Archive for October, 2008

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Seri sez: The Disciplined Healer

October 30, 2008

Since patch 3.0.2 went live, the Discipline tree has been getting more attention. Some have embraced its new PVE potential, while others dismiss it as once and forever the realm of the PVP Priest.

Deny it if you will, but Disc is back for PVE in a big way. Re-tuned with a focus on damage prevention, the Discipline Priest now shines not only as a tank healer but as what I like to call the ‘oh shit healer.’ I’ve been raiding as Disc since 3.0.2, and while I would like to try out the new Holy tree some day I have to admit I’m kind of liking it where I am.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and tweaking of my recommended spec since the patch went live, based on my own experience and community discussion. I could write a whole other post about the Disc talents and why they are nifty (heck, maybe I will) but for now I’m going to limit myself to suggesting another spec: 56/5/0

The biggest changes here are dropping Reflective Shield (self-only as of 3.0.2) and dropping Divine Fury in favor of Enlightenment. (Thanks to Sinuviel over at PlusHeal for pointing that out to me.)

So! Let’s talk turkey, and I don’t mean the Thanksgiving kind. As a Disc priest you are most likely to be tasked with tank healing. For most healers, this means replenishing the water in the bucket before it all leaks out. For the Disc priest, it also means slowing the rate of leakage!

This is not a one-button healing spec; a good Disc priest will use all the tools at their disposal for maximum effect. What spells will you be using the most? Prayer of Mending, Renew and the four “P’s” of Discipline: Power Word: Shield, Pain Suppression, Power Infusion and Penance.

Shield your tank whenever possible. Not only will it mitigate some damage, it increases your effectiveness as a healer. With proper talent selection, you’ll have an increased chance to crit when healing someone with the Weakened Soul Debuff (Renewed Hope), you’ll get mana back from damage absorbed by the shield (Rapture) and gain up to 25% spell haste (Borrowed Time) on your next spell after casting PW:S.

Don’t be afraid of Pain Suppression. Tank threat is through the roof right now, so you’re not going to create a dangerous situation unless you’re throwing it on them during the initial pull. If your tank is in trouble, use Pain Suppression. Otherwise, just toss it on your local aggromonkey as needed.

Power Infusion; It’s not just for DPS! Infusing yourself is a great way to make those emergency heals land faster and cost less. It doesn’t invoke the global cooldown, so use it whenever you like. Add it to your Greater Heal macro or something.

Use Penance. It is an awesome spell for fast responses to damage spikes, but you’ll want it in your normal healing rotation too. A lot of the time, you can keep a tank up with nothing but PW:S, Renew, Prayer of Mending and Penance with the occasional Flash or Greater Heal thrown in. Eventually you’ll get a bit of a rotation down.

Speaking of rotations, for most situations I usually start with Penance once my tank starts taking damage, following up with Renew and PW:S. If needed, I’ll toss in a hasted FH or GH (courtesy of Borrowed Time) and/or a PoM, then should be about ready to Penance again. After that, I just watch my tank while my spell cooldowns are ticking and toss Flashes and Greaters in where needed.

Depending on the amount of incoming damage you’re dealing with, you may need to adjust your strategy. When you’re casting multiple instant cast spells in a row, the time you spend waiting on the global cooldown is time that your tank isn’t getting incoming heals. If incoming damage is high, you may need to limit yourself to one instant at a time between Greater Heals/Penance, or even chain cast Greater Heal/Penance until the spike is over. (Power Infusion can be very helpful in these situations!) Above all, be flexible and adapt to the healing needs of your tank.

If you find yourself assigned to raid healing, you should talk with your raid leader or healing lead. As a Discipline priest, tank healing is where you’ll shine so if your raid team doesn’t need you to tank heal they should perhaps re-evaluate whether or not Divine Spirit is reason enough to gimp a raid healer.

Personally, if I’m tasked with raid healing I consider it license to Smite. *wink*

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Guest Post: Tanks on Healers – A WoS Special

October 28, 2008

Jov is being lazy this week, and instead of providing a post herself, is pulling from the husband archives to provide you, dear readers, with a view from the other side of the healing story.

