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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!

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Mists Of Pandaria Beta – The Morning After

22 Mar

While I was not one of the first few to receive a Beta invite, I did pay close attention to all of the information that was trickling down through Twitter, MMO Champion, and WoW Insider.  I figured I would start compiling all of the priest based information and share my thoughts on what we do know about various things that could affect us, so far.  As with anything that comes out of the Beta, this information could change at any time. 

Let’s begin!

 

Glyphs

*  Glyph of Circle Healing – Your Circle of Healing spell heals 1 additional target, but its mana cost is increased by 35%. 

Currently, the glyph only increases the cost of Circle of Healing by 20%.  While this may sound like the new version of the glyph is going to make Circle of Healing even more costly, it actually makes sense when you consider how much larger our mana pools in the next expansion are going to be – what with the staggering amounts of Intellect that we can expect from even green and blue quality gear. 

*  Glyph of Dispel Magic – Your Dispel Magic spell also damages your target for ___ Holy damage when you successfully dispel a magical effect.

The current incarnation of this glyph heals a friendly target for 3% of their health when you successfully dispel a magic effect from them.  This new version seems to be a bit more aggressive, as it will only see any use against hostile targets, and not friendly ones.  I wonder if this glyph implies that we may be doing some offensive dispelling in a PVE setting, or if this is just something that priests who PVP may get some use out of.

*  Glyph of Fortitude – Reduces the mana cost of your Power Word: Fortitude spell by 90%.

Currently, Glyph of Fortitude reduces the cost of your Power Word: Fortitude by 50%.  This glyph is usually taken simply for lack of any other minor glyphs to take, and it can help reduce the cost of having to re-buff someone if they come back from receiving a battle res. 

*  Glyph of Holy Fire – Your Holy Fire spell is now instant.

This is great news for Atonement priests, for whom Holy Fire is a staple in their rotation.  The faster you can get Holy Fire out, the faster you can dish out some more Smite, or focus on healing the tank or the raid. 

*  Glyph of Inner Sanctum – Spell damage taken is reduced by 6% while within Inner Fire, and the movement speed bonus of your Inner Will is increased by 6%.

This glyph does exactly what the talent called Inner Sanctum in the discipline tree does right now, which leads me to believe that this talent may be on the chopping block, and replaced with this.  I consider Inner Sanctum to be a staple for anyone doing Heroic raid content, so this is probably something I would suggest that you pick up when that time comes. 

*  Glyph of Leap of Faith – Your Leap of Faith spell now also clears all movement impairing effects from your target.

Leap of Faith is already useful for pulling people out of things that they shouldn’t be standing in or for pulling people close to you who need to get somewhere fast.  With this glyph, it also means that Leap of Faith can help pull people to you who may not have been able to get to you, otherwise.  This may see some use in a PVE setting, but I think it will see a lot more use in PVP. 

*  Glyph of Lightwell – Increases the total amount of charges of your Lightwell by 2.

This glyph could be considered a bit of a nerf, as the current version gives you 5 additional charges, instead of just 2.  Assuming that Lightwell comes with the same amount of charges (10), this means your raid will only have access to 12 charges, instead of 15.  I don’t think it’s going to cause a dramatic loss of healing or affect us in a huge way, but it is certainly a noticeable change, and one that I am not too pleased about.

*  Glyph of Penance – Reduces the mana cost of Penance by 20%, but increases the cooldown by 2 seconds.

Currently, Glyph of Penance reduces the cooldown of Penance by 2 seconds.  The updated version serves to do the opposite – it increases the cooldown by the same duration of time, but also reduces the cost by 20%. 

While I don’t have too much experience with discipline, I do know that Penance was never something that anyone really spammed, or used on cooldown.  It is best used in situations where someone needs a fast, emergency heal, or for when you need to build stacks of Grace on someone (usually the tank).  I don’t see this glyph really changing this in any real way.

*  Glyph of Renew – Your Renew heals for 33% more each time it heals, but its duration is reduced by ___ seconds.

