Can Your Raid do More With Less?

Can Your Raid do More With Less?

Its a dark and stormy Monday night. Rain drops are slowly streaming down my face as I wearily walk through the door. I kick off my shoes and my feet are practically screaming in glee after escaping the cold, damp prisons of my New Balance sneakers. I hustle straight to my computer and flip the switch on. As the machine slowly spins to life, I change into something drier and comfortable.

“Gentlemen.” I spoke after joining our guild voice server, “How are we looking tonight?”

I received a chorus of acknowledgements ranging from “Good, what are we doing?” to “Your mom”. Just another day in Matt’s guild.

Once I logged into a game, I noticed of activity in officer chat. During the minutes that lead up to the first pull, we’re constantly assessing our roster and determining what bosses to aim for. One of the initial steps is to see what our attendance is like. There are times where there are some last minute player signouts or late notices. I got my raid invite and took a mental stock of our roster.

23 raiders with no other players in sight. It was about time for first pull. Some were starting to wonder if we would go since we didn’t have a full raid. The only boss remaining was Lich King. We wanted more weapons.

“We have the tanks to do this.” My tanking officer reported.

“More than enough stuns and slows for valks. Good to go.” Confirmed the raid leader. “Matt, healing?”

I quickly assessed my healers. There were five of us. We normally took six. I felt we could operate with less but I’ve always preferred the extra safety net when we were short bodies. It was time to get out of the comfort zone and see what the healing unit was capable of.

“It might be choppy. Being down two isn’t going to help. I think we can pull it off.” I responded with confidence.

Pushing the limit

I’ve always wondered what the minimum number of players for taking down Lich King would be. Could he be taken down with 24? With 22? How about at 80% capacity with 20? There was only one way to find out. You’re not going to know what your raid capacity is going to be unless you actually try it. Its good to stress test the raiders in shorthanded situations because you never know when it’ll happen during future raids. Someone might disconnect early on an attempt or die halfway through it.

Can your raid adjust to that sort of temporary setback?

Raid potential

raid-potential

While it is somewhat simple to quantify exactly how much DPS or healing is needed to successfully get through an encounter, there are other factors which you can’t really put a number on. Things like raid intelligence, awareness, and skills are all variables that determine whether your raid has the that mentality to gut through an encounter.

I’ve been surprised before in the past. When I think the raid group is lacking in certain roles or DPS and we go out and take down a boss, a little part of me inside cheers. The inverse also holds true. On moments where we wipe when I felt certain that we had the kill in the bag, I experience that sinking feeling in my stomach wondering what went wrong.

You’re never going to know what your raid can do unless you go out and try it. Obviously if raid potential is far below whatever the raid requirements might be, then the unpopular decision of calling it an early night might be the better course of action. When raiding short handed, the performance of everyone else needs to go up in order to compensate for the lack of players.

Unfortunately, we found out after a while what our limit was. Turns out if a player is lagging out, they’ll always get targeted with a Defile. On a side note, it seems that healers seem to respond to the instinctive need to keep healing. What else is a healer supposed to do with player who has lagged out in the middle of a Defile?

(Hint: The answer isn’t to keep healing him)

Alas, with multiple disconnected players the executive decision was made to call it an early night. Better luck next week.

Have you ever been in a raid where you were astonished at what the group could do because of class composition or lack of numbers? Was there any creative strategy used to get around the problems?

Kingslayers? That’s Unpossible!

Kingslayers? That’s Unpossible!

I was originally going to regal you with the wild tales of my misadventures through the LFD tool, but instead I am consumed by a  need to share my overwhelming pride.

Tuesday June 8th at near 10:20pm est, Unpossible downed The Lich King in 25 player mode. Normally I wouldn’t bother posting something like this as I don’t want to be seen as a braggart, but I am proud of my guild for sticking to it and getting this done. Over the last few months we’ve been combating burnout, illness, freak weather and buggy encounters. It seems to always be the way, we make incredible progress and then Murphy rears his ugly head and we get stymied by random occurrences.

