Posts Tagged ‘raiding’

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Guest Post: EZ WoW– Solutions for the E-Peen Generation

October 27, 2009

This rebuttal is brought to you by Morrigahn of Caer Morrighan

There’s been some discussion about WoW being too easy recently.  It started with a discussion of how the change in the difficulty has affected social relations on World of Matticus.  This was followed by an excellent post at the Pink Pigtail Inn which I must say I agree with 100%.  Then it spread across the blogosphere like wildfire and was picked up by the likes of Casual Hardcore and  Tobold.

This is my contribution to the debate.  Instead of talking about the problem I’m suggesting a solution.  Its not a practical solution.  Its more a ranting, slightly insane type of solution.

Let me tell you whats really behind the ‘too easy’ and ‘welfare epics’ complaints.

Once upon a time, only a very few people had epic gear because only a very few people could raid.  This allowed them to feel better than everyone else.  Their gear was the visible evidence of their success.  They could walk around their relevant city, confident that no one looked better than them.  This rewarded them for their lack of social life.  They were the ‘elites’.  Everyone else was a ‘pleb’.

Fact 1: players who whine normally weren’t a part of this elite.  They resent the fact that they won’t ever get the chance to lord it over their fellow players based on having cool looking gear.

Solution 1: make gear more user definable.  Then elites can prance around in ridiculous looking gear and think they are better while plebs get a good laugh instead of having to listen to them whine.

Fact 2: players who think that raids and gear should be limited to a select few are quite happy to be gaining whilst others pay for them to do so.

Solution 2: make raids ridiculously hard but make players pay extra to access them, whilst us plebs pay less since we can’t access them since we have jobs/lives/our sanity.  So if for every 10 players, 9 are plebs then those 9 players can pay say $10/£6 a month.  Raiding is about 1/3 of the game content so plebs pay 1/3 less.  That means that the $45/£27 a month that the plebs were paying should all now be paid by the elite.  The elite can be elite, but they have to pay $60/£36 a month to do so.  Of course since the elites have no jobs they can’t afford to do this.  Which means even less elites.  Which means, to cover the cost of raid development, the fee would have to be higher.  It also means you brought your epics.  But you can strut around and look cool if that’s what you really want.

Fact 3: players who complain that content is not worth doing because world top 5 guilds have already completed it need a quicker way to get the hell out of my WoW.

Solution 3: implement software that recognises these key phrases so that when someone makes a statement like this an option box pops up in WoW allowing them to choose to end their subscription immediately.  In fact, give them a $50 bonus for leaving.  That money will easily be made back by the saved time on the forums not answering their posts.  Plebs would be happy to increase their subscription by the 0.50c/30p it would cost to cover this for the reward of not having to listen to this complaint ever again.

Fact 4: players who like to be judged based on their gear don’t like it when new gear comes along to replace it.  This makes them feel that all their work has been a complete waste of time.

Solution 4: allow gear to scale with epeen.  Then the plebs will be able to spot the enormous d***** a mile off and avoid them.  This would be an addition to Solution 1.

Fact 5: players who want to be better than everyone else don’t want to play in a cooperative environment.

Solution 5: make a whole new version of WoW that doesn’t involve cooperative play but can be played competitively only.  Call it … Starcraft?  In order to make up for the lost revenue from Solution 3, players could be directed to this game instead.

I am a pleb and proud of it.  I call upon plebs everywhere to rise up and defend their right to have epic gear and participate in raids they are paying for the development of.  Yes, entry level raid content is easier than it was, but this is our right as paying players!  No the game is not easier because most players still have never even seen Algalon yet, and hes the end boss of the previous tier!  No they are not welfare epics because every player who has an epic item has to suffer through the complaints of the epeen brigade and that is payment enough!

Disclaimer: This was a political broadcast brought to you by Morrighan, head of the Plebs for Epix party.  Morrighan accepts that not all vanilla raiders are epeens.  Not all people who complain about the game being easy or welfare epics are epeens.  Morrighan has a lot of friends who were both vanilla raiders and don’t like how easy epics are to get and is not calling them epeens.  She’s just fed up with listening to complaints about WoW being too easy from people who can’t even manage Heroic Azjol Nerub!

