Tag Archives: progression

Thursday Thoughts

7 Jun

Over the last few weeks I have really struggled with coming up with cohesive, relevant blogs that I can publish.  For the first time ever I have more than one draft sitting in my Drafts folder and I regularly add more, only to delete them a short time later.  I haven’t encountered a feeling of writer’s block this strong in quite a while and it only makes me feel worse when I see how other bloggers are constantly posting and how they seem to have no such shortage of things to write about.

To be honest, it makes me feel jaded.  Washed up.  I see myself losing Followers because I’m not talking about things that people initially followed me to hear me talk about.  I see myself not being able to relate to conversations that other people are having, because I either don’t agree with them and can’t find a way to word it eloquently enough or because I do agree with them and they have already worded things better than I ever could.  I just feel like I’m watching people, like I’m watching the community pass me by.  I’m suddenly overcome with ennui and I don’t know what to do about it.

Instead of talking about what I haven’t been able to do or haven’t been doing lately, let’s talk about what I have been up to.

World of Warcraft

I haven’t raided in two weeks.  Last week I posted out because I had just broken up with my boyfriend and I was really in no mood to raid or do anything that felt competitive or like I would have to really push myself to do.  This week I had the chance to go out and do something to take my mind off said breakup and so I took the opportunity to do that and volunteered to sit on the bench for the night.

I don’t miss it.  Let me be more specific – I don’t miss Dragon Soul.  I’m excited about raid testing being made available in the Beta.  I’m excited at the thought of grinding the 5 man dungeons to gear up for new raid content in Mists of Pandaria and then doing said content.

The Beta, as it stands right now, doesn’t have much appeal to me, either.  I have no desire to level a toon from 85-90 and then have to do it all over again when the expansion hits.  I would much rather wait until the premade characters are made available and then go from there.  That’s really where things in the Beta will start getting interesting to me.

Diablo 3

I have an Annual Pass, so I didn’t actually have to “pay” for or go seriously out of my way to get my hands on a copy of Diablo 3.  It’s fun.  I haven’t played it as much as most people have.  My witch doctor hasn’t even cracked level 20 yet and I’m not in much of a hurry to change that.

I enjoy the slow pace.  I enjoy exploring every nook and cranny of the map and breaking every barrel, urn, and spider egg that I see.  I don’t feel like there is a clock ticking that tells me I have to be this level or I have to be this geared in order to do this instance within this timeframe.  It’s nice to just say to myself “I want to kill shit,” and then I log on and do it.  It’s very simple and very mindless, which I really appreciate at this point in time.

Magic the Gathering

I have been playing quite a bit of Magic the Gathering lately and it has brought me the most enjoyment these past few weeks.  I find Magic to be very refreshing and so different from World of Warcraft in many ways.  Here are just some of those reasons:

The community.  Since I started playing Magic again, I have been trying to get a feel for what websites are the best resources for me to go to and which forums seem to have the most decent people posting on them.  I have started to Follow certain writers that I enjoy reading the most on Twitter, striking up conversations with them when I can.  I’m slowly trying to get involved in a community that is unlike what I’m used to and it’s intimidating and yet strangely exciting, at the same time.

One thing that really stands out to me about the Magic community is the sense of meritocracy or the feeling that people who are seen as authorities or who are the most respected have genuinely done something to deserve that.  Something that has really frustrated me about the WoW community lately has been the recent surge in people who have obtained this bizarre form of celebrity for seemingly doing nothing at all.

They don’t play the game.  They don’t raid.  But yet they’re in a position where people look to them to tell them what to do or for advice.  They exist solely for entertainment value and while I can see the immediate benefits of such a thing, it still feels sort of wrong to me.  I don’t think it’s too much to ask that someone actually plays the game that they write or podcast about.  I don’t think it’s wrong to ask someone to share their level of experience with you when they try to give you advice on how to do something.

This doesn’t seem to be the case in the Magic community.  The people who are writing for these websites and that you see out and about can genuinely prove that they have been there, that they are successful, and that they have a reason to be doing what they are doing.  They are there to entertain you, but that comes second to the fact that they have some amount of credibility going for them and I really respect that and I miss that.

The social interactions.  I knew that I was starting to experience some burnout once we had downed Heroic Madness for the first time.  I knew that I wanted to take a break from WoW before Mists of Pandaria came out, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do with all that free time.  The possibilities were endless.  I could go back to Rift.  I could try out Star Wars or TERA.  I could throw myself into Diablo 3.

But then I realized that I really missed social interaction with people and I mean face to face conversations.  I started to feel like everything I was doing involved hiding behind a computer screen and like I was becoming very isolated and possibly even socially awkward because of it.  It seemed really obvious to me, maybe even too obvious to choose another computer game to keep me occupied until the next expansion comes out.  That’s when I decided to start playing Magic more and to relish those moments when I’m not tied to a headset or to a keyboard and mouse.

To my surprise, I had become really awkward around groups of people.  I found that I had a hard time remembering the names of the people I had started to play with regularly at my local Friday Night Magic events.  I noticed that I had a hard time looking people in the eye when I was talking to them.  I had to remind myself that I don’t have a push to talk key in real life and that I have to keep some things to myself if I don’t want someone across the table from me to hear them.

I’m getting better at communicating and I’m still not perfect.  I do still rage when people stand over my shoulder and make comments about the game I’m playing or someone plays a card over and over again that I don’t like.  I have to get better at being a good sport, for both when I win and for win I lose.  I need to be able to say that I did a good job, even when I don’t feel like I did or when I feel like I could have done better.  Coming back to Magic has helped me identify all of these things (and more) about myself that I don’t think I would have done if I had just moved on to yet another computer game to pass the time.  I’m really grateful for that.

The freedom.  I don’t feel like I’m bound to a set schedule with Magic, the way that I am with WoW.  It’s not the end of the world if I don’t make it to Friday Night Magic, or if I have to leave early.  I can go to a tournament at this store on Tuesday, or that store on Thursday, or do both tournaments and even a third on Sunday.

