3 Simple Things You Never Thought of While Preparing for Mists

3 Simple Things You Never Thought of While Preparing for Mists

Matt’s taking the day off today. He’s busy storming the gates of hell in Diablo 3. Today’s post is from guest writer, Aunaka of Aunaka Heals.

I’ve gone through 3 new expansion releases and I’ve dealt with each of them a little differently.

During Burning Crusade, I waved to it as I was doing school work and was unable to play till a later time.

For Wrath, I managed to buy it on opening night, but then a certain show was being opened at that time and I was working 70 hour work weeks. I managed to get to that one later than the pack as well.

Then there was Cataclysm, where I was determined to get it right. I digitally pre-ordered the game and managed to take a week off of work with no distractions with buddies to level with me. It went well, and I managed to get to 85 in about 12 hours.

Within a week and half, I was raiding (It’s a bit of a blur). As I got further in, I thought about all the things I would have done to change what I did before the release and now I’m going to share them with you, and be determined to do them myself when Mists is released.

Don’t worry about the money

It’s a new expansion, and what will I need first?

Gold, right?

Wrong.

You’re about to start a new expansion, not a new raid. You’ll have zero need for money in the beginning. That is unless you plan on buying all your profession mats off the Auction House or gear from there as well.

Good luck with that, and also I have a bridge I’d love to sell you in New York.

I heard from a lot of people before Cataclysm dropped that they needed to make as much gold before the expansion so that they would be able to pay for their repair bills and raiding mats once they actually got to raiding. This made a lot of sense to me at the time, because I wasn’t actually thinking about it.

Once the levelling experience got started, I felt a little sheepish.

In Cataclysm, I made around 6,000 gold the first time around just questing. I am more than aware that to some of you that is next to nothing, and sits in pauper status. If you add profit from selling stuff I didn’t need and the gold earned in dungeons, I started my raiding season with roughly 11,000 gold.

Perfect.

That’s not to say that having additional gold isn’t nice. It’s not going to be something I break my back to try and do again. So when Mists gets ready to drop I think I’ll just sit back and prepare for the coming of the Pandas.

Hoard your mats

This is something I wish I’d thought of before Cataclysm dropped.

Stock up on old mats.

For some reason, when a new expansion hits people irrationally run around changing their professions thinking that maybe… just maybe this is the expansion that Inscription will be useful.

So they dump their old professions, which they’ll come back to in 2 months, and start up new ones. Now these Apprentice Scribes/Engineers/Alchemist/Etc. are sitting at their computers with Wowprofessions.com up and are looking at all the materials they will need to get to the top. That’s when it hits them. Laziness.

“What do you mean I have to go pick 300 million peace bloom?”

Yeah, folks that’s right, stock up on those low level mats, pop them on the AH at the beginning of the expansion and watch the gold flood into your mailbox.

Now, I know that this is slightly contradictory to my first point, but if those people hadn’t decided to change professions then we’d still be fine with not stocking up on money. So blame them for partially negating a perfectly good point.

Personally, my Mage is about to get busy with picking herbs and mining ore. If you’re interested, I’m on the Illidan server so if you want to totally screw over my plan you should start farming that server.

No really, go farm over there.

Sleep well

I know that Blizz runs on PST, but I’m on the east coast so my headlines stick with east coast.

Hands down, the worst choice I made with the Cataclysm release was not sleeping. I woke up at 7 am on the day “before” release to go to class and thought to myself:

“Aunaka, you want to start leveling at 3am when it releases so then you should just stay awake. There is no way that’s a bad plan.”

Bad idea.

Around 12:00AM I was sleepy, but I trudged through. 1:00AM, I was vegged out in front of my computer most likely looking at CAD or LFG, halfway falling asleep. Then 2:00AM hit and I got a surge of energy.

See the plan was that my man and I would just stay awake until we were 85 then sleep, I’d made us sandwiches, I got him Mountain Dew and myself Sprite. I had fruit cut up so that we’d have healthy energy, I was Mofo prepared! The adrenaline had kicked in and we were good to go.

Fast forward to 7:00am, I’ve now been awake for 24 hours with no caffeine. I start to get very grumpy, and sluggish. Did I mention that I play on a PvP server? That is pretty evenly Horde and Ally. So I was also getting a little more than frustrated. I ended up making it to 85 by around 3-3:30PM that day and then passed out.

I didn’t touch my toon for the next 36 hours.

I was tired of playing, and generally in a grumpy mood from seeing “You can’t queue for that dungeon since you haven’t walked there and looked at the damn door.”

It was the stupidest thing EVER.

This could have all been side stepped if I had taken a nap. You know what that says to me? I wanted to stay up and do this my way so badly, that I became stupider than a 1 year old that lays his ass down for a damn nap!

My unsolicited advice to you is get home and take a nap before release time, and if you can’t then I suggest waiting till morning to start playing, or come to terms with not getting to max level in one sitting.

For the great Waddle of the Pandas, I will be taking time off of work, and sleeping during the day.

Cause I DO want to level to max in one go.

Aunaka is a level 85 Resto Druid on the US-PvP Server Bleeding Hallow. To get tips, levelling advice, add-ons, and other World of Warcraft adventures, visit her blog, and subscribe to her feed.

