Archive for November, 2009

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Guest Post: Priests in the Arena

November 26, 2009

Happy Turkey Week!  Jov and Seri are traveling, spending time with friends and family, and preparing for a serious case of food coma.  Special thanks for the guest posts for taking wow posting off our plates, and leaving us with more room for sides…

I thought I would write a guest post for Snarkcraft (one of my favorite priest blogs!) about a topic not often covered:  Arena PVP.  I’ll start with some basic arena strategies.  I am assuming you’re just starting out, and that you’ll be a Priest, specced Discipline.  Holy really isn’t arena viable at the moment.

General Arena Helpful Tips

  1. Don’t Die
  2. Don’t Let your Partners Die
  3. Blow Defensive Cooldowns when the other Team blows Offensive Cooldowns
  4. Blow Defensive Cooldowns Earlier Rather than Later
  5. CC and DPS when the target is low
  6. Drink – a lot!
  7. Pick up a PVP trinket – don’t leave home without it.

How to gear

As a priest, you wear cloth and lots of it.  You’ll want to wear as much resilience as you can get your hand on.  Once you start feeling comfortable (for me this happens only once I’m in the 1000+ range), start stacking stamina and spellpower.  Get the spirit set, although you can double dip the shadow set, getting the 50 resilience bonus from both sets, but you’ll notice the lower regen.  You will be able to go offensive much better though, so it could depend on your playstyle.  Get at least 4% hit so your fears connect a reasonable amount of the time.  Yes, it’s that important.  Pick up the +hit offset pieces for cloak, ring, and neck slots, and you should do fine.

Glyphs – Pick up Pain Suppression and Inner Fire, especially while still gearing up.  Glyph of Penance is 100% necessary 100% of the time.

How to survive

You have no real escapes, especially against warriors/undeads.  Priests in PVP essentially tank in cloth.  I know it sounds crazy, but it’s crazy fun when you can pull it off!  Anyway, keep moving, cast PW:shield->Penance->Prayer of Mending->Renew->stop and flash as necessary.  Remember to dispel any dots or snares that you can – especially against DKs (Chains of Ice and Diseases) and mages’ frost novas.  You’d be surprised how much dispelling what amounts to these classes’ damage buffs reduces the amount of damage they can dish out.

Line of Sight (LOS) – Line of Sight is your friend in Arenas.  Anyone who says otherwise, or says that LOS is cheesey, plays too many battlegrounds on their hunters.   Good LOS play can significantly reduce the damage you take and the scariness of enemy target switches. You’ll notice some teams will try to lure you into their LOS.  Shield/Penance your DPS when you can, but be aware the other guys have some dirty tricks up their sleeve…

Fearing Defensively – Save your Psychic Scream for when you need to get a cast off, or you see an opportunity to gain distance or get out of LOS.  If you are in an emergency situation, however, blow it.  There’s nothing more embarrassing than dying while your cooldowns are still up.

How to heal

Penance and PW: Shield, Prayer of Mending – these are your most powerful heals in arena.  In my experience, greater heal comes close to the output of penance, but penance has the benefit of going off immediately, and going through line of sight.  Use PW:shield first, especially since it gives you a haste buff.

Flash heal – Flash heal is what you do when Penance, PW:Shield, are on cooldown.  Get a latency mod, like quartz for your castbar and spam that button!

Other odd heals you wouldn’t think to use – Greater heal, Divine Hymn, Binding Heal, and Prayer of Healing are heals you probably won’t use very often, mostly because they’re best when you aren’t being focused, which happens approximately 0% of the time.  However, if you can get them off, especially if someone has let their mortal strike debuff fall off for a second, you can really turn the tables.  I’ve seen 3v3 matches where I was super behind, and I popped Divine Hymn and Inner Focus and topped off my team.  And they say Priests have no reset buttons.  :P

Mortal Strike – Mortal Strike is your enemy #1.  Know what the debuff looks like, know how long the cooldown is, know how to get as many heals off as possible when the debuff is *not* up.  Hunters, Warriors, and Rogues can all apply versions of the 50% version.  Mages and Shadowpriests (do they really exist?) provide a 20% version.  Oh, and if someone has the debuff and needs a heal, heal them.  You just got outplayed, but you have a better chance of winning if your teammate is alive.

