PTR Report: Mixing Healing and DPS Items

PTR Report

In the past, I’ve always preached and encouraged players to take loot that’s a minor upgrade for them if no one’s needed it. It appears Blizzard has listened. After checking out the changes on MMO Champion again, something struck me as odd. The best items in the game now appear to be from vendors instead of just as boss drops. The only way to acquire them is to upgrade pieces from boss kills with a Sun Mote.

Confusing? Let me try again.

Old School

You can skimp out on gear from Karazhan and then pick it up at Gruul’s. I’ve long often thought about different ways I could get the best loot faster. For example, in SSC, I would skip out on the T5 legs for 30+ DKP and save it for the T5 helm on Vashj. I’d let the competing classes around me get their leg tokens first because I figured once they all get it, sooner or later I’d get mine at an inexpensive rate. It makes sense because our Guild would kill Fathom Lord more often then they would Kill Vashj.

New School

There’s a bunch of awesome phat loot from Sunwell. However, not all of it’s immediately accessible. There’s an awesome leggings called Pantaloons of Calming Strife. As you can see, it’s meant for Priests. There’s also another pair of leggings called Pantaloons of Growing Strife. That pair is catered towards DPS.

But here’s the catch.

For DPS casters, you have to get a sunmote AND Pantaloons of Calming Strife first before you can go to a vendor and “upgrade” it. Surely those aren’t the only DPS caster pants in Sunwell. But as a player in a Guild using DKP, I can no longer enjoy my monopoly on healing cloth.

Oh well. C’est La Vie!

Staves vs Maces and Off hands

Staves vs Maces“First off i have to commend you for your hard work at making your blog the only one i have ever read. World of Matticus has almost all of the priest information i could hope to read and I have put to use many of the tips found therein. But i can’t find anything about the debate of Staff vs Mace+Offhand (healingwise). Is there a certain point where a staff would be better than the duel wielding combo? Is a mace-offhand settup always better? Please let me know what you think. Thank you for your limited time.”

That was an email I received from a player last night. Incidentally enough, I had a post about this already lined up. What excellent timing!

Back before Burning Crusade, there was one weapon that truly defined a Priest. Those who had it were idolized by Priests everywhere. When you saw it on the back of a Priest in front of you, immediately you would feel an aura of safety. I am referring to [item]Benediction[/item]. Oh how times have changed.

I’m going to present argument from two different sides: The best possible Priest approach and the team Priest approach.

The Best Possible Priest Approach

Do you want to be THE Priest? Do you want to have so much healing and MP5 that you can bring back Elvis? Then this is the setup for you. From what I’ve noticed, a Priest with an MH/OH combo will have slightly higher healing bonuses and a little more mana regeneration than a player with a Staff. But staves aren’t completely useless in their own right. They might lose a bit of +healing when compared to to the MH/OH, but there’s a lot more stats (stamina, intellect, etc). Therefore, if you care that much about min/maxing your Priest (in other words, making it as best as possible), then grabbing an MH/OH is the best way to go. But you have to realize that you’re not the only class that is able to use it.

You’ll be in direct competition with Paladins and Shamans (maybe Druids).

The Team Priest Approach

You don’t want to be the best Priest possible. You know that all the maces are being greedily eyed upon by the other healers because they are way more powerful. You also know that your fellow healers won’t give that awesome healing staff a chance and that it will get sharded. I have seen this happen far too many times. Healers are passing on items that help them in favour of getting an even better item. You may or may not know of my thoughts about this. Precious loot should not be wasted because you never know for sure when you will get the weapon that you want. I never once saw Light’s Justice or Shard of the Virtuous on my Priest.

I hope you can understand my main argument here. I’m not arguing from the perspective of being the super best healer. I’m arguing from the perspective of a healer who wants to contribute to the best of his or her ability with the tools they have.

By accepting the staff, you remove yourself from competing against the Shammies and the Pallies. Let them fight over the mace and spend their precious DKP. A simple minimum bid just gave you nearly the same amount of healing at half the price. Again, this is dependent on your Guild and the style of loot distribution that you have.

Think about your raid healer setup.

In Carnage, we have:

  • 2 Holy Priests
  • 3-4 Paladins
  • 1 Resto Shaman

The Paladins and Shamans are going to go after 1H’s because they want something to complement their Shields. The other holy Priest doesn’t like staves. That leaves me to obtain loot at half price because these turkeys aren’t going to use it anyway! By taking it, I benefit the raid as a whole because it increases my healing and speeds up the gearing process.

I even save a little DKP because I don’t have to bid on both a mace and an offhand. I don’t have to wait for 2 bosses to drop the 2 items that I need. I only need to kill 1 boss repeatedly.

I am sacrificing my potential to be the best possible Priest later to help the raid now.

To finalize

Whatever weapon you choose to go with is affected by different factors.

