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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Seri sez: So, now what? – The raid schedule dilemma.

February 5, 2009

calendarA lot of guilds are starting to get to the point where they are running out of raid content before the end of the raid week. It’s not at all difficult to clear Naxxramas, Malygos and Sartharion in two nights; a particularly ambitious guild could probably do it all in one night and cap it off with Archavon if the Wintergrasp timer cooperates.

Still, the raid instances only reset once per week. As your guild’s gear and familiarity with the encounters improves, you’ll clear the content faster and faster until you reach the point where you can easily clear everything in a fraction of the time you’ve set aside for raiding.

So, now what?

For some, achievements are the answer. There are both easy and difficult achievements that can stretch your raids out as you work together to conquer a new challenge. I really like raid/instance achievments for this reason… it means you don’t always have to do the fights the same way. By altering strategies you can keep things different and challenging long after content becomes ‘farmable’.

Still, achievements will only get you so far. Once you’ve done it once, it’s less difficult to replicate on successive weeks and you can easily end up right back where you started with not having enough to do to fill your raid week. At this point, there really are two options:

1. Cut days from your raid schedule.snip!

This is the most economical solution. If you normally have a four day raid schedule and clear all your content in 2 days, your raid team gets 2 days off to do whatever they want.

This sounds pretty good on paper, but there may be complications. What if you have members of your raid team that can’t attend one or both of those days? You may lose good people because they no longer have the opportunity to raid, or even because the glut of downtime makes them bored and provides impetus for them to find Other Things To Do outside of the game. Not to mention, once folks get into the habit of only raiding 2 days a week, will they really want to go back to 3-4 when new content is released?

2. Spread your raid content out to cover all the days on your raid schedule.

You may not be able to have a full-length raid for every scheduled raid day, but there is something to be said for spreading out your content so that you have something to do as a group on every scheduled raid day. Will some people be grumpy about showing up just for 20 minutes to gank Malygos and then disperse? Potentially. Still, as long as they’re there they might be convinced to run a 10-man, work on Heroic achievements or do some group PvP afterward. If there hadn’t been a raid that night, they might not have logged in at all.

Which option is best for your group? A wise person recently told me: A raid group is like a soccer team. You only perform well if you continue to practice.

soccerI think there is a good deal of truth to this. A raid group is a team, and raiding not only is a way of gearing up and practicing the encounters but of working together as a team. The more time a raid group spends at ‘practice’, the better they will perform when the next big challenge (Ulduar) comes. It’s not just about learning the strategies, it’s about building comraderie and growing more comfortable/confident working together as a team. The best guilds aren’t bound together by the loot they earn, but rather by a sense of community and shared experience.

So, if your guild is one of those in the difficult position of having too much time and not enough content, before you start thinking about giving your raid schedule the chop (or asking your guildmaster to) I implore you to take some time to consider what will make you a stronger team rather than what is simply the most economical. Alternately, you can just do what I tell you. Either way, it’s a win.

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Jov sez: How to Spec Your Priest

February 3, 2009

noAs you all have probably noticed from my “It Came From The Meeting Stone” screenshots, not being a tard when standing at the trainer clicking the little talent buttons is important to me.  And since there seem to be some people determined to be creative, original, or just entirely avoid min/maxing for who knows WHAT reason…  I’m gonna make a handy little post.  And more than that, I’m going to macro it with a /t %t “Hey, it may have escaped your notice, but your spec is bad.  I don’t see how you can be anything but a drain on your raid with a spec that special.  Please check out the guide at {here} and thank me later.”

Okay, first of all, there are two types of priest: Holy (*buffs nails*) and Discipline (… meh).  Okay, there’s the replenishment bot in the corner, but we don’t care about them.  Their purpose is just to fill our neverending mana pool.  But on to the basics.

First, you’ve two options for spec, with some wiggle room allowed in each.

Discipline (54/13/0 — points remaining: 4)
Holy (14/54/0 — points remaining: 3)

snowflakeYou do NOT have the option to try and pick a little of column one and a little of column two. Doing so does not make you a tender and unique snowflake.  It makes you spend a respec fee to not do it wrong.

