December 26, 2010

How to Heal: Heroic Vortex Pinnacle

At the time of writing this guide, my stats are (without totems, self buffed)

Health: 99361
Mana: 72275
Spirit: 2191
Intellect: 3275
Haste: 860 (+6.72%)
Crit: 693 (10.71)
Mastery: 595 11.32 %


Average ilvl: 340
Mostly 333 gear with a sprinkling of 346.

Who wouldn't mind wiping in a place as beautiful and stunning as this?
Vortex Pinnacle is an easy heroic in the sense that no mechanics in this dungeon will kill you or your party members instantly.  Isn't that nice!  This dungeon can be thought of as a training ground or learning area for your party to master mechanics that will be thrown at you in future dungeons. On top of that, it's absolutely GORGEOUS and you won't mind making this your favorite heroic.

The first time I did this dungeon was Friday afternoon with some guildies. We managed to two-hour our way through the place and I won't mention how many times I swore on vent at the second boss.  Let's just say there are probably some sailors blushing.  The second time we went through, it ended up being our heroic random (oh, we were so happy!) and we breezed through it and only wiped twice on the second boss.  We had some polite DPS who stuck with us and were rewarded with an easy clear through the rest of the dungeon.

The first trash pull needs to be CC'd as much as possible. Having a shaman here helps a lot. Having a hunter helps also.

Some elementals will explode and knock you off the edge! You won't die -- you will be teleported back to the front of the entrance, BUT, you need to avoid this as your party may die while you're gone.  Luckily we had a pretty tough boomkin who was able to take a few hits on trash until Convel got back to us.
  Thank you, Papertiger!
After the second punt off the edge.
For the little arcane wormies, have everyone run to the middle, drop your AOE heal ASAP, and tell your dps to unleash hell as fast as possible.  Even with a surprise pull of the arcane stars/worms, nobody went past half health. I am not sure why so many people are troubled by this pull.  I did not think the incoming damage was enough to send me into panic mode at all.  With a single AOE floor heal, I has some control of the damage and could proceed to heal my party up.  The faster the worms die, the less damage you deal with.

Cloud Princes cannot be CC'd.  There is one pull where you will encounter two of them. You will need to HoT up your tank and heal him/her pretty hard until at least one prince is down, then you can relax a bit.  Use all the tools in your arsenal to avoid any big smack surprises (they can hit for 48-50K on your tank).

On kitty 5 mob pulls, you will need to use all the CC you can.  Adepts can heal, so they need to be CC'd the longest or killed first.  Be sure to interrupt their healing!

There are some kitty pulls where they will be inside of a lightning pyramid.  LoS pull these down the ramp and have your party CC as soon as the mobs exit the triangle.

The Tempest Lurkers will feign death and not bother you as soon as you look at them.

When running across the bridge with the Howling Gale orbs, be sure to damage them with ranged attacks so you can get by without them tossing you off the edge.

Young storm drakes need to be LoS pulled so they will not be in their green healing rune.  You and your party are able to stand in this rune and be healed so show your healer some love and go stand in it!


Boss 1: Grand Vizier Ertan
Healing Loot:
Biting Wind -- DPS but Healing if you have nothing better.
Fallen Snow Shoulderguards -- DPS but Healing if you have nothing better.

This boss is a wind elemental who has an addiction to cyclones.  When you engage her, a set of cyclones will spawn on the outside of the ring.  Be VERY careful when you run in to meet her because if you touch a cyclone, you will get slowed terribly bad (I would say around 80%).  Stay on the inside until you see the raid warning that she is retracting her cyclone shield.  At this moment, you can do one of two things (right now).

1) Stay inside.  This is the easiest option.  You want to zoom your camera out ALL the way so that you are able to see the circle in the middle. You want to stand in the VERY middle of this circle.  This ensures that when the cyclones move in, they will not touch you (barely).  You will not get the haste debuff.  Your ranged DPS should stand on top of you.  DROP AN AOE HEAL when the cyclones come in, and then proceed to heal through the lightning damage.  Sounds easy, right? It is.  It's so easy, the developers might find some way to nerf it.

2)  Run out.  Use your skills and don't get hit by a tornado while you are running out.  You will be able to then heal your party up and prepare to run back in without getting hit by a tornado.  It appears that the damage from staying in and running out is the same.  The only difference is that if you are hit by a tornado, your healing spells are slowed SO much that you will barely be able to heal.  DON'T get hit by tornadoes!  If you are lucky, you will be able to recover if your group has brought healing pots, bandages, etc.  One smack from a tornado kills you indirectly by killing your healing.

This fight teaches you how to avoid tornadoes. They are only moving in one direction so it is an easy learning session.


Boss 2:  Altairus
Healing Loot:
Amulet of Tender Breath -- Neck
Mantle of Bestilled Winds -- Leather

This boss is a storm dragon who also has an addiction to cyclones. Imagine that.  He is similar to normal mode, except that as soon as you engage the boss, mini whirlwinds will spawn all over the area.  Your first priority? AVOID THE TORNADOES!

Altairus will then change the direction of the wind. You will get a raid warning for this.  The easiest way to deal with this mechanic is to first avoid the tornadoes.

Identify which way the wind is blowing.  Move yourself very carefully so that you can 1) FACE the dragon.  You want your face to be looking at the dragon, with the wind blowing at your back.  You may get caught in a terrible position -- don't panic.  Avoid the tornadoes, throw your instant HoTs, use your racials, and move yourself into the correct position.  In the 5-6 seconds it takes to do this, nobody should die, unless they get hit by more than 1 tornado.

You can think about this similar to if the dragon were VERY STINKY.  You wouldn't want the wind blowing the smell from the dragon into your face, would you?  Nope. You also wouldn't want the wind blowing the smell from the dragon onto the back of your head where it can still hit your face.  You want to always have your face looking at the dragon with the wind on your back. Imagine yourself rotating around the dragon, keeping him in front of you (even if your face is buried in his wings).  The wind will always be hitting your back, and your face will always be "facing" the dragon.

It only takes a few tries to get used to this mechanic, as you will quickly begin to process "Okay, I'm standing here, I need to move to THERE to be able to face the dragon with the wind at my back."

The third thing that you should be conscious of but not spend too much time worrying about is the breath.  Altairus will do a RANDOM breath on a party member that you cannot really avoid due to the tornadoes and the wind.  However, if you keep a decent distance from other party members, you will only have 1-2 people hit at a time instead of 2-3.  This will greatly help with healing.

Also, with the haste buff, you can spam your cheap, small heal over and over to heal up your party members without spending your mana.  For shaman, this is Healing Wave.  Keep in mind I said cheap heal, not fast heal.  Do. not. spam. Healing Surge.  Only use HS if you have a party member about to die and you need a heal NOW, as soon as you get the haste buff.  Use it 1-2 times, then go back to your Greater Healing Waves to get people out of the danger zone. Then, go to Healing Wave to top people back up.

The only damage in this fight is from:
1) Tornadoes (avoidable)
2) Breath (may be avoidable but master the tornadoes/wind first)

DPS, it is your responsibility on this fight to not get hit by tornadoes. This will eat your healer's mana.  You will get bounced in the air, possibly land in another tornado, and die.  Your life will suck.  Don't get hit.

Tanks, you just need to move according to the guide above since the breath is random.


Boss 3: Asaad < Caliph of Zephyrs >
Healing Loot:
Captured Lightning -- Relic
Leggings of Iridescent Clouds  -- Cloth
Lunar Halo -- Plate
Ring of Frozen Rain -- Ring

This boss is your reward for beating the dragon, because it possibly has taken you a few tries to get him down.  If you have, congratulations!  You are prepared for the rest of the 5 man heroics.  On this fight, as a healer, you only have to worry about 2 things:

1)  Dispell the root debuff off the rest of the party.  The party can also avoid this debuff by /focus on the boss, and jump when he starts to cast static cling. The server should still register you as "off the ground" when he finishes.  There's an acheivement for this.  If someone fails to jump, dispell them.  Nobody should be taking very much damage.

