Raid Lockout Changes

Well, Blizzard finally listened to me. I don’t know if I’ve posted it somewhere in this blog, but I have never liked that, in Wrath, 10s and 25s have different lockouts. Do you know how much healing that is for someone? For TOC, check it out:

Trial of the Crusader (10), Trial of the Grand Crusader (10), Trial of the Crusader (25) and Trial of the Grand Crusader (25). That is a chance to go through the same instance four times, killing (or trying) to kill each boss up to 4 times each, in 2 different configurations.

Ridiculous.

So today’s MMO-Champion news about lockouts is amazing to hear, for me. No longer will I need to “worry” about not doing a 10-man on my paladin. The pally is for 25s. Period. No longer will I have to listen to morons talk about “but we have to do 10 in order to gear for 25!!!”. Honestly, anyone who thought they needed to do Naxx 10 before they did Naxx 25 is a moron. Anyone who thought they needed to do Ulduar 10 before Ulduar 25 is an idiot.

The progression route has been, as far as I can tell, pretty nicely balanced:

10s: Heroics – 10m T7 – 10m T8 – 10m T9/badge loot – 10m heroic T9 – 10m T10

25s: Heroics – 25m-T7 – 25m T8 – 25m T9 – 25m heroic T9 – 25m T10

But even then, even without 25m T9/heroic T9 gear, you can augment your gear to 10m T10 or 25m (through VOA) and get into 25m T10 content.

What a lot of people NEVER realized in this expansion is that you were able to go from heroic gear to 10s OR 25s. They were both at the same point of difficulty. The “gear reset” given us by Emblems of Triumph and T9 gear coming from Emblems and Emblems of Frost and T10 gear coming from those means simply that guilds don’t have to gear people up in T8, then T9, then T10.

Back in BC, I had a rogue in my guild who we brought in for T5 content. He was primarily geared in T4. He wasn’t able to compete (or really hold his own) in T6. So we brought him in for T5 and a couple easier T6 fights and he ragequit the guild one night because he didn’t win loot off Supremus, losing to a more regular raider, even though it was a bigger upgrade for him.

My own brother couldn’t come in to T6 fights because he didn’t have the gear. We brought him to a couple SSCs and a couple TKs just because we flat-out needed the body and we knew he could do the damage required despite being in T4, but he couldn’t have done a lot in T6 fights in T4 gear.

The Emblems have changed that. Now, you CAN take someone in T9 232 gear to T10 251 fights. They won’t be your best players until they get some more Emblems of Frost, but they aren’t COMPLETELY outclassed. Plus, they have a bunch of 245 off-set gear from Emblems, if you’re at all lucky or maybe a couple tier pieces from 25m Koralon.

So what the hell does any of this have to do with raid lockouts?

Everything, actually. They are going to design the 10 and 25 entry raids with the assumption that you are wearing quest rewards, heroic gear and crafted gear.

And since both raids will drop identical gear (25s just dropping more of it, more emblems and more gold, apparently), they don’t need to worry about people falling behind the gear curve or being ahead of the gear curve or any of that crap, at least when switching from 10 to 25 or 25 to 10.

10s should no longer be “the EZ mode” raids. They SHOULD be just as (perhaps if not more) challenging as the 25s. Where the 25s are more difficult is the herding of cats and organization required to have the people necessary to down something with more health in the same amount of time, for instance.

The trouble though, is that lots of people don’t want to deal with the herding of the cats. A lot of people will say “screw that”, because loot is their primary motivator and they’ll do 10s.

My big worry has to do with how Blizzard will incent us to do 25s instead of 10s without making 10s obsolete. With the same loot and the same lockout, I’m not sure they’ll be able to. I know that I won’t go do 10s instead of 25s, because I LIKE 25s better… but if I don’t have a group who wants to do 25s, what the hell am I going to do?

Holy How-to #5 – To Beacon or not to Beacon

Welcome to my Holy How-To for PVE Paladins. This is the fifth of what I hope to be a great many posts aimed at helping holy paladins succeed at PVE content. I will focus primarily on max-level talent specs, glyphs, enchants, gems and the like, including tools, tips and tricks that I use, but I hope to touch on levelling content and advice as well.

Today, I’ll discuss our 51-point talent, Beacon of Light. Sadly, the spell is also referred to as “bacon”, usually prompting people to discuss the deliciousness of said food item. Anyways. Beacon is a simple spell that is either completely overpowered or entirely useless. It depends on how you use it and the configuration of the encounters in which you use it. Oddly, even over 18 months since its introduction, this spell still causes confusion among raid leaders, healing leads, other healers and even holy paladins themselves. So I thought I’d try to shed some light (ha, ha!) on this subject.

Continue reading “Holy How-to #5 – To Beacon or not to Beacon”

Underwhelming.

Stupid paladins. Why did I roll a paladin? Why did rolling a paladin mean that I get lame skills and lamer talents? SIGH.

The Paladin Preview is out. Here’s the MMO-Champion direct link.

