The Gearing Process to ToC 10 for a Priest

This is a guest post by Aleph, who chronicled his early end game gearing process.

Upon levelling my priest to level 80 and looking at joining my guild’s raid team as a healer, I found that I hit a barrier where I simply had no means of gaining any new gear that would get me up to Naxx10 level and therefore enter the raiding circuit as it were.

Before I continue I should make a few things clear.

I play in seasons. I play from June/July to September, then break until December and play until early January, taking a break until Easter time where I play for most of April. This makes it take amazingly long for me to achieve almost anything in WoW.

So, brand new level 80! How to begin?

Develop a routine

Well, the first thing you’ll want to do is start developing a daily circuit. The length of your circuit (and therefore the amount of dailies involved) depends on your playtime per day. I had a very limited playtime and so I found it was easier to focus on one zone at a time. I started with Icecrown and the Knights of the Ebon Blade faction. I began at the Shadow Vault and gathered up the daily quests available there. I completed these and flew down to the quest hub at the Overlook which is on the cliff just east of the Scarlet Onslaught Harbor. I Completed all three of the dailies there, then flew to the Skybreaker and collected the daily quests there (I omitted the pvp quest because it took me too long to complete it). What people miss sometimes are the two quests on the ground. Upon completion of these quests you can either head over to the Argent Tournament or return to the Shadow Vault depending on the amount of play time you have left. You should repeat this until you have enough reputation to purchase some of the items from the Ebon Blade Quatermaster then move on to another faction.

Build up reputation

Make sure to go around and buy a tabard from the four factions you can get a rep tabard from, Kirin Tor, The Wyrmrest Accord, Knights of the Ebon Blade and The Argent Crusade. While doing your Daily rounds, go to the LFG interface and chose from the level 80 dungeons. These are: “Caverns of Time: Culling of Stratholme”; “Trial of the Champion” (this gives excellent loot); “The Nexus: Oculus”; “Ulduar: Halls of Lightning”; “Utgarde Keep: Utgarde Pinnacle”. Run at least one of these a day with your tabard for the faction you’re working on reputation for until you no longer need reputation with that faction. Then switch to another tabard and start the process again.

Do homework

While doing this, ask around for the generally accepted stats for your class/role for heroics are for your realm. On my realm it was around 1.5k spell power for a holy priest. It is possible that disc priests (or other classes) may have an easier time healing the easier heroics thanks to the damage mitigation. Luckily I had the dual spec and had shadow as my secondary spec. Some of my guild mates offered to take me to Violet Hold Heroic mode as a DPS. I accepted and got a lot of reputation and even a few healing items. If you get a chance to join onto a heroic as your off-spec, go for it; don’t worry about being a fifth wheel.

Buy gear

Once you’ve done a few days worth of daily quests and have built up a decent buffer of gold, visit the auction house and look for any BoE Epics or Rares that you can buy. If you are unsure about what items to buy, ask your friends or guild mates. I bought two items, one epic and one rare item, these allowed me to begin running heroics.

Farm for badges

By now you should be almost ready to start doing heroics. This is where our tactic changes. You’ll want to set your hearthstone to one of the inns in Dalaran as this will be your new base of operations. If you haven’t been doing so already, you should start picking up the normal daily dungeon quest. Each day, log in at Dalaran and go to the Violet Hold where you will find two daily quest givers. On your left as you enter is where the normal dungeon daily quest can be found and on your right are the heroic versions. We’ll be turning right and collecting the normal daily quest for now. Once you have the daily quest put yourself in the LFG for the level 80 dungeons, making sure you’re queuing for the one the quest is located in! Then go out of Dalaran and continue with your daily quest circuit until you get into a group for a dungeon. Go to the dungeon then at the end, hearthstone (or take a mage portal) back to Dalaran and hand in the quest. It is important that you hand in the daily dungeon quest before the daily quests reset. The idea here is to gain as many badges of heroism and triumph as possible in the shortest time. As you may know, Badges of Heroism drop from bosses in heroic dungeons and Badges of Triumph are gained (at this point) from handing in the daily dungeon heroic. With this in mind, it is advisable to (If possible) try to set up a day where you and four other people clear all of the heroics at once. This will greatly increase the amount of badges you can get. Otherwise continue with your other dailies.

Once you have collected enough gear from these activities and think you will perform well enough in heroic mode dungeons, join the LFG queue for Utgarde Keep (Heroic mode).The heroic dungeons are in a separate list to the normal dungeons. Go on the Utgarde Keep run and see how well you perform. If you think it is necessary, ask the other group members how they think you performed. If you did well, start joining some more difficult heroics. Look up which are the easiest and do those first. Then, as you get more gear, advance up the heroics. By the time you can do heroics like Halls of Lightning, Halls of Stone and Oculus, you should be looking at entry level Naxxramas, depending on the gear you have accumulated. If you haven’t, don’t worry. By now, you should have collected quite a few Emblems of Conquest and perhaps some Emblems of triumph from the heroic daily quest. These can be spent in Dalaran in the Horde and Alliance sections of the city. Each badge type has its own vendor. Look at the vendors and look for items which would benefit you the most. Work out what you should buy first (always go for the item that will give the biggest increase) and buy it. After a couple of days, perhaps weeks, depending on how many heroics a day you run. If it is possible, try to set up a day where you and four other people clear all of the heroics at once. This will greatly increase the amount of badges you can get. Also, don’t forget to get the heroic and normal daily quests each day because you can complete the normal quests while in heroic mode as well.

