Will You Be Dual Spec-tacular?

Will You Be Dual Spec-tacular?

Duality by vladstudio

Duality by vladstudio

Less than two weeks out from the Wrath of the Lich King release, I find that one of the upcoming changes I am most excited about will hit not with the expansion itself, but with an upcoming content patch. At some future point, many of us–particularly hybrid classes–will have the flexibility we’ve always dreamed of. The promise is that each character will be able to maintain two stored specs and switch between them easily. You won’t be switching during combat (imagine the exploits) but in a complicated dungeon, for one fight you could be the healer, and the very next you could be the tank or even (gasp!) dps.


There is every chance that this change will revolutionize gameplay, particularly for healers. Most of us would jump at the chance to heal for a 25-person raid and then tear through our daily quests as a long-feathered, wide-hipped, booty-shaking, snuffle-hooting Owlbeast. I know I would. However, I’m even more interested in the long-term effects of dual spec capability on the raid environment.

Of course, even with Matticus’ fascinating insights into raiding Naxx on the Beta, we still don’t have quite enough information to make fully-fledged (get it, a feather joke) healing strategies. However, that doesn’t mean that my evil little tree-brain isn’t working. As the healing lead for my guild, the following is my diabolical plan to take the fullest possible advantage of dual specs.

1. All healers will maintain a raid-viable dps spec and a raid-viable healing spec.
2. All healers will take appropriate dps gear at the off-spec dkp price and appropriate healing gear at the on-spec price.
3. All healers will practice both play styles in a raid environment.

Why is this plan such a winner? Read on to find out how the dual spec system will save your raid–and the world!–from much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

1. I can adjust the number of healers for each fight.

Based on what I’ve read on Matticus and elsewhere, it seems that Wrath of the Lich King raid encounters require, on the whole, less healers than Black Temple or Sunwell. My guild–and probably many others–recruited its healing corps with the latter two instances in mind. At the moment, we have at least 12 healers who raid on a semi-regular basis. Our healer retention has been excellent, and many of these players have switched part or full-time to alts for raiding in order to keep their spots. However, even with this partial solution, we sometimes have 10 great healers sign up to raid. My solution for Wrath? I’m not about to force people to respec dps or to reroll warlocks and enhancement shammies. Instead, we’ll share the dps and healing roles, and everyone will get to play what they want at least some of the time. In addition, I don’t fully trust the developers not to put in some fights that require 5 healers and others that require 8 in the same instance. With dual specs in place, it will just be too tempting.

2. My healers will become better players.

Yes, this belongs to the category of what I like to refer to as “L2P Raiding Solutions.” It’s going to be hard to switch from doing what Ghostcrawler referred to as “playing the UI, not the game,” to actually targeting a boss or, even more incredibly, assisting off a designated player. I look forward to this process. I need to go through the learning as much or more than anybody. An expansion, as I see it, is a great opportunity to get better at the game, and I know there’s going to be a learning curve. By, let’s say, next February, I want to be that player that people trust to do whichever task, dps or healing, is most necessary. Those players already exist, but I’ve had too much tunnel-vision to be one myself.

3. No one will feel stuck.

Sometimes all of us need a little change, a little breath of fresh air. I think that dual specs are going to help ward off healer burnout, and to demonstrate that, I’m going to resort to a very mundane metaphor. Let’s compare two real life humans–Level 30 Scholars, let’s say, and for the sake of argument, we’ll call them Sydera and Briolante. Now, Syd owns about 10 pairs of shoes she can wear to work, and she never wears the same pair twice in a row. Brio wears the same pair of admittedly very nice dress shoes every day. At the end of six months, whose footwear is in better shape? Variety is the spice of many things, my friends. If I know that I can cast gigantic Starfires on one of the bosses on a given evening, all the while hooting to myself in owlish glee, I’m likely to heal for the rest of them with good grace. Many healers feel victimized and put upon–our job is rather stressful, and blame sticks to us like cat hair on cashmere. What a nice relief it will be to sometimes focus on the boss instead of the little boxes on my Grid!

Dual Specs are Wonderful! But Why Do We Have Them?