Since Jov is on vacation this week I, Tarsus, her loving and devoted husband have offered to fill in here with an exciting guest post.  To give you some background, Jov and I have been playing WoW together for over three years now (since March 2005 to be precise, when it became clear after a week of playing that just one account would not be sufficient for the two of us), and for most of that I have played as her Tank.  This is because I love warriors as much as she loves priests.  I love tanking, she loves healing, and together we’re the toughest part of a PuG to assemble.

This also means that I can offer some perspective from the other side to you, dear healers.  We tanks have more feelings than just the searing flames of rage, and though our bodies are made of Steel, Bear Blubber, and Flasks of Fortification, or feelings are not, and occasionally you stomp on them.  Or, you know, do a little jig on their burning embers.

Jov and I have a very good understanding on these things, being that after the raid is over and the video card is cooling we still live and love with each other.  For you healers who are not married to your tanks, however, I have some “learning” for you.

1) A good tank will never complain about healing. You got that?  NEVER.  Even if they go without healing and must pop shield wall in order to live long enough to pop a pot because you are doing something wrong they will never tell you how to tell you how much it hurts.  They do this because despite the repair bills and corpse runs they know where their bread is buttered.  Regardless of this the ancient adage remains true: with few minor and specific exceptions if the tank dies it is the healer’s fault. We’ll just never call you on it, remember that.

2) We hate it when you heal the DPS. We don’t hate them because they can generate more threat than us.  We don’t hate them because they’re too busy watching recount to realize they’re about to die.  We hate them because when they get healed, chances are a healer is about to die.  The only thing that kills healers faster than a tank dying is when you heal the doomed aggro-pulling DPS. The enhancement shaman may be wearing mail, but when it comes down to it they might as well be wearing paper.  We try so hard to make sure you live, but sometimes taunt just isn’t enough.

3) Threat does not grow on trees, but healing does. We tanks can stack as much hit and expertise as possible, but chances are we’re still going to miss some of those crucial first hits.  This applies double to fights which have aggro drops and transitions in them.  Try to keep your heals small and controllable.  Big Heals and HoTs right after the tank gets aggro are going to get you killed. We don’t want you to go splat, even if you do things sometimes that make us die a little inside.

4) Unless you are being hit by something, don’t stand near us. In case you missed the memo, being in melee range of a mob increases your threat significantly.  Just remember that this also works in reverse though, so for the love of God run towards the tank if you pull aggro. We like to joke about how often the mage blinks away when Mr. Mob comes looking for his blood but every tank knows that healers are every bit as guilty of just standing there and get eaten. We know this sounds like a hot cold thing, it’s not really, we just want you to live.

5) The good tank is a grumpy tank, so please stop complaining about it. It isn’t that we’re failing at having fun.  It isn’t that we don’t like epics, or getting hit repeatedly in the face (or shield).  We do like these things – that’s why we’re here after all.  But when you’re job is to be the meat-shield (and most tanks can’t do much besides that) it’s hard not to take it personally when people die.  This goes double for healers.  Really.  If a rogue dies and the tank still has aggro, does anyone care?  No.  But if the healer dies, it doesn’t matter what the aggro status is because everyone’s life just got a lot harder.  We tanks are sensitive.  We recognize this.   We see a special relationship between us and the healers.  And then you go and die on us, so we are sad.  So if we seem a little rough around the edges it’s not because we’re not having fun, it’s because we care.

And so therefore…

6) We are tired of the healer Mafia. We know that we’ve had a cozy relationship in the past and sometimes we’ve made somewhat crass statements that were a bit too “friendly”, but we here down at the Tanker’s Union work hard to bring home the purples and we could really use a break from the threats.  Our numbers are dwindling all the time, and what with the shiny foreign undead competition on the horizon, there is just not a lot of love left for the common working tank.  Sure, people don’t talks smack about the tank like they do the effete elite DPS classes who can make their millions and afford many fancy epic mounts, but we thought you were our friends.  You never hear tanks say they’ll stop saving the healers. A grue eats a kitten every time you think about killing your tank.  So if you can’t care enough about your tank, at least think of the kittens.

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Seri sez: Pro LFG – The Art of Guild Seeking

October 23, 2008

I’ve spent a good chunk of time recently browsing the LFG forums. No, I’m not looking for a new guild but rather for folks who might be a good match for my guild. Hey, it’s what I do. Anyway, this activity only serves to remind me that I left something crucial out of my How to Apply to a Raid Guild post: Your first impression isn’t always your application.