I find being able to say what I want to do and what I don’t want to do, without any negative repercussions very exciting.  I don’t feel like I’m letting anyone down if I don’t make it to an event or like I am lagging behind, like I would if I missed a raid.  I don’t feel like I’m doing the same thing over and over again, like when you farm the same instance for several months at a time.  It all feels fresh and new and dare I say it – like a game *should* feel.  It kind of makes me wonder why I have been settling for something else this whole time.

Reading

I got used to bringing a book with me when I used to ride the Amtrak to go visit my boyfriend (now ex-boyfriend).  One of the books that I had picked up was the first book in the “Pretty Little Liars” series.  Needless to say I was hooked.  I’m currently on the third book and I just started watching the television show that goes along with it.  It’s been much easier to avoid spoilers of the books than it has been the television show, but it seems like the show is radically different from the books, so it’s not really hurting anything.

Like I said, I’m hooked.  I squeal like a teenage girl when the cute boy takes his shirt off or he says something close to romantic.  I gasp when something sort of scary happens.  I panic when one episode ends and I have to get up to turn the next one on from my computer.   Completely hooked.

I know this post kind of went all over the place, but I’m okay with that.  Life is good – even if it’s not giving me a lot of things to write about.  I still felt like I should say *something,* so hopefully I’ve accomplished that today.

Thanks for stopping by!

UPDATED: 4.3 Loot Priorities For Healing Priests

11 Dec

Due to a number of changes that took place after patch 4.3 came out and several pieces of loot that managed to slip under my radar, I have decided to re-vamp my loot listing, add some things that I didn’t before and take out some things that I feel made the original post seem cluttered or made it more difficult to understand.  Hopefully this revised edition is more streamlined and gives you a better idea of what pieces really are the best for you, during your time spent in Dragon Soul and beyond.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.  Please enjoy the rest of the post.

Sincerely,

– O.

A couple of things to note, before we begin:

–  As you may or may not have noticed, the items mentioned within this post are no longer just exclusive to holy priests.  This is because I have become a lot more open to the idea of being discipline and have had the opportunity to try it out on various fights.  I tend to enjoy the tank healing side of discipline more, but I’m slowly getting the hang of raid healing in that spec, too.  While I can’t say that I’m an expert on anything related to discipline healing, I can say that I want this loot listing and others that I write to include all healing priests and not just one type.

– All of the loot mentioned will be from the Regular difficulty of the Dragon Soul instance.  I will not be including Heroic gear right off the bat, as I don’t want to assume that everyone is clearly the instance as fast as others are.  With that said, I will also not be including any loot that will come from the Raid Finder, either.

– While the majority of the new cloth armor in 4.3 does come with Spirit, which is a welcome change from the lack of said pieces in Firelands, I won’t automatically assume that a piece with no Spirit on it is not meant for a healing priest.  I also won’t suggest any pieces that have Hit on them or that come with a DPS type proc, either.  With that said, when determining what piece is considered “best in slot,” pieces with Spirit on them may take precedence over pieces without it.  This doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with Spirit being primarily a regen stat, but also the fact that Spirit can easily be reforged into secondary stats, like Haste or Mastery, as desired.

Overall, I would like to think that priests did a phenomenal job of adapting to the lack of Spirit that we had to deal with in Firelands and that we even learned that we could do fine without having Spirit on every single piece that we had on.  It was nice to see priests who weren’t afraid to slap Power Torrent on their weapon, or take a ring or belt with no Spirit on it, etc.  Depending on your play style and how comfortable you feel with your mana this time around, you may be able to continue this trend in the Dragon Soul.

 

Where your upgrades will come from:

– The new 5 man Heroics (End Time, Well of Eternity, & Hour of Twilight)
– Tailoring
– Valor Point vendors
– The Dragon Soul raid instance (Raid Finder, Normal, & Heroic difficulty)

 

Regalia of Dying Light

Our set bonuses are, as follows:

(2) set:  After using Power Infusion or Divine Hymn, the mana cost of your healing spells is reduced by 25% for 23 sec.

(4) set:  Your Power Word: Shield has a 10% chance to absorb 100% additional damage and increase the mana granted by Rapture by 100%, and the duration of your Holy Word abilities is increased by 33%.

 

Helm

Cowl of Destiny < Cowl of the Cleansing Flame < Soulgaze Cowl < Cowl of Dying Light

Ideally, you should be going into Dragon Soul with either the Cowl of Destiny, which comes from a quest in the End Time instance, or the Cowl of the Cleansing Flame, from Firelands.  After that, your best in slot helm will be the Cowl of Dying Light, which drops from Warmaster Blackhorn.

The Soulgaze Cowl, which you can purchase with Valor Points has 31 less Spirit than the Tier 13 helm, and comes with Mastery instead of Haste.  Depending on your resources and how you choose to get your 4 piece set bonus, you could get by with the Soulgaze Cowl and not be worried about that missing 31 Spirit.

 

Neck

Firemind Pendant < Heartstone of Rhyolith < Petrified Fungal Heart < Threadlinked Chain

Unfortunately, none of the new 5 man Heroics come with any available amulets for casters (or anyone, for that matter).  Luckily, the Firemind Pendant can now be purchased with Justice Points, so I would suggest picking that up, if you didn’t have any luck with getting the Heartstone of Rhyolith to drop in Firelands.

From there, it comes down to either the Petrified Fungal Heart, from Morchok, or the Threadlinked Chain, which you can buy with Valor Points.  While the Fungal Heart has 15 less Spirit, it comes with 181 Haste, as opposed to the 154 Critical Strike that the Chain has.  Even if you don’t find that you need either stat, you could still get more out of the Fungal Heart, in terms of reforging.  You could turn that 181 Haste into 72 of a different stat, versus the 62 of a different stat that you would get from reforging the Chain.

 

Shoulders

Mantle of Time < Mantle of Closed Doors < Mantle of the Cleansing Flame < Mosswrought Shoulderguards < Mantle of Dying Light

The Mantle of Time drops from Murozond‘s cache, in the End Time instance and is comparable to two other shoulder pieces which come from Firelands.  Once you have either of those three equipped, you should set your sights on either the Mosswrought Shoulderguards, from Morchok, or the Mantle of Dying Light, from Hagara Stormbinder.

