Posts Tagged ‘talents’

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Jov sez: In Defense of Wacky Specs

May 26, 2009

Last week, one of my priesties (Hai Mira!*) sent me a PM asking for my feedback on some talent changes she was considering.  As anyone who’s read this blog knows, I’m pretty damned opinionated as to how to properly spec.  However, I do also try to keep a (somewhat) open mind to things which might make sense based on current needs, either of the player or of the content.  I’m also willing to give a good bit more thought to something that comes from someone I trust to not be a total mouthbreather, but that’s neither here nor there.

Essentially the gist comes to this:  My little priestie (Hai Mira!**) has been doing research, reading blogs, keeping up on her talents (exactly like I like them to do) and approached me with the thought of using a build first proposed by Derevka a couple weeks ago.  She gave me the build, made certain I had a link to the post, and (re-)explained the reasoning behind the various talents.  Essentially she (HAI MIRA!***) did everything right to break through my consistant knee-jerk reaction to some of the talents she proposes to take/skip and take on faith that she’s experimenting with a plan.

That’s not to say I immediately agreed with her.  Anyone asking my opinion directly is going to get it. The reply I sent back goes like this:

Personally, I’ve never liked Spell Warding, for the reasons you mention. I’ve seen people argue taking it when faced with constant raid-wide unavoidable damage (it was very big in SWP), it seemed very much “drop in the bucket”y vs Greater Heal. Of course, with the death of downranking, I can also understand not wanting to sacrifice points in something which improves a spell you rarely use.

I’ll totally trust your judgment re: GHeal usage vs hope of taking the edge off certain spell effects for better survivability. That’s a personal call.

Re: Healing Focus. I’m just snagging a random WWS to take a look at your spell useage here. (5/7 Ulduar is what I clicked on). Pushback doesn’t matter on your instants (CoH, renew, ProM, etc, which was ~70% of your healing done for the night) but will help with Flash, Greater, and PoH (~30% of your healing done). Again, I know that your spell selection is going to vary by fight.

Summing up my thoughts on the proposed spec change:
1) Spell Warding is very little bang for 5 talent points. It can help on some fights, but I’m personally biased against taking talents which are so very situational, generally speaking.
2) How much are you facing pushback in a given week?
3) If you are needing a greater heal, is the lack of reduced cast time going to hurt? What about the loss of the mana reduction?
4) I understand the logic behind the changes, I only wonder at the applicability.
5) I wouldn’t make the changes myself. However, I fully acknowledge that I am not you, my style is not yours, and my biases are my own. I’m very pro- trying stuff out to see what works. My main issue (which you’ve already resolved) is just following something weird you dug up somewhere and try as the hot new thing without actually giving it thought. I know that doesn’t apply, so consider this the green light. I very much look forward to how this works for you.

See? I can totally be open-minded.

When it comes down to it, some amount of healing is still based on personal style.  If I trust you through reading or personal experience enough to know you know what you’re doing, I’m very capable of acknowledging that some tweaks might not necessarily improve your throughput, but might help you out in other ways.

This is also not the only spec discussion going on in-guild at the moment, as I’m privy to a bit of a disagreement between two people I trust highly in knowing what they’re talking about.  I think it’s somewhat resolved, with a “try both of the specs for a week and give them a fair shot” plan in the works.  I just hope that one can forget the mathbook and the other can give cookie cutter an open mind long enough for the test to be fair.  But we’ll see.

In other news, AXIOM IS STILL RECRUITING! We’re particularly wanting a tree and a holy priest! Trees will get plenty of fertilizer from the streams of BS in guild chat and vent!  Priests!  You’ll get a kick-ass priest crew.  You’ll also down bosses.  Axiom needs YOU!

* Didn’t know I was gonna do this in a post, didja?

** Bet you wish you didn’t say something when I was racking my brain for this week’s post, huh?

*** You’re really gonna kill me, now, aren’t you?

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Jov sez: The World is Ending!

January 27, 2009

Oh god!  Oh woe!  The Nerf has killed priests forever!

/reroll

In other news, bananas will be extinct within 10 years, and 28/43 is the future.

28-43Where can you go wrong?

(Also, I’ve some nice beachfront property in Kansas to sell you.)

