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.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Moving right along

Last night our guild had a sit down and we decided it was time to stop raiding. Some people are going to move on to larger 25 man raiding guilds, but I think for the most part, I feel that our guild had reached a logical conclusion to the progression we started about a year ago.

I just haven't felt the drive to log on lately, and I know I wasn't the only one. Getting on for raids was feeling more and more like a chore; in the past few weeks, when other guild members had other engagements and raids were getting cancelled, I felt relieved, not irritated.

I do regret not downing the Lich King, but I am pretty proud of what our little scrappy guild was able to accomplish during its run.

So I'm paid out through July and I may still log on for pvp and such, but for the most part, I think I'm pretty much on an official WoW break until Cataclysm. Looking forward to it!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cataclysm Class Preview: Shaman

Saw these notes on MMO Champ today. Just going to break down the resto changes:
  • Healing Wave will be split into two direct heals, a larger nuke heal called "Greater Healing Wave", and a medium heal with the current name.
    Not sure how I feel about this. I really am skeptical that they'll be able to make 3 levels of heals individually viable, but we'll see. With the larger health pools they've promised in Cataclysm, I can see how finer granularity could potentially be necessary
  • Unleash Weapon Unleashes the power of your weapon enchants for additional effects (see below). A dual-wielding Enhancement shaman will activate the effects of both of their weapon enchants. Instant cast. 30-yard range. 15-second cooldown. Undispellable. Earthliving Weapon – Heals the target slightly and buffs the shaman's next healing spell by 20%.
    Umm, cool ability on a short cooldown, gives us another instant heal
  • Healing Rain An area-effect heal-over-time (HoT) spell that calls down rain in a selected area, healing all players within it. There is no limit to the number of players who can potentially be affected; however, there are diminishing returns when healing a large number of targets, much like the diminishing returns associated with AoE damage spells. This should give Restoration shaman another healing tool that improves their group-healing and heal-over-time capabilities. 2-second cast time. 30-yard range. 10-second duration. 10-second cooldown.
    VERY NICE. Kind of like a wild growth/tranquility spell. As the only heal with no limit of targets Could be crazy OP in 25 man situations. Gotta wait on numbers to see this one
  • Spiritwalker's Grace When this self-targeted buff is active, your spells are no longer interrupted by movement and possibly even by your own attacks. This will give shaman of all three specs another way to heal or do damage when it’s necessary to move in both PvE and PvP. Instant cast. 10-second duration. 2-minute cooldown.
    A really nice buff that will give us some great mobility on a cooldown.
  • Dispeling Shaman will be able to remove magic defensively and offensively, and remove curses. Cleansing totem will be removed from the game.
    I'm a little disappointed with the dispel changes, but they are so closely tied to encounter mechanics, we'll have to see how those look
  • Spirit Link The idea is that you will be able to link targets together so they share damage. When we had previously tried to implement Spirit Link, it was hard to balance and a little confusing. However, we really liked the concept -- and so did players -- so we are trying to bring it back.
    This could be very interesting, but I do remember when they tried it at 70 and couldn't get it to balance right
  • Mastery Our passive talent tree bonuses are Healing, Meditation, and Deep Healing (increased healing to players at low health).
    No surprises here- I think these are going to be the boilerplate masteries for all healers

Looks like some really exciting changes coming up for Shaman. It looks like devs are addressing our issues with mobility and group healing, and have some good ideas for new mechanics to make cataclysm interesting. Can't wait to hear more!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

First dance with the Lich King!

So, just yesterday I was fretting on another shaman blog that I feared we had hit a wall with Sindragosa. I don't know if it was the new 10% ICC buff, or just improved raid coordination, but we got her down in just 3 tries last night!

We got to take a peek at the Lich King encounter, which incorporates some unique encounter mechanics, feels dynamic and fun, and has an epic feel to it. I like that his fight seems to incorporate little elements of other WOTLK fights: his Necrotic Plague ability is kind of similar to Rotface's Mutated Infection; healing up a raid after an Infest is similar to healing a target of Lord Jaraxxus's Incinerate Flesh (In fact, I'm thinking of trying to fix up my broken GridStatusRaidDebuff so I can actually make sure the raid is getting Infest taken off).

