Call to Arms: Healer

Today I was up early after being awoken by a horrible nightmare. I’m not normally up until around noon so I took this opportunity to head back into the new Troll instances. As luck would have it, the time I Q’d was during a rare Healer Call to Arms. I was pretty excited that I caught it but then I remembered that I have nearly all of the currently obtainable pets in the game. Oh well, I was interested to see what I would get in my goodie bag anyways.

So what did I get for an instance? I got into an in-progress ZG run that was bugged. People that died could not get back into the instance. The only member of the original group that remained was the pretty well geared DK tank with a touch under 200K health buffed. Joining us was a Ret Paladin, a Frost Mage and an Elemental Shaman.

We didn’t wipe until we got to the optional Archeology boss. We didn’t die to the boss but the god awful trash. There is nothing worse that wiping on trash only to come back and see that none of the mobs are dead. After a mind altering 2 or 3 minutes of frenzied healing with all CDs blown, we finally got past the trash. The stupid boss is a cake walk compared to the trash. But isn’t that always the way it goes?

Everything goes fine until the panther boss. I explain the easiest strat and off we go but the tank isn’t pulling the panthers from their stables so the Paladin takes it upon himself to pull them. So I’ve got to heal the actual tank and a pseudo tank at once and the new ‘Lock we PUG’d in is throwing everything he has at the boss. (The Frost Mage had to be kicked due to an extended DC.) Now we’ve got half of the panthers up and the boss is in her panther mode. The amount of healing is crazy and I don’t know how anyone survived. I think the Shaman tossed a few heals but regardless, we got her down. She drops the new Zulian Tiger mount. The Shaman wins.

The Shaman had been really awesome this whole run and I would even say she deserved that mount. She wasn’t some scrub that complained about wipes and even helped out rez’ing people who died. The Ret Paladin thinks he was entitled to that mount because he had run it so much before it was a 5 man. He makes a big stink about it and then drops group. (“Guess who didn’t win the roll?” was his final parting words.)

Awesome Shaman on equally awesome new mount

Let me tell you, we were better off. He was a constant aggro monkey and could not stay out of the trash packs we didn’t pull. He required more healing than the tank on just about every fight. ZG can be quite tough so you really can’t wantonly stop healing annoying DPS because you’ll go OOM waiting on the remaining 2 DPS and tank to kill whatever it is. So I healed his dumb ass through a lot of stuff.

Out with the Ret Paladin and in with the Rogue. This Rogue was that special kind of raiding asshole (Defender of the Shattered World!) who has come down from on high to be with us peons. You know the kind; always refer to people by their roll and never their name and waits for a rez after everyone dies. The reason for waiting for a rez was “I need a cig.” Really? I mean really? Would it be ok for me to be lazy because I need a chocolate break? Um, no. It would not be OK. I’m sure it would be a swift kick if I said something like “BRB, I need an Oreo and some milk” and then vanished for 5 minutes. But us Oreo cookie lovers aren’t as tenacious as smokers who just take what they want and don’t care about other people’s time.

So anways, we get past Zanzil after a wipe. The Shaman rez’d the Rogue because I refused to. I run, you run. Also, every time I release spirit I get disconnected. So really, it should have been me to wait for a rez but whatever. I’m not going to make people wait on me longer than I have to.

I hadn’t actually gotten Jin’Do down before this because I couldn’t keep myself up with spirits on me and the tank up at the same time. We barely got the boss down with just the ‘Lock standing at the end.

So what did I get for all of my frustrations?

From the dungeon I got 123g in repairs, 3 Maelstrom Crystals, and a stack of Deepsea Sagefish. I think it was about 10g in vendor grays and 2 stacks of cloth. In my goodie bag was 50g and 3 Mythical Mana Potions. What’s it 87g for completing the dungeon? So I came out ahead by about 20g.

Would I do it again? Most likely. I need the fugly shoulders to replace my equally fugly salad bowl shoulders. I also need the helm but I can hide its fugly-ness.

If anything, the goodie bag accomplished what it needed to do. The curiosity of needing to know what was in that bag kept my fuzzy butt in a dungeon I would have otherwise left. I would have left for a variety of reasons: unreasonable repair costs, the DC issue after releasing and God’s gift to WoW, the asshole Rogue.

