Archive for February, 2009

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Seri sez: Life with Jov – It’s not all rainbows and kittens. Except when it is.

February 26, 2009

Disclaimer: The following has nothing to do with World of Warcraft, Priests, Healing, Leadership, Raiding or really anything of particular importance/value. Read at your own risk.

I’m pretty sure there was a time in my life when I wasn’t friends with Jov, but it’s kind of weird to look back on it now. It’s even weirder when you consider the fact that we’ve never actually met in real life. Sure, I’ve seen pictures of her but in my mind’s eye she is usually an anorexic blood elf… except when she’s a lolcat.

good mornin!

Jov is usually the first person I talk to in the morning (after Mr. Seri) and we’re usually in touch throughout the day. We always seem to have plenty to talk about, whether it’s guild foo, Snarkcraft foo, Priest foo, or… any number of other suitably random things. If I printed out our chat logs and laid them end to end they would probably stretch to the moon. We’re wordy bitches.

disagreement

Sure, sometimes we don’t see eye to eye but that’s part of what makes us a good team. There’s something to said for having a friend that will tell you when you’re being stupid, emo and/or brilliant. In fact, I think behind every good blogger is someone willing to give them a swift kick in the ass.

*sigh*

Hint: I'm the one on the right.

Sometimes being the brains of this outfit gets a bit tiresome, but hey… we all have sacrifices to make.

BFF!

Nonetheless, at the end of the day it’s good to have (pixelated) friends like Jov. That is, assuming she doesn’t put me on Ignore for this little caper. E-hearts, Jov, e-hearts!

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Jov sez: Raiding as a Job

February 24, 2009

It’s often said that tanks and healers, as the two highest-pressure jobs in a group, are also the two roles who are most susceptible to burn-out.  It’s also somewhat of an open secret around Snarkcraft that Seri (who has alt-itis anyway) swapped to rogue after a couple years raiding and healing.  Having stepped into her role as both priest class lead and heal co-lead, I often find myself slipping into the thought processes that define WoW as job:

  • I attend every 25-man our guild runs.  While there, I’m not only handing out assignments and focusing on my own targets, but I’m also spreading my attention between the other healers and their targets.  We’ve got a pretty strong healing team, and I’m always trying to make certain that I’m riding the balance of giving them assignments they can do/prefer, while still keeping things challenging and interesting.  If things start to go wrong, however, the problem feels personal when I’m trying to sort it out.
  • I still feel unprepared for some of the tasks I have for other classes.  I need to know proper gearing, enchanting, gemming, speccing, and some idea of proper spell selection for all the healing classes, so I can 1) spot anything in advance that raises red flags to see if there’s a plan for it (I’m happy to let wacky stuff go if there’s a reason for it) and 2) figure out post mortem what went wrong in a certain encounter.  I don’t spend as much time on this as I should (as I’m not NEARLY so good at this side of things as my co-leader), but it’s still there and I feel I should be making the effort.
  • I blog and moderate PlusHeal.  Even in my non-raid, non-WoW time, I spend a lot of time hunched over the computer, coming up with topics and wielding my ban-hammer at goldsellers and spambots.
  • I generally have little patience for truly repetitive tasks.  One of the reasons I love raiding is I honestly find the whack-a-mole aspect of it to be entertaining, or at least more entertaining than farming and Hodir dailies.

WoW may not be a 40-hour a week activity, but it still takes up a lot of mental real estate.  Burnout may not yet be the elephant in the room, but the potential is there.  How am I dealing?

  • If it’s not fun, why do it?  I’m a bad raider and a bad example.  I’ve totally let my Hodir dailies slip, and I only do enough herbing for what I need, without my usual redundancy backlog of an overflowing herb bag.  Most of my income is from Naxx runs.  I don’t intend to stay like this forever, but for the moment it’s helping me stay sane.
  • I’m not playing my alts to level.  I play them when I want to goof off.  Leveling is something that just kinda happens (or doesn’t) in the course of things.  I’m not focused on getting to 80.
  • I’m letting myself get obsessively immersed in other downtime activities.  I’ve watched more movies in the past month than I had in the previous 6.  I’ve also re-read all my manga, and scoured the net for scans of new stuff.  I do what I want to do, when I feel like doing it and I’m alright with that.

So, yeah.  There’s me.  If I do hit the burn-out stage, it won’t be the first time.  Luckily, my burnouts tend to be fairly short-lived and to involve me doing things like showing up for raid in shadow form (back before shadow priests were awesome and were stuck on healing duty anyway) or taking 2-week long enforced no-WoW leaves of absence.

