Shadow Priest Warlords Leveling not as Easy

Shadow Priest Warlords Leveling not as Easy

As you might have guessed, I was one of the privileged few to have been offered a slot in the Warlords of Draenor friends and family alpha that went live a few days ago. I was quite intent on making my mark in Wildstar’s Nexus but I’ll have to put that on hold.

Unfortunately, only the Horde side is available for play meaning I had to create a Blood Elf priest.

I’ll need to take a long cold shower after this play session.

I feel so filthy.

Anyway, I’m not going to delve too much into garrisons too much. The only base building I can do effectively is in Starcraft 2. But, head over to BlizzPro for their hands-on with garrisons.

Just as I’ve done in previous expansions, I plan to blitz my way to the max level as quickly as I can. Each expansion brings with it new tools, new systems, and new spells to help that process.

spriest-leveling

For Shadow Priests, Warlords made it a little tougher. The changes to Shadow and the loss of certain healing spells slowed down leveling. No Renew means I can’t simply keep refreshing Renew whenever it wears off. It means I have to stop and eat more to replenish my health. Flash Heal is obviously no help since it wasn’t designed to top a player off quick in Shadow. Prayer of Mending’s cast time means it can’t just be applied on the run either. Divine Star also lost the healing component.

Thankfully, I can still rely on Power Word: Shield to soak at least some of the damage. Vampiric Embrace, glyphed Psychic Scream, and Dispersion are going to be workhorse cooldowns during the grind.

At the moment, I’m capped at level 92 but level 100 talents are unlocked and can be selected. Auspicious Spirits is a neat talent but Clarity of Power seems to be useful when grinding or farming mobs since you can just go straight to Mind Flay instead of applying a DoT that isn’t going to last the full duration anyway.

draenor-perk-unlocked These Draenor perks are actually quite nice. They offer bits of quality of life improvements. I managed to obtain the Enhanced Shadow Orbs perk quickly after hitting 91 and Enhanced Mind Flay at 92.

More to come later! I’ve got a Shaman I want to try out.

I have never seen healing or DPS numbers this low in a long time.

A Letter from a Level 25 Guild Leader

First, I just want to say to my Chicago readers that you should be extremely proud of your team. They’re going to be an awesome hockey franchise for years to come. And oh my god did they give me the biggest scare of my life.

Anyway…

I found this letter linked on Reddit the other day. It’s one of the side effects of the new guild leveling and perks system in WoW.

Dear Plebs,

If you’re here, and raging, it’s probably because you just realized you were gkicked. I’ve already deleted all your forum accounts, and removed all your boards. There’s nowhere you can post or vent so please, just read this.

For the most part this was an awkward experiment we never intended to go as far as it did. I jokingly recruited a few people out of trade chat, gave them ginvite power, and this thing for the most part grew itself. With it was the nice realization that our 10m raid crew could push levels faster and not have to farm heroics every day, so we let it ride. We figured it was a nice give and take, you guys got the best perks available and we got our XP cap every day. To be honest we mostly let it go because we thought cash flow was going to be awesome, but it turns out you guys were collectively pretty sh*tty at farming gold. (Over the last 5 months we’ve made about 14k off of a roster of 900+ people). But the XP was flowing, life was easy, and this was a nicely self-sustaining little eco-system that we just sat back and watched grow.

Unfortunately what accompanied this was an alarming number of less desirable members. Guild chat was basically useless, there were too many idiots to even try to manage, and for the most part nobody wanted to do anything. We gave you forums. We gave you vent. We gave you calendar events. We left GMOTD’s saying “come sign up on the forums for X event!” and 2-3 people would do it. We tried to coax some of the more promising members into leadership roles, we gave them an entire section of the forums with spelled out raid strats, pvp discussion, and more.

We tried. We really did try.

What we got was a whole lot of nothing but people bitching that we wouldn’t buy their epic flying, or pay their repair bills, or let them have potions out of the bank. People whining that we never carried them in our main raids, or that we didn’t run them through heroics or lower level dungeons. We got a million stupid questions a day about how to spec or what stats are good for X class. We got the few people we thought were worth keeping making a mess out of the little power we gave them. Promotions / Demotions were fucked around enormously, guild MOTD and notes were all ruined, and gchat just eventually became a giant sea from which all the idiots could troll.