Breakdown:

Must haves — Both specs
Twin Disciplines : Superior choice to Unbreakable Will; more spellpower is good.
Improved Fort : Unfortunately, we need it.
Improved Inner Fire : Starting at lv 71, Inner Fire gives a spellpower boost.  Improved improves it.  Better choice than Silent Resolve.
Inner Focus : A free spell (with bonus improved chance to crit).  Good for getting time out of the 5 second rule.
Meditation : Our primary regen talent.
Holy Specialization : Crit is very important to several of our talents.  This is a free 5%.
Divine Fury : Reduced cast time to smite, holy fire, flash and greater.  Superior to Spell Warding.
Inspiration : If there’s any chance you’re going to be having a heal land on a tank, you want this maxed.

Must haves — Discipline Spec
Improved PW Shield : You’ll be shielding a lot; improve it.
Mental Agility : Reduced mana cost on instants, good for all the shielding you’ll be doing.
Mental Strength : More mana, better results from Replenishment, required for Power Infusion.
Focused Power : Increases Spellpower
Enlightenment : Improved stats plus haste
Power Infusion : Not just for mages ;)
Renewed Hope : Improved crit meshes well with Divine Aegis
*Grace : (see Situational section below)
Rapture : Mana regen talent
Aspiration : Primarily for the reduced cooldown of Penance
Divine Aegis : Good with Renewed Hope.  Again, shields are vital.
Pain Suppression : Good “oh shit” button
Borrowed Time : Haste and more shield improvement
Penance : Penance and Shield are the two main “bread and butter” spells of the discipline spec.  Don’t spec Discipline without this talent.

Suggested Use of Leftover Points — Discipline Spec
Desperate Prayer, Improved Renew, Divine Spirit — Regular DS is the strongest of these, but they all work.
Situational: If you don’t run with Shammies, feel free to go IDS.  If you don’t have a protadin, get *Grace.

Skip — Discipline Spec
Improved Divine Spirit : Does not stack with Flametongue Totem.  If there are shammies in the raid, chances are this is a wasted point.
Reflective Shield : Only reflects damage done to you when you are shielded.  Does not reflect damage when anyone else is shielded.
*Grace : Damage Reduction does not stack with Blessing of Sanctuary, though the boost to +heal does.

Must haves — Holy Spec
Improved Renew : Better option than the alternatives
Improved Healing : Reduced mana cost of heals
Holy Reach OR Desperate Prayer : Either of these is as good as the other.  Holy Reach will increase the spread of CoH and Holy Nova.  Desperate Prayer will heal you (personally, I think you’re better off with Binding Heal, but to each his own).  They’re both primarily a means to jump down a tier.
Spirit of Redemption : 5% spirit increase, plus improved death.
Spiritual Guidance : Spellpower increased by 25% total spirit.  Spirit is still mandatory for holy priests.
Surge of Light : 50% Chance on crit to get a free flash/smite.  Good for downtime when no one needs a heal, good for getting time out of the 5 second rule when paired with Inner Focus.
Spiritual Healing : Improves healing spells
Holy Concentration : Clearcasting
Empowered Healing : Improves Greater, Binding and Flash heals
Serendipity : Mana regen talent
Imp Holy Concentration : You get a reduced cast time for Greater, Flash, and Binding, plus improved chance to proc Clearcasting
Circle of Healing : 6 second cooldown or not, this is still a valuable part of a holy priest’s arsenal, and a useful group heal.
Divine Providence : Improves healing done by all spells not Greater/Flash and reduces the cooldown of ProM.
Guardian Spirit : Good “oh shit!” button that also increases all healing done to the target.

Suggested Use of Leftover Points — Holy Spec
Healing Prayers, Test of Faith, Desperate Prayer/Holy Reach — all solid choices.

Skip — Holy Spec
Healing Focus : Changes to pushback mechanics make this talent somewhat lackluster compared to others, so skip it.

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