Kurnmogh is now 85.

It wasn’t hard. I took my time — fishing, farming and the like. My LW is 509 (still…) but my fishing and cooking have actually MOVED. I even did some archaeology. I’ve done some instances.

I’ve only finished two zones entirely; Deepholm and Uldum. Love them both.

I was asked on Thursday why I level my hunter first. There are SO many reasons for my levelling my hunter first.

1) I like playing the hunter solo better than playing the paladin solo. Questing, farming, etc, it’s all about Kurn.

2) Tradition. I level Kurn first. That’s what happened at 60 (I was 60 for a couple of months before I did anything with Madrana) and 70 (levelled her so that I could actually get into a guild) and 80 (Kurn will always be my “fun” toon).

3) Leatherworking. I distributed the professions among the officers as fairly as I could, taking alts into account as well, and we’re power-levelling (as best we can) everyone’s professions. It’s working really well — 525 Alchemy and Inscription! With JC and LW and enchanting getting there, with tailoring and BS coming up. Kurn is the only officer toon who would get a substantial amount of playtime who’s a leatherworker and it helps that I skin, too.

4) Comfort. Knowing the quests and dungeons as a DPS lets me focus on healing when I’m on the paladin. Or at least what to expect as I quest or dungeon. Even with my beta experience, some things were new this go-through. It was great to finish off Deepholm and awesome to actually kill the colossus in Uldum and all those quests, too.

5) Rested experience. With the rested I’ve been accumulating on the paladin, combined with the 5% extra experience from Fast Track (Level 1) that comes from being a Level 2 guild, Madrana’s levelling experience will be quicker than Kurn’s.

6) Bottlenecks. Not levelling my healer ASAP means that I won’t have many other healers to compete with for the entry-level dungeon guild runs. The problem with being a GM who has a blog that’s mostly healing-related is that I have a LOT of healers and they’re all awesomesauce and all chomping at the bit to get in there and HEAL.

7) Okay, yes, part of levelling Kurn first is to satisfy people who mock me for insisting that Kurn is my main and Madrana is my alt. As I explained to a few of my officers a while back, Kurn is who I am and Madrana is what I can do, sort of like how Clark is who Clark Kent is and Superman is what Clark can do. :P

Not a perfect analogy, because I’m not really a 7ft-tall blue-skinned male night elf, but you get the point.

Getting Kurn to level cap first is my way of acknowledging to myself (and to others who care) that Kurn is still my main and Madrana is just who I take with me to work every day. It’s never been more true than in this last expansion where Madrana is who I applied to raid as to no less than four guilds. I never would have dreamt about raiding on Kurn in 25-man heroic ICC, but as Madrana? HELL YEAH.

I may or may not have a slight case of multiple personality disorder when it comes to my in-game identities and toons…

Anyways. Kurn to 85. Next up, Madrana levelling and some more farming of ore and herbs! Oh, and leather. Stupid leather!

Initial Impressions of the Irked

Before I start, I want to be clear that I’ve been around the WoW block a few times. I’ve been playing World of Warcraft for over five years. I have lived through Burning Crusade and Wrath and a good deal of Vanilla. I have been a beta tester for both Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm. I’ve been “that scrub” in T0 gear and, on the flip side, I’ve gotten my ICC 25m drake.

With the exception of Real ID and the proposed use of real names on the forums and such, I have really never been so disappointed with the state of the game. And Real ID has very little to do with the game; that’s an aspect of the WoW community.

This time, I am disappointed with the game content and the game mechanics. I’m not talking about the kinds of mechanics like how Aspect of the Fox lets hunters use Cobra Shot or Steady Shot while moving. I’m talking about how some parts of the game actually work.

1) The Level Cap

On Kurn, I am currently, as I write this, level 84 and 34%. Or, about 7 bars in to level 84, judging by the standard UI. I have played quite a bit in the last couple of days, although I have slept and ate and done a variety of other things normal human beings do.

Am I pushing myself to level? Yes.

I’m on pace with how I normally do in an expansion. The first day or so after launch, I’m 2 or 3 levels into the new cap. The same thing happened this time around. Only this time, I was more than halfway through the available levels. Never mind that 84-85 consists of more than 9 million experience (it does!) – numerically, I felt like I was more than halfway there. That means that the last couple of levels — most of 83 and ALL of 84 — are going to drag. And 84 is definitely dragging. 9.1 million experience is daunting after what, 5 or 6 million? Not like 77-80 didn’t drag, not like 67-70 didn’t drag and not like 57-60 didn’t drag. But it’s going to feel even worse because the drag is compacted into two levels instead of three, and 84 is going to be hell.

