Posts Tagged ‘leveling’

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Jov sez: 3.2 Changes (the ones I care about, at least)

August 4, 2009

Rumor has it that 3.2 is going to be going live at the same time as this post.  We’ll see if that works out.  But!  I like to cover my bases, so…

The Cliff’s Notes version, reverse excitement order, blah-est to yay!-est:

  • Crusader’s Coliseum — New 5/10/25/dailies, yadda yadda yadda
  • Changes to raid instances: 10- and 25- mans now have both heroic and normal settings; Dungeon and Raid IDs can now be extended, each extension doubles the lockout period (so Ulduar goes from 7 days to 14, Onyxia goes from 3 days to 6, etc.)
  • PoH gets a nerf (approx 17%, the nerf hitting harder as your SP goes up)
  • Penance gets an increased cooldown (12 seconds, up from 10)
  • MP5 gets a huge buff (mp5 on items is doubling)
  • Soulbound items have a “cooldown” period, wherein they can be traded (I think that came about purely in response to our usual master looter and the infamous number of “put in a ticket and blame me” miss-loots. >.>  E-HARTS)
  • Emblems are changing, moving back to a more TBC way of doing things.
  • Buncha changes to the UI essentially duplicating the effects of addons like Ratings Buster, SellFish, etc.
  • Children’s Week in Dalaran — Wolvar and Gorlock pets ahoy!
  • Zeppelin from Thunder Bluff to Orgrimmar, negating the need for the run across the Barrens at lv 1-15 (About fscking time!)
  • Riding at 20 for 4g, Epic riding at 40 for 50g, Flight at 60 for 600g, Epic flight gets faction discounts (my alts say Hallelujah!)
  • “The local Postal Service has grown tired of walking so far each day to collect mail and has decided to install a large number of new mailboxes in Stormwind, Undercity, Darnassus and Orgrimmar.”  (asdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdf YES WHY DID IT TAKE YOU 5 YEARS?!?!?)

FLAMING SNOTOkay, so, Cliff’s Notes. On to the details:

I don’t care about the ColiseumI’ve covered this already.  The fact that I additionally need to JOUST to participate makes me just want to kill it in a wad of flaming snotThis elf-troll-girl-whatever DOES NOT JOUST.

If it was unclear before, I am actually looking forward to several of the changes which won’t actually do anything for my mains, simply because they’re generally the kinds of stupid changes that totally just make sense.  Alliance gets a boat from Darnassus to Stormwind, negating the death run across the Wetlands (oh, death run across the Wetlands…  How I do not miss you) so it’s kinda a no-brainer that they’ve finally added the equivalent to take care of the death-run across the Barrens for the Horde.  Likewise, actually putting MAILBOXES in more than one or two random-ass locations in the capitals?  Totally awesome in my book.  I’ve long held to the superiority of Silvermoon as a Horde city primarily because there’s a mailbox on every corner (and sometimes two).   And, finally, the changes to mounts are unadulterated awesome.  Old-Azeroth content is one of the weakest aspects of the game, at current.  Once you’re out of the belf/draenei noob zones, with the exception of Dustwallow, you’re in the land of “run over there and bring me some of that” when “over there” takes an hour to get to, and “some of that” never actually drops.  They’ve increased the rate of XP (especially after Heirloom gear) so it’s nice to see they’re increasing the speed of it as well.

I’m honestly kinda meh on the changes to Badges.  It definitely makes it easier to play catch-up, since the gear curve isn’t going to be quite so steep at this stage in the game, but while they’re still BoP (as opposed to BoA.  Damnit, I want BoA badges, blizzard!) I’m probably going to continue using them the same way I am now; I don’t need the gear they offer, so I’ll just keep buying heirloom gear for alts and stuff I can sell on the AH to re-make my raiding repair bills.  This change doesn’t affect me, I really can’t bring myself to care much.

I’m actually most interested in the general changes to raid instances.  The infinitely-extendable lockouts can be a good thing or a bad, depending on how they’re used (specifically, on later-instance bosses you just need more time on, because getting to them takes up half your raid week).  This, coupled with the ability to trade soul-bound items for a limited period of time kinda fall under the point above about changes that make a stupid-amount of sense.  Neither are game-breaking, they don’t affect the size of your e-peen (yes, you can clear all Ulduar in 2 raid days, we need 4, but only have 3 per week.  Have a trophy.)  They make it easier for Blizzard GMs (not having to wade through all the “oops, miss-looted” requests, leaving them time to deal with more important issues) and the more casual raid groups.  Like the badge changes, you can say they’re continuing to dumb-down the game, but it doesn’t really break anything.  And, also, as far as the badges go, at least, you can argue that they’re just matching the dumbed-down levels of the previous expansion.

And finally, priests are being nerfed. It sucks, but they’re pretty OP at current.  Blizzard has always said that when you bring one class at the expense of another that does the same job, they need to normalize, which is the position Priests (holy, specifically) have been in regards to current Hard Mode content. I’m going to probably get a lot of hate-mail for this, but it’s a needed and expected change. (And priests are STILL pretty OP, just less so.)  The PoH nerf (if you’ve not read the post linked above, do it now.  Derevka at Tales of a Priest handles the numbers of it very well) is not really that big a deal.  The CoH cooldown was a much more noticeable difference. Holy Priests aren’t going to be losing raid spots over it, at least not the spots they were taking at the expense of other classes, at least.  Penance cooldown was increased by effectively 1 GCD, which is one more shield, one more ProM, one more flash.  I’ll fully admit to not being a Disc priest and not having a firm grasp on the effect, but 1 GCD really doesn’t seem like that much.  I’ll reserve comment beyond that.