I’d like to spend a few moments speculating about the underlying reasoning behind the dual spec change. It goes against many of the trends laid in place during Classic WoW and BC. First, WoW has always made players pay for flexibility. As we all know, the Vanilla WoW design for hybrids could be summed up by the hackneyed refrain “jack of all trades and master of none.” Moreover, gold costs for respecs–used more by hybrids than other classes–used to climb to obscene levels in Classic.

In BC, the fate of hybrids improved somewhat. Aside from a few broken specs (notably Moonkin and Retribution Paladin), hybrids became raid viable, but also just as limited to one role as any “pure” class. Respecs were of course possible, and in BC they top out at 50 gold, which still cannot be considered a reasonable price for mid-raid respecs.

Maybe it’s my own selfish featherbrain, but I think that the changes we’re seeing to how respeccing works–which is basically the removal of the penalty for changing your mind–have a lot to do with the perceived fun of playing hybrids–bringing us closer to the jack of all trades model again. I think this change might even have more to do with healers than other classes. We know that, my own freakishly healer-heavy guild aside, healers are often in short supply. For Wrath, Ghostcrawler has laid out the possibility that raid healing might be overhauled entirely, just as was done with tanking. The idea, in general terms, is to make raiding “more fun.”

What is more fun, in the developers’ minds? Based on the druid class changes for 3.0, I can take a guess. Despite what some healers find entertaining, Blizzard doesn’t want us to be tied too closely to timers or set-in-stone rotations. Pre-3.0, I used to cast something–usually an instant, and many times Lifebloom–every time the GCD was up. This means that I can spare about half an eyeball for the raid environment, and I haven’t even seen many raid bosses. I spend too much time looking at Grid with one eye and the ground–for nasty AoE effects–with the other. To a certain extent, this is necessary for proper focus–I’m not sure that Briolante spends much time gazing longingly on, say, Archimonde’s face either, even though he’s up there tanking. Here’s a quote: “Demon crotches get old after a while.” The developers want play to be variable, engaging, movement heavy, and reactive rather than proactive. As a druid healer at the moment, I feel that I’m supposed to entirely change my playstyle, and old habits–like maintaining Lifebloom rotations–die hard.

At least dual specs are actually fun! Many times, the developers seem to design away from fun by putting arbitrary limitations on things–the recently removed movement speed reduction for trees comes to mind, as does the prohibition on flying in Northrend until level 77. It is my hope that, whatever they do to healing, the dual spec possibility keeps me from entirely losing my mind, or, should I say, my feathers.

Priests: Matt Needs Your Help!

My bosses at WoW Insider have commissioned me to write a piece on how Priests will change in Wrath. Specifically, how we can adapt to all the changes that are going on. But, I need your help. I’ve played Naxx and Obsidian Sanctum extensively. I’ve done a few 5 mans. Things have become second nature to me now.

Ask me questions. I’m giving myself 72 hours so I can have this piece for your Sunday morning consumption. 24 hours right now to gather as many questions as possible, another 24 to pick out the ones that I think are the most important, and another 24 to go in game, get the shots, get the techniques, and get the evidence I need to share with you what I’m doing and why.

Paladins, Druids, Shammies sorry, I can’t help you here. But feel free to ask anyway! Maybe you have some questions about synergy between other healing classes. It doesn’t have to be just Priests.

I’ve dedicated myself to helping this community. But I can’t do it alone. There’s no such thing as a stupid question.

I’ll be pulling questions from this Plusheal thread that Doug started and from any comments that I garner from here as well.

Would You be Interested in an all Healer Community?

EDIT: Nevermind! It’s been brought to my attention that there *is* in fact an all healer community in existence that’s been around under my nose for the longest time. Light Natured forums appear at first glance to be what I’ve been looking for. The community forum’s been broken down by class and has some extra sections devoted to general discussion and UI’s and such. How I’ve never found this place, I will have no idea. Obviously I didn’t look hard enough =). They need to do a better marketing and promotion job. I guess I’ll have to flex my blogging and WoW Insider muscle and raise some awareness. I do seem to be suffering some performance issues on the forums. They do take a while to get into the different sub sections.