That’s right, folks, I’m talking about the “looking for guild” post.

I know what you’re thinking: How can you possibly fail at a “looking for guild” post? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Provide as little information about yourself as possible.

Mystery breeds intrigue, so be as vague as possible when crafting your post. Post on a lowbie alt, preferably from a different server from your normal for extra obfuscation. In fact, don’t even advertise your class… use general terms like “healer” or “tank.”

2. Dumb down your verbiage.

Big words can be scary, and you don’t want to intimidate any recruiters with your expansive vocabulary. No one wants a new guy around that’s smarter than they are. Just to be safe, use as few capital letters and punctuation as possible.

3. Contradict yourself.

It’s easier to find a guild if you’re flexible and have strict stop and start times for raid nights.

4. Demonstrate your sense of humor. lol.

Text is such a difficult medium for expression. You don’t want to seem like a stick in the mud, so be sure to throw in a few “lols” so recruiters know you are easy-going and have a good sense of humor. lol.

…I think you get the idea. I don’t really know what these people are thinking; it’s an epidemic. WoW Lemmings even has an “idiot filter” to weed out the Rouges, Droods and uber-133t.

Sometimes I’m tempted to reply just to let them know why I’m not going to invite them to apply to my guild, but that seems just a little bit bitchy. (And, let’s face it, it isn’t very good PR.)

Now, don’t get me wrong. I totally understand that sometimes folks have perfectly valid reasons for posting on an alt. Ok, fine, but give us something to work with! If you won’t post an armory link, post your relevant stats or a link to an anonymous gear profile. If that’s too much effort, don’t assume our invitation to apply is an invitation to transfer/raid because smart raid guilds don’t invite people sight unseen. (Unless you’re a Resto Shaman, I hear that’s a whole other ball game.)

We don’t need your life story or your reasons for guild seeking. Just tell us who you are, where you’re at, where you’re going and when you’re available. That’s really all we need to know up front, and the less time we have to spend scanning your post to find this information the better off you’ll be. In fact, I invite you all to use the following template for your next LFG post:

————————————————————-

Character name/server (optional):
Class/Spec:
Armory or Profile Link:
Available to transfer? (Y/N):
Current level of progression:
Desired level of progression:
Time zone:
Desired raid days/times:

LFG Template by Seri @ World of Snarkcraft™
————————————————————–

Ok, ok, World of Snarkcraft advertisement optional.

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Jov sez: 3.0.2 — The New Game

October 21, 2008

So, it’s been a week since the big patch; things seem so different, don’t they?  They do because WoW is a very different game at current.  Regardless of level of progression, it’s very noticeable that things are a lot easier.  My caveat to what I’m about to start talking about goes here:  I’m not in a guild that had “beaten the game” before the patch.  My e-peen is big for all the old-fashioned reasons, not for any that involve Muru pre-nerf.  My credentials are those of a solidly mid-progression raider.  The changes made to raid environments directly benefit me, and my impressions are colored by that.

Okay, so, all that done with… what are my impressions?

  • I need a nerf.  Seriously.  I’m OP.
  • 2-hour BT clears are a good thing.
  • So are raid-wide buffs.
  • Who’s that at the top of the WWS by a huge margin?  Oh, right, that would be me…
  • Carelessness can still get you wiped… sometimes.
  • I don’t know what some priests are doing that they think they’ve been nerfed.
  • The changes are awesome for getting past “stuck” issues with bosses.
  • The Line Boss is the new Elevator Boss.
  • Blizz is totally rewarding me for bad-priesting and it is awesome.

Okay, okay…  My impressions you all might actually care about:

  • While I remain unconvinced that GS is worth dropping Meditation for at this stage of the game, I’ve seen it can be done, and can be done well.  That being said, you’ll pry Meditation from my cold, dead fingers.
  • As a 14/47 spec (differing from my suggested due to misspent points from server lag… I just decided to stick with it and try it out), I could do nothing to run myself out of mana.  I spent all of BT face-rolling CoH, with a smite or flash thrown out when I got a Surge proc.  My mana went nowhere, and I used 3 biscuits all night.
  • BT feels much more like what it is for us: the instance we farm to get gear for people so we can go do the actual raiding in Sunwell.  Being able to clear it in 2 hours is like a gift of 2 free hours we can spend elsewhere.  It also helps with a lot of the frustration of “Here we are again, just like last week, another Wednesday down the drain.”  People were relaxed, laughing, having fun and not taking things so seriously.  There’s time to actually work on the bosses we need to work on, even with our 3-day schedule.
  • We couldn’t get Kalec down pre-nerf.  There were some heartbreakingly-close attempts, but with raid comp availability, we spent a lot of time mindlessly throwing ourselves at him.  We wiped so much, we forgot how to do anything but wipe, attempts always felt doomed from the start. We downed him the same day as the 2-hour BT clear, with minimal raid deaths, on our second attempt.  There was much happy screaming in vent.

