MMO Declines, Being a Brewmaster, and Joining a New Guild

This week, the guild scored two progression kills between heroic Zon’ozz and Warlord Blackthorn. Otherwise, not many other events are going on at the moment. Still hard at work laying down the foundations for the guild league. It’s 1:20 in the morning as I write this and I am in the mood for some serious pho.

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MMO Decline Caused by Moves to Smaller Guilds

Theories about the decline of MMOs? Even though the past investors call from Activision Blizzard showed no significant decline in active subscriptions, there’s no doubt that people are quitting the game. Rohan surmises that it might be a result of shifts in guild sizes from large scale guilds to smaller sized ones.

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Guide to Being a Brewmaster

Sunnier has been hard at work in the beta creating a guide for Monk tanks! The guide covers basic stuff like your abilities and glyphs to the more advanced stuff like stat allocation and rotations. Give it a read if you’re thinking about tanking.

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Top 5 Things to do When Joining a New Guild

Lynesta is our newest Holy Paladin. It seems she’s brushed off the dust that had been collecting on her blog. Here, she adds a fresh perspective on different things you should do after being accepted into a new guild.

By the way, if you’re a League of Legends player looking to get started with the game or just a veteran looking to hone their skills, check out my LoL blog over at League of Matticus. Don’t forget to subscribe!

Pet Battles, Rapture, Symbiosis, and Monks

Pet Battles, Rapture, Symbiosis, and Monks

This week in The Herald.

  • An overview of pet battles
  • Why Rapture needs to retire
  • How to make Symbiosis better
  • Mistweaver Monk FAQ and Guide
Last weekend, I was over at Fan Expo Vancouver (think of it as Vancouver’s Comic Con). Not a bad event. I believe it was one of the first ones that was being organized and they were using it to test it out for future comic-ish cons. They hit capacity multiple times actually. Those who wanted to buy tickets the day of were denied shortly after lunch hour and the line was cut off. I heard both days saw around 12000+ people go in and out. Came home with this:

I miss that show.

Also, Kevin Sorbo is freakin’ tall. He was sitting next to Worf. I wonder who would win in a hand to hand fight. Hercules may be a demigod, but Worf is Klingon. Saw Marina Sirtis (Counselor Troi and might I add she aged really well). I bumped fists with Tony Amendola (Master Bra’tac from Stargate).

Hope we get a bigger and better one next year with a larger gaming presence, as well.

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An overview of pet battles

This post has a video demonstration of several pet battles from start to finish along with a preview of the new pets pane interface.

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Why Rapture needs to retire

Derevka lays out his thoughts on Rapture for Discipline and why he believes that mechanic must go. In a word, I agree with his sentiments.

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How to make Symbiosis better

Jasyla offers her opinion about the related spells of Symbiosis and offers up some alternative solutions instead.

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Mistweaver Monk FAQ and Guide

EGTactics has an up-to-date guide on the basics of playing the Mistweaver Monk. It covers aspects like suggested talents, ability usage, and gear.

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Are Good Healers Born or Created? 

Personally, my belief is that good healers can be created. But great healers are “born”. You can teach the technical skills to a player but you can’t really instill the burning desire to keep everyone alive.

New Priest talents, Glyph of Dark Binding, and Tier 14 healing bonuses

New Priest talents, Glyph of Dark Binding, and Tier 14 healing bonuses

Mindbender is the third level 45 talent. It was a giant question mark before, but it looks like it’s another pseudo-Shadowfiend. On a 4 minute cooldown, the Priest creates a Mindbender to attack the target and the Priest receives 6% mana back when Mindbender attacks. It’s only up for 15 seconds.

Glyph of Dark Binding: You can now cast Binding Heal, Flash Heal, and Renew without cancelling Shadowform. Nice! I’m pretty sure that’s going to be a super, OP utility glyph. I wouldn’t call it a requirement or anything yet. But if it were up to me, I’d ensure every Shadow Priest in my guild had it on progression as a just in case measure.

Glyph of Penance: Increases the mana cost of Penance by 20% but allows Penance to be cast while moving. I can accept this tradeoff.

Glyph of Fade: Your Fade ability now also reduces all damage taken by 10%. Fade just became much more attractive.

Spectral Guise does not appear to be our level 87 spell (Watch it in action here). You can now find it as a level 60 talent (Check WoWhead’s talent calculator). Wonder what replaced it. Edit: According to Derevka, Void Shift is now learned at level 87.

Divine Insight has changed. It’s no longer just an improved Serendipity.

