Friday, December 30, 2011

bloggy stuff for not-raiding times

Our WoW raiding break extends till next week. And good thing, too, because I broke my gaming computer trying to upgrade!

Ahem. Don't let Enlynn near the hardware. I'm hoping that my wonderful guildies can help me troubleshoot.

In case you haven't noticed my lack of enthusiasm for raiding, my lack of posting, my... er. Lack in general. I'm not quitting WoW. I would like to see Deathwing die and we've got a couple more fights to learn yet. I will see my guild through to that as long as we can make it happen.

But I have to be honest with you. I don't know what things look like for me past that. And I don't want to go quietly and just let this blog fall to dust. I love this community. It's hard to even think about saying goodbye. I remember some of the wonderful WoW bloggers who have already closed their doors. I almost cried when Larisa shut down PPI. My blogroll and RSS feed are full of WoW bloggers who haven't updated since February or March.

I've gotten so many readers who leave awesome comments. Judging by my stats, I've had quite a few lurkers who've never said a word (please don't think I'm asking you to de-lurk. I feel guilty when bloggers ask for it, fiddle around with a comment before I delete it and don't de-lurk. So you're in good company). I have enjoyed this blog. It taught me a lot about myself, about gaming community, about the game. I hope you found it useful. I hope you found it funny once in a while.

And if for some reason you can't get enough of me (and you are interested in a Star Wars blog), you can find me writing at pealsheals.wordpress.com. Still talking about healing. :)

In the meantime, I'm not disappearing just yet. Here's hoping for some good raiding in the new year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

a holiday lull

I have been avoiding this post for a while now.

For one, it's been a quiet December. With the release of the DW tier, I was at first disappointed with how "easy" the first few bosses were but after considering Blessing of King's take on normal tuning, I dare say Rohan is right. We've gotten to 5 bosses down (6 on 10). It was really nice not to be stuck on the first boss for weeks. Having only one fight to work on isn't enough to sustain us and it just plain sucks.

But the last couple of weeks, we've had trouble filling raids. Last week was expected, with holiday parties and obligations. My planned "10 batches of cookies in 30 hours" took more like 80, so our calling the raids was a relief. I ran right back to the kitchen and haven't played much at all.

I think the question in a lot of people's minds is "Will Star Wars kill WoW?" and on one hand, WoW is not dying. I don't think it is, I don't think WoW is going away.

On the other... I do think SWTOR will kill some guilds. 25s have been in a precarious position all year. You know it's bad when the premiere hardmode guilds on your server are recruiting in trade and cancelling raids. Seems to me like 10-mans are the way to go, and in MoP 25s will finally die the big death. Players who prefer the larger format will have to choose to stay or try a new game. Like Star Wars.

But... Not because SWTOR is super-great or shiny or everything that WoW isn't. None of that. Remember when I qq'd that a Crab Stole My Kill? I haven't gotten my joy back in playing WoW since then. I've still raided, but something is missing. I wonder how many others like me are feeling the same way.

The only thing I've gotten excited about is transmog. For some reason I love collecting late Classic and BC green-quality plate. Can I just say one thing? I make plate look good.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

good things in threes


1. HM Lord Rhyolith is DEAD. DEAD!

2. I got Exalted with our Rhyo kill.

3. A guildie got his legendary tonight.

(I got my helm the other night so I actually look like I'm raiding in Firelands now.)

Safe to say that's a pretty great night in raiding.

Friday, October 28, 2011

that time of the year/expac/tier again...

It took several weeks of AH-camping... my mog set is mostly complete.

I need a better weapon, but otherwise I'm pretty happy.

In other news... Meh. I'm glad we got an apology but cynical-enlynn thinks it sounds forced.

My guild is stuck on Rhyolith 25H. A bad kind of stuck, in which I feel like we have hit a wall and haven't figured out how to knock it down. Well, I have a few ideas of who to knock down but that isn't very nice of me. :)

In some ways I wish 4.3 would hurry itself up. And yet I don't want it to because I am really not ready to "rush" through that tier of content just to have 5.0 thrust on us before we're ready.

(I may or may not be a little bitter about the mid-tier nerfs for Firelands).

But there are good things. For instance, our healing team.

They aren't good. They're great. We're doing lean, mean teams for farm content. 4-healing Baleroc is fun as all-get out (we have 3 shadow priests, too, which is pretty neat) and our team is flexible enough to make that happen. I love that. We've gotten into a solid enough groove in the tier that we don't talk too much about who's going to do what, we just do it.

We've been recruiting healers for a while. The last two or three apps have been paladins who can only heal. I hate to be a paladin-snob (okay, okay, I love being a paladin-snob but I realize how much of a pain it is for all you non-paladins), but to be gentle, it's hard to impress me. And we have enough healer-only healers that any newcomers to the group have got to have a DPS set.

I just find it kinda funny. This time last year we couldn't find a second paladin healer to save our lives. Now we have two regular ones plus they make up the majority of the applications? I can't win.

It is that time of the tier, again.

It is that time of the year, again, too. NaNoWriMo. My master plan to get Luxinterior to do some guest posts may or may not get you some humor during the month of November. Just don't life grip him, it never ends well.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

reluctant transmog

So... Blizzard has this brilliant, brilliant strategy. Since they know they aren't offering us enough new content this expansion, they tried to offer us a huge time-sink comparable to raiding that would set both raiders and non-raiders a-tizzy with excitement.

This time-sink recycles old content and encourages nostalgia runs.
It potentially demands re-running ad nauseum old content and nostalgia runs.
It puts enough restrictions that players will have to spend more time deciding what they want, then more time going and getting what they decided on.

Oh, transmog, you genius you.

I wasn't going to participate. How dare I accept transmog instead of a whole tier of raiding? How dare Blizzard think they can promise me more bosses for Cataclysm and only deliver us 7 for T12, then nerf the hell out of that and put this new shiny not-raiding thing before me? Huh? Huh!

And yet... I've been looking around for stuff I might like to be for my transmog set. Pally tier gear doesn't do it for me (though if I could replicate my ICC set I would, but I wore cloth and mail then). So I've been shopping on the Auction House. I found a set of greens from BC I think I really like. No pictures yet, I need a belt.

It all started when we were doing Ulduar (because we only had 22 people show up for a raid, and we had to do something). Lots of purple drops. This mace dropped off of somebody. I thought, hey, that's kinda neat. The loot officer said, take it, what else are we gonna do with it.

Granted, I love having my spellpower axe, but I'm also aware that next tier I'll probably be stuck with a mace. Again.

Since then I've been camping the AH looking for neat gear. And we're not able to use this feature yet! How ridiculous is this?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Team Heal

So... apparently I was linked from joystiq last week which made for a whole lot of comments (which I appreciate! Very good conversations there) and almost 800 pageviews (which is by far a new record for my humble little blog). It did, however, paralyze me with the "what to post next" fear.

I love my healing team. And since I hadn't praised them lately I wrote up a quick "I don't deserve you but thanks for kicking ass anyways" post.

The occassion? Ragnaros. Though Laghelm was a letdown, Ragnaros is still pretty crazy even in his nerfed shame. We spent several nights on him, got him down yesterday. We're 7/7 and looking towards hardmodes!

There! Are! Four! Lights!

One of our tanks made this banner for me and our co-GM.


Saddith for President!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

a crab stole my kill

Monday Night is progression night. Actually, so is Thursday. But this is a story about Monday night progression, two nights ago specifically, in which a 25 guild has put in many, many attempts on Majordomo Staghelm.

Or, as Lux affectionately named him, Majordomo Laghelm.

Now, Laghelm gave us fits. I'll admit, I was a part of the problem as I tried and failed getting healer cooldowns in some sort of order. I'm not as good at calling out things in voice chat as I'd like to think I am. I wavered between too many too early and trying to save too many too long. I was inconsistent and jumbled up timing. But anyways. We finally got the hang of it last week.

Our best attempt on Monday night was 140k, less than 1%. It was so to-the-wire that someone missed their seed and it was over just like that. A shaman even popped in the vain hopes that dots would kill the boss in the 1-1/2 seconds he borrowed to extended the encounter. But no, it was not to be, and that was our last attempt for the night.

So... well, likely you see where this is going. Enter some nerfs. We kill the first four bosses with absolutely no problems. Alysrazor is so much of a joke now that during the second tornado phase I tried to run into a tornado and I still didn't take any damage.

We one-shot Majordomo. And I couldn't even bring myself to congratulate the healers on a job well-done. Normally I bug the RL to give us EP for good first or early kills but I could only joke about it.

I didn't roll on the healing trinket, either. I wasn't sure that I wanted it (the mana regen ones win out in theory-crafting though I feel so far removed from that this tier I don't know), and on top of that, I couldn't bring myself to be excited about loot. Why bother? We totally didn't earn that.