The Mosswrought Shoulderguards and the Mantle of Dying Light have exactly the same amount of Stamina and Intellect on them, and both come with two red gem sockets and a 20 Intellect socket bonus.  The only differences between the two is that the Shoulderguards have no Spirit on them, and have Haste and Critical Strike on them, while the Mantle only comes with a large amount of Mastery.  Personally, I’m considering taking these over my tier shoulders, as the lack of Spirit doesn’t bother me and this piece should be fairly easy to obtain, seeing as how Morchok is a rather simple boss to get past.

 

Cloak

Cloak of Subtle Light < Flowing Flamewrath Cape < Woundlicker Cover

The Cloak of Subtle Light, from Asira Dawnslayer, in the Hour of Twilight, is comparable to the cape that you can purchase from the Avengers of Hyjal faction, upon reaching Friendly status with them.  From there, your best in slot in cape will be the Woundlicker Cover, which you can buy with Valor Points.  The Cover is a noticeable improvement from the Flamewrath Cape, as it comes with 65 more Stamina, 24 more Intellect, 24 more Spirit, a red gem socket with a 10 Intellect socket bonus, and 148 Haste.

 

Chest

Whisperwind Robes < Robes of Smoldering Devastation < Robes of the Cleansing Flame < Lightwarper Vestments < Robe of Glowing Stone < Robes of Dying Light

The Whisperwind Robes, which drop from the Echo of Tyrande, in End Time, are just as good as two of the chestpieces which come from Firelands.  From there, the competition gets a bit more stiff, in terms of which piece could be considered your next best in slot.

The Lightwarper Vestments don’t compare to the Robe of Glowing Stone or the Robes of Dying Light, simply because it comes with one red gem socket less than the other two.  You may not think this makes a huge difference, but it does.  Putting two Brilliant Inferno Rubies in the Vestments only gives you a total of 100 Intellect (that’s 40 + 40 + 20), as opposed to the 150 Intellect that you could gain by using one of the options (40 + 40 + 40 + 20).  50 Intellect is a pretty big deal.

Between the Robe of Glowing Stone and the Robes of Dying Light, it really comes down to stat preference and weight.  The Robe of Glowing Stone, from Morchok, has the same amount of Stamina and Intellect, but comes with 21 less Spirit.  Both pieces have three red gem sockets and a 30 Intellect socket bonus.  However, the Robe of Glowing Stone has 290 Haste, as opposed to the 260 Mastery that the tier chestpiece has.  Like the Mosswrought Shoulderguards, the fact that Morchok is rather easy to defeat makes the Robe a lot more attractive than the tier version.  You be the judge.

 

Wrist

Firesoul Wristguards < Bracers of the Black Dream < Bracers of the Banished < Bracers of Unconquered Power < Dreamwraps of the Light

Patch 4.3 introduces new crafting patterns for Tailoring, which include potential upgrades of bracers and pants.  The two choices for bracers happen to be our initial best in slot items.  Whether or not you prefer Spirit will determine which one you want to have made for yourself.  Let’s go over why the other options may not compare to the new patterns that just came out.

The Bracers of the Black Dream come from Valor Points and have 271 Intellect on them, Critical Strike, and no gem socket.  This immediately sets it apart from the other selections.  The Bracers of the Banished drop from Hagara Stormbinder, and come with no Spirit, and one red gem socket.  Putting a Brilliant Inferno Ruby in there gives you a total of 301 Intellect, overall.  However, both sets of crafted bracers come with an additional red gem socket, which gives you 331 Intellect, overall.  That’s a net gain of 30 Intellect.

The only difference between the Bracers of Unconquered Power and the Dreamwraps of the Light is the materials that it takes to craft them and the additional stats that they come with.  The Dreamwraps have Spirit on them and require 8 Dreamcloth to make them, as opposed to the Bracers, which have no Spirit and require 5 Dreamcloth.  Both pieces require 4 Essences of Destruction, which are Dragon Soul’s equivalent of Living Embers.  Since Dreamcloth isn’t that hard to come by anymore, I would take the Dreamwraps over the Bracers.

 

Hands

Safeguard Gloves < Gloves of the Cleansing Flame < Gloves of Liquid Smoke < Handwraps of Dying Light <  The Hands of Gilly

The Safeguard Gloves, from an escort quest in Hour of Twilight compare to our tier gloves from the Firelands.  After that, you have a couple of items to choose from.

First up are The Hands of Gilly, which you can buy with Valor Points.  These are only slightly better than the Handwraps of Dying Light, from Warlord Zon’ozz, as they come with a red gem socket and Haste, as opposed to a blue gem socket and Critical Strike.  Another choice is the Gloves of Liquid Smoke, which come from the Spine of Deathwing.

The Gloves come with no Spirit, but two red gem sockets and a 20 Intellect socket bonus.  They also have 1 more Intellect than the Hands or the Handwraps, but that’s neither here nor there.  That additional red gem socket makes the Gloves really stand out.  However, the Hands of Gilly come with 237 Spirit that you can either take as is or reforge into Haste. If you are interested in your 4 piece set bonus and looking for an off-set piece, the Hands of Gilly make a fine choice for this.

 

Waist

Embereye Belt < Historian’s Sash < Tentacular Belt < Cord of the Slain Champion < Vestal’s Irrepressible Girdle

In my opinion, I find the Historian’s Sash, from a quest in Well of Eternity to be slightly better than the belt from the Avengers of Hyjal faction, only because of the 210 Spirit.  Technically, the Embereye Belt has 1 more Intellect, but that’s not really a game changer for me.

From there, you can buy the Tentacular Belt with Valor Points or get a similar piece from Warlord Zon’ozz.  If you’re going to shell out the Valor Points for a belt upgrade, I would suggest getting Vestal’s Irrepressible Girdle.  The Girdle has 248 Spirit, while the Tentacular Belt and the Cord have no Spirit on them.  You could either reforge the Critical Strike rating into a much more needed stat or you could shave off that excess Spirit and change it into something else.  In any event, I feel you would stand to gain much more from the Spirit than you would the couple more Intellect that you could receive from the other two choices.

