Thursday, December 30, 2010

Coming out as a Paladin

Well the burn in period is over, and I've leveled both my priest and paladin to 85, and having done a few dungeons and heroics on each, I see a world of difference.

My priest is mana constrained, I struggle with throughput, and I have a heart attack every time a pull doesn't go perfectly.

My paladin finishes most pulls with 80% of his mana, I have no trouble keeping the whole group topped off, and I have a lot of tools to smooth out bad pulls, like divine protection, salv, etc. It's really so much better right now as a holy paladin then as a holy or disc priest, at least for me.

This is all 5-man, of course, I could see how holy priests could tear up raids, but right now I just can't even bring myself to log onto the priest right now. So I think I'm a paladin, for now.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Heroics is hard, mkay?

I hit 85 about a week ago, and I've run about 3 heroics successfully. Most of it is definitely a lack of gear on my part, which becomes somewhat of a circular problem. I have very few upgrades in normal dungeons, and I don't feel super comfortable running pugs for heroics. I could farm rep, but again, most of that happens in dungeons. Going back to zones for odd quests I've missed for extra rep is a possibility, but with 2 healing specs, soloing quests is a pain in the ass.

I did pick up a disc spec, and have noticed way better mana management techniques for healing 5-mans over holy. In fact, I always thought holy had more tools available, but really I find disc to be more versatile right now in a 5-mans, at least at my gear level. I actually am thinking of switching my holy spec to be my pvp spec. I'm all over the place right now.

So yeah, until some more tanks level to 85 in my guild (ahem, hopefully including a tank reading this right now), I think I'm going to avoid heroics, level my pally and maybe tank some crap, and just farm pvp points and tol barad rep. I'm not in a huge rush to get into raiding content, and for the first time in a few years, I'm not even sure I'd want to do it in a healing role right now. I got the prot pally to 83, and it's been pretty fun so far...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Did you ever have to make up your mind?

Did you ever have to make up your mind?
Pick up on one and leave the other one behind
It's not often easy, and not often kind
Did you ever have to make up your mind?

Haven't been posting yet, because I've been busy leveling, duh!

Cata Impressions

So I am really enjoying cataclysm so far! The new zones are all really fresh- the phasing is a little awkward when group questing, but it does give the zones a more narrative feel than in past expansions. Love love love the Harrison Jones questchain in Uldum.
The dungeons themselves... so far I've been a little on the fence about them. When I do them with guild groups, they go great, but I've gotten into some sketchy PUGs with entitled tanks who seem to think that mana is some sort of healer myth. Actually in general I'm finding healing to be a little crazy right now.

Class selection at 85

So I was kind of on the fence about which of my toons I was going to level first. I ended up leveling the priest first because I was having a lot of fun playing holy at 80 and thought it would be pretty fun to level shadow too.
The unexpected thing for me at least, is that the leveling grind from 80 to 85 was really quick! On top of that, I have an incentive to level my alts, because the questing will contribute to guild xp. So, I think my plan now is to continue leveling my alts and then decide on my main. So here are my general thoughts on the classes so far.


I leveled shadow for the last two levels, but I did a fair bit of questing in my holy spec, mostly if I was waiting in the dungeon queue and didn't want to bother switching out. Most mobs were pretty squishy, and any spec where I was glyphed for Spirit Tap was pretty easy to level with. I ended up ditching my disc spec after the first dungeon- I had some bad luck with Atonement- I don't think it's practical for a 5-man. It might be good in a raiding environment, but overall I found the holy spec to be really fun and versatile.
At 85 though, I've only run 2 heroics, and I've had severe mana problems. I have to drink after every pull and I and up oom on several bossfights, even when I feel like I'm being pretty conservative with my spell selection. I'm not that enamored with the priest after all. I might try a non-smite disc build to see if the mana efficiency is a little better...


So originally when I was picking a toon to level, I was comparing priest and shaman, and looking at all the shiny new toys priests were getting, while shaman seemed a little boring. Now at 85, as my priest, I find myself pretty much healing like I would on a shaman. Sure, I have all these other fancy buttons, but if I actually use any of them (looking at you, Holy Word: Sanctuary), I'll go oom in about 30 seconds and just sit there watching my party members die.
So I'm going to start leveling the shaman in parallel. It's pretty easy to level to 85, and it is all contributing to guild xp, so it's gravy.


The dark horse in this race is my paladin- I had this tank alt on another server, and cause my guild there folded I decided to transfer him to BT and start leveling him just to get some mining/ore for jewelcrafting. I am actually still leveling prot, and I really like it! I also am going to look at a holy spec for him as well, but tanks are so in demand I doubt I'll get much use out of it.

I have time to choose, cause my guild isn't really going to start raiding for at least another two weeks.
And then you bet you'd better finally decide...