I will say this was one of the more exhilarating kills we’ve had. Wed the week prior we broke early to attempt to buy Blizzcon tickets as a guild, we decided it would be nice to let everyone enjoy the weekend and focus on getting to the convention. On Monday we dove back into ICC and went hell for broke for The Lich King. As we were handling defiles and valks something just clicked. Vent got quiet and everyone was moving in unison. These are what I like to call moments of raiding clarity. This is where everyone is doing everything perfect and the boss abilities are right on time. It is almost like participating in a choreographed dance. It was just as if suddenly everyone got the fight. We made great progress and were consistently pushing into phase 3. Midnight bells tolled and we called it a night, but before we did officers agreed with spirits so high and considering the progress we made that we needed to extend the lockout, get the same raid group in ICC and take the bastard down. Who needed more shards? Badges? Pfft! A dead Lich King is all we wanted. And when the announcement went out over ventrillo you could hear people becoming excited.

So when Tuesday came, we headed in and on our first pull that same magic was there. pushed into phase 3, and we wiped because we weren’t expecting to get there on the first pull. So we head back in our confidences high, and pull again. This time his health gets even lower, we wipe to something stupid, but spirits are still high. We go again and again, each time chipping away at that total health. After a 10 minute break around 10 we come back in, buff up and pull. We get to phase 3, everyone alive and we’re going strong. We’re kiting the spirits, and moving from defiles with expert reflexes, I get picked as the second person to go into Frostmourne and I heal the shit out of Terenas Menethil, I get dumped back to reality and we keep going. His health is dropping lower and lower. The other resto shaman gets picked for Harvest Soul, something unknown happens and he dies. LK enrages and everyone gets tense. Our main tank Woe pops his cooldowns as healers bridged the gap to him and the big heals started raining in. Suddenly he gets smacked hard and goes down. LK is at 14% with a few key people down (healers and high dps) everyone sighs, a wipe is almost called but instead Woe calls out for our OT Theonius to grab the LK fast. He charges over, grabs him, healers switch targets immediately and everyone unloads. Remaining healers go all out balls-to-the-wall with every cooldown and bit of mana they have to throw behind healing. LK at 12%, vent gets quiet again except for the calls from the raid leaders giving terse directions “heal x, move right” LK at 10.5%. Everyone is holding their breath and then you hear the call “Take this bitch down!” LK 10%, he wipes the raid and everyone cheers on vent, a reminder is sent out not to release and we all are whooping and hollering at the top of our lungs. Our mass res comes and we pop yet another heroism for good measure and unload, our achievements pop up and at that moment I could actually hear all remaining tension and burnout leave. A burden lifted from everyone’s shoulders and fresh energy flowing into the raiders.

An early end to a raiding night, and week, but one well deserved. So as of Tuesday we finally start our hard modes. There is palpable excitement as everyone is getting ready and anticipation is high. After all the random things that have gone wrong along the way, I can honestly say this was one well deserved kill for Unpossible. I’d like to thank each and everyone of my guild-mates, officers and everyone in between for continuing to work so hard and to persevere though so much. We’ve been around for a long time, and we have no intention on stopping! We have our eye on you Deathwing, and we must break you!

We all have our obstacles in game. Raid attendance, pushing the DPS envelope, getting that computer to stop dropping you from raid, getting the last shot in to topple that boss at 1% or even overcoming personal and health related issues to play a game you enjoy with people you call friends. Everyone’s journey is different, but when you get to your goal there is no sweeter victory.

With that in mind I’d also like to make a shout-out to Spellbrood. We heard that you have a lot on your plate and we here at World of Matticus want to wish you well in your journeys. Remember, no obstacle is too great when you have good friends to help share the burdens and the good times!

So that’s it for this today, hope you guys enjoyed my little story there, I know my heart started pounding again as I began to recall the events.

Also, Unpossible is hiring! We’re looking for geared and intelligent DPS looking for a fun but dedicated raiding home. Sorry folks we are full up on Death Knights and Priests, but everyone else is welcome to apply. If you’re interested stop by here and take a look at our application process!

Herding Kingslayers

Herding Kingslayers

HerdingKingslayers

I regret to announce that my planned post for today has to be put back to a later date.

Why?

Herding Cats and friends downed Lich King 10 last night. OK, the post title was a bit of a giveaway.

Excuse me a second.

w0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000t!

 

I’m really happy. And really proud of my group. And really excited that we got it. And really, that’s a lot of reallys. Why? Well, any guild leader or raid leader is proud when their group achieves what they set out to do. But I’m particularly fond of my group and I hope you don’t mind me rambling like a proud parent today but it’s true: we’re not your Usual Suspects, and it goes to prove that you can achieve it no matter your setup.

For one thing we’re a casual guild. We only raid one to two nights a week – Sunday and every other Wednesday.