I've been deflated.

And the worst part is, we'll be going after Ragnaros tonight but I can't get excited. At all. Because if it's anything like the nerfed Domo and Alys, then I'll never even know how that fight is supposed to feel.

So yeah. We'll be onto heroic modes soon enough, which is nice because that's what we were before Cataclysm came and made 25s hard to fill. But then, HMs are getting nerfed too. I can't say I'll feel like I've earned anything from here on out.

I wonder about the future of raiding. I understand that this mid-tier nerfing is likely a test run of Looking For Raid, but if we can look forward to more mid-tier nerfs, then there's a lot less motivation. If you can't stay cutting edge, there's no sense in trying in the beginning. Why just make some half-assed attempts in the first few months, waiting out until you can get your loot on a platter? How am I going to analyze our new healers if there's no trying fights, and does it really matter since we can probably 4-heal anything now?

Oh, cynical Enlynn is cynical. Pardon me. I assure you, the angst in the first half of the post was earned. This isn't the end of me raiding or playing WoW...

But for the first time ever, I just don't care. That, I think, is a very bad sign. I was disappointed by Cata only being three tiers and this tier only having 7 bosses. I'm not ready for Deathwing to be in the next patch. I'm not ready to think about leveling up and learning yet another paradigm.

And I'm certainly not ready for loot on a platter when our progression was actually going just fine, thank you very much.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

nerfed content is nerfed

I'm glad I at least got the first three bosses down before they nerfed them so I could learn them and all. But it was pretty noticeable, having said bosses on wary-farm (in theory we can one-shot, but will we have 25 tonight without calling in someone's brother or aunt?) to suddenly they feel so easy, I have to remind myself they weren't like this a few weeks ago.

Also, less time on stuff we've done is more time on stuff we haven't. Last night was allll progression and it feels pretty good to be doing a bit better each fight.

I am trying something different this week, too. Before I've relied on Holy Light spam because I had lost so much spirit to go full-on mastery. But after a few upgrades my spirit is back to where it was so I have really pushed the "how much mana can I make this fight" game to spam more Divine Light. And holy cow, bigger bubbles, especially since said upgrades bring me to a 27% bubble. I've been bugging the other healadin in my raid to see her stats and it turns out for direct heal casts, we're not that far apart for cast time, though her crit is considerably higher.

But with mastery smoothing out spikey tank damage, I appreciate a crit but I find I don't wish for them as much (unlike before where the tank's health dropped and I prayed for a crit so he wouldn't die). So I have sacrificed some stats, but seriously... Bubbles were 24% of my healing. And my overheal is less than when I started fiddling with this spec (though to be fair, I've stacked the deck in my favor since I do the healing assignments. I put two and three healers on one tank and solo-heal the other for Alys).

Dangit, this was not supposted to be a mastery post! Nerfed content is nerfed. We have apps. We have recruits. We're still recruiting (shamans, that means you!) We're raiding. Life is good.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

my beef with infusion

Mmmm infused beef. Delicious, eh?

I'm going to rant about Infusion of Light, but first I'm going to ramble about Serendipity.

Different talents are different. Different trees are different. Different classes are different. But... I didn't realize how much I disliked IoL until I played my priest enough to fall in love with Serendipity.

What I love about Serendipity

Procs by casting Binding Heal or Flash Heal. Combined with Surge of Light (great talent synergy!), I generally find opportunity to use Serendipity procs at least a few times a fight. And I have choices: I can either use it on a Greater Heal or a Prayer of Healing. And if that wasn't choice enough, I can either spend 1 stack or wait and cast at 2 stacks!

But it gets better. Priest healing spells are so diverse that I can hold my Serendipity charges, casting a ton of other heals: Prayer of Mending, Circle of Healing, Renew, Heal, Sanctuary, PW: Shield, etc. I can save my Serendipity stacks if I know a big thing is coming up: a pulse AoE where I'll need to heal the raid, or a big tank heal for a tank swap or timed ability.

Why Infusion Sucks, In Comparison

Infusion procs by Holy Shock crit so it's a chance instead of a guaranteed proc. I'm cool with that. An Infusion procced with a non crit, every 6 seconds would be ridiculously overpowered. So how it procs isn't a problem IMHO.

The problem is how we spend it. See that list of stuff up there, stuff I can do as a priest while saving my Serendipity stack for something I know is coming up? Here's the list for what paladins can do that heals that won't eat my IoL buff: Holy Radiance. Oh, I might be able to spend Holy Power, if I have three stacks.

So, we have one--maybe two--spell choice(s) we may or may not even want to use before our IoL proc gets eaten up by our next cast. There's no choice here. I cast Holy Shock (and half the time I'm already casting my next heal before my UI even registers I've gotten IoL), my next heal is short. Whether or not I need it that fast. Whether or not I want to use it right away, it gets spent. The only way I can save it is to stop casting, which I think we can all agree is a terrible idea.

Did I mention that a holy priest, after choosing to hold her Serendipity proc a few seconds, can also choose to use it on either a group heal or a single-target heal? Paladins get... a single target heal.

I don't think I have the answers. I'm not suggesting that IoL should be more limited in how we can spend the proc because that would just make the spell clunky. And Serendipity is arguably a minor part of priest healing, while Infusion of Light is a major component of paladin healing (though I could argue that it's only major because paladin spells are so limited).

Managing daybreak procs and Infusion is also a bit clunky. Using Daybreak to Holy Shock back-to-back can waste an Infusion proc if you double-crit. But critting Shock > hasted Divine Heal (.7-.8 seconds at our gear level) > Holy Shock is awkward to time. I can't chain cast it near as fast as I should. It breaks my casting rhythm (though I realize how personal and small of a complaint this is. My big beef is the no-choice-to-spend-or-hold argument above).

But that's why I don't like Infusion of Light. There's no choice in using it. It happens, then it gets spent almost immediately. It's a passive RNG-based HPS boost. I can't hold it to save a tank, I can't rely on it to proc when I really really want it to. And even if it does proc at a good time there was no Enlynn-saving-the-tank. It was a lucky proc, is all. Unlike Serendipity where a well-placed hasted GH could actually be smart play.

Friday, August 12, 2011

this digital age

One of my guild masters is vehemently against e-readers.

Die, Kindleworm, Die!

I know the issue of e-readers has polarized both reading and publishing communities, but what did this poor little creature ever do to you?

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I wish I were something else

Class envy happens quite a bit.

I'm actually quite happy to be a paladin right now. And yes, I am sober. Though I do wish we had a couple more AoE healing options (or rather, that Holy Radiance was a choice instead of a fire-and-forget, perhaps?), we're in a good place. I still miss having a raid-wide bubble (Divine Guardian), and I sure as hell miss Divine Intervention.

It makes me wonder, though, if I had less experience on my other characters if I would feel the same way.

Because I feel like I field a whole lot of "I'm not this" complaints lately. A druid vows that he's rolling a paladin because he's tired of tank healing with hots (tank-healing assignments are by player, not by class, my usual tank healers are AFK to RL lately). A shaman complains that he doesn't have group heals if people aren't stacked up (hello, ALL healing classes suffer from this). If only I had this spell. If only this spell did this effect instead of this. If only my iconic signature healing spell was actually as good as everyone says it is.

I know the truth: it's all close enough. Vixsin has a great write-up for the bench and the top 1% guilds and class balance therein, but I think it's safe to say that for the rest of the world, class balance is "close enough."

When I hear class complaints (from regular mode players), I always get the sense that it's the grass being greener on the other side than any real technical problems. And I'm biased, I know, having experience with all four healers makes me feel pretty confident I could be an asset to my raid no matter which I brought. (Isn't Enlynn so arrogant?!)

I think it's that time of the expansion, though. We hit brick walls on bosses, a key player we got used to having steps out for real-life issues and the void hurts. But instead of saying we miss the person, we say we miss his class mechanics. Sorry, I'm not buying. We miss the player who know to pop a cooldown at the right time. Him being a paladin, a shaman, a priest, not so much the issue. (Though the one night we raided with no priests was a bit weird. Fast forward two weeks and we have 6. Huh?)

And in retrospect, we made it through the summer only having to cancel a couple of raids. I think a few months ago the tones of a lot of my posts were on the verge of grim. We didn't know if we were filling the next raid, but somehow we pulled through. We've even had a waitlist for the past couple of weeks, and been able to let some players take the night off because they needed it without it being too painful for us. So things are looking up, even though we're still stuck on Beth. We got so close.

I hate fights like Beth'tilac not because of Phase 2 (which I'm doing better on, admittedly) because for Phase 1 I am stuck up on top so I have no sense for what the ground phase looks like. We had some (I hate to place blame here, but I saw some healers pull miracles out of their asses so...) DPS who would rather make excuses for why the adds don't go down than to just make the adds go down. But anyways. We're almost there.