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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: Healing myself out of a job

July 21, 2009

Okay, so stop me if you’ve heard this one:

So, a guild walks into Ulduar for the first time.  And they totally splat on (XT/Razorscale/Ignis) trash.  “OMG!” they say, “WE NEED MOAR HEALERS!”  So the guild goes back to Ulduar, with 8-9 of their 25 spots filled with healers.  And they wipe, and learn new content, and wipe some more.  And after learning the fights, they go “OMG THIS IS SO EASY NAO, BUT WE NEED TO KILL FASTER TO (activate hardmodes/get top-scored fights on wws/race zerg bosses)!!” so they recruit DPS and start benching half of their healers, cause they’re so not needed now.

The end.

Yeah, me too.  This hasn’t happened to me directly, but it does get my panties in a bunch when I see it.

Like many guilds, Axiom’s suffered a bit from the summer blahs.  Lots of vacations, some recruiting, it’s left us with some pretty interesting, non-standard rosters over the past 6 weeks (“okay, 10 healers are signed, but we totally have no DPS… So, volunteers for respec for the day!” followed the next week by “Wait, what? only five healers?!  shit!”)

After a particularly rough night (Five healers rocking Thorim, Mimi, and Vezax) the joking starts on the guild forums from the DPS.

DPS 1: Meh, they’d already proved they can do it with 6 or 7. Next time I’m thinking 4…

DPS 2: Four, we’re doing three next week…..

Me: And 1 tank and 5 DPS.
If we’re running half healers, as a show of solidarity, we’re running with half everything else, too. No fair only healers get the bench.
/love and kisses.

And then things get serious:

DPS 3: Max. of 6 ever, HS/pot/bandage if necessary, stay out of fire or get teabagged.

DPS 4: That’s forever the healer dilemma, gearing/playing yourself out of a job. :/

DPS 3: Gotta break some eggs sometimes to make an omelet. (emphasis mine)

And lemme tell you, beyond earning a place on my shit list, DPS 3 really pissed me the fuck off.  (Or should that be the other way around?)

Because, excuse me?  Omelet?  Healers are eggs now?  And we’re talking about “breaking them” for the sake of the team?  We’re talking about breaking ANY member of the team?

1.  I’m sorry, I’m not going to EVER advocate benching the people who’ve been working and wiping from the beginning for the sake of your e-peen.

2.  I’m not going to advocate making MY job harder when all you’re doing is standing in place drinking-birding your 1 key.  DPS monkey sez: lawl afk making sammich.  (Sorry, Seri, but it’s true)

I mean, I understand that the number of healers needed at the beginning during wipes is not the same as the number needed once shit’s on farm.  I don’t want to be sleeping through content because there are 10 healers present leaving me with nothing to do. For the most part, I’m okay with it (I mean, I’m NOT okay with Blizzard’s idea that the challenge rating on an encounter is pretty much wholly the healing difficulty, but that’s another rant).  What I’m NOT okay with is the idea that healers should be the one always “taking one for the team” and not reaping the rewards of their month(s) of repair bills.

Of course, I’m also not okay with the folks who only want to attend farm nights and always skip out on progression.  Are you sensing a theme?  At least I’m consistent.

But something strikes me as wrong with this picture:

The number of tanks you need stays pretty consistent.
The number of DPS you need usually goes up.
The number of healers you need drops dramatically as more and more things go on-farm.

And people wonder why no one ever wants to play healers.

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Jov sez: I don’t care about the Coliseum

July 14, 2009

Okay, so, yeah…  I don’t.

I’ve done all the various Ring of Blood type arena fights on all my characters.  Nagrand?  Check.  Grizzly Hills?  Check check.  Zul’Drak?  Check check CHECK.

Do you hear that, Blizzard?  I’ve done them!  I’ve even done the others…  BRD?  Been there, SO over that.  BRD for the Tier .5 questchain?  UGH, yes, multiple times.  Magister’s Terrace?  I could do that place in my sleep.

I’ve even done ACTUAL arena.  I’ve done PVP against players both smarter than your AI and…  not.  And you know what?  I stopped!  I don’t do it anymore!  I never did it more than I NEEDED to!

I’ve done all this stuff.  Everyone reading has done all this stuff.

“This stuff” is the stuff I hate most about the game.