2) When he draws the lightning triangle on the ground, GET IN IT!  If you don't, you will die.

There is no way to avoid the chain lightning right after exiting your safe triangle. Don't worry about it, just heal it.  Nobody should be taking damage from anything else.  Dispell static cling, and you're golden.

Collect your loots, and CONGRATULATIONS, you have beaten Vortex Pinnacle and learned a few of the mechanics used in the other heroic dungeons.

However, this place is so pretty, I am sure you will be back for more great loot.

Ultra graphical settings never looked so good.

Who wants to live here with me?

December 21, 2010

7 Things to do for Yourself and Your Guild Before The First Raid

Exactly what the title says!  Let's discuss a few things that you can do to help yourself and your guild out before that first raid. You may be 85, sick of regular or heroic dungeons, and wondering "what could I do to take a break, but still help out my guild?" Several things.  If you want to keep doing dungeons, then 1 and 2 should help you out. But, this guide will be a general guide for all roles and the fishing and cooking professions.

HEALING related items will have two asterisks ** next to their name.

1)  Get your shoulder enchants. 
Your first reputation should be Therazane.  The easiest way to do this is do all the Deepholme quests, complete the EPIC finale, and then start your dailies with Therazane.  When you finish Deepholme you should be at least Honored.  Do yourself a favor and don't skip Deepholme -- not only is the zone very well designed and beautiful but the epic finish to the zone has made it on par or better than Wrathgate (since you actually get to participate in the finale.)

The Therazane rep vendor is D'lom @  Therazane's Throne in Deepholme.

The four shoulder enchants for HONORED reputation are:
Lesser Inscription of Charged Lodestone ** (Intellect)
Lesser Inscription of Jagged Stone (Strength)
Lesser Inscription of Shattered Crystal (Agility)
Lesser Inscription of Unbreakable Quartz (Tank)

The four shoulder enchants for EXALTED reputation are:
Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone ** (Intellect)
Greater Inscription of Jagged Stone (Strength)
Greater Inscription of Shattered Crystal (Agility)
Greater Inscription of Unbreakable Quartz (Tank)

Side Perk -- 346 REVERED rings @ level 85:
Diamant's Ring of Temperance  ** (Intellect)
Felsen's Ring of Resolve  (Strength / Dodge)
Gorsik's Band of Shattering (Strength / Crit)
Terrath's Signet of Balance (Agility)


2) Get your helm enchants.
 You should be getting nice rewards from questing/instances.  After you finish with Therazane reputation, move to your respective faction that gives a helm enchant that you need.  These are available at REVERED.  See the next paragraph for locations for the vendors.

Arcanum of Hyjal (Intellect) **
Arcanum of the Earthen Ring (Stamina/Dodge)
Arcanum of the Ramkahen (Agility/Haste)
Arcanum of the Wildhammer / Dragonmaw  (Strength/Mastery)


The 5 reputation vendors and a link to their rewards are below:

Therazane  D'lom @  Therazane's Throne in Deepholme.
Guardians of HyjalProvisioner Whitecloud - Nordrassil Inn in Hyjal
Wildhammer Clan (A) / Dragonmaw Clan (H) - Craw MacGraw @ Thundermar or Grot Deathblow  @ Bloodgulch in the Twilight Highlands
Earthen Ring Provisioner Arok @ Silver Tide Hollow in Shimmering Deeps, Vashj'ir
Ramkahen - Blacksmith Abasi @ Ramkahen in Uldum


3)  Find the appropriate buff food for your class and farm it.  Either identify your guild chef or level your cooking to 525.  
Recipes for the Alliance are sold by Bario Matalli in Stormwind.
Recipes for the Horde are sold by Shazdar  in Orgrimmar.

The NPCs standing next to these two vendors also give daily quests (they are VERY easy) to not only gain Chef's Tokens but also level your cooking.  Picking 6 pumpkins out of a pumpkin patch with no mobs in sight is probably the easiest thing you'll do throughout the expansion.  Do these daily quests!  At the very least, you can buy crates of meat and mail them to your guildies.  The quests only require level 1 cooking.

+60 Buff Food (The OK Stuff) (450-500 skill)

450 SKILL
+60 Spirit - Whitecrest Gumbo
+60 Haste - Broiled Mountain Trout
+60 Critical Strike - Lightly Fried Lurker
+60 Hit - Seasoned Crab
+60 Mastery - Salted Eye
+60 Expertise - Lavascale Filet
+60 Dodge - Lurker Lunch


475 SKILL
+60 Intellect - Pickled Guppy
+60 Agility - Tender Baked Turtle
+60 Strength - Hearty Seafood Soup


+90 Buff Food (The Best Stuff) (500-525 skill)

 500+ SKILL
+90 Agility - Skewered Eel
+90 Spirit - Delicious Sagefish Tail
+90 Intellect - Severed Sagefish Head
+90 Dodge - Mushroom Sauce Mudfish
+90 Mastery - Lavascale Minestrone
+90 Hit - Grilled Dragon
+90 Expertise - Crocolisk Au Gratin
+90 Parry - Blackbelly Sushi
+90 Strength - Beer-Basted Crocolisk
+90 Haste - Basilisk Liverdog
+90 Crit - Baked Rockfish

OTHER

Conjured Mana Cake Equivalents:
If you are fishing for Deepsea Sagefish, you will end up with a lot of 
Food - Fish Fry
Water - Starfire Espresso , South Island Iced Tea

4)  Help your guild out by farming the materials for the Broiled Dragon Feast
If your guild does not yet have the achievement for Set the Oven to "Cataclysmic" then you may help out by farming any meat listed above.  Imagine the faces of your guildies when you tell them there are Broiled Dragon Feasts in the bank for heroics or the first raid!

One Feast Takes:
Dragon Flank x 6 (kill Cataclysm dragons, loot meat)
Delicate Wing x 4 (kill Cataclysm birds, loot meat)

***Sneaky Workaround (as of 12/21/10):  Buy Tropical Sunfruit and Fresh Water from Innkeeper Francis in Highbank or Lizzy "Lemons" in Dragonmaw Port. Brew 5000 iced teas.  If you feel rich, brew another 5,000 to get the second achievement.  There's no telling when this will get hotfixed like the Starfire Espresso so do it quickly.

5)  Fish in fishing pools to help catch 10,000 fish for your guild to get the Seafood Magnifique Feast.
 By fishing 10,000 fish from pools to get That's a Lot of Bait, you open up access to the +90 stat fish feast.  It's going to take a lot of fishing so everyone will appreciate you for fishing!  Also, these fish will be worth $$ on the AH, along with the fish used in the cooking recipes mentioned above for buff food.  Pick your favorite fish and farm away.  However, your guild will benefit greatly if you drop a stack or two in the bank.

Seafood Feast Takes:
Highland Guppy x 4 (found in pools, so you can get materials while working on the achievement)
Fathom Eel x 4 (found in pools, so you can get materials while working on the achievement)
Lavascale Catfish x 4 (fished in lava)

6) Farm herbs for any of the following elixirs, potions, and flasks for you or your guild.
  All of the herbs listed below are priceless.  With the holidays, there is plenty of time to get some farming in and stock up for January when people return to school and jobs.  If you can spare the time, consider farming herbs for your guild and having a guild alchemist brew up some pots for the raiders.  This will help you out when everyone goes back to a normal schedule.

