Shaman Healing Talents for MoP – Choose Wisely!

Shaman Healing Talents for MoP – Choose Wisely!

Welcome to part 3! Looks like Shamans are heading into the expansion in the best form since their Ulduar buffs! Let’s take a look at their offerings.

Shaman talents

Matt’s selections

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Level 15: Affects movement of enemies. Nothing healing her but would most likely take Earthgrab Totem.

Level 30: Stone Bulwark totem seems about right. But nothing that screams healing for me here.

Level 45: Tranquil Mind totem seems quite awesome for PvP. Windwalk is another option but the usage of both would be heavily dependant on boss encounters and so forth. I’ll pick Tranquil Mind for the ability to ignore spellcast interrupts.

Level 60: Yet another raid healing cooldown for Shaman since SLT might not be enough going into Mists. Healing Tide totem looks to be the Tranquility look-alike. Don’t discount Fortifying Waters either as 10% reduced magic damage will come in handy (I just don’t know when).

Level 75: Ugh, torn between Nature’s Swiftness and Echo of the Elements. Probably the echo. Would be nice having duplicate shaman spells shooting around.

Level 90: Totemic Projection. Being able to tactically place your defensive totems would be a big asset. Elemental Harmony would be a situational talent in case you need to overload an area with water totems.

It does seem that Shaman are going to go into this expansion with a massive boost to their capabilities. With the additional healing buffs and utility talents, they have become that much more competitive. There are 5 talents here that help with healing (or at least, can be considered defensive minded).

Skills

Some of the former Resto tree talents are now merged into the skills that players can receive as they work their way up in levels. Resurgence, Ancestral Awakening and Tidal Waves are the ones I can see. New 85+ skills have not been released yet. I’m not sure if any information on what it could be has been released yet. Hoping to see an Air Elemental totem though. Not sure what it would do. It could just stand there and look pretty while calling down bolts of healing from the sky healing nearby players and shocking nearby enemies. Probably too overpowered. I’m thinking the Shaman tree is just about as complete as you can get for any healing class.

What say the rest of you?

Exclusive Shaman Tier 10 Preview!!!!!!!!

Exclusive Shaman Tier 10 Preview!!!!!!!!

So I’m sure many of you are on the edge of your seats, wondering with baited breath what our armor is going to look like. Well I have exciting news for you!! Here at WoM we have the exclusive on the new armor graphics for the tier 10 shaman set

Are you ready?

Truly?

Honestly?

Are you sure?

It’s pretty epic!

Here it comes!

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CARDBOARD SAMURAI!!!!!

Made you look!

Honestly there still is no news on the tier 10 armor set models for Shaman and it’s a little disheartening. We’ve seen the sets for everyone else (good or bad) but not for ours.

What could be taking so long? Maybe they are really trying to figure out what it should look like. Maybe they have something in mind but want to spring it on us like a nice holiday surprise. Maybe they are just embarrassed by what they slapped together and are scrapping it to start over. I wasn’t very impressed with the Tier 9 Alliance set, it looked decent on the male models and it looked good on Dwarves but on Female Elves and Draenei it just looked misshapen. It also didn’t seem very shamanistic to me, especially since Hunters got the same armor graphic. I need something with at least a little bit in the way of elements to make me happy. Hell I’ll settle for a dead bird hat Druid style at this point. Here’s hoping we’ll get to see their model for it soon, but until then I have a challenge to lay at your feet.

If you want to try your hand at making a mock up of what you want Shaman tier 10 to look like or what you think would look cool, post it here! Break out the photoshop and MS Paint and let’s see what you got!

Sig

Image courtesy of http://www.rosepolenzani.com

Healing Crusader’s Coliseum: Faction Champions

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Back from Blizzcon and now well rested. Got some pretty cool announcements coming up. I’m working on a very special project right now that I’ll disclose later.

Anyway, I’ve gotten several requests for tips on Faction Champions.

And it’s just going to be that: Tips. The same day I touched down at Vancouver, it was back to business in the raid machine. After blitzing through Northrend Beasts and Lord Jaraxxus, it’s time to check out Faction Champions from a healer perspective.

