11 PTR Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

11 PTR Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

My challenge mode group scored Gold on Temple of the Jade Serpent with 8 seconds left to go on the clock. Yay! We’ll be entering Mogushan Palace next week. I can smell that delicious transmog coming soon.

The public test realms for patch 5.2 have been open for a while now. Raid testing has been sporadic but ongoing throughout the past few weeks with a few boss previews already completed. There are sessions where I end up with excellent testing groups and other days where I just want to throw my hands up in the air and go “Why bother?”. For example, I was in a group where one of the players refused to get Ventrilo because Mumble was far superior and was adamant about it. Another player left after 10 minutes because they had a live raid. Raid testing periods are usually available for a limited time only so every minute spent looking for replacements is time spent not checking out the new encounters.

I love the test realms. There are no boss videos. There’s no WoWhead comments to peruse. There’s no strategies on Icy Veins. Everyone starts on equal footing. Everyone is given a chance to “solve” the mechanics of the raid boss. You know just as much about the fights as the server first realms on your realm.

It’s just you and your wits.

That’s why I love the public test realms. I can never compete at the world stage. But being on the PTR gives me a small thrill and a glimpse of what it’s like to figure this stuff on my own without having to rely on anyone else.

That being said, there’s a few things I want to suggest to you if this is something you seriously want to do. In order to minimize downtime, reduce your own frustrations and seriously contribute to testing, follow the list:

  • Impatience: I’ve been in groups where right after the first wipe, a player leaves after callously throwing out “u guys are bad”. It’s the test realm. We’re learning this stuff now so we’ll have an easier time with it later. Be prepared to wipe.
  • Approaching with a negative mentality: Go in there with a sense of wonder. Keep an open mind. Be surprised. Feel awe at your experiences. Don’t be afraid to try new tactics and strategy if what you have isn’t working.
  • Testing when you have other things to do: Raid testing usually occurs anywhere between an hour to three hours. Make sure you allocate your time accordingly. If you’re too busy because you have errands or a live raid to do, tell your group ahead of time so they can prepare to bring a sub in for you when you leave!
  • Not bringing consumables: You don’t even have to farm on the PTR. Just make a premade character matching your main and then mail the potions and flasks from that character to the character you plan to test with. Instant food, flasks, and potions!
  • Not knowing where the testing areas are: This is the most basic of information. It’s usually posted in the blue posts. Or you can go around a little earlier prior to raid testing and explore a bit – You know, what we did in the old days! getting added to the group 5 minutes after raid testing start and then asking how to get to the island and where the instance isn’t going to look good. That raid group can find a replacement outside the instance as there’s always people waiting to sub in for random groups.
  • Logging in late: Raid testing starting at 10 AM? You better login at 930 and start hunting for a group. The earlier you go in, the better the odds you have for getting into groups that are forming.
  • Not knowing what’s going on: We have a dungeon journal now. Gone are the days of wiping multiple times in order to figure out what the exact boss abilities are. We’re much better equipped to find out what attacks and spells bosses will bring to bear against us. This then frees us up to start planning tactics to counter the abilities and how we should setup our raid positioning.
  • Having a ton of addons installed: For many of us it’s difficult to play with the default UI. I had to spend a good half an hour remapping all my keys. I spent another 5 minutes adjusting my raid frames. I felt I was severely diminished without the use of timers. Eventually, I settled on Ellipsis. That’s the only addon I have installed right now to help me track my Shadow DoTs. Using your full live UI might not be a good idea because it could break at anytime and compromise your raid testing group
  • Having one (or no) voice clients installed: You should have both Ventrilo and Mumble installed and configured. These encounters offer an added levels of complexity and voice chat is a necessity. You’ll find groups that only have Ventrilo or only use Mumble. You don’t want to be that guy that has to keep the group waiting while you download and setup the client that you don’t have installed. You might end up finding yourself dropped from the group if they find someone else that’s already prepared with the right client they use.
  • No enchants or gems: This is usually applicable to premade characters as it’s expected your main is ready to go. I had to enchant and cut my gems throughout one of my earlier testing sessions because I completely forgot about it. I was woefully unprepared. As we were wiping and getting ready for the next pulls, I would frantically throw whatever enchants on my gear until the pull. I kept doing this until I was as happy with my gear as I could be. I don’t think anyone noticed but that sure would’ve been embarrassing trying to explain it!
  • Not give the developers your feedback: Even a simple “Holy crap, this is awesome” is nice. It’s an affirmation to them that they’re doing the right thing. However, if you can afford to be more specific, you should. Comment on how your class or role feels responding to various attacks and abilities. Talk about the damage that’s coming in or going out. Does the enrage timer feel too tight? Is it too easy? Everyone’s gear is normalized up to 502 but it doesn’t mean it’s going to get reduced down to it so do keep that in mind. How do boss abilities look to you? Does the raid wipe mechanic actually look like it’s going to crush your whole raid or does it need more punch? Details will allow them to make the best possible decisions before patches go live.

