Classic Countdown – Holy Paladins & UBRS

This is the last in a series of posts (for now) which focuses on things of interest to you in dungeons starting around level 50. Once Dire Maul is released, I’ll tackle DM East, West and North (plus Tribute Runs!), too.

Overall, intellect is your best stat for a paladin healer, followed by crit. Why? At Rank 5, Illumination gives you a 100% chance to regain the mana cost for a spell if it crits. Crit is great for a holy paladin’s output, but it’s also great for your mana regen. +healing and mp5 are decent stats too, but intellect also increases your healing done and gives you chance to critically strike with your spells and crit gives you mana back, so that’s generally the direction we should go. (That said, there’s nothing wrong with a ton of +healing if you’re not running out of mana, and you should always endeavour to have SOME +healing.)

Some (all?) of these mail recommendations may not drop for an Alliance group, so please be aware of that possibility. I’ll update these posts when I’ve been able to confirm this.

Listen, I freaking love my Lightforge Armor, but it’s not for healing. It just isn’t. It never will be. Believe it or not, some of the pieces don’t have any intellect! But pick it up anyway. First, it looks awesome, particularly when paired with the Stormpike Battle Tabard. Second, the Tier 0.5 armor, Soulforge Armor, is not as tragic. All the pieces have intellect and +damage/healing on them. When Phase Five comes out, in order to get the Tier 0.5 armor, you need to do a ton of things, including exchanging your T0 pieces for the Tier 0.5 pieces. Make sure you grab all your Lightforge so you’re able to exchange it for Soulforge.

All righty, let’s see what Rend, the Beast and General Drakkisath have for us in UBRS, as we follow in Leeroy Jenkins’ footsteps!

Classic Loot for a Holy Paladin in Upper Blackrock Spire (UBRS)

Oh, by the way, you need a key. The key is a ring, the Seal of Ascension. The ring is forged through a long and annoying quest chain. I’ll definitely outline that At Some Point In The Future. ;)

General Drakkisath drops all of the Tier 0 chests. It took me over 60 kills over the course of Vanilla, Burning Crusade and Wrath in order to get my Beaststalker’s Tunic. My paladin was much more fortunate and got it after like, maybe a dozen runs. I had never even seen it drop on my hunter. 60+ kills. Do not take someone’s tier chestpiece from them. I beg of you.

Helm: There are a few helms of note that drop in UBRS, mostly off Rend’s dragon, Gyth. Of particular interest is the Tribal War Feathers helm, requiring level 55. While leather, it’s exclusively +healing and has a good amount of intellect. The Spellweaver’s Turban, requiring level 60 and dropping from Drakkisath, is cloth and has +hit, so ignore that, despite the slightly higher +damage/healing. Also off Gyth, also requiring level 55, is Gyth’s Skull of randomness. As always, look for of Intellect, of the Eagle, of the Owl, of Healing or of Concentration. Or, for tanking aspirations, anything with more stam, strength or defense.

Neck: The only neck of note drops from General Drakkisath himself, the Tooth of Gnarr, requiring level 58.

Shoulders: First up, the Lightforge Spaulders, requiring level 55, are your tier 0 shoulders. Get them. They drop off The Beast. They actually do have intellect, but are not the best healing shoulders. Hilariously, Leeroy Jenkins wanting the Devout Mantle is actually legit, it’s a pretty great choice! But that’s the priest tier 0 shoulder piece, so let the priests get it first. That piece drops from Solakar Flamewreath in the Rookery.

Chest: As mentioned, General Drakkisath drops all the tier 0 chests. Yours is the Lightforge Breastplate. Any of the caster robes would also work, but the Magister’s Robes would be the best in terms of pure +intellect. Again, let the mages have their tier piece. Chests all require level 58.

Cloak: The Frostweaver Cape drops from The Beast and requires level 58. It’s the only cloak worth mentioning.

Bracers: Nothing of note, though some tier 0 bracers are zone-wide drops and there are some green bracers that could be interesting if they’re of Intellect, of the Eagle, of the Owl, of Healing or of Concentration.

Belt: Lots of tier 0 belts drop here as zone-wide drops, possibly including the shaman’s Cord of Elements. The Crystallized Girdle drops from Solakar Flamewreath and requires level 56. It’s leather and moonkin gear to be sure, but has a nice amount of intellect and some +dmg/healing.

Gloves: Not too much in the way of gloves.

Legs: Nothing fun in terms of legs, either, although the Warmaster Legguards, requiring level 58, drop from Rend, and are useful if you want to tank. +2% to dodge is great.

Feet: More cloth! The Faith Healter’s Boots require level 58 and drop from Rend.

Main Hand: While not as great as other options in other dungeons, the best option for a paladin healer in UBRS is the Mastersmith’s Hammer, requiring level 55. It drops from Goraluk Anvilcrack, who is upstairs from the Rookery. Take the first left, not the second.

Off-hand: The Tome of the Lost, requiring level 58, is okay. It drops from General Drakkisath. If your shield-wearing tanks don’t want Draconian Deflector and it drops from Drakkisath, you should snag it for tanking purposes.

Rings: Ooh, Band of Rumination, requiring level 58 and dropping from Rend, is really nice. Some mp5 plus crit!

Trinkets: Though there are absolutely zero stats on it, the Draconic Infused Emblem, which requires level 58 and drops from Drakkisath, is amazing. +190 healing for 15 seconds every 75 seconds. You will have competition. Doesn’t matter. This is definitely something you will want as a holy paladin. The other trinket here, Briarwood Reed, drops from Jed Runewatcher, a rare spawn in the same general area as Goraluk Anvilcrack. This is a little more of a grey area. It’s passive +29 dmg/healing, but it’s not pure +healing. Still, if you have crappy trinkets, this is valuable for you. Certainly, until Dire Maul and the Royal Seals of Eldre’Thalas come out, it’s very good for you.

That’s it for UBRS!

Thanks for reading! I’ll have more holy paladin guide stuff in the next few weeks, but hopefully these blog posts have been helpful. Next time, I’ll have more general Classic tips and tricks.

Classic Countdown – Holy Paladins & Scholomance

This series of posts focuses on things of interest to you in dungeons starting around level 50. Intellect is your best stat for a paladin healer, followed by crit. Why? At Rank 5, Illumination gives you a 100% chance to regain the mana cost for a spell if it crits. Crit is great for a holy paladin’s output, but it’s also great for your mana regen. +healing and mp5 are decent stats too, but intellect also increases your healing done and gives you chance to critically strike with your spells and crit gives you mana back, so that’s generally the direction we should go. (That said, there’s nothing wrong with a ton of +healing if you’re not running out of mana.)

It’s also possible that some of these mail recommendations may not drop for an Alliance group, so please be aware of that possibility. I’ll update these posts when I’ve been able to confirm this.

My paladin’s life-long transmog is Lightforge Armor, but it’s actually really super terribly bad for healing. Some of the pieces don’t even have intellect! You should collect it, though, because the Tier 0.5 armor, Soulforge Armor, is not as tragic. All the pieces have intellect and +damage/healing on them. When Phase Five comes out, in order to get the Tier 0.5 armor, you need to do a ton of things, including exchanging your T0 pieces for the Tier 0.5 pieces. Make sure you grab all your Lightforge so you’re able to exchange it for Soulforge.

Let’s take on the Barovs and Gandling!

Classic Loot for a Holy Paladin in Scholomance

I’m going to be mentioning the pieces of the Deathbone Guardian set in this post, if you have any tanking aspirations. Please let any plate-wearing tank take these before you do if you’re healing the instance.

Darkmaster Gandling drops all of the Tier 0 helms. Back in the day, I killed Gandling 26 times on my hunter before I got my helm and I only saw the Beaststalker’s Cap twice in that entire time. My brother never got his Wildheart Cowl.

Helm: The Lightforge Helm requires level 57 and drops from Gandling. Do not, and I cannot express this enough, take any other class helm over any class that needs it. That said, the Magister’s Crown has a beefy 30 intellect. But don’t be a jerk. Let the mages have their helm.

Neck: Nothing particularly useful here.

Shoulders: While I’m not sure if this mail piece will drop from Jandice Barov for an Alliance group, the Royal Cap Spaulders are level 57 and have intellect and +healing. The cloth Burial Shawl, requiring level 56, is a zone-wide drop and have more intellect and some +dmg/healing and would be a decent piece. Certainly, better than the mage and warlock shoulders that also drop here. Oh, and if you have any tanking aspirations and your tank either doesn’t wear plate or doesn’t need them, grab the Stoneform Shoulders, requiring level 56, from Kirtonos the Herald. Again, let’s not be a jerk.