Transitioning to 25 Man: Your Tips?

Nikalia on Plus Heal posted a question:

Do any of you have any tips/hints/tricks/advice on some things one might expect when transitioning into 25 man hard mode healing after being used to 10 man for so long?

As I’ve primarily been a 25 man healer for the longest time, it’s difficult for me to do a compare/contrast between 10 man hard mode healing and 25 man hard mode healing.

Healing Assignments

One of the replies made to the thread by Oleander is the importance of healing assignments. Vik and I (both priests) will usually tag a pair or groups in 25 man. For example, on Ultraxion, I’ll tell him I’ll target groups 4 and 5 and he generally takes 1 – 3. That doesn’t mean I won’t heal the other groups if needed, but even though I’m casting Holy Word: Sanctuary on the ground, I’ll be dropping Prayer of Healing bombs on the 4th and 5th groups meaning he can effectively “blank out” players in those groups from his target selection.

Egos

I don’t know how often one would encounter this in 10s, but there is a high chance that you may be working with player egos in 25.

Be prepared for it.

Don’t let other players get under your skin and don’t take it personally when you have the occasional bad day. Some players like to playfully use meters as a way to proclaim their own sense of superiority (namely Druids, because I find that they’re compensating for something ^^). That being said, feel free to go along with the banter a bit. But when push comes to shove, make sure you shove that ego aside and troubleshoot any healing problems you come across collectively.

Damage

The sheer amount of incoming damage can be staggering. Instead of 10 players, you’re responsible for 25. Know which players to prioritize (As in, oh that guy’s a Mage, he can Cauterize himself and is going to die in 8 seconds but that guy’s a Rogue, he’s probably going to die in 2 seconds so I better heal him). Your decision making needs to both get better and faster. But the bright side is more players means more cooldowns you can use to for raid saving purposes.

What other piece of advice would you offer a player making that change from 10 to 25 man?

Healing Crusader’s Coliseum: Faction Champions

faction-champions

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!

Healing Crusader’s Coliseum: Northrend Beasts Encounter

Image, abilities courtesy of MMO Champion

The Beasts encounter consists of three separate fights within 1 encounter. Consider the strategies here in beta. The information is pulled from watching various videos and reading further into datamined abilities. Feel free to make any adjustments or corrections in the comments below. Once I knock out the fight myself, I’ll update this with further information.

Watch this video here. I’ll be referencing it.

Phase 1: Gormok the Impaler

25 man health: 8.92 million

Abilities

Staggering Stomp

Deals a staggering stomp that inflicts 9263 to 9737 Physical damage to all enemies within 15 yards and interrupts spellcasting for 8 seconds.

Impale

Inflicts 150% of weapon damage to an enemy and causes it to bleed for 3500 to 4500 damage per application every 2 sec. for 30 sec. (10 second cooldown)

Your tank is going to position Gormok in the middle of the room.

The raid is going to be assaulted by Snobold Vassal. They come from the boss. Various raid members are going to be attacked by them. Seems like they jump onto players individually and prevent them from using abilities or spells. The only way for them to be removed is for your raid members to target them and kill them.

/target Snobold Vassal

I’d suggest adding that to your macro list and having it bound.

Watch out for patches of fire on the ground. Just stay out of them. No idea how much damage players take. No reason to stand in them.

You will need two tanks to handle this. The cooldown on impale is every 10 seconds. Your tanks have to switch and taunt every 30 seconds before the stacking debuff overwhelms them.

Healing Gormok

Start off with 6 healers.

Assign 2 to the tanks who are switching back and forth.

You may need 1-2 healers on the melee as they will be affected by the Staggering Stomp.

Put the last healers on raid to take care of any Vassal or fire damage. They should also help support the tanks if they’re idle.

Once he dies, you have about 15-20 seconds before the twin worms appear.

Phase 2: Acidmaw and Dreadscale

25 man health: ~6.97 million each

Abilities

Acidmaw Dreadscale
Paralytic Bite

Inflicts 12950 to 15050 Nature damage on an enemy and injects them with a paralytic toxin.

Burning Bite

Inflicts 11100 to 12900 Fire damage to an enemy and coats them with burning bile.

5 yd range, Instant

Paralytic Spray

Sprays acid at an enemy and nearby targets, dealing 8325 to 9675 Nature damage and applying a debilitating paralytic toxin.

Burning Spray

Sprays fluid at an enemy and nearby targets, dealing 8325 to 9675 Fire damage and coating them with burning bile.

100 yd range, 1.1 sec cast

Acidic Spew

Deals 2775 to 3225 Nature damage per 0.25 sec. to enemies in front of the caster.

100 yd range, Instant

Fire Spit

Deals 9250 to 10750 Fire damage to an enemy.

100 yd range, 1.1 sec cast

Slime Pool

Inflicts 5088 to 5912 Nature damage to enemy targets within the Poison Cloud.

Molten Spew

Deals 3700 to 4300 Fire damage per 0.25 sec. to enemies in front of the caster.

100 yd range, Instant

You can see the similarities between the 2 snakes. One snake will be grounded at a time while the other will be above ground. They alternative every so often.