We got in about 10 attempts last night, and were comfortably getting him into phase 2. Though we're not going to have any more raids this week due to the Easter break, I'm pretty confident that we'll be able to get a hang of those Defiles down, and I'm hoping to see Phase 3 next time I'm in there.

From a resto shaman perspective, I found the healing intense. It's not constant AOE like BQL or Sindragosa, but instead it's sudden bursts of intense raid healing. Maybe it's because it was my first night on the encounter, and maybe I was a little paranoid, and overhealing a bit, but I found myself burning through mana like crazy. I am gonna try to set up my shaman_hep parse for my log to just look at the LK encounter, but as it's such an intense fight, and so much longer than the other ICC encounters, I am thinking I'm going to have to rethink my stat weights and trinket choices for that fight, and I may go back to the mana restore meta gem.

So excited to finally get a crack at this guy!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Patch 3.3.3 for the tunnel-visioned Shaman

By all accounts, patch 3.3.3 drops tomorrow. As a shaman, what do you need to know about? Not much!

Quote from Zarhym
PTR Patch 3.3.3 Notes - 03.15.10
  • Flame Shock: The damage-over-time component of this ability can now produce critical strikes and is affected by spell haste.
  • Elemental Oath: This ability is now always on as a passive aura.
  • Unleashed Rage: This ability is now always on as a passive aura.
  • Shaman Tier-10 4-Piece Elemental set Bonus: This bonus has been slightly adjusted to account for the fact that haste now modifies Flame Shock's periodic damage ticks. The bonus now makes the shaman's Lava Burst cause Flame Shock to tick at least two additional times before expiring.

Really nothing much going on for resto shaman, but some interesting changes for ele. The flame shock buff is nice, and considering that when I play ele I have a ton of extra haste from the resto pieces I can't replace, I'll get a ton of use out of it I'm sure. I'm still not crazy about the ele t10 set, and considering it's my second spec, I'll probably never see it anyway.

Other interesting notes? Daily battlegrounds being revamped, a hidden mechanic in wintergrasp that will handicap factions that win wintergrasp more than 3 times in a row. But as a resto shaman, the note that probably I found the most interesting?

Quote from Zarhym

Dungeons and Raids
  • Blood-Queen Lana'thel: Pact of the Darkfallen now applies damage twice as often, but for half the damage. This change will make the removal of the spell a bit more responsive.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Is mp5 irrelevant on progression fights?

I've run into some very strange gearing issues lately. The main problem for me is that the value of mp5 fluctuates wildly from fight to fight. The main reason is that for most of the progression fights, there is either so much raid damage that our Water Shield makes gearing for mp5 on these fights completely inefficient (Putricide, Blood Queen, Sindragosa), or there are mechanics that make mp5 irrelevant (Valithria).

To give you an idea, Water Shield procs every 2 seconds on Blood Queen, which combined with Improved Water Shield gave me about 540 mp5. On Sindragosa, Frost Aura causes Water Shield to proc every 3 seconds, and combined with the forced throttling of Unchained Magic, I never need my mana tide on either of these fights unless I die unexpectedly. Some shaman will carry multiple sets for different fights, and for these fights would opt out of mp5 entirely; I'm too lazy to gem and balance multiple sets myself, but I have to figure that if I'm going to min-max for any fight, it should be the hard progression fights, right?

In my combat log parse last night, my Insightful Earthsiege Diamond got a distressingly low HEP value of about 40 HEP. While most shaman agree that The Revitalizing Skyflare Diamond is the best choice when you have double solace, I'm thinking of switching to this even though I don't even have those. In addition to gaining the crit heal effect, I will be gaining a little haste by replacing the one mp5 gem I have to meet my blue gem requirement with a yellow haste gem.