The way Renew works right now is that it generates one tick of healing every 3 seconds (or 4 ticks) for 12 seconds, but you can gain extra ticks depending on how much Haste you have.  At 12.50% Haste, you can receive one extra tick from Renew (5).  A second tick can be gained by reaching 37.50% Haste (6).  The duration of the spell itself doesn’t change, just how many ticks are included in it.

Let’s say for example that this new version of the glyph will shave off 3 seconds from the duration of Renew.  That essentially means that Renew will generate one tick of healing every 3 seconds (or 3 ticks) for 9 seconds, with the extra ticks still becoming available once you reach certain Haste breakpoints. 

The current incarnation of this glyph increases your overall healing from Renew by 10%.  Let’s use the amount stated in the tooltip for Renew to do some math here.

 

 

Right now:

1224 healing  x 10% = 122.4
1224 + 122 = 1346
1346 healing  x 4 ticks = 5384

Now let’s add this all up, assuming that we were using the newer version of the glyph.

1224 healing x 33% = 403.9
1224 + 403 = 1627
1627 healing x 3 ticks = 4881

So assuming that Renew works the way that it does in Cataclysm, this appears to me like the glyph will result in a loss of healing – not an increase.  Factoring in Divine Touch could close the gap, but it still seems like an awful lot of work just to net the same results from a spell that we shouldn’t be relying on too heavily to begin with.

*  Glyph of Spirit of Redemption – Increases the duration of Spirit of Redemption by 10 seconds.

In Mists of Pandaria, Spirit of Redemption is looking like it is going to become a passive ability or talent that every holy priest will end up having.  My thought is if they are going to basically make us take it that they can throw in a little incentive to make it more enjoyable for us.  This glyph could serve to do just that.

There is also another glyph floating around with an unfinished name that indicates we may be receiving some kind of instant cast heal that can only be used while under the effects of Spirit of Redemption.  I’m excited to see what that turns out like, if it even makes it to Live at all.

 

Enchants

The Heartsong v. Power Torrent debate was easily one of the most talked about topics amongst healers of all classes in this expansion.  Priests were certainly no exception to this.  It looks like Blizzard has decided to take the guesswork out of all this and created one enchant to please everyone. 

*  Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit:  Permanently enchants a melee weapon to sometimes increase your Intellect by 1650 when healing or dealing damage with spells.  If less than 25% of your mana remains when the effect is triggered, your Spirit will also increase by 750.  Requires a level 384 or higher item. 

 

So what do you think?  Do you like what you have seen or read about so far?  Were you one of the lucky few to obtain a Beta invite?  Leave a comment and let me know what’s on your mind.

Planning Stages

15 Mar

I have been doing quite a bit of planning lately for two different endeavors that I would really like to see get off the ground.  Unfortunately, I can’t make them happen all by myself, so this is where you all come in.

First, I would like to try setting up a 10m run that is interested in going back to the Tier 11 and possibly even Tier 12 hard modes to down Sinestra and then Ragnaros.  Sinestra is firmly at the top of my Bucket List of things to do before Mists of Pandaria comes out and I know there are other people who feel the same as I do about that. 

I tried setting up a run on the Twitterland Raiding site and didn’t get many responses – not because of lack of interest or anything, but mostly because of scheduling.  So if anyone is interested, and has a character on the Horde side that would like to participate, please leave me a comment, or reach out to me in some other way to let me know what toon you would like to bring and what days or times work best for you.

I would strongly prefer to take mains, as some of these hard modes are still nothing to sneeze at, but I would settle for a suitably geared alt that someone can play well, too. 

Second, I have decided that I want to attend GenCon in Indianapolis, in lieu of BlizzCon being cancelled this year.  Unfortunately, going alone would dramatically increase my expenses, so I’m looking for someone else (or mulitple someones) who may be interested in going and sharing a hotel room with me for the trip.  Or if someone happens to live in the area and wants to put me up for the duration of the convention, that could be a possibility, too. 

Even though the convention isn’t until August, I would like to get things fleshed out as soon as possible, as the cost of buying a badge for the convention goes up after June, and I would like to get a hotel room while they are still available.

If you think you can help with either of these things, please let me know.  Otherwise, have a great Thursday and 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?

