Raiding

Raiding

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 »




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 »




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 »




Heroic Spine Video

Here is a video of our Heroic Spine kill:

Thanks to Picardie for recording it!

Published Jun 08 »




Heroic Spine Down!

After 51 wipes over four nights of attempts my guild managed to get Heroic Spine of Deathwing down.

This puts us back in 3rd place on our realm, which we're pretty happy with.

Next week we plan on spending a night or two working on Heroic Madness of Deathwing! For most of us, this is also the last achievement we need for the Glory of the Dragon Soul Raider achievement, so it'll be a nice way to end the Cataclysm expansion.

Resto Shaman Comments

I ended up using a relatively crazy spec. In fact, it's was such a strange spec that I took a screenshot of it for posterity :)

Basically, it's a mostly healing spec, with the movement buffs taken out (no running allowed on the back of a dragon!) with a few DPS talents thrown in to help out with the burst DPS on the fight:

I also picked up two Earthliving buffs, including the Blessing of the Eternals talent and the Glyph of Earthliving Weapon glyph. These are unusual for me, as Earthliving is typically not very effective in 10 person raids, typically hovering under 1% of my overall healing done (in 25 person raids, I've heard that it's very effective). However, for this fight, the combination of the talent and the glyph are quite potent, and Earthliving counts for 12% of my overall healing!

Before you make any funny comments, yes I did try out the Glyph of Healing Wave on our kill attempt :D I really couldn't find anything better, and I thought it would be effective for the first plate, where I'm trying to conserve mana as much as possible.

In terms of damage done, my damage output was absolutely minimal at 1,089,633 damage done, although most of that was helping with Tendons, or regenerating mana, which is absolutely essential in this fight for the crazy incoming damage in the third phase.

Published Jun 07 »




Have Group, Won't Travel

According to WoW Insider, it appears that the Have Group, Will Travel and Chug-A-Lug guild perks will be going away in Mists of Pandaria.

I think my guild will be able to live without Chug-A-Lug. It means we'll have to make twice as many Cauldrons, but that's not a huge deal.

On the flip side, the replacement of Have Group, Will Travel with a flightpath speed boost will be a significant loss for us. My guild already has a very tight raiding schedule (only 2 hours per night), and a signficant number of guild members can only sign on right before the raids start. This hasn't been a problem for us, since we can quickly summon everyone using a single Have Group, Will Travel.

But the convenience of Have Group, Will Travel goes far beyond the initial summon. The current design of the 10 person raids means that we often need to either swap characters or roles several times in a given raid. Furthurmore, if we want to successfully min/max some of the heroic modes, several of our players need to hearth out and reforge their gear. Right now this isn't a problem, since a quick Have Group, Will Travel brings them back. If we no longer have this available, we would need to send two players back to the instance entrance to summon. Over the course of five or six bosses, this will quickly add up to a lot of lost time for us.

Published May 09 »




Dragon Soul Progression: Comparing 10 and 25 Person Raid Sizes

WoW Insider just posted an article comparing 10 and 25 person raiding progression in Dragon Soul. Here is the chart from WoWTrack.org that they link to:

I assume that Blizzard must have access to the same data shown in the chart. Actually, they probably have even more data, but let's imagine that they are seeing about the same thing.

The question I have is, how can Blizzard look at this data and also make statements like this:

We'll continue making adjustments as necessary to keep 10- and 25-player raids within a relative alignment, in terms of time investment, difficulty and rewards. It may never be perfect, but we still see interest in both raid sizes for different reasons. And ultimately we'll continue designing 25-player raids as long as there are a decent number of guilds interested in the format. We've seen no evidence as of yet that such interest is waning to any degree that should cause us great concern.

We tend to begin raid design around 25 players anyway before tuning for the various sizes and difficulties. That, when combined with our intent to carry on with 25-player Raid Finder group sizes, makes it very much worth our time to continue designing 25-player raids.

Regardless of what players' personal preferences or opinions are regarding the varied raid formats in World of Warcraft, we don't see removing options as a smart choice in the foreseeable future.

  1. First of all, looking at that chart, it seems to me that Blizzard should consider designing raids around the 10 player format first, and then adjusting them for the 25 player format.
  2. Second, I wonder if Blizzard should ask themselves whether or not they should even continue with the 25 player format. It just seems to me that 25 person raids must be declining (I used to raid in a 40, then 25, and now 10 player raids).

When I look at this data, and then compare it with what Blizzard is doing, something doesn't match up. Could it be that Blizzard knows something we don't? Is the data on wowtrack.org wrong? Is it easier or better in some way to design the encounters first for the 25 player format and then for the 10 player format?

Published Apr 20 »




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