How to pressure

Dispel – Dispels at the right time can be sooo clutch.  Paladins and Priests should be dispel spammed if they are your DPS target.  Also, dispel any CC as often as possible.  Some classes have dispel protection – for instance, if you dispel unstable affliction from Haunt warlocks, you’ll get silenced, which is BAD…

Mana Burn – You’ll find that the one thing in your bag of tricks that will force a healer to go defensive is Mana Burn.  As a healer, learn this sound.  It will strike *sheer terror* into your heart… It’s fun to hold people on the other side of pillars with this.  Say your DPS is focusing the other team’s DPS.  Use Mana Burn to force the healer to LOS their DPS, then keep using it to hold them there.  They’ll only be able to get off instant casts, which means they’ll be way behind.  Just make sure you remember to heal your DPS in time…. Cast Shield, Psychic scream, and Power infusion, then spam Mana Burn at the other healer for fun and profit.

Mass Dispel – Mass Dispel has two uses in Arena.  One is when there’s a zergfest and everyone’s in range – you’ll dispel debuffs and buffs at the same time!  This is win. The other use is to dispel Iceblock and Divine Shield.  Especially against Paladins, it’s important to pre-load this so that you can get their bubble off and get the kill before their heal goes off.  Plan ahead!

Fearing Offensively – Psychic Scream is a powerful CC because it hits all targets within range.  Use that to your advantage, and try to catch the target and at least one other player.  Also, against healers, fear them when the target is around 30% health – they may think they are keeping up, and then BAM! They’re CC’d!  At the very least, you forced the trinket or blew their timing/global cooldown.  This is all huge, just from a 30 second cooldown!

How to DPS

If you are in a place where you need to out-and-out DPS to help force a kill or apply more pressure, you need to consider what situation you’re in.  IF the target is very low on health, cast Penance or Holy Fire->SW:Death.  This “Backloads” the damage from SW:Death (the damage will all come in nearly the same global cooldown, because the GCD from Penance is already done).  If you need to pressure, use your holy DPS spells.  These spells (Holy Fire and Smite) are at what amounts to 100% spell penetration because Holy has no resist stat.  Don’t forget your DOTs and Mind Blast, they do a surprising amount of damage!

Smite Spec – if you want to go really offensive, pick up the smite glyph and the low end holy smite talents – Holy spec, Divine Fury, and Searing Light.  Congratulations!  You are now a Mage with healing spells!

How to CC

Refer to Psychic Scream offensively, above.  One little thing to note here, do not ignore shackle undead!  Make a macro to target Ebon Gargoyle, and shackle DK ghouls whenever you can.  Also, DK’s who pop Lichborne are legal targets for Shackle as long as the buff is up…

When to trinket –
#1 – when your team needs a heal.  You just got outplayed, again.  Prepare to eat blind or sheep.
#2 – Against CC, try to sit it out if you can, and save the trinket for emergencies.  However, be aware that some comps can easily drop your DPS inside even really short CCs.  Refer to #1 and trinket.  Otherwise, refer to the LOS section.

How to Drink

Drinking is how to pressure, defensively, as a Priest and as a healer in general.  Most of the time, especially against Paladin and Druid healers, Priests just can’t keep up in the mana department.  It’s the drawback we get for being able to go offensive with Mana Burn.  If you can, have your DPS go defensive and get drinks off, early.  The longer you can postpone your shadowfiend, the more pressure you can put on the other healer in a mana war.  A few ticks of drinking can change the game!  Learn to notice when the other team is leaving you alone.  These are the best times to sneak off behind the nearest pillar and get a drink.  Do it at every opportunity! Remember, you need to buy special Arena Water for Arenas.

On a side note, make sure to dispel innervate and divine plea whenever you can.

Enjoy!
~Felade

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Guest Post: Warcry!

November 25, 2009

It’s another Turkey-week guest post, this time a super-Wednesday edition.  This time from Juzuba, a frequent commenter both here and on PlusHeal.

Warcraft?  Warcryft?  War cry craft?  Ah, so it’s build your own war cry.  I can deal, I can deal.  It’s a worthwhile endeavor, you know.  Obviously our homemade chants and shouts cannot possibly eclipse the Classic.  But our lesser brethren (read: the Alliance) have been struggling for fifteen years without an original quip to fall back on after being invariably gunned down before the gates of Orgrimmar.  “For the Alliance” is the equivalent of “Cocoa and peanut butter FUSION” or “Vampires twinkle in direct sunlight”.  It’s a cheap knockoff, and everybody knows it.

