Tuesday, March 23, 2010


female_priest I found myself in a strange situation this morning, when, for some weird reason, some guild mates of mine began to speak condescendingly about discipline priests. The thought of the day was that we (I say “we” because discipline is a favorite, chosen spec for my priest healer) are not very viable for Icecrown Citadel because our heals are weaker compared to others. Is this truly the mentality among current gamers?

Perhaps this is just something born from ignorance and only a phenomenon in my current guild. I do hope, but in case it isn’t, I thought it would do well to iterate more closely on the benefits on having a discipline priest in your raid.

As a whole, discipline priests operate somewhere between tank and raid healers, as our abilities lend a helping hand to both of them. The first and obvious benefit is the proper use of PW:S. One discipline priest can easily sustain shields on a 10-man raiding team, starting with priority on tanks and then rest of the raid. It does not look sexy on recount but when it comes down to it, those shields mitigate a lot of damage. For two tanks, the priest can also sustain three stacks of Grace, each, which vastly improves the amount of heals the paladins can put on them. With bosses like Festergut, a single tank holding two of the Blood Princes, or 3rd phase of Professor Putricide, this can easily be a lifesaver. The stacks are easily applied with a single Penance per tank, and quickly reapplied with a single Flash Heal.

Speaking of which is the number one healing spell for our spec and is equally useful to helping out the paladin, when the tanks are taking big hits, or the raid healers when the whole takes chucks of damage. To this we can add Renew and Prayer of Mending that can be maintained to help out whenever possible and off cooldown. To add to all this, our spells also produce useful buffs like Renewed Hope and Divine Aegis.

Also what other healers lack, are useful cooldowns that can be applied to both the raid and thanks. First is Power Infusion, which is just as useful for yourself, or another healer, in case of an emergency or can be used for warlocks or mages when entering burn phases. Basically it acts like a 1-man Heroism. Last, but certainly not least, is Pain Suppression; an extra tank cooldown to save them when big hits keep landing and everything else fails.

When it comes to mana management, we rarily have issues. Like paladins, we have large mana pools and good measures in place to replenish it. In a 6 minute fight, I have squeeze off two Shadowfiends, if properly timed and in case I still risk running low, I can use Hymn of Hope.

So, what do you think? Does all of this sound completely useless? I think the lack of respect for discipline priests stems more from simply lack of understanding. We are, almost without exception, at the bottom of the statistics and a poor experience with a bad discipline healer can easily put you off. It is one of those specs that is more difficult to master – the same way that death knights and warriors are harder to play than paladins tanks.

I should maybe spend more time on my priest, considering this and just letting my guild mates see the benefits of my spec in action.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Warlock PvP Overview

warlock Aye, was about time I sat down to write something again. It has been somewhat crazy at this end for a couple of weeks now. Had to replace my Nvidia graphics card when the old one decided to step out, neatly right when I was about to take the factory in Isle of Conquest. This, in fact, gave me the idea for today’s entry; it has been a working process to gear my warlock for pvp and now that I am there, it’s a good idea to gather my thoughts so far.

Currently, Tië is a destruction warlock in full PvP gear, sitting with ~1k resilience, 2655 SP, and 24.7% Crit. Fairly nice numbers, considering that my gear is fairly basic. At the moment, no wrathful pieces, only a full furious set and relentless off-pieces. Still do not have any PvP weapons, but once I tackle arena, should reach 1800 rating for a Wrathful Gladiator’s Battle Staff.

I fine on battlegrounds, usually ending up running a few with some other guildies. As a class, warlocks are pretty awesome when it come to PvP. We have two working specs on that field, destro and affliction, both which are deadly when properly played. I chose destruction for the burst damage that it provides, essentially letting me blow stuff up with only three spells. The big downside for being a warlock is that everyone, especially warriors and death knights will look you up wherever you go. Warriors in particular are devastating if they can nail you in their bladestorm. The ability is getting a slight nerf, but nothing that would really affect us, so if you’re playing as well, remember to always make an escape route –> Demonic Circle: Teleport.

In some cases of course, we have the luxury of going completely unnoticed, which makes things really festive for us. Quite a few times, seems people have gone through trouble to ignore me, letting me basically just sit down and nuke the crap out of everything that exhales.

If you are building a warlock for PvP, make sure you understand the stat distribution between the specs. In general, they both need SP but destruction prefers high Crit and Affliction benefits more from Haste. As a destruction lock you will generally setup for bursts with Curse of Elements, plus Immolate and Conflagrate. From there, spam Chaos Bolt and Incinerate. One of the tricks is actually getting to the burst and for that, we have a nice array of CCs; Shadowfury, Howl of Terror, Fear, and Death Coil. Even with a druid healer, if properly executed, you can keep him in CC while you setup and finally blow him up with a burst. Alternatively, if running with a mate, you can just focus on CC’ing while your mate goes medieval on him.

The choice of minion varies between warlocks but generally they come down to two choices; the succubi or fel hunter. Some use the void because the sacrifice gives such great protection, but other than that, he’s pretty useless. Succubi has seduce and fel hunter can devour magic and silence. I find the hunter more useful, because your opponents will so often be spell casters and seduce gets broken easily by a clueless team member.