The most important thing is really to remember why I do this.  I raid because I love healing.  I love my guild.  I love the vent and raid chatter.  I’m a heal lead because, while I think I know my stuff, I love to help.  If raiding is a job, it’s a job I love.

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6 of 6 — We’ve been tagged!

February 19, 2009

Thanks to the lovely and talented Siha over at Banana Shoulders, we’ve been tagged with that screenshot meme going around.  And for equal-opportunity, we’re tagging:  Envy @ Healer Envy, Av @ Holier Than Thou, Zaltu @ One Rogue’s Journey, Derevka @ Tales of a Priest, Tars @ Tanking for Dummies, and the lovely Vonya @ The Egotistical Priest.

Jov sez:

Wow, I’m actually one of those who’s actually got multiple folders of screenshots lying around my harddrive.  My true 6 of 6 is actually in my ‘funny conversation’ snippet folder.  But as the funny involves someone here with me, I’ve been informed in no uncertain terms that I’ll be disowned if I post it. (To which I would reply “You shouldn’t threaten to do that around people who take screenshots,” but I’m afraid she’ll beat me.)

Digging 6 after that (to stick with the theme) is actually a screenshot of my FIRST priest, way back in 2006.

trioThe Benediction on the right is my first priest.  Opposite her on the left is Mr. Jov’s first warrior, and in the center is our beloved leveling buddy.  (Come to Scarlet Crusade if you’re gonna play horde!)

But digging into my actual base screenshot folder, I come up with this:

6of6_072207My hunter, standing next to the above-mentioned leveling buddy’s mage, waiting around Sentinel Hill ready to give a Deadmines runthrough (with help of Mr. Jov’s mage, again) to our guildmaster’s gnome rogue and Seri’s draenei priest.  This was in July of 2007.

Seri sez:

There’s a reason why I don’t usually participate in these sorts of things. Heh. My 6th folder doesn’t have 6 screenshots in it! After much deliberation about how to best proceed (and considerable whining in Jov’s general direction) I decided to go with the 6th picture in the 5th folder instead. Live from Outland, I give you the Babes of Brill!

Babes of Brill

You may have heard me make mention of leveling to 70 on a PVP server… I rolled with this posse of RL friends when I did it. We called ourselves the Babes of Brill for reasons that should be mostly obvious. Sadly, the picture of us all in santa hats and wedding dresses was not #6. For what it’s worth, I’m the chunky green one in the back… Affirmative Action at its best.

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Seri sez: Discipline Priests Unite–er, Disperse!

February 19, 2009

urgent-clipartLet’s talk about Discipline. After all, everyone’s doing it these days. With the advent of WotLK, Discipline has risen in popularity and utility for PVE content. I don’t have to tell you how awesome it is, because you can’t sling a wet cat (not that I advocate aqueous feline bombardment) without hitting a dozen blog or forum posts about how awesome Discipline is. Some enterprising soul even registered DiscPriest.com and set up forums.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Discipline, but I’m starting to think about going back to Holy because the Discipline-mania that is rampant in the Priest community makes me a bit uncomfortable.

It wasn’t always this way. These things don’t happen overnight. It’s a slippery slope; you start out just quietly enjoying your time with your new spec/role. Then you realize that you aren’t alone. Other people like it too, and you can all chat merrily about how nifty it is.

So maybe you start a thread at the healing community of your choice, a haven for Discipline priests to chat about all things Discipline. Maybe you start your own blog to talk about it, and/or find yourself following dozens of other Discipline priests on Twitter. Maybe you become an advocate, singing the praises of Discipline and convincing Holy Priests to just give it a try. Maybe you become an activist, finding yourself urging your favorite Priest bloggers to cover more Discipline topics.

Time passes. The next thing you know, you and thirty friends are sipping kool-aid in your uniform black tee shirt and Nikes while stockpiling a small arsenal in the basement of your compound.

Ok, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but the cult-like following Discipline has developed is a growing cause for concern here at the Snarkcraft HQ. When interest becomes obsession, it’s time for a gut check. Maybe it’s time to ask yourself, “Have I developed an unhealthy attachment to my spec?” Consider the following questions:

  1. Do you own a Discipline Priest tee-shirt, bumper sticker, mouse pad or coffee mug?
  2. Do you have any of the Discipline talent icons tattooed and/or shaved on your person?
  3. Have you decorated your home in “Penance colors”?
  4. Did you register DiscPriest.com? (:P)
  5. Have you attended a Discipline march/rally/convention?
  6. Have you ever passed out pro-Discipline literature at your local gaming shop?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, please seek help. Discipline is a spec, not a movement. You don’t need to rise up and throw off the shackles of oppression. You’re not the underdog anymore; you’re an accepted and cherished member of the raid team… if you’d just shut the hell up and heal already.