Lastly, knock yourself out and try to have a good time. You’re seeing a preview of this content in it’s unfinished form. Usually maps or certain labels aren’t there (Remember the doodad door from Naxxramas?). It’s all exciting stuff and I can’t wait for this patch! So much to do and so many new bosses to crush!

If you’re interested in a preview of what to expect, you can check out my impressions on WoW Insider of both Horridon and Iron Qon.

PTR 4.1: Holy Word Sanctuary and other Screenshots

PTR 4.1: Holy Word Sanctuary and other Screenshots

This post goes without saying. There are going to be a few spoilers in here. If you’re not into that sort of thing, mark as read and move on.

But here’s a look at Holy Word: Sanctuary.

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Yeah.

I know.

I don’t think the graphics work is complete yet. It just seems a touch small. Actual affected radius is still the standard size. Bliky over there on the right is still being affected by it.

* Yes, that’s my PTR UI. I just picked a random compilation and set it up because Real UI wasn’t functioning properly.

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The current Zul’Gurub load screen. Wonder if its a placeholder or if it’ll be updated with WoW 4.0 tech.

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Quest area just to the left of the entrance as you stroll in.

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Also the front area of the instance. Learned fast that the cauldrons provide a 90% magic resist buff. Once you kill that mob that’s got those tendrils attached to it, the area gets flooded with gas which is where the cauldron kicks in. Don’t dispel it. You’ll find another cauldron further down along the path.

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Nesingwary’s camp under siege. Many snakes. Handled it.

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Found this on the ramp leading up to the raptor boss area. Frogger, yo?

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Sup Bloodlord Mandokir? Way to instan-gib me. (Hint: Remember those spirits back in the day? Yeah, don’t release)

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Ran into the first boss already where the old ZG snake guy was. Dude is absolute nuts. Likes to paint the whole ground with poisons and stuff. Some kind of nature resist will be handy to have.

Note that it appears heroic level instances at tier 2 when randomed into offer 140 Valor points (twice that of current). No word on whether you can run tier 1 and tier 2 for a combined 210. Gut instinct says its one or the other. Will verify and confirm later. Some problems with zoning back into the Zul’Gurub portal. Looks like theres a few phasing bugs that need to be fixed. For now, if you want to run ZG, I advise you abandon all ZG related quests. You can teleport into it via the dungeon finder. But if you die (and you will), then you won’t be able to zone in since the portal is non existent in that phase.

More to come…

PTR: Fond Friend or Venomous Vixen??

PTR: Fond Friend or Venomous Vixen??

wizardmario

The PTR.  Public.  Test.  Realm.  It’s been our best friend and our worst enemy.  People will flock to it, and then people will cry outrage or joy at its contents.  Some avoid it like the plague, while others spend more time in its embrace than in the game itself.

I have a huge innate sense of curiosity.  I love learning things.  When it comes to this game, I try to learn everything there is to know (without delving into theory-crafting and copious amounts of number-crunching).  There are different healing styles, different add-on preferences, different philosophies on gameplay.  I’ve learned to love the variety of them all.

However, the idea of the PTR has me torn between love and hate.  I don’t harbour a global hatred for it, but I have my reservations about it.  It is both a blessing and a curse.  And I’ll tell you why.