We’re also not a full ‘guild’ – Herding Cats started off raiding as a real life 5 man of friends filling the spots with PUGs. We went hunting for friendly and mature instead of imbah skilled players. We ended up with a network of people to work with – and a core 10 which melded together as a single unit. Herding Cats became Herding Cats and Friends.

We’ve never all been on voice comms. Some of us play in the same room, adding one or two over skype. The rset of the communication has been achieved through everyone working towards clear text communication.

And, like any raiding group, we’ve had our share of drama. We all found it stressful at points, there were clashes and strains. Heck, it was just two weeks ago while we were learning the Lich King fight that one of our Herd Friends suddenly dropped news that he was going to another guild.

Through all that – we achieved – and I’m proud of us. The line up:

Ulram (bear tank) – managed to overcome finding tanking really stressful to do a perfect job with crazy amounts going on – including finding the time to do extra hybrid crazystuff. Also came up with some cunning tactics including the last piece of the puzzle which got us through Vile Spirits to victory. Can put more varied inflections into the word “arse” than anyone else we know.

Ekatrina (paladin tank) – and dedicated co-raid leader. Took to tanking like a foodie to the Fat Duck. Never made the same mistake twice; often didn’t make the same mistake once. Always knew where the fack to stand and tough enough to calmly eat Soul Reapers for breakfast in strict 10 man gear. Came up with the very practical (and immensely satisfying) idea of making us practice the Defile Dance with Tirion Fordring playing the role of Arthas.

Pitil (discy priest) –  started out a tad unconfident months ago: ended up as the healer performing the most complex and versatile role in LK fight – and professionally so. Also, our raid’s provisioner of cupcakes/vital provisions.

Gorgakh (resto shaman) – rock solid. Always totally reliable and consummately calm, which in healers are nigh-godlike qualities. Even when he had a kitten attacking his foot.

Thrakha (Fury warrior) – example of what someone *can* do if they really work to be the best. And inspired that in others too, keeping the tanks sharp ;) Currently to the best of my knowledge raiding with three different guilds at once, with corresponding numbers of fish feasts.

Urkra (Unholy DK) – went from being very unconfident as a wow player to topping our DPS meters and rarely making mistakes and keeping an open mind on play improvement and new tactics. Achieved all that on a non-official Hardmode: completing half of the bosses unable to talk on skype due to playing in the same room as his wife watching X-Factor.

Nergalian (enhancement shaman) – Sharpest reactions of everyone despite a slightly different style of playing – and despite the kitten Conan, slayer of raids. Her bouncy multi-cultural pop music and fish feasts also kept us all going up on the Throne.

Karkass (destro lock)always cheerful and positive, which is a raid-saver at times. Also, always willing to be flexible on filling different roles, which in turn helped keep us all sane. Karkass’ brainwave of teleporting back from the Valkyr was also something of a lifesaver. Overall: Karkass the Lifesaver.

Simbaria (survival hunter) – having missed most of ICC, he joined us at the last minute and picked the LK tactics up immediately and flawlessly. Impressive.

(Ahem, I’ve been instructed to put this in by Kat):
Mimetir, aka Apeorsa, figured out every fight mechanic first time, bent the needle on the healing meter, pushed through raidleading challenges from a vanishing raid member to general stress levels, and NEVER STOOD IN DEFILE. Seriously, not once.

So what now? A break from raid leading – just a couple of weeks to chill. Then in a couple of weeks we’re all meeting up for a Herd Moot/guild meet, and we’ll look to our next goal then, probably with the help of copious amounts of ale.

This is an article by Mimetir, an owl (and resto shaman) of a raid leader on The Venture Co. (EU) You can find my twitter feed here.

Ranking Players with Elitist Group

Ranking Players with Elitist Group

elitist-group-head

I hesitated a bit when writing this post largely because I know how the community feels when it comes to “scoring” players. No one wants to be condensed to just a number or a value. At the same time, the idea of a player’s gearscore has evolved to into another concept where a players capability and potential can be scored.

Why rate players at all?

Its a good question. For raid leaders who are assembling their groups from strangers, it can be a bit of an exhausting process to individually armory players and figure out if they can compete in the level of content that is being worked on.

At the same time though, not everyone knows the strengths and appropriate stat weightings of every class or spec. I’m a healer. I don’t know much about Rogues or Hunters. I don’t know how to tell if they’re gemmed or enchanted properly.