Not a traditional fight

This is the key. There is no such thing as aggro management or threat on this encounter. This is an extremely chaotic, fast paced, arena-esque fight. Players that dual spec into PvP may even wish to consider doing so for extra survival or abilities. Your raid group is going to be facing off against 10 champions of the opposing faction (6 on normal). They’re selected from a random pool of NPCs.

  • Death Knight
  • Balance Druid
  • Resto Druid
  • Hunter
  • Mage
  • Holy Paladin
  • Retribution Paladin
  • Healing Priest
  • Shadow Priest
  • Rogue
  • Caster/Healing Shaman
  • Enhancement Shaman
  • Warlock
  • Warrior

Ones in bold are your raid’s targets of interest. Isn’t it rather odd that they’re all healers?

Execution

It’s difficult to provide an exact outline of what your group has to do. The best I can provide is a general guideline. Go ahead and move your group under the Alliance (or Horde) section first before activating the NPC. It’s a good idea to take stock of what class combination you’re group is going to be facing so that crowd control can be used accordingly.

In most cases, our raid group initially crowd controls every NPC as much as possible other than healers. For example, this week we had a healing Priest, the caster Shaman along with the Holy Paladin. We opted to zero in on the Shaman first. Our Warrior tank started working on the Holy Paladin just by keeping him locked down and interrupted. Placing a Rogue or 3 on the Priest is also a nice idea.

Our basic mentality is that if we run down the healers first, then the other NPC’s are a cake walk. The next dangerous Champion after healers is the Rogue based on the speed at which it can kill a target.

This is an endurance fight. Expect to invest around 10 minutes from start to finish. Each NPC has around 2.4 million health (some have 1.9 million).

Communication is extremely important here. If you’re being pursued, say something. Someone might be able to jump in and snare or CC a Champion.

General class tips

  1. Keep the melee NPC’s busy as much as possible.
  2. Death Knights should defensive Death Grip Rogues, Warriors, Ret Paladins, and Death Knights away from the raid and slow them down. Minimize their movement with slows and stuns
  3. Typhoon and Thunderstorm intelligently. Again, use them defensively to keep NPCs away from your healers.
  4. Drop a Fear Bomb if multiple NPCs are closing in on someone.
  5. Crowd control incurs diminishing returns. Example, after casting 3 Polymorphs on one Champion, it’ll become immune to Polymorph. Spread that CC out.
  6. Offensive Dispels are a virtual requirement. Shamans should be Purging, Priests should be Dispelling. Things you want to get rid of are Druid HoTs and Shaman Earth Shields.
  7. If you have a PvP Trinket, consider equipping it for the fight.
  8. Heroism/Bloodlust on the initial pull. The sooner you kill an NPC or 2, the easier it becomes.

For Priests

As a Priest, my limited arena training has taught me two important skills: Running and healing. If you can manage to run and heal at the same time, you’ll be in good condition. I mainly stuck to firing off blind Mass Dispels (targeting an area with a lot of traffic and hoping it connects) and specific single target Dispels. Keep Shields active on players who get focused and are soft. Don’t bother with mana burning or mind controlling.

Use Psychic Scream everytime it’s available. Just run into a crowd and drop the fear bomb.

Your first priority is to keep yourself alive. If you have to run, drop what you’re doing and run. This isn’t exactly a fight where you can sit there and just grind heal your way through.

Use your defensive cooldowns liberally. Pain Suppression and Guardian Spirit will save lives. After I see a big spike on someone, I’ll drop a cooldown on them. If I see 3 Champions close in on a player, I’ll drop a cooldown on them. If I get death gripped, I’ll crap my pants then use a cooldown on myself (No joke. That Death Knight is a pain).

For Druids

This is just from me watching Sydera. Hopefully she’ll chime in here at some point. I’ve seen Druids use their Cyclone in between healing on various NPCs. Reserve Roots for melee NPCs if they’re chasing after people. Go cat form to put distance between you and Champions. If you’re out of tricks, it’s bear form until the Champion gets peeled off you.

For Paladins

Platewearers are usually durable in this one. Have the Hammer stun ready and use it when the cooldown is up. Hand of Sacrifice or Divine Sacrifice and follow it up with a Paladin bubble to help out the raid. The Champions are smart enough to occasionally focus fire on one target.