I hereby offer a few variants for your situational rage-filled trumpeting needs.

Classic Era

“Defend the Crossroads/Southshore!”

“Remember Mr. Bigglesworth!”

“More Dots!  More Dots!  -50 DKP!”

“Leeeeeroooooyyyyyy Jenkins!”

“Fuck dishonorable kills, I’m getting on my main!”

“Loot the hounds!”

“Sheep the adds!”

TBC Era

“No, YOU are not prepared!”

“______ was merely a setback!”

“Please don’t let it be Warrior/Druid again!”

“Leeeeeroooooyyyyyy Jenkins!”  (still a classic)

“Actually, I think that’s a hunter weapon.”

“Don’t move on Flame Wreath!”

“Kill order is skull, then X.  Sheep moon, banish purple, trap blue square, sap triangle.”

“Don’t nerf me, Bro!”

WotLK Era

“For Saurfang!”

“Death to the Scourge!”  (“And death to the living!” is optional)

“Suffer well, brethren!”

“Kill order is Death and Decay, Consecrate, Blizzard, Bladestorm, wheeeee!”

“Remember Mr. Bigglesworth (redux)!”

“In the mountains…”

“Get out of the Brain Room befo- Yes, master…”

“Battle on, heroes?  It’s my sixth run-through this week!  Screw you, DJ Fordring!”

“Leeeeeroooooyyyyyy Jenkins!”  (always a classic)

“More Dots!  More Dots!  -50 DKP!”

“Remember to loot the Daily Quest Item!”

“Death to the raiding guild!”

If The Alliance Had Huevos

“Remember Lordaeron!”

“Honor to the fallen, and honor to Stormwind!”

“My King Is A Douche!”

“Avenge Gnomergon (One Day, Maybe)!”

“We got Worgen, haha, bitches!”

~

So, fellow war-bards – inspire us with your tales of bravery and courage in the face of oncoming slaughter!

Look, as a D&D player, you have no idea how much effort it took to say that with a straight face…

Jov sez: And now I’m going to be picturing that whenever I’m playing my Aasimar Bard in our Saturday D&D game.  Gee thanks.  >.<

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Guest Post: Priests in Battlegrounds

November 24, 2009

Happy Turkey Week!  Jov and Seri are traveling, spending time with friends and family, and preparing for a serious case of food coma.  Special thanks for the guest posts for taking wow posting off our plates, and leaving us with more room for sides…

So you want to run some battlegrounds as a . . . *gasp* PRIEST?  What are you nuts?  Seriously, people can have this reaction.  Our class doesn’t have a great reputation for survivability and that deters many of us from running battleground or ever trying them for that matter.  Fear not!  I am here to guide you through these death mazes and give you some tools to bring the pain to your foes.

The first thing you should expect in Battlegrounds is to die . . . a lot.  How much is a lot?  Picture the Horde and Alliance lined up in the field of strife in Alterac Valley and the enemy all pressed tab at the same time, they would all target you.  Yes it CAN be that bad but it rarely IS that bad.  Battlegrounds (BGs) are not raids or heroics or arenas or even quests.  They are their own unique slice of WoW and it involves dying. A lot. Everyone dies at least once in a BG, release, let go of it, and move on to the next victim.

You got Talent

Many people talk about pvp talent builds but be warned not all of these will benefit you in a BG, most of them are designed for arenas.  You have a great deal more flexibility in your spec for BGs but a dedicated BG spec will make your life a lot easier.  As Priests we have a lot of options for good pvp talents but we will stick mainly with one tree and this decision will rest mostly on your play style.

I WANT TO SURVIVE!: DISC
I WANT TO KILL’EM ALL!: SHADOW
I’M A LUNATIC!: HOLY

All types of priest are viable in a BG and have talents that designed for pvp activity.  You can make your own choices and don’t have to stick with what you raid in.  I am a Holy priest but I run BGs as shadow exclusively because I spend enough stressful time healing dungeons and pvp is a way to blow off steam and melt some Alli faces.  I will not go into great detail about every useful talent for each built but I will point out a few crucial ones.

The Mandatory Disc talents are important here but there are some key differences.  You will want to pick up Unbreakable Will if you find yourself getting snared or stunned a lot.  Imp Inner Fire and Imp PW:F are VERY helpful. Meditation and Inner Focus are less mandatory. The reason being that BGs require a lot of chain casting (healing or killing or both) and I find mana regen impacts my performance since I am usually dead before I run out and I rarely find Inner focus to be worth the point except specific BG scenarios.  Better spent points are Imp PW:S and Soul Warding to enhance protection.  Further in DISC are some pvp essentials like Reflective Shield, Power Infusion, Rapture, Aspiration, Pain Suppression, and all the way to Penance the all purpose heal/nuke.