Let us examine it, bit by bit, shall we? WE SHALL! I haven’t read anyone else’s thoughts on things, this is just my initial impression. Can’t wait to see what others have to say.

New Spells:

Blinding Shield (level 81): Causes damage and blinds all nearby targets. This effect might end up only damaging those facing the paladin’s shield, in a manner similar to Eadric the Pure’s ability Radiance in Trial of the Champion. The Holy tree will have a talent to increase the damage and critical strike chance, while the Protection tree will have a talent to make this spell instant cast. 2-second base cast time. Requires a shield.

What the hell are they doing? Giving me a freaking damage spell, complete with HOLY TALENTS that increase damage and crit chance? Sounds great for prot. Does not sound great for Holy. Unless you’re PVPing. In which case, hey. Nice. Grats to those of you who give a damn about PVP. But what about the PVE holy paladins? “Ooh, I get to have another damaging spell when I want to quest or farm or something!!!!” …really?

So level 81 – nothing of interest for me happens. Good to know. NEXT.

Healing Hands (level 83): Healing Hands is a new healing spell. The paladin radiates heals from him or herself, almost like a Healing Stream Totem. It has a short range, but a long enough duration that the paladin can cast other heals while Healing Hands remains active. 15-second cooldown. 6-second duration.

Uh. Please, please correct me if I’m wrong, but does this suck or what? How much does this heal for? Lasts six seconds — does it pulse every second? Every two seconds? Every three seconds? With a 15-second cooldown (like the vanilla/BC Holy Shock) will it be used regularly and frequently or will it be relegated to OH CRAP AOE! moments?

I do like that it’s an AOE thing. I do not like that it’s based on our position. I do not like that it’s likened to healing stream totem. My character is not a totem, thank you very much.

It really seems to me like they’ve taken a common suggestion over the years (make Consecration into something that damages enemies/heals friendly units) and just made it a new ability that doesn’t have the issue of causing damage to enemy units. And added a longer cooldown. But really, isn’t this just some healing version of Consecration? Think about it — we’re at the middle of it. It’s something we pop and we can get back to doing our regularly-scheduled healing. It’s short-range, so people need to be near us. Yep, I think that’s about the same as Consecration. Obviously, we’ll see how this works out ($10 says they patch it out in beta!) but I’m not thrilled. It’s weird that I’m not thrilled, because I really would have liked a decent AOE heal. If this ends up being decent, I will happily eat my words.

I’d also like to object to the name. If Blizzard doesn’t think that HAND of Reckoning doesn’t already confuse people when you have spells like Hand of Protection, Hand of Salvation and Hand of Freedom, then I guess I can understand why this thing is called Healing Hands. Why not something like Waves of Light? Or Light Flow? Or Wind of Light? Or, hey, how about Stream of Light? I actually like that.

Anyways. NEXT.

Guardian of Ancient Kings (level 85): Summons a temporary guardian that looks like a winged creature of light armed with a sword. The visual is similar to that of the Resurrection spell used by the paladin in Warcraft III. The guardian has a different effect depending on the talent spec of the paladin. For Holy paladins, the guardian heals the most wounded ally in the area. For Protection paladins, the guardian absorbs some incoming damage. For Retribution paladins, it damages an enemy, similar to the death knight Gargoyle or the Nibelung staff. 3-minute cooldown. 30-second duration (this might vary depending on which guardian appears).

So, hang on a second. We’re going to get a base ability that, depending on our spec, does different things? I actually might be able to get on board with that. Except that I think the holy one is lame. Seriously, we already have this in the game. It’s called Ancestral Awakening and it’s a resto shaman talent. And again, it’s single-target: “heals the most wounded ally in the area”. And what’s the area? Is it something I can target like Blizzard or Volley? Or is it something that just appears and heals anyone within 40y or so?

Blah to new skills.

Changes to stuff:

– Crusader Strike at Level 1. We already have an instant attack. It’s called Judgement. But okay. Another button to push. Hooray.

– Cleanse isn’t actually changing, so I guess I’m glad about that, unlike shammies, who must be pissed to lose things like Cleansing Totem.

– BOM/BOW… Well. They’ve streamlined it. I think that’s a positive. But will either be improved? Will both be improved? Will there be an imp BOM talent? An imp BOW talent? Will these affect which BOM is on someone? Also, possibly more importantly, are we going to be stuck with the fist icon? I like my icon for Blessing of Wisdom. :P

– Holy Shock available to all paladins. Wow. I am… not impressed. Holy Shock has been THE holy ability for years. And now it’s just available for everyone? So rets are going to be able to toss a Holy Shock in arenas while on the run? Prots will be able to cast it on themselves or others? That’s MY SPELL, Blizzard. MINE. What the hell are you doing, giving it away all willy-nilly?

– Possible duration changes on Divine Shield. When my brother asked about paladin changes the other day, he was like “well, what kind of things would they change?” and I said “I don’t know, but they got rid of Tree of Life, so anything’s possible.” And his reply was “Are they going to change bubble?!” and he was all concerned. “They could do anything,” I told him, “maybe even get rid of it.” He was properly horrified at that thought. And properly horrified about this potential change as well.