So, anyone have any initial impressions of healing in cataclysm?

Monday, September 27, 2010


Supposedly the rumors are that cata will now be delayed until early December. I'm a little disappointed cause I was getting pretty excited to start up again in mid-october and get ready for a November release.

So it's pretty frustrating to even look at talent calculators or patch notes since everything will probably be wildly different in two months... Already from my last post, one of the talents I mentioned (Trinity) has already been removed.

I'm probably going to move into a more read-only mode until November or so.

See y'all then!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

First, Do Some Harm

Gone are the days of the pacifist healer sitting in the back row patching up the dpsers doing the dirty work. Come Cataclysm, with the new mechanics, abilities, and talents showing up in beta, it's prety clear that Blizzard wants us healers to get down off our high horses and get our hands a little bloody. So healers? Let's get ready to rumble.


Prior to cataclysm, most healers really only did damage when they were super bored. A healer spending mana on a dps ability would be pretty much unthinkable on a progression encounter, much less talent points, with only a few exceptions.
  • Holy Paladins in Wrath got Judgements of the Pure, which, combined with Enlightened Judgements, allowed holydins to judge from a distance, and in fact, were encouraged to do so at least once every minute to optimize their healing.
  • Holy Priests have frequently found themselves using their Shadow Word: Death backlash to force a stuck Prayer of Mending to bounce to another raid member.
  • Holy Priests have Surge of Light, which prior to WOTLK could only proc a free smite, instead of a Flash Heal like it does today. This was generally regarded as a poor talent prior to being changed.
Other than those, most healers had no real incentive or reason to dps while filling a healing role. Even dead time was better spent regenning mana out of combat.

New Talents/Skills for Healing Classes in Cataclysm

In cataclysm, across the board, we're seeing dps talents showing up in previously healing exclusive trees.
  • Shaman
    Resto shaman playing with a cataclysm talent calculator will find that it's nearly impossible to build a pve restoration build without being forced to take one of the new "hybrid" talents that encourage resto shaman to dps during periods of light healing.
    • Focused Insight allows you to get a cheaper and more effective heal after any shock spell (this does not include Wind Shear).
    • Telluric Currents gives you a portion of your mana back from casting Lightning Bolt relative to the amount of damage done. Interestingly enough, on beta, many shaman were able to get to spellpower levels that would actually cause lightning bolt to be a net gain in mana, although Blizz has since clarified that this is not the intended purpose and presumably the talent will be rebalanced as needed.
    I'm not crazy about either of these mechanics. For Focused Insight, I feel that Shaman have many other ways to "charge up" their next heal, including Tidal Waves and the new Unleash Life ability. Telluric Currents confuses me, because we're constantly being told by Blizzard developers that we've had it too easy in the past and they want mana conservation to be an issue going forward. Even if they're cheap, I can't see how encouraging Resto Shaman to waste mana on lightning bolts is part of this overall strategy.
  • Priest
    Disc priests have always had the schizophrenic Penance which contextually heals or damages based on who the spell's target is. Now Holy is getting a somewhat similar spell called Holy Word: Chastise that is an instant damage ability by default, but can convert into either Aspire, Serenity, or Sanctuary, based on the Chakra state that you are in. The mechanic sounds confusing, and potentially a nightmare for keybindings/macros, but the abilities themselves look really cool, so it's definitely something I'm looking forward to playing with. Beyond that, priests of both healing trees are getting a lot of talents that encourage smiting.
    • In the second tier of the Disc tree, priests get a talent Evangelism which looks like a pure dps talent until you see it's dependent Archangel which restores mana and gives you a short healing boost. This definitely fits in with the "dps during dead time" model nicely, and gives you another nice mana regen and healing boost cooldown.
    • The disc-only talent Atonement is probably one of my favorites of the new hybrid talents; you heal low health allies near you when you smite. Simple and kind of fun. Dovetails nicely with Evangelism.
    • I'm not as excited about the Holy tree's Trinity because it is useless unless you have enough downtime to smite three times in a row, and your haste boost is only good for the next 12 seconds. You really need to time this effect right to make it useful, whereas Archangel is much more adaptive. Still, this talent is a prereq for the new Surge of Light, which most people will probably want.
  • Paladin
    The aforementioned long range of Enlightened Judgements is now actually becoming baseline for all Paladins, which is kind of a nice treat. In addition, they get some new and somewhat confusing new dps/healing hybrid talents.
    • Denounce looks basically like the old pre-wotlk Surge of Light. At 2 points it reduces the cost of exorcism by 75% at its base, and gives your holy shock the ability to proc fee exorcisms. Additionally, the free Exorcisms can crit, allowing you to proc other talents like Conviction for free.
    • As I said before, the old Enlightened Judgements range became baseline, and the new one causes your judgements to heal yourself. Healing yourself is pretty boring, but it's not a bad filler talent, given that you have to judge at least once a minute.
    I gotta be honest, a lot of these changes confuse me, because I've never really raid healed on my holy paladin. I'm just gonna keep my mouth shut.
  • Druid
    Druids, most dramatically, actually could only cast restoration spells in tree form in the past. Now not only can they cast all their Balance spells in tree form, but they even get a bonus to Wrath while in Tree form. Additionally, there is a new talent that encourages dps.
    • Fury of Stormrage makes Wrath FREE and allows Wrath to proc instant Starfires. While this seems like a strange mechanic for healing, any free spells are awesome. Not only does your mana regen continue as in out of combat, but I would assume that these free spells can still proc talents and abilities like Omen of Clarity. Anyway, this talent is a prereq for Malfurion's Gift, so I think all Resto druids will be picking this up anyways. Enjoy it you guys.
So as a whole, I'm intrigued by the hybrid aspect of these talents, and there are some of them that I think work really well without interfering in the primary role that healers signed up for. Obviously these will all be tweaked and edited and modified before cata goes live, but it's definitely something I'm keeping an eye on.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Road to Cataclysm