Original

Divine Insight
Serendipity
When you heal with Binding Heal or Flash Heal, the cast time of your next Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing spell is reduced by 20% and mana cost reduced by 10%. Stacks up to 2 times. Lasts 20 sec.

Shadow of Death
When your Mind Blast deals damage, there is a 40% chance your next Shadow Word: Death will treat the target as if it were below 20% health.

New

Divine Insight
Discipline:
When you cast Spirit Shell, there is a 40% chance your next Power Word: Shield will both ignore and not cause the Weakened Soul effect.

Holy:
When you cast Greater Heal, there is a 40% chance your next Prayer of Mending will not trigger its cooldown, and will jump to each target instantly

Shadow:
When your Mind Blast deals damage, there is a 40% chance your next Shadow Word: Death will treat the target as if it were below 20% health.

Can’t wait for beta servers to come back online. I want to check out Mindbender. I’m sure it’ll be mind blowing.

Have to admit, I’m a little sad panda at the loss of Serendipity. Maybe they made it a base line or something but I haven’t seen anything that indicates that yet.

Tier 14 bonuses

Priest

  • 2 piece: Reduces the mana cost of Flash Heal by 10%
  • 4 piece: Reduces the cooldown of Penance by 4 seconds and reduces the cooldown of Circle of Healing by 4 seconds.

Shaman

  • 2 piece: Reduces the mana cost of Greater Healing wave by 10%
  • 4 piece: Your Tidal Waves ability now grants 1 additional charge each time it is triggered.

Paladin

  • 2 piece: Reduces the mana cost of your Holy Radiance spell by 10% (Overpowered).
  • 4 piece: Reduces the cooldown of Holy Shock by 1 second.

Druid

  • 2 piece: Reduces the mana cost of Rejuvenation by 10%
  • 4 piece: Reduces the cooldown of Swiftmend by 3 seconds.

Monk

  • 2 piece: Reduces the mana cost of Surging Mist by 10%
  • 4 piece: Your Chi Wave spell will now heal 1 additional target
Symbiosis and Monks

Symbiosis and Monks

I’m so flippin’ mad.

Times like this I wish I was a fan of golf instead.

But enough about that. Let’s get on to the highlights for this week. The beta cap in Mists has been raised. The big spotlight’s on Druids since they get Symbiosis to play with which impacts the rest of us.

WoWScrnShot_041412_200317

The great wall of Pandaria.

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Overview of the Mistweaver Monk

In the weekly WoW Insider Raid Rx column, you can get an introductory look at the Mistweaver Monk (The healing one) and gain insight on how the class is supposed to heal. They’re going with a hybrid DPS/healing mentality with high mobility.

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State of the Brewmaster

Sunnier has gone self hosting and has gotten a new look, new domain, and new everything. Wear sunglasses. It’s really bright. Other than that, you can check out her recent post on the recent state of Brewmaster tanks. A part of me thinks this might be a good expansion to give tanking a shot.

Then there’s the other part of me who isn’t going to trust the healer to keep my sorry ass alive.

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Symbiosis: Practical Assignments

This is Lissanna’s part 2 of Symbiosis analysis. Found this way more interesting since she has a raid composition with 5 (five) druids. You think deciding things like Focus Magic was hard? Raid leaders will have another level of headaches with Symbiosis to deal with now and here’s a theoretical case study on how it would go.

How Complex Should Healing Be?

How Complex Should Healing Be?

In my weekly Raid Rx column on WoW Insider, I published a post with an introductory look at the Mistweaver Monk. While Monks are still in the stages of construction, there’s enough of a foundation in the beta right now that players can mess around with. Monks have two resources: Mana and Chi. One of the comments in the column piqued my interest.

I get it that Paladins are monks are Blizzard’s ‘special’ healers that have to get extra resources like holy power and chi. Why can’t priests get their ‘insight’, druids their ‘harmony’ and shamans their ‘ether power’? Not a rant, just out loud wondering. Any beta testers can confirm that Monk healing is more similar to paladin than the other healer models, or not?

- Grmshepard

Now Grmshepard raises a point. You can’t seem to go a day browsing the WoW forums without a few players all depressed about how homogenized and similar the different healing classes are. The four (well, five) healing classes share some similarities but one needs to look much closer to really notice the nuances.

Secondary resources

Paladins get Holy Power. At the basic level, the class lets you develop charges of Holy Power giving you the ability to amplify the potency of select spells. It’s up to you to determine what that spell is and when that timing is. Remember when all you guys did was just stand there spamming Holy Light bombs during Burning Crusade? Now you’re dropping Holy Light bombs while building Holy Power charges at the same time! … I mean, it’s something new (Sorta).