When raid leaders are getting runs going, they have to balance two things: Players and time. We need to make sure we get ourselves a competent crew to run with. We need to make sure that we can assemble it within a reasonable amount of time or else people will simply leave because of time constraints. Between inspecting players, asking questions, and achievement checking, that time can add up especially when players get turned down.

What exactly does it measure?

Gearscore currently examines a players gear and assigns a value based on the overall “power” of their items. It doesn’t know whether a player enchanted or gemmed their gear wrong. It isn’t smart enough to determine whether a Ret Pally wearing cloth instead of plate should get penalized.

Gear does not determine player skill at all.

But it does determine the maximum damage, healing, or tanking a player can do.

Slide1

Let’s use a DPS player as an example. The above table represents in my mind the two qualities I look at when bringing in a player.

  • Gear: Like it or not, gear ultimately determines the range at which a player can do damage. The better the gear, the higher the potential. They can still do low damage even though they have competitive gear.
  • Skill: You can’t look at the skills of a player until after you run with them at all. Personally, I like to assume the best. I’ll rely on their achievements for a better look. While its true that people can get carried when clearing Trial of the Crusader, its difficult to say that when the player in question has killed Anub’Arak on Trial of the Grand Crusader.

Both aspects are intertwined to a degree.

gear-graph

These are extremely rough estimates and I know that encounters will have a huge determining factor in the overall DPS that can be done. Its also going to vary by class mechanics and so forth.

Lets just assume for the second its the same player on all four characters with different levels of gear. In all cases, he could do 1000 DPS. Maybe this Elemental Shaman would bind Lightning Bolt to every key and just faceroll all over it.

But if the player is using every cooldown and nailing every rotation, then what restricts his damage is his gear. Only one set of gear is going to allow Elmo, the Elemental Shaman to do or exceed 6000 DPS. Its all about potential.

Lets move on to Elitist Group

I wrote about this on No Stock UI this morning, but I wanted to mention the usefulness of this tool to raid leaders and what type of information I’d glean by looking at this.

elitist-group-1

This is the sheet of my Retribution Paladin, Valoray. Its a bit outdated. I picked up a new cloak and chest and haven’t gotten around to enchanting either of them. Anyway, according to Elitist Group, I’m using a tanking Libram (really?) There are a list of suggested dungeons down the middle that I can participate in. EG has tallied up what I have along with the gems I have and has assigned me a gear rating of 239. This means that my Paladin is theoretically able to compete in Icecrown Citadel raids as long as they are not heroic.

(Also, I need a reminder to switch to an Exorcism glyph once I hit a certain amount of expertise which I can’t remember the value of)

But what about my skills and my experience?

Over on the right pane, you can see the list of raids and achievements that I have completed.

Hmm.

No hard mode achievements. Fully cleared Trial of the Crusader. Made some slight progress in Icecrown Citadel. Didn’t knock out Ulduar entirely.

This Paladin fails. Lets move on to someone else.

elitist-group-6

And here we have my Elemental Shaman.

Still using that Deathchill Cloak. EG has red flagged my chest and legs. I’m using spellpower and stamina gems in them. And my legs are also using the spellpower and spirit leg enchants.

What a terrible Elemental Shaman.

Glyphs seem to be okay (although I heard Glyph of Totem of Wrath is making a comeback?) A gear rating of 237 indicates that my Shaman is slightly less powerful than my Paladin. But what about her experience? Mousing over the Ulduar 25 raids, we can see that the Shaman has at least 1 Yogg-Saron kill under her belt. She meets the EG recommendations for Icecrown Citadel on 10 and 25.

She even has 36% completed in Trial of the Grand Crusader having taken down heroic Val’kyr Twins twice (although to be fair, that group lucksauced it with the door strat).

Given the choice, I’d probably pick the Elemental Shaman because she has done a bit more in the game then the Ret Paladin has.

(Although in due practice, I clocked about 4900 DPS on Saurfang last night on 25 so I’m questioning my Elementaling abilities, sadface)

elitist-group-3

Lastly, the Notes system can be used for further information in the future. After you finish a run, you can add a rating from 1-5 and leave a little comment. Each comment you leave overrides the previous one. You can use it to leave useful things like:

  • Has dual spec and can tank or heal
  • Only wants to run for Emblems
  • Has a DPS alt named <blank>
  • Managed to outheal Matt (Invite him, it makes him look bad)

(If you’re wondering about the comments on the screenshot, I happened to be doing some Ebaying of MTG cards at the time. Speaking of MTG, I started another blog specifically for it: Topdeck.me)

In any event, use Elitist Group. It condenses most of the information you need into one accessible place. You can see what they’ve done and get an idea of what the character is ready for. To a healer like me who doesn’t know enough about other classes to make snap judgments, this advises me on whether or not I should outright reject a player or consider them.

