Prayer of Healing Request

Overall Healing Performance

Beruthiel at Falling Leaves and Wings put together an analysis of current healing throughput in Mists of Pandaria. Although Beruthiel is focusing on Druid healing performance, one thing is clear, as with the early stages of Cataclsym, Priests are once again at the bottom of the charts.

Looking back at Vixsin's post on healing in early Cataclysm, we see that Priests were not doing any better, and were sitting at roughly the same place.

Interestingly, it looks like I chose the wrong time to switch away from my Shaman, as they appear to be doing well.

Prayer of Healing

One of the issues with Priest healing, especially in 10 person raids, is the fact that our main AoE healing spell, Prayer of Healing, is a group-only spell. It is, as far as I know, the only remaining group-only healing spell in the game. In practice, the group nature of the spell means that it almost never hits the full 5 targets. In addition, there are many, many times in 10 person raiding when I simply can't effectively use the spell, since only two or three players are within range, at which point it is more mana efficient to use single-target healing spells. This is especially true when we have only 1 or two melee DPS in the raid, or when the ranged are spread out far enough that Prayer of Healing cannot hit all of them.

I know that 25 person raiders often (legitimately) complain about not having enough room to spread out. In 10 person raids however, the opposite is often true; healers typically have a much larger "area" to cover, with players often out of range. Besides requires the healer to run around a lot more, this also significantly reduces the effectiveness and usefulness of Prayer of Healing.

Interestingly, when running in (25 person) Raid Finder, Prayer of Healing is more balanced, as it is much easier to find a group in the raid that is close enough to heal all 5 group members. Of course, this assumes that the raid is actually grouped up by melee and ranged, which is rare. Rarer still is the raid leader that will listen to Priests request to "please give me assist so I can organize the groups" :)

Smart Healing

Honestly, I'm not the biggest fan of "smart healing", but I think that changing Prayer of Healing to be a "smart heal" would be a huge improvement, and would significantly increase the versatility and throughput of Priest healing. That said, I do think that this change might require additional balancing, such as slightly decreasing it's healing output or increasing it's mana cost to account for the fact that it's actually healing the maximum number of possible targets.

Published Oct 24 »




Valor Points in Mists of Pandaria

In my opinion, the Valor Points system that Blizzard has given us in Mists of Pandaria is terrible. I like that Blizzard has given us new ways of getting Valor Points, but I think the actual number of Valor Points that quests, bosses, and dungeons give is simply too low. After 3 weeks of MoP, I have yet to cap out my Valor Points for a single week. Let's just do some math on what it would take to do this.

Let's start with the "worst" case, and assume we use only daily quests to cap VP.

  • 1000/5 = 200 daily quests per week.

So, if you're doing daily quests and nothing else, you will need to complete 200 daily quests to cap your valor points. That's a lot of dailies. OK, let's assume we're also running LFR. That gives 180 VP total.

  • 1000 - 180 = 820
  • 820/5 = 164 daily quests per week.

OK, that's still a lot of daily quests. What about if we run 1 daily heroic, say 5 days a week?

  • 1000 - (60*5) = 700 [Heroics]
  • 700 - 180 = 520 [LFR]
  • 520/5 = 104 daily quests per week.

Hmm, that's still quite a bit of daily quests. OK, let's include 3 normal mode raid bosses.

  • 1000 - (60*5) = 700 [Heroics]
  • 700 - 180 = 520 [LFR]
  • 520 - (25*3) = 445 [Normal mode bosses]
  • 445/5 = 89 daily quests per week.



Anyways, I could go on. My point is, I don't think it's easy to cap Valor Points. Actually, ironically, if you look at the "time investment" it seems to me that a casual player running heroics and scenarios, and doing some dailies, is probably going to cap their VP faster than a raider.

Looking at the situation from this perspective, I think the Valor Points that raid bosses give are too low. If I remember correctly, we were getting around 100 VP for each raid boss in Cataclysm. Compared to that, the 25 VP from MoP (normal) bosses seems too low. I think Blizzard should, at the very least, bring that number up to 50 or 75.

Published Oct 23 »




Collected Thoughts on Theramore's Fall

Yesterday I wrote up some of my early thoughts on the Theramore's Fall Scenario.

This morning I was wondering what others beyond my guild had to say about Theramore's Fall. It turns out there are quite a few people that have similar thoughts about the lack of story and lore in the Scenario.

Lore Disaster

Coriel at Blessing of Kings feels that the worst thing to happen to WoW is the novels. Coriel also comments that last year she predicted that the sacking of Theramore's would be lacking an in-game storyline. Unfortunately, she couldn't have made a more accurate prediction.