There are a lot of complaints out there now about Blizzard dumbing down the game with these systems of nerfs.  People who beat the game before 3.0.2 feel somewhat insulted that Blizzard is discounting their hard work in making things accessible to everyone.  People who’ve been working through content feel a letdown that Blizzard suddenly made things too easy, taking away all sense of accomplishment.

I have one thing to say to both of those camps:  QQ.  If you downed KJ before Tuesday, you have the pride in knowing that you beat the game, you’re awesome, and that all the rest of us out there needed the nerf to do what you could do with out.  If you’re upset that suddenly Kael or Archi or Illidan are easy, you should have gotten them down before the patch.  If you couldn’t, you’re the person the change was designed to help.

And to both as well: if you don’t like it, hang up your DKP and stop.  Everything is going to reset in three weeks, anyway.  Then, we can all move on to Naxx, which Matt assures us isn’t so easy.  That, at least, should make everyone happy.

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Seri sez: Shadow for the Holy CL, revised (patch 3.0)

October 16, 2008

As promised, I’ve updated my guide for reviewing Shadow Priests for patch 3.0. If you read the original, this will probably seem very familiar! Although much of the wording remains the same, the details about gear rankings, spell hit cap, stat balance, talents and spell rotations have changed significantly.

At one time, I had 10 Priests under my purview. Although there have been a few casualties, we are still legion; the Priest class is the largest in our guild and it’s my job to evaluate both the Holy and Shadow Priests. I’ve always been Holy, so when I took on a class lead role I knew I had my work cut out for me. Fortunately for you, you can now benefit from all of my hard work. By following these guidelines, you can whip those Shadow Priests into shape… or at least find out what sort of shenanigans they’ve been getting away with.

Reviewing Gear

Reviewing any character is a multi-step process. I like to start with their armory profile. Have a gander at their gear, and determine if it is appropriate for the level of content that you’re running. ShadowPriest.com has a great gear list that you can use to see if they are missing easily obtainable upgrades. Just keep in mind that just because something is higher on the list than something else doesn’t necessarily mean it is more desirable; it depends on what else the SP is wearing and what their over all stat needs are. There is a ‘big picture’ here and you have to take that into account.

Spell Power: T6 Shadow Priests should have at minimum 1100-1200 Spell Power–more if you’ve been deep in T6 content for a while.

Hit Rating: Shadow Priests hit cap at 289.55 Hit Rating, with 3/3 Shadow Focus and 3/3 Misery (more about that later).

Critical Strike Rating: One of the big changes in 3.0/Wrath is that Mind Flay can crit. (Also, spell crit chance is being added to DoT damage in the beta, so that may go live eventually too. If you have 20% crit rating, your DoTs would do 120% damage every tick with this change.) Critical Strike Rating is now much more valuable to Shadow Priests, but most won’t really have a chance to start stacking it until Wrath due to the increase in hit rating requirements.

Haste Rating: Shadow Priests shouldn’t start stacking haste until they are up around 1400 Spell Power fully raid buffed. However, once they get to that point, haste is love.

Enchants: Make sure they have an enchant for all enchantable slots (helm, shoulders, cloak, chest, wrist, gloves, pants, boots, weapon) including rings if they are an enchanter. They should have spell power for bracers, gloves (hit or crit also acceptable depending on individual needs) and weapon, though Soulfrost is also good to see (and as far as I know still exists in 3.0). Chest should be +6 Stats or Mp5. I require Subtlety and Boar’s Speed for my Shadow Priests, but your policies may vary.

Gems: Rather than simply gemming for max spell power, Shadow Priests now need to balance spell power with hit, crit, spirit and (eventually) haste. Gem choices may vary a little bit depending on individual needs, but if you see anything wacky like Spell Penetration wield your clue-by-four with impunity!