Though, if you aren't paying attention to who has died and who has casted Brez, and you have no idea when the phase change is coming, you perhaps are not the best candidate to demand who brezes who. Just sayin'. Let someone who's actually using raid frames and situational awareness take care of that, hmm? Or maybe a RAID LEADER?

Oh, and our ranks are strictly attendance based, so when you take a demotion it is absolutely, positively, 100% NOT PERSONAL. Making it personal and threatening to quit gets you nowhere.

/rant off

We could still stand to recruit a few more people, but I think that's standard fare in a 25-raid, there's always a bit more room. We're raiding this week, and that's great. And if the worst problems I have to deal with this week are "I wish my class had this", then that's not a bad place to be at all. :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tower of Radiance

I'm running two specs now, a Tower of Radiance spec and an Eternal Glory spec. The difference between them is fairly minor. My "main spec" for OMFG-TANK-DAMAGE fights has Eternal Glory. I spec out of Tower of Radiance because I put Beacon of Light on the off-tank and spam Holy Light on the main tank like it's 1999.

For fights like Beth'tilac, I wanted ToR because BoL doesn't transfer between levels. I figure if I have to Bacon the tank I'm healing anyways, may as well generate some extra holy power? And I wanted to have Pursuit of Justice, because, well, I like being fast. Perhaps it's not entirely optimal, but for the fights where I'm using BoL for Holy Power, I figure I may as well not bother with Eternal Glory. In theory, I'll be using Light of Dawn a whole lot. (My glyphs reflect these choices, too, one for each spec).

I don't know what I would do, if I only had one spec to choose to be a healadin. I feel tugged in two directions, with mastery demanding one play style and haste another. Each has it's own build and strengths and weaknesses, and every encounter seems to demand something different.

We got Beth to 1% last night but ran out of time to go in for that one last attempt. I feel pretty darn useless in Phase 2, but I think that has more to do with my being a paladin than being a mastery-stacking paladin. Hit Holy Radiance on cooldown, spam the raid. Those bubbles get absorbed, at least, but without haste my direct heals are painfully slow.

I guess, even with haste, my direct heals are still painfully slow. =P

TL;DR: Paladins need a third spec so healadins can have 2 healing specs AND an offspec. Because not everyone is crazy enough to do holy/holy like me.

Monday, July 25, 2011

I looked at Magmaw funny

A foray into 10 HM...

Now that we're doing t12, my guild put together a 10-raid for HM Blackwing Descent. Perhaps regular modes have been nerfed all to hell (and they have, they have) but HMs are still--wait for it--hard.

The group was really cobbled together with the folks who happened to be on on Saturday. So it was my absolute favorite healing composition (two holy paladins + anything else) (sarcasm alert!), but we made it work. Only kinda, though, since we didn't get any bosses down. But I had expected as much, since we hadn't touched a single Hardmode yet this expansion and none of us had really researched the fights yet.

But even so, it gave me a chance to see my mastery gear working in a 10-group. At first, I went in my hybrid gear (17% mastery, 1000+ haste, more crit) and used my Tower of Radiance spec, but after a couple of wipes I switched to my "main" set and to my non-ToR spec.

A couple of reasons why: In a raid with the haste buff, the difference between 970 haste and 1200 or so haste is... not noticeable. Perhaps you get an extra Holy Radiance tick (a handy chart would be neat, but I digress), but the cast time on direct heals is the same either way. And in 10-raids, Holy Radiance isn't quite the I-Win button it is in 25's.

My "off spec" gear is lower i-level. I ran into this problem before, in Icecrown Citadel, trying to keep up a FoL set (haste to soft cap, stack spellpower) with random pieces of gear. Except, I never had a full offset so some of my pieces were still gemmed for intellect. So it wasn't a true specialist set, it was entirely cobbled together, and the real kicker: lower average i-level. I lost so much to put that gear on. I ended up using it Saurfang while we were progressing and that's about it. Once it felt on farm, I didn't bother.

I feel much the same way with my "haste and spirit" set now. I lose 4-pc t11 bonus, several thousand intellect, and 7% bubblage for... a couple hundred haste, an extra % or so crit, and... wait for it... all those i-level drops actually give me less spirit. Because this all off-set gear, old gear, lower i-level. All my new stuff is part of my mastery set.

A part of this is that it isn't a true offset. I still have too many pieces that are reforged for mastery, so instead of being a second specialist set, it still favors mastery while not favoring it enough.

And I do believe that I would be saying the opposite, if I had cobbled together a mastery offset, if I had half-assed it and coming up with 15% bubblage instead of 24%, I would not be the mastery cheerleader that I am right now.

A part of me dies every time I cheerlead for mastery. But the point is: your best gear will probably give you the best results. And why this is news for me, well, I haven't had my coffee yet.

Is there a point to all this? I really thought I had one but now that I'm here, I don't. I was able to "compete" with the other healers in my mastery gear, though we had to do healing assignments to work around me and I do not like being in that position. We had the other healadin beacon the tank, focus the raid, while I beaconed the adds tank and focused on the main tank. Sometimes I was a bit overwhelmed by the damage, but for the most part I wasn't. I never thought "whew, glad I got all this mastery" or anything.

I'm going to have to do some research for next weekend. I'm really not motivated to reforge my gear for one run on the weekend just to switch it back for the week, but we'll see what happens.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

still upset about crusader aura, take two

I don't often miss game mechanics, at least not on a regular basis. Sure, sometimes I whine about not having Divine Intervention anymore, but honestly it's an artifact of paladin past and I've accepted that.

But I just can't get over not having Aura Mastery work with Crusader Aura anymore. I miss it every time I log in.

A lot of times, I use it just to hear the sound it makes, but I get sad, too, because Aura Mastery has two sound components: the shing of AM and the rahw of Crusader Aura. It only makes the shing now.

QQ

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

bacon flavored playstyle

Bacon, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

There's a few approaches you can use to using Beacon of Light in PVE encounters, and your favored approach will likely affect your gut instinct for stat priorities. (This is a mastery post, believe it or not).

The method I've used for most of T11 is to assign myself a tank (ah, the joys of being heal lead, I'm known for giving myself the heaviest tank-healing duty), and Beacon my assignment.

Beaconing Your Tank

For fights like Magmaw, Atramedes, the second half of Halfus, Double Dragons, and Chogall, you've probably already done this. With Beacon on your main assignment, you're free to spam the raid with heals. In 4.2, we can use Holy Light as often as it can cover tank damage (which on one-tank fights can happen, if you've got other paladins using their Beacon the same way and full-rolling hots and shields from other healers).

I like giving my tank my Bacon. It ensures my tank will always be getting a heal (not just the 1/2 direct heal, but tiny heals from PotI and JotP as long as I'm staying active, but on the occassion I do need to land a big heal on the tank, I get Holy Power, which allows me to do even more raid healing with LoD, which transfers a good-sized heal to my tank. More raid healing and solid tank healing. It's win.

This setup favors haste>spirit/crit and employs all spells, potentially favoring Divine Light and Light of Dawn. A paladin has less reason to use Word of Glory unless she's really trying to be mana efficient (crossing her fingers for a HP refund with each WoG use). Casting Divine Light on your tank procs more HP and allows you to spray lots and lots of LoD over the raid, to the point of planning out holy power for big attacks and timers, and regenerating it quickly by spamming the tank with Infusion procs.

This setup makes mastery look like a chump stat. With the changes in 4.2, mastery is better (our bubbles are a little more likely to last long enough over the raid to be absorbed), however, the scatter shot raid-healing approach means a lot of those bubbles can get wasted (phase changes or timed AoE pulses longer than 15 seconds). This approach means we're healing reactively, while mastery really shines with proactive healing.

That's a drawback if you're trying to avoid mastery. We "pay" for it in terms of class balance so for fights we're not able to utilize our bubbles, we're running without one of the tools in our already limited toolkit.

This strategy is solid for fights with moderate tank damage and moderate raid damage, and allows you to switch between direct heal-bombing your tank and raid healing on the fly.

Beaconing Someone Else's Tank

I think a lot of paladins still use this approach (the other two healadins do this unless we agree otherwise). For fights that feature two tanks and limited raid damage, this is a solid way to keep up two targets.

The drawback is, you put your tank in danger when you help heal the raid, because while you aren't healing them, they aren't getting any of your heals. With this setup, WoG shines a teensy bit more than LoD, if a healadin wants to keep constant heals on her tank. (And fights that encourage this type of Bacon may not have raid damage to heal).