I’m not talking so much about recycling a concept over and over again.  When Blizz finds something that works, they’ve always pretty much reused it.  When something is popular, it would be pretty stupid to just drop it like a hot rock.

But, I don’t care, and it’s my blog so I’ll get up and rant if I want to.  I don’t want to have our next “progression” content be repeatedly farming the arena boss for a few months.  I don’t like arena fights.  I don’t like arena PVP, I don’t like arena PVE.

I want Old Gods, and pretty rooms, and actually running around from place to place.  Hell, I would prefer to be back in Hyjal and dealing with it’s exciting waves of dynamic trash encounters.

And what about Arthas?  Remember the guy you named the expansion after?  It’s been over 6 months, you’re already talking about wanting to get the NEXT expansion out in 09 (that’s this year) and except for a few cameo appearances, he’s been locked up safe and sound in Icecrown.

And why not?  All the people who oppose him are having a jousting fair party thing in the BFE corner of nowhere (when they’re not poking around, messing with the Titans) and are totally keeping themselves busy AND out of his hair.

Screw faction changes, I’m all for switching allegiance to the smart guy.

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Jov sez: Favorite Boss Abilities

July 7, 2009

It’s been nearly a month since I’ve actually had to come up with and write my own content in this place, so I’m really feeling quite rusty.  I’ve done some editing, some formatting, but I’m still behind the times on 3.2 (I’m finishing Ulduar, damnit, Yogg>all!  I don’t care about the Coliseum yet!)  So I’m trying to get myself back in the groove by looking back.  Back at bosses, that is.  Most people I’ve had these conversations with don’t really want to think about what would happen if Blizzard took the stuff I like in fights and strung them all together into one big uberboss.  I’d call it “Jov’s Boss of Death, Madness and Pain” or “Loss of Character Control with Infinite Mana, oh boy!”  They just call it “NO!”

Essence of the Red (Vaelastrasz the Corrupt — Blackwing Lair) :  Cast by Vael at the beginning of the encounter, this debuff gives essentially infinite mana, energy, rage, and runic power for 3 minutes.  Poor boy’s conflicted, he wants to be defeated, even when forced to fight.  It just leaves me with one question: Why does Alexstrasza hold out on us when we’re fighting Malygos, huh?

Incite Chaos (Blackheart the Inciter — Shadow Labyrinth) : Party-wide mind control?  Smiting the tank to the face (sorry, Tars)?  Standing in Volley and spam healing myself?  Wacky hijinks remind me of some pugs I’ve been in.

Insanity (Herald Volazj — Ahn’kahet: The Old Kingdom) : This is Incite Chaos plus plus.  Not only are you fighting your buddies, you need to KILL them as well.  And what can be better than encounter designed around the pwning of your friends?  Plus, you get to hear them complain about how hard YOU are to kill as a healer.

Gravity Lapse (Kael’thas Sunstrider — The Eye/Magister’s Terrace) : Flying is fun, and it’s a nice change when you actually have control over your character while doing it.

Shadow Whip (Omor the Unscarred — Hellfire Ramparts) : Being flung around in the air is fun.  Cause for many a squee’d “Wheee!” in vent.

Shadow Portal (Hatmaster Darkmaster Gandling —  Scholomance) : I had no idea this was coming the first time I did this fight.  The “wtf” that followed (coupled with “You want me to KILL THINGS?!”) was apparently quite amusing for everyone else in the group.

Massive Geyser (Gahz’ranka — Zul’Gurub) : Shooting up in the air is for fun.  Especially once we learned to make certain we were in deep enough water we wouldn’t die when we landed.

Soul Steal (Exarch Maladaar — Auchenai Crypts) : I always loved seeing my darkside mindflay the crap out of the DPS.  Even when I was attacking myself, I was like “Go me!”

Little Red Riding Hood (The Big Bad Wolf — Karazhan) : Watching the giant Tauren in plate being turned into a cute little gnome in a dress is so totally worth it.

Slag Pot (Ignis the Furnace Master — Ulduar) : This is on the list just because it’s so awesome to call out “<name> in the crotch-pot” in vent.

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Seri sez: How to apply to a raid guild without looking like an idiot. — WotLK Edition

March 19, 2009

As an officer of my guild, I’m pretty actively involved in recruitment. Not only do I canvas the ‘net looking for candidates when we need them, it’s also my job to review the applications that come in and mark them up with my little red pen. Although sometimes even the ones that look good on paper don’t work out, if you have a bad application you’re not going to get a second glance.

