It’s My Party and I’ll Spec How I Want To!

It’s My Party and I’ll Spec How I Want To!

brat

You’re the one who sits in front of your computer.  You’re the one who has to look at the back of your toon’s head all night (or day).  You’re the one who has to put the gold into gems, enchants, and glyphs.  You’re the one doing the necessary rep grinds.  Most importantly, you’re the one paying $15 each month to play the game you enjoy.

Hence, you’re entitled to play how you want to play, right?  Keep in mind that it doesn’t mean people are always going to want to play alongside you.  If you’re a chain-pulling DPS Death Knight, it might be tough for you to find dungeon groups.  If you’re a mage who is trying to mass-bandage people in battlegrounds instead of DPS, expect to get laughed at.  Most of us strive to play our characters in a way that helps and benefits a raid, battleground, or arena team.  We’re going to look at things from a raiding perspective.

If you’re an aspiring raider, two guys named “Min” and “Max” always come into the conversation pretty quickly.  Wikipedia describes this practice as:

…the practice of playing a role-playing game, wargame or video game with the intent of creating the “best” character by means of minimizing undesired or unimportant traits and maximizing desired ones.

Obviously, this doesn’t only have to do with spec, but also relates to gear, gems, enchants, and spell/skill rotation.  How beneficial is it to tweak all of these to get the most desired output from your character, whether it be healing, DPSing, tanking, etc?

PvP vs. PvE vs. Hybrid

If you really want to be effective in a raiding environment, leave your PvP spec, or your “hybrid” spec at the door.  Although it is perfectly viable to heal in a PvP spec (I usually do it after Wintergrasp), you’re lacking in true PvE potential if you’re not specced properly for raiding.  Taking talents such as Improved Ghost Wolf or Reflective Shield are not effective for raiding in the slightest.  The points you spend in talents like those are much more useful in talents that boost your raiding skills/spells.

Granted, you may be able to find yourself in a guild that doesn’t mind you being a hybrid spec.  Perfectly fine.  Just don’t be too upset if your raid spot is handed over to someone with a pure spec.  Keep in mind that the effort you don’t put into raiding has to be made up by the other raiders.  In effect, you run the risk of making their job harder.  It can be handled for a while, but there’s an often-reached breaking point.

Rusty Cookie Cutter

The term “cookie cutter” usually refers to a globally accepted spec to accomplish a certain job.  PlusHeal.com, TankSpot.com, OutDPS.com, and WoWWiki.com are all great places to get yourself a “cookie cutter” spec for whatever role you’re filling.

I usually reserve using a spec like those for when I’m first learning a new playstyle.  As a Discipline Priest, I’m not too familiar with Holy.  I lined myself up a “cookie cutter raid healing” spec, and learned the mechanics of that style that way.  The more I get comfortable with the abilities, buffs, debuffs, etc., the more I can tweak the spec to what I need, as well as what the raid needs.

If you’re joining up with a raiding guild that’s new to you, take a look at what kind of role you’re going to be filling.  If it’s foreign to you, start with a “cookie cutter” and go from there.

Juggling Stats

At a certain point in gearing, you reach a point where you can start adding on a certain stat over another.  For tanks, it’s the defense cap.  For DPS, it’s the hit cap. (Remember the expertise cap, too.)  For a healer, this point basically involves being able to keep your assignment up comfortably without running out of mana.  From there, you can stack:

  • Haste – Faster heals
  • Spellpower – Consistently bigger heals
  • Critical Strike – Chance for bigger heals / Chance for bonus procs
  • Mana/Mana Regen – Longevity

Each method serves a purpose.  Whichever path you choose, you essentially keep the minimum amount of everything else to function as a healer, and maximize what your goal is.  If you lose your ability to keep a target up or sustain mana in a fight, you’ve “min’d” too much.

The Good

If you min/max correctly for the role you’re filling, then you’re incredibly good at your job.  If you’re a tank-healing Discipline Priest in consistently short fights, and you gem into a higher Critical Strike Rating, then Inspiration and Divine Aegis are gonna stay up on the tank most of the time, making the other jobs easier.  If you’re a Resto Shaman healing the raid with a lot of AoE damage, and you gem for Haste, then you’ll be firing Chain Heals off like mad.

It also makes it easy to judge your gear upgrades.  You know what you’re aiming for, and you know what stats you don’t really need to focus on.  In fact, you may have some stats you may be able to start scaling back on to accomplish your goal.

The Bad

You go too far, and you lose versatility.  If you’re gemmed out for big heals, but don’t have longevity, you’ll be tapping out quickly.  If you’re stacking mana, but don’t have a lot of spellpower to back it up, you’re going to have a tough time lending a hand in short fights that pack a lot of punch.

A lot of us know the value of being able to think on your feet.  A good raider needs to be able to pick up the slack when someone goes down.  If you’re a one-note player, you’re going to have a tough time switching around.  A raid leader needs to fill specific roles in a raid, but he/she also needs people that can adapt if circumstances change.

Thes’s Solution

Staying within the role of your spec, do what you can to make yourself a well-rounded player.  As a Discipline Priest, my primary role is to keep the tanks alive.  However, if my target isn’t taking any damage, I’ll throw some HoTs and Flash Heals on the raid to help everyone else out.  It would be unwise of me to try to work my spec and gear to be a full-blown raid healer.  It’s a waste of my talents and spells, but that doesn’t mean I can’t help out when needed.

What do I do? I hit a point where I got comfortable with my mana pool and regen.  I could easily get through longer fights with my mana cooldowns (and keeping up my end of the healing).  I started swapping out my Brilliant King’s Amber gems for Luminous Ametrine gems.  This lets me keep my mana efficiency while upping the power of my heals.

If you need something more specialized for a long fight or for nuke heals, start building an alternate set of gear that’s more gemmed/enchanted for the task.  With all of the options for getting gear out there, it shouldn’t take that long to build a “special set”.  It’s an easy way to avoid being a one-trick pony.

Remember: Raiding is a team effort.  You have to put a lot into it if you want to get a lot out of it.  Cutting corners with spec/gear, or maxing TOO much of a certain stat can runs the risk of putting you on the standby list real fast.

ThespiusSig

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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

Restoration Shaman – Ulduar 10 Gear

Restoration Shaman – Ulduar 10 Gear

It was requested that I do a post highlighting the gear for the 10 man raiders, so here it is!