What horrifies ME more than anything is this: “Furthermore, the healing environment of Cataclysm is going to be different such that a paladin may not be able to fully heal themselves during the duration of Divine Shield to begin with, so this may not be a problem.” I’m sorry, either I’m going to have 80,000 health or I’m going to heal for 3k per big cast. 12 seconds won’t be enough time spent casting to heal myself???

– Ret rotation. Well, whatever.

– Sacred Shield/improving the Holy Paladin toolbox. Okay, I can handle a 30 minute buff on my main healing target. That’s fine. I’m not sure I LIKE the change, but I can certainly live with it. I feel like I spend raids juggling ability cooldowns as it is. Removing one from the rotation is fine. But I don’t trust them to adequately improve our toolbox. The last time they did, we got Beacon of Light. Which is hax on some fights and stupidly useless on others.

– New, bigger, healing spell. Okay, here we go. FoL, HL and then unknown bigger spell. I’m fine with that. Interesting that our current “bomb” spell is the middle one, though. Also, if this is going to be the same as the other classes, they’re changing FoL from being fast and efficient to being fast, but inefficient. Not sure I like that too much.

– Beacon of Light change. “Beacon of Light will be changed to work with Flash of Light. We like the ability, but want paladins to use it intelligently and not be constantly healing for twice as much.” Screw you, Blizzard. You give us Beacon of Light and it sucks. Then you change it to include overhealing and it’s still halfway useless sometimes, but other times, it is the reason for getting the encounter done (hi, heroic Deathbringer Saurfang, how are you doing?). And now you’re going to change it to… well, as I understand it, only work with Flash of Light? SERIOUSLY? Take the ability away. Just get rid of it. I want a 51-point holy talent that is worth a damn and a talent that is an ability that mirrors only the SMALLEST of our heals? That’s not a talent worth a damn.

– Spirit. Blah, blah, I knew this, but it still sucks. Stupid spirit.

– Prot rotations. Sounds neat. The prot pally tanking method is way too good for both single-target threat and AOE threat.

– Holy Shield, no more charges. So what, this will last 8 seconds with no charges? That sounds boring and predictable. Bind Holy Shield to all your abilities and it’ll be cast when it’s off cooldown.

Mastery thoughts:

– Holy. Critical Healing Effect: When the paladin gets a crit on a heal, it will heal for more. Oh, gee whiz, CAN I have more overhealing? Please?! :P I understand that they’re changing things so that we can go back to healing reactively instead of mindlessly and this will change some of the overhealing issues (as well as mana becoming an issue again) but I don’t know that we really need super crit on our heals. I imagine we’re still going to overheal a ton.

– Prot. Block Amount: We want to keep the kit of the paladin as a tank who blocks a lot. So by contrast, the warrior tank will sometimes get critical blocks, but the paladin will absorb more damage with normal blocks. Sounds reasonable, although odd. Are they trying to make tanks more niche-specific again? You have the prot pallies who are The Blocking Tanks versus the bears who can’t block or parry at all. Sounds to me like, given the choice to AOE tank things, a prot pally now has even more reason to tank, whereas a bear or DK don’t.

– Ret. Holy Damage: Any attack that does Holy damage will have its damage increased. Uh. Okay?

On the one hand, some nerfage. On the other hand, some lame skills. On a third hand, a couple of perhaps interesting changes.

Lots of things will change, of this I’m certain. I’m being overly critical and cranky, I know. We all need to wait to see what beta brings with it. But those are my initial impressions.

Thoughts about Tree of Life.

Disclaimer: Though I have a level 80 druid who is specced as both bear and tree, this is my most recent level 80. I have done exceedingly little raid content with the tree. I do heal a lot of heroics with it and I do tank a lot of heroics on the druid, but this is all in the last few months. Having said that, I remember when Tree of Life was introduced and I remember druids in caster form healing in their Cenarion gear (T1) in MC. (My brother’s shoulders always looked like they could use a good trimming.)

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way… Honestly, people, make up your minds. Druids hated tree form when it first came out. My brother reluctantly specced into it at level 60 (he was one of our guild’s best healers) and we promptly called him a Tree of Lawl.

He hated it. Not only could he not see his actual character any longer, nor could he see his armor, he had this stupid slow mechanic attached to being in tree form. But the Tree of Life buff was just THAT GOOD back then. Plus there were things like reduced healing cost on your HoTs when you were in tree form. Something like that. Right?

My good RL friend the resto druid (with whom I am currently guilded) has told me, on several occasions, that she HATES Tree form. Loathes it. In fact, now that all ToL does is add the 6% healing buff, she will rarely be in tree form if we run heroics. Hell, when she was decked out in Sunwell gear, she never switched to tree form for heroics in BC, even though the mana cost was so much greater in caster form. I haven’t actually asked her opinion of the potential upcoming change, but I can only presume she will be thrilled.