Go Phish

26 Oct

My site ended up unexpectedly being shut down for a couple of hours yesterday, so I do apologize if anyone tried to read anything that I have here and was unable to do so.  Needless to say, it was quite a wild ride! 

It all started a couple of weeks ago, when I started receiving some feedback from my friends and readers that my site was showing up on their antivirus software as possibly having malicious content, specifically a Trojan.  I have only been self hosted for a few short months, so I don’t know too much on the subject or the inner workings of things.  I ran a full scan on my computer, which turned up nothing and then I called BlueHost, who hosts my website and asked what they could do about this.  The man from technical support ran a scan on his end, also found nothing malicious on my page and told me that if I could provide evidence of these alerts or of the malicious software that BlueHost could investigate further. 

I put out the call for people to send me some screenshots of what the man asked for and a very dear friend sent me an e-mail the other day with exactly what I needed.  I immediately shipped that off to BlueHost and awaited their response.  Near the end of my work day, I received two e-mails from BlueHost, one telling me that they had found a large amount of malware in my site and had created a folder with all of the information about it in there.  The second e-mail was from the Terms of Service department, telling me that a third party sent them a complaint about the malware on my site and that they determined that I was phishing, which is a violation of the Terms of Service.  Because of this infraction, they were going to deactivate my site and give me 15 days to contact them and get the matter resolved, or else they would potentially delete anything that they are hosting of mine. 

I called the Terms of Service department and they basically blamed everything on me.  They denied any responsibility for the malware getting through and told me that it is my job to monitor my site and make sure that it remains free of such things.  They denied any knowledge of promises that were made to investigate or clean up the site further and were unsure why someone in their technical support department would make such claims.  I was given the name of two third party companies that would be happy to help me clean up my site and help keep it clean, all of course for a low monthly fee.  Needless to say, I was pissed.  I didn’t know any of this.  I assumed that by paying them to host my site, that they were also going to keep it safe.  There was never any indication that they did not automatically provide this service to me and this was the first time I had ever been offered the services of other companies to do such things.  It never came up until now.  

Terms of Service wrapped up the call by stating that they would be happy to reactivate my site, if I could show them that the site was free of all malware and other potentially suspicious software and they would wait to hear my response on this.  I didn’t know where to begin.  One of my friends offered his assistance with this and we sat on Vent together and figured out what to do.  I gave him the information that would allow him to access my control panel through BlueHost, to see what he could do.  Mind you, I wouldn’t suggest you do this for just anyone, but these were desperate times and I really felt I could trust him.  As he is working on cleaning up my site, he was surprised to discover that nearly a dozen phishing sites or companies had basically taken up residence on my server.  Some of them were masquerading as tax companies or well known banking institutions.  It was an impressive feat and certainly not something done by amateurs. 

After he felt like he had cleared everything malicious out, I called BlueHost to see if my site met with their approval and if my blog could be reactivated.  The man on the line said I still had three pieces of malware remaining that they would like to see removed.  Let me get this right – they can tell me where the malware is and what it is, but they can’t remove it?  How does that work?  Again, it’s not their job.  Or at least that’s the way they see things.  So, I dragged my friend back on Vent and he removed the last three pieces of malware, to BlueHost’s satisfaction.  Minutes later, my site was reactivated and everything appeared to be back to normal.

I walked away from this experience feeling paranoid and confused.  How on earth did this happen?  I have always prided myself on being smart about my web surfing and my online shenanigans.  I don’t open attachments I’m not sure of.  I don’t give out my password to strangers.  I use authenticators.  I run virus scans often.  I don’t unscreen comments that look suspicious.  I don’t download porn from sites that I don’t trust and that aren’t secure.  I would like to think I’m a smart person, in that regards.  I also don’t know how to prevent this from happening again.  I really assumed that I would be safe, that my host would keep me safe.  That didn’t happen.  My friend and several others offered me hosting on their spaces and I’m seriously considering taking them up on this.  I don’t need massive amounts of storage or numerous e-mail addresses.  I just want to feel safe.  I want to know that I can have a site up and running that’s not going to negatively affect those who try to read it or that will negatively affect me.  I didn’t even know something like this was possible. 