Mastery is an amazing stat for this playstyle. I am not yet comfortable with the stat weights for this setup but I have heard other paladins gear for a 1.9 second HL/DL (mine is 2.0 with 790 haste) and enough critical strike rating to keep up solid uptime on Conviction (at 15% crit I kept up 97%). What a healadin gives up in raid-healing flexibility she becomes a beast tank-healer. Constant bubbles on cheap heals. It's ridiculous.

Holy Light takes precedence over Divine Light, since this style is proactive healing, building up bubbles whether the tank needs a heal or not. That means you can get away with less spirit. That means--you guessed it--room for more mastery. Truly a specialist build.

This strategy is awesome for fights with insane tank damage. Your healing team will love you for your mastery and your ability to keep a constant stream of heals and bubbles on the main tank. However, you may feel like the last kid chosen to play at recess for AoE damage fights. For progression-minded raiding groups (and aggressive raid healers who don't care), that may not be a drawback.

Talent Builds

I've had two holy specs for a while now. My off-spec was last tuned for Alakir (Pursuit of Justice, go go!) but I've been contemplating redoing that build to fully utilize a mastery playstyle. I think Tower of Radiance is wasted on a full-on mastery build. That's not to say I would scoff at a paladin who had it, but for players like me who prefer to keep two variants of their main spec instead of a true offspec, I think there's room to play around.

I'm writing this post a bit ahead of its post date so I'm going to go with this build here (31/5/5), and hopefully I'll let you know how I feel about it. I'm not really happy about 1/2 Blessed Life but it was the best I could do without taking the DPS talents in the Holy tree.

I'm further thinking that if I'm going this route of having one specialized tank-healing build and a raid-healing build, I could take out Eternal Glory in my raid-healing build and try Pursuit of Justice instead. In theory, I'd be casting far more LoDs than WoGs, and the extra movement to help position myself for Holy Radiance would be helpful. But I'll keep you posted. I haven't decided yet. :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

et tu, enlynn?: mastery build

I imagine you've already seen some hullabulloo about the changes in 4.2 to mastery. Buffs, yes. Changes, yes. But enough changes to warrant a dramatic playstyle and gearing change for Firelands?

Maybe.

I read the Holy Paladin: Mastery thread over on the Blizzard forums and thought to myself that going Zaroua's route was probably a great idea for 25 HM raiders. But, I'm not a HM raider, not yet. We're shooting to get normal modes down for Firelands but it didn't happen in T11 and quite frankly we had enough on our metaphorical guild plate without them. So I did think, when I read through this, that it didn't apply to me.

Then I saw that Rohan had joined the Mastery Club. Again, HM raider.

And then Adgamorix threw in his vote and I realized something: tank deaths on Shannox were wiping us. Back-to-back Arcing Slashes and melee attacks in .12 seconds were dealing 120k and 95k damage faster than my UI could display it. And if this build is supposedly very good for crazy ass spikey tank damage like this, then why wasn't I at least willing to give it a try?

I spent some justice points and got 4 pc set bonus (not so much for the bonus, but the two pieces with mastery were the best deal for the JP I had). I reforged and regemmed (all my Reckless became Artful), and picked up the pieces of gear with Mastery from the Firelands Rep Guys (vote: pathetic or not pathetic that I don't even know the faction I'm grinding for right now?).

I cobbled together a 23% bubble with hardly any effort. Previously, I had 77 mastery (so basically a 12% bubble).

And so after almost 50 attempts at Shannox over the last few weeks, we went in last night and killed him the second time. Our RL takes full credit for the first wipe, but the second pull was beautiful, pitch-perfect, and the loot flowed.

My meters were borked. According to Skada, my bubbles were... 44k. Which is actually the bubble I had on the MT when we pulled (which is crazy). I was disheartened, but I had several healers whisper me saying they felt the difference, that whatever I had done was a good thing.

Fortunately, WoL has the story. But I'm going to drag this out and first talk about my healing before, since I think that's important. Here's a picture of last night, a very-close Shannox attempt. My assignment is the same for both: Luxinterior, Shannox tank. He, I believe, made some minor to his gear over the weekend but I'm fairly certain the only change between last night and tonight was me.

Before, my haste-stacking paladin self:



Lots of Word of Glory, and lots of Divine Light spammed on my Beacon target (Lux) to generate Holy Power. Holy Radiance popped just about every Magma Burst, and I made a point to be inside the raid when it happened to maximize my AoE healing.

And now, with Mastery:


I made radical changes to my healing style. Beacon of Light jumped to my highest healing done because I set it on the other tank and basically forgot it for the fight. But check out my bubbling- a solid fifth of my healing done.

But did you catch the overheal on my direct heals? Oi.

A thought on Holy Radiance: Because my goal for this fight was to spam Holy Light on the tank the entire fight whether or not he needed it, I spent less time positioning myself to help with AoE. The numbers here are deceiving, because not only did I get less in-range ticks with this change and those ticks healed for less, but I was off by myself or sometimes just in the melee. I used Holy Radiance 10 times for both samples, but the data can't be compared because I behaved differently.

I might have lost a tick with the haste I lost, but I didn't lose any intellect so in theory each tick would have healed the same if I had played the same.

What didn't change

Judging on cooldown, plea and trinkets early and often, hitting AoE heal button every XX seconds in response to AoE pulses. Tank healing like it's going out of style.

I healed for a bit less overall with a mastery build, however, my ranking within my raid didn't change. The healing done page looked fairly similar for both in terms of what other healers were doing.

What did change

Everything else! Who I healed and what spells I used. I went from favoring Divine Light to being afraid of it. I lost several hundred spirit to make this change, pigeon-holing me into favoring Holy Light and using DL and Flash of Light for oh-shit moments (even that oh-shit moment that I used an instant-cast FoL while running ended up being 100% overheal because others beat me to it). Beacon became a fire-and-forget buff on the other side of the raid instead of an active tool to help me raid heal and generate Holy Power while keeping my assignment up.

(BTW, raise your hand if you forgot Infusion procs insta-cast FoLs again! Cause I sure did till last night).

Beacon probably deserves its own post since I find I'm using mine differently than other paladins in the raid. But before I derail entirely, I had to mention the Beacon change because it did change how I healed the tank. When Beacon isn't on my assignment, I am restricted. With a mastery build, I am further restricted to healing my target. Raid healing with this setup doesn't heal my target, and those raid bubbles aren't likely to get absorbed in a fight like Shannox. Also, time spent not healing the tank is time not spent building up bubbles. So this build really, really pigeon-holes a paladin into one thing and one thing only: spamming Holy Light on the tank whether or not he needs it.

Pardon me. I could have sworn I just heard a skeleton screaming "Bone Storm!" from across a chamber of ice.

TLDR:

This build is effective for crazy tank damage fights. I can not deny it. For 25 raiders and both 10 and 25 HM raiders, I can see why stacking mastery would be a benefit to the raid for specific fights.

However, (and of course there's a however), a paladin really ought to take a long look at her playing habits and raiding roster. There are a lot of situations where a mastery build would be a great idea, but I also believe there will be a lot of situations where a haste-spirit build would be stronger.

After Shannox, we went and did a few attempts on our next boss target, Lord Ryolith, and holy cow had we not gotten Shannox down I would have felt useless for Ryolith. Heavy raid damage fights are not not friendly to the mastery build. (However, after comparing myself to the other holy paladin in my raid, I could have tried a lot harder so the verdict is most certainly not out yet for how best a mastery build paladin can use her abilities in this kind of fight. I'll post more once I figure it out.)

Should you go mastery? If and only if you play with a regular group of folks so you can be a designated main tank healer and work with the rest of your raid to help you get the most effectiveness out of this playstyle. I'm not so sure that 10 regular modes require a stacking setup, either, my experiences with 10s isn't near as great as 25s, but I just don't see the tank damage as crazy enough to warrant it. 10's, to me, seem to encourage staying general (ie, flexible) instead of going specialized, and with 10 mans that loss of spirit to focus on mastery is going to hurt.

But in 25s (even regular), volunteering to be that paladin might not be such a bad idea, especially if your group is solid enough that it's just assumed you're going to be one of the main tank healers. Does your 25-raid need 2? I have no idea. I'm not going to recommend that the other healadins in my raid make the switch.

Why?

If my snark earlier was not obvious enough, spamming a heal on a person whether they need it or not... is not FUN. I have squirmy feelings about casting with no regards to overheal. I half-wonder if we're going to see nerfs since the mastery build encourages spam-casting that goes against design intent.

Did I mention it's not fun? Sure, it felt real good to get the boss down but being a Holy-Light-Metronome (too bad paladins can't be Gnomes, har har!) will get real old, real fast. I mean, I'll do it, I like getting bosses down just like any other gal, but I lost a lot of flexibility to gain tank healing stability. Especially since I got feedback from the other healers saying it made their jobs less stressful. For me, sticking with a mastery build will be taking one for the team.