First thing you’ll notice is that the tanks immediately face them away from the group. This helps offset Molten Spew and Acidic Spew. Make sure the tanks aren’t near each other either. You want to avoid overlapping spews.

Take note that all DPS is focused on the snake currently above ground. The snake that’s grounded probably has some sort of damage reduction modifier.

Snake above ground

Kite him in a clockwise fashion. He has to be kept moving. Around the 3:25 mark, you can see poison clouds being left. Think of Grobbulus. Have a traditional tank kite whichever snake is up. What we’re seeing is a caster tank (presumable a Warlock) on Acidmaw and holding aggro (or whoever snake is grounded). You can probably keep one healer on it.

When the snakes switch, keep an eye on the ground. Look for dust particles. Get clear of them as that’s your cue as to the snake positions.

IMPORTANT!

When Acidmaw is grounded, he’s going to be able to hit any player with Paralytic Spray. Targets nearby will be hit with that as well.

Applies a paralytic toxin that inflicts increasing Nature damage every 1 sec. and reduces movement speed over time until the victim is entirely paralyzed.

This is what Burning Bile does:

Coats enemies with burning bile, inflicting periodic Fire damage to them and their nearby allies. The burning bile of a jormungar is known to neutralize paralytic toxins.

So one of these toxins is going to cause your raiders to slowly become paralyzed and take increasing nature damage. The burning bile can clean that crap off. The raiders affected by burning bile have to run towards the toxin affected players. Make it easy and have both players run towards each other to speed it up even more.

If you wish to make it even easier for yourself, just have affected raid members run towards the main tank. It won’t matter who has what buffs as they’ll be able to cancel each other out.

Be sure that you kill Acidmaw first. If you kill Dreadscale first, you won’t have a way of removing the Paralysis.

Acidmaw above ground

The situation is going to be reversed. The main tank is going to be hit with the paralytic poison. Designate a player to run in periodically and stand near the tank to wipe off the poison.

Healing Acidmaw and Dreadscale

2 healers on the main tanks, 1 on the caster tank, and 3 on the rest of the raid. Remember that raiders will take damage from Burning Bile so they have to take care where they stand.

I’m not quite sure when they switch. I don’t know if its time based or percentage based.

Phase 3: Icehowl

25 man health: 13.3 million

Abilities

Ferocious Butt

Delivers a ferocious headbutt to an enemy, inflicting 69375 to 80625 Physical damage and stunning for 3 sec.

8 yd range, Instant

Arctic Breath

An icy breath that freezes targets in a cone in front of the caster, inflicting 20000 Frost damage over 5 sec.

100 yd range, Channeled

Massive Crash

Leaps into the air and crashes down with massive force, dealing 11000 Physical damage to all enemies, stunning them, and knocking them back.

1 sec cast

Whirl

Whirls around, dealing 9250 to 10750 Physical damage to all nearby enemies and knocking them back.

15 yd range, Instant

Frothing Rage

Increases Physical damage and attack speed by 50%.

Instant

No downtime between snakes and Icemaw. He’s tanked near the middle of the room.

Artic Breath doesn’t seem to be controllable. He’ll just turn and spray. Think to those big Sons of Hodir trash mobs in front of Hodir. Have an off tank ready to pick  him up just in case. The Breath is a channelled. As long as hes channeling the spell, players caught in the breath can’t do anything.

Dealing with Ferocious Butt

Okay, fast forward to 7:36. Icehowl leaps in the air and knocks everyone towards the wall (Massive Crash). The boss mod will announce that Icehowl is glaring at a player and lets out a bellowing roar. A quicker way is to see if the boss is facing your direction. If he is, RUN TO THE SIDE AND GET OUT OF THE DAMN WAY. At this point, Icehowl gets stunned for several seconds allowing the raid to get back into position. It seems like he takes extra damage during this stage. Looks like the stun lasts 15 seconds.

After his stun wears off, his Whirl kicks in (spins around and knocks back everyone). Your tank needs to haul ass back in range fast.

Icehowl gains an enrage and it must be dispelled. It’s called Frothing Rage. A Hunter’s Tranquilizing Shot should negate that quite nicely. Look at 8:29 for a better idea. I think this happens if Icehowl manages to connect on a player with Ferocious Butt and kills a guy or manages to hit someone. Note that the Enrage appears to wear off after 10 – 15 seconds if you’re not able to Tranq Shot it.

Healing Icehowl

Same thing as before. 2-3 healers on the main tank (I recommend a Disc Priest). Everyone else is on raid healing.

Keep tanking him centralized. When he nukes the ground, get the heck out of the way. Resume DPS. Rinse, repeat, link loot.

I hope this helps you guys out! Again, any other observations or corrections, please post in the comments. Strategies here were pulled from watching the video and from reading the datamined stuff. I’ll probably end up modifying this later depending on how off I am or if there’s a better idea.

Malygos Phase 3 Made Simple

Malygos Phase 3 Made Simple

malygos-p3

“Anyone have any tips for Malygos Phase 3?”

This is a common question I’ve seen on my Twitter that I’ve decided to address.

The phase 3 of Malygos is difficult for players the first time they run into it. It generally takes a number of wipes before players figure out what to actually do and how to do it.

When I explain this fight to pickup groups or other guilds, I try to keep things as simple as possible.