So I think I'm going to start moving away from mp5 entirely, starting with my meta gem, and then replacing my boot enchant with Tuskarr's Vitality (which I should have done a long time ago). I'm hoping it's not going to be super painful when my guild gets to heroic modes, for fights that won't have these contstant damage mechanics, but I guess we'll see.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Broken Vote to Kick system

The Dungeon Finder system introduced in 3.3.0 was in many ways a revitalization of the casual dungeon system, and allowed players with only half an hour to play each day an effective way to get a measurable amount of progress toward new loot every day.

However, one aspect of it that is deeply flawed is the Vote to Kick system. I was really excited when I read a blue post a few weeks ago saying:
Quote from Zarhym
It's not mentioned in the notes, but the Vote Kick option no longer has a 15-minute cooldown. Enjoy. :) (Source)

However, last night we got into Occulus, and 2 pulls into the dungeon, our rogue happily announces that he has to go afk to eat dinner. We immediately attempt to kick him and get the frustrating message "You cannot kick this player for another 14 minutes". I don't know if the change got reverted, or if this was a bug, but we had to go through the already annoying trash and early bosses of the Occulus with only 4 players, and then when the timer was about to run out, our rogue returns and says "Ok ready!". Naturally, because we're not idiots, we still just waited for the timer to run out and then kicked him anyway, but it still was an irritating reminder that there are still people in this game who know that it is possible to get something for doing nothing.

I have had so many conflicting experiences with the Vote to Kick system that I really don't know what to expect from it at any given time. At present though, it is not a reliable way to keep lazy players from leeching effort from regular players just trying to have fun and playing the game as it is intended. In that regards, it is very similar to the well-intentioned, but ultimately useless "report player AFK" option in battlegrounds. I have to say that I've never seen this deter any afkers from happily going about

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The largely unnecessary strategy guide for the Rotting Frost Giant!

I was jealous of Kae's amazing illustrated strategy guides and wanted to post something of my own, but I forgot that:
  1. I have no artistic talent and
  2. All raiding content that I have seen has been covered to death by other, better blogs and strategy forums

With those 2 limitations in mind, I present to you my entirely unnecessary strategy guide for the optional weekly boss in ICC, the Rotting Frost Giant!


There are 4 randomly generated weekly raids for Icecrown Citadel. Somewhere in the instance, you will find one of these questgivers. In my opinion, the easiest one is the quest "Securing the Ramparts", which asks you to slay an optional boss in the area before the Gunship battle.

Fight Mechanics and positioning

The Rotting Frost Giant has 3 abilities you need to know about.

The first is a Stomp ability that hits everyone for about 12k damage, and throws you up in the air. This will interrupt casting and generally just sucks. Not anything you can do to avoid this damage so keep everyone topped off.

The second is a randomly targeted Arctic Breath ability which will stun and damage all targets in a cone, exactly like Icehowl from TOC. To avoid this, the raid should be grouped in a circle around the boss. This will do about 15k dmg over 5 seconds. This is why it's important to keep everyone topped off, as a combination stomp, breath will nearly kill clothies. It is also important to distribute healers so that no more than one healer gets stunned at a time.

Here is what our positioning looked like for a 10 man raid.

The last, and most complicated ability, is the Death Plague. This will affect a randomly targeted raid member. It lasts for 15 seconds and does a minimal amount of damage and cannot be dispelled. After 15 seconds, it will explode, doing 8k damage to you and all other raid members within 8 yards. All members hit will become infected with new copies of the Death Plague, and the person who just had it receives a debuff called "Recently Infected" which prevents them from receiving the Death Plague for another 30 seconds.

To combat this mechanic, we used a "Hot Potato" strategy. First, dps the boss as normal until someone becomes infected:

The infected person would find someone next to them that does not have the recently infected debuff and hug them until the disease expires. Make sure you are only infecting one other person (this is why you spread out 8 yards apart initially).

After passing the disease, go back to your original positioning, and keep passing the disease every 15 seconds to new people.

That disease is then passed onto a third person, with the original infectee's immunity about to wear off:

Keep passing it around the circle among your range and healers in this fashion. Eventually there will be 2 copies of the disease going around, and this should be managed in the same fashion. It may be a little tricky distributing the buffs accordingly, but you eventually want the passing circle to look like this:

You should not need to manage more than 2 copies of the disease in 10 man mode.