Reviewing Spec

Next, tab over to their talent sheet. There isn’t a heck of a lot to look for here, because if you opened up your Shadow tree and face rolled on your keyboard you would be bound to get most of your points in useful talents. It’s not uncommon to see Shadow Priests sink 50+ talent points in Shadow. However, an optimal raid spec will make room for key Discipline talents. Things to look for:

PvP Talents: Make sure the Shadow Priest isn’t raiding with a PvP build, which will be characterized by things like Imp Psychic Scream, Silence and Psychic Horror. The jury’s still out on Improved Shadow Form. It can be situationally useful in PVE, but at level 70 a Shadow Priest really doesn’t have enough talent points to pick it up without losing something more useful.

Twin Disciplines/Improved Inner Fire: Remember I mentioned that Discipline tree? Twin Disciplines is a must, as it directly affects Shadow Word: Pain, Shadow Word: Death, Mind Flay & Devouring Plague. That’s something like 95% of a Shadow Priest’s spell rotation right there. Improved Inner Fire only becomes important at level 71, when Inner Fire grants a spell power bonus as well as an armor bonus. Not terribly important as of 3.0, but something to keep in mind come Wrath.

Shadow Affinity: Threat reduction? Yes, please.

Improved Vampiric Embrace: Although Vampiric Embrace is required for Shadow form, Improved VE is completely optional for raiding. VE generates a ton of threat, making it only situationally useful. If your Shadow Priests are putting points in Imp VE, make sure they’re not neglecting something else.

Shadow Weaving: This talent was reduced from 5 points to 3 points in 3.0, and all 3 are worth having. This debuff now only affects the Shadow Priest rather than the entire raid. Nonetheless, it’s a debuff no Shadow Priest will want to do without.

Shadow Focus and Misery: As mentioned earlier, with 3/3 Shadow Focus and 3/3 Misery, a Shadow Priest hit caps at 139. This is almost double the hit cap from pre-3.0, with 5/5 Shadow Focus. Although the hit cap is higher now, it’s still possible to reduce the # of points spent on Shadow Focus/Misery (though why you’d want to reduce points spent in Misery is a mystery to me) if there is a surplus of hit rating.

Spell Hit Caps (courtesty of SP.com):

* 289.55 hit is the cap with 6 points between Shadow Focus and Misery
* 314.78 hit before you can go to 5 points between Shadow Focus and Misery
* 341.02 hit before you can go to 4 points between Shadow Focus and Misery
* 367.25 hit before you can go to 3 points between Shadow Focus and Misery
* 393.48 hit before you can go to 2 points between Shadow Focus and Misery
* 419.71 hit before you can go to 1 point between Shadow Focus and Misery
* 445.94 hit before you can go to 0 points between Shadow Focus and Misery

Reviewing WWS

If you are a serious raider, you’re probably already familiar with WowWebStats. If not, well, this section might not make a lot of sense but hopefully you can follow along. WWS reports are a bloated with information, and either adored or reviled by raiders. While I enjoy digging around in WWS to look at stats, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. WWS takes a lot of flak for creating unnecessary competition between raiders, but for me it’s a great tool for performance evaluation. The trick is knowing what to look at and what to not care about.

Forget Trash: When reviewing your Shadow Priests, drill down to individual bosses. While it might be useful to take a quick glance at the trash stats, trash is not optimal for performance tracking for casters–especially casters that rely on DoTs and channeled spells for a lot of their damage.

Don’t Forget Mobility: A lot of boss fights are about mobility, and the more time folks spend repositioning themselves the less time they spend DPSing. Pick low mobility fights as your ‘benchmark’ fights when looking for raw DPS numbers.

Spell Rotation: Shadow Priest spell rotation is done by priority rather than casting things in a set order. The idea is to keep Shadow Word: Pain, Vampiric Touch and Devouring Plague up at all times, Mind Blast whenever the cooldown is up, Shadow Word: Death whenever it’s safe and otherwise Mind Flay. Ideally, the SP should be using a DoT timer and refreshing DoTs right as they wear off. For example, VT has a shorter duration than SWP; it should be refreshed whenever it needs refreshing rather than waiting until SWP wears off. When looking at an individual Priest’s stats, look for the ‘Dots’ field for all DoTs. These numbers should be the same if not close to the same. If there are large variations here, the SP is not staying on top of their DoTs. Bad SP, no biscuit!