Setting up

As phase 2 ends, the entire instance is going to fill with bright, seizure inducing colors.

To make sure everyone’s in sync and starting in the right area, I get everyone to snap and move down to the southern side of the platform. Look on your minimap for this if you have to. I ensure everyone stays together as much as possible.

Note the red dot in the diagram above.

As the platform breaks apart and your raid falls, see to it that no one touches their flight controls. Let Malygos settle down and park himself. Once he does that, the raid leader cues the raid to climb.

Climb directly up until you’re at head level with Malygos. For the remainder of the fight, this is where you’ll be on the Z axis of things. You don’t have to worry about climbing or diving. You and your raid are only going to focus on strafing.

Movement

Note the four dark blue (navy) circles on the map above. Those are going to be the 4 points everyone will navigate to.

Now that the raid is head level and starting at the south position, you’re going to move towards the east, north, west, before heading back to the south.

In other words, fly counter-clockwise in 90 degree increments. You don’t have to do this constantly. Only move when the raid gets hit with a static field (30 yard AoE damage spell). See a static field? Move east. Another static field? Head north.

For the DPS

Even though I’ll have anywhere from 6 to 7 healers for phases 1 and 2 on Malygos, I’ll specifically jump into the play on phase 3 to help DPS. I like to get another healer to do it with me. This drops healing drakes down to 4 but increases attacking drakes by 2 (or having a net result of 20 firebreathing drakes).

Flame spike: Damaging fire attack that awards a combo point at the cost of 10 energy

Engulf in flames: Finisher that adds a DoT effect. The more combo points, the longer the duration of the DoT. Can stack.

As you can see, the more Flame Spikes you cast, the more DoTs you can add and the longer they last. It takes a while to build up momentum.

For the sake of simplicity and those doing it the first time, I suggest going for a 1-1-1-2 rotation.

On a side note, I think the guild best is currently at 22 stacks. Can’t remember if it was one of my Warlocks, a Hunter, or Kimbo (Ret Pally) who pulled it off.

For the healers

First thing’s first. What you may realize is that your raid frames are going to be useless! They don’t show the health of the drakes! There are a few addons that combat this, but I’m going to assume that you completely forgot to get them.

Press Shift V. This brings up healthbars on to the screen. At this point, you’re going to be relying on heads up healing. In other words, you’ll have to filter out the players with low health bars, target them, and heal them.

Revivify: 10 second HoT. Each application adds 1 combo point. This can stack up to 5 times.

Life Burst: This is an AoE healing finisher which increases your healing done by 50% (and lasts longer per combo point). If you have maxed out combo points (5 of them), the spell will heal around 15000 across all friendly targets within 60 yards.

This is like extreme whack-a-mole.

You may not have combo point indicators so you’ll have to keep track of it mentally in your head. And since Life Burst is a large AoE, you don’t always have to target the weakest drake. Just pick one and slam the key and it should engulf everyone.

For the DPS and healers

Lastly is the Flame Shield mechanic. Any spell that registers combo points will work (Revivify or Flame Spike). The more combo points, the longer the shield.

You’ll want to use this when he targets you with a Surge of Power. Having Deadly Boss Mods installed will cue a large warning on your screen that Malygos is looking at you.

Even though he looks at you, you still have time to build up points to survive. A lot of players will panic when this happens and feel helpless.

Get a grip on yourself and calm down.

When he looks at you, there are 3 seconds before he fires his laser beams. The beams will last 5 seconds. You just need to have the shield up for a portion of it to survive. With luck, your AoE healers can still catch you while the beam is going off to help mitigate some of the damage.

Let me reiterate, you don’t have to have your shield up the entire 5 seconds to survive. So if you’re caught with your pants down without any combo points and he’s looking at you, fire off 2 or 3 combo point spells and hit your shield. You should be able to survive it with slight scale damage.

Reminders

  • Run south going into phase 3
  • When Malygos levels up, climb up to him and reach head level
  • Strafe in 90 degree increments going counter clockwise
  • DPS: 1-1-1-2
  • Healers: 3-3-3-3-3-4 and press Shift V to toggle health bars
  • Don’t panic when he catches you with no combo points since you still have time

Good luck and good hunting!

How to Be Evil in 5 Easy Steps

How to Be Evil in 5 Easy Steps

Hello World of Matticus readers! I’m Sydera’s warlock alt, Isidora, and for today only, I’ve locked her in a box in my basement (in case you were wondering, I put her on a shelf next to my collection of Bat Eyes and Gelatinous Goo). While Syd’s out of commission, I’m going to teach you all how to be an eeeeeeevil warlock alt.

There are other guides out there to initiate you into the ways of Evil. For example, I cackled in sheer dastardly joy when I read V’ming’s post on WowInsider a while back on how to cause grief and destruction for others. However, it seems to me that some of his advice is counter-productive. If other players realize how black and rotten my twisted little heart is, they’re not going to want to run me through dungeons any more. And yes, in the depths of my dark little soul, I’m all about the acquisition of shiny new purples, particularly evil ones.

Here are some ways to express your inner demon and take out your frustrations on the PvE world. Be careful! Some of the creatures you’ll be torturing like to bite. The trick is to make sure they bite someone else.