The Rotting Frost Giant drops no loot, but he does reward 250 rep with the Ashen Verdict, and turning in the weekly quest will get you a Sack of Frosty Treasures which has 5 Emblems of Frost, some gold, and a chance at a 264 BOE epic.

Alternate Strategies

After I made these slides, I read online that there is a simpler, although probably unintended strategy. You can pair up, and when someone gets infected, they will pass it to their partner after 15 seconds, and then if you stay up, supposedly the partner will pass it back to the original infectee, and the debuff will simply go away (the aoe damage will still occur). I have not tried this strategy, but if it is true, it is much simpler, and trivializes this encounter. Maybe I'll try it next week...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

First night with T10-4

I spent my first night with T10's 4 piece set bonus last night, and I think it was a little bit of a disappointment. The hot accounted for about 3% of my effective healing for the night, which is way less than in some of the parses I'd seen. I think that it's possible that the fights I happened to be healing for last night were generally not chain heal friendly, and I was also mostly tank healing as the other healer was a druid.

I will be more excited to see my stats from tomorrow, when we will be doing Blood Queen, the fight that was built expressly for Chain Heal spam.

Still, I think I probably will be building 2 sets, one for Chain Heal centric fights, and one for Tank healing fights. I have generally resisted building multiple healing sets in the past, due to bag space, and general laziness, but I think the set bonuses and relic effects have become so specific these days that it may still be necessary.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Back to the Chain of Healing Bloggers

Jessabelle is revisiting the meme that riveted the healing blog world, and asking past participants to revisit their answers with a few questions, to see how our opinions of our class have changed, both with experience, and with the content that has been released since then.

My original answers are here, for reference.

1. Reread your original answers to the questions. With the benefit of hindsight, score your own work in terms of its cringeworthiness.

Hmm, I think when I look back on past-Zigi, I think "geez, you and Chain Heal should get a room already". Sure it's a great spell still, and probably still class-defining, but it was also made nearly unusable in many of the fights of the first wing of ICC. Spreading out on fights like Saurfang meant that your CH would often hit only one target, making it useless. In general, you're going to be spread out on other fights like Blood Princes, Failboat, and Marrowgar too. It's useless on Valithria of course, who isn't in your raid so won't get hit by it. It's still amazing on fights like Festergut and Blood Queen, but it certainly has struck out on a lot of ICC fights for me. This is especially painful as my totem and glyph are just wasted on these fights by association, but I'm too cheap to replace them for just those fights.

2. Has your class's healing improved in the area you identified as its weakest?
I identified mana usage as the biggest weakness, and when we were just beginning TOC I was living on my mana tide and potions. My gear has gotten a lot better since then, and there is a lot more raid damage (HELLOOO Blood Queen) giving me nearly limitless mana from my water shield.

What I would identify as our biggest weakness now is our lack of mobile healing. We have one spell to cast while moving (and don't get me wrong, I want to have Riptide's babies\), so when Riptide is on cooldown and you need to run off a nasty debuff, then you're kinda not doing anything for 6 seconds, eh?

3. Have you changed your "least favoured class to heal with"?
I selfishly said holy priests, because they don't offer any buffs for me personally that a disc priest doesn't provide. I like holy priests a lot more since a lot of them now take the Glyph of Guardian Spirit, which is an amazing talent. I have set foot in a few more 25 man raids, and I do realize now that it is a headache to have more than one disc priest, as they're constantly weakened-soul-blocking each other, without careful coordination.

4. Did you read the entries from others in the webring, especially your class?
I thought they were really informative. I didn't know a lot about druid healers, to be honest, and the thoughtfulness and complexitiy of their decision making processes for raid healing go into way more depth than resto shamans do.

As for my class, Resto Shammies had the lowest participation out of all the healing classes :(, which is unsurprising as resto shammies are the lowest represented healing class on the armory. I like the perspective of the other resto shammies, although most of them are 25 man healers, for which I'm not there. My favorite was probably Chayah, who if you're a shammy you're probably already familiar with from their amazing ZAP! spreadsheet.

