It’s simply people who choose to lose sight of the world around them as they sit on their thumbs and wait for a new one. Maybe you’re already sneaking off from raids or your arena teams, or just showing up and watching some ESPN until it’s over. Maybe, like me listening to my guildmate long ago, you just don’t believe it. Wise up. If you want to have anything to come back to in Wrath, then when it comes time for your daily dose of raiding, do those 24 other people who rely on you a favor and pay attention.

So come on. This is the current game. Let’s finish it.

Wrath Content Patch Spells Doom for Raiding

Wrath Content Patch Spells Doom for Raiding

armageddon

This is a guest post by fellow guild and Enhancement Shaman all star Aylii who has become worried by the recent announcement of the pre-Wrath content patch and what it could mean to current end game raiding.

A few hours ago, Eyonix posted that the pre-Wrath content patch will be released in the coming weeks, which means that Wrath is just around the corner.

Like in the pre-Burning Crusade content patch, we will get to experience many of the new changes that will be coming to wrath a bit early, without needing the new expansion (Inscription to 375 anyone?). However, there is one flaw in the release that has me worried, and that is the new class spells and talents.

So far in Wrath, we as bloggers have read and kept track of the many changes to our respecting classes in the coming days. From the addition of many AOE healing spells, the change in mana regeneration and it’s respective talents, the warrior dreaming of duel wielding his two-handers, we have watched it all. There is one darkness that looms over all of these changes, and it mostly revolves around something many of us do casually or hardcore:

We love to raid.

Many class mechanics in Wrath were drastically changed to handle the encounters for the future. Crushing blows were removed. Intense need for mana regeneration destroyed. Changes in how we attack and defend. All of this tuned for Malygos and Arthas.

Yet it is released now, when we are still killing bosses who will preform crushing blows, still begging for blessing of salvation because we know we will pull, still chugging our mana potions. The sad thing is, there is most likely nothing we will do to stop it. For, after all, the pre-BC bosses were never changed, so why should the post-BC bosses be changed for wrath?

Crushing Blows

When I read about these changes, the first thing that popped into my mind was, “Gridlock is never going to get his Warglaive now.” The reasoning, Illidan will become undoable with the changes to talents. In the new content patch, Shield Block will be changed to a 40 second cooldown with Improved Shieldblock. Your Warrior will be crushed if he saves his shield blocks for shear. Sure, you can use a paladin to tank Illidan, but then the flame tanks will be crushed. I’d hate to imagine Sunwell guilds trying Brutallus now.

Threat

Every boss in BC is tuned to have threat control. In the content patch, we will be losing the main ways we reduce threat, Salvation and Tranquil Air. The talents will be still there, but until tanks (mostly warriors and druids) get some new gear from Northrend, they will not be able to keep up threat, unless they tank in Arena Gear. Goodbye Reliquary of Souls.

Itemization

So far I know of three classes (specs) who are getting major itemization changes: shaman, druid, and warrior. The smart enhancement shaman currently wears leather gear, which will leave them weaker after the patch due to the new stat bonuses they get (1 ap per str, agi, int). Similarly, protection warriors, who focus on block value and stamina, will be unable to keep threat because none of their gear has strength. Blizzard has stated that they will make the transistion easier for classes such as these, but gear only accounts for one of the problems.

These are the highlights of Eyonix’s post, but it is just that, highlights. There are other things in the content patch that we might see that can kill raiding, such as:

Potions

Potions. Potions. Potions.

We love them, we need them, we crave them. Soon we will be without them. Currently, in Wrath, if you drink a potion, you get potion sickness, which makes you unable to take another potion. Current bosses are tuned to make us chug mana pots, and even with three classes now supplying mana, I fear the changes will not be enough until we hit Wrath itemized gear.

Downranking

If the downranking nerf makes it into the content patch, kiss your healers goodbye. As I write this now, there is currently no alternative to healing people up besides using the max rank heal, which means more mana, which means out of mana healers who have to sit on their butts and watch their aggro loving dps and tanks die. I sincerely hope that Blizzard does not include this in the content patch, ot better yet, unnerf the nerf!
Whatever Blizzard does, I hope they do something about this. Myself, and many other raiders, still wish to raid before Wrath.

Source: Eyonix Post

Now it’s your turn. Do you think raiding will become even more difficult? Would this alarming change add even more pressure to your Guild to start knocking out bosses and seeing more of end game?

When OCD meets WotLK

When OCD meets WotLK

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Image courtesy of 78thelemen

I’ve read a lot of the posts on preparation for WotLK, and, probably because I’m a farm-a-holic, I still don’t think the topic has been overdone. For the casual player, an xpac is a time of new experiences. For the more hardcore, it’s an opportunity to Scattle out ahead… and experience them before anyone else.

First, you need to decide if you’re going to play the xpac. A whole new WoW opening could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for to ease back into real life.

If you are going to play WotLK, you need to decide to what extent. Are you looking to make a mad-dash to 80 with your guild to shoot for server (or world?) firsts? Or are you going to take a slower pace, either solo or with a few friends and enjoy the lore and depth-of-content? Are you going to play the same character you play now, or pick up a new one? What class? What race is best for that class, and what you want to do with it? Will it be your new main? Will you roll a Death Knight?

Honestly, if you’re planning to enjoy the content at a laid-back pace on your current character, there’s not a lot of prep-work you need to do. The idea behind preparing is to make the process of leveling and gearing up more efficient, and if efficiency doesn’t matter, neither does prepping. Personally, I’ll grind Wynthea to 80 as quickly as possible to be ready for end-game raiding, then back track later, when it’s less crowded, to enjoy the quests and content that I skimmed through.