Mage on a shelf

I got my mage to 73 when my account lapsed, and I figured that was for the best. I have a lot of real life events that have kept me busy, and haven't had time for anything more than one daily dungeon a day, which wasn't really satisfying. I do really like the mage, and I hope to finish leveling her maybe sometime after cataclysm drops.

Waiting game

So just this morning, Boubouille from mmo-champion predicted that the cataclysm release date will be Nov 2. He's been pretty spot on about expansion and release dates in the past, so I'm going with this for now.

I figure that I'll probably start my sub up in late October, after the last of my trips, so I have maybe a week to mess around with talent specs on all my toons, and maybe do some of the pre-expansion content.


I still don't know who my main is going to be post-expansion. I've been loving the shaman, but the priest mechanics coming up in Cata look really fun. This is probably what I'll use that week pre-expansion to decide.

It's only really going to be a factor for the first month. I do plan to eventually level all my 80 toons (shaman, priest, pally, warlock, and maybe mage) to 85.

In the meantime

I've been pretty occupied with Starcraft II, which is a fun game too. A lot of my WoW friends are playing that now, mostly. I don't think I'm ever going to be that great at it though, so I've been pretty casual.

I've also been playing a ton of iPhone games, because I've been traveling so much, but again, nothing serious.


Vixsin from Life in Group 5 mentioned a new shaman blog resource called TotemSpot which seems like it will be the go-to source for shaman questions starting in Cata. Definitely looking forward to that.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Reincarnation (not improved)

My life as a noob mage

So my cousin has been leveling on a different server, so I packed up some of my heirloom items on a middling toon and transfered over to try rolling a new mage.

I'm level 42 now, I've pretty much exclusively been leveling with the Dungeon Finder, and just some filler quests and profession stuff while I'm waiting for queues to pop. It's not as efficient as questing, but I just can't bring myself to kill coyotes in the badlands again.

I've found the mage super fun for the most part. I'm not sure either of my leveling specs are that efficient. I started with frost, and focused on aoe talents, thinking that I would be solo aoe farming more, but since I really haven't had long queue times in the LFD finder (Blackrock is crazy overpopulated, so I never wait more than like 5 mins), I haven't even been doing that much.

I basically Cone of Cold whenever its off cooldown no matter how many targets there are, and if there is only one target I frostbolt it, and if there is more than one target I Blizzard. If I pull aggro (which is likely with my half enchanted heirloom items), I frost nova the mobs, blink away, and pray my tank can pick up the slack. Ice barrier has saved me a few times.

When I hit 40 I had my transfer money so I bought my dual spec and got a fire build, but I don't know if I've found my groove with that spec yet. Most instances are just chain pulls of aoe, especially with pally tanks. I am hoping when I get dragon's breath I'll be able to aoe as much as my frost build, but right now I find that in between flamestrikes, I am just single targeting. I know I probably should be blizzarding there, but it seems strange, with my fire spec.

Can anyone recommend a good mage blog, particularly one with leveling theorycraft?

Cata talent preview

I also browsed the talent previews on mmo-champion. I thought the resto shaman ones were super boring, and I was a little perplexed by the priest "smite" talents showing up. For a second, I thought it would make holy leveling more fun, but someone on EJ pointed out that without the damage bonus of the masteries (that you only get in shadow spec), holy leveling will still be painfully inferior. So i guess it's for bored healers in instances to dish out a little damage when their tanks overgear the instance? Sounds kinda lame to me.

The only spec that interested me so far is the ele shaman tree. I do like that they're getting what looks like a flamestrike aoe, and there are some new mechanics coming there way that seem cool.

Zigi out.