So I’m trying not to give this too much thought and move on.  I’m still trying to determine where I’m going to end up, come 4.3.  I haven’t had any luck finding any runs in my current guild or group that are looking for healers or that would have me back (after the whole “me refusing to go discipline” fiasco), so I’m having to take my business elsewhere.  I had one guild interview last night that I thought went well and I have had a few offers from others, too.  I really want to make sure I do it right this time and that I find a group that I enjoy first and that I can progress with second.  Before, it was the other way around and I realize that maybe that wasn’t the best way to go about things.  I have learned that and I’m still learning other things, too.  I just need to find the right group that is willing to learn with me and possibly even teach me a few things, too.

Initial Thoughts On The Mists Of Pandaria Priest Changes

24 Oct

This weekend, I was one of the 26,000 people in Anaheim, California to attend BlizzCon 2011.  I was there bright and early on Friday morning, for the opening ceremonies and for the preview panel that came shortly after that.  As expected, the trailer for the next expansion, Mists of Pandaria was released and there was much discussion afterwards about upcoming changes to our characters and many of the systems or mechanics, at large.

I was particularly interested in the proposed changes to the talent system.  To me, this is one of the most needed and noticeable changes that was brought up in the panel that morning.  For those leveling new characters, you will still choose which spec you want to focus on once you reach level 10.  You will still receive a few talents or abilities at that level, which will fit into the grand scheme of things, with regards to what your chosen spec is meant to do or how it should perform.  After that point, you will choose your talents from one talent tree.  There will no longer be a clear cut holy, discipline, and shadow tree.  Each tier of the new talent tree will give you a couple of choices and you will only be allowed to choose one, per tier.  These talents also do not come with any ranks.

With the release of Mists of Pandaria, you will receive one talent point to use at levels 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90 (which is what the level cap will be increased to).  Let’s take a look at some images of the proposed talent choices for priests and my thoughts, criticisms, and predictions for each tier.

 

Level 15

As I mentioned earlier in this post, there are no clear cut talent trees anymore.  You will find that each tier of talents will include things that used to belong solely to one tree that now a priest of any spec can possibly enjoy.  You will see talents that were in one tree merged with talents from another tree to create a whole new talent that you could choose to put a talent point into.  I was pleasantly surprised by this and I feel like this new system goes a long way towards creating a versatile healing priest, which is something that many priests struggle with (myself included).  We will have to incorporate aspects of all of our trees to make ourselves the best healers we can be.  I am certainly up for the challenge and I hope that other priests are, too.

This first tier seems to focus on a priest using various forms of crowd control.  I don’t foresee us being asked to crowd control much in raids or dungeons, but I do see some of these abilities being used in an emergency, like if you suddenly end up with aggro.  Or they could be extremely useful in PVP situations.  I see these three talents as being more personal preference talents and not being something that will drastically affect your game play, otherwise.

Void Tendrils are very similar to an AOE root that druids are also going to be receiving.  Like the druid version, damage dealt to the roots or tendrils can terminate the effect.  This reminds me of the enhanced Earthbind Totem, which shamans can use to create a similar rooting effect.  It works really well and I’m glad to see other classes getting a chance to use something like it and hopefully with the same effect.

Psyfiend seems similar to a shadowfiend, except this minion will stay in one place and constantly use Psychic Scream on a single target.  It doesn’t sound like you will be able to choose the target or assign it to fear a specific enemy.  The tooltip itself is very vague, stating that it will only prefer to go after targets attacking you or your allies.  I wonder if the psyfiend is something that an enemy can target, like the Void Tendrils, and if doing so would cancel the effect early.  I’m also curious if the psyfiend will fear the same target repeatedly or if it will swap targets, if more than one enemy is attacking you or your allies.

Psychic Scream is something we already have in our arsenal and actually saw some use early on in Cataclysm.  I remember using it in 5 man Heroic dungeons, due to how difficult they were when the expansion first came out.  I also remember glyphing for it for Cho’gall, to help out with breaking the Worship effect on those that were affected in the raid.  If I had to choose one of the control type talents in this tier, I would probably choose this one.  It doesn’t come with any fancy gimmicks.  It does what it has always done, what you will most likely need it to do, and that is what really matters to me.