Tzufit at Tree Heals go Woosh accurately, in my opinion, calls the event "The Theramore Disaster". I couldn't agree more. As with Coriel, I agree that this is a terrible direction for WoW to be moving in; taking the storyline out of the game is wrong on so many levels.

Ceraphus at Variant Avatar thinks that Theramore fails as a pre-expansion tie-in. I agree, and this reinforces the feeling I've had for a while that the Mists of Pandaria is a "filler expansion".

What makes even less sense to me is that most other MMOs are moving in the other direction, and trying to make the story-lines more compelling. Take Star Wars: The Old Republic. This game was universally praised for it's stories and lore. The story-lines in SWTOR are compelling, involving, and actually in the game. How novel. Blizzard seems to be taking the exact opposite approach, and moving content out of the game, and into the novels. What? How is that supposed to make the players, AKA your customers, enjoy your game more in any way? I just don't understand it.

Some Positive Notes

On the flip side, Cymre at Bubbles of Mischief has a somewhat positive walkthrough of the Theramore's Fall Scenario. Cymre focuses more on the Scenario mechanics, and I do agree that her that the small quick 3-person group experiences are nice, and can be fun. For me though, the lack of any significant lore or story details was overwhelming and just too hard to ignore.

Discussion Threads

Meanwhile, there are some decent, if somewhat hostile, discussons taking place on the WoW forums here, here, and here and on Reddit here, here, and here. I'm sure there are also tons of other discussions out there, but these seem to be two of the more heavily trafficked discussions.

Where is this Going?

I don't like the direction WoW is going with moving more and more of it's lore outside the game and into the novels. I have no problem with novels or other out-of-game content "filling in the details" or expanding on the story, but to have major plotlines and lore details outside of the game seems to me like a major failing on Blizzard's part. I hope that Blizzard reverses it's course of action on this and keeps future lore within the game.

Published Sep 18 »




Theramore's Fall Scenario

The Theramore's Fall scenario was released to the US realms today. I don't have much good to say about it.

There are SPOILERS, so read on at your own risk!

In terms of the actual scenario mechanics itself, It felt like we needed a tank. The one time I was in a group without a tank, everyone was constantly really low on HP, and several times I pulled all the aggro and had to start healing and using CDs or I would have died. On another run the group ran ahead while I was healing up and a patrol aggroed on me and killed me in seconds. So yeah, running it without a tank feels like a handicap. I was expecting to see more "avoidable damage" but other than the "bosses" it didn't feel like any of the damage was really avoidable, unless you could chain-stun or chain-cc mobs. The damage was more difficult to deal with when there was no tank, since aggro is all over the place, and not all classes have damage avoidance or mitigation cooldowns.

But really, these mechanical issues are small compared to the story and lore issues with this scenario.

The story was non-existent. It really needs an intro cinematic. Or a quest with some text to read. Or something. Anything! I had no idea what was going on, who anyone was, or why anything was happening. Then at the end when (Garrosh? the Goblins?) drops the mana bomb on Theramore, I was even more confused. What a joke.

From the Horde perspective where was Jaina the whole time? Why didn't she just come in a kick our butts? I did not understand this. On a lesser note, where was Thrall? Still busy dealing with the death of Deathwing? Jaina has been a friend and confident of Thrall for a long time, and I would expect to hear something from Thrall about this.

Theramore's Fall Scenario

Again, from a Horde perspective, who was the spy? Why was he there? What was he doing? How was he caught? Why wasn't he just outright executed? How did a Blood Elf spy in Theramore? So many questions. So few answers.

Why did we attack Theramore if the Goblins (or Garrosh) were just going to drop a mana bomb on it? A distraction? Really? Saving the spy? Maybe?

Talking with a few people in-game, apparently there's actually a very interesting back-story to this scenario, only it isn't in-game, it's from the latest WoW book, Tides of War. Lame. This story should have been in-game.

I don't think this is a small problem either. In my (albeit relatively small) guild, I could only find a single person that understood what was going on, and that was because they had read the Tides of War book. Every single person in my guild did not like the scenario. There was an overwhelming sense of confusion, being let down, and anger that Blizzard had "sold out" and was effectively forcing you to have to purchase a book if you wanted the actual back story.

This is not how an MMO is supposed to work. For shame Blizzard, for shame.

In the end, the only redeeming quality is that the scenario is relatively quick, taking less than 10 minutes to complete. That's pretty much it.

Published Sep 17 »




I Can't Hear You Over the Sound of How Awesome I am

After two weeks of near misses, the OpenRaid group I've been running Heroic Ragnaros with managed to get I Can't Hear You Over the Sound of How Awesome I Am.