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Jov sez: On Trinkets

February 17, 2009

A couple weeks ago now, Seri passed an emailed topic request to me, with the request that I look into it.  It went something like this:

If I may suggest a topic, I would be interested on a trinket review, with things accessible on raids and outside of raids. I usually make use of the “dwarfpriest.com” values to rate items, and can use it to calculate values of some trinkets (especially those with “on use” effect), but what annoys me always is when I’m faced with a “chance to proc” trinket since the chances to proc and sometimes hidden cooldowns on effects can drastically alter the value of some items. I don’t know if you know of resources somewhere on the net to find info for these values.

Trinket review.  Trinket review.  I understand why Seri tossed this one at me; I actually have access to some of these trinkets, whereas she’s happily face-stabbing away.  But the mathcraft of procs really makes me nervous.  (I also shy away from “Best in Slot” discussions.  I totally don’t want to get involved in the Crit vs Haste war currently going on in the holy priest community, as I love them both like bunnies.)

But for you, my EU friend, I’m going to try.  I’m including trinkets with a minimum equip level of 78, simply as a just in case there’s some diamonds in the rough (or it’s what you have easiest access to.)

Passive Equip

Majestic Dragon Figurine: This is a spell-triggered spirit trinket.  Each time you cast a spell, you get a stacking buff of 18 spirit for 10 seconds, granting up to 180 spirit if you keep it at full.  It drops off Sarth in OS-10.  I have it, I play with it, it’s not bad on boss fights where I can guarantee the 180 spirit (go go regen and spellpower!), but it’s not a terribly strong trinket for trash or anytime you might face downtime.

Illustration of the Dragon Soul:  Also from Sarth (this time OS-25), it’s a distant cousin of the Dragon Figurine.  Instead of a stacking spirit effect, it grants spellpower, 20 spellpower stacking to 200 if you keep it at full.  This falls somewhat victim to the same things as the Figurine, though personally I feel that the spellpower loss is less of an issue if it falls off and needs to be restacked.

On-Use

Tome of Arcane Phenomena:  This drops in Regular Oculus, and gives a base 68 spellpower, with an on-use increase in haste by 256 for 20 seconds (2 min cooldown).  At lv 80, it grants approx 7.8% haste.  (In laymans terms, it would drop your cast time of Flash Heal to 1.3 seconds.)  Personally, I don’t like this much, simply because the times I need temporary haste are so situational, it’s impossible to plan for.  I want 256 haste all the time, not for 20 seconds.  It’s probably much more useful for a DPS caster.

Darkmoon Card: Illusion:  This comes from collecting the Prisms deck.  It offers a base 100 spellpower, with an on-use small damage shield (absorbs 400 for 6 seconds) and gives back 1200 mana when the shield is removed or expires (5 min cooldown).  Ignoring the shield (because 400 damage absorb is pretty ignorable), if you keep the use effect on cooldown, it nets you 1200 mana every 300 seconds, which equals out to being less than 1 mp5.  Yes, it can be a little boost when you need it, but it’s effectively one free spell every 5 minutes.  For that, Inner Focus is more useful.

Spirit World Glass: This drops off Gothik in Naxx 10, and grants a base 84 spirit, with an on-use of 336 Spirit for 20 seconds (2 min cooldown).  This is an extremely strong trinket.  It doesn’t have at base the potential of the Dragon Figurine, but is much friendlier for trash, any fight which has downtime, or the chance you get an innervate.

Talisman of Troll Divinity:  Also a snackily strong trinket.  This drops off the final boss in Heroic Drak’Tharon, and grants 73 spirit, with an on-use of a stackable increased healing to target of 58, stacking 5 times and lasting 10 seconds (2 minute cooldown.)  Keep this baby’s use effect on cooldown.

Winged Talisman:  This drops from Ionar in Heroic HoL.  It grants 29 mp5 with an on-use of 346 for 20 seconds (2 minute cooldown).  Color me unenthused.

Living Ice Crystals:  This drops off Malygos in EoE-25.  It grants 43 mp5, with an on-use heal of your target for 2710 (1 minute cooldown).  It’s pretty darned snacky.

Chance of Proc

(Note:  All Proc Chance trinkets have a 45 second internal cooldown (Excepting the DPS trinket off Illidari Council in TBC), so keep in mind, the uptime of the proc won’t hit more than every 45 seconds, ever.)