A good measure for when you are Naxx ready is when you have over half of the superior achievement completed. That means getting at least eight i187 items or better before setting foot in Naxx. Some PUG Naxxramas groups might require you to have the entire superior (and even sometimes the epic version as well) but for guild runs, get a guildy to /inspect you to check out your gear. They will generally say whether you are undergeared or not in comparison with the rest of the guild. Just make sure you let the raid leader know that you are now available for raiding and they should factor you into the next run or two. At this stage, you will probably be under a trial period, in which make sure to put 110% effort into the raids so that the raid management see you as a player who benefits the entire raid and not someone who is a liability.

Get your feet wet

This part is one where it is almost required to be in a guild. If you want to get up to ToC 10 level, you will want to be making regular forays into Naxxramas 10. So, once you’re in your guild run, clearing the quarters, gathering up loot left and right, how do you improve and get to the next level of content (Ulduar10)? Well, the best way to get to the next level is for your guild to get to the next level of content. At this point it is inadvisable to join any PUG raids as you will want to be fully focused on guild progression. If you think your guild is not moving fast enough, offer to take more responsibility in raids, work on tactics that work specifically for your guild, offer to set up the healing assignments or, even offer to set up another night of raiding for the guild (make sure you have the green light from above before doing this). This post is not about progression however. Once your guild has cleared the four quarters and has made decent attempts on the last two bosses, you should be able to begin Ulduar 10 raids, depending on your raid team’s gear/ability. Also look for any Obsidian Sanctum 10 or Eye of Eternity 10 raids as the two instances offer some nice items which can help a lot in Ulduar10.

I would recommend that, once your guild is in Ulduar 10 and has cleared a few bosses that you join a Naxxramas 25 pickup group in order to gain a few items that will help you to advance in Ulduar. Guilds seem to advance fairly steadily through Ulduar, provided that their gear is adequate for the level of content and also that they have the drive to progress. Progression will be faster with a group of dedicated, intelligent people who generally know what they’re doing. If you are hoping to find guides to the bosses here, you can find Ulduar healing ones and Trial of the Crusader ones.

If your guild has really got stuck into Ulduar10 and have arrived at Yogg-Saron, I would recommend attempting to take him down before moving on to the next raid. You don’t have to, but it’s a great fight in the way that all of the players must be on top form and concentrating 100% for the entire fight. So! Once you have successfully cleared Ulduar, chances are you have already attempted the newly refurbished Onyxia’s lair. You will get some nice gear upgrades from here, mainly the helm, but once this has been done, you are pretty much out of content before ToC10. This is where you have two options.

  1. Go on to ToC10 and give it a try.
  2. Return to Ulduar and gear up some more.

I would recommend you give ToC a try unless you’re woefully unconfident with your gear level. This is where we utilize one of the great tools of the internet.

What’s the next step?

You don’t have to follow this next step if you disagree or disapprove of this practice. I am talking about LootRank. There are a few sites out there that offer this service but I use Guildox for it. Mainly because if you are not familiar with the parameters you want, you can pick one of their sample templates which fills out the information based on the class/spec combo you use. You can also link your characters gear to it which helps by highlighting any items you already have. Once you press view loot ranking, a list will appear which has a section for each slot (and enchantments) which are ranked from 1 -7 in the order they appear. A good idea is going over to WoW Head and using the item comparison page to double check if the items are for you. This way you can make sure you’ll get what you need. You can check where the gear drops so for example I see that the top staff for me would be the Icecore Staff. I can see that it drops from Hodir in Ulduar10 H. It is important that you see the H as the staff only drops if you defeat Hodir before he shatters his rare cache. It is advisable to use this tool as you look to enter ToC10.

After several raids at this content level, you should be more than ready to have a valid attempt at ToC10. However, perhaps your guild has not been gearing up as zealously as you have and do not want to go into ToC 10. While they will most likely leap at it, if they do not, you may want to look around your server to see if any other guilds are running it and see if they have a space for you on their next raid. If that fails, you could always attempt to PUG it, although this may not be very successful. The best plan, I think is to help your guildies to gear up quickly by giving any hints or tips you might have learned on your journey to ToC10. Patience is a key requirement for this stage. Please keep in mind that most guilds will charge into ToC10 before even defeating Yogg-Saron and so the last paragraphs or two are completely useless.

Now you should be ready for ToC 10 man! Good luck and happy raiding!

13 Tips to be a Naxx Immortal (and Undying)

13 Tips to be a Naxx Immortal (and Undying)

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This is a guest post by Ulkesshern, a Holy Paladin from the EU!

Undying and Immortal two achievements that are on paper really easy to get, but in practice seem to be fiendishly difficult.

Below are some random tips to hopefully help you all get some of the coolest titles in the game.

  • Do Razuvious first – Until you kill a boss you aren’t saved and thus have no raid ID to be marked as “Contains Dead People” should the mind controllers mess up and get someone killed, simply wipe the fight, disband the group and reform it with someone else as the leader and try again!
  • Use scrolls – Lucky you scribes, you finally serve a purpose! Especially in 10 man you aren’t going to have every buff, for example I’m frequently mage-less, a quick scroll of Intellect later and I’m a happy man, Scrolls of Fortitude are also a life saved!
  • Buff up properly – It really is serious business, don’t skimp on consumables!
  • Die on trash, lots – Its fun and doesn’t endanger the achievement!
  • Use Divine Intervention during trash – If you are a Paladin the last thing you want to do is somehow DI someone during a boss fight, keep it permanently on cool down (Stupid as it sounds I have heard of this happening)
  • Take it steady – its not a DPS race.
  • Take three(normal) or seven(heroic) healers – its much better to have bored healers than stressed healers.
  • Don’t try and do all the other achievements on the same run!
  • Don’t be afraid to sit someone out for a while - the achievement is granted to all players who take part in the Kel Thuzad kill on a clean raid ID. If you have someone who really can’t dance for example then get them to sit the fight out!
  • Health Potions and Health Stones are your friends – DPSers, use them!
  • If a DK dies while under the effect of Shadow of Death then its okay! He’s not dead yet!
  • Having Undead in your raid doesn’t make the achievement impossible, despite the contradictory nature of their bios, Forsaken aren’t dead! (or are they and when ever you resurrect one you are killing it :/ )
  • Relax and have fun!