Herbs used in Cataclysm brewing (links are to node locations):
Whiptail
Twilight Jasmine
Cinderbloom
Stormvine
Azshara's Veil
Heartblossom


ELIXIRS
 Guardian
Prismatic Elixir
Elixir of Deep Earth

Battle
Ghost Elixir  ** (Spirit)
Elixir of Impossible Accuracy  (Hit)
Elixir of Mighty Speed  (Haste)
Elixir of the Cobra  (Critical Strike)
Elixir of the Master  (Mastery)
Elixir of the Naga  (Expertise)

POTIONS
Stat Increases
Volcanic Potion (Increased Spellpower)  **
Earthen Potion (Increased Armor)
Golemblood Potion (Increased Strength)
Potion of the Tol'vir (Increased Agility)

Fun
Potion of Illusion
Potion of Treasure Finding
These potions are EXCELLENT! You are able to loot Tiny Treasure Chests occasionally which contain gold, cloth, and volatiles in any combination.

Mana / Health
Mythical Healing Potion
Mythical Mana Potion  **
Mighty Rejuvenation Potion **
Mysterious Potion
Potion of Concentration  **

Utility
Potion of Deepholm

FLASKS
Flasks no longer require a special herb such as Frost Lotus to use, BUT, they require double the herbs of the BC and Wrath flasks.  

Flask of Flowing Water (Spirit) **
Flask of the Draconic Mind (Intellect) **
Flask of the Winds (Agility)
Flask of Titanic Strength (Strength)
Flask of Steelskin (Stamina)
Flask of Enhancement (Alchemists only)

7)  Read boss strategies!
http://www.tankspot.com has some great guides on the first few bosses. Watch movies, read strategies, and see if any friends in other guilds will let you listen to their raids.  Learn the fights and be prepared for the curve (it's going to be tough).  The best thing you can do for your guild and friends is bring your A-game! There are plenty of videos on Youtube for the heroic dungeons if you are having a bit of trouble.

http://www.tankspot.com/forumdisplay.php?206-Project-Marmot-TankSpot-Raid-Movie-Guides

The above link will take you straight to the raid videos on tankspot.com

There you have it!  Some suggestions of things to do; a general pre-raid farming list; a quick "what do I farm and where because my raid is in two days" list.  Whatever you want to call it, I hope it helps you all!




December 01, 2010

Guide to the PvE Restoration Shaman in Cataclysm

Last Update: 1/13/2011 -- Changed a few Talents Around.  The major changes in the upcoming patch are for Mana Tide Totem (now a set percentage of the shaman's mana) and Tremor Totem (now a 6 second duration with a 1 minute timer.

The goal of this guide is to break down the basics of the restoration shaman for casual raiders to understand. My goal is to explain as clearly as possible what each spell does and why we use it, what talents we take (and what they do), what totems to drop (and when), which glyphs I recommend, and which gems will be viable options throughout Cataclysm. This guide made be altered as times goes on, but it should only change to reflect when we move from gemming spirit into extra intellect (power) and haste (speed).

Here is my resto shaman's profile : Llani

Table of Contents:
  • Stats
  • Healing Spells 
  • Talents
  • Totems
  • Glyphs
  • Gems 
  • Healing Process in 5 Mans / Heroics 
STATS

The primary stats for a restoration shaman include intellect, spirit, haste, and crit. The two most important of these are intellect and spirit.

Intellect (INT) is what boosts our mana pool, gives us spellpower, and boosts our crit rating. It will be found on every piece of gear we equip.  This is our bread and butter.

Spirit (SPI) is what boosts the regeneration rate of our mana pool. This allows us to heal longer, especially with early tier levels. When you are first starting to convert from blue gear to epic gear, you may need to socket +40 Spirit to your gear even through the first tier. When we get to tier 12, I will revisit this and see how our regeneration is.

Mastery (M) - is a new stat with Cataclysm. At level 80, each talent tree for each class gets a 'Mastery' buff, and ours is Deep Healing. I do not know how Mastery will balance out in our stats, but I would believe that it will be similar to haste and crit -- you want to make sure you have a good amount, but don't overdo it. I would think we would want to max this 'stat' out to 2.5%, but we will see.

Haste (H) increases our casting speed and allows us to fire off more heals in a shorter period of time.

Crit (C) increases the chance that we land a critical strike (or in our case, a critical heal) which allows the spell to heal for extra healing.

We do not use Strength or Agility as Restoration Shaman.


HEALING SPELLS

The shaman learns one specialized spell (Earth Shield) and two passive effects (Purification and Meditation) when specializing into the Restoration tree. At level 80, the Mastery for this tree is Deep Healing.

DIRECT HEALING SPELLS

Riptide - Heals a friendly target for 2363 and another 3725 over 15 sec. Your next Chain Heal cast on that primary target within 15 sec will consume the healing over time effect and increase the amount of the Chain Heal by 25%.

This spell should be used decently often, but don't cast it if nobody is taking damage.  Do not use this as a pre-HoT, or you will run out of mana! Riptide is an instant cast heal that leaves a ticking heal over time (HoT) on the target. If you cast Chain Heal on this target, it will consume the riptide and boost the power of the Chain Heal. Also, due to our Tidal Waves talent, we gain a haste boost for our next 2 spells whenever we use Riptide (or Chain Heal). This talent also boosts the critical strike chance of Healing Surge.

Chain Heal - Heals the friendly target for 2967 to 3389, then jumps to heal the most injured nearby targets. If cast on a party or raid member, the heal will only jump to other members. Each jump reduces the effectiveness of the heal by 30%. Heals 4 total targets.

This spell is our multi-target heal. It jumps from the target to up to 4 other targets (without the Glyph of Chain Heal) or up to 5 (with the glyph). It you are healing a melee group, this is the heal to use, along with Healing Rain.  But, only use Healing Rain IF you know you will hit at least 3-4 group members.  Preferably 4 (assuming you are standing in it. you had BETTER stand in your own AOE heal)


Healing Surge - Heals a friendly target for 5605 to 6403.
Our fast heal. This is the equivalent to Flash of Light or Flash Heal. It will drain your mana quickly, though, so be careful. After you cast Riptide, this spell will have a boosted critical strike chance.


Healing Wave - Heals a friendly target for 2803 to 3201.
Our normal, mid-range heal. You will likely find yourself casting Healing Wave because it is a low cost heal. It does not heal as much as Healing Surge or Greater Healing Wave, but, when you cast Riptide or Chain Heal, it will be very fast.


Greater Healing Wave - Heals a friendly target for 7473 to 8537.
If you have the time to cast a longer heal and know when your target is going to take damage, then GHW is what you need. Be careful using this spell, though, because it has a 30% base mana cost.  You need to cast Unleash Elements as much as possible before casting GHW, to offset the cost. This means that without any gear on, the base mana for a shaman at level 80 is 4396. At level 85, it is 23430. If you are like me and prefer someone else to do the number crunching and theorycrafting, then just nod your head and keep reading.


Cleanse Spirit - Removes one Curse effect from a friendly target.
This is our curse-removing and magic-removing (talented) spell. Bind this to an easily accessible key and/or use Clique + Grid or Healbot to use it.


ADDITIONAL SPELLS


Unleash Elements - Focuses the elemental force imbued in the Shaman's weaponry, with the concentrated effects depending on the enchantment unleashed.
Level 81. This spell has a 15 second cooldown and triggers Unleash Life.




Unleash Life - Unleashes the Earthliving enchantment upon the Shaman's weapon, healing a friendly target for 1916 to 2074 and increasing the effect of the Shaman's next direct heal by 20%.



Healing Rain - Calls forth healing rains to blanket the area targeted by the Shaman, restoring 690 to 820 health to allies in the area every 2 sec for 10 sec. Healing effectiveness diminishes for each player beyond 6 within the area.
Level 83. This spell is our AOE Heal, much like the Druid's Tranquility.