You may not be applying to my guild (if you want to, e-mail me an armory link–ha!) but every guild has a gatekeeper; if you want the keys to the kingdom, you need to put your best face forward. Don’t worry, gentle reader, I’m here to tell you how.

Before you apply…

1. Do your homework.

How much do you know about the guild you’re applying to? Do you know the GM’s name? WowArmory will tell you that. Do you know how they rank on their server for progression? How far into current raid content are they? How long has it been since they had a new boss kill? Have they completed Sarth 3D? WowJutsu will tell you that. How long have they been around? WarcraftRealms will tell you that. Do they have a good reputation on their server? Make a level 1 alt and ask around.

This is more than just peace of mind when it comes to applying to a raid guild. Raid guilds have big egos, and if you can subtly stroke their ego by saying you’ve heard good things about them (assuming you have) or are impressed by their level of progression (assuming there is something to be impressed about) you’ll make a good impression. However, with that said… don’t go overboard. Most reviewers won’t be snowballed by vigorous blatant brown-nosing.

2. Dress to impress.

First, evaluate your gear. Is it on par with the level of content the guild is running, or are you a bit behind? Before you rush to the head of the line do whatever you can to improve your gear.

Sadly, Holy Priests cannot really use PvP/Arena gear to fill in gaps the way other classes/roles can because it is so weak when it comes to mana regen. Badge gear, however, is awesome and having even a few pieces of it if not all of it demonstrates to the review team that you’ve put considerable time into gearing up and are dedicated to improving your gear outside of raids.

Once your gear is in order it’s time to give it a little polish. You should have good enchants for your helm, shoulders, cloak, chest, bracers, gloves, pants, boots and weapon. Jov posted a great guide to enchants here: Jov sez: You’ve got the gear, now what? (Part 2)

When it comes to gems, use the best quality gems available. Right now, that means blue-quality gems. Do not ever apply to a raid guild with uncommon-quality (green) gems or empty sockets.

Jov posted a great guide for gems too! You can find it here: Jov sez: You’ve got the gear, now what?

3. Spec for PvE.

Don’t apply to a raid guild with a PvP spec. Talents like Martyrdom, Improved Mana Burn, Blessed Recovery/Resilience and Spell Warding really don’t belong in a raiding build.

If you routinely swap between specs for PvP, Raiding and Questing/Farming/Dailies, try to stick to your Raiding spec for at least a day or two after you submit your application. Alternately, instead of (or in addition to) linking directly to your armory profile, provide a link to your preferred raiding spec in the Talent Calculator of your choice.

With the advent of dual spec, if you frequently swap between specs you should definitely consider sending a link to a talent calculator build. Maybe even one for each spec in your arsenal!

When you apply…

1. Write a good application.

Answer questions as completely as you can. Use punctuation/capitalization. Avoid “133t speak.” Use carriage returns. Format your response so it is easy to distinguish your answers from the questions; don’t just put a space after the question and start typing your answer unless you’re going to use color tags to make your reply distinct.

Be sure you read through your answers after you are finished. Run it through a spell-checker. Make sure you didn’t skip any questions while you’re at it!

Don’t be afraid to toot your horn a little bit, but try not to come off as overly boastful/arrogant. Your application may be the only chance you have to sell yourself, so make it count.

Last, but not least, let your personality shine. Most guilds are looking for more than skill and gear; they also want to know if you will be a good fit for their guild culture.

2. Don’t pad your resume.

Most reviewers can smell bullshit a mile away. When listing your raid experience, don’t pretend you have more than you do. Avoid making blanket statements for instances you haven’t cleared–don’t claim “Naxx” if you PUG’d the spider wing once, or if your previous/current guild couldn’t get past Sapphiron. Reviewers appreciate your honesty and candor, so try to be specific. It’s also important to make a distinction between your 10-man raid experience and your 25-man raid experience.

Your gear will usually betray you if you embellish, and We do not appreciate it.

After you apply…

1. Log out in your PvE/Healing gear.

Once you’ve submitted your application, make sure you log out in your healing gear while your application is pending. Reviewers will be accessing the armory to look you up, probably several times, and they don’t really care about your DPS/PvP set or your RP clothes.