Chest: Really nothing of note for a holy paladin here. That said, the Deathbone Chestplate is a great tanking chest, particularly for a paladin with the mp5. Of course, if your tank needs it, let them have it. Yes, even if it’s a warrior. +17 defense is HUGE. If you have any desire to tank and your tank doesn’t need it, snag this chestpiece, which requires level 56 and is a zone-wide drop.

Cloak: Nah, nothing here.

Bracers: The Lightforge Bracers are a zone-wide drop here. Aaaaand there’s no intellect on them, so don’t use them to heal. Best would be the Loomguard Armbraces, if they drop for an Alliance group. They require level 56 and drop from Kirtonos the Herald. Otherwise, look at the Necropile Cuffs, but let clothies have dibs on these bracers that require level 56 and are a zone-wide drop.

Belt: In terms of belts, the Detention Strap is a mail belt requiring level 57 that drops from Darkmaster Gandling, but may not drop for Alliance groups. You can consider the Clutch of Andros, requiring level 56 from Kirtonos the Herald, but it has spell hit on it. Do not steal this from clothies. For real. There’s also the Wildheart Belt, requiring level 53, which is a zone-wide drop, but dibs to the druids. Finally, for you wanna-be tankadins out there, the Deathbone Girdle (a zone-wide drop) is godly. Again, dibs to the plate tanks. Do not be a jerk!

Gloves: The only gloves that should interest you here are the Magister’s Gloves but, all together now, let the mages have their gloves! Two sweet tanking gloves drop here, too: Boneclenched Gauntlets, requiring level 57 and dropping from Ras Frostwhisper, and the Deathbone Gauntlets, requiring level 56 and are a zone-wide drop. Let your plate-wearing tanks get either before you!

Legs: The best legs in Scholomance for you are the Ghoul Skin Leggings, a zone-wide drop made of leather that require level 56. They’re straight-up +healing, so a moonkin shouldn’t want them. If they drop, the mail Maelstrom Leggings off Ras Frostwhisper are decent, requiring level 57. Tanking pants include the Deathbone Leggings, a zone-wide drop, requiring level 56, and the Wraithplate Leggings, which has no +defense, but adds a full percent of parry.

Feet: The Death Knight Sabatons, requiring level 54, drop from Marduk Blackpool. They’re actually plate and have intellect on them, what craziness is this!? This NPC is in the Viewing Room with Vectus. And, of course, for the tanks among you, the Deathbone Sabatons drop in the zone and they require level 56. A nice +10 defense rating here! Make sure your plate-wearing tank passes on these before you snag them.

Main Hand: Well, pallies can’t use staves or daggers, so there’s nothing of interest for us here.

Off-hand: The Rattlecage Buckler, which requires level 57 and drops from Rattlegore, is a pretty decent intellect shield. The Spellbound Tome, requiring level 57 as well, dropping from Ras Frostwhisper, is a good OH, too, but clothies might want that instead.

Rings: Don Mauricio’s Band of Domination is great for a holy paladin and requires level 58. It drops from Gandling. The Dimly Opalescent Ring is a zone-wide drop and requires level 56. It’s got random enchantments, so look for of Intellect, of the Eagle, of the Owl, of Healing or of Concentration.

Relic: Assuming we have relics in this patch, and I think we do, the Libram of Divinity is basically the only one you need until you get to AQ or Naxxramas. It’s a zone-wide drop in Scholomance and requires level 60.

Trinkets: Absolutely nothing.

Next time…

And that’s Scholomance for you! If you’re having trouble with Alexei Barov, you can fear one of the adds with Turn Undead, though that will only give you 15 seconds (and the cooldown is 30 seconds). Hopefully you’re done with one of the adds by the time it comes back! Also, Shadow Resistance Aura will be very useful here, or if you’ve got a lot of casters in the group, go with Concentration Aura.

Next up: we follow in the footsteps of Leeroy Jenkins and enter the Rookery and down The Beast and General Drakkisath in search of Lightforge pieces in Upper Blackrock Spire!

Classic Countdown – Holy Paladins & Stratholme (Undead)

All of these posts focus on things of interest to you in dungeons starting around level 50. Intellect is your best stat for a paladin healer, followed by crit. Why? At Rank 5, Illumination gives you a 100% chance to regain the mana cost for a spell if it crits. So crit, for a holy paladin, is not only good for your output, but it’s great for your mana regen. +healing and mp5 are decent stats too, but intellect also increases your healing done and gives you chance to critically strike with your spells and crit gives you mana back, so that’s generally the direction we should go. (That said, there’s nothing wrong with a ton of +healing if you’re not running out of mana.)

It’s also possible that some of these mail recommendations may not drop for an Alliance group, so please be aware of that possibility. I’ll update these posts when I’ve been able to confirm this.

My paladin’s life-long transmog is Lightforge Armor, but it’s actually really tragically bad for healing. Some of the pieces don’t have intellect! You should collect it, though, because the Tier 0.5 armor, Soulforge Armor, is not terrible. All the pieces have intellect and +damage/healing on them. When Phase Five comes out, in order to get the Tier 0.5 armor, you need to do a ton of things, including exchanging your T0 pieces for the Tier 0.5 pieces. So make sure you grab all your Lightforge so you’re able to exchange it for Soulforge.

Ready to face the Baron? Let’s do it. (Even better if you can do it in 45 minutes!)

Classic Loot for a Holy Paladin in Stratholme (Undead)

As I mentioned in my last post, Stratholme Live and Undead are the same instance and you can get from one to the other and, in fact, unless you have the Key to the City (Strat UD key) or a rogue or someone else who can open doors, that’s the only way you can get in. The Key to the City drops from Magistrate Barthilas towards the end of Strat UD. This is likely a green item you can roll on.

Helm: While it should go to clothies first, the Crimson Felt Hat is the only helm of note in Strat UD. It’s cloth and requires level 54 and drops off Magistrate Barthilas.

Neck: Animated Chain Necklace, requiring level 57, drops off Ramstein the Gorger.

Shoulders: Two pieces of cloth of interest here, one of which, the Shroud of the Nathrezim, I mentioned in my last post, because it’s a zone-wide drop. Of particular interest is it gives you 1% to crit on spells. Another interesting piece, though should go to cloth DPSers first, is the Thuzadin Mantle, requiring level 58 and dropping from Baron Rivendare.

Chest: Two interesting drops from the Baron: Robes of the Exalted, cloth and requiring level 58. This chestpiece is +healing, which means no other cloth-wearing person in your group should want it if you’re healing. However, there’s also Tunic of the Crescent Moon to consider. Sure, it’s less +healing (and is made for moonkins), but it’s got way more intellect and it has +crit. Which one you go for is really going to be dependent on what else you’re wearing at the time. Need more mana regen? Go for the tunic. Need more raw +healing? Go for the robes. Also, let moonkins have first dibs on the tunic.

Cloak: Only one drop of note here and that’s Royal Tribunal Cloak. It requires level 54 and drops from the Magistrate.

Bracers: The only thing of remote interest is Magistrate’s Cuffs, requiring level 54 and made of leather. No intellect, but 4 mana per 5 seconds. Truly sub-par.

Belt: There’s one belt that doesn’t totally suck and it’s from Nerub’enkan: Thuzadin Sash. Of course, it’s cloth and should go to DPSers first, but 12 intellect on a belt is nothing to sneeze at. Requires level 56.

Gloves: The Wildheart Gloves are a zone drop requiring level 54, but are underwhelming and belong to druids. Better gloves exist elsewhere. Shadowy Laced Handwraps require level 55 and are cloth, dropping from Baroness Anastari, but again, dibs to the cloth-wearers. They are not phenomenal, though 15 int is nice.

Legs: Baron Rivendare drops all of the class legs. We’re talking Lightforge, Beaststalker, Valor, everything. So, obviously, get your Lightforge Legplates from him, requiring level 56. However, these are not great for healing. (They’ll do in a pinch.) Instead, the best legs for healing that are available here are the Chitinous Plate Legguards, off of Nerub’enkan, requiring level 56 as well. 20 int, 5mp5, these were made for holy paladins.

Feet: The Lightforge Boots, requiring level 54, are a zone drop. However, they suck for healing. Verdant Footpads, which should go to a druid before you, do have some straight-up +healing, but nothing else of value. On the other side of things (+int, but no +healing), the Devout Sandals and Dreadmist Sandals drop from Baroness Anastari and Maleki the Pallid respectively, but, of course, should go to priests and warlocks before you.