Friend

Patch Notes have become a huge cornerstone of the WoW community.  We read them every chance we get.  We get Twitter updates about them; entire blog posts are dedicated to them.  They help us get accustomed to our class.  If we need to change our playstyle, we get a heads up.  If our class is getting nerfed to oblivion, we know to spend more time on an alt.

We can see what gear we have to look forward to.  We drool over gear models, agonizing over the ever-changing nature of new tier set bonuses.  Our dreams are peppered with new craftable items, new patterns, new glyphs, new gems/enchants.  It’s like waiting for (insert related holiday with presents)!

In this, I’m a huge fan.  I love having to save up money/gems/mats for new enchants, or re-speccing to take advantage of a new spell bonus or counteracting a nerf.

Foe

I’m averted to the large exploitation of the upcoming raids on the PTR.  I don’t “hate” it, because I understand its purpose.

I get a huge adrenaline high from facing a new boss on my server with my guild, without really knowing what to expect.  I have to think on my feet.  The raid has to be ready to adjust and listen to the raid leader for directions.

Remember the climactic scene of the movie “The Wizard”?  The kid and his nemesis are the in the final battle, about to play a game that no one has ever seen before.  The curtain is lifted….SUPER MARIO 3!!  I was a kid when that movie came out, and I just about crapped my pants.  Neither the kid nor his nemesis had any experience with this game.  Both were going in totally blind.  No tricks, no strategies, just shutup and play.

It’s that mentality that I crave for the community when it comes to releasing a new raid.  The new content is released and has been tested by a representative sample of the community under a confidentiality clause.  My team goes in on patch day, bags filled with flask/food, ready to conquer.  Our gold stash resembles Scrooge McDuck’s money pit in “Duck Tales”.  Let’s learn this boss our way.  We can be as hardcore as we want to be.

The Toss-up

In spite of all my rantings, I understand that living on the cutting edge of raiding needs every advantage.  World and Server Firsts are a big deal to a lot of guilds.  They need that edge–the ability to practice something, even if it’s not in it’s final form.  Guilds can strategize what needs to happen before the boss actually hits the live servers.

My proposal, though, is to assign a smattering of raiders the ability to do a closed testing of these bosses.  Start the difficulty of the bosses high and slowly bring it down as needed, but not so much to make the boss one or two-shottable.  Keep in mind it isn’t too interesting for us to go in and down bosses in our current gear.

My random thought of the day: Would we complain as much about the ease of boss killings if we didn’t have a head start?  A marathon is a piece of cake if you only have to run a small portion of it on the actual day, right?

What do you think?  Would you rather train in the PTR, or save the workout for after a new raid goes live?  How do you feel about the ability to test and learn a boss ahead of time?

ThespiusSig

3.3 PTR update

3.3 PTR update

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

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

Reputation

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

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

* Sons of Hodir quests now give more reputation overall.

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

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

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

Spells and Talents

Druid

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

Shaman

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

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

Glyphs
Druid

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

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

General / UI

Interface

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

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

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

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

Until next time.

Sig

Also be sure to follow me on Twitter for up to the minute updates as they filter through.

PTR Alchemy Changes

Hang onto your Frost Lotuses, people. MMO Champion has just datamined a huge change to alchemy for 3.1:

All flasks recipes will now create 2 flasks for the same amount of ingredients but now last 1 hour instead of 2.

Oh noes! The sky is falling!

Maybe not, but the prices of flasks certainly will be. The only silver lining here is that PTR sellers say that flasks are stacking to 20 (a net buff) and proccing up to 10 per combine.

Quick Analysis

1. This change benefits flask buyers. Now they will be able to buy flasks to suit the typical raid time for their guild as opposed to “wasting” an hour or so on a flask.

2. This change is a slight disadvantage to elixir-specced alchemists. We didn’t usually mind wasting an hour on our 4-hour flasks. On the whole, I predict less sales volume for those of us who sold large amounts of flasks. Our customers will probably stay the same–raiders. You can’t make a noob flask just by making it more convenient! He’ll still say it’s too expensive. The customer’s gain here is the seller’s loss. The same players will buy less total flask hours. I’m not sure what will happen to the price–it may all settle out to about the same margins, but it may not.