Not only that, but I’m replacing gear at an alarming rate on Kurn. Not just the 251-264 mix I had going in, but the new gear. I’ve been through three bows in the last two days.  Three chest pieces. Two helms. Three pairs of bracers.

What on earth is this? I know that the gear has to scale higher and faster than it ever has before, but it feels like I get one item and I’m proud and pleased and then two hours later, it’s replaced. I’d kind of like the chance to hold on to a piece of gear for a week or so before I upgrade it, you know?

2) Guild Achievements/Experience/Reputation

Guild Achievements do not add to Guild Experience. Guild Experience has a cap per day (which supposedly increases the higher level your guild is?). Guild Reputation has a WEEKLY cap.

Let us discuss this.

a) Guild Achievements do not add to Guild Experience, which means that Guild Achievements (like most personal achievements) are basically useless. Have you looked at some of these achievements? If we’re not going to get something out of it, why do it? That’s not really my own perspective; I’m happy to do crazy things for no reward but the thrill. But let’s be serious.

You Don’t Have an Eternity – Guild Edition – 6-minute Malygos. The Eye of the Eternity is, hands-down, the T7 raid instance people hated. Naxx was long, but had a ton of bosses. Obsidian Sanctum was short, but could be easy or challenging.  Malygos? Boring and a vehicle fight, in part. Who in their right mind would go back with some guildies to get this achievement as a guild? (Okay, yes, some people liked it, but my experience says most did not.) It isn’t even your own achievement, so if the guild disbands, you have nothing but your memories.

Where is the motivation if it doesn’t help you get to the next guild level? If I can’t sell these things as something that actively benefits the guild an helps the guild level, what’s the point?

These were shown to us on beta as being part of the guild levelling experience. I know, I know. It was beta. Things change. If I’d known they’d remove guild achievement experience, I would had given feedback for XP to be returned.

b) Guild Experience is capped at a ridiculous amount. Well, ridiculous for me and my guild. Your mileage may vary. I think it was two hours into the launch day when we capped out for the day. It was 3 hours into Day 2 when we were capped out for that day. I understand that they don’t want to discriminate against smaller, less active guilds, but these are guild levels and guild rewards. Shouldn’t the bigger ones and more active ones at least have an advantage there because it IS very difficult to herd a lot of people? I can see the argument both ways, but MAN, it’s ridiculous to spend more than 20 hours a day doing things that ought to count towards guild experience and be limited by a cap.

c) Guild Reputation is currently capped at a weekly limit. Now I admit, I see the point here. If you can grind to exalted with your guild in no time, then there’s no real disincentive to leave your guild. All these guild rewards are supposed to prevent you from guild hopping. I get that.

But, for the love of pete, could they PLEASE give us a standard amount? Some people in my guild are capped for the week at 896 into Friendly. I’m at 2656. Someone else is 4000+ into Friendly. What are these random numbers? Help us understand, Blizzard. We don’t get it and it’s not overly obvious.

Further, many achievements don’t count until people are at a certain rep with the guild. So Tia and her eleventy-one exalted reps won’t count for United Nations until she reaches that cap. My 525 Skinning won’t count for Working as a Team until I’m honored with my own guild. (That said, I think the GM should automatically be exalted. :P Okay, not really, but that’s irksome.)

So having a weekly cap — not just a daily cap, but a weekly cap — on guild rep is just obnoxious. I’d rather not have guild rep at all, to be honest.

3) Swing, Batter, Batter, Batter, Suh-wing!

The nerf bat has been swung and it has completely trivialized things like normal Blackrock Caverns and Throne of the Tides. Stonecore is super easy compared to the various iterations I’ve seen and while the stars and final boss in Vortex Pinnacle were tricky (we ended up zerging the first set of stars, it was hilarious), these mechanics were overcome pretty quickly.

Seriously, no need for CC in BRC or TotT. You can still charge in, pull everything and AOE it all down. Ridiculous. Ludicrous. I am SO unimpressed. I’ve only used CC so far in Vortex Pinnacle on 5-pulls where there are a couple of healers and that’s … boring, really. I’m actually fairly unhappy with the dungeon situation. This leads me to believe that one of two things will happen.

a) These facerollingly easy dungeons lead to facerollingly easy heroics, leading to more disappointment from me. I believe this is where we’re going to end up. Some of my guildies who are 85 are LFGing heroic dungeons and are having moderate success.

b) These facerollingly easy dungeons lead to brutal heroics, leading to everyone in the world sobbing about how Blizzard sucks, at which point they will almost certainly be nerfed.