It’s often easily looked over when your focus is on 25 man raiding, but 10 mans are there and are a wonderful thing. They allow smaller guilds to still be able to see endgame content and to be honest some of the best loot comes from 10 man raids. Lets take a look at the toys a shaman has available to him running around in 10 man Ulduar!

Head - Couple good pieces for your head come from 10 man Uld First up is [Helm of Veiled Energies] (XT-002) Haste, Crit and good spellpower, can’t really go wrong there. Second choice is your tier piece [Valorous Worldbreaker Headpiece] (Mimron). Your tier pieces are always a good pick up

Neck[Pendant of Endless Despair] (General Vezax) is a good pickup Crit and MP5 will help keep those mana stores filled and it has decent spell power to boot. Another choice is [Pendant of the Shallow Grave] (Thorim) Haste, Crit and Spellpower as well as a yellow socket. Not bad at all.

Shoulders - Not much for us unless you have some odd obsession with spirit (let’s hope you don’t) so I would say just snag your [Valorous Worldbreaker Spaulders] (Thorim) and say thank you =D

Back -  Here we have three choices, two of which are zone wide drops from trash. First up is [Cloak of the Dormant Blaze] crit and MP5 make this an attractive pickup if you’re lucky enough to see it drop. [Drape of the Spellweaver] this one has Haste and Crit. It’s a bit more of a dps cloak but it’s still good for us. If you don’t want to wait for trash to drop it, you can take a gander at [Shawl of the Caretaker] (Ignis). Good stats, if you see it drop I suggest trying to snag it.

Chest – Obvious choice would be the tier 8 chest piece [Valorous Worldbreaker Tunic] (Yogg). If you’re find yourself with time before you get to yogg you can always opt for [Firestrider Chestguard] (Flame Leviathan). Haste and Crit, its a good pickup.

Waist - [Belt of the Iron Servant] (Iron Council) is a great belt from the 10 man. Great smattering of stats, good regen. Well worth the pickup. Another option if you have the cash to burn, you can pick up [Blue Belt of Chaos]. Crit and MP5 as well as two sockets make for a good belt. Toss a belt buckle on there and it’s even better.

Wrist[Armbraces of the Vibrant Flame] (Ignis) are BoE so you can probably snag them on the AH if you don’t see them drop. Another option is after you snag 60 Emblems of Valor to pick up [Pigmented Clan Bindings], they should last you a long while.

Legs[Ironscale Leggins] (Razorscale) has good MP5, a nice smattering of haste and some good spell power. Worth the pickup while you wait for [Valorous Worldbreaker Kilt] (Hodir)

Feet - [Greaves of the Earthbinder] (Thorim) are a good pickup. Crit and MP5 as well as a blue socket make these very nice.

Main Hand – First up is [Pulse Baton] (Mimron) A solid main hand weapon and well worth picking up. Less conventional options are [Stormtip] (IC) and [Plasma Foil] (XT-002) they pack good spell power with either Haste or Crit respectively. The only problem with them is that they pack spirit, which is wasted on a shaman. If these are going to be sharded or offer a significant boost in spell power and either crit or haste they are worth grabbing as a transition piece. But its something I would avoid if possible.

Offhand[Ice Layered Barrier] (Hodir hardmode) is a best in slot item for even heroic level. It’s a rock solid shield with great stats. If you can get this get it! Another very solid option is [Pulsing Spellshield] (XT-002) Crit and Haste help it be a very nice shaman shield.

Rings -  [Fire Orchid Signet] (Freya) is a great pick up. The ring has all the right stats and a socket to boot. Another good option is to get [Renewal of Life] (25 Emblem of Valor) with your badges. It’s a solid ring and will last you a while.

Trinkets – There are three trinkets from 10 man ulduar that are worth looking at. [Energy Siphon] (FL) has great MP5 and the on use effect is nothing to scoff at.  [Eye of the Broodmother] (Razor) 87 crit (almost 2%) combined with essentially a 125 sp boost makes this an amazing trinket to grab if you can. Last up is [Sif’s Rememberance] (Thorim) Good spell power and it gives you a chance to proc more MP5. If it drops there is no good reason not to take it.

Well thats it for today. Those are the items you can look forward to from Ulduar 10. They are really nice, and in serveral cases comparable to gear from Heroic Ulduar.

Until next time, Happy Healing.

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Are You Happy at the Threshold?

Are You Happy at the Threshold?

ha-gao

I’m going to let you guys in on a secret.

I’m not the best Priest in the world.

I’ve failed the ledge boss. I’ve died to the frogger boss. In fact, last Monday I got nailed by two back to back fire walls. The harshest critic anyone can have is themselves. The exasperation I could hear from my guildies that were not being transmitted over vent was nothing compared to the pissedoffedness I was feeling at myself.

More importantly, I am not the best geared Priest out there. I get a lot of observations about this from colleagues and readers.

“Why haven’t you gotten this item yet?”
”Why are you using this instead of that?”
”Have you thought about using that instead of what you have?”

It’s ironic isn’t it? Here I am with a blog where the mission statement is to make readers better players in every aspect possible with whatever advice and experience I can hand out. Yet getting the current best items in the game isn’t that big of a priority for me.

Because I’ve reached the threshold.

The Perfectionist

This is the player who sticks by enchanting and jewelcrafting to maximize their stats as much as possible. In fact, there are guilds who ask all of their guild members to exclusively use these two professions. I’ve noticed that these are the players who juggle a wide variety of variables in their head. An example would be a Paladin who would ask themselves if they want to pick up this helm for an MP5 set or a different helm for a crit set. This type of player isn’t satisfied with just being good enough. They will never be satisfied until they can excel in every area under their role. I’ve got tanks that have threat sets, stamina sets, and damage mitigation sets.

Same concept.

The Slacker

Not quite as worried about their loot. However, they do need to hit a threshold level of gear to be effective. The slackers are generally the healers. At the current level of raiding, there’s a point where your Spirit, your MP5, your spellpower and all those stats become useless. 1250 MP5 will be the same as 1245 MP5. 2500 spellpower is the same as 2490 spellpower. Once I hit the 220 spellpower mark, I started dishing out the passes to other healers who needed to augment themselves more.

There is nothing wrong with either of the two mindsets. I’d even go as far to say that a healthy guild will benefit by having both kinds because the perfectionist will never be satisfied and the slacker won’t raise hell because they’ve reached the threshold.