Calculating DoT Uptime: DoT Uptime is defined as ‘the amount of time DoTs are kept up’. This isn’t something you’ll want to do after every raid for every boss, but I like to spot check folks here and there–sort of like a pop quiz for Shadow Priests. The formula is pretty simple (it’d have to be, because I suck at math):

DoT Uptime % = (# dot ticks * 3) / fight-duration-in-seconds * 100

So, let’s say a fight is 4 minutes long and during that 4 minutes a SP had 80 ticks of SWP:

80 * 3 = 240
240 / 240 = 1
1 *100 = 100%

There you have it. 80 ticks of SWP in a 240 second (4 minute) fight is 100% DoT uptime. That’s pretty optimistic though, let’s take a real world (such that it is) example:


These screenshots are taken from an actual WWS report, for a Teron Gorefiend fight. This particular priest died during the fight, but was present for 97%. We’ll use the amount of time she was alive for our calculations… after all, we can’t really hold her accountable for keeping DoTs up after she died. As you can see from the first picture, she was alive for 3 minutes and 47 seconds, which is 227 seconds according to my calculator widget. Next, look for the SWP ticks on the ‘dots’ column of the damage out breakdown: 71. Plugging it in:

71 * 3 = 213
213 / 227 = .938(ish)
.938 * 100 = 93.8%

So, for this Gorefiend attempt this Shadow Priest’s DoT Uptime was 93%… I should give her a cookie. I love to see DoT Uptime over 90% but anywhere in the mid-80’s is acceptable for mobility fights (which Gorefiend is not).

What else can WWS tell you? All sorts of things. Just looking at the above images, you can see that our guinea pig’s DPS for that fight was 1264 and that her VT/SWP ratio was pretty close. If anything, I’d suspect that she was waiting for VT to wear off before re-casting. Since VT has a casting time, you can start casting it before VT actually wears off (without clipping the last tick) as long as you’re watching the dot timer. WWS will also show you buffs gained, so you can tell whether someone was using a flask, how often they used buff food, mana potions, their Shadowfiend and more.

Personal Observation

Last but not least: the often underestimated personal observation stage of the review process. Does the SP show up for raids on time and stocked with all the consumables and reagents that they need? Do they help with buffing Fortitude and Shadow Protection as needed? Are they dying a lot, and if so is it because of threat issues or poor situational awareness? Are they following instructions? Going AFK frequently? Zoning out on trash? Managing their mana/cooldowns well? Set them as your focus target for an hour or so if needed to keep an eye on them.

Final Thoughts

Even though we Holy Priests are healing specialists, that doesn’t mean that we have to be ignorant about how the ‘other half’ lives. My studies of Shadow Priest tactics/gear have made me a stronger player in general, not to mention a stronger Class Lead.

Although patch 3.0.2 is now live, Blizzard is still rigorously testing talents for Wrath and beyond; changes are bound to be made in the coming weeks. I’ll keep revising this document whenever it seems necessary. Your comments and suggestions are welcome; past comments have already contributed to improvements in this revision!

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Special Edition: Recommended Healing Specs for 3.0

October 14, 2008

Note to all you guys still clicking through after the release of Wrath:

We know you’re there, we see you, this is STILL one of the most popular hits for our blog.  If you’re here looking for spec advice, go to this post instead.  This was made for the days pre-Wrath release, not intended for level 80 raiders.  Follow the link for shiny updated content.

Although your beloved snark mavens usually see eye to eye, sometimes we just don’t! Read on to find out what we think about healing spec options for 3.0. The final choice is, of course, yours but don’t say we didn’t give you any options!

Jov sez: Don’t rock the boat!

I know I’ve stated on many many many occasions that trying out weird specs and figuring out what your spells do is a Good Thing ™, however… If you are currently a member of an active raiding group, now is not the time to go crazy. Things are going to be changing left and right, and keeping your spec as similar as you can to standard can act as a good control while things settle. Try things out on your own time, you have a responsibility to your fellow raiders to not take this opportunity to pick a spec that blows up in their faces.