Main Hand: Ramstein the Gorger drops the Felstone Reaver, which has a random enchantment. Pretty useless but you could get lucky and get of Intellect, of the Eagle, of the Owl, of Healing or of Concentration, all of which would be, at the very least, interesting, depending on what you already have. I should note that there’s a level 58 2H mace called Hammer of the Grand Crusader, which is a zone-wide drop. This is definitely made for paladins but is worse than a 1H/shield or off-hand combo for sure.

Off-hand: Nothing.

Rings: The Baron drops a nice level 56 ring: Seal of Rivendare.

Trinkets: Nothing here.

Next time…

That’s it for Strat UD! Don’t forget the Chitinous Plate Legguards and your Lightforge Legplates and Lightforge Boots.

Next up: The Barov family, Darkmaster Gandling and tier 0 helms as we tackle Scholomance!

Classic Countdown – Holy Paladins & Stratholme (Live)

All of these posts will focus on things you start picking up in dungeons starting around level 50. Intellect is your best stat for a paladin healer, followed by crit. Why? At Rank 5, Illumination gives you a 100% chance to regain the mana cost for a spell if it crits. So crit, for a holy paladin, is not only good for your output, but it’s great for your mana regen. +healing and mp5 are decent stats too, but intellect also increases your healing done and gives you chance to critically strike with your spells and crit gives you mana back, so that’s generally the direction we should go. (That said, there’s nothing wrong with a ton of +healing if you’re not running out of mana.)

Also, it’s possible that some of these mail recommendations may not drop for an Alliance group, so please be aware of that possibility. I’ll update these posts when I’ve been able to confirm this.

My paladin’s life-long transmog is Lightforge Armor, but it’s actually terrible for healing. Some of the pieces don’t have intellect! You should collect it, though, because the Tier 0.5 armor, Soulforge Armor, is not terrible. All the pieces have intellect and +damage/healing on them. When Phase Five comes out, in order to get the Tier 0.5 armor, you need to do a ton of things, including exchanging your T0 pieces for the Tier 0.5 pieces. So make sure you grab all your Lightforge so you’re able to exchange it for Soulforge.

Okay, let’s enter the City of Stratholme.

Classic Loot for a Holy Paladin in Stratholme (Live)

Like LBRS and UBRS, Stratholme Live (or Scarlet Strat, Red Strat, etc) and Stratholme Undead are technically the same instance. Unlike them, you can get from one to the other and, in fact, unless you have the Key to the City (Strat UD key) or a rogue or someone else who can open doors, that’s the only way you can get in. You get the Key to the City by killing Magistrate Barthilas towards the end of the dungeon. This is likely a green item you can roll on.

Okay, okay, enough, back to Strat Live and gear for a holy paladin!

Helm: The Postmaster’s Band, requiring level 56, is part of a 5-piece outfit that is meant for cloth DPS folks. So pass on it unless they don’t want it. I should note I’m not sure how the Postmaster spawns in Phase 1. I know that in Phase 5, it was much easier to do so (or so legend had it). I’m not certain if this guide at Wowhead is how to do it in Phase 1. I’ll update this when I can confirm. A piece you’ll have less competition for is the leather Helm of the New Moon, from Cannon Master Willey, which requires level 56, but doesn’t require the whole summoning of the Postmaster and isn’t cloth. (Take that, Matticus!)

Neck: Nothing of note in Strat Live.

Shoulders: Shroud of the Nathrezim, while cloth, is a great piece for this slot. It requires level 58 and is a zone-wide drop, so it can drop in Live or Undead. Part of why it’s so great is that it gives you a full percent more crit on spells. You may have cloth-wearing competition for this, though, and the nice thing to do is to let the clothies have it. Possibly as good is the Mantle of the Scarlet Crusade, also cloth, requiring level 56 and dropping off Cannon Master Willey. It’s got straight-up 20 +healing, which is good, because no caster should be interested in that.

Chest: The Postmaster’s Tunic is part of that cloth DPS set I talked about that, of course, drops from The Postmaster and requires level 56. Nothing else of value in Live, really. But wait ’till you see what Baron Rivendare has in Undead!

Cloak: Archivist Cape of the something or another, drops from Archivist Galford in Live and requires level 56. This is not the most amazing cape, but it’s interesting because of the 4mp5 (4 mana per 5 seconds) on it. If you see an Archivist Cape of Intellect, of the Eagle, of the Owl or of Healing (or even of Concentration), snag it!

Bracers: Nothing of note.

Belt: Rainbow Girdle drops from Hearthsinger Forresten, a rare spawn in Strat Live. I only mention it because it’s plate with some intellect. There are better belts, but you won’t have competition on this one. If it drops for the Alliance, the Barrage Girdle, from Cannon Master Willey, which requires level 56, would be better for you. You could also get lucky with a Foresight Girdle of an interesting kind — if it drops for the Alliance off the Archivist. (Also requiring level 56.)

Gloves: Ugh, just the Devout Gloves here worth mentioning. It’s a priest’s tier set, so dibs go to priests. They require level 54 and drop from the Archivist. Another possibility is the Wildheart Gloves, also requiring level 54, and dibs to the druids. Don’t be a jerk. Better gloves exist elsewhere.

Legs: The Postmaster’s Trousers, dropping from The Postmaster, are cloth and require level 56. Now I swear that I’ve seen this next item drop: Woollies of the Prancing Minstrel. They drop off of Hearthsinger Forresten, that rare spawn, and require level 53. But they’re mail. So even though I know I’ve seen them drop, I’m not sure when. Was it after the 2.0 patch? Maybe? Why was I still running Strat Live after the 2.0 patch? Anyway. There are better legs in Undead, but snag either of these if you can.

Feet: The Postmaster’s Treads, which obviously drop from The Postmaster and, yes, are cloth. They require level 56. Magister’s Boots claim to be a “boss drop” but I’m pretty sure they used to drop off the Postmaster and then they moved them to Hearthsinger Forresten. Mages get dibs! They require level 54.

Main Hand: Nada, though I should note that there’s a level 58 2H mace called Hammer of the Grand Crusader, which is a zone-wide drop. Still, you’ll get more bang for your buck with a 1H and shield or off-hand combination.

Off-hand: Ugh, just the Tome of Knowledge, which is kind of lame, requiring level 56 and dropping from the Archivist.

Rings: Seriously, just The Postmaster’s Seal, which requires level 56 and, of course, drops from The Postmaster. If you don’t have at least 3 pieces of this set already, there’s no point in grabbing this, really. The 4-piece gives you +12 dmg/healing and the 5-piece bonus gives you +10 int and +5% run speed (?), so not really worth collecting for the bonuses, but if you’re already wearing three or four pieces, go for this ring to add another set bonus.

Trinkets: Nothing of note and do everyone in Azeroth a favour and disenchant the Piccolo of the Flaming Fire if it drops.

Next time…

All right, that’s it for the live side of Strat. Don’t forget to pull all the way back so you can kill runners before they go get another bunch of mobs!

Next time — Strat Undead, with all tier pants from Baron Rivendare and more sweet loot.

Classic Countdown – Holy Paladins & LBRS

All of these posts will focus on things you start picking up in dungeons starting around level 50. Suffice it to say, intellect is your best stat for a paladin healer, followed by crit. Why? At Rank 5, Illumination gives you a 100% chance to regain the mana cost for a spell if it crits. So crit, for a holy paladin, is not only good for your output, but it’s great for your mana regen. +healing and mp5 are decent stats too, but intellect also increases your healing done and gives you chance to critically strike with your spells and crit gives you mana back, so that’s generally the direction we should go.

Also, it’s possible that some of these mail recommendations may not drop for an Alliance group, so please be aware of that possibility. I’ll update these posts when I’ve been able to confirm this.

While I love the armor, Lightforge Armor is actually really awful for healing. Some of the pieces don’t even have intellect on them! However, it’s worth it to collect it, because the Tier 0.5 armor, Soulforge Armor, is not terrible. (It’s not fantastic, but it’s not awful. The 4-piece set bonus is pretty great and all the pieces have intellect and +damage/healing on them.) Later on, come Phase Five, in order to get the Tier 0.5 armor, you need to do a ton of things, including exchanging your T0 pieces for the Tier 0.5 pieces. So make sure you grab all your Lightforge so you’re able to exchange it for Soulforge.

Into the spire we go, folks!