3. This change is a HUGE setback for stockpilers. Thankfully I’ve been selling out my stock every day. I’m down to 5 flasks of the Frost Wyrm and 4 flasks of Mojo. I guess I’ll sell the former before the market reacts and drink the latter.

4. The biggest losers here are guild banks. Many of those–including Conquest’s–have stockpiled hundreds of flasks. To those guilds (psst, Matt)–I recommend selling what you can now or just letting raiders drink them for the full effect. Hold off on all future combines at least until there’s an answer on what happens to old stock. My guess is that all flasks, including ones made before the patch, will become 1 hour duration, but players and guilds will not receive doubles. That’s in line with past policy changes, for example, already-acquired Je’Tze’s Bells did not change from soulbound to BoE when the item lost its BoP status.

Anyway, time to rethink my flask business!

Edit: Stockpilers are safe! We’ll be able to trade in one of the old flasks for two of the new. Read the blue post on the subject below.

As many of you have learned, we will be reducing the duration of flask effects so that they only last one hour. However, all recipes that create flasks will create two instead of one for the same material cost. Additionally, we will be increasing stack size from 5 to 20 as we anticipate players will need to carry more flasks at a given time. Vendor value for flasks has also been reduced to keep the auction house deposit low.

Our goal with the change was to allow players greater flexibility when determining how long they plan to raid, as currently we were seeing many players balance time spent raiding around flask duration. We also anticipate that this change will make using flasks in dungeons and battlegrounds a more reasonable decision for players. Though this change will not occur until patch 3.1.0, we wanted to give as much advance notice as possible in case some of you who are stockpiling flasks would prefer to wait to do so until the change is implemented.

We realize players who currently have stockpiled a lot of flasks may feel like they will lose money with this change, since their current flasks will only last for half as long once 3.1.0 goes live. To partially remedy this, we are going to allow players to exchange any current Northrend flasks (Flask of the Frost Wyrm, Flask of Stoneblood, Flask of Endless Rage and Flask of Pure Mojo) for two flasks with the shorter duration. Flasks from older content will not be grandfathered in, and going forward, it will only be possible to make the flasks with a one hour duration.

5 Reasons Why the PTR Sucks

5 Reasons Why the PTR Sucks

ptr-woes

What is the PTR? There’s all sorts of curiosity and questions about this PTR thing. One of my guildies affectionately refer to it as the patience test realm. The PTR as we know it is actually known as the public test realm. It’s several servers that contain upcoming content for players to test such as new class changes, new in game events (like the Argent tournament) and a new raid instance like Ulduar.

But my experience with it has been incredibly frustrating. Of course, there are periods where things aren’t so bad and I can try out stuff. Today’s post is going to feature a list of annoyances and possible suggestions for Blizzard in upcoming content patches.

Instance instability

During the worst of times, the instances are unplayable. I’d have half my raid group inside Ulduar and another half would be waiting outside trying to get in. They’d receive errors like “Transfer Aborted: Instance not found” or “Too many instances. Please try again later.” It was incredibly frustrating. A typical PTR test day would involve 30 minutes of actual boss time and 90 minutes of waiting for people to resolve their technical issues.

I can’t even report any bugs and such or effectively test out stuff since it’s nigh impossible.

Solution: In BC, we’ve got this major traffic artery called the Port Mann bridge. It carries hundreds of thousands of cars daily and it’s still not enough. Right now, the city engineers in are in the process of twinning the Port Mann bridge by doubling the lanes to increase the load that the bridge can carry. I wonder if that same logic is possible to apply by launching more instance servers.

No Mcweaksauce

I know. Blizzard mentioned that players should be prepared to bring their own stash of buffs. I don’t know how realistic it is to have that kind of expectation that players have bags full of flasks, enchanting mats, glyphs and what not for the entire duration of the testing phase. It would just be incredibly convenient.

Solution: Have the entire McWeaksauce family at the staging area just before the instance portal that anyone can go to. Make them slightly larger than normal to prevent mammoths from sitting on top of them.

Overcrowding

Guildies and other players I’ve spoken to explained that previous PTRs were much easier to get in to. Why? Because there wasn’t a whole lot of interest in them. Why? Because people weren’t bored and they still had stuff to do.