For me, I’m not a huge fan of it. ToL is fine as it is, though — now that druids can decurse in tree form and don’t have that stupid slow on them. Did you know that once upon a time in Apotheosis, a resto druid was locked out of Netherspite’s room because he hadn’t managed to run all the way into the room yet before someone aggroed? Yeah. /facepalm.

It’s not that I mind being in a form and I do think that forms are a key part of the druid class. It’s that tree form visually sucks. Until recently, I think all the forms sucked. Every single freaking druid looked identical in all their forms until they updated the bear and cat models. You ever notice that, at a quick glance, a resto druid in tree is almost identical to a balance druid’s treants? The treants are smaller and there are more of them, of course, but still!

If I took the time and energy to pick a face/skin colour/etc for my druid, I should not look like another spec’s cooldown.

Seriously:

Treant

Tree of Life

Okay, my bad. The treants have green leaves.

That is still not cool with me.

When I was levelling Kurn, my brother was levelling his druid. It was the COOLEST THING EVER that he could be a bear or a cat! It was awesome! I was in awe of moonkins, who had to SPEC into their form. I was even amazed by aquatic form! When druids got flight forms, I was in awe. I even thought that tree of life at least had cool benefits.

But in WotLK, they’ve changed ToL. The talent itself, not the form, has all that mana saving stuff baked into it. Hell, with a paladin with improved devotion aura around, you don’t actually HAVE to shift into tree form.

This is why I think they feel that Tree of Life form is expendable. There ARE a lot of people out there who hate that they can’t see their toons or their armor that they’ve worked hard for and I’m sure that they look at the WotLK version of ToL and go “well, really, what good is this?”. And it’s not that good, unless you’re in an arena and have improved ToL to help out your armor.

Bear and cat forms are already very nichey. You HAVE to be in bear to get all the modifiers and abilities to tank properly. You HAVE to be in cat to get all the modifiers and abilities to melee DPS properly.

Moonkin… it’s like they don’t want to screw with the moonkins because they have such a cult following. People love moonkins for the dance alone. And possibly because moonkins are SO ludicrous looking. My resto druid friend? LOVES moonkin form and because of that, balance is her offspec.

Besides, all those forms have been in the game since the beginning (or close to it).

Tree form has not.

I think that resto druids should be able to shift into something — it’s what druids do, after all — but it has to be meaningful. Tree of Life, as it is, is not meaningful. It’s fancy artwork. And not even that fancy. It’s just artwork.

What really irks me about all of this discussion, though, is the idea that resto druids are “giving up utility” by being in Tree form.

Sorry, they’re DOING THEIR JOBS. Sure, as a holy paladin, in holy gear, in about 50% Ulduar gear and 50% Naxx gear, I could pull 2k DPS on the burn phase to launch us into XT hard mode.

But I am under no delusion that, in normal circumstances, I am supposed to DPS. What other utility could the druids bring? Moonfire or Wrath spam? Really? What else are they going to do if not cast balance spells, being all decked out in spellpower (sorry, intellect) gear?

So it seems to me that there are three issues at hand:

1) Tree of Life form, as it stands, is useless. The devs also believe that druids should not be locked out of utility the way they are by being restricted to that form.

2) Some people hate Tree of Life form, dating back to its introduction.

3) Some people feel that the shapeshifting act is a core part of being a druid and for restoration to NOT have one is a giant step backwards in the life of a resto druid.

I’ll wait to see what beta brings on this “cooldown” form. For all we know, mana cost could be reduced by 75% on all spells for one minute. For all we know, it could contain a group innervate. For all we know, it could boost the strength of tranquility by 500%. We DON’T know what the plans are.

But I do know that I hate looking like a treant and that ToL is basically useless in PVE at this point in time. So I’ll wait to see what the deal is before I start freaking out.

Sigh.

Things to say about the hunter preview. I won’t get into everything now, but I do have things to say about it. I did want to address the resource change, however, if only briefly.

Honestly, I just want to hold my mana bar and never, ever let it go. I understand why the change, though — hunters are ranged physical damage dealers. Melee stuff doesn’t really affect them. But they have some similar stats/damaging effects to melee. But they’re not casters either, so caster stuff doesn’t really affect them. But they have a depletable resource in mana that means they’re LIKE casters.

Hunters have always been betwixt and between, in my opinion. Even more so now; they have mana but Chimera and Explosive shots are magical damage, not physical. Back when Aimed Shot was, you know, actually *aimed* with a 3-second cast time, and Serpent Sting was something you sneered at, THEN we were a physical damage class. But right now, we’re a screwed-up hybrid class that can’t tank or heal. But we’re still very much like hybrids.

I don’t think that removing the mana bar is the solution to the problem. The problem is that they want a resource that is not infinite and, in today’s raids, hunters just don’t have mana problems. Replenishment, Aspect of the Viper and Viper Sting work better than feigning/drinking ever did. So hunters basically never go out of mana and it ceases to be a valuable resource, because there’s never a shortage of it.