Priest T12

WoW Insider has just posted the previews for the T12 armor sets. They are fire themed, the rest of them are here:

http://wow.joystiq.com/2011/04/29/patch-4-2-preview-tier-12-armor-sets/

Priest T12

My initial thoughts are:

 
1) I might actually show this helm. Helms look awkward on Worgen so I generally don’t. If there is suffient room for my snout, I will show it. But I am worried about my face being stuck in a brazier 24/7.
 
2) Didn’t we already do a fire theme for the Priest T10? I do recall my helm AND shoulders smoldering. The T10 helm was like a circular BBQ grill. Also, I’m pretty sure the designs on the T10 robe sleeves were inspired by hot rod flames.
 
3) This is shown on a male model. Will the female version have the midsection cut out once again? I was covered in T8 and T10 but not so for T9 and T11. Will the trend for the even sets continue with being fully clothed?
 
4) These shoulders are underwhelming but at least they aren’t neverending fountains or salad bowls.
 
5) It feels more like a PvP set than a PvE raid tier. The colors are ugly and muted like the old PvP gear.
 
To sum it up, I’m pretty “meh” about it. I liked my blue T11/T9 and my purple T10. I like colors. 

Patch 4.1 Eve

I was totally right with my prediction of 26 April for the patch. Go me! It seems like just yesterday when we were talking about Patch 4.0.6a. I’m glad it’s coming. I can finally make the enchanting pet with good conscience (mustn’t waste Maelstrom Crystals!). I have all my JP saved up to buy the Maelstrom Crystal to make it with.

Patch 4.1 is about balancing the classes more than anything. The Priest changes aren’t really changes per se but adjustments. I’m going to love having Inner Will up all the time. I’m really bad about refreshing it until my mana gets dangerously low. Then I think, what the heck is happening here? Oh, yeah. My damn Inner Will isn’t up. /facepalm

The best class change that I can see in the Patch Notes is actually a Hunter change. I’ll no longer be pulling extra mobs like a tard because Hunters will no longer acquire a new target if their current target dies mid-shot. I am tickled pink about this. I had a Belf Hunter in my randomUKon my baby Tauren today that pulled everything in the drake room because he didn’t know how to handle that bug properly. The poor Resto Shaman was screaming for mana but he kept accidentally pulling. /sigh

Borrowed Time

Someone found my blog with the search term of “is borrowed time a good talent”. It used to be a good talent in Wrath but now it’s more filler than anything. You have to spend those 2 points to get to the really good talents towards the bottom of the tree like Divine Aegis and Pain Suppression.

Borrowed Time was hit severely with the nerf bat right before Cataclysm hit. I’m sure this is due to the entire healing model change from Wrath to Cata. It used to be that we could keep BT up nearly constantly because we were bubble bots.

We bubbled everything, all the time in Wrath. There were great discussions about using down ranked bubbles on Lich King as a type of “mana battery” so that they would all pop at the same time – restoring most, if not all, of our mana. Within 10 seconds of pulling Arthas, I would have had a bubble on the entire raid and my mana bar would not have moved much. On 25 man raids, it was so much worse than 10 mans. All we did was bubble and spot heal DPS because extremely OP Holy Paladins took care of the tanks.

I can remember times in ICC that I was bubbling DK and Hunter pets to get the BT buff up before casting Greater Heal. I didn’t cast G-Heal because the tank particularly needed it but because I was curious if I could see some really big numbers with that Strength of Wrynn buff. Overheal? Why not? Bubble random raid members for the BT buff? Go for it! It was even encouraged in some circles. (Don’t forget to get BT up before casting Prayer of Healing!) I know there a few times when there was Weakened Soul on everyone and I was disappointed I couldn’t bubble for a few seconds for my precious BT buff.

But, that is what was wrong with healing in Wrath. It was using a few spells and nothing else. Mana wasn’t an issue. And Haste? That’s for Holy Paladins/Priests and Druids only. Disc stacked Intellect and nothing, I mean nothing, else because of BT. There were lengthy forum posts of everyone’s “haste cap” with Disc needing drastically less because of the way we all used BT.

