Friday, October 30, 2009

Healing Questionairre

I saw this tidbit on Adgamorix's blog, and he mentioned me putting my priest spin on it... so here it goes.

  • What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer? Mongrr, Priest, Disc (main)/ Holy(off)

  • What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans) Mostly raids at this point in the game, although I do PVP and do five-mans.

  • What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why? Prayer of Mending is by far my favorite priest spell, but in terms of most widely used, it would have to be PW:S simply because as a Disc priest, shields are my specialty.

    Prayer of Mending costs virtually no mana so it's not situational in terms of when to use it. It's also a Core class ability, so I can utilize it regardless of spec. It heals for more than a crit Flash heal (non-crit) and as much as a Greater Heal when it crits, especially if you have the T9 2 pc bonus.

    In fights like Sapphiron, it can easily heal groups of people in virtually no time and by only using one GCD. There is no ICD on how often it can jump, so if you have multiple raid members taking ticking AoE damage, it's perfect, especially for grouped players like Melee.

  • What healing spell do you use least for your class and why? Heal and Lesser Heal, obviously... because they've been outdated since level 40. Since they've taken out downranking, spending 1k mana on a spell that heals for 150, just doesn't make much sense to me.

    In all seriousness though, I tend to use practically every spell I have on a very regular basis, depending on the situation. Obviously a spell like Divine Hymn is going to be used less when talking total times cast due to the 10-minute cooldown... but I utilize it as often as I can. Utilizing Divine Hymn with Inner Focus can literally heal up an entire 10-man raid from 50% in about 4 seconds... for free.

    Another instance of a spell I tend to not use as often as others due to being situational is Binding Heal. I tend to only use that if I'm taking damage as well as someone else to get a 2-for-1, or in the extremely rare case where I'm in danger of pulling threat.

  • What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why? I can literally fulfill any niche that I need to in a raid when it comes to healing. I can very effectively heal a MT and mitigate obscene amounts of damage as well as do some AoE healing when needed as Disc... Or I can AoE heal the raid remarkably well as Holy.

    Priests may not be the "best" when it comes to doing either, but the versatility to do it if needed I feel is a huge strength of the class in and of itself.

  • What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why? Being the only healing class restricted to Cloth armor is by far the biggest weakness of the priest class in terms of healing.

    Aside from the armor restrictions, I feel that the inability to cleanse poisons is a weakness. Seriously... "Masters of Healing" that can't get rid of a poison, is just silly to me.

  • In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you? As I stated above, priests can effectively fulfill any healing role within the raid.

    In terms of specific "assignments"... I tend to not find them needed. Aside from Four Horsemen in Nax or possibly Algalon, I do not feel that there is currently a fight in Wrath (not counting ICC fights yet, obviously) that is complex enough to where specific assignments are required or the raid will wipe.

    To me, assigning specific healing assignments simply promotes tunnel vision, or giving people an opening for placing specific blame if someone dies during the encounter. Neither one of these practices tends to be constructive for the raid overall.

  • What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why? I've healed with every class that can heal at some point or another during my WoW career... although the Paladin and Druid were both pre-Wrath, with the Paladin being Pre-BC... which makes my expertise with those two classes a bit dated. It's a completely different game these days, and both classes have had extreme changes.

    In terms of my favorite class to heal with... let's just say that there's a reason I'm still playing the priest as my Main. It can do whatever I need it to do, and it isn't just spamming one or two spells like some classes, which makes it more fun imo.

  • What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why? From my experience, with healing on a Paladin pre-BC... I would have to say that was the most boring thing I have ever done in this game. Cleanse bot on Lucifron ftl. Like I said above though... the class has changed drastically since then, so I'm sure it's much different now.

    In terms of healing at 80, I'd have to say my least favorite is the Shaman, simply due to the lack of options in which to heal with. They make great healers... but their style of play when it comes to healing just isn't for me.

  • What is your worst habit as a healer? Trying to be too mana efficient. There have been times where someone has died because I waited that extra second waiting for the penance CD to be up because it's such a mana efficient spell, where I could have hit them with a quick flash and likely saved them. There are some times where you simply have to say screw the mana efficiency and spam something quick.

  • What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing? Healing Meters, hands down... and people trying to gauge how well they're doing based solely on the recount meter.

    It is my personal opinion that healing meters should not be utilized to measure healing performance, since healing is not like DPS in which "more is always better."

    It is my opinion that healing meters should only be utilized to see who isn't doing their job when it comes to healing, instead of using it to evaluate who's doing the best at healing because of how much they've done total.

    Example: Void Reaver back in TKE, we had a Paladin healer who was out-healed by a Warlock. In that case, the meter was able to verify other raid member reports of him just standing around for the entire fight doing virtually nothing. The meter showed me that he was outhealed by a Warlock and the Tanks (back when PoM and Lifebloom healing counted toward the tank), making the meter a useful tool.