There’s also one extra tip that I have not been able to personally verify, there seems to be some strong evidence kicking around that only deaths from Baron Rivendare count…. I don’t know for sure, but my advice is if someone doesn’t die to him but does to one of other horsemen don’t give up and keep going, you might still get it!

Image courtesy of flaivoloka

Patchwerk through the eyes of a Resto Shaman

Image courtesy of Feralis.org

Lodur from Zul’jin here once again. This post I’d like to talk a little bit about healing Patchwerk as a restoration shaman. This will be a bit of a short post for me this week. Patchwerk for the longest time has been THE premiere check for your dps, your tanks and your healing. He is a perfect measuring stick for your raid if you think about it. He’s a straightforward fight, dps can sit and dps, tanks sit and soak damage and healers sit and heal. There’s no fancy gimmicks, no movement or fire to move out of , so it really is the perfect boss fight to check out your raids gear and ability.

You might ask youself “What is there to know? Don’t we just dump heals into tanks and call it a day? ” There are a couple different roles a shaman can play for healing through Patchy here. The two tried and true methods are Chain Heal spam and Lesser Healing Wave spam. Lets talk about the strengths of each for a moment here.

Lesser Healing Wave method.

  • Quicker heals
  • Using Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave allows the spell to hit for almost as much as Healing Wave
  • Lower spell cost for more heals per mana spent.
  • Quickly allows off tanks to be topped off to full health

Chain Heal Method.

  • More efficient heals (5.3 healing per mana spent)
  • Allows for both off tanks and main tank to be targeted and healed through the jumps of chain heal.
  • Smoothes out healing on the off tanks so second healers have an easier time keeping the tanks health even.
  • Allows for lag compensation due to added healing buffer.

Lesser Healing Wave Method:

This method is really straightforward. Simply put you keep Earth Shield up on your tank and continue to dump Lesser Healing Waves and Riptides into him constantly. Make sure to keep your Water Shield up for maximum mana regen and to make sure you have full charges available for Improved Water Shield. Using this method you have to apply healer tunnel vision. By that I mean you have to pay attention to your tank and only your tank, if you try to heal another OT or the Main Tank, your tank is likely to eat a large spike before you can top him off. This method allows for very little error but is very mana costly in the end.

Chain Heal Method:

Personally I prefer the Chain Heal method, let me explain a bit about why. Firstly, it is simply our most efficient heal. You get the most bang for your buck out of it and if you have your 4 piece set bonus from tier 7, or even if you’re still rocking a couple pieces of tier 6, you just get the most mileage out of it. Secondly it has a lot of synergy with some other talents that you will find useful for this fight.

Lets go ahead and assume you’re assigned to heal one of the two Hateful Strike tanks (I’m operating under the assumption you’ll be using the two OT strategy.) The tank you are specifically assigned to will be your the starting point of all your heals. He will get the most out of your chain heals. After that if the OT’s are situated right, it will bounce off of your tank and onto the second OT, thereby adding a buffer to that tanks healers. My experience has show that two restoration shamans placed on the OT’s produce enough of a healing buffer that the other healers have a light healing load, it makes sure to smooth out the spikes in healing you normally see. Think of it as like providing the driving baseline for a band, it helps set the framework for everything around it. There are a few more benefits to this. Lets say something goes terribly wrong and all of a sudden someone other then the OT’s takes a Hateful Strike, if you’re already chain healing you’ll be able to heal the person through the smart heal component without having to divert attention away from the OT’s in order to heal someone up. We can also assume you’ll be using a healthy smathering of Riptide it’s just going to pump your Chain Heal amount up that much more. Also, by using your chain heal you’re allowing for Tidal Waves to be up all the time so if you need to throw a LHW or a HW it hits for that much more.


All in all he’s not terrible for us, just make sure you have your Runic Mana potions and Mana Tide Totem ready to go to keep your mana up, and it should be smooth sailing for you. Both methods work (regardless of crit or haste gear =P ) and as long as you’re paying attention to your tank, you will easily succeed.

Now if you guys have a different way of doing it, please feel free to share =)

Till next time, Happy Healing!

~ Lodur

5 Mistaken Beliefs of Raiding Guilds

5 Mistaken Beliefs of Raiding Guilds

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The comments from Wednesday’s post drew a consensus where everyone called for a Gkick. As some readers observed, it’s not exactly going to win the Emmy for Best Drama of the year.

On the other hand, the fact that a Paladin on break is the best I can offer in terms of drama should say something about myself and the organization.

Please understand that I wrote that post to inform and let readers know that no guild is impervious. I did this to inform. I didn’t mean for it to come out as a rant (because there’s far worse things in life then a Paladin leaving).