This reminds me of a discussion I have with my dad. We both like our dim sum. Specifically, we both like our ha gao. He refuses to eat at a cheaper Chinese restaurant if there’s something better nearby. There’s a decent Chinese restaurant on 1st (for the Vancouver guys, there’s a plaza there. It’s on the 2nd floor opposite the T&T). And it’s pretty good. It’s crazy packed. Huge wait list. But I’m happy with the food I get. So’s my aunt because she ends up paying 2 bucks a dish instead of 4 bucks a dish. My dad prefers the slightly more expensive Chinese places which offer the 4 dollar ha gao.

After sampling both, I say to my dad, “Dad, there’s virtually no difference between 2 dollar ha gao and 4 dollar ha gao. They taste the same.”

“No, it tastes better.”

“It’s the same amount of MSG and the shrimp comes from the same ocean.”

“Yeah, but it still tastes better.”

As you can see, some people just have to have the best stuff. Others are okay with the second best.

Ugh, and it’s 1:30 AM and I just made myself hungry. And just so I’m not the only one, I’m taking the rest of you down with me. If I’m hungry, I’m making the rest of you hungry!

xiu-mai

This is called Siu Mai (My spelling’s off, I know)

ha-jeong

This is called ha jeong (Shrimp wrapped in flat rice noodles)

matt-sig

Tier 7 Bonuses: A Guide to What’s Hot and What’s Not

Tier 7 Bonuses: A Guide to What’s Hot and What’s Not

tierpiece

Updates:: This is another classic example of me not fact checking my stuff. This post sat in my draft queue since early January. Other things came up and I set it aside for the time being. Patches 3.0.8 and 3.0.9 were released and I forgot that some changes were made. Resto Druids 2 piece, Feral Druid 2 piece notes have been changed. Stop’s opinions have been revised. I split the tanking and DPS feral druids accordingly instead of lumping them together. Added another Enhancement Shaman perspective. Sorry! :(

Tier pieces have a history of granting bonuses. Blizzard has an even more illustrious history of giving set bonuses that are really good and some that are really bad. I don’t know everything about every class. Yet, as a member of loot council, I should be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the various set pieces. Like it or not, set bonuses do tend to have an impact on decisions. One of the Resto Shamans in my guild was the first to get the 4 piece (because Archavon was kind and dropped 2 Resto pieces).

To help you understand and decide on your set pieces, I’ve consulted my guild and several other prominent bloggers and players in the community. I don’t know as much as I would like about other classes and it wouldn’t be fair for me to make any assumptions (without asking others about it first).

This post will be broken down into 4 different roles: Tanking, melee DPS, ranged DPS, and healers.

Tanking

Warriors

2 piece: Increases the damage of your Shield Slam by 10%. Rating: Good

4 piece: Increases the duration of your Shield Wall by 3 seconds. Rating: Moderate

Several of the tanking Warriors I consulted weren’t impressed with the Warrior 4 piece. Prot Warrior blogger Veneretio only had this to say:

"It’s a great bonus if the 4 pieces fall into your lap, but the current non-set itemization is so strong that you’ll be hard pressed to even get the 2 piece. Basically, it’s go for the 7.5 gloves and another set piece (like shoulders or chest).”

Druid

2 piece: Your Rip lasts for an additional 4 seconds, and your Lacerate deals an additional 5% damage. Rating: Good (for both)

4 piece: Increases the duration of Barkskin by 3 seconds. Tiger’s Fury cooldown reduced by 3 seconds. Rating: Good for tanks

I had to consult Feral Druid Karthis about this one.

His thoughts on the 2 piece:

“While extra damage is always nice, Lacerate doesn’t form a crucial part of a bear tank’s output – Maul and Mangle generally outperform it (although Mangle is close).  Since threat is a non-issue in the existing content, this set bonus is even further trivialized.”

On the 4 piece:

“This unassuming-sounding set bonus is actually fairly significant.  Barkskin reduces damage taken by 20% and usually lasts for 12s.  It is a spell that every tank should be re-casting as soon as it is off cooldown.  Boosting the uptime to 15s only improves an already must-use skill, and further reduces the total incoming damage that must be healed through.”

Paladin

2 piece: Increases the damage dealt by your Hammer of the Righteous by 10%. Rating: Good

4 piece: Increases the duration of your Divine Shield and Divine Protection by 3 seconds. Rating: Moderate

HoR is good AoE threat. 4 piece is irrelevant to raiding. (Thanks Myze!)

From what I’ve been told, the 2 piece is good. The 4 piece appears to be just average. The situation seems to be similar to the Warrior 4 piece. Divine Protection is probably going to get used more often in the same was Shield Wall would be. Thanks Anna!

Death Knight

2 piece: Increases the critical strike chance of your Plague Strike by 10%. Rating: Moderate

4 piece: Increases the duration of your Icebound Fortitude by 3 seconds. Rating: Good

When Stop speaks, I listen:

2 piece: It’s still not fantastic… at all. Plague Strike is one of our lowest-hitting abilities, and improving its crit chance is not as useful as if they’d increased its crit damage. Basically, the 2-piece bonus is not worth going for.

4 piece: About the tanking gear 4-piece bonus: If you have to have a set bonus, this would be the one to go for. However, I don’t know if I’d pass up other gear just to get it, depending on your playstyle. Icebound Fortitude is basically Barkskin, and with some specs being squishier than others, some use it constantly while some use it like a moderately less effective Shield Wall. If you use IBF every time it’s up, go for this bonus. Otherwise, consider it a nice perk for getting this already-nicely-statted tank gear.

Melee DPS

Warriors

2 piece: Increases the damage of your Slam by 10%. Rating: Good.

4 piece: Your Bleed periodic effects have a chance to make your next ability cost 5 less rage. Rating: Moderate

Not that hot. Most DPS Warriors don’t have as much rage issues from what I’m told. But the Slam bonus is very nice.

Rogues

2 piece: Increases the damage dealt by your Rupture by 10%. Rating: Good

4 piece: Reduces the Energy cost of your Combo moves by 5%. Rating: Ugh

“The two-piece bonus seems pretty useful but I’m unconvinced about the four-piece.” Seri, Snarkcraft

“Just that the two piece is a huge bonus for rogues while the four piece is lackluster considering the amount of energy used to perform the combo moves.” – Cassio

Druids

2 piece: Your Rip lasts for an additional 4 seconds, and your Lacerate deals an additional 5% damage. Rating: Good

4 piece: Increases the duration of Barkskin by 3 seconds. Tiger’s Fury cooldown reduced by 3 seconds. Rating: Not great for DPS kitties

2 piece notes: “This is an important set bonus for a feral cat’s long term sanity.  Kitty DPS is stressful – there are four separate buffs/debuffs that need to be monitored.  By increasing the duration of Rip, a Druid is allowed more wiggle room to keep the other three (Rake, Mangle, Savage Roar) all active, which leads to consistently higher DPS.  “

4 piece notes: “It reduces the Tiger’s Fury cooldown by 3s. While TF is used every 30s, the top theorycrafters say that this new bonus is almost meaningless, clocking in at an extra 0.7% dps. There are much better gear choices that provide a bigger DPS boost than that.” (Karthis’ notes in the comments)

Shamans

2 piece: Your Lightning Shield damage is increased by 10%. Rating: Not so good.