Monks have Chi. It’s similar in concept to Holy Power. You’re using specific abilities to raise your level of Chi. In an earlier iteration, Monks had to utilize both light and dark chi. The general player feedback and consensus appeared to be “What’s the point?”. Therefore, that concept was simplified to just Chi. The thing with Chi though is that a number of the spells can be unloaded with just Chi. You’re using your mana to build up points of Chi. Chi can then be used to help heal your allies. The amount of Chi that is consumed has an impact on how much mana you get back (Cherry Mana Tea). It’s quite the interesting trinity. Don’t worry though, there’s still a number of healing spells that rely on your mana.

What about Druids, Shaman, and Priests?

My belief is that the three aforementioned classes feel complicated enough without the need for an additional secondary resource.

Looking at Priests, Chakra has added enough complexity on it’s own. The player needs to decide as is which stance they need to be in order to appropriately address the challenge of the present encounter. Talents like Serendipity allow us to charge up our own stacks to unleash a really fast spell on demand. It goes without saying that Discipline is fairly flexible between Atonement style and non-Atonement style. The Priest toolbox is pretty damn large. In fact, they should just call it a tool garage instead.

I’m not as qualified to talk about Druids as much. For more commentary on Resto Druids, I’d strongly suggest you head over and subscribe to my friend, Restokin. Way more knowledgeable than I, for sure. I’d say that the essence behind Druidism revolves around their HoT abilities and shapeshiftery. The latter talents in the Druid tree explicitly spell out the various benefits in switching between forms and taking advantage of the offered bonuses.

Going to have to defer on Shaman as well. Lodur’s the guy to talk to about that and you can catch his columns on WoW Insider.  There’s a heavy emphasis on totem usage and placement. Going into Mists, we’re going to see more involvement from the different elemental aspects. I need to play more Resto Shaman myself from time to time. The complexity with Shaman continues to rely upon strategic use of totems. We’ll have to see how the elemental forms play out.

Do you think the healing game for your class would be better if you had an additional secondary resource of your own? How much more complex does your class really need to be?

The Mistweaver Monk: Will it Work?

Additional details about the Monk was released a few days ago on. Ghostcrawler fielded the answers to several of the questions that I’m sure were on most people’s minds. The Monk healing spec (Mistweaver, a catchy name) is designed to rely heavily on punches and kicks. You get to DPS while you heal (or… heal while you DPS). Thankfully, there is going to be some semblance of familiarity as being in Mistweaver means that we do get a mana bar.

DPSing as a healer

Every punch, every kick, somersault, roll or whatever martial arts move is supposed to elicit some sort of heal. The traditional healing class simply gets through by targeting players and casting spells. This new Monk style of healing is going to shake things up. It sounds to me that a Monk at the top of their game is going to be contributing some DPS. There’s no plans to include auto attack meaning that you have fine control over your abilities (and as  Monk, you know you’re not going to accidentally right click Ragnaros and start the fight).

We know that Monks aren’t going to attack from range. They’re a melee class and designed to tango up close. Now I’m no melee expert, but I have a Ret Paladin (not helping my cause, I know). I’ve endured and seen first hand some of the difficulties that melee players go through. There’s all sorts of cleaves, AoEs and constant movement going on. Doesn’t that seem a little excessive for a melee healer?

On top of the obstacles that a melee class needs to deal with, a Monk must also worry about the players surrounding them and ensure that their health is sustained.

Get the picture? The Mistweaver playstyle blends in two incredibly stressing roles into one. This expansion plain sucked for melee classes.

Playing an Atonement Priest is the closest feeling one can get to the idea of DPS and healing. You’re just standing there, shooting a mob and watching as your healing is applied to whichever player needs it the most.

Envisioning the Monk

When I think of the Mistweaver, I imagine a sagely-like Panda who builds up their light or dark side abilities through melee attacks. We know that Monks have another resource system in addition to the base (Chi and mana). Dropping Statue of the Jade Serpent in key locations is the first step. You get three of these. One near the melee, one near the tank and one near the rest of the ranged would be the default setup. After that, what’ll probably happen is that the Panda leaps into melee range and begins their martial arts sequence by filling their Light or Dark force and then channelling that energy among the different statues which heals nearby players as necessary.

I’m hoping we’ll see some awesome Monk mobility in action. The ability to leap, roll or somersault their way from player to player while blasting them with close range healing before re-engaging the boss would really cool! Can you imagine it? It’s a melee healer. They’re not going to be doing much spell casting from a distance. It makes total sense for Monks to heal from close quarters.