Shadow has a lot of great pvp talents too.  Mandatory ones for pvp are Imp SW:P, Imp Mind Blast, Mind Flay, Imp Psychic Scream and down to Silence, Shadow Reach, Focused Mind,  and pick up every talent in the Vampiric/Shadow form segments. Take up the all important Imp Devouring Plague(DP) not only because it is increased damage but also it gives DP instant damage which our class lacks a lot of in pvp.  Optionally you can pick up Psychic Horror and I would grab it because there is a use for it and I will tell you shortly. Take Dispersion even if someone tells you it suck, it does but its all we got *sigh*. Its main use is mana regen and a very last ditch escape mechanism. (PRO TIP:You can Disperse even while mounted!)

Holy . . . well it kinda sucks.  You CAN heal a LOT of people VERY effectively in BGs with this spec, but you can’t heal yourself very well with it.  Survivability is key to pvp, the longer you live the less the enemy does.  However, we do get some nice spells here.  Healing Focus (stops pushback), Divine Fury (extra holy damage/healing), Desperate Prayer (instant full health heal or near it), and Body and Soul (an escape mechanism combined with shielding). You could argue there are more important talents in holy but for pvp these are the must haves.

The Tools of DESTRUCTION (mwahahahahaaa . . . ha)

You got the talents and the spells now what do you do when you want to kill someone. Typically you mostly spam SW:P and DP.  I know it’s really sad and you are probably saying “Wow Nic you make BGs sound sooooo exciting!” Firstly, hey shut up!  Sarcasm will not help you kill faster. Secondly, there are two reasons why you will spam your DoTs.  1) Almost no healer will ever remove your DoTs in the BG and 2) They are exceptionally potent and quick cast DoTs.  Seriously, nothing will make you happier to watch a Rogue get DoT’ed up and run around as they desperately try to escape their ever shrinking health bar until they die.  In fact I have yet to meet the rogue that can survive the SW:P and DP combo, even if no one else is attacking them (Sorry Seri). The key to topping the damage charts is getting in damage as quickly as possible before the target dies from other combatants and unfortunately our class dps is more of a steam roller. Takes forever to get moving but can crush anything, assuming it doesn’t quickly step to the side XD. Speaking of DoTs, Vampiric touch is very good too, except the slightly long cast.  If you can get it up do it, but don’t start with it and don’t follow up with MB, its just not worth it (time wise or mana wise).

Our other useful spells are our trusty nuke, Mind Blast. IF you get the chance cast it. Another staple is SW: DEATH!  I know it seems risky as you can actually kill yourself with this spell and probably will several times till you get the hang of it. However, it does crazy instant damage, crits very high, and glyphs can reduce the damage you take.  Mind Flay is great in that it does a decent stream of damage AND cripples your opponent’s movement to a crawl.  It’s bad in that it is basically a giant glowing sign pointing out to your enemy who is killing them slowly and can probably die easily. It’s good to use when others are around to finish off someone. Fear, Horrify, and Silence are all amazingly effective interrupters of casters and can help put distance between you and a charging horde of enemies. It also can be effective in chain silencing/interrupting Warlocks who are the current pvp champs and particularly difficult for priests. Horrify is particularly useful against the dreaded hunter.  While two seconds of doing nothing doesn’t seem like a lot the key is the 10 sec of dropping your main hand and ranged weapon. You can essentially turn a hunter into a gimpy one-handed sucky rogue and own them. (See?  I told you there was a reason for Horrify!)

If you go disc the power of bubbling and Penance cannot be overstated.  Have you ever tried to kill a disc priest? They are, in my opinion, among the hardest to kill in a BG right after Trees and Pallies.  If you are good no single player will be able to kill you, sometimes not even two or three. If you are disc the world of spells is open to you, if you are shadow you will neglect any holy spell as the cost to drop shadow form will be too costly to mana and inevitably health.