In more serious news, the cooldown sucks.  I’ve gotten into some baaaad bad habits over the past couple months, and it’s biting me in the ass now.  I remember reading somewhere something I really agreed with:  It’s not the bosses that get you (even Maly, OS+ and Sapphiron are easily doable without touching CoH at all) it’s the trash.

Or is Spider and DK wing trash supposed to kill half the DPS every pull?  hrm…

My biggest complaint about this week isn’t even so much the cooldown as it is the cooldown + breaking bad habits/relearning to raid heal + trial by fire of being the only heal lead available this past week.

I’m also nervous about the rotation that Blizzard is talking about.  The specific example they mentioned as being the “kind of thing” they’re looking at, was a “each time you cast Flash Heal, you get reduced cast time of Greater” to encourage spell variety and weaving.  But, they’ve done that.  It was called Incarnate Raiment.  The set bonuses were crap.

The cooldown makes me look really hard at Divine Providence, and remember old Prayer of Mending.  (Remember when they first implemented it and it didn’t have a cooldown?  But it was being abused, so they added one.)  Divine Providence is our “improve all multi-target heals” talent.  One of the spells included is a reduced cooldown on Prayer of Mending.  After a couple years, Blizzard gave priests the opportunity to tweak their cooldowns (a bit) and I really wonder if CoH will be added to that.

I don’t really have much in the way of statements this post, more suppositions and wonderings.

eta: Folks, I’m apparently failing at sarcasm in this post, beyond me tagging it “snark” and offering to sell beachfront Kansas property.  :P

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Jov sez: Consolidated list of 3.0.8 Priest Changes

January 20, 2009

Test Realm Patch Notes can be found here.  If these changes are from other blue posts, I’ve tried to include links.

Talents

Silent Resolve has been changed to protect only beneficial spells and damage over time effects (10, 20, 30%). (Um, so I guess it means Shield and ProM no longer are protected?  Whee, even more a useless-in-PVE-talent!)

Improved Holy Concentration: The tooltip has been rewritten to indicate that this talent reduces cast time rather than providing haste.  (Spell haste increased when casting certain specified spells (as opposed to any) per the tooltip = reduced cast time.  I really fail to see where this was confusing…)

Rapture: This talent will now correctly return mana for Power Word: Shield based on the caster’s mana poll instead of the target’s mana pool. (Whoops!  Good news for our Discipline friends!)

Surge of Light: Prayer of Mending will no longer sometimes cause Surge of Light to trigger on Priests who do not have that talent. (Whoops!  Followed by bummer news for our Discipline friends.  Sorry guys!  But at least it was fun while it lasted.)

Spells

The bugs with Guardian Spirit, Divine Aegis, and Power Word: Shield not working on certain classes in certain conditions is fixed. (source) (Thank you.  Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou.  Seriously, this… yeah.)

Guardian Spirit is no longer attached to the GCD.  (Also very handy for an oh-shit button.  Nothing like “oh shit in 1.5 seconds, I can do something!”)

Circle of Healing has a 6 second cooldown.  (I’m…  not happy about this.  CoH was OP, but I think a 6 second cooldown is not the way to go about fixing it.  But it doesn’t make us broken, either.)

Levitate can now be cast on others.  (Um, yay?  I mean I guess it could be handy if you and your trusty tanky questing buddy end up falling off  the elevator…  More reason to get the Levitate glyph, I guess.)

Guardian Spirit: It is no longer possible for simultaneous killing blows to trigger the heal from this ability multiple times.  (Alas…  Not that I ever benefited from this bug, but alas all the same.)

Prayer of Mending: Will now only benefit from the healing talents of the priest who cast the original spell.  (Which is usually a good thing.)

Glyphs

Glyph of Spirit of Redemption– Now increases duration of effect 6 seconds (was 20% chance to increase duration 4 sec on crit, potentially infinite)  (This change makes one of my guildies very sad, though I admit it doesn’t really bother me much one way or the other.  I can see this being HORRIBLY abused in arenas, however.  And the infinite SoR is definitely something I agree needed adjusting…)

Glyph of Dispel Magic– Heals your target for 3% of their maximum health on each dispel (was 6%).  (6% was too much.  Period.  Of course, in most of my runs, pallies tend to be quicker on the dispel key than priests, so it’s not anything that’s really affected me much, either.)