Sinestra Awesome Achievement


I still dislike Wrack as a mechanic, partly because it seems like that was all that I was doing, so it's good to be done with this fight.

Dispels

Published Sep 14 »




Raid Cooldowns in Mists of Pandaria

MMO-Champion posted a great listing of the new buff system. However, I think the listing is incomplete, as it does not include raid cooldowns. I've gone through the listing of talents for Mists of Pandaria and compiled a list of raid cooldowns.


Raid Damage Reduction Cooldowns


Raid Healing Cooldowns


Raid Mana Restoration Cooldowns


Raid Battle Rez Cooldowns


Raid Haste Cooldowns



Am I missing anything?

Published Aug 27 »




Priest Talents in MoP

The new talent system is one of my favorite things about Mists of Pandaria. I've never really liked the talent system in World of Warcraft, and I think that any changes which give players more freedom to pick and choose talents based on specific dungeons, boss encounters, battlegrounds, or arena comps is great.

In addition, I'm currently strongly considering shifting from my Resto Shaman to my Disc/Holy Priest. My Priest was actually my first character all the way back in Vanilla, and it wasn't until TBC and Sunwell Plateau that I switched to playing a Resto Shaman (read: was required to switch to a Resto Shaman due to encounter mechanics and min/maxing :p).

With that in mind, lets take a closer look at each of the Priest talents.


Tier 1 Talents

This tier of talents is available at level 15, and focuses on player control. These talents appear to be mostly PvP-oriented, although I can see some of them being useful in PvE.


Void Tendrils: This is a 20 second AOE root on a 30 second CD. Limited to 5 enemies. Unless Blizzard is changing things in MoP, most PvE mobs in raids and even dungeons are immune to roots. Because killing the Void Tendril breaks the root, I'm not sure how viable this talent will be in PvP.


Psyfiend: This is a 30 second AOE fear on a 45 second CD. This is potentially more powerful than Void Tendrils, especially for escaping from enemy PvP players. This talent would probably be my choice in Battlegrounds.


Dominate Mind: This is a 30 second mind control on a 30 second CD. This replaces the old Mind Control ability, which has had several important uses in past raids (for example, the Fire Protection buff for Ragnaros in Molten Core, controlling the understudies on Razuvious in Naxxramas, getting the achievement on Thorim in Ulduar).



Tier 2 Talents

This tier of talents is available at level 30, and focuses on player movement.


Body and Soul: This grants 4 seconds of 60% increased movement speed to any target of your Power Word: Shield or Leap of Faith. Holy Priests should be familiar with this, as it is a reincarnation of an existing Holy talent. I suspect that this will be the talent I use most often, as it offers general utility.


Angelic Feather: This grants 4 seconds of 60% increased movement speed to anyone that runs through one of three feathers that you place on the ground. This is an interesting ability that, to be honest, I'm not quite sure how to use. As of right now the best use I've seen for it in the MoP Beta has been to place them on the ground while I'm leveling to make moving between mobs easier. I think we'll have to wait and see the specific MoP dungeon and raid encounters before we'll know how useful this is.


Phantasm: This grants 3 seconds of protection from movement speed debuffs and ranged attacks. I'm not sure if it removes movement debuffs as I didn't get the chance to test it in the MoP Beta, but either way this will probably be my go-to choice for PvP



Tier 3 Talents

This tier of talents is available at level 45, and focuses on mana savings or mana regeneration.


From Darkness, Comes Light: This is a 15% chance to proc free Flash of Heals or free Mind Spikes that do not consume DoTs. This is a reworking of the old Holy Priest talent Surge of Light, basically with added Disciplince and Shadow functionality. This isn't a bad talent, but it's heavily RNG-based. As a healer, I personally don't like RNG based abilities. I prefer to have abilities that give me more control for when I need burst healing or mana regen.


Mindbender: This replaces Shadowfiend with a Mindbender that regens more mana on a longer CD. On a long fight, they work out to be the same, but for some fights the timing will be such that Shadowfiend will actually be better. The situational nature of this talent and the fact that it will sometimes be worse means it's probably not a talent I will ever take. In addition, even if you don't take the talent, you'll still have Shadowfiend. So yeah, this is one of those talents that I just don't understand. I think it needs a buff.


Power Word: Solace: This is a castable direct damage spell that regens mana, similar to a Restoration Shaman casting Lightning Bolt with Telluric Currents. Playing my Shaman in Cataclysm, I loved Telluric Currents, and this will probably be my go-to talent for most encounters.