Tactics and Closing thoughts

Your job as a shadow priest in a BG changes depending on what you are running.  In IoC sometimes you are most effective running seaforium bombs to the keep walls, in AV you are useful in defending a tower, or sometimes it just comes down to bringing the pain.  In general we have some basic purposes depending on your end goal.  If you want honor run where the action is and cause as much damage as humanly possible from afar and heal/passively heal whenever you get a chance.  The more honorable kills you get and the more objectives you defend the better.  If you want to win BGs, cause as much chaos as you can by slowing down hippity hoppity rogues with mindflay, silencing mages/healers, or sacrificing yourself to plunge into a crowd of enemies and cast fear.  If your goal is to have fun I highly suggest you accomplish the first two goals with a friend or guildy in a party.  Communication is survival and a partner can drive you to the top of the honor chart, damage chart, and heal chart in any BG.  Finally, experience is the best advice I can give.   Learn the layout of each BG, see where the enemy on your Battlegroup likes to attack and counter it.  The goal is to have fun while dying, something you can’t accomplish in any raid or heroic. Happy hunting!

~Nicoran

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Seri sez: Raid progression in 3.3 — The shot heard ’round the world.

November 19, 2009

Yesterday, Blizzard announced their plan for opening up Icecrown Citadel in 3.3. While I was reading it, I couldn’t help but think, “Wow, this is going to be extremely unpopular with the top raid guilds.” However, I have to admit… this wasn’t exactly out of the blue. Blizzard has been firing warning shots across the bows of said vessels for the last year, introducing a lot of changes that have been less than popular with the ‘serious’ raiding population. Unfortunately, now it seems more like they’re shooting to kill.

Let me outline, in brief, The Plan™:

  1. Icecrown Citadel (ICC) will not be fully open immediately at patch launch. Instead, its four sections (The Lower Spire, Plagueworks, Crimson Hall, and Frostwing Halls) will open independently with one or more weeks in between. Each section contains several boss encounters, plus trash.
  2. Sections 2, 3 & 4 each contain a ‘final’ boss that must be killed in order to unlock the Lich King encounter for that raid instance.
  3. Raid teams will have a limited number of cumulative attempts to defeat these bosses as well as the Lich King.
  4. The number of attempts starts small (5) but increases to, eventually, 15 once all the content is released.
  5. Heroic modes are toggled on/of on a per-boss basis, but are not available until after the Lich King has been defeated once on Normal mode.
  6. At some point after ICC is fully unlocked, the number of attempts per week will gradually increase.
  7. Also at some point after ICC is fully unlocked, an instance-wide buff that increases the raid team’s damage/healing/hit points will be introduced. This buff will also scale up over time, essentially ‘nerfing’ the instance to make it easier to defeat. This buff can be disabled.

So, basically, it’s Trial of the Crusader plus Algalon plus Sunwell with an added sprinkling of magic ‘make the casuals happy’ dust. Pardon me while I bash my head repeatedly against my desk.

Ok, moving on.

Blizzard seems to be attempting to put the brakes on raid progression in ICC, for reasons that I can only speculate upon. What cracks me up is this, which is a direct quote from their announcement:

“We believe a staggered release of the content will allow players to experience Icecrown Citadel at a sustainable, measured, and ultimately more enjoyable pace.”

Wow, really? Since when did it become Blizzard’s job to determine what sort of pace is most enjoyable for me? What’s next, timed raid instances? You have 2 hours to work on this raid instance today… really, it will be much more enjoyable for you that way. Call me paranoid, but the code already exists in the game to despawn bosses and teleport people out based on a timer. (VoA, anyone?)

On the whole, I really am discouraged by this announcement and concerned for the health of already-struggling raid guilds around the world. Long-time raiders seem to be becoming more and more disenchanted with raiding and the game in general, and while I’m not usually one to go all Chicken Little I would definitely say there has been something of a mass exodus going on. For the last year, Blizzard has made great strides toward bringing endgame content to the casual player. (Something that has not been terribly well-received by the raid guilds.) However, with ICC it seems like they’re shifting from bringing the casual players up to raid level to bringing the raid level down to them. The repercussions have yet to be felt, but I worry they will be significant.

More perspectives:

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Jov sez: Meters aren’t about the size of your e-peen

November 17, 2009

So, as our faithful readers are probably aware, our guild is currently recruiting.  In case of any of you bright, awesome, and intelligent people decide to work up the courage to try and spend a bit more time with Seri and myself, I’d just like to give a cautionary tale to keep in mind before you do so.  That tale can be summed up in a single sentence: Just because all the odds seem to be in your favor doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to make it to the interview and beyond.