 

Level 30

This next tier of talents seem to revolve around abilities that increase your movement speed or the speed of others and allows you to remove movement impairing effects on yourself.

First up is an old favorite, Body and Soul.  From being holy for so long, I am a huge advocate of this talent and I am pleased to see that now every priest can potentially enjoy what it can do.  So far, it looks like Body and Soul will remain exactly as it is now, with the movement speed increase still coming from both Power Word: Shield and Leap of Faith and with the actual increase remaining the same.  That is good news on both fronts.

Path of the Devout is something new and increases your movement speed by 25% while using Levitate.  I see this being more of a fun talent, since you can’t give this effect to someone else and since it’s very rare that you will manage to keep Levitate on through the entire duration of a fight.  Levitate is usually something silly that you cast on yourself or others in between pulls and not necessarily something that gives you a real advantage in groups or raids.

Phantasm hasn’t changed much from its current showing in the shadow tree.  By using Fade, you can shed all movement impairing effects on yourself and then be immune to additional effects for 3 seconds afterwards.  The only problem I have with this one is that, like Path of the Devout, you can only use this on yourself.  Don’t get me wrong – it’s great for getting yourself out of a bind.  It doesn’t do anything for other people, like a tank, who I feel may be more prone to suffering from movement impairing effects and who would be at more of a disadvantage, if they had those types of debuffs on them.  I think Phantasm would be great for PVP, but I would choose Body and Soul over this or Path of the Devout, if I had to choose something for my everyday PVE activities.

 

Level 45

This tier consists of an old favorite, with a new name, an old favorite that hasn’t changed much, and a completely new spell that could be added to your repertoire.

From Darkness, Comes Light is basically just Surge of Light.  It functions exactly the same as it does right now, with certain single target heals having a chance to proc a free, instant cast Flash Heal.  Surge of Light was a very polarizing talent in Cataclysm that neither healing spec seemed to have much interest in.  Holy priests typically aren’t asked to tank heal too often, so they weren’t using the spells included in Surge of Light enough to enjoy the free heals, while discipline priests only had so many talent points they could invest into the holy tree and viewed other talents as being more important.  I don’t see this talent becoming any more important or desirable than it is now.

Divine Star is something new and will allow you to fire a star out in front of you, which will travel 20 yards and do damage to enemies and healing to allies that are in its way.  Then, the star will fly back to you, and do damage or healing to enemies or allies that are  again in its way.  I have two concerns about Divine Star.  First, I wonder how line of sight will affect this.  Let’s say you throw the star out and then are forced to get behind something that would normally prevent a spell from being cast because you are not in sight of your target.  Will this prevent the star from coming back to you?

Second, I worry about heals that require your allies to be in the right place at the right time.  I know shamans kind of had this problem with Chain Heal only reaching so far and every healing class has had issues with their zone heals, like Efflorescence or Holy Word: Sanctuary, at some point.  The neat thing about Divine Star is you can sort of steer where the star goes and who it will heal on its way out and then back to you.  You can toss it out in one direction and then move, to be in line of some other people who may need healing.  I am curious to see how wide the Divine Star effect will reach.  I know it goes 20 yards in front of you, but will it heal people in a straight, narrow line?  Will it have a nice amount of width, in order to heal people who may be standing next to someone else?

Archangel appears to have made the cut, but I feel like I can’t really talk about the future of this talent without discussing Evangelism, because the two do go hand in hand.  Right now, you can only gain stacks of Evangelism from using Smite, Holy Fire, or Mind Flay.  You can gain up to five stacks and then consume them all with Archangel.  The effects of Archangel are increased, the more stacks you have of Evangelism.  With a full 5 stacks, you will receive 5% of your total mana back, and a 15% increased healing buff, for 18 seconds.  This comes with a 30 second cooldown.