So now that the world has changed and healing has changed, where has that left BT? It is nearly useless, in my own opinion. Before it was nerfed, we had a self buff that lasted over 10 seconds for 25% spell haste on our next cast (instants don’t count). Now it is down to a 6 second buff for 14% spell haste. Also, our bubbles have effectively been nerfed to cost at least 3 times as much mana as they did before so we can’t have a constant up time of BT.

Let’s examine how we bubble in Cata since the bubble is what procs the BT. We always have a bubble on the tanks and we can bubble other people but we don’t tend to unless they are taking considerable amounts of damage. We can’t throw bubbles around like we used to because of the increased cost and the fix to Rapture mana returns.

Here’s what I do on a pull in a raid: bubble the tank, place POM on him, put a Renew on him, then I look at the Off Tank – put a bubble and a Renew on her if she is actively tanking. All of that would be at least 5 global cool downs, if not a little more. The second bubble will renew my BT buff so I’ll have 4 seconds before BT wears off. In those 4 seconds I’m going to be using Penance over something with a long cast time because it’s instant (affected by Inner Will so it’s cheaper) and I have 3 chances at a crit for Divine Aegis and Inspiration procs. By now I might have a second on my BT (if I’m lucky) and that’s not enough time to get a long cast spell out. So, BT is effectively useless, even more so if this is a highly mobile fight like Halfus or Atramedes.

How do we fix BT since it’s so lame right now? I would like to see it rolled into Inner Focus. Every time I use IF I know I will be casting a long spell like Prayer of Healing or Greater Heal so it won’t go to waste. The best thing that could happen to it would be to remove it’s dependence on PW:S since Blizz doesn’t want us dependant on that one spell. I wouldn’t even mind if it stayed at 14% haste as long as I could get some good use out of it.

Right now, Borrowed Time is a relic of Wrath healing and has no place in Cataclsym with out some changes. Blizzard needs to remember that change doesn’t equal nerf. The answer to “fixing” BT was not to nerf it but to change the way it procs.

New Patch 4.1 PTR Goodness

I was on the PTR night before last to see if they had fixed the new Troll quests. And, boy did they ever! The new Troll quest line is really a lot of fun and comes complete with a new pet in the Panther Cub.

New Panther Cub pet AW!

I told Matt that the PTR is very polished and I couldn’t find any bugs at all (except for my Hunter’s pet pathing in new, creative ways). I figured it would be out 26 April because it’s pretty well done and it has to be out before Children’s Week. The 26th is the last Tuesday before Children’s Week starts on 1 May. Today I read on MMO Champion that the “release candidate” is up on the PTR so my prediction could very well be correct. Only time will tell.

Like I said before, the Troll quest line is much improved. I don’t want to give many spoilers but I had a shit ton of fun running around STV with Bwemba. They have made her a lot less annoying and she functions like she should. Before, you would have to maneuver her over a sick person to get a buff on yourself before you could heal them. It took a lot of running around to find the “sweet spot” of that buff before you could complete any quest objectives. But now you just click on the sick person to heal them – no crazy buff needed.

Bwemba's make over

They have also given Bwemba a much needed make over. She was a hot mess before but now she’s a sassy Troll lady with a rockin’ hair do.

She's rockin that hair

At the end of quest line, I was begging for more. I really liked the big reveal at the end and who I got to talk to. I don’t want to spoil it but it was a nice treat for this Alliance girl. (I have the quest to go into ZG so maybe it doesn’t stop there. I don’t know for sure…)

Ever get that feeling that someone is following you?

I cannot wait until 4.1 goes live and I can actually do ZG and ZA. The wait times have been absurd, even for a healer, every time I attempted it. I waited over an hour once and then the instance disconnected me, resulting in me getting kicked from the group.

Call to Arms: Frustration

 Patch 4.1 is shaping up to be a game changer of a patch. Many, many changes are going to be implemented. Some of them are fun like new pets and Arch stuff to play around with. Some of them are head-scratchers; case in point: the new LGD intuitive that rewards players for filling the least filled role in a dungeon group. This will almost always be tanks. We might see a healer reward on the first few days as tanks everywhere have a moment of curiosity. That moment will surely fade once they step into the dungeon and are faced with the same assholes as we have today.

At first glance, the bonus goodie bag looks really nice. We get rare mounts and pets! And potions! And flasks! But then you look at the mounts and pets – they are pretty easily obtainable as they are. The potions and flasks may not even be something you can actually use. I might get a stamina flask or even an attack power one on my Priest. Will this flood the flask market with cheap flasks? I hope not.