Focus introduces that shortage. Shots look like they take a lot of focus and it emphasizes more Steady Shot (and I guess Cobra Shot?) use while you regen your Focus.

I don’t think this is the way to fix hunters so that they have to worry about a resource. But similarly, I can understand that to nerf the hunters’ mana regen would nerf everyone else’s mana regen. You can’t just remove Replenishment entirely. You can’t make the regen from it too low. Could you remove tools like AotV? Sure… but what hunters even need to use Aspect of the Viper in a raid these days? And that would harm hunters in dungeons and while questing.

I suppose you could make hunters immune to Blessing of Wisdom/Mana Spring and Innervate. And mana potions. But that’s not a good solution, either.

Clearly, I don’t have much of a solution. But I don’t think Focus is the answer. It’s an answer. But I don’t like it.

Updates ahoy!

So, a variety of updates tonight/this morning.

1) Saurfang heroic down (one-shotted!), bringing our totals to 7/12 hardmodes down. Remaining are Deathwhisper, Festergut, Putricide, Sindragosa and Lich King.

Pro tip: 3 holy paladins on Marks of the Fallen Champion on heroic Saurfang = win.

2) I still hate heroic Dreamwalker, despite the fact we one-shot the encounter on our second week of attempts on her (we got her on the 4th last reset). I didn’t miss a portal this time (until the last one; I should have gone in, but I stayed out) but I got an orb like, 6 seconds before we dropped out, sadly, so my buff fell off. And then I got an orb ninjaed from me! I TOLD them all to wait for people inside, but noooo. ;)

3) The healing lead-type situation has gotten moderately better. My RL friend the resto druid SHOULD, with any luck at all, be back next week. Her RL issues have lessened (though work picked up, but should be settling down again soon) so I’m totally ready to give her the healers back. In the meantime, I’ve been doing healing since she’s been gone, basically, which is something like a month (full-time) and a few raids before that.

The caster officer/raid leader (shadow priest who goes disc for us on occasion) and I have a good rapport, really, so we’ve talked a LOT about healing and healers. He’s been my main contact with the officers, playing messenger boy between me and the tanks. Until this week.

The guild has a funny structure. Apparently those who are “officers” don’t have access to officer chat. Their “officer” discussions take place in a custom chat channel.

This channel is one that the raid leader asked me to join this week. Hooray. I’ve been in there since Sunday and it’s a little intimidating to be in there with the MT/guild leader who yells at people, the former GM who plays casually these days and others. At least the hunter/physical DPS officer is there. She’s pretty awesome and is basically my only real “friend” in the guild besides my friend the druid.

I have to say that the disconnect between the MT’s MT personality and his officer-chat personality is staggering. He can be yelling at people in raid and then discussing a new restaurant he wants to check out at the same time in the “officer” channel.

Anyways, the situation that had me questioning people’s opinions of me has been pretty much settled. I’m the stand-in healing lead, period. And they (mostly!) listen to me. I can see this being a good thing if my RL friend needs a night off. “Kurn,” she could say (or, you know, use my real name), “can you do healing tonight? I need to get to bed early.” It would be nice to do it occasionally. Just not all the time.

4) The problems I’m encountering now while leading the healers through heroic encounters (FML, I hate these things!) is that the healers have very little sense of cohesion, no team identity. And no wonder. With one exception, I’m the most senior of the current, active healers and I just joined in September.

We’re apping two holy paladins at the moment, two resto druids, three priests (all disc/holy dual specs) and basically two resto shammies. I’m struggling to find room for them all in the raids, particularly as I’m only being given six spots in the vast majority of encounters. Granted, that should be plenty, but I wish I could keep my disc priest AND a holy priest AND two resto shammies AND two holy paladins AND a resto druid all at once. But I can’t. So the shammies get swapped around a lot. The priests have a very minimal rotation, largely because the one who’s primarily holy is just THAT GOOD and I like the disc very much, he’s been with us longest of all the priests. I’m swapping the two holy paladins around whenever I can. I had T in with us for Marrowgar (H), Deathwhisper (R), Airship (H), then brought in L for Saurfang (H) and kept all of us intact through Princes. Then I swapped out T and kept L for BQL. Then brought T back in for Dreamwalker.

Whew. So personnel and cohesion is a bit of a challenge these days. Anyone have any fun team-building exercises that are doable on a forum? I really just want the healers to get to know each other better so we can learn to rely on each other more.