  • Your guild
  • Loot distribution methods
  • Your style of play
  • Personality
  • Phase of the moon

Just understand that arguments can be made for either class. I don’t view myself as a selfish raider. I want to get to the end of the game as fast as possible and if I have to lose 30 healing over it, then I can sleep soundly with no problems. Besides, the extra stamina means I’ll live just a bit longer then Paulina Priest over there.

That’s why I opted for my new staff instead of waiting on Vasj to drop her mace.

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How should I enchant my new staff?

My Ethereum Life-Staff which I got from Solarian in Tempest Keep in World of WarcraftI am now packing some serious heat. Well, no not really. But my healing has gone up slightly. Before, my main weapon was the [item]Crystalheart Pulse-Staff[/item] which dropped from Mag. Now I have the [item]Ethereum Life-Staff[/item] which drops from Solarian in Tempest Keep. Actually, they both look the same. The Crystalheart is the same model except the crystals on either end are red.

Anyway, let’s compare the stats. For raid simulation (and the fact that I still had the buffs going from Tempest Keep), I consumed the three main Priest consumables:

  • Flask of Mighty Restoration
  • Superior Mana Oil
  • Blackened Sporefish

I applied the mana oil to both of my staves just so I could save myself the trouble of having to do math. I can keep Mallet suspended until I raid with him again on Thursday anyway. Remember, I do not have any raid buffs on other than consumables. Take a look at the following shot:

Stat comparison between Ethereum Life-Staff and Crystalheart Pulse-Staff

First, let’s keep in mind that my Crystalheart Pulse-Staff has a +81 Healing enchant on it whereas my Ethereum Life-Staff has no enchants on it. I lost a small piece of healing crit chance, but I’m not worried about that too much. I also see a decrease in my healing by 30 points.

The above shot is the Crystalheart and the below shot is that of the Ethereum.

Comparison

The stat points were fairly marginal at best. I gained 1 stamina and lost 6 intellect (10 health, 60 mana). But look at the amount of Spirit that I gained. I picked up a whopping 62 spirit. A quick glance on the tooltip on the side shows that I lose 4 mp5 while casting, but I gain 23 mp5 while not casting.

So herein lies the dilemma. My original intent was to use one staff as my main healing staff and the other one to regenerate mana. Now I’m wondering which one to use for which.

I’m seriously considering putting Spellsurge on the Ethereum because I want to help my party out a bit more. I’m almost positive I can guarantee the effect to proc when the hidden cooldown is up.

Most raiding encounters are endurance based. They depend on how long you can keep your assigned tanks alive instead of how much you can keep them alive for. Since I already have 81 Healing on my Crystalheart, it seems kind of weird (AND STUPIDLY EXPENSIVE) to re-enchant it again with Spellsurge and put 81 Healing on my new Ethereum.

I lose the nice 4 MP5 while casting with the new staff. As a raiding Priest, I’m not going to be idling. I’m going to be using my global cooldown fairly often by tossing renews and PoMs everywhere. I will rarely, if ever, get chances to sit and just regen my mana. No one in my Guild uses Spellsurge at the moment. But maybe I can influence them to create a Spellsurge mana endurance group.

It looks so easy when you’re comparing enchants on 1 weapon. When you’re working with 2, it makes it a little more difficult because now you have to start planning for different scenarios.

How much mana do I gain as I’m casting spells?
How much mana do I gain when I’m not?
How much healing do I lose?
Is the decrease in healing worth the extra longevity?
How much mana do I gain back if I were to be innervated?
What will benefit my healing the most?
What will benefit my raid the most?
Even now it’s not an easy question for me to answer. Everything looked so simple the first time when I compared 81 Healing with Spellsurge. But there’s a lot more to take into account when you are a raiding Priest.

Any healers out there? Discussion of any kind would help. Maybe there’s a point that I’ve forgotten.

Matt’s Three Stars: Week Ending November 2, and some reader responses

Welfare Epics and Loot Envy: I saw

WoW Web Stats: Start here first. It’s a guide from Kirk regarding a tool that I have preached for a long time. I would argue it is better then any in game damage meter. Use it for your post raid analysis to help determine what went wrong. Once you’ve finished looking at that, refer to his post on using it for healing in raids. There isn’t much more for me to say as the rest has already been covered by the guy. Second star!

A blog post a day: The challenge has been issued. The battle lines have been drawn. A friend of mine from school informed me that November is National Novel Writing Month. Stephi has twisted the concept slightly and made it her goal to pump out 50000 words by the end of the month at a rate of ~1700 words per day. If I were not in school nor had other things to attend to (blogging, demon fragging, etc) I would gladly embrace this challenge. But as such, there is no way I can maintain that kind of a pace without something else in my life giving way. Next year, I will entertain the idea of participating in the novel writing month itself. The third star as well as good luck goes to Stephi!