 

Legs

Time Traveler’s Leggings <  Legwraps of the Cleansing Flame < World Mender’s Pants < Legwraps of Dying Light

Once you have either the Time Traveler’s Leggings, which are a shared drop in End Time, or your tier 12 legs, you should set your sights on the Legwraps of Dying Light.  You could go for the World Mender’s Pants, which come from another new Tailoring recipe, but you could get better for far less trouble.

The selling point of the Legwraps of Dying Light, which drop from Yor’sahj the Unsleeping, again revolves around the socket bonus.  The Legwraps have two red gem sockets, a yellow gem socket, and a 30 Intellect socket bonus.  This means that you actually stand to gain more Intellect by going along with the socket requirements than not doing so.  Overall, you would gain 130 Intellect from the Legwraps, as opposed to a maximum 120 Intellect from the World Mender’s Pants – and that’s if you used 3 Brilliant Inferno Rubies instead of going along with the socket requirements.

I admit that 10 Intellect less isn’t a huge loss, but it is when you factor in the Dreamcloth and the Essences of Destruction that you would need to make the World Mender’s Pants.  If these items are trivial to you, then go ahead and have those made, instead.

 

Feet

Coalwalker Sandals < Endless Dream Walkers < Janglespur Jackboots <  Splinterfoot Sandals

The Janglespur Jackboots, from Warmaster Blackhorn, have no Spirit on them, Critical Strike, Haste, two red gem sockets, and a 20 Intellect socket bonus.  It has the same amount of Stamina and Intellect as the Splinterfoot Sandals, which you can buy with Valor Points.  However, the Sandals come with Spirit on them, and a red and yellow gem socket.  Gemming the Jackboots correctly would give you 20 more Intellect than any possible way that you could gem the Sandals, so I would think this would make them the better choice.  But, the 216 Spirit that you would get with the Sandals could easily be reforged into 86 Mastery, which means you would get a nice mix of all of your desired stats from one piece of gear, instead of just a slight Intellect boost that you would get with the Jackboots.

 

Rings

Horned Band < Signet of the Twilight Prophet < Soothing Brimstone Circle < Quiksilver Signet of the Avengers < Ring of the Riven <  Band of Reconstruction < Signet of Suturing

 

The two best rings for priests didn’t even come from the Firelands instance, itself.  One of them came from Valor Points and then other came from gaining Exalted status with the Avengers of Hyjal faction.  If you weren’t able to get your hands on one or both of these rings, you can find reasonable substitutes from Pero’tharn, in the Well of Eternity instance, or from a quest in the Hour of Twilight.

Going forward, the two best rings for you will be the Band of Reconstruction, which you can purchase with Valor Points, and the Signet of Suturing, which is a shared drop between the first three bosses in Dragon Soul (Morchok, Warlord Zon’ozz, & Yor’sahj the Unsleeping).  While the Ring of the Riven, from Hagara Stormbinder, is a decent ring to equip, it’s the Spirit found on the other two rings that stand to make it a bit more desirable for you.  Even if you don’t need a lot of Spirit, it’s still useful to reforge into other stats that you may prefer to have more of.

 

Trinkets

What you could end up with:

Bottled Wishes
Reflection of the Light
Foul Gift of the Demon Lord
Heart of the Unliving
Seal of the Seven Signs
Windward Heart

 

What you should end up with:

Heart of the Unliving
Windward Heart

Bottled Wishes and Reflection of the Light can be purchased with Valor Points and I would only advocate buying these if you don’t see yourself doing a lot of actual raiding and if you have already purchased everything you may need and happen to have some stray Valor Points laying around.  In my opinion, these two trinkets aren’t that great, compared to the other options that are available.

Foul Gift of the Demon Lord, from Mannoroth in the Well of Eternity, is one that I have been after since 4.3 was released, simply because I was gone for a lot of Firelands and I haven’t been too lucky with drops, since I came back.  It has a 15% chance to proc and a 45 second internal cooldown.  For someone like myself, who is gearing for Mastery after Haste, this is pretty nice.  I would consider this one to be a step up from the previous two, but it can be more difficult to obtain.

Next up is the Seal of the Seven Signs, which drops from Warlord Zon’ozz.  Preliminary testing on this trinket shows that it has a 2 minute internal cooldown (which is rather high) and comes with a 20% chance to proc.  The Seal has also been shown to work with Atonement healing, specifically heals that come from using Smite and Holy Fire.  I can see this trinket being more useful for a discipline priest, as they would have more of a use for all of that Haste than a holy priest would (anything past the 12.50% haste breakpoint is questionable) and the long internal cooldown would stack nicely with Power Infusion.

The first of the two trinkets that are being considered best in slot for healing priests is the Heart of the Unliving, from the Spine of Deathwing.  This one snuck under the radar for quite a while, due to the fact that it didn’t have any Intellect and just came with the stacking Spirit effect, similar to the Majestic Dragon Figurine, from Wrath of the Lich King.  Shortly after the patch was released, 323 Intellect was added and it suddenly went up in value.  While you could get more Intellect from other trinkets, you could stand to have a constant 880 Spirit, simply by using the Heart and by being able to keep your stacks up.  For holy priests, this trinket is especially good, because we are so reliant on Spirit based regen, thanks to Holy Concentration.  Even a discipline priest would be hard pressed to pass up 880 Spirit for a little over 100 Intellect, despite them deriving most of their regen from Rapture.

The other trinket you will want to round out your gear with is the Windward Heart, which is a shared drop between five of the eight encounters in Dragon Soul.  With a 20 second internal cooldown and initial testing showing that the healing it provides benefits from 130% of your Spell Power, this trinket is mighty hard to turn down.  The Windward Heart is fantastic in the hands of a holy priest, who tend to heal a lot of targets at once, which means a more likely chance that one of those heals will crit and then trigger the proc – or in the hands of a discipline priest, who may heal fewer people at once, but who have a higher chance to crit on the targets that they do heal.