5) As previously mentioned, I’ve been doing arenas with my brother (survival hunter) and our buddy Majik (unholy DK).

a) Teams with names like “u ju we ez bake oven” should be taken to the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. I’m not Jewish, none of my family members were directly affected by the Holocaust, but the very fact that people think this is an acceptable arena team name makes me sick to my stomach and makes me wish that I stuck to things like Space Quest. Freaking MMOs. I hate people. And yes, I report each and every offensive arena team name I see. :P

b) Speaking of hating people, I hate warlocks. Fear, fear, fear, fear, curse of tongues, unstable affliction, shadowfury, felhunter and/or succubus, fear, fear, fear, fear, dead. Know what I need resilience to do? Reduce the amount of time I spend running around like a moron being feared.

c) Oh, let us not forget freaking druids. Cyclone, regrowth, cyclone, lifebloom, cyclone, lifebloom, cyclone, rejuvenation, travel form, lifebloom blooms, druid is at full health and full mana again. And then continues to cyclone me. UGH. (R, you have never cycloned me. Thus, you are immune to my hate.)

d) And then there are priests. Euphie, Kaleri, you know I love you, but bloody hell, do I hate priests. If there is a sound out there that I hate more than any in all of World of Warcraft (yes, even over Jaina’s whining tones in Hyjal!), it is the sound of Mana Burn. It strikes fear and dread into my poor heart. Psychic Scream is no fun, either.

e) Surprisingly, we nearly got to 1300 rating pretty easily. We even had 9 wins in a row at one point. But we fell short and have since tanked our 3v3 rating back down to 1226 or so. It seems like every game we win gives us 3-7 points and every game we lose drops us 10-20. Pray tell, how the hell are we supposed to beat a team with a holy paladin, a disc priest and an arms warrior? It would seem logical to take out the warrior, but without pressure on a healer, there’s no way to outdamage two healers healing him. So you go for the squishy? Sure. But then I’m stuck kiting the stupid warrior around while the paladin bubbles, heals to full, judges my team’s DPS to get mana back and keeps the damn priest alive.

What about the resto druid and double rogue team? How to beat THAT?

f) And don’t get me started on how seriously OP an elemental shaman is in an arena. Good GOD, does Lava Burst hurt!!!

6) Class previews? Cataclysm beta has to be incoming. Having said THAT, of course everyone else’s preview is this week and the paladins have to wait ’till next. Of course. I’m expecting changes drastic enough to make me want to switch raiding toons. I will say this, though — I love the idea of “healing wave” and “heal” as the middle spells for shammies and priests. It’s exactly what *I* want for a paladin. So I’m envisioning Flash of Light, Holy Light and Greater Holy Light. Or something like that. They really can’t slap “divine” on too many more spell names or abilities for paladins, can they? Maybe FoL, Divine Light (medium spell) and Holy Light (for the big one)? I guess we’ll see.

The shammy and priest changes seem interesting. Not sure how to feel about Healing Rain, but HEY EUPHIE! Guess what spell you’re going to use on ME all the damn time?! THAT’S RIGHT, LEAP OF FAITH, BABY. AHAHAHA!

I used to tell my raiders, back in the day “Look. I can’t move you out of the fire on Archimonde. I really wish I could. But I can’t. So please move out of the fire. Please.”

But in Cataclysm, you will be able to.

Hilarious!

Power Word: Barrier seems nifty, too.

I’m nervous as hell about the hunter changes, by the way. My inner huntard is cringing, waiting for the nerfbat smackdown. AND, BY GOLLY, I WILL MISS MY MANA BAR.

I should end this post. My ideas are starting to degrade into OMGCAPS-like flickers of thought.

So that’s what’s new with me.

Kurn's Q&A #10

Strangely enough, I get a kick out of random search terms that lead here, so here’s the 10th post where I take a look at who’s been searching for stuff and my attempt to better answer the questions these people probably had.

1) paladin divinity jol

Yeah, basically, it doesn’t work the way you think it works. For whatever reason, it works on the judging paladin (and perhaps anyone else who has Divinity) but not on, say, a hunter. I know, weird, eh? Still, here are the results of the experiment I did.

2) “stained shadowcraft tunic” “enhancement shaman”

No, no, go get the Champion’s Deathdealer Breastplate. I know it’s mail, but even before 40, you’ll be able to equip it. It’ll be leather, effectively, ’till you ding 40 and then it’ll become mail. Same deal for your shoulders, get the Prized Beastmaster’s Mantle. Apart from anything else, intellect is a good stat to have — not only will it extend your mana pool, but also if you’re properly specced in the 50s or thereabouts, you’ll be getting Mental Quickness, adding to your attack power from your intellect.

3) anyway to keep focus frame through valithria

Not that I’ve seen. >< I use a macro to focus her:

/focus Valithria Dreamwalker

4) blood prince council+holy priest+bad

Nah, not bad. What we’ll typically do is 1-2 holy paladins, 1 disc priest, 1 resto druid, 1-2 resto shammies and a holy priest. The holy priest does very well in topping people off, saving people from their own idiocy. We have the shammies helping on tanks if we’ve just got the one holy pally, so the priest gets his Circle of Hax on and his Empowered Renew blasting through the raid. Works pretty well.

Of course, if you’re thinking their numbers suck, look at their assignments. Are they assigned to the raid with 3 resto druids? Then yes, they will appear “bad”. But unless you’re losing a bunch of people due to lack of heals (and not their own stupidity), your holy priest is probably doing fine.