When we hit 25 I kicked everyone that was inactive. I gave you all a few weeks after I cleaned out the roster to see if you would actually do anything other than occupy space in the guild pane and badger the bejesus out of us with stupid f*cking tells. I gave you your time to finish reps, buy heirlooms, get what you needed, and get out. The time has come, and now, the ride has come to an end.

That’s not to say you’re all bad, or useless, but let’s be honest; any of you worth a sh*t shouldn’t be in this guild anyway because the reality of it is that we’re never going to do anything but 10m raiding. We have no spots for you. We have no spots in an alt raid for you. We have nothing to offer you but a backup spot on a roster of people that don’t ever miss raids. It probably seems like a dick move to kick you, but in the long run we’re doing you a favor.

So, to all of you, thanks for what you did, we hope you enjoyed the perks while they lasted, but we’re ready to have our nice quiet, mellow guild chat back. Enjoy the heirlooms, enjoy the mounts, enjoy the recipes, and I hope you enjoyed the ride. I can definitely say it was at least, interesting, for me.

I sympathize with what the GM went through. The guy tried to help create a cohesive ecosystem  out of chaos but ultimately wasn’t able to pull it off. It virtually polluted the guild and he got frustrated with everything before dropping the reset button. It sucks putting time and effort in, just to get stomped on or disregarded.

At the same time, I can’t help but imagine if there were a few productive members in that pool. If the GM had been open from the start stating that they were going to be utilized in power leveling the guild to 25 and in exchange those members could purchase whatever rewards they wanted heirloom  wise, would that disclosure have made a difference? I can’t help but wonder if the situation could have been salvaged. What if incoming players were more thoroughly filtered? 

I still think the design of the guild leveling and perks system was a good decision for WoW.

There are always going to be guilds that will abuse the system and the players. That isn’t the fault of the system though. There is much more “power” to the GM’s position and that of the leadership. When there were no guild levels or perks, guilds were nothing more than organized geeks. But now, not only can a GM wipe away membership they can also remove a member’s access to powerful bonuses and items.

On a side note, we discussed player satisfaction and guild leaving in  Episode 16 of the Matticast. If you’re torn between leaving your guild for personal progressions, listen to our thoughts on the matter.

Leveling, Holy and Discipline Priest specs

Here’s a quick glance at my healing and questing specs on the grind from 80 to 85. My mentality behind this was to select talents that would give me an edge in either survivability or efficiency. I went for talents that helped reduce mana costs or gave me mana back. I also opted for talents that made me a little bit tougher to kill.

Starting from level 80

As Shadow (Link to talent calculator)

Notes

Improved Psychic Scream – In case things get dicey with an overpull, I can couple this talent with Glyph of Psychic Scream. I don’t send mobs flying every where and pulling even more stuff. But it might buy me the precious seconds I need to DPS something down and heal up.

Mental Agility – Cheaper dots. ‘Nuff said.

Veiled Shadows – Wishbone gets to come out more often. … What, don’t you guys name your Shadowfiends?

As Holy (Link to talent calculator)

I chose holy as my dungeon healing offspec. Mana won’t be a terribly challenging issue with the opening instances like Blackrock Caverns or Throne of the Tides. But you’ll want to consider grabbing Mental Agility on the way up.

Notes

Desperate Prayer – Yeah, yeah, not many people would choose this. But I personally like having a safety net in dungeons in case I pull something.

As Discipline (Link to talent calculator)

Notes

Chose Empowered Healing over Divine Fury. Cast time isn’t as big a factor when you’re leveling up via dungeons, I found. Still going to be using a combination of shields and Flash Heal to get over the top.

Raiding

As Shadow (Link to talent calculator)

Sorry guys, I can’t say this is the final form of the raid spec I plan to use as shadow. I’ll use this as a baseline to work with though at least.

As Holy (Link to talent calculator)

Yup, I kept Desperate Prayer and Inspiration for raiding. Darkness is another option when your mana regeneration hits a point where it isn’t a big a factor. I won’t be switching to it until I accumulate more potent gear.

As Discipline (Link to talent calculator)

So many options here. You can take out the points from Veiled Shadows and place them into Surge of Light or Inspiration (In case your party doesn’t already have one with it). But Disc by far seems to offer the most variety when it comes to talent placement.