And a HM raider will have different experiences, since they will have a lot less overheal.

TLDR, for real this time

If you're struggling with keeping up tank damage that, by the logs, looks impossible to heal, going with a mastery build might be the ticket to downing those bosses.

But I would say, if you don't heal with a steady raid group, if your raid roster is constantly changing and your focus within the raid is different every night, then a more balanced approach might be better. And if you value your flexibility within your raid group, then you probably will not enjoy this specialist build.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

23-manning progression

We're working on Alakir.

A part of me wants to be embarrassed that we haven't completed on 25, what many, many guilds on our server have completed on 10.

However, we've called a whole bunch of raids due to attendance. And I don't say that QQ-like because it's just a fact. Sure, we've done alternate things like Ulduar runs and nostalgia achievement runs to keep ourselves busy, and we've done BoT and BWD with like 22 and 23 people.

Instead of calling it this week, we've gone and tried Alakir with 23. In some ways, it's great that we can do that. It seems pretty unlikely that a 10-man guild could 9-man a progression fight. But with enough heavy hitter DPS in a 25, it's kind of possible.

I say kind of because we haven't gotten it yet. Though, we are getting closer. It's certainly not going to take us as long to get Alakir as it took to get down Nef. With 4.2 on the way, it's pressure. We really want to have the tier completed before it's time for the next one.

It's a hard spot to be in, knowing we were 9/12 25 HM in Icecrown... and we haven't touched a heroic mode yet this tier. Maybe Firelands will be better for us. It will be, if we can actually get into the content every night we're scheduled to.

It's unfortunate because I do love 25-man raiding. There is, I believe, only two guilds that use the larger format on our server (regularly). It's hard to be #2. Why join a 25-man guild that may or may not do a full clear this week when you can join a 10 that can? I mean, we have great personality! But in terms of time invested versus rewards, I feel like the players of WoW have spoken and 10-mans are the future, with a handful of elite 25s, maybe 1 or 2 on the larger servers.

Oh, and I should weigh in a totally-opiniony opinion that has absolutely no basis in math or fact on our new 4.2 mastery. Still not a stat I want. But hey. The nerfs we take in mana cost will make up for it, right?

Snark aside, it's not a bad time to be a paladin. Tank healing is sweet now that I've found a groove. With more crit than I had a few months ago, it's gotten crazy with IoL procs. And more crit for holy shock in the next patch? Yes, please!

I'm pretty excited about Holy Light doing full transfer, as well. I had resorted into a bad habit of using Divine Light more than was probably necessary to make sure that my Beacon target was getting enough of a heal. Though, on some fights I'm getting a ton of use on Tower of Radiance. Big heal on tank + 1 holy power? I'm okay with that, especially to build up holy power for the next boss ability.

With the cooldown reduction on Holy Radiance in 4.2, I'll be a bit more free to use it more often. One of my biggest complaints with that spell was how much it was just a one-answer button to specific abilities. I'm not sure that using it more will be the answer, but having the option to is a start.

Because I think that's the root of all holy paladin QQ everywhere. No options = no fun.

And, um, Speed of Light gives a run speed bonus to Divine Protection? Oh, oh, yes! That'll be fun. I love Body and Soul for for the run speed on my priest, and always feel like my boost is wasted on my paladin. After all, if I want to heal the most, I'll already be parked for maximum efficiency. So that's really nice, because it feels like a terrible and bad thing to use Holy Radiance for the speed boost alone (at least in combat!)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

from silence, an update

Happy Hump Day Everyone!

Bloggy Stuff

No news is good news, right? Okay, that's a terrible excuse for disappearing off the planet for a few weeks. My blog nagged at me, whispered to me to come back, but then I told myself I didn't have anything to write about, and with all the social media stuff I've been reading I felt like I didn't have anything to offer the community and Oh-dear-god I just talk about myself and how I'm frustrated with holy paladins alllll the time. (I'm not. It just sounds like it).

I have a knack for making things harder than they are.

Raiding Stuff

In recent news, we got Nef on 25 down last week. That was a really hard one for the guild. We've had some attendance problems of late--hasn't everyone?--but things are okay for now. We lost two of our tanks while learning Nef. Not from Nef, of course. Just while. So we had quite a few re-learning nights.

Can I say right now that I love tanks who love mitigation?

No, really. It's absolutely amazing the difference between correct gemming and reforging and not-so-correct. And worse, why it does it reflect on the healer when I can't keep up a tank who is still living like it's Icecrown?

Guild Stuff

A funny story, back from an old guild.

Several times while I was the healing officer of another guild, the GM called together a meeting of officers and asked if we thought we had room for another officer. All three times, I shot it down. We had enough, in my overly humble opinion, and I also had a few people whispering me telling me that they wanted the position. So when the GM asked, I thought I knew who he had in mind.

And quite frankly, if you take 40 minute AFKs to change desks because you raid at work, at least once a week, you should not be vying for a raid leadership position. Hell, you shouldn't even be upset when we bench you.

Also, if you've spent the last two days bitching about two-thirds of the guild and how you wish they weren't in the guild and you'd love to kick them. You're not getting my vote either.

So, a week or so after we left that guild, the GM decides to whisper me and tell me that all those times he was trying to get another officer into leadership, he was trying to get Luxinterior. But each time the officers shot him down so hard he never got a chance to name the name.

Fortunately, my boyfriend wasn't upset that I voted against him three separate times.

Fast forward. Our tanking officer in my current guild takes off for some real life stuff, and we go back and forth on whether we even need a tanking officer (the tanks we had at the time were real low-maintenance). So then, I voted, no, no tanking officer.

Then we lost our other low-maintenance tank, leaving only Lux, a guy who quit the game for four months and suddenly showed up wanting to tank, and a new guy who had only done 10s.

I felt a bit awkward changing my opinion, and even more awkward voting for my boyfriend, but everyone laughed about it because he was the natural choice. I was all "Well, he's doing the work so he's got the burden of leadership without the benefits..." and the GM was all "Geez, Enlynn, it took you long enough".

So, make that four times I voted no. But the fifth stuck, and Four Lights now has the Lux-and-Enlynn tanking/healing leadership team!

It's handy in a lot of ways. We talk about things before we put 'em in vent and raid chat, and I feel less like an idiot when I have to ask the same question for the third time in one night. Lux already knows I'm a little dense sometimes. :)

Writing Stuff

I'm well on my way to meeting my goal for writing this year, having completed my second book a few days ago. I'm floored about Camp Nanowrimo starting this July. I had an idea I was saving for November NaNo, but I also wanted to write it in the summer to fully appreciate the oppressive dog days of August in the midwest for the story. So that'll be neat.

The other project, that actually has something to do with WoW, is a story about a gamer girl and her raiding guild. I've had this idea rolling around in my head for a year, and I was afraid until now but it's time to stop being afraid and RAR! Gonna do it.

Reading Stuff

Like books about druids? I meant to plug Hounded by Kevin Hearne a few weeks ago when I read it AND FELL IN LOVE. An Iron Age druid living in modern day Arizona? Oh, yes! I heartily recommend this book.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

furry friends

An unexpected change happened to the game with 4.1. I don't even remember reading about it, but pets no longer disappear when we log out or die.

Er, they do sometimes, but for the most part companion pets persist.

Which means, naturally, that we see a lot more pets in the raid. I'm changing my pets around, deciding which one I feel like for the night, or even for the fight (I like summoning my macaw when we get to the ship in Deadmines).

I've noticed that a lot of other people are doing the same. It's added a new flavor to the game, since pets are fun and seeing what other pets people have and choose is interesting. I /dance with a moonkin hatchling, cheer when someone's XT stomps a train, and click on the Wolpertinger until it makes the cooing noises.

I like it! Have your remembered to love your furry friends lately?

Friday, April 29, 2011

still in the dark: mastery buffs not enough

I promised myself I'm not going to let this go too long, so not much theorycrafting. Also, there may be QQ ahead.

Magmaw WoL for 4-27. Magmaw WoL for 4-19.

I went from 36% "overheal" on mastery to 38. Old mastery was 3-4% of my healing, now it's 6%.

I mean, it's a buff so I shouldn't complain. But here's what I think happened:

Tank healing for paladins hasn't changed. Most of our shields get overwritten before the absorb can happen. My tank absorbs for 4-19 and 4-27 are a bit different from playstyle change (more raw heals done spamming the tank on 4-27 because our other tank healer fell into the lava).

However, the mastery buffs did affect LoD absorbs. My absorbs on the raid on 4-19 were all overheal in the 50-75% range. Those numbers last night went down, or rather, the amount absorbed went up (overheal in the 30-70% range, with more bubbles being entirely absorbed).