So, yeah, 3.2 today?  Next week?  Next month?  All I have to say is Arthas better come soon.  Coliseum is pretty ho-hum.

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Jov sez: How2Priest (part 2)

April 14, 2009

Okay, you’ve decided on priest, moreover, you’ve decided on leveling with a non-standard (read: non-shadow) spec.  Good job!  Lemme just recap a bit :

Part 1 included links to suggested specs for soloing

Earlier, I posted a general guide to speccing, which is great if you’re going the LFG route.

So you’ve got your priest, you’ve got your spec plan, now what?

Spells

As can be expected, a lot of our spells involve healing.  Priests are the jack-of-all-trades healers, meaning we’ve a huge toolkit with approximately 1500 ways of healing.  But when out in the wilds of Northrend (or STV, for that matter) we’re not going to heal stuff to death, we’ve got damage capabilities as well (don’t laugh, we can totally do damage.)

1-29

You’ve got quite the overwhelming repertoire when starting out.  While the damage spells you learn early on (Smite, Mind Blast, Shadow Word: Pain, etc) stay with you until the end of time, heals sometimes have expiration dates.  In short, once you hit lv 20 and get Flash Heal, take Lesser Heal off your bar and retire it to the old heals home. It served you well, but Flash is in all ways better/stronger/cheaper.

You also have the longer-cast larger heal with Heal, but to be perfectly honest, during the levels covered in this bracket, you can probably do just fine using nothing but Flash.

As far as damaging during these levels, your best tools aren’t really your damage spells at all; they’re Shield and Wand. Wands are stupidly OP in the beginning, to the point where it’s probably as effective to bubble and wand stuff from full as it is to cast at it, at least through the teens.  Otherwise, some general good guidelines would be to remember that Holy Fire is an opener, both due to the cast time and the DoT component.  Don’t worry about SW:P or Devouring Plague unless you’re certain you’ll get most of the ticks in (or if you’re tab-dot AOEing).  That’s… pretty much it.  These levels are really only slowed by the speed of running.

30-59

Congratulations!  You have a mount!  You’ve also got a lot of new spells which will see you finishing up your toolkit and finally retiring the last lingering spells of your noob-ness.  First off is Prayer of Healing.  Ignoring the small-heal component of Holy Nova, this is your first real big piece of group healing.  At this point, however, I’m going to advise you not put it on your bars. Prayer of Healing really needs 3 targets needing half their health pool to make it efficient, and with the wonders of PUGging, if you’re in a party where that many are needing that much, the tank doesn’t have good control and you’ll just pull healing aggro and die.  In the grand scheme of things, it’s simply a choice between their repair bill and yours.    There are places where it’s useful, yes, but it mainly just means the group is struggling until you hit mid-40s at the earliest.

Speaking of 40s, lv 40 is also where you do a bit of retiring.  Once you get Greater Heal, standard Heal goes the way of Lesser Heal.  It does.  I promise.  All those people who tell you Heal is viable at end-game did End Game back when BWL was hot shit.  Retire it, mourn it, miss it, but get rid of it.

DPS… has changed a bit, though you’re not looking at anything new.  Wands are now a finisher when you’re running low on mana, or something you use when bored in instances now.  All those spells you’ve had since the last bracket are the spells you’ll (still) be using now.

60-70

Ahh, Outlands.  You get more new spells in these 10 levels than you have in a clump since you rolled.  I’m talking about Hymn of Hope, Binding Heal, Shadow Fiend, and Prayer of Mending.  They also range from “not totally useless” to “this spell is the best thing ever” which isn’t actually too bad considering.

Hymn is, without a doubt, the weakest spell of the bunch.  If you’ve got the time to channel, you get some mana back, though I personally consider it most effective for getting o5sr and getting some serious ticks of spirit regen.  But it’s something.  Related, Shadow Fiend is also situationally useful (and useless).  The mana you get back is nothing to sneeze at, though your shadow puppy has some truly idiotic AI.  It works best on single-boss fights with no AOE abilities, and no CC to worry about.  And make certain you hit “attack” a few times, so it doesn’t just decide to chill out beside you.

And going from the meh to the awesome, both Binding Heal and Prayer of Mending are the shiznit.  I personally know I’m not in the habit of using Binding as much as I ought, but that’s mainly due to my imperfections in the class.  Binding should be used WHENEVER you’ve taken damage as well; and ProM should be going off every cooldown, especially in a raid environment.  They are seriously that good.

71-80

After all the new toys in the previous bracket, this one is kinda a let-down.  Mind Sear and Divine Hymn.  Divine Hymn currently echoes the other Hymn in it’s utility.  There are places where it’s okay, but it’s never going to be the best tool for the job, and has a long cooldown to boot.  Patch 3.1 sees it changing to a much stronger heal, though still facing a 10 minute cooldown.  I don’t know about anyone else, but with a cooldown that long, and the very situational need of it’s use, I know I’m probably going to continue to essentially never use it.