Soul Preserver:  This drops in Regular Strat, and gives a base 75 spellpower, with a proc chance which decreases the mana cost of your next heal by 800.  It’s a 2% chance to proc (approximately 1 proc per 50 casts), meaning we’d likely only see the effect once every couple minutes at best.  While it could be useful for some long, mana-intensive fights, there are better options out there.

Darkmoon Card: Greatness:  This comes from collecting the Nobles deck, and has a +90 spirit and a +90 int version.  The proc chance gives you +300 to your highest stat for 15 seconds, with a 35% chance to proc.  The proc rate seems high, but keep in mind it falls victim to the 45 second cooldown rule.

Embrace of the Spider:  This drops of Maex in Naxx 10.  It gives 98 spellpower, base, and has a proc chance to increase your haste rating by 505 for 10 seconds (about 15% haste at lv 80) with a 10% chance to proc.  Like the Tome of Arcane Phenomena mentioned above, I don’t really like it, especially since it’s a proc chance haste effect instead of an on-use, meaning I have zero control over when I could potentially need the boost.  Also like the Tome, likely more appealing for DPS casters.

Je’Tze’s Bell:  The true diamond in the rough, and arguably a best in slot trinket.  This is a world drop, and the direct upgrade of the Memento of Tyrande.  It grants 106 spellpower at base, and a 10% proc of 100 mp5 for 15 seconds (which is the same proc as the Memento, but offers more regen.  I still use the Memento, it’s sexy).  I would personally sell my soul for one of these babies.

The Egg of Mortal Essence:  This is a Emblem of Heroism purchase, and is identical to Embrace of the Spider except it will only proc off heals or HoTs.  My thoughts on it also echo my thoughts on the Embrace: I don’t particularly like it.

Forge Ember:  This drops off the final boss in Heroic HoS, and grants 73 crit rating (~1.6% at lv 80) and has a chance proc of 510 spellpower for 10 seconds (10% chance to proc).  I actually like this more than the Egg-like trinkets, as I feel a situational boost of spellpower, even from proc, to be more useful at base than a boost to haste.  However, as with the haste trinkets, “on use” is more important to me than chance on proc, especially 10% with the 45 second cooldown.

Spark of Life:  This is the equal opposite of the Forge Ember.  It also drops off the final boss in Heroic HoS, but instead of crit/spellpower, it gives 73 haste rating (~2.25% at lv 80) and has a chance to proc 176 mp5 for 15 seconds (also with a 10% proc chance).  My feelings for this are roughly equivalent to my feelings for the Forge Ember as well, as a chance to proc of mp5 is still quite useful.

Forethought Talisman:  This is a shared drop in Heroic Naxx, and grants 111 spellpower with a chance to proc a HoT on your target that heals 3572 over 12 seconds (~298/second).  It’s a 20% proc chance (again, subject to the cooldown).  I personally consider this best for the spellpower.  The proc doesn’t heal that much (it’s kinda meh, actually).

Soul of the Dead: Pallies will try to convince you that this is THEIR trinket.  Don’t let them.  It drops off Sapphiron in Naxx-25, and grants 95 crit rating (~2% at lv 80) with a 25% chance to proc 900 mana return.  Even with the 45 second cooldown, you’re looking at 900 mana back roughly each minute (or a fairly static 15 mp5).  If you’re wanting crit, this is your strongest option.

The Bottom Line

Many of the trinkets listed above are very situational, but a few stand out above the rest.  If you’re looking for your best options for trinkets, I’d suggest Spirit World Glass, Talisman of Troll Divinity, Living Ice Crystals, and Je’Tze’s Bell.

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Seri sez: This Week in (WoW) History…

February 12, 2009

Usually a patch week brings numerous topics to the table for discussion, but since there was only one Priest-related change in 3.0.9 that makes for a kind of slim topic. (Inner Fire duration increased to 30 minutes & cannot be dispelled, in case you missed it.) So instead of talking about this week’s patch, I thought I’d take a little trip down memory lane and see what was happening about this time of year in (WoW) history.

February 2008
spam
Blizzard wins lawsuit against Peons4hire. I remember being sooo happy about this, because those Peons4hire spammers were incredibly persistent and annoying. I’m not going to take a stand here for or against buying/selling gold but I am firmly against in-game advertisements, whether they come in whisper or mail form. I remember the days when I had to install an addon to easily report spammers… sadly, by the time Blizzard implemented built-in easy spam reporting for mail and whispers the problem was not nearly as virulent (thanks to various real-life litigations like this one and mass account banning).

