Archive for April, 2009


Seri sez: This ain’t your momma’s raid guild.

April 30, 2009

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As a guild officer, I wear a lot of hats. Friend, confidante, authority figure, taskmistress, disciplinarian, mentor, keeper of the spreadsheets… I am all of these things at some time or another, but there is one thing I am not nor will I ever be: Your mom.

That’s right, this ain’t your momma’s raid guild. Although I may nurture you and feed you shiny epics with the care and devotion of a red-breasted robin regurgitating worms for her young, there’s no baby seat in the sidecar of my Mecha-hog. If you want to ride this ride, there are a few simple rules (not dissimilar to your mom’s) that will stay my finger poised over the “eject” button. Violate them and, well, I hope you’re wearing a helmet.

Rule #1: Don’t lie to me.

Much like your mom, I have eyes in the back of my head and a built-in bullshit detector. Even if you slip it past me, I’ll eventually find out and you won’t like the consequences. I’m much more creative than she ever was, and I own power tools.

Rule #2: Wake your own ass up.

See that little box with the buttons and dials beside your bed? That’s an alarm clock. If you’re going to curl up with your binkey before a raid, you should probably set the alarm because I’m not going to give you a courtesy call ten minutes before raid start. Does this look like the Hilton?

Rule #3: It’s for your own good.

You may not agree with every decision I make, but I promise I’m not out to get you.

Rule #4: Don’t be an O-slut.

Don’t like my answer? Deal with it, or talk to my boss. Don’t go hopping from one officer to another until you get the answer you want.

Rule #5: Don’t get fresh with me, young (wo)man.

You may see yourself as the soul of wit but if you sass me enough I’ll eventually go looking for a switch… and it just may be that all I have lying around is this old Twig of the World Tree.

Rule #6: Do your homework.

Between raids, I make rosters, discuss strategies, recruit, read applications, interview applicants, manage the guild bank, write/amend policies, wrangle drama llamas, conduct performance reviews, farm my own consumables and program my grandmother’s DVR. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for you to read a *(#)*!@! boss fight write-up.

Rule #7: Knock it off or I’ll put you out right here.

They're good for you!

Mid-raid is not a good time to distract me with things that aren’t of immediate importance. What’s more, it’s really not a good time to offer snarky/sarcastic criticism either publicly or privately about any member of the raid team. I’m not afraid to pull this raid over and leave you at the instance portal, so if you don’t have something constructive to say keep it to yourself until we reach our destination.

Rule #8: Eat your vegetables.

They’re good for you.


Jov sez: Linkfest

April 28, 2009

We don’t usually do a lot of links here on WoS, but I wanted to take a few moments, not so much to point you at our blogroll (it’s right over there) but to point at a couple of specific posts (blog and forum) I’ve found particularly interesting over the past week or two.

First off, Elenaltarien @ Healer’s Haven wrote up an AWESOMELY detailed post on base spell efficiency at 80.  She’s promised an upcoming part 2 with the same breakdowns adjusted for Holy spec and a part 3 for Discipline soon.  (She also gets mad props for including Holy first, since it is the better spec.Extra bonus points for including the results at the bottom, so if you’re like me, you can skip most of the math stuff and just get the bottom line.  Consider this required reading for all priests.

Next, Ariedan @ Wordy Warrior (a newer blogger, though all of her posts have been both entertaining and informative) gives a very honest look at female leadership.  Seri and I have both been in leadership positions (I know, they must be crazy to give us power!) and have faced many of the potential problems she outlines.  She both gives good advice for dealing with them, and more general “you’re not the only one, I’ve been there” kinda support.

Finally, Larisa @ Pink Pigtail Inn wrote a VERY good post on wow blogging.  In all honesty, I’ve never thought of myself much as a writer, and the act of coming up with a new post each week is pretty wearing, sometimes.  Unfortunately, that also means that posts ABOUT blogging usually make me groan and hit “next” on my reader (Sorry, Matt :P) but I’ve a soft-spot for gnomes, and always enjoy Larisa’s posts, so I gave this one a read.  I’m glad I did (especially on her last point– which is the part I often forget.)

And as an extra-bonus…  Over on PlusHeal, Matt gives an analysis on what Val’anyr’s proc actually does, and it’s pretty eye-opening.  Everyone who’s been disappointed since seeing the stats should go take a look-see.