Mind Sear, however, is an awesome spell, and one a long time coming.  As is probably obvious by it’s name, it’s a DPS spell, but more than that, it’s an actual AOE.  Shadow Priests now have something more useful on trash than tab-SW:P’ing.

Talents

Of course, many of the class-defining tools require certain expenditures in talents to accomplish.  Yes, I’m talking about spells like Penance and Circle of Healing.  These are covered in my general spec guide linked above.  Regardless, if you don’t have one of the spells I just mentioned, you need to have the other.  Otherwise, don’t even bother.

Summing Up

Our bread and butter healing spells are Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Binding Heal, Prayer of Mending (every cooldown), Prayer of Healing, Penance (every cooldown, if specced) and Circle of Healing (situational, if specced). Renew is useful pre-80, though the jury is still out whether the effort to re-balance for 3.1 is going to work.  Also, don’t be afraid to Shield (if you’re Disc) and ignore what the warrior is telling you about rage.  What miniscule amount that might have been true before, it’s being fixed in 3.1 anyway, so tell them to shut up and l2read patch notes.  Guardian Spirit also is a situationally useful lifesaver.  Those are what you’ll be working with as a healing priest, and you can probably safely remove most of the rest of the stuff from your bars, or at least tuck them away and hide them.

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Jov sez: How2Priest (part 1, the noob years)

March 31, 2009

This isn’t going to be the most thorough guide out there, but in the past week, we’ve gotten many requests here at Snarkcraft HQ requesting a bit of basic priest-fu, ranging from leveling to raiding (seriously, multiple emails… you all sharing a brain or something?) so I’m gonna take the next few weeks to provide an overview.

This week: the noob years.  Rolling and leveling.

Okay, so after stumbling upon our blog and becoming faithful readers, you say to yourself “Self… Priesting is awesome-pants.  I totally want in on that.  What should I do now?”  Fear not, for Jov has answers and will steer you right.

First, you need to consider faction and playstyle.  I’m horde, but I’m a reroll and played Alliance from 05 to 08, and make no secret of my total infatuation with the draenei.  I don’t really have faction pride.  Play what makes you happy, where your friends want to play, or where you can send yourself bags and heirloom shoulders.  Related, determine how are you going to level.  Are you going to solo quest?  Whore yourself in LFG?  Do you have a buddy you don’t leave home without?  Take a moment to plan exactly what you want from the class, because that will affect how best to go from here.

If you choose to solo quest…

First, I’m gonna come out and say it.  Shadow is totally viable for healing most instances, and is also much faster when it comes to questing out in the world.  The advantage holy* (defined from here forward as “healy”) priests usually have is in mana regen and/or stronger heals.  That isn’t an issue, however, until Outlands at the very earliest, so feel free to go straight to shadowform before jumping over to Discipline and picking up Meditation and going back for more shadowy goodness.  Or badness, depending on perspective.  (Think about something 13/0/31-ish in the mid-50s.  Note: getting to Meditation happens however in the second tier…  you don’t get the spellpower boost from Inner Fire (and want the boost to improved) until 71.)  That will be more than enough to see you through until you’re closer to thinking about a “final spec.”

However, much as you can heal as shadow, you can definitely level as holy or discipline, bearing in mind it’s just going to be a bit slower to do so.  For those of you going the mainly solo-route, I’m still going to advise sticking your first 5 talent points in shadow to snag spirit tap (and improved spirit tap), then jumping into Discipline to get Meditation as quickly as possible.  The name of the game here is reducing downtime, since kill time will be a bit longer.  But that’s alright, with Meditation and Spirit Tap working together, you’ll be a regen machine and rarely need water.

Once you hit lv 18, with it’s regen hijinks, you can pick your path:  Discipline, or Holy.  You won’t see much difference between the two while questing, nor will you really be running into the differences between the healing styles until closer to Outlands when you can pick up Circle of Healing or really become a bubble-priest.  Discipline will want to pick talents which boost their spellpower and shields, and Holy will want to snag reduced cast time, more spellpower, and chance for free spells.  Remember to respec at 71 for Improved Inner Fire if you’re not using it already!

Example Disc Soloing Build (live)
Example Disc Soloing Build (3.1 PTR)
Example Holy Soloing Build (live)
Example Holy Soloing Build (3.1)

If you choose to LFG…

… by which I mean “don’t quest, just instance level,” most of what I said above applies.  Spirit Tap and some of the damage talents will decrease in utility, as you’ll mainly be using them when the party is going well or to duel outside Orgrimmar while waiting on a summon.  There’s actually little to no reason to avoid going straight for one of the specs I outlined a few weeks ago, just remember to start in Discipline for Meditation, either way.  You’ll be a healing machine, just maybe a bit slow if you try to kill anything yourself.

