Snarkcraft Mailbag: 1/5/09

January 5, 2009

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… this is just the first of many Mailbag entries to come for 2009!

Eva writes:

I’m a fellow blood elf priest (deep disc specced and loving it), and I was wondering what advice you would give to a newly 80 priest looking to start heroics.  Right now I have about 1300 spell power, 14.5k hp, and 16k mana.  My crit is only at 15%, so it could be better.  And my mana regen is at 460 o5sr and 160 while casting (I had to sacrifice some while upgrading).  What sort of base stats should I strive for before heading into heroics?  Where do I need the most improvement?

Seri sez:

Heroics are intimidating. That’s okay, they should be. The fact that so many people seem to be skipping normal mode to jump straight into Heroics now is kind of unsettling for some of us. It hits tanks and healers especially hard, as they are (IMO) the cornerstone of any instance group. An under-geared tank is difficult to heal, and an under-geared healer has difficulty healing an adequately-geared tank–much less an under-geared one.

Whether or not you’re “ready” for Heroics is part gear, part skill and part attitude. If you are a seasoned and experienced healer from TBC, decked out in T6 combined with a few upgrades you picked up toward the end of your trip from 70 to 80 you are probably ready as long as you can walk the walk as well as talk the talk. But make no mistake… Heroics are hard and, no matter what your gear/skill level is when you first hit 80, they are going to challenge you.

Personally, I feel that Discipline priests have an easier time making it over the gear hurdle because so much of our healing is preventative and we have larger mana pools as well as Rapture to help us out on the regen front. With that said… I’m only 79 so I haven’t healed a heroic yet, this is based soley on theory and observation.

The best I advice I can give you: Listen to Jov. She has some good tips and gear lists for you.

The second best advice I can give you: Update your gems & enchants. Seriously, if you’re wearing some TBC gear that’s still socketed with TBC epic gems and enchanted with TBC enchants it behooves you to upgrade them (even green Wrath gems are better than TBC epic gems). Sure, you want to replace these pieces (and soon) but if you’re looking to step into heroics quickly you want to do as much as you can to be as ready as possible with the gear limitations you’re dealing with. Spell power and regen are going to make or break you even if you do everything right, so maximize your potential. As a Disc priest you also need to think about crit, but focus on spell power and regen first.

Also, now that you’re 80 it’s also time to start thinking about factions so check out my World of Repgrind post if you haven’t already. That will help you out on the gearing front as well as the item enchantment front.

Give ’em hell, tiger!

Jov sez:

Hrm, well it’s a bit difficult.  Much like in early TBC, heroics are difficult to work out a hard and fast “you must be this tall to ride” to give you.  A fresh-faced healer who just dinged so recently they’re still covered in glitter will do fine in a heroic that the rest of the group can handle.  Likewise, no amount of T7 will compensate if you’re in a pug full of tards.

Some guidelines, based on my experience as a fresh-80 with an overgeared group:

Aim for 1300-1500 spellpower, 150-200 IC Regen.  Which end of the spectrum you need to be on will depend on the rest of the group.

Your crit is pretty average for a fresh-80.  You have both more health and mana than I did starting.  I had more spellpower and regen.  There is NEVER enough regen. Please keep in mind I’ve been holy so don’t have personal knowledge to how much Rapture makes up for, but throughout the blogs I’ve been reading as well as my own experience, it’s regen which is the major determining factor as to what runs go well and which explode messily.

I don’t have an armory link for you, so I don’t really have a good idea of the gear you’re in where I can point you at specific upgrades, but with some quick wowhead filtering, I can point you at some things to look at:

Blue armor drops from lv 77-80 regular instancesquest rewards, and faction rewardsPotential weapons.

Those don’t have things like hit filtered out, mainly because the lists are fairly short to begin with.  Keep in mind what you need to gear for (things which can up your spellpower, regen, and crit) and give those a try.  Personally, I’m a much bigger fan of faction and quest rewards because I feel much more in control of them, plus finding high-level normal mode instances on my server is kind of difficult.

All that being said, are you ready for heroics?  Maybe.  Get some guildies together and give Utgarde Keep a poke.  It’s roughly as obnoxious for a fresh 80 on heroic as it is for a fresh 70 on normal (not heinous, at least until the last boss) and let us know how it goes!