I’m not going to remove him. I’ll let him stick around in the guild. On the flip side, it doesn’t mean he’s going to get the start when the 2 raiding instances come out. He’ll have to earn his stripes.

Belief 1: Your GM Owns You

Wrong. I don’t own my players. They recognize that they’re all technically free agents. They didn’t sign a multi-year contract to raid. I’ll elaborate on this in the next point. But there is nothing to prevent people from walking away.

All I can say is this. If you don’t want to clear out Heroic Naxx, OS with 2 Drakes, Malygos, and Vault of Archavon within 6 hours, then you don’t want to be in this guild.

It’s all about incentives.

And if a player doesn’t want to do that, I’m damn sure I can find someone who’s willing. When a player’s goal differs from a guild’s goal, no amount of incentives will win them back.

Belief 2: It’s a One Way Street

The relationship between a guild and a member is a symbiotic relationship. It works both ways. The guild serves the individual by providing them with a home, discounted prices on materials, and a supply of other likeminded people to do 5 mans or heroics.

On the other hand, the individual serves the guild by being present for raids, investing their time and money into raids, and just being there.

Belief 3: Your Excuses Mean Something

Whether a player wants to leave because of burnout or they have exams or their wife is pregnant is irrelevant. I realize this sounds quite harsh. But the reality is, no matter what the reason, I’m still going to have an empty hole in my roster for a period of time that has to be filled. I can’t be expected to wait around for 4 months for a player to come back. I’m not going to raid short handed with 24.

Whether a hockey goalie injures his groin, breaks a leg, or has to deal with family issues is important. But the team’s general manager still has to go out and make a trade for a goalie or promote one from the minors because the team needs one.

No matter how you slice it, it all leads to the same result. In this case, it is a net loss of one player for a few months.

Belief 4: Your Spot is Guaranteed

Sorry, that’s not the case here. If a player doesn’t perform, they get replaced. If a player isn’t here to perform, they have to be replaced anyway.

The difference between a Paladin who leaves and one who stays with the rest of us?

It proves to me that they’re willing to stick around and dedicate themselves. Those are the type of troopers I want.

Readers, understand that we’re all expendable to an extent. It’s going to be easier to replace a healer because there are 4 different healer classes to choose from.

But it will be much more difficult to replace the guy who tirelessly draws out maps, sets up strategy and organizes the kill method on a weekly basis.

The hint here is to be be valuable as much as possible. In the end, the Paladin I lost is just one Paladin. They’re a dime a dozen.

My guild is in a good bargaining position right now since we’re ahead of the raiding curve (also coming soon). Finding people isn’t the problem especially when I’m not terribly concerned with a player’s gear level. When I started Conquest, I didn’t have a reputation. I’ll elaborate more on this later.

Belief 5: Gear Makes You Important

I can see this being true to an extent. But in my years of raiding, I’ve learned something. I’m going to refer to this concept as the 30% rule.

30% of loot will be wasted

This factors in upgrades, players leaving, and off spec items. Inversely, this means that 70% of loot awarded will actually be used for raiding and be effective for guild progression. It’s just the way of guilds.

While I may invest a large proportion of gear into players, I know that gear alone isn’t going to win me any favours. But progression will.

We say stuff all the time about guilds rewarding players or just gearing them up for whatever reason. But the reality is that every instance has a “minimum standard of gear” before it can be completed successfully. What the standard is will deviate from guild to guild.

I wrote my recommended requirements for Naxx last week. Note how the comments vary. Some agreeing and some disagreeing. Your guild’s “sweet spot” will differ from mine.

Another example would be Brutallus. A raid DPS of 20420 (post nerf) is required to kill him within enraged timers (another post entirely). Once you reach that threshold, you’re gold.

Reflections

If a player is going to burn out after only 6 hours of raiding a week, then this guild is not for them. What’s going to happen when the second tier of raiding instances are released? How will they handle the wear and tear of progression raiding where we commit ourselves to 12 hours a week?

To me, these early farm raids are a dress rehearsal. If we compare raiding to a season of sports, then Naxx, OS, and Malygos is just pre-season for me.

Remember that when I formed this guild, I had nothing to go on but my name, my reputation, and my promise. I could’ve lied and said that I was a proven guild leader. But I didn’t. I managed to convince around 25 players to buy into my vision and my goals. This was a combination of people that I had raided with for a long time, readers via my blog, people on twitter, and players in trade chat. I had no way of knowing whether or not it would work. I didn’t know whether they would gel together. There was so much uncertainty when I started out.

I’d by lying to you if I said I didn’t spend every waking moment second guessing myself.

A new guild does not have it’s fair share of pickings. There’s no reason for star players of other guilds to come play under your banner. I had to build from the bottom up with all sorts of people without knowing what their motives were.

Use these “easy” raids to learn more about your guild. Find out about their strengths and weaknesses. Figure out habits and tendencies. What makes them laugh and what makes them cry.

Oh, one more thing. I want to extend a thank you to all the Paladins and healers who emailed me and sent in applications. I believe that position’s been settled for now (unless they turn out be pure crap, in which case I’ll put the call out again).

Image courtesy of barunpatro

The 6 Signs of Raiding Burnout

The 6 Signs of Raiding Burnout

We’re just a few weeks into a new expansion, so it feels a little strange to talk about burnout. However, Blizzard made a critical miscalculation when they worked on Wrath. They lavished most of their time and energy on quest and 5-person dungeon content–which is essentially single-view for many players. I know I certainly haven’t brought my alts through Northrend yet. However, they spent very little of their design energy on new raids. Naxxramas, which I never saw pre-Wrath, feels dated to me–it was already old the day I stepped in there. It’s something that was very cool for its time, and is fun even now, but just looks like Classic WoW. It’s like Eastern Plaguelands, part 2. For example, take a boss like Grobbulus. He looks like a butt with a face on it, or a face with a butt on it…or just a butt, with a gas mask. How can I help but be a little disappointed, especially when Blizzard is capable of creating a boss as beautiful as Malygos?