If you want to cover your bases, you can always use a tool like CharDev or WarCrafter to save a gear profile you can link to in your application.

2. Follow up, but don’t turn into a stalker.

Don't be a stalker!Different guilds have different review processes, but if you don’t hear anything at all for 3+ days after you submit your application you’ll probably want to follow up. The best way to do this is in-game via whisper to an Officer or via Private Message on the guild forums. Do not whisper an Officer or the GM during a raid! If you can’t seem to catch them outside raids, then PM (or even in-game mail) is probably the better way to go. When you do talk to them, see if you can find out how long the process usually takes and when you can expect to hear back. Beyond that, try not to make a nuisance of yourself after going through all the effort to make a good impression. These things do take time, and if you feel it is taking too much time (or if a better offer comes along) you can always retract your application.

Bonus points!

Ok, so now you know what you can do to avoid looking like an idiot on your next raid application. You might be wondering what you can do to stand out from the pack–trust me, if you do all of these things (or even most of them) you WILL stand out. However, for the over-achievers among us, here is a brief list of things that will win you bonus points with reviewers of the T7+ variety:

  • Exalted with Sons of Hodir.
  • Possession of a 2m PvP trinket. (No, you need not log out in it, just mention it on your app somewhere.)
  • Possession of a (maxed) crafting skill that gives you a significant stat bonus for raiding. (Inscription, Jewelcrafting, Enchanting and Tailoring all have self-only perks that are pretty spiffy.)
  • Honesty. Got a weak spot in your gear? Own up to it, and say what you are doing to fix it.

Have any other tips to add? Horror (or success) stories to share? I’d love to hear them!

(Big thanks go out to all of the folks who commented on the original draft of this article back in TBC. Your feedback helped me to improve this version while I was updating it for Wrath!)

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Jov sez: Your lousy spec

March 17, 2009

I’m putting my supposed-to-go-up-last-week-but-I-didn’t-finish on the back burner yet again due to the veritable shit storm of commentary from Seri’s post a couple weeks ago, the simple post screenshotting a spec which we’re STILL getting responses to.  (And also because the put-off post is still not finished.)

So, it’s a lousy spec.  Most of the priests who actually research their class (or think hard about it) can spot the 10 or 20 things that really need improvement before being proclaimed a viable spec.  The ones who REALLY enjoy the math aspect of the game can take it one step further, pulling out calculators and spreadsheets to illustrate exactly WHY it’s wrong, and specifically how much gimping you’re doing to yourself by your inability to research.  (And for the person who points out there are shit specs on wowwiki, it’s true, but one source does NOT count as “research” by any definition.  Armory or inspect someone in a raid guild, ask around where to get other information, read the effing tooltips.)

But!  All that aside, there’s a bigger question that was raised by Nihonga in comments:  “Does he get the job done with this spec?”  Seri answered assuming the commenter was simply being a smart ass, I gave the more blunt answer that current content could be healed with 0 points in holy OR discipline, so it’s not entirely a fair assessment.

But what if it is?  If content is such that currently it can be done without paying the slightest attention to theorycraft or talent trees, does that then imply that they don’t matter?

The short answer is no, the longer answer is sometimes.

The obvious problem with going into any situation with a bad spec is the fact you’re not doing as well as you could.  A respec may not by definition make you a better healer, but will make some heals stronger, some faster, and give you some more tricks for maintaining your mana.  It makes your job easier.  Back in the dark ages pre-Wrath when TBC, Illidan, and Sunwell were the Big Things, Wynthea over at World of Matticus made a post which could be essentially described as the rallying call of the non-bad.  “Myth: It Doesn’t Really Matter As Long as the Boss Dies” I’m not going to reinvent the wheel and give a blow by blow of her argument, but to sum up, it posited that HOW a boss goes down is actually more important than just the fact that he does.

Does a bad spec get the job done?  Presumably, or they wouldn’t be on the team.  But the more important question as to how well that happens is totally untouched.

So why do I answer with sometimes?  Well, it really goes back to the raid group as a whole.  If you’re in a group that doesn’t care (that believes that only the boss dying matters) then theorycraft really doesn’t matter beyond a certain point (do you have the health/mana/regen/defense to survive the encounter, and if you don’t, do you know enough to know what needs tweaking to change that answer to a yes?