5. If Yes to #4, did you learn anything that made you a better healer?
Like I mentioned, Chayah has an interesting perspective. Maybe it's cause of his dps background, but I liked his idea that mana at the end of a fight is useless. I don't really switch up my gear from fight to fight, but recently I have considered building different sets for different fights.

6. What tools/resources or information do you think you would need to improve as a healer and how could that help the community at large?
I'm going to echo Miss, and mention the lack of resto shammy healing blogs. I'd like to give a shout out to Rul, who I've recently added to my blogroll, who not only has great shaman healing ideas, but ALSO is in a 10-man strict guild, adding a little extra flavor.

7. What did you identify as your worst habit as a healer? Have you improved in this area?
I complained that I probably refreshed Riptide too early, but now with my Tier 10 2-piece set bonus, that's a FEATURE, not a BUG!

8. What did you list as your favorite healing spell and your least used healing spell for your class? Are these answers still true? If they have changed, what caused the change (i.e. patch fix, different healing environment, etc)?
Hmm, I did say Chain Heal back then, but like I said earlier, that has become much more situational in ICC. I gotta say with the new nummy set bonus, it's Riptide hands down. I've never been a fan of 6 second cooldowns; in fact I think I really stopped playing my Holy Priest over one, but with Riptide, it makes sense to me, somehow. Just a juicy spell with all sorts of awesome things that happen after you cast it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

To 4-piece or not to 4-piece?

It's decision time again, peoples. Back when I made my initial pull list, We were working on Saurfang, and I was considering the first 4 ICC bosses and thinking how underused Chain Heal was. At the time, I couldn't see the value in saving up 160 emblems on top of my 2 piece set bonus to complete the 4 piece set bonus, when I didn't feel like I was even casting Chain Heal that much.

Times have changed. 2 Wings later, we've seen fights like Festergut, Putricide, Blood Princes, and Blood Queen, which featured massive raid damage and pushed aoe healing demands to the limit. Also, early reports for HEP values for the 4 piece set bonus are showing up, and they are quite positive. One report puts it as high as 800 HEP!

I also finally had a full night just healing, so I had a log I felt comfortable passing through my shaman_hep for updated calculations. The summary is here, but the main takeaway is that I have HEP estimations for my trinkets now. My Ephemeral Snowflake clocked in at around 143 HEP for the night and the Sliver of Pure Ice clocked in at around 211 HEP. Their theoretical maximum HEP values are around 276 and 242, respectively, which may mean that I'm just not using the "Use:" effect on the Snowflake very wisely, and I'm using the Sliver's Use effect fairly well.

In either case I've decided to weigh the 4 piece set bonus at something like 400 HEP, until I hear some more concrete numbers. This still offsets the stat bonus of the non-set emblem purchases, so it definitely shifts up my pull list a lot. I won't actually be purchasing anything until I have enough emblems for both the chest and gloves, so I can go directly from tier 9.2 to tier 10.4, so if I find out soon that the numbers are not quite as good, I can change my plan accordingly. Here goes:

Updated Emblem of Frost Pull List
Best Upgrade HEP Cost HEP Upgrade per Badge Current HEP
Frost Witch's Handguards 541.4 60 3.332 Thrall's Handguards of Triumph 341.4
Frost Witch's Tunic 785.7 95 2.98 Thrall's Tunic of Conquest 502
Waistband of Despair 491.8 60 2.89 Darkspear Ritual Binding 318
Earthsoul Boots 512.1 115 1.818 Sabatons of Tortured Space 302.9
Drape of the Violet Tower 289.7 50 1.791 Shawl of the Caretaker 200.2
Purified Lunar Dust 215.2 60 1.95 Ephemeral Snowflake 143.5
Lightning-Infused Leggings 679.3 184 .0922 Leggings of Concealed Hatred 509.5
Totem of Surging Seas 255 30 .7 Totem of Calming Tides 234

The bolded item costs means that I am factoring in part of a set bonus upgrade. The italicized item cost mean that they are primordial saronite costs, and can be bought with alts or money.