Spiritwalker's Grace - Calls upon spiritual guidance, permitting movement while casting non-instant Shaman spells. This spell may be cast while casting other spells. Lasts 10 sec.
Level 85. This allows us to cast spells while moving.


ELEMENTAL SHIELDS


Earth Shield (ES) - This shield is to be put on your main tank or the target you think you will be healing the most. The reason for this is that nature's Blessing, one of our talents, will increase the effectiveness of your direct heals on Earth Shielded targets by 15% (when you have 3/3 talent points, which you should).




Water Shield (WS) - This should be cast on YOU. Not only does it return a set amount of mana every 5 seconds, it also pops one of the globes every few seconds, restoring mana to you. Only one globe can pop every few seconds. This is good when you are occasionally taking damage in fights (aoe effects, auras, melee, ranged, or spell attacks).



If you are not taking damage, then the globes can be triggered a different way. Our talent Improved Water Shield will pop one of our globes 100% of the time if we crit with Healing Wave or Riptide, 60% of the time if we crit with Healing Surge, and 30% of the time if we crit with Chain Heal. Haste plays a big role in this at higher levels of gear, where you will have enough regen to sustain yourself without having to gem extra spirit. You will be able to gem intellect (spellpower) and haste (speed) and by critting often, you will be able to sustain sufficient regeneration levels.  In summary, when gearing for heroics, try to grab as much spirit and intellect as possible.  After we begin raiding, and have been practicing our healing rotations enough to be comfortable with our mana regeneration, then we can continue building up our haste and intellect.



WEAPON BUFF

Earthliving Weapon - This is one of our five weapon buffs, and boosts our healing by quite a bit. It also includes a proc that adds extra healing (Earthliving). The talent Elemental Weapons in the Enhancement tree is recommended as it boosts this weapon buff. At the end of the Restoration tree, the talent Blessing of the Eternals will help our Earthliving proc guaranteed (80% +20% from weapon buff) if the target is below 35% health (when they'd really need that extra HoT).



TALENTS

Here is a picture of my recommended talent tree for starting Cataclysm:



All the talents in the Restoration tree that I took are listed below. I did not take 3 talents and they are listed at the end. The talents in the Enhancement and Elemental tree that I took are included at the end of the Restoration talents, because you have to get to the end of your primary tree before you can move over to a secondary tree. There is a line break in between each tier of spells (or rows, if you are looking at your talent trees).  Talents in BOLD are very important talents that affect which spells you cast.


RESTORATION TREE

Spark of Life - 3/3 - Increases your healing done by 6% and your healing received by 15%.
Tidal Focus - 3/3 - Reduces the mana cost of your healing spells by 6%.


Improved Water Shield - 2/2 - You have a 100% chance to instantly gain mana as if you consumed a Water Shield Orb when you gain a critical effect from your Healing Wave, Greater Healing Wave, or Riptide spells, a 60% chance when you gain a critical effect from your Healing Surge spell, and a 30% chance when you gain a critical effect from your Chain Heal spell.
Focused Insight - 3/3 - After casting any Shock spell, your next heal's mana cost is reduced by 75% of the cost of the Shock spell, and its healing effectiveness is increased by 30%.
Totemic Focus - Reduces the mana cost of your totems by 15% and increases their duration by 20%. This could be swapped out with Tidal Focus, but, you cast far more spells than you drop your totems (in raids). At the beginning of Cataclysm, this talent could be very useful when chaining 5 man dungeons with your guildmates.  For the beginning of Cataclysm, you can take this talent for help in 5 mans and entry raids.



Ancestral Healing - 2/2 - Reduces your target's physical damage taken by 10% for 15 sec after receiving a critical effect from one of your healing spells.
Nature's Swiftness - 1/1 - When activated, your next Nature spell with a base casting time less than 10 sec. becomes an instant cast spell.
Nature's Blessing - 3/3 - Increases the effectiveness of your direct heals on Earth Shielded targets by 15%.


Soothing Rains - 2/2 - Increases the amount healed by your Healing Stream Totem by 50%, and your Healing Rain spell by 30%.
Improved Cleanse Spirit - 1/1 - Empowers your Cleanse Spirit spell to also remove a magic effect from a friendly target.
Cleansing Waters - 2/2 - Reduces the cost of Cleanse Spirit by 40%, and when your Cleanse Spirit successfully removes a harmful effect, you also heal the target for 2634 to 2970.


Ancestral Awakening - 3/3 - When you critically heal with a single-target direct heal, you summon an Ancestral spirit to aid you, instantly healing the lowest percentage health friendly party or raid target within 40 yards for 30% of the amount healed.
Mana Tide Totem - 1/1 - Summons a Mana Tide Totem with 10% of the caster's health at the feet of the caster for 12 sec. Party members within 40 yards of the totem have their Spirit increased by 350%.





Tidal Waves - 3/3 - When you cast Chain Heal or Riptide, you gain the Tidal Waves effect, which reduces the cast time of your Healing Wave and Greater Healing Wave spells by 30% and increases the critical effect chance of your Healing Surge spell by 30%. 2 charges.
Blessing of the Eternals - 2/2 - Grants an additional 80% chance to trigger your Earthliving heal over time effect when you heal an ally who is below 35% of total health.


Riptide - 1/1 - Heals a friendly target for 2363 and another 3725 over 15 sec. Your next Chain Heal cast on that primary target within 15 sec will consume the healing over time effect and increase the amount of the Chain Heal by 25%.


ENHANCEMENT TREE

Improved Shields - 3/3 - Increases the damage done by your Lightning Shield orbs by 15%, increases the amount of mana gained from your Water Shield orbs by 15%, and increases the amount of healing done by your Earth Shield orbs by 15%.
Elemental Weapons - 2/2 - Increases the passive bonuses granted by your Flametongue Weapon and Earthliving Weapon abilities by 40%, the damage of your extra attacks from Windfury Weapon by 40%, and the effectiveness of the ongoing benefits of your Unleash Elements ability by 50%.

ELEMENTAL TREE

Acuity - 2/3 - Increases your critical strike chance with all spells and attacks by 3%.  


POSSIBLY SKIP THESE TALENTS

Ancestral Resolve - Reduces damage taken while casting spells by 5%. PvP talent.

Telluric Currents - Your attunement to natural energies causes your Lightning Bolt spell to restore mana equal to 40% of damage dealt.

Nature's Guardian - Whenever a damaging attack brings you below 30% health, your maximum health is increased by 5% for 10 sec and your threat level towards the attacker is reduced. 30 second cooldown. You should not be taking damage--your tank should.


TOTEMS

Shaman have three separate 'totem bars' that we can load up and use to drop 4 totems at once. Now, we can't have ALL our totems loaded up in these bars so you need to keep certain ones such as Tremor Totem near your totem bars but not in them. It's a situational totem.

Normally, in a 10 man raid, these are the totems I recommend:


Water - Healing Stream Totem - This totem is a pulsing HoT every two seconds and scales with your spellpower.

Air - Wrath of Air Totem - The totem provides 5% spell haste to all party and raid members within 40 yards.

Earth - Strength of Earth Totem - The totem increases the Strength and Agility of all party and raid members within 40 yards by 549.

Fire - Flametongue Totem - The totem increases the spell power of all party and raid members within 40 yards by 6%.

You will use these 4 totems the most. If you have a paladin in your party, he/she will provide you with your mana regeneration that you would normally get from Mana Spring Totem. If you do not have a paladin present, then you should drop Mana Spring Totem.

The only time you should be replacing Healing Stream is when you want to drop your Mana Tide Totem -- this is like an innervate on a stick.