Classic Loot for a Holy Paladin in Lower Blackrock Spire (LBRS)

It’s important to note that LBRS and UBRS are technically the same dungeon at this point in time, but you can’t get to UBRS without the Seal of Ascension. That ring is the end result of, what else, a long quest chain that starts with the drop of the Unadorned Seal of Ascension. You’ll need to get the three gems that drop from three bosses in LBRS (War Master Voone, Highlord Omokk and Overlord Wyrmthalak) and then talk to Vaelan within LBRS and then you’ll need to get Emberstrife, a dragon in Dustwallow Marsh, to forge it for you. Then you turn it in and you’ll get the ring. (More or less.)

Helm: Literally nothing in LBRS.

Neck: Nothing.

Shoulders: Wildheart Spaulders, the druid tier 0 shoulders, requiring level 55. They drop off Gizrul the Slavener, which is the big dog that comes running down the hallway after you kill Halycon. Another option is Sunderseer Mantle, requiring level 56 and dropping from Crystal Fang, the rare spider. (Not Mother Smolderweb.) Bear in mind that you should let any druids have the Wildheart Spaulders and any clothies get the Sunderseer Mantle, otherwise you’re just being a jerk.

Chest: Plate of the Shaman King, requiring level 55, drops from Highlord Omokk. It’s plate, with nice intellect and some damage/healing, so this should be all yours.

Cloak: Nothing.

Bracers: Brazecore Armguards, requiring level 55, drop from War Master Voone. They’re mail with 11 intellect and 3mp5 (3 mana restored per 5 seconds), so these are totally reasonable for you. As mentioned, these may not drop for Alliance groups. A potentially better alternative are the leather Bleak Howler Armguards, requiring level 56 and dropping from Gizrul the Slavener. They’re straight-up +healing, so if you’re healing the instance, these should be yours.

Belt: Devout Belt, the cloth belt that’s part of a priest’s tier 0 set, is a zone-wide drop within Blackrock Spire. Priests should have dibs, but if they pass, go for it. Additionally, the shaman’s tier 0 belt, Cord of Elements, is also a zone-wide drop and may be something that drops for an Alliance group.

Gloves: Fallbrush Handgrips, requiring level 56, are leather +healing gloves that drop from Crystal Fang, that rare spider. Gilded Gauntlets, requiring level 55, are mail intellect + 4mp5 gloves that drop from Mother Smolderweb. As mentioned previously, these may not drop for Alliance groups.

Legs: Highlord Omokk drops two different items that might be useful for holy paladins. Skyshroud Leggings and Tressermane Leggings, both requiring level 55. They’re definitely for cloth casters and moonkins, though. Still, if no clothie or moonkin wants them, snag them. Gizrul the Slavener drops Wolfshear Leggings, which are cloth, yes, but straight-up +healing.

Feet: Alas, the only thing really worth it for a holy paladin would be the Wildheart Boots, dropping from Mother Smolderweb. Let a druid get them before you do. They’re really not amazing.

Main Hand: Nothing here.

Off-hand: There’s a nice shield, the Rhombeard Protector, that requires level 56 and drops from Gizrul the Slavener. There’s also an off-hand, the Globe of D’sak, that requires level 54 and drops from the rare spawn Spirestone Lord Magus, who is, by the way, an ogre, who is in Highlord Omokk’s room, if he spawns.

Rings: The best one of the bunch is Rosewind Circle, requiring level 55, which drops from the optional, summonable boss, Urok Doomhowl. See how to summon Urok Doomhowl here. The Magus Ring, requiring level 54, is decent, and drops off the rare spawn Spirestone Lord Magus.

Trinkets: Nothing of interest for a holy paladin.

Next time…

Well, that’s all that’s worth looting for a holy paladin in Lower Blackrock Spire. Upper Blackrock Spire has some nice drops, but we’ll tackle that in the future. Do you think I missed anything here? Let me know in the comments.

Next time — Stratholme (Live)!

Classic Countdown – Holy Paladins & BRD

During Vanilla, I spent a lot of time raiding on my hunter, it’s true. But I also spent a lot of time doing stuff on Madrana. It was these experiences in Zul’Gurub, AQ20 and Molten Core that helped me to make the decision that I would heal full-time as a paladin in raids, starting in Burning Crusade.

These posts will focus on things you start picking up in dungeons around level 50. Suffice it to say, intellect is your best stat for a paladin healer, followed by crit. Why? At Rank 5, Illumination gives you a 100% chance to regain the mana cost for a spell if it crits. So crit, for a holy paladin, is not only good for your output, but it’s great for your mana regen. +healing and mp5 are decent stats too, but intellect also increases your healing done and gives you chance to critically strike with your spells and crit gives you mana back, so that’s generally the direction we should go.

Also, it’s possible that some of these mail recommendations may not drop for an Alliance group, so please be aware of that possibility. I’ll update these posts when I’ve been able to confirm this.

Additionally, while I love the armor, Lightforge Armor is actually terrible for healing. Some of the pieces don’t even have intellect on them! However, it’s worth it to collect it, because the Tier 0.5 armor, Soulforge Armor, is not terrible. (It’s not fantastic, but it’s not awful. The 4-piece set bonus is pretty great.) Later on, come Phase Five, in order to get the Tier 0.5 armor, you need to do a ton of things, including exchanging your T0 pieces for the Tier 0.5 pieces. So make sure you grab all your Lightforge so you’re able to exchange it for Soulforge.

All right, all of that said, let’s get on with it!

Classic Loot for a Holy Paladin in Blackrock Depths

I freaking love this dungeon. There’s so much to do here. How about a bar run? Or Jailbreak? Let’s get attuned to Molten Core. Feel like an Emperor run? And so much more. That said, let’s focus on what’s of interest for a holy paladin here. There’s a lot of stuff. You are going to spend a lot of time here doing All The Things, though, so don’t worry if you don’t get everything you’re seeking in a couple of runs. I should note that, at least back in Vanilla, there was very little need to wear all plate. There was no bonus to doing so. As such, shaman-type mail and even some leather or cloth pieces are recommended. However, I’m not saying that just because you can wear all armour types that you should get dibs on everything listed here. Don’t be a jerk, please be considerate of the people in your group.

Helm: Foreman’s Head Protector, requires level 50. This helm drops off of Fineous Darkvire who you need to kill in order to get the key for BRD. That said, if there’s no cloth-wearer in your group, don’t be afraid to snag the Chief Architect’s Monocle! Sure, it’s cloth, but it’s 27 intellect, which is superior to the Foreman’s Head Protector. This is probably best for a priest, mage or warlock, but if none of them need it or there’s no cloth-wearer, go for it. Also, a note, if you intend to do any tanking and you see Golem Skull Helm drop from Phalanx, grab it if your tank is a plate-wearer who doesn’t want it, or if your tank isn’t a plate-wearer.

Neck: Absolutely nothing of use for a holy paladin.

Shoulders: Frankly, I don’t like most of the options here, just because there are better ones out there, but the Earthslag Shoulders drop from Lord Roccor and require just level 47. The mail Lead Surveyor’s Mantle is clearly shaman gear, but since the Alliance doesn’t have shaman, you can call dibs on this item, if they drop for Alliance groups. The shoulders require level 50 and drop from Fineous Darkvire.

Chest: Spiderfang Carapace, requires level 49. This chest drops off Hedrum the Creeper in the Ring of the Law event, which has random different mobs, so this isn’t always a guaranteed boss you’ll kill.

Cloak: Spritecaster Cape, requires level 47, drops from High Interrogator Gerstahn or the Houndmaster (currently uncertain — probably the Houndmaster, though). This is legitimately the only cloak of note in here for a holy paladin, unless you get a Nightshade Cloak of Intellect, of the Eagle, of the Owl, of Healing or of Concentration.

Bracers: Lord Incendius drops a variety of randomly-enchanted bracers of different armor types. As with the Nightshade Cloak, if you can snag of Intellect, of the Eagle, of the Owl, of Healing or of Concentration, those would be decent.

Belt: Chillsteel Girdle, requires level 52. This mail belt drops off of Warder Stilgiss, who’s in the Vault room. Again, this may not drop for Alliance groups!

Gloves: Hands of the Exalted Herald, requires level 54. They’re cloth gloves, but have intellect and +33 healing. Can’t really say no to that. They drop off Moira on an Emperor run. Additionally, your Lightforge Gauntlets drop off the Emperor. Get them, if only because why not? But they’re not something you should be using to heal with. When Phase Five of WoW Classic rolls out, these will no longer drop off the Emperor, mostly because that’s a serious PITA for some gloves that are not amazing. When Phase Five rolls out, they will drop off of Timmy the Cruel on the live-side of Stratholme. Also, I’m not sure how Classic is handling this, but the tier 0 gloves, belts and bracers were all Bind on Equip after a certain point.