    Unfortunately, I feel that more often than not, the healing meter is used in the same context as a damage meter, where the common thought is whoever is at the "top" is doing the best job (which isn't always true about DPS classes either). With this mindset, you have people who spam CoH or PoH for no reason other than to see their recount meter grow, even though 90% of their total healing done is overhealing.

  • Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing? As "balanced" with four other distinctly different classes as it can be, yes. There's probably a reason that the Disc and Holy trees have seen virtually no changes over the last two or three PTR patches.

  • What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer? I run WWS and WoL's after the raid to check and see how I did in terms of overhealing. Call me old school, but I hate having too much overheal. I also run Grim Reaper to check deaths after a kill/wipe to see if they died to something I could have (or should have) prevented.

    Overall though, if the boss died and we're still alive and I didn't go OOM during the fight, I chalk that up as a win.

  • What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class? I think the biggest misconception (for Disc) is that by looking at the meter most of the time, Disc priests tend to be far below other Healing classes simply because so much of our "healing" comes in the form of absorbs and mitigated damage, versus actual green numbers flying up on the screen.

  • What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn? CoH is not the only spell we have. I think back in BC when Blizzard added the CD to CoH, it was quite an eye-opener for many healing priests.

  • If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)? As I stated above... Healing meters should never be used by itself to evaluate performance.

    In humoring the question though, it would totally depend on which meter you were running. If it was one that measured shields and absorbs, then you'd see a very high amount of mitigated damage done, while maintaining ~30-35% overhealing.

    If the meter did not calculate absorbs... you'd likely see my healing numbers far below the other healers, since my actual "healing" I throw around tends to be quite a bit less than that of a Shaman or a Druid.

  • Haste or Crit and why? As a Disc priest, I value Intellect over any other stat, with Crit at a very close second.

    Int increases my mana pool as well as my crit. A larger mana pool for a Disc priest means you receive more mana back upon PW:S being absorbed, and drastically increases your regen and longevity. Larger mana pools also make you benefit from replenishment more.

    Crit over Haste due to the Divine Aegis talent, which creates a shield around the target for 30% of the healing done on a crit. The more I crit, the more damage I mitigate.

    The only spell I have as Disc that truly benefits from Haste is Prayer of Healing, which as Disc I'm hoping I'm not having to use often enough to make prioritizing the stat worthwhile.

  • What healing class do you feel you understand least? At this point in the game, Paladins... by far.

    Their whole beacon of light thing along with all the Divine Sacrifices, and bubbling themselves... confuses the hell out of me.

  • What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing? I use Xperl for my Player and Target Frames, and Vuhdo for my unit frames. I tried using Grid, but I could not get it to show everything I wanted the way I wanted, so I searched around until I found something that did.

    I also use DBM for raiding, Quartz for the movable cast bar and GCD's, and Xorcist Forte for keeping track of my ability cooldowns.

    I've recently begun to mess around with Power Auras, but that's mainly because I want to make my game do the Mario "Extra Life/1-up" sound effect whenever Ardent Defender procs on our pally tank.

  • Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
    Int > Crit > SP > Mp5 > Haste

    Int has the biggest benefit on the biggest number of aspects of my class. Int benefits my Mana Pool, Crit, Mana Regen, Damage Mitigation, and Spellpower.

    I prioritize Haste lowest due to the fact that at this point in the game, it really only benefits one spell (PoH), since so many of my spells already have very fast cast times ~1-1.3 secs, or are instant cast.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Evolution of Priest Tier sets

Regardless of the reason(s) someone may play the game, a major part of the WoW universe will always be gear. Gear is the driving force for many people in any type of MMO, and WoW is no exception to this.

Upon reaching the max level, the most obvious way a player can advance their toon is by getting better and better gear. New raids are released with more powerful bosses, who in turn drop more powerful gear. It's the circle of the MMO life. Upon the release of a new expansion, the circle starts all over again.

If you play WoW and haven't been living under a rock, you likely know that sometime in the near future, Blizzard will be releasing the 3.3 content patch for the Icecrown Citadel raid instance.

Icecrown Citadel... Home of the Lich King himself, Arthas. This is supposed to be the pinnacle of end-game raiding for this expansion. Arthas has been taunting us since level 70 in Howling Fjord, and it's finally time to stick it to him and give him what he deserves.

You can find all kinds of info floating around about the new raid instance, and the new bosses from the PTR, but the real question burning on many minds is what will the gear be like?

Well, aside from a few crafted pieces, the majority of the gear that drops in ICC has not been released yet. What we have seen though, is what the new Tier 10 sets will look like for most classes. The real question now is.... will we be well dressed when it comes time to mingle with Arthas on top of the Frozen Throne?