 

Wands

Crescent Wand < Scorchvine Wand < Finger of Zon’ozz < Scintillating Rods

Going into Dragon Soul, you can either choose to spend Justice Points on the Scorchvine Wand, or you can take the Crescent Wand, which comes from a questline in the End Time instance.  From there, you can choose between a drop from Warlord Zon’ozz or another wand that you can purchase with Valor Points.  Personally, I would choose the Rods over the Finger (that sounded a little filthy).  While the two have the exact same amount of Stamina and Intellect, the Rods come with 112 Spirit.  I figure the DPS casters are going to be chomping at the bit for the Finger (again with the dirty wand references) and if we can choose things with Spirit, we should

 

One-handed weapons

Scepter of Azshara < Chelley’s Sterilized Scalpel < Ko’gun, Hammer of the Firelord < Vagaries of Time < Scalpel of Unrelenting Agony < Maw of the Dragonlord

 

If you prefer to use one-handed weapons and an off-hand, you may want to start off with either the Scepter of Azshara, from the Well of Eternity, or one of the two choices from Firelands.  After that, you could choose between the Vagaries of Time, which is a shared drop between Morchok and Warlord Zon’ozz – or go with the Scalpel from Yor’sahj the Unsleeping.  I would choose the Scalpel over the Vagaries, simply for the 141 Spirit, which you could reforge into Mastery and would give you a weapon with all of the secondary stats that you could want, instead of just some of them.  The clear winner for best in slot priority is the Maw of the Dragonlord, which comes from the Madness of Deathwing encounter.

A couple of things to note about the Maw, so far:

–  The healing from the Maw can crit, but will not trigger Echo of Light.  No word yet on whether or not it will proc Divine Aegis.
–  There doesn’t appear to be a “cap” or limit on the number of people that the proc will heal.
–  The additional healing will not heal you, just those in a cone in front of you.  The cone is roughly 140 degrees wide and heals people within a 10 yard range.
–  The effect can proc from direct heals, HoTs, and heals which come from a Lightwell or trinkets (like the Windward Heart).
–  Early testing shows it to have a 15 second internal cooldown and a 10% chance to proc.

 

Off-hands

Demonic Skull < Goblet of Anger < Dragonfire OrbLedger of Revolting Rituals

If you’re an interested in using a one-handed weapon to get you through the Dragon Soul, you’re going to need an equally powerful off-hand item to go with it.  The Demonic Skull, which comes from a quest in the Hour of Twilight is just as good as the Goblet of Anger from Firelands.  Of the two new off-hands available in Dragon Soul, I would choose the Ledger of Revolting Rituals, from Ultraxion.  The only difference between that and the Dragonfire Orb, which is a trash drop, is that the Orb comes with a sizable amount of Mastery that the Ledger does not have.

 

Staves

Jaina’s Staff < Stalk of Corruption < Funeral Pyre < Smoldering Censer of Purity  < Visage of the Destroyer < Ti’tahk, the Steps of Time

The two staves from End Time and Hour of Twilight, respectively, are sidegrades to the two staves from the Firelands.  Another staff drops from Hagara Stormbinder, but that one comes with a lot of Hit on it and is very clearly for DPS casters.  Of course, one could also argue that Ti’tahk isn’t necessarily meant for healers, either, or that Maw of the Dragonlord is better.  Let’s look into this a bit.

The proc from Ti’tahk, called “Slowing The Sands,” gives you 1928 Haste for 10 seconds, and also gives 386 Haste to up to 3 allies within 20 yards.  Initial testing has shown it to have at least a 45 second cooldown.  It may be possible to position yourself in such a way to give certain allies the benefit of the added Haste over others.  I’m tempted to say that this might be a better item for discipline priests than holy priests, as their direct heals would be more impacted by the Haste boost than the raid heals from a holy priest.

If Ti’tahk sounds like a risky proposition and you want something a bit more geared towards you, let me suggest the Visage of the Destroyer, from Warmaster Blackhorn.  This staff comes with at least 119 more Stamina, 78 more Intellect, 40 more Spirit,  and 452 more Spell Power than either of the staves before it.

 

In closing, we have a lot to look forward to with this next tier of content and I’m happy to be in a place where I hopefully get to see everything that I want to see for myself.  I look forward to seeing (and writing about) the changes that are being made to holy priests and I’m excited to see their representation hopefully increase in the Dragon Soul, from the worrisome levels that they were at in Firelands.  I’m anxious to get more practice at being a discipline priest and learning how to adapt to that play style and all of the cooldowns that come with it.  It’s a good time to be a priest in the Dragon Soul and hopefully these new upgrades motivate you to be just that.

Happy hunting!

 

Proud

27 Nov

I’m not proud of the time that I have spent in Cataclysm.

I’m not proud of the fact that I went through three different guilds, to get to the one that I’m currently in and that I don’t know how long I will remain with this one, either.  I’m not proud of the fact that there’s a huge three month gap in my activity, due to burnout, which led me to try other games and to pursue other avenues.  I’m not proud of the fact that I don’t have a single Al’akir or Conclave of Air kill on my record, despite the fact that I’ve spent countless nights wiping on said bosses, but missed out on the kill as a result of poorly timed nights requested off.

I can do better than that.  I know that I can.

Last night, I attended my 10 year high school reunion, and I came back home with a lot on my mind.  It was midnight and I needed something to do, something to take my mind off what I was going through, so I clicked on a link that someone posted on my guild’s forums and found a documentary called “Race To World First.”  It was an hour long film, which documented the competition that exists between guilds like Blood Legion, Premonition, Method, Ensidia, etc. and what goes on behind the computer screen, as well.  As I lay in bed, with a carton of milk and a package of cupcakes by my side, I thought to myself “I could do that.”  Then I asked myself, “Why aren’t I doing that?”

I don’t presume to think that I’m “good” enough to ever get into a guild like one of those featured in the movie, but I definitely think I could shoot for something higher than I have been.  I admit that I wanted something casual, to close out Cataclysm, simply because I missed too much and I wouldn’t have any legs to stand on if I tried to shoot for something better.  But, I think when Mists of Pandaria comes around that I want to go for something bigger.  I would like to be in a high ranking guild, somewhere between the top 250 to 500 range.  That’s the goal that I have decided to set for myself.  Bear in mind, that I am technically in a guild that meets that criteria, but I’m not part of the group that actually got there.  Right now, I’m just a casual ranked member, and I’m OK with that.  Come Mists of Pandaria, though, all bets are off.