4 piece: Your Flurry effect provides an additional 5% melee haste. Rating: Good

Not the greatest. Most Shamans don’t appear to pick up the Static Shock talent. Water shield is primarily used since they go through mana quickly. The 4 piece is decent as it results in overall faster hits.

On the other hand:

It is actually fairly good, static shock is a must take ability for an enh shammy. When I look at my WWS, lightning shield represents about 6% of my total damage output. Since I am at about 4k DPS right now that means my lightning shield is doing about 240 DPS.

Paladins

2 piece: Increases the damage dealt by your Divine Storm by 10%. Rating: Good

4 piece: Reduces the cooldown of your Judgment of Light, Judgment of Wisdom and Judgment of Justice by 1 second. Rating: Good

An overall net increase in DPS. Your Ret Paladins will love it. From what I’ve been told, Ret Paladins have this in their rotation anyway.

Death Knight

2 piece: Increases the critical strike chance of your Obliterate and Scourge Strike abilities by 5%. Rating: Good.

4 piece: Your Obliterate and Scourge Strike generate an additional 10 Runic Power when used. Rating: Moderate

DPS 2 piece: The only people who won’t benefit from this are dual-wielders. Every two-handed build in common usage uses either Obliterate or Scourge Strike, so for much the same reason as how Heigan’s sigil is great for pretty much every two-hander-using DK, this set piece bonus is fantastic for them. I’m still trying to get a set piece just for this bonus, in fact!

DPS 4 piece: I have no idea what they were thinking with this. I think they would’ve done better to try to rip off another class’s bonus, like, say, warriors? No DK should be having problems generating runic power, two-handed or dual-wield, period. Plus, again, this is useless for dual-wielders – both of the DPS plate set bonuses are geared exclusively towards two-handed weapon users. All that aside – I would never gear for this set bonus specifically.

– Stoppable force.

Ranged DPS

Priests

2 piece: The mana cost of your Mind Blast is reduced by 10%. Rating: Good

4 piece: Your Shadow Word: Death has an additional 10% chance to critically strike. Rating: Not so good

From my Shadow Priests:

The 2 piece is nice but is purely for mana efficiency on Mind Blast and doesn’t really matter much if you have stacked Spirit and Crit like most Shadow Priests do. The 4 piece isn’t worth it because with itemization there are many pieces that add more DPS than the 10% critical chance to Shadow Word: Death.

Druid

2 piece: Your Insect Swarm deals an additional 10% damage. Rating: Good

4 piece: Your Wrath and Starfire spells gain an additional 5% critical strike chance. Rating: Good

Boomkin ones are awesome all the way around. Insect swarm should always be up and 5% extra crit on our two major nukes is flat out gibbering insane. – Llanion, Moooonfire

Shaman

2 piece: Your Lightning Bolt costs 5% less mana. Rating: Moderate

4 piece: The bonus critical strike damage of your Lava Burst is increased by 10%. Rating: Good

I play an Elemental Shaman in my off nights and I absolutely love it. I don’t have a ton of mana problems in the beginning. Fights are short enough that I won’t be taxing my mana pool. The 4 piece set bonus is great for me. Flame Shock guarantees that my next Lava Burst will crit. This means Lava Burst will get an increase of 10% damage no matter what. Normally I’ll do around 8000 damage per Lava Burst. This shoots it up to a little under 9000. Fights like Thaddius or Malygos where your damage gets increased will have Shamans see an extremely noticeable amount (18000 with Sparks)!

Mages

2 piece: You gain 40% more mana when you use a mana gem. In addition, using a mana gem grants you 225 spell power for 15 sec. Rating: Moderate

4 piece: Your offensive spells gain an additional 5% increased critical strike bonus damage. Rating: Good

I consulted one of my Mages on this and he tells me that the 2 piece is nice for the extra mana boost. The 4 piece could potentially equal a 1%-2% overall DPS increase.

Hunters

2 piece: Your pet deals an additional 5% damage. Rating: Good

4 piece: Your ranged attack speed is increased by 20% while Aspect of the Viper is active. Rating: Good

2 piece bonus is nice for any spec, but it’s particularly good for MM or SV looking to close the gap in pet damage. The 4 piece bonus is kind of a nice boost to DPS while in regen mode, but nothing earth shattering, looks like. – Lassirra, The Hunters Mark

Warlocks

2 piece: Your Corruption and Immolate periodic effects have a chance to increase the next critical strike chance of your next Shadow Bolt or Incinerate by 10%. Rating: Good

4 piece: Casting Life Tap grants you an additional 300 spirit for 10 seconds. Rating: Good

“2 piece bonus is really good. 4 piece bonus is- OMG WHY DON’T I ALREADY HAVE THIS?”  – nibuca

Note: Nib immediately dashed off and could not be reached for further comment.

Healers

Priests

2 piece: Your Prayer of Mending will jump an additional time. Rating: Good

4 piece: The cost of your Greater Heal is reduced by 5%. Rating: No, not really

Personally, I’d say go consult your WWS on this. Try to get a feel for how often you use Greater Heal and see if you can justify it. I don’t use Greater Heal as often. When you think about it, 5% off of Greater Heal is about 50 mana or so. I don’t use this spell enough to warrant the free payback. But if you do, then it is something for you to consider. Otherwise, go for 2 sets then defer the rest to the other classes (like Warlocks or Paladins). Obviously if the 7.5’s drop and you have nothing else better in the slots (like heroic gear), go ahead and take a stab at it.