Tip #1: Keep Lots of Jars Full of Nasty Things

Any evil warlock worth her salt will comb through Azeroth’s flora and fauna for the most foul, most hideous creatures to hide in her pockets. I personally find the Imp in a Jar to be quite a hoot at eeevil cocktail parties. I’ve left J’eevee in there so long that he smells a little ripe, and let me tell you, he’s always a crowd pleaser. I’m also rather fond of my Pet Cockroach. Any time I stop by the Pig N Whistle for a cold beer and a grilled chicken caesar salad (it’s the signature food of eeevil), I like to take out Roachybuttons and sit him by the side of my plate. Then I jump up and down and start screaming–I’ve never yet had to pay for my lunch. Other disgustingly evil things in my pocketses include a rabid Worg Pup and a rotten Carrot on a Stick, which I never let my mount so much as nibble.

Tip #2: Always Add Insult to Injury

It’s not enough to blast your enemies into smithereens. The eeevil warlock always does so in style! Terrify the innocents you’ll be slaughtering with razor-sharp wit. For example, you might consider macro-ing a few choice quips to your most destructive spells. With my shadowbolt, I like to use: “Take that, you lily-livered bamboo-snorkeling piddle-drinker!” Don’t be afraid to change it up though. Since you’re an evil warlock alt, you certainly don’t need your macros interface for that cowardly cooperation session known as “raiding.”

Tip #3: Get in Touch with Your Greedy Side

Gold. Your main has it, and you don’t. Every eeevil warlock alt must practice the “I want” speech. This is best delivered while stamping your foot and wringing your main’s arm. Here’s a good example: “But Auntie Syd, everyone else has a pony! I NEED A PONY NOW! And it has to be on fire!” Rinse and repeat for your birdie, that rare minipet you’ve been eyeing, your hawt orange midriff top from the Deadmines, or anything else that catches your evil little eye. Your main will call in favors and get you whatever it is. If she’s anything like Syd, your main is a sucker. Which reminds me…some of my gear doesn’t have epic gems yet. As soon as I let her out of that box, she’s going to make a little trip to the gem vendor.

Tip #4: Pick on the Innocent and the Helpless


Repeat after me: “critters are for killing.” None of this /love stuff. If you see a huggable skunk or a fuzzy widdle bunny, you know what to do. A well-timed Corruption will never go amiss, and you’ll have the added bonus of listening to the poor creature scream in agony as the DoT slowly ticks away. As you grow in eeevil power, take on larger game. Any time you see a majestic animal going about its own business, it’s time to introduce it to the circle of life, demonology-style. As for me, I enjoy helping the polar bears of Winterspring earn their place on the endangered species list. For extra credit, don’t ever skin or eat what you kill. Leave its rotting carcass there to pollute the ground water.

Tip #5: Bite the Hand that Feeds You

Being an eeevil warlock means never having to say thank you. Sure, your main begged all his friends and guildmates to take you to Dire Maul to get your flaming horsie. Just be sure you are never, ever in a position to help them out! That’s your main’s job. Also, take care not to let your legion of demonic fiends get too comfortable in your presence. Yes, they take hits in the face so you don’t have to, but that doesn’t mean you should be nice! Practice kicking them while they’re down and jabbing them in their soft metaphorical underbellies (I’m not certain that demons have underbellies, and if they do, they might be covered in Fel Scales). For example, I like to “compliment” my succubus on her appearance. Every time I need her services, I like to say to her: “Hey Lynva, your butt looks really big in that outfit. Have you put on weight since the last time we did a dungeon together?” Let me assure you that the tears of demons are every bit as delicious as those of mages. They taste like cherry kool-aid.

Follow these five tips, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming the terror of Azeroth, or at least of your main’s character screen. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get back to selling 400 individual pieces of Felweed at the Auction House for ridiculously high prices.

The Mana Efficient Priest

The Mana Efficient Priest

mana-efficient 
Image courtesy of Xanderalex What do you think mana-pots taste like, anyway? I vote for blue-raspberry kool-aid.

Note: I wrote this piece BEFORE the news announcement about down-ranking spells in WotLK. I anticipate that this will make a tremendous impact on mana-regen, along with the possibility of debuffs like Potion Sickness, and I look forward to finding out how new talents like Serendipity help mitigate this situation. (I’m not specc’d into Serendipity right now on the Beta, mostly because Matt says it doesn’t work yet.)