So we're a little bit better at raid healing. A little. I don't know about you, but my raid assignments are still like they were in Wrath: pallies on tanks, the rest on raids. Sure, I pop Holy Radiance (which doesn't proc mastery) every minute when the boss does his raidwide-pulse-damage like a good healadin, but let's be honest here:

Why in the hell would I assign myself to the raid when we have shamans, druids, and priests? So I can use half-powered Light of Dawns once every 14 seconds?

QQ. I know my raw healing is often comparable to what other healers do, but I still think healadins are broken.

One spell on a 40 second cooldown does not fix "it".

The way the encounters are designed, we're tank healers who pop a raid-cooldown, then continue spamming tanks. There's really no spell selection, and if we're not clumped up...

And with the damage model in Cataclysm, we can't even tank heal by ourselves. I mean, I know that no 1 healer can, but still. I can, in theory, stop raid healing, and the raid healers would just have less overheal.

I main-changed in the second tier of Wrath, and later called it a mistake because of all the time it wastes. Switching to priest isn't an option (though a girl can dream) because we have so many priests in our raid. Right now, we could use a shaman, but our alt run already has so many shamans that gearing her up would be difficult. Oh, yeah, and she's 72. So when I talk about thinking about not being a paladin anymore, I do mean to say I've been giving this a lot of thought over a long time. Can you believe that 4.0 was six months ago? Holy paladins are still the punchline.

We already have one holy paladin in the raid. I feel at this point having 1 less paladin and 1 more anything would be better than having 2 healadins. Especially since our shaman hangs around the 50% attendance mark.

How is 4.1 treating you? How do you feel about your healadin and her contributions to the raid?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

noblegarden egg hunt!

I'm so excited for the blog egg hunt tomorrow!

I've hidden an egg around bubblespec, somewhere. Good luck, and I'll see you over at Kamalia et Alia's blog!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

proto drake goodness



Proto-drakes are my favorite mount. And I have to say, the Ironbound is elegant.

Friday, April 15, 2011

binge drinker

Blog Azeroth Shared Title: Weird Gaming Habits

I have a confession. I'm a binge drinker.

Okay, IRL I can't hold liquor to save my life, but in WoW, it's different.

I like carrying several kinds of alcohol in Enlynn's bags. Sometimes I go quite a while without drinking them (the good thing about booze, it doesn't really expire), but then I'll go through a stack in one night, starting every pull that night with the screen fuzzy.

Hmm.... That makes Enlynn a binge drinker.

Weird. I'm to finish off that stack of Rhapsody Malt I just happened to have in my bags, to celebrate.

Friday, April 8, 2011

one hand isn't enough

Fact: Priests, Shamans and Druids get staffs, along with an assortment of 1-handed weapons they can use with off hands.

Fact: Paladins of the Self-Righteous variety (*cough* Holy *cough*) only get to choose between a handful of 1-handed weapons.

Totally My Opinion: Blizzard should implement 2-handed caster maces. Paladins would get another option, maces are totally sweet, it makes sense for Shamans, Druids, and Paladins to have a gigantic mace, and, seriously, I have to admit: I would love to not have a shield for just one tier.

We'd get to cross our fingers on weapon drops for more than one boss.

We'd look TOTALLY SWEET. RAR!

With 3 classes and 5 specs being able to use 2-handed maces, adding it to the loot table wouldn't clutter things up so badly.

Did I mention it would give us more options for loot?

Yes, gigantic caster maces would be amazing.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

more shards for you: spellpower plate

News! Discussion! Opinions!

Let's talk about spellpower plate. Or rather, let's talk about what Ghostcrawler said about spellpower plate.

How do you feel about holy paladins being the only spec in the game with gear devoted to it?

I'm okay with it. No, really. The alternatives are far worse, clunky if you will.

We could wear mail. True, but we could also wear tutus and prance around with wands. Can you imagine a flipping PALADIN hopping around with a wand and ballerina slippers? I'll pass, thanks.

We could wear strength plate using conversions of melee stats. Then we'd heal AND be able to throw it down like a melee. Sure, we could be redesigned like cleric in DnD who got the best of all worlds: healing, armor, and power. And then ret and holy alike would have to ride the nerf-coaster while they got us 'balanced'. And by balanced, I mean, not #1 in PvP.

Pass. I'd rather not deal with the rogue tears.

Another problem with the strength plate idea is the gear competition. Right now, things are slated a little in favor of holy paladins. We gear up pretty quickly. Yet, lumping us in with the strength-plate crowd isn't an answer to the loot distribution problem. Warriors, Death Knights, and Paladins are popular classes. Melee DPS is a popular role. At least in my raid, the competition is still pretty fierce for strength plate.

It's anecdotal, but I noticed last night that I'm one of the weakest-geared healers in my raid.

Spellpower plate gets sharded in droves, it's true! But regular raid groups are sharding lots of stuff off the first few bosses. We're sharding the spellpower legs off of Halfus not because spellpower plate shouldn't be in the game, but because we've been sharding every. single. drop. from Halfus for weeks now.

(Three BoEs dropped last night before Chogall trash, 2 agility trinkets and the healer staff. No one seems to be complaining about all the extras of these we don't need...)

The other huge problem I see with a strength-plate conversion is how differently things are itemized across strength classes. Different classes want different things, and that's a good thing. But if holy paladins had a conversion, it would be tricky as hell to figure out what we wanted. (Other than to avoid expertise like the plague if it was converted to mastery!). And then Rohan over at Blessing of Kings brings up an very good point: if we have a conversion for plate, what about non-plate stuff? Do we roll jewelry like healers, or like plate dps? We'd be Ninja Raiders!

I've heard the argument that spellpower plate is wasteful . Okay, IRL I'm all for being green and reusing bags and wearing clothes till the zippers rust and turning the heat down and not wasting gas.

But this is not real. Pixels can not be wasted. We do not need to remove spellpower plate to 'conserve' gear. Waste is not a bad thing in a video game, in fact, it's good. It ensures that the content has repeat value.

I mean, if we're going to remove spellpower plate to make sure that the loot distribution is "more fair", the next step, obviously, is that the game should check the raid composition and only drop things that those classes can use. No druids or rogues in the raid? Guaranteed no leather!

Oh, wait. We still might have repeat drops. Instead, we should have the game not only spec-check, but gear-check. If all the clothies have a 359 helm, no helm would drop off that boss. That way, each boss kill guarantees only useful and necessary things that we need.

So then we need to kill each boss exactly three times before the whole raid is decked out. Then we have no reason to come back, except to push through to the bosses we haven't done three times yet. And what happens when said raid already has everything off that boss already? Does he just drop nothing?

Wait, I know! Every boss will drop tokens, which can be turned into.... anything! You get a token, take it to the npc, then you choose what slot you want it to fit into. Then you choose what secondary stats you want. Every boss is guaranteed loot, and it's exactly what you want... every time!

Does that actually sound fun?

If you're raiding every week, you've probably sharded a whole bunch of gear, and only a tiny amount of that was spellpower plate. Waste and RNG in drops are an important part of raiding. We notice the spellpower plate because it sticks out more obviously, but every week we 'waste' a whole lot of gear.

And again, not a bad thing. We need incentives to keep raiding the fights we've already learned. Large loot tables help keep things interesting.

I agree that spellpower plate is a bit clunky, but the alternatives are more broken than it stands currently.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

for the horde, take two

Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: What's your favorite race?

When I think about it too long, I start to remember just how much I love the Horde.

If I was able to make my paladin a member of the Forsaken, I would permanently Horde.

What characters, those undead! How can you not love Galertruby?

Their gravely voices! Embrayce the shadoh. Victory for Sylvanas.

I really miss my priest being undead. Or rather, I miss my undead priest. I left her logged out in Howling Ford, having picked up the first quest.

And how can priests be undead but not paladins? The undead paladins in Icecrown cast Unholy Light and Judgements of the Wicked. Why don't I get to do that?!

I know it's a pipe dream, but if Blizzard ever allowed Forsaken Paladins, I would totally do the transfer.

always late to the party

Well, I am two days too late, but I finally read the April Fools Day joke from Blizzard, linked here by MMO-Champion:

Paladin
  • Judgement has been removed from the game.
  • Judgment (new ability) unleashes the energy of a Seal for Holy damage.
  • All talents and glyphs which referred to Judgement now correctly affect Judgment.
  • The sound of most Retribution abilities has been redesigned to produce a more audible clunk when used. The rotation should now feel clunkier overall.
  • Paladins are now required to tithe 10% of their gold income to their church.
  • Paladin chat and whispers now appear with sparkles.
  • Some paladin abilities did not contain the words Sanctity, Divine, or Justice. This has been corrected.
  • The duration and cooldown of Divine Shield have been changed to 15 seconds.
  • Divine Shield no longer causes Forbearance.
The judgment thing is AWESOME.