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



  1. Pro-Tip on Tank Selection for Heroics – it may seem like a minor thing, but being def-capped really helps a lot. Though the number pandied around most often is 540 defense (since that is the number needed for raids), but for heroics you only need 535. Try to not be stuck with a tank that has less than that – particularly a worry with Death Knights. Though Blizzard is working on it, at least right now Death Knight Tanks often find themselves in a catch-22: Either Dual Wield single-handed tanking weapons to reach Def-cap and suffer from threat problems, or Whip out the two-hander for big threat and struggle to hit the cap.

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  3. If you’re a fresh 80 healer, a def cap tank is a big plus. It’s definitely easier for pallies and warriors, but a DK can do it if he or she is diligent, and next patch that’ll be easier.

    (As an aside, there’s actually a dual wield spec that puts out ridiculous numbers for damage/threat at the moment by abusing the lack of an internal cooldown on certain abilities, but I dunno how good it would be at tanking since it skips all the mitigation stuff 🙂 )

    Once you’ve got your feet wet and either have gear or confidence, a def cap’d tank isn’t strictly necessary, but if you don’t have one you’ll want to pay more attention to your DPS. Good damage makes your job easier by making the fights shorter and letting you avoid regen issues.

    Thankfully Wrath heroics aren’t as demanding as BC ones were back when they were released. Bring a decent group and you’ll be good 🙂

  4. @Yuki
    Don’t you think that wrath heroics are only less demanding because most people have better gear to start with? (not to mention more money for enchant/sockets) so people are better geared?
    In Bc everyone began with a fresh start so their gear wasn’t too great.
    Of course nobody was used to the concept of heroics aswell so were less experience this probably meant that many mistakes were made that do not happen anymore.
    What do you all think?
    Have the player become stronger or the heroics become easier?

  5. There’s is an AWESOMETASTIC priestly mace that drops in heroic nexxus. If you’re first sarting to heal heroics try and go with people you know who are willing be a tad patient to let you drink between some of the trash pulls if you need to. Hymn of Hope is your friend. I found myself using almost more then shadowfiend. Cause it helps not only me, but also the other mana dpser’s you’re running with and the faster they pew pew things, the less damage the mobs can hit ya with.

    Oh — and about heroic nexxus. This time blizard seems to have gotten it right and made the first lowbie dungeons you hit @ 70 on regular in northend, the EASIEST heroics to heal @ 80. So stick to UK and Nexxus at first. VH is also pretty easy on heroic, and fast — so long as the group you’re with understands all the different boss fights.THough that one is a lil harsh on mana regen if you’re not prepared for it.

  6. @ Alyz — I think the main factor is people know what heroics are like. I don’t think it’s so much a matter that they are on the whole easier, harder, or anything else so much as people know what to expect going in. Plus, as freyal mentioned, it’s very nice to be able to say “Well, the lower-level the original dungeon, the easier it is on heroic.. usually.”

  7. I’m shadow, but the same stuff applies to EVERY newly turned 80, I think.

    First of all, ALWAYS wear a faction tabard! I picked up worthwhile gear or recipes from every single faction.

    Second, advertise that you’re looking to run either lvl 80 dungeons or heroics. It makes getting a group easier, and at the very least you’re getting reputation and maybe levelling up a few key members that will be part of your regular 5-man group.

    Once you’re group is levelled, you’re on the fast track.

    Additionally, it seemed to me that Blizzard front-end loaded the level 80 loot tables to benefit tanks and healers first. As a dps class this was a little frustrating, but you realize pretty damn quick that the tank and healer are the keys to every group you join.

    The group I levelled with breezed through EVERY 70-80 instance thinking that the heroics were going to be the same way. We were wrong! Our last guy dinged 80, we walked into Utgarde Pinnacle and BAM – dead. Went back in, made it to the 3rd pull, dead. At that point we decided to try UK instead and made our way through at least a couple of bosses before people had to leave – but it was a grind.

    So what we decided to do until we got geared up was to get a group and make guerilla runs on multiple heroics – that is, we’d hit a low-level heroic until we met resistance on a boss; and then, instead of banging our heads against the wall, we’d try another heroic instance and do the same thing. We’d hit 2 or 3 partial heroics* in one session, take down a few bosses, and wouldn’t worry about clearing the full instances.