I realize that I have a lot of work to do and a lot of time before I can make this dream a reality.  Here are a few of the immediate things that come to mind, in terms of things I could stand to work on:

 

1)  A profession change.  Most of the cool kids don’t keep a gathering profession and a crafting profession.  I would probably have to swap out my Herbalism for something else.  As long as I have an alt that can farm the herbs needed to level Alchemy, I should be OK.  But what profession would I take in its place?  Inscription?  Enchanting?  I don’t have it in me to level Jewelcrafting, so that’s out.  But I would need something else, to squeeze that extra drop of performance out of myself and my character.

2)  A change in perspective.  If I’m going to shoot for something loftier than what I’m doing right now, I have to be more flexible.  I can’t just be a holy priest or a discipline priest.  I have to be a healing priest.  I can still have my preferences and have that spec which I enjoy playing more, but I have to be willing to do what’s best for the fight and for the raid, as needed.  I would like to think I’m already making progress with this, but I still have a lot to learn with getting as comfortable with discipline as I am with holy.

3)  A change in attitude.  Ah, the big one.  I admit that I can be a handful and that I tend to jump to conclusions.  I admit that I don’t always know when to keep my mouth shut.  I work hard, I play hard, but my attitude and people’s perception of me always seems to get in the way of that.  That can’t happen if I’m going to try and hang with a different crowd of people than I’m used to.  It has to be about the work, about the performance.  I can’t let my opinions or my snark get in the way of that.  I can still be myself, but I have to rein it in a little bit.

 

I know I have a long road ahead of me, before I get to the point where I feel I’m ready to do this, and that’s even if a guild is gracious enough to see the potential in me to take me on board.  A number of stars are going to have to align for this all to work out, but I really want it and I’m determined to make it happen.  I want better for myself and I know that I can do it.  My mind is made up and now I have to start plotting out my course.

Who’s with me?

Bang

10 Aug

“This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.”

– T.S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men.”

I woke up the other day to find this post in the Breakfast Topics section over at WoWInsider and it got me thinking.  I related a lot to what the author had to say.

I always imagined that when the time came for me to quit World of Warcraft that I would go out in a blaze of glory.  I fantasized about going out like Jack Berger and randomly shouting “Fuck you and fuck you!” before casually walking off and going about my business like such a random outburst never happened.

Or maybe I would go out in the most passive-aggressive way possible.  I would tell people I was quitting the game, leave a huge goodbye post on various forums and check back often to see who would miss me or who would try to convince me to stay.

Instead, it just kind of happened.  I received an e-mail from Blizzard, telling me that my subscription could not be renewed because the credit card linked to my account was no longer valid.  This is because I had to cancel my debit card a few weeks ago, due to some unauthorized charges that were made to my checking account.  Normally, I would have been all over that.  I would have been tapping my fingers impatiently on my desk while staring at the login screen, waiting for my payment to go through so I could keep playing.

This time, I took a good, long look at the e-mail and deleted it.  Just like that, I had decided that I would not be renewing my subscription to World of Warcraft and that I was ready to finally move on with my life and with my gaming experience.  No string of expletives.  No emotional forum posts.  No one last thing before I go.

I have been spending a lot more time playing Rift and I’m really enjoying it.  I belong to a great guild that is home to some familiar faces in the blogosphere who I can see myself doing big things with.  With that said, I have decided to begin posting regularly about topics pertaining to Rift, specifically healing and the calling that I play.  I feel inspired in ways that I haven’t experienced in a long time and I’m eager to pour out my thoughts and feelings here.

Because Rift is a new game, they don’t have the resources that World of Warcraft does.  There isn’t an Elitist Jerks or a Blog Azeroth or a WoWInsider just yet.  There aren’t many personal blogs out there that talk about things from a player’s perspective.  There is a huge niche out there that could be filled and I would like to be one of the first to fill it.  It’s a huge opportunity and I look forward to giving it a shot and seeing what becomes of it.  I plan on giving my blog a face lift,  too, to reflect that I’m going in a new direction.

I have no intention of deleting World of Warcraft from my computer.  I have nothing bad to say about the game or those who continue to play it.  I still plan on going to BlizzCon in a couple of months and continuing to support those who I regularly follow and enjoy reading.  The Double O Podcast is still going strong and you can count on Ophelie and I to continue bringing you the best episodes we possibly can and to keep talking about the things that you all want to hear about.

They say that lightning never strikes twice.

We’ll see about that!

Sellout

27 Jul

The defintion of selling out, according to Wikipedia

The compromising of (or the perception of compromising) integrity, morality, or principles in exchange for money or “success” (however defined).  It is commonly associated with attempts to tailor material to a mainstream audience.  Any artist who expands their creative path to encompass a wider audience, as opposed to continuing in the genre and venues of their initial success may be disdainfully labeled by disapproving fans as a sellout.

I pride myself on being the rebel.  The underdog.  The odd one out.  Secretly, I crave acceptance and being able to fit in, but I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I were to start experiencing either of those things.

I made a vow to myself when Firelands came out that I wouldn’t go discipline unless I absolutely had to, unless I could really show that discipline was leaps and bounds better than holy.  I felt like I owed it to myself and I owed it to my readers to do this.  My most viewed posts for weeks on end have been the ones relating strictly to holy priests. 

People want to see a holy priest doing well.  They want to see a holy priest telling them that things are OK and that they don’t have to go discipline to get by in Firelands.  My loot listings, my theorycrafting posts, my trinket discussion; those are what people are coming to my page to see.  They don’t want to read about yet another holy priest throwing up their hands and caving into the pressure of having to go discipline to make it through this tier.

So far, I have only had to go discipline for one encounter and that was for Baleroc.  I simply could not keep my targets alive as a holy priest in Chakra: Serenity.  I wasn’t building enough stacks of Vile Spark to make a difference, mostly because the spells in my arsenal couldn’t build stacks as well as those that a discipline priest has at their disposal.  I was losing my healing assignments, people were dying.  To me, that was a no-brainer.  I went discipline for that fight and we started to down it much more smoothly and regularly.