I’m of the mind that not every dungeon has to be like heroic Shadow Labyrinth or heroic Shattered Halls or heroic Arcatraz or heroic Halls of Reflection. Similarly, I’m of the mind that dungeons don’t need to be as easy as regular Violet Hold.

What I’d like:

– Normal dungeons about the same level of difficulty as heroic Forge of Souls. Basically straight-forward, a couple of tricky pulls, but something you can whip through when you know the fights.

– Heroic dungeons at about a level of difficult just a notch above of heroic Halls of Reflection — without any of the exploits. No standing around the corner in the alcoves, no running BEHIND the Lich King on the path. You know — how it was intended to be run.

Honestly, I thought we were going to get this. I spent enough time on Beta to know that instances were no longer trivial.

And yet now, they are.

What gives? What is up with that?

These are all reasons I am disappointed. These are all reasons I’m not thrilled.

I do like some stuff. I still love Uldum. I still love professions, even if I was only at 475 when someone on our realm got realm first 525 skinning.

I love that my guild officers are banding together and farming our asses off to help the guild by maxing our professions. This isn’t something we’re requiring of the guild, although they should feel free to help out, but the officers are doing everything they can for each other’s professions so that the guildies don’t get ruined at the AH. We’re dropping in all our greens (crafted or looted) for our guild enchanter. Blues are being sold for right now while they’re going for insane amounts of cash. All ore any officer mines goes to the bank — Fog, our JC, is through Obsidium and on to Elementium. Our BS is just about done with Obsidium and will move on to Elementium and we’ll move Fog back to Obsidium. All cloth is being dropped into the bank for Majik, our tailor. Toga maxed out Alchemy with a bit of help, but mostly on his own and then farmed a crapton of herbs for Maj and Inscription. I’m using guild-acquired Volatiles for my LW (509!) and basically, things are going swimmingly!

We also have some people helping us out with dropping in greens and stuff and trading gems and the like. I’m really, REALLY pleased with the level of cooperation and lack of selfishness displayed by the officers and the guild in general.

So I’m disappointed with a few things. I won’t quit or anything, but I’m not thrilled with a few aspects. We’ll see how things change. That’s really the beauty of a game like WoW — nothing is forever. And in this case, I hope that’s applicable.

Lowbie Holy Paladin Guidance

After a discussion I had with Majik and Oestrus on the latest episode of Blessing of Frost, I thought I’d throw some thoughts out here with regards to lower-level paladins who are new rerolls and such. We’ll break this down into 5 sections: 1-25, 26-50, 51-75, 76-80 and 81-85. You can also refer to my 4.0.1/4.0.3 posts for advice at 80 to 85.

In each section, I’ll look at the talents available and the glyphs available. This advice is based on healing in a PVE environment, so levelling through the Dungeon Finder, primarily. You should ideally fill out the talents in the order I discuss them as I’m selecting talents that will help your overall healing output the most.


Here’s the Wowhead link: 9/0/0

Why those talents:

Tier 1:

– 3/3 Judgements of the Pure because Judgements of the Pure is awesome. Always pick talents that will increase your haste.

– 2/3 Protector of the Innocent because we need to get to Tier 2.

Tier 2:

– 3/3 Clarity of Purpose: Talent that reduces your cast time on two spells, even though you only have one of them at the moment. 3 seconds to 2.5 seconds on Holy Light? Yes, please.

– 1/2 Last Word: Useful talent. We’ll want to fill this out with our next talent point, as well.


We get one Prime, Major and Minor glyph slot at 25, 50 and 75. Here we’ll go with Holy Shock, Lay on Hands and Blessing of Kings. Holy Shock because you’re using it all the time, Lay on Hands because it’s never a bad thing to reduce that cooldown and Blessing of Kings because our minor glyphs suck and that’s one of the ones that sucks least.


– Always have a Seal up so that you can judge so you can get your Judgements of the Pure up! At level 30, use Seal of Insight and feel free to swap to the Glyph of Seal of Insight, or you can wait until level 50 for that, too.


Here’s the Wowhead link: 21/0/0

Why those talents:

Tier 2:

2/2 Last Word: Fill this out so you can get down to Tier 3.

Tier 3:

1/1 Divine Favor: A real cooldown to use that will increase haste and crit chance. Pop this when you’re in trouble.