5) can you remove mutated plague with divine protection

Okay, first of all, Divine Protection is the paladin equivalent of Shield Wall. So no, Divine Protection is not going to wipe Mutated Plague off the tank.

Mutated Plague is the debuff that Professor Putricide stacks on the tanks in Phase 3 of his encounter. Typically, on 25-man, we have Tank 1 take 2 stacks, then Tank 2 takes 2, then Tank 3 takes 2, then T1 takes 1, T2 takes 1, T3 takes 1, and so on until the good Professor is dead.

What WOULD drop Mutated Plague off is Divine Shield. But you DO NOT want to do this (and I suspect that’s why you asked if DP would wipe it off) because if MP drops off any target for any reason, it’ll heal the boss for a certain amount per stack that was on the tank. That includes tank death, that includes bubbling.

So please do feel free to use Divine Protection in P3 of Professor Putricide. :)

6) cataclysm “level 85″+”experience needed”

Okay, there’s like no information out for Cataclysm yet. I don’t think the Friends and Family Closed Alpha is even out yet. However, considering the level cap is moving up only five levels, I would have to presume that those are going to be some pretty epic levels and that you’ll have to get an obscene amount of experience to get to 85. That doesn’t mean that SOME crazy space goats won’t ding in like, four days, though, RIGHT OSEPHALA? ;)

7) divine illumination cooldown add on

I cannot pimp this enough: OmniCC is the best cooldown timer ever. It displays cooldowns by minute and then, at 60 seconds it displays by second until it’s up. This is one of the addons I cannot live without.

8) divine intervention macro

From my Holy How-To #3:

Here’s my “hey, I cast Divine Intervention on someone” macro. Note that you must be targetting the person you want to DI.

/cast Divine Intervention

/script SendChatMessage(“DI: The generous pally’s version of Bubble/Hearth.”, “WHISPER”, nil, UnitName(“target”));

/6 Divine Intervention cast on %t.

What that does is cast DI, then sends a whisper to your target saying: DI: The generous pally’s version of Bubble/Hearth. This can obviously be changed, that’s just my sense of humour. ;)

Then it announces to the healing channel (#6) that I cast DI on my target.

9) divine shield mystic buffet

Nope. It goes riiiiiiiight through Divine Shield. :(

10) grid show random dungeon tank

Ah, you’re using Grid and you want it to show you the roles of the people in your party, right? To my knowledge, there’s no way to show that in Grid as of yet. Your standard Blizzard UI party frames will show you the roles, though. Or, you can do what I do and that’s click on every possible person in your party who’s a pally, druid, death knight or warrior and pray that the one with the highest health is your tank…

Bonus question: how to tank as a paladin at lvl 20

20 is when it becomes easy. Make sure you have Righteous Fury on (which I believe still goes away after you die, so don’t forget to put it back on!) and judge your single targets. If you have more than 2-3 mobs, drop Consecration. Congratulations. You are now a leet threat machine!

Cataclysm, Stats, blah, blah, blah.

Serious question, here.

What the hell is the big deal about consolidating the amount of junk found on armor these days? People seem to be freaking the hell out over all the stat changes that Cataclysm will bring us.

It’s one thing to freak out about LOSING YOUR MANA BAR (I’m a hunter at heart; this totally freaks me out) but it’s quite another to freak out about attack power being derived entirely from agility or strength and spellpower from intellect.

Things aren’t really changing all that much, people. Hell, for hunters (apart from the mana bar to focus bar change), things are going back to how they were in Vanilla! 2AP for 1 AGI? YES, PLEASE. (I am still freaked out by the focus bar and even this 2AP per 1 AGI thing isn’t un-freaking me out.)

I don’t know about you, but this “armor penetration” thing always confused the crap out of me. I knew it was good and I knew that if you hit a certain level of it without procs that Marksmanship was totally overpowered, but since I don’t raid primarily as a hunter, I haven’t paid much attention to it. I gem agility and I’m survival, end of story.

I do hope, however, that hunter mail will not have Expertise on it. It would be like, I don’t know, being a death knight tank who has a piece of gear with shield block on it, you know? ;D

Speaking of tanking, I’m not freaking out about it, but I’m not sure I like the complete removal of Defense Rating. Has it always been a serious pain to become crit immune for various tanking classes? Yes. But that was part of the challenge! I remember getting gear lists from my two main tanks in BC as we headed into Serpentshrine Cavern and I sat there for two hours doing the math to gear them/gem them/enchant them properly to ensure they were crit immune AND resist capped for Frost or Nature, depending on which phase of Hydross they were tanking. And I did the same for them when they tanked the flames on the Illidan fight.

It was freaking HARD, but not impossible, to get to 490 defense plus 295 resistance. It took juggling of gear, gems and enchants. I always told my tanks to never, ever throw anything away from their previous tiers of gear so that they could be used in a resist set. Blizzard always has a couple of resistance fights, so it never makes sense to throw away something that can be retooled into a resistance item.