Leveling a Resto Druid in Cataclysm – Part I

Leveling a Resto Druid in Cataclysm – Part I

Epiphanize is the co-host of the Raid Warning Podcast and is currently leveling a Druid in the Cataclysm beta as well as playing one as his main.

With two new races to choose from as well as a new, improved leveling experience, there are going to be a lot of new Druids come Cataclysm. From revised abilities, to the new specialization system, starting a new Resto Druid is going to be far different than it is currently in Wrath. In this series, I am going to cover how things have changed leveling a Resto Druid, starting with level 10.

Specialization

The biggest change for low level players is the specialization system. At level 10, you will be asked to choose one of your 3 talent  trees. This is where you will place at least 31 of your talent points, as you can not unlock any other trees until you’ve spent 31 points in your specialization tree. Upon choosing this specialization, you will be granted an ability geared towards your spec, as well as two passive bonuses. As a Resto Druid your granted ability will be Swiftmend. Previously available at level 40,  Swiftmend will drastically change how you heal at lower levels. At level 10, it heals for 204 hit points, costs 14 mana, and has a 15 second cooldown.

Along with Swiftmend, you are also granted 2 passive abilities as a Resto Druid. The first is Meditation, which similar to its  predecessor Intensity, allows you to regen mana at 50% of your normal rate while casting. Your second passive ability is simply called Restoration Druid, and reduces the pushback suffered while casting Healing Touch, Regrowth, Tranquility, Rebirth, and  Nourish. This is similar to the old Tier 1 talent Nature’s Focus, but adds Rebirth to the mix. Even at level 10, I believe Blizzard  has succeeded in making you feel more like a Resto Druid than before Cataclysm. These two passive abilities cost 3 talent points each, with Meditation unable to be maxed out until level 22.

The Rest Of Your Toolbox

Along with these bonuses is your normal toolbox that includes Rejuvenation, Healing Touch, and Swiftmend. This gives you a well-rounded toolbox for a low level healer. 1 HoT, 1 big heal, and 1 emergency heal. I am pretty excited that Blizzard decided to teach low level druids the Swiftmend mechanic, as it is not available to the other healing classes. Overall, it looks like Blizzard is succeeding in simultaneously improving the leveling experience, while teaching Resto Druids how to use some of the more advanced abilities they will need when raiding. Even at this low level, you should start being able to get a good feel for tank healing in 5 mans, as well as have the added benefit of not running out of mana every pull while leveling thanks to Meditation.

In the next part of this series I will be taking a look at the next major leveling milestone, The Looking For Dungeon Tool, and how these changes affect Resto Druids healing low level dungeons.

Zero to Kael in 28 Days

If you’ve read much that I’ve written for World of Matticus, you know that I have raided with two Priests. This is the story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down – and how I went from die-hard, shiny alliance to being the proudest, loudest, and dirtiest Troll. My Human had been my main for over a year – Renwein was leveled up rather slowly, alongside dear friends that I met along the way. She has a depth of experience that isn’t often found in ‘toons rolled after Burning Crusade – I lovingly collected all the keys in the game, except the Outhouse key, and ran every old-world instance except Naxx. So why give up a character into which I’d invested so much time? Raiding. Bosskilling is my anti-drug. When I came back to the game in 2007, I didn’t realize what “recommended” meant when I picked my server, and I didn’t realize how much I would LOVE the challenge of end-game raiding. The problem started when I realized how the small community on my server worked against my Illidan-killing aspirations.

Think about it: out of a TOTAL server population of 4,000, the allies were outnumbered about 5:1. (I saw one estimate that said 9:1) Which gave us 667 people. About 300 of those were level 70. Finding 25 people talented and dedicated enough to raid towards end-game is hard enough – you have to manage personalities, play-styles, schedules, and real-life. Getting the right mix of classes added another level of complexity. On Darrowmere, the top Ally guild exclusively speaks Spanish. This works well for them, but also took another bite out of the available pool willing to raid in other guilds. Looking back, it’s a miracle that we made it to Vashj and Kael at all.