If you have two shaman in your group, chances are they are either elemental or enhancement. An Enhancement shaman will drop Windfury Totem in place of Wrath of Air, and will cover the Strength of Earth for you. That leaves you free to drop Stoneskin Totem, which allows your paladin to use a different aura such as (Concentration).

An elemental shaman will cover Totemic Wrath by dropping their Searing Totem. You do NOT need to drop your Flametongue Totem when an elemental shaman is present. You can also drop a Searing Totem.

If you have a warrior in your group, then Battle Shout can cover your Strength of Earth Totem. Drop Stoneskin instead and have your paladin use a different aura.

You can use 4.0.1 Buff Map at the end of the comments to see what buffs other classes share.


GLYPHS

I will only be listing the relevant glyphs for a Restoration shaman. Elemental and Enhancement glyphs will not be discussed. The glyphs with a * beside them are the ones I recommend.

PRIME GLYPHS

*Glyph of Earth Shield - Increases the amount healed by your Earth Shield by 20%.

*Glyph of Riptide - Increases the duration of Riptide by 40%.

*Glyph of Earthliving Weapon - Increase the effectiveness of your Earthliving weapon's periodic healing by 20%.

Glyph of Water Shield - Increases the passive mana regeneration of your Water Shield spell by 50%.

After experiencing both water shield and earthliving weapon glyphs, I must say that my mana regeneration has stabilized after my guild members learned most of the heroic 5 man fights.  I no longer feel the need for Glyph of Water Shield, and instead recommend the Earthliving Weapon Glyph for a boost in your OOMPH power. 

MAJOR GLYPHS

*Glyph of Chain Heal - Increases healing done by your Chain Heal spell to targets beyond the first by 15%, but decreases the amount received by the initial target by 10%.

*Glyph of Healing Stream Totem - Your Healing Stream Totem also increases the Fire, Frost, and Nature resistance of party and raid members within 30 yards by 150. (SITUATIONAL)

*Glyph of Healing Wave - Your Healing Wave also heals you for 20% of the healing effect when you heal someone else.

Glyph of Totemic Recall - Causes your Totemic Recall ability to return an additional 50% of the mana cost of any recalled totems.

I selected these glyphs because normally you will be casting Chain Heal for the multi-target heal, not the initial heal. Riptide also boosts your Chain Heal to make up for this. The HST glyph is important for two reasons. First, if you do not have enough players in your 10 man raid to cover a resistance buff you may need, then this totem comes in handy along with providing the healing boost (you don't have to sacrifice your healing totem for elemental resistance). Second, if you have a paladin in your raid, you will not be using your mana totem. You will be using your healing totem. If you have no paladin, use your mana spring totem.  The Healing Wave Glyph is a MUST have because we use healing wave quite a bit now.


MINOR GLYPHS

*Glyph of Renewed Life - Your reincarnation spell no longer requires a reagent.

*Glyph of Water Breathing - Your Water Breathing spell no longer requires a reagent.

*Glyph of Water Walking - Your Water Walking spell no longer requires a reagent.

Glyph of the Arctic Wolf - Alters the appearance of your Ghost Wolf transformation, causing it to resemble an arctic wolf.

As far as minor glyphs go, it all depends on if you want to carry a stack of ankhs and have a plain wolf form or look like a pretty white wolf and have to give up a bag space.  I won't judge.


GEMS

Beginning of Cataclysm / 5 man heroics -- I am going with +20 INT / +20 SPI for a majority of my sockets until I feel safe healing in heroics.  Who knows how long that will take! The following gems are a selection of what you can choose from. 

OPTIONS

Blue/Red sockets: Purified Demonseye +20 INT / +20 SPI  

Red/Yellow sockets: Reckless Ember Topaz +20 INT / +20 H or Artful Ember Topaz +20 INT / +20 M

Other Red/Yellow socket option (but not really recommended at this point): Potent Ember Topaz +20 INT / +20 Crit

You want to treat mastery much like hit, as in, get enough but don't get excessive for Deep Healing. We should get enough crit from gear to not have to gem it, as usual. Most of our gear will automatically include intellect and stamina and then either haste, crit or mastery.  You will want to get your haste to at least 916, which will allow all three of our HoTs (Earthliving Weapon, Riptide, and Healing Rain) to gain one extra tick.  For more elaboration on this topic, see Vixsin's post @ Life in Group 5.

Think of mastery as free spellpower.  It doesn't really show itself until your targets are lower, but then again, there will be plenty of times in heroics when your targets ARE low, at least for now. Collect and save as much gear as possible!  There is nothing wrong with being a packrat.

Some gear will be intellect, stamina, and then haste and crit. For now, do haste > crit.   I have a feeling that Mastery will be just as yummy as haste, especially when people will be getting hit hard. Remember, our mastery is based on our target's health, so it works better when people are actually taking some damage.

HEALING PROCESS IN 5 MANS and HEROICS

  • Before the pull
 1)  Eat your buff food and drink elixirs/flasks.  You can choose spirit, intellect, or if you are unusually rich, drop a dragon feast for your group.  I recommend making friends with an alchemist and drinking a flask, just in case your party wipes.
 
2)  Examine your group make up. 
Do you have a paladin?  Ask him to use might and ret aura, and drop your stoneskin totem and healing totem. Do you have an elemental shaman?  Both of you need to drop searing totem.  
Do you have a warrior?  Ask him to battle shout (he should be) and swap out your strength of earth totem for a stoneskin totem.  
If you have both a warrior and a paladin, then use earthbind totem and healing stream totem!


2)   Put Earth Shield on the tank.  Target him and type /focus.  You can also bind this into a macro so that you only have to target the tank and push your macro.  This will always keep your tank's portrait on your screen so that you do not have to retarget him, regardless if you use mouseover macros or not.


3)  Put Water Shield on yourself.  Download an addon, either classtimers or power auras, and set yourself up an aura that tells you when your water shield has fallen off.  You can also do this for Earth Shield on your focused target.


4)  Are you in an instance where you can bind elementals?  If so, then go ahead and ask the tank to wait for you to cast your bind before he makes the pull.  This should be treated like any other trap, sheep, or shackle.


  • Pulling Trash and Bosses
1)  Drop your totems so that everyone in your group will benefit.  If this means running in with the tank, then so be it.  Just watch out and don't get cleaved.  Dropping your totems in the doorway of the boss will not help if your party will be fighting very far away.


2)  If your tank is taking a little bit of damage, put Riptide on him/her.  This should sustain him for a few seconds.  If the pull was botched and he has more mobs than is pleasant, then hit your Unleash Elements and hit him with a Greater Healing Wave.  If that doesn't get him out of the danger zone, then slap a Healing Surge on him.  After that, you should be able to either Healing Wave him back up until your Unleash Elements is off cooldown.


If the pull went great, then just use a Riptide to get your haste boost, and wait until he takes enough damage to merit using Unleash Elements + Greater Healing Wave.  As far as I know, you can also spam Healing Wave until the cows come home because the mana cost is not enough to drain us of mana.  However, it is not very powerful, which is why you should mostly use it to top people off.


You can also use Flame Shock (or any other shock) on the boss, if you have it talented, to reduce the mana cost of your next healing spell.  On some bosses, I have plenty of time to use the Telluric Currents talent, but on others, I must be watching to interrupt/be preoccupied.  I believe learning heroics will take time.  Do NOT get frustrated if you end up wiping once or twice.  Look at what happened and decide what you can do to avoid repeating the wipe.


3)  Use Nature's Swiftness if anyone is in danger of dying, but, give priority to the tank if two people are near death.  Nature's Swiftness is very precious now.  Use it carefully!