If you choose to Healbot your friends…

It’s kinda a combination of the two.  Depending on who you’re running around with, you might not find Spirit Tap all that useful *grumble lousy hunters grumble* but you’ll probably find yourself smiting pretty frequently.  It really depends on your group or what you’re doing.  If you’re wanting to have fun smiting around, spec more for damage.  If you’re just wanting to tag along and heal when needed, spec for healing.  (Hey, I don’t judge.  I first started playing Priest because it enabled me to auto-follow Tarsus’ first character, not get lost, not understand WASD controls, loot and heal occasionally.  Even to this day, several years and many characters later, I STILL prefer to follow Tarsus as I have serious issues deciphering some quest descriptions.)

Next week: Jov discusses what makes healy priests unique: spells, glyphs, and talents.

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Jov sez: Wrath, Week 2

November 25, 2008

Stats: Joveta, lv 74 Holy Priest, currently specced 14/46/5 for ease of questing, getting shunted into DPSing instances surprisingly often, and pwning healing instances the rest of the time.  I’m going to continue with the potpourri “everything” updates, simply because there’s so much out there and I have no idea where to focus.

Wolvar Rock

wolvar

Nothing much else needs to be said.  How much more amazingly great can you get than little badger/wolverine people?  They’re fierce, they’re adorable, and they’ve got bushy tails.  The first time I saw one I was riding through Dragonblight picking up flightpaths.  I just stopped, squealed, and let them beat on me for a bit while I went off to Tarsus how completely adorable they are. (Disclaimer:  My favorite class in D&D is druid.  Whenever I play a druid, they have a Badger or Wolverine as their companion.  I’m not hugely fond of the “real thing” as far as those particular critters go, but for whatever reason, they’re just my pet of choice in any given game situation.  I’m not a fanatic badger-lover, I’m a GEEKY badger-lover.)

Alchemy, however, does not

25 Elixirs and Potions of green and yellow skill for one skillpoint.    Saying that again, it took me TWENTY FIVE items (not counting procs) of level which should have me getting a point every 5ish at most to go from 414 to 415 Alchemy.  You can bet I was ready to kill something.

In the spirit of full disclosure

And to counter the razzing I’ve been giving Seri for abandoning the Priest Path of Good Stuff…  Our guild is rather abruptly looking at a future with no Resto Shammies on the roster.  This means (after some discussion with the guild leader) my Resto Shammy side-side-side project might be seeing a bit more raiding time than originally planned.  I’m not entirely certain how I feel about this; I enjoy Shaman (though not as much as my beloved Priests) and I did bring it up to the Guild Leader as a “just in case,” I suppose without really realizing how likely the “just in case” could be…  In the meantime, I’m left frantically scouring PlusHeal‘s Shaman forum, EJ‘s Class Mechanics forum, and Too Many Annas to try and de-noobify myself as much as possible.  For a just in case.  Yes, I’m like that.

faceless

Old Kingdom is the best instance since Shadow Labs

And for much the same reason.  Time for Fun was my favorite fight until I got to Herald Elephanthead in Old Kingdom and…  I don’t care if he’s got tentacles, he’s my new favoritest favorite thing ever.

And finally,

Different isn’t bad

Really, it isn’t.  Since Wrath released, through various communities, fora and general “word on the street” level chatter, everyone’s been bitching at everyone else over the stupidest stuff.  If you level faster than me, you’re a loser with no life.  If you level slower, you need to suck it up and l2p.  If you’re a hardcore raider, you’ve got it in for casuals.  If you’re a casual, you’re ruining the game for the hardcore.

Do you see how stupid that all sounds?  (Of course you do…  the class of person reading this blog is much higher than the bitchy idiots with nothing better to do than piss and moan over what other people are doing in the game.)  Just…  remember it.  What should have been drummed into everyone’s head in kindergarten when we were learning to share and using the Crayola “you couldn’t cut yourself with these if you wanted to” scissors was just because someone or something is different than me, doesn’t make them bad.

Seriously, people.  Grow up.

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Seri sez: Hey you, get off my server.

November 20, 2008

launchLaunch weekend is a weekend of growing pains for all MMOs. While some (perhaps wisely) have decided to avoid the hassle of quest zone overcrowding by sticking to instances or holding off on installing Wrath all together… I am not one of them. I knew going in that it wasn’t going to be pretty. I remember the TBC launch–hell, I remember the original WoW launch week and how packed the newbie areas were.

I’ll spare you the gushing over new content, save to say that I absolutely LOVE some of the new quests, because I’ve been reading a lot of that this week. I’m not even going to whine/speculate about whether or not Wrath is too easy and what the future holds for raiding because TentyFifthNovember has already cleared Naxx, Sartharion & Malygos. (Seriously, folks, as Jov pointed out to me: A world-first guild clearing all Wrath launch raid content in under 72 hours isn’t as impressive when you consider that they were farming said raid content in the Beta. Most of that time was spent just grinding their raid team to 80.)

No, I have a very special rant prepared for you today. I thought I was prepared for the tomfoolery that would be rampant in Northrend, ready to roll with the punches and just accept it as it came; as it turns out, I was mistaken. This one goes out to all the asshats that made my life difficult during launch weekend. You know who you are, and if you’re reading this you should be ashamed of yourself.

To the roving bands of Alliance AOE farming quest mobs… guess what? We can do it too and it doesn’t take five of us.