The fact that the new Naxx is tuned to be rather easy isn’t the biggest factor in how I feel about it. After all, I loved Karazhan–it was the unique mechanics and the enchanted-castle look of that place that kept me going back for more, not the difficulty level. The only two new raid instances, Obsidian Sanctum and the Eye of Eternity, are one-boss wonders. They’re cool and challenging, but there’s just not enough new bosses there to get the blood pumping.

I, for one, am very disappointed that Ulduar hasn’t hit yet. At the end of BC, I was on top of the world–Illidan and Archimonde fell for my guild right before the patch. Pre-Wrath, I got a little peek at Sunwell up to Felmyst. I had started to love raiding, and I wanted bigger challenges. . . like an entirely new instance full of beautiful, sad giants and lovely starscapes. I hope that’s Ulduar. If it had been me, I would have held Wrath entirely until at least one new full-length raid dungeon was ready.

Are you suffering from early burnout, dear reader? If one of the following six signs applies to you, you may want to see your nearest priest, who will probably prescribe a healthy diet of alt leveling and shameless achievement-chasing.

The 6 Signs of Early Burnout

1. The first time you ever saw one of the Naxxramas bosses, you said to yourself: “Not this guy again.” That, for me, was Heigan, who looks suspiciously like a lot of the trash mobs in Northrend. Hey! I think I killed that guy in Dragonblight. And Zul’Drak.

2. When your fellow raiders drop a train set, you wish that you could teleport them to Stranglethorn arena and kill them all. Choo choo? I hate you. Note to self: learn to PvP.

3. You’re tempted to send the Four Horseman a little note telling them how to better coordinate themselves for easier kills on overconfident adventurers. Note to the 4H: go for the healers, especially the druids. Wait no, scratch that . . .

4. When a boss dies, you run to get another beer–or in my case, Bailey’s–without bothering to see what he dropped. Purples, schmurples.

5. You and your friends have each incurred a repair bill of approximately 1589 gold this week because you’ve been trying for the Heroic dungeon achievements. After all, achievements are the real game, and all the leet players ride red proto drakes.

6. Tuesday is the high point of your week–not because it’s the start of the raid week, but because that’s the day your egg from the Oracles always hatches. I just got my baby Cobra–how did you do?

Healing Naxxramas – Maexxna (10 man)

Healing Naxxramas – Maexxna (10 man)

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Maexxna is the last boss in the Arachnid Quarter. I don’t know if it’s a he or a she, but I think it’s a she. Let me tell you that she is one heck of a honkin’ big spider.

Tank that boss at a distant pace away. Try to keep the raid near a wall and the tank in the middle. Make sure the tank faces the big Max away from the raid. She’ll periodically do a Spider Wrap cocoon that will temporarily stun players and prevent them from moving or casting spells.

Every so often she’s going to target a player and fling them to a wall. You can adjust the direction you get thrown because it flings you in the direction directly behind you.  At the same time this player is going to be wrapped in webbing and will not be able to do anything. Other players in the raid have to go up to the webbing and DPS it down until the player inside is free. If you can afford it, I suggest tasking your strongest ranged DPS on webbing breaking duty. For myself, I used a Hunter for this. Any class will work.

Little mini spiders will periodically show up. Have a mage freeze them up and the raid AoE them down. No mages? Well, then just AoE them down. Frost traps and Earthbind totems for extra marks. Get your secondary tank to drag the suckers toward Maex herself and get the melee in on the action.

At the 30% mark, big M gets even bigger and hits like a freight train. Around the 35% mark, I strongly suggest all DPS to stop what they’re doing. Wait for the next web spray to go off. When that’s over, pop Heroism/Bloodlust, initiate all cooldowns and tip her over the point of no return.

This is where it gets dicey. Pay close attention to the web spray timer. As the countdown gets closer, load up on HoTs on the tank. Have the tank blow their emergency survival cooldowns to try to survive the wrap.

For the next Web Wrap, have a Priest watch the cooldown accordingly. As it counts down, have them light up a Guardian Spirit along with full HoTs. The HoTs should be amplified by an additional 40% and the GS will ensure survivability long enough until players are out of the wrap.

If you have a Discipline Priest, do the same thing. Have them use Pain Suppression instead of GS. Don’t worry about threat. It shouldn’t be a concern here. If Pain Suppression causes your tank to lose aggro, something is very wrong with the tank.

I think a Prot Pally can help if they’re specced accordingly. Make sure that the Prot Pally isn’t the one tanking. A Divine Shield should mitigate further damage done by 30% since some of the incoming damage is redirected to the Paladin. Just make sure they’re not tanking Max.

For Healers

Necrotic Poison – This is the main reason why the tank faces the big M away from the raid. It reduces healing taken by 90%. It must come off. Any Druid, Paladin or Shaman can remove it. She also does a 15 yard conical directly in front of her. That would be the second reason.

A Healing Druid’s Naxx-25 Shopping List

A Healing Druid’s Naxx-25 Shopping List

As many of you longtime readers are now aware, I have joined forces with Matticus and Conquest for Wrath of the Lich King. Matt is a hard taskmaster–even before we started raiding, he gave us homework! The nerve!