Sunwell (Patch 2.4) released on PTR. It’s hard to believe that it’s been less than a year since Sunwell was introduced, but since we’re just now hitting the 1 year anniversary of the patch hitting the PTR… wow, it really has been less than a year. It seems like I spent a year in there on Kalecgos alone. I hated that damn dragon with every fiber of my being. In fact, I really wasn’t that fond of Sunwell in general, but I think a lot of it had to do with the sheer amount of trash between the front door and the first boss (and the fact that our GM felt it was important to farm said trash regularly before we even started working on Kalecgos). It seems like it was also around this time that there was a buzz in the Priest community about the possible introduction of Holy Form, because of one of the abilities of a mob or boss somewhere in Sunwell. Sadly, that never came to pass.

WotLK Bestiary unveils the Shoveltusk!!!1! Yeah, I know, I wasn’t very excited either. However, looking back at the bestiary page now I see that they never did follow through with unveiling Darkfallen, Ice Trolls or Proto-Dragons. Wait. What the hell is a “Darkfallen”? (Wowwiki to the rescue.) Oh, okay.

February 2007
blue ribbon
World first guilds began making their first forays into Serpentshrine Cavern in February 2007, merely a few weeks after TBC’s launch mid-January. As anyone who has completed the attunement chain for SSC can attest, just getting 25 people all the way through it in that time is in and of itself an accomplishment, not to mention getting from 70-80 before even being able to start. I still remember the dreaded attunement chart that someone put together for TBC, and how my eyes crossed trying to figure everything out. Heck, I got so frustrated by trying to figure out which TBC instances required keys and how to get them that I all but gave up on instances for a few weeks after hitting 70 on my Druid and leveled an alt. (Which, ironically enough, was Seri! Heehee.) For what it’s worth, the world-first Vashj kill was at the end of March.

Blizzard gives a sneak-peek into Black Temple. I guess February has just been THE month for introducing or previewing new raid content. Blood elves, demons and orcs–oh my! I wasn’t following raid development all that closely back then, but the BT patch did bring something else that I was very interested in at the time… Epic Flight Form for Druids. Oh yeah, and Nether Drakes. Also… Ogri’la and Skettis content. This was a big patch!

February 2006
abacus
February 2006 has the distinction of being the month Blizzard figured out how to disable new character creation on realms with queues. I don’t know how exciting that is, but I remember when it happened. I remember queues in general. I was happy to forget about them until they started popping up again on my server recently. Death to queues. (Yeah, I know… queues are slightly preferable to server crashes due to load issues.)

However, something very interesting (and topical) DID happen in February 2006: Priest talent changes were announced! Discipline got an overhaul back then, and Power Infusion was inroduced as the new 31-point talent. I wish I had a snapshot of the talent tree back then so I could look at it alongside the current one, just for nostalgia’s sake. Of course, I didn’t play a Priest back then but… I can still be nostalgic, damnit! It’s hard to imagine the talent trees being so short.

Blizzard previews Blackwing Lair with a gameplay trailer. Although BWL wasn’t released until Patch 1.6, they did give us a sneak peek in February 2006. Again, with the new content previews in February! If this doesn’t take you back, I don’t know what will.

Had enough yet? But wait… there’s more…balloons

February 2005

Here’s one for our International readers: World of Warcraft launches in Europe! Huzzah!

Blizzard releases information about the upcoming Honor System and Battlegrounds. It’s hard to remember battlegrounds and the honor system not being part of the game, but back in Feb ’05 it was still under development and a pretty hot topic. I remember being generally mystified by it, because I’d never really done PVP before outside of first person shooter type games. However, I do remember the insane pitched battles in Hillsbrad Foothills after the honor system was released and the server-crashing lag that resulted. Ah, those were the days. I really wish they had kept Dishonorable Kills to discourage high level characters from ganking lowbies.

…you know, I really have been playing this game too long.

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little trip back in time with me. In closing, I’d just like to remind you as we roll into this Valentine’s Day weekend: Buffs can be dispelled, but sockets are forever.

Ciao!

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Jov sez: Plague

February 10, 2009

Jov is has spent most of the past week down for the count with a plague that one of her local alliance-playing friends likens to “You look like one of what’s-his-name-at-the-Wrathgate’s experiments.” (Reply: Gee, thanks.) She also doesn’t have a Tarsus guest-post to provide in it’s wake as he’s been working on his own blog.

So, instead, a link to Tars’ blog.

Expect more Jov-content next Tuesday.

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