The new Archangel would give you a 25% increased healing buff, with a full 5 stacks of Evangelism and no mana regen.  The 30 second cooldown will stay the same, but there is no mention of whether this effect will last for the usual 18 seconds or not.  I wonder if the prerequisites for gaining Evangelism will remain the way they are now.  Will you only be able to get Evangelism from doing damage or will you be able to get stacks from healing spells, too?  We don’t know yet.  At first glance, I don’t like that the mana regen portion of Archangel has been removed.  I do like the buff to throughput, but it seems like a hard bargain, especially at the start of a new expansion, when you don’t necessarily outgear something enough to be frivolous with your mana.

Based on what I know so far, I would probably go into Mists of Pandaria with From Darkness, Comes Light, if only for the initial Heroic farming to gear up for raids and then I would probably take Divine Star over Archangel.  Mind you, this is just because I feel like I know more about Divine Star (as much as I can, at this point) right now and I don’t feel like Divine Star is missing something, without another talent to support it.  Once I know more about Evangelism, I may change my mind.

 

Level 60

Your choices for talents at level 60 revolve around keeping yourself alive.  I was really happy to see that just about every class will have the opportunity to put a talent point into something that will help keep them alive.  I think it is a really great idea to put more focus on the player, regardless of their class or role, and to have them do their part to stay alive longer.  I would much rather see cooldowns like this spread out across the board, rather than just seeing them all go towards healers, who usually end up being solely responsible for getting their group members out of tight spots during an encounter.

Desperate Prayer does not appear to have changed at all, which is good.  It is already quite lovely and doesn’t need to be fixed or altered in any way.  I am glad to see the developers appear to be leaving it alone, for now.

Angelic Bulwark is a new talent, which I hope will tie into other things that increase the strength of your shields (like Shield Discipline).

Final Prayer looks like it has some potential.  If you are attacked and fall below 30% health, you will generate a shield around yourself that will absorb 20% of your total health, which will last for 20 seconds.  I think this is a neat way to give yourself some time to heal yourself back up to full, if you suddenly lose a lot of health and need time to recover.  I hope that the shield generated is for 20% of your total health, when fully healed, and not 20% of your total health that you have remaining.  I am pretty sure it would work like that, but you never know.

 

Level 75

Twist of Fate contains bits and pieces of Test of Faith, from the holy tree, and Mind Melt, from the shadow tree.  I can see a talent like this being useful, especially in earlier tiers of content, where you don’t outgear everything just yet and where people aren’t necessarily guaranteed to be topped off all the time (in keeping with the triage style of healing that was briefly practiced after Cataclysm’s release).  However, once that happens, or depending on how well the healers you run with react to incoming damage, a talent like Test of Faith starts to decline in usefulness, as people spend less time being at 25% or lower health to get the benefit from this talent.  I would take this talent, but only in the beginning of a new expansion and only if I were doing more than just tank healing.

Power Infusion will now be available to all priests.  It appears that it will remain the same as it is right now.

Serendipity is primarily a holy talent that can now be picked up by discipline priests.  Like Surge of Light, this was another hotly debated talent that priests could never seem to agree on.  I wrote a post about Serendipity a while back and highlighted some ways to get the most out of it.  It is a moderately useful talent, but I don’t feel it holds up well against Power Infusion or even Test of Faith.  I’m tempted to say that I would choose Test of Faith first and then Power Infusion, only because I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to use Power Infusion (since I was primarily holy, until recently) and so I have sort of learned to get by without it.  Ultimately, though, I think Power Infusion would win out, if I had to choose between any of these three talents in this tier.

 

Level 90

They certainly are saving the best for last.  In my opinion, these three possibilities are each nothing short of game changing.  You could hear the sounds of awe throughout the discussion hall, as Ghostcrawler was going over these new talents and what each of them can do.  Let’s dig into them ourselves, shall we?

Vow of Unity basically takes the effects of Binding Heal and applies it to any heals that you cast on a friendly target.  I don’t see any sign of a duration on the tooltip, so I wonder if this is only temporary, or if this will work sort of like Beacon of Light does for paladins.  I think knowing how long this effect will last will determine how much I might want to invest a talent point into it.  It also depends on you taking damage, as well.  If you’re not in any real trouble, then you could just get away with using Binding Heal and not having to resort to blowing a cooldown on this to heal yourself and the tank (or any other individual needing your attention).