April 24, 2009

This is just a huge “Thank you!” to everyone who’s been reading this blog of ours. What started out as a bit of a joke and place to rant has turned into a family, both with members of the larger WoW-blogging community and with our regular commenters.

We were going to do something special to honor our 1,000th commenter, but that ended up being Seri. And we don’t care about her. [Hey! I heard that!]

So, to Ayslinn, for our 999th comment, to Yuki, our 1001st, and especially for Dwarfpriest, who gave us our very first (where are you? we miss you!): Thank you.e-harts!

(For those of who who find this sort of thing interesting, some quick stats:  We’ve received 1004 comments to 85 posts for an average of 11-12 comments per post (wow!).  We have 70 tags (Discipline, Raiding, and Snark being three of the most popular) and 5 categories.  Our busiest day was Friday 4/17, the day after Seri’s L2WWS Episode 2 was featured on WoW Insider’s The Daily Quest.)


Seri sez: Gearing for Disc vs Holy (or: Why My Secondary Spec is Shadow)

April 23, 2009

This one's for you, Dan.When I first heard about Dual Specialization, my first thought was: Yay, finally!

Then I realized my main’s a Rogue now, and I don’t PVP. Nuts.

Anyway, it should come as little surprise to you that my first character to purchase Dual Specialization was, in fact, Seri. I didn’t have to think too long or hard about what my offspec would be, because for the last few weeks I have been livin’ la vida Shadow and having a bit of fun with the pewpewlazors. Making Discipline my primary and Shadow my secondary was a bit of a no-brainer, but the more I thought about it the more sense it seemed to make. Discipline and Shadow actually have fairly similiar priorities when it comes to gear, and I played a Druid for way too long to cheerily embrace building multiple gear sets for a char I don’t play every day. (Or that I do, for that matter…)

Dual Specialization is great in that it gives raiders the opportunity to have a solid raiding spec on raid night and something else in reserve for general tomfoolery during downtime. But for those for whom raiding and healing are their bread and butter, Dual Specialization presents a unique opportunity to stack two extremely viable healing specs. Need more AOE heals for a boss? Go Holy. Need mitigation for another boss? Go Discipline. Best of both worlds, right?

It’s not that easy.

Discipline and Holy are two very different beasts with their own set of priorities for gear. One of the biggest mistakes that I see Priests making right now is thinking they can respec and do either one just as well without swapping any gear around.

There are a lot of gear guides out there for both Discipline and Holy, so I’m not going to re-create the wheel. What I will provide you with are some basic proirities without delving too deeply into the math because this isn’t that kind of blog. (Also, math is hard. Let’s go shopping!)


Gearing for Holy

Let’s talk about Holy first. Back in the day, Holy Priests stacked Spirit, and lots of it. It couldn’t have been more tasty if it was slathered in fudge frosting.

Okay. Maybe if it had been slathered in fudge frosting.


Where was I? Oh, right, Spirit. Spirit will always have a special place in our hearts, but we don’t get as much bang for the buck as we used to. Holy Priests still gain bonus Spellpower based on Spirit (courtesy of Spiritual Guidance), but the ratio of Int to Spirit that you want for maximum mana regeneration has changed. As of patch 3.1, you want this ratio to be approximately 1.4:1 (meaning 1.4 Intellect to every point of Spirit). That’s right.. Intellect has become more important than Spirit.

Of course, Intellect and Spirit aren’t the only things you need to worry about. Spellpower is also important, as it directly affects how effective your healing spells are, and of course Crit and Haste are like the sprinkles on top of the Holy cupcake. I’m making myself hungry.

Anyway, the generally accepted priorities for Holy Priests are:

Spellpower > Int/Spirit (1.4:1) > Crit > Haste > Mp5

I think this may be even better than dogs playing poker.Gearing for Discipline

Moving away from food analogies, think of Discipline Priests as the chess club nerds. Intellect is king for Discipline, because while Holy Priests have to worry about their Int:Spirit ratio for regen purposes… stacking Intellect allows Discipline Priests to take full advantage of talents like Rapture and Mental Strength. The more Intellect they have, the more mana they have. The more mana they have, the greater the return from Rapture. Discipline Priests also get greater returns from Shadowfiend and Re

plenishment, which are based on the size of your mana pool.

Discipline Priest priorities look more like this:

Int > Spellpower > Crit=Haste > Spirit > Mp5

When it comes to Crit/Haste, you don’t necessarily want them to be the same. They’re just listed together because they’re roughly equally important. You want to shoot for a crit rating of around 30%; whatever Haste you pick up to go with that is gravy good.