This is one of the few pleasures I get from blogging. My interaction with readers sparks ideas. Sometimes they’re bad, sometimes they’re good, and sometimes I come up with a “EUREKA” of an idea that would’ve done Archimonde Archimedes proud.

Tonight I had a discussion with neutralise as we were discussing the impact of a raid wide Prayer of Healing. Somehow, my brain went off on a tangent. I wondered if there was a community or forum specifically devoted to Holy Priests who would discuss their trade (similar akin to the Shadow Priest.com forums). After some quick searching, Twittering, and general asking around, I was amazed to discover that there wasn’t a community already in place.

Not only that, there doesn’t seem to be places for Resto Druids, Holy Paladins, or Resto Shamans specifically either.

The only place that I know of that represents anything close is the Elitist Jerks forums. I’m not going to lie. Every time I go there, I feel fairly intimidated. There’s also a lot of information to wade through to get an answer you’re looking for.

My vision

Seeing as there doesn’t seem be a local healer community, I thought to myself why not start a healer community?

Financing is not a problem. One of the reasons I run affiliate advertising on my blog is so that I can take what I earn and invest it directly back into the community. Heh, like it or not, money makes this world go round.

I’m picturing a discussion board where healers of all shapes, sizes and progression levels can:

  • Exchange ideas and tips amongst individual classes
  • Ask for help and advice during PvE content
  • Discuss upcoming healer changes
  • Interact with other healers overall
  • Come for early advice and support on getting started with end game

I’d handle the maintenance and logistics of the project myself including hosting, software and such. The design and structure would be an interesting challenge to undergo.

My obstacles

Moderation - It’s a no brainer that a community like this would most likely attract some big time morons. As much as I’d like to, there’s not a chance in hell that I’d be able to completely police the place. I’d have to realistically turn to volunteers that have proven themselves fair and in possession of a back bone.

Structure - Organization of this community would have to be done properly. Like boss fights, it’s one thing to know what to do. It all comes down to execution. If I can pull it off right, I have no doubt it would be a great community. Done incorrectly, and it would just be another failed startup project. Razorbax suggested a Forum/Wiki combination but I have my reservations about that. I could go forums first and then “immortalize” epic posts after into its own Wiki for easier navigation and access.

By the way, that quote Razorbax listed? Not me.

I swear.

Name – You guys might think this is silly, but the name is important. I don’t simply want to create forums and slap World of Matticus forums on it. A day might come where I won’t be around and it’d be nice for this community to be able to stand on its own. I’d sponsor and support it, but it should have a distinct brand of its own. The challenge here is to think of a name that’s catchy, easy to remember, and isn’t already registered on the WHOIS database.

Interest – But right now, I’m getting ahead of myself. What’s the point of establishing a community if there’s no one interested in it? I ran it by the night owls still awake in BA chat, and they seemed receptive and encouraging of the idea. Still, I’d rather ask you the community in general and get your thoughts.

Any ideas, feedback, questions, or comments would be welcome. But do answer the poll first below =).

Which site hosting does your guild use?

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3 Reasons Why I Pick Blackened Sporefish over Golden Fish sticks

3 Reasons Why I Pick Blackened Sporefish over Golden Fish sticks

People choose the paths that gain them the greatest rewards for the least amount of effort. That’s the law of nature."
Dr. Gregory House

I wanted to highlight another one of my oh-so-important thought processes today on why I decide to do some things one way and not another. My debut column at WoW Insider generated fairly positive responses. Obviously I didn’t escape much in the way of scrutiny. I clearly spelled Naxx incorrectly and my eyes are literally glued to my raid frames that are 2 inches in from the left side.

It does make eating rice rather difficult when raiding. But that’s an entirely different story.

A number of comments here and there mentioned golden fishsticks as their delicacy of choice when raiding.

Before the most recent patch, I was a bigger fan of the sporefish than the fish sticks as well, Ego writes. With the new changes to mana regen, I have yet to test the various kinds of food.

And I am very much in the same boat. The patch did bring about several important formulaic changes. I can’t even make my own calculations about the different bonuses and the like (and yes, mathematically challenged Asians are a rarity).