Think about it.

A large number of guilds have completed all that the game presently has to offer. More than usual, even. So when word comes out that there’s new stuff to play around with, a lot of players will jump at the chance. I know if I was still working on OS drakes or Malygos, I wouldn’t be as dedicated with the PTR. Most of the traffic seems to occur right around the beginning of a boss being toggled on.

Solution: Not quite sure here. Would more servers do the trick?

Lack of servers

Again, this is similar to the population control. I have players disconnect from world servers. I have players who get network connection errors. I have players who continuously error out. There’s a lot more demand from players who want to get in on the action then there are boxes that can supply that desire. Europe’s got four servers, right? North America has two. But I guess all the European ones come in various languages. It’s at the point now where I routinely pray for other players to get frustrated enough to give up their attempts to get back in so that my group has a higher chance of getting in.

Solution: See above.

Inflated prices

This is just a product of every PTR phase. This is what some players are thinking:

“Gold doesn’t mean a thing so I can charge a crapload for it! I can make a fortune of gold that will be completely and utterly useless! It’s all going to disappear within a few weeks so I can charge obscenely high prices and not give a damn!”

And this ends up being a vicious cycle. One person charges overpriced stuff for enchanting mats or glyphs. This causes everyone else to match the price to come up with the funds to pay for other overpriced stuff. And on and on it continues. Who loses? Just about everybody since they can’t get access to the tools they need to test stuff effectively. And don’t even try to raise the garbage argument that “oh they should’ve gotten their stuff enchanted before coming”. Because we all know there’s new items coming and that stuff should get polished up, too.

Solution: A really savage beating.

So why do I keep going back? Why do I continue to subject myself to hours of teeth grinding annoyances?

Because I still firmly believe that knowledge is power. Sure you can read about strategy and watch live videos of guilds attempting to do it. But the experience and feeling of accomplishment after figuring a boss out on our own? That type of feeling can’t be reduplicated. There’s already strategies and videos out. But for the brief hours I was in there with friends and guildies, the experience of undergoing trial and error to figure out what works and what doesn’t is unmatched. And I have a new whole level of respect for the top tier guilds and raid leaders around the world who engage in this every time new content is available.

Props to those guys. And Stratfu.

Apparently word on the street is that linking to Stratfu brings good luck and many beautiful women. I’ll have to test this theory.

Flame Leviathan Thoughts

Flame Leviathan Thoughts

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Yeah there’s going to be a buttload of spoilers here. You probably don’t want to read any further than this.

Tuesday afternoon, Blizzard announced the new PTR boss testing schedules for the week. Flame Leviathan (Normal) would be open from 4 PM onwards. But it looks like someone was trigger happy and they decided to pop it open an hour earlier. I happened to be on right as it opened up and sounded the alarm on Twitter, my guild, and in the WoW Insider war room. Alex Ziebert, shadow Priest extraordinaire, was able to join me. Once we filled up, we got the ball rolling.

So what kind of vehicle does a big, badass Dwarf drive around when he’s feeling bloodthirsty?

siege

That’s right. It’s the only vehicle fit for a dwarf. It’s big. It’s got rams. And it’s got guns. I let someone else drive while I manned the guns on top. After talking to Bronzebeard, we started the event and the Alliance 1st Armored division rolled out of the garage. The division consisted of two tanks, two demolishers and two choppers (bikes). The two siege engines lead the way absorbing the brunt of the Iron army. Demo’s formed up on the rear and attacked at range while choppers were cleaning up anything else that got behind the siege engines.

1st Armored decided to start off with gunnery training. Most of us had no idea what to do so it made sense to start firing on anything that moved and any structures that were destructible. We literally rolled over the opposition with little difficulty.

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Click on pictures to enlarge

I found the gun controls were quite stiff to move. It’s like the engineers forgot to add WD-40 to the damn turrets or something. If you’ve ever done Wintergrasp, the controls for aiming are quite easy. You hold down your right mouse button to aim the direction of the camera and the targeting reticle changes direction accordingly. But it’s different in Ulduar. I found that it wasn’t as fluid nor as smooth.