4)  Drop a Healing Rain if you know the pull has a lot of AoE damage.  Specifically, I can think of the mobs in Throne of the Tides that levitate your party; the magic caster pulls in Grim Batol, and any other pulls where you might be hexed/sheeped/incapacitated and cannot heal your party for a few seconds.  You can also use chain heal if your group is able to safely group together without chaining any diseases/magic debuffs.


5)  ON BOSSES, be sure to drop your Mana Tide Totem when you are around 65% mana.  This will help it possibly be off cooldown before the fight is over if you need another boost.  Use your mana potion when you reach 65% again.  Take advantage of any priest Hymn of Hopes or Druid Innervates.  ASK NICELY.  Do not expect or demand it -- yes, it is nice when the other members of your group watch your mana, but still, be polite. They may need a gentle reminder to pop their mana return for you when you are low.  In raids, you should work out a CD rotation with your other healers/dpsers.


6)  Don't forget to use your Heroism/Bloodlust!  Mages also get Time Warp now.


DO NOT WAIT UNTIL YOU ARE EMPTY!  If you reach zero mana and then frantically try to recover, you may wipe.  Be proactive; watch your mana pool.  It is very important!

November 26, 2010

Llani the Kingslayer




I managed to convince a friend of mine to find 8 more people to finish up his 10 man ICC run.  We tried getting Been Waiting a Long Time for This a few times but kept messing up during phase 2 and 3.  After about 8 attempts we went ahead and just flat out killed him.  When we reached 10%, it was right when a bunch of vile spirits were about to land.  After we died en mass, I was open-mouthed thinking we had wiped due to exploding spirits.  Upon recognizing that we had WON, I shrieked and cheered and giggled like, well, a girl.  He didn't drop my mace, but, he did drop a nice [Tel'thas, Dagger of the Blood King] for me. OH yeah.


Fishing with one of my best friends, Timo.
I am sad that I missed last week's kill with <Vythis> but studying comes first. One of the healers that was present in last week's run was a healer I am very proud of; he went from knowing next to nothing about druid healing to rocking the socks off good ole' Arthas. On our server, GDKP (gold DKP) runs are very common, and earlier in the year I took him to a few to get him some starting gear.  From that he progressed into researching his class, learning his stats and gems, to rocking the healing meters with me.  I am happy he was there to help the guild get it's first batch of Kingslayers.  In the end, he stepped into a main healing role and was there to rock the healing on his own, like a pro!  


Hanging out with my peeps.
I am proud (and relieved) to have another quality healer to play with on a weekly basis (along with our other druid healer). One of our priest healers recently returned from a long absence, so I think our healing for Cataclysm is set.  We will probably roll druid/priest/shaman, as long as our priest sticks around.  Eventually I will have three healing toons I can swap in, but I know shaman the best.  My shaman is also DPS (I think it should be required for healers). I spent a majority of attempts on the LK tonight as elemental.  I even hit 10K DPS a few times!  Most of the time I hovered around 8 or 9, which I think is pretty good for not having played elemental in a LONG time.

With roughly a week and a half to go until Cataclysm is live, I am still thinking about which class I want to play.  When I consider my druid and priest, it comes down to one fact: I think I would miss my shaman way too much to shelve her as my main.  I started out as a shaman in this game, and when I finally was able to play her again, I was ecstatic.  



http://evion.deviantart.com/


Shaman is the class I can relate to the most.  Shaman is outdoorsy, elemental, in tune with the earth, cool, classy, yet still fun.  Shaman is lighthearted, not as tree-huggy as the druid, yet not as religious and prim as the priest.  She's not as backwoods as the nature lover but not as worldly as the holy healer.  She's a spiritual leader that communes with the earth, wind, water, and flames--the elements that make up the world.  She has half her faith in the Earthmother and the other half in Elune; she believes the light exists in spiritual fragments that are ever present in every being on Azeroth.  She believes you have to understand the foundation to understand the world.

Funny, that's how I feel.  

I don't relate entirely with the green swirly druid. I don't relate entirely with the golden sparkling priest.  

I definitely relate to the shaman.

Looks like I found my answer.
We got this.


November 23, 2010

Returning to the "Casual Player" Mentality

First, a story.  Yesterday, I got off work around 4 PM and drove to the house where I stay with a friend, packed up my belongings and jumped back in the truck to drive home to the farm.  As I was heading out of town, a truck passed me.  Normally I wouldn't have given the person a second glance BUT, this truck had a horde sticker on the back.  One of those red, upside-down-horseshoe-esque stickers.  I was so surprised at this person's real life identification with a video game that I waved and laughed.  I really need a pretty blue alliance sticker for my truck.  Nobody would believe I play anyway.

Since I have a job now (money is amazing, let me tell you that) I don't play WoW even close to as much as I used to.  They say money can't buy happiness but, it definitely can make things easier, more comfortable, and fun while you pursue it!  I usually only get to play Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights, and that's only if I don't come home and fall straight asleep.  I try to go to bed early Monday and Wednesday since I spend Tue/Thurs at school all day.  That narrows down the playtime to maybe 2-3 hours on Tuesday and Thursday nights when I come home.  Again, that is, if I don't just go straight to the shower and then bed.  I love sleep.

This new limited playtime has actually caused some different reactions to the game for me that I haven't seen in a while:

November 18, 2010

"We've Not Enough People...We're Going to ToC" "Wait...What? I Didn't Sign up for That..."

I mixed a few topics around in my head this week, but none really struck me as "this is what I want to write about."  I still intend to do a post detailing my new healing UI setup (although it's pretty straightforward), but for now, I decided to elaborate a little bit on what Zelmaru said over at our favorite home of ruling amphibians, Murloc Parliament:
"When you sign up for a raid, do you sign up for the activity itself, and if the activity changes, your sign up is void? Or do you sign up for a time slot, and the guild has you for that time slot, regardless of what you end up doing during that time?
If you sign up for an activity, how much of a change in plans is so much of a change that you are no longer expected to attend under the original sign up?
Does it matter whether some people still need something from the new activity? Does it matter what they need (i.e. a mount versus an achievement?)
If changes of plans were common, would you think twice before signing up for activities?"

Wednesday Link Love

Since my next post is still in the works (it's on my UI, which I *think* I have finished to a point where I am content with it) I decided to give a little link love today on some helpful, and interesting topics.

Curious about where to go when December 7th hits?  Beruthiel has a detailed little post explaining where the new zones are, what level ranges the new dungeons have, and even included a snazzy map!

How about Rated Battlegrounds?  I'm pretty terrible at pvp, but Jason is not!

Brush up on your paper interview skills so your guild applications shine! (Learn more at Rank4HealingTouch.)

Food for Thought: What happens when your raid changes plans?  Zelmaru asks some very thoughtful questions on that issue we have all dealt with yet don't always talk about.

Psynister tears "hand me down" or Heirloom gear apart into all the different categories (what you should dress your toon in, what you should enchant it with, and even how to color coordinate it! He definitely covers it all.
Read and enjoy!

October 31, 2010

5 Tips For Beating the Pre-Expansion Blues

I know I'm not the only one.  We've spent too much time playing, too much time trying to get all the achievements on every toon we feel is important to us.  With a holiday rolling to a close tonight (Hallow's End) many of us are tired of seeing pumpkins, candy, and daily quests as much as we are in real life.  One can't help but groan when thinking about logging on to do...anything.

I finally managed to get the courage to sit down and peek back at the game after about a week.  With getting a new job, a physics exam coming up, and having my exciting Halloween plans crushed (my friend's vehicle broke down), I didn't feel like doing the same repetitive things over and over (Headless Horseman).  I figured with one horse on one toon, that was enough.  All three of my toons have their squashlings and helms.  My little pally is level 43 now, so she's been making progress.