Shaman

2 piece: Your Water Shield is 10% stronger (each tick restores 10% more mana). Rating: Good

4 piece: Increases the healing done by your Chain Heal and Healing Wave by 5%. Rating: Good

Earthshatter set bonuses for Resto Shaman are awesome! Because they buff Water Shield as well as Chain Heal and Healing Wave, they manage to suit most of the various healing styles that Resto Shaman can perform (Anna, Too Many Annas)

Druid

2 piece: The cost of your Rejuvenation Lifebloom is reduced by 5%. Rating: Good

4 piece: Your Nourish heals an additional 5% for each of your heal over time effects present on the target. Rating: Good

2 piece is solid. Rejuvenation Lifebloom gets used frequently. With the 4 piece, Nourish becomes even stronger for Resto Druids. At least, this is what Syd tells me. Can’t go wrong here!

Paladin

2 piece: Your Holy Shock gains an additional 10% chance to critically strike. Rating: Good

4 piece: The cost of your Holy Light is reduced by 5%. Rating: Good

"Neither bonus is play-changing in the way that old set bonuses have been (4pcT5, anyone?) but both 2pc and 4pc bonuses are nice boosts to our mana-intensive spells." – Siha, Banana Shoulders

Hopefully this summary will help you in your loot decisions! For the DKP players, maybe it’ll even save you some points for other items instead!

Image courtesy of riyono

6 Ways to Reject a Guild App Without Sounding Like an Angry Ex

6 Ways to Reject a Guild App Without Sounding Like an Angry Ex

In the spirit of the blogger’s challenge I laid out last Saturday, I felt it was only fair to come up with a post of a similar theme.

I issued a question to the Twitterati asking them this:

On what grounds have you had to turn away guild apps?

Of the multiple responses I received, I was able to consolidate the majority into 6 real reasons guilds reject players.

Some of these reasons sound eerily familiar. Probably because I’ve been on the receiving end of all of them at some point.

It’s not you. It’s me.

@greyseer Attitude does not align with core purpose or ideals

This is the one of the more often used rejection reasons. Sometimes a player just does not fit in with the rest of the guild for whatever reason. Player personality plays a strong role in the minds of most GMs. If a personality clashes, then the door is closed. Perhaps the applicant is simply too liberal in their use of language which makes players uncomfortable. Maybe they’re looking to do nothing but PvP in a progression raiding guild. Whatever it is, the applicant just doesn’t have a place in the guild’s grand scheme of things.

You’re not open with me enough.

@asara_dragon Poor command of language on application
@cuppy Didn’t follow app instructions
@misskeli Didn’t fill app at all

First impressions matter. When GM’s are exposed to you for the first time, your language use plays an integral part in how you virtually “look and sound”. Take the time to put in the periods and capitals. Run it through a spellcheck. Come across as professional and intelligent. The guild app is your way of “selling” and marketing yourself to the guild. Even if you’re the best player around on the server, a crappy application will stone your efforts. Prove yourself out of the game or else you might not get the chance to prove yourself in the game.

Even worse than leaving a bad first impression is not following the instructions. If an applicant can’t follow instructions on a simple post, who is to say they can follow instructions in raids?

I think we need to go on a break.

@sylus Reputation for guild hopping
@Nightravyn Known drama llama
@dadexter Known to rob guild banks

These types of players are lone wolves. They travel from guild to guild exhausting their resources until they are no longer welcome. Fortunately, the names of such players spread quickly and far via trade chat and forums. It’s advisable for guilds to maintain their own blacklist for players that their guild should stay away from.

I’m just not interested in you right now.

@Threon We’ve got 4 Resto Druids
@Narayu People that app that are classes we’re full on.

Even outstanding apps have to get rejected. There are only 25 positions available in a raid. Some players already have cemented positions and it is extremely difficult to dislodge such people. It all boils down to having no room. Barring some kind of emergency, full time players who raid are full time for a reason. Their attendance is virtually flawless. This reason for rejecting players becomes more apparent in progressed guilds. They just can’t fit any more players, classes or roles into their raids. I’ve had to release some people over the past few weeks because I knew they wanted to raid and it wasn’t fair for them to be kept on retainer. They deserved to raid. There is still time for them to look for other guilds to join.

I’m too busy focusing on life and my career to get involved.

@siha You can’t make our raid times
@crazeigh Attendance and availability

Players apply with intentions to raid. Some guilds are okay with a 50% attendance rate or what have you. Other guilds expect raiders to be able to go at it from start to finish. Obviously it is not possible to expect flawless attendance. From experience, I can say that guilds I’ve been in, there is an expectation that players show up to a set amount (as a minimum). Given the choice between two identically geared and skilled players, I will always start with the player that can go from start to finish as opposed to the one that has to leave every night right before Patchwerk. From a management perspective, it just makes sense. A player that can only be available for a small amount of time is not going to be able to serve the guild well in a raid capacity.

You can’t afford me.

@Kreeoni Gear is lacking

Older friends have told me that companies generally don’t care what type of degree I have. I was freaking out because I was second guessing my program choices for school. Kimbo, an officer, explained to me that companies only care that you have the piece of paper that says you’ve got your 4 years or 120 credits. Whether it’s Psychology, Criminology, Sociology or Business Administration isn’t as big of a factor (in most cases but I know someone’s going to say “but yes it plays a HUGE factor”.

Having the degree shows you have the discipline and perseverance to work your way through school.

That mentality has some merit here. I’ve always held the belief that gear and skill are equally important. I need the weapons and armor to do my job. But I need the knowledge and skills to use my gear effectively.

Having your Sons of Hodir enchants or your exalted Rep faction gear demonstrates that you put a lot of time and effort into your character. Having high end heroic blues or a smattering of epics shows that you’re willing to grind through to get what you want. Appropriate gems and enchants show that you know how to best augment your character (unlike that one Priest I saw with nothing but agility gems. Hmm!

Finally, with raiding instances set to go up in difficulty, it becomes clear that minimum throughput of DPS and healing are only going to go up. For example, the gear requirement for pre-nerf Sunwell was much higher than a fray into Gruul’s Lair of Magtheridon’s cavern. The entire raid has to reach a certain minimum baseline performance in order to kill a boss. Otherwise the enrage timer hits or healers run out of mana and it’s game over.

Why have you or your guild rejected applicants? Do you have any good (or sad) stories you like to share?

Image courtesy of nyuszika

Case Study: How Conquest’s Healers Were Recruited

Case Study: How Conquest’s Healers Were Recruited

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On Saturday, I wrote a brief highlight on how not to recruit healers. The actual post was written by Ess. Reader Spinks posted a comment wondering how I recruited my healers.

In truth, recruiting healers involved higher standards and scrutiny. This was only because I’m way more critical with healing. It’s difficult to explain. Maybe it’s because I know what I want in a healer.

I’ll start with the longest serving healers and work my way up.