All and all, I enjoy playing warlock on PvP. Like the mage, we combine damage with a lot of control, making the part we play very crucial. Getting started is still the Achilles heel of the whole PvP side of the game. To be successful in battlegrounds, you need a lot of the corresponding gear and getting it is a slow process. Though once you get there, it is rewarding. Patch 3.3.3 is also going to provide us with a small relief to the endless honor grinding and there are even more useful updates down the pipeline. So if ever, seems now it is worth the effort to get into it.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Icecrown Citadel Hotfixes

icecrown_art This is a bit of a misnomer, they are not really fixes, as in fixing bugs, but rather diminishing the difficulty of some boss fights. Anyone who reads wow.com or mmo-champion.com has already seen this. For me, I am still digesting and wondering what is going on. We already received a buff to the instance on all three fronts; more health, more damage, and more healing. Now, we are receiving nerfs that are about to completely trivialize the encounters, or at least some of them.

Lets examine the Lord Marrowgar encounter for instance; I was rather pleased when there were aspects to the fight that involved more on my part, than just standing in one spot and going round and around my tanking rotation. For one, I had to continuously dodge the cold flames. Second, I have to work together with my fellow tank, always sync our movements when dodging the flames. Thirdly, was my responsibility to taunt the boss after each bladestorm.

Except, now the bladestorm no longer resets aggro, which means I can just stand still during the storm and resume randomly smashing buttons when he returns to me. I understand that there are many fights in the instances that represent a significant challenge to players, but this is not one of them. I have seen tanks fail at aggroing the boss after a bladestorm and each time, I would wonder where they learned to play.

It is the easiest thing in the world, just dodge the coldflames and be within taunting range of the boss when the storm fades, and watch the DBM timer. Since taunts are effective for three seconds, you need only wait until there is less than three seconds on the timer and hit taunt. I promise, if you are not a horrible tank, you will have no problems resuming and building aggro on the boss, thanks to that taunt and neither a healer or any dps are in danger of being killed.

Another nerf to make tanking almost trivial is on Rotface, where as part of the excitement was that Mutated Infections arrive faster and faster as the fight progresses, making finishing the fight a fun challenge. Now, that speed no longer exists, at least not to an extent and running around the room with a goo behind you, seems no longer very exciting.

There are not a whole many tanking challenges in this instance, if you really begin counting them. Mostly it is about switching aggroes via taunt at certain stacks, which is conveniently eased by the use of DBM. Encounters like Rotface make tanking a joy, when you really have to do something and focus on execution. I was delighted the first time I did Rotface, as the mechanic was something new and fun for me.

At least I can hope Blizzard can refrain from nerfing Icecrown Citadel any further. Just ignore the moans about difficult it is. People who complain about it, obviously do not know how to appreciate it properly. They just want to run in, faceroll a bunch of stuff and come out bragging they killed the Lich King.

For full source of the changes, read the blue.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Stats in Cataclysm

blackwing_front Without a doubt, most of you have already seen and read about the updated information about, how stats are going to work in Cataclysm. Of course, we should keep in mind that we have yet to see but a small portion, or a much bigger picture. Because of that, I would suggest caution from assuming too much. An overhaul of stats like this, in the entire game, is going to have an enormous impact on every aspect of the game. Even leveling up will be affected, as Blizzard has already released that they will be altering most, if not all items in the game; from random drops, to dungeon loot, and quest rewards.

All and all, I am still excited though. It cannot hardly be any worse than it already is, when you are leveling a character. If anything, new stats will only make it more interesting, when going to dungeons and completing quests will again have an impact on your character, beyond just awarding experience. Most of the time, these days I just buy greens from the AH whenever I level up. Efficient but incredibly boring and unrewarding.

Concerning end game play, we are finally getting rid of the biggest baggage that seriously character have; gearing up tanks. I remember when I was subjected to the harsh reality of trying to reach my def cap on Durithim, desperately scratching together enchantments and whatever small pieces of gear I could find, to reach the magical 540 number.

In cataclysm, we no longer have this issue, and we will not have to burden our talents points with it either.

“Defense is being removed from the game entirely. Tanking classes should expect to become uncrittable versus creatures just by shifting into Defensive Stance, Frost Presence, Bear Form, or by using Righteous Fury.”

Makes perfect sense, and is in its way, a genius solution. We already associate certain stances with tanking, which you must have on, continuously or you will fail before you even manage to really start.

So what can we expect for tanking stats on plate in Cataclysm? Funny enough, the exact same stats that we have come expect; Str, Sta, hit rating, expertise, and avoidance stats. With the one big difference, defense is gone. Makes you wonder how things are going to actually change? I am certain it will, but as always, trade speculations are over blowing it with unjustified foresight. The main big one is the fear that the game is turning to become easier. I very much doubt it. It will become clearer and simpler to manage, but I highly doubt all challenge will be stripped from it because of a few stats.