Then again, I rely on other experienced players to handle the inviting :D.

How Our Guild is Handling Primordial Saronite

3-3-spills

Primordial Saronite is the item that’s required for the next level of crafting gear out of Icecrown. There’s all sorts of methods of picking up this stuff and our leadership’s been hard at work figuring out what our approach should be. There’s a few things that are high on the priority list.

Shadowmourne, for one, requires over 20 of these. While going for another Legendary isn’t required, it makes a statement about the guild (not one but TWO Legendaries after all).

Our tanks can get an early boost to their gear and not have to rely on random drops from the different bosses. The better those guys get, the easier time we’ll have moving forward.

As we’re packing a number of sharpshooters in the raid (4 hunters), they’re also going to need some heavy artillery. The recipes for bullets and arrows will cost one Primordial Saronite to learn.

There’s lots of different ways we can go about spending Primordial Saronite to maximize raider utility.

Our approach

In a recent thread on the WoW forums, Ghostcrawler was clarifying a question regarding Shadowmourne. At the same time, he wanted to know this:

We’re also interested to see how various groups handle the Primordial Saronite issue. We designed it so there isn’t necessarily a right way to handle the material and we don’t want to over-prescribe your social dynamics anyway.

I found out over the weekend that Blizzard devs do read this blog. Wyn and Lodur kept bugging me and insisting that they did, but I remained a disbeliever until one of their guys pinged me on Twitter about it. That was too cool!

So here’s our answer:

Prioritizing Saronite to the tanks – Our tanks will get first crack at the Primordial Saronite that they need. The better their gear gets earlier on, the easier time we’ll have heading into Icecrown. I think they’re shooting for the boots first, but I can’t be sure of that yet. I’ve created a queue list on the forums where the tanks put down what they need (not necessarily what they want). I’m not sure how the legs are. If they beat the tier legs, then I’ll devote more Saronite to it. Until then, the queue list is just for the tanks and once they have all that is requied, the list will be opened up to the rest of the guild.

Ammo recipes – This is another one for us but it won’t happen until later on. Not only do you need the Saronite, the engineers need the reputation to purchase the recipe. It’s Goblin and Gnomish right? One crafts bullets and the other does arrows? Once our engineers have the requisite reputation, we’ll send one their way as well.

Shadowmourne – The Shadowmourne quest line is fairly extensive. The last step involves taking down Sindragosa which isn’t going to be anytime soon. Not only that, you have to perform a variety of tasks at different bosses (like standing in fires while surviving for a prolonged period of time). This step can wait a little longer before we invest.

On the other hand, there is some speculation that you need to be on the opening quests before you get the Shadowfrost Shards from the bosses. We don’t know how often the drops are and there is no confirmation.

Getting saronite

To that end, we’ve decided to increase the chances we have of obtaining Saronite. Sundays have been opened up for a new alt raid. We’ve been doing this for a while now, but we’ve decided to lay down some ground rules for it.

Why an alt raid?

For one, there’s many players with nothing to do on Sunday nights. We could either jump on our alts and join a pug with a 50-50 shot of succeeding, or organize our own with a higher chance of it working out. We like having multiple geared characters!

Our alts are almost as geared as our mains and it gives us a nice “break” from our normal duties that we have to do on our main characters. It’s nice for me to randomly destroy stuff on my Ret Paladin or my Elemental Shaman.

As I said earlier, extra Primordial Saronite is a plus. We can channel the results of those into the main raid. Not only that, since they’re alts, the players that are comfortable with it can spend their Emblems of Frost that they have to purchase Saronite for their mains if they need to.

Our main raids are overstaffed. We do this in order to ensure that we have enough players to raid. This inevitably means that some players are going to sit out during the week.  I don’t want them to fall too far behind us in gear. So any main raiders that don’t get to come in during the week are able to come in on Sunday in order to use up their lockout period. At the very least, they’ll get some Emblems.

We’re still working out loot systems for the time being. Last Sunday, when we walked into ToC 25, we had 23 alts in total. The other 2 were friends of the guild. The one thing that we’re lacking is another tank for our alt runs. If we can field a full crew for 25, then I can definitely apply loot council rules and prioritize main readers who need loot and balance it with the alts.