I took two straight days off both on Friday and Saturday. Why? Because I’ve been busy chasing the dream of priests everywhere: to beat the living snot out of anything unholy. My Evoker is now level 19. I can’t imagine what life would be like had I rolled a different class. But my blog would definitely not be the way it is now.

I received a comment and an email that I wanted to respond to because it merited addressing on the main page.

Maladorous writes:

After reading this it seems your a priest that likes MP5. With 2.3 coming out and priest talent Meditation getting such a big boost what are you thoughts about spirit regeneration? Also the set bonus from the primal moon cloth set would put you at about 35% Regen while in the FSR. I think this is great and will put your Regen way up.

I drop my spell down as i get more +healing so that saves mana also so i get the +18 gems.

For the most part, I’ve refrained from commenting too much about 2.3 because what changes are can easily be reversed the next day rendering past thoughts on them irrelevant. I still think it’s too early to say. Spirit is definitely getting a huge boost. I’ll confess I don’t know the mathematics or the formulas behind it quite yet. Remember, as a Priest, we need to think situationally. It isn’t often that we are inactive for sessions longer than five seconds. If we are, then either we’re not doing our job or we have one hell of a tank. It’s also important to think long term and what it is you’ll be doing. In raid encounters, you NEED that mana per five. It’s a simple concept. Spells need mana. No mana means no heals which means the tank dies which means its game over. It’s not the size of the tank, it’s how fast the gas gets pumped into it. I didn’t spec Spirit of Redemption in my build (simply because I felt those seconds could best be used for running back into the instance). With the upcoming changes, I’ll need to take a closer look.

Bottom line: Nothing has changed. I still value MP5. Expect that to change as soon as more tests are done by my colleagues in that area. If there is empirical proof that Spirit is better then MP5, then I’ll make the necessary announcements.

Until then, keep hoarding Nightseyes. But if there’s cheap healing/spirit gems on your server, consider possibly investing in several and storing them in the bank. At worst, you can resell them back on the AH as their uncut selves. At best, you no longer need to worry about gems for a long time because you just committed grand theft jewelery on the AH. If you look up Talasite on WoW Econ and plot it for a 90-day chart, you’ll notice a spike in the price. I think that coincided with the time that patch 2.2 went live and Talasite was another option for arena players. Expect the price of Star of Elune to increase slightly. We may begin to see Purified Shadow Pearls in frequency as well. Guess those Naga’s have a use after all.

The above question is a great segue (did I spell that right?) into another question from another reader this time via email:

I’m a bit confused as to which is more important, my mana pool or my +healing. My guild (a social guild more than anything else) has just started raiding Kara, so we’re all barely geared enough for it. I have 1066 +healing and a mana pool of 9521. After looking at your gear list, I opted for Essence Focuser and the Nethering Spiritualist offhand, and am debating getting a +30 Int chant or Major healing on the mace. Some healer that’s supposed to be The Shit told an officer in my guild that my mana pool isn’t up to par, so that constructive (*cough*) criticism in mind, I’m hesitant about using the mace instead of Epoch Mender, since the Mender gives me +35 Int, I believe.

Your healing is a little low, but it meets the requirements. Your mana pool on the other hand is excellent. But there is one important question that you need to ask: How is my mana regeneration? Like I said in the previous post, it’s not the size of the mana pool that matters but how you use it. Encounters depend on your ability to heal. Your healability depends on how fast you get your mana. Sooner or later, cooldowns will catch up to you. Your Druid’s innervate will be burned. Your potions blown. Your Shaman’s Mana Tide deployed. Every trinket you have, used. At present, your MP5 is very low. I think that needs to be increased substantially (to at least 100+ while casting spells). Consider the 6 MP5 to chest, the application of the shoulder enchant, and the application of the head enchant. If you need to trade mana pool for mana regen, do it. Having 9.5k mana is a nice buffer in the opening stages, but you’ll burn out by the time you get down to 50% on Attumen. Remember to downrank your heals some to help alleviate the pressure.

I would also apply 81 healing to the mace. BUT, wait for a while first. The mats are expensive and you’ll want to use it on a weapon that will see action for a long time. See if you can farm the reputation for the Shatar and pick up the Gavel of Pure Light. Failing that, you can always roll the dice and attempt to pick up the Shard of the Virtuous from Maiden.

Good luck!

Remember, I’m only an email away. You can find it on the left pane of my blog (unlinked to scare off those pesky spam bots). Please, feel free to ask. If I can’t help you, I’ll direct you to someone who can.

One more topic of note for sunday. GMW’s post about speaking WoW in real life? That actually happened to me the other day. I was at school when one of my friend’s came up to me and asked what I had on the agenda for the next day:

Girl: Hows tomorrow look?
Me: Not much. No class until 230. Midterms are over. Papers are next week. Oh wait, I have a quest to do tomorrow.
Girl: *blink*
Me: What? Oh! Did I say quest? I mean quiz!
Girl: *sigh*

Ho hum.