Also, more sparkles!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

persistence pays off: chogall

Chogall is dead!

How many lights are there? Huh? Huh?!

This expansion has been tricky. We suffered from a lot of the same problems that most other 25 man guilds did, getting spots filled.

And as frustrating as it is to bring in a member who doesn't raid to be our 25th for a progression fight, I still appreciate the above-and-beyond that many of our raiders put in to get the job done.

I'm damn proud of the healing team. We have come a long way.

25 man raiding isn't dead. Dying slowly? Perhaps. But not dead. We've gotten a handful of awesome recruits and applications are still trickling in. And our next goal is to down Nef.

Monday, March 28, 2011

i'm still upset about crusader aura

This is a QQ post.

In the past, I've ranted about changes for Holy Paladins, but for the most part I've rolled with the nerfs.

Especially the Cata nerfs. I've been pretty positive. The spell costs? No big deal. The Conviction Nerf > Hotfix + Nerf > Nerf = I didn't notice.

But this crusader aura thing?

I have been bummed out since I read about it.

Aura Mastery is a unique ability. Only a Holy Paladin can have this talent.

AM in conjunction with CA was a beautiful thing that made Enlynn unique, and a fun ability to use while farming.

Farming as holy is not faster than with ret. If one must kill things to get to the node, tank and dps spec paladins will win out in faster kill speeds. I still have to blow cooldowns to kill more than a couple things and not run OOM.

I liked having CA for travel during raids. Being the fastest player in the raid had it's advantages, we can start summoning sooner. Especially in Cataclysm, where you can end up hitting three places in one night.

I'm going to miss it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

the enrage timer

My guild is working on Cho'gall.

On our last attempt (for we are the masters of the Last Attempt), we lasted long enough to wipe to the enrage timer.

I celebrate the enrage timer like a small victory. We kept everyone up. The tanks did what they needed to do. The healers did what they needed to do.

Now we just get our DPS to switch to adds a tiny bit faster and we get the loot!

The next time you hit an enrage timer, thank your healers.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

the bestest profession

Blog Azeroth asks: What is the best profession?

It's Jewelcrafting.

Oh, wait, I'm supposed to describe why I feel that way, aren't I?

JEWELCRAFTING:

It gives you BLING.

It gives you SHINY GEMS to put in your exciting new upgrades.

It gives you a SWEET META to put in your helm.

It allows you to prospect all that nasty, lumpy ore into MORE SHINY GEMS that are far prettier.

And, most importantly...

It puts a rainbow in your bag!


How can you not smile every time you see this multi-colored display of wealth, prosperity, and stat bonuses?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Whiny Post Day: Confused Questgivers

Look, I understand that hosting your own television show makes you a busy man, Mr. Robby Flay.

But... First. If a girl loves pie, why are you making her pancakes?

Not the same thing!

And if it takes 8 pumpkins to make a pie, why do you only accept 6... for pancakes?

Even 6 pumpkins is a helluva lot for ONE pie. Or are we still talking about these pancakes?

Huh?! I have a right to dailies that make sense.

This reminds me of that episode where he put soy sauce in his Pad Thai and everyone made fun of him. Seriously, SOY SAUCE in your PAD THAI!?! No wonder you think pies and pancakes are 'close enough'.

This post inspired by the original Whiner, Klepsakovic.
Also see Shintar's Whiny Post!

this time, tiers ago

I just killed Chogall this week with a 10-man group.

And then, I remember... Naxxramas. The bosses in Naxx, how do they compare with the bosses of T11?

How does Chogall compare to Kel'Thuzad?

I think Chogall is more difficult. In a way, it's hard for me to guesstimate because of how late I started raiding in Wrath, having only been level 65 when the expansion hit. I learned KT when lots of other people were already doing the fight.

With Chogall, I had to learn it with the group. But, there are some nasty things that Chogall makes us do. Worshipping, both my 25 and 10 man groups had trouble with this. I admit, I'm not very good at interrupting because I normally don't need to in a raid setting.

The new Power Bar for fights like Atramedes and Chogall are an interesting new concept. In a way, it's not new, except that I have a feeling we'll be seeing this mechanic in various forms throughout the expansion.

But how does Chimaeron compare with, say, Loatheb? From the healer standpoint, they were both gimmick fights. Stand around twitching for folks about to die, spam heal once every XX seconds. Massacre is like a strange inverted healing buff. I didn't mind Loatheb, but Chimearon feels too gimmicky for me. I hardly ever use Flash of Light. I feel like Chimearon's sole reason for existence is that I have to use it this tier.

And lastly, remember dear old Sapphiron? I'm glad that so far, in Cataclysm, there have not been many dot-auras. I don't miss them, especially now that we aren't set up for them. Yet, in Atramedes, there's a very cleverly disguised dot-aura. Instead of ticking every second, it ticks once every few seconds (Modulation). Players with low sound take a little, players with high sound take a lot. I actually like this fight. If executed properly, it's pretty easy and there's still a lot going on.

We raided ICC for fun, and to get the LK down (a guildie just got his legendary, we'd only needed one more kill to get the neat quest items). It was a bit strange to be back in ICC, I kept trying to play like it was still 3.3. I really hate to QQ about how much better the old days were, but, I don't recommend letting yourself forget that Beacon only transfers half.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

status quo

My boyfriend has the sneaking suspicion that I'm bored with WoW.

I've just been quiet, is all. On the blog, on our guild forums, at the dinner table (nerd alert! you know you're in too deep when you're discussing guild politics at the Thai restaurant!). I'm not bored, there just hasn't been anything new to talk about.

It's just been a whole lot of status quo lately. We're recruiting, we're doing bosses, we're doing alright. Not fantastic, not terrible, just alright.

I don't think it's a bad thing.

We did cancel raids this week due to lack of signups. But our GM put out the word that we're recruiting, we did get a couple of bites, we are looking better for the future (some of our normally quite-regular folks needed to step out this week, putting a spotlight on how thin our ranks had gotten.) We're up to 9/12 N, working on Chogall. Last week we went with one less healer than usual for most of our farm kills. That was neat, and I like being the one to speak up in Mumble to remind the guild: Only you can prevent your death.

A couple of weeks ago we started a 10-man alt run in which I fell in love with holy priest. All those silly things I said about me and my bad paladin self raid-healing before? I'm sorry. I was so full of it, and I had no idea. Holy priests are RIDICULOUS WITH OPTIONS and I have such a blast on her.

I'm doing a 10 this week on my paladin since our normal raids were canceled. It's just not as fun. Holy Radiance kinda blows in the smaller group. The difference in mana is insane.

Oh, and not having heroism... not fun.

It's probably too soon for me to make broad sweeping generalizations but if I were solely focused on 10 man raiding I would be a priest this expansion. Holy has so much flexibility. I can't get used to the disparities in mana costs, either. Paladin heals are more expensive because of holy power and the expectation we'll judge on cooldown. I didn't realize how chained I was to making sure I was casting shock and judgement on cooldown.

For priests, yes, you wanna be casting Prayer of Mending on cooldown but you won't go OMFG OOM in 30 seconds if you don't. And the recent changes to chakra mean you can set and forget it. I like that idea.

Kurn has a post going where we can talk about how much we absolutely love paladin mastery (sarcasm mine).

Anyways, just a smattering of random things. No news is good news, right?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

sharing my toys

Super quick n' snarky post responding to news, is all.

Hurray for shaman buffs! Any buffs to healers is a buff to the team!

And who in the world could have guessed they would revert the LoD nerf?! I am afraid to even mention it, thinking that one day I'm going to log in and it will be un-reverted. Also afraid of subsequent whack-a-mole nerfs, since obviously they still feel we're too good in some way.

The PotI nerf hurts for Chimereaon. I felt so fail last night since I couldn't even keep my group up. They really should keep it the same healing but only make it cost 2 talent points. It's pretty useless as is.

Am I the only one who read:

We agree with the sentiment among some players that Restoration druids and Restoration shaman are lacking in the healing cooldown department. The shaman buff and Power Word: Shield adjustment above should bring all healers reasonably close in terms of throughput. The decision on who to bring then might end up being dictated by the strong cooldowns offered by paladins or priests. This isn’t the kind of thing we can address via a hotfix, but it is something we are looking at for the next major content patch.
and heard: 'We're going to nerf paladins!'?

Really, I hope that druids and shamans get some more cooldowns to play with, I really do, special abilities are fun to use and offer more depth in play. But the cynic in me is bracing up for some bad news for the holy folks instead of good news for resto...

(I did try to warn you that this was a snarky post ><)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

i'm a crit monster

Here's a crit I did of myself for our second Atramedes kill. I actually wrote this up last week but since we didn't raid last night I haven't had much new to talk about.