IMP DS 23/38 redux

I’m going to advocate only the smallest tweak from the current standard cookie cutter IDS build: 23/38. It’s got one throwaway point in Discipline (the one point I put in Unbreakable Will could go anywhere) and the Holy tree is more of the same. Note: With the changes to pushback mechanics, Healing Focus are dump points at the moment, and as such, I chose to dump them. I used Desperate Prayer to jump down a tier. The main change I’m going to advocate is 3/3 Serendipity over 3/5 Empowered Healing. With the death of downranking, you’re going to be facing larger Greater numbers than you’re used to, so losing a bit of Empowered isn’t going to make such a big deal. However, while relearning, getting 25% mana back on the inevitiable overheal IS.

New CoH 14/47

There is no Mental Agility in this build, which makes me sad. CoH is going to be more of a mana hog spec than it is currently: 14/47. Again, I’m changing some things from the standard in hopes of gaining more opportunity for regen while things settle. Most notably, dropping ranks in Empowered Healing again for Serendipity, Improved Holy Concentration and 1/2 in each Healing Prayers and Surge of Light (depending on your usual rotations, the last two could easily be 2/2 in one and dropping the other entirely.) Again, Healing Focus is not part of this spec, and unlike my previous preferred CoH spec, Holy Specialization is maxed. This spec is designed to take advantage of as much of regen in deep holy as possible.

Seri sez: ZOMG new toys and my birthday’s not until next month!

To hell with the naysayers that decry it as irresponsible; I’m totally going to field test the hell out of these bad boys. Why wait until 80 for those 51 point talents when I have 61 perfectly good talent points to spend today?

The Rebirth of Discipline: 56/5/0

First, let’s talk Discipline. I have none, obviously, but I’m talking about talents here. The Discipline tree has long been the redheaded stepchild of our family, but with 3.0 it is looking to become an extremely viable single target healing spec.

Are you tired of being an IDS monkey? You know what I’m talking about… the poor sap that drew the short straw and had to sink 23 points in Disc for the betterment of the raid? It’s time to strut your stuff… try this: 56/5/0

The new and improved Disc tree is all about preventative healing and, to a certain extent, mitigation. Your critical heals will shield the target for a percentage of your heals, and Penance becomes your ‘go to’ spell despite the 10 second cooldown. Use Power Word: Shield and Renew liberally and throw around a few Flash Heals and Greater Heals between Penance casts.

It’s going to take some getting used to, but the important thing here is to use more spells and keep shielding (it returns you mana!). Don’t just stand around stopcasting Greater Heal, you have way more utility than that! Also, don’t forget… Power Infusion isn’t just for DPS.

Alternately, you might consider a variation: 56/5/0

Same number of points, slightly different distribution. In this variant, I reduced points spent in Enlightenment and Grace (hey, 50/50 are still good odds) to pick up 3/3 Reflective Shield. It seemed like a good idea at the time, especially since you’re going to be shielding a lot. Who doesn’t like threatless damage? (Lolnova haters aside.)

Update: Upon reflection, you’ll get more bang for your buck by going with Enlightenment rather than Divine Fury, so I revised my suggestions after initially posting this.

Holy4Life: 7/54/0

Ok, on to Holy. This is going to be my particular playground of choice, and I’m considering a big drink from the Holy fountain: 7/54/0

I know what you’re thinking… no Inner Focus? Honestly, I haven’t been using it that much anyway as of late. Plus, there’s SO much in Holy to play with and with this spec I imagine myself simply glowing with inner radiance just looking for an outlet.

This has the potential for being a powerful raid healing spec, but it’s not for the faint of heart because giving up Meditation could hurt. I would venture to say that it needs some pretty strong gear to back it up at 70. CoH is as much of a mana hog as ever but it’s also more powerful than ever, receiving a boost from talents and crossing party lines to heal whoever in the vicinity of the target needs healing the most.

Like Jov, I opted for Serendipity over Empowered Healing. It just seems like the best choice, given the options available. I also decided to leave Lightwell out of this build, but you could always shuffle a point into it if you want. The way I figure, our raiders are going to be too busy trying to re-learn their own specs, spells and rotations to also remember that Lightwell doesn’t suck anymore. I will probably pick it up again at 80.