Sthirteen

I’ve served with S13 in my last guild. He was there when we worked on Illidan and onto Kil’Jaden. Even though he’s only played for a little over a year, he’s come a long way from the Druid who played all the way up to level 10 without realizing he could equip gear. His signing was a no brainer. I’ve known him for many years and Resto Druids aren’t exactly a common commodity on my server.

Sydera

Syd was a transfer. She was one of the founding mothers of Conquest. If she hadn’t come to me, Conquest might have still been just a dream. Her case is a unique one. She was on a different server. There was no way I could gauge her play without directly observing. A lot of it was based on inference. It certainly helped that she turned out to be a great Druid blogger. Reading her posts showed me that she knew what she was doing even though I had no way of seeing it for myself. Her previous guild managed to kill Illidan prepatch which added extra credibility.

Kaldora

I didn’t know Kaldora that well. I’ve played with him several times in other raids. One day he decided to leave his previous guild and sign with Conquest for a more focused raiding experience. I knew from the times I’ve played with him before that he knew what he was doing. He took advice and critique really well. Quick learners is a big must for my healers.

Epiks

I don’t know what it is about Resto Shamans. But they’re always hyped up on something. Epiks actually came to me in trade chat. I didn’t know about him before so I had very little to go on. Like Kaldora, he wanted a change of scenery. I had nothing to go by other than his present gear and the reputation of his old guild. I knew how progressed his old guild was and I could tell by some of the 70 gear he still had Epiks was a part of the team that helped his old guild get to where they were before Wrath. That was a testament to his perseverance and his abilities. Even though those were all good marks, I still didn’t know enough about him as a player. A Naxxramas and Obsidian Sanctum run later, his position was virtually cemented in the ranks.

Krinan

I took a chance on her and she took a chance on my guild. Krinan’s journey into the guild revolved around Twitter (and she has a post up on that very subject). Her pickup was a great risk moreso for her then myself. She was willing to take a chance on an unproven guild with an unproven GM. In most cases, that would have been a recipe for disaster. I’m proud to say she’s still in after 4 months. I think what did it for me was her willingness to give this organization a chance and her ability to learn quickly.

Notice that gear didn’t play a significant factor in the signings of these players. In Epiks’ case, his 70 epics from BT and the like demonstrated to me that he could hold his own. But not a single one of these players entered the guild and leveled to 80 with more then a handful of blues and greens.

These are players I know and count on to hold down the fort and they’ve done an admirable job of doing it.

photo © David Martín :: Suki_ :: for openphoto.net CC:Attribution-ShareAlike

Resto Shaman: Best in Slot

Resto Shaman: Best in Slot

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Lodur here again, this time I’d like to talk a bit about the Restoration Shaman’s Best in Slot items. Syd’s post from the other day got me thinking that it would be good to toss this up for everyone to peruse. For those of you who don’t visit Plusheal often or at all there was a great thread and discussion over there in the shaman section based on the Best in Slot premise. I’d like to thank BeefyBuffalo for starting a great thread there, as well as all the theory crafters who contribute there regularly. This loot selection will most certainly change once Ulduar comes out but this is my best shot at putting it together for the available content. This list also in many places gives alternatives for preference gearing (crit or haste).

Head:

[Valorous Earthshatter Headpiece] (Kel’thuzad-25)

This offers a great set of of stats for us high INT and a good amount of MP5 and Spell Power. It also features Haste over crit as well as having two sockets for gemming.

[Helm of Pilgrimage] (Heigan -25)

This helm has slightly more MP5 then the Earthshatter as well as slightly higher Spell Power, but at the cost of both sockets. In place of haste it features a good chunk of Crit (almost 2%)

Comparable to the two is [Helm of Unleased Energy] (Gothik-25)

Neck:

[Life-Binder’s Locket](Malygos key quest) or  [Chains of Adoration] (several boss in Naxx-25)

The Life Binder’s is a better overall piece but you’ll probably see chains before the locket.

Shoulders:

[Valorous Earthshatter Spaulders](Loatheb-25 or 60x Emblems of Valor) or [Council Chamber Epaulets] (Sartharion-25)

Again it’s a crit vs haste itemization here. I put Valorous higher on the list for two reasons. You can get it for badges which makes it easy to obtain and it puts you closer to the full set bonuses.

Back:

[Pennant Cloak](Sartharion-25), or [Cloak of the Dying](Kel’thudzad-10)

For this I personally prefer the Pennant cloak. Good stats and it has both crit and haste. I know it doesn’t have MP5 but it does have a socket which is very nice.

Chest:

[Tunic of the Artifact Guardian](Malygos-25) or [Valorous Earthshatter Tunic](Four Horsemen-25)

Again the Earthshatter tunic is nice if you’re still working towards your 2 piece or 4 piece bonuses but my honest suggestion would be go after the other slots (legs, gloves, shoulders and helm) and try to grab yourself the Artifact Guardian chest. It’s an awesome chest piece with a goodly amount of crit and a nice chunk of spell power. You lose a socket compared to Valorous but what you gain from this chest piece is just too good to pass up in my opinion.

Wrist:

[Bindings of the Decrepit](Heigan-25) or [Cuffs of the Shadow Ascendant](60 x Emblem of Valor) Identical

Pretty straightforward here, same item, two different ways to get it. Simply best bracers you can get.

Hands:

[Winter Spectacle Gloves](Malygos-25) or [Bountiful Gauntlets](Sartharion-25) or [Valorous Earthshatter Handguards] (Sartharion-25)

These are all good options each has great stats and looks pretty slick too. My personal suggestion again though is if you don’t have your set bonuses or are working towards the 4 piece, go for the Valorous

Waist:

[Sash of the Parlor](cloth from Anub’rekhan-25) or [Girdle of the Gambit](Patchwork-25)

While the cloth belt is viable, I personally prefer the Girdle of the Gambit. Toss a belt buckle on it and march that thing around!

Legs:

[Valorous Earthshatter Legguards] (Thaddius-25) or [Legguards of the Undisdurbed] (Noth-25)

Again both are good, but I personally prefer the Valorous leggings.

Feet:

[Sabatons of Firmament](Sartharion) or [Atonement Greaves](Faerlina -25)

Here I prefer the Atonement Greaves. Slightly better stats and a good dose of haste with a bit more MP5. Again though this selection boils down to preference of Crit or Haste.