2/2 Infusion of Light: Crit Holy Shocks lead to a much shorter cast time on Holy Light and, later, Divine Light. And this talent also gives us 10% extra crit to Holy Shock. Even if this didn’t lead to Speed of Light, this is beautiful.

2/2 Daybreak: A chance to get two Holy Shocks in a row? Yes, please!

Tier 4:

1/1 Beacon of Light: Beacon, also known as Bacon, lets you heal the tank (or another beaconed target, but typically the tank) while healing someone else. This is only 50% of the healing your target gets, mind you.

1/1 Sacred Cleansing: The ability to cleanse magic debuffs. Ecstasy!

3/3 Speed of Light: At this level, it’s just spell haste, yet again reducing the amount of time it takes to cast your heals.

Tier 5:

1/3 Conviction: This is a buff to healing based on your crits, so up to 3% extra healing based on your crits. You’ll want to fill this out with your next two talents.


Prime: Seal of Insight (or put Holy Shock back in if you swapped it out at 30)

Major: Divinity (why not gain mana when you do use Lay on Hands?)

Minor: Blessing of Might (again, our minors suck.)


– Have Seal of Insight up with the Glyph so that your healing is increased by 5%.

– Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse! You are one of two healers who can cleanse three kinds of debuffs, the other being druids. You can magic, diseases and poisons and resto druids can do magic, curses and poisons. So use your cleanse button!

– Typically beacon the tank and do not be afraid to directly heal your beaconed target.


Here’s the Wowhead link: 31/3/0

Tier 5:

3/3 Conviction: Fill out Conviction to bump up your healing done.

1/1 Aura Mastery: Ultimately, probably not the most useful talent in lower-levels, but play around with 100% extra resistance (with Resistance Aura up) or immunity to silence (with Concentration Aura up) for six seconds. Think of AOE Shadow, Frost or Fire damage. Or if a boss has an enrage and is doing physical damage, use it with Devotion Aura.

1/2 Paragon of Virtue: Divine Protection is a great button to prevent damage to yourself, Hand of Sacrifice is a great button to prevent damage to others and when you get Avenging Wrath, that’s a great button to help your output. This talent reduces the cooldowns on all these things. Pick this up at 1/2, we will definitely come back here.

Tier 6:

3/3 Tower of Radiance: Hooray, another way to generate Holy Power! This is why you shouldn’t be afraid to heal your beaconed target.

Back to Tier 5:

2/2 Paragon of Virtue: Here we go, pick up this remaining talent because it’s awesome and it can help us get down to our 31-point talent.

Back to Tier 4:

1/2 Enlightened Judgements: Now you can step back another 5 yards when keeping your judgement up. This is useful to get you the heck out of melee range.

Tier 7:

1/1 Light of Dawn: Hello, Light of Dawn! Our very own Circle of Wild Dawn! ;) This is our version of the holy priest’s Circle of Healing and the resto druid’s Wild Growth and even the shammy’s Chain Heal. Aim yourself at people. Hit the button (preferably with 3 holy power). Witness awesome group heals.

To the Protection Tree we go!

Tier 1:

3/3 Divinity: 6% increased healing. Bam, done. Eternal Glory is also an option, but mana should not be such an issue that you need the EG procs for more Word of Glory heals.


Prime: Word of Glory (+healing)

Major: Light of Dawn (extra target, so up to 6)

Minor: Seal of Insight (see what I mean about our minors sucking?)


– Get used to using Aura Mastery in various instances because it starts to get useful in BC dungeons and Wrath dungeons.

– Make sure you’re keeping Judgements of the Pure up. The extra haste is really going to come in handy in BC/Wrath dungeons.

– Make sure you’re keeping your Holy Power up and using it appropriately with Light of Dawn or Word of Glory as needed. Remember that 50% of each Light of Dawn heal will go to your beaconed target!


Here’s the Wowhead link: 31/3/2

To the Retribution Tree we go!

Tier 1:

2/3 Crusade: You’re using Holy Shock basically on cooldown. Increase its healing!


First, the Retribution tree:

3/3 Crusade: Fill this out for some awesomeness.

Back to the Protection tree:

2/2 Eternal Glory: This is where you end up learning how to use Word of Glory back-to-back when you get procs of EG.

And back to the Retribution tree:

2/2 Improved Judgement: Extra range! You now have a 35y range on your judgements, which is excellent.

So a level 85 spec looks like this:


Additional reading: 4.0.1 post /4.0.3 post

Hope that was useful for anyone who’s embarked upon the challenge of starting a new holy paladin!