Here you have your Golden Fish Sticks and your Blackened Sporefish. Below you can see an image comparison of where you can acquire these yummy fish from. I won’t get into details about which fish is better than the other. Suffice it to say, Golden Fish Sticks reign supreme in the post 2.4 world. But here’s why I will continue using Sporefish.

 

Affordable opportunity-cost

What I mean about opportunity cost here is the fact that the overall effort required to catch Sporefish is easier than Fish Sticks. There’s a large difference in fishing skill required to fish between the two areas. It takes longer for me to empty out a Highland Fishing pool than a Sporefish pool. Couple that with the fact that it’s easier for me to kill a level 61 hydra as opposed to a level 71 water elemental.

Maybe it’s karma from all the sushi I’ve been eating recently.

PvP Problems

I play on a PvP server. I’m also a Priest in a marked guild. A holy priest sitting in Skettis with nothing but a fishing pole equipped may as well just be holding a large neon pink "GANK ME NOW" sign. It is tough competition especially when the pools are scarce enough as is.

Quantity

Zangarmarsh has four large lakes which have numerous fishing pools. There’s a lot more potential Sporefish pools out there. There are only 3 mid-sized lakes to fish from. I’m not disciplined enough to fly around all three Terrokar lakes to get said fish.

By the way, as a follow up, my Guild has retrieved the lost Hearts of Darkness and epic gems from the perpetrator. According to the GM, that player has had "justice served".

Brooding Over Bloodboil

For once, I’m at a loss here and I’m hoping to garner some insight or advice from the readers. My Guild had started to work on Gurtogg Bloodboil. We were working on Bloodboil for a few hours on Sunday. I used to think that Najentus was considered a heavy healing fight.

Boy was I wrong.

I won’t go too much into an explanation, but here’s the WoWWiki link for the strategy.

Loadout

  • 4 Holy Paladins
  • 2 Holy Priests
  • 1 Discipline Priest
  • 1 Resto Shaman
  • 1 Resto Druid

Directions

Phase 1

3 Paladins on each tank. We use 3 to rotate aggro on the boss. I, the Holy Priest, heal the tank who is actively being attacked by the boss. The rest of the healers are assigned to the bloodboil groups healing (Resto Shaman, Priest, Paladin) or raid healing.

Phase 2

This is where things get dicey. The 3 Paladins that were on the tanks immediately jump the player with Fel Rage. I heal up the melee before switching to tanks and then raid healing. The Resto Druid covers the 3 tanks. 1 Paladin and 1 Resto Shaman are raid healing. The other Holy Priest and Discipline Priest are also on the player with Fel Rage.

If the player is a clothie, Pain Suppression gets applied.

Problems

A player with Fel Rage has the following effects:

  • increases armour by 15,000
  • increases health by 30,000
  • increases healing done by 100%
  • increases damage done by 300%
  • increases size by 100%

The raid gains a buff called Insignificance where every spell they cast has no threat. One problem is that if a clothie gets hit with Fel Rage and Pain Suppression is applied, the player dies just as Fel Rage is about to wear off. Gurtogg gets progressively stronger during this phase. I can’t help but wonder if it would be a better idea to delay Pain Suppression for about 5 seconds before it becomes applied.

In our case, it’s not just the person with Fel Rage who is dying. Other members of the raid seem to be dying from a lack of heals or other miscellaneous reasons.

I can’t help but wonder if it would be better to stack all four of the Paladins on the Fel Rage’d player immediately along with the Discipline Priest and then have the Holy Priest switch to raid healing instead. This would essentially give us a picture of something like this:

  1. 4 Paladins and a Disc. Priest on Fel Rage
  2. 2 Holy Priests, a Resto Shaman, and a Resto Druid on the raid divided up accordingly

By switching the Holy Priest to the raid, this opens up a lot more options that the healer can use other then Flash of Light spamming.

Another problem that isn’t so urgent is our DPS output. Gurtogg has a 10 minute enrage encounter. I notice that when we hit the ~50% mark, the timer is around 4:45 or less. Granted we did lose 1 or 2 players at this point.