Miscellaneous

Soul Preserver: This item will now interact correctly with Desperate Prayer.

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Seri sez: 0/2 IDS: It’s not just for noobs anymore.

January 15, 2009

spirit-weekThe popularity of Divine Spirit rises and falls, but most raid groups agree it is a Good Thing To Have™ even if Spirit isn’t quite the Holy Grail it used to be for certain healing classes/specs. I remember, with wry fondness, the days when a Priest had to fall on their (buddy’s) sword and spec Hybrid to provide the raid with Divine Spirit. 23/38 wasn’t a very fun spec to play for most of us, but we did it when we drew the short straw for the betterment of the group.

Now that Discipline is a more viable PVE spec, this isn’t as much of an issue. Discipline Priests are welcome in raid groups far and wide as more and more raid leaders come to realize the potential benefits of damage prevention, particularly on boss fights that involve debuffs decreasing healing effectiveness.

Improved Divine Spirit is an awesome talent that makes Divine Spirit useful for every spell casting class, not just the Spirit-friendly healing types. Back in the days of yore, when shaman employed hamster balls to raid heal (wait, bad example) and trees had to shapeshift to run at normal speed (there we go), you did not take Divine Spirit without Improved Divine Spirit unless you wanted to be mocked heavily by your peers. Trust me, I had a peer once (we’ll call him Felix) that purposefully did not have Improved Divine Spirit and I never hesitated to mock him openly. Sadly, I think Felix thought I was joking… it never really seemed to sink in.

At any rate, that was then and this is now. With the changes to buff stacking in Wrath, we now find ourselves in a quandry because the spellpower bonus from Improved Divine Spirit doesn’t stack with any of the raid-wide spellpower buffs granted by other classes. Demonic Pact? Nope. Totem of Wrath? Nope. Flametongue Totem? Nope. So, unless your raid group doesn’t run with any Demonology Warlocks or Shaman you’re not getting the spellpower bonus from Improved Divine Spirit in raids.totems

Divine Spirit itself remains on top as the best Spirit buff in the game (the trump-er rather than the trump-ee, if you will) so it’s definitely worth having in your Discipline build. But Improved Divine Spirit? Hrm. Maybe my days of mocking 0/2 IDS noobs are coming to a middle. It seems to me that if your raids consistently have a Shaman or Demonology Warlock you can probably reclaim the two points from Improved Divine Spirit and spend them elsewhere. I know there are a few spots in the southern end of the Disc tree where I might like to spend a couple more points, how about you?

On the other hand… I like my spellpower buffs, and having a little extra oomph while soloing or when the shaman is taking (another) dirt nap has a certain je ne sais quoi. (Yeah, that’s right… I just spoke French. I have layers!)

In the end, this is one of those rare situations where I will say: Where you choose to put your points is up to you. It’s not that I don’t like telling you what to do (especially when you do it), but… IDS is now more of a situational/personal preference sort of talent than it used to be.

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Special Edition: Recommended Healing Specs for 3.0

October 14, 2008

Note to all you guys still clicking through after the release of Wrath:

We know you’re there, we see you, this is STILL one of the most popular hits for our blog.  If you’re here looking for spec advice, go to this post instead.  This was made for the days pre-Wrath release, not intended for level 80 raiders.  Follow the link for shiny updated content.

Although your beloved snark mavens usually see eye to eye, sometimes we just don’t! Read on to find out what we think about healing spec options for 3.0. The final choice is, of course, yours but don’t say we didn’t give you any options!

Jov sez: Don’t rock the boat!

I know I’ve stated on many many many occasions that trying out weird specs and figuring out what your spells do is a Good Thing ™, however… If you are currently a member of an active raiding group, now is not the time to go crazy. Things are going to be changing left and right, and keeping your spec as similar as you can to standard can act as a good control while things settle. Try things out on your own time, you have a responsibility to your fellow raiders to not take this opportunity to pick a spec that blows up in their faces.