After clearing out the towers, one of the recon choppers noted what looked like a repair pad on the side. We gathered up and repaired our vehicles to full health. Up ahead there was a gate flanked by two Ulduar Colossi.

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Up: Repair pad
Down: Ulduar Colossus

The Colossus is pretty damn large. But the larger they are, the harder they fall. They more really slow, too. I told my driver to switch with me because I had a hunch the vehicle would have a larger vehicle pool. Blizzard did say vehicles would scale with gear. Sure enough, my tank jumped from ~750k health to ~810k.

Matticus was in the hot seat now.

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Left: Matt tries to take on the Flame Leviathan to no avail
Right: Matt flooring it after realizing the above the strategy is not working

“Matt! Run! Hit the gas!”
”WTF do you think I’m doing?! Twiddling my thumbs?!”

We didn’t last much longer after that. But I found it a lot of fun. And it is absolutely nothing like Malygos phase 3. Players who have an aversion to vehicle encounters should definitely give this a try at least. And if they hate it, they’ll hate it. But at least try it with a clean slate. Worse comes to worse, if you don’t like driving or shooting, you can be one of the brave souls willing to be thrown on to the top of the Flame Leviathan.

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Pretty neat bug where a demo has grappled another demo. There’s still some quirks to be resolved. Towards the end, Alex grappled me onto his demo. I was unfortunately stuck and had no idea how to eject myself. I don’t think I was loaded into the launching arm.

Our best attempt was around 35% before our live raids forced us to cancel out.

Ignis is going to be available for testing today. Try to be on about an hour earlier to avoid the queues that is going to be prevalent. I’ll be in there at around 3 to see if I can scramble some players.

For Flame Leviathan strategy, try checking out Stratfu.

3.1 PTR and Shamans, Lodur’s Initial Thoughts.

3.1 PTR and Shamans, Lodur’s Initial Thoughts.

totem

So the PTR is upon us and Shamans have a few changes to contend with. For those of you who haven’t been following the changes I’ll post the notes here before I give my comments on them so far. I’ll only give a list of the ones that affect restoration shamans but the complete list can be found Here

Shaman

  • Bloodlust/Heroism: Cooldown reduced to 5 minutes, but Sated and Exhausted now last 10 minutes.
  • Poison Cleansing Totem and Disease Cleansing Totem have been merged into ” Cleansing Totem. ” Cleansing Totem pulses every 3 sec, down from 5.
  • Talents
    • Restoration
  • Ancestral Awakening: This talent now accounts for your ineffective healing, rather than effective.
  • Cleanse Spirit now has a new icon.
  • Riptide: This spell has a new icon.

Bug Fixes

  • Tremor Totem: Now correctly pulses every 3 sec, up from 1 sec.

I really like the combining of totems so far. I’ve been begging for totems to be less cumbersome for ages now, and it’s finally starting to happen! I think this is going to prove especially nice in encounters where you have poison and diseases flowing around. Just drop one totem and like our buddies at Ronco with their Showtime cooker, you can set it and forget it. Tremor totem is also being fixed. While I know some of you are going to be sad about it no longer pulsing every second on the second, let me tell you this is a good thing. First of all I don’t know if you’ve had this happen yet, but I’ve been having tremor totem completely fail me as a result of this bug. It will be down, there will be a dispellable fear, I’ll be on top of the totem and even after it “ticks” I’m still running around like a Shaman with my Totem cut off! Right now on the PTR everything is back to normal with this totem apparently.

One change I’m not looking forward to is the Change to Bloodlust / Herosim. I might be missing it but it almost doesn’t make sense to me. Personally I think how the spell works on live is preferable overall to the way it was changed for 3.1.

Ancestral Awakening change is very interesting, and a significant buff to the talent. Ineffective healing, if my understanding of it is correct, is more then just your overheal. Ineffective healing is any healing lost from the initial cast/roll of the spell. Example would be, your tank has a healing debuff that reduces the incoming heals by 50%. When you cast your spell lets say you roll a 9,000 crit heal. The debuff takes it to 4,500 healing, making 4.5k of it ineffective. This talent change would count the whole 9,000 heal if I’m understanding  this correctly. This also means that if I roll a 20,000 crit heal (to borrow from my previous post =P ) That’s going to be a 6k heal on someone else in the raid. This is going to require some testing, I’ll let you know more after I’m done running this one through the ringer.