As you can see, the only thing that Discipline and Holy Priests have in common is that they don’t really give a fig about Mp5. We cautioned you back in TBC not to stack Mp5 and we will continue to do so now. Don’t stack Mp5!!

Get your gear on!

Now that you have a better idea of what swapping between Discipline and Holy entails for maximum effectiveness, it’s up to you to decide if having a Disc/Holy Dual Spec combo is for you. While you’re at it, make me some cupcakes.


Jov sez: How2Priest (part 3)

April 21, 2009

Alrighty, to recap…  You’ve picked your race, you’ve picked your spec, and you’ve got a good idea of what spells are useful when.  This is probably going to be the last post of this series (unless y’all poke me in comments with something blindingly obvious that I’ve missed.  Cause, hey, contrary to popular belief, I’m not perfect) and I’m just going to take a few minutes to quickly go over Glyphs.

First off, the ones that really don’t matter:

Minor Glyphs

There are currently 6 minor glyphs in the game, and 3 minor glyph slots.  Which glyphs you choose is almost entirely personal preference.  4 have debatably more “raid utility” than the other two (Fading, Fortitude, and Shadow Protection reducing the mana cost of raid buffs, and Shadow Fiend giving you mana back anyway if your puppy does something stupid), one is purely to cater to the lazy (Levitate, which you’ll pry out of my cold, dead spellbook), and one was useful once, but is kinda meh with current content (Shackle Undead).  Pick three that aren’t Shackle and have fun.

And here’s where things start getting a wee bit more complicated, since Disc and Holy don’t really care about the same things, and don’t necessarily want the same glyphs.  But moving on to a shortlist:

Major Glyphs: Discipline

Penance : The reason every Disc priest should be humping the leg of your guild inscriptors.  This is the first choice for any bubblepriest worth their salt.

Flash Heal : The number two choice, and should be in every healing priest’s arsenal.

Shield : You do everything else to boost your shield, why not add a healing component as well.

Major Glyphs: Holy

Flash Heal : What I said above is true; there are no glyphs good enough to prevent this from being used regardless of (healing) spec.

Circle of Healing : A strong glyph, one extra hit on a instant-cast smart group heal is nothing to sneeze at; roughly equal to…

Prayer of Healing : This is an either/or.  Prayer of Healing is going to be a better choice now that it’s targetable in any situation you don’t need the instant.

Glyph of Guardian Spirit : Personally, this is the one I’m most excited about; I just don’t know anyone yet who can make it.   Sadness.


Holy Nova : My issue with this isn’t so much the lawlnova aspect as it is the fact that it’s STILL party-limited.  Useful for 5-mans, however, especially as Discipline (as they have no other instant aoe heal).

Spirit of Redemption : After the (justifiably needed) nerf, this glyph lost most of it’s oomph.  Not bad, but there are better choices out there.

Renew : I know I’m gonna attract a lot of disagreement here, but I don’t like it.  I don’t want to be forced to sacrifice a glyph slot and 8 talent points to Renew to make it a useful heal.
So there ya have it.  Quick and dirty, certainly, but I only promised a quick overview for this one.  Renew argument opening in the comments in 3, 2…


Seri sez: L2WWS Episode Two: Exploring your first report.

April 16, 2009

asl2Assuming you were following along in Episode One, you’ve now had two weeks to log yourself some combat and upload it to WWS. Now that you have a report to look at (here, borrow one of mine if you don’t have one… slacker), what can you do with it?

I. The Big Picture

It might seem like a confusing jumble of numbers at first. It’s tempting to look at that first graph, click on the Healing tab to see whose e-peen is the largest and then call it a day (especially if yours doesn’t quite measure up like you thought it did). Don’t stop there! This is one of the dangers of reports like these: Total healing output only tells you so much, and the healer that outputs the most healing on your raids may not necessarily be your best healer. (One-button CoH spammers of yore come to mind.) So, don’t discount the graph entirely. It’s OK to start with the big picture.

You should generally expect your raid healers to be near the top of the chart while your tank healers are lower, because raid healers are throwing around a lot of hots and/or AOE heals. It’s the functional equivalent of a water canon vs a garden hose. Your raid healers are putting out big fires, while your tank healers are a little more precise. Sure, you could water your petunias with the water canon but imagine the mess that’d leave behind.