Cut to last week and we’re working on Alysrazor.  I’m really struggling with the tornadoes and dying before P2 even starts.  That’s where I should be making my money as a healer.  I should be dropping HW: Sanctuary, dropping a Lightwell and blowing up the raid with heals.  But I’m not, because I’m dead and I’m not grasping the tornado mechanic.  As I’m running back after a wipe my healing lead asks me if I wouldn’t mind going discipline for this fight.  I tell him that I would mind because I haven’t made it to P2 enough to determine that we need another Barrier and that holy is that inefficient for this encounter. 

Once I started getting the hang of the tornadoes and making it into P2 and P3 (which is basically just a repeat of P1) consistently, I felt like I was doing quite well.  In fact, our best attempt (getting her down to 3.2%) was done when I was holy and so were the next best attempts.  My being holy had nothing to do with why we failed to get her down.  We were losing DPS in the final round of tornadoes, which a discipline priest couldn’t have prevented.  The two had nothing to do with each other.

The next day, I received a private message on our boards again asking me if I would go discipline for that fight.  I replied that I am open to going discipline, if the fight truly warrants it and based on what I was seeing and experiencing this one doesn’t require me to do that.  The person who messaged me was polite, but did mention that there could be consequences for not doing what’s best for the overall group and I should be aware of that before I make my decision.  Unlike most guilds or raids I’ve been in, I know that when this group says there are going to be consequences there will be consequences.

I really like running with these people.  I’m proud to be associated with them.  I have a lot of fun when I’m with them.  I don’t want to let these people down.  But at the same time, I don’t want this to become a habit and I’m afraid that it will be.  I haven’t seen Majordomo or Ragnaros yet.  I haven’t done anything in Firelands on Heroic mode, but I know what I’m hearing from various sources and it’s not good.  I’ve managed to shrug off the chants of “Go disc or go home.”  I’ve managed to avoid various forums and discussions that have made me lose faith in the very community that I belong to, because of how quickly everyone else seems to have thrown in the towel and given up on a spec that they love to play.  I don’t know how much longer I can keep doing those things.

I received a Tweet yesterday that literally warmed my heart and made me smile:

I love the fact Paragon uses holy priest 5/7 FL. I betrayed myself using Disc too much. I love that you’ve stayed true to holy. 

Someone out there counts on me to do the right thing, to stay true to what I believe in.  Maybe others do, too.  I can’t help but feel like I would be letting people down if I did this, if I kept doing this and by this I mean going discipline.  I would feel like I caved, like I gave up.  Like I sold out.  For someone like me, that’s the worst feeling in the world.  I want to believe that anyone can be successful on their own terms and I have been living proof of that.  Now here I am, faced with the prospect of doing something I don’t believe in just to get ahead and this may not be the last time I’m asked to do that, either. 

So where do you draw the line?  When do the ends justify the means?  What do you do when you have reached that point where compromise becomes compromising?

Is it worth it?

New Double O Podcast – Episode Six!

25 Jul

Fresh out of the oven, it’s the latest episode of the Double O Podcast!

http://thedoubleopodcast.wordpress.com/2011/07/24/episode-6-o-chat-with-a-side-of-vs/

Ophelie and I return and with not just one, but two special guests!  We welcome Vidyala and Vosskah, from Manalicious and Sword And Board to discuss all things related to guild leadership and raid leading.

We packed a lot into this episode and covered a number of topics like recruitment struggles, social networking guidelines as a guild master and as a guild member,  guild expectations, and whether or not it’s a good time to be a new GM. 

Vidyala and Vosskah were a pleasure to have on the show and they were both extremely smart and easy to get along with.  This was our first time having two guests with us and Ophelie and I were very pleased with how it all turned out.  Please let us know what you think about this episode or previous ones, too!

As always, the Double O Podcast is available on iTunes for free.  You can subscribe to us, leave a review, and download all of our episodes anytime, day or night.   

If you’re looking for other posts to help you get through your Monday, I would suggest the following:

Cynwise addresses the scandal behind Chase Christian’s recent post on WoWInsider and whether or not it was really worth getting upset about.

Beruthiel questions if she’s ready to give up blogging just yet.    

Zelmaru tackles a hidden boss in Blackwing Descent and talks about the outcome.

Enjoy!

Waste Not, Want Not

12 Jul

I know I said I was going to put this to bed last night, but I still feel like I have a few things to say about it and so I’m going to do just that.

Let’s begin.

It all started with Kurn’s post on how she felt that it was wrong that we as raiders were being asked to farm Heroics and specifically, Zandalari Heroics to get enough Valor Points to purchase new pieces of gear.  For the record, I agree with her.  It does suck that this has become the new normal for us and that this is what we have to do, in order to be competitive.  I agree with her, in that I am a raider and I play this game solely to raid.  If there ever came a time where I couldn’t raid, I would probably cancel my subscription immediately.

I don’t have a back-up plan.  It’s raiding or nothing.  I’m not good at PVP.  I’m not an altoholic.  I have no idea how to play the Auction House.  This is all I have going for me.  Because this is my passion, because this is my reason for playing WoW, I am more inclined to do whatever I need to do to keep that going.  Including making sure I’m capped on Valor Points each week.

I made a comment on Twitter where I said that if you’re a raider and you don’t end the week capped that you’re doing it wrong and I truly believe that.  This led to a post from Windsoar, where she admits that isn’t capped each week and defends her position on why she chooses not to do that.  It’s a wonderful post and she was kind enough to send me a few messages on Twitter, telling me she was using my Tweet as inspiration and asking if she could do that.  Of course, I said yes.  I’ve followed Windsoar for quite some time and even wrote her a guest post once, so I was thrilled to be included in whatever she had to say. 

However, it was this amazing post that got me thinking and stirred enough things within me to inspire this post.  Here is what I took away from Windsoar’s response.