But then, have we really seen a resistance fight in Wrath of the Lich King? Nothing in Naxx except that Sapphiron became a bit easier with a piece or two of Frost Resistance gear. Didn’t need any for Obsidian Sanctum or Eye of Eternity. Again, only Hodir’s fight really benefitted at all from any kind of resistance in Ulduar, but it was easily doable without. TOC required no kind of resistance gear at all. And thus far, the only fight in ICC that I’ve seen that could really benefit from say, one piece of Frost Resistance gear is Sapphiron. But, uh, no gimmicky fights, really.

I also see some issues. The devs have said:

Defense – Defense is being removed from the game entirely. Tanking classes should expect to become uncrittable versus creatures just by shifting into Defensive Stance, Frost Presence, Bear Form, or by using Righteous Fury.”

So… just by turning on Righteous Fury, I’m going to be crit-immune from bosses? Even while casting? (Which currently opens you up to being crit, even if you have 540 defense, because you cannot parry or block while casting — which means, idiot paladin tanks, you do not ever cast Exorcism while in melee range of the mob. At least for now. :P)

The only way I could see that this could be “properly” done is if you have two kinds of Defensive Stance, Frost Presence, Bear Form and Righteous Fury. One kind would be untalented; these are the base abilities that come with the class. Defensive Stance would reduce your damage taken, damage done and increase your threat. Frost Presence would improve your armor and your stamina and your threat, Bear Form would retain all its goodies and Righteous Fury would still cause additional holy threat.

But if you then added talents deep into the protection trees of warriors and paladins, the feral druid tree and… I guess all three of the DK trees… then you could do this:

Improved Defensive Stance: Adds 10% bonus stamina and reduces the chance to be critically hit by melee attacks by 6%.

Improved Righteous Fury: Adds 10% bonus stamina and reduces the chance to be critically hit by melee attacks by 6%.

Survival of the Fittest: unchanged, basically.

Improved Presence: While in Frost Presence, you receive 10% bonus stamina and your chance to be critically hit by melee attacks is reduced by 6%.

Or something. I just find something wrong with the idea that I could just turn on RF and be able to tank something (albeit poorly) in my holy gear without being crit. I find that it is a disservice to all the people who have ever tanked before, who have struggled to find that last piece that will pop them over the required defense numbers so that they’d be immune to crits by heroic or raid bosses.

Then again, while playing on Argent Dawn last night, I realized that the Defias over in Northshire are neutral and don’t aggro you. Humans who are levelling now for the first time have NO IDEA how painful it was to gather Milly’s Harvest or even CLEAR to Garrick Padfoot, when all those mobs were aggressive.

This, more than basic stat changes, is what truly concerns me about the direction of the game. Are they opening it up to more people, making things more accessible to others? Yes.

But in so doing, they seem to be disrespecting the hours and hours of effort, of blood, sweat and tears, that their old playerbase put in.

It’s not to say I haven’t benefitted from the dumbing-down of WoW, because I have. My hunter didn’t have to wait 6 hours between demon spawns for the Rhok’delar quests. My druid levelled uber-fast, getting a mount at 20, getting an epic mount at 40 and got the Tome of Cold Weather Flying at 68. I’ve had dual spec on my druid and shammy since they were both level 40.

But, I am a sucker for memories. I remember attuning practically all of my old, old guild to Molten Core. I ran Jailbreak for Ony attunements more times than I can possibly count (and still hate Reginald Windsor TO THIS VERY DAY.). I remember succeeding in the 45m Strat Undead run with seconds to spare — and then it bugging out (Baron died, Ysida Harmon lived, but had a grey question mark over her head instead of yellow. Turns out that my pet or our warlock’s pet got the killing blow, causing it to bug.).

Those were all amazing memories. Even the bugged-out Baron kill. Even the 502 times it feels like I ran BRD.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, in WoW has compared to the fun I had pre-BC. Sure, some things came close (downing Vashj, Kael, Archimonde, Illidan, becoming a Hand of A’dal), but while I felt accomplished during most of BC, it never quite felt as epic as my first Lucifron kill or my epic bow quest or, for that matter, dinging Kurn 60.

So to hear that they’re messing with stuff that’s been in the game since I started playing, to hear that NOW, five years plus after releasing the game, NOW they decide to give hunters a non-mana resource system, NOW they decide to remove defense, NOW they decide to stop with the gimmicky resist fights… It disrespects the hours I’ve put into this game. It rewrites history. “Do you remember the epic battles between Tarren Mill and Southshore” will become “Hah, do you remember that thing called an ‘attunement’?!” or “What do you mean, hunters used to DRINK?” or “What the hell are you talking about, defense?”

And honestly, this all makes me sad. I guess it’s inevitable that things will be changing on a grand scale, because they’re basically redoing all of Azeroth… but some things, even some annoying things, shouldn’t change.

… having said all of that, I still don’t have a problem with most of the changes dealing with armor stats. :P