As a whole, I tend to avoid writing about my opinions on newly released content until I have been able to experience said content for a decent amount of time. However, I have had a lot on my mind since patch 4.3 came out and I have been overall pretty impressed with what I have seen. So, I felt the need to get a few things off my chest and share just what I have been up to since Tuesday and how I feel about certain things, thus far.
Out of the new vanity or quality of life features, the only one that I really have gotten any use out of or that I look forward to using more is transmogrification. I have never been a packrat. I’m not hurting for bag space. I have never needed an entire guild bank to store all of my crap in. Void Storage really doesn’t affect me. Whenever I ask people why they hold on to so many seemingly useless things on their characters, I always feel like I’m watching an episode of “Hoarders.” The reasons people give you are very similar to the reasons people give you on the show, as to why they can’t throw out a half dozen stacks of home remodeling magazines or why they need that can of hairspray from 1996. “But, I might use this someday,” or “I can’t part with this, because it reminds me of ___ .” They should seriously do a show for World of Warcraft hoarders. I would watch the hell out of that.
I didn’t really plan ahead for transmogrification, so I basically just used whatever epics I had laying around in my bank, which happened to be the Merciless PVP set for priests. I had the shoulders, helm, and gloves, and then I found a similar looking robe on the Auction House. I finally found a way to use up those Justice Points that I had laying around! Between buying the rest of the Merciless set and then having my eye on the Vengeful pieces, I’ll be farming Heroics just to keep up. I’m also tempted to save up for the ICC tier set, which I deleted and don’t know why. All of this focus on my appearance has also made me consider a race change, but performance also factors into that, too. I’m torn between becoming a Blood Elf or a Troll, though I worry that choosing a Blood Elf seem common. And I mean common in an “everyone has one” sense, not in a “floozy” kind of way.
The first thing I did on Tuesday was run the new 5 man Heroics, one after the other. I grouped up with some guildies that I had never run with before and it was an interesting experience. Some of them seemed really green or just immensely overwhelmed by everything happening around them, which is understandable. I didn’t find either of the three new instances to be terribly hard, though Murozond in End Time seemed to hit harder than I expected, and the hourglass mechanic took some getting used to. What has annoyed me about the Murozond encounter since then is that people still don’t seem to understand basic concepts regarding fighting dragons. You don’t tank the dragon facing the raid. You don’t stand behind them and get swiped by the tail. Things like that. We are on our third expansion and people still don’t remember these things. It boggles the mind.
Most people seemed really stoked to be able to group side by side with Illidan in Well of Eternity, but I was never an Illidan fan girl, so that was lost on me. The first boss is mighty annoying, mostly because of the demonic eyes that try to find you when you’re in stealth. They find me every single time. I think I managed to avoid them once and that was only because I was hugging the ring of fire and doing laps around the room. I felt like I was humping pillars in the Arena all over again. Truth be told, I was there to see Azshara. I have always had a great appreciation for the character and I still cling to the hope that she will be an end boss that is given her proper due, someday. Some people think her encounter is difficult, but I’m not one of them. If anything, I was more bothered by the fact that her model is kind of wonky and the voice acting was overly feminine. I imagined her being kind of angry and sounding a tad creepier, sort of like Vashj. Instead, she sounded more like an overzealous party hostess, which I guess was the plan all along.
Hour of Twilight felt like it was over, before it even began. The only boss that bothered me was Asira Dawnslayer and the fact that I was constantly interrupted or silenced. I read that I could line of sight the dagger, by having people stand in front of me. That didn’t work. I tried putting a pillar between me and her, which kept the dagger from hitting me, but also kept me out of line of sight for healing the tank. When I ran out to heal them, I got hit with the dagger almost instantly. The problem with that fight is that the targeting debuff is permanent. It’s not like you can line of sight it for a brief time, let it fall off, and then run back out. You always have that mark on you, which means that you can always be chosen to be silenced and you can’t do much about it. It’s an odd mechanic, to say the least. Thankfully, she doesn’t hit too hard and things like Lightwell and Earth Shield (from when I ran this on my shaman) kept the tank healed throughout the encounter.
The next day, I set foot into the Raid Finder, to see what all the fuss was about. I didn’t have a bad experience, but there were a couple of trends that I saw which concerned me enough to where I don’t see myself taking part in it on a regular basis.
– The “go, go, go” mentality from Heroics is extremely common in the Raid Finder. People want to do the fights as quickly as possible, which doesn’t make sense to anyone who has ever done some actual raiding. Nothing about raiding is fast. There are the feasts and cauldrons before the pull, discussing the strategies, performing ready checks, running back, mass ressing people, etc. If you have somewhere to be or you’re itching to get things done in a hurry, raiding is not for you. I found it interesting that everyone was in a rush to get a kill and then either drop group or move on to the next encounter. I don’t feel that’s an accurate representation of what real raiding is and it worries me that people are going to see this and think it’s really like that.
– Healing is sort of a free for all activity. There aren’t healing assignments. Nobody asks you what spec you are in (in my case, because I’m a priest), or seems to know what the various healing specs do. People see that you have healing capabilities and they ask you to do it. It’s that simple. There’s no coordination of defensive cooldowns or battle resses. It’s just balls to the wall. The one group that I spent the most time in probably would have done better, had we communicated these things to one another. Because we were too busy healing ALL THE THINGS, we didn’t have that focus or the means to really identify what was going wrong with our performance. It felt sloppy and dare I say it, random.