To the folks who reactivated for the expansion, crowding our quest areas and bloating our queues… You’ve already demonstrated that you have better things to do. Let those of us without real lives enjoy our virtual ones first. (Yes, even my intrepid guildies. I e-heart you, I missed you, come back in a week. XOXO -Seri.)Die in a fire!

To the jerks that had no concept of waiting their turn for a named quest mob… die in a fire.

To the inconsiderate punks looting ground spawn items while I’m standing IN them fighting a mob… may all your nodes be ninja’d by chinese gold farmers for all eternity.

To the AFK characters on large mounts parked on top of quest givers making a simple turn-in a two minute hide-and-seek click-a-thon… move your ass! It’s not funny, and I don’t care if you didn’t do it on purpose.

And last, but certainly not least:

To the blueflagging cowards that ganked me because I happened to be flagged after accidentally stumbling across an enemy town… there will be a reckoning. I’m making a list; your time will come, and I leveled a char from 1-70 on a PVP server so I know all sorts of ways to make your life hell.

Although the crowds have already started to thin, please try to be considerate members of the WoW community on your adventures through Northrend and remember–I’m out there, I’m watching, and I have a vindictive streak.

P.S. Don’t ask a Rogue below level 75 to open a Froststeel Lockbox or they just might burst into tears. Or stab you. It’s kind of a fifty-fifty chance thing; even if you like seeing Rogues cry, is it worth the risk?

Lockpicking 375 requires level 75!

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Jov sez: Notes on Wrath

November 18, 2008

Ready for it?  The quick and dirty recap of my first few days in Wrath.

Stats: Joveta, a lv 71 Holy Priest, currently specced 14/43/5 for maximum familiarity + damage boost.  My first upgrade is in my bags waiting on another 1/2 level (Life-Staff of the Web Lair from Azjol-Nerub to replace my BT priest onna stick.  I’m not worried about the health nerf too much).  I’m currently hearthed to Dalaran and totally in love with it.

Dalaran

Wrath is like Disneyland:  pretty, fun, and full of lines.

So there I was, on the Ancient Lift wondering what was up with it and where it would take me.  I step on a gondola and off we go down the mountain!  It was fast!  It was pretty!  It was full of people!  I couldn’t resist a /yell of “WHEEE!” on my way down.

And at the bottom?  Walrus-people.  How awesome is that?  I know I’ve been on that ride at Disney Land before…

(Also, Grizzly Hills is Frontier Land.  I don’t care what any of you say.  It totally is.)

Dear Pack of Power-leveling Noobs:  Please stop stealing my quest mobs.

The primary reason Jov is still lv 71 is because I HATE fighting for quest mobs.  Seriously, I hate it.  I’m not a terribly competitive person, and I hate the meanness of the “every man for himself, tag stuff as quick as possible, SWD spamming” attitude I have to take to get anything done.  I’ve said from the start my primary plan is to sit out the first week, let all the crazy power-levelers get ahead of me, and then do my questing and leveling in peace.

I’m sticking to that.  The only quests I’ve done for the most part are chains leading to instances, or things that don’t have me waiting an hour to kill something for a quest.  Lots of delivery, lots of “go here, do that” and the like.  Most of my XP has probably honestly come from discovery and instancing.

Ode to Lorem:  Nerf Paladins

Our server-first 80 is a Ret Paladin in my guild.  I don’t feel too bad about my lack of levels comparatively; he’s also the guy I’ve seen take alts from 1-60 in a week.  He’s always crazy-fast about leveling.  (He could totally make a mint selling his services to power-leveling companies. *cough*)

OMGSPIDERS! And other tales of instancing in Wrath.

It’s usually a good idea to read up on boss strats before going into an instance, as we learned from Azjol-Nerub over the weekend.  We downed the first boss, killed a few waves of trash (“Where are they all coming from?!”  “That one did a yell calling for reinforcements.”  “Oh good, I thought I’d ass-pulled!”) and then Seri tabbed out to look up the boss strat.  The spider boss.  Who decided to eat my face as she was reading us the strat over vent.  (“I was tabbed out and all of a sudden heard Jov going ‘EEEEEEEEK’ so I tabbed back in and..  hello giant spider!”)  (Also, Jov is severely Arachnophobic.  So I felt justified in screaming on vent like a little girl when the giant spider ran up and tried to eat me.  Shaddup.)

Tarsus fails at falling.  He was the only death on the way down the hole after the second boss.  We’re trying to get that added to his guild note.

Utgarde Keep is…  neat, but some strange combination of boring and a pita.  It’s quick, it’s linear, but the bosses are annoying and all the trash is exactly the same.  I really love the “Hall of the Mountain King” feeling to the architecture, however.  (I do wish I’d remembered to take a screenshot of myself with Currant at the meeting stone, however.  I’m certain he was wondering who the crap the belf priest who was waving, hugging, and cheering at him was…)

Nexus is my new favorite instance.  It’s Dire Maul/Botanica feel, coupled with actual FUN boss fights (each of the bosses have gimmicks, but they’re FUN gimmicks) make it feel faster and lighter than Utgarde.  Of course, that could also be the lighting.

Who is this rogue and what has it done with Seri?

One nice thing about Seri focusing on leveling her rogue is the fact we actually get to instance together.  Not that Seri turned down opportunities to go lawlsmite and stick me on heal duty in the past, but the group we’ve been running with since the Expansion released of Warrior/Priest/Rogue/Mage/Wildcard has felt like an unstoppable instancing machine.