In the 2.4 game mechanics, mana-regen for any class whose relevant stats include spirit is nothing short of phenomenal. Still, some of my colleagues occasionally have trouble making it through particularly intense fights with only self-sufficient regen tools. I’m of the philosophy that in most situations, Holy Priests can and should keep their own mana up just fine. If you are having trouble doing that, here are some troubleshooting tips for improving your own self-sufficiency:

When You’re The Problem
  • Forgetting your CD (cooldown) rotation. Do you wait to take a Mana Pot until you’re nearly out of mana? Do you keep an eye on your Trinket, Shadow Fiend, and Inner Focus cooldowns and use them all to their fullest potential? Be honest with yourself, and if you know you could be getting more out of your built-in tools, either find a mod to monitor them for you, or move them to a more visible portion of your UI.
  • Over-extending yourself. If your assignment is to heal parties 3 & 4, but you find yourself topping off the tanks and sneaking heals onto the melee, you’re probably just trying to give your best effort to your raid – and that impulse is good. What’s NOT good is that you’re under-serving the players you’re supposed to be protecting – and if they take sudden damage while you’re in the middle of casting a heal, even as a best-case scenario they’ll have to wait at least a 1.5 second cast or a GCD to get the heal that they’re supposed to be getting from you. This means some other healer is probably going to have to pick up YOUR slack. Even if you’re carefully monitoring your assignment, healing where you’re not supposed to gives an unrealistic experience to the healers that you’re “helping.” Sure, you know that FoL-spamming isn’t enough to keep up the MT, but that loladin that’s supposed to keep him alive will never figure it out if you keep sprinkling in ProM, G.heals, and Renews. You’re robbing him, and your guild, of that Pally’s chance to become a better healer.
  • Improper gear optimization. Let’s face it, no one cares that your Greater Heal will hit for an average of 6k if you’re oom and can’t cast it. You don’t need 2,000 unbuffed +healing to heal Karazhan. (Or Kael, for that matter, and I have screenshots to prove it.) No matter what level of content you’ve reached, continuing to stack +heal after being fully capable of healing the incoming damage for your current raid content comes at the expense of other stats. This means objectively evaluating the stats YOU need for gems, enchants, or on relatively equivalent pieces of gear. (For example, T6 offers two healing staves – the Apostle of Argus (Archimonde) or the Staff of Immaculate Recovery (Bloodboil). The Apostle has more +heal, but the IR has balanced Spirit and Mp5. You need to be able to decide which stats will make the greatest impact on your gameplay.)
  • Poor consumables. Raiding isn’t cheap. If you don’t want to spend the money on the best enchants, gems, and consumables you shouldn’t be running end-game content. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be playing WoW, just that you need to find some other less resource-intensive passion within the game. Know what your options are, and don’t try to cheap out. The repair bills and nights of frustration end up being more expensive, anyway. So if the flasks you should be using are pre-BC, and the food you need to eat is rare, and the pots you ought to use don’t come from a freebie quest reward…. Suck it up, use the premium consumables, and see what a difference a few little things will make in your mana-return.
  • Overhealing. If you don’t downrank your spells, you’re burning extra mana. There is absolutely no reason to cast a 6k heal on someone taking 1k hits who is only missing 2k health. Overshoot it by the incoming 1k damage, throw a 3k heal on them, and spend the 2-300 mana you just saved on someone else.
When Something Else Is The Problem
  • Poor class make up for the fight. Because Priests CAN do any healing job, frequently the burdens of under- or incorrect staffing fall on our shoulders. We’re the only class who can always pick up the slack. There’s not much you can do about this during a raid, but afterwards, approach your healing leader, raid leader, or GM with solutions – Maybe a healer-friend who would be an excellent addition to the roster, or a positioning strategy that would help lessen the strain.
  • Poor group composition. Some fights, until you gear-soak a bit, you really just need a mana battery. If you don’t have a Shadow Priest, or a Shaman with a Mana-totem, ask for one. Check around with friends who have done the same fight, and see if they’re getting some kind of support that you’re not.
  • Re-speccing. I’m assuming you’re a Priest as you read this. If your guild can’t decide whether you should be Improved Spirit or CoH, know that both healing-styles are different enough to affect your mana regen. Auz over at ChickGM is a dyed-in-the-wool IDS priest, and averages 65% of her time in the 5SR. As CoH Spec, I spend upwards of 85% of my time “casting.” That is a HUGE difference in non-casting mana regen, and makes Mp5 more valuable to me as a stat than it is to Auz, EVEN THOUGH WE’RE BOTH HOLY PRIESTS. You can’t control wishy-washy raid leadership, but keep a couple extra trinkets and consumables to swap around to make sure you’re good to go no matter which way they tell you to Spec.
How To Fix It
  • Train yourself. Don’t do this on a progression run, but learn how to wean yourself off the crutches: Instruct your Druids that they should use their innervates for themselves. Ask for a Mage to be given your spot in the S.priest group. (Added bonus! Your Mage-buddy will love you!) Bring smaller mana pots, and use them as you would the Supers – you stay in the habit of burning your cooldown, but get used to operating with less mana. Swap your trinkets out for less-helpful ones. (Keep them similar, so you keep in the habit of popping them.) Or just swap your trinkets in general – maybe the proc from the Bangle is worth more than the extra 170 Spirit use from the Earring.
  • Use mods that keep track of how much time you spend “casting” and learn how to maximize your inherent regen. (My favorite is RegenFu, but it requires FuBar to work.)
  • Chain your abilities. When you get a Clearcast proc, use it, and follow up with an Inner Focus – If both are used with 3-second casts, and followed up with a stop-casting macro, you can buy a lot of oo5sr time without abandoning your job.
  • Fix your broken gear. I don’t mean repairs (but check that, too!) Do the research and spend the money to make sure that your gear is fully optimized. No common gems, no cheap enchants. Make the most of what you have.
  • Know your capabilities. Test on your own to know what your current gear can do when pushed to its max. Swap an item or trinket and test again. Research and find out what other Priests are capable of doing.