Tier 4 Talents

This tier of talents is available at level 60, and focuses on "save me" style cooldowns.


Desperate Prayer: This . This talent has a long history, going from an Alliance Priest racial (remember when we had those!) to a Holy Talent, finally in MoP to a talent available to all Priest specs. I love this talent. It saved me many many times in Cataclysm, and I will probably choose this talent for most dungeon, raid, and PvP encounters.


Spectral Guise: Removes you from combat for 6 seconds or 3 direct hits. I suspect this talent will function as a cooldown for taking damage that would otherwise kill you (think Hour of Twilight on Ultraxion in the Dragon Soul raid). However I wasn't able to test this in the MoP Beta.


Angelic Bulwark: Gives you a 20% shield when you go below 30% of your health. This should be very useful in PvP, even with a 90 second cooldown, although I'm not sure I would take it over Desperate Prayer. On the plus side, it will proc when you are stun-locked or otherwise CCed. On the negative side, a 20% shield will most likely put you only one more hit away from death.



Tier 5 Talents

This tier of talents is available at level 75, and focuses on increased damage and healing throughput.


Twist of Fate: Gives you a bonus to damage or healing after damaging or healing a target below 15%. This could be situationally very useful for fights like Chimaeron in Blackwing Depths. From a DPS perspective though, this isn't as enticing, as being able to control DPS for burst situations if often more desirable.


Power Infusion: This is a 20% spell haste and mana reduction on a 2 minute cooldown. This has been a Discipline spell since Vanilla WoW, although this version cannot be cast on others :( That said, this will probably be my go-to talent, as it offers excellent haste increase and mana reduction that you can use exactly when you need it.


Divine Insight: This is a proc that removes the cooldown on Power Word: Shield for Discipline, Prayer of Mending for Holy, and Mind Blast for Shadow. To be honest, I would like this talent better if it worked with Circle of Healing for Holy. The bonus for Discipline will be very nice for tank healing. However, in my opinion, the proc nature of this talent makes it weaker than Power Infusion for most encounters.



Tier 6 Talents

This is the final tier of talents, available at level 90. This tier provides three brand new healing/DPS spells.


Cascade: This talent is a kind of Chain Heal that will also function as a DPS ability; healing if you choose an ally, and damaging if you target an enemy. It has a great graphic. Well, to be fair, all of the Tier 6 talents do. This talent a great talent choice for situations where you have clumped up groups of allies or enemies. This talent is heavy hitting, and it does a significant amount of healing or damage, at a relatively high mana cost. The 25 second cooldown feels appropriate, as spamming this would run you out of mana very quickly.


Divine Star: It's a holy boomerang! It fires in a lines, healing allies, and damaging enemies. As you can expect, this is a great choice for situations when allies or enemies are spread out in a line. This ability doesn't heal for as much as Cascade, but it heals more targets. I think I might prefer this talent over Cascade for many LFR and 25 person raiding encounters because of the lower 15 second cooldown, lower mana cost, and potentially more targets healed.


Halo: This talent sends a wave of healing or damage out to all allies in a 25 yard radius. Heals or hits harder the farther the target is. This talent is powerful, if you can make use of it, and it has a high mana cost and long 40 second cooldown to match. I will need more time to play with this talent, as I can't yet see situations where I would prefer it over Cascade or Divine Star.



Conclusion

I'm absolutely loving the new talent system. To be clear and totally honest, I'm not enthusiastic about all of the tiers, or some of the talents within the tiers, but overall I really like the direction the new talent system is moving towards. It feels more strategic, and I can see myself regularly swapping around talents for different encounters, probably much more so than I ever did with Glyphs in Cataclysm.

Published Aug 20 »




KAHolyPower for MoP BETA

If you're playing on MoP Beta, I now have a beta version of KAHolyPower for MoP. It's a significant rewrite, with new functionality and config options in development.

Here is some of the new features and functionality I have in the works:

  • Support for 5 Holy Power.
  • No more graphical modes (they were just confusing anyway).
  • Independant width and height adjustments.
  • Ability to choose background and border colours.
  • Vertical/horizontal toggle.
  • Checkboxes to toggle the sound effects at 3, 4, and 5 HP.
  • Checkboxes to toggle the animation at 3, 4, and 5 HP.

Screenshots

This screenshot shows the Holy Power with different colors:

This screenshot shows the latest configuration window:

Download Link

The latest version is available here: KAHolyPowerv2.1.5MoP-BETA

Published Jul 30 »




Heroic Deathwing Defeated!