I seriously hope the Recount Death meter gets fixed as soon as possible. With that tool being down, we have no way of ascertaining the cause of death when players die. As a result, healer blame has increased in recent weeks and has gotten me irritated. Most of the time, it’s never justified. It tends to be the result of a fight mechanic that players seem to forget about (some raiders mysteriously forget that Najentus’ spines can be removed). Therefore, the "blame healers" catch all is used. I’m afraid that I might one day lash out if I see another "healers fault for wiping" comment in the raid.

Addon: Don’t Be a Friend, be a Shaman Friend!

Addon: Don’t Be a Friend, be a Shaman Friend!

At first glance, most players might not recognize what that is. As Shamans, we have a huge variety of tools at our disposal to deal with buffs and spellcasts. Jin was sporting a spiffy addon throughout WSG weekend and I had to ask him about it. It’s called Shaman Friend. Basically, it outputs selection actions into party chat, raid chat, say chat, or raid warning.

Totally handy for PvP action. I wonder if there’s something like that for Priests.

Features

I pulled this list right from the Curse description.

- Alert if no Elemental Shield is present in combat
- Alert if no Weapon Enchant is present in combat
- Show total Windfury damage on screen with crits/misses
- Show buffs removed by Purge and/or broadcast the buffs to the chat window
- Show spell interrupted by Earth Shock and/or broadcast it to the chat window
- Show a message when Lightning Overload procs
- Show how the duration of Frost Shock on your target are affected by Dimnishing Return and showing when Diminishing Return goes off.
- Show when your Grounding Totem absorbs a spell
- Show when one of your T5 bonuses procs
- Option to select which sound to use when notified (or turn it off completely)
- Can print messages in MSBT, SCT, Parrot and a few others.
- Show a message whenever you cast Bloodlust/Heroism or Mana Tide
- Separate frame allowing for easy Earth Shield tracking and recast

So what’re you waiting for? Go grab it now!

5 Barriers of a Raid Healer – Part 1: Indecision

5 Barriers of a Raid Healer – Part 1: Indecision

Photo courtesy of dnabil

Each Saturday for the next five weeks, I will be writing about one barrier of the raid healer. Healers are often overshadowed and looked over since we are expected to simply know what to do. With luck, this five part series will help you to become a better raid healer whether you are a varsity or a freshman.

Barrier 1: No definable targets

I want to share with you a real life example. The connection will become apparent soon enough. Whenever I go out to the mall with my friends, we would idly go through every single clothing store in every part of the mall (especially true when travelling with companions of the female persuasion)

The guys would mill about at the front of a store like American Eagle and the girls would actually go into the store to do their shopping (and gossiping). Us men would talk business such as the latest sports news (“did you see that last fight at the game?”), discuss recent stuff in tech (“do you think that video card makes my PC look fat?”) or chat about gaming (“she thinks I pay more attention to that level 70 warrior from Tichon then I do to her!”).

And then 12 PM would strike.

Someone (usually me) would clasp their hands together and say it’s time for lunch! This is inevitable followed by a chorus of “where to’s?”. All that walking around (and shopping bag holding by the guys) does work up a healthy appetite. And no one would have any idea where to go for lunch.

Lack of targets

Everyone had all sorts of ideas. Here’s a typical example:

“Let’s go for dim sum!”
“Fast food sounds good!”
“Food court will be packed. How about the pub?”
“I’m okay with anything. You guys pick!”
“Sushi!”
“I don’t care as long as I eat something in the next 15 minutes!”

(For bonus points, can you guess which one was my catch phrase?)

Does this sound similar to your healing channel? I often find myself unsure of who to heal when I’m the odd Dwarf out in another Guild’s raid. There are no assignments being issued. It’s quite apparent that there seems to be a lack of an infrastructure. No one was taking charge. No one knows who to heal. All the healers are free healing which leads to an occasional tank death or 2.

During the 40 man raid chaos era, I found out quickly that it was impossible to do it all. I restricted myself to a set number of targets. Learn which players are most likely to take damage and stay on target. Don’t wander around with your mouse. Every spell, every action, every movement should be done with a purpose. Heal with a player and a purpose in mind.