Happy hunting, Shaman.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


So I was going through my blog feeds, and I was sad to see that Olokoth's old blog that dealt with data mined from the armory was dead. I did some googling and found a new blog, that does the same thing, and quite well. I'm kind of totally obsessed.

Their methodology is basically that they have a script that goes through all level 80 characters on the armory, and looks at their spec, and then counts them. The data is then broken down, and you can get all sorts of neat view on the data, broken down by class, race, spec, etc.

They acknowledge that their methodology is somewhat flawed in that:
  • They only look at active spec.
  • They don't distinguish between 2 different types of the same spec (feral kitty is counted the same as feral bear).
  • There's no filter for completely inactive level 80 toons.
  • There's no attempt to separate PvP data from PvE

Still, it's a pretty fun look at the data. Shaman are one of the lowest represented class, although Resto is by far the most popular spec. Elemental is more popular than Enhancement, which surprises me for some reason.

I especially like some of the Shaman specific data. I always wondered how many people were taking things like Improved Reincarnation. I guess now we know: 13%.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Updating Solarian Macros on Deathwhisper for the Lazy Shaman?

My lock never did get that trinket :(Sisters from another Mister?

So back in my day when we had to walk up the hills in outlands both ways to get to school or something there was a boss in Tempest Keep called High Astromancer Solarian. During one of her phases, the only unavoidable damage came from a randomly targeted arcane missles. Healers that were assigned to that damage would target her and use a macro like
/cast [help,nodead][target=targettarget,help,nodead] Lesser Healing Wave

Now, Lady Deathwhisper is not a hard healing fight, and the majority of damage probably comes from the empowered adds and the Death and Decay. Still, I think tonight when my guild does her, I'm going to try using a macro like the Solarian macro to heal the random damage (when there's no other major death and decay or add damage to heal). I think I'm going to try:
/castsequence [help,nodead][target=targettarget,help,nodead] Riptide, Lesser Healing Wave, Lesser Healing Wave

So I don't think it's that big a deal actually (and I'll probably have to insert some filler heals to get over the riptide cooldown), but that fight is so boring to heal in the first phase I feel like tweaking my macro mid fight may give me something to do tonight ;). I'll let you know how it works out.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sticking to the plan?

So I've been pretty much going along with the planned pull list I laid out about a month ago. I got my shoulders first, which were a solid upgrade, are nearly best in slot for the content I do, and look awesome. The next piece according to my plan was the helm. The thing is, 95 emblems is a lot. A lot a lot. I've been on vacation so I haven't gotten my weekly and dailies in as much as I'd like. So I'm only at like 70 emblems now, and last night, and the Ice-Reinforced Vrykul Helm drops! Clear upgrade, and great itemization, but it leaves me in a bit of a quandary...

I really was hoping to get the helm, so I could run with 2 pieces of tier 9 and 2 pieces of tier 10. The T9-2 and T10-2 set bonuses have great synergy, and the helm and gloves are the best pieces, stat-wise, if you're only going to pick 2 pieces; the legs and gloves have horrible stats for a resto shaman, and the chest is nice, but the cloth non-tier emblem chest is MUCH better.

So do I:
  • Stick with the plan?
    I'll just keep this helm as an intermediate until I get 25 more emblems or so?

  • Change up the plan?
    The only other tier piece I could get is the chest really, which would break my t9 set bonus. This is something I'd have to do eventually I guess, although a lot of shaman on EJ are really hanging onto that set bonus.

  • Wait?
    Do I just hold off on acquiring 2 pieces of tier, and use my frost emblems in other slots that are sure-things? This would be the belt, and cloak.

Still haven't decided, but I gotta make a decision this week I guess... I guess I shouldn't complain- upgrades are always a good thing ;)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Zigi's Law #2

Still on vacation, so I haven't been playing much, but I did get on a little to show my ex-WoW player cousins the new dungeons and gear, and I came up with this axiom.

The shaman T10 deer shoulder will never have the visual proc when someone is watching your screen and you're talking about how cool they are. As soon as they look away, the shoulders will proc like crazy.

So yeah my cousins think I'm mental now. Thanks blizz.