Anyway, if something looks hinkey (a raid healer at the bottom, a tank healer at the top) make a note of it before you move on. Keep in mind that a Discipline Priest’s overall Healing Done may seem low because a lot of their utility lies in mitigation.

I’ll give you a moment.

*hums Jeopardy theme*

Ok, moving on!

II. Taking a closer look.magnify

The next thing I recommend you do is go through your log one boss at a time (by choosing the boss name from the selection next to “Split” at the top) and look at the same overall healing chart. Is everyone about where you expect?

If someone seems unusually low, check their “Presence” (the column right next to their name.) A raider’s Presence should be 98-100% if they were alive for the whole fight. Lower than that, it means they probably died. Keep in mind that a raider’s Presence is not necessarily an indication of ‘time spent healing’… there’s another stat for that elsewhere. Presence is simply the amount of time the raider is present doing something in the combat log, whether that is healing someone, doing damage, taking damage or giving/receiving buffs.

III. Taking an even closer look.

You can click on an individual raider’s name on the chart to go to a breakdown of their spell/ability usage. From there you can see what their heals were landing for, how many they cast, what their crit rate was and much more.

** Tip: To see a more detailed breakdown by spell, including its min/max and crit min/max, mouse over that spell’s line until it highlights and then click in an empty space. If you click the spell name itself, you’ll jump to another page that shows a breakdown of everyone who used that spell. That can be useful too, but it’s not the tip! **

If they died during the fight, there will be a “Deaths” line above the first set of tabs with a timestamp for each death that occurred. You can click the timestamp link to jump to the combat log, which will show you what happened in the seconds before their death. Hopefully it will be pretty obvious what killed them but you might have to scroll back a little bit in the combat log to get a clear picture. If you’ve never seen a combat log before you might be startled by just how much can happen in a single second.

microscopeRemember how I mentioned time spent healing? That is also on this individual breakdown screen, in the stats at the top. You can see their Damage Out, Damage In and Healing totals and time spent doing each activity broken down there.

A word of caution: While “HPS Time” is a fairly useful stat (defined as the time spent healing during that segment of the log), “HPS” is generally not. While DPS done is a perfectly valid method of evaluating damage dealers, HPS is not an adequate measure of healing done.

Was Healing Done low but Presence high? Maybe they were DPSing for some of the fight.

Was Healing Done low and Presence low but they didn’t die? Sounds like they either got disconnected or were standing around twiddling their thumbs a lot.

IV. Class Summary

The next thing I like to do is check out the Class Summary. To do this, select a boss fight (or All Bosses) from the “Split” menu and from the “Browse” menu choose “Raid & Mobs” and then “Priests.” It will show a DPS/HPS breakdown at the top, followed by damaging spells in the middle and healing spells on the bottom. Compare spell usage between the Priests, keeping in mind what their roles and specs were (tank vs raid, disc vs holy, etc.).

Although this display will not let you break down the spell-by-spell statistics (min/max etc.) it does show you the average amount the heal landed for. It’s interesting to see how that varies from person to person depending on their spec and/or gear level.

V. Who Heals Whomtarget

The last screen I’m going to talk about today is the Who Heals Whom screen. To view this, choose “Who Heals Whom” from the “Browse” menu at the top. You can view this boss by boss if you want (this helps if healing assignments vary a lot for your group) or by all bosses. This will show you a pair of somewhat confusing tables (Who Heals Whom & Who is Healed by Whom) with slightly less confusing instructions for how to read them.

The table on the top (Who Heals Whom) is the one most likely to be helpful when reviewing healers. Find the healer on the top and you can scan down the column under their name to see what percentage of their heals went to which raid member (listed on the left). Tank healers should have a large percentage of their heals going to the tank(s), while raid healers should be more evenly spread.

“Focus” is a confusing stat that only confuses me more the more I think about it so all I will say is this: Low Focus = fewer people healed. High Focus = lots of different people healed.

That should be enough to get you started, though there is still a lot more that WWS can do. In Episode Three, I’ll offer some tips, tricks and advanced techniques for the brave, bold and/or foolish. I have a few things up my sleeve, but if you have a WWS tip you feel is particularly handy and would like me to consider for Episode Three feel free to comment here or shoot me an e-mail.

Episode Three may or may not debut next week, but I promise not to keep you in suspense for too long.


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?


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.)


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.