On the purely cosmetic aspect I’m pretty excited about Cleanse Spirit and Riptide getting new icons. Lets be honest, the ones we have now are pretty lame. I’ll post screenies of them later on.

Glyphs

With new new patch we see some new glyphs pop up for the Shaman of many persuasions. Here’s what you have to look forward too.

  • Glyph of Thunderstorm *new* — Reduces the cooldown on Thunderstorm by 7 sec.
  • Glyph of Feral Spirit *new* — Your spirit wolves gain an additional 30% of your attack power.
  • Glyph of Riptide *new* — Increases the duration of Riptide by 3 sec.
  • Glyph of Earth Shield *new* — Increases the amount healed by your Earth Shield by 20%.
  • Glyph of Totem of Wrath *new* — When you cast Totem of Wrath, you gain 30% of the totem’s bonus spell power for .
  • Glyph of Hex *new* — Increases the damage your Hex target can take before the Hex effect is removed by 20%.
  • Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem *new* — Your Stoneclaw Totem also places a damage absorb shield on you, equal to 4 times the strength of the shield it places on your totems.

Nice additions, but the restoration ones are only ok. The Riptide one is pretty meh, 3 extra seconds on it are not as good as some of the other things we can glyph for (LHW, Watershield etc). The Earth shield one is really good. Too good to be true. I foresee that 20% dwindling to a much smaller number, especially considering how our talents currently affect the spell. Glyph of Hex is interesting. The spell is good for what it is, I use it quite a bit in 5 man heroic groups and I’ve found myself using it in 25 man raiding as well (Kel mind control targets make great frogs). Having my target take a bit extra damage before breaking could be quite handy.  I don’t know how I feel about Stoneclaw totem. Right now at max level it has 1620 health, it’s effect protects your totems by absorbing any damage done to them back to the Stoneclaw. By all appearances it would seem that the Glyph includes you in that bubble, and if it is 4 times the current amount, that’s 6480. That’s not a whole heck of a lot, and it seems that if someone was enterprising enough they would just attack your totems instead of you. This Glyph will probably not be used if it stays as is.

Minus the Heroism / Bloodlust nerf (and yes it is a mighty nerf) the rest seems pretty good. The streamlining of totems is pretty awesome, the Earth Shield glyph is fantastic for as long as it lasts and the Ancestral Awakening change makes me downright giddy. I’ll have more detailed information after this weekend. Lodur is copied over and ready to roll, time to see what we can do with our new cookies. =D

Please feel free to share your input or any thoughts you have on these changes

Until next time, Happy Healing.

Thoughts on Rapture and Mana Regen

Thoughts on Rapture and Mana Regen

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I wanted to put some thoughts together on the post 3.1 Rapture ability and our overall mana regen. A lot of players have contacted me and wondered why I thought it was a buff and asked what it meant for their mana regeneration. Why am I so optimistic about something that’s going to tank our regeneration?

Two key concepts

Mana regen is but one important piece to the whole puzzle. But here are two important concepts:

  • Regen: Your ability to grain the resources you need to perform your skills.
  • Obstacles: This is stuff that makes you use your skills and drains your resources.

We have access to half the puzzle right now. We sort of know what our mana regeneration mechanics are going to be like (in theory).

But we presently don’t know is under what conditions they’ll be stressed. We don’t know what our opposition is like yet. We don’t know how combat’s going to be in Ulduar. We don’t know the fights, we don’t know bosses, we really don’t know anything.

Calm down.

This is the public test realm. Players on there are supposed to provide honest feedback about what they feel works and what doesn’t. I’m not complaining about any of the changes yet because I haven’t been able to test them in combat. I don’t have any healing dummies, unfortunately.

Here’s the new Rapture:

Rapture ( Tier 8 ) revamped. Now a 3 point talent. When your Power Word: Shield is completely absorbed or dispelled you are instantly energized with 1.5% of your total mana, and you have a 33% chance to energize your shielded target with 2% total mana, 8 rage, 16 energy or 32 runic power. This effect cannot occur once every 12 seconds.