Anways, let’s get back to the real draw, the mounts and the pets from the “Satchel of Exotic Goods”. Blizzard gives some examples:

The pets offered come from a wide variety of sources, and include companions like the Razzashi Hatchling, Cockatiel, and Tiny Sporebat, but the mounts are those specifically only available through dungeons (not raids), like the Reins of the Raven Lord from Sethekk Halls, Swift White Hawkstrider from Magister’s Terrace, and Deathcharger’s Reins from Stratholme.

So the pets are Razzashi Hatchling, Cockatiel and Tiny Sporebat. The pets don’t seem to be limited to those but they are the ones they have listed. They are fairly easy to get.

The Razzashi Hatchling is the red raptor hatchling that used to be found in ZG but is now a zone-wide drop in STV. He’s best known as the little hatchling that gets attached to players for one the zone’s best and most fun quest lines. Before The Shattering patch, people farmed these little guys like crazy, me included, so you may be able to find them on the AH fairly cheaply. Or you could just do the quest lines in STV and hope for a drop. The quests down there are really fun now, especially the Booty Bay pirate quest lines, and shouldn’t be missed.

The next pet is the Cockatiel. Talk about lazy on Bliz’s end as far as pet selection. The Cockatiel pet is sold by the bird vendor in Booty Bay for a bank breaking 40 silver. And he has an unlimited supply so you can roll down to Boot Bay at any time with 40 silver and pick up this bad boy.

The last one listed is the Tiny Sporebat. This one is a reputation pet from Burning Crusade. He requires exalted reputation with Sporegar and 30 glowcaps to purchase. He takes a bit of grinding to get and a little luck with glowcap spawns. I was just in Zangarmarsh last week to get the cooking recipes from Sporegar and glowcaps were everywhere. I had way more than I needed for my recipes. I’m sure with just an afternoon of grinding Underbog Sanguine Hybiscus I could get to exalted so I’m going to call this one tedious to get but no more tedious than tanking a heroic.

They also mention cross faction pets. These could be the old Argent Tournament ones that are going to a lot more than they used to. I got most of mine for less than 1K gold but I’ve seen them up around 2K now that everyone has left Northrend. I’m hoping they aren’t meaning things like Prairie Dogs and Dragonhawk Hatchlings, which are dirt cheap. But, then again they did list the Cockatiel as a reward pet.

As for the mounts we have listed the Raven Lord from H Set Halls in Outlands, the Swift White Hawlkstrider from H MGT on the Isle of Quel’Danas and the Baron’s mount from the dead side of Stratholme. The instances are two heroic level 70 and a level 50s dungeon. Talk about some farmable mounts!

I solo’d Strat at level 80 as a healing Priest long before Evangelism/Atonement came into being. I got my dead pony after 69 runs and got “the Argent Champion” title along the way. I could skip a lot of those mobs because they didn’t aggro me because my level was so much higher. I’m sure it will be much easier at 85 with 125K health. The good thing about Strat is that you 1) don’t need the key anymore and 2) you can run out and reset it for multiple tries an hour/day.

The Raven Lord has been made much easier to farm now that you don’t need a Druid to summon the boss and there’s no trash in that room. My Bear Druid was able to solo it at level 80 but the trash in that room had to be pulled very carefully because of fears. Now, I can walk my squishy Priest butt in there, clear about 5-6 packs of trash, one easy boss, and get right to Anzu with minimal fuss. Anzu can be a little difficult with the stuns but it is totally do-able and takes about 20 minutes. It is a heroic so you can only do it once a day.

The Swift Hawkstrider is about the same difficulty as the Raven Lord. Heroic MGT is the hardest BC heroic but with some patience it can be completed in about 30 minutes. This one has the bonus of dropping the Phoenix Hatchling pet and the Orb of Sindorai – a fun little vanity item which turns you into a Blood Elf for 5 minutes. As with H Sett Halls, you can only do it once a day.  