If you’re a tank out there with nothing to do on a Sunday night, come and check us out. Of course, anyone who feels that they are exceptional healers and DPS are welcome to apply regardless.

Let’s take down Arthas and move on to Deathwing already!

A Friday Geek Moment

I’ve come into the habit of walking into work, sitting down at my desk and getting ready for the day.  The trick is, how I get ready for my day. 

I go through my morning routine: some coffee, a bagel or muffin.  I wipe down my desk from the overnight guy’s late-night snack.  I shoot the sh** with my co-workers about random stuff.  After making sure the database is updated, I open up my browser, and I type www.mmo-champion.com.

I find some good stuff there.  I like laughing at the Blue responses to all the forum QQ.  I see how we’re all getting nerfed or buffed.  I’m “in the know” about which guild got the newest World First. 

Today, however, I saw something that significantly raised my geek factor.  I love movie trailers.  Big epic scenes with climactic music underneath.  Awesome voiceovers and sweet editing.  I gotta hand it to Kinaesthesia from the Vodka guild (US-Alterac Mountains) for some awesome work.  Enjoy!!

WARNING!! SPOILERS ARE IN THIS VIDEO!!!

Coming soon!!  =)

ThespiusSig

The Case for Limited Attempts

We’ve seen the mechanic in Trial of the Grand Crusader and it seems like it’s going to be implemented in Icecrown as well. When I was on the PTR, I saw the countdown at 3000. We were down to 2994 when the raid group was called.

Again, this is why I’m in favour of being on the PTR often so I can waste my learning attempts there where it doesn’t matter. But that’s the tactician in me anyway.

There’s been objection to using limited attempts as a means to make raids more difficult for players. It means every attempt means something and they cannot just be squandered away. A ceiling has been imposed on the amount of times a guild can throw themselves at bosses.

This means that a guild who raids for 24 hours a week has no advantage over a guild that raids for 12 hours. They both have the same amount of chances to get the job done. The playing field has been leveled in such a way that guilds can’t simply just “brute force” their way through a raids and rely on a sheer number of attempts to do so. You can’t have players doing the same stupid things that cause them to die. The overall skills have to go up.

Granted, I’ll admit it is a cheap way of slowing down raids and making stuff harder. But I like this approach instead of throwing in more trash mobs. While ToC was one blend of the spectrum, I don’t think I’d be particularly happy if most boss chambers and corridors had quantities that rivalled Freya or General Vezax trash. I’d rather spend that time focusing on boss attempts. Some of the areas in ICC had trashed turned on. From what I’ve seen, it’s difficult enough to keep players entertained on the route to trash and there’s just enough where you’re not going to get bored of it and want to gouge your eyes out.

Will there be a reward system?

I’m not sure. It could be modelled after ToGC where the attempts remaining has an influence on the type of loot received. In fact, I think that is something they’ll implement.

Did you like the way limited attempts were set up in ToGC? What would you change for Icecrown?

Handling Icewell Radiance

Props to this guy for coining the term.

Daelo announced earlier in the day the implementation of raid wide buff called Chill of the Throne. What does it do?

The spell, called Chill of the Throne, will allow creatures to ignore 20% of the dodge chance of their melee targets. So if a raid’s main tank had 30% dodge normally, in Icecrown Citadel they will effectively have 10%.

Similar in concept to Sunwell Radiance, the reason it was implemented was to lessen the overall spikiness of incoming tank damage. Spikiness refers to something like a tank taking constant streams of 15k damage here, 14k damage there, and then suddenly plummet after a 44k hit of some sort. Sometimes it was predictable and in other cases it was not. It’s a large and often unpredictable hit that is capable of flooring a player.

I call it the Chuck Norris effect.

For present healers, the current way to deal with this is to use defensive cooldowns in tandem with tanking cooldowns. If tank avoidance isn’t high enough or if cooldowns aren’t used, they can easily get 2 shot in a manner of seconds.

With luck, this will be the last time we’ll ever see a buff like this in the game. Going forward into Cataclysm, the idea is to raise the health pool of tanks. Right now our overall approach to healing is to spam really fast heals, really large heals, or AoE heals depending on the situation.