Legs: Senior Designer’s Pantaloons, require level 50 and are cloth +healing pants with some intellect on them. They drop off Fineous Darkvire. Another option would be Leggings of Frenzied Magic, from Gorosh the Dervish in the Ring of the Law event.

Boots: Entrenching Boots, require level 50. These drop off of Grizzle in the Ring of the Law event. Yes, there’s agility on them, but 10 int and +7 damage/healing. Another option, requiring level 52, are the Firemoss Boots, which are basically resto druid boots since they’re leather and +healing, but if you’re healing and these are an upgrade, go for it. They drop from Hurley Blackbreath in the bar.

Main Hand: The Hammer of Grace, no, there’s no intellect on it, but it’s one of the best pre-60 healing maces in the game with a beefy +31 healing done. It’s one of the possible rewards from the event of The Seven.

Off-hand: Thaurissan’s Royal Scepter is a nice reward for an Emperor run, as it has some intellect and a pure +22 healing on it.

Ring: Bloodclot Band, requires level 52. Great healing ring, drops off Gorosh the Dervish in, you guessed it, the Ring of the Law event.

Trinkets: Second Wind requires level 54 and drops from Golem Lord Argelmach. Yes, it has an absurdly long cooldown of 15 minutes, but it also has a passive +22 healing, which is solid. Another option you have is Burst of Knowledge, which requires level 53 and drops from Ambassador Flamelash. This is more of a caster DPS trinket. However, the mana savings (albeit with an insanely long cooldown) is useful, as is +12 damage/healing. Also, if you’re doing any tanking at all and you see Force of Will drop AND your tank doesn’t want it, grab it.

Next time…

There you have it, pretty much anything I’d consider equipping as a holy paladin that comes from Blackrock Depths. Any surprises here? Any questions? Let me know!

Next time — Lower Blackrock Spire!

Legendary Thoughts

Kurn gets the Legendary Cloak
Kurntastic!

I finally finished my quest for the legendary cloak. Unsurprisingly, I have some thoughts on the matter. ;) I’m going to break down the different chapters of the quest and comment on them separately before discussing my overall impressions at the end. Go get a beverage. Trust me.

Chapter 1: Sigils Can Suck It

Being that I’m not a rogue who got Fangs of the Father, I had to grind rep for Wrathion.

First, let me be clear: I’m not opposed to a good, old-fashioned rep grind. Really, I’m not. That said, just killing mobs to do so is (and always has been) annoying. I’ve done it several times in the past (Hydraxian Waterlords rep to Honored, for instance) but there’s no other real way to gain rep with Wrathion. Just lots and lots… and lots… of killing.

Part of me enjoyed the mindless killing of the Mogu in the Vale (which was where I decided to rep grind), but it wasn’t fun by any stretch of the imagination.

That said, it was ten times more fun than collecting 10 Sigils of Power and 10 Sigils of Wisdom.

Perhaps if I had been a regular raider this expansion, instead of not playing for 17 months, I wouldn’t have been frustrated at the low drop rates. Maybe I would have taken it in stride that sigils only dropped occasionally from the bosses of Tier 14. (Yes, I know that they continued to drop through Throne of Thunder and the first half of Siege, but the hypothetical is if I’d been playing and raiding consistently, so that’s a few months of just Tier 14.)

On the one hand, loot is random. It always has been and it always will be. It’s part of what keeps people going back. How many times did I kill General Drakkisath for my Beaststalker Tunic? 60. Six-zero. SIXTY. Over the course of a couple of years. I killed Gandling in Scholo for my Beaststalker’s Cap 4 times before I even SAW that helm, but killed him an additional 24 times before I won it. I’m fine with random loot in general. It’s like it’s the natural order of things.

That said, 20 random-drop, required “legendary” pieces is a lot of killing bosses. Like I said, maybe if I’d been a regular raider, I wouldn’t have minded, but as someone who was catching up through LFR and not raiding regularly with any group… this was less fun. LFR in general is not terribly fun, so to do LFR run after LFR run and not get the requisite number of sigils is disappointing.

Kurn, why didn’t you raid regularly?

Okay, so that’s a fair question and I may as well answer it now. After over a year of not needing to make time to raid, not having to set aside 3-4 hours three times a week, I really didn’t want to start doing that again. I play at weird times and it’s not really consistent. You can find me online at 7am or 7pm, 2am or 2pm and it changes frequently. I didn’t want to be tied to my computer for raids. As much as I enjoyed raiding in the past, I didn’t particularly feel like raiding regularly again. Certainly, to do so when I came back (March) would have meant doing so with another guild, because my own guild of Apotheosis was knee-deep in heroic Siege of Orgrimmar at that point. Doing so with another guild would have meant character transfers and, honestly, I didn’t feel like giving Blizz any more of my money (I’d just pre-ordered WoD and resubbed for a month), so I decided against it. Also, I typically raid on my holy paladin, but I wanted the cloak on my hunter, with whom I had not seriously raided since Vanilla — and I was seriously behind on gear compared to organized raiders.

Yes, I could have used services like OpenRaid and all that in order to have smoother runs, but I’m notoriously private about my BattleTag and have turned off RealID and until these systems receive the basic in privacy-related tools, I will do my best to not use them. It’s a Thing for me. And while I recognize that I’m one of very few people who feels this strongly about privacy in the game, that’s my choice.

So did I make things harder on myself than I absolutely needed to? Sure, I’ll admit that. But that doesn’t change the fact that chasing down 20 sigils was unpleasant for me. I would wager it was unpleasant for everyone.

Okay, back to Chapter 1…

The reward for this, the Crystallized Dread? I didn’t even get to use this! It’s still sitting in my bags. Why? Because I’d picked up a bow from Tortos in the Throne of Thunder. So my actual reward for finishing Chapter 1 was to be able to move on to Chapter 2.

Chapter 2: Vexing Valor & Problematic PVP

Chapter 2 brings us to Krasarang Wilds. Despite the fact I dislike PVP-like things (oh boy, more on THAT later), I kind of enjoyed the short period of time I spent in Krasarang, killing Horde mobs to get to Revered. (Yes, I could have gone to Isle of Thunder for all of this rep grinding, but I wanted to experience all of the content Blizz had put in.)

I think this was the one portion of the questline where I was genuinely bummed that no one else was out there doing dailies. It felt very lonely and empty, sort of like how Azeroth felt when they introduced Outlands in Burning Crusade.

The Valor Point section wasn’t too bad, but I fully admit that I had it easy, only needing 3000 Valor Points versus 6000. So I’m not going to complain. I’ll say this, though: six weeks of Valor Point capping is tough and it feels like an artificial barrier for a month and a half to prevent one from advancing “too quickly” on the quest line.

It also wasn’t clear to me (or many others!) that you didn’t need to save your VP, that you could spend them. Perhaps that’s because the VP needed when I did the quest was the same as the VP cap. Plus, the tracking was odd (although I’ve read theories that could explain why — preventing the dropping of the quest/loss of progress, faction transfer issues, etc), but in the end, I got my 3000 VP pretty easily.

Next up was killing Warlord Bloodhilt in Krasarang. Hunters are OP because I soloed him as Survival with my turtle pet and a couple of different talents than I usually take. It wasn’t really hard, but it wasn’t a cakewalk. I liked this. :)

The Lion Roars includes some of the worst experiences I’ve ever had playing WoW and I probably would have stopped there if it hadn’t been for my brother, who had temporarily resubbed. It took me close to a week of trying for about an hour every single day to get both wins.

Why in the fuck does a PVE-related questline, which just required you to raid, which just required you to earn Valor Points, require you to participate in BATTLEGROUNDS?

I used to PVP a lot on my hunter. I got to Knight-Captain (and just missed Knight-Champion a few times!) in Vanilla. I got so tired of the zerg rushes, of the constant death, of everything to do with PVP, that I just stopped doing it, for the most part.

Over the years, I’ve played around in arenas now and again. I got to Rival in Arena Season 2. I kind of like arenas. In 144 2v2 games with me (as a holy paladin) and my brother (arms warrior), I won 73 and lost 71. It’s occasionally fun and I got a bunch of this season’s gear, but ultimately, PVP doesn’t really interest me. As soon as my brother stopped playing again, I stopped caring about arenas.