It’s not that you’ll never need any outside support to maintain your mana pool. If a lot of healers have died, or you started out short-handed, or you’re truly under-geared for your content, you could need some help. Obviously, Vampiric Touch, Mana Tide, and Innervate are in the game for a reason. The idea isn’t that you should never need them, just that if you always rely on them, you’re cheating yourself and your raid out of the exceptional contributions that you can make, not to mention hogging resources that could go to other players.

Luv,
Wyn

4 Smart Studying Lessons to Help Get an A in Your Raid

4 Smart Studying Lessons to Help Get an A in Your Raid

For the few of us unlucky souls who are undergoing a summer semester in school, it serves to have a helpful reminder of what we students can do to get ahead and get an A. The flip-side is that some of these lessons work both ways and can be applied in WoW.

Do your homework

In math class, you derive equations from problem solving questions in order to find a solution. Practice, practice, practice. The goal here is to continue killing bosses like Tidewalker, Leo, Rage, Gorefiend, and etc to keep your skills sharp. Before you expect it, you’re going to get hit with an examination (who happens to be known as Illidan). The end-raid bosses serve as a check to see if you’ve learned anything from earlier bosses .

Make friends with the A-level students

Hint: They’re usually the ones that sit in the first two rows of the class. They have a good work ethic, they always pay attention, never miss a lecture, and they know what they’re doing. Typically, these A students won’t mind helping you out. They’ll give you a few tips for homework or help you study by giving you easy ways to remember certain facts. They help isolate your weaknesses in the subject, so you can recognize and prepare for them. In WoW, this might be someone in a slightly more progressed Guild. This is a player that’s already done what your Guild is working on and it pays to make friends with them so you can call on them from time-to-time for some advice on what they’ve done at certain points of a fight. If you happen to have your own blog, you just might discover that one of your readers has gone through the same experience that you’re going through right now and can help you get through the proverbial hump.

Get sleep

sleeping

Before every major exam or test, get a full night’s sleep. It’s been shown that sleeping is the most important thing a person can do to prepare because it allows the body to fully recharge and absorb materials from your studying sessions. The same holds true for WoW. There have been some raid days where I’ve been exhausted from lack of sleep. Raid time comes around and as a healer, it’s hard for me to keep my attention level high (because it can be boring on trash).  I typically counter the effects with a combination of coffee or tea (and at one point in time, caffeine pills but you shouldn’t do that), but the results are no substitute for the real thing. A rested raider is a happy raider.

Stick to the schedule you set for yourself

schedule

More importantly, make sure the raid leader follows this. There should be a 30 minute invite grace period allowing people to scramble in, get repaired, purchase reagents, create potions, etc. During this time, they should also be in position for the first pull the moment the 30 minutes are up. A late start is never a good sign since people will get frustrated. Figure out your goals for the evening and what to do if they’re met early. Will you give everyone the rest of the night off? Or push on and get some attempts on the next challenge? Decide out what you want to do, how to get there, and what can be realistically achieved with the time left. There’s a time for WoW, there’s a time for studying, and there’s a time for Wii Fit. Just as crucial is knowing what to do when you run out of time When there’s a scheduled end time, make sure that is followed. If it looks like the attempt is going to go over, kill the raid there. Don’t fall into the "just one more" trap. It’s best to come back the next raid day full of energy and life, and this ethic continues to reinforce your commitment to starting on time by ending on time. Respecting that 24 other players have set aside this time specifically for raiding, and they’ll be more likely to show up and push through the entire raid whether you succeed or fail.

Hopefully these four lessons can help you when you’re raiding. If not, maybe they’ll help you outside of WoW!

Any other students or retired students? Might there be some more sagely advice that can be added?

Get a Bear Mount: 10 Tips on Beating the Zul’Aman Timer

Get a Bear Mount: 10 Tips on Beating the Zul’Aman Timer


Image courtesy of Daino_16

The Zul’Aman timer run is one of the most difficult challenges in the game. If executed perfectly, you’ll find yourself with a brand new bear mount along with a host of other extra epic goodies. You have exactly 45 minutes to kill the first four bosses in Zul’Aman if you intend to get that bear mount. I haven’t been able to get a bear mount yet myself, but I’ve learned a few tricks after talking to a couple of guildies and from my own experience.

Be Overgeared

This is a real big no brainer. If you plan on beating the timer, you should be almost out of T5 level gear and into Black Temple/Mount Hyjal gear. That means your Kara/Gruul/Mag gear has got to go. In fact, you shouldn’t even need ZA gear.

Know the fights

Again, also a no brainer but there is no time to explain. You have to know the encounters by heart because it simply takes too long to explain it.

2 Healers

Yes, you read that correctly. Bringing three healers is almost essential just to completing the instance. To bring 2 healers would almost be suicide! But believe me, by bringing only 2 healers, that extra DPS will go a long way in netting a bear mount.

Prot. Paladin, Feral Druid, Fury Warrior

This is the suggested tanking group. Your Prot. Paladin’s going to shoulder most of the load. Your Feral Druid will be switching back and forth from DPS to tanking as necessary. Your Fury Warrior is just going to lay the smackdown on everything. Trust me on this. If you can find an awesome DPS warrior, you’ll be amazed at how fast trash can drop and go down. Furthermore, less down time without having to get mana back.