However, as a veteran of too many years in graduate school, I LOVE homework. Here is my Naxx-25 wishlist, dressed up pretty for the blog.

This list is as exhaustive as possible given the current information out there about Naxx. Given that it’s early, the loot table could be subject to change. The following list isn’t personal, per se–it’s a list of all the best stuff out there for restoration druids. I have divided it by bosses, using the typical order. There are many items that are shared across several bosses, particularly necklaces, rings, and cloaks. In that case, I’ve listed them only under the first boss who can drop them. This, dear reader, is your Naxx 25 Resto Kit–use it as a guide for all your holiday DKP purchases.

Anub’Rekan:

Swarm Bindings
Well folks, these are your bracers from Naxx-25. The selling point for this item is the spirit. Now, the crit is less optimal for us, and I wish I had a talent to turn crit into mp5. However, from here on out, you’ll be choosing between the lesser of two evils on your gear–heavy crit or heavy haste, neither of which the resto druid wants to stack to excess. For my Naxx-25 kit, I’m largely going to ignore these and work to get items that give me a solid amount of regen while casting. That means lots of spirit, but also some mp5, as the return on spirit is less than in post 2.4 Burning Crusade content.

Grand Widow Faerlina:

Chains of Adoration
This neck has a decent amount of mp5 and a healthy dose of stamina as well. It’s not perfect, but it will work for any healer. Most of your gear as a druid will have spirit, and in my mind it’s good to plump up your while-casting regen with just a little bit of mp5 as well. That said, this item is available from several bosses and I might let shamans and paladins take it first.

Seized Beauty
This item, like the Chains of Adoration, is available from multiple bosses, and it is likewise a multi-purpose item. I like it better than the neck, mostly because I’m used to having mp5 and not spirit in my ring slot. Once again, something you can feel safe passing on the first couple of times until the mp5 junkies in your healing team have one.

Tunic of Prejudice
This item is simply great. Where I can, I’ll take haste over crit. The druid healing spells that can crit are few: Healing Touch, Nourish, and Regrowth. However, if you can get enough haste, you might be able to take some points out of Gift of the Earthmother and put them elsewhere. I would personally rather have mp5, but in this expansion, mp5/spirit items seem to have gone the way of the dodo.

Maexxna:

Cowl of the Perished
The best feature of this item, aside from it’s cool name, is a whopping 72 spirit. It has crit in an equally stunning amount, so I might let a boomkin have it first.

Mantle of Shattered Kinship
With haste and spellpower, this is another decent buy for a resto druid. However, if you’re bidding, bid low, and if you can pass, you might want to do it. It shows up not long before the shoulder tokens, which will get you something better. However, if you’re not a set bonus junkie, take it and let others have the token.

Shawl of the Old Maid
This is another multi-boss, multi-purpose healing drop. The spirit will serve a druid well, but I might let holy priests have it first, as they will get more mileage out of the crit.

Matriarch’s Spawn
This one is an incredibly cool-looking spirit-haste combo that will have you wishing that offhand items showed all the time. A solid buy for your DKP, so feel good about splurging on this item. Whether you choose to gear for staves or main hand/off hand should probably depend only on what drop you happen to get first. Once you have a decent combo, let others in your raid take these things.

Wraith Strike
Even though this weapon looks really cool, it’s just not made for resto druid. It spends its budget on both crit and haste, making it attractive for both Elemental Shaman and Moonkin Druid. Take it if it would otherwise rot, and if you end up with it, keep it for your moonkin set but replace it when you can with a one-handed mace that has either spirit or mp5.

Noth the Plaguebringer:

Accursed Spine
This one is similar to Matriarch’s Spawn with crit instead of haste. Matriarch’s is better for a healer, but you can take it if it would otherwise rot.

Belt of Potent Chanting
It’s got the ubiquitous crit, but as set pieces aren’t an option for a belt, go ahead and pick it up, especially if your moonkin friends already have it.

Lost Jewel
Even though it has crit, of the rings, this one looks good to me because it’s also got spirit. Also a shared drop, this is one that’s good enough for Resto Druid that I might go ahead and take it early.

Heigan the Unclean:

Cloak of Averted Crisis
Here is another solid cloak that’s shared by several boss loot tables. It’s another decent option–you just have to choose whether you want mp5 or spirit on your back.

Gloves of the Dancing Bear
This is a really nice item with spirit, a red gem slot, and a spirit bonus for socket matching. Even though it’s not a tier piece, it’s really good. My only suggestion is that it should have been named “Gloves of the Dancing Tree.” It does have crit, but assuming that you use the best gem available to you, I think the socket gives the item an edge.

Shroud of Luminosity
This is one of the few non-spellhit items that you might argue is truly offspec for a druid healer. Sure, you can wear it, but it spends its item budget on both haste and crit, which makes it a poor buy for your DKP. Take it only if your casters and fellow healers don’t want it.

Loatheb:

Shoulders token, yielding the Valorous Dreamwalder Spaulders
Of course you will want all your tier pieces. However, I urge you to see them as one option among many. The bonuses–particularly the 4 piece, which plumps up a mostly-unused spell–are just window dressing. They are not obligatory. If you already have something good in a slot, pass to those who do not.

The Impossible Dream
Now, Don Quijote is actually my favorite book. However, I strongly dislike the musical Man of La Mancha, even though I know all the songs. Right now, that horrible ballad is right there, in my head, and in less than 30 seconds I’m going to start singing it and scare the crap out of my cat, who disapproves of off-key arias. Anyway, this is a great item for resto druids. Take it at your own risk–the WoW devs will not compensate you for lyrical madness.