So to be forced to do PVP stuff in order to advance what is clearly a PVE questline makes no sense to me whatsoever and was probably one of the more miserable experiences I’ve had in the game. Don’t get me wrong — I’ve done School of Hard Knocks. I’ve done With a Little Helper from My Friends. It’s not that I’m just completely terrible! But winning these two BGs was exhausting.

Eff that. I especially hated that it was the new ones. I know how to play Warsong Gulch, Arathi Basin and Alterac Valley. Why not give me the choice of winning two BGs? Just any two. Why THOSE two? Maybe they wanted to push people into trying the new ones? Guess what? I am NEVER going back to Temple of Kotmogu or Silvershard Mines EVER AGAIN. I have developed such an intense loathing for them. It goes beyond my hatred of most BGs. It’s frightening, to be honest. And the sad thing is that when I heard about them before the expansion came out, they sounded fun. The Temple of Kotmogu especially — I loved thinking about the various tactics for scoring when they announced it. I had even thought that maybe I would play around a bit in it with my brother, like, willingly. Silvershard Mines was interesting to me because I play some Team Fortress 2 and it sounded just like a Payload map.

And yet, terrible experiences. They might be the best BGs to ever hit WoW, but I have the worst associations with them now. I’m never, ever touching them again.

You also have to feel sorry for the poor PVPers who had to suffer through countless PVE scrubs. At least I brought with me my brother, who was a decently geared and skilled arms warrior…

Okay. Enough. I could rant about this for another 1000 words, but I’ll leave it at this: Keep your goddamn PVP nonsense out of my goddamn PVE experiences.

Chapter 3: Silly Secrets & Rage-Inducing Runestones

Full disclosure, I did half of my rep and secrets before any of Blizzard’s temporary buffs and the remaining half during the time in which the temporary buffs were active.

The first half wasn’t so bad. I got to about 11k through Revered with Wrathion by screwing around on the Isle of Thunder and doing some concentrated mob killing. This is another point where I lamented not doing things with everyone because the Isle of Thunder was just so empty and sad. I didn’t experience probably 75% of what Isle of Thunder had to offer and I’m kind of sad about that.

I also got 11/20 Secrets of the Empire before I tired of LFR and took a lengthy break. I returned to LFR during the two weeks of the Gaze of the Black Prince. So when I walked into the appropriate LFRs to pick up my 9 remaining secrets, it was perhaps a bad thing that I got all nine and still had bosses left to kill. I had presumed (perhaps foolishly) that I could easily knock out both my remaining secrets and all 12 Titan Runestones and finish the quest during the last week of the Gaze buff.

It had taken me literally 20 minutes (with the guild perk Mr. Popularity, plus my Battle Standard of Coordination) to finish off my rep and hit Exalted with Wrathion, so I was ready to move on to the next stage. I turned in my 20 Secrets of the Empire (and my 40 Trillium bars) and was anxious to go kill the remaining bosses who would start me off with my Titan Runestones.

After four bosses, I had 3 Titan Runestones. You’d think someone with a sociology and statistical background wouldn’t take that as FACT, but apparently I internalized the 75% drop rate.

Boy, was I unhappy to only get 7 Runestones out of the 14 possible bosses. It was so discouraging. Here I thought I could knock it all out during the last week of the Gaze buff and finally get my stupid cloak and be done!

I was apparently mistaken.

Anyhow, the other parts of the chapter included a pretty uneventful time over at The Thunder Forge. Maybe it’s that my gear was around 537 in average ilvl, but this was easy and boring as crap. Kind of neat to see an Algalon-like dude, though. That’s a nifty model.

The Nalak bit was pretty hilarious. Again, because NO ONE is EVER on the Isle of Thunder (and because I am stubborn as hell and want to do things by myself whenever possible), I did this by myself thanks in particular to this comment at Wowhead.

I ended up getting my last two Runestones this week, plus the Heart of the Thunder King. And so, we move on to…

Chapter 4: Is that a CHALLENGE?

Okay, so this was both neat and ridiculous.

I talked to all of the Celestials and ended at the Temple of the White Tiger in Kun-Lai because, well, I’m a DPS who isn’t a caster. I had a Celestial Offering to help me out, too, and at the Temple of the White Tiger, it gives 10% extra Strength and Agility.

So I click on the gong and get told it’s the melee DPS challenge.

My actual reaction: “what in the fuck, do I have to go do the CASTER challenge?!”

So off I went to the Temple of the Jade Serpent. Hey, look! 10% increased Intellect thanks to my offering. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense for a hunter. (I still miss my mana bar.)

Anyhow, Wrathion pwned me twice and then I was like “okaaaaay, time to regroup.”

I swapped a couple of glyphs and a couple of talents and even FORGET to glyph Black Ice. I learned it (I hadn’t known it), but forgot to actually select it as a glyph to use. Whoops. I ended up not needing it, though. Swapping to Binding Shot was really helpful and the third try was successful, although just barely.

Given that hunters pick the Tigerfang Wrap, I think it’s especially odd that the challenge took place at the Jade Temple.

That said, I really enjoyed the actual fight. It wasn’t all that hard, though. Kiting Artorius through Winterspring for my Rhok’delar was more difficult and took me far longer than the ~30 minutes I spent in total from the first pull to finishing this challenge. Which is a shame, really. I would like more stuff like THIS. THIS was fun.

Chapter 5: Challenging the Celestials

Get 5000 coins on Timeless Isle? No problem.

Defeat all four Celestials: actually, so much easier than I would have thought.

The “other raids” button is carefully hidden away, but was awesome in finding a group for all of the Celestials. 30 minutes later, they were all defeated.

And done. Got my cloak.

Then, for fun, I killed Garrosh and saw Wrathion get pissed off at Varian. Look, I’m no fan of Varian’s, but Wrathion, you suck. I long for the day when I can skin you. That said, I laughed out loud when he said he should have taken control himself, just like “Auntie Onyxia”. Props to Blizzard for that, and the bit with Anduin remembering her as Lady Katrana Prestor.

Concluding Remarks

So I have a legendary. But it sure as hell doesn’t feel like a legendary, despite all the hoops I jumped through for it. Let’s see, 20 Sigils, 20 Secrets, 12 Runestones, 2 BG wins, one-on-one combat, killing all the Celestials, OH, and grinding to Exalted with that little bastard… Yeah, legendary hoops, but the cloak feels ridiculous. This cloak feels like the Kingslayer title did after three months. The first month, it’s all shiny and new and YOU KILLED THE LICH KING YEAH!!!! The second month, you start to be bored by the invites to join someone’s run. The third month, everyone and their brother has the title.

That’s the same thing with the cloak. I cannot imagine how actual, organized raiders feel about their hard work when people like me (ahahaha, I’m a “dirty casual”!) can get the exact same cloak with nowhere near the same time invested. I queued up for LFR. They did actual raids. Their boss kills were more difficult than mine (probably, anyway). Isn’t it a sad thing that I have the same cloak as Tikari, who is currently 13/14 heroics in Siege of Orgrimmar?

I think it’s sad. Also, ridiculous.

A legendary is legendary not because the item’s colour is orange or because it has better-than-average stats and a neat proc. A legendary is legendary because it’s rare. Or it’s supposed to be.

Tell me, what’s the barrier in getting a legendary cloak today? There’s one tricky part, which is the one-on-one combat with Wrathion, and that’s it. Everything else is pretty easy and just takes a lot of time. But it’s not even a lot of time all at once! It’s time spent at your leisure! You can do an hour of LFR here, two hours there and 30 minutes some other time.

So with just a tiny bit of skill and time spent at your own leisure, you too can get a legendary cloak.

And that’s a problem. Legendary cloaks are now basically required for any raiding guild.

While this is fair for those raiding guilds (the cloaks ARE really good), it’s less good for people who just want to break into raiding. Having the cloaks existing at all is an artificial barrier to entry to organized raiding. Don’t get me wrong, I LIKE barriers to entry for raiding — a lot — but the time commitment to getting a cloak is a lot longer than an attunement quest (or six).

It’s also bad for guilds who want to have that kind of standard because it reduces the pool of available talent substantially. But it’s a difficult decision to make: do you take the undergeared person of that class or do you hold out and pray you get another good disc priest or elemental shaman or whatever it is you’re searching?

I don’t envy guild leaders or raid leaders today. They have difficult choices in terms of recruitment and, frankly, I’m relieved that I’m not involved in their decisions.

As to the legendaries… I don’t think there’s a good way to do them. Giving them to everyone is awful. Giving them to one individual feels bad, too.

If everyone has a legendary, it’s the same result as if no one has one. So I vote to get rid of them.

What do you think?