Finger:

[Signet of Manifested Pain](Kel’thuzad-25) or [Seized Beauty](Faerlina-25) or [Ring of Decaying Beauty] (Sapphiron-25) or [Wyrmrest Band] (Sartharion-25)

This again is largely a matter of choice, these are just the best options available. Personally I prefer a combination of Decaying Beauty and Wyrmrest Band.

Main Hand:

[Torch of Holy Fire] (Kel’thudzad-25) or [Hammer of the Astral Plane](Kel’thudzad-10) or [Wraith Strike](Maexxna-25)

Yeap that’s right, a spell power fist weapon! It’s really a great 1 hander well worth picking up if you see it drop. Baring the fist weapon dropping, holding out for Kel’s Torch isn’t a bad idea. It gives us a ton of stats we love and well… it looks pretty cool too!.

Off-hand:

[Voice of Reason](Kel’thudzad-25) or [Shield of Assimilation] (Anub’rikhan-25)

My preference here is for the Shield of Assimilation. To me the MP5 on it makes it a bit more enticing for a Resto Sham.

Relic:

[Totem of Forest Growth](15 Emblem of Heroism) or [Totem of the Bay] (30 Venture Coins- Grizzly Hills)

Not a lot of choices at 80, but I think Forest Growth should be the first badge item you buy. It’s a cheap and effective item that will carry you well throughout current content.

Trinkets:

[Illustration of the Dragon Soul] (Sartharion-25) or [Je’Tze’s Bell] (BoE World Drop) or [Soul of the Dead] (Sapphiron-25) or [Mercurial Alchemist Stone] (Crafted) or [Living Ice Crystals] (Malygos-25)

These represent the crème de le crème of trinkets for us in my opinion. Personally I favor The Bell combined with Crystals. The MP5 Combined with another instant heal makes it a beefed up [Vial of the Sunwell] !

Set Bonuses:

Your Tier 7 bonuses for both 2 piece and 4 piece are extremely nice. 2 Piece nets you Water Shield Boost: your Water Shield is 10% stronger. This means that your passive MP5 from water shield, as well as your mana returned per charge consumed is increased. Lets face it, more mana is never a bad thing right? 4 piece allows for Spirit Link Chain Heal which means the healing done by your Chain Heal and Healing Wave is increased by 5%. That’s most definitely a good thing. I mean, when was more healing ever bad? More mana + more healing output = great set bonus.


Final Thoughts:

Keep in mind that your T7 gear is the equivalent of T4 back in Burning Crusade, so if you don’t get everything on your list don’t panic. There will be upgrades coming in the next content patch besides tier loot, of that I am certain. Also remember these represent my opinions, feel free to create your own wish lists or checklist of items you are looking for.

If you have something on your wish list that you want to share, please feel free!

Till next time, Happy Healing.

~Lodur

Image courtesy of dallasvintageshop.com

Best in Slot for Resto Druid

Best in Slot for Resto Druid

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Note:This article is now out-of-date. It does not take into account new items from 3.1 or the 3.1 changes to mana regen or Restoration druid abilities. (edited 3/8/09)

I see the question of what items are actually best-in-slot for one class or another come up time and again on forums and blogs alike. These lists can come in pretty handy. Of course, at the current difficulty of content, you don’t really need your best-in-slot, but without something to strive for, where would we be?

I have worked to keep this list mostly leather, but where there’s a cloth contender I’ve tried to mention it as well. My criteria of judgment are purely the relative stats of the item. The item level serves me as a guide, but is never a consideration in its own right.

Head

Valorous Dreamwalker Headpiece, from Kel’Thuzad 25

This helm, featuring both Spirit and Mp5, is most certainly the best piece in our tier set–it’s a shame, though, that there are other good headpieces as well.

Hood of Rationality, from Malygos 25

If your loot rules allow you to pick up some cloth, here’s a piece to consider.

Headpiece of Reconciliation, from Sartharion 25, 2 Drakes

This should be our best-in-slot, but right now it isn’t. It’s a level 226 item, but the stats don’t match expectations. It could be corrected in the future, but I’m not holding my breath.

Neck

Necklace of the Glittering Chamber, from Malygos 10

Shoulder

Spaulders of Catatonia, from Malygos 25

These shoulders have the best stats, but be careful. If Nourish is in your rotation at all, you will want to keep your 4 pc bonus. If not, have at it with the non-set pieces.

Valorous Dreamwalker Spaulders, from Loatheb 25

This item is well-balanced and very useful for filling out the set bonus. However, it’s clearly inferior to the Spaulders of Catatonia.

Cloak

Cape of the Unworthy Wizard, from Kel’Thuzad 25

There’s no argument here. This cloak is far out ahead of its competitors, a must-have if you can get it.

Chest

Valorous Dreamwalker Robe, from 4 Horsemen 25

I’m a big advocate of wearing leather while I can, and this item is quite good. I also like my set bonuses, even though I don’t get much out of the boost to Nourish.

Blanketing Robes of Snow, from Malygos 25

If your guild gets enough of these to outfit the priests, by all means, add this to your set.

Bracers

Unsullied Cuffs, from Sartharion 2D

These may be cloth, but they are my runaway favorite, much better than our leather options.

Bands of the Great Tree, From Emblems of Valor

These bracers are probably the best in leather, but they are not significantly different from the more easily accessible Swarm Bindings, from Anub’Rekan 25. I wouldn’t spend the emblems for them myself.

Hands

Valorous Dreamwalker Handguards, Sartharion 25

There’s no contest here. This is a nice, balanced item that will help you get your bonuses.

Waist

Unravelling Strands of Sanity, from Malygos 25

I was very lucky to pick up this little beauty on our second Malygos kill. There’s no doubt about it–this belt is by far the best.

Legs

Valorous Dreamwalker Leggings, from Thaddius 25

Once again, the tier piece isn’t strictly ideal in terms of stats, but that has more to do with it being introductory gear than with it being the “wrong” piece to wear. I use these quite happily.

Leggings of Mortal Arrogance from Kel’Thuzad 25.

I like the stat allocation pretty well on these leggings. They’re better for priests than druids, though, and you should by all means let your clothies–maybe even dps–have them first.

Feet

Rainey’s Chewed Boots

Get these boots with your Emblems of Valor and never worry about it again. They are the runaway winner in this category.

Fingers

Lost Jewel, Naxx 25 shared loot

The Spirit makes this item a good bet. I’m personally going for Spirit on both rings, but your budget may vary.

Band of Channeled Magic, Emblems of Valor

This item gets points for spirit and accessibility. A must-have.