Well, like every other 25 man raiding guild on the internet, we are recruiting. We need healers who can make it at least 3 (of 4) nights a week. Why choose FL over all the others in the world? There! Are! Four! Lights!

Check out this Star Trek Cookie Jar.

I am starting healer evaluations this week so I did this one as an example (though I promised that good things would show up on other evals, since this was my own I didn't feel the need to pat myself on the back or anything). And even then it was weird addressing myself as you. But hey.


Survivability
Died early in the fight to too much sound. Yeah, someone dragged something bad through the raid and it wasn't technically "your fault", but you could have tried harder to avoid it. In a personal responsibility fight such as this one, everyone is accountable for their own actions and that does mean that CYA is your first and utmost priority.

Damage Taken
#7 on damage taken. Other than the incident mentioned above, you're taking comparable damage to the other raid members. Specific to Atramedes, you gained 80 sound from air phase bombs and and 35 sound from discs. There's definite room for improvement, there.

Buff Uptime
I look for 100% uptime on buffs like Beacon of Light, Judgements of the Pure, and Auras. Save the moments while you were dead, you had that, though you probably could have judged and started healing sooner after taking the brez. You have 90-some % active time, so you're staying busy when you're alive.

Cooldown Management
For the first half of the fight, it looks like you ignored your cooldowns. The air phase is a great time to use Divine Plea, from the looks of the Damage Taken log above, so instead of two uses, you potentially had time for four. The JC Owl trinket has no drawback to using, and can be used on cooldown. I would recommend trying to push for five uses on a fight this long.

For Aura Mastery, Divine Favor, Avenging Wrath, and Ho-Sac: The same thing as above. Ho-Sac is pretty situational since there's no gib-protection, but Avenging Wrath and Aura Mastery on a 2 minute cooldown. That's at least 4 if not 5 uses on a fight like this, and with times of predictable, raid-wide AoE damage, there are opportunities to use these more often.

For the banana man (Guardian of Ancient Kings), well, you haven't used this in a week now. Please look for opportunities to summon your helper. It may not be a ton of healing, but it's cheap healing. I don't see a LoH for this fight either, which is 10% mana as well as a big heal on the tank. That's something you've dedicated glyph spots so that it's available for every attempt.

Spell Selection
Divine Light is a great tank healing spell. With 21% overheal, you could probably weave in a few other types of heals to save some mana when a DL isn't entirely necessary, but there were no tank deaths and you didn't run OOM. I see a few more places where you could really help out with raid healing using Holy Radiance. Mathematically, you can run higher than 50% overheal on Radiance and it is still a "cheap" spell.
For Holy Shock, for a fight as long as this one, you had the potential to cast 81 times. In actual, you cast 50 shocks, which means you lost out on upwards of 30 holy power. You generated 69 holy power in the fight, so this is a non-trivial amount you're missing out on. Your LoDs have fairly low overheal, so not only is it a free heal, it's an effective one. LoD also transfers to the Beacon tank so it's a very safe heal to use while still keeping your tank in mind.

Mana Usage
You judged approximately once every 28 seconds, or 36 times. For a fight this long, you had a potential of 61 judges. While I don't see any other holy paladins in WoL judging on cooldown, I do see them averaging closer to 4 a minute, instead of 2 a minute. I think 4/minute is a good target.
Your holy lights are averaging 50% overheal. If there isn't much damage to heal, I would look to judge or use holy shock instead (see below, assignment survivability).

Encounter Awareness
This is a hard thing to evaluate objectively. In the wipes for this fight we had last night, you did a lot better at flexing your encounter knowledge. This kill is the "worst" snapshot for your sound gain and survivability, but this just reinforces the importance of being consistent and persistent.

Communication
There are times when you are unable to heal the tank, or you died, or silenced, and you didn't call it out over mumble. There are times you did. But there are more times you didn't. When we don't communicate with each other, players often assume the worst when things go south. If we are communicating, we as a team have an opportunity to salvage a wipe, and our fellow raiders are less likely to be frustrated when they understand what's happening to us.

Please remember to sign up for raids!

Assignment survivability
Your assignment ("the tank") didn't die in hardly any of the Atramedes attempts, but you could have pushed Beacon of Light a bit harder since there were three healers assigned to the tank and spot healed the raid more. In a one-tank fight, BoL is often more healing done a healadin's direct heals. Almost half of your Divine Light casts went straight to the tank which generated holy power, but had you casted more shocks and spread those DLs through the raid, you could have ended up with the same holy power and more healing done on the raid through Beacon transfer.

Summary
Focus on managing your cooldowns, using them earlier in the fight. Squeeze in judgements and holy shocks whenever you can, again, earlier and therefore more often. Be more willing to talk in mumble when something is going to keep you from your assignment.

(Now that I've terrified my healing team...)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

talkin to myself (my level 1 self!)

Hi Level 1-Enlynn!

Your name isn't Enlynn yet. It won't be for a long time, but don't be afraid. You've done MMO's before, you know what you're getting into in terms of time invested, commitment, and what-have-you. Don't worry that you aren't really a shaman; you're not. You'll come into your bad healadin self after about 200 levels of other things. And that's alright.

Just about everyone out there says "Don't level as holy/disc/resto!" and they ARE SO RIGHT. But you're going to do it anyways, because you are too stubborn.

But really. If you're not having fun doing something, then don't do it. It's a game, for cryin' out loud, and you don't have to do do every single thing out there just because it's out there. That goes for every abandoned character on all those random servers. You had fun, it wasn't a waste of time.

And for the love of Elune, stop killing shit you don't need for a quest. No such thing as posterity's sake in a video game. l2train!

If you ever gripe that gold is hard to come by, I swear I'll come back in a gnomish time machine and slap you silly.

You'll think you're awesome when you're level 45. And you will be SO WRONG. It's okay, I'll be here when you figure it out. Someday you'll be in a real raiding guild and have a neat mount and all that stuff. No hurry, my dear. No hurry.

(Inspired by Rants of a Priest, Muradinn's Musings, and Dwarven Battle Medic. Join in, this is fun!)

freedomization

Freedom ain't free, but it's cheap...

Hand of Freedom. It has a short cooldown, dispels a multitude of effects, and--most importantly: costs almost half as much as cleansing. So whenever I can use HoF instead of Cleanse, I will.

It's the paladin way, after all. Why cast a normal ole spell when I can blow a cooldown? Getting rid of the effect just isn't enough when you can make your target IMMUNE for a few seconds and put swirly purple under his feet! (Granted, not too many effects need the following immunity, but still...)

So here is my work-in-progress list for Catclysm Things-That-Can-Be-Freedomized. There's a special page for this list on my side bar, and it will (hopefully) grow as we get new bosses to fight and new debuffs to cleanse.

I am happy, as always, to add to the list because there are things I haven't encountered or tried yet. So feel free to add to the list in the comments below or by sending me a note at enlynn ---- at ----- hotmail ---- dot ----- com.

Note: I had all these awesome ideas for posts and Bossy Pally beat me to a blogroll post with her awesome list, and Janyaa created this great Aura Mastery list. Enjoy!

FIVE MANS

Stonecore


Blackrock Caverns
A few here you would think could be cleansed by Freedom, but don't. Boo: Shackles, Shadow Prison, and Statis Strike. With names like these, HoF should totally work!


Vortex Pinnacle
stacking poison debuff used by Empyrean Assassins (rogue elemental trash).
Asaad does an ability every 15 or so seconds called Static Cling (you can also jump at the end of Static's cast, but we can safely assume that HoF will still come in handy).

Grim Batol
Twlight Drakes do an ability called Hooked Net that does not show up as dispellable, but your melee will love it if you free them.
Erudax does an ability called Binding Shadows. Sadly, HoF does not remove the debuff (though it will let you move, the ticking damage debuff must be removed via traditional means. Better yet, this can be avoided!)

Halls of Origination

Earthrager Ptah
Dustbone Tormentor, Trash before the Sand-Marrowgar boss does Curse of Exhaustion. Freedom!


Ammunae
The Lifewarden Nymphs before this boss do an effect called Entangling Shot.
Ammunae himself does a debuff called Wither. Your DPS friends will love you if you remove this buff sooner rather than later (this fight is long enough as it is!)

Setesh
The Void Seekers before this boss can do Anti-Magic Prison makes the target immune to receiving heals. Hand of Freedom works, though it doesn't show up as a magic debuff to be dispelled.


RAIDS - TIER 11

CONCLAVE

Conclave of the Four Winds. I was disappointed when I tried using HoF for frost trap. No debuffing for us, here, at least on the Frost platform.

Alakir. (Info incoming, my raid group has yet to make any serious attempts on this boss).

BASTION OF TWILIGHT

Magmaw. No debuffs here that I'm aware of.