    * Make sure that Violet Hold is on your daily to-do list.

    In about a week, as we got to know all the pulls and fights, our runs were faster and we were completing multiple heroics in the same four-hour block of time.

    Finally, the one thing I advise all my guildies to do is to watch for VoA runs in Wintergrasp. When you see them advertised (and you’ll see them all day long sometimes), by all means offer to go and notify your guildies. The full run itself only lasts about 15 minutes and it offers random tier-piece epics when you down him.

  8. @Alyz: To some degree that’s true; it’s a lot easier to get the very-good rep blues and the itemization isn’t as grotesquely buggered as it was in 2.0 (although I’ll point out that a lot of classes had a really easy time getting into spectacular epic gear thanks to how good a lot of the crafting stuff was). But given that trash mobs in BC heroics at release would periodically one-shot your melee not because they were doing something wrong or were undergeared but just because it was funny, whereas in wrath I can offtank a mob or two without changing gear or presence, I’d say the tuning is also lower than it was before.

    Which, given that there’s only 4 level-80 normal instances, makes sense; to no small degree, all these heroics are filling the same roll that the “harder” max-level regulars filled before. You probably can’t go into them in greens unless your group is good and you’re really good at stat mongering, but neither are they things you go to after weeks or months of instance farming to get good enough regular-gear to survive the heroic; it’s more once you can put together a decent set of quest/dungeon/rep blues, you’re good to go.

    That’s why I say they’re easier; they don’t require as much commitment to start and their tuning is relaxed.

  9. Wow, thanks for responding so quickly and for all the great advice. I had my first successful foray into heroics with my bear tank friend last night, and we’re already getting upgrades. I think our first failures had to do with trying some of the harder dungeons on heroic first and bad luck with lackluster, pug dps.

    Both my tank friend and I have been making sure to wear our tabards and do our Sons of Hodir Dailies. I’m already almost revered with Wyrmrest and Honored with SoH. I also need to grind out the gold for enchantment mats, but I’ve been funneling my gold until tailoring first–not sure what my priority should be here.

    Thanks for all the responses!

  10. Is there any reason to level tailoring beyond the use of the schnazzy spellthreads? Everything is BOE.

  11. I just found your blog. Great stuff!

  12. @ Eva – If you’re not an enchanter, make friends with one and start sending them every green you come across. Save the dust/essence/shards they send back to you, it adds up pretty quickly and the entry level enchants are actually not as bad mat-wise as they were in TBC. I would say getting your current gear enchanted is higher priority than leveling Tailoring. The Tailored stuff is decent, but it’s not make or break stuff. You’ll do fine running Heroics for drops.

    @ Ptitza – Two words: Flying Carpet.

    @ Raivyne – Thank you!

  13. Tailoring also has the self-only cloak enchants. Chance for 300 mana back on spell cast is pretty nice.

  14. Jov’s SP/regen numbers are pretty much where i started on heroics.

    As Tarsus said an uncritable tank is a huge help when you start heroics.

    Be prepared to be agressive with your healing. You need to expect damage not react to it. You will also need to overheal a bit more to help compensate for the higher damage.

    Do your first run or two with frinds if you can.

    @Ptitza – not really, especially if your guild already has a couple of high level tailors.

    Nice post.

    Gobble gobble.

  15. BobTurkey summed it up nicely.

    I’d like to add:

    As a holy I was able to heal any regular instance at level 79 with 1100 spell power and 12% crit (17% holy).

    When I upon reaching level 80 walked into heroics with the same gear – it was clear to me that i do not belong there.

    I ditched all my beloved crit gear in favour of items with higher spell power. Replaced all crit encants with the regen ones. I gemmed spell power and spirit (spirit only when sp did not make sense).

    I now sit at 1540 spell power (1660 with inner fire up) and slowly slowly I’m starting to feel like I can actually heal.

    The article does not say so but as someone without raiding guild – I found the regular level 80 instances as a good way to get upgrades.

    About the spec i have the cookie cutter holy spec 14/57 but disc might be a better spec to have for healing heroics (mainly burst tank healing) i have to try it out yet.

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