– The loot system is more controversial than ever. The odds of you actually receiving loot from the Raid Finder are quite slim, in my opinion. I was even rolling on multiple items that dropped off the same boss, in the hopes that I would win something and I went home with nothing but repair bills. I think if you’re planning on using the Raid Finder to get your tier bonus faster or to otherwise get ahead with your gear, you’re doing it wrong. I would not rely on the Raid Finder for loot. I just wouldn’t. Combine this with the fact that the system of determining when you can roll seems a bit harsh and the fact that certain top tier guilds are rumored to be exploting the Raid Finder for their own competitive purposes and nobody can seem to agree on just how the loot should be handled. I would rather stay out of it, all together, and just get my loot the old fashioned way – by saving up my Valor Points, or getting upgrades as drops from the new Heroics or the Dragon Soul.
Which brings me to the Dragon Soul. Man, it feels good to be in there. It’s definitely a challenge, at least for my group, and I kind of like that way. I like that we didn’t clear everything in a day and that we weren’t crestfallen and such because of it. While it was frustrating to spend most of our night wiping on one boss, it felt terrific when we finally did get it down and to know that we all rose to the occasion and made it happen. I was quite pleased by our progress and our determination. For the record, we kept wiping on Zon’ozz – not Morchok. We’re not total baddies.
I started off our first night in Dragon Soul as holy and closed it out as discipline, due to the tank taking insane amounts of damage during the Zon’ozz encounter and I suggested that my absorbs might be able to help with that. I’m not going to be so bold as to say that I made that much of a difference, but I would like to think I certainly contributed to our tank surviving a bit better than he did before. It was neat to hear everyone offering suggestions and trying new things, rather than reading one set strategy and just imitating it. I didn’t end up as high on the meters on the kill as I would have liked, but I think that’s because that fight really favors raid healing and I was determined not to let the tank die, so I didn’t do as much AOE healing as I could have towards the end.
Some other things I could stand to improve upon:
– I didn’t use Power Infusion, like at all. I didn’t even have it on my action bars. Oh, yes! Needless to say, I was mortified and have rectified the situation. Come Sunday, everybody is getting Power Infusion. Even you.
– I gained a new appreciation for Inner Focus, as in I love it and want to marry it. Love it! The fact that it gives a free heal isn’t even the draw of it. It’s the fact that it gives our next heal a 25% chance to crit, which means a Greater Heal that’s going to crit on the tank leaves a nice Divine Aegis proc on them, which is just plain fabulous. Again – not nearly as dilligent about using it on cooldown as I should have been, but I will certainly get better at it.
– I keep forgetting to raid heal or do some amount of group healing as discipline. I was good about dropping my Barrier, but I could have popped Divine Hymn to help out, or used Inner Focus for a free Prayer of Healing or two. Like I said before, I think I was just so determined not to lose our tank, because a number of our wipes were due to the tank dying, that I was scared to leave him without heals. I’ll be sure to slip in some things to help the raid next time.
– My Lightwell positioning kind of sucked. I wasn’t sure where to put it on Zon’ozz and I didn’t even drop it on Morchok. Looking back, I think it might do the most good during the group up phase on Zon’ozz, especially because the whole room gets really dark and the Lightwell would stand out nicely and help out with the massive amount of damage that goes out. It could have done a lot more good, had I dropped it at a better time or in a better place. Noted.
Truth be told, I’m enjoying discipline a lot more than I ever thought I would. I think it’s that I don’t feel like I’m on auto-pilot when I’m healing as discipline and I feel more engaged. I don’t know what everything does just yet and I’m still piecing together how my talents and spells work. I have played holy for so long that I don’t even have to think, when it comes time to react to something. I just do it. I like to learn and have those “A-ha!’ type moments and they come few and far between, when I’m holy. It’s all very “been there, done that.” Don’t get me wrong – the new Divine Hymn is absolutely delicious and Echo of Light seems to be making a huge impact. But, I would love to have more opportunities to be discipline and to master that side of things, too.
I sort of chomp at the bit to play discipline now. I’m really lucky that I have a raid leader who trusts me, as a priest, and lets me make those decisions for myself. I don’t think I have ever been put in a position where I was forced to play one spec over the other, since I’ve been here. I was asked what I thought about changing specs for a certain fight, but it was never “You must do this or we lose – or you fail.” That was the main issue with being asked to go discipline back in Firelands, with my last guild. I wasn’t given a say. I wasn’t given a choice. It was “You will do this.” They didn’t trust me to know enough about my class to know that I didn’t need to do that for the group to succeed . I wasn’t given the feeling that my opinion mattered. I was given an ultimatum, which made me less enthused to change specs. Now that I have the choice and the freedom to decide how I want to play, I’m living it up. I’m reading up on discipline more and I can’t wait to really get the hang of it. I’m having a total blast!
This weekend will be spent farming a trinket out of Well of Eternity, possibly gearing up my shaman a bit more, and finally respond to comments on my blog. I’ll do a bit more preparation and log splicing before the raid on Sunday, but I’m hungry for more action. Hopefully you all are enjoying this new patch as much as I am, or that you’re on the road to getting there. Let me know what you think!