For Shamans

I reconfigured my totem setup to include Earthbind, Cleansing, and Grounding totem. Every so often, I’d run into a crowd and drop them all down again. Really aware Shamans will know to keep a healer focused and Wind Shear to help with the interrupting process. Bonus points if you can squeeze off Frost Shocks on a Champion who is chasing someone. Do all that while healing, and your raiding group will love you.

Hope this helps! Feel free to comment below with any extra tips or tricks in general or against specific Champions.

Good luck!

Ulduar Caster Weapons and Tier Gear: A Primer

Here’s a list of all spellcaster related weapons that drop from Ulduar. Items are sorted in the rough order of progression that raiding groups will be going in. I linked all currently known spellpower weapons and off hands so that your raid group can get a general idea of what item to go for and what items are better off in the hands of other players along with the rough order they will appear in. It seems heroic mode drops slightly more weapons. Loot tables for some of the bosses are still unknown at this time (like Yogg-Saron and Algalon). Read the bottom of the post for a theory of tier gear drops.

Heroic Mode weapons

Weapon Weapon Type Source
Overcharged Fuel Rod OH (Spell hit) Flame Leviathan
Intensity 2H Staff (Spell hit) Ignis the Furnace Master
Scepter of Creation Wand (Spirit) Ignis the Furnace Master
Guiding Star 1H Mace (MP5/Haste) Razorscale
Quartz Crystal Wand Wand (Spell hit) XT-002 Deconstructor (Hard mode)
     
Rapture 2H Staff (Spirit) Iron Council
Ironmender OH (Spirit) Kologarn
Runescribed Blade 1H Sword Auriaya
The Lifebinder 2H Staff (Spirit) Freya
Staff of Endless Winter 2H Staff (Spirit) Hodir (Hard mode)
Scepter of Lost Souls Wand (Haste/Crit) General Vezax

 

Normal Mode Weapons

Weapon Weapon Type Source
Firesoul MH Sword (Spell hit) Flame Leviathan
Plasma Foil 1H Dagger (Spirit) XT-002 Deconstructor
Pulsing Spellshield OH (Shield) XT-002 Deconstructor
Stormtip 1H Dagger (Spirit) The Iron Council
Nurturing Touch Wand (Spirit) Auriaya
Pulse Baton 1H Mace (MP5) Mimiron
Unraveling Reach 2H Staff (Hit) Freya
Icecore Staff 2H Staff (Spirit) Hodir
Ice Layered Barrier OH Shield (MP5/Haste) Hodir (Hard mode)
Pillar of Fortitude 2H Staff General Vezax

Tier gear

All we know right now is that Mimiron drops tier 8 gloves. I’m assuming Yogg-Saron either drops the chest or the helm. I have a sneaking suspicion the other 3 Titans (Freya, Hodir, Thorim) drop the other 3 tier 8 pieces. My theory is unconfirmed, however. But I think it’s a decent assumption that the 4 titans along with the “end” boss of the instance are the ones that drop the tier pieces.

Shamanism

Shamanism

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Shamanism will be a regular (as I can make it) posting comparing real world Shamanism and Shamanistic ideas to the Warcraft universe and will also point out how Shaman’s throughout the history of the Warcraft universe have been key players in many of the events that have unfolded. This will be a journey into the lore that brings us to our present class.

Shamanism has always been something that has fascinated me in real life. A shaman’s role in society was always varied and always important. They operated as Mediators, Healers, Leaders, Diviners, Warders of Spirits, agents of fertility among many other roles. We covered Shamanism in real life a little bit in the last post. I’ll recap them real quick.

From Wikipedia:

  • Spirits exist and they play important roles both in individual lives and in human society.
  • The shaman can communicate with the spirit world.
  • Spirits can be good or evil.
  • The shaman can treat sickness caused by evil spirits.
  • The shaman can employ trance inducing techniques to incite visionary ecstasy and go on “vision quests”.
  • The shaman’s spirit can leave the body to enter the supernatural world to search for answers.
  • The shaman evokes animal images as spirit guides, omens, and message-bearers.
  • The shaman can tell the future, scry, throw bones/runes, and perform other varied forms of divination

Shamanism is based on the premise that the visible world is pervaded by invisible forces or spirits which affect the lives of the living. In contrast to organized religions like animism or animatism which are led by priests and which all members of a society practice, shamanism requires individualized knowledge and special abilities. Shaman operate outside established religions, and, traditionally, they operate alone, although some take on an apprentice.