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Snarkcraft Mailbag: 11/12/08

November 12, 2008

It’s that time again, kids. What time, you say? Time for another peek into the World of Snarkcraft Mailbag! I know you’re excited, but try to pace yourself… especially if you’re going to the Midnight Launch tonight. You’ll need your strength for the all-night WotLK marathon!

A.Y. writes:

So I have a level 70 priest (<name redacted> on Dark Iron). I stopped playing for about 4 months and now that I’m back everything is different. I’ve been reading your blog about disc healing. I leveled disc and have ALWAYS been a disc healer, but coming back from not playing into the world of new talents and nerfs, I have no idea what to spec. Right now I’m holy because I heard disc isn’t good anymore, which made me sad.

What build would you recommend for Disc PvE healer?

Seri sez:

Lies! Vicious, vicious lies. Discipline is more viable in PVE than ever before!

With Wrath going live tomorrow, your first priority is probably going to be leveling. If you’re going to be doing a fair amount of soloing with occasional instancing, I recommend you go with a Disc/Holy hybrid spec and Smite/Holy Fire with impunity. If you’re going to be grouping/instancing and you like Discipline, go deep Discipline and shield/heal your party while they do most of the grunt work.

When it comes to your spec at 80, you need to ask yourself (and maybe your raid leader): Am I a tank healer or a raid healer? Discipline priests make great tank healers but gimpy raid healers, so you’re going to be better off going Holy if you’re not part of the tank healing team. For 5-man content, either one should work just fine. Go with what you’re most comfortable with.

Make no mistake, Discipline healing does come with a learning curve now. Fortunately for you, I covered this recently so you should be able to get up to speed fairly quickly! Both of the specs I’ve suggested here are just that: Suggestions. You can wiggle the points around a bit, and Jov has a few things to say about specific talents and when you may or may not want to take them. Read on!

Jov sez:

I ain’t gonna lie, I keep talking about trying out the toys in the Discipline tree, but I’m a holy-healer through and through. All that being said, I’m going to recommend a 55/5/0 build as a solid lv 70 build for a raid environment. I know there’s a point missing, and that’s really intended to be something you can stick wherever you want depending on your group makeup. This isn’t intended to be a “leveling build” (I’ll get to that in a few minutes) but the build that will give you the most bang for your healing buck and emphasizing Disc’s shield shenannigans, without talents that will be overwritten by others in the group. (For an awesome and complete list of buffs, what they overwrite, and what overwrites them, check out Dwarf Priest’s Raid Stacking 101.)

First off, you’ll notice I picked up regular Divine Spirit, but not the improved version. If you go anywhere with a shammy, and they drop a Flametongue Totem (which is pretty common for resto and elemental shammies to drop) your Improved Divine Spirit is now two wasted talent points… er… I mean two free points you can now spend elsewhere! So spend ‘em elsewhere.

Second, starting at lv 71, Inner Fire grants bonus spellpower, making the improved talent much more attractive. It’s vastly more useful than reduced threat (not that tanks have problems with threat now, anyway.)

Third, Enlightenment is taking the spot of Divine Fury from the holy tree. Not only does it reduce cast time of all your spells (as opposed to only a few with Divine Fury) it increases your Spirit and Stamina as well. It’s like a two-fer. Good with a bonus side of awesome.

Next, skip Reflective Shield. We were all (read: Seri) very disappointed to learn that either through bug our stealth-nerf, the damage reflection component only reflects damage done TO YOU. If you shield anyone else, it’s just a shield. Very meh for 3 talents, and the only “shield” talent I’m advising you (strongly) to skip.

Finally, if you’re raiding with a prot pally, skip Grace. We’re back to that stacking thing again, Grace is awesome, but Sanctuary is much better and overwrites it. Put those points elsewhere.

However, with Wrath opening up tomorrow (or tonight if I can get it installed and patched quickly enough!) most of this is going to be pretty moot for you. For leveling, I’m going to suggest 31/25/5, moving to 38/28/5 at 80. This build isn’t interested in which buffs overwrite others, it’s simply a means to maximize your damage while minimizing your downtime. (At lv 80 if you immediately jump into raiding, look at 55/16, continuing the earlier Discipline raiding build. The important bit is to get Inspiration, finishing out Divine Fury is optional, you can just as easily go back and snag a couple toys from Discipline.)

Have a question or topic request for World of Snarkcraft? E-mail us!

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Seri sez: I Smite Thee – Leveling Disc/Holy in Wrath

October 2, 2008

Although leveling with a Disc/Holy spec is often considered to be reserved for masochists, people that never solo and those quaint folks that just don’t know any better, I’m here to tell you: It’s not as bad as it used to be.

Jov and I both leveled as Holy (heck, she’s done it twice now), and both of us plan to dust off our Smite buttons for rampages in Northrend when the time comes.

Of course, Jov and I have very different leveling styles. Jov likes to group and instance, and will probably heal her way to 80. I am… a bit more aggressive, and the unification of healing and spell power into a single stat as of patch 3.0 has made a monster out of me–a leveling monster that never needs to drink and can also confidently heal any instance encountered along the way.