This does not mean that it’s against the rules to heal outside your targets. If I notice another player in the raid who isn’t a part of my assignments take a big hit, I will switch to that player to shield and PoM them. That’s generally enough time to absorb another hit and it keeps that person alive long enough for someone else to pick them back up again.

Playing the transition game from 5 to 25 players is a big leap. It can be very difficult to adjust to. The problem isn’t your healing. It’s who you’re healing. And until you get those targets straightened out with your colleagues, you’re going to continue to suck without the proper direction.

Signs of an indecisive healer:

  • You constantly switch back and forth among players which results in raid deaths because you don’t actually heal them.
  • You have a full mana bar almost all the time because of inaction.
  • You feel helpless, dazed, and confused.
  • Your healing is fair, but the difference between you and other healers on meters is a pretty significant difference.

If you begin displaying any of these symptoms, take a step back and analyze your technique. Ask for help. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There are times I’ve wanted to scream at players in my own raid because we wiped when they didn’t know what to do and they never spoke up about it. So the next time you’re in a raid and no one appears to be taking charge, announce your intentions about who your healing target is. It’s one step in the right direction.

Reader’s Question: Should I Follow William Shatner’s footsteps?

“Hey, I like your site. Like you, I tend to play as a healer since that’s pretty much what everyone is looking for plus it makes playing with my friends enjoyable. I like keeping everyone alive :)
Anyways, reason why I’m emailing you. I have a 70 Holy paladin and as much as I love playing him, I wanted to try out another character. I don’t raid. I like to pvp. But I find as a holy paladin I lack a lot of cc compared to a priest and such. I wanted your opinion on a Shaman. I wanted to level one for the longest time and try making him a healer in the end. Do you recommend trying one? Should I try a priest instead? Just wanted your thoughts on this since you played them.”

Now this isn’t a question I’m best suited for. I’ll try to answer it as best as I can. I play my Priest primarily for PvE raiding. My Shaman’s up there for PvP most of the time.

I found that as a Shaman, I had a bit more of an active role in my game. You’ve got to rely on your Rank 1 Earth Shocks to slow down enemy casters while dropping heals on your guy at the same time. Furthermore, you have to keep an eye out on buffs that you can visually see so that you can purge them off quick as possible (Pain Suppression, Blessing of Protection, etc). The only tools that you’ll be able to use as far as healing goes is Lesser Healing Wave and Earth Shield.


Here’s another response that covers more in depth in PvP then I ever will. An answer from official World of Matticus PvP Correspondent, Pwyff!

Currently in arena PVP, Priests are a lot stronger than Shamans. The difference between the two lies in what they bring to a team. A Shaman can run a huge amount of interrupts on any healer or caster with clever management of Earth Shocks and Grounding Totems, but you’ll find that you’re lacking in any significant preemptive heals. What this means is that every heal you do must always land after the damage is taken, and you have nothing that can help with this. Priests and Druids in particular are much better at preemptively healing, due to the nature of HoTs and the Priest’s Shield.

A Shaman only has Earth Shield as a preemptive heal, but many Shamans can attest to how frustrating it is to constantly have such a huge mana cost shield dispelled off. The other thing that might bother you is the complete lack of defensive dispels. A Priest has both offensive and defensive dispels, and in my opinion, he’s kind of a more defensive version of the Shaman. The Shaman can run extensive control upon the other team, while still helping his team and remaining on the front lines, while the Priest is more designed as a full support role.

It really depends upon your style. I myself am going to play a Shaman in my off-time, because I really enjoy the sturdy nature of the Shaman, and the fact that even as Restoration, a Shaman can bring decent offensive prowess to the table. I enjoy interrupting and playing a more offensive oriented style of play, and that’s something that cannot be said of Priests, unless they pair themselves with fully offensive classes. Restoration Shaman + Warrior is capable of bringing a lot more pressure to the 2s table than Priest + Warrior will. Resto Shaman + Resto Druid + Warrior is currently one of the highest rated matrices in BG9 (the most competitive battlegroup out there at the moment), so take that as you will (although there are more Mage + Rogue + Priest teams out there at high ratings).

If you enjoy pure healing and support, then a Priest may be for you. Manaburns, Power Infusion and Mass Dispels will be, for the most part, your most offensive oriented moves.