(PS: Catch more of my writing over at SentryTotem.com, Tuesdays and Fridays!)

[WoD] Durability and Repair Cost Weirdness!

Yesterday, June 4th, accounts started being flagged for the “Friends and Family Alpha” of Warlords of Draenor. Lots of people on my Twitter feed got in, but I didn’t. (Which, honestly, is okay. I hope I get in eventually, though, like once they hit actual Beta.) Anyhow, I was working on my forthcoming Raid Leader’s guide and I got to a bit about perks for raiders in your guild. One of the perks I suggested was giving raiders guild repairs and then I frowned, because I wasn’t sure how (with the item squish, etc) things were going to look in Warlords of Draenor. So I asked on Twitter if people could give me an idea of what repair costs looked like.

Thanks to THEEEEEE Matticus and Crow, it appears that things are significantly different in the Alpha than they are on live.

Repair cost is currently based on a simple formula. For green pieces of armor, it’s durability points to be repaired * (ilevel – 32.5) * 0.02 silver, assuming you’re neutral with the vendor. For rares, it’s the same, but multiplied by 0.025 silver and epics are the same but multiplied by 0.05 silver. (Then rep discounts kick in for 5% at friendly, 10% at honored, 15% at revered and 20% for exalted.)

So Matt threw himself off of a cliff a number of times:

And he let me know that with all of his gear at RED durability (meaning 0 durability), the repair cost was 3g while Friendly with the Frostwolf Orcs. His gear was all green cloth (since he plays a priest) and his average ilvl was somewhere around 510.

So, hold the phone. We have 8 pieces of armor that are repairable (I didn’t even start taking weapons into account) and if they were ALL at 0 durability, the cost was around THREE GOLD to fully repair? This did not seem like how it is on live, even if they WERE greens and they WERE cloth.

So I did a quick test on the helm formula. Green cloth helms have a maximum of 70 durability points. So let’s plug that into the formula:

Durability Points to be repaired: 70
Mutiplied by (ilevel – 32.5, let’s say that’s 510 – 32.5) = 477.5
Multiplied by 0.02 silver
Multiplied by 0.95 to get our 5% friendly discount

That’s 70 x 477.5 x 0.02 x 0.95 = 635.075 silver.

Or, about 6 gold, 35 silver and 8 copper. Just for the helm. That’s double what Matt was reporting for his entire character!

To make sure I had the right formula, I got on live and bought a 429 ilvl green cloth helm, stripped my 90 warlock down to nothing except this new helm and went out and killed myself about 13 times to get to 0 durability on that helm (which had 70 durability points, losing 8% per death). My math gave me an estimated repair cost of 5 gold, 55 silver and 10 copper with a neutral vendor and a 4 gold, 44 silver and 8 copper repair cost with an exalted vendor. And, wouldn’t you know it, those estimates were spot-on when I went to repair at the a repair vendor in the Shrine (neutral) and the Shado-Pan repair vendor (exalted).

I verified with Matt that his helm was 70 durability and his chest was 115 durability (same as the current max durability points, although I had some confusion in there due to some outdated info) but it still seems as though costs for repairs have (at least in this Alpha build) dropped DRASTICALLY.

So — if you’re in the Alpha, let me know if you’ve noticed the cheaper repairs. Once character copies are working properly (as I understand they’re not? And Alliance isn’t even playable at the moment?), let me know if this carries over to the epics!

Obviously, this is only a very early Alpha build and I’m sure things will change, but I wonder if this sort of thing will stick…

Pondering Pardo's Unpardonables

(Please do bear in mind the comment policy here at Kurn’s Corner. Thanks!)

In case you haven’t seen it yet, Todd Harper wrote a piece over at Polygon on Thursday, May 22, about diversity (or the lack thereof) in various video games. In the piece, he spends time discussing Blizzard’s values, as well as Nintendo’s recent troubles to do with the lack of same-sex marriage support in Tomodachi Life. Since I’m not a Tomodachi Life player, I’m going to skip over that and just say that including LGBTQ content (at least the options!) in games (and other popular culture) is an important step towards equality. I think any kind of game where you adopt a character as your avatar and there’s romance should have some kind of LGBTQ representation and choice. (The Sims, for example, has supported same-sex relationships since its first incarnation.)

Anyhow, as troubling as Nintendo’s reaction has been, what was new to me in the Polygon piece were the stated values belonging to Blizzard, espoused by Dustin Browder (Game Director for Starcraft II) and Rob Pardo (Chief Creative Officer at Blizzard).

When pressed on the sexualization of women characters in MOBA games, Browder argued “We’re not sending a message. Nobody should look to our game for that.” The message just below the surface here is: why can’t we just have fun? Why do we have to be responsible for being respectful?

… seriously?

After his talk, I asked Pardo to talk about how Blizzard’s values — “epic entertainment experiences,” emphasizing the Blizzard brand, focus on gameplay and de-emphasizing narrative — and the company’s perception of their audience might impact how they portray socially progressive content.His answer was disappointing. “I wouldn’t say that’s really a value for us. It’s not something that we’re against either, but it’s just not something that’s … something we’re trying to actively do.”

Why the eff not?

“We’re not trying to bring in serious stuff, or socially relevant stuff, or actively trying to preach for diversity or do things like that,” he said. His example of a place where Blizzard struggles is portrayal of women.Pardo notes that “because most of our developers are guys who grew up reading comics books,” Blizzard games often present women characters as a sexualized comic book ideal that “is offensive to, I think, some women.”

Gee, ya think?

It’s a really good article that everyone should read, but, shockingly, I’m going to discuss my views here. ;)

I play games to escape. They’re fun, they take up space and time in my life, they give me a sense of satisfaction I don’t easily get outside of them. I’ve played video games since I was 5, playing on my Atari 2600. River Raid was my favourite game. I loved the King’s Quest, Space Quest and Police Quest series from Sierra. I kicked some ass at Double Dragon on my Atari 520ST computer and absolutely adored both Déjà Vu and Déjà Vu II: Lost in Las Vegas. Sneaking around as Garrett in Thief and Thief 2 was spectacular (less so in the sequels, but anyhow). Eventually, I came to World of Warcraft and found that I quite enjoyed playing a hunter and, later, a holy paladin. All of these games made me an involved player, made me think outside the box (seriously, using an athletic supporter as a slingshot in SQII?) and served to entertain me while rewarding me for my efforts by finishing chunks of the game.

That’s not to say that the Quest games from Sierra didn’t have horribly sexist moments. They did. The Latex Babes from SQIV? The fact that Sonny’s girlfriend in PQ was a hooker? A lot of it went over my head until I took the time to think about these things from the perspective of an adult and it wasn’t limited to the Sierra stuff. It’s disappointing to look back at the Déjà Vu games, for example, and realize “holy crap, I had to beat the crap out of a hooker lest she shoot me in the face”. (I can’t even think of another woman from those games, to be honest.)

So, I’m coming from the perspective of having grown up with sexism in video games. It’s pretty much normal to me, or at least it was until I started looking at games more critically. (And part of that was thanks to Anita Sarkeesian and her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series.)

I remember levelling my holy paladin, Madrana. She’s a human female. As a paladin, she wore mail until level 40, at which point she could wear plate. Here. Have a look at some actual screenshots of Madrana in plate armor. (click for bigger pic)

platearmor

The two on the left are of Madrana wearing the Shadesteel Greaves, which were part of the Shadow Resistance gear from Burning Crusade. Notice a difference when you compare them to the human male wearing them?

platemale1

The chest piece my toon is wearing is the heroic T13 chest, the Breastplate of Radiant Glory. Nice exposed stomach. That makes OH SO MUCH SENSE for a plate-wearing class, who can also be, you know, tanking things. Oh, look. They actually took into consideration that armor should cover one’s soft, squishy bits when they decided what the male model would look like with it.

platemale2

I included the Lightforge set on the far right because it’s my transmog (and has been since transmogrification was introduced). Yes, I love Lightforge, but one reason why I love it so is that it covers my character’s body in an appropriate fashion.

These discrepencies between armor on a male model vs. a female model have always pissed me off. (Just play with the 3D model viewer for the Glorious Breastplate and Glorious Legplates if you doubt that there are dozens of other examples.) However, I dealt with them because I knew that the designers were men and that the target audience also consisted of men.

In other words, I’ve known Blizzard has been sexist, at least in some ways, since I started playing. Half the reason my night elf hunter is a male is because I didn’t like how the female night elves bounce as their idle animation!