Well with that in mind, lets take a look at how blizzard blended this into Warcraft. Let’s first cast our gaze on the Orc race. We were introduced to the Horde way back in the days of Orc Vs. Human or the First War. They were a slovenly bunch of blood thirsty mongrels, but before that they were a nomadic shamanistic people who worshiped their ancestors and the spirits of nature. Lets take a look at the first major Shaman we are introduced to, Ner’zhul.

Here’s an excerpt from wow wiki:

Ner’zhul was the chieftain and elder shaman of the Shadowmoon clan and one of the most popular figures in orcish society. He was admired, respected and venerated by all for his deep connection to the spirits, and was the closest thing the orcish race had to a single leader prior to the foundation of the Horde. However, deep within, Ner’zhul craved a power he did not have…

One day, Ner’zhul was contacted by the spirit of his dead mate, Rulkan (with whom he had a regular correspondence), who warned him about the menace of the draenei, who were plotting to destroy the Orcs. After several moons, she introduced him to Kil’jaeden, the “Great One”, who began to instruct him in the ways of warlock magic and the treachery of the draenei. Though Ner’zhul was elated that he was saving his people (and finally getting the power and respect he deserved), he was puzzled why the ancestors would no longer speak to him, and why the spirits grew more distant.

Ner’zhul managed to get the rest of the clans to begin attacks on draenei settlements, supposedly by order of the ancestors, but, as he saw more and more of the draenei, he gradually became puzzled; apart from his horns, clothes, and skin tone, Kil’jaeden bore an odd resemblance to the draenei and possessed a hatred of Velen unbecoming of a divine being. Seeking answers, he attempted to commune with the ancestors in Oshu’gun, the “Mountain of the Spirits.” He was horrified when the ancestors greeted him as a monster, and the real Rulkan revealed the truth: Kil’jaeden had been lying all along.

Ner’zhul’s shamanistic ways were used against him to trick him into selling his people’s souls to the Blood Lust. His connection to the spiritual world was turned against him. He used his position to unite the Orc Clans and began the foundation work for the first Horde. He believed that he was doing what was best for his people. Without him being Shamanistic, Kil’jaeden would never have had the opportunity to manipulate Ner’zhul like he did, which would have made it much more difficult for him to create the bloodthirsty army that he wished the Orcs to become.

Ner’zhul was also panged by guilt, fueled by his sense of honor and duty to his people that he had ignored for so long. Eventually he decided to rebel against Kil’jaeden, and as a result was stripped of his Warlock powers. When he discovered the plans of the Shadow Council to make the Orc people drink the Blood of Mannoroth, his honor and duty bade him to attempt to save his people, but only one Chieftain would listen, Durotan of the Frostwolf Clan. Ner’zhul’s warning was one of many factors that lead the Chieftan to speak out against the corruption of the warlocks and attempt to bring the Orc people back to their Shamanistic roots. The actions of this leader caused him and his family to be assassinated. The only survivor was his son, who grew to be the figure known as Thrall. One Shaman set so much in motion that affected so much of the Warcraft universe.

Today’s is a brief post, but there will be more to come next time.

Till next time, happy healing!

~Lodur

An Event Every Guild Leader Goes Through Once in Their Career

An Event Every Guild Leader Goes Through Once in Their Career

fate

At present, my healing corps consists of the following: 2 Priests, 4 Druids, 2 Paladins, and 2 Shamans. Note that both 1 Druid and 1 Shaman are on a part time rotation. I figure that’s more than enough to handle any sort of outages or benches that need to occur.

But a few nights ago, I received an in game mail from one of my Paladins. Let’s call him Wayne.

“Hey Matt, I’ve decided to take a break from WoW until Ulduar comes out. I’ve gotten what I need to prepare myself for it and I don’t want to burn myself too early. Thanks for understanding.”

The feeling I experienced after reading his in game mail could only be described as “disappointment”. Here was a player that had showed up to all of the raids we asked him to do before the holiday break. He was one of the earliest healers we had in the guild. For a time, he was the only Holy Paladin we had in our raids as our other one wasn’t ready to go yet.

Perhaps in this aspect, Loot Council may have failed as we awarded him nearly all the spell power plate gear until our second Paladin was able to join us.