Hordeside was slightly different – their population dwarfed ours, and an ambitious guild called Death is Eternal had transferred over with their sights set on Illidan. On such a small server, it’s impossible not to get to know at least names and faces of the opposing faction, but we went a little farther and swapped vent information. I found out later that this Horde guild hoped that helping Ally progression would make it easier for them to recruit from other servers – PvP servers lose some appeal if the Allies aren’t even a challenge to gank. So they critiqued our wws, watched our fraps, and occasionally came in on a borrowed character. But small-server drama took over, and while the Allies were busy re-shuffling the same players through guild mergers and disintegrations, this Horde guild stayed busy killing bosses. When my guild collapsed yet again under the weight of egos and primadonnas, and the GM got his orders to ship out to Iraq, I knew I couldn’t handle another re-build. One old friend had transferred to a larger server, and asked me to follow. But a different offer came from an unexpected source:

If you can level and gear up to be there when we kill Kael, you can raid with Death is Eternal.

DiE had Vashj on farm at this point. They were down to weekly 10-minute kills, and were working steadily on Kael. This was right before Thanksgiving, and the GM estimated that with their upcoming Holiday Break, I had about 28 days to roll a new Priest, level her, and get her geared enough to be an asset. He didn’t need to point out that her final exam would be one of the hardest fights in the game – in a guild that had developed a reputation as exacting, unforgiving, and with a previously strict no-girls-allowed policy.

If I wanted to see endgame, I had two options – leave a server where I knew practically everyone, or work like a madwoman to re-create and surpass everything I’d worked so hard for on Renwein. The next day, I bought my second copy of Warcraft, and rolled my first Horde. One benefit of already having a Priest was an appreciation of the impact of racial abilities on end-game raiding. I chose a Troll – mostly for Berserking – and began the grind. I wasn’t even allowed to carry the guild tag – “Not until you’re 70,” was the GM’s final answer.

So I listened quietly on vent while DiE continued to farm Vashj and learn Kael, and ground quests every day after work and all day on weekends. I wasn’t shy about asking for help, and the Horde players I knew ran me through lowbie instances and helped with quests anytime they weren’t busy. The most unexpected thing was all the help I received from DiE’s Raid Leader. A Tauren Warrior known for his no-nonsense approach to raids, he was a database for every quest in every zone. His brain was like WoWhead on vent, and any time he wasn’t raiding he helped me in every way he could.

About two weeks into my grind, DiE took a week and a half off for the holidays. When I hit 69, the GM and Raid Leader asked me about my progress. I had farmed the Kara attunement chain up to needing instance runs, had saved up enough gold for my regular flying mount, and begun the quest chains for my Hyjal and Black Temple attunements.

They complimented me on my hard work, and told me they had a few Christmas presents for me. The first was an invitation into the guild – the first female and non-70 admitted to Death is Eternal. The second was a full block of runs through the instances I needed for my Karazhan attunement. (Which ding’d me 70.) The final was the materials I was missing for my Primal Mooncloth Set, the Pattern and Mats for Boots of the Long Road, the Belt of the Long Road, and both Whitemend pieces. The Raid Leader had coordinated the effort and farmed the majority of the mats, and the whole guild had pitched in cooldowns, nethers, and vortices.

“You still have to earn your spot.” They told me. “And this gear isn’t good enough for Kael.” So we did two full Kara clears in two days, and as many ZA’s as possible before formal raids started again. Because they had farmed SSC and TK for so long, very few pieces of gear were needed by any healers – and I was now their only Holy Priest.

I was incredibly lucky – the help I received, and the incredible drop rate for the upgrades I needed made the unlikely speed of my progression possible. I hit lvl 70 in just under 9 days played, and I was #2 on the healing meters for the server first kill of Kael’thas on my 12th day played – exactly a month in real-time after my account went active. On Wynthea’s 15th day we killed Rage Winterchill and headed into Black Temple.

I sometimes log onto Renwein to run a weekend ZA with old friends, or just to catch up with people in Shat. I appreciate so much of the old-world content, and it still makes me sad that Wynthea’s lore-base is so shallow, but my decision to raid Hordeside was the best I could’ve made. Even after Death is Eternal parted ways, I kept in touch with a lot of the members. Most of us are working through Sunwell – all of us are looking forward to WotLK.

I’m sure this is more than you ever wanted to know about my WoW-experience, but I wanted to introduce my point of view a little more. The thing to remember is that if you really want to achieve something in the game, take advantage of whatever opportunities present themselves – even if it sometimes means starting from scratch to reach an impossible goal with an even worse deadline. Luv, Wyn