After a total of 28 attempts over 3 nights these past two weeks, my guild downed Heroic Deathwing with most of us picking up the Glory of the Dragon Soul Raider meta-achievement along the way. I'm super proud of everyone in our guild that stuck through the long attempts and demoralizing 13+ minute wipes :p

So yeah, grats us on killing a bunch of arms, wings, tentacles, parasites, bloods, fragments, terrors, and even more bloods!


Strategy

Here's a really quick summary of the strategy we used.

We had 1 tank, 3 healers, and 6 DPS. We were missing one of our main healers, so one of the healers was an ALT, two of our DPS players were unavailable for our kill, and we had to PUG in someone we knew (thanks Guldaby!) but other than that it was more or less our usual group.

Platform 1

The tank took the first Impale, with a Hunter using Deterrence to survive some tentacle damage and Feign Death for the second Impale. We miss-directed the Bloods to the tank, and kept them up until the Corruption tentacle was down. We had our Paladin healer using survivability cool-downs on the first Impale.

Platform 2

Repeat of Platform 1, except with our Rogue using Evasion and Vanish to take the Impale.

Platform 3

Repeat of Platform 1, with Blistering Tentacles.

Platform 4

Repeat of Platform 2, with Blistering Tentacles, and the Rogue using Cloak of Shadows for the Elementium Bolt explosion. The melee (we had 3) were helping kill the Corrupting Parasite.

Phase 2

Glyphed Holy Nova is seriously OP! We stopped at 17% to kill the Fragments and Terrors, then used Bloodlust and killed two waves of Blood adds, stopping at 7%. Then we killed the second set of Fragments and Terrors, using healing cool-downs to keep the tank up. After that we pushed under 5%. We had our Hunter, Shaman, and Warriors slowing the Blood adds. We ignored the last set of Fragments and Terrors, finishing off Deathwing with less than 30 seconds to spare.

Healing Comments

We had a rotation going for the mana regen cool-downs, although on our actual kill we kind of messed it up a bit. Overall the fight didn't feel difficult to heal. According to the logs I spent 35% of the time doing DPS, with the other healers spending 31% and 19% of the time DPSing :D On the flip side, I'm not quite sure we could 2-heal this fight, as when the healing does get rough, it really does get rough, and all of the healers go from about 90% mana to 10% or less in a matter of seconds.


Final Thoughts

Overall, most of us felt that Heroic Madness was a bit easier than Heroic Spine, although not by much. It was also another "do almost boring things for 10 minutes till things get hard and you wipe to tiny mistakes" kind of fights, which aren't exactly our favorite. Although, to be fair, I'm not sure how else you would do it without it being too easy.

Published Jun 20 »




Introducing EquipFail

The other day my guild downed the Heroic Spine of Deathwing fight. However, after taking a look at my armory page the day after the fight, I realized that I had been wearing some fail gear.

Yeah, terrible. Fail.

However, Honeytrap on twitter suggested that it would be nice to create an addon to warn people about this. That's a great idea, and I can't believe I didn't think of that sooner!


Challenge & Solution

The difficulty with creating an addon for this when to check for and notify someone that they are wearing something they shouldn't. If you wait until they start combat, well, it's too late! It's possible to hook into the Ready Check events, but the problem there is that the events don't fire if you are the person performing the ready check (which I usually am) and not every raid group uses ready checks, let alone dungeon or PvP groups.

The best solution I could come up with was to check equipped gear when a player zones into an instance. So, whenever you zone into an instance, the EquipFail addon will check your character's equipped items, and notify you if you are wearing anything that you shouldn't be.

Here is what it looks like:

Why yes, you can click on those item links!


Where can I get it?

The addon is currently on CurseForge. It should be available on the main Curse website and through the Curse Client in a few days when it get copied over (this is something that happens automatically and I can't control).


What does it check for?

EquipFail checks for the various rings of the Kirin Tor, fishing poles (wow there's a lot of them), fishing hats, a few trinkets, and some other odds-and-ends. There are probably a lot more items I could be checking for, so let me know (here or on the Curse website) if you have anything else you want to check for. EquipFail also checks for empty slots.


Issues

There are a few outstanding issues that I still need to deal with:

  • Handle the Ready Check events. Despite what I said above, this might still be useful.
  • Clean up the notification messages. They're not great, and the warning dialog box could be better, although it does play nice with other dialog boxes (see the screenshot above).
  • Deal with 2-hand weapon; right now if you are using a 2H weapon, the addon will tell you that you are missing an off-hand item.
  • Check for tabards? Warn if wearing no tabard? Warn if wearing a guild tabard? This might have to be some sort of optional configuration setting. Still not sure what I want to do with this. Maybe always put up a warning asking the player to check their tabard?
Published Jun 09 »




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