Okay, to backtrack.

As you probably know, I’m the healing team lead of Axiom.  We’re recruiting healers, and have actually been getting a few good apps in.  Now, an application is your chance to make a good first impression, so a certain amount of talking yourself up is to be expected.  But there’s a good way of doing that and a bad way of doing that.  Talking yourself up to a guild in a way that makes them want to get to know you better involves stressing your positives, especially in a way that doesn’t rely entirely on putting others down to do so.

This application I’m referencing had, on the surface, all the stars in allignment.  It was an applicant from our server, our faction, and returning to the game after a hiatus.  We are recruiting his class.  He typed in complete sentences.  These are all positives.  Being local and horde means that in an iffy situation, we’re more likely to say yes and give you an initiate period.  We’re generally nice people and don’t want to waste time and (your) money on a transfer if we have concerns.  Being local gives you a toe in the door, if not a foot.  And returning to the game after a hiatus means while your gear might need some work, we’re not leaving any of our friends’ guilds in a lurch by yoinking someone from their raid team roster.  Additionally, this person was a friend of a friend of a former raider, who left the guild (the good way) a few months ago because RL was eating his time.

So why with all that going for him did he get a decline before he could even interview?

The answer lies primarily in a single sentence: “Most <applicant’s class> healers suck, so I enjoy healing against them.”

I’m a healing lead, I read that and instantly went no, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Okay, so…  Meters aren’t a competition.  This isn’t to say they’re not useful, but their utility is NOT in proving you’re so much better than everyone else around you.  It’s always said that raiding is a team sport, and that’s true, but it’s true exponentially moreso of healing.  In a team activity, you do not play against your teammates. You play with them in a trust game.  You trust them to know what they’re doing and to ask for help if needed.  You trust me to know what I’m doing in giving out assignments.  And if things go wrong, you trust everyone to work together to fix it.

“But Jov,” asks the kind and gentle ones in the audience, “why do you assume he’s talking about meters?” It’s quite simple– what does ever dps’er in your pug do at the end of every pull to show off how much they pwn?  They link the meters.  It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to guess that’s what he’s talking about when speaking of the suck of others.

“Does that mean it’s wrong to top the meters?” No, so you trees can let out that breath you’ve been holding.  There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with being on the top of the meter.  It’s a listing.  Someone is going to be on the top.  Someone is going to be on the bottom.  That’s how lists work.

“If your place on the meter doesn’t really matter, why should healers even care about them?” Meters are there for self-analysis (or my analysis, I suppose) and personal improvement.  The easiest way to do that is to just look at what you’re doing.

“I don’t know how to read a meter, there’s too much information.  I don’t know what I’m looking for.” There’s really two ways of doing this:  the easy way and the hard way.  I’m a big fan of the easy way.  Pull up a boss fight, look at yourself.  What spells are you casting?  What spells aren’t you casting?  Think about your assignment on that fight, and think about why you made the spell choices you did.  Now, pull someone else of your class/spec for that same fight.  (WoL is excellent for this, since you can search by server.  Find someone roughly at your level of progression.)  Look at their spell choices for that fight.  Now do it again.  If whoever you’re checking seems to have the same spell priorities as you, you’re probably doing it right, regardless of your place (or their place) on the meter.  If your useage is different, some of that can be do to raid composition, but you might want to try out what you’ve seen.

“I’m using the same spells, at roughly the same priority.  But I’m at the bottom and X is at the top!” There’s a lot of things which can account for meter position, but the biggest culprit is going to be one of two things:  lag and overstacking of healers.  Lag is the most unfortunate, and the one I can sympathize with most.  But to put it simply, if you’re running at a higher ping or lower framerate than your raid-mates, chances are they’re going to get the heal off before you do.  More of your heal will be overage, more of their heal will be effective.  They’ll move up the meter compared to you.  Overstacking healers also tends to lead to jumps in effective healing.  Unlike DPS, who can do damage and do damage and do damage until the boss is dead, healers can only heal as much damage as has been taken.  The reason fewer and fewer healers are needed as content goes on farm isn’t a matter of the healing power of the healers increasing from gear as much as it is the incoming damage becomes less as the tanks gear up and the raid is more comfortable with the encounter dynamics, reducing raid damage.  In that situation, it can feel very much like a race sometimes to see who can get the heal off first.