IMP DS 23/38 redux

I’m going to advocate only the smallest tweak from the current standard cookie cutter IDS build: 23/38. It’s got one throwaway point in Discipline (the one point I put in Unbreakable Will could go anywhere) and the Holy tree is more of the same. Note: With the changes to pushback mechanics, Healing Focus are dump points at the moment, and as such, I chose to dump them. I used Desperate Prayer to jump down a tier. The main change I’m going to advocate is 3/3 Serendipity over 3/5 Empowered Healing. With the death of downranking, you’re going to be facing larger Greater numbers than you’re used to, so losing a bit of Empowered isn’t going to make such a big deal. However, while relearning, getting 25% mana back on the inevitiable overheal IS.

New CoH 14/47

There is no Mental Agility in this build, which makes me sad. CoH is going to be more of a mana hog spec than it is currently: 14/47. Again, I’m changing some things from the standard in hopes of gaining more opportunity for regen while things settle. Most notably, dropping ranks in Empowered Healing again for Serendipity, Improved Holy Concentration and 1/2 in each Healing Prayers and Surge of Light (depending on your usual rotations, the last two could easily be 2/2 in one and dropping the other entirely.) Again, Healing Focus is not part of this spec, and unlike my previous preferred CoH spec, Holy Specialization is maxed. This spec is designed to take advantage of as much of regen in deep holy as possible.

Seri sez: ZOMG new toys and my birthday’s not until next month!

To hell with the naysayers that decry it as irresponsible; I’m totally going to field test the hell out of these bad boys. Why wait until 80 for those 51 point talents when I have 61 perfectly good talent points to spend today?

The Rebirth of Discipline: 56/5/0

First, let’s talk Discipline. I have none, obviously, but I’m talking about talents here. The Discipline tree has long been the redheaded stepchild of our family, but with 3.0 it is looking to become an extremely viable single target healing spec.

Are you tired of being an IDS monkey? You know what I’m talking about… the poor sap that drew the short straw and had to sink 23 points in Disc for the betterment of the raid? It’s time to strut your stuff… try this: 56/5/0

The new and improved Disc tree is all about preventative healing and, to a certain extent, mitigation. Your critical heals will shield the target for a percentage of your heals, and Penance becomes your ‘go to’ spell despite the 10 second cooldown. Use Power Word: Shield and Renew liberally and throw around a few Flash Heals and Greater Heals between Penance casts.

It’s going to take some getting used to, but the important thing here is to use more spells and keep shielding (it returns you mana!). Don’t just stand around stopcasting Greater Heal, you have way more utility than that! Also, don’t forget… Power Infusion isn’t just for DPS.

Alternately, you might consider a variation: 56/5/0

Same number of points, slightly different distribution. In this variant, I reduced points spent in Enlightenment and Grace (hey, 50/50 are still good odds) to pick up 3/3 Reflective Shield. It seemed like a good idea at the time, especially since you’re going to be shielding a lot. Who doesn’t like threatless damage? (Lolnova haters aside.)

Update: Upon reflection, you’ll get more bang for your buck by going with Enlightenment rather than Divine Fury, so I revised my suggestions after initially posting this.

Holy4Life: 7/54/0

Ok, on to Holy. This is going to be my particular playground of choice, and I’m considering a big drink from the Holy fountain: 7/54/0

I know what you’re thinking… no Inner Focus? Honestly, I haven’t been using it that much anyway as of late. Plus, there’s SO much in Holy to play with and with this spec I imagine myself simply glowing with inner radiance just looking for an outlet.

This has the potential for being a powerful raid healing spec, but it’s not for the faint of heart because giving up Meditation could hurt. I would venture to say that it needs some pretty strong gear to back it up at 70. CoH is as much of a mana hog as ever but it’s also more powerful than ever, receiving a boost from talents and crossing party lines to heal whoever in the vicinity of the target needs healing the most.

Like Jov, I opted for Serendipity over Empowered Healing. It just seems like the best choice, given the options available. I also decided to leave Lightwell out of this build, but you could always shuffle a point into it if you want. The way I figure, our raiders are going to be too busy trying to re-learn their own specs, spells and rotations to also remember that Lightwell doesn’t suck anymore. I will probably pick it up again at 80.

Don’t forget to watch for Surge of Light procs! I bet you’ll see a lot of them when you start throwing CoH around, and it’s not just for Smite anymore.

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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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