If your answer to that is yes, then if you’re clearing content, your lousy spec does not, in fact, matter.  It just makes the rest of us twitch.  (And, no, you cannot join my guild.)

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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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Jov sez: Priests: Regen and You

December 2, 2008

Stats: Joveta, lv 75 Holy Priest, currently specced 14/47/5 for questing, STILL getting shunted to DPSing instances (wtf healer shortage??  Where?!) and occasional heal-pwning.  Due to the Thanksgiving holiday with the in-laws, almost no time was spent this week on leveling.  The only major accomplishment was finally finishing up Tars’ Netherwing Rep, enabling him to have a shiny dragon, too.  Go Tars!

I’m not continuing my “everything” posts this week, as I’m fully aware that I’m now approaching the minority to have not at least crested the Cold-Weather Flying benchmark, and raiding is regularly happening.  I’m posting this now to try and get information together and out there.  None of this originated with me, and I am providing links to all of my sources.  It’s pretty safe to say that most of it comes from EJ, however.

Please note: when I say Discipline Spec, I’m assuming a talent spec containing at least 51 points in Discipline; likewise for Holy.

spiritIn Which Jov Eats Crow

Regen ain’t what it used to be, and straight mp5 isn’t necessarily the devil.  There comes a time in a priest’s life where they may find themselves taking mp5 over spirit.  This is not a bad thing.  Especially since deep-Discipline is raid-viable, mp5 can seriously outweigh the benefits of Spirit.  Quoting from the WotLK Healing Compendium on EJ,

For holy, 9 spirit = 4 Mp5, ignoring spellpower gains entirely. Given spellpower gains, a 2:1 ratio is acceptable.
For disc, 5 spirit = 2 Mp5, with no spellpower gains. Convert cleanly, and make your decision.

What does that mean to you, Mr. Non-Mathcrafting Healing Priest?  Essentially, Spirit is twice as important to a Holy-specced priest than it is to one who is specced Discipline, and most of that is due to the bonus Holy gets to spellpower. If you’re weighing the regen between an item with 20 spirit or 12 mp5, Discipline will do better with the straight mp5.  Use the weights above, and take the item that nets you more regen.

I feel so dirty typing that.

Also, spirit has been nerfed.  The old spirit based regen figures were

5 * 0.0093271 * Spirit * Square_root ( Intellect )

But now we’re looking at

5 * 0.005575 * Spirit * Square_root ( Intellect )

Which means that generally speaking, we’re getting less regen in general.  Ghostcrawler has earned the enmity of the spirit-based healers at large with the following response:

As a few players have referenced, we thought mana regen got to a point at the end of BC where players could just generally ignore it and assumed that mana was just a system you eventually graduate out of (kind of like experience).

We don’t want you to be out of mana constantly, but we do want the risk of that to exist. We balance some spells based on their mana cost for example and when you can always use your most expensive, least efficient spell without consequence, then your cheap and efficient spells don’t compete.

Mana is a resource to be managed, much like health or cooldowns.

Basically, we’re not supposed to be never-ending founts of infinite mana and never were.  The removal of downranking and the nerf to spirit-based regen was done to reflect that.  To Ghostcrawler (on this and other things) I say thbbbt.

replenIntellect is a Regen Stat

Um, it is now.  Thanks to Replenishment and our new reliance on crit, Priests want Int.  Yay Int!

Thus: (ignoring gains in mana pool size)
Discipline: 132 intellect = 1% crit, 31.3 Mp5
Holy: 150 intellect = 1% crit, 30.9 Mp5

Comparatively:
Discipline: 132 spirit = 40 Mp5
Holy: 150 spirit = 46 Mp5 + 43 spellpower

Replenishment is a nifty tool.  Living in the days of “Base Mana” everywhere, it’s really nice to face something that’s based on maximum mana.  Essentially, if you’ve got a Ret Pally, a Survival Hunter, or a Shadow Priest, you’re getting the Replenishment buff.  It’s a 15 second buff which gives you 0.25% of your maximum mana back per second.  How much is that?  Well, it depends entirely on how much mana you can get for yourself.  You get more regen the more mana you have, so buff up!  (And yes, Discipline Priests have an advantage here with Mental Strength.)