“After all that, I still want to know what’s wrong with wanting to top meters, it just means I’m wanting to do better, right?” No, no it doesn’t.  It goes back to that trust issue I mentioned above.  If you try to top the meter, you’re going to do that by trying to do your job and everyone else’s at the same time.  That means I as the healing lead (and 23 other people in the raid) can’t trust you to keep your assignment first in your mind.  I’m not talking about X Priest only healing group 2; I’m talking about X Priest keeping group 2 as their top priority and only tossing hots/prom/coh/shields on g4 if g2 is stable.  If your focus is on outhealing PallyZ, that is where your focus is, not on G2’s health.

So if you’re wanting to apply to Axiom, tell me how awesome you are.  Don’t tell me that everyone else sucks and you’ve got the recount screenshot to prove it.  That’s much more likely to get you an interview.

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Seri sez: WTB Holy Paladin, Tree & DPS!

November 12, 2009

It’s been one of “those” weeks for me, so I didn’t have a post prepped for today. Instead of throwing something lackluster together, I’ve instead decided to use/abuse this space as a recruitment platform. Why? Because Wowlemmings.com is starting to invade my dreams…

What we’re looking for:

  • 2x Holy Paladin
  • 1x Resto Druid
  • 2x DPS

We’d be particularly interested in an Elemental Shaman. Other than that, anything is fair game. (However, any Rogue/Warlock applications would have to be exceptional.)

These are core raid team spots! Our raid nights are: Wed/Thu/Mon 6-10pm CST (7-11pm EST).

Note: We are currently running from 6:30-10pm on a trial basis. This may become our schedule on a more permanent basis, but we won’t know until we get a better idea of how it works out.

<Axiom> has been raiding on Scarlet Crusade since 2007. Throughout that time we’ve been something of an enigma on our server… we’ve never participated in realm progression threads, just quietly rose through the ranks to compete with the top guilds on the server over time. We cleared all 25-man TBC content prior to WotLK and have cleared most of the 25-man WotLK content as well. We’re 13/14 Ulduar, have crafted Val’anyr, and have completed a couple of Ulduar Hard Modes. We clear Trial of the Crusader weekly, and have been making steady progress chipping away at Heroic Beasts when possible. (Unfortunately, we don’t always have 25 raiders available on raid nights… that’s why we’re recruiting!)

We’re a friendly, if rowdy, bunch. We cuss (a lot) and poke fun at each other constantly, but we’re pretty good at pulling focus when needed. We have raiders ranging in age from 17 to 40-something, with a quirky blend of students, slackers, professionals and homemakers. We also have a pretty high ratio of ladies to gents… a running joke on our server is, “Where are all the women? Oh right, they’re in Axiom!”

Axiom is a great place for someone that takes raiding seriously but doesn’t consider themselves a hardcore raider. (I’ve commented before to applicants and friends that we aren’t a hardcore guild, but we are a successful guild.) We do monthly reviews of all raiders and like for our raiders to be constantly looking for ways to improve. At the same time, we recognize that RL is important and encourage all of our raiders to lead healthy and fulfilling lives outside of the game.

What are we looking for? The ideal candidates will be right at our level of progression, available all three of our raid nights, skilled/experienced with their class/spec/role and geared in ToC/Ulduar 25-man gear with epic gems, best in slot enchants, a solid raid spec, good glyphs and a can-do attitude. We’ll consider exceptional applications from candidates that aren’t quite at our gear level… entry level Ulduar is about the minimum we’ll consider. Come to us with a positive attitude, enthusiasm for raiding, appreciation for off-color jokes and a snarky sense of humor and you should fit right in.

Self-centered narcissistic cockweasels need not apply. ;)

Visit http://www.axiom-sc.com and apply today!

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Jov sez: Dear Blizz, wtf are you thinking?

November 10, 2009

I was going to make an actual post, but instead, I’ll leave you all to wonder what I wonder:  WTF was Blizz thinking when they drew up the T10 armor?

http://www.wow.com/gallery/shaman-t10-frost-witch-regalia-shoulders/

Yeah, me too.  At least Seri’s not the only one developing a twitch.

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Brief note

November 6, 2009

Derevka has a poll up pinging the community for interest in his new idea: a video blog detailing encounters, UI stuff, and general healery.

Go take a look, and comment if you’re interested!  (I know I am.)

http://www.talesofapriest.com/2009/11/perhaps-return-of-sorts.html

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Seri sez: Exit, Stage Left! (No, not mine.)

