Why Emblem Changes are Great

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Let’s cut to the chase.

Badges of Heroism and Valor are going to be phased out. Every raid instance and 5 man dungeon is going to be dropping Conquest emblems.

I like this change from a raid leader perspective! Here’s why:

Raising the floor – The minimum standard is being raised. During Burning Crusade, many guilds were either starting on Karazhan, Gruul’s Lair or Magtheridon. Other guilds were wrapping up in Mount Hyjal, Black Temple and Sunwell. There weren’t a lot of guilds working on SSC and TK. But this change will help shrink the gear gap between upper end guilds and lower end guilds. The minimum gear standard is going to go up.

Less time spent gearing – Are you a skilled player? Your gear just doesn’t show it right? Good, then this is another change. I’ve met many “skilled” players who wanted to apply to Conquest. Unfortunately, their gear level did not meet the minimum requirements to enter Ulduar. I’ve had to turn them away. Now those same players can come back and reapply. Since gear won’t be as big of an issue, they can demonstrate their skills in a raid environment. The fact that gear sucks won’t be much of an excuse.

Reduces the links in the progression chain – Currently, the order of operations in which players go through to get loot is:

  • Heroics/Badge gear
  • Naxx/OS/VoA
  • Eye of Eternity
  • Ulduar

Similarly, let’s look at the projected badge drops.

  • Emblem of Heroism
  • Emblem of Valor
  • Emblem of Conquest
  • Emblem of Triumph

What’s essentially going to happen is that the game will be reset so that Conquest badges are going to be at the bottom of the ladder. Who knows what the Triumph gear will be. Right now it takes players a lot of time investment to work their way up from zero to hero.

People have a reason to do stuff again – Hard time finding healers for Naxx or DPS for an instance? Fear not. Trade chat will rev up again and you won’t have to spend hours trying to find a player to fill that spot. From my perspective, once my Priest hit a threshold in gear, I never went back to Naxx. The badges meant nothing to me. I didn’t need the items anymore. I had no reason to go back into Naxx. I know other players feel the same way. Why participate in an activity when there’s no reward for the time invested? Now there is. Conquest badges give players an incentive to head back in. That’s a bonus to everyone. Epic gems, right? With Triumph badges dropping from heroic daily quests, I think they’re going to raise the cost of new Triumph level items. I remember some of the stuff we got from Sunwell vendors. That was over 100 badges for several of the items.

Alts – This makes it really easy to gear up alts now. I’ve got a Ret Paladin and an Elemental Shaman that I like to mess around on from time to time. This will help hasten the rate at which I can join Ulduar pickup groups or other raiding alliances.

Yes, I am very much in favor of this change.

Chain Heal Rises as Circle of Healing Falls

Chain Heal Rises as Circle of Healing Falls

This is a guest post by Lodur, a blogger from Way of the Totem. Today, he examines the nerf to Circle of Healing, the impact it will have to Resto Shamans and how they may need to compensate.

The patch notes can be found here: PTR Patch Notes!

This is going to be important to us in several ways, not least of which is the change to some of the other classes. I’d like to offer my opinion on it. Let’s take a look at priests.

Holy: Circle of Healing now has a 6 second cooldown.

This is going to be extremely important to us. The fact that Circle of Healing is getting a 6 second cooldown is huge. My current experience with CoH raiding priests is they blow group healing out of the water. One of our Shadow priests rolled over to Holy to fill a gap for raiding in 25 man Naxx. With no gear change, he was able to blow past me in healing output while maintaining mana. Now I’m not suggesting that we need to be the kings of the roost, nor am I doubting the abilities of this priest, but it was a difference of almost half a million pure healing output over the next closest.

In a normal raid you would find a few percentage difference between the top 4 or 5. maybe 1-2% difference. Between healer in first and second was a whopping 6%. As someone who has poured over stats and combat logs after raids trying to figure out how to keep the tanks up while maintaining the raid’s health, let me tell you, that’s a lot. The higher the discrepancy between places, the more over-healing there is, the more mana issues during the actual encounter is, and so on.