Personally... I'm disappointed with how the new Tier 10 sets look for all the classes released so far. They are no where near as lazy as the Tier 9 sets were (only one model for each armor type per faction), but they are no where near as badass as I was expecting them to be in terms of looks. Sure... looks don't kill bosses... but I spend quite a bit of time playing this toon, and I want it to look cool. Making your toon look cool is just as important as many players as the stats on the gear itself is (anyone else remember making obscene amounts of money in vanilla selling beastslayer enchants for the red glow?).

In the name of reminiscing, and because I'm incredibly bored on a non-raid night... Let's recap on the different priest sets Blizzard has released to us over the years. This is strictly going over overall look of gear, and isn't hitting on the stats/set bonuses. I'll go over that more once the T10 stats are out.

Since this is already an insanely long post, I'm going to split this up over a couple days... covering the gear from each expansion.

Vanilla WoW Priest Armor Sets.

Vestments of the Devout (Dungeon 1 set)This set may not look like a whole lot now... but back in Vanilla prior to setting foot in Molten Core, this was some amazing looking gear. Think about it. You've just spent the entire time of your WoW career leveling up and now you're level 60. Time to collect some gear. This was the first "set" of gear available for priests that "matched" when it came to looks. People could look at your toon in IF/Org and see that you had put in the time to do the end-game instances like Stratholme, Scholomance and LBRS/UBRS.

It may not look like much now, but at the time when this was end-game... this was pretty awesome looking gear.

Vestments of Prophecy (Raid Tier 1)

This set was the first "epic" gear that most priests saw in Vanilla WoW. It was an epic eight-piece set that dropped from Vanilla's first Raid instance, Molten Core.

Many priests criticized the head-piece saying they looked like bunny-ear TV antennae, but overall the set looked very nice. It was extremely different than the Devout that most priests had going into MC, and again... distinguished that you were a raid-experienced priest just by looking at you.

Overall, a simple set by today's standards... but given the context in which it was used, it was pretty amazing looking.

Vestments of Transcendance (Raid Tier 2)
This set introduced particle effects to Priest armor in both the head-piece, and the shoulders. Again, the set is an extreme difference in terms of looks from the set before it. This set looked much more powerful than the Prophecy set before, which gave a visual sense of your character getting more powerful as they progressed through the content.

Vestments of Faith (Raid Tier 3)
While not as an extreme difference in looks from the set before it as Tier 2 was to Tier 1, this set had a distinctly different look. The particle "angel wing" effect on the shoulders was cool, even though it looked funny from certain camera angles. Due to the scope and difficulty of Naxrammas back in Vanilla, priests in full T3 gear were not nearly as commonplace as those in Prophecy or Transcendence... making gear even more of a symbol of accomplishment.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mongrr Metal Update: New Slayer Album 11/3/09


Possibly one of the greatest thrash metal bands of all time, has a new album coming out 11/3 entitled "World Painted Blood."

Here's the track list...

1. World Painted Blood
2. Unit 731
3. Snuff
4. Beauty Through Order
5. Hate Worldwide
6. Public Display of Dismemberment
7. Human Strain
8. Americon
9. Psychopathy Red
10. Playing With Dolls
11. Not of This God

I've heard the entire album... and it's amazing. The only complaint I have about it is that (like most other albums released these days) it is pretty short. Total running time is only ~39 minutes.

Definitely an album to pick up if you're a Slayer or thrash fan... but not the best album for long car rides.

Priest Blogs (and the lack thereof)

So.... I started a blog about priests in World of Warcraft, and other random musings.

While I'm certainly not the first person to ever do this, I did a quick Google search for priest blogs and did not see any that I was impressed with on the first page when it comes to the Discipline and Holy aspects of the Priest class. There were many blogs about shadow... but you won't find much of that here.

I play a Discipline Priest (main spec) or a Holy Priest (off-spec). I shoot holy lasers from my hands, or turn into a sexy angel when I die. If you see me in shadowform, you either need your eyes examined, or the end of the world is at hand.

I've played a priest for going on five years... and I've been a healer for 99% of that time. I don't read about how to play my class from sources like elitistjerks, or other sites. Everything I've learned, and everything I do when it comes to playing my priest comes from experience and a LOT of trial and error. If something I post about on here conflicts with something somewhere else..... I don't really care. I've found things that work, and things that don't.

I don't do a lot of theorycrafting in terms of doing all the math, etc.. If I have an idea about something, I try it. If it works, awesome. If it doesn't... well... at least I didn't spend a lot of time working out the math, and hopefully not too many raid members died because of it.

Along with the WoW musings, I'm also mildly obsessed with music... especially when it comes to the metal genre. I'll likely be posting noteworthy releases and reviews here as well.