So, to ward off the slightly depressing slump from "Warcraft Overload" I ignored Blizzcon, bowed out of my weekly raids, gave 1K gold to a friend and put 5K in my guild bank.  I still have plenty.  I let two up and coming healers in our guild take the spotlight over in the raider raid.  I went to bed at 8 PM with knowledge that the raid was doing well and that they weren't desperately dependent on me.  I'm a great healer, but being one of the best in your small guild comes with a cost: you are always in demand.  It can get tiring knowing that if you need a Wednesday night off, you might be gimping the run for the night. 

I did consider this week that maybe raiding isn't my thing anymore, maybe I am just in the mood to be a casual player who doesn't raid.  Raiding does take a good three hours once a week, which is three hours I could be sleeping or doing something else.  But, over the weekend I found I had a LOT of time where I would sit down and say "What can I do?  I did all my cleaning, but I don't really want to play WoW..."  But, here I am, Sunday evening, finally having been tickled by the WoW feather.  Playing feels fun.  Poking the candy buckets feels fun.  Chatting with my guildies and cross country friends feels FUN.

Tip # 1 to Beat the Pre-Expansion Blues:  Log Off.
Take a few days, a week, or even more to just not play.  Pretend WoW doesn't exist. What would you occupy your time with?  Would you watch TV?  Read?  Go jogging?  Would you go to the shooting range, go shopping, go out with friends, go out to dinner, or maybe even cook a big dinner?  WoW is a tricky hobby.  It can seem like you only spend "a little bit of time" on it, but to get things accomplished, sometimes you spend five hours a night on the weekends.  Would you spend five hours in the garage doing woodworking or painting?

I, personally, went jogging, organized my baskets of stuff, and did a little job hunting for after my current (new and shiny) job ends.  I spent an hour or two sitting around with iced tea brainstorming all the fun fantastic ways I am going to blow my spare money.  I settled on a new Blackberry Bold 9650 at the end of November and 4 new cutesy polo shirts from American Eagle IF I get the job at Home Depot. Oh, and two new pairs of jeans.  I'm also buying a new pair of Nike Running shoes and a pair of tan sandals from Abercrombie and Fitch.  Those are about the essentials that I will need going into my new job after mid-December.  This one should be my last non-professional job before I graduate with my B.A. in Geology/Minor in English.

I also made three pitchers of iced tea and drank every one (with the help of my parents).  I wrote two more letters to my brother and intend to write a third one tonight (he's in boot camp). 

Tip # 2 to Beat the Pre-Expansion Blues:  Clean Out Your Bank Toon.
If you're a packrat like me, then cleaning out your bank will give you a break from the usual routine of logging on, raiding, farming, etc.  Sit down and decide what items are important to you and what you really don't need.  I'm betting there's a lot of stuff you could get rid of to generate some goldflow and to give yourself a clean slate to work with.

I've recently finished cleaning out my bank.  I only kept some essentials (eternal air, water, fire, etc) and some elementals.  I also kept a few things like a Sulfuron Ingot, some ore, leather, herbs, and cloth.  The money I made was pretty nice (about 1-2K gold).

Tip # 3 to Beat the Pre-Expansion Blues:  Redo Your UI.
 However, this one sometimes is only a temporary fix.  It should be used in conjunction with Tip # 1.  Visually rearranging your UI is similar to rearranging your living room or bedroom--it reinvigorates your view and stimulates your brain into thinking it is somewhere new.  You can also switch up your mounts, add some non-combat companion pets to the sidebar, and maybe make some macros for your special abilities.  I am about to slam dunk, no holds barred, wipe mine bare ass naked clean.

Tip # 4 to Beat the Pre-Expansion Blues:  Roll a New Character For Fun.
This character is supposed to distract you from your tricked out, epic geared, amazing 80s.  Roll on a new server where you have no contacts, no friends, no bags, no money, and it's just you against the world.  Your goal is to defocus, immerse yourself in your character, and try to imagine what they would think, embarking out on their own into the world.  You could also tie this in with a story-based blog, where you recount your characters beginnings, past history, and their journey into the world of Azeroth.  I'm doing this.  Nope, I'm not telling you where I'm going. That's the beauty of it.

Tip # 5 to Beat the Pre-Expansion Blues:  Disable Real ID. 
 I did. I did it because I didn't want even my family or closest friends bugging me when I wanted absolute peace and quiet.  I moved over to MSN Messenger where everything seems to be working out nicely.  I missed being anonymous.  I have kept some of my closest friends I've made through WoW but for the most part, I am happily back to being known as my character.  Real ID is nice, but it doesn't allow for an 'invisible' mode.  Sometimes I don't want anyone to know I'm on a different server farting around on an alt that was once unknown to everyone but me.  I think this notion of "being available, ALL the time" on Real ID, no matter where we are in the game (or in Starcraft) has led to a lot of people becoming burned out from the social aspect of WoW.  Unfortunately, that's a big part of the game and without it, the game becomes a bit boring (unless that is your cup of tea).  But, an overload of social activity is no good either.

Therefore, to pull yourself out of the Pre-Expansion Blues Slump, go ahead and try a combination of any of the tips I suggested above.  My recommendation would be to first do # 1, then when you come back from your short vacation from WoW, try to focus on what you missed the most and do any of tips # 2-5.

I hope these will help you all remember what you love about the game!
 

October 28, 2010

Spotlight: Zinn's Thoughts on Priest Tier 11 (Amongst Other Things)

Go here, and read Zinn's (Jinxed Thoughts) post on all the previous tier sets, the next tier 11, and his thoughts on the other Tier 11 sets.  I cracked up several times...mostly when he wrote...(parts where I rofled in my chair are bigger):

"Tier 6, Vestments of Absolution/Absolution Regalia, was a step back from the pronounced design of tier 5. Instead we got a tier that made us look like Blackbrother Monks from the middle ages. Nothing wrong with that, one doesn't always want to run around looking like the Christmas Tree of Heaven (tier 5)."
But...I like looking like a Christmas Tree!
"Tier 10 continues the dark design from tier 9 and looks more magey or lockey than priesty really. Also I find the inverted pot we're supposed to wear on our heads looks completely ridiculous and I'd probably refuse to use it even if it was half-decent. Or hide it for sure."
I agree. I do not like the hat, which reminds me of a Jester's hat, just not as ridiculous.
"It is clear we're designed around the fact that alot of endgame Cataclysm takes place under water. Did they have to make us look like aquariums though? The head looks like some bad copy of some underwater suit and the shoulders... well where should I begin. Who ever thought running around with bird-baths on your shoulders would be a good idea should be sentenced to play the game eternally dazed."
Bwuahahaha.  Yep, they do look like bird-baths!  I do think priests get some great particle effects on our gear, and the way the chestpiece is high cut in the front really looks nice and creative.  I would like to see different skins that are designed that way.

Overall, to reply to Zinn, I think the tier looks unusual yet pleasant. I like it because of the high cut chest in front, and the shoulders do actually look nice with the particle effects.  It is a tiny bit over the top as I don't really understand why we couldn't have had some...watery wings or something, but, hey, at least we aren't paladins (go go Pink Rocky Ranger!)  Sorry Zinn, I have to disagree; I think the paladin set looks horridly bland and like something from Candyland.

Also, I got a new job (Friday/Saturday/Sunday/Monday) which I start on Nov. 5th.  I will not be updating these days nor doing much since I work 6 PM to midnight (ugh) but hey, money is money!  It's only until May also, then I will be in my last class and then graduated in August.

October 19, 2010

Warcraft Overload: Too Much of Patch 4.0.1, Raiding, Farming, Alting, and Beta Information...