This "nerf" to CoH to me, is an attempt to try to bring the spell back into line and make healing more consistent. I can’t say I didn’t see it coming, I do however think 6 seconds is going to be a bit much of a cooldownn, but only time will tell as the PTR is being run. I’ve been pestering my priests about it, so we’ll see what they say. In the meantime it means we should be preparing for another reliable group heal not being as powerful or present as it was before, we should be ready to pick up the slack so to speak.

I’ve gone on and on about the joys of haste, you can see it here For those that don’t remember there is a formula we follow to figure out the cast time of your spells and how it’s affected by haste. And look, here it is!

newcasttime

Importance of Haste Rating

If you want to spam your chain heals and heal a raid it’s time to start looking at your haste gear and to start looking at your glyphs.

First of all you should be shooting for somewhere near 350-400 haste. 340 haste with a Wrath of Air totem will net you a 2.2 second Chain Heal cast time.

Your goal should be around a 2.0s cast time on your chain heal.

This will allow for your Global Cool Down to be up but also allow you to keep a constant stream of CH casting. By using the formula above we see that 2.0 seconds = 820 haste rating, however one must take into account the haste around you in a raid. The trend of almost every raiding guild I’ve seen has been to include at least one Retribution Paladin, and lets face it, Balance Druids have come a long way since vanilla and have found their way into raids quite frequently.

I’m going to make the assumption that you’ll have at least a Ret Paladin. So we can assume you’ll have 350ish haste, Wrath of Air totem down and a Ret paladin, your chain heal will be 2.2 seconds. Not bad. If you snag yourself the all holy Egg (which currently does not have a cooldown on the proc) the proc will put you at a 1.9 second cast time. This is good as this thing procs off just about everything. You can see more about the egg proccing in my post here. Now the reason you want to shoot for a 2.0 second cast time is other haste effects. Heroism / Bloodlust give you 30% increase in your casting speed. If you push too much haste, when you use it you will push yourself past your global cooldown timer, causing you to trip over your heals and keeps you from being able to heal effectively.

Glyphs

To go with your haste gear you should also be looking at glyphs. If you are going to be raid healing I have three major suggestions.

  • Glyph of Water Mastery: Will help keep your mana supply coming in good order (30% counts for a lot more then you would normally assume),
  • Glyph of Chain Heal: Necessary. The extra target just makes the spell even more effective. This again allows it to claim the title as most mana efficient heal around.
  • Glyph of Earthliving Weapon This one is a must for a few reasons. First, the Earthliving Weapon ability can proc of any heal, and each target of Chain Heal counts towards it proccing. Second, is the fact that the egg procs off HoT ticks. So, with chain heal delivering Earth Living to everyone and ensuring you have 4 targets and more then likely a HoT up at all times, your egg should be giving you an almost constant 505 haste. Pushing you right at 1.9 – 1.8s chain heals constantly allowing you to keep that raid nice and topped off.

Mana Regen

Now I’m sure many of you are asking "but what about mana regen?"

MP5, the magic shaman stat, is still present. If you are collecting gear based on haste, much of it also comes with a healthy dose of MP5. With that said, it is well within reason to have around 350 haste while still being able to pull off close to 550 mp5 while in combat. Once you reach your haste number, start getting a few pieces with MP5 in spades and everything will be fine.

On the topic of MP5 we do have a change on the horizon that will help with this.

On the PTR currently we see these:

Healing Way: Now only one application is required to reach full benefit. No longer stacks.

Improved Water Shield: Lesser Healing Wave now has a reduced chance to trigger this talent WOOOOOO.

First, of all lets talk improved Water shield. On a crit of Lesser Healing Wave or Riptide It will consume a charge of water shield, giving you the mana return as if you were hit. This is fine and dandy but in the heat of a battle, there are times you won’t be able to give up the Global Cool Down to put it back up instead of healing. A reduction in the proc rate down from 100% is very very good as it allows the orbs to stay up giving use more passive mana regeneration, which will come out to more overall MP5 in the long run.

Second, the change to Healing Way means we only have to plop down one Healing Wave instead of the 3 we normally would have, which means we can conserve that mana and still get the full effect.

Front loading the effect was an amazing move on the part of Blizzard.

That’s it for my thoughts on this patch at this time. I’m currently waiting on a response from my priests as far as their input goes on the talent change, but in the meantime, be prepared to step up and fill the gap.

Happy healing!