Keep those questions coming! If I don’t feel confident enough to answer your question, I will find someone who will. =)

Why Raiding With PvP Gear Is a Bad Idea

Matticus,
First off, I want to commend you on the very nice extensive blog you run, a lot of great resources and discussion. I have an issue and am seeking some general advice and maybe to stir up some discussion. I am currently in Iraq right now BUT i get about 3-4 hours of playtime with acceptable latency. I have a 70 Druid that I just recently (1.5 weeks) re-specced to healing due to feral frustration and a noticable lack of heals on my server. Right off the bat I hooked up with some friends (2 mages+1 hunter) and have been doing BG’s to get honor and marks in order to attain some of the PvP epics.

I’ve been doing some research via blogs to find out some easily attainable gear to help my healing and survivabilty in PVP and eventually to start up some daily instancing. I thoroughly enjoy healing and I’m going to stick with it but I can’t make the decision to PVP or PVE as my main concentration.

Right now, i am trying to do a little of both and i dont see it going anywhere fast. What im looking for is to be able to PVP/Arena grind and get myself in good shape to be a full time raid healer once i get back to the U.S. where i will have ample time to dedicate to raiding. My overall question is: Am I wrong to assume that PVP gear (since it’s mostly a solo endeavor aside from arenas), is probably the best route to achieving pre-Kara quality gear? And are there any other resources out there that might be able to lend some guidance to an undecided healer? I know my question is most likely un-answerable and is mostly self chosen, but I’m just looking for suggestions, thoughts, or guidance.

Thank you,
Jordon

P.S. Whats up with all of the ?‘s instead of ‘s

Wow, I had no idea my blog was being read overseas. I salute you, sir, even though I’m from Canada. Thank you for the kind word =)!

Now, let’s get to business.

I know there are a lot of players who recommend supplementing raiding gear with some PvP Gear to help increase their survivability. Either that, or they’re unable get access to any kind of raiding gear because the population on a server is ridiculously low.

I definitely think DPS classes benefit with a mix of several PvP pieces. As a Priest, I have even added the [item]Veteran Mooncloth Bracers[/item] to my Priest raiding gear list as suggested by you readers (You know who you are).

As a healer, would I recommend going all out for arena gear just to be able to start raiding in Karazhan?

No, I would not.

Remember that PvE gear is tailored differently than PvP gear. Even though the healing or spelldamage increase may seem similar, the difference lies entirely in stat distribution.

PvP gear has a ton of stamina allowing you to withstand and deal serious firepower within a limited amount of time.

PvE gear has added longevity and endurance so you can deal firepower over a longer amount.

It’s like comparing an A-10 to a Spectre gunship. The A-10 comes in, drops its payload, and speeds off. The Spectre just flies circles above an area protecting it’s assignments.

It’s all about endurance.

If you want to raid, stat collecting raiding gear. PvP gear isn’t going to help you much at all because it lacks important stats like mana regeneration. Five minutes into a boss fight and you’ll be OOM (after innervates and potions).

What I can recommend is this: Start arenaing and get a few points under your belt. Keep doing this for several weeks. Meanwhile, if you don’t have a good set of bracers, hook yourself up with a Vindicator’s Kodohide Bracers.When you feel ready for Kara, start running the lower level of it a few times to help gradually build up your pieces. If you’re having trouble getting Maiden’s Shard of the Virtuous, put the Arena Points to good use and grab the [item]Merciless Gladiiator’s Salvation[/item] (S2 heaing mace). That should take you anywhere between 4 – 8 weeks.

How will you know if you’re good enough? Refer to my Minimum Kara Requirements for classes. Alternately, I’m sure Phaelia, Karthis, and Big Bear Butt can help you get in the right direction as they’re both Druids and far more familiar with what you’ll need. Well, the latter two are feral. But I like to randomly link to bloggers anyway.

P.S. The ?’s occur due to a CSS oversight on my part. Will be fixed when my new layout goes live. Hopefully it will be up before Christmas. Basically, what happens is WordPress interprets my apostrophes and quotes in a weird fashion.

And godspeed, Jordon.