I’d also like to have as few headaches as possible so I can focus on learning the new game mechanics, so my prep is a bit more elaborate than stockpiling mats. (Although there’s a lot of that going on, too.) Here’s my EXTREME to-do list:

Professions

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Image courtesy of iwanbeijes

First of all, when I joined my current guild, I came as part of a package deal. We were a Prot Warrior, Holy Priest, and Rogue. My compadres have since leveled and geared up a Hunter and a Mage. (Yes, I’m the slacker without an alt. But I rolled the perfect class on my first try, so there’s really not much incentive…especially since I’ve done it twice.)

So we have 5 ‘toons to work with. Here’s how we’ve got it worked out:

Warrior: Mining and Jewelcrafting. (Has literally EVERY pattern.)
Rogue: Herbalism and Elixir-Alchemist.
Hunter: Skinning and Leather Work
Mage: Tailoring (Scryer) and Enchanting
Priest: Tailoring (Aldor) and Herbalism (Herb is going bye-bye in favor of Inscription.)

We decided that Blacksmithing and Engineering didn’t provide enough benefit to us all as a group to justify picking them up, since most of the best goodies are specific to the person with the profession. The idea is that no matter what we need to improve our raiding abilities, we can have it made among ourselves – Gems, Enchants, Spellthreads, Armor Kits, and Consumables. This way, too, if there’s a specific older pattern we need, we can just farm for it rather than counting on finding someone via trade. The Mage is the newest 70, and we’ll be starting his Kara grind this week. We did manage to get Death Frost for him during the Summer Festival, and have made good progress on the arduous task of getting him Exalted with all the outlands factions. Since Blizzard decided to update the better AQ enchants for TBC, we didn’t want to assume they’d be available for WotLK mats.

Although we all raid and contribute heavily to our actual guild, we also have a personal alt-guild and bank set up. (We probably house the wealthiest lvl 1′s on our server) This way, we have the storage space for the mats to get the first few notches up in each of our professions. This means taking a look at whatever patterns are orange or yellow in your profession-window, and getting a good idea of what mats they use. Sure, with the xpac will come new mats and probably entry-level patterns, but getting a few bumps in from “old” outland mats will put you ahead of the curve as far as what materials you need to farm, and what patterns you can access in Northrend. Think about holding enough materials to get 10-15 ticks for your professions, including primals and other odds-and-ends. A few examples:

  • I have set aside 100 Netherweave cloth for each of our characters. Enough to make 50 Heavy Netherweave Bandages – so we can save “frostcloth” or whatever for the massive task of leveling two tailors.
  • I have set aside quite a few stacks of bolts of Netherweave and Imbued Netherweave to ease the first 10 or so ticks into tailoring.
  • Raw gems to cut, herbs, stacks of leather, ore for smelting, and basic enchanting mats set aside to level each of those professions. Blacksmiths and engineers would probably want to stock some ore as well, but wait to smelt at least some of it.

Even if your set-up isn’t so elaborate, decide what professions you want on what characters, and level them up now. Designate your gatherers and your crafters, and get them ready to tackle Northrend. Also, finish grinding rep that is required for pertinent profession-related items. Even now, some of the best items require old-world rep (Brilliant Mana Oil requires Friendly with Zandalar, for example.), and for at least the first several patches, Northrend will probably be the same. JC’s will likely still want lots of scale of the sand and consortium rep, Enchanters will want exalted with outlands factions, etc. It gets harder to grind rep for these things in the “old zone” so do it now! Besides, even if you change your mind about your professions later, rep is something that stays with your ‘toon. It’s kind of like saving your place with some hard-to-get patterns and recipies.

Gear

The tank and I have both stashed some decent gear for DPS grinding – I’ve read about the changes to gear coming up, but without knowing anything for sure, it just seems more prudent to be prepared with a second, specialized gearset. It’s nothing fancy; gear from badge-runs and farm content that would otherwise have been sharded. One thing I noticed about vintage gear was that even with the dramatic stats swell moving into Outlands from Azeroth, some things kept their value. Trinkets, especially, can hold up particularly well since they often grant percentages of stats and scale with the rest of your gear. If there’s a trinket or two that you think you may want, farm for it now. It’ll be much harder to get the runs you want when everyone is focused on new content. Even if you don’t PvP regularly, contemplate getting some gear with some stamina and resil for those packed starting zones on PvP servers. It’ll save you time and frustration – and it’s easy, since you can buy blues from Outlands factions that will have enough resil to make you less tempting.

Gold

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Image courtesy of designkryt 

This may be so obvious that I could skip it, but the single most helpful resource you can stockpile is cold, hard cash. Whatever Northrend holds, you can bet your sweet bippy that being able to buy gear, patterns, skills, and materials without difficulty will be handy. I don’t know if we’ll manage it, but I’d like to have about 10k per character. That’s in addition to each one having their epic flyer already. (The mage is the only one left without his.)

Real Life

Finally, in order to give yourself plenty of distraction-free WoW, look into taking some time off work. If the xpac hits in November or December, as has been suggested, those silly people with families and holiday obligations instead of video game addictions may have requested all the available time. Let your boss know now that you may need to take a few personal days. :)

Luv,
Wyn

edit: I always ask Matt to look over my posts before they go live – he’s the one that finds the great stock illustrations. Of course, he also likes to randomly bold things….

Let’s all give him a hug!