Void Shift is a very interesting new ability that we are potentially being given.  It’s important to note that you are not swapping health points with a target, you are swapping percentages of health with them.

Let’s say your tank has 250,000 health and you have 150,000 health.  He falls down to 10% of his health, while you are at 75% of yours.  You cast Void Shift, he goes back up to 75% health, which is 187,500 (up from the 25,000 he was reduced to).  On the other hand, you will go from the 112,500 that you were at down to 15,000 and will then receive a heal for 25% of your total health.  Hopefully, this is total health that you would have had, if you were fully healed and not 25% of the health points that you are currently sitting at.  Even if Void Shift heals for 25% of your total health, fully healed, that still may not be very much.

Going back to the previous scenario, if you fall down to 15,000 health and then receive the 25% heal, you are only getting back 37,500 health, which would leave you at 52,500 hit points.  You could very well heal yourself back up from that, especially with a little help from Final Prayer, but you may also die before you get a chance to do that.  One would argue that it is better that you die, instead of the tank.  You could also use Spirit of Redemption, if you do end up dying early and that way you are still able to put out some healing before you die permanently.  Void Shift has the potential to tie in nicely with many other talents, both new and old.

Based on the tooltip, it sounds like the effects of Void Shift are permanent.  It is not like you would swap health percentages and then the effect wears off and you go back to where you were at.  I also like the sound of this, because if you were to die shortly after doing this, it doesn’t seem like it would cause the effect to wear off on the tank and put them back in dire straits.  You could still use your cooldown and know that your death wouldn’t change anything.  That gives me an enormous feeling of peace of mind.

Vampiric Dominance reminds me of a talent called Surging Flames, from the Purifier soul in Rift.  I remember thinking how great it would be for a talent like this to make its way into World of Warcraft, specifically for discipline priests.  This talent is basically a re-vamped version of Vampiric Embrace (no pun intended) and now includes healing spells, in addition to damaging spells.  This talent could be quite powerful, for both tank and raid healing, and would be a good fit for both discipline and holy priests.  Depending on whether or not Echo of Light stays in the picture, (word is that it might be getting scrapped in the next expansion) it would be nice to see a HoT placed on each target that received some of the splash healing from Vampiric Dominance.

As of right now, I’m leaning towards Void Shift being the talent of choice here, followed by Vampiric Dominance, and then Vow of Unity.  Void Shift seems extremely powerful and I get a feeling that it is going to see a lot of testing before the expansion hits and that it may not end up working the way that we are seeing it in these previews.  Vampiric Dominance has the potential to really shine here, too.  I think what you choose in this tier will really depend on your particular healing assignment for each encounter.

The developers did say that they wanted players to be able to change specs with the ease that they would be able to change glyphs, so it may not be that unusual to see people having a different spec for each fight in a raid instance.  I remember Lissanna saying something over the weekend about us bloggers potentially having to do individual suggested specs for each boss and not looking forward to that.  I have to say that I kind of like that idea.  I think something like that opens up more room for discussion and goes a long way towards making our talent choices seem less static or set in stone, which was also the goal of the developers.  They wanted “cookie cutter” specs to become less common and this could very well accomplish that.

Overall, I’m quite happy with what I have seen, so far.  I realize that anything that has been revealed could change at any moment, but I am feeling quite positive with the direction that healing priests are going in and hopefully will continue to go in Mists of Pandaria.  I look forward to seeing the lines blur between a discipline priest and a holy priest and seeing each sort of enjoy some of the benefits that the other provides (i.e. holy priests getting more cooldowns, discipline priests getting more raw throughput that isn’t just from absorption effects).  I will be taking part in the beta, so I hope to provide some input on these changes and to do my part to making priests the best that they can be in the next expansion.

Feel free to leave a comment about what talents stood out to you or which talents failed to impress you.  Are there any talents you would like to see make the cut or get removed, in favor of something else?  Let’s talk about it!