Group Make Up

Consider running 2 Warlocks and 2 Shadow Priests to increase longevity and overall damage. This was recommended to me by a Guildie who has successfully done it.

Skip the Chests

Yes, seriously, skip the chests. Don’t open them until after you success or your failure. The clock is ticking while you handle the extra loot. Just get everyone to get their badge, and haul ass to the next one. The chests will still remain there untouched and unopened while you’re plowing through the bosses.

Group Loot

While we’re speaking about loot, don’t use master looter. I’m assuming that there is little if any upgrades for you in this instance. Set it to group loot instead of master loot so that you don’t waste precious time handling rolls and timers and such. If a player wants it, hit need. If not, pass it. Get your DE’er to greed it. Except you might want to consider master looting the bear when you get to it

Use your cooldowns to minimize downtime

I’ve mentioned it before but you cannot skimp out on cooldowns. This is especially true as a healer. Remember our Shadowfiends have a 5 minute cooldown between use. Innervate is 6 minutes for Druids. Heroism is 10 minutes. Evocate is 8 minutes. You get the idea. Be very liberal in their use. You can’t spend a lot of time drinking. It’s literally pull, after pull, after pull.

Shortcuts

Check out these screenshots:

Zul'Aman Shortcut Outside Lynx

Zul'Aman shortcut path for Lynx

Recognize the location? This is the area leading up to the Lynx boss. There are a couple of huts on the left side that have no mobs inside them. Those windows might look small, but rest assured you are small enough to jump through them. Anyway, there are 2 such hits. The one shown above is the first. The diagram above is a very crude reconstruction. But hopefully, it will give you a better idea of what you need to do. If executed properly, you will bypass about 2 pulls which should save you between 1 minute to 2 minutes.

There’s another shortcut amongst the trash pulls leading to Dragonhawk. I’ll see if I can nab a few shots of it or even make a quick video about it in a future post.

Stable Core

If you plan on doing this run, you have to find a stable group of people to run with. Start off doing non-timed runs but try to keep the people the same. You don’t want to pug any players at all. Get the team chemistry going. I’ve communicated with my other healers enough to know who is healing who without having to ask. But playing with 9 other people you are familiar with is a good thing to do.

Good luck! I expect screenshots of you on your bear when you pull it off!

6 Signs You Masturbate Too Much

We all do it at some point, but we all deny it. Yet we do it because it brings us pleasure and sometimes we have to hide it from other people. Obviously as this is a WoW based blog, I am referring to WoW masturbation. It can be incredibly unhealthy for you. If you start noticing the following signs, start looking for help right away.

Tired

1: Extreme Fatigue

You start feeling tired throughout the day. Why? Because you have been up all night again playing with your toons. Your eyes are nearly blood shot. When you go to bed, your hands are shaking incessantly from the surge of Red Bull and coffee. But you still do it anyway because it’s only one more attempt. Then two. And it slowly snowballs after that. Before you know it, it’s 3 AM and you have to get up at 5.

2: Self-Admiration

So you got yourself some nice shiny purples and you are spending most of your time checking yourself out and showing yourself off to everyone you know. Damn, man! Go and do something with all that gear and make yourself useful, eh?

3: Obsession

You have to fire it up every day because you can’t seem to get satisfied.
You have to finish every quest.
You have to get the best possible gear.
You need to farm as much gold as possible in case the economy crashes.

Hell, you ARE the economy!

4: Can no longer perform

You just can’t keep it up anymore when you’re depended on. Your marks are slowly dropping away. You’re blowing off important emails from Bob in accounting while you’re busy reading up on your favourite blog. Your productivity in life is slowly withering away top the point where you can’t seem to look yourself in the mirror anymore.

5: Losing touch with people

Your friends don’t even bother inviting you to Friday night poker because they know Friday’s a raid night for you (sniff). But that’s okay, because you need the money that you would have lost to pay off your WoW bills. Your boyfriend or girlfriend has to buy the game just to speak with you and hold a conversation. Normally I would suggest watching TV, but with the writer’s strike happening…

6: Physical pain

This one applies to me. My back hurts. It’s probably due to sitting down in one position for too long. It pays to get up once in a while and walk around the house. In fact, I’ve made a conscious effort to get out of my room and my house at times to grab some coffee. Most of my blog posts are being written via pen and paper initially before being typed on my computer. During long raids, I like to fix myself something to drink. If your joints start feeling sore and your limbs are feeling cramped, change your posture or consider playing standing up for a few minutes. Learn some Yoga.

Here’s an idea I’ve been thinking about: Everytime you wipe, do 10 push ups.

Hopefully these telltale signs will be noticed by you in time for you to act upon them. If you think you have a problem, seek help immediately. There’s actually an Online Gamers Anonymous. Consider seeking counseling or other extreme forms of treatment. If you think you have the will, then you might be able to quit WoW cold turkey by uninstalling the game in order to get your life back on track. Video game addiction is being considered for the DSM. Let’s not forget that people have died from WoW.

Remember, WoW is only healthy in moderation!