An Annoyance

Those of you who are long-term readers may recall a post I made over a year ago. On November 9th, 2009, I posted about missing Apotheosis. That followed a post from June 4th, 2009 where I informed everyone to prevent me from doing the whole GM thing again. (And no one did. Typical! ;D)

Basically, I have been working to get Apotheosis back together for over a year.

A year.

While raiding from 11pm-2am with my RL friend the Resto Druid or 9pm-12am with Choice (in need of holy pallies for Cata!), I was also getting back in touch with people. Making plans. Setting up forums. Organizing people. Inviting people back to Apotheosis from my level 4 toon.

When Cataclysm launches on December 7th, that will be the real start of a new era in Apotheosis history. But all the work that went into ensuring there WOULD be a new era in Apotheosis history is crazy. It’s been a long, long road. Assembling officers. Checking in with people. Making sure people are still around and interested. More recently, interviews, loot rules, forums, recruitment videos, 10 and 25-man raids…

I’ve put a lot of effort into this over the last year and certainly a lot since 4.0 hit and I moved Madrana home to Eldre’Thalas.

None of this annoys me.

What annoys me is the people who clearly haven’t put a moment’s thought into expansion plans.

I’m talking about a mage app who applied with a bad spec, bad gems, bad gear and bad grammar who said they’d decided to make the mage their main. Really? Did you decide to make your mage your main five minutes ago? Looks that way from the effort you’ve put into the toon. Nice spirit gems, by the way, and that green trinket is just to die for.

I’m talking about guilds out there who haven’t started retooling their rosters and recruiting. Seriously? How have you not started to prepare, yet? I’ve been preparing for a YEAR and you, yes you, with your raid group that’s 11/12 ICC 25HM while working on HLK attempts, how are YOU less prepared than I am?

It’s true that when you’re running a guild, you have a lot less time to prepare for the future than someone who’s “just” a raider. I’m deluged in emails and private messages this week. I get it. But good leaders don’t assume anything. A good GM and officer team checks in with their members and keeps checking in. Just because I have… 39 people on my Google Docs spreadsheet does NOT mean that come the first planned raid date, we’ll have 39 people ready to raid.

I’ll have to make sure that everyone listed HAS the expansion and is over on Eldre’Thalas. I’ll have to make sure that everyone’s levelling at a reasonable rate or maybe drop them from consideration for that first raid. And depending on how hard it is to finish dungeons and heroics and gear up, we might even have to push our first raid date back a week or two.

This is what annoys me — I’m already working 3-4 weeks down the road and looking at problems that may arise. And so many people aren’t making plans, aren’t trying to work around potential problems, aren’t even bothering to discuss stuff.

I realize that plans aren’t that important in terms of RL priorities, especially during the holiday season, but if you play this game as a raider — or you want to play the game as a raider — how have you not been thinking this stuff through already when I’ve been doing this for a year, now? Raiders and guilds alike, I see so many people completely unprepared and it’s like, well what have you been DOING since Cataclysm was announced?!

The people who haven’t done 4.0 research for their classes just make me sad.

The guilds who haven’t got planned raid dates and deadlines make me facepalm.

These are going to be the people complaining out the wazoo when Cata hits and they can’t immediately queue for a dungeon because they don’t know where the entrance is yet. These are the people who will be mystified that half their guild has left for another guild because they weren’t ready to raid, yet.

I see so much disorganization that is going to lead to a huge wakeup call, which will lead to so much complaining, which, God willing, will not lead to demanded nerfs or buffs.

As a result of this general state of unpreparedness that I’m witnessing, plus my experience in going through the BC and Wrath expansion transitions, here are three predictions:

Fearless prediction #1: Random dungeons will suck for a minimum of 3-4 months, probably closer to 6. Random heroics will possibly suck until people really outgear them, meaning the first raid tier (T11) being available to the general public, so this is looking at when the second raid tier comes out (T12).

Fearless prediction #2: Guilds who have been recruiting and plotting out dates, deadlines and plans will be much better at dealing with issues that crop up mid-January than those who haven’t even started to plan things out.

Fearless prediction #3: I’m not going to feel prepared enough because there’s ALWAYS curve balls thrown at guilds during expansion transitions, but, by golly, Apotheosis will prosper because my officers and I actually care about the people and the guild and we will do what we need to in order to hit those curve balls out of the park.

I feel a bit better for having ranted.

Coming soon: pre-raid gear suggestions!