Instructor Razuvious:

Nothing unique from this boss, but there are several items from the shared loot table.

Gothik the Harvester:

Idol of Awakening
While I’d rather have an idol for Wild Growth, Regrowth or Lifebloom, I always suggest that players pick up the available idols whenever they can. Even if you won’t use it now, you might later.

Shackled Cinch
For my money, this is the best resto druid belt in Naxx. Go ahead and pick it up with confidence.

Four Horsemen:

Chestpiece token, yielding Valorous Dreamwalker Robe
Once again, a great piece, but there is another chest option to keep in mind.

Damnation
Something tells me–the name perhaps–that casters will drool over this staff. It will work for healers too. Sure, it has crit, but it also has a really nice helping of stamina, spirit, and intellect.

Gloves of Peaceful Death
These could be nice if you’re stacking haste, but in my mind, the gem slot on the other gloves in Naxx makes them a better buy. These are inferior to the set piece gloves from Obsidian Sanctum as well.

Patchwerk

Boots of Septic Wounds
These are your Naxx-25 boots, unless you want to squabble with the clothies over one of their options for fine footwear. Put them high on your priority list and take them when you can–it’s really your only option in this tier.

Grobbulus:

Nothing unique

Gluth:

There may be inaccuracies about this boss, as wowwiki and wowhead don’t agree on his loot table. This guy seems to be able to drop chest tokens, leg tokens, shoulder tokens, and a whole host of miscellaneous stuff.
Charmed Cierge
If in fact this item drops from Gluth on Heroic, it’s a pretty decent staff.

Legs token, yielding Valorous Dreamwalker Leggings
If you can choose only one piece of Tier 7, let this be your target. There isn’t a good substitute for this item unless your raid can kill Sapphiron.

Thaddius:

Headpiece of Fungal Bloom.
This item is pretty unique, featuring massive stamina and mp5. This isn’t a bad piece if you’re otherwise low stamina and heavy on spirit.

Spire of Sunset
This is the weapon that I personally want the most. I like the haste and mp5–I’m used to weapons with no spirit, so I don’t miss it here.

Sapphiron:

Cosmic Lights
You could argue this one as offspec for a resto druid. With the crit/haste combo, it’s not a great buy, and I’d hold out for a necklace with either spirit or mp5 if I had a choice.

Legguards of the Boneyard
Now, I realize this isn’t the tier piece, but this is a really great item. I’d take it in a heartbeat.

Kel-Thuzad:

Helm Token, yielding Valorous Dreamwalker Headpiece
This is likewise a high-priority piece, as it has the holy grail of both spirit and mp5. If you can help it, don’t miss out.

Cape of the Unworthy Wizard
With it’s high item budget, this piece is a probably the best cloak in the zone. However, it’s also the best for many others. As no cloaks–or armor pieces in general–are perfect for resto druids, just get one of the many available ones at some point and be content with it.

Torch of Holy Fire
Predictably, this end-boss item is also a best in slot for 1-h maces. Take it if you can–but pass to another player with a blue weapon if you have one of the other available choices in Naxx. By the time you hit KT, you’ll be moving on soon to bigger and better things.

Appendix: Obsidian Sanctum

OS is quite an easy raid and most guilds will do it while they’re in Naxx. Here are the pieces you might want to acquire there.
Majestic Dragon Figurine
This is an interesting little trinket to theorycraft with. My instinct says that, with our high cast frequency, this will be excellent for resto druids, but someone with a better knowledge of mathematics will have to graph that out for me.

Illustration of the Dragon Soul
Here’s a dps version of the above. Healing druids could also benefit, but my feeling is that the frequently-casting affliction locks are going to want this one more than we will.

Staff of Restraint
This is a very good, very accessible, nicely balanced weapon. I certainly wouldn’t mind having one!

. . . and of course, the gloves token
Valorous Dreamwalker Handguards

Syd’s Gear Theory

Perhaps this deserves its own post, but I have changed my own personal gear strategy. I used to play in a guild where loot was scarce enough that no one got very much. We were never certain of killing farm bosses, and we had a huge raid roster. These two factors combined to give our guild, overall, a lower gear level than peer organizations and a higher dependence on badge loot. However, with the new expansion and innovations like shared loot, there seems to be absolutely no reason to hold out for the best pieces. My current theory? Think about my guildies as much as myself when loot comes down. With a smaller raid, and a Loot Council to distribute the goods, there’s less reason to make the “smart” buys. I’ll be passing frequently and cobbling a decent set together out of stuff that other people don’t want. Our Loot Council should ensure that everyone’s equipped to play at the proper level.

However, in making this list, I’ve tried to indicate how to intelligently navigate the loot system for people in situations where they have limited DKP or bidding power. These players will have to evaluate items more carefully than raiders in guilds who random roll or use Loot Council. As much as we don’t like to admit it, if you’re playing in a DKP guild, you can end the tier undergeared–despite putting in as much effort as everyone else–if you don’t spend your points wisely. I’m not talking about hoarding here, because hoarding hurts everyone, the player who hoards included. I’m talking about not spending your points on stuff you don’t really need, especially if other players need or want it more than you do. It’s particularly important for new guild members who don’t have a pile of DKP to spend from past raids to make good choices. Since the advent of spellpower, that has become a little harder to do–but this list should help you figure out when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em, so to speak.

N.B. I’ve tried to craft this post as a guide. If I missed something, post a comment and I will gladly update.