Therefore, it is my privilege–nay, my pleasure–to bring to you 4 simple steps to successful Smiting in 3.0 and beyond.

Step 1: Augment your healing gear with a select few pieces that will boost your spell power/crit without nerfing your Spirit too much.

For me, this meant putting on DPS rings, trinkets and weapon. If you don’t have off-spec stuff, just stick with your healing gear. Why? For spell power, it’s probably comparable to or better than your off-spec gear and has the added bonus of having a crapload of Spirit–which for the Smiting priest boosts both spell power and regen. (I still have yet to drink any of the new level 70 water from Northrend, and I’ve schlepped it all over the place.)

When I first logged in to the Beta I had something like 1100 spell power in my healing gear, completely untalented. With talents, I was up around 1300 spell power. Not too shabby, ladies and gents.

Step 2: Choose talents that boost your Holy damage output.

There are some very snacky talents in the Holy and Discipline trees that will boost your Smiteability, either with spell power, spell crit, spell haste, or general utility. Spell power and crit are more important than haste IMO, so let’s take a look at just those talents first:

  • Twin Disciplines (D) – Increases spell power by 1/2/3/4/5%.
  • Improved Inner Fire (D) – Increases effect of Inner Fire by 15/30/45% and number of charges by 4/8/12.
  • Improved Divine Spirit (D) – Increases spell power by 40/80.
  • Focused Power (D) – Increases spell damage by 2/4%.
  • Holy Specialization (H) – Increases Holy spell crit by 1/2/3/4/5%.
  • Divine Fury (H) – Reduces casting time of Smite, Holy Fire, Heal and Greater Heal by .1/.2/.3/.4/.5 seconds.
  • Searing Light (H) – Increases damage of Smite, Holy Fire, Holy Nova & Penance by 5/10%.
  • Spiritual Guidance (H) – Increases spell power by 5/10/15/20/25% of total Spirit.
  • Surge of Light (H) – Spell criticals have a 25/50% chance to proc a free Smite or Flash Heal.

Keep in mind that at level 71 you’ll be getting a new rank of Inner Fire that increases spell power in addition to armor. What a nice little buff that is; Improved Inner Fire is finally worth buying!

Also, note that while Improved Divine Spirit no longer scales with Spirit, Spiritual Guidance still does.

Now, for the haste and misc other talents:

  • Inner Focus (D) – Next spell cast costs zero mana and has additional 25% chance to crit.
  • Reflective Shield (D) – 15/30/45% of the damage absorbed by Power Word: Shield is reflected back at the attacker.
  • Spirit of Redemption (H) – Increases your Spirit by 5%. (Potential synergy with Spiritual Guidance.)
  • Holy Reach (H) – Increases range of Holy spells by 10/20%.
  • Enlightenment (D) – Increases spell haste by 1/2/3/4/5%.
  • Power Infusion (D) – Increases spell casting speed and reduces mana cost for 15 seconds.
  • Spirit Tap (S) – 33/66/100% chance to gain 100% Spirit bonus when killing a target worth experience or honor.

Something of a smorgasbord of delectable little treats isn’t it? I even threw Spirit Tap in there, just because it is so delicious, but in my experience… it just seems like overkill when it comes to regen. On the other hand, that 100% bonus plus Spiritual Guidance… hmm. Tasty spell power boost, if you move quickly on to the next target.

Pack as many of those bad boys into your spec as you can. For a starter, I recommend 30/27/0. (Note: This link may or may not work, because talent trees are still being revised. I will update it whenever I notice it has changed, so check back if it doesn’t work the first time.) This contains all of the ‘must have’ stuff with 4 points left (at level 70) to fill wherever you like.

Personally, I picked Reflective Shield (because I plan to solo quite a bit on the way to 80) and Spirit of Redemption (because I have more reasons than ever to be a Spirit whore).

That’s right… I didn’t pick Power Infusion. I decided that the +5% Spirit from SoR was more important. PI will probably be the first thing I nab at 71, though. After that, I will probably top off Improved Healing before going back to pick up Enlightenment and maybe fill out Mental Agility or experiment with Spirit Tap.

Step 3: Smite early, Smite often.

My spell rotations usually go like this: Power Word: Shield (self) -> Holy Fire -> Shadow Word: Pain -> Smite until dead or low enough for Shadow Word: Death. If I have enough room, I’ll also usually back up a little bit after casting SWP, making the mob run a little farther before it gets to me since I have nothing better to do while waiting on the global cooldown.

Single targets die pretty quickly to this method. If you’re fighting multiple mobs, try to keep dots up on them all and keep your Shield up as much as possible–especially if you have Reflective Shield. Don’t forget that Holy Nova can trigger Surge of Light, for free insta-Smiting. Fear if you can’t refresh your shield right away or are bored and hoping to pull adds. Wand if you’re low on mana (haha) or the mob is low enough on health that casting another spell isn’t worth it (more likely).

Step 4: Profit.

Leveling as Disc/Holy is versatile and will save you gold in respecs along the way. You know your guild is going to want you to heal for them in dungeons and on group quests, but they’re not going to want to drag your helpless ass along for quest grinding all the time.