Don’t forget to watch for Surge of Light procs! I bet you’ll see a lot of them when you start throwing CoH around, and it’s not just for Smite anymore.

h1

Jov sez: Looking Forward

October 14, 2008

I try to not spend too much time focusing on Wrath in or out of blog.  It’s not because I’m not looking forward to it (because I am) or because I’m trying to exist in a bubble of spoiler-free existence (I saved that for my media lock-downs during Harry Potter releases.)  No, the reasons I try to avoid expending too much attention and focus on Wrath can be summed up quite simply:

  • I don’t have a beta key.
  • Beta is a time of flux, I don’t have the brainpower or stamina to keep track of every change.
  • I don’t want to spend so much time looking at next month that I forget to have fun with this one.

I don’t have a beta key, and I’m alright.

No, really, I’m alright.  I don’t really want a beta key, so I’m perfectly happy not having one.  This has very little do with leading a spoiler-free existence.  Seri has a key, I read plenty of bloggers with keys, some of which include movies (BRK’s Rhino Bowling is a favorite), and I consider myself plenty “spoiled” to many of the surprises in Wrath.

My happiness being key-free is all about time.  I’m still raiding regularly (we just officially moved to a 3-night schedule from 4, though I still participate in the occasional 10-mans) and between 3-5 nights a week in-raid, I don’t want to spend more time poking around things I’m going to be poking around in a month.  Wrath is coming, I’ll be here when it gets here.  It’s a very zen thing.

Beta is all about change.

This isn’t about anything but me being lazy.  I really don’t see the point in keeping track of each and every tiny change, tweak, or buff while it doesn’t even affect me.  I’m not talking about the large, sweeping changes (I’m as annoyed with the death of downranking as anyone, but it’s intended and Blizzard isn’t going to change their design principle because I add my voice to the QQ), but the gradual process of balancing and rebalancing that every class is currently facing.  What does it matter if a change suddenly has me doing 12% more DPS than every other DPS class out there when it’ll be normalized in a week?  I’m not going to base a build on it, just because I know I’ll need to rethink and rebuild in the next patch.

This probably is also a good reason I’m not a beta-tester.  I’m too lazy for feedback.

I want to focus on the game I’m in.

Currently, I’m playing World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade.  It’s a fun game I’m playing with my friends.  I’m currently raiding Black Temple and Sunwell Plateau, and in my off-time, I’m leveling a hunter and warlock.

Oh yeah, Burning Crusade…  Sound familiar?  That’s the game that we’re still playing for a month.  That’s more resets of the current raid instances to focus on.  More dailies, quests, alting, crafting.  More time to prepare for Wrath, yes, but focus on the game that is, not the game that will be.

And all that being said, what am I looking forward to most in Wrath?

  • Naxx — I can’t help it.  We’d only started poking at it before TBC was released, and thanks to rerolling, I never got attuned on Jov to participate in the few and infrequent pokes into there my guild made.  However, my impressions of Naxx were entirely positive (Hey, tanking Razuvius?  That was AWESOME.)
  • Dual-specs — I know, I know, not in Wrath, but in one of the early content patches after.  Seri teases me that my specs are going to be a single-target deep discipline healing spec and an AOE heal spec.  She’s not far off.  Being able to do swap to fill a need without having to go respec to do it will be awesome.
  • Dance Studio — Again, I know it’s not going to happen in November, but it’s still really exciting for me.  I love seeing new things, and opportunities for customization are awesome.
  • Quest chains — I’m not a big quester.  I’m also not terribly knowledgeable on Lore.  All that being said, the big, story-driven chains really float my boat.  Nesingwary be hanged, I want more reason for killing 50 pieces of local wildlife than just proving my worth as a hunter (Hello, Mr. Nesingwary…  I’m not a hunter.  I’m a priest, see?  Staff, robes, wand, massive healing powers…  Priest!) and chains in general feel more thought-out and interesting than simple grinding.

So, yeah, there’s my list.  I’m going to try and continue to keep things in perspective while dealing with what is currently on my plate, which means I’m probably not going to talk much more about these things until Wrath actually hits.  I’m not living in the past, I’m living in the present.

I know I promised a continuation of my Aargh Numbers! post, but Dwarf Priest has created a much better post than I ever could.  I strongly encourage all of you to check it out.
(Seriously, if you’re a priest and haven’t poked it yet, for shame! Go now!)

I would like to observe a moment of silence.  Holy Nova is now an in-class ability, and thus my Holy Nova-free existance is at an end.  /mourn  (You can make me take it, Blizzard, but you can’t make me use it! /mad)

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