Arguably, the real best in slot is the Loop of the Kirin Tor, but I’m never going to have 8,000g for a marginal upgrade.

Trinkets

Je’Tze’s Bell, BoE world drop

I love everything about this item except its price. I saw one last night on Ner’zhul that had bid up to 5,000. I don’t have that much total gold across all my toons. Here’s hoping I get lucky with a trash drop.

Forethought Talisman, Naxx 25 shared loot.

This one packs a huge spellpower punch, and the proc, while lackluster, will give me an extra 3,000 or so effective heals per fight.

As for other trinkets–the Spirit-World Glass is something I really want to pick up for myself just in case changes are made to mana regen. I like the idea of the Illustration of the Dragon Soul and the Majestic Dragon Figurine, though there’s probably a bit of a learning curve to keeping the effect up as much as possible.

Weapon

Torch of Holy Fire, Kel’Thuzad 25

This one is a no-brainer, but good luck getting it. This is a very hot ticket item in almost every guild.

Off Hand

Matriarch’s Spawn, Maexxna.

Idol

Idol of Lush Moss, Emblems of Valor

There’s no real choice here. Lifebloom may be nerfed, but we still need it.

Set Bonuses

Make sure that you get your 2 pc T7.5 set bonus. You will continue to depend on your Lifebloom, particularly if you ever heal tanks. 4 pc T7 gives enough of a bonus to Nourish to make it your most efficient heal on a target who already has all your other hots, i.e., a tank. However, the 4 pc isn’t strictly necessary. You have plenty of mana regen for this level, and a less efficient Nourish won’t hurt at all. Efficiency will only be in play in a harder dungeon (Ulduar) or if the mana regen formula should be changed. If it’s only a factor in Ulduar, you probably won’t hang onto 4pc T7 for long anyway–you’ll be replacing it with T8.

Final Note: Introductory Gear

Remember, no matter how good your T7 gear is, we’re still in the first tier of Wrath content. If you look over the Resto druid items, there are many items with “wasted” stats like crit and haste. Don’t pull your leaves out over it. At this point, there are no real best in slots. Je’Tze’s Bell comes the closest, but even that may be replaced in Ulduar. I’m hoping that when we do start getting some T8 upgrades, the stats actually come closer to ideal.

6 Influential Factors in Loot Council Decisions

6 Influential Factors in Loot Council Decisions

This is a behind the scenes look on the Conquest forums detailing loot factors that are taken into account during loot council disputes. Some readers expressed interest in learning more about the specifics and here they are.

Loot is the single biggest headache involved with raiding. If you are a person that values yourself over the guild, then you want to reassess why you are in this guild, or why you want to join this guild. Ask yourself “do I want gear to raid or do I want to raid for gear?” Hopefully, you are a person who will choose the first option. If all you want is to raid for gear, then Conquest is probably not for you.

Nothing can avoid disagreements over gear. The Loot Council itself has an odd number of members specifically to avoid a deadlock on a piece of gear. Please keep in mind; we will do it as fairly as possible. If you felt you were treated unfairly and made a mistake, place yourself in an officer’s position and look at it from that angle.

If you still feel we error, please get in touch with Mallet and discuss it with him. Unfortunately, we cannot reverse decisions unless the item was erroneously awarded (as in mislooted, which can only be fixed via tickets). But your thoughts will be taken into account for the future.

How to express interest

Say Interested – If the item is a significant upgrade for you in your current spec and role. Best in slot also applies.
Say Pass – If the item is a minor upgrade or you’d like it for an off spec.
Say nothing – If you have zero interest at all in the item.

A countdown will be applied. At the end of it, there will be a dash (-). Interest expressed well after the dash will not be factored into account (unless there was no one interested at all during the countdown).

Note: If you equip a green to ninja gear and attempt to influence the council, you will be gkicked.

The gear reward process

5 members consists of the Loot Council. They each have their own individual personality and are 5 different players. Each council member has 1 vote used to decide who receives an item if there are multiple players interested in an item.

6 Influential factors

Current rank and position: Initiates and Subs will not get loot assigned to them if there are members in the raid with Raider status that has interest. This is to prevent people from joining, getting a few pieces of loot, and then leaving. It is basically a form of DKP. It forces people to have a vested interest in the guild to receive gear. This may be overlooked based on performance, attendance, or the amount of loot already received during that raid. To attain Raider status a person must be a member for a few weeks and attended (or been on vent and available) a minimum of three raids per week.

Attendance: Raid attendance is extremely important. If players aren’t here to raid, they’re not going to be able to contribute. Remember that loot drops will be awarded in order to be as effective as possible. This means there is a higher chance that a player who attends 3-5 times a week will get an item over a player who only shows up once a week.

Effectiveness: Is it effective for the guild as a whole? Will you be able to utilize it and ensure that it does not become useless? We want to ensure that items aren’t going to be wasted by being awarded to alts or off specs unless there is no main interest. Paladins looking to obtain DPS Plate gear aren’t going to get it if they’re in raids to heal. It does not maximize the effectiveness of the item if it is not being used.

Current items: A player still wearing Heroic or Normal Naxx level gear is going to have a higher chance of being awarded an item. Keep in mind that this will not always be the case. In certain situations, while the item in question may be a larger upgrade for a newer player, it could be awarded to a veteran player who has been in there for weeks or months on end trying to get the item.

Equal distribution: Loot will be distributed as equally as possible to the appropriate classes that need them (at least, we’ll attempt to). It is unlikely for players to receive more than one item from a boss. But it is entirely possible for players to receive multiple items in one run. We cannot control what items a boss drops. The last thing we want to do is shard a piece.

Set bonuses: With certain classes, some T7.5 bonuses are just plain awesome to have. If you have an odd number of set pieces (like 1 or 3 set pieces), we want nothing more than to help activate them.

Self improvement and teamwork

The main tanks in the guild are able to talk amongst themselves and figure out who needs upgrades over the other first. They do this purely through communication and cooperation by figuring out their weaknesses and identifying the items that benefit them the most. When tank items drop, they are able to compromise.

I encourage other players to do the same with the other classes or other players wearing similar armor types. As an example, I try to work with the other Priest and clothies to see who can benefit more.

90% of loot drops is handled informally among our members. They all take turns passing and are aware who can benefit items the most. It’s the 10% where loot council has to step in and make a decision. The trend here is that it ends up mostly being trinkets, rings, or weapons.

* Note: Anyone is free to take this post and modify or use accordingly for their own guild. Yes, you have permission. Don’t have to email and ask.