A Realistic Look at Level 80 Raid Healing

A Realistic Look at Level 80 Raid Healing

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I’ve kept myself mum on this topic for quite a while. You’re aware of Wyn’s thoughts and no doubt others have expressed their opinion around the community. It’s my turn to tell you what how I feel about being a Holy Priest and healing.

Before I do that, I want to make one thing clear:

I AM NOT A THEORYCRAFTER

Got that? Good. The opinions and thoughts I’m about to tell you are my honest, unbiased feelings about the subject. I’m not going to hide behind math or spellpower theory because I don’t know much about it all. If I were to list my one weakness, it’s the lack of mathematical Matticus power. I can’t begin to tell you the coefficients relative to the modifiers based on the exponential percentage of the sum off of this spell which is affected by the Earth’s tangent to the Sun (I don’t think that last sentence made any kind of sense).

I can’t theorycraft to save my life, but I just creamed a bunch of bosses in Naxx with 2 other healers and a group that’s sporting the same level of gear as I am. No ounce of theorying would’ve helped.

But in this case, it’s a good thing.matt-priest-com-1

Because I just knocked out 7 bosses in Naxxramus in one night on my Holy Priest in PvP gear without knowing anything about what I was getting in to.

There’s a point I’m trying to make here. I participated in a successful raid with less than optimal gear in a class that’s supposed to be rendered extinct due to poor design choices by the class designers.

My fellow clerics, let me reassure you that not all is lost. We lose our unique racials, yes. We lose the ability to downrank, yes. We get slapped left and right, back and forth with the giant nerf bat with no end in sight, yes.

Yet we still heal. It’s our duty. Don’t lose sight of that. They remove our powers and abilities and empower us with new ones. Raiding mechanics have changed. The entire gamescape has changed. This isn’t World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade. This is Wrath. The encounters are being tuned to suit what we can do and open up the number of options we have in terms of classes.

What changes?

What has changed exactly? I said it before, and I’m going to say it again. And this time I really mean it. Whatever you learned before Wrath, throw it out of the window. It’s no longer relevant or important.

Biggest change thus far?

I’ve cast Flash Heal more times than Greater Heal which goes against every Priest handbook in the game. Let me paint you the circumstances. My Flash Heal lands for 4500. The typical tank will have approximately 28000 health or higher. Greater Heal will do over well 9000 (and this isn’t just a cheesy Dragon Ball Z reference). Tanks are taking damage between 2000 – 5000. Instead of simply spamming downranked Greater Heals, I have to actually pay attention and Flash or Greater accordingly.

I guess this is going to cut into my hockey time.

Let me bust your objections so I can save you some time from voicing them.

It’s not the gear guys

Everyone’s on equal footing because I’m doing this on the Murmur Beta server (say hi to Miyone!). The vast majority of players are playing on premade characters relying on PvP blues and a few PvP epics. I have more mana regen right now on my level 70 T6 Priest then I do on my level 80 PvP T0.5 set sporting Priest.

Can’t be the group either

I worked alongside a Resto Shaman and a Holy Paladin. Weren’t people complaining that all the healing classes were getting nerfed? So by that logic, if all the healer classes get nerfed, then aren’t we all then at the same level? Are they going to bring in Rogues and Hunters to heal for us now? Healers will always be in high demand. It’s not like our raid size got nuked from 40 to 25 again.

I’m not as skilled!

Let’s not go there. I am not the best Priest in this game. There are other way better Priests than I and one of them happens to also contribute to this blog (and this is the ONLY time I’ll ever admit that ;)). So what makes me so special? I’m always present at raid times. I read up on strategy ahead of time. I do whatever I can to make my character the best it can possibly be in terms of augments (enchants, gems, and now glyphs) and consumables. I’m ruthlessly efficient and don’t like to waste time. I understand and follow directions like a 6 year old dying to go to a bathroom. That’s what makes me so special.

Would I consider my class expendable? You could make that argument. I wouldn’t know how to argue against it anyway because I’m not a theorycrafter. I’m a valuable asset not because of my class. I’m a valuable asset because of who I am as a player not because of what my class can do. If you’re working hard right now in BC raiding, there is no reason for you to feel threatened in Wrath.

matt-priest-com-3

Everyone is going to have to relearn how to play their class. Your skill is going to be affected by how openly you embrace and learn what needs to be learned in the expansion.

Naxx is EZMODE

I’m using a flawed instance as an example because it’s way too entry level. You’re right, I am because it’s all I’ve done so far. Right now, we stack Shamans and CoH Priests for Sunwell because it helps ease the burden we have doing it. There’s no sense in thinking too far ahead in Wrath and being worried about actual end end game healing. Go with what we have now and have faith that we can do what we need to do as we progress up the ladder.

I’m thankful I don’t have to learn about how to use HoTs, AoE Heal, or other forms of specialized target healing. I didn’t get a lot of new toys to play with this year from Santa? Good. Less of a learning curve for me and I can spend more time on important things such as learning how to heal raids in post Wrath.

Still don’t buy it?

If you think I’m full of crap, by all means I understand. Either a) You know a lot more than I do in theory or b) You’re a really pessimistic player whose looking for an excuse to quit the game. But before you start ripping into me about theory, proofs, and other technical stuff, all I ask is that you run a level 80 raid first. Because that’s what I’m basing my experience, my opinions, and my thoughts on Priest healing from.

And honestly? It’s not that bad.

Image credits: just4you

PS, expect to see some Naxx healer guides really shortly.