Be independent. Aloof, even. And if you see a Shadow Priest out in the wild, drinking to replenish their mana pool, it will be tempting to /point /laugh but really… you could also be the bigger (wo)man and offer them some of your superfluous beverages.

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Snarkcraft Mailbag: 9/22/08

September 22, 2008

The first dollar earned by a business is cause for celebration and often ends up framed for prominent display. Here at World of Snarkcraft, we are compensated only with accolades, rolled eyes and the satisfaction of snark well done. However… OMG first e-mail! While we won’t share every e-mail we receive, this one will always have a special place in our empty little hearts.

M.C. wrote:

“I recently started a priest alt (my main is a 70 hunter) to play with my gf, who recently started playing agian, with a fresh hunter (we’re both belfs.) I only play it when she’s on, so we’re always grouped and questing together. My question pertains to my talents. Because we’ll be grouped I don’t feel as though I should go full dps with the shadow tree, nor should I go full healer with the Holy tree. As you can tell from the subject, I’ve been flirting with the disc tree. I view it as a way to increase base skills instead of either of the dps/healing areas, as I am constantly doing both.

Seri sez:

Duoing is, hands down, my favorite way to quest/level. Things move along at a pretty steady clip without being laughably easy, and it’s a bit more entertaining (and easier) than going it alone. Shadow is all but universally regarded as THE spec to level with. It doesn’t really matter if you’re leveling alone or with a friend, with two of you putting out the pain things are going to die quickly and there isn’t going to be a lot of healing to be done.

With that said… I totally leveled as Discipline (all the way down to Reflective Shield) before branching out into Holy. Maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment, but I derived untold amounts of glee from watching critters bash themselves to death on my shield while I stood behind it, cackling and smiting/wanding with impunity. Oh, you want a piece of ME big bad wolf? Be not fooled by my docile appearance, this bunny has teeth!

Where was I? Oh right, leveling specs. Disc has always been a tree that didn’t quite know what it was for. More recently it has become the ‘Ha ha, you can’t kill me’ tree of choice for PvP/Arena Priests. Disc provides a lot of tricks to help you conserve mana, boost your mana/health pool and generally annoy anyone that tries to kill you.

What it may come down to is how much instancing you want to do while you are leveling. If you want to do more instances, choosing a Disc/Holy build will give you oomph while soloing/duoing as well as the mana efficiency and healing power that will help you keep your party up in a dungeon with relative ease. (Sure, Shadow Priests can heal–though they don’t want you to know that–but Holy/Disc priests do it better!)

At the same time, you can Smite your way through the instance if there is another healer handy–or if you are bored, as I often was, from lack of healing to be done. It might surprise you to learn, though, that most of the talents that boost your Smiting power (Holy Specialization, Divine Fury, Searing Light, Surge of Light, Spiritual Guidance) are in the Holy tree, not the Discipline tree. Since these talents also boost your healing power (Surge of Light aside), this is kind of a win-win for the Holy Priest.

If you see yourself mainly questing there’s really not a compelling argument NOT to go Shadow. It’s going to give you more bang for your buck.

Leveling Disc/Holy does earn you bragging rights, though.

Jov sez:

First of all, congrats on joining us (join us! join us! join us!) Priest is my favorite class, and I’m always happy to find people willing to try it out. Like Seri, I’ve had really good experiences duoing in the past, so I had to jump in here and contribute my two copper to the subject.

How you should spec is mainly influenced by what you want out of levelling. Are you looking to get through the levels as quickly as possible? Are you wanting to goof off and sight see? Are you wanting to spend most of your time in instances? No one spec really restricts your ability to do any of the above, but certain specs lend themselves more to certain things than others.

To blast your way through levels as quickly as possible, go shadow. It is the best option if you’re wanting to make your way ASAP to 70. You will find yourself doing the best damage with the least amount of downtime. Shadow can also heal instances as well as Holy until at least lv 60. Holy makes it easier, yes, but the content isn’t tuned to be a problem to heal for an off-spec.

If you’re really wanting to throw yourself into the healing groove, however, and don’t want to mess with shadow form, go holy… or, rather, go Disc until you can snag Improved Divine Spirit, and then go holy. There’s all sorts of candy in the early Disc tree that’s basically designed to make you last longer, which is useful whatever you’re doing. For leveling, never underestimate the power of Wand Spec, Meditation, and Inner Focus. They are considered must-haves regardless of spec.

You mentioned specifically that you didn’t feel you “should” go fully DPS or healy since you’ll be a group character, and I’m uncertain of your reasoning behind that. You “should” do whatever makes you happy to do in a group. If it’s not any fun, why are you doing it?

My two requests: Consider investing your first 5 talent points in Spirit Tap, regardless of spec. Levelling with a hunter, you’re not going to get every killing blow, but Spirit Tap, especially added with Wand Spec (and does more damage, so it’s more effective to wand stuff down at the end) and Meditation can give you some awesome free mana. And secondly, never never never NEVER try to make a Holy/Shadow hybrid (beyond potentially the above-mentioned Spirit Tap). There is essentially no synergy between the two trees, and if you’re doing it trying to “do everything” you’re not going to have any of the staying power needed to do either of them well. Holy/Shadow is really only good for making you spend more money at the water vendor.

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