So, in looking at the so-called “rewards”, are they really rewards in the truest sense? The things offered are, in my humble opinion, pretty easy to get in the normal way. Yes, it will take multiple runs to get the mounts – I’m not saying that it won’t. But, the drop rate of the mounts is the exact same from the bag as they are coming from the bosses dropping them. Who in their right mind would rather “farm” level 85 heroics than do the original instances? The original instances can be completed in 30 minutes or less when a Cata heroic can take hours – dependant on the group, of course.

The goodie bag doesn’t make your threat generation any better. It won’t shut up a mouthy “Go” person. It won’t give your healer more mana or your tank more health. It will most certainly not give you 3 DPS’ers that know the kill order or even how to CC. It won’t keep them from calling you a “fail <insert spec> tank” and kicking your furry behind out of the dungeon. But, it will give you a 40 silver Cockatiel (Bind on Account even!) for your trouble.

Horde Adventures

 Somewhere along the way, Horde questing got to be really fun and interesting. Myabe it was the battle critters in Northwestern Mulgore that started to change my mind.

Battle Pairie Dog in Mulgore

Things got really awesome once I finally found Koltira in WPL. I had already seen the Alliance side so I was eager to see the Horde version. It did not disappoint. Some of the most uncomfortable quests, for me anyways, are in WPL.

A little background: after The Shattering first hit I decided to roll a Forsaken Priest to see the starting zone. I had heard a lot of good things about it so off I went with a crazy beehive hairdo. I got to level 3 and I couldn’t take it anymore. It nearly made me sick to my stomach – especially when I went to see the Priest trainer who had no lower portion of his face.

I could not deal with raising people from the dead against their will. I can’t imagine the anguish of being dead and suddenly undead because some crazy woman wants to bolster her forces. What Arthas did to Sylvanas was horrible and cruel beyond words. Nobody deserves to be treated like that. And now what does she do now that she’s the ruler of her own people? She uses the Lich King’s Val’kyrs to raise the newly dead to be her “new” Forsaken forces. I cannot condone her actions because she, herself, has become cruel.

So… I come across a quest in WPL to kill Alliance farmers and turn them into Forsaken. I was not happy about it but I had to do it to advance the story. With a heavy heart, I slaughtered those poor farmers and used my Val’kyr to turn them.

I am truly sorry, little Alliance farmer

Once I had done all of these horrible things I was sent to Koltira to the Battle of Andorhal – where I slaughtered some more Alliance farmers.

On the Alliance side, Thassarian wories about his former ally and knows something is a bit “off” about him. He doesn’t know that Sylvanas is in disguise watching his every move. Koltira barely manages to win the fight and Sylvanas reveals herself. I was pretty shocked by this revelation. I didn’t see it coming.

Poor Koltira right before he gets sucked in

She takes poor Koltira back to the Undercity for some “Clockwork Orange” style training because she thinks he’s too weak. I don’t think he’s weak at all. He loves his friend Thassarian and their fates will always be tied together. I really hope Blizzard picks up this story at some point. I am dying to know what is happening to Koltira and what steps Thassarian is taking to rescue him. Maybe we will have a new 5 man where we have to rescue him in a certain amount of time – it could happen! Thassarian could “help” us Jaina Proudmore style like she did in the ICC 5 mans.

Anyways… I did a few quests with Fiona in EPL but I didn’t get anywhere near finishing the quest line because Thousand Needles called my name.

AWKward!

Thousand Needles is awesome from a lore stand point. We get to see what happened to the Speedway, what’s up with the Grimtotems and what those Twilight guys are up to. Just wow – I loved every minute of it.

The best part was having my own Riverboat to sail around. Everytime I summoned it all I could think of was Forrest Gump saying “that’s mah boat!”

I'm proud of mah boat!

I got to sail my little boat all over the zone and I even got to keep it. Unfortunately, it can only be used in Thousand Needles. /sad panda

The whole questing experiance in the zone was amazing! I don’t want to spoil it but seeing Magatha Grimtotem was very exciting, even if I don’t care for her.

The best quest was saving Pridelings (baby wyndriders) from the evil Twilight Cultists. We do love our saving baby animals quests! This one was very cute. I still had the zone-wide underwater breating buff and my pridelings got the same buff.

Aw! SO CUTE!

The quests from the Goblins gave me enough rep to finally get my epic Trike. I can finally ride around in style!

Ready to Rock AND Roll

I’ve started on Tanaris. Hopefully it will be as fun as Thousand Needles was.

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