Actually, Felade had a great idea on Plus Heal in line with mobility healing.

For instance, a modified roll that healed everyone in a line between your current location and the roll target, or a kick that healed everyone in its arc.For instance, a modified roll that healed everyone in a line between your current location and the roll target, or a kick that healed everyone in its arc.

I really like that bit about being a position based healer. Another idea would be a short range kick which adds shields to the target. As much as I hate Lightwell, I wouldn’t be surprised if Monks had the ability to deploy something similar. Maybe a really large Brewmaster keg instead of a Lightwell. Instead of seeing Priests screaming click the damn Lightwell, you’ll be seeing Monks saying click the damn keg. Something tells me that getting people to click a keg would be easier than getting people to click on a Lightwell.

How about a Monk Rebirth? Dead player? No problem! Leap to their corpse, slam the palm into the player and watch as they get brought back to life! Basically just slam the death out of them.

Now here’s the million gold question. Which classes get paired up with the Monk when it comes to tier tokens?

MoP Shakes up healing, Lodur’s thoughts

Well folks, it’s been a while, since I posted. Life has been quite busy for this little shaman. Things are calming down so you’ll see me posting more often (hopefully!). The past week was BlizzCon 2011, a fine time for everyone who got to go. For those of your readers I got to meet, it was an absolute pleasure! Shaking hands with readers is always fun, and sharing a drink with them is even better. Possibly one of the most exciting bits of news was the announcement of the new Mists of Pandaria! Not only will we finally get to play as our kung-fu pandas that we’ve been waiting for since the days of WC3, but it will bring with it a new class, the Monk.

The Monk class is an important addition to the World of Warcraft game for many reasons. Chief among them it is a hybrid class capable of filling all roles in the holy trinity of MMORPG; Tanking, DPS and Healing. This marks the third class capable of all three roles, with the other two being Druids (OP!) and Paladins.  The monk class promotes active playing. It’s a twitch class, and will be in all of it’s roles. While in DPS there is no auto attack, so you will constantly be hitting buttons. In tanking that will still be the same, and in healing well that’s where things get interesting.

Healing for a monk is not just about playing green bar whack-a-mole. The healing monk will be an incredibly active monk. Weaving into close combat to keep their orbs charged and then running around the raid/group to place healing statues or cast effects. It makes use of the monks base abilities of tumbling  and generally being a high mobility class while making you do things like deal damage or do other non-specific healing things to generate healing power. Well, that sounds pretty familiar to me, I mean this is exactly the type of healing I was talking about in March of 2010 here on the site!

It will not be your grandfather’s healing, or at least that’s the idea behind it. Since we’re still in an alpha phase, things will likely change. I personally hope they won’t. I revel in the idea of an active healer. I love the idea of being a hybrid and having to do different things in my role as a healer. I really think that it’s about time that something like this was brought into the world of warcraft as well, if for no other reason than the fact that other games are doing this as well.

T.E.R.A Online will promote active healing. Healing classes there will not just have to do multiple things besides healing in combat, they will actually have to actively target their spells for them to heal. No more just clicking an interface and a key, you will have to duck dive dip and dodge while healing, and target the right person too!  Healers in SWTOR will be healers with teeth, capable of not only healing those around them but fulfilling other roles as well. The Smuggler combat medic smacks of a billy bad-ass that runs around with wookies and will make sure you don’t die… for a price.

The point is, that the future of healing classes in games is moving away from the tried and true method of select unit frame, select spell, and to see the adoption of this in WoW in the next expansion speaks volumes to me of the IP’s survive-ability. The willingness to adapt to the market is important, and to me is exciting.

I play a healer in every game I play that allow it. I love healing, it is my passion in gaming outside of story. I’ve been healing a long time though, so anything that mixes up the normal click and click method of healing to me is exciting. Making me throw punches to charge up my healing? I’m OK with that. Making me have to run around and place my healing wards to actually heal things? I’m OK with that too. Don’t get me wrong, I love healing on my shaman, it’s always a lot of fun for me, but something like this has me seriously considering the possibility of switching to a monk to heal. It depends greatly on execution and how it feels being a healer in the expansion with the class, but I can honestly say I haven’t been this excited in a long time. I can certainly tell you that the vast majority of my play time when I get my beta access to MoP will be playing with the monk healing style to see how I like it.

So, what do you think? Does the idea of monk healing excite you? Do you think it’s silly and hate it? Do you bring PANDAMONIUM!?