Fully talented, the 1.5% of total mana becomes 2.5% of total mana and the 33% chance becomes a 100% chance to energize. I’m not sure if the second effect applies to Priests who cast it on themselves. I think the 12 second limitation effect is for the latter component not the Priest’s mana energized component. So if you’re shielding 3 tanks and they wear off one after the other, that would be 3 separate activations of the mana return. Only one of your tanks would get the benefit from the 8 rage.

I just can’t test that theory out right now.

Anyway, it’s a buff in the sense that the players we Shield will gain a return of some sort to their power. Warriors will no longer have a reason to cry and request zero shields on themselves. You are getting bubbled whether you like it or not.

With extra gravy.

We are now glorified battery chargers.

On the other hand, you could always click it off.

I’m okay with nerfs

They can nerf our regen if it’s proven that we (as Priests) don’t need it. Decently geared players don’t have to watch their mana as much. I’m not potting, I’m not hitting my Hymn of Hope, I’m not asking for Innervates and I’m not breaking out the Shadowfiend because they aren’t necessary right now.

When does it become a problem?

If our nerfs our active and we’re hitting all of our consumables and mana regen abilities and we’re still running out of gas? That’s when it becomes a problem.

Holy changes

Serendipity has lost its mana gaining flare. This is supposed to be counteracted by the revised Holy Concentration.

Holy Concentration (Tier 7) changed to: Your mana regeneration is increased by 16/32/50% for 8 sec after you critically heal with Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Binding Heal or Renew. (Previously had a chance to grant clearcasting effect)

Beneficence started a thread on Plusheal regarding the new 3.1 mana regen mechanics. Be wary as it is numbers heavy. The bottom line from Bene:

The HC change itself strikes me as about even with it’s current iteration, by itself. Once you factor in the oo5sr changes that can result from that, it looks like a light nerf. The loss of serendipity’s mana restoring mechanic though, can be a pretty noticeable loss, even if you are relatively efficient.

Why so optimistic?

In my line of work, I kind of have to be. I have a fun job where I get to write about a game and a class I truly enjoy playing. Every buff, every nerf, every change I view as fascinating! It’s just another step in the evolution of the Priest. If all I did was zero in on nothing but nerfs, I’d end up being just a shell. I’m being optimistic because my sanity depends on it.

Ever watch or read the news lately?

There’s always a shooting. There’s always a homicide. Someone gets robbed. Someone gets sexually assaulted. Even in newspapers, you read about corruption and what’s wrong with our society today. Good news is lucky if it even makes it on to the side bars.

It’s depressing.

Now imagine what kind of blogger I would be if I approached every change negatively. If I said our class was getting wrecked left and right. If I told you to all reroll Paladin (heaven forbid). If I told you I was quitting the game. I’m sorry, but that’s not who I am. My glass is not half empty. It’s going to be completely full.

In the sense of the Priest, some parts of us are getting hit with nerfs. Other parts are getting buffs. We’re getting non stop changes.

A majority of us have yet to try out the changes in the situations where it matters: On the field.

And once I do, you’ll get an honest, zero BS assessment. I won’t bore you with numbers. It will be a straight up yes-or-no answer to the important question we’re all dying to know: Are we running out of mana in combat?

Besides, we’re apparently missing a few talents in the Disc tree.

For another point of view about Rapture, try this:

Hymn of Hope is Removed and New Power Infusion Graphic

Hymn of Hope is Removed and New Power Infusion Graphic

I checked.

I checked all possible trees (including Shadow but I didn’t screenshot that). Hymn of Hope is gone.

Yes, I know there was a new glyph added:

Glyph of Hymn of Hope *new*  — Your Hymn of hope provides 3 times the normal amount of mana per time, but its duration is 50% shorter.

But Hymn of Hope isn’t there and I have nothing new to learn from the trainer.

disc-tree holy-tree  base-line-tree

Below is the new Power Infusion graphic on my Shaman. It sort of looks like the Shaman’s Elemental Mastery but with a bit more flare to it.

pi-1

I’d say it blends with the Shaman set quite well!