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed.  Are you?  I went to bed at 10 PM last night and before that had spent the evening cooking with my mother.  I definitely welcomed the break from herb farming.  With three different characters PLUS Hallow' End to do...well, my head is starting to hurt just thinking about it, and I'm an hour and a half--70 miles away from my computer.  I think I brought Ibuprofen with me.

First, the patch had so many different changes, so many new spells, that trying to tackle them on three toons (plus my slowly leveling paladin alt--she's now 42) has been a big challenge.  My UI is STILL busted, although at the moment I believe it IS working, it's just that Blizzard and their stupid disconnect bugs won't STOP.  Every time I switch characters--about my third swap my loading bar just gets stuck and boy is it [bleep]ing annoying.  Wow.  I have cursed like a sailor about ten times so far and flipped my computer the bird double that many times.  Most of the time it's directed at Blizzard.  Why is it not possible to release a product that at least doesn't D/C you every damn HOUR?  Occasionally when I zone into a BG, instance, or switch zones, it will do the "load the bar to full" and then crash.  I don't even get d/c'd, it's just a flat out 'let me toss myself off a cliff so you have to reopen me'.  I figured a week would be long enough to fix the broken crap, but, no, Blizzcon and their self indulgent weekend-of-overpriced-walking-around-a-convention-floor-to-stand-in-hour-long-lines-just-to-say-I-did is more important.  Well how about this.  HIRE some more techhie developers to come back and clean up the bugs that seem small but are in reality crashing the entire game repeatedly.  Quit sucking up money like a damn SUV gas hog and invest some of it back in your game and company through your employees.  If you don't fix things, eventually the game will start to go the way of the dodo.  Yes, it really will if you let it go on long enough.

Now that I've finished ranting about that (I'm afraid to raid, for what if I get d/c'd in the middle of a boss?)  let's go back to the spells.  I've tried to focus on just my shaman and druid at the moment, because Llani the resto shaman is a healer for our Wednesday night raid team. We missed it last week because our fearless leader forgot to download the patch ahead of time and his wife is also one of our team's DPSers.  Tonight (Tuesday the 19th) will probably be a casual run of something.  I intend to take Mushee the resto druid so I can get more used to healing on her.  I am really leaning toward my druid for Cataclysm still, but, it all depends on who wants to play what.  Druids don't have an instant heal like Shaman have with Riptide.  Priests have a similar heal in Circle of Healing, but it is instant only and not a HoT.  Riptide gives just enough of a buffer on a target that I can follow it up with a fairly quick heal, then maybe move to a longer one or a Chain Heal.  For druids...I feel like I'm still putting Rejuv on almost everyone who is going to take damage fairly shortly (or is), using Efflorescence (the big green puddle) and picking a tank to Lifebloom.  I am using Regrowth as my new Nourish and so far it has been working out alright. Nourish is MUCH cheaper, but slower to cast.  If you have a better grasp at predicting damage on your team, then Nourish is a great way to go.  But, you may have a few not-so-fast people in your raid that you may need to heal up very quickly.

Farming for herbs so far has been pretty good in the mornings on my days off, and pretty pitiful in the evenings when there is nobody around.  I ended up selling my herb stacks for 25g each and that is totally fine with me.  I can make money much faster this way and I always have a good 4-5 hour block of time per day to farm.  On Tue/Thurs I wake up at 5 AM, stay in town all day and am home by 7 PM.  I stay up late Tuesdays and Thursdays because (for now) I have no job (I applied at a farm supply store on Friday...cross your fingers!) and working outside on the farm only takes a few hours per day.  Maybe I will even start selling my gold to companies, who knows.  Maybe I will just become a full time vegetable farmer (wheeeee squash and pumpkins!)

Myrani the draenei protection paladin has reached level 42.  I blew through 32-36 in one sitting, then went to 40, then 42.  1-2 levels an evening seems to be OK. That's about an hour and a half or so.  I have paused for now while a friend of mine catches up and then I think I will be able to barrel through instances with a reliable pocket healer (it's weird being in the OTHER role...but I think it is a good learning experience for me).  Protection pally has been LOADS of fun and I can't imagine being any other class as a tank.  I plan to have her OS be holy, and her MS be protection.  She will be strictly for running heroics with the guild, and tanking things for the guild.  I think she will stick more to the casual raiding team because I am first and foremost a healer, tanking is "fun" but it doesn't appeal to me as a fulltime gig.  Overall, BOOM Avenger's Shield, BOOM Holy Wrath, BOOM Hammer of the Righteous!  Did I miss any mobs? Didn't think so!

As far as the Beta goes, I'm tired of reading about it.  At this point the only things I am interested in are the raids and the professions (so I know the fate of Dreamcloth).  I fully intend to take my sweet-ass time leveling to 85 on either Llani or Mushee first, then Nelena, then Myrani, then my BE priest on my other server (with a friend) and at the same time on the other Mushee, my Draenei Mage.  That will probably occupy me for the first year of the expansion.  By then our guild should be rank 25, if not sooner, and the first thing I intend to do when we get the patch is fish up 10,000 fish.  With my fishing expertise, I can easily do about 500 a day at the least, 1000 a day at the most.  That will give us a nice boost when it comes to raiding.  I don't mind being a little behind the gear curve as I do my research and know where to craft/get the best blues and epics for a starting raid set.  Plus, getting that fishing recipe will REALLY help us out.  Who knows, Mushee might even get a turtle out of it if I do all the fishing in pools in Northrend.  So far the raids sound quite exciting and involved, and that pleases me.  I like exciting (but not in a bang my head on the desk kind of way) raids that offer a challenge in the way of execution.  RNG based encounters do nothing but make me into a very mad and angry and frustrated pocket healer that snaps at people over vent :(  So please, Blizzard, no RNG based encounters.  Execution-based all the way.

That's where I stand at the moment...tonight I think I will just go straight to bed after doing my 3 Hallow's End randoms and daily "smash the pumpkin" quest.  I need a toothpick on Llani and Mushee and a pumpkin hat on Llani.  Myrani got the first set of toothpicks. Pfft.  Tomorrow I will try to get a little more organized.

October 18, 2010

BA Shared Topic: Voice Chat

This week, Azryu over at The Arcanery asks, "What if voice chat worked in cross realm dungeons?"

Hmm. My reply is going to be a bit short, since the question is small!  However, it brings up a good thought.  I am glad it doesn't work.
  1. The thought of interacting with four other COMPLETE strangers, possibly having to mute in game sounds because of them (if muting sounds even affects that aspect) is just too much of a pain to do every single random 5 man dungeon.  
  2. Plus, my guess is there would be some annoying players, younger players (who are either immature in what they say or immature and don't need to hear things older players may say)  or speech-challenged players, two groups of which could be taken advantage of.  That sweet little girl does NOT need a headset to communicate with random strangers on the internet.  She really doesn't.  
  3. Accountability.  People may be rude as all hell over voice chat and not have a care in the world because they aren't on your server. At least if a random pug on your server gets in vent, for a raid, you might have an inkling of who at least a quarter of the people are.  If the RL is rude, people will drop.
  4. I'm already chatting with my guild on vent. Why do I need to stop for a random 5 man?  
The only advantage to having voice chat in 5 man cross-realm dungeons is that new strategies in Cataclysm can be more easily explained.  There would be no typing or slow explanation of what to do.  People could explain reasons why they are going afk "My puppy just peed on the floor" or "BRB jeep in living room" without having to waste time typing it out or inciting use of the vote-kick button for not typing anything.  Plus, perhaps, it MIGHT bring the group together a bit, but, you might end up with one of the people in number 2 and either have someone making fun of them or them making fun of someone else. Maybe you.

So all in all, no voice chat in cross realm dungeons, mainly for reason number 3.

Other Thoughts:

Aliera @ The Violet Scribe
Blacksen @ Blacksen's End
Azryu @ The Arcanery