November 5, 2009

Don't be a pussy.Burnout. It happens to everyone. Sometimes it sneaks up on you and whacks you with a cartoon-sized mallet. More often, the slide from contentment to disinterest is rather gradual. There are ways to combat it: Scaling back your play time and/or guild/team responsibilities, gearing up and swapping to another character, taking a night (or a few nights) off… but what do you do when you realize that it’s time to call it quits? If your answer is ‘disappear without a word to anyone’ I have a few choice words for you.

I get burnout, I really do. I’m not immune to it myself, either, and I try to take nights off when I feel like I need them. When my raiders come to me and say ‘Seri.. I need a break’ my first words are usually ‘Ok, how long do you need?’ no matter how much it may hurt the raid team to be down a(nother) member for a couple of days/weeks. I like to think I’m a pretty reasonable person, and I like happy well-adjusted raiders. Unfortunately, sometimes people ask for a week off and simply don’t return… or, worse, just stop signing up for raids without a word to me (or anyone) about why. I’ve seen this behavior from extremely dependable/reliable raiders that I’ve known for ages, and I just don’t understand what is so difficult about contacting someone to tell them you’re not coming back.

I don’t know about your guild, but I think it’s fair to say that most guilds have some means of communicating outside the game. Whether that means forums, Twitter or a good old fashioned phone tree… unless you’re shipwrecked on a deserted island, in jail, or hospitalized, you should be able to get in touch with someone. Even if they’re not an officer, they can relay a message for you. Account expired and can’t/won’t renew? Leave a forum message, send an e-mail, tweet, or poke someone on the IM client of your choice. Computer dead? Use a friend’s. Have no friends? Call someone. Don’t have anyone’s phone number? Use an internet cafe. Broke? Find a local hotspot and start asking folks politely if you can borrow their laptop to send a quick message. (Offer to let them watch so they can see you’re not doing anything malicious.) Heck, these days most people are carrying around a cell phone that can connect to the internet. There are ways of getting a message through!

There are so many ways to get a message to your guild that there are really only two reasons I can think of for not doing it: Apathy and cowardice. If you are so apathetic about the game and your guild that you can log off and never look back without giving it a second thought… wow, you really do need to quit the game. If you’re afraid of telling your GM for some reason, take a few minutes to think about why. Are you worried they’ll be mad? That they’ll beg you to stay? Do you just feel so guilty for ‘abandoning’ the guild that you just can’t face it? Get over it. The world (of warcraft) won’t end because you are leaving. If your guild is strong, they’ll make it without you. If they’re not, well, then there are greater problems that you staying would probably not fix.

Now, I’m sure someone out there is going to say ‘What’s the big deal? It’s just a game… I don’t owe anyone an explanation.’ To that, I say: Good riddance, you self-centered narcissistic cockweasel. This sort of attitude is fine for a casual player… the sort of person that joins a guild for socialization, shared resources & occasional heroics. When it comes to raid guilds… you’re occupying a spot on the raid roster. There are people depending on your ass being in your chair on raid nights, and the time that your guild officers waste waiting & wondering if you’re coming back is time they could have spent recruiting for someone to fill your slot.

I know that there are occasions when it is just impossible to get a message out, but it seems in my experience that in most cases people could have easily gotten a message to the officers but they just—for whatever reason—didn’t. So, in closing, I’ll simply implore you all to not follow their example. If you decide to quit the game, tell someone. Don’t leave us twisting in the wind.

Related post: The Ethical /gquit

P.S. <Axiom> is recruiting DPS! Visit our recruitment page for more info and instructions for applying.

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Jov sez: Icecrown can’t hit soon enough

November 3, 2009

As if to rub my well-established hatred of TOC in my face, new fun things are apparently on the menu for Icecrown.  One of which is a healing fight.

For those who’ve kept themselves buried under a rock, the hilight (screw Arthas, this is the hilight) of Icecrown is Valithria Dreamwalker.

If you don’t feel like following the link, at first glance, she seems slightly reminiscent of Vael back in BWL.  Friendly dragon, captured by our enemy, worn down and at half health…  But there the fight changes, my friends.  Unlike Vael, Valithria wants our healings.

Our tasty tasty healings.

That’s right, we heal the boss to full to win the encounter.  (yes, there’s also waves of trash and stuff.  But none of that matters.  This is a HEALING FIGHT in the truest sense of the word.  Hot damn!)

And I have to sit here in ToC for HOW much longer?

/protest!

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