Crit is also interesting.  Current theory holds that 20-25% is the “magic number” to aim for when getting crit rating.  It’s not a direct regen stat, but it snags you time Oo5SR through Surge of Light and Holy Concentration procs.  Why 20-25%?  That’s 1 cast in 4-5. Put simply, with that much crit, you’re looking at potentially one Surge of Light proc per tap of CoH.  Needless to say, that’s pretty snacky.

intIntellect vs Spirit

So with the addition of Replenishment, and the fact that Spirit isn’t so OP, you may be thinking to start stacking Int for all your regen needs.  If you are, stop right there! Zusterke from PlusHeal (all my healing readers also read Plus Heal, right?  Right?!) made an awesome post outlining exactly why you should not be focusing on one stat and ignoring all the others.  For the healcraft-averse, the TL;DR can be summed up as:  Don’t stack!  You want a 1:1 ratio between Int and Spirit! That applies to any spirit-based healing class: Trees, Discipline, or Holy.

EDIT 12/3 : Zusterke has published a tool to let you calculate exactly how much regen an upgrade/consumeable/anything else will net you.  Available at Zusterke’s Corner: where undead test their brains…

So to sum up:

  • Spirit isn’t what it used to be.  Dependent on spec, you may find mp5 is better.
  • Smart Priests choose Int!
  • But not too much, you’re aiming at a 1:1 ratio between Intellect and Spirit for best regen.
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Jov sez: Do as I say…

November 4, 2008

Becoming the perfect Priest is more of a process than an event, and everyone (even yours truly!) is still a work in progress.  Shocking as it may seem, my perfection is still largely theoretical, as I choose to illustrate now with a few points.

1.  I’m a lazy item enhancer.  Seriously, Seri wouldn’t approve my application.  Sure, I gem my gear, enchant my weapons…  I’m all for useful bonuses.  Cloaks, however, are totally not worth it.  If it’s not a Resist cloak enchanted with the necessary resist bonus (Fire for Rags, Nature for AQ40, and more recently Shadow for Mother) I just don’t do it.  (I know, I know, Subtlety.  But have you SEEN the threat gen of tanks since 3.0?  2% less threat on my part is totally not worth the farming up of 8 Primal Shadow the enchant needs.  So nyeh.)

2.  My rarely-played, mostly-retired Alliance priest (and my resto druid, for that matter) still has mp5 gems in her gear.  Yep!  Me, the first one in the parade screaming against the use of Royal gems still has them lurking in the back of her closet.  This is related to the point above, I don’t have money on that side of the fence anymore (as I sent most of it over when I rerolled) and the urge to do dailies to improve gear on characters I play once a month is…  not really there, actually.  New gems in new gear (if applicable) will be fixed, however.  Promise.

3.  Healer Tunnel Vision: I has it.  My UI was designed to keep my chat frames, Grid frames, and all the information I need as close to “together” as possible.  This is because I know the more different places I need to look for information I have, the more likely something is going to be totally missed (like the whispers for Fear Ward rotation on Archi… oops.)  I may not be standing in the fire, but only because my eyes are locked to the bottom 1/3 of my screen.

4.  In the spirit of tracking improvements, I flash healed my way through Molten Core before I learned what downranking was.  (This was before Flash was good for anyone but pallies, fyi.)  My knowledge of my class consisted entirely of “I read the tooltips on my spells and talents” through 6 months of pre-TBC raiding.  A few friends eventually took me under their wing, and introduced me to a whole new world of not-sucking.

5.  For the longest time, I did no actual research on my class.  I’d read the stickie’d priest posts on the official class forums, but felt for the most part that they were entirely filled with whining and emo.  I avoided them, and got my information by waiting patiently for my friends to tell me what I needed to know.  Eventually, I found out they were getting their information from a site called Elitist Jerks and gave it a poke.

6.  Also related to the above, I had no idea that WoW Blogs existed before ~6 months ago.  Yes, another blindingly obvious possibility that I didn’t even think of until someone (in this case, Seri) pointed ‘em out to me.  (I also never followed blogs in general before then because I had no idea about rss and feed readers.  Yes, I’m totally participating in this century, why do you ask?)

So there’s me: practically perfect in every way or a totally clueless noob who needs to unplug?  You decide (but don’t tell me… my ego is a precious and fragile thing.)

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