“9 hours a week hasn’t always been much to me, but it’s also been bloody impossible and a commitment I couldn’t keep even when I sincerely made every effort to be there.”

I feel like this is something that could only be said in Cataclysm, in this era of more accessible raiding for all.  I have been raiding since Vanilla and anyone who raided then or even in Burning Crusade will tell you that back then you couldn’t get anything done with just 9 hours a week.  It took nearly 9 hours just to get buffs situated!  If all you had was 9 hours a week to spare, you were not raiding.  It’s as simple as that.  Raiding was a full time job and it was one that many of us were glad to partake in and remember fondly.  If you were there for that, it doesn’t seem so foreign to put in a little more time each week to get capped on Valor Points.  By now, it should be old hat.

“When I’m killing time waiting for my raid, or just finished a nice, tight 3-hour session, the last thing I want to do is put up with shit from stangers. Ok, even on my best day I don’t want to put up with shit from stangers.”

I find it interesting that people who feel that you should be Valor Point capped each week are seen as “tyrannical” or “elitist,” but yet we are the ones who seem to have less of an issue running with strangers and who don’t feel that such a thing is beneath us. 

I have to admit that I can’t relate to the stories of awful PuG experiences and rage that comes from these groups gone wrong.  I have been Valor Point capped for the last two weeks, which I couldn’t have done without running a few randoms.  I have found groups for both Zandalari and non-Zandalari dungeons through the Dungeon Finder and I can honestly say that I had one bad PuG in two weeks of random dungeons.  Just one. 

Don’t get me wrong, there were groups where you had that one bad apple who didn’t know how to manage their threat or not stand in bad.  But I sat up in my chair, politely asked them not to do that or told them what the boss encounter was all about and it didn’t happen again.  Or it did, I let them die and I had a good laugh.  It wasn’t that deep to me or that serious.  Could I leave in a huff and chastise these people for being fail and not good enough to run with me?  Sure.  What good would that do?

“However, I’m just not willing to sacrifice lord knows how much time (you never really know until you die doing it) in the nebulous hope that my dungeon group will successfully kill things and I will walk away with some extra numbers in my character screen when I can just as easily pursue an activity I already enjoy and am committed to in order to gain those same little tokens, albeit more slowly.”

I’m not really sure what runs people are doing that are so time consuming, but I work 50 hours a week, raid two days a week, maintain a social life, an active sex life, a family life, a blog, a podcast, and I still find time to be Valor Point capped each week.

I raid on Thursday and Sunday of each week.  Currently, we are 2/7 and we have Occu’thar down.  That’s 360 Valor Points from raids that I’m guaranteed, per week.  This means I have to get 620 on my own to be capped for the week (unless we down something else).  Here is how my schedule looks on the nights I don’t raid:

Monday
4:30pm – Arrive home from work.
4:45pm – Dinner/catch up on e-mails or other correspondence.
5:45pm – I log on and tend to get my non-Zandalari Heroics out of the way first.  I’ll do two.  (140)
7:45pm – Do dishes, clean the litter box, write a new blog post, etc.
9:45pm – Bedtime.

Tuesday
4:30pm – Arrive home from work.
4:45pm – Dinner/catch up on e-mails or other correspondence.
5:45pm – Log on and do two more non-Zandalari Heroics.  (140)
7:45pm – Chores/writing.
9:45pm – Bedtime.

Two nights in and I already have 280 out of the 620 Valor Points that I need to be capped for the week.  I can’t get any more Valor Points from the non-Zandalari Heroics, so I’m going to have to do three of the Zandalari dungeons to be capped.  I can do those on my off-nights or before a raid (where I’m more likely to go with my guildies instead of doing a random).  I can’t relate to those who say that this process is time consuming or arduous, because I don’t feel that it is. 

One thing that certainly helps is that I don’t do dailies.  More specifically, I haven’t done the new dailies and I don’t have any interest in doing them.  I don’t need anything from them, loot wise or otherwise.  So that’s time that I choose to put towards farming Heroics instead of doing those.  I think if I were someone who needed to do those dailies more religiously I could see where an issue may arise with having enough free time.  Even then, I would argue that most of the things offered from the new daily vendors aren’t that swell and that the upgrades you could buy from the Valor Point vendors are far better than the ones you would get from the new Hyjal vendors.

“I don’t feel that capping out any type of points was a part of my contract with my guild, implied or otherwise.”

I don’t think it has anything to do with your guild.  I think it has to do with wanting more for yourself.  I’m not in a situation where it’s required of me to be Valor Point capped.  This is something that I’m choosing to do of my own volition.  I want to be the best that I can be for my raid and to give myself the proper tools to do what I do, which is heal and keep the raid alive.  Is that wrong?  Is it wrong to want more for yourself and to want to be better

Case in point: going discipline.  I was asked to work towards a discipline off-spec, in case it was needed in raids.  So far, I haven’t needed it and I haven’t been asked to pick it up for any encounters that we have faced.  But that could change.  I have been very fortunate that holy seems to be keeping up nicely with discipline and even outperforming it on some fights. 

Were there to come a time where I was holding myself back or the raid back by being holy and I could show that my performance was lagging by leaps and bounds, I would be discipline in a heartbeat.  I would acknowledge that I can do better, that I can be better and I would be that.  Without hesitation.     

So I did it.  I spent an entire weekend farming Heroics and learning how to be a discipline priest.  It was awkward, messy and I wanted to quit.  I resented being asked to do it.  But I did it and part of me even grew to like it a little bit.  I had fun knowing that I could do it, that I had pulled it off.  That felt incredible.  I couldn’t wait to run and tell my healing lead that I had a discipline off-spec and that I could fill that role, if needed.  It may have started off as something that I really didn’t want to do, but I became a better person and a better player for doing so.

As a blogger, I think it’s great to see a topic like this inspire a lot of passion in the community.  I don’t think I’ve seen anything really stir people up as much as this has in quite some time.  I have enjoyed reading people’s opinions on this and I’m sure more people will come forward with their thoughts on this topic and I look forward to reading those, too.  There’s enough room for everyone to speak their mind and I think the more persepectives on this, the better.   

Feel free to share your thoughts on this here and let me know what you think!