The alternative would have been to shard upgrades to keep him coming for more. My guild and my friends would know that I would never consider that as an option.

Skepticism

Hmm… - I shouldn’t have to question the motives of my raiders. My experience in the game has taught me that there are some legitimate excuses for going on a hiatus and some that make you raise your eyebrow and go “really?”. This is one of those times. I would’ve been more than happy to accept a temporary leave of absence if a player was going out of town. Life does happen and there’s nothing I can do to change that (nor would I).

Conquest is now able to effectively clear out all heroic level content in the game.

Actually, we took down Sarth with 2 drakes up tonight.

And we’re able to do this within 6 hours. I intentionally split this into 2 days of 3 hour raid nights to avoid wear and tear on my troops.

Short term effects

Newsflash – This reduced our number of active healers down to 6 but I plan to rotate the other 2 healers I have on standby as needed. Both myself and my other Priest were both deep Holy. After some consultations and careful consideration, I decided to join Vonya and respec Discipline myself. This means I have to toss out the 16 Spirit gems in my blues and replace them with some Intellect heavy gems (Dazzling Forest Emerald although I probably should’ve used Seer’s Forest Emerald instead, but alas the AH doesn’t always have what you need).

Feel free to check out my character’s armory.

The impact this has on our healer corps is the fact that we are back up to having 2 solid tank healers who are myself and a Holy Paladin. We still have a strong supplement of Resto Druids, Shamans, and another CoH Priest to maintain raid wide heals.

Long term effects

We are down to 1 Holy Paladin. That’s 1 less set of blessings and auras among other things. I know for the time being I am willing to stand pat on my corps. But I would not be against the idea of recruiting another Holy Paladin for part time purposes. I’ve spoken with several around the server, but they’re all interested in a full time raiding and starting position. That’s not something I can promise. I don’t want to say one thing only for them to switch over and find out that I failed to deliver. I try to maintain a record of meaning what I say.

As for Wayne, I’m not going to think about any actions for the present. Those are his choices to make and I have to react accordingly. I can’t help but feel anything else but disappointment right now.

To me, it’s just another day behind the desk.

PS – If you’re a Holy Paladin looking for for a home and not expecting a lot of raiding hours, get in touch with me.

Image courtesy of TouTouke

Space Goat Live (Shadow and Light): Another healer blog

Don’t have the time for a real coherent post right now since I’m in school (learning about the Youth Criminal Justice System). Got an email from Naelum shamlessly plugging a series of posts. Its an overview of all 4 healing classes at the end of Burning Crusade displaying their individual strengths and weaknesses.

Check it here.

Note: I don’t mind it when people send me links to read via EMail or otherwise. I’ve got so much stuff on my plate that I don’t have time to search things out or clean out my reader. With that being said, if someone goes through the trouble of EMailing or PMing or Morse Coding me a page or blogpost they thing is awesome, I’ll read it. Yes, that is right, I’ve started to outsource my blog reading :(.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll read everything eventually. If the title’s boring, I’ll mark as read. If the intro paragraph doesn’t hook me, I’ll pass. But the ones that catch my attention usually jump to the top of the line because a simple EMail makes all the difference. And if I like what I read, I’ll try to share it here. I know I don’t do a good enough job shining the spotlight on other starter blogs or even to the more established ones. Thats a failure and a mistake in my own right and I apologize for not recognizing the work and effort of my blogging colleagues.

An Easy Puzzle

An Easy Puzzle

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Using the information in the picture above, can you figure out what happened to my Shaman and why my mind went WTF?

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.

Ask Matt: Raid help?

It just occurred to me. I’ve spending so much time writing about Guild theory and blogging that I’ve started to deviate from my primary focus: help you heal your raid. Right now, the trend from some of the other bloggers I’ve seen is trouble with Kael’Thas. I’m working on a fairly mammoth sized project that involves covering healing for the entire encounter which includes recommended healers, methods, phase-by-phase breakdown for healers, and so on and so forth. There’s no way I can squeeze that into a post. I wouldn’t dream of doing it like that because it’s too much information to absorb visually.

Grr, it’s too hard for me to explain right now. You’ll have a better idea when you see it.

In any case, any problems with any boss encounters from the healing end that anyone has? I can only offer my experience and wisdom on bosses I’ve done. Sorry T6 Priests/Healers!