While tank health pools go up, healing spells will scale up but not as sharply. The ratio of healing done on a tank vs tank health won’t appear to be the same as it is now. Let’s say a Greater Heal can cover 60% of a tank’s health right now. When Cataclysm hits, Greater Heal might only heal for 35% or something. The approach is to make overhealing a real risk to the point where healing spells can’t be spammed just to get through the boss fight.

That’s going to present an interesting change. It feels as if it’s going to be a hybrid between Vanilla-esque healing and TBC-era healing. I daresay those were the two extremes. In Vanilla, you had to rotate out with other healers and regen for a minute before tagging back in. In Burning Crusade, you could get away with Circle of Healing spam. It looks like in Cataclysm, they just might make overhealing mean something again since we can’t spam heals nor can we switch out with other healers to come in for us.

3.3 PTR update

3.3 PTR update

Just a quick post today on the recent changes to the PTR.

Patch 3.3 Build 10596 is up and here are some of the changes you can look forward to right now

Reputation

* The following reputations have been sped up by roughly 30%:

  • Argent Crusade
  • Alliance Vanguard
  • Horde Expedition
  • Kirin Tor
  • Knights of the Ebon Blade
  • Sons of Hodir
  • Wyrmrest Accord

* Sons of Hodir quests now give more reputation overall.

* Top-level helm and shoulder faction-related enchants are now available as Bind-on-Account items that do not require any faction to use once purchased (they still require the appropriate faction level to purchase).

* Reputation commendations can now be purchased for 1 Emblem of Triumph each.

This is a fairly sizable upgrade for us. Not only is rep grinding reduced greatly but once you get someone exalted with sons for example they can buy the shoulder enchant and send it to another character of yours. As an alt-aholic I love this idea.

Spells and Talents

Druid

  • Rejuvenation: The base duration on all ranks of this spell is now 15 seconds.

Shaman

  • Reincarnation: The cooldown on this spell has been lowered from 60 minutes down to 30 minutes.Restoration
  • Improved Reincarnation: This talent now reduces the cooldown of Reincarnation by 7/15 minutes, down from 10/20 minutes. Reincarnation cannot be used in Arenas.

The change to rejuvenation is great for players who are leveling. It adds 3 seconds pretty much across the board. The Shaman changes to reincarnation and the improved reincarnation talent make me very, very happy. I might actually find 2 points to put in it. Being able to self resurrect every 15 minutes is a great boon for progression night raids as well as just leveling. Toss in a Glyph of Renewed Life and you’re pretty much gtg.

Glyphs
Druid

  • Glyph of Rapid Rejuvenation: This glyph allows for the druid’s haste to reduce the time between the periodic healing effects of Rejuvenation.

This is interesting to me because they announced they were looking at allowing haste to affect HoTs and DoTs. Link here for forums. So I’m curious if this is some form of experimentation on a smaller scale to see the effect of adding haste to HoT’s

General / UI

Interface

  • Any party member may mark targets (this does not apply to raid groups).

I can’t thank them enough for this. I was terrified that this would apply to raid groups. I run 25 mans mainly with my guild and last thing I needed was someone freely moving markers around on a trash pull *shudder*

That’s some of the major changes this build. Hope you get a chance to play with the PTR a little bit.

What are your thought’s on the PTR so far? How do you think patch 3.3 is shaping up?

Until next time.

Sig

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Give Me Patch Notes and I’ll Give You Totems!

Give Me Patch Notes and I’ll Give You Totems!

thehammer

As I’m sure many of you know by now, the PTR is live bringing with it a wonderous amount of changes to pretty much everyone. I’m going to focus today on a few things, Shaman changes and tier 10 set bonus for Restoration Shaman. First let’s take a look at the set bonuses for tier 10 Restoration shall we?

Shaman T10 Restoration 2P Bonus – Your Riptide spell grants 20% spell haste for your next spellcast.

Shaman T10 Restoration 4P Bonus – Your Chain Heal critical strikes cause the target to heal for 25% of the healed amount over until cancelled.

Hmmm, interesting set bonus. Two piece gives you more haste very much like how Tidal Waves reduces the cast time of your Healing Wave by 30%. Personally I love haste, and rolling Riptide should be a part of any Shaman’s normal healing arsenal so this set bonus really appeals to me. The four piece bonus is also very intriguing. The wording is a little weird and so it will have room for interpretation. Is it placing a HoT on a target for 25% of the amount healed similar to how Earthliving Weapon places a HoT on the target? Will it give an instant heal for 25% of the total? My moneys on a HoT. Personally I like these set bonuses. I think they are solid additions to our repertoire. Looking at them though we can take a guess at what type of damage we’re going to be seeing… I’m guessing lots of raid damage. Giving us haste, adding an additional heal component to our chain heal this just screams to me tons of raid wide damage (thoughts of Sun Well suddenly jump to mind). Now I’m looking forward to the aesthetics of the set. Hopefully we wont look like a mix between bugs and sand people.