What’s really troubling about the Polygon article, for me, is that not only is this kind of junk still acceptable, but it’s coming from the top. Pardo is the Chief Creative Director. While I’m sure not everything we see in the games goes by him, he (and the others at that level) are responsible for the overall culture and sentiment in their company. That Pardo (and, presumably, the other executives at Blizzard) think that “fun” and “entertaining” are diametrically opposed to “socially responsible and progressive” is, well, not cool.

Let’s look at Hearthstone, which was just released a couple of months ago. You’ve got nine heroes, one for each class that existed in World of Warcraft in the original release. They are:

Malfurion – Male Night Elf Druid
Rexxar – Male Orc Hunter
Jaina – Female Human Mage
Uther – Male Human Paladin
Anduin – Male Human Priest
Valeera – Female Blood Elf Rogue
Thrall – Male Orc Shaman
Gul’dan – Male Orc Warlock
Garrosh – Male Orc Warrior

… really? Just two females represented among all of those classes? Is it really that there aren’t other epic female druids, female hunters, female paladins, female shaman, female warlocks or female warriors? Let’s take a look.

Apparently there are no notable female druids. But HEY, how about, oh, I don’t know, ANY OF THE WINDRUNNERS for a female hunter? Lady Liadrin or Aponi Brightmane as female paladins? Tyrande as a female priest? Okay, I kind of get Thrall as the Shaman, but did Magatha Grimtotem get any consideration? And, shocker, there don’t seem to be any notable female warlocks. Nor any notable female warriors. (Note: I’m not big on lore. I may be missing some, but still.)

So two of the heroes are women in Hearthstone, which is about 22% representation. Which sucks. They could have had a different hunter, paladin and priest. It could have been ~56% representation. But it’s not. And at some point, you just have to ask… why isn’t it?

Look, I’m not asking for any portion of any game to change in terms of gameplay, not at all. But how does it negatively impact the game when 4 or 5 of your nine heroes are female? How does it negatively impact the game if, for example, my Tier 13 Heroic Breastplate of Radiant Glory actually covers my character’s abdomen? Neither of those things have anything to do with the game mechanics.

Blizzard, you can have your epic gamplay. You can have your fun and entertaining games. But you can also make better decisions about the representation of women in your games. (I’m not even going to touch Heroes or SC or Diablo with a ten-foot pole since I have 0 interest in Heroes, I’ve only played a little SC in my life and haven’t touched D3 since last year.)

If anyone thinks I’m overreacting, rest assured that I’m not. I’m not even angry. I’m disappointed, troubled and resigned, but I’m still playing World of Warcraft and playing around with Hearthstone for the time being. Just because I’ve learned that there is a sexist culture at Blizzard that comes from the top isn’t going to cause me to go running into the night, mostly because I’d always suspected that. (And if I hadn’t, Metzen’s “it’s a boy’s trip” comment at the last BlizzCon would have tipped me off. (See Fan #16’s Q/A section.))

You know what, though? Of all the reasons to quit, this is a really good one. I’ve already seen two people on my Twitter feed decide that this was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Cynwise has been a fantastic community resource. Osephala’s been a great player that I’ve personally played with off and on for years. I commend them for taking the steps they feel they need to after Pardo’s comments, but the community will be worse off without them both.

As a former guild master, it’s ingrained in me that if someone leaves, someone will be around to replace them eventually. There’s churn. But losing Cynwise? Big blow for the community. Losing Osephala? That’s one more talented player the community will need to do without. In this day of boosted 90s with clueless yahoos behind them, the community can ill-afford to lose the good ones.

Since I’ve come back to WoW, I’ve been buying one month of game time as I go, because it’s a tentative re-entry to the game. In the two and a half months since I’ve been back, I haven’t ever been so pleased I’m not on a recurring subscription and, to be honest, my future in this game is in doubt. (For this and other reasons, but anyhow.)

So… confirmation of what I’ve always thought — Blizzard is a boy’s club. Representation of women doesn’t matter to them. Social responsibility doesn’t matter to them. Hiring more women doesn’t matter to them. It’s nice to know this stuff for sure, but it’s pretty disappointing that this is where they stand. They could be so much more and that’s what’s so disheartening about all of this. The wasted potential just makes me sad.

*** ETA: Here’s a link to a video of the response the article was based on. It doesn’t really change my mind, but definitely have a look. ***

(Please do bear in mind the comment policy here at Kurn’s Corner. Thanks!)

Old Habits Die Hard

With the news that Patch 5.4.8 would bring with it the ability to add two more upgrades (4 ilvls each) to 5.4 gear, I laughed to myself. Why? Well, because there are several instances of Blizzard saying they won’t nerf Siege of Orgrimmar (at least not in the blanket-nerf sense of the word). The most recent one was just a month ago, back in April.

And yet, they’re adding up to 8 more ilvls to every piece of SoO gear, every piece of Timeless Isle gear, every piece of SoO crafted gear… Granted, as Watcher states, it’s “nothing” compared to a zone-wide 30% aura:

But Valor upgrades are still a nerf. I went through that in this old post of mine from last September (wow, was I ever off on the timing of the expansion…) and I still maintain my opinion that it’s a nerf. That said, I am also still a fan of the fact that the onus is on the player to make their raids easier.

Anyhow, I laughed to myself at all of this and was, once again, pleased that I’m not raiding in any serious capacity at all.

That said, I had the intention to cap Valor so I could walk into 5.4.8 with 1000 or 2000 VP and upgrade the crap out of what I’m wearing. I figured we still had a week or two.

And then we were told on Monday that, OH HEY, PATCH DAY TOMORROW.

Wanna know how much Valor I had earned in the last, oh, two weeks?

Five.

That’s right. Five Valor. I did one quest for 5 Valor or something. That’s it.

So, forgetting for a while that I am no longer a progression raider, I got online and did my 200 VP Epoch Stone quest on Timeless Isle. In so doing, I also earned 50 VP from killing 20 elites on Timeless Isle.

Total VP: 255.

This was substantially less than 1000.

So I did the unthinkable. I queued up for the first couple of wings of Siege of Orgrimmar LFR. Late on a Monday night.

Wing 2 popped for me.

By some miracle, we didn’t wipe on Galakras, despite there being ZERO tower group organization.

Both tanks left shortly after that mess. And then we got some extremely talented players who were, and let’s be fair to them, total douchecanoes. One of them was the tank, the other was a DPS warrior. Both were very well-geared and knew their stuff, but oh my God. The language. The foul, foul, FOUL language, full of slurs and pejoratives!

I was going to leave, but I didn’t. I’d already put in 30 minutes of waiting for the queue, plus 20 minutes on Galakras, plus another 10 of waiting for two new tanks to show up.

Someone ninja-pulled on Iron Juggernaut and we wiped. Then we actually had a good pull and killed that. Killed Dark Shaman. Then wiped on Nazgrim because people still apparently don’t know how to kill adds… Finally got Nazgrim down, adding 90 VP to my pathetic collection, bringing me to 345 total. (Also, no Secrets through those bosses.)

My other queue popped for the first wing and I was going to take it, except I was still annoyed and I was tired and…

… and I’m not a raider.

It’s as though a lightbulb went off. Who the eff cares if I don’t max out my VP? I certainly didn’t care until faced with the fact that I could do more stuff with my VP today. Guess what? I haven’t even fully upgraded most of the gear that I’m wearing. (Part of this is because I want to get better gear before upgrading.) So, really, what the heck is the point in trying desperately to cap to get to 1000 VP before servers go down? There’s no one relying on me to “do my part”, there’s nothing driving me to do it, except my own expectations.

I declined the queue and thought about this.

Even though I haven’t raided seriously (as in, not LFR) since the end of Dragon Soul, I am still wired to try to maximize my potential. It took a lot of effort in the first place to stop VP capping even when I didn’t want to any longer. For so long, it’s just been part of my WoW life to do unpleasant tasks “because I have to!”

But I don’t “have to” any longer. (And true, strictly speaking, I never “had to”, but I felt I had a responsibility to my raid teams to do whatever I could.)

It’s going to take some time to adjust to this whole “I can do whatever I want” thing. Breaking such a long-standing old habit is definitely not as easy as one might think. Even now, I’m filled with residual “dammit, why didn’t I cap VP for three weeks prior to today?!” thoughts and I even have a bit of guilt resulting from it.

You’d think that not having played for ~17 months would have cured that right quick, but no. It’s as though my “decompression” from being a raider was just on pause until I got back into the game and NOW I’m dealing with what it’s like to not be a raider.

It’s still so very, very strange.

Thought I’d share. :)