So our set bonuses are shaping up nicely (which is pretty par for the course for us at this point). Lets swing our attention over to the patch notes shall we?

Not much is changing as of yet, of course as you know that may or may not change. For now though here are the bits though.

Orc and troll shamans now have their own unique totem art.

Shamans

* Fire Nova Totem: This totem has been replaced with a new spell, Fire Nova, which is available at the same ranks as the old Fire Nova Totem. Existing characters will automatically learn this new spell in place of the totem. With a Fire Totem active, shamans will be able to use Fire Nova (fire magic) to emit the same area-of-effect damage as the old Fire Nova Totem from the active Fire Totem, not consuming the totem in the process. Fire Nova will activate a 1.5-second global cooldown when used and has a 10-second spell cooldown. The caster must be within 30 yards of the totem to use this ability, but does not need to be within line of sight of the totem.

I’ll leave the totem art aside for a second, first lets talk about Fire Nova.

This one is… interesting. Basically getting rid of a totem that some of us were using to help with AE damage in fights like Thorim’s arena. It lets us not have to cast a different totem, but instead we can center an AE spell off our current fire totem. This still requires you to run into melee and drop said totem, but it’s a nice touch. I can run in set my totems and then when needed blast out some AE damage to help thing the gaggle of bad guys we’re killing. I’ll have to play with it more, but so far so good.

Now, onto totem art. Orcs and Trolls it has been long overdue that you guys get your own. Lets take a look at them real fast

3.3-orc-totems

The Orc one is pretty gnarly. Not only is it a totem but it can double as an axe! It seems to fit to me.

3.3-troll-earth-totem

Trolls are pretty cool too. Troll fetish hung from the totems looks like the shadow hunter’s totems in WC3.

All in all pretty good job. Now if I may I’d like to take a second to rage about another set of totems. The Dwarf Shaman Totems. Now I know that Cataclysm (or at least 4.0) is a while away, they… bother me.

3.3-dwarf-totem

I understand the concept behind it. It’s a hammer with Gryphon feathers. I’ll be honest though, as someone who is going to race change into a Dwarf Shaman I’m a little disappointed. I mean I can see the correlation between axes and Orcs, fetish masks and Trolls and I can understand the correlation of hammers and Dwarves… kinda. When I was at blizzcon and they were talking about bringing Dwarves into the fold of Shamanism, they mentioned making sure they had unique totems. They said they wouldn’t be kegs (which made us all sad) but that they were looking at maybe rune stones. I look at the above totems and that doesn’t scream Dwarf to me. Had they been chunks of stone with glowing colored runes in them I’d have been content. I mean look at the Draenei’s totems

1701

They pretty well scream Draenei. They have holographic rings around oddly shaped stone with the element present above it. Even the *Now* Tauren Totems fit their race

totems

So… why can’t Dwarves get something stone related? I mean think about it. They live in the mountains, they have a racial ability called Stoneform, they are known for their Gryphons, but only one clan (Wildhammer) and they aren’t playable, but we hear about is how they are awesome miners. Sure we hear about their forges and smithy’s but I think the totems could be a bit better suited to the race (read more metal/stone and less wood please).

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy I can finally be a Dwarf Shaman. I’ve wanted to be a Dwarf Shaman for a long long time. I thank Blizzard for that, but that doesn’t mean I won’t weep a little bit every time I drop a set of hammers on the ground. Trolls and Orcs won out with some pretty good totem design and Tauren get to be unique snowflakes again with theirs. Overall I’m happy with it. Giving each race’s Shaman’s a unique totem is a good step. But if Goblin Shaman get cool looking gear totems, I don’t know what I’m going to do. Maybe throw my hammer at them. Maybe cast Wrath of Carpentry.

Although maybe I can rename myself Captain Hammer and invite people back to my Hammer Cave to show them my Hammer….

So what do you guys think so far? Like the new totems, dislike the new totems? Like the set bonuses?

Until next time, Happy Healing

Sig

Images courtesy of Dr. Horrible sing along blog, WoW.com, and WoW guru